Friday, February 16, 2007
Non-President Al Gore (above, with Cameron "Eco-friendly Eye Candy" Diaz) has announced Live Earth, The Concert for a Climate in Crisis. It's a series of concerts around the world on July 7 to bring attention to Global Warming. Over 100 acts are scheduled to perform. Even in Antarctica.
Let’s see… that’s 100 tour busses getting 50 gallons to the mile. Dozens of tour planes and thousands of cars making their way to the venues. Millions of watts of electricity for light shows, trailers, TV cameras, satellite feeds and blowdryers. Untold amounts of methane gas released from the vegan hot dogs sold at the show. And even more hot air blowing out of Anthony Kiedis and Melissa Etheridge. Then there’s programs, T-shirts, DVDs – all in the name of safeguarding the world for our children’s children and our penguin’s penguins. With friends like this, who needs Exxon?
Most cringe-inducing is the inescapable moment when Revlon spokesmodel Sheryl Crow claps her well-toned arms over her head and tells us to “Soak Up the Sun” by switching to solar energy. Pass the recycled hemp barf bag.
Of course, Mr. Gore is to be commended for bringing the environmental crisis to the world's attention, and to note how small changes to our habits at home can reverse the disturbing enviro-trends. So why a mammothly wasteful concert? Why not a day of global energy saving? For example, a webcast where everyone plays acoustically from home. Or how about a day when all the world’s greener-than-thou celebrities would stop preaching and shut the f%$# up?
Monday, February 12, 2007
Bob Dylan wasn’t born with matinee-idol looks like Tyrone Power or a voice like Frankie Laine, yet he still manages to score big-time with the ladies. How does he do it? The answers, my friends, can be found in his fabled lyrics.
Gentlemen readers, just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are six Dylanesque ways to get your lady in the mood.
1. Coyly refer to yourself in the third person. “His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean/And you’re the best thing that he’s ever seen.”(Lay Lady Lay)
2. Invoke the apocalypse. “I’ll be with you when the deal goes down.” (When the Deal Goes Down)
3. Appeal to her maternal instincts. “Kick your shoes off, do not fear/Bring that bottle over here/I’ll be your baby tonight.” (I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight)
4. Use a little reverse psychology. “Don’t think twice, it’s all right;” “All I really want to do/Is, baby, be friends with you;” “It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe;” "You're gonna make me lonesome when you go."
5. Make an anagram-y thing out of your old lady’s name and turn it into an album-side-filling epic. Sara Lowndes ->“Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.”
6. Who needs Champagne? Make a fresh pot o’ Joe. “On a night like this/So glad you came around/Hold on to me tight/And heat up some coffee grounds.”
7. Get all Alpha-maley. “Jump into the wagon love/Throw your panties overboard.” (Highwater (For Charley Patton))
8. Don’t be afraid to get kinky. “Strap yourself to the tree with roots/You ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
Monday, February 05, 2007
Prince’s Super Bowl XLI halftime medley last night was more than just a funky reminder of His Royal Badness’ genius and soul-revue showmanship. It was also a Davey-and-Goliath triumph of the music geek over the jock.
In the mid 1980s, Prince was the hottest act in the land. Purple Rain, the best album of the decade, was playing everywhere. He was a great songwriter, singer and dancer – and played about 30 instruments incredibly well. But if you were a white heterosexual beer-guzzling college student (as I was), admitting to your peers that you like Prince (as I do) was a genuine act of courage.
Prince was “entertaining” more women in a single evening in his purple palace o' love than an entire frat house could in a semester, yet to this crowd, he was considered less than masculine. Perhaps it was his indeterminate race. Or his sweaty, hirsute sexuality. Or his height. Or lack therof.
Now here he is twenty years later, a Jehovah’s witness with a bad hip, the centerpiece of the most macho ritual on planet Earth. Take that, my paisley brethren.
The triumph is well deserved. In terms of sheer god-given talent, Prince is up there with the greats: Lennon & McCartney, Elvis, Hendrix, Charles, Brown, Dylan. (Speaking of Dylan, was Prince’s brief performance of “All Along the Watchtower” a nod to his Jehovah’s Witnessism? Their official organization is called the Watchtower Society.) For proof of his gifts, check out this clip of the Purple One paying tribute to fellow inductee George Harrison at the 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The song is "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but in the hands of this diminutive Minneapolis Funkster, it also wails, rages, razzles and dazzles.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Pretenders, the debut from Chrissie Hynde and her band of doomed hedonists, is pretty much a perfect album and easily among the best debuts ever recorded. As befits its status, it was recently remastered by Rhino, expanded with a second CD of outtakes, B-sides and live tracks and given super-deluxe LP-style packaging. Hence, a record that actually deserves to be purchased rather than stolen, burned, ripped or Limewired. Even the brief liner notes are top-notch. For instance we learn that as ex-pat Chrissie Hynde bounced around the late 70s UK punk scene, she spent a brief period in an early version of The Clash.
Speaking of The Clash, only London Calling or Talking Heads’ Remain in Light) could possibly lay claim to being a better album from the dawn of the Reagan era than Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde came on the scene fully formed, with one of the truly great rock voices, a tough-but-supple-like-leather timbre. As a songwriter, she was very much in the classic-rock tradition of the British Invasion, electric Dylan and early punk, but with a fresh dollop of female sass. Watching her back was the tight rhythm section of Martin Chambers and Pete Farndon. Cutting across the grain was the ferocious genre-hopping guitar of James Honeyman Scott (a Spinal Tap-worthy name if there ever was one).
Pretenders comes out of the gates fighting with Precious and never lets up, firing off one instant New Wave classic after another: Tattooed Love Boys, The Wait, Stop Your Sobbing (written by future ex-hubby Ray Davies), Kid, Private Life, Brass in Pocket, Mystery Achievement to name a few. Cuban Slide, which debuted on the 1st album follow-up EP Extended Play, makes its CD debut on the bonus disc, and is as good as anything on the original LP.
Tragically, Honeyman Scott and Farndon OD’d within a year of each other, not long after the release of their second album, and the band was never really a true band again. More like a Pretenders cover band led by Chrissie Hynde. And while she continued to talk the talk and walk the walk, she never again reached the fiery brilliance of this epic debut. But unlike so many, she did reach it once.