Thursday, August 30, 2012
Bob Dylan has a new record coming out on 9/11 called Tempest and just released a single and video to whet the appetite. It's the lead track on the record "Duquesne Whistle," (pronounced "doo-cane") a light little shuffle that, like many Dylan tunes, sounds like it could be a cover tune from 100 years ago.
Rolling Stone described the video as "shockingly violent" but they are just trying to generate hits on their site (I think it's working). really I would just call it surprising. In the video, a good-looking young man tries to win the charms of a beautiful woman on the streets of Los Angeles by day, while at night Bob rolls deep with a posse that includes a Gene Simmons lookalike.
I'm not sure what the morale of the video is, if there is one. Maybe it's the extent to which a fool for love will suffer for it. Maybe it's that storybook romance gets messy in the real world. Maybe it's that life is random. Maybe it's don't steal flowers from a bodega. Maybe it's that when you are Bob Dylan, you are cooler at 71 than most people are at 21.
Anyway, here's the video, enjoy it and watch it again. I'm going to.
The "Duquesne Whistle" video was directed by Nash Edgerton, who also directed Bob's amazing video a couple years back for "Must be Santa" from Christmas in the Heart, and "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'" from his most recent secular album Together Through Life. This one may actually be shockingly violent.
Tempest may be pre-ordered in a number of interesting configurations with special bonuses from Bob himself right here. Peace out homies.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Is it just me or is everyone I admired as a child dying this year? Anyway, I was very upset to learn of the death of the fabulous, pioneering comedienne Phyllis Diller at the tender age of 95. If I'm upset, I can only imagine how Fang feels.
Anyway, here's Phyllis in her prime, doing her thing with another drag queen named Liberace. May you rest in peace.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Ron Palillo, the legendary actor who played nebbishy yet lovable geek Arnold Horshack on the Gabe Kaplan vehicle Welcome Back, Kotter in the 1970s, passed away this week at age 63.
Some might not say he was a legend per se, but to me he was, for several reasons.
Chiefly, he was a graduate of the same college as I, the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Many years before I matriculated, he lived in the same dormitory I did, Ethan Allen House, in the Towers section of campus. According to dorm legend, he lived in Room 403, right across the hall from me, in the room inhabited by my very good friend George Feinn, who had a picture of Horshack on his dorm room door to pay tribute. (Mr. Feinn, not surprisingly, is inconsolable at this time and could not be reached for comment.)
Years later, around 1997 or so, I was working on a TV commercial and we brought in some voiceover artists to audition. The casting agent informed me that Mr. Palillo would be coming in to read. He wasn't really right for the part, she explained, but work had dried up for Ron, and he was a sweet guy and a friend, so she brought him in as a way to keep his spirits up. Sure enough, he came in and was gracious and polite. His tone for the spot was way off, and I never met him again, but it was a true honor to be in his presence. I was too starstruck to bring up our UConn connection.
Some dude on YouTube made a sweet tribute featuring Horshack, Hotsy Totsy and of course, John Sebastian's hit theme song.
R.I.P. Ron/Arnold, you are Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! so missed.
Friday, August 10, 2012
At Rock Turtleneck, we are never at a shortage for ideas, only for the time to flesh them out and post them. And there have been a few things that have been in the hopper, but I'm going on vacation for a week, so rather than belabor them, I thought I'd get them out quick. Think of the following four mini-posts as the RT equivalent of passed hors d'oeuvres at a cocktail party: nibble on a couple now and roll the others into a napkin, throw them in your bag and enjoy them later.
#1: A Great Week for Jamaica
Usain Bolt's wins in the 100 and 200 meters coincided with the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's Independence Day. In that spirit, hers's is an early, spooky Bob Marley & the Wailers song I love from 1970 called "Mr. Brown," produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry. You can get it on iTunes here.
#2: Beck is Back
Haven't heard much in the way of new material from Beck Hansen since Modern Guilt in 2008. But he is back with his strongest new tune in years. "I Just Started Hating Some People Today," recorded at Jack White's Third Man Studios in Nashville. It starts out as a country tune in the Hank Williams vein but takes some very interesting detours at the end. The track and its equally weird/great B-side "Blue Randy" were vinyl-only at first, but are now available here on iTunes.
#3: Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol
I was amazed to hear that Andy Warhol, who died in 1987, would have turned 84 this week. That's a good 10 years older than I would have guessed. This calls for perhaps the best David Bowie deep-cut ever, "Andy Warhol" from Hunky Dory. You can buy it on iTunes here. To the left is an Instagram photo I took of the Warhol statue in Union Square, the stomping ground for him and his fabulous Factory scenesters.
#4: R.I.P. Marvin Hamlisch
Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away this week at 68, wrote some of the most durable modern standards in the Great American Songbook. Perhaps his most well known is "The Way We Were," made famous of course by Miss Barbra Streisand. Here's a clip from a TV special circa 1975 when she was a Superstar with a capital S. Barbra is the the gold standard for narcissistic Hollywood limousine liberals, but you got to give her props - she has amazing pipes. Buy it on iTunes here.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Last week was a Week o' Wilco in New York City. Normally I would make a point of seeing them at least once per tour, but this time, it just didn't happen.
|Guest blogger |
Fortunately, my Wilco-obsessed friend Alex Bachrach, the man who introduced me to the band's music around the time of Mermaid Avenue, and has seen them live dozens of times, caught the two hipster-infused shows in Brooklyn's Prospect Park and filed this report:
Wilco Loves New York, Baby
My wife Kate and I saw Wilco in Chicago recently, and we've seen them all over the country, but I really think Tweedy and Co. have a true love for the Big Apple.
In fact, while Tweedy barely engaged his hometown crowd (their largest crowd as a headliner), he bantered with the New York crowd throughout the two nights in Brooklyn, including calling New York by every other city's nickname, provoking an assault of boos when he uttered "Beantown." Is he being sarcastic? You never know, but since New York shows always sell out quicker than other cities except maybe Chicago, I'm guessing he appreciates our love.
|Tweedy via Brooklyn's hipster medium of choice, Instagram|
The true tests were the shows themselves and the two in Brooklyn simply kicked ass. They played two completely different sets with only a handful of tunes repeated, mainly standouts from The Whole Love (although they held onto "One Sunday Morning" and played it for the lucky Terminal 5 crowd later in the week) and catalog essentials ("Impossible Germany," "Shot in the Arm," etc.). The energy level was so high both nights, despite hard rains and crazy lightning on Monday. The crowd learned from Monday that when Wilco says goodbye they rarely mean it, and stayed until the absolute end of their extended set.
One highlight was the intense first encore set from Monday's show when "Poor Places" went right into "Art of Almost," seen here in this YouTube clip.
They called a bunch of audibles, and several songs were changed on the fly. They fed off their crowd and since he repeatedly said "You all smell like bacon," I hope he fed off us as well.
Both Brooklyn shows are available for download from the site NYC Taper here.
Thanks for the report Alex. Wilco found time in their schedule last week to play the Loose Fur deep cut "Laminated Cat" on Jimmy Fallon's show. Here they are.