Music Tonight: Music legend Paul Simon brings his tour behind the recent full-length, So Beautiful or So What, to The Bank of Kentucky Center on Northern Kentucky University's campus in Highland Heights for a 7:30 p.m. concert. The tour also happens to coincide with the even-more-recently-released retrospective compilation, Songwriter, a nice reminder of just how many iconic tunes Simon has crafted, classics like "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Still Crazy After All These Years," "The Sound of Silence," "Graceland" and "The Boxer," to name just a few. (Simon's first four solo albums were also reissued this year.) When Simon's current tour ends early next month, the singer/songwriter will turn his focus to next year's touring plans — a jaunt celebrating the 25th anniversary of his genre-defying smash hit Graceland (an anniversary "box set" — featuring a documentary and the usual array of B-side and outtakes — will also be released). Opening up the show in Northern Ky. tonight is progressive Bluegrass troupe Punch Brothers. The group was formed by mandolinist Chris Thile after his band Nickel Creek called it quits and also features musicians who have worked with Leftover Salmon, Jerry Douglas, Tony Trischka and other modern Bluegrass big-timers. Ticket prices range from about $54 up to around $86. Click here for more. Below, to get warmed up for what will surely be a calm, orderly shopping experience on Black Friday (right?), check out "Getting Ready for Christmas Day," a holiday tune on Simon's new record.
• Covington club The Mad Hatter opened in 2005 and has since been one of the top music venues in the area for national, touring acts and local, original ones. But the owners will soon move to a new club just around the corner, reportedly to be called Madison Live, which will operate in conjunction with (and function as the rebellious little sibling to) neighboring Madison Theater. If you'd like to pay your respects to the Hatter, only a few shows remain (Nov. 27 will be the official "closing show"), including tonight's appearance by popular New Jersey-born Post Hardcore/Emo Pop favorites Senses Fail. Doors for the all-ages show open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $18 at the door (or $15 if you buy them here online before 5 p.m.). The show also features opening bands Stick to Your Guns, Make Do and Mend, The Story So Far and Don't Wait Up. Senses Fail are touring behind its current release for Vagrant Records, The Fire. Here's the music video for the album's title track.
Momentous Happenings in Music History for November 22
On this day in 1997, the music world was shocked by news that 37-year-old singer Michael Hutchence, the enigmatic frontman of Australia-bred hitmakers INXS, had died. INXS was on the eve of the final leg of its tour behind the album Elegantly Wasted; the tour was also a celebration of the group's 20th anniversary, so INXS fittingly concluded the tour with a string of dates in Australia. Or at least that was the plan.
Hutchence was an archetypical Rock Star – leather pants, perpetual swagger, movie-star good looks, unkept yet perfect Rock Star hair — and so, fittingly, there's a bit of mystery surrounding both his life and death. The bizarre, emotionally-explosive love/hate triangle — revolving around Hutchence, his girlfriend and baby mama, U.K. TV show host Paula Yates, and Yates' (eventually ex-) husband, Boomtown Rats/Live Aid ringmaster Bob Geldof — will one day likely make for a hell of movie script.
Hutchence's death was officially ruled a suicide, but like most major Rock Stars who died young, there were/are many who believe alternate theories. In fact, if asked, most people would tell you Hutchence died from autoerotic asphyxiation, a potentially highly dangerous fetish involving strangulation and masturbation (it's how actor David Carradine reportedly died). That's probably because Yates and some family members were convinced he'd never willingly end his life and spoke out loudly about their theory.
But at the time of his death, Hutchence was extremely distraught. Yates' divorce was very nasty from the start and Geldof was pursuing full custody of their children. Hutchence was reportedly very fearful that Geldof would also go for custody of his daughter (conversations reported from around the time of his death suggest he talked often of not being able to live if he were forbidden to see his child).
The story became even more tragic when Yates died from a heroin overdose in 2000. Her death was not the final chapter, though. The tabloids continue to run stories about those related to the story of the most bizarre bizarre love triangles ever, from current trash tabloid darling (and Sir Bob and Yates' daughter) Peaches Geldof's drug and sex misadventures to Geldof's successful adoption of Yates and Hutchence's daughter, Tiger Lily (who Geldof essentially raised from birth), in 2008. Here's wishing the best for the now 15-year-old Tiger Lily — maybe someday she and Frances Bean Cobain can trade "fucked-up childhood" stories and help each other find peace.
Here's a version of INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" (reportedly played as Hutchence's casket was carried out the funeral) from Beck's fun "Record Club" project series, featuring St. Vincent's Annie Clark on vocals.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a Nov. 22 birthday include: composer of some of the most-often-recorded songs of all time (including "Stardust" and "Georgia on My Mind") Hoagy Carmichael (1899); actor, DJ, guitarist and sidekick to two legendary "bosses" (Bruce Springsteen and Tony Soprano) Steve Van Zandt (1949); Talking Heads bassist and Tom Tom Club band co-founder Tina Weymouth (1950); singer/frontman for Jason & the Scorchers, perhaps the most under-heralded pioneers of so-called AltCounty, Jason Ringenberg (1958); and legendary Reggae bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett (1946).
Barrett, a Kingston, Jamaica native, and his brother, drummer Carlton Barrett, were the rhythm section for Bob Marley and The Wailers, which alone should make him a Reggae legend. The fact that he is credited with developing the sound and style of Reggae bass cements that status. Robbie Shakespeare (of crucial, revolutionary rhythm section/production duo Sly & Robbie) might be the best known Reggae bassist and, therefore, widely designated as the greatest ever, but Robbie might not have the chops he does were it not for the tutelage of "Fams" (as he is also known).
Barrett, whose first big break (before joining Marley) was as bassist with Lee Perry and the Upsetters (he also played on recordings by Burning Spear, Augustus Pablo and King Tubby), continues to tour with a version of The Wailers. From their post-Bob beginnings, the band has consistently been a big club draw. In 2006, Barrett (whose nickname is a huge understatement — he reportedly has at least 52 children) lost his extensive and expensive U.K. court battle with the Marley estate. Barrett claimed he was owed nearly $100 million in royalties for his work with Marley, because his pioneering, highly-influential bass lines were such a huge, distinguishing part of Marley's revolutionary sound. Barrett also claimed he signed a contract in 1974 that would have paid him the $100 million, but he and his brother were cut out after Marley died in 1981. Barrett's suit was dismissed by the judge, leaving him with little more than a huge legal bill.
Though those 52 kids could probably use the money,s the case seemed more about Barrett receiving fair credit for his truly vital work on those albums, work that indeed helped shaped the sound of Marley's music, not to mention the tons of Reggae that came after. It's not the mega-millions sought, but I offer a sincere tip of the hat to Barrett's important contribution to the music world. Here are just a couple of examples of his essential low-end at work: