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by Mike Breen 02.18.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Reviews at 08:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
who

REVIEW: The Who Does 'Quadrophenia' in Louisville

Rock legends perform Rock Opera in full at KFC "Yum!" Center Saturday night

For a  couple of decades, I've resisted going to concerts by legendary Rock bands and icons I've loved who keep touring without much in the way of new material. I'd rather remember The Rolling Stones via video footage of their ’60 and early ’70s peak. I'd rather see The Who when there was an element of chaos and danger, when Keith Moon might pass out and have to be replaced by an eager fan pulled from the audience at the last minute. I'd rather remember The Beatles circa their post-touring years, via footage from their post-"Fab Four" days, working on arty videos and even artier music.

I've seen a lot of footage from The Rolling Stones live in the past nearly 30 years ago and it really set this resistant tone for me. Even back on the tours behind Tattoo You, the Stones largely just seemed to be chugging along for the cash. The most infuriating thing to me has always been their double-speed rendition of classics like "Satisfaction," as if they're just trying to get them out of the way. (To their credit, they seem to be fond of dragging out some "deeper cuts" at more recent shows, which adds at least a little freshness to their stale cavalcade of hits.)

It has to be a bit of a dilemma for some aging legends. The majority of fans want just the hits; they're the ones who complain of Facebook that a certain show was "OK, but they didn't play ___________! So it sucked." The Rolling Stones have a little bit of new material every few years that they'll drop into the set to keep things interesting for the members (or they'll dig out those deeper cuts). Paul McCartney does a total crowd-pleaser concert, basically performing the same exact stage show for seemingly 20 years and running through those classic Beatles/Wings tunes that are guaranteed to bring any house down. McCartney seems more a "give the people what they want" showman, and his performance is note perfect and flawless. I've always respected British Punkish-Pop-turned-Classical-Pop singer/songwriter Joe Jackson for the way he found to keep things interesting — never play every song the same way on every tour. His great live album,
Live 1980/86, featuring four concerts from different eras is a brilliant example of this — there are four totally different versions of "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" It's interesting to the players and the die-hard fans. (Casual fans would rather hear the version on the original recording without variation).

The Who has done greatest hits runs and has only released a handful of new recordings in the past 30 years. But they have enough ambitious, grand projects in their impeccable discography that they can pull out, they're capable of doing special shows like the one on their current tour which finds the surviving members (and friends) performing the Quadrophenia album in full.

The Who's sporadic tours of late have often had some special "hook" that, presumably, keeps things interesting for the members who have played "My Generation" approximately 4 billion times. Townshend often makes some comment after a tour that it might be the last. He doesn't seem interested in the greatest hits revue. At Louisville's concert and sports palace, the KFC Yum! Center, The Who — well, original living members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, plus a cast of backing musicians that included Ringo Starr's overachieving bad-ass drummer son Zak Starkey on the skins and Pete's brother Simon Townshend becoming more of a presence on guitar and occasional vocals — played Quadrophenia in full (as they've done with Tommy) and I couldn't help but think that the artistic challenge of performing the group's second notable Rock Opera in full was enough to get Townshend to sign on. And enough to keep The Who on the road.

The Quadorphenia performance was excellent. The band played through without talking or really pausing for a breath, playing the double album from start to finish. This seemed to cause some uneasiness for some in attendance who didn't get the memo about the Quadrophenia-heavy performance and seemed just ready to hear "Teenage Wasteland" and "Squeeze Box." But the crowd, en masse, eventually warmed to the presentation, particularly the "hits" like "5:15," "The Real Me" and a jaw-dropping performance of "Love Reign O'er Me," the story-cycle's emotional climax and finale.

Part of making the medicine go down smoother was the barrage of video clips and photographs of, well, everything. There was plenty of old Who footage and lots of clips of late members Keith Moon and John Entwistle, plus some interesting visual effects involving rain and ocean waves during interludes (like on the album, but visualized). They also included a pair of lengthy montages from the entire history of Western Civilization since WWII. We were treated to images of the Berlin Wall falling, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan and other U.S. presidents, war footage. It was a history class presented quick-cut style.

While these video gimmicks were attention-grabbing — everyone likes to watch historical/pop cultural montages — it didn't make much sense in the context of the story. I mean, I suppose EVERY contemporary story told has SOME connection to the entire history of the modern world. But the band was playing a thematic piece of work that told a real, actual story. Why not advance that story? It's a good one, weaving a tale about a common 1960s young man trying to find his way in the world and eventually becoming disillusioned and losing his mind. Maybe they wanted the words to do the talking … in which case, the footage (while visually compelling) was pointless wallpaper.

But most importantly, the band played the album well. It was in essentially the same arrangement as the original album, but with a few interesting added elements. The group's tribute to Keith Moon on "Bell Boy" — during which Moon's vocal part was stitched in seamlessly, with him floundering about in concert with his headphones and sticks to grab the mic and sing (via video) — was touching (and also not spoiler-alerted during the group's performance of it during the Sandy Hook benefit concert). The vocals were laid in over top of the band, so they were basically doing the Elvis-via-film "concerts" where "he" plays with his old bandmates. But it was touching (Daltrey gazed at his old friend lovingly) and an emotional high point of the show.

As was the tribute to the group's stunning bassist John Entwistle. The band gave The Ox a "solo" mid-song and it was disorienting in its brilliance, as Entwistle performed a spine-tingling barrage of bass acrobatics — of course with his trademark deadpan stare making it looking even more effortless. The footage was shot on cameras at an old show placed at the head of his bass and in front of him. Watching his fingers move across the frets was like watching a ballet of finger-work. Greatest Rock & Roll bassist of all time — no contest.

I developed a new appreciation for how hard Roger Daltrey works singing a two-hour plus concert. Unlike Entwistle, he made it look hard … but it was valiant and he hit almost ever note. A few lines would be "jazzily" redirected to avoid a few of the harder notes … but he nailed most of the important ones. By the time they got to love "Reign o'er Me," one of Rock's best, more underrated vocal performances ever, I had to tip my hat. You can tell he's doing everything he can to keep that voice in the best shape possible — there was a warning posted on the screens before the show announcing Roger's allergies, which, it said, would have a detrimental effect on his singing (the notice playfully suggested sticking to brownies). He had some sort of humidifier looking device behind him pumping steam the whole show and, though he played it off like a pro, he seemed a little lost when his in-ear monitors broke down twice during the performance. During the second-to-last song, "Won't Get Fooled Again," Daltrey stopped singing at one point and the band seemed thrown, but quickly recovered. Roger didn't look happy but he eventually came back to better spirits.

Pete Townshend has long been my ultimate Rock & Roll hero — he embodied Rock & Roll to me growing up and I've never grown tired of his songwriting. Pete has a rep for being a grump, but he was downright jolly in Louisville, windmills flying regularly. He joked towards the end about how he could now "jump up and land at the same time," promising to go nuts and act like he was 16 again for the next tune. He never quite managed lift-off — a trademark of his old days, when he'd tuck his knees and jump a good five feet straight up, landing on a big chord or final note. He's technically a senior citizen – the fact that he could roam around the stage and show some intensity is impressive enough. (And, as the man who has written Tommy and "Substitute" and "A Quick One," I'd give him a total pass if he'd decided to play laying down on a bed in the center of the stage.)

After the group finished Quadrophenia, they didn't even leave the stage. Pete, like an orchestra conductor might, spoke to the audience about their performance and introduced the great back-up players (which included a horn section and a pair of keyboard wizards). The group then ran through a stream of hits that, at least in terms of intensity, fed into my old fears that seeing my idols past-prime might replace a good memory with bad ones. The versions of "Who Are You," "Pinball Wizard," "Baba O'Reilly" and "Won't Get Fooled Again," weren't "bad," but, miraculously, had a couple of sloppy moments. I actually liked that — I'd stay home and listen to the albums if I wanted perfection — but it seemed like the band was ready to go back to the hotel. The power chords more often than not lacked the "power" element. They just weren't stepping into it — they were lightly breezing through.

The full band left and Roger and Pete did one of their few newer songs, an acoustic number about growing older, friendship, tea … and theatre (apparently), called "
Tea & Theatre." As on the Hurricane Sandy benefit show, it seemed an odd closer, though it was sweet. These two old friends who have hated each other at times over the years seem at peace with The Who's legacy and their own partnership.

Townshend announced that Roger had arranged the whole Quadrophenia performance, which immediately made me believe Daltrey brought the idea to Townshend, knowing he'd have a better chance presenting something his old mate would find challenging if he wanted to go on a "Who tour" again. Daltrey could've staged it himself, but I envision him going to Pete and saying, "I do this one my own, I'm doing casinos and theaters; you come with and it's a lucrative arena tour."

Like all bands with longevity, The Who have found a dynamic that seems to work. It's something every enduring band has to come to peace with – from The Stones to The Black Crowes to Pearl Jam, all bands that seem to have realized they need each other to do their job most effectively (and profitably). Once they find that peace, they seem much happier. The Crowes have split or taken long breaks numerous times, but they know their future is like Keith and Mick's — they need to tour together because that's what their fans (and customers) desire. And Pearl Jam fairly early on seemed to come to an understanding that their place is on the road and together. They seem happy these days and you rarely hear them complain about "fame" anymore (as Mr. Vedder had been known to do at one time). They even play songs they've played millions of times — like "Alive" and "Even Flow" and "Jeremy" and "Black" — with passion, fire and smiles on their faces. They have inherited a bit of "Uncle Paul's" crowd-pleaser genes.

All of these artists seem in a good place in terms of tending to their legacy, finding what works best for them. The Who seemed that way as well Saturday night in Louisville, but I left wondering "What's next?" Might this really be a farewell tour. They've been doing them since the early ’80s, but if Pete and Roger don't come up with an approach that satisfies their artistic/performance needs, I wouldn't be shocked to hear that they've decided to call it quits after this round of travel.

While my personal concerns about seeing some of my favorite artists before they are no longer able to perform have been both confirmed and assuaged at shows by The Who and McCartney, I'm still happy I've seen those artists play in my lifetime. I've now decided to look at it like those fans who wanted to see early musical icons like Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf or Charles Mingus or any legendary player play one more time before he or she passed away — I'm sure they might not have been spellbinding, but I'm also sure it gave great joy to those fans who saw them.

And I've also realized that there's nothing wrong with indulging your nostalgic instincts in these situations. There's room in most of our minds for multiple memories about the same people. I will remember Pete and Roger killing it on The Smothers Brothers show and I can remember them keeping the spirit live almost 50 years later in Louisville … and neither memory has to cancel the other out.

I'm saving my pennies now to see The Stones.

 
 
by Mike Breen 12.14.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 01:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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New Maurice Mattei & The Tempers Music Video

Recently, local singer/songwriter Maurice Mattei and his band, The Tempers, celebrated the release of a live album recorded last December at a Christmas show at Covington's Madison Theater. While The Tempers Christmas Show does include a few holiday classics (Lieber & Stoller's "Santa Claus is Back in Town" and Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run"), the bulk of songs are Mattei originals and not exactly of the "Christmas" variety. (Listen to the whole release here.) Still, it's a great release, as the band takes advantage of the live-recording format — the songs exude a palpable, occasionally Punk-like energy. Check out one of those non-holiday tracks, "Made a Mess of It," in music video form below. (Maybe the "Vixen" in the line "Listen to the vixen in the ol' hoosegow/Funny that's the only kinda milk cow" is "Vixen" from Santa's slave-reindeer team?)

The song — which originally appeared on the release The Tempers Perform The Best of Maurice Mattei Volume 3 — was made into a video by Dave Miller from Southern Californian design/illustration company Deluxerider, who has done several clips for Mattei songs, including the Chuck Berry X-mas tune (posted below, as well).

Read More

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.11.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, Music News at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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LISTEN: The National's First Two New Album Tracks (UPDATED)

Band releases "Demons," "Don't Swallow the Cap" from forthcoming 'Trouble Will Find Me'

The Cincinnati-born, Brooklyn-based members of Indie Rock sensations The National recently announced details about their first new album since 2010's High Violet, Trouble WIll Find Me. The album is due in the U.S. on May 21 on the 4AD label. (Click here for the album cover, track listing and more National news.)

Today, The National unleashed the first song from Trouble, the warm, crawling "Demons." Check the tune and a video for it below.


UPDATE: Today (April 11), The National released audio of the first single from Trouble Will Find Me, "Don't Swallow the Cap." Check it out:


The National perform a homecoming show on July 14, headlining the final night of the three-day Bunbury Music Festival at Sawyer Point Park. For tickets and more info, click here.

The National has been previewing the new album on its current global tour. Here are a handful of new songs from the LP performed live in Berlin last week.

 
 
by Mike Breen 08.20.2012
 
 
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Jack White's Rolling Record Store Coming to MidPoint

Third Man Records traveling record shop to hit CMJ, Muddy Roots Festival and MPMF

One of the more popular features at this year's MidPoint Music Festival isn't a band or singer/songwriter — it's a truck. The "Rolling Record Store" used by (and stocked with releases from) Jack White's Third Man Records will be at MPMF Sept. 28 and 29, between visits to the Muddy Roots Festival and New York City's CMJ conference/fest.

An extension of White's tiny Third Man record store in Nashville (connected to his label's HQ), the record truck stocks all kinds of Third Man releases, including limited edition vinyl, as well as various Third Man merch. There is also reportedly a DJ station so visitors can spin tunes and a sound system was installed so that bands/musicians can plug in and play. White himself has performed a few times along the Rolling Store's travels (but it's not a guarantee).

The Third Man Records Rolling Record store — which debuted last year at South By Southwest in Austin, Tex. — will make a great addition to the growing MidPoint Midway, the outdoor area featuring vendors, a side-stage, poster exhibitions and other cool "pop up" projects. The bright-yellow truck even has local ties — it was built by Erlanger, Ky.'s C. Cook Enterprises, a car restoration and metal fabrication shop.

I visited White's Third Man headquarters in Nashville a few weeks ago and got to check out the cool merchandise on sale in that closet-sized shop. The Rolling Record Store was parked in the parking lot. I didn't get a tour, but even from the outside, it's a pretty striking vehicle (and I took a few photos, like the one above). Can't wait to see inside at the end of next month!

Here's White playing a "B show" (side gigs on his current solo tour) next to the truck during the recent Outside Lands Festival.

 
 
by Amy Harris 07.23.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Interview at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Anthrax's Scott Ian

Anthrax has shaped the heavy metal movement in America. The band recently released its 10th studio album, Worship Music, which brings back the band’s early sound with the re-emergence of lead vocalist Joey Belladonna. I love heavy metal guitars, so it was a privilege to speak to one of the all time metal guitar greats, Scott Ian, to preview their performance at Mayhem Fest Tuesday at Riverbend Music Center.

CityBeat caught up with Ian to discuss the highlights of Mayhem so far and how being a father has changed his perspective on life and music.

CityBeat: What has been the highlight of Mayhem Fest so far for you?

Scott Ian: For me personally it is just the overall vibe. This is the first time we have done a U.S. festival traveling tour in the summer. We kind of knew what to expect since we are friends with Slayer, Slipknot and Motorhead, but it has been so much fun to hang with our friends. The crew and everyone who works with Mayhem have been great and it really is a big family vibe out here. It is a really great place to show up for work.

CB: What has it been like having Joey back the past few tours with the band?

SI: It’s been like two and a half years already. Hopefully that answers the question. It is obviously been going great. We couldn’t be happier with the record we made. We couldn’t be happier with the way shows have been going. I think this is by far the best version of Anthrax that we have ever had. 

CB: You became a father last year for the first time. Has this changed your perspective on writing music or life in general?

SI: I haven’t really written yet since he was born because we have been in touring mode. One way that my perspective overall has changed is now having this person in my life that I love beyond anything I can comprehend. It makes me hate the human race even more because of all the pressure that comes with raising a child and wanting to protect him. People ask what do you have to be angry about and there is plenty to be pissed off about now. Look at what happened in Colorado last night with the guy shooting people in a movie theater. It sickens me to the pit of my stomach for a million reasons. What if that was my child in the movie theater?

CB: It is terrible and it is beyond my comprehension how that can happen.

SI: Up until he was born, I had my wife and close family but they are adults and are responsible for themselves. Now we have this person that is 100 percent helpless and relies on us to take care of him, so there is this protective instinct that showed up as soon as he was born. I think that will have a big impact on my writing in the future when the time comes.

CB: Do they come visit you on the road?

SI: Yes they are here right now and have been with me for 10 days.

CB: What is the longest you have gone without playing guitar?

SI: Probably way back in 1977 when I broke my wrist at a skateboard park and I couldn’t play guitar for two months because I had a cast on. I was so bummed that I couldn’t play guitar that I pretty much gave up any type of fancy skateboarding on ramps or pools. The guitar was definitely more of a priority. 

CB: What is the biggest difference for you touring versus in the 1980s?

SI: Sometimes we sit around and talk about how did we ever get anything done before we had cell phones and laptops? In the ’80s no one even knew what a cell phone was. I remember the first time a tour manager had that big briefcase thing with a phone in it and it was something like $18 a minute to use it. The idea that we were able to do stuff back then and everything got done is amazing. I try to think about how it got done and I have no idea how we made it through one day let alone a whole tour without the technology.

CB: What habit would you like to break?

SI: I don’t know. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink excessively. My wife is saying talking with my mouth full so I guess I will go with that as a born and bred New Yorker.

CB: What adjectives do you hope describe you at 75?

SI: I hope when I am 75 no one has anything to say about me. I hope the only thing they say is “What ever happened to that guy?” because I am so far off the grid by that point.

CB: I doubt that will happen.

SI: No, we will probably still be playing music and people will say “I can’t believe he is still banging his head.”

CB: What has been your craziest fan story over the past few years?

SI: The craziest audiences in the world are in South America in Chile with the craziest fans overall. We do a signing every day at the Rockstar Energy Drink tent and we get to meet a lot of fans every day on this tour. Anyone who would get anything Anthrax related tattooed on their body is amazing to me. I can’t really call it too crazy because I have Gene Simmons and Angus from AC/DC tattooed on me. I understand that point of view of being such a fan that you would be willing to make that commitment but being the guy in Anthrax and seeing an Anthrax-related tattoo makes you feel great because I know the commitment and I know how much Anthrax must mean to them. 

CB: What is the best guitar solo of all time?

SI: Eddie Van Halen “Eruption.”

Anthrax performs July 24 at Mayhem Fest at Riverbend Music Center. More information: rockstarmayhemfest.com.

 
 
by Amy Harris 08.19.2011
Posted In: Interview, Live Music at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks has truly enhanced and defined the role of women in Rock & Roll. She is the gold standard by which female lead singers in Rock bands will forever be measured against.  The defining voice behind Fleetwood Mac since the mid ’70s, she has also been able to separate and create a wonderful solo career, recently releasing her seventh album, In Your Dreams, which launched with great success, debuting in the Top 10 of the Billboard album chart. Nicks is currently on the road to promote her latest record and she comes through Cincinnati on Saturday night for a show at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion. We caught up with Stevie via email this week to discuss her upcoming tour stop in Cincinnati, the inspirations for her new album and what a typical day looks like for an iconic Rock star.

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by Mike Breen 04.05.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Music News, Live Music at 12:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 
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Former Southgate House Location Announces May Shows

The Thompson House books The Agrrolites and Smile Empty Soul

It looks like the Thompson House, the venue that is taking the place of the much-beloved Southgate House in Newport, will be open by May. Ticketweb has advanced tickets on sale now for a May 18 concert by trad Ska/Soul revivalists The Aggrolites and Punk Bluegrass band Old Man Markley, as well as a May 27 booking featuring "post Grunge" group Smile Empty Soul. Former Avail singer Tim Barry also has a May 12 booking in the "Parlour" listed on his website.

A lot of Southgate House diehards have made it clear they won't be attending anything at the "new" venue, staying loyal to the former owners and management, who promised a new "Southgate House" would be reopened by the first quarter of 2012. (For those not so good at math, the first quarter of 2012 ended this past Saturday.) Photos emerged online of some of the interior redesign going on in preparation for the Thompson House opening and it's been a bit of a gut-punch for those who loved the old House, with a gaudy purple and gold color scheme and a lot of the vintage appeal (and woodworking) stripped away. (Check out some pics on the Facebook of former SGH bartendress Kristen Kreft, also a local musician with the band The Perfect Children.)

So what say you? If the Thompson House books a show you really want to see, will you attend?
 
 
by Amy Harris 07.24.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Interview at 07:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant

Classic Southern Rockers perform at Cincinnati's Riverbend Music Center tonight

Where do you begin with a band like Lynyrd Skynyrd? Everyone has been out at a bar or a concert and heard some crazy and/or drunk lunatic shouting to the band on stage, “FREE BIRD!!!” They are the epitome of and gold standard for Southern Rock music. Even now, through the tragedy of the plane crash in 1977 to the re-formed band, Skynyrd still provides electric performances every night. They still happily rock the hits of the early days. like “Simple Man” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” while mixing in the music they are still releasing, most recently Last of a Dying Breed, which came out late last year. 

CityBeat had time to catch up with lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant, the younger brother of the band’s original front man Ronnie Van Zant. The two discussed how Skynyrd fits into Rock music today, as well as the wonderful feelings the band still gets performing every night on stage. 

Skynyrd performs at Riverbend Music Center tonight with Bad Company, providing the same energy as the cast from the ’70s and showing audiences what real Southern Rock sounds like.

CityBeat: Do you have any crazy Cincinnati memories from the past?

JVZ: We have had so many good shows there. Years back, when a flood hit, there was water in the first four or five rows. People were kind of standing in the water. I was like, “Wow these are really diehards.” I don’t even know how many times we have played at that particular amphitheater (Riverbend), but it has always been a good, hot, sweaty, summer Rock & Roll show, which is how it is supposed to be.

CB: The band has had multiple lineup changes over the years since you joined the band. How do you integrate someone new into the band?

JVZ: For us, they have to be a friend, someone we have known, someone we admire as a musician, someone we think would fit into our family. When we are out on the road, running up and down the road playing shows, you have to be not only a member of a band but, especially with Lynyrd Skynyrd, you have to be a part of the Skynyrd nation. You have to be a part of the family. Our newest member is Johnny Colt, who was bass player with The Black Crowes. Colt fits right in with us. He’s loony as heck and so are we. We have a great time and love doing what we do. I hope Johnny is with us for a long, long time. He is quite the guy. It has been awesome.

CB: I know you guys have worked many times with one of my favorite guitarists, John 5. What was that experience like for you and have you done any collaborations recently?

JVZ: Well, yeah, he was on our last record, Last of a Dying Breed. John is a good friend of us. We knew we were going to be good friends with John because we were in Nashville writing and our manager mentioned John and said, “You know, he is a little different than you guys.” And we said, “ That’s OK, that’s no problem.”

John walked in, he was just coming from a photo shoot. He had on the fingernails with his hair all up. When he walked in and I went, “Damn, you are different. Damn, are you a freak or something?” And he said, “I was thinking the same crap about you guys.” We just hit it off. He is a wonderful guitar player. Not only can he play Heavy Metal and Rock & Roll, but he can play the hell out of some Country music, which we love. I just admire his work and he is one of the most phenomenal guitar players I have had the pleasure to work with.

CB: A lot of people are saying Rock is dead and Country music is the new Rock. Do you believe that Rock is dead?

JVZ: No. I think Country music is Lynyrd Skynyrd. I think a lot of the Country music is what we do, but I don’t think Rock & Roll is dead at all. People have been saying that shit for years and years and years: "Rock & Roll is dead." Then it comes back. It’s like anything else.

For us we just played Houston, Texas, in front of 10,000 people. We played Bristol, Va., I think there were 14,000 people on a Sunday night. The night before last we were in Camden, N.J., 14,000 people on a Wednesday night. I’m sure Cincinnati is doing quite well. We are in Pittsburgh tonight. It is going to be phenomenal here.

If Rock & Roll is dead and gone, man, I am missing out on it.

CB: Tell me a little bit about Last of a Dying Breed and which songs we are going to hear from that album when you come to Cincinnati?

JVZ: Well, it is debatable. What we do, each night we try to think about what new song we want to put in. Right now we are really concentrating on 40 years. It’s been 40 years since (Pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd) came out. It’s been our major focus to play as many songs off that record and celebrate that era.

CB: Where do you see yourself in 15 more years?

JVZ: Hopefully alive. Hopefully playing some shows and still doing this. Doing a lot of fishing and drinking a good Budweiser and something like that, I don’t know. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I never really plan too much. I just like to go along with the flow and the good Lord throws me in the direction he wants me to go. 

CB: Do you ever get tired of playing “Free Bird”? 

JVZ: Not at all. I am quick to say, "Not at all." How many bands would love to have songs like that? Most bands say we would give anything to have one of those. “Free Bird” and ("Sweet Home Alabama"), that’s the cool thing about Skynyrd. We have three generations of fans who love those songs. It is amazing to me.

We are out with Bad Company right now and we are real big Bad Company fans. We are at the top of the game with these guys. From my era and a lot of other people’s era, Bad Company was the rule of the roost when it came to Rock & Roll. Paul Rogers is one of the best singers. Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs have been around for years. It is just great to be out on the road and playing shows with good friends too. We are having a blast. We hope to do it again sometime after this tour and look forward to coming your way.

CB: Are you flattered when someone like Kid Rock uses "Sweet Home Alabama" in his songs? Excited? Upset? How do you feel when someone integrates that song?

JVZ: We were actually doing a tour with Bobby when he had “All Summer Long” (the song that incorporates "Sweet Home") out. For us, hell, it keeps us in the spotlight. He did a good job on it. It was a hit song for him and everybody got paid. So surely, we are like, “Can someone else use it again and again?”

It is kind of funny when you think of stuff like that. Who would have thought when that song was written a long, long time ago, people would still be loving it and a band from Jacksonville, Fla., and what success my brother and Alan and Gary, my hat is off to them. I love keeping the music alive. It is a great thing. It’s a great thing because the song has been used in Forrest Gump and various movies. Any time anything like that pops up as long, as it is not in bad taste, is great. It has been a good ride.

 
 
by Mike Breen 08.02.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Rewind: Why Parrotheads Hate Me

Celebrating the 12th anniversary of the CityBeat/Jimmy Buffett shitstorm

A dozen years ago, I was asked to come up with something for CityBeat's annual summer preview "Hot Issue." At the time, easy-groovin' singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett was the king of Cincinnati's summer concert scene, selling out his shows in minutes and routinely winning the "Best Concert" award in CityBeat's "Best of Cincinnati" readers' poll. So I figured that, five years into CityBeat's existence, it was time to weigh in on the Parrothead phenomenon.

I've told the story of the backlash a few times in the past (apologies if you've heard it before). After the article was published, I received the most hate mail I've ever seen for a story appearing in the paper. My colleagues printed out the emails and wallpapered the area around my desk; it covered a good quarter of that room in the old CityBeat building on Seventh Street.

I expected some of it (and probably deserved some of it, too; as a young punk-ass writer, I was an even bigger dick then). But the sheer amount of correspondence was kind of a shock. I soon discovered it was the result of a cheap Buffett fan website that literally told its members to attack.

In the vein of anti-abortion activists publishing the names and home addresses of doctors who dare provide abortion services, the site ran Mike Breen's home address.

I probably would have filed a police report were it not for the fact that the site ran the wrong Mike Breen's home address. Some other poor Mike Breen in Cincinnati probably received a few house-eggings and tree-TPings (hopefully nothing worse).

I sent the site owner a polite note advising them that they had the wrong Mike Breen's address and invited them to publish CityBeat's business address for anyone who'd like to chime in with a letter. (They already had our email up there.) Eventually, they removed the innocent man's address.

Out of the 300 or so emails of protest sent, about 10% simply suggested that Buffett concerts are just good fun and I shouldn't criticize how people get their ya-yas out (fair enough). About 5% were supportive of my comments. Around 2% said they were indeed Parrotheads, but found my article amusing and felt the pilers-on were being stupid and taking it all too seriously (my favorites).

The rest of the emails were the opposite of Jimmy's good-time, laid-back vibe. Most just called me rude names (totally fine).
Some wished death on me (not cool!). The only one I remember with any kind of clarity was the note that said, "I hope your children are raped by drug dealers in Over-the-Rhine and get AIDS and die" (come near my family and I WILL cut your balls off).

Included in many of the death-wishes and "Fuck you, asshole!" comments were a few people who trumpeted Jimmy's great contributions to charity. I applaud that, as well as the efforts of the
Cincinnati Parrot Head Club, who also work good deeds into their good times. Buffett and I also share a lot of the same political/cultural/social views (I can find no evidence, but I'd be willing to wager that Jimmy's NOT anti-gay marriage and he is definitely a Democrat). I also thought it was kind of funny/cool that Jimmy got booted from an NBA game for passionately (and good-naturedly) sticking up to the refs that were giving his team (the pre-LeBron Miami Heat) the shaft.

I also thought it was really cool that Jimmy found Bill Paxton's fairly scathing parody of him (as "Coconut Pete") in the Broken Lizard film Club Dread to be hysterical. (On the DVD commentary track, the filmmakers say Buffett asked for permission to perform some of the parody songs on tour.)

Here's Paxton doing Coconut Pete's hit "Pina Coladaburg":


I'm unsure how Jimmy feels about South Park's much rougher treatment in the show's own parody (pictured above). (For the record, I think the spreading of quotes from and footage of Buffett fans being bigoted is really unfair, in a Breitbart kind of way.)

So, as I've matured, I've found at least five things I like about Buffett. If I drank, I bet he'd be fun to have a beer with and talk politics and sports. (Drop me a line, Mr. Buffett; I'll be designated driver!)

There are still tickets available for tonight's Buffett concert at Riverbend, which would have been impossible to imagine 12 years ago. When the Radiohead concert earlier this summer was announced, I had a chat with our publisher about how fast it would sell out. When it didn't, we bemoaned the fact that Buffett's show would still sell out in minutes. It didn't.

Is the Parrothead era over in Cincinnati?

Here, from the May 25, 2000 edition of CityBeat, are the "Ten Things I Hate About Buffett." Feel free to chime in with your Buffett support and call me a few names if you'd like. (But threats will be taken seriously this time around and if you come near my family … well, see above.)

I sincerely hope that, if you're going, you have a great time. Just be safe! I have to imagine that cops see Buffett visits as a good chance to make a few extra DUI arrests.
Like death, taxes, Who reunion tours and Wolfen sequels, one certainty every year in Cincinnati is a local summer appearance by the master of mediocrity, Jimmy Buffett. If you live here, it's as inevitable as the changing of the season: Buffett brings his plastic palm tree and awful music to Riverbend, and thousands of morons flock to see him.

We've resisted writing about this "phenomenon" in the past. It's kind of like making fun of Kathie Lee Gifford or Kenny G -- it's just too cheap and easy. Of course, CityBeat is nothing if not cheap and easy.

So, here, we bring you the only press you will ever read about Jimmy Buffett in this publication. Unless, of course, there's a shooting spree in the middle of the concert or Riverbend sinks into the river.

10) His music It's sorta tropical, sometimes Country-ish, sometimes "silly," and always boring. It's music for people who don't like music: background, laid-back fluff. It's easy listening for Boomers.

9) His lyrics

"Blew out my flip flop/Stepped on a pop top/Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home."

"So he took her to this movie called Body Heat/She said, 'The Junior Mints were mushy and the sex was neat.' "

"Fruitcakes in the kitchen/Fruitcakes on the street/Struttin' naked through the cross walk/In the middle of the week."

"Evolution can be mean/There's no 'dumb-ass vaccine.' "

Apparently not.

8) His album titles A White Sport Coat & A Pink Crustacean. Last Mango in Paris. Off to See the Lizard. This guy makes "Weird Al" look like Oscar Wilde.

7) He recorded a cover of "Purple People Eater" "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" is bound to be next.

6) He likes to sue aspiring restaurateurs Buffett's lawyers have gone after entrepreneurs for calling their new bistros things like "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise." Hey, if they're that stupid ...

5) He was a fratboy No doubt. At the University of Southern Mississippi. Shocker!

4) He wrote and staged a musical (Don't Stop the Carnival) Rock stars shouldn't do that.

3) He tricked Brian Wilson into recording one of his songs "South American" on Wilson's Imagination record. Hasn't this man been taken advantage of enough?

2) His CDs don't even make good coasters I proudly own one Jimmy Buffett CD -- 1999's Beach House on the Moon, which I use on my desk to set my drink on. Damn things keep slippin' off.

1) Parrotheads Fans of Buffett use his summer concerts for an excuse to get completely obliterated and "partay." It's like Mardi Gras with tasteless people in stupid hats and Hawaiian shirts. Not so amazingly, his strongest cult is here in Cincinnati. Like we need some other cultural crisis to be embarrassed about.
 
 
by Alex L. Weber 06.10.2009
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Festivals at 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 
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Lineup Announced for Adjust Your Eyes Fest

An impressive and eclectic roster of local bands will transform an otherwise stark Loveland VFW hall into an artsy, flashy, sorta hippy-ish Rock ‘n’ Roll venue for this year’s third annual Adjust Your Eyes Music and Arts Festival, June 26 and 27. The two-day, two-stage, multimedia extravaganza, which is the brainchild of Grasshopper Juice labelmeister and Wonky Tonk/Chick Pimp band member Nick Mitchell, will feature not only upwards of 28 bands but also art by Jacklyn Howard and CincyStar Glass and stage lights and visualizations by Bunk News.

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