Rock That's, Like, Classic

Friday, August 15, 2014

  • Courtesy of Michelle Kath Sinclair
  • Terry Kath
In Canoga Park in January 1978, a young guitar player and singer named Terry Kath died of an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound. Joking around with a friend, Kath held what he thought was an unloaded handgun to his temple and pulled the trigger, Russian roulette style. But there was a single bullet in the chamber, and Kath died instantly. He was 31 years old.

Kath left behind one of the most successful rock bands in history, Chicago – a group that, at the time of his death, had released 11 consecutive platinum-selling albums, and would go on to release seven more. He also left behind a wife, Camelia, a two-year-old daughter, Michelle, and a complicated legacy that Michelle, now 38, is exploring in a forthcoming documentary, Searching for Terry.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Courtesy of Nita Strauss
  • Nita Strauss
At age 27, new Alice Cooper touring guitarist Nita Strauss is younger than many of the fans in the audience. But gigs playing guitar with acts as diverse as reunited ‘80s rockers Femme Fatale, video game tribute band Critical Hit, and Jermaine Jackson – yes, that Jermaine Jackson – have infused her with plenty of necessary experience for the task.

During a phone conversation from a tour stop in Wichita, the Santa Monica native gives the most credit to her time with The Iron Maidens for preparing her for the theatrics of an Alice Cooper performance. The all-female Iron Maiden tribute act’s own live show is also loaded with plenty of pomp.

“If I had not had the experience of playing with the Iron Maidens, playing for Alice would be more of a shock,” Strauss says. “Obviously Alice’s show is a much bigger production overall, but with The Iron Maidens I was still getting chased by [Iron Maiden mascot] Eddie onstage and dealing with CO2 cannons for many shows.”

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

While rock ‘n’ roll is necessarily classified as a form of pop music, it is actually an idiom whose radical, destructive primitivism established a new type of socio-cultural disorder. It’s about rejection of the status quo and celebration of the dis-imprisonment it instills.

Always exploited for profit, rock’s unmanageable aspects have been steadily diluted by a sinister, commercially driven course of revisionist myth-making. There is no acceptable role in the marketplace for radicals like Charlie Feathers, Poly Styrene, Lux Interior or Roky Erickson, but there’s always room for the homogeneous, money-hungry, play-it-safe phonies on this list.

These douchebags all have one thing in common — they screwed up rock ‘n’ roll, big time.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Last Night

Gerald Casale of DEVO Is Making Wine Now

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Thu, May 1, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Gerald Casale (left) and Mark Mothersbaugh - CHELSEA LAUREN
  • Chelsea Lauren
  • Gerald Casale (left) and Mark Mothersbaugh
On the terrace of a historic Richard Neutra house in the hills overlooking West Hollywood, a bearded bartender in a black felt fedora uncorks another bottle of rosé and pours a glass for a guest. "You'll get ripe peach and lychee on the nose," he says. "Pairs well with pizza, light Italian food, seafood." Then he adds, somewhat unconvincingly, "I'm a beer guy, so rosé's my favorite."

Nearby, the wine's creator, Gerald V. "Jerry" Casale, is holding court, looking resplendent in a gray suit with matching creepers, a zebra-striped shirt and sunglasses with copper-colored lenses. As a member of the New Wave band DEVO, Casale has performed for millions, but he's clearly nervous in his new role as winery owner. When someone compliments the rosé, he laughs a little too loudly and declares, "Go try it with some goat cheese, it's even better!"

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Photo is from Saturday night's  show - TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
  • Photo is from Saturday night's show
Neil Young
Dolby Theatre
March 30, 2014 

Neil Young conducted a master class on (North) American songwriting last night in Hollywood's sumptuous Dolby Theatre - you know, the place where they have the Oscars. It was the second of a four-night engagement.

The show was part of the Twisted Road Tour, a series of all-acoustic performances that started with four shows at Carnegie Hall in January. The "acoustic" part may have disappointed some: Young's erratic electric guitar parts on songs like "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Cortez the Killer" were mainstays of many high-school air guitar repertories, and one never tires of those ridiculous one-note solos. But when the lights went down and Young walked on stage, minds were immediately changed.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Neil Young, Not a "Pop" Artist - YOUTUBE SCREEN CAPTURE
  • YouTube Screen Capture
  • Neil Young, Not a "Pop" Artist
This Saturday night, Neil Young plays the first of four shows at the Dolby Theatre. Over a half-century into his career, Young still packs 'em in. But while his contemporaries have mellowed with age, Young's never lost his grit. He even had a video banned by MTV at the height of the channel's popularity.

It's been 25 years since Young's This Note's For You album reintroduced him to an entire generation. While the album's known for its bluesy horns section, it's Young's potent shot at corporate-sponsored pop music that landed him in MTV's crosshairs.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fact: Bruce Springsteen is an American hero. Also, a genius. Some people don't put him in the same category as Bob Dylan and Neil Young, just because he looks good in jeans.

That certainly shouldn't be held against him, and admittedly we're into that part, but mainly he's the best because of his classic albums, like Born in the U.S.A., which came out 30 years ago. Again, this album is somehow underrated, probably because it sold so many copies, but it's one of his best.

What a lot of people don't know is that there were three official dance remixes off of Born in the U.S.A. Seriously! 

Released in 1984 and 1985, they were produced by Arthur Baker, famous for his work with everyone from Afrika Bambaataa to New Order. They were an attempt to get the album some club play and expand the blue collar rock hero's fan base to a more diverse audience.

They are, as you can hear below, bonkers. 

See also: Bruce Springsteen Photos!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

  • Courtesy of andrewgold.com
Linda Ronstadt, it was recently announced, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

The song that made her a star was 1975's "You're No Good," which you can hear below. While it certainly contains an edgy vocal performance, and the record's atmosphere is sinuous to the point of being sinister, perhaps its most noteworthy part is its 33 second instrumental breakdown.

It's a thrilling, Beatlesque break, with a cool drum fill and a George Harrison-style solo, and it's the work of one man -- Andrew Gold.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

The Moby Dicks - KATIE BAIN
  • Katie Bain
  • The Moby Dicks

The Moby Dicks

Whisky a Go-Go

January 2, 2014

Better than: D'yer Mak'er

On January 2, 1969 -- 45 years ago yesterday -- a young band out of London played L.A. on their first American tour. Their self-titled debut album had not yet been released, but the buzz around the group was solid, as their ranks included former Yardbirds member Jimmy Page.

That band was Led Zeppelin, of course, and everyone at the Whisky a Go-Go had quite a time. The show has become the stuff of legend, and last night L.A. Zeppelin cover band the Moby Dicks played the entire set, song for song, again at the Whisky.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rock That's, Like, Classic

Bruce Springsteen Photos!

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Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 3:35 AM

  • Photo courtesy of Debra Rothenberg
New Jersey native Debra Rothenberg was 18 when she first photographed Bruce Springsteen in concert in 1980. (He was touring behind The River; she paid $30 for two scalped tickets that originally cost $8.50 each.) In the 33 years since, she has taken pictures of The Boss in concert at dozens of shows in the United States and Europe.

Rothenberg, a professional photographer who has shot for publications including Rolling Stone, Time, the New York Daily News and Q Magazine, recently released Bruce Springsteen In Focus: 1980-2012, a coffee table book containing her more than three decades worth of Springsteen images.

Here, in her own words, Rothenberg (whose favorite Springsteen album is Darkness On the Edge of Town, btw), tells the stories behind some of her favorite photos.

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