Indie history lesson: Galaxie 500
Damon Krukowski: We had a fight about songwriting credits just after finishing the first album. Naomi and I quit the band right then. Today wasn't even out yet. I mean, what was there to fight over? Naomi was preparing the album art, when Dean said he wanted to divide up credits for the songs. That's certainly not weird in the context of the music business. But you know, up to that point I think neither Naomi nor I had ever thought about the music as anything other than something we just did together. It wasn't about business, property, yours-and-mine. It was different from all that-- which was exactly why we were doing it! What followed was a farce. We said, well how are you going to decide whose songs are whose? And it turned out he didn't mean that any weren't his, just that some weren't ours! He said anything he had brought the guitar chords in for, was his. And we said OK, well then anything we brought the guitar chords in for, was ours. And he said but he wrote the lyrics for those, so they were his too. And we said, OK, so those will say music by us, lyrics by you. And now that's settled, we quit.
Dean Wareham: It was a challenge being in a trio with a couple. I thought that when we came to decide which songs would go on the first album, that they had decided together already, and that was that. I'm sure that's pretty hard to avoid if you're a couple, and they maybe didn't even realize it was going on, but it was problematic in a three-piece band.
Damon Krukowski: What happened next is what allowed the band to continue, but it also set the pattern for everything that was wrong with it. We drew up a list of whose music was whose, according to the cockamamie rules we'd worked out, and "Tugboat" ended up as ours, because I had brought in the guitar chords for that. And then Dean said he'd changed his mind. He wanted to go back to where we'd started-- we'd share everything after all. And would we consider at least playing some shows when the album came out, since we'd all worked so hard on it?
So we did, and we ended up writing and rehearsing and playing just like before, which is how and why we kept going. But I could never know for sure whether we were a band again because Dean had decided that the original spirit we started with was a good thing, or because I happened to have brought in the chords-- both of them!-- for our first single. I think I convinced myself over and over that we were back where we'd started, only to find out again and again that we weren't. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that we'd never really been there in the first place.
Dean Wareham: Kramer got me to sing some high backing vocals on the first album; on "Oblivious" he slowed the tape down so I could hit the note. I sound like a chipmunk. But it was on the second album that I got it going. There's that part at the end of "Blue Thunder" where I'm singing "I'll drive so far away," but I didn't know beforehand that I was going to sing it so high and loud-- it just came out of my mouth that way and I think we were all surprised.
Kramer: On Fire, it's a masterpiece. I love the way they captured this sense of like a longing, a desperation for love and joy, it was a search-- the way the music really matched the lyrics.
Dean Wareham: "Strange" is about waiting in line to buy Twinkies at a convenience store on Massachusetts Avenue. I ate Twinkies for dessert (at lunchtime) almost every day when I lived in Boston (at least when I was on a temp job).
Michael Azerrad (Writer): The first time I saw Galaxie 500 was at the first Knitting Factory on Houston Street in New York, somewhere around On Fire. The thing that struck me right away was Dean's very intense stage presence. He glared out at the audience like that angry teenaged kid in the original Star Trek who would make people disappear by grimacing with his eyes rolling back in his head. Then this elegant throb from Naomi, who was the picture of Zen-like poise in a slo-mo maelstrom. Damon worked up a constant oceanic wash of cymbals; he barely seemed to hit the drums and yet clearly drove the music, it was just extraordinary. I knew they were influenced by the Velvet Underground but to me it sounded like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons doing heavy trank.
Naomi Yang: Making On Fire was a very happy experience. I think we were at a point where we were accomplished enough musicians that were able to play what we had in our head. There was a generally optimistic feeling about the direction of the band and we were getting very positive attention from the critics. It was a lot of fun and the possibilities seemed endless.
"Born Free" video dominates the discussion
Hanson webcasts to finish up tonight and Friday
We told you the other day about Hanson doing five albums in five nights, live on the web from New York City, all starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time sharp. It turns out these are no shoddy affairs -- great-sounding, sharply produced shows that seem to stream flawlessly. Tonight the album "The Walk" gets its turn, performed in its entirety. The series wraps up Friday night with the band giving the world premiere of its new album, "Shout It Out." Worth your bandwidth.
Also, Courtney Love, the Hold Steady and how music can keep you alive
So which is it? On one hand you’ve got Donald Trump
practically writing Bret Michaels’ obit after the Poison singer's brain hemorrhage. Then you’ve
got USA Today reporting that his chances are “quite good.” The only reason to give Trump any weight is that Michaels is on his "Celebrity Apprentice" show.
There’s speculation (again, from Trump) that Michaels’ mishap on the Tony Awards where he was clocked with a piece of scenery could have contributed to the hemorrhage. Here’s hoping everything turns out OK.
Too bad you weren’t at SXSW. You missed the exquisite vocal styling of Miss Courtney LoveShe's been posting crazy stuff up on Facebook - or not, she's now claiming fraud. Billy Corgan has, for the 20th time, had enough of Love's antics and is Tweeting fairly viciously about her. Some excerpts:
thought #3:maybe you should go someone nice+live off your husband's money, u know the money he made for writing all those great songs.
Thought #5: the world is aware of your lack of responsibility, as seen in the gov't taking away your parental right. Only you could abandon!
The new Hold Steady album, "Heaven is Whenever," is streaming live in its entirety on NPR. The good news: The band has given up its quest to sound, sing and write like Bruce Springsteen and sound more like themselves than ever. Give a listen.
Missed this earlier this month -- Slash went on Jay Leno's recently reclaimed "Tonight Show" sporting a button on his guitar strap supporting Conan O'Brien. Blink and you'll miss it, but that's the beauty of Tivo.
Finally, this ain't exactly rock 'n' roll, but it's some pretty good proof that music can help keep you alive and well.
You can watch the live stream of five long-sold-out NYC shows
Success can always come back to bite you in the butt. Even though Robert Plant can’t stand it anymore, “Stairway to Heaven” will always be Led Zeppelin’s biggest song.
With Hanson, the single “MMMBop” and the album “Middle of Nowhere” made them an instant international success. But its poppy tilt, combined with the Hanson brothers’ youth (and the fact that they’re three brothers in a band) had many people writing them off as a one-hit gimmick.
The brothers learned to deal with it years ago.
“Success is a double-edged sword,” Zac Hanson said. “You get in the position where people go ‘This is what they are.’ … having that record be successful gave us the ability to put out the records we’re putting out now.”
In the meantime, Isaac, Taylor and Zac have gone on to make a string of studio albums (including the upcoming “Shout It Out,”) have done charitable work fighting AIDS and HIV in Africa, and they’ve got a new single, “Thinking ‘bout Something” with a new video that goofs on their own image and that of other musicians.
Starting tonight, Hanson’s doing five sold-out shows in a row at the Gramercy Theater in New York City, doing five of their albums in their entirety. Tonight is “Middle of Nowhere.” Tuesday is “This Time Around,” followed by “Underneath,” “The Walk” and the premiere of the new album, “Shout It Out,” on Friday night.
Why do you care? Because
they’re streaming these shows live as they’re being performed. The video below will take you to all the shows.
Whether it's your taste or not, you've got to give them points for confidence and giving the fans what they want. And if you tune in you just might be surprised about those preconceptions of yours.
Annie Lennox wears HIV Positive T-Shirt, is not HIV positive. Discuss
A lot of heads were turned last night when Annie Lennox showed up on “Idol Gives Back” wearing a t-shirt with the words “HIV POSITIVE” emblazoned on the front (she also wore the shirt to events last year, including the 2009 Edinburgh Festival of Politics and the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert in New York last October). The good news is she herself is not HIV positive, but simply showing solidarity with the millions of people who are.
In the video below, which was actually created last November, Lennox explains that she first saw someone wearing a bold “HIV POSITIVE” t-shirt in South Africa in 2004, and she thought it was such a “clever, brilliant” idea, she decided to run with it herself. “In a country like South Africa, where HIV is so prevalent, and yet you have stigma where people are afraid to openly come out and say that they’re HIV positive,” she says, ”this t-shirt, whoever wears it, is making a statement of solidarity, and they’re saying, ‘We’re coming out from behind the shadows. We’re trying to normalize what is a preventable thing. It doesn’t need to have the stigma.’”
Plus Joni dogs Madonna, and XTC is now ex-XTC
Who fans, mark next Tuesday on your calendar. That’s when Wolfgang’s Vault puts up the last-ever time the Who performed “Tommy” in its entirety in the U.S. (well, until they did it again in ’89, but that’s a whole other story). You can preview a song from the 1970 concert at Tanglewood in Massachusetts here.
Bruce Springsteen promised fans a DVD of his 2009 tour and hints were dropped that it'd be something with a real twist. Given that he performed a number of albums in their entirety, including "Greetings From Asbury Park" to the sprawling "The River," fans had high hopes. Well, the DVD is coming on June 22 - but it's "London
Calling: Live In Hyde Park," the "Hard Rock Calling" festival from London last June. Good show, but much of it was broadcast on TV and has been in fans' collections ever since. It'll have to tide us over until the deluxe "Darkness on the Edge of Town" is released later this year.
Madonna ruined music? Maybe. Bob Dylan is a fraud? Not sure about that. Joni Mitchell gave a rare interview and talked trash about her fellow musicians. But she gets a pass, as she wrote one of the best protest songs of all time.
Most XTC fans knew it in their hearts, but recently band leader Andy Partridge made it official. XTC is now ex-XTC.