Smash Hits joins Spin with online archive
Not just hallucinations, but actual vision. Also, meet the funniest rock 'n' roll attorney in the world.
The Grateful Dead as the first social media users? The Atlantic makes a pretty persuasive argument that instead of being a bunch of stoned-out hippies, “business scholars and management theorists... are discovering that the Dead were visionary geniuses in the way they created ‘customer value,’ promoted social networking, and did strategic business planning.”
Had to be accidental, don’t you think?
As the countdown to Tom Petty's new album "Mojo" continues, Petty continues to leak songs. Here's another killer, "I Should Have Known It." The great Mike Campbell cuts loose.
“Let It Be” finally turns 40, the first posthumous album from the Beatles, released just weeks after they announced their breakup. And 40 years later it's still nowhere near as bad as John Lennon claimed.
Joe Walsh threatened to sue a political candidate with the same name for using “Walk Away”
as a campaign theme and daring to change the lyrics as well. This guy’s lucky Joe didn’t pull out
his chainsaw. He did, however, pull out the most hilarious lawyer in the world,
Peter Paterno, whose cease-and-desist letter is a work of comic art. Excerpts: “As a former
Presidential candidate, Joe Walsh knows how tough it is to get elected” and a
hope that “we don’t have to go all Jackson Browne on you.” Read the whole thing here.
Three of the four members of The Fray studied the music business in college classes, and even that didn't help. They just got a legal setback after discovering that a former manager owns 50% of their publishing.
Got some time to kill? The BBC has produced a six-hour documentary on the Rolling Stones, streaming from their website.
Finally, there’s a tribute concert to the late, great Alex
Chilton being put together in Memphis on May 15 with members of Big Star,
R.E.M. and more. Details here.
Plus a quick overview of modern music plagarism and more.
This list is a little dated, but makes the feisty argument that Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” The Who’s “Tommy” and the entire Grateful Dead catalog are among the worst albums of all time.
Coldplay alleged ripping off of Joe Satriani made headlines last year, but they're hardly the only modern-rock band taking, um, "inspiration" from songs that came before. Check out this montage of lifted lines and riffs.
The name Rick Roberts might not ring many bells because he has stayed underground for so long. He was the main singer and songwriter for Firefall, the guy behind the songs "You Are the Woman," "Strange Way" and "Just Remember I Love You." He also did a couple of solo albums that have been long out of print, but they're available now. Maybe you don't remember Roberts' name, but you might recognize the people who played on those solo albums - Joe Walsh, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Jackson Browne, Randy Meisner, Al Perkins, Chris Hillman, David Crosby, Joe Vitale and more.
Finally, Muse has put a full concert up streaming online. Enjoy.
Street team graffiti to be removed
Roger Waters of Pink Floyd knows the artistic potency of an image on a wall. But his recent campaign to wheat-paste an anti-war quote from President Eisenhower across American cities to promote his touring revival of the Floyd staple “The Wall” unexpectedly proved his point, after his employees pasted the quote over the storefront of Solutions speaker repair in Silver Lake. The wall has served as an impromptu fan memorial to the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith for nearly a decade.
Smith passed away in Los Angeles in 2003, and fans have left personal messages and quoted lyrics on the wall, the backdrop to the cover art of his album “Figure 8,” ever since. But as of Monday night, fans noticed that the wall also featured Waters’ image of a soldier cradling a child with the Eisenhower quote nearby.
Though the oft-abused wall has also been a favorite target for taggers and is frequently overwhelmed by non-Smith-related writing, local reaction to Waters’ wheat pasting, including an L.A. Weekly blog post, was swift and critical. In a phone interview Tuesday evening, Waters apologized to any Smith fans who found his choice of walls callous.
“It was absolutely an accident,” Waters said. “I didn’t want to disrespect Elliott Smith’s fans, and I’ve instructed (the team) to remove the wheat paste immediately. It was a random pasting in the normal course of this, and I want to make it public that we had no intent to offend or cover up something precious.”
Waters, who said he was unfamiliar with Smith’s work until this incident, said the national wheat-paste campaign is being coordinated from his New York offices and that the street art team based there didn’t know the wall’s importance to L.A. music fans.
A multimillion-selling artist accidentally using a memorial to a beloved local singer to promote the revival tour of a classic album is unfortunately ironic. For Smith fans, it could underscore a cultural generation gap where a small independent album like “Either/Or” is as canonical to them as “The Wall” is to the mainstream.
Waters, who headlined Coachella in 2008 and brings his "Wall" tour to the Staples Center on Nov. 29, wrote a similar apology on his Facebook page Tuesday. He hoped his team wouldn’t be singled out among many others who have regrettably used the wall for non-Smith-related art or tagging.
“It’s not like this was some pristine monument and Roger Waters is the Big Bad Wolf who covered it up,” Waters said.
The pasting is made of biodegradable material, he said, and will be easily and quickly removed out of respect for Smith fans. But in hindsight, Waters felt the Eisenhower quote, about both the personal, economic and social costs of waging warfare, wasn’t too far afield from the work of Smith, a singer who articulately documented intimate emotional pain.
“That’s why I was so incensed when I read that article that said I paid someone to disrespect Elliott Smith,” Waters said. “I admit I didn’t know his music, but I’ve talked to people who do and it’s clear he was a young man who felt deeply, and any empathetic person wouldn’t have an issue with publicizing that quote.”
“I would guess, and this is only a guess,” he said, “but it’s my guess that he would have been sympathetic to that message.”
Music biz viral campaign vandalizes Elliott Smith mural
This is major-label viral marketing gone wild.
Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has launched a "viral," "street" campaign for his upcoming The Wall Live tour, which consists of hiring street artists in LA and NYC to strategically place a pacifist quote by Dwight "WTF" Eisenhower on several "hip" locations.
We wrote about this weird piece of "uptown (big ad agencies, megalomaniac superstars and big labels) meets downtown (street art)" marketing ploy last week, but now it seems the project has gone too far.
This is the revered, totally impromptu/grass roots "Elliott Smith Memorial Wall" on Sunset next to the Malo restaurant. The mural was Smith's background on a series of photos taken by Los Feliz/Silver Lake portraitist Autumn De Wilde, was immortalized on the cover of the Figure 8 album, and after the singer's tragic death it became a repository for his fans' messages and wishes. (It has also been tagged by street artists many times.).
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.