Check out the Pogues' tour rider from 1991 — the last year Shane MacGowan was in the band

The Pogues' singer-songwriter and tin whistle player Spider Stacy confirmed that this was real, tweeting, "The secret as to how we all stayed in such great shape..no veal, no fast food, no german wine and plenty of cigarettes."

I am genuinely surprised at how little booze is on this list, and also that the Pogues were only bringing in a £4K guarantee plus 80 percent of the house.

Image: peelandstick/Flickr (CC 2.0)

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Nile Rodgers tells of transforming Bowie's "Let's Dance" from folky to beyond funky

Legendary guitarist, producer, and composer Nile Rodgers—co-founder of Chic—tells the story of transforming David Bowie's "Let's Dance" from its original "folky" vibe into the post-funk masterpiece we know and love.

And for more, dig the below demo of "Let's Dance" that Rodgers shared in 2018 on what would have been Bowie's 71st birthday:

(via Kottke) Read the rest

Astounding acoustic guitar cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love"

To paraphrase one YouTube commenter, innovative acoustic guitar maestro Luca Stricagnoli is the only guy permitted to play a Zeppelin song at Guitar Center. Don't miss his manipulation of the tuning pegs during the song.

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This Phoebe Bridgers profile is a fascinating look at journalism in the time of coronavius

The New Yorker has a great new profile on singer-songwriter / human treasure Phoebe Bridgers, whose new album, Punisher, will be released on June 19. Any interview with Bridgers is a delight, even if you're not a fan of her work. But what really makes this article stick out is its relationship to coronavirus quarantine.

Author Amanda Petrusich initially follows the standard form for one of these type of marquee-musician magazine profiles — embedding herself in the subject's life over the course of a few months, getting them to open up about personal stuff as the journalist explores their home and discusses the creative process, et cetera. I don't mean that to sound flippant; Petrusich is an absolute master of that form. Except the form itself is threatened when Petrusich and Bridgers both end up quarantined (separately) shorter after the initial embedding begins. But Petrusich endures, and finds a way to make it work, using FaceTime to tour through Bridgers' life in Los Angeles and even speak with the singer's mother in her childhood bedroom. This is almost certainly made easier by the fact that Bridgers is already a candid and confessional artist, but it still makes for a very unique profile that illuminates both the artist at the center of it, and the unprecedented time at which the journalism was happening.

It's also available to listen to on Audm.

Phoebe Bridgers’s Frank, Anxious Music [Amanda Petrusich / The New Yorker]

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Rock and rollers' baby and kid pics

The Facebook group Rock and Blues Club has a fun photo album of rock n' roll icons when they were youngins.

See baby Brian May clutching a teddy bear, Neil Young looking like Huckleberry Finn, and Charlie Watts and Ron Wood looking like... Charlie Watts and Ron Wood.

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Avant-garde drummer Art Tripp talks about working with Zappa, Beefheart, John Cage, and others

I love the video interviews of composer and music educator, Samuel Andreyev. He shares an obsession with Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica and he has so far conducted one-to-two-hour interviews with Magic Band members John French (Drumbo), Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), and Mark Boston (Rockette Morton), all specifically on the making of Trout Mask. He's also done a brilliant half-hour analysis of the Trout track, Frownland.

In this installment of the Beef series, he talks with Zappa and Beefheart drummer, Art Tripp, about working with the crazed Captain, Frank, John Cage, and other avant-garde composers.

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Watch The Americans play Tom Waits together, apart

Faced with forced isolation, creative musicians are pushing the limits of telepresence tech to play together, apart. In the video above, my favorite roots rockers The Americans cover Tom Waits' "Hold On" from three different locations connected only by iPhone. The result is magnificent.

Below, The Americans' soulful take on Guitar Slim's 1954 breakthrough R&B hit "The Things I Used To Do." See more clips on their Facebook page.

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David Roback, co-founder of Mazzy Star, RIP

David Roback, who co-founded the wonderful neo-psych band Mazzy Star, died yesterday. He was 61. Roback, a member of the 1980s Paisley Underground bands Rain Parade and Opal, rose to fame with Mazzy Star through his collaboration with singer-songwriter Hope Sandoval. All of Mazzy Star's albums are sublime but it was 1993's "So Tonight That I Might See" that blew up with the above single Fade Into You. The duo went on hiatus in 1997 but reformed in 2012 and released "Seasons In Your Day," a quiet stunner of a record. From the Los Angeles Times obituary:

Like many guitarists coming up in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Roback found inspiration in the L.A. post-punk scene, to a degree. “I felt like a punk,” he told The Times in 1990, “but when I picked up the guitar and started playing it, the music didn’t come out sounding punk. It was something else.”

Indeed it was.

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Classical guitarist built a microtonal guitar from LEGO and it sounds beautiful

Most Western music is based on a twelve-tone octave with the smallest interval being a half step (or half tone, or "semitone") up or down. Microtonal music contains intervals smaller than a semitone. (Imagine playing notes between the keys on a traditional piano.) You can hear microtonal music compositions in the work of modernist and experimental composers, from Charles Ives and Claude Debussy to Wendy Carlos and Aphex Twin.

Tolgahan CoÄźulu is a Turkish musician known for designing an adjustable microtonal guitar and performing unique arrangements of Anatolian folk music and Ottoman maqam music. Most recently though, he took a cue from his young son and built a fantastic microtonal guitar from LEGO! Read the rest

What's cooler than being cool? Hundreds of musicians protesting ICE and Amazon

Stop, collaborate, and listen: Amazon's complicit in ICE's extraditions (plus other abuses of human rights enabled by that agency's authoritarian agenda)

That's why hundreds of musicians—nearly 500, at the time of this writing, though it was just over 100 when news broke Thursday morning—have signed onto an open letter pledging to boycott Amazon festivals, events, and other exclusive deals until the tech giant stops enabling the systematic abuses of Immigration Customs Enforcement. The list of signatories includes Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, as well as Ted Leo, Immortal Technique, Downtown Boys, Thursday, WHY?, Jeff Rosenstock, the Mowglis, War on Women, Diet Cig, Tim Kasher (of Cursive/The Good Life), and many more.

These are the demands for Amazon, directly from that open letter:

Terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses

Stop providing Cloud services & tools to organizations (such as Palantir) that power the US government's deportation machine

End projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon's facial recognition product

Reject future engagements w/ aforementioned bad actors.

I signed my own band onto the list earlier this week, after catching wind of the movement on Twitter. (I tried to pull our songs from all Amazon-affiliated services, but our distro service makes that difficult to do.) My friends in the Kominas mentioned something about it, and then I noticed Deerhoof interacting with Sadie Dupois of Speedy Ortiz and Sad13, following up on the recent op-ed by Tom Morello and Evan Greer of Fight For The Future (both musicians and activists in their own rights). Read the rest

Multi-talented fellow beatboxes while playing the flute

My friend taught himself to beatbox and play the flute. You might want to unmute this one. from r/toptalent

Henceforth, this genre shall be known as hip-prog.

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Elton John explains Tiny Dancer as he plays it for a TV crew in 1971

Elton John, then around 23, takes a TV crew through the structure of "Tiny Dancer," a song with lyrics written by John's longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin about his girlfriend (later wife) Maxine Feibelman who at the time was the Elton John Band's seamstress.

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Listen to David Bowie hear a touching birthday message from Scott Walker

On January 8, 1997, David Bowie became quite emotional after hearing happy birthday message from the pioneering pop/experimental musician Scott Walker, who died yesterday. It was a touching moment then and even moreso now that both of these inimitable forces of avant-garde art/music are gone. Turns out that Walker's birthday was the following day:

"I'll have a drink to you on the other side of midnight. How's that?"

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Scott Walker, pioneering art rock singer, RIP

Legendary singer Scott Walker, whose journey as a musician took him from blue-eyed soul to baroque pop to heady avant-garde experimentalism, has died at age 76. Walker counted the likes of Radiohead, Pulp, Julian Cope, and Sunn O))) as fans and collaborators. From an obituary released by Walker's record label 4AD:

Noel Scott Engel (later known as Scott Walker) was born in 1943, the son of an Ohio geologist. He began his career as a session bassist, changing his name when he joined The Walker Brothers. The 1960s trio enjoyed a meteoric rise, especially in Britain, where hits like 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore’ attracted a following to rival that of The Beatles.

But the superstar lifestyle and fame was not for Scott. As an only child, he had grown up in the kind of rich, slow solitude in which imagination could flourish, and he retreated from the limelight, returning as a solo artist to release a string of critically acclaimed albums, Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3 and Scott 4. He disappeared until the late 1970’s, when The Walker Brothers re-joined for their last album together and then a solo album in the 80’s.

Another long silence and Scott then re-emerged in the 90’s and onwards with lyric-driven works that deconstructed music into elemental soundscapes. Drawing on politics, war, plague, torture, and industrial harshness, Scott’s apocalyptic epics used silence as well as real-world effects and pared-back vocals to articulate the void. Sometimes gothic and eerie, often sweepingly cinematic, always strikingly visual, his works reached for the inexpressible, emerging from space as yearnings in texture and dissonance.

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Review: What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book

Two years ago, I reviewed Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt's highly-recommended Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC, a collection of deep-nerding conversations between these two musicians about beloved XTC tracks. While that book was a wonder, it understandably focused on Andy and his contributions to the band. While deepening my admiration and appreciation for the band, it left me hungry for more.

Enter What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book. I didn't think I could love an XTC book more than Complicated Game, but this book just keeps inspiring and surprising me every time I poke my nose into it. This is a delightful and dizzying collection of XTC exploration, analysis, and devotion that should stoke the soul coal of any hardcore fan of the band.

Put together by Mark Fisher, editor of Limelight, the 80s XTC zine, this book is a collected conversation between dozens of musicians deconstructing XTC songs, interviews with ALL of the band members (including their Spinal Tap-worthy causality list of drummers), kids and young music students reacting to XTC music, home studio recording tips from Andy Partridge, Andy on music theory (or lack thereof) and songwriting. Contributors include Rick Buckler (The Jam), Chris Difford (Squeeze), Debbi Peterson (The Bangles), Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies), Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa), Peter Gabriel, and many more.

Also included are a piece on drummers breaking down some of Terry Chambers more brilliant moments, members of XTC tribute bands around the world talking about their music, a cultural studies professor on the genius of Colin Moulding's lyrics, a piece about a German YouTuber who's covering his way through the XTC catalog, and the (apparently) obligatory photo tour of Swindon, England (the band's beloved home town). Read the rest

"Bohemian Rhapsody" performed in the style of 42 famous musicians

Anthony Vincent impersonates 42 well known singers perform their rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," including Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, NWA, Abba, and Muse.

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Watch Fred Armisen's jokes for musicians

Fred Armisen, a drummer, tells jokes that pretty much only a drummer would love and then ups the ante by going into guitarist humor. (Late Night with Conan O'Brien)

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