Watch the documentary trailer about rock mag Creem

Creem: America's Only Rock 'N' Roll Magazine looks at the freewheeling Detroit-based publication that was as gonzo as the artists they covered. As Craig S. Karpel observes, "There was no parallel for it in the rest of rock journalism. It was not a magazine that was about rock n' roll. Rock n' roll was taking place at the magazine." Read the rest

Peter Green, original Fleetwood Mac mastermind, dead at 73

It has been announced through a family representative that legendary guitarist Peter Green died peacefully in his sleep last night. He was 73.

Green was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac (first called "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac with Jeremy Spencer") and a celebrated guitar player and songwriter. His spare, tonal, and soulful phrasing made him a guitarist's guitarist who influenced many that came after him.

Green is listed 58th in Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time and 50th by Guitar Playerˆ. Green was also a talented songwriter who wrote many classics, including Black Magic Woman, later made popular by Santana, and the early charting Mac singles, Albatross and Man of the World.

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Looking back on The Beatles "Hey Jude" from a world a little colder

Even as something of a Beatlephile, I learned a few things reading this Rolling Stone article from 2018 about The Beatles' most "open-hearted masterpiece," Hey Jude.

Cynthia and Julian thought “Hey Jude” was for them. John heard it as the ballad of John and Yoko. But neither side was wrong — countless people around the world have heard this homily speaking to them. “The movement you need is on your shoulder” — John was so right about that line, and as Paul says, he thinks of John every time he sings that part. “Hey Jude” is a tribute to everything the Beatles loved and respected most about each other. Even George, who plays the most low-profile role in this song, tipped his cap with the na-na-na-na finale of “Isn’t That a Pity,” which you can hear as a viciously cheeky parody, an affectionate tribute or (most likely) both. The pain in “Hey Jude” resonated in 1968, in a world reeling from wars, riots and assassinations. And it’s why it sounds timely as our world keeps getting colder. After more than 50 years, “Hey Jude” remains a source of sustenance in difficult times — a moment when four longtime comrades, clear-eyed adults by now, take a look around at everything that’s broken around them. Yet they still join together to take a sad song and make it better.

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Little Richard, gender-bender progenitor needs his propers

When Little Richard died a few days ago, everyone was quick to rightfully hail him as the true king of rock and roll (which he was always quick to crown himself). But he was also the queen (which he would also sometimes declare).

David Bowie is often identified as the great leper messiah who made unapologetic gender fluidity acceptable in rock and roll, but he (and countless others) got their inspiration --and costume and makeup tips-- from Little Richard. James Brown, Bowie, Prince, Elton John, Marc Bolan, Jagger, Plant, Rundgren, Alice Cooper, and all the rest of them, even John Waters' mustache, owe an immense debt to Little Richard (who...um...owes his own great debt to Esquerita). Richard had nearly as much of an impact on the style, preen and swagger, and the transgressive posturings of rock and roll as did his music.

Hail the Queen!

Read a bit more on the subject (and see some cool pictures) in this article in The Guardian.

Image: Anna Bleker, Public Domain Read the rest

Meeting Little Richard at his old Hyatt haunt

In the mid-nineties it was easy to get an acquaintance with Little Richard. All you had to do was haunt the bar at the Hyatt Hotel on Sunset where he lived and at one time or another you would find yourself talking to him over a drink…talking about how he discovered rock and roll or a new project…listening and watching a legend perform in front of you, as if you were at Carnegie Hall. Read the rest

Paul McCartney tells Howard Stern why he thinks The Beatles were better than the Rolling Stones

Paul McCartney is admittedly biased, but here he is on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday explaining why he thinks The Beatles were a better band than the Rolling Stones.

"Their stuff is rooted in the blues. When they're kinda writing stuff, it's to do with the blues, y'know. We had a little more influences[...]

“We started to notice that whatever we did, the Stones sort of did it shortly thereafter. So, like we went to America and we had huge success.Then the Stones went to America. And then we did Sgt. Pepper, the Stones did a psychedelic album. There was a lot of that. But we were great friends, still are, kind of a thing. We admire each other." Read the rest

Shut in sounds: Nick Lowe and his son perform "(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" from their living room

As part of Rolling Stone's "In My Room" series, the legendary UK singer-songwriter, Nick Lowe, and his son, Roy, play a number of Lowe's recent compositions and his classic "(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding." He ends the 14-minute set doing a beautiful rendition of “I Read a Lot,” the title track to his 2011 album, The Old Magic.

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"Metropolis Kid" will make you dance like Superboy

Metropolis Kid by Model Decoy

I've known Doron Monk Flake and Ari Sadowitz since high school, and it's been an honor to watch their musical prowess grow and grow and grow. Their current project, Model Decoy, pumps out Prince-like post-punk jams, full of sick rock riffs and soaring jazzy vocals that bring gravitas to clever lyrics that are mostly about their favorite nerdy comic books and movies.

Their newest single, "Metropolis Kid," is a perfect example of this. It makes you want to tap your feet as you croon along with Superboy (being young Kon-El, the misfit clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, not that cranky bastard Superboy-Prime

You can find the band's back catalog on Spotify, but they just released "Metropolis Kid" and two other new songs exclusively on Bandcamp, which is waiving their fee today (March 20) so that struggling bands can get 100% of the proceeds of their music during this quarantine.

(If you're feeling generous, you can buy some tunes from my own band, the Roland High Life, too — we're not as funky as Model Decoy, but we do have some good banger about Spider-Man and, uhh, conspiracy theorists.)

Model Decoy on Bandcamp

Image: Pat Loika / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

Iggy Pop on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1979

Every so often I have to return to this wonderful performance of the Chairman of the Bored on the 4/24/1979 episode of Old Grey Whistle Test. The band (Iggy, Scott Thurston, Glen Matlock, Jackie Clark, Klaus Kruger) played four tracks that night: The Fortune Teller, New Values, I'm Bored, and I Wanna Be Your Dog.

An iconic Iggy moment with an amazing band line-up from the New Values period.

Bonus track: Here's Iggy last week, doing a tribute duet to Serge Gainsbourg with Jane Birkin (Gainsbourg's former collaborator and partner) on The Tonight Show. What can we say, the Iguana has serious staying power and range.

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Baby "sings" AC/DC's Thunderstruck

YouTuber and dad Matt MacMillan picked an unusual way to cover AC/DC's "Thunderstruck." He spent a year recording his baby son's cooing, sneezing, and other random noises and pieced it together to make the song. He writes, "It took forever."

And when you see HOW he arranged it all, you'll see why it took so long — it's really quite a feat!

If you're not familiar with the original song (I wasn't), here it is for comparison:

(Geekologie) Read the rest

Neil Young hates what the internet has done to music

Spotify may not be literally damaging our brains, but he's not entirely wrong, either.

Celebrate Independence Day with Cordell Jackson, the "Rock n Roll Granny" a psychobilly pioneer who played until she was 81

Cordell Jackson started out playing on her father's radio show in the mid-1930s at the age of 12; she was a talented musician who'd already mastered the guitar, piano, and upright bass; she continued to play and went on to found Moon Records (a play on Memphis's iconic "Sun Records") where she was the first woman sound engineer in the country. Read the rest

A brief history of guitar distortion

Over at Riff Magazine, my old pal David Gill looks back at the birth of distortion and its position as "central to rock and roll as the sex and the drugs." From Riff:

In March 1951, a 19-year-old Ike Turner was recording his saxophonist Jackie Breston’s song “Rocket 88,” an ode to the Oldsmobile 88 (and later inspiration for Public Enemy’s “You’re Gonna Get Yours”). (Listen above.) Turner played his guitar loud, so loud, in fact, that his amplifier couldn’t handle it. The resulting distortion is the stuff of legend in the fable of rock and roll, giving voice to the intensity of the times.

The 1950s in America were the best of times and the worst of times. A victory in World War II and the spoils that came with it led to a baby boom, sprawling suburbia, rising standards of living, and a new thriving middle class, while at the same time racism, sexism and economic exploitation lingered in this landscape of opportunity. America also clung to its puritanical origins, cultivating a Victoria-era disdain for exuberance and physicality into a repressed and buttoned-down society that mocked, scorned and punished deviation from the norm.

As the 1950s progressed, the rising wave of progressive hedonism embodied by the new musical phenomenon of rock and roll crashed on the limitations of American culture. That tension is evident in Turner’s guitar tones, in its refusal to obey or to conform.

"Professor Music: Like ‘This is Spinal Tap,’ this column goes to 11" (Riff)

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Hear the killer first single from Bob Mould's forthcoming album

I'm delighted to report that Boing Boing pal Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü) has a new rock and roll platter on its way February 8! Above is the title track from the punk pioneer's new album, Sunshine Rock. If this catchy psychedelic number is any indication, expect the album to be a burning light of gritty punk optimism in these dark times.

“To go from [2011 autobiography] See a Little Light to the last three albums, two of which were informed by loss of each parent, respectively, at some point I had to put a Post-It note on my work station and say, ‘Try to think about good things,'" Bob says. "Otherwise I could really go down a long, dark hole. I’m trying to keep things brighter these days as a way to stay alive.”

Bob Mould plays the history Fillmore in San Francisco on March 2 as part of the Noise Pop Festival 2019. More tour dates here.

Below, Bob Mould on Boing Boing Video, an interview and performance from 2014 produced by the talented team at Remedy Editorial:

photo: Alicia J Rose Read the rest

Watch the Rolling Stones age with their music

Angel Nene created this montage showing how the Rolling Stones' faces and music evolved over the years. I got sad about one minute in (1969) when Brian Jones died.

Below, my favorite of Nene's morphing animations of aging rock stars, "The Beatles Aging Together (1960-2017):

(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest

Listen to Death Cab for Cutie's new album "Thank You For Today"

Death Cab for Cutie release their new album, "Thank You For Today," on Friday and right now NPR is streaming the whole thing. It's a gorgeous, cohesive, and fresh collection of soulful songs brought to life with startling arrangements and dazzling production. I'm proud of my friends. Have a listen!

"First Listen: Death Cab For Cutie, 'Thank You For Today'" (NPR)

And in case you missed it, below is the video for the first single from the album, "Gold Rush," featuring a sample of Yoko Ono's "Mindtrain."

Read the rest

Listen to the darker, original "Born in the USA"

In 1982, Bruce Springsteen recorded this raw, dark demo of "Born in the USA" during the sessions that would spawn his Nebraska album, my favorite of all his releases. "Born in the USA" is about the impact of the Vietnam War on America and the country's mistreatment of veterans upon their return. Of course the familiar version of the song ultimately released in 1984 has been reinterpreted by many as a patriotic anthem because, y'know, who pays attention to lyrics.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

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