Happy birthday Keith Richards, king of the underground

Keith Richards has an unusual problem for a memoirist: a too dramatic life: The temptation for most memoirists is to beef up, at times even to make up, life; for Richards, who has lived one of the most eventful and excessive lives ever, the point is to tamp it down. His is an odd bookContinue reading “Happy birthday Keith Richards, king of the underground”

Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz: The Pope

Via man around town Krist Novoselic, formerly of Nirvana, the new Popemobile:  And yes, that's Pope Benedict XVI with his new Mercedes (and its chief exec).   (For those curious about Paul McCartney filling in for Kurt Cobain at a Nirvana reunion for the Sandy benefit fund-raiser, here it is, via Slate. It's not Nirvana,Continue reading “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz: The Pope”

Downbound Train: The kids think Springsteen is all right

At age 62, Bruce Springsteen is on tour, and the young bucks (or semi-young bucks) of today, including Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, are joining him on stage.  Good to see, and great to read a full-scale feature on Springsteen by the editor of The New YorkerContinue reading “Downbound Train: The kids think Springsteen is all right”

Bob Dylan: He’s back and he’s electric — again

Once upon a time in rock and roll, a great rock star, set off by something called Johnny Rotten. wondered out loud in song if rock and roll demanded a fiery, perhaps suicidal finale. Neil Young set off a storm with the idea, on Rust Never Sleeps, one of his greatest albums, and among hisContinue reading “Bob Dylan: He’s back and he’s electric — again”

Pussy Riot: a post-modern band imprisoned for attitude

Speaking of rebellious rockers…it's generally agreed, by both fans and skeptics, that rock and roll is all about attitude, so in these post-modern, post-truth times, it's only natural and proper that Pussy Riot, a Russian group that has never released a record, has become the biggest punk rock band in the world. More famous, withContinue reading “Pussy Riot: a post-modern band imprisoned for attitude”

The semi-true story of “Rocking the Casbah”

Yet another day of stifling heat, but this time with rising humidity too! Time for a break. Here's a tremendous cover of the great Clash song Rocking the Casbah, by Algerian rocker Rachid Taha. Except that probably Taha and his band of Algerian outcast rockers inspired it…see below.  From The Guardian (in 2007): The French-Algerian singerContinue reading “The semi-true story of “Rocking the Casbah””

Woody Guthrie: the raw, sexy American spirit

Nice piece from Randy Lewis on a new collection of Woody Guthrie material from the Smithsonian, released on his 100th birthday (today). Makes a strong argument that Woody's radicalism began in L.A., where he wrote one of his first and greatest folk songs ("Deportee").  Also includes a wonderful quote from John Steinbeck, who in aContinue reading “Woody Guthrie: the raw, sexy American spirit”

Julie Christensen sings the hell out of Weeds Like Us

Here's a story in the Reporter I wrote on local fav Julie Christensen, who just brought out an excellent new record, despite not having the backing or the money. No small feat.  It's a triumph, sez me, and I knew I wanted to write about Julie and her new record when I heard her singContinue reading “Julie Christensen sings the hell out of Weeds Like Us”

How to live forever: become a pop music star

This year at Coachella, the late great Tupac Shakur performed live with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. You can see it for yourself:  Okay, yes, it's digital trickery, employing unimaginably vast quantities of data, but still — it's pretty awesome. I'm ready to see the Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain versions, which are promised soon.Continue reading “How to live forever: become a pop music star”

Kathleen Edwards: Never Gonna Feel the Same

On tour last night in Ventura, the increasingly popular Kathleen Edwards concluded with her near-hit Change the Sheets, which opens: My love took a ride on a red-eye planeGoing homeAnd we're never gonna feel the sameChange this feeling under my feetChange the sheets and then change me This central idea reminds me of what aContinue reading “Kathleen Edwards: Never Gonna Feel the Same”