Friday, February 27, 2009

Groovin' In The Years

After the Flamin' Groovies left Sire Records in 1980, they continued to play and record even without a recording contract. They were based in London for most of their time on Sire, but relocated to San Francisco and played around the Bay Area to a small but devoted cult following.

In late 1980, they recorded some sessions at Goldstar Studios in Hollywood (where Phil Spector recorded) that resulted in a single ("River Deep, Mountain High"/"So Much In Love") and dodgy EP called The Goldstar Tapes on France's Skydog Records. Skydog were bankrolling the sessions and ran out of funding, so only two songs were completed (the ones on the single). The others were rough mixes of Beatles, Byrds, and Spector covers that were intended for a full album that the Groovies wanted to make with Phil Spector.

After the aborted sessions at Gold Star, the Groovies band slowly fell apart. Mike Wilhelm, David Wright, and Chris Wilson all left, and Cyril Jordan and George Alexander tried to carry on with a series of personnel changes. After a through different drummers and guitarists (including a post-Plimsouls Peter Case for awhile), Cyril and George recruited drummer Paul Zahl and singer Jack Johnson (no, not that one!) from Jack Casady's band SVT.

This quartet released a 1984 single on Australia's AIM records ("Way Over My Head") that was so well-received that they toured Australia and AIM released a record called One Night Stand, with re-recorded versions of "Shake Some Action", "Slow Death", "Teenage Head", and other Groovies classics, along with a few covers (like the Hoodoo Gurus' "Bittersweet"). This performance of "Shake Some Action" comes from that Australian era.

When One Night Stand was recorded, the Flamin' Groovies back catalog was out of print in Australia, so there was a point re-recording their old songs with a new lineup. Unfortunately the new versions of the songs can't hold a candle to the original recordings, and they've been licensed all over the place, so there are tons of cheapo Flamin' Groovies compilations floating around with these songs. Most of the Groovies albums on emusic are One Night Stand repackaged with 1980s live tracks.

After they left Australia, the Zahl/Johnson lineup toured Europe and the States before calling it a day in 1989. AIM released some of their 80s demos on an (unauthorized) album called Step Up that were later released on the final official Flamin' Groovies album Rock Juice in 1993. By this time, the "band" was just Cyril and George, with Paul Zahl and Jack Johnson thanked as extra help.

There have also been tons of Flamin' Groovies live albums and reissues over the past two decades. Sire's Groovies Greatest Grooves cd is a good place to get the best of their latter years, and the new Australian compilation This Band Is Red Hot condenses their entire career down to a single disc. For reissues and live material, all the Norton releases (Slow Death, In Person, California Born and Bred) are worth picking up.

Many of the former Flamin' Groovies are still making music and playing out. Cyril Jordan has a band called the Magic Christian, Roy Loney continues to play with Phantom Movers (with Danny Mihm and James Farrell) and the Longshots (featuring Scott McCaughey and Jim Sangster of the Young Fresh Fellows), Mike Wilhelm is still active as a Charlatan and solo artist, and Chris Wilson plays around Europe and the UK with his band The Groovin' Flames. And Cyril and Roy are performing together in late April as part of New Orleans' Ponderosa Stomp.

I've now made it through the Groovies entire catalog with a few days to spare before finding a new artists of the month for March.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jumpin' In The Night

Continuing the Groovies story with their final "proper" studio album, 1979's Jumpin' In The Night.

I have a soft spot for Jumpin' In The Night, since it was my first Flamin' Groovies purchase. I bought the cassette at local Tower Records after I heard the title track on KSAN, and thought it sounded like a long lost Beatles song. The rest of the songs on the album weren't as good as "Jumpin' In The Night", but they did play a bunch of old songs from the 60s, even including a Beatles' song "Please Please Me".

After I made the jump from AM radio to FM radio, but still thought that all music should sound like the Beatles, so "Jumpin' In The Night" made a good bridge between old and new wave. I remember hearing "Shake Some Action" on KSAN, and bought that record a few months later (on vinyl, because I couldn't find it on tape). After that, I gradually worked my way backward through the rest of their catalog, and it took me more than ten years to find all their old albums listed in the Rolling Stone Record Guide.

For this reason, Jumpin' In The Night will always have a special place in my world, but as a listening experience, it sounds like another not as good followup to Shake Some Action. They were writing fewer and fewer original songs and depending more and more on covers -- 8 of the 13 songs on Jumpin' In The Night are cover tunes, including 3 Byrds' songs. The originals also sound just like covers -- "Jumpin' In The Night" is Richard Barrett's "Some Other Guy" (recorded by the Beatles in 1962), "In The USA" is a virtual rewrite of Chuck Berry's "Back In The USA", "First Plane Home" is a copy/homage to the Kinks' "Gotta Get The First Plane" home, etc. As the 70s came to a close, the Groovies were becoming more and more like 60s revivalists, turning even "modern" songs like Warren Zevon's "Werewolves Of London") into 12-string janglefests.

This was the Flamin' Groovies third album in a three album contract with Sire, and they ended up getting dropped after it came out. They were able to tour the U.S. and Europe behind the album, including some high profile shows opening for Edmunds and Rockpile, before heading back to San Francisco and becomeing another struggling local Bay Area band without a record contract.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jindal vs. the volcano

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (who must have drawn the short straw) in the Republican "response" to Obama's stimulus package. 

Here's his "Councilman Les Whinen" quote
..and $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'
Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington DC.

Snap touche! Why does the government needs to monitor volcanoes? Or tornadoes? Or even.. hurricanes?

If there’s one piece of government stimulus the governor of a state like Louisiana shouldn't mock, it’s early monitoring for natural disasters!

After this stimulus obstruction and the California budget debate, I think it's best for everyone if the Republican party just goes away for awhile.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Now and Then

I have this theory about the Flamin' Groovies, which I'm now going to share. And this theory that I have, that is to say, which is mine, is that the quality of a Flamin' Groovies album is proportional to the number of bands named after its title.

Since there are bands called Sneakers,,Flamingo, Supersnazz, Teenage Head, and Shake Some Action, but no bands called Now or Jumpin' In The Night, it's safe to assume that these are the two weakest albums in the Groovies catalog.

Now (named after a Rolling Stones album sans apostrophe) is like an inferior sequel to Shake Some Action. All the same parts were in place: same lineup (with the addition of guitarist Mike Wilhelm replacing James Farrell), same studio, same producer, same 14 tracks divided into two sides of seven, but the results just weren't as transcendent.

One difference between SSA to Now is the ratio of covers to originals (7/7 to 8/6) and another was the quality of the original songs. The six original songs on Now are all strong, but there's not a "Shake Some Action" or "You Tore Me Down" level classic in the bunch. All the songs were co-credited to Cyril Jordan/Chris Wilson, but I've heard Cyril wrote most of the songs on Shake Some Action by himself and Chris wrote most of the Now songs by himself which might explain the drop off from great to merely good. The one exception is "Good Laugh Mun" which sounds like a lost Brian Wilson track from 1965. That was written by Cyril with help from Dave Edmunds (channeling the Beach Boy blood in his veins).

Another difference is that the cover songs on Now aren't as interesting as the ones on SSA. They covered two Stones songs ("Blue Turns To Grey" and "Paint It Black"), another Beatles song ("There's A Place"), the Byrds' "Feel A Whole Lot Better", "Move It" by the Shadows, and a couple of wildcards ("Reminiscing" and "House of Blue Light"). Everything is well played and hits the right notes, but it sounds like they're going through the motions. Some of the magic fairy dust is missing.

1978 also marked Roy Loney's return to making records after a seven year absence with a four-song EP called Artistic As Hell. Roy's backing band was Danny Mihm on drums, George Alexander on bass, Tim Lynch and Cyril Jordan on guitars (aka the original Flamin' Groovies circa-68). After the EP, Roy formed the Phantom Movers with Danny and Tim, a band with more original Groovies than the Flamin' Groovies had ( 3 vs. 2).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shake Some Action

If I was ever forced to take five or ten or however many albums to a proverbial desert island, The Flamin' Groovies' Shake Some Action would be one of the first ones I would grab. Sometimes I think it's a near-perfect embodiment of my musical aesthetic in a single package.

After shopping around various record labels during the early 1970s, the Groovies finally signed with Sire, who sent them back to Rockfield to make an entire album with Dave Edmunds. It was like wrapping up their 1972 UA sessions a few years later for a different label. Over those three years, they'd picked up a new drummer (David Wright), and changed their point of reference from the Stones to the Beatles. Greg Shaw of BOMP magazine used the term "power pop" to describe the Groovies new sound.

At the dawn of punk rock, there were few things less uncool than a band that looked and sounded like the early Beatles. For the release of Shake Some Action, Sire set up a showcase gig at the London Roundhouse on the U.S. Bicentennial (July 4, 1976) for the Groovies and another band they'd just signed called the Ramones. This show would later become a rock trivia question ("Who did the Ramones open for in their first performance in England?"), but at the time it was probably like watching the future of rock open for the past.

Looking back, Shake Some Action just happened to be released a few years too late. It did manage to chart in the U.S. (peaking at #142), and the title track was a near-hit in parts of Europe, but it sounded just a bit out of step when punk started to happen.

The album sounds like a lost early Beatles album, 14 short songs divided into two sides of seven, with seven originals and seven covers of songs by the Beatles ("Misery"), the Stones ("She Said Yeah"), Chuck Berry ("Don't You Lie To Me"), the Raiders ("Sometimes"), the Charlatans ("I Saw Her"), the Lovin' Spoonful ("Let The Boy Rock & Roll") and W.C. Handy ("St. Louis Blues", the most recorded song ever).

Over the years, some party poopers have complained about all the covers on this album, but they were all fairly obscure (even the Beatles track), and matched up well with the seven original songs. Everyone should know the title track "Shake Some Action" (I think I've got that song encoded in my genome -- there long stretches of DNA that repeat that A-Bm-G-Bm intro), but there's also "You Tore Me Down", "I Can't Hide", "I'll Cry Alone", "Yes It's True", "Please Please Girl", etc.. a whole slab of future classics.

All the Flamin' Groovies Sire albums were reissued a few years ago, so SSA should be easy to find on amazon and iTunes. The best way to get everything in one place is to get this collection which seems to be out of print, but includes lots of outtakes like this rough demo of "Shake Some Action"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Death by Grease

I was starting to write about what happened to the Flamin' Groovies after Roy Loney left in 1971, but then remembered that I wrote about most of it back in July 2007, so I'll just link to that post.

All the song links are dead, and the great video of "Slow Death" has also been taken off youtube, but this performance of "Roll Over Beethoven" is still there. There's so little film of the Groovies (from any era), that it's nice to have anything.

Here's a youtube version of "Slow Death" (with a slide show). The short version is Roy left the band, the Groovies hired a new vocalist (Chris Wilson from the band Loose Gravel) and began recording demos to shop to record labels. The first label that took the bait was UA, who flew the Groovies to London and hooked them up with legendary producer Dave Edmunds. These sessions with Edmunds produced one monster single ("Slow Death") and two more future classics ("Shake Some Action" and "You Tore Me Down") that they left in the can after "Slow Death" didn't chart and UA lost interest in the band.

"You Tore Me Down" came out as the debut single on BOMP records in 1974, and it and "Shake Some Action" were unearthed a few years later for the Shake Some Action album, but all seven songs on the Rockfield sessions are available here (tracks 8-14). The Groovies recorded another batch of demos in the early 70s that Skydog Records from France put out on an EP called Grease in 1974. The Groovies sent Skydog some rough two-track demos recorded in Cyril Jordan's garage, and they decided to release the demos.

These performances are extremely lo-fi, but energetic -- Chuck Eddy named Grease as one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever (?) in his book Stairway to Heaven, Highway to Hell, and the demos later got reissued on the Norton CD Slow Death (also on emusic). It includes pre-Rockfield versions of "Slow Death" and "Shake Some Action" as well as a great outtake ("When I Heard Your Name") that never made it to a Groovies LP.

Many biographies say that the Flamin' Groovies "laid low" between Teenage Head in 1971 and Shake Some Action in 1976, but they were active for the entire time, just under the radar.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Teenage Head

After Flamingo came Teenage Head..

Teenage Head is one of the best albums of the early 70s, and a high water mark for the Roy Loney-era Groovies. The title track is one of their best-known songs, but everything else on the record is just as great. The covers of Randy Newman's "Have You Seen My Baby?" (recorded just a few months after Randy's version) and Robert Johnson's "32/20" are top-notch interpretations, and the originals run the gamut from ballads to blues shuffles to rockers.

The liner notes to the reissue say that either Mick or Keith thought that Teenage Head was better than Sticky Fingers, which sounds a little urban-legendy, but I'm pretty sure which album I prefer between the two. The two albums were released at just around the same time, and it's uncanny how alike they sound.

Teenage Head also got a rave review from Rolling Stone, this one from future benefactor Greg Shaw.
I tell ya, fun's a-poppin' all over this album. It has the power to pull you into the never-ending party that follows the Flamin' Groovies around. It's good-time music for sure, and good rock & roll besides, full of the kind of songs you find yourself trucking to as you walk down the street.

Unfortunately, Roy Loney left the band shortly after the album's release, so they weren't able to do a full tour and extend the albun's potential. Roy's last show with the band was a big showcase at the closing of Fillmore West that was broadcast on KSAN, released on a live album, and now streamable at Wolfgang's Vault.

Roy's departure left the Groovies in limbo since he was the lead vocalist and band leader, but they found a new singer (Chris Wilson from the band Loose Gravel), and managed to carry on, launching a second phase of the band with guitarist Cyril Jordan at the helm.

More on that later.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


And the Groovies saga continues with 1970's Flamingo.

Almost immediately after Epic released the Groovies from their contract following Supersnazz's commercial failure, they signed a contract with Buddah (a bubblegum label run by Hit Parader editor Richard Robinson), and began recording a new album Flamingo, with Robinson producing.

After playing a few shows with the Stooges and the MC5 during the Supersnazz tour, the Groovies' sound had become a lot harder, and they'd abandoned most of their jugband style for a rauchier Stonesy rock & roll. The band that made Flamingo sounds completely different from the band that made Supersnazz, even though it's the exact same five guys just a few months later. The Groovies were also trying to break away from being seen as 50s revivalists, because there's only one cover tune on Flamingo (Little Richard's "Keep A Knockin'), and the rest are all originals.

During the recording of Flamingo Robinson the Groovies tried to keep everything more direct, letting the band play the songs live with minimal overdubs. Richard Robinson's main job as producer was to keep the tape rolling. The album starts with Roy Loney saying "if you stop the machine, then we'll stop" before they roll into "Gonna Rock Tonite", and they keep the petal to the metal through the entire first side.

If the Flamingo album has a flaw, it's a lack of sonic variety. Almost every song is balls to the wall rock & roll, with only a few slow ones on the second side, like "Chidhood's End" and "She's Falling Apart". The latter is probably my favorite song on the album, a tender ballad that sounds like something Scott Miller would record a decade later. Scott likes this song too, and I can't believe he left it off his 1970 MWH. Here's a nice acoustic version by Roy Loney, from that same 2004 Paris show where he did "My Yada".

Unfortunately, a few songs are dragged down by indifferent mix that makes everything sound like it was (to borrow this review) "recorded inside a barrel on a fifty-year old cassette", but the strength of the performances shines through the muddy sound.

Listening to it now, I'd put Flamingo somewhere in the bottom half of Flamin' Groovies albums. I don't like it as much as it's predecessor (Supersnazz) or it's successor (Teenage Head), but it's a necessary stepping stone between those two records.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ponderosa Stomp

I was planning on taking a break from writing about the Flamin' Groovies today before tackling Flamingo and Teenage Head (it's important to clear your palate after a few helpings of meat & potatoes rock with a few vegetables), but then this news crossed my computer from Magnet.
Roy Loney and Cyril Jordan, backbone of the first incarnation of San Francisco’s notorious Flamin’ Groovies, are slated to reunite onstage for the eighth annual Ponderosa Stomp, set for April 28-29 at New Orleans’ House Of Blues. P-Stomp, which specializes in long-overdue musical reunions, is pumping up the event by claiming that Loney and Jordan—who penned all the Groovies’ originals from 1968’s Sneakers, 1969’s Supersnazz, 1970’s Flamingo and 1971’s Teenage Head—haven’t played together in 38 years.
They go on to say that Roy and Cyril have played together in the last 38 years. I've lived in the S.F. Bay Area for just over 21 years, and have seen them on the same stage at least four times, but this is exciting news nonetheless! Not sure I'm up for a trip to the Big Easy, so hopefully they'll play a San Francisco gig with the A-Bones.

There's been talk of Flamin' Groovies reunions for the last few years (they were slated to play Cavestomp one year), but it's always been just talk until now. If the five original Groovies would just get together for one special show someplace like the Fillmore, it would be so great for fans like me who never saw them live back in their day.

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to work my way through the Flamin' Groovies discography. I'm listening to Flamingo tonight, and will blog about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Continuing the Flamin' Groovies story through the 1960s, after their self-released Sneakers EP met with some DIY success, the Groovies were snapped up by Epic records, and sent to L.A. to record a full-length album. Almost overnight, they went from recording Sneakers for a total cost of about 700 dollars (7 hours of studio time at $100 per) to recording an LP in a big studio with a budget of over 80 thousand dollars.

With the increased budget, the band and label threw everything they had into the Supersnazz album. Epic were trying to promote the Groovies as rock & roll revivalists like Sha Na Na, so the first two singles were covers of 50s rockers ( Huey "Piano" Smith's "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" and Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else"). Other songs had horns and strings arranged by Jack Nitzsche (fresh from working on Let It Bleed and Neil Young's debut), multi-tracked vocal harmonies, and other tricks of the era.

The combination of retro and modern confounded most fans and critics, but one review that seemed to "get it" at the time was this review in Rolling Stone by a young contrarian named Lester Bangs.
Supersnazz indeed: Chuck Berry hot licks, pistol-packin' mamas, rockin' pneumonia and boogie woogie flu!--sans corroding traces of the condescension, dilettantism and sweaty strain which usually mar this kind of thing. The Groovies, like no other group working in this area, communicate the sense of truly youthful enthusiasm and fun which was at the heart of early rock&roll
Unfortunately, truly youthful enthusiasm and fun weren't in very high demand in the heavy rock era of 1969, so Supersnazz had trouble finding an audience, and the Flamin' Groovies were quietly dropped by Epic just a few months after the album dropped.

Forty years later, opinions on Supersnazz are divided even among Groovies fanatics, but it's always been one of my favorite FGs albums. It's a little "all over the place" stylistically, but it's a fun record that always puts me in a good mood when I put it on. The final song, "Around The Corner", is a particular fave.

Supersnazz has been reissued a couple of times on CD, but it's completely out of print and impossible to find now (the Amazon entry simply says "This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer"). There's nothing more lonely than a major label record that didn't sell.

Monday, February 16, 2009


The story of the Flamin' Groovies began in San Francisco in 1965, when a bunch of high school friends from San Francisco, inspired by the British Invasion, formed a band called the Lost & Found. A few months later, they found out that there were many other bands with that name, and changed their name to the Chosen Few. Then they found out there were other bands with that name as well.

So they set out to find a name that no band would ever use, and changed their name to the Flamin' Groovies. They were all fans of the Lovin' Spoonful, and wanted a similar sounding name (right down to the dropped g), and their early music also echoed the Spoonful's good-timey jugband sound.

Unfortunately for the Groovies, they had exactly the wrong sound and image for the city, so they were ignored when the major labels all started scooping up the next big thing from San Francisco after the Summer Of Love. With no label willing to take a chance on them, the Groovies decided to pool their resources and put out a record on their own.

Back in 1968, it was a whole new thing for a band to put out its own record. The Flamin' Groovies initially just wanted to cut a two sided single, then a four song EP, but they ended up recording seven songs at a six-hour session at West Coast Recording and liking them all, so they released all seven songs on a 10" ep called Sneakers. The title was a reference to "sneaking" the record out under the radar, and had nothing to do with tennis shoes.

Most of the seven songs on Sneakers show the early Groovies as West Coast Lovin' Spoonful acolytes. "Babes In The Sky" is a straight copy of the Spoonful's "Nashville Cats". Other songs like "Lovetime" and "My Yada" (allegedly written in the studio in three minutes) also owe a debt to John Sebastian.

One standout track on Sneakers that showed the band's potential was "Golden Clouds", which rocks harder than the Lovin' Spoonful ever could and sounds like a lost Nuggets-era hit single. If the Groovies had released this as a single in early 1968, they could have been as big as the Sopwith Camel (of "Hello Hello" fame).

Having a different sound, and releasing their own record in a novel format (a 10-inch EP) gave the Flamin Groovies some much-needed attention. Sneakers sold well enough (somewhere between 4 and 10 thousand copies) to grab the attention of Epic Records, who signed the Groovies to a contract in 1968, and allowed them to record a full LP Supersnazz on a major label budget.

More on that later, but here's a snippet of Roy Loney performing "My Yada" (the Sneakers song that took him three minutes to write) in Paris in 2004.

For emusic subscribers, the entire 7-track Sneakers EP is available here (tracks 1-7). The first song "Golden Clouds" is especially worth a download, and "My Yada" (track #7) is also pretty swell. Every reissue of this ep has the songs in a different sequence!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Flamin' through February

I've been suffering from a bout of blogger's block recently, so I'm trying to find different things to write about. The NaBloPoMo theme for February is WANT, which means that I should write about what I want to write about.

So I've decided to spend the rest of this year choosing one artist to write about each month. For the month of February I've chosen one of my favorite bands of the rock era, the Flamin' Groovies. This is a short month, and it's halfway over already, so I wanted to choose a band with a manageable catalog.

During their 1968-1979 heyday, the Groovies released just seven studio albums, a few EPs and a bunch of live albums and compilations, but it comes out to fewer than 100 distinct songs. As a first step, here's a downloadable 15 song Groovies overview that requires just 60 minutes to hear and 80 megabytes to store.

Fifteen Flamin' Groovies
1. Golden Clouds (from Sneakers, 1968)
2. Love Have Mercy (from Supersnazz, 1969)
3. Around The Corner (from Supersnazz, 1969)
4. Headin' For The Texas Border (from Flamingo, 1970)
5. She's Falling Apart (from Flamingo, 1970)
6. High Flyin' Baby (from Teenage Head, 1971)
7. Teenage Head (from Teenage Head, 1971)
8. Slow Death (single, 1972)
9. When I Heard Your Name (unreleased, 1973)
10. You Tore Me Down (single, 1974)
11. Shake Some Action (from Shake Some Action, 1976)
12. I Can't Hide (from Shake Some Action, 1976)
13. Between The Lines (from Now!, 1978)
14. Jumpin' In The Night (from Jumpin' In The Night, 1979)
15. First Plane Home (from Jumpin' In The Night, 1979)

Download here

Over the rest of this month, I'll review all these albums and songs to see how they hold up 30-40 years after release. Flamin' Groovies albums (much like Rubinoos albuns) haven't really fallen out of style, because they've never really been in style.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

On the floating, shapeless ocean

Did you know that Judd Gregg and Tim Buckley were both born on Valentine's Day 1947?

I didn't know that until I checked wikipedia, and don't know what it signifies, but it's a convenient excuse to post Tim performing "Song To The Siren" on the Monkees television show in March 1968.

Sparser and more stripped down than the version he released a couple of years later on Stairsailor, this probably blew many Monkees' fans' minds when it originally aired.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bud Selig is an embarrassment to baseball

Rewrite the record book first -- ask questions later.
Especially if it helps your good buddy Hank.
Selig said he would look into the possibility of reinstating Hank Aaron — a personal friend — as No. 1 on the all-time home run list and attach asterisks or some other note to the records of players involved in steroids use.

Barry Bonds, who is widely suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, is baseball's all-time home run leader with 762. Aaron has 755.

If you're going to do this, why stop with Bonds home run record? What about his 2539 career walks (first all time)? I'm sure those PEDs helped his batting eye, so it's high time to reinstate Rickey Henderson as the all-time walks leader!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Islam is the light

Another song from Scott's 1970 list that he and Anton covered a few years back on What If It Works?.

For anyone wondering about my subject, here's the backstory.
"There's no markings on the box to indicate there's anything Islamic about this doll," Oklahoman Gary Rofkahr told Fox News in a story headlined "Parents Outraged Over Baby Doll They Say Mumbles Pro-Islam Message."

All of which begs so many questions, I hardly know where to begin.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Be a part of it all

Scott Miller tackles 1970 in this week's "MWH?", which is as good a reason as ever to post Badfinger playing (miming? I'm not sure) "No Matter What" on Top Of The Pops.

This Midnight Special performance of "No Matter What" is also nice (but non-embeddable)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Dan Wetzel's take on the Alex Rodriguez steroid allegation story.
What's left for baseball, which now looks to a future where a suspected steroid cheat will pass a confirmed one?

How many steroid tests did Barry Bonds fail as a player?
I think they're both suspected until confirmed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Another music meme

This one's making the rounds on facebook and the blogosphere.

Put your music library on shuffle.
Post the first lines of the first 25 16 songs that come up.
The game: Guess which songs the first lines are from!
If you're googling, then you're cheating!

(I skipped songs where the title is in the first line).

1. I feel depressed, I feel so bad..
2. Sometimes I feel so lonely
3. I'm really close tonight .
4. Long ago, life was clean
5. All your dreams are made
6. I used to say dumb things
7. If I said I'd lost my way
8. I see your money on the floor
9. I've waited too long to have you
10. Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
11. Said the straight man to the late man
12. And in the element of light
13. Do you remember chalk hearts melting on a playground wall
14. Went to college, studied art
15. Sometimes I wonder if you're really living
16. The Sunday morning gospel goes good with the soul

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This feeling that remains

Scott Miller's 1990 M-WH? list hits on lots of great tunes, including this one from the La's. Here's a performance from the days when Letterman was on NBC and CDs came in longboxes.

Like Scott, I also saw the La's touring behind this album (opening for Elvis Costello), and they were great live.

Anyone who remembers "Timeless Melody" knows that the La's were at the very least two hit wonders, but their entire self-titled debut is great from start to finish.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Boss

Now that was a good Super Bowl. I missed most of the first half driving home from Las Vegas, but the 100 yard interception to end the half, and the fourth quarter was one for the ages.

As a West Coast guy, I was pulling for Arizona, but if any team besides the 49ers had to win their sixth Super Bowl, I'm glad it was the Steelers and not the Cowboys.

Springsteen's halftime show was also top notch, no matter what lame newspaper critics say. Guys, no one cares what you have to say, and your medium is dying.

After Paul McCartney, the Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, and Springsteen the last five years, the Super Bowl is running out of rock legends to feature, and the music business isn't making new ones, so they might run out of performers very soon.