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Archive for the ‘Thin Lizzy’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996-1998 (2014).

Danko Jones has released nine albums an a bunch of EPs.  Back in 2014 he released this collection of songs that he wrote and recorded before his first proper single (1998).

This is a collection of raw songs, but the essential elements of Danko are in place. Mostly fast guitars, simple, catchy riffs and Danko’s gruff voice, filled with braggadocio.  With a cover by Peter Bagge!

He describes it:

Back in the 90’s,the Garage Rock scene, as I knew it, was a warts-and-all approach that favoured low-fi recordings and rudimentary playing over any modicum of musical prowess in order to glean some Rock N’ Roll essence. However, once a band got better at their instruments, songwriting and stage performance, the inevitable crossroads would eventually appear. Deliberately continuing to play against their growing skill would only evolve into a pose. There were a lot of bands who did exactly this in order to sustain scenester favour. We did the opposite.

What you hold in your hands is a document of what we were and where we came from. We didn’t know how to write songs and could barely play but we wanted to be near to the music we loved so badly. We ate, slept and drank this music. We still do. That’s why we have never had to reunite because we’ve never broken up. After 18 years, we’ve stayed the course, got tough when the going did and, above all else, we have never stopped. This album is the proof.

The first two songs are the best quality, with the rest slowly deteriorating with more tape hiss.

1. “Who Got It?” a big fat bass sound with lots of mentioning of Danko Jones in the lyrics. [2 minutes]
2. “Make You Mine” is 90 seconds long.  With big loud chords and rumbling bass Danko says “one day I’m going to write a book and let everybody know how to do it.  Seems to me there a lot of people around who want to see if I can prove it.  I been a rock prodigy since the age of 20 and my proof… my proof is right now.”
3. “I’m Your Man” is a bit longer.  The quality isn’t as good but the raw bass sound is great.
4. “She’s Got A Bomb” is good early Danko strutting music.
5. “Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.”  He would name an album this many years later.  This song is fast and raw and only 90 seconds long.
6. “Dirty Mind Too” This is a fast stomping one-two-three song that rocks for less than a minute.
7. I’m Drinking Alcohol? This is funny because later he says he doesn’t drink.  I don’t know what the words are but the music is great–rumbling bass and feedbacky guitars with lots of screaming.
8. “Love Travel Demo” and 9. “Bounce Demo” are decent demo recordings.  “Bounce” has what might be his first guitar solo.
10. Sexual Interlude” “ladies it’s time to take a chance on a real man.  I’m sick and tired of seeing you women selling yourselves short, going out with a lesser man.
11. “I Stand Accused” Unexpectedly he stands accused of “loving you to much.  If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.”
12. “Best Good Looking Girl In Town” a fast chugging riff, “oh mama you sure look fine.”
13. “Payback” This one sounds really rough but it totally rocks.
14. “Lowdown” Danko gives the lowdown: “You want a bit of romance?  I got you an bouquet of Flowers and a box of chocolates.  Why you crying for?  That ain’t enough?  Me and the fellas wrote this song just for you.”
15. “One Night Stand” garage swinging sound: Danko is a one woman man and you’re just his type.
16. “Instrumental” is great.
17. “Move On” is a long, slow long bluesy track about love.

It’s not a great introduction to Danko, but if you like him, you won;t be disappointed by this early baby-Danko period.

[READ: August 10, 2019] I’ve Got Something to Say

In the introduction (after the foreword by Duff McKagan), Jones introduces himself not as a writer but as a hack.  He also acknowledges that having something to say doesn’t mean much.  He has too many opinions on music and needed to get them out or his insides would explode.  He acknowledges that obsessing over the minutiae of bands is a waste of time, “but goddammit, it’s a ton of fun.”

So this collection collects some of Danko’s writing over the last dozen or so years. He’s written for many publications, some regularly.  Most of these pieces are a couple of pages.  And pretty much all of them will have you laughing (if you enjoy opinionated music writers).

“Vibing for Thin Lizzy” [Rock Hard magazine, March 2015]
Danko says he was lured into rock music by the theatrics of KISS, Crue and WASP.  But then he really got into the music while his friends seemed to move on.  Thin Lizzy bridged the gap by providing substance without losing its sheen or bite.  And Phil Lynott was a mixed race bassist and singer who didn’t look like the quintessential rock star.  What more could Danko ask for? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACKFRAGILE ROCK-“Smile More” Tiny Desk Family Hour (March 12, 2019).

These next two shows were recorded at NPR’s SXSW Showcase.

The SXSW Music Festival is pleased to announce the first-ever Tiny Desk Family Hour showcase, an evening of music by artists who have played NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert, at Central Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, March 12 from 8-11pm.

It’s hard to talk seriously about Fragile Rock since they are a band of puppets.  Literally.

To say that Fragile Rock sent the evening hurtling sideways would be an understatement, as the band unleashed a torrent of faux-grim hilarity and chaos when it wasn’t urging the audience to shout out its prescribed antidepressants or berating fans for grinning along. (“We don’t appreciate your smiles,” seethed Brently Heilbron, in the persona of wounded frontpuppet Milo S. “You wouldn’t do that to Conor Oberst.”

And yet they are a good punk band and their lyrics have become even more pointed.  Especially this one.  They explain:

This is a song that Nick and I wrote reflecting on the #metoo and #timesup movements (that’s right lady in the back snapping your fingers you are correct).

This is a great punk blast and frankly it’s nice to hear a song sung by the female vocalists instead of the Fred Schneider-sounding male lead singer.

For “Smile More,” the spotlight shifted to Emily Cawood (performing as Briex Cocteau) and Megan Thornton (aka Nic Hole), who spent two minutes savaging the patriarchy. “Don’t tell me to smile more, don’t tell me what my mouth is for, from a man who started every war,” Thornton and her puppet shouted in unison. And, see, here’s the secret to Fragile Rock’s raucous, ridiculous charm: Subtract the puppets, the stage antics and the silliness of all, and you’re still left with some pretty damned good songs.

And nice succinct lyrics:

You could have had it all
You blew it didn’t you
I’m gonna watch you fall and
Never ever pity you
You’re purposeless
Your license is expired
Your services are no longer required

Your time has come and gone….time’s up!

All in two minutes.

[READ: March 14, 2019] Florida

When I started reading this book, I instantly remembered reading “Ghosts and Empties” in the New Yorker.  I assumed and was pleased that this was a full novel built out of that story.  Why?  Because nowhere on this book does it say that these are short stories.   Not on the cover, not on the front page, nor the back page.  It’s somewhere on the fly leaf, but since Groff also writes novels, it’s a bit of an oddity to not say “stories” somewhere on it.  I looked at the Table of Contents, obviously, but just assumed those where chapter headings.

I was exited to read the fuller story of the woman who walks at night.  And then I found out that the next “chapter” was a new story.  It turned out to be a fantastic story.  So that’s all good.  I don’t mind reading short stories at all, it was just a surprise.

It also turned out that I have read five of these short stores before (she is often printed in the New Yorker–the other stories were in different journals which I put in brackets after each title).

“Ghosts and Empties” (New Yorker, July 20, 2015)
I see now that I didn’t really enjoy this story the first time I read it (and yet it stayed with me all these years).  But I did enjoy it more this time (I still find it unsatisfying that the opening parental freakout part is never really addressed).  But basically this is a story in which woman walks around her neighborhood every night and observes things changing–for better or worse.  Old nuns dying, new houses being built, neighbors changing.  All in the heat of Florida. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 20, 2018] Judas Priest

Judas Priest was one of my favorite bands when I was a kid.  I remember being very excited when Screaming for Vengeance came out.  I even liked Turbo (“Turbo Lover” may be a terrible song but it is sure catchy).  But then by 1988 I had stopped listening to them, thinking that they’d gone all synth.  I moved on from JP to more heavy music, but I returned to JP’s earlier more progressive-sounding rock quite a lot.  Which means I missed the outstanding “Painkiller” and the whole “Ripper” Owens period.

I even saw Rob Halford live with his band Halford in 200o (opening for Queensryche and Iron Maiden).  I decided I wanted to see this essential childhood band especially since they had a new album out that had gotten decent buzz.  I knew it wasn’t all the original members.  Bassist Ian Hill was still there with Halford.

The drummer Dave Holland was replaced by current drummed Scott Travis in 1989, so he’s a veteran of the band.

Original guitar maniac K.K. Downing left in 2011 and his replacement Richie Faulkner has been accepted into the Priest fold.

And then there was Glenn Tipton, the other original member and part of the twin guitar attack.

So 3/5 original members is pretty good for a band that started in the mid 1970s.  Then Tipton revealed that he had Parkinson’s and would not be touring with the band.  Ouch.  I wondered if it was still worth gong, and I was soundly criticized for doubting the Beast which is Priest.  He was replaced by their engineer Andy Sneap. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 20, 2018] Black Star Riders

I had not heard of Black Star riders before this show.  My friend Nick told me that they were involved with Thin Lizzy in some capacity.  I really like Thin Lizzy, so I was intrigued by that aspect.  Although I didn’t quite understand  the connection, I assumed it was the original members plus a new singer.  I have just looked at the timeline of Thin Lizzy members and trying to figure out what an original member would be is a futile gesture.

Scott Gorham who is in Black Star Riders joined Thin Lizzy in 1974 (after the band had released three albums) and has been with them ever since.  Thin Lizzy broke up in 1983 (Phil Lynott, singer, bass player and primary songwriter died in 1986–I always assumed they broke up because he died).  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 3, 2017] Belle and Sebastian

Sarah and I saw Belle and Sebastian back in 2015 at Radio City Music Hall.  The show was great and we had a really fun time.  I knew we’d enjoy seeing them again, so I was surprised and pleased to see that they were playing the Mann Center (even if I said we wouldn’t go back and this was now show number three).

The venue was perfect for the band, and Stuart at least seemed to really appreciate the sound and warmth of the shell.  Astonishingly, the show was nowhere near sold out.  One of the guards told me they’d barely sold 3,000 tickets.  What the hell?   That explains how I was able to get row R or whatever we had.

So the band had no new album to promote (although they did recently release a new song).  I wondered what they’d be playing and if it would be basically the same show as last time. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 9, 2014] Dead Daisies

daisiesTwo years ago, I went to see Kiss in Scranton.  I had seen them a few times by then, and since Paul’s voice sounded pretty bad, I didn’t think I’d go again.  But I love hanging out with my friend Matt and don’t get to see him enough, so when he invited me up for this year’s extravaganza, I decided what the hell.  And it turned out to be a very good show indeed.

The first opening act was a band called Dead Daisies.  Last time, they had an opening act that I didn’t investigate at all.  But this year, I had my phone out and figured that Dead Daisies was a local Scranton band, and I’d see if I could find anything about them.

Well, it turns out that Dead Daisies is from Australia and that the lead singer, Jon Stevens, was the guy who sang for INXS after Michael Hutchence killed himself (but before they did the reality show to find a new singer).  I never heard INXS in that version, but the way he was singing for this band, I can’t even begin to imagine him as a good fit.  Because he has a big old powerful voice and sings in a very un-Hutchence way.

When they first came out I was kind of unimpressed.  The first song sounded a ton like AC/DC.  And the second song sounded like Bad Company.  As it turns out the band is a kind of retro rock band, with connections to Guns N Roses (guitarist Richard Fortus has played with GnR and Dizzy Reed plays keyboards for GnR).  And it turns out that Slash co-wrote their song “Lock ‘n’ Load.”  The other guys in the band are Marco Mendoza on bass (he’s played with Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and many others) and David Lowy on guitar.  (more…)

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torSOUNDTRACK: THE KIDS-“Forelska i lærer’n” & “Norske Jenter” (1980).

kids2 The Kids are a Norwegian band that was mentioned in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s story yesterday.  He is pretty disparaging of them as they were hugely popular when he was in school (and he liked other bands).  They sing in Norwegian and are quite poppy.

“Norske jenter” is the poppier of the two.  It’s pretty synthy, with a super catchy melody and chorus.  It seems just shy of being a sleek pop hit, but I can imagine that a band singing in your native tongue would fair well even without super slick packaging.

Of course, having said that, “Forelska i lærer’n” is nothing if not slick–check out these guys with their super blond hair.  Actually the video is pretty funny and with a name like “In love with the teacher,” it is quite a different subject than I expected).  I love the way they designed the teacher.  And that wink is fantastic.  If only the lead singer could act a little better.  kidsThe song is kind of a heavy classic rock sound–maybe a poppier version of Thin Lizzy (those guitar solos are very Thin Lizzy).  I’m of course very curious what the lyrics are.

I found two videos on YouTube (and apparently there are some more recent live songs)

Norske jenter: There’s no visuals in this video, just music:

But the video for “Forelska i lærer’n” is here in all of its glory–it looks much more modern than 1980.  The self pogoing at the end is fantastic.

[READ: June 15, 2014] Replacement

I found out about this book from Karl Ove Knausgaard, who claims that it is the best Norwegian novel ever written (he also has a quote on the back of the book).  I had never heard of Tor Ulven before.  It turns out that he has written mostly poetry.  And then he wrote a few prose-like poems and then this novel called Avløsning in Norwegian.  And then he killed himself.

This book was translated by Kerri A. Pierce and it has an afterword by Stig Sæterbakken.  And literally that is all I can tell you about the book for certain.

Why?  Because the back of the book and the afterword actually differ about what they say is happening in the story.  To a pretty intense degree.  The back of the book says that “the perspectives of unrelated characters are united into what seems a single narrative voice: each personality directing the book in turn.”  Whereas Stig makes the case that the book is all one narrator at different points in his life.

And why can’t you tell?  Because there seems to be different perspectives (all by men), and yet no one is named.  And then there’s the fact that some of the book is written in second person, while the rest is in the third person–this suggest at least two narrators, and yet it could also be a flashback.  There are at least four different time settings and seemingly different people.  There’s an old man in a wheelchair, there’s a security guard, there’s a taxi driver (I think).  There’s a guy who likes to list things, there’s another guy who thinks parenthetical thoughts.  And there’s an intense obsession with “her,” a woman who doesn’t seem fictional but is certainly mythical.

And what happens?  Well, nothing. (more…)

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