Friday, March 19, 2021

Beeswing

 


Richard Thompson has done what he swore he wouldn't do and that's write about (part of) his life as a working musician:

Richard Thompson came of age at an extraordinary moment in British culture. It was 1967 and popular music was reflecting a wide range of influences. In the midst of this musical awakening, eighteen-year-old guitarist Thompson co-founded legendary folk rock group Fairport Convention and helped them to invent a new genre of music.

Going back to his childhood and reflecting on his heady period of personal creative intensity, Thompson details life on the road, his relationship with bandmate Sandy Denny, playing alongside Jimi Hendrix and Nick Drake, a devastating car crash, his partnership with his ex-wife Linda and his personal, spiritual journey from esoteric bookshops to extraordinary meetings with saints in Morocco.

Beeswing is the intimate memoir of a British musical legend.

Richard Thompson is a world-renowned singer, songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work in the folk rock group Fairport Convention. Rolling Stone named him as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time. Thompson has received lifetime achievement awards for songwriting on both sides of the Atlantic and is the recipient of an Ivor Novello Award. He was awarded an OBE in 2011. He continues to write and record new material and frequently performs live at venues throughout the world.

One thing I did not know is that he has lived in Montclair, New Jersey for years. No wonder he makes so many swings through the Northeast! Every time he comes through my part of the world, I regret not being able to see him play live.

Thompson specifically did not write about his final tour with Linda Thompson and it is not likely that he will. In fact, this might be the only book he writes about himself.
 


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Wolfgang Van Halen

 


One of the things I learned years ago was that Eddie Van Halen had some quirks about him. He suffered from health issues and he made his own way through life and through music. Sammy Hagar told a lot of stories that he's probably being forced to quietly forget but who knows? These guys made a lot of money and a lot of music together. Nothing I was ever interested in.

It seems to me that Wolfgang Van Halen is mourning his father and needs some help. He needs the help that his father's peers could probably give him. The music industry? No, he does not need help from the business side of things. And then there are the people involved in the making of guitars. I am hoping those people reach out to the kid and give him the support and help he needs.

Everyone grieves in their own way, so the world should cut Wolfgang some slack. It would be easy to joke around and point out that no one wants to be subjected to the emotional push and pull of someone who can't figure out how they want to honor their famous dad. There's an uncle sitting on the drum set right behind him and I don't know that I've even heard anything from Alex Van Halen, other than this note about how Michael Anthony is doing exactly what you'd expect someone to do in this instance, which is step up and be a man

The right response here is understanding and support. I hope the people in Wolfgang's life are giving him that.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Wolf Alice

 


This is one of those bands that I love rooting for:

There’s something about third albums that seems to spur bands on to become quintessentially themselves. Primal Scream’s 1991 opus ‘Screamadelica’ saw the Scottish band ditch indie rock for the pills and thrills of the dancefloor, while The Clash honed their politicised punk and melting pot of influences to craft 1979’s seminal ‘London Calling’. And just last year Haimreturned with ‘Women In Music Pt. III’, their most experimental and emotional work yet, an album that feels like a full realisation of their sound.

Now, with ‘Blue Weekend’, it’s Wolf Alice’s turn to add their name to that lineage. The follow-up to 2017’s Mercury Prize-winning ‘Visions Of A Life’ is the London band’s best yet: coolly confident, rich in stories about life and love; it’s an unpredictable-yet-cohesive adventure through sounds and styles. Perhaps it’s the result of the four-piece’s comfort in knowing that, after two albums’ worth of touring, there’s a fanbase waiting eagerly for their return.

We really don't live in a world of albums anymore. What we're talking about it irrelevant as it relates to how the music industry works right now. Wolf Alice have put out two great, great albums but they have been a live music fixture for a long time, relatively speaking, and pull it off better than their peers right now. If we were living in another era, you'd already have five records in the bin and they'd be signing to a larger label or in the process of calling it a day. 

This is a band that has been a foursome since 2012. You could fit entire careers inside of the period of their existence. The fact that we're tracking their output by looking at albums is secondary to the fact that they have developed into a solid unit. 

When they say there aren't any great bands anymore and rock and roll is dead, Wolf Alice is the best way to refute that. I am hoping they get to stay around a while and keep making music.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Banjo Player Needed, Will Consider a Mardy Bum

 


I didn't even get a chance to write about some other idiot doing something stupid before this happened:

The shit really hit the fan a few days ago, though, when bandmember Marshall WinstonWinston Marshall tweeted at Ngo in praise of his agitprop fanfic: “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.” But where Peterson’s Randian self-help schtick seems more like an elaborate performance art joke, Ngo’s weird fantasies of a great, black-clad Army of the Left, particularly in the context of the January 6th Insurrection, are far more dangerous.

The backlash directed at Marshall was immediate and voluminous, and led to this morning’s announcement that he’d be stepping away from the band, in which he said “I have offended not only a lot of people I don’t know, but also those closest to me, including my bandmates.” Clearly, Mumford’s other sons were not happy.

The band's praise of right-wing failson Jordan Peterson should have tipped everyone off that there is clearly a streak of evil running through Mumford & Sons that otherwise wouldn't have shown up if Marshall wasn't intent on embracing garbage like Andy Ngo.

Looking at what happened, you get the sense that he triggered a vehement response from the band and from management. There's no throwing him out, no lifetime ban. He's going to "step away from the band" and give everyone a chance to duck down while the social media shitstorm flies overhead? You step away when there's a likely chance that you'll be resuming your role as lead banjo player when it's time to tour again and make some money. There is (I'm guessing) a clause in the band's agreement with one another that says that if a key member leaves, it's either time to disband or pay someone off and they don't want to do that right now, especially when there's no touring or performing revenue.

Let's not end this by saying that Marshall can't have conservative or Tory or whatever views. He is free to think, say, and believe whatever he wants. He can praise Ngo every day if he likes. The problem is, if he embraces authoritarian-leaning, hateful ideology, the fans of Mumford & Sons are also free to cancel the entire extended enterprise from their lives as well. People have walked away from Morrissey for a lot less.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Mumford & Sons Needs a New Banjo Player

 


This is the intersection of everything in our culture that is stupid. Here you have Winston Marshall, aka, some banjo playing twat in Mumford & Sons endorsing a book by serial fabulist and white nationalist supporter Andy Ngo.

You can't find anyone dumber than these two. You can't miss making your mark on the culture better than this. It's like the perfect combination of being blissfully ignorant and wantonly stupid in public.

There are lots of banjo players out there, when you think about it, and I never do.

Friday, March 5, 2021

You Have to Save Yourselves

 


Music venues around the world are struggling because of COVID-19. We are on the cusp of getting through this but we need to hang on and get everyone vaccinated. That means that we must be ready to support small business, continue to wear masks and keep ourselves socially distant.  This is true in America and Britain and everywhere else. 

Here, in the States, we have initiatives that are working through Congress that will push vaccinations and support the small businesses that are struggling. That's the proper role of government. In Britain, the government has said eh, fuck it to playing a proper role and they're going to let the music industry dry up and evaporate because the Tories don't give a shit.

Liam Gallagher is doing what he can, but he can't save everyone:

Liam Gallagher has teamed up with Glasgow venue The Priory to help it raise vital venue-saving funds.

The former Oasis frontman has donated a number of items to a special prize draw, which is aiming to raise money to help ensure the survival of the influential Scottish venue which has been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Before anyone says, it's the least he could do because he's rich, remember that nobody is making any money right now except for the vinyl records they sell and the eight bucks you get a year from now after Spotify plays your song a billion times. 

It should not be left to artists to save the venues but that's where we are. It should be a change in government policy and a grant of assistance that takes care of all the venues and businesses as well as reforms that make it so that Brexit doesn't bankrupt working musicians. 

I guess, at some point, everyone will have to leave the British Isles and relocate to America if they want to play live. That certainly seems like a possibility. Each and every artist now has to figure out how to save themselves. How did we get into this mess?

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Evan Dando, Live at Walgreens

 


Singer and songwriter Evan Dando is not on a nationwide tour of Walgreens but he is in the vicinity of Falmouth, Massachusetts and they just found his wallet so it's all good.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Marilyn Manson Has Been Getting Away With it For a Long Time

 


Brian Warner has been getting away with this sort of thing for years and it's time to admit that there is a massive problem here:

Bianca Allaine has joined the growing list of women who have accused Marilyn Manson of abuse. The actress claims that the shock rocker forcibly kissed her when she was 16 in 1995, and then engaged in a “terrifying” sexual relationship with her when she was 19. She also divulged that she had plans to speak with the FBI about her experiences.

Allaine, who has mostly acted in B-movies like Zombinatrix and Nightmare Next Door, told her story to The Sun, explicitly detailing a disturbing experience with the singer. “Marilyn Manson might be scary, but Brian Warner is the most terrifying person I’ve ever met in my life,” said Allaine, referencing the rocker’s real name. “He’s evil.

She added, “We were often never alone on the tour bus, and his fetish back then was to watch people have sex with me or do things to me. A lot of times I didn’t want to have sex with these guys, but he was like, ‘Please, please, I really need it, I need to see it.’ He would masturbate and if he didn’t finish he’d want to have sex with me afterwards, he would bite me so hard.

The actress continued, “I was like a little puppet that he would play with, I feel he used me, 100 percent, he didn’t care about me. It was like, ‘How low can I get someone to go to please me?’ That’s his M.O, he wants to degrade you. And he gets pleasure out of that. He’s a sadist.

If someone had done something in the early 1990s to stop Warner from abusing women, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. The music industry is designed to allow men to abuse women if that's what they are inclined to do and that was never more true when Warner was starting out. We are just now scratching the surface of all the shit that went on and it's sickening. 

You can be well assured that he had a manager and that person helped enable what was going on. Warner had a music label and they probably knew what was happening as well. He had publicists and tour managers and supporting musicians and all of them knew he was doing this shit and they did nothing about it, afraid to lose their cash cow. This guy was making money for people and they turned a blind eye to the fact that he was a criminal. The only difference between Warner and a guy in prison for sexual assault was the fake veneer of respectability that a music career gives to someone who gets off on hurting other human beings.

Everyone knew what he was and they were okay with it. That's the problem here. How many others are there? Who else was doing this? Because it wasn't just this asshole. It was an entire industry designed around permissive behavior.