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December 30, 2011

THE GARY PIG GOLD REPORT, Vol. 44

TEN REASONS TO NOW REVISIT TWO NEWLY AVAILABLE JIMI HENDRIX GEMS

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While there never seems to have been any let-up whatsoever over the past four decades bringing out "new" Jimi Hendrix product, two 2011 releases of vintage live material prove the exception to the rule:

1. These original live recordings — totaling 47 tracks over five-plus hours — have previously been semi-available only on long-out-of-print releases (not counting quite inferior-sounding bootlegs), and in the case of the Winterland performances, now features three full discs of additional material.

2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, celebrating both its second anniversary together and the release of its landmark new Electric Ladyland, filled San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom for three nights running in October 1968. Understandably, after over a solid year on the road, the trio sounds a bit frazzled at points, often struggling to keep both in time and in tune …and not just with one another, either. Still, the passages of sheer magic, power and true resplendence (e.g.: a downright incendiary "Foxey Lady" on Winterland disc 1) much more than outnumber the odd lyrical or even musical clam.

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3. Meanwhile over with Hendrix in the West, the five additional tracks never heard on its long-ago-killed-by-litigation vinyl edition include a 10-minute "Spanish Castle Magic," which not only interlopes "Sunshine of Your Love" but even lets the late, extremely great Mitch Mitchell indulge in the kind of tasteful drum solo Ginger Baker only rarely seemed capable of. Plus, original West favorites "Red House" (in what many believe to be its definitive reading), a semi-funk afternoon soundcheck "Blue Suede Shoes" and even "God Save the Queen"/"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" from the Isle of Wight remain intact and are still guaranteed to raise a smile.

4. The vast majority of these Winterland and West remote recordings were made by the ingenious Wally Heider who, despite the obvious limitations inherent in late-1960s technology, battled above and beyond the call of duty to completely capture a band as LOUD and, um, unpredictable as Jimi's Experience.

5. Nevertheless, onstage equipment gremlins abound throughout the Winterland gigs, especially: "Like a Rolling Stone," for example, is prefaced with the warning "I hate to say it, but I just developed about six more broken speakers. So, we'll see what happens," while minutes later an increasingly frustrated Hendrix can be heard muttering "I think I got about four speakers left and about three more valve tubes. And Mitch, he's on his third pair of arms, but …hell, I don't give a damn. Let's play it!"

6. Ever the showman though, Hendrix instructs one technician, "Hey man, give me some real groovy lights. Damn, I'm gonna look like Lena Horne at least!" before tearing into a picture-perfect "Star Spangled Banner" (with the explanation, "You get tired of playing notes sometimes so you get close to playing exactly what you call a true feeling. It's really lost souls in frustration, it seems like to me. We'll see if we can get this feeling across to you..." Cue a brief excerpt from the Bonanza theme at 2:47 in).

7. Although Experience bassist Noel Redding's much-needed backup vocals (on "Fire" especially) don't seem to have made it onto tape until the May 1969 In the West performances, he does manage to more than pull off a ferociously fuzzed bass solo midway through night number one at Winterland. A few minutes later, however, Jefferson Airplane's Jack Casady, for some reason, replaces him on the Fender Jazz. Then the next night, Virgil Gonsalves from Buddy Miles' band steps up during "Are You Experienced?" with some utterly "6 Was 9" flute flourishes, I kid you not.

8. But the indisputable star throughout was, is and shall forever remain Hendrix himself, it should go without saying, who does things with and to his six strings that guitarists are still at a loss to explain, let alone emulate. Enough said.

9. Bonus points must here be awarded to the Winterland bonus disc, which includes a very revealing backstage interview from the Boston Garden prior to the Experience's appearance there on Nov. 16, 1968. Hendrix playfully disses Frank Zappa, Johnny "Guitar" Watson and others…but does make up for it by citing Muddy Waters, Eddie Cochran and Ritchie Valens (woah!) as formative influences.

10. And, if you just can't stop, Legacy Recordings also has just made available Jimi Hendrix: The Dick Cavett Show on DVD, a complete compendium of Hendrix's 1969 appearances on the thinking man's Tonight Show. Although Cavett manages to get through both his interviews with Hendrix without once mentioning Groucho Marx, he seems only marginally more convinced than fellow guest Robert "Marcus Welby" Young that the Hendrix "Star Spangled Banner" is as "beautiful" as our hero insists it is. Your ears, of course, know better.

Musician/writer Gary Pig Gold is the co-founder of the To M'Lou Music label.

December 29, 2011

THE YEAR THAT WAS: 2011

Indie musicians look back — and ahead

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Almost getting arrested for a raucous, early morning snowball fight in New York City. Fearing a premature death while staying at a New Jersey motel. Driving for miles in the midwest, delirious from a gig and oblivious to a dragging muffler. Allowing a rhythmically challenged drunk woman to guest on percussion.

It certainly wasn't a dull year for Echogram (above), The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, i am Love and Nathan Mathes, who are among the independent bands and musicians offering their memories (music-related and otherwise) of 2011, plus predictions for 2012.

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* "Our best memories of 2011 are a little hazy, but there were some fine times had making "Recession Girls." We didn't learn any important lessons this year, so we feel it’s premature to make resolutions. But in 2012, we’re hoping to pull in at least $50 million by the end of the fiscal year." — Bryce Aubrey and Kevin Corcoran of Oy Vey


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* "My prediction for this upcoming year: Goodbye, Lady Gaga...hello, Lucas — and hopefully a Josh Groban/Justin Bieber collab is in the works." — Lucas Field


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* "In 2011, we shot three music videos, toured to SXSW, learned a lot about ourselves. In 2012, we anticipate the release of our next album — and enlightenment." — Matthew Dunehoo of Baby Teardrops


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* "Going on tour in Italy to play in strange places and eat some fantastic food. Our GPS had the funniest pronunciations of Italian streets and places, which always cracked us up. Playing in the U.K. for mostly ecstatic crowds. Finishing the album, after an endless year of recording/mixing. No lessons learned here, either; I keep making the same mistakes over and over. However, I will keep writing better/more relevant/emotional songs in the future." — André Brorsson of Stars in Coma


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* "I think our best achievement this year is the video [for 'Conspiracy']. From original concept to final execution, I think we got it just right.

"Probably the most fun memory from 2011 is nearly getting arrested in New York for a snowball fight! It was 2 a.m. on a Saturday night, we had just left an Irish bar, the streets were blanketed in snow and one thing led to another...the cop who spoke to us said he'd got 10 calls about us because of all the noise we were making! We couldn't help ourselves; snow is a novelty in Ireland.

"I don't know if we have any specific resolutions or predictions for the new year, but I do think 2012 is going to be a big year for us though." Killian Pettit of Echogram


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* "My fondest 2011 memory was the 3,000-mile, seven-day, 12-person tour with The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, Golden Bloom and Neutral Uke Hotel all piled in a single van. We only stayed in one motel — in New Jersey — that we expected to be killed at, and we didn't even find a single blanket spotted with a questionable brownish color (which happened the previous year). I look forward to get a bunch of new songs done in 2012 before the world ends." — Michael J. Epstein of The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library


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* "For Lachi & Meridian Gold, 2011 has been a milestone — in this year, I'd gone from just Lachi to Lachi & Meridian Gold! We released our pop single 'Bug Out' with a very fun, acclaimed music video, as well as putting together and conquering a very successful South Atlantic tour and Kickstarter campaign. We released the single 'Such a Fool,' and earlier this year, I released 'Time Heels' for a Japan relief effort. So yes, it's been an awesome, great year in music for us!” — Lachi


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* "We released our albums The Quickening and The Quickening B-Sides — these, along with the video for the song 'It's Then You’ll Know,' helped really put us on the radar. We played our first festival, got our first print review, our first film placement and launched [our own] iPhone app. It was an awesome year! Our prediction for 2012: [an] even more amazing [year] than 2011." — The Morning Birds


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* "This year, our bass player, Robbi, totaled the van against one of the main city police buildings. Nobody got hurt, but insurance didn't pay for a new one … next year’s resolution: renting vans, everyone but Robbi driving." — Sandro Amabili of Forty Winks


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* "2011 was the year that The Valery Trails conquered the tyranny of distance and managed to record our debut album, Ghosts and Gravity, coordinating recording sessions in Texas and Australia, and mixing in New Zealand. We'll be releasing it in 2012, and our resolution is to figure out how to get all band members on one continent at the same time so we can play a show." — Singer/guitarist Andrew Bower


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* "Favorite musical memory from the past year: allowing a drunken lady named Candi to play shaker on a song at a show of mine at a local bar. Her timing was terrible, and we weren't together on a single beat the entire song, but the bar was so noisy and the patrons so uninterested that it really made no difference.

"Biggest accomplishment of the past year: having some of my songs featured on the MTV reality shows Chelsea Settles and Friendzone. It's a great feeling knowing that my music may play a small role in determining whether or not Chelsea loses weight, and whether or not those couples who were introduced to each other on Friendzone have long, happy, meaningful lives together.

"New Year's resolution: to somehow become part of the 1 percent. New Year's prediction: I will not become part of the 1 percent." — Nathan Mathes


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* "We'll remember 2011 as the year we released our album stateside and toured Europe. Next year we're all going to learn to speak German fluently, so when the police stop us again demanding to see the drugs, we can protest our innocence more convincingly. There'll be new singles in 2012, too, which we can't wait to get out to people." — Spring Offensive


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"Gangstagrass had a hell of a year. The Justified season 1 DVD came out and included a music video for our track 'Long Hard Times to Come,' the show's theme song, as a bonus feature. Season 2 of Justified brought in more fans, and was more popular than season 1! But the most enjoyable part of the year was getting to dive in on making a new Gangstagrass album and explore new places to take our sound. Some of the new tracks in production took me by surprise with their sudden awesomeness. I can't wait for 2012 when we unleash this new batch on the world." — Rench


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* "For I am Love, the completion of our debut EP is one of the most exciting things for us, but 2011 held so many memorable moments since it's the year that gave birth to us as a band. We also had our first tour covering 10 states in 24 days. Unforgettably on that tour we played a late night gig in Detroit, then drove through the night to open a street festival in Milwaukee. On the ride the muffler on our van fell off — too delirious to notice, we drove half of the trip with it dragging on the road. In 2012, we hope to bang out a full-length and see most of North America — or have most of north America see us, I should say!" — Joshua Christopher


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* "Aside from finishing a couple albums of my own work with Silverhawk and my solo stuff, I really enjoyed being a part of all the CD releases and showcases I was involved in alongside the other artists whose albums I produced last year when I was operating the MastanMusic Studio in Portland, Oregon. It was also pretty cool to have the Silverhawk tune 'Rock n Roll Heart' placed in the Showtime TV show Shameless." — Singer Sam Densmore


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* "Through forgotten words and snapped strings, it's still been easy to survive because the joy I take from music is one I can't describe. And I'll do my best into 2012 to bring the world that joyful vibe." — Singer/songwriter David Goss


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* "Highlights of 2011 [included] completing licensing deals with five major companies, finding an
excellent press plugger and sealing a deal with the Animal Farm label to record and release four singles, with the first one to be released at the end of February. Between January and May, I will be gigging four nights a week, every week, all over the U.K. on a mammoth tour arranged by Animal Farm. It's gonna be a busy year. Bring it on!" — Franco of Franco and The Dreadnought

— Compiled by Chris M. Junior

December 21, 2011

GEORGE HENN'S TOP ALBUMS OF 2011

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1. Middle BrotherMiddle Brother (Partisan).
The principals aren't famous enough for this project to be called a supergroup, but the frontmen from Dawes, Deer Tick and The Delta Spirit turn in an inspired effort for a side project, and for the genre of indie folk there's a suprisingly loose vibe (see their cover of The Replacements' rarity "Portland").

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2. Social DistortionHard Times and Nursery Rhymes (Epitaph).
The latest interminable wait between Social D albums proved worthwhile, as the finished product sees Mike Ness & Co. finally breaking new ground (female backing vocalists!) on their most crisply produced disc yet.

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3. Fountains of WayneSky Full of Holes (Yep Roc). The band's fifth album finds it toning down the cheekiness, maturing (gulp) as songwriters and leaning more acoustically, perhaps making it the kind of disc Stacy's mom would probably buy.

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4. Black Joe Lewis and the HoneybearsScandalous (Lost Highway).
On its sophomore full-length, the good-time Austin, Texas-based combo hurls itself headlong into seedier blues/soul grooves.

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5. Hayes CarllKMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories) (Lost Highway).
The Texan singer/songwriter's aw-shucks delivery belies his ultra-sharp wit, and that combination makes the listener hang on his every phrase.

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6. Old 97'sThe Grand Theatre Vol. 2 (New West).
Alt-country stalwarts largely stick to their tried-and-true melodic twang formula but sound a bit rawer and edgier, and the result is another reliably fun ride.

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7. The JayhawksMockingbird Time (Rounder).
The roots-rock outfit's mid-'90s lineup reconvenes on a dozen shimmering tunes with rich arrangements, making the best case yet for not being pigeonholed with the "No Depression" set.

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8. RockpileLive at Montreaux 1980 (Eagle).
The short-lived power-pop/pub rock legends are captured in fine form at a boisterous, warts-and-all performance that puts the listener square in the middle of the crowd and might even result in tinnitus the next morning.

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9. Outside the BoxBridge (Schaeffer).
Precocious New Jersey quartet showcases a bevy of classic rock cornerstone influences on an impressive debut album that only hints at its considerable live chops.

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10. WilcoThe Whole Love (dBpm/Anti).
Ten years after Jeff Tweedy began revamping Wilco's lineup and musical mission, this disc strikes a fine balance between the band's latter-day progressive noodling and the more direct, melancholy narratives that have long been his hallmark.

December 19, 2011

MIKE MADDEN'S TOP ALBUMS OF 2011

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1. Nicole AtkinsMondo Amore (Razor & Tie).
Atkins and her backing band, The Black Sea, turn in an album that has a little bit of everything. Strong songwriting, tight rhythm section and catchy choruses make this her most complete effort to date.

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2. Deer Tick Divine Providence (Partisan Records).
Loose like The Replacements in their heyday, Deer Tick is an ever-evolving act that has put forth its most accessible album without crossing too far into the mainstream.

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3. DawesNothing Is Wrong (ATO Records).
An easygoing effort that truly highlights the California band's introspective, self-aware folk rock.

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4. My Morning JacketCircutial (ATO Records).
The band's sixth studio effort features less trickier arrangements and more straightforward roots rock.

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5. Foo FightersWasting Light (RCA Records). Easily their best album since 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose. It’s a full effort that hopefully is a sign of things to come for one of rock’s most revered acts.

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6. Black Joe Lewis and the HoneybearsScandalous (Lost Highway).
A dizzying barrage of rock and soul, all served up with punchy horns and fast-paced sweaty grooves.

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7. The Baseball ProjectVolume 2: High and Inside (Yep Roc Records).
The semi-supergroup featuring Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Peter Buck and Linda Pittmon proves that it’s not a novelty anymore. The band’s songs about the colorful figures and fandom of baseball are fun for fans and nonfans alike.

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8. Those DarlinsScrews Get Loose (Oh Wow Dang Records).
This four-piece from Tennessee use this album to change its sound to more garage rock. This approach toughens the sound up while proving that the girls are not cutesy anymore.

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9. Outside the BoxBridge (Schaeffer Records).
A promising first album from what may be the next breakout band from the Jersey Shore. Passionate power-pop with a wink toward Elvis Costello's sly wit.
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10. The Civil WarsBarton Hollow (Sensibility Music).
A haunting folk album that can be sparse at times, but it only serves to highlight lyrics that sound like an intimate conversation at times.

DONALD GAVRON'S TOP ALBUMS OF 2011

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1. Paul SimonSo Beautiful or So What (Hear Music).
Simon’s first album in five years is lyrically impressive and a delicious concoction of blues, gospel and bluegrass.

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2. BushSea of Memories (Entertainment One Music).
A triumphant return to form by the British rock/grunge act that dominated the ’90s music scene.

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3. TV on the RadioNine Types of Light (Interscope Records).
This Brooklyn, N.Y.-based band’s infusion of styles and willingness to risk has made them one of the more original groups in the past 10 years, and the beats and tape loop constructions are contagious without being narcissistic.

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4. Robbie RobertsonHow to Become Clairvoyant (429 Records).
A mystical and elegiac meditation on six decades of making music, Robertson’s tales on Clairvoyant are ones of wonderment and mystery, as he wanders old corridors of memories with guest musicians the caliber of Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton.

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5. RadioheadThe King of Limbs (TBD Records).
Not forgetting its root sound, this heady rock group is content to go a step or two (or 15) outside its comfort zone in order to reach new ground.

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6. The Smithereens2011 (Entertainment One Music).
A Beatles-esque brew of catchy pop songs anchors this veteran New Jersey rock band’s first album of new material of this millennium.

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7. Tori AmosNight of Hunters (Deutsche Grammophon).
For her ambitious debut on this well-known classical music label, Amos compiled songs from myriad sources covering the past several hundred years and infused them with her own unique sensibility.

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8. The FeeliesHere Before (Bar None Records).
The signature kings of subliminal rhythms have returned with a low-key vengeance, as this influential ’80s band offers some of the most distinct and infectious bridges in recent memory.

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9. Death Cab for CutieCodes and Keys (Atlantic).
Vertiginous music and lyrics by a band that pulls you in and dares you to let go. This time around, the quartet stretches its sound by concentrating less on guitars and more on percussion, keyboards and synth effects.

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10. Nikki KummerowFirecracker (self-released).
The Australian-born, Nashville, Tenn.-based singer/songwriter’s debut has yet to be picked up by a major label, and after listening to these sparkling little alt-rock gems, you have to wonder what’s wrong with the music industry.

HONORABLE MENTION

1. R.E.M.Collapse into Now (Warner Bros.)

2. The DecemberistsThe King Is Dead (Capitol)

3. The DrovesOut of Herself (Eastern Spurs)

4. Matthew SweetModern Art (EMI Music)

December 13, 2011

GOT HIS MOJO WORKIN'

Johnny Winter revisits blues and rock favorites for Roots

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Fifteen minutes — that's all the time it took for Johnny Winter to select the songs for his first studio album in seven years, according to producer/guitarist Paul Nelson.

"Once I told him the concept," Nelson explains, "that I wanted him to do a roots album, it was like, 'Johnny, name an artist.' 'Chuck Berry.' 'OK, what influenced you?' 'Maybellene.' It was like that."

The end result is the aptly named Roots (Megaforce Records). The 11-track album not only highlights Winter's personal influences, but it also provides a fresh take on early blues and rock 'n' roll.

"They were just some of my favorites," says the soft-spoken Winter from a tour stop in Germany. "There were a lot more, though. But these were all favorite songs of mine when I first started playing guitar."

Prior to recording Roots, Nelson assigned homework to the members of Winter's band: Listen to the original version of each song, then check out the second-generation version — and learn how to play both. That was done so everyone would be on the same page as Winter and prepared for his input.

"This improved everyone's playing, groove and thinking," Nelson says.

Roots also has its share of big-name guests. Among the A-listers making contributions are Vince Gill (who pops up on a countrified version of "Maybellene"), Blues Traveler's John Popper (who plays harmonica on a rendition of Little Walter's "Last Night") and Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks (whose dirty slide playing punctuates the Robert Johnson tune "Dust My Broom").

But from the start, Nelson was very careful about making sure the guest spots were complementary to Winter and the material.

"We didn't want the songs to be these big guitar-soloing things," Nelson says. "We still wanted them to be songs with back-to-back solos, two eight-bar solos each, and then out."

Once the rhythm tracks were recorded, Nelson forwarded them to the special guests so they could add their parts. The recordings also included Winter’s lead vocals — which were the first and only takes, Nelson points out — allowing the guests to do their thing around the singing.

After the guest parts were done, Nelson made changes to the arrangements, depending on how simple or busy the solos were, so that every song would sound as though everybody had recorded together at the same time.

Winter and Nelson are already thinking about doing a second volume of Roots, complete with a new batch of famous guests.

"This is great for Johnny," Nelson says, "and it's great for blues."

— By Chris M. Junior

Johnny Winter on tour (schedule subject to change):

* Dec. 15: Stanhope House — Stanhope, N.J.

* Dec. 16: New Hope Winery — New Hope, Pa.

* Dec. 18: Trinity on Main — New Britain, Conn.

* Dec. 30: Narrows Center for the Arts — Fall River, Mass.

* Jan. 3: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill — New York

* Jan. 7, 8: Rams Head On Stage — Annapolis, Md.

* Jan. 10: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill — New York

* Jan. 13: Infinity Hall — Norfolk, Conn.

* Jan. 14: Empire State Plaza Convention Center — Albany, N.Y.

December 09, 2011

FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Grip Weeds release album of fresh and familiar Christmas songs

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Kurt Reil of The Grip Weeds knows this much: No matter how one chooses to classify his New Jersey band's sound — "power-pop, psychedelic rock, whatever you want to call it" — there isn't a lot of Christmas music that falls into the same category.

So with the goal of filling that void, Reil and company recorded the recently released Under the Influence of Christmas. And just like wrapping presents properly or decorating the tree, putting the album together was not done in a hurry.

It all started a few years ago with "Christmas, Bring Us."

"That was a song that I started around the holidays and I didn't get it done, so the next holiday I picked it up again and went a little further," Reil remembers. "The next holiday, I picked it up again … and then eventually we finished it off and recorded it, and it was just kind of out there on its own for a while.

"It was a like a song without a home; I think it was on a compilation first," the singer/drummer adds. "And there's always that thought that we should do more holiday songs and give 'Christmas, Bring Us' a home."

What came next was "Christmas Dream," which Reil says he wrote in 2010 on New Year's Eve and actually performed that same night at a party. Recording it, though — along with the rest of the material included Under the Influence of Christmas — took place during the summer.

"Putting ourselves into the holiday spirit wasn't really too tough because the songs kind of get you there," Reil says. "When you're in the studio, you don't see the outside, and you don't see the weather. You could be working on any type of music, really. It's just a matter of losing yourself in the music, and in this case, it was a concept album about Christmas. So that's really what our job as recording musicians is — to get lost into whatever music we’re doing and find the magic to make that song really do something special."

Filling what they thought was a Christmas music void wasn't the only goal The Grip Weeds wanted to accomplish with Under the Influence of Christmas. In what Reil says was a first for them, The Grip Weeds compiled a wish list of guest musicians they wanted to work with — and ultimately succeeded at bringing in some very familiar names.

Fellow Jerseyans Pat DiNizio and Jim Babjak from The Smithereens can be heard on The Grip Weeds' version of The Pretenders' "2000 Miles."

"I just heard Pat singing, and I heard Jim's power chords — sort of a Smithereens approach," Reil says. "The way I want to hear '2000 Miles' with us playing it, I just gotta hear Pat on the bridge. That came together so easily. It was one of those things where the concept you have in your head of how a song is going to sound gets equaled by the actual reality of the recording."

Mark Lindsay, best known for his work with Paul Revere and the Raiders, sings "Santa Make Me Good," which Reil wrote last year with guitarist Kristin Pinell.

"[We] got into the mind of the guy who sang 'Hungry' and 'Kicks' and all of those songs that have a real swagger and attitude," Reil says. "So we wrote the lyrics for 'Santa Make Me Good' from the standpoint of that swagger, that guy."

Another 1960s veteran, George Cameron from The Left Banke, sings harmony vocals on "For the Holidays," another Grip Weeds original.

"It just so happens that my brother Rick [who plays guitar in The Grip Weeds] started backing up those guys and sitting in on drums for the reunion of the Left Banke," Reil says. "So it was kind of a natural thing; you're now kind of buddies with these guys, [so] see if they want to do it.

"We happened to have this one track that lends itself toward a Left Banke-ish, more baroque-pop sound. George was totally up for doing it. I'm very proud of that song because it has a lot meaning for me personally, and it just has a lot of depth lyrically that maybe your average Christmas song wouldn't have."

— By Chris M. Junior

December 02, 2011

THE GARY PIG GOLD REPORT, Vol. 43

IGGY, IN THE HANDS OF THE FANS

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As the opening credits of this grand new MVD Visual DVD state, "On September 3, 2010, Iggy and the Stooges performed Raw Power live in Monticello, New York. Six fans filmed the concert and interviewed Iggy and the Stooges after the show."

Really, then! A concept so crystalline in both its simplicity and beauty — much like Iggy Pop himself. But the result is mountains above and beyond the ultimate DIY epic for Generation YouTube: What we have here is a real-time and, of course, real LOUD (thanks in no small part to the work of audio recordist Max Bisgrove) down 'n' dirty antidote to all those precious Jonathan Demme-style concert films regularly being awarded art-house praises and prizes.

Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans is, in fact, with all apologies to The TAMI Show, the best on-screen rendering of rock 'n' roll I have ever seen.

First off, we introduce the six esteemed camera (wo)men/filmmakers themselves: Nick Esposito, surrounded by Stoogephelia galore inside his very own fun house; Edwin Samuelson, who has seen the Stooges six times in concert (and jumped on stage with them four of those six times); Stephen Schmidt, who describes himself as "somewhere between a Stooges fan and a Stooges historian"; Britt Clardy, a 23-year-old film student from Denton, Texas, who looks all the world to be a long-lost refugee from Blue Cheer; Amy Verdon, pacing excitedly amongst her most impressive indeed floor-to-ceiling record collection; and Matt Goldman, curious to know exactly what happened after each original Raw Power master was faded out on its initial vinyl release.

Then we're cut straight to, in bassist Mike Watt's words, the small borscht-belt town of Monticello and a pad called Kutsher's for this 70-minute concert rendition of Raw Power and then some, which is both furious and fabulous in both its, well, power and rawness. I mean, what else can one expect from a set list that kicks completely off with "Raw Power," "Search and Destroy," "Gimme Danger" and then "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell," I ask you?!

Next, though, things get even more raw as Pop invites the audience — that is, as many as the startled security staff will allow — to join his Stooges onstage for "Shake Appeal" (I wonder if Samuelson made it this time?). The accompanying mosh-eye view offers all the unmistakable cinematic aesthetics of OWS police footage …that is, until Mr. Pop asks "the talented and personable New York State dancers" to exit at song's end (and, in true New York State fashion, few oblige).

It should be noted however that Pop doesn't return the favor by leaping off the stage, in his own inimitable way, until 20 seconds into "Death Trip." But by then we've already been treated to a deliciously cheesy/sleazy rendition of "I Need Somebody," which would not sound one inch out of place in that peeler bar a block behind your local bus station. James Williamson's trademark teeth-pulling guitar work reaches all new depths of delight on both this and the Sun Ra-by-way-of Mothers of Invention "Night Theme," which follows Pop’s refreshing mid-"1970 (I Feel Alright)" Evian water bath. P.S.: Special mention must be made here to accompanying saxman-in-the-shadows Steve Mackay for helping keep things alive and honking.

"Beyond the Law," "I Got a Right," "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and an encore "Fun House," wherein Pop delivers "a message to heaven; to James Brown: Hey James? Lemme in!, and quicker than it all started there's just "No Fun" left for the good citizens of Monticello.

But we the viewer still have 44 minutes of post-gig interviews with Pop, Williamson and Scott Asheton to enjoy, during which we discover the "template" for "Death Trip" was none other than Frankie Ford's 1959 hit "Sea Cruise" … not to mention Mr. Goldman learning all about those notorious fadeouts, too.

It must go without even saying that Raw Power, to say nothing of Iggy Pop himself, seems to have aged not one iota since those g(l)ory days of '73. But what is surprising is just how perfectly this film captures every grunt, howl and lambaste of the original's pointed purpose, doing both the landmark album and its creators more than proud. Director/editors Joey Carey and Luis Valdes should immediately be awarded a trunkful of Oscars for their work, I do say.

So grab and watch Raw Power Live immediately, I do implore, and help make it the Yuletide standard it so very richly deserves to be.

Musician/writer Gary Pig Gold is the co-founder of the To M’Lou Music label.