So this Brazilian song sounds like a Stones song that has a completely different arrangement (and obviously Garcia singing in Brazilian is different than Jagger in English). What is that song? I’m blanking right now. But I’m sure in the morning we’ll all get it, unless it was on Metamorphosis.
When we figure it out I’ll post the Stones song, to complete the blend!
Had some friends over for dinner tonight, and when the talk turned to music this band came up. This is the first song I found from them. The appeal is obvious, but how much of the appeal comes from copping a great sound?
Back in the 1980s there was a record label out of LA that signed a lot of very cool bands. Slash Records focused on the local LA scene with bands like X, Los Lobos, The Germs, the Blasters and more. They also ventured far afield to sign other “roots rock” acts like the BoDeans, whose T-Bone Burnett produced debut – Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams – is a classic. A song from that album deserves to be a SotW, and probably will be some time.
But this week I’m choosing a song from another Slash act, “Backseat Nothing, by Boston’s Del Fuegos.
The Del Fuegos were brothers Dan (guitars/vocals) and Warren (guitars) Zanes, and Tom Lloyd (bass) and Woody Giessmann (drums). The album was produced by the then young Mitchell Froom, who also added some keys to the set. (It was one of his earliest gigs as a producer.)
“Backseat Nothing” is from the band’s first album, The Longest Day (1984). It is very typical of their R&B/rockabilly garage band style – closer to The Rolling Stones than The Clash – which was pretty unusual in the mid 80s when MTV was minting stars and Madonna and synth pop ruled the airwaves.
This approach endeared them to a relatively small but loyal audience. But when the band accepted a sponsorship from Miller Beer to star in a cinema-verité commercial, some of their more sensitive fans smelled a sell out and abandoned them. That’s a little hard to fathom today when even top tier rock stars license their music to peddle goods or accept corporate tour sponsors. But back in the 80s (and before) it was taboo.
One last bit of trivia… “Backseat Nothing” was used in an episode of the FX Network firefighter program (starring Denis Leary) Rescue Me from Season 4 called “Babyface.”
I did not get to see The Upper Crust last night, but my life-long mate Stephen Clayton and I did venture across the bay to San Rafael, to Terrapin Crossroads (Phil Lesh’s place) to see Frisell and his band touring behind the guitar player’s latest disc, Guitar in the Space Age. (Note that I have wanted to see the guitarist for years.)
True, it ain’t rock, but, that does not mean the music doesn’t rock. These guys–for this video is the same band Stephen and I saw–were arguably the most talented collection of musicians I have ever seen playing live with one another. The interplay and musicianship and notes chosen by the collective was breathtaking (watch this and you will see what I mean).
But, in deference to my previous Edge v. Tekulve post, I have started thinking of guitarists in terms of ballplayers, and this time, I could only think of the great Cub and Brave, Greg Maddux as a parallel.
Both can clearly paint the corners, and are artists with a true craft within their respective profession. And, they don’t really look alike, but do sort of have the same look in their eye in the above pics, huh?
Stylish, smart, never overtly overpowering, yet always dominant, Maddux could make the perfect pitch just as Frisell squeezes out the perfect note. Both Hall of Famers!
My old buddies John Seabrook and John Homans have been fronting the Sequoias, a hard driving cover band, for quite a few years now. Here’s a story I posted, with video, from a show of theirs a couple of years ago.
Tonight they step up, however, with a gig at the Mother Nature Network’s White House Correspondents’ Jam at the Fairmont Hotel. The key ingredient this evening, however, aren’t the five bands that are playing that feature journalists, but the piano player for at least one number with each of them: Chuck Leavell.
Rare still photo (actually video frame capture) of some of the Sequoias.
Leavell is promoted as the piano player for the Rolling Stones, which is true, but I’ll always think of him as a member of the Allman Brothers Band.
UPDATE: Tech issues made posting last night a nightmare. Here are a few quick notes this morning before work.
Went out to dinner with Mrs. Rotoman and two friends, Lisa and Terry, at a tasty and crazy Bengladeshi place off Sixth Street. Good food, good fun.
Walked over to Bowery Electric in the cold, and got hands stamped (always fun). As showtime approached we met another friend, Walker, and headed into the charming room downstairs. The crowd was mostly middle-aged rockers, probably 150 or so souls. I didn’t feel old, for instance, but I did feel preppy.
The UC emerged at 10:47, two minutes late. Count Bassie kept his pinkie extended, politely. The crowd cheered. The band plugged in, Lord Bendover said, “we are here to roq-cue you,” and they played Let Them Eat Rock.
Another early fave was “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” Bendover introduced “Badminton” by saying it light of the impending summer they would play a song they rarely played live. It was a rare song in which the vocals weren’t crisp and clear, which was too bad, since they’re delightful.
Other highlights were the Duc d’Stortion-sung I Shall Winter Elsewhere, a lively ode to winter holidays set to a Chuck Berry riff, and Count Bassie on vocals for the Small Faces’ like Come Hither Fair Youth, followed by the stomper I’ve Got Class Up the Ass.
Yet another friend, another Lisa, had arrived a bit late. I found her upstairs on the mezzanine. The show wound down at midnight, with one encore that came after they took off guitars but didn’t leave the stage. “We must conserve our energy,” Bendover said while remounting.
It was a great fun show by a most unusual band. Who knows why they keep doing it, playing smallish clubs has to be a hassle and not that remunerative. But they are a tight rock band playing songs in a variety of hard rock styles with truly clever and funny lyrics and stage patter. That never gets old.
Here’s a bad clip (and big file that will take some time to load) to give just a taste. I’ll find more on the rocking web and post later.