Dave Alexander, The Lost Stooge

My daughter went to elementary school with a boy whose father writes for the Please Kill Me web site. I’ve only met Todd a couple of times, in passing, so he’s not my friend, but he wrote this weirdly cool history of Dave Alexander, who played bass on the first two Stooges albums and was then kicked out and died.

What I like about Todd’s treatment is he reports what people said or wrote about Dave. He goes easy on the dramatic build up and is beautifully empathic to the storytelling of Alexander’s peers by using their quotes. Plus he includes some choice descriptions of behavior by various Rolling Stones. This is classic rock storytelling, for sure, but easy going the way rock should be.

You can read, should read, Todd’s piece here.

You’ll get the chance to play the video of Down On the Street while you read the piece, but you might also play it now.

One last thought. How different is Down on the Street from some Doors songs? Especially live? Which provokes the question: When it comes to classifying rock, do we maybe distinguish too much between hitmakers and their edgier cooler peers? The Stooges are punk pioneers on Elektra records, sounding here like the Doors, who made many hits on Electra records at roughly the same time. That’s a sonic fact, but not a complete one. But what is the real story of sound, aesthetics, ambition and commercial viability? Every one thing changes all the others.

This is a reason to read Greil Marcus’s Doors book, which goes deep into the band’s non-hit life as a live band, how they sounded different than the hits, and darker than the public image.

Shameless #Humblebrag

Last April The Biletones went into the studio to drop down five tracks for an EP, and while we were at it, a friend of the band, Andre Welsh, who does camera work in Hollywood, agreed to video the band in action. It was kind of fun and intense, but also ugh city.

As in for the Route 66 video, we played the song 11 times so the film crew could focus on different aspects and players during the song.

The four remaining tunes we played were It Takes a Lot to Laugh (check out Steve Gibson’s killer solos), It’s All Over Now (I sing lead), Don’t Cry no Tears, and lead singer Tom Nelson’s Rich Girlfriend. Do click to the third cut and check out Girlfriend. It is one of our strongest tunes (it is third on the playlist in the upper right corner of the Route 66 vid).

Internet K-Hole Inspired Photo Essay

screenshot-2016-10-19-10-50-46Everybody who knows the Internet K-Hole says they love the Internet K-Hole. I’ve previously said it here and here.

Someone at Cuepoint has taken 32 pictures from the hole and matched them to lyrics from songs. Some are great lyrics, some match the photo, some seem a little random, but it’s all good.



LINK: Alternative Rock Love Blueprint

screenshot-2016-10-08-12-16-03A design studio named Dorothy has released a survey of alt-rock music based on the schematic design of a transistor radio that came out in 1954, the year Bill Haley released Rock Around the Clock.

That’s a detail from a much larger image over to the left.

I’m not sure about the information included in the diagram. I mean why do the Ramones lead to Mink Deville lead to Talking Heads.

Why is Elvis Costello in smaller type than the Specials?

Why aren’t the White Stripes next to the Black Keys?

There are many of these questions, which seem to be answered rather randomly. That said, there is a broader logic as to time and place and style, and it’s good fun browsing using the magnification tool. h/t Herrick Goldman.


LINK: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Became White

screenshot-2016-10-06-11-47-38The rock writer Jack Hamilton is publishing a book called Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination. It’s an academic work, but a part of it is excerpted at Slate today and it’s well worth the slow start and long read.

Hamilton’s thesis is that the Stones were so adept at embracing and mirroring the black music they loved, that they eventually came to represent a new white authenticity that was embraced by white blues and metal bands that knew little or nothing about the Stones’ roots.

You can read the excerpt here.

I’m not sure what this means in the book’s larger picture, it is an excerpt of course, but without looking at the argument’s validity as regards the whole history of rock ‘n’ roll, this little slice of story feels kind of genuine. Like, yeah, that may be true, though he have maybe set up something of a straw man argument, too. Still feels like useful analysis.

But Hamilton draws in a lot of historical sources to tell this story, and it’s fascinating to read quotes in the black newspapers of 1964 praising the Stones, while the mainstream white press rips them down. And his description of the musical opening of Gimme Shelter is exact and thrilling, like the music itself.

It’s curious that the Margo Jefferson quote from earlier in the piece comes from 1973, which was also a germination point for Death, who we posted about here last week. It’s possible that this book will shed some light on the way rock ‘n’ roll evolved musically and as a business in a racial context.

Then, if you have time, Chuck Klosterman tries to figure out who the one figure from rock ‘n’ roll will be remembered 100 years from now, the way we think of marching band music as John Phillips Sousa and ragtime as Scott Joplin.

Cro-Mags, We Gotta Know

There was a story in yesterday’s NY Times about Harley Flanagan, who has always been a presence in the NY rock scene. Most notably as the drummer bass player in the Cro-Mags, one of the most notable bands of the city’s hard core scene in the 80s. All age shows at CBGB in the afternoon were a fixture, and perhaps explain why I never really paid much attention. Too old! But this clip is terrific, reminds me of Penelope Spheeris’s fantastic movie, Suburbia, and it even better than that. You probably won’t want to listen to it all the time, but I hope you enjoy it first time through.

LINK: The Prince Online Museum

Screenshot 2016-07-05 00.37.03

Prince is pretty famous for not licensing any of his music to any streaming service but Jay Z’s Tidal.

But he should also be famous for initiating many online services with various plans to serve music and publicity and other ideas over the years. After all, he was a major artist who went indy after his falling out with Warner Brothers.

He left the label, but they owned his music, so he presented himself as a slave and wouldn’t use the name Prince, since that was his slave name.

Prince’s various online ideas have now been collected at the PrinceOnlineMuseum.com. I’ve only browsed so far, so I have no tips, but this is stuff Prince did online.