BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #2

The year is 1968. The hot rock & roll bands are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Monkees, although I distinctly recall girls in my grade school class talking about how much they loved the Turtles. Why can I remember that bit of minutiae and not that garbage day is Tueday?

Anyway, I go back and forth. The Beatles are the greatest rock and roll band ever, right? Sure, we all have our favorite other non-Beatle bands. Mine include XTC, Squeeze, Cage the Elephant, Springsteen & the E Street Band, Wilco, Tame Impala, The Clash, Crowded House, and many others. And I’ll choose to listen to those bands over the Beatles more times than not. But still, the Beatles are tops, right? Right? Well, maybe not.

I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the Rolling Stones recently. They released this song earlier in 2020 around the start of the COVID quarantine.

It’s not a great song, but it’s certainly a good tune that sounds exactly like a Rolling Stones song should sound. They are still producing good new music after more than 50 years! And they’re not half dead like the Beatles. Sure, the Stones lost Brian Jones early on, and Bill Wyman has retired, but Mick & Keith are still going strong with Charlie Watts on drums and Ron Wood on guitar. I’m starting to give the nod to the Stones over the Beatles simply due to longevity.

So, what does this have to do with my book of short stories titled BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife, available on Amazon? Well, Tale #2 is titled “A Monkee to Die For,” and revolves around a Davy Jones promotional visit to a California record store. In the story, not only is Jones featured in an indirect way, but the Rolling Stones and Beatles also get mentions. My video excerpt in this post from Tale #2 involves a demonic being explaining to a 12 year old girl smitten by Davy Jones that the Rolling Stones may not be as icky as she thinks. Take a look and listen.

Continue reading “BEYOND: Tales of the Afterlife – A Look Inside Tale #2”

Suspicions of Sedition

I’m not a huge Elvis Presley fan, but I like the song he recorded titled “Suspicious Minds.” Here’s a live video version with studio-recorded audio that I kind of like because of the Spanish subtitles and the construction site clips interspersed with the concert footage.

Now imagine that instead of singing about suspicious minds, he was singing about Trump’s seditious lies. I think it would go something like this …

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He Could Have Used One

Gerry Marsdsen, front man and singer-songwriter for Gerry and the Pacemakers, passed away at age 78 from … heart problems. Is it just me, or does that seem to be super-ironic? It turns out he actually did have a pacemaker, but it was a heart infection that did him in.

At one point, Gerry and the Pacemakers rivaled the Beatles for popularity. Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you after all the nonsense I’ve delivered through this blog. But maybe you’ll believe a freakin’ knight. Take a look at what Sir Paul tweeted along with a great pic from the rock & roll history archives …

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New Music For Old Rockers – RIP Edition, Part 2

My recent NMFOR was also an RIP Edition. What’s up with these deceased musicians still releasing great music? This time it is Tom Petty. I’ve never been a huge Petty fan, but I always appreciated the high quality of his music and have some personal favorites like Wildflowers and I Won’t Back Down.

When I first heard this Petty song recently, I knew I had heard it before. I figured it was a more obscure deep Petty track. Radio station 93.1 WXRT in Chicago does play deep tracks daily. But then I heard it again … and again … and again. That is too frequent for an obscure deep track, and Petty is still dead. So here it is, a song Petty wrote and recorded in 1995, but decided against releasing since he thought it sounded too much like some of his other songs. Instead, he gave the song to Rod Stewart to release, which is where I heard it before. Now here is the Petty version in a posthumous release, and it’s a gem.

Yes, it sounds like some other Petty songs. I don’t consider that a bad thing. Listening to it feels like slipping into a comfortable robe and slippers on a cold winter’s morn. It’s classic Petty, and I ache for more.

Songs for a Day of Counting Votes

As the election vote-counting drags on, I think we all would benefit from some relevant music to get through today. I know I need some. I still find myself openly weeping at times during the day, but as news for Biden has improved, I have made some progress. I no longer cry blood.

So, here are some songs that you may like. Let’s start off with a rollicking good tune about vote-counting in the Southeast. What city can help Biden pull off a surprise state flip? This one …

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New Music for Old Rockers – RIP Edition

I haven’t done a NMFOR post in almost 4 months. Without live music, it sometimes seems to me that new music doesn’t exist. But it does! There’s some excellent new music being released. Here are some links to new music by Tame Imapala, My Morning Jacket, Bruce Springsteen, and Dayglow. Now the last song isn’t new. It was released over 2 years ago by a high school kid with a green screen, some musical talent, and the ability to write an easy, listenable song. Over 42 million YouTube views later and it finally is getting some radio airplay.

I want to make it clear – none of these artists have died. They are just examples of new music being made despite the Age of COVID.

That brings me to this new release of an old song written by someone taken from us by COVID – John Prine. Kurt Vile teamed with John Prine to record Prine’s “How Lucky.” I like the contrast between Vile’s clean vocals and Prine’s rough, cancer-scarred vocals that somehow still sound great. And together at the end of the song, their voices blend together magically.

It got me thinking about all the musicians we lost in 2020. I put together this supergroup …

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New Music for Old Rockers – Michael McDermott channeling Billy Joel

Maybe you like that old Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” I’m not a huge fan since it didn’t really say anything. It was just a song with a list of headlines from his life as lyrics. Still, it was a huge hit, and it was clever how he wove all the people and events into the lyrics.

I get a similar vibe from this new Michael McDermott song, except McDermott definitely has something to say. What’s that? Who is Michael McDermott? He’s a Chicago guy making music with an Irish-tinged sound. He’s not my favorite musical artist, but how can a Flanigan not like a McDermott from Chicago.

There’s no doubt on which side of the political landscape that McDermott has chosen to stand. Take a listen …

Despite only being released 3 weeks ago, I hate to admit the lyrics are already a bit dated. McDermott sings, “Dark days coming for the USA.” Sorry, Michael, they are already here.

This video is only averaging 1000 views a week. Please share it. It’s a cautionary tale worth a listen and watch by many more people.

 

RIP John Prine

I’m not feeling very funny today with the passing of folk-country-rock legend (at least round these parts he is) John Prine due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. He was a mailman from the Chicago suburbs and may very well have delivered mail to my house when I was a kid. Let’s go with that story. He did. I feel better with that connection.

I only saw him in concert once. That was the first of many concerts my wife and I have seen together, but only once to see John Prine. That’s okay. It makes it very special. He was a cancer survivor – twice. His body and voice suffered a bit in recent years from the results of the cancer as well as the cure, but he continued to write good music. He was the best lyricist I have ever known. Bob Dylan wrote wonderful lyrics about sprawling stories like “Hurricane” and “Tangled up in Blue.” John Prine wrote personal, intimate lyrics about people that touch your heart and soul.

So, here comes my John Prine tribute post. Click to read more about this amazing musician.

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New Music for Old Rockers – Quarantine Edition

Many musical artists are releasing live versions of some of their songs during this coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a twist. Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day just released this cover of a Tommy James & the Shondells hit. I like the vibe. Take a listen.

I think we’re alone now, indeed. He recorded this in his bedroom, a place where a lot of us are spending more time. At least we have some new music to keep us company. Thanks, Billie Joe.

When & Where Are They Performing?

I saw this news article yesterday.

Pablo escobar cocaine hippos

Click HERE for full story.

My initial thought upon reading that there are such things as Pablo Escobar’s Cocaine Hippos … GREAT NAME FOR A BAND! Can you imagine that PELIGRO text with the hippo on the bass drum? I want to see that band … NOW!

What is somewhat overshadowed in the title and story is that there were once giant llamas. Not as good a name for a band, but I want to see them, too. Not the band, the real thing.

New Music for Old Rockers – Acronym Edition

I’ve never been much of a Radiohead fan. I like some of their stuff and respect them as artists, but their music has never been fun enough for me. God, that makes me sound so shallow, so I guess it’s fairly accurate. Along comes Radiohead’s guitarist Ed O’Brien with a new EOB album called Earth to be released in April, and I’m having some musical fun with this EOB single just released this month. Take a listen …

I love the slow layering of tracks over the first 2 minutes of the song. Then the tune heats up, cools off, heats up, cools off, heats up, and finishes as layered tracks get stripped away to nothing. It’s not exactly a sing-along song, but this blogger’s toe was a-tappin’.

And if you want more EOB … Continue reading “New Music for Old Rockers – Acronym Edition”

My Non-Tide Pod Facebook Challenge, Part 2

After yesterday’s Part 1 post, I am sure that most readers would have preferred if I had taken the Tide Pod challenge to eliminate any possibility of a Part 2. Sorry, but here it is. Let’s get right into another 6 albums that shaped my musical landscape.

royal scam

Before Steely Dan fans stone me, I know this is not their best album. But it was the Dan album that caught my attention with the funk of “Kid Charlemagne” and opened my eyes and ears to their whole catalog. No regrets. Listening to Steely Dan has helped refine my musical sensibilities.

I regret I never saw them in concert. Walter Becker has now passed away, but Donald Fagen is still touring as Steely Dan. I don’t feel good about that. I think he should tour as Donald Fagen or Steely or Dan, but not Steely Dan. RIP Walter.

Now this next guy looks out of place on this album cover …

Continue reading “My Non-Tide Pod Facebook Challenge, Part 2”

My Non-Tide Pod Facebook Challenge, Part 1

Finally, I received a Facebook challenge that didn’t require me to eat a Tide Pod or dump a bucket of ice over my head or eat ice or dump a bucket of Tide Pods over my head. One of my nieces who will remain nameless to protect her anonymity challenged me to name 10 albums that influenced my musical tastes. Thanks a lot, Karen. I am supposed to offer 1 album a day over 10 days, but I fear that between my short attention span and memory loss, I won’t make it past 2 days. So, I am going to offer 6 albums a day for 2 days. I know what you’re thinking. Math? 6 x 2 = 12, not 10. Consider it coloring outside the lines and refusing to make hard decisions. Oh, I am also not supposed to comment on them. Well, that’s not happening. So, here are the first 6 in no particular order with full commentary.

London Calling

Okay, so I lied. London Calling is the most influential album for me, hands down. The sprawling musical genres and styles contained within this masterful double album greatly expanded my musical horizon. It’s an album that still sounds fresh and timeless to me when I listen to it today. I regret I never saw The Clash in concert, but one of my bosses went to see them (I’m recalling at the Aragon Brawlroom maybe?) and was thrilled when they spat upon him. Good times.

Okay, now the rest will be in totally random order …

Continue reading “My Non-Tide Pod Facebook Challenge, Part 1”

New Music for Old Rockers – Prime Real Estate

My business travel plans were to take me back to St. Louis next in mid-April, where just coincidentally I planned to see Real Estate in concert. If you are not familiar with that band, I was introduced to them through this song a few years back.

That song breaks a major rule of songwriting about introducing lyrics within the first 8 seconds of a song, and the one about not having a horse contribute to your music video. Regardless, I fell in love with their soft, indie, jangly, pop-rock sound. My oldest daughter advised me to stay away from the band because one of the band members was too sexual assaulty. They bounced his abusive ass from the band, replaced him with a new lead guitarist, and have a new album to be released within days called The Main Thing. Here’s a single released from the new album called “Paper Cup” that I highly recommend.

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New Music for Old Rockers – Pearl Jammin’ Edition

I’ve never been much of a Pearl Jam fan. I like some of their music, but it really never moved me much. Pearl Jam is officially 30 years old this year, and their last album was released in 2013 to modest reviews, so I figured they had packed it in as a band. Oops, was I wrong. Welcome, Gigaton, due to be released in March. If the rest of the album is like the first 2 songs made available, then watch out.

“Dance of the Clairvoyants” was the first song released and it definitely cooks with propane. Take a listen.

Love the bass line and drumming that drive this song forward with a vengance. And just when I thought the song was ready to end as a tight 3 minute tune, the song morphs into a dreamy jam for a tasty ending.

WARNING: Dad joke ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

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A Disconcerting Effort to Start the Year

2019 was a great concert year for me. I went to 11 concerts, maybe more but my memory fails me on additional ones. Here they are ranked from worst to first.

11) Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple – Imagine playing only Deep Purple songs from the time when you were in the band and the group was no longer making memorable music. I walked out.

10) Black Keys/Modest Mouse – Disappointing.

9) Mt. Joy – Fun.

8) War – Free concert in the park performed with enthusiastic joy.

7) Car Seat Headrest – An pleasant evening with my oldest son listening to music by a band I was unfamiliar with on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront.

6) Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw on lead vocals – Surprisingly good blending of talents.

5) Beatles White Album Tribute – Todd Rundgren, Mickey Dolenz, Christopher Cross, Joey Molland of Badfinger, and some guy formerly with the group Chicago performing all songs from the Beatles White Album with fun and style.

4) Heart/Sheryl Crow – Crow > Heart.

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My Brain May Be Melting

We don’t subscribe to movie channels with our cable subscription. Every once in a while when the stars align properly, we get free HBO for a few days. I record a bunch of movies, and we watch some of them until the next time we get free HBO. It’s a perfect system, except so many of the movies suck. I use the Rotten Tomatoes website to sort the viewable from the unwatchable.

I recorded Rock the Kasbah from 2015 starring Bill Murray because, well, I love Bill Murray and most everything he has ever done. I didn’t see the movie when it was released, because I heard it was terrible. And this did not look at all promising per Rotten Tomatoes …

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New Music for Old Rockers – New Yorn Yule Yarn

Christmas can be a fun time, but also a very stressful time. There are gifts to buy, MAGA relatives to rub shoulders with, and decorations to put up outside often in less than ideal conditions. But Pete Yorn is back with some sage advice for this season.

Where’s Yorn been since he captivated us musically a decade ago with lyrical tales of his “Strange Condition?” Well, he’s been making music, but just not super memorable. This new tune from his 7th album may not be memorable, but it excellent advice to just calm the hell down.

If you aren’t calm after listening to that tune, then there’s something seriously wrong. Calm down. The gifts will get wrapped. The tree will be trimmed. You’ll get to go a-Wassailing, whatever that is. Ask Uncle George in his MAGA hat about his health. He won’t have time to talk about Trump. He’ll be too busy talking about his gout and the root canal he needs and the fried foods he can’t eat anymore because his cholesterol is too high and … well, you get the idea. When he’s done, just tell him to calm down because he looks great. Okay, that’s probably a lie. What is that spot on his head? But, what the hell, it’s the holidays. Maybe that Christmas lie will help him enjoy a Merry Christmas, like all of us will if we just calm down.