Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidaze from Interboro Rock Tribune!

A Christmas mix for the ages from your friends at the old dirt road known as the IRT, celebrating our 10th year in print this coming 2012. Happy Festivus, folks!

1. The Beatles "Christmastime (Is Here Again)"
2. RUN DMC "Christmas In Hollis"
3. Clarence Carter "Back Door Santa"
4. Hall & Oates "Jingle Bell Rock"
5. Otis Redding "Merry Christmas Baby"
6. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
7. James Brown "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto"
8. Louis Armstrong "Zat You, Santa Claus?"
9. Ella Fitzgerald "The Christmas Song"
10. David Bowie and Bing Crosby "Little Drummer Boy"
11. Aimee Mann "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch"
12. Paul McCartney "Wonderful Christmastime"
13. Billy Squier "Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You"
14. The Who "Christmas"
15. The Kinks "Father Christmas"
16. The Ramones "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)"
17. The Waitresses "Christmas Wrapping"
18. Wham "Last Christmas"
19. U2 "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
20. Eels "Christmas Is Going To The Dogs"
21. Billy Childish "Christmas Lights"
22. XTC "Thanks For Christmas"
23. The Pogues "Fairytale in New York"
24. John Lennon "Happy Xmas (War is Over)"
25. Sonic Youth "Santa Doesn't Cop Out On Dope"
26 Esquivel "Auld Lang Syne"

Saturday, December 17, 2011


A Chat With One of California's Finest Young Bands

by Ron Hart

Brown Shoe is a band of four brothers and one longtime pal from Folsom, California who make music that sounds every bit as epic as that of Coldplay and the Arcade Fire but with a keen perception of good taste. Their second album, The Gift Horse, arrived this past fall and continues to expand upon the group's atmospheric fusion of Red House Painters-esque heaviness and October-era U2 bombast with excellent results. IRT was lucky enough to catch a moment with members Aaron and Ryan Baggaley while they are on the road in support of the new LP, which is available at better record shops in your area.

IRT: Ryan, much of the music on The Gift Horse centers around your experiences while recovering from the rare blood infection you got hit with. Have you been able to find out anything more about your diagnosis and what you learned from this whole ordeal? Was it a one-time thing or something you have to implement preventative measures from letting happen again?

Ryan: It was basically—from what I understand—a freak blood infection they couldn’t figure out how to treat. Along the way they took stabs at every possible terrible thing I could have until something worked or I died. I lived, so that’s cool. It was thankfully a one-time thing and I’ve made a full recovery after putting in lots of hours at the pool to get my lungs back. So now I’m back to doin’ bad shit with my friends.

IRT: What was the biggest lesson or epiphany if you will that you learned or experienced coming out of this situation?

Ryan: That dying isn’t as painful as heartbreak. And always trying to control your world doesn’t allow you to exist in others.

IRT: What records were you guys listening to while creating The Gift Horse and how did these sounds influence the outcome of the record on a sonic level?

Aaron: For the most part we listened to the current mixes while working on the record. It’s not something that we set out to do, necessarily—it’s just how we work. If I we’re to go back to that time—or any time, really—and I just so happened to be in a bar with a juke box, my five bucks would have gone to the Feist version of “Lover’s Spit.” Five dollars worth of “Lover’s Spit.”

IRT: You guys recorded the LP in Folsom. What can you say about the town to sell it to someone who only associates it with the prison?

Aaron: For most people, the allure starts with a romantic idea of an old 49er town wedged into the rolling hills. Twenty years ago, Northern California was littered with towns very similar—nostalgia stores, B&Bs, ice cream shops, cowboys surviving like cockroaches—and if you ask around, you might get a story or two about how it used to be. There’s a draw, I get it, but the older I get the more I feel like the cowboy-cockroach. I could get in to how great it once was, but I think it’s better to just keep the idea of it upstairs, preserved and well-kept like a nostalgia store. It’s changed a lot, and now we just take it for what it is: a safe suburban city-town with a world-class prison and the best tap water in the US.

IRT: When you guys were kids, did you and your siblings ever scope out the prison?

Aaron: We did. Ryan and I used to sneak onto prison grounds, bb guns in hand, and get as close as we could before the guards would fire off warning shots. True story. If only we had bigger guns and could’ve gotten a good look at Charlie Manson or Rick James.

IRT: Why did you guys name the band Brown Shoe? What is the significance of this footwear?

Aaron: We really should have put more thought into our band name. At this point, it feels like our given birth name, and every time I hear it, it’s like hearing my first and middle name in a very stern tone. Like we’re all about to get into some serious trouble.

IRT: How does college radio fit into the world of Brown Shoe? Do you get play on the air and what do you think of colleges and universities cutting college radio programs from their budgets?

Aaron: College radio was the first thing that made us think that we could be a legitimate band, and without it, I’m not sure where we’d be. When we finished our first record, like most bands, we were lost and our only plan was to send out to a bunch of college stations. We ended up getting played on KCRW, which was my first “holy fuck” moment. Weeks later we charted on CMJ and I got a phone call from the CMJ editor asking us what we were up to—Do you have management, label interest, festivals, ect. For all he knew we had made calculated decisions to get to this point when really it was just dumb luck. So yeah, I hate to hear that such a valuable resource for exposing new bands is being cut.

IRT: You say you have a "massive aversion to minor, bluesy, psychotropic music." What groups or albums did you believe fit this description? Are there any exceptions?

Ryan: I just live in a world where I hear things in a major key. I like bittersweet music, and my lyrics are usually the bitter part of that combination. In my head, music should have a pull and a push, and a perfectly-placed minor chord can make the warmth feel warmer. I don’t mind minor, bluesy, psychotropic music. I just avoid it in our music.

IRT: What are your thoughts on the Occupy Wall St. movement?

Aaron: We have varied opinions about Occupy, so we’ll try and keep it short and on point. I’m an optimist and so I look for the good in things. The positives are easy: expression of free speech, fighting for equality, inciting national debate. These ideas are at the core of American ideals but the reaction I've seen from most of America makes it hard to be an optimist. I’ve watched people from both ends of the spectrum stand up against “The Fat Cats in Wall Street,” an idea that crosses party lines.

Yet it seems that from the start, OWS has been trivialized as a bunch of wackadoos with some crazy ideas like "The banks are a bunch of crooks". Which is just hilarious because I don't know anyone who hasn't been f'd by a bank. I guess for some people the idea of urban camping is just too much to handle. There are definite downsides to the movement, but I’ll take these faults over a bedroom culture whose idea of democracy is voting every four years.

Attached is a photo I saw in a Jimmy John's that made a lot of sense to me (left).

IRT: How did the addition of your brother Landon and Chandler Clemons impact the band sound overall, in your opinion?

Aaron: Chandler was our first fifth member. Our sound became larger, naturally. Landon adds an undercurrent of curiosity to everything we play. "Why?" is a very regular part of his vocabulary and will no doubt have an effect on our band for years to come.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A Chat With An Anti-Blues Genius

by Ron Hart

Anyone who has talked seriously with me about music in 2011 knows of my love for the solo output of Bill Orcutt, former guitarist for Miami's premier post-hardcore icons Harry Pussy.

On his own, however, Orcutt has re-imagined himself as a junkyard bluesman who, armed with an old beat-up Kay acoustic guitar and a discarded pickup, records some of the most visceral rotgut folk blues this end of Howlin' Wolf's scorched throat.

This year saw him sign with the excellent Editions MEGO, who reissued his 2009 debut A New Way to Pay Old Debts, in addition to its freshly released, completely unplugged follow-up How The Thing Sings, a pair of modern day blues classics that turns every cliche the last 40 years of white blues performers have inflicted upon the art form and essentially turns it inside out and upside down before dousing it in a vat of acid-drenched D'addario strings.

The following electronic conversation with Mr. Orcutt took place before Thanksgiving. A big thanks to Bill and his stateside publicist, Eric at Forced Exposure, for making this happen.

Both A New Way To Pay Old Debts and How The Thing Sings are available at better record shops everywhere.

IRT: When was the first time you ever heard the blues?

Bill Orcutt: The first time I really remember hearing the blues was seeing Muddy Waters in The Last Waltz. It fucked me up. I was probably 16. I went out the next day and bought his I'm Ready LP. I still have a really clear memory of standing in the record store holding the record in my hands. Much later I used the cover image for one of my own records.

IRT: How did you come into configuring the tunings you utilize for acoustic guitar?

Bill: Well, I remove the A & D strings which is the most distinctive thing about the sound. The tuning is basically the standard E/A/D/G/B/E tuning. On the old beat-up acoustic I usually play I tune it down to avoid snapping the neck, but the pitch relationships are the same. On electric or my other acoustics the pitch is standard. Removing the strings that way pulls the meat off most chords and just leaves you with the bone & some skin. It's a lonesome sound. I started doing it over 20 years ago and it's just become the way I play the guitar.

IRT: What kind of amp settings do you use to gain the sound you achieve in your solo work and do you use any pedals?

Bill: The new record is completely acoustic so there's no amp or pedals there. The previous record I used a pick-up on the acoustic and mixed a bit of amp sound with the sound coming from the guitar itself. I think I wasn't completely comfortable yet with the idea of playing the acoustic. The amp wasn't very loud in the room – just enough to blend in with the sound of the acoustic. I think I was using an Mesa Boogie Mark I. I never use pedals even when I'm playing the electric.

IRT: How did you link up with Editions MEGO? What is it about their ethos as a label that you admire most?

Peter wrote me to suggest a CD release of A New Way To Pay Old Debts. I was a fan & collector of the old Mego label and was aware of the Editions offshoot. I really dug the Blue Note-like vibe that goes into the mastering, pressing and presentation of their releases and wanted to have a record on the label.

What is the story behind all of those Stevie Ray Vaughan picks on the cover of How The Thing Sings?

Bill: I'm kind of obsessed with classic rock and when I was researching cover ideas for the Mego record, I stumbled across the Stevie Ray Vaughan picks on a pick collector website. It seemed like a good image to represent the culture of classic rock and white blues.

IRT: Who are some of your heroes on the acoustic guitar and how do you feel they shape your own style?

Bill: I've got a ton of guitar heroes : Fred Gerlach, Joseph Spence, Richie Havens, Mississippi Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside's early acoustic records, Carlos Montoya, etc. I'm always looking for stuff to steal and these are guys who have something I need. I love 'em for different reasons, but they all have a certain freedom I'm looking for in a hero.

IRT: Do you ever play any Harry Pussy songs live acoustically?

Bill: I wish. I can't remember any Harry Pussy songs.

IRT: Has Harry Pussy been invited to reunite and perform at any of these festivals going down throughout the year? Are you adverse to the idea of reforming?

Bill: No, we've never been invited to reunite. Reforming seems unlikely because of our interests, schedules, responsibilities, geographic locations, etc.

IRT: Has there been any talk of reissuing the HP catalog?

Bill: Not from the band. Maybe someday if the right offer comes along…

IRT: What kind of music are you listening to these days?

Bill: Same stuff I always do – As I'm typing this I'm listening to the Bartok String Quartets which is something probably everybody should hear. I just got the Miles Davis '67 quintet triple CD thing that just came out. That's a great record, been listening to that a lot. And Dylan always, probably everyday. I tend to listen to the same records over and over again for some reason.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dear Michele

By Greg Maniha

Dear Michele,

I wish to make it clear that I am in no way attempting to “apologize” on behalf of The Roots or ?uestlove. The Roots have more than earned their artistic credibility and as such, they have no reason to explain themselves to the likes of me, or some network president for that matter. For Iladelph Halflife alone, The Roots have secured their place in music history, but of course, there is far more within their body of work that makes love to the ears and the soul. Great, so now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s focus on the task at hand, shall we?

I originally thought about focusing this piece on the blatant double standard dominating conservative media that Michele Bachman ran crying like a baby to once she discovered The Roots were actually making fun of her. It seemed like a good idea at the time to discuss the sudden awareness on the part of Fox News for the treatment of women in the professional world that was suspiciously absent when Herman Cain’s professional conduct was at issue. I had every intention of shedding light on the fact that conservative public figures whether candidates or media personalities have no issue dishing out the nasty comments to the other side yet when the other side bites back, they suddenly reveal their thin skin and cry like babies, but then I remembered how aware of this the majority of us are and figured, “where’s the fun in that?” Indeed, the very thought of The Roots playing Fishbone’s “Lyin Ass Bitch” for the intro music of Michele Bachman during her appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was in and of itself, “fun.” It was right then and there that I knew I needed to keep the “fun” going myself!

Dearest Michele, I know the chances of you reading this will be slim to none, still, in the interest of feeding the sense of entitlement you possess, you deserve nothing less than some helpful suggestions for intro music should you ever be invited back to the medium that is late night television. Granted, if I had to guess, I would say the house bands on pretty much any late night program wouldn’t take kindly towards any attempt on your part to take possession of their artistic control, but hey, you seem to have a desire to be in charge of everything else for the benefit of you and you alone, so why not give it a shot? If nothing else, you might get a smile when you’re told where to go or when you’re told to shut that hole you eat pie with. Since you love smiling as you demonize the gay community, the African-American community, and children that suffer from constant bullying, I already know you’ll feel right at home with this kind of response. Just as a little caveat before we continue, my suggestions will range from your “psychological stability” to the “beacon of tolerance” that is Michele and Marcus Bachman, so, without further delay, here are my suggestions to you.

-Psycho Killer – Talking Heads – This, Michele Bachman, quite frankly, would be a perfect song for you. I’m sure it wasn’t written about you, but my god, it should have been. There are both individual lines and entire verses that seriously speak volumes to you. The opening line alone of “I can’t seem to face up to the facts” simply speaks volumes in your direction. If that’s not enough, “ you start a conversation, you can’t even finish it. You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything. When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Say something once, why say it again?” is a verse that describes you to the letter!

-You’re Crazy – Guns N’ Roses – In continuing with the topic of rock solid “psychological stability,” when you change one word from “boy” to girl, we end up with yet another picture perfect description of you. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. Here, read this and see what you think! “Say girl where you’re coming from, Where’d you get that point of view, When I was younger, I knew a motherfucker like you.” Yet again, it’s like the song jumped out and wrote itself for you!

-They’re Coming To Take Me Away – Napoleon XIV – Okay, perhaps this song represents wishful thinking on my part (I KID YOU MICHELE, ERR, UH, HONEST!) but I promise this will be the final installment that centers around “psychological stability.”

-Boom Bye Bye – Buju Banton – Michele, I had to think carefully about this and it is with hesitation that I included it. On the one hand, I know it’s perfect for your penchant towards tolerance of the gay community. Indeed, Jamaican dancehall offerings are loaded with like-minded feelings towards our gay brothers and sisters. Take this little line from “Boom Bye Bye” as an example, “(Two Man) hitch up on and rub up on, An lay down inna bed, Hug up on another, Anna feel up leg, Send fi di matic an di uzi instead.” This song says, I am Michele Bachman and I love the gay community…oh wait, it doesn’t say that at all! It actually says, I am Michele Bachman and I would love nothing more than to kill the gay community, which is pretty much the message you’ve sent. You’re most likely wondering why I hesitated to include this suggestion and the answer, Michele Bachman, is actually a very simple one. I started to feel sympathy for poor Marcus. Should you decide to choose this song as your intro music, little miss Marcus would be afraid to come home. Without Marcus by your side, what would become of all those lovely garden parties and not to mention, that fabulous dance he did on camera revealing his preference to the world. I am not a proponent of demonizing the fabulous Miss Marcus Bachman even if he wishes to demonize all others like himself. I’m “behind” him all the way. Because I don’t wish to strike fear into the heart of Miss Bachman the way he has with so many, I decided the only remedy was to include this song for you and dedicate my next one to him. So, Michele Bachman, if you want the lovely garden party upon returning home from your next late night appearance, might I suggest this next title as your intro music.

-If You Were Gay – Avenue Q- This, Michele Bachman, is dedicated exclusively to Miss Marcus because we want her, uh, I mean, him to feel safe and unthreatened when you come home to him. The last thing I wish to see happen is for Miss Bachman to get so upset that he cries and never dances on camera at a state fair ever again. My god, watching that disappear from our eyes doesn’t even bear thinking about. Still, be careful with this one because at the same time, the last thing you wish to do is even come close to showing the slightest bit of tolerance for our gay brothers and sisters. What would you do with one less segment of the population to demonize? That would be even scarier than Miss Bachman crying over a Buju Banton song.

-Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday – While we’re on the subject of tolerance, Michele Bachman, this was the first song I thought of when you signed that Christian conservative pledge that stated our African American brothers and sisters were better off during slavery. “Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the popular trees” might be an appropriate intro for you, but be warned, Billie Holiday intended for this to be an anti lynching and anti racist song, so perhaps a Johnny Rebel song might be more appropriate for you. I won’t recommend it myself because, well, I find his work revolting, but you might like it.

-Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House – One line says it all, “Hey Now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over!”

-Running On Empty – Jackson Browne – Just in case you’re not quite ready to accept certain realities from the previous recommendation, you could always fall back on this Jackson Browne classic.

-Stay – Otis Redding – I’ll include this but I’m kind of yanking it at the same time because the last thing I would ever wish to do is mislead you. The promoter DOES MIND, and the union DOES MIND if you stay, so it wouldn’t be fair to recommend this title to you. Still, what a great song it is! I have both Otis and the prior suggestion to thank for even considering it. Oh well, if unions liked you I guess it might have worked for a second the same way it worked for both Otis Redding when he first released it and Jackson Browne on that history making day he performed it at Merriweather Post Pavilion as the encore, but I guess that’s not quite you now, is it!

-It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue – Bob Dylan – I think, Michele Bachman, we have a winner here with old Zimmerman! This doesn’t so much express you as much as it expresses the general feeling of the majority of the nation. I know what you’re thinking, “but the people elected me to the House Of Representatives!” Am I right? Well, fair enough, but that’s just one district in a nation of 350 million. It’s fair to say that the majority of America is getting kind of annoyed with your style of demonizing and dividing as a method of propelling yourself into the spotlight. There are many lines in this song, but I will cite only one, “Strike another match, girl, start anew, and it’s all over now baby blue.” PERFECT!

In closing, Michele Bachman, perhaps it would have been best to either keep your mouth shut and get through the experience the way our far more classy Michelle (that would be Michelle Obama) handled a group of idiots booing her when she appeared at a NASCAR event with a decorated veteran and children to get things started. Clearly that wasn’t possible for you and look what happened. We’re only laughing harder now at the whining by the original mean girl of presidential politics. As for me, I’m really nowhere near as good at this as The Roots are. They are, in fact, much better at what they do than you are at what you do (what exactly do you do?) Perhaps it might be a good idea to take a cue from one of their song titles. “Never do, what they do” because you kinda suck at it. In the future, if The Roots or anybody else decides to play “Lyin Ass Bitch” by Fishbone as your intro music, take it as a compliment that you’re worthy of even being associated with Fishbone. Though I do have one tiny little suggestion for our iconic hip-hop legends. Imagine how funny it would have been had The Roots decided at the last second to accompany your introduction with Lily Allen’s “Fuck You.” That, Michele Bachman, would have been unbeatable! As a matter of fact, I would guess there’s a greater chance you would have known that song immediately which means we would have actually been able to witness your hissy fit, but once again, The Roots are better at this than I am and as such, they understood the art of subtlety. Oh well, you fantasize about being the president and we fantasize about watching you make a complete ass of yourself. It’s pretty safe to say we get what we want far more often than you get what you want. I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of your campaign and will miss your leading lady Marcus when you’re gone. Seriously, that dance and that wave were beyond priceless! Take good care now!

Greg Maniha


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PAUL MOTIAN 1931-2011

The IRT mourns the passing of one of the greatest jazz drummers to slap a trap, Mr. Paul Motian, who died in his beloved Manhattan on Tuesday November 22, 2011 from complications surrounding the rare blood and bone marrow disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome.

Please visit the Columbia University campus radio station today, WKCR-FM, as they are playing a 24-hour long tribute to Motian by digging deep into the crates for some of his greatest performances of the last 50 years as both a bandleader and a sideman for such talents as Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, Arlo Guthrie, Don Cherry, Bill Frisell, Lee Konitz and Charlie Haden to name but a few.

His drum work in the piano trio setting with Evans and Jarrett, however, is some of the greatest rhythmic intimacy you will ever hear in your life, and one needs to look no further than The Bill Evans Trio's essential 1961 recording Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Keith Jarrett's 1968 classic Somewhere Before for proof of that statement.

For more information regarding the passing of this great scion of the snare, read Ben Ratliff's eloquent obituary in The New York Times.

And make sure to check out one of Motian's finest and final performances on acetate by picking up the outstanding 2011 ECM release Live at Birdland featuring Paul with Konitz, Haden and Brad Mehldau.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

3:33 The IRT Interview

Story by Ron Hart

If you've ever stumbled upon Infowars, the aggregate news website run by Texas conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, there is a guaranteed chance you've heard about Bohemian Grove, a campground located in Monte Rio, California that hosts a two-week, three-weekend encampment of some of the most powerful men in the world every July. The strange dalliances practiced by this clandestine society of one percenters is said to be so bizarre they could never be accurately interpreted by mere words. However, the unabashed creep factor of this retreat is perfectly suited for the otherwordly instrumental hip-hop of 3:33, a mysterious collective helping to keep the East Coast rap scene's toes in the avant-garde with a unique offshoot of beatmaking you can call "hiss-hop". Live from the Grove is their third full-length, and exhibits everything that makes these cats such a unique entity in its art form. IRT recently had the opportunity to speak with two of the members of the group (who wish to remain anonymous) over the Internets. Here's what went down.

And oh yeah, do yourself a favor and dive headfirst into the cosmic crunk of the 3:33 catalog if the more abstract aspects of Brainfeeder and the late, great Def Jux are your bag.

IRT: What is the significance of the time 3:33 in the context of the group's name?

Member 1:
It's not exactly about the time 3:33 but what that small group of numbers meant for us. We started working on material a few years ago without a group name. As we got deeper into the recording process the numbers felt like that were following us.

Member 2: That time and the number 333 was something that kept popping up in a very synchronized and coincidental way. It just made sense for us to call the group that when that number was a big part of the reason we even started making this music the way that we did. I still haven't come to any conclusions as to what it might mean, but there is definitely something strange going on. If I had to guess I would say that the number is an easily identifiable symbol that is being used to communicate something?

IRT: What initially piqued your interest in Bohemian Grove?

Member 1:
Its the veil of mystery that surrounds the grove. The stories, and theories that the grove conjures up. A lot of people are familiar with the conspiracy theories surrounding the Bohemian Grove Club and its further embellishment by guys like Alex Jones. Don't get me wrong, there is a elite group of men that gather there once a year for their little political pow wow, but what attracted us is the air of mystery in those woods and the sense of anxiousness it creates. For that reason we decided to record the album out there.

Member 2: When we were working on our first material someone brought an owl into the basement we were in and decapitated it. Not a real owl but a statue. We took pictures of different areas of the room we were in and incorporated it into our artwork. The owl was a symbol used for the Bohemian Club and has been spotted on the dollar bill and other places in relation to secret society's and things of that nature. Once the connection was made we thought it would be the perfect venue for 3:33 to perform so we did the closest thing possible; we went out there and recorded an album.

IRT: What are your thoughts on the layout of the 2012 presidential election as it stands today?

Member 1:
It’s a tough one for sure. I almost feel bad for Obama, because he was put in power after terrible 8 years under Bush’s rule, right at that tipping point. With the rise of the tea party, the collapse of the western world's economies, this upcoming election will be important. But lately I have been questioning how far our individual votes really go.

Member 2: I haven't payed too much attention. I have never exercised my right to vote and I am not convinced that the president is as important as they are made out to be. What business does he have doing commercial cameo's for George Lopez? In addition, I don't think anybody really knows what is going on or how to solve the nation's problems, assuming that they want to. On a whole, I think the American government has deviated drastically from its original purpose and people have been convinced that our form of "capitalism" equals freedom...You need a lot of money to run for president. I don't like politics. You don't know who you can trust...I usually look to Noam Chomsky for some insight. He doesn't seem to have an agenda and is both very informed and intelligent.

IRT: Who were some hip-hop producers that inspired you guys to go in a more beat-oriented direction? Did you guys always start out making beats or did your music evolve from another style?

Member 1:
Hip-Hop is always going to be the foundation for our records, and the majority of that influence comes from, Pete Rock, RZA, Prince Paul, Havoc, Godfather Don; mostly NY producers from the mid to early 90’s. In terms of sounds, we try to bridge the gap between earlier NY hip-hop, and incorporate the soundscape of John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer and the their school of Musqiue Concrete, and meld it with Tangerine Dream, David Axelrod & the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Member 2:
There are a lot of hip-hop producers that inspire me, i would have to say RZA is probably the most influential. He did the 'Ghost Dog' score which was beat-oriented and showed the ability for hip-hop to be more than just the type of beats to party and rhyme to. Also, a producer named Sift I met in like 2002. Sampling in general is one of my biggest inspirations and artists like DJ Krush and DJ Spooky have done some really good stuff. I started off playing an instrument then messing around with a cheap keyboard and cutting my own tape loops. Eventually I bought some samplers and sequencers. Experimenting with sounds and electronics and developing my own style or styles. 3:33 has evolved out of a lot of different musical influences but is really something inspired by real life experiences and is intended to be a reflection of that. I just try to make the music I wish someone else was making.

IRT: What aspect of John Cage's music theory most informs your method of creation?

Member 1:
We almost take the approach of his famous piece 4”33”. We obviously agree with him about the importance of listening in particular to every detail of the track. Which is why the most important part of our tracks involves the sound design and sequencing. Knowing which frequencies work with each other. The balancing act of creating something experimental and something easy to listen to.

Member 2: I would say his experimentation, but even more so, his use of the I-Ching and chance best reflect the process of 3:33.

IRT: What prompted you guys to remix Company Flow's Krazy Kings III? How did the mix come about? How about Cannibal Ox?

Member 2:
I really wanted to hear Vordul and Bigg Jus over our music. Those are two of the most innovative emcees that came out around their time. The Cold Vein and Funcrusher Plus are two of my favorite hip-hop albums. Once we had the acapellas, we had to mess around with them. They both have done some really dope solo stuff since then...I would really like to work with both of them.

IRT: Are you cognizant of whether or not El-P has heard the remixes?

Member 1:
I know the label emailed him the mixes and got at him via Twitter and such. I'm sure he has his Google alerts on, and has seen the remixes. Whether he bothered to give them a spin I don't know.

Member 2: I assume he has. It would be interesting to know what he thought.

IRT: Do you have any other remix ideas in the pipeline? Have you guys ever thought of doing an entire mixtape?

Member 1:
There are a few more remixes planned, the next one is a one for G-Side. We will probably knock out a few more and release them together with the instrumentals on cassette tape next year. We are just floating around titles and concepts for the project. We actually remixed the majority of the Cold Vein, but don’t have any immediate plans to release it.

IRT: The artwork to your records is phenomenal. Given that, are you guys still positive that physical product will win out over the digital medium in the end? Or at least keep its head above water? Why or why not?

Member 1:
Thanks, all of our artwork is created by Kevin Vitella, who is too talented. I believe that the physical medium will always exist in one form or another. The reassurance in vinyl and cassette tapes is further proof of its longevity. I eventually think CD's will go the same route and remain popular in the collector market. The digital format scares me though, because it is eliminating so much. Look no further than what the kindle/e-readers are doing to print. Books are slowly joining the ranks of vinyl as the new member of the niche collector market.

Member 2:
I think physical product will always be around. I would never pay for a computer file. If I want to pay and have MP3s, I would rather just buy the CD and have both...On the other side digital sales are a good way for artists to make money without paying for the cost of physical products. But, I prefer physical over digital. It is almost as much a part of the music to me as the music itself.

IRT: What is the significance of the owl as your logo?

Member 2: Going back to question 2, the owl was something that just happened to be there during the recording when we took that picture. If it wasn’t down there at that time, I highly doubt it would have been in our artwork. The owl began manifesting itself elsewhere which led to further developments in our forthcoming projects. i think its significance is something we have continued to find out about ourselves after we made it our "logo". Everything involved in 3:33 almost feels as if its being controlled by external forces.

IRT: Have you guys toyed with the idea of adding any kind of MC element to your music or is that a slippery slope on which you wish not to travel?

Member 2:
I think the purpose of our music is better conveyed without that. I still would like to do something with Vordul, Bigg Jus and a small handful of other artists. Most of our stuff is made to be instrumental, but I like hearing certain artists on top of it. Parallel Thought presented us with the remix idea from the song they did with MF Doom, and that spawned a series...

Member 1:
Out of that came the idea to do these remixes we have been releasing. We aren’t opposed to the idea of a vocalist on our albums, but as it stands now, they work much better as instrumental records.

IRT: What is your favorite conspiracy theory and how invested in its believability are you?

Member 1: There are so many from the classic William Cooper, to the laughable but highly enjoyable, David Icke. I enjoy the NASA conspiracies, not just the moon landing stuff, or the man on mars. Supposedly, NASA was or still could be activating “Project Blue Beam”. Which is a multi-step worldwide project. The first step involves NASA causing planned earthquakes around the world. Destroying key geographical points, bringing about “new world discoveries” Proving all religions wrong and basically breaking apart our belief systems. What they would discover, I don’t know. The next phase is a sort of fireworks display in the sky. NASA is going to project holographic images across the globe to match different religious faiths, and speak directly to us. At the same time that is going on, we are going to see massive lights, beams, lasers, an all out intense visionary & auditory experience. There's a lot more to the project that I won't go into to. I want to believe in it.

Member 2: The Lincoln and Kennedy parallels are interesting. One that I don't hear much about is that people involved with Haliburton blew up the levees when Katrina hit. I don't necessarily believe any conspiracy's that I have heard, I haven't discounted many either though. But anything involving 2Pac's death and the 7 Day Theory might be my favorite if that count's. I think the most "believable" theories involve population control and monetary policy. I also have a few of my own theories that I find very believable that I would rather not share at the moment.

IRT: If you could exhume a president from history to run in the 2012 election, who would it be and why?

Member 1: William Taft, a former Bonesman and member of the Bohemian Grove. Before he entered the White House, he was part of “The Brotherhood of Death” , ran with the numbers 322 and worshiped the goddess Eulogia. It would be interesting to see his reaction to the world about eighty years after his death.

Member 2: JFK. He didn't get his full four years and he probably would have went another four. I wouldn't mind seeing what he would do today.

IRT: What annoys you most about the current state of hip-hop and why?

Member 2: When artists say their album has no samples and call it Hip-hop. The word itself has been given a new meaning i.e. "hip-hop dance classes". Hip-hop is about DJ's, B-Boys, Emcees & Writers, sampling, breaking, rhyming and bombing. There should be a new genre called pop-hop. It is deprived of originality. There are always exceptions but it just lacks the raw energy and creativeness it used to have. Now a lot of older guys are trying to fit in with the younger crowd. There is a big disconnect between generations and everyone wants to make money and play dress-up. To be an artist and make a living off of music is a huge blessing. Anyone who makes art and thinks they deserve money is not a true artist at all. Kool Herc and Coke la Rock didn't put their time and energy into Hip-hop to make money. Now we have no talent over night gimmicks making money while the pioneers have been left with basically nothing. Hip-hop has lost its craftsmanship. A lot of the better artists around now are not reaching their potential because they are compromising with the current state of hip-hop. Most of the people that i have met that have their heart and mind the right place in terms of the culture tend to make pretty bland music. I am also annoyed at people quoting Lil Wayne as the best rapper alive, or even that he is considered in the discussion, especially when people like Rakim, Kool G Rap, Nas, Black Thought, etc. etc. etc. are all still alive and well.

Member 1:
The cheap production/engineering that artists are getting away with. The majority of this new music sounds so disorganized and sloppy.

IRT: Who are some of your favorite new acts that people should get up on?

Member 2: I'm not sure about new but as far as Hip-hop goes Roc Marciano for sure, Gene the Southern Child, Curren$y, Loer Velocity, Ekundayo and one of my personal favorites Megalon a.k.a. Tommy Gunn. I also like this artist Htrspltn out of Russia who does illbient experimental type stuff. I've mostly been listening to older stuff recently like Master P's 'Toon Killaz', Kool G Rap '4,5,6' The Roots 'Illadelph Halflife', Scienz of Life 'Forthcoming by Day' album, CNN, Do or Die, etc.

Member 1: Both of Andy Stott’s new records are amazing. I’m enjoying the majority of music from Tri Angle records, particularly Holy Other. King Midas Sound, Black Chow, basically anything The Bug is involved in. I also have been enjoying new records from HTRK, Gang Dance, Raime, 2562, Falty DL, Zomby, Thundercat and anything coming out on Not Not Fun & 100% Silk. The Numero Group have been on point this year with Stone Coal White. Fathers Children & their amazing record store day title Pressed At Boddie. Hip-Hop on the other hand has been pretty boring save for Roc Marciano, Action Bronson, Currency & Danny Brown.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The old Titus Oaks Record Exchange on Old Country Road in Hicksville, NY, is the very first independent record shop I set foot in over 25 years ago, sending me on my way for a quarter century of crate digging to which I still cite as my primary leisure of choice.

And it is with a heavy heart that I bring the news of the passing of Alan Meltzer, the man who opened up the first Titus Oaks in Brooklyn back in the late 60s before launching CD One Stop, one of the largest wholesale distributors of CDs back in the 80s and 90s before starting Wind-Up Records, a label responsible for both one of the best groups of the last 20 years in The Wrens and the absolute worst band quite possibly in American rock history in Creed. Nevertheless, the man was a pioneer of the independent record store template that is slowly growing extinct as the digital format continues to eat through the viability of tangible music goods like CDs and vinyl like MRSA. It was recently announced, however, that American Idol Season 10 finalist James Durbin, the kid responsible for introducing Judas Priest and Zakk Wylde to the Tweeting tweens the world over, signed with Wind-Up for a multi-album deal.

I had the opportunity to speak with Alan about 10 years ago when I was writing a story for SHOUT Magazine about the endangerment of indie record shops and he was as gracious as he was cantankerous and I am very sorry to hear of his passing.

For more information on the death of Alan Meltzer, please check out Matthew Perpetua's piece in Rolling Stone. -Ed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

fanatic vol 1

Henry rollins never ceases to amaze me. music, film, writing, radio host, the guy has done it all. and still has hours left over to listen and research music. fanatic is detailed guide to the music he played on his radio show Harmony in My Head. it is a truly informative and humorous way to be introduced to hundreds of elusive songs and bands. rollins has done his homework with this one, he gives a background on each song and info on how to find it yourself if you are so inclined. that's rollins for you. always making the rest of us look lazy..

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Here is a list of the stuff coming out through February of next year that we are most excited to add to the stacks. Mark yr. calendars. -Ed.

The Beach Boys: SMiLE Sessions [Capitol/EMI]
Blouse: Blouse [Captured Tracks]
U2: Achtung Baby- 2 CD Deluxe Edition [Island Records]

JS Bach/Dan Tepfer Goldberg Variations/Variations (Sunnyside)
Dwarr Starting Over (Drag City)
Carlos Paredes Guitarra Portuguesa/Movimento Perpetua (reissues) (Drag City)
The Juan Maclean Everybody Get Close (DFA)
David Lynch: Crazy Clown Time [Sunday Best Recordings/PIAS America]
DRC Music: Kinshasa One Two [Warp]
Luke Roberts: Big Bells and Dime Songs [Thrill Jockey]
Oneohtrix Point Never: Replica [Software]
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here - Immersion Box Set [EMI]
Randy Newman Live in London (Nonesuch)
200 Years 200 Years (Drag City)
Hubble Hubble Drums (Northern Spy)
Billy Joel Piano Man: Legacy Edition (Columbia-Legacy)
This Mortal Coil HDCD Box Set (4AD)

Can: Tago Mago [Reissue] [Spoon/Mute]
Elvis Costello: "Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook (Deluxe Edition) [Hip-O]
J-ROCC: Some Cold Rock Stuff [Stones Throw]
Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow [Fish People/EMI]
Kieran Hebden, Steve Reid, Mats Gustafsson: Live at the South Bank [Smalltown Superjazz]
Olivia Tremor Control: Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle andBlack Foliage: Animation Music Vol 1. [Chunklet Industries]
PTERODACTYL: Spills Out [Jagjaguwar]
R.E.M.: Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 [Warner Bros.]
Salva: Yellobone EP [Friends of Friends]
The Who Quadrophenia: The Director's Cut (Universal)
The Oh Sees Carrion Crawler/The Dream (In The Red)
Tycho Dive (Ghostly International)
Sea Lions Everything YOU Wanted To Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid To Ask (Slumberland)
The Crystal Stilts Radiant Door EP (Sacred Bones)
Ray Charles Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles (Concord)

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls [Deluxe Edition] [Hip-O]
The Rolling Stones Some Girls Live in Texas DVD (Eagle Rock)

Common: The Dream, The Believer [G.O.O.D. Music]
The Skull Defekts: "2013-3012" 12" [Thrill Jockey]
Ty Segall Singles 2007-2010 (Goner REcords)
Wooden Wand and the Briarwood Virgins Briarwood (Fire Records)
Desertshore Drawing of Threes (Caldo Verde)
Doomtree No Kings (Doomtree Records)

Boris New Album (Sargent House)
John Cale Extra Playful EP (Domino)
Oval OvalDNA (Shitkatapult)

Gorillaz The Singles Collection: 2001-2011 (Virgin)
Nurse with Wound The Iron Soul of Nothing (Ideologic Organ)
Young Antiques A Man, Not A Biography (Two Sheds Records)
Smashing Pumpkins Gish/Siamese Dream Deluxe Editions (EMI)

The Black Keys El Camino (Nonesuch)
The Fall Ersatz GB (Cherry Red)
Terror Visions (Jay Reatard) World of Shit reissue (FDH)
The Roots Undun (Def Jam)
Mux Mool Planet High School (Ghostly International)
The Light 1102/2011 EP (Hacienda)

Rush Time Machine: Live in Cleveland 2011 DVD (Zoe/Rounder)

Pearl Jam Twenty (DVD) (Sony)

Guided By Voices Let's Go Eat The Factory (GBV, Inc.)

The Little Willies For the Good Times (Milking Bull-EMI)

Kathleen Edwards Voyageur (produced by Edwards and Justin Vernon and featuring guests Norah Jones, Vernon, Phil Cook of Megafaun and Brian Moen of Peter Wolf Crier) (Zoe-Rounder)

Laura Gibson La Grande (Barsuk)

Ben Kweller Go Fly A Kite (The Noise Company)

Pink Floyd The Wall: Immersion Edition (EMI)
Fanfarlo Rooms Filled With Light (Canvasback-Atlantic)

Friday, October 7, 2011

In honor of Steve Jobs...

Some old school Apple...

Mystery House

Castle Wolfenstein (early IDM/Industrial)

Karateka (first Apple game I ever played -Ed.)

Oregon Trail

Lode Runner

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

R.I.P. R.E.M.

"A wise man once said--'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.' We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it... I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way." -Michael Stipe, announcing the breakup of alt rock pioneers R.E.M. today on the group's Web site.

Please enjoy this tribute to a great American band who provided over 30 years of outstanding music that pulled from every cool artist and band you should have gotten into back in the day. Sorry to see you go. Thanks for helping me find my voice in high school. -Ed.

"Orange Crush" Live on Top of the Pops 1989:

"Turn You Inside Out"

"Every Day Is Yours To Win"

"I Remember California" (Live from Tourfilm)

"Disturbance at the Heron House" (Live on MTV unplugged 1991)

"Carnival of Sorts" (Live Wire NYC, 1983)

Peforming Syd Barrett's "Dark Globe" in London, 1991:

"All The Way To Reno"

"Nightswimming" (Live on Jools Holland, 1992)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


With two 11-minute long songs and one 19-and-a-half-minute epic, the heavily anticipated union between the West Coast's kings of metal and the East Coast's emperor of cool could turn out to be either like The Blue Mask meets ...And Justice For All or something achingly akin to Metal Machine Music meets St. Anger, which I don't think any of us want any part of, right? I guess we will all have to wait until Halloween to find out...

Here's some spiel on the album from the supergroup's special Web site followed by the track listing:

"Lulu" was inspired by German expressionist writer Frank Wedekind's plays "Earth Spirit" and "Pandora's Box," which tell a story of a young abused dancer's life and relationships and are now collectively known as the "Lulu Plays." Since their publication in the early 1900's, the plays have been the inspiration for a silent film ("Pandora's Box," 1929), an opera, and countless other creative endeavors. Originally the lyrics and musical landscape were sketched out by Lou for a theatrical production in Berlin, but after coming together with the 'Tallica boys for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts in New York in 2009 all guilty parties knew they wanted to make more music together. Lou was inspired enough by that performance to recently ask the band to join him in taking his theatrical "Lulu" piece to the next level and so starting in early May of this year we were all camped out recording at HQ studios in Northern California, bringing us to today and ten complete songs.

1. Brandenburg Gate (4:19)

2. The View (5:17)

3. Pumping Blood (7:24)

4. Mistress Dread (6:52)

5. Iced Honey (4:36)

6. Cheat On Me (11:26)

7. Frustration (8:33)

8. Little Dog (8:01)

9. Dragon (11:08)

10. Junior Dad (19:28)

Thank you. -Ed.

Metallica and Lou Reed playing "Sweet Jane":

Hair High (the graphic novel)

Bill Plympton is known as known for his surreal illustrations and textured style and this adaption of his feature film Hair High is no exception. what could be a cliche ghost story is turned into a mindbending look at high school. one we all can relate to... plympton's exaggerated drawings take simple high school issues and makes them look how they all felt when we were that young, huge and distorted and horrible. Once again graphic literature hits us in the heart by being direct and honest.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Watch the Trailer for Martin Scorcese's George Harrison: Living In The Material World

A beautiful homage to a beautiful man. It's hard to believe 10 years has passed since the Quiet One lost his valiant battle with cancer. His death still ripples through the waters of time.

"George's music always spoke directly to me," Martin Scorsese recently Rolling Stone in regards to his first Beatle-related music documentary, which joins the likes of The Last Waltz and Bob Dylan: No Direction Home in the filmmaker's credit roll. "So directly that I don't think I realized just how inspiring he'd been for me until I made the picture."

Look for this documentary to air on HBO October 5 and 6th.

Tom Waits Announces New Album, Hosts "Private Listening Party"

In the true nature of one of rock's great seers, Tom Waits utilized the Internet to announced the release of his next album, Bad As Me, due out on October 25th via the Anti- label, by hosting a private listening party broadcast over YouTube.

From the sound of this hilarious short, the music on Tom's first new album in seven years sounds like its gonna be a goodie.

Track List:
01. Chicago 02. Raised Right Men 03. Talking At The Same Time 04. Get Lost 05. Face To The Highway 06. Pay Me 07. Back In The Crowd 08. Bad As Me 09. Kiss Me 10. Satisfied 11. Last Leaf 12. Hell Broke Luce 13. New Year's Eve

For more information, head over to

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Cla$$war is another superhero story for grown ups by Com-x. A chaotic establishing challenging 21st century deconstruction. A 00's Watchmen. The nationalism that arose in the post 9/11 is the perfect target for superhero fiction. Cla$$war uses a superhero to represent the american spirit. a spirit that transcends the efforts of those in charge to distort it and make it ugly. It's a spirit of rebelliouness and indivudality that cannot be distilled or manipulated. we will not abide being lied to. once again comics prove to be a great medium for examining the times we live in.

Friday, August 5, 2011


While the world is preparing the unveiling of the documentary celebrating the 20th anniversary of the mighty Pearl Jam, another great Seattle band who doesn't quite get their fair share of accolades these days is also celebrating a milestone in the creative timeline as well. That being Queensryche, who came together in 1981 with a shared love for Pink Floyd and Judas Priest and created one of the most distinct sounds to grace heavy metal in the Reagan era and are now on tour in commemoration of their 30th anniversary as well as in support of their new album, Dedicated to Chaos, easily their best work since Empire.

IRT was on hand for their fourth stop on the six-month long trek at the Mayo Center's Community Theatre in Morristown, NJ, where the group dug deep into their extensive catalog to span the entirety of their career. And while our cut-off was 1993's Promised Land album, leaving us scratching our heads a bit for about half the show over what song was from 1997's Hear in the Now Frontier and what was from 2009's American Soldier, it was the moments when they broke out the gold, such as "The Lady Wore Black" from the first EP, a killer version of "Screaming in Digital" off Rage for Order and a transcendent performance of "Eyes of A Stranger" off their 1988 concept masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime that made the evening a special one.

01 Get Started
02 Damaged
03 I Don't Believe in Love
04 Hit the Black
05 The Hands
06 A Dead Man's Words
07 At 30,000 Feet
08 Rhythm of Hope
09 Real World
10 NM 156
11 Screaming in Digital
12 The Lady Wore Black
13 Walk in the Shadows
14 The Right Side of My Mind
15 Around the World
16 Silent Lucidity
17 Jet City Woman
18 Empire
19 Eyes of a Stranger / Anarchy X-tra

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The tragic death of UK soul sensation Amy Winehouse is a major loss to the music world regardless of where you stand in the context of her troubled life. But whatever brought her life spiraling out of control and into the ether in the weeks leading up to her passing last weekend, if you need to be reminded of what a major star we lost, please check out this stunning cover of "Back To Black" from legendary girl group icon Ronnie Spector on the Rolling Stone website, a stunning testament to the 27-year-old Londoner's impact on pop culture that defied generational boundaries.

Of all the eulogies that poured in this past week in reference to her death, I think it was Tony Bennett, who recorded a duet with Amy this past March on a tune called "Body and Soul" that will most likely go down as her untimely studio swan song, who said it best when he told Us Weekly how she was "an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist and I am truly devastated that her exceptional talent has come to such an early end. She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance."

Rest in peace, Amy.

Ronnie Spector doing "Back to Black" at BB Kings, NYC, December 2010:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

eddie vedder - live and solo...

this dvd was recorded before the release of his ukele songs album so a lot of the material is from pearl jam albums as well as the into the wild soundtrack and a few covers. it is nice to see that eddie has matured and changed with times. it was pearl jam continue to be a relevant musical force. live and solo eddie sounds strong yet weary. it was recorded in 2008 so i think at that time we were all tired of the bush years.. war and a strangled economy.. weary though he may have been, he still manages to let the humor shine through. in the end, eddie has aged gracefully.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


James Chance and the Contortions. DNA. Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. Glenn Branca. MX-80. ESG. Suicide. All great bands of the No-Wave movement of New York City during the first four years that the esteemed Ed Koch held the mayoral office.

But who was the alternative to all of those acts? The answer: The Social Climbers, a trio consisting of Jean Seton Shaw (bass, vocals), A. Leroy (farfisa organ, korg machine) and Mark Bingham (guitar, vocals) whose unique style of hockey rink dub-funk-punk ruled the periphery of the periphery alongside the likes of such other forgotten figures of the era as Jean-Michel Basquiat's Gray and MX-80 Sound.

But on September 20th, the Social Climbers will finally get their long overdue day in the modern sun when Drag City reissues their sole LP, originally issued on Hoboken Records and consisting of the sum of a trio of shitty 7-inch flexi-discs privately pressed by the band themselves plus two bonus tracks exclusive to this particular edition.

This album is the core definition of DIYwith a sound that helped put bands like Tortoise and Stereolab on the map, and if you have any kind of taste you should go right to the Drag City website and preorder this mug straightaway.

  1. Domestic 2:47

  2. Chicken 80 3:59

  3. Western World 5:04

  4. Chris & Debbie 6:59

  5. Palm Springs 4:05

  6. That's Why 2:44

  7. Ernie K 3:09

  8. Hello Texas 2:57

  9. Taipei 5:01

  10. Tickhead (live) (CD-only) 2:09

  11. The Day The Earth Stood Still (CD-only) 3:44

"Chicken 80"

"Palm Springs"


Check out the new mixtape from Coltrane progeny Flying Lotus over at his Brainfeeder site. You will not regret it. Two-odd hours of pure soul satisfaction to heal us in these troubled times.

Stream that shit here:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

BIG MAN…ASSIST ME PLEASE!!! A Remembrance of Clarence Clemons

by Greg Maniha

Those immortal words uttered by Mr. Springsteen thousands of times during the course of nearly 40 years to his irreplaceable saxophonist, vocalist, and stage personality have created so many smiles you could spend a lifetime attempting to count them. It would take nearly as much time attempting to count or isolate the greatest moments of Mr. Clarence Clemons while sharing the stage with Springsteen.

As often as I heard that crazy dialogue between that possessed street preacher you ran with and yourself it began to dawn on me that I believed everything he told us about you! You really were the king of the world and the master of the universe! Hey Big Man, did you hear about this story? I’m sure you did because nothing escapes the king of the world, right? There was this amazing musician named John Lennon who was a fan of the music you were a part of creating. In his final interview, he spoke about idol worship within rock and roll. As he spoke about the trials and tribulations of his own experience, he also expressed great fear and concern for your musical counterpart. He feared that Mr. Springsteen would be buried by the same pressures that did him in before Mark David Chapman destroyed his life, widowed his wife, left his sons without a father and permanently altered the world by forcing it to go on without him. Speaking about the media manipulation that impacted him as a megastar in a post Beatles world and completely relating to what Mr. Springsteen was up against, he said "And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he's no longer God. ... They'll turn on him, and I hope he survives it." Mr. Lennon didn’t live to see his hopes realized, but Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band not only survived the media manipulation machine, it faced down a popular conservative two term U.S. President who understood nothing about the creative work all of you were a part of and thrived with style for another 30 years beyond the date of Mr. Lennon’s interview. Perhaps not the rest of us, but more than enough of us never decided that the boss was no longer god and that you were no longer the master of the universe. We simply didn’t allow the media to make this call and they wisely decided not to argue with us. Mortality unfortunately didn’t follow the lead of the media and now I’m kind of “lost in the flood,” so to speak. Big Man…assist me please!

How does one write a eulogy for the master of the universe? How is one supposed to come up with, say, your five greatest moments when they took place night after night on every stage you ever set foot on with the E Street Band? The easy solution for a hack writer would be to list the studio work that created your identity. It goes without saying that the beloved "10th Avenue Freeze Out" with perhaps the greatest intro of any E Street Band composition immortalizes the fact that you even graced Springsteen with your presence, let alone joined the band! Your saxophone solo on "Jungleland" created a rock opera out of record and turned an entire suite of songs into one of the greatest things ever pressed onto wax. It doesn’t even bear thinking about a "Badlands" without you taking over the solo from the boss and his Esquire. "Hungry Heart" would be far more than incomplete if it didn’t have you to send it home and literally take ownership of the song before it closes. Although many longtime fans might not agree with me, "Radio Nowhere" was a perfect example of the power you still held and the passion to deliver your musical contribution to the world. It might be the best representation of a dual lead with Nils Lofgren, which never seemed to take place during studio sessions. Regardless of this immortal documentation known by fans and detractors alike, it seems to me to be, well, for the masses. I have yet to read the many obituary pieces that will appear in newspapers across the globe, but I have a feeling at least one of these compositions will be cited in the majority of them. As beloved as the compositions were, there was so much more to your musical and social contribution. The fact that you refused to allow the limitations of your body to prevent you from making your mark time and time again is a legacy in and of itself. The lives of the people you touched measure in the thousands. So many of us will never have the chance to tell you in person, but as the master of the universe I already know you feel each and every one of them.

I’ll never forget when my son, now six years old, first started feeling the power of your music. He was only three at the time, but the world he knew was shattering around him because the adults in his life that love him couldn’t work together easily for his sake. He couldn’t understand why things were happening the way they were but I was determined to never leave him behind regardless of adult conflicts. I wasn’t living with him at the time but stubbornly refused to go a day without spending time with him. I would pick him up in the afternoon and we would drive to a favorite park from there followed by a nightly father and son dinner. This resulted in many hours spent in a car with his dad’s collection of “Brucelegs.” It was the FM recording of your legendary show at the Roxy in LA on 7/7/78 that sealed the deal. Your saxophone solo during Badlands on this particular evening pulled him in from the beginning. When he first heard it he asked me excitedly what was making that sound so of course out of concern I asked if he liked it. With an ear to ear grin he gave me an enthusiastic yes! A musical bond between father and son was born in a moment that lives to this day. “Roxy Night” became the soundtrack to my lifeline for a threatened relationship with my son. Big Man, even the master of the universe can’t keep track of everything all at once so I’m not sure anybody had the chance to tell you how much I owe you for playing such a major role in cementing the relationship between my son and I. That solo you played on "Badlands" in LA during 1978 paved the way for a three-year-old boy to start requesting your musical highlights. Badlands remained the favorite but requests for Sprit In The Night and For You quickly followed suit. This musical conversation with my 3 year old son became so powerful it escaped from the Roxy to take over Darkness On The Edge Of Town, The River (yes, he likes "Crush On You"!) Born To Run, Magic and even the obscure cuts on Tracks. For him, it was all about the boss and the big man. It was inevitable that he would end up asking me about concerts with Bruce and the Big Man. I told him that I had seen both of you many times and he insisted that I take him to see a concert TOMORROW. After some explaining he changed his demand to the next concert in San Francisco where we were living at the time.

By the time the Working On A Dream tour opened in San Jose, my son had at least 16 songs he was hoping to hear. He was eight days away from turning four and this was his birthday present (well, this and some lego bricks of course…he does have his priorities.) At the top of his list for the evening was "Badlands", Bruce and THE BIG MAN! Words cannot do justice to the joy you gave my son when you walked out on to that stage with Bruce. He kept screaming repeatedly “There they are!” As I tried to give him earplugs, with a smile and an audience of his own he threw them into the crowd. I had an extra pair so of course I gave it another shot only to have the same thing happen twice. He was determined to have as raw of a rock and roll experience as possible the way only you two could deliver it. When you launched into "Badlands" I have never seen a bigger smile on his face or mine. Watching him actually feel his favorite song take over his heart and soul was a high like no other. Hearing him share with me new favorites he heard for the first time at the concert accompanied with the determination to attend another show ASAP was the kind of conversation not many are blessed to have with their three-year-old son. A new tramp was born that night. You gave this to us Big Man. During a time in our lives when we needed joy of this magnitude, you gave this to us! Whether a written piece is published in Rolling Stone or an undiscovered blog, the content is a matter of opinion most of the time and in my humble opinion, this was one of your greatest musical moments. After that amazing evening my son along with my father and I would attend the 4th night at Giants Stadium together. By the time this show took place during the final leg of the same tour, he was a seasoned four-year-old tramp that knew he was hearing the complete Born To Run record and wanted to be in the pit so he could be closer to you. We had good seats, but he was already a purist. This would be our last show together as he wasn’t allowed to attend more than one night (he was not pleased about that at all!) After that night we would discuss planning better for the next tour because I was “no longer allowed” to attend without him. It’s now 1:30 AM in New Jersey on Father’s Day and you’re not even 24 hours into your new journey. I explained to him that you had to leave us. After asking why, he told me he understood that sometimes people get hurt too badly to be helped. Upon absorbing the brutal reality that you’re not coming back, he simply walked up to me, gave me a hug, and said “I love you dad and I love the Big Man.”

Well Big Man, from here I could talk about the emotional saxophone solo you played during "Drive All Night" at the St. Louis show in 2008. I could talk about that superb E Street version of the Coasters “And Then (S)he Kissed Me" that you owned during the same St. Louis show. I could go on for hours about the Boss kissing you before starting "Wrecking Ball" like one would kiss the ring of Don Vito Corleone during the final shows at Giants Stadium. I could talk about insanity of the extra-long intro of "10th Avenue Freeze Out" during the final show on the Magic tour in Kansas City. I could talk about how you personally impacted me on a musical level with every concert I ever saw, every “bruceleg” I ever acquired, and every record I ever listened to so many times over.

Regardless of my favorite musical moment of yours I ever witnessed on stage or within a recording, during a time when my son and I needed it more than ever, Big Man, you assisted me! Bruce was right! You really are the master of the universe! Thank you king of the world, the master of the universe, weighing in at 250 pounds, the big man Clarence Clemons! Thank you!

"Paradise By The C" Live 1978 Capital Center in Landover, Maryland:

"Prove It All Night" Landover '78:

"Kitty's Back" Passaic 1978: