Monday, July 31, 2006

Lollapalooza Webcast Lineup

The AT&T Blue Room, which brought some great stuff from Bonnaroo, will be at Lollapalooza and sending out the following webcasts (CST):

The Subways on Friday 8/4 from 12:30-1:30 PM
Panic! At the Disco on Friday 8/4 from 2:30-3:30 PM
The Editors on Friday 8/4 from 3:30-4:30 PM
Ryan Adams on Friday 8/4 from 4:30-5:30 PM
Iron & Wine on Friday 8/4 from 5:30-6:30 PM
Sleater-Kinney on Friday 8/4 from 7:30-8:30 PM
Wolfmother on Saturday from 12:30-1:30 PM
Thievery Corporation on Sat. 8/5 from 7:30- 8:30 PM
Wilco on Sunday 8/6 from 6:30-7:30 PM

Panic! Resume Tour Tonight

Panic! At The Disco was forced to cancel two shows this past weekend, Seattle and San Francisco due to a "death in the family." The band does say on their website that they will play tonight's sold out gig at the Grove in Anaheim.

A message to fans states: "We're looking forward to seeing you all again and appreciate you sticking by us during this difficult time."

Benevento/Russo Duo: Play Pause Stop

By: David Schultz

Over the past summer, keyboardist Marco Benevento and drummer Joe Russo received the biggest exposure of their careers, sharing the stage for a series of dates with Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon. Playing under the impromptu moniker of G.R.A.B., the quartet primarily focused on Anastasio and Gordon's compositions; but the always amiable atmosphere engendered by the former Phishsters afforded both Benevento and Russo the opportunity to demonstrate the wildly entertaining improvisational skills that have made them darlings of the jamband scene. Coinciding with the conclusion of their early summer tour, which saw them play numerous dates with Phil Lesh & Friends as well as headline venues on their own, the Benevento/Russo Duo capitalize on their newfound renown with the release of their second album, Play Pause Stop.

The powerful sound generated by the Duo challenges description. Although Keane employ the same keyboard and drums formula, the resulting music could not be more different. In describing the Duo, you eventually reach the perplexing musical equivalent of the chicken and the egg: does Russo lay down a drumbeat to accentuate Benevento's keyboards or is Benevento adding accompaniment to Russo's drumming. The fact that the answer is neither goes a long way towards explaining how a guitarless duo consisting of keyboard and drums create a profoundly distinctive and inimitable sound that's attracted the attention of jamband nation. Rather than rotating support, Benevento and Russo eagerly feed and play off each other; truly a duet of organ and drums.

Play Pause Stop is an exceptionally solid follow up to their debut effort Best Reason To Buy The Sun. A more even album, Play Pause Stop builds on the strengths of their initial release, which contained a nice assortment of upbeat funky tracks, lush harmonious elegies and near avant-garde jazz, by softening some the Duo's rawer edges without dulling or diminishing the sound. Using a wide array of keyboards, Benevento creates the different moods for the Duo's pieces: his ability to give a heavy, menacing character to songs like "Hate Frame" and "Best Reason To Buy The Sun" equally as impressive as his capability to produce the prettier, pleasing melodies found in "Soba" and "Something For Rockets." While most drummers simply keep the beat, providing a foundation for the rest of the band, Russo's innovative drumming is an integral, propelling force of the songs. Even when venturing towards the traditional, as he does on the satisfying but somewhat plodding "Walking, Running, Viking," Russo finds a way to throw in an interesting wrinkle or two.

Most of the tracks on Play Pause Stop have been part of the Duo's live shows for months with some, like "Best Reason To Buy The Sun" and "Hate Frame," dating back to the release of their debut album. Unlike many albums recorded by musicians who excel at the live performance, Play Pause Stop ably captures the exhilarating energy their dynamic produces on stage. Not averse to the recording process, the Duo exhibit a deft proficiency for the recording studio: nicely pairing overlapping keyboard tracks on "Echo Park" with Russo's complex drum beats and inserting a majestic chorus into "Play Pause Stop" that replicates the spontaneous singing that often accompanies live renditions of the title track. They also venture outside of their comfort zone, deviating from their traditional formula on "Memphis," a sweet rolling tune that closes the album and features Russo on acoustic guitar. On "Powder," Russo plays a mellow melody over Benevento's lilting keyboards before going full bore into a roaring organ and drums finale that their fans have come to expect.

Refreshingly, the Duo are committed to getting their music heard; embracing the distributive power of the Internet by making the first three tracks "Play Pause Stop," "Echo Park" and "Soba" easily available for downloading. After playing Lollapalooza next weekend, the Duo will take a bit of a working vacation, playing a handful of shows with Bustle In Your Hedgerow – their Led Zeppelin cover band with Dave Dreiwitz of Ween and Scott Metzger, formerly of Particle – before returning to the road for slate of dates on the West coast.

Kid Rock Marries Pam Anderson

Pam AndersonKid Rock and Pam Anderson have enough in common that they decided to wed. When Pam first announced the decision to marry Kid Rock she wrote:

"I feel like I'm finally free....I'm in love. I'm happy....I see the light...sounds dramatic but it's true..."

Posting a new message from France where the couple tied the knot, with Pam forgoing a wedding dress for a white string bikini, in St. Tropez, the bliss continues:

"Now I'm definitely rocking the most...MRS ROCK...From Vegas to New York to St. Tropez. I was so happy to finally get here. But now I can't wait to get away from these paparazzi - I swear they just wait for the ugliest pictures to take. The best most romantic wedding of all time. Rock n roll wedding. Pics will be out soon - from inside the boat that we took. - All love!"

My question is, of course, when will we see the honeymoon video?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Nightwish: Wishmaster

Actual live video of the song:



A fan remakes video for Finnish metal band Nightwish's Wishmaster:



which is better?

Radiohead: Men Genius At Work - A 20 Song Live YouTube Montage

w/title linked to lyrics:

"In Limbo" 2001 - Holland


"My Iron Lung" 1994-95ish


"Pyramid Song" - 2001


"How to Disappear Completely"


"All I Need" - Chicago 2006


"Inside My Head" - Reading 1994


"Paranoid Android"


"Idioteque" 2000


"Life in a Glass House"


"Karma Police" Live on Letterman


"There There" Glastonbury 2003


"Talk Show Host"


"I Might Be Wrong"


"Fake Plastic Trees"


"Optimistic" Live from Dublin


"The Bends"


"Lucky" 1997


"The Gloaming"


"Arpeggi" - 2006


Morning Bell (Live @ Eurockennes)

J-Henry: An Artist to Watch

Within a few minutes of listening to J-Henry - particulary on songs like "Come On" and "Another Long Day" - you quickly realize that he hails from Springsteen's and Mellancamp's small town America where blue collar values matter and people still dream of getting out while they're young. However, the obvious influence of these rock icons does not prevent him from forging his own musical identity.

J-Henry's working class roots made it a little surreal to sit down with him in a suite at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City a couple weeks ago when he opened up for Sheryl Crow. But, the gilded surroundings didn't seem to faze J-Henry. Despite his success, he came across as a genuinely nice guy and humble musician who holds a deep respect for the artform and those that came before him. Simply put, you can take the man out of the small town, but in J-Henry's case you can't take the small town out of the man.

Growing up in North Plainfield, New Jersey, in a tight nit family of five brothers, J-Henry was exposed to music at an early age. His grandfather was a musician who owned a music store and J-Henry had his first guitar by age 16, a 1962 SG. From there, the songs flowed. Although he and his brothers didn't form their own band, they did manage to wrangle a small recording board for their basement to allow for experimenting with recording songs at a young age. One of his brothers still serves as a songwriting partner.

Despite coming of age in the 80s and 90s, J-Henry was drawn to Americana rock like Skynryd and Bob Seger as well as various country artists. Country music remains an interest and he cites Shooter Jennings and The Wreckers as contempory artists he's listening to now. His interest in Nashville is more than just that of fan and he's currently writing some songs for country artists. But, he's true to his first love and his sound fits right in with the resurgance of roots rock taking place the past year or so.

In those early days, J-Henry decided not to focus on learning other people's songs and focused in on his own. But, the road to bigger gigs and fancy hotel rooms was not a short one. He played more than his fair share of local bars over the years and really just started playing out regularly the last few. He worked in the family business while building up his live performance resume. He joked that he has that to go back to if need bu, but somehow I don't he's going to have worry about that.

In 2003, he met and teamed with ex-Spin Doctors guitarist Anthony Krizan. After seeing him perform in a local club, Krizan - also a producer and fellow Jersey boy - invited J-Henry to his Sonic Boom studios to work on some tracks, which eventually led to his first major album project "The Billy Sessions." The hard work paid off and he eventually hooked up with legendary lawyer Owen Sloane and manager Tom Callahan.

Krizan remains with J-Henry and anchors a world class backing band that provides punch to his rich vocal sound on Another Long Day. The band includes "A-1" on keys, John Cornell on bass and John Hummell on drums. But, the icing on the cake for these solid rockers is the backing vocal singing of Carolyn Coletti-Jablonski (aka "CC"), Vivian Sessoms and Jenny Douglass McRae. Sessoms and McRae also regularly tour with Rob Thomas and CC has also been singing with Meatloaf for the last 3 years. The ladies simply take the music to another level.

Another Long Day was recorded for indie label Rockview Records, but distributed via major label channels by Fontana/Universal. The songs on the disc, including the two mentioned above, cover themes ranging from young love to explorations of the 9-5 working man's world. J-Henry's songs also taste life beyond the small town horizon as evidenced by tunes like "Back to LA" and "City Girl." He tells me that each song contains parts of real stories from his life or someone close to him. The gospel tinged "On the Horizon" evokes imagery of two young lovers cruising along thunder road with its soulful hook: "All I have is this pickup truck, all my dreams and a whole lot of love - Believe with me - I have enouh faith for the both of us, take my hand baby take my trust - Believe in Me." While "Just a Woman" explores the darker side of relationships with the fairer sex.

The songs have been well received with J-Henry receiving a large feature in the New York Times and "Come On" climbing into the top 20 on the Hot AC FMQB charts. He and the band have recorded 15-20 songs for a new record and are in the process of mastering and finalizing what songs will make the final cut for a projected fall release.

J-Henry's somewhat slow, but steady climb, which fits his small town roots, typifies the struggling artist who pays their dues by playing small bars around the country and gradually working their way up to larger venues. But, he doesn't completely begrudge the kids who seemingly make it overnight by recording other people's songs without having to traverse the often grueling club scene. In fact, he says he enjoyed a recent House of Blues gig with American Idol finalist Constatine Maroulis. And, it's obvious he values the time spent in the small clubs and still plays the Stone Pony in Asbury Park a few times a year.

A great credit to a musician is when they don't need fancy production to make them sound good and can reproduce the recorded sounds live on stage. J-Henry and crew pass that test with flying colors. Opening for a major act like Sheryl Crow is never easy, but the 5000+ Trump Taj Mahal crowd instantly warmed to the Jersey boy-made-good and he held the crowds attention during all of his originals on through to a closing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" that J-Henry reworked with a funky vibe to fit his style.

In addition to putting out likeable, "regular guy" rock and roll, J-Henry has been building his heartland cred by playing several NASCAR races around the country and will be in Indianapolis on August 6th playing in front of about 150,000 people on the infield at the Allstate Brickyard 400. Based on my talk with him and the performance I saw in Atlantic City, I have no doubt that more than a few new fans will be won over that afternoon.

For more information on J-Henry visit his website or MySpace page.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New Bob Dylan Record

Bob Dylan Modern TimesBob Dylan's first new studio album in five years, Modern Times, hits stores and online shops August 29th. This is Dylan's 44th album and features 10 new songs recorded last winter with Dylan on keyboards, guitars, harmonica and vocals, accompanied by his touring band. Song titles on Modern Times include "Thunder On The Mountain," "Spirit On The Water," "Workingman's Blues," and "When The Deal Goes Down."

Columbia Records Chairman Steve Barnett states, "A new Bob Dylan record is an event. Bob is that rare artist whose music defies all trends and resonates throughout all levels of our culture, and he continues to be as contemporary and relevant as any artist in music."

To get you primed, you can listen to archived Dylan tunes here.

The US vs John Lennon

The soundtrack to the feature length documentary film, The U.S. vs John Lennon will be available on CD and digitally on September 26. The disc will include "Imagine," "Nobody Told Me," "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)," "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," and "Power To The People," as well as two previously unreleased tracks, "Attica State," recorded live at 1971's "John Sinclair Freedom Rally" benefit concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the film's instrumental version of "How Do You Sleep."

The film, documenting reported tracking of Lennon by the US Government, will open in New York and Los Angeles theaters on September 15th, followed by wide release at the end of September.

"Never in a million years, did we think that promoting World Peace could be dangerous. Were we naive? Yes, on that account, we were. John sings: 'Nobody told me there'd be days like these.' That was his true confession," says Yoko Ono Lennon, "These songs have become relevant all over again. It's almost as if John wrote these songs for what we are going through now."

Oasis to Release "Best Of" Disc This Year

Just months after reportedly vowing not to put out a "Best Of" cd, Noel Gallagher is reversing course. Stop the Clocks is set for a November release - just in time for holiday shopping! The collection will be an 18-track combination of their biggest singles and unreleased B-Sides.

ContactMusic has Noel's reported prior words on the subject:

I never understood the MANICS (MANIC STREET PREACHERS) and BLUR putting out Best Ofs. It's kind of saying that whatever you're gonna do from there on is not gonna be your best."

So, is this it?

XM Radio Passes 7 Million Subscribers

XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: XMSR) announced that it now has more than seven million subscribers. XM also now has live studio broadcasts in Washington, DC, New York City, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Toronto and Montreal. They also recently added Willie Nelson as a guest host.

"With more than seven million subscribers today, XM has achieved yet another major milestone as the leader in satellite radio," said Hugh Panero, CEO, XM Satellite Radio.

I'd still like to see a merger between XM and Sirius to really give Clear Channel and "free radio" a real run for their money.

Jen Chapin: Ready

By: David Schultz

On "Cats In The Cradle," the immensely gifted storyteller Harry Chapin sang of an absentee father's bittersweet realization that his son had grown up just like him. In a wonderful example of life imitating art: it's not Harry Chapin's son who has grown up just like him - it's his daughter. On her latest album Ready, released last week, Jen Chapin shows that she is her father's daughter, inheriting his gift for songwriting. While her jazzy-folk style distinctly differs from her traditionally folky father, Chapin has also continued her father's spirit of activism: chairing the Board of Directors of World Hunger Year, an organization co-founded by her father.

As Jakob Dylan could surely attest to, it can be hard to carve out a niche for yourself when you are the offspring of a famous parent; everyone seems to want to discuss your famous father. Focusing the discussion back onto Ms. Chapin, Ready contains a wonderful selection of thematically linked songs. Written primarily while Chapin was pregnant (her infant son Maceo has already performed with Bruce Springsteen), the hopes and optimism of any expectant mother make their way into her lyrics in varying forms. A versatile singer, Chapin sounds like she could be at home in a coffee house, cabaret or the Great White Way and the sparse arrangements accent the captivating beauty of her voice. "Scream Laugh Cry" and "Skin" with Pete Rende's piano accompaniment, and the acoustic guitar driven "Goodbye" and "Let It Show" possess the same heart and emotion as any Broadway musical showstopper.

The restrained accompaniment of Chapin's supporting band expertly complements her voice. Her husband and oftentimes collaborator Stephan Crump plays bass; assisted by guitarist Jamie Fox, they give a lively Grateful Dead "Fire On The Mountain" feel to the bouncy opener "Strip It Bare" and the carnivalesque "Election Day." The band, especially drummer Dan Riser, gets to flex some of their jazzier chops on the poppy "NYC" and the slinky "Time." Chapin recorded Ready live in the studio, capturing the intimate performances much in the way Van Morrison accomplished the same feat on Astral Weeks. Although some strings were added post-production, Chapin delivers an impressive, enchanting album demonstrating the strength of her live performances.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

MySpace Find: Preston Swift

by Rinjo Njori

Preston Swift, (all brothers if you can believe it), came together as a band in 2005. Discovered on the "underground" [Ed note: for the comprehension-challenged the quotes connote sarcasm] social networking site MySpace, the band seems poised to breakout from their humble roots or at least Drexel Hill, PA. Despite their vast range of their influences like smoked Skunk," "post modern futuristic space reggae" and sounding like a "hot fudge sunday" this foursome has some pop sensibilities reminiscent of the Doherty-Barat school of music.

"Ballroom" has a minimalistic pop hook that falls somewhere between the gloss of Dirty Pretty Things and haze of Babyshambles. "Lifeboat" has a minimalistic approach - counting on the rhythm guitar to carry the song. The bigger guitar parts in this one come off as an intrusion more than anything. At times, "Potion" feels very much like Babyshamble's "In Love with a Feeling.". Significantly lacking the warble, but making up for the deliberate rhythm of the song. "Spendulas," posted this weekend, comes off as the tightest song the band has posted. Big guitars and heavy vocals venture into Giraffe's territory, but if you consider the cited influence of "cock block rock" this song no longer seems so surprising.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Playboy presents The Girls of Ozzfest 2006

Playboy OzzfestNew York, NY, July 25, 2006 – Playboy.com rocks the Web with the Girls of OZZfest 2006. Beginning this week and running through August 18, Playboy.com will feature a sexy metal maiden chosen from the Miss OZZfest 2006 competition. A brief bio, video and pictorial will go up each Friday featuring a new rocker babe. Photos of the current OZZfest babe, Daniella from Sacramento, can be found at www.playboy.com.

Miss OZZfest 2006 is taking place during this summer's tour where OZZfest emcee Big Dave and professional OZZfest party guy, Eddie, are searching the nation to find the first-ever Miss OZZfest. The duo will be accepting entries and taking photographs of Miss OZZfest candidates in each city. OZZfest fans will take matters into their own hands and vote for their favorites at www.OZZfest.com. Final voting will be held online on August 7 and 8 and the winning beauty will be awarded the grand prize in West Palm Beach during the tour’s final show where she’ll be crowned Miss OZZfest 2006.

Get more info on Ozzfest and the Miss OZZfest 2006 contest here.

Andy Stuckey and Jon Murray: Mythical Fornication

By: David Schultz

The rocky relationship between comedy and music has seen a few successful marriages; but more often than not, the bond sours once the honeymoon period ends. The more successful incorporations of humor, ones that survive more than the initial listen, usually travel one of two roads: the first involves the immersion in the stereotypes of a genre with the faux-earnestness of Tenacious D, providing laughs to those who are in on the joke; the second is the novelty song approach popularized by Dr. Demento, start with a joke or premise and work the tune around it. A third approach exists: but the non-disclosure provisions of Weird Al Yankovic's deal with the devil prevent him from sharing.

On their latest album, Mythical Fornication, New York comedians Andy Stuckey and Jon Murray tread a middle ground, mixing well-written lyrics with capably-crafted guitar arrangements to create a comedy album that will sustain your interest for multiple hearings. Musically, Stuckey and Murray sound like a more lascivious version of the Barenaked Ladies, sharing the same whimsical musical sensibility. However, the songs on Mythical Fornication are played solely for laughs . . . and to pick up women . . . and quite possibly a unicorn.

Stuckey and Murray offer better music than you would imagine from a comedic effort; their pleasant, guitar based melodies a sweet contrast underlying the pair's tongue-in-cheek lechery. As for the comedy, it's a mixed bag. If Dr. Dirty John Valby is dead, he surely will smile down approvingly upon "It's Every Cuss Word We Know;" if not, he and R.E.M. will surely appreciate the clever homage. Though both are concise, "The Ukulele Song" and "Unicorn In C Major" drag a one-joke premise one joke to far while "Dog" discourses too predictably on how great it would be to be reincarnated as a dog.

the I'm-dating-a-Jew humor mined on "I Love A Jew" pales in comparison to recent efforts on the same topic like What I Like About Jew's Unorthodox. However, Mythical Fornication does induce many deserved laughs: "Awkward Silence" works on numerous levels, embellishing the premise by incorporating the odd pause into the arrangement. Even when Stuckey and Murray tread upon familiar humorous ground, like on "Butterface," they draw new laughs; they even arouse begrudging chuckles from such bizarre topics as sex with the elderly on "Granny Sexy." The self-evident jokes work too: on "I Wrote This Song" they don't rush to the obvious joke, rhyming Stuckey with . . . well, go buy the CD if you can't figure that one out on your own.

Robert Randolph Announces September 26th Release Date For Colorblind

Colorblind, Robert Randolph & The Family Band's follow-up to Unclassified, their 2003 studio debut will be released on Warner Bros. Records on September 26. Randolph describes the album as a "mix of rock, R & B, country, blues, and gospel inspired by repeated listenings of albums by Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Stevie Wonder." The album features a guest appearance by Eric Clapton on "Jesus Is Just Alright." Randolph first incorporated The Byrds classic, popularized by The Doobie Brothers, into his live act about one year ago, highlighted by a Mountain Jam performance with host Warren Haynes.

The record is being produced by Mark Batson (Dave Matthews Band, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Gwen Stefani) and Drew & Shannon (The Temptations, India.Arie, Johnny Lang, Marc Broussard), as well as top gospel producer/songwriter Tommy Sims (Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton).

Currently on tour with the Black Crowes and Drive-By Truckers, Randolph & The Family Band will join their friends in the Dave Matthews Band for a series of August dates out west. Once Colorblind drops, look for Randolph to headline a series of shows in support of the new album.

Steely Dan Claim They've Been Royally Scammed . . . By Owen Wilson???

Likely forgetting that they borrowed their name from a marital aide found in William Burroughs' Naked Lunch, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen have accused the makers of You, Me and Dupree of stealing Owen Wilson's title character from their Grammy winning song, "Cousin Dupree." In a long rambling open letter addressed to Owen's brother Luke, the Steely Dan duo: outline a bizarre scenario in which their intellectual property was coopted into Wilson's character; bemoan the quality of Owen's body of work; offer a concise and insightful review of the film (they do not care for it); exalt their own accomplishments and finally, request Luke's help in intervening in his brother's career.

"What the hell, you're his big brother. If you lean on him a little bit, I'm sure he'll do the right thing. You don't owe him anything, after the way he and Gwynnie Paltrow double-timed you in The Royal Tennenbaums. So you just tell him - he'll come down to Irvine, apologize on stage, then we'll load him up with cool Steely merch and he can party with us and the band," write Becker and Fagen. "Otherwise, if this business goes unresolved, there are some pretty heavy people who are upset about this whole thing and we can't guarantee what kind of heat little Owen may be bringing down on himself." Becker & Fagen eventually realize that Owen is Luke's older brother but apparently decided not to edit themselves; they believe Luke is a mature enough guy to help anyway.

In the event that Becker & Fagen's paranoid delusions aren't the first signs of approaching senility or the manifestation of tiny problem with hallucinogenics, it may be a nifty publicity stunt to promote their summer tour with former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Futureheads Live on AOL

The Futureheads are on tour in support of their new album News & Tributes.

The set will include "Skip to the End," their newest single, along with older favorites like "A to B" and "Area."

Watch the live performance on AOL Music this Friday, July 28, starting at 6am EST.

Earvolution Summer Jam 2006 - Tickets

Tickets are on sale now via Club Sin-E's electronic vendor for Earvolution's Summer Jam on August 10th in NYC. Get yours before they're gone - purchase here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

An Incident Worth Investigating: String Cheese Incident At Radio City Music Hall

By: David Schultz
Photo Credit C. Taylor Crothers via Madison House Publicity

Last summer String Cheese Incident helped organize the Jammy award winning Big Summer Classic, headlining a series of festival-like shows that featured Michael Franti and Spearhead, Umphrey's McGee, New Monsoon, Keller Williams, Xavier Rudd and the Yonder Mountain String Band. While savvy purveyors of the jamband scene were already familiar with String Cheese's touring partners, more casual fans, drawn by the Cheese, received gifts as glorious as Williams' one-man-band stage show and Franti's obsessive-compulsion for asking the crowd how they're feeling. As SCI's fans are well versed in the Grateful Dead, the Colorado sextet finds their roles reversed on their current summer tour with Bob Weir and Ratdog: getting a chance to play for Deadheads who can finally match the Cheese's music to their indelible name.

The sensibility of pairing Ratdog with String Cheese goes beyond the two bands' affinity for extended improvisational jams: String Cheese's traces its origins to the same Americana based music mined with great success by the Grateful Dead. Where the Dead mixed their bluegrass influences with folk, blues and psychedelia, String Cheese keeps their bluegrass heart front and center, often bringing in elements of calypso, Latin music and funk in the same manner the Talking Heads worked those same rhythms into their later work.



Anyone expecting straightforward rock and roll will be initially puzzled by String Cheese Incident's distinct style; probably spending a good third of the show wondering from where the band's plaudits derive. However, once SCI finds their groove, usually within the last third of their shows, they dispel all doubts. Their fusion of seemingly incompatible genres has slowly but steadily attracted a loyal following who thankfully leave the Cheesehead appellation to the Green Bay Packers. Their idiosyncratic sound results from the union of an unlikely group of musicians. Acoustic and lap steel guitarist Bill Nershi makes an unlikely frontman, possessing the skills but not the overblown charisma of your typical band leader. In the absence of a traditional lead guitarist, the versatile Michael Kang fills the role of the virtuoso, primarily playing mandolin and violin. Michael Travis and Jason Hann conjure up a variety of tribal beats and intricate rhythms, teaming up with bassist Keith Moseley to take over a sizable portion of some String Cheese shows. When Moseley's not keeping the beat, he pairs up with keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth to take the Incident into decidedly Cheese-y directions.

More than just receiving equal billing, String Cheese shared opening duties with Ratdog, even though seniority might dictate that the descendants of the Grateful Dead serve as the headliner. Weir, Nershi and company came to New York City's venerable Radio City Music Hall recently for a pair of performances. A delightfully wonderful venue for jambands, Radio City's cavernous arena has an enormous stage and a breathtaking array of colorful lights installed throughout the hall. For the Thursday evening show, String Cheese began the evening with a lengthy two hour opening set, making great use of Radio City's more spectacular attributes: inviting a pair of artists to paint on stage while skillfully incorporating Radio City's lights within their own to create a trippy, psychedelic atmosphere.

String Cheese opened the Radio City run with some appropriate selections: a cover of Bob Dylan's New York-centric "Just Like Tom Thumb Blues," and the timeless jazz standard "Birdland." The middle portion of the set belonged to Hollingsworth's crunchy, techno-style keyboards and Moseley's pulsing bass, hitting high notes on "Water" and a "Mouna Bowa" which seamlessly (of course) segued into "Eye Know Why." In finishing off the show with "It Is What It Is" and a rollicking, delightfully hillbillyish "Can't Stop Now," Nershi and Kang, who generally plays mandolin and violin, joyously traded guitar riffs; Kang demonstrating a deft proficiency for laying down a catchy guitar riff.

The styles of the two bands meshed well, as did the musicians themselves. Over the course of their dates together, guest appearances were the norm, not the exception. While Thursday's show saw only one small bit of overlap - Michael Travis hurriedly running on stage to join Ratdog drummer Jay Lane on an instrumental segue between "Cassady" and a cover of "Dear Prudence" - Friday night's featured members of both bands popping up left and right during each other's sets. The inclusive spirit embodied on stage spread into the audience; possibly to the disconcertment of Radio City security who may not have been entirely prepared for the single-minded focus of overly-dedicated fans to get close to the stage. After being thwarted by ticket checkers at the aisle, many quickly figured out that they could simply climb over the seats and get as close as they liked. Some may bristle at the ingenious tactics employed by some of the jamband scene's more dedicated participants: muttering the dreaded epithet "hippie" under their breath; for most though, it's simply part of the fun of a show and the reason why a jamband show, even one in such venerated a hall at Radio City, will always remain an experience or as the String Cheese fans would say - an incident.

Razorlight Streams

Razorlight's new record hit stores last week.

It'll be interesting to see how well it does considering Johnny Borrell's slam on the Arctic Monkeys a few months back.

If you haven't heard it yet you can listen to the single "In the Morning" here: Windows Media / Real / Quicktime.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Continuing To Rise From The Dead: Phil Lesh & Friends At Jones Beach

By: David Schultz

Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo Join Lesh For A Jamming Night On Long Island

While Deadheads worldwide prepare to honor the memory of Jerry Garcia on the 11th anniversary of his passing, Phil Lesh & Friends, the eponymously named band led by the Dead's bassist, and Ratdog, guitarist Bob Weir's longtime band, are doing more than simply keeping the Grateful Dead's legacy alive; they are adding a satisfying afterword to the band's storied career. Despite the lack of any significant new material since Garcia's death, both Lesh and Weir have proven to be consistently successful touring attractions by using the same simple, battle tested formula: play Grateful Dead songs for Grateful Dead fans. The old fans still turn out in droves but it's the new fans, most too young to have experienced the Dead in their prime, if at all, that are keeping this franchise afloat. This past week, both Lesh and Weir brought their respective "second acts" to New York: Phil & Friends playing an outdoor show on the Long Island Sound at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York; Weir bringing Ratdog to New York City's world-famous Radio City Music Hall.

Since gathering his friends around him, Lesh's Friends have included musicians of All-Star proportion, including such notable names as Steve Kimock, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Al Schnier and current Lesh fave Ryan Adams. His current group of Friends is comprised of musician's musicians: singer Joan Osborne, guitarist Larry Campbell, keyboardist Rob Barraco, pedal steel guitarist Barry Sless, drummer John Molo and saxophonist Greg Osby. Osborne may be Phil's most recognizable Friend, having had a moderately successful solo career highlighted by the 1995 radio success of "One Of Us." The versatile and multi-talented Campbell handles lead guitar duties, coming to the Dead bassist's side after spending much of the past decade touring with Bob Dylan. Campbell, one of the newer members of the band, joins longtime Friends Barraco, Sless and Molo. Veteran saxophonist Greg Osby rounds out Phil's latest batch of acquaintances, braving the often troublesome brass-unfriendly winds of Jones Beach. As Phish's Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon and the Benevento/Russo Duo (unofficially referred to as G.R.A.B.) have been opening a good number of Phil & Friends' summer shows, Anastasio, a former Friend himself, has been regularly joining in the fun, usually replacing Sless during the second set. For their Jones Beach show, Anastasio did not disappoint: without fanfare, he returned for the second set to the unabashed delight of the crowd.

Even though his name is on the marquee, Lesh hardly conveys a sense of superiority or entitlement because the songs on the setlist are primarily Grateful Dead chestnuts. Instead, he disperses the leads of the various songs, smartly matching each Friend to the proper song: Barraco's voice perfectly suited the evening-opening "Playing In the Band" and the encore of "U.S. Blues;" Larry Campbell handled vocals and fronted the band on an extended run through "Big River" and Osby replaces the distinctive guitar runs of "China Cat Sunflower" with weighty saxophone licks. When not dancing sultrily along with the music, Osborne delivered bluesy vocals, standing out on a lengthy trip through "Stella Blue." Even Anastasio got into the act, his voice and guitar a perfect match for second set's opening couplet of "Scarlet Begonias" and "Fire On The Mountain."

In 2005, when Lesh co-hosted the Jammy Awards, he joined temperamental guitarist Ryan Adams for a sterling performance of "Wharf Rat" and "Bird Song." Since then, whether present or not, Lesh has incorporated an Adams song into most of his shows. On this temperate evening at Jones Beach, he included Adams' Cold Roses track "Let It Ride." In contrast to the crisp first set, Lesh & Friends' second set consisted of spacey, drawn-out instrumentals. The effect may not have been entirely intentional: too often, Lesh seemed to be singing without realizing that his voice wasn't making it to the audience. When Lesh's microphone did work, he struggled with the words to "Dark Star" and "The Other One," replacing the ones he forgot with a sheepish grin that brought laughter from the crowd.

Admirably, Lesh and Weir are doing more than just fostering interest in the continually thriving Deadhead scene: having inspired numerous other bands with their psychedelic improvisational live performances, the two are exposing their fans to bands and musicians that are carrying on the Grateful Dead tradition. While Lesh pairs up with Anastasio, Gordon and The Duo, String Cheese Incident, fronted by the bluegrass loving Bill Nershi, will receive equal billing with Weir's Ratdog. The cross-pollination of the Dead's older fans with Phish's and String Cheese's younger fans has resulted in exceptionally full and wide-ranging evenings of music. In contrast to String Cheese, G.R.A.B. comes with a more complex subplot. Similar to how Lesh and Weir have moved forward in the post-Dead universe, G.R.A.B. have been drawing interest as an intriguing chapter in the ever-developing post-Phish saga. This episode: how will the Phish duo interact with the Duo?

Their lengthy opening set at Jones Beach encompassed the balmy early evening, consisting of a nice mix of Anastasio's solo material, a couple Gordon compositions, a Benevento/Russo Duo tune (the gorgeous "Something For Rockets") and a pair of wonderfully eclectic covers. The sharing endemic to the jamband scene spread comprehensively throughout the foursome: Anastasio and Gordon's fame, experience and recognition providing the rub to the Duo; Benevento and Russo's freshness, youth and innovative energy spreading to the veteran musicians. At 5:00, while most of the audience obliviously tailgated or remained stuck in the Friday evening morass known as the Long Island Expressway, The Duo performed an all-too-brief opening set focusing primarily on material from their new album Play, Pause, Stop. Those who made it into the amphitheatre early quickly learned why Benevento, an inventive keyboard player, and Russo, a masterful drummer, have drawn the raves they have received, including the 2005 Jammy Award for New Groove Of The Year. Strutting their estimable stuff much earlier in the afternoon freed the Duo to fill less prominent but still significant supporting roles for Anastasio and Gordon.

Even though G.R.A.B. had a couple weeks together under their belt, they were still finding their comfort zone with each other. Benevento and Russo are adept at predicting what directions each will go in; obviously, so are Anastasio and Gordon. As a foursome, they seem to be in the final stages of finding a true comfort zone, resulting in some wandering instrumental interludes. On the opener, "Plasma," they engaged in some traditional jamming; offering more distinctly Phishy jamming later in the set on "Suskind Hotel" and "Dragonfly." The shrewdness of the group's decision to cover Wings' "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," which segued nicely into Stealers Wheel's "Stuck In The Middle With You," wasn't matched by the actual performance; a trait shared by a number of Phish's covers (e.g. "Tubthumping," "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It"). The reaction of the audience to the familiar tunes, especially Gerry Rafferty's Reservoir Dogs classic, indicated that they appreciated the effort. In closing with Anastasio's "Shine," G.R.A.B. finished on the highest of notes, even if the bespectacled singer's voice seemed to give out during the set closer.

Lesh & Friends, along with Ratdog, are continuing a legacy that began in the sixties, extending their reach to a newer generation of fans. Towards the end of Lesh's show, he guided the band into an old Dead set-closing standard, a percussion-heavy, thumping version of "Not Fade Away." The classic Buddy Holly song seemed sharply poignant: anyone boating on the Sound that night surely heard the honest and heartfelt exhortation of Deadheads, both young and old, joyously proclaiming a truth that has become self-evident over these many years: "No, our love will not fade away."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New Government Mule

Government Mule's new record High and Mighty on ATCO records hits stores August 22nd. On making the new record, Mule's Warren Haynes says: "Our goal was to capture the chemistry and the spirit of the band, which has progressed into something beyond what it was for the last record. The last record was the first with the new lineup, and this being the second one I feel that the chemistry is that much stronger. We took the interplay that happens on stage and utilized it to create something magical in the studio."

Get a listen on how things turned out by streaming the first single, "Mr. High and Mighty":

Windows Media (High / Low)

Quicktime (High / Low)

New Music from the North Atlantic

San Diego's the North Atlantic have been gigging all summer in preparation for their upcoming release Wires In The Walls for We Put Out Records. You can check out three new tunes from the disc here:

Drunk Under Electrics

Scientist Girl

Bottom of this Town (video)

Coldplay's Chris Martin's Fan Experience

Chris Martin wants everyone to know he's a man of the people. He even takes public transport to shows and stands online for munchies. According to Digital Spy, Chris spoke to the Mirror about his regular guy status:

""I try getting to shows at the same time as everyone else," he told The Mirror. "I've been stuck in traffic, I've been on an overcrowded train and I've lined up to buy an overpriced hot dog. Quite often this will put me in a bad mood. So I know just what it's like for everyone else who is paying."

Really...I wonder if he's ever paid $100 or more for a concert ticket lately? Now that would let him know what its like for today's average concert goer.

Muse, Thom Yorke up for Mercury Prize

The shortlist for the Mercury Prize, an annual award for best British album of the prior 12 months, was announced today. The nominees are:

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas
Editors - The Back Room
Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
Richard Hawley - Coles Corner
Hot Chip - The Warning
Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
Zoe Rahman - Melting Pot
Lou Rhodes - Beloved One
Scritti Politti - White Bread Black Beer
Sway - This Is My Demo
Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Past winners include Franz Ferdinand (who won in 2004), PJ Harvey, Dizzee Rascal, Ms. Dynamite, Badly Drawn Boy, Gomez, Suede, M People, Portishead, Roni Size/Reprasent, Tavin Singh, Pulp and Primal Scream (who took home the inaugural prize in 1992).

Thom Yorke is an easy pick for this one, but don't be surprised if the Editors or Muse takes this year's prize.

Earvolution Summer Jam 2006 - Don't Miss It!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Interview with Mark Karan

by Jim McCoy

Photo courtesy and copyright of Susana Millman Photography.

Mark Karan has stood in the lead guitar role for Ratdog since 1998. Despite the hotel phone disconnecting us three times, Mark was a pleasant interview throughout and spoke to earvolution.com about a variety of musical topics ranging from seeing the Grateful Dead in Golden Gate Park, Two-Rock amplifiers and the theme song for Friends:

JM: If my research is correct, I note that Tuesday's show in Philadelphia was your 500th show with Ratdog.

MK: I had no idea about that until yesterday when I got an e-mail from somebody congratulating me. But, yeah, apparently it was. [laughs]

JM: How do you feel about reaching that milestone?

MK: [pauses] I don't know if I have a lot of feelings about it. It definitely puts a lot of things into perspective. There's a definite history with the band now, and that shows up with the way the band plays together, myself included. We've had the same combination of guys for a while now and I think, if anything, that's why the band is working so well.

JM: I noticed on Tuesday a lot of smiles back and forth between the guys. You actually look like you're having a good time up there while you're playing.

MK: God forbid, right? [laughs] Yeah, we are. And that's the whole idea. Ratdog is definitely - well, most of the bands in the jam band scene - are not the kind of bands that are trying to be rock stars and make the big ducats. Most of the people that are doing all of this stuff are here because we want to be - because we love to do it on some level.

JM: When did you first realize that you could make a living playing music?

MK: Umm...when I was about 44 and joined The Other Ones? [laughs]

JM: What was that like? Was that the first time that you had played in large arenas night after night?

MK: For an extended period of time, yeah. I did a tour with Paul Carrack back in the late 80's and that was, for lack of a better term, the first 'real' tour that I was ever involved with. I’d done some traveling in a van with younger bands in my younger days. Carrack was the first real tour I did and then I toured on and off with Dave Mason for about a year, but that was smaller venues and we did a little bit of overseas stuff. So, yeah, The Other Ones was really my first steady thing that was bigger.

JM: What was it like getting on stage for the first time and looking out to see 20,000 people in the audience?

MK: That's where being 44 made a big difference. It wasn't that weird for me. It was definitely a rush. No question about that. But I had already been playing music professionally for about 25 years. Bob [Weir] to this day, I think, still gets butterflies. I'm not one of those. I feel pretty comfortable in my own skin on stage.

JM: So, for you, it was part of a natural progression.

MK: Yeah, exactly. It was weird, there's no question about it. But this coming year I'll be 52, so my introduction to the Grateful Dead was as an 11 year-old kid running around Haight-Ashbury with my other 11 and 12 year-old friends listening to the Dead play in [Golden Gate] Park and going to the free shows at the Fillmore on Sunday afternoons...

JM: Was there any pressure stepping into the lead guitar role with Bob Weir after Garcia had occupied that same role for so long?

MK: That's a multi-faceted question. In one sense, no. Not because I was cocky and sure of myself or anything, but I had been playing for long enough and had enough love of the music and enough background in this music that it's a pretty natural fit for me. It took me a few years to get back into the whole improv approach to playing after playing more commercial-oriented music for a long time. The guys made me feel pretty comfortable. In that respect, it was great. But it was a big responsibility, and certainly I was always extremely uncomfortable for the first couple of years in that every interview that I did always had 'The Question:' How does it feel to fill those shoes? The pat answer became, "I'm not. No one can."

JM: I think a lot of people recognize that.

MK: Yeah, exactly.

JM: But it doesn't seem like Ratdog is trying to be a Grateful Dead cover band, in a sense. Ratdog is just trying to keep the music going and trying to do some of your own things at the same time.

MK: Basically, yeah. It's the ongoing process, for better or for worse, of any artist, musical or otherwise. Look at McCartney. After The Beatles, he didn't just fade away. He put Wings together, and when that didn't happen anymore he did world solo tours. People want to make music and reference their history in the process. There's no reason that McCartney shouldn't do "She Loves You," and there's no reason that Bobby shouldn't do Grateful Dead material.

JM: You had talked about doing some more commercial music. I'm sure that this is a tired question, but were you involved in writing and playing the theme to Friends?

MK: No, no, no.

JM: But that was the Rembrandts...

MK: I did play with that band. I believe that the Friends theme was on their fourth album. I had been a fan, actually. They had been a very cool, sort-of Beatles meets Everly Brothers slightly-edged pop band with great vocals and really cool, hooky melodies that I had enjoyed for quite a while. Around the fourth album, they got invited to do the Friends theme more or less anonymously for a large sum of money. They did that, and it came back to bite 'em in the ass. When the show started, all of these people liked the song and began calling up their local DJs and requesting it. And it didn't exist anywhere, so all of these DJs were taping it off the TV. So the record label made the Rembrandts go in the studio, cut a song that they hadn't even written and slap it on to their fourth album. For the first few months they made several million dollars. It was very kind to them financially. But the backlash - everybody hating that song after a while, hearing it everyday, 50,000 times a day - basically canned their career and one of the two of them split. Enter me.

JM: It's unfortunate that something like that happens after a band has some success.

MK: What is really unfortunate is the level of judgment. Frankly, if I have one real beef with the Grateful Dead community - or, the Deadhead community - it's the fact that when you step outside the immediate realm of the Grateful Dead, there's really small-minded people out there. They might say, "I don't like country." But what about 'Mama Tried,' you know? [laughs] What about 'Big Railroad Blues'? You're listening to country every time you put on a Grateful Dead record.

JM: That's sure to generate some discussion on DeadNetCentral.

MK: Yeah.

JM: How did you fall into the Grateful Dead scene in the first place?

MK: That was another odd one. I grew up in the Bay Area listening to these guys pretty early in their days, and I hadn't even listened to the Grateful Dead since probably the late 70's. I had been a huge fan initially and then moved onto other kinds of music that was more pertinent to what I was up to. When I was in L.A., I had met a drummer named John Molo. We did a couple of sessions together and the occasional blues gig. Whatever was happening, we kept bumping into each other and really enjoyed working together.

JM: And he was Bruce Hornsby's longtime drummer?

MK: That's right.

JM: And is that how you eventually fell into The Other Ones?

MK: When [The Other Ones's] first drummer - the more jazzier guy - didn't work out as well as they had hoped, they just kinda started asking around. They had been in the Grateful Dead for so long that they really didn't meet a lot of guys that played with a variety of bands, that type of musician.

JM: I guess when a band is that big, getting access to musicians like the Grateful Dead...

MK: Yeah, it's a pretty insular type of existence. I know that they got at least three of the names of people that they listened to from Molo. And one of them was mine.

JM: What would say that your 3 top songs are to play on the road right now?

MK: [pauses] That's a tough one, really, because there’s so many approaches to songs within the stuff that we do. Some of them are very, very song-oriented, more structure based, well written, singable songs with great stories to tell and I love playing those. I love playing "Wharf Rat" or "Loser" or the kind of stuff along those lines that's melodic. I also like getting pretty out there. You can take "Playing in the Band" or "Dark Star" or "Birdsong" or one of those kinds of songs through a lot of different areas musically. That handful and throw in "The Other One" - I might be able to narrow it to something like that but it's more like what's going on night to night rather than song to song.

JM: I guess with such a large catalog of great material...

MK: It's also getting reinvented night to night. It wholly depends on where everybody in the band's heads and hearts are at, it depends on where everybody in the audience's heads and hearts are at, what kind of stew gets cooked up with everybody being thrown in the same pot that night.

JM: As far as equipment goes, you seem to be kind of a purist in that you use a Telecaster, the Les Paul, Paul Reed Smith. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of effects in your sound.

MK: I've actually got lots of effects and a pretty complicated amp rig. The main reason is not to jump around doing a bunch of gimmicky stuff, but to have real solid analog versus digital versions of classic guitar sounds and guitar approaches to use in my palette. I use pretty traditional guitars. I'm using newer amps, but a lot of amps that I'm using are based on old circuits that were developed in the 50's and 60’s.

JM: What kind of amplifiers are you using right now?

MK: Primarily, I'm using an amp from a company called 65 Corp and it's called the London. It’s based on a sort of combination of a Vox and a Marshall. The other head- I’ve switched between two - is from a company out in California called Two-Rock that Steve Kimock turned me on to. It's not a clone or a knock-off, but it's based on the much talked about Dumble amplifiers. I've got 7 or 8 effects pedals and things, but I've got everything in selectable loops so that if I'm not actually using it it's not in the circuit path at all. Like you stated earlier, I'm kind of a purist.

JM: Do you use much in the way of distortion?

MK: Actually, a fair amount. Not necessarily applied the way one would hear it more regularly in a pop or heavier rock context, but absolutely. Distortion sort of winds up - to me, anyway - giving a lot of character to a guitar tone.

JM: Are you mostly self-taught?

MK: Predominately, yes.

JM: When did you start playing?

MK: I was probably about 9 when a took a beaten-up folk guitar...

JM: Now for the big question: Where does Mark Karan go from here?

MK: Man, I don't even know. I think that one of the things about this whole experience is that I've stopped trying to predict that kind of thing. If somebody had asked me 10 years ago what I'd be up to today - considering that I started doing all this stuff 8 years ago - [laughs]

JM: Do you do any odd jobs back in the day like most musicians tend to do?

MK: I spent most of my life doing a combination of multiple things. I did a lot of nights in dumpy blues/rock 'n roll bars for fifty bucks that were really, really fun for no money; I've been in a lot of bands that were, as they say, "going for the brass ring," trying to get their own little record deal for their own thing. Again, a lot of fun, a lot of work, no money. [laughs]

JM: Do you think a young musician - 18, 20 years old - can still go out to San Francisco today and do things like you did with the current housing prices?

MK: That's really a tough question. Yes, I think it can be done. Do I think it's even remotely easy and would I recommend it? No. I think it can be done but the criteria for what you need to survive has to fit. I spent a lot of years doing couch surfing, I lived in my truck for nearly five years...

JM: Wow.

MK: I always had roommates well into my 30's. When you look at stuff like that, it's really kind of comes down to what you need in life. If what you want is to - relatively early - get into a comfortable apartment, get yourself a sweet babe and maybe start making babies, music is probably not for you. [laughs]

Wolfmother Speaks and Rocks

Monday, July 17, 2006

Guster / Ray Lamontagne

Festival Pier Philadelphia, PA: July 13, 2006

by Jim McCoy

Philly being a strong union town, it's a small wonder that there weren't protests being lodged on behalf of the roadies of the college-rock outfit Guster on Thursday night. In front of madman hand-percussionist Brian is a team of multi-instrumentalists that change roles during virtually every song during the 90 minute set. Acoustic & electric guitars, bass, keyboards, lap steel, banjo and even a trumpet were all seen being placed in the hands of the band members by overworked roadies during the show. Witty frontman Ryan knows how to work and humor an audience, at one point sarcastically thanking a young man for sitting atop his friend's shoulders and flashing his "manboobs." This, of course, led to more than a dozen men of various ages and builds placing themselves shirtless above the crowd as Guster continued to provide modern rock with tight harmonies and a big sound to the delighted audience.

Whether or not modern rock is your bag, it's difficult not to admire the talent and infectious enthusiasm of the band. From the opener "Demons" to the encore, Guster was full of energy, full of smiles and played with abandon. "Joe" plays an absolutely wicked distorted lap steel in addition to his bass, guitar and banjo, and "Adam" and Ryan manage to play bass as well as their guitars. (The instruments are two entirely different animals, as any guitar player who has tried to pick up a bass with a band can attest.) The end result of the varied instrumentation and styles is that the band manages to meld elements of rock from the last 4 decades without sounding overly derivative from any one era.

Appropriately, the entire band took the stage shirtless for the "One Man Wrecking Machine" encore.

Guster was preceded by the stunningly talented Ray LaMontagne, who strapped on his acoustic guitar and took the stage for an hour set. Accompanied by a full band for this tour, Mr. Lamontagne opened with "Three More Days" from the forthcoming Till the Sun Turns Black (RCA Records, 2006), mixing in new numbers with tunes from his breathtaking debut, Trouble (RCA Records, 2004). LaMontagne's unique, soulful voice manages to somehow simultaneously sound both ragged and smooth as he turns out tales of hard-luck characters and ballads of love lost. LaMontagne's accompanying electric/acoustic guitarist added some nice steel lines to "Hold You in My Arms," "Trouble" and others, the full band complimenting the set rather than muddying up the sound.

There were plenty of LaMontagne loyalists in the crowd of thousands and the chatter indicated that new fans were certainly made, but the curious pairing of Guster with Ray LaMontagne was clearly frustrating for LaMontagne. He is an old-school performer rather than an entertainer, and a bill with local talent Amos Lee or someone like David Gray makes much more sense than a pairing with a modern rock band and their legion of younger, cell phone toting fans. (Guster's Ryan called LaMontange "the real deal" from the stage, so there appears to be no beef between the performers themselves.)

LaMontagne announced that he would perform two quieter solo numbers solo to close, but he threw down his guitar in frustration after performing only one, "All the Wild Horses." A vantage point near the stage revealed that there were more attendees treating the show as a social event rather than a performance during LaMontagne’s set, which clearly was upsetting to the artist. It remains to be seen whether the seemingly painfully shy LaMontagne will adapt by blocking out the crowd noise as he performs his quieter numbers or if tours will be booked that are more accommodating to his sound and enamored fans. Under any scenario, there is no denying that Ray LaMontagne is an incredible talent with great years ahead of him.

Donavan Frankenreiter played a 15 minute set to open, backed by a complete blues-touched rock band, and revealed excellent vocal ability.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hit By A Train: The Best of the Old 97's

by Kirk James Folk
Images via Old97s.com

Until about seven years ago, I had never heard of the Old 97's, or of Whiskeytown. A friend and I drunkenly stumbled onto a broadcast of Austin City Limits while channel-slurring. The show was already in progress and the band on stage were flailing about and sweating like fiends. Wha???? A punk band on Austin City Limits!!! And to that end the music was manic, sloppy and totally engaging. But upon a closer listen it was also very jangly-country but with huge pop hooks and melodic vocals. Whiskeytown was on the same show. I'm sure I would have really liked them, but they seemed so serious and so sedate, after the previous bands' performance. I was sold. The next day I went out and bought Fight Songs by the Old 97's.

At first listen I was disappointed. This couldn't be the same band. The production was too pure, too polished. Where was the unbridled energy and amphetamine intensity I witnessed on that show? But it didn't take long to get sucked in by the songs and the sheer brilliance of the song-writing.

Listening to Hit by a Train: The Best of the Old 97's, you get the best of both worlds. As a compilation it manages to chart the bands' rise from "indie darlings" to their major label releases and proves that you don't have to sell out along the way. The production values have changed but at the core the sound and the band remain the same. There aren't as many "off" guitar notes, but the feel is all still there, and while the songs are more polished they are still so much more raw than any of the glossy, artificial, compressed gruel that is what passes as standard pop radio fare today. But beyond all of that, what stands out most is the quality of the writing and in particular the deftness and wry wit of Rhett Miller's lyrical ability.



I don't think there is a song here that doesn't contain at least one (if not a dozen) memorable lines. The beauty of the lyrics is that you don't have to study them, or even notice them, to love the songs. Unlike many other lauded lyrical champions, Miller's songs don't try to call attention to themselves, or wink at the listener. They live and breathe within the songs and often you don't know they are there unless you bother to read them. I have listened to "Murder (or a Heat Attack)" a hundred times and didn't realize it was about a lost cat until I actually read the lyrics.

The disc starts with "Stoned." "Well I must've been stoned when this whole thing started..." The vocal has much more of a country twang than their later fare, but all of the elements are already in place. Guitars that jangle as they hook, propulsive drums with tons of tom-tom, and vocals that sing from the head and the heart. When this band kicks, they really kick, and when they mellow out, they do it with style not with sugar.

This is an eighteen song compilation, and I don't think there is a clunker in the batch. Some may take repeat listens but the rewards are certainly there. You don't have to be stoned, but it can't hurt to pop a six-pack, take a good stiff shot of Jack Daniels and let the pogo-ing commence.

Eddie Van Halen vs Bobby Yang

Eddie:



Bobby:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Clap Your Hands Postpone Australia and Japan Dates

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah announced they would be postponing scheduled tour dates in Australia and Japan. The band cited voice strain from singer Alec Ounsworth in a message to fans:

"We're sorry to announce that we have to postpone our upcoming trip to Japan and Australia. Unfortunately over the course of our recent European tour Alec's voice started to give out on him, and in order to avoid any permanent damage to his vocal chords he's going to have to take some time off of touring. We're really sorry for the late notice, and we wish this wasn't the case, but we promise to make it over as soon as we can. If you bought tickets for our shows in Sydney or Melbourne you'll be able to get a refund for your tickets."

The seems intent on playing other scheduled dates after a period of rest including a late September show at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park New York City.

Ratdog: Electric Factory

July 11, 2006 Philadelphia, PA
by Jim McCoy

Photos from Red Rocks courtesy and copyright of Susana Millman Photography.

Bob Weir & Ratdog


Bob Weir first took the stage at Philadelphia's original Electric Factory just over 39 years ago as an original member of the Grateful Dead. Over a decade removed from his days alongside Jerry Garcia and company, Mr. Weir and Ratdog continue to make the Electric Factory their regular touring stop when passing through the City of Brotherly Love. The skeptics would deride Bob Weir as an aging dinosaur and Ratdog's tye-dyed fans as shiftless stowaways on a counterculture train that began running out of steam long before Garcia's last notes blew through the Windy City in August 1995; however, Tuesday's two hour-plus show demonstrated that Weir and his cohorts genuinely enjoy making music together and are not simply going through the motions for ol' times sake and their cut of the gate receipts.



Weir is arguably on the right hand side of the rhythm guitar throne that has been occupied by Keith Richards ever since the latter tuned a 5-string Telecaster to an open G chord and began pounding out one classic after another for decades. Weir's quirky rhythm guitar style is not only unique, but it allows the music to breathe despite Ratdog sometimes having as many as 7 musicians on stage during the show. He is no less adept a guitar player as he was while regularly touring with the Dead, and his vocals were delivered as professionally and sincerely in this intimate venue as they were when he was playing racetracks and football stadiums. He extended the ending of New Speedway Boogie-written in the aftermath of the Rolling Stones-headlined Altamont festival-using the crowd as backing vocalists. With the audience repeating the refrain, "One way or another, this darkness has got to give," Weir continued his vocal stylings over a tune that seemed oddly apropos in the post-9/11 and War in Iraq era, just as it was in '69 when the ideal of California peace and love hippiedom (and a young man) was stabbed to death by a knife in the hands of a Hell's Angel.



Weir surrounds himself with competent musicians, and the smiles between them during their musical interplay revealed that they can still have as much fun playing as the markedly younger audience does bopping around on the floor below. Weir is content to place Ratdog's lead guitar duties in the hands of Mark Karan, a longtime friend of the Dead scene who was playing a milestone 500th show in that role. Not simply a Garcia stand-in, Karan infuses some of himself in between the trademarked riffs in the Grateful Dead material. His highlight was his solo in Tennessee Jed, which gradually climbed to a peak that resulted in the audience yelling out their collective approval. Weir himself also took a rare lead break on his acoustic guitar during a nice version of Jack-a-Roe, on which Billy Nershi of String Cheese Incident also took part and contributed acoustic lead lines throughout.



The older blues-based covers like "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "Big Boss Man," now long-separated from their roots with Garcia and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, had begun to become nothing more than a novelty even when played with the Dead in the 90's. The same still applies today, as these numbers seemed to plod along toward their conclusion. There was, however, no denying the enthusiastic response from the crowd to original Dead material like "Tennessee Jed," "Standing on the Moon," "Touch of Grey" and the encore, "Ripple." Similarly, Ratdog's own "Ashes and Glass" was very well received, and Weir scores extra points for working Dylan's epic "Desolation Row" into the set and appearing to recall almost all of the words.



Ratdog will never be able to replicate the vibe and musical adventures (and misadventures) of the Grateful Dead, but that can be said for every band on the planet today and, truth be told, possibly for the rest of time. Instead of being looked upon as a Dead substitute, Ratdog should be taken for what it is: a bunch of talented musicians fronted by a rock legend, all of whom enjoy making some good music together and giving the audience their money's worth. There were a lot of smiles on the faces of concertgoers both during and after Ratdog's set, which is really the truest review of all.

Def Leppard's Phil Collen Helps Out PETA

Twenty-year vegetarian Phil Collen has signed on from som PETA promo. He told the folks at GoVeg.com:

"It started freaking me out, eating dead body parts," he says. "The whole 'Jeffrey Dahmer fridge' concept of things was weird. Playing shows around the world takes tons of energy. Being vegetarian has made a huge difference."

We'll you know the saying..."If you don't eat your meat, you won't get any pudding. How can you have any pudding, if you don't eat your meat?!"

Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways

DJRadiohead has a review of the latest Johnny Cash release American V: A Hundred Highways that includes this particularly poignant passage:

"Cash proves that what is left can be nearly as revealing as the whole. Hearing him sing these songs in the weeks prior to his passing, age having robbed him of much of his vocal power, tells an incredible story. He does not need to say a word. We understand as soon as we hear him sing the first note. Any number of aging artists could give us that much but everyone knows 'TheVoice.' We have all heard the mythic 'Man in Black.' Hearing what is left of that voice and knowing what it was communicates more powerfully than the words of any poet or lyricist. He could have easily stopped recording when his health and voice began to fail him and no one would have blamed him. Instead, he left us one more gift. Listen to 'Cry, Cry, Cry' and 'Like the 309.' 'Like the 309' is, according to Rubin, the last song Cash ever wrote and likely one of the last he ever recorded. The distance from life to death is more tangible. There is now a measure of just how much is lost."

Full review is here.

Quote The Brothers Hume: Evermore

By: David Schultz

On the surface, Evermore seems like just another power trio from the land Down Under, arriving on America's shores last month on the heels of another Australian import, Wolfmother. However, the similarities between the prog-rock, seventies-loving Aussies and the New Zealand brothers of Evermore, Peter, Jon and Dann Hume, end with geography. Currently on tour in their home continent in support of their latest album, Real Life (which will be released in America in August), Evermore offered their New York fans a preview of their new songs at the Mercury Lounge.

The group's main songwriter, Dann Hume anchors the band, holding his brothers together with his crisp drumming; not unlike Larry Mullen. In fact, Evermore's sound owes a debt to early-era U2: their repertoire full of ambitious songs like "Running," which run wild with delicious abandon, pushed along by Jon's Edge-ian influenced guitar. Analogous to Wolfmother's Chris Ross, Peter Hume rotates between bass and keyboards, offering more than simple backing chords while popping his keyboards up at an angle in what must be an Australian thing.

As you might expect from a band of brothers, especially one that has won numerous Australian honors, including the Supernova Breakthrough Act at the inaugural MTV Australia Awards, Evermore plays off each other very well, finishing off their songs with great flourishes. If anything, their new material seems to indicate that this trio is at a crossroads; indecisive on whether they want they want to be a hard-rocking band with a stupendous sense of melody or a pop-minded group that holds the ability to tear down a house. Once they figure out which road to take, Evermore could be a very interesting band to follow.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pearl Jam's Sweet Relief

Hop on over to eBay and you can bid on a very cool Pearl Jam prize package. If you win, you'll get guest listed for an upcoming show in San Francisco and you'll be helping a very good cause: the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.

Sweet Relief has been assisting ill, injured or elderly musicians with the costs of alternative and traditional medical treatments, and with expenses for basic needs. For more information check out their website.

Social Scene Broken

At the end of their performance at Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn, New York, Broken Social Scene's lead singer, Kevin Drew, seemingly joked that this would be the group's farewell performance. Every joke has a kernel of truth; the communal Canadian collective confirmed this week that they will join Sleater-Kinney on "indefinite hiatus."

Since the release of their highly-acclaimed self-titled album, the group, consisting primarily of musicians signed to the Arts & Crafts label, has remained together as a touring entity. As the tour winds down, it appears the band members will all return to their various individual endeavors.

Arctic Monkeys Finally Discuss Ex-Bassist

While the world can continue to ponder what Marco Materazzi said to provoke Zinedane Zidane's head butt; we can all rest easy in knowing the cause behind Alex Nicholson's departure from the Arctic Monkeys. According to lead singer Alex Turner, it turns out it may have been exhaustion all along.

Even though Nicholson bailed on the band on the eve of their American tour, necessitating his replacement by Nick O'Malley, they are still on very good terms with their mate. After expressing sympathy to Nicholson's situation, Turner explained, "It's a difficult thing to explain. I don't think anyone will really understand this except us three and Andy."

CBGB To Close On September 30th

After months of legal wrangling and bitter negotiations, CBGB will finally be closing their doors at the end of September. The club plans to announce their final performances in the near future and speculation is that many artists who helped build the club's reputation will return to close the place in style. While fun to bandy about names, the same proclamation was made during last summer's "Save CBGB" promotion with Living Colour being the only notable name to lend aid to the cause.

Owner Hilly Kristal plans to reopen CBGB in Las Vegas in 2008. "I am taking the bars with me, I am taking the stage. I'm taking the urinal that Joey [Ramone] pissed in with me. I'm going to take a lot of things, anything that makes this place CBGB."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Mars Volta

Mars Volta : AmputechtureThe Mars Volta put up their first single "Viscera Eyes" from their new forthcoming record Amputechture on their Myspace page.


The cd artwork for Amputechture features Jeff Jordan't artwork "Bug Mutant" and hits stores August 22nd.

Syd Barrett RIP

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze.

Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

Everything Is Sound With DJ Logic

By: David Schultz

Since first manning the turntables in his hometown of The Bronx, DJ Logic, known to his friends as Jason Kibler, has carved an impressive niche for himself amongst many different groups of musicians and their fans. From his origins as one of the original members of the Black Rock Coalition through his collaborations with Medeski Martin & Wood and Blues Traveler's John Popper, Logic has become a recognizable figure on the club scene as well as within the tight knit circle of the jamband community. Even though Logic thrives in the spirit of improvisation, feeding off of the creative energy of generating various new beats and rhythms on the fly, one thing remains constant: like his name suggests, he keeps things logical.

In line with a good portion of the beats he seemingly conjures out of thin air, DJ Logic is extraordinarily mellow, humble and approachable. Upon first meeting Logic at The Canal Room, where he sat in with Vernon Reid's Masque and Liquid Soul, his ability to make people feel at ease became immediately apparent. After asking whether it would be appropriate to call him "DJ" or "Logic," the amiable turntablist smiled, extended his hand and said, "Call me Jason." The peaceful aura that surrounds Logic makes the title of his album, Zen Of Logic -released today -quite apt. In a telephone interview with Earvolution, the native New Yorker discussed his new album, his live performances and the significant inroads he's made into the jamband scene.

Like most DJs, an understanding of the artist begins with an understanding of their name. Like sumo wrestlers, a DJ derives strength and identity through their chosen moniker. "When I started up playing with Eye and I, back in the day, I wanted a name that stood out just like the DJs before me that I admired," explains the soft-spoken yet confident Logic. "They had cool names and their names matched their persona. I wanted to find the right name that fit me: something to match what I was doing; my creativity; my ear and my ideas." The solution became clear when he opened a glossary book and came across the name that seemed to fit. "I came upon 'Logic' and I kept repeating it to myself: 'DJ Logic . . . DJ Logic . . . DJ Logic.' It represents me: being logical and creative about what I do." Origin stories aside, Logic sums the meaning of his name up nicely, "It's making sense of something that ain't nothing."

On Zen Of Logic, the veteran turntablist makes a lot of sense. "I had some ideas already planned; others just came organically" says Logic about the creative process that resulted in his latest album. "I set myself up on a little stage in a little room with all my production equipment," he explains. "I went to a little hiding place and started programming a lot of different ideas. Once I was comfortable with what I had, pre-productionally, I threw some ideas out and [co-producer] Scotty Hard threw some ideas back." With longtime friends like keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Melvin Gibbs, guitarist Charlie Hunter and New York rappers Creature and Sub-Conscious lending a hand, Logic lays down a series of tight, intricate beats that range from funky to jazzy to meditative.

"9th Ward Blues" holds special meaning for Logic. "That track came from my experience of playing in New Orleans at Jazz Fest," he explains of his post-Katrina ode to The Big Easy. "I had programmed the track and I didn't know what it would turn it out to be. I sat down and spoke to Charlie [Hunter], who wanted to try something different: not playing his main axe but using a different axe." The resulting tune isn't your typical zydeco homage but rather one that celebrates New Orleans' funky soul with Hunter matching Logic's beat with some down and dirty guitar licks.

On the new album, Logic also derives inspiration from world music, centering "Balifon Planet" around a distinctly unique xylophone loop. Like many of his songs, "Balifon Planet" came together as the result of Logic simply messing around in the studio. "Beats come in various ways," he explains. "I hear something and work it into a loop. It could be just about anything, a little guitar lick, a xylophone, a horn thing, anything that sounds cool and colorful that I feel I can work with." Bringing it all full circle, Logic concludes, "I try to work with it and manipulate it into a whole logical thing." The world music influence is also present on "Afro Beat," a song Logic created with the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra horn section in mind On the track, Logic assembles a wonderfully sinuous beat and the Antibalas horns and John Medeski help create a modern day snake charmer of a song.

Logic also offers his own brand of hip-hop, bringing underground rappers Sub-Conscious and Creature into the studio to lay down lyrics. While "Hypnotic" came together relatively easily, Logic put Creature through his own unique initiation process for "One Time." "Creature always wanted to do something," Logic explains. "I called him up in the middle of the night; I think he was over at his girlfriend's house. I kind of got him out of bed with his girl to come to Brooklyn and record a verse. He did it: I thought that was respectful from him." When questioned on whether this is some new ritual he'll employ for all future collaborators, Logic laughs. "Yeah; I'm testing their anxiousness. See how much they want it."

As on his 2002 release Anamoly, Scotty Harding a/k/a Scotty Hard assists Logic with the production and arrangements on Zen Of Logic. Their fruitful relationship began when they met on a project they were doing with Vernon Reid. "I liked how he worked and we loved each other's vibes," Logic says. "He's a good guy to have along on the projects." How would the album sound without Harding's contributions? "Probably the same," Logic answers with perfect comic timing. "He knows how to bring the best out of my music."

Although Zen Of Logic is only his second solo album (third if you include 1999s DJ Logic Presents Project Logic), don't underestimate Logic's role in redefining the role of a DJ//turntablist. In 1996, Logic struck up a friendship with the eclectic experimental jamband trio Medeski Martin & Wood, becoming their "5th Beatle." Their genre-busting work on Combustication arose from modest beginnings. "I was doing a gig with Vernon [Reid] at CBGB and MMW were opening up," recalls Logic. "Billy Martin and I were talking and he dug what I was doing with the drummer and thought it would be cool to incorporate some of that into his group." They invited Logic to spin records between sets and soon Logic was joining the innovative trio on stage, matching the musicians with his creativity on the turntable. "I started spinning; everything just came together and the crowd loved it."

After recording Combustication with Medeski Martin & Wood, Logic faced the daunting task of winning over jamband fans, who are well-renowned for their love of live, unrecorded music. "People dug it," he says proudly. "However, some you had to win over. It reminded me of when I first started doing my thing at the Knitting Factory: you get same sort of people with their noses in the air and those that have smiles on their faces. One thing just led to another, things started growing and people started appreciating it." Touring with MMW was also a learning experience for Logic. "It was amazing to see how many people came out to see an instrumental band with no vocals. Even moreso, they were grooving with a DJ and there was nothing like it at that time." Logic notes how things change; quickly. "Now today you see lots of bands with DJs as well as musicians DJing. It's good to see everybody trying to incorporate the DJ."

Just as Logic opened people's eyes to the unlimited potential of the DJ, he takes pride in the evolution of the whole DJ culture. "I can walk into Guitar Center now and see a DJ section with all this great equipment: different types of turntables, mixers, effects and they're all dedicated to the DJs." While Logic has not shunned the developing technology, he also hasn't embraced it. "I still love vinyl. There's a difference when you listen to wax analog vinyl and you listen to CDs and the digital stuff. Digital's great but you don't get the warmness that you'd get with the vinyl as well as the snap crackle and pop," he instructs. "I'm not a dinosaur and I try to stay up on all of that. I've messed around with the CD Tray, but it's not like the vinyl, which is hands on." Remaining old school, Logic still incorporates vinyl into all his live performances as well as production.

Logic has appeared on bills with artists as diverse as Blues Traveler, Particle, Maroon 5 and John Mayer. When preparing his material for each show, Logic acknowledges that he takes note of his prospective audience. "I look at it in a smart way," he explains. "Sometimes I might throw a curveball in there; things that happen by accident sometimes turn into something good." In approaching his live performances, Logic lays out approximately 70% of the show in advance. "It leaves me room to move in different directions and experiment," says Logic. Like every musician, Logic likes his time in the spotlight; he doesn't mind sharing either. "I like doing a little bit of Logic and then I like doing my thing with musicians. I'll set up the groove with the vibe I feel at the moment and everybody will just follow from there or I might just have them set something off and then I'll come in and do my thing."

Since becoming a fixture among the jamband crowd since the mid-90s, Logic has seen the scene evolve. Just recently, he made his 4th appearance at Bonnaroo and has observed the festival's growth firsthand. "It started out independent and grass roots and has now grown to be this thing which everyone knows and wants tickets to," relates Logic. "They've improved on the camping and on catering to the people; making it comfortable for the artists as well as the people," notes Logic of the maturing festival. "It's not your usual festival, I'll tell you that." He also expresses optimism for Bonnaroo's future. When asked how Bonnaroo has kept its integrity over the years, Logic chuckles before answering matter-of-factly, "Not bringing in too many corporations." Logic attributes Bonnaroo's joie de vive to the fact that they don't tarnish the grass roots feel of the festival. "There's the right amount of vendors and the right amount of cool people who are music lovers." In contrast to Woodstock 99's high-priced water sales to people sweltering on a hot tarmac, Logic tells of Bonnaroo's giant mushroom providing water for people to shower and have fun in 100 degree heat.

For Bonnaroo 2006, Logic greatly enjoyed his set as DJ for the late night Silent Disco. "The late night set was the bomb; off the hook; the crowd was great." In describing the set-up for the Silent Disco, Logic approached animated excitement. This after having remained smoothly and comfortably laid back throughout tentiretre interview. "I'm playing to people who are wearing wireless headphones, so there are no monitors or speakers blasting loud. Everyone's just listening to me spin a set on headphones. A very cool concept: like a quiet wireless rave." Truly enjoying the oddity factor of the event, Logic notes that his fans showed as well as many new ones. "They were trying to figure out what's going on and why these people were dancing with no music playing. Are they on something or what?"

The jamband scene isn't the only arena that Logic has introduced to the power of the DJ. In 2004, Logic became the first DJ to ever play the legendary Blue Note Jazz Club when he headlined one of the inaugural events of their Late Night Groove Series. "I never thought I'd be on that stage, playing where a lot of legends have played," relates Logic. "I feel privileged to be part of that. The Blue Note people showed me a lot of love," While Logic was ready for the Blue Note; the Blue Note may not have been ready for Logic. Once the music started, Logic's fans weren't going to remain seated for long. "They were standing on tables and standing on chairs; some of the waitresses are bugging out because they had never seen anything like that," says Logic proudly and mischievously. "Once Logic came there, that was it: everyone left feeling good."

In the upcoming months, Logic hopes to tour extensively behind Zen Of Logic, stating that traveling the country gives him a chance to rekindle old friendships. In the meantime, he will keep himself busy working on remixes for Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Weather Report as well as starting pre-production work on a new Yohimbe Brothers album with Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid. While Logic remains busy throughout the coming months, you can rest certain in one thing: his music will make sense; it will all be logical.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!