Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category

Five Songs, Part 75 (fIREHOSE and then some)

April 13, 2012

fIREHOSE: My poker game has improved vastly since I interviewed Mike Watt (center, with edFROMOHIO Crawford and George Hurley) in '87.

Hi. This week’s Five Songs grows a couple of extra bonus tracks this lucky Friday the 13th. That’s because a band I never thought I’d see again is coming to Fresno tonight — fIREHOSE is playing at Fulton 55.

Got a rave review from Wednesday’s show at Slim’s in San Francisco, My pal Dema, fashion designer superb and a kitty who’s forgotten more good bands than many have ever heard, not only said the show was great, but added that Mike Watt, after all these years, was still “crushable.”

Just hearing about the show earlier this week, and the idea of Mike, Ed and George together again, were intriguing enough; they wouldn’t have had any reason to have reunited if there was a chance of embarrassing themselves. And now, a rave. I think I’ll have to be there. Guess I’m a little more excited than I’ve been letting on.

Plus, a quarter-century ago, a fIREHOSE show was a gateway into an exciting time in my life.

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Five Songs, Part 40 (The Amy Episode)

July 28, 2011

I’ve deliberately stayed away from most things Amy Winehouse the past week, save for the obligatory Facebook post last Saturday notifying friends of her demise. But let’s face it — I’ve loved her music since I first heard “Back to Black” in 2007 (and subsequently cursed Universal for not having the balls to release her debut album, “Frank,” here in the States when it first came out). And the album became the gateway to me discovering the band that backed her — The Dap-Kings, and, of course, Sharon Jones.

And, well, how could someone enjoy this terminally damaged talent (for her talent, not the terminal part) and not have her music stuck in their head all week? Thus, I gave in to my better musical angels and, well, here goes: the Amy Edition of Five Songs. And not one “Rehab” in the bunch.

In addition to my three favorite Amy songs not called “Rehab” (and actually, “Tears Dry on Their Own” is my favorite), I tossed in two interesting twists I hadn’t been aware of: a great mashup I stumbled into of “You Know That I’m No Good” and Linda Ronstadt’s ’75 hit version of “You’re No Good”; and Ronnie Spector’s love of her. You can hear Ronnie’s previously unreleased studio version of “Back to Black” accompanying her tribute to Winehouse on rollingstone.com; the version here is from B.B. King’s in Manhattan last December.

I didn’t know Ronnie was such a big fan, but it makes sense: “Every time I looked at her, it was like I was looking at myself,” she wrote. “She had my beehive, my eyeliner, my attitude. She had such a great soul in her voice and her lyrics were so amazing that I couldn’t help but sing one of her songs. I was so happy to see an artist like Amy, because she reminded me of my youth. And she loved girl groups. Damn it! I thought she would carry on.”

And it made for a poignant artist-artist connection. As Ronnie recalled in her piece: “Amy came to my show in London about six months ago, and she was so shy. She was hiding behind somebody, but I could see the hairstyle, and I knew she was there. That was all I needed. When I sang ‘Back to Black,’ I could see the tears in her eyes, and there were tears in mine.”

And thus, a Five Songs I wish I was posting for much better reasons.

Tears Dry on Their Own — Amy Winehouse

Fuck Me Pumps — Amy Winehouse

Me and Mr. Jones — Amy Winehouse

You Know That You’re No Good — Amy Winehouse/Linda Ronstadt mashup

Back to Black (live) — Ronnie Spector

Betty White made me do it!

May 10, 2010

Betty White with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey -- an all-star cast, a "Saturday Night Live" for the ages.

I had a date with an 88 1/2-year-old woman Saturday night. And I loved it.

Actually, it was a group date, it was a blind date (obviously — she couldn’t see me, thank God), it was totally unplanned, and the woman took me to a place I haven’t been in a long time (ooooooh, captain!).

It wasn’t part of my plans, but for the first time in the 31 years since I’ve been out of high school, I watched an entire episode of “Saturday Night Live.” And enjoyed the hell out of it. And I have Betty White to blame.

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