Tags Posts tagged with "Music"


    6 2948

    I’ll confess openly to actually desiring a Snuggie anyway but now I *really* want one!

    To think, if it weren’t for the Snuggie being included, I probably would’ve lifted the better of the songs off of the internet somewhere for free… I know it’s wrong.

    Now, though, I’m going to spend $30 on the album. Or someone will get it for me for Christmas. (Hint, hint — the blue one, not the zebra print.)

    Great marketing on Weezer’s part.

    5 4345

    Billie Jean is NOT his lover...Unlike my previous post, this one actually is about Michael Jackson.

    Even though I wasn’t born in the US, if I had been, I’d be one of those bicentennial babies. What that basically means is that the Jackson 5 were a little before my time. But it also means that I was the perfect age for MJ’s solo career.

    My parents were still listening to popular music when “Off the Wall” came out in 1979 so I got my share of “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You” riding in the back of the car.

    I don’t remember either song being a favorite (neither could top Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” or Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind”), but I certainly remember hearing them an awful lot.

    By the time Thriller came out, sure, my parents had turned the dial to the oldies stations instead but I was six years old by then — I had access to my own radio dial.

    Best of all, our next door neighbor was an audiophile. His “band” was the Who but he also had the Michael Jackson album before anyone that I knew. I’m not sure he’d be willing to admit it but he had it in his collection probably the same day that it came out.

    We used to go over there, put on his enormous headphones and giggle endlessly wondering what on earth “Ma-Ma-Se, Ma-Ma-Sa, Ma-Ma-Goo-Sa” meant… Back then, you couldn’t just jump to a song as easily as you can now (partly because we weren’t allowed to actually touch his turntable) so we listened to “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” (the first track on the album) more than any other song on the record. In fact, I’m not sure we ever listened to the flip side…

    My friend Chris and I even used the “Ma-Ma-Se” thing as a greeting? Weird.

    We were living outside Chicago at the time and I remember walking to school with Chris and his older brother Kurt pretending that the sidewalk was lighting up in front of us like it did in the “Billie Jean” video.

    I also remember very long sessions of attempting to moonwalk on the kitchen tile with our slipperiest socks on. I never quite mastered it.

    I remember the hi-fi guy, Kurt and Chris’ dad, saying that it was a fake special effect but we kept trying anyway…

    As 1st graders, we had no idea what the song, “Billie Jean”, was about but we certainly knew all the words. When “Beat It” came out, well, game over, everyone that I knew was asking for the Thriller record for their birthday.

    I got it on tape that summer — along with a tape recorder.

    Then we moved to Connecticut and my access to Hi-Fi music was dashed. But with the move to New England came something new — cable television and MTV.

    Not only could I listen to MJ, now I could see him too! I’d seen the videos before, probably on Solid Gold or something, but never over and over and over again.

    I remember when the Thriller video came out — I think it was even listed in TV Guide — my parents even watched. And they enjoyed it!

    Imagining my son being 7 years old now instead of one month, I’m not sure I’d be able to “enjoy” the music or the videos he might be watching right now. Somehow, in the early 1980’s Michael Jackson was able to appeal to 7 year olds AND 37 year olds.

    My next big MJ memory came a few months after the big Thriller music video.

    I had the jacket from Thriller in 3rd grade — it was awesome.

    Yeah, my parents were too cheap to buy me a glittery glove that I also wanted but they totally went all out and hooked me up with a red and black pleather jacket.

    Did I mention yet that it was awesome?

    I remember it almost having a Michael Jackson like effect at the bus stop.

    No, the girls weren’t passing out or anything just being in my presence but they were asking to try it on and I thought that was pretty cool.

    While I can’t prove it here with photographic evidence as I’m not sure a photo of me in the jacket even exists — thank god, too, evidence like that would have jeopardized my popularity in high school — trust me, I had it. And it *was* awesome.

    I’m sure that if I dug through the attic enough, I’d find it. Or maybe my parents still have it? Mom?

    Anyway, I’m not really sure where it ended up but I’d hate to think that we just threw it away…

    The next time Michael Jackson came up was when I was just heading into junior high school.

    It was the end of the summer and I had a birthday party to go to and I wanted to buy the “Bad” tape for my friend Ryan.

    Problem was, the album was being released the day of the party *and* it went over the $10 birthday present limit my mom had set. (Yeah, back then, cassettes were $16.99 for a new release).

    My mom ending up buying the tape last minute (going over the $10 limit) and as my friend was opening his other presents, I was a little worried about how he’d react to mine.

    See, Michael Jackson wasn’t as cool as he’d been when we were in third grade but when he opened it, everyone at the party was excited. (I did a little fist pump in my head. Yes!)

    I remember after the party, when his mom was driving us all home, she had the tape playing in the car (they were loaded so, unlike the rest of us, they had a tape player in the car – remember, this is 1987!) and we were all in the back clapping along to “The Way You Make Me Feel” which was the first song on the album that none of us had ever heard before.

    If I remember correctly, that was pretty much the last real birthday party that wasn’t just a sleepover with a few friends that I ever attended. Later that week, we were, afterall, junior high schoolers and far too grown up for “Fudgie the Whale” cakes.

    His next album was “Dangerous” with the big prime time network debut of the “Black or White” video and the morphing faces at the end.

    I was in high school at this point and while it was okay to admit that you thought the end of his video was cool, it was best to keep being a fan on the hush-hush.

    I bought his Dangerous album in Germany on tape because, yeah, I didn’t have a CD player yet and because I was certain that I would probably never again see any of those Germans there to witness me purchasing it.

    Yeah, in 1992, there was a little bit of shame in admitting that you liked Michael Jackson *and* Pearl Jam.

    I’d say that it was the first MJ album that I didn’t play the crap out of.

    It’s not that it wasn’t worthy, but I think my tastes had begun to slide over to less mainstream stuff like They Might be Giants. And, um, Pearl Jam.

    Crazy to call a guy like Michael Jackson mainstream, huh?

    June 20, 1995 receipt from the last Michael Jackson purchase.The last time I gave Michael any thought, prior to Thursday, was when HIStory came out in 1995. It was in the summer of 1995 and I was taking a few courses in University.

    My friend Alison, almost as a joke I think, suggested that we line up to buy the album at midnight.

    Thinking that sounded like more fun than watching Baywatch and Unsolved Mysteries reruns I said that I’d be up for it.

    When we got to “House of Sounds” on Princess Street in Kingston, which still sold records at the time, there was already a line up?!

    I couldn’t believe it!? At a time when few would admit to even liking Michael Jackson, he could still get people to line up in the middle of the night to buy one of his albums. Amazing.

    Anyway, 6 minutes and 15 seconds past midnight, I owned HIStory… and Disc 1 (best compilation EVER!) is the CD player in the car right now…

    (Though I must admit, I had to dig through a few boxes this morning to find it.)

    4 4433

    Phish Logo -- I actually have a signed version of this logo hanging around by the guy who originally drew it.Perhaps it has much to do with growing up in New England, and even though they’re from Vermont (a state at which I like to poke fun), Phish is one of my favorite bands of all time — not far behind They Might Be Giants.

    As different as the two bands are, it’s shocking how much their audience’s overlap.

    Anyway, Phish unfortunately broke up a few years ago and for the last few years that they were still together, they were just releasing one live album after another.

    Now, I know, some people are really into live recordings and bootlegs and trading them and all of that nonsense but no one will ever convince me that a live recording sounds better than a studio album.

    Especially when you listen to it with big ol’headphones on like I do.

    HUGE Headphones are the only way to go.There is no comparison.

    Seeing a band live is one thing… Listening to a ‘recording’ of a band live is a whole different animal.

    A boring one.

    Like a mallard duck, or a beagle, or something generic like a squirrel or something…

    Give me a studio album any day.

    So get this… The band is getting back together for a 3-night show this weekend down in Virginia and since they know that it isn’t possible to every fan to attend (and they’re cool like that), they’re offering mp3’s of all three shows on their website…for FREE!

    Yep — FREE. (for a limited time, so… hurry!)

    Now I know that I just poo-poo’ed recordings of live shows but when they’re free, hey, I’ll take it.

    Here’s the link.

    All you have to do is register — and no worries, they don’t spam the hell out of you like other places do and once you snag your free tunes you can always opt-out and be done with them.

    You heard right — when you opt-out, they really stop sending you stuff.

    For real.

    Imagine that.

    Now I just have to hope and pray that they don’t go into a bunch of beat-less 45-minute jam sessions… Yawn…

    5 2599

    Jessica Simpson

    Jessica Simpson IQ ChallengeNo, no, not about her growing waistline.

    This isn’t even about her attempt at making mom-jeans fashionable… though I do wish her the best in that effort.

    See that little graphic over there? The little one, not the big one up top…

    Yeah, it popped up on the right-hand side of my Facebook profile this afternoon. I’m not sure exactly why, I mean, I don’t list her as a favorite of mine or anything.

    In fact, I’m not sure I could name a single Jessica Simpson song.

    I know “who” she is but I’m not really sure “why” she’s as popular as she is, um, as she was…

    But that’s not what this is all about…

    Can you believe that her IQ is apparently 111?

    Okay, that’s not what this is really about either…

    Take another look at that little advertisement. It’s apparently for an application that I’m sure can be added to your Facebook page. Though I didn’t actually click on it, I think that much is clear.

    Now, take a closer look…

    See it?

    Obviously, to me anyway, the person who created the advertisement has an IQ significantly lower than Jessica’s.

    It’s not a total loss, I mean, they evidently knew the difference between “then” and “than”, but c’mon, if “you’re” creating an ad for an application that compares IQ scores, you’d better make darn sure that “your” copy is correct.

    (For those that are confused but this entire post, the copy should have read, “Jessica Simpson scored 111 on the IQ Challenge! See if you’re smarter than her now!”)

    Sorry, seeing errors like that in prominent places drives me bonkers…

    Really, someone was paid to put together that graphic. Talk about shoddy work…

    2 2501

    Kash MoneyHave you seen the latest Geico commericals? You know, the ones with that stack of cash with eyes “watching” people?

    They’ve been running pretty heavily for a few weeks now… maybe even a month.

    Now, as much as I like to hear a Rockwell re-mix, I just don’t get these commercials.

    Plain and simple… they suck!

    Kinda like Rockwell did.

    Really, if you’re old enough to remember the original song, you’ll also remember that the only reason it hit the charts was because of MJ‘s back-up vocal…

    Now, Geico’s message has been the same for years. You can save money by switching to them. Their advertising campaigns for the past 5 years or so have been brilliant!

    I mean, who would have thought that an auto insurance company could be so successful with a bunch of goofy commercials featuring digitally animated lizards and a trio of cavemen hocking their product/service?

    It makes no sense, but even 5-year-olds know that “a 15 minute call could save you 15% or more on your car insurance” and that “it’s so easy, a caveman could do it”.

    These commercials actually feature, well, “the money” you could be saving — they’re cutting right to the chase (for once) — but it just doesn’t work.


    Anyway, the whole ad campaign is worse than Microsoft’s Jerry Seinfeld spot

    What do you think?

    4 4278

    Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas

    Often times when I mention it, the response I get is a blank stare.

    “Emmet who?”

    Emmet Otter.

    “Never heard of him…”

    End of discussion.

    Seems you have to be of a certain age while also having been fortunate enough to have lived in an area where HBO was available in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Yeah, we’re a select bunch, it seems…

    It’s sad, really. It’s one of the best Christmas specials ever made and so few have ever even heard of it.

    A couple of months ago I read some where that the average 5 year old these days can’t name any of the Muppets — even when shown their pictures?!

    Crazy how quickly they became, well, irrelevant.

    Replaced by the likes of SpongeBob, Shrek, and well, not that he’s age appropriate, even, Glenn Quagmire.

    Giggity – Giggity.

    Furthering my disappointment, and confirmation of the Muppetdom’s decline, while down in Florida at some sort of Disney souvenir tourist trap, my wife and I purchased a small Gonzo doll.

    At the checkout, my mother thought he was “cute” but had no idea who (or what?) he was. What the hell is Gonzo anyway? I’m not sure that was ever answered…

    But seriously, my mom had no recollection of Gonzo. None. And she’s not old enough — not even close — you know, where you’d almost expect people (I used the term loosely) like Gonzo to be forgotten.

    Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. The Muppets have been collecting dust for nearly 20 years now — except for a few Miss Piggy cameos in Pizza Hut commercials.

    Jim Henson’s death is partially to blame, sure, but so is Disney. They took over the Muppets in 2004 and then shelved them.

    So it was a pleasant surprise when, earlier this week, I read in the newspaper that a local opera house was going to be putting on a production of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas this holiday season.

    No. Freakin’. Way.


    And this isn’t just some community theatre group putting it together — it’s a real full blown production in a real opera house.

    Needless to say, after all of this build-up, we’re going.

    In true Muppet fashion, to be like Statler and Waldorf, we selected seats on the balcony to the right of the stage — but unlike them we’ll try to keep out comments to ourselves during the show. Tickets were pricey, a little over $50 each, but that’s to be expected for the opera.

    Yeah, that’s right, I just made it sound as if we frequent the opera house.

    For the record, we don’t. In fact, I’m not really sure what I should wear. I’m guessing that an airbrushed Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem t-shirt would be frowned upon…

    Realistically, though, I think I’ll be a little disappointed, you know, expecting to see an all Muppet performance but having many of them as live action people instead — but hopefully as the show goes on, I’ll be able to “connect” with the new look Emmet.

    Photo by Diane Sobolewski.  She's one of my photography idols!

    But it’s the music that I’m most looking forward to. You can’t beat a Christmas themed show with a song about barbeque as one of the main features.

    And hopefully now I won’t be afraid of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band. Really, even in high school I avoided the metal-heads because of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band…

    Anyway, the world premiere musical production of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas will be running from December 7 through January 4 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut. If you’re in the area, and you’re familiar with who Emmet Otter is, you might want to check it out!

    3 2376

    Axl Rose when he was somehow still cool.Guns N’ Roses were last relevant when I was in high school. That was a long time ago.

    It was right at the beginning of my sophomore year that they released the albums Use You Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II.

    On bus rides to Cross Country meets, it was as if everyone was listening to one or the other on their Sony Discmans.

    I didn’t even have a real CD player at home yet, so I felt a little left out — that was okay though, I was a MUCH bigger fan of Metallica anyway like the metal-heads except I was never a metal-head… Made for some lonely bus rides…

    Anyway, it wasn’t long, we’re talking maybe a week, before Nirvana came around and squashed them both…

    In the case of GNR, I’d say that Nirvana all but eradicated them…

    Until now…

    Their long awaited album titled Chinese Democracy is set to come out tomorrow.

    Yes, tomorrow!

    OMG! OMG! Can you feel the excitement!

    I, for one, am not that excited. Actually, I could care less — I just think it’s funny that something that has been talked about and hyped since I was still in high school is coming out now. And still has some hype…

    I mean, why? It’s pretty apparent that it’s going to bomb.

    Kinda like that last INXS album… How’d that song go? “It ain’t pretty…

    No, it wasn’t…

    But there is one good thing about GNR’s album release…

    Dr. PepperDr. Pepper, in a silly sort of promo betting that the album would NEVER actually be released, said that they would give everyone in America a free Dr. Pepper when/if the album ever came out.

    Tomorrow’s the date and Dr. Pepper is sorta pulling a fast one by only offering the coupons on their website for 24 hours (LAME!), so don’t forget to head over to DrPepper.com and print out your coupon.

    But wait for tomorrow.

    There isn’t any mention of the promo there yet.

    Again, lame… like the album.

    1 3369

    Gerry Beckley of the rock band America

    This is photo I took today of Gerry Beckley from the rock band America.

    We saw them today at the Hebron Harvest Fair for $10. Yes, that’s two dollars less than it cost us to see Smash Mouth last week.

    For the younger set that may have never heard of the band America, well, guess what? They’ve been ripped off by Janet Jackson, used in the video game Grand Theft Auto, and in a recent Vera Wang commercial for Kohl’s.

    Guaranteed, you’ve heard their stuff — you probably just didn’t realize it. And no, it doesn’t suck.

    Janet Jackson sucks.

    I mean, who resorts to a “wardrobe malfunction” to generate press?  Who does that?  Seriously…  That’s bush league…

    Anyway, America’s show was much, much, much better than that of Smash Mouth last week, even being a member short — founding member Dewey Bunnell wasn’t on stage due to a “medical problem”.

    No worries for me though, my favorites by the group are all sung by Gerry Beckley and he was great.

    Being that I’m not really old enough to have heard their original hits when they first came out, my personal favorite is from the 1980’s.

    You Can Do Magic” from 1982 still holds up. I don’t know why, but for me, it does.

    Watch the video. I mean, it doesn’t get any cheesier than that. It just doesn’t.  Five guys facing forward with silly smiles on their faces.   Cheezy but great at the same time.

    Remember when all videos were like that? I do.

    Surprisingly, they opened the show with one of their bigger hits, “Ventura Highway“.

    At first, I was a little worried that that might mean they’d fill the next half hour with a bunch of new stuff that I wasn’t really interested in, you know, “Here’s a cut from our upcoming album…”, but they didn’t disappoint.

    I’m not much more than a casual fan, but they only played one or two songs that I hadn’t heard before. They had that many hits.

    Sure, these days the only place you’ll hear them in their entirety (and not just a few bars sampled by some talentless rapper) is at the dentist’s office or in line at the grocery store, but there aren’t too many bands that can play for well over an hour and fill the time with songs even the casual fan knows the words to.

    They closed the night with “Horse with No Name” which, unfortunately, was only so-so because Dewey Bunnell usually sings lead on that one. As I said earlier, he wasn’t there.

    The high point that really got the crowd going was an extended version of “Sister Golden Hair“. It’s another of their big hits and Gerry Beckley (the guy pictured above) was full of energy and sounded exactly like he did on the original recording some 33 years ago.

    Anyway, great show at a great price.

    Up next for us is the Guess Who in a couple of weeks. I’m not feeling real great about that show — I’m pretty sure the only real members touring with them right now are the drummer and the bassist. Neither one sang their hits.

    That’s the case with a lot of bands from the 60’s or 70’s (even the 80’s and 90’s really). You know, you run the risk of seeing a band full of a bunch of replacement members touring under the name of a popular band. A great example is Journey. I’m sorry, but without Steve Perry singing lead, you can’t call yourself Journey. But they do.

    America, to a degree, is no different in that respect. But the two lead vocalists are still around and the drummer and guitarist we saw today are the same two guys in that “You Can Do Magic” video from 1982…

    That was 26 years ago.

    Not much of a rotating line-up, which is probably why they still put on a pretty good show.

    Can You Dig It?


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