All right, kids, bit of a history lesson here. Way back in 1973, a man name of Richard O’Brien wrote a stage musical. 1975 came along, and this stage musical was turned into a cult classic movie. Cut to a few years ago, and it once again appeared on stage. Today, this production is being put on locally, and I had the pleasure of going.
Now… anybody know purports to know me at all has head me speak of the Rocky Horror Picture Show on many occasions, and knows of my long standing love for it. Madison Broadway, a local troupe, has adapted the original production and is performing it over the weekend. I was able to get to the 10pm showing tonight, and let me tell you… it was FANTASTIC! With local radio personality Fish Calloway performing as the Narrator, it was a solid cast. Starring Brian Tuel as Doctor Frank N Furter with Trevor Kastein and Kelly Maxwell as Brad Majors and Janet Weiss respectively, it was a fresh perspective on something I, for one, have come to know extremely well.
The callbacks most people would come to expect from Rocky Horror these days were kept to a minimum, but of those that WERE used, the ones that got the best reactions came from a group of four RHPS veterans who I am pleased to say I was with.
It’s a local thing, yeah, but if you ARE local and are interested in a fantastic show with a great cast and a bit of innuendo, you could do a LOT worse than to catch a performance. Short notice, but they’ve got performances Friday night and Saturday at the Orpheum Theatre on State Street. Tickets are 15 dollars.
The production was put on by Broadway Madison
All right, all right. I’ve promised reviews, promised posts… so much music, so little time. I’ve been developing a new idea for this, hopefully I’ll have something for it real soon now. I’ve got around 40 albums I’ve been meaning to write up, but I’m thinking about coming up with some sort of audio show. The way this is gonna work is that I’ll ignore the singles and focus more on deep cuts.
Should be interesting.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.
Depeche Mode – Violator (Buy it now)
Sometimes, when I get into an introspective and sentimental mood, I like to dig through my music collection and find something I haven’t listened to in a long time. Not sure what exactly it was that drew me to Depeche Mode tonight, but I figured what the hell. I’d forgotten how awesome this 1990 album is.
For those who don’t know, Depeche Mode (performing since 1980) is an English electronic group consisting of Dave Gahan on lead vocals, Martin Gore on keyboards guitar and lead songwriter, Andrew Fletcher on keyboards, and (at the time) Alan Wilder on keyboards, who has since left the group.
Their 1990 album Violator is a very solid album, most tracks with a dance rhythm even I can move to.
Album opener World In My Eyes is a ballad-esque number dealing with a desire to share the world with someone, and on a deeper level, to open up and share their innermost self. “Let me show you the world in my eyes.”
Second track Sweetest Perfection, while at the surface seemingly about drugs, is much deeper than that. It’s about a quest, nay, the primal instinct to find happiness, and the inner turmoil that it causes. “I stop and I stare too much, afraid that I care too much, and I hardly dare to touch, for fear that the spell may be broke”
Personal Jesus, perhaps better known as it was covered by Johnny Cash, deals with the idea that everyone needs to be saved sometimes, that everyone needs that someone to talk to, and it’s not necessarily a religious thing. It’s about trying to find a personal savior who can be there for you if you need them.
Hmm. All right, Violator is a fantastic album that, while being the most popular album Depeche Mode has released, still doesn’t get quite the recognition it deserves. And hey, if it can get ME dancing, that’s gotta say soemthing about it.
I love road trips. Have done so ever since I was a young lad. And when it comes to my road trips, I’m a firm believer in tradition. Some of the things seem trivial, perhaps, like the trip kickoff bottle of chocolate milk, or the bag of beef jerky, or the destination, but the most important thing is the audio entertainment. I love making mixes, and what better excuse for a mix than a road trip?
Highways are boring, especially the interstates. Any road trip deserves care in designing a proper mix, from the day trip out of town to the coast-to-coast long haul.
As to the proper technique… there’s no real specific set way to do it. What I offer here are basically guidelines to make it something fantastic. Just don’t make absolutely every song in your playlist have to do with the road or travel. It’s a fun theme, sure, but when you’ve got fifteen different covers of Route 66, dude, you ain’t right. A few songs like that in the mix are good, though. Make it interesting for yourself, and your passengers if you have them.
As I’ve said, I’m a firm believer in tradition. Every road trip I’ve taken since I began heading out on my own has without fail started with (ok, yeah, a couple of road songs. I never said to omit them entirely.) Bob Seger’s Turn The Page followed by Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again. I’m not entirely why I started including them as the first two tracks, but hey, why mess with what works? I shudder to think what would happen if I omitted them.
After I get those out of the way… well, I have to admit that my road mixes are pretty heavy with Seventies-era rock. It just works. Tom Petty has ALWAYS made for good driving music. From American Girl to Runnin’ Down A Dream to (ok, fine, more road music) anything off of Highway Companion, there’s something right about his mellow style and being on the road. Rush is another fantastic choice. Limelight, Free Will, Red Barchetta (yes, another one), I have many fond memories of driving down the road, late at night, letting this music keep me awake. Whatever you do, randomize the playlist. I fit so much music into the list that I forget what’s all on there, and when it’s random, it’s always exciting looking forward to that one song that is in there somewhere but you’ve got no idea when it’ll play.
I also like to include some songs that make me think, reflect, introspect, reminisce. There’s nothing like driving down the highway, lost on the road and lost in though. Just keep your damn eyes on the road.
If you have a specific destination, it can be fun to find music that would fit the theme of what you’re doing. I’ve made the trek to various music festivals, and have had a blast finding tracks from some of the performers and adding them to the mix as well. Discovered some GREAT music that way.
Don’t take these words as law. If you have a song that you absolutely love, and it would kill you to not have it in the mix, by all means put it in there. Get input from passengers if you’ve got them. Have fun making the mixes, and hold on to them when the trip is over. Bring it back out later, and give it a listen. It’ll bring back memories.
Drive safe, mix well, buy the ticket, take the ride.
Mark Knopfler, former front man of Dire Straits, has had a fascinating solo career, and wrote the score for a number of movies, including The Princess Bride. Get Lucky is a decent offering, not one of his best works, but it still has some outstanding individual tracks. If you’re looking for a Dire Straits album, this is not it. Still, Knopfler is well versed in more than just the rock he is best known for, and it shows. Now, I’ll be honest. I love his work with Dire Straits. I’ll give any of his work a chance. Get Lucky doesn’t quite do it for me.
Kicking off the album is Border River, which has a very Celtic feel to it, reinforced by references to “Glasgow town”, is a slower tune about having pride of Britain. “‘Sure as the sunrise’, that’s what they say about the Albion”, Albion being apparently the oldest known term for the Isles of Britain.
You Can’t Beat The House, one of the high points of the album, is an excellent blues number, seemingly about hitting rock bottom “Even the piano player, man, he don’t care who he shoots”, seems to be more a metaphor about life in general; it is the lament of a man who has been there, noting the folly of others and wanting to keep others from making the same mistakes he did says “Tell that man somebody, you can’t beat the house.”
For you Dire Straits fans out there, title track Get Lucky is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, at least at the melody level. Lyrically, it’s about the working stiff, worried about rent and bills (The one about happiness and money – tell it to the bread line), who yearns for something better, and the admonition that “you might get lucky now and then, yeah, you win some”
All in all, it’s a decent album. It’s great that Knopfler is doing what he wants, musically, but of his past works, Get Lucky is not his best. It’s mostly going to be of interest to his hardcore fans, and more power to them. Still, some of the tracks are fantastic, and merit at least a listen.
Ah, George Harrison. Beatle, Wilbury, solo artist… this late and lamented guitar legend was incredibly versatile, and while most people recognize his work with the Beatles, his solo work is unbelievable. His posthumous 2002 release Brainwashed is no exception, showing just how versatile he was until the very end. While left not-quite-finished, his extensive notes allowed his son Dhani and fellow Wilbury Jeff Lynne to look at what was left to do, and they were successfully able to finish the album, leaving a legacy which should be noticed.
From opening track Any Road to the moving Pisces Fish to title track and closer Brainwashed, this is a very solid album, and a fitting tribute to (in your humble narrators opinion) one of the guitar greats.
Any Road, with the lyrics “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” seems at first to be suggesting that you should figure it all out, but upon repeat listenings, it’s much deeper than that. Any Road suggests that it’s not necessarily a bad thing, to take life as it comes, and to enjoy the ride. To quote an unrelated band, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” It’s got a great tempo, and it’s catchy. One thing I can tell you for sure, Any Road has earned a permanent spot in my road trip mixes.
The mildly surreal Pisces Fish… hmm. I’m not sure exactly how to summarize. With references to finding the next Pope in a brewery, and finding tranquility on a river, the lyrics “I’m a living proof of all of life’s contradictions, one half’s going where the other half’s just been” point out the absurdities of everyday things, and it’s ok to accept that.
Title track Brainwashed closes the album on a tranquil note, beginning with the various ways people are being brainwashed and that truth is within the self, and ending on a very tranquil, relaxing Hindu chant/mantra.
This is a fantastic album left behind by a fantastic guitarist. I’ve been unable to stop listening to it, and as I’ve mentioned, there are tracks that have earned a permanent spot in my road trip music list.
Here’s the thing. I’m generally displeased with the state of music today. With the homogenization of the airwaves by C**** C****** and other companies, there’s little opportunity for those great unknowns to get any sort of recognition without working their asses off to try and become airwave worthy. Long gone are the days of a local band dropping off a copy of their album at the radio station and asking the DJ to play a couple things once in a while. Tune into a station in Bozeman Montana, Nome Alaska and Miami Florida, and you will find little to no difference in the content.
There is absolutely some great music out there, but what’s good is not always popular, and what’s popular is not necessarily good. I’ve historically listened only to music that was around before I was born, but needing to expand my horizons, I’ve started listening to a great many other things besides. Some have been good, some have sucked. There’s good stuff out there, we just need to find it.
What I offer you today, my friend and faithful reader, is a chance to peek in on the inside of my quest. I’m listening to a lot of music. Looking for that diamond in the rough. I find myself enjoying a lot of things that I never would have considered even two years ago. Hopefully you’ll find something new as well.
Buy the ticket, take the ride. It should be an interesting journey.
Let’s flash back to mid-June 2009, for a minute. A friend of mine and I are wandering the grounds at Bonnaroo, looking for something to check out. There’s nothing really happening at the main stages, so we were hanging out, drinking some beer or another, when we happened across the smallest stage there, which hosts abbreviated sets by a selection of performers from throughout the weekend. There wasn’t much of a crowd when we got there, which was a damn shame, for what we found there was something incredible. After hearing them perform in that intimate setting, I was hooked. I needed to hear more from them.
Tennessee family band Cherryholmes, rising stars in the bluegrass world, offer a fantastic time with their third album Don’t Believe.
From the lyrical talents of daughter Cia, to the soulful bass of father Jere, and the shared vocals of the entire family, Cherryholmes has impressed the hell out of me. With brothers BJ and Skip on fiddle and guitar, daugher Molly on fiddle, and rounded out with mother Sandy on mandolin, this band provides a magical audio adventure.
Album opener I Can Only Love You (So Much) starts the album off strong, with it’s tone of frustration with a lover. The music is heartwrenching, yet you can’t help tapping your toe or snapping along.
Title track Don’t Believe is an intense, fast paced number. With it’s exhortation to “Don’t believe in everything you hear or see”, it provides a message not often heard enough in music these days: that you should think for yourself, and not wait for someone else to show you what to believe.
Album closer Traveler evokes visions of a lonely wanderer, who left everything behind long ago. Interestingly enough, it reminded me to some degree of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series.
On the whole, Don’t Believe is a solid album, and I look forward to hearing more from Cherryholmes, and, should the opportunity present itself, I’d love to see them in concert again.