Complete legends

August 31, 2010

Hey guys, Sorry I’ve abandoned you for over a month its been hectic to say the least.

We have had interviews with the doors, who are complete legends. (Plug: there new dvd “When you’re strange” is out now)

We were down at Vintage Goodwood drinking just a little more than was an acceptable amount of beer or wine or both. Not to mention chilling with The Buzzcocks down there definitely a memorable experience, oh and did I mentioned we interviewed them as well. Yeah, you better believe it, for one of the first times ever we managed to get Diggle and Pete Shelley to actually sit through an entire interview without having a fight (there were definitely playful squabbles), they are still cool guys for sure, Diggle had on one of the most dapper jackets I’d ever seen(I wanted to ask what it was buuuuut, you know, that wouldn’t have been cool). Anyway those guys are Complete legends.

Finally we published our exclusive interview with Geno Washington (from the Ram Jam band), now this guy is probably raconteur of the century seriously, I wanted to jump back in a time warp with the guy to the 60’s. He is everything you want from an american soul singer loud, brashy and like-able as hell. Anyway he is getting into acting now and he is actually pretty good. Another Complete legend.

So, you might have guessed it, it’s been a legendary month for us a rokpool and hopefully we have a lot more in store for you guys, all interviews are either up or will be published soon so look out for those.

Oh and I promise you guys I will be more regular from now on, peace, love and harmony. Raven

GREG HOUSE HAS GOT THE BLUES

July 26, 2010

Nowadays, the line between actor and musician is not so much that. More an indecipherable smudge. The finger of blame can be laid at the door of the star who wanders backwards and forwards across it. Going where the money is, if we’re honest. So it’s with a tip of the hat we acknowledge Hugh Laurie’s recent signing to Warner.

It might at first smack of what’s described above, but the man now known almost the world over as Dr Gregory House is teaming up with a range of guest musicians to record a blues album. This hardly signifies a tapping of the market. Furthermore, it isn’t exactly a passing whim; anyone who knows anything about the man can testify to his skills as a pianist and guitarist, having played in a variety of his own bands, and having excerpts of his playing featured in sketches with Stephen Fry, Jeeves and Wooster, and House itself.

He is working on the record with Joe Henry, a man who has produced some of his ‘favourite records of all time’. Perhaps most pressing of all is that he is attempting this venture at the age of 52, after setting himself up with the healthy bookend that is his acting career. It’s not something in other words, that he intrinsically needs to do. We for one are delighted he’s taking this step, and look forward to hearing the results!

THE MERCURY PRIZE – A TRUE MUSICAL REFLECTION?

July 21, 2010

Paul Weller has received a Mercury Prize nomination. Wake Up The Nation is the first of his releases to receive such recognition in sixteen years, and only the second time it has happened for him personally at all. His own opinion on this latter day elevation is that he wont win the prize, owing to the fact he isn’t an ‘outsider’. And looking back at his last appointment, this hypothesis seems to have something about it.

In 1994, M People managed to win the category, beating off the likes of Oasis, Pulp and Weller himself. The former were to say the least, particularly up and coming at the time of going to press, dominating the UK music charts by trading off hit singles, blockbuster albums and embittered hyperbole. Add to this the fact that it’s been eight years since a classical album has even been selected, and the concept of the award itself does start to rankle. Is the Mercury Prize about musical integrity? Or dictated, as we suspect, by voting trends popularized on one level by reality TV shows such as the X Factor?

Is there really any inherent difference with the judging panels for awards such as these?

Janelle Monae and the Concept Album

July 15, 2010

So, Janelle Monae is the next big thing on both sides of the Atlantic. Her album, The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III), has taken the unusual step of being concept driven. Unusual, because this is her debut LP; a brave move in a world fixated with the immediacy and instant gratification of the iPod. The BBC have today picked up on this point, and asked whether the concept album is still a relevant medium. The fact that Monae’s efforts have been so well received critically can only point towards a positive answer.

Many of the world’s most revered acts have contributed a record of this type at some stage during their career. Pink Floyd are the most obvious name here; building a monolithic stage show around their magnum opus The Wall. And while that is the definitive example of a concept album at its most grandiose; this wasn’t a medium exclusive to LP format. Using image to create a character and social landscape was the playground of Prince, and David Bowie before him. Or it. Further evidence of this being alive and (debatably) well today is in the gender bending, anything goes stage garb of Lady Gaga. In her instance many believe it’s more a case of “shocking for shocks sake”. The old moniker of all style and no substance has certainly been knocked about a fair bit with her name in tow. Another example of an artist taking conceptualisation and arguably bastardising it would be Sting, whose recent winter album release had many reviewers curling their toes in anguish. Nevertheless, the medium still exists today in all its forms, for better or worse.

It’d be a pretty boring landscape without it.

Radio 6 wont do what you tell them

July 8, 2010

So Radio 6 has been saved. The powers that be, namely Tim Davie, are as we speak defending their radio strategy to the assembled media. The stations inner sanctum was said to be a place of “celebration”, with an amazing belief in people power and relief emanating from within. And isn’t this just the way?

We love an underdog, almost unanimously. The world of popular music is no exception to this as countless other incidences prove. Rage Against the Machine toppled X Factor winner Joe McElderry to take Christmas number one, exclusively because of people power. The single, “Killing in the Name”, was already 18 years old; seemingly bearing no contemporary relevance to today’s pop charts.

Nevertheless, for many it stood as a symbol; propelled by its rebellious hook line and the band itself; whose pseudonym leaves nothing to the imagination. As was pointed out thereafter; the campaign wasn’t without its contradictions. Rage themselves are rather tastily backed by Epic; a subsidiary of Sony. Regardless, the fundamental symbolism remains, which is what first and foremost garnered public interest. The salvation of Radio 6 is no different; with a snowball of media hyperbole and calls for Davie’s resignation echoed many thousands of times over already. It’s doubtful this smorgasbord will have even bothered listening to Radio 6 at all.

But that isn’t the point is it?

GUY EVANS – THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME

July 6, 2010

Check out this great piece by our in house writer Douglas Shanks:

If the later seventies and the eighties saw musical shifts arising from the development of the synthesizer, the sixties and early seventies heralded the rise of the drummer in importance. Rival for drumming GOAT Stephen Morris (Joy Division/New Order) represented the shift from acoustic drumming to the ubiquitous drum machine of the eighties by creating the sound acoustically. The most important drummer of the sixties is Ringo Starr partly because he wielded his sticks for that minor rock phenomenon The Beatles, but also because he represented, as Stephen Morris was to do a decade later, the link between the past and future. When Ringo Starr was recruited to The Beatles it wasn’t just because he could comb his hair forwards and could stay sober long enough to turn up to rehearsals on time. Ringo Starr was a highly regarded jazz oriented percussionist in his own right. And can the next person who buys into the myth that Ringo Starr couldn’t drum, and who tells me Paul McCartney did the difficult bits, please do me a favour and take a pill and lie down in a dark room with the “Abbey Road” medley on a half decent Linn/B&W system until the mood passes. Ringo Starr drummed from an age when the percussion was rooted in the rhythm section and by not straying made sure the rest of the band didn’t stray either. You don’t get to be The Beatles and have a mediocre drummer. By the way, for Ringo Starr and The Beatles you can also read Nick Mason and Pink Floyd and listen to the “Ummagumma” version of “A Saucerful Of Secrets”.

By the end of the sixties Rock had developed exponentially and with hindsight we see “The Velvet Underground And Nico” if not as a defining moment then certainly representing a seismic shift. Of course Mo Tucker’s vocals as well as her drumming were seminal, and Mo Tucker herself must be seen as part of a new more flamboyant drumming movement with more to say for herself than staggeringly innovative and beautiful off-key vocals and the gentle art of keeping time. By the end of the sixties the big three had emerged, Keith Moon, John Bonham and Ginger Baker, and without splitting too many hairs, and accepting they were all geniuses, probably in that order – perhaps if only because you might rank the bands that way too. And as Moon & Co were hitting the headlines a young Guy Evans was making his name with the legendary students of all dark matter Van Der Graaf Generator.

If you were looking for a definition of what the great Prog Rock bands had in common, which in fact wasn’t much, it being the loosest of all federations, they all had fabulous drummers, including of course Carl Palmer Phil Collins and Ian Wallace, who went on to become Dylan’s drummer when King Crimson split up, thus materially helping to create Dylan’s own masterpiece “Street-Legal”. Indeed the drumming on “Street-Legal” is so integral to the sound that I’m surprised Wallace doesn’t get a writing credit. Chatting to Guy I was interested that he cited Ian Wallace and “Street-Legal” before I’d even mentioned it, although I did have it in my notes to discuss with him. Guy’s high opinion of Mitch Mitchell is hardly surprising as Mitchell did for The Jimi Hendrix Experience what Evans himself did for Van Der Graaf Generator. I was interested in Guy’s comments in praise of John Bonham, no more controversial than Mitch Mitchell, but Led Zeppelin were really quite a different act, moving us towards Heavy Metal in a way that Van Der Graaf Generator couldn’t if they’d wanted to, hardly ever using the guitar.

GODS, GANGSTERS AND HONOUR.

July 1, 2010

Having read Gods, Gangsters and Honour my first thought was the author’s lucky to be alive, and certainly must be scarred for life if not by the knife but what he went through. I have now met Steven Machat and confirm that he is in one piece and at peace with himself. He is however vociferous about corrupt politicians, corporations and of course bankers.

Steven worked in the entertainment industry for several decades, as a lawyer, entrepreneur, manager and fixer for many of the biggest names around at the time and  crossed the path of, if not swords with, some very dangerous corporate characters, not all of them overtly criminals. As he tells us even Ozzy was terrified of Don Arden, the head of Jet Records who was, as it turned out, eventually to be his father in law! Of necessitySteven had to paddle and indeed sometimes swim in some very murky water indeed.

His personal excesses whilst not matching some of the rock ‘n’ roll extremes certainly allowed him to party along with the ‘stars’ and influencers in the sport, music and film industries, seemingly a pre requisite to be accepted in that world, which gives him a unique perspective on the underbelly of the entertainment machine.

Steven is a great raconteur and his knowledge and enthusiasm for his subject, life, sportsmen and politics is incredible.

G.G.H ( I was tempted to type G.B.H ) is a revelation and yes we all know that a sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle can be seedy and our ‘heros’ are often reliant on some form of  pharmaceutical or alcoholic support, but the author, because he lived the life- really tells it how it really was ( and presumably still is ). Often shocking, sometimes sad but always revealing this book is immensely readable. I thoroughly recommend it.
The list of names that Steven had dealings with is huge but include George BushOzzy,The StonesJohn LennonGenesisELOSnoop DoggThe Who and Sugar Ray Robinson ( and that’s just some of them ) .

If that’s not enough to wet your appetite then nothing will.

The audio version is available on Itunes which is a great way to enjoy it or you could buy the paperback here.

And if you would like to enter a competition to receive a personally signed copy of the book just type your email address here., what could be simpler ?

And Finally as Steven says…. “Those…. heros- they’re just humans after all!”

BEST SPORT SONGS

June 10, 2010

With the World Cup upon us, we have search throughout our archive to bring you the top 20 songs that either relate to sport or are about sport. Here is the countdown from 20 to 11.

20.Chase The Sun- Planet Funk (Darts)

We start off with the Planet Funk house song ‘Chase The Sun’. The song that helped popularize the sport of darts as it plays to signal the commercial break. Since the song got introduced back in 2001, venues for darts tournaments have got bigger as audiences increase. Coincidence???

http://tpay.me/9Whfgr

18.The Kings- Run DMC (Wrestling)

In 1999, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) was huge all over the world, and it still is. Some of their main superstars at that time were D-Generation X who were a rebellious group that everybody liked. It was only fitting the legendary Run DMC would create their entrance theme. It created a new generation of fans for the New Yorkers.

17.Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas (Kung Fu)

The legendary one hit wonder by Carl Douglas has been used for many fight scenes in T.V. and cinema, a true classic.

16.Heaven Is A Halfpipe- OPM (Skateboard)

This Ska Punk anthem coincided with the skateboard boom in the early 00s. With Tony Hawk becoming a commercial success, OPM style of music paid dividends as the single was a success in the US, UK and Germany and will always be played in skate parks.

15.Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson (Wrestling)

Marilyn Manson’s spine tingling song Beautiful People was used by the WWE as the theme tune for one of their weekly shows entitled Smackdown. A freighting opener which warmed up their viewers for an epic spectacle ahead.

14.Get You Ready For This – 2 Unlimited (Basketball)

This Belgian-Dutch Duo saw fame for a time with this now sport classic. Every time you watch a basketball match in America, the majority of the time, this song will be played. With the God of boxing announcing Bruce Buffer being mixed into the song on occasion, it helped Bugs Bunny and the gang win their own basketball match in Space Jam.

13.Y.M.C.A – Village People (Basketball, Swimming)

An blast from the 70s jukeboxs now as the Village People’s gay anthem gets a mention. Although its universally accepted as a gay anthem, the lead singer wrote the song for young black youth fun at the YMCA gym such as basketball and swimming. Whatever the reason, we love it anyway.

12.Chelsea Dagger- The Fratellis (Football)

Even though this indie classic was never meant to be a football song, the Glaswegians signature song has now gone into football folklore as the chant ‘Nanana Nanana’ has been blasted out of terrace’s all over Britain. It is such a popular song, a number of football clubs play the song when their team score a goal, including The Fratellis beloved Celtic. Other sports use the hit for same reason such as Rugby Union, Ice Hockey, Darts and Baseball.

11.Anyone For Tennis – Cream (Tennis)

Even though this track from rock legends Cream clearly refers to the bad in the world, they try to change the subject by asking them to play tennis, as sport will bring us together.

Find out who made the top ten tomorrow.

By Dean Woodhouse

FOREIGN SONGS?

June 4, 2010

Rokpool’s Angela Williams looks beyond the annual Eurovision Bunfight and discovers that there’s a whole world of songs in funny languagues to be found, all year round. C’mon – You Know The Words!

10. The Ketchup Song – Las Ketchup

More phonetic Spanish-English translation as a night-club punter asks the DJ for ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugarhill Gang. Cue confusing dance routine only known by girls.

9. Ne Me Quitte Pas – Jacques Brel

Heart-breaking lament from Belgian-born Brel, made famous by the English translation – ‘If You Go Away’ – by Nina Simone. Avoid if you have suicidal tendencies.

8. Comment Te Dire Adieu – Francoise Hardy

Another Gainsbourg-penned love song for the queen of Gallic cool. Later given a disco make-over by Jimmy Somerville.

7. La Vie en Rose – Edith Piaf

Second entry (see below) for La Môme Piaf (the ‘little sparrow’). Just as much a part of France’s musical heritage as La Marseillaise. The song also lends its name to a film biopic of Piaf’s life.

6. Lambada – Kaoma

It’s the dance where you shove your knee between your partner’s legs and jiggle around. All well and good if you’re not 13 and trying to cop off with someone with their parents watching.

5. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien – Edith Piaf

Arguably her biggest legacy, this song is made all the more poignant given Piaf’s well documented addictions to alcohol and morphine and her premature demise.

4. Sexy Boy – Air

Debut UK single for France’s premier export. A song about the shallow nature of fashion and the unrealistic media ideal of beauty.

3. Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus) – Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin

Dirty old French man stinking of Gitanes whispers sweet nothings into sultry English girl’s ear about her coming and going through his kidneys. Whatever floats your boat, love.

2. La Bamba – Ritchie Valens

”I’m not a sailor, I am a captain”. Well done, mate! Fact: Valens got his grandmother to translate the words phonetically from Spanish to English.

1.Joe Le Taxi – Vanessa Paradis

Jailbait French girl sings about a saxophone-playing taxi driver who likes rum and mambo. Has anyone thought to ask where her parents are?

10 THINGS YOU DIDNT KNOW ABOUT MORRISSEY

May 27, 2010

Morrissey in the park

1. Dead or Alive singer and ex-Celebrity Big Brother contestant was a close friend during the Smiths. Morrissey said at the time: ‘’He’s one of the few people I can feel a great affinity with’’. The pair discussed their friendship as cover stars of pop mag ‘’Smash Hits’’.

2. He has a real interest in football and as a boy went to several home games of Manchester United and in recent years has named the late George Best as one of his all time heroes.

3. Morrissey was asked to guest star as a cameo of himself in ‘’Friends’’ His response? ‘’As you can imagine I turned on my heels and ran’’.

4. Morrissey has a strong belief in the afterlife and has claimed to have seen ghosts. He experienced multiple haunting in his favourite studio, Hook End Manor ,near Reading, convinced the spirits were those of monks who’d run a monastery on the site several centuries earlier.

5. His favourite films are ‘’I Believe In You’’ a 1952 Ealing Studios drama and ‘’Oliver Twist’’. The former focuses on post war crime and the court system and features a young Joan Collins.

6. He was president of the New York Dolls fan club in the UK, ‘’They lived in New York, I lived in Manchester, they hardly ever came to England so we never met and they never sent me any communications..But I didn’t mind’’.

7. Surprisingly, he loves swimming: ‘’It’s very nice to be underwater- it gives you a very clear perspective on life’’, he explained. When he moved to L.A in the late 90’s, swimming became Morrissey’s main pastime.

8. ‘’You’re the One for Me Fatty’’ is actually written for Cathal Smyth of the ska band Madness, who is his friend and had filled out since the early days of the Nutty Boys.

9. In 1988 he acted in old Liverpool soap Brookside spin-off, South, which took place in the foyer of Capital Radio. The singer described his scene as ‘’compulsive non-viewing, essential kettle-on time.’’

10. A famous vegetarian, ironically, it has been reported that Morrissey doesn’t like vegetables. According to an old guitarist, he likes rich food, dairy based, with lots of cream, and ‘’he lives on toast’’.

www.rokpool.com