The Risks of Gateway Songs

Posted: July 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

I found myself listening to a Duran Duran album this afternoon.

Allow me to share my story so this tragedy does not happen to you or someone you love. It all started innocently enough while listening to Danny Barnes’ most recent album Rocket where he covers “Bang a Gong”. I was curious to listen to other covers so I searched on XBOX Music. This led me through Santana, Ministry, Blondie, Power Station then Duran Duran.

Sure, I’ll try Explore Album. It’s just a right-click; I can stop any time I want. “Hungry Like a Wolf”. Hmmm, not as bad as I remember. “Girls on Film”: kinda catchy. “Save a Prayer” I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before; better turn it up. Ah, “Rio” I remember this.

The next thing I know I’m myself dancing around the condo.

“Cherry ice-cream smile I suppose it’s very nice”

Please, make it stop! I realize the error of my ways.

“At the end of the drive, the lawmen arrive you make me feel. Alive, alive, alive”

I won’t ever let this happen again. I will show more self-control.

“And when she shines she really shows you all she can”

Okay, Okay, I understand the risks of gateway songs. I beg of you.

“Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand”

 At that point I tuned the stereo off. I admin I am no longer in control. I will leave my headphones at home despite my cross country flight tomorrow. I must go cold turkey.


My name is Scott and I’m a musicaholic.

The Independent, San Francisco, CA

I didn’t even know they were still around let alone playing shows and I couldn’t believe when I saw them on the Independent’s list of upcoming shows. I’d never had the chance to see them so I snapped up a ticket as soon as they went on sale which was lucky because they sold out quite quickly as this was one of only two shows in the US.

Television at the SF Independent

Television at the SF Independent. Click for more photos.

For the most part, it’s the original band with the only change being Jimmy Rip now playing guitar. Tom Verlaine’s voice has held up well though he’s lost some of his distinctive nasally tone.

The highlight for me, by far, was a scorching jam in 1880. Jimmy Rip started out with a beautifully textured solo. When Verlaine turned his guitar backed up Rip began to weave the melody in and out of Tom’s rhythm lines which morphed into a breakdown with them the passing the “lead” back-and-forth.  I’d love to hear that again but I didn’t see anyone taping and no bootlegs have surfaced yet.

There are some videos of the show on YouTube.

Set list:
1880 or So
Little Johnny Jewel
Prove It
Torn Curtain
Guiding Light
Marquee Moon

No idea because I left ‘cuz I had an early morning meeting.

Tom Verlaine – vocals, guitar
Fred Smith – bass
Billy Ficca – drums
Jimmy Rip – guitar

Opening act:
Dennis Driscoll

Why I love live music

Posted: November 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you have ever traded tapes or even listened toa bootleg you should read the tragic tale of a legendary concert taper. Chances are you have one of his tapes in your collection.

Today is the first time in a long time that I’ve thought about why I love live music as much as I do and a lot of it traces to back to Mike the Mike.

In the late 80s I went to college in Southern California and I remember his tapes circulating amongst my friends. Someone would get a new Mike the Mic and we’d all gather round for a listen. Despite being multiple generations from the masters they were amazing specimens. They captured the 70s arena bands and let me listen to them at their peak even though I first learned of them long past their prime and often after they’d stopped playing live at all.

After college I moved back to the Bay Area, joined The Well, gained access to better trading circles with lower gen tapes, and the mystic of Mike the Mic faded away.
Today is the first time I’ve thought about him in years.

Today is the first time I learned what happened to him.

Today is the first time learned his last name.

Today is the first time I learned that it was Mike the Mike.

The Moody Blues
Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA

I hadn’t planned to go as I’ve never been much of a progrock fan, and the Moody Blues are no exception, but I’ve always found their music intriguing. A couple days before the show I received an email from Goldstar with an offer for a cheap, last minute ticket so I picked one up.

The Moody Blues at the Masonic Auditorium

The Moody Blues at the Masonic Auditorium. Click for more photos.

My seat was near the front of the balcony but way around stage right. I had nice views of the band but the sound is awful at Masonic Auditorium unless you are FOB. Nonetheless, I had a good time, picked up a signed poster, and snapped a couple pictures. All-in-all, a good night.

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck
Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this show listed as it seems a rather incongruous pairing. It was surprisingly good especially for the few songs where the bands played together.

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Oakland Paramount Theatre

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Oakland Paramount Theatre. Click for more photos.

Brian Wilson went first and I had low expectations because the last couple times I saw him he was downright awful. He was much better this time but it was still sad. His voice still has recognizable hints at his former Beach Boys’ sound; he showed glimmers of engagement at the keyboard but he often sat near catatonic for long sections. He had a huge band with him eleven other musicians including Al Jardine and David Marks. Blondie Chaplin even came out for a couple of songs including “Sail On, Sailor”. The size of the band was key as they easily covered for any of Brian Wilson’s shortcomings and let the audience focus on the mastery of the song-writing.

All-in-all, I got the feeling that he was simply sitting in at a Beach Boys tribute set.

Between sets there was a huge audience transition as a lot of people left.

Jeff Beck was perfect counterpoint. OMG he and his band were fabulous. Outside of the Yardbirds and his early work with Rod Stewart, I don’t know him at all. I expected a rock/blues band it was much more on the fusion side of the house. What surprised me most was that it was a true ensemble with him only stepping out in front and playing the guitar god role a few times.

He played for about 45 minutes or so then brought Brian Wilson and some of his band back and they performed a few songs off of Smile. After that, Jeff Beck played a few more songs on his own and closed his set with “Day in the Life” which was the highlight of the show for me.


They brought both bands together for the encores. Hearing Jeff Beck playing slide during “Surfin’ USA” was a treat.

Set List:

Brian Wilson

Their Hearts Were Full of Spring
California Girls
Do It Again
Don’t Worry Baby
Little Bird
Old Man River ->
Sail On, Sailor
Wild Honey
Heroes and Villains
Pet Sounds
God Only Knows
Sloop John B
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
I Get Around
Good Vibrations
Fun, Fun, Fun

Jeff Beck

[Several that I don’t know including]

Little Wing
Over the Rainbow
Our Prayer *
Child Is Father of the Man *
Surf’s Up *
Rollin’ and Tumbin’
Day in the Life

Barbara Ann *
Surfin’ U.S.A. *
Danny Boy *

* w/ Brian Wilson et al

Brian Wilson – Vocals, keyboards
Al Jardine – Vocals, guitar
David Marks – Vocals, guitar
Blondie Chaplin – Vocals, guitar
And too many more to remember

Jeff Beck – Guitar
Lizzie Ball – Violin
Rhonda Smith – Bass
Jonathan Joseph – Drums
Nicholas Meier – Guitar

Black Sabbath
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA

I had been looking forward to this show for a long time and it was better than I expected. Everyone sounded really good and Ozzy looked much, much better than last time I saw him. My biggest complaint was there wasn’t anything interesting in the show. If you are the type of person that wants a show to sound *exactly* like the album you’ve listened to hundreds of times, this was the show for you!

Black Sabbath at Shoreline Amphitheatre

The show started off promising. Ozzy’s voice was strong on War Pigs and Into the Void even had a little bit of a jam while Tony and Geezer played off of each other’s riffs. For me, this was the highlight of the show. I swear Snowblind was identical the album version and they might as well have been lip syncing except for Ozzy’s constant repetition “show me your fucking hands” between every verse. The new material was engaging and they seemed to really enjoy playing it.

The drum solo was excruciating.

Set List:
War Pigs
Into the Void
Under the Sun ->
Every Day Comes and Goes
Age of reason
Black Sabbath
Behind the Wall of Sleep  ->
Bassically ->
End of the Beginning
Fairies Wear Boots
Rat Salad >
Iron Man
God is Dead
Dirty Women
Children of the Grave
E: Paranoid

Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals (and playing the role of Ozzy)
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Tommy Clufetos – Drums

Wolfmother at The Independent 7/21 on sale right now.