WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Teen pop star Nick Jonas, taking a break from touring with his brothers to raise awareness of juvenile diabetes, said he dreams about being U.S. president and may study political science in college.
The 16-year-old singer, songwriter and member of pop trio the Jonas Bros, spoke on Monday to a sold-out audience at the National Press Club, a venue often reserved for presidents, kings and chief executives but for Jonas had many seats occupied by teenage and pre-teen girls.
Jonas talked about raising awareness and funding for juvenile diabetes, a disease he was diagnosed with in 2005.
Asked about recent trips to Washington, the youngest of the Jonas Bros told the crowd "I've always had this dream of becoming president one day." He said it was "very cool" and "such an honor" to visit the White House earlier this year.
The brothers made a surprise visit to President Barack Obama's daughters in January, and Nick Jonas met Obama in June as part of his diabetes efforts.
In an interview with Reuters, Jonas said his talk of wanting to be president was not entirely a tease. "As much as I joke about it and kind of say it to get a laugh, it is somewhat serious. I don't know if it will happen," he said.
If he goes to college, "I'd probably study English and then political science because I'm interested in it," he said. At the moment, he's touring with his band and will start shooting for TV show "Camp Rock 2" with his brothers in September.
Jonas told the press club audience he has learned to manage his diabetes while keeping a busy touring schedule but had adjusted his diet to help regulate blood sugar.
A song he wrote about diabetes includes a line saying "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone," and an audience member asked Jonas what he was referring to.
"Probably chocolate cake," he joked.
Jonas said he still eats his favorite foods but closely monitors his diet. There have been "one or two moments" during concerts when he asked his brothers to talk a bit longer on stage while he stepped away to check his sugar levels. He wears a diabetic insulin pump on his lower back while performs.
In response to questions, Jonas said he does not currently have a girlfriend and would consider dating a fan.
"I didn't know I was going to get in a suit today and have to talk about that kind of stuff," he said with a smile.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine, Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)
LONDON — She has been watched by more than 20.2 million people (and counting) on YouTube, Twittered about by Demi and Ashton, praised by Patti LuPone, admired by the bloggerati, snapped by the paparazzi, swarmed by camera crews, interrogated by reporters and restyled, sort of, for American television.
Andrew Milligan/PA, via Associated Press
Susan Boyle is now a television and Internet celebrity.
Susan Boyle during her triumphant appearance on “Britain’s Got Talent.” She is not expected back on the show until May 23.
But now Susan Boyle, the middle-aged church volunteer whose soaring performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” on a British talent show last week turned her into the world’s newest instant celebrity, at youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY, is trying to catch her breath.
“All the attention has been quite an upheaval, and she is quite tired,” Miss Boyle’s brother, John, told reporters on Thursday outside her tiny pebbledash cottage in tiny, previously unexciting Blackburn, Scotland. “I have taken her away to let her have some peace and quiet before the next round.”
“The next round” refers, of course, to “Britain’s Got Talent,” the “X-Factor”-style competition in which the unglamorous, unfashionable Miss Boyle, 47, confounded a multitude of stereotypes by unveiling her gorgeous singing voice last Saturday night. Part of the joy of watching her performance was seeing the obnoxious, smarmy grimaces disappear from the faces of Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, two of the show’s judges, and seeing the audience shift, in an instant, from tittering condescension to open-mouthed admiration.
Miss Boyle is unmarried (and unkissed, she told the program), has no job, lives with her cat and has until now sung mostly in her local church. But she has become a heroine not only to people dreaming of being catapulted from obscurity to fame but also to those who cheer her triumph over looks-ism and ageism in a world that so values youth and beauty.
Her life has changed irrevocably. The show has provided her with a publicist, whose job is to run interference and field basic questions, like, Is Miss Boyle available for an interview? (No is the answer.) But though the storms are gathering, they will have to gather in a contained manner for at least the next month. “Britain’s Got Talent” is still in its early stages, where the judges pick contestants from regional auditions, and Miss Boyle’s next chance of appearing does not come until May 23, the semifinal round.
Nor, according to the contract that all contestants sign, may Miss Boyle speak to potential managers or begin negotiating, say, a recording deal until the show is finished, said Sara Lee, the publicist.
Miss Boyle’s revelatory performance brings to mind one from the series’s first season, in 2007. That time, Paul Potts, a tubby, dentally challenged, cripplingly shy Welsh cellphone salesman walked onstage and, looking as if he were about to cry, announced that he wanted to “sing opera.”
The judges sighed and smirked. But then Mr. Potts burst forth into a soaring rendition of “Nessun dorma,” the aria from Puccini’s “Turandot,” forcing them into a quick re-evaluation and astonishing the equally skeptical audience. Mr. Potts’s audition clip has now been viewed more than 43 million times on YouTube, at youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA.
He went on to win the competition, sell two million copies of his first album, embark on a worldwide tour and inspire Prime Minister Gordon Brown to declare that he proved that “Britain really does have huge amounts of talent.”
Mr. Potts had had a small amount of training and experience. Miss Boyle’s apparently complete lack of formal training fits more purely into the archetypal talent-competition narrative: Unknown From Nowhere Reveals Extraordinary Gift and Stuns World.
Miss Boyle’s performance has been significant, too, in that it has unexpectedly provoked a debate about prejudice against the not so young and not so beautiful. The contradictions in the situation seem encapsulated by the fact that the third “Britain’s Got Talent” judge, Amanda Holden — who is lovely, 38, artfully put together and seemingly unable to move her face to register surprise — said that Miss Boyle should resist submitting to a Hollywood-style makeover.
“I won’t let Simon Cowell take her to his dentist, and I certainly won’t let her near his hairdresser,” she told The Daily Mirror. “The minute we turn her into a glamourpuss is when it’s spoilt.”
Miss Boyle certainly seems like a media naïf: she is “lacking in the whole conventional-pop-star-persona thing” is how Talia Manzo of MTV News described it on the music network’s Web site, mtv.com. That is refreshing, too, providing a welcome corrective to the familiar parade of slick self-publicists. She has been giving the briefest of responses to questions about herself, not venturing beyond Michael Phelps-style “I take it in my stride” and “I can only do my best, like everybody else” remarks.
This week, her hair newly curled and her brows newly plucked, she appeared stunned, wooden, nearly monosyllabic and barely able to open her eyes when she was a guest on “The Early Show” on CBS. It was only when she began to sing “I Dreamed a Dream,” a capella, that she looked at the camera, and her personality seemed to flood into her.
In a blog on The Huffington Post, the feminist writer Letty Cottin Pogrebin said that she had e-mailed multiple copies of the original YouTube clip, with the subject line “Ageism Be Damned,” to the people on her “Women’s Issues” e-mail list. Many of the women who saw it, she said, wept as they watched.
“I’d wager that most of our joyful tears were fueled by the moral implicit in Susan’s fairy-tale performance: ‘You can’t tell a book by its cover,’ ” Ms. Pogrebin wrote.
The audience and judges “were initially blinded by entrenched stereotypes of age, class, gender and Western beauty standards,” she added, “until her book was opened, and everybody saw what was inside.”
A sample of his lyrics. If you haven't heard him, try. At once gothic and wild, folksy but with an electric violin, the lyrics poetry ala Matt Johnson (the the) or Jim Morrison (the Doors). I heard him play when I was at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and he BLEW MY MIND. And now he's on the radio, a little.
I dreamed you were a cosmonaut of the space between our chairs and i was a cartographer of the tangles in your hair
i sighed a song that silence brings it’s the one that everybody knows oh everybody knows the dong that silence sings and this was how it goes
these looms that weave apocryphal they’re hanging from a strand these dark and empty rooms were full of incandescent hands
and awkward pause a fatal flaw time it’s a crooked bow oh time’s a crooked bow
in time you need to learn to love the ebb just like the flow
grab hold of your bootstraps and pull like hell ‘till gravity feels sorry for you and lets you go as if you lack the proper chemicals to know the way it felt the last time you let yourself fall this low time oh time it’s a crooked bow time’s a crooked bow
fifty-five and three–eighths years later at the bottom of this gigantic crater and armchair calls to you yeah this armchair calls to you and it says that some day we’ll get back at them all with epoxy and a pair of pliers as ancient sea slugs begin to crawl through the ragweed and barbed wire you didn’t write you didn’t call it didn’t cross your mind at all and through the waves the waves of a.m. squall you couldn’t feel a thing at all you’re fifty-five and three-eighths tall
He died five years to the day after my mother died.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Keyboardist Merl Saunders, who had a long-term collaboration with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, has died at the age of 74 from complications after suffering a stroke six years ago, his family said.
His family paid tribute to the jazz and rock musician, whose favored instrument was the Hammond B3 organ, saying they were sad to lose him and comforted by the affection from his fans.
"Merl Saunders stood for music and love - his smile alone told you that," the family said in a statement on his web site.
"He was a special man, a beautiful companion, father, grandfather, and family patriarch, and the proof of that spirit is in the way you've reached out to us at his passing."
The family said a memorial service would be held on October 29 in San Francisco for Saunders who was a bandmate of Johnny Mathis through junior high school and recorded with a list of top musicians including Miles Davis and B.B King.
His MySpace entry noted that in 2000 Saunders became the first recipient of the lifetime activist award from a Florida environmentalist group for his environmental activism.
(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by David Fox)
LANCASTER, Calif.-The folks who silenced the nation's first "musical road" are singing a different tune. Workers on Wednesday began carving grooves on Avenue G that will produce notes of the "William Tell Overture" when cars drive over them.
The high desert city north of Los Angeles placed the grooves on another road, Avenue K, last month for a Honda commercial. The quarter-mile strip was engineered to play the notes-better known as the theme for "The Lone Ranger"-when motorists in Honda Civics hit them at 55 mph.
It was believed to be the first such musical road in the United States, although there are others in Japan, South Korea and Holland.
The city paved over that stretch two weeks later after neighbors complained the noise was annoying and kept them awake.
The city, however, received hundreds of calls praising the road and decided to recreate the road in an industrial area away from homes.
"It will be a tourist attraction. It will pull people off the freeway," Mayor R. Rex Parris said.
Many residents also liked it.
"You drove over it and you didn't know what to expect. When we got to the end of it, I was smiling ear to ear," said Genevieve Skidmore, 80.
The City Council has approved spending up to $35,000 for the work, but officials said there has been interest from several companies in sponsoring the road and reimbursing the cost in return for publicity.
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- "Stayin' Alive" might be more true to its name than the Bee Gees ever could have guessed: At 103 beats per minute, the old disco song has almost the perfect rhythm to help jump-start a stopped heart.
John Travolta had perfect rhythm in "Saturday Night Fever." And a study says "Stayin' Alive" is great for CPR.
In a small but intriguing study from the University of Illinois medical school, doctors and students maintained close to the ideal number of chest compressions doing CPR while listening to the catchy, sung-in-falsetto tune from the 1977 movie "Saturday Night Fever."
The American Heart Association recommends 100 chest compressions per minute, far more than most people realize, study author Dr. David Matlock of the school's Peoria, Illinois, campus said Thursday.
And while CPR can triple cardiac arrest survival rates when properly performed, many people hesitate to do it because they're not sure about keeping the proper rhythm, Matlock said.
He found that "Stayin' Alive," which has a way of getting stuck in your head anyway, can help with that.
His study involved 15 students and doctors and had two parts. First they did CPR on mannequins while listening to the song on iPods. They were asked to time chest compressions with the song's beat.
Five weeks later, they did the same drill without the music but were told to think of the song while doing compressions.
The average number of compressions the first time was 109 per minute; the second time it was 113. That's more than recommended, but Matlock said that when it comes to trying to revive a stopped heart, a few extra compressions per minute is better than too few.
"It drove them and motivated them to keep up the rate, which is the most important thing," he said.
The study showed the song helped people who already know how to do CPR, and the results were promising enough to warrant larger, more definitive studies with real patients or untrained people, Matlock said.
He plans to present his findings at an American College of Emergency Physicians meeting in Chicago this month.
It turns out the American Heart Association has been using the song as a training tip for CPR instructors for about two years.
They learned of it from a physician "who sort of hit upon this as a training tool," said association spokesman Dr. Vinay Nadkarni of the University of Pennsylvania.
He said he was not aware of any previous studies that tested the song.
But Nadkarni said he has seen "Stayin' Alive" work wonders in classes where students were having trouble keeping the right beat while practicing on mannequins. When he turned on the song, "all of a sudden, within just a few seconds, they get it right on the dot."
"I don't know how the Bee Gees knew this," Nadkarni said. "They probably didn't. But they just hit upon this natural rhythm that was very catchy, very popular, that helps us do the right thing."
Dr. Matthew Gilbert, a 28-year-old medical resident, was among participants in the University of Illinois study this past spring. Since then, he said, he has revived real patients by keeping the song in his head while doing CPR.
Gilbert said he was surprised the song worked as well as it did.
"I was a little worried because I've been told that I have a complete lack of rhythm," he said. Also, Gilbert said he's not really a disco fan.
He does happen to like a certain Queen song with a similar beat.
"I heard a rumor that 'Another One Bites the Dust' works also, but it didn't seem quite as appropriate," Gilbert said.
Had the unexpected pleasure of hearing two really good -- no, great bands -- at The Music Store. It typically features old time music and bluegrass, and all Shelby's bands are great. But these two were standouts. The Cowlicks, which mixed country with surf music and even covered The Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated, and Kemo Sabe, a sort of blend of Andrew Bird and the Violent Femmes. Punk grass, I think they called it.
Looking back, I've noticed my last few posts have been kind of depressing.
But this will make you happy. Download A-Pop from a band called Vampire Weekend. The band's name sounds goth, but it's really more a combo of 80s sound and ska, plus a string quartette. It's wild and beautiful. This band rocks. Best new band I've heard in awhile. Then I saw that Spin called them best new band of the year in last month's issue.
Two pieces of trivia about the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist. He played backup as a studio musician in the Beatles' Paperback Writer and he played lead on Joe Cocker's I Get My With a Little Help from My Friends.
Better known is that he was among the last musicians to play in the Yardbirds, which featured Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, among others.
Happy Birthday, Jimmy. My iPod would be a lesser device without you. : )
Amazing ukelele version of the famed George Harrison tune. Click this and be entranced. A god on ukelele, someone wrote in the You Tube notes. Man. The artist is Jake Shimabukuro. I heard him first on KFOG this morning, as he is playing San Jose tonight.
Today, July 11, is Paul Pena Day here in San Francisco. Amazing blues musician and song writer. He does this wild thing with his voice that is unlike anything you've ever heard before. Worth the download.
(Few people know he wrote the Steve Miller hit, Jetliner.)
At any rate, SF declared Paul Pena day in 1999 and it will be that in perpetuity. He died in 2005 of medical complications resulting from diabetes and pancreatis -- there were huge efforts here to pay his medical bills -- but his music lives on. KFOG played a live clip today of Sparkplug, from Genghis Blues, and it was outstanding. Made me pull over.
About five years ago, I saw a band led by an amazing musician, Andrew Bird, on campus at the University of Iowa. (I was there doing a writing workshop).
I was so blown away by this live performance -- the music, the lyrics, Bird in particular -- that I bought every CD they were selling. One of them, The Swimming Hour, has been an album I still run on the treadmill with almost every day.
Well, today I was blown away to hear Andrew Bird on the radio. He's mainstream -- and he deserves it. I think his music is every bit as original and mind-bending at Matt Johnson's, but Andrew Bird has a shot at the big time. I figured he'd go down with The The as one of my cult favorites. The lyrics, in both cases, are poetry.
I just downloaded the new album. It's called Armchair Apocrypha. Just thought I'd share : )
I practically passed out when I found The The's Wikipedia entry. Could it be? And what's up with Blister in the Sun in the US Toyota commercial? People will scream, Sell out!" and it is an odd choice for a company that makes convertibles.
Still, I like to see Matt Johnson make money. I believe he is among the best songwriters/instrumentalists (with Johnny Marr) of the late 20th century. And if you don't have Infected or Soul MIning (or haven't downloaded Uncertain Smile, man, are you are missing something extraordinary.) Better still, it is excellent running music.
DESPITE the major record labels’ best efforts to kill it, the single, according to recent reports, is back. Sort of.
You’ll still have a hard time finding vinyl 45s or their modern counterpart, CD singles, in record stores. For that matter, you’ll have a tough time finding record stores. Today’s single is an individual track downloaded online from legal sites like iTunes or eMusic, or the multiple illegal sites that cater to less scrupulous music lovers. The album, or collection of songs — the de facto way to buy pop music for the last 40 years — is suddenly looking old-fashioned. And the record store itself is going the way of the shoehorn.
I should make that -- Brush with Death -- a new category on the blog.
What reminded me is how all the wind damaged those jet airliners' windshields today. Quite a disaster.
In the mid 90s, I was on a United SFO to LAX flight to get down for some computer party. At 30,000 feet -- and with no explanation from anyone -- plane went into a nose dive.
You could not have heard an earring drop. There was no screaming. I was in first class and looked frantically at the stewardess across from me, she was strapped in with her eyes closed.
The guy next to me was a few years older, as I recall. A lawyer from LA. And he said, well, you wanna call anybody? We both had phones in our seats. Neither us made a call. He said keep looking out the window and look for strips of highway or flat areas he can land us. But nothing. Just mountains.Meanwhile, he chanted the words to every Jim Morrison and the Doors song he ever knew.
We all thought we were gonners, but then the plane started rocking side to side, violently first, and then more gently and then our nose was level again.
Pilot got on, apologized for not explaining earlier. Said a bird hit the windshield (the first layer) at 30,000 feet. He just had to get us down as far as possible so we wouldn't get sucked out.
We finally landed at SFO.
They immediately took all of us -- tunneled us to another waiting plane back at SFO -- put us in our same seats and we were off in like, two minutes. Everyone wanted to talk about the hair-raising experience, but we had a new crew and captain obviously instructed not to talk about it. Very weird.
My paper I worked for - The SF Chronicle/Examiner Sunday -- ran a paragraph about an emergency landing. My editor knew the whole story and thought it was funny. Sure we were at risk, but no one will sue you for "brush with death" if you make light of it. I mean, no one was hurt.
Another pilot later told me that our pilot must've been great, because to be able to get stable after a 5 or 10 minute nose dive from that height is really impressive.
So that's one of my brushes. Yep. Think I'll make it a topic. I'd like to hear yours.
Ignore this posting if you don't like eclectlic music, but I recommend you download every version of Begin the Beguin (by Cole Porter) you can find on iTunes from every possible artist. In every style, every decade. Download, then play them in order. It will blow your mind.
Let me know what you think. I think it's amazing. Maybe you have another suggestion.
You may know Begin the Beguin it was voted in the Top 5 songs and lyrics of the entire 20th century. Popular for more than 40 years. Amazing more people don't remake it now.
Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter)
When they begin the beguine It brings back the sound of music so tender It brings back a night of tropical splendor It brings back a memory ever green
I'm with you once more under the stars And down by the shore an orchestra's playing Even the palms seem to be swaying When they begin the beguine
To live it again is past all endeavor Except when that tune clutches my heart And there we are swearing to love forever And promising never, never to part
What moments divine, what rapture serene Till clouds come along to disperse the joys we had tasted, And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted, I know but too well what they mean.
So don't let them begin the beguine, Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember When they begin the beguine
Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play Till the stars that were there before return above you Till you whisper to me once more, Darling, I love you And we suddenly know what heaven we're in When they begin the beguine When they begin the beguine
Here's an excerpt from a fascinating article that's going to be in tomorrow's TIME.
When you first hear them, a Gregorian chant, a Debussy prelude and a John Coltrane improvisation might seem to have almost nothing in common--except that they all include chord progressions and something you could plausibly call a melody. But music theorists have long known that there's something else that ties these disparate musical forms together. The composers of these and virtually every other style of Western music over the past millennium tend to draw from a tiny fraction of the set of all possible chords. And their chord progressions tend to be efficient, changing as few notes, by as little as possible, from one chord to the next.
Exactly how one style relates to another, however, has remained a mystery--except over one brief stretch of musical history. That, says Princeton University composer Dmitri Tymoczko, "is why, no matter where you go to school, you learn almost exclusively about classical music from about 1700 to 1900. It's kind of ridiculous."
But Tymoczko may have changed all that. Borrowing some of the mathematics that string theorists invented to plumb the secrets of the physical universe, he has found a way to represent the universe of all possible musical chords in graphic form. "He's not the first to try," says Yale music theorist Richard Cohn. "But he's the first to come up with a compelling answer."
Tymoczko's answer, which led last summer to the first paper on music theory ever published in the journal Science, is that the cosmos of chords consists of weird, multidimensional spaces, known as orbifolds, that turn back on themselves with a twist, like the Möbius strips math teachers love to trot out to prove to students that a two-dimensional figure can have only one side. Indeed, the simplest chords, which consist of just two notes, live on an actual Möbius strip. Three-note chords reside in spaces that look like prisms--except that opposing faces connect to each other. And more complex chords inhabit spaces that are as hard to visualize as the multidimensional universes of string theory.
But if you go to Tymoczko's website you can see exactly what he's getting at by looking at movies he has created to represent tunes by Chopin and, of all things, Deep Purple. In both cases, as the music progresses, one chord after another lights up in patterns that occupy a surprisingly small stretch of musical real estate. According to Tymoczko, most pieces of chord-based music tend to do the same, although they may live in a different part of the orbifold space. Indeed, any conceivable chord lies somewhere in that space, although most of them would sound screechingly harsh to human ears.
It is called Attica State. I found it on a CD called The US vs. John Lennon, a motion picture soundtrack actually. I heard it today and thought, how fitting to read this during the month when the most Iraqis died yet. They are, in my opinion, prisoners in their own land. A land about to burst into Civil War.
Thanks to the folks at lyricsdepot.com.
What a waste of human power What a waste of human lives Shoot the prisoners in the towers Forty-three poor widowed wives
Attica State, Attica State, we're all mates with Attica State
Media blames it on the prisoners But the prisoners did not kill "Rockefeller pulled the trigger" That is what the people feel
Attica State, Attica State, we're all mates with Attica State
Free the prisoners, jail the judges Free all prisoners everywhere All they want is truth and justice All they need is love and care
Attica State, Attica State, we're all mates with Attica State
They all live in suffocation Let's not watch them die in sorrow Now's the time for revolution Give them all a chance to grow
Attica State, Attica State, we're all mates with Attica State
Come together join the movement Take a stand for human rights Fear and hatred clouds our judgement Free us all from endless night
Attica State, Attica State, we're all mates with Attica State
Attica State, Attica State, we all live in Attica State
Attica State, Attica State, Attica, Attica, Attica State
Smoking a doobie makes him feel happy, so he says. Good thing he doesn't get paranoid, because that could really put a damper on the career action. Well, he isn't the first. I am trying to think of all the singers who've been busted for pot. John Lennon, yes? For a joint? Abbie Hoffman (not a singer), also busted as I remember reading. Any help guys?
At any rate, George Michael's words -- from Reuters.
LONDON (Reuters) - Pop star George Michael said smoking cannabis kept him "sane and happy" and appeared to light up a joint during an interview on Britain's ITV channel, ITV said on Friday.
The comments have landed the former Wham! frontman in hot water with mental health groups and drug charities concerned about the message Michael's comments will send to young people.
"All drugs have potential to harm and that is the principal message we need to get across," William Butler, spokesman for the Addaction drugs charity, told London's Evening Standard.
A spokeswoman for the 43-year-old singer, who recently embarked on a comeback tour, said he had no comment to make in reaction to the latest controversy.
ITV, which will screen the interview on October 31, said Michael "sparked up" backstage at a gig in Madrid while talking to the channel's South Bank Show.
"George defends his dope habit, saying it keeps him sane and happy. But he admits it's not very healthy. He says it can have a 'terrible, terrible effect'," ITV said on its Web site.
Michael also denies that his life is out of control, despite a spate of recent run-ins with the law.
He was arrested and cautioned earlier this month after he was found slumped over the wheel of his car in London and in possession of cannabis. In February, Michael was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs, admitting it had been his "own stupid fault."
The musician has sold more than 80 million records throughout his career, and kicked off his first tour in 15 years with a concert in Barcelona in September.
Recently, I have had quite a few emails from IGS readers who share my love of the amazing lyrics of Matt Johnson and The The. For some of you, the early and mid 1980s was before your time, but I am telling you, he was as good a lyricist as Dylan or Jim Morrison. And the music rocked.
The best album, in my opinion, was Soul Mining. But Infect Me With Your Love (the single) is probably everyone else's favorite. To each her own.
Anyway, I found a site that explores the weird cult following that The The (and my other favorite bands from the period, like the Violent Femmes) speak so much for us. How they cut the mold.
By the way, the iWOZ (book I cowrote with Steve Wozniak) just hit 93 on Amazon. Looking good! I am so proud of Steve for stepping outside of his shyness and finally, after all these years of being under the shadow of Steve Jobs, setting the story straight.
And by the way, Steve Jobs, to my knowledge, didn't turn down the forward because he thought he was portrayed poorly (in fact, Woz credits him with Apple's reincarnation). He wrote me a note, a very polite note, declining and wishing me the best of luck. A few days later, Disney bought Pixar and if I were him, I know I would've been too busy to write the forward. Let's give Jobs a break.
It is weird to say that Steve Wozniak, with whom I wrote the upcoming autobiography iWOZ, is the person who introduced me to Bob Dylan's amazing lyrics and deep sentiments. Both of them were just a bit before my time.
In fact, one night I went to a Dylan concert with Steve, and ended up standing next to another Steve, Steve Miller! I said to him, quite stupidly in retrospect, you know, for my generation, your music (Book of Dreams, etc.) is much more relevant to me than this. I mean, I grew up with that album and every lyric resounding in the background.
Miller said, "I simply cannot believe that. What are youI thinking?" Who knows what I was thinking, but I still like Miller's Joker. Reuters article at Bob at No. 1 below.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bob Dylan reached the top of the U.S. albums chart for the first time in 30 years, and only the fourth time in his career, according to sales data issued on Wednesday.
The rock poet's latest album, "Modern Times," sold 192,000 copies in the week ended September 3, his best sales week since tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan started using its point-of-sales data to collate the charts in 1991.
Dylan, 65, last reached No. 1 in 1976 with his album "Desire," which led the field for five weeks. At the time he was on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour and winning publicity for his protest tune "Hurricane." His other chart-toppers were the 1975 classic "Blood on the Tracks," and 1974's "Planet Waves."
Dylan has been on a creative and commercial roll since 1997, when he released "Time Out of Mind," a comical look at death. It opened at No. 10, selling 101,600 copies, and went on to win the Grammy for album of the year. His 2001 follow-up, "Love and Theft," opened at No. 5 with 133,760 copies.
Rolling Stone magazine said the three albums "stand alongside the accomplishments of his wild youth."
Dylan has recorded almost exclusively since 1961 for Columbia Records, a unit of Sony Corp.
EIGHT months ago a mysterious image showed up on YouTube, the video-sharing site that now shows more than 100 million videos a day. A sinewy figure in a swimming-pool-blue T-shirt, his eyes obscured by a beige baseball cap, was playing electric guitar. Sun poured through the window behind him; he played in a yellow haze. The video was called simply “guitar.” A black-and-white title card gave the performer’s name as funtwo.
As IGS friend and reader Marc Klempf points out in commentary, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts was an FSU undergrad the same four years I was enrolled.
And you know what? I remember him. We were in ajoining dorms for music majors -- and I used to watch him bang on grand piano like a wild man! He was terribly shy and didn't talk much. But man, could he play.
Last night, I had the pleasure of sitting in Steve's box at Shoreline and seeing two of the best bands ever. First, The Goo Goo Dolls played with so much energy, their lead singer was amped.
And then came Adam with the Counting Crows. Is there anyone out there right now who can compare with Adam's lyricism and just pure performance genius. He is always complaining about how he feels he is ashamed of his looks in his lyrics (in addition to black-winged birds, Maria, Mr. and Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Potter). But this is a man with a beautiful soul who doesn't need that manequin body to match. Not too many of those out there.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Vince Welnick, who took over as the Grateful Dead's keyboard player in 1990 after a succession of predecessors met untimely deaths, has died at the age of 55, according to an announcement on his Web site.
"Vince passed from this earth on June 2, 2006 ... after a decade of battling tragedy while creating beauty and light around him," the announcement said. It did not give a cause of death.
The San Jose Mercury News said he died in a hospital on Friday after being taken from his home in Forestville, California, and it quoted a person at his home as saying "it looks like he took his own life."
Welnick had previously spoken of a deep depression after Jerry Garcia, founding guitarist of the iconic psychedelic rock band, died in 1995 and the group disbanded.
Welnick is the fourth keyboard player for the band to have died, and his Web site referred to the position as a "particularly doomed spot."
He once told an interviewer, "A lot of people ask about that and my stock answer is that I am aware of the fact that you could die doing this job, but I was somewhat dying of boredom before the job came up so I thought I'd take my chances."
Originally a member of the 1970s rock band "The Tubes," Welnick joined the Grateful Dead after longest-serving keyboard player Brent Mydland died in 1990 of a drug overdose.
Previously, pianist Keith Godchaux died in a car accident in 1980, a year after he left the band, and founding vocalist and keyboard player Ron "Pigpen" McKernan died in 1973 of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage.
After the Grateful Dead broke up and ended its 30-year run as one of America's biggest touring acts, Welnick formed his own group, Missing Man Formation. He also toured with other groups including Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart's band
After four years of blogging and lots of you still reading, I guess you know my avocation is music. I play piano well and the guitar only passably. I used to sing in a band that played at this strange bar (I think it was called Ricky's Hyatt House) right off HP's campus back in the early 90s.
So when I saw a news item regarding Beethoven, not my favorite composer (Chopin is), I clicked. And then I found this bizarrest of stories. Excerpt from Reuters.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Beethoven composed many enduring symphonies, but now a Chicago company wants to make a Beethoven piece that lasts forever -- a diamond made out of strands of the 18th-century composer's hair.
LifeGem Memorials, a company that first gained attention in 2002 by making diamonds out of the carbon from cremated human remains, now says it can make diamonds out of human hair, allowing people to bury their loved ones but still have a memento they can carry with them.
To publicize this -- and to raise money for charity -- the company has teamed with John Reznikoff, who is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest and most valuable collection of celebrity hair.
Reznikoff is giving six to 10 strands of Beethoven's hair to LifeGem, which will use it in a process to create three diamonds of between 0.5 and 1 carat in weight.
Greg Herro, chief executive officer of LifeGem, said the diamonds will initially be put on a worldwide tour of museums and opera houses for about half a year as the company tries to gain attention for its ability to make diamonds from hair.
"We thought, well, what better way to do it than with an international icon who is known to millions," Herro said.
Eventually, the diamonds will be sold at auction, with the proceeds donated to raise money for military families, Herro said.
Reznikoff, who has about 115 hair samples in his collection -- including locks from Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe and Charles Dickens -- noted that Beethoven has wide appeal. The composer's music has been used in jazz, disco and rock songs, including the use of the familiar da-da-da-dum beginning to Symphony No. 5 in the Electric Light Orchestra's version of "Roll Over Beethoven."
I have a stepfather (one of four) who is still living, in his 80s, smokes three packs of cigarettes a day and sucks down a giant amount of bourbon. He is as healthy as a large, muscled horse. Looks 10 years younger. His mother, with the same habits, lived till 103 or close.
And then there's Keith Richards. What's up with that? His consumptions are legendary. His survival so far can only be called miraculous, but now he's in brain surgery after an alleged run-in with a coconut tree. Or maybe it had something to do with a boat. The authorites still aren't telling. It must have been pretty weird.
But -- if he dies from this -- it will be the most ironic, non OD-related rock death in music history.
But I know he'll make it. Or maybe that's a wish. I want Keith to die after he turns 100, and prove he is one of the very few, genetically blessed people who can poison himself into a great long life. A weird, great long life, for sure.
Good luck, Keith. This Stones fan is pulling for you.
Reuters excerpt, below.
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards had surgery to relieve a blood clot on his brain caused by an accident while holidaying in Fiji, local media reported on Monday.
The 62-year-old rocker was recovering in New Zealand after "brain surgery", Australian and New Zealand media reported.
A spokeswoman for the band said last week that Richards only suffered a mild concussion from an accident in Fiji in late April and would not require surgery.
The New Zealand Herald reported that Richards underwent brain surgery to relieve a subdural haematoma or blood clot on the brain. The operation normally involves drilling a hole through the skull to drain the clot.
Subdural haematoma can be caused by mild knocks to the head.
"The Herald understands the 62-year-old's condition was much more serious than previously reported," said the newspaper, but did not quote any hospital or medical officials.
"The operation was for a subdural haematoma, a blood clot that forms in the outer membranes of the brain, often from a torn vein," said the Herald.
Australian Broadcasting Corp radio also reported that Richards had undergone surgery and remained in New Zealand under observation.
Auckland's Ascot Hospital told Reuters on Monday that Richards had been discharged but would give no further details.
I just never was exposed to The Band as a kid. (In Ormond Beach, Fl, where I grew up, all we heard on the radio was southern rock. Seriously, they didn't even play Springstein or The Dead.
Oh, they played a little Ted Nugent, too. Cat Scratch Fever. Yikes!
At any rate, I just saw the movie, The Last Waltz. It is a rock DVD of The Band's last concert here in SF in 1976, and they brought the most amazing performers (Dylan, Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, and they played the most tremendous backup.
The Joni Mitchell rendition of Coyote was incredible. Usually, she is mellow with just that acoustic guitar, but in this, she's backed up with the best electronic backup band you have ever heard. Man, what a sound and what poetry and what reaming guitar!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More research is needed to determine whether popular portable music players like Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod increase the risk of hearing loss, the National Institutes of Health said in response to a U.S. lawmaker's request for a review of the issue.
Earbud headphones, like the ones typically used with iPods, project sound directly into the ear canal, while traditional earmuff-style headphones allow the sound to diffuse, the NIH said in a February 14 letter made available on Tuesday.
The proximity of the source of the sound to the ears can contribute to hearing loss, but "more research is required to determine if a particular type (of earphone) increases the risk," said James Battey, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, in the NIH letter.
Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, sent a letter on January 26 asking NIH to review research to determine whether portable music players are contributing to premature hearing loss as well as to recommend what people can do to prevent it from happening.
Markey said at a panel discussion on Tuesday that he plans to work with Rep. Mike Ferguson, a New Jersey Republican, to encourage more study of a possible connection.
"Sales of the devices have shattered all expectations," Markey said. "There is a very real need for research."
Ferguson said he is concerned about the potential risk because many portable music device listeners are children.
"Kids are often more familiar with these products than parents, but they don't realize how harmful these products can be to hearing," he said. "It can lead to a lifelong ailment."
Apple, which dominates the market for the devices, alone sold 14 million iPods during the Christmas holiday quarter and said in January that it had sold 42 million devices since October 2001, when the iPod was introduced.
A spokeswoman from Apple was not immediately available for comment.
Sony Corp. and Thomson's RCA also sell portable music players, and Cingular Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, offers Apple's music software in a cell phone.
Boy George -- 13 bags of coke and he gets off with light stint at rehab. My husband is an attorney -- and though I'm not in on his cases, I am sure no one ever flies this easily. Am I wrong?
Glad The Boy is going to rehab though. I would like to see him sober enough to write his memoirs. What an interesting background (and gender identification) he has. Oh, well. Good luck, George. Just don't forget the ninth step : )
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Singer Boy George pleaded guilty on Wednesday to falsely reporting a burglary and was sentenced to five days of community service and fined $1,000, but drug possession charges against him were dropped.
The 44-year-old performer also was ordered to attend a drug rehabilitation program during a brief hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court.
The charges against Boy George, who made his name as the cross-dressing front man for the 1980s chart-topping British pop band Culture Club, stemmed from an incident on October 7, when police responded to his call reporting a burglary and found 13 bags of cocaine in his apartment.
If convicted on the drug charges, the singer, whose real name is George O'Dowd, could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
In February, his lawyer Louis Freeman told reporters, "In the strongest possible terms, George maintains his innocence. He's going to fight them all the way."
But on Wednesday, a contrite-looking Boy George, wearing a black suit, black overcoat and black T-shirt, was sternly told by the judge that he would now have a criminal record.
"Don't get rearrested," Judge Anthony Ferrara warned the singer, saying he could be sentenced to up to one year in prison if he has more trouble with the law.
Ferrara granted permission for George to attend rehab in Britain.
After the hearing, the singer was greeted by fans who hugged and kissed him as he left the courthouse. He gave some fans autographs but said nothing to reporters.
George's musical production "Taboo" closed in New York in 2004 after losing money. The musical was an autobiographical look at a time when flamboyant cross-dressers reigned in London clubs and Culture Club topped pop charts around the world.
The son of an Irish builder, George rose from supermarket shelf stocker to glitzy pop millionaire.
Have you ever heard American Prayer. When he wasn't recording, Jim Morrison used to record his poetry -- in regular voice, not song -- into a tape recorder. After his death, the surviving Doors put it into music. It is tremendous. I heard it tonight for the first time in forever.
Here is the first poem (set to Ray M.'s amazing keyboards) that is on the album. You tell me if Jim Morrison was a better poet than a musician. Or the reverse. Or both. I think he is widely unrecognized as a supreme wordsmith, but you be the judge.
Is everybody in? Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin. WAKE UP! You can't remember where it was Has this dream stopped?
AWAKE Shake dreams from your hair My pretty child, my sweet one. Choose the day and choose the sign of your day The day's divinity First thing you see.
A vast radiant beach in a cool jeweled moon Couples naked race down by its quiet side And we laugh like soft, mad children Smug in the woolly cotton brains on infancy. The music and voices are all around us. Choose, they croon, the Ancient Ones The time has come again. Choose now, they croon, Beneath the moon Beside an ancient lake. Enter again the sweet forest, Enter the hot dream, Come with us, Everything is broken up and dances.
When I was at the Iowa Writer's Workshop (summer) a couple of years ago, I saw a live band in the student union.
It was called Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire. The Swimming Hour CD is something I have been running to (on the treadmill) for the last three years!
I have been meaning to let all you blog readers know what a tremendous and bizarre group this is. Andrew Bird plays this weird combination of rock, folk, alternative, blues -- all on his electric violin. And the lyrics!
I am looking for the lyrics from Satisfied, my favorite song on that album. Good luck googling it; I have had no luck.
But if you like bizarre and intricate music, check this out. I can't wait to hear what you think.