Friday, August 31, 2012

Led Zeppelin "Fool In The Rain"

Ugh, it was painful.  He was heartbroken.

We've all had those friends, right?  Who go through a breakup and are just f-n miserable?  You've been there?

You do your best to strike a balance between letting them have their grief, and keeping them from falling into an abyss of self-pity.

Most importantly, you make sure you are gentle, sensitive and accepting.  You make sure you are not an ass.

He was my roommate and he'd been blind-sided.

For over a year, they'd been inseparable.  Happy.  Then she suddenly just turned it off.

She broke up with him.  Didn't want to talk to him.  Didn't want to hear from him.  Lost all semblance of affection for him.  Or even for their relationship's previous existence.  It was like it never happened, to her.

To him, it was painfully, painfully real.  And this being his first big breakup, he took it hard.

He went into my record collection and pulled out "In Through The Out Door."

It was a strange choice for him.  We had this running back and forth thing.  I was a Zeppelin guy.  He was a Who guy.  You would think he'd take refuge in his favorite band, instead of mine.

He played "Fool In The Rain."

He played it again.

Then again.

I must point out to the kids reading today, that my version of "In Through The Out Door" was actually on cassette.  So after listening to the six minute song, he had to hit rewind on the boom box, and let the tape spool back for 90 seconds or so before banging the Play button and sending the music into forward motion again, usually catching the last little bit of the previous song "Southbound Suarez," before "Fool In The Rain" started again.

And again.

And again.

The next day, I walked into the room, and he was at the boom box.  Again.  "Fool In The Rain" again.

Over and over.  "Fool In The Rain."

This went on.  It went on to the point where it crossed that bridge from me letting him have his grief, to pulling him out of the abyss of self-pity.

And, truth be told, I really couldn't figure out why he was playing that Zeppelin track.

It wasn't "their song."  He didn't love Zeppelin.  She certainly didn't love Zeppelin.

Why that song, I finally asked?

"Because I'm 'just a fool waiting on the wrong blond.'"


Oh wait.  I get it.  She's blond.  He's a fool waiting on the wrong blond.

Except . . .

That's not the lyric.  The final line of the song is "just a fool waiting on the wrong block."

"I should just let it go," I thought to myself for about a nanosecond.

Unfortunately, two things got the better of me.

One, was that I truly believed that if could release him from the idea that the song was about a fool waiting on the wrong blond, he'd somehow free himself from the repeated misery of playing a song that depressed him, over and over.

Two, I sometimes (especially then, but still even today) can't help myself from being an ass.

I told him that I was pretty sure the lyric was "on the wrong block."

But he was pretty sure it was "on the wrong blond."

We rewound the tape, to just the last verse, thinking that would help.  Because if we knew the previous line, we would know if Zeppelin was trying to rhyme "block" or "blond."

That line is "When I'm breathless I run 'til I drop."

"Drop"?!?  That doesn't rhyme with either word!!!

Well, we had a little (very little) laugh about that and the mood lightened for just a moment as we agreed that the line was whatever either of us wanted it to be.

And thankfully kids, song lyrics were not available on the internet (we didn't even know what the internet was) at the time this story took place.

Because otherwise, I would have had to search around online and further be an ass, and prove that I was right.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bob Roberts (Tim Robbins) "Wall Street Rap"

I was watching the Republican National Convention last night. Tim Pawlenty was talking.

I've heard Tim Pawlenty on political programs---Meet The Press kind of stuff. He comes off as an articulate, sincere guy.

But he started off his speech with a series of jokes. I'd blame my own political bent for the lack of laughter emanating from my couch, until the television cameras cut to the audience, to catch reactions to Pawlenty's punchlines. Blank stares and weak smiles.

"The president takes more vacations than that guy on the Bizarre Foods show."


His jokes were dying.

I'm sure there are funny Republicans. John McCain did a pretty good job on Saturday Night Live. Chris Christie seems like he can tell a joke.

But on the whole (and I'm hardly the first person to say this), Republicans seem to have a much harder time being funny.

We've gotten in a crop of new CDs from left-leaning artists, who make some politically funny comments.  Ry Cooder in particular has a lot of fun needling the right.

But I can't say that I've heard one legitimate (legitimately funny, that is) offer from a right-leaning artist, in this political season.  I even started thinking back to previous political seasons, without a good answer.

So I ask again, are Republicans just not that funny?

Honestly, the only thing I could come up with, was Bob Roberts.  His folks songs that mock Liberals were pretty cutting and hilarious.  However, Bob Roberts was just a character created by the left-leaning actor Tim Robbins.  Is that what it takes, to effectively and hilariously mock Democrats?  A Liberal pretending to be a Conservative?

I know there are people who read this, who have a few ideas.

Anyone?  Funny song from a Republican?

Hear the "Wall Street Rap" from Bob Roberts on Youtube.

Hear "Bleeding Heart" and "Complain" from Bob Roberts on Youtube.

Hear Ry Cooder's "Going To Tampa" on Youtube.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

J Geils Band "Land Of A Thousand Dances"

I always felt like "Land Of A Thousand Dances" was a bit of false advertising.

Really, they only mention about 10 dances. (At least, that's what happens in the J. Geils version, which is the first version of the song I ever owned)

That's a long way from 1000.

Around the time that I was reaching 500 posts on this blog, I decided that my goal would be to reach 1000 posts.  I wasn't sure I had that many songs with stories to match, but it seemed like a good goal.  It seemed like I could get closer to 1000 than the Geils Band did.

So here we are at blog post number 1000.  I made it.  I thought maybe you'd enjoy a few "Every Day I Write The Blog" statistics.

My very first post was on July 1st, 2009 and today's post arrives 1155 days later (so I only skipped 155 days, most of them were in that first year).

An average day has about 50 people clicking on the blog, which isn't much, but nearly 30,000 people have visited at least once over the last 3 years.

Bruce Springsteen wins, for the artist with the most songs written about, with 19.

The Beatles are mentioned in 46 posts, though only 9 posts are specifically about Beatles songs.

I tell stories about my wife in over 40 posts, and mention her in over 100.

There are 9 different girlfriends that I've written about, in 20-plus posts.

Sixteen posts contain the word "Chicken" (which is 13 more times than that word appears in Bob Dylan songs).

I had some great guest posters who wrote about their areas of expertise, including coffee, Cape Cod, record promotion, Father/Son relations, motivation, Bruce Springsteen and celebrity sightings at the hippest ice cream stand in Nashville.

In October 2010, I started doing "Weekend Posts" to include some quick posts about songs that didn't have big stories, but were worth remembering.  I've knocked out 108 of them since.

I wrote far too many eulogies for artists I care deeply about, including remembrances of Vic Chesnutt, Doc Watson, Levon Helm, Clarence Clemons and Alex Chilton.

And wrote some very personal remembrances on the passing of my college roommate, my youngest sister, and even the family fish.

I also wrote more than a couple of posts about my daughter, that she is going to be verrrry embarassed and upset about, when she learns to read.

A handful of songs were written about twice, including "Badlands," "Free Me" and "Angel From Montgomery."

And a few were likely never listened to more than once.

There were posts where no one got the joke or at least received no comment (I posted this on my 41st birthday).  And posts that attracted some truly bizarre comments.

The most viewed post was during Bob Dylan's birthday week, when I wrote about the awful video for "Tight Connection To My Heart."  Someone put a link to my blog on a very popular Bob Dylan web-forum, and to date the page has had something like 1,800 unique visitors, making it twice as popular as the 2nd most viewed post.

As far as I can tell, the least read post is this Weekend Post about Sebadoh, which, according to Google Analytics, has only had one person look at it, for a total of :23 seconds, since the day after it was originally posted.

So there you have it.  Thanks for reading.  Whether you've just checked in once or twice, or you follow along regularly.

I still have a handful of stories I'd like to tell, so I'll keep going for awhile.  But don't expect a Pretenders-related post titled "2000 Miles" . . . 

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Replacements "Answering Machine"

If you could boil down the essence of this daily blog to just one post, this would be it.  This is a post about one song that appeared in my life at one point, and changed the course of who I was and who I'd become.

Fall 1987.  I had just entered college.  It was a moment I'd been waiting for, for years.

There is a wonderful kind of stability in growing up and staying in the same town from kindergarten through High School.

There is also a horrible kind of rigidity that comes from that same thing.  You are who they say you are, and once they say who you are, it's pretty hard to change it.

College promises a fresh start.  Nobody knows who you were, so there is nothing projected onto the template of who people think you should be.

I can't say that I was looking to create a whole new persona or shed some adolescent horribleness.  I just wanted the freedom to explore, and to have that be (socially) okay.

So when I was invited to a Punk Rock show at the Student Union Ballroom, I said yes.

Shockingly, at age 18, I had never been to a concert before.  I was a music fan, for sure, but had never been to a show.

Similarly, growing up in suburban outliers territory, my music tastes were pretty pedestrian.  The environment offered little in the way of accessible musical adventure.

I was curious to see what it would be like to go beyond Led Zeppelin and U2 and AC/DC, to see if I would like it.

Skipping ahead, let me tell you a little about the show.

The UMass Student Union Ballroom was dark, loud and rocking.  I guess I'd seen "slam dancing" on TV (this was years before they called it "moshing"), but it was a thrilling experience to see it just a few feet in front of me.

The band was either drunk or crazy or both, and I was surprised and bemused that they seemed to want to taunt the audience throughout the show.  Between songs they'd ask "Any requests?" and hardcore fans would shout out their favorite song, only to have the band say, "Never heard of it," and crank into something else.

It was a great experience, and I'm always proud to say that the first concert I ever went to was The Replacements.

But the concert isn't what this post is about.  This post is about the night before.

Keith was a guy I knew from home.  He went to High School in the next town over so we had some mutual friends.  Even though I was ready to say goodbye to the past and embrace a new tomorrow, it was nice to be with with a familiar face.

We were hanging out in his room, the night before the show.

I didn't know a thing about The Replacements, this band that I'd never heard of, that'd we'd be seeing the following night, so I asked for some details.  He pulled out a stack of vinyl.

As he put on a record, I flipped through his LPs.  There were some names that I'd read in Rolling Stone, but mostly, the pile was this world of unfamiliar bands.

We were listening to a record called "Let It Be" which was louder and looser and more ragged than anything I had in my collection.  I wasn't sure if it was good---I had no point of reference for what made a Punk Rock band "good."  But I was getting into the spirit of it.

Every few minutes, someone would walk by Keith's open dorm-room door, poke their head in and say, "Listening to The Replacments, huh?  Are you going to the show tomorrow?  Cool, see you there."

Girls.  Good looking girls.  Slightly offbeat, interesting-looking, good looking girls were sticking their heads in the door and saying "Replacements?  See you at the show tomorrow."

Girls like that, like bands like this?

I felt like I had just been given a password to a club that I had previously not known existed.

We'd flipped the album to the second side, which was winding down.  I heard a strange mechanical voice.

"Is that in the song?"

Keith heard it too.

We turned up the volume.  There was a voice mixed into the song.

"Play it again."  Keith moved the needle back and started the song over.

We each put an ear up to a speaker.

"If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again.  If you need help, if you need help, if you need help . . . "

And that's it.   That's the moment.  That's the image.

I don't think I radically changed that second or anything.  Change (growth, really) was incremental, evolutionary, over many years.

But I feel like that is the moment I became a music fan, a music listener, and a person who lived his life through music.

How many days and nights have I put my ears closer to the speakers, because I wanted to know what a song was really saying?  How many joyful moments have I had in the act of discovery, with other friends who love music?  How many records have I bought, played, loved and woven directly into the very fabric of my emotional being?  How many artists have I been turned on to, and quickly turned around and shared?

I used to joke that I wanted a career where I could be paid to simply be me.  I kind of got there.  Playing songs in darkened rooms as a DJ on the radio today, is a direct descendant of that moment in a UMass dorm room.

Without that moment, I can easily imagine I wouldn't have the musical tastes I have, the job I have, or for that matter, the life I have.

I'm thankful that I said Yes to that show, that I was open to opening my world up, and that 25 years later I'm still putting my ears to the speaker, every day.

Hear the song on Youtube.

For an interesting in experiment, you can read this issue of The Skyway from 1996, which is an online Replacements Fan Club.  I wrote to them 15 years ago.  So you can hear this same story, told in the voice of a 27 year old, instead of a 43 year old.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Carole King & Louise Goffin "Where You Lead"

The pressure was getting to me, because there was no way I was going to surprise her.

I mean, since we were using her Grandmother's diamond, she knew that she was getting a ring, and that it would be soon.

But when?

Ugh, every time I did anything, she'd get that expectant look on her face.  Like this could be the moment.

"Honey, can you come in the bathroom?"

"Yes?!?" she'd come running in, eyes wide.

"Uh, I just wanted you to look at this mole."


I'm a pretty creative guy, and I was wracking my brain trying to come up with a creative way to ask my girlfriend to marry me.

But the truth was, her radar was on such high alert, there was absolutely no way I could surprise her.

So, I decided I would take the "anti" approach to a proposal.

I put the ring in my pocket, and decided that I would simply ask her when the moment seemed right, whenever that was.

A few days later . . .

I had come home from work before she did, and decided that I'd just go for it.  She'd be home soon, and it wouldn't leave me too much time to work myself into full on nervousness.

Knowing that we'd be going out to dinner to celebrate, I took a shower and I shaved.  And waited.

I put on the TV to keep myself distracted.  A rerun of "The Gilmore Girls."

She came home a few minutes after that.

She was standing in the middle of the room, looking through the day's mail.  She looked at me, somewhat distracted by the pile of bills.

"Hey, you shaved.  I can see your face."

"Does it look good?"


"Is it a face you could look at for the rest of your life?"

Now she was looking up from the bills.  I was holding out the ring.

"You're doing this now?!?!"

She still gives me a hard time about the fact that instead of Chili Contest proposals, or a dramatic standing-on-a-cliff scene, or a full-on lip-dub performed by family and friends (see below), that instead when she thinks about the day a man asked for her hand in marriage, it was while she was looking at the cable bill as "The Gilmore Girls" played in the background.

She wanted unique.  Well, I'm betting no one else has a proposal story like that . . .

Happy Anniversary to us!

See the opening credits on Youtube.

Hear the full song on Youtube.

And speaking of Gilmore Girls, I also did not do a proposal like this.

See a much more elaborate wedding proposal on Youtube.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Robin Frog (Jerry Nelson) "Halfway Down The Stairs"

One of the interesting tidbits appearing in the obituaries to Muppeteer Jerry Nelson, was that he had a surprising left field hit in the UK, when a song from the first season of "The Muppet Show" was released there.

Nelson's character Robin The Frog sings this little ditty, which is actually an AA Milne poem set to music.

And if (and only if) you really feel like bawling your eyes out, follow this link and check out the video of Nelson, singing at Jim Henson's memorial.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Count & The Mighty Mighty Bosstones "The Zig Zag Dance"

Perhaps you heard the news on Friday, that Muppeteer Jerry Nelson had died.

As I'm typing this, I am watching "Elmopalooza" with my kids.  A friend of mind gave me the VHS of this 15 years ago.  I didn't have kids then, but she knew that I was a fan of both Sesame Street and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

I thought sharing the show with my kids was a nice way to remember the man . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stevie Ray Vaughan "Cold Shot"

This isn't so much a story about the day Stevie Ray Vaughan died (which happened 22 years ago, this Monday).

This is a story that takes place on the day Stevie Ray Vaughan died.  So as the story reaches it's culmination, you can imagine SRV songs being played in the background.

But before we get to the culmination, let's go back, to the Spring of 1990, to the end of the semester at UMass.

I had just met this amazing girl.  I'd known her from around for a while, but we had both recently become single again and we had connected.  Really connected.  Hearts pounding.

But the semester was winding down, and I didn't know what the summer would bring.

Meaning both, I didn't know if we would be able to maintain something as we returned to our hometowns, and I really didn't know what I was going to do with my summer.

This was the summer between my Junior and Senior year, and I was aware that I should probably be doing something to prepare for a career.  But hadn't spent any time planning anything.

Somewhere late in the game, I lined up a TV production internship in my hometown, but to make it official, I had to get one of the Professors in the Communications department to sponsor me.

I looked down the list of Professors.  There were many I liked.  Several I respected.  And a few I was totally impressed/slightly afraid of.  But none of them were likely to deal with me, so late in the game.

No, if I was going to slip one under the wire, I knew who I had to go to.

There was this tenured professor, who must've been a few seconds away from retirement.  I'd had him for a couple of introductory classes.  He was very nice, but clearly he was some combination of a) noticeably kinda senile, b) somewhat flaky and c) not really giving too much of a shit.

"I only give two grades for internships," he absently told me, while signing off on my paperwork.  "And all I ask is that you write me a 3 page paper on your experience.  Turn that in on time, and you get an 'A.'  Don't turn it in, and you get an 'F.'"

Seemed simple enough.

Okay, quick summer montage . . . I work a ton of hours at the local cable company doing TV production and learning valuable skills . . . to make some cash I work the graveyard shift at a local gas station . . . I fall head over heels in love with the girl, and any waking second that I'm not working or sleeping, I get in the car to go visit her.

August.  The Finns take a vacation.

With this being my last summer "off," before entering the Real World, my folks decided we should take one more family trip, to Disney World.

In the planning stages, this sounded great.  But now, I was devastated that I'd go for a week without seeing my girl.

I visited her the night before we were supposed to leave for Orlando.  Before our tearful goodbye, I asked her to do me a favor.

(Remember that this is 1990, before email, before cell phones)

I gave her my 3 page paper, outlining all the terrific things I had learned on my internship.  She was headed back to UMass in a couple of days.  It seemed much safer for her to drop the paper with my professor, than for me to trust the US Postal Service to get it there on time.  She agreed.

The Finns had a fine time in Florida, and it WAS the last chance for my parents and two siblings and I to all vacation together.  But I missed my girlfriend terribly.

After touching down at Logan, we headed up Route 1 to home, WBCN had the news:  Stevie Ray Vaughan had died in a helicopter crash.

We listened to Stevie Ray songs for the ride home.

The first thing I did upon arriving home, was call out to UMass to talk to my girl.

After a bit of chit-chat I asked, "What did my professor say?"

"Oh my God . . ."

There was a long period of what seemed like silence.  Then I realized that she was crying.

She had forgotten to turn in my paper.  It was due 2 days ago.

My internship was for course credit.  Not just the weight of a single class, but for the weight of four classes.  I tried in my head to figure out what the equivalent of a full semester's worth of "F"s would do to my already weak GPA.  Probably something I would never recover from, academically.

But you know what?  After about 5 minutes, I didn't care.  I just wanted to see her.

I got in the car at the crack of dawn and raced to see her.  Stevie Ray Vaughan played on the radio as a barreled down Route 2.
It was a tearful and joyful reunion.  She had hardly slept, so upset at missing my deadline.  She'd gone down to my professor's office in the middle of the night and slid my paper under his door.

I took the stoic approach.  What was done, was done.  Nothing to do about it.  "Well, you're going to have to support me, when I can't get a job," I told her.

Flash-forward to a month later.  My grades come.  I may have acted stoic, but in the moment, I felt ill, my heart pounded.  I opened the envelope.


I got an "A."

What would the equivalent of a full semester's worth of "A"s would do to my GPA?  Well, hopefully make me moderately employable.

And, the post-script . . .

In my wise years, I have learned to leave well enough alone, but in 1990, I couldn't.

How did I get an "A"?  How did he not notice that the paper was days late?

I couldn't resist.  I went to my professor's office, and asked for my graded paper back.  (Again, this was in the days before real computers, so I didn't have a digital copy of the paper; he had the only copy)

"Uh . . .hmmm . . ." he shuffled through disheveled stacks of books and folders and papers on his desk.  "Where is . . . hmm . . . uh . . ."

"Well thank you for the 'A'" I said.

"Hmm . . . yes, if I gave you an 'A' I must've read it, right? . . . hmm . . . but I don't see it here.  Well . . . "  He just trailed off, and gave me a look that said, "Is there anything else?"

I don't know if he ever got the paper, or read the paper, and I guess it didn't matter.

My academic career, much like SRV at the end of this video, was magically resurrected.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lori McKenna "You Get A Love Song"

It has not been the smoothest summer for the Finns.

We had a serious financial hiccup at the beginning of the summer, that resulted in my wife, the teacher, NOT being able to have the summer fully off.  Which wouldn't be a big deal, accept that we had to scramble from week to week for daycare options for our kids, to cover those times when she worked.  Again, not a huge deal, but you parents know what it's like when you have to juggle, shuttle and otherwise disrupt.

But we're 10 days away from her going back to school, and from receiving her first paycheck of the school year.  We just about made it through the summer.

Yesterday, I stood in the driveway as the tow truck lifted our Honda onto its back and rolled our old car away.

For the last couple of weeks, the muffler has been loose and when I go down the road, it sounds like an aircraft carrier is coming.  But I knew it wasn't really dangerous to drive and we'd get it fixed in 2 weeks.

Then the starter died.  Well, at least it doesn't sound horrible---it doesn't make ANY sound and it can't go anywhere.

So we are down to one car until we can figure out what to do.  And again, there are people who have problems far worse than this, so with a little perspective (and a nearing-maxed-out credit card) we'll get through this too.

It's our seventh anniversary on Monday.

Tabitha pointed out that a lot of marriages crash and burn at the 7th year.  So we, despite the stress, were doing okay if we've made it this far.

We had been planning an overnight, sans kids, with dinner in a real restaurant, as an anniversary present to ourselves.  I'm not sure if we can pull that off now.

It made me think of this song.

You go through so much on a day to day basis with your partner, and not that you expect it, but no one ever tells the two of you "Good job!" or otherwise recognizes what a laborious task it can be to make it all work.

While our problems aren't fully analogous to the characters in the song (no drinking problems, fortunately!), I'm really glad that someone wrote a acknowledgement to the idea that "the only thing harder than letting go, is holding on."

It's an achievement worth celebrating.

See the video on Youtube.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Willie Nelson "Roll Me Up"

mvyradio is not a station where you normally hear Opera, or Rap, or R&B balladeering, or Pop stars.

But everyone once and a while, someone from a way-out-of-our-ballpark genre slips in through the side door.

So we do play Luciano Pavarotti, as a guest with U2 on "Miss Sarajevo."

And we did play John Legend, when he appeared on Angelique Kidjo's version of "Move On Up."

We even played Justin Timberlake, when he did that amazing version of "Hallelujah" on the "Hope For Haiti Now" special.

But wow, I think we're going to have a first tonight.

Tonight, mvyradio plays Snoop Dogg!

Yeah, that's a sentence that's never been uttered before.

And what an entrance it will be.  Snoop is a guest on the new Willie Nelson record "Heroes" which we will be playing tonight as the mvyradio Album Of The Week at 9pm.

Not surprisingly with a song called "Roll Me Up" featuring Snoop and Willie, the tune is about exactly what you think it's about.

Hear Willie and Snoop on Youtube.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ben Folds Five "Don't Change Your Plans"

She had the wrong impression.

We had been dating for a while, and I just felt like she wasn't hearing everything I was saying.  She wasn't hearing what I was saying and she wasn't reading between the lines.

We had been dating for a while, I had made it pretty clear that I liked her, but I didn't like her.  Meaning, that I didn't see some lofty future for us.  I was happy to spend time with her, but there was an expiration date on the carton, so to speak.

She was at that age, at that place in her life, in that state, where she was hearing me say these things, but deep down, thinking that it wasn't really true.  That at some point, I'd turn a corner and our relationship would take a more serious form.

I feel like I've seen loads of couples---mainly couples in their mid-20s---who play this scenario out.

I was up-front about where things were headed, but was also clear that I was happy where we were.  She seemed to be only hearing half of these lyrics.  And we rode this course, quietly, for a while.

Change was inevitable though, and, not surprisingly, coming from the outside.

She was going to have to make a career change, which meant she was going to have to make location change.  She was going to have to move to the West Coast.  She kept dropping hints that maybe I could come and we could make a go of it out in California.

I was very straightforward about my feelings---she should go and I would not be going.

Around this time the Ben Folds Five song "Don't Change Your Plans" was out.  Anytime it was on, I'd turn it up, hoping that she'd take the subliminal hint.
Don't change your plans for me
I won't move to LA
The leaves are falling back east
That's where I'm gonna stay
I think there was a part of her, right up to the end, that believed I wasn't serious, that I wanted to go, that I might just pack up and join her.

But I felt like that was just selective hearing on her part.

I pulled this song out last night, because I am filling in for Barbara on The Lunch Hour today, and I thought I'd do an Essential mvy segment on Ben Folds Five.  I hadn't listened to the track in a long time, but just seeing the title reminded me of the girl, and of how I'd play this song and sing "Don't change your plans for me, I won't move to LA."

I don't know if it's just that it has been a decade since I thought about the song, or if I was hearing the lyrics for the first time.
All I really wanna say
Is you're the reason I wanna stay
I loved you before I met you
And I met you just in time
'Cause there was nothing left
She may have been listening to only half of the lyrics, but I guess so was I.

Yes, the narrator saying that he will not go with the girl.  But half of the song is about how much he really wants to be with her.  Did I not hear that half?  Did she?

Selective hearing goes both ways sometimes.

For all the lyrics, read here.  To hear some Ben Folds Five, listen at Noon ET today at

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"

Let's get one thing straight---I was not a Punk kid.

My musical tastes in high school were pretty straightforward.  There were kids in my school who listened to Punk Rock, but I was never that Cool/Uncool.

I DID discover the music many years later, and fell in love with the genre.  But again, I was never a Punk kid.

If I went to a Punk show, I was the square in an Izod and Chuck Taylors.  I never rode a skateboard, got a tattoo, had a Mohawk or blue hair, pierced anything, owned a pair of Doc Martens or adopted anything that would have identified me as someone who was "into Punk."

If there were an identity I had adopted, it was "into Square."

But I loved the music.

And if this was my last chance to see The Ramones, you're damn straight that I was going to get as close to the stage as possible.

This was Lollapalooza 1995.  I'd already seen Satchel and Jonny Polonsky and Soul Coughing.  And later that night, I'd get my first look at Rage Against The Machine.

But right now, I was all about The Ramones.

Lollapalooza's closest pass to my home in Virginia, was in a large field outside of Knoxville, Tennessee.  And as the last band was clearing the stage, I wormed my way, slowly, toward the stage.

I'd left all my friends behind me.  I don't think they had any interest in getting anywhere near the mosh pit.

I didn't really have an interest in that, either.  MY goal was to get beyond the mosh pit.

From 5 feet out from the stage, to 40 or 50 feet out, was a swirling vortex of sweaty meatheads, circling, circling, slamming their bodies into the persons closest to them, feeding off each other's adrenaline.

But between the pit and the stage, was a small pile of folks pressed again the retaining fence, trying to get their best look at The Ramones.

The band had announced that they were breaking up, and a few gigs on Lollapalooza were part of the farewell tour.

So that was my plan, to wedge myself in that group, stay out of the pit, and soak up the legendary band.

Easier said than done.

The folks who'd been there all day, had secured their position up front.  There was another layer of folks sandwiched right behind them.  So the closest I could get to the stage, was 3 deep.

Which doesn't sound that bad, except that we, the third layer, were the barrier between the people up front and the mosh pit behind.

So try as I might to watch Joey and Johnny's every move, I had to constantly swivel my head around to make sure I wasn't about to be crushed from behind by thundering bags of meat and bones.

I'll say a little bit about the show . . .

They were awesome.  Everything that you'd want The Ramones to be. Funny/serious.  Dramatic/stripped down.  And so many of the artists playing that day, particularly the guys from Rancid, stood side stage, watching in rapt attention.

And I was going crazy.  You know, in my Wonder Bread kind of way.  Jumping up and down and singing along to "I Wanna Be Sedated."

When BAM!

Some body from the pit came flying into me, knocking me off my balance, knocking me forward.

And I, in turn went flying into the guy in front of me, knocking him off his balance.

This was the moment.  The moment when time stopped.  When the music stopped.  When the pit stopped.  When there was only me, and this guy.

This guy was big.  Bigger than me.  A punk.  Head, part shaved, part spiked.  Heavy leather jacket on a 90+ degree day.  Snarl on his face.  Clearly over "The Pit" and the idiots in it.  There to witness The Ramones.

And in this moment, we looked at each other, for a looong few seconds.  A guy who looked like a true Punk (him), and a guy who looked like the epitome of suburban poseur (me).  I was still on the ground, not sure if I should get up.  He had regained his balance, standing over me.

I fully expected a meaty paw-punch to be delivered to my face, at any second.

He grabbed me by the sides.  Lifted me to my feet.  And leaned his face right into my, smiled and screamed:


I laughed, and jumped back into the groove of the music.

I wasn't a Punk, but I belonged there I guess.  And accepting me into his moment, was the most Punk Rock thing he could have done.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kula Shaker "Tattva"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Here's another Next Big Thing . . .

When I first started following music press, I'd check in to see what was happening in the U.K.

Ugh, the British music press is soooo Over The Top about what flavor of the month was going to be HUGE.  At least, they were that way in the 90s.  I was so turned off by they B.S. that I stopped reading them over a decade ago.

Anyway, I remember buying into the idea that Kula Shaker was going to be SO BIG.

And I'd bet there is a 90% chance you are, right now, saying "Kula Who?"

Hear the song on Youtube.
Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Damnations TX "Unholy Train"

Here's another Weekend Post:

A little different than yesterday's "Next Big Thing" that didn't make it . . . is a band that bubbled under, but didn't break through like they should have.

Their album "Half Mad Moon" was one of my favorite records of the 1990s.  A totally solid collection of Texas/Alt-Country, that was strong enough to suggest a string of successful albums ahead . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jonny Polonsky "Love Lovely Love"

I put this track on a list of songs for "Weekend Posts" a while ago, but thought it was worth a little discussion.

If you haven't heard it before, give this 1995 song a listen.

Hear the song on Youtube.

In 1995, Jonny Polonsky was another "Next Big Thing," with a write up in Rolling Stone, a slot at Lollapalooza and very cool folks like Frank Black championing his music.

And then . . . nothing.

I get that it took him several years after his debut, to navigate some label issues and get a follow-up out.  But then what?

Another big chunk of time, and a record (with a hilarious bio about him and it), but not a tremor on the Richter Scale.

It just makes me think about The Next Big Thing phenomenon.  Is it too much pressure?  Unrealistic expectations?  A weird construct that has nothing to do with the artist?

Strange to have such a build up, only to have it evaporate into the ether.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mumford And Sons "I Will Wait"

In this day and age, Mumford And Sons' trajectory is pretty unheard of . . .

Their first record, "Sigh No More" was originally released in 2009.  It didn't catch on in the USA until 2010, and it didn't become a smash until 2011.

That's a loooonng time in the Record Industry's version of Dog Years.

Bands don't get that kind of time to ramp up these days.  If you aren't charted within the first few months of your first single release, there is little hope that your label is going to stick with you.

Even more unheard of . . . a band has a smash success, and takes its time with a follow up record.

The Record Industries credo is "strike while the iron is hot," and "the public has a very short memory."

If a band has smashing success, get them in a studio and get the follow up record out there ASAP!

One of the true advantages to this, is to avoid the pit of unwieldy expectations.

If I were a label person with Mumford And Sons, I might have been worried.

The new record has been talked about, and waiting for, and theorized about, and anticipated in the press, all year long.  This leaves plenty of room for people's idea of how good this record might be, to become untethered from reality . . .

Fortunately, the band leads with this single, "I Will Wait."  And smartly, it doesn't do anything to defy, subvert or torpedo expectations.  It sounds like a good Mumford And Sons song.  One that isn't a departure from what people loved about the first record.  It's satisfying.

And that's good news, because it sucks when a record is dismissed on the merits of what people want it to be, instead of what it is.

I'm looking forward to finding out what the rest of "Babel," is . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pat McGee Band "Rebecca"

"Hey Rebecca, this is the pilot speaking . . ." I used to say to her.

It was in response to her saying something like:

"Let's stay out for one more drink.  I'll order some shots."

"No one will notice if I take this off."

"I know we broke up, but wouldn't it be great if we moved in together?"

She was a lot of fun, but didn't always have the most practical ideas.

And it was my role to bring the crazy plane in for a landing.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Wallflowers "Reboot The Mission"

People seem surprised by the new Wallflowers single, "Reboot The Mission."

Pretty much since their inception, the band has been compared to, comfortably, artists like Tom Petty, The Band, The Counting Crows and Bruce Springsteen.

Straight ahead rootsy rock.

But if you've ever read anything about Jakob Dylan, you know that his formative influences go beyond those earthy antecedants.

He's professed a fascination with The Replacements.

He's covered David Bowie.

He wrote a section of the liner notes for "Beyond And Back," a Best Of collection, for the band X.

So is it a surprise that "Reboot The Mission" features Mick Jones of The Clash?  That it seems to contain programmed beats/samples and such?

It is, only if you've been listening to The Wallflowers, and not Jakob, I guess . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Run DMC "King Of Rock"

We were screwed.  Totally screwed.

They were going to pack us up, put us on a plane and send us home.

There was simply no way out of this.

I was 16 years old, and my friend Tip, and two guys we had just met, had trashed a hotel room.

This was 1985, and we were in Washington, DC at Close-Up.

I'm sure loads of you remember, and even went to Close-Up.  For those who didn't . . . Close-Up is a program for High School students.  You are sent to the Nation's Capitol for a week, and from morning until night you absorb the complex wonder of the City and our Government.

In a week's time, I would roam the halls of the Capitol Building, climb the steps to the Lincoln Memorial, wind my way through miles of the Smithsonian museums, experience the solemnity of The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier, and even take in a night at the theatre (featuing Marlo Thomas!).

But at the moment, it seemed like none of this would happen.

One of the most genius parts of Close-Up is that they paired you up with kids from different parts of the country.  So within our group, there were city kids and country kids, wealthy kids and poor kids, East Coast kids and West Coast kids.

And you even shared a hotel room.

Tip and I were paired up with two guys from Southern California, which was pretty neat.

Naturally, conversation drifted quickly to music, and they introduced us to Run-DMC.

Rap music at that time was far on the periphery.  There were some kids in Newburyport who were into break-dancing, and I think we were all aware of "Rapper's Delight," but for the most part, Rap was not something anyone we knew listened to or cared about.

But I'd never really heard Rap, until I heard Run-DMC.  And I felt like I got it.

The big guitars and voices that cut right through made sense to me.

Of all the things I took home from Close-Up, surprisingly, the door to a whole new musical world remains the thing that has had the most profound effect on my life.  I would go on to buy Run-DMC's earlier efforts, and pick up their breakthrough record "Raising Hell" as soon as it came out, eventually riding the whole cultural wave that record brought on.

But again, I couldn't see that far ahead.  I could only see the splinters on the floor.

Sure, we talked about music.  But really, you put 4 teenage boys in a hotel room with no immediate adult supervision?  What are we going to do?

Play tackle basketball, of course.

We got a few pairs of our gym socks, and rolled them into a ball.  And we put trash barrels at the opposite ends of the room.  The socks didn't bounce, so there was no dribbling---you carried it like a football.  And full contact was the name of the game.  While you tried to put the socks in the barrel, I was trying to tackle you to the floor.

Well, to make a long story short, someone tackled someone else hard onto one of the beds, and the wooden bedframe basically shattered.  Wood cracked and crashed.  The mattress was now on the floor, over a pile of splinters.

The Close-Up folks did not mess around.  We had already been subject to multiple speeches about how there would be NO tolerance for misbehavior.  Break curfew?  We'll put you on a plane and send you home.  Wander from the group?  We'll put you on a plane and send you home.  Try to sneak a beer?  We'll put you on a plane and send you home.

They didn't specifically mention not trashing the hotel room, but we were pretty sure that they would put us on a plane and send us home.

I calmed down.  And concocted a plan.

Bed check would be coming up in an hour.  Someone from Close-Up would come to our door, take roll call with a clipboard.  We had to make the bed incident, look like an accident.

First, we cleaned the scene of the crime.  Barrels righted.  Clothes picked up.  Suitcases zipped.  Non-broken bed made.

Then we carefully, carefully, put the bed-frame back together.

The wood was cracked into pieces, but if we lightly rested the mattress on top, it would remain balanced there.

And that was the plan.  We rehearsed it several times.  And we waited for a knock on the door.


"Bedcheck!"  A couple of security guard guys stood at the door with a clipboard.




Tip responded to his real name.

"Matt?"  And that was Matt's cue.

He was the biggest of the four of us, we were counting on him to really sell it.

Matt said, "Here!" and hopped on the bed, in the casual, jaunty way a young man might hop up on a bed.

Of course, the bed frame immediately crashed to the floor.

We all gasped!  Oh my goodness, Security Guard guys!  Did you see that!  He sat down on the bed in a perfectly normal way, and it crashed into pieces.  What poor construction this bed was made of.  My my.  What a curious accident.

Actually, I don't know exactly what we said.  But we did our best to sell the "accident."

The Security Guard guys seemed nonplussed.  But a little while later, a Manager-type came in to inspect the scene.  And again, we tried to sell it.  "The Security guys will tell you.  They saw it with their own eyes!  The bed just broke when Matt casually sat on it."

I don't know if he bought it.  Or if it was just 11 at night and he didn't feel like expelling four teenager to Dulles.  But he said okay, shrugged and left.   And that was the end of that.

I learned some pretty amazing things at Close-Up.

But who would have suspected that in the home of Democracy, I'd develop an appreciation for Kings.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Anthrax "I'm The Man"

Here's another Weekend Post:

In looking for yesterday's song, I came across this one, which I haven't heard in a million years.  This one always made me laugh, for the awkward-but-brilliant rap-rock fusion that presaged the late 90s by a half-dozen years.

And yes, I have blogged about Anthrax, two days in a row.  Go figure.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Anthrax "Got The Time"

Here's another Weekend Post:

I'm starting to feel the pressure . . .

I said a long time ago, that my goal was to reach 1000 posts on this blog.  This is post number 982.

Part of the reason for the goal, was to force myself to write some of the stories that are going to be on the longer side, because they are some of the biggest, most personal stories I have to tell.

If I'm being honest with myself, I'm not going to cram in everything I'd hoped to, before post number 1000.  But that's a good reason to keep going, to keep writing, beyond my goal.

In the meantime, I'm putting the pressure on myself to crank out some of the stories I've been holding off of.

I always enjoyed how adding a metal edge to the Joe Jackson classic made things feel even more jittery, and I used to pull this one out whenever I felt like I need to put pressure on myself to beat the clock . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ryan Adams "Rosalie Come And Go"

I've already offered myself as a Professional Athlete Theme Song Consultant---a job that is totally imaginary.

A more realistic music-meets-baseball job would be "that guy at WEEI."

I don't know who does this job---it could very likely be an intern---but if you listen to the Red Sox on WEEI, they transition back from commercials to the announcers with a short music bumper.

I always wanted to be pals with whoever was doing the job around that magical 2004, World Series season, because he/she and I had the same taste.

There were lots of familiar and unfamiliar alterna-hits and special nuggets.

And when they were using this Ryan Adams semi-obscurity, I was super-impressed.  Only a real music-head would know this tune, as it's from the bonus "Side Four" ep from Adams' "Gold" album.

I don't know if I could top this nugget as we tossed to Joe Castiglione, but I'd love to try . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Steve Poltz "Sucker Punch"

There are a thousand reason why we might not play a song on mvyradio.

It could be too Poppy, or to esoteric.

It could be too raucous, or too flat.

It could be the wrong genre, or it could be too generic.

But rarely, only rarely, do I say, "Well that's just inappropriate . . ."

Steve Poltz is frickin' hilarious, but I just don't think mvyradio could get away with playing this one.

But it's a great one to share for the blog.

Put on your headphones, this one's NFSW (that's "Not Safe For Work," in case you're not familiar with the acronym).

Hear the song on Youtube.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bruce Springsteen "Badlands"

I was standing at the back of the crowd as Tom Morello ended.  I was looking for my wife, who'd been texting me from somewhere up front, when I saw Sue come out of the crowd.

She, like pretty much everyone else who'd just seen his spirited set, was pretty amped up.  She gave me a big smile, said something like, "What a show!" and slapped me a high-five.

Then she said a quote that I knew I knew, but I couldn't place right away.  But knowing Sue, I was sure it was a Bruce Springsteen line.

I first spoke to Sue McDonald several years ago.  She had contacted to the station to let us know that she, along with some other Bruce Springsteen fans, were raising money for the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund.  (Federici was the longtime organ player and multi-instrumentalist in the E Street Band).  We made her the mvyradio Person Of The Week (hear it in our archives), to spread the word about the good deed she and her other Springsteen loving friends were doing in honor of the band member who'd recently passed away from cancer.

I thought of Sue again, two years ago, when my wife was approaching the due date of our second child.  We knew it was going to be a boy, and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to keep up this blog while I was out.  So I contacted Sue, and asked her if she'd like to do a Guest Blogger slot, and write about Springsteen songs featuring Fathers and Sons.  Two of the Top Five Most Viewed Posts in the history of my blog, are by Sue.

Sue and I continued to bump into each other at various shows and mvy events, including the Newport Folk Festival on a few occasions.  And because we're friends on Facebook, I kept up with her musical adventures.  It seemed like every time I saw her status, she was off to see another live concert.

So it was curious to see her post a comment on the mvyradio Facebook page, during Newport Folk 2011.  I wrote her a quick email to ask why she wasn't at Fort Adams this year.

"I'm with you in spirit, PJ! Unfortunately some medical stuff has gotten in the way . . ."

She went onto explain that she'd be diagnosed with lymphoma.  She called it "highly treatable," but she was still going to have to go through chemotherapy.  She had, in fact, had her first treatment the day before the festival, so she felt it would be wise to spend a couple of days on the couch, and enjoy the festival vicariously through mvy.

I heard from her periodically through the Fall.  She lost her hair ("Apparently I'll be rockin' the Sinead O'Connor look for a while"), but the chemo did what the doctors said it would do.  Her tumor disappeared and she began the to road to reclaiming her life, which (as best I could gather from Facebook) included getting out to as many shows as time and money would allow.

I ran into her early in the weekend at Newport Folk this year.

"I think about where I was at this time last year . . . " she said.  We let that thought hang in the air for a minute.  "I'm just glad to be here."

I saw her a couple more times over the course of the weekend, including at the Tom Morello set, as we were all running from one stage to the next.

A few days after the Festival, after I'd written about my own experience with the Morello set, I got a note from her:
You know, I was slightly embarrassed when I thought about high-fiving you on my way out of the tent after this show. I'm a pretty reserved person, after all. But, I was so energized by Tom Morello's performance, by raising a fist to "Union Town", by his guitar hero antics during Ghost of Tom Joad, by asking us to "jump the f-- up", and by his cheekiness in getting "us" on stage. It was by far my favorite set of the weekend. I'm pretty sure I told you "it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive"!

But, after reading about it, and watching it again, I'm not embarrassed, and I'm really, really happy for your wife that she got on stage. What a memory to take away from the weekend!!

"Badlands."  She was quoting Springsteen's "Badlands."

It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.

You're damn right, Sue.

Hear the song on Youtube.

mvyradio has Bruce Springsteen tickets for his show at Fenway.  Find out how you can win them!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Delta Spirit "Tear It Up"

I had this funny aural experience listening to some new music with Barbara on Monday.

I was playing her a batch of tracks that I felt merited some discussion as to whether mvy should add them to rotation or not.  Some I liked, others I didn't care for but for various reasons (national popularity, loyalty to the artist, etc) deserved consideration.

So I was getting ready to play the new Delta Spirit single for her, and I said that I didn't think this record sounded like something we'd add.

We listened for a minute, and I pointed out that it DID have a Talking Heads vibe.

And that's a plus when considering a new-ish band---do they have a straight-line connection to a core artist/sound for the station?

Then Barbara pointed out that the little guitar figure that repeats is VERY Lindsay Buckingham---another core artist/sound for mvyradio.

I realized that I sorta heard other things in this song, including the African influenced guitar of a Peter Gabriel song and the drums from Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill."

But the funny thing is, all those touchstones didn't seem to add up.

Yes, each individual part sounds like something you'd hear on mvy.  But the sum of its parts didn't magically retain that quality.

At least to my ears, it didn't.  What do you think?  Is this an mvy song?

Hear the song on Youtube.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dionne Warwick "Deja Vu"

I went to my High School reunion last week.

I was great to see some folks I don't often get to see.  And see some folks I haven't seen in 2-plus decades.

I did kind of have it in my mind that seeing some of these people would jog a few memories, that would lead to a few good blog posts.

Surprisingly, despite the full night of 80s music on the P.A., I really didn't find any fodder for stories---until the end of the night.

As I was walking out the door, I passed a guy I hadn't seen or talked to, probably since graduation.  And hilariously, today's song is the first thing I thought of.

I've written before about being the oldest kid in my family, about not having an older brother to introduce me to certain things like music.

Other things that friends with older brothers had access too,  included profanity, and secret knowledge.

Secret knowledge is that stuff they don't teach you about in school, and your parent don't talk to you about.  You just pick it up on the playground.

In middle school, I learned, via friends with older brothers, what a hermaphrodite is.  And the definition of "twat."  Things like that.

Some things you learn from your friends older brothers are absolutely correct.  Other things, not so much.

I remember being in Middle School, at the lunch table, and for no reason one of the kids at the table (the guy at the beginning of this story) had been humming this song.  Then he turned to me and said:

"Do you know what Deja Vu means?  It's French for 'Shit On A Brick.'"

He had learned this from his older brother.

We all marveled at the cleverness of Dionne Warwick, and how she had this hit song that folks were singing along to, when they were really saying, in a foreign language, "Shit On A Brick."

Several years later, when my folks had transferred me to a Catholic School, and I actually took French classes, I realized that our information was inaccurate.

I'd totally forgotten this story, but seeing my old classmate brought the memory right back.  "Deja vu" all over again.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Camper Van Beethoven "Take The Skinheads Bowling"

Here's another Weekend Post:

Well this just seemed like a nice companion piece to Saturday's post.  These were fun ones to play during "What's The Alternative?" for an injection of silly energy.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dead Milkmen "Punk Rock Girl"

Here's another Weekend Post:

This is another song that came to mind at my High School Reunion, for non-specific reasons . . .

It was fun to see how certain people (the ones I rarely/never saw, post-graduation) turned out.

The Punk Rock Girls who looked a little more conventional.

The slacker dudes who looked clean cut.

The shy girls who had apparently blossomed later.

And the guys who looked like only 5 minutes had passed since I last spoke to them.

Hear the song on Youtube.

Weekend posts are a chance to revisit songs that have happy memories, not of anything in particular, other than just hearing the tunes.

Many of these songs were tracks that I played during my 90s stint as an Alternative/Modern Rock radio show.  They're tunes that I hardly hear these days, but are wonderful to revisit.

Click on the "Weekend Posts" label below, to see other posts like this.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tom Morello "World Wide Rebel Songs"

My favorite moment from last week's Newport Folk Fest? Right here:

(you'll have to forgive the typos)

That's a text exchange between me (in green, on the right) and my wife (on the left), who came to the Festival on Sunday, specifically to see Tom Morello.

I had been running around Fort Adams, taking pictures and doing live breaks and such. I really don't get to hang out with my wife (or anyone). But I did try to join up with her whenever I had a few minutes.

I happened to be near the Harbor Stage when I got her text saying that Jackson Browne was on stage with Tom Morello. I got over there in time to catch them do the most rocking version of "This Land Is Your Land" you'll ever hear.

I positioned myself way in the back, middle, near the sound guy, so I could get an overview of the crowd and perhaps pick out my wife.

Little did I know, I was about to get a very clear view of the crowd.

For the finale, Morello invited the entire audience up on stage, much to the chagrin of security.

I'm not great at estimating crowd size, but I'm going to guess there were a good 100 folks on stage with Tom, singing out loud, singing out strong.

And, as you've surmised from the text, my wife was on stage too.

It was a pretty wild scene, made wilder by the fact that, while being a rebel is fun, it does sometimes create a safety hazard.  Mid-song, security and officers of the law started kicking people off stage, forcibly having to remove some of them.  It made for quite a visual.

As you can imagine, it was all captured on video.  You can see a few of the Youtube videos made by folks in the audience, and on stage.  It's totally worth your while to hear how engaging and passionate Morello is, and what delight he took in his mischief.

My wife was energized too.  Later, after we had met up and talked about her adventure, she sent me another text as I headed back into the Fort:

"I might leave you to become a revolutionary woman!"

Photos by my wife.  

Hear the original on Youtube.

See the view from the crowd on Youtube.

See the view from the stage, on Youtube.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Multitudes "My Revolutionary Mind"

We always joke about how we do a lot with a little, at mvyradio.

This was so true last weekend at Newport Folk, where our backstage production staff---which in past years has been as many as ten people---was just me and Barbara and Jess.

That meant we all wore many hats/traded hats quite a bit.  So at any given time, I might be working as an on-air host, or a technical director communicating with the DJs back at the station, or a social media maven, connecting to the folks following online.

But the most exhilarating and moving moment of my Newport Folk weekend, was when Jess handed me the station camera and asked if I could give her a break from taking pictures.

For most of the acts, they let photographers, even the amateur ones, down to a pit area in front of the stage for the first 3 songs of any performance.  So I was right up front for the New Multitudes set.

New Multitudes is the Woody Guthrie project put together by Jay Farrar, Jim James, Anders Parker and Will Johnson---Woody's lyrics with music by the foursome.

I was intent on not missing this, as I knew it would probably be the only chance ever, to see them.  The short tour was over and it's not like they are going to make a series of albums---this was a one-off project.

Taking advice from my wife, I shot photos at a furious pace, knowing that sometimes it takes 100 shots to get 1 or 2 really memorable keepers.  But I also tried to really enjoy the fact that I was right at the front of the stage, where I could soak up the energy and the joy of this performance.  I held my ground until security gave us the boot.

From there, I retreated out from under the tent, to the side of the stage, where I spied Nora Guthrie.  She was totally focused on the performance, her head bobbing to the music, with just a slight smile on her face.

I was just so moved by this idea of a message from beyond the grave.  The band was singing songs written by her father, who had scribbled these lyrics decades ago.  He had also passed away decades ago, but here were his words, his thoughts, brought to life in 2012.

We could all only hope to have such a message from the people we've lost.  It gave me goosebumps.

Hear "Changing World" followed by "My Revolutionary Mind" on Youtube.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Charles Bradley "Heartaches And Pain"

It's 3am.  I just woke up.  I fell asleep with the kids as we put them to bed around 8pm.

I'm still not quite caught up from Newport Folk weekend.  Not caught up due to lack of sleep.  And still processing the many, many events of the weekend.

No profound thoughts here at 3am.  I just thought it was worthwhile to use today's blog post to share Charles Bradley And His Extraodinaries.

I love radio.  I love the medium and I love how it delivers the message.

But I am aware of its limitations.

We did carry some of Charles Bradley, live on the radio.

But if you don't see him, I think you lose part of the experience.

You lose the full sense of his passion, his drama, his theatricality and his enormous sense of gratitude for being able to perform.

So check out the video.  I'm going to go brush the fur off my teeth and go back to bed.

Hear the song on Youtube.