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A Dead Weather Report

The Dead Weather is: Jack White [drums, percussion, guitar, vocals], Alison Mosshart [vocals, guitar], Jack Lawrence [bass, drums, vocals], and Dean Fertita [guitar, keyboards, vocals]. The debut album HOREHOUND was released on July 14 and is my favorite release this year. A real review is forthcoming. In the meantime, here is a little clip from their television debut on June 18.

Dan Joeright, February 3, 2009. Photo by Matt Sharp. Photo courtesy Matt Sharp and Dan Joeright

The Rentals have returned with Songs About Time: One Year in Photography, Film, and Music. The multimedia extravaganza will premiere at the band's official website, The Rentals Dot Com. The band will add an image to the Photo Diary each day to make up The Photographs About Days. The Films About Weeks will feature a black and white short premiered each Tuesday evening. A new collection of music will also be released every three months. These tracks will make up the audio portion of the Songs About Time, in addition to the film scores themselves. Many other treats and surprises are coming, including a limited edition and deluxe limited edition box set, which will be the only places one can actually own these treasures in a hard copy format. As the Rentals begin the second month of their ambitious year-long project, I had the opportunity to interview their charismatic drummer Dan Joeright.

Dan grew up in Cleveland and formed a band when he was very young. He said that they were quite serious about it, playing in their garages mostly before actually getting to book their first gigs. Dan said, “I played a lot of parties, bars and weddings with different groups all the way from the time I was about 12 until I graduated high school.” These early experiences gave him versatility in his playing, which allowed him to play with a broad range of artists.

While Dan is a multi-instrumentalist, he plays drums the most. I asked how percussion became his instrument of choice, and he said, "My Dad played drums when I was a kid growing up. He played in a jazz band with my Grandfather [his father in law] and he used to bring me along to his rehearsals and gigs.” Dan said that he was fascinated with music, drums in particular. One time, Dan sat at his dad’s feet and a song came on the radio. “I remember thinking, ‘I can play this,’” said Dan, “so I got up on the throne, and with my feet barely reaching the pedals, I started playing along with the tune...” With his Dad, Grandpa, and the rest of the band cheering him on, Dan said that he really thought he sounded great, but it probably sounded like “any other 5 year-old kid who gets a pair of sticks in his hands and starts hitting drums. I'll have to ask my Dad if he remembers that-and if I was any good."

Dan had some favorite drummers in his earlier years. When he was younger, he had influences and favorites like Neil Peart (definitely his favorite as a kid), Keith Moon, John Bonham, Charlie Watts, Stewart Copeland, Bill Bruford and later Art Blakey, Jack DeJohnette, Terry Bozzio and Dave Weckl. Now Dan says, “I'd have to honestly say that I don't have any favorites today, there are so many drummers, half of whom I don't even know the names of, that I love."

Dan Joeright, his first show in NYC, the Village Gate (Slacker film premiere), 1991. Photo courtesy Dan Joeright

While Dan admitted that it "wasn't very romantic" as to how he eventually came to join the Rentals, it still is quite interesting. After arriving in Los Angeles in 1999, Dan played in a cluster of different bands, did some touring, etc. He eventually connected with a man in town who kept a wide-ranging database of musicians and kept relationships with others in the industry who consult him for musicians when they need players for their bands. “He had hooked me up with a few auditions prior to The Rentals that were either with bands that I had no interest in joining, or with bands who had no interest in hiring me, so I had pretty much given up on his process as a means for getting me hooked up with the right band.” He referred The Rentals to Dan, but because of the past experiences, Dan said that he almost did not go to the audition. “I was so disillusioned that I didn't prepare at all.” He was only “vaguely aware of The Rentals music.” When they started playing, however, Dan said it was “pretty obvious we were gelling musically, probably in part because I had no expectations. I was just playing relaxed and musically from what was inspiring me about the music not based on recreating any preexisting parts or trying to second-guess what it was they might be looking for. As it turned out, I was genuinely into the music, so there was a certain ease about it; it just seemed effortless.” Dan said that they later informed him that he was the first one that they auditioned out of about 20 people. While not imagining that it was possible for it to be that simple, the band still went forward with the remainder of the scheduled auditions--even though they wanted to offer him the job immediately.

Matt Sharp and Dan Joeright perform live in 2007. Photo courtesy Dan Joeright

I asked Dan what inspired the concept behind Songs About Time. "We were trying to figure out how to do something memorable, something different and new rather than put a record out through traditional channels, if there is such a thing as traditional channels any more," he said. "This concept gives us an opportunity to create on a different level and to not box ourselves into a 12 track record, all done at once in the same studio.” Doing it this way enables the band to “stretch out musically.” The Rentals do not have to make a record “that is either this or that.” Every three months, the band will release whatever they are “into at the time, not what is needed to tie a record together.” Back in the “good old days,” Dan said that bands crafted “quite diverse records; it could have ballads, rockers, blues based or ethnic stuff, as well as instrumentals-all on the same record-and it was cool. Now it seems you have to make a record that is very limited in range, or no one wants to put it out.” By using this process, through the web site, it allows them to do the music that they want. In addition to this, Dan said, “The films and photographs are an effort to bring a visual dimension to this idea. It won't be a documentary in the traditional sense, although there will be aspects of it that will enable the audience to see our creative process."

As a part of the venturesome Photographs About Days, band leader Matt Sharp is posting a photograph a day in the Photo Diary. In addition to that, he has also taken upon the task of shooting an entire roll of film a day, which is going to be marked with the date and then stored in a safe place. At the end of the year, each individual roll of the unprocessed film will be included in one of the 365 deluxe limited edition box sets. According to Dan, Matt is doing well with this. "So far so good. He's getting to live his fantasy of being a professional photographer...only there's no money or models."

The creative process was fascinating to see during the making of Colorado on the Rentals' website in the January 6 film. I really enjoyed when Dan and fellow Rental Jamie Blake were recording with drumsticks, tapping on the studio floor. While this is not typical of how the Rentals come up with song ideas, Dan said that they are trying to be “more spontaneous and less precious” about their music on this project. He is anticipating much more of that in the upcoming months. “In the past, we'd spend A LOT of time with the full band in a rehearsal space working out every aspect of the song and the arrangement. Now we're working in a looser environment, bouncing ideas around, between my studio and Matt's, but keeping somethings undecided until we get to the final stage of recording, and that leaves an opening for creativity and spontaneity.” It is very liberating when facing the final recording stage and the songs are not over-rehearsed.

Jamie Blake, Lauren Chipman, Dan Joeright, Matt Sharp and Dave Trumfio appear in January Six, one of the Films About Weeks, which is now playing at The Rentals dot com. Film courtesy Dan Joeright/The Rentals.com

Dan said that there were "no concrete plans" as to when The Rentals will tour to support Songs About Time. He did mention, however that he "would imagine that we'll wait until the end of this project [Songs About Time] and until we have all of our new material [including the mini albums and all of the extras] released…before we tour again." While I am looking forward to seeing the band play live the next chance I'm given, I asked Dan if he has any favorite tracks that he enjoys playing more than others. He said that he prefers playing the new stuff that he had a hand in creating, but, “I also enjoy playing Sweetness and Tenderness; it's a nice ballad, and I've incorporated some epic, Ringo type fills into it at the end. Keep Sleeping is always fun to play live as well. The way we do it now is pretty up tempo and chugs along real nice, the crowd usually responds well too which makes it even more fun."

The Rentals played the House of Blues in Anaheim in the past, and so naturally, I assumed that Dan had been to Disneyland. When I asked him about having a favorite ride at the park, I was surprised to learn that he has yet to visit it. "Maybe someday, if I ever have a kid, I'll go. I have however, recently been back to my home town amusement park, Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. That place is amazing; I highly recommend it to any one who is serious about roller coasters. The ride Magnum Force at Cedar Point will melt your face."

Dan onstage during the 2007 Rentals tour. Photo courtesy Dan Joeright

In the past, Dan worked with Terry Hall and Abby Travis, among many other great musicians as well, and he has his own band called Random AOK. In addition to this, he has other projects in the works. While he is continually writing and seeking outlets to make his work available, he said that he just completed submitting a piece for a Showtime series and wishes to be doing more of that. He also hopes to develop something with Ricky Rasura, the harp player from the Polyphonic Spree, and Ross Godfrey, the guitar player from Morcheeba. “If that comes together,” said Dan, “it'd be fun to do some shows in LA and maybe record some stuff, it'd be interesting to see what we could come up with.” Dan also conducts 'remote' sessions out of his studio (Outer Space Studio) in LA. Dan explained how that works. “…Someone will email me an mp3 or mail me a DVD of a session they need drums on, and I'll do the drums at my place and send them the drum files, and presto, they have my drums on their recording.” Dan said that so far it is going great. He has just completed one of these types of sessions for Debby Boone and said, “Sometimes technology does work.”

I asked Dan what music he is currently enjoying. "Right now, my iPod is in shuffle mode, and the last 10 artists played were: Gogol Bordello, Death Cab, Turin Brakes, Gomez, Ministry, Love, Duke Ellington, Van Halen, Talking Heads, Aphex Twin."

As for future plans, Dan said that besides the things he already mentioned, he will make a series of drum groove recordings and build songs outward from them. He also said, "I plan to finish all of my unfinished songs...keep on plugging away with The Rentals project, and I plan to go snowboarding this weekend." I asked about the collection of unreleased Rentals tour film that Dan has yet to compile. "As far as the tour footage goes: I should probably take that down from my MySpace page because at the moment, I don't see it happening. I have too much going on in the present day to put any time in to tour footage that is more than a year old. I would eventually like to make something out of it, maybe when I retire I'll get around to it."

The first of the Songs About Time, Films About Weeks, and Photographs About Days are available to be enjoyed now. Check them out at the official Rentals website.

Please visit Dan Joeright online


My Favorite Albums of 2008

Lists are enough to do my head in for sure. I just know I'm leaving something out here. I've been on this for a few hours now, fearing I am forgetting something. The even harder part was once I finally settled on these, I had to try to put them in some kind of order of preference, and it completely changes every day; what I'm liking the most at the moment depends on my mood. I am going to list my favorites here, but the order is shaky. They're all so fabulous.

1. The D.J. Bonebrake Trio—The Other Outside
2. Weezer—Weezer [The Red Album]
3. The Raconteurs--Consolers of the Lonely
4. Various Artists--Friends of P-Tribute to the Rentals
5. The Raveonettes—Lust Lust Lust
6. The Breeders-- Mountain Battles
7. The Gossip--Live in Liverpool
8. Rivers Cuomo--Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
9. The Bonebrake Syncopators—That Da Da Strain
10. Boz Boorer—Miss Pearl
11. Death Cab For Cutie—Narrow Stairs
12. Kaiser Chiefs--Off With Their Heads
13. The Killers—Day & Age
14. Various Artists—Gigantic-A Tribute to Kim Deal
15. Be Your Own Pet--Get Awkward
16. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds--Dig, Lazarus, Dig
17. The Baseball Project—Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails
18. Brian Wilson--That Lucky Old Sun
19. Steve Wynn—Crossing Dragon Bridge
20. Beck--Modern Guilt
21. My Morning Jacket--Evil Urges
22. Coldplay--Viva la Vida Or Death And All His Friends
23. Lucinda Williams--Little Honey
24. The Black Keys--Attack and Release
25. Randy Newman--Harps and Angels
26. Bob Dylan--Tell Tale Signs-The Bootleg Series Vol.8
27. Van Morrison-- Keep It Simple
28. Conor Oberst--Conor Oberst
29. David Byrne and Brian Eno--Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
30. No Age--Nouns
31. The B-52’s—Funplex
32. R.E.M.-- Accelerate
33. Sparks--Exotic Creatures of the Deep
34. Fleet Foxes--Fleet Foxes
35. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals--Cardinology

My Favorite Singles of 2008

It was a difficult stretch, but I compiled this mini list. My number one pick (“Colorado” by the Rentals) was only available for mp3 download only. It was easily my favorite song last year. "Colorado" should still be available for a free download at the website http://www.reigoplaylist.com/.

It is so hard to keep up with what people are actually considering singles or album tracks, especially in the day and age of my friend iTunes. I hope that this is a good enough compilation. It makes for a fun mix on my I-Pod.

I will list my favorite albums of the year tomorrow.

1. Colorado by The Rentals
2. Pork and Beans by Weezer
3. Aly, Walk With Me by The Raveonettes
4. Salute Your Solution by The Raconteurs
5. Gamma Ray by Beck
6. Spaceman by The Killers
7. I’m Amazed by My Morning Jacket
8. Call It Off by Tegan and Sara
9. Addicted to Drugs by Kaiser Chiefs
10. Another Way To Die by Jack White and Alicia Keys
11. Real Love by Lucinda Williams
12. Brand New Start by Little Joy
13. Magick by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
14. I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie
15. Viva la Vida by Coldplay
16. Nine in the Afternoon by Panic at the Disco
17. Moab by Conor Oberst
18. I Believe In You by Cat Power
19. Someday Baby by Bob Dylan
20. So What by Pink

Interview and Feature by Lee "Loobyloo" Buckley and Trish Morgan

Paul "Tad" Tadman. Photo courtesy Paul Tadman

“Most of the kids I was at school with wanted to be like Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix,” Paul “Tad” Tadman began. “I wanted to be Mark King, Bruce Foxton, Sting, John Entwistle, Mark Bedford and Aston 'Family Man' Barrett all rolled into one. There was a small matter of learning the notes first.” Tad, as the world knows him, was a founding member of the legendary 80s ska band the Riffs and is currently the bassist in several bands including Dubwiser, Floordroppa, and Crunch, as well as being an outstanding actor as well. As Paul prepares more dates with Dubwiser, we were glad that he was so generous with his time and sat down to do an interview with us.

Tad said that he has always liked the “bassier side of things” and shared with us how he got started playing. “I was 13 when I used to go for lessons on a Saturday morning to a wonderful guy called Pat McEwan, who taught me all he knew... I'm still trying to remember half of it! My first bass was a Rickenbacker copy made by Kay. It cost me £45 from a shop in Croydon and the neck was so bent it wouldn't play past the 7th fret [half way up]. It had a neck 'like an archer's bow'. The 'lesson' was only supposed to be an hour long for £3. I used to get there at 11 and not leave until late afternoon. In fact, one week, my first 'jam' was with Pat on harmonica and piano [not at the same time], a couple of good friends, Paul Dewdney and Gary Tracey, on guitars, and Pat's work colleague, Simon Law, on drums. Simon went on to work with Soul II Soul. He was a great drummer. First time I'd ever tried to rhythmically 'lock in' with a drummer. We did 'My Ever Changing Moods', 'a 12 bar blues boogie' and 'Green Onions,' the first song I ever learnt. I was hooked! The neighbors weren't too impressed.”

The Riffs came about from a band Tad had in school. “The Headmaster wouldn't let us play unless we changed the name. So the 'c' was changed to an 'n,' and 'Funk Off' it was. That band split after one gig [my first] at the Sixth Form disco in 1986. It's on video somewhere too. Someone's got a copy. It's not good! It was just me and Marc Clay, the drummer, left. I advertised for a sax player and met 'Mac.' Marc lost interest, so Mac and I recruited rockabilly Damien Knight on drums, old school pal Craig Brawley on guitar, a guy called Graham, and me on bass. Our first gig was at the Caterham Arms, Surrey, 1988, as 'Second Opinion'. We slaughtered 'Bed and Breakfast Man,' 'Disappear,' 'Roadette Song,' 'Patience,' and a few 12 bar rock 'n' roll standards. The second gig later that year had Mark Clemence on drums. The singer was a guy called 'Kev' who had a big mullet and thought he was in AC/DC.”

Tad continued. “We soon outed him after we recorded an eight track recording at Soundstar Studios in Thornton Heath. The tracks were 'Bed and Breakfast Man,' 'I'm A Believer,' 'Steppin' Stone,' and self penned 'The Godfather' . Yes, I have got the master tape! My old school mate Craig left, leaving Mac, Mark, and I. I brought in Danny Bushell. We also had Nick Bensberg on guitars, who wrote most of our material. But we needed a new singer and a name. I put an ad in the Melody Maker for a ska singer--as we'd decided to go down that musical route--and in walks Aidan Sterling in a Prince of Wales suit and highly polished brogues. He scared the shit out of me. He was 10 years older than us, and he was the man for the job. First gig as The Riffs: 26th March 1989, The New Pegasus, Stoke Newington, London, supporting The Loafers.”

The Loafers signed to Link Records, which is where one of Tad’s future bands, The Nutty Boys would sign. Eventually, Tad said, he had to choose between being in The Nutty Boys [which would later be known as Crunch!] and the Loafers. The Nutty Boys won him.

The Nutty Boys formed shortly after The Madness disbanded, and Chris Foreman and Lee Thompson were looking for a tight outfit with which to perform their new songs live. Naturally, we wanted to know what transpired for Tad to join the band. “My mate, Sean Flowerdew [of the Loafers - now of Pama International], introduced me to Lee very briefly at a gig I was playing at the Electric Ballroom Dec 1989. I'd met Spider a few months previously, as the Riffs supported the Potato 5 at the Powerhouse. Spider was the lead singer of the Potato 5. But, officially, as far as Lee and Chris are concerned, yes, Link was the key... From what I understand, Chris and Lee submitted the 'Crunch!' album to Mark Brennan and Lol Prior, at Link Records, where the Riffs were signed, as part of the Ska Revival of '89 that really happened underground. The Link guys suggested it'd be a good idea to tour the album, and my name came up in conversation as bass player.” Tad said. “Chris phoned me, and I thought it was someone having me on. I turned up to the 'audition' with Mac [Riffs sax player who was going to try out on sax] expecting to see a street filled with a long queue of bass players, and I was the only one. Had a chat with Chris and Lee about bass playing, and Chris put on 'Burn Rubber' by the Gap Band, and I did some slap bass all over it. He handed me a copy of the album and said [to]learn that we'll be rehearsing in a couple of weeks. Mac bottled out, and Sexy Steve jumped on board right at the last minute.”

CRUNCH: Lee Thompson, Louis Vause, Sexy Steve, Chris Foreman, Paul Tadman, Hong Kong Davey, and Spider. Photo courtesy crunch.uk.com

Eventually the choice came for Tad to choose between the two bands. “I'll be really honest here and say it was an easy choice to make but a very hard decision to carry out. The Riffs were effectively 'my' band... and it was developing into something I wasn't entirely happy with. We had recorded our first album ['Who Wants It?'] and a white label single, then the usual arguments and petty squabbles that plague most bands at some point were becoming far too common-place, and I'd had enough of trying to please everyone as usual. It was 14th February 1990... I couldn't play both gigs--they were both miles away from each other [in more ways than one]--So...either play a gig with the Riffs or the Nutty Boys - I knew which direction I wanted to move ahead musically, and the Nutty Boys was more of a challenge and where I wanted to be.” Tad continued. “Having said that, I phoned each of the guys in the Riffs in turn and told them the dilemma I had…Some of the guys were really helpful and supportive, others not so. It broke my heart when I left The Riffs - but it was something I had to do. If it wasn't for The Riffs, I wouldn't have done ANY of the things I have done since.”

If Madness could be described as "all the fun of the fair," the Crunch! could certainly be seen as a much darker side of this. We asked Tad how he would describe the work of the Crunch! “Hmmm...Good question...We're the bunch of herberts hanging around behind the bright neon lights that you can't quite see; eclipsed from the glare...waiting to untie the guide ropes on the big top, nick your candy floss and pop your balloon on the way out. Matron! But you'll go home with a big smile on your face. Oh yeah!”

We thought that was an excellent description and laughed at this. We asked Tad if Chris and Lee already had the songs ready to record. “Pretty much so. Chris would write all the tunes on his sequencer and post them out for the rest of us to learn. Sometimes, Lee would put a scat vocal over or some sax, known as the 'Egg and Bacon' sessions. Just ask Lee or Chris. As we rehearsed them, as with any song, the tunes would grow. One example of this is when we were recording 'It's OK, I'm a Policeman,' and we didn't really have a bass line. Ian Horne was producing, and Phil Payne, our sound man, suggested I play the line similar to 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick,' which I did after a couple of takes.”

We understood that ‘Hit Me…’ is one of the more difficult bass parts to learn. We recalled Norman Watt-Roy had mentioned that somewhere. “Yes, it is a difficult piece to learn - it's also my favorite bass line. When I recorded our adapted version for the 'Policeman' track, we actually slowed the track down slightly, so I could fit the notes in. I'd never played it before. It just saved time. Ian Horne put his arm around me and said, 'Don't worry about it. We've done that before! Of course, now I can play it faster, slower, upside down--any way you like...It's easy now I've got used to it! No pressure! I must say I reckon Norman Watt-Roy is one of the best bassists we have around. He really is a national treasure. If you haven't seen him play, then you should check him out. He's just amazing.”

Tad had once described the other band members in the Crunch! as the older brothers that he never had. This was clearly apparent when he spoke about some of the wild antics that they used to get up to back in the early 90's when they were touring regularly. We had to ask Tad if it was true that Lee Thompson showed up dressed as a coffee table when Crunch played in Paris for the French premiere of 'The Doors' film. “'The Doors' premiere was on live French TV, and we'd just done some press after the 'L'Olympia' gig, and we all had a few shandies each. Lee didn't have anything to wear, and all our gear was at the other venue being packed away. So I suggested Lee go on as a coffee table, pointing to a table in the corner with some Gingham material on it. Chris borrowed a guitar; I borrowed a 'Beatle' style Hofner bass...As the curtain went up, I was playing 'Day Tripper,' and we blasted through Magic Carpet and Daydreamers with Lee singing "Wetdreamers." It was hilarious.”

While the last Crunch gig was at the Barfly, in Brighton, back in May of this year, and it was a great live show, there are no immediate plans to do upcoming dates. Tad said that he hopes that there will be more to come. He said also that while there was ‘nothing definite’ planned at the moment, that there is plenty of unreleased material that may still see the light of day, and he would be really happy if it does. He also said that he found the last gig to be ‘fun’ and hopes that there will be more Crunch shows in the future.

One of Tad’s current projects is the fabulous Dubwiser. Their My Space profile describes their music as "vibrant and heavy reggae," with influences such as Public Enemy and the Skatalites. We asked if this was another part of the music scene that he was into personally and if they have a following in Oxford, where they are based. “Jonas the singer, runs the My Space page. Spider and I are both in London. We travel to Oxford--where Jonas and Malcolm live. Any excuse…it's a great place to play…A good crowd usually turn out for Dubwiser--especially the Cowley Road faithful in East Oxford. As a musician, it would be crazy to stay in one form of music- the dub side of Reggae is very enjoyable and very much in my blood. One of my favorite albums of all time is 'Heart Of The Congos' by The Congos. Check it out...one of the best reggae albums ever made. Lee Perry at the controls. Enough said!” Tad continued. “Playing reggae has become so intuitive--especially with Spider on drums...We've played together since 1990, so we're getting to know each other musically very well…”

In contrast to Dubwiser's sound, Floordroppa are described as "Brit funk". We asked Tad which style he prefers playing. “…I might not be the best bass player on the planet, but I can feel it! I equally love either style because I love to play!”

FLOORDROPPA: Pablo, Kev, Tad, and Wayne. Photo courtesy floordroppa.com

We noted that Tad is a big Northern Soul fan and also a keen Level 42 enthusiast. We asked what else he has been listening to these days. “Again, two opposite ends of the Soul spectrum…I do love my Northern Soul, Stax, and Motown…My miss-spent youth down Carnaby Street, I guess...I would have loved to have gone to the Wigan Casino too.. way before my time...” Tad continued. “Yeah, Level 42 have been a huge influence on me, as have so many... It's that bass thing again. I used to do a paper round trying to save up for that first bass and amp... sometimes in the rain, and I hated it. The only thing that kept me going were the Madness, Reggae, and Level 42 tapes I had on my Walkman. Funk and Reggae went hand in hand in London in the early 80's... something people forget…I'm talking Lover's Rock reggae [Carroll Thompson/Janet Kay] being played opposite Level 42, Beggar and Co, and Second Image mixed with disco, at the clubs. Again, I was too young to go, but my neighbor used to tape me the 12" singles...along with the Sex Pistols!” Tad mentioned more influences and heroes. “I've met Mark King a couple of times, and he's been very encouraging, nice guy, too. I listen to a wide range of music too. My favorite album of all time: 'Songs in the Key Of Life' by Stevie Wonder.”

Tad wears many hats--including that of actor. We wanted to know how he caught the acting bug. “Crunch! went a bit quiet in the late 90's, and I decided on doing a film course,” said Tad. “I've always loved film...and as a result, Emmy winning cameraman Jeff Baynes [I'm sure he won't mind me saying that] took me on as a bit of an assistant for a few jobs. So I got to see what it was all about. Jeff had shot most of the Madness videos and both of our Crunch! Promos, so that was the connection. In fact, it was he who suggested I give it a go in front of camera...” Tad continued. “I admire an actor who gets up and does it because it is a hard craft. It's no great surprise in being a Londoner: I do like Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone. Julie Walters is fantastic too.... I do really like Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel in Mean Streets. Laurel and Hardy have me in stitches as soon as they come on too. My favorite current actors are two guys called Ian Pulestone Davies and Dylan Barnes... next generation!”

It was totally off-topic, but we always ask about Disneyland when we can of our interviewees. We asked Tad if he had ever been to the Anaheim theme park. “Nope, never been. If they ain't got a Magic Carpet ride, then they should have. Mind you: It'd be too dark for Disney!”

As for the future, Tad said, “Hopefully the Dubwiser gang will fire up for another round of dates, and I get to launch my Floordroppa boys into funky hyperspace soon.” We will be looking forward to that for sure.

Please visit Tad online and experience for yourself some excellent musicianship.





Portions of this article’s interview also appear on the new Madness Central website. There is a lot more with Tad, where he gives many other funny anecdotes about life on the road with the Crunch, as well as other excellent tales. You can read the complete, unedited interview at the website.

Weezer Rocks Phoenix

Weezer's Brian Bell, Rivers Cuomo, and guest drummer Atom Willard of Angels and Airwaves in Phoenix October 18, 2008. Photo: Karl Koch/weezer.com

I was not anticipating many shows this year as much as the Weezer concert in Phoenix, October 18. I had many high expectations for this one. I am pleased to state that I was not disappointed.

Parking was unbelievably reasonable: $13 for across the street from the fairgrounds was a lot better than the $12 for up the street where we would need a shuttle or a long walk. We strolled past the livestock area and the aroma gave me flashbacks of my sisters’ FFA and 4-H days. The entire atmosphere began stirring up memories of when we used to go to the Fair as kids. I had not honestly been to the State Fair in about 25 years, so that tells the reader something about the lengths I was willing to go to in order to attend the show. As we strolled through the midway, many of the rides were familiar. The Super Slide was still there, only it is now a different color. In 25 years, a lot had not changed that much. Even the bumper boats were still in Kiddie Land. Amidst the aroma of corn dogs, Indian Fry Bread and Popcorn, we heard the blaring of loud pop music from the Tilt-A-Whirl. The big, crazy Ferris Wheel (which I so loved as a kid) was still lurking high above us. My friend and I decided we would skip the rides and head straight for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the actual concert venue itself.

Once inside, we immediately noticed the diversity in age. Little children, from about age three, through teens and twenty-, thirty-, and forty-something people filled out the crowd. The fair-like environment had trickled out to the coliseum. The parents were bringing their kids. Ages were probably three through fifty.

We were still being ushered to our seats by security during the Tokyo Police Club set, so I cannot make a fair assessment of their performance, however, what I can say is that what I heard of them, I enjoyed. Angels and Airwaves came out next. Their set was pretty rocking, and we liked the vibes the music was generating as they played. The impressive energy from the drummer Atom Willard was evident, and my friend and I noticed it immediately. He was fantastic. The band’s synergy was tight. While observing members of the audience, it seemed there were as many AvA fans as Weezer fans in attendance. That made it even more fun.

It was not long after the Angels and Airwaves set that the crowd began to get restless as thousands shouted for a taste of Weezer.

The band [minus singer Rivers Cuomo] came out in white Stanley Kubrick-type jumpsuits and launched into the classic Blue album's opener, "My Name Is Jonas," with drummer Pat Wilson singing the initial lead vocal. The crowd roared and sang along and hung on every line, but it was apparent that there were some lost and confused faces, wondering just where the original singer of the song was during those moments. Rivers graced us with his presence at last during mid-song. The crowd’s response met him with a roar of approval. The song ended on a jovial note when Cuomo sang the final line, "Mi amo Jonas."

Cuomo produced the most astounding charm, that of utterly changing himself. One can remember back to the earliest Weezer shows when he seemed so shy and uncomfortable while performing live. Throughout the night, with little gestures or words, even cracking many smiles, the man now seemed at ease in his element.

On this occasion, he had crept out midway through the first song of the set, hiding behind his costume with his shoulders slouched.

From there, he took off his mask and shared the vocals, demonstrating great showmanship throughout.

Weezer performing on stage October 18, 2008. Photo: Karl Koch/weezer.com

The audience stayed on its feet cheering as the band went through a 20-song repertoire encompassing everything from album tracks, through a few unexpected surprises as well, including a b-side and two cover versions.

A whirlwind cluster of power chords burst forth during the chorus of “Say It Ain’t So” as the audience shouted along with the lyrics. Whether they knew the tune from Guitar Hero or from the Blue Album, fans were enraptured, hanging on every line. The sing-along continued during almost every single moment of the show.

The crowd played witnesses to a security team, which gripped their flashlights as if they were Jedi Knights clinging to their light sabers while preparing for a major galactic battle. There was no real storm brewing, and the crowd certainly did not become chaotic. A riot never ensued. Instead, the crowd became one with the musicians, singing along to every tune. This was not just a band onstage playing their songs for an audience. It became an interactive experience, unlike any other.

"Phoenix, Arizona! Can you hear me?" The dark-haired mustachioed singer Rivers Cuomo said around mid-way through the set, as he spoke into his headset/microphone. The crowd roared. Cuomo continued in a calm voice; his tone was as peaceful and inexpressive as possible. "I'm not just doing that lead singer B.S. where they say 'Can you hear me?' and the crowd goes 'Woo!' Actually I actually wanted to know...because I just put on this headset microphone and I wasn't sure it was working...but now I'm sure so I can start this song..." The audience roared its genuine approval, and giant smiles covered many faces, just as the rest of the band started into “Pork and Beans” from their latest self-titled Red album.

Josh from Tokyo Police Club joined the band on guitar for "Troublemaker," another track from the new record. It had a nice spoken intro from R.C. "...now I get to sing this song and do a little dance." Midway through the song, Cuomo made the introductions to the band members: the fierce-looking Scott Shriner on electric bass, the fun-spirited Pat Wilson, on what Cuomo called 'the electric drums,' and the incomparable Brian Bell on guitar. With each introduction, a member took a little solo at which the enigmatic Cuomo would do his interpretative dance. The crowd went wild, clapping and cheering at the solos and at Rivers' funny boogie. Before getting into the final verse, he continued with his cute little monologue. "I don't have any patience. I gotta have it...I want it...That’s what makes me the lead singer in a rock n roll troupe. That’s what makes me a little bit of a Troublemaker 2008." While this was about halfway through the concert, it was a perfect example of how the band and audience interacted throughout the show. While there were filled chairs on the floor and the balcony, most of the crowd remained on its feet the entire time.

Even the most jaded audience members appeared irreversibly swayed by their charms.

During another point, Rivers perched atop some man’s shoulders and ventured out into the crowd. The audience sang along to a favorite from Pinkerton, “El Scorcho,” as little pink arms reached out to touch him while he surveyed the scene.

Cuomo and his band-mates demonstrated brilliantly how Rock N Roll has this ability to alter even the most bookish, shy nerds, into arena rock gods. The best part, though, was the heroic transformations themselves. Scott Shriner gave an animated performance of the Red Album classic bonus track “King.” Despite it being a more mellow number, he endeared the audience with it. Brian Bell shred like the best of them. His fingers ripped across the frets and had the audience screaming for more. My favorite moments, however, just had to belong to Pat Wilson. He shout-out to various Arizona cities (“Mesa! Tempe! Flagstaff! Etc) and was embraced by a gale of enthusiasm from the natives. He took center stage during his Red Album high light “Automatic” and for the mind-blowing, note-perfect Pink Floyd cover, “Time.”

Pat Wilson takes a turn up-front during the Phoenix show. Photo: Karl Koch/weezer.com

The main set ended with the epic Red Album track “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.” Stomping feet and cheers from the crowd permeated the hall while we waited for the band to return.

Many were surprised to see the variety of different musicians who joined them upon taking the stage. There were some guitarists, a cellist, a flutist, saxophonist, and even a didgeridoo player on board as the band and fans jammed together for “Island in the Sun” and “Beverly Hills,” which also provided a golden opportunity for another crowd sing-along. Rivers had the boys in the audience singing, “Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be,” as he had the girls singing, “Gimme-Gimme! Gimme-Gimme!” It was brilliant.

Rivers Cuomo and the lucky fans chosen to jam with Weezer on October 18, 2008. Photo: Karl Koch/weezer.com

The second encore began when “unofficial fifth member” Karl Koch brought out a little record player. He dropped the needle on the emotional Red Album track “Heart Songs.” It was followed by Rivers, donning a Dire Straits-in-the-80s-type, elastic headband and black sleeveless Motley Crue shirt, coming out, kicking the set over, as the band launched into the explosive Nirvana cover, “Sliver.” The evening’s closer, “Buddy Holly” caused quite a rumpus. Hands were in the air making the =w= symbol. The roar of the crowd was deafening.

As the night ended, the audience yearned for more. The energy was still high, and the adrenaline was still flowing as we strolled through the lighted midway and headed back to the car.

I had not had that much fun in such a long time, and I really am glad I went. The ambiance captured everything from Seventies Progressive Rock to Eighties Metal to Nineties College Rock. I could only imagine what was going through the heads of the little children in attendance. I imagined that they were just as amazed as I had been during my first concerts, which my parents took me to when I was a kid. My amateur photos were almost all completely blurred, but thankfully, I got permission from Karl to use the shots he took of the show in which I have included on the page, which really captured the moment. Thanks again for that. For anyone reading this, if you have not seen Weezer live, you are really missing something special. The next time they roll through your town, make sure you go. You will thank me for the recommendation later. They Rock!


8. UNDONE—THE SWEATER SONG (w/ Tom from Angels & Airwaves)
11. TROUBLEMAKER (w/ Josh from Tokyo Police Club)

For more great photos from this show, other tour highlights, news and more, please go visit the official Weezer website


Interview by Steve Bringe
Feature by Trish Morgan

Boz Boorer. Photo Courtesy Boz Boorer/www.bozboorer.com

“It's getting good reviews, which is one thing I've never had with the solo stuff so it's nice to be recognized,” says Boz Boorer of his new album “Miss Pearl,” which has just been released in September. The record is his latest outing as a solo artist. While the public may know him best as Morrissey’s guitarist and Musical Director, Boz is also a man who wears many hats, including producer and song-writer. He has worked with many other artists including Cathal Smyth from Madness, Kirsty MacColl, and Adam Ant. We were thrilled when Boz took the time to sit with us for an interview recently.

Boz’s music career took off when he was a part of a rockabilly revival of the late Seventies and early Eighties in the Polecats, which he began in 1979. Through the Eighties, he also worked with The Shillelagh Sisters and was a Chrysalis Music Studio Engineer. In 1991, Morrissey was looking for a Musical Director and was referred to Boz by their mutual friend, Cathal Smyth (of Madness). This coveted position was landed after a surprise phone call one day. After laughing, Boz shared the story with us. “Well that whole thing with Morrissey came about through Carl; I did a session then we talked about getting a band together. Then it all went quiet, and I didn't hear anything, and then suddenly, it all went a bit wild. It was about 1991, and he phoned me up and said, ‘Would you be my musical director?’ and I said, ‘Okay, let’s give it a go…‘”

"Moz and Boz" Morrissey with Boz, Photo Courtesy Boz Boorer/www.bozboorer.com

We described Boz as the ‘go to guy,’ since people like Morrissey, Adam Ant, etc., always seem to ask for his help. He was incredibly humble and modest about this. “…I don't know, I never thought of it like that really. I just play really, and I play with a lot of different people. I don't know what it is that I do, I suppose it's just personality, and I dunno, style I suppose. I just do what I do, and it leads to whatever way it has to lead, you know, whatever I have to play. I don't know. Maybe it's a fun thing.”

The latest Morrissey record, Years of Refusal, is coming out in the new year. Boz shared some personal insight about this. “It's finished. We've had a playback, and I think it's February when it will be out,” he said. “The producer died, Jerry Finn, he had a stroke. He was on a life support for about 40 days, and in the end, he died, very sad. So the album was finished, but the company wanted Morrissey to just take a break and be out of the public eye I think. You know, just stop doing the shows for a little while, so when the album came out, it would come out with a bang, and I was under the impression that it's not coming out until February.” We told Boz that we are really looking forward to it, being such fans ourselves. “It's a great album. I wouldn't say it's the best thing I've ever done because maybe that's an overused phrase, but I'd say it was a good slab of music; every time I hear it, it's different stuff that goes on in it.”

Boz co-wrote some compositions with Morrissey for the new album, including "That's How People Grow Up" and "Black Cloud.” He told us that “Black Cloud” may even be a single. We asked Boz how he thought the new tunes compared with the older “Moz/Boz” collaborations, such as "The More You Ignore Me,” “The Closer I Get," and "Come Back to Camden.” Boz said, “There's not really any ballads on the album, there are no sort of slow songs. They’re thicker, the instrumentation, and the drums are probably a bit more wild…'All You Need Is Me' is definitely a tougher sound, you know a harder edge.”

While we know the new Morrissey record is going to be fantastic, we wanted to make sure we talked about Boz’s new solo record, Miss Pearl, which just came out at the end of September. It's his first solo album since the 1996 release, “My Wild Life's Gonna Get Me Down.”

Miss Pearl, Boz's new solo album. Photo Courtesy Boz Boorer/www.BozBoorer.com

“Yeah, I didn't realize; I found a box of records in my studio. I opened up the box, and I saw ‘My Wild Life,’ which was a 10 inch album, and I thought, ‘Blimey, I haven't done a record in 12 years. I better put another one out.’ I didn't know it had been so long! So I got together a collection of recordings, you know, things that had been lying around, some had come out and some hadn't, and I just put everything together and picked the best 16 songs.” We asked Boz about his choice of covering the Ramones classic “Rockaway Beach.” He explained, “There’s a magazine called, what is it? Rock Guitar…Guitarist…They give away a free CD, and they put that on it which is quite good. I was always a Ramones fan, and that was one of my favorite songs, and it’s kind of an obvious rockabilly feel.”

Boz offered his guitar talents to the "Save The Gorilla" campaign with Adam Ant, with an EP featuring a reworked version of "Stand and Deliver.” We asked Boz if he has other interest in charity work. “…Well, yeah I'm a great believer in charities. I'm not an active part of any charities, but I still get stuff through for ‘Save The Gorilla.’ 'The Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund’ seems to be having problems. There's a lot of people moving around in the charity now. I think it's a good thing. There was a documentary that we got involved with that explained the plight of the mountain gorillas and how they were just getting taken out for people to have little gorilla hands as souvenirs. It’s appalling really. But...it was a thing we were involved in, and we tried to help, but it didn't get released.” We really like how funky “Stand and Deliver” is. “We did the two versions of ‘Monkey Man…’” Boz said. “The Toots and the Maytals song and the Rolling Stones song, and they’re both called ‘Monkey Man,’ which was probably the best song on the EP.”

Boz rocking in Belfast. Photo Courtesy Boz Boorer/www.BozBoorer.com

We asked how he ended up with the nick-name, Boz. “When I was at school, when I was a kid, there was one particular kid who for no reason started calling me 'Bozzie Boy,' and everyone thought it was funny, so for a week everyone called me 'Bozzie Boy;' and then the next week it was shortened to 'Bozzie,' and then the next week it went down to 'Boz,' and it stayed from when I was about ten years old.”

Boz and his wife Lyn have been together for 21 years. We asked him what the secret was in keeping such a solid relationship in the normally shaky music industry, where marriages seem to disappear overnight. “Well I've been married for 21 years, and I think I've only been home for about ten of those…” Boz laughed. “Which keeps it nice and fresh for me, never go home. Go away for three months at a time…”

Lyn and Boz, Photo Courtesy Boz Boorer/www.bozboorer.com

On a serious note, we inquired about Boz’s friend, the legendary and much missed Kirsty MacColl. Her death is still surrounded by mystery.

“I just feel…robbed really, it's like…I can't explain. It was so corrupt…You know it was just a corrupt thing, and it was so wrong, but you know, nothing that's been done would ever have brought her back. It would have been nice just to see some justice, but you know it's just wrong. I can't really put it into words, but her mother's had this huge thing, you know, about 'Justice for Kirsty,' and I would like to see some sort of closure really. But you can't put it away, and it never gets properly solved, and it taints all the memories because it is so wrong. But, I dunno really, it's such a tragedy, and it was at the point when she was going out on tour finally and making great records…She was in a great space in her head too, so it's completely unfathomable.”

We told Boz how much corruption we are familiar with, being so close to the Mexican border.

“Well, there was the thing about the boat, a diving area, which should never have been there, the whole thing is such a tragedy.”

While he’s been so busy this year, Boz told us that he doesn’t really have many more projects planned for the rest of the year. We asked what he’s going to be doing to fill up what little spare time he has. “…I've been going out to see shows. I started off with The Sex Pistols about two weeks ago, and my body still hurts…” He laughed. “…Then I saw X-Ray Spex, the Stray Cats. In fact I went to Manchester to see The Stray Cats the day before yesterday...It was fantastic, a really good gig, but Slim Jim fell over at the end of the show, and he broke three bones in his hand, so they had to cancel the last three gigs. So we went up to Manchester and went out drinking.”

Boz’s new album “Miss Pearl” is available now.

Please visit Boz Boorer online



Portions of this article’s interview also appear on the new Madness Central website. There is a lot more with Boz, where he talks in more detail about his work and friendship with the lads in Madness, as well as other excellent tales. You can read the complete, unedited interview at the website.

Youth in Asia ANTI-HERO BRAND VOL. 1 by John Chihak

Rock N Roll and Cartoon Art have gone together for as long as I can remember. From the original Heavy Metal and American Pop films, right along the line to the comic books themselves. One seems to influence the other in many ways. A new renegade set of comic books by John Chihak is out now, drawing on many diverse influences including the music and philosophy of Rage Against the Machine.

This trade paper back edition is a collection of the first three issues of the Youth in Asia (YiA) comics from Anti-Hero Brand press. In VOLUME 1, we meet the characters for the first time. John Nash wrestles professionally for Triple X Wrestling by day (and night) and serves as an anti-hero, fighting against injustice in Apex City by late nights. Nash is joined by his best friend, sidekick (and alter ego), the cute and fluffy Agnew, along with Nash’s sexy and tough girlfriend, Kyle, and their equally hot friend Grrry. Kyle and Grrry are in the all-girl punk band The Step Monsters together. When she’s not playing guitar, or helping Nash and the team fight crime, Kyle is working at the local comic store, along with being a political activist. Grrry owns the Triple X Wrestling Promotion and serves at the Top Ten Diner, when she isn’t using her powerful pipes on lead vocals for the band, or helping kick someone’s ass in the cold, dark night. This special edition also features an introduction from Mr. Agnew Pennyworth himself. That’s just one of many other things that make it so cool.

The STEP MONSTERS, a sketch by John Chihak, one of the bonus features of this edition

John captures your imagination while drawing characters having adventures so exciting, the reader wishes she could join them. In many ways, through the attention to details in the drawings and the storylines themselves, it often does feel like we’re along for the ride and are enjoying every twist and turn. The passion that the author has for the characters and their lives is quite evident, which impresses upon the reader to care about a subject we may not have normally ever given a second thought before, like the world of wrestling. As Nash fights Genocide in the first story, for example, we turn the pages in anticipation of what is going to happen next. I found myself smiling as my heart pounded, cheering on Nash, just hoping he wins. This is coming from someone who honestly never watched much wrestling. Since I liked the Nash character so much, I found myself researching the ECW on Google once I finished the story, searching for more information on who might have inspired the characters. Its not often that I read a story that draws me in so intently. I also enjoyed the play on words and the elements of humor that are interjected as well. If one pays close attention, he or she will notice some of the subtle jokes including the Step Monsters EP display at the record store, or on the t-shirts, posters, and bumper stickers that the characters own.

Agnew and Nash in a promo poster for Anti-Hero Brand, art by John Chihak

The story is easy to follow, and its equally as simple to instantly love the characters. My only criticism is there is a lot of back story that the average reader might have difficult with at first reading. In defense of the author, however, it would have been very difficult to put a lot of exposition in without detracting too much from the storylines themselves. I think this presents an excellent idea for future issues of the comic to tell more of the characters back ground. I’m really looking forward to reading more about the origins of Agnew, Nash, Kyle, and Grrry, especially more about the girls’ punk band, the Step Monsters. I can easily imagine these stories turning into a film form someday that would be far superior to the comic book-inspired films that have come before, if only it were possible. The punk rock soundtrack would be fantastic! Henry Rollins could voice Nash! I know. I can dream.

Anti-Hero banner seen at many conventions. Artwork by John Chihak

While this book is a collection of the first three comics, please know that Issue Four will be out in the Fall. All of John Chihak’s comics are available locally in Tucson at Charlie’s Comics. You can also purchase hand-crafted Agnew’s at Charlie’s, which are sewed personally by Venus of Necro, while supplies last. You can also order merchandise with John’s designs online at the official merchandise shop of Anti-Hero Brand.


Please visit John Chihak and his Anti-Hero Brand friends online at


Also visit John on My Space

I hope the weekend is treating you well. First off, I wanted to check in just to make sure everyone knows just how pleased I was with the VH-1 Rock Honors tribute to The Who that aired the other night. I hadn't had a chance to post before now, but want to make sure that if you missed it, please do check out your local listings for encore presentations, which will no doubt be re-airing a bit throughout the month. It was fantastic. Fortunately I was able to find the Foo Fighters performance with Gaz Coombes from Supergrass doing this incredible version of Bargain from VH1 dot com, so I'm making sure I mention it in here because it was freaking incredible. (I also enjoyed the FF's Young Man Blues immensely. That song is rarely done properly when covered and it was done great. I think it has something to do with it being a Mose Allison jazz song first and then being re-arranged in to a powerful heavy rock song by Pete Townshend, with all of the movement, etc. Grohl and company were great.) To see that truly extraordinary hard rocking interpretation of Young Man Blues and their fantastic version of Bargain be sure to check out the official VH-1 page as they still do have highlights up at VH1.com.

I laughed at Adam Sandler and Tenacious D and admit I was impressed quite a lot by Incubus's take on two of the early classics.

The biggest disappointment had to be Flaming Lips. While they had a lot of spirit, and I think they are a fantastic band, I really can't imagine how anyone thought they would be able to pull off something as big as the tunes from Tommy. As we watched, my co-worker wasn't impressed and made his opinion known. He liked the other performances though.

Which brings me to the two biggest parts of the evening--Pearl Jam and The Who themselves. OK. PJ rocked the place so freaking hard I bet the earth was shaking. Mike McCready's energy was exciting me just as I was watching that television screen, being lulled and drawn into how well they were interpreting those two Quadrophenia tracks (Love Reign O'er Me and The Real Me). [By the way, that is my favorite Who album, and I adore the film, which has such sentimental attachments for me.] Everything from Jeff Ament's bass to the strings and horns augmented Vedders vocals. For Daltrey's sake, Eddie's scowls and screams were just absolute freaking amazing.

The Who came out after the other bands, and proved the kids are still alright, doing the thing that they do best. I felt a mix of emotions throughout their performance as Roger seemed to be struggling with his voice, even drinking some tea at the end. I had to remind myself Pete and Rog aren't kids anymore, how Rog is 64. Damn, who would have thought I would be sitting here over 25 years after I first learned of their music, as a loud mouthed little gibble...I guess its about time I get myself to a Who concert, I was thinking. I have gotta talk someone into going to L.A. with me. Before I die, I have to see the Who--or what's left of them now with Roger and Pete and their friends and family helping. John and Keith may be gone but they're so there in spirit as Ringo's son Zak pounds away, at times even looking like Keith. I remember all the things I heard when I was younger about how Keith 'advised' a young Zak on the drums. I think that Simon, Pete's brother, is a fantastic guitarist and harmony vocalist. He helped especially during Who Are You. While the current bassist (Pino Palladino) doesn't have the chops of The Ox, he was still pretty damn good. It was also great to see Rabbit on keys as I remember he was on the first Who concert I ever saw (on television on HBO) in 1982. My favorite part was Behind Blue Eyes for obvious reasons. I wasn't originally going to post this blog on El Ojito, since my feelings for the Who are incredibly personal, as anyone who knows me understands, and I am wearing my heart on my sleeve this morning as I write this. I think of how I never met Keith but how I'll never forget him, and what an amazing journey its been with the Who--and just how much they have influenced me. I saw a documentary also on Thursday afternoon where Pete was talking about people who come up to him and tell him that his music changed their lives. He said he will tell them 'Thanks,' however he wonders if it was for the better that it changed them. I know what they mean when they say that to him, as its how I've felt since I was 12. I saw a blog with a funny, but accurate title called Pete Townshend Changed My Life. I think its sums a lot of it up for me. Its deep. Its personal. How can someone we've never met effect us in such a way with their art? That is where the true Beauty is, isn't it? Its another Mystery of the Unexplained.

Anyway, enough of my rambles. For those of you who missed it, you have got to see the Pearl Jam tribute section. Its obvious they truly love The Who as much as I do.

This is also available at the official VH-1 page.


Enjoy and have a great weekend, Everyone!

Long Live Rock,

The Bonebrake Syncopators--THAT DA DA STRAIN
c2008 Bonebrake Syncopators

Bonebrake Syncopators (l to r): TK Smith, DJ Bonebrake, Wally Hersom,
Dave Stuckey, Jeremy Wakefield

The sun is reflected off the clear blue water of the pool on this hot July afternoon. A delightful sound is coming through the earphones of this girl’s I-Pod as she lounges. It’s the captivating new album from The Bonebrake Syncopators, That Da Da Strain. The album brims with an assortment of styles ranging from be bop to swing. It remains constantly enjoyable throughout the 11 tracks, which include instrumental and vocal numbers.

The masterful Hawaiian steel guitar work of Jeremy Wakefield evokes thoughts of everything from the underwater city of Bikini Bottom, to a hot and dusty night in Austin; Dave Stuckey’s drums keep perfect rhythm and set a spirited groove for the rest of the band to follow--and they are able to sing those classics as well as the greats like Dean, or Frank, or even Bing. Wally Hersom’s exceptional stand up bass sets a captivating pace. The intricate guitar styling of TK Smith is as often reminiscent of Django Reinhardt.   DJ Bonebrake seems to channel the spirits of Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton in his vibraphone work with delightful results. Together, the quintet sends the listener on a mystical musical journey through the past and back again which would make Ben Pollack very proud.

While the entire CD is fantastic, there are a few tracks in particular that envelop the listener to instantly shift a state of mind. Each time I hear “China Boy,” I can envision the child being lulled off to sleep as the music pleasantly bops along. I can hear the bell of the trolley in “Limehouse Blues” (with vocals by Stuckey), and instantly, I’m imagining myself in Chinatown, sometime perhaps even at the turn of the century. During the title track, I’m transported to somewhere between New Orleans Square and Main Street USA at Disneyland, when I was 6 years old--the first time I recall hearing and understanding what jazz music was and how it affected me. My single most favorite track [“Porter’s Love Song (To A Chamber Maid)”], with vocals by Wakefield,  will bring listeners to their feet with its irresistibly catching rhythm and finger-snapping beat. “On the Alamo” is dreamlike and even hypnotic in its respite from the often times up tempo music on the album. Its like an instant exotic vacation getaway and back in less than three minutes. Moments like these intermingle with the other foot tapping sounds on the rest of the album, and these are what make the album so perfect. There is definitely a little bit of something for everyone on here.

Throughout the album, an ambience is created, elegantly demonstrating their admiration for those early jazz and swing pioneers. All of the tracks covered here are old favorites from the 1940s and 1950s, however in each arrangement, the group makes the songs all their own.

When each musician solos, he’s not too flashy but certainly demonstrates his confidence and skill with his instrument. Going back to “Limehouse Blues,” for example, it is especially striking with the vibraphone, how seemingly effortless Bonebrake’s mallets seem to glide across the bars. We listen and are in awe of the smoothness of the sound. The same thing goes for guitar solos, as on “Swedish Pastry.” These gentlemen are masters of their craft and the listener tunes in for a captivating experience.

The album is a must-have and can be purchased online directly from DJ Bonebrake at http://www.djbonebrakemusic.com/news.html or through CD Baby http://cdbaby.com/cd/bonebrakesyncopators. If you still need more convincing, you can also go to CD Baby and listen to some excellent samples of the tracks now.

My Rating:


For those of you in the Los Angeles area, you can catch the Bonebrake Syncopators for free this Sunday afternoon, July 13, at Safari Sams for Sunday Brunch at 5214 W. Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.  Doors are opening at 12:00 noon, and it should go through around 4:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. They're probably playing two sets.  You can also catch them in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, July 19, at the Redwood Bar 316 W 2nd Street. Admission is $5, and they will begin at 10:00 p.m. and will more than likely play two long sets.  DJ is also sitting in on drums with Rip Masters for a rocking show at Joe's American Bar 4311 W Magnolia Blvd in Burbank on Tuesday, July 22.

Please visit the Bonebrake Syncopators online


Don't forget to also visit DJ Bonebrake online at his other site


My Rating System:

$$$$$--Well worth your Time and Money. Its an instant Classic. You should rush out and buy this NOW!
$$$$--There are a quite a few good tracks, but it needs some improvement. A great record over all, though not perfect. I still highly recommend it. Something pretty cool.
$$$--There are some good tracks however, you can save your money on New and wait to find this Used at your favorite re-seller.  There are no more than 5 stand out tracks worth paying your hard earned money for...
$$--Definitely try to borrow it from the library or off a friend…There may still be some thing listenable here.
$--One word. Pathetic. Approach with caution.
NO $'s--No Money. No Dice. Not worth it at any price. I wouldn’t recommend it if it were given to you for Free.


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