Released last Friday by Cleopatra Records, Metal Box - Rebuilt in Dub is the latest album by original PiL bassist and veteran sonic alchemist Jah Wobble, who has reworked and re-recorded eight of the original album’s 12 tracks (plus two earlier PiL numbers) with help from former Siouxsie and the Banshees/Specimen guitarist Jon Klein (who, along with Wobble, also contributes drums). Of course, recording a new version of Metal Box in 2021 is a bit like repainting the Mona Lisa – and a surprising move from a man who didn’t have a shred of interest in revisiting PiL material just a few years ago.
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Monday, October 25, 2021
These haven’t been the best of times, and the world needs live music now more than ever. People also need a reason to let out some real laughter. It’s quite rare to experience both at the same time, but that’s what former Yes keyboardist/Prog Rock legend/absolute nutter Rick Wakeman delivered during his recent stop in Derry, NH on his current “Even Grumpier Old Rock Star” US Tour.
A sequel to his 2019 “Grumpy Old Rock Star” Tour (which shared its name with his 2008 book), Wakeman’s current solo jaunt finds him entertaining fans with selections from his 50-year music career and a heavy dose of his fantastic brand of brilliant – and often quite bawdy – humor. (Think Mozart meets Graham Chapman.) One only needs to take a look at the man’s notorious dirty joke-filled acceptance speech during Yes’ 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony to get a sense of what it’s like to spend an evening with a man who is equal parts meticulous composer and mirthful court jester. After all, anyone audacious enough to create an album like 1975’s The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table certainly isn’t afraid to shun convention. When it comes to the sometimes stuffy world of Prog, fans can always count on Wakeman to deliver his musical wizardry with a mischievous wink.
Without giving away too many punchlines, I’ll say that the guy is an utter riot. Whether discussing his advancing age (“I wear a pair of glasses to find the pair of glasses I’ve put down!;” “It gets harder when you get older, doesn’t it? Or maybe it’s the opposite…”), his history of heart attacks (“I stopped having them, ’cause they hurt!”) or a slew of other topics (including a story about the late Keith Emerson, a lavatory and an awards show…You really had to be there), Wakeman had the crowd in stitches with his between-song banter. These stand-up routines were juxtaposed with the sonic side of the festivities, which showcased the beauty of his talents on the keys. Every note of this performance – from show opener “Sea Horses” (off 1979’s Rhapsodies) to the final moment of encore “Merlin The Magician” (off the aforementioned King Arthur album) – was captivating. When not gifting the crowd with solo material, he performed classic songs (often infused with hysterical introductory tidbits) he recorded with the likes of Yes, David Bowie and Cat Stevens. Additionally, he performed a heartfelt tribute to The Beatles (“Help!” and “Eleanor Rigby”). For this writer, Wakeman’s loving renditions of Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and “Life On Mars?” were the evening’s most impactful numbers.
Wakeman’s return to American stages is the latest in a series of activities he’s undertaken during the COVID-19 era. In addition to releasing his latest solo album, The Red Planet, in June 2020, he revised his glorious past earlier this year with the release of Rick Wakeman’s Yes Solos, a stunning collection of some of his finest onstage moments with Yes from 1971 to 2003 (with three bonus solos recorded in 1989 during his time with the Yes spin-off group Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe). Full marks to the guy for taking such an enjoyable show – and a chance for folks to enjoy live music and jokes again – out on the road.
ProTip: Be sure to hit the merchandise table and pick up a copy of the fantastic Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour programme, which features plenty of Wakeman’s wit and wisdom – as well as a biography presented as a true-or-false quiz!
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
|Photo by Jack Grisham|
Kira needs no introduction, but here’s one anyway...
Best known to Punk fans around the world as the bassist for Black Flag from late 1983 to late 1985 and one half of the two-bass project dos with Mike Watt, Kira has spent the past several years building an accomplished career as a dialogue editor for television and film. Her many credits include Joker, the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born and the second season of Game of Thrones. Additionally, she’s received two Emmys and was part of the sound team that won an Oscar for its work on Mad Max: Fury Road. Now, at 60, she has a brand-new addition to her extraordinary résumé: Solo music artist.
Out today, Kira’s eponymous 10-song debut solo album offers a considerably more subdued atmosphere than anything she played on during her days with Greg Ginn and company. For a general understanding of its immediate vibe, picture a quaint avant-garde Jazz club rather than, say, the old City Gardens in Trenton, NJ. In addition to showcasing her ever-exquisite bass playing, the album features her soothing (but nonetheless evocative) vocals on all tracks. Guests include the amazing Petra Haden (who you can read more about here), guitarist Glenn Brown and drummer Dave Bach.
The album is Kira’s latest sonic undertaking to also feature her older brother, Paul Roessler, whose life in music has included stints with The Screamers, Nina Hagen, Nervous Gender, 45 Grave, The Gitane DeMone Quartet and a host of others. Paul’s role as co-producer and musical contributor is only fitting when considering he is the one Kira credits for inspiring her to play bass to begin with. Circa 1976, Paul put together a band called Arc2 to play a primitive version of his epic 47-minute, Prog-inspired composition, “The Arc” (finally recorded in proper form and released on limited-edition vinyl in 2013). Kira, who was 15 at the time, wanted in.
“Their bass player quit, which is the exact reason that I borrowed a bass and started practicing really hard – I wanted to join Arc2. I was never good enough, and then Paul got into Punk Rock. It all works out like it’s supposed to, I guess.”
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
|Photo courtesy of Chipster PR|
Moments ago, I received the below update from Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest. It appears unedited below:
I’ve always been grateful for the opportunities I’ve been presented with. I’ve always considered myself THE most fortunate man ever - to be able to play my favourite music - with my favourite band - to my favourite people around the world…
Today just being able to type this to you all is the biggest gift of all…
As I watch footage from the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky, I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling whilst playing ‘Painkiller’ as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity….
I was having what my doctor called an aortic aneurysm and complete aortic dissection.
From what I’ve been told by my surgeon, people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive…..
I was taken to nearby Rudd Heart & Lung Center and quickly went into what turned out to be a 10 ½ hour emergency open heart surgery.
Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components…..I’m literally made of metal now….
It could have all ended so differently – we only had an hours set that night due to Metallica’s performance after us – and it does cross my mind if it was a full set, would I have played until total collapse…? If it hadn’t happened in such a high adrenaline situation would my body have been able to keep going long enough to reach the hospital…?
The amazing Heart & Lung Center was 4 miles away from the gig site – if it had been further away……..
We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things but I’m still alive thankfully. Whatever the circumstances, when watching that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man…..
I’ve been moved to tears and humbled by friends, family, my fantastic band, crew and management and also you guys sending me videos and messages of love and support during the last week – I thank you all so much and although I have a recovery road ahead of me, as soon as I’m able to get up and running again, you’ll be the first to know and we’ll get back out there delivering the goods for you all….!
One last thing maniacs, this came totally out of the blue for me – no history of a bad heart, no clogged arteries etc…my point is I don’t even have high cholesterol and this could’ve been the end for me. If you can get yourselves checked – do it for me please……
Lots of love and see you down the front again soon….
This is from our strong falcon - he will be flying high again just as soon as he is able….
October 6th, 2021
Monday, October 4, 2021
Despite presenting a world of gun-toting tough guys and chest-beating bravado, it’s Giuseppina Bruno – not Tony Soprano, and not even protagonist Dickie Moltisanti – who matters most in The Many Saints of Newark.
This truth becomes clear early in the film, when Giuseppina (played with doe-eyed aplomb by Michela De Rossi) utters the word “motherfucker.” On its surface, the scene is a chuckle-inducing throwaway: New to America, the young Italian beauty is slowly grasping English while living in the company of a crew of Jersey mobsters – most notably her new lover, Dickie. (It’s a pretty easy word to pick up in a crowd like that, no?) But what’s important here is that she says it with equal parts glee and authority – cutely enjoying the novelty of expressing a dirty American word while simultaneously giving the audience more than a passing nod to its relevance.
“Motherfucker” carries considerable weight in this film. A few minutes prior to this pivotal scene, Giuseppina is introduced to Dickie – and the rest of us – as the much younger bride of his father, Hollywood Dick. At first, both Moltisanti men appear decent enough (at least by gangster standards): Dickie is a charismatic gentleman whose attitude and mannerisms hint at a heart of gold under his flashy wardrobe, while Hollywood Dick comes off as a doting husband – well, a doting husband with a subtle penchant for control and a glaring habit of speaking for his better half.