Amoeba Music Hollywood got much love from today's (Jan 13th) New York Times in the Sunday paper's supplemental Travel section as part of its weekly "36 Hours" feature. Each week "36 Hours" focuses on a certain town, city, or small region, offering up a list of the essential things to do -- imagining that one has only a thirty-six hour period to spend in that place. And for this week's "36 Hours in Hollywood," Times travel writer Jennifer Steinhauer picked twelve essential stops in Hollywood, including Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, the ArcLight Cinema, and of course Amoeba Music on Sunset.
Under the heading "Before iPods," Steinhauer, who allocated a little under two hours for the Amoeba stop, wrote: "From Roscoe’s, it’s a fast walk to Amoeba Records (6400 Sunset Boulevard, 323-245-6400; www.amoeba.com), one of the last great independent record stores in the country, where new and used CDs and DVDs are found by the mile. There are also live in-store performances (with a special emphasis on up and coming Los Angeles bands)."
To see the full article pick up today's NY Times (avail in most major cities) or check the article posted on the New York Times website. Note that the printed version also includes a nice photo of the main floor of Amoeba looking down from the stairwell by the DVD section.
I wanted to finally get this list out there before everyone forgets about what made 2007 so great. The movies are in a basic sort of order but they were really all fantastic films that I enjoyed immensely this year. They made life just a little bit easier to get through this year and made me even more excited for another year of great films. Films like Juno, The Savages and Before the Devil Knows Your Dead may have ended up in the list but I did not get a chance to see them yet. Juno is in enough top ten lists this year already. So I don't feel so bad. Sweeney Todd almost made the list. But I have a hard time taking musicals seriously. I really enjoyed it but I just don't think it is one of the best of the year. I also really liked Sunshine and Halloween this year but they didn't make the cut. Just in case you were wondering here are the top box office films of 2007 starting with number one. Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, The Bourne Ultimatum, Ratatouille, The Simpsons Movie, Wild Hogs, and Knocked Up. The only film to make it on my list was Knocked Up. And seriously, how did Wild Hogs make $168,213,584?
The winds came first … the neighbors tree falling came next, and when the haunted harmonica sounds of the wind blowing through my office door, (sounding like a Ennio Morricone soundtrack), started imitating an Armenian duduk, (the most beautiful sounding instrument on the face of the Earth), I knew I was going to find something sadder than usual in my morning New York Times.
Dave Havlicek, aka Dave Day, guitarist and banjo player for one of the most original, legendary and enigmatic bands ever to grace a stage, The Monks, died last Thursday, January 10th. Day, who was born and lived in Renton just outside Seattle, Washington, suffered a stroke or a heart attack on the previous Sunday morning which left him on life support for a short time before he passed.
Many years ago, way too many to actually acknowledge, I used to work at the original Onyx Café when it was next door to the Vista Theater in East Hollywood. One evening a customer gave me a home made cassette tape of a band I had only vaguely ever heard of named The Monks, the record Black Monk Time.
I put on the tape. What I remember most are two distinctive reactions: mine of total amazement and awe, how the hell did I miss this band (I’m a record geek for chrissakes!), and the reaction of another customer saying almost the same thing. But his “what the hell is this?” was followed by something like “do you have to play this crap now!”
The Monks were five American GIs stationed in Germany who billed themselves as the “Anti-Beatles”. They played it heavy, weren’t afraid of feedback or dissonance and Dave Day added to the mayhem and the whole crunching rhythmic sound by playing the hell out of the electric banjo. They shaved their heads into monks' tonsures, dressed in black monasterial robes, sometimes wearing nooses as neckties, mocked and rocked harder than any of their sixties counterparts while basically inventing what would become kraut rock, industrial, and punk music. Am I overstating their importance in rock music history? No! Their nihilistic deconstruction of Rock and Roll, owing in part to the Dada Movement of the ‘20s, predated Punk’s similar efforts by a good ten years or more. The Monks were easily 30 years ahead of mainstream rock’s time.
Above is video clip of a drum solo by legendary jazz drummer & band leader Buddy Rich. As witnessed by this amazingly superfast drum solo, it is no surprise that Rich, who died back in 1987 at age 69, is still revered the world over by drummers and fans of drumming for his swift skills. In fact, back in his day he was commonly billed as "the world's greatest drummer." He is also one of the fastest, most skilled drummers of all time and got honored by Drum magazine for the "fastest drum solo ever" specifically for the song "Machine" off his 1967 album Big Swing Face.
And talk about taking to the drum at an early age! Reportedly Rich was just two years old when his father, who first noticed his baby son's keen sense of rhythm, enlisted (exploited?) him in vaudeville playing the drums, billing him as "Traps the Drum Wonder" and as such he was an extremely successful young artist. In fact by the time he reached the ripe old age of 11 he was already a band leader. Unlike a lot of child stars Rich didn't quit or burn out but rather continued playing throughout his teens, consistently honing his style and getting better and better at his art. It has been written that Rich is one of the few drummers to ever master the so-called "one-handed roll" on both hands.