The screams of children are drown out by the wailing of their mothers.
Oh geez. I’ve been sitting here – literally for minutes! – trying to think of what to blog about; meditating on current events both in my life and on this wacky planet we call Bruggafaderöllfyrwabbanonie (though “we” are a chosen few and most people prefer the moniker “Earth”), and couldn’t come up with anything special about today. I finally thought to visit my friend Wikipedia for some thrills, chills and spills in the form of their random article feature, only to suddenly remember that today is [insert cuss word here] Easter.
It’s Easter, brother! How could I not notice?
I’ll tell you how: I have no kids in my life. No one excited that an anthropomorphized rabbit might be prowling in the night, leaving artificially-colored produce is sneaky spots around our property (how kids think this is “neat” is beyond me and perhaps bespeaks to an aggravated psychological wound in our collective consciousness). My youngest nephews are all in Northern California, safely out of reach from Melrose brunches and Angelyne billboards; the closest thing to a child in my life is the kitten we just rescued. (Her name is Maybe.)
Japan's reigning purveyors of thunderous heavy rock, Boris, hit the shelves of Amoeba San Francisco's Underground Japanese Rock section with a one-two punch this winter with their latest studio recording, Cloud Chamber (featuring, once again, guest Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara), and Smile -Live in Prague-- a very limited (only 425 copies issued) double-live LP "official bootleg" recorded (with permission) in the Czech Republic on the trio's latest tour in support of their album Smile. Though both are pricey, as doubless many a Boris fan has already guessed, both are worth shelling out the exra dough for, as many a Boris fan surely already knows. Here's why: Cloud Chamber is a first class return to the strom and drang style doom that fans of (lowercase 'b') boris have found in previous releases like flood and at last -feedbacker. It is just the sort of storm surge of sound that lays defenseless listeners down as if prone on the slab, hypnotized for sacrifice; beware of drowning. Smile - Live in Prague, on the other hand, has garnered more pointed attention for its sleeve art than for the bounty of copies we've recieved, given its inherent rareness. Some call the artwork, an obvious homage to San Francisco black metal band Von, a flagrant rip off. I find it delightful and, really, par for the course considering the lengths Fangs Anal Satan (Boris' art-working name) goes to produce, or reproduce if you will, some of the most coveted, kick ass packaging that drives both sticker prices and collectors' expectations upwards of the norm. Here are some of my favorite of Boris' artful tributes as, the old adage says, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. (And check out images and reviews from Boris' amazing three Amoeba instores-- they've played each and every Amoeba -- here, here and here.)
The legendary English guitarist and a major influence on practically every fingerstyle acoustic guitarist for the past 50 years, Davey Graham, passed away on Monday of lung cancer which was detected only a few weeks ago. He was 68.
60 year ago today Nicholas Rodney Drake, enigmatic British folk musician, was born. Today he lives only in myth, legend and allegory. Drake, who released three albums in his lifetime, Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, and Pink Moon failed to find a wide audience thirty odd years ago, but since his death in 1974 has found a continuing growth in popularity and influence.
Nick Drake was twenty years old when he signed to Island Records, releasing his debut album Five Leaves Left in 1969. Over the next few years he recorded only two other albums, though none sold more than five thousand copies in their initial releases. His reluctance to perform live or be interviewed no doubt contributed to his lack of commercial success.
Throughout his life Drake constantly battled depression. After the completion of his final album, 1972's Pink Moon, he ceased performing and recording, and chose to withdraw from society to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. Drake died from an overdose of the prescribed antidepressant, amitriptyline, on November 25th 1974.
There was no public announcement or notice of his death. Initially there was no effort to even reissue his three albums, but in 1979 the box set Fruit Tree, compiling his three completed albums plus a handful of home recordings and left over sessions, was released. However, once again, sales were poor, the album received little notice from the press, and by 1983 Fruit Tree was deleted from the Island Records catalogue. Still, a fanatical following and interest never ceased. Musicians such as Robert Smith, Peter Buck, Kate Bush, and John Martyn cited him as an influence. In early 1999, BBC2 aired a documentary, A Stranger Among Us—In Search of Nick Drake. And most notably in 2000, Volkswagen featured the song Pink Moon in a television commercial, and within one month Drake had sold more records than he had in the previous thirty years.
Although he never won an Oscar (like Crowe), Boyd has had an extraordinary run in the music biz. He was always in the right place at the right time. It's hard to even hit on all the amazing things he has taken part in here-- there's just so many of them. He was one of the first to arrange and manage European Jazz and Blues tours. He worked for Elektra and eventually formed his own production company called Witchseason. He booked an extremely successful club night in London in the 60s that hosted Pink Floyd and The Move, among many others. He went on to produce artists like Nick Drake, The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention.
In one of my favorite passages in the book, Boyd describes the night at The Newport Folk Festival when he was a stage manager and Dylan went electric. Reading that portion of the book made my heart race! If for nothing else, it's worth buying White Bicycles just to read about this momentous occasion in rock history from a fresh viewpoint. Boyd was truly a part of that evening and remembers it all! He really must have kept a journal. It answers some questions about who exactly was in a physical fight that night, who started what and if Pete Seeger did indeed cut the electricity with an axe. There really was an axe there that night, and that's all I'm gonna say!