I just recently finished reading the Rick Springfield memoir called "Late,Late At Night". This is one of the best music biographies I have read. Maybe because I knew absolutely nothing about Rick Springfield other then he sang "Jessie's Girl" and was an actor on the soap opera General Hospital. I had picked this book up for my brother last Christmas for full price as he has always had a soft spot for Rick Springfield. He had told me that he really enjoyed the book, so after seeing it for five dollars at a local bookstore, I thought what the hell, I need something to read.
Rick has a way with words and a great sense of humour in his writing. The book starts with the words to a song on the very first page. The song is called "My Depression" and sums up the whole book in one song. After the words to the song he sums it up like this.
" For anyone with a short attention span, that should cover the major details of my life, so you can put this book back on the bookstore shelf. For those of you who want to hear the deeper cut, many thanks and read on..." Rick Springfield.
A great way to start your book, and gives you a hint of how he writes. The story starts with his growing up in Australia and struggling to make it in the music business. He talks about all the up and downs he has been in through out his career. His struggles with depression to the point of where he tried to hang himself as a teenager. To his stardom in the United States a teen heart throb and as an actor in the soap opera General Hospital and all his sexual escapades. I am sure this man could give Gene Simmons a run for the most sex with groupies. How his wife has stuck it out with him through all his cheating and such, is a story in its self. He has and still to this day has struggles with depression. He tells his story with warts and all. A really fun and interesting read. Even if your not a fan of Rick Springfield. You will have a new appreciation for this musician. Well worth checking out.
Today's cover song is Gov't Mule covering the Steppenwolf tune "Don't Step On The Grass,Sam". Steppenwolf released this song in 1968 on their second album appropriately named "The Second".
Gov't Mule who is led by Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes covered the song in 1995 on a compilation album called "Hempilation" released on Capricorn Records. The Hempilation album was put together by the organization called NORML, which is an organization that fights to reform the marijuana laws.
What a weekend for live music in Edmonton. Friday night had No Means No at the Pawn Shop, Foo Fighters at Rexall Place, The Halloween Bear Bash at Shaw Conference Centre and the Los Lobos at Century Casino. Saturday had Roger Daltrey at Rexall Place, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts at River Cree Casino and Sam Roberts Band at the Jubilee Auditorium. Some tough decisions to make, my choice was the Los Lobos and Leeroy Stagger show Friday night.
Friday night my buddies Hurl, Buzzard and I made our way to Century Casino for the awesome double bill of Leeroy Stagger and the Los Lobos. I have waited for a long time to see a good band at the Century Casion, and finally got to see a show at this very under rated venue. The show was sold out, my guess the place would hold around 400 people. The evening started with Leeroy Stagger opening. This was my third time seeing Leeroy in concert. I have to say, he just keeps getting better each time I see him, his back up band gets tighter and better every time as well. It was Leeroy's 29th birthday, and what better way to celebrate a birthday then opening for the Los Lobos. Leeroy and his band played a 45 minute set playing a lot of tunes from his latest album "Little Victories". Leeroy reminds me of a mixture of Neil Young and Steve Earle, great rock n' roll with just the right amount of grit and excellent song writing.My only complaint about his set, and it's a minor complaint, I didn't much care for Steve Berlin the flute/keyboard player of the Los Lobos sitting in with the band for the last few songs, it just didn't seem to add anything.Leeroy Stagger I am sure made some new fans last night, as the audience seemed to really like him. If you get the chance to see Leeroy in concert, I highly recommend seeing him.
Steve Berlin of the Los Lobos sitting in with Leeroy Stagger.
After a short break and step outside for a smoke, up next was headliners from East Los Angeles the Los Lobos. This was my second time seeing the Los Lobos in concert, the first time being in 1997 when they opened for The Hip at the Roadside Attraction Festival. I always said after seeing Los Lobos that day , how I would love to see them play a bar. Well, I finally got my chance Friday night. And they didn't disappoint at all. What an evening of music, the Los Lobos know how to throw a party. They had the whole place a jumpin' and dancin', you couldn't help but have a good time at this show. The band is so talented and look like they are having a good time playing. The bass player Conrad Lozano has got to be the happiest musician, hell person, I have ever witnessed. He was all smiles the whole night and holding down the groove. I got a kick out of just watching him play. David Hidalgo (looking like a mafiaso guy) on lead vocals and guitar and accordion was bang on as well. He has got an awesome voice and can play the guitar like a motherfucker. And of course Cesar Rosas the man with the sun glasses on, on guitar and vocals as well, was excellent, singing in spanish and just being cool. All and all the band was ON this night playing for a couple of hours. This is probably the most fun I have had at a concert in a long time. The beers were flowing the feet were a shuffling and a good time was had by all. I would give this show an 11 out of 10. A great great double bill of music.
After the show, the members of the Los Lobos came out and met there fans and signed some autographs. It was nice to meet the guys and let them know how much we appreciated and enjoyed the concert. Here is a picture of my buddy Hurl meeting bass player Conrad Lozano, like I say, the man is the happiest person I have ever seen.
Today's cover song is Warren Zevon covering the Prince song "Raspberry Beret". Prince released this song on his 1985 album "Around The World In A Day".
Warren Zevon later covered the song in 1987 with a band called the Hindu Love Gods, which consisted of Bill Berry, Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M. with Warren Zevon lead vocals. The song "Raspberry Beret" was then released on a Best Of... album called "Genius" in 2002.
Tuesday night I went to see the Jeff Beck and Tyler Bryant concert at the Winspear Centre here in Edmonton with my buddy Buzzard. I had never seen Jeff Beck live before, so when Buzzard asked if I was interested in going, I said sure. After all he is a living guitar legend that is closing in on seventy years old.
The evening started with Tyler Bryant opening, a young guitar player from Texas doing an acoustic solo show. I had never heard him before, so checked out his website and heard some songs and watched a few videos and thought he was worth checking out. I am glad that I got to the venue early and saw his half hour set. Although it was an acoustic guitar, it sure sounded electric, the kid can play that's for sure. His song writing I think could use some work, but nonetheless, i thought he was quite good. He seemed very stoked to be picked to be opening for a guitar legend, and am sure he has learned a lot while touring across Canada with Jeff Beck. Tyler mentioned that he and his band the Shakedown are working on booking a tour through here sometime soon. I think Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown would be kick ass in a bar venue, here is hoping this happens. I believe he is an up and coming blues player. If your interested in hearing his album "From The Sandcastle", it is available for free download here.
Headliner Jeff Beck was up next. The seats we had for the show sucked, as we were in the third tier of the venue. Which I guess weren't that bad considering there really isn't a bad seat there, but the few times I have been to the Winspear I have always been on the floor, so I wasn't all that impressed being that far away from the action. Also, I am not a big fan of soft seats venues, where you can't have a drink and it felt warm in the venue.
Anyways, Jeff Beck come out blazing with his four piece band sounding good and looking much younger then his age. I don't know Jeff's music all that well. I have listened to and own a few of his albums, but am not a guitar player myself and don't consider myself a guitar aficionado. I expected a mostly instrumental show, but I also thought there would be a little singing and interaction with the crowd. Which there was neither of. After an hour and twenty minutes of what seemed like one long endless guitar solo, that was enough for me, I bailed. It seemed the songs were all melding into each other, that's probably more me though, not knowing his music as well as the rest of the sold out crowd. The music just started to sound all jazz like ans too much of the same to me. I am sure everyone else enjoyed the show, and got great reviews in the papers, but for me, I have to say I wasn't all that impressed. But hey, I got to see him at least. I know I wouldn't go again though.
Today's cover song is one that my Brother (Citrus) pointed out. It is the first single from the new Big Sugar album "Revolution Per Minute" (2011). The song is called "Roads Ahead" that was originally recorded by the Vancouver band John Ford on their independent debut album in 2000. The lead singer and guitar player of Big Sugar, Gordie Johnson was a co-writer of the song and later produced the John Ford album "Bullets For Dreamers" (2003) in which this same song appeared on.
Yesterday my buddy Hurl and I checked out the free Lou Canon show at Permanent Records in Edmonton. Lou Canon is a singer/songwriter/teacher from Toronto who is out touring to promote her debut self titled album on Hardwood Records produced by Hayden Desser of Hayden.
Lou Canon played to a small audience at Permanent Records, doing a six song set. The set started alright with her on guitar for a couple of songs, she then changed to keyboards and that's when things got way to mellow and boring for me. She does have a very melancholy singing voice but her music just isn't for me. Great music to lull yourself to sleep though.
After her set she was giving away her 7 inch single with three songs on it, the B side is a cover of The Cure song "Close To Me" which sounds pretty damn good.
Last Friday my buddy Hurl and I went to see Big John Bates play at New City Legion in Edmonton. The main reason I went tot his show was to see local band A Bunch Of Marys again. I had just seen the band for the first time a couple of weeks ago, but was blown away and brought a friend with me this time to see them.
The first band of the evening was local band Whiskey Rose whom are a wanna be glam band. I don't have to much to say about them,other then they had the plug pulled on them after about forty minutes and a terrible cover of The Stones song "Honky Tonk Woman". Keep at it boys, you can only get better.
The next band was local band Fire Next Time, a band I had never seen or heard before. Not sure why, but the band didn't play as a whole, it ended up just being the lead singer James Renton on an acoustic guitar singing and strumming the guitar like a motherfucker and singing his heart out. He reminded me of William Elliot Whitmore and Nick Cave wrapped up in one. I was quite impressed with his short twenty minute set. I am looking forward to checking out his full band.
Next band up was A Bunch Of Marys also from Edmonton. The band is led by Mike McDonald who also used to front the Edmonton band Junior Gone Wild in the early 90's. This was my second time seeing the band play live within a few weeks. Again they put on a great show playing the same set as they did last time. This is a band well worth checking out.
The headliner of the evening was Vancouver band Big John Bates. This was my first time seeing the band perform live, and have to say they were pretty damn good. They play a punk/blues style of music. They are three piece band consisting of Brandy Bones on upright bass and Hagberg on drums. Brandy on the bass was entertaining climbing all over her bass as she played. All and all a fun band to see. Also, something I didn't realize, Big John Bates was the original singer the Canadian thrash band Annihilator from the early 90's. Hurl and I had a good time at the show, with plenty of beers and a few shots of whiskey. Good times!!! They had a decent turn out or the show, which was nice to see. Keep supporting live music everyone.
As well at the show I saw Chi Pig lead singer of the old Edmonton punk rock band SNFU talking with Mike McDonald, oh the stories they could tell about the Edmonton music scene of the 90's. I had the chance to talk to both of them, they were very gracious and took the time to let me take a picture of them together and then one of me with them as well. Very cool guys.