Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A List of Songs to Play at my Funeral

"Dave, what would you do if I threw up on this lap-top?" asked one random teenager earlier this afternoon while I was at work. "Well..." I responded, "those are actions that would probably lead to your funeral." If i'd asked that kid what kind of music he would want played at his memorial service, I don't doubt he'd have responded with the likes of Lil Wayne, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, and other artists of similar ilk. And really, that's fine. As (almost) all music is completely subjective and strikes different people in different ways. I say, "almost" above because i don't count Nickleback as real music. They're more like drunk woodchucks raping guitars...but...with less talent. At any rate, i've spent the past week thinking about the different songs I would want played at my own funeral. This list resulted in a pretty ecclectic batch. See below.

1. Each Coming Night--by Iron and Wine
I can think of nothing better to start with, than this flawless, peaceful, sad, gem of a song.


2. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness--by The Smashing Pumpkins


3. You Can Call me Al--by Paul Simon
Cause they can't all be sad songs. I expect people to dance at my funeral. I expect leaping, and dancing in praise of beauty, and happiness, and deep friendship. And if they don't i'll haunt their asses ;)


4. Solsbury Hill--by Peter Gabriel
Pack your things, i've come to take you home. That about sums it up, doesn't it?


5. All Dead, All Dead--by Queen
Sure, it sounds like a morbid emo song; but it certainly is graceful. Queen shall bring a touch of class to my death.


6. The World Exploded into Love--by Bob Schneider
If you don't listen to any of the other songs i've posted...listen to this one. It sort of sums up my life, and all my philosophies.


7. Follow You, Follow Me--by The Red House Painters
Gorgeous. A sad love song fit for Angels of the highest order.


8. Fake Plastic Trees--by Amanda Palmer and her Ukelele
Just when you think one of your favorite songs can't get any better, some one proves you wrong by giving it the vocals of a haunting rock queen and applies a ukelele.


9. One more Cup of Coffee--by The White Stripes
I just realized the past three songs were covers....huh. And who says it can't be just a little sinister?


10. Wilderflowers--by Tom Petty
This song is, as so far as I can tell, about traveling away to a peaceful place of harmony and color. I can't live without it, and I wouldn't be able to pass on without it either.


11. When the Deal Goes Down--by Bob Dylan
It's almost like a lullabye you could die to...


12. Melissa--by The Allman Brothers
I has meh reasons


13. When I Grow Up--by The Beach Boys
Because some songs are painfully poignant


---The next four songs are all fairly traditional...but...with a bit of a contemporary twist...you knew these were coming right?---

14. When the Saints go Marching in--performed by Dr. John
How bloody awesome is THIS?


15. Angel Band--performed by Ralph Stanley
My favorite.


16. When the Roll is Called up Yonder--performed by the Chuck Wagon Gang
This was one of my grand dad's favorites; and my own dad used to play it on his guitar. It has passed down three generations of Banker Boys to nestle within me as one of my favorites too. Must be something special 'bout this one. :)


17. Amazing Grace--performed by Ray Charles


18. Three Little Birds--by Bob Marley
Because even when we're gone, every little thing is gonna be alright.


19. I'll Follow the Sun--by The Beatles
If I die, and I meet John Lennon and George Harrison in the afterlife; how would I look if they asked me what songs were played at my send off and one of theirs wasn't on the list? I'd feel like a right tool I would. And anyway, this one is perfectly splendid. "One day, you'll look to see i've gone." It couldn't be much more straightforward or elegant could it?


20. Dare to be Stupid--by Weird Al Yankovic
Why? Because life is beautiful and we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. That's why.


And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

next week's blog: 20 songs to play at my wedding

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

20 Favorite Covers

This morning I woke up at 4:09 and went to the bathroom. It was a good pee. I returned scraggle-faced and mumble-jawed to my bed, flopped back down, and proceeded to not go back to sleep. It's been a difficult day. In other news....erm....sorry; by brain isn't functioning properly.

In conjecture with the title of today's blog I'd like to point out that narrowing down a mere twenty favorite cover songs is almost impossible, but i've done my best. To help, I went through all the music on my lap top and made a playlist of every (well...most. I didn't include the crappy ones) cover in my music library. See below.

1. "When the Ship comes in." By Bob Dylan--covered by Robbie O'Connell

2. "Midnight Train to Georgia," by Gladys Knight and the Pips--covered by The Indigo Girls

3. "I've just seen a face", by The Beatles--covered by Jim Sturgess

4. "What's going on" by Marvin Gaye--covered by A Perfect Circle

5. "Sunday Morning comin' down" by Kris Kristofferson--made famous by Johnny Cash--covered by Shawn Mullins

6. "Sanitarium" by Metallica--covered by Apocolyptica

7. "Good Lovin" by The Rascals--covered by The Grateful Dead

8. "Leavin on a Jetplane" by John Denver--covered by Peter, Paul & Mary

9. "Day Tripper" by The Beatles--covered by Jimi Hendrix

10. "Bennie and the Jets" by Elton John--covered by The Beastie Boys

11. "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers--covered by U2

12. "Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway--covered by Big Bad Voodoo Daddies

13. "Garden Party" by Rick Nelson--covered by John Fogerty

14. "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Byrds

15. "Love minus zero/no limit" by Bob Dylan--covered by Joan Baez

16. "Follow you, follow me" by Genesis--covered by Red House Painters

17. "Sweet Jane" by Velvet Underground--covered by Cowboy Junkies

18. "Chelsea Hotel #2" by Leonard Cohen--covered by Rufus Wainwright

19. "Creep" by Radiohead--covered by Damien Rice

20. "Boyz in the hood" by Eazy E--covered by Dynamite Hack

21. "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Dogg--covered by The Gourds

22. "Take on Me" by Aha--covered by Reel Big Fish

23. "Build me up Buttercup" by The Foundations--covered by Save Ferris

24. "Come Sail Away" by Styx--covered by Eric Cartman

25. "The Boys are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy--covered by Everclear

26. "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent--covered by Pantera

27. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC--covered by Marilyn Manson

28. "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jimi Hendrix

29. "Across the Universe" by The Beatles--covered by Fiona Apple

30. "Angel From Montgomery" by John Prine--covered by Dave Matthews

31. "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners--covered by Save Ferris

32. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" by The Beatles--covered by Jimi Hendrix

33. "Imagine," by John Lennon--covered by A Perfect Circle

34. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell--covered by Marilyn Manson

35. "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry--covered by Jimi Hendrix

36. "Sliver" by Nirvana--covered by The Assylum Street Spankers

37. "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode--covered by Johnny Cash

38. "Fields of Gold" by Sting--covered by Eva Cassidy

39. "The Man in the Long Black Coat" by Bob Dylan--covered by Joan Osborne

40. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles--covered by The Flys

41. "The Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key--covered by James Marshal Hendrix

42. "Goin to Aculpoco" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jim James and Calexico

43. "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones--covered by Guns n Roses

44. "All along the watchtower" by Bob Dylan--covered by Eddie Vedder

45. "Heigh Ho" from Disney's SNOW WHITE--covered by Tom Waits

46. "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes--covered by The Allman Brothers

47. "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones--covered by Bjork & P.J. Harvey

48. "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John--covered by Ben Folds

49. "Gimme some Truth" by John Lennon--covered by Dhani Harrison & Jakob Dylan

50. "Redemption song" by Bob Marley--covered by Ziggy Marley

51. "Hotel California" by The Eagles--covered by The Gypsy Kings

52. "Message in a Bottle" by The Police--covered by Matisyahu

53. "Real Love" by John Lennon--covered by Regina Spektor

54. "Row Row your boat" traditional children's song--covered by Dr. John

55. "Scarlet Begonias" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Jimmy Buffett

56. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton--covered by The White Stripes

57. "Fiddle and the Drum" by Joni Mitchell--covered by A Perfect Circle

58. "Soul Man" by Sam & Dave--covered by The Blues Brothers

59. "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney--covered by Guns n Roses

60. "What is Life" by George Harrison--covered by Shawn Mullins

61. "Changes" by David Bowie--covered by Shawn Mullins

62. "Uncle John's Band" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Jimmy Buffett

63. "Mama Kin" by Aerosmith--covered by Guns n Roses

64. "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen--covered by Willie Nelson

65. "Me and Bobby McGee" by Kris Kristofferson, made famous by Janis Joplin--covered by The Grateful Dead

66. "Johnny B. Good" by Chuck Berry--covered by The Grateful Dead

67. "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond--covered by Jimmy Buffett

68. "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, & Nash--covered by Jimmy Buffett

69. "In my Room" by the Beach Boys--covered by Jimmy Buffett

70. "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie--covered by Bruce Springsteen

71. "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley--covered by Jimmy Buffett

72. "Scary Boat Ride from Willy Wonka" done originally by Gene Wilder--covered by Marilyn Manson

73. "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode--covered by Marilyn Manson

74. "Wonderwall" by Oasis--covered by Ryan Adams

75. "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison--covered by Jimmy Buffett

76. "Everybody's Talkin at Me" by Harry Nilson--covered by Jimmy Buffett

77. "Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie--covered by My Chemical Romance

78. "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson--covered by Alien Ant Farm

79. "I drove all night" by Roy Orbison--covered by Cyndi Lauper

80. "Blame it on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli (sort of)--covered by Sam Moore

81. "We Shall be Free" by Garth Brooks--covered by Sam Moore

82. "Bleeker Street" by Simon and Garfunkel--covered by Jonatha Brooke

83. "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley--covered by Blues Traveler

84. "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osborne--covered by Yonder Mountain String Band

85. "Jersey Girl" by Bruce Springsteen--covered by Tom Waits

86. "Just Like a Woman" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jeff Buckley

87. "Ballad of a thin man" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Grateful Dead

88. "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan--covered by Rod Stewart

89. "Subterranean homesick blues" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

90. "La Isla Bonita" by Madonna--covered by The Gypsy Kings

91. "Bring the Pain" by Method Man--covered by Mindless Self Indulgence

92. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Prince, made famous by Sinead O'Connor--covered by some Hawaiian dude

93. "Scarlet Begonias" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Sublime

94. "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley--covered by Matisyahu

95. "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straights--covered by The Killers

96. "Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette--covered by The Blues Brothers

97. "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles--covered by Dave Matthews

98. "Broken Arrow" by Rod Stewart--covered by The Grateful Dead

99. "Downtown Train" by Tom Waits--covered by Rod Stewart

100. "The Van Lear Rose" by Loretta Lynn--covered by Jack White

101. "Knockin on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan--covered by Guns n Roses

102. "Bitches Ain't Shit" by Dr. Dre--covered by Ben Folds

103. "I wanna be like you" from Disney's JUNGLE BOOK--covered by Big Bad Voodoo Daddies

104. "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells--covered by Dolly Parton

105. "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen--covered by Robert Plant

106. "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan--covered by William Shatner

107. "Never My Love" by The Associaton--covered by Adam Green

108. "One more cup of coffee" by Bob Dylan--covered by The White Stripes

109. "Time" by Tom Waits--covered by Tori Amos

110. "Chimes of Freedom" by Bob Dylan--covered by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, and Youssou N'Do

And so, how can I pick just twenty of these one hundred and ten miraculous songs to share in tonight's blog?

Well, in my opinion; a good cover should do one, or both, of two things. 1. It should completely revamp the song in question--taking it through a grand metamorphosis and sculpting it into something new and exciting. 2. It should totally, completely, absolutely, monumentally, fundamentally, unequivically, and genuinely wollop your heart and blow your mind. So, in light of those two factors, I shall now pick my top twenty. :)

1. Midnight Train to Georgia--by Gladys Knight and the Pips--covered by The Indigo Girls

It is a soulful, lovely song no matter who does. The only band that could mess this up is probably Puddle of Mud. I stumbled across this cover somewhere in college and it has been living with me ever since.


2. Bennie and the Jets--by Elton John--covered by The Beastie Boys

A totally bizarre and quirky cover. The boys sound like their drunk or something. I give it seven thumbs up!


3. Chelsea Hotel #2--by Leonard Cohen--covered by Rufus Wainwright

Dare I say I like this cover more than Cohen's original? Yes...slander me if you wish...but I do dare! ..................lol.........."do-dare." This is an example of a good cover thoroughly wolloping me to pieces. Also I love the way Rufus will randomly gesture and sway towards the audience in this video. :)


4. Come Sail Away--by Styx--covered by Eric Cartman via Trey Parker

I really want to hang out with Trey Parker one time.


5. Heigh Ho--from Disney's SNOW WHITE--covered by Tom Waits

This is an example of a song being completely reborn. A little backstory here: This song was part of a collection that was realease (I think) in the 1980's called "Stay Awake." It featured other classic Disney songs covered by well known artists including Los Lobos, Michael Stipe, Natalie Merchant, Bonnie Rait, Ringo Starr, Sinead O'Connor, The Replacements and James Taylor. This is pretty difficult to find these days, but if you can locate a copy--more power to you.


6. Under Pressure--by Queen & David Bowie--covered by My Chemical Romance & The Used.

I know what you're thinking. "My Chemical Romance? Really?" Well, YES....REALLY. I was dubious too, I assure you--when my good friend Bear said, "Dude...you gotta listen to this." In fact, i'm pretty sure my exact words were, "My Chemical Romance? Really?" But to my delight and surprise this turned out to be a really well done, enthusiatic, and honorable cover. And for the record, My Chemical Romance also does a pretty unique cover of "Desolation Row." Check it out.


7. Crazy Train--by Ozzy Osborne--covered by Yonder Mountain String Band

Ozzy done bluegrass style. YES. I was fortunate enough to be at this particular show. Its a crazy cover.


8. Bring the Pain--by Method Man--covered by Mindless Self Indulgence

BAT. SHIT. CRAZY. That is all


9. Scarlet Begonias--by The Grateful Dead--covered by Sublime

I love this song, with all my heart. No matter WHO is singing it. When Jerry sings it I feel like I should be sitting on a dock at sunset in summertime, barefoot with a bamboo fishing pole and my girl. When Jimmy Buffet sings it, I feel like I should be in a seaful of geeky hippies at a festivul--cause that is in fact where I was when I saw him perform this song. And when Bradley Knowles of Sublime sings it, I feel like I should be with my best friends out underneath the start on a warm July evening, just shooting the shit and enjoying each other's company. This song is about love. No matter which way you slice it--no matter who sings it.


10. Romeo and Juliet--by Dire Straights--covered by The Killers

I didn't discover this one until just recently. The cover, that is...not the original. I was sitting around at work one morning before we opened listening to Dire Straights songs on Youtube when I stumbled across this one, and i've been listening to it now three or four times a week ever since.


11. Bitches Ain't Shit--by Dr. Dre--covered by Ben Folds

When a nerdy white guy who specializes in piano successfully covers a Dr. Dre song; I feel like we as a people have come a long way. It's a really cool cover as it is; but this particular performance is even cooler. Enjoy :)


12. Never My Love--by The Association--covered by Adam Green

Both versions are beautiful. But the cover holds a special place in my heart. It's...one of those songs ;). Also, this song is featured on the soundtrack for the movie "Whip It." Excellent film. Excellent sound track.


13. Time--by Tom Waits--covered by Tori Amos

This is a special song. Whether it is sung by Tom Waits, in his gruff, heart-broke, burlesque voice--or in Tori's ethereal, fluid, provacative voice--it is a perfect song. PERFECT.


14. No Woman No Cry--by Bob Marley--covered by Blues Traveler and Ziggy Marley

Another of my favorite songs. The original I mean. I found this cover much the same way I found the Romeo and Juliet cover...simply by stumbling across it one day. It's hard to make this song much more kick ass than it already is--but epic harmonica solos and Bob Marley's own son do just that.


15. Johnny B. Goode--by Chuck Berry--covered by Jimi Hendrix

I can still remember the first time I ever heard this. I had just gotten the Jimi Hendrix box set and was riding around in my truck listening to it, when this track came on. And my jaw fell to the floor. I like this cover better than the original. Most covers...I like on the same level as originals...but I think this one is better. Jimi just RIPS it up.


16. Hurt--by Nine Inch Nails--covered by Johnny Cash

I don't think I need to explain myself here.


17. Stand by Your Man--by Tammy Wynette--covered by The Blues Brothers

Classic :)


18. In My Room--by The Beach Boys--covered by Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy is known for his outstanding covers; "Uncle John's Band," "Everybody's Talking at me," "Brown Eyed Girl," "Souther Cross," "Scarlet Begonias," "Mexico" etc. etc. So I basically just picked on at random--because they are all just really really really good. And this one is a good make out song ;)


19. Bad Romance--by Lady Gaga--covered by Lissie

Lissie, a scruffy young new comer to the singer-songwriter scene takes Lady Gaga's pop masterpiece and makes it GRUNGE. Sexy grunge. This is the coolest thing i've seen or heard in yeeeeeears.


20. Chimes of Freedom--by Bob Dylan--covered by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, and Youssou N'Dour

Some things need no explanation. This is one of them. I almost cry everytime I listen to this.


Honorable Mention: Whip My Hair--by Willow Smith--covered by Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young, and 1977 era Bruce Springsteen


Woof....ok. It's been a day. Gonna go home now, eat a sammich, and watch South Park. Cheers :)

Next week's blog: A list of songs to play at my funeral. EEP!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interlude #1: An unfortunate evening with Kanye West

Tomato soup with habenero peppers is so hot, it will allow you to see through time. After three bowls, i've witnessed the forthcoming of: A White Stripes Reunion tour (circa Summer 2014), a Paul McCartney/Ringo Starr collaboration record entitled "Richard Starkey sings the blues" (McCartney will accompany with ukelele...expect this to drop in may 2012), a broadway production of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" with music composed for the stage by Maynard James Keenan and Jim James...this debuts on April 23rd, 2016, a biopic of Patsy Cline written and directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Zooey Deschanel. It will win 2 Academy Awards and shall hit theatres summer of 2015. And, lastly, as of the year 2050, Kanye West will still be a mega talented snot-nosed ass pocket.

The goal of this evening's blogpost is not to crucify the afforementioned hip-hop star simply for the sake of randomly bashing him. That's too simple. I like to think that I wouldn't call shenanigans on some one unless I felt as though i'd been personally wronged by the alleged villain. Also, it's popular to hate on Kanye West. In addition to the Taylor Swift debacle it is widely known/reported that West is erm...something of a diva. It's difficult, but i'm trying to be diplomatic here. You've no idea how tempted I am to start slinging insults and cutdowns (E.G. Kanye likes to smell his own farts) but that won't get us anywhere. That...is childish. But, I think most would agree with my use of the diva illustration. And who are we kidding? That's a turn off. It' NOT enough of a turn off though, to make me boycott an artist's music and hop on the hate bandwagon. If that were the case I would have to throw out half of my record collection. It's safe to say though, I think, that these are the prime reasons why many people are turned off by Kanye West. But like I said before; this blog will not seek to randomly crap on the man just cause everybody else is. In truth, I really hate when people do that. For example, it's also populr to hate Kings of Leon, U2, and Dave Matthew Band--just to name a few. I have my reasons for calling out Mr. West; they are GOOD reasons, I promise, and they were born before the time of general Kanye hate. I shall present them thusly.

I didn't always harbor strong ill-will towards Kanye. In fact. I used to really, REALLY like him. I recall a friend named Nick Jones introducing me to the song "Jesus Walks," back in the summer of 2005. At least...I think it was the summer of 2005--may have been 2006. My memories are plagued with cobwebs. The point though, was that I thought the song was fantastic. I loved its flow, I loved its lyrics, and I loved the music video that accompanied it. Over the the proceeding months I downloaded more of his music and not only dug what I was hearing, but thoroughly respected it as well. "Here is a guy," I thought to myself, "who really knows how to put beats and lyrics together."

This brings us to the year 2008, and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. I could do a separate blog just on Bonnaroo--how it has effected my life--the amazing things i've seen there--and the unfortunate downward spiral it took last year--but I won't go into all that. Another time, perhaps. All you really need to know is that I had been twice previously, in 2004 and 2006--and it is one of the greatest places on earth. The festival occurs every June in Manchester, Tn. over a period of four days. The initial line up for the festival always drops sometime in the middle of february (yes that means the lineup for 2011 will be announced any day now). But it is 2008 we are concerned with, and when I woke up one morning in February of that year and checked www.bonnaroo.com to see if they lineup had been announced yet, I was met with this:

Pearl Jam, Metallica, Jack Johnson, Widespread Panic, Kanye West, Christ Rock, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Phil Lesh & Friends, My Morning Jacket, The Raconteurs, Willie Nelson, Death Cab For Cutie, Tiesto, B.B. King, Les Claypool, Sigur Ros, Levon Helm, Ben Folds, O.A.R, Cat Power, M.I.A, Umphrey's Mcgee, Iron & Wine, Stephen Marley, Yonder Mtn. String Band, The Swell Season, Talib Kweli, Derek Trucks, Gogol Bordello, Broken Social Scene, Robert Randolph, Rilo Kiley, The Disco Biscuits, Mastadon, Lupe Fiasco, and Solomon Burke; plus many, many, many more.

Yeah. I geeked out.

As stoked as I was about finally getting to see Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Robert Plant; I was just as interested in seeing what a Kanye West performance would be like. Can you blame me? His tunes were brilliant and exciting. It only made sense that his live show would be just as magical.

I bought my ticket. Winter turned to spring. Spring turned to summer. I packed my bags. I pointed the steely grey nose of my pick up truck south and without further hesitation cracked the gas pedal so that life might breath into my vehicle thus transporting me from Radford "I hate my life" Virginia to Manchester, Tn. for my third tour of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. A place, truly, like no other.

Musicians at Bonnaroo are divided up between five venues. Three tents labled "This tent, "That tent" and "The other Tent." And two stages, a smaller stage called, "Which stage," and the main stage, called "What stage." Kanye was initially scheduled to play on Which Stage at 6:00 p.m. on satuday of the festival. At the last minute (and when I say "the last minute" I mean, that saturday) Kanye's timeslot was switched from 6:00 p.m. on Which Stage, to 2:45 A.M. on "What Stage." There is much speculation about this change. SuperFly Productions and AC Entertaiment (the wizards behind Bonnaroo's curtain) claimed that it was A. to give the audience a better feel for Kanye's glow in the dark themed show, and B. to start a new tradition of having a late night performance on the main stage (intestingly enough this tradition HAS continued, with the likes of Phish in 2009, and Jay-Z in 2010). These are very valid reasons. There is also a school of thought, though, that suggests Kanye threw a fit and declared that either he play on the big kids' stage, or he didn't play at all. I don't know if this hypothesis has ever been proven as fact--but it wouldn't surprise me. My initial reaction though was, "huh...that's cool."

Over the course of this saturday, I saw: Gogol Bordello, Ben Folds, Levon Helm, Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam (the saturday night headliner, and holy crap, was Pearl Jam AWESOME), and Lupe Fiasco.

Lupe Fiasco was my first real experience with a live hip-hop performance. And he was OUTSTANDING. Lupe came on at approximately 1:30 a.m. in "This Tent," and played for about 45 minutes. Never, had I been to a show like that. The energy thundering from the stage was raw, and provocative. Everyone in the audience was jumping and wailing and making love to the music. The musicians on the stage played their instruments like silk lightning while Lupe rapped over their rhythms with poise and wild cat grace.

"My God," I thought to myself. "I've never seen or heard or experienced ANYTHING like this. And in just a few minutes i'm going to go see Kanye West perform. THIS CAN ONLY GET BETTER."

Ah. How wrong I was.

I got back to "What Stage" at 2:30. 2:45 came, and went. A message appeared on the Jumbo-Screen declaring that Kanye would now be performing at 3:15. This news was met with the first round of many "boos" from the audience. But, still pumped from the Lupe Fiasco show, I figured, "Well, this isn't that uncommon, i'm sure he'll be out shortly enough." 3:15 rolled around, and the Jumbo-Screen now informed us that Kanye would now be performing at 3:30. The audience was baffled, and pissed off. I admit, my initial agitations began here. Kanye's ridiculously elaborate stage set up was constructed and good to go. What was he waiting for? The crowd meanwhile, was growing more and more restless. Cries of "KANYE SUCKS!" and "FUCK YOU KANYE!!" could be heard clearly from all around. While I was beginning to share those sentiments, I felt no need to shout them. Random slander never helps an already tense situation. At 4:30 in the morning, nearly two hours after his readjusted time-slot, Kanye FINALLY took the stage.

He didn't say hello. He didn't say anything about Bonnaroo, no "Thanks for having me." He didn't apologize for coming on late, or give any sort of explanation. He did not, in fact, say ANYTHING--but went immediately into his set--which--lasted only an hour. After his last song he exited the stage without saying even, "Thank you good night," and he did not come back on for an encoure. Those, my friends, are the highly offensive actions of an egotistical pratt--who is clearly only interested in obtaining his paycheck--and has no desire to connect with his fans. That, is a direct slap in the face of the collective audience. Never in my life, before or since, have I seen so many pissed off hippie-kids.

I should note, that there were several other late night performers that evening. Phil Lesh, Talib Kweli, Chali 2Na from Jurassic 5, and Sigur Ros (all of whom I could've checked out had I not been packed tightly into the the Kanye West crowd like a large corpse in a small coffin. I should also note, that again, while it has not been proven as fact, there is LARGE speculation that Kanye would not come on stage, until those other performers, were finished performing. And, again, I wouldn't be surprised.

Being treated as such, by an artist whom you admire, and whose work you very much enjoy listening to is bad enough; and reason enough to stay mad at said artist until the four horsemen of the apocolypse come crashing down from the sky and the Good Dude from the heavens up above pulls the whistle on life all over the planet. But here is something worse:

I have grown to detest Kanye West so much, because of this one event, that I refuse to listen to any of his new music. And that's really unfortunate (as the title of this blog suggests) because i'm certain its friggin genius. From what i've been told, "808's and Heartbreak" is truly a masterpiece. But I will never voluntarily listen to it. It's stubbon, absolutely. I don't take a lot of things seriously, and it's very rare that I hold a grudge like this. But where music is concerned, I am VERY serious; and I have no time, patience, or interest in an artist who takes his audience for granted.

Jesus walks with you, Kanye West. But I don't.

Thank you, and Good Night.

Next week's blog: my twenty favorite all time covers

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Favorite music moments in film

Today is Tuesday February 1, 2011. On Tuesdays, I work a 12-8 shift. It sucks. My lunch/dinner break was at 4:30. Instead of eating I drove down to the river and stood there by the banks to watch the currents ripple and feel the cool, balmy mid-winter breeze lick across my face. I need to shave. I need to visit the sea-side soon. I need to collect small, pink shells and eat fresh crab legs dipped in melted butter at a two-bit ocean-side restaurant where all the tables are covered in newspaper. I need a shot of whiskey to wash it all down. And then I need to sit on the sand and watch tide roll in while all the seagulls bake their wings in the electric blood of an evening sun. I will do these things, and more...in good time. In the meanwhile though, I guess i'll continue to skip rocks on the New River between 4:30 and 5:00 on Tuesday afternoons. And then i'll come back to the library; and compose my weekly blog. Which, as you can tell by the title, will discuss in (semi) detail my twenty favorite musical moments in film.

In truth, I came up with this list mostly off the top of my head so I'm quite certain that there were some I didn't think of. But everything on here is definitely a personal favorite. :)

1. Movie: The Devil's Rejects
Song: "Midnight Rider" by The Allman Brothers

This is the opening musical number to a grotesque, gritty, quirky film that has an outstanding soundtrack. "The Devil's Rejects" is certainly not for everyone; but if you are a fan of the classic horror genre then I definitely recommend it. Rob Zombie knows what he's doing. "Midnight Rider" sets the tone for this contemporary southern gothic that is a sweaty, tense, thrill ride which takes the viewer along to visit sadistic hostage situations, brothels, mad men, and interestingly enough--deep friendships. The film culminates in an epic shoot out; but not before we see a scene in which the bad guys share a moment to eat ice cream cones and raz each other like childhood pals. It can be a helluva thing...friendship. Check it out.


2. Movie: Wayne's World
Song: "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

Wayne's World hit theatres in (if i'm remembering correctly) the fall of 1992--when I was in fifth grade. I obviously didn't get all the jokes; but I certainly felt a connection with Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. It was the same sort of connection I felt with Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan. But Wayne and Garth were cooler. They didn't play just air guitars, they played for real guitars. They had this weird little cable access show that was funnier than Ross Perot. And they (somehow) knew how to talk to girls. But most importantly; they were complete music geeks. Like me. And this fact is made evident at the beginning of the movie with the infamous "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene. If i'm in the car, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes on I still rock out at the part that...well...rocks out. There are two movies I could credit with introducing me to Queen that both came out around the same time. This one, and "The Mighty Ducks." I feel it's in better taste though, to credit this one ;)


3. Movie: Forrest Gump
Song: The whole damn sound track

This is one of those rare occurences where the soundtrack is practically flawless. The only song I don't care for is "It keeps you running" by the Doobie Brothers. It sounds too much like an attempt at the Super Mario Bro's theme gone wrong. Doobies aside however; the Forrest Fump soundtrack is a much treasured piece of my cd collection. It expresses and illustrates a time in our nation's history that we are still trying to figure out. Pop music is often a reflection of the times--and this collection of songs mirrors the turbulence, beauty, and eloquence of the 50's, 60's, and 70's with magnanimous grace. It gets under your skin and makes you say, "I want to know more." The link below is from the scene where Forrest first enters Vietnam. I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard that Tom Hanks suggested they add this song by CCR to the soundtrack


4. Movie: The Big Lebowski
Song: "Just dropped in" by Kenny Rogers

The Big Lebowski = the greatest thing to happen to America since democracy. It was a tough call to choose between this song, "The Man in Me" by Bob Dylan, and "Hotel California" by The Gypsy Kings...but this one ultimately won out. It's a fantastic sequence...and it really ties the film together.


5. Movie: Beavis and Butthead do America
Song: Love Rollercoaster by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

I have to watch this movie at least five times a year. It's a favorite from my adolesence, and was another step on the road for the Chili Peppers to become one of my most cherished bands. Beavis & Butthead and the Chili Peppers make a good team. They ought to collaborate more often.


6. Movie: PeeWee's Big Adventure
Song: Tequilla, by The Champs

PeeWee Herman trapped in a den of hardcore bikers. What could be better? It should be noted that good use of this song is also made in the movie, "The Sandlot." But this is the best.


7. Movie: Back to the Future
Song: Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, performed by Marty McFly

You can't mess with Michael J. Fox. You JUST...CAN'T. One of my favorite memories from college was a day spent with my room mates in which we consecutively watched all three "Back to the Future" films. This needs to be done again.


8. Movie: Shrek
Song: Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, performed by Rufus Wainwright

Rarely has a "children's" movie produced such an outstanding soundtrack. I was initially torn between choosing this song, "My beloved moster" by the eels, and Jason Wade's cover of "You belong to me." Both of which also have very sweet, sincere, sequences. But it's "Hallelujah" that wins in terms of animating genuine heartbreak. The songs were one of the biggest draws for me, in the first two Shrek movies (along with really great, sharp writing and a tremendous cast). The second Shrek film featured songs by David Bowie and Tom Waits, among others. It's unfortunate that they didn't stop while they were ahead though. "Shrek the Third" was disappointing; and I have yet to see the fourth installment. Don't really want to. But I still remember when the original Shrek was released in theatres. I saw it four times. And, use of Leonard Cohen's classic tune, is one of the main reasons why.


9. Movie: The Labyrinth
Song: As the World falls down, by David Bowie

Quite possibly in my top ten all time favorite movies. I've never sat down and really thought about what those films might be...but i'd wager this would be on that list. When people think of "The Labyrinth," in terms of the music I mean, I believe they most usually think of "Magic Dance" or "Underground." Both of course are wonderful songs, also penned and performed by Bowie. But it's the movie's ballad, "As the World Falls Down" that i've always loved the most. When I listen to that song, (and I can listen to it anytime, anywhere) it makes me feel, comfortable--like i'm at home. It's a gorgeous, sad, love song; and the scene it envelopes is a haunting, mysterious, enchanted mix of fairytale lust.


10. Movie: The Muppet Movie
Song: Rainbow Connection, performed by Kermit the Frog

Don't it just make you smile? :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSFLZ-MzIhM (just kermit)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn49H3O0Jvk (finale, with all muppets)

11. Movie: Star Wars; Episode 4: A New Hope
Song: Theme from the opening sequence

Can you still recall the first time you saw this? Does it still give you chills?


12. Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Song: Pure Imagination, performed by Gene Wilder

If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Want to change the world? There's nothing to it...

Willy Wonka said it best, "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams."


13. Movie: The Spy Who Love Me
Song: Nobody does it better, by Carly Simon

One of my favorite Bond movies, and one of my favorite Bond songs. The old school Bond films were so wonderfully cheesy; and their opening songs were beautifully epic. Especially this one. Carly Simon has a voice of silk that you just sort of want to slip in to. For the record, Radiohead does an AMAZING cover of this song. look it up!


14. Movie: Garden State
Song: The only living boy in New York, by Simon and Garfunkel

A splendid example of using song to illustrate freedom and newfound romance in contemporary film. And it's hard to watch this sequence with out leaping out of my seat and rocketing my fist towards the sky all the while bellowing out "YES! YES GOD DAMN IT YES!!!" But doggone...don't you feel sorry and awkward for the third wheel in this scene? I always do. Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where. Ain't that the truth?


15. Movie: Sound of Music
Song: Edelweiss, performed by Herr Von Trap A.K.A Christopher "international bad ass" Plummer A.K.A. Dr. Parnassus.

I'm learning to play this one on my guitar :)


16. Movie: Beetlejuice
Song: The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), by Harry Belafonte

At the age of seven, this scene was the silliest, funniest thing i'd ever seen to date. Everyday I say a silent thank you to my parents, who allowed me to watch movies like this at a young age. I think I turned out ok. ;)

P.S. remember when Tim Burton's films kicked ass? :::::SIGH:::::


17. Movie: The Lion King
Song: The Circle of Life

I still vividly remember, it was the summer of 1994 and I was 12 years old. My mom took me, and my cousin Josh to see "The Lion King" at the theatre one afternoon when we were visiting my grandparents in North Carolina. I saw "Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin" in the theatre as well; and the music in those films was, I have to say pretty incredible. But the songs featured in "The Lion King" were other-worldly. They were bombastic, symphonic, extraordinarily delightful, regal, dark, treacherous, sassy, and quite lovely. "Circle of Life," being the opening song, and the opening sequence of the films, sets the tone marvelously for what the viewer is about to encounter. "The Lion King" is essentially Hamlet with lions--which is pretty great in and of itself--but it also boasts of love and loss, death and rebirth. And when you're an impressionable 12 yr old sitting in a dark theatre listening to these songs bombarding your ears via gigantic spekers, and watching these very adult themes unfold on a giant screen, you are instantly transported to some other realm. It's hard to explain...but when you exit the theatre, and walk back into sunlight, just for a little while you see things differently. Maybe i'm a dork-biscuit, but "Circle of Life" is one of the greatest songs ever to grace a disney film. Don't believe me? Click the link...and look; haaaaarder.


18. Movie: Disney's Robin Hood
Song: Not in Nottingham, by Roger Miller

Another classic Disney film. In a story where most of the songs (oo-de-lally, prince john the phony king of england, etc.) are silly and happy go lucky, "not in nottingham" exudes a seriousness that balances this classic animated feature just right without being overly preachy, but adds an element of very austere humanity. I've said it before, and i'll say it again...when i grow up, I want to be Roger Miller.


19. Movie: Footloose
Song: "I need a hero" by Bonnie Tyler

I watched Footloose just this morning! This is perhaps the greatest scene in the film. It's when Kevin Bacon's character has to take part in a game of chicken with tractors with Chuck "every douche bag you've ever met" Cranston. It's basically the good guy vs. the bad guy. And of course the good guy, Kevin Bacon wins. ...and then he went and made "Tremors." WHAT?! :)


20. Movie: Dirty Dancing
Song: Cry to me, by Solomon Burke

In a movie so chock full of brilliant songs it's hard to pick just one. Much like "Forrest Gump" this is another film whose sound track does an A+ job of getting across the theme of the movie through song. Rebellion, prejudice, coming of age, forbidden romance. I love the shit out of this movie, and i don't care who knows it. Easily one of the best films to come out of the 1980s. Solomon Burke passed away last year, and it was a sad day. But he will always be remembered through his music, and also the through the extreme realness that Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze (may he also rest in peace) perform for us in this scene. They make it seem so real that you literally experience the nerves, and the ache, and the passion, and the exquisite pain they are acting out while dancing to this song. That's how you make a movie.

So come on...and cry to me.


Next week's blog: Interlude number one; an unfortunate evening with Kanye West