Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Jimmy Cliff - "Sitting In Limbo"
I'm still congratulating myself on being such a great citizen of the good old US of A after fulfilling my recent stint of jury duty. Sure, I didn't have to actually report, I was on call-in status. This meant call twice a day - shortly after noon, to see if I had to report that afternoon; and again in the early evening to see if I had to report the next morning.
Being on call-in status led me to altering my schedule and for a few I days I was leading a version of what could be my dream life: By doing my accounting work mostly on the weekends, I wrote during the days, worked out regularly and earlier in the afternoon than usual, had evenings open for NHL and NBA finals or Netflix movies and TV shows. I was in bed around midnight, got nine hours of sleep, had plenty of morning coffee with my remaining accounting tasks before lunch and the early-afternoon check-in.
But no amount of a Hennepin County-enforced staycation could totally erase whatever weird anxities I had pending in my mind. As the clock ticked towards those twice-a-day phone calls, I would be overcome with a looming dread that I might have to be somewhere that I hadn't totally planned on, wearing khakis and a polo shirt and waiting to possibly talk to lawyers and a judge. As someone who needs to know where and when he's exactly going to be in the next 48 hours (this is related to those "weird anxities" mentioned above), the possibility of being uprooted and obsessing over the Metro Transit website to find the right bus route to get me to the courthouse was troubling.
On the first Thursday evening, when the jury duty voice message said I didn't have to call again until Monday afternoon, I biked like hell to the liquor store and loaded up on Surly and Old Overcoat, enjoying both with the hoops action on ABC that night. On the following Tuesday, when it said my pool number had been released from jury duty and my committment was fulfilled for the next four years, I did a repeat performance of biking, booze, and hoops television. It seemed my appropriate due reward for making thirteen simple phone calls. And the anxiety-fueled dread immediately lifted. As The Tick once said: "Evil has been rousted and the babysitter's been paid."
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - "Century City"
Getting Pink Floyd's The Wall LP instead of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn The Torpedoes in the summer of 1980 may have set my appreciation of vital rock 'n' roll back by months, but all these decades later I have recovered. Now Floyd's double album (a late-teen favorite) screams "overblown, dated", but Petty's effort is an all-time fave and a go-to when I want to get back to the basics.
Petty's first three albums are essential, but Damn The Torpedoes was the breakthrough. It's one of those moments in rock 'n' roll when great art equals great sales and folks nod their head in the acknowledgement that the artist has gained much-deserved recognition, rather than muttering "sellout." This was an album so rich in songs that "Refugee" was bumped to second in the order and the hook-filled "Don't Do Me Like That" was moved to leadoff single. I'd never want to buy any the deluxe edition of Damn The Torpedoes, it's thirty-seven minutes of rock 'n' roll perfection.
The Torpedoes song I've been blasting lately to get me through the last four minutes of cardio is "Century City", a song of triumph up there with The Who's "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere", The Animals' "It's My Life", and the Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Stone Free." If I ever do end up in Los Angeles, I'm going to hit up this tune on my iPhone, scope out Century City, and rewind the Chuck Berry guitar solo as many times as per my doctor's advised dosage.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Beck Bogert Appice - "Superstition"
PART I: ST. PAUL CHEAPO CONTINUES TO HAUNT MY VINYL COLLECTION
There is a Rod Stewart biography from 1981, a glossy fan photo book with text by Paul Nelson and Lester Bangs. Nelson had writer's block, so Bangs hammered out eighty-eight pages in a weekend. The result was stuff like Bangs having Scott Asheton (Stooges) almost joining the first sixties incarnation of The Jeff Beck Group - which featured Stewart on vocals - and John Coltrane miffed because the Beck Group cut him on their take of "Greensleeves." (In the book's intro, Bangs admits he made things up.) A sample chapter is titled "Two Jewish Mothers Pose As Rock Critics" and if you don't want to check out the book after seeing that, well you must have Googled your way into the wrong blog by mistake.
My favorite Bangs-penned chapter is "Bowling For Supergroups: The Beck Years." Apparently, Jeff Beck conceived coming up with a group with Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge as early as 1969. But Beck got into a nasty car accident and his dream of playing with Bogert and Appice was delayed until 1973. Beck Bogert Appice released one album, did one tour, and were promptly forgetten by just about everybody. Or so I thought.
(On the back cover photo of the Beck Bogert Appice album, Tim Bogert wears a "Beck Bogert Appice" teeshirt. Apparently HE thought they wouldn't be short-lived!)
BBA covered "Superstition" and the thing is: Stevie Wonder outrocked them on the original. He played all the instruments except sax and trumpet and cut one of the best hard rock songs of the seventies. The BBA cover is the type of thudding boredom that gives supergroups and power trios a bad name. You think the song is over, then what sounds like a gong (?) goes off, then Beck shows off his fretwork some more. And the tune weirdly ends on a drum solo by Appice. The plus side to digging this LP out of my archives and then reading up on BBA is that I think now I can finally distinguish Carmine Appice from Aynsley Dunbar. And I was shocked to see that neither ever played in Uriah Heep.
PART II: BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SERVED
My, uh, research indicated that in between Vanilla Fudge reunions, Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert also played in the following:
Derringer Bogert Appice - Yes, this is the same Derringer (Rick) whose big hit was "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo." He remade this with Mean Gene Okerlund in the eighties and more recently found The Lord and remade it as "Read The Word, Live It Too." Some most fondly look upon Rick as the producer of "Weird Al" Yankovic's eighties albums. I love that on one of their album covers, DBA uses the exact same font as BBA.
Vargas Bogert Appice - My understanding is that Vargas is a sort of Spanish Jeff Beck.
Char Bogert Appice - My understanding is that Char is a sort of Japanese Jeff Beck. Though when I first read this one, I thought it was Cher Bogert Appice. (That'd be a kick, they could star in the Cher Bogert Appice Comedy Hour on CBS.)
Bogert and Appice are everywhere! Wonder how big of a check you have to write to form a trio with them? Or maybe there are Bogert and Appice franchises?? I think the next step for Bogert and Appice is Beck Bogert Appice. You know: Beck! Not Jeff, but that slacker Scientologist guy. I haven't head anything about his "genius" for years. BECK BOGERT APPICE PERFORM MELLOW GOLD AS A BLUESY POWER TRIO. SPECIAL GUEST CHER. I'm not entirely familiar with Kickstarter, so can your people call my people?