Category Archives: Blog

Concert Review – Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls – Fraze Pavilion – Friday, May 14, 2010

Opening night for the Summer Concert Series at Fraze Pavilion in Dayton.  Perfect night for a show, cool without being uncomfortable. I remember the Goo Goo Dolls from their punky pop stuff of the early 90’s, and albums like Superstar Car wash, and A Boy Named Goo.

First thing that surprised me was how old many of the concert goers were.  I thought I’d be the oldest one there, but wasn’t by a long shot.  Second thing I noticed was how I had completely lost touch with this band.  I didn’t recognize hardly any of the songs that they played.  I’ve never been to a concert where you could hear the crowd talking over the band.  That’s how it was when the Goos played anything unfamiliar.

 

It occurred to me what had happened: the Goo Goo Dolls began life as a punkish pop band that only got played on college radio.  Their ballad, “Name,” from A Boy Named Goo, changed all that.  Constant MTV airplay rocketed that song into the top five.  The band decided to shed their underground skin and embrace the mainstream.  Their song “Iris” from the Nicolas Cage / Meg Ryan movie City of Angels solidified this transformation.  From this point on, the Goo Goo Dolls became the darlings of Adult Alternative.

But there’s a cost to this sort of fame.  Everyone knew the hits, but when it came to the album cuts, people could care less.  Their college radio fans of old would’ve known every track of every CD, but the top 40 crowd only knows the hit that they’ve downloaded from Itunes or heard on the radio.

While some bands throw in a bone or two for the fans that have been with them from the beginning, the Goo Goo Dolls preferred to completely forget their past, playing only “Name” from A Boy Named Goo.  Everything else from the evening centered around their post-transformation period.  And, why not?  I’m probably the only one in the audience who would’ve cared.

He Almost Drowned

Justin Currie called me from his home in Scotland for an interview with Icon Fetch.  He’s just released his second solo disc, The Great War, a return to the melodic pop he perfected with his band Del Amitri.  For a review of his disc, click here.  Among the many topics covered in our conversation, Currie confesses that he almost drowned during the shooting of the front cover photo, for which he is underwater, fully clothed I might add.  He also talks about his biggest hit, “Roll to Me,” a top ten smash from his former band in 1995, and his upcoming solo tour that hits the States in June.  He also weighs in on the current social networking craze, and on hearing his music over the speakers in K-Mart.

Just interviewed Elvin Bishop

Elvin’s a pretty unassuming guy.  But, get him talking about his 1959 Gibson ES-345, the one he calls “Red Dog,” and he’ll perk right up.  We talked about his new CD, and how he picked some of the cover tunes.

He also filled us in on the annual “Blues Cruise” which he is a part of (along with Irma Thomas, Johnny AND Edgar Winter, and Los Lobos) in October.  I also had him give us a list of 3 essential blues albums to cut your teeth on.  His interview will air Tuesday, May 11th at 9pm EDT and be available for streaming anytime after that.

 

How Many More?

May 4, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the tragedy at Kent State.  No song better captured what the country was feeling at the time than “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  The song itself still stands as one of the greatest examples of the immediacy of music.

As the story goes, it was David Crosby who saw the article on the event in Life Magazine and challenged buddy Neil Young to write something.  Within twenty minutes he had finished the song.  The band convened that night and recorded the entire thing, guitars, drums, bass, vocals, harmonies–all live, in just a couple of takes.

As they were mixing the song, they realized they needed a b-side and chose to record another new composition, this one by Stephen Stills, called “Find the Cost of Freedom.”  The band sat in a tight circle and sang the song, with only Stills on guitar.  The tape was played back and they sang it again, adding harmonies.  In a span of about six hours, history had been made.

Both tracks were airmailed to New York and within days the record was out on the radio, pointing fingers and naming names.  Many AM stations refused to play the track, because of it’s criticism of the Nixon administration.  However, the burgeoning underground FM format embraced the song.

As a side note, the group already had a song racing up the charts at the time, “Teach Your Children,’ written by Graham Nash.  By releasing “Ohio,” it basically killed the momentum of the other song.  At one point in July 1970, both songs were in the top 20.  Despite it’s limited airplay, “Ohio” still peaked at #14.  It stands as the greatest achievement of C,S,N & Y.

Not Just Another Beatles Book

Recently, I talked with Robert Rodriguez, author of a new book called “Fab Four FAQ 2.0” (Backbeat Books).  This is actually a sequel of sorts.  Rodriguez co-authored the first book (or “1.0” if you will) back in 2007.  That book concentrated on the history of the Beatles while they were together.  “2.0” picks up with the breakup of the Fab Four and the subsequent solo releases from 1970 until 1980 when John Lennon was shot.

Just about every possible angle has been covered here: from reviews of all the solo Beatles albums, to which movies they were in, who played on which LP, and even the notorious spats between them over the years.

One of the tasty elements of the book is all the memorabilia that’s pictured, most of which come from the author’s own personal collection.

The book weighs in at some 450 pages.  But, if that isn’t enough to satisfy your solo Fab cravings, you can go to Rodriguez’s own website, to view unused chapters.

Talking to the King

Man, what a trip!  I interviewed Solomon Burke the other day.  Before the actual interview began, I told him that I was calling from Dayton.  Here’s what he said:

Solomon:  “Dayton?  I love Dayton.  You know when I was younger, I used to want to go to Dayton, cause that’s where I thought I would get a DATE!”

I also told him about a treat from right here in southern Ohio…Esther Price Chocolate Covered Potato Chips.  I told him I’d send him a box.

Solomon: “Man, I know this is gonna be a great interview.”

Icon Fetch: “Why”?

Solomon: “Because, we haven’t even started and we’ve talked about my two favorite things…women and food!”

Interviewing Darlene Love

I talked with Darlene last night through the miracle of modern technology.  Over the Internet, we were able to chat – with me in Ohio and Darlene some thousands of miles away in Australia.  She’s preparing for the opening of Fame: The Musical in Melbourne.  The morning we talked, she was a little tired from a late-night practice.  Later that day were more practices, a dress rehearsal, and finally, the opening night of the show.  I felt honored that she took time to talk with us with such a busy schedule.

Although it was certainly nice to chat, trying to conduct an interview over the Internet can be dicey.  There were several instances where her voice was a little jumbled.  Keep that in mind when you listen to the show.  However, it’s a small price to pay to actually talk with such a special lady.

Darlene Love – “Greatest Vocal Performances”

Singer Darlene Love has lent her voice to literally hundreds (and possibly thousands) of recordings over the years.  We’ve assembled a list of some of her “Greatest Hits”:

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love – One of Darlene’s greatest moments.  A stone-cold holiday classic from Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift to You.  You can close your eyes and feel the snow falling on you.

“He’s a Rebel” – credited to the Crystals, but it’s actually Darlene on lead vocals.  Her first #1 hit.

“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah – Bob B. Soxx & the Blue JeansDarlene sings on this Disney classic turned inside-out.  Extra points for Billy Strange’s guitar solo that sounds like it’s coming from another planet.

“(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry” – Darlene Love – One of the few Spector tracks to actually sport Miss D’s name.  Darlene reaches back to her days in the gospel choir for a gutty performance.  Imagine her preaching to the congregation about her good news.

“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” – Betty EverettDarlene and the Blossoms do the question-asking, like “Is it in his eyes”?  sharing the lead vocalis with Betty.  The vocal ascending that they do when Betty sings “Kiss him / and squeeze him tight” will send shivers.

“Poor Side of Town” – Johnny Rivers Darlene & the Blossoms show off their gentler side as they echo Johnny’s verses with sweet sophistication.

“The Right Time” – Bobby DarinDarlene duets with Bobby on this under-appreciated cut from a lost Darin LP called Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles

“Brown-Eyed Woman” – Bill Medley – The deep-voiced half of the Righteous Brothers testifies his love for Darlene, while she and her sisters turn up the heat.

“Basketball Jones – Cheech and Chong – Showing that she truly is one of the most versatile of vocalists, Darlene lends her talents to C&C’s parody of the Brighter Side of Darkness “Love Jones.”