Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Was Chris Farley present at the birth of ambient music?

If I had to take one Brian Eno album to a desert island, I would probably choose Before and After Science. This album, released in the days when records and cassettes had two sides, is clearly divided into two distinct parts. Side one clearly echoes some of Eno's previous solo releases; "King's Lead Hat" could easily fit on Here Comes the Warm Jets. Side two echoes other solo releases by Eno, such as Discreet Music and the quieter parts of Another Green World. Take, for example, the meditative song "By This River."

If I had to take a Chris Farley comedy routine to a desert island, I'd take his starry-eyed fan interview of Paul McCartney. But if I didn't choose that, I'd probably choose his first appearance as Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. Foley, as portrayed by Farley, is anything but meditative. Loud, angry, yelling at the people he is supposed to be motivating, and portraying anything but a positive attitude (unlike the real Matt Foley, who has dealt with adversity in a positive way), the Matt Foley character is probably most famous for telling his subjects/victims that he himself lives in a van down by the river.

I think you know where this is going.

Yes, dailybeating created a brilliant mashup.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Devo's Bob Casale is dead

A friend of mine alerted me to this news. For the moment, I won't discuss the undercurrent of the dueling announcements that follow in this post.

Oddly enough, I had been reading about the late Alan Myers recently. Now comes word that another member of Devo, Bob Casale, has passed away. Publicly identified as the engineer for the band, this Bob (or, for that matter, the other Bob) wasn't as well known as the other members of Devo, but he was clearly an integral part of the band.

Mark Mothersbaugh offered these comments:

We are shocked and saddened by Bob Casale’s passing. He not only was integral in DEVO’s sound, he worked over twenty years at Mutato, collaborating with me on sixty or seventy films and television shows, not to mention countless commercials and many video games. Bob was instrumental in creating the sound of projects as varied as Rugrats and Wes Anderson’s films. He was a great friend. I will miss him greatly. “

-Mark Mothersbaugh

Bob's brother, Gerald Casale, obviously had some thoughts of his own:

Very sad news to report today.

Bob Casale of Devo. Born: July 14th, 1952 . Deceased: February 17th, 2014

As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all.

Gerald Casale, Devo founder.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

She had to leave...Los Angeles!

Exene Cervenka, formerly of the band X, is forever connected with Los Angeles. But she's leaving California and moving to Austin, Texas. From Rolling Stone (h/t Trevor Carpenter):

Cervenka, who just turned 58, is having an estate sale this weekend. She's in good health, but she wants to move to Austin, Texas, and doesn't want to lug along all her stuff. So she's putting thousands of items up for sale....

Trevor and I took particular note of one of the reasons that she's leaving. Yes, she likes Austin, and she likes Jerry Brown, but she says that the California that she's leaving is not the one that originally attracted her.

[W]hen I moved to California in 1976...[i]t was barefoot hippie girls, Hell's Angels on the Sunset Strip, East L.A. lowriders, the ocean and nature. It was this fabulous incredible place about freedom. Now when I think about California, I think of a liberal oppressive police state and regulations and taxes and fees. I'd rather go someplace and have my own little place out on the edge of town. I'm a country girl at heart. It makes me happy when I see people in Texas open-carrying. It makes me feel safe. I'm not even a gun owner, but I'd like to see a gun rack in every pickup truck, like my boyfriend had when I was fifteen years old in Florida. An armed society is a polite society.

Be sure to read the rest of the article. Her thoughts on material possessions are refreshing. For example, she is selling a picture of John Doe, her former bandmate. She could have kept it..."[b]ut I know this guy, so I don't need a picture of him."

P.S. Here's a song, since this is like a music blog and all.

Friday, February 14, 2014

In England, it's not just rap music that's being played too loudly

As I write this, a Florida jury is deliberating to determine whether Michael Dunn is guilty of murder in the death of Jordan Davis, who was apparently playing really loud rap music.

But there's a case in West Yorkshire in which a verdict has already been reached.

Thankfully, murder is not the issue here. However, 18 year old Thomas Alcock has had his entire record collection seized by a court after his neighbors complained that the noise from Alcock's home was so loud that "it was vibrating the handrails to the stairwell."

So whose music was Alcock blasting? A rapper? A metal maniac?

No, Alcock was blasting...Adele.

I guess she'll be banned now.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Your all-American sports often feature British songs

It's funny when you think about it.

You can find basketball and ice hockey in Britain, but they're nowhere near the major sports that they are in the United States.

So why do we Americans listen to so many British songs at our basketball and ice hockey games?

Think about it. Queen's "We Will Rock You." Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part Two." Blur's "Song 2." Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."

You can hear these and other songs here.

This just demonstrates the huge musical shift that occurred in the early 1960s. In 1959, no one could predict that American sports fans would start listening to British songs during games.

Of course, this changed a few short years later...and not because of Acker Bilk.

Monday, February 10, 2014

#wwfd - online wisdom from Kevin Federline

It appears that Kevin Federline's official site is no longer available, but a fan site still exists that includes this game - What Would Federline Do?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Farewell ceremony?

From a phishing expedition:

Because it's from spammers, the wording is awkward. I especially loved their use of the phrase "farewell ceremony" to describe a funeral. However, I'm sure that for some of my secular friends, the term may be appropriate.

Perhaps the Devo Corporate Anthem could be played at such a farewell ceremony.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sinister fingerings - left-handed musical instruments

Activist terrorist left-handers sometimes blow up bombs (and not always the right way) because of a world that demeans them and relegates them to second-class status. But if the left-handers happen to be musicians, there is hope for them, even in this right-handed world in which we live.

Now when you think of left-handed musical instruments, the first one that comes to mind is the left-handed sewer flute. And when you think of the left-handed sewer flute, two names come to mind - Bob Block and Peter Nothnagle.

Bob and his friend Peter Nothnagle had been unimpressed with the quality, and especially the tuning, of the imitation renaissance flutes on the market at that time, and decided to try making their own, using plastic plumber's tubing in different widths, and corks donated by their wine-drinking friends. Bob and Peter spent a lot of time experimenting with width and length, sizes and shapes of the holes, and the feathering of the edges of the holes in order to make each and every flute play reliably on pitch. The sold entire consorts of soprano, alto, tenor and bass flutes for several years under the name "Aardvark Fluteworks." (He once received a catalog in the mail addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Aardvark Flutewo.")

OK, perhaps you think of two other names when discussing the left-handed sewer flute - some Schickele and some Bach - but did either of those people have a frog collection?

A very popular instrument for left-handers is the guitar, since it is relatively easy to convert a right-handed guitar to a left handed one. Among the people who are known for playing left-handed guitar are Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, and Kurt Cobain.

After all, it's much easier to convert a guitar for left-handed use than, say, a piano. If you look at the very shape of a grand piano, it's obvious that the longer bass strings can only go on the left side. In addition, the arrangement of the white and black keys on the keyboard can't really work in a left-handed fashion. (If you switched the order, then C#, which is a black key on the keyboard, would have to be played on a white key, the one that was formerly assigned to B.)

So if you want a left-handed piano, you'd have to build the entire thing from scratch - and who is going to do that?


The instrument was built by Poletti and Tuinman Fortepiano Makers of Holland, one of the finest firms in the world. It is a mirror-image piano based on an instrument built by Conrad Graf in Vienna around 1826.

This piano was built for the benefit of Christopher Seed, who to my knowledge has never played a left-handed sewer flute.