Wednesday, June 29, 2005



12 - Great American Concert Hall, San Francisco, CA
13 - Doug Fir, Portland, OR
14 - Neumos, Seattle, WA
16 - Club Sound, Salt Lake City, UT
17 - Bluebird Theatre, Denver, CO
19 - Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
20 - Metro, Chicago, IL
21 - St. Andrews, Detroit MI
22 - Newport, Columbus, OH
24 - Phoenix, Toronto, ONT
26 - Irving Plaza, New York City, NY
27 - Paradise, Boston, MA
28 - 930 Club, Washington, DC
30 - The Loft, Atlanta, GA

2 - The Parish, Austin, TX
3 - Merdian, Houston, TX
4 - Trees, Dallas, TX
6 - Clubhouse, Phoenix, AZ
7 - Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA
8 - Henry Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
9 - Glasshouse, Pomona, CA

Mark Gardener of Ride will support.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

BRMC's Official RCA Bio

Yes, another post... I promise it's the last one for today, folks! It seems that Robert Turner is now going by Robert Levon Been. Now that's rock n' roll.


It seems strange to rely on a second century spiritual proverb to give meaning to the story of a rock ‘n roll band in 2005. But the tale of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and the arduous circumstances surrounding the making of its third and finest full length, Howl, requires just such a reference. Translated from the ancient Coptic language, the phrase in question reads:
“If you bring forth what is within you,
what you will bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
 what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

For Peter Hayes, Robert Levon Been, and Nick Jago – the three individuals collectively known as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – those words could easily have served as a bitter epitaph. But instead, they became a kind of rallying cry for the new record. For Howl is the sound of a band reaching deep within its soul in order to save itself; the sound of a band giving up its rock ‘n’ roll meal ticket and finding salvation and sustenance in a rich banquet of folk, country, blues, gospel and pop; the sound of a band finally owning up to itself and its vast limitless potential. 

In content and form the 13 songs are as far removed from BRMC’s previous albums--partly by design, partly because of the process--as they could be. Strain and grope for adjectives all you want, but the best and most accurate way to describe Howl – its title inspired by group’s own vulturine spirit as much as the work of the beat poets --- is simply to say that it’s a line of demarcation in the band’s catalog. It’s the same line that the Stones drew with Beggars Banquet; that the Clash drew with London Calling. It’s both a summation and a turning point, a nod to the past and a look into the future as well.

Yet, not so long ago, it appeared very much as though BRMC itself was on the eve of destruction.

The initial sessions that produced Howl began in June of 2004 in a basement studio outside Philadelphia with old friends Ryan and Paul Cobb, frontmen of Mad Action. “It’s just their parents place,” says Been. “But it has an amazing fucking sound. We did it on an old one-inch tape recorder, no tricks. We’d get up and their mom would fix us spaghetti and we’d go down into the basement and record.”

The material they began essaying, a set of gnarled and emotionally raw songs drawing on various roots traditions, revealed a different side of the band. “But it’s a side that’s always existed, just not on our records,” says Hayes. “These were songs that we’d been writing and collecting over the years. Some of them we actually thought about putting on previous albums. But we didn’t want to make it seem like they were filler tracks or novelties in the middle of a rock record. We felt like they were too important for that.”

Although most of the tunes had been written on acoustic guitar (“in various stairwells and back porches” as Hayes puts it) BRMC didn’t want to simply make an “unplugged” album. “We were experimenting to find an approach on how to record these songs, how to make these songs translate,” says Been. “With all due respect, we didn’t want to just make a Bruce Springsteen Nebraska-style acoustic record. It felt like it could be more. We just weren’t sure how to get there at first.”

Although their efforts in Philly produced a handful of exquisite tracks – including the joyful album opener “Shuffle Your Feet,” the languid “Sympathetic Noose” and the haunting minor key rumination “The Line” – the record was far from complete.

In August, BRMC took a break from the studio to play the European festival circuit. Owing to years of relentless touring, their notoriously tough work ethic, and some personal excesses, tensions within the band had slowly been building. Been explains, “We were attacking each other, it was insane and nobody wanted to be there; too many drugs, too many things pulling us down. We just didn’t know how to say ‘no’ anymore. We were running on empty.” Near the end of the tour the group came apart – quite literally – on a stage in Edinburgh, Scotland. When the dust had cleared Jago and the band decided to separate. Hayes and Been limped through the remainder of the dates, canceling a couple concerts and playing one surreal gig in Spain where a fan was practically pulled from the crowd and onto the drum kit.

By the time they got back home to L.A., BRMC was in a state of total disrepair. With Jago out of the group the delicate chemistry that had carried them for so long had been disrupted, leaving the future of the band unknown. “We’d lost the meaning of what we were doing, all of us” says Been “I don’t know, thinking back on it now I guess we had to burn it all down to build it up from scratch, to make it matter again. You just never want to learn the hard way.”

Deciding to push forward, in November Been and Hayes holed up at The Sandbox, the L.A. studio of longtime friend Rick Parker. Without a label, they’d long since parted with Virgin, and without a drummer, the title of their sophomore album Take Them On, On Your Own, was starting to become eerily prescient.

Paying for studio time out of their own pocket, Hayes and Been resumed work on the album, determined to finish it – in order to prove something, if only to themselves. As they began crafting new versions of the gauzy pop masterpiece “Howl” and the dark country rumble “Devil’s Waitin’” a profound creative freedom, borne of desperation, had suddenly found its way into the songs. “I can’t explain how inspiring it was just to hear what we were able to do,” says Been. “It was this incredible feeling. It kept us alive.”

Encouraged by their initial efforts, Hayes and Been decided to carry on, to see how far the momentum would take them. Although they’d loosely conceptualized their third record for some time – even giving it the working title The Americana LP – they ultimately decided to let the songs themselves determine the album’s sonic direction. The only thing they knew for certain was that it wouldn’t sound like any previous BRMC recording.

“If we made another rock record, it would’ve been hard to find a new place to go because we’d thrown in the kitchen sink for our second album,” says Been. “This was the genuine challenge that we needed. I think that’s a big reason why the band had been deteriorating, ‘cause we weren’t pushing ourselves. We knew there was a lot more we were capable of.”

     “When you listen to old records, from the Beach Boys to Beatles to Stones to Neil Young, it sounded like they were going by the seat of their pants a little bit,” says Hayes. “So that kinda became the guiding principle for this record. It really sounded like those groups were having fun, never knowing where they were gonna land.”

Much of the inspiration for album was found in the distant youth of its creators: you can hear literally the country and folk music Hayes was weaned on a child living in the farming community of New York Mills, Minnesota; or the old classic soul and R&B records Been had spent a lifetime collecting.

Hayes conjures wounded moods with a series of affecting narratives, bleeding ragged soul all over tracks like the album’s storming first single, “Ain’t No Easy Way” and the autobiographical, vaguely Dylanesque “Complicated Situation.”

Been looked beyond BRMC’s signature riff-fueled style and found direction in the ethereal vocal work of old gospel. “Early Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, the Staple Singers, that’s my favorite stuff,” he says, an influence clearly reflected in cuts like “Gospel Song” and “Promise.” “On those [songs] Me and Pete would go in and thrown eight or nine vocal tracks, do this whole sorta gospel, choir thing. And for us, it achieved the same orchestration as having wall of guitars on it, but it was just more unique. But a lot of instruments were sub-ed out, anything that was expected wasn’t allowed”

In addition to choir vocals and various other instrumental accoutrements – autoharp, piano, congas, slide guitar, timpani’s, harmonica, etc. – Hayes and Been reached back into their earliest musical exposure, breaking out trombones for a couple songs. “I took four years of trombone in school, and Peter took six years, totally coincidentally” says Been, laughing. “We never wanted to add them because we always hated bands that had to go through their ‘strings and horns’ phase. It just always sounds too slick and professional. I think the only reason we got away with this shit is because it sounds rough and pretty amateur.”

The essential elements of country, soul, folk, and gospel had always played a part in BRMC’s music. Yet, because they’d been so successful as a slash and burn power trio – giving the “Return Of Rock!” revolution a pugnacious anthem in “What Ever Happened to My Rock and Roll” – the public, and perhaps the band itself, felt it needed to adhere to a single sound or stylistic niche. Howl, then, represents an escape from a prison of their own making. “That seems a lot harder thing for bands to do nowadays,” says Hayes. “You can get trapped in one sound, and that’s what a record company wants from you. As soon as you veer off into something too different the label or the business people try steer you away from that.”

“In a way, it was helpful that we weren’t signed to a label while we were making this,” continues Hayes. “There was no pressure coming from anyone – which was important, because you don’t want to second guess what you’re doing. There was a little bit of that on the last album. We tried really hard not to think about what people were expecting, but there was no way around it. With this record those thoughts weren’t there. This album was for the music’s sake and no one else’s.”

“We weren’t trying to find a new identity with this record. This really is our history and our voice,” adds Been. “I actually left my stage name, ‘Turner’ , behind this year. I guess I’d been afraid of being in the shadow of my father [former Call frontman Michael Been]. But I’ve taken back my birth name to remind me of where I come from. Sometimes it’s better to know where you’ve been in order to know where you’re going.”

Completing the album over a scattered six month period, the energy in the studio was relentlessly positive (“It was the most fun we’ve had recording,” says Been), and inspiring, as several new songs – including the thrillingly visceral blues of “Restless Sinner” – were penned in the midst of the sessions. Another tune, the album’s gorgeous centerpiece “Promise,” was written and recorded in a single weekend late in the process, originally intended as a b-side.

By the time they’d actually come to cut “A Promise,” that band had reconciled with drummer Nick Jago and were back to form. “It was great,” says Been, “the record was pretty much finished but at least we were able to have him play on one of his favorite songs. It brought things full circle.”

With a powerful album in the can, label suitors were soon lining up to secure BRMC’s services. Fittingly, the group elected to go with RCA’s Ashley Newton, the same A&R man who’d originally signed them to the Virgin back in 1999. RCA/Victor – home to Blind Willie McTell, Jimmie Rodgers, Sam Cooke and Waylon Jennings, all in their own way influences on Howl – seems a perfect place for BRMC. The group also secured a deal with ECHO in Europe.

“We’re lucky little bastards, RCA in the states and the cool thing with the ECHO arrangement overseas is that were linking it up with our own imprint, Abstract Dragon,” Been adds “We’ve taken a goddamn beating for having a D.I.Y. ethic regarding our music the last few years, now it’s finally paying off”.

Ultimately, it has to be understood that BRMC is a band that believes in the rock ‘n’ roll mythos – the saving grace, the excess, the exquisite burn, and all the rest of it. The experience of the past year – the highs and lows, the tumult and triumph – has only strengthened their understanding in the precious human alchemy that occurs among the great rock groups, that same unique power that exists between them.

“I guess there was this unspoken thing between us that was finally spoken,” says Hayes. “Sure, we questioned each other for a while. But the band is bigger than the three of us. From where I came from, and how the three of us ended up together, it just doesn’t…it just doesn’t happen like that very often. You don’t get the opportunity to grow up together in this way. That should be respected and it shouldn’t ever be thrown away. We had to dig pretty hard and deep to figure that out, but it was all worth the wait.” 

Which Creation Records Band Are You?

First, here's a link to the most beautiful XTC site I've ever seen: Optimism's Flames. I took this Creation Records Band quiz twice and got Slowdive the first time, the results could go either way for me. I thought this quiz was cool enough to post the other possible results.

The Jesus And Mary Chain
You Are... The Jesus And Mary Chain.

You are moody and unpredictable. You are the
underdog who refuses to sink to the bottom. You
have more talent than you ever really let
anyone know. It almost seems as if you try and
sabotage whatever good things may be going on
in your life, and you often feel like you may
be giving people a bit too much of yourself.
Being in the spotlight is something you find to
be rather uncomfortable though you secretly
yearn to be loved by everyone. You lean toward
things of a darker nature and are prone to self
destructive tendencies. You struggle with
happiness for the simple fact that you seem to
be in love with your misery. You are a realist.

what Creation Records band are you? (complete with text and images)
brought to you by Quizilla


You Are... Slowdive. You are very comfortable with the person that you are. You are pretty traditional in a classical sort of way. You relate most to things of a darker, more mysterious nature. You tend to be quiet and shy but you still manage to make friends pretty easilly. Though your ambition is bigger than your talents, your perseverance will always lead you to bigger and greater things.

what Creation Records band are you? (complete with text and images)
brought to you by Quizilla

Other possible results for "what Creation Records band are you? (complete with text and images)"
RideYou Are... Ride.You are young at heart and full of energy. You are talented but very modest. You are happy go lucky and care free. You have learned to take the good with the bad and you just accept life for being what it is. People tend to be envious of you, That's only because they don't understand you and they just want some of what you have. There's no task too hard for you and you excel at pretty much everything you try to do. You have a playful personallity and a beautiful inner soul.

My%20Bloody%20ValentineYou Are...My Bloody Valentine.You tend to be a bit distant and reclusive. You are a leader as opposed to being a follower. You are a perfectionist and pay very close attention to detail. You have the tendency to be lazy, which sometimes get's in the way of you achieving whatever it is you may be trying to perfect. You don't really care about what's typically looked upon as the norm. You really don't care about what people think about you at all, or at least so you try and make it seem. You care most about just being yourself.

Primal%20ScreamYou Are... Primal Scream.You are flashy and can be quite egotistical at times. You tend to care more about how cool you look doing doing something, rather than how good you are at doing that thing. You are talented, though some may feel you are not as talented as you may think you are. You can be quite materialistic and you love to be the center of attention, Which often times makes you the life of the party. Your personallity sometimes comes of as being shallow and unpleasant but deep down inside you have a good heart and are a very loyal friend. You are destined to lead a succesful life.

OasisYou Are... Oasis.What you lack in originality you make up for in sheer determination. You have found a nice balance between party time and work time. You have the ability to convince the world of anything you want them to believe and you shamelessly do so. You are a purist who has the tendency to live in the past, which is your biggest downfall. If you could only learn to get with the times there's no telling how big you could be. You are destined to go down in history.

BRMC news from Torr's blog

I tried opening the link to Billboard to learn more about the new album, but it didn't work. Anyone know what it said?

Bits & Bobs: "

You can stream the new BRMC single 'Ain't No Easy Way' by pasting this
[rtsp://] into the File-> Open field of your RealPlayer, then f-fwding to the 42min mark. The short song sounds like The Music with steel guitar. I'll let you tell me if that's a good or bad thing.

And you can hear a clip of itunes-only-single 'Shuffle Your Feet' at the e-card on their site. Billboard also has a track-by-track description of their upcoming album; and the same goes for the upcoming album from My Morning Jacket.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I finished reading 2 books today!

And I started on a third one. The first one was “Britpop! Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock” by John Harris, the second was “The Sociology of Rock” by Simon Frith, and the third one is “Killing Bono” by Neil McCormick. It’s amazing how much you can read when you’re not online all day! For more detailed info about these books, please visit My Xanga

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's new video for "Ain't No Easy Way"

from Video Static: Music Video News (June 13-19, 2005)

BOOKED: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Charles Mehling, director

Scheduled to shoot this week in Kiev, Ukraine...

artist:  Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
song: "Ain't No Easy Way"
label:  Echo/RCA
director(s):  Charles Mehling
production co:  Streetgang Films

June 21, 2005 in RCA, Streetgang | Permalink | TrackBack

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Great bands must play at Cafe du Nord

PHONE: 415.861.5016
FAX: 415.861.7374

I like this club a lot for a few reasons:

first: obviously the good music
second: it’s very conveniently located right on Market (literally across the street from Church St.)
third: people are very polite (unlike the pushy Popscene-sters)

I haven’t tried the food there yet, but it looks pretty good. Here’s the list of shows that I went to there this year.

6/10: Fri. The National, Menomena, TalkDemonic (also The Robbers on High Street, but I missed them)
5/25: Wed. Architecture In Helsinki, Still Flyin’, DJ’S from AIH
3/26: Pretty Girls Make Graves, Dios Malos, Kill Me Tomorrow

My brother also saw Butterfly Boucher and the Trash Can Sinatras there, how cool is that?!

Bottom Of The Hill: One of SF's best venues

Great music, great sound, low ticket prices… This venue is a must for serious live music lovers. I saw Monade there, and I wanted to see the Caesars there, but it was rainining. Here’s a list of some of the bands who’ve played at Bottom of the Hill

Here are some upcoming shows I want to attend there:

Wed, June 22     9 : 00 pm (doors at 8:30)
Dressy Bessy
Giant Value
The Jessica Fletchers

Fri, June 24     10 : 00 pm (doors at 8:30)
(all ages)
The Mountain Goats
The Double
Sarah Dougher

Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri)
San Francisco, CA 94107

Info line: 415-621-4455

So much to do and see there, plus CMJ!

New York would be great to visit. There’s tons going on there and the 25th CMJ Music Marathon is happening this year, September 14th-17th at the Lincoln Center. I was thinking about volunteering.

I must go back to London someday!

I was really lucky to win a trip to London and Paris in my last year of college through a travel fair. I stayed part of the time at my cousins’ place in Golder’s Green (North London) and other parts traveling to some music festivals: V2002 in Chelmsford and the Carling Weekender in Leeds. I also went by train to visit some other cities: Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Shropshire (to pick something up).

I also visited Hampton Court and then went to a Garbage concert (with Queen Adreena opening) at the Camden Electric Ballroom. I’d intended to see Longwave at the Bar Fly, but I didn’t know where it was. Other parts of my London trip included the Tate Modern Museum, the National British Museum, and the usual tourists spots: London Bridge, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, the London Dungeon (which was hilariously cheesey!).

Guzzlefish is great! Everyone with a CD, DVD, or video game collection should use it

It’s not perfect, but it’s probably the best and easiest to use site for cataloging your albums, movies, and video games all in one place. I’ve put in a large part of my CD collection already, though there are some recent releases that the site’s database doesn’t have yet. I’ve put in most of my video games, but I’ve just started on movies. This is definitely one of the most useful sites on the web.

My Guzzlefish collections so far

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Last.FM: a very cool music service

It organizes your listening habits by artist, song, and album, and shows you people who have similar tastes to you. I think it’s even better than AudioScrobbler.

Check out my Last.FM page

I’ve been using it for a few months, and I think it’s great!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Check out for shows

It’s a great website that organizes lists of all the shows in your area and I think you can even put them on your website or blog. Last year, I only went to a few concerts and it was just not fun. I really enjoy music and the live experience of seeing a good artist or band performing. So definitely go to

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Reading a good book can help...

I still spend a lot of time on the computer, though today I actually spent some time reading. I felt very productive getting through five chapters of a book called “Britpop! Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock” by John Harris. It’s been very interesting, though he does seem to segue into politics quite a bit. I prefer reading about the relationship between Brett Anderson of Suede and Justine Frischmann (later of Elastica).

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Figuring out what to do in life is tough!

I’ve long been interested in the music industry, which is not something I feel that I can be proud of since I’ve been in academic environments for most of my life. People have said the music industry like high school all over again, which I didn’t really enjoy the first time around. I think my love for music might be enough to keep me going towards it. I’ve been reading some books about careers in the music business and there’s actually a few things I’m interested in and could probably be good at. I’m also interested in radio and new media, since they can be closely associated with music. Right now, I plan to take some courses in Broadcast Electronic Media Arts and maybe focus on digital radio.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Coachella Festival 2002 (Indio, CA)

Here’s a list of who I saw:

Apr. 27: Princess Superstar, Cornershop, Pete Yorn, Charlatans UK, Groove Armada, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Beta Band, Bjork, Chemical Brothers
Apr. 28: Ping Pong Bitches, Fairview, Blonde Redhead, Elbow, Belle & Sebastian, Mos Def, The Strokes, Zero 7, Prodigy, Oasis

and some reviews I wrote of them

Kasabian and Mad Action (not UK) @ Popscene... for FREE!

That's right, one of the best up and coming British bands played for free tonight due to the generous sponsorship by MSN Music. And "The Mayor of the Sunset Strip" was playing on a couple of the TVs before and during the show! I know, I've got to stop being obsessed with Rodney, I'm just excited to finally get to see it. Okay, back to the show. After driving and walking around awhile, my dad dropped off me and my brother at Ritch Street.

We got there at around 6 PM and there was already a long line. I picked up a Bay Area Guardian to read during the long wait. They handed out tickets at 8 PM so we went to Border's for awhile to use the bathroom and look around. Jacob got some colored pencils, oil pastels in a nice case, and a small sketchpad. For some reason, they checked his bag but not mine... so I think I could have snuck in my camera. Oh well, it was probably too crowded to take any decent pictures. So, we got inside around 9:15 and I spent much of the time watching the movie (without sound, since the music was pretty loud). I did hear a great dance remix of a Stone Roses song (not "Fool's Gold") which I'd love to get a copy of.

Mad Action came on around 9:45 and they were really good. Their songs are really hook-filled rock, and the crowd seemed to enjoy them too. I could barely see the stage from where I was standing (towards the back). All I could see was a dancing ninja, so I kind of split my attention between the ninja (who I really felt like kicking), the stage which occasionally appeared among all the heads of the people in front of me, and the movie which was still playing. I know that Mad Action used to be called Ty Cobb and are friends with BRMC. For some reason, the Popscene flyers said they were from the UK.

By the time Kasabianwere set to hit the stage, we had moved up a little bit closer though people still kept getting in front of me. I actually elbowed and pushed a few who were really annoying me. It was really hot and crowded. Kasabian came on with a smoky, green lit entrance. Though we were closer to the stage, I could still barely see anything. The stage is just a little too low. The music was an excellent dance-y rock sound and I recognized a lot of songs from the album... most of the song titles escape me, though I do remember "Test Transmission" and the big finale of "Club Foot" a.k.a. the song from all those TV shows and commercials. That song really got the crowd going. It was a really exciting show, even Kasabian themselves said it was the best show they've play so far. But maybe they say that about every show.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

In the city, there's a million shows I want to go to!

Here are some upcoming shows I want to go to in SF:

7/19: The Secret Machines, Kings of Leon @ the Fillmore
7/15: The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ BotH, $10
7/8: Fri. Pop Crush Festival: My Favorite, Voxtrot, Unreal Scarlet’s Well, Lil’ Hospital – 8 pm, $12 @ Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St.
7/2: Sat. Scout Niblett, Afri Rampo 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission Street 22nd
6/24: Fri. Mountain Goats, The Double; Sarah Dougher @ BotH
6/22: Wed. Dressy Bessy, Giant Value, The Jessica Fletchers @ BotH, $8
6/20: Embrace, Long-View, Augustana @ the Independent, 8 PM, $12
6/18: The Futureheads, High Speed Scene, Every Move a Picture @ the Fillmore $18.50
6/17: The Go-Betweens, The Court and Spark @ Slim’s, $17
6/16: Thu. Electrelane, Deerhoof, Lavender Diamond @ GAMH
6/15: Wed. Stephen Malkmus, Martha Wainwright @ the Fillmore
6/12: Eisley, Lovedrug, (dot), Pilotdrift @ Slim’s, $15
6/10: Fri. The National, Menomena @ Cafe du Nord
6/9: Thu. Kasabian, Mad Action @ Popscene, 330 Ritch, FREE!
6/8: Wed. Caesars, Amusement Parks On Fire, The Plus Ones @ BotH, $10 (tonight!)

Here are shows I’ve been to this year:

6/2: Of Montreal, Tilly and the Wall, Numbers @ GAMH ($13)
5/31: Bloc Party, The Noisettes and Death Of A Party (Djs Aaron and Nako) @ Slim’s (Popscene) $11
5/25: Wed. Architecture In Helsinki, Still Flyin’, DJ’S from AIH @ Café Du Nord, $10
5/25: Wed. And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead @ Amoeba (SF)
5/7: Thievery Corporation @ Fillmore ($35)
5/6: Monade, Zincs, Guilty Party @ Bottom of the Hill ($12)
5/2: The Raveonettes, A (SF)
4/30: British Sea Power, The Heavenly States, Kelley Stolz @ the Independent, $14
3/26: Pretty Girls Make Graves, Dios Malos, Kill Me Tomorrow @ Cafe du Nord

I saw Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl!

It was huge and exciting! You could barely see Radiohead on the stage. I was lucky because a co-worker couldn’t make it, so he gave me 2 tickets. I went with my friend Dorothy. Unfortunately, we got there a little late and missed Supergrass who were opening.

Rodney on the Roq, an unlikely music legend

I wouldn't expect many people outside of the LA area to know who Rodney Bingenheimer is. In fact, I wouldn't even expect most KROQ listeners to know who he is. Why is that? He's been a "cutting edge" DJ since 1976, being the first to play tons of great new music and bands that have gone on to be huge that I know most people actually have heard. He's been a fixture on the LA music scene as a DJ, journalist, club owner, etc. but his famous friends and his experience in the music business are not what makes him special. Not even the 2003 documentary about his life The Mayor of the Sunset Strip.

Rodney is an unlikely figure to respect because he's not actually the best DJ. His voice is definitely memorable, but not the usual professional DJ style. He's not even that good at interviewing, even after 20-odd years on the radio. To this day, he still sounds a little nervous and shy on the air. I've never met or seen him in person (though I did win a Daniel Ash CD from him even though I answered the question wrong!). After years of listening to him (and reading bios and reviews of the movie), I know he is just a genuine, loyal music fanatic who wants to share the good music that he finds. And you think that after years of being around music, he'd get sick of all the phonies. I don't think he is because he's still doing his show from midnight to 3 AM on KROQ. To his loyal fans and listeners, this is a real travesty because he probably started playing most of the music which has made the station better.

I know it sounds like I'm kissing butt (which I really hate to do), but honestly, I wouldn't know a lot of the music I've listened to without Rodney on the Roq. I listened to tons of radio during high school and college, and his show actually stood out among the masses. I've recently discovered there have been websites set up to support Rodney. One is an online petition to give him back his old time slot from 7 to 10 PM. That would be nice and all, but I think what we really need is a podcast for people who don't live in the KROQ listening area. There were "Rodcasts" set up on his Yahoo Group mailing list, but those seem to have disappeared already. The second site is Rodney on the Walk which is a site where you can donate to the cause of raising $15,000 to get him his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That might be a little unnecessary, but I can't say he doesn't deserve it.
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Monday, June 06, 2005

A place for my passions: Music and New Media!

I’ve heard so much about SXSW, it’s where it’s at when it comes to music conferences. And now there’s an interactive part for computer geeks! My goodness, what will they think of next? I’m just starting on trying to get back into the music industry and I’d love for whatever work I can find to be more new media and internet related. I doubt I could be on a panel for quite a few years, but I’d first love to go and experience SXSW firsthand. Maybe next year?

Any SF indie/britpop fanatics out there?

Music is definitely my passion, particularly indie and britpop. It seems like San Francisco is a great place for those kinds of music since they have an excellent club called Popscene and great bands playing here every night at places like Cafe du Nord, Bottom of the Hill, the Fillmore, Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, The Independent, etc. I’ve been to all those venues within the last few months and it’s been great. I’ve been going with my brother, who likes the music but usually doesn’t enjoy going to concerts. I’m not sure why, we’ve seen tons of great bands (Pretty Girls Make Graves, British Sea Power, Monade, Thievery Corporation, Architecture in Helsinki, Still Flyin', Bloc Party, Of Montreal, Tilly and the Wall) just this year alone. And here’s my list of upcoming shows that I’m interested in and hoping to go to:

7/19: The Secret Machines, Kings of Leon @ the Fillmore
7/15: The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ BotH, $10
7/8: Fri. Pop Crush Festival: My Favorite, Voxtrot, Unreal Scarlet’s Well, Lil’ Hospital – 8 pm, $12 @ Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St.
7/2: Sat. Scout Niblett, Afri Rampo 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission Street 22nd
6/24: Fri. Mountain Goats, The Double; Sarah Dougher @ BotH
6/22: Wed. Dressy Bessy, Giant Value, The Jessica Fletchers @ BotH, $8
6/20: Embrace, Long-View, Augustana @ the Independent, 8 PM, $12
6/18: The Futureheads, High Speed Scene, Every Move a Picture @ the Fillmore $18.50 (expensive but I still want to go!)
6/17: The Go-Betweens, The Court and Spark @ Slim’s, $17
6/16: Thu. Electrelane, Deerhoof, Lavender Diamond @ GAMH, 859 O’Farrell Street (Polk)
6/15: Wed. Stephen Malkmus, Martha Wainwright @ the Fillmore
6/12: Eisley, Lovedrug, (dot), Pilotdrift @ Slim’s, 333 11th St, $15
6/10: Fri. The National, Menomena @ Cafe du Nord
6/9: Thu. Kasabian, Mad Action @ Popscene, 330 Ritch, FREE!
6/8: Wed. Caesars, Amusement Parks On Fire, The Plus Ones @ BotH, $10
6/7: Tues. Athlete @ Cafe du Nord, $10-$12

My new Konica Minolta DiMage Z1!

With a 10x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom, this is quite an amazing 3.2 MP camera worth checking out. It’s a surprisingly small camera that I got for quite a bargain. My brother first told me about it because Fry’s Electronics had it on sale for $177. I decided to get it that day, but didn’t know what it looked like until I looked it up online. Actually, reading the reviews online convinced me that it was a good deal. Then, I found it on eBay and won another one for just $143.50 (total price including shipping!). So I returned the one I got from Fry’s and they took it out of the box check if it was actually there. Even the guy I returned it to thought it was a nice camera. So far, my brother’s used it more than I have (mostly to take pictures of the black cat in the backyard), but what a great zoom it has! This photo was taken from the 3rd floor fire escape of his apartment.

Sometimes, templates just don't cut it...

I actually did start a website back in 2002 for one of my current favorite bands Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It’s called Down Here and named for one of their wonderful b-sides. Anyways, I didn’t write any HTML for that site, though I do know some from classes I took in high school and college. I used templates because I’m kind of lazy and I haven’t learned enough about computer graphics to design some for the site. I did a lot of updating on it early on, but since then I’ve only updated info on it sporadically. I just started taking a class on Digital Media Skills, so I’m hoping some of that will help me do some cool PhotoShop stuff.

Maybe this should be #1 on my list...

I’m definitely online way too much, just about a week ago I joined a website called SurfJunky and I’ve already logged about 88 hours online… and though I’ve actually made about $40, my time would probably be better spent cleaning up or starting new project than constantly checking emails and blogging up a storm. I currently don’t have a job other than being a student right now, but I could stand to be more productive.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Oasis at Coachella 2002

I saw Oasis in 2002 at Coachella and they were excellent. Totally rock star material with great songs. They really deserve success. I’d love to see Oasis again, since I’ve heard good things about their new album. They are playing with Jet and Kasabian on September 11th at the Shoreline Ampitheater. I just checked and the cheapest tickets are only $24, which is really not bad. Maybe I should see them again…

Barry Christian from Sheffield, England (RIP)

My oldest internet friend was Barry Christian, who I’d met through the Dubstar mailing list during my freshman year in college. We’d started communicating because he offered a trade of Dubstar’s first album Disgraceful (only release in the UK) for a copy of (Shirley Manson’s band) Angelfish. We started writing long emails almost daily, discussing mostly music though occasionally art, language, religion, etc. We made lots of CD exchanges since we both liked music so much. Barry worked in the Chemistry department at Sheffield Hallam University. He had a wife and 2 daughters, who were near my age. He was a very well read Anthropophosist (I probably mispelled that), a fan of Pink Floyd and Garbage, and a vegan. We still had plenty to talk about.

In 2002 (my last year of college), I won a trip to Europe from a UCLA Travel Fair that included a 7 day tour of London and Paris. A great part about it was that I’d already planned on going to England that summer. I have a couple cousins in London that I stayed with for the first few weeks of my trip. Since I was planning to go the Leeds Festival in Northern England, I decided to make a short stop in Sheffield to meet Barry. When I did get there, he met me at the train station and we stopped by his office at the university to drop off my stuff. Then we went to lunch at the faculty cafe. It was very nice, we both had some sort of tasty onion pie. After that, we rode the bus to a few local record stores. I picked up a Volume compilation CD and a special version of Beautiful Garbage for 5 pounds!

After that, I met his wife Christine who drove all three of us around Derbyshire to see the stone circles (which Barry had told me a lot about). It was a very nice drive through some lush green countryside. When we got out of the car, we hiked around to see the stone circles until Barry slipped and fell hard on his back. It was a very bad fall so we had to rush to an emergency room nearby. I was in the waiting room for quite awhile. After that we went to dinner at a pub, I think I had a steak mushroom dish with potatoes. Then, Barry and Christine took me to a bed and breakfast where I’d stay the night before going to Leeds. This story isn’t about Leeds so I’ll skip to the next part.

Barry and I continued to email each other after meeting, but then it stopped for a few months. I resent some of my emails to him, but got no reply. In late December 2002/early January 2003, I received a message from his daughter Heather (who I’d met when they picked me up from the B&B to bring to the train station the next morning). Heather said that her father had a lot of back trouble after his fall and after going to the hospital to get it checked out, they’d discovered that he had kidney cancer. He passed away in the hospital on December 26, 2002 (I think) at the too young age of 60. I thought I could take it pretty well, but I broke down a little. Barry was a good friend who always remembered my birthday and even my siblings’ birthdays. I’m sad that I couldn’t have met him again, or continued emailing him. Three years later, and I still remember meeting him and his family so vividly. He was the kind of friend you’d never forget.

93.7 FM in San Francisco, Indie 103.1 FM in So Cal is 93.7 FM in San Francisco, it’s got an internet webcast and it’s very good. My only complaint is they don’t tell you who they’re playing since there are no DJ’s. It’s still better than Live 105. Indie 103.1 fm is a Clear Channel owned radio station in LA but it’s surprisingly good. Steve Jones hosts a 2 hour show from noon to 2 and often has interesting guests. Another good station in So Cal that might be harder to get is KSPC 88.7 FM aka Pomona College’s radio station. Lots of good ticket giveaways there too. And of course there’s KCRW 89.9 FM from Santa Monica College. There are probably millions of other good stations that you can listen to on the internet through iTunes or Live365, but those are the ones that come to mind first.

KCRW 89.9 FM at Santa Monica College

Both me and my brother have donated to this station and it’s paid off in spades in terms of CDs and concert ticket giveaways. The biggest of these was Coachella 2002, which was really amazing. I’m not in Southern California right now, but I still listen to the occasional webcast of Morning Becomes Eclectic hosted by Nic Harcourt. Definitely worth checking out…

check ebay for ipods!

I got my 40 GB 3G ipod on ebay for a mere $275 + $14 shipping from a seller called Dyscern. I also got a free Electra glow iSkin as a promo from that seller. I always tell people to check ebay first when buying expensive electronics like that because you can get a much better deal than anywhere else. The only complaint I have about my iPod is that the battery life isn’t that great, though it suits my needs just fine. You probably won’t have a problem with battery life from the newer models.

Many blogs in many places...

I started out using Xanga and I still use it as my main blog, but I have them everywhere… it can be really addictive! I’ve found old friends and made new ones through Xanga, it’s a really great way to stay connected with people. I also have one on MSN Spaces, but I haven’t really been using it.

Piano lessons & someday guitar

It seems like everyone has taken piano lessons before, but I think it was a really important activity for me growing up. I started taking lessons when I was 10. Kind of late start, and I didn’t expect to be a professional pianist or anything. I just wanted to know how to play. And my piano teacher Shirley Chen was wonderful. She only charged $10 a lesson and she gave me little treats after lessons and concerts.

I think the most expensive thing my mom has gotten me was my Yamaha 48” upright piano (over $4000). I’d like to play it more often when I’m there. Actually, I would really like to learn to play the guitar. Back in 2002 (I think), I bought a $99 on a sparkly Blue Danelectro from Pepperland in Orange, CA and it’s been gathering dust since I got it. Some day, I’d really like to know how to play it. I’ve had plenty of time to try and teach myself, but I just can’t figure it out.

Friday, June 03, 2005

What I'm listening to these days

So much music to listen to... here are a few artists that are worth checking out:

Kahimi Karie (an amazing female Japanese singer)

Melissa Auf de Maur (formerly of Hole, doing quite well on her own)

The Concretes (from Sweden, my brother told me about them and forgot about it)

the Aislers Set (a cool SF band w/connections to the Softies, Go Sailor, and Still Flyin' - thanks to a cool new pen pal)

the Kills (friends of the Raveonettes and touring the UK with BRMC and the Brian Jonestown Massacre)

Architecture in Helsinki (a delightful indie pop/rock orchestra from Australia)

Malcolm Middleton (the former leader of the Delgados, now solo with a similar band)

Tilly and the Wall (an Omaha, NE band who were excellent opening for Of Montreal)

and a couple of NME buzz bands

Razorlight (who Oasis have championed)

Maximo Park (the next big thing from the UK)

Also, I'm listening to Longview and Embrace to see if I want to see them in concert later this month.

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