Posts Tagged ‘The Rolling Stones’


David Bowie to play Glastonbury? The bets are on.

By Stefano on June 26th, 2013

Everyone knows that The Rolling Stones are the main attraction at Glastonbury this weekend. However the internet has been awash with rumours that a certain other vintage pop star who is on the comeback trail, might play a secret set at the fest.

Yep William Hill is offering odds of 6/1 on David Bowie playing Glasto with him at 10/1 joining the Stones on stage.

“Every festival around the world this year have been plagued by rumours that Bowie will play a secret set and with odds of 6/1, it looks likely that he may wait for the biggest stage of all, Glastonbury, to do so,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

It couldn’t happen – could it?

features, music

The Stones at Glasto. The Roses on tour. Is rock and roll now an old man’s game?

By Stefano on March 28th, 2013


Well it wasn’t me who said it. The words actually came from the lips of one Robyn Hitchcock. But then again he has a new album to promote – which is very, very good – and it is his 60th birthday.

But it does strike me that there might be a grain of truth in his words, what with those hip young gunslingers The Rolling Stones headlining Glastonbury and the summer full of reunions of 80s and 90s bands hoping for one last big pay day.

And this week I had a bit of an epiphany in comparing the latest releases from NME’s flavour of the month Peace and the new album from 80s indie rock legends The House Of Love.

The Peace album has its moments, but it clearly isn’t anywhere near as good as the hyped review from the NME and others makes it out to be. It sounds like B list Brit Pop – and not in a good way.

As for The House of Love’s She Paints Words In Red, it boasts lots of crafted tunes, inspired guitar and intelligent lyrics. It lacks a little of the oomph of the band in its heyday – especially on their epic pair of first two albums, but it is way better than the Peace album.

It also strikes me that the latest crop of hyped bands – like Peace, the Palma Violets etc aren’t that great. Last year’s mob – Jake Bugg, Toy, Temples etc were a lot more interesting.

However before you write me off as an ageing curmudgeon with a Suede fetish, I actually listen to more new music than at any point in my life courtesy of the wonder that is Spotify.

What is wrong with British music fans?

My theory is that rock music has become an old man’s game – but only in the UK and that is because of the weird legacy of the old music press and the way it shaped how we saw new bands.

In the UK we are still suckers for the concept of the package – the band with the personalities, clothes, images and haircuts – as much as the music. Trouble is they don’t come along very often. The last band to perfectly fit the bill were The Strokes (who took off in the UK long before they mean anything in the US) and they made, well one great album and one good one, and the new one is horrendous. Maybe The Arctic Monkeys too, though before Alexa rocked up they looked like a few northern plumbers on a Thursday night pub crawl. It is why we are still obsessed with The Libertines too, who were a great soap opera, but musically nowhere near as good as their heroes.

So the great stars of yesterday – who had the image and the music and something to say too – the Stones, Roses, Bowie etc still fit the bill of what we except from our rock stars.

It feels like the rest of the world doesn’t share our obsession with the package. Tame Impala are a huge global band now and they are clearly way more passionate about their music than they are about their trousers. As are countless of other American, Australian and European bands.

So maybe it is time us Brits stopped fretting about outdated notions of what rock stars should and shouldn’t be. It really is all about the music now. And until we embrace that hundreds of really great British bands and artists like The Horrors, Ulysses, The Clientele, Magic Theatre, The Real Tuesday Weld, Darren Hayman and The Soundcarriers to name but a few, aren’t going to get the attention their superb music truly deserves.


45 years since the air crash that killed him we salute the incomparable Otis Redding

By Stefano on December 11th, 2012

Simon Poulter of the brilliant What Would David Bowie Do? salutes one of soul and R&B’s legends.

Early one May morning in 1965, Keith Richards woke up in his St. John’s Wood flat with a three-note riff in his head. He grabbed a cassette recorder and an acoustic guitar and quickly committed the riff to tape before going back to sleep. Or so he thought.

“Thank God for that little Philips cassette player,” Richards recalled in his autobiography, Life. He knew he’d put a brand new tape in the night before, but on inspection, saw that the tape was at its end. “Then I pushed rewind and there was [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction,” and, he explains, 45 minutes of snoring.

“It was just a rough idea,” Richards remembered, “the bare bones of the song, and it didn’t have that noise.” That noise being the demonic Gibson fuzzbox-fed sequence of notes that would become the Rolling Stones’ signature song.

Mick Jagger recalls that his Glimmer Twin’s original sounded more country on the original acoustic guitar-played tape. “It didn’t sound like rock. But [Keith] didn’t really like it, he thought it was a joke… He really didn’t think it was single material, and we all said ‘You’re off your head.’ Which he was, of course.”

Richards’ dissatisfaction with Satisfaction was that he felt the riff should, in fact, have been performed by horns rather than a guitar. Two months after a horns-free Satisfaction was recorded for posterity – and acclaim as one of the greatest pop songs ever – Georgia-born soul and blues singer Otis Redding walked into Stax Studios in Memphis to record, over the weekend of July 9, 1965 his third album, Otis Blue.

Amongst the songs – and at the suggestion of Booker T & The MGs guitarist Steve Cropper – Redding took a stab at Satisfaction. Richards’ guitar riff was replaced by a more upbeat brass fusillade by Wayne Jackson and the Memphis Horns. The song, dreamed up thousands of miles away in a North-West London apartment, was finally recorded as Keith Richards had imagined it.

With a collection of Redding originals like Respect and I’ve Been Loving You Too Long and covers like Satisfaction, Sam Cooke’s Change Gonna Come, Solomon Burke’s Down in the Valley, and B.B. King’s Rock Me Baby, Otis Blue established Redding as the undisputed King of Soul.

It was, however, a throne he would continue to occupy for just two more years before – until December 10, 1967 – 45 years ago this week – when he tragically joined Buddy Holly, Jim Reeves, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens in a tragic line-up of early pop stars to die in plane crashes.

Redding’s Beechcraft Twin Beech plane – which he often co-piloted – was a symbol of his rapidly acquired business acumen.

Unlike many of his blues and R’n'B contemporaries, who invariably had found themselves ripped off contractually and perpetually touring to pay off divorces and paternity suits, Redding had, by the time he died at just 26, built a portfolio of good investments, such as the plane and his beloved ‘Big-O’ ranch in Round Oak, Georgia.

Born in the small Georgia town of Dawson (Pop. 5500) on September 9, 1941, the Redding family moved to the ‘big’ city of Macon, 100 miles away. At school, Otis discovered a talent for music, repeatedly entering a local talent show, winning its five-dollar prize 15 times before being barred from entering the contest further.

By the age of 21, Redding had become a member of a local Macon band, Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers. When they landed a recording session at Stax Records in Memphis, the tall, striking Redding managed to secure a solo recording for himself – which produced the ballad These Arms of Mine.

Like the hits that followed – Try A Little Tenderness, My Girl, Mr Pitiful and I Can’t Turn You Loose (later adopted by The Blues Brothers) – These Arms of Mine instantly captured Redding’s strength: a formidable voice, seeped in the South’s gospel, blues and even country music, that was both hopelessly romantic and rebelliously sexual at the same time.

Satisfaction and Otis Blue catapulted Redding into another level of superstardom, notably a black performer challenging the pop charts at a time of continued segregation in America.

As the ’60s progressed – in all meanings of the word – so did Redding’s career as he established his leadership of the soul movement, leading packaged tours of Stax artists throughout North America and Europe, touring along with protogées like Eddie Floyd, Carla Thomas and Arthur Conley.

Redding made worshippers out of young British blues performers, like Eric Burdon of The Animals who became a close friend, and Pete Townshend of The Who, whose ‘maximum R’n'B’ maxim fitted perfectly with the sweaty soul that the elegant Redding had crafted in Memphis and exported across the northern hemisphere. Another disciple was schoolboy Peter Gabriel who, in 1967, travelled up from his outrageously exclusive public school, Charterhouse in deepest Surrey, to see Redding play in London.

“I was extremely lucky, when I was 17 years old, to go and see Otis Redding perform at the Ram Jam Club in Brixton,” Gabriel told ABC’s Nightline in 2010. “When he came on, it was like the sun coming out. It was just this amazing voice, totally in command, great band, great grooves and passion that permeated everything.” 19 years later, Gabriel repaid the impact Redding had had on him by releasing Sledgehammer, an unexpurgated tribute that even included Wayne Jackson and the Memphis Horns on the track.

When The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, on June 1, 1967, barely five years had lapsed since them recording the sugary I Wanna Hold Your Hand. And yet here they were with an opus of free-thinking psychedelia, that opened up and expanded people’s minds in a way few recordings had done before. Otis Redding listened to it constantly as he took temporary accomodation on a houseboat on the other side of the San Francisco Bay in the hippy commune of Sausalito while playing a week’s residency at the Fillmore West. Inspired by Sgt. Pepper and the body of water between him and San Francisco, he wrote his own signature song, (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay.

Compared with the energetic oomph of much of his other songs, Dock Of The Bay was a gentle, simple song, musically and lyrically. A strummed guitar motif, which seemed to copy the gentle lapping of the cold bay’s water against the houseboat, was married to the down-home story of Otis’s life so far – “I left my home in Georgia, Headed for the ‘Frisco bay”. It became his biggest hit. And the last song he ever recorded.

On the night of Sunday, December 10, 1967, while at the pinnacle of his career, Otis Redding’s Beechcraft crashed into a lake in Madison, Wisconsin, while attempting to land at the nearby municipal airport. The crash killed Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays, his backing band. He was just 26-years-old and left behind his wife, Zelma and their three children Dexter, Carla and Otis III.

“The irony of Otis Redding was his personal ambition to fill the gap left in the soul world by the shooting in 1964 of Sam Cooke,” wrote Soul Music Monthly magazine in a tribute published soon after Redding’s death. “In an all-too-short career he achieved that ambition — and achieved it so decisively that in the last four years no one has filled the even larger gap left by his own death.”

“His loss was all the greater because he was the man who turned soul from a minority interest in Britain into a major explosion,” SMM added.

There have been plenty of soul singers since – singers cut from the same southern traditions, white singers like Janis Joplin who have channeled the same vocal passion. But not even contemporaries like Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Eddie Floyd, Isaac Hayes, Ike and Tina Turner, Al Green, Marvin Gaye or Sly Stone came close to the lethal cocktail that Otis Redding perfected for the five short years of his career.

“His death was a loss to the whole world,” said Steve Cropper at the time, reflecting the sentiment of the entire ‘Memphis Brotherhood’. “Nobody will ever know what he had in store for them. He was just starting to get into something. He was starting to get out of hard rhythm and blues. He went beyond that. He was hitting everybody all over the world.”

Redding’s influence found its way far and wide: Peter Gabriel may have been hiding it while performing Supper’s Ready in Genesis, but as a former drummer stimulated by ‘groove’, there was a frustrated soul boy fighting to get out of that prog rock titan. You could say much the same about Robert Plant – a blues singer performing heavy rock – he, too, was channeling the boy from Macon, Georgia.

Otis Redding may have been a soul performer, but the southern blues were within him. The irony, however, of him covering the Rolling Stones’ most famous song is that he helped turn them into an even bigger R’n'B band, still going 45 years after that fateful night in 1967.

Article originally published here

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Designer Spotlight

Diet Butcher Slim Skin

By admin on February 15th, 2008


Diet Butcher Slim Skin – which
manages to win the awards of best & worst brand name simultaneously – are
another Japanese brand that feature Punk influenced clothing with a
contemporary Japanese twist. With Pinstriped purple coats, wraparound cardigans
and a waistcoat that can be tied at the bottom, it’s definitely more daring
than fellow counterpart Lad Musician. They’re also more clearly influenced by
bands such as The Clash and The Jam, whilst Lad Musician are influenced by The
Rolling Stones.

Whilst this may look like more teasing,
this time Diet Butcher Slim Skin are actually sold in Doors by Jas M.B. They’re only
available in stores, but that’s better than nothing.

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