Archive for the ‘The Rutles’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON (December 8, 2017).

Second of three shows for the Horseshoe Tavern’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Kindly recorded and provided by Mark Sloggett and Matt Kositsky.

The opening music is Echo and the Bunymen’s “Killing Moon” and Jonathan Richman’s “Ice Cream Man” until 1:20 when the guitar for “Stolen Car” starts playing.  It’s a quiet intro section and Martin sounds good.  At 6 minutes the overall sound increases dramatically for about 20 seconds. It’s a shame it doesn’t stay that loud because otherwise the show is too quiet.  An absolutely scorching solo between Martin and High Marsh.

A somewhat subdued and quiet version of “King of the Past,” Hugh adds some soaring violin at the end.

The usually kind of flat “AC/DC on My Stereo” is spruced up by Hugh’s violin.  But the mix is really unfortunate–the overly loud guitar masks the rest of the song.

Dave Bidini: That song was written by Dave Clarke on the drums (and my friend Brodie Lodge)  Clark: a shout out to Davide DiRenzo and our friends in Ensign Broderick–Ensign, Griffy (Gordie Wilson), Danny, Glenn Milichem on the drums.    (Glenn tried to steal martin for his band Vital Sines…it only proved he had great taste) but he got Gordie Wilson and it all worked out.

A solid fun version of “PIN” with a “Dirty Blvd” tag at the end.  It’s followed by a long (nearly 8 minute) jamming (Hugh get a pizzicato violin solo) version of Stompin’ Tom’s “Bridge Came Tumblin’ Down.”  DB: This song would have been played oh 37 years ago on this very stage.  Some songs just stick around longer.

They retell some stories about Vancouver (the song is about Vancouver)–diaper dancers and people stealing wallets.  Vancouver leads the nation in diaper dancers.  A good piece of advice is to take your wallet on stage.  But not in Vancouver!

DB: We’re not a rock band, we’re a public service.  In a plant a seed and watch it grow into a tree sort of way.  Information is our fruit.  Melody is our bark.  Stompin’ Tom is our hero.  Well, one of them.

Someone shouts, “Play [Stompin’ Tom’s] Snowmobile Song.”   DB says, not quite snowmobile weather.  Well, is there snow up north?  Little bit?  Then it’s not even Super Slider Snow Skates weather.  Oh Jesus    Here’s the commercial for the lawsuits waiting to happen.

“Here Come the Wolves” sounds different, but very cool.  I like this version. Clark shouts the verses and Martin sings a quiet verse.  After Clark introduces Bidini with an Italian accent the band launches into an impromptu Italian song.  Bidini says they haven’t done that song in 7000 years, although, ironically Hugh is more Italian than any of us.  Tim: Once you do that kind of thing you’re scarred for life.

Audience check-in moment.  DB: “The customer, the fan is always right…  The fanstomer.”

Clark asks Martin if they are going to do the end of the next song a certain way.  DB: gives away the ending?  Clark:  Asked his bibliophile lady (and her friends)—do you read the last page the book first?  They said yes and it blew his mind.  And then they’re happy to read the book.  Its like having an orgasm without foreplay… or not really actually.   DB: I’ve done that many times myself  MT: You know this sex thing that everyone is talking about…what happens at the end?  DC: You get a little plastic toy out of the bottom of the box. That’s why they call it Cracker Jack.  DB: And then you feel shame.  MT: The shame part I’m comfortable with.

DB to the fan: You realize that by shouting for the next song you’re further delaying the next song, just so you know.  These guys would never do that   they are seasoned fanstomers.  Then inevitably someone shouts “play some music” and that’s when the gig is fucking over.

A quiet and pretty “It” (in which Hugh plays some beautiful soaring sounds) is followed by a raucous “Michael Jackson.”  Instead of Michael Jackson, he sang Auston Matthews a Maple Leafs player.  Mid song they start chanting whoop whoop whoop while Martin plays “Sweet Child of Mine.”  DB: “It’s called having fun it’s what Axl says, it’s what Slash says, it’s what Jimmy Page says, it’s what Eddie Van Halen says, it’s what Kathleen Hannah says, it’s what Patti Smith she says, it’s what Michael Stipe he says, it’s what Gord Downie he said, it’s what Tom Connors he said, it’s about having fun.  It’s hard.  It’s really hard.”  The crowd woo woo woos and sings the “it feels good to be alive” ending.   It’s a cool moment.

I used to be that I’d Used to hear “You rock Dave” and it was for me, but now I’m sharing it with a stage with my best friend Dave Clark.  It’s nice. Not saying I’m comfortable with it I’m saying it’s nice.

Clark goes on about being warm and swaddled and like a child.
Someone shouts: You can never go back.
Clark: Oh yea you can be a child all your life if you got the right ideas.  Age is a matter of the mind–if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

This leads to Tim’s pretty, acoustic “Rear View.”

Someone: “C’mon Martin sing one.”  DB: “Yeah Martin, what the fuck?”

Clark introduces the drum beat of the next song “pluh dee dut dut, pluh dee dut dut ding.”  When someone shouts something inaudible, Clark replies, “Apples and oranges pizza and Popsicles man.”  DB: ” I think you just came up with the name of our next record.”  This is a lead in to Northern Waltz.   Which DB says is a progressive waltz.  Clark: It’s the Ostenick 3/4.  Tim: Another potential album title.  Walter Ostenick, a cool guy who watched them soundcheck.  Tim Mech bought an accordion from him.    They start the song and martin gets choked up–Clark: It’s the ghost of Walter inhibiting you….devil come out!  He tries again and things go well in a beautiful version.

Martin plays a beautiful solo version of Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon.“

During the pause there’s all kinds of weird shouted requests.  “Play some Skydiggers.”  “Play some Blue Rodeo.”  DB: “You’re kinda 0 for 2.  We don’t do those groups.”  Clark: “You realize that those guys are our friends.”

Play “Secret Heart” by Ron Sexsmith!  C’mon do it!”  DB: “You realize we’re not sitting in your car right now, eh.”  Clark: “Thelonious Monk says never engage with hecklers, so here we go.”

“Dope Fiends” sounds great and the band seems really into it with Martin shouting “Why didn’t they stay here? How come, Hugh, why?”  Clark gets a drum solo and it ends with a rollicking conclusion and soaring violins from Hugh.

“Self Serve” opens on a quiet guitar.  I almost didn’t recognize it, the way it was played.  It is very pretty.  The ending gets pretty harsh with Martin snarling “you ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” before a rocking ending with everyone singing “I will be kinglike!”

This encore break exhibits this new thing that I’ve heard people do at shows where they chant “one more song,” which drives me nuts because some bands like the Rheos will actually play half a dozen songs, and you are limiting them, so knock it off!

Audience: “I love you Dave Bidini.”  DB: “I love you too, stranger, strange man.  Are you that strange man that I love?”

Merch plug: Give us your money and we will convert it into rock n roll magic.  You can take the things with you and replay the nights tonight for eternity—ish.  Plug for West End Phoenix.

This leads to a quiet acoustic version of “My First Rock Concert.”  DB: “Dave Clark tell us about your first rock concert.  Dave sings “Don’t Worry, Baby,” about The Beach Boys in 1973 The Surf’s Up tour.  He was 8 years old.  Wicked show!  Ricky Fataar on drums (he also played with the Rutles!).  Martin: My first concert was in 1981.  I went to Convocation Hall and I saw Bruce Cockburn with Murray McLaughlin and in the band was Hugh Marsh.   Tim: That doesn’t sound very rock to me.  In his diary Martin wrote, “This audience is very intelligent,” I thought rock shows would be full of assholes… like tonight. That was my first rock concert.  First and last.  After the song: Was that guy the same Hugh Marsh? Yes and John Goldsmith.

DB: I’m having a shitty lapel weekend.  Martin: Another one?  No, you’re just fixated.  It’s puffy, but it’s not that bad.  Any tailors in the audience?  Dave needs an emergency.

“I am Headless” sounds great.  I love the way Tim and Martin’s vocals interplay with Hugh’s violin.

We’re in Hamilton at This Ain’t Hollywood.  It’s sold out.  There’s still a few tickets for tomorrow night.  Good luck to TFC tomorrow.  Tim: Don’t tell the Thursday night people about tonight’s show because it wasn’t quite as good last night.

Martin starts a chuuga metal riff and Clark says, “What have you got for us, Tony Iommi?”  DB: here’s a song about hockey and also about being gay and living in a small town.  Tom Cochrane do not write it.  It’s a solid “Queer.”  For the second verse, Tim sings Cochrane’s “Big League,” (Sorry I was daydreaming for a second) then DB sings REM’s “I am Superman”  They try for the high note.  DB: “Kinda.”  Clark: “It’s always worth trying.  If you’re not failing, you’re not doing.”  Clark sings “Stepping Stone” which segues into “I’m a Believer.”

After “sometime choices aren’t so clear,” instead of the end it turns into a drum and violin jam which somehow segues into a funky instrumental jam and then into “Alomar” at the end.  Tim says “And what song were we playing? We don’t have to finish that.”  Clark quips: “We don’t even have to Swedish it….  Let’s Latvia alone.  It’s okay, I’m a little Estonia’d right now.”

What do you guys want to hear?  [Horses, Aliens, Palomar, Wreck of the Edmund]

Thanks, we have fed all of the data into the super computer which has come up with the exact right thing to play at this time.

Thanks to Ensign Broderick and everyone in the band Jason for opening the show.

DB: I was going to try to play “Purple Haze” but I don’t now how.  I thought you were doing Buddy Guy.  I don’t know, do we know any Eagles?

Here’s a song by the Eagles called “Horses.”  The Eagles featuring Rabbit Bundrick, Skunk Baxter, Philthy Animal Taylor, Gullible Guinea Pig and Hammy Hamster.  “Horses” starts quietly and intensely (with great backing vox from all present).  After the first “holy mackinaw, Joe,” it totally rocks out.  Dave also calls Red Deer a “fucking shitty town” (!).  They shift briefly into “We don’t need no education (sloppy).”   And the concert roars to an end with Martin making some great horse sounds on his guitar.

[READ: November 28, 2018] When I am King

Demian 5 (Demian Volger) created a hilarious and good-looking webcomic back in 2001 (hard to believe).  It was finally put into print form this year.

I love the clean lines and style that a webcomic (especially one from 2001) necessitated.  It also means the artist is going to have to think of ways to differentiate the characters who, for the most part, look pretty similar.  And Demian 5 does a great job with that.

In the (bilingual) introduction, Demian 5 explains that he has been editing the historical findings of his ancestors for some 15 years, trying to make this account readable and accessible.  “It was my goal to reproduce these historical hieroglyphs without detracting from the information they contain.”

And what that means is a wild and wonderful story about royalty, nudity (amusing and non-detailed), bestiality and flowers. (more…)

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sticiceSOUNDTRACK: NEIL INNES-Tiny Desk Concert #127 (May 11, 2011).

innesNeil Innes is one of the musical voices of Monty Python and The Rutles.  He is also the creator of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.  I was delighted to see that he did a Tiny Desk concert.

In addition to creating clever songs, he is big into wordplay.  So, he has some great statements before starting:

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen here and viewer.”

“It’s wonderful to be.”

“You know, not so long ago and its been very lucky for me.”

He plays his perhaps most well-known song, “I’m the Urban Spaceman” on guitar.  It is wonderfully surreal (at the end he describes it as a medley of hit).

For “Democracy” he play a tiny ukulele.  This song is not funny (well a little).  It is political, straightforward and pointed.

For the final song, he play The Rutles’ “I Must Be In Love” (with appropriate accent).  He tries to get everyone to sing the really high Ooooh note and then gives up.

And then he’s gone.  It’s delightful.

[READ: August 10 2015] Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream

By this point (the fourth book) the Stick Dog series has gotten a little predictable.  I mean, basically the dogs want to get food right?  But Watson still manages to keep the stories funny.  I see that for this book the illustrations are “by Ethan Long based on original sketches by Tom Watson”  I have a hard time believing that Watson was too busy to draw these very simple figures, but whatever.

I also find it hard to believe that these dogs have never tasted ice cream before–surely they have scavenged a wrapper somewhere.  But best not to think too carefully, right?

because it is summer time and it is very hot.  The dogs are all looking for something to cool them off.  They go out in search of a nice cool water source.

But the best parts of the story are when the dogs get distracted.  On the way for water, Poo-Poo smells something.  They hope it is hot dogs or pizza, but it is…a squirrel.  Stick Dog is afraid of this because Poo-Poo will be not let the squirrel go.  But Stick Dog convinces him to leave it.  And they are off. (more…)

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walrusdec SOUNDTRACK: THE BEATLES-Magical Mystery Tour (1967).

I have never remmtally thought of Magical Mystery Tour as a real album.  And it turns out I had good reason to feel that way.  It was originally released as a double EP in Britain (with the first six songs).  The rest of the tracks only ever appeared on the American release.  Those five songs were released as singles before this album In Britain and the U.S.), which means that this was the only place you could get these songs unless you bought the singles (eventually they were put out on the “blue album”).

So the first six songs are from the soundtrack to the TV movie Magical Mystery Tour (which was a flop as a film, but a hit as a soundtrack).  And the last five songs were released in different ways.

I’ve always liked “Magical Mystery Tour” it’s bouncy and fun with good harmonies.  I never much cared for “The Fool on the Hill” I tend to not like Paul’s piano ballads that much (they remind me too much of his solo and Wings material), although I do enjoy the way he wails the vocals later in the song.  The slide whistle solo is quite a treat and I also like the bass harmonica (my new favorite weird instrument).

This album also features two songs that I don’t know well at all (and I assumed I knew every Beatles song).  “Flying” is a weird fun little instrumental with “La La Las” at the end I really like it, and if I still made mix tapes I would often find a place for it on them.  And “Blue Jay Way” a song I don’t know at all.  It’s another George Harrison vaguely Indian song, although this one has more guitars than his other songs.  I find I can’t really get into it.  “Your Mother Should Know” is one of those songs that I like but I don’t love and don’t really think about too much.

But then there’s”I am the Walrus (“No you’re not, “said Little Nicola).”  It’s a cliché to really like this song but I really do.  It’s weird and goofy and the music is just fantastic.  I love all the elements (and didn’t realize that the spoken section at the end is King Lear).  I feel like The Beatles must have been huge to make a such a weird song become such a big hit.

And then came a bunch of singles: “Hello Goodbye” which I think hearkens back to the earlier Beatles, songs but which has a bit of the psychedelic elements form later Beatles thrown on top (including Paul’s shouting vocals in the background).

“Strawberry Fields Forever” was intended to be included on Sgt Peppers‘ but they needed a single to release during in the lengthy amount of time it was taking them to record the album (a whole nine months!).  This song holds up really well, with some really interesting chord progressions and mild dissonance.  And the middle of the song is fascinatingly split in the stereo version so that it’s all drums and sound effects in the left ear.  It was released as a double A side with “Penny Lane.”  Although I said I don’t really like Paul’ piano songs, I do like “Penny Lane” quite a lot, I find it very satisfying.

“Baby You’re A Rich Man” was the B-side to “All You Need is Love.” I always felt the song was kind of weird and it turns out that the two parts were two different songs (Lennon: verses; McCartney: chorus) that they just stuck together.  It’s a weird mic of fun sing along rocking chorus and peculiar Eastern melody in the verses.  “All You Need is Love” was first performed on Our World, the first live global television link watched by over 400 million in 25 countries.  The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom’s contribution.  They apparently wrote a song that was simple enough for it to be universal, and man, were they right.

So, there’s all of these fabulous songs sort of tacked on to the end of this soundtrack.  Beatles releases were sure weird.

Incidentally, the film also used “Death Cab for Cutie” performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in its soundtrack which you can see here.  Obviously, this is where Death Cab for Cutie got their band name, but also, Neil from thee Bonzos was involved in The Rutles, who did such great parodies of Beatles songs.

[READ: January 15, 2015] “The Red Dog”

This was a sad holiday story about an eight year old girl with learning disabilities.  She evidently lives away from her family for most of the year but is allowed to come home for Christmas and the summer vacation.  It’s clear that Katie is a handful.  She tends to lash out easily, but she also seems to be able to control herself as well.

There’s some weird aspects of the story that I didn’t fully understand.  Like the fact that while her family ii shopping they tell her to stay outside because they’re afraid she will damage things in the store.  But her family leaves her outside for at least a half an hour, just standing in front of the store (“don’t move an inch”).  And she behaves, even though it is rather difficult.  But really, they leave her standing outside of a store for over half an hour? (more…)

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yousuckSOUNDTRACK: FOXBORO HOT TUBS-Stop Drop & Roll!!! (2008)

fhtThis is the least cleverly concealed “side-project” in rock history.  At this point Billie-Joe Armstrong’s voice is so recognizable, that it’s impossible for him to hide.  But Foxboro Hot Tubs were a way for Green Day to release something different after their mega-successful American Idiot album.

I mean, how do you follow up a number-one reaching concept album?  Answer: drop all pretense, drop all complexity, and churn out a dozen songs that sound like they were written and recorded in your garage.

At first listen I didn’t like the album very much. Well, that’s not true.  I liked the first song, “Stop Drop and Roll” quite a bit, but the rest of the record got a little repetitive for me.  And, worst offense: they TOTALLY ripped off “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks for their song “Alligator.”  I mean, chord riffs, chord changes, even the chorus are so close as to be actually irritating.

It was only after listening more carefully that I realized that FHT rip off a lot more than the Kinks.  And, although not quite a pastiche like The Rutles, the ripping off is more of an homage/twist, rather than just cheesy thievery (because honestly, who thinks that Green Day could get away with ripping off the Kinks’ most popular song?)

On my last listen through I heard “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” in “Sally,” “Roadrunner” in “She’s a Saint Not a Celebrity,” some earlier Green Day songs (like “When I Come Around” ) in “Pedestrian” and “Run Run Run” by the Who in “27th Ave. Shuffle”

After getting past those “influences” the album is mostly fun (especially the flute (!) solo in “Dark Side of the Night.”  They’re clearly not trying to write the next epic, they’re just cleansing their palette before their real follow up.  And, heck, the fact that it actually did quite well in radioland didn’t hurt either.  Foxboro Hot Tubs make some fun garage rock.

[READ: Winter 2008] You Suck

Christopher Moore’s book covers are very striking.  That’s not a good reason to read his books, though.  The titles are also pretty funny.  Which is also not a good reason to read his books.  It’s the content inside that is the reason to read him.  A little while ago I had read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal and it was very fun indeed.  So, I picked up You Suck, which was his most current one at the time.

I didn’t realize it was a sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends until after I started reading it, but I didn’t find that to be a problem.  (more…)

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