Thursday, January 21, 2010

A fair number of readers have asked about Pete LaBonne and the Blue Reimondos from the book. I promise that someday soon I'll figure out how to post a few mp3s of the classic Blue Reimondos line-up from the '70s. In the meantime, you can explore some of Pete's output from the 90s on at the above website. Check out the lyrics. Hear some live samples. Read some of his prose and and what others have written about him. Nice review by Charles M. Young in the Atlantic. Pete spend a lot of time in New Orleans and NYC (he played on Richard Hell's last studio recordings) in the 80s but since then he's lived in a self-built cabin in the Adirondack Mountains. He moved a few years ago when his rural tranquility was destroyed by a hot rod shop being built down the road from his place (endless revving of engines) and the effort involved has put a crimp in his writing and recording. Because of the temperature in the winter (wood burning stove inside, sub-zero outside) he can only record in the warmer months and at his peak he was writing and recording a song a day. Sometimes he ended up with 60 or so great songs by Labor Day. Peter is without a doubt the most unique and unrefined pure talent I've ever encountered. Those who have gotten to know him and his work or spent any time around him feel nothing but lucky. For twenty or so years I thought that he should be signed to a label and do the whole record company / rock star thing. Critics would love him. But then one day in the early 90s I realized that he was in the business of making music, for himself and his friends, and knew that he should stay far away from the music business. He's got his cabin, his land, his instruments, the woman of his dreams (I don't think that he and Shelley have spent a day apart since 1977), his garden, and always a funky vehicle. Lives a happy creative life. You can't argue with success...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I did an interview with writer and Big Star fan John Kenyon for his Things I'd Rather Be Doing blog a month or so ago. It's up now on his blog and it turned out really nicely. I really enjoyed answering John's questions.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! The Big Star box set is showing up on quite a few year-end Best Of lists – as well it should. But if you still have some friends or associates who still haven't heard a note, amazon is offering the #1 / Radio City two-fer for mp3 download for only $5 for the entire month of January. (There are also many other great albums with the same deal. Amazon is superior to iTunes for mp3 downloads in my opinion both in terms of selection and price. If it isn't your first stop when you're looking to download something, you're probably throwing away money.) I ended up shifting out of ELP mode after Christmas (although I really grew to dig ELP's bombast and vintage synth sounds – drove through a snow storm the other night and cued up Peter Gunn Theme > Hoedown. Who has the nerve today to tackle Mancini and Copeland head on without that big wink of irony that's become so prevalent and annoying amongst the musical hipsters of today? The hip-hop guys who sampled Kraftwerk did so in the same straight-up fashion). Latest favorite has been Manfred Mann. Knew their hits but not their background (Manfred Lubowitz's tale is pretty interesting - a jazz pianist originally from South Africa) hadn't really explored their catalog. Right beyond their big US hits is a song that I can't believe wasn't huge: I'm You're Kingpin. If you're not familiar with it, go download it immediately and dig the way Manfred worked the jazz vibe - and actual vibes - into a pop r&b tune. We're talking MJQ! This has to have been in a movie soundtrack...can't believe it if it hasn't .