EMOL: Tina's Korner/July 1995
By Tina Alvarez
Published in "Music Voice Magazne," Phoenix, AZ., June 1995
Return to: Tina's Home Page
Following the untimely death of his brother, Stevie Ray, in a 1990 helicopter crash, Jimmie Vaughan shut himself off from the world. "After the accident, I didn't want to hear about anything for about two and a half years," Jimmie had explained to the Boston Globe. "Everything changes when something like that happens in your life -- everything. I never stopped playing, but I didn't want to go on tour or make a record for the longest time." Prior to the tragedy, this Dallas, TX native and founding member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, had just completed a studio collaboration with Stevie Ray call "Family Style." It took a phone call from Eric Clapton in 1992 to get Jimmie motivated and back into the public eye. Clapton invited him to open a string of concerts for him at the Royal Albert Hall in London. "I just didn't have the guts to tell him no," he admitted. "So I went and got me a band." By the tour's end, the group was eager to get into the studio. The result, Jimmie's Epic Records debut, is "Strange Pleasure" and is dedicated to Stevie Ray and Albert Collins. Produced by Nile Rodgers, musicians include Denny Freeman ( piano), George Rains (drums) and Bill Willis (organ). The number "Six Strings Down" is a sensitive tribute to Stevie Ray, co-written with Neville Brothers Art and Cyril, while "Love the World" has a rich gospel sound and was co-written by Jimmie and Dr. John the Night Tripper. "When you're writing songs, every once in awhile you get a special feeling, it just sort of comes to you," Jimmie described. "You don't make the song up, you just feel like you received it, like from a radio. That kind of stuff is what I tried to put on this record."
The London Suede
The London Suede is one of those rare bands that has the distinction of starting off as an entity despised by audiences, jounalist and record companies alike. Mind you, this is no easy feat. You really have to be messing up pretty terminally to get to this point (and personally, I don't think they were even trying). Essentially the group was viewed -- for lack of a better word -- as lame. However, in 1992 they were able to pull their act together and actually began getting good reviews. Melody Maker christened them as "The Best New Band in Britain." Their 1993 debut LP, "Suede," went directly to #1 on the U.K. pop charts and out-sold rivals Depeche Mode. Winners of the 1993 Mercury Music Award, London Suede was featured in Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly magazines on this side of the Atlantic. My, my, from whipping post to walking stick, the group had become the darlings of those who once loathed them (mind you, this is no easy feat). By the end of '93, the group had toured Europe, America (twice) and Japan. The following year saw the release of the four-track EP single, "Stay Together." Ironically, in 1995, the group did not. One of the founding members, guitarist Bernard Butler, left the band and was replaced by Richard Oakes who joined the ranks of Brett Anderson, Mat Osman, and Simon Gilbert. Butler departed towards the end of their current LP, "dog man star" and appears on every number except "Power." "A lot of the album has to do with aspects of stardom, death and sex. There are references to James Dean," Brett Anderson noted. "There are other themes, loneliness and sadness. Racism crops up on "Black or Blue" and there's simple love songs like "The Wild Ones." Violence and fantasy kind of fit in." The music is a combination of mystic auras, hypnotic chants and electric mellowness. "I think it's definitely the best record we've ever done" attested Anderson. "It's more diverse and at the same time more direct." Once again, this is no easy feat.
Lowen and Navarro
Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro have been together for over a decade, penning songs that have been covered by The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Bangles, David Lee Roth, Dave Edmunds and Pat Benatar. In the late '80s, they formed a band called 20 Times and in 1988 they took a one-year residency at The Breakaway in Venice, CA, a hotspot for acoustic music. "When we started playing The Breakaway, you couldn't give away a singer-songwriter," recalled Navarro. "We wanted to be happy. And as long as we couldn't get a major record deal, we'd figure we'd just write songs for other people and at least have fun performing what we pleased. All of a sudden, it worked." Signed to Chameleon Records, they released "Walking on a Wire" in 1990 which received highly favorable reviews. However, the record company went under and the two were signed to Parachute/Mercury Records and debuted with "Broken Moon." Interestingly, on the comment card enclosed with the CD, the record company received over 1,500 requests for "Walking on a Wire." So Lowen and Navarro went into the studio and cut "Rapt in You," "Turn Out the Lights," and "Goldmine." They also added a second verse in Spanish on "We Belong," and Parachute reissued the LP, which is the follow-up to "Broken Moon." The demand for the LP has provided a listening opportunity for those who missed it the first time around and also bolstered Lowen and Navarro's growing popularity. Currently on tour, they are focusing on expanding their audiences in the South and Southwest.
When Tucson resident Michael Gulezian plays his acoustic 6- and 12- string guitars, it's a baptism of earthly sounds coupled with radiant artistic insights. But the real bonus is seeing Gulezian live, he exudes charm, personality and humor. As a child he was exposed to ethnic music; his father played ancient Middle Eastern music on the oud and his mother sang Armenian folk songs. When he heard the Beatles, he decided to be a musician. Although schooled in classical guitar lessons, he also learned the styles of Bukka White, Blind Blake, Leadbelly and other Mississippi Delta players. In 1978, he recorded "Snow," which was highly praised, with Guitar Player magazine calling the LP "... an epoch breaking record." Signed to Takoma/Chrysalis Records at the time, in '81 "Unspoken Intentions" was released with Record World calling it "a terrific record of twelve string guitar" while High Fidelity pegged it as "the best solo guitar album since Leo Kottke's justly renowned first effort." He toured extensively for the next few years and when his label went bankrupt in 1985, he entered the University of Arizona and graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. In 1990 he started his own independent label, Timbreline Music. In 1992, he released "Distant Memories and Dreams." Included with the credits, Gulezian takes the time to explain why he formed his own company. "Eventually there comes a point in each of our lives where it becomes necessary to take control," he writes. "So I have established Timbreline Music. All I ever wanted to do was play the guitar. But if running a small business is the price of surviving as a creative artist in a market oriented society, then so be it." Gulezian followed it with his current work, "The Dare of an Angel." Long-time Tucson photographer Bruce Schokett shot the covers for both CDs. Gulezian creates beautiful compositions and it's easy to see why he was voted "Best Acoustic Guitarist 1984-1994" in Guitarist Magazine's 10th Anniversary ReadersÍ Poll and "Best Fingerstyle Guitarist" by Guitar Player Magazine's 1993 Readers Poll. The instrument of his choice is the Original Delta Slider bottleneck (with the flared edge) made by Gerry Glombecki of Tucson, Az. He has nationwide distribution, but if you can't find his albums in the stores, you can order them by sending in $15 (CDs) or $10 (cassettes) to Timbreline Music Mail order, PO Box 40493, Tucson, AZ 85717.
Whoopi Goldberg is reportedly looking into buying a mansion in the Tucson Mountains. Her schedule did not permit her to come to town to check out the digs, so she sent a film crew to videotape it for her. "It's a nice shack," commented a friend who did the plumbing on the place.
Joe Rush held his CD release party at the Downtown Performance Center last month, celebrating the arrival of "Play and Play and Play." Wise Folk Malcontent, Circle Square and Port also performed.
A co-worker of mine, at an Immunization Conference in Los Angeles, reported he saw Madonna while he was out-and-about after hours. "Was she surrounded by bodyguards?" another co-worker queried. "Hell no, why would she need bodyguards in a gay bar?" Darrin replied. "The only thing we would do to her is hold her down and fix her hair."
Zia Records ushered it's 15th anniversay with a celebration at Club Congress. Performers included Fuzz, Greyhound Soul, Rainer, Satellite, Rich Hopkins and the Luminarios, Skinny Jim and The Drakes.
The Wooden Ball CD release party was also held at Club Congress. Among the artists featured on the disc are The Drakes, Little Sisters of the Poor, Star Crunch, Black Moon Graffiti, Naked Prey, Rich Hopkins and the Luminarios and Acoustic Flowers.
It was an evening to see and be seen, to listen, to applaud and to pay tribute to Tucson musicians. The Third Annual TAMMIES Awards (Tucson Area Music Awards) were held at the historic Hotel Congress in Downtown Tucson on May 11th. Local musicians David Slutes (Ginger, Little Sisters of the Poor) and Caitlin von Schmidt (Caitlin and the Stickponies) were the co-hosts of the well-attended event. Between presentations, the 700-plus audience was entertained by Los Diamantes, Titan Valley Warheads, Blues Cats and Friends of Dean Martin (with a special appearance by Victoria Williams who sang three numbers with the group). In a new development, the Latino category has expanded from two to five since last year. Winners this year included Ismael Barajas/Latin Jazz; Latino Solido/Tex Mex; Crystal/ Grupos; Los Diamantes/Norteno; and Los Changuitos Feos/Mariachi. In the Acoustic Category, victors were Jamie Anderson/Folk-Solo and Stefan George and Songtower/Folk- Ensemble. The Mollys were repeat winners for Traditional/Ethnic while Girls with Guitars took the honors for Country/Western. Another repeat winner was the Sam Taylor Blues Band/Blues-R&B.
Former TAMMIES alumni Neon Prophet nabbed the Reggae/World Beat award and Greasy Chicken walked away with the Jazz honors. Next came the rock category. Award recipients were Naked Prey/Alternative-Pop (previous honorees); Betty Stress/Hard Rock-Heavy Metal; Mood Indigo/College Rock; The Weird Lovemakers/Punk; and Black Moon Graffiti/Techno-Hip Hop. The Hall of Fame Award went to Travis Edmondson, who has been playing music in Tucson since the'40s. After the presentations, the party moved indoors, featuring Jazz-Blues artist Lisa Otey in the Lobby and Shovel, The Drakes and The Dog and Pony Show in the club. In the tallying, the winners were selected by ballot by the readers of The Tucson Weekly, who sponsors the yearly event. The TAMMIES staff is highly commended for undertaking the monumental task of organizing the TAMMIES Shuffle as well as the Awards Ceremony. It appeared that most everyone savored the night and enjoyed the wide variety of music.
When Reprise Records decided to assemble a collection of The Smiths' vintage singles, they were unable to locate the master of "WhatÍs the World." Company President Howie Klein suggested putting the word out on the Internet. Within hours, responses began pouring in and by the next morning Klein had an original copy of "WhatÍs the World" on his desk. It was provided by indispensable fan Matthew Gross of Hopkinton, New Hampshire. He only had one reques- "A simple postcard would make me the happiest."
Megadeth fans have also taken to the Internet en masse. They have begun a petition drive to pressure MTV to play the video "A Tout Le Monde," which the network considers to be too suggestive. Currently on tour in Europe, Megadeth singer Dave Mustaine said ñAlthough we believe in artistic license, we have agreed to edit the clip. It was not meant to infer that weÍre advocating suicide as a solution. The song is actually pro-survival. To make sure that our message gets out, weÍll re-edit." "A Tout Le Monde" is the second single off of "Youthanasia." Megadeth has their own website called "Megadeth Arizona." The log on is http://caprec.com/.
While R.E.M.'s "Monster" hit triple platinum, the group recently received news that their previous LP, "Automatic for the People" has turned quadruple platinum.
Soul Coughing has been getting rave reviews everywhere, from national magazines like Rolling Stone and Musician to your local backyard publications- DelawareÍs Big Shout magazine, The Dayton Daily News, The Amarillo Globe-Times, The Daily Mississippian and Tacoma's Pandemonium. The group recently completed a tour in support of Jeff Buckley.
Expect to see Rod Stewart's new Warner Brothers release soon. Meanwhile, "Downtown Train/Selections from the Storyteller Anthology" has reached double platinum status.
Green Day are back at their home base of Berkely working on their next album. They did take time to venture out and perform two benefit concerts last month at Oakland, CA's Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium with opening act Pansy Division. All proceeds were shared by the Berkely Free Clinic, Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, Food Not Bombs and The San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, whose services they have used in the past. Tickets, by the way, were sold out in 10 minutes.
American Recordings/Rhyme Cartel artist Jazz Lee Alston's persistent crusade to find the man who allegedly murdered her cousin, seems to be paying off. An off-duty officer spotted Paul Alexander in the Bronx but he was able to elude authorities. There is a $5,000 reward for his capture and conviction. AlstonÍs song, "Love...Never That," was written as a tribute to her slain cousin.
The Laurel Canyon residence where Love & Rockets were recording their next album has been demolished by a fire. The home, owned by American Recordings founder Rick Rubin, was the place where the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded "Blood Sugar Sex Magik." Firefighters believe the blaze was electrical in origin. Perry Farrell, Lollapalooza founder and Porno for Pyros vocalist, has offered his Malibu home/studio to the group.
On other news, Perry Farrell plans to release "Teeth," an interactive CD-ROM that combines the music and visuals of Lollapalooza '95. It should be available late this year. In addition, the Lollapalooza Internet Site is expected to be launched shortly.
Joni Mitchell has been named the 1995 Century Award winner by Billboard Magazine. Her award will be presented to her on December 6th at the Billboard Music Awards. Last month Mitchell made a rare appearance as a headliner at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, performing songs from her "Turbulent Indigo" album.
Lynyrd SkynydÍs Johnny Van Zant conducted an online press conference last month in wake of their massive summer tour.
Sonia Dada has begun their tour, which opened in Colorado and is set to include Utah, California and Arizona on the first leg. They will headline some of their own shows and also be opening for Santana on other dates. Their first single from "Day at the Beach," "Screaming John," was the #1 most added track at Triple A radio stations at every single trade (Album Network, Billboard, FMQB, Gavin, Hard Report and R&R).
Eric Clapton and Matin Scorsese teamed together for "Nothing But the Blues," a blues concert filmed exclusively for In The Spotlight. during a club appearance last November at the Fillmore. The 90-minute program was filmed under the supevision of Scorsese, Executive Producer. The show contains rare archival footage, interviews with B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Albert King and an interview with Clapton conducted by Scorcese. The home video and laser disc are currently on the market.
Miramax Records/Hollywood Records will release a soundtrack from the upcoming Miramax film "Smoke." It will contain songs by the Jerry Garcia Band, Tom Waits, Louis Prima, Annabouboula and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The LP will be out June 6 and the film on the 16th of the month in selected areas.
"Addicted to Noise" is the first rock magazine on the Internet, which is edited and published by Michael Goldberg, a former Rolling Stone staff editor and writer. Groups featured in the May issue included Primus, Elastica, Morphine, Goo Goo Dolls, Wilco and Veruca Salt. Joey Ramone was recently added as a contributing editor and correspondent. Other contributors include Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, Bill Wyman, Richard Meltzer, Billy Altman and David Was. Addicted to Noise can be accessed at http://www.addict.com/ATN/.
"Live...He's Been Faithful"" is part documentary and part concert video of the 240 member Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The footage contains the choir performing and interviews with Pastor Cymbala and choir members who were saved from crack houses, alleyways and after-hours clubs. Among the numbers are "We Come Rejoicing," "IÍm Clean," "Take Up Your Cross" and "HeÍs Been Faithful."
The Blair String Quartet, a ten string quartet, has its first Warner Brothers album out, "From Mozart to Ravel." The album consists of ten pieces ranging in styles from the 18th century to the present. The Quartet is presently the Quartet-in-Residence at Vanderbilt UniversityÍs Blair School of Music.
With his independent label, NPG Records, Prince has joined up with the Black Music Divison at Warner Brothers for distribution of his albums. His first work is "Exodus," slated for release at the end of this month. Chairman Danny Goldberg said working with Prince is very exciting and welcome. "It also marks an auspicious beginning for our whole revitalized Black Music Department. Prince has done so much in the past to define Warner Brothers Black Music profile and the fact that he will continue to do so through NPG Records ensures our competitive edge in this vital musical arena."
Henry Rollins has announced his newly founded record label, 213CD. The label will feature spoken word, jazz, techno, and rock. The first batch of releases will be by Hubert Selby, Jr., Rollins' guitarist Chris Hasket, The Matthew Ship Quartet and Exene Cervenka. Future works will include satirist Ian Shoales, comedy duo Coyle and Sharpe, Don Bajema, The Birthday Party, Charles Gayle, The Mark of Cain, Henry Rollins, TV Smith, Suicide and Alan Vega.
Rock groups are inking high paying contracts with record companies. For example, the Rolling Stones signed to Virgin Records for a cool $45 million, ZZ Top approved being with RCA for $35 million and Aerosmith gave the okay to Columbia for $30 million for their four album deal.
"The world's kind of a frustrating place," observed Soulhat guitarist Kevin McKinney. "There's not a lot of happy stuff to sing about unless you're in love and I'm not." Keeping this in mind, it's clear why "Good to be Gone" takes on a grittier stance than their self-distributed "Live at the Black Catî or the indie-label "Outdebox," later re-issued on Epic Records, their current label. "In the year and a half since we recorded 'Outdebox' a lot of things have changed and people have to accept that," justified guitarist Bill Cassis. "The growth has been both refreshing and natural. WeÍve always been a heavier band live, but this is definitely a new sound on the record." This Austin-based rock-blues group, known for their celebrated three-hour, bi-weekly gigs at The Black Cat Lounge, are pleased with the direction achieved on the LP. While numbers like "Preacher Man" and "Waited" have that standard Soulhat feel, the band walks on new ground with the self-explanatory "Dirty Old Man," "Homer," a tune about a guy on the edge of going over the edge, and ñ
Wiggin'," which deals with living in a stress-laden society. "This was 10 times better to make than the last record," attested Cassis. "We had a great time in the studio - no holds barred, creatively." Added McKinney, "When you're freaking out on the world, you just have to sit back and chill out.
Cinderella has never been one to stick with tried-and-true. While their 1986 debut "Night Song" had that unmistakable metal feel, their follow-up "Long Cold Winter" saw the addition of piano and acoustic guitar to their style. On 1991's "Heartbreak Station," their love of blues surfaced. Once again on their current "Still Climbing," Cinderella fuses hard rock and blues with muscle and vitality. "I like to think that we definitely have our own sound," observed singer/guitarist Tom Keifer. "It's a little bit of everything instead of being a direct cop of just one thing. That's what makes us have our own sound." Keiffer, together with guitarist Jeff LaBar and bassist Eric Brittingham, went in the studio in 1992. The album wasn't easy in the making as the band changed producers twice and two sets of sessions were canned. Duane Baron and John Purdell produced "Still Climbing" which features drummer Kenny Aronoff and sax player Jay Davidson. Cinderella delivers with the special ferocity tht is trademark with their name, be it a slow metal number or a ballsy rocker. One song, "Hard to Find the Words," was inspired by KeiferÍs mother. "I wrote that for my mom when I found out she was sick with cancer," he explained. "It's my way of saying thanks for all sheÍs done for me throughout my life. I'm really happy with the way that came out."
Reissues seem to be the rage and The Freddy Jones Band has jumped on the bandwagon. Capricorn Records has released the group's 1992 self-produced debut which has sold-out its first two original pressings. Included on this edition are three live cuts taped in early 1994 at Chicago's Vic Theatrre. "The Vic is a place where we really grew up as a band," recalled guitarist Wayne Healty. "The crowds are great. They always push us to the limit. I guess there really is nothing like playing in your hometown to bring out your best!" At the same time, the band continues to enjoy success with the 1993 Capricorn debut ñWaiting for the Night." "The reissue gives our fans an update on what was happening in the beginning (in 1992) and a glimpse of the vibe we can generate now," said singer/guitarist Marty Lloyd. "It's a taste of our past and a taste of the show you might have seen the other night." Expanding on their fan base, the FJB spent last year touring with Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Widespread Panic. "We're really your basic American rock 'n roll band," stated Lloyd. "We just keep on driving a zillion miles a day and rocking harder and harder every night after we get to wherever it is we've been trying to get to all day."
Adam Ant has been a busy little buckaroo. It's been five years since the release of "Manners and Physique" and in the interim Adam has pursued parts in the acting arena . This versatile artist has played a biker in "Sunset Heat" with Dennis Hopper; a vampire in "Love Bites" with Kimberly Foster; a theatrical agent in "Eyes of a Stranger" with Linda Fiorentino; a cameo in "Last Action Hero" with Arnold Schwarzenegger; and "Drop Dead Rock" with Debbie Harry. No he hasnÍt given up on music, but there were a few bothersome barriers that materialized. His label had a major shakeup, and along with other artists, he was shown the door. "I've also undergone severe knee surgery. It first went in 1982 in Cleveland and it took me six months to get over that,î he reflected. "The other knee went in 1991 after a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles and itÍs taken me another six months to get it right." Then followed a flurry of acting roles. One day, while in a cafe with longtime collaborator Marco Pirroni, Adam spouted, "Fuck this; let's write a new bastard album." Pirroni agreed, but with the stipulation that there be a new band with new songs recorded live on one studio with one producer. The band includes Boz Boorer (ex-Polecat, current Morrissey), drummer David Ruffey (ex-Ruts and Sinead) and bassist Bruce Whitkin. An A&R rep caught the band on a late night tv program in London and they soon were signed to E.M.I Records in the U.K. and to Capitol in the States. David Tickle (4 Non-Blondes) was chosen as the producer and recording was held at Abbey Road's Studio 2. The outcome "Wonderful," shows that Adam is ready to rock again. The number "Wonderful" was co-written by Bonnie Hayes (anyone remember The Wild Combo?). Adam's "Wonderful Tour" should be underway and he plans on using the original two drummer format.
"Reggae Under Cover" is an interesting assembly of cover tunes sung by an assortment of well-known and not-so-well-known artists. Unfortunately, the CD starts off with Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" sung by Pam Hall (if I hear that damn song one more time. . .). Even Hall's toned-down reggae version of the Wailing BansheeÍs original only partially redeems it as acceptable. Thank God things pick up. Cat Steven's "Wild World" is sung by BritainÍs Maxi Priest, who takes a somber song and uplifts it via the the horn and drum arrangements. Among the artists are the low-profile Jamaican singer Glen Ricks and on another, Sweet Tea, who hails from Belize. Also included is Alton Black performing Bobby Brown's "Good Enough." An up-and-coming reggae singer, Black was killed in an auto accident in New York a few years ago. Michael Rose's interpretation of Paul SimonÍs "Mother and Child Reunion" has a definite funk feel with reggae thrown in. The overall mood is bathed in tropical island breezes- and all you need is one of those rum drinks (or beverage of choice) to top off the groove. "Reggae Under Cover," released on Relativity Records, is an education of different vocalists and their presentation of the medium, ending with J.C. Lodge's rendition of Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You" (and here I though I heard that damn song one last time in the mid-70s. Shoot!!).
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