Red Hot Chili Peppers: “The Getaway” Song 2 From the New LP

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While the Rock Chick and I slipped out to Denver for the Mudcrutch concert this week, (post on that show coming soon…) the Red Hot Chili Peppers released the second song on the highly anticipated (well, highly anticipated here at B&V) album “The Getaway.” It’s the title track, “The Getaway” and after the stellar first song “Dark Necessities” hope was running high that the next track would be as stellar. I got an email notification on my phone the tune was out but because of my feeble technical skills, I couldn’t download and hear the tune until I got back to the home base. “The Getaway” is not only the title track from the record but is also the first track on the record.

Being that this is the first track on the album, I was expecting to be blasted out of my chair with an upbeat rocker. I was surprised when a quiet, jazzy beat starts the song, followed by a spacey, mellowed-out guitar. Of course, Flea’s bass is still all over this song and impeccable. I do wonder if Danger Mouse and the rest of the band are mad at Chad Smith based on what they’ve done to his drum sound here. It sounds like he was recorded down the hall from the rest of the band like they sent him to a “time out.” One has to wonder in a band as notorious as the Chili Peppers what you’d have to do to get sent to a “time out” but I digress. I’m guessing ol’ Chad misses Rick Rubin and the wonderful drum sound he seemed to coax out of him.

There are a lot of things here I hadn’t heard on a Chili Pepper’s tune… female back-up vocals being the most surprising element. The guitar is understated but as I’ve said before, with Frusciante gone and Klinghoffer in, this is a different band. I wouldn’t call this a ballad, but it’s pretty mellow. It’s best described as “mid-tempo.” I will admit, and perhaps it was my expectations, I didn’t like this song the first time through. Though I also must admit, the more I listen to it the more it has grown on me. Anthony’s vocal is another stand out performance. The more I listened to this track the more that vocal and Flea’s sublime bass began to hit me harder. I will say, the Rock Chick, on her first listen said, “Not bad…” which for her is almost a rousing endorsement.

This song has long verses and a very short chorus. So the hook is not apparent, you have to really listen a few times before it clicks. The first few times it felt like one long lyrical blast from Anthony. Then you start to key in on the female backing vocals and there it is… the chorus. It’s a complicated song performed with deceiving simplicity, but it does reward you with repeated listens. Again, strange tune to open the album with, but when you’re the Chili Peppers, you can do what you want.

I will continue to post updates as more songs are released, if any are released, prior to the June 10th album release date. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys live again but with the recent health scare concerning Anthony, it might be a while. Thank God he’s ok, we’ve lost too many rockers this year. Get well soon Anthony!

Check the tune out, let me know what you think in the comments section.

Cheers!!

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Review Redux: Mudcrutch “2” (Full Album) A Very Strong, Tighter Return

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First and foremost, I must apologize to any of you who read my original review of the full album “2” by Mudcrutch. I wasn’t happy with my original title, which included the words, “A Band Having Fun.” I felt like that title was misleading and made the album sound more upbeat than it is. I do think, in terms of fun, Petty is  having a great time playing bass, playing with different musicians and having the entire band contribute songwriting, but that doesn’t mean all the music is happy. So, I went in and tried to edit the title. Being the Luddite that I am, I didn’t realize that changing the title would delete all the actual text under the title in the body of the post. Technical SNAFU’s seem to be my specialty. I will attempt, in this Redux Review, to recreate what I wrote earlier from my notes. Again, I am sorry for my technical stupidity.

If anything, these few extra days have only made my esteem for this record grow… leaps and bounds, in fact.

I’ve always been a huge Tom Petty fan… I can still remember buying “Damn the Torpedoes,” my first Petty album, on vinyl at the record store in the mall. That album was a certified masterpiece. I’ve always felt Petty’s career had a bit of an ebb and flow to it until “Fool Moon Fever” came out. Petty’s popularity exploded. I can still remember driving to the office when I was exiled to Arkansas and hearing “I Won’t Back Down” on the radio and thinking, “this is my new theme song…” It didn’t work, I ended up backing down, I quit. It was the best thing for me at the time. As Keith Richards once sang, it was time for me to “walk before they made me run…” but those records are also sealed.

After “Full Moon Fever” Petty seemed to have had the Midas Touch. Everything the guy did, with or without the Heartbreakers, turned to gold. That purple patch lasted him from “Full Moon Fever” through the whole Wilbury’s thing up to “Wildflowers.” Even the departure of founding drummer Stan Lynch during this time period seemed to make the Heartbreakers even stronger, which many times is not the case with a band member’s departure. Then came the superb and highly under-appreciated “Echo” album. For reasons unclear, the album didn’t reach the heights of Petty’s then recent successes. I will say, “Echo” had a bit of a melancholy fog hanging over it likely caused by Petty’s recent divorce. Petty did not react well to the lukewarm reception of “Echo” and recorded what seemed like a very angry follow-up, “The Last DJ.”

But after “The Last DJ,” the strangest thing happened. It’s as if Petty decided, “fuck it,” and started making music that made him happy and music that the Heartbreakers clearly enjoyed playing. He has a trio of great, late-career. kick-ass albums – “Highway Companion,” “Mojo,” and “Hypnotic Eye.” These are the types of albums that inspired me to start writing BourbonAndVinyl in the first place. All three are on the highly recommended list.

During this late period surge, in 2007, Petty agreed to doing a documentary on his and the Heartbreaker’s history, “Running Down a Dream,” and I must say it’s a must see for Petty fans. In the documentary, they dedicate a section to Mudcrutch, Petty’s first band out of Florida. Randy Marsh (drums) and Tom Leadon (guitar/vocal) were in the band with Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers and Petty on bass guitar. Later, after Leadon left, Benmont Tench (keyboards) joined. The band recorded a few singles that were completely ignored before disbanding. Petty switched to guitar, kept Campbell and Tench, formed the Heartbreakers and the rest, as they say, is history. But something in the documentary must have inspired the whole “what might have been” thought process…usually that leads to calling an ex-girlfriend, but in this case, Petty pulled together Mudcrutch in 2008 and recorded the album “Mudcrutch.” It was a loose-limbed, “jammy” affair, but I really liked that record.

I had always assumed “Mudcrutch” was a one-off affair, but then late last year the rumors began that Petty was reassembling Mudcrutch to record another record. This past weekend saw the release of “2,” the band’s second record. Clearly with album names “Mudcrutch” and “2” it’s clear that Petty and the lads don’t put a lot of time or thought into their album titles. Having had some recent “title problems” of my own, I get it. Damn technology. The record starts off with an old outtake from Petty’s “Playback” box-set, “Trailer.” “Trailer” is one of those wistful, looking back tunes about a relationship that failed. At first, I was surprised he dug out that old tune for this album, but the sentiments in the tune sort of sum up the whole Mudcrutch enterprise. It’s a great version of the song.

Petty required everybody in the band to write a song. My favorite band contribution is “Beautiful World” by Randy Marsh. I think he sings it. I do wish, as I stated when the single came out, that Petty had sung it, but it’s still a kick ass rock song. It and “Dream of Flying” (which Petty sings) are the closest you’ll get to a Heartbreaker-y sound here. “Dream of Flying” is superb. I do think Petty is enjoying this different group of collaborators but that doesn’t mean the songs are all as upbeat as “Beautiful World”.

The centerpiece of the record for me remains “Hungry No More.” It’s a defiant song about resilience that makes Scarlett O’Hara’s vow to never be hungry again seem tame in comparison. Mike Campbell’s guitar is all over “Hungry No More” and his performance here is why he’s one of the greatest to ever strap on a guitar. “I Forgive It All” is a beautiful, spare ballad in the manner of “Highway Companion”s song “Square One.” It and “Beautiful Blue” are the best love songs here. “Beautiful Blue” simply shimmers. “Victim Of Circumstance”is Campbell’s writing effort here and it’s another exceptional tune.

The only tunes that left me cold are Leadon’s “The Other Side of the Mountain” mostly because there’s a banjo (not to sound like the Rock Chick, but I am “banjo-interolerant) and Ben Tench’s “Welcome to Hell.” I love Tench’s boogie woogie piano on the song, but the lyrics are like a joke that just misfires. But these are minor complaints, neither song is terrible. Mudcrutch’s first album, as I mentioned, was such a loose jam, it’s nice to hear these guys so focused. The songs are finely crafted, much tighter than the first record and well played.

“2” is a highly recommended purchase from BourbonAndVinyl. Play it loud and often… and the best part of this album is that for the first time Mudcrutch is playing concerts outside the state of California… which means I’ll be heading to Denver for Memorial Day Weekend with one of my best friends Stormin’ and Mudcrutch. If you get a chance to see these guys, run to the concert, don’t walk. I’ll post an update after I’ve seen the show!!

Again, my apologies for accidentally deleting the original review of this superb record and as always, Cheers!

 

Paul Simon: Four Songs from “Stranger To Stranger”

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I’ve never been a fan of folk music. I’ve always felt like the John Belushi character in “Animal House,” Bluto, when he encounters a cheesy folk singer on the stairs and pulls the acoustic guitar out of his hands and smashes it. However, I’ve always loved Bob Dylan. His first four albums stand amongst my favorite. And, I must admit I’ve always loved old-style acoustic blues like Robert Johnson. Of course Dylan’s music was always infused with the blues whether the folkies want to admit or not. Yes, I do love the acoustic guitar. On the opposite end of the spectrum from Dylan is Pete Seeger. I can’t stand that fuckin’ guy. I don’t care one wit about his politics, I just can’t stand his music. Springsteen did a whole (terrible) album dedicated to Seeger’s music and Seeger came out and said he didn’t like it. Douche bag, your table is ready…

Somewhere in the middle of all that lies Simon & Garfunkel. I was never crazy about Simon & Garfunkel but I didn’t loathe them like I do say, Joan Baez. Yes, I will admit Art Garfunkel could sing like the angels, but their music together always left me cold. They do have a few good tunes (see my theory of music post). Paul Simon’s solo music however I always enjoyed. It was acoustic based, but there was an element of “world music” which I guess means exotic rhythms and percussion. I consider the term “world music” to be nebulous. “Me and Julio Down By the School Yard,” “Cecilia” and even “Mother And Child Reunion” had elements of other culture’s music in them. Of course his huge break through on this front was when he went all in on the “world music” thing on the “Graceland” album. I still love listening to that a one. I think he took it a little too far on “Rhythm Of The Saints” which sounds like someone dropping a tray of flatware in the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant with a transistor radio playing in the background.

A few years ago I went on a “binge listen” of all of Simon’s classic albums from his first solo record up to “Graceland.” After “Graceland” I felt his music was kind of hit or miss. I mean, what was that “Capeman” thing? I did think “You’re the One” was wildly under-rated. Then out of nowhere in 2011 Simon put out the brilliant “So Beautiful Or So What” record. I was blown away at the brilliance of that entire album. I even convinced the Rock Chick to listen to it once… only once… and she sat through the whole thing without holding up her hand and saying, “Uh, Ken, put the Cult back on,” which I considered a near validation of the music.

Now five year’s later Simon is on the cusp of putting out his next album, “Stranger to Stranger.” He purportedly “labored” over this record for five years. That always makes me nervous. I mean, the early Stones and Beatles records were all hammered out in an afternoon. “The Long Run” by the Eagles (an album I do like) took years to make. Sometimes it’s better to just knock this shit out quickly. He apparently asked some Italian dance/electronica guy named, gasp, Clap!Clap! to help him on this album much like when he brought in Brian Eno on “Surprise.” I don’t even know what an Italian dance/electronica person does. Producer? Does he play something? It all left me pretty suspect.

Simon has put out three songs thus far from “Stranger to Stranger.” On the bonus version of the disc, he includes a song that has already been released, a duet he did with Dion, “New York Is My Home.” If you want to hear two titans harmonize, go out and buy that song alone. It’s a great song about a great city. I didn’t buy the bonus edition as I already owned “New York Is My Home” and other than a tune named “Pete and Horace” the bonus stuff was all live versions from “The Prairie Home Companion,” …gads, man.

“Wristband” was the first single. It has Paul Simon’s signature sense of humor. It’s the story of a rock star getting locked out of his own concert backstage and not being able to get back in because he doesn’t have a wristband. Simon says it’s not autobiographical, but God I wish it was. That Simon sense of humor is what always divided his work with Garfunkel and his solo stuff for  me. I like to laugh. I wasn’t crazy about “Wristband” the first time I heard it but it has really grown on me. Repeated listens bring out the percussive elements and the song really starts to open up.

I really liked the other two songs almost immediately. “Werewolf” is an ominous, cacophony of a song. “The werewolf’s coming, you better stock up on water…” There is so much going on in this song I don’t even know how to describe it. There’s even an old school horror movie organ towards the end of the song… I think even Warren Zevon of “Werewolves of London” fame would be proud.

“Cool Papa Bell” was the stand out track for me, so far. Again, it’s a virtual pot of gumbo worth of sounds. I think I hear a fucking tuba in the background. I can’t stop smiling when I hear this song. “Every day I’m here I’m grateful…” Since I met the Rock Chick, I think I can actually agree with that sentiment. There was a time when I wouldn’t have agreed, but thankfully those days are far behind me. Like Satchel Paige said long ago, “Don’t look back there might be somebody gaining on you…”

I’m not ready to make a recommendation on this album as of yet, in terms of purchase. I will say, “New York Is My Home” is a must have. I will be writing a full album review when the album comes in June, so stay tuned.

Be grateful you’re here, every day. Cheers!

Review: Mudcrutch “2” – Three Songs Released So Far

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I got a text a few weeks back from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Stormin. Storm and I roomed together with GP and some other dudes back in college but those records are sealed until twenty-five years after my death. Storm’s text was in reference to Tom Petty’s side project, Mudcrutch and their upcoming concert in Denver. “My wildest dreams have come true and Mudcrutch is finally coming to Denver. I’ve purchased 2 VIP tickets…” Now this was interesting… The next thing I knew I was booking a trip to Denver to see Mudcrutch.

Storm and I saw Petty together on the “Full Moon Fever” Tour. We weren’t going to go to the concert, but a few of our friends were attending so we went down to the old Kemper Arena and stopped in Sutera’s Tavern for a few quick brews. We made the cursory walk over to check on scalped tickets and a guy approached and asked if we thought twenty dollars was a fair price for the two tickets he had… they were 10th row, center on the floor. Other than seeing Van Halen on the “Fair Warning” tour it was one of the best concerts of my illustrious concert career. Best 2o bucks I ever spent.

To describe Mudcrutch as a “side-project” is probably a misnomer on my part. Mudcrutch was Petty’s first band. They had all moved together from Florida to LA and actually recorded a few singles. Those songs never really broke and I didn’t even hear them until Petty released his monumental box set “Playback” in the 90’s. Mudcrutch’s line up changed a bit but it consisted of Randy Marsh on drums, Tom Leadon (whose brother Bernie was a founding member of the Eagles) on guitar/vocals, Petty on bass guitar/vocals and Mike Campbell on lead guitar. Later after Leadon left Benmont Tench joined on keyboards. After Mudcrutch broke up, Petty moved to rhythm guitar, Stan Lynch took over drums and Ron Blair took over bass, they dubbed themselves Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and the rest, as they say, was history.

In the excellent 2007 documentary “Running Down a Dream” chronicling the Heartbreaker’s history, they touched on Mudcrutch. I don’t know if it was revisiting his  history, or this was something that Petty had been considering for a long time, but merely one year later in 2008, Petty regrouped the Mudcrutch lineup and put out the great record “Mudcrutch.” It was written and recorded in like, 10 days. To support the album Mudcrutch did a two week, 10-concert residency in some LA theater. I think they might have done a few nights in San Francisco, but my mind gets foggier with time. I really loved the “Mudcrutch” record but I figured that was going to be the end of the story for these guys. It was like going to see an ex-girlfriend, Petty was curious, checked it out and realized he was better off where he was… so to speak… not that I’ve ever done that, I’m just saying’… it happens.

Now, eight years later, Mudcrutch is set to return. The second album is creatively titled “2.” Naturally I’v done the pre-buy and they’ve released three very strong tunes so far. The first track “Trailer” was actually originally released on the box set “Playback.” I think it was recorded around the “Southern Accents” timeframe. The “Southern Accents” album was supposedly Petty revisiting his roots, and telling the he and the Heartbreaker’s story. It got a little weird when he brought in Dave Edwards from the Eurythmics to produce it but such is life. “Trailer” got left in the can, as they say. Like returning to Mudcrutch “Trailer” is a wistful look back at a relationship long gone. It’s a great song, but like I mentioned in the Peter Wolf review a few weeks ago, when a band redoes a song already released, it feels a little like cheating to me. Unless of course the song is significantly different like Sting’s solo version of “Shadows In the Rain” which is a radical reinvention of that song vs the Police version. So I liked “Trailer” but I’d already heard a very similar version on “Playback.”

The second song, “Beautiful World” is a great, upbeat and hopeful tune. It’s got a nice little riff and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to hear live. It was written by Randy Marsh, the drummer and I don’t know if it’s him or Tom Leadon who sings it but it’s not Petty singing. Petty wanted a more “group” feel for this album so each member was asked to write one song. Marsh’s “Beautiful World” is a superb tune so we can only hope the other contributions from band members are as strong. I do sort of wish Petty had sung this one though. Still, it’s a great rock song.

Finally, the third song was released last week, “Hungry No More,” and it is awesome. It is certainly the pick of the litter so far. It clocks in at over six minutes and it allows Mudcrutch to stretch out quite a bit. It’s a mid tempo tune but has some blistering lead guitar work from Mike Campbell. Whatever he’s doing to his guitar is probably illegal in a number of states, but it sounds fantastic. The song has an impassioned vocal from Petty. It’s a down on your luck story but it’s sung with a beautiful, defiant vocal. “You can’t live on nothin’ at all, and I ain’t gonna be hungry no more…” Wow. With the economy like it is, it’s hard not to feel that this song was ripped from the headlines… but as usual, I digress.

I have to say, so far, so good on “2.” Petty has been on a hot streak since his solo album “Highway Companion.” Everything the guy touches lately is gold. There’s an exploration in his music – blues, country, jam-band – that is adventurous and always interesting. I am really looking forward to hearing the rest of this album… and actually seeing these guys destroy it live in Denver with my buddy Storm!

Until then, I’ll keep you posted as I hear more Mudcrutch. Check it out!

Cheers!

Summer Drinking: The Food Center Liquor Store, Brookline, MA

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“Time is a jet plane it moves so fast” – Bob Dylan, “You’re A Big Girl Now”

I was texting with my drummer friend yesterday. He’d read my review of the RHCP’s new song, “Dark Necessities” and had reached out. Like me, he’s a huge fan of bands with strong rhythm sections like the Who, Rush, Rock Garden and of course, the RHCPs. Give me that bottom. He was complaining about the overly-produced sound of the drums. I have to admit that Danger Mouse put so much polish on the record I can almost see my reflection in it, but I still love the song. It’s in high rotation here at the house. He then mentioned his band had a gig that night, and said, “It’s almost like summer, man!”

Ah, summer. It always makes me think of Boston and the Food Center Liquor Store, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

There’s nothing better than summer drinking. And while I have to consume some bourbon today (I’m working on a “deconstructed” mint julep, straight bourbon from the bottle with a peppermint in my mouth) for the Kentucky Derby, the world’s greatest sporting event, when summer comes it’ll be time to put away the dark liquors and heavy beers. Time to dust off the vodka lemonades and the Blue Moon. I would suggest buying stock in Ketel One immediately, they’re about to have a sales surge. When summer comes to the Midwest the entire region opens like a flower.

This time of year always takes me back. It’s not only summer’s arrival, but the fact that it’s graduation season takes me back to my own college graduation.  At the time, I took all the money I’d been gifted for graduating and bought a ticket to fly to Boston to join my buddies Matthew and GP who were both living out there. Matthew was in Law School and GP was peddling soft drinks. I had somehow convinced GP to move out there with me…I’m not sure he’s forgiven me yet. My corporate overlords didn’t need me until September, so I thought, “What the Hell, why not?” Once I arrived in Boston and got myself ensconced at the apartment the three of us shared on Commonwealth Avenue, I immediately spent the rest of my Graduation Money at the used record store two blocks up from us, “In Your Ear.” I found all the Faces records on vinyl I’d been searching for in that used record store and I can close my eyes and still see myself standing there, mouth agape at my “huge” discovery. Unfortunately spending all my money on used albums wasn’t going to sustain me for the summer in super-expensive Boston.

Matthew and I went to the local grocery store on the outskirts of Brookline, the birthplace of JFK, and after watching Matthew fail while hitting on the beautiful, Hispanic store clerk, I noticed a “Help Wanted” sign on the window of the liquor store adjacent. My reduced circumstances made me bold and I strolled in and inquired after the opening. I was told the job was in the “other store,” two miles away, in the main village square of Brookline.

The next day, I set off on my adventure to find the Brookline Food Center Liquor Store. I walked for what seemed like forever until I finally spotted it, situated on a main street, next to a police station which I regarded with suspicion at the time. I strolled in and a man with sunglasses on (while inside) and a 70’s porno-star mustache was behind the register. I introduced myself and asked about the job. Being from Kansas, I had always thought I had no accent at all. Apparently to this hardened, Boston liquor store owner I sounded like I’d just wandered in off the plantation in Mississippi. He probably couldn’t delineate between Mississippi or Missouri as I was to find out later… He smiled at me and immediately started on my accent… “You ain’t from around here are you (it sounded like “ah yoo”)? You from down South somewhere?” I told him I was from Kansas and that was suddenly my name, “Kansas.” I asked again for the job and he replied “Uh, Ok Kansas, you uh, wanted for anything criminal? I got cop friends, I’ll know so don’t fucking lie to me.”His Boston accent was so thick I struggled to understand him. It took a while to adjust (he kept saying Food Center as Food Centah). It was an odd interview question. I replied that I had no record and I wasn’t wanted for anything criminal… well, nothing that would stick. “Ok Kansas, welcome to the Food Centah, you start (staht) tomorrow, be here at 3pm.” I had a job!

The next day, and really for the rest of the summer, it was my job to show up at the liquor store and a) stock the beer fridge and b) take the Massachusettes 5 cent beer can returns. The man with the mustache who was named Doug but referred to himself as “Uncle Chico” explained it to me my first day. He took me out of the cooler to the front of the beer display. We stood a few feet back and he said, “Kansas, look at that, do you see any gaps in the beer coolah?” There were none. “Thats how I wanna see my coolah from now on, no gaps.” I was literally responsible for walking into the cooler and pushing six packs forward so people could easily reach them. Every now and again, I’d get busy with beer can returns and I’d hear, in that thick Boston accent, “Kansas, Kansas?” and I’d run out to the store floor from the back cubby hole where we took returns and he would always say, when he was upset about the beer cooler, “Do you love Uncle Chico? Do you love Uncle Chico?” There was only one reply, I’d mumble “Yes, I love Uncle Chico…” “Then, uh, Kansas, will you do the fucking beer coolah, I see gaps.”

There were a group of guys that I worked with, salt of the earth guys, Kenny, Wardy, and Matt. The guy who was the night manager was named Murph. One was an artist, one was going to be a cop and one of the others was always looking for a construction job. People always speak of folks from the East being cold or stand-offish but those guys embraced me almost immediately. I have to admit they asked me if I grew up on a farm, I was from Kansas after all. I had to explain I didn’t grow up with a cow in my yard. I used to tell them the only thing different between Kansas and Boston was that in Kansas everything was in black and white and here in Boston everything was in color. They liked the Wizard of Oz comedy…

These guys went out drinking every night. The liquor store closed at 11pm and everyone on the shift was allowed to drink one beer of their choice. It was where I really developed a taste for good beer – not this American piss that passes for beer here – but good, exotic beers from far away places. That one beer after shift usually led us to the bar across the street. After the first couple of nights drinking with these guys, on a Tuesday night, I demurred when Matt asked me where we were gonna get beers later. He looked stunned when I said I was just gonna walk home. “Kansas, what the fuck are (ah) you talking about? It’s summah (summer)… you drink… you know, with your friends.” It was wisdom I carry with me to today. It’s what I always think of when I think of summer drinking. I was embarrassed I’d been so stupid and said “no” and at the same time I was honored that these guys had already accepted me as a friend. Although, I must confess they continued to ask me if Kansas was in the South… apparently I had an accent I was unaware of and they don’t teach geography in the Boston schools.

Now, here I am, all these years later and I’m on the cusp of summer. Another summer has snuck up on me. I’m not sure where all the time went… It slips away, people. Dylan was right, “time is a jet plane.” I’m happy, with a great family and my job now doesn’t entail pushing six-packs forward to the sound of “do you love Uncle Chico?” Although I have to admit, pushing six-packs forward was a lot more fun and it didn’t keep me up at night…

I always try to remember the wisdom of the Food Centah…. And, I hope you all will remember this wisdom folks – “It’s summah (summer), you drink beer, you know, with your friends.”

Cheers!

Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new single “Dark Necessities”

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The thing I love about great rock bands is that you can NEVER count them out! The Red Hot Chili Peppers have had more than their share of setbacks, including the exit of the ultimate Pepper Guitar God John Frusciante. (Thank God I saw them in concert a couple of times w/ Frusciante). Many of my friends and even the Rock Chick lost interest in the Chili Peppers after Frusciante left. I, for one, really liked the last record “I’m With You” which debuted new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. While he’s not the strong lead guitarist Frusciante was, the chemistry of the band has altered and Flea, Chad and Anthony have come more to the front. The songs were better formed and more musical. Maybe that stems from Flea going back to college to study music theory. They still rocked and I’ll admit I miss John, but this band survived. That’s what I love about these guys, they always find a way to shoulder on.

Today marks the release of “Dark Necessities” from their upcoming June release “The Getaway.” This is the first RHCP’s album not produced by Rick Rubin since “Mother’s Milk.” At the helm for this project is Danger Mouse with help mixing from Nigel Godrich (sp?) of Radiohead fame. From what I can hear, and I love Rick Rubin, the change has done the boys good.

“Dark Necessities” is a great song. It’s a great first song/single. It’s catchy as Hell. The first sound you hear is Flea playing a wonderful bass line. The keyboards and rhythm guitar come in and a palpable sense of tension is created… The Rock Chick was with me for the first listen and said, “No other band puts the bass out front the way the Chili Peppers do with Flea.” Well said, Rock Chick, well said. The shining star here is Anthony Kiedis, when his vocal starts, all full of confessional yearning, I can’t turn away. I am embarrassed to admit I got goose bumps. To think when these guys started all Anthony did was rap. His vocal is fucking funky, baby.

That’s the thing I always forget about these guys, they started as a funk band! While they’ve come a long way from that – they are more rock centric now – and have gone through all kinds of changes, musically, guitarists, drummers, producers etc, they remain a solid funk band. Flea’s heavy bass with Chad in the pocket, it takes me back to “Uplift Mofo.” Josh plays a little funky, wah-wah 70’s guitar thing in the background. There is a keyboard break, piano, in the middle of the song, and in the old days it would have been a blistering, Hendrixy guitar solo and I’ll admit it, I still miss that, but the song plays out with a beautiful, soulful guitar solo from Josh and while it’s nothing Frusciante would have played it fits the song better. It’s not the same Frusciante style Chili Peppers, but I like this incarnation.

My only complaint right now is that I can’t buy “Dark Necessities” on iTunes or on vinyl or anywhere. You can hear it on YouTube and see the cover art for “The Getaway.” The Rock Chick, ever the optimist said, “I hope this isn’t the only good song on this album.” Apparently she didn’t share my love of “I’m With You…” Ah, love…

Keep an eye out here for new Chili Pepper news. I’ll put out whatever I can whenever I can as they release the songs. I’m really looking forward to hearing from these guys again.

Cheers!