Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Amberland Review Preview!

I spent my Memorial Day Weekend (the part of it where I wasn't passed out in the back of my buddy Ethan's Subaru Outback, at least) in a beautiful little corner of the world, Deerfields, NC. This fine piece of property, for the first time (and hopefully not the last), hosted Perpetual Groove's annual Memorial Day event, Amberland.

It was pretty much the perfect location for the perfect weekend with pretty much the perfect band (at least this weekend, pGroove came pretty close.

I'm still slightly burnt out from the lack of sleep and the extreme levels of alcoholic consumption. Plus, even though I don't really like professional basketball, I feel like watching the Heat put the whoop on the Pistons.

So I'm gonna cop out and wait until tomorrow to post my review. It'll give me some time to collect online photos, taboot. That's a necessity considering that my lovely lady's little camera had some technical difficulties. Which, of course, were resolved upon return to reality from the wilderness.

I'll leave you with a photo, one that is probably the best shot I've seen of pGroove guitarist Brock Butler in a long time, if ever. I didn't shoot it; probably never could. But I love the look on his face, and the lights behind him.

Wow, what a weekend!

Perpetual Groove guitarist Brock Butler. Amberland, 2006.

Tomorrow, be prepared for a full Amberland review, containing pictures and details of a great weekend. Also, if I got the time, and I got the inclination, maybe disc 2 of Under the Covers? What can I say, it's gonna be a pGroove kind of day.

I had that good a time this weekend.

Friday, May 26, 2006

See you next week!

I got a valid excuse, I'm going to Amberland to see Perpetual Groove. Full report to come.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

(AUDIO!!) Cover Song Madness # 2 - Perpetual Groove - Under the Covers disc 1

I've mentioned before that Perpetual Groove is a band that sure knows how to pick a cover song. To me, one of the essential components of a good live band is the ability to pick a good cover song. A really good live band is able to take someone else's song and make it their own.

Perpetual Groove has the ability to do this. They destroy the Peter Gabriel songs they do, and I've probably listened to their highly dancable take on Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" at least five times this week.

In celebration of the fact that my weekend is going to be spend at Amberland, Perpetual Groove's annual Memorial Day festival/cookout/family reunion/party, I've spent the last couple of days augmenting my pre-established playlist of pGroove covers.

Now I have over five-and-a-half hours of Perpetual Groove covers. Some, like "All Night Long" or "Funky Town" are jam vehicles, stretching for ten or twelve or twenty minutes! Others are true to form: short, sweet and to the point. Some are from last week; others are from last year. Many are regulars in the band's rotation, and some are one-time-played asterisks on a setlist from long ago ("99 Red Balloons"?) I even included one Perpetual Groove song because in the middle of it Brock Butler, their guitarist, flips his hoodie over his head and raps Jay Z, the BeastieBoy and whatever other hip hop comes to his slightly balding head.

This week I present to you the first of five discs that compile what I have wittilly dubbed "Perpetual Groove - Under the Covers". Depending on what happens this weekend at Amberland, I may be adding some more tunes to the compilation.

Any and all, I'd love your comments! Suggestions, additions, detractions and whatever kind of RUCKUS you want to bring are welcome.
The tunes have been compressed as a .rar file, and can be downloaded from from the following link!

Perpetual Groove - Under the Covers disc 1
(all of the tracks on this discs come from THANKS!)


1. Pusherman - Curtis Mayfield - 10:51

2. Orange Wedge > - the Chemical Brothers - 2:33

3. Marijuana in My Brain - Lords of Acid - 10:38

4. All Night Long - Lionel Richie - 8:39

5. Do Your Thing - Isaac Hayes - 12:49

6. I Want You Back - the Jackson 5 - 4:01

7. Diggin' in the Dirt - Peter Gabriel - 12:43

8. ABC - the Jackson 5 - 4:02

(VIDEO!!) Marijuana muffins = Weapon of Mass Destruction

I really don't know what to say about this.

You know that our country is screwed up when marijuana muffins warrant the involvement of the F.B.I. and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

God Bless America (and the great state of Texas, from which this video came).

Gas station's shocking sign of times -

Gas station's shocking sign of times -

(Thanks, Sploid for the heads up! LINK)

Gotta love a guy with a sense of humor, even as he is losing his livelihood...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

(VIDEO!!) The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne gives a speech for high school graduation

(Thanks Stereogum, for the heads up! LINK)

Even though it was his high school, the one the man actually graduated from (yeah, right!), don't you think his former teachers and administrators would have known better to invite this psychedelic cowboy back for an encore?

Part 1

Part 2

(VIDEO!!) Random...

...It has been a long night.

Time for a drink.

Maybe I should pour it from the Disco Bar!

(Cover songs to come. And they are definitely worth the wait!)

Tuesday News Briefs - May 23, 2006

Yeah, I know that it is actually Wednesday, May 24. So shoot me for being a day late and a dollar short. I figure that I can break my own self-imposed rules on blogging every day, if--and only if--I make up for it the very next day.

Which I am doing right now.

I'd explain why I didn't have the time or energy to make a post last night, but suffice it to say that at least part of the blame is to be placed on the lack of stores selling denim overalls in the greater Fort Lauderdale area.

Now onto the news!
* * *
New York Post - Tommy Guns: Hilfiger Dresses Down Axl in Brawl

File under: I wish I could have seen this!

Say what you will about gossip columns, but Page 6 in the New York Post is a great source of oftentimes ridiculous celebrity gossip. Kind of like this piece, which describes a little tiff between the recently-back-into-the-spotlight Axl Rose and Greenwich, CT's own uber-feminine fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. Incidentally, how did it happen that the person who made be the whitest fellow on the face of the earth designs clothes that are almost exclusively worn by people that, well, tend to be not white?

The best line in the story:
As the punch-up escalated, Hilfiger introduced Rose to some "November Pain" with a blow to the cheek. Club guards quickly tried to separate the men.
Who do you think would win in a no-holds barred battle between the two men:

This guy?
Or this guy?
You be the judge...

* * *
Miami Herald - Women Learn Art of Striptease at Oakland Park club

file under: It is about time!

Stripping is not new. Neither is the realization that it must be a pretty good work out, shaking those tassel things and gyrating on a fireman's pole. But, at least here is South Florida, making money off of teaching non-strippers to strip--or to get a good workout while simulating stripping--is a hot fad.

They are so many good little tidbits in this story that I couldn't choose just one.

The best line(s) in the story:

''Not everybody is cut out to go to the gym,'' said Andrea Amenta, director of public relations for Scores. ``With this, it's a little bit more fun.''
As someone in the PR biz, I love this. Even strip clubs have PR directors. (I wonder if she had anything to do with the oodles and oodles of plugs Howard Stern dropped on this establishment prior to his flight from terrestrial radio.

'I always tell people `You'll have a newfound respect for strippers after you take this class,' '' said Mind Body Connection owner Eileen Owoc.
It seems as if Ms. Owoc if differentiating between a newfound respect for strippers and the respect of someone who has respected them for a longer period of time.

And for the crown jewel:
For those who prefer to practice in the privacy of their own home, A Pole Lot of Fun delivers. The Davie-based business advertises women-only parties that come complete with a pole, music and champagne.
A Pole Lot of Fun? A Whole Lot of Pun? I'm still laughing, and I've read this story at least a dozen times.

* * *
That's all for now, folks. I'll be back later tonight (if I don't get sucked into the LOST season finale, never to return) with some more Cover Song Madness.

Monday, May 22, 2006

(VIDEO!!) the Chemical Brothers featuring the Flaming Lips - the Golden Path

So I'm in the process of working on a massive post, one that details the adventures in cover songs undertaken by a particular group who I am going to gorge my aural senses with this weekend, and I realized that slow download speeds and quickening scotch intake is going to prevent me from finishing tonight, thus causing me to reneg on my every week day blogging pledge.

And I can't let that happen.

So here is the video for one of the songs that will be featured on this massive, mega, it'll be totally worth the wait post. The song is awesome by itself, but the video is super cool for, especially for the cubicle-dwelling set (::raises hand::). There was a live version from an MTV Europe broadcast up on YouTube until recently, but it seemed to disappear overnight recently, and I can't provide it. If anyone does have the video, drop a line 'cause I'd love to have it.

Chemical Brothers featuring the Flaming Lips
"the Golden Path"

Friday, May 19, 2006

(VIDEO!!) Movie Trailer Mash-Ups

The audio mash up was one of the most genre-bending musical phenomenoms in recent memory. Take two or more songs that have absolutely nothing in common, mix 'em together and viola, you have something new and different. One of my personal favorites was entitled "Bootysticious", and it was a tasty little mix of Destiny Child's "Bootylicious" and Stevie Wonder's "Superstition".

Fast forward to today, and audio mash ups are so last year. Video is in now, boys and girls. And what is a better video to manipulate and recalibrate than the real reason to go to the movie theater: the trailers. They're formulaic and sappy and scary or melodramatic, depending on what kind of film.

But what if someone took a movie completely out of context when editing a trailer. What if, let's say, someone thought that Jaws was a family film?

Well, now you can see for yourself.

You can admit that was funny. I won't tell anyone.

But this one is so much more amusing, the epic Charlton Heston film the Ten Commandments retold as...a teen movie?

It is as hilarious as it sounds.

Outdone by the Big Boys!

My Old Kentucky Blog: Love Will Tear Us Apart

Remember a couple weeks ago when I compiled a couple of different versions of the Joy Division song "Love Will Tear Us Apart" for your listening pleasure? (LINK)

Well, I never said that I was a completely original idea, just one I thought was cool.

Today I noticed that one of the "real deal" music blogs (read: the owner gets paid for advertising on his/her site) posted an exhausting list of versions of the songs. There are many more than I had, that's for sure.

But they didn't have the Brothers Past version. So I dropped him a comment, and ta-da, now a BP version is linked up. Hopefully they'll get a little exposure out of it. They deserve it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

R.I.P. - Lawrence "Ramrod" Shurtliff (1945-2006)

LAWRENCE "RAMROD" SHURTLIFF: 1945-2006 / Mainstay of Grateful Dead crew dies -- 'he was our rock'

(courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle)

Yesterday, May 18, a man died in a California hospital. His name, or at least as far as I knew, was Ramrod. Normally a guy like me would have never heard of a man like him, except of who he worked for. You see. Ramrod was Jerry Garcia's main roadie, guitar tech and long time friend.

From the San Francisco Chronicles's obituary:

He was a psychedelic cowboy who rode the bus with Ken Kesey and took virtually every step of the long, strange trip with the Grateful Dead. Known to one and all solely as Ramrod, he died yesterday of lung cancer at Petaluma Valley Hospital. He was 61.

My Uncle Vinnie (may he also rest in peace) used to be a sound guy with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna and a number of other San Francisco bands belonging to time. He used to tell me stories about the backstage scene at Grateful Dead shows, stories that can't be repeated here. Ramrod was definitely mentioned more than once.

The following passage is from Living With the Dead (pg 241) by Rock Scully, a former manager of the group. Many Grateful Dead scholars (if a greater oxymoron every existed, please let me know, but alas, they do exist) deride the book as exaggerations and fictionalizations, but the story is pretty funny, regardless of whether or not it was true.
Ramrod takes out his stash and empties it on the stage, and after that I guess everyone is too embarrassed to on to theirs (besides, they probably have some back at the hotel). It starts out as a trickle, but ends up the Mississippi River of cocaine. The stuff pours out, baggies full...When it is all piled up, it has to be at least a few ounces. Rex [Jackson; head Grateful Dead roadie at the time, as well as the namesake for the band's charitable arm, the Rex Foundation] sweeps it all together and then Ramrod puts lighter fluid on it and sets it on fire...No sooner have we finished burning the coke onstage [emphasis his] than the GLS (Greater London Council) shows up with the fire department...The fire department isn't going to allow us to play.
The Grateful Dead was always more than just the guys who got on stage and played music. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why they ended up the way they did, touring endlessly to pay the salaries of dozens of vital employees and a seeming even number of wannabees, hangers-on and coke and heroin dealers (depending on the musician and day of the week),

Ramrod was a vital member of the Grateful Dead, a long time member of the Grateful Dead. Without him, the thing that I know and love as the Grateful Dead could have very well been something completely different. And even though that thing--at least musically, if not financially or based on copyright and trademark--ceased to be the day that Jerry died. But as long as the people involved and the people that care still care, there will be a Grateful Dead.

Ramrod was a huge part of that.

After Jerry died, one of the most touching things I read afterwards was the elegy written for him by Robert Hunter, his longtime friend and lyricist, as well as a phenomenal poet and scholar in his own right. The opening and closing lines are still burned in my mind; I can recite them today as if I wrote myself just minutes ago and was reading them off the page.

Hunter wrote an elegy for Ramrod, and though not as eloquent or poingant as his memoriam for the late guitarist, there a few lines that ring true.

He came down from Oregon,
Prankster sidekick of Cassady,
Kesey and the merry crew,
a silent stoic in a vocable milieu
his heart was stolen by the Grateful Dead.

A country boy, not given to complexity,
his crowning gift was loyalty
for which he was loved more than
the common run of men by friends.

Ramrod was, more than anything, a good friend, someone who could be counted on when he was need ed in any way. He will be missed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

(VIDEO!!) Umphrey's McGee to sing National Anthem at Cubs game

Umphrey's McGee - News (thanks livemusicblog for the heads up! LINK)

Umphrey's McGee will be performing the National Anthem at the Cross-Town Classic White Sox vs. Cubs game this Sunday, May 21st, at 12:56 CST. Be sure to tune in early to WGN to catch this extremely exciting moment in the history of Umphrey's McGee!
Good for them, I'd rather see them sing "the Star Spangled Banner" than the Backstreet Boys or Avril Lavigne. But I do have a bit of a problem with the whole honor. Are they truly deserving of it after being in existence for however long they've been a band? Have they been around for 5 years, maybe 10? Aren't there a few more famous musicians from Chicago to put on a pedestal?

The Grateful Dead first were given the honor in the Vince Welnick period!! They had been playing together for 28 years before they stepped onto the grass at Candlestick Park to sing the anthem at a San Fran Giants game.

Watch it here:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

(VIDEO!!) Theremin Video #2

What the hell, I'm gonna post the theremin video that started my newfound mission to spread the music of the theremin far and wide...

Here is some dude named Dr. Samuel Hoffman (who it turns out is probably one of the most famous theremin players ever) playing the instrument on a TV show from 1953.

Does anyone know where I can buy one?

(VIDEO!!) Theremin Video #1

Theremin Killed the Radio Star

It took me a little while to figure out what my first post back would be. I knew I wanted to write about something that I hadn't recently seen on one of the countless blogs that I regularly frequest (see blog role to the right for some examples).

Perusing YouTube one fine afternoon, I came across a video (that has to be at least 50 years old) of a dude playing a theremin. You can read the whole history of the instrument at wikipedia, but here is the most important part, just so you get the gist:

The theremin or thereminvox is one of the earliest fully electronic musical instruments. Invented in 1919 by Russian Léon Theremin, the theremin is unusual in that it requires no physical contact in order to produce music and was, in fact, the first musical instrument designed to be played without being touched. The instrument consists of an array of circuitry including two antennas around which the user moves his or her hands to play.

I remember back in the day (beginning in '96) Page McConnell, the keyboardist from Phish, would play solo versions of songs like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"and the theme from star trek on the instrument, as well as jamming on it on select tunes. I always kind of thought that it was a bit of a gimick.

But recently (due to the proliferation of sites like YouTube and the like) I've seen some crazy theremin playing, and I want to share some.

So in another (hopefully not lame) attempt to start a regular feature here on Scooter''s Spot, I'm gonna link up a theremin video. I got a bunch more, and will post them as time goes on.

Here is Jon Bernhardt, theremin player with the Pee Wee Fist and the Lothars (two bands I must admit I've never heard of) playing the Buggles tune "Video Killed the Radio Star" at the Ethermusic 2005 festival in Asheville, NC last August.

the Hiatus is Over!

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Due to an increasingly demanding work schedule and spending some quality time with my new lovely lady, I haven't had the time to devote to this here internet project.

But I told myself that I would update this blog once a day, and gosh darn it, I'm gonna do it.

No excuses.

To make up for my loss of dedication and focus, I'll give you a nice embarrassing photo of me passed out in My buddy Mitch's car on the way back from a Perpetual Groove show in Tampa a few months back.

"I think his shoes are on...Quick, someone write on his face!"

Don't even bother with blackmail folks, as I'm sure there are much more incriminating photos of my around. And I'm broke anyway, so your demands would be met with my stony silence.

You've been warned.