Thursday, March 27, 2008

The evils of MP3

MP3s make sharing music easier. They also make a commodity of music and cheapen its value. And they sound shittier than lossless music.

Think you can pick the difference between MP3s of differing compression? Try this quick test.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bootleg DVD shows MC2 at the Finnish line

One piece of MC5 ephemera I won’t be buying is the Japanese bootleg DVD of the band’s Finnish TV appearance in its dying days. If you haven’t seen the brilliant rockumentary “The MC5: A True Testimonial” a segment of this desultory 1972 gig – which was a contract filler with the Five down to a rump of Sonic and Brother Wayne plus a hired engine room – was fairly central to the movie’s second half, which showed a once great band on its last legs.

By his own admission, Wayne Kramer was lost to his smack habit by that stage and if Fred Smith wasn’t also on that path, he was about to join him. Rob Tyner stayed home with his family, Dennis Thompson was out-of-order and Mike Davis too wasted to notice he’d been sacked. The set list was mostly covers and the survivors apparently ran foul of promoters for being the MC2 rather than the expected MC5.

Here’s a taste of the out-of-tune shambles. If you’re still really desperate despite seeing this, let Google be your friend.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hall of Lame (2)

For the truly obsessive, here's the whole two-song performance by the Stooges. "Burning Up" is better than "Ray of Light" (thanks for the prompt on that title) but Ig singing someone else's song off-key isn't the same as him mangling his own tunes. Ron's solo is pretty cool though.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hall of Lame

I don't object to the Stooges figuring in a tribute to Madonna on the occasion of her induction to the Rock and Roll (sic) Hall of Fame, just to the song and performance being so lame.

Just in - Ron Asheton's take on this as reported in the Detroit Free Pres:

Don’t be too worried, Stooges fans: They haven’t sold out to the other side.

So proclaims guitarist Ron Asheton, who Monday night joined band mates Iggy Pop, Scott Asheton and Steve MacKay as the Stooges to play a pair of Madonna songs — “Ray of Light” and “Burning Up” — during the latter’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Asheton was reacting to online reports that have described the band’s scheduled performance as a “tribute” to the dance-pop star, whose music is a far cry from the Stooges’ own gritty, primal Detroit rock.

“The Stooges represent everything that’s against what she is,” Asheton told the Free Press from his New York hotel Monday afternoon before the show. “I don’t wish her ill. I don’t hate her or anything. But I’d never even heard of these songs until I had to listen to a tape and figure out what’s going on with them.”

In reality, Asheton said, Madonna asked the Stooges to perform as an act of protest: The group, widely considered a linchpin of early punk, has yet to be inducted by the rock hall, despite six appearances on the nomination ballot. By inviting the group on stage, she sent a message, said Asheton.

Last year’s rock hall ceremony featured a similar demonstration, when the night’s inductees performed the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” during a jam session finale.

“Basically she was upset that we’ve been nominated so many times and never made it, so she asked us to play in protest. And it was under those auspices that I thought we were doing it,” Asheton said. “At first I went, ‘Whaaat?’ Then Iggy said, ‘Why don’t you think about it?’”

It came together quickly: Madonna reached out to Iggy Pop just two weeks ago, Asheton said. The band, which had not performed together since closing out its latest tour in December, worked on the songs long-distance, with the Ashetons in Ann Arbor and Iggy home in Florida.

“Iggy said, ‘We’re gonna rock them up — just play ‘em like Stooges songs,’” Asheton recounted. “They actually sound pretty cool. We just rock ‘em out. You wouldn’t even recognize them as Madonna songs. I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve actually enjoyed playing them.”

On Monday afternoon Asheton had yet to meet Madonna, who was an elementary school student in Rochester Hills when the Stooges started shaking up the Detroit rock scene in the late 1960s. He said if he encounters her during the rock hall’s afterparty action, he’d be sure to be polite.

But he can’t help feeling a little cynicism about the whole ordeal: He probably wouldn’t be in the Stooges without it. With Madonna’s entry into the hall of fame drawing criticism from some diehard rock corners — and with the star’s new album due in April — he figures she may have more than one motivation for handpicking his band.

“I thought that right off the top — that, gee, I just heard she’s got a record coming out, and she’s trying to get a little Stooge shine. She’s a savvy businesswoman,” he said. “I think she actually does like the band. She wouldn’t have asked for us if she didn’t. But she’s also using us for business purposes.”

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Solution back story

Here's the inside story from bassist/video producer Jim Heneghan about the "You Gotta Come Down" film clip:

"The Solution’s “You Gotta Come Down” promo film was shot on one roll of Super-8. A roll of Super-8 runs for about 3 minutes and 20 seconds of moving pictures. The song “You Gotta Come Down” runs 3 minutes and 23 seconds. So Super-8 was a perfect choice for a one-shot, one-take Super-8 promo film.

"But The Solution had logistical problems to solve. Since Nicke is in Stockholm and Scott is in Detroit, we had Scott shoot a close-up of himself on his crappy VHS camera gear and send it to us in Stockholm. Then we played that VHS tape on a TV and let Nicke drum along with Scott on the TV.

"But that crappy video had playback issues and what you see in the video is the grainy result, for better or worse.

"The Solution will not be televised indeed!"

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Solution

Long time between drinks. Sorry for the absence but I've been busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Beirut. Here's something to tide you over - the new film clip from the US/Scandi soul band The Solution. That's Scott Morgan on vocals with Nicke Royale (Hellacopters) on drums.

Band member Jim Heneghan came up with the concept and shot the clip, with Scott "mailing in" his self-shot vocal on an ancient video camera from his home in Ann Arbor.

This is "You Gotta Come Down" from the new "Will Not Be Televised" album.