Friday, August 25, 2006

Download This Song

Today in Music History:

In 1970 Elton John makes his performing debut in America at Los Angeles’ Troubadour nightclub
This will be last post until September 12 as I will be away from my puter until then. So enjoy the dog days of summer.

Weird Al Yankovic has a new album coming out in September and he wants you to download a track from the album called Don't Download This Song
which is obviously about downloading mp3's. You can go to his site or you can get it here.

When Al puts out an album, half of the tracks are parodies of songs andthe other half are original compositions by the weird one himself. Al always asks an artist if he can do a parody of one of their songs and if they decline he won't. He doesn't have to ask. By law he could just go ahead and do it. One of Yankovic's most controversial parodies was "Amish Paradise", based on "Gangsta's Paradise" by hip-hop artist Coolio. (Coolio's work "Gangsta's Paradise" already samples heavily from a Stevie Wonder song, "Pastime Paradise," complicating the issue further.) Coolio's label gave Yankovic permission to parody his work and gave the impression that Coolio had as well, but he maintains that he never did. Coolio claimed he was upset, but legal action never materialized, and Coolio accepted royalty payments for the song. (Technically, under copyright law's "fair use" doctrine – affirmed by the United States Supreme Court — one does not need permission to record a parody, though one does need permission to record a satire.[6] However, Yankovic has always requested permission before recording parodies, as a means of maintaining good relationships within the music community.) After this happened, Yankovic always made sure to speak directly with the artist of every song he parodied. At the XM Satellite Radio booth at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show Yankovic and Coolio made up. On his website, Yankovic wrote of this event, "I don’t remember what we said to each other exactly, but it was all very friendly… I doubt I’ll be invited to Coolio’s next birthday party, but at least I can stop wearing that bulletproof vest to the mall."

Now with his new album we have another controversy. A music label's efforts to block a (relatively tame) parody of James Blunt's ubiquitous hit "You're Beautiful" has Yankovic fighting back publicly, and using his Web site as a tool to do so. According to Yankovic, Blunt himself gave his blessing to a song called "You're Pitiful", which was to appear on Yankovic's now-finished but as-yet-unreleased new album. But after Yankovic finished recording the parody, Atlantic Records, Blunt's label, told Yankovic that he couldn't release "You're Pitiful." Though Yankovic has encountered resistance from artists before he says this is the first time a label has stepped in to squash the release of one of his parodies.

"The legality in this case is somewhat moot," Yankovic writes when contacted via e-mail. "James Blunt could still let me put it on my album if he really wanted to, but he obviously doesn't want to alienate his own record company... and my label could release the parody without Atlantic's blessing, but they don't really want to go to war with another label over this. So really, it's more of a political matter than a legal matter."

Of course, it's not hard to circulate a song these days, and Yankovic has helped that process along by making an MP3 of the track available for free download on his Web site. It may not appear on Yankovic's new album, but "You're Pitiful" will still swirl around in cyberspace long after Blunt's original recedes from memory.

"I have a long-standing history of respecting artists' wishes," Yankovic writes. "So if James Blunt himself were objecting, I wouldn't even offer my parody for free on my Web site. But since it's a bunch of suits -- who are actually going against their own artist's wishes -- I have absolutely no problem with it."

Thankfully, most artists seem genuinely flattered to get the "Weird Al treatment." Some groups (including Nirvana) have publicly stated that they didn't realize that they had really "made it" until they heard Weird Al parody one of their songs!

Thanks Al.

Don't Download This Song by Weird Al Yankovic
You're Pitiful by Weird Al Yankovic
Buy It
Bonus song
Party at the Leper Colony by Weird Al Yankovic

I'll be back September 12 kitties.

Funny Toon

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Forgotten Freshness

Today in Music History:

In 2005, Les McKeown the lead singer of the Bay City Rollers appeared in court charged with drug offenses. McKeown, aged 49, was accused of conspiring with four other people, including the band's drummer to supply cocaine.
techno catIn a couple days homercat will be away from this rockin' machine for two weeks. It can't be helped. Bob Barker says us pets should be spayed or neutered and I'm gonna have both procedures done by Bob. Seriously though, looking over the top search terms for Rockin' for the year so far you'd be surprised what the top search terms were that brought folks over to homercat's house. Believe it or not the number one search was for Bananarama. Cute girls, sugary sweet pop songs with an almost innocent feel. Even though all of us guys knew what they were selling. homercat was buying.
Robert DeNiro's Waiting by Bananarama
Buy It

The 2nd and 45th most popular search words were Van Morrison and tapeworm(?), respectively. I have lots of Van Morrison stuff, and nothing about tapeworms. But I do have a Van Morrison song about ringworm. In order to fulfill his obligation to his early solo label Bang Records,Van Morrison sat down in 1967 or so and cranked out 31 songs on the spot, on topics ranging from ringworm to wanting a danish, to hating his record label and a guy named George.
Ringworm by Van Morrison
Thanks to the wreckroom for turning me on to this a while back. You can still find all 31 tracks from this session over at WFMU's Beware of the Blog. Get em before they decide to take them down. They are interesting.

Number five is for Meri Wilson. Go figure. In fact just today 6 people have searched that term. In 1977 Meri had a huge international one hit wonder of the novelty sort. Her ditzy-woman style, full of suggestive, double-entendres was a hoot. I remember I bought this song on 45. For those youngsters who may be puzzled, a 45 was a little record with a big hole in it that had two songs on it. One on the front and back.
Wilson recorded the self-penned novelty "Telephone Man," a double-entendre-rich tale of a, "serviced" by her AT&T technician(“…just show me where you want it and I'll put it where I can”); the single cracked the Billboard Top 20 in the U.S. and the Top Five in the U.K., going gold on both sides of the pond. It was also a staple of Dr. Demento's syndicated radio program. Her attempts to follow "Telephone Man" with the like-minded "Peter the Meter Reader" and "Dick the DJ" went nowhere, and she ultimately retired to Americus, GA, to raise a family and teach choir.

Meri was killed in an SUV accident on Dec. 29, 2002 in Americus, GA at age 53. Shortly before that she had released a self titled album on the Ansley label. Those damn SUV's! Enjoy the tune Meri Wilson searchers!
Telephone Man by Meri Wilson

There are way to many people searching for pubic hair on the internets. That's all I gotta say about that.
I've Seen Pubic Hair by Maclean and Maclean

Funny Toon

Friday, August 18, 2006

Catmusic for Sexpeople

Today in Music History:

In 1969, Mick Jagger was accidentally shot in the hand during filming of 'Ned Kelly' in Australia.
After my Ant post, I went and dug up all my Adam Ant stuff and started playing it all. Without any of you knowing it, homercat went and declared this the week of the Ant and went on an antmusic binge. Donning the proper listening attire and with maximum volume adjusted Ant week began. Adam Ant fans caught my play on words for the title of this post and if you don't get it then someone needs some serious Antucation. Today I'm going into a much more in depth look at Mr. Ant and hope you'll come along for the ride since my last Ant post garnered many favorable comments. Also there will be a wee giftie for homercats readers at the end of this post.

First before I get into the albums, when Stuart Goddard was growing up, his father worked as a chauffer and his mother was a cleaning lady for one Sir Paul McCartney.

Dirk Wears White Sox 1979
When this album was released the Ants got quite a fan base. Dirk was an ambitious and somewhat dark album, filled with jerky rhythms, angular guitar riffs, and elements of glam rock that crept into Adam's vocals. The album wasn't a critical or commercial success, and the band felt the need to rework their image. Ant recruited former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose main influence was to persuade the three other band members to leave and form a new band called Bow Wow Wow.
Cleopatra by Adam and the Ants
Buy It

Kings of the Wild Frontier 1980

In early 1980 Adam Ant recruited old friend Marco Pirroni to reform the lineup, sound and image of the band, now featuring two drummers and pirate dress. This new look was used to market the album Kings of the Wild Frontier which I talked about before. Truth be told I've listened to this album dozens of times this week and it sounds better and fresher than it did in 1980. First of all I really did everyone a disservice by not featuring the Kings version of Physical. The Dirk version is quite below par. Listening to this version one can see exactly where Mr. Reznor got the inspiration for the Nine Inch Nails sound. Way ahead of it's time and Marco makes that guitar freakin scream.
Physical (You're So) by Adam and the Ants( THE BEST VERSION)

Also on the album is a catchy number that really showcases Marco's spaghetti western guitar licks. On the chorus the backup vocals chant Clint Eastwood.
Los Rancheros by Adam and the Ants.

And finally this track showcases what the whole album is about. Burundi tribal rhythms, Marco's feedback oriented guitar chops which makes feedback sound like ear candy. Adams vocals superbly fit everything that is going on around him singing about antmusic and antpeople. This album switches gears between giddy and ominous, providing a thrill ride in its 13 original songs. That's why it still sounds like nothing else 26 years after its release.
Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam and the Ants
Buy It

Prince Charming 1981
Prince Charming was highly successful, with three United Kingdom top-ten singles (two reaching #1). At the same time he and actress Jamie Lee Curtis had a brief relationship. Even so it was obvious that the band was moving in a different direction,less tribal and more towards the new romanticism.
That Voodoo by Adam and the Ants
Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants
Buy It

Friend or Foe 1982
This is the big break out album for Adam in the states. The Ants were history with only Marco left with Adam now. If people only know one Ant song it's Goody Two Shoes and to me that's a shame. If that's the only one you know then You're really missing out. This album is full of big production, cheerful, unabashed pop hooks and big, glitzy glam pop. One of the best new wave albums of the 80's.
Place in the Country by Adam Ant
Buy It

Strip 1983
An album I enjoy a lot but the public didn't seem to quite get it and antmusic starts to slide. Gone are the driving, danceable rock with humor that had made Kings of the Wild Frontier, Prince Charming, and even some of Friend or Foe great albums. Strip features a lighter pop approach and more camp as the title suggests. It probably did not help that Phill Collins produced a few tracks.
Playboy by Adam Ant
Buy It

Vive Le Rock 1985
Damn I loved this album and it flopped miserably in the UK and the states. Ant adopted a '50s-style rock & roll sound for this album. Even so Marco's distinctive guitar is still hangin out with the Ant man. After this album his record label droped him and Adam focused on acting. Yes he did star in Love Bites and did numerous parts on television.
Razor Keen by Adam Ant
Apollo 9 by Adam Ant
Buy It

Manners and Physique 1990
In 1990, whilst maintaining an interest in acting, Ant returned to London and re-entered the pop music world with the album Manners and Physique, a collaboration with André Cymone, a solo artist and an early member of Prince's band. The album was a moderate success, and featured the hit single "Room at the Top". Cymone played many of the instruments on this album but that's still Marco you hear playing the lead. I thought this album excellent and is my second fave Antmusic.
Piccadilly by Adam Ant
Rough Stuff by Adam Ant
Buy It if you can find it. Out of Print

1993-There should be an album here. he toured in support of a planned album called Persuasion. For reasons unknown, however, MCA refused to release the album. MCA still has the album under wraps. When Marco was compiling the Antbox set a while back they still refused to cooperate and let him use any of the tracks. With the good ole internet finding a leaked track can sometimes be easy and supposedly this track is from the album that never saw the light of day.
Little Devil by Adam Ant

Wonderful 1995
The title track was a successful single, as was a tour of the U.S. in support of the album. While Ant and his group (which retained longtime guitarist Pirroni) played in smaller venues than they had played in the 1980s, the houses were often packed with enthusiastic fans. A really nice album.
Beautiful Dream by Adam Ant
Buy It

In early 2002, Ant was charged with threatening members of the public with an imitation firearm in a London pub. The court also ordered that he undertake rehabilitation, although he was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Since the 2002 incident, Ant has occasionally been featured in news stories
surrounding potential projects and his medical condition. A television special entitled The Madness of Prince Charming was aired in the UK in 2003 documenting his career and his struggle with mental illness. It may be of interest to Ant fans that this documentary appears on later editions of the "Prince Charming Revue" DVD, having been added as an extra.

There is no toon today but homie has gathered up some of his best artwork and put them together and you can use them to show your support for Good Rockin'. Inside you'll find an extra special surprise that many of you are gonna love. I promise. Get that surprise here.
Have a good weekend

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Atomic Playboy

Today in Music History:

In 1965, The Beatles set a new world record for the largest attendance at a pop concert when they played in front of 55,600 fans at Shea Stadium, New York.
steve stevensSteve Stevens (born as Steve Schneider on May 5, 1959, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American virtuoso guitarist and songwriter best known for playing for other artists (most notably Billy Idol, Vince Neil) and lesser known for his solo effort Atomic Playboys, which featured an MTV hit single video of the same name.

Stevens's hit-making collaboration with Billy Idol started when Idol moved from the UK to the USA, shortly after the latter's band Generation X disbanded. Stevens co-wrote and played on the albums Don't Stop EP, Billy Idol (1982), Rebel Yell (1984), Whiplash Smile (1986), and the remix collection Vital Idol (1985). Musical differences during the Whiplash Smile sessions led to the pair's parting of ways. Following his departure from Billy Idol's band, Stevens pursued a solo career, releasing his first album Atomic Playboys in 1989 and receiving good comments from the critics and a moderate commercial response.

Stevens recorded his second solo album, Flamenco A Go-Go, in his home studio entirely by himself. This effort stemmed from the inspiration he received after attending a concert by Flamenco virtuoso Paco de Lucía.

Stevens (along with Harold Faltermeyer) won a Grammy in 1987 for his performance on the Top Gun soundtrack and has worked with a host of other artists such as Michael Jackson, Michael Monroe, Thompson Twins, Joni Mitchell, Peter Criss, Steve Lukather, Ric Ocasek, Ben Watkins of Juno Reactor, Greg Bissonette, Pink, Robert Palmer, Jizzy Pearl, Terry Bozzio and Tony Levin (releasing two albums under the name Bozzio Levin Stevens), Japanese rock singer Kyosuke Himuro, Derek Sherinian.

After an extended hiatus, Stevens and Idol reunited in 1999 for a series of tours across the USA and Australia. This era included a recording captured for the VH1 show Storytellers, which was subsequently released on CD and DVD. Stevens also appeared in the Billy Idol episode of VH1's Behind The Music.

Such was the success of this renewed collaboration, in 2005, along with producer Keith Forsey, the duo released Billy Idol's Devil's Playground album. This was the first album to feature the trio since 1986's Whiplash Smile and happens be homercat's pick as the best album of 2005.

Power of Suggestion by Steve Stevens
Pet the Hot Kitty by Steve Stevens
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Physical, (You're so)

Today in Music History:

In 1959, four members of The Platters were arrested after a gig in Cincinnati when found with four 19 year old women, (3 of them white), in various stages of undress. The scandal resulted in radio stations across the US removing Patters records from their playlists.
Those lazy crazy hazy days of summer have us all busy I suspect. Rockin homercat is no exception, so don't fret folks, postings have slowed down but they won't end eh. Even though the homercat is in a rush to get other major things done, a quickie for today is in order. One day in 1980 homercat made a visit to the local record store and at that time vinyl was the audiophiles only option for quality tuneage. Whilst perusing the bins, the album the store was playing had thunderous drumbeats and guitars that really perked my ears. After five minutes I knew I simply had to have whatever was playing. The band was Adam and the Ants and it was their second album called Kings of the Wild Frontier. Twenty six years later and this album still sounds amazing. This is one of the great defining albums of its time - there is simply nothing else like it. Nothing else has the same bravado, the same arrogance, and the same sense of post-punk camp. Much was made of the Ants' swashbuckling/Apache image, but the song-writing team of Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni was superb on this album and the use of two drummers gave the band a distinct sound missing from most of their contemporaries.

After the first two upbeat songs, the record makes a turn and suddenly gets very dark ala visions of a Bowiesque post-apocalyptic landscape. Physical (You're So), a #19 hit in the US, but never released as a single in the Ant homeland of the UK, is the next to last track and is truly one of his best songs, it is also one of his darkest, accompanied by Marco's paranoid guitar feedback. Actually the feedback on this album is a thing of beauty. I always liked Adam after this album but sadly the boys never could match the amazing sound of this record. Depending on which record you bought, domestic or import, the track listing was different with Physical being on the US copy. Then again there are several different versions of the song. This particular version comes from the 2004 rerelease of Dirk Wears White Sox(the first album). The other track here comes straight from Kings Of the Wild Frontier and is another one of my favorites.

Physical,(You're so) by Adam and the Ants
Ants Invasion by Adam and the Ants
Buy It

One of the many artists influenced by Antmusic is Trent Reznor of NIN fame. NIN's debut album Pretty Hate Machine was a masterpiece and I couldn't wait for his next effort. When Broken came out I was pleasantly surprised when two bonus tracks showed up as track 98 and 99. Tracks 7-97 being blanks spaces. Track number 98 was a blistering cover of Adam Ant's Physical. This track alone is worth the purchase price of the disc.

Physical by Nine Inch Nails
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, August 04, 2006

Straight Shot

Today in Music History:

In 1967, a female Monkees fan stowed away on the bands plane between shows in Minneapolis and St Louis. The girl's father threatened to bring charges for transporting a minor across state lines.

James Dolan is Chairman of New York City's Madison Square Garden in the United States, as well as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cablevision Systems Corporation. James Dolan is infamous for his stewardship of Madison Square Garden's teams, the National Basketball Association's New York Knicks and the National Hockey League's New York Rangers. Dolan also performs blues-inspired rock as the singer for JD and the Straight Shot. Knicks and Rangers fans would probably say forget about the music Dolan, and gives us a championship team again. So first let me post this snippet of press release and then I'll weigh in with my two cents worth.
Rockin’ is his business – well, one of them – and business is good for Jim Dolan. Already a well-respected corporate executive, Dolan makes his debut on JD Records (distributed through Rhino Entertainment) as lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Straight Shot with Nothing To Hide. Featuring 10 original songs, the album was released on September 20, 2005 at regular physical and digital retail outlets and at

Dolan has been playing music since he was 15 and three years ago he formed The Straight Shot – guitarist and chief songwriter, Bruce Koplow; bassist, Roscoe Harring; drummer, Wally Usiatynski and keyboardist, Jonny Rosch.

Weaving slow-burning blues jams together with ballads and tight rockers, Nothing To Hide was written from an experienced point of view. “These songs reflect a world-weariness that you don’t hear in the typical pop song,” Dolan explains, “but they still deal with universal themes that everyone can relate to.”

The album takes its name from a line in the song “Slow Motion In Reverse,” a shuffling blues set in a neighborhood dive bar. Dolan says the line embodies not only the spirit of the album, but also the spirit in which he lives his life. “My choices aren’t based on what other people will think. I do what I believe is right. Whatever reaction you have to me – in business, music or anything – I guarantee you’re reacting to the real me.”

The album is full of tracks that explore true-to-life stories. It mixes the rhythmic intensity of blues and classic rock with the intimacy of the contemporary singer-songwriter. Anyone hoping to find honesty, humor and spirit in their music will enjoy Nothing To Hide.
So what does the homercat think? Maybe I wouldn't be the best person to review the album as the type of blues being played here is not exactly my taste. That being said I found several of the tracks very enjoyable. After several listens I also found that there were two tracks that just didn't click for me. The rest of the album was pretty much middle ground for me. Koplow's guitar skills are solid and Rosch's harmonica made my ears take notice. Dolan has kind of a growly blues vocal and we hear that he can sing as well as run multi million dollar businesses. Which begs the question, would this debut album ever had seen the light of day without Dolan's big bucks behind it? The answer would have to be yes. The musicians here have skills and the production is crisp and highly polished. I have heard much worse in the guise of what is popular music these days. Don't listen to what I have to say, why not judge for yourself and take a gander at a couple of the tracks I really enjoyed or check out one of these upcoming shows. How a guy like that finds time to tour is beyond me but more power to him.
August 11th, Red Rocks, Denver, CO.
August 16th, Blossom Ampitheatre, Cleveland, OH.
August 18th, Beacon Theatre, New York City, NY.
August 19th, Borgata, Atlantic City, NJ.
August 22nd, North Folk, Westbury, NY.
September 2nd, Maricopa, Sun City West, AZ.
September 3rd, House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV.
September 6th, Gibson Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA.
September 8th, Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA.
September 9th, Viejas Casino, San Diego, CA.

There's Something Wrong by JD and the Straight Shot
Gonna Kill That Dog by JD and the Straight Shot
Buy It

Funny Toon

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Can You take the Heat

Today in Music History:

In 1981 MTV launches in the United States at 12:01am. The first broadcasted video is "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles. Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn become MTV's first VJs.
Rev. Horton HeatSorta sounds like this might be a religious dude. Wrong. Well maybe if you can call music a religion. How does one describe the Rev's music? Hmmmm, Take two parts rockabilly, one quarter cow punk, and one quarter surf, and you've got the psychobilly formula that's earned the Reverend a dedicated flock since the days of his first album, Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em. To quote the Rev himself:

If you listen to the band's catalog, you might say there are a few recurring themes found in our songs: beer, gin and tonic, whiskey, cocaine, tequila, martinis, marijuana, cigarettes, cars, more beer, pretty women, sermons, cats and dogs, the devil, Texas, and Jimbo. Not to mention steak and dildos. All the good things in life.

The Reverend Horton Heat, aka Jim Heath, is the biggest, baddest, grittiest, greasiest, greatest rocker that ever piled his hair up and pounded the drinks down. The Reverend is one of the most popular psychobilly artist of all time, really rivaled only by genre founders the Cramps. The Reverend (as both the three-man band and its guitar-playing frontman are known) built a strong cult following during the '90s through constant touring, manic showmanship, and a twisted sense of humor.

Reverend Horton Heat was born James C. Heath in Corpus Christi, TX. Growing up, he played in rock cover bands around the area, but was more influenced by Sun rockabilly, electric Chicago blues, and country mavericks like Junior Brown, Willie Nelson, and Merle Travis. According to legend, he spent several years in a juvenile correction facility, and at 17 was supporting himself as a street musician and pool shark; according to the Reverend, the story was fabricated by Sub Pop to add color to his greaser image. Heath eventually moved to Dallas, where he found work at a club in Deep Ellum. There he gave his first performance as Reverend Horton Heat. The story behind his name goes like this. The guy who owned the club used to call him Horton and right before the first show he told Horton that his stage name should be Reverend Horton Heat because the music was like gospel.Rev thought it was silly but after the first few songs, people were saying, ‘Yeah, Reverend!’ What’s really funny is that this guy gave up the bar business, and actually became a preacher! Apparently now he shows up at the shows and tells Horton that he really should drop the whole Reverend thing.

There's no question that the Rev's music rocks hard, loud and fast. We could all stand to hear more music like that. Let's look at a lttle Heat retrospective.
Eat Steak by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Bails of Cocaine by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Liquor Beer and Wine by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Baby I'm Drunk by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It
Whole Lotta Baby by Reverend Horton Heat
Buy It

I've listened to a lot of Rockabilly and Psychobilly and heard some great bands but I always come back to the Rev cause he knows what it's all about... fast cars, fast woman, tequila, drugs, steak, the devil, beer, Texas, and Rock and Roll!

Funny Toon