Entries in Music (15)

Wednesday
Dec072011

Guns N' Roses, Beastie Boys and Other Former Recreational Drug Users Inducted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 

 

REVIEWING THE NEWS: The latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, including G N' R, the Beastie Boys, Donovan and Laura Nyro, may not be the head of everyone's class, but they're all pretty easy to root for.

By Kenny Herzog

"Do you know where you are? You're in Cleveland, Ohio baby. You're gonna live former in rock 'n' roll infamy." Isn't that how it goes?


Just kidding about that headline. Well, not technically, but it was intended in good fun. Truth is, this year's class of inductees, announced via the remarkably chintzy Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website, is one of the instiution's more exciting and uniformly deserved groups of honorees in recent memory. Except for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are the worst.

Music fans, critics and artists themselves have been vocal over the years about the Hall's dubious selections and omissions (yes to Madonna, no to KISS et al). And many of its deriders no doubt remain up in arms again over Guns N' Roses and the Beastie Boys' swift entrance, while everyone from Rush to Heart still warm the sidelines. 

But even if G N' R was chosen for sensational reasons, is there really an argument against enshrining Axl Rose, Slash, Steven Adler, Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin in the Hall? Is it such a bad thing? Was there any better mainstream band out of L.A. in the 1980s, and any single album in that era more influential than Appetite for Destruction? Moreover, has there been any global rock phenomenon in the past 25 years with a better story and bigger myth?

 

What about the Beastie Boys, who essentially integrated hip-hop and released some of its best singles over a 15-year span, interspersing their crossover output with commercial anomalies like Paul's Boutique, which completely redefined the practical use of and legal procedures for sampling? 

 

Donovan? Is there any debate? Has there been any better voice or more beautiful and influential blend of Celtic-American folk and psychedleic rock? 

 

And Laura Nyro? Can anyone truly have sour grapes toward future generations being turned on to that kind of songwriting and vocal talent, one gone far too soon? Is there any reason to second-guess what her legacy might have been had she still been alive, or to question what kind of impression she left on everyone from Joni Mitchell to Kate Bush? If there is, it's rhetorical.

 

Lastly, even if inducting legendary promoter and publisher Don Kirshner is partly sentimental recognition of his having passed away this year, how can one dispute? His Rock Concert series for ABC was religion for an entire generation, but his support of songwriters including Carole King and Neil Diamond, and production with the Monkees, among other accomplishments, has provided future music fans with decades worth of timeless composition and coming-of-age entertainment. 

 

IN OTHER WORDS: It's not a perfect system, but when the Hall gets it mostly right, it's just fun to see your favorites get in, and hopefully perform at the ceremony.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ADDITIONAL INDUCTEES FREDDIE KING, COSIMO MATASSA, THE SMALL FACES/THE FACES, GLYN JOHNS AND TOM DOWD RATING: 9/10

WE WERE KINDA PULLING FOR ERIC B. AND RAKIM RATING: Next Year/10

LIKELIHOOD OF ORIGINAL G N' R LINEUP REUNITING ON STAGE RATING: Negative-8,000/10

 

Please friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Have your own rating or comments you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments below.

Wednesday
Nov092011

Dwight "Heavy D" Myers: 1967-2011

REVIEWING THE NEWS: An inspiring and pioneering MC passes away far too young.

By Kenny Herzog

The late Heavy D's best and signature single, hopefully to be rediscovered.

 

A year ago at this time, I was guest-DJing at a bar in Brooklyn. Their sound system was on the fritz. For two hours, I continually dropped the needle over Heavy D's "Now That We Found Love" while the venue's manager experimented with their speakers and monitors. By the time we'd given up and agreed on a rain check, I'd becomore intimate with every beat, bar and snare of that song than just about any composition I'd ever hummed, let alone mixed on a turntable.

"Now That We Found Love" has it all: Producer Teddy Riley's (Blackstreet, Guy et al) house-y New Jack Swing, Guy vocalist Aaron Hall's gospel hook and, of course, the self-proclaimed overweight lover's tenorous rap-scat. He was a big man who could dance, rhyme and spread messages of sensuality and spirtutality whose content and potent musicality were accessible for any audience.

As it happens, I was recently asked to guest-DJ at a bar in Brooklyn this coming Friday, for the first time in nearly a year. Assuming all equipment's operational, the crowd won't need to hear Heavy D on endless loop a la my ill-fated evening in 2010. But they will hear "Now That We Found Love" at least twice, so that maybe they'll go home and check out 1989's "Girlz, They Love Me," "1993's "Who's the Man?" or 1994's "Nuttin' But Love," among other classics he released over a decade stretch. And because it, and he, were a class act.

Dwight "Heavy D" Myers was 44.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: I'm not very spiritual myself, but hopefully Heavy D has found love after death. 

HEAVY D, REST IN PEACE RATING: 10/10

 

Please friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Have your own rating or comments you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments below.

 


 

 

Wednesday
Oct192011

Whitney Houston is Crazy.... For Movies Again, Starring in 'Sparkle' Remake

  

MOVIE-CASTING NEWS: Back from touring and developing scented candles (seriously), the eccentric diva is headed back to the big screen for a remake of a cult classic.

By Kenny Herzog

Oh, to remember the days when Whitney really did sparkle.

 

Before there was Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Dream Girls, director Sam O'Steen and a young screenwriter named Joel Schumacher gave us the 1976 R&B musical-drama Sparkle. Soon-to-be Fame star Irene Cara originated the titular role of a prodigious young singer in 1950s Harlem trying to overcome family turmoil and become a star. Mary Alice played her mother, Effie, and the iconic soundtrack was provided by none other than Curtis Mayfield (music fans of a certain generation may recall En Vogue's hit cover of "Something He Can Feel"), with vocals from no less than Aretha Franklin. 

A quarter-century later, shooting has begun on the inevtiable remake, with one-time American Idol victor Jordin Sparks (winning Idol is like an ex-presidency: You must always introduce them by title) taking over for Cara. But the real news is that Whitney Houston has been added to the cast as Effie, and will also receive an executive producer credit in recognition of she and longtime partner Debra Martin Chase's efforts to produce Sparkle a decade ago with late superstar Aaliyah in the lead (though it seems she was nominally involved at best in the development of this specific incarnation). Hard as it is to believe, the movie's TBD 2012 release will be Ms. Houston's first appearance in a major theatrical film in 16 years, since she starred alongside Denzel Washington in 1996's The Preacher's Wife.

Of course, it's been a bumpy period for Whitney since then. Amid sporadic recording and touring, she's largely been in the spotlight for a tumultous split with ex-husband Bobby Brown, admitted drug use, hysterical TV interviews, erratic live performances and marketing a line of scented candles with her sister-in-law. Chances are, tales of sensational diva-dom will soon emerge from the set of Sparkle, which may turn out to be more entertaining than the film itself, which is in the questionable hands of various by-the-numbers rom-com architect. (Although R. Kelly is a fitting and promising choice to oversee the soundtrack.)

In a statement of slightly misleading vanity, Whitney shared that, "Sparkle is a movie I have wanted to remake for a long time and I am so glad to finally see my wish come true and to be part of this stellar team of actors and producers." 

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Let the shitshow begin.

NEWS OF SPARKLE REMAKE RATING: 6/10

NEWS OF WHITNEY IN SPARKLE REMAKE RATING: 6.5/10

THE ENTERTAINING TABLOID ANTICS TO COME FROM THE SET OF SPARKLE RATING: 9/10

 

Please friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Have your own rating or comments you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments below.

 

Monday
Oct102011

Amy Winehouse Book To Battle With Courtney Love's Tell-All

 

MUSIC-NEWS REVIEW: The late Amy Winehouse's controversial dad, Mitch, will publish a memoir about his daughter. Will it outcrazy Courtney Love's impending bio?

By Kenny Herzog

Look away, Amy. Amy, look away.


In case you were wondering, no, nothing is sacred. Ever. It's still hard to tell just how malintentioned Amy Winehouse's father, Mitch Winehouse, truly is. But one has to wonder if he'd have his daughter's blessing to publish Amy, My Daughter, a memoir about her life, next summer. The title is officially in the works via HarperCollins (when the publishing industry is in doubt, go the grave-robbing route). Then again, it's not as if anyone was begging to hear his life story.

What's fascinating is that Mitch's book will arrive only a few months before (allegedly) Courtney Love's as-yet-untitled biography, which the volatile singer/actress claims will unearth the truth about her marriage to legendary Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

Not since Eminem's mother, Debbie Nelson, unveiled her take on life as Mommy Mathers in 2008 has the exploitation factor been this high within a famous nuclear family. Which is repulsing, to be sure, but it will certainly make for anticipated reading, and it ain't like poetry's gonna save the printed word.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Well, Mitch's book can't be in any poorer taste than this.

ANTICIPATING AMY, MY DAUGHTER RATING: 5/10

GETTING READY TO CRINGE AT COURTNEY AND AMY'S LIFE STORIES: 2/10

MISSING AMY ALREADY RATING: 9/10

 

Please friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Have your own rating or comments you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments below.


 

 

Tuesday
Oct042011

VIDEO: Hank Williams Jr. Is An Idiot

 

 

REVIEWING THE NEWS: Nearly 15 years ago, Mr. Show co-creator and current Breaking Bad star Bob Odenkirk presaged what we all now know: Hank Williams Jr. is an idiot.

By Kenny Herzog

"OMG, I am so excited to have more time for catching up with Gossip Girl now."

If Larry the Cable Guy is truly playing a "character," his inspiration might just be Hank Williams Jr. As everyone knows by now, the son of country pioneer Hank Sr. and architect behind ABC/ESPN's insipid (and now-pulled) "Are You Ready for Some Football" Monday Night Football theme song has been disgraced after likening President Obama's golf game alongside John Boehner to Hitler sharing a round with Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Today's requisite apology was, while heartfelt, equally illiterate and ill-conceived. Williams Jr. boasted that he crafted his statement without a publicist, and explained that, "The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin' and high-fivin' on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement, and I am very sorry if it offended anyone. I would like to thank all my supporters."

When not confusing his metaphors and ignoring the useful consult of hired publicity, Williams Jr. will now have plenty of time to focus on his one-note recording career, which was and remains accurately skewered more than a decade ago by the great comic/actor Bob Odenkirk, via he and David Cross' often-ingenious (and rarely more so) Mr. Show. Enjoy, and ponder the tremendous loss (not!) to our culture:

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Netanyahu doesn't strike us as having been the golf-enthusiast type.

HANK WILLIAMS BEING OFF ESPN RATING: 10/10

BOB ODENKIRK IS THE BEST RATING: 10/10

MORE REASONS FOR HITLER'S NAME TO BE IN THE NEWS RATING: 0/10

 

Please friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

Have your own rating or comments you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments below.

 

Page 1 2 3