Let’s All Help The Master of Funk, Bernie Worrell

I was crushed to learn of Bernie Worrell‘s stage four terminal cancer condition. His contribution to music has been so meaningful and pervasive. I wish him healing remission.

It was beautiful to see fellow musicians, specifically members of Parliament-Funkadelic and the Talking Heads amongst other celebrities coming to his aid to help offset his medical costs. The benefit concert that was held at Webster Hall on Monday April 4th raised our awareness for Bernie’s plight.

David Byrne has remixed “How Does the Brain Wave,” his 2007 collaboration with Baby Elephant — the project of DJ Prince Paul and Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell — to help raise funds for Worrell.

The former Talking Head has also tapped Jamie Lidell to remix the song, both of which are available to stream and purchase. Fans can choose how much they give for the two songs, though there is a $1.99 minimum. I went with the $10 option to help.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/hear-david-byrnes-remix-to-support-ailing-p-funk-great-bernie-worrell-20160405#ixzz453BLEYBy
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David Byrne did the cover art sketch and the original artwork will be auctioned off, as well. Click here to bid

Bernie is classically trained (as well as having perfect pitch—I’ve heard him improvise with the sounds of traffic), so he brought those skills to the Afro-Futurism of the P Funk universe… a bit of keyboard cosmos into the funk chants and beats of that world that made it what it was. I learned a lot from that music, and of course from the time spent travelling and playing with Bernie—wordplay, musical attitude and lot more. He informed the musician and composer I was to become.

If you just want to make a donation—it can be made directly to the Bernie Worrell Sweet Relief fund here.

Stay strong Bernie, we love you Woo Man.

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Love This Giant Tour – Beacon Theatre NYC – 9/26/12

 

We saw the David Byrne and St. Vincent (Annie Clark) Love This Giant Tour Wednesday evening 9/26/12 at the beautifully restored Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Photography By Pablo Frisk

The concert far exceeded our expectations. David Byrne and St. Vincent were accompanied by an eight piece brass band with a drummer and an electronics player.  The concert is visually enhanced by shaded lighting in turn accented by the choreography of Annie-B Parson (Big Dance Theater). She re-imagined the band as a dance troupe; thus, along the horns, Byrne and Clark became just two more members of the night’s dance company

Photograph by Catalina Kulczar, Copyright 2012

The dance troupe kicked the festivities off with Love This Giant‘s initial track “Who“. We were quickly engaged by that infectious beat tightly coupled with the sensory lyrics.

The two-hour concert (which includes two encores) offers David Byrne & St. Vincent band songs, the much clamored for David Byrne/Talking Heads songs, and the hauntingly brilliant St. Vincent songs. The counter balance of this song mix captivates the listener as does the ever-moving musicians. The fluid motion of 12 people on stage is never boring or repetitive. Ever since David Byrne worked with Twyla Tharp on Catherine’s Wheel his live concerts incorporate dance and choreography. We fell in love with this idiom when we saw the first leg of  the Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno Tour in 2008. It became our avowed aim to see David Byrne live again and this is what motivated us to attend the Love This Giant Tour. 

There were several moments during the concert that exhibited great fun juxtaposed with just the right techno experimentation  One such highlight was the Star Wars like dueling light saber technique that David and Annie performed sharing the waves of the theremin on “Northern Lights”.

Photograph by Catalina Kulczar, Copyright 2012

David Byrne has a great stage presence and I love his flippant, intellectual nature. He had us laughing when he spoke about how he catalogs his music recordings, fiction and non-fiction.

It was difficult to isolate which of the Love This Giant recording live performances was my favorite. I’ve narrowed it down to “I Am An Ape”, “Lazarus”, and “Outside of Space and Time”.

The night would have not been complete without the Talking Heads, “Burning Down The House”.

We left this concert more amazed than ever by David Byrne. We gained a new appreciation for the music and guitarmanship of St. Vincent. We won’t think of brass band music as we did before, one-dimensional, it now has a new, vibrant multi-dimension in our psyche. Thank you David Byrne, Annie Clark and the band, what a phenomenal evening of multimedia techno romp.

 

David Byrne & St. Vincent & Brass Band – Burning Down The House

The Love This Giant Tour is underway. Can’t you feel the energy and excitement?

You can follow the tour blog here. There is plenty of rich and invigorating content for fans available.

We”ll be there God willing, one week from tomorrow, 9/26 at The Beacon Theatre, NYC – Yowzah

MSG

The brass band collaboration is exceeding my expectations already 😉

(Spoiler Alert #1)

SetList of 9/15/12 Minneapolis Show (Spoiler Alert #2)

Love Goes To Buildings On Fire – Will Hermes

Radio Ethiopia
Image via Wikipedia

This is the time of year I catch up on music journalism and associated listening. I have several books at my disposal that are raising my music consciousness

One such read is an authoritative and extensively well researched book by Will Hermes, entitled Love Goes To Buildings On Fire. My son, Matthew, gave it to me as a Christmas present this year. Matthew and I have an inherent music connection that we actively share. I am proud of what he has accomplished with his skills in graphics design and music production.
I had browsed the two New York Times articles about Love Goes To Buildings On Fire, 1) “Books of the Times: When Dreamers Were Breaking The Music Apart” by David Gates and 2) “The CBGB Effect” by Gerald Marzorati earlier in the month. I had made a note to reconnoiter with this book in the music aisle of Barnes & Noble. Thankfully my son picked up on that interest and took the step for me.

I am not far along enough in the book to divulge how pivotal these five years of music evolution in New York City have been.The premise of the book as the cover art wildly articulates is that New York is an entertainment petri dish that cultures music genres with great aplomb. The era from 1973 to 1977 flourished music in fervent splendor.

I recall and relate to this era of music with my music industry past.

I was senior at the University of New Haven in 1973. I had an afternoon radio show that I did on WNHU-FM 88.7, West Haven, Ct. My goal when I graduated in 1974 was to work in artist and repertoire (A&R) for a record company. I sent my résumé to every record company in New York City. 1974 was a recessionary time. I received 23 rejection letters from each record company. I never did get to realize that dream.

I also recall it was a time that I would hop the Conrail train to New York City and go record shopping for hours on end. I would visit the East Village, Greenwich Village and the Park Row (J&R Music World) record haunts. I would come home with bags of loot that contained specialty EPs and vinyl LPs by such artists as The Talking Heads, Television, and The Patti Smith Group.

I plan to write more about Will Hermes book when I have completed reading it. I look forward to more revelations and flashbacks to follow.

My one regret with the hard copy edition of this book is that I can’t hyperlink to the citations as I would like to do. It slows down my reading to cross-reference the references.

Talking Heads: Chronology Deluxe (2011)

The Talking Heads: Chronology Deluxe (2011) DVD is now available.

Beautifully put-together with classic performances and interviews, the viewer gets to see the transition from the early three-piece days (singer/songwriter/guitarist David Byrne, bassistTina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz in 1975) to a quartet (keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison joined in 1977), on into an ensemble of multi-cultural proportions. The deluxe edition of the release will include a 48-page hard-cover book with photographs and an essay by the late Lester Bangs, originally published as a review of Fear Of Music for the Village Voice in 1979. The essay is the complete and unexpurgated version, available here for the first time.

TRACK LISTING:

  • 1) Mic Test (1976)
  • 2) With Our Love (1975)
  • 3) I’m Not In Love (1975)
  • 4) Psycho Killer (1975)
  • 5) Intros Montage (1976)
  • 6) The Girls Want To Be With The Girls (1976)
  • 7) Don’t Worry About The Government (1978)
  • 8) Dressing room fan footage: Found A Job (1978)
  • 9) Thank You For Sending Me An Angel (1978)
  • 10) Warning Sign (1978)
  • 11) Artists Only (1979)
  • 12) Take Me To The River (1979)
  • 13) Crosseyed And Painless (1980)
  • 14) Animals (1980)
  • 15) Love → Building On Fire (1982)
  • 16) Cities (1982)
  • 17) Burning Down The House (1983)
  • 18) Life During Wartime (2002)

Though it may not seem it, this little project took years to pull together. I had seen much of this footage, and realized there might be an interesting video timeline of the various manifestations Talking Heads went through. But, tracking down all of the owners of these bits of footage and followed by getting the rights of the material was another matter. Some of the early clips were obviously not commercial—the sound and image can be a little rough in those—but you can see the extremely stripped down version of the band playing at CBGB in those days. These bits and pieces of footage coming together into a cohesive chronology morphed into something very different and impossible to predict.

This was very much a live band—at least until the late 80s. The initial recordings emerged out of what we played live, what worked in that context and how we refined our skills playing together. For a lot of musicians in the digital era this is not always the case. These days, the record often comes first and then how it is staged comes later. The Lester Bangs essay is also very much part of this time. Other than some very specific references, it holds up amazingly well as a passionate and idiosyncratic piece of writing. There’s a reason a lot of writers continue to hold him up as a role model (though I hope they bypass some of the substance abuse). Though his piece is in the form of a record review, it is in truth a beautiful existential rant—and I am proud to be in some way associated with it. Come to think of it, maybe many of these songs are partly something else in disguise as well?

With each iteration of Chronology, you can pretty plainly see what came before as well as a hint of what was to come—all easy to spot in retrospect, of course. There are some fashion don’ts as well as some prescient looks—but what you really get is a sense of how tight this band was. Of course, there is more footage to be found from these sources but I thought to myself, “How many versions of the same songs can one view?” I think the sampler approach gives the viewer a sense of the musical and performative changes we were going through, but without the possibly tedious repetition.

David Byrne
NYC

Ride, Rise, Roar – David Byrne and Company

Ride, Rise, Roar
Image via Wikipedia

This Concert DVD is available two weeks from today on May 31, 2011. Major psyche 🙂

We saw this concert event on December 5, 2008 at the Fox Theater, at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Ct. We are enthusiastic to soon have the concert film!!!!

RIDE, RISE, ROAR is a concert film featuring David Byrne that blends riveting onstage performances with intimate details of the creative collaborations that make the music and performance happen.

Motion Picture Soundtrack – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Strange Overtones
Image via Wikipedia

We watched the movie, Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps last night. I was entranced with the motion picture soundtrack. The movie begins with a sweeping panorama of New York City which envelops you in the temperament of the action to follow.

Oliver Stone incorporated much of the music of David Byrne and Brian Eno during the course of the film. The film has five selections from Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. I haven’t played that recording in some time and it was refreshing to see where Oliver Stone used their music as a backdrop. The city scenes engulf you in the power of New York City as the financial capital of the world.

I have come to strongly associate David Byrne’s musical art with metropolitan New York. His muse strikes just the right embellishment for a city landscape ever in motion and that never sleeps. The sonic collaboration with Brian Eno offers a striking contrast to suburbia and city life.

The soundtrack also has a couple of tracks from My Life in the Bush with Ghosts, the first genius collaboration recording between David Byrne and Brian Eno. I am thinking I will watch the film again for the interaction of David Byrne’s music with the story.

My favorite part of the soundtrack is the closing credits, Oliver Stone chose the Talking Heads, “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” from the recording Speaking in Tongues 1983. I couldn’t keep my leg and body still as that song is so engaging 😉

Chris Frantz, “The Talking Head”, Debuts on WPKN-FM

My wife and I just listened to a very enjoyable music radio show on WPKN-FM, 89.5 on your FM dial. Chris Frantz, of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club fame has begun hosting a show on the last Friday of the month from 1-4 p.m. E.S.T.

Chris Frantz’s first radio show was gangbusters, the music he played was so well mixed and totally original. His first studio guests were Mystic Bowie who sings and plays with the Tom Tom Club and Mickey Leigh, brother of the late Joey Ramone, who was there to promote his book, I Slept with Joey Ramone. Chris also received a phone call from his good friend Bucks Burnett, who spoke about his Eight Track Museum Project (very cool). Chris played Bucks Burnett’s new recording Rachel Bazooka. I really liked what Bucks Burnett had to say about packaging music as art and leaving all the rest of the information, UPC code, etc. elsewhere. Music is art, art is music!

We encourage you to tune in to future shows. Chris Frantz presents novel music with great, hypnotic beats. He is very knowledgeable in his craft.

The stream rewind can be heard right here. Give this show a listen, you’ll love what you hear!

http://archives.wpkn.org/bookmarks/listen/6701