WWSP Live at 27Live 05.22.15

The dream would be to open for a cool band, maybe like a really, really big band, or how about like the greatest r&r band on the planet? That would most likely be an old band of r&r warriors, like The Rolling Stones. And then in the dream, you’d want to play a new venue you never played before, maybe a big hall, like a really, really, big hall packed with enthusiastic folks who would be open to listening to the opening act. Yeah, and lets just say that sound system would be great, and your band was tight, and the show went off without a hitch, and afterwards everyone was happy and satisfied, and you made a bunch of new friends and made new fans.

So yeah, that would be the dream.

The variation of the dream would be to open for The Rolling Clones, Chicago’s finest Rolling Stones tribute band, and the new venue would be a club, 27Live that’s actually in your home town. And yes, you’d find that the guy doing sound for your show was a guy who has done sound for you at another venue many times, and he knows the band, and our sound and he actually cares, which is just the best thing of all.

And yes, well, we just lived the variation, right?! Our show Friday went off without a hitch, our band was tight, and we did play to an enthusiastic crowd, and we did make new friends and fans. Embrace the dream, baby! Embrace the variation of the dream too. It’s only r&r! – Jammer

photo by Mr. Mo.

rollingstone-7475Lately some friends of mine have played that game of naming records that “changed their lives.” It’s been kicking around in my head. Yesterday, taking shelter from the bitter cold, I decided to fill the CD carousel with my choices.  This carousel only holds 5 CDs, so here are the 5.  I put them on shuffle and listened to the tracks in a randomized order.  All the songs stood toe to toe with each other.  All of these records still resonate with me very, very deeply.  They help make me who I am today. Yes, really.

1. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band — Lennon’s first post-Beatles record. Stripped down, elemental, brutally real. Powerful, razor-sharp, with great production by Phil Spector.  The wall of sound meets r&r minimalism – bass, drums, guitar, piano and Lennon’s amazing, heartfelt, cutting voice.  Still brings chills.

2. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited— A blast of exuberance. Funny, over the top, genre busting. No one ever recorded songs like these before. Dylan fronts an incredible band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper. A shock. A blast. Mind-bending. Dylan never sounded more engaged, more intense, more alive and funny.

3. Neil Young – Tonight’s the Night — Shakey’s “dark night of the soul.” A death-haunted record. A great shaggy band of misfits pushed to the ragged edge. Raw, bleak, darkly funny. Neil opens a vein.  Spooky and cool.  L.A. Dark shades. Bleary nights. The record is filled with flaws, quirks – perfect.

4. The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed — The Stones at their darkest. Decadent blues, desiccated country. Perfectly realized rock and roll.  Jagger and Richards at the peak of their amazing collaboration.  Perfectly recorded. Produced by Jimmy Miller.  The Stones made other great records, but this one is complete. Flawless. Thrilling.

5. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows this is Nowhere — Neil emerges into the light with the first, and greatest, Crazy Horse lineup. Danny Whitten on vocals and guitar is the secret weapon.  Long guitar jams. Overpowering sound. Produced by David Briggs & Neil Young. Blistering. Raggedy. Elegiac. When the “Horse” kicks it up, there is nothing better.

— Jammer

Picture 5Recently finished reading  David Byrne’s book, “How Music Works.” An inspiring, informative and thoroughly enjoyable read. I learned something on just about every page. Loved Byrne’s description of how CBGB’s became a “scene,” and was reminded of my own rock and roll education. Growing up I “inherited” and embraced The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Bob Dylan, but I “discovered” and embraced The Ramones, Talking Heads, Television and the Patti Smith Group.  Not a bad musical foundation! “Hey ho, let’s go!” – Jammer