Friday, February 05, 2010

Happy Friday! And More from the Dr. Dog Tour, Too

Good morning, good morning!

ETA: Dr. Dog's show tonight in Madison, WI is SOLD OUT!

"Dr. Dog Fri. February 5
Today, 11:51 AM
Who: Dr. Dog / the Growlers
When: Fri. February 5 9:30PM
Additional Info: 18 and up. This show is sold out.

Dr. Dog's latest record, Fate, is a timeless yet contemporary distillation of the band’s open-armed, big-hearted sound taken to new heights of craft and creativity. Inventive, magnificently realized, and absolutely irresistible, the Park The Van Records release sees the Philadelphia-based quintet filtering the gamut of American popular music into its own idiosyncratic brand of blue-eyed, dilated-pupil soul. Songs like “Hang On” and “Uncovering the Old” delve deep into the mysteries of life and love, offering bittersweet and buoyant reflections into the very nature of our human condition. As ever, Dr. Dog makes magic from an enduring pop palette of intricate harmonies, shape-shifting melodies, and ramshackle audio ingenuity – all presented through the band’s slightly skewed and utterly individualistic outlook. Their fearless approach to music makes for a performance that is not to be missed."


You can find 70 other photos where that one came from right here.

Here's another one of the crowd that just popped up:


(For further details, visit Dr. Dog's Facebook page and if you haven't done so already, please friend them!)

I know I'm a little child sometimes but I am so happy this morning it's ridiculous and just learning that both tonight and tomorrow's Dr. Dog shows are sellouts just made my day altogether. It's supposed to snow bigtime starting around late afternoon and we're getting anywhere from a foot to eighteen inches which has me even more ecstatic. Ah...bliss. Homemade pizza for dinner tonight; whole wheat pasta with fresh tomatoes and mushrooms tomorrow, and maybe black bean coconut milk soup on Sunday. Have I mentioned how much I love vegetarian life? I am at my six month anniversary now and feel outstanding.

So let's have a little fun with captions for this photo. I know what it's all about and I'm not telling, but trust me, if you knew the story behind it, you would be laughing your respective asses off as much as I am. Anyway, if you want to play, post a caption in comments; if you don't, that's cool, too. I just wanted a reason to put this pic of Julie and Eric Slick out there:

In other news, the Dr. Dog tour continues to roll on, and you can read their latest journal right here.

And they continue to gets all kinds of press.

Like this, this, and this.

But I especially like what Jerk Magazine has to say.

Hence I just read that Turner Hall, which holds 1,100 people, was packed last night. Twitter was going crazy!

@MRC58: Dr. Dog show at Turner Hall last night was really great. My moves are pretty sloth-like this a.m. Beer Hall stop wasn't the smartest either.

@kbctourcompany: Loved Dr. Dog tonight at Turner Hall...

@kbctourcompany: Finally my first concert at Turner Hall and it was faboo...Dr. Dog was so good! Thanks @avanhizzle for the great referral. Loved it!

@AccidentalWI: I just had my world rocked by Dr. Dog. And then had the most awesome cab driver. He was at the concert, played the CD, AND gave us gum.

@MRC58: Dr. Dog's spectacular encore.

@justin_j_krol: Dr. Dog is packed. Also, sounding great.

@MRC58: @MattRyan32 Jameson and Dr. Dog! What a combo. Thanks!

@avanhizzle: @avanhizzle Fuck yeah! Dr. Dog. /via @MRC58<;----uh huh! You said it!!!!

@AccidentalWI: This new dr dog song is definitely channeling spoon. I kinda dig.

@MRC58: @avanhizzle Fuck yeah! Dr. Dog.

@onegoodthing: Love my hometown tonight. Huge crowd for Dr. Dog in Milwaukee tonight. Impeccable in all respects.

@alfeuerer: AHhhh so jealous!!! Hope you have fun! RT @MRC58: Dr. Dog has taken the stage and it is good.

@MRC58: Dr. Dog has taken the stage and it is good.

@PabstTheater: Dr. Dog is filling up, get here and enjoy The Growlers. Great job Milwaukee!!!

@WMSE: Dr dog packing it up.

@MRC58: Enjoying $3 PBR tall boys before and during Dr. Dog. (@ Turner Hall Ballroom)

@AccidentalWI: Dr dog! Hippies! (@ Turner Hall Ballroom)


Ha, now you know the old hippie in me is jumping for joy right now at all that, right?

Here's ten seconds of the crowd screaming for an encore...

Like I said above if you are planning on attending the Dr. Dog show in Iowa on Saturday night, I hope you already have your tickets because, yes, it's completely sold out. Way to go, guys!

And, um, look for a HUGE announcement from the band on Tuesday.

Have I mentioned how happy I am today?

I'm not even going to mention what Julie Slick has up her sleeve, but wait until you see her new website, which I think will be launching next week. But yeah, expect the unexpected from Ms. Julie, which is always way cool.

In case you missed my Facebook post or tweet yesterday, here's Julie playing the part of Infomercial hostess again. Hey, I know I'm prejudiced, but she's getting really good at it, isn't she? Ah well, if she ever decides she doesn't want to play bass or cook anymore, there's always this:

Yikes, let me stray from the subject at hand for a minute -- I have television on in the background and Robin Thicke is performing. First of all, I never realized we have such similar names. Robin Thicke, meet Robin Slick. Secondly, ew, ew ew! He is seriously creeping me out.

Oy, what has happened to taste in music in this country? I can't even comment on the Grammys. But actually, maybe I will, courtesy of Jeff Miers of the Buffalo News:

Pop extravaganza fails to represent today’s music
By Jeff Miers
Published: February 01, 2010

“Music’s biggest night,” they call it. Well, it was big, all right. But size isn’t everything, apparently.

The 52nd annual Grammy Awards brought most of pop’s big guns together inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday evening. Comedian Stephen Colbert put it best when, prior to announcing the winner of the Song of the Year Grammy (to Beyonce, naturally), he praised the evening for celebrating “one of our most important rights as Americans—the right for celebrities to congratulate each other.”

Hilarious! When the camera scanned the first few rows of the crowd, however, no one seemed to think Colbert was too funny.

A sense of humor was hugely necessary to sit through the whole spectacle, though. Within the first 30 minutes of the show, we’d heard rehashed ‘80s dance pop, punk rock played as show tunes, more ‘80s dance pop, and Beyonce covering Alanis Morissette.

If you thought about all of the exciting things that happened in music this year—big movements in electronic sound within a vibrant DJ culture; a host of inventive and incredibly successful jam bands; a burgeoning new singer/songwriter movement, and a niche in alternative music that is marrying pop and rock convention with elements of the avant garde, progressive music, ambient sounds and various indigenous influences —watching the Grammys might have made you wanna cry. It’s always better to laugh, though. This presentation was so far away from anything resembling reality that it’s tough to get too worked up about it.

After all, the show kicked off with a bizarre performance from Lady Gaga, who popped up on a riser looking like the love child of Marilyn Manson and Donatella Versace, performing her multinominated “Poker Face,” and then dueting with Elton John for a truly strange medley of Gaga’s “Speechless” and Elton’s “Your Song.” Personally, I thought Elton was better when he worked it with Eminem a few Grammys back.

Green Day took the stage to perform “21 Guns,” from their excellent “21st Century Breakdown” album, joined by the cast of the musical “American Idiot,” which will open on Broadway in March. In the context of the album, the ballad works quite well, surrounded as it is by some well-produced and polished, but still gnarly, punk rock. Here, however, it sounded like something from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats.” The band looked a little bit confused and uncomfortable. Which was nice, because that’s exactly how I felt.

Trotting Stevie Nicks out to sing “Rhiannon” with Taylor Swift was meant, one assumes, to suggest that Swift is to her generation what Nicks was and is to hers. That was tough to swallow once Swift started singing the Fleetwood Mac tune next to the gravel-voiced but still spot-on Nicks—Swift was out of tune and her tone was thin and reedy. Swift fared better on her own when the pair went into the younger singer’s “You Belong To Me,” though the nursery rhyme-like melody left Nicks without much to do.

OK, I quibble, but that’s because I care! One of the themes that ran like a thread throughout the evening was the idea of the “mash-up”—an interesting tangent explored by DJs who would intermingle two widely varied songs with a new beat providing continuity. This was big news about 10 years ago. The Grammys took this idea and applied it to this year’s spectacle, which found artists with little in common joining forces and performing mostly ill-conceived “mash-up medleys” of each other’s tunes.

The nadir of this tendency may well have been the Jamie Foxx-T-Pain-Slash debacle, which found the Guns ‘n’ Roses guitarist blowing the solo from that band’s “November Rain” while Foxx cavorted and rapped in some sort of gladiator’s outfit, and T-Pain did his auto-tune thing, resplendent in white tux with tails. Seriously.

This was all immensely entertaining, in a perverse sort of way, and, of course, over-the-top histrionics have always been a big part of popular music. But the Grammys were so pop-centric this year that they offered an unfairly biased view of what happened in music during the year in question.

“Popular music” today is an umbrella term that is meant to cover pretty much any form that isn’t classical or jazz. The Grammys, however, concentrated almost all of their attention on pure “pop” — the most mainstream bubble-gum stuff being made. Beyonce, Swift, Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas are in essence interchangeable — their differences are mainly of the surface variety. All deserve nominations in some category, but stuffing them into nearly every major slot was bogus.

It’s impossible to ignore that the music industry is in shambles. Sales are way down, and most of the truly creative music is being made outside of the mainstream industry itself — on stages, where bands ignored by the Grammys play to large, young, enthused crowds nightly; on independent labels that market directly to the fans through alternative means like My Space and Facebook; through live concert recordings which are traded freely or sold at a fraction of the cost of a major- label release. You never would’ve known this from watching Sunday’s Grammy broadcast, where everyone was partying like it was 1989.

Once again, Colbert hit it squarely on the head. “You may be the coolest people in the world,” Colbert quipped. “But Susan Boyle, a 48 year-old cat lady in sensible shoes, outsold all of you.”

It’s time for the Grammys to hit us where we really live. For once."

Oh man, I said I was going to leave it alone but I also have to let you know how Bob Lefsetz weighed in, too:


There was an interesting piece in the "New York Times" asking whether it was more important to win a Grammy or appear on the telecast. In other words, do you remember who won Album of the Year or do you remember Pink flying high in the sky?

For those expressing displeasure with the Grammy telecast, I remind you that we no longer live in a monoculture. It was a very brief period, two decades at most, when mainstream and alternative merged, when MTV dictated the hits and radio fell in line behind. But now, you get to choose what you want to listen to from a plethora of choices. So if you tune in a telecast like this you’re dumbfounded. Who are these people? Does anybody really care?

Beyonce prancing. Black Eyed Peas marching. Eminem and two guys you’ve never heard of ranting. Is this music? What kind of hole have we fallen down?

Relax. To say the Grammys are a reflection of music today is akin to saying what airs on NBC defines America. It doesn’t. People have more passion for niche channels like Discovery than those trying to appeal to everybody networks.

But there’s a limited channel universe. And the networks bought up the niche channels. What’s going on in the music business?


What’s ironic is that NARAS was the ultimate niche operation. What I mean by this was there was a category for every genre, it delved deep into music some were passionate about, but few cared about, which is exactly what’s happening today. But the TV show is the opposite of this. With fewer awards given and only the most mainstream acts featured. Now is the time for NARAS to flourish. But beholden to the old major label structure that is crumbling, NARAS is teetering too. Overspending while membership is declining. Isn’t this like trying to get people to buy albums on CD when you can cherry-pick the desirable singles on Napster?

But leading would require vision. And NARAS has none.

But who gives a shit about NARAS anyway.

I’ll say that I was impressed with the Michael Jackson tribute. No, not his kids, who certainly aren’t his biologically, and acquitted themselves quite well, but the performances… Everybody could sing! Could almost make you a Celine Dion fan. Especially after experiencing Taylor Swift.

How awful was she?


"Fearless" deserved to win Album of the Year. I was glad it did. Scuttlebutt was it was DMB’s year, but to say "GrooGrux" is good is to be a tie-dyed hippie hanging out in the parking lot before a show that features great playing but mediocre material. "GrooGrux" sold to a small coterie, most people don’t care. But Taylor Swift is as mainstream as you can get. Triumphing in two formats. Speaking her truth to her audience. I love "Fearless". You can play it from start to finish, again and again, it’s honest. But last night’s performance…

Do you remember Billy Squier’s pink video? Which killed his career overnight? Take a peek:

What was a hard rocker doing prancing around in a pink tank top? What was a neophyte artist doing sharing a stage with a legend who made it before auto-tune, before studio tricks could make anybody a singer?

I don’t need to analyze the performance. (Hell, what I don’t get is how Taylor rearranged her own hit song.) But what I am interested in is the impact. Because now, everybody knows that Taylor Swift can’t sing. Is this what they’ll remember?

Now unlike Billy Squier’s pink video, there won’t be endless repetition on MTV. And one can question how much of the target audience saw this performance. But the cognoscenti did, and to what degree do they now want to distance themselves from Ms. Swift?

In other words, did Taylor Swift kill her career overnight?

I’ll argue she did. Oh, I’m not fully convinced of that, but let’s start from this position.

She’ll be even further hated in Nashville (and what kind of fucked up world do we live in where the CMAs are better than the Grammys?) I’d love to say whored out Top Forty radio stations will ignore her, but this is doubtful, still…

In one fell swoop, Taylor Swift consigned herself to the dustbin of teen phenoms. Who we expect to burn brightly and then fade away. From New Kids On The Block to Backstreet Boys to Miley Cyrus. A wall is created, stating you can’t come any further. Debbie Gibson can appear in shows on Broadway, but she can’t have a hit record, the powers-that-be won’t let it happen.

Taylor’s too young and dumb to understand the mistake she made. And those surrounding her are addicted to cash and are afraid to tell her no. But last night Taylor Swift SHOULD have auto-tuned. To save her career.

They say it’s easy to fake it in the twenty first century.

But one thing we know is the truth will always come out.

It’s hard to be a singer if you can’t sing.

Ultimately, we want our stars to be genuine. Without this credibility, your time atop the charts is brief.

Taylor Swift shortened her career last night. And since she says she calls all her own shots, she has to shoulder the blame. Yes, her dream came true, she made it, she’s a star, but the real test is longevity. Elton John can play with GaGa decades later. Will Taylor Swift be duetting with the stars of the 2030s? Doubtful."


Haha, I have to admit when Taylor and Stevie did that duet, I did that thing I do when I get embarrassed for other people like it was my own self on that stage...I slid down the sofa with a pillow over my face. Oh man did I cringe. And dear God, how awful was that Billy Squier video? Tho' I never cared for him back in the day, anyway, so that video makes perfect sense in my world.

Truth to tell, the absolute only reason I watched the Grammys was to see Jeff Beck. I was wondering, since Tal Wilkenfeld and Vinnie C. are no longer in his band (and what is up with any of you know?), if they would go up on stage with him to collect their respective Grammys for best rock instrumental performance for "Day in the Life" at Live at Ronnie Scott's since they are a good deal responsible for the reason why that CD went platinum. Hmpff, so much for that. First of all, they gave that Grammy out prior to the actual televised broadcast so if Tal and Vinnie were there, I missed it (but I did hear they were not tho' Vinnie was in the audience to pick up a Grammy for another project in which he's involved); and then I fell asleep in disgust before I could catch Jeff's tribute to Les Paul. As I would later learn the next day via You Tube, it was fucking amazing:

That's jeff's new bass player, Rhonda Smith (she was formerly with Prince's band)...and not me, as someone asked on Twitter, causing me to literally laugh out loud.

"@axeslinginfrog #Grammys Jeff Beck's tribute to Les Paul was quite tasty; was that Robin Slick on bass? (via @icerocket)" And while I sincerely wish it was, it wasn't Julie Slick on bass, either.

But I did have something quite cool happen to me - I got a mention on NPR! Click the link to both listen to a very amusing radio spot or to actually read my six word memoir chosen for the book "It All Changed In An Instant", which, by the way, is available through Indie Bound...and I hope you are all continuing to support your local bookstores because they are quickly going the way of record/CD stores. While I embrace the future and technology, I still love albums, CDs, and real books, and my heart is kind of breaking over the state of the music and publishing world right now.

Anyway, this short little blog post turned into something epic, and I haven't even gone back and checked for more Dr. Dog reviews yet. So hang in there, if I find more stuff, I'll come back and add them in.