Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Times, Bad Times, You Know I've Had My Share...

Good morning.

Or is it?

! Look! (And oh yeah, once you click on that, please oh please click the link to buy the book! It's truly wonderful, I promise.)

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Unfortunately, we're currently getting pounded by yet another snow storm, and while it was fun in the beginning of the winter, I'm now at the point where if I never see another shovel or ice patch again, I seriously won't mind. I need the beach.

Anyway, I'm also out of sorts because Monty the wonder dog, with whom I'm cavorting on said beach a summer or two ago, is not feeling well. Yes, I realize he is 12 years old which is 84 years old in people years, but up until now, he's been a total puppy. They think it's Cushing's disease. If you are a dog lover, do yourself a favor and do not Google that (which is why I am sparing you the actual link). But I've been obviously researching it non-stop on the internet and while there are horror stories, there are also many success stories so I am taking it one day at a time and not going to stress until we get a definite diagnosis and see how he responds to treatment. But in the meantime, he wakes me up every hour on the hour for either water or to be let outside. So I'm a little sleep deprived at the moment, too. But other than that, he's fine...playful, good appetite...okay, enough. On to the better stuff.

In case you haven't seen the billboards I've already posted all over the internet, Julie Slick has a new website which is interactive and is currently showcasing some of her new music, both solo and with Paper Cat, as well as work she has done with Adrian Belew and Cheers Elephant. Also be sure to check on her artwork - she is an amazing, amazing portrait artist and she's taking on a few commissions...I personally already own a few Julie Slick paintings which are proudly displayed in my living room but I do not have nearly as many as I would like.

Speaking of Paper Cat, Julie, Eric, and Robbie have a gig on May 21 at The Khyber in Philadelphia - tickets will be available soon and when they are, you know I'll be giving you the link.

Here's an awesome article in The Deli, a local indie newspaper which mentions Eric Slick and his pal, guitarist Dom Angelella and their band, Lithuania. By the way, Eric played at that epic New Year's Eve party...if memory serves me correct, he jammed with more than one band...maybe all. Ha. That sounds about right for Eric.

"Since its inception, the City of Brotherly Love has been known for its independence. Keeping the spirit alive, Philly’s latest DIY art space The Ox is circulating buzz amongst show goers and bands alike. Co-founder Daniel Hughes was nice enough to take a little time and spill some deets about the venue, the Philly scene, and of course, roast beef.

The Deli: How did The Ox start? Who runs it?

Daniel Hughes: Living in a warehouse was always something I'd wanted to do, but wasn't realistic because of school obligations. After I graduated, I was approached by my friend Brendan about the idea of making it a reality. A couple of us got together and assembled a rag tag group of individuals who were willing to give it a shot. I see this as my chance to give back to a scene that did so much for me. We are attempting to run the space democratically which can be a huge headache. Bernie and myself book most of the shows, but everyone is involved and has the ability to do what they want.

TD: Aside from manning The Ox, what else are you into? Day jobs, involvement in the art/music scene, etc.?

DH: 4 bands (Shitty Knees, The Armchairs, Norwegian Arms and Kim Jong Bill), artists, printmakers, filmmakers, a sound guy, an art teacher, a writer, a hairdresser, a political scientist, a dude in Russia, a dog and a cat.

TD: What are your highlights/fave moments at The Ox?

DH: Currently, building an igloo on the roof. We just hosted an event our friends have every year called “Mightyfest”. Lots of delicious food and games (feats of strength). We had a pretty wild Halloween party featuring all cover bands. Our friend Dom's band Dragonzord played In The Aeroplane Over The Sea from start to finish. People were REALLY into it. But I'd have to say my absolute favorite moment had to be our New Years Eve party/show. Our good friend from high school, Tuan Le, was in town from LA and documented it for us. Aside from having around 11 bands playing, all the music during the party was from the last ten years and Dragonzord played a cover set of hits from the decade at midnight (from the Dirty Projectors to Miley Cyrus).

TD: What are some of the pros and cons of running a DIY venue?

DH: Pros: Hosting fun things, meeting cool people, introducing cool people to other cool people, learning life skills (like compromising), space/freedom. Cons: Cleaning up, having to work when your friends are having fun, putting up with bands/events you don’t personally enjoy, long/painful but often necessary deliberation in email and in person, and occasionally having to deal with people who disrespect the space.

TD: Where did you grow up? Did you go to local shows? If so, what shows or venues were most memorable?

DH: All over PA, NJ, Chicago, Wisconsin. Brendan and I lived in the same town, but only recently met within the last year. He was pretty active in the Lansdale scene and booking shows and we knew a lot of the same people, so I wouldn't be surprised if our paths crossed and we never even realized it. My friend's were in bands in high school so I would go out and support them when they had a gig. My absolute favorite "local" show was seeing Good Clean Fun play at the Trappe YMCA after “Hellfest” got cancelled. Greg and I used to take the R5 in to the city when we were in high school to see R5 shows (go figure). I used to and still do love seeing shows at the First Unitarian Church. My first one was seeing Ted Leo (with Greg). That was definitely memorable for me.

TD: What are some upcoming events at The Ox that you’re excited about/looking forward to?

DH: We've got some shows coming up that still need to be confirmed, but I'm potentially really excited about those. We're trying to do more art/non music shows with the New Year. Our next is April second and it should be good. Marvin Gaye birthday party to follow. I'm usually excited/looking forward to all of the shows we have, otherwise why do them? Shameless plug time: March 6--Ape School, The Armchairs (roommates!), Grandchildren, Lonnie Walker, Dinosaur Feathers. March 9--Folklore, Sea of Dogs, Quiet Hooves, Bubbly Mommy Gun. April 1--The Pharmacy, Dangerous Ponies, The Spooks, Kingdome, Bellys and April 14--1994!, Grown Ups, Netherfriends.

TD: Finish the following sentence. The Ox is __________.

DH: The Ox is a unique and dynamic space that has many surprises in store for 2010 and beyond.
TD: What is your favorite thing about Philly’s music scene?

DH: It's diverse and interesting. Lots of good people doing what they love and are willing to help each other out. The fact that places like ours can exist.

TD: Which local artists are you currently into?

DH: Most of my favorite bands right now are ones that have played here. Shameless plug time again. I've been really into Dragonzord and Hop Along recently. Dom and Eric Slick have a new project called Lithuania, The Homophones, Chang Chang (best dude ever), Plastic Little, Teeth of Mammals (local enough). The Divine Lorraine, Power Animal, and so on, and so on, and so on.

TD: What do you like to get at the deli?

DH: I'm a Roast Beef man, but nothing beats a good Italian hoagie!"

I see he also mentions Ape School, and Eric is a frequent drummer for that band as well...don't know if he's playing the March 6 gig or not but I think he's around so it could be...will let you know. In the meantime, he's got one hell of a month of March with Dr. Dog coming up before the big April/May tour, including the Harvest of Hope Festival March 12-14; gigs and parties at South by Southwest March 18-21, and of course the show at the Rotunda in Philadelphia on March 2, but that is for University of Pennsylvania students only.

Love this new press photo of the band...

For those of you who have been asking, the Adrian Belew Power Trio is simply on hiatus at the moment while Julie and Adrian work on solo projects and Eric tours with Dr. Dog. As far as I know, they will be playing a couple of shows in Vancouver in July and possibly a European run in October but I'm kind of happily out of the loop so I do not know for sure. When I say "happily out of the loop", it's because yes, Julie and Eric are adults and have their own apartments and lives so I learn about most stuff these days from Pollstar and Google just like the rest of you and it's all good.

Great news for the trio's tour manager and all around tech person, Andre Cholmondeley, he's "tourletting" with his band, Hidden Agenda, and I'm hoping they hit Philadelphia for sure but here's the dates and info I do have on that:

MARCH 2010 Tourlette with HIDDEN AGENDA
trio playing a few covers, improv and music by andré cholmondeley
bob ramos-drums, antar goodwin-bass, andré-guitar, jon braun-drums 3/25

24 WED NJ New Brunswick COURT TAVERN (with Stretch*)
25 THU PA Plains JAZZ CAFE' (with Stretch*)
26 FRI PA Bethlehem FUNHOUSE (with Great White Caps)
28 SUN NJ Asbury Park ASBURY LANES (Cheri Jiosne Benefit #2)
With Silent Auction and various musical acts

*STRETCH.....the legendary jazz/rock/funk/fusion trio.
original lineup of Dave LaRue, Glenn Alexander and Bill Elder.

Oh, getting back to Julie, as I mentioned above and as you'll see/hear on her website, she is indeed working on her debut solo CD and she's invited some very interesting "special guests" to appear on some/most of the cuts. Julie has surprised me once again...her song writing is quite amazing. Who knew? She's been emailing me MP3s in various stages and I have to admit, I crank them up and get the chills. Surely they switched babies on me at the hospital but then how do I explain Eric? Ha ha, let's just say we fed them right.

And back again to Eric, You Tube has finally provided me with a decent clip from their tour a couple weeks's Dr. Dog with Eric on the drums performing "The Ark". This is very cool, but I have to tell you, Dr. Dog is a band you want to see live. You Tube does not do them justice.

So I think that's it for now. I haven't felt much like writing but I have a bunch of great books to read and then of course there's the U.S. v Canada Olympic gold medal hockey game this afternoon. This is the first year ever I have watched the Olympics daily/nightly but I've been so stressed because of the dog and awake at all hours of the night it's given me a welcome distraction. I do have to say that NBC's coverage has been HORRIFIC. There is just no excuse for it (delayed broadcasts, spotty coverage, idiot name it) and I'm sure there are many bloggers who have already addressed that so I'll leave it alone. Just to let you know how out of it I've been, I've even been watching and somewhat enjoying curling! Jesus Christ, what a stoner sport that is. What scares me is that I now understand it!

And let me say right now I have a cougar crush on Shaun White (yeah, yeah, who knew Carrot Top could snowboard?) and that I loathe both the creepily manipulative Lindsey Vonn and her crybaby teammate, Julia Mancuso. So much so that I will not even give them the courtesy of a link.

Do I believe I am even talking about this? My cool factor just plummeted to below zero, huh.

And of course I am a lame-o who also loves figure skating. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have this geeky fantasy that I have the job of picking the music for them to skate to. Because really, other than the male skater who performed to Jimi Hendrix' Axis Bold as Love the other night, the music has been crap. When I think of what they could be skating to, I want to weep. Here are two songs I'd pick immediately, and I hope you click on them because they are both very, very special to me.

Something tells me I'm forgetting other news but to be honest, I'm so whipped I don't even know what day it is and I'm just trying to keep it together.

I remain optimistic.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Odds and Sods for Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So it's been a little snowy in Philadelphia lately, in case you aren't lucky enough to live here.

The dog is loving it, but I would personally like it a lot more if I could walk him without fear of falling on my head. C'mon people of the Art Museum area, shovel your damn sidewalks. I swear, when I moved here years ago and it was all blue collar, you would never see a mess like this. Now it's all yuppies and million dollar houses and I guess the era of entitlement. Feh. Anyway, enough of's Monty who, trust me, is far happier than he looks in this photo but that's because I'm calling him back inside:

So what else is new? Did everyone have a nice Valentine Day? I loathe Hallmark holidays, but admittedly do use every single suchlike occasion as an excuse to eat above the norm. The trouble is, even "the norm" for me is amazing. Last night, for example, Gary made vegan cream of mushroom soup (the cream is actually a pureed red bliss potato) made with three different types of 'shrooms, and a salad of fresh spinach, grape tomatoes, chopped imported olives, and artichokes. Tonight's menu includes whole wheat pasta topped with white and green asparagus sauteed in roasted garlic oil. So like, yeah, every day is Christmas here but for Valentines Day, I did have my favorite meal - buffalo tofu, pommes frites (okay, roasted in the oven for health reasons but topped with flash fried, crispy shallots), and homemade biscuits. By the way, Gary has now perfected his biscuit recipe, and I defy anyone to top these. I didn't even mind that he smeared them with Earth Balance - could not even taste the difference. I'd post the recipe here but as I've been making a lot of noise lately, Julie and I are writing a cookbook so sit tight, we're going to get that out soon enough, biscuits and all.

I really need to start taking daily pictures of this stuff, huh. Last night's salad was such a thing of beauty I should have photographed and framed it and hung it on the dining room wall.

And while I'm on the subject of food, I just realized today is Fat Tuesday. I love the name. It should be a national holiday. And what I wouldn't do for one of these right now because yes, it should also be the law that you eat as many as possible before midnight:

The snow has kept me from having my usual foodie dates with Julie Slick, but our last Happy Hour together at Fish was outstanding. The $6.00 cocktails are huge and full of top shelf whiskey, and, if you are so inclined, fresh squeezed juices. Julie had a cocktail (or, um, more) of Spanish Cava, gin, and lemon Juice. I had an old-fashioned (or, um, more) made thusly: Old Bardstown Kentucky Bourbon, sugar, and bitters. The bar menu is not vegetarian but I *cough* hear that the $2.00@ oysters are to die for.

In other news, there's are few things that have me incredibly bummed...for different reasons, obviously, but man, how fucking depressing:

This, this, and this.

To sum it up, I am bummed because I am a huge Knack fan and thought their debut album was brilliant and might even be one of my desert island picks; I am bummed that someone I consider a total hack and an even bigger idiot is rich and famous when I personally know much kinder and better guitarists -- even better looking if that's the scale we're using here and since that's my only rationale for how this man is famous, I guess it is; and Lefsetz, I am especially bummed at you because I read you daily, you're an awesome writer and most importantly, you have your pulse on the music industry and I learn a lot from you but you got it dead wrong when you wrote about the Who. The death of classic rock overnight because of a twelve minute medley at the Superbowl? A forty year brilliant career finished and in shambles? The Who past their prime are so far ahead of most young bands out there now it's ridiculous. Don't even try and argue that point with me - you'll just look like an idiot. Ah well, here's a gentle reminder for you, Bob Lefsetz. Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.

Also, while I am busy snarling, how about Sarah P's hillbilly palm pilot? Sigh...just as I feel about the Prince of Darkness Dickie Cheney, a/k/a President of the Waterboard Fanclub -- I wish she would go the hell away forever. Our luck they both have William Morris as their agent so we'll never be totally rid of them.

I think I have serious PMS today. Sorry. I'm a freak of nature. My body didn't get the message that it isn't young anymore and at my fucking age, I am sitting here with cramps. No wonder I am dreaming of donuts...

In closing and to make myself at least feel a tiny bit productive today, I think I should take this day of odds and sods to once again ask you to buy my books so that I don't have to find work in a real office with real people ever again. I am also asking that if you are kind enough to do this, please avoid evil corporate Amazon if you can. All of my adult titles are available at my publisher right here and they are also available, along with Daddy Left Me Alone with God (where you will read about baby rockstars "based on" my two brilliant offspring), at a place I highly recommend...Indiebound. For those of you new to my blog, I have an erotic comedy trilogy with the first book in the series being Three Days in New York City; its sequel is Another Bite of the Apple, and book three, published just two months ago, is Bitten to the Core. All three books do stand on their own, but I dunno, if you are like me, you like to read things in order. I've been told I'm laugh out loud funny if that helps you but what the hell, all of these books, while also available in paperback, are a mere bargain priced download away, whether you have a Kindle, iPhone, or a simple, old-fashioned computer (ha).

Okay, that's my sales pitch for today. I'm still trying to work out how I can do a livestream book party. I was hoping to do one alone from my laptop but after fooling around with the U-stream site, it appears it comes out much better if you have another person holding an external video camera. Can any of you give me some advice about that? I think it would be so much fun to have a livestream party from my living room but to be honest, I'd much rather do it when I'm alone in the house surrounded by much alcohol. You may not know it from this blog or maybe you've nailed me exactly, but when I'm not behind this screen or intoxicated, I'm pretty much a reclusive introvert.

And on that note...


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Eric Slick/Dr. Dog to Play Bonnaroo!

Well, there's a lot of excitement today at Casa Slick.

Because Eric Slick, after three years of playing doumbek for Gypsy Hand Tribal Belly Dance Troupe in a side tent, finally gets to play the big stage with Dr. Dog this year at Bonnaroo.

Here's a partial list of the line-up from Billboard but I anticipate inserting something else much cooler here by the end of the day. In the meantime, I'll just post that awesome Dr. Dog band photo again...(Eric is second from the right)

Man, that band roll out via Bonnaroo's MySpace has been an exercise in torture but kinda fun at the same time. Every five minutes you hear a Monty Python type song with cartoon characters marching across the screen, 9 times out of 10 announcing a band this aging hippie has never heard of. (Though upon googling them, um, sorta glad I didn't know about them and don't wanna hear 'em in the future, either). Getting back to my son, though, I bet if I ask him, I'm willing to bet that as long as their performance times do not overlap, Eric will slip off to that tent on the side and whip out his doumbek for his fourth straight year. He loves those women of Gypsy Hands and who can blame him? Here's Eric and the gals from either last year or 2008:

And if that isn't awesome enough, have a look at this!

"We're sick of waiting! "Shadow People" premiers on Stereogum Tuesday, February 9!
Yesterday at 10:35pm
Hello All,

The number crunchers say that this week is the week. They've observed trends, graphed demos and cross-migrated algorithms and they say that sometime in the next week we will reach our goal of 20,000 Facebook friends and we'll finally be able to let this song out of the bag.

Here's the thing.. screw that! We're done waiting. We've been on the road for two weeks now playing songs from Shame, Shame and it's been an amazing experience. We just want people to hear the new stuff so we're gonna give the first song, "Shadow People," to the fine folks at Stereogum and they'll make it available by stream for all to hear tomorrow. Tuesday. February. 9th. Done and done.

Thanks so much for listening, and thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word about Shame, Shame.

Dr. Dog

So here, for your listening pleasure, let me offer you the link for that! There's a cool accompanying article to the MP3, along with an updated tour schedule which includes, ta-da, Bonnaroo! Ooh, and here's a new press photo that goes with it...

Again, I strongly applaud Dr. Dog's management team and publicist(s). Hello, it's 2010 and the music business has changed...Dr. Dog is not only going with the flow, they seem to be miles ahead. And how cool that in January and February, traditionally the very worst months for touring musicians in the United States, they are selling out or coming close to selling out every freaking show. I read Bob Lefsetz (though I don't always agree with him...more on that later because I'm pissed as hell over his whining over The Who and his love of Kings of Leon), I read Amanda Palmer...let's just say I am a voracious reader and I read about the music business on a daily basis. Man, it's all about doing everything you can and sparing no expense to get the word out there and connect with your fans. So this afternoon Dr. Dog, in the headlines of music magazines and newspapers everywhere today as the Bonnaroo 2010 line-up is released, offered a free stream of the first song from their brand new CD. Beyond brilliant. I fucking love it.

And if all that is not enough, there's yet ANOTHER awesome review in the Syracuse Times:

"Atomic Dog by Tom Kahley

For the arctic-like weather that was permeating the Syracuse atmosphere on Saturday, Jan. 30, Dr. Dog recommended a strong dose of hot music to warm the soul, and the prescription was to be picked up at the Westcott Theater, 524 Westcott St. This criminally unheralded band from Philadelphia took to the stage and made everyone forget about the chill outside, except for the smokers, who risked, to paraphrase the late comedian Bill Hicks, passing out in the “so cold you can see your own breath” weather because they didn’t know when they were done exhaling.

Inside the modish music hall, it was all clean air filled with good vibes. On their studio records, upon first listen, you’d swear Dr. Dog was some sort of undiscovered nugget from the late-1960s psychedelic era, with everything from Beatles and Beach Boys-esque harmonies layered atop multicolored reverb and mescaline modal scales. But as with any band, it’s impossible to recreate studio wizardry in a live setting, and in concert, Dr. Dog punks it up bit more. While they’re not quite blowing things up like The Who on stage, it’s hard not to get caught up in their bag of grooves.

As they walked on the florally decorated stage before they situated themselves at their respective instruments, you could tell these cats march to their own stethoscope beat. Guitarists Scott McMicken and Frank McElroy resembled a kind of a hipster version of the Blues Brothers, with dark shades and beanie hats, while bassist and—unusual for his instrument—lead singer Toby Leaman wasn’t afraid to rile the locals (“What is there to do in this town? You guys got a zoo or something?”) before kicking out the jams in front of a near-capacity crowd.

For more than an hour, the band’s set mostly featured songs from their 2008 album Fate (Park the Van). “The Ark” featured a bass line reminiscent of the funky interlude in Pink Floyd’s 1972 overindulgent “Echoes,” while McMicken’s country-flavored lead guitar gave it a whole other slant—and that’s not even mentioning keyboardist Zach Miller’s droning Hammond B3 vamping beneath the melody. (For a quick mind-bender, check out the band’s video for “The Ark” on Youtube; its visual is strikingly similar to Tim Burton’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland flick, although Dr. Dog possibly reimagined the characters by morphing Alice into literally just a talking, bleeding-from-the-neck head being carried by the White Rabbit in disguise. Somebody had psychoactive scrambled eggs for breakfast that morning.)

Also from Fate, “From” showcased the band’s penchant for the best harmonies this side of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. After Leaman begins the ballad singing over a lone guitar, “Oh my love, don’t you leave me/ Because I don’t want to learn how to die”, the other members chime in with collective “ahhhhh” harmonies before drummer Eric Slick signals the rest of the band to chime in with a slow hittin’ skin pulse. As Leaman continues the verse, “Wash me away when we’re apart, cause you’re a part of my heart/ And I’m apart from my heart,” the band accentuates the last word of each line by harmoniously repeating it.

The band recently announced the April 6 release of their fifth studio album called Shame, Shame, their first with new record label ANTI- Records, home to Tom Waits, Buju Banton and Neko Case. As there were a few unrecognizable tunes played at the Westcott that were not off Fate, nor Toothbrush (2002), Easy Beat (2005) and We All Belong (2007), they must have been polishing these soon-to-be-new tracks, which were well-received by the audience.

Before Dr. Dog took the stage, two other throwback bands let it loose: The Silent League out of Brooklyn, and The Growlers, a pseudo self-professed “Texan” band from Long Beach, Calif. The Growlers might have been the strangest bunch of cats that have come through this town in some time. Their music can be best described as surf music played during a holy roller revival that was feeling the effects of a snake bite. Lead singer Brooks Nielsen had the physique of former New York Yankees pitcher David Wells and the grace and sway of a cow trying to wiggle his way up after being tipped over in the mud. Yee-haw!

But all in all, Dr. Dog once again proved that corporate America hasn’t completely killed integrity in music, and judging by the amount of people that turned out for it, there is still a glimmer of hope that this unsure day in age in digital music might right itself eventually. And maybe the best way to remedy this musical imperialism would be for bands like Dr. Dog to keep slipping melodious Mickey’s to the masses, and for the people to keep lining up for the counteractants like they did at the Westcott. All in all is all we are."

Okay, I need to take a breather for a few minutes. This is just too much excitement to bear for one day. And to the gang at Phantasy Tour, particularly "sonofelroy"...good job, dude!

And you know the drill - if I find any other reviews, articles, etc. that pop up today, I'll add them in to this post...


Monday, February 08, 2010

More Press/Reviews for Dr. Dog


I'm not awake yet and want to post some photos of Saturday's blizzard, but in the meantime, I can't help but notice some tasty Dr. Dog press I came down to just now.

“Do you know if the Dr. Dog show is sold out tonight?”

ETA whatever: From (Hurrah!) Philadelphia Weekly!

"February 8th, 2010
Dr. Dog Changes Drummers

You may have heard — or even noticed if you’ve seen them live recently, perhaps at their “secret” show at Johnny Brenda’s last month — that Dr. Dog has a new drummer. Here’s the official word about Juston Stens’ departure and Eric Slick’s arrival straight from the Dog’s mouth, via their MySpace:

Hey Now Everybody,

We’d like to take a moment to let you know about a pretty major change in the Dr Dog world. After 5 years of working and playing together we’re saying farewell to our long time friend and drummer Juston Stens. Juston is moving on to pursue his own musical journey. He’s in the middle of making his first proper full length album right now. For more details you can follow his progress here:

Juston has been traveling all over the United States, stopping at some of his favorite studios to lay down tracks with some of his favorite people and the results have been pretty awesome. We’ll likely give you updates from time to time as the Juston Stens album is closer to completion and a tour is announced. We’re all rooting for Juston and can’t wait to hear what this album sounds like.

Filling Stens’ throne is Teach who we welcome with open arms. Teach ((aka Eric Slick) (we swear that’s his real name)) is monster dressed as a human and we’re convinced he will at some point he will burst from his skin and eat one of us whole. We can only hope you’re there to see it.


ETA #2 OR IS THAT #3 - Yet another stellar review out of Michigan.

ETA: From Life While:

"Concert Review: Dr. Dog Gives Retro-Rock Vibrant New Spin
Philadelphia Band Previews New Album In Madison Stop
David Hyland, Staff Writer
POSTED: 8:05 am CST February 6, 2010

MADISON, Wis. -- Classic-rock revivalists Dr. Dog is a band that prompts many questions and as of yet, has offered very few definitive answers.

Widely recognized as rising stars in the indie-rock scene, the Philadelphia quintet has sidestepped the trappings of post-punk pretense and thoroughly wrapped itself in the sounds and styles of rock 'n' roll yesteryear. And yet, listeners drawn in by Dr. Dog's intriguing amalgam of elements swiped from the B section of '60s rock -- the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Band -- can't be sure if they're serious about their reverence for history.

Sure, they make believe to be soot-covered railroad workers in in publicity photos, but hit the stage as hipsters who play as if they had been raised by minstrels from a traveling medicine show. Listeners can't know. Is this all an act delivered with a wink? Are they the musical equivalent of Civil War re-enactors? Is this a little calculated devotion to a sure bet? Or are we seeing/hearing a group whose unique sound grows forth from their record collection.

The group's concert at Madison's High Noon Saloon on Friday night teased at giving us some clarity. The show lured together an army of underground music heads -- chiefly bearded, flannel-sporting men and their female companions -- who either wanted to learn the truth or were just pleased to hear the charade live. Adding to the stakes, the group was auditioning the new material from their forthcoming record "Shame, Shame" during this short preview/promotional tour of North America. This all suggested we'd finally get down to it. Not quite.

All this started with the release of Dr. Dog's terrific last record, "Fate," in 2008. In it, fans heard a group that really hit upon a sound that, while clearly honoring the best of rock's past, offered what appeared to be a new spin on a familiar shtick. But, we couldn't be sure. Maybe Dr. Dog was just a stupefying, sometimes exhilarating mishmash of '60s rock tribute bands. Or maybe, just maybe, they were a pack of classic-rock songwriting students whose eccentric recreations of the masters' templates -- Beatles' melodic hooks, Beach Boys harmonies and the Band's rustic instrumentation -- had gone horribly right. The Madison show, like any sneak preview, simultaneously wowed the audience with flashes of pop brilliance, but also briefly suggested greater things yet to be revealed. Ultimately, it deepened the mystery..."

(Read the rest here.)

From the UMW Post:

"Dr. Dog’s good vibrations
Posted on 08 February 2010.
By Trapper Schoepp

Reproducing a dense, sonic landscape in a live setting isn’t easy, but Dr. Dog sure makes it look that way. Contemporary indie bands often struggle to replicate the production sheen of their records, but it’s a challenge that this eccentric fivesome have met with open arms. Playing to a packed floor at Turner Hall last Thursday, Dr. Dog previewed tunes from their upcoming Anti-Records debut Shame, Shame, and also played favorites from Fate and We All Belong.

Dr. Dog’s idiosyncratic pop-rock draws heavily from 1960s bands like The Beach Boys and The Beatles, and their performance accentuated this. With walls of lush vocal harmonies, fuzzed-out guitars, and swirling organ, Dr. Dog is the 21st century’s answer to psychedelic pop.

The night’s opener, “Worst Trip,” found Dr. Dog blending aspects of soul and classic rock in a revitalizing manner. The lyrics echoed The Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B,” and bassist Toby Leaman’s emotive croon was a perfect match for the song’s jangle. The harmonic chorus asked the question, “Is this the worst trip you have ever been on?” Leaman’s imposing voice replied, “Well I thought you’d kind of like it/It’s awfully dark and quiet here/Some may leave and some are going anywhere....”
(Read the rest here.)
From Mixtapes:

"Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog played a massive set to a sold-out crowd at Madison, WI’s High Noon Saloon on February 5, 2010.

The Old Days” kicked off the show with boundless energy, the cries of “down, down, down” reflecting off the wall-to-wall crowd. Dr. Dogs best songs live are the same as their best songs on the album; “Army of Ancients” and “From” shimmered and sparkled even more in a live setting than they already did in the can.

Dr. Dog is a band that is clearly comfortable playing together, each instrument building on the next and creating a cloud of sound that cushions the terribly beautiful harmonies coming from the band’s three vocalists. If Dr. Dog and Fleet Foxes put out a song together, heads would explode from the glorious harmonics..."
(Read the rest here.)

Okay, like I said, I just woke up and this time I promise, I am coming back to add more stuff today.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Dr. Dog Dazzles...

From the Albany Press:

Dr. Dog dazzles at Revolution Hall
By Ian Goldstein

Dr. Dog bassist Toby Leaman passionately singing at Revolution Hall last night. The emerging band impressed a the crowd at the Troy venue with their soulful sound and no-frills performance.

“Take it easy, bro,” said Dr. Dog bassist Toby Leaman before leaving the stage to end an energetic night.

The show was over, but nobody was leaving. The crowd began to applaud loudly in unison and insinuate that they craved an encore.

Dr. Dog came right back on stage and played “Say Something” off their album “Easy Beat.” Ironically one of the lyrics in this song is “long distance, no need to shout.” Shouting is exactly what the audience used to get them right back on stage and this energy is essentially what summed up the show.

The Philadelphia-based indie group brought their brand of psychadelic rock to Revolution Hall in Troy last Wednesday.

Armed with retro shades and moving almost in synchronization were rhythm guitarist Frank McElroy and lead guitarist Scott McMicken. They acted as lively “sidekicks” to the beanie hat, t-shirt adorned Leaman who thoroughly sang his heart out and screamed melodically whenever he got the chance.

Leaman jumped on stage before their opening number, “The Old Days,” and simply said, “Hey folks.” The show was as simple as their initial greeting all the way through.

There were no drawn-out solos or pointless banter in between songs. Leaman would just take a drink of water between almost every song and once in a while McMicken would spew out a comment or two. The only point at which Leaman said something other than calling the audience “folks” was when he pointed out their youthful-looking drummer, Eric Slick, jokingly calling him a “sight for sore eyes.”

Since releasing their first album, “Psychedelic Swamp,” in 1999, Dr. Dog has been gradually rising and gaining a larger audience ever since. They have opened for well-known bands such as My Morning Jacket and The Strokes. Sounding very reminiscent of bands like The Beach Boys, Tom Waits and David Bowie, Dr. Dog have cited all of these artists as major influences.

The harmonies of McElroy and McMicken were a mixture between The Beatles and The Beach Boys while Leaman’s shouts of “Oh Yeah!” on “Army of Ancients” resembled John Lennon’s screaming passion, which was glued together by the skillful keyboarding of Zach Miller. Their live sound really brought their blues influences to the forefront and assisted Leaman in showing off not only his vocal talent, but his passion.

Slick, who they referred to as “airplane,” was apparently only playing his second show with them. By looking at him, one might inquire how someone so young got into this veteran band. However, after listening to his prowess it’s hard to believe he just began to play with them.

Dr. Dog finished their initial set with the bluesy, Black Keys-esque “The Beach.” A two-song encore closed the night, leaving the crowd with a feeling of satisfaction and influence to know that they had the command to get the band that they came to see back on stage for more.

May I have your attention please? And a vote?

Good morning!

Well, I just awoke to a foot of snow on the ground and the weather guy on t.v. is telling me we're getting 28 inches by the time it's all over...all I know is, I just tried to let the dog out the front door and we both tumbled down the three marble steps leading to my house. It was kind of fun but you had to see me scrambling to get back up before said dog...never mind.

But I also woke up to some great news indeed and to make it even better, I need a little help from my friends. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my latest book, Bitten to the Core, received an absolute stellar review from Whipped Cream Reviews.

Here's the email they sent me:

"We offer a weekend poll at Whipped Cream erotic romance reviews-- we want to know which book or story sounds like the best read based on our reviews. The winning author gets a nifty button and the privilege of having their book or story featured at the top of that page the entire next week!

Your story " Bitten to the Core" was reviewed by us this week and is up for Book of the Week honor this weekend (voting runs from Saturday, 2/6, through Sunday, 2/7). We thought you might like to know. You can find the information here on Saturday.

Thanks and good luck!



So what I need you all to do is click on that "here" link in her above email and vote for Bitten to the Core.

And because it is such a great review, I want to post it in its entirety now.

"In Three Days in New York City, she fled a stagnant marriage and a job she hated, looking for a temporary fix of passion. Instead she found the courage to be herself for the first time in years. In Another Bite of the Apple, she persued her dream and pined for the man she loved, and won both. Or did she?

Yes, Elizabeth is back, and this time...she's in New Jersey.

Frustrated by the disintegration of her relationship with the absentee restaurateur Rob, Elizabeth flees to the Jersey Shore to paint and wallow in self-pity. A chance encounter with the handsome (and younger) writer Andrew spins her into a whirlwind of domestic and sexual bliss. Question is, will it last, and what becomes of Andrew when it's time to return to normal?

What is normal for Elizabeth, anyway? Find out in the long-awaited third novel of Robin's Slick's bestselling series!

Bitten to the Core is a first person POV hysterical romantic journey of a woman falling in love with a younger man.

Elizabeth’s personality is total fun. I have never read a first person POV where I truly felt I was experiencing a person’s thoughts as they have them. Ms. Slick has her character doing monologues that would have done Johnny Carson proud. At no time did I ever feel the internal dialogue spiraled into an info dump. It was fresh, witty, comical, and relatable. When she made reference to the old Match Game game show from the 1970s, I found myself bobbing my head in agreement, excitement heating my veins. I remembered that show! I loved that panel and the tongue-in-cheek comments they would make that would just squeak by the censors.

I found myself relating to Elizabeth in the way she over thinks things. You know, when you think about it and you know you shouldn’t so you feel guilty about over thinking so you do it some more because you are over thinking? And you still just can’t help it? I understood her character and I really liked her. I even enjoyed the fact that she was a woman who escaped a loveless marriage, went on to make mistakes but learned from them and whose attitude is onward and upward, just don’t buy that T-shirt ever again.

I commend Ms. Slick with imbuing Elizabeth with a well rounded and healthy attitude. I could respect her, cheer for her and be envious of her. I even enjoyed how she pleasured herself because even then, I found reasons to smile and giggle. Most books have the person oh, so serious and passionate about it all, but Elizabeth has this extra something that not only makes it sexy and hot, but endearingly adorable too. Hard to imagine it being both but Ms. Slick pulls it off remarkably well.

And speaking of hot, the love interest, Andrew, is a total dream. At times I thought the author was making him too perfect for Elizabeth, and then he’d do the opposite of what you’d expect a man to do. By doing that, Ms. Slick made him unique and a strong character in his own right. He might be young, compared to Elizabeth, but he’s already lived through a period of intense, for lack of a better term, debauchery, and had matured enough to realize the truth of Elizabeth when he saw her. Timing is everything.

I think any woman would adore having a man like Andrew for real in her life, even if only for a few times a year because it would revitalize any long standing marriage. I mean the husbands out there could take some lessons from someone like Andrew. Sometimes you need to be in touch with that impulsive, happy youngster inside to see the world again in all its optimistic potential. And that is what I think Andrew does. He embodies the positive and the hopeful that should be part of a healthy relationship. He showed that men are capable of communication, compromise and empathy in their masculine way that is just as effective as the feminine version. Andrew was a man you wanted to hug, squeeze, pinch his cheeks and then go at him like a frenzied bunny. I liked him too.

The conflict is an internal one and is focused solely on Elizabeth making the choice to let go and accept that what she thought she had wasn’t real and to accept what she thinks is temporary and too good to be true is actually the very thing that is real. It’s that waffling that made her character all too human and believable. It’s a major decision she has to make and she doesn’t shy away from the guilt and uncertainty that dogs her throughout the story. It’s what makes her strong and what makes her final decision all the more realistic. And satisfying.

There are a few secondary characters that help showcase their relationship and Elizabeth and Andrew’s individual personalities. Again, Ms. Slick shows she has a tap into the emotions of her characters because of how she leads us down one path of thought and then hits us readers and her characters with the other side of the coin. Every story has two sides and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions and pass judgment on others until you’ve heard both. I just said, “Wow” when I found out about Dottie. I never expected it.

Bitten to the Core is a very hot, sexually open, hysterically funny and enlightening story about love and trust, following impulses, getting second chances and giving yourself permission to be happy. Although the tone was humorous, the message is as serious as it gets. No matter how old you are, be young at heart, believe you deserve happiness and grab it with both hands. For real love is the greatest gift of all. This is a must read story."


So yes, if you think that's a good review, please vote here. You don't need to have read the book; you are voting on the review which, in a perfect world, will make you want to buy it...and if you do, of course you'll find the link on the cool little revolving widget I have on the upper right hand side of this blog. And thank you!

I'll be back later with more from the Dr. Dog tour and some snow photos...this is truly a blizzard and I am truly as excited as a little child right now. And holy cow, I am hearing gusts of wind through my fireplace...I just turned around...I half expected to see a huge rush of snow falling down the chimney onto the logs. This is CRAZY and I'm loving it!


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.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Dr. Dog: More from the tour

Morning, morning:

So the first thing I wake up to today is a new blog post from Eric Slick where he gives a rather interesting behind the scenes look at his first tour with Dr. Dog.

And then I found a fun You Tube of Eric and Zach Miller, Dr. Dog's keyboardist, jamming to some Beck right after soundcheck while Scott decorated the stage:

Tonight the band is playing at the Pike Room in Pontiac, Michigan, and assuming it's not sold out yet, you can get your tickets right here.

Uh-oh, scratch that. Just talked to Eric. TONIGHT IS ANOTHER SOLD OUT SHOW! Man, that's amazing. But like I've been saying, the other day the band appeared in Billboard, Paste, and Glide Magazines among others and it's been that way pretty much every day since Dr. Dog hit the road last week. You can make the world's greatest music, but without aggressive social networking, a strong and savvy manager, and an awesome publicist such as those on Dr. Dog's team, you're toast. And now there's hard proof to back that up -- every single show on this tour is either filled to the max or sold out completely. So there you have it.

Something else very cool popped up yesterday - a Top Ten Musicians List for 2009. I'll just post the pertinent part:


1 Paul Raven (Posthumous and in perpetuity) – Killing Joke / Ministry
2 John Entwhisle (Posthumous and in perpetuity) – The Who / solo
3 Kasim Sulton – Todd Rundgren / Meatloaf
4 Tony Levin – King Crimson
5 Jerry Casale – Devo
6 Jon Evans – Tori Amos
7 Julie Slick – Adrian Belew Power Trio, e
8 Rick Anderson – Tubes
9 Sting (Gordon Sumner) – Police / Certifiable
10 John Paul Jones – Them Crooked Vultures


1 Bill Bruford (For perpetuity) – King Crimson / Yes / Earthworks
2 Prairie Prince – Tubes / Todd Rundgren
3 Josh Freese – Devo / Nine Inch Nails / solo
4 Matt Chamberlain – Tori Amos
5 Stewart Copeland – Police / Certifiable
6 Eric Slick – Adrian Belew Power Trio, e
7 Dave Grohl – Them Crooked Vultures
8 Joey Castillo – Eagles Of Death Metal / live
9 Big Paul Ferguson – Killing Joke
10 Pat Mastellotto – Mastica


I just realized I have "met" the critic who wrote this in cyberworld a couple of years ago via the Princeton Record Exchange and in one of those misunderstandings that can only happen on the web, I think he has me mistaken for someone who doesn't like him...I read a blog post he wrote where he ran into me at a John Wetton show and I snubbed him or something following a controversial article he wrote about Adrian. I would defend my behavior here now except for one thing...I wasn't at that show. The only John Wetton show I ever attended was when John played with the School of Rock in the very beginning of 2006 and Eric, who had already graduated from the school and was acting as John's roadie that week, sat in on the drums for one song -- Starless, I think...months before he joined the Adrian Belew Power Trio. But regardless, I have utmost respect for anyone who loves and writes about good music, so I hope we can bury whatever hatchet needs burying.

Okay, more coffee for me. You know the drill. I'll add in more stuff to this post as I find it.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Odds and Sods for Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good morning!

Well, my day is starting off simply awesome. I just got the best review like, ever, for Bitten to the Core. Five cherries, which is the equivalent of five stars, I guess, in erotic comedy world and very, very cool.

You can read it right here.

Okay, obviously I have much more to talk about but I'm so stoked about that review I wanted to post it right away.

And congratulations to Neil Gaiman for his Oscar nomination for Coraline! Awesomeness!

ETA: Wow, in Dr. Dog world, yet another newspaper article today in the Wisconsin State Journal (holy cow, yesterday Dr. Dog had feature articles in Billboard, Paste, Glide, and about six others...), and it's a great little piece but what I really liked about it is the accompanying photo which includes Eric Slick, or @mrericslick as he is known on Twitter, and tell me this isn't right out of the Beatles' Help!

(Well, Help! if it were snow instead of grass...)

More later.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Front page of Glide Magazine today: Dr. Dog

ETA #3: Dr. Dog is also in Paste Magazine today.

ETA #2: Dr. Dog is in Billboard today!

"Dr. Dog guitarist Scott McMicken acknowledges that the group's new "Shame, Shame." due out April 6, was "a risky one" for the Philadelphia quintet, taking it out of its home studio environment and bringing in outside production help.

"It was...doubt-ridden and rocky along the way," McMicken tells "There's a lot of changes. We all just kind of took a step off the cliff and hoped we landed on our feet. We did, thankfully. It was a growth opportunity. We're all a little bit older for having made it and all happy for having made it and happy to carry on with what we learned and already looking forward to digging in a little deeper into the new insights we have about recording and playing live."

McMicken says that making "Shame, Shame," the group's debut for Anti- Records, was not entirely smooth, however. Dr. Dog started working with producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith) in August at Dreamland Studios in Hurley, N.Y., but were unable to finish in the allotted month of recording time. Nor were the band members entirely happy with how things were sounding or the working environment in general, feeling that their input was too limited. "Not all of it was ideal," McMicken explains, "but even the stuff that wasn't, I think, helped us to further understand what it is that we work the way we work. We learned a whole lot. We saw our boundaries and how far with were willing to go in collaborating with an outside source. I don't think recording music will ever be the same for us after that experience."

Dr. Dog finished "Shame, Shame" on its own back in Philadelphia during October and November, trimming the nearly 60 songs it had written down to 12. "The album...feels like two worlds colliding," McMicken says, "and ultimately the reconciliation of those two worlds. So all the negatives that might have popped up in the process became...positives in the end."

McMicken says fans will notice some heavyweight and personal emotional fare in the new material -- "A more consistently desperate or dark tone exists in the songs," he explains -- though the music is more direct and immediate. "They're really short, concise pop songs," he says. "The average length is about three minutes, which is really short for us. It's not this kind of sprawling, atmospheric, moody thing we've done in the past. It's a 1-2-3-4-go! kind of record. It's gonna provide a lot of energetic material for the show, which is always cool."

Dr. Dog is, in fact, previewing songs from "Shame, Shame" on the road when it opens a four-month North American tour on Jan. 27 in Troy, N.Y. European dates begin in May. The group is trying to lure 20,000 Facebook friends by promising to leak the lead track, "Shadow People," once that goal is reached, but McMicken says he expects the song to be released in the near future regardless."

ETA: From Good Morning Buffalo, as appearing in the Buffalo Times newspaper this morning:

"Dr. Dog, a psychedelic rock band from Philadelphia that often is compared to the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Band, comes to Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St., for a show that starts at 8 p.m. Of special note is their new drummer, Eric Slick, seen here recently with the Adrian Belew Power Trio. Opening, appropriately, are the Growlers. Tickets are $15"

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program - here's a link to the Glide Magazine article, which says:

Dr. Dog
Higher Ground, South Burlington, VT 1/28/10
By Shane Handler
February 01, 2010

It's a pleasure to watch a band develop as songwriters, recording artists and performers, especially if their audience grows along with them. January 28th is the first time Dr. Dog's commanded the stage in Higher Ground's Ballroom rather than it's smaller Showcase Lounge and the audience filled the larger room comfortably. And happily too.

A crazy quilt backdrop for a stage festooned with shrubs and flowers decorating the drum-kit elevated the festive air and Dr Dog intensified the lighthearted atmosphere almost as soon as they took the stage to play. Their music is infectious almost in spite of itself as the group doesn't use obvious hooks for their tunes. They remain more than happy to thrash their way through what constitutes a bridge more often than the guitars chime or harmonize in tandem.

Yet that latter approach did appear prominently on a handful of new songs that peppered the set during the course of the evening. This apparent move to simplicity, as evinced on "I Only War Blue," belied the oblique humor of previously-recorded material that surrounded it (such as the title song to their last record "Fate"). While it's hard to conceive of Dr. Dog deliberately dumbing down their music, only time will tell if ther forthcoming album Shame, Shame, due this spring, supplies the same kind of effective contrast within the band's discography as did the fresh material mixed in with the tried and true this mid-winter night.

An exceptional musical performance can alter any music lover's sense of time and Dr Dog's ninety minute set seemed far less than half that long by the time they had finished their first encore. The frigid air didn't seem so foreboding walking out of the venue either, a measure of the warmth this band conjures up with its fans during the course of their shows.

So that's cool.

I have a bunch of stuff to do today and will be in and out of the house but will try and come in and add more stuff as I find it.