Monday, May 21, 2012

R.I.P Robin Gibb (Bee Gees)

Robin Gibb has died aged 62, of cancer. More at Rolling Stone. He had been fighting cancer for several years.

Adrian Sherwood On-U mixtapes

Two great mixes of Adrian Sherwood's productions, first one is "the first half of a three hour mix by JD Twitch. This half "focuses on his more electronic wild side (Tackhead, Fats Comet, Keith LeBlanc etc.)" while the second half is dedicated to his dub work with the likes of Creation Rebel."

"... In my late teens and early 20s, Adrian Sherwood's work impacted on me more than anything I had previously heard and made me think about sonic possibilities in a completely new way. I would buy any record he had been involved with unheard and got into a lot of other artists purely because he had been involved with making their records. ... I hadn't listened to a lot of these records for many, many years and fell in love with them all over again while putting this together. It was a complete labour of love to do and a revelation to hear how fresh and wild this music still sounds."

There's a definite thread in New Zealand music that owes a ton to Adrian Sherwood and his On-U stable, from the likes of Pitch Black and Salmonella Dub, to Unitone Hifi and Fat Freddys Drop. Go check this out. Hat tip to Russ B for the links

Vinyl comeback: Charlottesville edition

Vinyl Records Making a Rapid Comeback from Charlottesville, Virginia

Vinyl Record Gaining Popularity, from WHSV, Staunton, Virginia (40 miles from Charlottesville) features on magazine seven-inch:
"It would be interesting to know whether the supposed vinyl revival is resulting in an increase in the sale of record players and styluses, or are the cool kids actually downloading the tracks to their iPhones and then just staring at the black plastic lovingly in a “wow, remember the days of vinyl; no, actually I was born in 1994″ kind of way.

Budweiser is running ‘vinyl adverts’ in various Brazilian magazines which, if you tear out the page and plonk it on your record player, will play’s new song ‘Great Times’...."

Warning: this clip contains musical traces of Black Eyed Peas. Exposure may make you infertile/impotent/insane/incredibly ill. Watch at your own risk.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

John Lydon interviewed by Stinky Jim

There's a great interview done by NZ's Stinky Jim with John Lydon over on The Listener's website, read the long version here. Well worth a read. Short version in the latest Listener, plus Jah Wobble on his and fellow ex-PiL member Keith Levene’s Metal Box in Dub concerts. Lydon also touches on that in his interview. Here's Lydon talking abut the new PiL album...

SJ: The rustic charms of the Cotswolds seems an unlikely location for recording a PiL album.

Lydon: It is, isn’t it? It’s actually financially based, I must tell ya. It was the cheapest one we could find. It’s actually a barn owned by Stevie Winwood, in the middle of sheep country… oh hello, New Zealand lamb. And you know it worked out to be perfect because the engineer there – a bloke called Jim, actually – was great. He understood everything I’ve been saying about music for ages, that we’ve all been saying… if you just set the microphones up right and let us get on with it, let us rehearse, jam and record, you’ll get a good record and you don’t need an elaborate, over the top studio for that. Most of the songs are recorded in a live format.

at the end of the interview, Lydon quizzes Jim on some local culture...

Lydon: Why on Air New Zealand do they play all that New Zealand reggae?

SJ: Oh, it’s awful, isn’t it?

Lydon: Aaaaaagh, what is that about? It’s so pony copy!

SJ: We’ve got a name for it here, which is BBQ reggae, as that is all it’s really good for, and it sums up the absence of any militancy or edge. It’s really, really, really grim. 

Lydon: They call it dub, it’s not even dub; they call it “Dub Reggae Party from New Zealand’s Finest”! Do you know, I’ve got a name for it – Dobbins. As in Dobbin the Donkey.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the AirNZ show Lydon is referring to is High Noon Tea, a version of my KiwiFM radio show which still plays on Air NZ's inflight audio. Hehe. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ms Summer edits

and then there's this story... "Donna Summer believed cause of her cancer was 9/11 attacks"

UPDATED just found this edit of State of Independence, like it much more than the one above...

Z-Trip Beasties mix

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, May 19

Hugh Masekela - Don't go lose it baby - Stretch mix
Cherelle - Artificial heart - dance remix
Chuck Brown and the Soul Searcher - We need some money
Kenny Dope - Can you handle it? Pt 1
Faith Evans - Mesmerised
Colman bros - She who dares - big band original
Cubalooba - Cubalooba
Stargard - Which way is up?
Donna Summer - I feel love (hat tip to Russell Brown for the version below)
Syreeta - I love every little thing about you
Freebass - I'll scratch
Benny Tones - On my way - Flako remix
Prince Fari - Brother Joe
Mr Vegas - Taxi fare refix mungos riddim
Lee Scratch Perry  - Jungle youth - Congo natty remix
Kas Futialo - Kaufeai le nu'u
Dalvanius and the fascinations - Love train
Myron and E w the soul instigators - Cold game
Pigbag - Papa's got a brand new pigbag
Wajeed - Funkin for Jamaica
Beanfield - Tides - Carl Craig remix

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cut Chemist disco mix

...Via Cut Chemist on Twitter "RIP to a legend. Donna Summer. She's all over this mix I did a few years back. Her music was a huge inspiration!"


Vinyl comeback: Miami edition

Dave Thorne is an avid record collector and has invested a significant amount into
his listening system.Photo: Jason Franson, Postmedia News/

From the Miami Herald: Vinyl records making a rapid comeback.

"[23 year old] Camarie Bentley walked into a Fort Lauderdale record store this dreary afternoon, head nodding to Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, streaming from iPod to headphones...

A daughter of the digital age, Bentley only discovered the joy of vinyl a year or so ago... She had an uncle’s turntable at home, so the journey back to the analog era was just a matter of finding a favorite artist’s 12-inch. And then, among the crates of albums. she found Jackson’s Thriller, its iconic cover featuring the star lounging in a dapper white suit and black shirt.

“I listened to that album and that was it. I love that you can hear everything on an album. Somehow you feel like you are listening to the real thing,” says Bentley, who is military-bound and makes regular trips to Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale in search of albums by the Dazz Band, Heatwave and Stevie Wonder. “Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong decade.”

The Miami Art Museum is hosting an exhibit with nearly 100 works celebrating the record. The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, open through June 10, explores the LP within the context and history of contemporary art, using sculptures, drawings, paintings, photos and videos..."

It's surprisingly simple to write a vinyl comeback story, here's how you do it in 4 easy steps...

The vinyl comeback story that writes itself

1. Find a young person to say something 'cool' about vinyl.

2. Quote some statistic on the increase in vinyl sales with absolutely no context for what that means for overall sales for the music industry

3. Find a handy local record shop with a crusty old owner who can talk about the joys of LPs and the tangible experience you don't get with MP3s. Also, get them to describe their clientele and how young they are these days.

4. Highlight that it' s not just vintage vinyl that is undergoing a resurgence, but new vinyl is being released too, from 'modern artists' like Adele and Justin Beiber. 

AND YOU'RE DONE. Nice way to cover 'a passing fad', as one acquaintance put it recently.....

R.I.P. Donna Summer, aged 63

Donna Summer has passed away, at 63, of cancer. From the LA Times...

"An early fan of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, Summer sang in a Boston rock band called Crow in the late 1960s, and left home for New York City at age 18 to find work on Broadway, which she did quickly by landing a role in a touring version of the hot Broadway show “Hair.”

She spent the next three years living and touring in Europe. There she met and married the singer Helmut Sommer, whose last name she adapted as her stage name.

While in Europe she also met Italian music producer Giorgio Moroder, whose early dance tracks were making an impact across Europe. Moroder and Summer started working together, resulting in their first hit, the seductive 17-minute-long dance floor epic “Love to Love You Baby.” A shortened version of it was released by then-hot label Casablanca in 1975, and peaked on the Billboard singles chart at No. 2.

That was the first of a string of songs that not only helped bring disco to the mainstream, but predicted the rise of both techno and house music. Among those were “I Feel Love,” “Bad Girls,” “She Works Hard for the Money” and “On the Radio.”

Soon after, Summer became a born-again Christian and faced controversy when she was accused of making anti-gay comments in relation to the AIDS epidemic. Summer denied making the comments but was the target of a boycott."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who ruined dubstep?

Video: Reggie Watts blames Skrillex for ruining dubstep, via LATimes

NZ music month panel UPDATED

UPDATED The audio of the discussion is up on Soundcloud, listen below...

Via Under The Radar, sounds interesting...

NZ Music Month Panel Discussion at Audio Foundation HQ

Please join us at the AF HQ for a discussion around the topic of NZ Music Month! The panelists include:

Kiran Dass, Duncan Greive and Joseph Nunweek. This discussion will be moderated by Gareth Shute.

“What' When' Why' Who' Me''” are all questions that commonly race through our brains as NZ Music Month envelops us every May. Founded in 2000, the yearly event is now an iconic national institution – but is this brand awareness coming at a price' What's been achieved' Who's being promoted, and to whom'  Please join our esteemed panelists as they shine a light through the fog.

Kiran Dass is an Auckland based writer and reviewer who has written about music, film and books for the NZ Listener, Sunday Star-Times, Metro, Landfall, Real Groove, Rip it Up, NZ Musician, NZ Herald, Dominion Post, No, Pavement and Staple.

Duncan Greive is a journalist who has written extensively about music for magazines and websites including Metro, Sunday, The NZ Herald, Volume, The Corner. He edited youth pop culture magazine Real Groove from 2006-2009, has contributed to radio programmes on bFM and Radio New Zealand and conducted a brief, unsuccessful foray into artist management.

Joe Nunweek has written about music for Craccum, Real Groove, 1972, and Volume and at some point basically resigned himself to hitting every branch on the way down as he fell off the tree of print media. He also writes for The Pantograph Punch and wrangles policy for a day job. Joe's mum bought him one of the inaugural NZ Music Month t-shirts from Hallensteins when he was in Year 9, because lord knows every vulnerable child at a new school needs a massive bullseye target on their chest. Character building!

Gareth Shute is the author of four books on NZ music and the arts. His first book, Hip Hop Music In Aotearoa, went on to win at the New Zealand book awards.

Thursday 17 May, 7pm – free entry
Audio Foundation HQ, 4 Poynton Terrace (Sub-basement of the Parisian Tie Factory,
off Pitt St or behind St Kevins Arcade), Auckland CBD

R.I.P. Chuck Brown

Via WJLA: Chuck Brown dies: 'Godfather of Go-Go' passes away at 75.... "Chuck Brown, the legendary musician who is known as the "Godfather of Go-Go," passed away Wednesday, his daughter confirmed to ABC7's Sam Ford.

 Brown's passing comes about a week after the Washington Post confirmed that the musician, considered the pioneer of Go-Go music, had been hospitalized with pneumonia. Brown's 1970 hit, "Bustin' Loose," hit #1 on the MCA charts. The song was later sampled in the 2002 Nelly song, "Hot in Herre." He had recently postponed numerous shows due to his failing health."  More soon.

ADDED: Washington Post obituary for Chuck Brown... “Bustin’ Loose” was “the one record I had so much confidence in,” Mr. Brown told The Post in 2001. “I messed with it for two years, wrote a hundred lines of lyrics and only ended up using two lines. . . . It was the only time in my career that I felt like it’s going to be a hit.”

It was Mr. Brown’s biggest single, but throughout the 1980s “We Need Some Money,” “Go-Go Swing” and “Run Joe” became local anthems, reinforced by radio support and the grueling performance schedule that put Mr. Brown on area stages six nights a week.

While rap music exploded across the country, go-go dominated young black Washington, with groups including Trouble Funk, Rare Essence and Experience Unlimited following in Mr. Brown’s footsteps..."

WATCH: July 2011 interview with Chuck Brown...

ADDED: From Stephen A Crockett Jr, WaPo... "In 1984, before Bryant St, NW would become a one way, I am a third grader in search of candy and I hear Chuck Brown’s go-go version of this song [I'm in the mood for love] blasting out of a blue Bonneville stuck at a traffic light. I slow walk up to the Sunbeam market so I can catch more of the song.

Light changes and the Bonneville bones out but the music is still in my head and it stays with me into the corner store. Later, I would run the whole way home trying desperately to hold the melody in my head. I asked my Dad about it, but he played a different version of the classic tune. I told him that it wasn’t it. “Oh, he said, knowingly. “That was Chuck.”

One name: like Madonna or Prince or Oprah. Chuck...."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shihad doco arrives tomorrow

The Shihad documentary hits  big screens tomorrow nationwide, looks bloody good from the trailer. The premiere is tonight in Wellington at the Embassy, but the director, Sam Peacocke, told the Dominion Post that "he had not been invited to speak at tonight's premiere, but would be there as a guest of Shihad lead singer Jon Toogood....

"....Peacocke was brought in to take over the reins of Shihad: Beautiful Machine at the start of last year after the original director, Graeme Tuckett, was fired [a week into directing].

Peacocke says he and producer Pacific Lightworks did not see eye to eye on aspects of the film, which profiles arguably New Zealand's biggest rock band.

"Since [editor] Cushla Dillon and I finished the edit I haven't really been involved in any of the post-production from then on. I can kind of see, I think, what Graeme may have found difficult."

Producer Grant Roa labelled Peacocke artistically exceptional but "sociably inept", and said the film had always been "purely" producer-driven. "Sam was brought in as a director for hire."

Roa said the director had in fact been invited to speak at the opening. Asked if there had been a lack of communication from producers, he said: "I think everyone is to blame but I'm not sure."

Roa reducing Peacocke's contribution to merely "A director for hire" is at odds with the official Shihad movie website where the producers extensively talk up them bringing in Peacocke, who already had a relationship with the band from directing music videos for them - "He used the trust he'd had gained and took the band out of their comfort zone and into a entirely unique space where questions couldn't be answered so automatically. This style produced a very genuine response, and from then on the story began to build in depth and honesty."

Check the Grant Roa Appreciation page on Facebook.  There's the above trailer, described as a new production by Grant Roa. And from the Shihad movie FB page, this cool photo customised by David Norris...

UPDATED: Stars turn out for Shihad premiere on Stuff, plus red carpet video....

" [Producer Grant] Roa brushed aside claims of a behind the scenes spat between the producers and the director.

"You're always going to have some disagreements. Sam is exceptionally talented."

He said having conceived of the idea of the documentary he and the other producer, Laurence Alexander, had "boundaries we had put in place that we wanted to work within".

"Both Graeme [Tuckett] and Sam [Peacocke] nurtured that as much as they could. And like creatives, they tried to push the boundaries. That's what you do. That's the story. So as a producer you just tap it back into place now and again."

RIP Belita Woods (P-Funk)

Belita Woods, Singer with Parliament Funkadelic, has passed away. She suffered a heart attack in April 2011.

"... the name and work of Belita Woods going back to her ’60s sides for Ollie McLaughlin’s Moira label and ’70s work with the group Brainstorm (she had the lead vocals on “Loving is Really My Game” and “This Must Be Heaven”). No doubt, more have seen and heard her as a vocalist with George Clinton’s P-Funk aggregations from the 1990s up until recently."

More: Belita Woods dies aged 63


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Orchestra vs hiphop

Some info from the APO on a very cool concert coming up at the end of May... : "Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra brings New Zealand Music Month to a dynamic close with a concert that unites the worlds of orchestral music and hip-hop.

The 31 May concert, dubbed ‘Remix the Orchestra: Full Orchestra Meets Hip-Hop’, is the culmination of five years of collaboration between the APO and leading hip-hop musicians who have worked together to mentor young artists, and who now appear together on one stage for the first time.

Joining the orchestra for the Auckland Town Hall concert are several of New Zealand’s leading hip-hop acts: Tyree (Smashproof), Frisko (aka Alphrisk, Deceptikonz) and hip-hop legend Ermehn (OMC, etc), one of the most respected artists on the local urban music scene. The three each perform a track from their impressive catalogues.

Spinning decks throughout is DJCXL (Ill Semantics), a former NZ DMC Champion whose new album Represent recently spent time in the national top 40 and reached as high as #4 on the NZ artists’ album chart.

The concert reaches beyond music, featuring dancers and graffiti crew FDKNS. The latter will create their art on tablet computers, with the work being projected on to screens."

Remix the Orchestra: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra with special guests DJCXL, Tyree, Frisko, Ermehn and conductor/composer Kenneth Young.Auckland Town Hall, 8pm, Thursday 31 May
Tickets: $20/$30,, (09) 357 3355

Wah wah bizznizz

A couple of gems from the Wah Wah 45s label, for free. Nice one.

There's the flip of the Hackney Colliery Band's single where they did a great cover of No diggity.


Also worth checking, Scrimshire's recent single, grab it just for the LV remix that's a groover and a half. That EP is pay what you like. And there's a cool re-edit of Merry Clayton from Scrimshire over here.

Both Scrimshire and Hackney Colliery Band are playing live in London May 25, alongside United Vibrations and with DJ appearances from Jazzanova, Part-Time Heroes, Dom Servini and DJ Konvex. If you're in the region, get tickets now.


Monday, May 14, 2012

“Once Upon a Time in New York — The Birth of Hip-Hop, Disco & Punk” (2007).

Via Egotrip, hat tip to Jason F. Have sen this floating round before, well worth a look. NYC covered by Tommy Ramone, John Cale, Nile Rogers, David Mancuso, Chuck D, Kool Herc and more...

Homebrew slip to #2

The Top 40 album chart is out, Adele jumps to #1, and Homebrew drop down to #2. Mothers day bounce for Adele? [UPDATED: just been pointed out to me that Mothers Day sales bump was friday/saturday, and that will be counted in next week's chart, not this one]

The other Kiwi album in the top ten is Suzanne Prentice - imagine if Homebrew had been knocked from #1 by her.

Ah, never mind. Let's watch Homebrew bump into Neil and Sharon Finn on the street and try and get him to say "F#ck Dave Dobbyn"...

UPDATED from The Corner... Off the back of their triumphant debut at number one on the albums chart last week, Home Brew have opened up a pop up store in Ponsonby where they’re selling merch and copies of their debut album. The Home Brew Take Over Store, next to Video Ezy, 160 Ponsonby Road. Monday 14 May – Sunday 20 May, 11am – 11pm daily

Len Lye talk

 Roger Horrocks (Len Lye biographer and friend) talks about Lye, one of the greatest artists NZ has ever produced. Go give it a listen.

Joel and Nathan Haines talking all that jazz

Photo: Peter McLennan

Joel and Nathan Haines in conversation with Mike Chunn was part of the recent Auckland Writers And Readers Festival (and it was free - yay!). The Composer's Life was the topic, but before the questions started, they played some music, with Nathan on sax, Joel on guitar, and their father Kevin joining them on double bass. The tune was one of Joel's called "Live at Wembley", which Nathan said they'd explain the title later, but never got round to it. 

Mike Chunn tried to get Kevin to sit onstage with his sons but he wasn't keen, so Mike pointed out there was a glass of wine onstage for Kevin which Kevin leapt up and grabbed, then headed back to his seat in the audience. 

Mike started off by asking Joel and Nathan what were their first musical memories? They mentioned names like Gino Vannelli, Stevie Wonder, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, whatever their father chose to put on... Nathan said "Dad was the dark overlord of the stereo."

They grew up in Beachhaven, and went to Northcote College - they got to go to LA as part of the school big band and play some gigs, including Disneyland. Later in the conversation, Mike asks if they were good at school or did they get into trouble. Nathan says we were good, Joel mutters about being bad, and their Dad chimes in with "They were very good, it all went bad later."

Mike asked about their first time onstage. Nathan recalled their earliest gigs were at the Jazz Festival run by Tommy Adderley, at the Sheraton (now the Langham). Their father was playing with them, and they played some of his numbers, which Nathan remembers as "ridiculously difficult tunes." And that he and Joel could barely play. As Mike noted, they didn't take the easy option and just play Summertime

Mike asked what age were thay, and Nathan mentioned about 8 or 9. Mike jokingly suggested that maybe Kevin could be accused of child slave labour... Nathan says they started out playing at age 3 and 4, and he could read music by the time he started school.

Mike recalled the first Apra Silver Scrolls that featured artists covering the five finalists, and that Nathan  and Joel and their band Freebass had played one of the covers, doing a Headless Chickens number is such a fashion that it was largely unrecognisable, and split the room. Murray Cammick told Mike later that night that half the room loved it, the other half hated it. 

Talking about growing up, Nathan said that their mother was more artistic than their father, funnily enough. She was more from the visual side, their father more on the audio side. 

Mike asked about playing with your head or your heart, and Joel talked about his time playing with Human Instinct, which he said is about heart - "sometimes in that band, people are playing different songs! So it's all about heart with them."

They play another song, the title track off Nathan's latest album, The Poet's Embrace. Nathan describes the album as a "Straight to two track, wonderful analog affair." After the song, Nathan says "That's the first time we've played that one."

Mike talks about Nathan's latest album, saying he pre-ordered it, and got it on his iTunes, and asks is Nathan okay with that? Nathan says yes, it's all music. He made the album to be played on vinyl, and says the 300 copies have almost all gone. But any format is okay with him.

Mike asks Joel about his involvement in synchronisation (writing for film, tv). He says he got his big break writing music for tv series Mercy Peak. Prior to that he'd done session work for Murray Grindley on ads and so on and was very interested in that area. He talked about writing for the screen  - "To get it right, you've got to get inside the characters."

Joel says he really likes being part of a big machine where, if everyone gets it right, it becomes this incredible thing. Writing and recording music on his own at home suits him though he confesses "It drives my poor wife crazy!"

He says with his work "It's not about you, how well you are playing, it can be about the grading of a shot. I really like that. I never wanted to be a frontman."

They play one of Joel's film pieces, no song title given. 

Mike talks about choosing music for his father's funeral recently, and plays a snippet of the song he chose, and asks if they recognise it. It's Joni Mitchell's Court and spark, as covered by Nathan on his album Music for Cocktail Lovers. Mike asks would it have been a better song if Joni had used that [Nathan's] arrangement? Nathan says no. The song was suggested by Murray Thom (executive producer and financial backer of the album), from Herbie Hancock's version.

Nathan talked about his former manager Matt Coleman talking with him when Nathan got back from the UK last year about his next album. Matt told Nathan "I''ve got this great idea, you should do an album covering classic NZ songs" [or words to that effect]. Nathan thought about it for 24 hours and said no. 

Mike expressed surprise that Nathan had taken that long to decide against it, suggesting a minute's thought would have been a better length. Guessing Mike didn't think it was a good idea then. And this from the man who bought us Double J and Twice the T.

Mike asked an oddly-worded question about whether Nathan thought NZ was too small for him to  sustain himself? Nathan said no, he was grateful for the support he had here and the audience he had built up. And the hanging question over this reply was why are you moving to the UK, then? 

Nathan described his latest album as one where he decided to make the kind of album he wanted to make, and just not worry about pleasing an audience or whatever, and that it has turned out to be his most well-received album to date.  

I'm not too sure why Nathan should be surprised that an album that aimed to be straight ahead jazz,  which is a pretty conservative musical choice, would do well. Seems like a no brainer to me. 

They close the session with another song, one of their early numbers, but again a lack of song titles. Nevertheless, a very entertaining hour of conversation and jazz. Thanks to all involved. 

Nathan Haines is playing a show on May 18 at Devonport's newly restored Victoria Theatre, playing The Poet's Embrace in full, before he shifts to the UK in June. Details and booking here

Picassos 95

Photo: Karl Pierard
From Pavement magazine, 1995, by Gemma Gracewood. 

If there's a band that can preach passionately about the state of our society for hours on end, it's the Hallelujah Picassos. The five members have been key players on Auckland's music and social scene long enough to know what they're talking about when they call for unity in our community. With the release of their new EP, Gospel of the DNA Demon, a 13-track "genetic mix-up'' of styles and sounds, the Picassos manifesto is at the forefront again.

"lt's very important for us that the community that we live in right now shakes up and we start believing that the individual is worth something,'' says vocalist and guitarist Raudra Bayanaka, aka Harold aka Roland. "What we've seen in the last 15 years in the media and in the music is the deconstruction of the individual. For example, we had the grudge period where it was cool to be a loser, it was cool to be down and out, it was cool to talk about how fucked up your childhood was." Peter McLennan, keyboards and samples, picks up the thread.

"We've learnt that cynicism is a totally healthy way of thinking, which to me is extremely unconstructive.'' Johnny Pain, bass, agrees. ''It constrains people from solving problems. They wallow in trash culture and drown in self-pity. The thing is, no matter how bad you feel, there are ten million other people in exactly the same predicament, and you should take strength from the fact you're not alone,''

Continues Harold: "There's too much selfishness, too much 'fuck you, fuck you'. We've had enough of that. Evelybody's worth something again. We need unity. But the unity thing doesn't mean that everyone should be homogeneous. That's not the idea at all. You're supposed to salvage individuality. You can be wildly different and still be all pushing in the same direction.'' A bit like the Hallelujah Picassos, really.

[I remember the photographer for this article thought he had a great idea, of shooting us all with our shirts, off, then overlaying them. Catch was, Harold didn't want to take his shirt off.]

Green Onions

Sunday, May 13, 2012

RIP Donald Duck Dunn

Legendary bass player Donald 'Duck' Dunn with Booker T and the MGs/Stax Records crew has passed away aged 70.

Steve Cropper, the MGs guitarist, broke the news on his Facebook page at approximately 12:30AM Eastern time.

“Today I lost my best friend, the World has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live,” Cropper, his lifelong friend, wrote. “Duck Dunn died in his sleep Sunday morning May 13 in Tokyo Japan after finishing 2 shows at the Blue Note Night Club.” Source.

Booker T and the MGs were the house band at Stax and backed up Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and many more, as well as having their own hits with instrumentals like Green Onions, Time is Tight, and Melting Pot, a popular tune with early hiphop DJs.

ADDED: obituary from Memphis Commercial Appeal, with comments from David Porter, Deanie Parker.

Miles Davis signed single

A Miles Davis 1955 signed single has popped up on Trademe. Apparently the owners tried to list it on eBay but found that process to be "...a nightmare. Trademe need to give those fellas a lesson ".

"This is very rare indeed. It has been signed by all the band members who played on this album with Miles signing by doodling a trumpet and a caricature of him playing the trumpet.
Signed by - Red Garland, piano, Phineaus Newborough (Philly Joe Jones), drums,
Oscar Pettiford, bass

We think Miles has put MD on top of Oscars but not sure. The album cover is very faded on the front and some knuckle head has sellotaped the cover up, as you can see. The album is in very good condition and the company is Metronome from Sweden. The recorded songs are - A Gal in Calico and I Didn't." See Trademe. Starts at $990.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Two sessions at the Auckland Writers And Readers Festival that may appeal to music fans... both on Sunday May 13, both at the same time. Lousy scheduling on the part of festival orgainsers...

1. Award-winning writer Chris Bourke (Blue Smoke) presents Auckland After Hours... more info here...

"Prize-winning Blue Smoke (2010) author Chris Bourke brings back to life the venues, sounds and changing dance fashions of the Auckland music scene – from the first cabarets and jazz bands of the 1920s featured at the Dixieland on Queen Street (now Real Groovy), to the arrival of rock ’n’ roll to Auckland in 1956.

The latter drew teenagers to the Trades Hall in Hobson Street at the same time that more sophisticated venues offering jazz combos, cabaret and groundbreaking liquor access were becoming established for adults.

Bourke has spent years searching out the rare archival audio recordings, photos and ephemera that vividly illustrate the sights and sounds of Auckland at play. Introduced by Josie McNaught."

Time: 01:15 p.m. - 02:15 p.m.
Price: Earlybird $20, Standard $25, Patrons $16, Students $12.50

2. Nathan and Joel Haines - The Composer's Life. More info here...

"Brothers Nathan and Joel Haines are musicians and composers of note, each having carved out successful musical careers.

The sons of an accomplished bassist, the pair spent their formative years performing around Auckland and joined the group Freebass in the early 1990s.

Nathan, who has produced seven solo albums to date, has lived in both New York and London, where his musical career has been influenced by a range of other musical genres.

Joel meanwhile has an impressive list of composing credits to his name for feature films, television series and commercials and has worked with a myriad of Maori directors and artists, including traditional Maori instrument players. They speak with Mike Chunn about the composer’s life. Supported by APRA/AMCOS."

Time: 01:00 p.m. - 02:00 p.m.

Ring The Alarm playlist, Basefm, 12 May

Outlines - Waiting in line inst
Gary Byrd - The Crown
Jimmy Bo Horne - I get lifted
Kid Creole - I'm a wonderful thing baby
Pimps of joytimes - PJTs high steppin
Homebrew - Plastic magic feat Esther Stephens
Temptations - Zoom
Ozomatli - Superbowl sundae - Peanutbutter wolf remix
Sister Nancy - Big beat bam
Pablove Black - Poco tempo
Alton Ellis - It's a shame
Jackie Mittoo - Hang em high
Vin Gordon - Steady beat
Q-Tip - Breathe and stop - TenDJiz mashup
Guilty Simpson - Man's world
Funkmaster Flex - Safe sex no freaks
Prince - Housequake
Gil Scott Heron - B Movie
Sister love - You've got to make the choice
Ike and Tina Turner - Somebody somewhere needs you
Jean Carn - Free Love - Victor Rosado re-edit
Scrimshire - Everything you say - LV remix
Mo kolours - Banana wine

Friday, May 11, 2012

Radio radio

Hat tip to Dan News. 'The History of NZ Radio' through the eyes of the Radio Awards team (NSFW, contains swearing)... As Andrew Dubber noted on Twitter, "Frighteningly accurate. The real history of radio in Auckland in the 1980s, starring everyone as themselves: "

Fela Live!

Strut have just released Fela Kuti, Live in Detroit 1986. "Previously unheard Fela Kuti live material. Need we really say more? We're extremely pleased to offer a document of the inimitable architect of Afrobeat, recorded shortly after his release from Nigerian prison. Fela Kuti Live In Detroit 1986 is out this week on 2xCD, 4xLP, and digital download." Go here to Strut's site for free download.

Via Pitchfork, tracklist:
01 Just Like That
02 Confusion Break Bones
03 Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense
04 Beast of No Nation

Official release of previously bootlegged concert from Fela's first North American tour with Egypt 80. The first album of official unreleased Fela music since his last studio album, 1992's Underground System.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Home brew #1 next mon?

Today's NZ Herald Timeout entertainment section congratulates Homebrew on entering the album charts at number one - " Selling your album to every punter who came to a marathon 48 hour album release party was a savvy idea."

Except the cutoff for the charts is on Thursday. Meaning Homebrew's album was on sale for only two and a half days (iTunes on Tues, JB Hifi on Wed and others) and still hit number one. Those album sales at their album release party at the weekend will be counted this week, if they had organised to get them included and met the relevant criteria for chart returns.

UPDATED I have had it confirmed by Homebrew's distributor/label that they will be including album sales at the release party in the chart returns this week.

Bob Marley doco hits NZ screens in July

Marley, the new documentary on Bob Marley currently doing the rounds of film festivals overseas, and will hit NZ shores in July, as part of the NZ Intl Film Festivals, which start in Auckland on July 19. It will also be the first time that the half a billion Facebook users worldwide can download and pay for a film at the same time it is in cinemas.

From the trailer you can see bits of footage connected with NZ, like a snippet of Dylan Taite's interview with Marley, and a shot of Marley walking out onstage at Western Springs in 1979.

From TV3 News... "the Jamaican singer died of cancer in 1981.

He kept his illness to himself until it was too late, and of the ninety people interviewed for the film, [director Kevin] MacDonald still couldn't find out why.

“I'd like to know did he know he was ill before the end of his life? I think he did, I just think he didn't tell anyone, but certainly no one around him knew that he was ill.”

“My life is only important if I can help plenty people. My life isn’t for my own security, my life is for people,” Marley says in the film.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Mr Bradley

If you haven't got a copy of No Time For Dreaming, the debut album by Charles Bradley, what are you waiting for? Life is hard - listen to some soul music. 

More from their Jools Holland appearance here.

Macking, not slacking....

Still from Sureshot video
A lot of obituaries for Adam Yauch are resorting to quoting one lyric of his, from Sureshot, to supposedly show how he redeemed himself for his earlier misogynist lyrics. But he wasn't just one lyric. 

When I went back this past week and listened thru the Beasties catalog, one of the many great lyrics that stuck out for me was the next line in Sureshot after the one quoted below  - it went  Well you can say I'm 20-something and I should be slacking, but I'm working harder than ever, and you could calll it macking... 

I remember when I first heard that line, I was a 20-something, and the media had taken to labelling young creative bohemian types as slackers, cos we didn't work a regular job - we were doing half a dozen jobs, not all for money either. I knew a ton of people like that in AKLD in the mid 90s. Hearing that lyric reinforced that it was ok to do that, it WAS work. And you looked at The Beastie Boys, with their record label, and clothing line, and magazine, and went, yeah, I am working harder than ever....

From the LA Weekly, a great piece called  Let's Not Reduce Adam Yauch's Career to a Single Lyric....

"...from the string of memorials that have come out since his death, one could get the impression that a single stanza came to define his career, from the group's 1994 track "Sure Shot": 
I wanna say a little something that's long overdue
The disrespect to women has got to be through.
To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends,
I wanna offer my love and respect to the end

This lyric was quoted in the majority of the high-profile obituaries and remembrances of Yauch, including here, here, here , here and here. Noting the preponderance of off-color and misogynist remarks in the group's early work, one writer said that Yauch's evolution represented "a reassuring sign of the possibility of growth and maturity in hip-hop." To another, "this is the Yauch people remember: a man who could say he was sorry and not feel lessened by it."

For sure, Yauch was a complex person. During different parts of his life he was a rapper, a director, a bassist, a basketball fan, a father, a philanthropist, and a Buddhist. At some point after the Beastie Boys blew up he began to passionately and publicly embrace a number of liberal causes.

He also disavowed his previous, virulent homophobia; in other words, he grew up -- something that is not particularly profound for rappers or anyone else. Yes, Yauch should be applauded for taking stock of himself and changing his content. (And perhaps for encouraging others to do the same thing.) But this stance and the above lyric are not Yauch's legacy. Rather, his legacy is his role in one of the most important groups in hip-hop history. And the trio's most important music is, in large measure, their early material -- the stuff they released before "Sure Shot" -- warts and all.

The desire to put Yauch into a socio-political context is understandable for obituary writers. But to imply that this lyric somehow epitomized Yauch's career -- or that his evolution will be what he is ultimately be remembered for -- is an attempt at revisionism.

If we've decided to judge rappers primarily on how delicately they treat the issue of gender relations, than we can go ahead and throw out the majority of Biggie and Tupac's greatest works, for starters.

Again, this is not a defense of misogynist lyrics in hip-hop. But to say that much of what made Yauch great was his disavowal of his randy "alpha male stuff" is to miss the point; it is not controversial to call Licensed To Ill and Paul's Boutique the group's most important works. (Ill Communication is a dope album, but it didn't change rap like those other two.)

Remember, it's okay to think albums are amazing even if you think some of the sentiments expressed on them are deplorable. That's true of hip-hop as a whole."

Ghost returns

Ghostface Killah returns to NZ for shows in June, taking in Christchurch (June 5) and Wellington for the first time (June 6) and revisiting Auckland (June 7). I saw his previous show here in 2009, his first time in NZ - it was a wicked night, he absolutely rocked it. He's also bringing Killah Piest from the Wu Tang collective as part of his touring crew. And Chch and Welli get locals @Peace in support, which is well cool.

"On stages across the globe, his urgent delivery, dense fascinating slang, raw jokes and emotive stream-of consciousness-narratives have delighted audiences for two decades. This June, Ghostface Killah embarks on his second ever New Zealand tour, taking in debut performances in Wellington and Christchurch. This is a rare opportunity to witness the talent described by Q Magazine as, "one of raps finest storytellers" and praised by MTV and as one of the greatest MCs of our era."

June 5, USCA Events Centre Foundry, Christchurch
Tickets from or from the Christchurch iSite (next to the Museum).

June 6, San Francisco Bath House, Wellington 
Tickets from or from Rough Peel Music and Cosmic Corner Wellington.

June 7, Powerstation, Auckland 
Tickets available from Ticketmaster Limited early birds $50+bf, and then 65+bf. Local line up TBC.

There's a few fan reviews of his last show in NZ on that Ticketmaster page of his last visit, best quote ... "I have to say this was the best show by a Wu-Tang member so far in NZ.... a real treat and a definite representation of WUTANG..."

BONUS... from last year, check Ghost Funk,  mashups from Max Tannone... Ghostface Killah, with vintage African funk, high-life, and psychedelic rock.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Homebrew #1 debut

Homebrew's album has debuted at number one on the album charts. Last local hiphop act to do that was in 2003. Congratulations, boys, you made it!

Having wrapped up their 48 hour album launch this morning at 10am, word on Twitter is the boys are off out again tonight to celebrate. They are hardy buggers.

@Kidz_In_Space: "Just drove past@HazTweetz [Haz] on K rd raising his arms in victory."

Now, I better go buy a copy of it this week so it stays at number one, aye. Roll on payday.

ADDED Michael Upton (Jet Jaguar, Montano) has written a great piece called All Home Brew's producers' other releases,  including Christoph El Truento, Si Res, Soul Chef, Fire and Ice (David Dallas) and more. 

Bill Brewster in AK

Bill Brewster is visiting our shores for the first time, DJing at Ink Bar on May 26. The night before, he's giving a seminar at Red Bull Studio, 13 Hargreaves St, Freemans Bay, at 730pm, called Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, also the title of an excellent book he co-authored with Frank Broughton. It's essential reading for any DJ. He's definitely got something to say that's worth hearing.

Brewster is a founding resident DJ of Fabric, and author of several books, including How To DJ (Properly), and The Record Players: DJ Revolutionaries. Check out for more on Brewster and his great writing.

Bill Brewster. Photo: RBMA

From Resident Advisor: " One minute he’s rocking the roof off at Fabric with his tough and funky big-room underground house; the next he’s charming the pants off a more intimate crowd with everything from dubby disco, funk and hip-hop to trip hop and Latin batucadas. Armed with a sensitivity and sense of occasion that few DJs possess Bill Brewster knows how to work a crowd in the best possible sense.

Originally a chef, a football pundit (co-editor of fanzine When Saturday Comes) and record collector, Bill began DJing in in the late 80s, but he cut his teeth playing ‘Low Life’ warehouse parties in Harlem and the East Village – he moved to NYC to manage DMC’s US operation – and anyone hearing Bill today can see how these New York ‘roots’ shine through. For eclecticism, surprises, amazing unique music and sheer long-haul dedication to the dancefloor, Bill’s your man.

His other life is as a writer. Together with long-term pal Frank Broughton, Bill is author of the definitive history of DJing, Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, and has contributed his acid Grimsby wit and encyclopaedic knowledge of music to just about every dance rag there is, not to mention The Guardian, Independent and Mail On Sunday. The Brewster-Broughton double act unveiled their latest hit in 2002 with the uniquely sardonic DJ manual How To DJ (Properly).

He’s an industry insider, having brought Twisted records to the UK and launched his own highly successful deep house label Forensic. In his spare time he is often found in the studio, either with Fat Camp partner, Theo Noble, re-editing old disco, funk and rock records; or producing original music. They run a small edit label Disco Sucks.

As his hero Kid Creole would say, 'Annie I'm not your daddy.'

“What Bill Brewster doesn’t know about disc jockeying is probably not worth knowing.” Jockey Slut
“One of Fabric’s heroes is behind the decks for one of his multi-genre embracing sessions. It’s going to be a late one.” Metro
“The greatest book ever written about dance music.” Daily Mirror on Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

Via C-store blog, a Bill Brewster mixtape... "The mix, entitled Pre Season Optimist, offers a mix of cool super rare & hard to find records. Awesome nigerian funk, trippy dub disco, library grooves & other funky greatness."

And Bill Brewster - Live mix via RBMA Radio - he drops some Kora in there....


 Chuck D talking about the Beastie Boys, rock n roll, and Bette Midler, and sitting with two great songwriters, Carole King and Smokey Robinson at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and then bugging out about it on Twitter - "I tweeted my ass off!"

Chuck calls out urban radio for failing black music in America right now, it's some straight talk. He says Public Enemy got on the Licensed to Ill tour in 87 cos as replacements for Fishbone, and cos they were cheap.

Clip via Dangerous Minds - Read Chuck D's speech inducting the Beasties here.


Fascinating article from Bloomberg Businessweek, on the Numero Group label. Read it in full here

"...In an industry struggling to stay afloat, Numero is an anomaly: It’s a growing and profitable record company. Dedicated to unearthing lost musical treasures—primarily in the realms of soul, funk, and gospel—the eight-year-old label has amassed legions of devoted fans, including rocker Robert Plant, author Michael Chabon, and actress Zooey Deschanel. Numero, which grossed more than $1 million in 2011, has a grand ambition that belies its modest size: to be the world’s greatest reissue label.

It’s fitting that a record label that relies on serendipitous discoveries was founded by chance. Ken Shipley, 34, a former talent rep for Salem (Mass.)-based reissue label Rykodisc, met Rob Sevier, 33, whose résumé includes a stint at Merge Records, at a Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings concert in 2002. 

Around the same time, longtime advertising executive Tom Lunt, 60, who had previously logged time at record chain Sound Distributors, bumped into Shipley at a record store. Then they crossed shopping carts in a grocery store. Following those random encounters, the three discussed the idea that became Numero. In an effort to retain complete control, the co-founders decided not to solicit outside investors, instead relying on $23,000 of Lunt’s personal savings to get things going...." Read more

Dotcom, large and in charge

Kim Dotcom has released a rap song about John Banks and his apparent amnesia... "John Banks, he's got the vote, thats why John Key keeps him afloat, in his cabbage boat..."

Sure shot

This is a great piece from New York magazine, put together at the time of the release of Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2 in 2011."To mark that occasion, a look back at the birth of the Beastie Boys sound, as told by the people who lived it." It's an oral history of the early days of the Beastie Boys career, from 1981 to 87.

Hear from the band, Bad Brains' Darryl Jennifer, Dante Ross, Thurston Moore, Run and DMC. And Molly Ringwald, who was dating Adam Horowitz. She recounts the time she drank the Beasties under  the table while on tour, in 86.

Run DMC took them on tour as their opening act in 86... DMC: "For the first couple of days of the tour, the towns we were playing were in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee—this was the black South. We expected to hear boos, so we were reluctant to be on the side of the stage, to see them get disappointed.

"But then from the dressing room, we’d hear “Yeaaaaaah! Yeaaahhh!” It was the black audience, praising these dudes. The reason they were so good: It wasn’t white punk rockers trying to be black emcees. They wasn’t talking about gold chains or Cadillacs. They were white rappers rapping about what they did. Real recognize real."

And then there's this....


Saturday, May 05, 2012

Trinity Roots vs taxman

Photo: NZ Musician/Sarah Hunter

The Dominion Posts reports that Trinity Roots owe the taxman $100,000.

"Liquidators appointed this month have assumed control of Trinity Roots Ltd's finances, but say it has virtually no assets and any unsecured creditors are unlikely to be repaid.

The company's listed directors are founding members Rio Hemopo and Warren Maxwell. Maxwell also played with Fat Freddy's Drop and is the front man of Little Bushman.

Former members Riki Gooch and Darren Mathiassen are listed as former directors.

The band was formed in 1998 but disbanded in 2005. [They reformed in 2010, but original drummer Riki Gooch departed soon after and was replaced by Jean Pompey in mid 2011.]

Trinity Roots Ltd was fined $1560 in 2006 for 22 charges of failing to file tax and GST returns over three years. Its lawyer at the time told the court the returns had simply been overlooked.

Liquidator Paul Bartley said yesterday at least part of the current debt – totalling $99,140.59 in unpaid taxes and penalties – was linked to the historic charges.

Trinity Roots' co-manager Ange Kalogeropoulos – Maxwell's partner – said the financial troubles had a long history.

"It all [harks] back to when they were originally all together. The management they had completely failed them in the end.

Ms Kalogeropoulos said the tax debt was not the reason the band broke up.

"But after they did break up there were a lot of things that came to light that had been going on that the guys were completely oblivious to. In a business sense, they were directors of that company, they were responsible in that regard."

She declined to name the band's previous managers...."

A quick search reveals the band's manager prior to the 2005 split was Toby Larmer, who also managed Hollie Smith, Kora, Cornerstone Roots, and Phoenix Foundation. 

Sam Scott of the Phoenix Foundation, told me via Twitter that their manager at that time was  "Way too casual. [he was] disorganised, not into the details. Awesome dude though, being a bad accountant doesn't mean you're a dick."

Check your head

The Beastie Boys toured to NZ a lot - they played here in the early 1990s at the Powerstation, and later tours called in at the Logan Campbell Centre with Helmet, the North Shore Events Centre, the Big Day Out....

I remember when my old band Hallelujah Picassos got the opening slot for the Beastie Boys show at the Powerststaion, we were hanging round waiting for soundcheck and one of the band was skateboarding round the dancefloor of the Powerstation, so we gave him a copy of our album. Wish I could remember which band member it was.

On that visit I also remember seeing the Beasties around central Auckland a bit, up on Victoria st by the offices of Stratford Productions, the film company that shot their music video in Rotorua for the song Gratitude , watch it here.

Here's Yauch talking about his debut feature as a director, a b-ball documentary called Gunnin' for the #1 spot... at 1.10 he talks about how he got into film making, shooting super 8 film to project behind the band... he had his own film  production company Oscilloscope Laboratories, who were getting into film distribution too....

Download: Mick Boogie’s Beastie Boys: Grand Royal Mixtape "In honor of the Beastie Boys being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...I thought it’s finally the right time to do a Beasties mixtape. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time… something people have asked me to do for a long time, actually...but I wanted it to mean something. Now, it’s finally the right time. 

I present to you Grand Royal. 80 minutes of my favorite Beastie Boys rarities, remixes, demos, live versions, out-takes, and more... I called my friend Jonathan Mannion, the legendary photographer (8 Jay-Z albums, 3 Eminem albums, Lil Wayne, Nas, Aaliyah, the list goes on and on), and we decided to re-shoot the iconic cover from the Beastie’s 1989 classic Paul’s Boutique...."

The Beastie Boys put out their own magazine Grand Royal, from 93-97 - Grand Royal was also the name of their record label. It was an intermittent thing - the second issue came out a year late. I've got 4 of the 6 issues, they are great reading. From interviews with Lee Scratch Perry to Robert Moog... read Remembering Grand Royal magazine, from Atlantic Monthly...

Plus photographer Glen E Friedman has posted some previously unpublished photos of his of the band... hanging with David Lee Roth, Billy Idol and others... 

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM May 5

A celebrate the start of NZ Music Month, a ton of fine Kiwi reggae and downtempo, and a Beasties tune.

Fat Freddys Drop - Hope - Sonsine remix
International observer - Vale
Jefferson Belt - Creeping tings of the earth
Lord Echo - Thinkining of you
Fredericks Brown - Betrayal - Dusty remix
Snap - Sidewalk city dance mix
DJ Vee feat Mighty Asterix - The best in me
Eru Dangerspeil - Sun again
Joint force - Static - Mario Bros remix
Kas Futialo - Good morning Samoa
Cornerstone roots - Forward the sax
The Yoots - E papa waiari
Dub terminator and Ras Stone - Love you so much
Dub connection - Dub skuffle
Black seeds - Make a move - Downtown Brown version
Tiki - Burning fire - Oogun remix
Lost tribe - Summer in the winter
Ermehn - Don't be late
Che Fu - Misty frequencies - Submariner remix w Hype The Native
@peace - Home
Scratch 22 - For walking faces
Manuel Bundy - What's your style?
Dub Asylum - Ba ba boom
Herbs - French letter dub version
Beastie Boys - Hey ladies

The Beastie Boys - Gratitude, shot in Rotorua, early 1990s...

R.I.P Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys)

Adam Yauch has died of cancer, aged 47. Very sad news.

Yauch was involved in directing the group's videos, as Nathaniel Hornblower. Read a letter he wrote to the New York Times in 2004, regarding their negative review of their video - 'CH-CHECK IT OUT'; One Goat, on Account.

RIP MCA: Vintage Ricky Powell Photos From the 'Paul's Boutique' Sessions

ADDED New York Times reports "he died at 9 a.m. on Friday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan with his parents, his in-laws, his wife, Dechen Wangdu, and his 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin Losel Yauch, at his bedside. He had been admitted to the hospital on April 14 after a three-year battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was conscious until the end."

Expat NZer Kirk Harding on the Beastie Boys..."...pauls boutique was monumental, but it was so different that it took me a minute to catch up. but check your head was whole other story. it was another leveling bomb-blast to my musical universe. it turned me on to a whole new world of music and for that moment the beasties couldn’t get any cooler. their magazine, clothing line, record label all spoke to me and hipped me to artists as diverse as lee scratch perry, jorge ben & at the drive in.

i recently sat with lyor cohen and asked after adam. lyor had just returned from the rock’n’roll hall of fame ceremony, where the beasties boys had been inducted. i could instantly tell by the look on lyor’s face that the news was bad. he responded by simply saying “he’s not well”. i knew at that moment that this day was coming and i was gutted. "

Bill Adler, formerly of Def Jam Records, remembers Yauch. Source.

“My first impression of the Beastie Boys—they were little punks, they were brats. That was my first impression of them. They certainly weren’t interested in making nice with me although I didn’t really take it personally, that’s just the way they were at a time. They got pulled into the Rush artists family and they started going out on tour with Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Houdini and the rest of our guys, and they relaxed a little bit. Not just with me, but with all of us who were working with Russell Simmons at the time, so became closer then.

Adam struck me as the angriest [member] of the Beastie Boys. He really wasn’t a happy guy and he didn’t mind expressing his unhappiness, and I don’t mind talking about it now because he really transformed himself. It was quite a long time ago, 20 years ago or more, that he found Buddhism and he managed to transform himself and calm himself down, so the last 25 years of his life were much more peaceful than the first.

Licensed To Ill came out in 1986 and that was everybody’s first taste of the Beastie Boys, and they lived up to their name. Then they came back three years later in 1989 with Paul’s Boutique and it was a very different album, it was very much in tune with the times, in terms of what was going on with hip-hop at that time. It was really a conscious rap album and it was deliberately that way. After Licensed To Ill, they felt some regret about the sexism on the album, and they really were regretful. It’s not like they apologized for it on Paul’s Boutique but it was going to be a lot more woman-friendly than Licensed To Ill had been.

The thing to remember about the Beastie Boys is that they were a punk rock band before they started making rap records. They started making records, I believe, in 1982 and a quasi rap record in 1983 with Cooky Puss. In 1984 they signed with Rick Rubin and Def Jam and they started to release rap singles produced by Rick, so that’s when I started working with them. I worked with them in ‘84, ‘85 and in ‘86 here’s comes Licensed To Illand in ‘87 Licensed To Ill was the biggest record in rock 'n' roll.

The whole idiom was so new, rap was so new, hip-hop was new, it’s not like there were rules about how one was supposed to compose himself. Nothing was set in stone at that point and they were unique—these were three white kids, they weren’t trying to use the model of some of the great black rappers who had preceded them. They were very much who they were and they brought their punk rock sensibility into it and they rhymed about the things that mattered to them, and in that way, they were precursors to somebody like Eminem. When Eminem came out he didn’t sound like Jay-Z and he didn’t sound like Snoop Dogg and he wasn’t writing about those kinds of things, he had his own personality and it was the same thing with the Beastie Boys then.

The thing to understand about the Beastie Boys is that the music itself was so magnificent and it was so effective. I remember the Beastie Boys go out at the bottom of the bill on the Raising Hell Tour in 1986—It’s Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Houdini—and the Beastie Boys scampered out for 25 minutes at the beginning of the night every time. They were playing nothing but arenas and the crowd was about 95 percent black, so you’d imagine that that’d be a tough crowd for the Beastie Boys, but they went out and the music was strong and the performance was strong and they made friends every single night all summer long. It was not a problem, they were accepted because they were wonderful.

Their biggest contribution as a group might not even have been the effect within hip-hop. To me, it’s more about their effect on the rock mainstream. They emerged at a moment when rock ‘n roll, in the early-to-mid 80s was terribly bloated and self-important—it was decadent truthfully—so they brought a punk energy back into the rock mainstream. They were funny, they were smart, they were quick. The songs were well-shaped and hard-hitting and they were not pretentious at all. Their entry into the rock mainstream, I’d say really revolutionized things. There were many bands that followed in their wake and took inspiration from their example.

Yauch was the best conventional rapper of the three guys, he’s the one who sounded most like a “rapper” as far as I’m concerned but he was also a musician and he was a producer, so he always had a strong hand in the production of the band’s recording and I think his personal journey must’ve had its affect on his two partners as well. That transition from a Beastie Boy into a post-Beastie Man, somebody who grew up a little bit and had a better idea of how to treat women, because Adam himself went through that transition and it undoubtedly had an effect on his partners and on the group’s music."

Friday, May 04, 2012

R.I.P Lloyd Brevett (Skatalites)

Skatalites bassist Lloyd Brevett has passed away, aged 80. Story via

"Lloyd Brevett, the upright bass player and founding member of the seminal Jamaican ska group The Skatalites, died this morning at Andrews Memorial Hospital in St. Andrew, Jamaica where he was being treated following a stroke and a series of seizures. He was 80.

The Skatalites were the preeminent collective in popularizing ska, an early 60s creation melding R&B, jazz, calypso and Cuban musical influences, and characterized by its distinctive emphasis on the after beat, as opposed to the down beat of R&B.

Together for just 18 months between 1963-1965 The Skatalites recorded many timeless instrumentals including "Eastern Standard Time" and "Guns of Navarone" for a variety of producers, most notably Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd.

Backing virtually every singer of note during that era, including teen sensations The Wailers on their 1964 hit "Simmer Down," The Skatalites' pioneering efforts at the dawn of the island's recording industry laid the groundwork for the development of rocksteady and reggae later in the decade and the subsequent international embrace of Jamaica's various indigenous genres..."