Archive for May, 2018

THE BEST ROCK AND BLUES BAND YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF, MEET DOUG AND THE SLUGS!

May 30, 2018

The Facebook Cover Photo for Doug and The Slugs 40th Anniversary. We thank them for this photo.

I was first introduced to Doug and The Slugs by MTV in the 80’s. Their first video grabbed my attention and I never looked back. Here was this portly, greasy haired singer (I thought that was the look for the video, nope) that, basically, in my head, I was seeing Squiggy from the Laverne And Shirley TV show. Remember him? David L. Lander was the actor’s name. But here in the U.S., he looked like the buffoon from the TV show.

America is stupid.

But the resemblance aside, this guy could wail! I mean the expression in Doug Bennett’s vocals were unmatched down here. No one was doing torch songs like “The River”. But when Doug did them, man you felt it. To be clear, I HATED Laverne & Shirley and really hated the Squiggy character. So for Bennett to make me love their music was an uphill battle but after the song “Real Enough” started to get rotation on MTV, it was hard to hold the grudge.

Then in 2004, the unthinkable would occur. As he was wont to do, Doug would be onstage with an adult beverage. It would lead to his demise is the word we have down here. He had toured with various incarnations of the band up until 2004-ish. He was 53.

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CONVERGENCE ALERT! ADRIAN BELEW JOINS WITH POLICE DRUMMER STEWART COPELAND AND LEVEL 42 BASSIST MARK KING TO FORM THE SUPERGROUP OF ALL TIME, GIZMODROME!!

May 26, 2018

What happens when a goofball drummer joins a funkoslap bass player, a happy-go-lucky noisemaker guitarist, and a virtuoso keyboardist? Gizmodrome! Photo courtesy Gizmodrome and the internet.

You hear me going on about convergence all the time. This artist I like works with that artist I like. Convergence. Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel, the artist who will no longer be named in this column and The Residents, Robert Fripp and Daryl Hall, Talking Heads and Eno, Eno and Devo, Fripp and Bowie, Bowie and the guitarist who is a member in this most unusual band we are about to review, Adrian Belew and if you want circular closure, Adrian Belew and Laurie Anderson.

Slap bassist extraordinaire Mark King has had his unique sound in every household guaranteed. If someone can honestly tell me they haven’t heard the song “Something About You” before, they are either VERY old (and I’m 55, so I know old) or live under a rock. King is one of those ‘taught-myself-how-to-make-a-living-at-this-thing’, type of players. Sophisticated playing with an innovative knack. I could go on about his co-collaborators outside Level 42, but this will be long enough.

The one member I know little about it Vittorio Cosma. He is the host of the band, in Italy. Italy is key to this band’s story as Copeland used the Italian backdrop to lure Belew to compliment the existing band Gizmo. King had opened for The Police back in the day, so Copeland recruited him and with those additions, the band Gizmodrome was born!

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LAURIE ANDERSON WEAVES TALES OF THE CANINE AND HUMAN EXPERIENCE WITH HER AWARD WINNING SOUNDTRACK “HEART OF A DOG”.

May 12, 2018

The album of the film about life, death and philosophy. An easy day
for Laurie Anderson. Photo courtesy of Nonesuch Records

Laurie Anderson has been around a while. Pioneering Avant Garde music and video with tracks like ‘Sharkey’s Day’ and her breakthrough underground hit ‘O Superman’, Anderson found a way to breakthrough to the mainstream while not shedding her true vision about what kind of artist she would become. She further sought to assume and maintain her place in the outer reaches of the pop culture by becoming more prolific with her vocals and vocal melodies. Her album Strange Angels was proof of that.

But you know me, I want the weird stuff. My favorite albums to date are the four disc, audio version of her live show United States Parts 1-4, and even her later work Homeland, which was reviewed in my column previously, that I likened to US Part 5, if you will.

But this album is a special one. Special in that it accompanied a movie, Heart Of A Dog which was about her dog Lolabelle (the sweetest rat terrier I had ever had the pleasure to meet!), and losing Lolabelle, and coming to grips with that tragedy.

Tragedy would not wander too far from Anderson as shortly thereafter, the love of her life (in human form), Lou Reed, left us suddenly. Toss in the death of her mother, and nothing else seems to have any point at that stage.

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