Thursday, May 23, 2013

I believe in magic and I believe in dreams (Grace Slick)

I love the magic of the Hard Rock Cafe. It's not only the dreamy rock music ambiance but that's a big part.

The noise is great (it's always loud and you can always guarantee great music during your visit), the burgers are great, and the walls are always festooned with great rock music memorabilia.

So far I've been to H.R.C.'s in Edinburgh, London, Paris, Rome and now San Francisco.

Of course there is a fantastic Grateful Dead section, Jacky Casady's bass guitar, and a George Harrison guitar in the Beatle corner, but the highlight for me was a portrait of Jerry Garcia by Grace Slick.

Although Grace was born in Chicago and now lives in Malibu she and San Francisco are synonymous for me. Her previous home overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge was pointed out to me during my stay and I loved feeling some connection to her, even as tenuous as that.

Hope you're healthy Grace. Thanks for everything and that is one great great portrait.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

You got rave reviews and you’re front page news (The Guess Who)

I'm still on a bit of a Guess Who kick.

I came back from San Francisco with a few more of their albums including #10 and Glamour Boy has been a song I can't seem to get enough of.

#10 came out in 1973 and was the 10th studio album by The Guess Who to feature Burton Cummings as the lead vocalist.

I remember the song being on the radio a lot in 1973 when I was in my first year in the fifth form. I have no idea why I didn't buy it at the time because the group and the album were pretty cool in the early seventies.

The song wasn't a huge hit though and it holds a quirky place in the band's history. Quirky because it is a hard song to pin down. Written by Burton, it's tempting to try and see it as a personal song about fame and the price paid a la Roger Waters' The Wall but that reading doesn't really hold up in a convincing way.

Rather than being a personal song it's probably better viewed as an observation on some plastic pop star, obscure or famous. For some reason I can't help thinking it could be about the androgynous Ziggy Stardust!

Whatever - Burton Cummings voice is the real star on the song and I'm a sucker for the middle bit of Billy Shears drama on the extended album version.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Love is like a roll of tape, It's real good for making two things one (Flight Of The Conchords)

Music is love and so music flowed all around us during Samantha and Jesse's wedding last week.

I made a couple of suggestions for the ceremony that they liked and used: All You Need Is Love (the Fabs) for walking down the aisle and Gonna Fly Now (Bill Conti) for leaving. Both worked a treat. Love IS all you need and, like Rocky, the ONLY way is to be positive and fly!

As well as that, the importance of the right music was central to the after party as well. Jesse and Fanfa used the Sello Tape (Flight Of The Conchord) song for their first dance and Fanfa and I danced to I Saw Her Standing There to get the party started.


Amoeba Records, 1855 Haight St.
Being me I couldn't let a trip to SF go by without visits to record shops. One in particular drew me back time and again: Amoeba Records on Haight St.

WOW! What a record store. I picked up stuff I didn't know existed (a Jellyfish live album) and stuff I'd been after for years - Hot Tuna's Yellow Fever and Lenny White's Venusian Summer.

In all I came back with a pile of CDs and records that I am slowly digesting.

As I'm doing so I'm noticing how many are actually San Franciscan bands: Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship - Jefferson's Tree of Liberty (a Paul Kantner project from 2008 that passed me by at the time), Jellyfish, and neXus ROCK.

neXus ROCK? Who they?!band/cadp has details and songs.

neXus ROCK are a (very young) San Franciscan band who we (Jacky, Jade and moi) watched outside the Hard Rock Cafe down on the docks area. They rocked up a storm delivering  a hybrid 2013 sound. They were giving away a free CD with three tracks on it. Avocado is the pick of the bunch with a sunny west coast sound fused to a Fishbone style beat. I like it!

Jade and I voted for them in the Hard Rock Cafe best young bands competition, results out next week apparently. They should do well.