Kid(s) A

I wish I had a music teacher like this when I was in school. This guy gets all these kids to sing Optimistic by Radiohead, and they killed it. So good to see young kids from diverse backgrounds exposed to artists like this. Check out this guys You Tube page. They cover some pretty good songs, not just the modern crap that passes for music these days…

Oh, And This

DON’T WATCH THIS until you’ve seen Game of Thrones, season eight, episode tres.

Those Wacky Yugoslavians

Apparently their talent for album art rivaled that of their auto industry. There are far more online than I have time to pass along, but here are a few of the best (?).

Abandoned Homes on Billionaires Row

This is bonkers.

Inside billionaires Row, London’s rotting derelict mansions worth 350 million pound a third of the mansions on the most expensive stretch of London’s “billionaires row” are standing empty several huge mansions have fallen into ruin after being abandoned for a quarter of a century.
I explored all that I could wear such risky explore.

Pure Evil

Dimitri Shostakovich wrote this (2nd movement, Symphony #10) as a musical portrait of Stalin, who had harrassed him directly and indirectly throughout his career.  This is pure malevolence, published after Stalin was safely dead.  While Uncle Joe was alive, DS was mostly confined to putting out government approved, “socalist realist” garbage, while keeping much of his “real” work private.  Occasionally he could put one over on the Soviets and follow the letter of their requirements while mocking them.  One cool thing is that in the finale of this same symphony, he has a theme based on his initials, DSCH, vie for dominance against the Stalin theme from this movement.  DSCH wins.  Artistic revenge at its finest.  “He who laughs last, laughs longest.”

The conductor seems a little too into his hair, and I’m not sure why he appears to be grinning during this grim business.    But you’ve gotta give him credit, his musicians are playing the hell out of this.  He made his reputation whipping these young Venezuelans into a respectable unit.  He’s since gone on to greener pastures in LA.

What’s the Deal With That Song?

It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever. Somehow, this song manages to be both. I’ve heard “Werewolves of London” on the radio most of my life without ever giving it much thought – until today.

You might know that this was the first single off Excitable Boy, Zevon’s third solo album. You might even know that it stayed in the Billboard Top 40 for a month, reaching number 21 on the Hot 100 in May of 1978. But did you know Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are playing on it? Wikipedia, where you at?

The song began as a joke by Phil Everly (of The Everly Brothers) to Zevon in 1975, three years before the recording sessions for Excitable Boy. Everly had watched a television broadcast of the 1935 film Werewolf of London and “suggested to Zevon that he adapt the title for a song and dance craze.” Zevon, LeRoy Marinel and Waddy Wachtel played with the idea and wrote the song in about 15 minutes, all contributing lyrics that were transcribed by Zevon’s then-wife Crystal. The song is in the key of G major, with a three-chord progression that runs throughout. However, none of them took the song seriously.

Not long after, Jackson Browne saw the lyrics and thought it had potential, so he started playing “Werewolves” live. (T-Bone Burnett also played it on the first leg of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review in 1975.) Zevon thought about putting it on his second solo album in 1976, but for some reason, decided against it.

According to Wachtel, “Werewolves of London” was “the hardest song to get down in the studio I’ve ever worked on.” They tried at least seven different configurations of musicians in the recording studio before being satisfied with McVie and Fleetwood’s contributions. The protracted studio time and musicians’ fees led to the song eating up most of the album’s budget.

Zevon later said of the song, “I don’t know why that became such a hit. We didn’t think it was suitable to be played on the radio. It didn’t become an albatross. It’s better that I bring something to mind than nothing. I still think it’s funny.” He also described “Werewolves of London” as a novelty song, “[but] not a novelty the way, say, Steve Martin’s ‘King Tut’ is a novelty.”

Sweep the leg…

So everyone knows what the biggest sports event of 1984 was right? Damn right you do, it was the epic karate battle between Daniel Laruso and Johnny Lawrence. Well, thankfully the good folks at ESPN have put together a 30 for 30 to commemorate the event. Sort of…

Watch It While You Can

This one may not be around long, but definitely worth a look.

It occurs to me that one of my earliest childhood memories is going to the Summer Twin Drive-In with my parents. (It’s still around, one of the few drive-ins left in the United States.) Of course, being from the South, we had a pickup truck. My mom and dad watched The Sting. I got in the truck bed, and unbeknownst to them, watched The Exorcist.

I was 4! This explains so much …