Tag Archive | Led Zeppelin

Video Clip of The Week: Rival Sons, “Open My Eyes”

 

Innate ability aside, legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham got a big drum sound by playing big drums. Paying homage to Bonham’s signature, deeply resonant and otherworldly beat from “When the Levee Breaks” for this fantastic clip, “Open My Eyes,” Rival Sons’ drummer Michael Miley plays huge drums in a rather economically configured, three-piece kit while completely nailing Bonham’s nearly inimitable feel. And that should be enough to get any rock fans attention right out of the box. But really, this is just a great, pristinely produced Rock & Roll song by a band that obviously knows its shit.

Reviews I’ve read tag Rival Sons as a “Garage Rock Band,” but to my ears (and based entirely on this track)  they sound more like one of the Classic Rock bands of the ’70s that built its foundation on blues and soul influences (Read: Led Zeppelin, Free, Uriah Heep). Just listen to vocalist Jay Buchanan and tell me that he didn’t pick up a few pointers from vocal greats like Steve Marriott, Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers.  And just to toss in a comparison from my vault of unknown references, “Open My Eyes” really favorably reminded me of a much-loved-by-me lost track, “California,” from the woefully unsung Unified Theory, which is the band Blind Melon turned into after Shannon Hoon died.

“Open My Eyes” is first single from the album Great Western Valkyrie, due for release on Earache records on June 10th, 2014, which should be well worth checking out. Enjoy!

Rival Sons Great Western Valkyrie

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Must See Art: The Last Brucennial!

Divinity of The Masterpiece
You Invest in the Divinity of The Masterpiece By Barbara Kruger (All Photos By Gail)

Contemporary Art Fans: here’s fun show that you won’t want to miss, and it’s only up for two more weeks, so act fast! Curator/Dealer Vito Schnabel (son of Artist and Film Director Julian Schnabel) and the Bruce High Quality Foundation (BHQF), an anonymous art collective focused on providing free art education through Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU), are currently hosting The Last Brucennial: a group show featuring the works of over 600 Known and Unknown Artists across a wide variety of mediums.

Last Brucennial Entrance Shot
Gallery View from Washington Street Entrance

The extremely diverse and highly engaging show is located in a massive new retail space just across from the future site of the Whitney Museum of American Art, which premiered its Biennial group exhibit on the same night as The Last Brucennial’s opening reception. The Last Brucennial — as the name hints at — will wrap up a six-year legacy of Brucennial exhibits, after which the BHQF can focus its energy and resources toward the activities of BHQFU and its 700 enrolled students.

Founded in 2008 in direct opposition to other high-profile biennials that seek to advance the commercialization of art, the Brucennial is not a curated group show, but a celebration of and catalyst for an ever-widening community of artists. This year’s call for artists, I was told by a contributing artist in the show, was conducted solely by word of mouth. This exhibit is also noteworthy in that it features the works of female artists, exclusively. It’s fun to see the works of both widely known artists such as Barbara Kruger, Lynda Benglis and Tracey Emin alongside the paintings and sculptures by artists for whom this exhibit represents their first public showing.

Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show, along with random commentary:

Stairway to Heaven Exterior

This horn-shaped installation you see above is the first piece to your left upon entering the space. From within, it broadcasts a drastically slowed down recording of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” which was so slow it made the tempo of a dirge seem more like a jig. The recording is loud enough to be heard in adjacent galleries.

Stairway to Heaven Tunnel Interior

This is what it looked like inside. You can see the speaker emerging from a pile of dirt.

Assemblage Sculpture with Heart

I call this one “Assemblage Sculpture with Heart, Lion Head and Hair Extensions.”

Tracey Emin Trust Yourself Pink Neon

Trust Yourself Pink Neon Sculpture by Tracey Emin.

Church Alter with Beach Balls

This Photo of a Church Altar with Umbrella and Beach Balls reminded me somewhat of Robert Mapplethorpe’s Altar Installations.

True Detective Installation

Off to the right in the above photo, you will see what I call the True Detective Installation, which looks like some kind of medieval Stock devise with attached antlers in and around which a fully nude live model is entwined. When I saw this piece I could not help but think of the way in which Dora Lange’s lifeless body was found in the premier episode of that popular HBO crime drama, though I do not know if that was an influence on the artist.

Globe Umbrella Sculpture

This is one of my favorites: a colorful Sculpture Of Found Objects that includes Mixing Bowls, a Waste Basket, a Globe and an Umbrella. If it lit up like a lamp, my head would explode.

Cheese Puffs

This looks like a container of crocheted Cheese Puffs. The artist’s name, which is written directly on the wall just below the frame, looks like Breanne Tremmez. I wasn’t too diligent about noting the names of all of these artists, so if you see your work in this post please feel free to identify yourself in the comments.

Cheeseburger Santa

“Cheeseburger Santa Puzzle.”

Coffee Cup and Painting

Marsh Lines series Coffee Cup and Matching Painting By Gwyneth Leech. You can see more of Gwyneth’s work at This Link.

Big Stick and Bomb Pop Sculptures

Big Stick and Bomb Pop Sculptures By Bee Spiderman!

Food Containers by Adriana Farmiga

I love the banality of this piece by Adriana Farmiga.

Plaster Rubble

People were letting their unsupervised children run around like maniacs. Fortunately, it did not affect this work, comprised of a pile of plaster rubble.

Woman Picking Up Bees

I wonder what story this one is trying to tell us. I like looking at it.

Feminist Performance Art

“Feminist Performance Art.”

The Last Brucennial will be on Exhibit Through April 4th, 2014 at 837 Washington (Corner of Washington St. and 13th St.) in the Meat Packing District. Exhibit Hours are Wednesday – Sunday 12 Noon to 6:00 PM.

Unreleased Studio Mixes from Led Zeppelin & Bad Company up for Sale

Physical Grafitti Tenements

RR Auction, an Amherst, NH-based company is proud to present unreleased studio mixes of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 album Physical Graffiti, from the Ron Nevison Collection, as part of its Marvels of Modern Music auction coming up on March 13th, 2014.

Reel of Audio Tape
Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail

The vintage 10″ tape reel of rough studio mixes, recorded on Ampex 406 quarter-inch tape, is labeled and hand-notated with the track listing and recording data. The track listing includes:

Client: Led Zeppelin, Subject: Rough Mixes, Engineer: R. N., Date: 28-2-74, Location: Headley, Speed: 15, Reel: 2.

Song titles and times are listed as follows:

“Trampled Underfoot” — 5:40
“Driving to Kashmir” — 8:50
“Custard Pie” — 4:20
“In the Light (Everyone Makes It Then) ” — 7:18
“Swan Song—Part 1″ —1:20 and “Swan Song — Part 2″ —1:20

Led Zeppelin Song List

The recording sessions for Physical Graffiti initially took place in November 1973 at Headley Grange, using Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio. Out of fifteen songs, eight were recorded over an eight-month stretch. Led Zeppelin made the decision of adding previously unreleased songs instead of dropping some, eventually, making it a double album. However, these sessions came to a halt quickly and the studio time was turned over to the band Bad Company, who used it to record songs for their eponymous debut album.

A highlight of the lot is an early rough mix of one of Led Zeppelin’s most popular songs “Kashmir, named “Driving to Kashmir,” in this mix. Jimmy Page well known for his use of alternative guitar tunings along with John Bonham’s drums that featured a phasing effect courtesy of an Eventide Instant Phaser PS-101, supplied by engineer Ron Nevison for the track. The song would become a concert staple for the group – they would perform it at almost every concert after its release.

Also included in the Ron Nevison Collection:

Bad Company Song List

Rough mixes from Bad Company’s debut album recorded in Ronnie Lane’s mobile studio at Headley Grange, including their first hit, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.”

Vintage “rough mix” 10″ tape reel of four songs from Clapton’s 1973 album, Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert, includes Mixes of ‘Layla’ and ‘Let It Rain.’

Other artists featured include: The Who, Flo and Eddie, Ozzy Osbourne and UFO.

The Marvels of Modern Music auction, from RR Auction will feature more than 800 items and is set to begin on Thursday, March 13th, ending on the evening of Thursday, March 20th, 2014. See the other museum quality pieces up for auction at This Link.

Jimmy Page is 70!

Jimmy Page Double Neck
Image Source

Led Zeppelin Guitarist Jimmy Page celebrates Seventy (70, Wow!) years on the planet today, January 9th, having been born in the year 1944. Happy Birthday Jimmy, You Are the Best!

Recommended Listening: Kurt Vile, Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze

Kurt Vile Wakin On A Pretty Daze CD Cover
Album Cover Art By Steve Powers!

When it comes to modern music, not much impresses me these days. If you look back over the past few years at any Top 10 Albums list I might have compiled – in those years where I was even able to cobble together such a list at all – you’ll see it’s comprised partly of comeback records by classic rockers, greatest hits packages or tribute albums that revisit the material of a legendary artist. That’s rather pathetic, I know, for a writer who once embraced the tagline ‘Rock Critic at Large,’ but it is what it is. I don’t apologize for being unable to shake the feeling that the best years for popular music are, for the most part, 30 – or even 40 – years behind us.

It if it weren’t for Australia’s Tame Impala, who’ve managed to harness a sound comparable to Led Zeppelin on downers, or Canada’s The Sheepdogs, who pay homage to the seventies better than most bands did back in the ‘70s, there probably wouldn’t be one new band I could name in the past few years whose records gave me any kind of a thrill at all. And then there’s an enigma like Kurt Vile; a singer/songwriter/guitarist whose Murmur-esque vocal delivery is coupled with an amazing finesse for musical arrangements and an ability to turn a phrase that rivals Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. On Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze, his follow-up to 2011′s brilliant Smoke Ring for My Halo, Vile once again completely and totally blows my mind.

In search of a contemporary reference, I’d say that Kurt Vile keeps company with fellow singer/songwriter and innovator Joseph Arthur, who possesses an equal gift for infusing seductive aural melancholia with an exhilarating emotional transcendence. Like Arthur, Vile’s lyrics are wickedly introspective and his knack for finely tuned word economy is juxtaposed with jam-heavy arrangements that indicate Vile is in no hurry to get where he’s going. The nine-minute-plus title track launches the disc with Vile’s countrified acoustic strumming that carry his dreamlike musings about what might be in store for the next 18 or so waking hours, as circular guitar patterns draw the listener deeply into the artist’s head. In fact, “Head Music” is not an entirely inappropriate label for these eleven aural journeys that play out over the course of a full, blissful hour.

And just in case you drifted away, the comparatively strident opening chords of “KV Crimes” jolts you back to consciousness before the hand percussion-driven, traveling rhythm of “Was All Talk” swallows you whole with its limitless gorgeousness. Over five albums worth of material, I don’t know if Vile has written a better song than this. “There was a time in my life when they thought I was all talk,” is such an exquisitely personal fuck you to naysayers, while remaining ambiguous enough to allow the listener to adopt the song as his or her own anthem of self realization. And when he sings, “Making music is easy – watch me,” one could believe that this song effortlessly flowed right through Vile. Seriously, when it comes to amazing songwriting, “Was All Talk” is right up there with “All The Young Dudes” and “Shake Some Action.” The fact that Vile lets a song that could have been neatly wrapped up in three and a half minutes continue on for over seven makes it all the more bittersweet when it finally comes to an end.

What’s most amazing about Wakin On A Pretty Daze is that every song on the record is that good. Each track packs a jaw-dropping Oh Wow Factor that makes my head explode. “Girl Called Alex” mines the minor chord gloom in a way that recalls a meatier version of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” or Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” Showcasing Vile’s flair for changing up arrangements, “Pure Pain” alternates between what I’d call a baroque stomp and a waltz. The remaining tracks could be summed up as follows: great, great, great, great, great. I recommend you pick up a copy of Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze and start developing your own relationship with a disc that I am just going to go ahead and call the Album of The Year.

Grade: A+

RIP Studio Legend Andy Johns

Andy Johns

Andy Johns, who famously produced or engineered ground breaking albums by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull and The Rolling Stones, to name but a few, has passed away on April 7th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, although Johns had recently been hospitalized with liver ailments.

Andy Johns was part of an amazing musical legacy that included his older brother, producer Glyn Johns, who famously worked with The Who (among a laundry list of legends). His sons Ethan and Will Johns are working musicians and his nephew, Evan Johns (son of Glyn) is also a producer.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Andy Johns when I was hired to write a bio for an indie band whose record he had produced. The band’s management and publicist were completely clueless about how to effectively spin this band and it was my idea to add John’s input to the bio. He was fun to talk to and definitely knew his shit.

Sadly, the group’s handlers disagreed with the artistic slant I put on the bio, another writer was brought in and I was paid a kill fee for my efforts. Hilariously, when I eventually received a finished copy of the band’s album, along with the new bio, I did notice that direct quotes pulled from my interview with Johns were integrated into the new piece, with no credit to me. What a bunch of dicks. Andy Johns was 61 years old. RIP, Andy.

Led Zeppelin Nesting Dolls

Led Zeppelin Nesting Dolls
Image Source

The most fun thing about this set of hand made Led Zeppelin matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls) is the fact that the tiniest member is their late manager, Peter Grant, who was famous for being not so tiny. Purchasing information is available at This Link.

Morrison Hotel Gallery Presents The Melody Maker Photography of Barrie Wentzell

Jimi Hendrix Color Portrait By Barrie Wentzell
Apparently, Jimi Hendrix Always Dressed Like This (all Post Photos By Gail, Click any Image to Enlarge)

Every picture tells a story. During his career, Photographer Barrie Wentzell collected an endless cache of unheard stories from and about many of rock’s greatest legends that would blow your head right off. From 1965 to 1975 – certainly one of the (if not the) most vibrant and fertile decades for Rock & Roll music and culture — Wentzell shot both live performance and candid, intimate photographs of everyone who was anyone: from Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles to The Kinks and Led Zeppelin for the UK weekly music rag, Melody Maker.

John Entwistle and Pete Townshend By Barrie Wentzell
John Entwistle and Pete Townshend During Recording Sessions for Tommy

His pay was about 20 pounds per week, but Wentzell will tell you even today that his dream gig during the Golden Age of Rock & Roll was never about the money; it was about the experiences he had with these artists.

Early Yes
An Early Incarnation of Yes

Right now, you can view a small portion of Wentzell’s extensive and wildly impressive career legacy at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in the comprehensively entitled exhibit, Melody Maker: The Best Years, 1965-1975, The Photography of Barrie Wentzell. Most of these pictures have never been published or viewed by the public. In fact, Wentzell admitted that, prior to staging the exhibit, he’d not viewed the majority of these photos since he first took them. And that is just shame, because his pictures are transcendent.

Ray Davies Plays Pool By Barrie Wentzell
Ray Davies Plays Pool

Pete Townshend with Toys By Barrie Wentzell
Pete Townshend & Friends

I have seen many, many great rock photography exhibits and I must say that this is the first one where the words “Fine Art Rock Photography” – which is what Morrison Hotel Gallery is known for – really resonated with me when experiencing Barrie Wentzell’s photos. The oddest reaction I had was while silently gazing at a black and white photo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, taken while both were still in their early 20s. They just looked so young and unjaded, with their entire lives and careers ahead of them. I thought about the first Elton John songs I ever heard, like “Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters,” “Mad Man Across the Water” and “Sixty Years On.” And unexpected tears of deep nostalgia welled up in my eyes. It was embarrassing to dork out in public like that, but it was also such an amazing feeling to be so fully transported back to a time when Rock Stars meant everything to me. Barrie Wentzell’s work is truly as magical as the music of that era.

Jimmy Page Color Portrait By Barrie Wentzell
Jimmy Page

Read more about Barrie Wentzell, and view some of the photos in this do-not-miss show, at This Link.

Barrie Wentzell with Pete Townshend Photo
Barrie Wentzell

Morrison Hotel Gallery is Located at 116 Prince Street (Loft) and 124 Prince Street (Store Front) in NYC’s Greenwich Village.

David Bowie By Barrie Wentzell
David Bowie

Cat Stevens By Barrie Wentzell
Cat Stevens

Led Zeppelin Live

This Photo of Led Zeppelin In Concert Fully Captures the Energy of the Performance in a Static Medium. Amazing.

See the Photo that Made Me Cry After the Jump!

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Razor & Tie Re-Issues 3-Disc Sets of ELP's Debut Album and Tarkus

ELP and Tarkus Covers

It is no secret that I am pretty sweet on the music of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I can’t really bring anything new to the party that wasn’t already said in the post hyperlinked above, so maybe go read that for some background on my obsession and them come back and rejoin us.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer are just a magical band to me. Even though I don’t revisit their music as often as I do, say, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, I can’t find any fault with it. I understand that smell memory has the fullest power of transportation to the past, but when I listen to ELP I feel like I’m 12 years old, discovering their music for the first time on their three disc live album that had a tri-gatefold sleeve and a title much too long to type. There is nothing on earth quite like losing yourself in Keith Emerson’s Thor-meets-the Renaissance keyboard noodling, and when I hear Greg Lake sing songs about how “The Waters Rhine Taste of Wine” (“Stones of Years”) it makes my head explode. I have all their albums and several greatest hits packages and I cannot dispense with any of it. Because I am a huge Prog Rock Nerd.

Imagine, then, how hard I geeked out when I opened a package last week from Razor & Tie Records that contained three-disc reissues of ELP’s self-titled debut album and a reissue of the group’s sophomore album Tarkus — the one with the armadillo/tank hybrid on the cover. Wow, it was like Christmas in September! I got so excited, I immediately laid them out on my rug and took pictures of them for this post!

For other completist collector record geeks out there, here is what you’re getting with each of these deluxe editions, so you can make a judgement call on whether or not you need to own them:

  • Disc one is the original album with original track listing
  • Disc two contains alternate stereo mixes and unreleased bonus tracks
  • Disc three is a DVD Audio disc that contains new for 2012 5:1 Mixes and new Stereo Mixes, also previously unreleased

ELP and Tarkus DiscsEach set includes a color booklet with the track listings, lots of photos of the guys when they were young and hot, and lengthy historical liner notes by veteran British Rock Journalist Chris Welch. Three time Grammy-nominated producer and engineer Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) worked from the original Greg Lake produced multi-track tapes to remix both albums, so you already know that they sound amazing.

The 3-Disc Deluxe Sets of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Tarkus will be available wherever fine music is sold or downloaded on September 25th, 2012, but you can get pre-order information and find out to get all sorts of rare ELP swag by visiting This Link.

Complete Track Listings are After the Jump! 

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