Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2013

Nothin' But a Good Time

When Rock of Ages was a Broadway hit, I rolled my eyes. Hair metal turned into a Broadway smash? Kill me, said my punk rock purist attitude. When Rock of Ages was made into a movie, I anticipated Razzie nominations and mocking upon its release. This isn't a movie I should ever consider seeing, said my far-flung movie tastes. And this was coming from somebody who loves the movie version of Mamma Mia! I don't necessarily know what compelled me to rent Rock of Ages from Netflix, other than the fact that I tend to have dry spells. As in, I want to watch something I've never seen before, and I'm usually up for something different . . . even if it's something I initially found forgettable. No matter how many hair metal songs were in it. I embrace the fact that hair metal was a crucial element in me appreciating modern rock music when I was a kid. Songs like "Wait," "Here I Go Again," and "Carrie" might have been made into cheesy vi


For the past two years, I have resisted the urge to seek out the exclusive pieces of vinyl released on Record Store Day . I didn't think the time and effort would be worth much: standing in a line for hours, hoping to find something that I wanted. Plus, there haven't been many items that I really wanted. Matter of fact, the only RSD exclusive that I wanted was that Foo Fighters 12-inch featuring cover songs they had done over their entire career. When I saw the line to get into the record store closest to me wrap around the block, I turned my car around and went home. This year, there were a handful of records that I wanted to get. A couple of them were modern classics that I wouldn't mind owning on vinyl, even though I already owned them on CD. I still try to stick to a relatively strict code of vinyl purchases (as in, I try not to own something on vinyl and CD), but there are times when I cannot resist. This happened with Bruce Springsteen's catalog between his debu

For You

Last year, while I watched the Revival Tour for the first time, I noticed the guy playing the first solo set of the night. I didn't know if he was local or not, but I certainly remembered his curly hair. A week later, I saw him at LaGrange and introduced myself. The guy's name was Corey Howe. Not much later, I interviewed the band for My First Show. Now with their debut record coming out this week, I wrote a story on the path they've taken to get there. Definitely was a fun one to write. I hope it's a fun one to read.

Don't Talk to Strangers

My introduction to Rick Springfield was not through General Hospital or hearing "Jessie's Girl" on the radio. It was Chipmunk Rock , an album mostly made of of cover songs with Alvin and the Chipmunks. While I can't really stomach Alvin, Simon, and Theodore's version of "Jessie's Girl" these days, there were roots laid in my mind. The same went with many of the other songs on the album, like "Take a Chance on Me," "Whip It," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," and "Leader of the Pack." That's the kind of stuff I went on since we didn't have MTV in our household until 1987. I've heard the original "Jessie's Girl" many, many times in my lifetime and I still enjoy it. Yet thinking there was anything more to Rick Springfield was not really on my mind until recently. I had seen the Behind the Music episode on Rick a few times and I knew he had a very frank memoir out on in bookstores called

Take the Long Way Home

When I first heard a Supertramp song, I thought there was irony in where I heard it. Featured on the thirteen-song Magnolia soundtrack, "Goodbye Stranger" and "The Logical Song" seemed out of place between the low key pop songs by Aimee Mann. It was like a couple of Bat Out of Hell songs from Meat Loaf were featured on a compilation dominated by Clouds -era Joni Mitchell. As in, bombastic, multi-layered songs tacked on a collection of moody, Sunday morning songs. Plus the band had a silly name. Supertramp? Really? With the insanely-high vocals and jazzy beats of "Goodbye Stranger," I passed off the song as a product of excessive late 70s/early 80s production aiming for the same audience that made Styx and REO Speedwagon household names. Well, I still feel that way about the band, but after hearing "Take the Long Way Home" a few times, I've decided I need to invest a lot more time into this band's catalog. Given how much I love B

Josh Venable

There are other freelance writers at the Observer who have worked in radio, but I seem to be the one who writes about radio and fellow radio personalities. I met Josh Venable years ago at a show at the Gypsy Tea Room and we talked about Ash. When Ash came through town last month, I talked to him about doing a story about his life after Clear Channel cut him loose. Here's what I wrote.