Drive-By Truckers played a surprise show in Cleveland

Due to Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell’s illness, the Cleveland stop on Petty’s tour was postponed but that didn’t stop openers Drive-By Truckers from performing a not-so-secret secret show at Cleveland’s tiny Beachland Tavern last night.

DBT’s Patterson Hood posted the following:

“The last time we played the Tavern Room at The Beachland Ballroom, Cooley tried to punch me out, smashed a guitar and threw the remains of it at Brad then proceeded to tear down the stage. (Feb. 2002).

They had to rebuild the stage the next morning.

We had an awkward breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

Our show with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Blossom Music Center was postponed due to Mike Campbell’s illness (GET WELL SOON!!!)

We have been bummed and sad and needed to ROCK.

Our good friends at The Beachland invited us to come see our friends The Old 97’s play and we asked if we could maybe give that small stage one more try.”

Guess it beats sitting in a hotel room and watching free HBO. My old concert-going buddy Chris Ricca reported that band performed a 3-hour sweaty set, a far cry from the 45 minutes they were supposed to play at Blossom Music Center as Petty’s opening act.

Thanks for the pictures, Chris!

In My Ear – Week of July 11, 2010

Here’s some things I listened to last week. Feel free to post your list in the comments section below.

1. The Equals
Before Eddy Grant (“Electric Avenue”) set out on a solo career, he was in a reggae-pop band called The Equals. I didn’t know anything about these guys before last week – I only discovered them after trying to find cheap Eddy Grant CDs on the web. My friend Blake informed me that one of The Clash’s greatest songs, “Police on My Back”, was originally performed by The Equals (hear their version here).

2. Gristle – “Cold Blue Sky”
New band led by ex-Galatic Cowboys singer Ben Huggins. It’s been years since GC broke up and while Gristle isn’t necessarily a sequel to that band, there are definitely some moments – particularly “Making it All Go Away” – that have the same tight harmonies and progressive metal guitar sounds of Huggins’ former band. If you were ever a King’s X fan, you’ll dig this.

3. Madcon
This Norwegian hip-hop duo has apparently scored hits worldwide but I had never heard the song “Beggin” – a cover originally performed by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – until I was watching America’s Got Talent with my daughters and it was used as performance music by a tap-dancing family.

4. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Not at all what I expected. I thought Ariel Pink was some gray-haired ’80s psychedelic burnout from San Francisco who resurfaced and put out a crummy sounding lo-fi record that all the hip kids were digging. Then I saw on Amazon’s MP3 Twitter a link to a list of something like “The 50 best songs this year” and Ariel Pink’s “Round and Round” was #1. A quick investigation proved that my perception was wrong though the band (Ariel Pink is NOT a person as I thought) definitely is making music in the wrong decade. Check out this disco-lite offering – along with accompanying ‘unofficial’ video utilizing scenes from the ’80s workout flick ‘Perfect’ (starring John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis).

DOWNLOAD: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Round and Round”

5. King Giant
The words that come to mind to describe this Virginia/DC-based band: Sludgy, southern rock, stoner metal. Based on that description, it shouldn’t be surprising that these guys sound like Clutch, Kyuss, and even, at times, Black Sabbath. Dig it!

Ultimate Fakebook is back! New album, interview

There was a 6-12 month period of time in 1999, while Kansas’s Ultimate Fakebook was touring to support This Will Be Laughing Week, that the trio (vocals/guitar – Bill McShane, bassist – Nick Colby, drummer – Eric Melin) seemed to play Columbus, Ohio every other week. And, hey, I wasn’t complaining one bit! The band’s power-pop sound bore some similarities to bands I dug like Weezer, Superdrag, and Green Day and it helped them land a short-lived major label deal with Epic Records.

In 2003, after releasing the Before We Spark EP, Ultimate Fakebook quietly called it quits. Colby and Melin formed The Dead Girls while McShane moved to California and got a job unrelated to music. It was a sad and anti-climactic end to a band that, for a while in 1999, felt like family to me.

In June, an Ultimate Fakebook Facebook page appeared and the first status update promised “some very cool announcements coming soon”. Then, earlier this week, this update appeared as well as a link to download a new song: “Ultimate Fakebook broke up in 2003, but the power pop punk powerhouse has just put up a song at ufbrocks.com for a free download and announced a record called ‘Daydream Radio is Smiling Static’ out July 27!!!!!!”

A new song? A new album? What? How? I HAD to know what was going on so I got in touch with Eric Melin. Here’s what he had to say:

Why now? Did Michael Jackson’s death last year make you realize that you never want to have lingering regrets?

Yes and no. This album would never have come out if we hadn’t been able to approach these songs with a new sense of what the hell they sounded like.

How did you keep the recording of a new album a secret?

With the exception of one new song, it’s been done since 2003.

Are the new batch of songs truly new songs or are they ones that had been cooking in the crock pot at the time of UFB’s untimely demise?

They weren’t cooking; they were done. The first batch were supposed to be half of the major-label follow up to This Will Be Laughing Week that never happened. We saved some of our favorites and didn’t put them on Open Up. The 2nd – 4th batches were 3 sessions of new stuff recorded in 2003. They were supposed to come out on the record that followed the Before We Spark EP, which was finished over a year before it finally came out. After a little bit of space, we hear them now with new ears and think “Why the fuck didn’t we do this album,?” Now its kind of a lost record. It sounds really fresh now, like a radio broadcast from another, less cynical time and place. Hopeful, everyone will get that same wistful feeling when they listen to it.

There wasn’t a big and nasty split with Bill, as far as I can tell (never noticed any gossip in the Weekly World News about in-band fighting or sleeping with each other’s girlfriends or anything). Did Bill decide that he was done playing ‘rock star’ for a little while?

You’d have to ask him, but we have all remained friends throughout this time, even though touring took its toll and our own expectations were the hardest to meet.

Are you as excited about putting out something as we are in hearing it?

Abso-fucking-lutely. We stupidly kept no web presence at all and just disappeared when we broke up, so for us, its exciting to know people are still enjoying our music. For a band that prided itself on its connection with its fans, we really blew it and just dropped off the face of the Earth after we broke up. The challenge now is to find everyone who cares about UFB through the Internet and make sure they can get these tunes, cuz we’re pretty sure they’ll like ’em as much as we do.

I loved UFB’s music but what really endeared me to the band was your constant touring with many, many stops in Columbus over a relatively short period of time. Any chance you’ll do another coast to coast tour or is the reunion album a studio project that came together because the timing was right?

No coast to coast tour unless we get Green Day big out of nowhere. So, no. There is no infrastructure to support that. We have no van. We have no money. There is no pool to draw from.

Is this the long overdue final chapter to UFB’s career or is it the sequel?

That’s up to you all. As long as there is demand and we have good ideas that we’re excited about, you never know! The music industry is a pile of shit and we are 100% independent, so we’ll do whatever we want. But that also depends on what the fans want. Making $$$ is not really an option so anything we do will be for the love of the music. We’re just excited to see who we can find that remembers how much fun it was back in the day. You all deserve these songs–we owe them to you.

Jump into the wayback machine after the jump to read an interview I did with the band in 1999.

Continue reading

Barn Burner

Found a post on MetalSucks.net titled “Metal Blade Records in 2010: Still Killing It”. Can’t remember the last time I cared about anything Metal Blade put out and, truthfully, really had no idea the label was still kicking it. The description of Barn Burner particularly interested me:

Up-beat, throwback stoner metal ala The Sword that’s got some real soul and actual musicality.

If you’re going to describe a band in 15 or words or less, this is how it should be done. I immediately sought out Barn Burner’s latest, Bangers, and it’s exactly as described by MetalSucks – throwback stoner metal. This is the type of band that I love stumbling across at SXSW, not knowing anything about them or their music.

Check this out (language at the beginning is NSFW).

Tour: Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax

Megadeth

Leg two of the American Carnage tour kicks off in late September and features metal giants Slayer (performing all of Seasons in the Abyss), Megadeth (performing all of Rust in Peace), and Anthrax, who replaces Testament, the current opening act.

Anthrax

There are all sorts of ticket deals so make sure you do your homework to find cheap tickets as this is a show not to be missed if you’re a metal fan.

American Carnage – Leg Two – tour dates

Sep. 24 – Verizon Wireless Theatre, Dallas, TX
Sep. 25 – AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Sep. 26 – Verizon Wireless Theatre, Houston, TX
Sep. 28 – Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA
Sep. 30 – Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, TN
Oct. 01 – The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Atlanta, GA
Oct. 02 – Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL
Oct. 03 – Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, Miami, FL
Oct. 05 – Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
Oct. 06 – Eagles Auditorium, Baltimore, MD
Oct. 08 – Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, Long Island, NY
Oct. 09 – Toyota Pavilion @ Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA
Oct. 10 – LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH
Oct. 12 – Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY
Oct. 14 – War Memorial Coliseum, Ft.Wayne, IN
Oct. 15 – DeltaPlex, Grand Rapids, MI
Oct. 16 – Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 19 – E Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 20 – The Pearl, Las Vegas, NV
Oct. 21 – Gibson Amphitheatre, Hollywood, CA