Twenty years ago today–on Sunday, November 28, 1993–Bon Jovi played the Pacific Coliseum. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the Jersey band, but I wound up going, and my review appeared in the Straight's Dec. 3 issue under the headline “Lame Tunes and Hot Licks Even Out at Bon Jovi Show”.
How can you not want to read a two decades-old review of a hugely popular band that relied heavily on its singer’s incredible cuteness!
It’s a weird feeling, realizing that you’ve spent several minutes of your life casually chatting with a young man who, as it turns out, is one of the most vile human beings alive.
You may have already heard the news about Ian Watkins, the former frontman of ’90s rockers Lostprophets, who admitted yesterday in a court in Cardiff, Wales, that he had attempted to rape a baby and committed a number of other horrific sex crimes involving children.
“This investigation has uncovered the most shocking and harrowing child abuse evidence I’ve ever seen,” Crown prosecutor Christopher Clee told the court.
Nineteen-ninety-four might not have been the greatest year for fans of rootsy, meat 'n' potatoes guitar-rock. Hootie and the Blowfish released their diamond-selling (10-million copies plus) Cracked Rear View album. The Barenaked Ladies were going platinum. And Yanni unleashed Live at the Acropolis.
But if you were lucky enough back then to catch the latest sounds from a relatively unknown band from St. Louis called the Bottle Rockets, man were you in for a treat.
If you're a concert-loving Monster Magnet fan living in Vancouver—or anywhere in North America, for that matter—you may well be wondering where the hell the band has been for the last 10 years. It's been releasing albums every three years or so, but has not toured the U.S. or Canada in a decade. As Dave Wyndorf pointed out on the phone from his New Jersey home last week, the absence came down to business.
"I took the break because I was just getting more work overseas," he explained. "I was getting steadier, better paying work, and better audiences, in Europe. I probably would have gone to Canada, but I had some visa problems, so I had to stay away from there. But it wasn't that I was stayin' away from Canada, it was more like I was staying away from the U.S.A.
Like the band itself, there's nothing fancy about the new Ramones boxed set, The Sire Years: 1976-1981.
The seminal NYC punks just collected their first six albums—Ramones ('76), Leave Home and Rocket to Russia ('77), Road to Ruin ('78), the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century ('80), and Pleasant Dreams ('81)—and stuck 'em in a little box.
I actually prefer the first three albums, as it was on their fourth that they started to get bloated, breaking the three-minute barrier on a couple of tracks.
If the Ramones couldn't say it in under 180 seconds, it wasn't worth saying.
Thirty years ago today—on Sunday, November 13, 1983, and again two days later—British jazz-fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth brought his band I.O.U. to a small Kitsilano venue called the Soft Rock Cafe.
At the time, the Georgia Straight was located on the corner of 4th and Arbutus, so it was pretty handy to stroll down a block or so to see Holdsworth, who at the time was being raved about by all the top rock-guitar heroes, including Eddie Van Halen, Gary Moore, and Carlos Santana. In a 1987 issue of Guitar World magazine, Frank Zappa lauded him as “one of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet”.
While doing some YouTube research for my story on the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band–which plays the Vancouver Fan Club this Wednesday–I came across a pretty cool video from 2009 for the tune “Mama’s Fried Potatoes”.
What struck me most about the clip–apart from the awesome shitkicker music–was the Rev's use of a homemade shootin’ machine that he uses to blast the crap out of a watermelon and a jug of milk.
When Peyton called in from New Mexico a coupla weeks ago I asked him if those were common gadgets where he’s from, down Indiana way.
Three days ago I did a blog about how former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett played a gig at the Town Pump 20 years ago. Well, 20 years ago today–on Thursday, November 11, 1993–Scottish rockers Big Country played the same fabled Gastown venue.
Like Hackett, Big Country frontman and main songwriter Stuart Adamson called from New York in advance of the show.
Here’s my story as it appeared in the Straight that week:
There was a whole lotta soul rolling off of the Vogue Theatre stage last night. That’s what happens when you’ve got a hugely talented 11-piece band joyfully letting go with bluesy, heartfelt, and sometimes funky-as-hell rock music.
That’s also what happens whenever bottleneck-guitar master Derek Trucks’ glass slide grazes the strings of his trusty red Gibson SG.
And it doesn’t hurt when you’ve got a one-of-a-kind vocalist like Trucks’ wife, Susan Tedeschi, wailing away like it was her birthday or something.
Actually, the beautful lady turned 43 today, but that didn’t stop the sell-out crowd at the Vogue from singing “Happy Birthday” to her as soon as the lights went up.