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When live music returns

When live music returns, I’ll be there. It is far and away my favorite form of entertainment and has been since Memorial Day weekend of 1981 when I attended my first concert: Van Halen at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mich., early in the ‘Fair Warning’ tour.

I went with a friend of mine whose older brother bought both the tickets and a $250 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser to get us there. There were five of us in that car and we caravanned with a bright blue gear-headed Nova piloted by a hot stoner chick and three of her friends.

Rave (as he was known) and Daze rode up front. They were both named Dave but were inseparable and had taken the alternative handles years earlier so they’d know who was being addressed. The names also suited them.

We stuck to surface roads, as one does when rolling in $250 ride. But even these proved too much for the old wagon. The engine rattled. Steam billowed. The car ground to halt in a small-town church parking lot.

The Nova pulled over and we piled in. Three people sat in front with one of the girls on the lap of the guy against the passenger door. Three more sat in the back, with the other two girls stacked like lumber across us, backs against opposite sides of the car.

Nine people in a Nova crossing West Michigan to see the mighty Van Halen. I was in 15-year old heaven. Pre-mixed gallon jugs of Kalua and milk started being passed around. Doobies too. I was still scared of weed at the time, but the milk tasted great.

Our seats were about 20 rows up off the end of stage left. I was dumbstruck from the moment the lights dropped and the opening five chords of ‘On Fire’ burst from the PA. Nothing I’d ever experienced had prepared me for this. I’m not sure I blinked for the entire set.

We piled back into the Nova and drove home, bodies once again stacked on bodies.

My friend and I declined the older (19-23) kids’ invitation to join them for some purple microdot. My head was already overloaded with sensory input as it was. I had found live music, the single thread that would continue for the rest of my life, binding everything else together.

So many shows have already been cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. My list alone includes: Killer Hearts, Fun Haunts, The Quireboys, Soulfly, Toxic Holocaust, Bongzilla, Geoff Tate, Bayou Vimana, Ween, Sepultura, Sacred Reich, Crowbar, Rival Sons, Testament, Kvelertak, Fu Manchu, Slaughter, Kix, Baroness, Against Me!, King Buzzo + Trevor Dunn, Primus, Wolfmother, and The Sword.

It’s going to take a while to get back to the Spirit of ‘81. But venues are starting to figure out how to reopen. Bookings are being made. We’re on our way.

I suspect others will get back in the swing of things before me. Most evidence to the contrary, I’ve got a wide cautious streak. But eventually some friends of mine will be playing and other friends will be going to see them and there I’ll be, reborn for the 9,000th time.

In the meantime, I’ve been better familiarizing myself with some Houston favorites and invite you to do the same.

See you out there!

 

Loose Nukes

Loose Nukes

Genre: Hardcore (but with some rock n’ roll)

Notable: Released new record, ‘Cult Leaders,’ Apr. 7, 2020

Standout track: ‘MK Ultra’

https://loosenukestx.bandcamp.com/album/cult-leaders-lp

 

Bayou Vimana

Bayou Vimana

Genre: Rock n’ roll (heavy)

Notable: Going into the studio Summer 2020 to record debut full-length

Standout track: ‘Path To Hell’

https://bayouvimana.bandcamp.com/album/origin-sound-southwing-audio-masters-ep

 

Fun Haunts

Fun Haunts

Genre: Rock n’ roll (pop)

Notable: I don’t know why their Bandcamp page says they’re from Seattle

Standout track: ‘Lips’

https://funhaunts.bandcamp.com/releases

 

Man, The Robot

Man, The Robot

Genre: Grind (hardcore)

Notable: Released Vol. 1 of a COVID-19 EP trilogy, ‘The Covid Chronicles: Vol. 1: Clotho,’ May 13, 2020

Standout track:  ‘The Night the Guy Cut the Power at Our Poetry Reading

https://mantherobot.bandcamp.com/album/your-absence-has-been-a-constant-presence

 

Dead Stuff

Dead Stuff

Genre: Grind (thrash)

Notable: More genres emerge during the live set

Standout track: ‘Fuck Cancer’

https://deadstuff666.bandcamp.com/

 

The Business Machines destroy time

The possibilities weren’t quite endless. In fact, they numbered two: disaster or a good night out with friends, maybe even both. Such is life when your favorite garage rock n’ roll band of all time reunites for its first local performance in 13 years.

Forged from chunks of Houston punks Dig Dug, Sore Loser, and Panic in Detroit, braised in a giant kettle of beer over the fires of anti-capitalist rage, the Business Machines were almost instantly too much for their hometown. A few performances as IBM went over with such spectacular aplomb that they drew the electric eye of the giant corporation already squatting on the name. Cease and desist orders followed and the Business Machines were born.

The band bought a van. The band put together its own nationwide tours, performing with acts like Teenage Bottlerocket, Rye Coalition, 400 Blows, and The Fleshies. The band drove to Chicago and recorded its debut album, ‘Almost Automatic’ (2003) with Steve Albini. The band moved to L.A., engaged the machine, recorded a killer demo with Karl Derfler (Roky Erickson, Flamin’ Groovies, Mother Hips, etc.), played the Troubadour, the Roxy, the Kibitz Room inside Canters Deli, got booked at the Viper Room but bumped for a Sting birthday party, lived on the cusp of almost making it for as long as it could, …and imploded.

Its vocalist buggered off to Maui. Its bassist became a manager/booking agent. Its drummer remained in Los Angeles and immersed himself in the visual arts. And its original guitarist moved to Austin and became an engineer/producer.

Years went by. Weird rumbles were heard from redneck NorCal (Redding) that an all new lineup had emerged, led by front-guy. They played in the woods. More years passed without another peep. But a recoalescence had started. Drummer and second guitarist began jamming, writing for a new project but also teasing the world with run-throughs of old Business Machine numbers.

Members started to see each other again, drawn together by the same events that pull on us all: holidays, funerals, benders. And then the improbable started to happen…

There were no ashes from which to rise. Those had long ago been rain-soaked, stomped through, and reground to dust under humanity’s collective boot. But in mid-October 2019, and against everything but the rock-est of gods, a deep cover, quasi-reunion show was announced: a five-song set in Austin as part of SatelliteFest with guitarist and vocalist performing with a backup band as the Fuck Trump Machines. They rehearsed three times before the show. A center of gravity was found. The duo’s powers grew.

One step remained to achieve full reconstitution. A full set. With the full band. Back home.

One month to the day after SatelliteFest, the date was announced: Friday, Dec. 20 at Rudyard’s. Never prone to pussyfootin’, Business Machines did it right, turning the night into a mini-fest by adding Fun Haunts, Bayou Vimana, and The Cops to the bill.

But almost on cue, the dominos started falling the wrong way. The venue had to be changed. Big Star Bar stepped into the void to keep rock alive.

Seven days before the show Lucas Juarez (vocals) came down with a sinus infection. “My sinus is fucked and show pending…not gonna let the universe fuck me over again. We’re gonna kick the universe in the fucking nuts and curb stomp that motherfucker if it gets in the way of this show. Fuck you universe!!! We’re back and pissed off!!! Get ready to have your milky way pushed in.”

Another day went past and drummer Alex Arizpe’s back started to tweak him. “As usual, Life is attempting to keep us from playing this show on Friday. Lucas suddenly developed a harsh sinus congestion and my back is threatening to give out. We’re working last minute on getting cymbals for the show and time is ticking away ever so quickly. It’s always something! But we are two-hundred percent determined on executing our set. WE’RE GONNA DO THIS! We are willing to sacrifice everything for this one moment, ready to punch anyone or anything that gets in our way. The universe has been against us from day one, and we’re not gonna get fucked over by it, or God or the devil or anyone or anything! We’re ready to quit jobs, health and money for this set that may mean nothing to anyone else but us. We are, and have always been, professional and punctual. We will rise and we will rock the shit out of it! It’s not about the venue, it’s about the performance. This moment is ours, and we will choke it into submission and fuck every second of this set to complete satisfaction. And that’s how you retaliate against the universe! After that, we can cry and die! At this point we don’t care if we die on stage, but we’re gonna do it no matter what! Business Machines for life!”

Calls went out. The necessary hardware was secured.

A railed-in, elevated seating area near Big Star’s center served as the stage. Production—both audio and visual—was expectedly minimal, but as Fun Haunts kicked into its aggro-tinged power pop, a 100% on point mix emerged. Even to brand-new ears, and at an already kicking volume, everything could be heard

No similar lack of familiarity accompanied Bayou Vimana. They’d been gigging around town for years on bills both large and small and built a ‘must-see’ reputation among those who like their rock hard-livin’ and dirty. Consisting of a bunch of dudes who’d been playing Houston since the 90s in acts like Twenty-Three, Donkey Punch, End Result, Small Craft Advisory, The Drunks, Vice Grip, and WD-40oz, playing a table island in front of an initially half-attentive crowd was old hat.

But BV became a band for one reason, literally: to rock as many asses as possible while still able to do so. And, as amply demonstrated on their now played-into-the-ground EP, they are up to the task. Listen to it. Imagine it live. The experience is every bit as good as you would hope and lacking even the tiniest whiff of cheese.

The Cops are hugely entertaining. They dress like cops. They play short bursts of retro punk. They were the perfect setup.

 

Business Machines filed onto the stage for one last tuning and level check. Gil Lira (The Killer Hearts, ex-Bickley) plunked his bass, filling in for the one missing member from the classic line-up, Andrew Harper. Alex clattered around his kit. Lucas paced. Guitarist John Michael plugged into his rig and…nothing. Not even a hum or pop. Matthew Juarez (Lucas’s brother. former Sore Loser bandmate, and promoter of tonight’s show) stepped into the fray, poking and prodding however he could. Cables and power supplies were checked, rerouted, turned off, turned on. Still nothing.

A call for merciful assistance (aka “can we please borrow someone’s amp”) went out and went out again. One of the Cops’ guitarists stepped into the breach.

‘Chronic Marriage Syndrome’ lurched from the gate, disparate parts of a whole as everyone got their legs under them. As the stomp of perennial b-side ‘No Class’ kicked in, a groove started to emerge. ‘Big Trip,’ a young man’s letter home from the rock n’ roll road, followed as the band’s power continued to grow. Lucas strained at first, but when the song got to its bridge and he started the talking-to-his-mom part of the lyrics, the clouds parted.

Juarez ditched the mic stand as ‘Secret Admirer’s slither began. Mid-tempo and one of the greatest stalker songs ever, it brought full gel to the band and crystalized Lucas’s comfort out front.

Hot Water Music-tinged ‘The Real’ kicked Business Machines into attack mode and when the pure garage of ‘Biggest Little Whorehouse in Texas’ (a 90-sec ode to Ken Lay and Enron) followed, blast off occurred. ‘Down But Not Out,’ ‘Rock n’ Roll,’ ‘Pattern,’ and ‘Almost Automatic’ were non-stop shreds of undiluted rock glory, removing time and space the way only the best can. There was a third option after all. Greatness.

And then it was over. A friend who hadn’t caught them back in the day leaned in: “Dude. What the hell? A great band, with great songs, and a great show. How did this not happen?”

Show biz, brother. But it would still be amazing to see what this looked like at the end of even a four-show run sometime. Holy shit.

L.A. shows are coming. More for Texas too.

 

 

Mayhem, murder, and music: Altamont turns 50

The Altamont Speedway Free Festival, held Dec. 6, 1969, has been immortalized in the Rolling Stones concert film ‘Gimme Shelter’ and is widely considered  the end of the ‘Summer of Love.’ The Stones headlined and are often thought to have organized it as their own Woodstock, having not appeared at the festival held that summer in Bethel, NY. An alternative narrative, however, credits Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Koukonen and Spencer Dryden, in cooperation with the Grateful Dead, as the event’s catalysts.

In either case, poor organization dogged the festival from the beginning. Altamont, 50 miles east of San Francisco, was chosen just two days before the event after plans to use first Golden Gate Park and then Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma collapsed. Traffic backed up for 20 miles trying to reach the speedway as an estimated 300,000 people made their way to the site. Wine, marijuana, and other drugs were openly available and used. One concert-goer on LSD jumped from a freeway overpass and was seriously injured. Another drowned. Multiple assaults and widespread property damage occurred, two other people died accidentally, and one person (Meredith Hunter) was murdered by Hell’s Angels.

The Grateful Dead, scheduled to play immediately before the Stones, dropped out of the show and left the site as security deteriorated.

Given the way everything went down, Hell’s Angels were understandably defensive about post-show characterizations that they had been hired to provide event security. Details of how they became involved and what their role was intended to be vary with almost every recounting. Their behavior as captured on film, however, is nothing if not that of a security force gone mad.

Santana kicked the music off, followed by Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the Rolling Stones.

The scene surrounding snippets from Santana’s set is remarkable. Even if one didn’t know the history, the sense of menace is palpable. This was not a good time—notwithstanding the stage announcer’s hopeful suggestion that it “could be the greatest party of 1969 that we’ve had”—and it had only just begun.

 

Jefferson Airplane’s performance ground to a halt as violence erupted down front and a slow-motion stage invasion occurred. Hell’s Angels tried to clear the throngs, but having struck the Airplane’s Marty Balin and knocked him out in the process, their authority to do so was openly challenged. Grace Slick took the mic to try to get the show back on track: “You gotta keep your bodies off each other unless you intend love. People get weird and you need people like the Angels to kind of keep people in line. But the Angels, you know, you don’t bust people in the head for nothing.”

 

Stage announcements before the Flying Burrito Brothers tried to brighten the mood, and FBB succeeded in lifting the gloom to a degree, but nothing could be done to mitigate the claustrophobic conditions. Altamont’s tiny, low stage at the bottom of a geographic bowl now looked like the center of a refugee camp as opposed to a place where some of the world’s greatest bands were playing.

 

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young played a six-song set and split, having their own gig that night at Pauley Pavilion on UCLA’s campus.

From Graham Nash’s 2013 autobiography: “We got a bad vibe from the moment we arrived. Electronic music blared over the PA that was loud, obnoxious, and irritating as hell. That put us in an itchy and distracted mood. More than two hundred thousand people were packed into that track, most of them ripped on amphetamines and LSD. The Hells Angels were drunk and unruly. It was an ugly scene, and unpredictable.

“The only reason we did Altamont was because Jerry Garcia had called Croz and prevailed on their friendship. But by the time we got there, the Dead had refused to go on after Marty Balin, lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane, got punched in the head. That left it to Santana, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Stones, and us to keep a lid on that crowd. Woodstock had been our gig, and we were cool with that. The Stones were headlining; we’d be long gone by the time they went on.

“Our set went down smoothly and was incident-free, but Stephen was freaked out from the moment we went on stage. He took the temperature of that crowd and sensed the danger in the air. Later, he said he feared that some nut was going to try to shoot Mick, which distracted him from the get-go. And, of course, during the Stones’ set a fan was fatally stabbed by a Hells Angel a short distance from the front of the stage, which more of less signaled the end of the Woodstock era. The minute we finished, we grabbed our guitars and took off for the helicopter at a dead run. We were out of that scene before the applause died down. We flew down to LA and appeared that night at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, where Stephen fainted from exhaustion.” (Nash, Graham; Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life; pp. 177-178.)

I’ll leave the Rolling Stones set to “Gimme Shelter,’ but urge you to take some time this weekend to watch the movie. Aside from capturing Altamont in all its grime and tragedy it serves as a perfect encapsulation of all that is both glorious and hideous about the music industry in general.

 

 

Set lists [from Wikipedia]:

Santana

Jefferson Airplane

The Flying Burrito Brothers

  • “Lucille”
  • “To Love Somebody”
  • Six Days on the Road
  • “High Fashion Queen”
  • “Cody, Cody”
  • “Lazy Day”
  • “Bony Moronie”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

  • “Long Time Gone”
  • “Down by the River”
  • “Sea of Madness”
  • “Black Queen”
  • “Pre-Road Downs”

The Rolling Stones

 

 

Listen to dUg Pinnick!

The first new King’s X music in 12 years will be released in February-March 2020. Only the tiniest snippets have emerged so far, but they suggest a modern, varied, expansive album that could well be the band’s crowning glory.

Personal and health issues have limited touring in second-half 2019. The band has cruises scheduled in February (Monsters of Rock) and March (Cruise to the Edge), and a half dozen US dates scheduled for April, but until then fans of all things Doug Pinnick will have to content themselves with his prodigious back catalog.

The man almost literally never stops making music. Sometimes it’s one-off covers for compilation albums, sometimes solo records, other times heading into the studio with any one of a number of non-King’s X bands he’s formed over the years, the most recent version of the last being KXM’s ‘Circle of Dolls,’ released Sept. 13, 2019.

Sometime before it came out, and building on the fun had crowning ‘Over My Head’ the most beloved King’s X song ever, I created a bracket pulling songs from Doug’s album-length outside projects. It was intended to include at least one track from each of his outside bands and almost hit the mark. The Mob (also feat. Reb Beach, Kip Winger, Kelly Keagy, and Timothy Drury) came up short. Even when choosing 64 Doug songs outside King’s X, the options were so deep that there just wasn’t room for a track from the project’s 2005 release.

There were, however, entries from Supershine, Poundhound, Tres Mts., 3rd Ear Experience, KXM, Razr 13, Pinnick Gales Pridgen, Grinder Blues, and dUg Pinnick himself.

Of the 16 still standing, five came from Poundhound, five were released under dUg’s name, and another five came from KXM (Ray Luzier, George Lynch, and dUg). Pinnick Gales Pridgen nailed down the final slot with ‘Hang On, Big Brother’ from its self-titled debut.

Poundhound’s debut, ‘Massive Grooves from the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music,’ released by Metal Blade on Aug. 11, 1998, snared four spots on its own, ‘Music,’ ‘Friends,’ ‘Love,’ and ‘Jangle’ all making the final 16.

 

 

Excerpt from ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick’:

Doug welcomed the return to a small, independent vibe. Metal Blade knew and liked its niche. It didn’t take many risks and ran its business smoothly, comfortable with what it was. The band felt safe and liberated from Atlantic’s rock star obligations. “That world was so engulfing,” Doug reflects. “We weren’t ourselves. We were the band everybody thought was going to make them millions of dollars. They put us in a little bubble and fucking hand fed us.”

Daniels believed the singer of an established band, being the focal point, should get his own record deal in addition to the band’s. Metal Blade agreed. The deal gave Doug money for the first time. Doug built his home studio, Poundhound, with the advance for his first solo record and made a down payment on his house as well. The second record paid off the credit cards he filled putting furniture in the house. It allowed him to move into suburbia and finally get what he wanted: a house and a studio of his own.

After all the years on Atlantic it took a solo side-deal from a metal indie to give Doug a place to call his own.

Poundhound’s ‘Massive Grooves from the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music,’ Doug’s first solo record, excited him musically. He’d become increasingly frustrated with the way his songs were turning out in King’s X. He didn’t think they were bad. They just didn’t sound the way he heard them in his head. With ‘Massive Grooves….’ Doug set out to write a bunch of songs for himself, play them himself, do exactly what he wanted. He performed all the instruments except drums, which Jerry played, and was pleased with the outcome: a no frills record of Doug straight-up singing his songs and sharing his heart.

King’s X recorded ‘Tape Head,’ its Metal Blade debut, at Poundhound Studios as well. Doug was so happy with the ‘Massive Grooves….’ songs that, rather than trying to make lightning strike twice, he suggested the band write its new record together.

 

 

It will be interesting to see what song ends up taking the top spot. My bet’s on something from ‘Massive Grooves…’, but the choice is up to you, the reader, and the love out there is also strong for both ‘Strum Sum Up’ and KXM.

You can vote at https://www.facebook.com/dUgPinnickBio/ and pick up a copy of ‘What You Make It’ here.

Experience Hendrix: Power trio fantasy

From the first date of Experience Hendrix 2019 there was one point of consensus: the regular-set closing trio of dUg Pinnick, Joe Satriani, and Kenny Aronoff stole the show. The songs? ‘Crosstown Traffic,’ ‘Manic Depression,’ ‘I Don’t Live Today,’ ‘3rd Stone From the Sun,’ and ‘Voodoo Child.’ Not enough for you? Try Buddy Guy, Billy Cox, Taj Mahal, Jonny Lang, Dweezil Zappa, Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Johnson, and Chris Layton applying their skills to Hendrix as well.

Covering the eastern US in the spring, Experience Hendrix is now making its western run. Fall dates start Oct. 1 at the famed Paramount Theatre in Seattle and wrap up Oct. 22 in San Antonio.

Californian’s will be getting their second recent dose of dUg live in action, his having completed a late-summer trio of dates with 3rd Ear Experience, the desert jam collaboration led by long-time friend Robbi Robb. The two first met when both were on Megaforce and have had overlapping musical journey’s ever since (as chronicled in ‘What You Make It’).

dUg is also fresh off recording the first King’s X record in 11 years. Golden Robot Records will be releasing the still-untitled album worldwide, most likely in 2020. The band recorded at Blacksound Studio in Pasadena, Calif., with ‘Strum Sum Up’ producer Michael Parnin.

Only the tiniest snippets of music have emerged via the band’s social media pages but based on these the album sounds poised to exceed all expectations, offering both a throwback to the depth of King’s X earliest work and perhaps the band’s most modern, accessible, and varied album ever.

King’s X dates follow Experience Hendrix, starting Oct. 31 in Indianapolis (with Tommy Baldwin Band) and running through a Nov. 16 homecoming in Houston (with Karim K). New material has yet to be performed live, but it will debut sometime!

Enjoy the rock! Enjoy the read!

Experience Hendrix dates and ticket info below.

==

 

Dates:

Oct. 1, Seattle, Paramount Theatre

Oct. 2, Portland, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Oct. 3, Eugene, Ore., Hunt Center For the Performing Arts

Oct. 4, Oakland, Paramount Theatre of the Arts

Oct. 5, Reno, The Expo at Silver Legacy Resort & Casino

Oct. 7, Davis, Calif., Jackson Hall at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Oct. 8, Santa Rosa, Calif., Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts

Oct. 9, Anaheim, Calif., City National Grove of Anaheim

Oct. 11, Indio, Calif., Fantasy Springs Resort Casino Event Center

Oct. 12, Funner, Calif., The Events Center at Harrah’s Resort Socal

Oct. 13, Mesa, Ariz., Ikeda Theatre at the Mesa Arts Center

Oct. 15, Denver, Paramount Theatre

Oct. 16, Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Center

Oct. 18, Newkirk, Okla., First Council Casino Hotel

Oct. 19, Tulsa, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Oct. 20, Houston, Revention Music Center

Oct. 21, Austin, Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater

Oct. 22, San Antonio, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

 

Tickets available here.

 

‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick’ available here.

Texas International Pop Festival, 1969

Two weeks after Woodstock, the Texas International Pop Festival occurred outside Dallas at a speedway in Lewisville. Among the notable acts available for a $6.00 ticket (but absent in New York) were Led Zeppelin, a brand-new act from Flint, Mich., called Grand Funk Railroad, and Chicago Transit Authority. Zeppelin’s set is generally considered one of the best from the band’s early US tours. Grand Funk made the most of the opportunity by opening the main stage on each of the festival’s three days.

Led Zeppelin performed the second night, wrapping up a five-week string of 23 US dates before returning to the UK the next day. They played five songs, starting off with ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’ and ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ before launching into extended jams of ‘Dazed and Confused,’ ‘You Shook Me,’ and ‘How Many More Times’ (two parts and more than 22 minutes!). An encore of ‘Communication Breakdown’ followed.

Zeppelin and Janis Joplin were the festival’s two highest-paid acts, pulling in $10,000 each. Grand Funk, by contrast, played for free and paid its own expenses.

Camping was not allowed on the festival grounds, but The Merry Pranksters ran a nearby camp site and free stage. Hijinks were rampant but peace ruled the day, with no violent incidents reported. Hog Farm commune leader Wavy Gravy, there running festival security, got his name over the weekend. In addition to security, the Taos, NM,-based commune provided free food.

Participants who had also been at Woodstock, where this festival was promoted, found the “vibrations” better in Texas. “Things have been real smooth,” agreed Lewisville police chief Ralph Adams on the first day of the event. That night, a patrolman watched from a distance as 25 or so festival-goers swam nude at the camp site’s lake. “I don’t care what they do as long as they don’t hurt anybody else,” he said.1

Despite the tranquility, however, Lewisville’s Mayor held a press conference a few days afterwards to say he didn’t think there’d be another such event, explaining that “this type of thing just does not fit into our mode of living in this area.”2

An estimated 120,000 people attended the event. About one-quarter of 85 arrests made were for drug violations. No arrests were made at either the festival site or the campground.

Grand Funk had released its debut album, ‘On Time,’ via Capitol Records earlier in August 1969. Produced by Terry Knight, it went Gold, peaking at #27 on the Billboard charts and kicking off Grand Funk’s multi-platinum, stadium-headlining career. Knight (former bandmate of Brewer’s in Terry Knight and the Pack) produced the band’s first seven albums, through 1972’s greatest hits compilation, ‘Mark, Don, and Mel: 1969-71.’ The band self-produced ‘Phoenix,’ released later that year, before turning the reins over to Todd Rundgren for ‘We’re An American Band’ (1973) and ‘Shinin’ On’ (1974).

 

LINEUP

Saturday, Aug. 30, 1969

Grand Funk Railroad
Canned Heat
Chicago Transit Authority
James Cotton Blues Band
Janis Joplin
B.B. King
Herbie Mann
Rotary Connection
Sam & Dave

Sunday, Aug. 31

Grand Funk Railroad
Chicago Transit Authority
James Cotton Blues Band
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
The Incredible String Band
B.B. King
Led Zeppelin
Herbie Mann
Sam & Dave
Santana

Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1

Grand Funk Railroad
Johnny Winter
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
BB King
Nazz
Sly and the Family Stone
Spirit
Sweetwater
Ten Years After
Tony Joe White

 

‘Got No Shoes, Got No Blues’ festival film

 

Grand Funk Railroad

 

Led Zeppelin

 

King’s X – ‘Closer/Captain’ cover – Cardi’s, Houston, 1996

 

References

  1. Kifner, J., “Texas Pop Fans Don’t Have Bethel’s Problems,” New York Times, Aug. 31, 1969, p. 46.
  2. “Pop Festival The Last, Mayor Says,” Reading Eagle, Sept. 5, 1969, p. 3.

King’s X hits the road as ‘Gretchen…’ turns 30

Buy ‘What You Make It’ here to read it before the show.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, King’s X has been working hard on its first album since ‘XV’ (2008). The band recorded at Blacksound Studio in Pasadena, Calif., with ‘Strum Sum Up’ producer Michael Parnin. Details have been kept very close to the vest, but to a person the band seems very pleased with both the process and the results.

One thing did emerge, thanks to the keen eyes of an Aussie King’s X fan, an in-studio whiteboard list of potential working song titles:

New Joys for The World
Basically Saints
She Called Me Home
Flood Pt. 1
Sister Geno
The Whole World Is Crying
Unfiltered Luv
Welcome
Take the Time
All Gods Children
Company
Festival
Give It Up
Watcher
Holidays
Jesus He Don’t
Keep on Goin’
Let It Rain
Nothing But The [illegible]

Roy Turner was in town, gathering footage for the King’s X documentary he’s making. Along the way he captured these in-studio progress reports. Yes, they’re from Week 1, but Turner promises he’ll release another installment once this one reaches 1,000 views

And now the road beckons. The first leg, detailed below, hits the northeast US. Who knows, maybe they’ll perform some of the new material. And you’ll definitely hear songs from ‘Gretchen Goes To Nebraska,’ which turns 30 today! Europe follows in the fall.

6/28 – Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
6/29 – Tail Winds Music Fest – Wappingers Falls, NY
6/30 – The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY

7/9 -@- The Vault Music Hall & Pub at Greasy Luck New Bedford, MA
7/11 -@- Wally’s Hampton Beach, NH
7/12 -@- Aura Portland, ME
7/13 -@- Granite State Music Hall NH, Laconia, NH

*Sound & Shape will be support on these shows!

7/18 – Turnbuckles – Dayton, OH *
7/19 – The Token Lounge– Westland, MI *
7/20 – The Odeon – Cleveland, OH*

7/30 – Sharkey’s Bar & Grill, Syracuse, NY
8/1 – The Queen, Wilmington, DE *
8/2 – Sellersville Theater & Washington House Hotel & Restaurant, Sellersville, PA *
8/3 – The Newton Theatre, Newton, NJ *

Buy ‘What You Make It’ here to read it after the show.

 

‘What You Make It’ turns 1!

‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick’ is 1-year old today! And what a year it’s been. Without doubt, the highlight was getting to experience more directly than ever the ardent devotion of dUg’s fans. It’s never-ending.

But passion will only get you so far, and one of the biggest things dUg’s fans have in common with the man himself is kindness. Add a good dose of fun on both sides and a special bond is formed. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity being along for the ride.

 

More importantly, since ‘What You Make It’s’ release, King’s X signed with Golden Robot Records and has been in Pasadena, Calif., at Blacksound Studio, with Michael Parnin making its first album in 11 years.

Once its final touches are in place, King’s X hits the road, crisscrossing the northeast US during the summer before heading to Europe for the month of September. A trio of Texas dates already scheduled for mid-November could coincide with the new record’s release, but that is just this writer’s speculation.

Between Europe and Texas, dUg heads out for the second leg of the Experience Hendrix tour, having garnered rave reviews during the first leg for his show-stealing set with Joe Satriani and Kenny Aronoff.

 

With this much action ahead, I want to take advantage of the current calm to thank you all for buying ‘What You Make It,’ telling your friends about it, posting about it…everything.

It’s been beyond anything I expected.

If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, you can buy ‘What You Make It’ here. And fittingly enough, given that we’re on the cusp of what could end up being King’s X biggest year in decades, there’s a band biography available as well. Read ‘em both!

See you out there.

Chris

Review: Machete, Willbringer (by Trevi Biles)

I’ve never reviewed a children’s book. But there’s never been one that moved me the way this one did. Appropriate to the genre, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Each children’s book has three essential components: a message, a story, and pictures. I’ve ranked ‘Machete,…’ for each. It did very well. I’ve also attempted to summarize what you and your child will take away from the book.

 

Scores: 1-5 scale

Message – 6

Narrative – 6

Illustrations – 6

 

Bottom line: Deep human contact is more needed than ever.

 

Discussion:

The important themes touched on by ‘Machete,…’ include proper behavior in group settings, finding music in nature, the importance of both the arts and determination, leading a simple life, and the fulfillment found in following one’s passions. Biles has triumphed on debut by crafting these lessons without either lecturing or beating the reader over the head. Visually, the use of crayons and colored pencils throughout creates a relatable environment for the younger reader. Bonus points for trusting these readers to be excited about expanding their vocabularies.

 

Machete bio (2)

 

[In addition to what’s shown on his bio, Trevi plays bass guitar (And Darkness and Decay, Whorehound, Venomous Maximus), runs an award winning hot sauce company (Big Daddy’s Hot Sauces) with his wife, Becky, and teaches calculus.]

dUg, Satch, and Aronoff highlight Experience Hendrix

From the first date of Experience Hendrix 2019 there has been one point of consensus: the regular-set closing trio of dUg Pinnick, Joe Satriani, and Kenny Aronoff steals the show. There is no recreating Hendrix’ alchemy (and everybody involved in the Experience tour seems to realize this) but the sheer rock joy with which these three attack their portion of the set has an affirming power all its own.

The songs? ‘Crosstown Traffic,’ ‘Manic Depression,’ ‘I Don’t Live Today,’ ‘3rd Stone From the Sun,’ and ‘Voodoo Child.’

It’s also been great seeing Doug gush over finally meeting and hanging with Band of Gypsys’  bassist Billy Cox. Mutual respect seems to abound between them. And why not? As Doug put it on social media:

“I remember back when Band of Gypsys live was released. I was a beginning bass player, I learned the bass on the whole record. And now we got bass rigs side by side!!! And he’s buying the DPX3 [pedal], talk about full circle…what an honor!!!!”

Experience Hendrix continues across the eastern US through an Apr. 6 stop in Wallingford, Conn., so get out and shake that thing!

More good news? Once the tour’s done, recording of the NEW KING’S X RECORD gets underway in Los Angeles. The band’s management company “will be making an announcement soon” regarding studio and producer.

And finally, King’s X leaps back into live action with a string of northeast dates at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ; NYC’s Gramercy Theatre; the Tail Winds Music Fest with The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Black Stone Cherry, Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime, and Sass Jordan; Wally’s Pub in Hampton, NH; Aura in Portland, Maine; and Granite State Music Hall in Laconia, NH.

Buy ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick here!

Enjoy the rock! Enjoy the read!