Britt Daniel


He covered John Lennon's "Isolation". I would've imagined that someone covering such an amazing song would be a major mistake - not last night.

Tourney, Stella, Clap, Maher

So my alma went down to Villanova on Friday night. The overtime slide was a bit tough to bear (crap calls didn't help), but watching George Mason down UConn today made up for it. An 11 seed taking down Jim Calhoun's cocky #1 bastards in OT was what college basketball is all about. Ever since the great talents began jumping ship early to the pros, my interest in college hoops has nearly evaporated. The days of Milt Wagner, Hank Gathers, Walter Berry, Fennis Dembo, Derrick Chevious, Dallas Comegys and other former college greats were truly exciting times. George Mason's win today brought back a bit of that spirit.

I spent close to four hours yesterday at the SF SPCA with my buddy Joyce. I hung out with a number of dogs, but it was a pit bull mix named Stella who could end up sharing this studio apartment with my cds and myself. Man are those good folks at the SPCA - they genuinely care about finding the right homes for these animals. I need to sort out some details, but Stella (to be named Janey if she heads to Clay Street) may have found a home.

Without hearing a note prior, I headed out with my music-freak buddy Joel (see Joel, the Lips ticket has garnered you the new title) to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the Great American last night. Maybe I was still coming down from SXSW but I found them to be just ok. They do what they do well, but it just wasn't that inspiring. Given that they put out the record on their own and are now a known national act is a great story, but when I headed to the merch table mid-set, I ended up walking away without the record. I'll need to listen again.

I used to be a Bill Maher enthusiast. Though I still appreciate his passion, this season has been mired in Bill Maher arrogance. This morning, after missing Meet The Press, I was in need of some political shop-talk. I flipped on HBO and caught the last 15 minutes of Real Time. Maher's closing segment on the environment was evidence that Maher's still got it. Once labeled a leftist bs cause (and still labeled so by Bush's assholes), the environment is finally getting the attention that is critical to salvaging this planet for future generations (I realize that sounds extreme, but folks, it's true). If you get the chance, tune in to Maher's closing segment on this weeks episode. It sure made me think. Hopefully a few of the suits in DC will, well, follow suit.


As I sit here listening to the new Josh Rouse record, I can't help but reflect on the impact music had played in my life. It's shaped my career, it's impacted how I carry myself, it's constantly tempering and exploring my emotions, and aside from the people I'm closest to, it's the most important thing in my life.

At aroung the age of ten, my father introduced me to Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and countless others. Over the next 22 years its been Public Enemy, Neil Young, Uncle Tupelo, The Jayhawks, Elliott Smith, The Replacements, Wilco, Josh Rouse, Eels and countless, countless others. Music runs through my blood and brain every day. No matter what's going on in my life, music is always there. I simply couldn't imagine existing on this Earth without it. I've gone through many relationships, fears about life and all of life's emotions, but no matter what, the sounds that come through my speakers or headphones carry me through.

Last week I spent each day experiencing bands of all different styles in live settings. Time and again over the course of this week I was reminded of the importance of this art in my life. The writing, the guitars, the melodies, the abandon, the beauty - it all breathes life into my own life. It always has and I can only assume that it always will.

South By Southwest 2006


It's Monday night following what's always the most exciting and inspiring week of the year. I'm exhausted, perhaps a bit emotional and coming down from another thrilling week in Austin, Texas. Although my job calls me for to actually do quite a bit of work at this wonderful festival, I did find time to see some bands who absolutely blew me away: Some I already knew, some were new to me and many just reminded me why I love fuckin' rock and roll so much. Why I'll never get sick of it. Why my blood, heart and mind always call for music. It keeps me going. It keeps me charged. It pulls me out of bad places. It's inside of me.

The following are the bands/artists who I was fortunate enough to catch this year:

APOLLO SUNSHINE: I had never even heard of these guys. I found myself with a hole in the schedule one night and figured I'd check out the SpinART showcase. I mean, it's SpinART, the bands have to be good. Good? Oh my dear lord. Blistering guitars, punk, southern rock, Crosstown Traffic, ballads, mid-song instrument switches, fury, lust, emotion, balls f'n out. This three-piece was the greatest thing I've seen in maybe a decade. Yes, that's right. Maybe it was because I knew NOTHING by them, maybe it was because they really were THAT good. Whatever the reason(s), I couldn't contain myself at this show. Amazing find. DO NOT MISS THIS BAND IF THEY'RE WITHIN A TIME ZONE OF YOUR HOME.

BRAKES: This foursome from the UK spits rock n' roll in your face and they don't give two shits what you think about it. Some songs carried on for up to five minutes while others didn't make it past ten seconds. The lead singer delivers the words with such angst that I was worried his head might blow off his shoulders. If not for the mastery of Apollo Sunshine, this would've been the best show I've seen in years.

CENTRO-MATIC: Better and better each time I see them. Will Johnson has become one of the better stagemans in the business. This is a band, a full band, a band with heart, balls and intelligence. I caught them twice and the first show had me jumping up and down during each song. The damn blisters may come!

WORLD PARTY: I could hear "Put the Message In the Box" on repeat for the rest of my life. After disbanding about a decade ago, to see them take the stage and open with "Message" literally had me on the verge of tears. The venue sucked but I didn't care. This was World Party. This was special.

NIC ARMSTRONG: Hell of a set.


Other Hightlights: Neil Young/Jonathan Demme Keynote, Steve Earle & Hank Shoklee talking politics and activism, hanging with Brent Best until the wee hours of the morning, seeing all of my great friends in and outside of the "business".

It was truly an amazing experience.

The Next President

With yesterday's straw vote in Memphis and the Sunday news shows filled with presidential hopefuls, it appears as if the race is on. Given what's happened over the past 5 1/2 years and what will continue to happen up through 2008, this will probably be the most important election this country's seen in some time.

Sure, it's clear that I side with the left. There are very few members of the Republican party that I like. Without giving it much thought, Michael Bloomberg is the only republican I would consider supporting in an election. If I still lived in NY, I would've voted for him over Freddie Feraro. When considering Washington republicans, I've got nothing. I used to like John McCain but my respect for him has evaporated over the past few years.

So here are the likely options in each party:

Republicans: John McCain, Bill Frist, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Chuck Hagel and Joe Lieberman (oh wait, he's still a registered democrat).

Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Al Gore, John Edwards, John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Mark Warner, Evan Bayh and Wesley Clark.

My opinions will clearly change as the race takes hold and we find out who's running and who's not. That said, if I had my choice today for the next president of the United States, my choice would be AL GORE. Former VP Gore has experience, he speaks his mind, he stands behind his causes, he's the antithesis of George W. Bush and he's a brilliant and curious mind. Sure, he has some baggage given his missteps in 2000 but I truly believe that Al Gore can lead this country back from this mess.

Simply put, we can't be led by another republican. They had their opportunity over the past eight years and look where we're at.

We need a democrat, a true democrat. And that democratic is Al Gore.

Avian Flu

Yesterday it was one year at the earliest. Today Secretary Asshole Chertoff says that the flu could hit the US within a few months. He goes on to say that we're prepared; that the CDC/FEMA/Homeland Lack of Security, etc. knows how to deal with what's inevitably coming.

Hmmmm...should we trust Mr. Chertoff? How'd he do with Katrina? Not too great if I recall correctly. What about them ports, Mr. Secretary? Didn't handle that one too well. Oh well, at least you're not the man in charge. I mean, the president will step in. Oh wait, he was in charge during the above-mentioned debacles, as well as the Iraq War, Gitmo, Abramoff, Plame, the ongoing torture (remember that: our government is PERMITTING torture), ludicrous tax cuts, defecits out the ass.

With Avian Flu starting to pick up steam, Americans need to read about and find out their own means for potentially combatting what could be the next global epidemic. We clearly can't trust George W., Washington or the leaders running organizations tied to the Bush administration. If there ain't money in it for him or his cronies, forget it.

Avian Flu could very well be contained; however, all reports seem to predict otherwise. My fear is that this potentially massive virus really takes off before 2008. If it does, there's little question that Mr. Bush will stumble at every possible turn, leading to possible catastrophic consequences.

If this virus mutates and begins moving around the globe, we as a globe better pray that it doesn't happen in the next 2.5 years. If it does, lord help us.