Album of Week 8


Joe Henry : Trampoline
Mammoth, 1996

And Here It Comes...The Barack I Voted For

I've been pretty happy with Barack's first month in office. I expected a few minor stumbles and even perhaps inconsistencies early on, yet he's done pretty well. Then came his forceful, realistic and graceful speech before Congress last week. This was a fantastic address, one that outlined in clear words many of the reasons why I was so enthusiastic about Obama during the campaign. He talked directly about health care, education and the wars. He said that, yes, he would be raising taxes on those making over $250,000, something that irrespective of my salary (clearly not a factor right now), is something that I've supported.

And then came his words this weekend regarding the lobbyists who will work to derail his massive and nation-changing plans with respect to health care, energy and a slew of others issues.

"I know these steps won't sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they're gearing up for a fight," Obama said, using tough-guy language reminiscent of his predecessor, George W. Bush. "My message to them is this: So am I."

I got chills when I read these words, because not only do I think he truly plans on taking on and winning this fight, but I think that in the end, on many fronts, he will barrel through victorious. And this is something that "liberals" (whatever we/they are) have been dreaming of for oh so long.



New Wilco Due in June


We get the Ashes of American Flags DVD on Record Store Day (4.18.09) (pretty awful trailer can be found on Wilco's website) and now word that the next Wilco record will be out in June. Recorded last month in New Zealand and produced by Jim Scott, initial songs appear to be "My Country Has Disappeared", "Sunny Feeling", "Wilco, the Song" and "One Wing".

Words that Should Never Be Used When Describing a Band / Show


killed it

There are so, so, so, many more, but when I hear this trio of buffoonery, I want to toss my head in a microwave.

As If All News Will Be Good News From Now On : The Essential Joe Henry


Joe Henry may be the most underappreciated singer-songwriter of the past twenty years. Alright, that would be impossible to say with the likes of Matthew Ryan, Kenny Roby, Richard Buckner, Tim Easton and Gillian Welch not reaching nearly enough ears, but my good buddy Doc Hup often puts Henry on the same plane as Dylan and Springsteen. 2007's Civilians was arguably the best record of that year (though I went with Ritter) and the trifecta of Short Man's Room (1992), Kindness of the World (1993) and Trampoline (1996) rounds out a perfect collection of the four to start with. Buy his records.

The Essential Joe Henry
Fireman's Wedding
Our Song
King's Highway
Skin and Teeth
Some Champions
Go With God (Topless Shoeshine)
Civil War
This Close To You
Ohio Air Show Plane Crash
Short Man's Room

Yep Roc Records Stimulus Plan Sale


One of the best labels on the planet, Yep Roc, is having a pretty nice one-week sale. You can land many a cd for $5 and some great vinyl finds for just $10. Buy Stuff

The Archives : The Damnation TX's "Half Mad Moon" (1998)

Right around the same time that the Dixie Chicks took the country and pop world by storm with their tedious ballads, the Damnations TX released their debut record, Half Mad Moon, on Warner imprint, Sire (ya know, home to The Replacements, Ramones and early Wilco). Similar in some respects, there was one big difference: The former were pretty terrible and the latter were not. Half Mad Moon was a fantastic debut from a four piece, fronted by sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly with The Gourds' Keith Langford on the kit and Rob Bernard (brother of The Gourds' Claude Bernard) on various instruments, the harmonies were beautiful and balanced, while the music blended traditional country with pretty darn straightforward rock n' roll.

The Damnations TX came on the scene at the same time that the country/rock thing of the 90s was at its apex. Wilco, Son Volt, The Old 97's and Steve Earle were household names and the Damnations TX were one of those opening acts on the cusp that never received their due. I caught them once at SXSW (in the park, I believe) and they put on a sweet and charging set. Unfortunately, upon the release of this gem, Sire was stumbling through typical label restructuring and the Damnations were lost in the corporate nude mud wrestling. They went on to release one more record in 2002 via some long forgotten indie and that was it. No official breakup was ever announced, but a google search of the band turns up very little. Whether their decision to move on was their own or the product of an industry that moved way beyond committing to quality acts, they left us with a near masterpiece in Half Mad Moon.

I drive all night, til these wheels get bloody. Anything I could do, just to catch you alive

Bonnie "Prince" Billy Tour


Monday, February 16
Honolulu, HI
Live on KTUH sometime
between noon & 3pm HST

Wednesday, February 18
Honolulu, HI
Mercury Bar
duo with Emmett Kelly

Thursday, March 12
Bloomington, IN
Buskirk-Chumley Theatre

Friday, March 13
Urbana, IL
Independent Media Center

Saturday, March 14
Chicago, IL
Vic Theatre

Monday, March 16
Des Moines, IA
Vaudeville Mews

Tuesday, March 17
Iowa City, IA
The Picador

Wednesday, March 18
Milwaukee, WI
Turner Hall

Thursday, March 19
Minneapolis, MN
The McGuire Theater (Walker)

Saturday, March 21
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Pyramid Cabaret

Sunday, March 22
Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Broadway Theatre

Monday, March 23
Edmonton, AB, Canada
McDougall United Church

Tuesday, March 24
Calgary, AB, Canada
MacEwan Hall

Wednesday, March 25
Vancouver, BC, Canada
The Vogue Theatre

Thursday, March 26
Seattle, WA
Moore Theatre

Friday, March 27
Portland, OR
Crystal Ballroom

Sunday, March 29
Santa Rosa, CA
Orchard Spotlight

Monday, March 30
San Francisco, CA
The Fillmore

Thursday, April 2
Los Angeles, CA
El Rey Theatre

Friday, April 3
Phoenix, AZ

Saturday, April 4
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Brewing Co.

Sunday, April 5
Denver, CO
The Bluebird Theater

Tuesday, April 7
Lawrence, KS
The Granada

Thursday, April 9
Omaha, NE
The Waiting Room

Friday, April 10
St. Louis, MO
The Pageant

Saturday, April 11
Indianapolis, IN
The Vogue

Tuesday, May 12
Pontiac, MI
The Crofoot Ballroom

Wednesday, May 13
Cleveland, OH
Beachland Ballroom

Thursday, May 14
Toronto, ON, Canada
Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Friday, May 15
Montreal, QC, Canada
Ukranian Federation

Saturday, May 16
Northampton, MA
Iron Horse Music Hall

Sunday, May 17
Boston, MA
Wilbur Theatre

Monday, May 18
South Burlington, VT
Higher Ground Ballroom

Thursday, May 21
New York, NY
Apollo Theater

Friday, May 22
Philadelphia, PA
Trocadero Theatre

Saturday, May 23
Alexandria, VA
The Birchmere

Sunday, May 24
Charlottesville, VA
Fry's Spring Beach Club

Friday, May 29
Atlanta, GA
Variety Playhouse

Friday, June 5
Austin, TX
The Mohawk

Saturday, June 6
Dallas, TX
Granada Theater

Obama Tonight

Now that's leadership.

Boehner, McConnell and that Grand Old Party


Sitting with those childlike scowls is just hilarious. My allegiances are obvious, but I have never seen the republican party so laughable. Oh, they'll rebound, and if Obama can't get us moving in the right direction in a few years, he will likely only see one term, but watching the republicans right now is bitter sweet. And their most promising star is Bobby Jindal? It's like buying a classic comedy on DVD and finding those oh-so-nice bonus features.

Mississippi John Hurt "Spike Driver Blues" (Video)

Dustin Lance Black and Courage (Video)

From 1:20 to 1:47 is about as important a message on human rights as I've seen in some time. I can't imagine how important those words were to many struggling teenagers throughout the world.

Dinner at My Home (Video)

Saying Goodbye Almost a Year Later

Today marks exactly four months since I've been day job-less. Although it was imeem that employed me for the last seven months of my daytime work life, it was SNOCAP, the company purchased by imeem in early 2008, that brought on those five stages. Once I was let go, my almost three-year connection to a job and company that I truly loved came to an end. In retrospect, perhaps I should've cut ties when SNOCAP was acquired, especially given that imeem really didn't have a good fit for me, but a feeling of responsibility to SNOCAP's partners and the building recession made it hard to walk away. And just like SNOCAP, I did go in with high hopes to contribute and grow.

Since late October, I've gone through the stages of trying to let SNOCAP go. This was the job of a lifetime, one where I worked alongside some people who inspired me, taught me, and remain some of my closest friends to this day. Oh, we certainly weren't perfect, but while it lasted, this was a truly fantastic place to work. Some of my colleagues were really in it for the music. Others weren't as fanatical about tunes, but provided personalities, intelligence and individuality that made this place so interesting and inspiring. And the people I met and places I went due to my role within SNOCAP will never be forgotten. There was the fantastic dinner in France with the CD Baby and Koch folks. A bunch of us hung out and chatted with The Buzzcocks in Austin. A seemingly mundane breakfast with a partner in LA was far from mundane. There were the many happy hours with co-workers, many of whom have left the area. There was Avenue B with Eric and Gerald. There were the joys of nailing down deals. The memories are truly, truly endless. We were always surrounded by music, a passion for what we were doing, and despite mixed results on the business front, a deep desire to help the musicians and labels we were working with.

It was certainly high-stress at times. Many nights I couldn't find much sleep due to the pressures and mounds of work that the next day would bring, but such a workload and responsibilities were always met with excitement and a feeling that I was being tested. And for perhaps the first time in my career, I truly felt the challenges and ups and downs of a business in its embryonic stages. And this was thrilling.

I'm still trying to figure out what's next, but one thing's for certain, landing in work that is as rewarding and challenging as my days at SNOCAP will not be easy. The wins, the losses, the frustrations, the celebrations, the agreements and debates all fell together to leave a lasting impression.

Kenneth Lonergan Resurfaces


It's been nine years since Lonergan directed the fantastic You Can Count on Me, starring Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney. One of the most underappreciated films of the past decade, despite winning a few film festival awards, the movie clearly didn't receive its due. Lonergan has kept a fairly low profile since, but in 2009 he returns with Margaret starring Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick and Matt Damon. Lonergan wrote and directed and if it's even a shred of Count on Me this will be a quality movie.

Synopsis: Margaret centers on a 17-year-old New York City high-school student who feels certain that she inadvertently played a role in a traffic accident that has claimed a woman's life. In her attempts to set things right she meets with opposition at every step. Torn apart with frustration, she begins emotionally brutalizing her family, her friends, her teachers, and most of all, herself. She has been confronted quite unexpectedly with a basic truth: that her youthful ideals are on a collision course against the realities and compromises of the adult world.

Release date TBD.

Best Best Pictures


I'm looking over the list of the Best Picture winners through the years, and wow, not so great. "Titanic" and "Crash" are actually terrible movies. And many others are just average. Here are some of the best of what the Academy has called the best.

American Beauty (2000)
Platoon (1987)
Terms of Endearment (1984)
Ordinary People (1981)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1980)
Annie Hall (1978)
Rocky (1977)
The Godfather (1974)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1958)

This year's hasn't been named yet, but the best of the year, "The Wrestler", isn't even nominated. And although I haven't seen it, there's something about "Slumdog Millionaire" that just screams mediocre. I hope I'm wrong.

The Oscars

I can't say I care much for award shows anymore, but the Oscars are clearly eons more reputable than say, The Grammys. Unlike The Grammys (which I haven't watched in at least a decade), I will tune in on Sunday. And as always, I'm sure I'll be disappointed in the results. Nevertheless, the following are my predictions for who will win, as well as who should win. Although I haven't seen every film or every performance, eh, what the heck...

Will : Slumdog Millionaire
Should : The Wrestler (not nominated)

Will : Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Should : Darren Aronofsky for The Wrestler (not nominated)

Will : Sean Penn in Milk
Should : Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Will : Meryl Streep in Doubt
Should : Meryl Streep in Doubt

Will: Health Ledger in The Dark Knight
Should : Health Ledger in The Dark Knight

Will : Viola Davis in Doubt
Should : Viola Davis in Doubt

Elliott Smith "Bottle Up and Explode" (Video)


Album of Week 7


Hurray for the Riff Raff : I Don't Mean I Don't Love You
Hurray for the Riff Raff, 2009

Touch & Go Story Gets Worse

As many feared, in addition to shedding the distribution arm, it appears as if Touch & Go will cease signing new acts and will basically go the catalog-label route. That's right, it appears as if the label is done putting out new music.

1997 Revisited

Given that it's only mid-February and we're already seeing strong records from M. Ward, Neko Case, Chip Robinson and The Gourds, you have to wonder if this is going to be a stellar year in music. With most of the year still to come, we're looking at likely 09 releases from Bob Dylan, Wilco, Son Volt, Josh Ritter, Bob Mould, Tim Easton, Iron & Wine, Gillian Welch, Josh Rouse, The Wrens, New Pornographers, The Strokes (?) and on and on.

I often cite 1997 as the best year of music in my lifetime. Here's just a snippet of what came out that year:

Whiskeytown Strangers Almanac
Richard Buckner Devotion & Doubt
Old 97's Too Far To Care
Richmond Fontaine Miles From
Steve Earle El Corazon
Matthew Ryan May Day
The Jayhawks Sound of Lies
Son Volt Straightaways
The Handsome Family Through the Trees
Freedy Johnston Never Home
Bob Dylan Time Out of Mind
Elliott Smith Either/Or
Pavement Brighten the Corners

1998 was basically as good with fantastic releases by Bap Kennedy, Son Volt, Lucinda Williams, The Gourds, The Pernice Brothers, Neutral Milk Hotel, Silver Jews, Wilco/Bragg, Richard Buckner and many more.

I have a feeling about this year. It's barely gotten underway yet 2009 is prime for a resurgence in great music. Let's hope.

Dave Bryson and Jeremy Black

Son Volt's Bryson and Apollo Sunshine's Black are two of my favorite current drummers. As I sit here watching SV's "6 String Belief" DVD, it's clear that in addition to sharing some talents behind the kit, man do they look alike.

Black's on the right:

Bryson on the left:

I Get Many Soul 45s Here (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

I basically just walk in, go to the fella in the pic, and ask him to pick out 10-15 good ones.

M. Ward on Letterman (Video)

Man, he is so much better without that Zooey hipster.

Neighborhood Pup (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Bruce Springsteen "The Wrestler" (Video)

Touch & Go To Close Distribution Arm / Cut Staff

Now this is sad news. Touch & Go distributes such fantastic labels as Drag City, Overcoat, Flameshovel, as well as Merge and Kill Rock Stars in parts of the country, to name a few. One can only imagine that this will also impact Touch & Go's own future releases. T & G has been home to Slint, Don Caballero, Calexico, Rachel's, Dirty Three, Mekons, Silkworm and many other bands that simply do not suck.

Statement from co-founder Corey Rusk:
"It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels. Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records.

"Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations. Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go. We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.

"Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure. It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go’s history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings."

Haight St (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Word Press Photos of the Year (2008)

Take a look.

Best Sources for Good New Music

Where are people who don't have awful taste going to find new music today? And I don't just mean music that's released today, but rather just tunes that aren't terrible. I used to find just about everything I needed from a fantastic music listserve that I was on from 1994 - 2008, but having departed that list, I've been trying to find some good new homes. Magnet and Blurt are probably my favorites but they're hardly comprehensive. I seem to have grown a bit bored with Largeheartedboy, though I do check his site a few times a week. Pitchfork has clearly lost its way and offers next to nothing now. The old big players such as RS, Spin, etc. are clearly chock-full-of-crap.

Where else can one turn? I haven't found any of the hyped bloggers (Aquarium Drunkard, My Old Ky Blog) to really offer that much, so I'm sort of at a loss. Whenever I hop on the computer just looking to scour a music mag/site for an hour or so, well, I just don't find one. I end up scraping through eMusic or reading reviews on Allmusic. Well, I usually just end up hitting Youtube and looking for Possibilities videos. And then I end up departing and heading to Facebook, reading a few incredibly boring updates and dozing off with Croce streaming from my page.

Wilco in May 1995 (Videos)

I think I caught Wilco about 206x on this tour.

Thanks, Mike


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

My home away from home's final night.

The Jayhawks "Blue" on Jon Stewart in 1995 (Video)

The Archives : Marah's "Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight" (1998)

One of the best debut records ever released. The band, led by brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko, were as deep-rooted in Philadelphia as Rocky Balboa or Mike Schmidt. They were Springsteen one state over with Westerberg riding shotgun. When I first listened to this record I was blown away in a way that few records have done. It was hunger, freedom, debauchery, youth and abandon with so many damn instruments, howls, Phillies announcers and hand claps that it should've blown the face off of rock n' roll.

On the fifth day,
Of the fifth month,
At five o'clock in the dawn,
I rolled myself in a t-o-p,
And jumped down highway 1,
With a 400 engine hot as a cremation coffin,
And a tailgate bangin' like an airplane wing,
I was rollin' down the highway, doin' it my way,
Whistlin' "Someday" and singin' this song

I spent many-a-weekend in the late 90's hopping on the turnpike and heading from New York to Philly to see this band. I often wouldn't know where I'd lay my head or when I'd be back, but the need to see these guys was almost beyond my control. I'd cancel a date, leave work early and drive way beyond the speed limit to get there on time. I saw them all over Philadelphia and hours outside the city. At a Halloween show at the Pontiac they pulled me onstage to smoke, drink and harmonize on a terrible Skynyrd song.

I recall saying to friends that seeing Marah was like seeing the Stones during the Exile days, but maybe better. They were that good. Shows were fueled by booze, smokes and a pure rock n' roll energy that left me drenched in sweat and beer as the shows let out well past last call.

with Dave Bielanko @ The Pontiac, Halloween ('98?)

It all came from Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later On Tonight, an album that mixes The Faces, Stones and Springsteen, yet is all Marah. It's youth, desperation and an uncertain fearlessness that together made this one of the greatest debut rock records ever made. There was nothing slick, nothing left behind and nothing left unsaid. As Dave says on "Boat": haste makes waste / and fans away my wasted friends / and it don't put you on top the world.

8 Songs (Mix)


Music at Home

Since I've been sans day job for about four months, I figured it'd be interesting to see if my listening habits have changed given the free time. Not much.

Bruce Springsteen 570
Richard Buckner 249
Bonnie "Prince" Billy 236
Nick Drake 233
Matthew Ryan 219
Neil Young 203
Sam Cooke 202
Wilco 190
Mark Olson & Gary Louris 132
Eels 125
Josh Ritter 121
M. Ward 119
Easton Stagger Phillips 113
The Gourds 107
Son Volt 103
Chip Robinson 100
Pavement 97
The Jayhawks 92
Bob Dylan 81
Conor Oberst 75

Now Playing
Hurray for the Riff Raff It Don't Mean I Don't Love You

SF Public Library

I picked up a library card today. After finishing the application and receiving my card, the kind lady said, "I'm sorry, but just so you know, you can only take out 50 items at a time." Fifty!?!?!?!

Contributing to the Huffington Post


Most who read my blog likely already know that I've started contributing to the Huffington Post. Thus far I've had three pieces published, the most recent being this morning's take on the Alex Rodriguez fiasco.

Since I've now been out of work just shy of four months, I will soon have to make some pivotal decisions. But for now, I will continue to write on this blog, via the Huffington Post and on other projects. If you'd like to follow me on the HP, here's my homepage. And please feel free to comment on my posts.

Market Street (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Closed (Photo)


, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

The Gourds "All the Labor" (Video)


@ Slim's in SF tomorrow night.

Album of Week 6


(probably not the album cover)
Chip Robinson : Mylow
TBD, 2009

At Home with Josh Rouse (Video)

I really have no idea what's going on here.

"Where They Live" Josh Rouse (trailer) from Where They Live on Vimeo.

Why I Love America (Video)

Julio is so damn pumped.

Wilco "Gun" (Video)

This may be my favorite Wilco lineup. Bob Egan was classic.

Live Nation & Ticketmaster Merger

Wrens Watch on Magnet's Site

If you haven't read Magnet Magazine's weekly "Wrens Watch" it's certainly worth checking out. Basically, a writer from Magnet prints his weekly chats with Charles Bissell of The Wrens about their now six-plus-year record in the making. Pretty comedy.

Here's this weeks installment:

MAGNET: Last week when we talked, you pretty much said you guys hadn’t done anything other than the one new song, aside from breaking the computer you use to record.
Bissell: If you want to look at it that way, then yes, I guess so.

I know you recently had a birthday, so I’ll cut you a little slack about the lack of recording. So any other news?
Hmmm. I heard this Coltrane song for the first time the other day. It was really good.

All his stuff is really good. That’s why he’s John Coltrane. Plus, the man made more than 100 albums, and he only lived to be 40, which is younger than you are now.
So what are you trying to say?

Nothing, other than some people are slow starters, I guess. Geez, come to think of it, you’ve already outlived John Lennon by a number of years.
Your point?

Don’t really have one. I mean, Paul McCartney was already at Press To Play when he was about your age. And my friends and I thought he was a has-been then.
If you even so much as mention George Harrison’s Cloud Nine or Ringo Starr’s Old Wave, I’m hanging up.

How about Billy Preston’s You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down? I think he might have been older than you when he made that. No, I think he was actually younger.
Later, asshole. [Hangs up]

Steroids and (Somewhat) Misdirected Outrage

It's obvious that FOX, CNN and even MSNBC, to a degree, have become somewhat of a joke. We're seeing the same sensational and knee-jerk behavior from ESPN, CNNSI, the NY Daily News and just about everyone covering this steroid scandal. Let's get right to the point here: When steroids became somewhat ubiquitous in Major League Baseball, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knew this was happening and did nothing. Why? The money was pouring in as McGwire, Sosa and others were destroying records. Then there's union rep. Donald Fehr. Yes, it's his job to protect the players, but when health and the overall integrity of the game are at stake, what he's done is absolutely ludicrous. He's spent a decade trying to prevent the entire league from simple drug testing. These guys are being paid millions upon millions of bucks, yet they shouldn't be required to take a one-minute drug test?

When a premiere player, or any player at all, finds a way to quickly improve his game, and a good portion of the league follows, how should players going about it legally react? Should they sit back, remain clean, and have their game and numbers overshadowed by those juicing? Should they speak up and turn in a good portion of the league? Give those questions some thought before trashing every player who made these mistakes.

I'm not excusing A-Rod, McGwire, Pettitte or others, but as I quickly noted in my previous post, the ones truly at fault here are Bud Selig, Don Fehr and Gene Orza more than any individual player. They were well aware of all of this and turned blind eyes. They should absolutely and without question be removed from the game of baseball forever. They have ruined over a decade of this once great game. Enough is enough.

The A-Rod Attack

Everything on the way is certainly warranted, but the two chaps below deserve most of the blame for nearly ruining the greatest game in America.

Bud Selig & Donald Fehr

Dollar LP Day @ Amoeba

I scoured the clearance bins.

Merle Haggard That's the Way Love Goes
Graham Parker The Real Macaw
Graham Parker The Mona Lisa's Sister
Graham Parker Another Grey Area
Rodney Crowell Ain't Living Long Like This
Rod Stewart Never a Dull Moment
Linda Thompson One Clear Moment

And they chucked in Return of the Grievous Angel : A Tribute to Gram Parsons gratis.

Less than $8 total.

Springsteen & Ticketmaster

Seems that Bruce is making slip after slip these days. I haven't bought a ticket via Ticketmaster since that Yanks/Royals game in the mid-80s when Roy White had a sweet double off the right field wall. With his pull and influence, the fact that he's finally speaking out brings on a bit of a yawn. Here's his exchange to fans and Ticketmaster's response:

We know there was much confusion regarding Ticketmaster and TicketsNow during last Monday's on-sale dates. We were as confused as you were, as we were given no advance notice of the major changes in the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow world. (Bear in mind that we are not clients of any ticketing company, and that all those arrangements are between venues and ticketing companies.)

Last Monday, we were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice.

We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest. Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges. TicketsNow is supposed to be a secondary site where people who already have tickets may exchange, trade, and, unfortunately, speculate with them. We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.

We know the many cynical arguments some make in favor of the Ticketmaster system: There are rumors that some artists or managers participate in Ticketmaster charges--we do not. There are rumors that some artists or managers are receiving a percentage of the amount above face value at secondary outlets like TicketsNow--we do not. Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect "scalping" those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow--we do.

While many of you have sent notes to us and your local promoters, you may also send accurate informational letters to Albert Lopez of Ticketmaster and he will try to address your questions.

A final point for now: the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives.

The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you. We will continue to do our utmost now and in the future to make sure that these practices are permanently curtailed on our tours.

Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team


An Open Letter of Apology to Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team:

While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark. Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish. We sincerely apologize to Bruce, his organization and, above all, his fans.

We recognize that we need to change our course. We have committed to Bruce and state publicly here that we have taken down all links for Bruce's shows directing fans from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow. This redirection only occurred as a choice when we could not satisfy fans specific search request for primary ticket inventory, but to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future, we also publicly state that we will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale. Specifically, we will not present an option to go to TicketsNow from Ticketmaster without the consent of the artist and the venue, both of whom work together to bring the joy of live entertainment to millions of fans.

If any fans inadvertently purchased tickets in the resale marketplace believing in error they were purchasing from the initial on-sale, we will refund the difference between the actual purchase price and the face price of the ticket. (Please don't abuse this good faith gesture as we did not give brokers any preferential access to tickets.)

We are committed to helping deliver the most transparent and best live entertainment experience to fans. We will do better going forward.


Irving Azoff, CEO, Ticketmaster Entertainment

WIith the End in Sight...Mike's Spirit Remains

With a little over a week left, and an uncertain future to arrive the day it ends, my good buddy Mike remains spirited. This morning, as we bantered about various crap, I asked Mike to kill the radio and put on one of my CDs. He went for his favorite, the first one I made. He loves the song "Freeway" by Aimee Mann and always sings along to "Where Were You Last Night" by The Traveling Wilburys. The latter even got a little juke out of him. One of the customers was tapping his foot to "Fireman's Wedding" by Joe Henry.

Obviously taken with the music and excitement Mike asked if we could just start the going away party right then. I told him that I'd love to, but I need to head to Golden Gate Park this afternoon to search for my future home. Seems as if he's moving there as well. We're looking into electricity options. If you're around on Sat, Feb 14 at 5pm and would like to come bid Mike good wishes, stop by.

Tweedy in Urbana 1.31.09 (Videos)

Radio King:

Fake Plastic Trees:

Remember the Mountain Bed:

Henry & the H Bombs (Mott the Hoople):

Jeff Tweedy @ Foellinger Auditorium, Urbana, IL 1.31.09

He played "Henry & the H Bombs". I have pal back in NY who used to scream out this request at every single Wilco show, even if the opener was still playing.

Here it is....

Henry & the H Bombs - Jeff Tweedy

And if you'd like to download the entire show, here you are.

Louris, Heywood & The Sadies "You Ain't Goin Nowhere" (Video)




, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Springsteen @ The Roxy, LA 7.7.78

Springsteen fanatics have debated his best shows for decades now. There was the New Year's Show at Nassau in 1980, The Bottom Line shows in '75, Main Point, the Christic Benefits, Harvard, The Capitol Theatre and countless others. These debates have taken place in parking lots before shows, all over the many, many Springsteen fan pages and just about anywhere that Springsteen fans congregate.

I'm now about midway through his famous Darkness-era show at the Roxy in LA. I don't recall ever hearing an artist so loose and engaged with the crowd. As I listen, it sounds as if him and the band are in the middle of the crowd. It also sounds as if the band's life depends on this show. Absolutely nothing is left untouched. As Bruce and the band literally yell.....Well the dogs on main street howl cuz they understand / If I could take one moment into my hands / Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man / And I believe in a promised's almost impossible not to just dive through my window in excitement. There's no pretension whatsoever. No gloss. Not a moment of hesitation. The crowd is nearly as explosive as the band.

There's little question that my adoration for Springsteen can be over-the-top. That said, when listening to a recording like this, it's impossible to be hyperbolic. Perhaps Springsteen fans are wired differently, but the jaw-dropping sound and emotion coming from that stage seems something only possible via imagination.

Tonight, tonight, the strips just right / I wanna blow 'em off in my first heat / Summer's here and the time is right / For racin' in the street

The setlist:
01 Rave on
02 Badlands
03 Spirit in the night
04 Darkness on the edge of town
05 Candy's room
06 For You
07 Point blank [Different lyrics]
08 The promised land
09 Prove it all night [With long guitar intro]
10 Racing in the street
11 Thunder road
12 Paradise by the C
13 Fire
14 Adam raised a Cain
15 Mona
16 She's the one
17 Growin' up
18 It's hard to be a saint in the city
19 Backstreets
20 Sad eyes - interlude
21 Heartbreak hotel
22 Rosalita (Come out tonight)
23 Independence day (solo piano)
24 Born to run
25 Because the night
26 Raise your hand
27 Twist and shout

Album of Week 5


Richard Buckner : The Hill
Overcoat, 2000

Final Five Mins. w Silver Jews

300 feet underground at the Volcano Room at the Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tennessee.

Daschle Withdraws


This is good news. The revelations over the past week or so have proven that he's unfit for this role. Could we really appoint someone to fix the health care system who's been pallin' it up with terrorists, i mean health care execs, for the past few years.

I'm really starting to wonder about some of Obama's vetting. Whoever's leading his vetting process needs to be canned now. His background checks appear about extensive as McCain's five minute chat with Palin before choosing her. It's just a matter of time before we find out that Janet Napolitano trained in Afghanistan for a few decades.

Bonnaroo: Springsteen, Wilco, Grizzly Bear, Beastie Boys, Phish, Okkervil, Merle Haggard, Snoop

I actually may go to this. I haven't willingly been to a major festival since the mid-90s.

Bonnaroo 2009 Lineup
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Phish (2 Shows)
Beastie Boys
Nine Inch Nails
David Byrne
Al Green
Snoop Dogg
Elvis Costello Solo
Erykah Badu
Paul Oakenfold
Ben Harper and Relentless7
The Mars Volta
TV on the Radio
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Gov’t Mule
Andrew Bird
Merle Haggard
The Decemberists
Girl Talk
Bon Iver
Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Del McCoury Band
of Montreal
Allen Toussaint
Coheed and Cambria
Booker T & the DBTs
David Grisman Quintet
Lucinda Williams
Animal Collective
Neko Case
Jenny Lewis
Robert Earl Keen
Citizen Cope
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
The Ting Tings
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Kaki King
Grizzly Bear
King Sunny Adé
Okkervil River
St. Vincent
Zac Brown Band
Raphael Saadiq
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Crystal Castles
Tift Merritt
Brett Dennen
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
Toubab Krewe
People Under the Stairs
Alejandro Escovedo
Vieux Farka Touré
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Todd Snider
Portugal. The Man.
The SteelDrivers
The Knux
The Low Anthem
Delta Spirit
A.A. Bondy
The Lovell Sisters
Alberta Cross

The Halftime Show & Rock n' Roll

Amazingly, I wasn't that excited for the Springsteen halftime show. I first saw Bruce and the E Street Band on the Born in the USA tour in 1985. I was twelve years old, and ended up seeing two shows on that tour. It wasn't until the Lucky Town/Human Touch Tour in 1992 that I started to see Bruce a lot. Now almost 25 years since my first Bruce show, I think I've seen him somewhere around 40-50 times. When he played eleven shows in NJ in '93 or so, I saw eight. When he did the same a few years ago (I think it was ten this time), I saw six. In the late 90's, I saw him over and over and over. I saw him solo in Oakland and with the Seeger Sessions Band about an hour outside of San Francisco. I saw him play "Kitty's Back" in the pouring rain at Giants Stadium. I have never once been disappointed. He is the greatest performer of my lifetime. And if I live to be 184, I can't imagine that changing.

For me, things started to turn downhill with the release of last year's Magic. Bruce was trying to recapture the spirit of his early days, but it just wasn't there. Then came the announcement of the Super Bowl appearance, the Wal-Mart debacle and another sub-par record. I actually skipped Bruce and the band on last year's tour, something I hadn't done in seventeen years.

I was shocked to see the band start with "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out". This is certainly not an obscure Bruce song, but with not much time and an audience of millions, it was a surprise. I can only attribute this choice to his desire to reach out to his hardcore fans who have been perplexed the past few months. "Born To Run" was solid and the "Working on a Dream" into "Glory Days" string was fun. But again, this wasn't the same Bruce. For one, Steve's reference to "The Boss" would absolutely never have happened 1972-2006. Bruce abhorred this nickname. And then there was the silly referee thing. It was forced showmanship that Bruce has never needed. He's a natural showman.

I had a long chat with a friend this afternoon. He's actually one of my favorite musicians and we've developed a friendship over the past few years. We talked about Bruce and agreed on most of what I said above. But he had some great points. He said that Bruce wants to hear rock n' roll on the radio again, he wants to reclaim the spirit of rock n' roll and he continues to challenge himself and press for rock n' roll. Even if some of the new songs aren't on-par with the majority of his catalog, he's certainly not recycling the past. Maybe the results are falling short, but the effort's there, and this is coming from a guy who will hit the age of 60 in September. My friend was much more eloquent in his take, but you get the point.

After hanging up, I thought of today's music. There's certainly a lot of very good music being made, but is there just one act that touches the spirit of rock n' roll in the way that Springsteen has? I'm not talking about his performance yesterday; I'm talking about the 30+ years prior. Yesterday was fine, but what he's done for three decades has often left me gasping for breath and unable to find words. The Denton, Texas band Slobberbone had this. The Replacements certainly did. But in the past few years? The Gourds are a blast and have been for over ten years. And I suppose The Arcade Fire are the closest we have. And I'm sure there are acts out there that I'm unfamiliar with.

But all told, despite his sometimes hokey efforts to please an audience in the millions yesterday, the Springsteen I've known and seen for three decades is the pinnacle. Maybe he's lost a step, but for over thirty decades, there's been nothing like him.

Photo for BPB's "Beware!"

I really, really can not wait for this record. March 16th.

A Good Day Indeed

Rarely do I consider some of my best days as those brought on by a sporting event, a concert on TV or something else that's somewhat lacking in depth. But today was different.

After an early afternoon trip out to Oakland to scout out a future home, we returned home just a minute or two after kickoff. We settled in and watched the team I first fell for back in the late 70s. I was five or six at the time, but there was something about the aura of the Pittsburgh Steelers that roped me in. For decades now, I've had to explain why one of my favorite teams is from Pittsburgh, and not my hometown of NJ/NY. Whereas the Knicks are my favorite in hoops and the Yanks in baseball, it has always been the Steelers in football.

I've had favorite players throughout the years, from Bennie Cunningham to Louis Lipps, but none have equaled Ben Roethlisberger. When I watch Ben play, I feel like a kid watching his hero. It's his integrity and lack of interest in the limelight that's always drawn me to Ben. And boy can he play.

What a game. Baseball is obviously my sport of choice, but today's Super Bowl may have been the greatest and most fulfilling football game I've ever seen. When Holmes made that remarkable catch as the clock dwindled down, I simply could not believe what I was watching. How on Earth did he stay in bounds? I figured the replay would show him out. When I saw the first slow-motion playback I jumped and screamed. Yep, I was that kid again.

And then there was my lifelong musical hero, Bruce Springsteen. "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" as an opener was certainly a surprise. My guess is that he tossed this in to the diehards following the Wal-Mart fiasco. Sure, a bit of it was hokey (the referee, references to "The Boss"), but it was still Bruce Springsteen. And man, if "Born To Run" doesn't give you some sort of jolt, then I can't imagine that you truly understand rock n' roll.

We closed out the night with a late ride through San Francisco on the way back to N's home. As we crossed an intersection, N turned and said, "looks like we're heading into a sobriety stop". As the cops let a few pass, they put the light on me and and motioned for me to pull in. I rolled down my window, shared a few laughs with a cop who'd just watched the game, and was sent on my way.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Bruce Springsteen and a day with my lovely girlfriend. I really couldn't ask for more.

Springsteen's 12 Minutes

With a catalog as deep as Bruce's, and the opportunity to play before millions (how many people watch the Super Bowl these days? Hundreds of millions?), fan sites, blogs, etc. are seeing endless threads predicting what he'll play.

Here's my guess:
Glory Days
Working on a Dream
Born To Run

As far as the game:
Steelers 26
Cardinals 17

As far as the guacamole:

In my dreams: