On Doug Coombe’s suggestion, The Pop Project attempted to come up with a fake band name to use at tonight’s “secret” show opening for “Casey and the Moonshine Band” (aka Tally Hall) and The Kickstand Band at Savoy in Ypsi. The following are contributions from all four band members in an email chain that added up to 60 emails in one day. You’ll have toÂ guess who contributed which names.
Slinky Slam and the Smoothies
The Tough Titties
The Lady Paintings
Thee Elbow Room Managerial disputes
Real Rules / Road World
Craze and Amaze
Barfing and Pee
cmon. THEE LORDS.
Fuck You Doug Coombe
The Shufflin Bumblers
The Pizza Shortage Massacre
Natives of Pizza Island http://pics.blameitonthevoices.com/072010/streetfighterken2.gif
Double Double Rainbow
The Mr. Perfects
The Not Project
The Perfect Abs
WHAZZZZZUP and the Trues
The Single Tear
The Slow Clap
Keet the Biebers
NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW OR CARE ABOUT THIS
Coombe Your Hair
I’m 12 Years Old And What Is This
The Jonas Fuckers
Mrs. Andy Garris
I Want to Believe I Felt the Earthquake
Why Didn’t I Feel the Earthquake?
God Hates Me
Before we could settle on a name, the event invite went out listing us as the Pop Project. For the best.
Despite that title, get ready for something tasty.
Bobby Emmett, former organ/piano-bass player in the Sights, is streaming his new solo record in its entirety on his myspace page. The album is unabashed powerpop, withÂ big nodsÂ to Boston, the Raspberries and Sloan. Full of guitarmonies,Â handclaps and vocal gymnastics, the basic tracks were cut in Dave Cobb’s studio in LA, with Cobb on drums and Bobby on guitar, and overdubs were done by Bobby and pals Chuck Bartell and Matt Thibodeau at his house, strictly sticking to a vintage gear path and “no plugins.” He even had Jay Ferguson and Lyle Workman (who, despite being far more well known for other reasons, will always be known to me as one of the guys who playedÂ lead guitar on Spilt Milk) stop in for cameos.
Best Bobby quote from his recent Cribs and Rides article: “If the Beatles were around today some dumbass would be autotuning it.” So true. The charming personality of left-in flubs, like Paul saying “Oh fuck!” on the piano track of “Hey Jude,” would surely beÂ ”sorted out in Tools” these days. Not to say that this is a warts-and-all record by any means – no doubt Bobby worked hard to make everything as perfect as possible (and used Pro Tools to do so). ButÂ I appreciate (as Bobby notes on his myspace page) that he and Greg Gordon manually mixed the record using all four of their hands on the board, manually adjusting panning, volume,Â etc, adding one moreÂ human element so that even the mixÂ is aÂ performance. Listening to the unintentional disparities between the mono and stereo mixes of the recent Beatles reissues is a reminder ofÂ that element that’s since been lost in mostÂ automated modern mixing.
So kudos to Bobby for finishing the record and doing it his way. It takes some guts to bust out the credit card and make an uncompromising record of professional quality by yourself, especially a record that may never be performed live (since he’s now a touring member of Shooter Jennings’ bandÂ and the album is performed by a group of people that have never all been in the same roomÂ together). Despite all odds, the record is completed, soundingÂ fantasticÂ andÂ offered up for you to enjoy.
You’ve probably seen this onotherblogs, but I figured it was worth noting here too.
The Pop Project is one of 16 Detroit acts featured on Ear to the Ground: Detroit, which is a 100% free compilation distributed on the now-legal Limewire site. The artists for the compilation were selected by the Metro Times, and each artist picked their own song to contribute. The compilation isÂ actually a surprisingly quality and diverse sampling of music. Usually these sort of things are pretty lame.
So, Ellie Greenwich died today of a heart attack. Wasn’t expecting that one. Only this past weekend I was admiring her personal website, noting how endearingly homemadeÂ andÂ homely it was.
If you’re not familiar with Ellie Greenwich, here’s a sampling of songs she wrote:
Be My Baby (The Ronettes), Then He Kissed Me (The Crystals), He’s Got the Power (The Exciters), Hanky Panky (Tommy James and the Shandells), Do Wah Diddy Diddy (Manfred Mann), Chapel of Love (The Dixie Cups), Da Doo Run Run (The Crystals), I Can Hear Music (Ronnettes/Beach Boys), Leader of the Pack (Shangri-Las), Maybe I Know (Lesley Gore), River Deep, Mountain High (Ike & Tina, Harry Nilsson) and many more.
She also had hits as an artist, even if it initially came about somewhat accidentally. Similar to the stories of Carole King’s early singles or Little Eva’sÂ ”The Locomotion,” Ellie’s first hit was just a demo that a label decided to press: “What a Guy.” Since Ellie did so many harmonies on the recordings, the single was marketed as a doowop group, the Raindrops. Subsequent releases featuredÂ then-husband Jeff Barry laying down a bass vocal. The Raindrops released a few additional hits, including one of my favorite silly doowop tunes: “The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget.”
She also discovered Neil Diamond and producedÂ the original versions of songs like “Solitary Man,” “Kentucky Woman,” and “Cherry Cherry.”Â If that’s notÂ enough for you, she also arranged the vocalsÂ and sang for Aretha’s “Chain of Fools,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” in addition to countless other recordings from the 60s and 70s.
I first got an idea of Ellie’s greatness after watching this documentary about the Brill Building songwriters – all of which were amazing talents in their own right. The sad fact that struck me from watching the documentaryÂ is that it seemed like Ellie had been somewhat lost after the Brill Building heyday, alluding to serious depression.Â So it was somewhat of a consolation to stumble on her websiteÂ recently and learnÂ thatÂ theÂ Broadway musical based on her music and lifeÂ (Leader ofÂ the Pack) had been providing her vicarious joy through communication with aÂ younger generation of high school drama students who wanted to know about her.Â While itÂ looks like they’ve already taken the link down, asÂ recently asÂ this weekend, her websiteÂ listed her personal email address and invited high school students who had performed the play to write her.
Here’s a quote from an essay Ellie wrote on her website:
Now, thirty years older, I believe that many of my generation have reached a new plateau and it’s an interesting place. You can realize the fruits of years of hard work and you can watch your grown children slipping into the roles you are now leaving, but you also are painfully aware that you don’t quite fit into society any longer. It’s not the same world you knew. You are facing old age (oops!…I mean the “Golden Years”), and you really don’t want to. It’s a frightening time for many people. We feel somewhat scattered and directionless and we wish we were back in the 60′s. We need to grab that anchor of stability once again, but can’t find it…until we hear a familiar tune on the radio
Hopefully oldies radio does play tribute to this behind-the-scenes superstar. For a while, I’ve been meaning to download all the Ellie Greenwich songs I hadn’t heard before and make my own complete Greenwich-Barry collection (I did the same thing for early Carole King and Randy NewmanÂ songs a few years ago, and both were great). Now seems like a great time to follow through with that idea.
You may have heard, but Les Paul died today. The guy was really old, so it’s probably not a huge shock. It was more shocking to me that until recently he was still performing on a regular basis.
I saw the movie Les Paul Chasing Sound recently, though, and his accomplishments and story are truly mindblowing. Most people know that he invented multi-tracking and the solid body guitar. You might even know that when he lost mobility in his right arm, he had it permanently placed in an L-shape so he could continue playing guitar.
Here’s one thing that people often overlook: He recorded most of material with his wife, Mary Ford, when his homemade multitrack technology was still very primitive. While he could overdub on top of a recording, he recorded over everything as we went. Which meant that everything had to be done perfectly on the FIRST TAKE or else he lost everything. Think about that when youÂ hear this song, which spent 25 weeks at the #1 position.
Another fact: Les and Mary would travel and use various houses for sale as temporary recording studios, using hallways and bathroomsÂ for natural reverb, similar to what Will told MotorCityRocks today when talking about the Zoos of Berlin album. Les Paul’s subtle influence strikes again.
I don’t know if this connection is common knowledge, but I was recently reading the transcript of a 1965 Dylan press conference (something I do), and during the conference, someone asks Dylan, “If you were to sell out to commercial interests, which one would you choose?”
He quips, “Ladies garments.”
Fast forward 30+ years, andÂ Dylan actually does it, appearing in a commercial for Victoria’s Secret. I remember thinking at the time what a bizarre and weird move that was. Now, knowing that it was perhaps all an elaborate inside joke, it’s pretty hilarious.
Of course someone has made a youtube video putting the two clips together, so here you go.
Here are my favorite moments from a new, lengthyÂ Bob Dylan interview by VH1′s senior VP Bill Flanagan:
What do you think of the Stones?
What do I think of them? Theyâ€™re pretty much finished, arenâ€™t they?
They had a gigantic tour last year. You call that finished?
Oh yeah, you mean Steel Wheels. Iâ€™m not saying they donâ€™t keep going, but they need Bill. Without him theyâ€™re a funk band. Theyâ€™ll be the real Rolling Stones when they get Bill back.
Funny thing about actors and that identity thing. Every time I run into Val Kilmer, I canâ€™t help myself. I say, â€œWhy, Johnny Ringo – you look like somebody just walked on your grave.â€ Val always says, â€œBob, Iâ€™m not Johnny Ringo. Thatâ€™s just a role I played in a movie.â€ He could be right, he could be wrong. I think heâ€™s wrong but he says it in such a sincere way. You have to think he thinks heâ€™s right.
Who are some of your favorite songwriters?
Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.
So there you go, Dylan is a parrothead. Read the whole thing here.
This has already been posted by a few other folks, but the debut album by Hidden Ghost Balloon Ship is now available as a free download from Romantic Air Recordings.Â You should click hereÂ right now and enjoy it if you haven’t already.
Hidden Ghost Balloon ShipÂ is Suburban Sprawl alumnus Trevor Naud (Zoos of Berlin, PASCAL, ex-Red Shirt Brigade) playing various instruments andÂ the talented LTD (PASCAL) laying down the beats.Â The album was made inÂ a methodÂ similar to the EmNews songs for the Suburban Sprawl Holiday comps: First the drums are recorded without any specific song in mind, then Trevor takes those drums andÂ manipulates them to fit whatever song he hears.Â Random fact: some of the beats on the record were recorded by LTD in a massive, empty warehouse.
As far as I know, the band has only played one live show to date, at last year’s Zombie Dance Party.Â When preparing for the performance, they realized they couldn’t reproduce their album live, so they debuted all new material.Â Here’s one song from that show that I taped on my camera.Â As you’llÂ see,Â the Zombie Dance Party is a costumed event.Â (I was dressed as Big Bird, in case you were wondering.)