Fredro's Blog - Brooklyn Cowboys, Stone Temple Pilots, Chris Robinson, Grateful Dead Rant, Live Music Picks, Love For Levon
Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots with his bullhorn onstage at Bethel woods, 8/22/12. Photo by C3 Photography Catharina Christiana.
Yippee ti yi yo yo yo yo yo whattsup? That was one of the introductions we used to use for The Brooklyn Cowboys. Another one I used to like was, “And now, from Nashville, The Brooklyn Cowboys”. I had a lot of fun with that band. We made three great CD’s and a cool video, toured the US and Europe, made the charts, got airplay in 50 countries, and are still getting played today, all over the world. Y’all should check us out at www.brooklyncowboys.com, where this column is posted as Fredro’s Blog. There’s not a music player on the site, but there’s lots of video, and links to our Reverb Nation (#1 for over 3 years), My Space, Facebook, and other pages where there are music players. If you like Gram Parsons style Cosmic American Music AKA Country-Rock, you’ll like The Brooklyn Cowboys. In fact, my partner in the band, Walter Egan, wrote the Gram classic, “Hearts on Fire”, which we also recorded on our first CD, “Doin’ Time on Planet Earth”, now out of print, and there is also a Gram/ Walter co-write on that CD that has never been released anywhere except on our record.
The Brooklyn Cowboys was kind of like if Marmaduke from The New Riders stayed cool, Gram didn’t die, and they started a band, according to John Arnold, a fan and friend of Buddy Cage, our pedal steel guitarist, who held that seat in The New Riders for their entire career, ever since he replaced Jerry Garcia early on.
You can find the CD’s online, they’re also available through the website, and I have them at Reservoir Music. Stop by, pick one up, and buy a guitar while you’re there. LOL.
Last week, I went down to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, thanks to the hospitality of Julie Goodman, Public Relations Director at Bethel Woods, to see Stone Temple Pilots. Now, as I mentioned in my last two columns, STP lead singer, Scott Weiland, is one of the most exciting, dynamic, electric performers ever. I based this opinion on his time with Velvet Revolver, who I saw when they first came around at Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan. Scott was amazing with them, moving non-stop like a serpent around the stage! With STP Wednesday night, Scott toned it down a little bit, but you could tell the serpent was there, coiled inside him, waiting to explode! And the band did not disappoint, rolling through all their hits in record perfect form! The only negative was that this band could really benefit from a second guitar player to keep the rhythm going while Dean DeLeo solos, but that was not enough to take the shine off their performance. Stone Temple Pilots showed why they were one of the most successful rock bands of the 90’s, winning a GRAMMY, and selling 40 million records worldwide, with 16 top ten singles, half of which reached number one! They’ve got the songs, they’ve got the moves, and they’ve got the chops! A great band, and a splendid time was had by all in attendance! My thanks again to Julie Goodman from Bethel Woods for making it possible.
Moving on to Friday night, I stopped by The Bearsville Theater for Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes. Now, I was looking forward to this for months, and I made it last week’s Pick of the Week. I love The Black Crowes, but they are inconsistent, probably based on whether or not the two brothers, Chris and Rich, are fighting that day or not. (What is it about brothers in a rock and roll band? They all seem to hate each other. Well, not all maybe, but a lot. The Kinks, The Crowes, Oasis, Screaming Trees. I suppose, on the other side of that coin, you’ve got Van Halen, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Beach Boys (although the cousins in The Beach Boys battled), but in the large majority, brothers in rock bands seem to be at odds with each other. Or maybe they’re just the ones who get the notoriety and the press coverage. But I digress.). The Crowes, when they are on, are one of the hottest rock bands on the planet, but at the last minute, I remembered that Chris Robinson has a hippy dippy side (kind of like Robert Plant used to), and I worried that this would be showcased in his solo project, rather than The Crowes Stones’ influenced, rockin’ style of music. So I went online and listened to some of Chris’ solo work with his new band, Brotherhood, which kind of sounds like a dig at his brother. I was horrified to find the Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s record is unlistenable! But, I thought, he’s GOT to do Some Black Crowes’ music live, right? Wrong! Not one Crowes’ song was heard. Expecting The Black Crowes, I got instead, The Grateful Dead! (Chris has played with Phil Lesh, and apparently has been hanging out at Terrapin Crossroads a little too much. LOL). Opening with the Hank Ballard classic, “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go”, it was all downhill from there, until I went through the five stages of grief and accepted that I wasn’t gonna hear anything rockin’. Once I got that out of my mind, it got a little better, but overall, this show was one of the biggest disappointments ever, and made me realize, that, just as Keith is with The Stones, Rich Robinson, not Chris, is the power behind The Black Crowes! When Rich played Club Helsinki a few months ago, I missed it, which now seems to have been a big mistake! Next time, I’ll skip Chris and catch Rich. My guess is that’s where the rockin’ is with the Robinson brothers!
And speaking of The Grateful Dead, I recently tried to listen to some live Dead CD’s, and had an interesting experience. The CD started off with “Dancin’ in the Street”, and it was killer, but suddenly, the music degenerated to the most unlistenable, boring crap I’ve ever heard! Now, I dig The Dead. I’ve been to hundreds of shows, almost always had a great time, and they partially changed my life, but after my recent attempts at playing their music at home, not in a live situation, I realized what The Grateful Dead are, is flashes of brilliance and genius, mixed with unlistenable, boring garbage. Now, oddly enough, this works in a live setting, because when they go into it, it’s time to get a drink, use the head, or socialize with your friends! Then they start rockin’, and it’s back to the music, which is great! Very strange juxtaposition, but that’s what they do to get from one musical section to the next. And, I was listening to live performances, and everybody always says The Dead have to be seen live, but I guess that’s it! They have to be seen live, not listened to. If I had played one of their albums that people say is not representative of what they do live, I would have heard a great collection of songs, and loved it! I just don’t need John Cage mixed with my Rock & Roll!
In other news, there will be a big concert honoring our dear, departed friend, Levon Helm, on October 3rd at IZOD Center in New Jersey. The line up is huge, extensive, all star, and too large to list everyone (Google it!), but a partial list includes John Mayer, John Hiatt, Jorma, My Morning Jacket, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Bruce Hornsby, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples, Joe Walsh, and The Levon Helm Band, with, undoubtedly, more to be added! I can feel a good one comin’ on!
And finally, one of the greatest musical outfits of all time, local resident, Graham Parker, and his former band, The Rumour, will be reuniting after three decades, for a new album, “Three Chords Good”, to be released on November 20, 2012. Hopefully, a tour will follow. In other GP news, a documentary film on Parker and The Rumour is being prepped for release this year. Sounds like there’s gonna be a Graham Parker revival!
Now for this week’s live music picks.
Thursday, August 30 – LUKAS NELSON, Willie’s son, will be at Club Helsinki in Hudson, with his band, PROMISE OF THE REAL.
Saturday, September 1 – LUKAS NELSON AND THE PROMISE OF THE REAL stop by The Brooklyn Bowl, and in Woodstock, RENNIE CANTINE’S WOODSTOCK GUITAR ALL STARS will be putting on a very special show at The Bearsville Theater, featuring many of the top area musicians. Booked so far are Harvey Sorgen (Hot Tuna), luthier Stuart Spector, guitarist Jimmy Eppard, bassist Steve Rust, guitarist Joe Beesmer, and horn ace Pete Buettner.
Sunday, September 2 – BOB DYLAN AND HIS BAND at Bethel Woods.
Tuesday, September 4 – BOB DYLAN AND HIS BAND re-open The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. This will be historic!
Wednesday, September 5 – The Grateful Dead’s MICKEY HART pulls into The Bearsville Theater for a show.
My promised profile of the band, Love, will have to wait until next week. There was just too much going on this week to fit that in.
Have a great one!
Greetings! Last week, due to taking the previous week off, I plumb forgot to write a review of The Grandmothers of Invention show at The Bearsville Theater. Well, let me tell you, the small, but well informed crowd who were lucky enough to be there got to see one of the best musical performances Woodstock has seen in a very long time! The band features 3 former Mothers, Don Preston, Napoleon Murphy Brock, and Tom Fowler, ably assisted by a few extremely capable young men, virtuosos all! They perform the music of Frank Zappa and some of their arrangements are actually more complex than the originals! It was such a joy to sit there and listen to a group of guys who could really play! The Grandmothers raised the bar on the level of musicianship expected from a professional band, and everyone, jazz guys, rock guys, classical lovers and everything in between, could all get together around Frank’s music and the playing of The Grandmothers of Invention. Many thanks to Jodie Sleed at The Bearsville Theater for courtesies extended.
And last Friday night at Bearsville, one of last week’s picks, and a group of musicians that I have profiled in these pages several times, once again proved that they are in a league of their own, especially when stacked against other local talent. CKS, a super group of sorts that consists of Randy Ciarlante (The Band, Levon Helm Band, Hoo Doo Gurus), who regular readers of this column know is my favorite Hudson Valley drummer, (not to mention his amazing, smoky, soulful vocals), Bruce Katz, 3 time Blues Music Awards nominee for Piano Player of the Year, and a regular member of Gregg Allman’s and Delbert McClinton’s touring bands, and Scott Sharrard, AKA “Gregg Allman’s secret weapon”, also a member of Allman’s band and bandleader in his own right, put on a blazing performance with high point after high point! These guys are smokin’! I’ve been watching Bruce and Randy for 8 years, and this is the best band they’ve ever had! The show was a total joy from start to finish!
The theater was filled with loads of old friends and familiar faces, and a splendid time was had by all! Again, thanks are due to Jodie at the theater for making it all possible. If you get a chance to catch CKS and you don’t, you’re a fool, and you will regret it. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life! (Apologies to Humphrey Bogart).
Live music picks for the week are as follows:
Wednesday, August 22 – Up in The Catskills, at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS bring their amazing live show to town! Lead singer and frontman, Scott Weiland, is one of the best around, and guaranteed to hold you spellbound! Down in Manhattan, AL GREEN brings his soulful crooning to The Beacon Theater, and LITTLE FEAT stop by The Beekman Beer Garden and Beach Club at The South Street Seaport. All three will be fantastic, but ya gotta love the Little Feat show, because it combines three of my favorite things, a beer garden, a beach, and Rock & Roll!
Thursday, August 23 – Out in Brooklyn, at The Radegast Hall & Biergarten, the very talented recent emigree to The Hudson Valley, JESSE CAROLINA and her band, THE HOT MESS, will be blowing minds with her Janis Joplin/ Mae West style of jazzy blues and rootsy old time standards. This is a band to watch!
Friday, August 24 – With apologies to all the other picks this week, all of whom are absolutely fantastic and any one of them could be the Pick of the Week, but I have been looking forward to CHRIS ROBINSON AND THE BROTHERHOOD show at The Bearsville Theater ever since it was announced, so this has got to be it! Chris Robinson, for those of you who don’t know, is the lead singer of The Black Crowes, one of the finest Rock & Roll bands on the planet!
Saturday, August 25 – Today marks the annual musical event known as LIVESTOCK that takes place on Chico Finn’s farm in Bovina. This is one of the best parties anywhere, and is easily my second Pick of the Week! The only national act on the bill this year is Dash Rip Rock, from Louisiana, but they grow some pretty rockin’ bands out in Bovina! This is highly recommended. Visit www.livestockmusic.com for more information and directions.
THE WOODSTOCK SCULPTURE GUITAR AUCTION is a charity event with musical performances by NAKED and SPIV:UK. There’s a lot of information and a lot going on at this event, so it’s best that you visit the theater’s website for more. http://www.bearsvilletheater.com/events-calendar/woodstock-sculpture-guitar-auction-naked-spivuk
Monday, August 27 – The great PATTI ROTHBERG makes her, I think, first visit to The Rodeo Bar in Manhattan. At least her song, “Dirt” is great. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the rest of her live act, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, based on the strength of “Dirt”, a great record!
Wednesday, August 29 – THE DEMOLITION STRING BAND returns to The Rodeo Bar.
Thursday, August 30 – LUKAS NELSON, Willie’s son, makes his first visit to our neck of the woods at Club Helsinki in Hudson.
Next week, I’ll be profiling one of the best, most sophisticated, lyrical bands of the 60’s – Love! Don’t miss it!
Have a great week!
After a well deserved and much needed break last week, I’m back, refreshed, and I have some great news that’s gonna start the week off with a bang! The Capitol Theater, in Port Chester, NY, site of the legendary Dr. Stanley Krippner Dream Experiments with The Grateful Dead and their audience, forty years ago, is re-opening as Westchester’s premier Rock showcase! This is going to be a serious world class music hall! The head of the whole operation is Peter Shapiro, former owner of Wetlands Preserve and current owner of Brooklyn Bowl, who knows a thing or two about how to run a successful music venue! Peter’s partnered with concert promoters, Bowery Presents, who produce shows at The Bowery Ballroom, Terminal 5, The Mercury Lounge, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and lots of other rooms all over Manhattan and beyond! They’re even producing this week’s live music pick, John Prine and Lucinda Williams at The Palace Theater in Albany! So those guys know what they’re doing too!
The Capitol Theater had a long successful run as a rock venue in the 70’s, before falling on hard times. They got through it though, and now, with new owners, a new business model, and a newly renovated theater, this promises to be one of the best places to see a show anywhere! The theater itself is a beautiful, turn of the century, art deco palace, the kind of place that makes you feel good just being in it! I am so excited about this!
Just to show you what kind of league these guys are going to be playing in, coming up on their calendar are Bob Dylan on September 4th, The Roots and Bob Weir on September 7th, Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang on September 9th, and The J. Geils Band on September 19th! That’s some line up, and they have more stellar music on tap for the rest of the year! Visit their website for more information. www.thecapitoltheater.com.
One of the bands booked in the next few months at The Capitol is My Morning Jacket, who’ve been to Woodstock and played at The Barn with Levon. At The Newport Folk Festival a couple of weeks ago, They performed a moving tribute version of “It Makes No Difference” and dedicated it to Levon. Here’s a link to the story in Rolling Stone http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/my-morning-jacket-jackson-browne-beat-hard-rain-at-newport-folk-festival-20120730
And here’s a link to video of the performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySMTQi9VPk4
Enjoy! It’s great!
Here’s the live music picks for the week.
Friday, August 17 - Two great shows upstate and 3 great ones in the city! At Williamsburg Park in Brooklyn, JANE’S ADDICTION kick off a fabulous weekend of music in the park. The Highline Ballroom hosts Rockabilly pioneer, WANDA JACKSON, and GARLAND JEFFREYS returns to The Rodeo Bar. Now, in my last column, I recommended Garland’s August 3rd show at this venue. I told you to get there early or you’d never get in. I told you Jeffreys could be playing much larger venues, and I told you that this was a special treat. Well, guess what? Only two weeks later, they’re bringing him back, only this time, there’s a $25 cover charge! This is the first time The Rodeo Bar EVER charged admission! Alright? Alright? Was I on the money with that pick, or what? You should have listened. Now you gotta pay 25 bucks if you wanna go!
Moving upstate, we’ve got the fantastic CKS at The Bearsville Theater. If you read this column, you know that this band consists of three time Pinetop Perkins Blues Music Award nominee for Keyboard Player of the Year, Bruce Katz (Gregg Allman, Delbert McClinton, John Hammond), Best Drummer in The Hudson Valley and soulful vocalist Randy Ciarlante (The Band, Levon Helm Band), and “Gregg Allman’s secret weapon”, Scott Sharrard, on guitar! These guys are one of the best bands around! I’ve dug them for years in different incarnations and I’ve profiled them in these pages. If you’re near Woodstock, don’t miss this! Unless, of course, you’re up in the Capital Region and you would rather take in Americana giants, JOHN PRINE and LUCINDA WILLIAMS at The Palace Theater in Albany. For this kind of music, it doesn’t get much better than these two on a double bill! Whoever goes to this is in for a very, very enjoyable evening!
Saturday, August 18 – Neo-Soul diva, SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS continue the glorious weekend of music in Williamsburg Park, and THE STAMPINATO BROTHERS, formerly of NRBQ, bring yet another unbelievable show into The Rodeo Bar in Manhattan! I’m telling you, the same thing could happen to these guys as happened with Garland Jeffreys. You could easily see them back here next month with a price attached to admission. See ‘em here now, before it’s too late!
Sunday, August 19 – And the absolutely amazing, top shelf weekend of music in Williamsburg Park concludes with the aforementioned MY MORNING JACKET! Boy, I wish I didn’t have to make a living so I could just go to Brooklyn for the weekend!
Wednesday, August 22 – In the Catskills, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS will rock Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. STP lead singer, Scott Weiland, is one of the best at his craft, and will leave you mesmerized!
Down in the city, The Reverend AL GREEN will sooooothe The Beacon Theater, as he crooons his love songs and makes the women swoooon!
Coming up next week is a show that I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. I won’t tell you who it is, but it’s Friday night at The Bearsville Theater. Be there!
Have a great week!
Greetings loyal and faithful readers, and all of you others too! LOL. Well, I had a small flood in my basement due to the torrential rains yesterday, and right now, I really do have more primary things to deal with than writing this week’s column, BUT, I know how many of you now depend on me to sort through the chazarai of live music choices y’all have every week and put it all out into a nice, neat little package for you all in one place, SO, the show must go on, as they say! But due to the nature of the fact that my life is a little messed up and disorganized right now (like my basement, which is where my office is), this will be an abbreviated column, mainly focusing on the live music picks.
One thing I do want to mention is that last weekend was the anniversary of Watkins Glen, the historic concert in 1973 that featured The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, and The Band, which more people attended than any musical event in history, even more than the original Woodstock Music and Arts Fair! Next year’s the 40th anniversary. Any ambitious promoters out there who wanna recreate history? What about investors who might want to make this happen? That’s right, just step forward now please! I’ll handle all the details once you fund it.
Speaking of festivals, last weekend was festival heaven, with the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, The Gathering of the Vibes, and The Rosendale Street Festival all on the same weekend! Missed ‘em all, but I know the people who went had themselves a good ol’ time! Speaking of live music shows, here they are!
Wednesday, August 1 – The week starts off with a bang when DONALD FAGEN, MICHAEL MACDONALD, AND BOZ SCAGGS roll into The Beacon Theater in Manhattan. Now, I don’t know about you, but IMHO, Boz Scaggs is the main attraction here, but together, these three guys should kickass! MacDonald never did much for me, except when he sang Motown, which is exactly why he should be good with Fagen and Scaggs. And Boz has the coolest gear of anyone except Tom Petty!
Friday, August 3 – The big show tonight is GARLAND JEFFREYS at The Rodeo Bar in Manhattan. AT THE RODEO BAR???!!! Get there early or you’ll never get in! There’s no cover charge, and the place is small, so it will definitely be SRO, if you can even get in the door! Garland could be playing much larger venues. This is a treat!
JACKSON BROWNE is also in town, at The Beacon Theater tonight and tomorrow. Now, I don’t recommend this show, but Jackson used to be great, and I know a lot of people never noticed that he kind of sucks now, so they still really really love him, so, for them, I mentioned that he was playing, but IMHO, this will be a snooze fest.
Further north, slide guitar master SONNY LANDRETH returns to Club Helsinki in Hudson. Saturday he’s doing a parlor session on 98.1 WKZE at Noon! Set your dials!
Saturday, August 4 – The great and very funny SANDRA BERNHARD makes an incredibly rare small club appearance at Club Helsinki. Put aside your preconceived ideas and check her out! She’s very smart and very funny! The also great DEL MCCOURY brings his Bluegrass stylings to The Prospect Park Bandshell In Brooklyn, a fantastic place to see a show if ever there was one! And in Manhattan, an up and coming bluegrass band who someday could be the new Del McCoury Band, THE HACKENSAW BOYS, are at Sullivan Hall.
Sunday, August 5 – The legendary jazz guitarist LARRY CORYELL sometimes plays gigs with his son, local resident MURALI CORYELL, and tonight, they’re at The Iridium in Manhattan.
Monday, August 6 – We’ve got two really big shows tonight in Manhattan! LUCINDA WILLIAMS invades New York! Tonight and tomorrow, she’s at The Bowery Ballroom, which is a fantastic place to see her! Wednesday, she’s out in Brooklyn at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, and next week, she’s comin’ upstate to play at Levon’s! Wow! Also tonight, a fabulous Sixties show, THE ZOMBIES and THE LEFT BANKE at BB King’s!
Tuesday, August 7 – Wow again! The great GEORGE THOROGOOD AND THE DESTROYERS are making a rare club appearance outside of Delaware at BB King’s! This is gonna rock your sox off! The RYAN MONTBLEAU BAND is at City Winery, and BOTTOM DOLLAR is at The Mercury Lounge in Manhattan. Now, I never heard of Bottom Dollar before, but I just love their name! I’m gonna check them out! I’ll bet they’re good!
Wednesday, August 8 – THE GRANDMOTHERS OF INVENTION, older refugees from Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, hobble into The Bearsville Theater with their wheel chairs and walkers, where they will be cured by the power of Rock & Roll!
Thursday, August 9 – THE B-52S bring their party hilarity into Irving Plaza in Manhattan. Again, these guys probably haven’t played a place this small in a long time, so this is really cool!
Have a great week!
Fredro is the founder, with Walter Egan, of The Brooklyn Cowboys. He's also the drummer, one of the main songwriter's, co-producer, and CEO of the label, Leaps Recordings.