Simon Phillips first came to my attention as the drummer on the great “801 Live” album, recorded with Brian Eno and Phil Manzanara. The album opens with a cover of The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”, which they abbreviated to “TNK”. It is an almost entirely different song, although still very recognizable. The beat that Phillips laid down for this song is truly remarkable, and I never get tired of listening to it! That opening track opened my eyes to the talents of Simon Phillips and put him on the map as one of the premier top level drummers in the world! Take a listen to it. It’s amazing, and stands with The Beatles version as an equal!
I didn’t know at the time, but this was Phillips first credited appearance on record. I was probably familiar with his name as a session musician, so didn’t realize that this was actually his debut! And what a debut it was! After that, Phillips went on to play with a who’s who of A list musicians, including all of Pete Townsend’s solo work, Jeff Beck, The Who, David Gilmour, and many others. When Toto drummer, Jeff Porcaro, died suddenly as the band was preparing to go on tour, Phillips was the only drummer they considered to replace Porcaro, and went so far as to say that if Simon couldn’t do it, they would not tour!
So, I stood right behind the drums and hung on every note! Phillips’ playing is so inventive, creative, complex, and powerful, that my attention was riveted for the entire evening! I loved to watch as Phillips easily switched between leading with his right hand and his left, not an easy feat for a drummer, and one that very few drummers can do successfully! And what a sweet man! This was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a very long time, and certainly the most musical. The only thing that compared, recently, was The Grandmothers of Invention, who I also heartily recommend!
Simon Phillips, drummer extraordinaire! Don Byron, master of eclectic horns! Scott Petito, rock solid anchor! David Spinozza, (who by the way, has recorded with John Lennon AND Paul McCartney, AND Paul Simon, AND Dr. John, and, and, and… just about everyone), tasty fretmaster! And Pete Levin, fillin’ in the space on keys! Like I said, a supergroup! Catch ‘em if you can! Python Soup!
Then Friday rolled around, and it was time for my own band, The Cheating Hearts, to play some alt-erd Country and Rock & Roll at Keegan Ales in Kingston. They came, we played, we rocked, and a splendid time was had by all! Any venues desiring this style of music, we’re available! Contact me at Reservoir Music.
I just surfed over to The Rolling Stones website to give a listen to their new single, “Doom and Gloom”, and I have to say, it’s probably the best thing they’ve done in a dog’s age! The song is a rockin’ riff machine that references images from their best work in the 60’s and 70’s! While there, I also found out that a new documentary is about to be released. Titled “Crossfire Hurricane”, it chronicles the first 50 years of the band’s career. The trailer is on the website, and it looked really cool! Look for it soon at your neighborhood theaters. And in more Stones’ news, The Museum of Modern Art is planning a 50 year Stones’ retrospective that will run from November 15th through December 2nd, featuring all of the well known Stones’ cinematic endeavors, but also some lesser known and rarely seen films like 1965’s “Charlie is my Darling” and 1969’s “The Stones in the Park”, featuring footage from their live Hyde park concert that year! The website is a great resource and all of the details about this and everything else Rolling Stones are to be found there. Stop by for a visit and check out the new single. www.rollingstones.com.
By the time this column appears, I will have done my third appearance on John Madeo’s Little Delaware Jamboree radio show, broadcast over 91.3, WIOX FM, and also online at www.wioxradio.org. This is really turning into a fun gig for me, and I hope you’ll tune in, log on, or stream it to your phone, Ipod, or whatever you’ve got. It’s every other Monday at around 8:30 PM. Next show will be October 29.
Well, I suppose I’ve rambled on long enough. Let’s get to the live music picks.
Wednesday, October 17 – We start the week, not exactly with a bang, but not quite a wimper either, although you may feel like wimpering if ROB ZOMBIE and MARILYN MANSON get their hands on you during their show at Hammerstein Ballroom! It’s a well worn cliché, but I’ll bet ol’ Oscar is spinning six feet under, with these two playing in his house! On a blusier note, guitarslingers JOHNNY WINTER and DEBBIE DAVIES are at BB King’s. Both shows in Manhattan.
Thursday, October 18 – WYCLEF JEAN at City Winery, and NEW ORDER at Roseland Ballroom, Manhattan.
Friday, October 19 – She’s mysterious. She’s talented. She’s beautiful. She’s FIONA APPLE, and her new album, “The Idler Wheel…” has received excellent reviews. I’ve been looking forward to this for months. At The Palace Theater, Albany, and my Pick of the Week!
Also upstate, JOHNNY WINTER at The Towne Crier in Pauling, and the original Brooklyn Cowboy, RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT, rides into The Rosendale Café, where my second Pick of the Week will reside! Ramblin’ Jack’s getting’ old and he’s a legend. Catch him while you can!
In Manhattan, CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH conclude their four day run at The Beacon Theater, Saturday actually. Tonight’s show is the third of four. And the always amazing PRIMUS are at Hammerstein Ballroom!
Saturday, October 20 – I don’t love THE SMITHEREENS, but I do like them, and I like a lot of their songs a lot! They’re kind of a great band, and for Woodstock, this is a great show, and my third Pick of the Week! With the great surf band, Purple Knif opening. Get there on time! And if you couldn’t make it to RAMBLIN’ JACK at The Rosendale Café because you were up in Albany at Fiona Apple, well, you’ve got another chance tonight at The Ritz Theater lobby in Newburgh.
Sunday, October 21 – Pre-pubescent guitarist, JONNY LANG, has grown up, and he’s now a real live bluesman! At BB King’s with old school fabulous soul singer, RYAN SHAW, who’s more interesting to me than Lang, although both will be great, so don’t be late!
There was an ego driven band ten or fifteen years ago called THE DARKNESS, that people liked to make fun of at the time. However, as a contrarian, I thought they were pretty good, if you didn’t take them too seriously. At Terminal 5. Both tonight’s shows are in Manhattan.
Monday, October 22 – ALANIS MORISSETTE has also grown up, and I always thought her hit song, “You Oughta Know” was great! She HAS sold over 60 million records, so she must be doing something right! She could be playing The Garden or The Beacon, but she’s playing the relatively intimate Terminal 5 in Manhattan, as a gift to her fans.
Tuesday, October 23 – I haven’t heard any of CAT POWER’s music, but I find her very intriguing! She’s recorded with Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder, Marianne Faithfull, and members of Sonic Youth. She also did an album of soul music in Memphis, which gets my immediate respect! And most interesting of all, she wrote all of the songs for her 1998 release, “Moon Pix”, in one night after having a nightmare while alone in an isolated South Carolina farmhouse! The thought gives me chills! Southern Gothic indeed!
BUDDY GUY is riding high and should be in top form for his show at BB King’s in Manhattan! And Alt-Country band OLD 97’s are at Webster Hall in Manhattan with lead singer and frontman, RHETT MILLER, who I believe is a local resident, opening solo for his band!
Wednesday, October 24 – OLD 97’s and RHETT MILLER reprise their show from Webster Hall at The Music Hall of Williamsburgh in Brooklyn.
Thursday, October 25 – Two great shows tonight to close out the week, or to start the new week, if you prefer. At The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, San Francisco band, MOONALICE, will be jamming until late, with PROFESSOR LOUIE AND THE CHROMATICS opening. Moonalice is on the cutting edge of modern music technology, streaming every single concert live on the web. They also often tour with poster artists and poster art shows, and tonight will be no exception! The band will bring an original San Francisco Fillmore poster art show with them to Bearsville, and they also tour with Big Steve Parish, who was a roadie for The Grateful Dead, and Jerry Garcia’s personal guy, for several decades, basically throughout The Dead’s entire career! I believe Steve will have some cool stories to tell, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again after, oh, about 20 years! Seems like yesterday! Oh yeah, and the musicians have been culled from the cream of SF players, and include Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Quicksilver, Hot Tuna, Jerry Garcia, Rod Stewart), Barry Sless (David Nelson Band, Phil and Friends, Kingfish, Rowan Brothers), and John Molo (Phil and Friends, John Fogerty, Bruce Hornsby)! www.moonaliceband.com. Might as well make this the last Pick of the Week!
And down in Brooklyn, new local resident, JESSY CAROLINA, and her band, THE HOT MESS, will be at the new premier beer garden, Radegast Hall and Biergarten in Williamsburgh, which I’ve heard is a great place. Jessy and her boys are all about old time music. You won’t hear no Rock & Roll tonight folks, but it will rock, and it will be great! If you’re in the city, go!
Wow! This is shaping up to be an awesome week! Take advantage of it and go hear some live music!