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Posts Tagged ‘Simply Red’

Ignored 43: In the ballpark

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2014 at 1:18 am

ignored43

To celebrate the start of the 2014 Major League Baseball post season, I conducted a web chat with notable New England minor league baseball blogger @PawSoxHeavy. You can read her work at http://www.pawsoxheavy.com.

We aimed to talk about music in baseball stadiums. We ended up talking (a lot) about John Fogerty, Australian baseball players, Rhode Island, garage rock and Simply Red.

Check it…

Cam: Hello?

PawSoxHeavy: Hi, I’m here.

Cam: Let’s jump right into it. John Fogerty sings “Centrefield”: friend or foe? Make that, “Centerfield”  You’re American.

PawSoxHeavy: Initially, I didn’t mind it. Then, I worked at a ballpark and I hated it. But now I don’t mind it. It’s a far cry from “Fortunate Son”, that’s for sure.

Cam: Interesting. What ballpark did you work at?

PawSoxHeavy: Pawtucket.

Cam: Who were the Red Sox luminaries who passed through during that time?

PawSoxHeavy: It was when I was a teenager. Mo Vaughn, etc.

Cam: Who was the manager?

PawSoxHeavy: It was the year “Under the Bridge” came out. The manager was probably Butch Hobson.

Cam: Seems like… Butch Hobson era. Whoa, jinx!

PawSoxHeavy: Yeah, he was scandalous.

Cam: So John Fogerty, Steve Miller, Bob Seger… who would you say is the modern equivalent of these blue-collared rockers?

PawSoxHeavy: Maybe the Black Keys? That’s a little bit of a stretch.

Cam: John Mayer?

PawSoxHeavy: Those guys are true dinosaurs. I think John Mayer is more of a Kenny Loggins type. Kid Rock, perhaps?

Cam: If you look at old pics of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, aesthetically, it’s amazing those guys ever got a record contract. I like some of their songs but damn, did NOT look like a rock band.

PawSoxHeavy: Didn’t one of them have enormous curly hair?

Cam: Yeah, big hair, tight long sleeved t-shirts with NHL logos was kinda their “jam”. And yeah, I was thinking Kid Rock too.

PawSoxHeavy: Oh, they were Canadian?

Cam: Yup. Leftovers from the Guess Who. Not sure where “Turner” came from. What is the strangest song you ever heard at a ballpark? Any hip indie rock? Explosions in the Sky?

PawSoxHeavy: Also featuring Gary Overdrive.

Cam: “The Pete Best of BTO”

PawSoxHeavy: When I was in Minneapolis, they played Replacements songs. I was surprised…

Cam: That’s pretty amazing. I like those regional cult bands who are just massive local bands in their hometowns. Like Toronto and the band, Toronto. Who I thought were from Buffalo for the longest time. Seriously.

PawSoxHeavy: The White Stripes occasionally? Around here, we hear a lot of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, as featured in Eddie and the Cruisers.

Cam: Have you heard the Hold Steady’s version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? Surprisingly amazing and affected!

PawSoxHeavy: I have not. In Pawtucket, they play Carly Simon’s version. I haven’t heard of Toronto the band. Do the Hold Steady sing the entire song? All the forgotten verses?

Cam: “Join us as Carly Simon sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ and remain standing for a spirited rendition of ‘Let the River Run’…” The Hold Steady seem to sing 70% songs and then, that dude talks through the other 30% about assorted nonsense.

PawSoxHeavy: They’re nothing, if not distinctive.

Cam: I like them. They seem like the next phase of the Replacements, Guided by Voices ilk. “Hipster bar band”.

PawSoxHeavy: I like them as well.

Cam: Is John Cafferty from New England?

PawSoxHeavy: He is from Rhode Island.

Cam: Is he still… alive? There was some college rock band from Rhode Island in the 1980s, no? Or a hardcore punk band? Necros or something?

PawSox: He is still alive. In the 1980s? I don’t know of any college rock/hardcore. How do you feel about “Centerfield”?

Cam: I like the clapping part at the start but it’s super cheesy. To your point, CCR were effin’ great so that doesn’t help. If it was some no-name singing that song, I’d probably like it much more.

PawSox: The clapping part?!? Really?

Cam: Can you think of any other songs about BEING an athlete?

PawSox: Oh, great question!

Cam: That Springsteen song? “… mumble mumble mumble…. WAS A BIG BASEBALL PLAYA”

PawSox: “Glory Days”. That Dead Kennedys song about high school football? “Jock-o-Rama”, maybe?

Cam: Ya! Totally. Also, Belle and Sebastian sings “I Don’t Want to Play Football” although technically, that’s about NOT playing sports. You know Tom Cochrane, right? His song “Big League”?

PawSox: I don’t know that one,

Cam: HIS boy’s gonna play in the big leagues. HIS boy’s gonna turn some heads HIS boy’s gonna…. knock ’em dead. Ahhhhhh-HOOOOOOOOAH!!! THE BIG LEAGUE!

PawSox: My goodness!

Cam: YouTube it. Canadian rock classic. I like it. The video is black and white, and foggy.

PawSox: Belle and Sebastian also did that Mike Piazza song.

Cam: Do you know the Pavement song “Major Leagues”?

PawSox: I don’t know that Pavement song. Which album?

Cam: I strongly dislike that B+S song. Around the time they started getting way too clever and cutesy.

PawSox: Ha. Also, Tom Cochrane was around way before “Life is a Highway”? Imagine that!

Cam: That Pavement song was on Terror Twilight. It’s fine but kinda forgettable. It sounds like a band that is pretty bored and about to break up. It is my belief that Tom Cochrane was marketed to be the John Cougar Mellencamp of Canada. Really, JCM was the evolution of the Millers and the Segers.

PawSox: Wow, [“Big League”] is is so intense! It’s like “Candle in the Wind” for hockey players.

Cam: Pretty much. Did you ever listen to that band Peter Buck created where they just did baseball songs?

PawSox: I did not! I totally forgot about that. And I read about it extensively. Also, I need to karaoke this Tom Cochrane song.

Cam: Did TC have other hits in the States other than “… Highway”?

PawSox: No. I don’t remember any. He’s no Bryan Adams.

Cam: Few are! So why did Buck do those baseball songs? Are they are sports nerds? I think a guy from the Young Fresh Fellows was in there too!

PawSox: I think baseball is one of the few acceptable hipster sports. Along with jai alai, maybe.

Cam: Is it because you can talk about yourself through the entire game and it’s pretty much fine?

PawSox: I think so! Plus you can casually bust out some Heady Topper… and vape.

Cam: Very true. You have plenty of time to do anything but watch baseball. BTW the Rhode Island band I was thinking about: Deer Tick. Not from the 1980s. Are they a big deal where you are? They are the evolution of the Replacements too. Almost laughably so, they’re so similar.

PawSox: You would think so, but no. Live music in Providence is dead.

Cam: Do any touring bands play there? Are there big summer music festivals? Newport?

PawSox: Newport Folk Festival. Colin Meloy showed up. Newport also has a jazz festival.

Cam: I get that guy and the Death Cab guy and some comedian from Saturday Night Live mixed up. Their faces.

PawSox: … and the guy who was in the last seasons of The Office.

Cam: Gary Overdrive?

PawSox: Ha, no.

Cam: What are the two most random bands you used to mix up? For me, it was Jane’s Addiction and the Leslie Spit Treeo who were a light female-fronted hard folk rock trio from Toronto who were mildly popular in 1990. Stephen Colbert?

PawSox: Grant? Wade?

Cam: Grant Balfour?

PawSox: I can’t remember!

Cam: Grant Balfour, the big Aussie hurler!!

PawSox: Haaaa yes, it was Australian reliever Grant Balfour. Or Pete Moylan.

Cam: Remember Dave Nilsson of the Milwaukee Brewers and southpaw Graeme Lloyd? Also, Moylan is Aussie?

PawSox: Nilsson, yes, Lloyd no. RE: Moylan: he is!

Cam: He’s the Braves pitcher who got hurt, right?

PawSox: … and Ryan Rowland-Smith. Yeah, Moylan was the Braves guy.

Cam: I think RRS was CANADIAN!!!

PawSox: Shut up! He was in Pawtucket last season.

Cam: Nope, you’re right. Aussie.

PawSox: He’s a sexy, sexy man.

Cam: Really? http://cdn.sportsoverdose.com/thumbs/ryan-rowland-smith-18-mlb.jpg

Cam: Do you know the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers?

PawSox: The soccer song?

Cam: Damian Moss. Former Giants hurler. Aussie.

PawSox: Yeah. Who was the other Damien who was a catcher?

Cam: Yeah, is that KNOWN as a soccer song? I just heard it maybe 3-4 months ago for the first time. Great tune. Up there with “Ferry Across the Mersey”. Damian Miller?

PawSox: I prefer “Ferry…”. Miller, yeah. He played 4-eva. Like Benito Santiago.

Cam: The real question I need to ask: the Standells sing “Dirty Water”?

PawSox: Oh! It’s a good song.

Cam: Even outside Fenway, not a good song.

PawSox: That’s all I can really say. What? I do like that song.

Cam: It’s so boring though. It’s no “Psychotic Reaction” or “Pushin’ Too Hard”.

PawSox: Yeah, but it’s out of context. The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” kicks so much ass!

Cam: Yup.

PawSox: I bought the domain name deadsongs.com

Cam: Oh yeah? What’s going there?

PawSox: I haven’t figured it out yet… or how to execute it, really. It’s about songs like “Centerfield”.

Cam: So, it’s gonna be a blog?

PawSox: I think so, yeah. Songs that produce zero emotion when you hear them. Not even annoyance.

Cam: The aforementioned Kenny Loggins and his song “Nobody’s Fool” from Caddyshack 2? That’s one. I feel completely blank when I hear it. Not happy. Not sad. Not anything.

PawSox: I played “This is It” this morning!

Cam: 54-40 sings “Ocean Pearl”… another

PawSox: I don’t know that one!

Cam: More Canadian stuff

PawSox: What was Them’s big hit?

Cam: “Gloria”? Do you like Simply Red?

PawSox: Oh yeah… I do like them a little. I hear they’re despised in the UK. They’re better than UB40 by miles!

Cam: They were oddly cool. Check the video for “It’s Only Love”. Mick Hucknall getting all amorous. It’s quite the sight. Mick Hucknall wins the “unreasonable self confidence: music edition” award.

PawSox: I don’t know if I can handle that.

Cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaGBbjDwmAc. I kinda like his shirt in the video

PawSox: Oh, okay..

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Ignored 25: #Knopfler etc.

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2014 at 5:35 am

#ignored25

I recently reconnected with a high school friend via Facebook, fueled by some past CompletelyIgnored.com pieces. The conversation veered from Dire Straits (within a broader musical universe), the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, ghostwriting, re-casting the Traveling Wilburys, people’s expectations of U2, Roy Orbison’s legacy and how Steve Winwood used to be really popular amongst little kids.

For the sake of this transcript, he shall be “Snake” and I shall be “Fox”.

Here is the conversation…

PART ONE

Snake: Last night, I was watching the Everly Brothers playing with Chet Atkins and friends, wondering how it was that neither Mark Knopfler nor Dire Straits are in Cleveland. It’s a very short arc of thought. I’m a Rolling Stone junkie, but the most I care about RS covers are when they don’t put a legendary and recently deceased musician (Clarence) on it.

Fox: Dire Straits probably would be remembered completely differently if it wasn’t for the “Money for Nothing” video. Rightly or wrongly, he’s always going to be “that guy with the head band who hung out with animated movers” to a lot of people.

Snake: I hate getting nerdish on this like i used to have about Gary Carter being left out of the HOF for seven years inexplicably. Look at the body of work he (ed. either?) put out in the 80’s. His Prince’s Trust presence (he and Clapton on guitar, Elton on keys, Collins on drums)….see, here I go. i think it’s because Dire Straits broke up after the ’92 tour, and his early solo stuff leaned too Celtic at times and was a little underwhelming to have broad commercial success. Perhaps I’d also question who he influenced musically.

Fox: Ooh, here’s another theory: did Mark Knopfler get overshadowed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from late 1970s to early 1990s? Think about the similarities! Both appeared mid/late 1970s, hard to classify (not “classic rock”, not New Wave but enjoyed by hard rock fans, some punks, little kids, critics, etc.), moved seamless into the MTV era by using innovative videos to distract from the fact their singers were weird looking. Petty got the eventual long-term recognition, maybe because he was American and Knopfler wasn’t?!? Parallel: Carlton Fisk overshadowing Gary Carter. Fisk made the HOF in his second year while Kid had to wait six. Makes no sense on paper based on their stats. I’d suggest this was largely fueled by the conscious/subconscious impact of the visual of Fisk waving that ’75 WS home run fair (a series his team DIDN’T EVEN WIN!!) in countless MLB video packages. The true crime is Ted Simmons arguably had a better career than either of them and he was off the ballot in his first year, collecting a scant 3.4 per cent of the vote. Check it: http://bit.ly/1dNH92n

Snake: I resented all the defacto glamour that Fisk got because of that homer. Maybe because Gary played the first part of his career in Montreal? But he was me clutch in New York and was a better defensive catcher.

Fox: Yeah, I think the Carter/Montreal thing was a factor. Similar rationale maybe explains why Dave Winfield was a first ballot HOFer and Andre Dawson took eight tries before he got in? Anyway, I’m working on a kick-ass Bob Boone / The J. Geils Band analogy. Will advise.

PART TWO

Fox: I had no idea Knopfler wrote Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer”. Would’ve been (strange) if Dire Straits had done that tune instead (shudder)

Fox: I know. Hadn’t thought of that in a while. Haven’t ever heard him sing it. I imagine it as a pretty straight forward straights tune that has a long instrumental finish. Like a bonus track from making movies.

Fox: Best line from the Wiki entry: “Mark Knopfler considered that they were not suitable for a male to sing“… no (guff)

Snake: He also produced Dylan’s Slow train and played a bunch on Infidels. “Sweetheart Like You” and “Precious Angel” are two or my favorite Knopfler riffs. Knopfler should also get actual points for being part of the Jerky Boys (ed. -style) prank call tape. I gotta hire you first guy! Mark, Mark Knopfler!

Fox: (Darn), forgot about those! Cant recall if I promoted my former blog The Reset Button on Facebook? A recast Travelling Wilburys with Knopfler in the Harrison role?

Snake: Ric Ocasek? That’s Elvis Costello now.

Snake: Though Lynne was also serving as producer for everything with that same sound from Cloud Nine and “Into The Great Wide Open” and that Orbison album.. And then the Beatles tunes.

Snake: Check out a song called “When the Beatles hit America” by John Wesley Harding. Very cool line about it sounded a lot like ELO…

Fox: Hmmm. I think you need somebody more obscure in the Jeff Lynne role. less famous than everybody else… but still massively popular within the context of THEIR ELO. Nick Lowe?

Snake: Was reflecting last night while rewatching Rattle and Hum that (it) was the first rock and roll I found myself that I didn’t know if my parents would like. I remember getting the cd single of “Angel of Harlem” at the Towne and Countrye Music World. And then wanting to know who Charles Manson was, and what the hell that meant about stealing the song from the Beatles. It propelled me down that path. Getting the Wilburys tape at 11 was equally significant. A devoted Beatlemaniac, Dylan disciple, and worshiper at the alter of rock and roll.

Snake: Ryan Adams? Though too antisocial.

Snake: Have you watched the Harrison movie? There’s great footage of them messing around in the kitchen writing. Then recording. They were just hanging out.

Snake: How about Tweedy and Jim James?

Fox: Like the Jim James suggestion. Physically, that could work and he’s got that “oh ya, the guy from THAT band” thing going on. I’ve never gone too deep with U2 beyond hearing the singles really but I’m assuming Rattle and Hum is kinda vexing for the fans? They were in basically a no win situation following up The Joshua Tree so whatever they did would seem secondary. But still, does anybody really care about any of those songs anymore? Aside from “All I Want is You” (think that was that album?!?) which was one of the latter singles from the album and yet the one with the biggest legacy. From y’know, weddings ‘n (stuff).

Fox: Will definitely try to track down that Harrison footage. Seems like one of the few legit “super groups” that was at all authentic. And pound-for-pound, has to be the best from a critical/commercial perspective.

Snake: Good call. I remember reading that while The Joshua Tree was massive here and Rattle… a let down, in England, it was the other way around. It really was no win for them. Black and white was kind of pretentious and I recall people thinking that it was kinda naive that they were discovering all this music that had long been around. I don’t feel that way. They were reverential and clearly raised on rhythm and blues. It’s absolutely worth watching. Jim James also works as an Orbison replacement. Because of the high voice.

Fox: In fairness, every video during that era was (A) either black and white (B) shot in an empty arena or bar. Often… both! See: Simply Red “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. Basically, it was essential to have at least one janitor in your video. Unrelated, is there a reason nobody under 55 ever talks about Roy Orbison? I mean, seriously. Best voice, awesome songs, weird image, died young… seems like it’d be a natural for hipsters to namedrop in lieu of Johnny Cash or even Willie Nelson.

Snake: See also that Roy Orbison and friends video, Black and White Night. Empty stadium is a great call. I picture a Bon Jovi video. “Hey let’s save money and record the sound check!” Roy wasn’t cool. At least, I didn’t think he was so much. Maybe the high voice. Johnny have the finger and wore black. Willie smokes weed. Roy had the shades. But was he blind? I feel like he fell into the golden oldies hole of the 70s/80s. Rock and roll fans got bored of their heroes until they got older. I don’t feel like country goes out of style for country fans. Roy also was very one dimensional. Those other guys are outlaws. Roy was the odd man out of the Wilburys too. They just loved him and wanted to be around him. Fanboys.

Fox: Also, in hindsight. think how strange it was that in 1987-1990, music being marketed to little kids (i.e. us) included Roy Orbison, Steve Winwood, Willburys, the Rolling Stone “Steel Wheels”. These were bands that had been around over 20 years already and still in the Top 40. You’d NEVER see that today for a rock band with maybe the exception of the Chili Peppers and (I guess) Foo Fighters.

Snake: It was the baby boomers kids. That was just the pop music at the time. All the heritage acts that came up with new material of any value got their exposure. Remember that the industry likes predictability. They were marketing at us via our parents. Or am I makin this up as I go.

Fox: Yeah, Roy was soft-spoken, quite effeminate, quite possibly blind (or going for a blind look). Remember the “tough” Roy Orbison single “I Drove All Night”? He still sounded wildly precious over top that bad 1980s production (a great song BTW… and obviously, a black and white video)

Fox: Just saw the IMDB for the Harrison doc. Wow, totally missed that. Never heard of it. Was it “a big deal” when it came out? Normally pretty clued into this stuff.

Fox: You’re also right about marketing to baby boomer kids via actual baby boomers. I mean, record execs were all “hey, the keyboard player from the Spencer Davis Group… these eight-year olds are gonna eat this (stuff) up!!!”

Fox: Ha! Maybe he’s cooler than I thought. The missed opportunity for his publicist was “In Dreams” appearing in Blue Velvet. Between that, Nick Cave covering “Running Scared”, Wilburys and Mystery Girl plus that b+w special, he was on the comeback. And then he died.

Snake: It’s really wonderful. Can’t say enough good about it. Doesn’t feel like Scorsese. Kinda like no direction home. If you subscribe to Beatlemania as the one true religion (or if you just thought George was awesome) watch it. Was on the box when it came out and I got the DVD for my birthday. There is a lot of insight into that in the movie. You’ll eat it up.

Fox: Will definitely check it out. It’s been ages since I’ve seen a music doc and really know nothing about GH besides the basic and the Weird Al parody “This Song is Just Six Words Long”.

Snake: I remember the first time I heard “Roll with It”. He was so cool. Plus back in the high life was a great album. He was really young with the Spencer Davis group and was still young and hip in the 80s. He had an album called arc of a diver in the early 80s with a great song called night train. Think too about how the boomers would love the whole concept of back in the high life. Also, a great great cover of that tune by Warren Zevon. Love Winwood.

Fox: I had Back in the High Life and Roll With It. Both on cassette from Columbia House!!! My Winwood arch…. 1986-1989: love him when I was 9-12…. 1990-1993: quit music fandom to become a full-time sports nerd… 1994-2001: MLB goes on strike, get really into indie rock, pretend that I never knew Winwood existed (much less owned the albums)… 2002-present: get burned out on indie, listen to only 1960s music for two years, read somewhere Jimi Hendrix was scarred (senseless) of Windwood’s musical chops, realize the Spencer Davis Group were awesome.

Snake: He was a fascinating guy. It’s awesome.

Snake: That’s a wonderful arch. Very funny.