I know, I know… I said I would be posting more regularly, but I had severe difficulties with my Internet Service Provider, Enter.Net. For all you readers in my former hometown, Allentown PA, you must know that Enter.Net is a substandard provider and has no regard for customers outside it’s immediate geographic region. The internet is global. Since I was unable to access the internet for many weeks with dependability, posting was a problem. I have switched to a new provider, Comcast, and upgraded to a T1 connection. So I should be able to upload those boatloads of photos faster.
I extend my sympathies to my webmasters.
This year’s list is different than last year’s in so many ways. First, and you know this if you are following this blog, Adrian Belew has occupied his rightful place on the list. There are no disqualifications this year. The next aspect of difference is the absence of many players from last years’ list, and the year before. There is no new King Crimson product, and only three current members of the group are mentioned, one in perpetuity, one for being active in his solo career, one for playing on another artist’s CD. There is also no Nine Inch Nails. So that in itself causes several vacancies.
But one of the ways this blog is different, is actually a good thing, in that the majority of this list was comprised around the middle of the year. There has been such a plethora of new music, and the progressive scene is indeed alive and kicking.
This past year has been no exception.
I just consider myself lucky to have been able to witness and report on some of the more intriguing acts of 2010.
Another change to this year’s list is, it will also serve as my yearly look back. That look back includes some very different things. Finding some evidentiary information to exonerate Belew, then shortly after that, enduring some literary flack on behalf of one artist on this year’s list who had been unfairly excommunicated from one website, to having some lovely and enlightening conversations with names too numerous to mention. So before we get to that list, let’s take that look back at one wild year.
It didn’t start at a Todd Rundgren show. Not like 2009. It started on a very sad note, that being the death of Alan Parsons Project vocalist, manager and songwriter Eric Woolfosn. He will now occupy the number one spot at the top of the vocalist list. Now that I hear tracks like “Time” from Turn Of A Friendly Card and “Closer To Heaven” from Gaudi, it will forever bring tears to my eyes.
We started a new profitable business venture that functioned until October, when we closed it down. The reason for this will be revealed later on. We were off and running in Feb. with last year’s Top Ten. The prophetic line from that one was in a reply to a comment “Laurie Anderson didn’t do much last year”.
She shut me up this year.
March followed with a couple of entries about another constant occupant of my Top Ten, Todd Rundgren. The first in reference to his “Short Johnson” (EP of Robert Johnson covers) release, which caused a minor stir with the vox populii, and even charted for Rundgren! More good news was tempered with some horrible reality: The second volume of the Todd Rundgren biography came out, and featured Utopia! I was stoked and reviewed it with my usual fan-driven musically critical approach (in publishing?) and that gusto earned me the dubious distinction of being plagiarized by someone on Amazon. Yup, it was stolen, word for word. An author can spot his work like a mother cat can pick its own out of a mix of litters with several other kittens.
Naturally, Benjamin Garmisa is trash now. I can say what I want about him. He’s a proven thief who should not be trusted with employment and I hope he is on a Government watch list. I can also say what I want because I have retained the sleaziest lawyers a $39.95 retainer fee could buy.
April found me doing last year’s reflection, last year’s version of what you are reading now, I also found that I had to repost several of my blogs at one site as they were eaten by evil computers with minds of their own (reference “I Robot”). It also found me doing construction on my home and doing severe damage to my right ankle, foot and toes. Several bruised bones and destroyed cartilage.
My baseball days are over.
April was also close to an anniversary at a site, but I feel it is more appropriate to do this at year’s end review as, well, since I am syndicated now, I am not going to reprint this several times for several web sites at each anniversary. I gotta make this easier on myself! Hell, when I started this, I approached Brett Barros (former contributor and author of WordPress) and stumped him with an idea I had about publishing on multiple sites! What am I, beta testing now?
April was when I first announced the Rundgren Todd/Healing shows. I also introduced the blog to two new and unusual acts, BOSCH and MASK. BOSCH got quite a reception at one site and was chosen as a pick-of-the-week! From ME?
May found me cheering for it was announced that the Todd/Healing shows were coming to the east coast! Doug Ford made sure I would have a good vantage point for me to bring you to the show if you can’t come (this means YOU John Van Wert).
Speaking of my fellow Goodz member JVW, he contributed questions to an interview that never happened. I had proposed an interview to Willie Wilcox, he said yes, I sent him the questions twice and he never replied. At least we have our answer as to “Will there be a Utopia reunion”? That answer is “You got it at the A Wizard A True Star show” when Todd, Roger, Kasim and now Rundgren drummer Prairie Prince performed Utopia songs as a warm-up for the AWATS show. Roger Powell told me afterward that they referred to it as ‘Notopia’.
But May was also important as it was when I had unearthed some information that confirmed I was wrong about Belew being the one who put the kibosh on the King Crimson 40th anniversary tour that was to resume on the west coast of the USA in April of 2009. So I took the steps necessary (in my opinion) to make amends. Wait until July to see how THAT turned out. I reviewed Belew’s e disc and sent it to Belew’s people for approval.
Then in June things really heated up for me here. The whole Jeff Berlin, Talkbass incident I thought was one of those things you go through in this game. Having survived the Belew thing, I have Teflon skin by this time. If you DON’T know about the controversy, PLEASE go back and read it and the comments. Mr. Berlin even weighed in. But that was nothing. I started to take heavy flak on the comments. Mr. Berlin got wind of this AND CALLED ME!!!
How cool is THAT?
Him spending his VALUED time to tell me I am handling the comments and the pressure well, and not to let them get to me, telling me jokes… A nicer man you will never meet! The long and the short of it is he got me through a very difficult time with that, and for my first blog interview, we both were content with what we had done.
I also reported on a band that went into hiding and reemerged twenty-some years later with some CSN revisionist pop. Good stuff, The Tygers.
I then posted an editorial on the dethroning of a United States General by Rolling Stone. In my best Nelson Muntz from the Simpsons, “HA ha”!
It was then I realized, my revisiting these events is nice, but what if I could use my forum here as an avenue to PROMOTION for the artists? Don’t just review events that HAVE happened, but get INSIDE the artists camps and get press releases, get to them online, send emails, make contacts, get PRE-event/release information.
Gee, what’s inside this box marked PANDORA…?
So then I started getting information, press releases from Jeff Berlin, Adrian Belew, World Café Live, Glass Onyon…
Now I can’t keep up, hence we started getting even more dense with posts.
Some of that reaching out found me in a very new camp of a very old band, DEVO! I was so happy to FINALLY see the new disc from Devo. I spoke earlier about Nine Inch Nails not being around. Well the drummer for Nine Inch on their last major tour was Josh Freese. Now Freese is a full-fledged member of Devo. He made the list.
Now for the New Year’s Eve Rundgren show of 2008- 2009, that was the first time I had to split posts, one for the content, one for comments. I have been the grandfather of the multiple post blog. THIS time I reviewed Adrian Belew (with Julie Slick of the power trio opening) at World Café Live, and got the opportunity to meet and talk with Robin Slick (Birdwoman), Juilie’s mom, and Adrian Belew himself, at which point I shook his hand for the ENTIRE time I apologized for being misinformed.
I was offered the real information on King Crimson’s demise, I turned it down. I don’t want to know. I am too close and it may depress me too much.
But because we had been in touch with Adrian Belew’s people, we got a photo pass and created our first photo blog (on some sites). That stretched the bandwidth so much I had to split the story into four posts!!!
I know, I’m a show-off.
August brought me that Laurie Anderson come-uppance. Not only did she have a stellar new album out, Homeland, but she was touring for it and bringing it to, my new second home, World Café Live! Those reviews were a lot of work, and we ended up doing a mini-photo blog (on some sites) with her live show. And I got to meet Lou Reed and Bill Laswell as well as Rob Burger, her specialty keyboardist/accordionist.
I also put up a promotion blog for those Todd/Healing shows. I wanted every seat filled for every show. I wanted people to know what good shows these were going to be. I want people to know who Todd Rundgren is. BEFORE HE’S DEAD!
Well September brought many delightful surprises my way. The most delightful was getting in touch with Lynn Farley at Lehigh University regarding the only east coast appearance of Alan Parsons!! This was perhaps the best show I have seen all year as they reaffirmed that progressive live music is indeed alive and well!
Not four days after that show, it was a tough act to follow, but Todd Rundgren brought his Todd/Healing show to the Keswick in Glenside PA. While the performance was great, the technical aspects and some disrespectful fans left a sour taste in this reviewers’ mouth. I will not let the ill-mannered louts in the suburban Philadelphia area get to me again. But they sure did that night. So much so, that I was off-put from seeing any more live performances until the Killing Joke show in December. What happened next caused us to cliff-hang the Rundgren Todd/Healing show. Part two only published a few weeks ago as well, and the following reason is not an excuse, it is an explanation.
Death in the family. It is in best taste that you need to know only that it was a life-changing departure.
Killing Joke at Irving Plaza in December was a departure review for us. There was no high pressure need-to-get-photo-pass-and-spend-more-time-writing-than-watching-the-show” approach this time. I could say primitive band, primitive approach.
But the real reason that review was so cut-rate was, well, I got a very nasty unappreciative comment about part one of the Rundgren review. I dealt with him with my usual aplomb and indifference. As usual, uninformed, misguided with too much time on their hands, and internet access. That’s all it takes. I have endured attacks at all levels. My opinion is mine.
As long as I am on this tangent/slash segue, I want to address this to a certain flamenco guitarist who threatened to sue me over my review: My views, opinions, comments and interpretations are MY OWN! In THIS country we are allowed to express our opinions in the media, and if you did not like the fact that I felt your playing was pretentious, well that’s too bad. But don’t assassinate the opinions of other Americans I consulted who also felt your liner notes were an affront to the American spirit, and in this new year of 2011, we get to remember ten years ago this September 11th. Don’t go after the media supplying the outlet to afford MY OPINION. Don’t claim me a racist just because I heard someone like Robert Fripp or Al DiMeola play it better. I judge by what crosses my ears. No color of the skin, religion, social status, or physical disability will have influence on my opinion. Not even overt disrespect to those who lost their lives on 9/11 could influence my opinion.
Crappy music does.
In deference to the protection of my media outlets, I caved and pulled the review.
I will now play my segue card to bring you MY VIEW, MY OPINION, MY CHOICE, for the Top Ten Musicians List for 2010
1 Robert Fripp (permanent and perpetual)
2 Adrian Belew – Live / Power Trio Live in Germany DVD
3 Todd Rundgren – Live Todd/Healing (live performance)
4 Bob Mothersbaugh – Devo – Something For Everybody
5 Jesse Gress – Tony Levin Band / Todd Rundgren – Todd/Healing (live performance)
6 Geordie Walker – Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent / Live
7 Alan Parsons – Alan Parsons Live Project
8 Alastair Greene – Alan Parsons Live Project
9 Lou Reed – Laurie Anderson “Only An Expert”
10 Leo Abrahams – Brian Eno – Small Craft On A Milk Sea
1 Vince Welnick (Posthumous and in perpetuity) – Tubes / Todd Rundgren
2 Laurie Anderson – Homeland / live
3 Mark Mothersbaugh – Devo – Something For Everybody
4 Bob Casale – Devo – Something For Everybody
5 Rob Burger – Laurie Anderson – Homeland / live
6 Manny Focarazzo – Alan Parsons Live Project
7 Greg Hawkes – Todd/Healing (live performance)
8 Trent Reznor – The Social Network Soundtrack
9 Alan Parsons – Alan Parsons Live Project
10 Peter Gabriel – Scratch My Back
1 Paul Raven (Posthumous and in perpetuity) – Killing Joke / Ministry
2 John Entwhisle (Posthumous and in perpetuity) – The Who / solo
3 Jeff Berlin – High Standards
4 Julie Slick – Solo / Adrian Belew Power Trio
5 Jerry Casale – Devo – Something For Everybody
6 Kasim Sulton – Todd Rundgren Todd/Healing (live performance)
7 Bill Laswell – Laurie Anderson, Homeland / live
8 Youth – Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent / Live
9 Guy Erez – Alan Parsons Live Project
10 Shavo Odadjian – Various
1 Bill Bruford (permanent and perpetual) – King Crimson / Yes / Earthworks
2 Phil Collins – Lifetime achievement award
3 Prairie Prince – Tubes / Todd Rundgren – Todd/Healing (live performance)
4 Josh Freese – Devo – Something For Everybody /solo
5 Danny Thompson – Alan Parsons Live Project
6 Big Paul Ferguson – Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent / Live
7 Taylor Hawkins – Taylor Hawkins and The Coattail Riders
8 Christopher Brown – BOSCH / Random Touch
9 Marco Minneman – Julie Slick
10 Pat Mastellotto – Julie Slick
1 Eric Woolfson (Posthumous and in perpetuity) – Alan Parsons Project
2 Laurie Anderson – Homeland / Live: Another Day In America
3 P.J. Olsson – Alan Parsons Live Project
4 Adrian Belew – Live
5 Jaz Coleman – Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent / Live
6 Alan Parsons – Alan Parsons Live Project
7 Bob Mothersbaugh – Devo – Something For Everybody
8 Alastair Greene – Alan Parsons Live Project
9 Todd Rundgren – Todd/Healing (live performance)
10 Napoleon Murphy-Brock – AntBee – “Don’t You Ever Learn” Elektronik Church Musik
Next we are going to attack a plethora of indie acts, some acts that have come out of the woodwork (Brian Eno) and make up for lost time with some long overdue reviews of Julie Slick’s CD, the Adrian Belew Power Trio DVD, Live In Germany, as well as some reissues, etc. Also, be on the lookout for a review of Queens Of The Stone Age performing their seminal premier album live with opening act Eagles Of Death Metal.
The dust is starting to settle, it’s good to be back!