Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Obit watch: May 28, 2017.

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Gregg Allman, of the Allman Brothers Band and “married to Cher” fame.

In 1977, Mr. Allman and the singer Cher, to whom he was married at the time, released the album “Two the Hard Way.” (They were billed on the cover as Allman and Woman.) The project was poorly received by critics and the record-buying public alike.

Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame baseball player, perfect game pitcher, and later a congressional rep and a senator frim Kentucky.

He was the second pitcher, after Cy Young, to win at least 100 games, record at least 1,000 strikeouts and throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues. When he retired after the 1971 season, his 2,855 strikeouts were second only to Walter Johnson’s 3,509.

And, of course, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor and soccer theorist.

Hookers and blow watch.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

I swear that I wrote about the “resignation” of Don Pitts as the city of Austin’s “music manager” ($97,000 a year) back in February when it happened. But I can’t find that blog entry now, and even search engines don’t help.

Anyway, Mr. Pitts resigned after a city audit turned up the fact that one of his employees had submitted a fake invoice so she could get reimbursed for what was represented as a “zero-cost” “2014 work trip to Europe to promote Austin’s music scene”.

There’s a little more to the story than that, however. The employee claims that Mr. Pitts told her to submit the trip as “zero-cost” so the approval would go through, and told her to submit the fake invoice so she could get reimbursed. Mr. Pitts denies that he told her to submit the fake invoice, but he admitted that he didn’t tell anyone about the fake invoice when he found out about it: that’s what led to his forced resignation, apparently.

And meanwhile, the city filed an ethics complaint against the also now-ex employee.

That complaint was dismissed Wednesday evening.

A divided and half-present Ethics Review Commission cleared [the employee] of wrongdoing Wednesday night after failing to reach consensus on whether she or Pitts was primarily responsible for the scheme.

Because only six of the ethics board’s 11 members were present, they needed a unanimous vote to find that [the employee] abused her position and violated city policies. Four members were inclined to give her a pass in light of testimony that Pitts was at least aware, if not the architect, of the attempts to pay [the employee] under the table.

It seems odd that almost half of them didn’t even bother to show up.

Also worth noting: the employee in question made other complaints about Pitts.

…a Human Resources Department investigation into a dozen of [the employee]’s claims, which found three violations by Pitts of employee conduct policies. Records show he sent staff a copy of a resignation letter from a former job in an effort to motivate, but it came across as threatening, and he said he wouldn’t hire a temporary employee who complained that [the employee] was mistreated in the department.

Not sure how saying “I’m not going to hire a temp” is a violation of HR policy, but okay. Nut:

A third violation involved using the slang term “hookers and blow,” which Pitts said was common in the music industry when referring to excess, but human resources investigators deemed inappropriate. Investigators also found Pitts had called [the employee]’s mother to try to talk about her performance at work, though they didn’t consider that a violation of city policies.

So you can’t say “hookers and blow” at work. But you can call someone’s mother to talk about their work performance. Good. To. Know.

Remind me again: why does this office exist?

Obit watch: May 7, 2017.

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Bruce Hampton, aka “Col. Bruce Hampton”, jam band guy.

The Hampton Grease Band released an album on Columbia — Mr. Hampton liked to claim that it was one of the worst-selling albums in the label’s history — and opened for the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band and other nationally known acts. It was also known for its twisted sense of humor, which included playing practical jokes.

I actually remember “Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit”: not any of the songs off of it, but just the title. What can I say, it tickled my fancy.

Peter Flawn, former president of the University of Texas. Among his many other accomplishments, he’s the guy who fired John Mackovic.

Obit watch: May 1, 2017.

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Dick Contino, noted accordion player and sometime actor.

In the late 1940’s, Mr. Contino was pulling down “up to $4,000 a week”. Then, in 1951, he got drafted into the Army. He didn’t take well to this:

…after reporting to Fort Ord, near Monterey, Calif., bolted before his induction, overwhelmed by persistent neuroses including claustrophobia.

He ended up serving 4 1/2 months in federal prison and paying a $10,000 fine for “refusing to submit to induction”. He was later pardoned, but his career never completely recovered.

He did go on to do a couple of B-movies, including “Daddy-O” (which some of you may remember as a Joel episode of MST3K). And even later on, he was the inspiration for James Ellroy’s “Dick Contino’s Blues”.

As a connoisseur of disaster…

Friday, April 28th, 2017

…I am enjoying reading about Fyre Festival so, so much.

It’s the feral dogs that really make a good music festival.

That reminds me. (adds Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus to his Amazon wish list.)

William N. Finley IV’s Twitter feed: Finley was boots on the ground at Fyre Festival and is quoted in many pf the stories I’ve seen.

Questions, so many questions: could Ja Rule and Kendall Jenner be prosecuted for fraud? Would this have been a justified use of a MOAB? And is it true that United Airlines was an official Fyre Festival sponsor?

Obit watch: April 27, 2017.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Jonathan Demme passed away yesterday. Which is a damn shame, because I wanted to ask him why he thought it was a good idea to remake “Charade” and “The Manchurian Candidate”.

But I suppose I have to give him a pass for those. “The Silence of the Lambs” is a faithful adaptation of the book, and a great movie it its own right.

And not that he ever needed it, but he would have earned a lifetime pass from me for “Stop Making Sense”.

Come to think of it, “Swimming To Cambodia” was a swell movie, too.

And I actually saw “Swing Shift” when it was in theaters, but I was unaware of the whole editing controversy, and really don’t remember the movie well at this distance. It might be worth a re-watch, but I think I want to see “Melvin and Howard” and “Handle With Care”/”Citizens Band” first.

Obit watch: April 13, 2017.

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

J. Geils, of J. Geils Band fame. Remember “Centerfold”? I used to have that on a 45 somewhere.

(Kids, ask your parents about records.)

My brother mentioned Charlie Murphy‘s death yesterday, and I’m embarrassed to admit: it rang no bells with me until I read the obit and realized, “Oh, yeah, the ‘True Hollywood Stories’ guy from ‘Chappelle’s Show’.” (I didn’t watch the show first run, but Lawrence has some DVDs that we’ve been watching from time to time.)

And I think this is worth noting for news value:

Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an associate judge on New York State’s highest court and the first African-American woman to serve on that bench, was found dead on Wednesday in the Hudson River, the authorities said.

I don’t want to speculate, but it doesn’t seem like the authorities suspect foul play at the moment.

Administrative note.

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

My birthday is coming up soon. As always, I do not expect any of my loyal readers to get me presents.

However, if someone felt inclined: please do not buy this book for me. Thank you.

(Seriously. I have nothing against Jesse Sublett: he seems like a pretty cool guy. But I don’t care much for the food at either Threadgill’s location. And one of the worst aspects of Austin culture is the incessant nostalgia: or, as Lawrence likes to put it, “the burned-out old hippies who constantly talk about how they went to the Armadillo, dropped acid, and saw Shiva’s Headband.” Said it before, I’ll say it again: if the Austin Chronicle and other people had their way, this town would be a 1970s music theme park.)

Bagatelle (#4).

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

If you told me I could only take one Talking Heads album to the desert island with me…it would be Stop Making Sense.

If, however, you said that it had to be a studio album, Remain In Light would be a good choice.

The thing that sort of surprises me is: he was able to hit 92 on MoPac. Then again, I can’t really tell what time of day it was, and traffic does thin out a little around the Braker Lane exit…

Apropos of nothing in particular, this post from Tam, in particular the last paragraph.

Obit watch: March 19, 2017.

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

I’ve been thinking most of the day about what I want to say about Jimmy Breslin, or if I want to say anything at all. I might tomorrow, but I wanted to get the obits up tonight: NYT. NY Daily News obit: there’s a lot of related material at their site, too.

For the historical record: Chuck Berry.

Obit watch: February 13, 2017

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Al Jarreau. NYT. A/V Club.

Raymond Smullyan, author, mathematician, and logician.

With his long white hair and beard, Professor Smullyan resembled Ian McKellen’s wizard, Gandalf, from the “Lord of the Rings” film series. He was lanky, hated exercise and loved steak and eggs. He studied Eastern religion. He told corny jokes and performed close-up magic to anyone near him. He played the piano with passion and talent into his 90s. (A career in music had been derailed by tendinitis when he was a young man.)

Can’t get no sleeves for my records, can’t get no lasers for my shoes…

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

The St. Louis Blues, who are a professional hockey team in the NHL, fired Hitchcock.

Actually, that would be Ken Hitchcock.

Hitchcock, the head coach since Nov. 8, 2011, led the Blues to a 248-124-41 record over six seasons. He leaves with 781 NHL victories, which keeps him one short of tying Al Arbour for No. 3 on the all-time list of regular-season coaching victories.

(Subject line hattip. You know, for a while I thought many of the songs on Brothers In Arms were massively overplayed. I’m starting to come around to the idea that it may be a classic now.)