Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Firings and obits: November 22, 2017.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Seems like the story of my life, firings and obits. Anyway:

Ken Norton Jr. out as the defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders.

I don’t think this is the dumbest thing I’ve read on ESPN, but I do think it is in the top 10.

…if you are a college football player, try to avoid punching one of your assistant coaches in the head twice.
Because that behavior doesn’t just get you benched: it gets you thrown off the team and expelled from the university.

And now, it gets you charged with aggravated assault.

Bob Stitt out as Montana’s head coach.

Obits, mostly for the record: David Cassidy. Della Reese.

Obit watch: November 20, 2017.

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Man, it was a weekend, wasn’t it? Sorry I didn’t get to some of this yesterday, but I spent a large part of the day foraging for food in Westlake (Why is it so hard to find a restaurant that’s open on Sunday in that part of town?) and then on an expedition to Pflugerville to visit the new Aldi grocery store. (The natives are wary, but I think we started to win them over.)

Anyway: Malcolm Young, AC/DC co-founder. I feel a musical interlude coming on, but I think I’ll do a jump first.

Mel Tillis, who sang both types of music: country and western.

He even went so far as to make the nickname Stutterin’ Boy, conferred upon him by the singer Webb Pierce, the title of his autobiography (written with Walter Wager and published in 1984), and to have it painted on the side of his tour bus. He also named his personal airplane Stutter One and referred to his female backup singers as the Stutterettes.

Dr. John C. Raines is dead at the age of 84. This name is probably not familiar to you, but the story is interesting.

Dr. Raines, along with seven others, broke into a FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania on the night of March 8, 1971 (during the Frazier-Ali fight) and stole a large number of FBI internal documents. They later released those documents to the press and to members of Congress.

The burglary, and subsequent lawsuits by NBC and others, prompted a groundbreaking investigation in 1975 by the so-called Church committee, a special Senate panel led by Senator Frank Church of Idaho. The committee revealed details of the F.B.I.’s secret Cointelpro, or counterintelligence, operation, which included illegal sabotage of dissident groups deemed to be subversive.

The NYT obit gives a pretty good summary of the whole affair. But, if you’re interested, I recommend The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI by Betty Medsger: it gives a detailed account of the planning, the execution, the aftermath, and what happened to the principals (as of 2013-2014).

Last, and definitely least, Charles Manson is burning in Hell. NYT. LAT. Lawrence.

I’ve felt for a while now that we would be much better as a culture if we all agreed to ignore Manson, beyond providing him with basic human needs (food, shelter, medical care). No publicity, no interviews, no cover versions of his “music”: we should have just let him rot silently.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, they’re all together spooky, the Manson family.

Mr. Manson was a semiliterate habitual criminal and failed musician before he came to irrevocable attention in the late 1960s as the wild-eyed leader of the Manson family, a murderous band of young drifters in California. Convicted of nine murders in all, Mr. Manson was known in particular for the seven brutal killings collectively called the Tate-LaBianca murders, committed by his followers on two consecutive August nights in 1969.

I do like that paragraph: “semiliterate habitual criminal and failed musician”, indeed. This one, too:

Manson was a pathetic, cowardly con man & should be remembered for that alone.

Time for a palate cleanser. After the jump, musical interludes.


Obit watch take 2.

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Fats Domino.

At a news conference in Las Vegas in 1969, after resuming his performing career, Elvis Presley interrupted a reporter who had called him “the king.” He pointed to Mr. Domino, who was in the room, and said, “There’s the real king of rock ’n’ roll.”


Thursday, October 19th, 2017

By way of great and good friend of the blog Joe D, in the comments: a record store owner in Michigan decided to pull a prank on his customers and make them think he only had one album in stock.

And what album was that?

You’ll have to click through to find out, though I will give a hint: it was one that is thematically appropriate for this blog.

One of the most interesting aspects of the display is that Taylor went out of his way to make sure customers understood that the copies are not for sale. Taylor says that he has about 75 copies of the album, and sheepishly admitted that he is “stockpiling the Herb.”

Obits, firings, and random: October 3, 2017.

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

I didn’t feel much like blogging yesterday: what the hell was I going to say that everyone else wasn’t saying better? Plus, I was trying to dig myself out of a backlog at work most of the day, and then I had a doctor’s appointment (at least that went well) and then I went down to the cop shop to help with the CPA class (which had been moved from Tuesday)…

…so I really didn’t get a chance to blog Tom Petty, which was a good thing. First he was dead, then he wasn’t dead and the LAPD knew nothing, and now he’s really dead. What a mess.

I probably would have inserted a musical interlude or three, but really, you’ve heard them all.

John Coppolella out as general manager of the Braves in a “resignation”:

…after an investigation by Major League Baseball revealed serious rules violations in the international player market.
The Braves announced Coppolella’s resignation Monday, citing a “breach of Major League Baseball rules regarding the international player market.” Gordon Blakeley, a special assistant to the GM who was the team’s international scouting chief, also has resigned.

Longtime readers know of my interest in baking bread. I just found out about this: Modernist Bread. From those wonderful folks who brought you Microsoft Windows Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

Right up my alley? Perhaps. But not no damn $562.50 worth. Though I’m sure it is beautifully photographed, and if you have that kind of money, good for you. I’ll wait for it to show up at Half-Price Books.

Obit watch: September 9, 2017.

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Dr. Jerry Pournelle, noted SF writer and longtime computer columnist for Byte magazine back in the day.

Official website. Lawrence. Borepatch.

I don’t have a lot to add here. I never met Dr. Pournelle, and I don’t think I’ve read any of his solo SF. I’m spotty on his collaborations with Larry Niven, though the ones I have read I think are better than Niven’s solo work.

I enjoyed his Byte column, though at the time some of his recurring tropes did kind of grate on my nerves. (See also: Gregg Easterbroook.)

(For the younger set, and/or those who may not know: the Internet Archive has a large digital collection of Byte.)

I’m very fond of Oath of Fealty. And I believe Lucifer’s Hammer has been a huge influence on a lot of people (including me, somewhat),

The only other thing I have to say is: I’m ordering a copy of The Survival of Freedom, as my personal tribute to the good doctor.

Also among the dead: Don Williams, noted country musician.

Troy Gentry, also a country musician with Montgomery Gentry, was killed in a helicopter crash yesterday.

And finally, Rick Stevens, not a country musician, but a funk-soul one. He sang with the group Tower of Power, and did the lead vocal on “You’re Still a Young Man” from the 1972 album “Bump City”.

Then he got into heroin and other drugs. Over about a two-day period in 1976, he killed three men. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but California declared the death penalty unconstitutional and he was resentenced to life. He was paroled in 2012 and started working again.

In January 2013 his old band brought him onstage at the Oakland club Yoshi’s to sing his signature song.
“When he got back onstage with Tower of Power for the first time in 40 years,” Mr. Maloney said, “he felt like he was levitating. That’s what he told me.”

While he was in prison, he became a Christian. He also did counseling and mentoring for other inmates, and formed prison bands.

He remained remorseful for the deadly events of 1976, which he said occurred during a time in his life when he was going from one drug high to another and not thinking clearly — “a jackass in a jumpsuit,” he would describe himself years later. When he began performing again after his release from prison he was realistic about his past.
“I know a lot of people won’t forget,” he said in a 2013 interview. “I won’t forget.”

Not exactly an obit, but:

Leslie Van Houten, who was convicted along with other members of Charles Manson’s cult in the 1969 killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, was granted parole Wednesday by a panel of state commissioners in Chino.

Her parole still has to be approved by the governor. Jerry Brown rejected her bid for parole last year.

Obit watch: September 4, 2017.

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, passed away yesterday. He was 67.

As Steely Dan, Mr. Becker and Mr. [Donald] Fagen changed the vocabulary of pop in the 1970s with songs like “Do It Again,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Peg.” Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen were close collaborators on every element of a song: words, music, arrangement. “We think very much the same musically. I can start songs and Walter can finish them,” Mr. Fagen said in a 1977 interview.
Steely Dan’s musical surfaces were sleek and understated, smooth enough to almost be mistaken for easy-listening pop, and polished through countless takes that earned Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen a daunting reputation as studio perfectionists.


In a statement released Sunday, Mr. Fagen wrote that Mr. Becker “was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny. Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art.”

I think it is time for a longer than usual musical interlude. I’ll put in a jump.


TMQ Watch: August 29, 2017.

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Week two. Gesundheit.

Our count is roughly 9,400 words. Will TMQ join the 10,000 Club this season? We would not be surprised.

(And this is why we’re running behind: we do plan to try to get these up on Tuesday, but if the Weekly Standard is going to let Easterbrook run on as long as he wants, without apparent editing or restrictions, we can’t promise that.)

After the jump, this week’s column…


Random notes: August 24, 2017.

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Also among the dead: the print edition of the Village Voice.

In other news: WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!

Keeping your head up, your eyes open, and not driving into high water is probably a good idea. But. I remember the last time a hurricane came ashore near Houston, and was threatening Austin. I was still attending St. Ed’s at the time, and the university was sending out regular updates. There was tremendous hysteria. Everyone was hunkering down waiting for the storm.

In my part of town, the skies turned dark…and we got maybe three drops of rain, total. The hurricane was a giant bust.

I suggest being careful. But I’m not going to put any faith in apocalyptic predictions until the water starts coming over the top of the dam.

Whatever happened to Alice Goodman? She wrote the librettos to John Adams’s “Nixon in China” and “Death of Klinghoffer”…and then she just sort of vanished.

Turns out, she’s an ordained Anglican priest living in England.

“I never drifted away from music,” she said in a recent phone interview. “I couldn’t get work commissioned, so I did what members of my family do when that kind of thing happened: I started another degree. By 1997, I was being offered commissions and collaborations again, but none of them were particularly interesting to me, and my ideas didn’t interest my colleagues.”

Now I’m only falling apart…

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Headline of the day.

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Live scorpion reportedly found in bag of Costco bananas

This is ridiculous, and Costco should be ashamed.

Everybody knows that a beautiful bunch of ripe bananas hides the deadly black tarantula, not scorpions. Is this just cost-cutting on Costco’s part? Are scorpions cheaper than tarantulas?

(Sorry. I’m feeling a little punchy. You might even say me wanna go home.)

Obit watch: August 9, 2017.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Glen Campbell: NYT. South Texas Pistolero.