10.25.2007

BAND OF BANDS

bands.jpg

No time for love, Docta Jones.

Here, chew on some bands with Band in their names:

THE BACKBEAT BAND:
"Money"
"Long Tall Sally"
I could have sworn I'd written about the movie Backbeat before now, but I guess I was wrong. Backbeat tells the story of the pre-world famous Beatles as they were still in their infancy, playing as a pill-popping bar band in Germany's Cavern Club. More specifically, the movie's focus is on the somewhat tragic story of Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the several "fifth Beatles" debated about by fans across the world (other "fifths" include producer George Martin, keyboardist Billy Preston and drummer Pete Best). While the movie is pretty damn good, it's elevated by the soundtrack of 50s covers (the movie takes place before Lennon/McCartney would become a songwriting powerhouse) performed by The Backbeat Band, comprised of vocalists Greg Dulli (AFGHAN WHIGS) and Dave Pirner (SOUL ASYLUM), drummer Dave Grohl (NIRVANA, FOO FIGHTERS), guitarist Thurston Moore (SONIC YOUTH), bassist Mike Mills (R.E.M.), and guitarist Don Fleming (VELVET MONKEYS, GUMBALL).

THE BETA BAND:
"It's Not Too Beautiful"
"Dr. Baker"
The documentary 7 Days in September is easily one of the best films I've ever seen, and the film's use of The Beta Band's hypnotic, psychedelic "It's Not Too Beautiful" is just one of the many reasons for my high opinion of the movie. I'm not even going to describe the movie; if you haven't seen it, you're really doing yourself a disservice. If you've never heard The Beta Band, you aren't doing yourself any favors there, either. I promise, I was onto them before that famous scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack drops one of their songs into the store stereo to sell a few copies of the album. While the scene itself is kind of geeky, akin to the embarassing "The Shins will change your life" scene in Garden State, it's still a pretty truthful one to anyone who has ever worked in a decent record store. I once had a similar moment at a store I worked at in Omaha, selling two copies of an I AM KLOOT album within a period of 3 minutes based on a single song I was playing. It was pretty gratifying, and a nice "What's up now, bitch?" to the guy I was working with, who doubted that the tactic would work.

A BAND OF BEES:
"The Start"
"Left Foot Stepdown"
I already wrote, a few years back, about my absolute love of A Band of Bees' (in the UK, they are known simply as The Bees) sophomore album Free the Bees, where tonight's "The Start" first appeared. The band's most recent album, Octopus was released months ago, but was virtually impossible to find for a long time, even on iTunes. It's finally started to rear its awesome head, and is definitely worth checking out, based on tonight's groovy "Left Foot Stepdown."

Of course, there can be really only one band. . .

THE BAND:
"It Makes No Difference" (live)
"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (live)
I will never forget, as long as I live, a night spent bowling at The Lucky Strike in Chicago years ago with a group of great friends. I dropped about $5 in the jukebox and went to town, playing everything from Built to Spill to Otis Redding. At one point, my choice of The Band's "It Makes No Difference" from the soundtrack to The Last Waltz came on the sound system, and my friend Lesley scoffed at the song, asking incredulously "Did you pick this?" If Lesley had been a man, I probably would have punched her in her fucking face for this indiscretion. The hard part would not have been dealing with the aftermath of our broken friendship; it would have been the difficulty in deciding exactly which reason for punching her in the mouth would have been best. Would it have been in defending the honor of deceased bassist Rick Danko? Would it have been because this song is one of the highlights of that fantastic concert movie, and one of the scenes that brought me near tears when viewing it in a Philadelphia theater the year before? Would it have been because she was dissing THE fucking BAND, the band that backed Bob Dylan through some of the most incredible and creative parts of his career? All I know, it was definitely punch-in-the-mouth territory. If she'd made fun of drummer Levon Helm (who sings the shit out of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" from the same soundtrack), murder would have been da case that they gave me.


bands2.jpg

4 comments:

MSBABY said...

It's best to forgive Lesley her indiscretion and take the time to educate her. Some folks just don't get it, do they? You just can't beat THE BAND, LAST WALTZ and now DIRT FARMER!

Here's an article that wrote. I'm strictly an amateur writer, so I was thrilled when Levon's website actually linked to it! Thought you might like to read it as we seem to be of like minds. Thanks! Jan

My Love For Levon Helm and His Music - Hanging My Hopes on Dirt Farmer
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Jan_Bay]Jan Bay

Levon Helm has a new album. How had this monumental announcement managed to slip by me? A mom with kids dealing with all lots of time consuming duties such as myself doesn't have much time to pay attention to which direction the wind might be blowing in the industry. Nothing very interesting has happened in that area in quite a while, so why should I be paying attention? Then, just when I think there is no hope for change I'm blindsided with anticipation over this exciting bit of news.

I have very little time in my day for myself, but when I have a little downtime I find myself drifting towards the radio out of habit more than for any other reason. Too many times my disappointment far outweighs any satisfaction I get from those few moments of rolling the dial back and forth. There are good singers out there that occasionally churn out some catchy lyrics, but somehow most all of these artists just miss the boat when it comes to being real. Levon Helm is what I call real. He can take a mediocre song and make it real. Dirt Farmer, with his daughter Amy, should be a real treat as that apple does not appear to have fallen far away from the tree.

Anybody who can listen to him sing The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and not have trouble with tears rolling off their chin or with the feeling that their heart's swelling so big that it threatens to cut off their wind just can't be human. I don't see how a rush of just pure feeling could escape anybody from the north or south when they have the privilege of hearing him sing. Songs about tragedy don't usually bring about feelings of pure joy. Let me clarify that it's not the words of this song that are so moving. It's Levon's delivery of the words that has made me play that song as many as ten times in a row back to back.

I've heard it said that Levon's voice is an acquired taste much like certain kinds of alcohol. If that's the case, I was born an addict. I was hooked with the first verse I ever heard him sing. I can't explain the feeling listening to his music gives me and I would be at a complete loss to try. It brings me some comfort to know that I'm not the only fan that has trouble defining Levon's unique gift. All the usual terms to describe singers, songs or most any musical piece fail miserably. A mutual friend of ours said he sounded "grouchy" in the most complimentary way. I don't think that grouchy would have been a term that I would have used, but I knew exactly what Frank meant. He was trying to come up with a more original way to say how great Levon makes every bit of music that he chooses to touch with his magnificent talent.

After an association with the music industry where she worked in the area of artist development and promotion, Jan Bay is now webmaster of http://www.unique-baby-gear-ideas.com
Unique Baby Gear Ideas

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jan_Bay http://EzineArticles.com/?My-Love-For-Levon-Helm-and-His-Music---Hanging-My-Hopes-on-Dirt-Farmer&id=782926

Dylan Gaughan said...

YES, Jan, and thank you for posting your article hear. I got goosebumps reading about your description of Helm's voice on "Dixie" (and really, anything he sings). I honestly did cry watching him do that song in "The Last Waltz," because just seeing him play while that incredible voice comes bellowing out of him was so moving. Not only had I never really heard a voice like that, but ESPECIALLY never from a dude playing the drums at the same time, and ESPECIALLY playing the drums like a fucking soul machine.

Watching him play pretty much gave me a giant man crush on the guy.

Thanks for reading.

Dylan

Anonymous said...

Totally true - some records are just great "record shop" records. I don't know what exact combination of factors make them this way - maybe I'll investigate.

I think if you had never heard The Go! Team, and then you heard their debut album in a record shop, you would buy it. I think if you heard the Bees' "Listening Man" you would buy it too. I once heard a really weird Death In Vegas b-side which was Liam Gallagher singing over the Polyphonic Spree. I bought that.

I don't know what makes a good "record shop" record, maybe something with lots of noises and a funky beat.

jim_quoyle said...

Good lord, "Dr. Baker" is an amazing song.