Saturday, December 30, 2006

POLITICS: Senator (gulp) Blunt?

A terrifying political rumor courtesy of Wonkette, here.

Now I’m certainly no fan of Missouri’s ODB---Old Drunk Bond, but damn, members of the Blunt crime family in the House and the Senate? For you Sopranos & Andy Griffith Show fans unfamiliar with Missouri politics, imagine if you will a Barney Fife version of Christopher Moltisanti running around the halls of the Senate desperately trying to pull off the Tony Soprano-like bidding of despicable family boss Congressman Roy Blunt. Terrifying...

Monday, December 25, 2006

MUSIC: James Brown, RIP

Say it loud y'all: Rest in peace, Godfather...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


"Barack Obama is the white Bill Clinton..."—Newsweek’s Howard Fineman.

I’ve definitely jumped up on that Obama '08 bandwagon. I’ve been following him, doing the research, and even at this earliest of stages think he’s the best hope for the country and the world. Feel free to knock me all you want for it and please be sure to tell me "I told you so" if Obama falters in some big way somewhere down the road, but I’m choosing here and now to take a stand with the brotha. I believe he has the intellectual goods for the job, and will only get better the deeper he digs into the game—as will his overall appeal to the American public.

If you take the time to look beyond the mainstream media’s "Obamamania" coverage and delve into what the guy has actually been saying and doing, it’s clear he’s already about ten moves ahead of where he’s perceived to be on the 2008 presidential campaign chess board. I can most definitely get behind his emerging campaign theme of "It’s time to turn the page...", i.e., time for the Baby Boomers who have been "leading" this country while simultaneously dividing it by fighting amongst themselves since 1968, and let some new blood in to do the popcorn and step up and lead. Look at the field, folks. Could there be a more dismal pack of potential candidates on both sides in ‘08? Do you really think any of them stand a chance at restoring America’s dignity and image with the rest of the world, 99.9% of which currently hates our guts? Doesn’t look good, does it? With pickings this slim I’m definitely willing to bet the house and roll the dice on Obama.

If the world is this fucked up in 2006, you can bet it’s going to be twice as fucked by 2008. Whoever follows Bush into the office of president is going to need a ton of help. Obama’s so-called lack of experience at this point is viewed as his only, yet potentially defeating weakness as a candidate. I disagree with it, but fair enough, I get why it’s a worry. And the GOP has only just begun to exploit this, so yeah, it’s definitely a concern. Therefore the importance of whom Obama puts around him as his team is probably of greater magnitude than choices made for respective teams by other Democrats in the race. Which is why I’m throwing out the following proposal to Obama: Ask Bill.

Reports in the media have all in Hilaryland currently freaking out over "Obamamania." And why wouldn’t they be? I’m willing to go out on a limb here and bet that the one person in the world freaked out the most by "Obamamania" is none other than Bill Clinton. How hard this must be for him to watch the hottest party in the world right now from the lonely distance of his television screen. You don’t think he’d rather be at Obama’s side at this minute, serving him as #1 adviser and big brother, smack dab in the middle of all that white hot media action? You bet it’s driving him crazy to be missing out on all that fun. So Obama: Ask Bill.

I think Obama should sit down right now and cut the following deal with the Clintons:

A) Get Hilary to drop out of the race in exchange for the role of Senate Majority Leader. I’m not the first to say she can’t win the ‘08 election, and that she can be a far more powerful and effective leader over the next 30 years if she does it from the Senate.
B) Have Bill run with you as your choice for vice-president, and yes, announce it this early---like NOW!

A real crazy thought, eh? Of course this would never happen in a million years, but think what it might mean to the country and the rest of the world. As I said earlier, things are so fucked up it’s going to take more than one great mind and leader in the room, so I’m offering up the team of Obama and Bill Clinton because we all know they’re not only the two smartest kids in class, but they also both posses the all-important charisma and sex appeal that’s needed to lead and inspire at this most bizarre and dangerous moment in history. Cheney has changed the role of the vice-president in such a major way at least for now and possibly forever, so why not take it to the next level by putting an ex-president in the job who has proven himself time and time again and is overwhelmingly popular with the American public to boot?

Would the hard right of the GOP and their media echo chamber salivate over the chance of running against an Obama-Clinton ticket? You bet they would, to which I say bring it on! Do you think a crazy old man like John McCain, who by the way is looking older and crazier and more like the Slim Pickens character in Dr.Strangelove with each passing day, actually stands a chance against the sheer, uh, virility of Obama-Clinton? Again I say bring it on.

McCain is clearly on the road to overplaying his ‘08 hand. Already desperate enough this early in the game to hire the diabolical Terry Nelson in the role of his Karl Rove, McCain looks to play the GOP fear card to the max yet again and sell himself as not only a wiser and competent version of Bush, but also as an even bigger hard ass to the rest of the world than Bush. Good luck with that, senator. Like I said, he’ll continue to look older and crazier and ultimately less and less appealing to voters with each passing day. A Democratic candidate can beat McCain, but that candidate sure isn’t Hilary.

A world this fucked up needs some big and bold out of the box thinking, and what could be more out of the box than Obama-Clinton? But when you take a few minutes and seriously examine all of the various ramifications and potential for greatness that an Obama-Clinton administration could bring, just how crazy would it’s reality really be?

TELEVISION: Joseph Barbera, RIP

Thank you for the yabba-dabba-doo time, Mr. Barbera.

Monday, December 18, 2006


The just-completed fourth season of HBO’s The Wire was quite possibly the closest a televison drama has ever come on every level to a perfect season. And once again the show will probably not see a single nomination in any category come Emmy time. To the uninitiated, you really owe it to yourself to check this show out. The first three seasons are on dvd---probably the best way to dive in headfirst. A cop show is the last thing The Wire is...

And as a lifelong Paul Weller fanatic, it was great to hear his excellent cover of Dr. John’s "Walk On Gilded Splinters" playing to chilling dramatic effect over the final scenes of the season finale.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel t-shirts

Finn's Motel t-shirts make great stocking stuffers and can be found at Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

MUSIC: Ahmet Ertegun RIP

The eternal thanks we owe this man...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Upcoming Finn's Motel Show

Finn's Motel play our final show of 2006 next Thursday, December 21 at Off Broadway.

The Wormwood Scrubs play first at 9pm, then us, and then The Rugs from Springfield, MO close out the show. Hope to see you there...

Friday, December 01, 2006

POLITICS: Obama Fever...

Catch it? Click here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me...

Yep, today is my & Jon Stewart's birthday. Guess who's older? I'm going to forgo any celebrating until Friday, when Little Steven's Underground Garage Rolling Rock And Roll Show rolls into Mississippi Nights with the New York Dolls, the Supersuckers, The Charms (yeah baby!), the Chesterfield Kings, and our home girls, The Misses.

Funny how time and the fates work. Last time I saw David Jo & Sylvain on a stage together it was 28 years ago at Mississippi Nights. Little Steven's efforts should be celebrated and supported, so hey everybody---go see this damn show already! At $20 it's the bargain of the year, and who knows, if it's well attended maybe St. Louis will become a regular stop on future Underground Garage tours. See you there?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

POLITICS: Election Results

It all feels like a dream right now, as in did this really happen or are we gonna wake up and find the results to be the opposite? I imagine this must be how some Red Sox fans must have felt at first when they finally won the World Series....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

POLITICS: My Vote...

My polling place on Juniata in South St. Louis was hopping with a lot of people when I went in to vote at 7am, but I was in and out in about 7 minutes. I stayed as far away from the wicked touch screen machines as I could, and went with the paper ballot option. This time out that option was a giant sheet that reminded me somewhat of how the SAT test looked back in the stoneage when I took it. You had to completely fill in the oval with ink next to the candidate's name or the yes or no choice for the initiatives. I liked that, again more like high school, and no hanging chads. Then instead of dropping it into a big locked box like normal, you had to put it into a slot that sucked it into a "machine". My heart sunk a little as next to that slot I saw in big bold letters the word: DIEBOLD. I thought to myself, "Gee, this thing sure looks like a big selective paper shredder..." And who can say it isn't?

Monday, October 30, 2006

POLITICS: Home Sweet Home

St. Louis is now the nation's most dangerous city. Read all about it, here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Laughter Lou

Me with Lou Whitney, Duck Room dressing room, 10/12/06

(Photo by Toby Weiss)

Last Thursday’s show at the Duck Room was the first time in our 30 years of friendship that Lou Whitney and I found us on the same rock show bill. Lou was playing bass for a great new “young” band from Springfield, Mo. called the Rugs. Over the years I’ve seen Lou play live literally hundreds of times, mostly with the three bands he’s partnered with Donnie Thompson: the Morells, the Skeletons, and the Symptoms. Whenever anyone asks me who my favorite bass player is, I’m always quick to reply, “Lou Whitney!”

Of course Lou was great with the Rugs the other night. He’s still going strong at age 63, still kicking total rock ass. I’ve been fortunate to have Lou as sort of my own personal rock professor all these years. Just from watching him play so many, many times, I’ve learned more about what to play and more importantly what not to play as a rock bass player from Lou than I have from anyone else. Each and every show I’ve ever seen Lou play, no matter who he was on the bandstand with, I’ve walked away from it with some new piece of rock knowledge I could then plug into my own various musical situations. And then there’s the countless offstage pearls of wisdom Lou offers as well, like, “When in doubt play what Dee Dee Ramone would have played...” or, “You can never go wrong naming your band after a car...”

I’ve also learned a hell of a lot from the man about life both inside and outside of this rock racket. Years before that “WWJD” saying crept up on us, I had a little private saying I would say to myself whenever I hit a particular musical or music career related brick wall, and that saying was “What would Lou do?” And whenever I stopped long enough to ask myself that question, the answer and path to take always became perfectly clear. Without lifting a finger and by just being himself, Lou’s been the best mentor one could ever ask for in this game, and more important, a really great and loyal friend. May he forever keep on keepin’ on...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel At Duck Room Thursday Night

One last reminder here of our show Thursday night (10/12) at The Duck Room with The Hard Lessons from Detroit, and The Rugs from Springfield, MO.

School nighters please be aware that this is an early show---

Hope you can make it down, it promises to be a great evening of total rock. I had the pleasure of seeing the Hard Lessons twice in Cleveland last spring, and their Motor City high energy take on modern garage rock & pop is pretty kick ass. And all you local Skeletons/Morells fans should be aware by now that the Rugs live line up features Lou Whitney, Joe Terry, and yes, on the drums, Donnie Thompson!

Our Escape Velocity cd will be on sale at the show, and you can always get it rapidly online as well from Scat Records, here.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

They grow up so fast...

Here I am with newlyweds Heather Oppitz and James Weber. I had the honor of being a groomsman in their wedding last night. I’ve often joked with James through the years that he’s “The son I never had...,” so I couldn’t be any happier for him and how he’s definitely hit the jackpot with Heather. Best of luck kids, and thanks again for asking me to be a part of the beautiful ceremony & celebrations on such an autumnally perfect evening...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel At Euclid Records

Finn's Motel at Euclid Records: (left to right) James Weber, Joe Thebeau, Peter Lang, me.

(Photo by Toby Weiss)

Thanks to all who came to the Finn's Motel in-store at Euclid Records, and thanks to all who bought a copy of Escape Velocity. Big props to Darren Snow and the rest of the Euclid staff for making everything so easy for us---we had a great time.

Escape Velocity is out now and can be ordered directly from Scat Records, here. And if you don't see Escape Velocity at your favorite record store, do us a favor and kindly suggest that they might want to be selling it and should consider bringing some in. We'd really appreciate the gesture.

Next live show is Monday, September 25 at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, Il. Next St. Louis show is Thursday, October 12 at the Duck Room with The Hard Lessons from Detroit, and The Rugs from Springfield, MO.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel CD Release Party At Euclid Records

(Poster by Darren Snow)

Finn's Motel will celebrate our Scat Records release, Escape Velocity, this Monday, September 18th, at Euclid Records, 601 E. Lockwood in Webster Groves. This will be your first opportunity anywhere to purchase the Escape Velocity cd. We play at 7pm and admission is free, so please come on out if you can...

Monday, September 11, 2006

POLITICS: The Mighty Olbermann...

...does it again, delivering the final and most important word on the anniversary of 9/11. Must reading and/or viewing for all patriotic Americans, here.

MUSIC: Bennie Smith RIP

St. Louis blues legend Bennie Smith has passed. I had the pleasure of seeing what turned out to be Bennie’s final performance, at the Big Muddy Blues Festival a couple of weeks ago. Every musician should be fortunate enough to go out on top as Bennie did, and have whatever turns out to be their last performance be as good.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Love Experts At RFT Music Showcase

The Love Experts are playing at 1:40pm tomorrow on the Main Outdoor Stage, Leland Avenue and Delmar Boulevard (next to Vintage Vinyl), at the RFT Music Showcase 2006.

Here's the Main Outdoor Stage schedule:
1:00pm Magnolia Summer
1:40pm The Love Experts
2:45pm Glenn Kotche of Wilco
3:45pm Grant-Lee Phillips
5:00pm The Minus 5

Thursday, September 07, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel In The Funny Papers...

A nice little piece in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch, here. If you're attending the sold out show at Pop's tonight, keep in mind we play at 8pm.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

POLITICS: Keith Olbermann, Patriot

The great Keith Olbermann knocks one out of the park and tears Donald Rumsfeld a new one, here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

STEVE ROCK: levitatin'

The above is some original doodling that New Zealand rock legend
Phil Judd (Split Enz, The Swingers) added to an existing photo of the Love Experts. Heavenly, eh? :)

And do go to the "COMMISSIONS" section of Phil's website and click on the amazing portrait Phil painted of our fearless leader Mr. Carosello, titled STEVE...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel At Off Broadway

Finn's Motel:
(left to right) James Weber, Joe Thebeau, Patrick Hawley, me.

(photo by Toby Weiss)

Thanks and big love to everyone who came out and saw us at Off Broadway last night. Our next live show is Thursday, September 7th at Pop's in Sauget, Illinois. We'll be playing with Kings Of Leon and The Stills.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel Live Debut

Finn's Motel will make our live debut at 9pm this Friday, August 25, at Off Broadway.

And a little Finn's Motel publicity blurb, here.

STEVE ROCK: I'm Not A DJ, Vol. 2

I will be providing tunes at The Royale this Saturday night, August 26, 9pm to 1am.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mike, Carrie, & Emily...

...not a day has passed where your presence hasn’t been felt.

And Toby Weiss has written a wonderful piece on our boy Mike, on her blog, M.E.L.T.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


If you can spare a couple bucks, help the brotha out, here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

POLITICS: Kerry Was Right

And George Will of all people, says so, here.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Last Exit Brooklyn

Finn's Motel will be playing the Magnetic Field Cocktail Lounge in Brooklyn, NYC on Saturday, October 21. More east coast live dates to come...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

POLITICS: Alter's No-Stem Pledge

With an initiative on the ballot this November, the stem cell debate is a big deal here in Missouri, and the rest of the country will be closely watching how we vote on it. As the debate heats up, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter offers a great curveball to throw back at those who are anti-cure and anti-science. Check it out, here.

Friday, August 04, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Upcoming Live Shows

Upcoming live dates I'll be playing with both bands:

Friday, August 11
The Canopy Club
Urbana, Illinois

Saturday, August 12
Midwest Music Summit
Indianapolis, Indiana

Friday, August 25
Off Broadway
St. Louis, Missouri
We play at 9pm

Monday, September 18
Euclid Records
Webster Groves, Missouri
We play at 7pm
This will be the first opportunity anywhere to purchase the Escape Velocity cd!

Monday, September 25
The Empty Bottle
Chicago, Illinois
We play at 10:30pm

MUSIC: Arthur Lee, RIP

He came in colours...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

LIVE ROCK: Cheap Trick Live On The Levee

I saw Cheap Trick at a big free show on the St. Louis riverfront last night. Believe it or not, it was the 39th time I’ve seen them live, and it was a good one—the best I’ve seen them in several years. The very big news is Robin’s live singing voice is BACK! The last couple of times I’ve seen them his voice sounded scorched and strained, but last night his amazing and magical vocal instrument was back in top notch form. His singing was outstanding.

The boys were very loose, somewhat real sloppy at times, but were definitely having a ball as they all took turns cracking each other up throughout their set. And the set list? No surprises, "Taxman" the lone representative from the first album, but an above average version of their "state fair" set. Tom’s 12 string bass playing was it’s usual thing of wonder, and he did an interesting little bass solo bit quoting Jimi Hendrix’s "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" before segueing into the lead vocal spotlight on "I Know What I Want." He remains a bass god among us mere mortals who also try to play the instrument.

They closed the show with the best darn version of "California Man" I've ever seen them play. Much to my surprise, Robin really drew upon the spirit of the Roy Wood original version as he sang the hell out of it. "Goodnight" followed and featured a series of Bun E.-orchestrated manic false endings. When Bun finally decided to end it, he stood up, dropped his sticks, and I was close enough to the stage to read his lips as he looked at Rick and yelled, "Let's go home!"

And so a good time was had by all. Delivering a good live performance in support of a good new album, you just have to appreciate the fact that they’re still at it and clearly still enjoying what they do, cause you know you’d miss them if they weren’t around anymore. They still make me proud to be from the Midwest, as they continue to musically epitomize the great Midwestern enigma that is the simultaneous appreciation of the intellectual and the stupid. May they forever rock...

And y’all better believe I still want to be Tom Petersson when I grow up!

The 12 string godlike bass genius of Tom Petersson.

The great Rick Nielson on high.

Robin Zander & Bun E. Carlos.

The million dollar smile of Tom Petersson.

Rick and Tom rocking.

Robin and Tom rocking.

Tom singing "I Know What I Want."

"We suck!" :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

STEVE ROCK: An Anniversary Of Sorts For My First Band

The Singapores, summer of 1978: Left to right: Craig Weithop, yours truly, Dave Thomas, & the late Jeff Gower.

Like a good "first love," the experiences I had with my first band were all good for all the right reasons. The Singapores were formed in Dave Thomas’ mind in early 1977 on a road trip to Chicago with Debby Sue Mikles and me to see Iggy Pop and the original line up of Blondie. Dave and I had met in late 1976 and became immediate best friends, as we bonded over this new music bursting out of England called punk rock. Dave was a Washington University student at the time, and had begun playing this new music on his Friday night show on the college’s radio station, KWUR.

Word of Dave’s radio show began to spread among those small pockets of kids in town who were also into the new punk rock, yet remained hidden in the woodwork. Dave’s show gave the first solid proof that there were other like minded people in town when it came to this music. Problem was KWUR was only ten watts—you lost reception in it’s parking lot. Soon Dave was getting calls from kids asking if they could actually come down to the station and listen to his show, cause they really wanted to hear it that much. And soon a mini-scene developed, as a dozen or so "regulars" began to hang out in the lounge of KWUR every Friday night, just to listen to Dave’s show. And in the context of those times, knowing about this music, let alone liking it enthusiastically, immediately put you on the fringes. So it was good to finally meet and be among the few fellow travelers we found in our town. And so the fun began...

About a month after that Iggy show, Dave sits me down one day and says, "You and I are starting a band!" "We are?" was the only reply I could sheepishly muster. "You bet we are!" Dave shot back. So I guess we were starting a band, whether we were actually ready to or not, cause Dave’s charisma was definitely hard to resist back then. He was the perfect gang leader, easily earning the "Cult Hero" nickname that the regulars at the station had half-jokingly bestowed on him.

Were Dave and I good enough musicians, could we write good songs to sustain a band? Uh, no. Were we musicians at all? Uh, hell no. That didn’t matter and that wasn’t going to stop us. New times, new music, new rules. You didn’t have to have the skills of a pro anymore. The kids on these 45s from England that we were scarfing up every week were no different from us we thought, and thus we took our inspiration from them.

Dave had begun to play a little guitar while in high school. His skills were rudimentary at best. I on the other hand had miserably failed my older brother’s attempts to teach me how to play guitar, but one day he brought home a bass and started to show me a few things on it. For some reason this instrument just felt more right to me, and so I plunked on it in my bedroom, trying to play along to these great new records I was bringing home by groups like the Damned & the Ramones. But who else were we going to get to join us? When Dave asked if I knew of any guitarists who might want to play with us, I said, "I’ve got just the right guy..."

I had met Jeff Gower a couple of years before at my brother’s house. Jeff was there to score some MDA from my brother’s drug dealing roommate. Now my brother and his hippie musician friends used to have regular Allman Brothers-esque jam sessions in his basement. So imagine my surprise when I walked down there one night and saw a heavily made up, platform wearing guy banging out Who-like power chords on a Gibson SG. Where did this guy come from and what the hell was he doing here? So Jeff and I immediately bonded that evening. I remember the first Tubes album being the icebreaker, which for some long forgotten reason I had brought along with me. I couldn’t believe I was meeting someone else who had heard of them! We quickly became fast friends and hanging out drinking buddies. So when I asked Jeff to join up with me & Dave, he said, "Sure, I’ll try anything once..."

The only drummer I knew besides future Love Expert Bob Trammel (who was then playing with what was to become the legendary Raymilland), was Craig Weithop, one of my best friends from high school. His coming on board was key, cause that meant we got to rehearse in the beautiful basement of his parents’ suburban South County home. And so we were off to the races. The band name? While driving around Chicago on that Iggy trip, we passed a tavern called The Singapore Lounge. I casually mentioned, "The Singapores—wouldn’t that be a good name for a band?" Unbeknownst to me, Dave made a mental note of my suggestion, and later revealed that it was at that moment he decided that he and I were going to be in a band together.

And so we began to "rehearse." What a horrible racket we made with our feeble attempts to make it through impossibly complicated songs like "Sweet Jane" and "Wild Thing." But as the summer of ‘77 wore on, we actually started to sound ok. And one day Craig’s mom said to us, "You know it’s actually starting to sound like music." I also remember the afternoon she yelled down to us in the middle of a band practice, "Hey you guys, Elvis Presley just died..."

In February of 1978 my brother decided to throw himself a big birthday bash at a hotel that he and I had worked at. He was going to have his band and a couple of his hippie friends’ bands play. For some crazy reason he asked me if my band wanted to play. He had never heard us and really had no idea what we were all about, but figured the more the merrier for his party. So we jumped at the chance to play our first gig, and a wild one it was! A couple dozen of our gang showed up, and my brother’s hippie friends thought a space ship had landed. The battle lines were immediately drawn. We took the stage, and with our friends pogoing and cheering us on, it was not stop pandemonium. We may as well have been sacrificing goats as far as the hippies were concerned. Now of course I would later go on to play hundreds of better shows as an actual "musician," but that first show is still the best and most natural performance I’ve ever given on a stage...

Back in the fall of 1976, I had traveled to Memphis to interview Alex Chilton for BOMP! Magazine. One day while there, Alex took me over to watch the band practice of some friends of his called The Scruffs. Holy crap—these guys were amazing! At that post-glam, pre-punk point in time, the Scruffs were all scarves and chunky Faces haircuts. And man did they rock hard what a couple of years later would come to be known as power pop! Their lead guitarist Dave Branyan and I hit it off, and we became fast, long-distance friends. We soon started taking turns making trips to each other’s city to hang out. Dave even let me come with him to the sacred Ardent Studios to watch them cut their album, Wanna Meet The Scruffs?, which was produced by the legendary Jon Fry, of Big Star fame. Dave also introduced me to some of the old decadent Memphis "Mid-Town scene." Good times indeed.

Shortly after the Singapores’ first gig triumph, our buddy Jim Roehm, then a student at Kansas University, landed us a gig in Lawrence. Oh my god, we’re playing out of town! We had a blast and another memorable performance. No hippies hassled us this time, though Dave almost got us all killed when he pissed off a giant Native American in a bar we wound up going to after the show, and we had to hi-tail it out of there in fear for our lives!

Meanwhile the Scruffs were dying to come to St. Louis, and I was bound and determined to find them a place to play. This was still at a time when there really wasn’t anywhere in St. Louis for bands like us to play, though it never dawned on me to maybe rent a VFW hall, which would become a popular local practice for punk/new wave bands in the years to come. So I decided to give this place called Stonehenge a shot. It was across the river in Lebanon, Illinois, about a half hour away. To this day some folks still ask, "Why Lebanon of all places?" Cause the drinking age in Illinois was still 19 then, that’s why. This was as close as we were gonna get to "all ages," which was still unheard of in a club back then. And Stonehenge had also previously brought in the Ramones for their first ever appearance in the St. Louis area, so I figured they might be receptive to our little new wave cavalcade.

Of course we Singapores were gonna be on this bill, and we also asked our good friends and KWUR regulars the Welders to join us. The Welders were four girls in their late teens who had been playing together since 1975 or 1976. They were truly wonderful and an instant party wherever they went—definitely the biggest stars of our little scene.

The ever wonderful Welders. Left to right: Jane, Colleen, Rusty, Caroline.

And so the entire scene at that time makes the long drive over to Lebanon for our little rock show, which actually turned into kind of a big deal at the time. I just about fell over when I spotted Lou Whitney and Donnie Thompson from the Symptoms in the crowd. The Symptoms had started to come up from Springfield, Misssouri regularly to play Mississippi Nights, and we had befriended them. They quickly became huge heroes to us as we stood in awe of their total rock godliness. "You drove all the way up here to see us?" I incredulously asked Lou before the show. He replied, "You bet Stevie baby, we wouldn’t have missed this for the world!"

The Welders opened the show, and I remember all of their unique Welders’ wonderfulness being particularly "on" that night. Also in attendance was then Collinsville, Illinois resident Michael Stipe, a shy newbie to our scene, who had just joined on as singer in our friend Joe Haines’ fledgling band, Bad Habits. I recall standing next to Joe & Mike during part of the Welders set, and Mike, in very heavy eye make up, was blowing kisses to the Welders and jumping up and down like a little schoolgirl during their cover of the Dolls’ "Lookin’ For A Kiss". It's a wonderful image that’s vividly burned forever in my memory. Bless that Michael guy, wonder whatever happened to him?

We came on next, and opened with our cover of Johnny Thunder’s Heartbreakers’ cover of "Do You Love Me?", which I, ahem, "sang." We immediately noticed tomatoes flying at us from the club’s balcony. What the fuck? We carried on, bashing through covers of Mott’s "One Of The Boys" and the Flamin’ Groovies "Teenage Head," as well as our primitive yet inspired originals like "Trash Can Rock" and "The Kids Are Younger Than Yesterday." Half way through our set we brought up the band’s official "den mother," Debby Sue Mikles (now of The Misses), to sing the Troggs’ "I Can’t Control Myself." Debby brought down the house.

Her Majesty Debby Sue!

But the tomatoes kept flying at us as we trudged on through our set. I recall one zinging right past my head and landing—splat!—smack on my amp, the stains from it lasting for months afterwards. I do recall Craig getting hit, cause he then came from behind the drums and made some threats over the microphone in between one of the songs. He then began to fire some drum sticks into the balcony when we resumed playing. So who was firing tomatoes at us? The best we were ever to determine was that it had to have been someone we had pissed off at that first show we played at the hotel. They must have somehow gotten wind of us playing Stonehenge and were determined to get back at us for what they interpreted as our desecration of rock music. In hindsight I give them a lot of credit—driving a half hour and sneaking in a load of tomatoes to zing at us was pretty inspired!

Singapores rocking Stonehenge: Left to right: Me, Craig Weithop, Dave Thomas, Jeff Gower. Dave put each of those polka dots on my bass for me by hand!

So we cleaned the tomatoes from the stage and made way for the Scruffs, who blew the house down. These guys were actual pro musicians, and what a phenomenal and powerful live band they were! Sadly, their live power was never really captured on any of their records.

Memphis power pop legends The Scruffs. Left to right: Rick Branyan, Steve Burns, Dave Branyan.

We declared the evening a bonafide success and headed back to St. Louis for a communal late night breakfast at Denny’s between various band members and scenesters. I felt like I had "made it" as Scruffs drummer Zeph Paulson drunkenly kept telling me how much he "loved" my bass playing. I hit bed a happy man as the sun was coming up...

About a month or so after that Stonehenge show I quit the Singapores in a fit of shameful ego. I really wanted to be in a full-on power pop band, and I knew the Singapores didn’t have the desire or chops to be that. So I formed the Nancy Boys with future Love Expert Dominic Finocchio, ace guitarist Billy Love, and mighty drummer Jeff Evans, who I would later go on to play with in the Dave Branyan Band, B-Lovers/Turning Curious, and Blown. At that time I thought the world really needed to hear Dominic's wonderful original pop songs. We were really good, but the band was very short-lived and sadly broke up without ever having performed in public.

These days I'm still at it, playing bass in the Love Experts, Finn's Motel, and whenever we rev it up, Prisonshake . Dave Thomas went on to direct the amazing yet starcrossed rock documentary, MC5: A True Testimonial. I last saw Craig Weithop at an Al Franken booksigning about five years ago. Jeff Gower passed away a few years ago. I miss that crazy guy....

The eternally lovely Kelly Draper, a.k.a. Rusty Welder, laid all of these old photos presented here on me the other day. She said her archives had this show down as taking place on July 16, 1978. For those of you out there who were there that night, I still love each and every one of you, and I hope your memories of that evening are as fond as mine are.

There’s nothing like your "first love"...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

STEVE ROCK: I'm not a DJ, but....

...I will be spinning tunes for happy hour at The Royale this Thursday, June 29. I'll be out in their fabulous drinking garden from 5:30pm to 9pm, playing all sorts of various suff.

Monday, June 26, 2006

MUSIC: Arif Mardin, RIP

Legendary record producer Arif Mardin has passed. We will not see his kind again...

MUSIC: Rodney On The Walk Of Fame

Congrats to the very deserving Rodney Bingenheimer, for getting his star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This Is What I Do...

My friend and former co-worker Randy Roberts wrote a big cover story in this week’s Riverfront Times on the current state of independent record stores in St. Louis, which you can read here. The story centers mainly on the business descent of Vintage Vinyl versus Euclid Records' ascent. Needless to say, the piece is a multilayered emotional read for me. I left Vintage Vinyl a few months ago after ten years working there, and have returned to Euclid, where I’m working in their mail order division. (I previously worked at the old Euclid Records Central West End location from 1987 to 1996.)

It’s always weird to read something in print that you’re actually living, but I thought Randy presented a pretty fair and accurate picture of what technological progress is doing to the game I’ve made my living in for the past thirty years. When I sat Lew Prince and Tom Ray down to give them notice that I was going to leave Vintage Vinyl, I told them I simply didn’t know how to help their business anymore. The music buying public have spoken. Oh in theory they may still love the idea of record stores, but they no longer need record stores like everybody once did. And thanks to a myriad of reasons, some deftly touched upon in the article, there’s really not much that can be done to change the situation at this point. Heck, journalists were probably writing the same story about blacksmiths a hundred years ago.

So when I decided to leave Vintage I really had no idea what I was going to do when it came to employment. I figured my record store days were done. But thankfully, Joe Schwab made me an offer to come work for him again, and I couldn’t be any happier. I’m in a position that allows me to use my thirty years of old school record knowledge and apply it daily to the new school of selling records on the web. And to use an old school phrase, the gig’s a gas.

One thing that got kind of lost in the article’s description of Euclid’s web customers spending large amounts of money on rare records, is the passion coming from those doing the purchasing, as well as from we at Euclid, the seller. Sure, some of these folks have the financial luxury of not having to worry about price tags, but it still takes a certain defined degree of love and passion for the artifact in order to plunk down say $1500 on one jazz album or even $200 on an old rock 45. It’s that kind of love and passion for musical artifacts in general that got me into this line of work in the first place, and at this late stage of this nutty game I’m overjoyed to have been given the opportunity to reconnect back into it.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

POLITICS/MUSIC: The 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs

Many of us I'm sure could go on for hours about this, but why bother? Nonetheless, get a load of this heaping pile of bullshit!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel Sampler Offer

I’m happy to announce September 19 as the release date for the Finn’s Motel album Escape Velocity, an album I am very proud and honored that Joe Thebeau asked me to play on. I’ll say it now folks, this record kicks some major rock ass and you will dig it. Scat Records is currently offering up a four-song sampler from the record. For details on how to get it, as well as a new Finn’s Motel mp3, click here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

POLITICS: Don't Forget This One

This just in from Bizarro World, courtesy of America Blog. Don't forget this one folks, and use it as liberally and often as possible.

STEVE ROCK: We Came, We Rocked, We Froze!

Who would have thought that during the middle of May we’d have cold to deal with for the outside festivities at last Saturday’s Vintage Vinyl 25th Anniversary Party? Vintage Vinyl Promotions Manager Jim Utz summed up the unseasonable weather best when he referred to it as “hay ride weather.” Nonetheless we Love Experts and Magnolia Summer turned in solid sets reprezentin’ for the Undertow label. Thanks again to all at Vintage Vinyl for having us.

Here's Vintage Vinyl co-owner Tom "Papa" Ray blowing space harp with us during "Frog Song". Left to right: Dave Collett, Ray, Dominic Finocchio, Steve Carosello.

Yes, we're freezing! Left to right: Collett, Finocchio, Carosello, Bob Trammel, yours truly.

Bob, Steve, & me.

The great Bob Trammel.

The Steves from the rear.

Dominic on the Hagstrom 12 string.

Our fearless leader in his insanely cool Schnell Fenster jacket.

The great Magnolia Summer.

Chris Grabau brings it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Love Experts At Vintage Vinyl Anniversary Party

The Love Experts are playing Vintage Vinyl's 25th Anniversary Party this Saturday, May 13th. We go on at 1pm on the outside stage on Leland Ave, right next to the store. For more information and schedule of performers for the event, click here.

Our Undertow Records homies Magnolia Summer follow us on the bill, and will perform at 2pm. Their new album From Driveways' Lost View kicks major ass. Band leader Chris Grabau has informed me that Saturday's performance will feature the three guitar lineup of the band, so don't miss it.

And on Saturday night our good friends City Squirrel, from Charlottesville, VA, will be performing at Mokabe's Coffeehouse at Grand & Arsenal. City Squirrel is led by the great pop songwriter and former St. Louisan Stephan Bayley, and were last seen in this town a couple of years ago as The Hungry Mind Review. They're pretty great.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

POLITICS: Howie On Missouri Senate Race

The great Howie Klein weighs in on the Missouri Senate race on his blog Down With Tyranny, here. I've stated here before that Claire McCaskill is the real deal, and it's never too early to cut her campaign a check if you can spare the scratch...

Sunday, April 30, 2006

POLITICS/TELEVISION: Stephen Colbert, Hero.

I just watched Stephen Colbert's performance last night at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on C-SPAN. One of the bravest things I've ever seen. Colbert was standing literally five feet away from Bush and carved him up but good, Colbert-style. Colbert let the Washington press corps, the rest of the mainstream media and Fox News have it too.Bush was most definitely P-I-S-S-E-D! You bet they'll be shipping Colbert off to Gitmo. They've sent people there for less...

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Even by O'Reilly standards, this is INSANE!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

POLITICS: Give 'Em Hell Claire

During her phone interview on the The Al Franken Show yesterday, Missouri US Senate candidate Claire McCaskill dropped the name of Harry Truman as many times as she could fit it into the conversation. Invoking Truman’s name has obviously tested well for McCaskill during the early going, so expect her handlers to have her continue to keep his name prominent in her message as the campaign heats up. Bush loves to try and sell himself as a decisive, take charge Trumanesque guy. But as we all know, when it comes to leadership, the two couldn’t be more opposite.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Al Franken and I at the meet & greet that followed his radio broadcast today from Graham Chapel.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The great Howie Klein reviews Neil Young's new anti-Bush album, here!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

TV: Paulie

"He’s a married man, with a goomah!"—Paulie Walnuts

Paulie’s short-lived defense of Vito Spatafore in this week’s episode of The Sopranos is destined to be one of my all-time favorite Paulie one-liners, of which there are already many.

Friday, April 14, 2006

POLITICS/RADIO: Al Franken Show Tour Stop In St. Louis

The Al Franken Show will broadcast live from Graham Chapel at Washington University, on Tuesday, April 25. For ticket info, click here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

BASEBALL: Meet The New Busch...

Went into Vintage Vinyl today to pick up my last paycheck and whaddya know; Lew, one of the owners, lays a pair of tickets on me for tonight’s Cardinals-Brewers ballgame. So, the new Busch? Well, it’s, um . . . okay. Boy is it thoroughly underwhelming in it’s okay-ness. I was very surprised by the lack of any kind of vibe, especially compared to that of the old Busch. It’s a retro ballpark all right: everything looks and feels old school, but with all the modern amenities. There is a severe lack of personality to the joint, and it’s only a matter of time before some egghead emerges with some great thesis citing the blandness of the new stadium as some reflection of the city’s true psyche. Whatever...

But hey, as a place for actually watching a game, it’s just fine. Sightlines all seem to be great, and you’re much closer to the action on the field than you were at the old ballpark. This new Busch doesn’t seem overly kid-centric either, which I found pleasantly shocking, given how the old Busch had practically turned into a Chuck-E-Cheeze during its final years. And the PA and piped in music are at a surprisingly low volume too. If anything the place is a little too quiet, but trust me, that’s not a complaint.

The new Busch is far from great, but it’s not all that bad either. What really saddened me though were seeing literally no people of color sitting in any of the seats. I saw maybe a dozen at the most, and I’m not exaggerating. Of course this is not the new stadium’s fault, the reasons for this trend are multi-layered and are shared by every city with a Major League Baseball team. But I do have to put some of the blame at the feet of the Cardinals’ownership, who I’m sure are just fine with the demographics of the crowd, as it looks no different from any rally for their good buddy’s Bush & Cheney.

Friday, April 07, 2006

So long to my Vintage Vinyl family...

Just finished my last day at Vintage Vinyl. Sure didn't feel like the end of anything until I cleaned out my desk. First time I've ever had a workplace desk to clean out, which I guess speaks volumes about my nine and a half years there. My dear friend Phil Harris gave me a nice bottle of pinot noir as a going away present, which was typically classy of him. Phil and I have known each other for ever, long before either of us ever came to work for Vintage Vinyl. After he gave me the wine this morning I found myself flashing back to a phone call in 1997 with Phil on the other end saying, "Hey I'm moving to St. Louis, can you give me a job?" And that's ultimately what I wound up liking most about my position at Vintage Vinyl---the look on someone's face when I told them they were hired. That's something I'm definitely going to miss...

And the ever wonderful Stacy Wahl, the sweetest person in the entire company, made me a tray of cupcakes that spelled out a farewell message. These people have no idea how much I'm going to miss them all. The actual reality that I was not going to be working there any longer didn't kick in for me until about five minutes before I left, when Jim Utz and I hugged each other goodbye. That was the wow-this is really happening moment.

Thank you Vintage Vinyl. I've loved every minute...

STEVE ROCK: "entertaining"

Click here for Part Two of "Legendary Rock Writer Ed Ward Freaks Me The Fuck Out!"

Part One can be found here, (scroll down to the April 3rd STEVE ROCK entry).

But seriously Ed, I really enjoyed your SXSW essay, and thanks for the Love Experts shout out.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

MUSIC/POLITICS: "The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in..."

At the end of a bar somewhere off in the great beyond, Joe Strummer looks down into his beer and smiles...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

MUSIC: Gene Pitney RIP

Day and night
Night and day
It hurts to be in love this way
---From Gene Pitney's 1964 hit, "It Hurts To Be In Love"

The great Gene Pitney has passed.

The Gene Pitney Music Vault

POLITICS: Hey Hilary, Suck On This!

The great Russ Feingold throws down.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Love Experts at SXSW/Twangfest/KDHX BBQ Jovita's 3/18/06

Though rain wound up cancelling the outside stage for the Twangfest/KDHX BBQ at cool Mexican restaurant Jovita's, we carried on nontheless and opened the show inside at noon with a loose and fun set. The Jovita's lunch crowd gave us a warm reception, and some of the youngsters even wound up on the dance floor. A swell time indeed. Thanks again to Marie Arsenault, John Wendland, and Rick Wood of the Twangfest gang for having us.

And as we left Austin on Sunday, my only regret of the entire SXSW week was missing Echo & The Bunnymen, Superchunk, Magic Christian, & Ian MacLagen. Maybe next year...

POLITICS: Justice DeLayed....

Good riddance to bad rubbish and all that, but I won’t be happy until Tom DeLay is behind bars and getting his salad tossed by someone other than Ralph Reed...

Monday, April 03, 2006

STEVE ROCK: Undertow SXSW Showcase/Habana Calle 3/16/06

The Undertow Records Showcase at SXSW was a major success, beginning with the SXSW gods smiling down on us in two very big ways:

1. It took place on the wonderful patio of Caribbean restaurant, Habana Calle. Featuring a good sized canopied stage decorated in Xmas lights and a backdrop of man-made boulders, we felt like we were playing some sort of incredibly comfortable Cuban theme park. The vibe was laid back in the best possible way. Bereft of the usual SXSW nervous tension, you felt like you were some place special beyond the festival, even though the venue was smack in the heart of the action on 6th St.

2. Our soundman for the evening, the great Brad Roberts! Man oh man what a great fucking soundman! Though clearly in his early 20's, the kid came with an old school approach/philosophy that is tragically rare in the world of younger soundmen these days. And as Brad put it so succinctly, “I’m here to make great artists sound great.” Sadly, many a house soundman today thinks it’s all about them instead of the specific needs of the people actually producing the music onstage. A lazy one-sound-fits-all approach is often taken by a house soundman, especially on multi-act bills. And once things are hastily set and the show begins, the soundman can often be found reading behind the board and not paying any attention to the artist or the job they’ve been hired to do for them. Needless to say the audience who pay to get in are ultimately the ones cheated most by this practice.

But Brad was a total breath of fresh air. He was all about meeting our concerns and how he could make each of the many acts on the bill sound as good as possible. The kid just kicked total ass. We Love Experts run into trouble all the time with house soundmen who through laziness and technical ineptitude just can’t seem to figure out how to get Steve’s vocals loud enough through the front PA or the onstage monitors. Piece of cake for Brad—cause the guy knew what the fuck he was doing and then actually bothered to do it! Mark Ray’s and Chris Grabau's lead vocals during their respective sets have never sounded better either! Over the course of a very long evening that commenced at 8pm and proceeded with new sets from new artists on the hour thru 1am, Brad stayed sharp and on the beam, diligently supplying each act with their own great mix. The kid went way above and beyond the call of duty, and we can’t thank him enough. If you ever play Austin and need a soundman, look Brad up at Runway Audio. You'll be glad you hired him for your gig.

I’m proud to say the St. Louis branch of the Undertow empire represented with flying colors. Love Experts, Waterloo, and Magnolia Summer all turned in highly charged sets, and I couldn’t have been more proud of us all. Respective lead vocalists Carosello, Ray, and Grabau have never sounded better in a live setting—thanks again, Brad!

And a big shout out to our dear old friend and former St.Louisan, John Ellis, who drove up from Dallas and brought along his George Harrison Rickenbacker 12-string for Dominic to play during our set. Of course it sounded great---too bad we had to give it back! Thanks again, Mr. Ellis!

After our set Tom Lunt introduced me to his buddy, legendary rock writer Ed Ward, which totally freaked me the fuck out. Geez, when I think of all the records I bought in high school at that guy's recommendations! Ward totally cracked my meat, just as you'd expect a writer from the Golden Age Of Rock Writing would, when I told him I was heading over later to catch Chris Stamey. :) Ward was cool though, and supposedly told Lunt during our set that he liked us.

The Love Experts


Magnolia Summer

The wonderful soul-pop of Chicago’s Steve Dawson followed the bands from St. Louis, though I ducked out halfway through Steve’s set to walk the 15 blocks to the Whisky Bar to catch Chris Stamey backed by Peter Holsapple. Hung a few minutes with Peter after their set, and as I said my goodbyes and took off down the sidewalk, rock legend Ian MacLagen passed by me on his way into the club. Really wished I could have stayed for Mac’s set, but I had to high-tail it back to Habana Calle for the mighty Milton Mapes.

Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey

And just why isn’t Milton Mapes like, really big stars? Lord knows they deserve to be! Forget pretenders like My Morning Jacket or the Drive By Truckers, these guys are the real deal. If Thin White Rope meets Crazy Horse is your idea of a great template for a rock band, then Miton Mapes is definitely for you! Blazing American guitar rock...

Closing the show was my old Champaign homie Jay Bennett. Backed only by a drummer, it was really good to hear Jay playing loud guitar again, cause it’s been a while. Oh and thanks for cracking my meat several times from the stage, bro... :)

Jay Bennett

A truly wonderful night indeed, it couldn't have gone any better. Thanks to all at Undertow for making it happen, and thanks for inviting the Love Experts along for the ride!

Chris Grabau, Mark Ray, and Uncle Jun from The Sopranos!

The Love Experts at the end of the long evening: Dave Collett, Steve Carosello, Dominic Finocchio, Bob Trammel (lookin' all punk rock!) and yours truly...

TV/POLITICS: McCain On Meet The Press

What a flip-flopping, pandering piece of shit! Read the transcript, here, and read it carefully. Yes, it’s only April 2006, but it’s not too early to starting working to stop/defeat McCain—NOW! Remember folks, if he gets their nomination, he’s the next president. And the Christianist extremists who control the GOP will gladly make any and all deals they need to make with McCain if they think he can win in 2008. Maintaining their power is the only thing they care about, and they’ll sleep with any devil around in order to get the job done. Friends don’t let friends support McCain...

And be sure to also check out the interview with General Zinni—powerful stuff.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

MUSIC: Paul Kean, Donk Bass God

On my 3/23 post on the Bats (scroll down), Happy Talk left the following for me in the comments section:
"How about sharing your observations of Paul Kean's wonderfully unique bass style...."

Well Happy Talk, it’s a bit of a hard style to describe, but I will say the Bats wouldn’t be the Bats without it. The instrument carrying the heaviest load in their dense wall of melody, Kean’s bass is often their "lead guitar." Inventive and intelligently melodic, Kean's lines hold down the bottom end of things nicely as well---another feat given the Bats’ quiet and minimal use of drums. From a technical standpoint I really don’t know how to put it all into words, except the guy just kinda takes off for "other places" with his playing, and lands beautifully every time. And often while "going there" Kean breaks into an odd yet sweet little jig, enhancing the overall visual wonderfulness of the Bats live.

And here’s a few photos of Kean playing that wacky bass of his. One of the strangest looking basses I have ever seen, it’s high mid-rangy tone is key to the trademark Bats’ sound. Drinks are on me to anyone out there who can identify what the hell kind of bass it is, cause I sure have no idea. Crazy kiwi... :)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

MUSIC: The Hazey Janes at SXSW/The Drink 3/18/06

The Mamas & The Papas meet The Who, or how about a punk rock version of The Corrs? Fueled only on a pre-trip “must hear” tip from Steve Pick, we made seeing this band we had yet to hear a sound from a priority. And they proceeded to blow us away and knock us geezers on our asses! Quite simply the most refreshing and fun new band I’ve seen in a live setting in ages. They’ve yet to capture the full power of their live presentation on record, and when they do, look out! But nonetheless, I’m pretty sure we’ll be hearing big things from this band in the near future...

FRIENDS: "What the hell are YOU doing here?"

Had some time to kill before going to hear Ray Davies speak, so we checked out Flatstock, an exhibition of rock poster art presented by SXSW. So the first booth we encounter upon entering and who do I see hawking his posters but my old homie Guy Burwell! We haven’t seen each other in years, and neither of us had any idea the other was in Austin. In the early ‘90's Guy and I toiled together behind the counter at the old original Euclid Records location. Guy kept me in constant laughs every day and also turned me on to a lot of great bands, like Acetone & Oasis. It was always a "trip" working with him. :)

Some of you St. Louisans may remember the great gig posters Guy created back in the day for the old Cicero’s or the cover he designed for Bunnygrunt’s Action Pants album. Guy also did an absolutely fantastic job on the poster & T-shirt design for the Lindsey-Shelton Memorial Show the Shemps put on in 2004, which I am eternally grateful to him for. Guy now lives in Portland, Oregon, and his artwork can be seen, here.

That's me on the left and Burwell on the right, "shocked and stunned---very stunned" as the Rutles say, to be seeing each other again... :)

Friday, March 31, 2006

MUSIC: Ray Davies at SXSW/Austin Convention Center 3/17/06

Professor Davies delivered an amazing lecture & video presentation on the making of his great new album Other People's Lives. An unfinished future documentary, the video footage also centered on Ray's 2001 Storyteller's Tour and the difficulties encountered touring America in the days immediately after 9/11. Fascinating stuff. Ray also performed a handful of tunes from the new album, accompanied by guitarist Mark Johns. With what appeared to be freshly colored hair, Ray looked and sounded great, and he seems quite intent on making sure that the rest of the world knows exactly just how great his new record is. During a question and answer period following the presentation, Ray assured a questioner that stroke victim brother Dave’s health is good, and they plan on sitting down and maybe making some music together after Ray finishes his current tour.

MUSIC: The Amazing Pilots at SXSW/Soho Lounge 3/17/06

'Twas fitting to have seen our Undertow Records homies from Ireland perform their SXSW set on St. Patrick’s Day. The Wilkinson brothers played an excellent set of their quietly melodic pop, pop reminiscent of The Trash Can Sinatras and The Dream Academy. Magnolia Summer's Chris Grabau joined them on lead guitar and kicked ass as well. Some sort of buzz was in the air for their show, as the majority of the crowd consisted of perky college girls, but what the fuck—they all gabbed on their cell phones throughout the Pilots set! Odd...

MUSIC: The Stan Ridgway Acoustic Trio at SXSW/Mother Egan's 3/15/06

The beer garden of an Irish pub at 4pm in the afternoon isn’t the kind of place one usually thinks of when it comes to seeing the Raymond Chandler influenced dark cinematic pop of the great Stan Ridgway performed live, but the backyard setting worked quite well and Stan's music turned out to be a perfect happy hour soundtrack—who knew? Backed by Pietra Wexstrun on keyboards, Rick King on acoustic guitar, and a sampler, Ridgway delivered his tunes with a deceptively full band sound that one certainly wouldn’t call "acoustic." Ridgway’s enjoyable acerbic wit was on display as well. Mostly a Wall Of Voodoo greatest hits set, the highlights for me were the cover of "Ring Of Fire," and of course, "Mexican Radio," done Tex-Mex style in honor of the occasion.
ray-dee-oh... ray-dee-oh...
ray-dee-oh... ray-dee-oh...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm Moving On...

I’m leaving Vintage Vinyl. No big drama or anything, I’ve got nothing but love for my Vintage Vinyl family, but after nine and a half years it’s time for me to move on. I’ve stayed at this particular party too long, and one hell of a party it’s been! My last day on the job will be April 7.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

POLITICS: Meet The Next President? Same As the Old President?

Yet another reason why John McCain should be feared and not trusted, here, by way of Daily Kos. The time to start calling McCain on his flip-flopping bullshit is now. 2008 is closer than you think...

POLITICS: America Hates Atheists

As we inch closer to the day when it'll be go to church or go to jail, check out this major DUH! under the heading, The Lowest Of The Low (3/27/06), from John Digby's Hullabaloo.

STEVE ROCK: The Geezers Unite!

Here's three Love Experts with old buddy Tom Lunt of The Numero Group, somewhere on the streets of Austin at SXSW. If you've yet to check out Tom's great blog Geezers United, you should be reading it daily.

Dominic Finocchio, Steve Carosello, Tom Lunt, & Bob Trammel.

Monday, March 27, 2006

MUSIC: Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs at SXSW/The Dog & Duck Pub (day) & The Drink (night) 3/18/06

Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, a.k.a. Sid ‘n’ Susie, blew us away at the Pop Culture Press party on Saturday afternoon, and then again later that night at The Drink. Backed by their fantastic band of Paul Chastain, Greg Leisz, Tony Marsico, & Ric Menck, they stormed through ‘60's classics from their upcoming Under The Covers Vol. 1 album like a loose locomotive. But that’s not to say the band wasn’t tight and excellent, or the harmonies weren’t scintillating, cause they were. They rose above minimal rehearsals and the traditional no SXSW sound checks to deliver two very special performances.

The nighttime show at The Drink was particularly memorable, as the crowd overflowed into the street. Many not lucky enough to get in were content to watch the band’s backsides through the club’s front windows. To say the setting was, uh, "intimate" would be an understatement, but the tight surroundings and tiny stage only enhanced the performance. We in the audience knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime special show. Susanna seemed to be genuinely enjoying herself, and looked quite moved at the constant adoration. That trademark smile rarely left her face. Matthew played ringmaster, keeping the pandemonium onstage in some semblance of order, and did I mention how great and versatile the band is?

Highlights for me were "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," "Different Drum," and of course Sue’s dedication of the Left Banke’s "She May Call You Up Tonight" to Love Expert Steve Carosello! And kudos to my old buddy Paul Chastain for perfectly nailing Michael Brown’s original piano part! Go Paulie!

Susanna Hoffs, Rick Menck, & Matthew Sweet rocking the Pop Culture Press Party.

Susanna gettin' dreamy at The Drink, with the great Tony Marsico laying down the grooves behind her.

That trademark smile!

Susanna Hoffs, Tony Marsico, Paul Chastain, & Matthew Sweet.

My old buddy Ric Menck mugging with yours truly after the show...