Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goodnight, Mr. Jones

This is a blog entry I never expected to write. My head is in a fog as I am typing, but I feel like I need to do something, so here goes...

David Thomas Jones, 1945-2012
As I remember it, Davy Jones was the first hero of my childhood (that is if you discount Underdog, Mighty Mouse, and H.R. Pufnstuf). My brother and I had a few Monkees 45s, but it was somewhere around age 4 or 5 that my life changed when a neighbor kid lent us his sister's Monkees LPs  (The Monkees, More of the Monkees, Headquarters, and Pisces, Aquarius, etc.). We played the shit out of those records, so much that she just let us keep them (we beat them up pretty badly).

The Monkees were the spark that started my passion for music. Eventually I made my way to The Beatles, which upped the bar a bit, but I kept coming back to The Monkees. In '86 I saw them in concert for the first time, and it was almost surreal. My brother and I were pretty damn close to the stage, and in my head I remember thinking "OMG - those are really The MONKEES."

Davy & me, 9/22/2005
Over the years I saw every Monkees tour that came through the Twin Cities, and even ventured out for a show in Wisconsin and another in Mankato, MN.  Last year I attended one of their highly acclaimed 45th Anniversary concerts, and it was the best I'd ever seen them.  Davy in particular seemed to finally be at ease with the legacy of The Monkees. Although the tour was abruptly cut short (actually it was extended and then cut short, or something like that), it seemed that Davy, Micky and Peter would likely resume touring again at some point this year.

My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved David personally, particularly his daughters, his wife, and his bandmates. Speaking for myself right now, Davy Jones' passing is very hard to process. I don't think I've felt this way since John Lennon died. Obviously, the death of my parents in the past few years has been a far more profound personal loss, and that is a healing process that is ongoing. Still, the death of a hero is different. It creates a void that's hard to describe. (Seriously - I got stuck on that word -void- for about 5 minutes just now). So I guess I won't try to describe it.

Thank You, Davy Jones, and may God be with you as you continue your journey. Thank you for all that you gave of yourself. You were a true entertainer, a gifted and very funny comic actor, and an accomplished musician and songwriter. I feel very fortunate that your star found its way into my stratosphere while I was at such a young impressionable age. As far as first heroes go, I could have done much worse.

With much love, admiration, and a heavy heart,

Your fan,

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Revolution: 2.19.2012 First Avenue, Mpls

Do It All Nite
Party Up
Let's Work
Pop Life
Life Can Be So Nice
Baby I’m A Star
Let’s Go Crazy
Purple Rain
Uptown (incorporating a bit of Sexy Dancer)

Overall, what an incredible night. Of course the nagging question hovering over the whole event was "Is Prince gonna show?", and I'm sure there were some unfortunate souls who attended only because they thought Prince would be there. Personally, I found it highly gratifying to see and hear the band that played such an important role in the creation of these songs. "Life Can Be So Nice" was a great surprise, followed by an extended "Mountains" and "Anotherloverholenyohead".  In case anybody needed reminding, most of tonight's songs were created by Prince AND The Revolution. Tonight I got to see THE REVOLUTION play their songs at the club that they made legendary. 

A beautiful night.

(Video: A brief bit of the end "1999" from tonight's show)

Friday, February 17, 2012

On my turntable: The Bangles - Sweetheart of the Sun

Since a pretty young age I have felt a need to document my life through mediums such as photos, journaling, blogging, and especially music. For a few years the advent of digital music dampened my joy of collecting music. Sure, mp3s can provide an instant rush of gratification from hearing a new song for the first time, but often that excitement only lasts until the next mp3 comes along. Looking back over the past 20 years the documentation of my life seems somehow marred by a period when I was buying new music on CD rather than vinyl.

Inner sleeve
It probably goes without saying that when Sweetheart of the Sun was first released last September in digital-only formats I felt sadly torn. The more I heard Sweetheart the more I knew it was one of those rare, special albums that captures you upon first listen and seeps deeper into your consciousness with repeated plays.  How could this not be released on vinyl, I wondered.  Luckily the powers that be in Bangelonia saw the light, and this masterwork (the Bangles' best, in my opinion) is now available on wax.

Right now the LP is only available as part of a "Super Fan Pack" through The Bangles' website, but according to there is a release date of 3/6/11 for the vinyl for those who don't want the fancy extras that come with the "fan pack". In my opinion, Sweetheart of the Sun is not only the best Bangles record; I believe it's one of the best albums of the past decade.

The Bangles: S. Hoffs, D. Peterson, V. Peterson
The Bangles have always worn their love of the 1960s proudly on their sleeves, but on this new album the influence of the 60's seems more authentic and profoundly sincere than on past releases. The result is a cohesive, folksy, jangly, and sunshine-harmony drenched gem of a record. Personally I feel pretty confident that Sweetheart of the Sun will secure a spot in my top 10 of all-time, alongside other classics such as Pet Sounds, Rubber Soul, and The Monkees' Pisces... album.  Of course I say this with the understanding that I may just be in a 'honeymoon phase' with the album, but my gut tells me that this is a love affair that will last a lifetime.