The word "genius" gets thrown around a lot when referring to various musicians, but in the case of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, it is genuinely appropriate. Of course, many musical geniuses tend to be troubled people and, in that regard, Wilson is no different. The movie Love & Mercy, which stars Paul Dano as the young Brian in his 1960s creative peak and John Cusack as the overmedicated, misdiagnosed “patient” of Dr. Eugene Landy, does an excellent job of showing both the highs and lows - and there are plenty of both - in Wilson’s life and career. Of
Recently in Music
The soundtrack reveals the good and bad in the life of Brian Wilson.
The friends and family of Elliot Smith create a beautifully intimate film about his life and music.
I wanted to watch and review Heaven Adores You, the new documentary about Elliot Smith, because I am a huge Elliot Smith fan. Though I cannot claim to have discovered Smith’s music off of a mixtape out of the Portland music scene, my connection to his music is still a deeply personal one. I believe that such a personal connection is a common thread among Elliot Smith fans, regardless how or when they discovered his music. When I heard the news that Elliot Smith had died, I was riding shotgun in my manager’s car. We were on our way to
Based on Andy Summers' memoir, the documentary reveals the rise and demise of the defining 1980s band.
When the Police ceased recording in 1984, rumors swirled as to the cause. Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland became infamous for their constant fighting, sometimes ending up in fisticuffs (such as during a 1983 MTV interview with Martha Quinn). Summers and Copeland’s intense jealousy of Sting’s notoriety was cited as another factor. The new documentary Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police presents Summers’ side of the story, suggesting that the Police’s dissolution resulted from a multitude of complicated reasons. As hard on himself as on the other band members, Summers provides narration while archival footage as well as
Two amazing Stray Cats concerts from 1981 and 1983 recorded live in Germany.
The American Rockabilly scene would not be what it is today without the influential music of the Stray Cats. Their rocking sound introduced a new generation to the sounds of the 1950s while helping change the 1980's music scene with their original sounds and songs. Stray Cats: Live at Rockpalast features two early Stray Cats concerts, both recorded in Germany in the early 1980s. The earlier concert footage is from Satrory-Sale Cologne on July 16th, 1981, and the later concert is from Open Air Loreley on August 20th,1983. This is the first time in over 30 years this concert footage
If this was the only concert of the band on record, there'd be no doubt why they are rock 'n' roll legends.
Reading up on The Who, it appears what was intended to be a tour in support of It's Hard became a farewell tour because of Pete Townshend's personal issues and the friction they contributed to between he and his bandmates Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. Although they have reunited many times since, and Daltrey and Townshend, the last living original members, are currently touring in celebration of the band's 50th anniversary, it's fantastic to see this document of The Who still at the peak of their abilities. Taken from their October 13, 1982 performance, the second of a two-night stand
This should satisfy fans, most of whom likely already know the story, but it's great to hear it directly from the band members.
Previously a part of the REMTV boxed set, the documentary R.E.M. by MTV is now available as a separate release on Blu-ray and DVD. It presents the history of the band through archival interviews and clips of news and performances, much of it, but not limited to, material from MTV. The band (Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, and Bill Berry) and associates tell the story chronologically through interviews conducted over their decades-long run. The viewer witnesses R.E.M.'s career arc going from a cult favorite and critical darling to a force on the pop charts with hit songs and albums
Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators: Live at the Roxy 9/25/14 Blu-ray Review: So Good That You'll Believe You're Really There
This concert Blu-ray is the best I've ever seen.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Slash was a member of the heavy metal band Guns N’ Roses. Since then he’s put out multiple solo albums and was a founding member of the highly successful band, Velvet Revolver. But in this recent video release the legendary guitarist shows off his incredible chops over his entire musical history. And once again he has teamed up with an exceptional vocalist, Myles Kennedy, who has his own unique singing style and sounds like a cross between Axl Rose and Scott Weiland. Since Slash has been making his own solo albums for years now,
Live from Wisconsin, it's the Grateful Dead!
Hosted by Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment at theaters across the country, the fifth annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies presented the band's performance at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin on July 19, 1989, the third concert of a three-night stand. The line-up featured guitarist Jerry Garcia, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Brent Mydland, and guitarist Bob Weir. They sounded in very fine form as one can tell from the bootleg available below. With the band celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, I would have thought interest in the band would be at a high point,
"I try my best/ to be just like I am/ but everybody wants you/ to be just like them." - "Maggie's Farm"
Murray Lerner filmed the performances at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, ’64, and ’65, and from those concerts created the Academy Award-nominated documentary Festival! One of the musicians who appeared at all three events was Bob Dylan, who went from an up-and-coming folk singer to a “there he went and good riddance” singer according to the reaction of some audience members. Back in 2007, Lerner released a film that focused just on Dylan titled The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival. It serves as a great document of Dylan’s performances, though rather than
A great snapshot of a bygone era of entertainment.
StarVista and Time Life have released another collection of clips of The Midnight Special, a late-night variety show that aired on NBC from 1972 to 1981, on three DVDs. To make things nice and confusing, there's no subtitle to help identify this set from other Midnight Special sets. As S. Edward Sousa described previously in his review of a six-disc release, which also had no subtitle, "The Midnight Special...was the Friday night follow-up to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, packing a 90-minute time slot with the era's biggest names in rock, pop. and disco. Unlike its predecessors or competitors,
B.B. reveals himself to be the consummate professional throughout the night.
B.B. and his band had been frequent performers during the Montreux music festival’s long history. Over the course of 100 minutes, the viewer will see a master showman at work on a Blu-ray disc that is a worthy addition to any music library. Led by saxophonist Walter King, B.B.’s nephew, the band sounds good as they open the set with a few numbers on their own. Dressed in a turquoise dinner jacket with some type of Asian design on it, B.B. makes his entrance. He picks up his guitar Lucille and immediately makes her sing in the recognizable sweet, sweet
A good listen at "10:15 Saturday Night," or any other time you desire.
In 2004, Rhino Records released a deluxe edition of The Cure’s first album, Three Imaginary Boys, which was previously only available in the U.S. as an import. What was their first U.S. release, Boys Don’t Cry, has eight songs from Three Imaginary Boys. Two other tracks from Boys Don’t Cry appear on the second disc and they happen to be two of the most popular from this early period, the title track and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” Disc one is their debut album in its entirety, clocking in at a meager 36 minutes. The songs are short, and the structure
Singles kings Hall & Oates are served well with this 2014 concert in Dublin.
My connection to the music of Hall & Oates goes back a long way. I remember “She’s Gone” in 1973, “Sara Smile” in 1976, and so many more. I first saw them in concert in 1984, on the Big Bam Boom tour. Incredibly, it seemed as if they had peaked at that moment, after having one hell of a run. But those things come and go, with that incident now some 32 years ago. So what have they been up to since? Doesn't matter, does it? Hall & Oates is the brand, and classics such as “Maneater,” “Say It Isn’t
Shania: Still the One Live from Vegas captures the complete stage performance of Shania Twain from her two-year residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace that ended in December 2014. The 90-minute concert features 25 songs covering her biggest hits, country songs, and crossover favorites. I have always been a big fan of Shania with several of her CDs adorning my shelves but for some reason I've never considered seeing her live. Watching this has me very disappointed about that, especially missing this show in Las Vegas. The concert is visually stunning and would have been even better to experience
Denny Tedesco's loving tribute to his father and the talented musicians who made up The Wrecking Crew.
A few months back Marc Maron released an episode of his podcast, WTF, where he sat down with Denny Tedesco to talk about his project The Wrecking Crew. I listened to him talk to Maron about this documentary and I was intrigued and excited to see this film when it came out. I am happy to say I was not let down. The Wrecking Crew is not just a film about the group of ultra-talented musicians whose work you have heard over and over on some the biggest albums of all time, but it is Denny’s loving tribute to his
A Beatles documentary with a twist, the film pays homage to international tribute bands.
At this very moment, a Beatles tribute band is likely playing a concert somewhere throughout the world. Over 8,000 groups worldwide regularly recreate the music and, occasionally, the exact image and accents of the Beatles. Come Together: A Beatles Tribute Documentary examines these tribute bands, which range geographically and even in gender. Hosted by John Lennon’s half-sister Julia Baird, the film interviews several musicians who earn a living imitating their idols. While interesting, Come Together provides little insight as to the benefits and pitfalls of such a career. Baird often appears in various locations throughout Liverpool, from the recreated Cavern
With a live orchestra playing, it draws attention to Nino Rota's amazing soundtrack.
While any chance to see the Francis Ford Coppola's award-winning masterpiece is a great treat, this LIVE presentation of The Godfather by CineConcerts was delightfully augmented by Nino Rota's classic score being performed on stage by the Hollywood Studio Symphony. The Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE was buzzing with excitement. Many attendees had their pictures taken in front of the stage before most the musicians were seated. I had a front row seat off to the left side of the theater. As it was set below the stage, my view was limited to a small porton of the orchestra and its
A good meal for new fans; a familiar one for long-timers.
Hitting the vaults once again, The Doors and Eagle Rock Entertainment have re-teamed for Feast of Friends, a short film the band self-produced about their life on the road while touring in the summer of 1968. Having only played at a few film festivals previously, this first official release of Feast of Friends (HD, 39 min) has been "restored from the original negative...color-corrected and cleaned in high definition with the soundtrack totally remixed and remastered by Bruce Botnick." The band's music has been paired with visuals of them in concert and between gigs, creating a longform document of those moments
Relive the last classic Stones era in this 1981 concert film.
Recently released from the Rolling Stones archives, this show took place on Keith Richards’ 38th birthday on Dec 18, 1981. The first pay-per-view concert ever, it captures the band during their prime, in their last U.S. tour until 1989’s Steel Wheels. Eagle Rock Entertainment’s 2 CD/DVD set comes with a booklet with a blow-by-blow description of the show and still photos from the performance. In this day of instant video streaming, the thought of waiting patiently by your analog TV, suffering through the same preview a half-dozen times before the show went live, seems like medieval torture. And the waiting
The Rolling Stones: From the Vault - L.A. Forum (Live in 1975) DVD Review: It's Only a Concert Video, But I Like It
The band shows why they remain the very definition of rock and roll.
In a thousand years, at universities all over the world, in classes titled "Rock N Roll 101," professors will lay a needle on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and that’s all they’ll need to say. When aliens land on our planet and ask us what this rock thing is all about, we’ll take them to a Rolling Stones concert and they’ll hold off the invasion. For more than fifty years The Rolling Stones have been the very definition of rock and roll. Early rockers like Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly blended the blues with folk and country creating something new
Turn it on (again) and play it loud.
Available for the first time as a stand-alone DVD and on Blu-ray, Genesis: Three Sides Live was initially released on Betamax and VHS in 1982 as a companion piece to the live album of the same name. The film shows the band (vocals/drums Phil Collins, keyboards Tony Banks, guitar/bass Mike Rutherford with support from touring members guitar/bass Daryl Stuermer and drums Chester Thompson) on their 1981 North American tour promoting their eleventh album, Abacab. The concert performances are taken from two New York shows, primarily from Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, on November 29, 1981 with two ("Me & Sarah Jane"
Looking For Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders DVD Review: Even in Death, He Still Slings Six-strings
Spanish filmmaker Danny Garcia unravels the mysterious sadness of a guitar god.
The Murder City Devils, one of the great outsider rock bands of the past two decades, once sang “Took a city like New Orleans to kill a man like Johnny Thunders / A man who died with a guitar in his hands.” It’s the city as beast slaying Thunders, The New York Dolls' guitarist and former Heartbreakers' front man who even in death still slings six-strings. Named after its subject, the song’s as tough as Thunders whose music couldn’t be pried from his cold dead hands. Solidifying the man’s mythos as he drifts off into death they scream, “And the
Psychedelic Resurrection is the first album from garage rock band the Blues Magoos in four decades.
The psychedelic sound of the late 1960s produced many bands with colorful names and one mainstream hit. The Vanilla Fudge, Electric Prunes, Bubble Puppy, Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Seeds (not a flashy name, but a major group in the genre), and the Blues Magoos. Hailing from the Bronx, the Blues Magoos formed in 1964 as the Trenchcoats, fusing garage rock with a hint of blues. Best known for their hit “(We Ain’t) Got Nothin’ Yet” and the electric suits they occasionally wore onstage, the band’s debut album Psychedelic Lollipop , released in November 1966, positioned the group as the East
Highly entertaining from beginning to end.
Alabama was formed in 1969 by cousins Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook. Over the course of their career, they became the greatest-selling country band of all time by selling over 75 million singles and albums. They peaked during the 1980s when they created 27 number-one hits. The band thought they were quitting for good and put on a farewell tour in 2003. They reunited in 2011 and have been going strong ever since. In celebration of their 40th anniversary, they recorded the tribute album Alabama & Friends and a concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium featuring Luke Bryan,
Wolfman Jack's celebrated '70s revue sheds light on dim decade.
Ask me about the 1970s and two images come to mind: Joey Ramone’s jean clad crotch and Alisha “I Love the Nightlife” Bridges proto-punk disco haircut. One’s the soulful height of youth and young manhood while the other’s a glittering image of midlife femininity as it works the dance floor. Yet despite the skin-tight Levi’s versus bell bottom retrospective culture war we’re often treated to, these images are plastered on the same pole at the same of end of the spectrum, for the Seventies were a bleak and miserable decade. A chasm often existed between pop culture’s escapist tendencies and
Live from Bremen. It's the Grateful Dead.
On July 17, Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment teamed up to present the annual “Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies” in cinemas nationwide. This year's edition featured Beat Club 4/21/72, a live television-studio performance of the band recorded for a West German TV program during their highly regarded European tour of that year. The band's line up at this time featured lead guitar/vocal Jerry Garcia, drums Bill Kreutzmann, bass Phil Lesh, keyboards Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, rhythm guitar/vocal Bob Weir, and the recent additions of married couple keyboards Keith (Oct. '71) and back-up singer Donna Jean (Mar. '72) Godchaux. They played
Peter Gabriel and Eagle Rock Entertainment have released another winner.
Recorded over two nights in October 2013 at London's The O2, Back to Front presents Peter Gabriel in concert during his two-year tour commemorating So, which was played in its entirety. Supported by the musicians that had backed him on the So tour, bassist Tony Levin, drummer Manu Katche, David Sancious, and guitarist David Rhodes, the assembled songs document an outstanding performance of audio and visual delights. Before the show began, Gabriel announced the show would be presented in three parts like a meal, with an appetizer, the main course, and dessert. The appetizer was a short, acoustic set of
Relive the days of leafing through a friend's record collection by reading the rock journalist's new guide.
Writing a book entitled Overlooked/Underappreciated: 354 Recordings That Demand Your Attention is fraught with difficulty. The selections are based purely on personal taste, and are begging for readers to argue with the author. Yet rock journalist Greg Prato has tackled this challenge in his twelfth book, a work packed with suggestions for your music collection. Remember the experience of leafing through a friend’s records, CDs, and tapes, analyzing albums and recommending bands that (you think) no one knows? That memory mirrors the experience of reading Overlooked/Underappreciated. Covering mostly rock, jazz, R&B, and blues, Prato analyzes each listing using the following
They could all be your songs.
From 2004 to 2009, Elton John served a five-year residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. That evening of music was dubbed The Red Piano. After a hiatus, Elton returned in 2011 for another residency with The Million Dollar Piano, which repeated two-thirds of the previous set list but expanded the number of songs played. Now available on home video, a performance recorded in February 2012 features Elton playing some of his biggest hits alongside a few deep cuts. The show begins with Elton taking the stage in a glittery cape that would have made Liberace proud. During much of
Two forgotten musicals, a neglected homage, and The Cars, too.
While Friedrich Nietzsche is perhaps best known today by underread Facebook users as the guy who said "Without music, life would be a mistake," the general idea of such an idiom makes a great deal of sense. That said, however, the combination of music and film has resulted in a venerable slew of items - ranging from movie musicals for the big screen to music videos for television - being produced and quickly forgotten about throughout the better part of an entire century. Prior to television becoming the norm for entertainment, wherein variety shows (another casualty of the passing of