Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sitting in w/ Sonic Death Ray

That's me in the Johnny Cash attire and the big orange Gretsch guitar...

Four minute Spaghetti Western Surf instrumental -- with liberal use of the Bigsby...

Monday, December 04, 2006

When exactly do you mean?

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Smiths!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The musical hoodwinking of Gen X

I just listened to Duran Duran and remembered this piece I wrote a couple years ago. Still as true today as it was then.

We've been had
By David Rey

A week ago I left you with a question posed to all Gen X-ers by Matt Dillon’s character in “Singles.” – that being “Where is our Misty Mountain Hop?”

As I was rolling out the sod that became my new side yard on Saturday a familiar tune wafted out of the radio resting on my porch – and I had my answer.

“Smell like I sound, I’m lost in a crowd – and I’m hungry like the wolf. Straddle the line, in discord and rhyme, I’m on the hunt I’m after you…”

And there it was, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.”

And then the horror of that realization caused my mind to jump to a scene in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” where Denzel is delivering the cold hard truth to the folks on the streets of Harlem.

“You’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been misled. You’ve been hoodwinked. You’ve been bamboozled…”

“Hungry Like the Wolf” is what they passed off as quality music to us poor Generation X children. No Hammer of the Gods for us poor spawn of the 80s.

I’m now fairly convinced that they used some sort of mind controlling subliminal messages embedded in a large portion of 1980s music. How else can you explain my initial uncontrollable response to the opening riffs of that Duran Duran song?

That being the immediate stop of all conversation while in mid-sentence and the twitching urge to run and turn the radio volume up. My wife was similarly afflicted.

It’s not just that song – noooo – I like all of Duran Duran’s music. Better than that, I even like their spin-off groups, Arcadia and The Powerstation.

As I write this, I feel like Neo, after he took the red pill and woke up in that vat of pickle juice – no longer trapped in The Matrix.

I can see “Rio” and “Girls on Film” for the plastic, nauseous ditties they are. I can see how those swirling color Mtv videos poisoned my teenage brain – making me believe Simon LeBon was smooth and stylish.

Al Green is smooth and stylish…

Marvin Gaye is smooth and stylish…

Simon LeBon was geeked and garish…

I know this now. I have been awaked. My mind is clearing itself of the reflexive joy caused by “The Reflex.”

Being cast out, along with my programming to love Duran Duran, is my fondness for songs like Patty Smythe’s “The Warrior,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer,” and Men At Work’s “Who Can it be Now?”

Though I admit, I’m not quite ready to let go of Men At Work’s “Down Under.”

After all, it has the only popular music reference to a vegemite sandwich – at least that I know of.

So you see, it really is sad. Those of you that grew up in the golden ages of popular music, the 1950s and 60s, have no concept of your children’s musical depravity. Constant barrages of Phil Collins, Robert Palmer, Wang Chung and Quiet Riot have left long-term scarring.

So when you see us getting all misty eyed when Journey or REO Speedwagon start in with their power ballads, show some understanding. We’ve been took.

Sad state of country music

An online friend of mine from Nashville passed this Chet Flippo column on to me. I think in it, you can see one of the roots of the bunkrupt state of country music today. I mean, c'mon, who is Maybelle Carter? How embarassing.

Here's Flippo's Nashville Skyline piece, which ran at

Recently, a young, new female country artist was asked something about Maybelle Carter. New young female country artist's reply was, "Who's that?

"Who's that? I wish I had been there. I would have said something to this effect, "Well, little darling, if it weren't for Maybelle Carter, you wouldn't have this wonderful opportunity to make a good living off of country music fans. Go find out who the hell Maybelle Carter was and what she means to your life and career and music. Or else get your ass over to pop music, where you belong."

Now, I'm not insisting that all aspiring country artists become country music scholars. But, for God's sake, if you're at all serious about country music, you're going to know something about its history and traditions and heritage. Record labels and managers -- in addition to running these young Tim-and-Faith wannabes through charm school -- should also sit them down and take them through Country Music 101. Although I cannot imagine that any aspiring artist who is serious about country wouldn't learn about it on their own. I mean, otherwise, why the hell are you here? Because it seems an easy career path these days? How could you possibly write and create credible country music without knowing what came before?

I personally would be glad to teach an introductory country music class to young aspiring artists, if they would listen and be serious about it. There's any number of people who cover country music that I know would be equally willing to conduct country history classes. Robert Oermann, Bill Malone, Michael McCall, Alanna Nash, anyone at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum -- there's a long list of country music scholars who would be happy to do this.

It's just a shame this seems to be necessary. But I have seen several instances recently of young people other than the Maybelle-deficient young woman who are equally clueless. I suspect it's the drift over from pop music that is the culprit. Young artists I know who are truly serious about country know their stuff. When I met Jamey Johnson, he showed me in about two minutes that he knows Hank Williams backward and forward. Catherine Britt is equally knowledgeable on history. And, course, guys like Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley know their country music. That's because they love the music and what it stands for.

Surely any serious country music aspirant would know who the Carter Family were, would know about Jimmie Rodgers and his significance, would understand Ernest Tubb's role, would know who Fred Rose was and why he is so important, would know Hank Williams' history and music -- and Faron Young's and Ray Price's and Webb Pierce's and Roger Miller's and Bill Monroe's and Tammy Wynette's and George Jones' and Willie Nelson's and Waylon Jennings' and Merle Haggard's and Conway Twitty's and Loretta Lynn's and Dolly Parton's and on and on.

Get with the program, or get out of town. Love it or leave it. I don't really care for opportunists who see the country music market as a quick and easy place to make a fast buck with what are essentially pop acts and pop songs. We don't really need strip mining in country music. No names named, but you know who I mean.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dylan and Scarlett

New Bob Dylan video featuring the ultra-dreamy Scarlett Johansson in 8 mm...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Crystal Frontier

The incomparable Calexico live on the Crystal Frontier.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dave's I-Pod Top 'O The Charts for July

1. "Muleskinner Blues" by The Wilders
2. "There She Goes" by Chris Isaak
3. "Radar Gun" by The Bottle Rockets
4. "Rowboat" by Johnny Cash
5. "Making Love With You" by The Old 97s
6. "High Water" by Uncle Tupelo
7. "Hard Luck Story" by Whiskeytown
8. "Nobody 'Cept You" by Bob Dylan
9. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones
10. "My Heart is Broken" by Ryan Adams
11. "Truly, Truly" by Grant Lee Buffalo
12. "All The Right Reasons" by The Jayhawks
13. "Marie Marie" by The Blasters
14. "Call Me" by Blondie
15. "Lonesome Johnny Blues" by Cracker
16. "Longview" by Green Day
17. "Big Iron" by Johnny Cash
18. "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" by Merle Haggard
19. "Trying to Live My Life Without You" by Otis Clay
20. "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King
21. "Changed the Locks" by Lucinda Williams
22. "Running Dry (Requiem for The Rockets)" by Neil Young
23. "From A Buick 6" by Bob Dylan
24. "John Hardy" by The Carter Family
25. "Can't Hardly Stand It" by Charlie Feathers
26. "The Cuckoo" by Clarence Ashley
27. "The Wedge" by Dick Dale and His Deltones
28. "A Gringo Like Me" by Ennio Morricone
29. "Wrecking Ball" by Gillian Welch
30. "Honky Tonk Blues" by Hank Williams
31. "Jump Around" by House of Pain
32. "Portland Oregon" by Loretta Lynn & Jack White
33. "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" by Kris Kristofferson
34. "Rumble" by Link Wray
35. "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen
36. "Ball and Biscuit" by The White Stripes
37. "Woke Up This Morning" by Alabama3
38. "Bo Diddley" by Bo Diddley
39. "The Promised Land" by Bruce Springsteen
40. "Speedo" by The Cadillacs

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wilder things and Hi-Beams

Today I've come to realize just how spoiled we are out here in the West, where we can just throw some clothes in a bag, put on a pair of sunglasses and be under the Big Sky in just a few hours.

As if gallivanting all about Montana wasn't entertainment enough, we managed to take in Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams three times and got plugged into the electrical outlet that is the acoustic honky-tonk music of The Wilders.

This was supposed to be a no-holds-barred, big-iron-on-your-hip, kind of excursion and Bozeman and Livingston, Montana did not disappoint. Tom and I set out on Thursday morning and plowed straight through to Bozeman, aided by a 20-hour iPod soundtrack prepared especially for the adventure.

After seeing Halden Wofford and The Hi-Beams bless 2,000 revelers in downtown Bozeman with some pure 'lectric honky-tonk music, we headed to the outskirts of town to a little honky-tonk called The Filling Station to catch their show there.

Little did we know what was in store for us there.

The Wilders look harmless enough, armed with only an archtop, dobro, doghouse bass and a fiddle. About two minutes after we made it through the door, we found out they came loaded for bear.

Now, I've never been in a riot, but I have to guess that the frenzy The Wilders whipped up when they broke into the most fantastic, wailing version of the old chestnut "Muleskinner Blues" was just a splash of gasoline away from burning the honky-tonk to the ground.

I looked over at Tom while the paint was peeling off the walls and the whipsaw of 200 people swingdancing in a 20x20 foot area was threatening to turn us into chaff and sparks were coming from his eyes from the volts being pumped into him with every megawatt smash of the fiddle bow on the strings.

After The Wilders had finished their destruction, HW and The Hi-Beams took it home.

Because we knew we still hadn't wrung all the fun out of the trip, we decided to follow HW and The Hi-beams over the pass to Livingston. We set up shop in a dive-y downtown hotel and caught that night's show at the Murray Hotel, surrounded by the strangest mix of ranchers, millionaires on fishing tour, meth tweakers with 5 teeth, frat boys, 75-year-old honky-tonk regulars, three dogs, silicone-enhanced washed-up strippers and a "reformed" Mormon girl drinking whiskey.

I guess it goes without saying that I survived all of that and the 7-hour drive back through Montana to Cheney.

Now I have to marshal all of my resources to prepare for the serendipitous arrival of The Wilders at the Medical Lake Bluegrass festival next month. I'm really not sure if that crowd and the venue will do the band justice, though.