What are you listening to today? #nowplaying

ipodHere are the last 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

1. Frosty–Albert Collins

2. Pilgrimage–R.E.M.

3. Jailbreak–AC/DC

4. That Girl–Stevie Wonder

5. Skinny Legs–Lyle Lovett

6. All Around The World–Garland Jeffreys

7. Jailbreak–Thin Lizzy

8. Roll Over Beethoven–Chuck Berry

9. Let It Be–The Beatles

10. The Trouble With Never–Van Halen


The “Welcome to 2010” Shuffle Report


The Shuffle Report: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

A new year, a new shuffle report. Haven’t done one of these in a while, so I figured the start of a new year is a great way to get back into the groove. As my thoughts turn from the joy of sleeping in to the anguish of having to now get up on time, I spent part of the last of my extended holi-days organizing the house, cleaning up…you know, the fun stuff. Right.

As for the tunes, here’s the first ten songs of the first of many shuffle reports to come. And now, time to set the alarm for tomorrow. Let’s see..how do I work this thing again? It’s been awhile…

1. When The Lights Go Out–Bruce Springsteen (Tracks) (Always a good sign when the first song of the year is a Springsteen song. Always a good sign.)

2. She Didn’t Know–The Tragically Hip (Up To Here) (From the album that broke them wide open.)

3. Adult Education–Hall & Oates (The Very Best Of) (I have always considered Daryl Hall to be one of the best pop vocalists around. Can’t believe he’s 63.)

4. Trick or Treat–Robert Cray (The Definitive Collection) (A great blues talent.)

5. Up Around The Bend–Creedence Clearwater Revival (Chronicle, Volume 1) (Bet you didn’t know that these guys have sold 26 million records in the U.S alone. 26 million.)

6. Broken Down–Eric Clapton (Reptile) (More mellow Clapton than bluesy Clapton, but a decent tune nonetheless).

7. Finish What Ya Started–Van Halen (OU812) (From the post-Dave-then-pre-Dave, Sammy Hagar days. Glad Dave’s back in the fold, but Wolfgang Van Halen is no match for original bassist Michael Anthony).

8. Foreplay/Long Time–Boston (Boston) (Think CCR sold a lot of albums? Boston has sold 31 million, mostly of which is this album, a staple of classic rock radio.)

9. I’ve Been Waiting On You–Al Green (I Can’t Stop) (Great return to form from soul master.)

10. The Valley–Los Lobos (The Town And The City) (A new album supposedly in 2010? Can’t wait.)

From The Ticket Stub Vault: Van Halen (or is it Van Hagar?)


August 20, 1986 (Montreal Forum)

Following the much publicized departure of David Lee Roth from Van Halen in 1985, the band was soon joined on the frontlines by singer and guitarist Sammy Hagar. Hagar had enjoyed moderate success both as a member of Montrose and as a solo artist (“I Can’t Drive 55“)

The first album featuring Hagar on lead vocals was “5150“, released in March 1986. With Eddie’s new-found fondness of keyboards (as evidenced on the hit “Jump“) the album went on to be their first #1 on Billboard, propelled by songs like “Why Can’t This Be Love“, “Dreams” and “Love Walks In“. Within days of the album’s release the band hit the road for a tour that would last until November of that year. There were only two Canadian dates, one at the CNE in Toronto on August 18th and the other in Montreal two days later.

The concert was, in a word, deafening. I can still recall the show opening with the sound of Eddie wailing away somewhere offstage and then simply strolling on to the stage as he played and was joined by the rest of the guys as they took their positions. The band then kicked into high gear with their classic cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and the aural assault went on from there. New Van Halen, old Van Halen…lots of ground was covered. And with the addition of a second quitar on stage, Eddie had more time for keyboards which were featured prominently on 5150. There was a new Van Halen pulling into the station, and old and new fans were ready to climb on board.

But it wasn’t just seeing Van Halen that night that made it memorable; it was also the choice of opening act. When I heard who it was going to be, it wasn’t anyone I could ever guess would be in the position of opener: Canadian rock legends Bachman-Turner Overdrive. But this was not the BTO of old; this was BTO as a trio, featuring Randy Bachman, his brother Tim and ex-Guess Who drummer Garry Peterson keeping the beat. On this night however, Peterson was replaced by drum tech Billy Chapman, as Peterson had suffered an injury to his leg.

I don’t know if it was because they were opening for an act like Van Halen in front of a crowd ready for some kick-ass rock n roll, but on this night, this version of BTO did not disappoint. In fact, I’ve never heard “Takin’ Care of Business” rock so hard. The crowd couldn’t get enough. One of the best reactions to an opening act that I had ever seen.

Up next: Randy Bachman is working on a new album, scheduled for release later than this year. As for the reunited Van Halen with David Lee Roth (but minus bassist Michael Anthony) there is some new material in the works but it’s unlikely it will see the light of day until sometime mid-2010 due to Eddie’s recent surgery on his hand. And as for Sammy Hagar, he’s busy rocking with his new supergroup Chickenfoot.

Here’s how Van Halen closed out each show on that tour. My ears, my ears…

The “It’s lunch time, going for a stroll and hope it doesn’t rain” Shuffle Report


Decided to take a leisurely stroll on my lunch hour, and of course, brought the iPod along for the ride. And it didn’t rain. 🙂

1. Loose Change–Bruce Springsteen (Tracks) [Will there be a Tracks 2? One can only hope.]
2. D’Yer Mak’er–Led Zeppelin (Houses of The Holy) [Actually one of my least favourite Zep tracks.]
3. Doctor Robert–The Beatles (Revolver)
4. What Are You At?–Great Big Sea (Great Big Sea) {The pride and joy of the Rock.]
5. In The Movies–Sloan (Pretty Together) [Great Canadian power pop.]
6. Runaround–Van Halen (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge) [Subtle they ain’t.]
7. Polly Come Home–Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (Raising Sand) [I really hope these two record together again. An excellent pairing.]
8. Bullet The Blue Sky–U2 (Joshua Tree) [Did anybody buy the latest U2 cd? Anybody?]
9. My Baby Blue–John Hiatt (Beneath This Gruff Exterior)
10. Pictures Of Lily–The Who (Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy) [A song about…well, teenage boys know what it’s about. ‘Nuff said.]

Return of the Supergroup?


How do you define a “supergroup”? Generally speaking, the band members that make up a supergroup usually have achieved some level of success as solo artists or members of other groups. Sometimes (but not always) they are short lived, and only manage to release one or two albums. In the 60s it was bands like Cream, Blind Faith and CSNY; in the 70s, ELP and Bad Company; in the 80s and 90s it was Asia, The Travelling Wilburys, The Firm and Bad English.

In recents months, two new “supergroups” (pictured above) have hit the scene that I think are worthy of mention. The first is Chickenfoot, consisting of Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Sammy Hagar (solo and Van Halen), Joe Satriani (solo) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). On paper, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that these guys aren’t going to be playing any balllads at their shows. Their debut cd hit stores last month. If you’re a Sammy or Joe fan, then this may be right up your alley. Check out the video of their first single, “Oh, Yeah”. I kinda like it.

The other new supergroup is Tinted Windows. Whereas Chickenfoot is hoping to attract fans of Van Halen circa 1990, Tinted Windows is aiming to attract fans of such power pop luminaries as Cheap Trick and Fountains of Wayne (count me as a fan), which makes sense when you look at the band’s makeup: Bun. E. Carlos (Cheap Trick), Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), and on vocals, Taylor Hanson of “MMMBop” fame*. It might seem like an odd mix at first, considering Taylor Hanson wasn’t even born until Cheap Trick had already released about seven albums, but it works. In fact, Hanson, Schlesinger and Iha have a history together, so this isn’t just some random get together. Unfortunately, while their debut album is available through outlets like Amazon.ca, it’s not yet available on the Canadian iTunes store (although you can buy two of their singles). Check out their video for “Kind of A Girl”:
(*Bit of MMMBop trivia: ever watch the show House? It’s the ringtone on House’s phone. Hilarious, considering the nature of the character.)

The Best of Both Worlds

Homer Rocks

So it’s Sunday night, and the weekend’s winding down. I was relaxing, doing a little channel surfing on the ol’ Aquos when I landed on an episode of the Simpsons from 2002 called “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation”. It’s one of my favourites. It’s the episode when Homer goes to a rock and roll fantasy camp. For me, it was the best of both worlds: rock and roll, and tv. (And speaking of the best of both worlds, I have two songs by that title, one by the late, great Robert Palmer from his 1978 album “Double Fun” and the other by Van Halen, or “Van Hagar” if you prefer.  Each great songs in their own right. But I’m getting off topic…)

The Simpsons episode features cameos by Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Lenny Kravitz and Brian Setzer. One of my favourite lines is when Mick, sitting at an adding machine, turns to Keith and says they need to find a cheaper brand of oatmeal for the camp. Priceless.

So this episode got me thinking about music on tv, going back to the days when Muchmusic was just an idea on paper. These were the days of classics like American Bandstand, Soul Train, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, and The Midnight Special. Later there was NBC’s Friday Night Videos, Solid Gold and in Toronto there was Toronto Rocks, Citylimits, and the CBC had Good Rockin’ Tonight. I’m sure I’m leaving out some.


One memory that stands out was in 1975 when on an episode of American Bandstand, Dick Clark aired the video for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I can still remember thinking how incredibly cool it was. Music videos had of course existed for years before that, but in my opinion I think it was this video in particular that launched the music video generation.

(BTW: I saw Queen live in 1982 and even got to meet drummer Roger Taylor when I was working at a radio station in Montreal. My brush with greatness!)

What are your memories of music on tv? Anything really special stand out?

Bonus Post!  “The Shuffle Report”

To continue on a theme from the last post, here just for fun are the last 10 songs I’ve listened to in shuffle mode on my iPod at the time I wrote today’s post (no editing):

1. I Had A Dream–Ray Charles (The Birth of Soul, Disc 3)

2. Reason To Believe–Bruce Springsteen (Nebraska)

3. Is She Really Going Out With Him?–Joe Jackson (Two Rainy Nights–Live)

4. Take Me To The Pilot–Elton John (Here and There–Live)

5. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)–The Beatles (Abbey Road)

6. No No Song–Ringo Starr (Photograph–The Very Best Of)

7. Strange Days–Matthew Good (In A Coma)

8. Mr. Soul–Buffalo Springfield (Retrospective)

9. Dark Angel–Blue Rodeo (Five Days In July)

10. Here To Stay–Pat Metheny Group (We Live Here)