Archive for August, 2012

Send Me Dead Flowers By The U.S. Mail

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 5, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 50mm Summilux

The Delights Of Jim Marshall’s “The Rolling Stones 1972”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 5, 2012 by johnbuckley100

It was the greatest tour, by the greatest band, backing the release of perhaps the greatest album in the history of rock’n’roll.  Purists point to the Stones’ ’69 tour as the apogee of the art form, noting that it was the band in its naked glory, with only Ian Stewart to radiate the 88 on just a song or two.  But the Stones in ’72 were at their absolute peak, and with Nicky Hopkins looking at the mirror installed on his piano so he could see what the boys were up to behind him, with Jim Price and Bobby Keys filling in on horns, with Mick and Keith standing on that dragon-painted stage that had to be washed with a combination of water and 7Up, with all those songs from Exile On Main Street to be played to huge audiences, this was the pinnacle.  We don’t just say this because we were there, at Boston Garden (on the good night when they played on time), or that first night at Madison Square Garden.  We say it because it is true.

Jim Marshall was a tough, Leica-wielding pro on an assignment for Life, and he was embedded in the early hours, the pre-tour studio wrap up, the West Coast swing.  The only pictures he took from this period that really ever saw the day were what was in that Life published right around the end of the tour.  To see the remaining 80-plus pictures, in one place at one time, you had to wait until now, as The Rolling Stones 1972 was published by Chronicle Books.  Though in the text there is a swipe taken at the great Ethan Russell — they dismiss him as an amateur who hooked up with the Stones for the ’69 tour — this is a nice companion piece to Russell’s fantastic photographic chronicle of that period.

And it’s a reminder that the Stones need to do the right thing and finally release a live album from that magical moment, the ’72 tour.  Keith seems finally to have stopped blocking what for all of us, if not him, was the highlight of the band — the period when Mick Taylor played lead — and last year allowed “Brussels Affair” to be released as an official album.  A few years ago, they allowed new songs to be released from the Exile sessions. They’ve let Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones to be rereleased as a DVD.  Now comes Marshall’s book.  It is time the Stones stepped up and allowed tapes from the ’72 tour to come out as an official album.

We’ve always surmised that the reason they didn’t was that it would reveal too clearly that the nearly 40 years since Ron Wood joined the band were substandard.  But with a live album from Mick Taylor’s final tour (’73 Europe) already released, and with the movie made in ’72 available, what’s the point of keeping under wraps that live album recorded in Ft. Worth?  Jim Marshall’s fine book of photograph merely whets the appetite.

Reflections On The Passing Of Bill Doss

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2012 by johnbuckley100

We found out early in the week that Olivia Tremor Control founder Bill Doss had died at 43.  To date, there has been no front-page New York Times obit,  but there should have been.   We expect figures from rural Louisiana to have an influence on Delta blues, but Doss was a revivalist, not of American idioms, unless you consider psychedelic rock as such, but of the trippy weirdness that came when the Beatles and Stones hit their “Tomorrow Never Knows”/”Citadel” late ’60s form.

The Olivia Tremor Control came out of nowhere in 1996 with Music From The Unrealized Film Script “Dusk At Cubist Castle”, and today, 16 years after its release, it holds up as the finest psychedelic rock album since the Summer o’ Luv.  We say this with all due respect to our faves, First Communion Afterparty, and any of the mushroom swallowing young ‘uns who emerged in the OTC’s immense wake.  Dusk At Cubist Castle was a first album that  sounded like a marriage of Sgt. Pepper’s, the second side of  Abbey Road, and Badfinger — it was melodic and pure and surpassingly straightforward for all the weirdness, an accomplishment of a mature band with a big label’s budget.  And yet this first album was recorded for a pittance on a four track, albeit by a cast of musical geniuses that apparently included Doss’s Ruston (LA) High School classmate Robert Schneider, the George Martin of indy rock.

Doss and Olivia Tremor Control spawned The Elephant 6 Collective, which never had a major impact on the mainstream, but in those divots and caves where real rock’n’roll reproduces in mutant cell division, their impact was legion.  Bands like Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Of Montreal may have gotten airplay and sold songs to Madison Avenue but they never played Madison Square Garden.  Schneider’s Apples in Stereo may have sent a mighty arrow through red fruit with their theme song for The Powerpuff Girls, but none of the Elephant 6 bands were ever featured on the cover of the Rolling Stone.  If Beulah had stayed together, they might have gone all the way.  But they didn’t.

And still, on the occasion of his early passing,  we come back to Bill Doss, and Dusk at Cubist Castle, and Olivia Tremor Control.  Last year, right around this time, came word that the reformed OTC was releasing some new material, and sure enough, the magical release of their first new music since 1999 sent the entire staff of Tulip Frenzy out in search of  celebratory lysergic mead snow cones.  And word spread, even as the band toured and were featured on NPR, that a new album was in the offing.

And then last week came the bitter rejoinder: Bill Doss had died, which leaves us approximately nowhere. Singer, guitarist, dreamer, entrepreneur, front man and inspiration,  Doss is dead.  Long live Music From The Unrealized Script “Dusk At Cubist Castle”.

Look Who Just Showed Up

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 2, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 90mm Apo-Summicron-Asph.

Rarin’ To Go

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 1, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 21mm Summilux (If ever you wanted to know how sharp the 21 ‘lux is, click on the photo.)

Bill Doss R.I.P.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 1, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Bill Doss was a founder of Olivia Tremor Control, and thus a founder of the Elephant 6 Collective.  His death at age 43  was announced today.  When we search the path back to the best developments in rock’n’roll music over the last twenty years, we find Bill Doss’s footprints are deeper and clearer to see than so many others, which makes this a very sad day.

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