Over the past 15 years, I probably contemplate the potentiality of a Talking Heads reunion about every 4 months or so. And I’m not saying I have one of those What If/Wouldn’t That Be Cool moments, I’m saying I literally imagine myself at such an event and try to visualize what exactly is happening. I’m in one of those 4 month moments right now, spurred on by watching disastrous footage of recent Rolling Stones gigs, contemplating the cycle of events that could lead to a Ween show in 2013, and by reading a recent quote from Robert Plant where he actually hints about wanting to do a 2014 Led Zeppelin tour. So here’s my really shitty vision of being at a T-Heads reunion show: I’m in Madison Square Garden and I’ve somehow landed tickets at face value even though face is like $135… half the crowd is over 50, and 2 songs in I realize that 25% of the crowd knows nothing except for “Burning Down the House” and “Once in a Lifetime.” The band is essentially just running through the motions, and David Byrne has a look on his face like he just traded his soul for a ham sandwich. The guy sitting behind me then taps me on the shoulder and asks me both to sit down and if I can stop smoking that joint. I’m bummed – I feel hollow – I think back to when I wrote a blog about imagining this moment and realize I should have accepted fate as it was… Am I right? Can’t we all see that situation? So here’s my really awesome vision:
I’m in NYC’s Roseland Ballroom. The Heads have announced a 23 night run there dubbed All or Nothing. Tickets were hard, but I managed to land some $70 ones at face for 2 consecutive nights in the middle of the run. The stage set-up is minimal – very little lighting – and the full lineup is there. Alex Weir and Adrian Belew are both on guitar – Belew in amazing form after his stint in the Nine Inch Nails reunion. Tina Weymouth is thumping the bass with all the pent-up passion she’s been waiting to unleash for the past 30 years. It feels like it’s not even the same woman I’ve seen play with Tom Tom Club. It’s hot in there. It’s smoky. It’s sweaty. Each show of the run has followed a fairly similar setlist, but there have been divine moments that make each night stand out. This is a Tuesday, and currently the band is 8 minutes deep into “The Great Curve.” I am getting down harder than I ever have in my life, but still not as hard as the 70 year old woman sweating bullets to my left. To my right, a 21 year old EDM kid stands still staring at the stage with his mouth on the floor and a slight tear coming down his face. During “Houses in Motion” I glance to my left and notice James Murphy dancing anonymously amongst a circle of friends. At several times during the gig I check my pulse to make sure I’m still on planet Earth… And am I right on this one too? Couldn’t we all see this?
Sigh… dreams and fantasies can really mess with your head sometimes, but that’s what makes our weird human brains so amazing. God bless you David Byrne, and God bless whatever decision you ever make to reconstruct my reality. A few months back a friend of mine turned me onto the Bonus Tracks that were released on a Remain in Light reissue. I had never heard them. They crushed me. I cried when I first heard this jam called “Right Start” – it’s kind of like a mash-up of “Lifetime” and “Electric Guitar.” I imagine it as the soundtrack that the great creator had playing in his head when he was manufacturing the universe, and I kind of imagine the after-life as a world where this thing is just playing on loop for eternity. Dig in…
“Trying to keep up with all the rotating members of Snarky Puppy is a lot like trying to keep up with all the new flavors of Pringles — there’s too many to keep track of, and no matter what variety you get you’re guaranteed to have a rumble in your ass.”
“Justin Stanton would flip between the keys and the trumpet like a stoner jumps between nachos and a Snickers bar — bringing a unique flavor to each but acting like either one was the defining piece of his existence.”
Read the full review HERE at State of Mind Music, and definitely jump on seeing these cats the first chance you get. Here’s footage of them a week prior at the BK Bowl.
Time to once again readjust you collaboration flow-charts people. What happens when you take 3 of the most prolific musicians of the past few decades and throw em’ in a room together? Well, you get a shit load of new music, that’s what. So Damon Albarn of Gorillaz and Blur had another supergroup a few years back called The Good, The Bad, and The Queen – composed of Paul Simonon from The Clash on bass, the guitarist from The Verve, and the legendary Tony Allen on drums of Fela Kuti fame. That band only lasted one album and did little to utilize the power of Allen. It did lead to Simonon becoming an actual member of Gorillaz though, and left Albarn probably thinking, “Fuck, now what cool shit can I do with Tony Allen?” Well the answer to what cool shit you can do with anybody can always be answered by, “Throw Flea on bass.” And thus was created Rocket Juice and the Moon, a name apparently taken after a Nigerian artist did the album artwork and labeled it as such.
To briefly tangent, I do still believe that Damon Albarn is completely haunted every day by the fact that he will never have the dark admiration of his fellow Brits in the same way that Thom Yorke does, and thus is constantly trying to do something to impress or at least match him. Thus, after Yorke formed his side project Atoms for Peace with Flea on bass, Albarn probably felt a need to steal the thunder and make his own British side-act with the same L.A. bassist.
Anyway, Tony Allen and Flea play like they have been waiting for each other their whole lives. I’m sure the two of them could close their eyes and play a funky afro-beat groove for a solid week and a half straight. The group has only played live once, which was last October at the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland – I didn’t know the Emerald Isle was such a bustling beacon for the world of modern funk frontiers, but I’m just a stupid Yank. You can stream most of the cuts from that set at their site www.rocketjuiceandthemoon.com. Like most Albarn works, the music has both its’ gentler sides and raw attack-funk moments – but all pre-listens point to the March 27th official album release as being a must-hear beast for 2012. Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble provide the quasi-Sun-Ra psychedelic power lines, and listening to a few cuts, one can only imagine what a dance party this could and should be. The first album leak streaming above “Hey, Shooter” features Erykah Badu and is a friggin’ banger. Below is live video for “Poison” – the other end of the spectrum of what this band is – a delicate, drifting Gorillaz-esque tune. It’s great, and so are a lot of these other tunes featuring guest MC’s, but I’m hoping the album focuses on the afro-funk thunder. Unfortunately, Red hot Chili Peppers have just set a 17-month long tour or something, so it’s highly unlikely that anybody will be seeing this band anytime soon. But rest assured, if you get the chance – jump on it.