Category Archives: Music

Christine McVie (1943-2022)

A few years back, perhaps around 2015 or 2016, I caught Fleetwood Mac in concert. Though the crowd was generally older (like me) there were a nice amount of fairly young people there.

The group had its classic lineup of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, and, of course, Christine McVie.

Yesterday came the shocking news that Ms. McVie had passed away at the age of 79.

As shocking as it was to hear this, it is sadly something we’re going to be having more and more of in the coming years: The passing of some incredibly great musical talent whose career heights were in the 1960’s through the 1980’s.

A while back (you can read it here) I wrote about a sobering article Damon Linker about the “coming death of every rock legend”.

Doing simple math, you realize that many of those wonderful artists of yesteryear that people in my generation and beyond admire are growing increasingly older.

I recall when we went to see Fleetwood Mac I read an article about them and was shocked, at the time, to read that Christine McVie was (at the time) in her mid-70’s. I realized all the members of the band were getting up there in age and that’s why when the Damon Linker article came out I felt a fresh wave of sober sadness at the prospect of what’s to come.

My all time favorite musical artist is David Bowie and he passed away at the relatively young age of 69 in 2016, now a seemingly too long six years ago.

And yesterday I felt that same wave of sadness regarding Ms. McVie.

While the group had its internal friction, Fleetwood Mac’s classic 1970’s group, featuring Ms. McVie, Nicks, Buckingham, Fleetwood, and her ex-husband John were freaking incredible.

Their first album, 1975’s Fleetwood Mac, featured the debut of this version of the band (they were around since the 1960’s in other forms) was an incredible work…

But it was their next album, 1977’s Rumours, which sent them into the stratosphere…

While their follow up albums didn’t quite live up to this one in terms of sales, they continued, despite those already mentioned inter-band frictions, to release pretty decent works… even if band members would leave and then come back.

In the wake of Ms. McVie’s passing, I’ve seen people posting how they feel she was better than Stevie Nicks or that they always preferred her music over that of the others and… come on.

What made Fleetwood Mac so damn great is that you had such a wonderful and incredibly strong variety of songs coming from Buckingham, from Nicks, and, yes, from McVie. And that’s not to forget about what was brought to the table by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie as well! In fact, I recall an interview with Lindsey Buckingham where he said this version of Fleetwood Mac was not unlike The Beatles in terms of talent.

He might well have been right.

Truly the band had a surplus of talent and while I’m sad to read about Ms. McVie’s passing, at least we have her legacy of work out there to enjoy.

Here then is one of my favorites Fleetwood Mac songs featuring Ms. McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, and which is perhaps not as well known as some of the others. From 1982, “Hold Me”…

Rest in peace.

What will become of the movie industry…?

Stumbled upon this rather grim article written by Tony Maglio and presented on indiewire.com…

Warner Bros Discover lost 2.4 Billion and Lionsgate lost 1.8 Billion and its not even dinnertime

The article rightfully wonders how film studios can survive with such staggering losses and, frankly, I wonder the same.

Looking at this from a longer view, it seems to me this is part and parcel of, of all things, the arrival of home computers and the internet.

Let me explain.

When home computers first appeared they were crude yet began changing the landscape. I’m old enough to have been part of the very first generation to have one way, waaaaaaaayyyy back in the early 1980’s. My first computer was the venerable Atari 800…

Compared to what we now have, the Atari 800 was a laughably crude and for the most part primitive machine. And yet I almost instantly found a use for it. See, I was in high school at the time and the word processing program it had allowed me to write reports and get them printed out (on an equally crude and extremely slow printer) which was an incredible blessing!

No longer did I have to use a typewriter and white out errors or have to start all over again when I made too many errors. With Atari’s Word Processor, I could type and correct the whole thing and print it out only when it was ready!

A truly marvelous innovation!

Of course, the Atari computers didn’t last and soon IBM and Apple computers appeared. Apple was viewed as more “graphic” intensive but the IBM computers seemed to have the leg up. They were constantly improving and, like the mania to buy new iPhones or new gaming computers, one expected each new generation of IBM or Windows based computers to be better and better.

And they were!

And then came the internet, which is essentially phase two.

Now, you could interact with people all over the world. You could communicate via email. You could send files…

When MP3s became a thing, you no longer needed to store your music on CDs or have those vinyl records (by then, cassettes were a thing of the past and, yes, I know vinyl records are making a comeback).

You could keep your music on your computer and soon enough, even buy albums digitally without having to leave the comfort of your home. Suddenly, all those music stores I frequented -some of which were incredibly large!- were gone…

Then came the Kindle and the iPad and, as with music, now you didn’t need to actually buy physical copies of books. You could buy digital copies and buy and read them in the comfort of your home and, just like that, bookstores also became something of a thing of the past.

Certainly in my area there are only a fraction of them around like there used to be!

Alas, next in line were movies.

With the ability to create music and book files, it wasn’t long before digital copies of movies became a thing as well. Further, Netflix appeared and showed the industry that streaming was also a viable option to watching movies and TV shows.

However, people still went to theaters to see the latest releases, so things seemed to be going ok…

Until COVID hit.

Suddenly people were homebound and the studios had to hold back on releasing their upcoming films. In some cases, these films eventually were released but appeared on streaming services very quickly afterwards. It’s fair to say that films such as Wonder Woman 84, No Time to Die, and Tenet, regardless of their quality (and I know some feel they’re not great films at all), would have performed far better had COVID not kept them from being released as they should have been… and those are the three “biggest” films I can think of offhand which were victims of COVID.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to notice after spending all these years watching the ebb and flow of entertainment: Something that is big at one point might suddenly become old hat really quickly.

There was a time disco music ruled. Then, suddenly, no one wanted to hear disco music. There was a time grunge ruled. Then, it was gone.

Movie theaters for so many years have been THE place to go see new films. But with COVID, we stopped going to them en mass. Yes, there are exceptions (Top Gun Maverick and the latest Spider-Man film being two of them) but in general the entire industry is in a funk.

And now that COVID is somewhat a thing of the past (get vaccinated, people!) we’re seeing that audiences aren’t necessarily flocking back to see the latest movies. At least not quite yet.

For we have seen movies appear on various streaming services and some of us figure we’ll just wait a month or two and see whatever film is currently in theaters then.

It’s happened to me, quite frankly, with Black Adam. I’m certainly curious to see it (Dr. Fate is a favorite comic book character of mine and the fact that they got Pierce Brosnan to play the role delights me!) but frankly… I can wait.

How many other people are saying the same thing?

I’ve mentioned it before to friends of mine, but we still don’t know the extent to which the internet and home computers will affect our lives. We’re seeing it, day by day, from the early days when I realized I could use a Word Processor to write my High School reports, to realizing you can have your entire music collection on a small memory card to realizing you can have your entire library (books, comic books, magazines, etc.) on a memory card as well, to where we now realize we can stream or own movies on that same memory card.

Where will it all ultimately end?

I guess we’ll all find out together.

What a way to start the year…

Saw this meme way back when 2020 was coming to an end…

Was I a good year | New Year's Day | Know Your Meme

2020 wasn’t much fun but neither was 2021. For the family and I in particular, it was downright awful.

So we said goodbye to 2021 and we aren’t even done with the first month of 2022 and already its been this avalanche of bad news coming through.

I suppose the biggest bits of news are the celebrity deaths. While it happened on the very last day of 2021 (December 31st), you had the beloved Betty White, longtime star of television and movies, passing away just shy of her 100th birthday…

Betty White dead at 99: Best moments and quotes

Yesterday/today came the news of the passing of two celebrities, Meat Loaf, aka Michael Lee Aday, mostly known as a terrific singer but also actor…

And, finally (for now, I suppose), comedian Louie Anderson…

Not My Job: We Quiz Comedian Louie Anderson On The Song 'Louie Louie' : NPR

Betty White had supposedly had a stroke a few days before her passing and it was likely the cause of her death. I read articles which stated Louie Anderson was being treated for cancer and this was the cause of his death.

As for Meat Loaf, the reports indicate he had contracted COVID and this was the cause of his death.

While the information is still very fresh and not entirely sourced, there have been those who have noted the singer had stated in previous interviews he was against vaccine mandates. There was evidence to suggest he had a conservative viewpoint.

Obviously, I can only go by those reports as I didn’t know the man myself.

However…

While it feels unseemly to speculate, I can’t help myself.

I can’t help but wonder if he was one of those people who refused to get vaccinated for COVID.

Understand: There is no joy in this speculation. I don’t have any feelings but sadness at his passing.

But I’d be lying if it doesn’t cause me to contemplate the weird times we’re living in.

We live in a time where the politization of things seems to have gone waaaaaaay too far.

In the past, vaccinations weren’t something I thought about all that much but when I did, I tended to view them positively.

After all, you vaccinate yourself against Polio. Chicken Pox. Measles. Mumps. Shingles. The flu.

I can’t recall anyone stating these vaccines were some liberal plot and/or a threat to one’s freedoms and yet this seems to be exactly what’s happened with too many people when it comes to COVID vaccines.

It hurts to realize this weird thinking has taken over too many people, especially when I have very close family members on my side as well as my wife’s side who have fallen into this bullshit crap as well.

Which begs the question: What is it going to take to convince people reluctant to get vaccinated to do so?

How many more people have to pass away before then?

I just don’t know anymore.

It’s a hell of a way to begin the new year, though.

My thoughts are with the families of those who passed, regardless.

POSTSCRIPT: Just goes to show how much has happened and how many celebrities have passed. I forgot to mention two:

Yvette Mimieux. Perhaps not as well known today, but an absolutely stunning actress, perhaps best known for the original The Time Machine and Where The Boys Are. She was 80.

And, shockingly, Bob Saget, amiable comedian and star of the popular Full House. He was 65.

Let It Be, 2021 vs 1969 film Version

There’s been considerable interest, at least for me, in the upcoming release of the new Let It Be documentary/film.

Way back in 1968/9, Michael Lindsay-Hogg was hired by The Beatles to document the process of making their next album, which wound up being Let It Be.

The album, and film, were for years thought to be fraught with issues. The album’s creation featured friction between the members of the band and, when they were done making the album, seemed to feel the end product wasn’t worth revisiting until later. They would wind up making another album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be wound up being given to Phil Spector who added his famous (or, going by Paul McCartney’s reaction to the whole thing, infamous) “wall of sound”. That album would be released as their “last” album, even though they made it before Abbey Road.

Meanwhile, the Michael Lindsay-Hogg documentary was released in a very limited run and, it appeared, The Beatles themselves weren’t all that happy with the final product there either. The film essentially was locked up in a vault and released once more in the 1980’s and hasn’t been seen since.

Director Peter Jackson, the man responsible for the Lord of the Rings movies, was offered the entire 56 hours of footage Mr. Lindsay-Hogg filmed during that time and will soon release a brand new 6 hour long documentary featuring that material.

Over at Rollingstone.com, Brian Hiatt offers a fascinating -though brief- interview with the 81 year old Michael Lindsay-Hogg regarding his original work and his experiences with The Beatles as well as his opinion of the documentary he released versus the one that Peter Jackson is about to release. It’s a fascinating read:

Original Let It Be Director Defends His Film: “I Don’t Care” That Ringo Hates It

Now, to begin, that headline is far juicier than it need be. At the risk of SPOILING the interview, the headline makes it sound like Mr. Lindsay-Hogg has some kind of anger against Ringo which, if you read the interview, is clearly not there. He feels like Ringo’s impressions of the original film may be dated and that he likely hasn’t seen it in a very long time and may not be quite remembering it for what it was.

Further, Mr. Lindsay-Hogg seems to be perfectly content with the idea of Peter Jackson doing “his” version of the documentary with Mr. Lindsay-Hogg’s footage. Mr. Lindsay-Hogg feels like he did the best he could at that time and with the demands for a 1 and 1/2 hour film.

Also interesting -and again, I know I’m SPOILING things- Mr. Lindsay-Hogg appears to be the person who suggested The Beatles have their famous concert on the rooftops of the building, which served as the climax of his movie!

Fascinating, fascinating stuff.

In spite of my spoiling things, if you are a fan of The Beatles and interested in reading about his thoughts on the film and what happened behind the scenes while making it, please give it a read. At the very least your jaw will drop when he describes his first meeting with the band… and what John Lennon brought in for them to hear!!!

Different times indeed, my friends.

But there is one portion of the interview in particular I found especially intriguing, so much so that I want to present it here.

For many years its been noted by historians that The Beatles’ public facade was a creation made to make them look like pleasant chaps who were witty and funny and just really, really nice guys.

The reality, as many have pointed out, was quite different. The Beatles hailed from Liverpool and, again as many have noted, it was a very rough neighborhood. Further, when they first set out to play clubs in Germany, they would appear at many very rough clubs. I recall the father of a friend of mine many years ago said they were in a club in Germany (he was German) when The Beatles played and there was plenty of shouting, hurling of drinks, and fights, and The Beatles (who at that point hadn’t yet recruited Ringo Starr) were very much at home in this very rough place.

Anyway, if you read the interview, you get to this part:

(Question): As it is, the brief moments of tension you do show (in your film) between Paul and George are among the most famous Beatles footage ever captured.
(Michael Lindsay-Hogg): A lot of people were surprised. Because the Beatles had been portrayed as the moptops, that they were just fucking adorable. In real life, they were tough. This just goes back to where they came from. Liverpool is a tough town. I wouldn’t particularly want to run into Paul McCartney in a dark alley, if he didn’t like me.

I find that final line about running into Paul McCartney in a dark alley absolutely hilarious.

Not that I don’t believe Mr. Lindsay-Hogg, quite the contrary!

I find it astonishing -yet all too believable- that The Beatles and their outward persona that we’re all so used to is nothing more than a fabrication, that the actual Beatles were rough, cut throat types who you simply DO NOT mess with.

But seriously, the idea of Paul freaking McCartney being someone you don’t want to run into in a dark alley…?!

As I said, it really strikes me as hilarious… though it probably isn’t!

The 10 Worst Songs By Great Artists…

…at least according to faroutmagazine.com:

The 10 Worst Songs By Great Artists

As with many such lists, one has to take it with a grain of salt… after all, opinions about artistic works, whether they be music, movies, TV shows, books, etc. are just that: Opinions.

I have to admit, I’m strongly familiar with only two of the songs listed while I have heard, but haven’t felt much one way or the other, about a few of the others.

As a HUGE The Beatles and David Bowie fan, of course I’m quite aware of The Beatles’ Revolution 9 and Bowie’s The Laughing Gnome.

The former was presented on The Beatles’ White Album, another of the spectacular later day albums The Beatles released before ultimately breaking up, and truthfully I can’t argue with this as being perhaps the worst song The Beatles released.

Revolution 9 is artistic noise, a collage of sound that for me, anyway, means little. Having said that, I’ve listened to it a few times and while it isn’t my cup of tea, I can’t say its completely without merit. It just doesn’t work for me and, if push comes to shove, as I said above, I’d agree this is probably the worst “official” The Beatles release.

As for David Bowie’s The Laughing Gnome

The fact of the matter is that David Bowie’s career followed a slow trajectory up. He produced quite a bit of stuff before finally getting his act together. The Laughing Gnome IMHO is an inoffensive, silly little song that means nothing one way or the other and was a product of a young artist who still didn’t have his course set.

How can one view that as his “worst” work?

Indeed, I’d be far harsher with any “bad” songs released post Space Oddity, when David Bowie was clearly a lot more confident of his musical skills and might have released here and there a song which doesn’t measure up to his usual levels of brilliance.

For example, and while I don’t necessarily view it as his worst, the song Too Dizzy released on what David Bowie himself considered his worst album, 1987’s Never Let Me Down, was stricken from future re-releases of the album on Bowie’s insistence. He apparently hated the song that much!

So, perhaps, we can look upon this instead of The Laughing Gnome as Bowie’s worst… at least when it comes to the artist’s own opinion!

Earworm…

Ever had a song stuck in your head and…

…you…

just..

can’t

get

rid

of it?

Been fighting a new one of late and its really strange the way these certain songs bounce around one’s head.

But first, a trip down memory lane…

A while back The Beatles White Album was released and I must have listened to it a little too much because suddenly this song -of all the ones available!- played over and over in my head…

Don’t get me wrong: I think its a great song but there were so many other great(er) songs that could have gotten stuck in my head!

Then, a little later…

I love the song, another of Stevie Nicks’ absolute terrific songs done with Fleetwood Mac, yet for a while there I was going absolutely crazy with this song rolling around and around my head.

Finally, and it seems like it may be lifting, I had this song rolling around my head…

Ok, this one’s all my own damn fault as I’ve been listening to the album, The Sound of White Noise, its featured on.

There are a few thrash/metal bands to come out of the 1980’s that to this day I really love and Anthrax is one of them. Their first vocalist and album featured Neil Turbin, but he was replaced Joey Belladona from 1984 to 1992 and the albums they made at that time are rightfully considered absolute classics of the thrash/metal genre.

However, the dreaded “creative differences” caused the band to fire Belladona and in 1992 to 2005 John Bush was the vocalist. Their first album they made together and which features the above song is indeed The Sound of White Noise. Its a terrific album IMHO though truthfully Invisible isn’t IMHO one of the best songs on that album!

It’s a weird thing getting these ear worms because the song that plays over and over into your head isn’t necessarily a song you consider a great one (the exception of the three I mentioned is Gypsy).

As I said, though, the song is starting to leave my cranium.

How do I do it?

Whenever an ear worm song starts up in my head, I think of another song and “play” it in my head to get rid of it.

In this case, believe it or not, I played Gypsy and that did the trick.

I know, I know: Aren’t you afraid that song will once again become an ear worm?

I can’t say this for everyone but I can for myself: The weird thing about getting an ear worm for me is that once the song plays itself out in my head, I tend not to get it again.

So, yeah, using Gypsy to kill off Invisible did the trick!

The Rolling Stones… and David Bowie?

It seems someone on the inside in The Rolling Stones organization has released to the internet a number of “vault” songs created by the group but to date not released.

Included among them is the original demo of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) which features David Bowie…!

Interested in hearing this demo? Click here:

The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) Demo (feat. David Bowie)

I found out years ago that this song was originally something Mick Jagger and David Bowie worked on and that Jagger, and The Rolling Stones, wound up taking the song for themselves. I don’t believe it has a “co-written” by David Bowie credit nor, to be frank, do I know if indeed Bowie had that strong a hand on it.

However, the fact that a demo like this one exists where he’s doing some background singing does make the whole thing more intriguing.

Having said that…

David Bowie and Mick Jagger formally collaborated/co-sang on only one song, a remake of Dancing In The Street

The song -and video- were created very quickly to be shown on Live Aid back in 1985 and the video, which at times has Bowie out of synch with the words, shows it. Plus there’s a sense of just filming them dancing around without seemingly giving much thought to what they were doing.

I point this out because though David Bowie in his career lent his voice to do some wonderful songs with other artists, including the excellent backgrounds to Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love

…and Under Pressure, the beautiful duet he did with Queen…

…I felt like his sole (until that demo showed up) work with Mick Jagger showed that not all duets worked. The fact is that Mick Jagger’s voice is so in your face that Bowie’s singing/vocals seemed to be pushed far to the back and mostly obliterated. When the two sing together, all I seem to hear is Jagger!

So too it is with the demo of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It). I don’t believe this version of the song was ever intended for release, at least not until now (I’m assuming this release wasn’t an illegal thing, but who knows), but I’m hard pressed to hear where exactly Bowie is in it.

Maybe I’m just getting deaf in my older age…!

Still, a fascinating relic of times past.

Love the art…?

There’s an old saying about “loving the art, not the artist” when it comes to works you really like but whose creator is someone you may have issues with.

It’s an intriguing thought experiment and it does point out your tolerance for the antics of people and also, perhaps, your limits.

Of late, various cast members of both Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its follow-up series Angel have spoken up about creator and main producer Joss Whedon.

What they say about him isn’t pretty.

There have been stirrings for a while regarding Joss Whedon. Back in 2017 his ex-wife Kai Cole wrote a scathing letter regarding her ex.

Among other things she pointed out his hypocrisy, that he claimed he was a “feminist” while having numerous affairs behind his wife’s back. Click the link in the above paragraph if you want to read the full details Ms. Cole presented.

Still, Mr. Whedon remained a high in demand director. He had a cult following for his various series, including Firefly, which while perhaps prematurely cancelled, was popular enough to have Serenity, a concluding feature film made out of it.

But there remained whispers out there about Mr. Whedon and the next big negative press he received occurred following his taking over for Zack Snyder to finish up (actually re-do, based on what I’ve read) the 2017 film Justice League.

Actor Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the film, originally praised Mr. Whedon. Perhaps it was part of the Hollywood game to offer praise to all those you work with. In time, though, he had a change of heart and announced he could no longer do it.

In 2020 Mr. Fisher formally accused Joss Whedon of “abusive, unprofessional” behavior. Jason Momoa, who played Aquaman in the film, lent support to Mr. Fisher, noting that “serious stuff went down” during the Justice League reshoots which Mr. Whedon made.

Though less vocal, Gal Gadot, who played Wonder Woman in the film, also stated her experience working with Mr. Whedon “wasn’t the best one”.

Now, within the past couple of days, Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, took to twitter to not only say she believed Ray Fisher’s accounts of Joss Whedon’s abuses, but that she herself was a victim of them.

It’s truly a harrowing account and, from the link in the above paragraph:

Carpenter’s accounts of Whedon’s “harassment” and “serialized abuses of power” include him accusing her of “sabotaging” “Angel” by getting pregnant and “calling [her] ‘fat’ to colleagues.” For Whedon, perhaps, it all ended with him “unceremoniously” firing Carpenter from the series after she gave birth, but the actor couldn’t move on that easily.

After Ms. Carpenter spoke, the floodgates truly did open. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy, stated she was proud of her work on the show but that “I don’t want to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon. Amber Benson, who played Tara on the show, stated “Buffy was a toxic environment and it starts at the top”.

Perhaps the most chilling statement came from Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s little sister and was a teenager when she worked on the series. She noted that after some incident between them Mr. Whedon and she, he was not allowed to be alone with her.

Incredibly, there are still more stories coming out, including one regarding how he abused female writers he worked with and took a sadistic pleasure in making them cry.

Yikes.

As I mentioned above, one can love the art but not the artist but there does come a point where the artist becomes so loathsome within your mind that the work produced by them may be tainted and, for you, impossible to love it again.

I’ve read posts from people who cannot watch any Mel Gibson films because of his drunken actions many years before. While he claims he was at the time drinking too much and nearing a nervous breakdown, its still tough to accept his racist and abusive words -all recorded- as simply coming out of that alone.

Similarly, following the death of David Bowie, there were those who noted he is alleged to have had sexual relations with underage girls back in the early to mid-70’s. Yeah, it was a different time and there were teenage groupies who made it a point of sleeping with rock stars and, yeah, there so many drugs being used and, yeah, there are similar allegations/stories related to other very big musical artists who were popular at the time…

…but you know what? All that’s an excuse if these people, who should have known better, were allegedly having sex with underage girls.

Unlike David Bowie, I’m not the biggest Joss Whedon fan out there. While I enjoyed Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, if I never see an episode of these shows I truthfully won’t miss them. Similarly, I doubt I’ll revisit either of his Avenger films or his version of Justice League.

Further, based on the press he’s getting now, I wonder if he’ll become a pariah in Hollywood and we’ve seen the last new material from him.

Perhaps.

But I love the music of David Bowie and I’ve mentioned it plenty of times around these parts. As much as I like his music, I’ve taken great pains to avoid any detailed biographies about him. I’ve done the same regarding biographies about Led Zeppelin. The Doors. The Rolling Stones. Even The Beatles.

Why?

I suppose its a form of cowardice on my part. I so like the music created by these people and I’m afraid I won’t know how to feel about this music I love so much when I’m confronted by all the alleged nasty details related to those who created them.

Recently, Courtney Enlow presented this article for io9.com:

It’s Well Past Time to Rethink ‘Auteur Theory’ and the Way Actresses Are Treated

In the article, which touches upon the recent Joss Whedon revelations, Ms. Enlow points out the oft told story of how director Stanley Kubrick treated actress Shelley Duvall on the set of The Shining as well as actor Tippi Hendrin’s revelations about how Alfred Hitchcock treated her -sadistically- on the set of The Birds.

I love both films and consider them classics of the horror genre.

But each time I hear/read the stories about how Ms. Duvall and Ms. Hendrin were treated on the sets of these films… I can’t help but realize that what we’re seeing on the screen is genuine suffering by the actors who were treated terribly by those two directors.

And I have to admit… I don’t know if I can watch those films again.

Two films I love by directors whose work I generally love. Songs created by people who may have been engaged in some very questionable activities.

It’s a tough line to draw.

When can one no longer love the art because of the artist?

Sad Story…

Over on theguardian.com Alexis Petridis offers a look at Bee Gee Barry Gibb, 74 years old and the last remaining Gibb brother…

The Bee Gee’s Barry Gibb: “There’s fame and there’s ultra-fame – It can destroy you.”

As someone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, I was all too familiar with the meteoric rise of The Bee Gees, mostly on the wave of Disco and the film Saturday Night Fever

Here’s the thing: As monster a hit as the Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was, as popular as Disco was, there was an incredible backlash that happened only a couple of years after its zenith.

I recall a professor in High School or College mused that the death of Disco was inevitable the moment the parents (the older generation) showed up at the Discos and the younger crowds decided they no longer wanted any part of it. But there were other issues as well, and some feel they might have related to homophobia or perhaps the too “out there” styles of that time.

I don’t know.

As I said, I grew up in that era but I was too young to go to Discos and by the time I could go to clubs, Disco was long gone.

But, as with all things, there comes a re-evaluation over time and I suspect people hold the Disco era in far better/nicer terms than they did in the later 1970’s and into the 1980’s, when there was a sense it should not only be buried, but incinerated before burying.

Which brings us to the above article. Barry Gibb, as I noted, is the last remaining Gibb brother. Maurice and Robin, the two brothers who along with Barry made up the Bee Gees, and younger brother Andy Gibb, are gone. Andy Gibb, who had at least one big hit with the song Shadow Dancing

…was a cocaine addict and would die at the too young age of 30.

Brothers Maurice and Robin would die years later, and they too had problems with addiction.

What’s saddest regarding this article is that not only does Barry Gibb still feel the hurt of how people turned against their music (the author notes he is surprised people like the music now) but how his relationship with his brothers in turn soured as their success grew.

Barry Gibb notes that he was essentially not talking to his brothers when they passed away, and I can’t imagine the pain that must cause in him.

Once someone’s gone, whatever chance at closure is gone as well.

Still, the music remains and, one must note, it is still remembered and, in many parts, cherished.

A sad article, certainly, but at least there’s that.

Re Imaginos (2020) a (Almost Right On Time!) Review

As I noted a while back (you can read it here) I was very interested in two “new” music releases on November 6th, David Bowie’s Metrobolist (I reviewed it here) and Albert Bouchard’s Re Imaginos.

I’ve already gone into the history of this later album, but I’ll nonetheless offer this brief recap: In the early 1980’s, the band Blue Oyster Cult, perhaps most famous nowadays for the song Don’t Fear the Reaper and its “cowbell”, were on the verge of breaking up.

Albert Bouchard, the band’s drummer (and the man responsible for the actual cowbell in Don’t Fear the Reaper!) at that time in the early-mid 1980’s took many songs throughout BOC’s history and created a demo for a concept album he called Imaginos.

Here’s that demo:

The album was shopped around to various companies but no one was interested in releasing it. A few years later, however, the album was reworked with the other members of the band -minus Albert Bouchard himself- as well as several session musicians and the album Imaginos, credited to BOC and not Albert Bouchard, was released in 1988…

imaginos LP - Amazon.com Music

Though I have no inside information on how the album came about, the fact that Albert Bouchard was not involved in a project he demoed suggested that maybe there was some bad feelings between the band and the drummer.

Many, many years passed and, this year, BOC released a new album and, lo and behold, in their first music video, who should pop up in it -and jokingly hitting a cowbell!- but Albert Bouchard?! (He first appears at the 1:07 mark)

Shortly afterwards, I heard that Albert Bouchard was releasing Re Imaginos, his version of the demo featured above…

Albert Bouchard - Re Imaginos CD – Merchbucket.com

My best guess is that whatever problems/anger they had between each other was resolved and, while Albert Bouchard hasn’t re-joined the band, his album was released.

So, what did I think about it?

I like the album but my main gripe remains: Albert Bouchard, to my ears, isn’t as good a singer as BOC’s Eric Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser. His voice isn’t bad, mind you, and in several songs the elderly/weary singing works very well, but in others it doesn’t do quite as well.

Just as an example, we now have three versions of what I consider the very best song BOC made, Astronomy. The original version was sung by Eric Bloom and is found on the 1974 BOC album Secret Treaties

Then there’s this version of the song, from 1988’s Imaginos, and sung by Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser…

Finally, this is Albert Bouchard’s version of the song from Re Imaginos (you can fast forward to the original demo version of the song above).

There are things I love in all three versions of the song but, if I’m being totally honest, I feel like the lesser version is Albert Bouchard’s from Re Imaginos. To be clear: I’m not saying its a terrible version of the song, but that the other versions for me are better.

That’s not to say, however, that all Bouchard’s versions of the songs are less than those which were released before!

This does bring me to the following: Nowadays, with so many music services available out there, you can cobble together a playlist of the various songs on Imaginos/Re Imaginos, making alternate “albums” which can feature classic BOC versions exclusively or a mix and match versions which features the original songs, songs from Imaginos, and songs from Re Imaginos.

If you’re interested in doing so!

As is, though, I recommend Re Imaginos to those who like the original demo and were curious to hear what Albert Bouchard originally intended with the Imaginos demo.

Interesting stuff!

POSTSCRIPT:

For the heck of it, here’s Metallica’s cover of Astronomy. It includes the lyrics!