Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July Chhhh-erry Bomb Zydeco Explosion Etc

My annual foray to Marin for their county fair is always topped off by catching a slightly faded in rank live act working the fair circuit, but last night's provided the most rocking set of any act I've seen there ever.

Over the years I've caught the Temptations, Peter Frampton, Grand Funk, KC & The Sunshine Band and even Johnny Cash in the lil' white tent next to the lake. The main event is always preceded by a stroll through the carnies and their colorful lighted rides and of course a look at local blue ribbon winning pies, floral arrangements , arts and crafts. A mandatory stop is the local agricultural exhibits, which was complemented this year by the color commentary of the lead judge checking out all the fresh young cows. He was in the middle of the corral wearing the mandatory garb of plaid shirt and dusty oversize blue jeans while intoning into a wireless mic " Look At The Excellent Teat Placement On That One, Perfectly Plump Mammaries and A Stylish Rump..."

Then after some Cajun Shrimp On A Stick, I got a chance to catch Joan Jett again, and I'm happy to report the broad is rocking as hard as ever...

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts took the stage at 7:30 sharp , with group tuning up while Joan danced around to a pre-recorded track from her new album"Sinner". I was glad she had lost the blonde skinhead look of awhile back and was sporting some dark bangs, a sleeveless leather mini vest top and got down to business. I noticed her longtime manager Kenny Laguna on tambourine & keyboards behind her, looking a bit like Letterman's sidekick, Paul Shaffer.

Laguna has a bit of rock n roll history to him, being part of the bubblegum rock scene back in the 60's, performing with the Archies, 1910 Fruitgum Co, as well as Tommy James and The Shondells ( where Joan's live set staple Crimson & Clover originally started life).

Archies/Ohio Express - Yummy Yummy Yummy

Kenny went on to produce for Tony Orlando, Darlene Love, Bill Medley of the Righteous Bros. as well as The Lemon Pipers, and Ohio Express. By the mid 70's and stabs at the charts with David Essex and Edwin Starr his only real production success was a Dr. Demento show novelty hit by Little Roger & The Goosebumps called "Stairway To Gilligan's Island", that predates the popular mash up concept by about 25 years...

Little Roger & The Goosebumps - Stairway To Gilligan's Island

By the late 70's, with those buublegm daze behind him, Laguna worked with Beserkely Records, producing Greg Kihn and Jonathon Richman. Around this time he found a former Kim Fowley protege named Joan Jett , who was leaving the disfunctional mess of The Runaways and the shadows of blonde lead vocalist Cherie Currie to start her own band.

The Runaways - Cherry Bomb

Suzi Quatro - Daytona Demon

Joan had been a big fam of glam rocker Suzi Quatro ( aka Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days) and was eager to rock her way to the top with a group of gals that loosely coalesced around the scene at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco. However after a few years of slugging it out on the dismal club circuit the Runaways had run their course and Joan, the most road ready of the bunch, was ready to keep on rockin... and to this day almost 30 years later, she's the only one still rolling.

At 47, she has more onstage energy than slew of performers half her age, and has a legacy of hits and near misses that make her a true queen of the scene. Whether playing for the troops at USO shows overseas, a Warped Tour crowd in Phoenix , a Biker Convention in Sturgis, or a Gay Parade gathering in San Jose, Joan has a huge and diverse audience. She's also resisted the efforts of marketers to get her music for commercials and endorsements, refusing to waterdown or corrupt her image by taking money for something she can't in good conscience sell. She once mentioned in an interview that no one thanks you when you go to bed at night for turning down an easy, but sleazy million dollars.

Joan Jett - You Don't Know What You've Got

Her first solo record featured "Bad Reputation" a track whose video came out on MTV blatantly mocking all the labels that turned her down, forcing her to start her own label Blackheart Records just to get the album released.

Joan Jett - Bad Reputation

Joan Jett - Cherry Bomb

Joan Jett - Roadrunner

Over the years she's always had to work on a DIY basis, and lately has developed a slightly more political outlook with her new album. One of her songs goe about blatantly tackling the geopolitical sh*tstorm on "Riddles" with soundbites from the poetry/press conferences of one Donald Rumsfeld. Another song to look for from her new album is "Change The World", which could go right along with anything from the Pete Seeger back catalog, just with a more metal bite to it. Five is another edgy track co-written by Kathleen Hannah of Bikini Kill/Le Tigre.

Amongst the cover songs chosen for inclusion on her new "Sinner" album, are Sweet's "AC/DC" and Paul Westerberg's "Androgynous". The Replacements cover has been a staple of her live sets over the past few years, and Jett duetted with Westerberg some years back on a Cole Porter tribute of "let's Fall In Love" on which Brian Baker played guitar as well. "Androgynous" is just one of the four songs featured in this live concert excerpt mp3 lifted from a live DVD she put out a few years back.

Joan Jett - 4 song live excerpt

featuring Paul Westerberg's "Androgynous", her own S&M theme "Fetish", Iggy Pop's "Wild Child" & and Sly Stone's "Everyday People"
from "Live In The Rockies DVD"

remaining tourdates for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts this summer

07/04 Peoria Sports Park Phoenix, AZ
07/06 Coors Amphitheatre Chula Vista , CA
07/07 Fairplex Park Pomona, CA
07/08 Pier 30/32 San Francisco, CA
07/09 Save Mart Arena Fresno, CA
07/11 Seaside Park Ventura, CA
07/12 Dodger Stadium Lot Los Angeles, CA
07/13 Sleep Train Amphitheatre Lot Marysville, CA
07/14 Idaho Center Amphitheatre Boise, ID
07/15 Gorge Amphitheatre Seattle, WA
07/16 Columbia Meadows Portland, OR
07/18 Thunderbird Stadium Vancouver, BC
07/20 Roseau County Fair Roseau, MN
07/22 Utah State Fairgrounds Salt Lake City, UT
07/23 Invesco Field Denver, CO
07/25 UMB Bank Pavillion Maryland Hts, MO
07/26 Riverbend Music Center Cincinnattii, OH
07/27 Post Gazette Pavillion Burgettstown, PA
07/28 Toms River Festival Toms River, NJ
07/29 Comerica Park and Street Detroit, MI
07/30 Tweeter Center Tinkley Park, IL
08/01 Darien Lake Fields Darien, NY
08/02 Fitchburg Airport Fitchburg, MA
08/03 Tweeter Center At the Waterfront Camden, NJ
08/04 Montage Mountain Scranton, PA
08/05 Nassau Coliseum Uniondale, NY
08/06 Englishtown Raceway Old Bridge, NJ
08/08 Verizon Wireless Amp Lot Charlotte, NC
08/09 Verizon Wireless Amp Lot Virginia Beach, VA
08/10 Nissan Pavillon Lot Bristow,VA
08/11 Tower City Ampitheatre Cleveland, OH
08/12 Park Place Barrie, ON
08/13 Parc Jean Drapean Montreal, QC
09/01 Woodstock Fair Woodstock, CT


The night before last I was scanning the local listings looking for something to do, and who to my surprise should I come across but Lil' Brian and The Zydeco Travelers. This band first came to my attenton almost some years back with a release on Rounder that highlighted their fun & uniquely American blend of funk & zydeco. Well it was time for Lil' Mike & Lil Brian to meet...

Based out of Barrett Station Texas near Houston these bayou bred cats are unabashed fans of the down and dirty south funk & hip hop, but also can work a mean traditional accordian / scrub-board vibe with the best of 'em. They call this blend of Zydeco & Funk " Z-Funk " ...Check em out if ya get a chance, as they are great, hard working and energetic live act that can kick out the serious jams . The music is like a bastardized blend of The Meters featuring Zigaboo Modeliste & the ghost of Clifton Chenier...

The scrub board guy is worth the price of admission alone, I'd have to call him Scrub Doggy Dogg for his look, and his onstage demonically possessed demeanor is somewhere else altogether...

Here's the title track from their latest release on Tomorrow Recordings "Funky Nation"

Lil' Brian & The Zydeco Travelers - Funky Nation

Summer 2006 Tour Dates

5-6 Crystal Bay, NV Stage Lounge
7 Mount Shasta, CA Stage Door Cabaret
8 Quincy, CA Black Hawk Solar Cookout
12 Evergreen, CO Little Bear Saloon
13 Santa Fe, NM WilLee's Blues
14 Durango, CO Scoot'n Blues
15 Telluride, CO Telluride Cajun Festival
20 Pisa, Italy (Calcinaia) Blues Festival
21 Atri, Italy (Teramo) Green Hills Blues Festival
22 Brindisi, Italy Brindisi Blues Festival
23 Potenza, Italy Good Morning Mr. Blues Fest
24 Pontedera, Italy Musicastrada Festival
26 Zara, Croatia TBA
27 Macerata, Italy (San Severino) San Severino Blues Festival
28 Pula, Croatia Castle Blues Festival
29 Forli, Italy (Modigliana) Strade Blue
30 Citta' Della Pieve, Italy (Perugia) Trasemino Lake Blues Festival

August 2006
6 Decatur, IL Decatur Celebration
10 Sioux City, IA The Chesterfield
12 Galena, IL Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
18 Richmond, VA Inn of Virginia "Arthur's"
19 Cockeysville, MD Hot August Blues Festival
24 Huntsville, AL Humphrey's
26-27 Atlanta, GA Six Flags Over Georgia

September 2006
13 Rochester, NY Dinosaur BBQ
14 Syracuse, NY Dinosaur BBQ
16 Stamford, CT Blues on Bedford
17 Bladensburg, MD Chick Hall Surf Club


tom said...

Are you sure the song "Yummy Yummy Yummy" that you posted isn't by The Ohio Express?

m said...

yeah i know the meta tags are confused on that... thing is the Archies , Ohio Express and even the 1910 Fruitgum Company are all somehow Laguna affiliated studio projects along with bubblegum brainstormers Jerry Kasenetz & Jeff Katz at Buddah Records