хороший

Международный фестиваль аудиовизуального искусства YOTA SPACE

  29 ноября, 20.00
Брайан Ино с лекцией на тему "Что такое культура и для чего она нам" /  Санкт-Петербург
ская государственная консерватория им. Римского-Корсакова, большой зал, Театральная площадь, дом 3


Вход на лекцию свободный ТОЛЬКО после регистрации на сайте yotayeslectures.ru, регистрация начнется на этой неделе. В день события на сайте также смотрите он-лайн трансляцию


Смотри завтра онлайн трансляцию лекции на  www.yotayeslectures.ru

eat me

BIRP!

Any BIRP! fans here?

I use it constantly to find good music/time waste. It also helped me find music I couldn't get using torrents, and saved me the trouble of using torrents to boot. I'm slow, I need this kind of help.

I have a referral link if anyone wants to join.

Just go here

Happy Birping!

Apologies to anyone who has seen this elsewhere. I'm spreading the love tonight!

The Doors Redux

I've addressed Paul Nelson's writings about the Doors before, back in June of 2008 ("Perceiving the Doors"). In that same entry, I mentioned that award-winning director Tom DiCillo was at work on a Doors documentary. Now that DiCillo's movie, When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors, is preparing for its U.S. premiere (in select theaters on April 9) and the Internet is abuzz with anticipation, it seems like a good time to post this ad from July 1967, which incorporated part of Paul's Hullabaloo review about the band's first album. Just click on the image to enlarge it.


And, while we're on the subject, here's the trailer to DiCillo's film, which is artfully composed entirely of period footage, much of it previously unreleased.


Should you miss DiCillo's film in the theater, fear not: it's also scheduled to appear on PBS's American Masters series on May 26.

Copyright 2010 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

"Mel Lyman's America"

Though I finished writing Everything Is an Afterthought over five months ago, hardly a week goes by when I don't receive an e-mail or a phone call that is in some way connected to Paul Nelson. (Thankfully, with publication imminent this fall, the Stewie Griffin-inspired "How you comin' on that book you're workin' on?" inquiries have pretty much subsided.) Recently, I heard from William MacAdams, author of Ben Hecht: The Man Behind the Legend. In addition to being a longtime friend of Paul's, in 1995 William coauthored a book with him: 701 Toughest Movie Trivia Questions of All Time.


Kevin,

You probably know that at one time (and perhaps to the end of his life?) one of Paul's favorite albums was Jim Kweskin's America. To Paul the creative force behind the music was Mel Lyman, thus he referred to the record as "Mel Lyman's America." He introduced me to it sometime in the early '70s, before I moved to Europe. I had a vinyl copy, which disappeared a long time ago. Just the other day, don't know why, I thought of Lyman and checked to see if someone on Facebook had a Mel Lyman page (there isn't one), which led me to search for a CD. There is a double Kweskin set including America. I bought it, wondering if it held up. Got it yesterday and couldn't stop playing it.

When Paul died I was saddened but didn't grieve (we had been out of contact for several years, as you know, Paul shutting me out, a deeply hurtful mystery that will never be explained). The music brought Paul back so vividly I broke down in tears, especially upon once again hearing "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight," "The Old Rugged Cross," and "Old Black Joe," Paul's favorites.

I thought you might be unaware of Paul's fondness for Lyman's music. If so, the whole saga of Lyman's remarkable life is worth reading about, the Rolling Stone hatchet job/exposé, et al.

William
 

I'd never heard of Jim Kweskin or Mel Lyman, let alone the album in question. Nor could I find where Paul had ever made mention of them in any of his writings. But, trusting William's judgment (he'd proved himself an invaluable resource regarding All Things Paul Nelson), I downloaded the album posthaste from iTunes. I wasn't disappointed. While I was familiar with many of the tunes by way of other artists' versions, there's something deeply felt and unique about Jim Kweskin's America. It reminds me of something Paul wrote about Jackson Browne's Running on Empty (and which was quoted in the program at Paul's memorial service):

It's simple enough to talk about lyrics, aims, structure, and all the critical etceteras, but it's very difficult to pinpoint what it is that's actually moved you. It has to do with essences, I think, and all those corny virtues like truth, courage, conviction, kindness, and the rest of them.
 
Jim Kweskin's America has all those corny virtues, I think, as did Paul.

Copyright 2010 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

Andy Zwerling

Andy Zwerling was probably the youngest of the many young musicians whom Paul Nelson backed and/or befriended during his A&R years. Zwerling was only eighteen or nineteen when he first met Paul in 1973. One half of a brother-and-sister act that included his younger sister Leslie (who was still in junior high), Zwerling cherishes his memories of his friendship with Paul, which lasted well beyond their first meeting.


"A lot of people told me that I should contact Paul Nelson at Mercury," Zwerling e-mailed me before we spoke. "I tried calling Paul for a few weeks, but couldn't reach him. When I got him on the phone, he told me that he'd heard that my songs were good, but that he wouldn't be able to do anything for us at Mercury. I asked if we could come play him some songs. He repeated that it wouldn't do any good, but graciously told us to come in anyway.

"I knew that he had signed the New York Dolls. I halfway expected to meet some wild man instead of the quiet, soft-spoken guy Paul was. He immediately told us that since the New York Dolls weren't selling well, it would be impossible for him to do anything for us." [As a point of clarification, by the end of 1973 New York Dolls sold 110,000 copies—not bad for a first album. The problem was that the band was spending money faster than it was coming in, and that financial fact, along with their now legendary antics, was poisoning their relationship with Mercury management. Paul was stuck in the middle with the Mercury blues again.]

"I asked if we could play a few songs, and he gave a bemused smile," Zwerling continued. "We jumped up and started playing. He kept smiling, and we kept playing. Every few songs he'd say that 'I can't do anything for you.' He kept smiling. After a while, he picked up the phone and called a recording studio. He set up a session for us in a beautiful sixteen-track studio. That was a huge deal for us. We recorded two songs ten days later. We all had a great time in the studio. Those two songs are on our retrospective, Somewhere Near Pop Heaven." [In 2003, the album became an unexpected hit in Croatia.] "Paul was always soft-spoken, but he was very animated, encouraging, and enthusiastic during the whole day.

"I don't know how much longer he stayed at Mercury, but he continued to try to sign us. When he left Mercury he sent us to someone he knew at CBS, and we recorded a demo there, which would not have happened without Paul's recommendation. We didn't play live in the city very often, but Paul not only saw us four or five times, but he went out of his way to bring other writers with him [including Dave Marsh]. In 1980 we recorded a demo. It was cheaper to press it as an LP than to make cassettes. Paul sent a copy to Ken Tucker, who gave us a great review in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. I'm sure he sent it to other people, including a writer named Leslie Berman. Paul was then then the review editor at Rolling Stone, and he ran her very favorable review of us.

"His support was always incredible. No matter how much Paul Nelson told us he couldn't do anything for us, he spent decades doing everything he could for us.

"I lost touch with Paul during the 1990s. I knew he'd gone through a very tough time after his mother's death, but I didn't know where he was. One of the last times I saw him was in the middle of the winter sometime in the Eighties. It was about twelve degrees and very windy. I had on a down jacket. Paul had on a very light jacket. I asked 'Aren't you cold?' 'Cold?' He literally laughed. 'I'm from Minnesota, this isn't cold. It gets cold in Minnesota.'

In 2001, "Ed Ward wrote a New York Times story about us. He wanted to talk to Paul about us. I e-mailed a bunch of people, and I was directed to Evergreen Video. I got hold of Paul, and I spoke to him regularly until a year ago. His only regret about the Times story was that he wished more of the compliments he'd given us had made it to the final story. That made three decades of 100 percent support."


Paul would have no doubt been pleased, then, in 2008 when Zwerling—a one-time rock critic himself (with a handful of Rolling Stone reviews to his credit) and now a practicing attorney—released Hold Up the Sky, his first solo album in 37 years. The CD is a joy, and Ken Tucker, now editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, featured it on NPR's Fresh Air, where he named it one of the best albums of 2008.

It's not difficult to imagine that Paul Nelson would've agreed.

Copyright 2010 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

Stepping into People's Lives

I'm late in posting this, but Bruce Springsteen turned sixty one week ago today. Over at Mental Floss, Matt Soniak posted the very entertaining "60 Springsteen Facts for Bruce's 60th Birthday." 

Regarding Number 17 on his list—

Springsteen lore has it that Bruce was once spotted in a movie theater watching Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories (which comments on artist/fan relations). The fan who saw him challenged Bruce to prove he didn’t regard his own fans with the contempt as the Allen stand-in in the movie by coming to meet his mom and have dinner. Bruce did so and supposedly still visits the fan’s mother every time he’s in St Louis.
 
—I was reminded of a passage from the "Two Jewish Mothers Pose as Rock Critics" chapter of Paul Nelson and Lester Bangs's Rod Stewart book wherein, during a give-and-take between the two critics about the nature of fame and what it can do to an artist, this same story about Springsteen came up. Paul said: 

I've been backstage at Springsteen shows where Bruce'll open the doors and let thirty kids hanging around outside come in and talk to him. Hope Antman [of CBS Records] told me a story that when Bruce was in Minneapolis and had a night off he went to a movie by himself, and this kid recognized him as he was buying a ticket and said, "Hey, you wanna sit with me?" And he sat with him, and the kid said, "Hey, you wanna come home and talk and my mother’ll fix us some things?" And Bruce went home with the kid and spent the whole night with the kid. And that ain't ever going to happen with Rod Stewart.”

I asked Bruce if any of this were true when I interviewed him in 2007.

"Oh yeah," he said, "oh yeah. I think it was St. Louis, though, or St. Paul. I forget where. I was by myself. I sort of enjoyed the license that that strange part of my job, where people recognize you, allowed me to kind of step into people’s lives, and it was just a night where I wasn’t doing anything and it just sounded like a good idea. The kid ran into his room and came out with an album cover and held it up next to me [laughs] after we came in the door.”

Springsteen volunteered that he does still see the kid's mother occasionally when he's in town (whichever town it may be), though it sounded as if such meetings were in the nature of a before- or after-concert encounters, not a visit on his own part.


Nick Lattanzi



Has anyone heard of Nick Lattanzi? Apparently he is 19 years old, and making these records in his bedroom, the music is phenomenal.

"Nick Lattanzi is a 19-year old artist from Boston, known for his unique and independent blend alternative folk, reggae, psychedelic sampling, and hip hop. Described as "next in the line of the brilliant multi-instrumentalist / stream of consciousness-ish sound." If you like Beck, Radiohead, Bob Dylan, you will see be blown away."

-Last FM

"Staying true to the American folk tradition, he has played subway stations and street corners for the past two years, often writing songs in the process. His simultaneous work with electronic instrumentation and samples has been notedly influenced by the likes of Radiohead and Fourtet, while his stream of conciousness style of lyricism takes root in the work of artists like Beck and Bob Dylan. With two phenomenal albums released onto iTunes and a third on the way, Nick Lattanzi has established himself as one of the best kept secrets in the American indie genre"

Free download: http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=211b5cd1328f101c7069484bded33bcdc43353a577372d96

Paul Nelson Mentioned

Last week, William Zantzinger, the murderer made famous not by his heinous act but by Bob Dylan having written a song about him, passed away. Michael Yockel's excellent article, "Willian Zantzinger's Lonesome Death," examines not only the man who inspired Dylan's classic "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," but also the truth behind the song. In doing so, he wraps up his article by quoting Paul Nelson.

The trouble is, as fitting as the quote may be in the context of Yockel's article, the words—critical of Dylan's having played fast and loose with the truth—do not belong to Paul. To the contrary, Paul had called the tune "Dylan's best protest song." 

The quote actually belongs to another fine writer, Clinton Heylin, from his 2001 book Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited. Circa 1999, he interviewed Paul and, in the book, writes about Paul's Dylan connection.

No More, No Less

In 1972, Paul Nelson was promoted from publicity to East Coast head of A&R at Mercury Records. His first real signing was Blue Ash, a band from Youngstown, Ohio. The group's 1973 debut album, No More, No Less, earned a place on several critics' best-of-the-year lists but, as these things often go, didn't make a connection in the marketplace. Blue Ash's MySpace page remembers it this way:

In July of 1972, the group signed a contract with Peppermint Productions of Youngstown and began recording and sending out demos. In October, legendary A&R man and rock writer Paul Nelson from Mercury Records flew to Youngstown to see Blue Ash "live" and immediately began signing procedures. They started recording their first album No More, No Less in February 1973 with Peppermint's John Grazier producing and with Gary Rhamy engineering. Executive producer Paul Nelson introduced them to a never-before-published, never-before-recorded Bob Dylan song called "Dusty Old Fairgrounds" and suggested they record their version of the Beatles' "Anytime At All" both of which appear on the lp...

On May 15, Mercury released the first Blue Ash 45 "Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her?)" b/w "Dusty Old Fairgrounds" On May 25, No More, No Less was released. Rave reviews and feature articles followed in Rolling Stone, Creem, Crawdaddy, Zoo World, Circus, Phonograph Record, New Times, Record World, Billboard, Rock Scene, Fusion and many others. That summer they began touring and opening for acts like Bob Seger, Iggy and the Stooges, Ted Nugent, Nazareth, Aerosmith and more. Blue Ash along with Raspberries, Big Star and Badfinger became "critical darlings" of a new sound later to be called power pop. Despite the good press Blue Ash was not getting much national radio airplay or sales... 
 
Thirty-four years later, No More, No Less has finally been released on CD. As Blue Ash's bassist and vocalist, Frank Secich (now of the Deadbeat Poets), recalls in the Cd's liner notes, "In June of 1974, Blue Ash was dropped by Mercury Records (under heated protest from Paul Nelson) for lack of sales. Paul was subsequently sacked from the label, too, in large part for signing Blue Ash and the New York Dolls."

While that has indeed been the legend of Paul's departure from Mercury, it's not quite that simple. Reasons for leaving seldom are.

Blue Ash and friend in 1973 (left to right): Frank Secich, Jim Kendzor,
Bill Bartolin, Paul Nelson, and David Evans. Photo by Geoff Jones.

 
Copyright 2008 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved. 

David Forman



August of 1974 was a memorable month for singer/songwriter David Forman. A few days after being involved in the most benign and fanciful takeover ever of the World Trade Center—high-wire artist Phillippe Petit's 45-minute walk back and forth on a steel cable strung between the Twin Towers—Forman penned his amazing song "Dream of a Child" and somehow, in some way now lost to memory and time, came to the attention of Paul Nelson at Mercury Records.

While Paul was unsuccessful convincing his higher-ups to offer a recording contract to the artist (Forman says, "They looked at him like he was out of his mind"), Forman ultimately was signed by Clive Davis to Arista, where he recorded one classic, self-titled, and now very collectible album (there's a used CD on Amazon right now going for $109.99).

Forman, who went on to forge a musical career and an alter-ego with Little Isidore and the Inquisitors, can currently be seen on the big screen in James Marsh's brilliant documentary about Phillipe Petit, Man on Wire, where he even performs "Dream of a Child."

Copyright 2008 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.