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Monday, December 23, 2019

Andrew McMahon concert recap: The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

photo by Bob Steshetz
Andrew McMahon brought his Winter in the Wilderness acoustic tour back home to Southern California on Dec. 19 for a brilliant show that figured among the best I've seen all year. 

The 105-minute concert at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. was sold out. It included many longtime fans who sang and clapped along to songs from throughout Orange County native McMahon's 20-year career, including Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin and his most recent project, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

Kicking off the 19-song set with contemplative ballad "Walls," the singer/pianist gave it a fresh emotional resonance in the acoustic format. That was true for a bulk of the material performed, such as "Holiday From Real," "Cavanaugh Park, "Walking By" and others. McMahon frequently told stories behind the tunes peppered with local references. 

Highlights included "So Close," "The Resolution," holiday-themed song "The Lights and Buzz" and a short stretch where he was joined by spirited young female opening act Ivory Layne (who sometimes brought to mind Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel). Their co-written "Dead Man's Dollar" was seamless; "Dark Blue" featured high flying harmonies; the riveting cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," delivered with the appropriate delicate touch. Finally, McMahon closed the evening, as he often has in the past, with the buoyant "La La Lie." 

photo: Bob Steshetz
Setlist: Walls/Fire Escape/Holiday From Real/I Want to Save You/High Dive/Ohio/Cavanaugh Park/Resolution/The Lights and Buzz/So Close/Watch the Sky/Dead Man's Dollar/Paper Rain/Dark Blue/Time After Time/I Woke Up in a Car/Cecilia and the Satellite
Encore: Konstantine (snippet)>Walking By/Walking in My Sleep/La La Lie      

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Very Last Minute Gift Guide for Audiophiles, feat. The Beatles, Replacements, Alphaville, Little Steven, The Damned, Nirvana and Freddie Mercury

This time of year is a veritable bonanza for music enthusiasts, as elaborate box sets, special vinyl reissue packages, compilations and more suddenly become available.

With the Christmas and Hanukkah countdown getting shorter, I cherry picked some noteworthy 2019 releases for the music fan on your shopping list.

All titles below refer to physical product and most are available to purchase through Amazon unless indicated, though you might check physical store pickups at this late date.

Apple Corps. Ltd./UME
The Beatles
Abbey Road
(Apple Corps/Universal Music Group)

The lowdown: And in the end, producer George Martin returned to helm the Fab Four’s studio swan song. Among the band’s most popular and successful albums, it reached the pole position on the Billboard chart, spawned a Top 5 double A-sided single in “Come Together/Something” and has sold more than 12 million copies to date in America. Along with George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” the famous medley and several other songs, Abbey Road remains an enduring classic at its 50th anniversary.

What’s inside: The original release was remixed for the first time by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high resolution stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos sound. Many of the nearly two dozen session recordings (the studio chatter is especially riveting) and demos are previously unreleased. The 3 CDs and 1 Blu-ray disc in the large Super Deluxe box set as a whole are astounding. While listening to these refreshed tunes that have been etched in many people’s minds for ages - especially “Oh! Darling,” “The End,” “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Here Comes the Sun” - you get a renewed appreciation for the Brits’ musicianship. The 100-page hardbound book comes on glossy page stock in a slip-sleeve case with plenty of rare musician and memorabilia photos, a Paul McCartney foreword, Giles Martin’s introduction and highly informative essays and analysis by Beatles experts Kevin Howlett and David Hepworth. Even Beatles fanatics will find new discoveries here. Also available on vinyl.

Nirvana
MTV Unplugged in New York
(Geffen/Universal Music Enterprises)

The lowdown: Often cited as one of the best “MTV Unplugged” episodes of the series’ original run - not to mention critics’ lists of best live albums in the rock music era - this episode was recorded in November 1993, less than five months before Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain took his own life. That fact made watching and listening to this laid back performance (done in a single take) back then even more chilling afterward. Released in late ‘94, MTV Unplugged in New York debuted at No. 1, won a Grammy and has sold more than five million copies. It features six cover tunes, notably the classic version of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” and devastating traditional blues number (via Leadbelly) “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” as well as riveting standouts “All Apologies” and “Come as You Are.”

What’s inside: Reissued on 180-gram double black vinyl for the 25th anniversary, this edition was expanded to include five rehearsal performances previously only available on DVD. You hear Cobain talking with his bandmates and the show’s producer about preparations. It also boasts an exclusive gatefold jacket with silver foil detail on the front and back cover.

Freddie Mercury
Never Boring
(Hollywood/Mercury Records)

The lowdown: Following the major success of 2018 film biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” there’s been a renewed interest in everything Queen. Never Boring focuses on Freddie Mercury’s brief solo career during the Eighties, which was moderately successful in Europe (five top 40 UK singles before the singer’s 1991 death), but nonexistent in the States. This box set is a good chance for diehard fans to catch up. Contrary to the movie’s plot, his solo efforts Mr. Bad Guy and Barcelona weren’t a source of tension within the band. The other guys actually served as guests on a few songs. Spanning pop, electronic, reggae, dance-rock and opera, the music definitely saw Mercury branching out (the dark Giorgio Moroder-produced “Love Kills,” Platters cover “The Great Pretender”) with interesting results.

What’s inside: The medium-sized slide out box set is appropriately stylish. It has three CDs with nearly three dozen tracks (a compilation; songs either newly mixed or orchestrated), a DVD and Blu-ray with nine restored music videos, a brief interview and four live promotional performances alongside Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe from Barcelona. The colorful 120-page hardback book contains an introduction by “Bohemian Rhapsody” actor Rami Malek, unpublished photos, lyrics, Mercury interview quotes, a poster and collector’s postcard.

Little Steven
Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel: The Early Work
(Wicked Cool/Universal Music Enterprises)

The lowdown: Steven Van Zandt spent many years as Bruce Springsteen’s right hand man in the E Street Band before assembling Men Without Women, his first album fronting the Disciples of Soul in 1982. When the singer/songwriter/guitarist finally left The Boss a couple years later, it was for a politically-minded and wildly eclectic solo career. Over the next decade and a half, Van Zandt delved into ‘60s-style soul, hard rock, electronic, psychedelic, world music and more. This limited edition vinyl box set features all of the solo releases - including Sun City, the superstar-filled Artists United Against Apartheid benefit project that Van Zandt spearheaded. Both Revolution (1989) and Born Again Savage (1999) are making their U.S. vinyl debut on Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel.

What’s inside: Matching the dayglo artwork, each of the six remastered LPs were pressed on different colored variants with original artwork and notes. Despite obvious 1980s production techniques, they sound better than ever. All are housed in a standard pull out box. The real treat for diehard Van Zandt fans are the four CDs of rarities and bonus tracks dating back to the mid-1970s with Southside Johnny. Slotted into a cardboard sleeve, the discs feature unheard concert performances (highlighted by tracks from London’s Marquee Club in ‘82), demos, B-sides, extended mixes, outtakes (the songs from a planned movie are memorable) and rehearsals of varying quality (some discovered on old cassettes). The liner notes are a real hoot, with the artist’s usual no bullshit candor.

The Replacements
Dead Man’s Pop
(Rhino/Sire/Reprise)

The lowdown: Don’t Tell a Soul, the Minneapolis alt-rock band’s sixth and best-selling studio album, had a difficult birth. Initially, the guys recorded with a producer, then scrapped those sessions and went with a young Matt Wallace, then mostly known for working with Faith No More. Against everyone’s better wishes though, the album was given a glossy, radio-friendly mix by Chris Lord-Alge. It resulted in the modern rock chart-topping single in “I’ll Be You,” but few people were satisfied with the sound. Now, for the 30th anniversary, the 4CD/1LP box set Dead Man’s Pop features Wallace’s new mix based on his original one. The results are revelatory, as if a few coats of sonic paint were stripped away. Vocals and instruments that were once buried are now more prominent. There’s a disc of rarities containing those early aborted sessions, alternate tracks and a freewheeling, late night studio collaboration with Tom Waits. Two CDs are from a ramshackle, very enjoyable 1989 Milwaukee gig. All told, 58 of the 60 tracks are previously unreleased. A must for any ‘Mats fan.

What’s inside: Presented in a large hardcover book, the color booklet has rare photos, a note from Wallace and a fascinating essay by author Bob Mehr, who excerpted and expanding on the album’s chapter in his bestselling book, “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements."

The Damned
Black is the Night: The Definitive Anthology
(BMG)

The lowdown: As the first British punk band to put out an album, land a single on the U.K. charts and to tour America in the Seventies, The Damned have several entries in the rock history books. There have been many career retrospectives covering the group through the years. Yet this one is a fine primer for newcomers who might’ve been turned onto the band in recent years from hearing the “Baby Driver” soundtrack, something off the solid 2018 studio effort Evil Spirits or elsewhere. Curated by the band and sequenced thematically, the 2CD, 39-track covers most career bases, including the seminal “Neat Neat Neat,” “New Rose” and “Smash it Up” (famously covered by The Offspring), popular takes on Jefferson Airplane and Love (“Somebody to Love,” “Alone Again Or”), hit singles “Eloise,” “Love Song” and a noteworthy new tune in the title track.

What’s inside: Black is the Night is a perfect example of a physical version’s packaging being worth the purchase price. The liner notes include an authoritative career overview and interview from Eugene Butcher of Vive Le Rock Magazine, memorabilia collages inside the cardboard inlay trays, a Damned family tree and career timeline. Longtime designer Phil Smee even created the gothic artwork.

Alphaville
Forever Young
(Rhino/Warner Music Group)

The lowdown: Back in 1984, this German synth-pop trio garnered prime college and alternative rock radio play here due to a pair of international top 10 singles: the catchy “Big in Japan” and yearning title track. Since then, the latter has been covered frequently across multiple genres (Imagine Dragons, Jay-Z, Kim Wilde, Tangerine Dream, Youth Group) and featured in several movies and TV shows. The album was frequently on par with what Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk were doing at the time.

What’s inside: The 25th anniversary super deluxe limited edition box set is encased in a large hardbound book with slip sleeve cover and a top slide out booklet. It includes the remastered original album on black vinyl LP and CD, plus singles, B-sides, 12" singles, 16 rare demos and alternative versions (a few in the group’s native language), all across three CDs. The DVD has the relevant music videos and an hour-long documentary featuring interviews with all the principals, such as leader Marian Gold, who says “Forever Young” is “not just an ‘80s song; it’s timeless.” Agreed.

2019: The Year in Music












Check out what I consider to be the best music of 2019 in different categories...

ROCK/POP/ALTERNATIVE ALBUMS:
1. Sherlocks, "Under Your Sky"
2. Bad Suns, "Mystic Truth"
3. Cage the Elephant, "Social Cues"
4. Jenny Lewis, "On the Line"
5. Bruce Springsteen, "Western Stars"
6. Rembrandts, "Via Satellite"
7. Friendly Fires, "Inflorescent"
8. Pete Yorn, "Caretakers"
9. Fastball, "The Help Machine"
10. Dan Krikorian, "Grandeur"*

Honorable mention:
11. Catfish and the Bottlemen, "The Balance"
12. Futureheads, "Powers"
13. Slow Hollows, "Romantic"
14. ARIZONA, "Asylum"
15. Ride, "This is Not a Safe Place"
16. Robbie Robertson, "Sinematic"
17. Lloyd Cole, "Guesswork"
18. Guster, "Look Alive"
19. Wallows, "Nothing Happens"
20. Mansionair, "Shadowboxer"

COUNTRY/FOLK/AMERICANA ALBUMS:
1. Jon Pardi, "Heartache Medication"
2. Midland, "Let it Roll"
3. Kiefer Sutherland, "Reckless & Me"
4. Justin Townes Earle, "The Saint of Lost Causes"
5. Old Dominion, "Old Dominion"
6. Josh Ritter, "Fever Breaks"
7. Miranda Lambert, "Wildcard"
8. Rodney Crowell, "Texas"
9. The Mavericks, "Play the Hits"
10. Jason Aldean, "9"

PERFORMANCES:
1. Kacey Musgraves, Coachella Festival, Indio, Calif., April
2. Johnny Marr, House of Blues, Anaheim, Calif., May
3. Switchfoot, Fox Performing Arts Center, Riverside, Calif., November
4. Cage the Elephant, Five Point Amphitheater, Irvine, Calif., July
5. Andrew McMahon, the Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, December

*I rarely include local musicians on my year-end albums list, but this one was a really strong effort from Krikorian, who is based in Orange County, Calif. For more information, go to www.dankrikorian.com.

Bonus Q&A with Andrew McMahon

photo: Brendan Walter
There was so much interesting material from my recent interview with Andrew McMahon, that included more of it here...

Q: What made you come up with the idea for an acoustic tour?
The truth is, originally my plan was to do an expanded version of this tour. We started booking for something that would happen in the new year. Then we got that awesome opportunity to go and support AWOLNATION. I still had my heart set on doing it, so we found some markets that we weren’t going to be playing on that spring tour and decided to come out and do something before the holiday, try to set the mood and spread a little love before the madness of Christmas, Hanukkah and everything else came into view and I thought it would be fun to go out and play some shows because I’ve been off for awhile.

Q: Were you a bit apprehensive at first about being onstage by yourself for an entire show?
That’s part of what drew me to doing it in the first place. I’ve been doing shows like this, to some extent, on and off for the last couple years. I’ll do a radio show and it’ll just be me and the piano. A lot of times at the benefit gigs, I’ll do a night where I do just solo piano stuff.

Q: You’ll also be doing a gig in Big Bear. Are you a skier or snowboarder?
I do ski - how well is certainly left to interpretation. I do like to ski and if I can, plan to get on the mountain in the morning. I’m definitely gonna try. Originally, we were going to end the tour there, then we added a date right afterward. I was gonna try and sneak up there and take a weekend, but we’re pushing onto San Diego.

Q: Although "Upside Down Flowers" didn't get the attention that it deserved, with hindsight, are you satisfied with how it turned out from a creative standpoint?
It’s a really personal record and was a lot of fun to make. There wasn’t really a sense at any point in the creation of the writing or in the production of this painful thing that can often happen when you’re making records. It was a very free process. Certainly, I think there is a part of me that would’ve liked to have seen a little more happen around it. I think that’s just the way that some of these things go. I’ve been making records for a long time and every now and again you make one where you’re hoping it will get a little more attention that it does and you gotta keep moving.

I think there was a lot going on around the release of that record. It was the last album on my record contract. A lot of people that I worked with from the original label that signed me for the Wilderness project had all been fired or let go or moved on. I tend to find that’s the trickiest thing about creating in this business - a lot of times you sign contracts and the people that you loved that brought you into them, are no longer there and you’re still making music for whoever inherited it. I don’t put any blame on anybody. I just think those things happen. The songs are fun to play and I love getting onstage with them. I feel like the fans who have been with me for a long time got the record. I think that’s the most important thing, really.

Q: Are you still a big supporter of the album as a format, especially when so many acts are putting out EPs instead these days?
I think for me at this particular moment, I’m less concerned with the format and more concerned with trying to write great songs. I feel like I’m in the process of working right now and I’m having a blast working with so many cool and creative producers and artists. I find myself really inspired.

I make a point of not saying, this is me making a record,’ but ‘this is me going on my next musical adventure.’ Go into the studio and take chances and be bold and say things you feel need to be said. If that turns into a record when it’s all said and done, after a few months of that, I feel like there 9 or 10 songs that really belong together, then I’ll put it out as a record. But if it feels like ‘hey, these cohesive elements and 3 or 4 songs belong together,’ then I’ll do that. I think the beauty of the moment right now is that - when a record is really great, people celebrate it as a record. I’m trying to take the approach of ‘if you don't have a record’s worth of material that you think is all great and needs to be out, then release 3 or 4 and keep moving.’

I’ve always loved the album format. It’s hard. When it came to the last record for instance, there are songs from that record I could've put out months earlier and watching the way that music is consumed now, there is an argument to make against always taking the album format route. If you have great songs you want people to hear, sometimes if they’re buried as track 10 on a record, they might not see the light of day with a lot of music listeners. That part of it is sad to let songs go that you think are your best work and they don’t get the look that you want them to get.

Q: Was the process like making the last album with Butch Walker, someone who pretty much does it all?
It was awesome. I’ve always wanted to work with Butch. We met back in ‘05 when we were both working on Tommy Lee’s record together. I was doing the first Jack’s Mannequin album and the first time we met was in the most hysterical rock ‘n’ roll scene - in the Hollywood Hills, a private chef and Tommy Lee. I was like, ‘how did I end up in this room with these people?’ We kept tabs on each other and eventually in a strange twist of fate, I ended up being managed by Butch’s long time manager. When I started writing the songs for the record, I was really glad [my team thought] ‘we should bring this to Butch.’ We just had fun.

Q: How did the benefit concert last month in L.A. for your Dear Jack Foundation turn out? How is the charity doing in general?
We do more than fundraising through the benefit, like our annual giving challenge we do with fans where they build teams and raise money. We started those 3-4 years ago. That alone has raised over $1 million. This year, between the benefit show and giving challenge, we cleared around $400,000. It’s pretty remarkable. That’s a portion of what we do every year.

My fans are so engaged with the charity and that’s how it started. It is a big portion of what we bring in a year is through their shared giving and engaging with other fans and members of their community. It’s been remarkable to see the organization grow since it started. We've been around 13-14 years now. We’re at a place where I brought in this amazing staff one person at a time 5 years ago and since making that shift to full-time staff on board, the amount of people we’re reaching every year, through the programs we’re building through the foundation is pretty touching.

Q: What have been your highlights of the year?
I’ll give you my professional and personal [ones] - On the professional side, I was given the opportunity to score “Soundtrack,” a TV show for Netflix this summer and I kind of went into hiding. Worked with a close friend of mine, Morgan Kibby [White Sea, M83]. She’s been doing a lot of composing and I brought her in when I got this opportunity. I had to learn on the job, working with a major studio and a pretty heavy hitting cast of players to score this TV show.

“Smash,” the show that I had written a bunch of music for on NBC, the showrunner for that show, asked if I would be interested in scoring this and that’s how I got involved. That was major. My daughter started Kindergarten this year. That was amazing. Seeing her turn into this full fledged little kid has been pretty cool. Also, while I was home this summer, I hired a coach and I’ve been learning to surf for the past 6-8 months. The personal highlight was getting to be home for a rare summer in California and say I’m going to try and push myself to learn new things. The surfing thing was big for me.

dearjackfoundation.org
andrewmcmahon.com

An interview with Andrew McMahon

photo: Brendan Walter, courtesy Crush Music
Andrew McMahon performs three gigs in Southern California this week: Tonight in San Juan Capistrano, Friday in Big Bear Lake and Saturday in San Diego. I spoke with him earlier this month right as the acoustic tour kicked off.

Andrew McMahon is ready to lay everything bare.

The current tour provides a rare chance to see the Dana Point singer/pianist fly totally solo for an entire concert. 

“It’s something I had shied away from for a long time because you obviously don't have a lot of cover,” admitted McMahon, in a phone interview. “There’s a lot to try and pull off dynamically.

“When it works, I feel like they can be magical evenings where the audience kind of becomes the band. You keep them engaged and singing...it’s a new challenge for me. I feel like I’m up to it.”

Fans can look forward to hearing stripped down selections from throughout the pop/rock musician’s career - Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin (holiday tune “The Lights and Buzz”) and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (top 20 alt-rock hits “Cecilia and the Satellite,” “Fire Escape,” “High Dive”) - plus stories and more.

“I try to keep it as loose as possible and make it so the night is available to take turns in different directions if something doesn't feel right,” explained McMahon. With a more intimate environment and nobody else onstage “relying on you to steer the show,” he has more freedom to stop and improvise.

Returning to the Coach House should bring back fond memories for McMahon. The O.C. fixture was where Something Corporate played early gigs. Venue owner Gary Folgner mentored the teenage group and helped them put out independent debut album “Ready...Break” in 2000. McMahon also did a pair of concerts there in December ‘17 after a long absence.

“I’m not sure that anything has changed in that room since we first started playing it,” he said with a laugh. “There’s something comforting about” encountering the same old school vibe again.

Last year’s terrific third Andrew McMahon in Wilderness album “Upside Down Flowers” was a more personal effort than usual that found McMahon working in the studio with rock and pop producer du jour Butch Walker (Weezer, P!nk, Fall Out Boy). They handled most of the music themselves.

The pair previously met in 2005 when both were contributing to a Tommy Lee album. Once an opportunity finally came to join forces, he discovered “there was a lot of trust. I tend to like working one-on-one better than anything. There’s something beautiful about having two people bringing their collective experience to a song and finding the things they love about each other’s perspectives and points of view.”

Nostalgia had a major influence on the lyrics. Stately standout “Teenage Rockstars” references Something Corporate’s career, boasts a sway-worthy chorus and has a wistful tone reminiscent of Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes.” Another David Bowie nod comes via “Goodnight, Rock and Roll,” a deft tribute to legends like Tom Petty and Bowie.

McMahon said he was motivated to “write something that was reflective in a different way, (revisiting) memories and scenarios from as far back as being a young kid.”

Right around the album’s release, McMahon displayed his cocktail making skills in a popular Instagram post that led to a witty YouTube video series called “The Rocktail Hour.” They were filmed at Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente, where the musician often frequents.

“I’ve known those guys for years,” said McMahon. Gabe Whorley at Vine helped the musician come up with cocktails named after “Flowers” songs. “We had a blast. It was a fun afternoon, albeit one I couldn't drive home from. I’d like to do more.”

Back in June, McMahon released a mesmerizing cover of Kacey Musgraves’ “Slow Burn” via Amazon Music. The Texan wasn’t “really on my radar,” but suggestions from McMahon’s management, his wife and young daughter helped seal the deal.

Then McMahon “fell in love” with Musgraves' music. “I just watched her Amazon Christmas special. It’s campy and funny in all the best ways. (‘Golden Hour’) was one of my favorite records last year.”

McMahon, already an Emmy nominee for writing a song for the 2013 season of NBC series “Smash,” recently added to his TV music resume. Along with Morgan Kibby (the ex-M83 member who co-wrote a Wilderness tune), McMahon composed music for “Soundtrack.” The new Netflix anthology drama series revolving around Los Angeles love stories debuted on Dec. 18.

“There was so much growth there,” he said. “That was one of the most valuable and exciting things I got to do this year: to expand my creative palette and start looking at music in a different way.”

More new solo material is on the horizon. “I’m on a musical mission and feel like I’m having this prolific, interesting moment where I’ve been trying to play with language and write these really vivid scenes. I’m super excited.”

A version of my feature originally appeared in such SoCal News Group (SCNG) newspapers as the Orange County Register, Press Enterprise and LA Daily News.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The NAMM Show '20 news: Media Preview Day, Yamaha Grand Plaza Stage performances, awards, more

This news on The NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif. next month is just in...

Wednesday, 1/15, 3-5PM

OFFICIAL NAMM Media Preview Day – Presented by The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM): Live demos, one-on-one interviews with top brands including C.F. Martin & Co., Fender, Roland/Boss, boutique builders, Yamaha and more. Get a jump start on coverage and a media credential before opening day.

Thursday, January 16-Sunday, January 19

*THE NAMM SHOW – More than 7,000 brands; news from manufacturers within the music
instrument and products, pro audio, lighting and design, and entertainment technology industries; business leaders, leading hitmakers and artists, celebrities and tastemakers, and media from around the world.
*Not open to the public.

Thursday-Saturday, January 16-18

NAMM Yamaha Grand Plaza Stage Performances –

(Thurs., 1/16) – The NAMM Foundation Celebration for Music Education featuring Sarah McLachlan; (Fri., 1/17) – NAMM Yamaha All-Star Concert on the Grand 2020 featuring a multi-artist, multimedia spectacular; (Sat., 1/18) – “Tower of Power 50th Anniversary Concert.” Concerts begin at 6PM and are scheduled for credentialed attendees. Full list of performances are here: https://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2020/events/schedule

Thursday, January 17, also Presented by Yamaha

Yamaha Presents NAMM Night of Worship Honoring Michael W. Smith – Multi-Platinum recording artist Michael W. Smith celebrating 35 years in the contemporary Christian music scene. Show begins at 7PM at the Hilton Pacific Ballroom, Level 2.

Thursday-Sunday, January 16-19

Insights, Ideas and Strategies for the Next Decade – Nearly 400 workshops, panels and professional development opportunities, including: producer Finneas O’Connell, social influencer Elise Trouw; Jack Douglas on the Latest Beatles’ Studio Reunion, interviewed by Public Enemy’s bassist Brian Hardgroove; Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick in Pensado’s Place Live; Making Virtual Instruments Sound Real,” with award-winning producer Robert Venable; “The Future Musician: Inside the Art of Generation Z” and more.

Friday, January 17

The Parnelli Awards – The Industry’s Highest Honor for Live Event Professionals – Hosted by John Waite, beginning at 6PM.

The She Rocks Awards – The WiMN honors women for their contributions and leadership within the music industry, including Gloria Gaynor (“I Will Survive”), Linda Perry, Lzzy Hale, Suzie Quatro, and other industry luminaries. House of Blues beginning at 7:30PM.

Friday, Saturday, January 17-18

Roomful of Pianos – In a room filled with over 100 pianos, 30 players come together to perform Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (1/17) and Bohemian Rhapsody (1/18), all at the same time! Performances begin at 5:30PM ACC, Level 3, Lounge 88.

Saturday, January 18

35th Annual NAMM TEC Awards – Celebrating the best in professional sound and audio production and hosted by comedian, actor, musician Fred Armisen. The Les Paul Innovation Award will go to influential recording artist Joni Mitchell. Grammy-winning engineer Dave Pensado and industry veteran Herb Trawick will be inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame.

Huey Lewis & The News album info

Huey Lewis & The News have announced a new album, Weather, out February 14 on BMG. Featuring the group's first new, original songs since 2001's Plan B LP - plus one cover of the Eugene Church's "Pretty Girls Everywhere" - Weather was produced in-house by Huey and the guys, just like every record they've made since the early 1980s.

Along with the announcement, Huey Lewis & The News have unveiled a new single and album opener, "While We're Young."

Listen here: https://youtu.be/3aT4g-fu-R4
It follows their previous offering "Her Love Is Killin' Me".

Unaware that recording sessions were about to be cut short by a 2018 Ménière's disease diagnosis that could keep him from ever singing again, Lewis reflects on fleeting mortality.

Realized through years spent road-testing the tracks on tour, Lewis calls Weather some of the band's best work. Songs evoke the superlative eras of Sports and Fore! (one of the small number of albums to ever generate five or more Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100), and extend to blues shuffles, classic R&B, and even a hint of country twang (check out "One Of The Boys," a song Dave Cobb originally asked Lewis to write for Willie Nelson). 

Huey Lewis & The News recorded Weather at their own Troutfarm Studio in Marin County, CA, and once again brought in the mixing expertise of studio legend Bob Clearmountain. Clearmountain and The News have had a long-running relationship, and he is credited with mixing many of the band's hits, including "Do You Believe In Love," "The Heart Of Rock & Roll," "I Want A New Drug," and "If This Is It," to name a few.

As Lewis says, "You've got to look on the bright side and stay creative. Even if I never sing again, things could always be worse. After all, I'm deaf, not dead."


Track Listing:

While We're Young
Her Love Is Killin' Me
I Am There For You
Hurry Back Baby
Remind Me Why I Love You Again
Pretty Girls Everywhere
One Of The Boys

Huey Lewis & The News:

Huey Lewis (Lead Vocals, Harmonica)
Johnny Colla (Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals)
Bill Gibson (Drums, Percussion, Vocals)
Sean Hopper (Keys, Vocals)
John Pierce (Bass)
Stef Burns (Guitar, Vocals)
Johnnie Bamont (Baritone and Tenor Saxophone)
Marvin McFadden (Trumpet)
Rob Sudduth (Tenor Sax)

Monday, December 16, 2019

John Fogerty 'Live at Red Rocks' due next month

I just watched this on PBS and it rocks!

Recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado this past June, John Fogerty’s 50 Year Trip - Live at Red Rocks will now be released as a double LP and live DVD on January 24, 2020 via BMG.

The film version is also airing nationwide on PBS during their December Pledge Drives. The set was previously released in only the CD format to coincide with the cinematic release of the concert film which played, for one night only, on November 11, 2019 - Veteran’s Day.

Filmed and recorded on June 20, 2019 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado during a special stop of John Fogerty’s nationwide U.S. tour celebrating his 50- year career. This amazing set list includes seventeen John Fogerty Creedence Clearwater Revival classics including; “Proud Mary”, “Bad Moon Rising” and “Centerfield” along with covers of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and the Pips and “Susie Q” first released on CCR’s debut album in 1968 and the band’s only Top 40 hit not written by Fogerty (full track listing for the DVD and 2LP Set is below).

Fogerty has spent the year celebrating his 50th Anniversary in music, a milestone celebration for one of America’s greatest songwriters. Iconic hits “Proud Mary,” “Fortunate Son,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Bad Moon Rising” and so many more from his songbook, were all amazingly released in just one year; 1969. This past August, Fogerty returned to the original Woodstock location in Bethel, NY, to celebrate his place at that historic festival. He also just wrapped up 49th show from his on-going Las Vegas residency at the Wynn Hotel’s Encore Theatre.

John Fogerty - 50 Year Trip - Live at Red Rocks

Two LP Gatefold Vinyl Tracklist:
SIDE A
1. Born On the Bayou
2. Green River
3. Lookin’ Out My Back Door
4. Suzie Q
5. Who’ll Stop The Rain
6. Hey Tonight

SIDE B
7. Up Around The Bend
8. Rock And Roll Girls
9. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
10. Long As I Can See The Light

SIDE C
11. Run Through The Jungle
12. Keep On Chooglin’
13. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
14. Down On The Corner

SIDE D
15. Centerfield
16. The Old Man Down The Road
17. Fortunate Son
18. Bad Moon Rising
19. Proud Mary

DVD Tracklist:
1. Born On the Bayou
2. Green River
3. Looking Out My Back Door
4. Suzie Q
5. Who’ll Stop The Rain
6. Hey Tonight
7. Up Around The Bend
8. Rock And Roll Girls
9. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
10. Long As I Can See The Light
11. With A Little Help From My Friends
12. My Generation
13. Everyday People
14. Dance To The Music
15. Give Peace A Chance
16. The Star-Spangled Banner
17. Run Through The Jungle
18. Keep On Chooglin’
19. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
20. Down On The Corner
21. Centerfield
22. The Old Man Down The Road
23. Fortunate Son
24. Bad Moon Rising
25. Proud Mary

Pre-orders for these new releases can be found, here: https://johnfogertyshop.com/store/

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Christmas album roundup 2019, including Bryan Adams, The Lumineers, Oak Ridge Boys, more

If you're planning a party or just need some fresh Christmas tunes to soundtrack your gift wrapping, holiday baking, etc. over the next week, here are some suggestions...

Various Artists
A Dualtone Christmas
(Dualtone)
Released as the November pick for Dualtone's Magnolia Record Club, this fine Americana collection features several of the Nashville label's past and present artists. Available digitally and on red vinyl LP, the album is highlighted by Delta Spirit's quick and upbeat, Motown-inspired "Santa Claus in Coming to Town," the Lone Bellow's harmonious "Marshmallow World," The Lumineers' contemplative acoustic guitar and piano-based "Blue Christmas," Amos Lee's soulful original ballad "Holiday Song" and Kathleen Edwards' realistic lyrics on her own "It's Christmastime (Let's Just Survive)," complete with meowing backing vocals. Purchase the LP here: magnoliarecord.store


Oak Ridge Boys
Down Home Christmas
(Lightning Rod/Thirty Tigers)
The veteran country vocal group's eighth holiday album since 1982 finds them re-teaming with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton), who also helmed their last studio effort 17th Avenue Revival. Jamey Johnson and Buddy Cannon co-wrote the relaxed "South Alabama Christmas," which has a sitting-around-the-fireplace vibe. Aaron Raitiere had a hand in penning half a dozen originals and his are the standouts here, including the fun, Fifties-styled "Reindeer on the Roof," featuring boogie-woogie piano; the title track, containing lyrics about a family gathering and the humorous, rollicking Anderson East collaboration, "Don't Go Pullin' on Santa Claus' Beard."


Various Artists
A Prog-Rock Christmas
(Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra)
Sherwood, the current Yes bassist, was at the helm for Prog-Rock Christmas, where he called on members of that band as well as Asia, Utopia, Hawkwind, Renaissance, Curved Air and others for this interesting holiday collection. Standouts include present Yes singer Jon Davison's idyllic and sprightly "Run with the Fox," Sherwood's brimming with positivity pairing with Patrick Moraz on Paul McCartney & Wings' "Wonderful Christmastime," Steve Morse's rocking instrumental "Carol of the Bells" and Geoff Downes' nimble piano work on the theme to "A Charlie Brown Christmas." His late former bandmate John Wetton adds gravitas to a stately take on John Lennon & Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)."


Bryan Adams
Christmas EP
(Badams Music)
This digital EP contains three of Adams' past holiday tunes, newly remastered: the earnest 1985 acoustic ballad "Christmas Time" (I used to own the original green vinyl 7" single upon release), its spirited 1984 flip side "Reggae Christmas" (I always remember the zany music video shot with MTV VJs and Pee-Wee Herman at the cable station's studio) and a great doo-wop-leaning "Merry Christmas." There are also two new ones. "Joe & Mary" is a midtempo Chuck Berry-esque rocker about a road trip; the whimsical "Must Be Santa" features call and response vocals from children.

Josh Rouse
The Holiday Sounds of...
(Yep Roc)
Written over the course of the past decade and inspired by label/tourmate Nick Lowe's 2013 holiday album Quality Street - A Seasonal Selection for All the Family, Rouse crafted the laid back and breezy Holiday Sounds with an eye toward it being listened to year-round. Mixing Americana sounds with some jazzy and European touches (Rouse used to live in Spain), the satisfying release often recalls the beach vibe that Jack Johnson and Kenny Chesney do so well.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Stone Temple Pilots confirm acoustic album, tour

Stone Temple Pilots' upcoming album PERDIDA is its first-ever acoustic one and will be available February 7 on CD and vinyl as well as from digital outlets and streaming services. The first single, “Fare Thee Well,” is available now.

STP will also launch a 15-date acoustic tour. At each performance, the band will not only recreate the sound of PERDIDA, but also re-imagine other songs from the group’s multi-platinum catalog. The tour begins in February. See tour dates below.

Tickets are on sale now. Go to www.stonetemplepilots.com to purchase VIP packages that include Meet & Greet with the band.

PERDIDA, the band’s eighth studio album, features guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo, drummer Eric Kretz and vocalist Jeff Gutt, who joined Stone Temple Pilots in 2017. The band produced the album and recorded the majority of it earlier this year at Kretz’s Bomb Shelter Studio.

Dean says the album’s title (Spanish for “loss”) foreshadows its somber mood. “You have to live it to write it, and this record is a reflection of where we’ve been recently."“Fare Thee Well” is the first single. Gutt says the album’s emotional honesty focused him lyrically. “I had to let myself be as vulnerable writing the lyrics as Dean and Robert were writing the music.”

Robert thinks PERDIDA is as much a musical journey as it is an emotional one thanks the touches of flute, alto saxophone, vintage keyboards, guitarrón and Marxophone featured throughout the album. “I’ve always loved how different instruments can accentuate a song in unexpected ways. Working with other musicians on this album was such a joy because it gave us a rare opportunity to hear our songs through someone else’s ears.”

Kretz adds that the band is looking forward to not only performing the new songs acoustically, but also pulling songs from previous albums into the set list. “We’ll finally get a chance to play songs from our catalog that we’ve never played live, or in some cases, haven’t played live in more than 20 years.”Robert says the band is looking forward to finally realizing that dream in February 2020. “We’re excited because it’s not only a chance for us to celebrate our new album in a special way, but also everything that’s brought us to this moment.”

Track Listing:
1. “Fare Thee Well”
2. “Three Wishes”
3. “Perdida”
4. “I Didn’t Know The Time”
5. “Years”
6. “She’s My Queen”
7. “Miles Away”
8. “You Found Yourself While Losing Your Heart”
9. “I Once Sat At Your Table”
10. “Sunburst”


Tour Dates:
February
5 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
7 Snoqualmie, WA Snoqualmie Casino
8 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
9 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
12 San Francisco, CA Herbst Theatre
13 Beverly Hills, CA Saban Theater
15 Denver, CO Fillmore Auditorium
17 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater
19 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
21 Detroit, MI The Fillmore Detroit
22 Covington, KY Madison Theater
25 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre
27 Toronto, ON Danforth Music Hall
29 Atlantic City, NJ Tropicana
March

1 Boston, MA The Wilbur Theatre

Bad Company to mark 40th anniversary of 'Desolation Angels' with box set

Bad Company’s incredible commercial success continued in 1979 with the British supergroup’s fifth studio album, Desolation Angels. A double-platinum hit, the album peaked at #3 on the U.S. album charts and took radio by storm with “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy,” the best-selling single of the band’s career.

Bad Company will celebrate the album’s 40th anniversary with a newly expanded version that boasts nineteen unreleased songs taken from the album’s recording sessions. Desolation Angels was recently remastered from the original multi-track tapes for THE SWAN SONG YEARS 1974-1982, a boxed set that was released this summer. That remastered version of the album is also used in this new anniversary collection.

DESOLATION ANGELS: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION will be available on January 10 as a two-CD set and a double-LP set on 180-gram vinyl. The music will also be available from digital outlets and streaming services.

In the late summer of 1978, Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke and Boz Burrell spent several weeks recording songs for Desolation Angels at Ridge Farm Studio in Surrey, England. The album – named after Jack Kerouac’s 1965 novel – was released in March 1979, and spawned two singles, “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy” and “Gone, Gone, Gone.” The album also introduced fan favorites like “Evil Wind” and “Rhythm Machine.”

The second disc that accompanies DESOLATION ANGELS: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION presents unreleased versions of seven album tracks. Highlights include alternate takes for “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy,” “Early In The Morning” and “She Brings Me Love.” Also, the version “Oh, Atlanta” included here is played at slower tempo and adds a Fender Rhodes keyboard into the mix.

In addition to alternate versions of album tracks, DESOLATION ANGELS: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION also features two unreleased outtakes from the sessions. The first is “Smokin’ 45.” This version is different from the one that appeared on the 1999 compilation, The ‘Original’ Bad Co. Anthology. The second outtake, “Rock Fever,” has never surfaced on any Bad Company release until now.

DESOLATION ANGELS: 40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION

CD Track Listing:
Disc One
1. “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy”
2. “Crazy Circles”
3. “Gone, Gone, Gone”
4. “Evil Wind”
5. “Early In The Morning”
6. “Lonely For Your Love”
7. “Oh, Atlanta”
8. “Take The Time”
9. “Rhythm Machine”
10. “She Brings Me Love”

Disc Two
1. “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy” – Alternative Version *
2. “Gone, Gone, Gone” – Alternative Version *
3. “Evil Wind” – Alternative Version *
4. “Early In The Morning” – Alternative Version *
5. “Smokin’ 45” – Outtake/Alternative Version *
6. “Oh, Atlanta” – Slow Version with Rhodes *
7. “Rhythm Machine’ – Alternative Version *
8. “She Brings Me Love” – Alternative Version *
9. “Rock Fever” – Outtake *
*previously unreleased

LP Track Listing
Side A
1. “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy”
2. “Crazy Circles”
3. “Gone, Gone, Gone”
4. “Evil Wind”

Side B
1. “Early In The Morning”
2. “Lonely For Your Love”
3. “Oh, Atlanta”
4. “Take The Time”
5. “Rhythm Machine”
6. “She Brings Me Love”

Side C
1. “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy” – Alternative Version
2. “Gone, Gone, Gone” – Alternative Version
3. “Evil Wind” – Alternative Version
4. “Early In The Morning” – Alternative Version

Side D
1. “Smokin’ 45” – Outtake/Alternative Version
2. “Oh, Atlanta” – Slow Version with Rhodes
3. “Rhythm Machine’ – Alternative Version
4. “She Brings Me Love” – Alternative Version
5. “Rock Fever” – Outtake

Peter Buck produces old friends in Portland band Eyelids

Portland band Eyelids has released the video for the song “Found at The Scene of a Rendezvous That Failed.” The track appears on their new album in collaboration with poet Larry Beckett, The Accidental Falls, out February 14, via Jealous Butcher Records.

In addition to producing the album, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck plays bass on "Found at the Scene of a Rendezvous that Failed," which was originally written in 1966 by Tim Buckley and Larry Beckett but not released. Rachel Blumberg, who has made videos for Iron & Wine & Gillian Welch, animated the video. Watch and share here.

From John Moen (vocals, guitar): “We Eyelids proudly present a lovely music video made by a dear friend with whom we share much history! From drumming with Bob Phonic in Beth’s attic (for a real rager) in the late 80’s, to quitting another band at the right time in the early 2000’s (to give poor John a drumming job of his own), to stints with Bright Eyes, M.Ward and Califone- former Portland resident, Rachel Blumberg, has graced us this time with her visual art. It’s a beautiful painting that just so happens to move in time to our humble rendition of ‘Found at the Scene of a Rendezvous that Failed’ written by Tim Buckley and Larry Beckett.”

When acclaimed poet and former Tim Buckley collaborator Larry Beckett first offered Chris Slusarenko and John Moen of Eyelids to write new lyrics for their next record as well as giving them access to his words from the last four decades, the musicians weren’t sure Eyelids soaring brand of guitar driven rock would jibe with someone else's lyrics (including a song that was written with Buckley). “It was Larry’s trust in us that really caused us to think we should do it,” Moen says. “When someone like that is into your work to the degree they want to collaborate, it definitely feeds your confidence.”

On The Accidental Falls, the band step firmly out from the considerable shadow cast by the band members’ second-to-none pedigrees earned from time spent in Guided By Voices, The Decemberists, Stephen Malkmus and Elliott Smith’s bands. Buck also plays on the record with Tucker Martine (Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Neko Case) and Heba Kadry (Deerhunter, Bjork) who mixed and mastered the record respectively.

Created with band members, Jonathan Drews (guitar), Jim Taltstra (bass) and Paulie Pulvirenti (drums), Eyelids’ fourth album finds the outfit as both stewards of a classic sound (Alex Chiltonites and disciples of early REM or later XTC will fall hard for this project) and accomplished artists propelling their craft to thrilling new heights.

Slusarenko’s relationship with Buck goes back to 1983 when R.E.M. fanboy Chris wrote Peter a gushing letter that Buck answered, leading to a meeting in ‘84, displaying how full circle things have come for the songwriter and guitarist. The magic of being fated to find one of your heroes producing your record a half a century later isn’t lost on Slusarenko. “Peter has always been amazing for us. Having your hero become a friend and collaborator is such a dream and does so much for the band,” the guitarist says. “Even though we’ve been working together for years now, sometimes you look up in the studio and think ‘Holy shit, we’ve got Peter Buck working on our record.’”

As they typically write the music first and add lyrics later, Beckett’s compositions allowed Eyelids to wholly focus on the music and the result is stunning. Already the band’s trademark, the delectably shimmering guitar playing on The Accidental Falls is utterly spellbinding and deeply imbued with joyous emotion—rock n’ roll as catharsis.

The Accidental Falls sees the band expound upon that sound and push it to new heights. The paisley psychedelia of “Dream” and “River” provide a perfect sonic palette cleanser to the cacophonous crashing of drums and guitars the peaks of songs like “Ceremony” and the Elliott Smith-indebted “Monterey” provide. The Accidental Falls casts a hypnotic spell over the listener and triumphantly reminds us, hearts fully on sleeves, why we fell in love with rock n’ roll in the first place.

Pre-order The Accidental Falls

Tour Dates:

Dec. 14th - Seattle, WA Tractor Tavern - w/ Dream Syndicate
Jan. 24th - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club - w/ Camper Van Beethoven
Jan. 25th - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club- Eyelids backing John Cameron Mitchell
Feb. 28th - Seattle. WA - Clockout Lounge- Record Release Show
Feb. 29th - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios - Record Release Show
March 13th - Los Angeles, CA
March 15th- San Francisco, CA
April 3rd - New York, NY
April 4th - New Haven, CT - Cafe 9
April 5th - Washington, DC - Comet Ping Pong
April 6th - Philadelphia, PA - Ortlieb's
April 10th - Atlanta, GA - Club 529
April 11th - Athens, GA - Caledonia
May 29th - Milwaukee. WI
May 30th - Chicago, IL - Space
May 31st - Madison, WI - Kiki's House of Righteous Music

Boomtown Rats reunion album coming

Crossing fingers for some American tour dates...

The Boomtown Rats will mark 2020 (The Year Of The Rat) with the release of ‘Citizens Of Boomtown’, their first new studio album since 1984, plus a UK tour, and a book of lyrics and reminiscence by Rats singer Bob Geldof entitled ‘Tales Of Boomtown Glory’.

Released on March 13 via BMG, the album was produced by Rats bassist Pete Briquette and it will be available on digital platforms, CD and vinyl. The first single ‘Trash Glam Baby’  will be released on January 10.

On the same day as the album release, Faber Music will publish a new book by Geldof. Tales of Boomtown Glory is a collection of the complete lyrics from Geldof’s Boomtown Rats and 7 solo albums, accompanied by an introduction and 28 song stories written by Geldof, with exclusive scans from his notebooks over the years. Lyrics to the 189 songs include previously unreleased material as well as the new songs on ‘Citizens Of Boomtown’.

Also slated for a release early next year is a documentary film by Billy McGrath, a long term confidant of Bob and the band which will tell their story through a mix of interviews and previously unseen personal archive - from their inception in Dun Laoghaire right up to the present day.

Formed in 1975 in Dublin, The Boomtown Rats first toured the UK with the Ramones and Talking Heads. They became one of the biggest bands of the late 70s/80s with a string of top ten hits and platinum albums, earning them Brit Awards and Ivor Novellos. Making history as the first Irish band to have a UK no 1 hit with ‘Rat Trap’, they went on to top the charts in 32 Countries with ‘I Don't Like Mondays’ and racked up 6 era-defining albums: ‘The Boomtown Rats’ (’77), ‘A Tonic For The Troops’ (’78), ‘The Fine Art Of Surfacing’ (’79), ‘Mondo Bongo’ (’80), ‘V Deep’ (’82) and ‘In The Long Grass’ (’84). In 1984, inspired by a TV report on the famine in Ethiopia, Bob Geldof organized the star-studded Band Aid and co-wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas," one of the biggest-selling singles in history. The next year he organized Live Aid.

When The Boomtown Rats took a break after 6 albums and countless singles it seemed the right time. They went off to their different lives. Bob Geldof made 7 solo albums. Then something pulled them back into each other’s orbit. It felt unforced, entirely natural and the rage and frustrations that drove the earlier incarnation of the band was no less tempered by time or life.

“Indeed if anything”, says Geldof “it was time to hear THAT noise again. But I only knew that when I heard this group of individuals re-constitute their specific racket”.

Were they not afraid of a sort of cosy or complacent nostalgia smothering the original vitality of the music? “Had that happened I’d have instantly knocked it on the head, but when we played “Someone’s Looking At You’ I found I was singing now about the dangerous corporate surveillance of Facebook, Apple, Google, ever-on “smart’ shit whose product is ‘You’. When we do ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ I’m thinking of last week’s mass killing. When it’s ‘Banana Republic’, it is now the death of the American Republic. When it’s ‘Rat Trap’, that abattoir I worked in and where I wrote the song, now still serves as a physical metaphor, not just for the death of the animals there, but the hopelessness of the human lives that worked there. It still works for that same reason. There is no nostalgia here. None.”

So why a new record? “Because that’s what bands do. They make records. Songwriters write songs. There’s so much to respond to in this new and different febrile atmosphere that we live in. People forget we took our name from Woody Guthrie, the great musical activist. I think The Boomtown Rats have always shown that rock’n’roll is a form of musical activism. The music has intent and purpose even if that is just the sound, about boy/girl, nothing particularly at all, everything in general, or pointed polemical…. whatever.”

Does the world need another Boomtown Rats record? “I couldn’t give a shite”, says Geldof, “we do, and that’s enough’.

So here it is. “I love this record”, he says. “It just feels absolutely right!”

Track listing:

Trash Glam, Baby
Sweet Thing
Monster Monkeys
She Said No
Passing Through
Here’s A Postcard
K.I.S.S.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Yé Yé
Get A Grip
The Boomtown Rats

UK tour dates:

MARCH
26 BRIGHTON The Dome
27 CHELTENHAM Town Hall
APRIL
15 BIRMINGHAM Town Hall
17 LIVERPOOL Grand Central Hall
18 CARDIFF The Great Hall
24 CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
25 YORK Barbican
29 MANCHESTER The Ritz
MAY
1 LONDON The Palladium
2 NEWCASTLE The Sage, Gateshead

The Boomtown Rats are: Bob Geldof on vocals, Pete Briquette on bass, Simon Crowe on drums and Garry Roberts on guitar