Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Greetings, Culture Lovers!

Here's a head's up for our loyal viewers and a special Christmas present to you from the crew at 1600! On Friday night December 21st, and just in time for the holidays, 1600 will present a special 2 HOUR LIVE SHOW! From 9:30-11:30 pm, you can tune in and get the skinny on the year's best new releases, concerts, interviews, and most outrageous moments, as brought to you by Jerry, Steve and Bob, in their inimitable (not that anyone would want to!) manner!

There will be more surprises and announcements, Christmas music, holiday recipes, spiked egg nog, and more 1600 than you can shake a stick at! Consider this to be YOUR INVITATION to get in on an unforgettable, unforgivable, unGrinchable Christmas Party!

Because, best of all, YOU are cordially invited to call in to speak your mind- LIVE ON THE AIR! The magic number is: (703) 573-5483 (that's (703) 573-LIVE) and let us know what you think! What are you listening to? Who do you want to see us interview? Hate the show? Like the show? Love the show? Wish we'd discuss a certain topic or pay tribute to a favorite band? Now's your chance to sound off, sing out, and say your piece!

So, tuck the kids in bed and let them dream of sugarplums, candy canes, and teddy bears, while you stay up to raise hell and join the festivities! Remember to tune in early on Friday Dec. 21st, and stay with us through the night to ring out the old year with much joyous noise!

From Steve, Jerry & Bob

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Umphrey's McGee: Kids or Jail??

Umphrey's McGee, looking remarkably out of character

The 1600 team had a chance to sit down with the members of Umphrey's McGee before their triumphant return to the 9:30 Club October 17th. We were pleased to catch up with Jake, Brendan, Ryan, Joel, Chris, and Andy, heard some great stories, talked sports, found out about their influences, and heard about the brand new, just released double live album, Live at the Murat, recorded in April at the Murat Egyptian Room in Indianapolis. The interview will air soon on Channel 10 in Fairfax, and will be online shortly after. (So you can figure out why this review is called Kids or Jail!) Don't miss it!

The first set started around 9:30, and the near-capacity crowd was dancing, shouting, and swaying before the band even hit the stage. Umphrey's sound was for the most part, spot on, although Jake was having some difficulty initially with his pedals and effects, but that was ironed out relatively quickly...They opened with "Walletsworth," from their 2004 disc, Anchor Drops, doing one of their trademark jams (a.k.a., a Jimmy Stewart) and returning to the main theme, followed by "Push the Pig," "Believe the Lie" (from the 2006 CD, Safety in Numbers), "Utopian Fir," and "Thin Air."

After a short break to regroup, Umphrey's returned to the stage with "Hurt Birdbath," from 2002's Local Band Does Okay, a title that indicates the band's self-effacing, low-key attitude that makes them refreshingly approachable and down to earth. They continued with "Words," "Smell the Mitten" (A Spinal Tap reference/homage? Pretty funny!), and another Jimmy Stewart, into the title cut from their most recent studio release, The Bottom Half. The set ended on a high note, with "Kabump," and one of their dozens of odd covers, rehearsed and worked out on the bus, at their hotel, and backstage before the show. Tonight's pick was A Flock of Seagulls "I Ran," which I hadn't heard in a very long time, and as enhanced by the Umphrey's crew, sounded pretty good, although I nearly laughed out loud as Brendan launched into the lyrics. Steve was probably the gladdest of all to hear it, however, because it meant that Jerry and I wouldn't have to crush his spleen for suggesting "Sister Christian," another bad 80's tune the band occasionally performs live.

They solo, they duel, they improvise on the fly, and take chances- something few bands (even jam bands) can do as seamlessly, or as apparently effortlessly. But they admit to practicing like crazy (Adrian Belew told us that Umphrey's sometimes even works on material between sets! How hard core is that?) and after 10 years together and over 2,000 shows, the time and effort they put into their music definitely shows! The band goes from one song to suddenly veer off and break into another, completely different style, each member taking off in different directions, and then pulling back right back together to finish the song that started the medley, throwing out the occasional hand signals, or counting off, and watching each other's every move. And the audience moves right along with the beat, nonstop- dancing, laughing and playing, while soaking up every note.

So, look for them to come back in the spring to the DC area and see what the fun is all about. And look for us down by the right speaker, dancing along...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Skanksgiving from the PieTasters! (and friends)

How better to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season but with a multi-band jamathon at the 9:30 Club, singing and dancing your way to a well-deserved vacation day?

On Wednesday Nov. 21st, an r &b/soul/ska fest filled the stage (and we mean filled!) as Lionize, Westbound Train, the Slackers, and DC's own PieTasters and about a thousand of their closest personal friends filled the floor and danced, danced, danced the night away in a joyous romp full of good vibes and good songs. The bands are all old friends, having shared members in some cases and toured together, and you soon had a distinct (and unique) feeling of camaraderie that you were at an Animal House-era frat party. There were no strangers here, only friends you hadn't met yet. Togas would not have been out of place. Even the amps and drums were shared by all, left up to speed the transition between sets, a rare demonstration of trust and testimony to the cohesiveness and rapport among this crowd.

Lionize was first, playing a loose blend of ska and reggae that would become a recurring theme and familiar sound as the night went on. I picked up their cd EP, Mummies Wrapped in Money, a bargain at $5) and thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly "Surrender," "Killers," and my personal favorite, "Brains!...Brains!!!..." (asking the musical question, "Do you want to be a zombie like me?") They were followed in short order by Bostonians West Bound Train, who added a horn section, with singer Obi Fernandez doubling on trombone.

Somewhat more upbeat and playing with a style that relied more on ska and R & B than reggae, Westbound Train also turned in a solid set, keeping the audience on their feet and skankin'! They were followed by the very capable Slackers, who did their part to maintain the groove. The heady atmosphere and ska fest was capped by Indication Records recording artists, the PieTasters, who played a set featuring music from throughout their 17 year history, pumped up with frenetic energy, stellar interplay, and first class musicianship.

If you've been watching lately, you already know that Steve Jackson, Toby Hansen, Carlos Linares and Jeremy Roberts (comprising approx. 45% of the Pietasters) were our guests last month, filling us in on their latest adventures, an imminent European tour, and promoting the new cd, All Day (visit to find out where to pick this up) their 8th recording and a real throwback to the late 50's and early 60's, evoking memories of transistor radios playing a blend of old school Memphis and Motown soul, R & B, and beach music, with some island- influenced two- tone, ska, and reggae thrown in for good measure. Some standouts from the new record included the catchy "Don't Wanna Know," ""Change My Ways," and "Fozzy (Part I)" (reminding me of classic Otis Redding), along with an upbeat, energetic cover of the Stones' "Let's Spend The Night Together," that absolutely brought the house down.

While all the bands were fun, and could likely have headlined this or other venues themselves, it was the tight sound of the PieTasters that brought out the crowd, as several hundred people twisted, bounced, danced, spun, and skanked along in unison, shouting out the lyrics as Steve Jackson obligingly pointed his microphone into the audience. This eventually culminated in members of the crowd stage diving, a trio of young ladies who danced onstage with the band for several songs, and finally an amicable mosh pit actually moving onto the stage as twenty or thirty fans bopped along, with the band's brave acquiescence (and even encouragement!) on a couple of tunes. Again, this only added to the friendly, collegial atmosphere, perhaps the ultimate demonstration of the group's popularity and sense of identity with their fans.

That's something ya don't see every day. And the kind of stuff that brings me back every time. Skip the big arenas, and check out some bands that are genuinely glad to see you there! And they'll do their damndest to ensure you have the time of your life!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Neil Young: Timeless

On Friday, November 16, that same majority of your 1600 crew invaded DAR Constitution Hall, for a chance to catch the Grandaddy of Grunge, Mr. Soul himself, Bernard Shakey's alter ego, the man that ain't gonna burn out or fade away, the immortal Neil Young. Supported by friends and family (his wife Pegi doing her own set before joining Neil to provide harmonies), Ben Keith, Rick (the bass player) Rosas, and ever- reliable Ralph Molina on the drums.
We actually walked in during the first or second song of the opening act, Pegi Young, who was accompanied by both Keith and Rosas, and guitarist/harmonica player Anthony Crawford, who were well-rehearsed and comfortably folky-country to give a nice introduction for the show. Pegi Young's voice is clear and conveys emotion well, reminiscent of no one in particular, but at ease and in command. She played both original material and songs written by other friends and colleagues from this remarkable circle of friends and contemporaries with equal aplomb.
Her roughly forty minute set was followed by a brief intermission, then Neil took the stage for a solo set. In a loose fitting gray suit that looked to be splashed with white paint, Neil strummed guitar, and played piano, keyboards and even a little banjo, opening with "From Hank to Hendrix" from Harvest Moon, followed by "Ambulance Blues," also on acoustic guitar. Next up was "Sad Songs," one of the new songs from his latest CD, Chrome Dreams II. He would continue interposing classics like "A Man Needs A Maid," "Harvest" and a slightly updated "After the Goldrush" ("look at Mother Nature on the run/ In the twenty-first century") with more recent songs, such as "Love Art Blues," and in the second set, a powerful reading of "The Believer" with the band, making the most of one of Neil's signature meandering grooves, culminating in some bluesy back and forth exchanges between Keith, Rosas, and Neil, jamming on it and improvising at their finest.
The second set was full of many moments like that, and some unlikely and relatively under the radar songs turned up. The band kicked off with "The Loner," a great tune from Neil's first album I'd never heard live, followed by a favorite, the title cut from his second release, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. The set also featured a stellar rendition of "Winterlong," as well as new tunes "Dirty Old Man," "Bad Fog of Loneliness," "Spirit Road," and the previously mentioned "The Believer." The night ended on a high note, with "Cinnamon Girl," "Tonight's the Night," and another recent instrumental, "The Sultan," as encores.
The sound was also very good that night, surprisingly so on the louder electric arrangements. Constitution Hall, while usually more than adequate for acoustic performances, often is not so forgiving when a band turns up and plays with a lot of feedback and distortion. But someone did an excellent job of managing the sound that night, and deserves credit for making a frequently problematic venue sound good.
Not much else that can be said, but Ben Keith told us they'd be back next year...and we're holdin' 'em to it!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

This Magic Moment

Once again, your intrepid 1600 team (or at least a majority thereof) was at the MCI Center on Veteran's Day to witness the triumphal return of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to Washington. No, that isn't a deafening chorus of boos* you heard that Sunday night (and again Monday, no doubt), that was about 20,000 standing, cheering, transfixed fans bellowing "Bruuuuuuuce!"

Yes, even as Jerry was busily editing that day's interview with DC's ska- soul legends the Pietasters, Steve and Bob were off doing what they do best: slacking, drinking, dancing and singing, albeit off- key and painfully hoarse to the familiar tones of the Boss and his all star band, sounding every bit as good as they did 30+ years ago when they became American icons! (Look for that 1600 icon show sometime in 2008) They were all there- Max Weinberg getting a hall monitor pass from Conan ("Potatoes") O'Brien to tour with his old Boss, Little Steven taking a break from his weekly Underground Garage radio show to trade licks and harmonies with Bruce and Patti, and of course, Clarence Clemons, nattily attired in black, including a felt fedora looking very much like an extra from the cast of American Gangster.

And while not the four and a half hour marathon that made Bruce and E Street famous in their 70's and 80's heyday, this performance was a solid two and a half plus hours, featuring some old favorites, as well as a majority of the songs from their most recent release, Magic.

As expected, the setlist varied little from previous nights. "Radio Nowhere" was a great launching point, and the band slipped right into a powerful and moving reading of "No Surrender", followed by "Gypsy Biker," "Magic," and "Reason to Believe" (and no, he didn't cover Rod Stewart and the Faces). All of the new material, including "I'll Work for Your Love," "The Devil's Arcade," and the closer, "American Land," written during the We Shall Overcome- The Seeger Sessions release from 2006, were all solid and tight, and stood up well beside classics like "Night," "Tunnel of Love," and "Badlands."

The relentless pace kept up virtually non-stop, with occasional asides by Bruce as the band toweled off and rehydrated, laughing with the crowd once again as he commiserated with the people living in "this wicked city." One unexpected moment came when "Growin' Up" was added to the set as a preface to other early favorites "Kitty's Back," and the song that put them on the map, "Born to Run."

I also note that while Nils Lofgren and Miami Steve Van Zandt played a number of blistering leads, Springsteen played just as fiercely, and dazzlingly as his bandmates. Bruce has always been acclaimed as a peerless performer and great songwriter, but his skills as a guitar player have often been overlooked. And while he doesn't need to showcase his skills to improve his reputation, it should be noted for the record that his style is not flashy, but unique, understated, and tasteful, without a lick ever seeming out of place, wasted, or over the top. I can't say that for a lot of the critics' darlings that get more exposure and credit, without either the chops or the catalogue that Bruce can claim.

The upshot was a very satisfying evening, nearly 30 years after my first E Street show. And it sure isn't gonna be my last!

*Unlike the deafening chorus of actual boos heard this August at RFK in the final game played there between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants, when the now indicted Barry Bonds stepped in to pinch hit, grounding out to short. Those boos were laced with cries of "cheater," "loser," and "bum," which were also not heard during the E Street Band's performance at the Phone Booth.

Steve Sez:
BONDS RULES!!! Who gives a shit if he lied about what he put in his body. Most people my age have lied many times over about what they put in their body. And it sure as hell isn't the government's business anyway! Jail time for this? Are we crazy? The next thing you know someone will get impeached for lying about a blow job.

So now the home run king and the hit king won't be in the baseball hall of fame. The way I see it, it's like Foghat and Rush not being in the rock and roll hall of fame. Bonds can now join Rose, Lonesome Dave and Geddy in a line of hall of fame injustices.

And speaking of injustices:
--OJ was only trying to get his stuff back so he could pay off Fred Goldman.
--Britney's not the only parent who ran a red light with her kids in the back seat.
--84 minutes in jail sounds like a long time to me as I'm sure it did to Miss Lohan.

By the way Springsteen Rocked!!! Growin Up into Kitty...nuff said.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Zappa Plays Zappa

The Legacy lives on.

And it was very much like old times.

On Wednesday, November 7, the Warner Theater was the place to be when Dweezil Zappa and the Zappa Plays Zappa band, a well-rehearsed, seven piece ensemble running the gamut from guitar, bass, and drums to sax, flute, and rock n' roll xylophone stormed the stage for a visit to DC. It was an unusual performance as you would expect: the music entirely dominating the presentation, but containing moments of spontaneous mirth and merriment that certainly would have done the old boy proud. And Frank was not only the inspiration, but a participant in the show too, after a fashion.

They got off to a furious start with "Zoot Allures," a tasty instrumental from FZ's mid-70's era, followed by "Lonely little Girl," and beatifically smiling his infectious grin and deliberately pronouncing each accented syllable, we were treated to the sight and sound of Frank himself, first tearing through a great rendition of "Cosmik Debris," as well as footage of him later in the 3 hour set, shutting up and playing the hell out of his guitar on the "Dog Breath/Uncle Meat" medley (referred to in the program as "Dog Meat.") Other classic and more obscure Zappa compositions included "Wind Up Working in a Gas Station" (also from Zoot Allures), "City of Tiny Lights" from Sheik Yerbouti, a dazzling jam on "Dupree's Paradise," "G Spot Tornado," a piece originally performed solo on synclavier by Frank (as Dweezil noted, during one of his "people are so annoying" periods) which sounded even more powerful as filled out by the band, and a choreographed "Willie the Pimp," which featured the playful slap and tickle silliness that many recall as Zappa's trademark.

And while humor was certainly one aspect of Frank's storied career, the show also showcased the skill, versatility, and sheer virtuosity Frank and his incredible bands always demonstrated, pulling off these arrangements live. I was always blown away by the amazing bands that toured with Frank, and occasionally, he'd even put down the guitar (that guitar which, incidentally, Dweezil still plays!), turned his back to the audience and pick up the baton to conduct. Dweezil didn't exactly do that, but the band clearly cued on his signals, and followed his lead. For his part, he showed a tremendous knowledge of his Dad's chops, executing dizzying runs down the frets at breakneck while speed looking cool as the proverbial cucumber, then picking up a line again a few bars later, not playing Frank's songs note for note, but keeping faithful to their character. He didn't try to match his father's speed or almost frenetic style, but captured it successfully, nonetheless, a true student of his father's work and one of only a handful of men alive that could do him justice. He also gracefully laid out on the songs that featured videotapes of his father performing, looking up at him and back to the crowd in reverence and acknowledging that iconoclastic wild man from Baltimore who made the night possible.

Veteran Zappa sideman Ray White was their special guest, offering up dynamic vocals occasionally supplemented by guitar (and hot water bottle- but I'm not gonna explain that, you'll have to figure it out, or hope they play it at the show next year!). The rest of the band was capably filled out by Aaron Arntz on keyboards and occasional trumpet, Pete Griffin on bass, Scheila Gonzalez on sax, flute, vocals, and keyboards, Jamie Kime on rhythm guitar, Joe Travers on drums and vocals, and percussionist Billy Hulting on marimbas and various percussion (including the forementioned xylophone, a staple with any ensemble performing Zappa pieces).

The show ended with a somewhat truncated version of the Bongo Fury collaboration between FZ and Captain Beefheart, "The Muffin Man," that probably should have included Frank's hysterical intro, the recording of which even he could not get through without laughing. This was the second year of the Tour de Frank, and if the performance we watched was any indication, the tour will continue spreading the word and wisdom of Frank Zappa for many years to come. It was a labor of love that didn't go unnoticed- and five will get you ten that when the Tour de Frank returns, that entire crowd will be back to see what surprises are in store next year!

Bravo and well done to Dweezil and his band, for their painstaking recreations of Frank Zappa's unique songs- you could almost see Frank up in the rafters, baton in hand, nodding and striking up the band for another encore.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Heaven and Hell

It's Heaven and Hell

Hey...better late then never.

So Black Sabbath can't call themselves Black Sabbath anymore, thanx Sharon! Heaven and Hell/Black Sabbath came and went last spring and I thought it would be great to hear the Dio era tunes again.

The stage looked like the gates of Hell and the show was...well...rather plodding and slow most of the night. Kind of a disappointment if you want to know the truth. I was expecting a blow out but it was anything but that. The opener was from Dehumanizer (remember that sack o'shit anyone?) and for the first five minutes of the show I was thinking, "What fucking song is this?", that's a good way to dump the show at the opening bell. come on guys we've been waiting years for this and that's the best you can do?

By the time they got to some meaty tunes I was wishing Megadeth could come back out. Let's face it Dio has a strong voice but the running around flashing the devils horns wore out it's welcome rather quickly. Even tunes like "Mob Rules" and "Children of the Sea" lacked the pop they had on the LP's. Playing a few new tunes that no one had heard before was a nice try but it didn't work either. Maybe that's the reason we've heard no studio stuff from any of the Sabs for a while. And 3 or 4 tunes from "Dehumanizer" for crying out loud that king of "suck" Meatloaf has better songs. I'd have liked for them to have had a go at a new one called, "Bat Out of Heaven and Hell".

For goodness sakes by the time they got to "Heaven and Hell" the pit was asleep. And boys, just play the song. It's already 8 minutes long, it doesn't need to be 14. How many times does the crowd have to help out by singing, "It's heaven and hell"? Geez- 40, 50 times? Audience sing-a-longs are better when served up by John Denver and "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" than they ever will be by Black Sabbath. Can you imagine Ozzy having the crowd sing, "God knows as your dog knows, bog blast all of you!" for a fucking half an hour?

Megadeth however kicked some good old fashioned ass!!! Good job Dave!!!


Posted by 1600 at 1:27 PM

Friday, October 19, 2007

Colbert Announces Candidacy, As Major Parties Tremble

Well, it had to happen.

Finally, a legitimate candidate had to get in the race for the White House in 2008. And unlike the line of also-rans that have pandered for popular votes on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, like John McCain, Joe Biden, John McCain, Barack Obama, John McCain, Bill Bradley, John McCain, Wesley Clark, and John McCain, this candidate already has the voters abuzz with unbridled expectations! After publishing a runaway best seller earlier this month, and a revealing interview last week on Larry King, Stephen Colbert has finally bowed to Nation's will and agreed to run for the White House in 2008! As you have remarked so many times, Mr. Colbert: "the marketplace has spoken."

Yet, some people are skeptical as to whether Colbert is serious, comparing him to the late Pat Paulsen in his many unsuccessful bids for the Presidency. And to date, Colbert has pledged to campaign only in his home state of South Carolina, where as a "favorite son," he predicted he would receive substantial support only to flounder and flail in all other primaries, and disappear off the national radar completely. He also said he would apply for the ballot as both a Republican and a Democrat, so he could "lose twice."

A good plan, Stephen- if we were to believe that carefully honed exterior and famous false bravado as a psuedo-pundit were actually true. But you gave us a glimpse of the real guy underneath the carefully crafted facade when interviewed on King, the man whose mind works constantly. That's what this country needs now, more than anything else- someone that thinks, and not just for himself. Someone that sees the inherent insanity of a rapidly collapsing system, uncaring and heedless, unresponsive and irresponsible to the people whom our elected leadership are supposed to represent. Someone that gives a rat's ass. Somebody smart. At least one other candidate, Mike Huckabee, takes you seriously enough to have offered you the vice presidency if you would join his ticket. I know you said you'd have to make the same offer to him, but I really think Stewart would be a better choice, and he already knows how to handle tools like Chris Matthews and Tucker Carlson when he delivers your policies to the Fourth Estate, with a smackdown and a smile!

So stay the course, Colbert. The people- your people, will respond. Don't limit your potential because you don't have an agenda, or ambitions (pretensions?) to greatness. Sure, there's a pay cut, but think of the service you'll provide your country once a rational human being can unite us. You're probably the only hope we'll have for that for a very long time. You'll probably even be able to keep the show, but would likely have to cut back to once a week because of your additional responsibilities. But we eagerly anticipate a broadcast from the Oval Office, where a Saturday evening Fireside Chat would instill pride and strengthen the morale of your countrymen everywhere. And to paraphrase Pat Paulsen- "You've gotta sleep somewhere." Why not make it mortgage free for 4 (or better yet, 8) years?

And if you're reading this and reside in South Carolina, sign the damn petition already, and get him on the ballot there so he doesn't have to spend $2,500.00. Or don't you support fiscal conservatism? Vote early and often, may the funniest candidate win!

In re: Parrotheads v. Carrotheads

It's Jimmy Buffett, not Warren Buffett- he gets so confused!

As a casual legal observer, the Parrothead v. Carrothead copyright infringement controversy between Jimmy Buffett and the Six Flags amusement park chain (now owned by Washington Redskins' answer to George Steinbrenner, Dan Snyder) looks like a frivolous lawsuit. But according to the inside word, gleaned from the keen mind of astute legal analyst Susan Rabinowitz, this may not be such a slam dunk, after all.

"Jimmy Buffett's Parrotheads raise a lot of money for charities," Ms. R told me. "They probably don't want to be confused or identified with a 'for-profit' venture such as Six Flags." And therein lies the rub. I thought Jimmy was being heartless, as the Carrotheads are a kids' fan club for Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the Tasmanian Devil (now an endangered species!) who attend the amusement parks, ride the roller coasters, and buy the swag readily available there.

Others have a different take on it, claiming that the 10,000 or so kids in the Carrotheads Club (so named for the nerf headgear shaped like a carrot worn by the wee tykes) don't deserve to have the plug pulled on their fun, noting that they would not be easily confused with the margarita-swilling, Hawaiian shirt-clad Parrotheads that habitually follow Buffett, creating sold out performances at every venue he visits.

Personally, I think its way over the top, and that Buffett and Six Flags, and Looney Tunes copyright owners Time/Warner/AOL should shake hands and get over it, so that nobody's Mommy and Daddy have to explain why the kids' club is banned by a cease and desist order from the Federal Judiciary. Maybe they can even do a joint fundraiser for some of the charities that Jimmy supports, complete with cartoon icons, and smiling children.

Or maybe they just feed Buffett to Taz, with a little salt and lemon, and see whether all that tequila he's absorbed over the years has a negative impact on the creature's ability to belch.

40 Acres and That Goverment Mule You've Been Dreaming Of

After touring earlier this year with the Allman Bros., Warren Haynes recently took his alter ego Gov't Mule on the road for a series of high energy show this fall. The band spent two solid, well- attended nights at DC's 9:30 Club where they jammed the night away playing their unique blend of rock, pop, and soul, drenched in blues, and buoyed by the big man's masterful guitar and soulful vocals. And as usual, the 1600 team was there!

From hearing bits and pieces of their live shows over the years, I was really looking forward to checking these guys out in person. Virtuoso guitarist Haynes, flanked by Matt Abts (drums), Andy Hess (bass), and Danny Louis (keyboards) were also joined by saxophone master and DC perennial, Ron Holloway, a longtime member of Susan Tedeschi's band, who improvised with inspired enthusiasm with his old friend Haynes, collaborating on several songs each night.

Another brief word here about the opening act, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Walking in that night, I was accosted by several friends who all cautioned me not to miss a minute of her set. So, denying ourselves the customary bathroom/smoke/beer walkabout usually reserved for opening acts, we stood at the edge of the stage, hanging on her every word, taking in the 24 year-old "Vermonster's" tasty slide guitar and Hammond B3 organ- fueled jaunts through her entire one hour set. It was good advice, and I'm glad we heeded it. Grace growled out her original songs with an authority reserved for the likes of seasoned blues vets.

The band, comprised of lead player Scott Dournet, bassist Bryan Dondero, and drummer Matt Burr, cooked with a fiery intensity, playing a loose but well-rehearsed set that included several songs off their second record, "This is Somewhere." Highlights included Ah Mary, Stop the Bus, Ain't No Time, and Big White Gate. 1600 anticipates that this band will headlining the next time they come to town, and looks forward to seeing them again soon. See for more info, future dates, downloads, and pictures.

But as usual, I digress. The band we went to see was Gov't Mule (get more info at And their reputation for playing great shows is well- deserved. Steve, a longtime Mule vet, accompanied by friend of 1600 Tommy Gavin, managed to make it both nights, and I could kick myself for missing out on many of Mule's signature tunes, including Thorazine Shuffle, A Million Miles From Yesterday, and Mr. High and Mighty, as well as their excellent reading of the Rolling Stones' Play With Fire, and duets with the forementioned Ms. Potter on Find the Cost of Freedom and Ohio. The band rarely repeats a song two shows in a row. My bad.

As for the show we did see, the first set kicked off with Streamline Woman and Brand New Angel, setting a high bar for the night. Bad Little Doggie, Blind Man in the Dark, with Ron Holloway eliciting a whooping response from the crowd as he laid down some blazing sax leads, and Unring the Bell found everyone at the 9:30 Club on their feet and dancing. We were also treated to an exultant Southern Man, with Warren sharing vocal duties once again with Grace Potter, just before the break.

After we caught our collective breath, the band soon returned and launched into another high energy set. Holloway sat in on several songs, including Soulshine, a great jam with drummer Abts, and my favorite song of the night, a cover of Traffic's Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. The set also included the Beatles' I'm So Tired, and Unblow Your Horn, from the new release "Mighty High." The encore featured a somewhat lackluster cover of U2's One, a song not really well suited for Mule's strengths, but finished on a high note with a powerful rendition of of Little Feat's Spanish Moon, with Holloway again at the forefront adding his muscular tenor to Mule's bluesy sound.

Fans can download songs and entire shows from the band at, through their most recent stops in DC and Richmond VA last week. The more I hear, the better I like these guys, and the mix of covers (everything from the Grateful Dead to the Blues Bros., Jimi Hendrix and Prince) and their own originals make Gov't Mule another "must see" band that's worth every penny of the price of admission, and then some.

Thomas Dolby and the Jazz Mafia Horns

Once again, an evening at the Birchmere brought back a familiar face or two. This time, it was keyboard auteur Thomas Dolby reprising several recent appearances (the last time, opening for BT in December, 2006) supported by the Jazz Mafia Horns, and featuring Baltimore transplant Joanne Juskus as the opening act.

Juskus, along with guitarist Adrian Bond, was outstanding. Her ethereal vocal style is reminiscent of Annie Haslam of Renaissance, and able to summon the keyboard chops of Sarah McLachlan or Kate Bush, Ms. Juskus also performs in Telesma, described as an "electro-acoustic psychedelic tribal world dance band." (Perhaps that description alone might compel me to seek them out!) They played selections from both of her albums, including Never Be The Same, Missing You, Rebel, and the title cut from the new recording, See Your Face, as well as a cover of Dolby's own Screen Kiss. She also told the crowd that during soundcheck, as they practiced the song, she looked up to see Dolby himself there grinning amiably, enthusiastically explaining to the audience that she would be sitting in rapt attention during his set, a rabid fan herself.

A note to our readers: Telesma will be performing along with Tryst and the Indra Lazul Bellydancers at the Metro Gallery, 1700 North Charles St., in Baltimore, Next Saturday, October 27 at 9 pm. Tickets for this all ages show are $8.

For his part, Dolby dazzled the audience with an array of his 80's hits, describing how many of the the songs came about. He mentioned his brief brush with Malcolm McLaren (best known for producing the Sex Pistols), who turned down a song Dolby had written for a project, which led him to write one of favorite pieces. His songs remained fresh and timely, with Budapest by Blimp, his funky collaboration with George Clinton Hot Sauce, his tongue in cheek, Valley Girl-esque take on modern non-culture, Airhead, and a stripped-down arrangement of Europa and the Pirate Twins all as good as remembered. Dolby tried out some new material as well, promising a new album in '08, his first in years.

The big difference between this show and his last visit here, when he opened for BT in December of '06, was the addition of the Jazz Mafia Horns. They added a fresh element to the set beyond Dolby's programs and effects, and the songs took on a livelier and more spontaneous feel. The Horns' (Adam Theis, Joe Cohen, and Rich Armstrong) contributions included saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, as well as various percussion effects and some solid harmonies, contrasting from and complimenting Dolby's delivery at the same time. Hyperactive, another Dolby classic, sounded better than ever with the inclusion of brass, as did a G rated rendition of The Keys to Her Ferrari, the Horns chiming in with an upbeat and punchy sound that has always reminded me of the theme music to a 60's TV private eye crime drama.

Dolby also told the story of how it was brought to his attention that his most famous tune, She Blinded Me With Science, had been lifted without his authorization by America's favorite single dad, Kevin Federline. Pulling up K Fed's site, Dolby heard his song being butchered, and tried to contact him. Joining myspace as one of Federline's online "friends" to get contact his information, Dolby dropped him a letter, not demanding royalties, just that he STOP. Unfortunately, the threat of legal action only applied to the pirated Dolby song.

Once again, a great and entertaining evening with the keyboard guru. I'll be looking out for that new album next year, as well as the live release by Dolby and the Jazz Mafia Horns "Live at SxSW," which was sold out before the show that night at the Birchmere's store or I might be listening to it right now...

Radiohead: Breaking Records and Labels

RADIOHEAD. The most influential band in the world today. THE cutting edge. By turns, profound. Timeless. Experimental. Provocative. Innovative. And unpredictable. Ya just never know what they'll do next. Like give away their latest album.

It's like a thumb to the eye of the recording industry, as they bounce the studios' heads off of the turnbuckle, and prepare for the Atomic Knee Drop, head butt, and coup de grace piledriver bodyslam, taking the tasteless record execs, greedy opportunists, and useless sycophants of the music business to the mat for a final submission hold.

You've heard us rail about it- the great bands that labor in obscurity, who can't get airplay because they don't have a single, a record deal with label that supports them, or have somebody cute enough to sell "product" in a sufficient number of "units" to compete with the American Idol pre-fab crowd of canned, calculated, and coached performances, packaged for market along with a signature line of clothes, hair and grooming supplies, tabloid headlines, and colognes.

Finally somebody with some pull is actually doing something about it- and a lot of other artists may take a cue from them, and start cutting out the middle man this way, too. Radiohead will provide you a link to download their new album, In Rainbows, for however much you wish to pay. So you can get it for a penny, plus the obligatory $1 download cost. However, there are a couple of catches:

1. The deluxe edition, which will contain both a 2 CD and a 2 LP set, pictures, artwork, lyrics, and other goodies runs a steep £40.00 (that's about $82.00 American at the current rate of exchange). A complimentary copy of the download is also included, so you don't have to wait until December 3rd to hear the album.
2. The deluxe edition also contains 8 more songs that are not part of the download, including a number of songs that they've featured in live performances in various renditions, under various names, for as much as ten years.
3. The mp3 download edition may not be playable on all equipment. I had to download an mp3 converter that would translate the album to WAV files, so that it would play on my CD/DVD player and laptop. Well, I actually downloaded 3 before I found one that would work. Many of the freeware/shareware downloads out there only work for a limited number of songs or files, before you're obliged to buy the licensed version. (I used the EASE Audio Converter, which will only let you do up to five songs at a time, save them to your hard drive, get the rest of the tracks, and then convert and copy to your burning program.) The whole process should take less than an hour, unless you're even more technology challenged than me, in which case, good luck!
4. Some people had problems seeing the download links and accessing the music, and there were reported complaints due to the initial rush from fans that tied up servers when the album was released on October 10. I used Firefox, and I had no problems.

So there are still a few bugs and glitches in the system, but it seems to be a step in the right direction. The artists actually can get the income directly from their fans, which, even after recovering their production costs ought to work out a whole lot better for many of them. With more bands recording live shows while on tour, many having the capability to sell copies of the show that night to appreciative fans, the same kind of grass roots, do-it-yourself ethic could easily be adopted for studio projects as well. Bands stand to reap a lot more from purchases made directly through their own websites than from royalties doled out by a monolithic conglomerate that only rewards artists selling multi-platinum, and won't support new talent.

You don't have to be Radiohead to break the cycle and do this, but it sure doesn't hurt. However, even bands that don't have the established reputation or following can have this work for them, too. But, perhaps the best part of it is that this album's on a par with some of their best work. Reckoner and Jigsaw Falling Into Place struck me right away, while Weird Fishes/Arpeggi and House of Cards have a more delicate, lilting sound, evoking moments from The Bends' Fake Plastic Trees, High and Dry, or even Exit Music (For a Film), but with the swirling ambience of There There or Where I End and You Begin, from Hail to the Thief, thrown in for good measure. The more raw sound of Bodysnatchers could have fit somewhere in between Kid A and Amnesiac. The production here is a little more spare than on those records, and suits the material. Not to say that Radiohead has lost their interest in experimentation. Some of the soundscapes over which Yorke lays his trademark haunting vocals are spectacular, and different than anything I've ever heard them do before. The newly recorded songs should seem familiar, as they have been played live and appeared on countless bootlegs over the last several years.

The technology is there. The band continues to grow and evolve with each new release. So long as Radiohead maintains the continually high standard of quality, unique style, and thoughtful insights that set them apart from the pack, I'll gladly pick up anything they put their name on, sight unseen. And, oh yeah, I did spring for that deluxe edition, and will be counting the days until it arrives. But you probably already knew that.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

20,000,000 Led Zep Fans Can't Be Wrong...Or Can They?

Plant: Old and in the way?

Well, a couple of weeks back, it was announced that Led Zeppelin, including surviving members Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, and bassist and keyboard player John Paul Jones, and the heir to the mightiest bass pedal EVER, Bonzo's son Jason Bonham would reprise his tantalizingly brief stint on the drums, with his Dad's old mates.

The concert, to be held November 26 at the O2 arena in London, is being described as a "one-off," a one night stand in memory of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, with tickets for the 18,000 seat venue running a cool £ 125 (about $270) apiece. The website, which went live on September 12th, crashed in a matter of hours as in excess of 20 MILLION fans would try to book tickets for the event. The Who's Peter Townshend, and former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, will open. This fueled speculation that the reunited supergroup might do a few nights in the UK, Europe and the US before disappearing into retirement forever. Shortly after, Robert Plant looking much like a besotted extra on the crew of the Black Pearl, announced there would be no tour. At least, that's what they're saying now.

This marks the first time the three surviving members have reunited since their induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Prior to that, I witnessed their anticlimactic performance at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Bash at Madison Square Garden in May, 1988, when they headlined a very long and memorable day of performances with a sloppy Kashmir, Whole Lotta Love, and Rock and Roll. It's not that they were downright bad, just kind of dull and listless. I was actually a lot more pissed that Townshend and Daltrey didn't show, and that Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett weren't going to oblige Rutherford, Banks, and Collins for a brief Genesis reunion. And that Crosby, Stills, and Nash sure seemed weak and wimpy without Young. Or, for that matter, that I had to listen to Debbie Gibson, and hear the late Laura Brannigan do Gloria, and stomp angrily off the stage.

But it seems the bron-y-aurs shall stomp the terra again. At least once.

Would I do it even at $270 a shot? I dunno. I was never that big a fan. The taste I got at the end of a great day, nearly 20 years ago, was good enough- probably sufficient to hold me over forever. And back then, tickets for 12 hours of nonstop (and mostly good!) performances only ran $100, and we each spent easily that much on food and beer over the course of the show that day. But with Mr. Jones, and none of the wretched Page/Coverdale, or Plant/Page rearrangements that I can barely recognize, it's still kind of tempting. Except the hype will no doubt be so thick, and the gouging for t-shirts, and everything from bottled water to beer to lines at the bathroom so outrageous as to take the fun out of it for this veteran of the psychic wars.

I'll probably just wait for the inevitable DVD to come out, and put it in my Netflix cache...unless its at the 9:30 or the Warner. That might be worth checking out...!

Who's your "dada?"

Meanwhile, back at the State Theater, the 1600 crew got a chance to meet and greet the band dada. Most famous for their 1992 hit, Dizz Knee Land, Mike Gurley, Joie Calio, and Phil Leavitt, this unlikely trio have had a strange career since their meteoric rise to overnight stardom. Fifteen years later, the guys are still together, making great music, and still "flipping off President George," albeit a different one, but perhaps even more appropriate than ever today. Their sound has stayed familiar, but has matured and grown more thoughtful, while retaining the whimsical playfulness that marked their earliest records.

In case you suffer from SASS (short attention span syndrome), dada catapaulted to seemingly overnight success, only to have two successive major labels fold, ending one tour before it could really get off the ground, and sidetracking their career for several years. dada drifted apart for awhile, but kept returning to unite and eventually record new material, playing sporadically together until Spring of 2003, and pursuing other projects, including Calio's X Levitation Cult (XLC) and Leavitt's sometime association with the Blue Man group, as well as dada spin-off Butterfly Jones with Mike Gurley. But throughout, they have remained friends, and the undeniable chemistry that they share would finally put them back together, going on the road for short tours, releasing a new EP, and working once again on a new album. Since reuniting, they have been pleasing their fanatically loyal followers with blistering live performances coast to coast. And this evening was no exception, with fans from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other parts unknown flocking to Falls Church for an appearance.

The band played a solid two plus hour set, featuring songs from their five full length discs, as well as the Friend of Pat Robertson ep released in 2006. dada also played new material, showcasing Calio and Gurley's vocal harmonies and pop sensibility for hooks and grooves, playing inspired jams on If Tears Were Balloons, Moment in the Sun, Dim, and Sick in Santorini, while Bob the Drummer, a fan favorite, was also particularly exquisite that night. A crowd pleasing Friend of Pat Robertson devolved into a singalong of The Message by Grandmaster Flash ("It's Like a jungle sometimes/It makes me wonder/How I keep from going under"), and a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's take on Scarborough Fair and the obligatory and always emotional Dizz Knee Land rounded out the set. Both newbies (like myself) and veterans (like Jerry) were pleased with both the selections and the performance. The sound at the State was good as well, perhaps because they didn't go for loud and overpowering, but had levels pretty well set for the mostly- packed house.

And the food drive netted some good returns for the folks at Food for Others, a local charity that can always use your support. dada is one of several bands that participates. But don't wait for another show to come through town. Go online to learn more about Food for Others (, and the folks they help take care of in Fairfax County!

We'll see you at the next show.

Los Straitjackets and Big Sandy/Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans

'Twas a hot August night indeed that found your friends from 1600 back at the Birchmere, this time for a repeat performance of Los Straitjackets and Big Sandy, still touring on their recent CD collaboration, "Rock en Espanol, Vol. One." The opening act, Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans, played a solid set which included both original material and standards. Their eclectic repertoire bridged rock, R & B, zydeco, reggae, blues and calypso, the band playing African percussion instruments in a rowdy, upbeat, danceable set. We hope to see more from this band, with four or five CDs available to date, they bear a second listen.

Just back from a European tour with the World Famous Pontani Sisters, who last graced the State Theater with their modern burlesque show last winter (as well as touring with Los Straitjackets and vocalist Kaiser George), surf guitar heroes Los Straitjackets swarmed on the stage shortly after, first ripping into their trademark instrumentals with abandon, but soon accompanied by the charismatic crooner, Big Sandy. They featured many of the tunes from the most recent release, including the Kinks' classic All Day and All of the Night, You'll Lose a Good Thing, Gimme Little Sign, and (my personal favorite) Lonely Teardrops. Naturally, they played some of their own material and classic surf tunes, including Casbah, with its synchronized choreography, Tailspin, Cavalcade, Tsunami, Itchy Chicken, and many others.

Big Sandy was in fine voice, and the band propelled it's way through a 90 minute set with the rhythm section of Jason "Teen Beat" Smay anchoring the band on skins, and Pete Curry on bass, giving a solid backdrop for guitarists Eddie Angel and Danny Amis to tear it up with their signature six string pyrotechnics. The crowd responded by filling the dance floor and dancing 'til the last song, still hungry for more. And as usual, the band was also kind enough to oblige fans with autographs and their good natured camaraderie after the show.

The band should be back again soon, and never play the same show twice. 1600 also hopes to see Big Sandy here with his Fly-Rite Boys to hear more classic roots tunes after this tour winds up. Always entertaining, Los Straitjackets and Big Sandy are a great bet for a fun night out and a trip back to the old school sounds that you grew up with. Check out their websites from our Links page!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Big Head Todd and the Monsters/Squeeze

The 1600 team hit the back roads out to Wolf Trap Farm Park on August 9th for a double header show and interview with Big Head Todd and the Monsters, a Colorado quartet that typically headline at most venues, who on that soggy evening were opening up for pop/rock legends Squeeze. Through some fortuitous timing, we managed to catch up first with guitar slinger Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, Brian Nevin on drums, and Jeremy Lawton, keyboardist and occasional steel guitar player backstage, and then shanghaied Squeeze drummer Simon Hanson (no relation to the Hansons of MMM-Bop fame) for a quick word. Our first back to back interviews with two bands for the price of one! Look for that to air in the near future. And many thanks to Graham Binder of Wolf Trap, our favorite national park, for going out of his way to make us feel at home at the Filene Center.

After the interview, it soon began to drizzle, then a slow, drenching rain settled over us for the night. And because your friends at 1600 like to picnic in the park, we had lawn seats, which afforded us a pretty good view, but also made for some well- soaked fans by evening's end. For their part, however, both bands turned in great sets, with clear sound and an energetic presence. The self-described modern rock band and longtime college radio favorite's set included their excellent cover of Led Zeppelin's Tangerine, and signature tunes Bittersweet, Circle, and Broken Hearted Savior. They also picked one of their tastiest ballads, Please Don't Tell Her, off the Beautiful World cd, for the hour long set, and Blue Sky which made it all the way into orbit with astronaut Steve Swanson on the Space Shuttle! And of course, Beautiful Rain drew cheers from the appreciative and dripping wet crowd. Hard to believe that Todd and his crew have been around for 20 years, they still have the freshness and enthusiasm of a band just starting out. 'Til their next visit, check out, for more news, tour info, discs, and an opportunity to help out some of the worthy charities these guys support. But next time, please play a couple of my requests, okay guys?

With an even longer and more storied career, Squeeze clocks in at more than 30. Unlike Todd, however, Squeeze has weathered several line-up changes, including the departure of original members including keyboardist Jools Holland and drummer Paul Gunn, but was in fine form with Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook at the helm, supported by longtime Squeeze vet John Bentley on bass, Stephen Large on keyboards and the previously mentioned Simon Hanson on drums, both members of Tilbrook's other band, the Fluffers. Tilbrook was in exceptionally fine voice, and there was non-stop dancing in the aisles during their entire set. Squeeze wound seamlessly through their many FM radio staples including Tempted, Black Coffee in Bed, Annie Get Your Gun, Pulling Mussels From A Shell, Another Nail In My Heart, Cool For Cats, and Is That Love, as well as my personal favorite from the very first (U.K.) Squeeze album, Take Me, I'm Yours. We were all transported back to the innocent, blissful era when MTV actually played music videos (and no ads), skinny ties ruled, and Britney, boy bands, iPods, SUVs and reality TV hadn't even been invented. And to think, some people call this "progress?"

Thanks again to our new pal Simon for his impromptu interview. We look forward to having both bands back in DC again soon! Get out and see them, as each band is even better live than their records would imply, AND because we promised they'd get the notorious "1600 Bounce" from our loyal audience!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bedtime for Gonzo?

Soon to be Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, justifying the decisions he can't remember making.

WASHINGTON, DC: In a shocking and unexpected turn of events, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation today. All over America, the news was greeted with horror and dismay, mostly by illegal immigrants fearing that he might wind up taking one of their under the table, sub-minimum wage jobs. Look at the corner he's painted himself into! Disgraced from public office. No opportunity to get any private clients after his miserable performance as White House Counsel and AG. And he can't even write his memoirs now, because if he actually does remember anything, he's subject to indictment for perjury, obstruction of justice, negligent entrustment, improper dismissal, contempt of Congress, and about ten other civil and criminal charges I can think of, just off the top of my head.

But the White House, standing by their man, said the media has "dragged his reputation through the mud" and "politicized" this entire investigation of the 7, no it was 8- actually I think 9 US Attorneys fired for "poor performance" who happened to have very successful records including investigations against convicted jailbirds like Bob Ney (R-OH, not the Science Guy) who copped to pocketing bribes from lobbyist and frequent White House visitor Jack Abramoff, and "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), also disgraced for taking kickbacks from real estate developers. Yeah, they prosecuted the wrong crooks! Why not just make up some charges about Whitewater, or something? Maybe plant stories and have people start theorizing that Vince Foster didn't commit suicide? You don't need any evidence- just say it often enough, like the Swift Boat guys who really weren't even THERE! That's how we get the job done- character assassination, innuendo, then convenient memory lapses and denial when you're caught.

Add to that today's revelations about outspoken (and outed!) anti-gay rights Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) pleading guilty to charges of soliciting lewd acts from an undercover police officer in a public bathroom, and you have another fiasco to remind all your friends about the party of family values, chosen by God to lead our country into the most brutal, senseless, hopeless shitstorm it has ever faced, with no possible solution but the complete reversal of every decision made by Bush and his Texas mafia of thieves, crooks, and traitors since Day One.

Anyway, Gonzo's role as Inquisitor General insures him an eternity of infamy, as he challenged election laws, courageously equivocated on torture, fought to suspend habeas corpus, pushed for secret tribunals to sentence prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, characterized the Geneva Convention as "quaint and antiquated," and authorized warrantless spying as he worked tirelessly with the White House to undermine the Constitution and politicize the Department of Justice. Yes indeed, you've earned your rest, little partner- we hope the Boss joins you out in the pasture (or better yet, in an adjoining cell!) way sooner than he plans on it. In the meantime, now that you've taken the fall like so many of his cronies before you, can you clean out that stable in Crawford for him? That'd be greeeeaaaat.

I never thought I'd get to write this story. And I couldn't be happier that I was wrong! I only wish he'd been dragged out, kicking and screaming, with a number on his orange jumpsuit. Well, gotta go see what Jon Stewart and Colbert have to say about today's news. I'm icing down the Cristal to wash down my popcorn. And the White House menu again includes crow, sour grapes, and a frothy cup of bile.


Friday, August 24, 2007

"Reunion" Boasts 33% More Van Halen

Not in picture: Hagar, Anthony- the real brains of the outfit.

Last week, Eddie Van Halen shlocked the world as he announced a quasi-reunion tour with original vocalist and frontman, David Lee "Diamond Dave" Roth. And the entire world yawned in rapt(?) anticipation.
Apparently, being drug and alcohol free for perhaps the first time in his adult life hasn't brought Eddie any closer to lucidity. Dave's motives are far more transparent: MONEY. He hasn't had a hit single since he covered California Girls. He was a wash out as a DJ. And even Sammy won't tour with him anymore. Or talk to Eddie for that matter.
However, unlike the short lived reunion in '96 that yielded two instantly forgettable songs for a Best of VH collection, and an induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in March notable only for the fact that Roth, Alex and Eddie were nowhere to be found, apparently the long-standing grudges and years of acrimonious bickering in the trade press have been laid to rest for a variety of reasons, such as, uh...going out on a limb here...MONEY?- there are some differences this time out, suggesting that perhaps the boys have learned from their previous mistakes:

1. It's unlikely there will be any more headlines over vandalism to hotel rooms. Everybody knows about the M&M clause in their contract by now. Besides, now they're too old to get out of the hotels fast enough to avoid arrest.
2. Valerie Bertenelli won't be there for Dave to insult with nasty comments and/or fast moving projectiles. (And if she does show up, it will probably be Eddie going postal, not Dave.)
3. Dave will not subject the audience to the sight of his sagging ass in chaps, ever again. We hope!
4. And Michael Anthony has, inexplicably, been replaced on bass by Eddie's son (and drummer Alex's nephew) Wolfgang. This one could work against them, though. What happens to Van Halen when he dumps these tired old hacks for a real band, or starts one of his own? He could call it: VH2. Oh waitaminute, that's the station that plays all his Dad's old videos. Never mind.

Keep in mind that this is the same Dave who said back in '96 that the possibility of him sharing the stage with Eddie ever again was about as likely as Jerry Springer getting a guest shot on Knotts' Landing. And Eddie had retorted that the Diamond One had LSD- "lead singer's disease." Not exactly a friendly exchange. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the hatchet is buried, for now at least, at the prospect of a 50 city world tour and a whole lot of......MONEY. Inspiration enough, it seems, to settle their differences, anyway.

Wolfie could have some real chops, though, and we wish him the best. However, 1600 is still taking bets that this snoozefest may actually reach Washington about the same time as Guns 'N Roses releases Chinese Democracy, but it's tentatively scheduled for November 1 at the Verizon Center. Tickets go on sale soon, and will probably be more than the GNP of many third world countries.

I tried to warn you...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Karl Christian Rove, Demagogue, 2001-2007

The real architect of the Republican/neocon coup, Karl Rove, waving goodbye to America as he departs to "spend more time with his family."

Well, now I know what a rat looks like as it deserts a sinking ship. And still without a hint of shame.

I'm not certain what part of this is the most disturbing- that he's leaving under his own power, and not in leg irons and handcuffs, or that he actually has a family?
Yet another sign of the coming apocalypse! Get thee to the hardware store for duct tape and plastic sheets!
And adios, little Genius.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Britney, Paris, Lindsay: Is There a Pattern Here?

Lohan: "Toxicology reports will prove I'm completely innocent. It was just a tip for the valet. Now will you please just let me resume ruining my once-promising career?"

So, stop me if you've heard this one: Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan drive into a bar...

Hold up. It's easy to make light of this. But really, this is a serious matter.

We must join together to save our vanishing bimbos!

One of America's greatest resources, a seemingly endless supply of dumb, marginally- talented bimbos (many of whom are only blondes because our abundant springs of naturally- occurring peroxide), seem to be disappearing like spotted owls, dodos, and good five cent cigars, into rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, and off-Broadway dinner theater. Who will be left to joke about? How will Springer keep his show on? And will the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise fold?
We can't sit idly by and let this happen. Help us protect these young, fragile, flatlining, egomaniacal, spoiled rotten multi-millionairesses from themselves. Send your generous donations today to:

Tonya Harding and Pamela Anderson's Etiquette and Finishing School for Young Ladies
c/o Selma's Trailer Park
P.O. Box #673
Wheeling, West Virginia 26004

Ladies, call ahead for reservations- the double wides fill up mighty early, especially after Bike Week at Daytona. And tell 'em 1600 sent ya!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Support a Local Legend

On Sunday, July 29th, a benefit will be held at the WORLD FAMOUS 9:30 Club, 815 V St., in Washington DC, for a much-beloved local music hero, Tom Terrell. In addition to his music journalism and photography exploits, Tom turned heads and turntables at both the old 9:30 Club, and host of the Cafe C'est What? on WHFS-FM radio (you remember- back when they still rocked!) before pursuing a career as a rep for Mango/Antilles and Verve Records. His many friends in the DC area, including bands such as 9353, the Beatnik Flies, Tommy Osborne, Bobby Donovan, and Virginia and the Blue Dots, among many others, will be entertaining that evening, in a star-studded gala to help contribute to Tom's medical expenses. The doors open at 4 p.m., and tickets are only $20. Be there and show your support for one of the iconic figures in the D.C. music scene, a legendary DJ and all around nice guy. And if you can't make it to the club, your contributions (in checks or money orders, no cash) will also be gratefully accepted by:

The Tom Terrell Benefit Fund
c/o Dr. Bevadine Z. Terrell
1839 Otis Street NE
Washington, DC 20018

I can't think of a better way to spend a summer Sunday night, and reminisce with one of the folks that welcomed me to Washington, turned me on to a lot of great music, and made me decide to settle down here. I don't know if I remembered to say it then, but thanks for everything, Tom. I look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Live Earthed to Death

Madonna- reinventing herself as a guitar player now? I don't think so!

OK, I'm sorry- I lied. It wasn't intentional. Really.

This isn't exactly about music. It's about benefits, and the beneficiaries of benefits from concerts for good causes, whether Bangladesh, Kampuchea, Amnesty International, or the Red Cross.
Did anyone try to watch that Live Earth debacle last week? What a train wreck.

Hatfield: Squeezing out a "Monster," or just getting zapped by his amp again? You decide!

As if we didn't get enough lame bands, lousy coverage, and pleas to our collective conscience to open our hearts (and wallets) to save the world at Live Eight, blah blah blah. At least they learned (or, did they?) not to have the VJs and guest commentators talking over the acts while they were still on, telling us how great it is to see the Chilis or a reunited Pink Floyd and how spectacular their performances are, which we would know ourselves, of course, if these numbskulls would get off the damn TV and let us watch, already!

But the biggest problem is, they're preaching to the choir.

The people that needed to have their collective consciences raised weren't the ones watching or listening. And they dismissed it all as lefty, tree-hugging propaganda. They don't care about the rest of the world, they don't care about music, they weren't tuned in and they weren't giving up a fucking dime. And on top of that, they (the networks, the sponsors, the folks that provided the services sold to the people that attended, from port-a-johns to beer and popcorn) actually made a shitload of money off of this thing!

I will refrain from getting into the whole "global warming- climate change" argument first because there's already a lot of facts as well as tons of disinformation out there about it, and I believe that if you're honest, you reach a logical conclusion very quickly that because of our sheer numbers, the activities we undertake, and our complacency and lack of respect for the environment, we're destroying this planet at breakneck speed. And also, I don't want to get into who's at fault because we all are, in some cases, for the mere reason we eat, breathe, consume, make garbage, and regularly defecate.

Finally, I'm not gonna get into this because Jerry will probably beat me senseless if I write another long diatribe. Whoops, but here we go again...

Left: Steve liked Kelly Clarkson; to me, she's just one more reason to want to pummel Simon

BECAUSE, as of 1998, Americans making less than $10,000 a year were donating approximately 4.3% of their annual incomes to charity, whereas the average of people making between $75,000 and $99,000 was under 2 percent! Back then, the national average for American households donating to charitable causes was something like $754 annually, and 7/10 households claimed to donate to at least some charities each year. Now, you might think that this figure is skewed because of the big corporate donors out there, right? Well, not so fast. In 1999, "Americans gave $190 billion in charitable gifts. $143.71 billion came from individual givers."

Not what you might think, huh? So more than 3/4 of the gifts to various different social, environmental, medical, political and religious charities were from private individuals. And mostly from ones we'd consider "poor."

(Note: statistics cited are provided courtesy of, and Independent Sector (, based on national surveys conducted among US households in May, 1999, as well as CNN, AAFRC's Trust for Philanthropy, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and other sources. So I'm not making this shit up.) And keep in mind, too, that the US government trails the governments of nearly ALL OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES for annual charitable giving. Like everything else, they want it to come from the people, while they spend our tax dollars on more prisons, and sell off our national parks to predatory developers and speculators....

Now what's the impact of all this dough, and perhaps more importantly, the increase in the awareness of the people watching and listening to do something for: [name your flavor of the day social cause here] ?

Zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip. Goose eggs.

They were the ones that tuned in. Their consciences are already aware, duh. And if they weren't aware before they tuned in, they'd have to be by the time AFI and the rest of the pontificators that were out there posturing about their own awareness were finished. Apart from his time and debatable "talent,"I wonder how much the jokers in AFI ponyed up that day for charity? Were all the bands playing free, or were their "expenses" (like travel, hotels, and salaries for their crews, and I'm sure, AFI's personal assistants, wardrobe, hairdressers and manicurists) deducted from the gate first?
(AFI: "We're so lame, you probably think that song was about us."
Even their haircuts suck.)

It's not to say this wasn't a good cause. And it should be a non-partisan one. Nobody really wants to ruin our air, water, and environment, and doesn't care about what we leave behind to the next generation, or the ones after that. Right? I'd like to think so. But I'd be deluding myself. Many of us are just complacent, but a few see money to be made in stripping the earth of non-renewable resources, letting poisonous bi-products contaminate the air and water so that the factories can make steel, chemicals, plastic, and all the other things we need and consume every day, bigger and faster and cheaper. And good luck finding a way around trying to buy their products, or products made from materials they furnish. There aren't any easy answers- that's why these things never get off the ground, no matter how many people are involved or how many countries they play in. Or to. Or for.

No doubt about it- some people do profit from the destruction of our planet- and profit BIG. They don't see themselves as the bad guys. And they don't give any more to charity than they can get away with in order to avoid taxes on their profits, or to avoid the bricks and barbs mobs would hurl at them for being acknowledged as the greedy, rapacious, self-centered looters they are. But Big Business today is hardly the benefactor and "steward of the public weal" that once upon a time, governments called upon the "captains of industry" to be, when their record profits would be reinvested in the economy and create more jobs and a better standard of living for all - you recall, the "trickle down" economics theory? Yeah, and I remember my Mom telling me about Snow White and a bunch of short guys when I was an impressionable tad, too. That's what it is- fairy tales. Never happened, never will. Or as Steinbeck put it, "Tell me about the rabbits, George."

How prescient.

So, shouldn't the musicians be the first ones in line to donate to these things, if they really believe in them? Not just playing free after expenses, but footing their own portion of the bill AND coughing up some real coin, too. As much as I dislike them, I gotta say, the fact that Smashing Pumpkins actually put their money where their mouths are and donated all proceeds from their 1998 tour to charities in 13 cities, and an additional $ 419,000 to Hale House (which cares for abandoned children) makes me think they're sincere about what they believe. To their credit, they didn't grandstand. It wasn't noted widely in the press. I can support a band like that (I may actually have to go out and buy Gish now!) and that does make a difference.

Smashing Pumpkins: practicing what they don't preach about

Alternatively, when me and 50,000+ other people at RFK Stadium were told by Michael Stipe that the Tibetan Freedom Festival was not going to continue after a woman on the infield was hit by lightning, and that they weren't giving refunds ("It's supposed to be a benefit, man") my immediate thought was, "Gee, Mike, you're the millionaire- why not donate the profits from your next album, or write a check? You can afford it! We paid $75 a head and saw about 4 bands, 2 of which I couldn't have cared less about. And we got charged $7 for a piss- warm beer, or $10 for a personal sized cheese pizza? Fuck YOU!" And then I don't want to ever buy another REM album: in fact, I want to turn the ones I already have into frisbees. Even though I like them a whole lot more than Smashing Pumpkins.

What's that? I hear Jerry snoring. Or is it Steve? I better wrap this up, quick.

The point is, they're going about this all wrong. Make a pay per view that I can record and edit later, and I'll pay a reasonable fee (not a pro wrestling steroid fest or championship fight-type charge in the $50 range, but maybe half of that) so I can get it and watch at my leisure. And keep ALL the money for charity. Or let us download the performances we want to see and keep for a donation (let's say, $1 or $2 per band) and avoid all of the acts you don't want to see, and the ads, the pontificating, and the whiny pleas to our humanity. Hell, I'll pay extra not to see that! C'mon, I got my checkbook out and pen in hand, get me while I'm vulnerable.

And then the inevitable multi-CD set will come out, missing most of the performances by the bands I like. And like Live 8, it'll also probably be a multi- DVD set, which I'll buy, and fast-forward with my remote through all the bands I can't stand, leaving maybe 2 good hours out of the 22 broadcast that I'll actually want to watch. Hopefully, at least some of the money raised by that will go toward what was intended- figuring out how to stop melting the polar icecaps before the coasts of every country look like New Orleans after Katrina, only more so. But most of the performance CD/DVD's that get released will best serve me as coasters.

Don't care enough to do that? Or just sick of the constant nagging to give what you can't really afford? CBS and other channels broadcast "highlights." That was free, and you can tune out the message and just watch the dinosaur bands and a bunch of talentless multi-millionaires tell you about how much they're doing and how much you should be like them. "And- oh yeah, stop downloading my songs because I can't afford the gas for my limo and the fleet of humvees at my 300 acre compound."

And thanks again to the gang on Capitol Hill for making sure it can't happen here!

Worst of all, it was supposed to be a free show, here, on the mall, until the overzealous reactionary assholes on the hill decided that it was both partisan and political, and killed it. That's why it was in New Jersey (that really didn't need the extra pollution the traffic caused any more than we did) and tickets cost between $55 for nosebleed and $355 for front and center seats. Plus imagine what they could have raked in if Anheiser Busch, Miller and Pepsi donated a portion of their receipts, and vendors did likewise on sales of hot dogs, popcorn, and nachos? Once again- I wouldn't be holding your breath waiting for all that money to kick in and start solving the problem.

A benefit is supposed to be a benefit, and a charity is supposed to be a charity. Do the research- see if the money actually reaches the people that it was intended for, or if the majority gets absorbed in "administrative costs" and other nefarious ways that sidetrack the money into some oily, self-proclaimed "humanitarian" rip-off artist's pocket. Ask the folks at the United Way, or a hundred other charities that were fleeced by their leaders to silence sexual harassment charges, grease their buddies' palms, or channel funds to election campaigns. There are a lot of analyses online about who does what with donations, look 'em up. Give where it matters, and buy from the people that give back. Don't throw what you have away.

Steve and Jerry are awake again, and coming after me with the wood chipper.

1600: now looking for someone to fill 3rd chair

I better get out of here. Sorry for the long gripefest again- really. But it was disappointing all the way around.

Trying to keep his limbs intact,


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Free Phil Spector!

Because accidents will happen.

Hello From Jerry!

Originally Posted by 1600 at 6/14/2007 10:01 PM

Comments will be "subject to moderation"?? Moderation is for pussies!!

If you're gonna do it, go whole hog, go wild, go nuts, go go go! We want the good, the bad and the ugly (much like the hosts of the show) not some PC censorship bullshit - this is not Fox (or is it Faux?) News holding onto the party line with the white-knuckled death grip of those who know deep in their bones that they are utterly, embarrassingly wrong and even dumber for knowing it and refusing to repent. OK, death threats would be extreme, and we're not interested in any kind of NAMBLA-type propaganda, but don't hold back on what you think about us, the show, or the state of RnR in this, the Grim Era, this Golden Age of Stupidity, the flowering Renaissance of Narcissism and Undue Entitlement, throbbing to the beat of manufactured pushbutton masturbation. We want you to wail like an extended Hendrix solo, to shine like the chrome on Keith Moon's drum kit, to pierce the darkness with that high, keening white light they throw onto the audience when it's their turn to sing along. Your words will be to us like the Bic (or Zippo, for you classicists) lighters that wave in a cavernous hall as a symbol of solidarity nd understanding, letting us know that, yes, we are not alone in understanding that our only relief and respite from the brutal naked greed of this idiot's circus is found in the tribal thump, joyous, anguished howls and ringing chords of whatever group of miscreants we choose to help us make sense of it all.

As Lennon said, whatever gets you through the night, it's alright, it's alright.

Unless of course it sucks.

Everybody's got an opinion and a reason for liking or disliking anything, and if you can present that reason in an intelligent and friendly fashion, we'll listen to it and possibly discuss it further. If not, prepare to be quickly dispatched with vicious severity and unrelenting scorn. Being foolish is fun - being a fool is not, as they are not suffered gladly, least by us.

So, have fun, enjoy, contribute and know you are now part of the family, dysfunctional as it may be.