Archive for the ‘Milazz on Music’ Category

Coldplay Tribute to Adam Yauch

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I love this.

Rest in Peace Adam Yauch

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Saddened by the news of the death of Adam Yauch (MCA). Coming on the heels of Junior Seau’s death, it makes for a particularly rough week for my junior high and high school icons.

I was in 8th grade when Licensed to Ill came out and, like most suburban white kids in the late 80′s, it featured prominently in the soundtrack of my life for a few years.

I was a latecomer to Paul’s Boutique, but the release of Check Your Head in 1992 blew me away. It still ranks as one of my top 5 albums of all time and, along with Tribe Called Quest and Lenny Kravitz, Check Your Head and Ill Communication were in heavy rotation in my college CD player.

The progression that occured from Licensed to Ill  to Check Your Head was dramatic. The Led Zeppelin samples of Licensed to Ill were replaced by more soulful rythms which often featured the Beasties playing their own instruments. On my junior high school trip to Washington DC, the older kids delighted in playing “Girls” (Should clean up my room, should do the dishes…) to annoy the two teachers who wore their feminism on their sleeves, but by Check Your Head’s “Sure Shot,” MCA was offering:

to say a little something that’s long overdue, this disrespecting women has got to be through. / To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends, I wanna offer my love and respect til the end.           

During late nights, I’ve often explained my theory (sometimes to laughs) that the Beastie Boys evolving style was like the Beatles progression from “Love Me Do” to “Sgt Peppers.” Of course, there hasn’t been a Beatles since the Beatles, but the Beastie’s evolution is similar. The rhymes on Licensed to Ill are juvenile and often crude, but it’s hard to argue that the music isn’t funky. Similarly, “Love Me Do” is amazing, but ”A Day in the Life” is in another dimension.

As long as we’re comparing the Beastie Boys to the Beatles, Adam Yauch plays the George Harrison in the analogy. I’ve spent many late nights listening to the stream of conciousness “Namaste” on Check Your Head and “Bodhisattva Vow” on Ill Communication completed the transition. Now the Boys that brought us Brass Monkey (That Funky Monkey) were rapping about Buddisim.

Twelve Years after Licensed to Ill, the Beasties still made an impact, and I remember hearing Hello Nasty blaring from someone’s car speakers on Haight Street on the first weekend it was released.  By now, Yauch had a full head of grey hair and I war rapidly losing mine, but the release of a Beastie Boys album was still an event.

In 1986, I thought that 47 years old was old. Now I see it for what it is: too young to be dying of cancer.

Thanks for the memories MCA.


Neil Young: Beyond MP3′s

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Interesting take on improving the sound quality of digital music from Neil Young.

A little short on a path forward, but a good take on where we are today and what we should be aiming for.

Rest in Peace: Gil Scott-Heron

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron died on Friday night.

Sometimes called the Godfather of Rap (a label he rejected), Heron’s 1971 song “The Revolution Will Not be Televised” combined hard hitting lyrics celebrating militant black power and mocking American popular culture with razor sharp wit. Despite his rejection of the term, his spoken word stlye over jazz drums, bass and flute was an early precursor to hip hop as well as the later stylings of acid jazz.

From “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”:

The revolution will not be brought to you by the 
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.

The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.

The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother….

NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised…

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised…

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.

You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.

The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

Similarly, “Whitey on the Moon” contrasts the 3rd World conditions that existed America’s ghettoes to the images America saw on TV:

A rat done bit my sister Nell,
with Whitey on the moon

Her face and arms began to swell,
and Whitey’s on the moon

I can’t pay no doctor bill,
but Whitey’s on the moon

Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still,
while Whitey’s on the moon 

Heron had an amazing talent that was often stifled by his struggles with addiction.

He had released a new album in 2010 after a long hiatus and a friend sent me a copy a few months ago. Since then I re-discovered an old live CD I had, “The Mind of Gil Scott-Heron.” Listening to him live, that talent really shines through. H2OGate Blues is an amazing synthesis of the corruption of the Watergate scandal and a snapshot in time seen from Heron’s eyes.  It’s been on my playlist for the past few months.  

I first heard the news on Friday when I was in the bar at Yoshi’s in San Francisco waiting for Digable Planets to come on. It was the first time I had been to Yoshi’s and, as I watched the band, I was remnded that Gil Scott-Heron had been on that same stage just a few months before.

Unfortunately I missed the show, and with it, my last chance to see this incredible talent.

Rest in Peace Gill Scott-Heron. You will be missed.

Power to the Peaceful 2010

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

After a week of non stop coverage of religion baitng, koran burning and political posturing, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend the aniversary of 9-11 than in Golden Gate Park surrounded by people I love (and tens of thousands of dirty hippies). 

Michael Franti’s been putting Power to the Peaceful on for 12 years (it actually predates 9-11) and I always try to make it.

For me, seeing Franti is like going to church. I’ve been a fan for over 15 years and have watched his music evolve over that time, ranging from some of the most intense, hard hitting protest songs that have probably even been written, to some of the most soulful Marvin Gaye type soul groves.

Through the decades, his music has tracked the political and social issues of the times, ranging from AIDS in the 1990′s to the wars of the Bush years when he produced what I think is his most inspired work.

Below is Saturday’s performance of Hey, Hey, Hey which is on his new album, The Sound of Sunshine.


Michael Franti at Peaceful from k9sound on Vimeo.

Mickey, Billy and Tim

Monday, June 21st, 2010

When members of the two bands I’ve seen the most of in my life play together, the least I can do is give ‘em a plug on my blog.

Former Grateful Dead drummers  Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann have announced that Tim Bluhm, of Mother Hips fame, will join their band, Rythym Devils, for shows  beginning August and September through the northeast, midwest and southeast.

This should be an interesting sound. Too bad they don’t have any shows scheduled out West yet.

Should also mention that I caught Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s band Further for one night of the Mountain Aire–Further Fest.

Amazing show.

In a tribute to their collective body of work, they played full albums. We missed Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty and Anthem of the Sun on the first night, but caught stellar performances of Blues for AllahAoxomoxa and Terrapin Station on Saturday.

Unlike the many Dead shows I caught in the 90′s, this band was actually tight.

They have John Kadelecik from the Dark Star Orchestra playing lead guitar and sharing vocal duties. Dark Star Orchestra was famous for playing original setlists from different Dead eras as close to the original versions as possible. He played some of the Jerry parts at Further Fest note for note.

Would strongly recommend checking these guys out if they make it to your hometown.