WBEZ | Red Hot Chili Peppers http://www.wbez.org/tags/red-hot-chili-peppers Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en If it's gonna be that kind of party: The Beastie Boys and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-04/if-its-gonna-be-kind-party-beastie-boys-and-rock-roll-hall-fame-98294 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Adrock%20and%20Mike%20D.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 667px;" title="A fan's view of the induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Photo by Dave Rothkopf)"></p><p>There are, I understand, plenty of reasons NOT to care about the Rock &amp; Roll Hall of Fame, or the induction ceremony that happened this weekend.</p><p>— Rock was born out of —&nbsp;and has thrived on —&nbsp;rebellion from “institutions,” so why have an official rock institution?</p><p>— Rock should be about the music, man, not long, oh-so-serious speeches about it.</p><p>— Who cares which bands a room of outdated label execs and other industry people deem worthy of “enshrinement?”</p><p>— And how, pray tell, can you take seriously a Rock Hall of Fame that won’t recognize Rush?</p><p>The list of reasons goes on. And hey, they’re all probably right. Until this weekend, I’d spent a total of 45 seconds of my life thinking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which has to be above average among even rock fans).</p><p>But, thanks to a friend who scores tickets to things, I went to an induction ceremony on Saturday — which made its return to Cleveland after a too-long absence — and got to see:</p><p>— Half of ZZ Top, along with guitar slingers Derek Trucks and Joe Bonamassa, play the blues of the late Freddy King after King’s daughter told a touching story about how she only found out what her father did for a living when her mom took her to a concert in Chicago at the age of 6 and her dad walked out on stage and lit up the room. Acceptance speeches are oh-so-serious and forgettable up until the moment they make you feel someone’s joy.</p><p>— A reunited Guns N' Roses (OK, minus Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin) play a sloppy “Mr. Brownstone” and a much tighter “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City” with help from a fill-in singer who that day must have had both the most- and least-enviable gig in the world. Steven Adler — the drummer whom <em>the other members of Guns N' Roses</em> kicked out for doing too many drugs! — couldn’t hide his elation at being back, if just for a night.</p><p>— Chris Rock share his love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and make Axl jokes. “Even if Axl was going to show,” Rock said at around 1 a.m., “he wouldn’t be here yet.” Minutes later, Flea broke down a little thanking his mom. Losing a bit of the mystique of rock stars can sometimes be a good thing.</p><p>— Bette Midler making me a bit misty-eyed — for the first time since <em>Beaches</em>! — when she inducted the late Laura Nyro, a singer-songwriter who Midler described as someone who made the everyday lives of New Yorkers seem grand and romantic. Nyro meant a lot to a lot of people. I’ll admit, though, I’d never heard of her. I’d never heard of legendary engineer Tom Dowd, another inductee, either. Hell, I barely knew the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers beyond the hits before this weekend. We all have gaps. But it’s invigorating to get to fill them in, if just a little.</p><p>— Ronnie Wood, George Clinton, Green Day, Slash and the Chili Peppers closing the show, five-plus hours after it started, with a completely messy, completely satisfying “Higher Ground.”</p><p>What were those criticisms of the Rock of Hall Fame again?</p><p>The reason, though, that I wanted to be at the ceremony was for the group that has meant the most to me over most of my life. The Beastie Boys, inducted . . .&nbsp; damn . . . 25 years after their debut record.</p><p>And I wanted to be there with my friend — one of the many for whom mutual affection for the band has been an immediate signifier that a strong friendship would grow and endure.</p><p>(But this particular friend and I share a special Beasties bond: He has never forgiven me for leaving a Beastie Boys show we saw together during the “Sabotage” encore because I had a deadline to meet. This was my chance to fix that mistake.)</p><p>One of the pleasures of life is to keep discovering new things and experiences and art. At the same time that the Beastie Boys have helped me do just that (they’ve been my path to so many other kinds of music and pieces of the culture), it’s been hard for me to find a greater joy than my Beastie experiences.</p><p>At 13 seeing the <em>Licensed to Ill</em> tour, or at 18 in the basement of my friend’s house when we taped on VHS the second half of the “Pass the Mic” video and watched it over and over again, or everything having to do with <em>Paul’s Boutique</em>.</p><p>I won’t bore you with more Beasties memories. That said, if you want to read plenty of them, in 1998, I wrote an <a href="http://www.bostonphoenix.com/archive/features/98/07/09/OUT_THERE.html">essay about what the Beasties Boys “mean to me.”</a> I’m still a little embarrassed by it (though not enough to not share the link.)&nbsp;</p><p>So, I wanted to be in Cleveland for myself. But as cheesy as it sounds, I wanted to be there in Cleveland for the Beastie Boys.</p><p>MCA, one third of the group, wasn’t there. He’s had throat cancer for the last few years. The group isn’t talking much about it, so I won’t speculate as to what his absence meant. Because I have no idea, and it’s not my business, either.</p><p>Ad-Rock and Mike D, the other two Beastie Boys, were there. They were heartfelt in their remarks, which is not what you expect or usually want from the Beasties in public. Ad-Rock read an equally heartfelt letter from MCA. MCA’s parents were in the audience. Chuck D and LL Cool J inducted the band. Chuck D spent a little too much time talking about hip-hop in general, but that’s his thing, as my friend pointed out. Adrock and Mike D didn’t perform, and I think I’m glad they didn’t. I hope they were happy to be there.</p><p>The Beastie Boys have always been synonymous with fun. They’re the music I put on when I need a little confidence, some swagger and a reminder that whatever I’m about to do isn’t life or death.</p><p>I can’t say the Beasties portion of the show was fun. But it wasn’t the opposite of fun, either.</p><p>My thoughts on the experience are still plenty unformed, and I don’t want to say something I don’t mean here.</p><p>But I will say that the Beastie Boys have always been leaders for a portion of people of my generation; they were always a step ahead. They celebrated Brooklyn long before it became a hipster haven; they did the same for 1970s culture. Of course, they introduced rap to so many of us as kids, and, ahead of us, they grew into the kind of adults we hoped to be.</p><p>Now, they seem, sooner than anyone would have liked, to be leading the way into the next inevitable phase of life, too, whatever that may turn out to be.</p><p>I fear I’m getting too serious here. I don’t want to give fodder to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame detractors. It was an amazing night.</p></p> Tue, 17 Apr 2012 08:17:08 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-04/if-its-gonna-be-kind-party-beastie-boys-and-rock-roll-hall-fame-98294 Music Thursdays with Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele: Space jams http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-space-jams-98152 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/space jams flickr Robert Couse-Baker.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><div><p>Today is the worldwide celebration known as Yuri&rsquo;s&nbsp;Night. The event is held on April 12th&nbsp;every year to commemorate space exploration milestones and is named for Yuri Gagarin, a Russian who was the first human to launch into space in his Vostok 1 spaceship in 1961.</p><p>So for this week&rsquo;s Music Thursday, Richard Steele and I offer up some of our favorite space-themed songs. These are tunes about flying into space, visits from space, intergalactic love, rock n&#39; roll and space and more. Strap in and take a sonic ride with us.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1EPP3gkh_00" width="480"></iframe></p><p>I bought the debut album by the B-52&rsquo;s after seeing them on <em>Saturday Night Live</em> in January of 1980. I was smitten by the dancing, the music and the lyrics. Kicking off the album is &quot;Planet Claire&quot;&nbsp;and what a way to begin an album.</p><p>The walkie talkie beeps, along with the reference to the theme of the old TV show <em>Peter Gunn</em>, lend the song its overall distressing feel. The song&rsquo;s vocals begin with that eerie &lsquo;ahhh&rsquo; from Kate Pierson, giving way to Fred Schneider&rsquo;s robotic and menacing storytelling.</p><p>&ldquo;Planet Claire has pink air, all the trees are red, no one ever dies there, no one has a head&quot; is a lyric that makes me want to take a spaceship to that faraway place. This album became the party soundtrack for me and my group of friends.&nbsp;I was back at Val&rsquo;s&nbsp;Halla Records in April of that year to snap up <em>Wild Planet</em>, the follow up to the B-52&rsquo;s debut and one that continued with the dark danceable music with yet another space themed song.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KjovZd8HkTA" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Let&rsquo;s travel from &quot;Planet Claire&quot; to Mars. When we decided on this theme I naturally gravitated to David Bowie&rsquo;s catalog. There are many choices; from &quot;Space Oddity&quot; to &quot;Life on Mars&quot; and &quot;Ashes to Ashes.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Five Years&quot; may not seem like a natural for lots of folks but for me it makes perfect sense.&nbsp;This is the opening track off the classic, &ldquo;The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a concept album that tells the story of an alien who comes to Earth with a message of peace, love and hope as earthlings face the last five years of their existence. The alien becomes Ziggy Stardust the rock star who self-destructs; &quot;Five Years&quot; sets up the whole drama.</p><p>The song tells the reaction of one person who realizes that the earth is facing its inevitable end. Bowie&rsquo;s songwriting is beautiful and poetic and the song is quite sad. This version is taken from a British music television show called the <em>Old Grey Whistle Test</em>.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/c139yqQOqGU" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Time for love of the intergalactic kind: &quot;A Funky Space Reincarnation&quot; is from Marvin Gaye&rsquo;s 1978&rsquo;s <em>Here My Dear</em>. This was the album he cut to pay for alimony and child support for his ex-wife Anna Gordy - hence the name. Gaye had planned on recording what he called &quot;a lazy album&quot; because the royalties wouldn&rsquo;t be his anyway. But the emotions of his ill-fated marriage to Anna took over the music, and it ended up chronicling that period of his life.</p><p>This song though seems to break away a little bit from the overall theme, but it could be argued that it&rsquo;s a song about hope. It&rsquo;s basically about a parallel universe where in the future Marvin is the captain of a &quot;space bed&quot; and he meets a woman that reminds him of Anna.&nbsp;It clocks in at over eight minutes and did peak at #23 on the R&amp;B charts. Not bad for an album that upon released was panned as bizarre. Today though, <em>Here My Dear</em> is considered a classic.</p><p>&quot;Two Little Spacemen in a Flying Saucer&quot; is a gem of a novelty song by Ella Fitzgerald that was released in 1951. I don&rsquo;t know much about the song&rsquo;s composers Elaine Wise and Arthur Pitt, but the song is included on a compilation I own called <em>Ella Fitzgerald 1951: The Chronological Classics</em>. What is clear from the lyrics is that these two little men don&rsquo;t think much of us earthlings. As a matter of fact, they think we&rsquo;re pretty stupid.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-KZMg-fvn-s" width="480"></iframe></p><p>For my last pick we head to southern California for a song where an earthling is begging an alien to take him away. &quot;Mr. Spaceman&quot; comes from the 1966 album <em>Fifth Dimension</em> by The Byrd&rsquo;s. The country sound is a precursor to the bands deep exploration of country music on its classic <em>Sweetheart of the Rodeo</em> with the great Gram Parsons.</p><p>Upon its release, some in the music press termed the song &ldquo;space rock.&quot; But it does have more of a country feel. Mr. Spaceman was written by Roger McGuinn as a sort of meditation on extraterrestrial life. Mr. Spaceman peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.</p><p>There you go, a fun and wild ride into a musical space-age.</p></div><div><strong>Richard Steele:</strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YuA-fqKCiAE" width="480"></iframe></p><div>This very weird 1962 recording was done by a British band called The Tornados. It was a novelty instrumental with sound effects that were supposed to connect&nbsp;to&nbsp;the new&nbsp;Space&nbsp;Age. The&nbsp;song&nbsp;was named after the AT&amp;T communications satellite called Telstar&nbsp;that went into orbit the same year. Somehow the record-buying public&nbsp;&ldquo;got the message,&rdquo;&nbsp;and the record sold millions of copies worldwide. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fYnmVmmN2Gg" width="480"></iframe></p><div>Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount) legally changed his name to Le Sony&rsquo;r Ra.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Whatever his name, he was a jazz composer, piano and synthesizer player, bandleader and&nbsp;&ldquo;cosmic philosopher.&rdquo; There were many variations on his name, but he made the legal change while he resided in Chicago from the mid-&lsquo;40s&nbsp;to the early&nbsp;&lsquo;60s. The band that he had during that period reflected his belief that he was from Saturn (based on a life-changing spiritual experience he claimed that he had earlier in his life).&nbsp;He and his band wore&nbsp; costumes that had a science-fiction theme with Egyptian influences.&nbsp;The&nbsp;1972&nbsp;composition &ldquo;Space Is The Place&rdquo; was initially written for a film that was part documentary, part science fiction and part black exploitation. Part of the story was about Sun Ra discovering a new planet. I&rsquo;ll leave it at that! &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2YbnYkHL0Ek" width="560"></iframe></p><div>Clearly,&nbsp;Frank Sinatra with the Count Basie Orchestra is&nbsp;one of the best versions of this ode to the Moon.&nbsp;The list of performers who&nbsp;have&nbsp;recorded&nbsp;&ldquo;Fly Me to the Moon&rdquo;&nbsp;is enormous -- everybody from Doris Day to Marvin Gaye to Rod Stewart. One of the most significant anecdotes about this recording is that it was played by the astronauts of Apollo 10 on their lunar-orbital&nbsp;mission and then again on the Moon itself by astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 landing. He was among the first humans to&nbsp;fly to the Moon and then actually&nbsp;set foot on&nbsp;it in&nbsp;1969! &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6rR3YDj-lME" width="480"></iframe></p><div>This 1976 gem, &ldquo;You are my Starship&rdquo; by Michael Henderson,&nbsp;was recorded on an album of the same name by drummer Norman Connors, but the vocal work was done by Michael Henderson. The song&nbsp;has a beautiful &ldquo;other worldly&rdquo; quality.&nbsp; Henderson is an extremely talented musician who not only wrote and sang the composition, but he also sang all the background vocals, produced the record and was the bass player.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YH6j63lhAAc" width="480"></iframe></p><div><em>Lost in Space</em> was kind-of a cheesy&nbsp;1965&nbsp;family&nbsp;TV&nbsp;show about &ldquo;The Robinsons&rdquo; being lost and roving around the galaxy in their spaceship.&nbsp;It ended up a pretty successful Saturday morning show for kids. The thing that&rsquo;s so interesting about the show&rsquo;s theme music was its composer: John Williams went on to win five Academy Awards for his film scores.&nbsp;See if you recognize any of these films: <em>Star Wars</em>, <em>Jaws</em>, <em>Superman</em>, <em>Indiana Jones</em>, <em>E.T.</em>, <em>Home Alone</em>, <em>Jurassic Park</em>, <em>Schindler&rsquo;s List</em>&nbsp;and recently, <em>War Horse</em>. His theme music includes NBC&nbsp;Sunday Night Football&nbsp;and the&nbsp;NBC Nightly News.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As that list relates to&nbsp;Lost in Space...you&#39;ve got to start somewhere!</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5kZiQf3kCXk" width="480"></iframe></p><div>Most everybody&rsquo;s heard a lot about&nbsp;the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They&rsquo;re pretty unique in that they were one of the few groups that really made major innovations in rock/pop/funk music, and later in hip-hop by literally doing a successful mash-up of all those different styles. On stage they really &ldquo;blow it out.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Subway To Venus&quot; was recorded in 1989 and it was on the album&nbsp;Mother&rsquo;s&nbsp;Milk. It went on to become the first gold record for&nbsp;the Red Hot Chili Peppers.&nbsp;Their version of Stevie Wonder&rsquo;s&nbsp;&ldquo;Higher Ground&rdquo;&nbsp;got some attention and airplay, but for my money, &ldquo;Subway to Venus&rdquo; was&nbsp;the&nbsp;best example of their rock/funk DNA.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fhQZKWBVxDA" width="480"></iframe></p><div>As an added bonus: enjoy a favorite of intern Caroline O&#39;Donovan&#39;s &nbsp;from The Carpenters.</div></p> Thu, 12 Apr 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/music-thursdays-tony-sarabia-and-richard-steele-space-jams-98152