Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Dead Weather: Live performance of Let Me Through and guitar technique

Third in the series of four Dead Weather technique videos:

Guitar World has the exclusive on Dean Fertita's guitar playing with the band, which he illustrates afterwards during the band's performance of Let Me Through from the new album Dodge and Burn.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dead Weather - Be Still (live performance, video)

Continuing the Dead Weather's Dodge and Burn album release blitz, a live performance of Be Still for you.

I note that the mannequins, including the Madonna of the Amplifier, are unable to follow the injunction to Be Still and move around capriciously. But not as capriciously as the goat, in a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo appearance.

Goats are cool.

No "how to" instrumental technique on this one, alas.

The album drops tomorrow, so I'll be at Best Buy, angling for a free t shirt.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dodged and Burned Dead Weather poison t shirt coming to a store not near you (in Nashville)!

I realize I'm functioning mainly as the Yorkshire arm of the Dead Weather publicity machine these days, but I can't help it. It's all so exciting! Third Man are printing limited edition cyanotype t shirts.

They don't go into details of their process - they say they use dodge and burn to make the image. (The album is called Dodge and Burn) but you don't see it in the video. And... is it safe to wear a t shirt dyed with ferric ferrocyanide?

Who cares? They're for framing anyway!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

For Doctor Who, a brickbat (not really)

I'm sure everyone who watched Doctor Who last night (2015-09-19) enjoyed the Douglas Adams-style jokes in the arena. One of them sounded familiar.
I'm not accusing Moffat of ripping this off - I'm sure two people can come up with the same to-a-person-from-the-far-future-British-culture-gets-confusing joke. It's just I re-read it recently and it was on my mind, along with the whole paragraph of great puns around it.
It's from Michael Moorcock's Dancers At the End of Time tales, this one being Pale Roses, from New Worlds Quarterly 7, edited by Hilary Bailey and Charles Platt, 1974.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Dead Weather: Mile Markers and bass technique, Late Show performance (videos)

This week it's lucky Mojo who gets the exclusive on the Dead Weather video release and not only new, but a premiere performance of a song.

The song is Mile Markers, from the soon-to-be-released album Dodge and Burn, and and the 'technique' part of the film is handled by Little Jack Lawrence, who is all about that bass.  He demonstrates - oops, wrote demon states at first there - the use of his bass microsynth and the riff from Blue Blood Blues and Mile Markers.

I'm surprised Little Jack has such long glossy hair, because when he switched on that microsynth pedal, the sound blew mine right off, and I'm standing behind a monitor.

Added: for a bonus, here's the Dead Weather's performance of I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) on the Stephen Colbert Late Show:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Dead Weather: Hang You From the Heavens (new version) and drum technique (video)

Modern Drummer  has an exclusive on a Dead Weather's video on instrument technique.

Today they are showcasing Jack White himself on drums, and three other videos will be forthcoming.

Today's is a ten minute video, starting with Jack explaining his drumkit and why it is the way it is, and (at the 6:08 mark) going into a kickass new version of Hang You From the Heavens featuring the whole band (authentic non-doppleganger version) a pile of tires and some of the mannequins from the I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) video premiered last week.

During the song, Alison plays herself. The "Alison" at the six minute mark appears to be Jack's little daughter, Scarlett.  Who the "Alison" is in the first minute of the video, I have no clue. I thought was Jack at first (same nasolabial folds) but unless Jack had his Adam's Apple shaved for the part, I guess it isn't him. Any guesses?

Friday, September 04, 2015

David Bowie : Starman by Paul Trynka (book review)

I recently picked up a copy of Paul Trynka’s biography, David Bowie : Starman.

It dates back to 2011, but I didn’t buy it at the time having burned out on a couple of biographies of rock stars that you would imagine would be fascinating but were, frankly, crashing bores – mostly the Iggy Pop Open Up and Bleed book also by Trynka), which failed to deliver a portrait of a man raised by wolves in a trailer park, and instead delivered a rather dull middle-class American, as did the Kurt Cobain book and the Eric Clapton book (if you substitute English for American). David Bowie, as a quintessential lower-middle-class southern English war-baby, didn’t seem much more promising. I was wrong.

For many rock stories, these days, I can turn to YouTube and get the history, in a few thousand spoken words, along with sights and sounds of the era and if I’m lucky, and if the producer has paid the royalties, even the songs of the rock star in question. So, given that I’ve watched Five Years (while it was available) and a number of other Bowie documentaries, what is the advantage of a book?

Words, mainly. (But you knew that.) The book must have around 120,000 of them, which is sufficient to explain nuances in relationships and timelines as well as evoke feelings and paint mental pictures. Trynka has done an enormous amount of research, and seems to have tracked down pretty much anyone who spoke to David Bowie throughout his career, and placed their words carefully where they’ll do the most good in the narrative. He’s also taken care to keep mentioning dates and, when a person or event re-enters the scene after an absence, makes sure to recap briefly. This makes the book, unlike so many others, a pleasure to dip into at random, or use as a reference. In a book this long, there’s always a time or two when you flip through the previous few pages in confusion thinking something like, “Wait, have we had the festival yet? Did I miss it?” but his style keeps that to a minimum.

I don’t need to recap the David Bowie story here, so I won’t.  His first hits came as I first started buying records, although the records I bought were by T. Rex. Bowie was a feared rival. Apart from a fallow period recently, he’s continued to have hits since, and the way he’s managed to keep re-inventing himself has always been of some interest. Trynka has a lot to say about his methods, from Oblique Strategies, to putting an unrehearsed, inexperienced band in the studio and demanding they deliver, to obsessively working out details beforehand. It seems he’s used all types of methods, and is vastly well-read in the philosophy and psychology of his art, as well. Surprisingly, neither Bowie nor his biographer seem to think he has much innate talent – they both put it down to obsessive, single-minded hard work.

The story weaves in an out of others that I’ve read – Marc Bolan, Mick Jagger, Lori Mattix (Maddox, Madox), Jimmy Page, Andy Warhol and the aforementioned Iggy Pop, and many that I haven’t, though I probably should – Lou Reed, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon. From a Mod hustling in London to a rather diaphanous character living in indescribably luxury with Iman, probably in a pink castle on a cloud near the Big Rock Candy Mountain, it’s not your average rags to riches tale but it is constantly interesting. 

Dead Weather - I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) - video

The "live" video for the Dead Weather's new single, I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) is here.

It really works live - shame that they're not touring the new album.  Jack White seems to have upped his game on the drums and Dean Fertita makes a barebones riff fill the sonic space.The video looks simple, but there's a lot going on - watch Alison's doppleganger. And why is the mysterious Madonna figure crouched over a Fender amp and not the more usual manger?

I love the video effect that makes bright white shine black, like an old Image Orthicon tube camera on some beloved old black and white show that boasted all the happening beat combos.


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