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Mickey Leigh on Joey Ramone & Opinions on Gorillaz and The Besnard Lakes

Jim and Greg talk to Mickey Leigh, author of I Slept With Joey Ramone, about life growing up with the famous punk rocker. Plus new record reviews of Gorillaz and The Besnard Lakes.

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Music News

After a number of postponements, Lil Wayne has finally had his day in court. And the results weren't pretty. The multi-million selling rapper has been sentenced to one year in prison, and not the kinda digs most wealthy criminals face, but Riker's Island. This is the result of Wayne pleading guilty to gun possession last year. In an absurd chain of events, both of his previous sentencing dates had to be postponed–first because of“emergency dental surgery,”and then because the courthouse went up in flames. Greg likens Lil Wayne's situation to if Elvis or The Beatles had been jailed at the height of their chart success, and Jim wonders how fair this sentence really is.

Also in the news, Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse, committed suicide last week at age 47. Linkous had been battling severe depression for years, and his use of prescription drugs even left him paralyzed for several months. As Jim explains, Linkous used his life challenges in his music, and a new collaboration between the singer and Danger Mouse was set to be released this summer. To honor Linkous, Jim and Greg play "Grim Augury," a track from that album that also features another recently departed musician, Vic Chesnutt.

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Mickey Leigh

Joey Ramone is one of rock's biggest legends, but very little is known about his actual life. As we learn in the next segment, the Ramones' lead singer, born Jeffry Hyman, had a turbulent life full of physical and mental illness. Jim and Greg get insight into his life from the punk rocker's brother, Mickey Leigh, author of the new book I Slept With Joey Ramone. They are also joined by the book's contributor and Punk Magazine co-founder Legs McNeil. As Mickey reveals to Jim and Greg, this is not a fairy tale. Joey suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder and was diagnosed as a schizophrenic in his teens. But it's an uplifting tale. Through music Joey was able to laugh at the dark areas of life and even overcome some of his insecurities. He became a beacon of hope to awkward kids everywhere–if Joey can do it, we can do it.

reviewPlastic Beach (Deluxe Version)Plastic Beach available on iTunes

Gorillaz Plastic Beach

Kicking off the reviews this episode is Plastic Beach, the latest from Gorillaz. The project is helmed by Damon Albarn of Blur and features a cast of guests to create its animated fantasy world. Greg is impressed at how the singer/producer can bring together so many seemingly mismatched elements, sounds and voices and still end up with something wonderful and cohesive. Greg gives Plastic Beach a Buy It rating. Jim goes so far as to call Albarn a genius. He notes that it's a darker record, but gives it a Buy It as well.

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reviewThe Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (Bonus Track Version)The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night available on iTunes

The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night

Jim and Greg next turn to the third release from Canadian indie rockers The Besnard Lakes called The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night. Jim describes the album as a mix between nature-inspired“beard”rock and early '90s shoegazer. This is the duo's most epic effort yet, and Jim recommends it as something you can lose yourself in. Greg wonders if they need a new rating category:“Wow.”He'd add orchestral pop and progressive rock to the list of influences. Greg describes the record as an amazing achievement and an example of great collaboration between the husband and wife team. The Besnard Lakes get a double Buy It.

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Greg

“You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory”Johnny Thunder

Greg gets to drop a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and chooses a Joey Ramone-inspired song. The Ramones singer was a hero to Greg early on, and his punk spirit helped kick-start Greg's writing career. Joey was always a fan of the classic pop songs he grew up on, and when he got the chance late in life, he worked with one of his own heroes, Ronnie Spector. The album was one of Joey's last projects, so to remember him, Greg plays her version of the Johnny Thunder song "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" as produced by Joey Ramone.

Featured Songs

  1. Lil Wayne, Shooter, Tha Carter II, Universal/Cash Money, 2005
  2. Sparklehorse, Someday I Will Treat You Good, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, Capitol, 1996
  3. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, Grim Augury (featuring Vic Chesnutt), Dark Night of the Soul, Capitol, 2010
  4. The Ramones, We're a Happy Family, Rocket to Russia, Sire, 1977
  5. The Ramones, Beat on the Brat, The Ramones, Sire, 1976
  6. The Ramones, Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World, The Ramones, Sire, 1976
  7. The Ramones, Teenage Lobotomy, Rocket to Russia, Sire, 1977
  8. The Ramones, I Remember You, Leave Home, Sire, 1977
  9. Alice Cooper, Ballad Of Dwight Fry, Love It To Death, Warner Bros., 1971
  10. The Ramones, Carbona Not Glue, Leave Home, Sire, 1977
  11. The Ramones, I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You, It's Alive, European Import, 1979
  12. The Ramones, I Wanna Be Well, Rocket to Russia, Sire, 1977
  13. Gorillaz, Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach, Plastic Beach, EMI, 2010
  14. Gorillaz, Superfast Jellyfish, Plastic Beach, EMI, 2010
  15. Gorillaz, On Melancholy Hill, Plastic Beach, EMI, 2010
  16. The Besnard Lakes, Like The Ocean, Like The Innocent Pt. : The Innocent, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, Jagjaguwar, 2010
  17. The Besnard Lakes, Albatross, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, Jagjaguwar, 2010
  18. Ronnie Spector, You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory, She Talks to Rainbows, Kill Rock Stars, 1999
  19. Clipse, Champion, Til The Casket Drops, Columbia, 2010
  20. Wolf Parade, Language City, At Mount Zoomer, Sub Pop, 2008
  21. National Polish Radio Symphony, No 3 Passacaglia, Shutter Island: Music from the Motion Picture, Rhino Entertainment, 2010
  22. Donald Fagen, The Nightfly, The Nightfly, Warner Bros., 1982

Footnotes

theguardian.com Lil Wayne Sentenced to Prison nytimes.com Mark Linkous Dies goodreads.com I Slept With Joey Ramone youtube.com Gorillaz thebesnardlakes.com Besnard Lakes