Show 194: Rock's Supergroups, Review of Mos Def
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1 First up in the news, Pepsi is launching a music label in China. This is a strange, but perhaps smart move considering the large, untapped market there. The soda company will produce a “Battle of the Bands” television show to find artists to record. In addition, those artists will be featured in Pepsi ads.
2 Two sad news items follow. First is the death of Mink DeVille frontman Willy DeVille. DeVille was one of the key artists from the CBGB punk scene. But, he distinguished himself from the Blondies and Ramones with his unique sound. He was more a child of the Brill Building music of the ‘60s, and actually introduced Jim and Greg to a lot of those influences. To honor DeVille they play his Jack Nitzsche produced track “Spanish Stroll.”
3 Another recent death is that of director, writer and producer John Hughes. While Hughes isn’t necessarily a music figure, Jim and Greg know that he was a huge fan. His musical choices in films like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles influenced what young people heard, and for many teens it was their first exposure to “alternative” music. In honor of Hughes Jim and Greg play the original version of “Pretty in Pink,” by the Psychedelic Furs.
4 Last weekend Jim and Greg experienced 3 days of music at the Lollapalooza in Chicago. But, one of the best shows of the weekend actually happened in a small club across town. Jim, Greg and other lucky attendees saw the debut of new “Supergroup” Them Crooked Vultures. The band features Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age on guitar and vocals, former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl on drums and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on bass. Jim and Greg both found the performance heavy and thrilling, and agree that on drums is where Grohl belongs. There’s no album release date yet, but our hosts highly anticipate it.
5 While they wait for more info on Them Crooked Vultures music, Jim and Greg ponder the history of the Supergroup. This is the rock phenomenon where musicians from different bands join together to form a new group. Sometimes this is a great success, and sometimes the ingredients just don’t mix. Recently there have been a number of new supergroups such as the aforementioned Them Crooked Vultures, Tinted Windows, Dead Weather and Monsters of Folk. For Jim the keys to a winning supergroup are that the members be individually “super,” and that they have chemistry together. Greg adds that there needs to be more compelling the super-union than just business.
Here are some hits and misses throughout history:
Million Dollar Quartet
Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young)
Temple of the Dog
6 Mos Def first gained attention as a member of Black Star with fellow rapper Talib Kweli. He went on to have a successful solo career, but these days more people might recognize him as an actor than a musician. Now he is back with The Ecstatic. Jim and Greg both thought his rap career was all but over, so this record was a welcome surprise. Jim heard it more like an unfocused mixtape than an album, but he loved Mos Def’s energy and the work of his producers. Greg found the rapper more engaged on this album and calls it a triumphant return to form. The Ecstatic gets two Buy Its.
Songs Featured in Show #194
Mink DeVille, “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” Cabretta, 1977
Mink DeVille, “Spanish Stroll,” Cabretta, 1977
Simple Minds, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” 1985
Yello, “Oh Yeah,” Stella, 1985
The Psychedelic Furs, “Pretty in Pink,” Talk Talk Talk, 1981
The Traveling Wilburys, “Handle With Care,” Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1, 1988
Damnocracy, “UltrAlive Pt 1,” 2006
Chickenfoot, "Soap on a Rope," Chickenfoot, 2009
The Million Dollar Quartet, "Just A Little Talk With Jesus," The Million Dollar Quartet, 1990
Cream, "Swlabr," Disraeli Gears, 1967
Blind Faith, "Can't Find My Way Home," Blind Faith, 1969
CSNY, "Teach Your Children," 4 Way Street, 1971
UK, "Night After Night," Night After Night, 1979
Asia, "Heat of the Moment," Asia, 1982
The Golden Palominos, "Omaha," Visions of Excess,1985
Electronic, "Get the Message," Electronic, 1991
Temple of the Dog, "Hunger Strike," Temple of the Dog, 1990
Lucy Pearl, "Don't Mess With My Man," Lucy Pearl, 2000
Mos Def, "Supermagic," The Ecstatic, 2009
Mos Def, "Life in Marvelous Times, " The Ecstatic, 2009
Rich Boy, "Drop," Drop, 2009
Blondie, "Hanging on the Telephone," Parallel Lines, 1978
Pelican, "Lost in the Headlights," City of Echoes, 2007
M Ward, "Were You There," Duet for Guitars #2, 2007
The Fiery Furnaces, "Ray Bouvier," I'm Going Away, 2009
The Decemberists, "Isn't It A Lonely Night," The Hazards of Love, 2009