Monday, April 30th, 2012 | fliX, musiX | No Comments
It’s mostly fun and games here at TDoL … because, well, we’re talking about music, not working on the cure for cancer. At the same time I’m not oblivious to the emotional power of music, and I couldn’t help but be moved by this clip from Michael Rossato-Bennett’s documentary Alive Inside.
The documentary centers on a group of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, who are awakened so to speak after listening to music from their youth. The clip below shows 92-year-old Henry Dryer, who suffers from dementia; he barely speaks and doesn’t recognize his own daughter. Once the headphones are placed in his ears Dryer miraculously snaps out of it. He continues to talk about it once the music stops, recalling memories of songs and artists from when he was young, saying “[Music] gives me the feeling of love.”
Also featured in Alive Inside is author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, best known for his book Musicophilia. And while there have been loads of other studies on music’s effects on the brain, and there appears to be some well-executed product-placement for the iPad here, the results are still powerful.
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 | fliX, musiX | No Comments
Larry fell on his radiohead again.
I’m no filmmaker, nor have I ever aspired to be one. But since discovering Xtranormal last week, I’ve made three animated shorts.
Xtranormal is a not-so-new [AP Style update alert!] website that claims “If you can type, you can make movies.” I can type. Barely. And that is really all it takes … perhaps a little wit and some camera-savvy helps. Not only can you create dialogue, but you can choose your scenes and angles, add music, sound-effects, choose your actors, which language they speak, and so on. It’s good fun … and a great time sucker, which I know we could all use.
So far it’s sucked about 30 minutes out of my life, give or take. Hipster Hoo Haw (above) is my second … I know, I hope they get better, too. I have a couple others floating out there in the ether: Bacon, You Idiot (my directorial debut) and Clowns Are For Kids, both of which are fast becoming Internet (still capitalized per AP Style?) sensations.
The plan is to keep making semi-regular shorts here at The Days of Lore that are topical, musical and, of course, radical. You’ve all been warned.
Thursday, February 25th, 2010 | fliX, musiX | 9 Comments
I recently watched Davis Guggenheim’s It Might Get Loud, the documentary that takes a gander at the electric guitar by way of the calloused fingers of David Evans, James Page and John Gillis. Yeah, I’ve never heard of ‘em, either.
And I really liked it (save for maybe the trio’s flimsy rendition of The Band’s “The Weight” at the end)—especially the backstories of Jimmy Page and The Edge (Page’s early days as a young virtuoso skiffle player, and The Edge barely knowing what to do with that old Explorer). Seeing/hearing that old footage again of U2 before the members had probably ever touched razors to their faces was fun. And the smile on the (then) 64-year-old Page’s face as he played air-guitar to a crackly 45 of Link Wray‘s “Rumble” was pure gold.
When I first heard about the film—and who was being featured—my immediate thought was, “Jack White?” Don’t get me wrong, I love White’s Detroit punk and R&B background (especially his love of Son House and cheap Montgomery Ward guitars), and I’m probably more in tune with his philosophy on music than I am his elders in the movie. BUT (there’s always a but) while Page and The Edge define styles that can’t be duplicated, White is more of an encyclopedia of blues licks with a stomp box.
That said, I found his thread in the movie the most interesting. He’s definitely the most charismatic of the three … I mean he had a younger version of himself following him around fer chrissakes. And in all honesty, when asked by Poor Old Dirt Farmer, I was unable to come up with another guitarist that could replace him (at least one that I could stomach).
Of course, it could also be argued that Page and The Edge could have been replaced—hell, it would probably be easier. Townshend? Clapton? Johnny Marr? Eddie Van Halen? So, let me ask you this: If you could remake It Might Get Loud, who would you feature in the film?
Post your ideas in the comments section, along with a full script (just kidding). Keep in mind this is about the electric guitar and that each guitarist represents a different era. This is not a test, although you will receive bonus points for not choosing Yngwie Malmsteen.
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 | fliX, musiX | 5 Comments
I was a huge fan of Zack Attack in high school. The way Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski and Lisa Turtle’s harmonies blended together gave me chills. When they broke up, so did a part of my left ventricle.
I was more than excited when Morris appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon the other night. He talked about the old days, his new career in acting, his divorce from Kapowski. Morris even timed Fallon out (which I enjoyed quite a bit) and capped the appearance with a performance of Zack Attack’s hit “Friends Forever” with The Roots.
Fallon is working on a class reunion of sorts for our old pals from Bayside High—the only two holdouts are Kapowski and Screech. Who would have thought Screech would be the most successful one of the group, with his work as a stand-up comedian, film actor (Saved By the Smell is a must-see) and as a musician? Might be tough to nab him.
Friday, May 22nd, 2009 | fliX, musiX, pdX | 6 Comments
Steve “Lips” Kudlow is an optimistic guy. This despite his band Anvil being handed the proverbial shit sandwich, while their metal contemporaries—bands like Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake—went on to sell millions of records worldwide. Life ain’t fair, I tell you.
Anvil made its name in the early ’80s with its definitive album Metal On Metal, while the band toured all over wearing fetish gear and playing their guitars with vibrators. So why was Anvil left in the dust? “Sometimes life deals you a tough deck,” says Slash, one of a handful of metalheads (including Slayer’s Tom Araya) who gives the Canadian band its props in the opening sequence of Anvil! The Story of Anvil.
Kudlow and his partner in crime Robb Reiner have been working day jobs (like most musicians) while keeping Anvil going … and by going I mean quietly releasing records and playing to drunken lunkheads at Ontario dive bars. The band soon finds itself in Europe after a fan books them a tour. What follows is a series of mishaps that brings to mind … well, This Is Spinal Tap. The members of Anvil get lost in Prague, stiffed money from a venue (also in Prague), and play a 10,000-seat arena to only a couple hundred diehards. And even then, Kudlow offers: “Things went drastically wrong, but at least there was a tour for it to go wrong on.”
Director Sacha Gervasi (who was a roadie with the band back in the day) walks a fine line between spoofery and heartfelt docudrama—early on. As the reel winds down, and we get to know these likable (lovable?) headbangers, Anvil! reveals itself as the latter. They’re just a couple of guys with big dreams like everyone else. They have loving families. Above all else—we see that playing music makes them truly happy, famous or not.
I overheard someone say after the movie that they wanted to buy Anvil’s album just to show support for Kudlow and Reiner. If Anvil! The Story of Anvil affected everybody who came out of the theater that way, I could see it being a big year for the band … then again Anvil’s forthcoming album has the ridiculous title Juggernaut of Justice. Which explains a lot.
Photo by Brent J. Craig
Friday, February 20th, 2009 | fliX, musiX | No Comments
Canadian metal band Anvil got its start in the early-’70s when guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner decided they were going to play metal. Forever! Well, it’s been forever, and Anvil is more popular now than they were during their days playing stadiums with Scorpions and Bon Jovi in the ’80s. You’ve never heard of Anvil, have you?
Well, Anvil released a number of records including the classics Hard ‘N’ Heavy, Metal On Metal and Strength of Steel. Still nothing? That’s sort of the basis for Anvil! The Story of Anvil, a film that follows the band in their eternal quest to make it as the “demigods of Canadian metal.” There was a time when Anvil was being touted as the next Metallica. Everyone knows how that turned out.
Director Sacha Gervasi‘s film debuted at Sundance last year and has received lots of press—some see it as an emotional triumph of following your dreams; others as sad and ludicrous as This is Spinal Tap. It’s probably a little of both, a story that’s been played out a million times … I say why not let it be the gents in Anvil who find that elusive success by telling their tale? Anvil! The Story of Anvil will show in select U.S. theaters in April, including in Portland at Cinema 21 on April 24.
Trailer for Anvil! The Story of Anvil