Thursday, March 13th, 2014 | musiX, pdX, vinylZ | No Comments
By the looks of things I’m going to have to play some metal. Continuing my plummet into all things heavy (more on this later), I’ll be digging out some classicks from Budgie, Sepultura, Saint Vitus, and most likely some KISS, RATT and Angel. Come hang out with me at Beech Street this St. Paddy’s Day from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. I’ll be the one hunched over underneath the stairwell sweating, drinking Jamison and flipping licorice pizza. You’re welcome for painting such a lovely picture.
Monday, March 3rd, 2014 | musiX, pdX, vinylZ | No Comments
I’ve discovered that those who are really into early Genesis are an interesting breed. Then again that era of the band is pretty ridiculous in the best/worst possible way. I’m really not much of a prog head—I can appreciate it on a certain level, and I do like me some King Crimson—but the snootiness of it all kind of stinks. But I couldn’t turn down a recent opportunity to see The Musical Box, the longtime French-Canadian tribute to early-’70s Genesis. I’ve always been a little curious about that era, and I became even more intrigued upon reading Andy Zax’s recent Tweet-by-Tweet of the band’s Los Angeles performance.
I went in knowing nothing, owning only a copy of the band’s post-Gabriel-Hackett record Duke (which I love). Actually, the closest I’d come to hearing Genesis’ old stuff was when my brother—who as a young whippersnapper loved the poppy pap of Abacab and Invisible Touch—unknowingly bought an early live cassette from the dollar bin. Needless to say, we put it on and stared blankly at each other.
But, I have to admit, The Musical Box’s performance was pretty damn impressive, this time focusing on the band’s 1972 LP Foxtrot. It should be pointed out that The Musical Box has been at it 20 years, and that the members of Genesis have praised these guys. Steve Hackett and Phil Collins have even sat in with them. The stage set, costumes, even the instruments were to specs … although the drummer playing Collins played right-handed, and I really would have liked to see a more robust mustache on the guitarist doing Hackett (what he lacked in ‘stache he more than made up for in guitarness). And it confirmed my thoughts on Genesis fans, who treated this performance by these Canadians playing the parts of this old band as a religious experience. And I was into it—even the music. Genesis doesn’t seem as stale and sterile as Yes or Emerson Lake & Palmer. Definitely more bloated. But I’m a sucker for theatrics. If I saw a band that looked like this on stage in 2014 I’d go apeshit.
Over the last couple of days I’ve picked up Foxtrot and Selling England By the Pound. I’m still deciding how much I like them. Although, I’ve gotta say “Supper’s Ready” is goddamn incredible in its epic, overwrought eccentricity. Yeah, that about sums it up. That said, if you make it all the way through this song I’ll give you a hundred bitcoin.
“Supper’s Ready” – Genesis
Steve Young‘s name is not immediately recognizable, but those who know, know. And know better. The singer-songwriter released a couple of absolutely immaculate country and folk records at a time when the genre was enjoying a bit of a renaissance in the late-’60s and early-’70s. Young’s 1969 debut Rock Salt & Nails, and his 1972 followup Seven Bridges Road are just as important to country (and more specifically, outlaw country) as anything put out by Willie or Waylon.
While many people tend to reach for the slightly rowdier Seven Bridges Road—whose “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” was later covered by one Waylon Jennings—for me Salt Rock & Nails is the true gem. It could have something to do with the personnel (Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, and fellow Burrito Brother Chris Ethridge all make appearances), which has also led to the record’s cult following. But on this LP Young strikes a perfect balance of country, folk and soul, which not only makes it stand out among his own body of work, but anything in its day.
Parsons contributes organ to Young’s cover of Roosevelt Jamieson‘s “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” which, of course, was a hit for Otis Redding in 1965. It adds just the right touch, however it’s Young’s soulful upper register that is untouchable. Actually, his version is goddamn chilling, and Young’s own haunting and subdued numbers “Coyote” and “Holler In the Swamp” are equally goosebump-inducing. You might want to take it in with some whiskey. Trust me.
“Holler In the Swamp” - Steve Young
“Coyote” - Steve Young
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 | musiX, pdX, vinylZ | No Comments
I’ll pack up my records this Thursday night and creep out of TDoL HQ down to my favorite house-turned-bar Beech Street Parlor for some whiskey and rock and roll. Last month I leaned heavily on the metal. Then the pipes froze. Guess I need to bring a little more of Hell’s fire with me.
This week I think I’ll mix it up a bit … just like the flier says, I suppose. Expect songs from early Priest, Maiden, The Pooh Sticks, Sheila Chandra, T. Rex, Nothing People, and much more. Come down and have a not-imaginary drink with me. 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Thursday, January 10th, 2013 | interviewZ, musiX, vinylZ | 1 Comment
I begin 2013 by going back to the year 2012. It was a simpler time, filled with hope and promise … OK, it was a great year for rock music, filled with some terrific records from The Men, King Tuff, Ty Segall, Ty Segall … Ty Segall, and a lesser-known band out of Saint Louie (Go Cards!) called Tilts, whose self-titled debut made numero uno on TDoL’s Best of 2012 list.
I bring them up again in these early days of 2013 because a) their album is pure rock and roll fun, and b) it was criminally overlooked last year. I discovered Tilts over at cranky pants Everett True’s Collapse Board blog, and immediately bought it on vinyl (which you, too, can order here). The record rocks in the spirit of Van Halen, Sabbath and Zep—big, dumb and fun, harkening back to the glory days when riffs were painstakingly forged in fire and could slice through your gray matter like a hot knife through gray matter (the song “Hot For Pizza” has more in common with Van Halen than just its title). The record was pulled together from a string of 7-inches, and finally released with the help of a Kickstarted campaign on Robotic Empire.
The man behind Tilts is guitarist-vocalist Andrew Elstner, who in 2012 also began slinging ax for Torche and contributed to the Miami metal quartet’s good-timin’ Harmonicraft album. Needless to say it was an eventful year for Elstner, even more so if you count that little situation when a bat pissed directly into his eye. But that’s sooo 2012. This year looks to be even bigger, even better. Torche will tour and start writing material for the follow-up to Harmonicraft, and Elstner says there’s a new Tilts album already in the works.
After a busy and blurry holiday season, The Days of Lore finally caught up with Elstner to discuss rock and roll, defunct metal magazines and why David Lee Roth is hot for pizza.
TDoL: 2012 turned out to be a pretty good year for you: You joined Torche, Tilts released their first full-length and got No. 1 on The Days of Lore Best of list … I mean, come on!
Andrew Elstner: Dude, you said it. 2012 has been a blast! Really and truly, I have no complaints. This year’s been a dream. I mean, it’s not like I’m doing anything I haven’t done before, it’s just that I’m doing it better and more often.
How long has Tilts been kicking around?
Unofficially, I’d like to say since I was about 18 when I first met Ken [McCray] and Shawn [Hart]; we hadn’t written any Tilts music of course, but the friendships started there. I met Andy White around 2001 if I remember correctly. We officially started jamming, I think, around spring or summer of 2009 and began recording EPs a while after.
I hear loads of great rock influences—ZZ Top, Sabbath, Van Halen. Was your upbringing with classic rock radio?
Absolutely. I began at the same place most kids did at that time. The first song I learned was “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith, then “Black Dog” by Zeppelin followed by a blizzard of Ozzy and Sabbath. Van Halen was everywhere as well.
Tell me more about the song “Hot For Pizza” …
Oh dude, it’s such a long story, but all true. Ultra quick breakdown: A good friend of mine befriended David Lee Roth within the last decade or so. During their initial encounter, the two of them were partying and Dave wanted a slice. On the walk to the neighborhood pizza joint Diamond Dave allegedly sang the line, “I’ve got it bad, got it bad, got it baaad, I’m hot for pizzaaa!” Now, if this story came from anyone else I wouldn’t believe it, but the shit is real. The song is very obviously a deep nod to Van Halen style wise, so the title couldn’t have been anything else really. It’s a good time.
What I love about the Tilts album is that it’s a fun party record, but I also get the feeling you take rock and roll dead serious.
Tilts set out to be that kind of a band on purpose. I mean, the band is Tits with an “L.” For real. You can’t take yourself too seriously. On the other hand, yeah, we wanna write solid tunes. We honestly don’t think about it too hard. Spinal Tap’s Viv Savage said it best, “Have a good time, all the time.”
I’ve read that you were an avid Circus magazine reader. I used to love that mag. Were you a metalhead growing up?
Yeah man—Circus, Rip, Hit Parader, all the usual pharmacy titles. Pretty hilarious to look at them now. It’s like poodles with guitars. Metalhead for sure, though, maybe not as intense as some. Some stuff was definitely lost on me at the time. I was all Anthrax, Metallica, Ozzy, Megadeth and whatever was playing on Headbanger’s Ball at the time. Between that and our local rock station’s “Monday Night Metal,” there were no other avenues to discover different bands. It wasn’t until high school that I finally branched out when a buddy would drive me home and we’d listen to Fugazi, Shellac, Drive Like Jehu. Blew my mind.
You are a riff machine, too. Who are your guitar heroes?
Aww man, I hold my own I suppose. Heroes aplenty. The usual—Eddie Van Halen, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page, Angus/Malcolm Young, Andy Summers; and some slightly unusual—Billy Dolan, Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch. But really as a guitar player you end up picking up so much you aren’t consciously aware of. Somewhere in there is probably the Manhattan Transfer album my parents used to play when I was a kid.
OK, it’s 1974. KISS, Zeppelin and Sabbath are playing separate shows on the same night: KISS in a small club, Sabbath in a theater, and Zep in an arena. Who do you go see?
Oh, Zeppelin. Easy. Well, don’t get me wrong, I had to think about it and though I love KISS, I’m a bit of a tourist there. Black Sabbath, yeah, that’s tough to pass up, and such a killer year for those bands. I’d buy tickets to Sabbath and Zeppelin, go to Sabbath first, then see the latter half of Zeppelin’s set.
Has the fact that you’re now in Torche brought more attention to Tilts?
Without a doubt. We’ve been awfully lucky there as the Torche connection has greatly extended our reach.
The bat piss incident probably didn’t hurt …
Man, yeah, the story’s been told a jillion times now, but for sure the press helped. So crazy.
You moved to Atlanta from St. Louis. Was that to be closer to the Torche guys without actually having to live in Florida?
Yeah, I moved here just about two years ago to join Torche. Steve [Brooks] lives here as well as does our sound engineer Rob. Jon [Nuñez] and Rick [Smith] are still down in Miami and Gainesville respectively. And, yes, no Florida for me please and thank you. Atlanta is really an amazing city—vastly underrated and comfortably under the radar for the moment.
Are you a Redbirds fan?
It’s hard to live in or be from St. Louis and not be a Cardinals fan, though there again, I could barely tell you a single player’s name from last season, to my father’s sincere disappointment.
I assume Torche is going to keep you plenty busy this year. What’s in store for 2013, and how does Tilts factor into the plans?
Torche has gobs more touring to do this year, as well as write a new album—so yes, we’ll be busy for sure. Us Tilts dudes are currently chipping away at a new full-length. Still in the demo stages, but the songs, instrumentally at least, are pretty much written. Likely a few tweaks here and there, but we’re pleased so far. We’ll be recording this one ourselves again, fitting in recording time where we can among our thoroughly wily schedules. Fingers crossed we can finally do a small bit of touring. Zeus knows we’ve had plenty of requests.
“Mexiqo” – Tilts
Photo by Todd Morgan
- Deejay Loraxe at Beech Street Parlor 3/17
- It’s a prog eat prog world
- Sweet as. Liam Finn gets snug as …
- Steve Young: Rock salt, nails, whiskey
- Grass Is Green is a mean machine
- All-time favorite albums #1. KISS – Alive!
- All-time favorite albums #2. Camper Van Beethoven – Telephone Free Landslide Victory
- All-time favorite albums #3. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
- All-time favorite albums #4. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
- All-time favorite albums #5. Old 97′s – Wreck Your Life