1. I launched a new blog for my day job yesterday, here. I exported some stuff from Indie Moines just to stock it up a bit for the indexing spider bots, but also added a few new pieces about our upcoming fall programming at Salisbury House. I’m especially pleased with this piece about our Shakespeare program, which allowed me to do some primary source research in our incredible library. I don’t exaggerate when I say that there are few (if any) venues on the North American continent that can lay as deep a claim to being a perfect Shakespeare venue as we can. Even if you don’t live in Des Moines, it’s worth following us on Facebook, as we’re posting articles from our collection daily during the work week, and they’re pretty damn cool, if I say so myself. We have our biggest fundraising events of the year this weekend, so we’re a bit heavily focused on those right now, but we’ll be back into the guts of the collection next week, and there’s amazing stuff to see there. Go hit that “like” button, yo!
2. I often like things that conventional wisdom says I should not, especially when it comes to my musical tastes. Case in point: everybody knows that Donald Fagen is the voice of Steely Dan, as all of their best-known and most-popular songs have featured his nasal, sardonic vocal stylings. But . . . back when Steely Dan first got started, they actually had another vocalist, named David Palmer, who took leads on a couple of songs from their 1972 debut album, Can’t Buy A Thrill, including deep cut radio favorite “Dirty Work.” Some people are aware of that fact, but not many. Even more obscurely, though, Steely Dan’s original drummer, a fellow named Jim Hodder, sang lead vocals on one song on Can’t Buy a Thrill called “Midnight Cruiser,” and also took the lead on the Dan’s long lost (or suppressed) debut single, “Dallas.” Few people have ever heard either of these songs . . . but I love them both, dearly. (“Dallas” was actually covered by Poco some years later, but nobody heard that version, either). Jim Hodder was the first of the original members of Steely Dan to get the boot from the band, and was also the first to die: he drowned in his swimming pool in 1990. Here are his two vocal spotlights, just because they deserve to be heard and remembered as important parts of the Steely Dan canon, even if you’re not supposed to think that:
3. I’m really kind of appalled that the Democratic Party operatives gave Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren a featured position at their National Convention. Per bullet number three in this post, having once been given the chance to trade in on my own (real) Cherokee heritage for professional reasons, and having declined to do so, I am profoundly bothered by her having opportunistically claimed minority status for personal gain — as well as by her continued refusal to come clean and/or meet with representatives of the Cherokee nation to discuss her fraudulent assertions about her heritage. Boo! Boo! And, again, Boo!
4. I just learned last week that intense singer-guitarist-songwriter Zoogz Rift passed away in March 2011. I guess he was so obscure that he didn’t make the obituary pages of any of the newspapers, magazines or websites that I was actively reading at that point. When I discovered that he’d flown away from this mortal coil, I went online to see what his long-time collaborator Richie Hass (an amazing percussionist) was up to. Last I’d heard, Richie was playing with the amazing Saccharine Trust, one of the few early SST Records bands still functioning deep into the 21st Century. Sadly, I then learned that Richie Hass had died of cancer in 2008, even more obscure (apparently) than Zoogz Rift was, since it took me even longer to learn of his passing. Sigh. Rift and Hass were great players, though, and they created a very impressive body of work together, cut from a Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart sort of mold, only much more offensive, much of the time. If you haven’t heard Zoogz Rift and Richie Hass (and I’m thinking that includes 99.44% of those of you who are reading this post), here are three of my favorite songs from them, with fair warning given right up front that they contain very strong language and are not recommended for the faint of heart or weak of constitution. The first song is from the album Water (1987), while the other two are from Island of Living Puke (1986). See? I told you so . . .