A Message From Jan and Calvin Cavagnaro

Jan and Calvin have been receiving the kind words and support of so many people, and asked that those of us who have some sort of public outlet to repost her words of appreciation and how she’s feeling to that outlet so people could read them. I’m happy to oblige.

There are a couple of funds setup for Jan and Calvin, the particulars of which you can find at the Buddhahood’s MySpace blog, here. Those wishing to contribute donations, funny stories, audio and video can please contact Tony@thebuddhahood.com ~ Ed.

Hi everyone,

It’s hard to know what to say at a time like this. Tony always had the best lines anyway, and I can hear him saying “Dude, no way!” upon hearing news like this.

He was a great man. So magical. And I’m so glad he got to live the way he wanted to live. He was an incredible dad to an amazing boy, sharing his beautiful music with more and more of the world, making the impossible things possible and fun, being a loving husband, a loyal friend, a great pet-dad. He would often report to me “I just loved up the pooches.” They’re gonna miss him, too! He taught so many more musicians how to find their voices. I am so glad that his legacy will live on through generations of bands to come. Please, everyone, make sure to pass on some Tony wisdom to the kids coming up behind you!

She Said “No, No, . . . Yes.”

Poor Amy Winehouse. After writing that silly song that got her so famous, the drink finally got the best of her and now she needs to enter the dreaded “Rehab” under much more international public scrutiny than might have been possible a few years ago. The good news is: she’s in a place that might get her some help. Let’s all hope she listens and cleans up.

Its a terrible thing. Alcohol has such a hold on people, and most of us – even the ones with a problem – don’t really know how bad it can be. Sure, it’s legal, so it must be relatively safe? Well, not really. Among the many interesting and controversial things Dr. Dean Edell has said in the past was that the average heroin user is statistically healthier and less addicted than the average alcoholic. Imagine that:

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Ill Amy Winehouse shelves US tour

Singer Amy Winehouse has pulled out of a string of concerts in the US and Canada next month to “address her health”, her publicist has said. The dates are being rescheduled in early 2008, but her UK concerts in October and November “remain in place”.

So, what is it about drugs and rock-and-roll? Is there a precondition that makes you prone to being both a rock star and a drug addict? It’s an interesting question that’s worth a few paragraphs.

David Crosby was once asked this same question, somewhere just prior to the liver transplant, as I recall. He said that, contrary to there being any kind of specific connection, the fact is that musicians don’t have any particular impetus to be any more responsible than your average teenager and they have a lot of time and money on their hands.

But then, drug addiction is hardly a musician’s problem, or a new one. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was probably a cocaine addict, and certainly made his hero Sherlock Holmes an addict. So is it that creative people have a predisposition towards drug addiction? That’s a very common axiom: the self-medicating, disturbed artist. I don’t know of any specific studies done on the subject, but I somehow doubt this theory can be proved. I’ve certainly known plenty of straight-edge musicians and FUBAR’ed non-musicians.

While I’m sure there is at least a grain of truth to both of these theories – while I imagine there are many examples of each theory in practice – I just don’t think this really has anything to do with either music or creativity. Personally, I think that the problem is simply exposure. Being in the public eye, you get to live with your mistakes and so does everybody else.

You could spend the rest of your life shooting speed-balls rectally without most of us even knowing. You don’t have to say anything to me, but aren’t there a lot of you out there smoking a little pot to round off a day? Remember the Penfield guy who had his wife killed by his brother-in-law? He was snorting cocaine off stripper’s asses in the office. I’ll bet you could drug-test swab every office cube in the country and come up with a 25% positive rate. Then there are “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweakers,” fabled in song, and all too real in the suburbs of about any American city. Assuming you have any friends or family who give a shit, they’ll be the only ones and the rest of the world keeps on spinning without you. But if your famous, every move is caught on camera.

I’m sure other factors play their roles, too. Like for example the fact that Amy Winehouse plays the role of drugged-out Mod-queen to the hilt, and doing otherwise would damage her egoist self-impression. But other artists have not relied on their addictions to form a public persona and have had those addictions nonetheless.

Whatever is the cause, Amy Winehouse is the latest public victim. I do wonder what this does to her career. I hope she doesn’t come out of rehab sounding like Celine Dion. I personally wish her well and good luck. The life of an alcoholic is no good choice for anybody.

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Your Silhouette Will Charge the View

OK, so apparently I’m much slower working my way back into blogging than I might have thought. Strange, because there were so many things I wanted to say while on vacation. Oh well. I’m relaxed and must be unwilling to be pissed off by the news, despite the dreaded name of “Fast Ferry” having recently raised it’s ugly head once more. A bad penny, that.

Meanwhile, as I concern myself with other affairs, have a look at Ian Anderson with a full head of hair and no paunch. I remember being like that, too:

One of those “Whoopsies!” Censorship Moments

Well, don’t that beat all? The AT&T “Content Monitor” that was previewing Pearl Jam’s Lalapalooza webcast performance slipped and cut a scene from their performance. Wouldn’t ya know it? That moment when the magic finger slipped on the magic button was the part where Eddie Vedder was singing about George Bush:

Portions Censored From Pearl Jam Webcast || CMJ News Story

According to Pearl Jam’s website, portions of the band’s Sunday night set at Lollapalooza were missing from the AT&T Blue Room live webcast. Fans alerted the band to the missing material after the show. Reportedly absent from the webcast were segments of the band’s performance of “Daughter,” including the sung lines “George Bush, leave this world alone” and “George Bush find yourself another home.” After questioning AT&T about the incident, Lollapalooza was informed that material was indeed missing from the webcast, and that it was mistakenly cut by AT&T’s content monitor.

Hm. That’s a dilly of a coincidence, eh?

These are some scary times, folks. AT&T monitors our calls, our emails, what Internet web pages we go to and probably our viewing habits on TV, I’m sure. Congress capitulates and passes a law allowing them to do so without penalty. And now the corporation that brought you Fear and Loathing on the Telephone is making it’s own decisions as to what political speech is deemed acceptable use on the Internet. Oh, there’s no reason to think that the two-tiered Internet they so crave would be at all abused, that’s just crazy-talk!

{{ Seriously, people. Call your state representatives. }}

Of course, in this messed-up world of corporate media, who the hell knows what’s really going on? I mean, for all we know, Pearl Jam’s making a comeback at the behest of AT&T who gave those self-righteous douches a new cause to scream about. Of all bands for this to happen to, it just happens to be a has-been nineties band that inexplicably winds up on Lalapalooza? Sounds like a great moment for a content provider to have caught (or created) on their network.

Is there any reason to think that American democracy isn’t nearly doomed? Any reason at all to think that even when George Bush steps down in January, there will be any substantiative change that can pull us back from the brink of god-knows-what? Something preferably of more substance than Marty Kaplan’s “Magical Thinking?”

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Boulder Fest Part I

Well, with the rain, I didn’t make it out to the Boulder Fest last night like I wanted, so I missed freakin’ One World Tribe. Sucks.

But I did manage to make it out there this afternoon. Kalu James was there, the prodigal son currently living in Austin, stopped in to check out Rochester’s new festival. Dan Ball coerced him to play a tune at the end of Dan’s set on the small stage they have setup for acoustic acts.

Boulder has really changed just since the last time I was there (January, I think). They’ve expanded both the building itself and also the parking lot, it seems. They’ve got vendors setup all along the L-shaped parking lot and a big stage setup at the small end. The smaller stage was on the patio that faces Clinton, which was formerly owned by the photography studio that used to be there.

I’m probably going back later on in the evening. Meanwhile, none of my pictures would ordinarily leave this house without a bit of post-production, but just to convince you I was there, I’ve dropped on in Flickr for your viewing pleasure:

Boulder_Fest 001
Dan Ball on the Boulder Festival Acoustic Stage. CC Licensed

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The “Big City,” Summer and Festival Fatigue

Most viewers of this website know that I was pretty exited for the Big City Summer Fest when it first started. You also have no doubt noticed that I’ve not posted so much as a single image since the first weekend. That’s despite the fact that there were a number of bands I was very happy to see playing in Rochester, and yes it’s true, I never went to see any of them after the first weekend.

Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind: I greatly appreciate the effort put into this festival and the fact that nothing of this magnitude has happened in Rochester. But despite the magnitude of the talent on stage, the crowd cannot be judged on the order of magnitude at all. In fact, the whole thing has been something of a flop as near as I can tell. Therefore, I’m posting this article in the hopes that the people who organized this event might hopefully take to heart the genuine constructive criticism of a supporter.  

Diana Krall’s Wine List. . .

Diana Krall is an amazing singer, you should check out her stuff. I saw her once at the Jazz Fests they used to have at FLCC. So, this is all in good fun.

TSG has a copy of her stage rider for concerts. For those of you not familiar, a stage rider is basically a list of everything the artist expects to have provided for them at the gig by either the promoter or the event organizers (and as you can imagine, it’s an interesting fight between those two entities that determines who pays for what!). TSG just loves stage riders because they tend to show off revealing and sometimes embarrassing facts about artists.

But in fairness, if you’re on the road every day of your life, running yourself ragged so promoters and organizers get to make more money off you than you’ll ever see, I think it’s perfectly fair to expect a bit of pampering. Or just play the rock star like Van Halen back in the days and demand M&M’s in the dressing room, separated by color. It don’t mean a thang if you ain’t got style, baby.

So, TSG is a bit flushed with the fact that Diana Krall actually expects a specific wine list in the dressing room. Well, I would use the touring opportunity to taste local wines rather than specify stuff I’ve already had, but that’s me. What I find amusing is how white-trashy her selection of wines actually is. I mean, they’re all Cali and Oregon wines with a few French wines thrown in there to throw off the curve. She’s demanding cellars like Rosemount and Ravenswood, and all Merlot, Cabs, Pinots. I like Merlot, too, but Jesus woman! Stretch out a little!

And “Swanson Merlot?” Don’t they make frozen peas?

Ugh! And Chardonay! I use that to wipe down the sink in the bathroom.

So, if Diana Krall ever comes back around, someone please send her to Sonora Wine Bar and help her branch out a little!

Summer Fest Day Two Recap

Elana_James_01Yesterday, Friday the 29th, was my first outing to the Rochester Big City Summer Fest. The wife and I arrived there entirely too early, thinking we’d get food while we were there. Well, when I get to criticisms later in the post, I’ll get to that.

But since the Big City Summer Fest is in it’s first year, the crowd was predictably small most of the time we were there. We also didn’t stay for the later shows, and bailed to find dinner around 8:30 or so, so I can’t speak to what things looked like later in the evening.

I’ll get into discussing more of the goings on after the flip.

The Big City Summer Fest Begins Today!

The excitement is palatable, and the gear is already starting to move into High Falls, ready for the big shows coming up in the next three weeks!

This week’s theme is American music, generally.  There’s a bunch of great acts I’m looking forward to seeing, though I will end up missing tonight’s festivities due to some unexpected (and highly-cool!) personal news which I will be all too happy to share with the blogging community once the time is right.

Tonight’s bill features seven bands, none of which are local.  Michelle Shocked, Swati, Eilen Jewell, Elana James, Leah Randazzo and Small Stars.  I will particularly miss Leah Randazzo, whose music samples I listened to in the BigCitySummerFest.com‘s lineup section and with which I was mightily impressed.

Rochester Big City SummerFest

I’m getting very, very stoked for this latest in Rochester festivals, because this is shaping up quite nicely, indeed. There are a tonne of great bands lined up for club shows, free outdoor shows and big name concerts at the Highland Bowl. I’m not sure about seeing Susan Tedeschi, much though I would like to, because it’s not really in the budget to see both big shows and I’d rather go see the Doobie Brothers.

The Atomic Swindlers, The BuddhaHood, One World Tribe and loads of other bands will be performing over the course of two weekends. At High Falls, they’ll be jammed together closely enough that the entire Mill St., Browns Race cobblestone section should be filled with music for four to six hours a weekend night (starting, as weekends always should, on Thursday nights!).

One World Tribe will be appearing on July 19th at the Sky BarCheck out my Upcoming.org events calendar at the top of this blog for more information about the lineup. I’ve been lazy and haven’t put the full schedule up yet, but it will be. The SummerFest website has all this information, of course, but the layout’s a bit wonky and the linear schedule here may be a bit easier to read.

I guess one of the best parts about this festival is, for me, the fact that I know so few of the bands.  That means these are small, niche player bands for niches that I know very little about, and that excites me in terms of what new I and the rest of the attendees can learn about music.

I’m waiting to hear back from a few of the performers, so expect updates right up into the festival itself!

Amy Winehouse

Yeah, I know you’ve heard enough about her. Tough shit, I’m going to gush for myself!

Amy Winehouse has been an artist on my radar since a few years back when I heard her for the first time on Launch. I’ve always just loved her voice, but now the new album positively blows my mind. Just the most sincere rendition of the MoTown sound I’ve heard since MoTown was MoTown.

In fact, one track in particular sounds like it might be a sampling and transposition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” I don’t know the track because I don’t have the album in front of me, but there is zero ambiguity and I’ve been astonished that no one has commented on this fact that I’ve read. That’s including having just read the Rolling Stone interview with her online.

But seriously, if you like music, you need this album. She’s not coming anywhere near here for a while, but she’s playing Toronto on July 5th, the day after the Rush show I’m going to, so I’m afraid I’ll be missing that gig, unfortunately.

Tori Amos Live!

The summer concerts are getting warmed up, and the wife and I are aching to go see some shows!

I just found out that Rusted Root will be playing a free show at the Jazz Fest, on East and Alexander, this Saturday. I’d like to go check them out, since I missed all the times that they played at Milestones for a $5 cover charge before they were famous. Then Dudley Dawson plays at the Dubland Underground, which is a show I know I probably won’t make, but I’d like to.

But the big bands are starting up as well. RUSH got it’s set list leaked, and OM-F*ing-G is it cool! In fact, I dare say it’s the coolest set list I’ve ever seen, and the wife scored us soundboard seats at Darien Lake for the 4th of July show. Better still is the fact that a lot of bands have been relaxing their rules about cameras at shows (since, after all, camera phones have made them pretty irrelevant, anyway), so with luck, I’ll be able to get some cool shots of the band when we go. I hope, I hope, I hope. . .

But for sure, I can get pictures of Tori Amos this go round. I’ve always been something of a minor fan, but Sarah is positively nuts for Tori. And with shows like this, I think Tori may just make me a believer:

But I’m going to try to avoid being one of those intensely annoying fans that crowds her meet-and-greets, if I can. Shouldn’t be hard. . .