Saturday, June 29, 2013


What’s the definition of a dependency problem?


Back in high school, I shelled out a pretty penny for a copy of the Runt album (with the blue Ampex label), which was by then out of print. This is considered to be Todd Rundgren’s first solo album, although on that release, Runt was identified as a trio consisting of Rundgren (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Hunt Sales (drums), and Tony Sales (bass). The entire album was written and produced by Rundgren, and contained the single “We Gotta Get You A Woman” which became Todd’s first top 20 single (he had six top 40 singles, another  six placed in the top 40 mainstream rock or electronic charts).

And of course, I had to have a copy of the mis-pressed Bearsville label edition that contained alternate versions and different tracks when the wrong master was used and Ampex decided to sell them anyway.  There were only about five thousand of these and you could only spot them by counting the tracks on the wax. A true holy grail for Todd faithful.

In the mid-80’s, Rhino records released Todd’s catalog on CD, and I snatched it up.

In the mid-90’s, Warner Japam released a nifty box set of Todd’s Bearsville catalog in mini LP sleeves, and I had to have that, if only for the CD release of the mega rare Radio Show promo that I’d NEVER seen on vinyl.

Japan was not done with me-they did individual mini LP reissues with high definition remasters in the early 00’s, and guess who bought them (even though the bonus tracks were scarce)?

And in 2011, Todd signed with Esoteric in the UK, and an affiliate label reissued his catalog with even more bonus tracks. Guess what?

By my count, I have purchased Runt six times, and since I seem to have acquired a copy of the Rhino LP from the mid-80’s, it could be seven (although I honestly do not remember buying that, so it may have been a bargain bin purchase for a buck, which I don’t think should count).

The definition of a problem is buying the Friday Music 180 gram deluxe LP reissue that came out this week.

Which I did.

What makes this album interesting is that where most LP reissues are replicas, Friday chose to make this a gatefold LP with lyrics on the inside of the fold (the original had a standard LP jacket with lyrics on the paper sleeve) , and they used a Friday Music label that imitates the original Ampex label.

The sound is good-the jacket advertises a painstaking remastering process, but my equipment is probably not the best to form an opinion on that. The sound is clean, with the occasional click and pop that lets you know it’s a record (and quite frankly, creates an atmosphere that is missing on a CD), and the album, while not his most cohesive, has a bunch of standout tracks in addition to “We Gotta Get You A Woman.”

A 180 gram edition of The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect was released the same day in a similar package, although the label here was unusual.  It’s a replica of the seventies style Warner label (with the palm trees, but with Friday Music name and caralog numbers).

Neat idea, but this album had been released on Bearsville. The only Todd albums on Warner were A Capella and Nearly Human, and they were on the white label Warner was using in the late 80’s.

Which makes me wonder if I have my hands on another pressing error.

Similar comments on the sound on TEPTAE, which had a lot of solid music that was overshadowed by the novelty “Bang The Drum All Day.”  That song, incidentally, made it to number 63 on the “normal” chart, and number 29 on the mainstream rock chart. And it gets played to death, but it is far from the best track on the album.

“Hideaway” should have been a massive radio hit, as well as “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Drive.”

The 180 gram vinyl certainly is impressive-it puts to shame the flimsy vinyl they were pushing on us in the waning years of vinyl. It has a realt weight to it and it is hard to imagine this warping.

I do hope Friday Music will look at some of Todd's nineties output that was never released on vinyl in the US (Second Wind, No World Order, The Individualist, With A Twist, One Long Year, Up Against It). And dare I hope for a vinyl release for Arena or Todd Rundgren's Johnson?

Was this purchase a waste of money?

Maybe. Not to me. 

An indication of a dependency problem?

You betcha!







Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Dream Theater is: John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass), James LaBrie (vocals), Jordan Rudess (keyboards and continuum) and Mike Mangini (drums).

Dream Theater announces the eagerly anticipated new album, due to arrive on September 24th.

The album's title? 

Dream Theater!

Dream Theater was recorded at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York, with founding guitarist John Petrucci producing and studio luminary Richard Chycki (Aerosmith, Rush) engineering and mixing. 

The album marks a brilliant new chapter for the always adventurous band, their first to have been written and recorded with drummer Mike Mangini wholly integrated into the creative process from the start.

“I see every new album as an opportunity to start over,” says Petrucci. “To either build or improve upon a direction that has been evolving over time or to completely break new ground. This is the first self-titled album of our career and there is nothing I can think of that makes a statement of musical and creative identity stronger than that." 

"We have fully explored all of the elements that make us unique, from the epic and intense to the atmospheric and cinematic. We’re incredibly excited about Dream Theater and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

Dream Theater will be available in a wide range of distinctive versions, including standard and special edition CDs, 180 Gram Vinyl Double LP, and a Limited Edition Box Set. Pre-orders are scheduled to get underway sometime in July at the Roadrunner Records Webstore.

Dream Theater follows 2011’s acclaimed A Dramatic Turn Of Events. That album – highlighted by “On The Backs Of Angels,” which earned the iconic band its first ever Grammy nomination (in the “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance” category) – proved one of Dream Theater’s most successful, making top 10 chart debuts in 14 countries, including our own Billboard 200. A Dramatic Turn Of Events was hailed for its ambition, complexity, and sheer melodic power, with Japan’s influential BURRN! naming it as the year’s “Best Album."

With total sales exceeding 10 million albums and DVDs worldwide, Dream Theater have long stood among the upper echelon of hard rock giants. Since uniting with Roadrunner in 2007, Dream Theater has unleashed a series of remarkable albums, each work revealing stunning new musical facets and creative avenues. 

Dream Theater will tour in support of “DREAM THEATER” – full details will be announced soon. 

For additional news and information, please visit

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Alan Parsons dabbled with live performance in his late teens before landing a job at Abbey Road Studios at the age of 19.

He was fortunate enough to work as assistant engineer on the last two albums by The Beatles and after he qualified as a fully-fledged recording engineer, he went on to work with Paul McCartney and The Hollies among many others.

But it was his contribution as engineer on Pink Floyd's classic Dark Side OF The Moon that really got him world attention. That soon led to striking successes as a producer - notably with Pilot's Magic, and Al Stewart's Year Of The Cat, along with two albums by progressive rock band Ambrosia.

In 1975 he met Eric Woolfson who not only became his manager, but joined forces with Alan as a songwriting and performing partner for what became known as The Alan Parsons Project. The APP's debut album, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe paved the way for a signing to Clive Davis' newly launched Arista label and a string of hit albums, namely I Robot (1977), Pyramid (1978), The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980), Eye in the Sky (1982), Ammonia Avenue (1984), Vulture Culture (1985), Stereotomy (1986) and Gaudi (1987).

Oddly enough, the band never performed live during their heyday, and it was not until after the "group" dissolved that Parsons began touring. Sadly, Woolfson died a few years ago, closing the door on a possible reteaming of the two talents, but Parsons continues to tour sporadically.

The Alan Parsons Live Project played two shows at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, a couple of weeks ago.

One-time Yes bass player Billy Sherwood played bass at the shows.

While waiting for my friend to arrive, I killed time in one of the casino bars (drinking Fireball, natch!), and observed a guy walking by a couple of times who looked like Chris Squire.

I said to the guy next to me-"That guy looks like Chris Squire!"

He looked at me funny.

During the show, Alan commented about the second Yes bass player there tonight, and that guy who looked like Chris Squire was sitting down in the front!

Small world. I keep forgetting that Chris Squire has a home in Phoenix (although why he would be there in June is beyond me).

The concert was far better than I expected (not that I expected a bad show), but they played the songs with a little more edge than the albums had. Like the albums, vocal duties were shared, with Alan taking lead on a few songs.

A good show-I am glad I got talked into it.




Sunday, June 16, 2013


Regular readers already know that we lost my father last year.

Well, we didn't actually lose him, we know right where he is, but you know what I mean.

This post is not meant to elicit sympathy-my father had a good, full life of eighty-five years, and was all there in health and mind right up until the last couple of months.

This will be my first father's day without a father. I spent a lot of them thinking "shit-gotta remember to call Dad!" as if the phone call was a chore.

This year I wish I could call him. Turns out, the phone calls were an opportunity , or maybe a privilege.

Anyway-don't take you fathers (or mothers, for that matter) for granted.

You only get so much time with them.

If you're not speaking, pick up the phone and mend the fence.

If you haven't called in a while, do it!

Most people probably think of "Cats In The Cradle" when they think of a father-and-son song, and that's a good one. So is Cat Stevens' "Father And Son."

But I've got another one I want to feature today.
I always loved the song "Watch Baby Fall" by David Bromberg.

Even though I never got married and had children of my own, I'd always thought the hardest part of parenting had to be knowing when to stop protecting them and letting them fall on their own, and David just NAILS that emotion with this song.

If youi've never seen David, I'd suggest trying to catch him while you still have the opportunity. His last album, Use Me, is a masterpiece, and he's got a new one on the way in September.

"Watch Baby Fall" 
by David Bromberg

When Tommy was born he was the light of my life
My own little baby boy
And I could hardly believe that one little soul
Could fill up my life with such joy.
You know how it is when a kid learns to walk
When he stumbles he'll just sit there and bawl.
It was hard it was sweet as Tom found his feet
Just to be there to watch baby fall

They grow up way too fast, and Tom was a scamp
He wore more band-aids than clothes.
Tom had more ways of skining his knees
Than any six children I know.
Well he chased me away
From his brand new two-wheeler
When I tried to coach him and all.
So I watched with pride as he learned to ride
And I winced every time he would fall
But I stayed there to watch my child fall

Tom didn't like school much, and he ran with a crowd
Just how boys get in their teens.
He might have been wild, but he still is my child
And no one could say he was mean.
Well it was Tom who got caught
When the boys robbed a rich man
And Tom took the heat for them all.
The judge thought it best to send my child to jail
And I could do nothing at all
Except to stand there and watch my boy fall.

Tommy's full grown now, I guess he's a man
Found and then lost a good wife
He's drinking real hard and not gettin' much work
But Tom don't want help or advice
We still shoot the breeze, and I'll buy him a drink,
But that whiskey tastes bitter as gall
The most God-awful thing that I've done in this life
Is to stand there and watch my son fall just to stand there and watch my son fall

You can't learn for them and you can't take their pain
You just stand there and watch your child fall
You just stand there and watch baby fall.....


Thanks for always being there, Dad!

Here are videos for the other songs I mentioned...



Monday, June 10, 2013


From Rolling Stone Online:

Figuring he has another decade to live, David Crosby said he'd love to do one last tour with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young before he dies. 

"Look, I have maybe 10 more years, if I'm lucky," Crosby, 71, told the Wall Street Journal in an article that focused largely on his passion for sailing. "I have hepatitis C, diabetes and heart disease. I'm managing them. I'm going to the gym three days a week, I'm feeling strong and I can still make audiences feel great.

"My dream? One more tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash and my friend Neil [Young]. From there, I'd be fine. I'd be able to sail. I'd live. And I'd be happy."

Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1969 for a tour that included a performance at Woodstock. The foursome released their first album, Deja Vu, the following year. 

Young had already left the band by the time they released 4 Way Street in 1971. He returned in 1974 for a tour that will result, nearly 30 years later, in a live album that is due out in August.

At least one other member of the band is also keen to tour after they release the new album. "In my perfect world – and I'm only talking about what I would do – I would delay the release of this until the spring of 2014," Graham Nash told Rolling Stone in April. "I would ask David and Stephen and Neil to take three months off their busy lives and go out on tour to promote this record."