What’s Rick Listening To …

Once in a while, I will keep you posted on the tunes I am listening to.

Ten songs will be reviewed. Tunes randomly selected. Here they are;

1. James Brown – Mind Power

A funky,  slower version of sex machine. Brown is an a lower state of mind on this one. No screaming, no vintage Brown ad – libs. A beat sustains a rap. Yes – rap commenced a while back … A good tune to play in the background. An introduction to what James would have in store for the future. His background singers primed to jump ‘ into the hot tub’.

2. Luther Vandross – Always and Forever

Mr. Vandross is in fine ‘ ladies man’ mode on this soft r and b classic.  The song has been covered by many – none bring the softness and meaning Luther brings with him.

3. Better Than Ezra – Good

The 90’s alternative band bring a catchy bass line to a pre – Green Day era. BTE bring a modern day Kinks sound to a new generation of punk wannabe kids. The type of kids who wannabe bad but their parents won’t let them.

4. Radiohead – Karma Police

Everytime Radiohead graces my headphones, I cannot help think of the movie ‘ Donnie Darko’. A melancholy view of the world as the boys do what they do best; make one think. ‘ I lost myself’ listening to this song as many do …

5. The Commodores – Easy

It’s ‘easy’ to see where Lionel Richie was headed if he decided to go solo – which as we know, he did. This classic pre, during and post – lovemaking song should be played when a peaceful easy feeling is required. You can’t help but sing or hum along …

6. FLO RIDA ( feat. Sia) – Wild Ones

Beautiful piano opens up this song. An upbeat hip – hop song that makes you wanna dance. Sia’s voice adds a pillowy edge to tune which lands and takes off numerous times. A good edition to a playlist.

7. The Marshall Tucker Band – Fire on a Mountain

Pedal steel guitar accompagnies this typical country song from country icons. Whiskey and a fire on the mountain? Both extinguished by a pleasant flute. Oh ya – a widow is involved in this catchy country tune as well …

8. Cake – Palm of your Hand

What a nice song complete with a Hammond B-3 organ. You will be singing along in no time to this ditty. Toes a tappin’ in no time flat. Too bad its not long but you can rewind pretty quick …

9. Lady GaGa – Marry the Night

Say what you want – this girl has a voice! This tune starts off with Gaga playing the piano and showcasing her powerful chops. It quickly evolves into something which should be ended quickly. Its catchy enough if Techno is your style. A blend of noise …

10. The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

The tune rocks!  Hard bass, raunchy guitars and a quick beat followed by catchy lyrics. The way rock was meant to be played. Allan Freed is smiling somewhere …

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Me and Mr. Jones – As in Darryl …

How does it feel?  To be on your own … Just like a Rolling Stone …

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This is what should have been asked to Mr. Darryl Jones upon our chance encounter at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Who thinks of clever questions when a man who earned some of his chops playing with Miles Davis exits an elevator?

I have been privaleged enough to be able to speak to famous people without stuttering like a drunken fool. Those people were not part of arguably the greatest rock band in history. Those people do not receive phone calls from Mick Jagger.

” You are Darryl Jones …!”

These words repeatedly smacked the soon to be iconic bass player no fewer than five times in the first five seconds following an introductory handshake.

” Yes I am!” Replied the man who has shared a beer with Keith Richards. Luckily, laughter accompagnied his words and not annoyance.

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” So what’s up with the Stones?” I asked as if I alone were privvy to this knowledge.

Jones smiled like a cat with a canary firmly entrenched in his throat. “I would love to tell you what I know.” He replied. ” Unfortunately – I am sworn to secrecy.”

‘All privacy and no secrecy’ I thought, quoting lyrics from the 1975 Stones’ song ‘Fingerprint File’ in my mind. I knew quickly the man was not going to divulge anything. I tried anyway …

History

Darryl Jones was born in 1961.

Six months previous to Brian Jones forming a band by the name of the Rolling Stones. Brian named his band after the Muddy Waters’ song; Rollin’ Stone. Mr. Darryl Jones was born in Chicago – the home of the blues. A place where Chess Studios became the meeting and recording ‘ place to be’ in the fifties for guys like Muddy Waters.

Like Brian – the first instrument Darryl Jones began playing was the guitar before a neighbor convinced him to try bass.

Two men named Jones. Two men with a connection to the blues in Chicago. One started Britain’s greatest blues- based band; the other will be an ‘unofficial’ member when it ends. An ironic twist to a musical life which began because of Miles Davis’ nephew …

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Darryl, the bass player, befriended Miles Davis’ nephew; Vince Milburn Jr, while the pair were attending Southern Illinois University Carbondale. When Miles himself was looking for a bass player, Darryl auditioned with a raving recommendation from Vince. That tenure as Davis’ bassist, led to a recommendation from Charlie Watts, the Stones’ drummer, when the Stones had to replace original bassist Bill Wyman.

Charlie Watts’ roots are embedded in Jazz music and the connection between the Stones’ drummer and Jones was enough to satisfy Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

” This is a situation that’s about everybody having fun making music. The Stones have opened their arms and tried to make a place for me, so it’s been really cool.”

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Jones’ resume leading to the gig with the Stones is impressive.

Sting, Madonna, Peter Gabriel and Herbie Hancock are some of the folk the fifty year old bass player has provided a strong foundation for. It was while working on Sting’s album ‘Bring on the Night’ – Jones met Jagger and later on; Keith Richards. The Stones’ guitarist was working on his solo album ‘ Talk is Cheap’.

“My first thought was that if Keith’s gig became available, I’d be into trying out. It didn’t, but when Bill Wyman left, I thought, why not the Rolling Stones?”

Why not indeed?image

Jones auditioned playing time- tested songs such as ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘ Start Me Up’. The Stones were impressed enough to invite the boy from SouthSide Chicago to play on the recording of 1994’s Voodoo Lounge. Upon Watts’ urging- Jones joined the band for the subsequent tour. A tour which led to Jones having to learn 250 songs and witnessing something for the first time.

” During the show, I found myself watching the jumbotron quite a lot. I had never seen them live – I wanted to watch the show!”

Jones is a salaried employer of the Stones. A position which allows him freedom to pursue different projects. Tasks such as a tribute to his mentor Miles Davis. Jones was in Montreal as part of the Jazz Festival. ‘Miles Smiles’ is something which is dear to his heart and allows him to play with jazz drummer ( and friend ) Omar Hakim.

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Omar Hakim

Hakim followed much the same route as Darryl. Madonna, Sting along with Bryan Ferry, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie being the names on Omar’s resume.

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Omar Hakim

Darryl Jones ‘ father was a drummer. Charlie Watts’ love of Jazz was the reason Jones has been a part of Brian Jones ‘ group for eighteen years. A band which is celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary now or next year …?

“There is a tour coming up.” Says Jones. ” A few gigs will be stationary. Like ten shows in New York – that type of thing. A new album is coming and that is about as much as I can say. There are quite a few surprises and I will be surprised by many of them myself …!”

Darryl Jones is like a Rolling Stone.

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Darryl Jones and Rick Keene

Danny Rebel and the KGB; CD Review

Young kids today have it rough …

One one hand, technology has enhanced and eased the process of recording. This allows the youth to not be held captive by record companies which prey on unsuspecting musicians. They still do yet not as much …

The musicians have it rough because they are more talented and because of this – there are more of them. A band today, an above average band, are more talented than say, Herman’s Hermits. If any of then were around in the sixties – they would be millionaires by now and have a t.v show.

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How does ‘ Hey Hey we’re Danny Rebel and the KGB’ sound ….? As opposed to the Monkees, this band has actually played their own instruments from day one …

SOUL SHAKER is their first effort and starting with the title track; these kids have their fingers on the pulse of reggae and ska. Toss a little Jazz, funk and hip hop into the salad of tunes and what you have is a flavourful mix of pleasant sounds.

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The song Soul Shaker is a melodic gem enhanced with a sprinkle of cut and dry drumbeats. Lead singer Danny Rebel has a velvety voice which careens off of drummer Max’s crisp strikes. A hit song which sadly has been missed by radio stations everywhere. So far …

Marco and Danny themselves provide edgy guitar to a funky backbeat of Phil’s bass. Add the keyboard ( played by Pat)which channels Billy Preston circa the mid – seventies, a harmonious tune of eclectic sounds. The end of the song shivers with what sounds like freeform jazz.

The song which plays next, another reggae beat, could be a throwback to the fifties- vocal wise. It is the beauty of Danny Rebel and les boys; what they play is something parents can dance along to.

‘ Walkin home ‘ makes you want to sing all the way home.

The third track on the disc commencesimage

with a good intro of keyboards alone. Musical foreplay which as most good foreplay does, leads to a sensual delight. A mini – orgasm in the form of dancing close with a love. The song drifts into the distance – leaving a smile on a longing face. ‘Dirty soul’ leaves a dirty soul somewhat cleansed.

‘Hang Tough’ is standard reggae fare with a slight twist. What’s the twist? A bit of ‘ scratching’ in the background in lieu of
guitar licks. A wise choice to decipher the message to hang in there through thick and thin.

Hanging in is what the listener must do for the first part of ‘ The Man ‘. Another reggae song turns into a beautiful chorus which in turn evolves into a keyboard – ian smorgesborg with thunder in the sky. Kind of a reggae / ska version of the Doors’ Riders on the Storm.

Just like the other songs, ‘ She Got’ provides another surprise. Lead guitar. Marco burns his occasion to shine right through a heart awaiting a musical transplant. Once more, Pat’s keybards shine a light into creativity which comes from hungry musicians at the top of their game.

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‘DISINFORMATION’ maybe the weakest song on the album with the exception of the keyboards AGAIN.

Its okay, the next song ‘ Marianne’ is amazing! The great next unfounded song in a library of discarded books. Acoustic, funky, different and downright homey. The heart glows with a feeling of comfort as the boys, in unison, provide backing vocals. A hearing is a must to truly understand the completeness of the song and the miraculous healing power. A smile appears whether you like it or not.

‘Brazilian Top Ten’ is dull. Nothing special. Background music to make you bop.

The final track ‘ Rebel Anthem ‘ is just that. A ‘stand up for your rights’ song which empowers a belief in the power of music. The boys not holding back vocally or instrumentally. An accumulation of all their powers which – at young ages, is quite a bit.

The album in whole a definate add to any music fan’s collection.

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What Does Music Mean?

If you ever wanted to seduce someone, music is something required.

Good food may be prepared, the right wine chilled to give goosebumps on a warm summer’s evening. Candles lit to provide shadows with dancing material.

Clothes removed, dreams added. Yet nakedness requires a beat. Barry White’s soulful voice may be the recipe to desire filled with anticipation of a soft touch from feathery fingers.

Spandau Ballet’s perfect rendition of a magical soiree by means of their song ‘True’ may be the diet of a hungry romantic. Sweat glistening through the candle’s soft touch as visions of paradises flicker thoughtfully through eyelids closed with pleasure.

Music as silly as Sir Paul’s love songs could be the gateway to moments trapped in memories like a flower pressed delicately between the pages of a songbook. Words etched like fingernails tracing an erotic path across a virgin torso.

Heavy metalers such as Kiss, momentarily exchanging their hard, rough leather for a satin lined rendition of Beth. A perfect bookend to Cooper’s bleeding woman.

Yes. Music is required to awaken dormant feelings which lay hidden in stressed -out bodies like a lion hiding in the tall brown grass. Awaiting an opportunity to pounce on an unsuspecting victim. A rose clenched rigidly between fangs sharpened with lyrics as soft as a dove’s pillowy hide.

Music is wonderful …

Make it FUNKY – CONCERT DVD

First things first.

What is witnessed in this documentary/ concert film, is not for the faint – hearted. In other words; Justin Bieber fans stay away.

‘Make it Funky‘ tells the tale of New Orleans music. A combination of blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, soul and funk. Rock n roll? You bet …

According to one of the performers in the almost three hour concert which is featured in the DVD, New Orleans music has a sound of it’s own. Keith Richards knows a little about sound and about being different.
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This docu- cert weaves a fine road through a thick tapestry of N’Orlean mud. The groundwork as astonishing as the music itself. The groundwork the architectural plans of modern day music.

Meet the Neville clan. There are quite a few of these home grown boys carrying the messages of music in their instrument cases. Aaron, in what may be the most compelling statement of the film, tells how his song ‘Tell It Like It Is ‘ grew into a global monster hit. Mr. Neville did not receive much money for it – in fact, next to nothing. Profoundly, Neville explains how this was a good thing. The riches he richly deserved, would have surely killed him.

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Make it funky sheds light on the darkness called racism. Many of the founding fathers of modern day music discovered themselves banished from the clubs which showcased the very tunes they themselves made famous.

The origins of this movie commenced inside the head of Allen Toussaint. If James Brown is the godfather of soul, Toussaint may be the patriarch of the New Orleans sound. By no means did he invent it yet there are few who carry the torch so highly and publicly as Toussaint.

What the Rolling Stones have done and continue to do for the forefathers of blues, Allen is doing for the greats of New Orleans.

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The late Earl Palmer, considered the grandfather of Rock n Roll drumming is featured and honoured by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas and the human riff himself – Keith Richards. Palmer, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 84, provides the backbeat for the musical journey from the days of segregation through to the newest member of the Neville clan on guitar.

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You got horns, you got funk on the piano and you got a whole lot of New Orleans ripping up the stage. This is soul- defining stuff which pretty much makes the majority of music since seem amateurish in comparison.

Toussaint knows; first things first …

Slaves on Dope; ROUND TWO

What would you think if you saw a dude in line at Starbucks. His arms are filled with tattoos and he has a shaved head.

Assume he is a skinhead – type guy with an attitude? Smile politely and keep a distance due to your ignorance?

Many would …

How bad would you feel once you discovered the individual was a DJ on CHOM? How discusted would you feel inside if you found the fellow in front of you was on a National news program once a week? Then, if that was not enough – a discovery was made the man in question was part of a band that was the first to be signed by Ozzy Osbourne‘ s record label?

Go to the corner now! Come out in five minutes after you feel shame …

Meet Jason Rockman. Co – founder of the Band; Slaves on Dope.

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Along with Avrum Nadigel and Kevin Jardine, Slaves on Dope started in 1993 and won the CHOM L’espirit contest shortly thereafter. A victory which opened doors for music which was seeking a home …

Slaves on Dope were part of a new genre of music called NU Metal. A style which was not ‘in style’ in the city of Montreal at that time. Nu Metal is closely related to Rapcore – a genre of music which evolved from punk and not metal as most believe. Bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit are considered to be leaders in the Nu Metal genre.

In 1995 – original drummer and bass player Patrick Francis and Lenny Vartanian left the band. New guys Frank Salvaggio (bass) and Robert Urbani (drums) joined Jason and Kevin in a heavier version of Slaves on Dope. A version which ended up in L.A.

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Salvaggio and Urbani took off on a six day trek to get the band’s name out there. Says Rockman; ” Following almost a year of playing out there and showcasing our music, one day we get a call from Sharon Osbourne asking us if we could meet. We became the first band to sign with Ozzy’ s record label – Divine Productions in 2000.”

That year was busy for the band. A full length album titled ‘ Inches from the Mainline’ was released. It went on to sell 70,000 albums and being a part of Ozzfest was a big reason for that.

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” My parents came to the show to watch us play.” Says Jason. ” Sharon Osbourne brought them into her private box to watch the show. Instead of being in the crowd, they were just off the right of the stage. It was pretty awesome!”

The next four years was filled with touring and craziness. Through all that – Rockman stayed sober. Something he is proud to say has been for twenty years now.

In 2004, shortly following the release of the band’s third album ‘Metafour and amid a three month tour of Europe -Rockman decided he had enough. He left the band he helped create to fulfill his family duties.

His girlfriend was three months pregnant at the time and Rockman’ s sense of duty took over.

” I just did not feel right being on the road. I wanted to be there – hands on!”

Jason returned to Montreal and worked for a transport company as well as the Sunglass Hut while his children grew. His relationship ended but his loyalty to his two children remained. The Montreal native who grew up listening to Zeppelin, the Stones and Jane’s Addiction – got a job working for CHOM, the very station which helped Slaves on Dope get discovered in the early nineties. He credits longtime DJ Tootall and his current wife for guiding him along.

Slaves on Dope returned to Jason’s itinerary in 2009 thanks to Patrick Charles.The Virgin announcer took Rockman’s demo and re- introduced Montreal to the band through a five song EP. Rockman and longtime partner -in- music Jardine were back along with new members; Sebastien Ducap ( Bass ) and Peter Tzaferis ( drums) .

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Songwriting partner Jardine had been running his studio since Slaves on Dope disbanded. That five year gap proved to be a blessing in disguise. Being back together displayed a maturity that might have been missing in the past.

Says Rockman; ” I wrote the songs and in the past – if Kevin attempted to give advice or add something, I would have snapped his head off!” He laughs. ‘ Now – we write together.”

Slaves on Dope have just released their fourth album; ‘Over the Influence’ and are hitting the road for a mini – tour to promote their new seventeen songs along with an impressive back catalogue.

” My kids are more important than music. I’ll go on the road but not for long …!” Says Rockman as he and his mates prepare to hit the pavement for three weeks.

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Apart from the album, Slaves on Dope have also recently released a digital – only ep titled ‘ Careless Coma’ and Rockman et al are looting through old concert footage to piece together a documentary.

Jason can be heard on Chom – FM every week MONDAY TO FRIDAY from 8pm til 12 am. He can also be seen every Friday at 3:20 pm on a CTV Toronto news program called ‘the blitz’ with Todd Van der Heyden. It is a pop culture panel discussion show.

Slaves on Dope can be seen and heard on their website along with MySpace and YouTube.

The next time you grab a coffee and see a guy with tatoos and a shaved head in line, you may want to ask for an autograph. After – all, how many guys do you know shook hands with Ozzy Osbourne?


Slaves on Dope – Discography

Studio Albums

One Good Turn Deserves Another (1998)
Inches from the Mainline (2000)
Metafour (2003)
Over the Influence (2012)

Demos/EPs

Sober (1994)
Klepto (1999)
Careless Coma (2011)

War Pigs , Black Sabbath Cover, appears on Japanese release of Nativity In Black II: A Tribute To Black Sabbath (2000)

Look What The Cat Dragged In , Poison Cover, appears on Show Me Your Hits: a Tribute to Poison (2000)

Go (Demo) (2002)

Drain Me (Demo) (2002)

All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) (2011)

SLAVES ON DOPE.COM