Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hardcore Heaven

Melt Banana (Japanoise)
iPod choice: Key is a Fact that a Cat Brings (2003)

My favorite Japanese band is the extraordinary Melt Banana. Not only do they have the coolest, most perfect name for a Japanese noisecore group, but they create one of the most exhilarating, hair-raising sounds you can imagine.

Formed in the early 1990s and long-admired in underground circles, Melt Banana remain largely unknown in their home country. Their
skewed take on Japanese pop culture is a refreshing and cobweb-clearing antidote to soporific J-pop.

Melt Banana songs
usually cut to the chase, the band having deleted with cruel precision parts which they feel are superfluous. For instance, We Love Choco-Pa, a song which like many Melt Banana tunes probes Japan's consumer culture, is a titanic 18 seconds long. In that sense Melt Banana hearken back to British act Wire – another personal favorite of mine – whose first LP Pink Flag featured few songs which lasted more than a minute.

Although their palette includes edgy soundscapes like Drug Store and Phantasmogoria, a typical Banana assault starts with a barrage of sonic screeches before the band head full tilt into a downhill spin, waylaying everything in their path. Melt Banana are, incidentally, a fabulous live act, and one entertaining highlight of their set is where they play ten songs in two minutes. You certainly couldn’t accuse them of outstaying their welcome.

Instrumentally, noisecore demands a fearsomely disciplined approach, and in this department Melt Banana are formidable. Sudoh Toshiaki (drums) and Rika Mmm (bass) are a powerful, rhythmically precise unit, and in Ichirou Agata Melt Banana have one of the most talented and inventive punk-influenced guitar players around.

Like Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, Agata uses an impressive battery of effects pedals to modify his sound, coming up with a maelstrom of Playstation laser stabs and 747-screeches which sound nothing like guitar licks at all. But when he finally launches into one of his trademark riffs, all hell breaks loose and you know you’re in hardcore heaven. Agata wears a surgical mask on stage to cover his occasional nosebleeds. Talk about suffering for your art.

Agata's armory (Photo: Bill T. Miller)

If Hello Kitty dropped speed and formed a band, she would probably sound like Yako Onuki, a charismatic frontwoman whose shrieking vocals are unique in punk or any other genre. Recognizing that the Japanese language generally isn’t suited to rock ‘n’ roll, Yako's lyrics are written in English, though many fans may not be aware of the fact. Words emerge in stuttering torrents, expressing the information overload of modern Japanese life. Their dark edginess passes in a flash and frustrates the absorption of overt meaning.

Key is a Fact that a Cat Brings is probably my favorite Melt Banana song. It‘s hard to say exactly what it’s about - Yako writes with the aid of a dictionary, taking inspiration from the sound of words - but its amazing rush ("Let me see what you need make your brain breathe like a screen seen in your wheeze") expresses the dysfunctional isolation of individuals struggling for self-definition amid the frenzied hyper-unreality that is Japan.

Melt Banana home page:
Melt Banana MySpace:

Monday, January 29, 2007

Silence and Surrender

Brian Eno (Ambient)
LP: Thursday Afternoon (1985)

I once spotted Brian Eno in an art supply store in San Francisco. At the time he was presenting one of his celebrated installations at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Not wishing to impose, I left the great man to his affairs. Generally speaking I prefer not to meet my heroes for fear of either disappointment or - more likely - making a babbling fool of myself, but I must admit I’ve often rued missing my chance to engage for a moment with the wonderful Brian.

After recently immersing myself in the frenetic free-form jazz of Ornette Coleman, I wonder if it was understandable that I should turn for respite to Eno’s ambient recordings. They have long been reassuring companions, especially during times of restlessness.

Still and soothing, ambient music exists in a similar space to a painting, offering refuge from the hyper-stimulation of everyday life. Like wandering alone through a deserted art gallery, listeners are afforded the opportunity to surrender to the purity of the moment, to personally negotiate their own level of engagement with each piece.

There is a spiritual aspect to Eno’s music which recalls the quiet wisdom of modern Zen. Describing himself as an ‘evangelical atheist’, Eno questions organized religion, yet affirms that believers’ religious participation enriches their lives. In their humane, measured beauty, his ambient compositions are perhaps an aural corollary to secular spiritual experience.

My favorite ambient record - along with David Darling's marvelous Cello - is Eno’s 1985 masterpiece Thursday Afternoon, a continuous 61-minute piece which maintains its reflective mood throughout. This was in fact one of the first LPs recorded specifically for the CD medium, since only the digital realm could offer the clarity of tone which ambient music demands.

Minimalistic, haunting and deceptively simple, Thursday Afternoon provides serene accompaniment during private moments of calmness and contemplation.

Eno on the web: Check out - especially the celebrated Oblique Strategies!

Stream: Ambient bliss at FM SOMA's Drone Zone.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Ornette Coleman (Jazz)
LP: Sound Grammar (2006)

The first CD I purchased this year was Ornette Coleman’s astounding and magnificent Sound Grammar.

I’ve always responded to the cool and meditative feel which Coleman effected in his early masterpieces The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959) and Free Jazz (1960). Visionary and controversial, those early classics blew apart the chordal constraints of jazz - of be-bop itself - and classics like Lonely Woman and Congeniality still sound fresh today.

By omitting chordal instruments like piano from the group set-up, Coleman created ‘harmolodics’, an approach conferring harmonic freedom on all soloists. Trumpeter Don Cherry explained that “essentially you improvise on the melody rather than the chordal structure", and that "you solo pretty well all of the time but keep out of everyone else's way". Hmmm. Almost sounds like an ideal for living: involvement, co-operation and respect.

Coleman’s ground-breaking 60s band - Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden and my favorite drummer Billy Higgins - became avatars of the avant-jazz movement, and their work had a decisive influence upon jazz musicians, including Miles Davis (who was initially dismissive but later respectful of Coleman's innovations).

So first there was ‘free jazz’, then 'harmolodics' and now 'sound grammar', where in Coleman’s words, “The people can't hear nothing you're doing, but they feel everything that you're playing. Do you know what I'm saying?"

Yessir, I believe I do.

But though I’m a confirmed Ornette Coleman fan, nothing could have prepared me for Sound Grammar. And let me tell you why: to put it simply, this is one of the greatest live jazz records I’ve heard.

Recorded live in Germany, Sound Grammar features sax, drums, and two basses (one plucked and one bowed). The material is mostly new, though there is a certain familiar feel to some of the tunes, especially in the way they recall the classic At the Golden Circle in Stockholm recordings from the mid-60s.

After a respectful spoken intro, the band are off to the races with the exciting and unpredictable romp Jordan, in which Coleman’s sax soars over a stunning rhythmic backdrop led by Gregory Cohen's manic bass. Following that, the modal blues Sleep Talking is nothing short of astonishing, and there are strangely familiar cadences from Coleman’s classic free jazz period - echoes of Lonely Woman - as Tony Falanga’s bowed bass unerringly shadows Coleman’s sax lines.

Matador starts out as a kind of deconstructed cha-cha-cha before transmogrifying into – well, I don’t quite know what it is – I can only say that it is something utterly beautiful and free, and judging by the awestruck applause which follows each solo, I’d say the audience who were privileged to be present at this concert felt the same way.

And it just keeps getting better. During the astonishing Call to Duty I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It sounds like time itself has been reshaped. Coleman’s quantum physics approach to melody and improvisation is simply stunning and, in what is definitively a group performance, the way the band miraculously leaves room for the tune to breathe defines Don Cherry's summation of the free jazz credo.

What’s exciting about this set is that, from measure to awe-inspiring measure, you never know what’s coming next, there’s such an audacious range of styles on display. The loping Turnaround is pretty much a straightahead (for Coleman, that is) blues, while Once Only is a stately, slowly unfolding meditation. As if that weren't enough, the closing track Song X presents magnificent wig-out free-form jazz which had me jumping out of my chair with excitement. All human emotion - joy, heartache and everything inbetween - seems to be contained here.

If there’s one beef I have with the album it’s that the drums are placed waaay back in the mix. Shame, because drummer Denardo Coleman (Ornette’s son) is a deliriously funky and inventive musician. Oh yeah, I have a second complaint: after immersing myself in Sound Grammar for two weeks there's nothing else I want to hear. No other LP in my record collection can keep up with this level of excitement and instrumental genius.

After rewriting the rules of jazz three times it’s amazing and immensely gratifying that, at 77 years of age, Ornette Coleman is still around, as out there, yet as in there, as any musician can be. The Shape of Jazz to Come, Free Jazz and other landmark Coleman recordings will always be definitive, but to my ears, he may have surpassed even those masterpieces here.

As Wynton Marsalis explains, Jazz is about freedom and negotiation: freedom of ideas, negotiation with one’s fellow beings. Both of those qualities are in plentiful supply here, and the beauty on Sound Grammar is like nothing you’ve heard. Intense, incandescent and transcendently soulful, Sound Grammar provides evidence – if indeed any were needed – of Ornette Coleman’s pre-eminence and critical significance not only to jazz, but to modern music as a whole.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Something. Very. Disturbing.

Opinion: iPod Rating System

Part 1: Omnipotent Wisdom

One of the niftiest aspects of the
iPod is the ability to rank songs using a star rating system. You can, for instance, create a ‘smart playlist’ for all your 5-star songs. It’s a cool feature.

My own rating system is pretty straightforward and it helps me to keep tabs on my music collection by saving only the songs I really like.

5 stars = GODLIKE GENIUS. A transcendent slice of perfection, like Sufjan Steven's sublime and heartbreaking Casimir Pulaski Day. In the pop realm, Your Love is the Place Where I Come From by Teenage Fanclub is one 5-star classic which never fails to reduce me to tears of ecstasy.

4 stars = ROCKS MY WORLD. Depending on my mood, maybe I wouldn’t want to hear this song every week, but it’s still a classic. Checking my iPod, I see that the hilarious Forest Whitiker by rapper Brother Ali as well as Neu’s early trance masterpiece Hallogallo both get four stars. I’ve heard those songs thousands of times and I still dig 'em.

3 stars is where we get into dodgy territory. These songs are borderline GOOD/UNDER APPRAISAL. They might make it to 4 or even 5 stars, but could become history if they don't get their act together and start to impress me. One example is The Funeral by Band of Horses. Haven't quite made up my mind on that one yet.

Let's see now. I notice here a couple of 3-star tracks by hip-hopper Lupe Fiasco. Hmmm. These songs charmed the critics, but so far they haven't really turned me on. Actually I just decided to delete them. Heh-heh. Behold the rating system in action. Bye-bye Lupe.

Deciding whether to keep or delete songs gives you a kind of vengeful power over artists and helps overcome feelings of gross inferiority. “So Mr. Dylan, you think you’re a big shot, huh? Well, let’s press Delete and see how you like that. ZAP! You’re HISTORY!”

2 stars = PROBABLE TURKEY. It’s very unusual for 2-star songs to stay on my iPod for long, but in my omnipotent wisdom I'm willing to give the little weeds a second chance. Any song which started as a 2-star and finally made it to 5 would be a grower, a definitive slow burn like David Sylvian's wondrous Late Night Shopping.

A single, solitary star can only mean one thing: CYBER-DEATH. Having no redeeming qualities, this pathetic little shrimp is taking up valuable disk space. My feelings of personal inadequacy evaporate as I gleefully dispatch it to the great recycle bin in the sky. Hasta la vista, baby.

Part 2: 5-Star Friend

iTunes song ratings can have serious repercussions on personal relationships. Last week I visited a good friend whom I respect and admire. Like me, he’s a music fan, and always has iTunes running.

As I entered his apartment, my eyes immediately darted to his desktop. What was he listening to? Aha. Country-noir singer Neko Case. A worthy choice.

But then. I noticed. Something. Very. Disturbing.

As my eyes swiftly scrutinized his ‘My Rating’ list, I noted with disbelief that
my friend had made an awful gaffe. In his infinite wisdom, he had awarded Beatles’ masterwork Come Together a miserly TWO STAR rating.

could hardly believe my eyes. I began to feel giddy and the walls of the apartment started to close in on me.

“What’s this?” I spluttered. “Only 2 stars for Come Together?”
“Well, I don't think it's one of their best...” he began lamely.

My lip started to quiver and I began to lose motor control.

“ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!? Two stars for one of the defining tunes of the sixties!? Come Together is a FIVE-STAR SONG, man!”

I was outraged. I was personally offended. I was a tad miffed.

I tried to fathom this inexplicable howler. Perhaps it was just a temporary aberration. My friend wasn’t thinking straight, I reasoned. He was tired and overworked. Yes, that must be it. He deserved patient understanding rather than rebuke.

But then the full seriousness of the situation hit me.

How could my friend, my pal, my 5-star drinking buddy have committed such an inexplicable blunder? How could THIS be happening to ME?

I could see I was going to have to re-evaluate our relationship.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Stones, Rain and Rooftops

Midlake (Art-Pop)
iPod Choice: Roscoe (2006)

It’s a short walk from my home to Kyoto's Higashi Honganji temple, headquarters of Buddhism's Pure Land sect. Whenever I pass by I’m intrigued by the huge stone slabs which lead up to the temple and I try to imagine the craftsmen who set them in place long ago.

the rainy season my dog Boo and I sit under the temple’s huge wooden gate, protected from the downpour like the characters in Akira Kurosawa’s classic film Rashomon (there's a lot of rain in Kurosawa's movies). Observing the hurried reflections of passers-by on the wet stones, we muse on the human/canine condition and our place in the flow of history.

You might not think that stones and craftsmen would be suitable subjects for pop music, but
the Texan group Midlake beg to differ. Their cryptic gem Roscoe is a beguiling meditation on permanence and distant past which alludes to stonecutters, rain and rooftops, and Mr. Kurosawa would surely have approved of their observation "when the rain comes we can be thankful".

Roscoe kicks off with an ABBA
S.O.S-type electric piano flourish which then gives way to driving guitars which recall Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac. Lead singer Tim Smith sings this song beautifully, wrenching emotion from each phrase, and virtually every line is doubled with gorgeous harmony vocals. Checked as one of the outstanding tracks of 2006, Roscoe is a divine slice of intelligent pop.

Hear Roscoe at Midlake's MySpace:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory

Film: New York Doll (2005)
Directed by Greg Whiteley

Back in the 1980s I had a musician friend in LA. An accomplished bassist who had been a footnote to legend – he had worked with members of the Byrds and David Bowie - he almost died of heroin addiction before finding temporary redemption in Christianity.

High on horse and marijuana, he once phoned me at
3AM from a callbox on Wilshire Boulevard, proclaiming God had spoken to him from a tree somewhere in Hollywood.

I couldn’t help being reminded of my friend while viewing New York Doll, Greg Whiteley’s moving and bittersweet documentary detailing the trials and tribulations of New York Dolls bassist Arthur ‘Killer’ Kane.

After the band imploded in 1974, Kane saw his dreams evaporate with a series of no hope bands before succumbing to drug addiction then finally - almost predictably - finding religious solace in Mormonism.

As glam-punk pioneers, The New York Dolls influenced some of the most successful rock acts of the last thirty years, from Iggy Pop, KISS and Motley Crue to The Pretenders, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Morrissey.

Indulging in an edgy lifestyle few could dream of or keep up with, the Dolls pioneered elegantly wasted chic and had the songs to back it up. Personality Crisis, Who Are the Mystery Girls?, Looking for a Kiss, Subway Train, Jet Boy, are all lyrically intelligent, fucked up classics.

After only four years the original Dolls, including Arthur Kane himself, burned out like a raw, high energy comet. Later, Poison and Motley Crue stole The Dolls’ shtick and made millions.

Having survived heroin and discovering parochial salvation in Jesus, Killer Kane comes across as an addled teddy bear with a heart of gold, apparently content in his new life as a librarian.

But it’s clear that the averagely-talented Kane is forever haunted by the ghosts of his past (“There was so much pain in his eyes," remarks a friend), and especially by Dolls’ lead singer and main man David Johansen.

Having attained the celebrity status Kane himself coveted, Johansen exists as a reminder that his own projects have failed, that the brief success he had achieved with The New York Dolls was to be the high water mark of his life.

It strikes me as a tad ironic that Morrissey, the man who wrote “We hate it when our friends become successful”, acts as a catalyst for the Dolls’ comeback when eventually they reunite - Arthur included - at his Meltdown Festival.

The reunion show is a professional success, even if on the personal side it’s never entirely convincing. There's hugs and kisses all round, but too much water has passed under the bridge and the pain and acrimony below the surface prevent the amicable reconciliation from becoming completely believable.

Whiteley can't bring himself to say it, he's far too emotionally involved with his subject, but at its heart this is a story about winners and losers.

Arthur Kane is dignified though engagingly naïve as he returns to the rock‘n‘roll circus, and Whiteley’s film illustrates the almost unbearable poignancy of lost dreams.

What also becomes clear, observing the fans and celebrities who attend the New York Dolls’ reunion, is how much of our own aspiration we invest in our heroes. Morrissey is seen here as a starstruck fan, touchingly overcome by emotion as he pays tribute to his glam idols.

In the end, Arthur fleetingly recaptures his glory days for one last hurrah, but as his fellow Doll Johnny Thunders observed, You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory, and the film’s denouement invokes a heartbreaking sense of pathos.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dark Appeal

Art: The Paintings of Marilyn Manson
Celebritarian Corporation Gallery, Los Angeles (2007)

In the mid-1990s the fabulous Marilyn Manson - atheistic, androgynous and unfailingly articulate - was feted and hated as the most noxious rock star in America.

Delivering sensational stage shows and racking up triple-platinum record sales in the process, the glam-metal god formerly known as Brian Warner proved to be the choice of a generation.

Predictably, his band's controversial performances, overt anti-religious sentiment and references to sex, drugs, and violence put the willies up the establishment, with Al Gore's Veep choice - the dull Joe Lieberman - referring to Manson as "perhaps the sickest group ever promoted by a mainstream record company".

Demonized by Tipper Gore's PMRC as a malignant vampire responsible for the moral decline of America’s youth, the shock-rocker was even blamed for the tragic killings at Columbine High School.

Equating unbridled individuality with immorality, conservatives klutzily failed to grasp the obvious: that tragedies such as Columbine defy simple explanation, causing lamebrain fogies to seize upon scapegoats like Manson as fair game.

('Enabler', Watercolor, by Marilyn Manson)

Exhibiting a moral intelligence which evades his critics, Manson reveals that America's greatest fear is chaos, and the demons we condemn live within each of us. Engaged in a constant struggle to impose moral order, America vicariously projects its guilt onto its icons, from Presley and Clinton to Manson himself.

Thus the very name Marilyn Manson indicts the despair and media hypocrisy which turns outlaws into folk heroes, commodifying them in the process.

The delicious irony is that in interviews Manson reveals himself as an engaging, articulate puppy dog, quite the opposite of the demonic image foisted upon him, and which he has artfully encouraged.

Manson's outrageous schtick was in fact meaningful and sophisticated performance art, his music, though not groundbreaking (it drew heavily upon Alice Cooper and David Bowie), packing a fantastic visceral punch.

Like Eminem, his hip-hop counterpart and fellow mid-90s enfant terrible, he drew fire because he spoke the truth, had something to say to his audience, and did not talk down to them (tales abound of Manson’s acts of kindness to young followers).

Like any sensible antichrist, Manson naturally used his notoriety to sell records and exploit the media, but knowing fans easily grasped his critiques of a) dissolute hypocrisy and b) corporate campaigns of fear and consumption.

Following in the footsteps of many music icons before him - Miles Davis, John Lennon, Syd Barrett, Joni Mitchell, Klaus Voorman, Captain Beefheart - Manson has long been involved in visual art.

Incorporated during his career as album covers and stage designs, his paintings have enjoyed a cultish following among his Hollywood friends. Already praised for solo exhibitions of his watercolors in LA, Paris and Berlin, Manson now curates his own Los Angeles gallery.

He has correctly insisted that “art is far more important than politics”, and his art collective, Celebritarian Corporation, satirizes the cult of celebrity, proclaiming “We will sell our shadow to those who stand within it.”

('When I get Old', Absinthe & Watercolor, by Marilyn Manson)

Checking Manson’s artworks - watercolors and mixed media - it becomes clear that the rocker possesses some genuine artistic talent.

Not yet a fully-realized visual artist, he is the classic gifted amateur, with an intuitive grasp of basic elements of form, color and line.

If occasionally clumsy and trite, his paintings possess a dark appeal, referencing the highly-charged work of Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele. In fact, they are just the kinds of images you’d expect a Goth Rock idol to be producing within the velvet confines of his Hollywood mansion.

They include portraits of movie star buddies like Angelina Jolie (a hemic, visceral nude), representations of shadowy childhood innocence, disturbing Christian images of death and sexuality, and musings on the human propensity for violence. All in all, the pernicious Brian Warner brings it off with some aplomb.

These arresting images are only part of the reason why 2007 is shaping up to be a great year for Marilyn disciples.

Presently hogging the headlines with news of his divorce from stripper Dita Von Teese, Manson is soon to be seen in his horror flick, Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll.

On paper it sounds like a hoot, and with his excellent web site undergoing an expensive refit PLUS a new album in the works, it looks like fans are in for an explosive relaunch of the magnificent Marilyn.

Manson’s website:
Manson's Art:
Video: Thoughts of Marilyn Manson

Monday, January 1, 2007

Shanghai Blues

Live: The Cotton Club House Band
Shanghai, China
New Year's Eve, 2006

On New Year’s Eve my good buddy Ethel the Frog and I found ourselves at The Cotton Club, a world class venue which is one of Shanghai’s premier jazz and blues nightspots. Welcomed in refined English and politely shown to our seats by Ellen, the club’s elegant Chinese hostess, I felt as if I had been transported to Shanghai’s jazzy heyday.

As China's coolest and most cosmopolitan place to hang, Shanghai has always exhibited an interest in a wide range of music. Like most world-class cities, it experienced a jazz boom during the 1930s and 1940s, and was the undisputed jazz capital of Asia.

Live jazz was at first played mainly by Filipino groups, but Chinese musicians soon became proficient by playing in foreign bands and soaking up American culture. As movies like Zhang Yimou's Shanghai Triad suggest, jazz was the perfect complement to the dissolute, opium-tinged underworld of the period.

However, the 1950s saw a decline with the closure of dance halls and the virtual disappearance of live jazz and blues from Shanghai. It wasn't until the 80s and 90s that things started to pick up again when, reflecting the emerging social and political changes, local hotels began to offer jazz performances to patrons.

Meanwhile, American jazz musicians at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music helped set up Shanghai's first modern jazz band, inspiring young Chinese musicians to take an interest in the genre. Shanghai University now offers elective courses in jazz history.

Together with an appreciative audience combined of 60% Chinese and 40% foreigners, we enjoyed a fabulous, intimate show by The Cotton Club's multinational house band.

Two of the guys, including guitarist Greg Smith - a long-time fixture on Shanghai's blues scene - are from Utah, not exactly a place you’d think of as a hotbed of wailing blues, while the drummer is Italian and the trumpet player Chinese. All members are excellent blues, jazz and funk musicians, the multinational makeup of the band reflecting the exciting cosmopolitan character of Shanghai itself.

I couldn’t help comparing the club’s atmosphere and audience to the Japanese version with which I’m more familiar. The Chinese jazz/blues crowd seemed somewhat earthier and less cooly academic in their appreciation than their Japanese counterparts, and rather more inclined to let their hair down.

But no one could compete with Ethel the Frog. No sooner had the band started - concocting a heady brew of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and The Meters - than he was hollerin’ up a storm, and the tequilas supplied by an enthusiastic Chinese fellow at the next table sent him into an ecstasy of bluesy rabble rousing.

As we toasted the New Year, Ethel and I embraced. There were tears in my eyes and I couldn't help thinking of all the wonderful musicians who had created the history of the blues - often through suffering and misfortune - and how fortunate I was to be appreciating its legacy with my dearest friend in this unique setting.

The spirits of Robert Johnson, Ray Charles and James Brown were hovering above, communing with us through the devil's music, and somehow I know they'd have totally dug the blend of Shanghai's sensual hedonism with The Cotton Club's rootsy vibe.

As a teenager I was an indefatigable blues fan, like many youngsters discovering giants like Muddy Waters, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker by tracing the roots of rock idols like Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher and Led Zeppelin.

I’ve never lost my love for the blues, but in my obsessive search for new and exciting musical delights, I must admit I've sometimes lost touch with its timeless wisdom.

For my New Year’s Resolution, that’s an oversight I’m aiming to correct.