Sunday, May 31, 2015


May 1, 2015
"Doing The Best I Can" performed by JAMES BROWN

"Behind the Lines/Duchess/Guide Vocal" (live 1980) performed by Genesis
"Spanish Eyes" performed by U2
"For What It's Worth" performed by The Cardigans
"Say You Miss Me" performed by Wilco
"Day's Dawning" performed by Peter Frampton

"Goodnight My Love" performed by Ben E. King
"How Blue Can You Get" performed by B.B. King
"Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" performed by Joni Mitchell

May 2, 2015
"Coolin' Me Out" performed by The Isley Brothers
"Big Barn Bed" performed by Paul McCartney and Wings
"Rise Up" performed by Sly and Robbie
"Cursed Female" performed b Porno For Pyros
"Thom Yorke Is Black" performed by CRASHprez-WSPC PREMIERE

"Saturdays" performed by Cut Copy
"On Saturday Afternoons In 1963" performed by Rickie Lee Jones
"Almost Saturday Night" performed by Dave Edmunds


May 3, 2015

"Ain't That A Groove"
"Bring It Up (Hipster's Avenue)"
"Shoot Your Shot"
"The Boss"

May 4, 2015
"Hey Paula" performed by Paul and Paula
"I'd Like That" performed by XTC
"No Reason" performed by Nick Lowe
"Only Over You" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"Anytime" performed by My Morning Jacket

"Go" performed by The Chemical Brothers featuring Q-Tip-WSPC PREMIERE

"Ohio" performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
"Pretty Maids All In A Row" performed by Eagles
"I Know It's Over" performed by The Smiths

May 5, 2015
"The Girl Who Fell To Earth" performed by Gaz Coombes-WSPC PREMIERE
"Pads, Paws And Claws" performed by Elvis Costello
"Gotta Stay High" performed by New Radicals
"Not Like You" performed by The Bangles
"Bittersweet" performed by Hoodoo Gurus
"Sway" performed by The Rolling Stones

May 6, 2015
"Quiet" (live 1993 The Metro) performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Battle In Me" (2012 tour rehearsal) performed by Garbage
"In The Movies" performed by Sloan
"Slip Kid" performed by The Who
"Super Stupid" performed by Funkadelic

"Still The Same" (live in San Diego 1978) performed by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
"Raise My Rent" performed by David Gilmour
"The Party" performed by The Dream Academy
"Goodbye Lucille #1" performed by Prefab Sprout
"Getting Away With It" (live October 2014) performed by Johnny Marr

May 7, 2015
"Bicycle Race" performed by Queen
"Eventually" performed by Tame Impala-WSPC PREMIERE
"Fate" performed by Todd Rundgren-WSPC PREMIERE
"In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)" performed by My Morning Jacket-WSPC PREMIERE
"Don't Kill The Whale" performed by Yes
"Rudi, A Message To You" performed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

May 8, 2015
"Telegram Sam" performed by T-Rex
"Action" performed by Sweet
"Zodiac Sign" (live) performed by Imperial Drag
"Jack Talking" performed by Dave Stewart and the Spiritual Cowboys
"Open Up Said The World At The Door" performed by The Move

"Blame It On My Youth" performed by Keith Jarrett
"Hammerhead" (live in Tokyo) performed by Jeff Beck
"Malcolm's Theme" performed by Kamasi Washington-WSPC PREMIERE
"Flowers" performed by Madlib
"6" performed by Madhouse

May 9, 2015
"She Hangs Out" performed by The Monkees
"She Sells Sanctuary" performed by The Cult
"She's Not Me" performed by Jenny Lewis
"She's A Star" performed by James
"She's Leaving Home" performed by The Beatles
"She's Tight" performed by Cheap Trick

"BALTIMORE" performed by Prince-WSPC PREMIERE

May 10, 2015
"Dear Mama" performed by 2Pac
"Thinking Of You" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"I'll Always Love My Mama" performed by The Intruders

Lenny Kravitz with Cindy Blackman Santana and Trombone Shorty-New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2015--15 minute set

"Iris (Hold Me Close)" performed by U2
"Julia" performed by The Beatles
"All Mama's Children" performed by Carl Perkins
"Mama Said" performed by The Shirelles
"Tell Mama" performed by Etta James
"Hey Mama" performed by Kanye West
"For Martha" (live) performed by The Smashing Pumpkins

May 11, 2015
"Come Talk To me" performed by Peter Gabriel
"I Am Stretched Out On Your Grave" performed by Sinead O'Connor
"Talk Show Host" performed by Radiohead
"Angel" performed by Gavin Friday
"Strangers When We Meet" performed by David Bowie

May 12, 2015

"Take It As It Comes"
"Voodoo Chile" performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (with Steve Winwood on organ)
"Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" (live 1972) performed by Traffic

"Satellites" performed by Bilal-WSPC PREMIERE

"Dance Rally 4 Peace-Live at Paisley Park May 2, 2015" performed by Prince and 3rdEyeGirl-WSPC PREMIERE

May 13, 2015
"The Perfect Kiss" performed by New Order
"Kundalini Express" performed by Love And Rockets
"Eastern Bloc" performed by Thomas Dolby
"Nicotine And Gravy" performed by Beck
"Beanie G. And The Rose Tattoo" performed by Hall And Oates
"One Big Mob" performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers

"Boogie On Reggae Woman"
"Too High"
"You And I"
"That Girl"

May 14, 2015
"Starting To Hurt" (live on David Letterman May 13, 2015) performed by Ryan Adams
"In The Street" performed by Big Star
"It's Going To Take Some Time This Time" performed by Carole King
"Need Her Love" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Make Believe" performed by James Iha

May 15, 2015

"Don't Answer The Door"
"Why I Sing The Blues"
"Sweet Little Angel" (live)
"I Believe To My Soul" (live in Africa 1974)
"Chains N' Things"

"The Thrill Is Gone" (live at Montreux 1993)
"Long Nights (The Feeling They Call The Blues)"
"3 O'Clock Blues"
"Worry, Worry" (live at The Regal)
"Ask Me No Questions"
"Ghetto Woman"
"Let The Good Times Roll"

May 16, 2015
"I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" performed by The Beach Boys
"Spanish Bombs" performed by The Clash
"Planet Earth" performed by Devo
"Elektrik" performed by King Crimson
"On A Plain" performed by Nirvana

May 17, 2015
"Cosmic Slop" performed by Funkadelic
"Up For The Down Stroke" performed by Parliament
"Mr. Wiggles" performed by Parliament
"Ain't That Funkin' Kind Of Hard On You" performed by Funkadelic
"I Wanna Testify" performed by The Parliaments
"(Not Just) Knee Deep" performed by Funkadelic

"Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen" performed by Baz Luhrmann
"Goodbye" performed by Paul Stanley
"Times Like These" performed by Foo Fighters
"Moving On" performed by The Dream Academy
"Keep On Moving" performed by Soul II Soul

All songs performed by Nine Inch Nails
"Disappointed" (live)
"The Hand That Feeds"
"Echoplex" (tour rehearsal)
"Mantra" performed by Dave Grohl, Joshua Homme and Trent Reznor

May 18, 2015

"(I Wanna) Testify"/"Atomic Dog" live at the Barrymore Theater 5-16-15 performed by George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic-WSPC PREMIERE

May 19, 2015

"Long Live Rock"
"My Baby Gives It Away"
"Can You See The Real Me?"
"Rough Boys"
"Call Me Lightning"
"White City Fighting"
"Electronic Wizardy" (demo)
"Now And Then"
"Stop Hurting People"

"Guantanamo"-WSPC PREMIERE

May 20, 2015
"Secret Society" performed by Utopia
"Out Of My Mind" performed by Bourgeois Tagg
"Bell Bottom Blues" performed by Derek and the Dominoes
"Trouble Your Money" performed by Robert Plant
"Sloppy Seconds" performed by George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars
"Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain" performed by INXS

May 21, 2015
"Keep Me In Your Heart" performed by Warren Zevon
"Hero Takes A Fall" (live on David Letterman 1984) performed by The Bangles
"The Want Of A Nail" (live on David Letterman 1989) performed by Todd Rundgren with Bobby Womack
"Sex Machine/There Was A Time/I've Got The Feeling" (live on David Letterman 1982) performed by JAMES BROWN
"Dress Cool" performed by Paul Shaffer and the band

May 22, 2015
"Calling Sarah" performed by Jellyfish
"Never Knew Your Name" performed by Madness
"Tout Va Bien" performed by Beau Dommage
"Girl" performed by Papas Fritas
"It's Not That Easy" performed by Nazz
"The Lifting" (demo) performed by R.E.M.
"They Put Her In The Movies" performed by Jason Falkner

"Coming Up" performed by Paul McCartney
"Tower Of Babel" performed by Elton John
"What Is Love All About?" performed by World Party
"The Queen Is Dead" performed by The Smiths
"Bread And Butter" performed by The Waitresses
"Meow Meow" performed by Funkadelic-WSPC PREMIERE

"Dance The Night Away" performed by Van Halen
"No Action" performed by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
"Moving In Stereo/All Mixed Up" performed by The Cars
"Get The Funk Out Ma Face" performed by The Brothers Johnson

May 23, 2015
"Starship Trooper" performed by Yes
"Wooden Ships" performed by Jefferson Airplane
"Pinwheels" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"That's The Way" performed by Led Zeppelin
"Hillside Song" performed by My Morning Jacket-WSPC PREMIERE

May 24, 2015
"Rhythm Of Life" performed by Hugh Harris
"Kooks" performed by David Bowie
"You Just May Be The One" performed by The Monkees
"See The Sky About To Rain" performed by Neil Young
"San Jacinto" performed by Peter Gabriel

May 25, 2015
"Mamunia" performed by Paul McCartney and Wings
"Rhapsody In The Rain" performed by Lou Christie
"Rainy Days And Mondays" performed by The Carpenters
"I Can't Stand The Rain" performed by Ann Peebles
"Umbrella" performed by Rhianna featuring Jay Z


"You Do Something To Me" performed by Paul Weller
"Lenny" (live in Tokyo 1985) performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan
"The Man's Too Strong" performed by Dire Straits

May 26, 2015
"Paraphernalia" performed by Miles Davis

"Violet And Blue" performed by Stevie Nicks
"Flash" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"Mr. Intentional" (live) performed by Ms. Lauryn Hill
"Ophelia" (from "The Last Waltz") performed by The Band
"Brown Shoes Don't Make It" performed by Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention

May 27, 2015
"You're My World" performed by Nick Heyward
"Sunrising" performed by The Dream Academy
"Kiss Them For Me" performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees
"Seven Seas" performed by Echo and the Bunneymen
"Regret" performed by New Order

May 28, 2015
"New Song" performed by Post Social-WSPC PREMIERE
"Bodhisatva" (live 1974) performed by Steely Dan
"I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" performed by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
"Another Nail In My Heart" performed by Squeeze
"Dead End Job" performed by The Police
"Head Over Heels" (live 2001) performed by The Go-Go's

May 29, 2015
"Sweet Home Chicago" performed by The Blues Brothers
"Chicago" performed by Graham Nash
"Born In Chicago" performed by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
"Chicago" performed by The Doobie Brothers
"Chicvgo" performed by Sufjan Stevens

"Talkin' Bout Chicago" performed by Jimmy Johnson
"29th And Dearborn" performed by Richard M. Jones Jazz Wizards
"Just Blew In From The Windy City" performed by Doris Day
"The Night Chicago Died" (live) performed b Paper Lace
"Riverview" performed by Zwan
"I Dream Of Chicago' performed by Parlours

May 30, 20I5
"Hello It's Me" performed by Nazz
"Verdilac" performed by The Doors
"Shooting Star" performed by Lou Reed
"The Goose" performed by Parliament
"Pop Life" performed by Prince and the Revolution

May 31, 2015
"Surf's Up" performed by The Beach Boys
"I Know You" performed by Sloan
"Yours Truly, 2095" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"More Light" performed by Utopia
"Carry On Til Tomorrow" performed by Badfinger

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Released June 14, 1975
Released October 1974
Released March 25, 1976
Released October 21, 2003
Released March 17, 1978
Released October 7, 2014

Released July 6, 1993
Released February 1985
Released June 27, 2006
Released March 29, 2009
Released December 23, 2014
Released September 11, 1978
Released September 21, 1979
Released November 10, 2014
Released April 29, 1974
Released 1965

Thursday, May 21, 2015


MAY 16, 2015

PARLIAMENT/FUNKADELIC (featuring but not limited to the following):
George Clinton: Vocals
Danny Bedrossian: Keyboards and Synthesizers
Benjamin "Benzel" Cowan: Drums
Bennie Cowan: Trumpet, Vocals
Lige Curry: Bass Guitar
Robert "P'Nut" Johnson: Vocals
Kimberly Manning: Vocals
Richie "Shakin'" Nagin: Percussion
Tonysha Nelson: Vocals
Jerome Rogers: Keyboards and Synthesizers
Ricardo "Ricky" Rouse: Guitars
Garrett Shider: Guitars
Greg Thomas: Saxophone, Vocals

At about 6:30 p.m.on a languid, slightly humid yet otherwise pleasant Saturday evening, I was strolling through the back lot of the Barrymore Theater after parking my car, making my way towards the small line that had gathered outside the front of the theater for that evening's performance by none other than George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic. With the strains of the sound-check filling the air outdoors, I smiled to myself, taking in the bounce of the funk and suddenly my reverie was interrupted by the following excited request:

"Excuse me??? Can I have your autograph???? Can I have your autograph????"


I looked around and then, I was soon accosted by an older gentleman, armed with various Parliament and Funkadelic vinyl albums (quite possibly the originals based on how well worn they appeared) and a silver Sharpie pen outstretched in my direction. "Can I have your autograph?" he asked again hurriedly.
"Wait...I, uh.."
"No, you see," he continued rapidly. "I try to get everyone's autograph. Would you mind please just..."
"Well...wait...I'm not in the band," I explained.
"No...could I just please have...," he continued, clearly remaining upon his star struck mission so intensely that he was just not hearing my words.
"No really," I said again. "I'm NOT in the band. I'm here to see the show. I'm not in the show."
"Oh..." said the gentleman, realizing his mistake. "I'm sorry about that..."
"No worries," I said as I began to walk away.
"But wait a minute," said the gentleman. "You sure you're not Benny???"
"I'm NOT Benny!" I said, because please, I certainly know who I am.
"Oh well, " he said after failing with what was essentially his second attempt. "I just thought that you may have been Benny. He's a trumpet player. You kinda look like a trumpet player."

No. I just think that I may have been the first Black person he saw that day.

With that, I continued walking to the front of the theater, laughing to myself because right away I just knew it was going to be that kind of a night. And oh what a night it was!
Dear readers and listeners, I am thrilled to report to you that I am still caught in the lustrous afterglow of the outstanding, roof raising performance by George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic nearly one week after having stood right at the stage (left side), allowing the propulsive waves of the funk to coarse through me. It was an unbelievably sensational evening. 2 hours and 40 minutes of relentless and nearly continuous music performed by Clinton and his band of about 20 world class players and singers who deftly flowed through R&B, hip-hop, soul, rock, heavy metal, and psychedelia with the mighty foundation of funk as the bedrock.

While there were moments that felt as if I was bearing full witness to a cacophonous circus that threatened to burst loose at any second, the show was a supreme lesson in musical artistry, dexterity, discipline, inventiveness, celebration and creative abandon that reached orgiastic fury over and again, leaving the entire SOLD OUT audience of the Barrymore elated and drenched in sweat from all of the dancing and movement.

It would be impossible to take in a show by this band and remain passive or even as dismissive as the sinister iconic character of Sir Nose D'Voiddofunk who always refuses to dance (but a little more about him later). At the center of the cyclone was the man himself, Mr. George Clinton, an unquestionable living legend, who presided over the proceedings as M.C., Ringmaster and Maestro all in one. The 73-year-old Clinton conducted and orchestrated every moment on stage and within the audience with a joyfully mischievous Cheshire Cat smile spread across his face and his obvious enthusiasm was infectious to all within his presence. Without question, this performance was one of the very best that I have seen within my life.
Sometime back in the early 1990's while having a conversation with my childhood friend and classmate, Richard Payne, he informed me that he had once seen Parliament/Funkadelic live in concert and on Halloween no less. When I asked him which songs they played that night, he replied succinctly, "ALL of them!"

Now I understand precisely what he meant.

After settling myself completely at the foot of the stage, Saturday night's concert began right at 8 p.m. on the dot with none other than the incendiary 1973 classic "Cosmic Slop." Locked in a skin tight groove and featuring the flame-throwing guitar heroics of Ricardo "Ricky" Rouse (who wielded a guitar adorned with a Jimi Hendrix "Electric Ladyland" sticker), George Clinton appeared on stage, yet without his trademark rainbow colored dread-locked wigs but in a blazer, sunglasses, hat, mismatched patterned shirt and tie and a most welcoming ear-to-ear grin. Immediately, he began to conduct the entire evening, utilizing his arms and hand signals to both the band and the audience, elevating the excitement and performance simultaneously.
A stellar "Mothership Connection (Star Child)" arrived next (to my jubilation) and soon the band took us through a lengthy sequence of songs from "First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate" (released November 25, 2014), the first new material credited to Funkadelic in 33 years, and in the form of a triple album stacked to the gills with 33 songs!

The brilliantly entitled "Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?," plus the low down nasty funk of "Pole Power" and "Meow Meow," the club bounce of "Get Low" and the dark psychedelic anthem, a profanely titled variation of the term "Funked Up," (you can figure it out), all showcased this incarnation of Funkadelic as superior singers and musicians able to extend, shift, alter and transform all of this new material, which indeed fits snuggly with all of the classic material, as if on a dime. The sheer athleticism of the group's younger members was astounding, almost as if they had something to prove to the band's veterans and longtime fans. Not even an hour into the show, the audience was entirely exhilarated and I was stunned that no one in the band seemed to be exhausted in the least.

Then, it was time for Parliament/Funkadelic to really take it to the stage!

Just like Richard Payne had informed me, George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic then proceeded to play...well..ALL of their songs, for that's what the remainder of the evening sounded like: one nearly continuous funk odyssey through the years plus musical styles and genres, where every song was as powerful as a body slam and dared everyone in the Barrymore to stop moving.
They were all there. "Up For The Down Stroke." "Dr. Funkenstein." "(Not Just) Knee Deep" featuring yet another face melting guitar solo performed by Rouse at the lip of the stage just inches from me (my ears are still ringing). "One Nation Under A Groove." "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)." And most certainly, the immortal "Flash Light," during which Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk (with whom I shook hands...TWICE) made his appearance, at first expressing complete disdain and then exploding into dance and stunning acrobatics (at one point, he was spotted shimmying up the stage's curtains towards the rafters).

Women from the audience were twice brought on stage to dance with Sir Nose and Clinton as the songs elongated themselves into nearly trance inducing repetitiveness yet incorporated snippets and snatches of other classic songs including "Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On," and even Frank Zappa's "I'm The Slime," for instance. The songs shape-shifted often, from heavy metal thunder to slow burning jams to Duke Ellington styled jazz excellence and exquisiteness.
Much praise must be heaped upon 30 year plus P-Funk veteran Saxophonist/Vocalist Greg Thomas (with whom I fist bumped at the show's conclusion) and Trumpeter Bennie Cowan whose deeply complex horn lines sounded as lush as a full brass section. Additionally, Drummer Benjamin "Benzel" Cowan and Bassist Lige Curry locked down the relentlessly liquid rhythms like champions. In fact, the entire evening was a night of musical virtuosity as most of the band members took on extended solos at Clinton's direction, which he then often amplified by adding his microphone into the mix.
For some reason, I just had it in my mind that perhaps Clinton would come and go throughout the performance, essentially having the band and singers on display. To my surprise and delight, George Clinton ruled over the entire evening as C.E.O., remaining on stage for the complete duration (occasionally taking short breaks while seated in a small chair by the drum set), and clearly having a good time, leading us in the classic call and response chants and feeling the waves of adulation flowing his way from the audience (plus the joint he happily accepted from an audience member).
While Clinton never addressed the audience with any stage banter, he was all smiles as he instructed us to "make some noise" as well as with his arm motions and hand signals. He gleefully placed the spotlight on various musicians and singers throughout the evening and visibly showed his immense pride with their abilities.
Out of a concert that felt like an entire highlight reel, the highlight of the highlights for me was the show's 15 minute plus finale which began with George Clinton taking the mic and belting out "(I Wanna) Testify," the 1967 calling card from Clinton's first venture, The Parliaments. This man gave the song EVERYTHING he had. With sweat pouring from his face and veins bursting in his neck, Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic transformed the night into a simultaneous juke joint and church revival that soon had everyone, including Clinton himself, leaping up and down repeatedly.
And before anyone realized, the eternal grunts of "Bow-Wow-Wow-Yippie-Yo-Yippie-Yay" erupted and "Atomic Dog" was unleashed to rapturous effect, returning Sir Nose and female audience members to the stage as well as Rouse's explosive guitar skyrockets.
Unlike the classic visually dynamic and theatrical concert performances from their 1970's heyday, George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic kept the visual spectacle to a minimum. There were no special effects, no diaper wearing band members and virtually no crazy costumes at all, save for the aforementioned Sir Nose and the startling sight of Vocalist Kimberly Manning wearing a full, sparkly silver body suit and dancing for the entire show on roller skates, who took center stage for the deep cut "Mr. Wiggles."
The spectacle of the night was rightfully...THE MUSIC!!!! For me, the full magic of the night was completely contained in the music of Parliament/Funkadelic, where under the leadership of mastermind George Clinton, this collective has amassed an almost 50 year legacy that truly exists within its own universe as it holds its own philosophy, socio-political outlook, iconography, characters, caricatures, language and of course, its own signature sound.

Throughout this night, that very legacy was richly upon display from beginning to end and even afterwards. I truly wish that you could all have seen the faces of everyone in the audience as we slowly spilled out into the night air, collectively sailing away on the funkiest "cloud 9" ever imagined.

Just really take a moment to think about it. We now live during an age where "performers" routinely lip-synch, "Auto Tune" and studio trickery has wrestled any sense of the natural voice away from "singers." Synthetic tracks are abound regardless of the musical genre, therefore making everything sound homogeneous, hermetically sealed and heartless. And on this night, we were all witness to the euphoric sight of seeing and hearing real musicians and singers playing real instruments and singing powerfully for periods that seemed to be happily endless. Like the shows that I have seen performed by Lindsey Buckingham, Cheap Trick, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals and especially, Zappa Plays Zappa, the night's concert by George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic was nothing less than a MASTER CLASS to which everyone should attend if the means and time are available.

While waiting in line before the show, another patron who I was standing next to openly begged that the classic "Mothership" would make an appearance and descend upon the Barrymore stage that evening. far as I am concerned, we didn't need to see the Mothership. With the voices and instruments combined with the audience's hand claps, all in unison and always on THE ONE, George Clinton & Parliament /Funkadelic beautifully transformed the Barrymore Theater into The Mothership!!!!

And man, did we achieve lift off!!!
 All photos taken by Scott Collins

Friday, May 15, 2015



Written, Arranged, Recorded and Produced by T.H.E.

TODD RUNDGREN: All Vocals, Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards, Programming
EMIL NIKOLAISEN: Drums, Keyboards, Rhythm Programming, Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Sampling and FX
HANS-PETER LINDSTROM: Keyboards, Bass Synth, Rhythm Programming, Sampling and FX

Released May 5, 2015

Before we go any further, I feel the need to travel back into the past.

1987 was the year in which I began to seriously immerse myself into the musical world of Todd Rundgren. While my curiosity had already been piqued within the previous year, and I had found a few albums on cassette in record store cut out bins, the fullness of Rundgren's musical vision and artistic exploration had not completely taken hold of me just yet. By late summer, when I was 18 years old and just about ready to begin my college life in Madison, WI,, I happened to see an article published within the Chicago Sun Times promoting a stop in my fair city on Todd Rundgren 's (then) latest tour, and to also promote the (then) new re-release/re-issue campaign schedule of Rundgren's archives through the Rhino label, officially placing his catalog onto compact digital disc for the first time. The albums were being released about four at a time and non-chronologically. Out of those very first four albums which were profiled in the article, the one that captured my eye instantly was a brutally harsh review for the album "Initiation" (released June 14, 1975).

While much praise was heaped upon that album's opening track and single, the eternally gorgeous anthem to self-discovery and personal evolution "Real Man," the writer then began to bash the remainder of the album profusely, and in a manner that seemed to border on being offended with Rundgren's spiritual and musical explorations which defiantly ran against any pop music accessibility. What really angered this particular writer was the album's second side, a 36 minute, HEAVILY synthesizer driven instrumental no less, entitled "A Treatise On Cosmic Fire." In fact, the one word that I can remember to this very day in this writer's ferocious description of the track was "unlistenable." And for inexplicable reasons, I just knew that this was the album I needed to hear first.

For the unfamiliar, the song "A Treatise On Cosmic Fire" is a beast of a piece of music that truly exists within its own universe. Seemingly built from and existing as the culminating work that began with sequences and instrumentals from Rundgren's albums prior to "Initiation"--tracks like the bouncy, dreamy "Breathless" from "Something/Anything?" (released February 1972), the spacey "Flamingo" from "A Wizard, A True Star" (released March 2, 1973), and the wholly indescribable "In And Out The Chakras We Go (Formerly: Shaft Goes To Outer Space)" from "Todd" (released February 1974), among others--Todd Rundgren, with some assistance from Utopia bandmate/keyboardist Roger Powell, fashioned a vast yet thorny epic based upon the spiritual writings of Alice Bailey.

While the track is essentially one long, continuous song, it is divided into five movements with the fourth movement (entitled "I. The Internal Fire-or: Fire By Friction") divided into seven sub-sections. It is a song that is melodically lush and oceanic, like something you just might find upon a Vangelis album, and then the track mutates into sections that sound like an interstellar carousel, speedball guitar heroics that feel as if they were delivered by lightning sent through hyperspace, another sequence that is nothing but...well...sounds (as if Rundgren programmed a collection of drum machines completely wrong, pressed play and left the room for a while) and final segments that are weightless, shapeless, formless atmospherics before returning to the song's beginning lush theme for the finale.

When I purchased my copy of "Initiation" within the very first two or three days after I began to settle in on my new college campus residence, I actually rewound the second side of my new cassette so I could hear "A Treatise On Cosmic Fire" first, as I was that anxious to hear what could possibly be so "unlistenable." What surprised me about the experience--for that is definitely what listening to a song like this actually is--was that I took to the song instantly and completely. Yes, I could completely understand how a song like this could put many listeners off, especially ones looking for accessible pop tunes and not unrepentantly difficult, synthetic spiritual epics. But again, for inexplicable reasons, on the very first listen to Todd Rundgren's "A Treatise On Cosmic Fire," I took to the experience as naturally as any song that I instantly and completely loved. Somehow someway, the song just made sense to me and the only thing that didn't make sense to me about it was how in the hell did Todd Rundgren ever conceive and realize such a piece at all in the first place. My sense of musical hero worship skyrocketed after hearing this song, as well as the entire album, and it remains a favorite to this day.

Ever since I first heard it, "A Treatise On Cosmic Fire" has existed as my "go-to" piece of music if I ever need to take some time away from the world and get lost for a little while. Even as dissonant as it can be in some parts, I find it to be as calming and meditative as it is surrounding and overwhelming. And I can easily say that it is one of the very few pieces of music that I have heard in my entire life that sounds absolutely, positively, undeniably nothing like anything else...

Until now...

At this time, we arrive at "Runddans," Todd Rundgren's second album release of 2015, yet unlike the solo album "Global" (released April 4, 2015), the work is a collaborative effort between Rundgren and Norwegian producers/musicians Emil Nikolaisen and Hans-Peter Lindstrom.

I have to admit that I originally thought that "Runddans" was possibly a play off of Todd Rundgren's surname when in actuality, the word is a play off of the Danish word "Rondel," which translates as "circular object." Additionally, one of the album's tracks, entitled "Rundt, Rundt, Rundt" (something else I thought was playing off of Rundgren's name) translates as "around, around, around." In some ways, that translation may be the very best way to describe the album succinctly because "Runddans" is an endlessly revolving and evolving work that is cyclical in conception and execution. It is also an immensely immersive, innovative and intoxicating album that has already sailed to the top of my personal list as being one of the finest albums 2015 has to offer.

Presented as one continuous piece of (mostly) instrumental music that runs for the duration of 39 minutes, and reportedly is based around the concept of the life cycle as represented by an eternally repetitive sequence of 8 chords, "Runddans" opens appropriately with "B For Birth," a selection that sounds like an arsenal of synthesizers waking and warming up to face the universe of creation. Over the course of "Liquid Joy From The Womb Of Infinity" and "Oppad, Over Skyene," the album's second and third tracks, we are introduced to the aforementioned repetitive 8 chord structure. As the 8 chords revolve, more elements are added into the mix from percolating sequencers performing the same 8 chords to subtle drum programming, bass drops, and snippets of Rundgren's vocals all building to a crescendo that begins to sound like an inter-galactic EDM rave. But strikingly, once this section hits its groove, the music blasts itself apart until everything fades into nothingness, save for a small, ticking sound, like a clock or a metronome.

From the silence, we hear the voice of Todd Rundgren in full on "Solus," a section of ethereal vocalizations that recalls "There Are No Words" from his debut solo album "Runt" (released June 1970). It is a movement of raw, naked beauty, a brief showcase of Rundgren's superior vocal gifts, yet completely (and wisely) unpolished as the track originated from some of the initial recordings for this project. If "Runddans" is indeed designed to work as a representation of the life cycle, "Solus" truly sounds like a baby's first cries.

Then, seemingly from the depths of the human spirit, and echoing the 8 chord sequence, we hear Rundgren sing the following words:

"I have waited for this moment for what seems like nine lifetimes
You will never be closer than you are right now

Put your arms around me
Put your arms around me
Wrap your love around me
Now we can dance"

"Put Your Arms Around Me" and the following "Altar Of Kauaian Six String (Todd's Solo)," catapulted me into a musical time warp as this section, where the 8 chords return in full, complete with Rundgren's iconic stacked harmony vocals and his enchanting guitar heroics, which spiral upwards and beyond the moon and stars, instantly took me back to songs like "Born To Synthesize" from the "Initiation" album and the three part metaphysical, meditative suite from "Healing" (released January 28, 1981). As the three musicians luxuriously weave together a wall of keyboards and synthesizers and Emil Nikolaisen's drums suggest the astronomical flow of Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, the 8 chords transform themselves within a hallucinogenic frenzy of a sequence where they are broken apart and reconstructed, as if some astral figure was playing with the dials of a Karmic radio station.

"I think I'm going out of my head," sings Rundgren (echoing Burt Bacharach possibly?), as his vocals are reverberated, manipulated, synthetically altered, stripped bare and repeated alongside the 8 chords, as if we are travelling through various states of consciousness and perception. By the arrival of "Out Of My Head (Lone Vibes)" and the aforementioned "Rundt, Rundt, Rundt," we hear the 8 chords re-interpreted through passages of tranquility, dissonance, the romance of some vague bossa nova, and also what sounds like a nose flute (shades of "Eastern Intrigue" from "Initiation").

"Runddans" continues into its third major sequence with the more overtly psychedelic vortex of "Wave Of Heavy Red (Disko-Nektar)," the interlude of "T.H.E. Golden Triangle (Dry Mouthed Gargoyles In A Fountain Of Fluorescent Shepard Tones)" and what feels to be the album's finale, "Ravende Gal (Full Circle)" where the album breaks completely out of its 8 chord structure for a percussive dance floor spell and augmented by the voices of Rundgren, Nikolaisen and Lindstrom all on telephones discussing just exactly how should they conclude this piece of music they have worked on together over a duration of three years.

Yet, before we even realize it, the voices have all faded away and the 8 chords have returned in another re-contextualized section which accelerates and increases in intensity as if we are all voyaging at the speed of life, a rate that seems to increase as we age and move closer to our inevitable mortality. Rundgren's vocals, which now serve as some sort of spirit guide, plus the reformed 8 chords return in the album's final track, "Ohr...Um...Am...Amen (Aftermath)" which brings us back to the lyrics of "Put Your Arms Around Me." Yet, instead of a baby cries to a parent, this time, the music and singing feels like the voice of the soul being delivered into eternity.

Dear readers and listeners, I cannot express to you enough how much "Runddans" has enveloped me. Without question, I have been listening to the album constantly over the span of the full week since having received it and for whatever inexplicable reasons, I took to it instantaneously upon my first listen. Like "A Treatise On Cosmic Fire," the album just made sense to me.

In addition to serving as a beautiful companion piece to "Global," and like Rundgren's entire oeuvre, "Runddans" feels personal and universal, intimate and epic, singular and meant for the masses and fully inviting while also seeming to be impenetrable. If i could describe "Runddans" in cinematic terms, I would say that it kind of sounds like Director Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life"(2011) with the wormhole sequence from Director Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) thrown in!

While it indeed lovingly recalls the classic Rundgren era which contained "A Wizard, A True Star, " "Todd," "Healing" and most notably, "Initiation," this new album also sent echoes to the likes of "A Cappella" (released September 1985), the musical jigsaw puzzle of "No World Order" (released July 6, 1993) and even Rundgren's ingenious production and contributions to the second side of The Tubes' "Love Bomb" (released February 1985), which collected a suite of nine songs all set to the exact same tempo as heroically performed by drummer Prairie Prince, and also was a work simultaneously influenced by and pre-dated much of the imaginative usage of sampling within rap and hip-hop.

While Todd Rundgren has certainly not lost a step whatsoever over the years, there is something that sounds re-invigorating about him throughout "Runddans." At times, he almost sounds younger than he has in some time, as he vocally hits notes, pitches and phrases that feel like old friends. Perhaps collaborating with Emil Nikolaisen and Hans-Peter Lindstrom, musicians he has clearly influenced with musical styles he essentially invented and now returning to a style he has not ever fully revisited, has been a musical fountain of youth of sorts. Rundgren just sounds rejuvenated and re-inspired, just like the 56 year old Prince with his new all female and much younger bandmates in 3rdEyeGirl.

Now I will say that as I listened that very first time, there were points when I very briefly wondered to myself about the album's repetitive nature. But then, I was captivated away from any mental rumblings as the music just continued to wash over me in the warmest waves imaginable. Since having heard the album perhaps 20 times or more by now, I actually recall an interview from Jimmy Page regarding the mystical magic that lies within creating the perfect guitar riffs. While I am paraphrasing, I believe that he proclaimed that the best riffs should function as mantras due to their repetitive nature, that the listener has to almost be placed within a trance like state by the riff in order to be fully affected. Lenny Kravitz also expressed similar feelings when describing the emotions he experiences playing the more repetitive rhythm guitar as opposed to lead guitar. Again, I am paraphrasing, but he likened the rhythm guitar to functioning somewhat as a study in patience and how you could get lost in the cyclical nature of playing the same rhythms over and again for extended periods of time.

To that end, "Runddans" then began to remind me of a couple of non Rundgren related albums that also served repetitive musical themes that always seem to shape shift while also remaining constant. Albums like Miles Davis' "In A Silent Way" (released July 30, 1969) or even the 22 minute title track to Paddy McAloon's "I Trawl The Megahertz" (released May 27, 2003).

With the theme of the life cycle placed firmly at the core of the album, maybe we can think of "Runddans" existing as an enveloping, existential figure eight, a work that double-ends upon itself time and again, with all of the changes and developments resting deep within the curves.

No, "Runddans" is not for everyone. But then again...maybe it really could be, if people really gave it a chance. I really believe that it is more than fitting that "Runddans" is arriving in 2015, a full 40 years after the original release of "Initiation." Once again, Todd Rundgren, vastly far ahead of the curve, created music in 1975 that honestly took the medium of music itself a full 40 years to catch up to it. And then, in collaboration with Nikolaisen and Lindstrom, Rundgren has now caught up with himself and has also propelled himself even further.

Music has evolved considerably over the years and for generations of listeners who possibly grew up with the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Sigur Ros, Air or even the late and masterful J Dilla's "Donuts" (released February 7, 2006), his stunning hip-hop instrumental song cycle of death and dying, or even Flying Lotus' inscrutable "You're Dead!" (released October 6, 2014), "Runddans" just may hit those individuals in their respective wheelhouses.

But for me, having received another gift from one of my greatest musical heroes, it was nothing less then wondrous hearing "The Wizard" at work weaving his magic spell all over again.

Friday, May 8, 2015



Written, Produced and Performed by Todd Rundgren

Bobby Strickland: Saxophone on "Blind"
Rachel Haden, Janet Kirker, Michelle Rundgren, Jill Sobule & Tal Wilkenfeld: Backing Vocals on "Earth Mother"

Kasim Sulton: Backing Vocals on "Skyscraper"

Released April 7, 2015

"Human beings and materialism cannot be separated from each other, but we have to remind ourselves that our existence didn't just happen. This is a unique place, and everything in it is in some sort of relationship and equipoise with everything else. We're never going to get to the root of our issues and our problems if we don't, at a certain point, come to accept the fact that without this particularly unique combination of circumstances, we don't exist. And we can't pretend that we have made ourselves."

I wondering if this is what it may have been like to be a fan of Todd Rundgren back in the day.

By the time I began to discover the musical odyssey of Todd Rundgren in my late teens back in 1987, one aspect (of many) that I found to be so unbelievably impressive about his musical career was the prolific nature of his album releases. Beginning with his band Nazz in 1967, and continuing between 1970 and 1985, it was common for Rundgren to release at least one album per year and often up to two albums per year whether a solo release or one where he functioned as part of his band Utopia. And to that large total, please do feel free to include his equally prolific work during this same time period as a Producer for the likes of The Band, Hall & Oates, Grand Funk Railroad, The Tubes, The Psychedelic Furs, Cheap Trick, New York Dolls, my beloved The Pursuit Of Happiness, and of course, XTC's sublime "Skylarking" (released October 27, 1986) as well as the now classic Meat Loaf rock opera parody "Bat Out Of Hell" (released October 21, 1977). It was a period where it seemed that Rundgren was forever within the creative atmosphere of the recording studio, crafting one musical vision after another and ultimately amassing a body of work that I firmly believe that any artist wished that they had been able to conceive and produce for themselves.

While since 1989, Rundgren has remained quite busy with seemingly endless touring, either for himself or as a member of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, his album releases have slowed down but have remained steady, typically arriving every two or three years apart. Even though new album releases do not arrive as frequently as in the past, for an artist who will reach the age of 67 this coming June, he has proven to have possessed and exhibited far more stamina than individuals half his age and he remains as creatively restless and inventive as ever.

For 2015, I am now getting a taste for how it used to be regarding his album releases and I could not be more thrilled and anxious. This year, we will find two new Todd Rundgren albums and in a scant two month period no less. The second release, arriving this month and which I hope to profile very soon, is "Runddans," a largely instrumental and collaborative effort with electronic music producer/musicians/composers Hans-Peter Lindstrom and Emil Nikolaisen. But first, and actually born from the making of "Ruddans," is the solo release "Global," Todd Rundgren's 25th album, a most worthy addition and deeply resonant and satisfying chapter to his ever evolving musical story.

Sonically building up from the EDM textures and rhythms from his previous release, the rambunctious yet uncharacteristically dark and claustrophobic "State" (released April 9, 2013), Todd Rundgren has functioned "Global" to exist as a concept album concerning the ecology, the environment and the symbiotic role all of humanity possesses with every living organism while set to the propulsive landscape of EDM, with elements of rock, soul, funk and Rundgren's trademark soul searching ballads and socio-political commentary thrown in for great measure. This amalgamation makes the album sound as if Todd Rundgren is presenting a rave for all of humanity at the end of the world, thus ensuring the music is even stronger and more cohesive than its predecessor and for all of the fun, I was left with emotions that were undeniably sobering and at times deeply chilling.

"Global" opens with two songs to get the party started but I felt are indeed more philosophical than they may seem. The intentionally misspelled "Evrybody" sets the stage with a chugging rock and roll groove featuring those cheesy "96 Tears" keyboards to terrific effect. Lyrically, Rundgren rails off a litany of items unattainable to the majority of society, from being able to paint the Mona Lisa, the inability of being a movie star to receiving a "twerk from Miley." But within the final section of the song, he flips the script, when he sings, "Evrybody don't need a mini mansion/Evrybody don't want an 80 foot yacht/Evrybody don't need the latest fashion/Everybody needs what we already got'Because we're all together again." 

While I will never know if this was his intent, to me, "Evrybody" struck me as existing as a variation of an aspect of Zen philosophy, most specifically a quotation from Lao Tzu which states, "Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." "Evrybody" is a rave up, a party anthem that urges us to realize that we are not as separated as we may think and feel ourselves to be simply because we are all existing at this distinct point in time in our collective history and for that, what more can be done than to celebrate in our complete union.

"Flesh And Blood," the album's second track, while seemingly existing solely as an EDM song about EDM music, immediately suggested to me songs from Rundgren's archives that all deal with the ongoing conundrums that exist within our understanding of fate and free will, like "Tiny Demons" from the spiritual odyssey of the album "Healing" (released January 28, 1981) or "Influenza" from the power pop collection "The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect" (released November 15, 1982).

"It's the tom tom tom beat of the medicine man/Driving the evil spirits back to a rhythmless land/Now it's a laptop and a microphone/50,000 watts and still going strong," he begins before hitting the chorus, "You got free will but you're flesh and blood/You can't stand still but you're flesh and blood." Rundgren hits upon the eternal phenomenon that exists as we have the intellect to do and act how we wish yet we still are unable to resist becoming slaves to the rhythm, a quality that contributes greatly to the album's theme of community as it is a trait we all share as human beings.

From this point, "Global" flows powerfully between songs of honor, celebration and unity and some stern and increasingly grim warnings. Where "Skyscraper" jubilantly invites the population of the 1% to "come on down and join the party" alongside the rest of us in the 99%, selections like "Terra Firma" and "Holyland" deftly illustrate the inter-connectivity we all share with the planet, a singular sacred home for everyone and every organism.

The swerving funk of "Earth Mother," on which Rundgren pays homage to all women, including specific nods to both Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai, is an infectious club jam that demands we salute and give "R-E-S-P-E-C-T-for my ladies" and calls for the need for "a little more progesterone" in the atmosphere. The soul ballad "Soothe" arrives late in the album and at just the right stage as it provides precisely the intent contained in the song's title. It is a song of respite, of calm away from the noise of the world. A multi-layered piece that could be viewed as a message from lover to lover, Rundgren to the listener or even the voice of music itself to the spirit, again expressing a common thread of our collective humanity as we all have the need to seek and bask in solace.

The deeply serious core of "Global" begins with the menacing "Rise," the slowed down, moody funk on which Rundgren repeatedly proclaims, "Time's ticking away, time keeps ticking away/If we don't rise, then we will fall," because "We don't need an excess of caution/Doing nothing is not an option." 

On the slow burn caress of "Blind," Rundgren takes all of those horrific Climate Change and Science deniers to task. "Gravity is real," he sings. "Just step off the ledge and you will fall/Summers get hotter/Winters get colder/Writing on the wall." Rundgren also expresses his deep contempt for evangelicals with a sharp tongued, "You say God will handle everything/Seems like he ain't done shit so far." But before any of you atheists out there attempt to claim Rundgren into your ranks, he hits a grand slam by intoning, "You see, God is a scientist," thus broadening the current inane debate between Science and spirituality, which for me, has lost all sense of nuance, complexity and ambiguity in place of self-righteous superiority, by finding the symmetry that is contained in each. But, are we all just too blind to even see the linkage?

"Fate" is one of the album's strongest and most spine tinging warnings, as Rundgren begins with first person narratives of gamblers and addicts and then finds the common ground with our collective callousness against our planet and our own existence.

"Gamble away the moon and stars
The world to be that is not ours

Drunk with the lust for easy wealth 
We'll take the chance, bankrupt ourselves
We bet the farm, no turning back
Even or odd, on red or black
Our future is no longer ours
The outcome rests with higher powers
All bets are down, now spin the wheel
Our fate is sealed"

Compounding those sentiments is the album's stunning, sobering finale "This Island Earth," on which Rundgren pleads with us to understand that Earth is all we have and that miracles from God, the presence of benevolent aliens within the universe or even having the ability to just travel elsewhere in the galaxy will not save us from our own destruction, which is indeed feeling more inevitable. The warm, eerie synths combine themselves with surprising tempo changes which occasionally slow or quicken, signifying the life span of Earth gradually coming to an end and how quickly we are causing our own extinction.

But, rest assured, it is not all doom and gloom as "Global Nation," the album's centerpiece is a swirling, whirling light show of a song, starring a pounding beat, dynamic, percolating synthesizer sequencing patterns reminiscent of classic Rundgren tracks like "Shine," from the aforementioned "Healing" album, and a death defying falsetto vocal where Rundgren professes his wishes to wrap his arms around the world and "dance away the isolation...the separation...the tribulation...on our way to liberation." This is a song so joyous, so inclusive, so spiritually roof raising that for me, it was the example of harmonic convergence, and so it is for the album in its entirety.

In the earliest years of the 21st century, I was beginning (and fearing) to have the feeling that perhaps Todd Rundgren had said all that he had felt the need to say musically. Despite his constant touring, new releases at that time were scant and while finding myself maybe having to face the fact that he perhaps would not offer more material, I also knew that an artist of his unquestionable scope and breadth, he truly had nothing more that he ever needed to prove. And then, he released the albums "Liars" (released April 6, 2004), "Arena" (released September 30, 2008) and the aforementioned "State" all of which stand as tall as anything he recorded and released during the 1970's and 1980's, and "Global" makes for an especially fine addition to his oeuvre.

For an artist that has always existed far ahead of the curve of his contemporaries, it is interesting to hear the musical landscape having caught up to him, regarding more synthetic dance music textures and electronic soundscapes as he exhibited as far back on albums like "Todd" (released February 1974) and "A Cappella" (released September 1985) or songs like "Chant" from "The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect." "Global" seems to find Rundgren reclaiming his own mantle while also providing nods of affectionate recognition to the current artists, musicians and DJs that populate the scene in 2015. And so it should be for an album that extolls the virtues and necessity of communion and communication.

Lyrically, "Global" seems to be built from musical statements Rundgren has expressed throughout his career. In fact, to my ears, it feels as if he took sentiments from 1975's "Fair Warning" in which he stated "I can't let the world die because no one would try," as well as the title track from "No World Order" (released July 6, 1993) on which he rapped (!) "Job number one is gonna be findin' a way/That we can rave all night and meditate all day," and merged them together to create this bold, visionary album.

Yet, are we ready to listen and heed the messages contained within? I sincerely and deeply hope so because if not, and like Rundgren expressed 40 years ago, "I gave you all fair warning/Now it's goodbye."

Saturday, May 2, 2015



The headline certain gave me a strong sense of pause.

This week, The A.V. Club posted an article entitled "New Study Shows That People Stop Listening To New Music At 33," and at first, my knee-jerk reaction was one of defiant refusal for how could a statement like that possibly be universally true.

I mean--I am considerably past the age of 33 (even though my mind and spirit continuously attempts to tell me otherwise--my body, however...). Even so, I have continuously sought out new music to this very day and frankly, I anxiously welcome something new from some artist that I had previously not heard of before. I am always seeking and waiting for those new sounds to blow my mind and the thrill that comes from the discovery is a feeling that has never grown old. Honestly! If this were not true, then how else could one explain all of the crowing I have been doing for the likes of Post Social and Modern Mod, for example?  Even as of this writing, I am listening to the track "Siberian Breaks" from MGMT's second album "Congratulations" (released April 13, 2010). Certainly a song this recent would fly against the perception that those beyond a certain age would refuse to listen to it, wouldn't it?

But then again...

It's very odd, but maybe the article does contain some valid points and perceptions--some of which I may not be that comfortable admitting because I don't wish to ever sound like the stereotypical older character who cantankerously exclaims that things were just better in "their day." Now I have made those kinds of statements before to people half-facetiously because I do not want to entirely discredit the new music that is being made but even so...

I look back to the 1980's, not my favorite decade of music (although I am continuously amazed with hw innovative it actually was--especially from England and other European locales) but it was the time where I aged between the years of 11-20, the time period that encapsulated Middle School, High School and my first two years of college. If one were to make comparisons between the top of the charts during the early to mid 1980's and right now, what might you find? Well, aside from Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Prince, you would have also found the likes of Culture Club, Talking Heads, Van Halen, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News, Run-DMC, David Bowie, and of course, Duran Duran. 

At this point, I am not attempting to incite a debate about personal tastes. I am mentioning these particular artists because every single one of them crafted their own individual identities with their own individualized sound. Are the Top 40 charts of 2015 as idiosyncratic to you? To me and my ears, I don't think so...not even by a long shot. I don't think this really has to do with age but more of how the music industry has changed over time and how homogenized it has become with a small collective of writers and producers seemingly having their hands in every pot, therefore making all of the songs sound exactly the same regardless of who the artist in question happens to be.

Yet, for that matter, I do not follow the top of the charts at all anymore and I have found myself to not even be remotely interested in the least. I would like to think that my feelings are rooted more in the music that is actually being released not fitting within my personal tastes and having much less to do with my age. But does my age having something to do with how little I do think of so much of what is popular these days anyway?

I have also noticed that as I have aged, my musical tastes have moved increasingly backwards. I do not know how it ever happened but once we reach the Spring time months, I have found myself reaching into the past for a certain sound. The sound of Badfinger. The sound of Big Star. The sound of Dwight Twilley. The sounds of power pop songs of the 1970's. Summers have tended to lead me to longer, and at times, more psychedelic songs. The music of Traffic and early music by The Steve Miller Band, where you can really hear picks hitting guitar strings and sticks smacking snare drums and the keyboards are a warm as the season itself provide me with such solace. Yes, that music possesses such imagination and endless creativity but am I reaching back as a means of personal tastes within songwriting and production values or is it all out of nostalgia?

What of the content within current popular music as opposed to the past? As I will tell absolutely anyone, it truly takes a lot to actually offend me within the arts. I'm no prude. And yet, why is it that so much of what I am hearing that is indeed flowing through the airwaves, and most certainly the images that are accompanying those songs, feel like nothing more than pornography? Remember, I really came of age during Prince's stratospheric period, when I, at times, felt I had to sneak to listen to due to his often graphic sexual content and four letter words. Yet, his particular purple poetry has remained poetry, filled with imagery and imagination (i.e. CREATIVITY), and what's occurring now just feel like an abusive onslaught of four letter words and nastiness just for the sake of saying the (i.e. NO CREATIVITY). Is this my age talking?

But then again, when I listen to the student station WSUM-FM, the college DJ's have constantly excited me with what they are listening to and therefore, have inspired me to head straight to either I-Tunes or B-Side Records to make purchases and add to my ever expanding collection. Certainly, my acknowledgement and appreciation of this new music belies my age, doesn't it?

Trust me, dear readers and listeners, I am always buying new music! I do feel a need to remain current. Yet...I am often buying new music from long established artists, and in doing so, does that keep me in the past? Is it all rooted to my age? How about my WSPC playlists? I would hate for my mythical radio station to essentially function as an "oldies" station but how much of what I "play" is actually new? Even the music that still sounds far ahead of its time was still made in the past. Am I as forwards thinking as I have felt myself to be?

Even this new 2014-2015 music from Post Social, Modern Mod, Kendrick Lamar, and Tame Impala have all made music that could ONLY have been made right NOW...but even so, all of those artists have included elements that connect them to all that has come before, which does contain some emotional triggers into my responses to all of their music.

Maybe the quandary is bigger than I imagined it to be. But does it all matter anyway if we are all just still listening, being inspired and enriched? If we're still dancing, does age matter at all? If the music still sounds as fresh and blissful as the first time we ever were introduced to it, does the age of the music as well as ourselves matter at all?

Before I head back to the music, this whole experience has reminded me of a little snippet from Writer/Director Lawrence Kasdan's "The Big Chill" (1983), when Jeff Goldblum's character (I think) confronts Kevin Kline's character on the greatness of the music scene since the late 1960's, the period when all of the film's primary characters attended college. Goldblum attests that there has bee much great music to arrive within the previous ten years yet, Kline remains steadfast in his dismissive nature and ultimate devotion to the music that has defined him, and therefore, their generation. It was a moment when I, at age 14, wanted to dive into the movie and defend Goldblum's opinion because there was so much great, innovative music swirling all around but why could Kline just not hear it.

I do not wish to think that I have become that musically rigid Kevin Kline character but what if I have?

How about you? Does your age reflect your tastes? I'd love to know. Phone lines are open...

But whatever you're listening to, remember to always.....PLAY LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!