Sunday, March 4, 2018


Once again, I send my apologies to all of you for giving this blogsite short shrift last month due to  quite a bit of increased activity at my sister blogsite Savage Cinema as well as copious amounts of real world responsibilities which made it impossible to fully devote any considerable time to writing about music.

That being said, I am ready, dear readers and listeners. I am ready. Yes, living in Wisconsin, we are fooled over and again with the potential for the full arrival of Spring but the upcoming season is unquestionably something that one can just feel. With that, I am just itching for the new of everything, most especially the new 2018 music that will supply the soundtrack of the year.

The outstanding debut album from Chris Dave and the Drumhedz released in January has thrown down a certain gauntlet, I would say. And presently, I am listening to new releases from MGMT as well as the third album from Jonathan Wilson (I am five songs in and this too is already one of the finest albums of the year). And yet, more is just about ready to be revealed with more posthumous music from Jimi Hendrix in addition to new albums from Sloan, Jack White, Meshelle Ndegecello, A Perfect Circle (their first in fourteen years!) and I am especially excited to hear the debut release from August Greene, a new supergroup featuring Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. 

On the local scene here in Madison, WI, I do know that my musical friends have been using the winter months for creation as I know that new works from Post Social and Kainalu are being crafted, as well as new music is slowly being written by the members of Squarewave and Dash, hopefully, 2018 will bring new material on the home front.

And what of the reunions?
I have been absolutely STUNNED to see the return of singer/songwriter/keyboardist/ trombonist Christopher Dowd to the fold of Fishbone, after nearly 25 years away, now bringing the band (minus original member Kendall Jones) right back to their (nearly) original member glories. Currently on tour (please, please, please return to Madison), Dowd has already let fly that the band will be recording together again for not one but potentially two new releases!!!
And then, there was the further surprise that my beloved Utopia has re-formed for a short tour this year, something I felt that Todd Rundgren would never return to  as he is so musically forward thinking, rarely ever looking back. Perhaps 2018 is one of those rare times. Now certainly, he and bassist/singer/songwriter Kasim Sulton have continued to play together consistently over these past 40 years, including the 32 years since Utopia's final album. But to see Rundgren with drummer/singer/songwriter/producer Willie Wilcox again was indeed a shock as the two reportedly had quite the bit of friction during the band's final years.

Yet, what of keyboardist/singer/songwriter Roger Powell? Due to his real world work schedule as well as some physical pains in his hands, he is unable to take part in the reunion tour. But, to have keyboardist Ralph Shuckett, one of the very first members of Utopia taking part, keeps every int he family so to speak.

Yet, of the reunions that I know of, none make me more excited than this...
In the above photo, you see that inside of a California recording studio sit three of the original members of The Smashing Pumpkins, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, guitarist James Iha and the Pumpkin King himself, singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist William Corgan, as they plot their future. 

Ever since Iha's jaw dropping and unannounced arrival on-stage during a Pumpkins concert in 2016, the rumors and hopes have been swirling for a full fledged Pumpkins reunion tour and is indeed happening. But of course, not without a bit of classic Pumpkins drama. 

So, the tour and subsequent new music being recorded will feature Corgan, Iha, Chamberlin and guitarist Jeff Schroeder, who joined the band in the first resurrection in 2007 and has more than earned his Pumpkin stripes, so I am thrilled to see that he remains in the fold and will now merge his superlative six string heroics with Corgan and Iha's. So, what of original bassist D'arcy Wretsky, who will be conspicuously absent from the proceedings? Depends upon whom you ask as she and Corgan have been feuding once again with Wretsky claiming that the offered her a place to return only to rescind it while Corgan proclaimed that she never fully committed to the idea in the first place.  

As for me, this is all but a distraction from the music itself as I have been thrilled to check out  Corgan's Instagram postings on the studio/tour goings on and updates, happily witnessing his and Iha's collaboration once again--also something I thought that I woud truly NEVER see. Frankly, all of the outcry, while understandable to a degree from the fan community and the music press concerning Wretsky's absence, again and sadly continues the narrative of "Billy Corgan Is A Ego-Maniacal Svengali Tyrant," while being fully dismissive of any music he has written since 1993 yet while also holding him up to a higher standard than anyone else in rock and roll who has ever re-formed a band without all of the original members, something that is as commonplace as the sun rising every day.

For me, I am feeling that this version of the band, bridging the previous two eras of the Pumpkins, has more than enough potential to honor the past while blazing into the future and for that, I am ferociously excited.
But whatever occurs, it is coming. It is all coming and I am ready for every single note, so much so that I wish that I possessed another set of ears so that I could hear it all at once. For every piece of it...always remember to...

PLAY LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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