Category: me



So I know we all love ZOO TV but can we talk about PopMart for a minute?

The stage


The bubble suit???


The banana bass




The camp cowboy glory of Pop Edge


The lemon????


Everything was shiny and sparkly and ridiculous and they gave no fucks it was beautiful


God bless PopMart

These are some of the most astounding shows in the history of rock and roll. The combination of spectacle, sincerity, technology, and heart has never been matched, and beyond all the ridiculousness, they ROCKED.

Even on the disco songs. LOL I first got into U2 before their first album, when they’d released a handful of indie punk singles in 1979 that were a glorious din. My (now) wife and I fell in love on the second row of a U2 show in an opera house in Boston in 1983. We honeymooned in Ireland in 1985 because of how much we loved these stupid fuckers, and it never crossed my mind that they’d reach their peak strutting out of a 20 foot disco ball shaped like a fucking lemon.

Did you know that PopMart stopped a war? It was just for one night, but it’s true. POPMART STOPPED A WAR. There’s an entire Wikipedia article about this one show in Sarajevo, and it’s actually really good. It includes background on the war, and the negotiated truce that allowed people to freely travel across borders and through armed barricades, as well as the magic that happened when Bono’s voice gave out. 

Feel free to insert your own punch line, but there’s a terrific bootleg of the show, as well as a lovely fan video, and if you don’t cry all the way through that part of the show, you have no soul.

The things they did with ballads on this tour were unbelievable too. My favorite is the night in Santiago when they introduced “Mothers Of The Disappeared” by having mothers step to the microphone to SAY THE NAMES OF THEIR DISAPPEARED CHILDREN, an act of defiance that put their own lives on the line – my god, Bono is a fucking blowhard, but nobody has ever gone the distance that U2 has to really make a difference. You might think it’s not enough, but go ahead, do more, and then let’s talk.

This is breathtaking.

And they did it dressed in sequins and ridiculous hats and silly shades after they climbed out of a 20 foot disco ball shaped like a fucking lemon. 

So many complete shows up online, too, and they’re all worth checking out. Here are a few of my favorites.

Edmonton, June 1997 is shot with a single camera, but it’s pro video (albeit sourced from VHS here) and good audio. They hadn’t gotten the show entirely worked out this early on, but it’s still terrific.

Sarajevo, September 23 1997, with the best audio from multiple sources edited together with fan video. Don’t sleep on this because it’s fan video and audio. This is a once in a lifetime experience THAT STOPPED A WAR.

Seattle, December 12 1997 is also shot single camera, consumer grade, but a strong show, the last US date for PopMart.

PopMart Live From Mexico City was recorded December 3, 1997 and released commercially, but here’s a playlist with all the songs. It’s really good…

…but here’s something even better – a fan-made compilation from Mexico City of best video sources (often much better angles than the commercial ones), and a 5.1 surround mix of best audio (and any bootleg fan knows that this can be MUCH more immersive than the smooth commercial versions)

Buenos Aires, February 6, 1998, from a TV broadcast

And the finale of the legendary South American run, Santiago, February 11, 1998, once again a playlist that puts together the entire show from a TV broadcast.

Also worth checking out: Dublin (Aug 31 97 – nice audio, nice tribute to Diana Spencer on her passing), Las Vegas (Apr 25, 97 – band nearly scrapped the tour after how badly this went – but who wouldn’t want to see THAT?!?, and the good parts are GREAT), Foxboro July 2 97 (again, the band didn’t have the show together yet, but this their US home away from home, Boston, near the 4th of July no less – not great vid, but terrific upgraded boot audio), and this nifty half-hour BBC special coming out of the 97 show in Rotterdam that also talks about the tour itself.

And while there’s no video, the soundboard audio from this Miami show (Nov 11 97) is one of the most electrifying boots I’ve ever heard. 

I’ll be honest, I fell completely out of love with them when they turned their back on PopMart after this. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

PopMart is one of handful of pinnacles not just of U2′s career, but of the history of human creativity. 

God bless PopMart.


2018 Spotify Wrap

I got tagged by @wholelottaplant, whose impressive wrap of her 2018 Spotify adventures are posted here. I’m very happy to share my results too!

Minutes listening to Spotify: 17,633 minutes, or 12 days, 5 hours, 33 minutes. Less than a tenth of wholelottaplant’s! But I can’t listen to music while I work or read, both of which I do a lot.

First song listened to in 2018: Nocturnal Koreans, by Wire

Okay, here’s the thing. I blog about classic rock, and I know an insane amount about it, I love it – but it’s not that much of what I listen to on a daily basis. I spend most of every year listening to what’s new that year. I just happen to have started this process in 1963, so I picked up a lot of classic rock along the way. LOL

Wire was my most listened-to artist of 2017, spilling over into the beginning of this year, and while their career does indeed stretch back over 40 years, my most listened-to album of 2017 came out in 2017, Wire’s Silver/Lead

And my most listened-to album of 2016 came out in 2016 (Underworld, Barbara Barbara We Face A Shining Future),  my most listened-to album of 2015 came out in 2015 (Bob Mould, Beauty and Ruin), and so on. 

Which should tell you some of what you’re in for. Yeah, my two favorite bands are The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, in that order, but after that, it’s Wire and Underworld right behind. 

Most Listened-To Artist of 2018: Crowded House. 

Ha! A curve already. The thing is, I fucking hated Fleetwood Mac’s previous guitarist. Since 1977, I’ve refused to listen to any of the band’s songs where I could hear his voice, and I have so little regard for him that that’s all I’m going to say about it.

Entirely apart from that, it happens that my favorite guitarist after George Harrison is Neil Finn (yep, Jimi and Jimmy at 3 and 4), whom I first encountered in the late 70s with the Split Enz, and truly fell in love with when he founded Crowded House in 1986. I also adore his voice and his writing, and he’s put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen – and managed to do so in 4 consecutive decades for me, a slick trick. 

My wife and I met in 1982, were married in 1985, and although we’d both known Neil in Split Enz, and had a massive shared history of mutual faves across the classic rock era, through punk, into New Wave and beyond, Crowded House was the first “new” band we fell in love with after we married, so Neil has been part of our lives in a special way for a very long time.

So the happy news of him joining Fleetwood Mac alongside another guitarist I’m very fond of, Mike Campbell, late of The Heartbreakers, led me to create a Spotify playlist covering 40years of Neil’s career, still pumping out fresh tunes.

Neil Finn: Finn/Tastic, Neil/Tastic

I assume that many of you don’t know him (not nearly enough people do), so here’s a weird little video for a truly lovely song from his first solo album in 1998, “She Will Have Her Way.”

Most Listened-to Song of 2018: “Hunger”, by Florence + The Machines.
Holy shit, I’m INSANE for this. I’ve been on this earth for many a year, and this is kicking my ass like only a few songs have in my entire life.

It starts with “At 17, I started to starve myself”, and ramps up the intensity from there. Few artists have ever played for keeps like Florence Welch, and she leaves it allll out there on this.

Top Artists of 2018/Top Songs of 2018 
I combined these two questions from @wholelottaplant​ to tell the whole story. Yeah, Crowded House was my top artist, and I’ve listened to a lot of Queen the last few weeks, and I’ve listened to at least one track or another from The Beatles every day since 1964….but like I said, if you want to really know me, you need to know what’s happening in music today

Here’s a link to my Top 100 Songs of 2018

As a preview, let me show you my 2018 Top 20:

  1. Florence + The Machine, Hunger
  2. CHVRCHES, Deliverance
  3. Locate S,1, Owe It 2 the Girls
  4. Janelle Monáe, Make Me Feel
  5. Goat Girl, Cracker Drool
  6. Starcrawler, Love’s Gone Again
  7. Speedy Ortiz, I’m Blessed
  8. Smerz, Have fun
  9. Belly, Shiny One
  10. Cherry Glazerr, Juicy Socks
  11. The Breeders, Wait in the Car
  12. Our Girl, Our Girl
  13. Liza Anne, I Love You, But I Need Another Year
  14. Shannon and The Clams, Onion
  15. Chaka Khan, Like Sugar
  16. Speedy Ortiz, Lucky 88 (The only artist to appear twice in my Top 20! From my most listened-to album of the year.)
  17. Screaming Females, Agnes Martin
  18. illuminati hotties, Patience
  19. The Orielles, Let Your Dog Tooth Grow
  20. Robyn, Missing U

From my favorite album of 2018:

And from my favorite hard rock album of the year…well, one of ‘em anyway. 2018 has been a FANTASTIC year for hard rock!!!!

That’s as many videos as tumblr will let me put in a single post, so I hope you got to my playlist and check this stuff out. It’s really, really good.

I’m going to tease you with an even longer post I’m working on, observing that, of all my years on this dusty wet rock, 2018 gets my vote for best EVER year for new music, and every single artist in my Top 50 is a woman or woman-led band. Details to follow!

The fact is that you’ve got to get to #37 in my Spotify Top 100 Songs to get to a song sung by a dude (”Weather With You” by Crowded House), and down to #44 before you get to a song in the mainstream of Classic Rock (”Goin’ To California” by Led Zeppelin.) 

So I ain’t kiddin’. I love classic rock. I still think that 1971 is Classic Rock’s Classic Year. But my god, there’s so much to hear! 

Okay, enough for now. I’m having an absolute blast listening to music these days, and Spotify is a huge part of the reason why. If you’ve got a few extra shekels a month, Premium is TOTALLY worth it – higher than CD quality (enable in Settings), no commercials, download tracks when you don’t want to stream, etc etc.

More important, if you’re on Spotify, LET ME KNOW. Either DM me here, or DM me there. Let’s be mutuals! I’ve got hundreds of playlists to share (don’t worry – plenty are classic rock!) and I’d love to see what you’re listening to.

And if you’re on Spotify, consider yourself officially tagged by me! Share! How many minutes? Top artists? Top songs? We want to know!

And thanks again to @wholelottaplant for inviting me along on her ride!

do you get a notification if your post is flag…

do you get a notification if your post is flagged as explicit? i'm afraid mine can be somehow flagged too

A notification would sure be nice! No, I’ve just discovered past posts of mine marked Sensitive because I’m obsessive about looking through my archive. LOL I like revisiting old favorites, and I love seeing interactions in the notes and tags. It’s weird, but not one of the posts that tumblr had falgged has had ANY nudity. And sure, Robert, Freddie, David, Mick – I’ve got a ton of shirtless dudes on my blog, but those aren’t the ones getting flagged. It’s Ozzy in a tutu. What? It’s like tubmlr can’t tell what a safe-for-work picture of arms looks like or something.

hey !!!!! quick question: do u take requests? …

hey !!!!! quick question: do u take requests? like would it be possible for u to find some cream pics? ty v much :)))))

Always happy to take requests! 

I do have a few Cream pics, which you can find tagged here: ….although taking a look just now reminds me that I’ve only posted a handful in the past year. 

While I’m off looking for some fresh ones that haven’t already been widely posted, here’s one I just found on Jack Bruce’s Facebook page! He’s definitely my favorite member of Cream, and I hadn’t seen this one before. Hopefully it’s new to you too! 🙂

I can’t promise how quickly I’ll find something, but stay tuned!

(And to all the other lovely souls who’ve sent me recent Asks: replies to follow soon for you too!)

Your new favorite Queen song: “LET ME IN YOUR …

Your new favorite Queen song: “LET ME IN YOUR HEART AGAIN” (2014)

Okay, well it’s MY new favorite Queen song anyway. 

Like practically everyone else in the classic rock fandom, the movie Bohemian Rhapsody (for all its many, many flaws) both rekindled and elevated every bit of love I’ve had for these boys and their music since I first heard “Killer Queen” in 1974. 

And I don’t mean to suggest that any new song can replace the favorites that you’ve carried with you for years, but goddammit, that’s exactly what’s happened to me. I’ve been spent hours every day listening to Queen for weeks now, and easily a quarter of that has been this song on repeat.

A lovely Brian May composition from 1983 intended for Freddie’s voice (and for inclusion on The Works in 1984), the fact is that Brian overreached a bit, and Freddie wasn’t happy with his ability to sing it. Even after Brian rewrote it several times to make it easier for Fred to sing, it was eventually shelved, unfinished, until Brian resurrected it as one of three new tracks for the 2014 anthology Queen Forever. The others are….okay. This song, though, really does stand up with the greatest ballads they ever recorded.

Brian pieced together several of Freddie’s vocal tracks, both lead and backing, and he and Roger added additional background vocals for this release. Roger confessed that he had no recollection of the song whatsoever, and no real idea of why they shelved it. [x]


There had been an earlier version that Brian helped his wife Anita Dobson record in 1988 with different lyrics, and with a new guitar part. There’s also a 2014 William Orbit remix that’s worth your time, if only because it has quite a bit of extra footage, and a lovely vocal reprise to extend the length to 7 minutes….but Freddie’s vocals are mixed way too far back for my taste. The one below is the version you want.

Freddie’s vocal is both aching and soaring, if also a little more overdriven than what he would likely have sung for the final mix – but it really works to underscore the passion of Brian’s lyric.

When people talk of love, I’ll lead the conversation
I’ll say I feel just fine, happy with my situation

But when I look away, ha! People know my mind is straying
To where I once belonged, dreaming about your heart again

Lovely piano from Fred Mandel (who also played on Freddie’s Mr. Bad Guy in 1985) and one of John Deacon’s most melodic basslines lay a strong foundation for what ultimately becomes one of Queen’s most musically direct and emotionally intimate performances. 

You’ll see quite a few familiar shots from other Queen music videos here, but there’s also quite a bit of previously unseen footage from Budapest on The Works tour following this recording in 1984. It makes for a moving trip in a time machine to a video very much like one Queen might have made for this song over 30 years ago.

Do note that I’ve used a couple of grabs from the video of Freddie, because I swear you’ve never had such a good look into his eyes before, but fear not. The rest of the boys are there, and there’s a lot of wit and energy in the video, as well as mighty drumming from Roger and towering choral guitar from Brian. It’s everything you love about Queen the balladeers, and then some.



Someone: Hey you like The Beatles right?


My Halloween costume: balding middle-aged assh…

My Halloween costume: balding middle-aged asshole who only wears band shirts and won’t cut his hair. 

I think David Bowie and all those crazy bands …

I think David Bowie and all those crazy bands in the 70s tried too hard to stick out. Why couldn't they just be chill and play? I guess I just don't like all the commotion.

It does not matter that you posted as Anon. David Bowie knows who you are.


You cannot hide from his love for you, or his plan for your life.


I posted this right after I heard that they bu…

I posted this right after I heard that they buried Tom, and I was crying so much I couldn’t even write anything about it. It’s taken me days later, until his birthday, to reckon with the fact that THIS video is what forced me, and finally allowed me, to say good-bye. 

It’s a gorgeous, powerfully delicate acoustic reframing of my favorite song of his, “Learning to Fly”, with a soaring piano interlude from Benmont Tench as Tom dances to the lip of the stage, and backing vocals from Stevie Nicks, with a look on her face that makes clear that no force in heaven or on earth could have stopped her from standing in this place, in this moment, arms lifted, heart singing. Finally, Tom opens his arms to the crowd and invites them (and us) to join in.

(godammit, no, I’M not crying again. YOU’RE crying.)

One of the things that always made me fond of him is that, as much as any artist in the game, he stayed a member of the fandom. Yeah, he was a star, and he embraced it, but he was also a fan. He took at much pleasure from being with Stevie, Bob, George, Jeff, Roy, Prince, and everyone else he played with that you or I would have. It amazed and delighted him.

He didn’t always keep his roles as rock star and rock fan perfectly balanced, and he had deep conflicts in his relationship to his own work as a result. That too was part of his charm. Being a rock and roller may have come naturally, he may have been incapable of doing anything else, been driven to create – but none of it ever came all that easily, and he was unfailingly honest about that.

I had my own mixed feelings about this or that part of his career, but none of that matters now. I’m glad to have shared 40 years of being a fan of a lot of the same folks with him. I’m glad to have a reason to remember that in addition to parts of his work that I enjoy, there’s some that I deeply treasure. Like this beautiful performance of this beautiful song. 

“I’ll fly over my worries, fly over my troubles, one day”: a prayer, a promise, a benediction, a kiss good-bye.