Tag Archives: vH-1

Blast From The Past: Badfinger

So I got a little nostalgic this week. Sue me!

It happens whenever you start moving and refiling albums and you slow to a crawl because you read the liner notes, slap an old favorite onto the player, get lost in the moment. So forgive the back to back memory posts.

I remember thinking – like many did – that Badfinger was another Beatle prank. Surely “Come And Get It” was Paul, probably playing all the parts, trying to balance the scales because he wasn’t really dead. But no, Badfinger was a real band, and a great one. and tragic beyond words.

The BBC disc that came out years later really gave a nice glimpse into what was and what might have been, and were the rock graveyard not littered with so many casualties, maybe the current generation would look back and realize how much was lost. But Badfinger is likely just a footnote in the current scene; even older fans have had their pain numbed enough to cast them aside.

Not me. Here’s a review from that archive disc from 2000

Culled from two concerts at pivotal points in their career, BBC is remarkable in that the obvious hit singles are nowhere to be found. Instead, listeners will be surprised at just how talented Pete Ham and Joey Molland were as guitar players. Both shows were recorded at the Paris Theatre in London, with seven tracks from each included (along with “Come And Get It” from a 1970 show on Top Of The Pops as a bonus track).

The first half of the disc features two shimmering acoustic numbers in “We’re For The Dark” and “Sweet Tuesday Morning,” which are counterbalanced against two Dave Mason covers(!). Badfinger as…jam band? You bet. “Only You Know And I Know” and “Feelin’ Alright” get a serious thrashing, the latter track a nine minute indulgence of funk, soul and harmonic pop. Kicking off the set with a rocking rendition of “Better Days,” and arguably at the height of their popularity, the band is confident and tight.

The second show, recorded fourteen months later (October 1973) finds the band in their post-Apple, pre-Warner Brothers era. Although continuing to feature strong harmonies and solid musicianship, Badfinger dabbled in harder, more guitar oriented rock and roll. Look no further than the two versions of “Suitcase” – in 1972 it chugged along, but the 1973 version is far more powerful. “Constitution” boasts some blistering axe work complete with wah-wah workout, and this live version of “I Can’t Take It” might be the most intense track the band ever recorded.

At the time, new songs like “Matted Spam” showed a taste of things to come…or so we thought. Tragically, Pete Ham took his life only a year and a half later, and eight years later, Tom Evans followed. Those not familiar with the band would be well advised to pick up “Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger“; author Dan Matovina also wrote the liner notes for this release. Later this year, VH-1 will also recall their tale with an episode of “Behind The Music.”

Fuel 2000 has plans to mine the vaults and release or reissue many classic titles from the BBC vaults. In tandem with the King Biscuit releases, a new generation can finally savor what the elders among us enjoyed (and took for granted) as a weekly staple of our rock and roll lives.

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Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Thanks to another recently converted-to-region free DVD player, I’ve been catching up on some great comedy from across the Big Pond. Although most of my also-converted money has been going for stand-up comedy shows, I’ve also been loading up on some bargains on comic panel shows like Mock The Week, 8 out of 10 Cats and an old favorite, Never Mind The Buzzcocks. In 2009, an excellent DVD was released featuring clips from the show’s lengthy run under recent host Simon Amstell with great featurettes and gag reels.

Amstell is a cocky, cheek host who (depending on which year’s hairstyle) looks like a cross between Michael Cera and a pre-weightlifting Carrot Top. The irreverent panel show features a host and two teams of comics and pop culture stars, many of whom are complete unknowns stateside but household words there, like longtime team captain Bill Bailey, Jack Dee, Frank Skinner, Catherine Tate, Frankie Boyle and Martin Freeman. Of course many pop culture celebrities would appear as guests to take the piss out of themselves and others, most of whom got into the spirit of the event, although when they didn’t (I’m talking to you, Lemmy!) that could be fun as well. Many appear on this DVD; two of the funniest are Russell Brand and Amy Winehouse, albeit for opposite reasons.

I first heard of the show years ago and tuned in because I thought it was actually about The Buzzcocks, one of the finest bands of the late 70s punk pop movement. (The show did get its title by mixing  the band name and the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks). Although initially disappointed, I was soon swept up into the pulse of the show, which ranges from good sarcastic fun to sheer lunacy. Pop culture cows are gutted and nothing – and no one – is sacred. My younger daughter is a fan of the show, and this holiday we skipped the usual Sci-Fi marathons to watch every minute of this great collection.

Is there a Doctor in the house?

I used to watch the show on occasion as various cable packages over the years were sketchy on what UK programming might be included in the package. Perhaps like Monty Python and Benny Hill, it was the PBS station to the rescue once again. (Yet another reason to support their annual fund-raising drive when the envelopes arrive in December!) As with many successful UK shows, eventually the US tries to copy it. Hard to believe that I not only forgot that this happened with Buzzcocks, but also that the host of the US version was one of my favorites, Marc Maron. (The show lasted one season on vH-1.)

Some households gorge on college football during the Thanksgiving holidays.

I’ll take comedy every time.

The show’sWiki page and list of episodes.

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Stand Up Wit…The Jim Florentine Roast

Earlier this month, a group of comedians assembled in NYC to roast comic Jim Florentine, an occasion that became a bittersweet experience. The event was originally supposed to feature Greg Giraldo, perhaps the most devastating roaster of our era, whose shocking death numbed the comedy community. The event was then changed to a benefit to raise money for a fund for his three children. When I saw Rich Vos in October he mentioned that he had been tapped to host and I’m sure the loss of his close friend resonated through his nervous preparation for the event.

But comedy is  a tool of release, and it became quickly apparent that nothing was sacred that night. And I’m sure Giraldo and the late Robert Schimmel wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

The array of comics delivered in spades, no balls were left unbroken and a large sum was raised to donate to the Giraldo Children’s Fund (readers who wish to make a donation can do so via Paypal). Comics included Vos, Jim Norton, Otto and George, Reverend Bob Levy, Bonnie McFarlane, Jesse Joyce, Joe Matarese and Don Jamieson, one of Jim’s co-hosts on vH-1’s The Metal Show.

Kudos to Patrick Milligan and Cringe Humor for hosting such a great event and then being generous enough to share the event with the rest of us. Although there are no plans to release the show on DVD at this point, you can still savor a lot of what went down that night. Needless to say, it’s NSFW – even the text could burn a hole in your corporate firewall.

Click here to read a detailed recap of the roast.

Click here to watch selected videos on YouTube.

 Cringe Humor website.



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Pop Quiz

So you think you know your music? Obsure stuff, minor hits, garage classic, pop one-offs, rarities? Watch Pop-Up Video on vH-1 and say “I knew that“?

Like brain teasers, too, but bored with Sudoku  and crossword puzzles? Disappointed that Rock’n’Roll Jeopardy never made it as a successful series? Not carpooling with friends who play “name that tune”?

Midnight Rambler, host of the Sons Of The Dolls music blog, has a cool contest going. Download a mixtape (okay, it’s a mix disc…technically it’s a mix file!) and see if you can identify the artists and songs. There are twenty-one tracks in Volume One of Jump In My Car…how many can you name? There’s an email link on his page for your submission, so start clicking, and good luck!

Accessories not included with base model.
Accessories not included with this base model.

From the notes posted along with the links, it appears this is the first in a series of mystery mixes he’ll post this year. He started this one on April 29th and will post the results this week (tentatively April 6th), so if you want to play along, click on this link, scroll down and download the mix. (Most gents will also be downloading that artwork as well. Maybe some of you ladies, too.)

There’s no prize beyond the satisfaction that you know your stuff. And hey, even if you don’t…is listening to a good mix such a bad way to start the week? I’ll even give you a blatant clue  to track one…now you only have twenty to go. It’s challenging and it’s fun…good luck!

(UPDATE MAY 7th…Complete solution here. I got 15 of 21 right – artist and title – but that wasn’t good enough to win)

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