SALEM HORROR FEST, MORRISSEY 25 YEARS AGO & MORE
First, it may seem easy and obvious to have a horror festival in Salem in September & October, but it's hard to imagine any more exciting or thoughtfully planned than this first of (hopefully) many annual events, Salem Horror Fest. The festival looks at fear from a variety of viewpoints and examines subtext in horror films.
I can't begin to get into the depth of great guests, programming and amazing selection of films (including some that wouldn't traditionally be considered horror, but really are) like Cruising, an 80's Al Pacino flick that's rarely screened in theaters, with an incredible punk soundtrack.
Check out the full program here, and if you're on the fence about coming to Salem, consider that Metallica's Kirk Hammet is exhibiting his incredible collection of horror movie posters and memorabilia at the acclaimed Peabody Essex Museum.
In addition to the usual Haunted House and Seafaring events that typically take place in Salem every Fall, there's a lot of opportunity for new kinds of high-end thrills in Salem this year! I encourage you to take part so we get similar activity in the future!
Click on the image below for a link to the PEM's Hammett exhibit page.
ORPHEUM THEATER, SEPTEMBER 12, 1992
It was 25 Years Ago Today (he said again) that I saw Morrissey for the first time at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. It was the opening night of the "Your Arsenal" tour. YA is still my fave record he's ever done, including the Smiths catalog, probably because of the amazing arrangements by Mick Ronosn, who produced the album.
Gallon Drunk opened the show. They had recently become a Rykodisc act after Howie Klein called and told me the band had signed to Sire (Morrissey's label), but their new album wasn't going to be ready in time for Sire to get it out for the tour, and they needed someone fast and nimble who could get two older GD albums out before September 12th. I figured the tour would be enough marketing to sell sufficient copies of the albums to make the deal worthwhile (it did, but not spectacularly).
Since Morrissey had hand-picked Gallon Drunk as the opening act, I figured there was a good chance I might get an opportunity to meet the Man Himself and maybe talk some Bowie, and I lived in Minneapolis at the time, so I went over to the venue in the afternoon to say hi to Gallon Drunk, who acted like assholes. Instead of offering to buy them dinner as intended, I split the dressing room and hung around in the hallways of the backstage area hoping to run into S. Morrissey.
Sadly, no luck, so I went out in the street to meet up with my GF at the time. The crowd was spilling out into the bus lanes of Hennepin Avenue and there were clearly lots of people who'd flown in for the opening date ion the tour. Kids were crying everywhere, they were so excited. The whole situation felt very safe but highly volatile, at least emotionally.
The show was amazing. Well, the Morrissey show was - his band was incredible, way more rocking than the album, which was a surprise considering YA is one of his meatier recordings. The crowd was largely baffled by Gallon Drunk - no surprise, they were a difficult listen.
The kids had been going wild, jumping onstage and getting tossed off, a few of them connecting with Morrissey and dancing with him. Unfortunately, this only encouraged more fans to get onstage and the encore was interrupted by a massive stage invasion, which abruptly ended the show during "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful."
Top night out. Here's the setlist:
You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side
Girl Least Likely To
Certain People I Know
Sister I'm a Poet
The National Front Disco
November Spawned a Monster
Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference
My Insatiable One
We'll Let You Know
He Knows I'd Love to See Him
You're the One for Me, Fatty
Seasick, Yet Still Docked
We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful
(stage invasion, show ends abruptly)
I'm still holding off on news (how do people do this on the regular??) but I did want to let you know two things I'm very excited about:
1) My pals at the amazing Omnivore Recordings are having a SALE!
50% off all CDs, the superior format!
Does not include pre-orders, so don't add as-yet-unreleased titles to your cart or the order will be delayed & you won't get the discount (discount will show in your cart, not on the product page).
Titles include their new Chris Bell pre-Big Star collection, Raspberries Live, their amazing Big Star releases, Game Theory, Jellyfish, Bob Mould, The Muffs and many, many more - all loving curated!
GO GET 'EM!
2) In my view, the greatest rock band of the 21st Century was the LA band Tsar, who, like Big Star before them, were buried in history by record company shenanigans. Their Facebook page mysteriously hints at things to come, and there are rumors of Jeff Whalen issuing a solo album. If you heard my interview on Rock & Roll Geek Show (hit the link and find the Celebrating Bowie episode), you'll know I'm a huge fan (as is RnR Geek Michael Butler!) and if Whalen's album is anything near as great as the Tsar albums were, I expect it'll be my record of the decade.
Find them @rockgroupTsar on Facebook.
Finally, really, BIG ASS NEWS IS ON THE WAY!
Still on the brink of major announcements (some are only 5 years in the making), but in the meantime, I did an interview with "Always Never Yesterday" - an e-mail magazine about the future.
The subject of this issue (#10) is "Future-Proof" edited + curated by Ean McNamara, a talented artist who worked on the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "Coraline" amongst others.
We talk about Star Wars, the music business, audio formats, Capitol Record Shop, and (of course) David Bowie.
Amazingly, after the interview was completed, we discovered the interviewer is the son of friends from my Hartford days!
You can sign up to get the issue delivered to your e-mailbox when it's released later this month. Here's the link.
SO MUCH NEWS... BUT NOT QUITE YET
Wish I could divulge more, but after years of working on a variety of projects, it seems like they are all coming together at once - which is very exciting.
I'll be dropping clues here, but as my talented friend (and future collaborator) Butcher Billy says, "Find what you love and LET IT KILL YOU!"
Yours truly, ready to die doing what I love.
MY THANKS TO ALL WHO CAME OUT ON MARCH 12th TO THE PALACE DANBURY!
To be blunt, I was quite nervous about doing the presentation without a band for the first time. You guys were great and I must give special thanks to the staff of the Palace, especially the lovely Carol Spiegel!
I'll be talking about David's history and how he got happy again after a rough patch in the 80's based on conversations he and I had between 1990-1997. Also, I'll show some rare material, discuss the history of Rykodisc, and we'll have a Q&A!
Tickets available here or click on the image above.
Sunday afternoon, show at 3pm!
To all who came out for a very successful (300+) second show at Arlington's historic Regent Theater on March 3rd - you guys are the best, and I hope you enjoyed it!
The Daily Pravda killed playing Bowie classics and the Regent Staff was amazing! And we got to the Q&A and you guys had great questions! It was great meeting so many of you after the show.
NEW VIDEO FOR 'NO PLAN'
Keeping the mythology going from beyond....
Saturday Jan 7, 2017 at the REGENT THEATER, ARLINGTON, MA
Presentation by JEFF ROUGVIE
BOWIE MUSIC played by the DAILY PRAVDA
Join us as we celebrate one of our era’s most creative artists! This event will bring to life the magic of David Bowie, offering a first-hand glimpse of his uniquely-gifted and chameleon-like genius.
In 1989, Rykodisc, a tiny independent record label located on Pickering Wharf in Salem, Massachusetts, was hand-picked by David Bowie to curate his amazing body of work spanning 1969-1980, including classics like Space Oddity, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Young Americans, Low, Heroes, and Scary Monsters.
What followed then set a new standard for audio-visual presentation, re-affirmed David Bowie’s genius for a new generation and helped him rediscover his creative powers. One man behind the scenes in this amazing story was Jeff Rougvie, Rykodisc’s VP of Special Projects, who worked directly with Bowie on nearly 20 releases over 10 years.
During this special live event Rougvie will discuss the magic of Bowie using visuals, unseen material, accompanied by Boston’s own Daily Pravda, who will perform live versions of some of Bowie’s most memorable songs, followed by a Q&A session.
All tickets are reserved seating:
TICKET PRICE: $17.00 ALL SEATS
Get them here!
ABOUT THE REGENT:
Built in 1916, the historic Regent Theatre remains true to its roots as a vibrant vaudeville house. An intimate 500-seat performing arts center with superior acoustics and comfortable seating, "Arlington's Show Place of Entertainment" features live music concerts, theatre, dance events, family entertainment, comedy, film specials, and more.
Conveniently located just minutes from Cambridge and Boston, the Regent is MBTA and handicap accessible with free parking across the street (nights and weekends after 3pm on Saturday) and a variety of great restaurants and shops within easy walking distance.
The Regent is dedicated to bringing the highest quality events to the area, and while we are a community theater attracting audiences from Arlington and the surrounding towns of suburban Boston, we have a number of exclusive events throughout the year with nationally and internationally known performers-many of whom are bona fide legends.
LAST CHANCE TO ORDER LAZARUS VIA AMAZON PRIME & GET IT ON RELEASE DATE!
Order here - plus you get auto rip, so you can sell the sealed CD and still have the music!
BIG STAR: COMPLETE THIRD IS RELEASED FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14th
This long in-the-works, and impeccably executed 3 CD set is out on Friday!
Finally bringing together the sprawling sessions that led to Third, this box includes stunning music (much of it officially released for the first time), and many previously unseen pictures.
The booklet has stellar liner notes telling the story of this masterpiece from people who were there, along with reflections on the work by artists who were influenced by it. The many facets of Third are explored by musicians like John Stirratt, Ken Stringfellow, Pat Sansone, Steve Wynn, Peter Holsapple, Chris Stamey, Gary Louris, Mitch Easter, Susanna Hoffs, Debbi Peterson, and Mike Mills. I'm honored to be included among these legends.
If you're a fan of Big Star, power pop, or dissecting masterworks, this is a must-buy release. You can buy here and get it on day of release - why not?
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T GET BENT OUT OF SHAPE ABOUT "LEGACY"
In the wake of "Who Can I Be Now" and another hits compilation "Legacy", there's been a lot of grousing about the quality of the product. Not the music, mind you, the product.
My voice has been part of that chorus as I find it disingenuous to tell people "The Gouster" is an "unreleased album" in order to get them to buy a $125 box set without a scrap of unreleased music on it.
I recently responded to some friends on Facebook about the "Legacy" collection, coming just in time for Christmas. For what it's worth, here's what I said:
“One of the last truly prescient quotes from the man himself was this: "in X years copyright will be meaningless" - and he's not wrong.
Certainly all of these releases are sanctioned by either DB or the estate and, with the end of the rock era and people actually paying for music on the horizon, it's probably smart to make hay while the sun still shines.
There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to build as much wealth as possible in the wake of a passing. After all, if you were he, would you not want to provide for as many generations of future Bowies as you possibly could?
Refreshing greatest hits packages every few years is commonplace and this is the first since DB left us. This package isn't designed for hardcore fans, it's designed for the masses.That said, the marketing of these things as containing "new" material is deplorable, abusive of the fanbase and predatory, IMO.
A big part of the Ryko pitch to DB was to limit the number of compilations, especially in the wake of RCA's post "Lets Dance" cash-in comps. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into compiling "The Singles" and we outright rejected three comp ideas DB himself had proposed because I thought they were maybe good for the bank account in the short-term but bad for long term cred (ours and his).Even though I'd guess he was befuddled by that decision, I'm happy we held the line and I'm sure it has helped his legacy, but those were different times.
Remember, you don't HAVE to buy as much as you may feel ritualistically compelled.”
Thanks to everyone who came to the Gloucester, MA Bowie Event! Read about it on AXS Boston!
Check it out here
Here We Go Again: Talking About Bowie In Gloucester at Cape Ann Cinema & Stage on September 25th with the Daily Pravda!
I'm pleased to announce my next Bowie presentation on Sunday, Sept 25th at Gloucester, MA's prestigious Cape Ann Cinema & Stage, right above Mystery Train Records. I'll be accompanied by the Daily Pravda, who'll be playing Bowie songs for your pleasure and delight. The program will commence at 6:30 pm.
For those who came to my previous presentation in Salem, please note Gloucester will be considerably less Ryko-centric (although if there's time for a Q&A please feel free to ask any Ryko questions you like).
The presentation back in May was largely spurred not only by Bowie's death, but also because few folks remember Rykodisc anymore, never mind that it was right in Salem, a situation I thought should be rectified. That said, Ryko was briefly HQ'd in Gloucester, too, for about three years at the end of the 90's/early 00's. I'll give a dollar to anyone who attends and knows where the office was.
This time, the talk will be almost entirely about Bowie and I'll get into more of the career minutiae we didn't have tie for in May.
There will be specific discussion of his activities during the Ryko era (89-97) and the first public showing of a mock-up of a 4 CD unreleased Ziggy Stardust 25th Anniversary Box Set that never happened, amongst many other gems & witticisms, I'm sure.
To the turd in the punchbowl who griped about my swearing at the last program: I guarantee a similar amount of cursing (if not more) will ensue at this one.
August 15th, 2016: Big News for Big Fans of Big Star; Complete Third Sessions Box Set!
Honored to have been invited to contribute to the set by Omnivore Recordings. You can read more about it and listen to a track from the upcoming box right here.
August 8th, 2016: Malcolm Gladwell Is Out Of His Elvis Costello Idiot
Check out this piece on pseudo-intellectual Malcolm Gladwell's podcast, where he pontificates a theory on artist's methods, using an Elvis Costello song as an example, one that disproves his theory in the process. Oops! Find it on the Elvis Costello page in the "MORE ARTISTS" dropdown menu.
August 05, 2016: I Answer More Of Your Questions:
Planned Ryko Bonus Tracks
Steve Jones asks:
"i saw images of proposed additional tracks of Pin Ups and Space oddity(Salem may, 12 2016), can you reveal for me proposed additional tracks for Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and Young Americans , please?"
If you're Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols, yes.
Otherwise, I'm not sure how, if or when I'm going to be releasing more of the proposed Ryko tracks. Once I figure that out, I'll announce here. Sorry!
That said, it's often assumed we didn't know about tracks or didn't ask for them. The proposed track lists you've seen in pictures from my presentation were our wish lists, and we had to clear approvals with both David and Tony DeFries to include anything we were asking for.
It's logical David wouldn't want to release any more pre-76 tracks, because these would've then ended up in the pool of material generating revenue for Tony, so it's possible he wanted them kept under wraps. All that is water under the bridge now, but it certainly was an issue back then.
My Opinion of Sound + Vision 2004 Version
Since I get loads of question through the site, I thought it might be best to answer them here, as they are often of broad interest. Here we go:
"As an owner of a used copy of the last Ryko S+V (3disc and book) I was fascinated reading your blog about the backstory of how the set was compiled. I've shared your blog with several friends.
I'm wondering what you think of this latest release of S+V that adds a 4th disc with Tin Machine material. Perhaps you could add a new blog post sharing your thoughts."
I've touched on this before, but happy to recap.
In my view the original S+V encapsulates a very specific period that hangs together quite well, with a clear beginning and end. If we're honest, it's Bowie's greatest body of work.
Each disc in the set was designed to highlight an era and, as seamlessly as possible, follow a thread through the work. The idea is to show musical genre switching that may have seemed like jarring stylistic changes at the time are shown as logical progressions of work that came before.
Back in 2003, when EMI first rejiggered it into a 6x12" set with a fourth disc, the 3 CD Ryko version had been out of print for years, had never been released outside North America, and still included a bunch of otherwise unreleased music.
So there were plenty of good reasons for getting the set back into the marketplace, especially globally.
On the other hand, if you're going to do it, do it right.
If they'd expanded content within the years covered in the original S+V, that may have worked. But chopping the first three discs apart loses the graceful arc of the innocent intro to "Space Oddity" through the onstage killing of Ziggy and the Spiders. And from the first song on disc one to the last on disc three we don't end with Major Tom's (at the time) grand mystery solved.
Instead they tacked on songs from the deleted "Singles" 2-CD set, oddball "rarities" and less than stellar album tracks, ending with a live version of "Pallas Athena"? Because Thank God there are TWO versions of that song included, instead of something a little more interesting.
That said, Bowie's work post-"Scary Monsters" should be properly compiled and made digestible, I just think this was a shit attempt. Listen to everything from "Cat People" on and tell me if the programming shows any thought. I can't find the thread.
A better idea than expanding the first iteration would've been releasing "Sound + Vision 2" - maybe a 2 CD set that would represent the 80's (obviously there's much less 80's material than we had from the 70's), and then S+V 3 for the 90's and so on.
For the most part, I don't know exactly what the architects behind the post Ryko catalog handling were thinking or what challenges they faced. That said, I was told by people in the room that EMI was dead set against adding the Ryko bonus tracks (or any bonus tracks) to the initial re-re-releases of the individual albums, because they wanted fans to buy updated versions later.
To me, and I think a lot of fans, the handling of David's catalog by subsequent producers feels like an exercise in bean-counting and trainspotting; here's a remix, b-side or obscure edit that's never been compiled, tack it on here! It's all by the numbers, with no heart. The latest series of boxes is exactly the kind of taking advantage we promised NOT to do when we sold David on Rykodisc. I mean, "The Gouster"? How desperate and sad to use THAT as a tease to get fans to buy a $100+ set.
We got things wrong at Ryko (sometimes at DB's insistence!) but respect for the fans was at the top of our priority list. We rejected compilation ideas he had because they added nothing to the campaign and felt exploitative. I'm sure he was shocked by our refusal, but I think we did him and the fans a massive favor and I have no regrets.
PS: I see the reference to "S+V" as a teaser for the series is back again on Wikipedia, this time credited to me - when in fact, the link used to illustrate this point is me specifically denoting that S+V was NOT designed as a teaser. Fuck me.
Anyway, if you have questions, feel free to send them to me through the form on the contact page. I'll answer as I can.
GUNNING FOR HITS:
Here's the logo for my upcoming comic book. Design seem familiar?
On May 12th I gave a presentation at CinemaSalem about Bowie & Rykodisc - and the amazing Daily Pravda performed Bowie songs!
Thanks to everyone who came - I'll be doing it again this fall!
CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW TO READ A REVIEW!
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Jeff Rougvie is an American record label executive and founder, music consultant, IP expert, music expert witness in legal matters, music producer, DVD producer, artist, writer, publisher, toy & collectibles expert, DJ (who isn't?), music historian, and partner in Supermegabot, a company that produces & sells limited edition Compact Discs, Art Toys, Novelties & other collectibles.
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Jeff Rougvie c/o Supermegabot / 422 Lafayette St / Salem, MA 01970 / USA
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