The Glorious Corner
WEIGHT ONCE AGAIN — (Via Rolling Stone) Just when you think “The Weight” has reached peak exposure in the culture, Robbie Robertson’s 1968 song — and its original recording by the Band — always manages to stage a comeback. During the past five decades, it’s repeatedly popped up in soundtracks, from Easy Rider to The Big Chill to the recent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In 2019, an all-star remake featuring Robertson, Ringo Starr and musicians from around the world generated millions of views. And next week, a new Band box set will revive “The Weight” again, this time by way of an excavated live version.
Starting with Music From Big Pink, Robertson has started the process of digging through master tapes and archives of each of the Band’s albums in time for their five-decade anniversaries. This year, the time has come for an upgrade of their third LP, Stage Fright. A 50th-anniversary edition of the album, out February 12th, will include a new stereo mix of the album, a few alternate takes, and a collection of hotel-room jams featuring Robertson, bassist Rick Danko, and pianist-drummer Richard Manuel.
Also included is the never-before-released Live at Royal Albert Hall, June 1971, which carries additional significance. The previous time the Band had played at that austere venue, in 1966; they were known as the Hawks and were backing Bob Dylan on his controversial European tour. The last two shows of the tour took place at the hall, where, as at other shows, some in the audience were less than thrilled by the sound of Dylan backed by a plugged-in band — and let their frustrations be known by way of booing and yelling.
By 1971, though, things had changed: “The Hawks had been booed there last time out,” wrote Levon Helm in his memoir This Wheel’s on Fire. “Not this time. Take my word for it — pandemonium. They were on their feet and dancing from the first notes.”
Naturally, Live at Royal Albert Hall, June 1971, includes a version of “The Weight.” The song was also in the news last December when Dylan sold his song catalog to Universal Music Publishing for a reported $400 million — a deal that, to the bafflement of some, included all the original Band songs from Music From Big Pink. (The Band had signed with Dylan’s publishing company, Dwarf Music, back in 1968.) Robertson talks with RS about this new live recording and the current ownership status of “The Weight.”
What do you recall about that night at Royal Albert Hall?
“Everybody was on their game. And it was such a great relief to come back to Albert Hall from the last experience of playing with Bob there. [Laughs] When we played with Bob, we were on a ridiculous schedule on tour. I’m amazed that Bob, you know, could even pull it off physically. This time, the crowd was just over the top on enthusiasm and we were trying to give it back to them.”
The version of “The Weight” is pretty frisky.
“I just like the energy. The way we were playing that at that concert was something I’m so proud of. We just wanted to go out there and play, and play music as good as anybody. That was the job of the Band: to show up, get behind that instrument, and do magic. And hearing the Albert Hall concert now, after all these years, I say to myself, “Yeah, that’s it.” We also did it on the Rock of Ages shows at the Academy of Music and at “The Last Waltz.” We had these high points, and Albert Hall is definitely one of them right now.”
What made you decide to release the tape of the concert now?
“The show wasn’t well recorded. But [engineer] Bob Clearmountain worked on it. He separated things, technically and was able to really adjust the sound on it.”
Speaking of “The Weight,” when Universal announced it had bought Dylan’s song catalog two months ago, the deal included “The Weight.” It turned out he’s owned that song for decades.
“Right. They have the publishing on the songs from Music From Big Pink. But it comes back to the Band in a couple of years. So it wasn’t like Bob was able to sell my music. It reverts back. He sold everything of his. He couldn’t sell everything of mine.”
This new deal does include those Big Pink songs of yours, including “Chest Fever” and “To Kingdom Come.”
“The publishing part. Right.”
But you’re saying the publishing ownership will eventually return to you.
“Right. My whole catalog is with Universal. So I haven’t for a second thought, “Oh, my God, what are these people doing to me?” or “Where has it gone?” I’m part of that family. So it wasn’t upsetting at all. And I’m happy for Bob.”
When did you hear the Dylan deal was going down?
“I had heard from a mutual friend that it was in the works for a while. But, you know, whatever makes [Dylan] happy. And I certainly understand, seeing when some people pass away, like Prince or Tom Petty, and then the families are stuck with a mess and everybody hates one another and all of that shit. It’s not a bad idea to get this shit sorted out while you’re still around.”
Neil Young also just announced he was selling his songs, which surprised a lot of people. Did that startle you as well?
“No. It’s a different time now. All of us — we’re in a completely different stage of all these things. At one time, rule number one was you never sell your publishing. You never sell your songwriting. You never sell your record royalties. And that’s changed.”
“The times have changed. The music business has changed. So many elements of it that didn’t make sense before make perfect sense now. The business side of it makes sense now.”
Because people just aren’t buying physical product and the royalty income has dropped?
“Yeah, everything’s different.”
In light of the Dylan deal, are you concerned that Universal could use, say, “The Weight” in a commercial without your approval?
“No, I’m not concerned. Like I said, we know them. And they’re OK. And it’s just a couple of years, so I’m not sweating it.”
Did you ever consider buying that and the other Big Pink songs back from Dylan and Dwarf Music?
“Yeah, I did. But there were complications with what happened with Dwarf Music years ago, and it was part of things that were going on in his life. I’ve talked about it with them over the years. And Bob has always been great. Anytime anything came up, the phone would ring immediately and they would say, “What do you think about this?” And blah, blah, blah. So like I said, it’s not anything that keeps me awake at night at all.”
Back in 1994, Dylan okay-ed the use of “The Weight” in a Diet Coke ad.
“Really — Diet Coke? Well, they got some money. I don’t even remember that myself. I remember they wanted to use “The Weight” in the new Planet of the Apes movie. And I was like, “Really? Does that fit?” And they were saying, “Well, we’re going to send it to you and you can see.” And the movie was great and the usage of the song was great.”
So as long as the work is good, we’re all cool. Years ago, you would never allow anybody to ever use any of your music. Now, nah — I’m over it.”
SHORT TAKES — Those Jimi Hendrix-remembrances from Micky Dolenz (Hendrix opened up for The Monkess on their 1967 tour) are airing now on SiriusXM …
Celebrity scribe Mark Bego does the Billy Masters podcast today and the BBC on the life and career of Mary Wilson …
From SHOWBIZ 411 which gives raves to producer Richard Perry’s new bio Cloud Nine: Who is “You’re So Vain” about? Perry weighs in: “The final chapter of the “You’re So Vain” saga would not be complete without answering the question that continues to fascinate people forty-eight years later. I am still asked all the time who the song is about. Even when they are told the answer, it’s as if they don’t really want to know. They’d rather keep asking than put the matter to rest once and for all. It’s more exciting! Since it’s been revealed numerous times, I’ll take this opportunity to give my insider’s scoop: the person that the song is based on is really a composite of several men that Carly dated in the ’60s and early ’70s, but primarily, it’s about my good friend, Warren Beatty.” My goodness, can it really be 48 years since that song was a hit? Amazing. A perfect record for sure if there ever was one. Amazing … And, HAPPY BDAY to David John Oliver!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Sergio Kardenas; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Billy Masters; Jerry Church; Jane Blunkell; J.D. Belcher; William Schill; Cory Robbins; Coati Mundi; Brad LeBeau; Deb Caponetta; Barry Zelman; Eileen Roaman; Andrew Furhman; Mark Alpert; Alan Rothstein; and, CHIP!
WOODSTOCK COVER STARS — (Via Best Classic Bands) — Bobbi Ercoline’s name may not be familiar to most, but millions own her photograph: Bobbi, whose last name at the time was Kelly, and her then-boyfriend, Nick Ercoline, were huddled together under a quilt at the 1969 Woodstock festival when photographer Burk Uzzle snapped their picture. The couple, both then 20, were unaware that their photo had even been taken until several months later, when the three-LP Woodstock soundtrack album was released. They were among friends when they first realized the couple on the album cover was them.
“We were passing the jacket around when someone pointed out the staff with the orange and yellow butterfly,” Nick told AARP in 2019 for the organization’s magazine. “That belonged to Herbie, a guy from Huntington Beach, Calif. He was lost and having a bad trip, and we hooked arms with him until he was clear-headed. Then we saw the blanket. Oh my lord, that’s us!”
Bobbi and Nick only lasted one night at Woodstock, and never even got near the stage. They had given it their all trying to get to the festival, ditching their car when traffic became snarled and walking the final two miles. They spent most of their single day there on the hillside where the famous photo was taken.
Two years later, in 1971, they married. They remained together until Bobbi Ercoline’s death Saturday (March 18, 2023).
Nick posted the news on Facebook: “It’s with beyond great sadness that I tell my FB family and friends, that after 54 years of life together, of the death of my beautiful wife, Bobbi, last night surrounded by her family. She lived her life well, and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her. She lived by her saying, ‘Be kind.’ As a School Nurse she always championed the kids … ALWAYS! As a person, she always gave. ‘How much do you really need if you have all you need or want?’ So she gave and gave and gave. She didn’t deserve this past year’s nightmare, but she isn’t suffering from the physical pain anymore and that brings some comfort to us.”
We’ve spoken much over the years about how that Woodstock event was so cataclysmic – culturally; musically; and certainly philosophically. Elliot Tiber wrote beautifully about it in his first book Taking Woodstock – a classic if you’ve never read it.
They tried to re-create it in 1994 and though it was good, it just didn’t have that magical flavor of the first one. I wasn’t at either, but as you can imagine, music from that 1969 concert still lives passionately today. I was, however, at Live Aid and that was my Woodstock for sure.
Not to get too poetic, but I came across a great quote yesterday: It’s worth being older now, to have been young then.
SHORT TAKES — Derek & The Dominoes Bobby Whitlock on Jim Gordon: “Carl Radle and Jim Gordon … Didn’t get any better than that. The only other alternative [for Derek and the Dominoes] was Jim Keltner. And that’s who should have been the guy and who was supposed to be the guy. But it didn’t turn out that way. He was busy. The rhythm section of Carl and Jim propelled the songs we put together. Jim Gordon is the most musical drummer I ever heard. All of the drums were in tune. literally tuned to a key on the piano. Big kit. But Jim had this wonderful ability to interpret the nuances you could feel but not hear. Carl was solid as a rock. A downbeat player and right on it. So, we have Carl who is solid and down and Jim who is up and on it. So, it was perpetual motion” …
Do you remember “Vehicle” by The Idea of March back in 1970? It became the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history. A little-known fact is that 14 seconds of the completed master of “Vehicle” was accidentally erased in the recording studio, (primarily the guitar solo), and the missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take. The song reached #2 in Billboard, and #1 in Cashbox. The album “Vehicle” reached #55 nationally … Dolly Parton sings with Elton John on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” on her forthcoming rock ‘n roll album. I bet it’ll sound great, but how many covers of that song has there been? Maybe they should have picked a John/Taupin deep-cut like “Come Down In Time” or “Amoreena.” Just saying … Does the phrase DLYZECOMKIN mean anything to you?
Believe it or not, in one of those crazy-jumble games online, the phrase translates into Micky Dolenz. Crazy, right? See for yourself: https://invasion24.com/2023/03/19/daily-jumble-puzzle-answers-march-19-2023/
… Speaking of Dolenz, he departs Thursday on a Flower Power Cruise; then starts his Headquarters-tour on April 1 in Orlando …
Charles F. Rosenay does the Zach Martin Big Fat American Podcast next week, for his new release, The Book of Top 10 Beatles Lists (KIWI Publishing) … HAPPY BDAY Gia Ramsey!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Carol Geiser; Bob Meyerowitz; eYada; Andy Rosen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Haig; Terry Jastrow; Anthony Pomes; Mark Bego; Charles F. Rosenay; Bill Graham; Kip Cohen; Heather Moore; Charley Crespo; [Robert Miller; John Luongo; LIME; Carl Strube; Jen Ramos; and CHIP!
Carmine Appice and David Salidor
SIXX APPICE –— (Via Ultimate Clsssic Rock) Nikki Sixx spoke out against Carmine Appice’s claim that guitarist Mick Mars had been in dispute with his bandmates in the run-up to his retirement from Motley Crue. Mars’ departure was announced on the completion of their 2022 Stadium Tour, with John 5 named as his replacement soon afterwards. The official reason given was that Mars’ longterm illness had finally caught up with him – but in a recent interview, former Ozzy Osbourne and Vanilla Fudge drummer Appice suggested otherwise.
“[Mars] told me, ‘When I was on the Stadium Tour, I was not happy,’” Appice told Ultimate Guitar. “Basically, everything was on tape; it was all planned out and ultimately a lot of crap. … The truth is that everything has been weird for a while with Motley Crue… Mick told me that people that came to see it could tell that it was all pre-recorded and that everything was on tape.”
Appice added that Mars “would travel alone on a bus while the other guys flew everywhere,” and continued: “He said, ‘Man, these guys are pissing their money away, flying to every gig.’ They were all busy still trying to be rock stars, and Mick just wanted to play the music. … [T]here were a lot of disagreements. I think he was just done.” When Mars was told about Crue’s World Tour with Def Leppard, Appice claimed, the guitarist told his colleagues: “You can do it. I’m not going out with you for this.”
Earlier this week Sixx appeared to refer indirectly to Appice’s comments, tweeting: “Love how people talk FOR us without talking TO us. This is why the media has lost credibility. Obviously by printing BS they make money off of advertising and we’re not into that clickbait game. When the truth comes out it will be FROM us.”
But he was more direct during a Twitter Q&A session last night. “A washed up drummer trying to speak for us? And bottom feeder media running with it to make money off of lies? Welcome to the sad new world of LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME,” the bassist wrote.
He more or less repeated the same answer when asked: “Is what Carmine Appice said true?” Sixx replied: “A washed up drummer speaking for our band without any of the facts is as ridiculous as bottom feeder media running with stories without fact checking. When you hear the truth it will be from us.” He later commented: “It’s a funny money game.”
Crue will continue on the road through much of the year. Asked if 5’s status in the group was secure, Sixx stated: “Of course. He’s our guitar player. We have big plans.
Seems like there’s really a rumble in the metal-jungle. First off, I love these names … but, the name ‘Carmine Appice’ actually sounds pretty normal.
The metal world is a rough one for sure with fanzines named Blabbermouth; Louder Sound; Metal Edge; Metal Anarchy; Chaoszine; and Metal Injection. Remember, look before you leap!
SHORT TAKES — Growing up, every Sunday night was family-dinner night at the steak-eatery The Longhorn in Rockville Center, Long Island. Sure it was a long-time ago, but the memory survives (as does the memory of our favorite waiter Tomas). Did you know that Micky Dolenz’s father George, owner and operated a restaurant in the heart of the Sunset Strip called The Marquis? The always regal-Alison Martino did a terrific piece on it, check it out here: https://martinostimemachine.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-marquis-restaurant-once-located-on.html?m=1&mibextid=uc01c0&fbclid=IwAR3wCiU_sgRmpjqWGpda_mEHthrj7OS1UfLOVkvYdbfVP_d5Iz0fO-KZbUw
JIM GORDON RIP — If you’re a music fan, you know the name Jim Gordon well. Brilliant musician, part of the Wrecking Crew; Mad Dogs & Englishmen; Delaney & Bonnie; Derek & The Dominoes; Eric Clapton; George Harrison … dead at 77. I’m not going to go into the trouble he had, you can read it below in Variety’s terrific story, but suffice to say, he was an amazing musicianDid he do things that he shouldn’t have? Of course … as we all have. He had a most troubled road and hopefully is now at peace. His music will however, live on. Sad, sad story for sure.
Celebrity-scribe Mark Bego, who is working on a bio of Joe Cocker (for Yorkshire Publishing) had this to say: “Gordon brought a very professional edge to Joe Cocker and his still-gestating Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour. Gordon was one of three drummers on stage for that outrageous tour. Having been a member of The Wrecking Crew, Gordon, despite some head-scratching antics, helped give the rough-and-tumble troupe a much-needed degree of professionalism. However, Gordon began displaying a violent nature on that tour when he hauled off and punched Rita Coolidge in the face, one night after the show.”
Bego’s Cocker bio is provisionally set for release during the holidays.
GOTHAM — Gotham: The Fall and Rise of New York is an exciting exploration of New York City’s history and the legacy of its six mayors from 1966-2013. At the turn of a new century, learn how New York went from a failing city with over 2,200 murders, 93,000 violent robberies and over 500,000 annual felonies only to rise-up as America’s Greatest City.
Featuring twenty-six interviews, archival footage and re-enactments, Gotham puts viewers in the middle of the action exploring how a city turn-around happens.
New York City became what it is today through the blood, sweat, hard work, innovation, and creativity of a handful of heroes who were willing to challenge the status quo. Learn what they did and why it matters.
“We want the audience to get a historical sense of what was going on in New York during this tumultuous time,” said writer, director, and producer Matthew Taylor. “Through the courageous leadership and determination of many, the city was able to turn-around a common perception regarding crime in the area, which can serve as a blueprint on how to revitalize our great cities today.”
Featuring candid interviews with former NYC mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, and former NYPD commissioners Ray Kelly and William “Bill” Bratton, the film also features interviews with more than one dozen important figures who helped resurrect the city. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45EXpx2JDz8&t=2s
REVIVAL69 — (Via Deadline) Shout! Studios has acquired North American rights to the music documentary Revival69: The Concert That Rocked The World, about a historic happening that’s been called “the second most important event in rock & roll history.”
Ron Chapman directed the film, which held its U.S. premiere this week at SXSW in Austin, Texas, playing in the festival’s 24 Beats Per Second section. The documentary tells “the remarkable, behind-the-scenes story of how a little known, but life-altering music festival came together — against all odds,” according to a description of the film. “Young, scrappy concert promoter John Brower puts his life on the line (literally) to turn his failing Toronto Rock n Roll Revival into a one-day event… The festival united rock legends like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, and Gene Vincent, with The Doors, who were the biggest band in the world. But it was the 11th hour arrival of John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band that ignited a truly seminal moment for the 20,000 fans at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium.”
The film draws on rare behind-the-scenes material, as well as unreleased concert footage shot by D.A. Pennebaker, the vérité/direct cinema legend who directed the landmark Monterey Pop documentary.
“With its improbable backstory, incredible line-up and indelible D.A. Pennebaker footage, Ron’s wonderful film joins an elite group of unforgettable music documentaries that tell a great story while preserving a seminal moment in pop culture history, Shout has deep roots in the music business, so this was a very happy deal to do.” read a statement from the company.
The film draws on rare behind-the-scenes material, as well as unreleased concert footage shot by D.A. Pennebaker, the vérité/direct cinema legend who directed the landmark Monterey Pop documentary.
The second most important event in rock and roll history? Dunno about that, Bangladesh and Live AID sort of stand out a bit more. That said, interestingly enough, the packaging of the film in its box, looks a lot like Harrison’s show, so maybe its more of an intended subliminal message. In any event, it solidified Lennon’s full departure from The Beatles and his performance was extraordinary as usual. Definitely an integral part of rock history.
Here’s the trailer:
SHORT TAKES — Here’s the trailer for the forthcoming doc on Little Richard entitled I Am Everything. Looks fantastic.
Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411 reported that the Friar’s Club on 55th street in NYC is officially closed for now. https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/03/16/sad-obit-the-friars-club-is-padlocked-shut-closed-after-years-of-mismanagement-and-malfeasance-comes-end-of-era Sad. I spent many marvelous nights there as well as having numerous meals there – I always said they had the best chopped salad in town. 21’s gone; Tortilla Flats; Lucky Strike; China Grill … 3 of the 4 Palms, all gone now. New York’s a changed place now for certain … Great post by producer/manager John Luongo on the resurgence of vinyl. Check it out and BTW, he’s absolutely right: https://www.johnluongomusic.com/post/a-vinyl-countdown …
And, the long-awaited David Johansen movie, Personality Crisis is here (executive produced by Martin Scorsese). Check out the trailer: https://deadline.com/2023/03/david-johansen-personality-crisis-trailer-streaming-premiere-date-showtime-1235301450/
… RIP Lance Reddick from Fringe and Bosch … HAPPY BDAY Steve Garrin and Donna Dolenz!
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