Random Notes

Exiles in Prague

October 21, 2009

Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rock ‘n’ roll music isn’t important anymore.  I mean—it’s not really important.  It’s nearly irrelevant.  Download a song, a bunch of ones and zeroes for a buck.  (Do people know the names of the tunes or just the playlist number? ‘Play number five!’) It isn’t changing the world; wars are […]


October 20, 2009

Yeah, all those new Beatle reissues have been out on the street for a while now.  I bought some.  And I’ve been asked what differences there were with these new discs.  Like a lot of folks, I’m pretty skeptical when I hear those people with golden ears talk about how this instrument or that amplifier […]

A strange black light…

February 3, 2009

Sway by Zachary Lazar It’s just that demon life has got you in its sway. (M. Jagger/K. Richards, 1971) It’s become conventional wisdom to accept the notion that the 60’s officially ended at Altamont—the free concert near San Francisco in December of 1969 that resulted in the deaths of at least four people. In Zachary […]

Dizzy, Bird and Jack

January 28, 2009

Third set at the Onyx Club on 52nd street, two in the morning on a winter’s night in New York, 1947 or maybe ‘48. It’s a little smoky jazz club and to some there, the music is chaotic, bewildering—stuff that sounds nothing like swing, the music of the Thirties or the War. But the hipsters […]

Rip this joint…

December 13, 2008

In 1972, the Rolling Stones, about to begin a larger than life, full-blown rock and roll journey across America, released what became one of their most important records—Exile on Main Street.  A mythic American landscape unreels in the music, like a deafening low-flying crop duster veering from one end of the continent to the other, […]