Archives for category: Big Star

2010, Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Lucinda Willianms, Hayes’ parents.

September used to be back to school month, now that school starts early, September is not only when the CMA’s hit Nashville, but, when the world comes for Americana, Bluegrass and where Next Big Nashville morphed into Soundland and moved to October.

While Nashville may be known for the CMA’s , Eric Church and Taylor Swift, it is also known for what Rolling Stone called the “coolest music festival in the world”, The Americana Music Festival hits the city for the ultimate pub crawl from September 12th-15th.

Dan Baird with Brad, 2010, Cannery Ballroom, Stones Tribute

Past years have seen everybody from Don Was to Robert Plant to Nashville’s Own, Justin Townes Earle put on some great showcases.  Last years’ awards show mashed up Gregg Allman, Robert Plant with The Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars and Mumford and Sons (sorry, the name reminds me of Sanford and Son). In fact, it seemed like a hybrid MTV awards show where music mattered and all sugar pop was left at the end caps in Wal Mart.

This year proves to be no exception, some notable sets will be Memphis night at The Rutledge featuring sets by Jim Lauderdale and the Mississippi All-Stars, okay, yes, I’ll say it again, Jim Lauderdale and The Mississippi All-Stars also a late set featuring an all-star jam playing the music of Big Star.

For those with a traditional view of what is “Americana”, Corb Lund will be at Mercy Lounge this Wednesday followed by a tribute to the late Levon Helm. In fact the line-up seems to be all inclusive with The Wallflowers, Mindy Smith, Chris Scruggs, Rodney Crowell among others playing all over the place for several nights.

As far as Americana goes, the easiest party route is to hang between Mercy Lounge and The Cannery Ballroom with an occasional run to The Basement for some harder to find sets.

Don Was, photo – Brad Hardisty

The problem is, this year, there are some great line-ups at The Rutledge and the Station Inn that will make that shuttle route a little difficult and may necessitate borrowing somebody’s 20-speed bike to get around each night.

Peelander-Z at Exit/In, NBN 2010 – photo – Brad Hardisty

The awards show at the end of the event, always proves to be a magical evening at The Ryman. This year should be no different. I am rooting for Alabama Shakes in the Emerging Artist category as well as Jason Isbell (Alabama represent!) & The 400 Unit with Album of the Year, Here We Rest.

The Dillards, IBMA 2010, photo – Brad Hardisty

Not to be outdone, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Week runs from 24th-30th at, for convenience, The Nashville Convention Center and Renaissance Hotel. The IBMA Convention is not just about showcases, but, people are encouraged to carry around their guitars, fiddles, mandolins  and join in the jam sessions that run almost till the sun comes up every night.

You could say Ricky Skaggs is our local Bluegrass patron Saint, with yearly residencies at The Ryman and a new album, Music to My Ears coming out this month, but, there are many new young artists playing traditional bluegrass as well as pulling in some modern ideas and pre-war non-bluegrass styles.

This is the real rebellion. While the music industry is finding a million ways to make computers sing and dance and auto-tune any Disney character into stardom, both the Americana Music Festival and the IBMA World of Bluegrass celebrate real musicianship, communal collaboration and a reason for a Luthier to keep honing his skills in search of the perfect tone wood.

This recipe continues to build both communities with younger generations every year.

After all, how many times can the music business reinvent the 70’s and the 80’s?

Mike Farris hanging at Mercy Lounge, Americana 2010, photo – Brad Hardisty

So, while commercial Country is now going to be shown every week in the night time soap, Nashville, basically re-spinning the movie Country Strong, “Americana,” which can claim anything from pre-war anthems to Red Dirt scene country and Bluegrass, New Grass and all its modern heirs are really the new cool. These two celebrations are really the underground cool.

As far as Soundland? What happened? Well, it’s now on October 6th and after a peak year three years ago that featured major music business players talking about the next generation of music delivery and several days of new music, it is now one day down by the river with bands that already play Lollapalooza and other big festivals.

Wanda Jackson signing autographs at Mercy Lounge after Jack White produced album showcase, Americana 2010.

There are only a few locals, when Nashville could really do a Next Big Nashville with such a burgeoning Indie Rock and other type Music Scene, we get Soundland with just a couple of token Nashvillians, PUJOL and Nikki Lane.  I guess we are going for national respect and now start-ups like Secret Stages in Birmingham are filling in the gap. Can I just say…huh?

– Brad Hardisty, Nashviille, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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Don Rich on Tele with The Buckaroos

Eileen Sisk, in her recent biography of Buck Owens disclosed a good amount of information on how much The Buckaroos made working for the King of Bakersfield. It gave a lot of insight into the sacrifices that were made to be a Buckaroo.

Don Rich made $75 per week when he started to play with Buck. In addition to that, he was to turn over any money he made from outside jobs. Don and the other Buckaroos could make extra money by making a commission on concession sales. Don won many awards as a guitarist; in fact he won awards before Buck was recognized by Country Music associations. Don could have played on many sessions but opted to stay by Buck’s side even though the money was not that great. Buck and Don were a team much like  Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, but, only Buck saw the real money. He was really an employer. 

1960's Merle

In 1963, Merle Haggard was persuaded to take a cut in pay and play bass for Buck. Merle was making $150 per week playing Bakersfield Honky Tonks. Buck hired him to play Bass in his band for $75 per week.  Merle only lasted 2-3 weeks depending on who you talk to before quitting Buck’s band. During those three weeks Merle nicknamed the band The Buckaroos. Merle came up with the name for Buck’s band.

Even though the money was not that good, it was hard to turn down a chance to play in Buck’s band who at the time were considered probably the best in Country Music. Many sidemen today only earn about $200-$400 per week for dates at fairs or other steady venues.

It can be worse for an Indie Rock band. I recently went to a show at The Nick in Birmingham where a band I knew had traveled playing several Southern clubs got their share for the night, $34 after splitting the door with three other bands and the club Sound Engineer.

Early Ozzy, Black Sabbath Days

Ozzy, in his recent autobiography, tells how he never really saw money during his days in Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath was selling records and selling out shows yet rarely saw money. He learned from other members of the band that he could contact management and request a car like a Rolls Royce or something and it would be at the front door the next day. The car could then be sold and converted to cash in his pocket to use as he wished. Essentially, he was living as many bands did back then and that was on the management credit card, both literally and figuratively.

Even Elvis, who commanded big money, was at the mercy of his Manager Col. Tom Parker. At times, he would discuss getting out of his contract or not wanting to do certain concert dates or whatever only to be reminded how deeply in debt he was. In the early days, accounting and taxes were known to be above the heads of many artists and the business knowledge had by Management and Label Executives enabled them to use scare tactics to keep their roster in line.

Semisonic  drummer, Jacob Slichter, wrote a great autobiography from the journals that he kept during his fifteen minutes of fame called “So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star”. He not only went through how the music business worked in the 90’s but talked about how much money it took to have a number one record.  It took close to a million dollars when all was said and done in promotion to get the song “Closing Time” to number one. All the money it takes in promoting a band as well as the cost of touring including a bus that costs several thousand dollars each week eat into profits. In the end, most bands don’t see much unless things really hit big.

During the early days of  Van Halen things were kept lean to put money back into their show and work on becoming headliners. Eddie Van Halen was still living at home with his parents when he married Valerie Bertinelli according to her own book, “Losing It: and Gaining my Life Back One Pound at a Time”.  Even though he could have probably bought a house by the third album when he was dating Valerie it made life easier to keep a room at home with the parents.

When I was 16 I had the opportunity to meet Thin Lizzy on the “Johnny the Fox” tour. The song “The Boys are Back in Town” was a hit on the radio and they were out on tour opening for Queen who had a big album with “A Night at The Opera”. By the time they came to Fresno, California, Freddie Mercury was sick and Queen cancelled. Thin Lizzy became the headliner with Sammy Hagar brought in to open the show.

Hey Scott, so how much you make?

I was at sound check at Selland Arena and had the chance to hang and talk to guitarist, Scott Gorham. We talked about guitarists that he knew such as Ritchie Blackmore and how I was surprised he was from L.A. when I had expected an Irish or British accent. I had one big question since I was a guitar player that wanted to be in a twin lead rock band like Thin Lizzy, but, only played the occasional dances or talent shows with my garage band. How much did he make probably for the year? You know, he knew I was sincere and he was honest with me. He estimated about $24,000 per year. Back in 1976, that would be about $50,000 or so in today’s dollars. It was okay, but, I was expecting $100,000 or something.

In reality, the big payoff for some well-known names in the business did not happen until after years of solid work and paying lots of taxes.

Alex Chilton, Big Star days

What does that mean today especially for an indie act where you don’t want to look too big or be a sell out in the music business? It may mean adjusting one’s lifestyle in order to accommodate the need to create. At one time,   Alex Chilton , the cult hero behind The Box Tops and Big Star  was living in a tent on a friend’s property outside Memphis. He did find a home in New Orleans, but, after a lifetime worth of work he made enough to keep a modest lifestyle.

The music business may be whatever you are able to do yourself. The big labels don’t touch anything that doesn’t want to be developed by a Manager for the masses such as Kesha or Katy Perry. It’s entertainment, but, is it talent? Is it originality or is it a play developed for the artist to walk into? Most musician/songwriters don’t want to even go there as they write and record their music.

It remains to be seen how many musicians will be able to consider what they do as a career after free downloading has taken much of their livelihood. It is estimated that Nashville has lost about 60% of its songwriters due to illegal downloading. The Music Industry has lost jobs in the tens of thousands.

In a way, the clock has turned back to where a new “ Sun” records or other regional could end up making a big impression with innovation. A band, a cooperative or an entrepreneur with deep pockets and web know how could end up being the next big player. Ultimately, the music has to be interesting enough to get the listener to go look for it on the web.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Tim on guitar with The Lola-2002-Tokyo

Tim Boykin’s guitar playing and songwriting are ingrained in the history of the Birmingham Alabama music scene for the last 29 years.  The average Joe on the street may not have any idea who he is, but, if you had stepped into The Nick some night and heard Carnival Season in the mid 80’s or went to see Topper Price & The Upsetters in the 90’s, you would have seen one of the Incredibles.  A guitarists’ Guitarist.   Birmingham’s “Alex Chilton”.  A chameleon with a wide musical palette and the ability to execute any direction he wants to go.

Recently, with the release of Carnival Season “The Complete Recordings 1984-89”, he has now gone full circle. This was the beginning. I was able to find a copy at Charlemagne Records last weekend.  The music was easy to access because it immediately reminded me of The Replacements. Carnival Season was one of the first Indie Rock acts to travel in the 80’s to the outside world from Birmingham going as far as the West Coast and showing that Alabama had its own thing brewing.

I met Tim at The Nick sometime early in 2005 at one of the reunion gigs for one of his bands and I mean just one of his bands, The Shame Idols. I was totally impressed with his delivery and the music (think Big Star, The Byrds, the Beatles, The Replacements). The conversation developed into what bands we liked and I found out there was a lot of stuff that we both liked. One of which was The Flamin’ Groovies, of which Tim had done a Japanese only release of “Shake Some Action” with another band he had called The Lolas.

Lolas Something You Oughta Know Japanese Import

This is one busy musician with a history I probably would not have stumbled onto had I not lived in Birmingham at the time. Danny Everitt, local musician and front of house engineer at The Nick said Tim was his favorite guitarist and I shouldn’t miss an opportunity to see him play. This was a local legend and more importantly it was music with influences from bands in my own collection of The Replacements, Big Star, Raspberries, The Kinks,  Flamin’ Groovies or The Sweet.

Shame Idols, 2 original CD’s in the 90’s, new 2007 reunion disc

I was able to find a used copy of The Shame Idols, “I Got Time “at Charlemagne Records. Charlemagne Records in the Five Points area,  Southside of Birmingham is a little independent store where you could find local music and also ask questions when you were looking for stuff by locals. Luckily, Tim’s music was there.

The Lolas “Something You Oughta Know” was also there and it was a new copy.  Now this one really brought up the British Kinks thing. But, it was also its own thing. The music was stellar and the lyrics were written about anything you could imagine including “Tim’s Mom”, which I would take to be a tribute to his mother.

 I finally saw a version of The Lolas play on pure accident. My band had a practice space at a place called “The HOTel” pronounced “The Hot-L” in Birmingham. In the main area of this old industrial building just north of UAB was a wooden stage and open room. Local bands in Birmingham have spaces of all sizes on two levels rented out to practice at full volume night and day without any hassle from the Police or nosey neighbors. The stage also allows bands to either practice for a gig coming up, record with a large room to get a decent rock and roll recording or put on a show for some friends or a private party.

It was place known by even fewer people, mainly musicians and a few of their friends. Here was Tim all set up for a Lolas gig. The only one I got to hear, on The HOTel stage after band practice. He launched into a full set with a 3 piece version of The Lolas with about 30 of us in attendance. Incredible music that should be on The Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Best Albums of All Time” as well as “200 Best Guitarist of All Time” and “200 Best Rock Songwriters of All Time”.

Tim’s writing never disappoints.  Tim has MySpace pages for each of the bands and his own personal page of whatever he is brewing at his own studio. You can find Vinyl and CD’s of Carnival Season, The Shame Idols and The Lolas, but, it is not easy. I still need to find a copy of The Lolas “Silver Dollar Sunday”. I should have bought the copy at a now defunct CD Store in Homewood, Alabama while I had the chance.

The best starting point is Charlemagne Records in Birmingham, Alabama. Beyond that, you might find a used copy on Amazon.com,  Grimey’s in Nashville, Tennessee or Criminal Records in Atlanta, Georgia if you are lucky.

Tim has been involved with a shelf full of other projects in the last couple of years beyond the reunion gig of Carnival Season in 2007. Tim has been involved with both reunion gigs of Carnival Season, Lolas, Shame Idols as well as with other bands such as The Tim Boykin Blues Band, Slang, Annexed Asylum, Drivin and Cryin as well as some death metal projects flown in there. It is hard to pinpoint Tim because his influence and abilities are endless.  He can out do any power pop, indie rock, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani or Randy Rhoads wanna be. There is an upcoming show with Carnival Season at The Bottletree in Birmingham if you want to check it out.

Carnival Season, 1980’s Tim Boykin on Les Paul, cool Dean ML Bass

Model Citizen, Tim Boykin Produced “The Inner Fool” CD

Tim’s blues playing  can be heard on both of the Topper Price and The Upsetters recordings, “Nature” and “Long Way From Home” that can be found exclusively at Charlemagne Records. These are well worth the purchase. These are great recordings of the late Topper Price, one of the best examples of what Birmingham’s greatness is all about. Also, he currently jams with The Tim Boykin Blues Band that also features Matt Kimbrell on drums.

Tim also produced one of the best Indie CD’s to come out of the Birmingham scene, Model Citizen “The Inner Fool”. Good luck finding this recording. If you are like me and will hunt around for stuff that is worth the effort, you will not be disappointed.

Timmeh with Matt Kimbrell, Tim Boykin Blues Band

You can usually find Tim with his Blue Les Paul somewhere playing in Birmingham, but then again it could be any variety of guitar or amp depending on the tone needed for the night. If you want to improve your chops and live in the Birmingham area I recommend you take some lessons which he luckily does give at a reasonable rate.

Tim also owns Bushido Sound recording studio in Birmingham, Alabama and is available, to record or even Produce projects.

Tim has a full multiple careers worth of music that is worth searching out. Tim has managed to stay true to whatever limb he wants to go out on. He is indie to the core.

Discography:

Carnival Season                                                Misguided Promise Carnival Season Complete (1984-89) (2010)

The Barking Tribe. Serpent Go Home.(1991)

 Shame Idols                                      I Got Time (1995)

                                                                Rocket Cat (1998)

                                                                The Light Is Always On (2007)

(Recent search, all available at Amazon.com)

Jerry Guitar demo with Topper Price (1996)

 Lolas                                                     Shake Some Action (Japanese 7 inch 45 rpm vinyl only)

                                                                Silver Dollar Sunday

                                                                Something You Oughta Know

                                                                Ballerina Breakout (2006)

                                                                Let’s Rock, Rave and Shout with The Lolas! (Featuring a shot of Timmeh playing at The Nick with star spangled flag in the background)

(Recent search, found on Amazon, Something You Oughta Know, Ballerina Breakout and Let’s Rock, Rave and Shout with The Lolas! Japanese Import only and very expensive, but, well worth every penny)

Topper Price & The Upsetters    Nature

                                                                Long Way From Home

(Both are exclusively available at Charlemagne Records, Birmingham, Alabama)

Annexed Asylum                             Combustion (speed, death and other subgenre metal)

(Available on cdbaby.com)

Recommended cuts:

Carnival Season                                                Please Don’t Send Me To Heaven

                                                                                 Seems Alright

Shame Idols                                       I Got Time

                                                                Rocket Cat

                                                                My Star

Lolas                                                      Tim’s Mom

                                                                Dana The Chromium Girl

                                                                Plenty of Dogs                                  

Links:

www.myspace.com/timboykinbluesband

www.timmehworld.com

Timmeh World is the best place to go to link with all of his current projects.

www.myspace.com/annexedasylum

www.timmehworld.com/etherdogs/mp3/ether_dogs.html

www.myspace.com/shameidolsrock

www.myspace.com/lolasm18

On you tube:

Most videos uploaded by either reaperpro or wilsonbpw

Shame Idols – The Light is Always On (filmed at Cave 9 in Birmingham in 2007)

Carnival  Season – Feb 1989 – 01 – “Please Don’t  Send Me To Heaven”

Topper Price and The Upsetters at Sloss Furnace (1993)

Carnival Season:  Black Velvet Elvis

Tim Boykin Blues Band – Reconsider Baby (live) Featuring great shots of Sloss Furnace venue

and various photos of the band and historic Birmingham, Alabama.

Crazy Train – Slang live at AJs (Tim Boykin on guitar) Recorded May 14, 2010

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN