Drummer Carmine Appice believes the roots of heavy music — the bruising rock that predated Led Zeppelin — boil down to four bands: Cream, The Who, Jimi Hendrix Experience and his first band, Vanilla Fudge.
“Fudge set the precedent for American bands,” he said in a recent phone interview. “Hendrix was considered English even though he was from here.”
At the core of each group was a solid rhythm section. Vanilla Fudge had Appice and bassist Tim Bogert. Their slowed down, throbbing cover of the Surpremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” hit the pop charts in summer 1967. When the group broke up in 1970, Appice and Bogert formed Cactus, and later played in Beck, Bogert & Appice with guitar hero Jeff Beck.
Complications from a motorcycle accident forced Bogert to retire from music in 2010, but Appice continues to tour with versions of both Cactus and Vanilla Fudge. The latter perform Sept. 22 at Tupelo Music Hall; the reconstituted Fudge appears at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury, Mass., Oct. 14.
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There’s a squabble on Facebook regarding a newspaper story (not one of mine) that compares the LaconiaFest debacle to the demise of Granite State Music Fest, which didn’t happen this year – it would have been number four. There’s a world of difference between the two events, but that’s not what prompts me to blog tonight. A subset of the discussion asked what effect the failure of GSMF or LaconiaFest has on the local music scene.
The answer: none. Concord is a creative hub that’s giving the Seacoast a run for its money in the arts leader department. This weekend’s Market Days Festival, the subject of my current Hippo feature, offers ample proof. Music all day in Bicentennial Square adjourns to Penuche’s Ale House at 10 p.m. and goes until closing time. All original, all awesome. Bands like The Grebes, People Skills and Pat & the Hats can be found every weekend downtown (and at the Camp n Jam festival in early July), not just the ones promoted by merchant associations. This is a scene that’s in it for the long haul.
I wrote a cover story for this week’s Hippo that is a deep dive into New Hampshire’s comedy scene. There’s a lot of movement, particularly at Shaskeen Pub in downtown Manchester, where the backroom Wednesday night shows frequently attract big names from Comedy Central, SNL, Comedy Bang Bang another cutting edge places.
There are more rooms offering bigger acts more frequently. I love writing about comedy; it may be my favorite art form, because it can’t be faked. You’re either funny or you aren’t – there’s no auto-tune for humor. A long list of comics and promoters talked for the story. If you like my writing on this subject, here are few more stories I’ve done over the years:
W. Kamau Bell
This week, check out my big story on how a group of local musicians contributed to Godsmack front man Sully Erna’s solo album. There’s also an interview with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann where he talks about his new band 7 Walker. Click on the cover picture on the home page to read a story about roots songwriter Brendan Hogan, who performs at Boynton’s Taproom on December 17, the regular Nite Roundup feature, and Angel Roy’s story catching up with 90’s one hit wonders Crash Test Dummies.
Sully and Mama
The Rezidudes don’t want to change music, just rearrange it. A cover band, but not the kind typically hired for weddings, they like to give familiar songs “a swift kick in the ass,” says the band’s rhythm guitarist, Kevin Cornish.
“If you’re 25 to 30 and on up, you inherently know all the words — we just do them Rezidudes style,” Cornish says.
The band is putting the finishing touches on A Beat Off, their second album. Among the songs receiving the double-timed drums and hyper-caffeinated guitar treatment are “Hotel California,” “My Favorite Things” and The Beatles’ “All My Loving.” Easy, fun targets all, but the album also includes selections that every rocker loves — “Fortunate Son,” “American Girl” — done straight up, albeit with the pedal pushed to the floor.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s eternal story
Trans-Siberian Orchestra built a career from turning it up to eleven; this winter’s tour is no exception. “It’s God-like — bigger, with more toys,” said band creator recently Paul O’Neill during a break in rehearsals. The tour stops in Manchester for two shows on Sunday, Nov. 7.
Michael Franti showers sunshine
Listening to the cheery music of Michael Franti and Spearhead, it’s hard to fathom that he once brought a hard edge and angry attitude to just about every word he spoke or sang. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Franti fronted the proto-punk/funk Beatnigs and the politically charged Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.
And Nite Roundup
Jandee Lee Porter – An old soul with new stories
When Jandee Lee Porter was a young girl in Charlestown, N.H., she’d sing along with her grandmother’s Patsy Cline records while the two baked cookies together. Porter insists her destiny became clear the first time she held a hairbrush and pretended it was a microphone.
“I have been on the stage since I was probably 3 or 4 years old,” she said recently from her new home in Boston, “and definitely it progressed to become something more substantial since I’ve gotten older.”
And Nite Roundup