Media, pop culture, news, trends, photos, rants + things we like.
Subscribe to Newsweek on the web.
Founding Devo guitarist Bob Casale died suddenly on February 17th of heart failure at age 61, reports Rolling Stone.
Here’s our Devo profile from the October 30, 1978 edition of Newsweek: "Devo’s Primal Pop" by Barbara Graustark.
Sad news via Rolling Stone: Founding Devo guitarist Bob Casale has died at age 61.
Jam out to a rousing mix of The Subways, Iggy Pop, and Skrillex as you countdown to Friday: http://bit.ly/1ipmF1i
(via The Resurgence of Vinyl)
The life of Jimi Hendrix, the American guitar hero who lived in London during the Swinging Sixties, was brief. After failing to leave much of a mark in America, playing in sessions with Little Richard and the Isley Brothers, he founded his own band, The Experience, in Britain and in three albums laid down and an indelible musical legacy, including his epic take on Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
In a new collection of Hendrix reminiscences, the guitarist looks back to the high days of the Sixties, when wearing military dress uniforms was the fashion and when the mere appearance of a colorfully draped tall Afro-haired American drew automatic attention from the British police.
People ask me whether I dress and do my hair like this just for effect, but it’s not true. This is me. I don’t like to be misunderstood by anything or anybody, so if I want to wear a red bandanna and turquoise slacks and if I want hair down to my ankles, well, that’s me.
All those photographs you might have seen of me in a tuxedo and a bow tie playing in Wilson Pickett’s backing group were me when I was shy, scared and afraid to be myself. I had my hair slicked back and my mind combed out. The jacket I’m wearing now is Royal Army Veterinary Corps, 1898 I believe. Very good year for uniforms.
The other night I was about half a block away from the Cromwellian Club, wearing this gear. Up comes this wagon with a blue light flashing, and about five or six policemen jump out at me. They look into my face real close and severe.
Then one of them points to my jacket and says, “That’s British, isn’t it?” So I said, “Yeah, I think it is.” And they frowned and all that bit, and they said, “You’re not supposed to be wearing that. Men fought and died in that uniform.”
The guy’s eyes were so bad he couldn’t read the little print on the badges. So I said, “What, in the Veterinary Corps? Anyway, I like uniforms. I wore one long enough in the United States Army.”
They said, “What? You trying to get smart with us? Show us your passport.” So we did all that bit too. I had to convince them that my accent was really American. Then they asked me what group I was with, and I said the Experience.
So they made fun of that as well and made cracks about roving minstrels. After they made a few more funnies and when they’d finally got their kicks, they said they didn’t want to see me with the gear on anymore, and they let me go.
Just as I was walking away one of them said, “Hey, you said you’re with the Experience. What are you experiencing?” I said, “Harassment” and took off as quick as I could.
Herbie Hancock and his Mwandishi-era band on French television in 1972, playing “Toys,” from Hancock’s 1968 album Speak Like a Child.
You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band by Bob Gluck is profiled by The Wire and on the Ottawa Citizen's Best of 2013 list for jazz lovers.
I spent last Friday hanging out with legendary record producer Rick Rubin at The Band’s old clubhouse in Malibu. He was just about to notch his second No. 1 album in a row: first Black Sabbath’s 13, then Kanye West’s Yeezus. We talked about those records, but we spent most of the day discussing the rest of his career—discovering LL Cool J, writing “Girls” with Ad-Rock, stalking Chuck D, convincing the Red Hot Chili Peppers to record “Under the Bridge,” running Columbia Records. Rubin was a marvel: wise, generous, and just really, really cool.
Here’s a short excerpt:
I know it’s an impossible question, but I’m going to ask it anyway, because you’ve helped create a lot of them: what makes a great song great?
I don’t think you can define what it is, but you know it when you hear it. It’s amazing that sometimes you might hear a song that, knowing what you know, won’t make sense—and yet it will still be great. There are songs that can transcend whatever genre limitations they have or style limitations they have.
So you don’t believe that, say, a great melody is necessarily part of a great song?
No, no. I think one of the things that really drew me to hip-hop was how you could get to this very minimal essence of a song—to a point where many people wouldn’t call it a song. My first credit was “Reduced by Rick Rubin.” That was on LL Cool J’s debut album,Radio. The goal was to be just vocals, a drum machine, and a little scratching. There’s very little going on.
Why was that so important to you?
There’s a tremendous power in using the least amount of information to get a point across.
Read the rest—all 5,000-plus words—in the latest digital issue of Newsweek.
He also hints at another Yeezus on the way….
It’s Bob Dylan’s world. We just live in it.