Water has finally found it’s own level in the Rock n Roll world! Ted Nugent is touring with REO Speedwagon and Styx! I suppose it should come as no surprise, as Tommy Shaw of Styx was in Damn Yankees with Nugent, but the point I’m making, is that as much as The Nuge has the Motor City Madman image, he’s really more at home with bands from the Midwest who sing in high voices, like REO and Styx! The Nuge is bottom billed, and here’s why.
The Nuge is a great guitar player, but in my opinion, is not a much bigger star because of the quality of his songwriting, which is not really very good, with a few notable exceptions! One of the most memorable shows I’ve ever seen was Damn Yankees at a private party at The China Club in Manhattan, where they performed a series of Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones, and Beatles tunes. Awesome show! I’ve seen The Nuge on his own, and nothing came close to that show! Why? Songwriting! He showed me he’s a great guitar player, but he also showed me he’s not a songwriter!
Now, “Journey to the Center of your Mind”, the second Amboy Dukes single, (and their only hit), was written by Nugent and The Dukes’ other guitarist, Steve Farmer, and that is a great song! It shows that Farmer and Nugent could have been a great songwriting team, in the style of Lennon and McCartney, where one brings the pop and one brings the rock, and the combination somehow results in the best of both worlds! But apparently, Farmer and Nugent couldn’t get on the same wavelength, and the group broke up in 1973. Other than “Journey to the Center of your Mind”, most of the Dukes material was written by Farmer!
Anyway, enough about The Nuge, who, according to his own statements, will soon be dead or in jail, as he famously stated in 2012 that if President Obama is re-elected, he will be dead or in jail within a year! Bet you didn’t know that about The Nuge! I wonder if the FBI or Secret Service felt the need to investigate that! Haven’t heard anything about it!
In other news, The Rolling Stones, who are great songwriters, just announced 18 more dates for their 50th Anniversary Tour. New York got theirs already, so there are no New York shows! The closest they’ll come is Boston and Philadelphia! If you want tickets, you’ll have to cash in your retirement account. Top price is close to $1000 and premium packages range from $1200 to $2000! And that’s for ONE ticket, not a pair! Having seen them at the height of their career many times, you will not ever find me paying that kind of money to see a band in the twilight of their career! But, if you’ve never seen them, and you’ve got the dough, this will probably be your last chance! How do you top a 50th anniversary tour?
Okay, I’m way past my deadline, so let’s get to the live music picks, so this column can make it into the paper this week.
Wednesday, April 17 – Tonight marks the third night of Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s nine night FURTHER tour at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. Tour continues here this weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), and next week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).
The amazing ANA POPOVIC is at Iridium in Manhattan for a CD release party. Ana is a Yugoslavian born guitarist who has played with everyone, won dozens of awards, and is one of the most amazing female guitarists ever, and just amazing, period! You need to check her out!
Friday, April 19 – FURTHER continues, but if you can’t snag a ticket to the sold out shows, there’s a lot more going on this weekend than just Further! One of the many Masters of the Telecaster, ARLEN ROTH, is at The Falcon in Marlborough, and in the city, ANA POPOVIC returns to The Iridium, and in a real blast from the past, UNCLE FLOYD makes a super rare appearance at The Cutting Room! Uncle Floyd was a wacky comedian who had his own TV show years ago. He masqueraded as a children’s show, but was really aiming his show at adults, along the lines of Soupy Sales or Pee Wee Herman. But what really set Uncle Floyd’s show apart, was that he had every cutting edge rock and punk band in New York on as guests! The Ramones, Madonna, Bon Jovi, and many others were guests, before they were famous, and Uncle Floyd, whose real name is Floyd Vivino, and who is guitarist Jimmy Vivino’s brother, counted John Lennon and David Bowie among his many fans! I have no idea what he’ll be doing at this appearance, but whatever it is, it should be worth the price of admission!
Saturday, April 20 – One of the best and unique singers around, IRIS DEMENT, is at Club Helsinki tonight! Once you hear Iris, you’ll never forget her! Her voice is totally unique, in the same way Levon’s is. If you’re anywhere near Hudson tonight, just go to this! You won’t regret it! I’m not gonna mention every FURTHER show again, but they are playing all week, and the dates are listed in the first posting for Wednesday, April 17.
Sunday, April 21 – The very funny KATHY GRIFFIN is at UPAC in Kingston tonight, and the very amazing JUNIOR BROWN is at City Winery. When Brown played in Woodstock a couple of years ago, every guitar player in town was in attendance, with their jaws on the floor!
Monday, April 22 – Woodstock’s own CINDY CASHDOLLAR is at The Iridium with The Les Paul Trio, and the great old school soul singer, RYAN SHAW, is at The Cutting Room, both in Manhattan.
Wednesday, April 24 – FLEETWOOD MAC reunion at The Prudential Center in Newark, the fabulous RYAN MONTBLEAU BAND at The Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, and FOUR GENERATIONS OF MILES, featuring former Miles Davis sidemen, JIMMY COBB, SONNY FORTUNE, BUSTER WILLIAMS, and MIKE STERN, begins a three night run at Iridium.
Thursday, April 25 – The phenomenally versatile and talented guitarist, KAKI KING is at the very intimate Mercury Lounge in Manhattan tonight. Kaki’s accomplishments are too numerous to list here, but check out her Wikipedia page or her own website for a full bio, music clips, etc.
Also tonight, in a super rare appearance, the multi-talented JOHN SIMON pulls into Joe’s Pub in Manhattan! John is a songwriter, piano player, and producer, who is best known for producing The Band’s first two albums, but his discography is endless. As producer, he also worked with Janis Joplin (Cheap Thrills), Leonard Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel, Blood Sweat and Tears (first album), and the great Bobby Charles! As piano player, he worked with Clapton, Muddy, Howling Wolf, Dave Mason, and more! In other capacities, he worked with Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John,Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, etc. Get the picture? If anyone was a sixth member of The Band, it was John! Check him out at www.johnsimonmusic.net.
Well, that wraps up another week. Have a good one!
Fred Perry is the owner of Reservoir Music Center on Route 28 in Kingston, and founding member of Alt-Country supergroup, The Brooklyn Cowboys, is from a 3rd generation musical family and lives in the Hudson Valley, where he does what he can to promote live music.