Howdy y’all! Last week I was remiss in my duties. A very important show flew under my radar. Even though I knew about it and had been looking forward to it for weeks, I forgot to recommend it in this column. The show in question was Python Soup at The Bearsville Theater. A supergroup of sorts, Python Soup is nonetheless a showcase for the percussive talents of drummer Simon Phillips. That said, I would be doubly remiss if I didn’t say that the great Don Byron was mind blowing on clarinet, bass clarinet, and saxophone, and Scott Petito anchored the entire shebang beautifully on stand up and electric bass. David Spinozza threw in some tasty licks on guitar, and Pete Levin layered the music with lovely keyboard work. But, for me, as a drummer, and even for the non-drummers in attendance, it was mostly about the unbelievable stick work of Phillips! The man is simply and definitely one of the greatest drummers in the world today!
Simon Phillips first came to my attention as the drummer on the great “801 Live” album, recorded with Brian Eno and Phil Manzanara. The album opens with a cover of The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”, which they abbreviated to “TNK”. It is an almost entirely different song, although still very recognizable. The beat that Phillips laid down for this song is truly remarkable, and I never get tired of listening to it! That opening track opened my eyes to the talents of Simon Phillips and put him on the map as one of the premier top level drummers in the world! Take a listen to it. It’s amazing, and stands with The Beatles version as an equal!
I didn’t know at the time, but this was Phillips first credited appearance on record. I was probably familiar with his name as a session musician, so didn’t realize that this was actually his debut! And what a debut it was! After that, Phillips went on to play with a who’s who of A list musicians, including all of Pete Townsend’s solo work, Jeff Beck, The Who, David Gilmour, and many others. When Toto drummer, Jeff Porcaro, died suddenly as the band was preparing to go on tour, Phillips was the only drummer they considered to replace Porcaro, and went so far as to say that if Simon couldn’t do it, they would not tour!
So, I stood right behind the drums and hung on every note! Phillips’ playing is so inventive, creative, complex, and powerful, that my attention was riveted for the entire evening! I loved to watch as Phillips easily switched between leading with his right hand and his left, not an easy feat for a drummer, and one that very few drummers can do successfully! And what a sweet man! This was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a very long time, and certainly the most musical. The only thing that compared, recently, was The Grandmothers of Invention, who I also heartily recommend!
Simon Phillips, drummer extraordinaire! Don Byron, master of eclectic horns! Scott Petito, rock solid anchor! David Spinozza, (who by the way, has recorded with John Lennon AND Paul McCartney, AND Paul Simon, AND Dr. John, and, and, and… just about everyone), tasty fretmaster! And Pete Levin, fillin’ in the space on keys! Like I said, a supergroup! Catch ‘em if you can! Python Soup!
Then Friday rolled around, and it was time for my own band, The Cheating Hearts, to play some alt-erd Country and Rock & Roll at Keegan Ales in Kingston. They came, we played, we rocked, and a splendid time was had by all! Any venues desiring this style of music, we’re available! Contact me at Reservoir Music.
I just surfed over to The Rolling Stones website to give a listen to their new single, “Doom and Gloom”, and I have to say, it’s probably the best thing they’ve done in a dog’s age! The song is a rockin’ riff machine that references images from their best work in the 60’s and 70’s! While there, I also found out that a new documentary is about to be released. Titled “Crossfire Hurricane”, it chronicles the first 50 years of the band’s career. The trailer is on the website, and it looked really cool! Look for it soon at your neighborhood theaters. And in more Stones’ news, The Museum of Modern Art is planning a 50 year Stones’ retrospective that will run from November 15th through December 2nd, featuring all of the well known Stones’ cinematic endeavors, but also some lesser known and rarely seen films like 1965’s “Charlie is my Darling” and 1969’s “The Stones in the Park”, featuring footage from their live Hyde park concert that year! The website is a great resource and all of the details about this and everything else Rolling Stones are to be found there. Stop by for a visit and check out the new single. www.rollingstones.com.
By the time this column appears, I will have done my third appearance on John Madeo’s Little Delaware Jamboree radio show, broadcast over 91.3, WIOX FM, and also online at www.wioxradio.org. This is really turning into a fun gig for me, and I hope you’ll tune in, log on, or stream it to your phone, Ipod, or whatever you’ve got. It’s every other Monday at around 8:30 PM. Next show will be October 29.
Well, I suppose I’ve rambled on long enough. Let’s get to the live music picks.
Wow! This is shaping up to be an awesome week! Take advantage of it and go hear some live music!
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.