R.I.P.: Russ Solomon

The founder of Tower Records. The sad part is that if he had not overextended, the company might not have had such a nosedive finish.

The happy part is that Tower Records taught me how excellent a huge record/music store could be. The Mass. Ave./Newbury St. intersection that included both a three-floor Tower and the lynch pin store of Newbury Comics were my happiest hunting grounds since I discovered Cheapo back before the Earth’s crust cooled. The “World Music” section of the San Francisco store was Heaven incarnated in a forest of racks. I still recall flipping through vinyl and jewel cases for hours with a simmering, dreamy excitement.


PS: I should add that the first time I went into the Tower in Berkeley (I think it was) there was an angry demonstration-line in front of it decrying “corporate music stores.” So I thought, well probably gonna be a Top 40 hellhole. No way. I recall I saw Rock of Ages by The Band, bright and early after release, and snatched it up and have loved it ever since. You protesters are full of the residue from vinyl that they used to dump in rivers.

End of an Era for Cuneiform

One of my all-time favorite labels.  Intelligent, experimental, all high-quality even on the rare occasion the music wasn’t my thing. Thanks to all — esp. ace publicist Joyce — for generous promotional material and enlightening sounds for many years.

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R&R Hall of Fame 2017 Pt. Two

Aw, nobody but dear Iago wants to play. Oh, well …


My votes were:

The Cars (who got in)

J. Geils Band (yeah, Bosstown loyalty, but also because they were the first band from this place that I can remember going crazy for)

MC5 (it was this or Link Wray — both suffer from not being familiar to young’uns)

The Meters

Sister Rosetta Tharp (my other score)


(Ooops — almost forgot …)

The outfit I would vote for last is Bon Jovi — never heard a moment that I didn’t think was a degredation of its sources.

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame 2017

Time to play this year’s Hall of Fame Game.

Here’s the (pre-selected) list of performers I had choose from — five selections.

Bon Jovi

Kate Bush

The Cars

Depeche Mode

Dire Straits


J. Geils Band

Judas Priest

LL Cool J


The Meters

Moody Blues


Rage Against the Machine

Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan

Nina Simone

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Link Wray

The Zombies

So … who did I vote for? (Hint: I got at least one selection into the Hall this time.) Bonus question: who on the list was I absolutely least likely to pick?


R.I.P.: Fred Cole

Lifelong incarnation of “indie spirit rock and roll.” I discovered him and Toody when they were playing a Pierced Arrows album at Rockin’ Rudy’s in Missoula and I asked “who in the hell is this dandy item?” It was some early version of Straight To the Heart that doesn’t look like the one you can get now. Loved it, but sat around in ignorance until I read this definitive presentation by Bob Xgau. The double-CD is clearly where to begin, but I wanna snatch up anything I can find by Fred and Toody.