Tag Archives: guitar

Você pode ajudar os Dead Kennedys? : Can you help the Dead Kennedys?

 

This is a message from West Coast punk legends The Dead Kennedys. TAM lost their guitar cases in Brazil so I’ve got the message here in English and Portuguese to see if anyone has any information…

——-

On Saturday April 20, Klaus Flouride and East Bay Ray’s guitar cases were lost by TAM Airlines in Brazil on their flight from Sao Paulo to Recife. We would like to ask anyone in Brazil that might work at TAM Airlines or know someone who does to help us find the two guitar cases. One is a SKB bass case and the other is a Gator double guitar case. Here is a photo of them. If you have any information, please message us here. Thank you.

No sábado 20 de abril, os cases de guitarra de Klaus Flouride e East Bay Ray foram perdidos pela TAM quando os músicos viajavam de São Paulo para Recife. Gostaríamos de pedir a alguém no Brasil que trabalhe na TAM, ou conheça alguém que trabalhe lá, que nos ajude a encontrar os dois cases. Um deles é um baixo SKB e o outro é um case de guitarra dupla Gator. Aqui está uma foto dos dois. Se você tiver qualquer informação, por favor mande uma mensagem para nós aqui. Obrigado.

Dead Kennedys

 

Photo by The Dead Kennedys

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Rodrigo y Gabriela live in London

I was at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday night to see Rodrigo y Gabriela. I saw them three years ago supporting Muse at Wembley stadium, and I was impressed, but in such a cavernous arena and as the first of several support acts, it was always going to be hard for them.

But in a smaller venue, and as the headline act, they were stunning. A friend of mine saw them recently and he was seriously impressed, even though he had never heard of them before the show. I can understand why. Not only are they incredibly talented guitarists, they are friendly, approachable, charming with their on-stage banter – even in slightly broken English – and not just your average run-of-the-mill Latin guitarists. These guys seriously know how to play, but also how to charm an audience.

After performing two songs, Rodrigo announced that this was the setlist finished for the evening. They now had no fixed plan and would play whatever songs felt right, or whatever the crowd called for. Immediately a shout went out from the crowd and the duo responded. It was a fantastic way to organise the show, and with 5 nights this week in London it would be possible to come and see them several times in a week with the show feeling fresh each time.

Their diverse influences even take in a significant amount of metal, and Rodrigo performed a long solo cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ with breaks from the main riff to take in some Slayer, Metallica, Pantera… etc… all on acoustic guitar.

Alex Skolnick (of thrash legends Testament) provides the support and is worth arriving early for – he also joined Rodrigo and Gabriela for a song featuring two acoustic and one electric guitars…

Including tonight, they are in London for three more shows. Make sure you see them because this is the last tour before a long rest and recording the next album…

Feeder @ Shepherd's Bush Oct 28 2010

Elvis Costello at Meltdown

Elvis Costello played a solo gig last night as a guest of Richard Thompson (of Fairport Convention fame) who is curating this years Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre in London. The gig was at the Royal Festival hall on father’s day and Elvis had brought his own dad along to the gig, though Ross is now in his 80s and not doing a lot of singing himself.

It was a stripped-down gig with a bare set, just guitars and amps littered the stage. There was no formal announcement at the start, Elvis just walked out and launched into ’45’ without even saying hello. He did get chatty after a couple of songs and enjoyed a fair bit of banter with the audience – the crowd was not shy in calling out requests.

Elvis did quite a bit of off-mic singing, which works nicely in a theatre like this. For one song he just dispensed with a mic for the entire song and sat on the edge of the stage – yet everyone could still hear.

Elvis Costello 'Meltdown'

These stripped down gigs can work really well and expose how great the song-writing is, or they can can unmask some shaky tunes that really need a bit of noise to work. Fortunately Elvis’s songs really shine in this form. When he did his classic cover of ‘Good year for the roses’ it felt so perfect I wanted to capture those few minutes, bottle them up, and publish them online immediately as a masterclass in music.

He played two guitar pieces simultaneously for ‘Watching the detectives’ by using sampled loops and closed the gig with a foot-stomping ‘(What’s so funny ’bout) peace love and understanding’ that had the audience on their feet cheering for more, taking in the melancholy of Shipbuilding along the way. Towards the end, Richard Thompson came on stage and provided lead electric guitar to Elvis’s rhythm for a few songs.

Elvis Costello really is a national treasure. He is one of our most significant artists in music of all genres and at Meltdown he once again demonstrated this with songs from right across his career.

He never showed up at his own after-show party, though I assume that’s because his dad was in the audience and family came first… until the next Elvis gig!

Elvis Costello Setlist

Lock them up and throw away the key or intervene?

Last night, at the Prince Charles Cinema in London, there was the first central London screening of a new documentary, Breaking Rocks, directed by Alan Miles.

The documentary explains how the Jail Guitar Doors project, created by Billy Bragg in 2007, started and what they have achieved with the programme since it launched.

Jail Guitar Doors is an independent initiative which aims to provide instruments to those who are using music as a means of achieving the rehabilitation of prison inmates. JGD takes its name from the b-side of the 1978 Clash single Clash City Rockers.

Giving musical instruments to prisoners serving time is a controversial initiative. It’s not something the right-wing media will be too happy about, but the statistics on reoffending speak for themselves. Of course, the stats vary for different types of offence and prison regime, but in general if a criminal has been imprisoned, they are more than 50% likely to come back once released. This figure is significantly reduced if the prisoner has been involved in a music education programme.

The idea of giving them a guitar and showing them how to use it is not aimed at creating an army of ex-con James Blunts… what an awful thought. It’s because the guys who start learning guitar while in jail show a demonstrable increase in self-esteem and self-awareness. Just by learning something new they suddenly get the power to resist a lot of the peer pressure culture associated with drugs, and it makes them realise they can play a role in a normal society.

The challenge to the guys who are given the guitars is to show that they can come out and stay out. The guitar unlocks the realisation that they can learn and they can do something useful.

One of the main criticisms of prison education programmes like this is that prison is supposed to be about retribution and punishment. Locking these guys up and letting them rot. The issue with that attitude is that they will come out at some point. Guys doing a 3-year stretch for drugs will be back out on the streets soon, and with no idea what to do, of course they will turn back to the same life they had before coming inside.

The simple act of teaching someone to play the guitar can (and has) shown people that there is another life out there that doesn’t involve drugs, nicking from people, violence, and ultimately returning to jail.

The film is very well shot. It’s an exciting and interesting documentary, explaining the issues as well as the history of JGD. After the film screening in London, the film director Alan Miles and Billy Bragg himself did a Q&A session in person. And after the talk, there was some music. Not only Billy doing a few songs, but two ex-cons who learned to play guitar and write songs because of Jail Guitar Doors.

Take a look at some of their stuff here:

Billy Bragg does Redemption Song

Billy Bragg does April Fool’s Day – song written in a workshop with prisoners

Leon Walker, JGD graduate

Jonny Neesom, JGD graduate

For more information about the Jail Guitar Doors initiative, take a look at the website here…