There are some bands that you either love or you hate. Jane’s Addiction is one of them. I love them. But I also know many people who hate them. In fact, it is the very same reason for my loving them that is also the reason why some others hate them. That is, of course, Perry Farrell’s unconventional style of singing (he shrieks) and his voice, which I’ve read, being compared to a “banshee-in-a-wind-tunnel”. I have had companions forbidding me from playing any Jane’s Addiction albums at home on the stereo, forcing me to listen to those delightful brain-shredding shrieks on the earphones or headphones. Read more
I wish I had discovered Gil Scott-Heron at least 20 years before I heard him first, which was just last year. In March this year, I wrote about his most recent (and as it would turn out, last) album, I’m New Here, the first album he released after a hiatus of 16 years. Scott-Heron died on May 27. He was 62 and had just got back to the US from a tour in Europe. As a new fan, I was saddened by the news—as I imagine many others more fortunate to have heard him in the seventies, eighties and nineties would also have been. Scott-Heron was a poet and musician and many, including the stars of contemporary hip-hop and rap, think he was the progenitor of those genres. Shortly after his death, rapper and producer Lupe Fiasco wrote a touching poem on him and put it up on his website. Read more
Rick Grech’s violin solo on Sea of Joy is probably the reason why I keep going back to Blind Faith, the eponymous and only album by the 1968 British super-group that Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Grech formed. I am not sure whether they lasted together for a full year but that album has so many of my memories attached to it that I can’t even begin to tell you. I must have been just a bit older than the pubescent girl on that risqué and controversial album cover when I first heard Blind Faith. It came out in 1969. I must’ve heard it in 1973 in my friend Sujoy’s mezzanine den where we used to meet for our nefarious activities. It was a vinyl that we played on a rather robust record player that he had – believe me, it took all kinds of mishandling, including some that I would be embarrassed as hell to tell you.