Monday, April 30, 2012

Understanding Axl!

I am sure most music followers are aware of the situation that was between Guns and Roses and the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

While Slash and the boys are by far the popular side to join, I can’t help but looking at it from Axl’s perspective as well.

Axl actually made sense to me with a few points in his letter.

His first point was that Steven Adler was basically using this whole situation to further his own career. I agree. Steven Adler was very messed up on drugs for the past 18+ years. Addiction is a horrible thing and I feel for him in that regard, but he was definitely not selling many albums in this messed up state of mind. Not that I am aware of anyway. I think it is safe to say he never sold as many as GNR or Velvet Revolver.  Most people forgot who Steven Adler even was until a few years back when he showed up on one of those celebrity rehab or sober house shows. He was becoming better known as a drug addict than a drummer.

 I have not read very many interviews with Steven talking about the rock and roll hall of fame without speaking at length about his new “Adler” rock band which is going to be the “next big thing”. Do you think anybody would even know he was recording an album without this nomination? I’m sure he has fans but he definitely would have never gotten the exposure he is getting now.  Went to the other day and the first thing you could see was a big write up about Steven Adler. Well played Steven. You couldn’t buy better publicity. I good strategic move to get people to remember you are alive

I am not out to bash Steven directly. He is a great drummer, no question. As for an irreplaceable drummer? Not in my eyes. I’m sure there were hundreds of drummers who could have filled the bill if he was not available.

Besides the Steven Adler point. I can understand what Axl says about him accepting the award with his past band would take away from his current band. I know everyone wants to see the old band back together and for it to be the early nineties again, but he is absolutely right. He does not get along with the old band. It may not be for reasons we agree in but that is between him and them. GNR may not be what they were before, but the new lineup is still playing successful concerts, selling many tickets and albums.

I for one would have loved to see the original lineup of GNR play in Cleveland a few weeks back. I am not arguing that. I guess I just understood his point.

And for good measure (this being a vinyl record blog and all), here are some of my Guns ‘n’ Roses albums:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Love, Janis

 Just finished reading “Love Janis”.. Highly recommended for any fellow Janis Joplin fan!

Love, Janis - biography written by her sister Laura Joplin

This book was written by Janis’ sister Laura. So, it's definitely somebody who has some good credibility when it comes to discussing Janis’ life.. Seems so many artists have so many biographies contradicting themselves.. As a result, my primary focus of reading is autobiographies. HOWEVER, I got this for Christmas a few years back from my Mother-in-Law (thanks Nancy) and am very grateful that I did.. Because I probably never would have picked it up…

Lots of great photos included in this biography!

Within this biography there are many letters written from Janis Joplin to her family… When Janis did her initial run to San Francisco in the mid sixties she developed a speed addiction. At one point she weighed  a little more than 80 pounds and wore long sleeve shirts to cover all of her track marks. Because of her near certain death following this lifestyle, she moved back home to Texas and got herself clean and sober. She actually managed to stay this way for a year. Then she got called from some music personnel in San Francisco asking her to move back to be a singer.. She moved back and started up with Big Brother and the Holding Company.

At this point she started writing home frequently.. These letters really painted a nice picture of what the sixties must have been like in San Francisco.. All these great yet to be discovered artists playing in the area including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe and the Fish  and of course Janis’ own Big Brother and the Holding Company. All these Hippies living in the moment, taking LSD everyday as it was not even considered bad for you at this time.. Hell at this time (according to this biography) Doctors were using acid to get a better understanding of psychosis… this of course did not prove to be the greatest of ideas.. (enter Syd Barrett biography here)…

She stayed away from LSD, heroin, cocaine and other popular drugs for the most part (still socially but not dependent….. if that is even possible).. but took on the more socially acceptable drug of alcohol in its place.

Once Big Brother was signed to Columbia records they released probably their most well known album “Cheap Thrills”, this seems to be the turning point in Janis’ life and career. This album was very successful and put the band at an entire new level of success.. They went to New York and started doing some shows. Seemed to be at this point where fame started going to Janis’ head. She decided (or was talked into) to leave Big Brother and the Holding company to go solo. This, in my opinion, seemed to be a bad move on her part. She started having to manage her own musicians whereas in Big Brother they were all equal and voted on all their decisions.

Big Brother and the Holding Company - Cheap Thrills
One of my favorite album covers!

Back of the Cheap Thrills lp!

Being the leader put a lot more weight on her shoulders. This is when she started to get into drugs a little more seriously. She was taking heroin after her shows to help her come down from the adrenaline rush of playing live. She kicked the habit numerous times but always went back to it. I have read a lot of other books regarding addiction and she definitely wasn’t the biggest junkie of the sixties by any means but any heroin habit has proved to put a negative impact on the music I love so much.

Janis Joplin - I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama
This was recorded with the band (Kozmic Blues Band) Janis started when she left Big Brother. She felt her bandmates were to perfect of musicians for her.

Long story short, she took some heroin one night after recording and overdosed. She didn’t take any more than any other night, it was just a very strong batch of heroin. According to the book she always went to the same drug dealer who she trusted. This dealer had a chemist who would test the strength of the heroin before he sold it. The chemist was away and he sold some untested product that turned out to be four to ten times stronger than the average. Several other of the drug dealers' customers died the same weekend.

Very sad ending to a young girls life. She seemed like a very caring person. Always keeping in touch with her family no matter how much they disapproved of her lifestyle.. She made it big in a rock and roll period which was mostly dominated by males. And anyone who has heard her voice will never question why..

Janis was recording this album at the time of her death. This was with her third band which she was very happy with called Full Tilt Boogie Band.

Janis Joplin - Greatest Hits. A must have in any vinyl collection!

I really enjoyed this read. I always find it a little slow at the beginning stages of biographies.. stories of when they were kids and their family histories.. I know for most people this would be just as interesting but I seem to have a low attention span until they start talking about recording the records that I love so much.. But that’s just me.

If you pick it up and give this book a try I would love to hear your comments!



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Darcy Mazerolle!

Next up we have Darcy Mazerolle. He is brand new to collecting but his passion for music is uncomparable.

Aside from vinyl, Darcy has been playing music for his entire life. He has opened for bands as big as Brooks and Dunn and has played throughout the maritimes at pubs and headlined numerous of his own shows.

His songs can be heard on country radio across Canada.

I like to consider Darcy as one of my best friends and am proud to have him as my next interview!

Here we go!

Introduce yourself!

Name: Darcy Mazerolle     

City/Town:  Moncton, NB

Job:  Singer/Songwriter in limbo

Maritime Vinyl (MV) - What do you collect? Vinyl; CD’s; Cassettes; 8 tracks; bootlegs; music memorabilia; magazine; etc..

Darcy Mazerolle (DM) - I just recently started collecting vinyl.  I've had for some time an antique Shelbern turn table/radio that I have been wanting to fix (needs tubes) and a late 80's Panasonic turn table that seems to work quite well.  I had no intentions of starting a collection until you (Brad) gave me 2 autographed copies of Steve Earle's "Guitar Town" and "Exit 0" records.  My girlfriend then tracked down a Steve Earle "Copperhead Road" record in excellent condition and I figured the collecting had begun.

MV - Do you prefer one audio format more than others? (example: vinyl more than cd’s)

DM - Cd's are ok but I have most of my music collection on the iPhone and the rest on the iMac.  Digital definitely sounds great, but I am anxious to get set up properly with vinyl.  I don't have an amp or speakers for the turntable yet so its currently being played through my tv.  I have heard a real system in action though and it was an amazing sound.  So at this point in time, I love the sound of old records through the tv, but the digital would have to take it.

MV - What is your favourite genre of music? Some of your favourite artists?

DM - My favourite genre of music has changed over the years.  I used to love Country, but after exploring with Bluegrass, Punk, Jazz, Folk, Blues, and Rock, I would have to say my tastes fall into a more Folk/Jazz/Blues category. 

Some of my favourite artists are: Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, John Mayer, Chris Colepaugh, Justin Townes Earle, Weezer, Miles Davis, Matt Mayes, Neil Young, Bob Dylan.

MV - How big is your collection?

DM - At the moment I would say about 20 good pieces of vinyl.  Just starting folks! ;)

MV - Do you concentrate your collection on one or more artists in particular?

DM - Well, since the Steve Earle records started falling into my lap, I figured I would focus on trying to get the whole collection in vinyl.

MV - What is the first album you remember purchasing? Do you still have it?

DM - The first piece of vinyl I have ever purchased was about 5 years ago.  It was a double album, live version of Cheap Trick, and yes I still own it. 

MV - What is your favourite item in your collection?

DM - Again, I don't have a big collection yet, so I would have to say my 4 Steve Earle records. (I bought the Copperhead Road in a 45 the other day for a buck)

MV - Do you still actively collect or was this something you concentrated on in the past?

DM - Just getting started!

MV - What is your preferred way of adding to your collection? Shopping online? Flea Markets? Independent music stores? Etc… Any favourite store or websites?

DM - I lOVE flea markets and auctions.  I just love old stuff in general, so flea market and auctions are fun because you never know what you will find.

MV - How do you store your collection? Shelves? Boxes? Your attic?

DM - The Steve Earle records are currently hanging on my wall, but when I get settled into a house in the near future I will have a music room with "book shelf style" shelving to store them all.

MV - Does your significant other support your passion for music? Did you have to convince him/her?

DM - She's a great girl! She supports whatever it is I believe in and whatever makes me happy.  No convincing needed, just a long wait to find the right girl!

MV - Do you know any other collectors?

DM - That's a funny question coming from the collector who is interviewing me..

MV - You opened for some pretty big acts in the past few years.. One that really stands out in my memory is being one of the opening acts for Brooks and Dunn when they played Magnetic Hill in Moncton.. How did playing a show of this magnitude compare to other gigs.. (road crew, other artists back stage, big sound system, etc…)

DM - Well, I have always found that the more people are at a gig the less nervous I become, this was definitely the case.  I was allotted 30 minutes for my show, and it seemed like it went by in 30 seconds.  It was definitely a fast plug and play type of show, which was great!  I remember the standing about 15-20 feet away from everyone in the band and when the drums kicked in, it felt like someone was kicking me in the back.  When I talked or sang into the mic, I could hear my voice echoing off the side of the hill.  It was a pretty intense feeling when 42,000 people are screaming and all you can hear is a loud rumble.  Definitely a gig I will never forget!

2006 Country Rocks the Hill (Chris Colepaugh and I)

2006 Country Rocks the Hill (Mario Robichaud (my keyboardist) and I in front of Alan Jackson's Trucks)

Me in front of Brook's & Dunn's Peterbilts

Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) and I

MV - Most of the early shows you played was with a full backing band. You had some of the best country musicians the east coast has ever seen backing you up.. In the past few years it seems that you have been playing more shows solo. Do you prefer one method over the other?

DM - I love playing a show with a full band, however, the smaller gigs are easier and cheaper on expenses when I play solo. 

Performing at the 2006 ECMA Awards Show in Cape Breton, NS

2006 ECMA Award Show (Chris Colepaugh and I)

2006 ECMA Award Show (Danny Bourgeois on drums)

MV - I have known you literally my whole life and have noticed that you have broaden your taste to many different genres in the past decade.. When you were younger you seemed to be 90% country.. Now you seem about 30% country (correct me if I’m wrong).. We have had discussions on Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and other singer songwriters along those lines. Can you explain what seems to have drawn you closer to these artists..

DM - Well if you stripped my love affair with music down to the core, you will find that I am not an AMAZING guitarist, neither am I an OUTSTANDING singer, there are plenty of people around here that can leave me standing in the dust when it comes to playing and singing.  However, where my truest passion lies, and something I am 100% confident about, is my songwriting.  That being said, as I was getting older and my songwriting became more in depth, I started appreciating and admiring some of the greatest songwriters of all time; Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and of course Steve Earle.

One of my best friends and fellow musician's Mario Doiron and I performing at The Boulevard Pub in Miramichi, NB

MV - Who is your favourite artist?

DM - Do I really need to answer this at this point??

MV - What is it about Steve Earle that draws you to him more than any other?

DM - When I was younger, it was his rebellious, cool, carefree style.  Today, its his rebellious, cool, carefree style.  He's a man with the most powerful tool known to man (music), and he can write a song that can tear your heart out, change your views, respect everyone and make you want to change the world.  Music truly is more powerful than money, because its like a disease that can be spread to EVERYONE!! Young people, old people, rich people, poor people, no matter the race, the gender, what part of the world you live in…music is infectious and Steve uses it to its full potential.

MV - You have seen Steve Earle a few times live. Can you explain what that was like?

DM - I am not the type of guy who gets star struck.  If I run into most artist, its no big deal to me.  However, every time I see Steve in concert, or his buses parked outside, I get pretty damn excited.  I was 6 years old when I heard the Guitar Town album for the first time.  I had said to myself that day, this is what I want to do for a living.  I've been pursuing it ever since, and to see the guy who influenced me and my music so much over the years is sort of like meeting Jesus.  Ya know, you've heard about him and all the great things he's done your whole life, but if you finally met the guy it would be a pretty amazing feeling.  Not the same if you were to meet Judas or Luke or one of the boys.

MV - Where do you listen to most of your music? (Sitting at home, headphones while walking, in bed, while you eat… etc….)

DM - Well, to be honest with you, I have yet to find a place that I can call home.  I've always been bouncing around apartments, crashing on couches and of course living in my parents basement for periods of time.  We are talking about finally getting our own house in the near future and I will definitely try to have my own music room, for my guitars, records, computer, etc… But for now, its wherever I can, in the car, on the iPhone, at home when no one is home in the apt upstairs for me to annoy.

MV - What instruments do you play?

DM - I play guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, and a very limited piano (had a short Jerry Lee Lewis phase)

MV - Do you prefer one instrument over another?

DM - I love fooling around with them all, but nothing beats an acoustic guitar and a harmonica for me.

MV - What is drawing you to possibly starting a vinyl record collection?

DM - It was the 2 autographed Steve Earle records you gave me.

MV - How are you currently involved in music? (song writing, collecting, being a fan, performing…..)

DM - Currently I am sitting at home trying to get back into writing.  After the music career died down, I moved back home where I played solo gigs at the local pubs in Miramichi.  After a couple years of playing cover songs I grew tired of feeling like a jukebox.  I wanted to push my own songs, but there didn't really seem to be the market for it up home.  So I told myself on New Years Day of 2011, to put my guitar and music away for a whole year.  I did, and I am now working on getting back into the swing of things.  Not so much chasing the stage anymore, but as a songwriter.  I recently bought back the rights to DarcyMazerolle.Com and plan on pushing my music through the internet verses the stage.