"We all inhabit this small planet...", JFK, June 10, 1963. ThisSmallPlanet is about life and culture, most often about music but also politics, nature, travel, and history. 'New Music Today' and 'Cool, New Music' feature the latest playlists and links to new music streams and downloads, selected music articles from our favorite sites, and original writing, photos, and videos.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks perform "Mother Of Pearl" by Roxy Music, Slim's, San Francisco, March 27, 2014. Video by Michael Donnelly for ThisSmallPlanet.com (P.S. Will there be a Pavement anniversary reunion tour in 2019?) Roxy Music is a 2019 nominee for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...
Roxy Music, Peel Session, 1972
In the 1970's and 80's, roxy music had a huge impact on glam, new wave, ART ROCk, and punk in their native england and beyond. Roxy Music is on the ballot for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Class of 2019. Fans can Vote for up to five artists Once a day until voting is closed. (DECEMBER UPDATE: FAN Voting is now closed) ThisSmallPlanet.com recommends: 1. ROXY MUSIC 2. MC5 3. TODD RUNDGREN 4. THE ZOMBIES
5. JOHN PRINE
THE OTHER NOMINEES FOR 2019 INCLUDE:
DEF LEPPARD, DEVO, JANET JACKSON, KRAFTWERK, LL COOL J, RADIOHEAD, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, STEVIE NICKS, THE CURE, AND RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN
YOU CAN VOTE HERE (FAN Voting is now Closed) Fan votes will be factored in with music industry votes to determine the "winners" for 2019. The top 5 of the 2019 fan vote: Def Leppard, stevie Nicks, Todd Rundgren, The Zombies, and The cure.
UPDATE (DECEMBER 13, 2018): THE 2019 NOMINEES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED. THEY ARE: THE CURE, DEF LEPPARD, JANET JACKSON, STEVIE NICKS, RADIOHEAD, ROXY MUSIC, THE ZOMBIES.
It's always a daunting task to re-create a song with monumental success as "Lovesong" by The Cure. The 1989 hit song which peaked at #2 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, was on the UK band's eighth studio album Disintegration which helped spin them into international alt-rock superstars. Fastfoward to today, LA indie rock/alt-country artist Brad Byrd releases his own rendition of the popular song today, and he shares his inspiration for the cover as well as what he's got planned for 2019...
As an artist in the indie rock/alt-country genre, what was your inspiration to cover the 90s alternative song, "Lovesong," by The Cure?
I was on recent trip to Big Bear, CA and I heard "Lovesong" on the radio, and it suddenly hit me that this might be an interesting track to cover and perhaps slow it down a little. I always have an ear out for songs like this. I grew up with The Cure, they were one of those bands that were the background soundtrack to my high school years.
Your songs have appeared in dozens of national film and television shows, including New Girl (FOX), American Housewife (ABC) and Keeping Up with the Kardashians (E!). Do you write songs with the intention of licensing them out? Or do you find your musical style is more appealing for music supervisors?
I just write songs and record them and hope for the best really. I don't get caught up in what would work better for film/tv placements. I'm telling my story through my songs, and if one of them gets selected for placement, then that's just an extra bonus really for me, I guess I've just been lucky to date.
How did you decide to start a music venue and artspace in your garage?
My mother-in-law came up with the idea, actually. My garage is my studio here in Highland Park, CA and I have the garage door open most of the time when I'm in there rehearsing, recording, and painting and people come by and hang out sometimes and listen and watch and check out the paintings. One day she (Martha) said, "Why don't you do shows in here and open it up to the public as an art gallery and performance space"? and boom..."The Garage" was born!
What's a typical Brad Byrd show like?
I try to keep it interesting with a mix of songs in my catalog that are both upbeat and intimate. I like my records and my shows to have a lot of dynamic range to them. So song choice is important. It can't all be the same tempo and key, ya know? I’m very grateful to have a killer backing band so that helps for the full band shows! I usually have paintings for sale along with other merch so it can get colorful. I think that adds a nice element to the live performance that you don't see all the time with most singer/songwriters.
With the upcoming release of your new album 2019, what else can we expect from Brad Byrd in the New Year?
Yeah, my fourth full length LP Phases will come out in late spring 2019 and I'm very excited. I had an amazing team help me produce this one, and I think the songs and the sound of it is the most realized effort yet for me. I really think this record is going to open things up for me more. Blessed to have some of the top studio musicians in LA playing on this record, and even a guest appearance from Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo) singing backing vocals on “American Life”. It's going to be a busy and exciting year, lots of shows, and touring over the spring, summer and into the fall. Looking forward to it....
Here's Brad Byrd's new single, his rendition of "Lovesong" by The Cure, out today:
The U.S. Postal Service will release a Forever stamp in 2019 honoring one of America's finest singers, Mr. Marvin Gaye. Congratulations to artist Kadir Nelson for an excellent job. We love his voice, from his early Motown hits, many with Tammi Tarrell, through his later masterpieces like What's Going On, Let's Get It On, and Sexual Healing. Marvin captured the hearts and souls of so many people, from every community, until his untimely passing in 1984. The stamp is a fitting addition to his legacy. The popularity of his music seems to have only increased not diminished since his death. In these troubling times, it is comforting to know Marvin spoke of many of these same issues in his day, never with anger; always with love. Oh, how we could afford to have such a voice today! All those years ago, Marvin warned of "trigger happy policing" that Black Lives Matter addresses today. He asked, "What's Going On?" and, in "Mercy, Mercy Me", spoke of the damage humans were doing to the environment:
Woah, ah mercy mercy me Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no Where did all the blue skies go? Poison is the wind that blows From the north and south and east
Woah mercy, mercy me, yeah yeah Ah things ain't what they used to be Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas Fish full of mercury
Oh Jesus yeah mercy, mercy me ah Ah things ain't what they used to be, oh no
Radiation under ground and in the sky Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Hey mercy, mercy me oh Ah things ain't what they used to be What about this overcrowded land How much more abuse from man can she stand?
Sometimes it just "make you wanna holler, throw up both your hands...", but Marvin asks us to remember, to always remember this:
"War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate..."
Roger Waters crossing the Rio Aguarico in Ecuador’s Amazon after touring @Chevron’s waste pits. Chevron tried to block his trip by denying a flight permit to land in Lago Agrio. Roger is a hero to the people of Ecuador. #RogerWatersVSChevron#chevronEcuador
From @RogerWaters on Instagram:
"So happy to be in beautiful Ecuador, spent yesterday visiting the wonderfully hospitable indigenous people. I am deeply moved by their predicament in the face of Chevron corporations’ deadly pollution of their rainforest home..."
"It's a desperate situation but we, activists around the world, are very proud of the Ecuadorian people, fighting Chevron in the way that you are, and we will help you as much as we can, until the fight is won... Much love to all of you..."
Roger Waters, líder de Pink Floyd visitó la zona de contaminación petrolera en Lago Agrio atribuida a Chevron y dijo: “he visto muchas evidencias sobre el desastre tóxico que ha dejado aquí, no necesito ir más allá a ver, porque yo he seguido este caso por muchos años”. pic.twitter.com/tBfZlHiOgE
(UPDATE): At the press conference the following day (Tuesday, November 20, 2018)...
@SDonziger: Roger Waters speaking to a packed press conference in Quito this morning. Calls Chevron “despicable” for its misconduct in historic legal case. #RogerWatersVSChevron#ChevronEcuador
@SDonziger: Roger Waters in Ecuador: “The law must serve us all, not just the Chevron’s of the world.” #RogerWatersVSChevron
@SDonziger: Roger Waters in Ecuador with two Amazon leaders, Rafael Pandam (to Roger’s right) and Carlos Nihua. Roger’s necklace was given by Pandam on behalf of the Shuar people. It has a tiger’s tooth to symbolize strength. #RogerWatersVSChevron @rogerwaters @AmazonWatch The crown worn by @rogerwaters in the photo was a gift from the Wuaorani people of Ecuador. Cesar Nihua explained it is given to young warriors who protect Indigenous territory from invasions by oil companies. #RogerWatersVSChevron@KarenHinton@SLAPPtaskforce ThisSmallPlanet.com thanks Steven Donziger and his colleagues for their activism in the Amazon and for the photos and quotes above.
Musician Roger Waters In Ecuador To Support Amazon Peoples Who Won Landmark Judgment Against Chevron
NEW YORK, Nov. 19 /CSRwire/ - Roger Waters, the founder of Pink Floyd currently touring Latin America to sold-out stadiums, is arriving in Ecuador today to bear witness to Chevron’s “Amazon Chernobyl” disaster and to support Indigenous peoples and farmer communities who are fighting to force the oil giant to pay a landmark $12 billion liability to be used to clean up the world’s worst environmental disaster.
“I am honored to come to Ecuador to see the environmental damage firsthand and to listen to my brothers and sisters in the Amazon who have taken on a true corporate monster in Chevron,” said Waters, who recently won a humanitarian award from the city of Buenos Aries. (See here.) “Chevron must clean up the disaster it caused in Ecuador and do so immediately. Chevron shareholders must recognize this is a humanitarian disaster and act to hold Chevron management accountable for its toxic dumping and attempts to evade court judgments.
“I am also here to support my friend Steven Donziger, the American lawyer for the Ecuadorians whom the company has targeted with a demonization campaign designed to intimidate supporters and leave the Ecuadorians without legal counsel,” Waters added. “I stand by Steven and all human rights defenders in Ecuador and around the world who get attacked by large corporations who commit wrongdoing.”
Carmen Cartuche, the President of the Amazon Defense Coalition (the group hosting Waters), said: “We are honored and privileged to be hosting legendary artist and musician Roger Waters on our ancestral lands. Mr. Waters not only has been an inspiration to millions of people around the world, but to those of us in Ecuador he has been a supporter for many years and we are deeply grateful for his solidarity. We look forward to telling Roger the truth about Chevron’s ongoing destruction of the environment and about the company’s crimes and fraud committed on our sacred lands.”
Waters was the creative force and principal lyricist for Pink Floyd from 1968 to 1983 in one of the most successfully runs of a rock band in history. With Waters as the driving force, Pink Floyd produced the famed Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and The Wall (1979), among other successful albums. Touring later as a solo artist, Waters later broke the record for the highest grossing tour in history for his spectacular Wall Live tour in 2010.
In Ecuador, Waters will visit in an area of the Amazon rainforest mired in a humanitarian crisis. Chevron’s operational area in Ecuador – roughly the size of Rhode Island and comprising 400 production sites – is poisoned with life-threatening toxins and cancer rates have skyrocketed, claiming hundreds and possibly thousands of lives. One noted academic predicts 10,000 people in the area will die of cancer in the coming years because of Chevron’s failure to clean up its pollution. Several community leaders in the area have succumbed to cancer recently, including legendary nurse Rosa Moreno.
Waters will visit the Ecuadorian town of Lago Agrio, which means “Sour Lake” in English. Located on Indigenous Cofan territory, Lago Agrio was built by Chevron’s predecessor company Texaco in the 1970s and named after its headquarters in Texas. The Cofan, once a thriving band of 15,000 people, have been completely displaced by Chevron’s oil production with their traditional culture of hunting and fishing largely decimated. Chevron’s first well in Ecuador -- known as Lago 1 -- was built on Cofan territory and caused extensive pollution to a nearby farm and stream, according to court documents.
Waters has been a longtime supporter of the five Indigenous groups and 80 farmer communities in Ecuador who originally brought the pollution case in 1993 in U.S. courts. Chevron later shifted the case to Ecuador, but then lost a trial there based on 64,000 chemical sampling results, extensive witness testimony, and 105 expert evidentiary reports. The Ecuador verdict has been affirmed by four layers of courts in the country and 17 separate appellate judges. (See this summary of the evidence against Chevron.)
Last year, while on tour in Canada, Waters attended court proceedings in Toronto to support the Ecuadorians in their attempt to seize Chevron assets to force compliance with the Ecuador court judgment. Chevron has an estimated $15 billion worth of assets in Canada, where it has come under sharp criticism for using its local subsidiary as a vehicle to send billions of dollars of annual payments to foreign governments as part of an apparent tax avoidance scheme. (See this summary of Chevron’s tax avoidance.)
Last week, Waters spoke to an academic conference in Alberta on Indigenous rights and the environment that focused in part on the litigation against Chevron. The pollution case – the first to result in a large environmental judgment against a U.S. oil company out of Latin America -- was filed 25 years ago this month in U.S. federal court in New York before Chevron moved it to Ecuador.
When the evidence mounted in the Ecuador trial, Chevron sold its assets and threatened the Indigenous groups with a “lifetime of litigation” if they persisted. Chevron also hired 60 law firms to fight the Indigenous groups and launched an avowed “demonization” campaign targeting their lawyers. Donziger, a sole practitioner and graduate of Harvard Law School, has borne the brunt of Chevron’s attacks.
In the meantime, Chevron has suffered significant legal setbacks. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously in 2015 that the Ecuadorian communities could try to seize Chevron assets in that country, denying a Chevron jurisdictional challenge. The Ecuadorians also have won two unanimous decisions from the Ontario Court of Appeal denying other Chevron attempts to block the case. (See here for background on the Canada litigation.)
At the conference in Alberta two weeks ago, Waters criticized Chevron for what he called the “despicable” treatment of the Ecuadorian communities and their lawyers.
“We cannot allow Chevron to destroy Steven Donziger and 60,000 people in Ecuador,” Waters said. He later described the case against Chevron “as a matter of life and death for thousands of people” and said Chevron’s “ad hominem attacks against the Ecuadorians and Steven Donziger are utterly despicable.” Waters received a standing ovation after he talked, which took place via Skype from Santiago, Chile. (See here for studies documenting high cancer rates where Chevron operated.)
Chevron’s troubles from its Ecuador liability also have produced consternation in the financial markets.
Thirty-six Chevron institutional shareholders recently sent a letter to Chevron CEO Michael Wirth criticizing his mishandling of the litigation and asking that he explore a settlement. In the meantime, two shareholder resolutions relating to Wirth’s mishandling of the case received overwhelming support at the company’s 2018 annual meeting. (See here.)
For the last several months, Waters has been touring in Latin America while playing to large audiences in stadiums in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aries, Montevideo, Santiago, and Lima. He plays in Bogota on Wednesday night before closing his 18-month world tour in Costa Rica and Mexico. He previously played several cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
The Byrds happened. Suddenly, with little enough warning for any of us. For me, it started a couple of days after I arrived in Hollywood in February, when a cameraman I had met on the Beatles’ tour sauntered into my then uncluttered office and dropped a couple of pictures casually on my desk. “There’s a group here you may like to look at,” he said. “They’re called the Byrds. They may be lousy for all I know.”
I had come to California to work as a press agent. I had two clients – both rock groups. One was Paul Revere & the Raiders, the other the Beau Brummels. All long-haired. So here was a third. Nothing was known about them. They hadn’t performed together in public as a group. They hadn’t released a record. They weren’t good looking. And they had no money at all. Very promising.
In this week’s Rock’s Backpages, to mark 50 years since the Byrds released Mr Tambourine Man, here’s a feature by the late, great Derek Taylor, originally published in Melody Maker on 17 July 1965
However, I called their manager and he came into the office. His name was Jim Dickson, a roly-poly man, prematurely bald, who had been an A&R man for folk singers. He had a kind smile and gentle eyes and he looked honest. Which is something in Hollywood. He too, was broke. But, he said the Byrds were pretty good and Columbia Records had recorded them with a number called Mr Tambourine Man. He had a copy of it and he played it to me. Bob Dylan, he explained, had written the song and had approved the Byrds’ version. I said, “I think it’s a hit.” And he said, “We think so too.” They were due to make their first public appearance for $10 each at Ciro’s, a large, unfashionable nightclub on Sunset Strip.
It was the haunt of Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart in their brawling prime, and of Van Johnson and Cary Grant and a thousand glamorous ghosts. So I went to see the Byrds. They had unimaginable mechanical difficulties – amplifier breakdown, inadequate microphones. Collectively, they had never faced an audience and they were shy, ill at ease and not at all a unit. Yet something was happening on stage. It was something over and above normal rock experience.
I offered to represent them for a few dollars a week just for the hell of it. But manager Dickson and his partner, Eddie Tickner, a slim cautious man who used to work for the US army audit department, said: “Stick around and keep smiling, but we can’t afford to pay anything yet.” I stuck around and stuck out and offered to take a percentage of the group’s income. Finally, Tickner and Dickson agreed and I was in.
Mr Tambourine Man was released in America in April. Radio Station KRLA in Los Angeles liked it and the city’s Beatlemaniac disc jockey, Dave Hull, decided to pick it as his Tip for a Hit.
I went into print in the station’s newspaper to forecast it as a nationwide No 1. Five weeks later, it had bounded in leaps of 30 places to the top of all the national charts – Cash Box, Billboard, Record World, plus hundreds of local lists. By the end of June, the Byrds were the pop music talking point of America.
They were featured on the front cover of all the trade newspapers. Their fan club members were numbered in thousands. And both sides of their second American release, All I Really Want to Do and I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better, are, at this moment, climbing rapidly to replace Mr Tambourine Man at the top.
Abroad, Mr Tambourine Man was also one of the records of the year. It went into the Australian and Canadian top five, and after a rush-release in Britain it climbed into the coveted English charts.
The Byrds returned to Ciro’s, and for the first time in years packed the place. There were queues up and down Sunset Strip of desperate teenagers clamouring to get in.
The dancefloor was a madhouse. A hardcore of Byrd followers – wayward painters, disinherited sons and heirs, bearded sculptors, misty-eyed nymphs and assorted oddballs – suddenly taught Hollywood to dance again. This was no Shake, Watusi or Frog session. It was an exercise in “Byrdmania”. A frenetic extension of the talents of five quite exceptional pop musicians.
None of the Byrds is easy to get to know. In this – as in many other respects – they resemble the Beatles.
They are all intelligent, cool, acutely aware of the follies, extravagance and hypocrisy in show business. But because they had willingly abandoned their separate impoverished careers in the less remunerative branches of the industry, they plunged into the hurly-burly of the contemporary rock scene. Though they had only seven weeks’ experience, they were hired for all seven of the southern California Rolling Stones concerts in May.
They were booked for a huge prestigious charity show at LA’s Shrine Auditorium, and were the hit of the night in a $100,000 rock’n’roll show at the Hollywood Bowl. Also – and America is not without its social strata – they became fashionable.
The Byrds were booked by Henry Fonda’s daughter Jane for her Independence Day celebrations in Malibu. At the party were Lauren Bacall, Steve McQueen, George Cukor, Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll, Roddy McDowall, Mia Farrow and Warren Beatty. Adding international flavour, among the British guests were Peter Finch, James Fox, Ian Bannen, David McCallum and Jill Ireland. France was represented by Louis Jourdan, Roger Vadim and Leslie Caron.
The Byrds’ diligent management – with all the enterprise and zest of an Epstein – secured them appearances on every American television show from Hullabaloo to Shindig. The only gap in the Byrds’ TV scene is The Ed Sullivan Show. That follows this autumn. Columbia Records – grateful to the Byrds for the label’s first No 1 since January 1963 – paid all expenses for an appearance at the company’s convention in Miami. And the Willard Alexander Agency – bookers of Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, no less – filled every night in July with coast-to-coast dates.