Music Features
Jan 10, 2007, 07:00

1. CHEAP TRICK Rockford

How Zander's voice can get better is beyond me. Great batch of songs, collected over a year or so, made Rockford the comeback of the year. The band is a bit teetering live these days, slower and not as loud, but when the guys can still craft tunes like this, they are still a contender as the strong song dearth plagues the music industry.

2. Cocaine Cowboys directed by Billy Corben

Every time I see some ghetto banger or mall rat with a Scarface tee, I wanna smash some teeth. This documentary puts that poseur flick into context, delivering a gripping tale of how blow built Miami. Cowboys should be the precedent to Blow, also a stellar flick and an even better book. Not sure if anyone has noticed, but the trade is also ensuring that third world hell continues to exist.

Aussie kids on 70's blur. Isn't “Woman” a Deep Purple song? Swear the organ swells are vintage Jon Lord. As heavy as Monster Magnet but not as sweaty lookin', this band's self-titled release from February ruled my deck for months. And even now, I can just slip past the Mountain and dig in.

4. A.R.E. WEAPONS Keys, Money, Cigarettes

The public is only to imbibe in this gem through the band's Web site. I have no idea why they want to keep themselves a secret. Suicide updated.

5. JOHNNY CASH American V: A Hundred Highways

Can listen to the Rubin productions all night and never feel like lifting a limb. This is Cash's swansong, one more nail on his cross. The reading of “If You Could Read My Mind” is one of the best things he's ever done. And to think he did it just as he was about to get busy dyin'. Wow.


Caught 'em live along with 10 other people on a cold spring evening here in Lansing, MI., and they set the place on fire with an updated Blackfoot sound that fused boogie with Sabbath riffs. The band is led by Dave Davies' son, which would seem to mean $$ and some connections. Instead, they hopped into their bedraggled van after the show and headed for the local economy motel. More points.


Ex-Butthole Surfer, Pinkus done well. Another great live band I saw with no one around—maybe a dozen on a Saturday. No line for beer, and, jeezus, I almost pondered earplugs (which are for cheaters). Southern-fried men delivering ZZ Top riffs much better than the progenitors.

8. Trash: The Complete New York Dolls by Kris Needs and Dick Porter

I was getting on a plane in LA in September and saw a guy—50's, hipster—pull this book out of his bag as he prepared to grab his seat. I stopped, pulled my copy out and we had a laugh. While the authors here have dubious credibility and some of the tales are aged and redundant, the work as a whole is one more piece of needed history. The story of Thunders' demise is always compelling and Jerry Nolan remains one of the icons of cool. Hard to say which is sadder: the death of most of 'em or the recent regrouping and ensuing new album. A record that is horrific and threatens to damage their legacy.

And while I'm at it, the DVD, All Dolled Up, was what sent me over to this book in the first place—an almost flawless document of one of the best bands in history. [Plexus]

9. Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones by Robert Greenfield

While not as strong as his stellar S.T.P.: A Journey Through America With The Rolling Stones, Greenfield gives us the shit on the recording of one of the best LPs in history. Most telling is the near-death nod of Richards as he is ferried between hotels and rehab spots all while trying to go unnoticed. It happened during the recording at a mansion on the coast of France, and while the lives depicted in the book appear to be the stuff of fiction, the music that lives to this day is still top-notch and a fixture in my player. [DeCapo]

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