Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Springsteen Tour Announcement

Tour Dates have been posted for the fall Springsteen tour, his first full tour with the E Street Band since 2003!! I won't post them right here, but you can go to the official Springsteen site for all pertinent tour information. I must say that I am a little dissapointed that this is not a bigger tour than it is. The furthest south he is going is Washington D.C., and with the exception of Giants Stadium, it doesn't look like he is doing any more than one show per city. In addition, it seems there are at least three days off in between each show! Is the E Street Band getting too old for this job? Or does Max Weinberg have to fly back and forth between NYC and each show to film his nightly performance on the Conan O'Brien show? Who knows.

The date I will be attending will most likely be November 11th at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. I am sure I can make it back to Greensboro the next day before my 2:30 class. I can make a nice weekend home visit out of it...I hope to see all you dixie folks at this performance. Which led me to thinking...

It has never seemed like Springsteen has had much of a presence in the South. As a friend of mine from Alabama once said, he plays "country music for yankees." I suppose that there are some cultural, historical divides that seem to prevent his music from reaching a wider audience in the south. Considering that his lyrics tend to serve as narrative to the working class white factory man, differences in Industry between North and South could also account for Springsteen falling on deaf ears down in this part of the country. The North has always been more industrialized and city-based, while the South was Agriculture-based up until the Civil War. The Post-Civil War south experienced increasing urbanization, in order to modernize in the wake of an economic system that was literally left in ashes at the end of the Civil War. This Rural-Urban migration brought different populations of people together, all of whom migrated to the city in order to find some chance at work and assimilation into industry, since their former ways of self-reliance and sustainability could no longer be obtained. It should also be noted that dependence on the convenience and low price of slave-produced goods that could no longer be obtained obviously gave the American Economic system a huge kick in the ass, both in the South and the North as well. All of this is to say, that the effect of the romanticizing of industrial, working-class, urban lifestyle that we see in Springsteen's lyrics does not seem to translate as well when applied to the American South, which has a unique and vastly different history than the rest of the Country.

The Country music that the South is know for developed out of a rememberance of that slower, older way of life, where as in Springsteen's music seems rooted in the gritty industrial smokestacks of Central New Jersey. Immigrants in the 19th and early 20th century moved south and west to escape this way of life and to find their own land to work. Sometimes American cultural divides can be seen clearly in simple questions like who likes Bruce Springsteen and why? As much as I can tell, his audience tends to consist largely of liberal, working class to middle class white adults (as biographer Dave Marsh has said, you see more black people onstage at Springsteen concerts than you do in the audience) based in the North and Midwest.

I would write more but I need to do homework. I am a f ull time student as well. I may finish this later, but for now, meet Old Gregg:

Radio Show 8/28

here is the playlist for my radio show that aired yesterday at 2 PM:

Artist- Song

Pinback- From Nothing To Nowhere
Animal Collective- Peacebone (new single from the upcoming Strawberry Jam)
Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators-Feeling Free
Sean Na Na- W've Been Here Before
Aesop Rock- None Shall Pass
M.I.A- Jimmy
Endless Mic- Academia
Billy Holiday, Re-Mixed and Reimagined- I Hear Music
Mirah- My Prize
Ryan Adams- Pearls On A String
The everybody fields- Lonely Anywhere
Emily Haines- The Bank
New Buffalo- Cheer Me Up Thank You
Okkervil River- A Girl In Port
Adrian Orange and Her Band- Window
Caribou- Eli
New Young Pony Club- Ice Cream
The National- Brainy
Angels Of Light- Promise Of Water
Maserati- Synchronicity IV
Caleb Caudle- Uncle Benny
Eyvind Kang- i forget
Airiel- Think Tank
Rebuilding The Rights Of Statues- Police
The Bronzed Chorus- War Of Bees

All of the music here is currently in rotation at WQFS. If you have any interest in requesting it, call in at 336-216-2444 and tune your dial to 90.9 FM!

Monday, August 27, 2007


So last week, Springsteen enthusiasts such as myself finally recieved the long awaited confirmation that Bruce Springsteen had completed a new album with Producer Brendan O'Brien, and, as expected, it was a project with the E Street Band, who have served as his eyes and ears over his 35 year + career. The album is entitled "Magic," and it's supposed to be a return to the high energy rock n' roll of his earlier work with the E Street Band. I don't think Springsteen is capable of making another "The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle," or a "Greetings From Asbury Park." Those albums were so tied to the time and place in which they were written, and though they serve as timeless artifacts of a youthful enthusiasm rarely seen in today's mainstream, Springsteen has obviously grown up too much to make an album like that again. and no one is expecting him to, so it's fine. I can't help but assume his decision to make what manager Jon Landau has already called a "high energy rock album," unlike the adult contemporary feel of 2002's "The Rising," has everything to do with the recent resurgence in focus on the sheer genius of his earlier work, in great part due to the 30th Anniversary reissue of 1975's "Born To Run."

I had always been a basic Springsteen fan, but never realized how fucking incredible he was and is as a songwriter and performer until the 30th anniversary reissue came out. Pitchfork Media gave the release a 10/10, and Rolling Stone named Springsteen as a "Hot Influence" in their "Hot List" of the year or whatever, which doesn't necessarily reflect anything, but it certainly didn't hurt in making Springsteen hip again, or making it okay for all the closet Springsteen fans to come out of those dark, dark corners of the listening room. In many ways, the musical climate in which Springsteen found his popularity skyrocket is much like the way it is now. When "Born To Run" came out, a vast majority of important American musicians of the time had either choked on their own vomit, taken an extended vacation from recording, or were holed up in the backroom of the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, doing tons of coke with The Band. Today's generation is busy wondering where our Nirvana is, and the Music Industry isn't exactly making that process any easier. It is only logical that Springsteen's popularity would find a new home in a new generation of young listeners, in a period of such musical uncertainty.

Artists such as The Hold Steady and Jason Anderson, who take obvious, direct influence from the 1970's Springsteen catalogue, have also been enjoying immense success in the last year, particularly The Hold Steady, who made just about every Best Of list with their last album "Boys and Girls in America." Listening to "The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle" makes it gravely apparent that this album is probably the biggest influence on the resurgence of 70's wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve rock n' roll highlighted by bands like The Hold Steady, and particularly apparent in vocalist Craig Finn's lyrical content, structure, and vocal stylings.

The influence of this earlier work became apparent when in late April, a tribute to Springsteen benefit concert for music education in New York City schools was arranged at Carnegie Hall. The finale of a Springsteen cameo/performance of the classic "Rosalita(Come Out Tonight)" with the entire fucking cast of performers(which included Jesse Malin, Badly Drawn Boy, Steve Earle, Josh Ritter, Holmes Brothers, etc.) where anyone onstage was invited to take one of the many verses featured in the song, provided evidence of Springsteen's continuing, vibrant influence on today's crop of young musicians teetering on the edge of mainstream success/indie credibility.

Several books have been written on Springsteen, regarding his lyrics, relationship to his obsessive fans, his portrayal of the American dream, etc., so I will stop here, but I am definitely excited to hear Springsteen try and re-visit his earlier days on E Street. While "The Rising" served its purpose of providing us with a portrait of American life in the post 9/11 political climate (and with politics the way they are these days, that album already seems outdated and no longer relevant), and "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" gave new life to classic American folk songs, his last truly great album was 1987's "Tunnel Of Love." "Born In The U.S.A" was his last try at straight up rock n' roll. I am nervous about how this album will turn out, but I do have high hopes.

anyway, here is the cover of the album, and with that i leave you.

links to some stories/interviews about "Magic":Rolling Stone Album Details

Interview with Brendan O'Brien

feedback highly encouraged!!!!!

first entry

partially inspired by the several interesting music/arts related blogs that friends of mine have started in recent months, and or years, and considering that i am doing an independent study on music journalism this semester, i figured i needed a place to spill my brain out other than the livejournal i've had since high school, music-wise.

here you will find: album reviews, concert reviews, general gossip/shit-talking about music news, trashing pitchforkmedia as much as possible, and much much more, hopefully.

so, about me: i am currently the head music director at WQFS Greensboro, the radio station at Guilford College in the fine town of Greensboro, North Carolina. i was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 23rd, 1986, and shortly thereafter moved with my family to the massively sprawled out and ever-extending suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland, right outside of Washington D.C. After a warm and delightful childhood filled with several losing seasons of little league baseball, soccer, and basketball, I started playing guitar the summer before my 7th grade year. Around this same time I bought my first band t-shirt: a thick, black Nirvana t-shirt purchased at a CD store in the mall, the kind where they only sell extra large t-shirts. This one in particular went all the way down to my knees, but knowing no better, I wore it anyway, day in and day out. I wish i still had it, I honestly have no clue where it is now.

After a pre-teen-angst phase where I listened to The Doors and Nirvana basically non-stop for over a year, I slowly became interested in the storied local music scene of Washington D.C. My sophomore year of high school, after several failed attempts to start anything resembling a decent band, my friend Daniel asked me to play bass in a band he was starting. The result was a band we called Spoont. We played about 30 shows over two years, all in D.C. or the surrounding areas, writing and performing songs about girls that didn't like us, and in one storied show performing not one but TWO Saves The Day covers. Can it get any better than that? More than three years after we played our last show, which was on June 12th, 2004 at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park, MD, with Still Strong, Period 4, Alliaecous, and The Noelles(none of whome are together anymore), our career culminated when we were briefly mentioned in a recent New York Magazine article written about Livejournal and Myspace (you know, how every media organization feels the need to inform the public that they have discovered the "new" fad of online blogging/networking etc.). Honestly, the story has nothing to do with us, we just happened to be referenced, as one of my friends from high school was interviewed for the story.

Anyway, I also played guitar in the band Bear And The Butterfly for about two years. We played over fifty shows, went on a brief east coast tour, self-released a full length CD and a split-tape with our friends The Author, and played with bands such as Q and Not U, Circle Takes The Square, Mass Movement Of The Moth, Stop It!!, and others.

Anyway, since, i've played in various sideprojects that were started and ended in a matter of weeks, and existed only for the purpose of playing particular shows. This is my favorite way to do bands, and most of these bands has been with my dear friend Jacob Mazer.

I am in my senior year at Guilford, where I study Sociology, Gender Studies, and East Asian Studies in one form or another. A couple years ago I spent three and a half months studying in Beijing, China. That was a trip....literally. Now I live in a cute little house with a dog and two fine ladies in the Glenwood neighborhood in Greensboro. Will anyone read this? I don't know, and it probably won't matter anyway.

Check back soon for:

-a preview of the new album from Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, entitled "Magic," out on October 3rd!
-a review of the new album from the everybody fields, entitled "Nothing Is Okay," in stores now!
-snip-it reviews of the various albums i've had to review for WQFS.
-playlist and commentary on my radio show that will happen TOMORROW on WQFS 90.9 FM at 2 PM EST.
-other random shit.

i hope this does not get too annoying. any and all comments can be e-mailed to!