Volume 2-2013



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MINE YOURS & OURS: That Christmas shot above is a far cry from what is presently happening in the streets of Cairo, Greece, and even Sweden. Here is a plea for a global reset narrated against the awful news that has become the soundtrack of our lives. PLEASE PLAY LOUD ENOUGH TO WAKE THE NEIGHBORS.

NO MATTER WHAT SHE SAID: We have this cat, a Snowshoe Siamese, who my wife named "Magnolia Thunder Pussy" after a '60s San Francisco radio spot, and who came to us as a replacement for our dear deceased cat "Gary Gilmore", also named by my wife. (One can imagine the psychological damage or purr enlightenment the children have endured.) Anyway, "Maggie" was a rescue cat, plucked from the Stanford University campus by a student who found her injured, starving, alone; a refugee from God knows what. Maggie grew to the size of a house living in the student's apartment, but upon graduating Maggie's student-savior had to give her up to move wherever Stanford graduates move to, so she put Maggie on Craigslist and my wife brought this fat cat home. She slimmed down, given some room to roam, and is now a much different cat from that which she was when she came to us - accept for her monotonic meow. I have no idea what this cat is saying. It may be "hello"; it may be "there is a tarantula on your head", I don't know, it all sounds the same. I assume her issues in this song. PLEASE PLAY LOUD SO I CAN CLAIM THIS ON MY RESUME AS A BROADCAST PRODUCTION.



(Click here)

New Releases on RARadio: "Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; "1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; "We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; "Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY; "I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  "Carriers of Light" by Brendan James; "The Last Time" by Model Stranger; "Last Call" by Jay; "Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; "Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" from Actress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; "Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio; Apteka "Striking Violet"; Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along"; Dana deChaby's progressive rock



Memphis Rock'N Soul Hall of Fame - A plea for good intentions

Tim Ryan - Tool Cool for Just One Band

Amy Lavere - Memphis Upright

8 Days to Amsterdam - Memphis Power Pop

Reba Russell - Memphis Queen Rips up "When Love Came to Town"

Matt Nathansan on the SF Links










Learning from Jimmy Iovine

Interscope Records CEO Jimmy Iovine was featured in a recent piece in Rolling Stone, and it was one of those rare celebrity interviews that actually yield insight and useful information for people interested in music production and engineering. READ MORE...






"The Musical Meccas of the World"









Original Musical Compositions and Select Covers

Fiction and Non-Fiction

Special Projects



Documentary: Music History of Boulder, Colorado

The Boulder Arts Commission's video on the history of music in Boulder, Colorado is a real gem that contributes in all kinds of ways. Not the least of those is that it perfectly captures the zeitgeist of an era, through the lens of a unique university town, at a hinge-point in musical time after which nothing would ever swing that same way again.


In 2001 the Boulder Arts Commission sponsored a documentary written, directed & produced by Don Chapman and Leland Rucker titled Sweet Lunacy. (You can watch it below - it is posted on YouTube.) The project was no doubt intended to capture on video the rich history of the Boulder community as it pertains to the university town's live entertainment venues.

Speaking as one who lived in Boulder and executed music journalism regarding this local music scene in the '70s and '80s, this documentary seems just perfect at capturing the energy, enthusiasm and camaraderie that existed in that period of time. There are some truly great characters featured, most notably saxophonist Fly McClard, who has spent his entire life as a sort of a gift to the humanities. In this video he embodies the best of what Boulder was in those years, which was a community of people in love with music itself.

This video traces the beginnings of that feverish devotion to music to the 1960s surf band The Astronauts, who broke big out of Tulagi's On the Hill, a club nicely situated at the edge of the University of Colorado campus. As a kid in Englewood, Colorado at the time, the look back at The Astronauts feels particularly satisfying because all of Colorado felt like a special place to me in those days; probably a memory made special through the filter of youth. The Astronauts, Bryan Highland, The Beach Boys, Del Shannon, Terry Stafford, Roy Orbison - these are the names that waft back over me from those early '60s years before The Beatles vanished most of that crowd in 1964.

This video jumps from The Astronauts - including interview sequences with Astronaut Rich Fifield, who looked in 2001 exactly the way he looked in 1978, go figure - to the marvelous Harold Fielden confection Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids. Judge for yourself, but I would say that this tremendous band of CU students, more than any other, took Colorado music down the rabbit hole of innocence lost. They were bridging the gap between '50s-era rock hooligans and '70's-era punks using unabashed, over-the-top showmanship, and doing it all while playing the holy hell out of their instruments. I saw them for the first time in Kansas, where I was going to college in the early '70s, before I moved to Boulder, and they scared the hell out of me! I saw them in this way-low-profile and overly-lighted gymnasium setting, and I was surrounded by sheltered farm kids, and for some reason we were all sitting on the floor, as if waiting for an address from the Principal. Then these guys dressed like '50s greasers came out and just tore the place apart, leaving everyone sort of traumatized, though while their behavior was more than a little shocking to kids in Kansas, it was what had become the standard at Tulagi's in Boulder.

Flash Cadillac brought a lot of attention to the Boulder scene and their success (they were eventually in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, for Christ sakes!) greatly encouraged a huge bubble of optimism within the musicians who moved to Boulder to work its rich club circuit. "Rich" is a relative term, of course, and in Boulder that meant there were a dozen clubs in close proximity to one another that featured live music nightly and a lot of work for club musicians. Boulder also attracted established musical brands - Stephen Stills, Joe Walsh, Chris Hillman - who viewed living in the area as an alternative to L.A. Several recording studios developed and did well with all of these local aspirants, and Boulder native Jock Bartley scored big with Firefall, comprised of former Flying Burrito Brothers and Byrds members peppered with talented songwriter Larry Burnett and the multi-talented instrumentalist David Muse.

All of that is captured in this documentary and is interesting in itself, if you like music, and fascinating if you happened to have actually been there for that particular Boulder brand of music. People who were there remember it more than fondly. I got a call recently from a mechanical engineer who lives near where I live in California, and who went to CU and regularly saw Tommy Bolin playing to a small crowd at Tulagi's. He just wanted to talk about it after having been re-enlivened to his music and music memories by a near-death experience. Boulder music of that era burned into peoples' consciousness, and this video captures that.

What will be less apparent to all but the most observant viewers is that almost all of the Boulder music phenomena depicted in this documentary remained exclusively Boulder phenomena; a protective layer of debauchery that even some famous people retreated to for refreshment. I recall seeing a CSNY show in Denver in 1970 that ended with an open invitation to follow the band up to Boulder, the impression being that there would be a wide-open impromptu show up there someplace. Boulder had that sort of be-in vibe well into the late '70s.

Throughout the '60's and '70's the city of Boulder was becoming more and more a bi-coastal place, where east coast business interests were integrating with west coast creatives, as they are called these days. There was a lot of money being made and spent on entertainment and by the time I arrived in 1977 Boulder had long been awash with recreational drugs. This fueled a club scene that not only benefited club musicians' abilities to live as musicians - there existed a paralyzing fear of day jobs among that group - but supported hot air beliefs that somehow the whole Boulder community was going to become the next L.A., where its destiny has been much more that of Austin's, though minus a good share of the music. Boulder was recently listed as "the smartest town in the U.S." based on the density of it's college degreed population, and it has become more of a tech than a music center, whereas Austin is nine-times as large and easily supports an expansive live music network as well as a large technology industry. The very smallness of Boulder no doubt allowed that sense of large fish depicted in this video swimming in waters wrongly sized for them, at least in their minds.

There is the other thing about this 2001 video: it is a look-back by people of an era who are reporting from inside a snow globe of alternative reality shared only with a select slice of humanity who happened to float through at some point. Colorado has continued to produce the occasional chart topper act, like The Fray or Big Head Todd, but not at any higher rate than anywhere else in the U.S.. Nobody outside of Boulder, Colorado ever thinks about the place being any kind of a special musical locale, and nobody ever really did other than people living in Boulder during the time depicted in Sweet Lunacy. While I suspect that this was not the inspiration for the title of the work it most certainly describes what the delusions of this varied cast of characters represents.

Still, I suspect the people shown in this documentary would tell you that nothing felt the same after that golden period of Boulder music. While a person can recall when it began, it is not entirely clear when it ended, because nothing really changed in reality. Exploring the complexities within that conundrum is one of the more interesting sociological and psychological aspects of my music historian's life. Why was this particular crowd so utterly committed to this Sweet Lunacy?
















Tulagi's opened in Boulder, Colorado in 1960. It has been opened and closed numerous times as different types of operations, but is currently open again as a music venue.




İRick Alan Rice (RAR), May, 2013