Wednesday, November 28, 2007


My previous post didn't mention Stella McCartney, because I was talking about Beatle kids who have made a try at music. After I posted it, I realized she needed a mention, too.

Stella is, without a doubt, the most successful Beatle kid. And don't get me started about the criticism that "no one would care about her fashions if her name wasn't McCartney." It appears to me that the artistic world is the one place where nepotism doesn't work. Because if it did, Sean Lennon's last album would've flown off the shelves. And from little I know about the fashion industry, it's probably even a tougher nut to crack than the music business.

I was in Paris recently and went to Le Bon Marche, the most famous department store in the city. Stella's fashions had a prominent display. And I seriously doubt it was because her last name is "McCartney".

I also dig the edgy way she supports her dad. When Paul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she stood on stage next to him wearing a t-shirt that said "It's About Fucking Time." And she recently got some heat for a piece of jewelry she designed that featured an artificial leg. A jab at Heather Mills. So what that both incidents are in "bad taste"? She's got spunk. John Lennon, a bad boy himself, would've said, "You go, girl!".

Monday, November 26, 2007

Beatle Kids

I see that Paul's son James is working on an album with dad. Since his only output so far has been playing some lackluster guitar bits on a few of Macca's solo albums, I don't expect much. And besides, at age 30 James is a bit behind his pop who had already broken up with the Beatles at the same age. It seems to me that rock/pop musicians hit their stride somewhere between their teens and early 30's. At least all of the greats I can think of did: Dylan, Brian Wilson, The Stones, The Who, Ramones, Elvis...But who knows? Maybe James has a decent album in him?

It seems like Zak Starkey and Julian Lennon have had the most success in the biz. Zak plays with Oasis and the Who. Not an "official" member of either band, but from what I hear/read, that's his idea. I wonder if being a Beatle-kid and knowing the inside story of their troubles has made him decide being a "session" player is the better way to go?

And although he only had one successful album over 20 years ago, Julian's Valotte was a massive hit, which is more than most musicians can ever hope for. I'd be glad to go to my grave with one huge hit record!

I also see than Dhani Harrison has a band called "thenewno2". The name is a nod to the old TV show "The Prisoner" (No. 2 was the Prisoners' nemisis). I watched some video and listened to some tunes on their site, and it's okay. The main interest is that Dhani looks and sounds a lot like George. So much so, it's almost distracting!

Paul commented on how much he looks like George at the Concert For George a few years back and said something to the affect of "It's like we all aged and George is still young!"

Sean Lennon hasn't had a bit of luck in the music business. I never listened to his albums, so I don't know if it's from a lack of talent or from not trying hard enough. I suspect the latter.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Conservatives and the Beatles

Over my many years on this planet, I've been in the company of right-wingers who like the Beatles and those who don't. Some enjoy the tunes while others think they were spaced-out, Commie drug addicts.

I won't even get into why it's ridiculous to think that the Beatles' music was fueled by drugs and that they were "high" most of the time. I'll just say that: It's ridiculous.

But I will address the question: Can you be a Conservative and be a Beatles fan?

It depends on what you mean by "fan". I'm a liberal, but I like John Wayne movies. I also think Mel Gibson is a fine actor and an even better director. I enjoy Jack Webb's TV shows. But no matter how much I like The Searchers, Apocalypto and "Dragnet", I wouldn't consider myself a "fan". To me, a "fan" not only buys the product, but they embrace the artist's message and what they have to say off-stage as well as on.

So as far as being a Conservative and a Beatles' fan, I have to say that no, you can't be both. The Beatles were against the war in Vietnam, pro-legalization of pot, pro-Civil and women's rights and anti-gun.

In their music, films and interviews, they scoffed at the establishment squares. Their manager and closest confident was gay. They dabbled in mysticism, dug the Beat poets (part of the reason they called themselves "Beatles"), and made an ill-fated attempt at creating a company that bordered on socialism.

They were, however, not Communists. They loved money and despised dictators and lazy drop-out types.

The rightie religious zealots burned their records, rightie politicians (Nixon) and cops (FBI/Scotland Yard) harassed them and planted drugs in their homes. Their hair alone made some Conservatives furious.

But you can't be a left-wing zealot and love the Beatles either. Because if the Beatles had a message, it was to do your own thing and allow others to do the same. They changed things from within. By example. Not by banning or stifling other people.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

San Diego Critic says "Help!" is "draggy"

I guess some people just don't get it. A San Diego critic says Help! has "clunky sight gags" and the film is "draggy" (he does go back and forth on whether or not he likes it or not. I can't really tell. Read his review in the "Beatle News" link to your right).

He also says it's "dated" and that it reminded him of an episode of "The Monkees". Has this guy seen an episode of "The Monkees" lately? First off, the show is nearly unwatchable and second, "The Monkees" was inspired by Help! (more so than A Hard Day's Night, as "The Monkees" often featured stories that were more Help!-like, i.e., surreal, exotic, and in vivid color).

It's like saying "I bought the Sex Pistols album, and it wasn't all that. It sounds just like Green Day."

I've heard this crap for the last forty years: How A Hard Day's Night was so great, and the Beatles' follow-up film, Help!, was a silly disappointment.

Help! is just as good as the best of the Hope-Crosy Road or Pink Panther films. If you don't enjoy it, you probably don't like this type of movie. Because it's one of the best.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Jane Asher, Still Not Talking

God bless Jane Asher. A fine actress and Paul's main squeeze during all but the very end of the Beatles' heyday, she still won't say a thing about him or her days as a member of the most exclusive club in show biz.

She was the inspiration of a bunch of Paul's songs: "Here There and Everywhere", "And I Love Her", and "I'm Looking Through You", etc.

He lived with her and her upper-class family during the height of Beatlemania, and in his book, "Many Years From Now" (one of the best Beatle books, BTW), Paul credits Jane and her family for educating him about the finer things in life. Their sharp minds (dad was a doctor and mom a music teacher) did a lot of good for our scruffy Liverpool lad. And her brother Peter, of Peter and Gordon fame, went on to become one of the top record producers of the era.

She's obviously got a million great stories, and in a way, I'd love for her to write a tell-all. But she chooses not to. And whether it's because she is pissed about the whole experience or because she's a class-act (or both), it strikes me as super cool that she won't discuss it and simply says her private life is private.

I always dug Jane. I saw the original Alfie again recently and thought she was terrific in her role (Eleanor Bron, a Help! co-star, is also in Alfie, which make the picture a must-see for Beatle-nuts). She's my favorite Beatle wife/girlfriend, and she still looks great at 61. Check out a recent pic and news item about her in the "Beatles News" link to your right.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Paul says "Vinyl is best format"

In an interview included on the Amoeba broadcast, Paul says vinyl is the probably the best format for listening to music.

And although I like the convenience of CDs, especially for listening in the car, I've always preferred the sound and graphics of an LP.

As far as downloading goes...ugh. I think the whole iPod fad is just that. A fad.