RIP: Andy Johns, rock producer (Exile on Main Street, Physical Grafitti, Marquee Moon, etc.)

RIP: Andy Johns, rock producer (Exile on Main Street, Physical Grafitti, Marquee Moon, etc.)

From Billboard:

Andy Johns, the veteran producer and engineer who worked on classic albums by Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen and many others, has died at the age of 61. The news was confirmed to by guitarist Stacy Blades, who was working on an untitled project with Johns until the producer was hospitalized last week.


Born in Surrey and a student at the King’s School in Gloucester, Johns put aside an early ambition “to be the next greatest bass player of all time” to follow his brother into the studio world. “It looked a lot better than working,” Johns told Universal Audio. He began his career as a tape operator at London’s famed Olympic Studios, helping Eddie Kramer on sessions for the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Axis Bold as Love.”

“In those days you could go into one studio and Joe Cocker was working, and then you’re working with Jimi Hendrix in Studio One, or down the corridor Eric Clapton is doing something,” Johns recalled. “It was a serious center. A lot of talent was there.” Johns produced early albums by Blodwyn Pig (“Ahead Rings Out”), Humble Pie (“As Safe As Yesterday Is,” “Town and Country”) and Free (“Free,” “Free Live!,” “Heartbreaker”), as well as Television’s landmark “Marquee Moon” in 1977.

Johns’ engineering resume, meanwhile, was dotted with landmark sets by the Stones – including “Sticky Fingers,” “Exile On Main Street,” “Goats Head Soup” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” – Led Zeppelin’s “II” through “Physical Graffiti” as well as albums by Mott the Hoople, Jethro Tull and many more. Johns relocated to Los Angeles during the 1970s, where he worked with Van Halen, Joni Michell, Ozzy Osbourne, Cinderella and Eddie Money. Over the past dozen years he worked on albums by Hughes, Godsmack, Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders and others.

• Andy Johns:

Wham City Comedy Tour hits the road again this week! (sorry, there’s still no stop in Wham City)

Okay, so, here’s the deal, folks: I want you guys to know all about the upcoming Wham City Comedy Tour that’s starting this Wednesday, and I want to give you the necessary background information that you might need, including the fact that the Wham City Comedy Tour “is a two-hour cross-genre variety show, showcasing the very best from Baltimore’s award-winning artist collective and fabled party starters” and that attendees can “expect stand-up sets, videos, dramatic monologues, and ensemble sketches in a tightly-run, visionary performance” and that Dina Kelberman is involved…

And, I totally want you to remember that they did this before a few years ago, back before dudes like Dan Deacon and Ben O’Brien were as popular as they are today (in the intervening years, the Wham City guys have “performed on stage with Chicago’s Second City, shared festival bills with Donald Glover, Neil Brennan, and Henry Rollins; O’Brien has opened for Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman; and Mason Ross won Best Comedic Performance in the City Paper’s Best of Baltimore issue”)…

Yeah, yeah, I want you to know all of that stuff and get excited for it and go to a show in a town near you and laugh yourself incontinent and all of that great stuff… but the thing is, I don’t want to have to embed or link to or even talk about “Drinking Out of Cups.” What do you say? Does that sound like a fair deal?

Wham City Comedy Tour 2013:

4.10.13 - Pittsburgh, PA - Arcade Comedy Theater
4.11.13 - Cleveland, OH - Mahalls 20 Lanes
4.12.13 - Chicago, IL - The Hideout
4.13.13 - Detroit, MI - Jam Handy
4.14.13 - Toronto, ON - Double Double Land
4.15.13 - Buffalo, NY - The Vault
4.16.13 - Rochester, NY - Meddlesome Lab
4.17.13 - Troy, NY - 51 3rd St
4.18.13 - Williamstown, MA - Williams College
4.19.13 - Annondale on Hudson, NY - Bard College
4.20.13 - Purchase, NY - Purchase College
4.21.13 - Rosendale, NY - Market Market Cafe
4.22.13 - Worcester, MA - The Firehouse
4.23.13 - Torrington, CT - Snapper Magee’s
4.24.13 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
4.25.13 - Baltimore, MD - Area 405
4.27.13 - Philadelphia, PA - Goldilocks Gallery
4.28.13 - Washington, DC - Sixth & I

• Wham City:

Ashley Eriksson (LAKE) and Mount Eerie to go on tour together, like a bunch of fancy people

Scientists theorize that the world is fancier now than the world has ever been before. I’m inclined to believe it. Only the fancy will survive, while the un-fancy will have their flesh picked off their bones, albeit very delicately. These are the times for the fancy people, the fancy people like Ashley Eriksson of Olympia’s LAKE. Ashley “Fancy” Eriksson is going on tour with fellow Washingtonians Mount Eerie, who also happen to be very, very, very fancy. Really, just the fanciest. The tour will be very Oregon- and California-centric, because all the dates are in Oregon and California. Afterwards, Mount Eerie will be heading to Europe, arguably the fanciest continent.

While I’ve got your ear, I’d like to mention one more thing to you, the possibly fancy. Eriksson has a new solo record titled Colours coming out July 16 through K Records. If you’d like to hear a preview of some of the record’s songs, go to one of her aforementioned shows with Mount Eerie. That is, of course, if you’re fancy enough. If you’re not, well, pity.

Ashley Eriksson + Mount Eerie dates:

04.11.13 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
04.12.13 - Eugene, OR - Old Whiteaker Firehouse
04.13.13 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
04.14.13 - Oakland, CA - LoBot
04.15.13 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Crepe Place
04.16.13 - Los Angeles, CA - MiMoDa Studios
04.17.13 - Los Angeles, CA - The Smell

• Ashley Eriksson:
• Mount Eerie:

[Photo: Louisa Crowe]

Like a breath from nowhere: three unheard Arthur Russell tracks emerge

Arthur Russell… where to begin. Musically speaking, the guy was a renaissance man, a devastating (de)constructor of music, an amplifier of sounds, and engineer of imaginary worlds. (Deep inhale.) Russell was a formally trained cellist learned in Eastern classical music, an NYC underground music scene mainstay, a fluent mastermind of (mutant) disco singles (“Let’s Go Swimming,” “Is It All Over My Face,” “Go Bang!”), country ballads (Love Is Overtaking Me), new wave (Calling Out of Context), and whatever the hell World of Echo is. The last of which remains his most stirring statement.

World of Echo is an almost-too-personal portrait of a person frighteningly naked. It’s like peeking at someone’s soul through a keyhole. This is blues music for ghosts — a skeletal singer-songwriter blueprint all impossible cello patterns and narcotic, reverberating distortion. It is the most singular and individual of the lasting memories we have of the late Arthur Russell’s genius, though it is certainly not the only deep imprint he left behind. His heady brew of otherworldly compositions, always toying with spatial and temporal dimension, acted (acts) as a mutually beneficial catharsis for both himself and his audience. His music always had the hazy glaze of a dream state, easily lending itself to psychological escape and the capacity to provide an outlet for the moral and social burdens that accumulate during everyday life. In this way, Russell’s music is a therapeutic release of sorts, a purging of internal and external demons that transports the listener to uncommonly beautiful places.

In virtue of his immense variety and perpetually-in-flux approach, Russell showed himself to be an ever-shifting sonic puzzle with a body of work always in motion, always changing and always growing.

On that note, even in death his canon grows. Three new Arthur Russell tracks have been unearthed, and they are good, real good. As FACT report, these songs were spawned from a series of 1985 recording sessions with multi-instrumentalist Steven Hall. The story goes that Russell had been called in to mix and produce Hall’s own music, and ended up dominating the sessions (at least, that is what my ears are telling me). Like everything in his back catalog, these cuts have one foot in another world. The starkly dubby “Foxy Pup” is the most immediately recognizable as an Arthur Russell Product, and the best of the bunch as well.

You can hear “Foxy Pup” below, and stream all three tracks on Hollie Records’ SoundCloud page. “Foxy Pup” will be released on 12-inch via Hollie on April 20.

• Hollie:

RP Boo, footwork pioneer, to release Legacy on Planet Mu

If you want to hear the main difference between juke and footwork, check out this mix:

At 2:45, you’ll hear a track called “Baby Come On,” a proto-footwork but exemplary juke track that thuds and syncopates in a manner not unlike Chicago ghetto house of the mid-to-late 90s. Compare that to the track at 15:10, “Heavy Heat” (a.k.a. “11-47-99”), which has since become known as the pioneering template for footwork tracks, a sort of monkey wrench in the history of Chicago dance music. Two strands of Chicago house, two wildly different sounds, one producer: RP Boo (a.k.a. Arpebu a.k.a. Kavain W. Space). The kicker? Both of them were made over a decade before Planet Mu released its first footwork comp and helped launch a worldwide obsession.

Now that I’ve 100% proven RP Boo’s “authenticity” and “historical relevance,” perhaps you’ll be glad to know that RP Boo is releasing his own Planet Mu full-length called Legacy. While RP Boo was featured on both Planet Mu comps — including the aforementioned “Heavy Heat” — this time he’s got 14 tracks in which to showcase/show-off/shower us with his suspenseful (“Steamidity”), minimal (“Invisibu Boogie!”), vocal sample-heavy (“The Opponent”), and geographically rooted (“Area 72”) style of footwork.

Check out Legacy when it drops May 13 via Planet Mu, and if you see RP Boo at a party, ask him when he decided to cop Young Smoke’s style. It’ll be so funny!

Legacy tracklist:

01. Steamidity
02. Invisibu Boogie!
03. Red Hot
04. There U’Go Boi
05. Battle In The Jungle
06. The Opponent
07. 187 Homicide
08. Speakers R-4 (Sounds)
09. Havoc Devastation
10. No Return
11. Robotbutizm
12. Sentimental
13. What’Cha-Gonna Du
14. Area 72

• Arpebu:
• Planet Mu:

Ke$ha continues to inspire and infect The Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne announces new collaborative album

Exclaim! is reporting that in a recent Reddit AMA session, ‘Animal’ Wayne Coyne let it be known that not only do The Flaming Lips have an album coming out April 16 (titled The Terror, courtesy of Warner Bros./Bella Union), but another, more refined musical endeavor is also on the horizon. Coyne queefed the glitter-covered and booze-soaked nugget of news that the Lips will be putting out a full-length collaboration with the stuttering, ghost-fucking, dinosaur aping Warrior herself, Ke$ha.

The Flaming Lips and Ke$ha have worked together before, though, first on TFL’s duets album from 2012, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, then on Ke$ha’s most recent album Warrior, with the Lips overseeing a single track from the otherwise Dr. Luke and Max Martin-produced album. Wayne noted of Ke$ha (née Kesha Rose Sebert) that, “She’s funny, she’s humble. She’s badass. She’s everything. She’s awesome.” Note to readers: if you want to impress Wayne Coyne, give him a vial of your blood.

No release date was announced, but we did learn that the album will be cleverly named Lip$ha. Expect songs about robots, cannibalism, filth, and you just being you. Hey, maybe the two artists actually have way more in common than originally thought…

For all the rabid Ke$ha fans who frequent TMT, my buddy who recently did a drag performance of a Ke$ha track at a house party that included Jurassic Park-themed props (think small cup of water) and back up dancers in t-rex masks pointed me to two unreleased Ke$ha tracks, both below. Blah, blah, blah, enjoy.

• The Flaming Lips:
• Ke$ha: