18 August 2009

Les Paul; Everlast; and sadly, 13 months later...

It was 40 years ago today that Jimi Hendrix woke up the few remaining revelers at Woodstock soon after dawn and played his version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Exactly one year and one month later, to the day, Jimi would be dead.

Speaking of Woodstock, my rant against brainless and self-congratulatory hippies did not give me the space to pay my respects to Les Paul, who died last Thursday at the age of 94. It is safe to say that without him, the music at Woodstock would not have happened. There would not have been the solid body guitars to play and the multi-layered album versions of the songs would not have existed without Les Paul. Sure, you could say that if he hadn't done it, someone else would have. But the point is, he did do it. Those musicians who favor the Les Paul series Gibson guitars, like Slash, Jimmy Page, and Lenny Kravitz, already knew they owed a debt of gratitude to Mr. Paul well before his death; if you are a serious music fan, you should know that you owe him, too. After all, for example, the Beatles could not have recorded their masterwork Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band without Mr. Paul's innovations with multi-track recording.

Last, but not least, I want to wish a musician that I'm a huge fan of, my man Everlast, a happy, healthy birthday. He was born 40 years ago today in Hempstead, NY, about 130 miles from where Hendrix was playing that very same morning. Coincidentally, today is also the birthday of his Judgement Night co-star, Denis Leary. The former House of Pain frontman has been having a huge year. Last September, he released his latest solo record Love, War, and the Ghost of Whitey Ford. It's the first release on his own label Martyr Inc. If you haven't heard it, check it out! He does a decent cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" but my favorite is "Everyone." And if you're a fan of Holly Hunter's show "Saving Grace", Ev's Emmy-nominated theme song is included on the album. (I heard him say on Matt Pinfield's radio show some months ago that he lost the award to some TV show about pirates that neither he nor anyone he knows has ever heard of.) And he put out a CD with the rap collective that also features his former HoP mates DJ Lethal and Danny Boy, La Coka Nostra (Ev's often known in the group as Mr. White---reppin' Reservoir Dog-gie style, I guess, which would also be the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three style, but I digress). And he announced on his blog last week that he recently got married and he's about to become a dad for the first time. Like I said, huge year for Everlast! Congrats man!!!!

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