Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 - What Can We Expect?

After the strong showing at the end of '09, I'm rather optimistic about the upcoming year. There are rumors I'm hearing, and I also have some hopes in my own head.

My two favorite current rumors are that Mott The Hoople will do some shows upon these shores in 2010 (I've heard rumblings of the spring), and that Robert Pollard will reunite with former Guided By Voices Guitarist Doug Gillard, for at least a record (this was confirmed this morning by Pollard staff).

 Gillard and Pollard teamed for the 1999 record, Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department, which many in GBVland refer to as the best album Guided By Voices never made. I'm in agreement to a degree, but I'd say that Speak Kindly, had it featured a full production (all instruments were played and recorded by Gillard on 4 track quite admirably, but I like full production and world class drummers) , may have been one of the greatest records ever, period. The pair recorded together as a team for many years and a return can only but be a grand thing. Gillard has been absent from any major attention for too long. He's a tremendous guitarist and deserves a much larger audience.

Pollard is coming off one of his best years and I'll assume that his trajectory will keeping going upwards. If you're not a Guided By Voices listener, change that, and change that soon. The band (and Pollard as well in literally a hundred other projects) has an amazing catalog that never received the listeners it should have.

A Guided By Voices reunion is probably too much to hope for, but I will anyway. They were on any given night the perhaps best live band in the world.

A reconvening of the two main players can only bode well for listeners. Robert Pollard is as good a songwriter as anyone. A talent for melody that may be unsurpassed when considered as a whole life's work. The man oozes inventive melody.

Then there's the continuing of Mott the Hoople. Having just written of them I'll keep this brief, but I do hope they make it to America this year, and I also hope that the recordings from their London reunion shows are fully released . The reviews on his web site's message board ( have been excellent, and if they weren't excellent, they wouldn't be reviewed as such. Hunter's fans seem to mirror their star, having slight time for bullshit or hypocrisy. Also, check out Hunter's Horses Mouth column, where he's been answering fan's questions for many years. Great stuff.

Elsewhere, there's much to hope and dream for. A return to rock by Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) would be a great place to start. He's been doing fine with his minstral act for a long time, but the world could use a dose of Blackmore rock. This may be a problem though, as his old singers have had a rough time of late with David Coverdale cancelling shows with throat problems, Ronnie James Dio being ill, and Ian Gillan saying he has no interest in sharing a stage with Blackmore. Still, I'd love to hear him return to some rock.

Some new rock by Jimmy Page would be nice as well. Led Zep's reunion left all excited and none satiated. With John Paul Jones making big noises with Them Crooked Vultures, Page must be chomping at the bit after Zep's failed singer search. Plant's obviously not interested, but that never stopped Page from working before. I still consider the Coverdale/Page record to be anongst his finest work. Fact is, most people didn't give it a listen for the mere fact that Coverdale wasn't Robert Plant.

In other worlds, Flea is working with Thom Yorke (Radiohead), doing live shows, but I've heard nothing of a record. Recently I had a dream in which I saw Flea onstage with Chris Cornell, and Steve Vai, and I woke up smiling. All these fellas need to give up some rock product this year. Cornell made no friends with his latest solo record, and Vai hasn't worked with a good singer in too long. Last time he did big rock was with Coverdale in Whitesnake, and it was horrible, a bad match if there ever were, but Vai sounded great with David Lee Roth, and made his greatest record with Alcatrazz (Disturbing The Peace), way back around '85.

I hear my old friend Webb Wilder has released a new disc, More Like Me, on Blind Pig records. Webb's been making great roots rock, perhaps the greatest, since back in the mid 80s, and continues to toil in near anonymity, despite having one of the finest catalogs in existance. If you want to hear tons of great guitars, songs, and production, check out anything Webb's done. His recent live outing, Born To Be Wilder, is agood primer, featuring three great guitarists (George Bradfute, Tony Bowle, and Webb himself). Wilder is a great singer and entertainer, and has the best right hand of any rhythm player out there.

If the world ever figures out Robert Pollard and Webb Wilder, there might be hope yet, but, while I ain't holdin' my breath, I am crossing my fingers.

I could go on, but enough for now....I'm sure you've got wish lists of your own. Good luck with 'em.

Wrapping it up, I'll add that I hope to have a record ready for release by mid-March. I'll be recording in the guise of Tax Revlon, my old punk/glam rock moniker. I figure the world could use some loud, exhuberant rock. I've got some great help lined up, and will be discussing it here as it progresses.

Happy 2010.

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