The story’s been told many times. Bad drugs create bad times, and every time history repeats itself, the lesson gets more expensive! A story comes to mind that I heard a long time ago about Eric Clapton. Clapton was strung out and recording the Derek and The Dominoes album in Miami, and it was not going well! Ahmet Ertegun, a legend in the business, and the last great music man in the music business, flew to Miami to talk to Eric about his drug use, which was out of control, only to hear Eric defend his addiction, saying he had it under control and it was actually helping his music! Ahmet thought about all the other music legends that he had heard the same rap from, going all the way back to Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, and it always ended badly! Clapton remained unconvinced, but, well, they did manage to get through that album, and it turned out pretty well, but I saw Derek and The Dominoes live, and it was awful! One of the worst concerts I’ve ever seen. At the time, I couldn’t understand how they could be so bad live, after recording what I considered, and still consider, one of the greatest albums of all time! But now I understand. It was the drugs, specifically, heroin and cocaine! Eric’s career took off pretty well after he got clean and sober, but ironically, his music suffered. By any measure, he lost his edge and his passion for the music, and he’ll freely admit this!
In the Aerosmith case, however, they came roaring back with some of the most exciting music they had ever made! After a few albums, they too began phoning it in, but for a five year period, they were back stronger than ever, thanks to being clean and sober!
I’m not preaching here, and there are exceptions to every rule (The Rolling Stones come to mind), but generally speaking, hard drug use brings about a hard fall in the music business. The irony is that some amazing music often gets produced before the fall. Some people consider this a worthwhile tradeoff! The jury is still out on that one.
There is a ton of great live music this week, so let’s get to it.
Thursday, December 8 – SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS at The Tarrytown Music Hall. This is the band who are spearheading the neo-soul revival. The Dap-Kings were the backing band on Amy Winehouse’s amazing “Back to Black” album, and they are great!
Friday, December 9 – The sheer number of talented artists who are playing on this one night is enough to make your head spin! At The Tarrytown Music Hall, SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY AND THE ASBURY JUKES make a rare appearance, and these guys carried the torch for soul and R & B for many years before The Dap-Kings came along. They’ve got a catalog of great songs, and I’d bet they can still pull them off with style!
At the Turning Point in Piermont, DAVID JOHANSEN, lead singer of the very influential New York Dolls, Buster Poindexter (in another incarnation), and blues singer extraordinaire, will rock the house.
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, Steve Earle’s son, will bring his Americana tinged music to Club Helsinki in Hudson.
Levon’s guitarist, and former member of The Band, JIM WEIDER, will be stopping by The Falcon in Marlboro with his PROJECT PERCOLATOR.
Former permanent Midnight Ramble opening act, ALEXIS P. SUTER is at The Bearsville Theater for a Holiday concert, and HOT TUNA begins the first night of a two day stand at The Beacon Theater.
Saturday, December 10 – HOT TUNA continues their two day run at The Beacon, PROFESSOR LOUIE AND THE CHROMATICS pull into The Falcon, MURALI CORYELL is at The Catamount in Mount Tremper, and JUDY COLLINS and ARLO GUTHRIE are at Tarrytown Music Hall, for all you folkies out there.
Sunday, December 11 – The immortal DARLENE LOVE returns to B.B. King’s in Manhattan to belt out her catalog of classics.
Tuesday, December 13 – BEN ROUNDS hosts his regular Tuesday night open mic at The Catamount, and SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS open a two day engagement at The Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan.
Wednesday, December 14 – SHARON JONES finishes up at The Bowery Ballroom and ROSS RICE AND THE VERY SEXY TRIO return to The Catamount.
Have a great week.