Kevin Ayers truly lived life. The stories and work he left behind attest to that. He was a member of the Wilde Flowers, who started out as a British beat group and later incorporated jazz and psych into their sound. The group split up and formed The Soft Machine and Caravan, two extremely influential groups who made their own style of progressive rock known as the Canterbury Scene; Ayers’s own writing style influenced the quirky lyrics in the Canterbury genre.
The Soft Machine played regularly with Pink Floyd at the legendary UFO club in London. The band’s distinctive mix of jazz and psych caught the interest of Jimi Hendrix, who became a close friend to Ayers. Jimi later brought the band along to open for him on his American tour. Many who were there say that the Soft Machine blew Jimi out of the water almost every night. A highlight of the show was an endless version of “We Did It Again” written by Ayers, who sang it with his very distinctive baritone voice. It was his favorite song to play and he had so much fun singing it that he didn’t want it to end. The song personified the kind of person he was – the only lyrics in the song also make up the title of the song.
In true Ayers fashion, just as the group was getting recognition and touring became more strenuous, Ayers sold his bass and gracefully retreated to a beach in Spain to relax. Jimi Hendrix gave him an acoustic guitar and encouraged Ayers to continue to make music, which he did, writing several songs that would end up on his first solo album called Joy of A Toy. Backed by his Soft Machine bandmates and one Syd Barrett, he laid the blueprint of his style: laid back, quirky, eccentric, experimental pop. This gave way to a long prolific career. Every album was different from the last.
Ayers had no interest in what people thought of his work. He simply laid back and played for himself. He just wanted to have a good time and that’s exactly what he did.
Ayers passed away in his sleep on Feburary 18th at the age of 68. A note found by his bed read, “You can’t shine if you don’t burn.”
by Mari Stauffer
Well, more than two decades after their last release, My Bloody Valentine has shared with the world their brand new album, MBV. After the band issued a statement online announcing that the album was available for download and purchase (vinyl & cd) through their website, the site crashed. Yeah, needless to say there were a ton of excited and eager fans at that moment.
So far, there’s no word of distribution of actual product, but we here at Streetlight are keeping our ears to the ground and will keep everyone posted of any news in that department!
Paste magazine recently rounded up 101 musicians and asked them to talk about their favorite record stores. We’re pretty excited that both the Santa Cruz and San Jose Streetlight Records are represented. We’re there with some great company.
Check it out: 101 Musicians Discuss their Favorite Record Stores
On March 20, the Shins are releasing a new full-length album, entitled Port of Morrow. In the meantime, they’ve dropped a 7″ of the song “Simple Song.” The b-side is this tune called “September.”
The band is playing the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on April 22, but getting a ticket at this point may involve bribery or schmoozing someone who already has tickets or standing outside the Civic hoping for a miracle.
We can’t help but smile at this one. In a recent report on The Week, it was revealed that Steve Jobs, the man who flipped the music industry on its ear with the release of itunes, was a vinyl-head. According to the report, when Jobs kicked back to listen to music, he didn’t reach for an ipod, he turned to his turntable and records.
Neil Young, who was working with Jobs to create a high-fidelity digital file that, shed some light on Jobs’ listening habits saying, “Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. His legacy is tremendous. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl.”
Doesn’t it just warm your heart?
This Friday, February 17th, Streetlight Records Santa Cruz will be
participating in the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History’s 3rd
Every month, 3rd Friday has a different theme. Seeing that this
month’s theme is MUSIC, it is only appropriate that Streetlight will
be involved. Resident artists Hanna Thrasher and Mari Stauffer will
be facilitating a workshop where participants can redesign vinyl
record covers. All materials (including a plethora of album covers to
choose from) will be provided. All you need to pay is the $5
entrance fee, which gets you into the entire 3rd Friday event.
The event occurs throughout the museum and includes other art and
music-related workshops, performances and demonstrations by
Santa Cruz area artists and musicians. Swing on by to check out and
explore art, history, and the music of Santa Cruz!
Need an M.I.A. fix? Today, Pitchfork premiered the single “Bad Girlz.” Have a listen.
It’s official. The face of Record Store Day 2012 is none other than Iggy Pop. Here’s what he has to say about his appointment:
“A person should have a personality. You won’t get one dicking around on a computer. It helps to go somewhere where there are other persons. Persons who are interested in something you are. That’s how a record store or any shop that’s got some life to it should work. It’s not about selling shit. I got my name, my musical education and my personality all from working at a record store during my tender years. Small indie shops have always been a mix of theater and laboratory. In the 50′s and 60′s the teen kids used to gather after school at these places to listen free to the latest singles and see if they liked the beat. You could buy the disc you liked for 79 cents and if you were lucky meet a chick. Clerks in these places became managers, (like Brian Epstein), label heads, (Jack Holzman) and Faces on album covers (like me). Personally I feel best in a store that, while staying small and socially relaxed, still keeps a complete variety of music types and non musical recordings on offer. I’m aware though that a lot of great places are genre-specific, like dance hall shops in Jamaica or Compas here in Little Haiti. In Europe and on the West coast the same goes on for Punk and Goth. All of this is cool and has a much bigger future than most people realize today. When the record and record store businesses began to die at the turn of the new century, they deserved it because they got too big too boring and too plastic.
“As Record Store Day Ambassador for 2012 I feel like a representative from some exotic jungle full of life and death and sex and anger, called upon to wear a leopard skin and translate joy to the world of the dead.” –IGGY POP (via RecordStoreDay.com)
Well, as of this morning, you’re in the hospital being kept alive with a breathing machine while your family battles over your estate. Ouch. Probably not what you had hoped your final days would look like. I’m really sorry that you’ve been suffering and I just wanted to take a minute to thank you, from the depths of my heart, for all the music, joy and sauciness that you have brought to the world.
The first and only time I saw you perform live was many years back at the Monterey Blues Festival. I was a record store newbie of 19 who was staffing the merch booth. You were the belle of the ball; the headliner that people had come from all over to see; the inimitable, legendary Etta James.
One of the perks of having a booth at the festival was that we were given one of the VIP boxes in the front row. Two at a time, we took turns watching the festival from the box. A co-worker, who was older and wiser, pulled me aside and said, “Don’t take your turn until Etta James. You won’t be sorry.” I didn’t, and I wasn’t.
It’s hard to put into words an unforgettable performance, but here goes. You came out to a sea of applause while your band, which included your baby-faced
grandson on bass, got us all into the groove. You paraded and peacocked and strutted around like nothing I had ever seen. High energy rocking blues to tear-inducing ballads, you had the entire arena in the palm of your hand. You singled one guy out a few people down from us, and played with him the whole time; blowing him kisses, dropping your handkerchief for him, asking for his name. It was hilarious, and heart-warming. I remember marveling at how you made an enormous outdoor stadium feel like you were entertaining us in your living room. Perhaps it was the front row vantage point, but I had the sense that those in the bleachers were having much the same experience as I was.
I became a lifelong fan that day and started tracing your catalog backward. So many albums, so many great songs, so many epic performances. I found, as many do, the album At Last, to be a masterpiece, and got hung up on it for several years. Your tunes “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “Tell Mama” are favorites that I will enjoy for all of my days. But then I discovered some of your very early recordings, sung by an untested young woman who was making a go at a career in music. It was such a joy to hear who you were before you were a legend. Those recordings are a reminder of how short and sweet and sad life can be, and that we all dance with the blues.
Thank you so very much for the music, laughter and inspiration. I wish you a smooth transition from this life. Know that you have touched your fans deeply.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a brand new Devil Makes Three live album entitled Stomp and Smash (and Slash and Crash and Bash and Bust and Burn) out now. We have it on both CD and vinyl and if you pick it up now, you can learn all the songs in time for their New Year’s Eve stint at the Catalyst. Here’s the track listing:
1. For Good Again
2. Statesboro Blues
3. This Life
5. Old Number Seven
7. Never Learn
8. They Call That Religion
9. Do Wrong Right
10. Black Irish
11. Help Yourself