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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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George Clinton is a humble man yet fully aware of the lofty position he occupies in the pantheon of popular music.

That was the impression I was left with after my conversation with him last week.  

Singer-songwriter Howie Day, a native of Brewer, will return to play his first Bangor-area concert in more than a decade this Friday evening, October 24, at Husson University’s Gracie Theatre. 

Day says he is looking forward to the hometown show.  “I think the last show I did in the area was at UMaine and that must have at least 10 years ago,” he told me in an interview last week.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 18:48

Pugwash rock Portland on first U.S. tour

The opening moments of Pugwash’s first Maine concert, last Thursday at Portland’s Empire, set the tone for the evening. As the Irish band walked onstage to cheers, whoops and hoots, front-man Thomas Walsh greeted the crowd and heard his voice echo in the vocal monitor. “Could you please remove the reverb?” he asked the man in charge of the mix. “We’re an anti-reverb band, you see. We don’t want to sound like Simon Le Bon.”   

As if they were reading each other’s minds, the group launched a brief and mockingly dramatic reverb-soaked version of Duran Duran’s “Save A Prayer” much to the delight of the audience, some of whom had driven many hours to greet the Pugs on the fourth show of their first U.S. tour. “Some came here from Kentucky to see us,” an incredulous Walsh commented later. “You people are amazing.”   

Tuesday, 07 October 2014 22:29

New Bowie bio heavy on the ‘juicy bits’

British author Wendy Leigh’s new David Bowie biography certainly appears to offer a deluge of sordid drug and sex-fueled debauchery, but I’m not sure how much actual rock and roll there is to be found between the covers.  

I have not read “Bowie: The Biography” (Simon & Schuster) and admitted that fact to Leigh at the outset of my interview with her, scheduled two days earlier. After reading excerpts of the book via several online U.K. tabloids along with a few garish abridgements published elsewhere, I surmised that it was more of a “gossipy tell-all” than an all-embracing chronicle. Leigh says that isn’t a fair summary.    

Writer Jesse Fink recalls the epiphany that lifted him from the dark funk that had permeated his life since going through a painful divorce. “I was missing my wife and feeling quite despondent,” he told me in a phone interview from his home in Sydney, Australia.  

“Instead of doing something stupid, I put on ‘Gimme a Bullet’ from AC/DC’s ‘Powerage’ album. There was something about that song that kind of saved my life that night. The next day, I wondered ‘What was it about that music that lifted me up at that time?’”  

Acclaimed Dublin band to play Portland Empire on Oct. 9

If you have yet to experience the musical joy on earth that is Pugwash, please allow me to introduce you to “A Rose in a Garden of Weeds: A Preamble Through The History of Pugwash,” a compilation of 17 delectable nuggets of pure pop genius recorded by the Dublin, Ireland band between 1999 and 2011. Released this week by the passionate music lovers at Omnivore Recordings, the collection is designed as a Pugwash-primer and is a generous dip into a wonderfully rich catalog of gorgeous songs.   

It’s rare to spend 40 years at any position – especially when that job is in the unpredictable and less than secure world of rock and roll. Rob Halford has been fronting the pioneering heavy metal band Judas Priest since 1974 (minus an 11-year stretch when he’d left to form his own group). Halford says he is grateful for having been granted a commission and a purpose by the group’s fans – to keep singing for Judas Priest.

This summer, “Redeemer of Souls” (Epic/Columbia), Judas Priest’s 17th studio album, debuted at #6 on the Billboard top 200 album chart, giving the band their first top 10 album in the United States.  

Hit maker Kenny Loggins recalls the startling moment, a few years ago, when he first heard his voice blend with those of Nashville singer songwriters Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman. “I fell out of my chair the first time we sang. The vocal blend made us sound like siblings. That’s when I knew we were a band.” 

The band is Blue Sky Riders, and they are currently on a tour to support “Finally Home,” their melody and harmony-rich debut album released in 2013. The record shines with elements of pop, country, folk, blues, Americana and even Celtic and Cajun-style grooves.  

Forty five years ago this week, four very unlikely partners joined forces to stage what turned out to be the granddaddy of music festivals.  

Michael Lang, whose previous festival experience included the Miami Pop Festival in 1968, became close friends with fellow Brooklyn native Artie Kornfeld, a Capitol Records producer and songwriter. The pair formed an alliance with two young businessmen (and aspiring TV script writers), John Roberts and Joel Rosenman.  

For nearly two hours on Saturday night, the audience at Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center was captivated as John Fogerty and his band delivered a 22-song set heavy on the hits written during his days with Creedence Clearwater Revival.  

Bayou sounds of croaking frogs and chirping crickets signaled Fogerty and his five fellow musicians to take the stage as a welcoming roar from the crowd was met with a thunderous opener in the form of “Travelin’ Band.”  

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