Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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Wednesday, 09 November 2011 11:41

Remastered, reissued, reimagined

The music industry is cranking out archival releases in shelf-busting numbers during the fourth quarter of 2011. There seems to be a sense of 'now or never' for some of this material, as labels continue to tighten their belts while spiffing up old tapes and raiding the vaults for previously unreleased recordings.

These releases are largely designed for the music consumer who prefers a 'tangible' product: boxes, booklets, shiny discs, vinyl, posters, notes and trinkets that some might call excessive ephemera. The idea is to take a previously released title that sold well, improve it with (hopefully) superior mastering, add some relevant previously unheard material with new notes and put it out as the 'ultimate' version.

Wednesday, 02 November 2011 09:11

Mike Elliott hangs with old pal Jimmy Kimmel

This week, I have an opportunity to dish about my morning show partner of almost 14 years, Mike Elliott. Off the air, he is kind of shy and non-assuming. He's a great father. He loves his hair. At one time, he had the highest-rated morning radio show in America (per capita) with a 28 share - unheard of numbers today. He is extremely funny and has a soft spot for robots.

That probably isn't the juicy sort of dish you were hoping to read, but it's all true. Oh, and he has some famous friends. One friend in particular happens to be one of America's most beloved late-night talk show hosts, Jimmy Kimmel. Mike recently spent a few days in Los Angeles with his old pal and former morning show sidekick.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:08

Dude, you saw Zeppelin!

A few days ago, I was asked the following question: 'What's the best concert you've ever seen?'

My gut response was, 'Paul McCartney, Boston 2002 and again in 2005.' Those were absolutely incredible concerts. When he first appears on stage, it hits you: There he is. He's real. It's the actual guy. He's not a video or a hologram - it's Paul. For two hours and 45 minutes, you get the show of your life with each song played and sung as if his life depended on it.

Add to that the man who wrote or co-wrote those amazing songs is standing there in front of you and it's kind of hard to beat.

"Bath salts is sold under these innocuous names (Vanilla Sky, Monkey Dust, Kryptonite, White Ivory, etc.); people may not realize what it is. We've been seeing a lot of harm, both physical and psychological, come to those who have used it." - Dr. Anthony Ng, medical director Psychiatric Observation Unit at Acadia Hospital in Bangor.

"I hope that people learn from the tragedies that have already happened and have yet to happen. And I think there will be more. The stakes are so high with this particular chemical, people don't get second chances." - Shawn Yardley, director at City of Bangor Health and Community Services.

The public is encouraged to attend a Town Hall meeting on Bangor's "bath salts" epidemic to be held at the Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. This meeting will be a free information session and an opportunity for the public to hear first-hand information from area professionals who have direct experience in dealing with the bath salts epidemic.

Some fans were introduced to Grace Potter and The Nocturnals via their reimagined take on Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." Others may have come to the band through a festival appearance with Dave Matthews or at Lollapalooza. Local radio listeners can hear Grace Potter daily on Kiss 94.5 where the single "Paris (Ooh La La)" is currently in heavy rotation, or on 104.7 The Bear where her duet with Kenny Chesney, "You and Tequila," racks up frequent spins.

The band's self-titled third album is a musical Nor'easter of blues, rock, soul, funk and pop and has kept them on the road nonstop since it was issued more than a year ago. Grace Potter and The Nocturnals have played nearly 200 dates over the last 12 months and have seen their audience grow exponentially. The upcoming Grand Point North (GPN) festival in Burlington, Vt. finds the group headlining their own weekend of shows in their home state. As a warm-up to GPN, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals will headline the Friday, Aug. 12 lineup of the 2011 Kahbang Music Festival on the Bangor Waterfront.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011 05:38

Secrets of a repo man

"He came out of his bedroom loading a handgun...."

The stories you are about to read are true. The identity of this local "Repo Man" will remain a secret. He agreed to speak to me on condition of anonymity.

Dow: "How long have you been in the business, and how did you get started?"

Repo Man: "I've been towing for 20 years now. As for repossessions, I started doing that about 15 years ago. I was drawn by the challenge of it. It is a challenge at times. You never know what's going to happen."

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 05:38

Bob Dylan and Leon Russell pack 'em in

It was another win for Waterfront Concerts Saturday night as a sold-out crowd packed the Waterfront Pavilion to see Bob Dylan's first Bangor performance in more than 14 years. As of Saturday morning, 7,000 tickets had been sold and further seats were made available that day according to Mark Braveman, Waterfront Concerts ticket agent at Mark's Music in Brewer.

The next-to-last stop on this leg of Dylan's "Never Ending Tour," the concert was both thrilling and frustrating. He tours with a stellar band, including ace guitarist Charlie Sexton. They appeared to be having a blast cranking out Bob's songs, many of which were written when some of the band were in diapers.

Eight of the 15 songs that comprised Dylan's set list came from his classic 60s period, including the show opener, "Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35." "Tangled Up In Blue" and "Simple Twist of Fate" from 1975's "Blood On The Tracks" were set highlights as was a rolling, chugging arrangement of "Things Have Changed," a song that scored Dylan an Academy Award for best original song in 2000. Dylan spent most of the show seated at an organ that was mixed too low while his vocals were much louder than they should have been in the overall mix.

By most accounts, Bobby Whitlock of (arguably) Eric Clapton's greatest band, Derek and The Dominos, could have been declared dead at least three times. Actually, he's quite sure he died at least once and was sent back.

Today, Bobby is healthy and happy to be alive in Austin, Texas, where he spoke with me from the kitchen of a 200-year-old farmhouse and recording studio that he renovated with CoCo Carmel, his wife and partner in life and music. The pair recently completed a new double album, "Esoteric," to be released before the end of the year. "She is the love of my life and the light unto it," Whitlock told me.

2011 has been a remarkable year for Whitlock. His new book, "A Rock and Roll Autobiography" (with Marc Roberty; foreword by Eric Clapton), has been among the best- reviewed and best-selling music biographies on Amazon since June. "I look at the chart each week," Whitlock told me. "Ozzy (Osbourne) is #2 and I'm still at #1 above Keith Richards and everyone else. All I had to was write it (laughs) and listen to the voice that comes at 3:30 in the morning saying, 'Get up, it's time to write.' When you hear the voice that clear, you get up, sit there and wait."

Wednesday, 14 September 2011 05:38

The real George Thorogood

Beyond 'Bad'

One of the things I have always appreciated about George Thorogood is that he has never been a bandwagon jumper. As trends in popular music evolve, George and his band, The Destroyers, have essentially remained unchanged.

When the Top 40 charts of the 80s and 90s were populated with synthesizer-driven fly-by-night pop groups, spandex-wearing "hair bands," dance-oriented Hip Hop or "soft verse/loud chorus" Nirvana-rip offs, George Thorogood kept pumping out roots-based bluesy rock that seldom varied from what his fans expected.

George and The Destroyers will bring their show to the Bangor Waterfront on Friday, Sept. 23 in support of a new album, "2120 South Michigan Avenue." That's the address of the legendary Chess Records recording studio. Thorogood's new album, a tribute to some of his heroes who recorded at Chess, wasn't originally his idea. "It was Capitol Records' idea," Thorogood told me last week. "They asked my manager, 'Would George be interested in doing a tribute album to Chess?' I said, 'On Capitol Records? Are you crazy? Of course I'd be interested in that.'"

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 05:38

Buried in the mix

Do you hear what I hear?

Legendary musician and producer Al Kooper reveals a hidden joke he planted in Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." Kooper, long known as the "go to guy" among musicians, signed Skynyrd to their first major label contract and produced their first three albums.

"Right after the line, 'Well I heard Mr. Young sing about her,' if you listen real close in the left speaker, you can hear me sing in my best Neil Young imitation, 'Southern Man, better use your head...' It's nearly subliminal," writes Kooper.

Young's "Southern Man" was one of the songs that inspired "Sweet Home Alabama." Neil subtly responded to the attention in subsequent years by wearing Skynyrd T-shirts during his own concerts.

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