• "Officially, Tommy was a Ramone for four years and three classic albums, from 1974 to 1978. He was the band's first manager. But he was also the mysterious one, because the three years shaved off his age – born Erdélyi Tamás in Budapest on January 29, 1949, he long claimed 1952 – made his biography harder to synch up. Could he really have helped engineer Jimi Hendrix's 'Band of Gypsys' when he was only 18? Probably he couldn't have. But at 21 he did.... " Robert Christgau eulogizes Tommy Ramone at Billboard (also home to The Dean's newly-unveiled monthly column).
• "This guy is acuter and brainier than the acuity and braininess Newman, Prine and Wainwright spoil you into expecting. and though he defines both halves of the term outsider artist, the beer-guzzling regular guy inside him is the key to the album’s greatness — no rock perfection survives a rejection of the earthbound — and he really does seem like he can outsing outplay and outlay any of the stars above him." And speaking of Xgau, Ryan Maffei on Terry Allen and dozens more 1970s artists, all plucked from the "A" chapter of "Christgau's Record Guide" for Ryan Does The '70s Guide.
• "Ten years ago, Metallica served as the subject of a documentary called Some Kind of Monster. How long does it take for a movie to become a cult classic? For me, the answer is four minutes, which is when we meet a man named Phil Towle. Towle is presented as a "Therapist / Performance Enhancement Coach," a title compromised by the fact that he surrendered his therapy license to the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board in the mid-1990s after being cited for a litany of violations, including "continuing treatment when it was not beneficial to the client."" Mike Powell wonders how (if?) Metallica ever bounced back from warts-and-all documentary horror show Some Kind Of Monster for Deadspin/The Concourse.
• "One thing I noticed over the years: I'd ask all my favorite bassists, "What are you doing there?" when they played something to do with pedal points, except that it was so melodic and pretty that you didn’t think of it as a pedal point. Without fail, all those favorite bassists said they got it from Charlie Haden." Billy Hart, one of forty-one musicians masterfully assembled by Ethan Iverson to remember and celebrate Charlie Haden for Do The Math.
• "'Overachiever' Al’s gift, ultimately, is for monocultural satire, laughs everybody can get without a second thought, on the level of Jimmy Fallon’s current talk-show routines: The Tonight Show host likewise depends on musical facility (courtesy of the Roots) combined with utterly uncurbed enthusiasm. Where Yankovic recycles hits into polka kicks, Fallon turns them into faux Neil Young or Bruce Springsteen odes, lip-sync competitions, and schoolroom-instrument jams. All good fun, but nothing to make the ghosts of Noel Coward or Moms Mabley turn their heads." Carl Wilson hits perfectly upon both the charms and limitations of long-running satirical institution Weird Al Yankovic for Slate.
• "I remember talking to Phil Spector in the early days. Phil used to say to us, "You guys, you put too much value on. You put an A side, and you put a good song on the B side!" There had been a song called "Sally Go Round the Roses," an early thing, and on the other side they'd put "Sing Along With Sally Go Round the Roses" – just the backing track. And we'd say, "Aw, Phil, you can't do that, man. They paid good money for this. We would feel cheated by that." And he said, "Nah, you can do that. It's cool." That became actually the big Beatle policy. It was always to put a really serious B side on there." Paul McCartney dishes awesome and at length for Simon Vozick-Levinson at Rolling Stone.
“'In Europe especially, writers say, ‘If you’d been on Free Jazz, you could have been more famous.’ Those writers don’t have a clue. Going to New York, I would have lost the whole semester, and I was getting some heat at home about getting a job.'" Cornetist and West Coast jazz great Bobby Bradford talks to Kevin Whitehead for Wondering Sound.
• "In his two-story, often repainted, home, which one could tour for $5, were Elvis posters, Elvis candy wrappers and Elvis postage stamps, photographs of famous people with Elvis and photographs of famous people who did not know Elvis but who had been in the same city at some point, a homemade electric chair meant to evoke “Jailhouse Rock” and scraps of carpet that came (he told visitors) from Graceland, and which you could buy for $20 a square inch." The Old Weird America of Elvis Presley arises once more, in a tragedy reported by The New York Times.