Hotline to the Underground Dec 9-15 2019 By Joe Viglione

By Joe Viglione

As we get closer to Christmas and New Year there’s still lots of rock and roll to absorb. Check out my newsletter where you can get some previews of this column a few days before.

Huge week Thurs 12/12, Fri the 13th and Saturday 12/14 in Bohemia @ the Cantab Lounge 728 Mass. Ave, Central Sq. Cambridge, right off of the Red Line: Dec 12 Thursday Andrew Eckel and Jonah Sacks, Ghost Town, Nick Joliat and Dan Wick, Wild Allegations ….hard-hitting metal on FRIDAY THE 13th Soft Touch Mechanism, Neon Knights, Bitter Wind / Saturday Louder than Milk, No Grass, WMS All-Stars

WASTEBUDS send demo:
“Mini Bowl A Go Go” sounds like a perfect song for Club Bohemia. we are Wastebuds and we play loud as fxxx Punk Rock!!! Jackson:Drums, Connor: Guitar David:Vocals – they sound like another generation’s Gizmos and “Mini Bowl AGoGo” – all three minutes of it – sounds like a reincarnated Gizmos’ “Mxxx Divin’ in Wilkie South.” Towards the end of the song the punk devolves into grunge. Cool stuff…

Gimme Some Truth The Making Of John Lennon’s Imagine Album A Study By Joe Viglione

December 8th, of course, was the 39th anniversary of the passing of John Lennon. I was in a recording studio in Watertown producing a wonderful band called The Runes – the song “Do or Die” when we got the news that Lennon had been assassinated. In honor of John here’s my review of his new Imagine DVD:
When one’s memories are only of the audio of this set of recordings of the Imagine album by John Lennon, you have to prepare yourself for a new thought process of a dear and important work, a thought process that actually gives for a renewed appreciation for one of the great solo Beatle epics.

The imagery that folds over and embraces the songs that we know so well – John and Yoko all dressed up and in a canoe while “Crippled Inside” is playing – imprints new impressions over the reminders of John’s voice and the eclectic playing of the musicians, all coming back like a resurrection. Hearing the instrumentation with a new clarity is the obverse of what you once knew, and it’s a delight.

Seeing Phil Spector – and knowing the outcome of the iconic producer’s life – is a bit of a reality check, but one has to trade off his dark side for Spector’s brilliance. And that is exemplified by my favorite track on Imagine, “Jealous Guy.” Lennon appreciates Spector and tells him so sincely.

While singing “Gimme Some Truth” the nuances of the rock star’s vocal patterns, the body language while recording this now familiar music, it’s as fascinating as it is important.

“That’s the nasty one” John says to George Harrison playing him “How Do You Sleep.” It’s audio revenge porn and Lennon is delighted to play a song about his old pal. Hearing and watching Lennon go through the creative moments on such an epic piece is masterful of the filmmakers (Produced and directed by Andrew Solt from the original 1971 Imagine movie directed by John and Yoko.)

The digital soundtrack mixed at Abbey Road Studios, London by Peter Cobbin and Allan Rouse. “Making of Imagine” May 1971 (oh to go back in time!) Ascot, England. Producers – John, Yoko and Phil Spector.

John Lennon – piano, guitar and vocals
George Harrison – guitar
Nicky Hopkins – piano
Jim Keltner – drums
Klaus Voormann – bass guitar
Allan White – drums

“Don’t confuse the songs with your own life,” Lennon says outside the studio. “I mean, they might have relevance to your own life but, a lot of things do.”
Seeing John Lennon look so young, hearing the blues in his voice for this pop song/ballad, and watching so much footage of this particular rock star in casual moments outside the studio, serious moment at the microphone, just so important for posterity, so important for context, so beautiful to experience.
As the one hour, seven minute and fifty-four second film concludes, John’s angelic voice is singing “Oh My Love” a capella. It is tremendous. Then it snaps back to the DVD home page to Imagine.



Back in August of 2019 John Fannon sent us a press release about the 40th anniversary of the group New England:

My band New England is celebrating 40th anniversary with a few shows…. Oct 25th at The Spire Center For Performing Arts in Plymouth MA and Oct 26th at Bull Run in Shirley MA. Then Grand Oak Live in Upland, CA. Nov 2.

UK’s Classic Rock Magazine recently had an issue with the top 50 AOR albums of all time and voted New England’s debut album #14 … pretty cool!

Our shows in Japan in 2016 were awesome. Fans waiting at the hotel… meet and greets with hundreds of people after the shows…. .

So I thought we’d pull out my 2013 review of an album of John’s:

John Fannon’s Saved All the Pieces

New England lead singer John Fannon’s Saved All the Pieces CD is a superb 11 track excursion into thick sound, majestic melody and perfect arrangements. “Just You And Me” opens the disc resplendent in Abbey Road Beatles’ musings underscored with remnants of Pink Floyd and a little Melissa Manchester to boot. “Just Run”, co-written with New England bandmate Jimmy Waldo could be Fannon’s old producer, Todd Rundgren, teaming up with him for a post-Utopia ballad. Perhaps the time for a Rundgren/Fannon pairing is long overdue? Fannon actually sounds like Robert Plant meets Peter Gabriel by way of Sutherland Brothers and Quiver on “Just Run.” It’s powerful stuff. The first two tracks are the immediate and hold your attention like few pop albums on the current marketplace, each selection as impressive as the one before.

On “Just Run” it’s post-Beatles “Real Love” guitarmanship, droll, eerie pulsating sublime maneuverings all at once. Very nice indeed. “Go On Your Way” harkens back to early British rock while final track, “So Here I Am”, eloquent in its simplicity. Title track “Saved All the Pieces” a precise John Batdorf sort of bit of insight while “Running Easy”, track 9, expands the theme the title song initiated. It’s a joy to gush when an album has so much to offer and Fannon has hit it out of the park with this one. Phil Greene and Tony Ricci are mentioned in the credits along with Paul Cervone and thanks going out to his colleagues in New England and notable protégé Peter Zicko. It’s a stunning achievement and next to Steve Hunter’s Manhattan Blues Project in my Top 5 for the year so far.

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