The Stumble

Today as I was listening to A Hard Road by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for the first time, the song that most caught my attention was their cover of Freddie King’s “The Stumble”. Since I had recently added The Very Best of Freddie King to my iTunes collection, I knew I probably had the original:

iTunes search for "The Stumble"

Sure enough I had the version by Freddie as well as another by Jeff Beck I immediately queued them to play next: Freddie followed by Beck. In the meantime, I pulled up the Wikipedia article to find out more about this rollicking electric guitar solo + what is the wah wah effect. There’s not much there but the article does have a list of artists that have covered it. My eyes immediately found Gary Moore who was more or less a disciple of Peter Green, Mayall’s guitar player on his version of “The Stumble”. Having just downloaded a chunk of Moore’s work the night before, I anxiously scanned the files for his version of “The Stumble”. I dropped it into iTunes just as Beck’s version faded out.

As Moore’s version blasted my ears, I went to YouTube for further insight. I wasn’t able to find the Freddie King version but I did find Green, Beck and Moore as well as a couple of interesting versions.
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Porto Alegre, Brazil, February 25, 2011

A few years ago I used to ride with Portland Critical Mass every month. Eventually, the numbers became so small that it seemed pointless to continue. Still, I’ve long felt a kinship with Critical Mass rides everywhere. Thus, seeing the following video taken Friday night in Brazil almost made me cry. One minute into the video, the joy and serenity is replaced with insane violence:

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Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll

If you were a teen in the 80s like me then you probably remember the short-lived sketch comedy series, Fridays, on ABC. Although it only lasted two seasons, it left an indelible impression on my young brain.

Sadly, a DVD release of those two seasons is reportedly held up by Michael Richards. Luckily, YouTube has most of their great sketches including the ones I’ve included below the fold:
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Cee-Lo Green and the Horse He Rode in On

Remember Gnarls Barkley‘s first single in the summer of 2006? “Crazy” was the first single to chart in the UK based purely on online sales. Now one half of that duo, Cee-Lo Green, has released an equally enchanting single called “Fuck You” off his upcoming album, The Lady Killer. Here’s the first video for the song:

If you love the song as much as I do, you won’t mind hearing it a second time (in a different video):
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DJ Demos Twin iPad Setup

I’m very excited about Apple’s new product. You may have heard of it, it’s called the “iPad.”

In all seriousness, though, from the day Apple publicly announced it, my feeling has been that this device could be groundbreaking with the right software. The video below demonstrates just how powerful and remarkable iPad software can be. In the video, Robert Scoble interviews DJ Rana Sobhany, who demonstrates the software she uses with two iPads to create music.

In order to get the full context, you have to watch the whole video. However, I’ve attempted to summarize below just how amazing software on the iPad can look and feel:

  • 3:00: Demonstration begins for the Korg software
  • 5:20: Explanation of what the Looptastic app does
  • 6:10: Demonstration begins for how she puts it all together
  • 6:50: Notice as she adds more music on the left iPad, she uses two fingers to drag two different things into the mix.
  • 8:00: Again multiple simultaneous finger interactions with the controls.
  • 15:44: Demonstration of using audio effects like the high pass filter

What I find amazing about this demo is that how obviously simple it is to use this software. When she drags things in from the musical palette, the motions she uses look completely natural and it’s obvious she doesn’t have to think about how to get where she wants.

At the beginning and end she makes the point that iPad applications are going to get better now that developers actually have iPads. The initial influx of apps were created using Apple’s software simulator that runs on a Macintosh computer. While it gives you a good idea about sizing of controls and such, there are many lessons you learn once you pick up the iPad and try to use an app. In the case of the Korg app (the first she demonstrates), it is obvious that the developers were seeking to mimic a “real” (i.e. hardware) component by having things like dial controls. Although they look cool, such controls will likely morph into other controls that are easier to control on the iPad (for example, sliders).

You can follow Rana Sobhany on Twitter or visit her website,

New Music Video from OK Go

Here is an amazing video from “YouTube” stars, OK Go. Watch carefully and wonder to yourself how many takes this took:

If you don’t have flash on your device, you can view the video on YouTube with this link. Why didn’t I just embed the YouTube video? Damian Kulash, Jr., one of the guys in the band, wrote a very interesting article on a fan forum a few days ago that did an excellent job of explaining the intricacies of the music industry’s DRM machine. Today Kulash followed up with a tremendous New York Times Guest Op-Ed.

Mel Gibson: Still An Asshole

First, he claims to not know what the interviewer is asking and then he says he’s “done all the necessary mea culpas.” At least he admits he is still the same person: an anti-semitic and mean-spirited bully who doesn’t understand why people dislike him.

I think celebrities sometimes reach a tipping point where they will forever be boxed in by their past actions. Welcome to the club, Mel. Tom Cruise and Gary Busey are glad you’re here.

Olbermann Apologizes

Last week Jon Stewart had some fun at the expense of Keith Olbermann but with a serious point. Olbermann addressed it at the end of his show last night:

Keith’s response was rather graceless and his joke about Jon was a bit mean-spirited. However, he did admit he was wrong and apologized.