Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dewey Martin, Buffalo Springfield Drummer, Dead At Age 68

It’s reported that drummer Dewey Martin (real name: Walter Milton Dwayne Midkiff), who played drums with the 1960’s group, Buffalo Springfield, passed away on January 31 of unknown causes.

Dewey Martin was born on September 30, 1940 in Chesterville, Ontario. He started playing drums when he was about 13-years-old and his first band was a high school outfit called The Jive Rockets. He soon progressed and played with various dance and ‘rockabilly’ groups in the Ottawa Valley area, including Bernie Early & The Early Birds.

After leaving Canada in the early 1960s, Martin was in the US army for a short time before heading to Nashville. Over the next few years, Martin worked as a session drummer for many of country music's greatest artists, including Carl Perkins, Patsy Cline, Charlie Rich, Faron Young, and Roy Orbison among many others. In 1963, he travelled to Las Vegas with Faron Young's band and then relocated to Los Angeles, where he decided to stay.

In Los Angeles in late 1965, Martin spent a few months with The Standells (“Dirty Water”) when drummer/singer Dick Dodd left. When Dodd returned in February 1966, Martin briefly joined The Modern Folk Quartet before touring and recording a demo with The Dillards. During late March/early April, Martin was working with The Dillards at the Ice House in Pasadena when Doug Dillard informed him that his services were no longer needed and he gave Martin a telephone number for a new group that needed a drummer. That band was Buffalo Springfield.

Dewey Martin became the last member to join the legendary group and apart from Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, he was the only musician to stay with the group from its inception in April 1966 until they broke up in May of 1968. During his time with the group, Martin also did session work for The Monkees.

While performing in concert, Martin sang covers of Wilson Pickett's “In The Midnight Hour,” and Richie Furay's "Nobody's Fool" and "Good Time Boy.” The latter song appeared on the band's second album, "Buffalo Springfield Again.” He also sang on Neil Young's rocker "Mr. Soul,” the introduction to Young's "Broken Arrow" (on the same album) and backing vocals on the band's biggest hit, "For What It's Worth.”

After the band broke up, Martin tried to carry on with new members and billed the band as the New Buffalo Springfield, but that only caused legal problems and he quit the music business to become an auto mechanic.

Martin resurfaced along with former Buffalo Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer in the mid-1980s as part of Buffalo Springfield Revisited. Joined by new members, they performed Buffalo Springfield classics on the oldies circuit before finally calling it quits in the early 1990’s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Cramps Frontman Dies

The Cramps performing in Belgium in 2006; original members Lux Interior and Poison Ivy pictured.

According to the group’s publicist, Lux Interior (real name Erick Lee Purkhiser), the co-founder and lead singer of the seminal horror-punk band, the Cramps, passed away on February 4. The cause of death was from a pre-existing heart condition. He was 60 years old.

The Cramps were part of the now legendary New York punk scene in the late 70’s and were formed in 1976. Although their lineup changed over the years, it always included Lux and his wife Kristy Wallace, whose stage name is "Poison Ivy."

Playing alongside punk rock acts like the Ramones and Patti Smith, the Cramps unmistakable sound was a blend of lo-fi rockabilly and surf guitars, which some have termed as ‘psychobilly.’

Their stage antics are legendary- part zombie, part intense punk- but always theatrical and often horror-themed. Songs like “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” and “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” were punk staples and the band’s breakthrough debut EP was 1979’s “Gravest Hits.”

Their sound has been credited as an influence by popular bands such as Pearl Jam, the White Stripes and the Black Lips, to name a few. The Cramps have released fourteen albums over the course of their career, including their latest, 2004’s “How To Make A Monster,” which sold more than 11,000 copies. The group’s best selling album was 1984’s “Bad Music for Bad people,” which has sold over 95,000 copies according to Nielson SoundScan.

The band was touring as recently as last November and rock and roll, specifically the punk movement, has lost a valuable and iconic member.

Classic Rock Videos

Beatles - It Won't Be Long

Album Cover Art

ELVIN JONES-MR. JONES Love the cover, sometimes I feel the same way :O) I mean who hasn't lost their head at one time or another?

Jones died of heart failure in an Englewood, New Jersey, hospital om May 18, 2004.

Elvin Jones, called by Life magazine "the world's greatest rhythmic drummer," was born in Pontiac, Michigan, one of ten children. He had two musician brothers: Hank, a jazz pianist, and Thad, a trumpet and flugelhorn player.

Jones entered the Detroit jazz scene in the late 1940s after touring as a stagehand with the Army Special Services show Operation Happiness.

Elvin Ray Jones was born September 9, 1927 in Pontiac, Michigan, the youngest of ten children. His father, originally from Vicksburg, Mississipi, was a lumber inspector for General Motors, a deacon in the Baptist church, and a bass in the church choir. "The greatest lady in the world", as Elvin describes his mother, encouraged him and above all taught him the value of self-sufficiency; the strenght to survive that "was especially valuable to me in the beginning as a musician". Music was in full flower in the Jones home. Brother Hank is known as one of the finest pianists in jazz, and brother Thad became a highly successful trumpet and flugelhorn player, arranger and band leader.

By age 13, determined to be a drummer, Elvin was practicing eight to ten hours a day. He went nowhere without drum sticks in his pocket, and would beat out rhythms on any available surface. Early influences Elvin likes to cite range from Kenny Clarke, Max Roach and Jo Jones to parade drummers and the American Legion Drum Corps! In 1946 Elvin enlisted in the Army, and toured with a Special Services show called Operation Happiness - as a stagehand. Unofficially, however, he was honing his own musical skills and gaining confidence, playing at post social affairs.

Jones was discharged in 1949, returning to a Detroit musical scene that was as vibrant as any outside New York. His first professional job was at Grand River Street, where things went well until the leader absconded with the receipts on Christmas Eve, Elvin began to frequent the Bluebird Inn, where he was sometimes asked to sit in. He always refused, thinking "it was presumptuous to sit in with these musicians, because... they were the greatest people I knew." In time, Jeader Billy Mitchell hired Elvin, and in three years at the club he backed up visiting stars including the legendary Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Wardell Grey, and, for six months, Miles Davis. In Addition, Monday nights there were jam sessions Elvin organized at his home, Tuesdays a concert series near a local university, and Elvin and his brother Thad promoted Sunday festival-style concerts. The long list of musicians Elvin played with during this period includes Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt, Tommy Flanagan, Pepper Adams, Barry Harris, Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson, Lou Hayes and Yusef Lateef.

Elvin made his move to New York ostensibly to audition for a new Benny Goodman band. Instead, he ended up with Charles Mingus, and in subsequent years he developed his style with Bud Powell, Miles Davis, the Pepper Adams-Donald Byrd Quintet, Art Farmer and J.J. Johnson. He also had his first experiences playing with Miles' tenor man and the increasingly celebrated recording artist John Coltrane. After leaving Miles in 1960, Coltrane was touring in San Francisco with his new group when he flew back to New York to seek out Elvin. Elvin joined one of jazz' most celebrated alliances in, of all places, Denver, Colorado. Through 1966, Elvin contributed to some of the most controversial, influential, and ultimately important music in jazz. Among the triumphant recordings from his great association are "A love Supreme" and "Coltrane 'Live' at the Village Vanguard". About this experience, Elvin comments: "Right from the beginning to the last time we played together it was something pure. The most impressive thing was a feeling of steady, collective learning... If there is anything like perfect harmony in human relationships, that band was as close as you can come".

In March 1966, Elvin left Coltrane. After a brief European tour with Duke Ellington's band he returned to New York to begin his distinguished career as leader, with a series of innovative piano-less trios featuring Joe Farrell on tenor alto and flute, and one of several bassists including Jimmy Garrison, Bill Wood, Charlie Haden and Wilbur Little. Also in 1966 Elvin married Keiko, whom he met in Nagasaki, Japan. Keiko has become Elvin's partner in every sense: besides providing inspiration, she is also his personal and business manager. Keiko is involved creatively as composer and arranger; Elvin has performed and recorded many of her works, including "Mr. Jones", "Shinjitsu" and "Zange". Elvin has been heard on nearly 500 recordings, with no end in sight. He also made a temporary detour to Hollywood in 1971 to appear as the character Job Cain in the ABC Paramount film "Zachariah". Reflecting his deep commitment to the music ("Playing is not something I do at night" he said, "It's my function in life").

Rock & Roll Tidbits

Both Davy Jones and Mickey Dolenz were child actors before landing a gig with the Monkees. Neither cared much about the music, they cared more about close-ups. Dolenz slipped the cameraman $25 to make sure he got the most close-ups. That didn’t fair too well, especially when Jones would slip the guy $35 and steal the show.

The drummer who played on the Marvelettes 1961, number one hit, "Please Mr. Postman" was 22 year old Marvin Gaye.

When RCA released 55 albums in stereo in May of 1958, executives at other record companies declared stereo a passing fad and predicted that mono would always be around.

After Prince converted to being a Jehovah's Witness in May of 2001, fans could count at least 50 songs the artist can no longer perform due to their explicit content, including hits such as "Little Red Corvette" and "Cream.”

One day Michael Jackson decided to entertain himself. So he sat on the floor of his living room tearing up $100 bills; throwing them into the air saying, “Isn’t it pretty. Money makes the best confetti.” Uh, I wouldn’t know, gloved one.

Ernie K-Doe found a tune called "Mother-In-Law" in songwriter Allen Toussaint's discarded song pile and immediately wanted to record it, as he was having marital problems and blamed his wife's mother for much of them. The result was a surprising number one hit in May of 1961.

The first pressings of John Sebastian's May, 1976 solo hit, "Welcome Back", were entitled "Welcome Back Kotter" to make sure that the public identified the record as the theme song to the TV show of the same name.

When Elvis Presley married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Beaulieu on May 1, 1967, they danced to the Elvis song she heard when they met in 1959, "Love Me Tender.”

Keyboard player Billy Preston is the only studio musician to ever get credit on a Beatles' record.

The only artist in rock and roll history to record Billboard's number one single of the year for two years in a row was Elvis Presley, with "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956 and "All Shook Up" in 1957. Both records held the top spot for 25 weeks in those years.

Stephen Stills of CSN fame actually auditioned to be one of the Monkees. But the producers didn’t hire him because his hair was falling out and he had bad teeth. So Stills suggested to his friend, Peter Tork, to go in for a tryout. Tork walked into the wall as he entered the audition and the job was his.

The drum sound on Buddy Knox's 1957 hit, "Party Doll" was actually made by a cardboard box filled with cotton.

Lawrence Welk is the only US recording artist to have more appearances on network television than Paul Revere and The Raiders.

Gene Pitney started his music career in the early 1960s as a song writer, penning Rick Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou,” Bobby Vee's "Rubber Ball" and the Crystals' "He's a Rebel.”

Music News & Notes

Big Bopper To The Hall?

Jay P. Richardson, the son of the Big Bopper, has started a campaign to get his father inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lists Chantilly Lace as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll," says Jay, "but Dad hasn't been inducted with Buddy and Ritchie."

"Dad deserves this recognition not because of his death or because he wrote three songs that topped the charts but because he is now recognized as the innovator of the music video."


Wango Twango

Ted Nugent is finally making it into The Hall. Not the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame. He's set to receive duel honors in bowhunting and literary excellence at the group's February 6 show in Las Vegas.

“I started twanging the one-string ‘bout the same time as the 6-string,” Nugent said. “There was some sort of bow & arrow in my hands as young as six or seven, I’m sure. Got my first guitar around the same time and both have remained my favorite weapons to date!”


Bruce Springsteen's Atop Album Chart

Coming off an electrifying Super Bowl performance, Bruce Springsteen's new album, "Working on a Dream," dethroned Taylor Swift's "Fearless" from atop the Billboard Charts after an eight-week reign. The Columbia set has sold 224,000 copies in the US, according to Nielsen SoundScan, giving the Boss his ninth #1 album on the chart.

Springsteen is now tied with the Rolling Stones for the third most #1 albums. Only the Beatles (with 19), Elvis Presley (10) and Jay-Z (also 10) have more.

Vinyl Review

Continuing our new feature, my friend in vinyl, Ted, over at has been kind enough to allow me to reprint his vinyl record reviews. What Ted offers are unbiased reviews of vinyl new releases, audiophile reissues, and more. I hope you enjoy his insights:

Best of 2008 Vinyl Releases: Mudcrutch--S/T, Mudcrutch Live!

With the vinyl renaissance in full swing in 2008, there were quite a few vinyl releases--both reissues as well as new releases. In the next few segments, I will concentrate on the best new rock and pop vinyl releases of 2008 as well as a few reissues that you should be sure to pick up before they go out of print. Many of these releases are analog recordings, all are great musically, and all sound fantastic. Don't miss them--because as many of us have learned, buy them now or be sorry later!

Mudcrutch--S/T, 180 gr. 2 LP set w/ uncompressed audiophile cd

This release has to be one of the finest rock releases of 2008. Tom Petty reunites with his first band Mudcrutch, and the result is a loose, expansive set that borrows as much from The Byrds as it does seventies country rock and it doesn't disappoint in sonics or in material. The nine-minute epic "Crystal River," is a clear high point of the record. Petty and his crew get to really stretch out and this dynamic 180 gram pressing mastered by Chris Bellman at Grundman Mastering really captures every layer of Petty's voice, nuance of Campbell's guitar and decay of every cymbal crash. Included with the vinyl is an uncompressed compact disc taken from the same master as the LP. While not quite as sonically rich as the vinyl, the cd is a breath of fresh air in a world of compressed and maximized music. Highly recommended.

Mudcrutch Live! 180 gr. EP w/ uncompressed audiophile cd

Mudcrutch's live EP, taken from two live appearances in 2008 deserves at least an honorable mention. Two of the finest songs from the studio record, the epic Crystal River and the rocker Bootleg Flyer are featured. The band stretches out for fifteen minutes on Crystal River, and never wears out its welcome. While the soundstage is not as well defined as that on the studio record, the sonics are surprisingly good for a live record with great dynamics and well delineated voices and instruments. As with the studio release, there is an uncompressed cd included with the vinyl, which again is an example of what digital could sound like if done without excessive compression and maximization.


Spinal Tap to Record New Album

It's reported that Spinal Tap will get back together this year to record their first album since 1992. Harry Shearer, aka Derek Smalls, announced to the BBC today that the band would reunite to record new material in their first reunion since 2006’s Live Earth concert. The album will be available for download and in stores.

Vinyl turns tables on CDs

Chattanooga: Compact discs falter as digital tunes turn music world on head

By: Casey Phillips

The continuing decline of CD album sales for the eighth consecutive year in 2008 and the growth of vinyl and digital music formats has local retailers, musicians and record labels considering new approaches to the music business.

A Dec. 31 New York Times article cited Nielsen SoundScan statistics for 2008 showing a 14 percent decline in CD sales and full-album downloads from 2007. Sales for vinyl records and digital downloads increased by 89 and 32 percent, respectively, according to the Nielsen report.

Local musicians’ and businesses’ experiences backed up the national trends, marked by flagging sales of CD albums and a shift of consumer interest online.

“The transition into digital ... may take awhile to finish, but we’ve certainly seen a lot more growth on that front,” said Chris Thomas, the president of Palo Duro Records, headquartered in Chattanooga.

Digital music broke through the 1 billion download mark for the first time in 2008, a 27 percent increase over 2007, according to Nielsen statistics.

With CD sales slowing and the capability to sell a theoretically unlimited number of tracks online without manufacturing and distribution costs, Palo Duro is currently shifting to being primarily digital, Mr. Thomas said.

Despite the tremendous growth of online sales, digital and CD sales won’t reach parity for awhile, and at present, the industry’s current outlook is bleak, Mr. Thomas said.

“The future of recorded music is pretty uncertain right now,” he said. “It’s a struggle, probably the hardest struggle we’ve ever experienced. The business model is very much in flux. There will be a lot more carnage before we see the bottom.”

The transition away from CDs has local artists weighing what they should put on the merchandise table.

Local blues/punk band The Black Diamond Heavies offers music at its shows in both a vinyl and CD format even though pianist John Wesley Myers, a self-proclaimed “vinyl junkie,” said he thinks the band could survive on vinyl and digital sales.

Diversity is still important, Mr. Myers said.

“If people come to the show, we can deliver a good enough show to make them want to take some music home with them,” he said. “A lot of times, people will buy the CDs and the vinyl, (so) having the two mediums ... is, from a business point of view, pretty smart.”

For the same reason, Chad’s Records on Vine Street stocks an inventory of used music and movie DVDs and CDs to support vinyl albums, which are its strongest sellers, said owner Chad Bledsoe.

Successful artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Amy Winehouse and Coldplay continue releasing albums on both CD and vinyl.

New vinyl releases often include a code to download the album in mp3 format for free, which is likely to ensure the format becomes even more popular, Mr. Bledsoe said.

“Now that you can get an mp3 or CD with pretty much any new vinyl release, you can't lose, I think,” he said. “If you're halfway into vinyl, you’re covered.”

Reprinted By Permission