Saturday, April 25, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Pink Floyd - Us And Them

Record Cleaner?

There are many ways to clean vinyl records and certainly many different opinions as to the best way. I found this curious looking gadget on Amazon and wonder of anyone has ever tried this product and if so, what did you think of it? Maybe it's like that tape 'demagnitzing gizmo' I bought many years ago- where I couldn't tell if the product had even done anything or not. But at around $200 for the Zerostat, I will keep my money in my pocket- and you should too. By the way, I have an anti-static cloth I use on my vinyl and for $10 or so, it has worked fine for me for years :O) Any Comments?

Zerostat 3

Product Description

If you play records, you know how much of problem static can be. Static discharge from record to cartridge results in (often loud) pops and ticks heard through the speakers, records have to be 'peeled' off vinyl platters and a charged record becomes a dust magnet. The most effective weapon against static is the Milty Zerostat 3 gun and it has been a mandatory weapon in the vinyl junkie's tool box for years.

The Zerostat 3 piezo-electric pistol emits a powerful stream of negative and positive ions that couple with the positive and negative static charges on the LP surface, neutralizing static electricity. Simply hold the Zerostat 3 pistol 12 inches from the LP, slowly squeeze then slowly release the trigger and you're done. No more static! The Zerostat 3 is also effective on removing static charge from CDs and DVDs. Zerostat retains its effectiveness for up to 50,000 trigger operations. It requires no power supply, batteries, or refills. An ion test indicator is included allowing you to check that the Zerostat 3 is working.

Zerostat 3 has many functions outside the audio world; many of our sales are to the commercial industry and laboratories.

Photography- removes dust from slides, film, negatives

Laboratory - Keeps film, glass, plastic ware, and lenses dust and lint free. It also prevents charged particles from flying during weighting or transfer of particles.

SEM labs - eliminating dust from critical samples or other critical surfaces when the dust attraction was being caused by electrostatic charge. Others have reported that certain insulating specimens, when treated this way, can actually be viewed (admittedly briefly) by SEM without the need to apply further coating.

Album Cover Stories

As always, I want to thank Michael Goldstein over at for the exclusive reprint rights to his marvelous album cover art stories:

Cover Story Interview - David Bowie's "Reality", with artwork by Rex Ray
Cover Story for May 16, 2008

Subject: Reality – released September 2003 on ISO/Columbia/Sony records, with cover artwork & design by Rex Ray

One of the most-interesting (and ironic) songs found on Mr. Bowie’s 2003 release titled Reality is a track called “Never Get Old”. As someone who’s been a long-time fan, it takes on a double-meaning as it may be taken that not only does David not want to admit to aging, but neither do we as fans. I personally take it to mean that, while I may be getting old, I don’t have to either live (and relive) the past but, instead, I can use the experiences learned over time to live smarter, do better work, and improve on things as time moves forward.

I remember at one point when Bowie announced that he’d never play any of his old tunes again in public. Ziggy S. had told us once before that he’d played the last concert he’d ever play, so while I wasn’t totally convinced that he’d keep to his word, he did have me worried a bit (“what, I’ll never hear ‘Heroes’ or ‘Space Oddity’ live ever again? How can this be?”). Instead, it became clear that he simply wanted to try out new things, gain some more experiences and influences, and then come back with something that fans would find new, exciting and yet, somewhat familiar.

After waiting out the "Tin Man/Electronica” years knowing that we’d ultimately be rewarded, 2002 delivered us the “Slow Burn” of a new Bowie record – Heathen – and having reunited with long-time producer Tony Visconti, the pair again worked their magic bringing fans a modernized version of their classic “Berlin sound” and song-writing skills to 2003’s Reality. The result was well-received by both fans and critics and served as the launching pad for what was to be a 10 month long, major world tour (visiting 24 countries!) beginning in late 2003 and continuing through 2004. Sadly, it may have been age (and, more probably, some of his somewhat over-indulgent personal habits) that contributed to a sudden need for an angioplasty after an episode on stage in June 2004, and so the tour ended officially in late July (after 113 shows) so he could take care of this inconvenience. Fans that had perhaps missed the show were awarded with a DVD featuring performances from early in the tour, and the set list was notably career-spanning.

Artist Rex Ray had impressed Mr. Bowie – himself an accomplished painter and patron of the arts – with his talents in the early 1990s while he worked producing posters for Bill Graham Presents. This soon led to the two to collaborate on a myriad of fine art projects, culminating in the somewhat controversial (“what, no photo!?!”) collage Rex created for the cover of Reality. I caught up with Rex in April, 2008 and asked him to help Cover Story readers get a better understanding of the pair’s working relationship over the years and the inspirations behind the fantastic anime-inspired collage he created – was it Bowie’s music, art, or some alien force that emanated from those famous eyes? Put on your aluminum foil cap, ground yourself, and read on…

In the words of the artist, Rex Ray (interviewed April, 2008) -

In the nineties, I freelanced for Bill Graham Presents designing posters for gigs – back when it still meant something – before the Bill Graham archives were sold and opened to the public as a strip mall. While the pay was crap and the contracts crappier, I did these posters with the intention of building a strong portfolio to send around to record companies for music packaging jobs. It worked and, after a few years, I was designing projects for major labels as well as art directing and developing branding for local independent labels.

In 1995 I did a mildly controversial poster for the David Bowie/Nine Inch Nails show. I’d been a huge Bowie fan in the ‘70s and it was while gazing at the cover for Aladdin Sane in 1974 that I dreamt about doing such things myself. The DB/NIN poster was a computer-based collage of various body parts, meat and bondage gear, which upset some people at BGP but was printed after much discussion. Then, in 1997, Bowie returned to San Francisco for three nights on the Earthling tour and again, I did the poster for those shows. After they were printed, I asked the people at BGP if they could have Mr. Bowie autograph a poster for me but was told that “it wasn’t a possibility”. So, I put on my stalker cap and set about getting a poster signed on my own.

Through some friends (spys!), I heard that Bowie was in a certain bookstore one morning, so I hopped on my bicycle and raced across town. I approached him as he was leaving and asked if he’d mind signing the posters for me. He was very gracious and accommodating and complimented me on my work. We spoke for a while about books, design, and I can’t recall what else, and he went on his way. I was beyond satisfied and thought that was the end of the matter.

Unbeknownst to me, at a sound check later that afternoon, the people at BGP asked Bowie to sign a poster for me. Bowie replied, ‘I’ve already signed posters for Rex but could you arrange to have him come backstage after tonight’s show to sign posters for me.’ I arrived backstage after the show and was escorted into Bowie’s dressing room where we talked at length about art, books, what he should do while he was in town, etc., and I signed posters for him. Once again, I was satisfied and thought that was the last I'd hear from him.

About a year later I received a few curious emails asking if I’d like to collaborate on some projects, but they were signed only ‘db’. It never even occurred to me that it might be David Bowie, so I ignored them. A few days later another email arrived where he actually identified himself and I was completely stunned. The first project we collaborated on was a limited-edition print to commemorate the upcoming 30th anniversary of Ziggy Stardust. Bowie sent me a curious photo of some chattering wind-up teeth with eyeballs and I incorporated hair, background and other subtle touches as my contribution. The next project was a poster to advertise the 1998 launch of Bowienet, Bowie’s official website and Internet service (

Initially, I’d done several more minimalist compositions based on the two previous BGP posters and then came upon the idea for the post-modern collage of assorted Bowie personae through the years for the final version. Then, in 1999 I began working on designs for Bowie’s upcoming album, ‘hours…’. I’d received a cassette of three rough unmixed songs and a small sketch by Bowie as a guide for the album’s visual direction. Bowie also suggested that I have ten different people write out the lyrics to the ten songs. Tim Brett Day provided the photography and the process of sending samples and ideas back and forth while working out the cover proceeded very smoothly. Just as we were finishing the package design, it was decided that a limited-edition lenticular (a 3-D holographic process) cover would be done for the first printing, so I provided layered Photoshop files for the company in London that would produce the image.

I’d worked with many “divas” over the years and was braced for a difficult process. Part of being a designer is navigating the collaborative process through each individual’s personality while maintaining some measure of self in the process. Sometimes those personalities can be a handful. Some projects go quite smoothly some projects are a constant negotiation, if not a downright battle. The ‘hours…’ project, however, went very smoothly. Working with Bowie’s people and the art departments at Virgin Records, we put out the designs for the album package and the singles, as well as all of the promotional P.O.P. (point of purchase) materials.

I’m my own worst critic. Ten years on and I still think the ‘hours…’ package is a bit overwrought. The first and only songs I heard while working on the project were rockers, upbeat and the previous album, Earthling, was very upbeat, so that was the visual direction I took. The finished music on the album was more subdued and I would have used a lighter hand had I known the introspective and reflective nature of the whole album. This isn’t to say I’m not proud of the finished piece. I think it holds up quite well.

After the release of ‘hours…’ I worked on various posters and material to coincide with the small tour Bowie embarked on. Design elements from the ‘hours…’ package were elaborated on for the design of Bowienet. In 2000, I designed a bonus cd that was included in the collected BBC sessions release (Bowie at the Beeb), and the first ‘collage’ Bowienet poster was resurrected in 2002 for use on the Best of Bowie greatest hits CD and DVD packages.

In 2002, Bowie sent some images as directional material for his next album, Reality. Initially, Bowie asked if I knew any illustrators who worked in an anime style who could produce a Bowie character for use on the cover. I asked if I could take a shot at it and developed the character that eventually appeared on the final package. While keeping the anime style in mind, I also used the paintings of Margaret Keane ( as a reference and worked endlessly developing a face and hairstyle for the figure. I can’t begin to describe the enormous responsibility of coming up with a hairstyle for David Bowie. The Reality package was a collaborative project between Bowie, renowned British designer Jonathan Barnbook, and myself (Editor’s note – Barnbrook had designed the spooky-eyed cover for the Heathen record). I developed the illustrations and imagery and Barnbrook created the amazing typographical work that appeared on the final package.

When Reality was released, the fans hated the cover. While visiting assorted websites, I was able to clock people’s reaction to the cover and, generally, it wasn’t favorable. Bowie has a long history of using a photo of himself on his covers and this marked the first time that no photo appeared. From my standpoint, I love the cover and think it’s among my best. I was challenged to work in a specific style I hadn’t worked in before and I’m quite proud of the results. There’s no better surprise than surprising oneself.

As I said earlier, I remember staring at those amazing covers of Bowie’s Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs albums and thinking, ‘I’d like to design covers like this some day’ and, some thirty years later, that wish had come true. It was as though I’d reached my goal and I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do in the field of graphic design. I could also see the writing on the wall – the same writing the music industry can’t quite seem to understand. Album covers - at least the way I appreciate them - are becoming things of the past. The demands of marketing departments and the disappearance of the actual physical object of an album or CD led me to the conclusion that it was time to move on. I could have easily pursued other work in the entertainment industry, but the prospect of designing DVD boxes for reality show anthologies and spending endless hours staring at a computer no longer held any appeal for me.

I still do graphic design work for a few longtime clients and old friends, but I’d rather be painting. After that great run with Bowie, I began phasing out the graphic design work I’d been doing for so many years, not taking on any new clients or large projects and began focusing on the finer, more personal artwork that sustains me today.

However, if by some chance the phone rang tomorrow and it was Mr. Bowie asking for my design services, I’d happily hop on that old horse again...

About the artist, Rex Ray –

Rex Ray is a San Francisco based fine artist whose collages, paintings and design work have been exhibited at galleries and museums, including the The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University Art Museum in Berkeley, San Jose Museum of Modern Art, The Crocker Museum in Sacramento, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Michael Martin Galleries, Gallery 16, New Langton Arts, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.

A 1988 graduate of the San Francisco Art Institue, Rex is also a celebrated graphic designer. He has created works for Apple, Dreamworks, Sony Music, Warner Brothers, City Lights Publishers, Matador Records, Serpent's Tail, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Rizzoli, Powerhouse, Mute Records and Crown Books. His package designs for David Bowie, as well as for Joe Satriani, Diamanda Galás, Matmos, and Deee-Lite, have earned him an international reputation for his innovation in type and with original photographs, drawings, and collage. He has designed over 100 historic Bill Graham Presents rock and roll tour posters, including ones for The Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, REM, Bjork, U2, and Radiohead.

Solo Exhibitions
2006 Conduit Gallery, Dallas, Texas
2006 Michael Martin Galleries, San Francisco, CA
2005 Gallery 16, San Francisco, Ca
2005 Gensler & Associates, San Francisco, Ca
2004 Rule Gallery, Denver, CO
2003 Michael Martin Galleries, San Francisco, CA
2003 Gallery 16, San Francisco
2002 ModernBook/Gallery494, Palo Alto, Ca
2001 Michael Martin Galleries, San Francisco, CA
2000 Peterson Hall Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2000 Gallery 16, San Francisco
1999 Architects & Heroes, San Francisco
1998 Gallery 16, San Francisco
1996 Gallery 16, San Francisco
1994 Monster Truck Rally, Southern Exposure, San Francisco
1992 One Man Show, Hassel Haeseler Gallery Denver, Co

Selected Group Exhibitions
2005 Recent California Abstraction, Monterey Museum of Modern Art, Ca
2005 Neo Mod, Crocker Museum, Sacramento, Ca
2005 Blobjects, San Jose Museum of Modern Art 2005 Belles Letters, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
2004 Conduit Gallery, Dallas Texas
2004 AD2004, The Lab, San Francisco
2003 Gallery 16, San Francisco
2002 Fascination: The Bowie Show, Gallery 16, San Francisco, Ca
2002 Skulls, Academy of Arts & Sciences, San Francisco, Ca
2002 Home, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, Ca
2001 I-5 Resurfacing: Four Decades of Ca. Art, San Diego Museum of Art
2001 Velocity, Seattle, WA
2001 West Coasting, Gotham, London
2000 Pierogi Traveling Exhibit, Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, San Francisco
2000 Michael Martin Gallery, London
2000 Abstraction: Raucous to Refined, Bedford Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA
2000 Alone, New Langton Arts, San Francisco
1999 Bay Area Now 2, Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, San Francisco
1999 Snowflakes, Drawings at Four walls, San Francisco
1998 SAP, San Francisco
1998 Limn Gallery, San Francisco
1997 Time Zero, ESP, San Francisco
1995 Wild Side, LACE, Los Angeles
1995 In a Different Light, University Art Museum, Berkeley
1995 Piece, Nine Artists Consider Yoko Ono, Kiki, San Francisco
1995 Flagging the 21st Century, Capp Street Project, San Francisco
1994 Science Fair, Southern Exposure, San Francisco
1994 For Your Pleasure, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
1994 Bong Hits, Kiki, San Francisco

In April, 2008, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art launched a Rex Ray gift line of 30+ different products, including T-shirts, coffee mugs, scarves, puzzles, and many more items. These products are exclusive to the SFMOMA, but they can be ordered online at

Later this year, a new children's book will be published titled 10,000 Dresses, featuring a story by Marcus Ewert and illustrations by Rex Ray. It's available for pre-order on Also available now is the Chronicle Book Rex Ray Art + Design. Find it at fine booksellers everywhere or at

To find out more about Rex Ray and see examples of his latest artwork, please visit his website at

To see all of the David Bowie-related items in the RockPoP Gallery collection, please visit

All images featured in this Cover Story are Copyright 2003 and 2008, Rex Ray - All rights reserved. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2008 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved

Susan Boyle Bandwagon

Susan Boyle, the contestant from Britain's Got Talent that has wowed the world with her singing voice, has a fan in Donny Osmond.

"I would die to do a duet with her. I would have her come up onstage [at his and Marie's Las Vegas Review] and I would sing to her and I'd have her sing to me."

I am officially on the Susan Boyle bandwagon, I went over to YouTube to hear what all the fuss is about, and sure enough, her talent is beyond words. I got chills listening to her sing and I would bet that she will be a singing sensation for years to come. Maybe she doesn't sing my kind of music, but I would pay to hear her voice, on any format.

Music News & Notes

Are record shops worth saving?

by Donald Bell

Last Saturday, independent music retailers organized a national Record Store Day, complete with in-store freebies and exclusive releases from dozens of bands who want to see these business survive. As someone who spent two of the best years of my youth working at an independent record store, I have a nostalgic attachment to these mom-and-pop shops.

I don't know if I was motivated more by sentimentality or pity, but I felt an obligation to honor the spirit of the day and visit my local music store. The shop was ripped right out of "High Fidelity," and contained all the requisite elements for an indy music store: aloof, yet knowledgeable staff; equal ratios of vinyl and CDs; postered walls; a selection of local music; and a lazy pet cat. But nostalgia aside, I couldn't shake the reality that stores like this can't last much longer.

It's a shame, because some aspects of shopping in a record store haven't (or can't) translate into the world of online music. I'm not delusional enough to think that everyone should go back to buying CDs or LPs, but at the same time, my gut tells me that music consumers (and our culture in general) may realize all too late that there's something worth preserving about today's endangered music shops.

Read the rest of the article here: Save Record Shops



KORPIKLAANI will release a new single, "Vodka", in late May via Nuclear Blast Records. Personally, I would buy the release just for the album cover art, amazing stuff. It will be made available in the following formats:

* "Vodka" (Single) - Finland only (May 27)
CDS (Finland)
01. Vodka
02. Juodaan Viinaa

* "Vodka" (Single) (May 29)
Digital Single
01. Vodka
02. Juodaan Viinaa

"Vodka" (Single) (May 29)
* 7" Picture Vinyl
Side A:
01. Vodka
Side B
01. Juodaan Viinaa

KORPIKLAANI will soon headline the Paganfest in the U.S. alongside PRIMORDIAL, MOONSORROW, BLACKGUARD and SWASHBUCKLE. The group will also perform at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 16.

KORPIKLAANI's last CD, "Korven Kuningas", came out on March 21, 2008. The CD entered the album chart in the band's home country at position No. 16.

"Korven Kuningas" was released as a limited first edition with bonus tracks and on white colored vinyl. There is also a strictly limited digipak version (limited and numbered to 500 copies) which includes a drinking horn on a wall holder.



Aerosmith Classics Go Live?

Joe Perry related to VH1 Classic Radio that Aerosmith is talking about performing one of their classic albums in its entirety when the go on tour in June.

“I think Toys In The Attic would be fun. We do a lot of songs off the first four records anyway. We’ve jammed on Uncle Salty on stage a few times. I don’t know. The later records with more songs on them, they would take up too much time in the set. We need to leave some room for some of the other standards."


Dylan, Mellencamp and Nelson Tour

Rolling Stone has reported that there had been several clues that Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson may be hitting the road to play minor league baseball parks this summer. The official announcement of the tour, which will run from July 2 through August 14, was made today with dates scheduled in parks around the U.S.

According to Dylan's website, this is only the second time in the past 24 years that these three have shared the stage. Tickets will be general admission, priced at a reasonable $67.50, with children 14 and under getting in for free with each adult ticket holder.

Some of the dates:

07/02/09 - Sauget, IL - GCS Ballpark
07/04/09 - South Bend, IN - Stanley Coveleski Stadium
07/08/09 - Louisville, KY - Louisville Slugger Field
07/10/09 - Dayton, OH - Fifth Third Field
07/11/09 - Eastlake, OH - Classic Park
07/13/09 - Washington, PA - CONSOL Energy Park
07/14/09 - Allentown, PA - Coca-Cola Park
07/15/09 - New Britain, CT - New Britain Stadium
07/19/09 - Syracuse, NY - Alliance Bank Stadium
07/21/09 - Pawtucket, RI - McCoy Stadium
07/23/09 - Lakewood, NJ - FirstEnergy Park
07/24/09 - Aberdeen, MD - Ripken Stadium
07/25/09 - Norfolk, VA - Harbor Park
07/28/09 - Durham, NC - Durham Bulls Athletic Park
07/29/09 - Knoxville, TN - Smokies Park
08/04/09 - Round Rock, TX - Dell Diamond
08/05/09 - Corpus Christi, TX - Whataburger Field
08/07/09 - Grand Prairie, TX - Quiktrip Park
08/11/09 - Glendale, AZ - Camelback Ranch
08/12/09 - Las Vegas, NV - Cashman Field Amphitheatre
08/14/09 - Fresno, CA - Chukchansi Park