SOME GUYS DO HAVE ALL THE LUCKListen up, all you school kids new to the construct of the five-paragraph essay: The careers of Rod Stewart and John Fogerty, both of whom appear in town this week, provide a nice study in the old game of compare 'n' contrast.
Both began their careers in music in the late 1960s as front men for their respective bands. The distinctively raspy-voiced Stewart sang for the Jeff Beck Group before joining up with the then-Small Faces, along with guitarist Ron Wood, and before shortening the group's name to the Faces. Eschewing the R&B direction of the SFs, the Faces churned out sloppy (in the best way), dangerous rock music obviously influenced by the Stones (whom Wood would later join).
As the creative force behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty wrote dozens of timeless songs in a mere three- or four-year period, from the earthy swamp-rock of "Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou" and "Green River" to the dazzlingly melodic "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," "Who'll Stop the Rain" and "Lodi," even delving occasionally into the effectively political (the seething "Fortunate Son").
Stewart began his solo career while the Faces were still solvent, but Fogerty waited until CCR were dead and buried before going it alone. Stewart's early solo material was folky, but it could still rock when it needed to; this is the era that produced classics like "Gasoline Alley," "Mandolin Wind" and the ubiquitous "Maggie May." But in the mid-'70s, Stewart ventured into slicker pop territory, leaving behind any trace of the grit previously demonstrated and churning out shlocky pop pap like "Tonight's the Night" (which contains the ever-so-subtle come-on, "Spread your wings and let me come inside") and "Hot Legs," as well as the disco-fied "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" Just when it looked like things couldn't get any worse, the '80s brought with them "Forever Young," "Infatuation" and "Some Guys Have All the Luck."
Fogerty, meanwhile, released a trio of albums in the '70s before taking a nine-year hiatus. He reemerged in 1985 with the commercially successful and critically lauded album Centerfield, which put him back in the spotlight and spawned one of the most bizarre legal battles in modern music when he was sued by Fantasy Records, Creedence's label, for plagiarizing himself. (Fantasy contended that "The Old Man Down the Road" sounded too much like "Run Through the Jungle"; Fogerty won the case.) After a rare misstep with 1986's Eye of the Zombie, Fogerty again went on hiatus for more than a decade before releasing Blue Moon Swamp in 1997. Musical faculties and integrity fully intact, he's set to release a new studio album later this year.
After seeing continually diminished returns on his increasingly adult-oriented fare in the '90s, Stewart conceded his modern relevancy by releasing two volumes of The Great American Songbook, which included his interpretations of standards by the likes of Gershwin, Porter and Carmichael, in 2002 and 2003. You wore it well while you still had it, Rod.
Rod Stewart performs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave. Advance tickets are Boomer-priced at $95.25 and $55.25, and are available at the TCC box office, all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com or by phone at 321-1000. For more information, call 791-4101.
John Fogerty performs Monday, Aug. 2, at the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers open at 7 p.m. Advance tix are available for $46, $41 and $36 at the TCC box office, all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com or by phone at 321-1000. For further details, call 791-4101.
HUNGRY FOR PUNK?Like their Los Angeles forebears in The Gun Club and Flesh Eaters, The Starvations mine the seedy underbelly of the City of Angels and graft it onto a concoction of yowling but tuneful vocals, blooze slide guitar and the bent strings of country, and stack it all on a teetering foundation of punk rock. Think you've heard all this before? Think again. The songs on the band's 2003 album, Get Well Soon (Gold Sound Laboratories), trade on a passion and fervor unheard in their influences and are as well written as just about anything in this vein.
Take it sleazy and catch The Starvations when they hit the stage of Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Friday, July 30. The Knockout Pills and A Car Full of Bosnians open at 9 p.m., and the whole messy shebang runs you a mere fiver--as long as you're of legal drinking age. Questions? Ring 'em up at 622-8848.
REJECT THE LIGHTBoasting an unwieldy if comical name, Austin's I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness have only one EP under their belt, but it's a rather auspicious start. Produced by Spoon's Britt Daniel, the five-song self-titled disc cribs elements from Spoon, The Trouble With Sweeney and The Cure in equal measure, utilizing piano stabs, hypnotically strummed and chiming plucked guitars, and a certain sense of romantic longing that only occasionally hits desperation status. It's certainly nothing Earth-shattering, but the best tunes here--like opener "We're Still the Weaker Sex" and the mildly Modest Mouse-influenced closer, "Your Worst Is the Best"--warrant repeated listens.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness perform at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., Sunday, Aug. 1. The Red Switch open at 9 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is $6. For more information, call 884-0874.
AMERICANA SNAPSHOTSL.A.-via-Minneapolis singer-songwriter Kristin Mooney heard the original incarnation of Friends of Dean Martinez--which then included Tucsonans Joey Burns and John Convertino (Calexico, Giant Sand) and Howe Gelb (Giant Sand)--shortly before she purchased her first guitar. When she finally did, she wasted no time in writing her first batch of songs and deciding she wanted to work with Tucson's finest. Following her first album, 1998's Living Alone, she enlisted Burns, Convertino and Gelb, as well as Son Volt pedal steel player Eric Heywood, Nick Luca, Craig Shumacher and Dave Trumfio, and began making trips to Tucson's Wavelab Studio--three in all--to record the follow-up.
The result is her recently released self-titled album on Sin City Records, a decidedly hushed little sleeper of a record that demonstrates her eye for lyrical detail. There's a rootsy tinge to these songs, but one would be tempted to call it Americana before alt-country, even though the labels are often interchangeable. The musical backing is of the moody, late night variety, while the lyrics are snapshots of American life--character studies with tremendous vividness. "Sally Tomato" recounts a girl falling for a guy who plays both poker and women, even though she knows better, while the narrator of "Boyfriend" is dealing with a fixer-upper of a significant other, making excuses for him along the way ("I take away the glass whenever he drinks too much / Then make light and laugh and go from a crush to crushed / Apologize to all our friends / For things he said but never meant / He's a coup de grace, he's a flexible straw / He's my boyfriend").
Perhaps due to the album's lyrical strength, the songs aren't the type to snare you in on first listen; the hooks are subtle, if they're there at all. But keep listening, and the stories in the songs become a framework of their own, one that will eventually draw you in.
Kristin Mooney performs Thursday, July 29, in the lounge at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. The show begins with an opening set from the Nick Luca Trio at 9:45 p.m. Mooney will be joined by Convertino, Heywood and Luca for her set. Admission is free. Call 798-1298 for further details.
FORMATTED HOOKSPhoenix duo The Format drew lots of attention and a bit of ire when they were signed to a major label on the strength of a demo CD, despite the fact that they had never played a live show. That was a couple years ago, though, and since, then the band has logged road time opening for industry heavy hitters like blink-182, Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday. Last year they released their debut full-length, Interventions and Lullabies, on Elektra. Later this year, the album will get the re-release treatment on Atlantic (read: more money for promotion), as well as an EP of new material on Drive Thru Records/Geffen.
The duo largely forsakes the m.o. of their punk and emo tourmates for a decidedly unabashed pop bent that resembles a merger of MOR '80s combo The Hooters (or is it The Outfield?) and the melodic smarts of Ben Folds. In other words, if it's hooks you're looking for, you came to the right place. As for those aforementioned promotional dollars ... if they're spent in the right places, The Format could be huge by this time next year.
The Format perform, along with openers Steel Train, Phoenix's Reubens Accomplice and Maxeen, at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., Friday, July 30. For more information, call 629-9211.
LIFE IS ... A BODY-PAINTING FESTIVAL?Calling all art-hippies prone to making sculptures out of found junk while listening to Dead Can Dance: You'd do yourself well to check out Incus' Dark World Cabaret and Body Painting Festival. 'Nuff said.
It all goes down at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., Wednesday, Aug. 4. The show is all-ages and admission is $6. Call 884-0874 for bonus details.