Classic Albums: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Damn the Torpedoes
Eagle Rock Entertainment
In 1979, Florida rockers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers broke through into the mainstream with an album called Damn the Torpedoes. After three years of relative obscurity in their native United States (despite a good deal of success overseas in the U.K.) and two previous albums, Damn the Torpedoes was a monumental achievement for the quintet of the eponymous Petty (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Mike Campbell (guitar), Benmont Trench (piano/organ/synthesizer/vocals), Ron Blair (bass) and Stan Lynch (drums). In a brand new installment of Eagle Rock Entertainment’s Classic Albums series, fans can delve into the making of this seminal album. While more notable documentary series like Behind the Music might focus on the interpersonal conflicts and the pathos surrounding some of music’s biggest stars, Classic Albums focuses exclusively on technical aspects. As such, it’s not crazy to think casual fans might grow a bit bored, but on the other hand, Tom Petty fans, or even just fans of music in general, will be fascinated with the DVD. A bearded Petty sits in the control booth beside his fellow axeman Campbell as well as producer Jimmy Iovine, isolating tracks at will, down to a lonely shaker on “Refugee.” One of the greatest things about the Classic Albums DVD series is the new life it breathes into its subjects. After listening to the musicians’ stories and learning how some of the biggest hits of the last few decades came to be, it’s damn near impossible not to want to pop the album in (or do a quick YouTube search for it, as it were) and listen to it with a fresh new perspective. Music aficionados and Petty-heads would be remiss not to snag this DVD ASAP. (Tyler Davidson)
Cannabis Philosophy For Everyone: What Were We Just Talking About?
Edit. By Dale Jacquette
Really, one of the best parts of Cannabis Philosophy For Everyone are the “Notes on the Contributors,” which, at first glance, seem to be your usual, straight-laced descriptions of stuffed-shirt academic types (“Brian R. Clack, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Diego. He is the author of Wittgenstein, Frazer and Religion…) and horn-rimmed glasses types. But then you run across several other entries, such as the one belonging to the book’s editor, Dale Jacquette, (“He admits to absolutely nothing concerning the purchase or consumption of any illegal substances and attributes some of his most vivid, nearly cinematographic and apparently autobiographical descriptions of the subjective psychoactive effects of cannabis entirely to his prodigious reading and overactive imagination”) or Michael Montagne from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (“He wishes that some sativa strains would not be cross-bred with indicas”) or Charles Taliaferro, philosophy professor at St. Olaf College (“The only time Charles was put in jail due to drugs was when, as a 19-year-old passenger on the Magic Bus in 1972 from Istanbul to New Delhi, he laughed at a security guard who was smoking hashish on the Iran-Afghanistan border. He was let out of jail in two hours after he agreed to stop laughing.”). It’s then that you realize that beneath the bosoms of these stodgy, learned types are an earnest bunch of pro-pot partisans trying—through the virtues of their various disciplines—to sort out the questions us non-scholars have been struggling with for years in our hearts, in our heads and in our smoky dorm rooms such as: What exactly does it mean to get high? Is it immoral to smoke marijuana for pleasure? Is altering our consciousness a basic human need? What is the morality or immorality of cannabis prohibition laws? And, as if passing a torch to the next generation of academics and medical professionals trying to bring sanity to the cannabis cause, an essay from Lester Grinspoon of Marijuana Reconsidered fame is included (“A Cannabis Odyssey”) that gives this humorous, insightful volume added credibility and a sense of historical context. (Matt Tapia)
Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
On August 29th, 1970, the third Isle of Wight Festival (and the last until just eight years ago) rocked the U.K. From this particular iteration of the festival, four live albums have been produced, capturing performances from the Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Who, the last of which being recently re-released. The quality of the now-four-decade-old audio is particularly striking, and would be best experienced in surround sound. In between songs, distinct chatter picked up from members of the over half-million in attendance makes you feel like you’re right there in the crowd. The performance of The Who themselves is typically powerful, which, combined with the crystal-clear audio, makes for a fantastic live album. Roger Daltrey’s vocals are spot-on on classic tracks like “Pinball Wizard” and “My Generation,” while Pete Townshend retroactively cements his spot among rock royalty. The majority of the two-disc set is comprised of Tommy, the band’s classic rock opera, and if there were one word to describe hearing this set of songs live, “epic” would fall tragically short. There is a reason why The Who is often called one of the greatest live bands of all time. Combining technical proficiency with a love of music rivaled by few, the foursome put on one of the most awe-inspiring live performances modern rock had ever seen on August 29th, 1970. This two-disc live album belongs in the collection of, well . . . damn near anyone. (Tyler Davidson)