• Face The Face

    petetownshendfacethefacecoverFace The Face (CD/DVD)
    Pete Townshend’s Deep End
    Label/Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
    Release Date: September 16, 2016
    Review Date: September 7, 2016

    If you aren’t acquainted with Pete Townshend’s Deep End, then you’re in for a real treal. “Face The Face” is the first official release of the band’s 1986 show on either DVD or CD format.

    Pete Townshend’s Deep End featured a diverse and celebrated line-up of musicians. For this show in particular, Townshend is joined by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on lead guitar, Simon Phillips on drums (of Toto fame), and percussionist Jody Linscott, along with Peter Hope-Evans (harmonica), Chucho Merchan (bass), John “Rabbit” Bundrick (keyboards), The Kick Horns (Simon Clarke, Roddy Lorimer, Tim Sanders, Pete Beachill & Dave Plews), and backing vocalists: Billy Nicholls, Ian Ellis, Chris Staines, Gina Foster, and Coral Gordan. Pete Townshend leads the pack on guitar and vocals.

    Filmed for the famous German TV series Rockpalast at MIDEM in Cannes on January 29, 1986, Face The Face captures Pete Townshend’s Deep End while they were in the midst of touring in support of Townshend’s solo concept album White City: A Novel. The set list boasts tracks from the White City album, additional Pete Townshend solo tracks, The Who classics, David Gilmour’s “Blue Light” and a couple of surprises. The set booms with performances of “Face The Face,” “Secondhand Love,” “Rough Boys,” “Slit Skirts,” “Give Blood,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Pinball Wizard,” and more.

    Face To Face is a fascinating and compelling release. Pete Townshend and the band deliver an outstanding performance that showcases him as a solo artist distinct from his work with The Who.

  • Steven Page Shares How His Music Is Moving Ever Upward With Excelsior

    Posted October 2022

    Steven Page by croppedPhoto by David BergmanThe guy I'm about to share my interview with you, I realized is from a band that came a little after what normal baby boomers would say, is part of our wheelhouse of listening but I know you've heard of them.

    We're not locked into the genres of the 50s 60s 70s and very early 80s. In fact, many of you are much more progressive in your listening habits than I am. You listen to new bands and up and comers and whoever the latest bands are. A lot of you are even into hip hop. I'm not one of those kinds of guys. But I love the diversity that our demographic represents there.

    If you remember, in the late 80s, early 90s, there was a band called Barenaked Ladies. They had great songs like, “If I Had “1,000000”, “Brian Wilson”, “One Week”, “It's All Been Done”. Even the theme song from the Big Bang Theory. These guys are great.

    The songwriter for them was Steven Page. He writes very intricate, very detailed, very thought-provoking, and even quirky type of lyrics. That's what intrigues me about him, because let's face it, rock and roll lyrics are basically pretty simple. But you can't say that about Barenaked Ladies songs or Steven Page songs, which are one in the same, but he has come out with several solo records.

    Steven’s newest one is titled, Excelsior. He and I chatted just before he was going on stage for the last night of his tour with - get this – The Who. Steven shared a lot of insight into his new album, what he did during the pandemic, among other things. It was a fun talk that I think you guys are really going to like. If so, please share it with your friends. Oh, and order  your copy of "Excelsior" by clicking on the album cover shown with the album's official press release at the bottom of this page following the interview video.

    You can keep up with Steven at his website, StevenPage.com, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

    The Boomerocity Interview With Steven Page

     

    EXCELSIOR COMING FROM STEVEN PAGE
    FIRST ALBUM FROM BARENAKED LADIES ALUMNUS IN MORE THAN FOUR YEARS SET FOR RELEASE SEPTEMBER 30
    “ZOOM” SINGLE OUT NOW

    ExcelsiorCoverClick Above To Order Your CopyThe artist has to ‘keep pushing through’, and it isn’t easy, but Mr. Page has the talent to make that effort worthwhile. – New York Times

    On September 30, Steven Page will release Excelsior digitally; it’s his first solo album since 2018. The album on Page’s Fresh Baked Goods imprint will be available on CD November 11 with a 2-LP vinyl version out early in 2023.

    The album’s 11 tracks were composed and produced entirely by Page, who co-founded the band Barenaked Ladies, before departing on a solo career in 2009. The lion’s share of material on Excelsior was “workshopped” for audiences on his wildly popular virtual concert series Live From Home that Page has been conducting via Zoom since April of 2020 from his home near Syracuse, NY. Thousands of fans throughout the world have been tuning in on Saturdays (5 PM Eastern, 2PM Pacific,10PM/UK, 7AM Sunday - Australia-Eastern), which are limited to 1000 ticketed audience members per show, with an estimated to-date paid viewer total of 85,000+. The more than 90 episodes of Live From Home are available through Patreon. The Excelsior track titled “Zoom” is, in fact, the album’s first single and out this week.

    While Page played most of the instruments heard on Excelsior, other musicians participating include Craig Northey (guitar, vocals) and Kevin Fox (cello, vocals), members of the Steven Page Trio, his touring ensemble who are well known to Live From Home viewers for their ability to accompany Page from remote locations. Also heard on Excelsior are Doug Elliott of the Odds (bass), as well as Joe Pisapia (pedal steel), who had been a member of Guster and has both backed and produced k.d. lang. Steven’s brother Matthew Page guests on drums.

    Once the Canada-US border re-opened, Page was able to complete Excelsior at his Fresh Baked Woods (FBW) studio in Blackstock, Ontario with some of the basic tracks recorded in the Upstate New York basement from which Live From Home originates most Saturdays. FBW is the same facility where several Barenaked Ladies albums, including Barenaked For The Holidays were recorded. Seven of the 11 tracks comprise a thematically linked song cycle that Page characterizes as “a suite of songs tied into what we’ve been involved with over the last ten years.” These will occupy sides A and B of the 2 LP version of Excelsior when it is released next year along with the unrelated additional four songs (“gifts with purchase,” Steven jokes) to be found on side C of the second LP. Side D will be silent and occupied by an etched graphic. “So you have two buckets of songs, so to speak. One speaks to an ‘outer life’ -- bigger picture stuff. The others are largely about our very online existence and isolation we’ve all experience. It’s about all of us who spend too much time online.”

    The songs on sides A and B are, in some way, an overview of humanity’s plight as reflected in the struggles of the individual. Says Page, “I don’t want to make it totally prescriptive as in ‘this is how you should hear it,’ but you might want it to apply it to your own lives if you feel so moved.”

    “Feel” takes place at a funeral and deals with loss and grieving, a church choir plays inside the mourner’s head while “What Will I Do Now” is about learning to live with loss. “Human Doll” imagines a world where the ideal partner can be acquired by mail order and shipped to one’s door, the outcome of which is equally lonely and troubled as our current reality. “How Much Is Enough” that had been set to debut but was postponed due to COVID19 as part of Here’s What It Takes, the musical Page wrote for the 2020 Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada.

    “Look To the Stars” is a musical contemplation of what might be “bigger than us” and beyond our ability to understand. Page describes “Infinitely Light Years” along these lines: “In my mind we’re floating through space . . . it’s a duet (with myself) but imaged as between two separate people, a kind of quantum entanglement. It asks if it’s possible that we’re tied to somebody else who we don’t even know.” That’s followed by “Safe” in which one member of a couple explains the benefit of boundaries; Page suggests it’s “a plea for time and letting people set their own space.” In more than one way it calls back “Feel,” the opener.

    The free-standing songs on side C include “Xylorimba,” conjured up for a special episode of Live From Home that called for Steven to perform 26 songs, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet. For Live From Home A to Z, Steven had 25 letters covered with existing repertoire, so he commissioned himself to write a song titled with a word starting with ‘X.’ He chose an arcane musical instrument that he calls a “the oddball child of a xylophone and a marimba” popular 90+ years ago and not often spoken of or played in more recent times. The song addresses that oversight, both in a titular and musical sense.

    The song “Zoom” is paradoxical for Page to have created, as he is something of a skeptic. “There’s a point of view that we’re supposed to believe that technology somehow makes our lives worse. During the pandemic Zoom did what it was supposed to do so you gotta hand it to them.” “The Golden Age of Doubling Down,” is focused on “our desire to be cruel to each other,” but is musically quite upbeat.

    There’s also the self-deflating “Something About Me,” which Page characterizes as “a personal song about my own tendency to make everybody else’s problems about me. People’s sense of empathy is defined by their own ego. I like to point fingers at myself, not at other people.”

    The album’s title, taken from the state motto of New York that relates to a Canadian living there and unable to go back to his native land for more than a year and half to see his parents or kids. Page, who was born in Scarborough, Ontario and inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in explains, “I was kind of stuck here (Manlius, NY) and, in essence, became a true New Yorker. The state’s vaccine passports are called Excelsior Passes and we reflect the slogan’s ‘onward and upward’ meaning in the album’s artwork.”

    Beyond Live From Home and the new album, Page was commissioned to write “Canada Loves You Back” on the occasion of Ryan Reynolds being given the nation’s 2021 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. In a Tweet seen by almost 4 million, Reynolds referred to Page as “a friend and a legend” and thanked him “for wasting this amazing song on me."

    This fall, the Steven Page Trio open select North American dates for The Who. “We’re not using drums on the Who dates; we can’t compete with them so the best thing you can do in that situation is to do the thing you do well.” He points out that “The Who was the first band -- that wasn’t the Beatles -- that I fell in love with.” The Steven Page Trio is additionally doing Midwest tour dates and expects to be on the West Coast in January in support of Excelsior.

    Steven Page – Excelsior track list
    Side A
    1) Feel
    2) What’ll I Do Now
    3) Human Doll
    4) How Much Is Enough
    Side B
    1) Look To The Stars
    2) Infinitely Light Years
    3) Safe
    Side C
    1) The Golden Age Of Doubling Down
    2) Xylorimba
    3) Zoom
    4) Something About Me
    Side D – intentionally blank with etched graphic

  • Who I Am

    whoiamcoverWho I Am
    Author: Pete Townshend
    Publisher: Harper
    Release Date: October 8, 2012
    Review Date: October 14, 2012

    In his highly anticipated autobiography, Who I Am, rock icon Pete Townshend share the story of his evolution from angry young Mod to one of the defining musicians of his generation. The songwriting genius behind the music of The Who, as well as the group’s aggressively talented guitarist, Townshend has long been the thinking man’s rock star, and this introspective and candid memoir charts the musical, intellectual, and spiritual journey that has shaped his life and career. Townshend writes frankly of his constant search for meaning, while sharing stories from the wild heyday of The Who and beyond.

    Born at the end of World War II, Townshend was the son of a Big Band saxophonist and a former band singer. Growing up in West London, he spent part of his childhood being shuffled between his parents and his eccentric grandmother, in whose care he was often left alone, exposed to the drunken predilections of her lovers. Pete would spend a lifetime trying to sort through his dark past.

    Townshend’s talent landed him at Ealing Art College, but the lure of music was too strong. With the help of his childhood friend John Entwistle, he joined Roger Daltrey’s up-and-coming party band, The Detours, which soon incorporated the manic Keith Moon on drums and morphed into The Who (despite Townshend’s initial idea of calling the group The Hair).

    Townshend soon assumed the primary songwriting duties for the band, which began releasing hit records such as My Generation and Magic Bus. While showered with fan adulation and the freewheeling opportunities for sex and drugs afforded the rock star, Townshend remained somewhat uncomfortable playing the role of 1960's guitar hero. Though he dropped acid a number of times, his experiments with drugs were far less adventurous than some of his fellow musicians – as were his sexual dalliances as he tried, though sometimes failed, to remain faithful to his wife, Karen. For Townshend, the music mattered most, and he was bored by the prospect of just churning out hit records. Instead, he began to conceive something bigger – the rock opera that became Tommy and established The Who as one of the seminal groups of all time.

    Townshend’s unbridled account of touring with The Who in the 60’s and 70’s chronicles their antics onstage (the guitar smashing, the exploding drum sets, and the New York City cop whom Pete once kicked in the groin during a performance) and off of it (jumping from a hotel balcony along with Keith and nearly dying in the bargain). They played Woodstock, where Pete speared a disgruntled Abbie Hoffman in the neck with his guitar, as well as some of the great opera houses of the world. Through it all, Townshend yearned for more, and found his spiritual awakening in the teachings of the Eastern guru Meher Baba. Those teachings would shape his music, including Tommy, Quadrophenia, the long-simmering Lifehouse project, and all the music and writing that has come after.

    Even as he rode the crest of his creativity, Townshend battled a long substance abuse problem, and he writes openly about that struggle. He also writes movingly of the tragic death of Keith Moon and the later passing of John Entwistle. He describes the nearly surreal ordeal of his arrest on child pornography charges, and relishes the honors, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and receiving the Kennedy Center Honors. An impressive post-Who solo career has led to collaboration with many of his rock contemporaries, as well as major writers and artists. Not slowing down, he is at work on a new opera, Floss.

    The Boomerocity highlights of Who I Am involve the stories about his personal relationships with those people we don’t know (parents, grandma, friends, acquaintances) as well as details that Townshend shares about his spiritual journey. That all said, the book is thoughtfully and intelligently written no matter who or what subject Mr. Townshend shares within its pages.

    Fans of The Who will definitely want this book as part of their private library – both for the first “read” as well as future reference, it’s that well written.