Sunday, May 31, 2009

The John Calipari Song … And Official Video!

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2009 at 10:08 PM

Chris Vernon Show producer Jon Roser, creator of such classic songs as "Why Grizzlies?," "Chicken Wings Poppin'," and "Movies" (full disclosure: the last of which namechecks yours truly), has risen to the moment with the current University of Memphis basketball controversy, penning the instant classic tune "Johnny Calipari" along with co-creator Mark McCleskey, who directed this Official Video:

Jay Reatard Sets the Date

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2009 at 9:43 PM

c4c5/1243824110-jay_reatard.jpg
A date has been set for the long-awaited release of Jay Reatard's first studio album for indie stalwart Matador Records. The album, titled Watch Me Fall, will be released on August 18th, Matador has announced.

The first single from the album, "It Ain't Gonna Save Me" is currently available for download on Reatard's own web site. The album will be Reatard's first proper album release since 2006's breakthrough Blood Visions. Reatard will presumably show off some of the material at the Hi-Tone Cafe Friday, July 10th, where he'll team up with TV Smith, frontman of classic first-generation British punk band the Adverts.

Jason D. says Jerry Lee ate 108 Krystal Burgers

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2009 at 12:36 PM

b13f/1243727581-jason.jpgWhat do you get when you cross Jason D. Williams, the piano-pounding madman from Memphis, with a Krystal Burger, the tiny square slider that always tastes best at 2 a.m. after you've had about eleventy beers?

You get a commercial, that's what. And you get weird viral materials like these clips of Jason D. in the studio talking about the time when Jerry Lee Lewis ate 108 Krystal Burgers. But Williams won't actually be pitching any of the fast food restaurant's famous mini-meals. When the spots start airing on June 1st, he'll be the face, voice, and blazing fingers behind Krystal's Big Angus Five Buck Meal deal. True story.

The commercials are slated to air in Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and in parts of Texas and North Carolina.

Mike McCarthy on Bowie Website

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2009 at 11:00 AM

1ace/1243706914-world_of_mike_reel.jpgMemphis' Rock and Roll Renaissance man Mike McCarthy has a bit of a David Bowie obsession. In fact, the filmmaker, comic book artist, and musician behind cult classics like Superstarlet A.D. (watch Craig Brewer watching it here) and Teenage Tupelo is such a fan his obsessions are occasionally noted by the Thin White Duke himself. Or at least by the folks who run his official website.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

UPDATE: Burger King Corp says Global Warming is Only Baloney in Memphis

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 10:34 PM

0a03/1243651161-img_0153.jpgBad news for Memphis fast food junkies: Locally appearing Burger King signs reading “Global Warming is Baloney” aren't a tone-deaf marketing campaign for some delicious new Whopper-loni sandwich. Darn it.

On the other hand ecologically-minded consumers can breathe a little easier knowing that Burger King Corp. (BKC), the company that licenses BK franchises, isn't going on the warpath against global warming science.

On Friday, May 29 Susan Robison, Vice President, Corporate Communications for the Burger King Corporation, dropped The Flyer an email containing BKC's official — if not fully informed — statement regarding the signs.

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Living the Dream

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 3:39 PM

38c3/1243629387-nascar.jpg Baby, you can drive your car on a real-live NASCAR track.

On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, Memphis Motorsports Park is holding its annual “Season Ticket Holder 450.” The 450 allows season-ticket holders — which you can become the day-of for $109 adults, $50 kids — to drive their own cars, trucks, and motorcycles for four or five laps around the NASCAR track, while taking family members and friends along for the ride.

Pictures will be taken during the run and given as souvenirs to the drivers, who will also be offered complimentary barbecue from Pig N Whistle.

According to Doug Franklin, director of public relations for the park, the 450, now in its fourth year, draws between 200 and 400 participants. A pace car will lead the way, while another official car will follow the pack to keep the order. Speeds average around 40 to 60 mph.

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On the Phone with Bill Cunningham of the Box Tops

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 2:47 PM

9363/1243574335-grpold2.jpgLast week, I got to catch up with Bill Cunningham, the original bassist for the Box Tops, who, along with the group's enigmatic lead singer Alex Chilton (best known, of course, for his post-Box Tops work with the band Big Star), guitarist Gary Talley, and drummer Danny Smythe, is slated to perform at the Memphis Italian Festival at 9:45 p.m. tonight.

Some 40 years after their biggest hit, the American Studios-recorded smash "The Letter," hit the top of the Billboard charts, the Box Tops (seen here in their heyday, with rhythm guitarist John Evans) occasionally regroup; their last local appearance was at the Cannon Center four-and-a-half years ago.

In the downtime, Chilton catapulted to cult hero status, bouncing between Memphis, where he formed Big Star and produced the Cramps' debut album, and New York City, where he alternately drove a cab and performed alongside Chris Stamey and Richard Lloyd during the then-nascent CBGBs scene. After landing back in Memphis in the late '70s, Chilton joined Tav Falco's Panther Burns and went on to record his gloriously messy roots-mined epic Like Flies on Sherbert and several subsequent critically acclaimed albums, including A Man Called Destruction and High Priest.

The 59-year old Cunningham's non-Box Tops career has been no less stellar. After his stint in the Box Tops, he went on to have a career as a classical bassist, performing behind-the-scenes with Jim Henson's Muppets and playing for the likes of Henry Kissinger and President Jimmy Carter. Today, Cunningham works in the international trade division for the federal government. He was happy to fill me in on his life, in — and outside of — Memphis.

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Recap: Cowboy Jack Clement at the Levitt Shell

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 9:04 AM

7b2f/1243570864-cowboyjackclement01-280x336.jpgOvercast skies and cool winds from the north: The weather couldn't have been better for the opening night of the newly renovated Levitt Shell's sophomore season. By 6:30 p.m., music fans were already staking out prime real estate on the sloped lawn that has replaced the wooden benches of yesteryear, soaking up the speeches and fanfare that, in the Bluff City, seem to precede the openings of lemonade stands and political campaigns alike.

It was a perfect night to be a Memphian — or a Midtowner, to be more exact. If the audience was in a great mood, concert opener Jimmy Davis was transcendent. Volunteers were friendly without being overbearing, food vendors DeJavu and the Hi-Tone Cafe were serving up jambalaya and pizza slices, and no one frowned at the legion of dog owners who brought their four-legged friends to the park. Cowboy Jack Clement, donned in angelic white and flanked by his agile Nashville band, played hits (and near misses) that spanned his 50-plus years in the music biz, while fans like Robert Gordon, co-director of Shakespeare Was A Big George Jones Fan: Cowboy Jack Clement's Home Movies, lolled on blankets, soaking it up.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

UPDATE: Becky Quick and "Becky Quick"

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 11:02 PM

e57a/1243569119-quick_becky_240x250_v2.jpg A week ago, SING ALL KINDS reported on local pop band 40 Watt Moon, who lyricized their ardor for CNBC anchor Becky Quick in the song, named, appropriately enough, "Becky Quick." (Band member Chip Googe is an Account Executive for the Memphis Flyer.)

Since then, the story has traveled the information superhighway between Memphis and not-Memphis, having been picked up in notes from TVNewser and a North Carolina Biz Blog.

Although where somebody got the idea that 40 Watt Moon is a country band, we'll never know.

In the way of things Internet, the news got back to newsbabe Quick, who has since been in contact with members of the band. The word on the street is that the song may make an appearance on Quick's show "Squawk Box" tomorrow, Friday, May 29. Tune in to CNBC from 5-9 a.m. CST to find out. We'll be.

40 Watt Moon's "Becky Quick"

Dead Alive

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 3:49 PM

9ef2/1243542889-2008vincent_astor_1_.jpg The dead return to downtown the next two Fridays, but this ain’t no zombie march (though somebody is going to get his ass, er shoulder, capped).

Elmwood Cemetery is bringing a car-full of its most colorful residents for a presentation in Court Square. It’s part of the Center City Commission’s Downtown Alive series, from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

On Friday, May 29th, official MPD bagpiper Mark Henderson will be setting the mood as the period-dressed grave-warmers take the square. Among them: a 1930s widow and accused husband-killer; the man who drove the train right before Casey Jones “went and wrecked” it; and a women who cuckolded her husband with Civil War general Earl Van Dorn.

At the June 5th event, violence will erupt during a reenactment of an 1869 duel between Tom Dickens and Wade Bolton (the guy the high school was named after).

Elmwood held a similar presentation in Court Square last year. According to education coordinator Linley Schmidt, there were a few odd looks at first, probably because of their costumes. “When they realized we weren’t going to ask them for any money, they enjoyed it.”

Pictured is reenactor Vincent Astor as Wade Bolton.

Jerry West Putting Around in Retirement

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 12:32 PM

5983/1243531186-610x.jpg Former Memphis Grizzlies general manager and basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West is looking to become a two-sport star executive. West retired from the Grizzlies in 2007, but now he's heading up the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open, according to ESPN.com. The Los Angeles tournament is over 80 years old. Coincidentally, today is West's 71st birthday. Happy birthday, J-dub.

This story has nothing to do with West's signing of Brian Cardinal to a long-term, high-dollar contract in 2004, but I'd like to mention it. And, by the way, here's a neat run down of West's transactions while Grizzlies GM. Clap Clap Clap-Clap-Clap, Overrated!

Mouserocket drops a video

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Shiny, happy, stop-motion robots and shiny, happy, stop-motion flowers inhabit a heart-shaped world created by Mouserocket's Alicja Trout for the video to her song "Place in Your Heart."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Burger King Calls Global Warming "Baloney"

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 8:19 PM

UPDATE: This story has been updated here. A Burger King Corporation spokesperson has told the Flyer that the signage in question was limited to "five stores." Flyer readers have reported at least 10 stores that at one point had the signage. Whatever the number, the language was put up by a local franchiser, and does not reflect BK's corporate outlook.

acf4/1243473985-bk1.jpg I must admit that the nightmares I have about Burger King's regally creepy mascot already leave a bad taste in my mouth. But if the fast food industry's most famous underdogs are really taking a stand against global warming science, I'm breaking up with the oh-so-delicious Whopper for good. And I mean it this time.

Businesses usually don't court political controversy, but signs at (at least) two Memphis Burger King locations read: "Global Warming is Baloney." According to one employee at the Burger King on Union Avenue and Pauline, that's no mistake.

Care to eavesdrop on my incredibly strange conversation with a female BK employee who didn't identify herself? Read on.

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Scarlett Johansson Covers Chris Bell

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 2:16 PM

d9cb/1243445699-scarlettjohansson10.jpgScarlett Johansson's latest musical foray, Break Up, a collaboration with Pete Yorn, is due for release on Rhino's Atco imprint on September 8. You can get a preview of the album's first single, "Relator," via iTunes or this site.

The real news, however, is that the actress and the singer/songwriter duet on a version of the late Memphis musician Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos," slated to be the sixth song on Break Up, which was actually recorded in 1996 2006 (predating ScarJo's debut album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, by 2 years.)

According to Billboard, Anywhere I Lay My Head — comprised of Johansson's interpretations of 10 Tom Waits songs, and one original — was met with a mediocre reception, selling just 19,000 copies since its release in May 2008. Entertainment Weekly dubbed it the worst album of the year.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chuck Mead at the Hi-Tone

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 4:09 PM

a450/1243374676-chuck.jpgThere are some stories you want to be true even if they probably aren't. Take for example, the first meeting between Chuck Mead, who plays the Hi-Tone cafe on Wednesday, May 27, and Gary Bennett his BR549 co-founder. Supposedly these two honky tonk enthusiasts got nice and lubricated in a Nashville bar (as such folk will) and then got into a hard fought contest to see who could sing all the words to more Johnny Horton songs. And in that instant the idea was born to start a traditional honky tonk band in a city that, with obvious exceptions, never had much use for Horton and was trying to distance itself from the twangy sounds that transformed Tennessee's capital into Music City USA.

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