Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: hip-hop, pop, alternative, country, alt-country, rock, reggae, reggaeton, R&B and whatever it is that the Beatles did.

A transcript follows.

____________________ Feel-Bad Album of the Summer; On 'The Eraser,' Radiohead's Thom Yorke Is Alone, Naturally

_______________________ Woody Guthrie Portrait Misses His Vast Impact


J. Freedom du Lac: Blechy weather, Syd Barrett is dead, Johnny Cash is still dead (but atop the charts), Camera Obscura is boring live and I need a fruitsicle. Let's roll.


Raleigh, N.C.: Free--

I hope that you've gotten a lot of messages like this, but I think the Freedom Rock crew should collectively pour a sip on the ground for Syd Barrett. Thanks.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm tipping my 40-ouncer as we speak. Shine on.


Washington, D.C.: How sad and ironic that Syd Barret died on the same day Pink Floyd released the long-awaited Pulse DVD. Even though he was never an integral part of the band's success. His much-publicized influence on the band has never been properly credited. Without Syd, my favorite Floyd album, "Wish You Were Here," never happens.

I'm sure Gilmour and the boys will send all of the profits from this latest release to his estate. They have been compensating his estate since he left.

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't know, I'd say he was a pretty integral part of the band's early success. "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" anyone? I mean, he only wrote and sang and played lead guitar and all.


Takoma Park, Md.: So, what do you like for R and B this summer.

I caught Van Hunt opening for the Heavies this weekend and WHOA!

I picked up Omar's new release, "Sing...if you want it" from the UK. Great stuff.

Tough for a guy raised in the 80's on quality funk and R&B to find music today. Everybody is following, not enough people stretching out.

J. Freedom du Lac: Loving Van Hunt, and I dug the set at the 9:30. But isn't it bad concert etiquette to do an encore as an opening act? Which he did. In fact, he sort of did 1.5 encores, returning for a coda after walking off the stage during the encore itself. Bet the Brand New Heavies won't be rushing to bring him out on the road with them again anytime soon.


Vienna, Va.: it true that you and Chris Richards are planning to take first place in the ABBA dance contest tonight?

Wolf Trap Live

J. Freedom du Lac: No. The smart money is on the guy who was doing the goofy-leg dance near the Birchmere bar at last night's Amadou and Mariam show. Pretty great stuff. I tried to capture it on my cell-phone videocam, but the lighting was off. So his YouTube debut is on ice.


Analog, USA: JFdL: I was one of the lucky (and smart) people who saw the Springsteen show out at Nissan Pavillon. I was excited when I read that PBS was going to be airing a live concert from London (live on tape of course) on it's Great Performances series. Imagine my dismay when I saw that it is only on the HD companion channels in this area. Since we are a "stinking regular" Comcass, er Comcast customer, we don't get WETA-HD. Can you bring your considerable influence (flattery alert...flattery alert) to bear to get this show on "stinking regular" TV? Thanks!

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, you know -- nothing says populist hootenanny quite like high-def TV! (Though I gotta admit, I love HDTV. Even if my Comcast bill is roughly equivalent to the GDP of a Third World country.)

However, you overestimate my influence. I mean, I'm not even influential in my own home. (Example: I couldn't convince L. Freedom to go to the Paul Simon show with me tonight.)

If you want to complain to WETA (and you should), their number is 703.998.2600. Ask for station manager Kevin Harris. Tell him Shales sent you.


Modern Times: So, when do you get your promo copy of Dylan's Modern Times?

J. Freedom du Lac: Dunno. (And no, I won't burn a copy for you.)


Bethesda, Md.: rest in peace syd Barrett,

I had heard rumors that Syd was not in the best of health, wonder if this will spur the rest of the band to do a concert....?

J. Freedom du Lac: If Sir Bob Geldof can lure them out for Live 8, then I don't see why not. (Other than the fact that they don't really get along. Small detail, though.)


Glen Ellyn, Ill.: Mr. Freedom,

Have you joined Jay-Z's Cristal boycott yet? I'm thinking of going back to Rolling Rock myself.

J. Freedom du Lac: It's all about the Krug Clos du Mesnil. Plenty of rhyming possibilities, too, so what's not to love (besides the price)?


Arlington, Va.: JFdL, I must commend you on your recommendations. I took a chance on Gnarls Barkley a couple of months ago and after last week, I downloaded LDN. Both songs have since made my Mix CD Of The Summer. What else do you recommend these days?

By the way, I promise to properly attribute any listeners' amazement and delight in my car to you, but I can't promise any royalties.

J. Freedom du Lac: You MUST find the new Outkast single, "Morris Brown." It's ridonkulous. I'm also really liking the Pipettes' "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me," a delightful slice of girl-group goodness. Fritz Hahn tells me I'm four months late on it, but I'm OK with that. Just happy to have found it at all.


A Senegalese "WHAT?": J. Free! Amadou and Miriam were at the Birchmere last night and you didn't tell me? Was Mamadou there? How was the show? Ooo, I'm ticked I missed that.

J. Freedom du Lac: I totally told you. You just weren't paying attention! It was my pick in Sunday Arts last week.

Though I forgive you for not having noticed. I mean, it was pretty difficult to pay attention to the rest of the section after absorbing Wil Haygood's bittersweet ballad on Frank Sinatra Jr. It's a must-read.


Tai Shan Here: If you would have come to my birthday party, You could have had some of my big fruitsicle. Don't wait for your invite to my pool party!

J. Freedom du Lac: Is it just me, or does this read like a personal on Craigslist?


Cash: Hey Freedom,

Got the new Cash CD and it is really good. One of the best is a Springsteen tune which I don't think ever appeared on a Bruce CD.

Rather depressing for the younger folk but for an old guy like me (49), it really hit the spot......

J. Freedom du Lac: Wasn't that Springsteen song on The Rising album?


Le CHAT Noir: Mr. Du Lac: Were you at The Black Cat last weekend when Tony Hawk & entourage were asked to leave?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes. And the funny thing is, I saw a guy who looked just like Tony Hawk but immediately dismissed the possibility that it was, in fact, Tony Hawk, because a) he wouldn't be at a Camera Obscura-Georgie James show b) in DC. I'd make a horrible gossip columnist.


Re: death of Syd Barrett: Maybe this will inspire Roger Waters to produce another impenetrable concept record that no one will buy.

J. Freedom du Lac: Now now...


Speaking of "The Boss".....: Rage Against The Machine's "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and video of the song totally rock. -sigh- Too bad they're not still around.

J. Freedom du Lac: I really liked RATM. One of the best shows I ever saw, in fact, was Rage at the Fillmore. There was an enormous amount of energy in that room. You ever hear Rage covering NWA's F Tha Police? Yowza.


Lost in La La land: So have you had a chance to checkout La La Yet? I just recently crossed 300 trades and am very happy. My La La page even ended up in a Bay Area news report about the service... 300 trades is not the record by the way...

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, I've taken a look. Chris Richards wrote it up in Sunday Source recently, and I have a friend who swears by the site. Alas, I'm not in the music-trading biz. (Except when I am, as with the trade I'm trying to pull off for Lily Allen's album, which a certain colleague has somehow acquired.)


San Diego, Calif.: I'd like to submit a nominee for "Catchiest Song of the Summer (Non Hip-Hop Category)": Brandtson's "Earthquakes and Sharks." I don't know if it's getting any airplay back east, due to some California-specific lyrical content, but it's all over the airwaves out here and catchy as all get out. Plus, it's the only song I've ever heard with a Chupacabra reference. They're on MySpace if anyone wants to check them out.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'll give it a listen. We'll take a vote later.


Silver Spring, Md.: Do you like Trance/Electronica music (like Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, Paul Van Dyk)?

J. Freedom du Lac: It's not my favorite flavor of tea. But I like some of it.


More fun in the new world....: Henry Rollins is touring with X! Are you going to the 930 Club on 8/15? Will you bootleg the show for me? (I keed, I keed.)

J. Freedom du Lac: Only if you ask Rollins how much he can bench press.

Speaking of the 9:30, the video of Jared Leto taking a header there is now on YouTube. Link coming in 3-2-1...

(If you follow the link, fast-forward the clip to about the 3:20 mark.)


Rage....: I love their cover and live performance with Cypress Hill on "How I Could Just Kill A Man." Cypress Hill is one of the best rap groups of all time. Or at least through their first 3-4 albums.

J. Freedom du Lac: Cypress Hill's self-titled debut is an absolute classic.


Orange, Va.: Did you get a chance to see John Hiatt at the Birchmere the other night? I caught him the next evening down in Charlottesville.

Damn. Not only he is a tremendous songwriter, he sounded great live as well. Of course, having the North Mississippi Allstars as his backing band didn't hurt either.

J. Freedom du Lac: Alas, I missed that one. I was hanging with Tony Hawk at the (boring) Camera Obscura show. Oops.


national cathedral: What's up with Fugazi? Are they still together, they have not done the Fort Reno thing is ages. I am from here but lived over seas most of my life and missed most of their very active years. Any news?

thanks I love these chats

J. Freedom du Lac: My understanding is that they're together but not together. Whatever that means. (Actually, it means that they never announced their break-up. But they're apparently on infinite hiatus.)

_______________________ Jared Uses His Head


Atlanta, Ga.: This down year in music will certainly pick up on August 22nd. That's the day that Outkast's "Idlewild" will drop.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm really looking forward to that album. Though they have a pretty impossible task, following up such a brilliant release. I'm hopeful, though, after hearing "Morris Brown." There's also another really tasty track floating around in the ethers, "Idlewild Blues." (Think jazz-blues pushed through a hip-hop filter with a "Higher Ground" 12-inch or something.)


McLean, Va.: Greatest show I ever saw in this town was Roger Clinton at some bar in Alexandria. Now that's an entertainer! A performer of true genius. No one can touch him. What ever happened to him?

J. Freedom du Lac: You need to get out more.


Figured you haven't had your weekly dose.....: Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool Tool

J. Freedom du Lac: Thank you. I'm going to take a nap now.


Annandale, Va.: I'm in a small college in southern West Virginia circa 1991-92. My latest Rolling Stone arrives in the mail - my only outside link to the modern world - and I'm lamenting to my friend Wolf how few of the bands featured in the mag I've heard. I see one called "Cypress Hill" and say to Wolf "What is that - some new hippie band?"

The next day he brought me the CD and it changed my life. Well, not really, but kinda.

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, you know, in some ways, Cypress Hill really was a hippie band. (Those ways all had to do with weed, of course. I vividly recall B-Real pulling a huge bag of pot out of his pocket in the press tent at Woodstock '94 as the cops looked on. Good times. Also remember not being able to see the stage very well at a Cypress Hill show in SF because there was so much smoke in the air.)


Leesburg, VA: a.So, what are the sales figures looking like for the new Johnny Cash album? I dream of living in a world where a Johnny Cash album is at the top of the charts.

J. Freedom du Lac: Not a blockbuster along the lines of the new Rascal Flatts album, but it sold enough to hit No. 1 this week. Quite an accomplishment. It's JC's first No. 1 since "Johnny

Cash at San Quentin" ... 37 years ago. It's also his first No. 1 on the country chart in 21 years. Pretty great, eh?


Namedropper: Who the heck is Tony Hawk?

J. Freedom du Lac: The Paul McCartney of skateboarding.


Takoma Park, Md.: Krug Clos du Mesnil???

Wow. And I thought my taste for Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame was over the top.

On Van Hunt. Yeah, me and my man thought the encore was kind of...odd for a opening act.

But the crowd was feelin' him.

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, you know what they say: There is champagne, and then there is Krug.

It's been a long time since I've seen an opening act do an encore. There's an unwritten rule in the music biz that you just don't do it. At least he didn't cover any Heavies songs. They might have pulled the plug on him.


Catchiest song of the summer: Per you suggestion I checked out Lily Allen, and I've got say I'm pretty impressed. It's just great Pop Music.

anyway, vote LDN as catchiest song of the summer.

J. Freedom du Lac: It really is. Must. Hear. Full. Album.


Forget the header: Why is Leto wearing those ridiculous fingerless gloves?

J. Freedom du Lac: They're more aerodynamic than full gloves, I think. Helps when you're stage-diving.


Whither the Long Golden Mohawk?: Have there been any Sly Stone sightings since the Grammys?

J. Freedom du Lac: Not that I'm aware of. I suspect we may never see or hear from Sly again. Though I was sort of amused to learn that the story I did on him earlier this year showed up on his Web site. The piece was said to have made some of his friends and family members mad, if only because it recounted just how bad his drug problems have been over the years. As if we're supposed to forget, I guess. Um, OK.


Washington, D.C.: I have tix to Mariah Carey in September. Is it true she's coming with Sean Paul? Or is it Chris Brown? Thanks!

J. Freedom du Lac: Sean Paul, according to the promoter.


Tony Paul Hawk McCartney: Then who is the Elvis of skateboarding?

I nominate Natas Kaupas.

J. Freedom du Lac: Stacy Peralta?


Washington, D.C.: Lily Allen's latest album is available on her myspace page. I am listening to it now. Not bad.

J. Freedom du Lac: The full album? I'm so there.


Washington, D.C.: For some reason, talk of concerts and Syd Barrett reminded me of my first real concert experience. I was 14, and I went to go see Pink Floyd in Minneapolis. This would have been their Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. I was thinking about what a great time I had, when it dawned on me: I was 14. There were multiple substances involved that evening. Talk about a momentary lapse of reason - what the heck were my parents thinking, letting me go to a Pink Floyd concert alone with my friends? Does this mean I'm getting old?

J. Freedom du Lac: If you remember, I really don't think you were there. Just saying.


Washington, D.C.: Not so sure about the Paul McCartney comparison to Tony Hawk. Marinate on this analogy instead:

Elvis Presely is to Rock n' Roll as Tony Hawk is to skateboarding

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, he's really neither. He's the Michael Jordan of skateboarding. Or the Except Michael doesn't play music.


Woody Guthrie: I understand that the documentary would lose something without Bob Dylan -- not only for the influence he had on Dylan, but for Dylan's popularization of his work. But to be fair, it was apparently difficult to get Dylan to show up for his own American Masters' documentary -- and when he did, he would only let a longtime associate do the interview.

J. Freedom du Lac: That's true. But it should've been easy to get others talking about the influence Guthrie had on Dylan and the rest of the folk revivalists on down the line. But nobody addressed it in the documentary. Not even Springsteen talked about the influence Guthrie had on him. He spoke generally about Guthrie's greatness. But I felt like it wasn't enough. The program sort of leaves the impression that Woody Guthrie didn't matter after the early '60s, and you know that just ain't true.


Truth or Consequences, NM: Nothing to say about the Thom Yorke album?

J. Freedom du Lac: No. Nothing at all. (Except for what I said in my review today.)


Huh?: What's up with the Tool Tool Tool crap?

J. Freedom du Lac: You must be new here. Short answer: I'm not sure what's up with Tool. So, people keep talking about Tool. It's a vicious cycle.


AU: I wanted to know if people in your position have an unspoken thing that the sports reporters do. When Wilbon or somebody slams someone in the paper, he says there is an unwritten rule that he should show up the next day and face the coach/player about what he said. is the same true for you. If you slag a bands album but then have to cover their show soon after, do you show up and 'face the music' as it were?

J. Freedom du Lac: It's a different deal, since I don't interact much with the people I'm covering. It's not like I'm on the permanent backstage guest list or anything. But look, if James Blunt or whatever wants to talk with me about what I've written, I'm perfectly happy to do so.

So long as he doesn't start to sing.


Speaking of RATM: You must despise the fact that RATM had one Maynard James Keenan, of that Tool band, do some vocals on their first album for "Know Your Enemy."

J. Freedom du Lac: No, because Rage's music was more interesting to me than Tool's. I got Rage. I don't really get Tool.


Atlanta, Ga.: I have Tom Waits tickets, and you don't (because you're on welfare).

J. Freedom du Lac: That show sold out in 30 minutes. You done well.


Washington, D.C.: "Not so sure about the Paul McCartney comparison to Tony Hawk."

Can't we just say Paul McCartney is the Paul McCartney of music, and Tony Hawk is the Tony Hawk of skateboarding?

J. Freedom du Lac: What fun would that be? After all, this is the Single-A Baseball All-Star Game of Post-dot-com LiveOnline Chats. It's what we do here.

_______________________ Feel-Bad Album of the Summer; On 'The Eraser,' Radiohead's Thom Yorke Is Alone, Naturally


Pooooor Jared: Did you read the comments on that youtube page? Pretty hot stuff. . . if you're into whiners who have bad taste in music.

J. Freedom du Lac: My heart bleeds for him. (Which is better than a bleeding head, I guess.)


Maryland: I never thought I would say this but Johnny Cash is the new 2Pac.

J. Freedom du Lac: Oh, I don't know about that. Just because there have been a few posthumous releases with yet another on the way hardly means JC has entered 2Pac territory. If "new" Johnny Cash vocals are still showing up on "new" Johnny Cash albums in a few years, then it might be time to make that comparison. But even then it might not work. I mean, Johnny Cash's recording career ran nearly 10x as long as Tupac's. His archives run deep.


McLean, Va.: Hello Mr. du Lac - How can I get my mother to stop mocking my favorite music? (I'm a teenager.) She always refers to it as "hippity-hoppity" or even worse, "bunny music". Get it- hippity-hoppity = bunny? Ha ha. She's not totally out of touch because she does listen to new guitar bands like The Strokes, White Stripes, MMJ, etc. But hip-hop gets no respect. What can I do to change her mind?

J. Freedom du Lac: Put on your headphones and tune her out. It's a neat trick. And it's worked for years.


Washington, D.C.: Speaking of Floyd, I have an amusing quote from Roger Waters that I wanted, out of the goodness of my own heart, to share with everyone. An interviewer once asked him if he thought Pink Floyd's tunes were "hummable," on the supposed basis that the more hummable the tune, the better it is. Waters' response? "Depends how good a hummer you are." Anyway, I thought this was quite funny.

J. Freedom du Lac: Ah, rock and roll humor. That really sounds like something Gene Simmons would say.


J. Freedom du Lac: I'm being informed, by the way, that there was a very funny Chappelle skit last night about new 2Pac songs.


Washington, D.C.: "However, you overestimate my influence. I mean, I'm not even influential in my own home. (Example: I couldn't convince L. Freedom to go to the Paul Simon show with me tonight.)"

I would like to commend L. Freedom on her admirable taste.

J. Freedom du Lac: Don't encourage her. Please.

And on this note, I'm clocking out. Have to reacquaint myself with the new Paul Simon album that I don't particularly love. I sure hope those songs sound better on stage.

Thanks for stopping by, folks.


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