Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 31, 2007; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: alternative, country, alt-country, pop, hyphy, harp-rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that the Polyphonic Spree does.

The transcript follows.


J. Freedom du Lac: Greetings, chatters. Checking in from the University of Miami. I'm here for an academic conference on booty bass and the music of 2 Live Crew. OK, not really. But I am in Miami.

So what's up?


Cumberland, Md.: The new Spoon album! I think you said it would be in your top records for 2007. I'm with you. Who doesn't like this band? Who?

J. Freedom du Lac: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, indeed.

I'm sure there are some Spoon haters out there, though. Probably some of the same people who came here last week to pronounce the Beatles and Brian Wilson overrated. Spoon's 'Ga Ga Ga,' Polished and Pure


Fairfax, Va.: I went to the White Stripes show Saturday and thought that, for the most part, it was awesome. However, the sound was really uneven, and Jack seemed quite upset about it. Additionally, they didn't play LOTS of songs I thought I would definitely hear. In fact, it seemed like the concert was cut short. Even though you didn't go to the concert, do you think that the bad sound quality was the main contributing factor to the concert being short or do you think it was due to their idiosyncratic method of not having a predetermined set list?

J. Freedom du Lac: Sure does seem like he was steamed about the sound problems. In Chris Klimek's review, published Monday in This Very Newspaper, Jack was quoted as saying: "It sounds like absolute donkey up here!" No idea how the show's length compares to others on this tour, but they did do a 30-minute encore, no? If I'm looking to get off the stage, I'm probably not playing a 30-minute encore. White Stripes live review


Bethesda, Md.: Ugh -- we're all going to melt at V-Fest. Wasn't it later in the year last time? hen again, I was impressed at the thought the organizers had put into everything, so maybe they'll have some good cooling strategies, like large fans or mist-ers, or something like that.

J. Freedom du Lac: The first Virgin Festival was, in fact, later in the year. Sept. 23, and the weather was quite nice.

This weekend's forecast in Balmer, according to 98 on Saturday and 97 on Sunday. Ulp.


Washington, D.C.: Where's the blog?

J. Freedom du Lac: The soft launch has arrived. Producer David and I are doing a Virgin Festival blog this week. It kicked off yesterday with Producer D's interview with Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse. He has another interview today with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. I've got Scott Weiland tomorrow. And on we go. We'll be blogging live from the festival on both days. And then, we nap. (Though not together.)

At some point in the not-too-distant, we'll (hopefully) have a full-time music blog. Name TBD. Virgin Festival blog


Falls Church, Va.: Are you seriously at the U? That's my alma mater ... we've actually had a few decent artists associated with the school (I suppose I would be better off pointing out Bruce Hornsby and Gloria Estefan than Jon Secada and the bassist from Matchbox 20, although they all give back).

J. Freedom du Lac: I am, in fact, at the U. Currently in the spanky new communications building, the very much air conditioned room 3035.

I'm not sure I'd own up to the Matchbox 20 thing if I were you. But Hornsby is pretty great. (You've heard his version of "Superfreak" with Ricky Skaggs, no? If you haven't, do yourself a favor and seek it out ASAP. It gives new meaning to "hoedown.")


White Stripes: Looked like Jack was horked off about the sound from the monitors, given that he knelt down and put his ears against them a couple of times. As far as the sound mix in the hall, it was the best-sounding show I've been to at the Patriot Center in a long time.

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for the Patriot Center.

And the first-ever Freedom Rock use of the word "horked." (Hopefully the last, too.)


Gaithersburg, Md.: Saw the White Stripes Saturday at Pat Center and thought they put on an amazing show...a bit disappointed with the review and don't think it really captured the energy and essence of the show. Did you happen to go?

J. Freedom du Lac: Didn't go. I've been taking a weeklong steambath in South Florida. Tell me about this energy and essence that we didn't capture. The floor is yours.


"Freebirrrrrrrrrrrrth!": There is another chat today that is encroaching on your territority, Freedom. Get your lawyer on the phone!

J. Freedom du Lac: Actually, the producer of the "Freebirth Movement" chat received written consent from My People to use that name. No beef here. Unlike the stuff Producer David is stirring up between Isaac Brock and James Murphy.


Chris Cornell's solo CD: Hey J. I've been surprised at the collective critical shrug at Chris Cornell's new CD. I find it both tuneful and soulful. Did you like it?

J. Freedom du Lac: I heard it.

My reaction? I shrugged.


Washington, D.C.: I think Brendan Benson brings out the best in Jack White -- not Meg. Do you think The Raconteurs will make another CD?

J. Freedom du Lac: Really? I think Loretta Lynn brings out the best in Jack White. THEY need to make another album together.


Santa Fe, N.M.: TBD is a stupid name for a blog.

I miss Arizona Bay.

J. Freedom du Lac: Pitchfork is a stupid name for a blog, too. And look how that's worked out!


Washington, D.C.: Which bands are you going to see at The Virgin Festival?

J. Freedom du Lac: Still trying to plot that out, though I can tell you this: Sunday night, while the Smashing Pumpkins and 311 are playing, I'll be in the dance tent watching the fabulous M.I.A. (Fabulous on CD/MP3, anyway. I didn't necessarily love her at the 9:30 club a couple o' years ago. But, then, that was a couple o' years ago.)

Will post some sort of Top 5 Personal Must-Sees list later in the week on the post-dot-com V-Fest blog that you all need to bookmark. You can criticize our picks in the comments section.


Blog Name: I've got the perfect blog name for you. It'll get you extra readers and also infuriate one of your colleagues since he insists he'll never have a blog. Call your blog "Weingarten."

J. Freedom du Lac: What's the old saying? Never mess with a man who buys jokes by the barrel.


Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India: I like how Isaac Brock basically admits that he wasn't really a fan of The Smiths. Like, "Oh, Johnny Marr was a pretty good guitarist in this OK band and I figured we'd give him another shot at a worthwhile career."

J. Freedom du Lac: You should hear what Weiland said about getting together with the Guns N Roses guys to form Velvet Revolver. Said that he had some trepidation about joining forces with them because they hadn't been working at a high level for, like, a dozen years. And that their early songs - before he joined - more or less stunk. Good times.


Severna Park, Md.: Can you get us free beer at the Virgin Fest?

J. Freedom du Lac: Only if you wheel a swamp fan behind me all day every day.


Hagerstown, Md.: Name the blog contest. Winner gets an attributed paragraph.

J. Freedom du Lac: Producer David will wear a T-shirt with your picture on it to the concert of your choice if we go with your nominated name. How about that?


Virgin issue: Well, I'm a little upset that Modest Mouse's set is during the Police's show. Did they lose a bet or something? Seems like the organizers wouldn't have anyone else playing during the Police. After all, who's going to watch the poor Mice?

J. Freedom du Lac: There are a lot of people who will watch Modest Mouse over the Police, just as there were plenty of folks who watched the Scissor Sisters and Flaming Lips instead of the Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers last year.


RE: not "working at a high level": I thought that was the point. I thought they were all clean now.

J. Freedom du Lac: Boom-tsk!!


Confluence, Pa.: I wasn't at the White Stripes show, so I don't know how the energy there was. But I read the review you guys had. My vote is for the reviewer. I'll follow anyone who writes that drumsticks are "poised like a hummingbird above a flower." The hardest part of reading (or, I imagine writing) music reviews is getting a feel for a show. You need metaphors and similes to get it, right?

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for Chris Klimek, one of our treasured freelance reviewers. (Good guy and fine critic, but his "Avengers" fixation is a bit bizarre if you ask me.)


Baltimore, Md.: I know I'm a week later, but I need some quick advice about the new Prince CD. I'm a huge fan, but your review was less than glowing. And I'm having a hard time convincing myself to buy it. I mean, the guy's a great artist, but $13 for 10 songs, and even a few of those might be bombs?

If it helps to decide, I own 10 of his albums already, so I am a fan. Just a cheap one.


J. Freedom du Lac: I take it that "Planet Earth's" 10 songs aren't available for a la carte purchasing on iTunes? That would be the way to go, IMO -- buy the couple-few songs that are worth adding to your Prince collection. Not sure you really need the full album, though, unless you're a Prince completist. Do you have any friends who subscribe to the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday newspaper? See if you can trade a copy of the next four Sunday Source sections from TWP for the "Planet Earth" freebie that was included with the Mail on Sunday a couple-few Sundays ago. Prince, From Purple to Green


Conundrum: I've been trying to decide if I think Meg White is hot or not. What's your opinion?

J. Freedom du Lac: She's no Shakira. (It's possible that Shakira is a better drummer, too, no?)


Falls Church, Va.: I wanted to thank you for the Miranda Lambert suggestion. I finally took you up on it (ears unheard?) and while it's not anywhere in the realm of what I'd normally listen to, it is GREAT.

Also, I think the fact that I have a crush on her because she's everything my Jewish, liberal, suburbanite self can't take home to Mom and Dad helps me like it just a bit more.

J. Freedom du Lac: Glad you enjoyed the album. Pretty great stuff - and she's a real kick in the Wranglers.

Like her pawpaw says: "If you jack with the Lamberts, we'll send you to heaven."


Oxford, Miss.: Blog title:

Laconic Polka Youth

J. Freedom du Lac: One write-in vote.

(No T-shirt photo for you.)


vfest:#1 reason to go would be the beastie boys, but after surviving Saturday's rock the bells in sweltering heat (thank goodness not the rain), I really don't want to pay that kind of money to stand outside all day to see them.

J. Freedom du Lac: What, no love for LCD Soundsystem? Peter Bjorn and John? Cheap Trick? Etc? Also, the Amy Winehouse spectacle is scheduled to happen on Saturday. Freakness indeed. I'll see you there.


White Hot: Meg White is hot in exactly the same way Christina Ricci is hot. Basically, you have to be really into foreheads.

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for foreheads.


Chrome 68, Alexandria : I Keep missing your live session, but a couple of weeks ago folks were talking about unlikley concert pairings and the topper was Jimi opening for the Monkees, but the bro didn't actually attend.

May I submit

Unlikely Concert Pairing and I Was There:

Led Zeppelin opening for Jose Feliciano, 1968 Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. A distinct division in the audience-frat boys and dates for Feliciano and a small contingent of long-hairs for Zep.

J. Freedom du Lac: Wow. WOW! That's spectacular.

Coincidentally, I've been thinking about Jose Feliciano quite a bit this week as I'm working up a story on a Latin music producer who got his big break from Jose.


Washington, D.C.: JF (re: Meg White): She's no Shakira. (It's possible that Shakira is a better drummer, too, no?)

Heck, she's no Kylie Minogue.

And, for the record, the guy from Def Leppard is a better drummer....

J. Freedom du Lac: Thank you.


Re: Superfreak: Have you seen the Hornsby/Scaggs episode of "Crossroads"? They're doing Superfreak, and then halfway through, John Anderson (of "Swingin'" fame) arrives unannounced, sings a verse, and then leaves before the song is over. Not quite as weird as the Sly Stone Grammy appearance, but kinda the same thing.

J. Freedom du Lac: Weird, indeed -- though in Anderson's case, he wasn't the featured attraction. Whereas Sly was supposed to be the star of that show, but he came out without a ton of fanfare, with too many musicians on stage, and didn't really do much before he disappeared into the night. Thought we might never see or hear from him again, but he's been showing up more and more at Family Stone shows and he recently sat down for an interview with Vanity Fair. Worth a read, for sure.


RIVER CITY: bLog title:

Blog 'n Roll

J. Freedom du Lac: Another write-in candidate.


Socrates: question - if nobody reads a blog does it really exist?

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm sure there's research on this somewhere. But no, not really. So please, make us whole and read our blog. And do it early and often.


Harrisburg, Pa.: Blog Title: "Not Rolling Stone"

J. Freedom du Lac: Another write-in. (And another lawsuit waiting to happen.)


Tampa, Fla.: Blog title:

"Did you see _______ at SxSW?"

J. Freedom du Lac: Now THIS has possibilities. (But: Also a cease-and-desist order waiting to happen.)


Motor City, USA: Heya, Free. Klimek here. Thought I'd jump into the White Stripes discussion. In order of appearance: The show didn't seem especially short, but any shorter would have been a rip-off, methinks. Jack and Meg played a 65-minute main set, which did seem truncated, so maybe the 30-min. encore was to make up for that.

I agree with the guy who said the setlist had some surprising omissions. I thought we would hear most of the new record, 'cuz they've got to move some units and 'cuz it's crazy awesome, but I'm pretty sure Jack played more from "White Blood Cells" than he did from "Icky Thump."

Energy? Whatever. Jack seemed distracted to me for most of it.

If they do a live album from this tour, "Sounds Like Donkey Up Here" should be the title.

J. Freedom du Lac: Mr. Avengers speaks! And it's not re Emma Peel.


Motor City, USA:: RE: Meg White, hot or not . . . well, um, when she got up from the behind the drum kit to sing "In the Cold Cold Night," I heard people all around me -- men and women both -- making admiring remarks about what Borat would >call her "physiques."

Just sayin' what happened, is all . . .

J. Freedom du Lac: One vote for Meg White's physiques.


Anonymous: Blog name....Non-Jovi

J. Freedom du Lac: (Another lawsuit.)


Philly, Pa.: Can I google your blog?

J. Freedom du Lac: Only if you Technorati it first.


Blog title: Milk Carton Music

J. Freedom du Lac: Sounds riot grrrlish.


Philadelphia, PA: Blog Title = Some Velvet Blog

J. Freedom du Lac: Another write-in.


Falls Church, Va.: I did NOT go to the HIPPIEFEST show at Wolf Trap yesterday but thought that, for the most part, it was awesome. I didn't hear lots of songs I thought I would definitely hear. Even though you didn't go to the concert, how did YOU enjoy it?

J. Freedom du Lac: If you remember, then you weren't really there, right? So because I don't remember having gone to the show, does that mean I was, in fact, there?


White Stripes and Awesomeness: FYI, because this is very important to the world: "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" is the song I play really loud on my home stereo when I feel like getting all jacked up.

J. Freedom du Lac: For me, that song has become "Shipping up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys. That song makes we want to get crunk or something.


Blog title: Tools You Can Use

J. Freedom du Lac: Another write-in. (This should make Arizona Bay happy.)


dispoop: Dear Free,

I read with great chagrin yesterday that Jessica Simpson aspires to be the "next Patsy Cline" and will likely record an album with Willie Nelson. I know Willie is a generous soul and loves just about everyone, but why oh why would the great red-headed stranger even consider making an album with that talent-less bimbo?

J. Freedom du Lac: Willie apparently loves him some Jessica Simpson. Ever since they worked on the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie together I guess. Personally, I'm excited about the possibilities here. It could be a really fun album to review, along the lines of that lousy reggae album that Willie released a couple of years ago. I love Willie, but ... wow. Willie Nelson Meets Reggae: Just Dreadful


blog name: kenny bloggins.

J. Freedom du Lac: Nice!


Glen Ellyn, Ill.: Why not sell naming rights for the blog?

J. Freedom du Lac: Not a bad thought. Producer D, can you give Don Graham a shout? And no, I won't wear our sponsor's logo on my bald head.


Blog:"Sounds like Donkey"


"Tastes like Boogie"

J. Freedom du Lac: Tastes like boogie? Does that mean we'd have to do daily posts on, like, Umphrey's McGee and the Disco Biscuits?


why oh why would the great red-headed stranger even consider making an album with that talent-less bimbo?: because of her physiques?

btw does she know Patsy Cline died a young fiery death in a plane crash?

J. Freedom du Lac: Does she even know who Patsy Cline is? If an airplane lands in the middle of Jessica Simpson's empty hangar of a head, does she even hear us laughing?


blogerati: The Amy Winehouse Fan Club Blog

J. Freedom du Lac: She might beat me up. (No, no, no.)


Shipping Up To Boston!: Yes! Me too. I heard it in The Departed and thought "I've got to get this song." Then I found out it was the Dropkick Murphys and had to soul search for a few days before realizing I could just listen to it on my iPod and tell people I was listening to The Pogues or some other quality band.

That song does rawk. You know they didn't write it, yes? It's a Woody Guthrie poem.

J. Freedom du Lac: Funny - when I heard it in "The Departed," I actually thought it was a Pogues song from the valuts.


but why oh why would the great red-headed stranger even consider making an album with that talent-less bimbo?: I know! What was he smoking?


oh right

J. Freedom du Lac: Thank you! Thank you! Be here all week!

Hey, you gonna eat that last Pringle, man?


Boston, Mass.: Crunk, J. Free? Crunk? Did you really just use that word in the same sentence as Boston? Seriously, that's not allowed. We don't get "crunk" up here. We get lots of things, most of which are not WaPo online appropriate, but "crunk" is not one of them.

J. Freedom du Lac: Clearly, you've never seen David Ortiz and his posse leaving Fenway.


Summer Songs: The article on the "Beautiful Girls" madem e think of this question -- What other great new summer songs are there this year? This discussion gave me "LDN" and "Earthquakes and Sharks" last year, for which I am forever grateful.

J. Freedom du Lac: Not sure there's anything that matches Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls," but a few other seasonal confections of note are "Whine Up" by Kat DeLuna and Elephant Man, the Lil Mama remix of Avril Lagivne's "Girlfriend" (though I prefer Lil Mama's "Lip Gloss" by a wide margin) and the T-Pain remix of the R. Kelly-Usher summit "Same Girl."


There's your blog title: A Song From The Valuts

J. Freedom du Lac: Another write-in.


Meg's physiques: My husband noted that some enterprising lingerie manufacturer could do a lot worse than signing her as their celebrity spokeswoman (or whisper-woman in this case.)

J. Freedom du Lac: Another vote for Meg.


it's not Tuesday if I don't make a Clash reference: Freedom Calling

J. Freedom du Lac: Another write-in.


more fun than work: Get Down With Your Freedom Self

J. Freedom du Lac: And another.


Rockville, Md.: blog title -


J. Freedom du Lac: And more.


rva: Willie's best album was "Teatro"


J. Freedom du Lac: A superlative and essential Willie album, for sure. Though I don't know that it was his best. "Red-Headed Stranger," "Pancho and Lefty" with Merle, "Stardust" --perhaps behind "To Lefty From Willie," too.


Heat/Schmeat: The Virgin Fest website says they'll have misting things and tents to cool down in. If the music's hot, that's what you'll remember, not schvitzing. A little mercury won't be a thang.

J. Freedom du Lac: Cool. (So to speak.)

And yeah, there's nothing a little bit of great music can't overcome.


Blog title: How about "Horked"?

Or "Pitch Horked"!

J. Freedom du Lac: Another write-in.


Naming your blog: Maybe it should be called "Name This Blog" since that's all we're talking about any more.

J. Freedom du Lac: Would you rather we talked about Amy Winehouse again?


Feargal: Blog name... Teenage Kicks!

J. Freedom du Lac: More nominations.


Blog: Blog Named Sue?

J. Freedom du Lac: And more. (Funny.)


More white stripes: Energy at concert means Jack played nearly 65 minutes straight with no break and was leaving it all on stage. Remember, they are two person act and Meg is for the most part in the background. The Post review made it sound Jack was clueless on stage...I was 20 feet from the stage and, even if he was messing around with the amps, people who are critical should consider tickets for the next Coldplay tour instead.

J. Freedom du Lac: Avenging Jack White.


Willie and the bimbo: Here's my question, what the heck would that music sound like? Obviously he can write for a woman. But... she can't sing. Where do they go with that?

J. Freedom du Lac: To the ProTools doctor?


Nu-Uh!:"though I prefer Lil Mama's "Lip Gloss"

Tell me you were kidding or I'll jump from my window right now!

J. Freedom du Lac: Playground beat of the year. But don't jump! Please! Not now! We need you to read our blog every day this week and through the weekend. It's all about our needs, remember. Virgin Festival blog


Bruce, Miss.: A month ago the soda machine in my office upped its prices from a buck to $1.10. Today it's up to $1.25. Shouldn't there be some sort of regulation on how often they can up vending machine prices, kind of like how often they can up stamp prices?

-yes, you can use that all as your blog title.]

J. Freedom du Lac: And finally, this. Speaking of blogs, I need to, um, clean up this Weiland interview for tomorrow. The man loves his F-bombs, whereas We At The Washington Post do not.

See you all at the starting gate on Saturday. I'll be the one with Producer David's picture on my shirt.


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