Freedom Rock

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J. Freedom du Lac
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 26, 2008; 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 Britney Spears does.

The transcript follows.

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washingtonpost.com: Taking the Spice Girls Reunion With a Large Grain of Salt

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washingtonpost.com: BLOG: Post Rock

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J. Freedom du Lac: So...remember how we all had a nice little laugh a while back about that magazine story that called Perez Hilton one of the more influential newcomers in the music biz? Looks like Mr. Lavanderia is getting the last chortle. Jeff Leeds reported in today's NYT that Perez is negotiating a deal with Warner Music Group to launch his own imprint. Hookay then. Shouldn't be long before Perez starts making a bunch of Gay&R jokes on his blog.

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Bowie, Md.: Old Fogerty guy here ... my daughter saw Foo Fighters last night in Chicago (and loved them). And when she told me, I actually had heard of them!

Thank you.

J. Freedom du Lac: We're here to help. Be sure to tune in next week when we talk about this hep band of heshers called Nickleback.

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Fairfax, Va.:"I'm F****** Ben Affleck" is the funniest video I've seen in a long time. Hopefully it will become a top 40 hit.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, it's pretty good. But Sarah Silverman's Matt Damon video is even better.

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Arlington, Va.: J. Free,

I think you predicted it, but were you even surprised that Falling Slowly took best song at the Oscars? It was certainly deserved and Glen and Mar's reaction and speech were humbling and brilliant. They made the night.

J. Freedom du Lac: I know how to pick the winners, don't I? You'll notice that I didn't do any Alan Menken stories when I was out in California. But yeah, I was sort of surprised. Pleasantly so, mind you. By the by, received several phone calls after my pre-Oscars story on the "Once" peeps was published. Three different women from the Midwest (two in Ohio, one in Michigan) wanted to tell me how disgusted they were by Glen's real-life relationship with Mar. Called him a predator and all that.

What. Ev. Er.

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Annapolis, Md.: Is the single-band Stadium Show dead? Bands like U2 and the Rolling Stones seemed to figure out how do super size shows but then even they had to retreat indoors. Who could sell out a stadium these days? Hannah Montana, I'm guessing.

J. Freedom du Lac: Annapolis, meet Dave Matthews.

And Kenny Chesney.

The Stones could still fill stadiums if they wanted to. I don't think they were retreating necessarily.

U2 did two nights at Verizon. Probably coulda done a stadium if they'd wanted to.

Springsteen could sell out a stadium -- so long as he promised not to do a bunch of Pete Seeger songs. (Or Bob Seger tunes, for that matter.) He'd need to bring the ESB with him.

Hannah Montana doesn't need to do stadiums. She plays IMAX theaters instead with that big-bucks concert flick of hers.

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Spiceworld: I tried to "get with" one of my lover's friends once. Let me tell you, bad idea.

J. Freedom du Lac: Um, yyyyyyeahhhhh. Spice Girls. Do I need to turn in my music-crit card now that I've reviewed them positively? Producer D suggested that I assign myself a big Tom Waits profile, pronto. I'm thinking a big old 1.6 Band piece might do the trick.

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Atlanta, Ga.: Hey it looks like Producer David was only off by a couple of months re: the Van Halens! Can he un-review the Wiggles now?

J. Freedom du Lac: There's no delete button in the world of music bloggery. He's going to have to live with that Wiggles review, and so are you. ( In case you missed it.)

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Annapolis, Md.: What makes the Once guy a predator? I didn't get that from the story.

J. Freedom du Lac: He's, like, twice her age. And she was 13 when they met.

They said they didn't actually get together until they were in the States, promoting the film ... which would have been sometime after her 18th birthday. And she truly acts older than he does.

But it didn't sit well with the callers.

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Fairfax City, Va.: Driving around last weekend, I was haunted by second-rate songs from once brilliant musicians -- I'm wondering if like great athletes, great musicians have a 5 to 7 year window of brilliance that they'll never again achieve. I'd cite pre-and post-Beatle Paul McCartney as an example. Elvis up until he left for the Army. Stevie Wonder is another. Am I on to something?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes and no. I do think most careers typically have a sweet spot. But I can name a bunch of older artists who've made great music well outside of that five/seven/whatever-year period of brilliance. A few recent examples: John Fogerty's solo album, Dylan's last three, Loretta Lynn's "Van Lear Rose," the late-career work of Johnny Cash (granted, it was mostly interpretative work, but it was still pretty amazing). I think Macca probably still has some great work bottled up. He just has to figure out how to get it out. I still hold out hope that he'll one day work with Rick Rubin.

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Washington, D.C.: Speaking of Perez, he's reporting today that NKOTB (New Kids On the Block for the non-Blockheads out there) were meeting in LA this week with photographers for promo shots for their upcoming, not-yet-announced reunion tour. Like. How. Stoked. Are. You?

In all seriousness, is there really a demand for this? Are neon-clad 20/30-somethings really marching in the street screaming for this little bit of nostalgia?

J. Freedom du Lac: Didn't Perez also report that Fidel Castro was dead? Or was I getting that post confused with the drippy drips he drew on LiLo's face?

Not sure what the demand would be for a NKOTB reunion. Seems like that ship has sailed.

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she was 13 when they met: Well, were they dating at 13, or did they just meet at a music thing? If they did the right thing and waited 5 years til she was 18...

J. Freedom du Lac: The official timeline has them "connecting" (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) when she's 18.

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Reston, Va.: I was so glad that Jon Stewart invited Mar to come back on stage to say her thank you's after she was cut off. Her words were perhaps the most eloquent of the night and really demonstrated that she is far wiser than her years would suggest.

J. Freedom du Lac: Nice touch by Mr. Stewart, or whatever Oscarcast producer/director made that call.

Re that wise-beyond-her-years bit: It's an Eastern European thing.

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Washington, D.C.:"Annapolis, meet Dave Matthews"

Oh, Dave Matthews, you're so cute and lovable. And your songs are so mild and inoffensive. And you have a black man in your band. Oh, you're so quirky and sexy. And you're from South Africa, so you're interesting, but you used to work in a bar, which means you're just like us. And did I mention your songs? They're so bland and colorless. I've forgotten them as soon as I've heard them -- they're -that- good. Oh, Dave Matthews, you -are- nonsense.

J. Freedom du Lac: Speaking of which: Does anybody know whether Boyd Tinsley can actually play the violin? Somebody once told me that he can't play without running his stuff through whatever that live auto-tune thingy is that some musicians use. But I'm not sure if I buy it. I do, however, remember that the first time I saw DMB, at the Community Center Theater (Theatre?) in Sactown, every one of his solos sounded the same.

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Washington, D.C.:"I'm wondering if like great athletes, great musicians have a 5 to 7 year window of brilliance that they'll never again achieve."

5 to 7 minutes in the case of the Stone Roses.

J. Freedom du Lac: Or Len. Don't hate on "Steal My Sunshine."

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second-rate songs from once brilliant musicians: How about Robert Plant? I like "Big Log," "In the Mood," and "Sea of Love."

J. Freedom du Lac: And Prince.

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Baltimore, Md.: Here's a twist on Mar and Glen: Took my girlfriend (we are both aging boomers) to see Once and she went nuts. Took her gal pals repeatedly--she saw it in the theater five times. Then when she learned they were a couple--that life ain't like the movies--she got angry--at Mar. Her position is that Mar is a young hussy who bewitched an older guy. Frankly, I think my girlfriend might have gone five times because she has a bit of a thing for Glen.

J. Freedom du Lac: Bitter fan face?

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Dallas, Tex.: I'm sure it's annoying to have people ask you questions about the timing of upcoming albums, but wondering if you've heard anything about a future release from Corinne Bailey Rae. I'm needing some breezy, jazzy summertime music...(and some sun, for that matter).

J. Freedom du Lac: You people and your questions. What do you think this is? A Web chat or something?

I actually haven't heard word one about the new CBR album. I will, however, say that she was absolutely delightful when she showed up at the annual Roots Jam Session on the eve of the Grammys. Did a delicious version of Sly's "If You Want Me to Stay," backed by the house band.

I never did get around to blogging about that show (ended too late and my Grammyday was too long), but it was pretty righteous. The highlight was probably the opener: An epic, 20-minute version of "Masters of War" by Roots guitarist-singer Kirk Douglas, sousaphonist (!) Damon Bryson (aka Tuba gooding Jr.) and the great Amir ?uestlove Thompson on drums. It included a mind-blowing drum-off between ?uestlove and Travis Barker. Totally ridiculous, in the best possible way.

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Philly, Pa.: Saw Wilco in Philly Saturday...amazing as always.

I know you gave them no love last week, as if they were...ugh...Nickelback or something. I usually agree with most of your tastes, but I just don't get your Wilco disdain??

PS: Will anyone be reviewing the 9:30 Club shows?

J. Freedom du Lac: Wilco: The most overrated band in America? Or simply the most overrated American band?

I don't hate them. I just don't understand the big droolfest they've triggered.

And yes, we're sending a reviewer.

If you need a quick Wilco fix in the interim, Producer D just


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