Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer: Coffee Kingpin & Part-Time Texan

Fathom Events
Aerosmith: Boston Strong for 45-plus years: Brad Whitford (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass), Steven Tyler (vocals), Joe Perry (guitar), and Joey Kramer (drums).
There is no more quintessential "Boston" rock band than Aerosmith. Since their formation some 45 years ago(!) they've proudly stood for everything Beantown, and even have an official city historical plaque in front of their old living/rehearsal space.

But goddamn -- it's cold up there right now! And as of this writing, the city is likely to break its record for most snowfall in a season due to blizzards happening with more frequency than Steven Tyler's stints in rehab. That's why drummer Joey Kramer is more than happy to spend the winter of 2014-15 in his current home (and warmer climate) of Texas.

"It's wonderful to live here in Austin," says Kramer, whose wife is originally from Cypress in North Houston. "I lived in New England for 40 years, and the winters were brutal. And they're getting slammed again. I'm glad to be out of the cold!

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Jorma Kaukonen Ain't in No Hurry Anymore

Photo by Barry Berenson
Jorma Kaukonen's relaxing new record reflect where he's at now in his life.
As the quintessential American troubadour, Woody Guthrie recorded hundreds of original songs in addition to his adaptation of traditionals. He performed even more than he recorded, and wrote more than he performed. And that's still not the end of his musical fountain. Which is how Jorma Kaukonen recently ended up co-writing a song with a man who died nearly 50 years ago.

"Woody's legacy is carefully guarded. And I'm sort of buddies with his daughter, Nora," Kaukonen says from Fur Peace Ranch, his home/concert venue/guitar camp/recording studio in Pomeroy, Ohio. "He apparently wrote thousands of poems that nobody has ever seen!"

So when Kaukonen was putting together material for his new record, Ain't No Hurry (Red House Records), he included covers of Depression-era standards like "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and the Carter Family's "Sweet Fern." He also penned a few like-minded originals, such as "In My Dreams," "Seasons in the Field and "The Other Side of the Mountain".

But the chance to do a posthumous collaboration with Guthrie? Yes, please.

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Daryl Hall & John Oates Still Making Their Dreams Come True

Photo by Sean Hagwell/Courtesy of Eagle Rock
John Oates invites you to enjoy a live gig in Dublin and a nice glass of vino.
It was a special opportunity for Houston fans of Hall & Oates last year when the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees played the intimate Arena Theatre.

Making the evening more special, concertgoers were spared the sight of John Oates being smothered by a large, um, enthusiastic Asian woman who bum-rushed the easy-access stage and almost reached the shocked guitarist before being hustled off by security. The incident did not escape bemused commentary from Daryl Hall, Oates' musical partner of more than 40 years.

"Hey, I'm happy to be smothered by any fan!", Oates laughs today. "And I've been accosted on stage many times! I thought that I handled it OK. And it's better that they love you than hate you!"

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Mike Rutherford's Living Years in Genesis Had Many Revelations

Photo by Andrew St.Denis/Wikimedia Commons
The Living Years: The First Genesis Memoir
By Mike Rutherford
Thomas Dunne Books, 256 pp., $25.99.

While best known as the guitarist (and sometimes bassist/guitarist) for prog rockers-turned-pop-sensations Genesis, Rutherford takes the title of his autobiography from the 1988 hit of his offshoot group, Mike + the Mechanics.

Guaranteed to make grown men weep, the song and its familiar chorus is about the often stiff emotional relationship between fathers and sons (which, it seems, transcends national borders), and the importance of actually expressing love "before it's too late."

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Six New Creative Directions Most Fans Hated

Photo by Maria Casacalendra
Modern music has seen some extreme highs and lows over the years, but it's always weird when a band or solo artist suddenly throws their fans for a loop by abruptly changing their musical direction or image. Whether it's a clumsy attempt to stay relevant by tailoring their sound to exploit a new musical style that has become popular, or because a band senses that its usual schtick is growing stale, it's a risky proposition.

It has worked for bands such as Ministry, who went for a much harder industrial-rock edge when abandoning their synth-dance sound, but such a move can also alienate old fans. In the case of long-established and successful bands, such attempts often result in enough of a bad response that the group quickly abandons the experiment and gets back to doing what their fans wanted them to on the next album.

Here are some memorable examples:

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Ex-Grateful Dead Manager Has Quite a Tale

Grateful Dead guiding light Jerry Garcia (seated) and Mountain Girl at an Egyptian cafe, 1978.
Richard Loren was a button-down, straight-laced, business-minded recent college graduate in 1966 when, as manager of a company that staged musicals in large tents, he handled a string of shows by razzle-dazzle piano man Liberace.

Impressed with his skills, the piano man hired him, which led to another job as a booking agent. And that led to a wild ride through the '60s and '70s, which would find Loren rubbing shoulders, sharing airplane rides, and passing joints with the likes of the Jefferson Airplane, the Doors and the Chambers Brothers.

And, after a stint as the personal manager of Jerry Garcia's solo career, he would be the Grateful Dead's manager from 1974-81.

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Bob Seger's System Satisfies Every Time

Photos by Eric Sauseda
Bob Seger's exuberance quickly spread to Saturday's Toyota Center crowd.
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Heartless Bastards
Toyota Center
February 14, 2015

Love was undoubtedly in the air on Valentine's evening at Toyota Center. Throngs of die-hard Bob Seger fans poured into the arena to celebrate their undying devotion to their favorite Detroit son, while he and his expansive crew of top-notch performers poured every ounce of that devotion right back into the audience. Through their 18-song set of classic rock gold and two well-earned encores, Seger and company reaffirmed why fans have been loving his blue-collar rock since the 1960s.

His catalog of hits includes a decent amount of "slow and steady" songs, so one might make an assumption that his stage show might not exactly captivate the audience with excitement. This would be a horribly inaccurate assumption. Seger, who donned a sweatband around his silvery locks and smiled with pure joy throughout the entire show, ran around the stage as if it would be his last, giving the audience a performance from the heart.

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Alice Cooper Makes a Ghoulishly Good Valentine's Date

Photos by Violeta Alvarez
Don't Be Afraid of the Boogeyman: Alice Cooper brings the heat.
Alice Cooper
Bayou Music Center
February 14, 2015

Sure, it might not have seemed like a traditional date-night destination.

But scores of couples in the nearly-sold out Bayou Music Center chose to spend the most romantic evening of the year watching a man strangle a nurse with the arms of his straitjacket, attack people with a whip, and run a paparazzi guy clean through with a sword.

He in turn would be electrocuted, beaten, bloodied, jabbed with hypodermic needles, turned into an actual Frankenstein monster, fondle a snake, and then -- of course -- get beheaded.

Happy Valentine's Day, Houston!

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The Grateful Dead's Journey Is Far From Over

Don LaVange via Flickr
The cover art of the Grateful Dead's Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings three-LP set
No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead
By Peter Richardson
St. Martin's, 384 pp., $26.99

With 2015 marking the 50th anniversary of their formation, expect a lot of attention paid this year to the musical and cultural legacy of the Grateful Dead. The four surviving members of the classic lineup (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart) have announced a "that's all, folks!" series of final shows under the banner of "Fare Thee Well" July 3-5 at Chicago's Soldier Field.

According to a published report, the band has already received requests for 350,000 tickets even though the capacity for all shows is just under 200,000 -- and that's just from their in-house mail order service. Phish's Trey Anastasio will fill in on guitar and vocals for the late Jerry Garcia, and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards) and previous Dead compatriot Bruce Hornsby (piano) will augment the lineup.

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Where Houston Beatlemaniacs Get Their Fix

Photo by David Houston/Flickr Commons
David Adickes' giant Beatle statues loom large over the Heights and the rest of Houston.
Not too long ago, in what may have seemed like a huge prank but was totally real, the Internet all but broke when people on the Internet didn't use the Internet to find out who Paul McCartney was. Yep. You read that right. Instead, they took to Twitter to ignorantly claim that Kanye West was about to make some no-name old guy "a star."

Half a century after the Beatles invaded the U.S. and took the world by storm, people on the Internet didn't know who one of the most iconic men from one of the most famous bands in history was. Kids these days, right?


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