Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2002 · Page 35
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 35

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Sunday, October 27, 2002
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Page 35
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eye on Music Oiaseite Sunday, October 27, 2002 — Page D-V Photographer's images of musicians endure By LARRY McSHANE Associated Press Writer NEW YORK — Mick Rock inevitably relied on two constants during his 30-year immersion in the rock 'n' roll life: his camera and his impeccable taste in music. "My thing was I knewwhat I liked," the photographer says, sipping a cup of mint tea. "I wasn't concerned about money or fame. I just liked what I liked." And what Rock invariably liked were brilliant musicians. Those artists — his friends — became rock icons and the subjects of his work: Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Blondie, the Sex Pistols, Queen, the Ramones. "People say, 'Man, how did you get all these picture?'" Rock says. "Well, because no one else was interested. It wasn't like I was battling other photographers to get the pictures." Throughout the glam and punk eras of the '70s, Rock was always the right man in the right place. He shot Reed's memorable "Transformer" album cover, and took the scary shot of Iggy that adorns the Stooges' "Raw Power." Rock, now 52, has more than 6,000 pictures of Bowie in the singer's incarnation as Ziggy Stardust, and about as many stories to tell — at least the ones he can remember. Many of both were collected in his latest effort, "Moonage Daydream: The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust" (Genesis Publications, 346 pages, $465 for copies signed by Rock and Bowie). Rock's classic photographs were accompanied by a 15,000-word Bowie text. "A masterpiece," raved a reviewer in The Washington Post. Bowie praised Rock—yes, it's his real name — for his "extraordinary photographs." Any explanation from Rock for liis "Zelig"-like appearance around so many seminal rockers? "I don't want to make any flippant comment: 'Was it the drugs, Mick?' Yeah, well, maybe," Rock says with a smile. "I really don't know. I guess I just tended to seek out something that had an edge to it, because that's what got me off." Sitting at a small table in a Broadway diner, Rock's tousled, hair rises above a pair of tinted sunglasses. He addresses the waitress, in his British accent, as "love." Peeking above the unbuttoned top of his shirt is a small zipper scar, the remnants of a heart bypass that saved his life nearly six years ago; after the surgery, Rockswore off cigarettes and drugs. "I lived the life," he says of his wild, pre-bypass days and nights. "As well as taking the pictures, I lived the life." His recovery coincided with a renewed interest in his early photographs, leading to collaborations with a new generation of artists even as his old photos wound up in pricey MICK ROCK ... 30 years of photography ... coffee table books. Among the new performers was "Saturday Night Live" star Jimmy Fallen, one of several bold-face names at the book release party for "Moonage Daydream." Fallon is a huge Rock fan, going back to the photographer's 1974 cover shot for the album "Queen II." The photo, which Rock recalls as "sort of a knockoff of an old Marlene Dietrich shot," showed just the four- man band's faces — and lead singer Freddie Mercury's hands — lit against a black backdrop. Fallon, after finishing his comedy CD "The Bathroom Wall," hoped to recruit Rock for the album art — although he was not optimistic. "I figured he would say no, because I might destroy his image of cool," says Fallon, mock-fearful of the damage his boyish good looks could do to Rock's punk legacy. The pair hit it off, and Fallon's CD arrived in stores with Rock's work included. At Fallon's request, Rock shot several pictures of the comedian in the famous Queen pose. "You trust him immediately," Fallon says. "I trusted him within five seconds. I cotdd have been holding road kill, and I would just trust that something cool would come out of it." Fallon is not the only hip act enamored of the Rock oeuvre. "There's a vibe between me and the White Stripes," the photographer says of the cutting edge Detroit band. "The (New York-based) Yeah Yeah Yeahs — I was talking to them." There was also talk about doing some work with for Kelly Osbourne, tizzy's daughter and MTV star. While Rock acknowledges much of his classic photography was a happy accident, he's not going to disabuse anyone of the notion that it's art. "It's hard to talk about your own work as art," Rock says. "But if other people want to call it art, I'm not going to shy away from it. "It tends," he continues with a laugh, "to raise the value a bit." Debbie Harry of the rock group Blondie was one of Mick Rock's subjects in J 977. (AP photo) Beat of a different drum Eitetsu Hayashi started playing Western music but gained prominence on the traditional taiko drums. (AP photos) By ELIZABETH BROOKE New York Times News Service TOKYO — The grimacing man wielding the wood sticks was the Japanese taiko master Eitetsu Hayashi, who said he was offering a primitive prayer with his drumming. Taiko in Chinese kanji characters means big, fat or broad, and here the word is used interchangeably to refer to the singular Japanese drum. Taiko drums are made of cowhide stretched over keyaki, a blond hardwood found in Japan's northern • mountains. The biggest taiko drums, o-daiko, can be 40 inches in diameter, more than that long and take as many as six men to carry. Hayashi's U.S. tour features his original suite of pieces "The Wings of Flightless Birds," performed with two other taiko drummers and players of the tsugaru-shamisen (a ban- jolike instrument) and the shaku- hachi (a vertical bamboo flute). They have been played at Japanese folk festivals for centuries and are not considered hip, but for 20 years Hayashi has helped lead a musical revival that has made these instruments and their sounds, once heard only at seasonal festivals or in temples and shrines, sell out concerts. For the first time since World War II, the Ministry of Education last April recognized this fresh appreciation by adding traditional Japanese music to middle school curriculums that for decades had shown more interest in European music. Hayashi's first formal musical education taught him basic chord theory, how to read sheet music and sing in a chorus using classical European compositions like Ravel's "Bolero" and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. But his mother played the koto, a Japanese drummer brings traditional sound to U.S. tour Hayashi has performed concerts this fall in California and New York. Japanese harp, and the shamisen, and shamisen performers and singers were invited to family parties, so the music in his home was often Japanese. As Hayashi, who was born in Hiroshima in 1952, grew up in a Buddhist temple, hearing his father's daily recitation of a sutra, the priests chanting Buddhist hymns, his brothers and sisters studied piano and listened to recordings of Western film music. At 19, Hayashi was playing drums in a Western band, but in 1971 he was a founder of the taiko group Sado-Ondckoza. Ten years later he was a founder of that group's offshoot, Kodo. In 1982 Hayashi once again took his o-daiko to a new creative level and became the first taiko soloist. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1984 with the American Symphony Orchestra, performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa in 1999 and with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Kent Nagano in 2000. Peter Barakan, a British freelance broadcaster who has lived in Japan for 28 years, said: "Eitetsu Hayashi has almost single-handedly brought Japanese drumming to the level of art music. Taiko was once really only at festivals. "It wasn't an art form. The way Eit- etsu sets up his drums, like the Japanese equivalent of a Western drum set, is something that no one had ever clone before." The Daily Yomiuri, an English-language Japanese newspaper, has credited Hayashi with encouraging young performers to approach traditional Japanese instruments in novel ways. Hayashi often has been inspired by fellow musicians as well as painters. "The Wings of Flightless Birds" was inspired by the finely detailed bird wings painted in the 18th century by Ito Jakuchu, the son of a Kyoto grocer. He was fascinated by the dizzying detail of wings that are unable to fly. Now the beat of taiko drums is being taught to Japanese music teachers so they can pass on the sounds of Japanese folk and imperial court music to a new generation more attuned to the word-driven beat of rap. Moko Igarashi, a former Japanese teacher at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., started her own taiko school and ensemble group here in 1997 and has taught hundreds of children and adults across Tokyo. "Twenty years ago very few people were interested in taiko," she said. "Groups like Ondekoza were a great inspiration to a lot of young people who started to look at their own culture." Igarashi has also noticed a similar phenomenon emerging in the United States, where she makes an annual motorcycle journey each summer. "A lot of middle-aged and young Japanese-Americans are attracted to taiko," she said, "because they feel a proximity to their roots." After performances in New York, Hayashi performed at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles County on Oct. 4 and 5 and at Stanford University Memorial Auditorium on Oct. 13. Barakan, the British broadcaster, said Hayashi had taken "a purely Japanese instrument and sound and built out of it a music that knows no boundaries." In concert Hayashi crouches with a wide stance before and beneath his drum. Most of his performance is delivered with his back to the audience, and yet the impressive physicality of his moves, the heat of his sound and the novelty of expertly fingered runs are dazzling. With his beating of the drum, Hayashi has said, he hopes to "contribute to an understanding among people of the world." 'Green Book' lists 35,000 songs By JfM PATTERSON Associated Press Writer BKENTWOOD, Tenn. — It happens every time Jeff Green and his wife go out to listen to music. They hear an unfamiliar song, exchange a look, then pull out notepads and pens. . "Some -people, collect cuckoo clocks," Green said. "Some peopie collect movie posters. We collect songs, and then classify them." Green and Lauren Virshup publish "The Green Book of Songs by Subject." It's a more than 1,500- page monument to obsession that's as fun for music fans to breeze through as it must have been tedious to produce. We're talking more than 35,000 songs divided into more than 1,800 categories. Love songs alone take up 147 pages, sorted into subgroups such as "Crushes" and "Don'tWant to Breakup." The book — used fay disc jockeys, libraries, public speakers and basic popular music geeks — has sold more than 20,000 copies since the first edition was published in 1982. The fifth edition ($64.95) was published in May through Green and Virshup's Professional Desk References company. "Aside from its absolutely inestimable value in tracking down all manner of music information, this tome appeals to people — like Jeff Green and me — who have a lifelong tendency toward records trivia," said Adam While, a public relations executive at Universal Music International. Parts of Green and Virshup's home south of Nashville are dominated by "The Green Book." (Backups of the database are kept at "a secure location" in case disaster strikes their home.) One room is packed with computers and notes about songs, and boxes of "The Green Book" are stacked in the garage. Green, an executive editor at die Radio & Records music industry trade magazine, dashes about the room flush with nervous energy. A pack rat, he still has loose-leaf binders full of song lists from the days he kept records by hand. "I used to go into Tower Records at Columbus and Bay (streets) in San Francisco, and I would actually copy down names of records," Green said. "Then I'd go to the library and listen to the songs, and figure out where they fit." "The Green Book" was born the day the king of rock 'n' roll died. Green was at the microphone at KSFS radio station at San Francisco State University on Aug. 16, 1977. "Word came over the wire that Elvis Presley had passed away, and we only had one record of Elvis in the college library," he said. "I found a greatest hits album, and after I played it I still had another hour and a half to go. "So I started thinking about everything about Elvis: Vegas and Memphis and Cadillacs and JHE BOOK doughnuts and songs that people had done about Elvis. 1 played everything I could think of, and then ....people started calling in and making suggestions. I was able to find a number of those songs." A fellow DJ asked for suggestions for a show featuring car songs, and another list was born. Green has been compiling song lists ever since. He married Vir- shup in 1993, and she got seriously involved in the book in 1997. "It started on recipe cards," Green said. "At that time a computer was way out of my league, financially. ... It worked its way into a binder, and then a lot of binders." Green considers each lyric, and frets about misinterpretations. Peter, Paul & Mary's "Puff, the Magic Dragon" was listed under the "Drugs: Marijuana" category, bul Green later removed it after determining that this popular assumption wasn't shared by songwriters Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton. There's also the sheer voiume of songs. Green concentrates on prominent artists and songs, but invariably goes astray. "There's more in the database than there is in the book," he said. "We just couldn't physically cram more pages into it, without going to a really expensive printing process. ... We have 147 pages of love songs. It could have been 14,700. "But we wanted to at least give people a place to start. If they want to find a song to dance to at a wedding, they can go to devotional love songs. There are 200 there to choose from." Envisioned as a book for music industry professionals, "The Green Book" has become popular in other fields. "We sold a copy to the San Diego Padres, National Public Radio and ABC News," he said. "Public libraries and schools have been good customers. Then there's the ministry angle. A number of churches want to use secular music to reach their congregations. Music therapists have bought it, and mobile DJs who do parties and weddings. Many teachers find it useful." Green would like to bring the database to the Internet for a subscription fee, or a CD-ROM, if it can be protected from piracy. "There are thousands of albums released every year, so we never really will catch up," he said. "In a sense, I don't have to worry... if it never gets finished. As long as we keep doing il, it will stay vital." (On the Net: "Tlie Green Book of Songs by Subject" Web site: wim u.green bookofsongs.com/)

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