Archive for October, 2010


Kanye West Shirt

This may be the best shirt we’ve seen at Hi-Fi Central in long time.

Over the past year I have learned to despise this guy and his music (I still can’t get why his music has been so popular?); his behavior historically has shown the disgusting side of the arrogance and entitlement that fame can create.

I read recently that he was ashamed of his behavior at the MTV music awards when he took over the acceptance speech of newbie Taylor Swift and uttered the first words after grabbing her microphone “Imma’ let you finish”.  However, he was more ashamed about how that behavior affected his popularity rather than the act itself; again, my point about arrogance and narcissism associated with fame.  Keepin’ real all the time Kanye, eh?

Anyhoo, I thought the shirt was pretty classic and clever.


R.I.P. Gregory Issacs – Reggae Legend

 It’s a sad day in Jamaica no doubt with the recent announcement of the passing of Reggae legend Gregory Issacs on monday.

Issacs was influential to many Reggae artists from the 1970’s to present day.  Although in the 70’s and 80’s his popularity rivaled those of Dennis Brown and Bob Marley, it wasn’t until 1992 that he had his biggest hit called “Night Nurse”.  The guy had a string of hits prior to that outside the US, but this was the one hit that gave him the most noteriety.  Issac’s performed and released albums up until 2008.  Issacs had released over 500 albums (both studio and compilations) over his career.

Issacs struggled with drugs for years and ultimately succumbed after a long battle with lung cancer; he died in his home in South London.

Appearently the band Phish covered “Night Nurse” at a concert in Manchester NH the night after he died ; a fitting tribute for sure.


Reflections about thy walkman

I was amazed today when I clicked on CNN’s website and saw a blurb about Sony’s official statement today announcing the end of the cassette Walkman…huh?  I thought this thing died with the last official episode of Miami Vice.  “Wow” I thought to myself, “I can’t believe that they still make cassettes…let alone the actual cassette player”!

In some ways it’s a sad day since it does officially mark the end of an era (although I thought that this particular era died more than 2 decades ago); my first walkman was a made by Aiwa and I thought I was the shit when I got it.  If I recall correctly I think I had to raid my parents cassette collection which offered the likes of Styx, Boz Scaggs, Huey Lewis and The News, and Barbara Streisand, and my personal favorite was Steve Martin’s 1977’s  live album Let’s Get Small; at the age of 10 I had  no idea what his jokes meant but I listened to the tape over and over. 

I think the first cassette I owned was some obscure Roger Daltrey album called Under a Raging Moon (1985). My father had joined a Columbia Music Club thing and he would get sent an assortment of tapes he could either accept or decline; I think I opened the box one time and he got screwed having to commit to buying the tape for $10; he was pissed.  I think the Daltrey album was my official music when I was snowblowed my driveway, it was terrible but I thought it was the coolest music at the time.  It wasn’t until about 10th grade that I started to get into metal and had a collection of both actual albums and mix tapes (often created by pushing “record” on my “boom-box”).  Mix tapes were often a culmination of 70’s rock and 80’s pop (Rock Me Amadeus, Blinded Me With Science, and Rock and Roll Fantasy were often mingled together); terrible yes today, but  at the time it was (I thought) an awesome personal collection ready to be listened to at my whim.  My first real metal album was Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988) and I listened to that until it met the fate of falling out of pocket and shattering.

Everything revolved around my walkman in those days and I can’t even think about how many double A batteries I must have gone through; I recall the practice of having to wind my cassettes with a pencil if the tape inside got twisted, how the wimpy cassette cases cracked with the slightest breeze, and what thrill it was to shop at Record Town in the mall.

Then in the late 80’s I remember when Macy’s department store had an electronics department and “The Discman” entered the scene.  It was a bittersweet day I recall, the concept of music on a shiny disc was way cooler and the sound quality infinitely better in so many ways. However the dark side was the price tag for the first generation players, roughly around $600.  My father considered getting one, but settled for paying $800 for an actual CD player for his cabinet.  I think at the time there were only about 20 artists available in the format, and you could only get the discs at select audio retailers.  They sold for around $25 a piece, so really only a select few were getting them, my father was always the first in line for stuff like that.  It’s hard to believe that you can pick up a no-namer personal disc player at Wal-Mart today for $10, and now every DVD and computer plays them, incredible.

I knew at that time that the Walkman had met it’s match and it no longer was the king, except for the Sony Sports Walkman.  Now that was the big Kahuna! For years the thought of having a cassette player that you could possible  play under water sounded revolutionary; of course the concept was it could just get damp, it was marketed as if it was “swim ready”, and of course it wasn’t.  Then they eventually would release the Sports DiscMan and well, you know the rest.

I’m sure my mother has my old Aiwa (complete with the blue foamy ear things on the headset) up in the attic.  It was a neat time when it came  out and everyone had to have one, hard to believe  you would be lucky to sell one at a garage sale today for

It seems that today does mark the end of an era where my generation is officially out of touch with today’s.  Today’s seniors in high school have not even seen a cassette, or even a real “floppy” disc for a computer.  Time flies and I guess the death of the Walkman is simply another way of reminding of me about my age and eventual mortality. 

I don’t feel like I’m getting older, but clearly I am.


Zappa Plays Zappa @ The Egg 12/16/10

Upon taking my first sip of coffee an intern here at HiFi Central burst into my office with a tattered and ripped newspaper clipping claiming the impossible is possible, yes Dweezil Zappa will grace our fair city once again, but this time at the very cozy and intimate setting of The Egg. 

For those of you who have followed this blog for some time I have praised the The Egg for it’s charm and warmth as a venue, and also trounced it’s smarmy underhanded practices at lame ticket sales.  The venue has been around since the late 1970’s and has provided a stage for the more intellectual of the arts and for artists looking for a cozier venue than the classic restored vaudville theaters or the open air ampi-theaters.  For those who enter the gates of the city of Albany, The Egg looks like a giant concrete flying saucer and often gets the initial question “what the hell is that thing”?; but once you have experienced the environment that The Egg provides, you look forward to the next show since it is often very up close and personal with and for both the artist and the spectator.

Fellow HiFi contributor EricStraus and I saw Al DiMeola last January at this venue; the show was magnificent (although shorter than we expected) we felt as if Al DiMeola had invited just his closest friends in for a taste of his catalog; the feeling free, relaxed, and very cozy.

Now Dweezil will grace us with his presence on December 16th and I could not be happier.  I missed his last concert at The Palace (a 1900’s restored vaudeville theater where The Stones played in the 1960’s and Dylan frequently played in the 1970’s), but was unable to attend.  A friend of mine saw Zappa at the Mahaiwe Center For The Performing Arts (Great Barrington, MA) in October and said the show was superb!  So, finally I will get my chance to witness the son-of-Zappa continue his fathers legacy for my own eyes.  A cool thing is that 5 days after this show (December 21st) would have been Frank’s 70th birthday; so it will be a fitting time to see  his legacy that night.  Apparently much of the concert will be focused on playing songs off of 1974’s album “Apostrophe”.

Tickets are a bit steep at $32.50 but considering this is a special show in honor of Zappa’s 70th birthday I think they will be well worth the price.

If you would like to get tickets to this show, click here.  I’m sure they will sell out quickly.

Update as of 11/16/2010 – Zappa Plays Zappa is SOLD OUT!   We got our tickets…hope you got yours!

Dweezil last played The Egg in 2008.

A 12/17 review of this show can be found by clicking the HIFI banner above and scrolling or clicking December 2010 in the Archives on the right hand side of this blog


The Passing of Musical Mr. C

Here at HiFi Central we are in a state of mourning as are most 30, 40, and 50 somethings that heard the news today of the passing of Tom Bosley. 

The television show Happy Day’s was on every day after school when I was a kid at 4 pm; I never missed an episode.  There was something about that show that was so sappy, goofy, and the acting really sub-rate, however, it was an addictive masterpiece of 70’s programming.  Happy Days was the first time that I learned about Bill Haley and His Comets 1954 classic “Rock Around The Clock”, it was re-recorded in 1973 as a cover song for the shows opening. 

Looking back I appreciate the quick wit and clever timing one-liners of Mr. Cunningham played by Tom Bosley.  Although most people consider Arthur Fonzarelli the fixture of the show, underneath it all was the wisdom of Mr. Cunningham who dealt with the choatic household of a bird brained wife named Marion, a chronically crisis stricken daughter named Joni, and a clean cut naive American as apple pie son named Richie.  It was a classic show and one that will always cause me to stop my channel surfing and settle into watch a story line that was always predictable yet entertaining for some reason.

Most people do not realize that Bosley was in a 1959 Broadway musical called Fiorello based on the life of New York City mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia; Bosley played the main character and actually won a Tony Award for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical” in 1960.  You can buy the 1959 Original Broadway Cast on cd at Amazon.  I thought this little tid bit of information about Bosley was cool and up until today most likely a little known fact to many.

Mr. C I’m sure that there is a place for you in heaven and you will be greatly missed.


Liberace No More

Yes, it’s a sad day for some in this world; today marks the official closing of the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas.  Although I didn’t care for this dude or his music, the guy was actually a pioneer in the early days of television and establishment of the “variety hour”.   I’m not so much in agreement with the CNN coverage that he was influential on today’s performers, with exception to say, perhaps, Adam Lambert.  Perhaps Bootsy Collin’s stole a bit of Liberace’s style since he was often spotted sporting a feathery boa and other “glamorous” accoutrements.  I remember my grandmother tormenting me with having to watch both Lawrence Welk and Liberace back to back on the summers at  her house in Philadelphia, barf!  Today it might actually be considered child abuse. 

To Liberace’s credit though he was an accomplished classical concert pianist and at one time was the most wealthy entertainer of his time (hard to believe, but true!); he was a powerhouse draw for visitors to Las Vegas in the 70’s like Celine Dion is today; so like him or not the guy was a success at one time and adored by millions.

Well, I felt it was both humorous and sad at the same time to post; I kind of wish I got a chance to stop by and get me a cheezy coffee cup for my desk; it would be quite righteous!  Perhaps we will see what we can do here at the HiFi Central Factories and produce a HiFi Coffeecup of our own with this dynamic graphic eh?  Let us know if you would buy one if we did.


GWAR – C’mon, Go witness the horror!

If you have been following this blog from nearly it’s inception then you know we here at HiFi Central are huge GWAR fans.  Well, the band is making their yearly appearance tonight at Northern Lights (Clifton Park, NY) for a night of messy mayhem with the bodily fluid bonanza that they unleash on the devoted.  It’s an experience if you have never seen them and we encourage you to check them out if you can.

If you have not seen GWAR before, make sure you wear your crappiest clothes since anyone within 20 feet of the stage will get doust with fake blood, piss, and man juice in vast quantities.  Half of the entertainment is watching those that get squirted right in the face and actually enjoy it, hilarious.

Tickets are mere $20 and doors open at 6:30 for a 7:30 show; check out the GWAR goodies table since there are some pretty cool shirts and crap they have for sale.  Warm up groups tonight are The Casualties, Infernaeon, and Mobile Death Camp. 

If you are old like us and saw GWAR years ago don’t be worried about being the oldest one there, these guys have been around for 20 years and there were plenty of old school faithful in attendance as well a young whipper-snappers just seeing them for the first time.

Go witness the horror and have a great time! 

You can learn more about the show by clicking here.

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