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The Grateful Dead perform at the Oakland Coliseum in December 1992. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

How Reagan Helped the Dead

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The rise of the Grateful Dead from cult band to rock ’n’ roll juggernaut didn’t take hold until some 20 years after the group was born in Palo Alto, Calf., in the 1960s. Who led the charge? Besides Jerry Garcia and his bandmates, there was another charismatic California icon who deserves a share of the credit. Ronald Reagan. Yes, that …

The Mekons Remain a Beacon of Punk Persistence and Creativity

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Born in art school at the University of Leeds in 1977, the Mekons long ago conceded that fame and fortune were outside their grasp, and it kind of shows. The band’s fan site, while kept current, is run by a guy named Nobby and looks like it was coded in 1996. Unlike university …

Musicians Cooperative Throws a Bash

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A new musicians cooperative is kicking off the summer season with seven hours of music and food Sunday at the Old Farmers Exchange in Windsor. The BYOB event, which is being organized by Caballbreakeradio, features nine bands and solo artists on two stages, and the $20 ticket includes a four-course meal. Slated to …

How Will You Die if You’re a Rock Star?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

There is much mystery surrounding the death of Tupac Shakur, killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996. Was Shakur’s murder gang-related? Was it part of the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop rivalry — perhaps related to …

Borrowing, Appropriating and Stealing Are as Old as Art Itself

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blurred lines indeed. The recent verdict by a federal jury in Los Angeles may have settled one case, but it has ignited a larger debate about creativity and ownership and how to sort out the co-opted from the …

Luke Bryan, It’s Time for You to Grow Up

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Modern country music stars love reliving high school and college glory days (see any Kenny Chesney song), but Luke Bryan really loves it. So much so that every year since 2009, the Nashville superstar has released a special …

‘Bosch’ Gets Second Season After Amazon Prime Premiere

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, the veteran LAPD homicide detective with the unbending code of ethics and strict sense of justice, is going to have to put a lot more shine on that shoe leather. He’s going to be on the beat for quite a while. Bosch, Amazon Prime’s series …

‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict Opens New Copy Claims

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

After a Los Angeles jury found that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit Got to Give it Up and awarded the singer’s estate $7.4 million, Washington Post music critic Chris Richards warned: “Let us swiftly prepare for every idiom of popular music to go …

This Court Case Will Change Music

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Will Madonna sue Lady Gaga? Will George Clinton sue OutKast? Will Prince sue Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and umpteen-hundred others? And then will Little Richard sue Prince? These idiotic questions became frighteningly legitimate on Tuesday after a …

NBC Brings Back Veteran to Run News Division

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

NBC took a step toward stabilizing its troubled news operations Friday by rehiring Andrew Lack to oversee NBC News and MSNBC, placing the two operations in the hands of a seasoned executive. Lack, 67, oversaw NBC News in its 1990s heyday, when the Today show, Meet the Press …

The Sound of Civil Rights

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Occasionally, for reasons of fate or coincidence, sounds from the past converge in the present at key moments. Consider the Staple Singers, whose gospel recordings starting in the early 1960s carried them through the next four decades and …

New Opera North Leader Plans for Growth

Thursday, March 5, 2015

E vans Haile, the recently appointed general director of Opera North in Lebanon, has a message for fans of the company: Opera isn’t just for August anymore. In the past, Opera North’s season has been concentrated in the …

When Music and Politics Mix

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New York — Leaving the Metropolitan Opera recently after hearing Valery Gergiev conduct Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, I walked past a handful of shivering Ukrainian activists standing in the frigid cold on the sidewalk. They waved …