Bon Iver, Hipster Doofus

Folds solo was missing Sledge's scummy bass and Jessee's light wrist on drums, and the sound of the latter two harmonizing (bah-bah-bah) makes even the most caustic Folds lines — missing from his solo stuff — sound like classic AM Gold madness.

But the trio still understands they come from another era, a virtual millennium in pop-culture memory. A big portion of the crowd last night probably knew Folds only from his solo career, the reality show stints and the like, and BF5 lines like "Gimme my money back, gimme my money back, you bitch," don't have the bouncy quirk of "Rockin' the Suburbs."

The stories that Folds conjures up with the BF5 and the characters that inhabit them have a certain nobility to them that I didn't hear from his solo work. Something like "Annie Waits" was just Folds lite. CRAIG HLAVATY

George Strait at Reliant Stadium, 2009.
Craig Hlavaty
George Strait at Reliant Stadium, 2009.


George Strait Riding Away After One More Tour

Last week, country legend George Strait — King George around these parts — announced during a live YouTube broadcast from Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame that he is hanging up his touring boots and saddle after decades on the road.

Strait is still slated to close out RodeoHouston's 2013 season on March 17 with Martina McBride and the Randy Rogers Band at Reliant Stadium.

A clip featuring Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Ronnie Dunn, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Clay Walker singing Strait's praises preceded the announcement, which was streamed live on Facebook.

"I have decided I am not going to tour anymore, but I will still make records," said Strait, in his uniform of starched yellow button-up, jeans and cowboy hat.

"After the last date in 2014, that's it for the touring," he added. CRAIG HLAVATY

The Last Roundup

How to Avoid "Death by Misadventure."

Last week back in 1980, the rock world lost a good one. John Bonham, the fantastic, heavy-footed drummer for Led Zeppelin, was found dead in bed in Jimmy Page's Windsor manor house.

It was an ugly end for Bonzo. A longtime heavy drinker — particularly when separated from his family — Bonham had consumed 40 shots of vodka in the day before he died.

That was no remarkable number for Bonham, which made his death all the more astonishing. Frankly, there's no pleasant way to recount what happened next: The drummer expired by choking to death on his own vomit.

What's awful is that famous rock stars drowning in puke was already something of a sad cliché by then.

Only seven months before Bonham's passing, AC/DC singer Bon Scott died after he similarly filled his lungs with his own vomit.

Jimi Hendrix had asphyxiated on his own bile ten years earlier. By the time Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs, one of Spinal Tap's loudest drummers, choked to death on someone else's vomit in 1984, pulmonary edema had become a joke.

Folks, asphyxia is no laughing matter! Only vigilance has helped to reduce the incidence of vomit-related drowning among celebs in the past 30 years.

To help protect the hard-partying rock stars whom we make our living idolizing (not to mention the weekend wannabes who read this stuff), Rocks Off put together a couple scientific tips to help steer our favorite people away from sharing John Bonham's sorry fate.

1. Limit Vodka Intake During Breakfast

On September 24, 1980, Bonham was picked up by an assistant to be taken to rehearsals for Zep's forthcoming American tour — the band's big comeback. Rather than try to work on an empty stomach, Bonzo had his driver stop for breakfast, where he went ahead and ordered a few drinks. Four quadruple vodkas, to be exact — that's 16 shots of the hard stuff to start the day off right.

Today experts believe that this liquid diet may have been a symptom of a serious disease known as alcoholism. If you ever find yourself compelled by an addiction to consume 24 ounces of liquor during the most important meal of the day, it might be a good idea to be sure that you weigh 600 pounds or so first and then chase your booze with 60 or 70 English muffins with eggs and jam.

Your only other safe choice is to avoid drinking fatal doses of alcohol as soon as you wake up.

2. Always Heed Terrifying Warning Signs

Three months before his death, a soused Bonham collapsed onstage during a Led Zep show in Nuremburg and had to be rushed to a hospital. Any headbanging idiot with a copy of Houses of the Holy at home could tell that the drummer was in pretty bad shape with his addiction, but the band's management insisted that Bonham had simply overeaten.

In our view, this was a mistake. Modern medicine now tells us that collapsing into alcoholic unconsciousness at work in front of several thousand people could be considered a "warning sign" of serious health risks to come.

Bonham should have returned to England immediately for rehabilitation, but the band had the all-important American tour looming, and so he was propped back up on his stool.

Had he gotten real help before it was too late, Zeppelin might've been touring the States this summer. NATHAN SMITH

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