Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 538: The Middle of Nowhere

It's part 1 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling as we discuss our favorite music of the year so far. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded via Zoom
- R.I.P., Great Scott
- Big blow to Boston rock scene
- Venues, bars, restaurants are going out of business all over the country
- Breitling and college friends have resurrected their old radio shows on Mixcloud
- Parcheesi Redux is on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
- Now 17 weeks in
- Music industry is at a standstill
- Touring has ceased altogether
- RATT's back, baby (thanks to Geico)
- Livestreams have become a thing
- There's no money in album sales anymore
- Breitling: Have been listening to more music this year
- Breitling's faves outside the top 10: Jesse Gallagher, Hum, Phoebe Bridgers, Katie Day
- Kumar's on the bubble picks: EOB, Jeff Rosenstock, Peel Dream Magazine, Porridge Radio, Savak
- Next time: On to our top 10

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 537: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow

I'm joined by guest Phil Stacey as we discuss our favorite albums of 1971. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded via Zoom
- The disappointing ZZ Top Sixpack box set
- Early Bob Seger is good
- Started seeing more solo albums
- The rollercoaster ride of Doors fandom
- Jay's faves (not #1): Rolling Stones, McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic, Sabbath, Lennon, Bowie, the Who
- When you've heard songs you love too many times
- Jay's #1
- Zeppelin's pinnacle
- Don't need to listen to it anymore
- Licensing songs to death
- Don't understand people who listen to the same music they did 30 years ago
- Country music is the new pop
- Phil's faves: Allman Brothers, Sly Stone, John Prine, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Joplin, CSNY, Elton, Traffic, Nick Drake
- Phil's been listening to a new album every day during quarantine
- Phil's #1
- The Stones were in the middle of a killer run
- A band that was greater than the sum of its parts
- A few more from Jay:  T. Rex, Kinks, Yes
- Yes really stretched out in concert
- Genres are too restrictive
- You like what you like
- Duran Duran's great
- Discovering music through videogames
- Favorite song from favorite album:  "Can't You Hear Me Knockin'" (Phil) and "When the Levee Breaks" (Jay)

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 536: Kicking It Off

I'm joined by guest Phil Stacey as we discuss our favorite albums of 1970. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded via Zoom
- Phil's got some quality hockey hair going
- Now, we're going to go through our favorite albums of each year from 1970-2020, starting with '70
- We were both under the age of 3
- Pretty varied list of favorites from that year
- Popular music was splintering into many different genres
- FM radio was pretty freeform
- Radio was the main way to discover music back then
- Some interesting tour pairings
- Altamont was an abrupt end to the hippie era
- Big deaths in 1970: Hendrix and Joplin
- Phil's favorites (except #1): The Who, CSNY, Neil Young, Led Zep, Van Morrison, Derek & the Dominoes
- Jay: Not a Clapton fan
- Phil: Kinks, Beatles, George Harrison, McCartney, Miles Davis, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Chicago, James Taylor, Elton, Stones
- Phil's #1
- The Dead's best studio album
- Jay: Deep Purple, Hendrix, Funkadelic, Black Sabbath, Stooges 
- Some bands were releasing two studio albums a year
- Jay's #1
- The best live album ever
- The Who at their best
- In the midst of a great string of albums
- Favorite song from favorite album:  "Candyman" (Phil) and "Young Man's Blues" (Jay)

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 535: Built to Last

I'm joined by guest Phil Stacey as we discuss the final Grateful Dead studio album Built to Last. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded via Zoom
- Built to Last released on Halloween 1989
- Jay had just graduated from college, Phil was a junior
- Jay: Don't remember this album even coming out
- Phil: It's not memorable
- Felt like band was going through the motions
- Brent Mydland dominated the album with four songs
- He was suffering from depression; died a year later
- Maybe Garcia and Weir didn't have enough good material
- Fall '89 Dead shows are considered the band's last great run of concerts
- Tried the same recording technique as previous album but it didn't work
- Garcia said Mydland's songs were better
- Final song is really bad
- Phil: They had enough material to record another album
- You can find version of them online
- Garcia started getting into drugs again
- Concert performances suffered
- Band members started doing other projects
- A couple of decent songs on this album
- Mydland songs seemed like they'd fit in a different genre
- Phil: He was good in concert
- The Dead didn't need another hit album
- Jay: At the end of this journey, have more of an appreciation for the Dead
- Definitely some bad records
- Can appreciate the live performances to a point
- Jay: I respect the fanaticism of Deadheads; not for me, but that's okay
- No more guilty pleasures; you like what you like

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 534: In the Dark

I'm joined by guest Phil Stacey as we discuss the Grateful Dead album In the Dark. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded via Zoom
- We originally planned to do this in early March, but then something happened
- In the Dark was released in July 1987, seven years after the last Dead studio album
- Phil had just graduated from high school, Jay was going into junior year of college
- The band had been playing the songs in concert for years
- Jerry Garcia had gone into a diabetic coma in '86
- Had to re-learn how to walk, talk, play guitar
- Band was renewed after his recovery
- CDs were just starting to get popular
- We both didn't get CD players until 1989
- First CDs: Phil's was 10,000 Maniacs, Jay's were Cult, the Who, Joe Jackson
- The Best of Steve Miller was a college staple in the '80s
- Recorded live in an empty theater
- "Touch of Grey" was all over MTV and rock radio that summer
- Very catchy single
- Phil: Album was breath of fresh air after two disappointing releases
- "Touch of Grey" resonated with Boomers as well as younger listeners
- New fans were known as "Touch heads" by veteran fans
- People were going to Dead shows for the scene, not the music
- Released videos for "Hell in a Bucket" and "Throwing Stones"
- The one clunker is sung by keyboardist Brent Mydland
- Jay: His vocals didn't seem to fit
- They ladled on the synths
- Phil: Mydland was good at harmonies
- Vocals sounded like Kenny Loggins or Bob Seger
- Phil: Listening to at least one album he hasn't heard every day
- "West LA Fadeaway" may have been inspired by Belushi
- Phil gives it a B+
- The success of "Touch of Grey" was so unexpected
- Next up: We talk about the last Dead studio album

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 533: Long Distance Runaround

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we discuss quarantine life. Listen to the episode below or download directly.

Show notes:
- Recorded recently via Skype
- What's the first thing you'd do post-COVID?
- All the big movies got pushed back to later in the year or 2021
- Some movies are going straight to streaming
- When will we feel comfortable at crowded concerts again?
- If touring slows down, how will musicians survive?
- Artists may have to go directly to fans for support
- Lou Barlow started a subscription service
- Artists have done similar things for years: Rundgren, Prince
- Might see more music made by artists stuck at home
- Suddenly we have a lot of time to listen to records
- Jay: Daughter's into the Beatles now
- When you know songs you hate by heart
- Appreciating '70s-era McCartney
- Bad production really stands out on mix playlists
- Does anyone remember dynamics?
- Self-improvement activities to catch up on
- Brian: No time to do any of it so far
- Jay: Want to alphabetize my records
- No guilty pleasures: Making peace with disco
- Brian: Need to organize music room
- Jay: Hope to pick up the old guitar
- Bill Rieflin, R.I.P.

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!


The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 532: Life During Quarantine

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we discuss quarantine life. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded last week via Skype
- Homeschooling is hard work
- A month in, the hoarding continues
- Brian's second-grader has a lot of schoolwork
- Brian was down in Florida to spend a few days at spring training
- Had planned to visit family in Arizona in March, but decided not to
- Virus moved quickly
- Brian saw Jonathan Richman concert in March
- Jay: Was supposed to fly to California for a conference in March, but it was canceled
- Had tickets to Archers of Loaf concert in mid-March that was canceled
- Jay: Working from home full-time
- Brian: Trying to find non-screen activities for the kids
- We're spending a lot of time with our families, which isn't a bad thing
- We've never had a situation like this where everything is shut down
- A lot of people are out of work or unable to work right now
- No sports to watch during one of the best times of year for sports
- Sports may come back without crowds in attendance
- When will things go back to normal?
- Kids' school sports, activities are on hold
- Touring musicians are losing a ton of money
- South Korea was able to shut everything down and come out on the other end
- One person can do a lot of damage
- Spring break idiots
- Adam Schlesinger, R.I.P. (this was recorded before he died)
- Washing our hands more than ever before
- Missing out on draft beer
- We're lucky to be able to work from home
- How will the economy bounce back?
- To be continued

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 531: Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

This week, I'm joined by author Greg Renoff as we discuss the new book he wrote with legendary rock producer Ted Templeman. Listen to the episode below or download directly.
 
Show notes:
- Greg's first book was 2015's Van Halen Rising
- Five years later, people are still discovering it
- Wrote about the early years of VH from a fan's perspective
- The band filled a void when their debut came out
- That book led to Greg's new book, Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer's Life in Music
- Templeman came to book signing for Van Halen Rising
- Greg later pitched the idea of a book about Templeman
- Book looks at his start as a musician and the albums he worked on as a producer
- Renoff wanted to add more structure to Templeman's recollections
- Book's out on ECW Press on April 21
- Took a few years to put together before the editing process
- Did a lot of interviews with Ted, exchanged many emails
- He didn't want to dwell on controversy too much
- Book starts with his childhood in Santa Cruz through the last album he worked on with the Doobie Brothers in 2010
- Didn't cover every album he worked on
- He was a talented musician in his younger days, as a jazz phenom and then a minor pop star
- Heavily influenced by Tito Puente
- Got into producing with the Doobies in '71, and later Captain Beefheart, Little Feat, Montrose
- Not in touch with the VH camp anymore, but appreciative of his work with them
- Worked with Van Morrison a few times
- Templeman was on TV with his pop group Harpers Bizarre, but he didn't see a future in performing
- Was interested in production and moved behind the scenes in 1970
- Nearly got out of the industry
- Started at the bottom listening to tape submissions
- Found the Doobie Brothers demo
- VH already had the harmony vocals, and Ted incorporated those (and provided some) on most of those albums
- By the time he got to VH, Ted was intent on finding bands a radio hit
- Worked with a wide range of artists from Carly Simon to the Bulletboys
- Sometimes he was brought in to finish projects that others had started
- Currently interested in streaming and following certain artists
- Initial book launch plans have changed because of COVID-19
- Hoping to do joint interviews eventually
- Greg plans to do another VH book
- Started work on it, but will get back to it once coronavirus restrictions are lifted

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 530: Quarantine Dream

This week on Quarantining With Kumar, I talk about how life has changed drastically in a short period of time because of COVID-19. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded while driving around to get some essentials
- Day 5 of self-quarantine, working from home
- The state of Massachusetts has pretty much closed all non-essential businesses
- We haven't experienced anything like this before (in my lifetime)
- Life after 9/11 was weird, but got back to normal fairly quickly
- Some states have implemented "shelter in place" rules
- Social distancing is the big buzzword
- Public gatherings are outlawed
- Spring breakers defied warnings
- Everything's getting canceled: Sports, trips, concerts
- We need to stay home to keep virus from spreading
- Most people I know are complying with the quarantine
- Musicians are doing livestreams instead of concerts
- Optimistic this will end soon, but it's hard to tell
- Watching out for older folks who are more susceptible to virus
- Some people are freaking out with conspiracy theories
- Got to ride this thing out
- Stay positive

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 529: Cheat to Win

I talk to Phil Stacey and Dave Olson about baseball's cheating scandal while we drive to a rock concert. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded on the way to see the Drive-By Truckers in Somerville, MA
- Not the first cheating scandal in MLB, but this has a different feel
- Houston Astros accused of stealing signs on the way to 2017 World Series
- Every team cheats in some way or another
- "If you're not cheating, you're not trying"
- Corked bats, scuffed pitches
- Baseballs were juiced last year to generate interest
- The sport is fading in popularity
- Too slow for short attention spans of today's society
- Steroids in the late '90s were ignored in favor of home run records
- Did the punishment fit the crime?
- Astros were fined and lost draft picks, but could have been worse
- MLB didn't expect this to blow up; former Astro revealed it in an interview
- Public reaction has been loud
- Two other teams have fired their managers who had connections to Astros that season
- Did MLB and the teams coordinate these actions?
- MLB wants this to go away and it's not
- Other teams and players are upset about it
- A pitcher sued because Astros lit him up and he was out of the majors
- Astros are going to be booed mercilessly all season on the road
- We don't know how much the sign stealing helped them
- Houston will get some big TV ratings this season
- Brought to you by Google Maps
- Altuve was a heroic figure, now tarnished
- MMA and pro wrestling are resonating with a younger generation
- A lot of baseball teams struggle to fill the seats
- Young kids would rather watch eSports, where other people play video games
- Easier to cheat in baseball or basketball
- Astros intern figured out how to steal signs and convinced management to adopt it
- Astros players should expect to get hit by a lot of pitches this season

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 528: Burn and Shine

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we discuss rock stars and aging. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- '90s butt rock is alive and well in New Hampshire
- Marlins will soar, according to Scott Stapp
- Commercial rock radio is dying
- In the mid-80s, rock radio was thriving in the Boston area
- Brian has satellite radio
- GNR/Smashing Pumpkins touring this summer
- The evolution of Sugar Ray's sound
- Mark McGrath is always working
- The Cameo economy
- Talking to musicians
- The ubiquity of Henry Rollins
- The musician deaths have always been plentiful
- 10 years ago, we lost Jay Reatard, Teddy Pendergrass, Doug Fieger, Mark Linkous, Alex Chilton, Malcolm McLaren, Dio
- So many big names in rock are getting older
- Eagles have continued to tour without Glenn Frey
- Surviving members of Nirvana have reunited for charity shows
- Rush will never play another show
- R.E.M. has never performed together since their breakup
- More fun with Cameo
- Don't wait to see a band you like
- Jay: Trying to see bands I haven't seen before
- Making up for lost time with some bands
- Some bands sound better than ever: Dino Jr., Ween
- Ozzy's looking pretty rough these days
- Some artists you don't want to see anymore

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 527: Magic and Loss

I'm joined by guest Brian Salvatore as we discuss rock stars and aging. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Brian's first appearance on the show in two years
- The rock deaths keep on hitting us hard
- Neil Peart's recent death was surprising and shocking
- Brian: Not a big Rush fan, but respected them
- A couple of really good documentaries about the band
- Rush followed their own path
- Andy Gill of Gang of Four kept touring and recording right until he died
- Big deaths that impacted us
- Jay: Peart, Gord Downie, Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty
- As a kid, remember Randy Rhoads, Bonham, Bon Scott, Keith Moon
- Later, Cobain and Layne Staley
- Tortured artist syndrome
- Meanwhile, the Stones keep chugging along
- Brian: McCartney is still amazing live into his 70s
- Neither of us has seen the Stones live
- Brian: Regret not seeing classic acts at least once
- Prince played crazy long shows
- Getting harder to stay out super late
- "Farewell tours" tend to often be false alarms
- A little more urgency to see certain artists who are older
- A lot of reunion tours these days: Jawbreaker, Hot Snakes, Jawbox, Hoodoo Gurus
- Will young artists today have the same longevity as the older artists now?
- Touring's the only way to make money these days
- Not even worth it for older acts to release new material now
- Radio won't play new music from legendary acts
- Classic rock fans don't want to hear new music, they just want the hits
- You know what you're getting from a new AC/DC record
- Many bands continue on after members die
- Replacing iconic singers with unknowns
- Alice in Chains has recharged their career somewhat post-Staley
- Sublime's singer/leader died before their big album came out
- To be continued

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 526: Go to Heaven

I'm joined by guest Phil Stacey as we discuss the Grateful Dead album Go to Heaven. Listen to the episode below or download it directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded at CompCon world HQ
- The Dead transitioning into a new decade, the '80s
- Cover may have given fans the wrong idea
- Short outing at only 38 minutes
- One of the least favorite studio albums among Dead fans
- Phil: A real mish-mash
- Contractual obligation: Third studio album in four years
- AOR was getting big
- The Godchauxs were gone
- Brent Mydland brings a smooth Michael McDonald vibe that is off-putting
- Grateful Dead keyboard players : Spinal Tap drummers
- Some Dead classics on this album: Alabama Getaway, Althea
- Didn't make another studio album for seven years
- Jay might go see Dead & Co. with Phil at some point
- Phil: This is their second-worst album
- Lost Sailor doesn't work
- Three straight Weir/Barlow songs
- Saint of Circumstance could be an '80s sitcom theme song
- Bob Weir loves the short shorts
- Hey, we used to wear them, too
- Mickey Hart eventually got into world music
- Mydland's Easy to Love You could have been a pop hit
- Album ends with a rave-up cover of Don't Ease Me In
- Phil: In defense of U2's Zooropa
- When we next convene, we'll talk about late '80s Dead

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Completely Conspicuous 525: Shakedown Street

I'm joined by guest Phil Stacey as we discuss the Grateful Dead album Shakedown Street. Listen to the episode below or download directly.


Show notes:
- Recorded at CompCon world HQ
- First ep of the new decade
- Shakedown Street came out in '78
- Lots of musical stuff happening: Disco, punk, new wave, hard rock
- Disco wasn't as bad as everyone made it out to be
- Jay: No guilty pleasures: If you like it, you like it
- The Dead were coming off a triumphant '77
- This was a contractually obligated studio album
- Lots of influences thrown in: Funk, disco, African jazz, rock
- Met with savage reviews
- The version of "Good Lovin'" here pales in comparison to the live version, especially when Pigpen sang it
- The last album with Donna and Keith Godchaux
- Title track gets slagged as bad disco, but we dig it
- Shakedown Street is now the name of the merch area at Dead & Co. shows
- Pressure was on from Clive Davis for them to have hits
- This album was produced by Lowell George of Little Feat
- Seen as a disco album, but it's pretty diverse musically
- The Dead weren't a great studio band
- Mickey Hart stepped up with three songs
- Phil: "I Need a Miracle" might be the best song on the album
- "Stagger Lee"  has an interesting history; versions were covered by many different artists
- Jay: The Nick Cave version is the best, and the most profane
- Album was scattered because of different influences plus substances
- "All New Minglewood Blues" is a pretty rockin' cover
- Dead appeared on SNL that year
- Ends with a Garcia-Hunter love ballad that works
- Jay: Liked about half the songs on the album
- Next: 1980's Go to Heaven

Completely Conspicuous is available through Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you get podcasts. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.