Wonderful Was (Not Was) video (looking youthful from the 80’s) on YouTube. The lip-sync of ‘Walk The Dinosaur’ is as painful as anything from this era, but just wait for the interview at the end of the video – hilarious and brilliant. — Thanks to Mark.
Was (Not Was) recorded in Portland and Seattle, 17 May 2008, available as MP3, WAV and (soon) FLAC files.
Thanks to Ted.
Don Was positively flourished in the years following his band’s demise.
Was (Not Was), the open-ended musical collective with Detroit roots, had called it quits in 1992, launching Was into a career as one of music’s most in-demand studio producers. The roll call of names became towering: The Rolling Stones. Bob Dylan. Bonnie Raitt. Willie Nelson. Randy Newman.
But amid the creative flowering, the man born Don Fagenson found himself unable to muster the will to write. Daunted by the immense talent now surrounding him, Was caught himself thinking, “What’s the point? These guys are so much better at this.”
It was during a conversation with country icon Nelson that Was had his epiphany: Willie Nelson might be Willie Nelson, but Don Was was Detroit.
Interview with the “Brothers” at Gulf Coasting
Thanks to Dave (No, not that one) we now have a torrent of the Cabooze show in Minneapolis from 13 May 2008.
Check out the Traders Den.
Now available at The Archive without sign on.
“This is more like a party than a regular gig, Don Was told the audience early on, and he couldn’t have been more right.
Not having seen any version of Was (Not Was) since a late 1980s Club MTV Tour, I must say that I have been intrigued and puzzled by the wide range of appreciations of the current Wasperience, ranging from carping that the band doesn’t access it’s entire catalogue, to effusive praise for inspirational performances. This is good, mainly because it shows that, whether you’ve seen them 20 times or can’t tell Don Was from a roadie, the band is still as fascinating as ever.
For a group as meticulous in writing, recording and rehearsal as this one, the genius of a Was (Not Was) show isn’t in the element of suprise, but rather in witnessing this wild musical/cultural and intellectual amalgam come to vivid life right before your very eyes.
And that goes from the MTV show, where they were 4th or 5th on the bill to Ton Loc, Paula Abdul and the density-is-infamy Milli Vanilli (they were sharp, smooth and fun, and belonged on that bill as much as William Burroughs opening for the Osmonds at Branson), back to the very first Was show I witnessed, in Chicago with Wayne Kramer and the Brides of Funkenstein en was, on the tour for the first album.
The May 10, 2008 show in the intimate confines of the Abbey Pub in Chicago was teriffic — David Was and Sir Harry got up front and sang harmony, fercrissakes — and the band and the audience were clearly interested in exchanging electricity. The combination of musicianship and volume in front of 2-300 or so folks who 85-90% looked like the main floor of a Republican National Convention is like what one imagines it might be like to watch a 747 experly landed in a shoebox.
Thanks to Harmen
Thanks to Red.
Saw WNW in Portland and Seattle. The Portland show at Wonder Ballroom
was excellent, although the sound was a bit muddled at
times…especially the first two songs. Crowd was small and the critic
for the local rag was groovin’ like the rest of the crowd – all 150 of
us. His review can be found here.
The Seattle show was at a smaller venue and the sound and show was
even better – fantastic show.
I have posted one song from Seattle- From the Head to the Heart – in
both WAV and MP3 format. (Unfortunately, I munged the taping in
Seattle and don’t think I can salvage any other songs. I may post the
Portland show but that also is a bit muddled – will need to have a
discerning ear check it out before posting.)
Downloads – or redirects to another site for the material are and will
be available here.
Thanks to Ted.
The Mrs. and I caught the Was (Not Was) show at the Wonder Ballroom tonight, and I pretty much got just one word: Wow.
Thanks to Jack
Music review: Alternative reality of Was (Not Was)
Edward Lorenz, the meteorology professor who helped develop chaos theory, died last month at age 90, having seen his intellectual breakthrough influence economics, ecology and numerous other fields.
It is doubtful that Lorenz noticed its application to R&B, but Saturday night’s Wonder Ballroom show by the band Was (Not Was) might have been an apt demonstration. ….
“Why do they even give you a “Do not disturb’ sign?,” asks David Was, while recounting a recent hotel staff invasion. “I could have had a dead chick in the room! I’m a rock star, dog!”
Interview with David in the Colorado Springs Independent
Towards the end of the night Fagenson promised the Majestic crowd that “we’ll never forget this night — I mean that.” And it will most likely stick in the memory of anyone who was there, too.
Review of the Detroit show in the Oakland Press
I was at the show last Friday at the Majestic in midtown Detroit. The
native Detroiters in the band were quite happy to be back home
playing for friends, relatives, and long time fans.
I’ve been following the group since around 82, when I played bass in
a band that featured JonJaz Weiss – Dave’s brother – on sax. He’s the
one that turned me on to them by giving me an advance copy cassette
of “Born to Laugh at Tornadoes”. I’ve been hooked ever since.
They played to a pretty well packed house, and a great reception.
It’s something about playing in the shadows of Wayne State University
and Cass Corridor – always down, but never out, always living in
despair of some kind or another, but always hopeful of a better
future – for some reason, the funky grooves and the strange
storytelling of their songs resonate to a lot of us. It’s Real
Detroit music, no doubt.
Standing in line, waiting for the doors to open & sharing stories of
how we came to dig the Was bros. Talking about the old haunts, mostly
gone now. Lots of graying hair in the crowd (including mine).
Sound quality was good where I was, right in front of the stage. I
couldn’t hear the main stacks, only the front fills and a lot of
stage monitors. Didn’t matter anyway-I was singing louder than the
Songs were similar to other stops on this tour, with the addition of
Mitch Ryder coming out to do Devil With the Blue Dress with them.
Sure was great to see them again. As I told Sir Harry after the gig,
it’s been way too long!! Don’t be strangers – come back and visit
Steve “The Count”
Sorry this is not a timely report but since I attended the show at the
Majestic last Friday I should offer some comments. (Despite the nice previews
given in both major Detroit newspapers, neither had a post-show article.)
Very good turnout for the Detroit gig, not standing-room only packed but
surely bigger than they’ve been drawing on other dates, at least that’s the
impression I have from what I’ve read. The show itself was the same setlist as
I’ve seen on the other US dates, with a couple of additions. Toward the end they
performed Somewhere In America…(honoring someone’s request during the
soundcheck, Dave said). And then they brought out Mitch Ryder who sang Devil
With The Blue Dress, in a slower, R&B style than his 60’s hit Detroit Wheels
version. That was fun, but I’d probably have rather seen some musicians sit in
(David McMurray for example). The guys definitely were pumped to be in Detroit
but other than these two songs I got the impression it could have been any
other date on the tour. I guess they’ve rehearsed what they’ve rehearsed and
that’s what people are gonna get this time around. I wasn’t disappointed, but
wasn’t blown away, either.
With thanks to Steve.
Dave (Not that Dave) just sent me this email – I have to share it with you all!
Don says to get in touch with you so here I are!
I saw the band last night in Minneapolis at the Cabooze and had a great time. Here’s a bit of what I’ve written elsewhere… (forgive the few smilies in the text)
Was(Not Was) was great last night. I had a fleeting interest and knowledge of their work from having lived through the ’80s, and have always enjoyed a good R&B/Funk band but had never bought any of their LPs or seen them live or on MTV. I caught this thread so I go to tape. [a reference to another BBS for tapers]
As is my want, I got there plenty early to set up and managed to see someone who looked like he was affiliated with the band preparing to slip out the back door to the bus at around 8:15. The guy was sporting nasty dreads and a straw cowboy hat and had a very workman like set of threads hanging on him… Roadie maybe.… I approach and ask him, A) are you with the band, W(NW) and 2) are you/they still OK with taping. He sort of grinned and said, “OH, yeah sure. That would be great, just let us know where you’re going to post the show.”
I get set up and suffer through Todd Snyder, only because I’d failed to have a handle on the space left on my JB3 and it ran out mid set. 😛 and get ready for the big show to come. The band gets on stage and low and behold, the guy I’d asked permission turned out to be the bass player. Now I know nothing about who plays what in this band and in fact had thought the principals in the band were “brothers”… not siblings… “Brothers” so imagine the intensity of my head slap when it becomes apparent that the man I’d talked to was none other than Don Was. D’oh! I later confessed to him my ignorance and apologized for not having a better handle on the band’s history and promised to get the show out soon. He was very nice about it and seemed to get a little kick out of my “error”. He was very easy to talk to and seemed very high on the concept of audience taping and sharing. In fact, he made a point to announce during the show that there is a recording being made and that it will be available on the internet …”Where is it going to be posted?” he hollers out to me. It’s all on tape. ;D
It looks like the same set list that they followed at the 5-3 Ram’s Head show that is on the LMA/archive.org but I think we got an additional two encore tunes out of them. The crowd was pretty light on a Tuesday and actually fell off some when the opener was done with his set, but those who remained had a the pleasure of hearing some great singing and playing. I hope they can stay on the road.
The recording will not likely hit the LMA for a few days as I’m now in the process of moving, but it will eventually get posted.
All for now, I gotta go.
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