Rip Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker, one of the most innovative and influential drummers in rock music, has died at the age of 80. A co-founder of Cream, he also played with Blind Faith, Hawkwind and Fela Kuti in a long and varied career. His style combined the lyricism of jazz with the crude power of rock. One critic said watching him was like witnessing “a human combine harvester”. But he was also a temperamental and argumentative figure, whose behaviour frequently led to on-stage punch-ups.

Nicknamed Ginger for his flaming red hair, the musician was born Peter Edward Baker in Lewisham, south London, shortly before World War Two. His bricklayer father was killed in action in 1943, and he was brought up in near poverty by his mother, step-father and aunt. A troubled student, he joined a local gang in his teens and became involved in petty theft. When he tried to quit, gang-members attacked him with a razor. His early ambition was to ride in the Tour de France but was forced to quit the sport when, aged 16, his bicycle got “caught up” with a taxi. Instead, he took up drumming. He played with jazz acts like Terry Lightfoot and Acker Bilk but his style – fragmented and aggressive, but articulate and insistent – was often an odd fit. Instead, he gravitated towards London’s burgeoning blues scene and, in 1962, joined Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated on the recommendation of Charlie Watts – who was leaving to join the Rolling Stones.

He gained early fame as a member of the Graham Bond Organisation alongside bassist Jack Bruce – but it was their partnership with Eric Clapton in Cream that made all three superstars. One of rock’s first “supergroups”, they fused blues and psychedelia to dazzling effect on songs like Strange Brew, Sunshine of Your Love, Badge and I Feel Free. They sold more than 35 million albums and were awarded the world’s first ever platinum disc for their LP Wheels of Fire. But the volatility that fuelled their performances was rooted in animosity. Baker and Bruce’s arguments were frequent and violent, even driving Clapton to tears on one occasion. Once, Baker attempted to end one of Bruce’s solos by bouncing a stick off his snare drum, and into Bruce’s head. The band eventually split after two years and four albums, with a farewell concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1968.

Following the band’s demise, he teamed up with Clapton and Steve Winwood to form Blind Faith, followed by the ambitious 10-piece Air Force, which combined his interests in jazz and Afro-fusion. While the musicianship was of a high standard, the eclectic mix of jazz, blues, African music and a surfeit of drums – there were three percussionists – was never going to inspire a mass following. After one studio album and a live concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Air Force, undermined by personnel changes, finally crashed and burned. The drug-related death of his friend, Jimi Hendrix, persuaded Baker it was time to leave the London music scene and get clean.

He helped Paul McCartney record the classic Wings’ album Band On The Run, although their relationship soured over claims that he was never paid. Financial problems of one sort or another dogged him throughout this period and he eventually lost control of his studio. Away from music, he took up rally driving and, somewhat incongruously, developed a love of polo, building up a sizeable collection of ponies, despite his tendency to get injured.

Cream were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, briefly reuniting to play three songs, then teamed up again in 2005 for a series of concerts in London and New York. Almost inevitably, the performances ended with Baker and Bruce fighting on stage. Baker had, in fact, headed to South Africa, where he spent the reunion money buying polo ponies and funding a veterinary hospital. In 2012, he became the subject of a hugely enjoyable documentary – Beware of Mr Baker – which illustrated how his jaw-dropping drumming was neither as wild nor as extraordinary as his personal life. The musician fought osteoarthritis to record his final album, Why?, in 2014. Two years later, he underwent open heart surgery and announced his retirement from touring. Baker was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream, of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2008,and of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2016. Baker was married four times and fathered three children, Nettie, Leda, and Kofi.

Portable Audio Recorder – A Reviews of Some of the Best Options

Audio recorders are devices that can be put to a whole lot of different uses. They can be used for field recording which is why you will find many journalists using one. They can also be used to record live events, from concerts, parties to campaigns, protests and pretty much anything. You can also find them used on some movie sets. You can practically use it anywhere you need a level of professional audio recording.

While many different devices (some of which are no longer in production) will qualify to be called portable audio recorders, this name now purely refers to what can be called digital audio recorders. You can learn more about digital audio recording here.

To help you understand the products we are about to quickly review, we will first look at some important consideration factors that can help ensure you make the right choice.

Factors to Consider When Choosing

The following are some of the factors you need to consider when making your choice.

Build

The build of the device you choose will to a large extent determine its durability. Metal casings will certainly be stronger than plastic ones. Look for any signs that will indicate the device’s structural strength or weakness.

Quality of Microphone

This is the heart of the recorder. The quality of the microphones included will determine the quality of the recordings you will get. Some things to consider when checking the microphone include: frequency response range, sampling rate, max SPL handling, single or mono microphone structure, and presence of phantom power.

Audio File Format

This is another very important factor to consider. The file format in which the recordings are saved will tell you the quality you have to work with. The file can either be compressed or uncompressed. You want uncompressed files like wave and uncompressed WMA. Other workable compressed alternatives include AIFF. Formats such as mp3 and AAC are largely files that lose quality during compression.

To learn more about audio file formats, read this article: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/audio-file-format-right-needs/.

Storage Capacity

How much storage space it has will determine how long you can record for. The larger the storage capacity, the longer you can record for.

Input Options

Though these devices come with their own microphones, you may want to add a higher quality or specialized microphone for a specific task. For this, you will need the appropriate input. You should therefore check to know the kinds of inputs available. It is always better to have more options than you need rather than having fewer options than you need.

Power

These portable audio recorders are usually battery powered. Check how long a battery charge lasts. You should also check to see if the battery is removable. A removable battery is easier to service or replace should it get faulty.

Cost

After checking everything, you should of course look at how much it will cost you. This is an important factor to consider so be sure that what the device costs is worth the value it is offering. Compare this with others to be doubly sure.

Some Recommendations

While what you will be seeing will not be a full listing of the best portable audio recorder reviews, we shall do our best to present a few of these for your consideration.

Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder

This portable recorder offers some interesting features. These include: multi-track recording (4 channels), 24bit/96kHz resolution, low noise preamp, 32 GB of storage and about four hours of battery life. Aside from the included stereo microphones, it also includes two XLR and TRS combo mic inputs.

This is more than most users require of their device.

Tascam DR-05 Stereo Portable Digital Audio Recorder

This Tascam model comes with stereo microphones that record at 24 bits/96kHz. These microphones have omnidirectional polar patterns and can therefore pick sound from all around it.

It however has a storage capacity of about 4GB which is quite limited.

Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder

This Sony model is ideal for those who need something very small. This does not offer the best of recording as it records in a compressed mp3 format. It however offers other features like voice activated recording and clear voice technology that deliver some value to the user. It also has a storage capacity that can be expanded to 32Gb. For the battery, it can last for as much as 57 hours.

Conclusion

After reading through the guide and reviews above, you now hopefully know exactly how to go about choosing the portable audio recorder that is right for you.

RIP Ric Ocasek

Ric Ocasek, the idiosyncratic singer and guitarist for the Cars and hit-making album producer, died on Sunday in his New York City apartment. He was 75. At approximately 3 p.m. ET, police officers responded to a 911 call at Ocasek’s home at 140 E. 19th Street, the rep said. Officers discovered Ocasek unconscious and unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead at the scene, though no cause of death has been revealed. A rep for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Beginning with the Cars self-titled debut in 1978, Ocasek established himself as a stoic frontman with a sense of humor and melodrama on songs like “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” and “Good Times Roll.” As a member of the Cars, Ocasek helped kickstart the new-wave movement by pinning his disaffected vocals against herky-jerky rhythm guitar, dense keyboards and dancefloor-ready beats, and as one of the group’s lead vocalists, alongside bassist Benjamin Orr, he sang the hits “Shake It Up” and “You Might Think.” With the exception of only a couple of songs, Ocasek wrote every tune the Cars recorded. After the band broke up in 1988, Ocasek recorded as a solo artist and worked as a producer, helping sculpt blockbuster hits like Weezer’s Blue Album and Green Album and cult favorites like Bad Brains’ Rock for Light.

Ocasek developed a reputation as a successful producer, and took this role for many up-and-coming bands of differing genres including Bad Brains’ Rock for Light and Guided by Voices’ Do the Collapse. His other production credits include Weezer’s Blue Album and Green Album (both multi-platinum), Suicide,[15] Romeo Void, Hole,[15] Bebe Buell,[16] No Doubt,[15] Nada Surf, Irish folk-punk band Black 47, Bad Religion, Johnny Bravo, D Generation, The Wannadies, Possum Dixon, Martin Rev, Jonathan Richman, and the 2006 album by The Pink Spiders titled Teenage Graffiti. He also produced a portion of the third Motion City Soundtrack album, Even If It Kills Me. In 2014, Ocasek produced Everything Will Be Alright in the End, the ninth studio album by Weezer and his third collaboration with the band, and For All My Sisters, the sixth album by The Cribs.

Ocasek was married three times. He married early in life, but divorced and was married to his second wife, Suzanne Ocasek, in 1971. Ocasek was still married to Suzanne when he met 18-year-old model Paulina Porizkova during filming of the music video for the Cars’ song “Drive” in 1984. Ocasek and Porizkova were married on August 23, 1989. The couple had two sons, Jonathan Raven Otcasek (b. November 4, 1993), and Oliver Otcasek (b. 1999). In May 2018, Porizkova announced she and Ocasek had separated a year earlier.

RIP Eddie Money

Eddie Money, the singer-saxophonist whose string of hits include “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Take Me Home Tonight,” died Friday in Los Angeles at the age of 70. “The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning,” the family said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music.”

Money suffered a series of health problems in recent years, and in August revealed he was battling stage 4 esophageal cancer in a promo for the upcoming season of Real Money, a TV series about the rocker’s life. In July, Money canceled his summer tour after developing pneumonia while recovering from his recent heart valve surgery. “The heart issue was a condition unrelated to his cancer,” AXS TV noted. Despite the multiple health issues, Money still planned on returning to the road later this year.

The Brooklyn-born, Long Island-raised rocker born Eddie Mahoney broke into the music scene after moving to Berkeley, California in the late-Sixties; after nearly a decade honing his craft on the Bay Area rock scene with manager Bill Graham, Money inked a deal with Columbia Records, which distributed his self-titled album in 1977. Eddie Money went double-platinum and both “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On,” Money’s first single, landed in the upper quarter of the Hot 100, beginning a decade-long stretch where the singer routinely deposited hits on the charts, despite being largely disregarded and derided by rock critics at the time.

In the early Eighties – following a 1981 incident that gave Money the distinction of being the first rocker to overdose on fentanyl – Money made a comeback with his platinum-selling 1982 album No Control and its Hot 100 hits “Shakin’” and “Think I’m in Love.” While the rocker continued pumping out radio gold like “Club Michelle” and “The Big Crash,” 1983’s Where’s the Party? marked the lowest-charting album of his career at that point. However, following another battle with addiction, Money scored the biggest hit of his career in 1986 with “Take Me Home Tonight,” a duet with Ronnie Spector.

Money continued to register hits throughout the late Eighties but slowed his output over the next decade, releasing only three albums including 1999’s Ready Eddie, his last LP of original music. Beloved by his fanbase, Money spent the next two decades as a workhorse-touring artist before health issues slowed him in recent years. The always-quotable Money was also the star of the AXS TV reality series Real Money, which focused on the rocker and his family life. Money married his wife Laurie in 1989. They had five children: Zachary, Jessica, Joseph, Julian, and Desmond. He “made his home” in the Bay Area and performed often in San Francisco’s clubs.

The Dirt

The Dirt is a 2019 American biographical drama film directed by Jeff Tremaine from a screenplay by Rich Wilkes, about glam metal band Mötley Crüe. The film stars Douglas Booth, Colson Baker, Daniel Webber, and Iwan Rheon. Talks of a Mötley Crüe biopic began as early as 2006, when Paramount Pictures and MTV Films purchased the rights to the book The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by the band and Neil Strauss.

The movie starts off with showing us Nikki Sixx’s bad family life with a mother who had several boyfriends, who were abusive, after his father left them. He left his Seattle home and ends up in Los Angeles in 1978. After a failed attempt to connect with his biological father, Frank legally changes his name to “Nikki Sixx” in 1980. A year later, after a falling out with members of London at the Whisky a Go Go, Nikki befriends drummer Tommy Lee and reveals to him that he is forming a new band. Joining the band is guitarist Mick Mars, who suffers from ankylosing spondylitis. The trio then recruit lead vocalist Vince Neil from the cover band Rockandi, and after some brainstorming, the quartet name themselves Mötley Crüe.

After a quick brawl with some audience members during the start of their first performance, the band start to gain a solid reputation in the Los Angeles rock community and gain a large fan following. They sell out all over LA and have outrageous parties afterwards. Rookie producer Tom Zutaut of Elektra Records approaches them with a five-album deal and they sign Doc McGhee as their manager. Their first major tour is supporting Ozzy Osbourne, played by Tony Cavalero, who advised them on limits of partying – and then goes on to snort ants and lick urine. The movie showcases some of the partying excess, success & notoriety that the band would go on to earn during the heady days of the 80s. Tommy, after dumping his ex-gf who was disapproved off by his mom, would meet Heather Locklear and get married, while Vince marries mud wrestler Sharise Ruddell and they have a daughter named Skylar.

At a party, Vince and Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle drive out to buy more drinks and get into a car accident that kills Razzle and has Vince sentenced to 30 days in jail for vehicular manslaughter, which is subsequently reduced to 19 days. Nikki becomes addicted to heroin and starts to display destructive behavior towards his bandmates. He fires McGhee for bringing Deana to visit him. Nikki overdoses on heroin and is initially declared dead, but a paramedic who is a big fan of the band brings him back to life with two shots of adrenaline. Following this, Nikki has the band go to rehab. A sober Mötley Crüe rebounds in 1989 with Dr. Feelgood, which becomes their first number one album on the Billboard 200, followed by a lengthy world tour. The months of touring and staying sober take their toll on Vince and Tommy, who resort to drinking again after being away from their families for too long.

Following the tour, Vince discovers that Sharise and their daughter Skylar have left him, causing him to miss several rehearsals and eventually part ways with the band in 1992. The band then hires John Corabi as his replacement. In 1995, Skylar dies of stomach cancer at the age of four. Heather divorces Tommy after he is caught having an affair with a porn star. Seeing the backlash by fans over Vince’s departure from the band, Nikki negotiates with Zutaut to give them back the rights to their songs in exchange for their release from Elektra Records. After visiting his father’s grave, Nikki regroups with Tommy and Mick before they reconcile with Vince. Mötley Crüe would perform together for another 20 years, playing their final show on New Year’s Eve 2015 (however the band have since reformed).

Debauchery, rock music and partying aside, the movie is a bit tame for Motely. It’s more like a VH1 style movie, sans a couple of scenes, and fails to showcase the more controversial events of the band. They should have had more stuff from the 90s onwards and therefore seems like only half a story. I give it a 7 outta 10! It was fun.