Tag Archives: Chris Cacavas

Flashlite #595

Bob Dylan

Today at the lighthouse we have nothing but the heavyweight legends of rock’n’roll, all mostly with the new material. We start off with Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Bob has a new record and Neil released unpublished recordings from 1975. We also have two ex members of Green on Red with new records for each of them: Chris Cacavas and Chuck Prophet. Their buddy from the same scene, Russ Tolman, who used to be in True West also has a new single out. Their buddy from the same town, Howe Gelb, has a piano solo record and we check it out. Our good friend from Louisiana, a legendary songwriter in his own right, Damien Youth has a new band Belladonna Lovers and we check it out in this episode of the show. We close the show with the new projects from the Trotsky Icepick camp. They are extraordinarily active these days: Vitus Matare and John Rosewall have a new album as Petrified Max and John Talley Jones is with Strikeslip.

Chris Cacavas – Truth;
Neil Young – Vacancy;
Bob Dylan – Goodbye Jimmy Reed;
Bob Dylan – Standing in the Doorway;
Giant Sand – Warm Storm;
Howe Gelb – Steadfast;
Russ Tolman – The Trees Are In Love With You;
True West – You;
Green On Red – We Shall Overcome;
Chris Cacavas – We Can Dream;
Chuck Prophet – Womankind;
The Stone Roses – Sally Cinnamon;
Damien Youth – Susie Cinnamon;
Belladonna Lovers – Frankenstein Head;
Petrified Max – Snowshoe;
Strikeslip – Stuporstar;
Trotsky Icepick – Imaging Neptune.

Flashlite #286

Andy KentlerToday we introduce two new names from Australia. Andy Kentler and the Metal Babies from Sydney. We also introduce Paul Myers and John Moremen from San Francisco. Their name is of course The Paul and John, which I guess is a pretty fortunate combination. But an album that will blow your mind this week is a duet by the legendary Chris Cacavas and Edward Abbiati. Cacavas is of course one of the founding members of The Green On Red and Abbiati is a rocker from Switzerland. And don’t loose out of your sites a new band from Salt Lake City called Six Weeks In The Pine.

The Downsiders – Old Black Crow;
Andy Kentler – Lillian Roxon
Atlantic Thrills – Blind Lead The Blind;
Reigning Sound – Baby, It’s Too Late;
The Short Kuts – Hold It Baby;
The Trashed Romeos – Hold It Baby;
Chris Cacavas – The Stage;
Chris Cacavas And Edward Abbiati – Long Dark Sky;
The Paul and John – Can’t Be Too Careful;
The Cavestompers – Limousine;
BB King – Goin’ South (Calypso Blues) (Blues Alphabet);
Amy LaVere – Self Made Orphan;
Heartless Bastards – Gray (Live in CLE);
Empire – All These Things;
Gold Bears – Memo;
The Metal Babies – All a Waste of Time;
Six Feet In The Pine – Hit The Floor Jack.

Chris Cacavas – Love’s Been Re-Discontinued (Cactus Head)

Chris Cacavas - Love's Been Re-DiscontinuedChris Cacavas (ex Green On Red) had an album back in 2009 called Love’s Been Discontinued which we pronounced as the best album that year at The Little Lighthouse. This year, Chris Cacavas returned with an album which he called Love’s Been Re-Discontinued which was very similar to the 2009, not just in title. The songs on the new album were left over from the material written for the 2009 album and Cacavas felt a need to go back to those songs again.

Chris’ words are in italic for the rest of this text: Yes, at the time between 2007 and 2009 I recorded over twenty basic tracks with bass, guitar and drums. I was working on about fifteen of them doing vocals, overdubs etc. and in the end twelve of them ended up on Love’s Been Discontinued. At the beginning of this year (2013) I went back to revisit and complete the rest of those songs and those ten tracks are now on Love’s Been Re-Discontinued.

The lyrics in both of those record seem to talk about a break up. But it turns out, the topic does not necessarily relates to something that Chris experienced in his life. To be honest I’ve only had two “real” or long term relationships in my life. I’m happy to say I’m still in the second and although there have been hard times that brought us to the brink of breaking up we’ve decided to dedicate ourselves to each other and to investing the time and conscious effort to maintain a healthy, happy and respectful relationship. At the moment it’s working very well! I think you only need one real love or one devastating breakup for song material to last a lifetime.

Chris believes in love, muses about it and wants to learn about it. I believe love is real although I can’t tell you exactly what “love” is. I think it means so many things to so many people but I do believe the common thread for the definition of love comes from the first love we experienced and that came, of course, from our parents. I’m sure some would say “But my parents didn’t love me” and I can only say they loved you to the best of their ability. This is a very complex subject and I am certainly no scholar but I’m still willing to learn. Like death belongs to life so do breakups belong to relationships. Clearly the younger a man or woman is the less knowledge they have about relationships – what does this person want from me? What do I want from this person? What is the importance of companionship? What am I willing to compromise / sacrifice to be in this relationship? And do I make these compromises unconditionally? It’s a learning process and with any lesson more teachers and experiences give you more insight and confidence to decide what is best for you. Often people will go from one dysfunctional relationship to the next and usually blame the partner for the failure of the relationship without looking at the one constant that was in every relationship – themselves. “Happily Ever After” and “Until Death Do Us Part” are both lovely concepts that look good on paper but, sadly, don’t work that well in the real world. I think it’s a very individual thing. Some couples want their partnership to be recognized and certified by the church and others are willing to make a lifelong commitment to each other without this tradition. Both are okay by me, whatever works for those couples – hetero or gay. I would say breakups have less to do with rebellion and more to do with personal turmoil.

When I asked Chris what was the criteria for the song inclusion between the 2009 record and this new one, he was relieved that I stopped grilling him about the subject of love. Back to the record *phew*. With the 2009 release I wanted to use the crème de la crème and I wanted the record to be listenable from beginning to end, to have a flow that you wouldn’t want to change in a playlist or with your players shuffle feature. As I started working on the songs I noticed some were a bit too heavy (musically) and others weren’t really complete with lyrics and so on and in the end the songs that ended up on Love’s Been Discontinued pretty much chose themselves, that is to say, they rose like cream to the top ! With Love’s Been ReDiscontinued I took all the remaining tracks and and finished lyrics, sang them, added a few overdubs and that was it! Unfortunately there would have been another twelve (instead of ten) songs but due to technical difficulties two songs had disappeared from the hard drive, oh well.

I had the clever idea to call this record “Love’s Been Re-Discontinued” because the songs are from the same session as the previous release. In retrospect, I probably should have treated it as it’s own individual entity and not the step brother of Love’s Been Discontinued – and not just because people I trust have told me so…

So, it’s clear from Chris’s answers that he did not have an ambition to create two volumes with deep examination and (re-examination) on love and breakup, but rather the topic and songs somehow chose themselves like that. It’s one of those things where the art truly realizes itself in the ears of a beholder. We can choose to listen to it as a collection of strong songs, or a topical examination of love. In any case, both of the records are among the strongest material that’s been recorded by Chris since the earliest days with Green on Red. It is hard not to notice, though, that both Chris and his former band-mate Dan Stuart recently put out excellent records that are deep studies on the subject of love and in particular discontinuities and turmoil that happen as love evolves. Dan used a pseudonym of Marlowe Billings, but it is apparent that he is writing about the troubles he was going through directly, while Cacavas’ records are a bit more fictional based on an interview I had with him. Art is impossible to quantify, and we should not even try to understand which approach is better. In any case, Stuart and Cacavas are still capable of creating striking pieces of art, perhaps they are stronger at that than ever.

Flashlite #227

Chris CacavasToday we continue discontinuity with Chris Cacavas. He had an album in 2009, which we pronounced the best LP that year, called Love’s Been Discontinued. It turns out that Chris had more than just 12 songs back then. There were 11 more demos which he decided to finish out recently and turned into the continuation of the 2009 album which just came out recently. So, how do you continue discontinuity? Cacavas came up with the new term (re)discontinuity. Brilliant! We also have three new bands this time: English Singles from Sacramento, CA, Futurebirds from Atlanta GA, Gooch Palms from Perth, Australia. Marshal Crenshaw is back with the new EP called Stranger and Stranger and Connection of Portsmouth, NH are back with the new, self titled single. We also have three nice compilation records connected to the 60s rock’n’roll scene in Memphis and Muscle Shoals: Feeling High The Psychedelic Sound of Memphis and Hall of Fame Volume 2. The third one is called Pesme ispod pokrivaca and it is put together by the gig promoter Ivan Loncarevic from Pop Depression who is celebrating 10 years of activity.

NRBQ – Rocket Number 9;
Connection – Connection;
English Singles – Ordinary Girls;
Green on Red – A Tragedy;
Chris Cacavas – Let Me Hear;
Chris Cacavas – We Are History;
Dan Stuart – Can’t be Found;
Steve Wynn – Follow Me;
On Tour – Follow Me;
Low Cut Connie – Cleveland;
Futurebirds – Virginia Slims (Live in CLE);
The Gooch Palms – Just Like Romeo and Juliet;
The Gooch Palms – Participant No. 91;
Step-Panther – Rock and Roll Alone;
Oblivians – Back Street Hangout;
The Goatdancers – Eat Me Alive;
Jackie – Unfortunately;
Susanna Hoffs – Picture Me;
Marshall Crenshaw – Mary Anne.

Dan Stuart – The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings

Dan Stuart - The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings After several years of personal hell, Dan Stuart is finally back. His old band, legendary Green On Red, disbanded in 1992, and Dan tried to continue solo. After a record with Al Perry in 1993 and the first solo album in 1995, Dan disappeared from the music business.

There were many different stories and legends on what he was going through in those years, but it wasn’t until ten years later that we heard of Dan again. He first regrouped with Green On Red to play a few shows in Europe and USA (a live DVD came out of that), and then put out a record with Steve Wynn (a studio and live sequels to their legendary Danny And Dusty project) and one with the producer JD Foster (in an ad-hoc band called The Slummers). Now, Mr. Stuart is back with a masterpiece – new LP called The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings.

Apparently, Marlowe Billings is Dan’s alter ego, which he uses sometimes in his new home in Mexico. I read in Uncut that he has found new energy over there after living in New York and separating from his wife. These stories should be taken with a grain of salt, since Dan posted on his facebook that some of the claims were false in that article.

We can read poetical interpretations of this story in the lyrics of the new record, though. Dan is singing “I miss the city and I miss the lights, I miss my family all over the night. But New York’s a liar, we both know it’s true, just like your lover whose soul understands you. I’ll never go back to that cold hard ground, where everyone’s searching for what can’t be found”.

These words can be found in the opening song of the new record and they are certainly dark, but the mood of the record overall is far from being disconsolate. This is the main difference between Dan’s old record Can O’ Worms from 1995 and this one today. While Can O’ Worms is a deep dark record of a man loosing a grip of his own fate, Deliverance is a record of a man who’s back in control. By realizing that he was looking for what can’t be found, Dan liberated his soul and now, on the new record we can also find lighthearted tunes such as Gap-toothed Girl or Gonna Change – a beautiful Brill-Building sunshine pop with disarming oo-la-lah’s .

Another record that calls for comparisons is also Love’s Been Discontinued by Dan’s old band-mate Chris Cacavas, which came out in 2009 and which I pronounced the album of the year in the Little Lighthouse year end list of that season. I still don’t know what was going on in Cacavas’ private life at the time, but if I trust the lyrics, its a very honest record of a man who has recently went through a break up. One thing that is common to Cacavas’ Love’s Been Discontinued and Dan’s Deliverance can be summed up in Dan’s words: “yes, love will kill you, so why pretend”. Turn it into some really cool art and see what happens. “You can never steal this poet’s soul.” This brings me to a film I like, called Singles back in 1992. There’s a mime over there who can’t shut up and says: “love disappears, baby”.

I must also add at the end that the musicianship on this record is truly exceptional. The band backing up ol’ Dan is the Italian group Sacri Cuori and the sound is thick and full. Surely, a part of the credit for this great sounding record also must go to JD Foster. Foster and Antonio Gramentieri from Sacri Couri were also with Dan in The Slummers. It looks like the new record leaves Dan in a very healthy place and I have a feeling we can expect more great stuff from Dan and the boys in the near future. Right now, you can enjoy this disc and also see Dan Stuart who is touring Europe currently.

First published on rockxs.com.

Flashlite #66

Chris Cacavas Here we are at the end of another year in rock’n’roll. It’s behind us… We entered it hoping it would be an exciting one, and for the most part, musically, it did bring a few exciting moments. We’re taking time right now to rediscover these moments in our year end list of best albums in 2009 at The Little Lighthouse. Chris Cacavas took the cake this year without too much contemplation, at least in this microcosm that we call The Little Lighthouse. Take a chance to review the rest of the list, read my reviews and of course – take a listen at the show. Exit 2009, enter 2010…

The Best of 2009 – LPs

1 Chris Cacavas – Love’s Been Discontinued
2 Grant Hart – Hot Wax
3 Satin Gum
4 Greg Koons – Welcome to the Nowhere Motel
5 Mama Rosin – Brule Lentement
6 John Paul Keith and The 145s – Spills and Thrills
7 Richmond Fontaine – We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River
8 Outrageous Cherry – Universal Malcontents
9 Krayolas – Long Leaf Pine
10 Reigning Sound – Love and Curses
11 Soulsavers – Broken
12 Amy Allison – Sheffield Streets
13 Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
14 Buddy and Julie Miller – Written in Chalk
15 Dinosaur Jr – Farm
16 The Resentments – Roselight
17 Doug Gillard – Call From Restricted
18 King Khan – Invisible Girl
19 Jack Oblivian – Disco Outlaw
20 Obits – I Blame You


Obits – Run;
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Against The Wall;
The King Khan & BBQ Show – Lonely Boy;
Doug Gillard – Gibraltar;
The Resentments – Look Up;
Dinosaur Jr – Your Weather;
Buddy & Julie Miller – One Part, Two Part;
Neko Case – People Got A Lotta Nerve;
Amy Allison – Monsters of the Id (with Elvis Costello);
Soulsavers – You will miss me when I burn;
Reigning Sound – Dangerous Game;
The Krayolas – Matter of Time;
Outrageous Cherry – I Recognized Her;
Richmond Fontaine – You Can Move Back Here;
John Paul Keith and The One Four Fives – If I Were You;
Mama Rosin – You Stole My Motorcycle;
Greg Koons And The Misbegotten – Turn Around (2AM On Second Street);
Satin Gum – Apparitions (Sweet!!!);
Grant Hart – California Zephyr;
Chris Cacavas – Other Side.

1. Chris Cacavas – Love’s Been Discontinued

Chris CacavasKeyboardist of Green on Red and a solo artist for twenty years, Chris Cacavas is definitely left a huge mark in rock’n’roll. But Love’s Been Discounted is likely his crowning masterpiece when at least in the solo period. I don’t know much about the events that happened in Chris’ life that fueled this record with inspiration, but record seems like a break-up record, a serious redefinition of the term “love” for sure. Musically, it’s a soft record with wonderful guitar solos, songs that dramatically build up. Incredible background harmonizing that takes you by surprise at the most unsuspecting moments often constitute the most dramatic places of this record.

Flashlite #59

Chris CacavasWe bring you two truly exceptional new albums and more! Chris Cacavas, legendary keyboardist of Green on Red just put out his new solo album called Love’s Been Discontinued, which is probably his strongest one yet. Grant Hart from Husker Du also has a great new album entitled Hot Wax, and it’s his first in ten year time. It starts from a big fat fade in, almost as Grant is a bit shy to throw a full blast after 10 years of silence, but overall, it contains nine perfect tracks if you ask me. From the same city, Minneapolis, Paul Westerberg has another one of those small Internet ditties that he keeps putting out in the past year. This one is a short form, ep of six songs, and brings Paul in an outstanding songwriting form. Richmond Fontaine, were around for quite some time, but we have them here at the Lighthouse for the first time. They have a very strong new album that has a wonderfully poetic title We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River, and true to it, it contains songs that are dense and full of poetical imagery. This time we bring you another new name, English band The Ace, which we knew as Freebooting Profiteers. They sent us their fiery new demo collection and we also check out their even earlier incarnation Thee Mighty Uptight. And last, but not the least, my personal hero Tav Falco has a new single out and we check out its B side at the end of the show.

Dinka i Branka – Beli sal;
Paul Westerberg – Stain Yer Blood;
Paul Westerberg – Drop Them Gloves;
The Replacements – Go;
Husker Du – Flexible Flyer;
Grant Hart – California Zephyr;
Grant Hart – Remains to Be Seen;
Green On Red – Two Bibles;
Chris Cacavas – Tenderly;
Chuck Prophet – Let Freedom Ring;
Cheap Wine – Leave Me A Drain;
Gutterball – When You Make Up Your Mind;
Richmond Fontaine – Lonnie;
The Ace – Awhamalambambang;
(Thee Mighty) Uptight – I’ve Had Enough;
Tav Falco’s Panther Burns – Mala Femina;
Tav Falco & The Unapproachable Panther Burns – Real Cool Trash;
James Luther Dickinson – Coleslaw.