Remembering Roger Ebert & Opinions on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Jim and Greg remember a critical hero: Roger Ebert. In 2006, the three critics sat down to discuss the best and worst music movies and Ebert’s own rock ‘n’ roll past.

Roger Ebert
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Kid Rock has announced that he will be taking a pay cut in order to sell tickets to his summer concerts for a mere $20. He’s fed up with the concert industry nickel and diming fans. However, he and promoter Live Nation are also conducting an experiment in market-driven pricing and have held back a number of seats to sell as Platinum Tickets. There’s no cap on these tickets, so if a fan is willing to spend hundreds, Kid Rock could make a killing.

Roger Ebert

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Last week fans of movies and criticism in general felt a big loss. Roger Ebert died at age 70 after a long battle with cancer. Jim and Greg remember their friend and colleague and talk about how Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel provided them inspiration for their own show. Jim worked with Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times, and Greg worked with Siskel at the Chicago Tribune. And whether it was in print, on TV or via Twitter, Roger Ebert was full of Sound Opinions. In 2006, the three critics sat down to talk music movies and Ebert’s own rock ‘n’ roll past, which includes a remarkable meeting with the Sex Pistols. This ended up being one of Ebert’s last recorded interviews before losing his ability to speak.

First, Jim and Greg ask Roger Ebert to rate music movies. He calls Woodstock the greatest rock documentary ever made. In fact, he thinks it’s just one of the best movies ever made. He also recommends Hard Day’s Night and Gimme Shelter. One movie he did love was Martin Scorcese’s film Don’t Look Back. In Roger’s original review, he took Dylan to task for being kind of a jerk. He reconsidered the movie years later.

One of Jim and Greg’s favorite rock ‘n’ roll movies was actually written by Roger Ebert himself, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. He and Russ Meyer followed that up with a Sex Pistols movie entitled Who Killed Bambi. The movie never came to fruition, but it provided memorable experiences meeting Sid Vicious and John Lydon.

Mosquito Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Mosquito

During the 2000s, two bands forged a New York garage rock revival: The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Two weeks ago, Jim and Greg eviscerated Comedown Machine, The Strokes’ fifth studio effort. This week, they take on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ latest, Mosquito. Is this yet another case of early promise and later disappointment? Jim says no way. The album art might turn his stomach, but he’s digging Mosquito, which shows the band experimenting with musical styles from gospel to hip-hop. Unlike The Strokes’ similar genre experiments, Jim says Mosquito sounds organic, not contrived. Greg agrees. He was a big fan of lead singer Karen O’s 2003 song Maps, so he’s glad to hear more of her emotional vocals on this record. Mosquito gets a double Buy It.

Jim

Jim’s Desert Island Jukebox selection is inspired by another recent loss. Musical engineer Andy Johns passed away at age 61. As Jim explains, Johns was witness to the recording of some of rock’s great masterpieces, from The StonesSticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, to Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II. But for his pick, Jim goes to a personal favorite: the debut album by New York punk rockers Television. See No Evil still gets heads bobbing in Chicago clubs, and Jim credits Johns with the track’s intimate drum sound.

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