Stew, a rock musician whose rock musical "Passing Strange," is being performed at Players by the Sea. He and his band, The Negro Problem, are performing after the show Saturday

#Throwback Thursday – Stew – Rehab

Back in the early 2000’s, a favorite pastime of mine would be traveling to the East Village to bum around Kim’s Video  for an afternoon. Kim’s had everything…B List movies, impossible to find artistic indie films, 70’s porn and the  main reason for my pilgrimage, one of the best music collections in the city. Kim’s had all the hard to find European and Japanese imports, live bootlegs, and everything else under the sun. I’d spend the afternoon sifting through the racks while the attendant played what was to their liking. 

It was during a visit in the summer of 2001 as I sifted through a rack of Woody Guthrie recordings, that I first heard Stew. The album being played was Guest Host and it grabbed me within the first minute. I wandered the racks making pretend I was searching for something but really was just entranced by the album and Stew. By no means was it revolutionary in its form, just a songwriter and acoustic guitar, but something connected with me and it seemed new. The combination of Stew’s voice and perfect storytelling were both familiar and groundbreaking at the same time. 

I grabbed a copy for myself and hurried back home to listen again. The song that really sold me on Stew was Rehab. I know what you are thinking, but this Rehab has nothing in common with the Amy Winehouse version. The structure is similar to the Crash Test Dummies hit song Hmm Hmm Hmm. Stew takes you on a journey through his eyes of a drug addict friend that is constantly going back to rehab. The lyrics paint a simple picture of a happy go lucky girl struggling with addiction. Unlike most true life addicts though, this story ends on a happy note, sort of. I’ve listened to this album a hundred times and it’s in the company of albums that are always there to go back to, Pinkerton, Definitely Maybe, The Wall, Mermaid Ave, AM, Heartbreaker etc. 

Years later while driving on the BQE I heard an advertisement for a new Broadway show. The voice was unmistakable, it was Stew. The ad was for his soon to be Tony Award winning play Passing Strange. I was shocked to hear the same voice from years ago playing over a Z-100 advertisement, I would have never believed it back in Kim’s. All those years Stew had been my secret find and now everyone would know him. A few weeks later the missus and I saw the play and it was absolutely amazing. Spike Lee even filmed it so if you never had the chance to catch it live, you can watch the DVD. 

Here’s the song that got me hooked on Stew, Rehab :

Bonus: Ordinary Love


#Throwback Thursday – Oasis – Supersonic

October is shaping up to be a big month for Oasis fans.  On October 2nd (In the UK, no US release date yet)  Supersonic will be released which is a Documentary that follows and chronicles the band’s rise to fame over a period of three years up to their career pinnacle at Knebworth and features hours of footage of new interviews with Noel and Liam Gallager, their mother and members of the band and road crew.  When Liam Gallagher was approached about the idea and asked whether old footage could be used, he basically told the producer “good luck we didn’t allow cameras to film us back then.”  Much to Liam and James Gay-Rees surprise (who also produced the Amy Winehouse documentary) there was tons of old footage, Liam just had been too messed up to notice.  The movie looks amazing and I’m sure I will watch it a million times.

If that innit enuff for ya, on October 7th , Oasis will reissue their 1997 LP Be Here Now via Big Brother Recordings, marking the third installment of their Chasing the Sun reissue campaign.  Right now you can get a preview of the “lost tapes” from the”Mustique demos”, which were 14 tracks recorded by Noel Gallagher and producer Owen Morris on the Caribbean island in 1996.  In the meantime here is a classic performance of Supersonic.