Peace, Love, Monkey Business: Famous Couples in Rock History

Leading the rockstar lifestyle seems fraught with drama and the temptation and opportunity to burn through relationships at warp speed.  Some of these couples are no longer together, but when they were, they seemed like an unstoppable force of love and awesomeness!

rolling_stones-gal-keithKeith Richards & Anita Pallenberg

Although Pallenberg wasn’t a musician herself, she was pretty much the archetypal rocker chick, heavily influencing the style of the Rolling Stones.  She and Richards were together through constant press and sometimes law-enforcement attention, non-stop partying and massive quantities of drugs, and some of the Rolling Stones most prolific albums (Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street).

tumblr_mf96qsTaBq1r5cmgfo1_1280John Lennon & Yoko Ono

After meeting at an art gallery in 1966, John divorced his then-wife Cynthia to be with Yoko as much as possible.  Claims that she broke up the Beatles have been hurled at her for years, though some believe the band really started falling apart after the 1967 death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein and the split was inevitable.  Yoko & John separated between 1973 and 1975, and after they got back together she gave birth to their son Sean.  John took the next 5 years off from making music to spend time with his family, before releasing Double Fantasy as his come-back in 1980, just weeks before he was killed.

tumblr_lcz4cfKCIc1qecpfvo1_500Bob Dylan & Joan Baez

Already a celebrated singer herself, Baez helped Dylan kickstart his career by sharing her spotlight with him.  He famously treated her callously and then dumped her on a shared 1965 European tour, during which he refused to invite her to join him onstage.

sonic-youth-kim-gordon-thurston-moore-split-1Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon

This creative power couple shifted the boundaries of alternative rock with their band Sonic Youth.  They were in love and making music for 23 years before they split.

tumblr_l7qpjmxe2k1qcf4dzo1_1280Paul & Linda McCartney

It’s been said that in their 29 years of marriage, Paul and Linda spent only 10 days apart. They were together until her death in 1998.

tumblr_lyn89y5pz71qg2p6zo4_400Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham

They used their imploding love affair well as creative fuel, as they chronicled their breakup in painful detail on Fleetwood Mac’s classic 1977 LP Rumours.

tumblr_m6y2nmZXYM1r7uuheo1_1280June Carter & Johnny Cash

One of the greatest musical love stories, June & Johnny met while on tour together in 1956, though he was married at the time.  She married someone else shortly thereafter, but they reconnected in 1968 and their love lasted four decades.  They died months apart from each other in 2003.

Ah, love! It’s often messy business, but sometimes it’s so beautiful!  Who is your favorite rock n’ roll couple?

Music We Love: Phish! PLUS PhishHead Playlists

Did you know that this year is Phish’s 30th anniversary? This means that they have now been playing as long as the Grateful Dead did with Jerry (1965 to 1995)! In 1983, they made their debut performance in the cafeteria of the University of Vermont. The band was short on equipment, so a hockey stick was used as a microphone stand, and the first song they played was a cover of “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” by the Hollies.

It’s pretty hard for us to listen to Phish without bopping around, singing along, and smiling wide.  Their unique brand of jamtastic pop-rock-funk magic is just the thing to brighten up even the greyest and gloomiest of days! Check out this playlist of some of their awesome live songs:

AND a BONUS playlist with some super rad performances from “The Olden Days” (not really, but relatively speaking):

What’s your favorite Phish show or song? Have you gotten to see them live? Check out our extensive collection of Phish concert gear, unique Phish tees, and more cool stuff for Phishheads right here!

Music We Love: Hippie Tunes from Back in the Day! PLUS The Retro Rock Poster Playlist

Woodstock PosterIt’s no secret we love music at Mexicali, and we are always psyched to show that love in as many ways as possible!  Our retro concert posters are the ultimate awesome way to highlight your home with that tuneful vibe–each durable cardboard poster is a reproduction of an actual concert poster from back in the day!  From the Grateful Dead Prohibition Ball to Nirvana at the Roseland Ballroom, these posters are a retro-fabulous way to celebrate the best of bands and concerts that we’ve seen or wish we had!

Check out our sweet playlist of tunes by the bands featured on our concert posters; you just might discover something cool that you’ve never heard before!

Mexicali Drumming: How to Play the Djembe Drum

           Traditional Djembe Drum                                         Handpainted Djembe Drums

Djembes are played by hand and are capable of producing a large variety of sounds, making it one of the most versatile drums in the world! Perfect for toting to festivals or keeping at home for when the musical mood strikes, our djembe drums are perfect for starting your own drum circle just about anywhere!

Ready to rock on the djembe? Here are a few of our favorite methods to get you started!

To recap:

  • Try hitting the drum with different parts of your hand for different sounds.  The heel of your hand will usually create a more resonant, echo-y tone, while fingers make a shallower, higher pitched sound.
  • Remember to keep your wrists loose!
  • If you want to try the one-finger-at-a-time approach, start slowly, moving from little finger to thumb. When you begin slowly, you build muscle memory, so it is a lot easier to do it right when you speed it up!
  • Try creating your own rhythms.  Drum along with friends or with your favorite tune as you discover your drumming style!

Here’s one of our favorite easy & awesome songs to begin drumming with: “Not Fade Away” by the Grateful Dead!

Have fun!  What do you think would be the most fun song to drum along with?

Jerry Garcia: Happy Birthday! We still miss you!

(Image via Cuckoo Bird)

Jerry Garcia was an inimitable presence and amazing musician, with a voice and guitar style that stands out like no other–you hear just a couple of notes, and you know that’s Jerry playing!  Today, August 1st 2012, would have been his 70th birthday. Here’s a round-up of some cool stuff we’ve found in honor of the leader of the “heart of gold band!”.

Today (like most days) is a very good day to rock out to the Grateful Dead, so break out those old bootlegs and get your groove on!  We LOVE the Winterland Concert movie, and this version of “Eyes of the World” in particular:

Mexicali has a sweet reproduction poster from the last show played at the Winterland venue, as well as several fantastic Jerry t-shirts to add to your collection!

Check out this cool backstage pass from the 1983 show in Portland! The Grateful Dead performed many concerts at the Cumberland County Civic Center here in our favorite state.

5 Facts You Maybe Knew about Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead:

  • Jerry lost most of his middle finger when he was a young boy
  • The Steal Your Face logo (from the 1976 June album) has inspired many spinoffs; one of which is our officially licensed Steal Your State logo, which has the state of Maine in place of the lightening bolt. (Available exclusively here and here!)
  • Jerry chose the name Grateful Dead from a dictionary.
  • He is #13 on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of 100 Greatest Guitar Players
  • Ben & Jerry’s #1 selling ice cream flavor, Cherry Garcia, is a tribute to the one and only Jerry Garcia!

On Friday, August 3rd there is a FREE webcast live from bandmate Bob Weir’s TRI Studios, with a growing lineup of musicians performing. Check it out here.

Remember the late Jerry Garcia today and all year long with any of our sweet Grateful Dead merchandise; don’t forget the baby!

Bonnaroo: Festival Fashion

Bonnaroo is coming up in just a few days, and if you’re heading down to Tennessee to rock out with all the awesome bands and groovy people, you’ve got to be ready with some stylish and comfortable clothes!

Listen to this new Beirut track that was just released yesterday, and check out our favorite festival picks!

For the Ladies:

We love this flirty batik bandeau dress for hot days; the flowing fabric and strapless shape is so perfect for dancing in the sunshine! Available in 6 colors and patterns, you’re sure to find the perfect one to suite your personal style!

This awesome mudmee tie dye dress is fabulous if you want to be a bit more covered and while remaining cool, comfy, and hippie chic!

Exude bohemian vibes while keeping your face protected from the sun with this sweet wide brim sun hat!

A pretty cross-body bag like our peace patch shoulder bag is key for keeping your concert essentials (camera, sunscreen, wallet, etc) close at hand, while allowing you to move and groove unencumbered!

Just because you don’t want to be wearing all your favorite jewels at a fest doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accessorize! Our wide selection of fashion jewelry (including the bold boho necklace above) is uniquely stylish, and so affordable you can wear it at even the wildest festival with no worries!

For the Gents:

An awesome retro tee shirt or tie dye is an integral part of groovy festival style. We love Bob Marley tee shirts, Grateful Dead tees, or the iconic Steal Your State shirt to show a little love for Maine (and the Dead) wherever you are!

Thai Fisherman pants are our favorite hippie pants for festivals, camping, and beyond! Ridiculously comfortable for dancing, when not being worn they fold up super-small and even come with their own little carrying bag!

Funky retro sunglasses are key for a sunny festival! These rasta wayfarers are some of our favorites, and we also offer a ton of affordable options to suite every style!

For Everyone:

Our traditional Mexican blanket is the ultimate festival accessory: sit on it, use it for yoga, roll it up as a pillow; the options are limited only by your imagination!

This nylon frisbee is the ultimate Summer toy! Made of durable nylon with a beanbag-like edging, it folds up easily into its included carrying case and can fit right in your pocket or purse! We especially love it for festivals because it is so soft that a rogue throw won’t bop someone in the head quite as hard as a big plastic frisbee (though please do try not to hit others while playing!).

No matter how hot the days, it seems like festivals always leave us chilly at night. Maybe it’s the comedown after all that dancing, but we’re pretty much always stoked to wrap up in something cozy. Our Mexican baja hoodies are an awesome option that keeps you rocking hippie style all night long!

Will you be going to Bonnaroo, or any other festivals this Summer? What are your essential festival supplies?

Music Monday: Hanging Out with Young Jerry!

It’s no secret that all of us at Mexicali love the Grateful Dead and their unimitable frontman, Jerry Garcia. Today we want to share with you a bunch of cool videos of Jerry from back in the day!

Here Jerry talks about the hippie culture of the 60’s at the Playboy Mansion, and joins the rest of the band to play “Mountains of the Moon”:

Here’s a rare clip of him jamming with friends at Woodstock in 1969:

In an interview, he describes what making music feels like for him:

Awesome clip of singing/jamming with Rick Danko, Janis Joplin, and more from the awesome documentary Festival Express :

Another clip from Festival Express; the Dead performing “Don’t Ease Me In”:

Some final words of wisdom from the man:

We miss you, Jerry!

Music Monday: Broken Bells

Broken Bells is the musical duo of Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and The Shins frontman James Mercer. They describe their music as “melodic, yet experimental” with Mercer’s distinctively earnest and melancholy voice given buoyancy by Danger Mouse’s catchy beats and sparkling arrangements. Broken Bells has just one self-titled album that just came out on March 9, 2010, and it is definitely worth your time to give these songs a listen!

Here’s a sweet video for “The Ghost Inside”:

Check out their debut single, “The High Road”:

Check out the Broken Bells website for tour dates, pictures, and an amazing interactive music video for another great song called “October”.

Music Monday: Music Movies You Should See

The nights are cooling and crab-apples are thunking to the ground; the first whispers of Fall are in the air. Now don’t get scared; it’s still summer! But it is good to be prepared, and since Winter in New England is what it is, it’s getting to be about time to restart your Netflix subscription or at least update that queue. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite music movies you should definitely consider watching!

Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads)

Stop Making Sense is one of the best concert films we’ve ever seen, with striking imagery and direction and a flawlessly energetic performance by a great band. The movie was filmed over three nights on the band’s 1983 “Speaking in Tongues” tour, but is edited together so well it forms a cohesive story-like structure like the best singular concert experience of your life.

A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles)

Part concert film, part mockumentary, A Hard Day’s Night describes a couple of days in the lives of the group as they perform, deal with celebrity, and get into trouble. It’s funnier than you would expect it to be, and the Beatles are at their charming best. If you like the band at all and haven’t seen it yet, do it!

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Daniel Johnston)

Artist, singer, and songwriter Daniel Johnston has written some of the most strikingly honest and clever lyrics we’ve ever heard. This documentary explores the life and creativity of a fascinating character who dances on the edge of what we would call ‘sanity’ and creates amazing art because of it. Never heard of him? Watch it. You won’t forget.

Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones)

Created by the amazing documentary filmmaking team of Albert and David Maysles (also responsible for the awesome movies The Beatles: The First U.S. visit, Grey Gardens, and Salesman), this film explores Rolling stones 1969 tour, culminating in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. With a lot of great footage of the Rolling Stones seriously rocking it, behind-the-scenes insights into what it was like putting a free festival together, and an unbiased look at the sinister events that transpired as the show went on, this is as much an important cultural film as a musical one.

The Last Waltz (The Band, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Muddy Waters and many more)

The Last Waltz documents The Band’s performance at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in 1976. They perfomed with a ton of awesome singers/musicians all in their prime with amazing energy and stage presence, sublimely directed Martin Scorcese. Is this the best concert film of all time, as has been stated by many? We’re not saying no!

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Anvil)

Anvil?! Who is Anvil? Exactly. All of the bands that performed at Japan’s Super Rock Festival in 1984 made it big (Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Whitesnake) except for this Canadian metal band. This documentary explores what it is like now for the once-promising band to continue trying to ‘make it’ as they deal with middle-aged life. It is hilarious, charming, and surprisingly moving. Even if you have absolutely no interest in heavy metal music as a genre, you will still fall absolutely in love with this movie. (We did!)

We hope you enjoyed our music movie roundup, although it was by no means comprehensive. We would love to know what your favorite music movies are!