FAME Review: Stephane Kalinich and Jon Tiven - Shortcuts to Infinity / Yo Ma Ma: Symptomology
Stephane Kalinich and Jon Tiven - Shortcuts to Infinity / Yo Ma Ma: Symptomology

Shortcuts to Infinity
Yo Ma Ma: Symptomology

Stephane Kalinich and Jon Tiven

MsMusic Productions - MUS-102

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Jon Tiven began his music life in my present estate: he was a lowly critic (in the late 60s). I recall reading his stuff and finding it passable, at times quite good. He appeared in Rolling Stone and other bourgeois venues and was the coordinator of the first and last Rock Writers Convention ever, a 1973 bash composed of goofy, fucked-up, assholey, and occasionally erudite scribbler idiots strutting about like the rock stars they unabashedly envied—as mistaken a venture as one could possibly expect but nonetheless interesting for its psycho-social implications regarding the "trade" (no imputation of which I'd argue, revealing why I tend to avoid "fellow" crits like the plague). The most fulsome approval of the semi-historic beer blast was phrased as "Rock Writers Convene, Find Each Other Absurd". Ouch! Heh, it's tough being on the receiving end of the critiquing game, ain't it, boys?

Tiven formed The Yankees and then the Jon Tiven Group, missing any form of true rock stardom by farflung planets but showed, at least in the latter case, he could write a song, and a damn good one at that. Wilson Pickett, Huey Lewis, Jeff Healey, B.B. King, and many others plundered the JTG's two albums rather nicely. The Yankees only LP was doomed to obscurity and reviews of it are few, far between, and tepid at best. A single listen reveals why (and, God, that hideous cover; it still gives me nightmares!). Nonetheless, Jon's true hand lay in production work and then song composition, not quite in playing per se. To that end, his list of credits is daunting, runs to a full damn closely packed page, and Shortcuts to Infinity / Yo Ma Ma: Symptomology is the latest effort, a duo with Steve Kalinich, also a composer-producer, most famously a lyricist for the Beach Boys.

The initial cut on the first disc, Infinity, is a VERY Stonesy song with elements of Iggy, as is much of the disc, a disarming anthology of extremely 60s-ish cuts rich in slop and druggy hedonism beside plentiful truckloads of sneer, smarm, and birdflip. It doesn't take too many cuts, though, before you fall in love with this quirky, nasty, boozy collection. It could never appear in any self-respecting forum or market—oh heavens no!—but that's why The Prime Mover invented the indies, which is where most of the good music, as odd and eclectic as it might be, presently resides.

I'm quite serious about the palatability of this rambling shambling mess, though. I mean, take a look at the sit-ins: Brian May (Queen), Chet Thompson (Genesis), Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MGs), Steve Ferrone (Average White Band), and others. They ain't there because this is the Archies, bubba. Lord, lord, lord, had John Lennon rose from the dead to join in, it wouldn't have surprised me one little bit…and parts of this aren't far from his days with Nilsson. So yeah, if yer a fan of the old era of The Faces and Stones as well as their outfall configurations (Wood's solo stuff, McLagan's, etc.), you sure as fuck can't go wrong with this 2-CD little goldmine, and I guarantee you're not going to find it's like much of anywhere else either, Hiram.


  • You Want What You Want
  • When I Leave my Body
  • Yo Ma Ma
  • Let's Get Stoned
  • Don't Fuck with Me
  • Hard to be a Millionaire
  • Cul de Sac
  • Time Bomb
  • Cooler then You
  • Grow a Pair
  • Hole
  • I Touch You
  • Once my Zits go Away
  • Weed
  • Snap my Fingers
  • End of the Road
All Songs by Kalanich / Tiven except
Time Bomb (Cropper / Kalanich / Tiven).


  • It Takes Time
  • Fingers 2 the Sky
  • Out of the Darkness
  • Harsh
  • I Believe in Elephants
  • Climb Stone Walls
  • Red Black Horizon
  • I want to Change
  • Fight for Peace
  • Outside
  • God Helps Those
  • Born Too Soon
  • A Touch of Sanity
  • We only Have the Moment
  • Livin' & Dyin'
All Songs by Kalanich / Tiven except
Out of the Darkness (May / Kalanich / Tiven).

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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