Raised on the Radio

Because growing up on 70s television didn't kill me. It just made me who I am today.

hard days hard nights review


1 Comment

Ever wish you were a concert promoter?

I know I wish it EVERY. DAY.

I usually write about music here, and everything else over at my other site. But today I wrote a book review for an amazing story over on JenKehl.com you HAVE to read it!

He even has an insider view on Sly and the Family Stone, I wish I read his perspective before I wrote my review on the boxed set.

The story of Pat DiCesare, Pittsburgh legend, and their first concert promoter. You don’t want to miss this story!

Hard Days, Hard Nights: Stories From Pittsburgh’s First Concert Promoter

hard days hard nights review


3 Comments

100 Ways Frank Zappa Influenced Who You Listen To Now

Frank-Zappa_in_glory

You may not know who Frank Zappa is, chances are if you’re under 40 you don’t. Maybe you do, but are wondering why you should care about this total freak show who created vulgar über wacko performance art concerts before that was cool? Oh and now you want to know when I’m going to get to the point?

I can’t possibly tell you everything you should know about him. I can tell you this. Back in the olden days, I was creating a mix tape for my other blog and I was trying to narrow down some ideas on who I would include in a 70s mix.  Everyone came back to Frank Zappa. Little Feat – they met while playing with Frank Zappa. You know the song Smoke on The Water? Well it’s about an accident Frank Zappa had at a concert:

We all came out to Montreux,
On the Lake Geneva shoreline.
To make records with a mobile,
We didn’t have much time.
But Frank Zappa and the Mothers,
Were at the best place around,
But some stupid with a flair gun,
Burned the place to the ground.
Smoke on the water and fire in the sky.
Smoke on the water…

So Deep Purple was there, at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland, when some crazy Zappa fan shot off a flare gun that caused the whole Casino to burn down. And you didn’t even realize that without Frank Zappa you wouldn’t even be able to jam to Smoke on the Water.

Frank had a gift for identifying and attracting amazingly talented musicians. Did you know you might never have heard of Missing Persons, Talking Heads, King Crimson,The Doors, Berlin, Steely Dan if it wasn’t for Frank Zappa?

Maybe you’re more of an 80’s fan? Did you know it was one of his discoveries that wrote and produced this little number to win an Academy Award?

 

This band? No Frank Zappa – no Grand Funk Railroad

 

What’s that you said? Sting and Frank respected each other so much that Sting decided to join Frank on stage in Chicago and let them Zappaize Murder by Numbers?

 

Right, and some guy named John Lennon decided to hang out on stage with Frank and his band.

 

And you know Frank had some great advice, Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow

 

And then there are the musicians who played in bands you know so well, or who supported the amazing vocalists of our time!

 

Arthur Barrow who played mostly bass and composed, played with The Doors, Joe Cocker (the 91/2 Weeks Soundtrack), Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Nina Hagen, Berlin (for which he won an Academy Award), Charlie Sexton, Oingo Boingo, The Motels.
He did the soundtracks for: Top Gun, Scarface, The Doors, The Breakfast Club, The Never Ending Story, Electric Dreams, Quicksilver D.C. Cab, Iron Eagle, and The Twilight Zone.

Max Bennett played Bass Guitar with Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez through the 1970s.[1] He also recorded with Charlie Mariano, Conte Candoli, Bob Cooper, Bill Holman, Stan Levey, Lou Levy, Coleman Hawkins and Jack MontroseThe Monkees and The Partridge FamilyJoe Sample, Larry Carlton and John Guerin.

Terry Bozzio percussionist extraordinaire played with Jeff Beck, Robbie Robertson, Dokken, Richard Marx, Duran Duran and The Knack, to name a few.

Michael Brecker saxophonist (won 15 Grammy Awards!) played with Todd Rundgren, Patti Austin, George Benson, Pat Methany, Art Garfukel, Frank Sinatra, Chick Corea, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Dave Brubeck…. and more!

His brother Randy Brecker  – trumpet -Played with George Benson, Blood Sweat and Tears, Gato Barbieri, Lou Reed, and many jazz musicians you would recognize if you heard!

Don Brewer – Percussion – Founding member, and current member of Grand Funk Railroad, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Eric Clapton. Did I say Eric Clapton?

Vinnie Colaiuta – drummer – Played with Joni Mitchell, Sting, Megadeath.

Chuck Domanico backed up Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Carmen McRae, Joni Mitchell, Taj Mahal, Diane Schuur, Natalie Cole, and the group Manhattan Transfer.

Steve Vai who was a crucial member of David Lee Roth,Whitesnake, and Meat Loaf

Aynsley Dunbar on drums founding member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, played with David Bowie, Lou Reed, Nils Lofgren, Journey, Sammy Hagar, Jefferson Starship, and Whitesnake.

Tom Malone was the trombone player for The Blues Brothers.

Jean Luc-Ponty Violin, if you don’t know him you need to.

I’m getting tired!

And who couldn’t wait to be a part of Frank Zappa’s next project?

Terry Gilliam – Yes of Monty Python

John Lennon – guessing you know who that is and his wife Yoko.

Linda Ronstadt

Sting

Tina Turner

 

am I done yet? There is just…..so…..much…..

Give Frank a try, he left an amazing legacy behind. He was crazy, wild, amazingly talented, free thinking, and innovative. Everyone wanted to know him, the musicians of his time wanted to play with him, and he was just as happy to have everyone around.

In my darkest days, Frank can lift my spirits…

Why Does it Hurt When I Pee?

 

Montana (If you ever hear me say I’m going to be a Dental Floss Tycoon, now you’ll know why)

 

Oh right! And I love this one too! Cosmik Debris (I chose the studio version, his live stuff is fantastic and a must see, but if you want to hear the amazing musicians and production, well we go to the studio folks)

 

I know, I can’t count. How about you? Do you have a favorite Frank Zappa song or story? Or maybe an origin story about another band? I’d love to hear!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Baby Boomers Music

babyboomer

Baby Boomers are egotistical asses, especially when it comes to music!

 

I should know.  I’m a Baby Boomer.

 

You have to remember, most Baby Boomers have followed music from its early days.  Say, a Baby Boomer, born in 1954, will remember songs from the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley, The Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly, to name just a few.  This was the foundation of Rock & Roll.  This is also our foundation from which we build.

 

We’ve been through the challenges of life throughout history. First, just listening to Rock in the early years put us in dangerous territory with the church. Supposedly, music that made you shake your hips and jump around was “Devil Music”. Yeah, you should have been there convincing your parents it wasn’t.

 

Jerry Lee Lewis (Whole Lotta Shakin’)

 

The Beatles also made it easy for us. Why? Because immediately, guys wanted to start wearing their hair long. The Hell with the “Burr” and “Flat-Top” haircuts, we wanted it to grow and grow long. You should have been there telling that to your high school basketball coach. Talk about setting yourself up for running gut drills after regular practice for the rest of the week. Why? Because we were going against the norm of the day. We were showing the adults that we didn’t have to follow the same rules they had. Times were changing and we were, too. Long hair showed what side we were on.

 

The Cowsills (Hair)

 

We were also there for the Civil Rights movement. We fought for all to be treated the same and have the same opportunities regardless of race or sex. Talk about putting yourself in the firing line! When I talk about protesting and marching in the late 60’s in Indiana, people say, “Well, that wasn’t much. The South was where the violence was at.” Then I kindly remind them that the national headquarters of the KKK was in Indiana. Yeah, the Midwest had its share of screwed up attitudes, too. It just wasn’t picked up by the news agencies as much.

 

Temptations (Ball of Confusion)

 

The Vietnam War hit everyone. However, it was the first war where the average age of a combat soldier was only 19 years old. Kids were being sent to kill an enemy under the guise of Communism needs to be stopped. It didn’t take long for us to see that it wasn’t communism as our primary enemy, but the politicians that were using the war to create a profitable economy for their constituents that owned war machine factories. Protest after protest, kids leaving the United States and living abroad, and the rich filling the pockets of Congressmen to keep their kids from going to an early death were facts of life for the youth of the day.

 

Country Joe & The Fish (I Think I’m Fixin To Die Rag)

 

As we expanded our attitudes, we sought means to expand our minds. Marijuana, although scorned for years by the white population as a drug that destroys all will to succeed, became a drug of choice, and one that got many a person years in jail. LSD (acid, Mr. Love Saves, etc.) joined the field as a leader in allowing one to see beyond. Different strengths and compounds had varying effects on those who indulged. Most of the time, we simply enjoyed the trip. Of course, various pharmaceuticals also become common as downers and speed helped us through the madness, or maybe, even added to the madness.

 

Jefferson Airplane (White Rabbit)

 

Finally, ignoring our parents uptight feelings about sex, we made it happen. Free Sex meant that if you found someone you cared about, and they found you cool, too, there was no reason why you had to be married to get together and experience the beauty. Our parents knew this, but hid it because of the morality of the times. Oh, they had “affairs”, but they didn’t want everyone to know. Sex was a “dirty” topic that parents often only brought up too late. You learned about it from your friend’s fathers Playboy collection when they weren’t home. We wanted love, and sex was a part of that.

 

Mercy (Love Can Make You Happy)

 

Yeah, we were fighters. No matter what we wanted, it seemed society was against it in one way or another. But, we didn’t give up. We fought each battle and moved forward. Music was our partner. Regardless of the battle, it seemed as though there was a song that fit the time. We were unified, pacified, and verified by the music we listened to and believed in.

 

And now, we’re just like our parents were.

 

But, we’re still assholes with attitude!

Steppenwolf (Born To Be Wild)

 

About the Author:

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”

Keep up with him at That’s Life…Sometimes!


Leave a comment

Blood Sweat and Tears

How will you be remembered? Will you be the guy who fought for a cause? Or will you be a guy who had an amazing idea for a band, a band that would turn into a pop sensation?!

What if you don’t want your band to be a pop sensation? You dig your heals in the sand. Will it become one anyway?

It’s happened before, it will happen again, just ask the founding members of Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Blood, Sweat & Tears began as a jazz-fusion-rock band that incorporated horns with a rock n’ roll sound. They were it. New York loved them. But as important as the sound was, they put a lot of effort into the message they were sending. War was bad, the man was bad, they were making a statement. They made that statement so well and their music was so new and exciting that they were one of many amazing musicians picked to headline at Woodstock. Blood Sweat & Tears were part of a movement of musicians that would inspire a generation to Fight the Man! For a little while.

However, only one year in, the band had split with its “leader” Al Kooper. Al was the backbone of their “underground” connection – which in retrospect would turn out to be so much more than an underground. It was his finger on the pulse of the counter-culture. Without him, the beat lived on, but the fever of the cause was gone. So although their appearance at Woodstock was already without Kooper, their ties with the counter-culture phenomena that drove their fans, were now tenuous.

This reformation of sorts began what would be the band’s own spinning wheel. Arguments about the path their band should take, questionable personal choices and the desire to try new things would be the start of more personnel changes than I could list. Arguably the most important, was the selection of a new Lead Singer, David Clayton-Thomas. Bobby Colomby and Steve Katz, two of the original members, found Clayton-Thomas thanks to their good friend Judy Collins who had heard him sing in a small bar in New York. Lucky for them she did, because Clayton-Thomas would become the “voice” of Blood, Sweat & Tears to those of us being raised on the radio of the 70’s.

In late 1968, with David Clayton-Thomas as the frontman, they released their second album. The self-titled Earth, Wind & Fire would go multi-platinum with a performance very different from their first album, but the people loved it. The album won the Grammy for Album of the Year, beating out The Beatles Abbey Road.

 

blood sweat & tears second album

This album included the songs that I, and many, remember as part of the Soundtrack of our personal Seventies. Spinning Wheel, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, And When I Die, Hi-De-Ho, and Lucretia MacEvil (which was the worst chart performer of that album, never breaking #29. No other BS&T would ever do better.)

As 1969 became part of the past, BS&T apparently made a critical error in judgement; in exchange for an expedited visa for Clayton-Thomas, who was a Canadian citizen, they agreed to play as part of a U.S. State Department sponsored tour of Eastern Europe in May/June 1970. At this volatile time in our history any voluntary association with the government was highly unpopular and the band definitely felt the repercussions of that decision. Obviously they could not disclose the reason they agreed to play.

I would say this was the beginning of the end for them, because after that tour they did not have another highly successful album or single. But as anyone who has grown up in the 70’s and 80’s knows, Blood Sweat & Tears is part of our favorite music memories and our most listened to mixes. Bobby Colomby knew that the same music that won multiple Grammy’s became part of our culture. Not the counter-culture they had thought, but a much bigger culture of the infectious music that would tie us together. Bobby somewhat prophetically understood that BS&T’s fans would not let their music die, it was just too good. And so, he basically created a Blood, Sweat & Tears franchise. Much like the bands of Duke Ellington and Glen Miller, long after those amazing men were gone, their names lived on through Big Bands playing their hits, their styles as The Glen Miller Band and The Duke Ellington Band. He said on the official Blood Sweat and Tears website “The obligation of a band is to be entertaining, and be mindful that the audience is there to hear your hits. And for many years, the Blood, Sweat & Tears brand has provided enjoyable evenings. We were trying to make sure that people walked out of our concerts feeling they’d just heard a great show. And the feedback we’ve gotten confirmed that’s been the case.”

A little part of me wants to shiver when I hear a band being referred to as a Brand or a Franchise, another part of me says, bring it on, I’ll buy the tickets! A chance to hear a band composed of some of the best musicians in the business, play some of my favorite songs? Bobby Colmby was prophetic alright.

WHAT (1)

 

 


2 Comments

What Are Your First Musical Memories?

vinyl on player

What are the first songs you remember in your life?

Of course, the answer may have something to do with when you were born.  It may also have something to do with the type of music your parents listened to.  And, believe it or not, it may also have to do with what your mother used to put you to sleep when you were a baby.

C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t remember:

Rockabye Baby

Being born way, way back in 1954, I have the benefit of seeing Rock ‘n Roll grow up with me.  Of course, one of the very first artists that really hit me as someone to emulate was known as the King.  Oh, you might even have heard of him, too.  Yep, the one and only Elvis Presley!

Elvis Presley “Hound Dog”

I think there were many songs that I heard as a youngster that really didn’t stick with me.  What I do remember is a time when I was 4 years old.  My mother and I were on vacation visiting my grandmother in Cranston, R.I.   We’d gone shopping to pass the afternoon, and to get out of the heat of the apartment building (which had no air conditioning back then), and stepped into a Dime Store. (Once known as department stores … now known as having been devoured by Wal-Mart stores.)  At the end of an aisle, I remember piles and piles of printed T-Shirts, stuffed animals, and an old 45 rpm record player cranked up to full volume playing Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater!”

Sheb Wooley  “Purple People Eater”

After that, I started paying attention to music.  It wasn’t long before I had my own record player and wasn’t shy about throwing a fit to get more and more records.  (It’s a trick I still use today with my wife!)  Thanks to a loving grandmother, I soon received my own copy of “Purple People Eater”, and the Three Stooges doing their version of this hit for kids.

The Three Stooges  “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”

I must admit, I didn’t really know much about Rock ‘n Roll at that time.  Oh, Ed Sullivan’s Show and other variety shows we’d watch on a 19″ black and white television always had some singers of sorts, but I found that Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” and Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” were favorites of mine.

Tennessee Ernie Ford  “16 Tons”

Jimmy Dean  “Big Bad John”

And, as much as I hate to admit it, three more novelty songs are next on my list of early memories.

Hollywood Argyles  “Alley Oop”

Brian Hyland  “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”

Larry Verne  “Please, Mr. Custer”

And then, before you knew it, the Beatles came to America.  Then the Rolling Stones, and Herman’s Hermits, and The Kinks, and … well, the story can only continue with the British Invasion and how it changed music in the states.

But, that’s another story!

(How about you?  What was the first music you remember?  Be sure to leave it in the comments below!)

Ciao!

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”


2 Comments

Radio Disc Jockey: Long Hairs Need Apply

So, you think radio was always the way it is today?

rich schlitzLet’s see, today, many “announcers” go into the studio, record all of their vocal breaks, and leave for the day. Oh, they might make a public appearance here or there, and cut a commercial or two, but in reality, radio has gone downhill over the years. I’ll go into more detail why I believe so in a few minutes.

Most radio disc jockeys in the 1970’s started at small market radio stations. These were stations where you honed your vocal skills, perfected your timing, and learned how to operate a control board. There were even mixed format stations that tried their best to reach all different audiences at specific times of the day. These were the challenges that faced anyone that wanted to “get into radio” back in the day.

Take, for instance, a station I paid my dues at. In the morning, it was a mix of local news, national news, and religious programming. It made a change to “Classic Standards” (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc.) at 9 a.m. Then, at 12 noon, there was an hour of “Checkerboard Time”, which was old Sons of the Pioneers and the Chuckwagon Gang singing, interrupted by farm news and grain reports. At 1 p.m., it was time for two hours of Country Music, followed by an hour and a half of Pop Hits, followed by an hour of “Bruce, the King Of Soul”, and finishing out the day was Pop/Rock. Versatile, to say the least.

One had to be a Jack of all trades to do the job. You had five minutes of state news to read before the top of the hour and five minutes of national news to read after the top of the hour station I.D. Of course, you had to have all your commercials either in the cart machine, or sitting in order next to it, and your music out of the news had to be cued up to start when the news was finished.

There were public service announcements that had to be read, birthdays that had to be announced and celebrated, and commercials that had to be written and recorded. The phones rang incessantly, the sister FM station, which was generally automated, needed reel to reel tapes changed, news had to be ripped off the teletypes and rewritten for broadcast, and you had to be witty on the air or you’d lose your audience.

Of course, some of that changed when you hit the larger markets. You still had to pick out some of your music, even though the Currents and rich soundboardRecurrents were in a box beside you for easy access and heavy play rotation. You were now in a market that was in the ratings book, so you really had to be aware of your audience and what amused them to simply hit your numbers and keep your job. The news was usually recorded by a true station newsperson, and the commercials were written by a production staff (which usually meant you had to fit 90 seconds worth of copy into a 60 second spot).

Pay was never good. Oh, you could survive, but the days of Howard Stern and other greats were yet to come. The real perks, for the single guy, came in the form of disc jockey groupies. No matter where you went, if you looked halfway cool, you left with a great looking partner.

There were times this was dangerous, though. One could find themselves invited to a party that turned out to be an orgy, or arrive to find Godzilla awaiting. Many of us used to tell our phone date people to meet us at such and such bus stop, and we’d pick them up in a fancy car we’d make up. We’d then drive by, see what was waiting there, and most of the time, quickly drive away in our Chevy Vega Woody Station Wagon! (I know, how callous and shallow of us! Still, you didn’t see the Godzilla we did!)

As Clear Channel and other groups bought out independent stations and made them all sound the same, many of us left the announcing industry. Luckily, I found my way into stand-up comedy. Others weren’t so lucky. I know of several that are M.C.’s at strip clubs. (I understand the perks are still quite good, though!)

The satellite radio industry still has its star announcers, as do some local stations, especially with a live morning crew. Otherwise, radio has become monotonous as the jocks are saying the same things, stations are playing the same music, and the music industry has gone in quality decline.

Wolfman JackWolfman Jack’s portrayal of a station disc jockey in the classic film “American Graffiti” is a good example of small town radio. At night, one could stretch the limits and play music not allowed in prime time. One could express opinions somewhat, as long as they didn’t conflict greatly with station policy. And, one could sit back in the silence and envision a day when they would be the master of the airwaves.

For most, the vision was only a dream.

Still, I cherish those memories. I remember having to go on a remote at a grocery store and talk for 15 minutes an hour about the world’s largest piece of cheese on tour there. (It’s the only time I could say “cut the cheese” on the air and get away with it!) I remember interviewing many rock stars that were making a comeback and hitting every little concert hall they could to revive their fame. I remember standing in front of the glass window as another jock was reading the news and doing my best to make him laugh during it. And, I remember getting ticked off at our station manager, cussing my ass off as I got up to go to another room to reset the reel to reel automation system, and looking up to see the “On Air” light still on as I left the broadcast booth. (Yeah, that one got me in trouble.)

I met my wife while I was in radio. In fact, let me introduce you to Godzilla I.

Yes honey, I was just joking. Now, go soak your tail to keep from getting all scaly!

About the Author:

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”


Leave a comment

New Releases by Some Classic Rockers and Singer Songwriters

new releases.jpg

Are you as burnt out as I am?

I’m ready for something new … something different … something that I can get into and forget everything that’s been going on.

tommy castro

Tommy Castro and the Painkillers just put out a new blues album. If you’re a fan of the blues, you’ll be happy to know that some of the guest artists on this release include Joe Bonamassa, Tasha Taylor, Tab Benoit, Marcia Ball, Magic Dick and The Holmes Brothers. Here’s a sample for you:

“The Devil You Know”

David Crosby  Croz

David Crosby (yeah, of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame) just released one last week, too! It’s called “Croz”, and is one of the best collections of songs he’s put out in years. Close your eyes and mellow out a bit and you’ll be able to imagine being around in the late sixties and early seventies when he was in his prime.

“What’s Broken”

bruce springsteen   98797879

And, the Boss is back. New Jersey’s own, Bruce Springsteen has just released “High Hopes”, an album of great songs that remind you who really is the boss to this day. True, Clarence is up in the sky serenading Rock Angels with his haunting saxophone. However, the Boss and is still accompanied by Nils Lofgren, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Patti Scialfa and others that have been with him for decades, in addition to a new relationship brewing with lead guitarist Tom Morello.

“High Hopes”

Neil Young  Live At The Cellar Door 1974

Who doesn’t like Neil Young? Okay, I saw a hand or two out there. Yes, there’s times when he goes too far with his music. But, wouldn’t you rather have that than someone who bores you to death time after time sounding the same as the previous twenty albums? No? Well, just for you, Neil released an archived performance from 1970 at the Cellar Door. Here’s a cut I know you’ll remember.

“Old Man”

Passenger   All The Little Lights

There’s a new kid on the block that brings back memories only too well. Passenger is a singer that sounds like Cat Stevens so much, you’d swear he was his son. (Could be, but who’s telling?) Seriously, if you’re looking for modern mellow, Passenger is for you. Listen to this one and tell me I’m not right.

“Let Her Go”

London Grammar  If You Wait

What do you say about a group you only discovered because their album download was just $3.99 on Amazon.com? How about far freaking out! I can only relate to the 90’s group Portishead in comparing them with any recent band, and I personally feel they exceed them in quality. London Grammar doesn’t seem like they’re going to be a flash in the pan. If they keep putting out music like this, they’ll be around for years to come.

“Hey Now”

Jennifer Nettles   That Girl

Feel like a little Country music? Remember Sugarland? Well, Jennifer Nettles has decided to give a solo album a go. It’s a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll, and a little bit boring. But, if you’re looking to just sit back and lounge around for an hour, you couldn’t pick a more fitting album. “That Girl” came out a few weeks ago, and has been doing well on the charts. Give this song a chance and see if you don’t like it.

“That Girl”

So, sit back, shake the chill out of the system, and relax awhile with this Chill Out Playlist. You deserve it. Remember, soon the snow and ice will be gone and Springtime will be here! And, remember what April brings!

beatles rain

“Rain”

Ciao!

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”


32 Comments

How On Demand Is Cheating Our Kids

In an age when it’s too easy to become a Ninja Netflix addict, stealthily clicking “next episode” on the iPad at 2am, knowing that you’ll regret it, and not being able to resist doing so, because it’s RIGHT THERE, right NOW, on demand, it’s hard to imagine that there was a time when life was so completely not on demand.

There was a time when television and radio controlled what and when you watched, and listened to.

When On Demand didn’t exist.

Let me take you back. To pre-1981, and before MTV even existed.

In 1979, music had become an important part of my life. Big important. I’d hear a song on the radio, love it, and then have to wait for the next time they’d play it to find out the name of the band, if they didn’t announce it afterwards.

And, they usually didn’t announce it afterwards, as the practice was to introduce it beforehand, play it, and then fade out the music while the DJ said what he thought about it while immediately going into the next introduction. The next new song.

Back then, the radio made or broke bands. Enough airtime meant that we – the public – would have a shot at hearing it, before, or after, school hours.

Enough airtime meant that we’d have a shot at knowing what the band’s name was. It meant bicycling to the local Walgreens after babysitting for 8 hours to afford a purchase of the next coveted LP. It meant bicycling home, LP mostly-safely tucked into a backpack, finally gotten home, and then, it meant a dedication to listening to the entire record. Back, and front. Over and over again.

Ah. Can you even remember listening to the entire record? Front and back? I think we’re missing out, a bit, now….

We put up holiday lights, on our ceilings, because we didn’t have You Tube, or anything else, and our holiday lights were beyond festive. We made magic. Before You Tube and MTV magic existed, even. We saved up to see bands, live. To buy their records.

Teenage girl lying on floor 80s floyd_edited-3

I miss those days.

Back then, it meant that liking a record was an investment. That when you “LOVED” a band, that it mattered.

Years later, when tapes came out, and you could drive, it meant that liking a song meant rewinding that tape in the car, to the song that you needed to hear again. And again, and again.

It meant that when your parents told you that your stereo – that took up half of the wall because you had speakers and an amp and a tape thing and a record player on top – was too loud, that you could put on hubcap-sized earphones. Shut them out.

And just listen.

It meant that when you found out how much you loved U2 and Billy Idol, that you’d spend hours in front of the radio, waiting to record your new favorite song, and that, often times, the DJ spoke over the beginning and the ending of it.

Which meant that your favorite songs, before you could bicycle to Walgreens and purchase the record, were listened to with a DJ’s voice wrecking the beginning and end. It meant HOURS, sitting in front of your too-large stereo, waiting to tape your favorite song.

It meant laser light shows. If you’ve never seen one, I highly recommend it.

Mostly though, being raised on the radio means that we were, actually, raised on the radio.

Being raised on the radio was special, in a way that being raised On Demand, is not. It means that I want to teach my son the art of patience, and practice, and practicing patience.

It means that I will never let go of how it felt, waiting with anticipation for a station to play A Song. It means that although we live in a life of On Demand, that I’ll do my very best to teach my son that the best things in life are not clicked with a button.

That they’re worth waiting for.

That they’re not on demand.

Kristi and Tucker November 2009_edited-1Kristi Campbell is a semi-lapsed career woman with about 18 years of marketing experience in a variety of national and global technology companies.  More recently, she was a co-host on a hilarious (and under funded) weekly radio show.  Once her son was born, she became the mom who almost always leaves the house in either flip-flops or Uggs, depending on the weather.

While she does work part-time, her passion is writing and drawing really stupid-looking pictures for her blog http://www.findingninee.com.  Finding Ninee (pron. nine-ee for her son’s pronunciation of the word airplane) started due to a memoir, abandoned when Kristi read that a publisher would rather shave a cat than read another memoir.  Its primary focus is humor and support in a “Middle World,” one where the autism spectrum exists but a diagnosis does not.


Leave a comment

Thanks For That Magic Yellow Box

Sony_Walkman02

Thanks for That Little Yellow Box

While children and teenagers across the land were secretly reading books by flashlight under the covers, I was covertly listening to the radio. My parents were none the wiser, thanks to a plastic yellow box — the Sony Sports Walkman.

With the Walkman came the ability to listen without creating noise through the stereo. This meant I could lie in the darkness of my room while my parents watched television downstairs. (But don’t tell them. I don’t want to get in trouble.)

The Sony Walkman changed how we listened to music. You could be in a room full of people and individually enjoy your tunes. No one knew if you were rocking out to Henry Rollins or loving on Lionel Richie. The notes were just for you.

At night, the radio became a jungle of new sounds. Nationally syndicated shows, deemed “too mature” for younger audiences, grabbed airtime late at night. The doctors suddenly took over the airwaves — from Dr. Demento to Dr. Ruth. My local college radio station — Siena College’s WVCR 88.3 FM — turned up the heat in the evening, pulling out new songs and obscure artists.

Music isn’t just something I listened to, I devoured it. My ever-present friend whacked me over the head with the punk scene, introduced me to new wave depression and snuck in a random rock ballad once in a while.

I was able to step into a different ecosystem of music and culture thanks to Sony. While friends were bopping to Tiffany, I was hanging with King Crimson. While classmates were swooning over Wham!, I was angry with early U2. Those late night rendezvous with my Walkman radically changed how I viewed the world. It transplanted me from my sleepy suburbia to a thriving urban oasis of sound.

I can’t even imagine how my mind would have been molded without the eye-opening tunes of emerging artists and underground amateurs. So thank you little yellow box. You rocked my world.

Jennifer is the moms of boys, the better half (occasionally), a family cruise director, a short order cook, a techie and always evolving. When she’s not playing house, you can find her at The Jenny EvolutionGeneration iKid and The Sensory Spectrum.


2 Comments

Cover Songs, Uncovered

cover songs

Have you ever heard a song that sounded so familiar you knew you’d heard it before, but it was now somehow different?

Yeah, it was probably a cover.

In the 1960’s, laws against taking a song and changing it to fit your style was common practice.  Chuck Berry and many more artists saw their classic tunes suddenly transformed into Pop Tunes performed by artists that just couldn’t meet the standards of the originals.  And, to make matters worse, there were no laws against doing it!  So, the original artist found himself listening to someone else performing their work, and reaping huge profits, without sharing a dime with the originals.

Doesn’t quite seem right, does it?

Recently, there have been accusations of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” taking from an older Marvin Gaye song.  And, Katy Perry’s “Roar” has been accused of stealing from Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave.”  Is this intentional “stealing”, or is it accidental copying by over zealous record producers?  You be the judge.

Now, I’m not including times when performers are actually honoring the original performers.  Tribute shows, such as the Beatles 50th Anniversary special, are immune from legal action.  If they weren’t, both Katy Perry’s version of “Yesterday” and Imagine Dragons rendition of “Revolution” would be cause for the performers to be incarcerated for pre-meditated butchery.  These were unfortunate in that in their attempt to honor, they demonstrated weaknesses of their own.

Still, there have been some worthy covers over the years.  Let’s look at some of them!

“The House of the Rising Sun” had originally been recorded in 1934, and had been covered many times by artists such as Roy Acuff, Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone, The Animals, and several others (including sadly, Dolly Parton).  Still, this version by the one hit wonder band, Frijid Pink, brings about a power to the song not demonstrated by others.

Frijid Pink  “House Of The Rising Sun”

 

Since I brought up the Beatles earlier, let’s talk about them a minute.  Many have attempted Beatles tunes.  In fact, Roberta Flack and others have even devoted full albums to their music.  None have ever done well on the charts as the Beatles are somewhat “untouchable” in the way they put it all together.  One man succeeded for many years in bridging this gap as he did the songs his way, instead of trying to duplicate.  His roaring acoustic guitar and rough vocal deliveries paved the way for success.  The man, Richie Havens.

Richie Havens  “Here Comes The Sun”

Marvin Gaye’s history is far and wide.  His ability to transform a song into a story that engulfed your senses and intensify your emotions is legendary.  Still, two performers have done songs by him and been very successful.  The first would be successful in whatever she tried.  Her voice is signature and her career one of the longest in music.  Here’s Gladys Knight & The Pips.

Gladys Knight & The Pips  “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

Another artist completely surprised the listeners of the 80’s.  Orange and red hair, clothing combinations that snubbed the designers of the day, and a voice that sounded more like a New York nasal tone than a singing voice stunned the radio audiences of the day with this Marvin Gaye hit.  Here’s Cyndi Lauper.

Cyndi Lauper  “What’s Going On”

Now, for our last selection.  The question is, “Who’s the real original?”  Seems like David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills & Nash) had this boat in Florida. One weekend, Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane came by for a visit.  While there, Kantner, Crosby and Stephen Stills sat down and wrote the song “Wooden Ships.”  It was done by both groups on albums that came out at almost the same time.  So, who actually recorded it first?  We’ll leave that one for the lawyers to figure out.  Here’s the CSN version.

Crosby, Stills & Nash  “Wooden Ships”

So, until you hear your favorite song done by someone who needs to keep their hands off of it, enjoy the music!

Ciao!

About the Author:

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich Rumple was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues.
Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”


Leave a comment

New Releases by Classic Artists

new releases by classic rock

Cher has just released yet another album.

No, the plastic surgery hasn’t hurt her singing voice.

Still, the constant beat that accompanies her voice, one that we hear on 90% of the Pop tunes put out by idiotic record producers of today, tends to be annoying after a couple of songs.  I wish it was only in a couple of songs.  No such luck!

Why would someone with such a great voice allow this to happen?

Could it be that she’s afraid of aging and losing her younger audience?  Is her fear so strong that she, the all powerful and definitely one that could tell today’s producers where to go, actually feels that she must reduce herself to the norm and cover up her vocals with techno pulse electronics?

There are a couple of songs in which she allows her voice to shine.  You can feel her sincerity, love, hopes and dreams in each of these selections.  It’s a shame.  An entire album comprised of these type of songs could be a benchmark for all to reach.  But, fear can be a factor in making the wrong decision.  It is unfortunate that she seems to allow it to rule her career.

Hit Single “Woman’s World”

But, she’s a millionaire and I’m not, so perhaps I’m the one that’s stupid!

Does selling out in order to make money really do her musical talent justice?

For some of us that have followed her career since her “Sonny & Cher” days, we know she’s more than one of today’s “throw away” Pop artists.  Her sound is unique as it calls to your heart in a song like “The Way Of Love”, and mischievous in “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves.”  But, from way back then to today, something changed.  Something happened to her.  Something occurred in her life that demanded she aim towards the Pop audience only and produce tunes that wouldn’t stand the test of time, but only supply funds for the day.

I’m not saying her new album, “Closer To The Truth” doesn’t have substance.  It does, but in a frivolous manner.  It’s basically a Pop/Dance album that says little in message, but will do well for exercise class music or Pop dance halls.

There’s a difference in “keeping up with the times” and “being true to your music.”  You could do much better, oh talented goddess of the decades!  Please, before it’s too late and the years eat away at your precious vocal ability, give us all something worthy of the praise you deserve!

Something like Elton John’s new album, “The Diving Board.”

I am a fan of early Elton John.  There have been many hits along the way, but there have also been many misses.  I will admit to having every album he’s composed in my collection.  However, most of those released in the 80’s and 90’s are doing a good job of gathering dust.

I will make a statement here that many will probably shoot me for.  Not since “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” has Elton had the complete quality in an album as his latest presents.

Strong statement, huh?  Believe me, it won’t be a popular one to the snot nosed music reviewers employed today.  You know, the ones that were raised on 90’s music and have never listened to anything previous to  that time period.

At first listen, the album will pull you into a world of mournful loss and storytelling beauty.  This, regardless of Pop opinion, is what Elton does best and what originally put him on the music map.  I won’t bore you with details, as I’ll let his music and words speak to your heart and soul when you listen to it for the first time.

Elton John  “Home Again”

But, if you’re looking for something to raise you out of this world with an electronic beat, you’ll be disappointed.  He doesn’t use such cheap thrills to get his point across and make a buck.  This, to me, is what Cher needs to see and take note of.  If it is to be Elton’s swan song album, he couldn’t have left a better example of quality of music.

I’ve bought so many albums in the last few months, my wife is going crazy wondering where I’m going to store them.  (Even those downloaded, I make a hard copy to keep in my collection in case of hard drive disaster.  It’s happened twice, so I learned by experience!)  Anyway, out of all of those I’ve purchased, this is the album of the year.  Oh, the Grammy’s won’t recognize it as such.  They only look at the throw away artists for the most part.  But, real music lovers will cherish this selection.

Needless to say, it holds my highest recommendation!

Not so the latest Sting release, “The Last Ship.”

This is where things get strange.  This album seems to be a follow-up to several of his past albums.  It brings about many references to past songs and characters in those songs.  It’s slow, told in a story manner, and I must say, somewhat boring to which to listen all the way through.

“The Last Ship” has it’s good points, especially if you’re trying to get some sleep and need some background music to finish the job.  Yes, boys and girls, can you say, “Boring?”

But, it’s not produced badly, and I guess, if you’re a real Sting fan, you’ll find it has some production value.  Sting’s vocals seem to have dropped and octave over the years, and may even be classified as unrecognizable at times.  But, let’s be real.  The guy is getting up in years and did put a lot of effort into this release.  Sorry, Sting!  I’ve really been a fan for years.  It just didn’t touch my sensitive spot.

Sting  “The Last Ship”

Finally, lets take a look at an artist that may not be too familiar to you.

Laura Mvula has recently released “Sing To The Moon” to the world.  (Thank God, a new artist that dares to be different!)

I can’t classify her music.  I’d love to say R&B, but it’s not.  Jazz?  Nope!  Easy Listening?  Not by any manner!  Pop?  Dream on!  Rock?  Not the furthest thing from the truth!   World Music?  Maybe this is the closest genre she enters.

There is no specific beat.  What?  Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean.  The songs break up into multiple beats, runs, and storylines.  It’s almost like a Broadway music score at times, taking you on a journey into the weird but beautiful land of “keep up with me and you’ll enjoy it!”

This may not be an album for those who love today’s standard trash that’s being aired.  Even I can’t say as though this would be an album that I’d play everyday.  But, I will say that I completely enjoyed it.  “Sing to the Moon” is refreshing in our world of formula sound.  Different?  You bet!  Fun?  You bet!  Storytelling?  Oh My God, YES!  (Just listen to the song “Green Garden” or “Is There Anybody Out There” and enjoy the vision!)

Laura Mvula  “Sing To The Moon”

Laura is a true artist from the meaning of the word.  They still exist (believe it or not) and can hold true to their music.  Not a sell out, at least for now.  Let’s hope she never does!

Remember, music is for the listener.  You may not agree with the above reviews.  That’s okay!  I may not agree with everything you like or dislike either.  The fact remains that there’s a lot of good music available for you to sample.  Don’t hold back.  Experiment with different styles and genres to increase your perspective and collection.  You may be surprised at what you’ll discover.

Ciao!

 

About The Author

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”


Leave a comment

FirstNotes and ForeverMusic

lizzi guest post ROTR

I was raised in a pretty shut-down household, where the music available was a strict diet of Classic FM (which I now love), Classical CDs (I love some of them), ‘Churchy’ music (still not that keen), and Gilbert and Sullivan (hate it with a passion).

There was one exception (other than the stalwart ‘sung Times Tables’ tapes) – one copy of a hearkening back to my Dad’s childhood; a ‘Hello Children Everywhere’ CD. I listened to it obsessively, whenever I was allowed to use the (gigantic old monster of a) stereo system, in brushed steel, with heavy dials and buttons which swirled deliciously in my hands and would land me in trouble, because somehow the volume always seemed to end up louder.

danny-kaye

So thanks to the lifeline of this one CD, I caught a tiny break and spent my childhood having my mind blown by such wonders as Suzi Miller’s ‘Bimbo’, Burl Ives’ ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ and Danny Kaye’s ‘Little White Duck’.

My musical world exploded into life when I went to secondary school.

I’d chosen a school in a town outside the city, which meant being bussed in with a bunch of other local kids. We were herded onto a scabby old, white mini-bus, with a snarkastic driver who tended to be either overly friendly or overly mean, but the journeys had one HUGE redeeming feature, which quite made them a favourite part of my day. The radio.

Tuned for the first time in my LIFE to something beyond the realms of the classical, 103.2 Power FM gave me my first taste of what I’d been missing, and just what depths of wonder there were to explore. Chaka Demus and Pliers ‘Twist and Shout’, D:Ream ‘Things can only get better’, UB40 ‘(I can’t help) Falling In Love With You’, not to mention Rednex, who I can probably hold fully responsible for my ongoing love of countryish music, since then broadened to include such gorgeousness as Bill Monroe, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton

I remember with absolute delight my very first tape.

It was given to me for my birthday by neighbours over the road. It was Robson & Jerome’s version of Unchained Melody, with B sides of ‘I believe’ and ‘Saturday Night at the Movies’ (so deeply ingrained in my mind that I didn’t even look it up to check the B sides – I’m probably right, and if not, well it was 18 years ago…). I can’t remember how, but I got a tape player, and discovered, to my delight and awe, that I too, could get Power FM tuned in, directly into my bedroom and began listening at home, ignoring repeated shouts to “Turn that horrible noise down!” as often as I could.

I then discovered (oh sweet day) that a store nearby actually SOLD the music I’d heard on the radio (yes, I was *that* sheltered). My pocket-money immediately became a hugely important deal, and I even began forgoing my weekly Beano comic to buy tapes and tapes…and then I discovered CDs, back when a single was still 99p. To my shame, I can’t remember my first single. Or my first album.

Buying blank tapes and sitting hunched over the radio waiting for my favourite songs to come on, with my finger hovering, poised, over ‘Play’ and ‘Record’ was a massive pastime for me. The irritating DJ or radio jingle forever intertwined with the intro and outro, the missing first three seconds when my attention span had waned.

I developed some serious musical crushes, my ears, mind and soul being touched in ways I’d never felt before – thoughts and emotions expressed in ways I’d never considered possible. I became a cray-cray fan of such acts as Robbie Williams, Alisha’s Attic and All Saints.

And gradually the radio became my companion.

I branched out, finding new stations which weren’t all pop. I discovered rock, house, trance, dance, disco, and later on, music from generations slightly before my own, which is where I feel my musical soul now lives, courtesy of my new-found favourite radio station – 106 Jack FM. They play music from about early in my own musical introduction back to a generation or so before my time, mixed with a few newer tracks for good measure – Aerosmith, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Edmunds, Faith No More, Queen, Reef, ELO, T-Rex, Tommy James and the Shondells …. But even though it’s my favourite, I can’t stay faithful – my car (which is my ‘Radio Place’) has an old-fashioned stereo/tape player, with a different station (yes, including Classic FM – shh!) programmed into each of its five buttons.

(Small Victory – takes a while to get going; if you want to skip straight to the Good Stuff, head to 2:22 for a guitar riff which just *does things* to me)

In spite of that, my musical ‘old soul’ still has to resort to the not-the-radio resource of YouTube to supply such gorgeousness as The Andrews Sisters, The Beach Boys, Elvis, Flanders and Swann; usually with one or two tracks hitting my ‘favourites’ list on YouTube, as opposed to loving everything the band produced, as in the heyday of First Discovering Music.

But it’s not the same. YouTube is cold and clinical, and sometimes highly irritating (although everything’s ‘on tap’). The DJs on Jack FM have become my pals – I know the ins and outs of their public personas. I follow their news. I even follow the station on Twitter and Facebook. I recognize their voices. I dance in my car to their music choices, and I love it.

The world of music has become an outlet – I can use music to describe how I feel far better than I can use words. Music speaks to the soul rather than the intellect, and since my very first introduction, I knew that radio and I would get along, though it’s definitely moved up in status over the years from ‘companion’ to ‘Forever Friend’. Thank you Radio, for giving me so much.

About the Author:

Lizzi Rogers is a non-professional blogger over at Considerings. Her aim is to Think Deeply, Tell Truths and Actively Seek the Good in life. Creator of the weekend-long ‘Ten Things of Thankful’ hop, she blogs about her thoughts, her world and being a member of The Invisible Moms Club. She finds that when she runs out of words, music can be used to speak for her, and if she had to lose four of her five senses, would keep her hearing, for the idea of a world without music would be far too desolate to contemplate.”

You can follow her on Twitter: @LRConsiderer and on Facebook


Leave a comment

]The Stones at JFK Stadium, 1978

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 11.58.15 AM

photo: Mike Brody

The following is an excerpt of the original review:

Peter Tosh was better than the treatment the crowd was giving him. I had never heard reggae live and Tosh was the real ting.  The Philly crowd was not as interested. Tosh left the stage to a roar of STONES! In the lull between set ups I went looking for a place to do a little crank. I had lost my friends and was now on my own adventure.  I found myself walking in between the trucks parked on the side of the stage. These were Rolling Stones trucks, decals of the red lips logo, ‘Reefer Rollers’ bumper stickers, and the whole nuts and bolts of the rock and roll circus.  A rough looking driver was staring me down, I asked him if he could use a little pick me up and he said “Step right up in the cab my young friend!” After a couple blasts the driver introduced himself.

“I’m Fred but my friends call me Ferd!” He talked about some of the wild orgies he’d been too and then he said the Stones would be out in a couple minutes, he took a couple twenty bags and I said thanks and he said “No, thank you!” Ferd gave me a personal escorted walk to a  roped off area full of amazing looking happy people.

I was standing directly in front of the stage when the band came walking on and picked up their instruments.  Even at 17 I usually didn’t like music that a lot of people liked, but the Rolling Stones represented the beginning of English blues rock and I liked them in spite of their style changes and fame. Their last great album had been Exile on Main Street. I knew what depths they were capable of.

The first song was Chuck Berry’s Let it Rock, a chunky mid tempo stomp which segued into Exile’s All Down the Line.

Whatever style this was just sounded great for the frequency I was on. There was nuance in the music that was very much theirs. Simple tricks, a thick bar chord suddenly finger picked into a vulnerable blues chord and then the slide guitar connecting them back together. Not a bad tone on the stage either. The Stones sounded like musical dirt, brown, wet dirt. While the over all demeanor was hard and dangerous there was an odd sense of humor about the whole mess. At some point early on they played a very pained Love In Vain. This was guitar laden emotional blues and it sounded right out of the legendary 1969 tour.

I knew this world was fleeting. Even at that moment in my life at that concert I knew it would somehow go bad and curdle or even worse, become a gentrified thing of some kind. I remember fighting back tears for a special time in peril. This is what the music was saying at that moment, all your loves in vain. Who would even care about this song in a few years? In to this mix came the new stuff which fit in pretty well with the old stuff, “when the whip comes down, da da”, this song recalled the old mid 60’s chainsaw sound captured on ‘Got Live if you Want It’. ‘Beast of burden’ came on like an old soul song but just a little sonically darker. Old greats followed, reworked slightly and played with an urge and feeling that bordered on the edge of control. Joints were passing freely through the crowd and the whole concert started to feel like a party when people are starting to get too wild and intoxicated.

After the light and bouncy soul classic ‘Just my Imagination’ a very new song started. A phase shifted two chord rock riff with a tense rhythm. “Shattered – shattered”. The stones weren’t as much playing now as burning the song. This smelled like the new music. I took a look around and the 1970s Philly crowd was perfectly morphing to this rhythm. This was a hard edge song for some hard edge people. “To live in this town, you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough, tough, tough…” The Stones were grinding out punk, but as innovators. Stripped down and animalistic, but of course with this waning generations hippy blues sensibility which would be, in a couple years, on the run. Shadobee.

Chants of “More” were my cue to start trying to navigate back to the street and find the van. I was completely satisfied and ready to be out of this hot throng of humanity. While I was heading for the exits I noticed that the band had not come back on and then I was startled by a sudden barrage of explosions.

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 1.04.41 PM

the author, back in the day

photo courtesy of Mike Brody

Turning around revealed a riot going on. The stage was being blown up by M-80s and wasted wild men tearing down drums and amps and equipment. Security must have been taken by surprise because the three or four guards swinging mic stands and two by fours were not stopping the mayhem. I didn’t stick around to see the ensuing battle but I felt like those people could not have truly been disappointed by this music. I asked some one why everyone was pissed and he said he felt ripped off by the lack of an encore and no stage show. I can understand the encore issue being an insult to someone who had made this their whole weekend, but why would he need a stage show? Isn’t a guided tour through the history of heartfelt blues and traditional rock and roll music enough to handle without some blowup penises to go along with it?

Mike Brody is a musician, songwriter, video and recording producer, and writer. He lives in New Jersey. His band Brody’s Monster will be at the Light Of Day Festival at The Saint in Asbury Park Sunday January 19th at 8:00 pm. He is currently working on a book with the working title “Real Strange Things That Really Happened To Me”