Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"So, Live At The Fillmore East Is A Figure Of Speech, RIght?..."

First, a little straight shooting.

Far be it for me to make fun of anybody regarding their marital status and/or history.

So, I won't be offering any editorials, one way or the other, as regards the upcoming nuptials of the sexagenarian Mr. Allman and his vicenarian bethrothed.

That said, though, I watched both an interview on CBS News and the following CNN interview with Gregg and have one arguably trenchant observation to make.

Right after you take a look at this.

The CBS interview had much the same look, feel and/or tempo.

Ergo, the previously promised observation.

Regardless of their respective ages, the pending Mrs. Allman isn't going to have to worry much about exhausting herself in conversation with the Mr.

And he obviously gets plenty of sleep.

Apparently, not just a little of it while he's wide awake.

Forget what it takes to be 64 and marry a 24 year old.

That's nothing compared to what it takes to come off as less interesting than Piers Morgan.

Monday, May 21, 2012

"...Nobody Gets Too Much Heaven No More...But, Night Fever?...We're Lousy Wid It...."

Two reasons to feel bad for Barry Gibb today.

One, the obvious.

The second, maybe not so much.

Count on me to share it with you momentarily.

(CNN) -- Robin Gibb, one of three brothers who made up the group the Bee Gees behind "Saturday Night Fever" and other now-iconic sounds from the 1970s, died on Sunday, according to a statement on his website.

He was 62.

Gibb "passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," said the statement, which was attributed to his family. He died in England at 10:47 a.m. (5:47 a.m. ET), according to a post on his official Twitter feed.

In the latter part of the 1970s, the Bee Gees "dominated dance floors and airwaves. With their matching white suits, soaring high harmonies and polished, radio-friendly records, they remain one of the essential touchstones to that ultra-commercial era," the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame says on its website.

"Saturday Night Fever" and the group's 1979 album "Spirits Having Flown" yielded six No. 1 hits, "making the Bee Gees the only group in pop history to write, produce and record that many consecutive chart-topping singles," according to the Hall of Fame.

A few weeks ago, when Robin Gibb's health took a turn and it seemed to most that he was knock, knock, knockin on....I wrote a couple of sister (or more appropriately, brother) pieces opining a little (and whining a little, but that's the story of/ that's the glory of...) about the tsunami of sharing about the "disco" era Bee Gees with so little, if any, attention paid to the ten plus preceding years of cultural contribution and chart success from the British born boys who came to us from the land down under.

A link to that (those) is provided here for your dancing and dining pleasure.

Now that Robin has shuffled (or disco-ed, as someone will insist) off the mortal coil, the reminisences, accolades and tributes are, rightly, flowing from print and online media and radio speakers like Bee Gees hits used to flow through...well, radio speakers.

And, inevitably, those reminiscences, accolades and tributes are, yet another tsunami of sharing about the "disco" era Bee Gees with little, if any, attention paid to the ten plus preceding years of cultural contribution and chart success from the British born boys who came to us from the land down under.

Me being me, of course, I'm thinking a total non sequiter, and at the same time perfectly applicable, tribute song to Robin this morning might be the Poco hit "Here We Go Again".

But that's a song for another time.

Or era, depending on how much longer the members of Poco live.

And, not for nothin', but kudos to NPR because I did, this morning driving in, hear a lovely on air news/tribute piece marking Robin's passing which started out disco but very quickly pivoted to a refreshing "but they were also big hitmakers long before Travolta danced" finish, including a snipped of Robin and older brother Barry harmonizing on their first, and still very innovative, American hit, "New York Mining Disaster 1941."

How lovely the irony that the most comprehensive, and correct, obituary of a rock/pop icon should come, not from "hip" rock/pop or even oldies stations, but, instead, the nerds of NPR.

Insert Sheldon Cooper-esque "hemmmphf, hmmphf" laugh here.

All of this, though, is previously plowed ground.

Let me newly plant this one on ya.

Maurice Gibb died a few years ago and you couldn't swing a dead cat (or white three piece suit jacket) without hitting someone hearing a Saturday Night Fever era Bee Gees song on their TV, radio, Ipod and/or social networking site.

Robin Gibb died this weekend and you can't swing a dead cat (or white three piece suit jacket) without hitting someone hearing a Saturday Night Fever era Bee Gees song on their TV, radio, Ipod and/or social networking site.

Which brings us to the second reason you gotta feel bad for Barry Gibb today.

By the time he passes, it 6-5 and pick em' that we will all be totally burned out on "Stayin Alive".

Godspeed, Robin Gibb.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"...And I...eee...I Will Always Love...To Love You, Baby..."

Pretty much the same.

And not at all alike.

Clarification coming.

(CNN) -- Donna Summer, the "Queen of Disco" whose hits included "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls," "Love to Love You Baby" and "She Works Hard for the Money," has died, a representative said Thursday. She was 63.

Her publicist, Brian Edwards, said Summer was suffering from cancer. She died surrounded by her family in Florida, he said.

"Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith," a family statement said. "While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."

Summer first rose to fame the mid-'70s, thanks to "Love to Love You Baby." The song, with Summer's whispered vocals and orgasmic groans helped define the mid-'70s disco trend and hit No. 2 in 1976. Summer followed the song with such hits as "I Feel Love," "Last Dance" and a disco-fied version of the Richard Harris hit "MacArthur Park," which outdid Harris' version by hitting No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. It was Summer's first of four chart-toppers.

Another name that immediately sprang to mind yesterday in the wake of Summer's passing was, of course, Whitney Houston.

The connection seems, on the surface, to be a no brainer.

Two very successful, critically acclaimed female vocalists whose talents brought them to the top of the charts and gained them the admiration and/or adulation of millions worldwide.

And two very successful, critically acclaimed, etc etc who died young.

Twin sisters of different mothers.

So it would seem.

But a little tender and respectful scrutiny would offer up some indication that six of one is not necessarily half a dozen of another.

Houston's talent was undeniable, but her life was yet another cautionary tale of the potential pitfalls of too much as happens to too many all too often. A descent from the heights of success into a poignant life of fractured family, failed marriage, career struggle and all the assorted collateral damage, fueled, as it is all too often, by the devastating effects of substance abuse. A life that came to a sad, even pathetic, end face down and alone in a half filled bathtub, a victim of a disease too often contracted by the rich and famous.

The kind of life that will end up as two hours on the E! True Hollywood Story.

Summer's talent was equally undeniable. But her life was, by all accounts and as far talk and tabloid would offer us, one of family fulfillment, a long, happy and successful marriage, a career, predictable ups and downs notwithstanding, pursued with graciousness and humility, as far away from the aforementioned talk and tabloids as tape can measure. A life that came to an equally sad, but heart touching, end surrounded by loving family and friends, a victime of a disease too often contracted by every day folks.

The kind of life that will end up as two hours on the Lifetime Channel.

There is no blame that can be rightly placed on one, nor overt accolades to be placed on another.

It seems only fair to suggest that both of these ladies were human beings who, like all the rest of us, did the best they could.

But it also seems worth noting that it would be only to fair to keep something in mind as media does what media does, attempting to ramp up the drama of any given situation to, ostensibly, keep us all tuned in.

Connecting the two.

When, in fact, Donna Summer and Whitney Houston were pretty much the same.

And not at all alike.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"...Can't Really Picture Gaga At 62...But, We'll See...."

For a while now, "all natural" has been a trendy thing.

From the things we eat to the things we wash with to the things we rub on our faces and/or assorted other body parts, lack of artificial ingredients and/or preservatives has become a badge of honor worn proudly, if not always hand to God truthfully, on the labels of things we eat, we wash with and rub on our faces and/or assorted other body parts.

Personally, I don't much care one way or the other.

I've reached an age in a life that has brought me, relatively, safely through the threats/fears of polio, smallpox, cyclamates (you'll need to Google that one if you're under 45) and red meat.

So, while not one to tempt, let alone splurt a full tongued raspberry at, fate, I'm pretty sure that what time I have left on this mortal coil isn't going to be radically shortened by any recklessness with a bottle of generic shampoo.

Still, there is something to be said for all natural.

Ergo, for your listening pleasure...

Admittedly, it's inevitable that getting older results, among other things, in a tendancy to promote and/or defend other older things.

Fair to say it just comes naturally.

At the same time, it's also fair to say that younger people are justified when performing the inevitable eye rolls that result from said older people promoting and/or defending other older things.

My grandchildren aren't to be expected, for example, to understand why Bonnie Raitt has less "value" in the current music culture than many or most, but is, at the heart of it, much more of a treasure.

That kind of perspective is going to take awhile.

And because, at this point, they are young, they won't notice, or care if they did, the difference between manufactured and "all natural".


Carrie Underwood...clean, scrubbed, assembly line perfect.

Kelly Clarkson...fresh, wholesome, girl next door perfect.

Lady Gaga...glossy, shiny, sparkly, Madonna 2.O perfect.

Bonnie Raitt...rough, real, way down the road weary and flawed.

And all natural.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"...Carve This In Stone...So To Speak..."

Random thought from the treadmill this morning.

If I were Mick Jagger or Keith Richard and was asked, by someone who had never heard of me, to offer up just one example of my songwriting ability.....

I would play them this version of this song.

And I would then sit down and shut up.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"...Dear God, Please Deliver Us From Any Possible Kardashian Cameo....Amen..."

Adam Shankman directed the John Travolta/Nikki Blonsky film version of the musical play, "Hairspray".

I sincerely thought it was wonderfully done, in fact, it is still liable to appear in my DVD player from time to time when I need a little audio/visual good mood food.

Adam Shankman is also the director of the forthcoming Tom Cruise film version of the musical play, "Rock Of Ages".

Here's the trailer.

Two thoughts.

First, I hope that "Rock Of Ages" is intended to be a very funny "This Is Spinal Tap"-esque send up of rock and roll movies.

Second, judging from this trailer, the only word that keeps coming to mind is "hilarious".

I have a feeling I'm absolutely wrong about the first thought.

And a pretty bad feeling that I'm absolutely right about the second.

"...You Can't Make This Stuff Up...Even When They Make This Stuff Up..."

Life imitates art.

Truth is stranger than fiction

August 17th further proof is provided.

Scriptwriters toil over keyboards their entire lives and never come close to creating the dramatic, and ironic, effect of a single line of dialogue spoken by Whitney Houston's character....

"Isn't my life enough of a cautionary tale for you?"

Life imitates art.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

And sometimes impossible to tell apart.

"...Seriously, I Totally Respect Your Right To Listen to Crap..."

When it comes to perusing current music and current music performers, I make a concerted effort to avoid flipping the shit switch.

That device that our parents, and likely their parents and their parents, yada, yada, freely flicked in response to whatever music and music performers were current for us.

As in "why are you listening to that shit?".

At some early point in life, I seemed to grasp that my parents generation were never going to feel about John, Paul, George and Ringo they way they felt about Frank, Bing and Nat King.

And that was okay.

Different strokes and all that.

As the years went bob bob bobbin along and I graduated to the next, inevitable, tier of musical assessment, I always made it a point to point out that if I couldn't endorse and/or enjoy what my own kids were enjoying and/or endorsing, I could at least avoid the pitfall of parental poo pooing.

Which sustained me through, at least, a lot of early Madonna, let alone the brief and shining moments that were Vanilla Ice, Milli Vannilli and Adam Ant.

I suppose it didn't hurt that my work in broadcasting kept me relatively "hip" to any moment's "scene" and, accordingly, innoculated me from early onset old fart fogeyism.

That capacity for empathy has remained true, lo, these many years, right up to current, up to the minute, music.

And, seven decades in, I'm still able to resist cringe, grimace, pout or pucker when Gaga wails on about glory's edges, DeRulo persists in his belief that no lyric is complete without at least one mention of his own name and various and assorted "young recording artists" fill three plus minutes of air full of angst, regret and wistful reminiscence of the pain and heartache they have, thus far, experienced in this life, even when any of the said "artists" can count on one hand the number of years that have passed since they were in elementary school.

Hey, I can even listen to Christina Perri with the best of them, you know?

Even though, truth be told, I never really hear her anymore as much as I hear Dana Carvey singing "choppin broccoli".

So, there will be no "why are you listening to that shit?" from this stateroom on Noah's AARP.

Every now and again, though, I feel moved and/or inspired to contribute to young people's overall musical "education" by offering up something I think/hope they will find enjoyable and, with all due respect to their tastes, suggest as follows...

"....uh...say....when you get through listening to that shit....give this a try...."

I said I avoid flipping the switch.

I never said anything about not having my hand on it.