Days I’ll Remember All My Life

A bit late on the first one but the recent “inclement weather” (thanks Paul McC) warnings this past week spurred my memories of Snow Jam which happened on January 12, 1982 (25 years ago, wow.) Not 1981 like the jackasses on WSB were spewing the other evening. I was working as a custodian at an elementary school as my after school job and always took longer to clean my side than my buddy Don Bobeng did his. That day I finished before he did. It began snowing hard after I got to work and when we both finished we sat and worked on a Playboy jigsaw puzzle he had gotten as a gag gift at the recent Christmas (this is known as getting your hours in.) That day, many Atlantans left their cars parked wherever as they had no hopes of getting home in what turned into about 6 inches of the white stuff. I only had to drive about a mile and a half so I was lucky. What sucked most was that 1/12/82 was the day we were finally scheduled to get cable and had to wait another week before I could begin wasting my time watching OMD videos on MTV…….

Three years ago today (1/21/04) I had quintuple bypass surgery. So good, so far and continued thanks to all who supported me through donations, prayers, and anything else anyone did to help me out. If you need to go to the hospital, Saint Joseph’s in Atlanta is our hospital of recommendation.

Right now Atlantans (and music lovers) can send out positive vibes (to get into new agey shit) to Chris Swartz, a local musician and former Perimeter Records leader who was hurt rather severely in an automobile accident this past Wednesday. Chris is in ICU in Gwinnett Medical Center with multiple broken ribs, a broken pelvis and other nasty type stuff. He should be able to see visitors in a few days and I’ll update his condition around then.

I’ve listened to the first two Pretenders albums this week in their posh revamped versions (3rd Sunday of the month hint) and was again reminded how amazing they were at one point. Pretenders II was panned in many circles but I’m now thinking I like it better than the debut. Songs like “English Roses” and the Kinks’ cover “I Go To Sleep” were not my favorites at the time but there’s a certain beauty that outshines the raw attitude of the first album. And I’m still not sure why “Day After Day” didn’t become a hit single. Hard to believe that less than a year after the release of Pretenders II that the band would be no more because of drug usage (Pete Farndon’s firing and James Honeyman Scott’s OD). The two albums hold other significance for me as my dad bought me the debut (at Zayre’s on Buford Highway, kids) for my 16th birthday just before his body started undergoing the ravages of cancer that would take his life 14 months later. I remember buying the EP with the two UK only singles when the Norcross Chapter III opened (March 1981) along with the DEV-O Live EP but I was more often concerned with his health and wasn’t as ardently listening to stuff at that time. Pretenders II came out after his passing but was one of the albums (along with Ian Hunter’s “Short Back N Sides” and David Johansen’s “Here Comes The Night”) that help me get on with my life in that fall of 1981. Listen tonight and see why.

By the way, James Honeyman Scott could have only been the name of either a) a British rock star or b) a pro wrestler.

One other thing (besides the old Atlanta Chiefs indoor soccer games on Channel 17) that I tried to get my mind off my dad’s illness at the time was episodes of the Tush show on TBS. Clips from those shows (which featured musical guests like the Vapors, Dobie Gray, Roseanne Cash and the Brains, amongst others) are on Bill’s site at . There are several clips on the main clips site as well as three in a blog of his from last December. The show featured the talents of Jan Hooks (future SNL’er and Designing Women) who I had a massive crush on as well as Bonnie & Terry Turner (who later wrote/developed Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Wayne’s World, Third Rock From The Sun, That 70’s Show and, of course, That 80’s Show). Jan did a particularly skewed imitation of Tammy Faye Bakker which you can see a bit of in the Testimony clip in the December 7th 2006 Man About Town blog. There’s also bits from the mid-70s when Bill did news programming in the overnight hours at TBS, with a “News Chicken” ad satirizing WXIA’s Dave Michaels’ “News Hawk” ad campaign. And I think one of the Tush show clips even has a Lou Evans homage (the undertakers’ “Bye Friends” seems enough like “Bye Folks” to make me think such.) On the site, Bill says he’s going to try to eventually get the old shows released so maybe if enough folks contact him……. 

Taking THE RNR Hall Of Fame To The Extreme

So we’ve got new RNR Hall of Fame honorees, Whoop-de-doo. An odd sentiment because I actually like all of the inductees this year (and it’s a weird kick to know Kid Creole is getting inducted with Flash.) But come on, there are some worthy folks not getting a fair shake who should be. Number one in my book is Kraftwerk. Much of what became hip hop and what is modern dance music owes its existence to these Deutsche Robotmen. With Flash getting in (and the sure to be soon inductions of Run DMC and Public Enemy in the next few years), Klaus, Florian and company deserve to be acknowledged. Another act that deserves the honor  is Chic. Don’t believe the disco hype, these guys were a rock band. Certainly more so than Madonna (who I fully expect to see voted in in two or three years. Hey, she’s a critics’ darling and all…)

Other eligible  folks that deserve more to be in than Jackson Browne (heaven knows that’s not limiting it much, but off the top of my head) : Gram Parsons, X, T. Rex, Roxy Music, Moody Blues, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Kiss, Gang Of Four, Public Image Ltd., The Cure, ELO, Free, Bad Company, XTC, Dire Straits, Motorhead, Kate Bush, Donna Summer, Eno, Giorgio Moroder, Richard Thompson, Robert Wyatt, Ted Nugent.

Some of these may eventually get consideration. Most won’t. But that’s a few to start with.

Speaking of the classic rock, I was pushed into going to see Styx the other night at Wild Bill’s in Duluth. Bill’s is a country music nightclub in the space that used to be occupied by Service Merchandise. Inside (from the dance floor) it was reminiscient of any mall USA, with the dance area being the food court and the upper portions resembling stores and movie theatres. Bill Gentry (Wild Bill hisself) and his band 35 cent Rodeo (or something like that) opened the show and were  what’s wrong with country music as he tried to connect with the rock audience (Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi covers amongst others) while pushing his own bland neo-country. It was most pleasurable when they stopped. As for Styx. They sounded like Styx and Chuck Panozzo was with them this time around. I fully suspect my sister will pull me to the Kansas show there in February. How long?

As for the Extreme portion of the title, I’m perplexed why the RNR Hall Of Fame have excluded Gary Cherone from the line-ups of Van Halen to be inducted, Now, it’s true that Gary sang on their worst selling album and was only in the band for a short period of time, but he DID sing on a major release by the band. The RNR Hall DID induct Sid Vicious with the Sex Pistols and that guy wasn’t on Bollocks and was often unplugged on stage. So if Sid’s in, Gary should be as well…..


A Ford Not A Lincoln

I’d opine on the death of the great James Brown here, but I said it much better on my radio program on 12/31. If you want to hear that, hit that seven day archive at .

They bury Gerald Ford tomorrow. I always kind of liked ol’ Jerry as a politician (what little my young, at that time, mind could understand) who kind of straddled a middleground and tried to get things right. Still, the only President I have seen in person (he spoke at Peachtree High School  in the spring of 1976, a year and a half before I started 8th grade there) and I was always a little envious that in our seventh grade mock election Andrew Nunns got to portray Ford while I was roped into being Jimmy Carter. The guy actually taped a segment for NBC’s Saturday Night when that crew were ripping the piss out of him on a weekly basis, was a football star at Michigan, survived the Warren Commission and invented the WIN button! OK, those Whip Inflation Now buttons kinda sucked. But he did have a darn catchy re-election theme song that, thirty years later, I remember most of and he almost made it possible for the vice-president’s wife to be someone my dad dated in high school (my dad dated Elizabeth Hanford later Dole, FYI) and the vice-president he did have (Nelson Rockefeller) flipped off some hecklers. So he was an interesting guy, Gerald Ford, and I’ll have a decent memory of him.

Another reason to check out the seven day archive of the 12/31 Personality Crisis is to hear my new promo which makes a “light-hearted (?)” statement about what might happen to the station.

And though you should always check out WREK 24/7, you could also figure out a way to listen to some of the excellent music programming the BBC provides. Huw Stephens’ indie show on BBC One has introduced me to a band called Tall Pony who have a song called “I’m Your Boyfriend Now” that’s sort of silly lyric-wise, but musically reminds a bit of the icy synth stylings of early Ultravox/Human League. (the only other song I’ve heard by them really sucked, so I’m wary of pushing you to investigate them further.) I’ll play “Boyfriend” this week and let you guys decide what you think. There’s also a couple of live concert programs of worth (one recently featured the Stones’ 1971 Leeds show) which will soon air live performances from Hawkwind (from 1972 or 1973) and Guided By Voices and all these shows are also on seven day archive, imagine that.

So remember President Ford, listen to WREK/the BBC and, having seen “The Mayor Of Sunset Strip”, I hope your existence is of a happier one than what Rodney Bingenheimer seems to have.