Time Takes A Cigarette

Have you ever considered how fragile time actually is? Not in the “your life is ticking away sense”, but in the concept that my watch is a few minutes different from yours and everyone else’s and thus very few folks actually have the correct time. So why we are living at the same time, some of us are actually either a few minutes in the future or a few minutes in the past.

Have found out recently that Ray Dafrico (Nightporters, Shades Of Shame, KTO, etc) actually works for the same company I do. His new band the Shanghai Gesture played Live at WREK this past Tuesday (2/5/08) and are worth a listen in the WREK 7 day archive at wrek.org

Cleaned out the spam tonight from incoming comments. Enjoyed what I assume is one claiming to be from the wrestler Chris Jericho. If it is actually Chris (who has lived in the ATL), welcome aboard.

Speaking of wrestling, Ric Flair has endorsed Huckabee while Hulk Hogan has put his stamp of approval on Obama. And here’s a link from Youtube to one of my all time favorite Gordon Solie calls : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN74RaW7UgA

“He’s hemorrhaging. Don’t move him.” Nearly twenty-seven years later and I still fondly recall this.

 

Lots of Jam and Stranglers to be played on Personality Crisis this upcoming Sunday. Working on getting Pere Ubu giveaways/possible interview regarding their upcoming performance at the Plaza Theatre.

 

         

 

 

Wir Sind Dann Helden

The Clash’s version of Pressure Drop that’s being used in a car commercial will probably be heard by more people than have ever heard their music. We are all Devo after all!

Ernie Johnson was the epitome of class the entire time he was an announcer for the Atlanta Braves. Understand that it was his inning to announce on April 8, 1974 when Henry Aaron became baseball’s current home run king, but he graciously stepped aside because Milo Hamilton had it in his contract that he was to announce Aaron’s at-bats as he approached the record. Milo Hamilton is in the baseball Hall Of Fame, partially because of that call which should have been Ernie’s. The ordinary hoi polloi can rectify that by voting for Ernie at www.baseballhalloffame.org. Vote once each day through 11/30/07 for Ernie. Please.

I Do The Traffic Light Rock, Stop & Go All Of The Time

Is there anything more wasteful going on in Atlanta right now than these idiotic lights they are placing at all freeway ramps to regulate incoming traffic? Are there really that many wrecks with merging traffic to justify the expense? And do you really expect the great drivers of Atlanta to obey these lights when they have difficulty with those on surface streets? How long til we have redlight cameras on the ramps?  It makes no sense to have them on some ramps (eg, the entrance from Savoy Drive/North Peachtree in Chamblee where there’s both a short taper and a need to merge fast as the right lane forces you to exit onto Peachtree Industrial southbound if you don’t merge fast enough.) Some light placements are also odd. The one on the entrance onto 575 south from Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw is well up the ramp (it’s quite a long ramp) just before you merge with 575. So you are then forced to almost drag race from the greenlight to get up the speed to merge into 55+ MPH traffic. Stupid.

In other stuff, a couple of more passings to note. The first is that of any sort of record store at Perimeter Mall. I have many memories of lingering around the record emporiums at Perimeter but can no longer as the FYE there has now closed. I bought my first record at that mall in 1976 (Wings Over America) but not at Franklin Music but at Rich’s. (Penney’s used to sell albums there as well.) Franklin gave way to Record Bar to Camelot to FYE. At some point Turtle’s opened and then became a Blockbuster Music and then Warehouse Music. Now, no more. Though Paul Stanley and Grace Slick are both soon appearing at an art gallery there!

Also noted this week is the passing of the gifted comedienne Alice Ghostley from cancer at the age of 81. Alice has always sort of been under the radar even though she appeared in blockbuster movies like Grease and was a regular on the TV show Designing Women. I first encountered her when my family went to one of those Theater Of The Stars productions in 1975 or 1976 where she was appearing with Paul Lynde (a worthy foil) in something or another which may have been called Stop, Thief, Stop. Anyway, she was a damn funny lady and you should do yourself a favor and seek out something with her in it.

Went by 688 the other day to see the building is finally being used (not torn down, thank goodness) as a medical clinic. So the place where all those musicians used all sorts of illicit drugs is now doling them out legitimately. and the place where I saw Chris Wood stick a hypodermic needle in his head now regularly features folks using those same type needles correctly.

Finally, here’s one from YouTube featuring a Today show report from the day after the Sex Pistols’ Great Southeast Music Hall appearance  with Jack Perkins, Jane Pauley and Tom Brokaw all taking their shots at the band :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoO591pGkjA

Haven’t confirmed it with Stan Satin, but I think Chris Wood is one of the punks lingering outside.

 

Mister Saturday Night Special

so it was a very interesting Saturday past (8/25/07). My sister decided fairly early in the day that she wanted to go see the Def Leppard/Styx/Foreigner show at  Hi Fi Buys Amphitheatre. I thought she was gonna go with her friend since her husband is out of town but, nope, I got the nod to go instead. When I went to Publix to buy the tickets ($30.50 x 2 somehow equals $89 in Ticketmaster math), the lady behind the counter began telling how she saw Leppard on the Pyromania tour and the guy behind me spouted how lucky I was to be going. I was going to suggest they set up a date and go together but just ventured back into the heat with my too expensive tickets.

Before I dropped my mom off at my sister’s house to babysit, we went to Waffle House to eat. When we walked in, two of six booths were occupied, one was open and the other three were dirty. When we left, all six booths were dirty as our waitress, who disappeared after serving us, had informed the cook that she hadn’t waited on those tables and they “weren’t paying her to clean those tables.” I kinda think they were. Lord knows she certainly wasn’t going to get to wait on anyone else until she did clean them.

So my sister and I leave Duluth at about 6:15. We make good time through the city and get down near the Lakewood/Langford Parkway exit by about 7:10 (the show was a scheduled 7:00 start.) Whammo, the exits were packed full. Typical city of Atlanta traffic control (or non-control) means incoming show traffic moved at a standstill. When we get inside, it’s pushing 8:00 and not only have we missed Foreigner (no big deal since some schmo other than Lou Gramm is singing these days) but we barely get situated for Styx. Now I’ve only seen Styx without Dennis DeYoung (meaning not back then either) but they are still fairly enjoyable for what they are. And they played that Toys For Tots charity show back in 1977, alright. All of the set (outside of Too Much Time On My Hands) was from the albums The Grand Illusion & Pieces Of Eight. But it was hard to both see and hear Styx because a) the speakers situated on the roof of the covered seating were not turned on for Styx (meaning the lawn was only hearing the band from the stage PA which wasn’t very loud)  b) the video screens were also not used. I understand why Def Leppard didn’t want the video used but not allowing use of the speakers for slightly better sound comes off as just petty. They’ve been playing shows together so maybe there’s problems between the two bands, who knows.

Def Leppard were just sort of disappointing. After all the raving I did for the covers album they released last year, this was just a tepid not very rocking show. My sister noted that all of their songs tend to sound alike and as the set wore on the near capacity crowd began to dissipate. Not sure if the older crowd had to get home to babysitters or were just bored like me. The couple next to my sister didn’t seem to mind. This late forties-ish twosome were making out like it was the No Tell Motel. He was shirtless (and shouldn’t have been) but she didn’t mind, at one point licking his shoulder. Ewwwww.

Anyway. we left just before the set ended with Photograph, the one song I kinda wanted to see. When I got home I flicked by a show called Red Eye that Fox News airs at 2 AM. The show has a panel who comment on various news stories and items. On Saturdays they usually run repeats but last night I stopped on it when I recognized the countenance of Sir Johnny Rotten. Of course Johnny ran the show and nobody else could easily get a word in edgewise, but that’s ok. Two weird moments. One, they actually interviewed Johnny, which they don’t usually do with panelists. Secondly, they brought on the great wrestler Rey Mysterio Junior and interviewed him as well. In the process, you could hear Johnny literally perk up at the mention of lucha libre and he then saluted Rey for for his good work. John Lydon is familiar with lucha libre. Absolutely surreal.

Before I went to bed I watched most of a sort of documentary called “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” about the MPAA, ratings, and the people who make them. Will finish it in just a bit when I get home and may post a mini-review later.

One quick review is of a DVD called “This Is Southern Rock”. Besides seeing the shells of what’s left of bands like Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet, you get to see the completely different sounding guy ARS have gotten to replace Ronnie Hammond. There’s a vintage clip of Black Oak Arkansas (who I never much cared for) but little else to recommend here.

American Heavy Metal Weekend

so I watched the “cult classic” Heavy Metal Parking Lot courtesy of Netflix yesterday and wasn’t that impressed. When they said it was a favorite on the Nirvana tour bus I could only think that Kurt identified himself/his audience in the lunkheads going to see that Judas Priest show. Zebraman that hates punk is interesting, but the highlight for me is the guy in the DC 101 shirt that resembles a cross between Steve Perry and Chris Robinson, aka one ugly guy.

No I can’t really identify with the crowd going to see Priest that night (other than agreeing that they DO rock) but I did witness a couple of lunkhead moments myself back in the 80s at the few metal shows I did go see.

In 1985, Mike Mitten (RIP) and I ventured down to the Omni courtesy of comp tix to see AC/DC with opener Yngwie Malmsteen. Now, Mike liked his metal a bit more than me, but even he agreed that Yngwie was a douche so we waited until we figured he’d be about over before heading to the Omni. At that point, will call was located in the foyer at the Omni International/CNN Center. As we approached the window, the show had apparently just sold out as one of the workers was closing her booth. A drunken guy straight out of the parking lot documentary yelled very loudly “What’s that c*** doing?” He then proceeded to bang on the booth window and say “Hey, c***, what are you doing?” We got our tickets and went in and to this day one of the few things I remember about the show was that the entire row in front of us was teenage boys who were, for some reason, shirtless.

I also saw Metallica at the Omni back in 1989. At that time, virtually every show I saw there the security near the floor would hop on anybody that moved. Except at Metallica. The comp tix we got were just off the floor and sure enough a fight breaks out in my row. I’m still waiting for security to arrive.

A year before we got comp tix to see Dio and Megadeth at the half-house configuration of the Omni. I only decided to go because I read a review in either the NME or Melody Maker where they mentioned that at one point the guitarist “killed” a giant spider with lasers coming out of his guitar. So stupidly outlandish, I HAD to see it! I was one of the few however as had they moved everyone in the building to the floor, it still wouldn’t have been full. This is half-house, remember. Anyway, at some point I had to pee and stumbled in the dark to the men’s room. Now, with that small a crowd, you’d expect harmony. Nope, I pick the bathroom where two genii decide they’re gonna fight. and I barely survived that to just get back as the guitarist is finishing his lame overlong solo and killing the spider. Bad news all the way around.

Skip ahead around a decade to Lakewood and Ozzfest, the first time the reunited Black Sabbath play Atlanta. At one point, Ozzy bellows “Come on, you gotta get more fuckin’ crazy!” At this point (I’m on the lawn) I look to my left and folks have set the lawn ablaze. Ozzy, can you get “more fuckin’ crazy” than setting the venue on fire?

Anyway, those are my “parking lot” moments. Devo fans didn’t really “party” enough to get their own documentary so I couldn’t have filmed much at shows I went to…..

Unrelated note, I kinda like the Simpsons movie. Sappy predictable ending but good bits interspersed… 

 

Just a quickie

Listening to some music at work the other day and “Seventeen” by Foreigner came on (similar in content to Warrant (or whoever) that did “You’re Only Seventeen” that I frankly only know because of the commercial that used to run on TV for the Hair Metal album. You know, music a lot of folks liked in the late 80s/early 90s that “rocked” then but know they like it because it’s so cheesy.) anyway, it hit me that Foreigner (and Warrant, for that matter) were well old enough that they shouldn’t have been squiring teenage girls through song. How come, with the exception of “Stacy’s Mom” and “Mrs. Robinson”, you don’t hear these rock star types singing about older women. Especially with bands going on and on and on. Couldn’t Foreigner, these days, sing a song about a “girl” whose “Fifty-seven” and still be singing about a younger woman? or Warrant give us “She’s Only Forty-three”. It beats Iggy just singing songs about his dick (see the tepid recent Stooges album…)

 

Hairy Potheads

So i tried to go shopping at bookstores Friday night and was mildly successful. At one Barnes & Nobles I literally got three feet in the door before the chaos associated with all things Harry Potter hit in full force. As I reversed my way out, I ventured to two more stores in a non-Potter quest when it finally hit me how silly this phenomenon was and how much the music industry would, at this point in time, kill for anything remotely similar to it. As I saw twenty something year old Harry lookalikes smoking outside Borders (does Harry hit the cigs? I have no idea) I realized that in the old days when folks camped out for concert tickets or a new album release they didn’t do so dressed as their favorite artist. Sure a lot of Skynyrd fans sleeping in the Oz parking lot waiting for those Omni tickets to go on sale may have looked like Gary Rossington, but that’s just who they were, they weren’t making any special effort. And all of this for a book? I’m currently reading Pete Rose’s book (a Dollar Tree special complete with incorrect spelling of Rico Carty’s name!) but don’t expect me to look like Pete if I enjoy it.

Which leads me to these “role playing” kids who inhabit the Student Center Commons near WREK nearly every Saturday. Maybe it’s because I’ve never smoked pot, listened to a lot of Rush or Bauhaus and have never played Dungeons & Dragons, but I don’t get this either. I used to pretend I was Phil Esposito (or his brother Tony) when I was a kid, but I’d look a damn fool if I did that now.

And speaking of sports, here’s hoping the Braves truly honor Henry Aaron the next few days and give Mister Bonds absolutely nothing to hit…….

Sitting At The Metroplex…

Holy shit, it lives!!!

I drive by the site of the second (Marietta Street) Metroplex virtually every day going to and from work and while I don’t miss it as much as 688, it’s still one of those holes in my life I can never refill. At some point I’ll regurgitate a few more stories about the place but I’ll whet your appetite with two.

The first is late November of 1985, the second (and less impressive) Atlanta Dead Kennedys show. I parked down the street outside an African-American club called, I think, the Phoenix. I’ve always thought that was the only time I ever parked there but today decided I must have done it before that show because I felt ok about doing it. And the reason why I did it? To save the three bucks or so the guy charged for parking in the lot next to the ‘Plex. Needless to say, I rued my decision when I came back after the show to find it hade been towed. Save $3? Cost me probably about $100 to get it out. Plus, I had to find a ride home. My friend Todd couldn’t take me because he was going with Jello to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers show that was at 688 that night. (aside – the only words Jello Biafra probably ever heard me say was “They towed my fucking car”. That heartens me in some way.) Anyway, I drive by that place evryday as well. When I first started commuting to Centennial Tower I noticed the place had changed names to something Dance Club and had various country flags painted on it, leftover, I’m sure, from its proximity to Olympic festivities in 1996. Anyway, last night I looked over and they’d knocked the building down. One more old Atlanta structure gone to be replaced, probably, by a highrise of some sort.

The other Metrplex story I’ll regale you with today dates from 1986 or so, the first time Skinny Puppy played Atlanta (and the only time for several more years.) The end of their show seemed rather hokey at the time, with an “audience member” (aka band associate) pretending to shoot the lead singer (Ogre?) to death. It was actually sort of funny. Some guys from the band Flatbush were videotaping the show upstairs. As we knew the band would get a copy, we said loud enough to be on mic “At least Alice hung himself”. When some moron pulled this stunt for real on Dimebag Darrell, I could see why initially some audience members thought it might be part of the show. Bad life imitating bad art.

In the future I’ll bring up Arthur Davis getting clocked by a full beer can outside the club and other shenanigans that’ll make you think “damn…….”

Indeed

Well they’ve inducted the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame again and I’ll (anon) have a non-timely piece on it. Figures. Anyway, my mom had a stretch in the hospital with pneumonia so I haven’t had any earth-shaking posts for you to salivate over. Until this one.

This post is dedicated to the Hall of Fame. But not that one. Vince McMahon’s WWE has a wrestling Hall of Fame that they have been inducting folks into for a few years, even letting the ordinary hoi polloi vote to determine a spot. So far this year they’ve announced the upcoming inductions of the American Dream, the son of a plumber, Mister Dusty Rhodes as well as one of a number of Kings to call Memphis home (not the Superstar Bill Dundee you oafs), Jerry The King Lawler. Both good selections. Rhodes was so over with kids of my generation he merits the spot and Lawler was always pretty ace in Memphis including his legendary angle with Andy Kaufman. But there’s a gaping hole in the WWE Hall of Fame. It can only belong to one man. The Dean of wrestling announcers, the unsurpassable Gordon Solie. Solie made you interested in what was going on whether it was a boring squash match or an in-depth interview. Gordon lent an intelligent, serious attitude to the announcing that allowed you an insight into what was purportedly going on. Hell, I learned what the carotid artery was well before my heart troubles courtesy of Gordon’s play by play. And the funny thing is, I’ve talked to a number of folks who aren’t exactly wrestling afficionados and even with their limited exposure to Solie they’ve said they realized what a talent he was. My personal fave was his description as Ted Dibiase was finally being helped after receiving multiple piledrivers from the Freebirds : “Don’t move him! He’s hemorrhaging!” So come on Vince, put Gordon Solie in your WWE Hall of Fame.  To paraphrase the late Freddie Miller, Gordon should “be therrrrrrrrre!” Below are some samples from Youtube of his Solieness :

(By the way, don’t bother with the book Gordon wrote back in the 1980s. Possibly the most boring wrestling associated book ever that features as much on his family’s holiday pool tournaments as it does in ring stories…..)

Here’s Gordon with JYD (nice angle with the Freebirds)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BidXwPaEyw

Announcing Bruiser Brody vs Wahoo McDaniel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQxv4xGDop4

The best, Ric Flair, vs Barry Windham

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lIDJRHVZ6g

Calling Dusty Rhodes vs the Russian Bear, Ivan Koloff

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lIDJRHVZ6g

with the immortal Harley Race analyzing his match with Dirty Dick Murdoch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sc-lCxdN2I

trying to control the Fullers & Jimmy Golden as they narrate a Bob Armstrong beatdown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqcUVRTjrVM

and trying to honestly put over  Tracy Smothers taking on a bear !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25BIVy7g0X8

 

I’m Just A Heart & Soul Rock N Roll Junkie

(the above references Herman Brood, a Dutch musician I once saw open for the Kinks in Atlanta. One of the highlights of his band’s set was when one of the members screamed “Hello Alabama!” Brood did an interview with a local Atlanta TV station where he said that the one thing he wanted to do while in America was “sleep with Little Richard.” He may be best known in some circles for being the ex-husband of Nina Hagen as well as a 1979 US chart placement for his single “Saturday Night”. He passed away, I believe, in 2001.)

Another Valentine’s Day without a Valentine for me. Too many years like that for me. Sad to say my most vivid Valentine’s memory is from 25 years ago today when I saw a somewhat dodgy Atlanta band called Baby & The Pacifiers at their West Peachtree Club, the Bistro. Apparently the Bistro was owned/run by several different folks over the years and at one point in the 70s featured Jimmy Buffet’s band as the houseband. The Pacifiers had a college radio hit in Atlanta with their single “After You Jump” b/w “Planet Rangers”. I always had this feeling they thought themselves more important to the scene than they were (maybe that’s just me.) Though the Bistro was open for several years after I became “of drinking age”, I never again ventured in after that 1982 “teen” night show. (To be truthful, the only other show there that I was ever interested in seeing there was X’s Atlanta debut in 1981, but I weren’t old enough.) The major problem with the Bistro (other than always having the Pacifiers play) was it seemed that most bands that played there were a step down from the ones who played 688. Those type of bands later found a gigging home at Margaritaville, which I’ve just recently noted has been torn down.

Anyway, to any ladies viewing this site, tonight you are my Valentine. Hey, a generic message has gotta be better than a dreary Sunday night at the Bistro in 1982……..

Come On Mammy, Gimme That Grammy!

First, I want to take out my name from consideration of being the father of Anna Nicole’s baby. That cuts the list under 300,000 I think.

As for Ms. Smith, most people didn’t seem surprised by her demise but it did surprise me. Though she was a mess who was an actress (who couldn’t act), a model (who few had hired in fifteen years) and a reality show star (who wasn’t in the least bit real), she was famous for being…. Gets me. But those types of folks who people expect to die because of their lifestyle (glaring example being Courtney Love) tend to stick around and, honestly, she didn’t live THAT wild a life. Compare that to River Phoenix who much of Hollywood seemed stunned at his passing. That one didn’t stun me a bit. The one time I met the guy (he was in town travelling around with T-Bone Burnette during a Burnette promo tour) he seemed completely out of his gourd. So no shock there.

As to the Grammys, why bother giving the things out. I really find it difficult to believe that Grammy voters really thought the Dixie Chicks released the best record of the year without giving more creedence because of the situation they found themselves in because of Natalie Maines’ comments in England a few years ago. The Dixie Chicks pretty much admitted as much in one of their acceptance speeches. Grammy voters have set the precedent by rewarding political heroes of recent with Grammys (Hillary, Bill and this year Jimmy Carter). Can you imagine releasing a spoken word project that you’ve worked your ass off on and the exultation felt at being told you’ve been nominated for a Grammy only to have the letdown on finding out that Hillary Clinton has also been nominated? Understand, I’m not coming down on anybody’s political affiliation here. I honestly don’t care what somebody’s politics are when I listen to their music (or spoken word or whatever) but it is dishonest for voters to allow sensibilities to play into their selection. Out of the final choices, I probably would have opted for Gnarls Barkley, myself.

As for musicians making political statements on stage, the hoi polloi came to hear music, not a dissertation. You’d be disappointed if you attended a John Edwards rally and, rather than hear his ideas for running the country, were forced instead to hear his a cappella rendition of ELP’s Tarkus album. So why is it different for Dan Fogleberg (just popped into my head) to be able to interrupt a concert to opine on saving the “squonking lizard” (or whatever). REM used to make a statement on stage that there was a Green Peace booth in the arena and to check out their info. That seems a fair way. Or incorporate your statement into a song or into interviews you give. That’s what the those who mock fans who shout “shut up and sing” don’t understand. An artist’s fans may agree with them (most do) or may not. The stage just is not the right place for a lecture. Got it.

I’ve actually got a kid named Curtis who’s the student helper guy that WREK requires for alum show hosts. Anyway, he’s going to fill in from time to time with him doing the 2/25/07 show solo. Advanced notice and give him props.

Also my friend Kevn Kinney sent me this :

“hey everyone…
i know you’ve all (yall) have been concerned with what’s been goin on with
my voice…
i thought maybe  i was just turning into howlin wolf…..
i took a month off thinking it was just stress on my vocal chords but it was
just getting worse…
so i saw a specialist in atlanta yesterday and i finally have a diagnosis
that makes sense…
(i couldn’t take any more honey and lemon)
i have a cyst on my larynx and am scheduled for outpatient surgery on
February 15
hallelujah!!!!
shayni and myself are very excited about this….and want to thank yall for
your
concerns,remedies,suggestions and well wishes….
i should be up and talking within a few weeks if not earlier
i truely do miss ranting and pontificating at yall…….

we will update you on what’s going on following the fifteenth
till then keep on rockin in the free world…..
kevn and shayni rae kinney”

Good luck brother….
 

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 www.billtush.com . 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 www.wrek.org .

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.

I’m so damn lost, where in the hell is Innsbruck, Austria?

If any of my royal listeners wondered where I was on Sunday (instead of doing my radio show) I was busy at work because the Student Center is apparently locking up at 7 PM over break (as opposed to 10 PM in previous years) and, barring breaking some glass, I had no way of getting in the building. (I did try most of the outside doors.) Next Sunday I’m gonna work weird hours and try to get in before lockdown but I can’t guarantee anything as the school may close access earlier because of it being Christmas Eve. Same goes for New Year’s Eve as well…..

My resourceful bit of the day was fixing my belt with a clasp paper clip until I could get to Wal-Mart and buy a new one. (It took me approximately 7 minutes to park my car, find a belt, pay self-checkout and get back to my car. Holiday shopping is hectic, huh.)

I’m A Hooligan, Never Going Back To School Again

Today in History :

December 15, 1990

Georgia Tech hands me a degree. Maynard Jackson gives commencement and trashes Andrew Young’s administration as mayor. I believe both Dave Slusher and Chris Campbell (old WREK types) also get degrees this day meaning that Tech bestows an honor on three of the more cynical bastards to ever set foot on campus. I still carry my miniature degree in my wallet, FYI.

I was going to talk about Gordon Solie but that’ll have to wait…

A Quick One While I’m Awake

Never did give my opinion on the New York Dolls show. Thought it “ok” but still not sure why guys looking like Poison were there thinking they were punk rock or something. Johansen looked the cross between Jagger & Tyler they used to compare him with. Better than that show was my watching the documentary “New York Doll” about Arthur Kane. Highly recommended (and I don’t do that often!)

Also just got the DVD set of Saturday Night’s first season (before it became Saturday Night Live) and though I’m sure as I watch it there’s gonna be some wincing stuff (bad drug humor), there’s still enough Gilda plus to bring it all home.

And why isn’t Friday’s out on DVD? That show came on the air during one of the lower lows in SNL’s existence (Piscopo and Rocket-era) and was easily as good in that span with better musical guests (the Jam, the Clash, Devo 3 times). Maybe some day. And where the hell’s seasons 4 and 5 of Taxi, for that matter….

Not going to see Zappa Plays Zappa Tuesday night. Saw the man himself his last show in Atlanta (November 1984) and was kind of bored by that. Now ol’ Dweez is back in town without Lisa Loeb in tow (good for you leaving him LL, now search me out) and cranking out a period of Frank (mid to late 70s) that I never much cared for. So I’ll just stay and work on Tuesday, thank you.

Will try to post again in next few days since I know your life probably revolves around me. Mine does.

The Radio’s In The Hands Of Such A Lot Of Fools Trying To Anesthetize The Way That You Feel….

Here’s a link to a Technique article regarding how outside forces are trying to alter WREK :

 http://nique.net/issues/2006-11-17/news/2

Quick stuff on some recently attended shows :

Saw Regina Spektor the other Friday and while I was impressed with how many attractive girls were at the show, the music was about as dull as it gets. Had heard Soviet Kitsch a bit back and thought it sounded ok, but this was boredom personified, with my main entertainment being watching two drunk (?) girls dancing madly somehow in a fairly confined space. At one one point Regina sang about how “two people next door to her were fucking to her music” (in so many words). Must have been because Regina was blasting her stero at their walls because the only bed activity I could imagine with her music involves snoring. If you start with Elton John and think watered down is Billy Joel and watered down of that is Bruce Hornsby, apply that process to Kate Bush -> Tori Amos -> Regina Spektor.

Saw Joan Jett the next night and that did nothing for me either. Have been going to see her for going on twenty-five years now and while I don’t mind her plugging her new album (though that version of the Replacements’ “Androgynous” she was doing at Music Midtown something like four years ago isn’t new anymore), I wish she’d diversify up the back catalog she plays. As is, you start realizing that for a decent songwriter (my opinion), most of her set is covers. I was also reeling a bit from having watched the movie “Edgeplay – A Film About The Runaways”, knowing how she (and her manager) had Vicki Blue pull any songs she had written from the film as well as whatever interview segments were done. So, anyone unfamiliar with the Runaways watching the movie would have little clue as to what they sounded like (outside of the Runaways’ covers of “Wild Thing” and “Rock N Roll”), but might mistake them with the Suzi Quatro (remakes even!) and Lita Ford solo selections that comprise much of the soundtrack. Would like to have found out more about what (Cherie/Sandy/Jackie/Vicki) did after leaving the band, especially given Sandy’s comments about how she learned something in prison, once broke someone’s arm and once put a gun down someone’s throat until they shit themselves. Whatever occurred, Sandy lived a hard life and you wished she could have seen a little bit better day before she passed away.

Saw Drivin N Cryin for the 237th time this past Friday. Kevn announced on-stage that this was the last time they’d do their annual Thanksgiving concert but he privately told me the same thing about last year’s show, so we’ll see. Thought they played a good deal better than the last few times I’ve seen them so that was fun.

In town this week is the first Atlanta appearance in over thirty years of the New York Dolls. Though Syl lives in Atlanta and has played out occasionally, it will be David Johansen’s first concert here since his band opened for Pat Benatar at the Omni in the fall of 1981. (David did film a movie here in the early 1990s. I think it may have been “Car 54, Where Are You?”) Haven’t heard the new Dolls album yet (Why should Roadrunner bother servicing a college station? They send us their metal, but not this?), but the live reunion stuff from a few years ago was pretty darn good. Just watched “All Dolled Up”, Bob Gruen’s DVD of archival Dolls live/off-stage footage and was quite impressed. Amazing how lucid Johnny Thunders was considering what he became. If you are in Atlanta, you should definitely go see the Dolls at the Variety Playhouse on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

They killed off 96 Rock this week. Sure, the classic rock it had been of recent was nowhere near as much fun as when it seemed the jocks had input into what they played (pre-Burkhart/Abrams), but it was an identifiable brand most folks my age grew up with. Funny how their corporate folks say they are catering to males 18 – 44 (yeah, most 44 year-olds like to listen to angry music with the jocks cutting in thanking the listeners for coming out to “party” with them, a promo of which the station is using to advertise moving the format down the dial.) 18 – 25, more likely. Still, 96 Rock is the station where I first heard the Sex Pistols (they played “God Save The Queen” the afternoon that the Pistols played at the Great Southeast Music Hall in January of 1978) and heard many a great concert broadcast (King Biscuit/Live At The Agora) including occasional simulcasts (Graham Parker, Joe Jackson, Peter Tosh) that sort of stood out at the time. But they did them. Time to guess the over/under on the lifetime of the Project 96.1 format? I guess under 5 years….

If you haven’t read my rant on what they are trying to do to WREK, skip to the post previous to this one and do something about it……..

 

Got HD Radio?

Well I could tell you how I went and saw a great (Wreckless Eric) and decent (Cheap Trick) show this week, but this post is all about WREK. The radio show Personality Crisis airs on WREK but WREK programming could soon be undergoing a radical (tragic) shift.

First, let me clarify that all opinions to be noted are mine, not WREK’s, that I host a show only there and have no position of authority. That said, “Let’s rumble…”

I graduated from Georgia Tech in 1990. At some point during my (what seemed like endless) tenure as a student there, I came to the realization that Tech was not a very student friendly school. At times, it seemed that if GT could subsist on grants and completely blow students off, then GT would be in a dream situation. Unfortunately, there are students. But, luckily for Tech, most of the student population is generally apathetic. So when some genii designs a parking deck to sit at the lowest point on campus, the students accept it, not realizing the brilliance until a flood or two damages their cars. (this happened circa 1984.) I’ve got an idea! Let’s feature a dining hall that stops serving dinner at 6:30! Who eats after that? (Not sure when this was implemented at the student center. I think they have an area there that stays open a little later there but the snack area used to stay open until at least 10 when I was a froshperson.) Anyway, they may be counting on that apathy again. This time the target is WREK.

You might have read about the WREK situation in Creative Loafing or the Technique, but it hasn’t subsided. It’s picked up speed. Right now, plans are afoot for Public Broadcasting to lease a certain amount of time (over 10 hours) and for WREK to go “digital” and be dumped into the unknown world of HD Radio. Do you have HD radio? Do you know anyone that does? I know there’s a big push on HD TV since that’s going to replace terrestrial TV but there doesn’t seem to be that same urgency (aka advertising blitz) regarding radio. So right now, I’m regarding it with the same regard I paid minidiscs. And DATS. I’d say CB radios, but more people own those than HD radios. Also, WREK’s tower would move to Stone Mountain. Yippee! It’s just fine where it is for the signal and we’ve turned down moving the tower to the Peachtree Plaza in the past. So…. Let’s look at the winners and losers here…..

WINNERS

GPB – I’m not exactly sure what they want to put on WREK, to be honest. I’m guessing NPR stuff that they don’t air while they air their original programs of “highbrow” music from the 1700s-1800s that was originally the pop music of the day. In fact, I think Mozart may actually have an “Oops, I Did It Again” sonata. But that stuff brings in those listener contributions ($$$$$$$) so that they can continue to operate. I’m sure they have multiple radio personalities (they may not be Steve and Vikki, but they are personalities) that make salaries that are multiples of WREK’s $40 K budget (virtually unchanged since the mid-70s), but if people want to give it to them… Anyway, this would get the monkey off their back of having to field complaints from folks who want more NPR, less Johann Sebastian. And I’m sure GPB would pay a “fair” rate to lease the time, aka they’ll make more back in listener contributions than they’ll pay out. So less hassle with NPR fans, more airtime at a “fair” rate, more money coming in, GPB ARE WINNERS!

Georgia Tech – Tech win in several ways. First of all, and most obvious, is via income revenue. You’ve got to try to get up in that Harvard range for bringing in dough and we all know GPB’s “fair” rate is gonna push ’em toward that top. Then there’s the prestige of having that award-winning NPR programming associated with Georgia Tech. Excuse me, but will anyone actually listen to GT’s new version of WREK and associate what’s coming out with GT? If they don’t do it with an actually innovative station (which WREK currently is), how will they when the programming will be exactly the same as if the person was listening to public radio in some place like Omaha or Santa Clara? What was all that shit about “we don’t fit the mold, we break it” ? GT students and alums can say that proudly but in this case it rings just as hollow as “I’m not gonna pay a lot for this muffler.” Just another marketing catchphrase, obviously. Tech seems to be  stuck on trying to position itself as some sort of “cultural leader” and I’m not sure why. It could be, again, the pursuit of $$$$$. Look at how the Ferst Center is booked. Cheesy acrobats that would have been mildly amusing on the TV show Real People (the Umbilical Brothers), once decent artists trying to keep their careers afloat (Chick Corea and Bela Fleck), lame as get all new age (George Winston), lame-o smooth jazz (Earl Klugh) and the Hamburg Symphony, noted for its “innovative programming”, performing the works of those radicals Tchaikovsky and Brahms! Safe, non-threatening stuff that’ll bring in the $$$$. Not unlike the programming of music you’ll more likely hear on public radio! Meanwhile, Georgia State’s Rialto Theatre series features Bo Diddley, the Royal Drummers of Burundi and a Steve Reich Festival! Still, NPR programming is sure to spur some alum to give mucho dinero and besides, it’ll keep them from having to hear those pesky “Hour Of Slack” promos during ISP GT night game broadcasts. So, GEORGIA TECH ARE WINNERS!

LOSERS

Georgia Tech Students – Not just looking at WREK staff here, but the student population as a whole. Understand that WREK has always been funded by student activity funds with additional fees (electricity, location space) picked up by the school. The station is still “owned and operated” by GT students, and that’s gonna change. An outside entity is now going to do that. WREK has always had problems with student listenership and if a group of students had banded together with the goal of taking over the station to play Creed, I would have been sad but at least understanding. The current situation is sad, but not understandable. And the students may raise an uproar if (when?) it occurs, but after a couple of weeks the apathy will kick back in and “ Hey why did Paul Hewitt play for the tie?” will be a more likely subject of conversation. And, thus, there’ll be one less extracurricular activity to participate in. I gotta go to Diff-EQs…… So, in this situation, GEORGIA TECH STUDENTS LOSE.

The Arts Scene In Atlanta – Considering more than just listeners here, since those guys will still be able to listen to WREK on their spiffy HD Radios sitting atop their Betamaxes. Smirk. Not that those with an NPR jones probably couldn’t find said programming on the internet, it’s just not on Sirius yet and I wanna hear it on the radio in my Lexus as I head in from Douglasville. WREK programming is UNLIKE any other radio station out there. Terrestrial/satellite/podcast, WREK is totally unique. Yes, there are elements that are common with other stations’ programming (both good and bad), but in the 23 years I’ve been affiliated with WREK it has always attempted to be the best radio station featuring the best programming available for Atlanta (and now the world via the internet.) Sometimes we’ve been successful, sometimes not so. But the success ratio has always seemed to be better than the failure. This unique vision which has been the first to bring Atlanta the music of rock acts like the Smashing Pumpkins, Flaming Lips and Mastodon (to name just a few), has also exposed many Atlantans for the first time to many jazz acts, world musicians, hip hop artists, experimental artists and, ahem, modern classical artists like Harry Partch and Steve Reich that the existing public radio station  in Atlanta has generally stayed away from like a ten foot pole. It has educated the listening audience as well as the student staff about types of music and art that they never would have discovered on their own. It certainly did me. Now the only teaching will be the power of the almighty dollar. WREK also provided a stage for internationally known acts such as the Indigo Girls. Red House Painters and Black Crowes, who all performed at the station in the formative stages of their careers. And, though I’ve never heard them mention it, I’d imagine the multi-million selling act Outkast have been a little influenced by some of WREK’s hip hop/rock programming in developing their unique sound. Plus, WREK has been allowed the artists to be heard via interview. Since 1968, WREK has featured interviews with individuals as diverse as David Bowie to Sun Ra, from civil rights pioneer Hosea Williams to punk rock pioneer Joey Ramone. Frank Zappa called in, Captain Beefheart came by and pro wrestlers amazed WREK listeners with their knowledge of Einstein’s theories! (Ok, maybe not the last part.)  But Van Hammer and Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash) did stop by. Nonetheless, WREK has filled in a lot of cracks the rest of Atlanta’s media hasn’t been able to. That soon will change. ATLANTA (and INTERNET) RADIO LISTENERS as well as ATLANTA (and WORLD) ARTISTS LOSE.

Unless…..

As I see it, there’s two ways of fighting this war :

1) Since the overwhelming factor seems to be money, make a difference there. If this situation distresses you, and you are an alumnus of Georgia Tech, tell them you will no longer donate money to the school if they go through with this action. Tell other alums and ask them to do the same. If you know an influential ($$$$) alum like John Portman, or the Day family, or anyone (or the relatives) who has a building named after them on campus, advise them of the situation. Above all, be nice and civil when talking about this. Harrassment won’t accomplish anything and hurts the WREK cause in the long term.

2) Tell folks about it. Websites, blogs, media, artists, bands, politicians, anyone. Again, be prudent. But get the word out.

3) If you are an artist performing in Atlanta, mention it on-stage. Mention it to other artists and alert them to what is happening. WREK may need some of you artists to perform for us at some sort of benefit/event in the future. Contact Jeremy Varner at general.manager@wrek.org  . This applies to everyone. If you know Elton John, or R.E.M. or the Indigo Girls,  or Outkast or Jermaine Dupri, let them know. They are local-related acts who may/should know about WREK and could possibly help. If you know anyone of fame that GT bigwigs would know, be it Willie Nelson or U2 or Philip Glass or Neil Young or whoever, tell them about the situation. Ask them to lend a word to the administration or a performance for the cause. Money can help. but positive publicity for WREK (which would make the whole deal appear more seedy) would also be a big help. WREK has certainly helped out a lot of you artists, now we need your help.

4) Above all, keep the faith. It’s not a done deal. To quote a favorite saying of Joe Strummer, “The Future Is Unwritten.” If you’ve enjoyed/appreciated what WREK does and has done, it’s time for you to write it….

Night Of The Living Lazy

So I plug new stuff on the blog on the show last night and then I done forget to put it up. Oops….

My comment on Night Of The Lving Dead. (Talking about the original here, not some crap remake…) It is called NIGHT of the Living Dead, so how come every time the folks in the house see news about the “murderers” on the TV, the guys out hunting them are in daylight. Just hit me that that makes no sense.

There’s a 19 (NINETEEN!) CD set of Clash singles coming out soon. I read there was supposed to be unreleased stuff there, but what track listing I saw didn’t mention any. Still waiting for an official CD release of the version of Hammersmith Palais that was on the British RAR charity LP.

Would write more but one of those DOT barrels was blown into the road and did damage to my mom’s car today so I have to get up earlier and go deal with that. Enjoy your Halloween and I hope you get more treats than tricks (unless you’re a hooker, I guess…)