NOVEMBER 2014 FEATURES 6
Model of the Month Rachel Lilly -by Guido Colacci
14 Nikki Palomino Interview -by Guido Colacci 42 Chiller Theatre Expo -by Alexxis Steele 60 Diane Franklin Interview -by Jerry Saravia 64 Glen Buxton Birthday Memorial Interview With His Sister Janice -by Alexxis Steele 76 Emma Zakarevicius Interview -by Marlowe B. West
26 In the Spotlight: Interview with Stewart Brodian -by Alexxis Steele 52
Thanksgiving Day According to WIKI -by Alexxis Steele
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56 The Pressed Rose -by Nikki Palomino 58
To My Father -by the Gypsy Poet
101 Black Friday Releases -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 102 The Catholic Girls “Exposed” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 103 Neil Diamond “Melody Road” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 104 Alex Radus “Jewels & Tinware” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 105 Beyond Eden “Murderer” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 106 Blackrue “The Likelihood of Confusion” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 107 Alana “Asleep” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 108 Flintface “Hope” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 109 The Satisfactors -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 110 Silvertung “Devil’s in the Details” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 111 The Devyl Nellys “Too Much Information” -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 112 Judas Priest: Redeemer of Souls Tour 2014 -by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna 114 The Fleshtones “Wheel of Talent” -by Dana Saravia
Rockin’ Facts -by Thomas Richmond
Is Rock Really Dead? -by Stormy Boz
34 Barbell Buzz- by Tim Caso 36 Coliccio’s Corner -by Victor Coliccio 74 Positively Energized with Barry Pearl -by Scott Brandon 94 Marlowe B. West’s Whirling World: Interview with Steven Jones 116 Brain Spank: The Space Between -by Michael Wade Douglass Steel Notes Magazine | 3
Steel Notes Magazine
is a monthly magazine featuring what is happening in the art, music, entertainment, and fashion industry. Copyright is reserved. Re posting is whole or in part on other sites and publication without permission is prohibited. All right to photos belong to their respective owners.
STAFF WRITERS Guido Colacci Suburban Joe Rhonda Van Buskirk The Gypsy Poet Krista Cameron Jerry Saravia Debra Evans Michael Wade Douglass Tony Angelo Sheri Bayne Karen Best Stormy Boz Stewart Brodian Tim Caso Victor Colicchio Mike Dorn Vera Ferrara-Rone Michael Hendrick Bob Klein Derek Oels Puma Pearl Roman Thomas Richmond DarkOne Skip Rayvin Stites Marlowe B. West Michael “Jacobs” McKenna Guido Colacci
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STAFF Alexxis Steele - Publisher/Editor in chief Guido Colacci - Assistant Editor Elizabeth Brett - Proofreader/Copy Editor Keith- Boisvert- Layout/Cover Design
Social Media Facebook.com/SteelNotesMagazine
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PHOTOGRAPHERS Sheri Bayne Larry Dell Mike Dorn Bob Klein Brian Matus Gary Preis Rhonda Van Buskirk Bill Des Jardins
VIDEOGRAPHERS Lisa Koza DarkOne Skip Freddy Williams Larry Dell
Rockin’ Facts by Thomas Richmond
1991, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T. & The
M.G.s, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, The Isley Brothers, Sam & Dave and The Yardbirds were all elected to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
1987, U2 were on the front cover of UK pop magazine ‘Smash Hits’, which also had features on the Pet Shop Boys, Wet WetWet, T’Pau, Sting and Black. Reviewed on the new singles page: The Smiths ‘I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish’. 1977, The Last Waltz, the movie of The Bands
final concert premiered in New York. The Martin Scorsese movie also featured Joni Mitchell, Dr John, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton.
1966, The Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’, entered the UK chart, it went on to be a UK & US No.1 hit single. As a child, Brian Wilson’s mother told him that dogs could pick up “vibrations” from people, so that the dog would bark at “bad vibrations” Wilson turned this into the general idea for the song.
1965, The Rolling Stones were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’, also a No.1 in the US. Admin WHH Thomas Richmond
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Rachel Lilly is from Allentown, PA. The 23 year old keeps busy juggling the responsibilities of working two jobs and caring for her two young children.
Rachel has been modeling for two years, and over the past several months her career has really been taking off. With every shoot, Rachel stated, “my images look better and better. I’m learning a tremendous amount.” “I’m working on mastering those tiny details that separate a good model from a very good one.” She further explained “there’s no way I could manage this without the love and support of my friends, my family, and especially my fiancé Jason. I love where I am right now; I’m not rushing things. I want to savor every step of this process. I’m starting to live my dream right now.”
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Alan Ottenstein has devoted himself to creating Fine Art with human portraiture. He brings twenty years experience with film, digital photography and videography. His photography and writings have been published in a variety of books and magazines, including scientific journals. His films have been aired on local and national television. Alan goes on to explain “most of my life I’ve been drawn to capturing realistic images of people and their lives. Now I’ve taken on a bigger challenge: producing images which stir up emotions in the viewer.” He is accepting custom assignments. He shoots every day honing his craft. More of his work can be seen on Model Mayhem and on his Facebook pages.
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Guido Says by Guido Colacci
Nikki Palomino Interview GC: Hi Nikki, I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while. So, let me begin. Give me and our audience a little background of yourself; what would you like people to know about you? NP: That I’m a freak. No I swear to you, everything in life is called the underbelly of heaven. Because all the other girls would want to get married, do this, do that and no matter what I did, I could never fit into a norm. So I sort of gravitated towards musicians, writers, theater and weird people. When I was little I was ADHD and I was also pretty intelligent apparently according to the Bloomberg Clinic. I could also read at a very young age, by six years of age I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird. While I was in school, I lost the hearing in my left ear due to an undiagnosed infection. They didn’t think about checking me out, they just thought I was suddenly stupid. So they placed me in a Special Ed class, which was okay except I couldn’t understand why I went from being so smart to so stupid, and suddenly given books like See Spot Run or whatever. What was nice about it was the kids. I was with Down’s kids, mentally challenged etc.
mattered more than I let everyone think. I just tried to pass it off. My best friend was gay, a little guy. Everybody I met ended up being my mentors. There were people who worked with Clive Davis, there were producers and songwriters and that type of thing, and they lived in Houston and they did
GC: People you wouldn’t have normally interacted with. NP: Yes, except for in the playground. So what I would do is entertain them, I would tell them stories, they would laugh. The teacher finally figured out that I had a problem hearing, and had my hearing tested. Then I was thrown back into general population, and those kids thought I was retarded because I was in Special Ed. Houston at the time was small, I lived in Bellaire, which was very small, and everyone knew everyone. So I was called retarded but it really didn’t matter, although I guess it
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theater and stuff, so I got to meet a lot of people who were coming through town. So I was never with the “regular” people, and that just sort of set me apart. Which is why, with the Novel DAZED(The Story of a Grunge Rocker), I would choose a subject, on homosexuality.
GC: Yes, a couple of things struck me. One, that you were writing from a male point of view, number two that it was not only a male point of view, but a gay male point of view. I found it very intriguing why you would choose that, and how much of that book would you say is autobiographical and how much would you say you garnered from the life of Kurt Cobain or whoever the apparent comparisons are? NP: I would say probably all of it. The drugs very definitely, there were three people that influenced me when it came to drugs. My first love so to speak was a drug addict. He was like a Robert Altman. Robert Altman loved this guy; he thought he was going to be a great big star. He was a writer and he wrote things at that time that were not particularly wanted. He was a very good songwriter and singer, he was also very charismatic. But, he was a drug addict and ended up overdosing. Rolling Stone really liked him, so he influenced me in that regard. One thing I learned very quickly is that addicts loved drugs, period. No matter who you are, no matter what family, that’s their first love. The second person I played with who also played with Leon Russell and a bunch of other people was a guitar player, and he’s dead also. We were more like brother and sister, we grew up in the same area, but he was older. He would just cry and cry, “Why am I like this, why can’t I stop.” Finally his heart gave out. Then Kurt, that was just purely an accident. I wrote for several magazines at the time in the beginning of the 90’s here in L.A. I happened to be at a club covering something and he was there.
GC: Oh, so you knew Kurt personally?
things in their life. One of the things that Kurt had, which they all probably had at some point, were gay relationships. This had to do with the drugs, I don’t think any of them were gay. There was another common thread with all three, which was they each had difficult relationships with their mother, I would say especially Kurt. I did set it in Oregon, in that type of situation. There was no Molly, I knew a Molly who was signed by Clyde Davis. She was an incredible singer who just sort of freaked out and went off on a shrimp boat or something. This is the first work where he begins, and next second two would be the second most written and the third still needs to be written. It just shows how they evolved, and how he evolved. The reason for emphasizing the gay perspective is that a writer, Patricia Logan, was very big in gay erotica and she suggested that I try that as it was an open market. It sold immediately. All of those things that a teenager or a young person struggling with, in addition to being gay or different. I just recently had a guy outside of Nashville who bought the book and requested an autographed picture of me. The reason was that he was gay in a very unlikely place and he related to the book. I also get a lot of drug addicts who’ll sleep with anyone when it comes to getting drugs. They believe that I was a drug addict. I was around drugs, I did drugs, but I was never an addict.
GC: You were never a junkie or addicted. NP: Well the thing that I think saved me was I loved my brain, my brain was more important than the drugs. I needed to be able to think.
GC: Believe it or not I understand completely what you’re saying. I found myself in the same situation of the mid to late 70’s NYC punk scene, which was probably a little before your time. NP: Well not much before, but yes. NY was really with the punk and then even beyond that, they were really into heroin.
NP: Yes, he came up to me and asked if he could borrow my black mini dress for a gig, and that’s how GC: Yes, and that’s what happened from about 1976 it started. But, the main thing again was the drugs, to 1982, and then I just pretty much stopped everyhe would ramble, they would all ramble about thing. You explained a lot but I have to be honest,
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I’m still surprised though that you would write from a man’s point of view. Why did you do that? NP: I can tell you that right now. My father always said he wanted a boy, if I had been a boy he would have stopped, that would have been the last kid. There are three children, the second was a girl and the third was a boy. He bought me boxing gloves. I was not raised like a girl, I wasn’t into dolls and stuff. We had a farm up by Austin, and to build a house we’d have to carry up 2X4’s up a hill. There were no fancy dresses and stuff like that. I wasn’t really a tomboy or anything but he raised me and all of us to be independent and self-sufficient. So the man’s point of view to me, between that and Kenny,my gay best friend growing up, I think that was a natural, being a self-starter and all, that’s why the male point of view. Does that make sense?
would embellish anything. I know I got that because she would just sit there and go on and on. I could just sit at a campfire in girl scouts and easily tell a story and make you believe everything I said. That was just part of the writing, you’re supposed to be able to tell a story and just pull someone in. You choose the option involuntarily or voluntarily how you’re going to take care of things. I believe that has a lot to do with the characters. I believe they’re universal in the sense, again this is a kid struggling, with all the things any other kid could struggle with. Maybe he’s an extreme, but he’s still struggling with things that have probably crossed everyone’s mind.
GC: So writing was your first love. NP: Yes, before I knew that was what it was.
GC: Yes, it does make sense. The most difficult thing for me to write about is to write fiction, do you find it hard to write in terms of fiction? NP: I think the thing that sets them apart from male or female is that they’re different. So they don’t fit into general society. I don’t write about anybody that’s “normal”. I think that is the key, it isn’t so much that they’re male or female, it’s that they’re outcasts, so that’s where I’m writing from.
GC: So you don’t have any problem writing fiction? NP: No.
GC: That’s very good. I find that fiction is the most difficult thing to write. NP: I think again, you find the common thread. And for whatever reasons, I’ve seen a lot, and been around a lot. Having a lot of different experiences I think has sort of helped. I also had a grandmother who was a hillbilly. She was very influential. She never made it past the 3rd grade or I believe she would have been a writer. She could tell you a story like you wouldn’t believe; she
GC: When you left Texas did you go straight to California? NP: No, I went back to Texas after New York.
GC: You were in New York, when was that? NP: Oh gosh, 80’s, let’s not make me older than I have to be. Let’s say I came to New York in ‘89.
GC: So you went back to Texas and eventually made L.A. home. NP: Well yeah, and I love Texas, I tried to live in Austin for a while. Austin’s cool, but I don’t know what it is about L.A. but L.A. works in a lot of ways, even in spite of its decaying economy and a lot of things.
GC: And you weren’t comfortable in N.Y.? NP: Yes I was, it’s just that it was very difficult when you go from Texas to N.Y. Well first I lived in the Hotel Earle, in a room in the basement, that was my first place. Then I ended up, well actually I was trying to go to Coney Island. I took the B train and I got
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off at the wrong stop and I was walking around and I saw a sign that said apartment for rent. So I ended up on 20th Ave. in Gambino land, Bensonhurst. I had no idea about the Mafia, I didn’t know anything about soft pretzels, I didn’t know any of that. But, I learned a lot. It’s a hard city to live in. The one thing that kept me okay was that I knew I could leave. A lot of people there don’t think you can just leave N.Y., it’s a certain mentality.
GC: Yes, you never really think about leaving. You just can’t see yourself anywhere else. NP: Exactly. And after having lived there it was a hard place to live. I liked it; there were wonderful things about it. But one of the things I learned while
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I was there is that a lot of the people in N.Y. thought there was nothing west of Manhattan.
GC: That is so true; yes you are right about that! Nothing west and nothing south, that’s it.... NP: It was a wonderful experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. It opened my eyes to a lot of things. Playing there was fine, I played CBGB’s and some of those places. Being stupid and young you pass up a lot of opportunities. The quote goes, “I’m now old enough to know not to stand in my own way.” One band we passed up was ZZ Top’s management, you know stupid stuff. I don’t know what we were thinking, but you think you have a handle on it and you absolutely don’t.
NP: Oh yes, Robert Gordon. The thing I learned that has been invaluable to me was that Bobby Butani, I think he was the bass player, told me one time, he said you know, you gotta have an image. Here I am thinking I’ve got an image, obviously I didn’t. He explained that’s the first thing they see. It doesn’t matter what you put out there after, you already caught them in that first second. I’ll never forget that. He was very into image. He was a cool guy, and so was Jeff Salem and all of those people.
GC: Most of those early bands were very, very good. They were very innovative; their talent was not in the class of great musicians. So what they did is exactly what he said, they gave this image. No matter how bad or good they were – you didn’t remember that – you remembered them. And you identified with that. Do you want to name the band, or you don’t want to name the band?
GC: Yes, I agree on that. When you’re young, you think the decisions you make are absolutely right, no matter how wrong they really are. So tell me about the band you were in, your musical career. That I don’t know very much about. NP: Well I’d like to keep it that way. Basically what I could say about it is that we would be lower on the totem pole. We opened up for people like the Ramones, oh I’m dating myself. Basically all those types of groups. I have to say one thing, there was a band called Tuff Darts.
GC: I remember the band very well. They played at CBGB’s, with Robert Gordon.
NP: Well the main band was Street Rage, a punk rock band. Don’t try to find them, because you probably won’t. The thing is it was hard core punk, I sang and sometimes held a guitar or something. But basically, we were true to it, we believed in everything that we did except for the fact that we were so stupid that we passed on a lot of things. We travelled around in a van, all four members and the equipment. Of course somebody would book you in a place that you absolutely should not have played. You’d walk in and it’s a total frat thing or something. But overall, I think what I learned more than anything was just I wanted to absorb as much as possible, because I wanted to cover music, I wanted to understand what it was people were going through. I knew what a Shure mike was or anything to do with what it was like backstage. And just things like that, and how important a roadie was. I think I played Liberty Hall once, and I remember a roadie, but I don’t remember his name. Anyway he was supposed to shine a flashlight on the steps up to the stage. He didn’t, he got distracted, and I tripped and fell forward. Fortunately I didn’t get really hurt. But things like that, how valuable the people that work with you are. The ones that work the sound, just stuff like that. So anyway I played with a lot of different people in different places. But
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Street Rage I have to say was the most successful. I think we got a record in the juke box across America in every bar. We even got played on the radio. I enjoyed the hell out of it.
GC: That is very cool. I had no idea. So after the music you went with the writing. How did it come about that you got a radio show? NP: Well, that was from Dazed. Some station owner in Australia found me and wanted me to interview authors. I told him that would be boring. So I thought I might as well interview other people besides authors, maybe musicians or film people. The problem was Australia was so far away, and he had a different idea more AM than FM or public radio. The web or internet radio is not regulated by the FCC. The other thing is that he was into rules, he was very militant about that, and I don’t think that was a good thing with the type of people that I had on. So, I met Ginger Coyote at Punk Globe, and we became Facebook friends. Then we started doing punk rock shows and she’s the one who introduced me to 68 Radio and Lisa PunkrPrincess who is the head of the radio station, and they’re in San Diego. It works better being in the state.
GC: When you do your show you’re doing it at an actual radio station? NP: No, I’m at my house and I have Batman, who is the computer guy who helps me. Because there is no way, and I don’t know how anybody could run the board, which is actually on a computer, and do an interview and run the thing. Not a show like mine, maybe if you’re just spinning records or something. It’s complicated, and then I’m on Skype, for which I pay a premium for, so that then I could have more than one person, like last night I was having the Halloween Bash. So, then everyone can talk, and what I’m trying to do is engage creative people together and talk about what it’s like, because I don’t think the lay person knows how much work, they don’t relate it to something like, OK, they became a doctor, that much work is exactly what’s going on with the creative person.
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GC: I agree, and if I may interject something, also a lot of us are affected by many things when it comes to the creative process. You go through dry spells, and when you’re doing this on a regular basis you really can’t let a dry spell stop you. Like the old saying goes, the show has gotta go on. You have to do your article, your interview, your art, whatever it is that you’re doing and there’s just no way out of it. You can’t call in sick. NP: Yes, there’s no listing on Craig’s List. And another thing is you better be thick skinned. My parents never said you’re special or any of that stuff.
GC: Well, that I share with you, I was never good enough, but I guess it worked in my favor. NP: Absolutely, I think so. And it’s not that they were horrible it’s just that they wanted to instill certain things and so that’s what they did. I never expected anything wonderful. But the rejections are endless. I just don’t care anymore, if you want to hear it fine, if you want to read it fine, I just don’t give a shit. Somebody does, like that young man in Tennessee who was so affected by the book. Kids are reaching for something that they can connect with. They can see that they are not so different, they still want to be loved, to not be alone, they want the same things that everyone else does.
GC: Is there any better feeling in the world than the feeling like, you were talking about this young man from Tennessee, than to inspire someone like that and to make them feel they are part of everything, that they are not the outcasts that they thought they were. I look at the people who have surrounded me and I have surrounded myself with, whether on Facebook or throughout my art career, and it’s the artistic, the different or unwanted, the broken ones, the stars, the ones that have that elusive “it”. I cannot tell you how much I get from them, how much they contribute to my well-being and creative process, you get so much back from that, it inspires me to do my best work, to keep going when it feels like I can’t and to always have the privilege of seeing things from a perspective I may not have thought of. And what’s so wonderful about it is that I sincerely feel, it works both ways, it’s such a
symbiotic relationship. NP: You come to a point where you stop writing for yourself and you write for people. There’s no point in writing for yourself, you already know yourself, so you’ve got to write for somebody. It doesn’t mean anything to have work sit in a drawer, or whatever. It doesn’t have to be perfect; we were actually talking about that last night. The music was digital and somebody said, you don’t have to worry about that because all you have to do is punch in this and it’ll be perfect.
GC: Isn’t that horrible? NP: Who wants perfect? Because humans are not perfect, I don’t understand this. Of course we strive for perfection, the best we can do as far as music or writing or whatever, but by god you’re not perfect and that’s why I think you lose something by being perfect, you lose that human element.
GC: Well, I never have to worry about perfection; I have never achieved it yet, (laughs) and I really don’t regard the state of music as music any longer and when I say that I mean what people are listening to on the radio or downloading. I know so many bands that are struggling just to get themselves heard, that absolutely put to shame these others, who are selling millions of copies, I just don’t understand. I can’t’ identify with it, I don’t understand what people get out of it. There’s just no connection there, they’re not putting any part of themselves in it. NP: No, and I think the best person who captured that thought was Andy Warhol with his pop culture. Because he knew that America was his Campbell’s soup can. He defined what we were becoming, also in the Marilyn Monroe over and over, absolutely genius work. Oh, this I have to say, when I went back to visit my mother and my sister, my sister had an Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett. But he did know the commercialism of America.
GC: Wow, a real Warhol. I absolutely worship at the altar of Andy Warhol; nobody else has influenced me and my work as much as Andy has. In my opinion, he is absolutely the most influential artist of the 20th century, without a doubt, no one even comes close to him. NP: I totally agree, my other favorite is Frida. The thing about Frida is she had no problem showing her freakiness, and because of the accident and all that she was apart from the others. I just think that she was brilliant and showing that it was okay to be a freak.
GC: I understand, I also love Frida Kahlo. All those people that came before us, that I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to. Whether it was Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, the Velvet Underground, Candy Darling, the whole Warhol Factory scene or the Beatles and The Stones, Lenny Bruce etc. etc., I feel I owe a great debt of gratitude to each of these Icons. They each contributed a piece of who I am and how I see and do things. It shows what’s possible. I vaguely remember a story Taylor Meade would tell. He was at the Factory and he said to Andy I want to be a photographer. Andy said, ”just say you’re a photographer.” NP: Ha, ha, isn’t that about image? GC: Absolutely NP: And you can make it happen, you have to have that talent.
GC: So where do you go from here Nikki? NP: Just to go back a teeny bit today, you know that song I’m Born Under a Bad Sign? Well when Dazed came out I knew very little about social media and all that stuff. So I actually hired a private marketing firm, which screwed me out of quite a bit of money, and now there’s a law suit and all this other stuff, because I thought I don’t really know and they were just scamming me. Then I went with Silver Publishing, then the day after the second
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book came out in the Dazed series, they skipped the country. But, they did revert all the rights back. But they went off with all the author’s money, they took everything. And it was a lot of authors, this was one of the bigger companies for gay erotica. Then the biggest guy, he tried to get some sort of court action there was nothing we could do, just like with the marketing company.
GC: That’s a shame. What’s happening with the publishing companies and the music companies these days is criminal.
didn’t work out through no fault of anyone. NP: And that’s fine, there’s enough people that have been around Andy, that I’ve got enough of a sense of things for this guy, since he’s not actually in the Factory, this is a little after the Factory. He’s in love with this chick with a dick, so he brings all these runaways he allows them to stay at the house. I love this book, and so this is my next thing and I’m going traditional. I don’t want to mess with Indies, not because I don’t like Indies, but because I’m a little leery.
NP: Well, it taught me a lot and now it will be re-released with a different company. I now have The Underground Diaries which is the next major project, based in 1978 with five runaways that end up converging in NY and it has to do with Andy Warhol. And there’s this one guy who’s a friend of Andy Warhol’s and there is this homeless woman that they get involved with and it’s told from each of their point of views, first person, and I thought I wonder if this is going to work. At first I thought this was going to be a series, but it actually works in one book, you follow the story through them. How it happens, how they got there, what comes between them, and how the homeless person and the Warhol friend he actually owns the monkey’s paw, which is based on I don’t know what the restaurant was called that Andy used to hang out with Truman Capote. I think it was Serendipity’s. So I just put it together and that’s what this guy owns. He’s very generous and actually he’s in love with this one guy who is actually female and I based her on Candy Darling, the chick with the dick. I have a few people who are left, Jayne County, you know she was one of the Factory people I had on the radio show, and Joe Dallesandro lives here. I’m going to try and get a few interviews with them. I’ve already talked to Jayne on the air, so she’s a kick.
GC: Everything I’ve ever read that you’ve written I’ve absolutely loved. Seriously, it just astounds me how you go from situation to situation to situation and you keep people guessing so much it adds intrigue and interest to the story. It’s very evocative, you don’t know which way you’re coming from and I love that.
GC: I tried getting an interview with Joe, for the one of the upcoming issues. I promised him a full cover. Kim said they were taking a leave from Facebook and that Joe wasn’t doing any more interviews and basically it was just not a good time. I am keeping all my fingers crossed for the future, but I did try and it
NP: Why thank you. I do like making you think I’m gonna go left, but then make a right. Because, to me, that’s suspense. And that’s one thing Alfred Hitchcock said about suspense. He says you see a guy and a bomb is placed under a seat in a theater, and then you see a guy sit down in the seat, and you wait, and you wait. The suspense is not in the bomb blowing up, it’s in the wait. That’s the thing that I
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GC: And after your experiences with them, it’s understandable. Well, if you can get a legitimate book deal, then absolutely go that way. NP: Yeah, so that would be the next project, and I’m continuing to write for Punk Globe, and get anything else published that I can possibly get.
GC: That’s wonderful, I love Ginger, and I love what she does out there. NP: Oh yeah, yeah she’s great.
GC: And I gotta tell you I love your writing. NP: Oh, thank you!
like, I mean I think it doesn’t have to be a head falling off or whatever, that I believe that even within a regular story you got that suspense because you just don’t know where you’re going. You think you might, but you just don’t. That’s what, hopefully, I try and do.
GC: Well Nikki, this has been a lot of fun for me and a complete pleasure. Thank you so much for being so honest and so gracious with your time. NP: Thank you Guido
GC: Well you do accomplish it, I must tell you. NP: Thank you. You can be my Fan Club President, hahaha.
GC: I’d be honored. GC: Is there anything that you would like people to know, anything that I’ve left out? NP: No, hopefully I can put enough twist in there that I surprise you.
GC: So, right now you’re working on your upcoming book. NP: Yes, and securing a new publisher for Dazed, and working for Punk Globe, and for writing I think that’s enough, don’t you?
GC: That’s certainly a full plate. So you never see yourself going back into music? NP: No, I’d rather cover it, I had plenty. You know ten years on the road.
GC: Wow… NP: Anyway, one thing I will say I never ended up waking up after passing out on an esplanade like Nirvana did.
GC: It also says something as to who we are and what we’re about is that we’re still here. NP: Yes, thank goodness.
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Nikki’s links: http://nikkipalomino.com https://www.facebook.com/DAZEDGrungeRockerAuthor?ref=br_tf http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/2014/10/stairs-to-heaven.html?spref=fb Nikki Palomino’s DAZED at www.whatever68radio.net
Is Rock Really Dead? By Stormy Boz Rock and Roll, what is it really? There are so many genres in current music, it is hard to distinguish what is truly rock and roll. To me rock and roll is Judas Priest, Motley Crue, OzzyOsbourne, Slipknot, ACDC and all of those bands to whom I grew up listening. Some would say Slipknot isn’t rock and roll that they are metal, that is where you begin to split the proverbial hairs. Rock and roll has always been heavy with guitars and guitar solos. As it has progressed, the drums have become as difficult and technical as the guitar solos. Jimmy Hendrix was the king of the 70’s when it came to technicality of the guitar and solos. Putting your headphones on and listening to those slamming solos and wanting to be the next guitar hero was every kid’s dream. As rock progressed, it became heavier and more guttural than the rock we all grew up with. Gone are the huge productions as KISS used to do and back are the bare minimum productions that keep more focus on the music and less on the show. Don’t get me wrong, I like production as much as the next person, but I prefer not to be distracted from the music by stage production. The music is why I go to shows in the first place. Granted, there are not a lot of bands on the scene that could rival an early Crue or even Sabbath, but there are genuinely good bands on the scene right now that prove rock and roll is not dead. I spend more time than I should on YouTube and I am always finding bands that catch my attention and I start listening to them. American Lesion is one and Anti-Mortem another. They are classic hard rock bands that tour, yet have not really seen commercial success. Do I believe that our airwaves are inundated with bubble gum pop crap? Yes! How many times can you write a song about breaking up with your
girlfriend or boyfriend before it gets old. These pre-fabricated bands make up a good majority of the airplay time now and I miss true music on the radio. Then you add in the auto-tune crap and you now have a recipe for success. Whatever happened to having talent? Auto-tune has fixed that. I digress. Forgive me. Auto-tune drives me nuts. True rock and roll is not dead. That is evident. Look at some of the up and coming bands that play true rock and roll. They are proof that the genre is not dead, as are the bands that have been on the airways for years. Sadly, you have to have satellite radio in order to get decent music anymore. Turn on your local radio station and what do you hear? Recycled Katy Perry, One Direction and Miley Cyrus. Don’t get me wrong, they all have decent songs that I actually own but they aren’t rock. I miss turning on the radio and being able to bang my head to something decent. The only reason I can know is because I have satellite. It is a shame to me that you don’t hear bands like Gemini Syndrome, Five Finger Death Punch or even Avenged Sevenfold on regular airplay because they don’t fit the “equation” that makes money. They are, however, all extremely talented bands that don’t get the dues they deserve. So when Mr. Simmons says “Rock and Roll is dead”, is he talking about on the main radio stations or in general? Obviously he isn’t paying attention because rock and roll is still alive and kicking ass everyday in the heart of every fan. So Mr. Simmons, I balk at your statement that Rock and Roll is dead. Why? Simply put, it is alive and well in every rockers’ heart. Till next month, keep your head up, feet on the ground and music in your ears! Stormy Boz
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In The Spotlight LocalInterview with Stewart Brodian by Alexxis Steele
Alexxis: Stewart, where are you originally from? Stewart: Outside Union County New Jersey. Alexxis: is that northern? Stewart: Yes, Northern Jersey. Alexxis: Being that you do so many different things and being a musician, did you grow up in music or did you come from a musical family?
gave me the opportunity to do that. I started studying media in college. It was newspapers, TV and radio. I started out as a fine arts major. Alexxis: Your Howard Stern impersonation – was that the first impersonation you did? Stewart: I wanted to play in a John Lennon cover band. Alexxis: Is there a reason why you never pursued it?
Stewart: I don’t usually discuss family but let’s just say there was a lot of music in my atmosphere. Alexxis: How old were you when you decided you wanted to do something in music? Stewart: I started singing when I was five. I started learning guitar in November of 1979, when I was a freshman in college. Then two months after, I started piano. Alexxis: who are your musical influences? Stewart: That’s a good question! I could say the Beatles, but anyone who has ever heard my piano playing would say Charlie Chaplin movies. The first song I learned how to play was Peter Paul and Mary’s song- Leaving On A Jet Plane when I was in high school. Didn’t care much for rock and roll. Alexxis: What influenced you in acting? Stewart: I wanted to be an actor since I was a little kid and started taking acting courses in high school and college. More recently I took acting classes a year or two ago at Scott Powers studios in NYC. I just wanted to be an actor. Alexxis: How did you come to work for the radio station to become a DJ? Stewart: I wanted to do that in high school. College
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Stewart: I’ve been trying to get into a band since 1979 and it never worked out. So I did my own thing. In my first record, in 1982, I played all the instruments. It was simple. The “A” side was called “Where Have All The Flower Children Gone” and the “B” side was “I Hate All The Video Games”. Alexxis: So why Howard stern? What drew you to him? Stewart: Too many people were telling me I look like the guy so people invited me to different events and parties. The real thing that got me started in 1998 is the people from the David Letterman show had an audition for stupid human tricks. So I did comedy as Howard Stern. Letterman’s people went interned but Rickey Lake wanted me to appear as Howard Stern. 1996 I was on the Lisa show as an inquisitive audience member. 1998 I was on Rickey Lake MTV’s Wannabe. Then I ended up on the Howard Stern show. That was an interesting story. Some young lady was on the show giving him a massage. We were at a party in Hoboken and she took me on the show. When I went there I brought my guitar, she brought her roommate, and they did their act and I did mine. But just a few days before I went on the Stern show I wrote a song called Monica Lewinski. The night before that show President Clinton went on TV admitting to what he called an improper relationship. They edited it in last minute so the following Saturday night I was on his debut TV show. I got a lot of mileage out of it, because they kept running it on the “E” network. Thanks to him I’m a national star. It’s funny a lot of people go on the show, and for whatever reason, they expect Stern to do stuff for them. You gotta take what you get and use that to promote it, so I made up flyers for my appearance. So on mine I put “appeared on Ricky Lake, Howard Stern and MTV”. Stewart: I appeared on MTV and released records. I just don’t get this concept that people think you appear on their show that they should be supported. All they do is what the producers tell them to do. That’s how it works. I think it was also ‘98 that I was on Regis and Kelly. It was fun! I have a video of that and when they would go to break I would be dressed as Howard Stern and when they would go to a commercial I would lean into the mic and act
like I was talking like I was on the air . The producer said keep doing that when we go to break so that was a good ad lib on my part. Alexxis: Now tell me about the other impersonations you are doing other than Howard Stern Stewart: I’ve always been a history buff, and in my teens I wanted to do Lincoln and it didn’t work out. Phillysburg NJ had their 150 anniversary celebration which I knew 2011 was also going to be the 150 anniversary of the civil war so I bought a costume on EBay, and before I had the costume, I set up a website for lincolnimpersonator.com and within a day I got a call for work from the US Department Of Agriculture in Washington, DC. I think it paid $150 and I went down and did some announcements at the meeting hall and everybody liked it. It was fun and it was funny. I did my bit in the morning and spent the rest of my day in the capitol not dressed as Lincoln but it was 150 anniversary celebration in Phillipsburg and I volunteered to dress as Lincoln in the parade and I didn’t charge them anything.
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Alexxis: Wow, that’s really something!
Stewart: I am not the best Lincoln impersonator; it’s just that plenty of people that are far better than me. I’m barely one step above of the guy you hire outside your furniture store for the Presidents day sale. But I was a little better as a Thomas Jefferson impersonator on a TV show called Conversations Across Time, where a moderator had a former delegate next to her and next to them would be 3 or 4 people who would act in character as if they were someone from history. I did Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, people like that.
Stewart: For as long as I can
Alexxis: What interested you in doing film? You have your TV shows that you are doing ,you have the one in Philly and you have your Double or Nuttin. The one that you did in Philly you put out a bunch of those right? About 7 of them I think? Stewart: I lied, 12 episodes for your bordium. Philly finally got public access after 30 years of trying after my show was a guinea pig for the year. I did some independent shorts for music videos and did some interviews for walk arounds. Some of the people I’ve interviewed for my show were Jolly Joe Timmer and Joe Franklin from NY. He’s been on the air there since the 1940’s but you might have seen him on the movie Ghostbusters when the guy is being interviewed on TV and the old guy says to them - “The real question is how is Elvis? Have you seen him lately? That was Joe Franklin and his channel 9 show was nationwide for a while. Alexxis: Now is that an ongoing thing that will be
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Alexxis: Okay, and your Philly thing? Stewart: Yeah, it will also be shown in the Portland, Oregon area. Pretty soon it might start coming to public access in Nashville and an occasional viewing in NYC. Alexxis: Okay, Very cool! Alexxis: Speaking of Nashville, what were you going out to Nashville to do? Stewart: My film got accepted to show at the film maker’s convention Alexxis: Excellent! Congratulations! What else did you do when you were there? Stewart: en days of a little bit of sightseeing, and of course in addition to the convention. There are seminars and inside info with the industry and also the opportunity to pitch your idea to the people in the industry. Alexxis: Very nice! Going back to your Double or Nuttin, you say you have only done the pilot so far? Stewart: I only made one and people said, “Are you going to make another?” So I wound up making a total of 3 pilots, A Trilogy, and I already had it aired on different TV stations, both here in the USA and overseas. I also make other films too. I made a short film, I did one called A Little Change, it’s a Charlie Chaplin style movie with a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. I just get inspired, and I mean the
short film I made, I kicked an acorn down the hill in a rainstorm, it rolled a bit and it stopped, but then the momentum from the rushing water made it run again, so I got my camcorder out, found another acorn, and made it into a short film of 48 seconds. I also made a reality TV type of segment for my Brodian’s Basement show, it’s called “Stewart Brodian’s 5 Minutes Of Reality”. It’s a lot more real than the reality shows you may have seen.
for the film, and after he made them he purposely destroyed them. I found a copy of the film and used it as a guide to re-create the works. I reproduced about 20 of the works and I’ve shown it in galleries in Philly, Hoboken and the Banana Factory right here in Bethlehem.
Alexxis: So also besides that you said you reproduced some lost work by Picasso?
Stewart: The real Snooki put out some book and they were talking about it on CNN. I’m not going to repeat it because it’s so stupid, this is popular culture? So I wrote “I’m Not Snooki”, and the subtitle is: “Or what I really think of society, and why” So I am basically shooting my mouth off. It’s what I think about society and I try to back what I say with reasoning, people misinterpret things about other people and how people should think about each other one way and not another way. I’m trying to inspire creative thoughts. A lot of people spout off ideas as to why they think things but I try to back what I say with reasoning. That’s why I added those last two words at the end of my title- “And Why”, because that is what I think about society.
Stewart: I worked as an artist assistant to Carl Stirner who is down here in Easton they even had a Carl Stirner Day and Artwalk. He is still alive and I just interviewed him tonight for my TV show. He made drawings and we would put them up on an opaque projector, and project an enlargement onto the wall, pinned up a sheet of paper, and I would trace them, take the paper to a table, then we would finalize them in ink. He is heavily influenced from Picasso, so I started getting involved with the internet. I looked up Picasso and found a promotional clip for the film called The Mystery Of Picasso. The story goes that Picasso made work just
Alexxis: Tell me about your new book “I’m Not Snooki”, and why you chose the title about her.
Alexxis: So what do you think about Snooki? Stewart: Umm... In some way, someone who got caught up in the fame of this. Doing backflips in a miniskirt and since they blur out certain parts, I assume she is not wearing anything underneath have a little respect for yourself girl. Alexxis: Well I think now she has been trying to redeem herself from her bad girl persona and attitude. She had a child and was on Dancing With The Stars, which she did very well at. Stewart: She’s pregnant again. I know I said that I don’t discuss family, but I come from a wholesome atmosphere. What’s a wholesome atmosphere? First you get married, then you have children, and you live in a nice home. Not everybody is that lucky, I understand, but I think I am better role model – despite my age – to teenagers than someone like Snooki. So people ask, do I watch Jersey Shore and I said If I want to watch Jersey Shore, all I have to do is watch the news because of all the trouble they get into. I never smoked, I never drank, I never did drugs, and of course people called me names be-
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cause I didn’t do any of that nonsense, and I don’t have an answer for that. But I am in better shape now at age 52, I am not superman, but I can bench press what I did in high school. Alexxis: So do you think that your years of clean living have made a good impact on you now? Stewart: Yeah, I don’t eat too much junk food. Thank goodness for good genes in my family history. Some people have bad things, alcoholism for example, you don’t talk about it in the house in front of the kids. People think I am narrow minded in some ways. Alexxis: So you have old fashion values but you mix that with a little bit of today… Stewart: Obviously since I impersonate Howard Stern. Here is the reason why I gave into this idea. I work in the entertainment field and you need a gimmick. The simple fact that I resemble a celebrity has opened up a lot of doors of opportunity for me, and here is the catch: Once people bring me into their little world, not to sound conceited, I have some talent and intelligence to back up these cute looks hahaha! Howard Stern is not the prettiest looking guy in the world.
Stewart: Some of my music comes to me in dreams, then I get up, then I go to a tape recorder, and I write down as much as I can from the dream. The song Monica Lewinski, the song Ain’t That Kind Of Guy. Other songs are born out of conversations. One song came to me as I was waiting to pull out onto the highway. A truck zipped past me, and luckily I had a tape recorder so I just started singing into it. Alexxis: Do you have a favorite song that you have written? Stewart: “That’s like choosing your favorite child!” I think I have the most fun playing I Ain’t That Kind Of Guy. Alexxis: Do you have any CDs of your music available for purchase? Stewart: Sure – www.cdbaby.com/brodian Alexxis: What would you say makes Stewart Brodian tick? Stewart: Creativity. To create and inspire. Alexxis: Is there anything that you haven’t done that you would like to do?
I don’t think I am Robert Pattison or Brad Pitt or whatever you define is cute, but I also know that I am not super ugly either. I even got a job in radio at WXBG in Stroudsburg just because I look like Howard Stern, and I mentioned that I have some experience in radio, and they liked the novelty idea of having someone on their website that looked like Howard Stern. And I’ve been doing radio since 1979, so naturally I have the experience
Stewart: I think the only things that I haven’t done are the things I haven’t tried. Back in ‘99 I met a girl at open mic night who played the violin. I always wanted to play the violin and she wanted to learn how to play guitar so I traded her guitar lessons for violin lessons. When I started to realize that I could play violin, everything that I did beforehand seemed unimportant. I remember as a kid all I wanted to do was play the violin.
Alexxis: So of all of the things that you do, do you have one thing that you enjoy doing more than the other whether it is singing, playing guitar, acting?
I don’t know, before I did the Picassos, I didn’t think I had any talent for art. It’s funny how fate gets you back at the things you say!
Stewart: Everybody that sees me with a guitar in my hand says I never looked happier.
Alexxis: If there is one thing that you want people to know about you, what would it be?
Alexxis: So you think that is it then? Your favorite?
Stewart: I never know that until someone misjudges me. Most people agree that I am just a nice guy. Not selfish, always willing to give of myself.
Stewart: I like being creative, I like writing music, but I also like doing all of the other things, and they all say I look so happy on stage with guitar. Alexxis: Okay so tell me about some of the originals that you have written.
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Alexxis: That’s always important Stewart: And I am a bit on the quiet side.
Alexxis: Would you consider yourself to be shy? Stewart: Yes… an introverted extravert. Onstage I’m Mr. Showmanship, but offstage I try to socialize, but I end up retreating. I am just not into everybody’s vibe. Alexxis: So you march to your own beat. Stewart: Yes that has been said about me too. Alexxis: Do you consider yourself to be eccentric? You know, a lot of creative people are. Stewart: I don’t have any obsessions, but I am a bit of a hoarder, but that can be anybody. From antiques to old coins, whatever catches my fancy. Several years ago I was collecting meteorites from the moon! It was weird looking up into the sky at night, knowing I own a piece of that thing! But being onstage will always be what I enjoy doing most!
You can find more information about Stewart Brodian at: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com http://www.brodian.com http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=icA7M8o7qxc http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1980416/ http://www.thehowardsternguy.com http://11radio.com/archives/7871 http://www.linkedin.com/in/stewartbrodian/
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Barbell Buzz by Tim Caso
All Else Being Equal… …the stronger athlete will win. Wisdom from my dear ol’ Dad. Think about it: if you and the other guy are equally matched in physical talent and in mental toughness, doesn’t it make sense that the stronger / better-conditioned athlete will prevail? Something tells me that the Old Man might have been onto something here… So, how do you become that stronger athlete? And, can you get there without spending countless hours in the gym? The answers are: “Simple” and “Yes!” Please note that I said “Simple” and not “Easy.” For the sake of efficiency, I’ll address both questions simultaneously and throw in a bonus: you can also develop quite an impressive physique at the same time! Lucky for us, weightlifting has given us three basic exercises that work over 80% of the muscles in our body. Lucky for you, you have me to teach you how to do them! Exercise #1: The Dead Lift. When my Olympic-Team member training partner was a budding lifter in college, he knew that doing dead lifts was a great way to build raw strength. He built this lift to over 500 pounds, and one day, he proudly told a friend about it, who said “Oh. You mean, you’re just picking it up?” While my training partner was somewhat flabbergasted, I’ve always admired the simplicity of that comment because, yes, you’re just going to be picking up a lot of weight over and over! Here’s how: Get very close to the bar with your shins almost touching it. Start with your feet about shoulder width and the toes pointing out slightly. Grasp the bar with either palms down or with an over/under grip. Lower the hips until they are just above your knees and tighten your back. Hold this position for one second to get your body ready for the lift, and then stand steadily. When you’re fully straightened, throw your shoulders back and your hips out to complete the lift. Be sure that your back remains straight throughout the lift. Get ready to put on slabs of muscle! Exercise #2: The Bench Press. Probably the most common sight in the gym is someone doing the bench press. Equally common is that someone doing it incorrectly. While this lift seems pretty straightforward (you know, lie down and push up…), it is actually a bit complicated. So, we’ll take it one step at a time. First, lie on the bench with your eyes even with the bar. Next, arch your back as high and hard as you can while walking your feet under your buttocks (or as close as you can get them). The only body-parts that should be touching the bench are your shoulders and your rear-end. So much for just lying down… Next, take the bar off the rack and slowly lower it to just above the nipples. Push the bar up towards the face in a shallow arc. Do not push it up in a straight line as this actually pushes the bar away from your center-of-gravity. Take it light at first. Once you have mastered the movement, slowly add weight. Watch out! You’ll have to buy larger shirts pretty soon! Exercise #3: The Squat. This is the grand-daddy of them all (I can say that with a bit of a smirk as I am now a grand-daddy myself)! As with the other two, this will take a bit of learning and a lot of concentration!Everything starts before you take the weight off the rack. Your hand spacing will be just outside shoulder-width. This will help keep you back tight. Place the bar even with the line of the top of your shoulders while squeezing your shoulder blades
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together. Tighten your entire back as you move under the bar. Only now are you ready to take the bar off the rack. Pop the bar and take one or, at most, two steps back. You’re not taking the grand tour of the gym so keep this part short. You do not want to have to walk on very tired legs with a couple hundred pounds on your back. Your head should be slightly down. With your feet a bit wider than shoulder width and the toes pointed out, drop the hips down and slightly to the rear. Keep the knees even with your toes at the deepest point in the squat. Come on back up. When you hit the sticking point, remember to force your hips in and your knees out. This is an old weightlifter trick that brings your largest muscles to bear. As with the bench press, make sure you have competent spotters to assist you. Perform five sets of five with each of the above. Do this consistently and you’ll be well on your way to becoming that stronger athlete. As I reflect on my father’s advice, I’m reminded of what Mark Twain said once: “The older I get, the smarter my parents become.” I guess that makes sense too! Ever wonder why you get tired after a just few reps of the Olympic Lifts? Yes, they’re difficult, and no, you’re not out of shape necessarily. When it comes to the Olympic Lifts, the problem with most crossfitters is poor technique. After 6 or 7 reps, you get tired b/c the bar is constantly out of position, i.e., not traveling on the most efficient path. You then have to use smaller muscle groups such as your arms and shoulders to pull or push the bar back into position. Tiring? Want a better way? Before you shout “YES!!”, there’s one other thing that is an absolute for this to work: you must have a persistent desire to learn. This means breaking yourself down and starting from scratch. If you do this and stay focused on the lessons, you will be in a much better position to improve your lifts. So, let’s start with an easy one: the overhead portion of the clean and jerk. This lift has three distinct facets, which all happening very quickly. They are the dip, the drive, and the catch. I’ll break them down for you: The Dip. With your elbows forward and up, dip no more than 3 or 4 inches. The idea is to stop the bar and have the bar work for you by bending and throwing itself up. The dip itself has to be sharp and crisp. No “flat tires” or slow, soft dips. Sound crazy? My teammates and I were able to bend the bar with nothing on it dipping this way. You will too! Those who had trouble with the jerk had very slow, soft dips. Also, you must dip straight down. Incidentally, the reason you keep your elbows up is to maintain the bar’s position across your clavicles. If the elbows are down, the chances are that you’ll lean forward on the dip and throw the bar forward. This will result in fatigue after a while or in a missed lift if you’re going heavy. So remember: a short, sharp, straight dip! The Drive. Pretty straightforward here: after you dip, extend fully rising on your toes. The last part is critical as you want to get as much out of the drive as possible. The Catch. This is where most lifters go wrong: after the initial drive, they stop and try to muscle the bar. This is not only tiring but it also slows you down. Instead of trying to muscle the bar the rest of the way up, meet the bar by pushing yourself under it! This is somewhat counter-intuitive but this is what you need to do to become a better lifter. As you split under the bar, push yourself down – do not muscle the weight up. This is called “meeting the bar.” If you’re muscling the weight, your arms will quickly get tired, your cleans will suffer as will your time. You’ll hit a “wall” very quickly and gains will become more and more difficult. To see this in action, go to YouTube and take a look at some world class Olympic Lifters. Pause the video at each portion of the jerk, and you’ll see that the best lifters follow the technique I’ve outlined. Now, take your time, learn it right and Go get ‘em!
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Colicchioâ€™s Corner by Victor Colicchio Hi Readers!
Laugh Killer Laugh I attended a screening of Laugh Killer Laugh this month. The film was directed and written by former JERKY BOY Kamal Amhed. The cast stars William Forsythe, Bianca Hunter, Tom Sizemore, Larry Romano and yours truly. favorable.
The film is quite quirky, and the audienceâ€™s reaction to it was more than
Federico Castelluccio was in attendance as was the supporting cast which included Artie Lang, Kevin Corrigan, Gino Cafarelli, and Robert Magnaughton. The film was scored by Scott Hampton and featured a song by the Italian controversial music sensation Dionna Dal Monte in a scene filmed in the Cutting Room, and performed by Chelsea Skidmore. The film is a crime based romantic tragedy. Enjoy the photos from the film.
by Victor Colicchio
The Networker Starring Steve Stanulis, Sean Young, Stephen Baldwin & Alan Sapienza, William Forsythe, Brian Kelly, and features an endless list of guest talent. I also attended the wrap party of The Networker. (The newest film by John A. Gallagher.) I first met the talented Mr. Gallagher when I auditioned for his film STREET HUNTER. I’ve done 4 films with John and was very excited to be working with him again. John almost lost his life last year when trapped in an apartment fire. He spent months in a coma. His chances of survival were slim. I not only thought that the film industry was going to lose a great talent…but I thought I was going to lose a good friend. John has discovered more stars than an astronomer – John Leguizamo, Dennis Leary, and half the cast of the Sopranos. He directed, Ben Gazzara, Rita Moreno as well. Thank God for his recovery.
Alexxis Steele * drummer Neil Smith
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Colicchioâ€™s Corner by Victor Colicchio
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by Victor Colicchio
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Colicchioâ€™s Corner by Victor Colicchio
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Bottom Left: Cherie Currie and JR Muffley
Bottom Right: Cherrie Currie and Tony Orlando
Right: Cherrie Currie and Alexxis Steele
Bottom: Cherie Currie and Mike Jacobs
photo by Mike Jacobs
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Bottom Left: Traci Lords and JR Muffley Top Right: Cindy Williams and Mike Jacobs Bottom Right: Debbie Boone
photo by Mike Jacobs
Marky Ramone and Allexis Steele
Alexxis Steele and Kelly LaBrock
Jimmy Hart and JR Muffley
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Top Left: Lita Ford
Top Right: Lita Ford
Bottom Left: Kristanna Loken
Bottom Right: Linda Hamilton
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photo by Mike Jacobs
Top Left: Lizzy Borden Middle Left: Alexxis Steele Bottom Left: Marky Ramone and Mike Jacobs
Top Right: Markey Ramone and Alexxis Steele Bottom Right: Markey Ramone and Mike Dorn
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photo by Mike Jacobs
Top: Tony Orlando and the Cowsills
Bottom: William Forsythe
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photo by Mike Jacobs
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Thanksgiving Day according to WIKI
from Alexxis Steele
Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l’Action de grâce in Canadian French) is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, and has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.
History Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times. The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern
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Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated. In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritanswished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611,
floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705. An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day.
Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-dayMassachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the “First Thanksgiving”, including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of thesiege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden. In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623.The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
While some researchers state that “there is no compelling narrative of the origins of the Canadian Thanksgiving day”, the first Canadian Thanksgiving is often traced back to 1578 and the explorer Martin Frobisher. Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean, held his Thanksgiving celebration not for harvest but in thanks for surviving the long journey from England through the perils of storms and icebergs. On his third and final voyage to the far north, Frobisher held a formal ceremony in Frobisher Bay in Baffin Island (present-day Nunavut) to give thanks to God and in a service ministered by the preacher Robert Wolfall they celebrated Communion.
Oven-roasted turkey The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are also sometimes traced to the French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century, who celebrated their successful harvests. The French settlers in the area typically had feasts at the end of the harvest season and continued throughout the winter season, even sharing food with the indigenous peoples of the area. As settlers arrived in Canada from New England, late autumn Thanksgiving celebrations became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish and Germans, also added their own traditions to the harvest celebrations. Most of the U.S. aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey), were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada. Thanksgiving is now a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada, with the exception of the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island,
In the United States Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914,Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.
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In modern times the President of the United States, in addition to issuing a proclamation, will “pardon” a turkey, which spares the bird’s life and ensures that it will spend the duration of its life roaming freely on farmland. Debate about first celebrations in the United States The traditional representation of where the first Thanksgiving was held in the United States has often been a subject of boosterism and debate, though the debate is often confused by mixing up the ideas of a Thanksgiving holiday celebration and a Thanksgiving religious service. According to author James Baker, this debate is a “tempest in a beanpot” and “marvelous nonsense”. Local boosters in Virginia, Florida, and Texas promote their own colonists, who (like many people getting off a boat) gave thanks for setting foot again on dry land.(Jeremy Bangs) These claims include an earlier religious service by Spanish explorers in Texas at San Elizario in 1598, as well as thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony. Robyn Gioia and Michael Gannon of the University of Florida argue that the earliest Thanksgiving service in what is now the United States was celebrated by the Spanish on September 8, 1565, in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida. A day for Thanksgiving services was codified in the founding charter of Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia in 1619. According to Baker, “Historically, none of these had any influence over the evolution of the modern United States holiday. The American holiday’s true origin was the New England Calvinist Thanksgiving. Never coupled with a Sabbath meeting, the Puritan observances were special days set aside during the week for thanksgiving and praise in response to God’s providence.” Fixing the date of the holiday The reason for the earlier Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada has often been attributed to the earlier onset of winter in the north, thus ending the harvest season earlier. Thanksgiving in Canada did not have a fixed date until the late 19th century. Prior to Canadian Confederation, many of the individual colonial governors of the Canadian provinces had
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declared their own days of Thanksgiving. The first official Canadian Thanksgiving occurred on April 15, 1872,when the nation was celebrating the Prince of Wales’ recovery from a serious illness. By the end of the 19th century, Thanksgiving Day was normally celebrated on November 6. However, when World War I ended, the Armistice Day holiday was usually held during the same week. To prevent the two holidays from clashing with one another, in 1957 the Canadian Parliamentproclaimed Thanksgiving to be observed on its present date on the second Monday of October. Since 1971, when the American Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect, the American observance of Columbus Dayhas coincided with the Canadian observance of Thanksgiving. Much as in Canada, Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history. From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century. Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863 by a presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for around 40 years trying to make it an official holiday, Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November in an attempt to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states. Because of the ongoing Civil War and the Confederate States of America’s refusal to recognize Lincoln’s authority, a nationwide Thanksgiving date was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s. On December 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday. Two years earlier, Roosevelt had used a presidential proclamation to try to achieve this change, reasoning that earlier celebration of the holiday would give the country an economic boost.
As seen on the April 2014 cover of Steel Notes: Natasha NYC Custom Designer clothes Now a specialty for Music and Movie Stars
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Nikki Palomino 56 | Steel Notes Magazine
The Pressed Rose by Nikki Palomino I am dangerously close to wanting nothing except to find grandma’s diary with the pressed rose from the love of her life. Not grandpa, but a young soldier killed shortly after he’d left for war. She taught me what women are made of. I am not eating or sleeping so I have to be careful on this library ladder in my husband’s home office. I live alone in a NYC loft because my husband left me four months ago for a young, seventeen year-old upcoming fashion model. For God’s sake I’m only twenty-two. I AM pretty or was before he left, but I’m a poet growing angels with words. Random House, St. Martin’s Press, they had a bidding war for my only poetry collection called, yes, “Growing Angels”. I try each day to kill myself. I stare at my frightened face in the bathroom mirror, an antique machete in hand, sometimes a butcher knife, a gun another day, and I tell myself this should be easy. This is what I want. All swallowing a bottle of Tylenol did was buy time in ER with a tube pumping what smelled like rotten eggs into my stomach. My husband didn’t show, but Vanity Fair’s editor sent a pleading note of concern. Don’t be Sylvia Plath damnit! Did he mean I WAS great? The only word I see on the computer screen these days is; die. Why did I put grandma’s diary among the many books on cathedral-high shelves? When I was a blond pig-tailed kid, grandma let me hold the fragile pressed rose. Among the radiant words she would read from her diary lay a tragedy for which she would never return. Her face like mine could never grace the pages of some slick magazine, only my words like roots squatting against a pond that sees the sun through gray skies. How did O’Neil’s play get next to bios on Robert and John Kennedy? My husband would be pissed. Careless, he’d say, organization senses failure like an animal smells blood, therefore be organized! I slide down the ladder, head straight for the granite kitchen and find the last of the vodka. I swallow the clear liquid remembering my sleek red dress I wore at the Christmas party and how everyone bugged me about another book. Hard when all I have is one word left, die. Even then I knew my husband was banging the model, not his Pulitzer Prize-winning poet wife. If I can’t write anymore, I should teach, be confined to academia prison or an insane asylum.
I duel with myself, die versus another “Growing Angels”. Then I remember. I run to my bedroom, not the master, but the one I’ve occupied since my husband had stopped banging me. I glance out of the window at the yellow leopard spots of city lights and dive down by the bed. I pull out the wicker basket with ragged cardboard-covered notebooks. There among my growing angels is grandma’s diary. I gingerly pick from her pages the pressed rose. I hoarsely recite a passage I’d committed to memory. “Paired right, man and woman, distinct paradise; paired wrong, the knife of death is felt”. I recall vividly the blood turning to beads in my hair. My feet are cold. In front of me, grandma plunged the knife quickly into grandpa’s belly for exactly what my abusive husband has done. Her trial ending in an acquittal, she wrote “I will always hear the nail taps outside his coffin…his final potent breath. I regret nothing beneath the earth.” I remember hastily scribbling DIE, DIE, DIE in blood across her vanity mirror, and then scrubbing my hands of the vein-burst and the model’s stone-grey eyes, and my husband’s dick staring openly as if a carrot jutting out of a pot of warming red stew. Ring. The doorbell? Must be the nosy bitch down the hall. She checks on me nightly. I glance at the lighted dial of the clock. I leave grandma’s diary on the bed and gently hold the pressed rose as I make my way into the living area. I reach the loft’s archaic wood door. I nearly rip off the solid gold knob. “Mrs. Young?” I know the cops don’t care if my angels have all died and left me trapped in a low web of fog. There won’t be another bidding war over the word DIE. Not even my editor at Vanity Fair would publish a book review on a blood-splashed poem with three meaningless letters, a consonant and two vowels. “Just a few questions about your husband?” I say nothing as I feel again the antique machete in my hand ripping apart my husband and his once-confident blue-eyed model. I look down as grandma’s pressed rose flakes unshaped through my fingers, while outside, the dark side of a cold moon shines infinite.
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To My Father By The Gypsy Poet Cancer is a disease that is taking over the lives of Americans every minute. But arguably, it affects the families just as much, if not more, of the cancer victims themselves. Sharing this work in this month’s Steel Notes, discussing the effects of cancer and what it does to families is why this piece was written. I decided to go public about the struggle of having an ailing parent with cancer and what it takes to be an adult-child who takes care of a parent during this time. Cancer is like a kitchen timer that keeps ticking— you have to have something done before the dinger goes off, kind of thing—that is how you feel when you discover you, or a loved one have this disease. It’s one that has to be detected early, or it will take that life of the victim that has it. It affects the person and even more, it affects the family. This disease is so brutal, that it sneaks up on its victims. However, when one does have it, sadly, it is then we realize just how much that person is valued in our lives and this incredible reminder of how short life really is. My dad had throat cancer and he went through two kinds of treatments. He went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments because there was no way to have surgery to rid him of the masses that were growing in his throat. The thing is, he survived it and we are happy he is still with us, but it left him weak and for the last four months, in and out of hospitals. The point here is, that my family and I pulled together and because of our love for him and our faith, he is alive today. The poem below is about the kind of man he is. A Warrior, a Survivor, by far the most amazing father and an inspiration. He has flaws like we all do, but somehow, we are so able to overlook them and see him for the amazing man that he is. If anything, I am happiest knowing I was chosen by destiny to be his daughter. This piece is dedicated to him. Andreas Leoneidas DiGonis— My father.
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To My Father The distance carried us all along our lives you gave us everything that we had to survive-You shaped our lives to give us everything you did-It makes me wonder what all else you could give-I watched you all my life as you fought a secret war-it kept you going, but there was always an open door-I watched the battles and saw it as your bane-I don’t know if you know this, but it brought me a lot of pain-I had many battles in your absence as I went along in life-I fought them like traitors, and betrayers in my strife-It wasn’t till I became close to a woman at nineteen When we got close again as a family and I never struggled really again-My heart aches as I fight this current battle by your side-It’s not an easy one, because it’s trying to take your life-The secret war you fought your entire life is taking Taking everything about you but yet the stronger me, it’s making-I feel overwhelmed watching your body’s deterioration-It makes me wonder how I am able to stand
with such steel determination
would have made me insane--
My life changed the night
You’ve held me all my life
your heart stopped for thirty seconds
and that is far more than you could have done--
it makes me wonder if I’m strong enough
but now, I hold you every moment
to take the situation
knowing a new day has begun--
All I ask is for the strength to carry me through this time
So, keep in mind I’m here--
Knowing that for a while, you are going to be alight I can only take so much of the remnants of the war The one you fought for so long that left us all with the open door
as you have always been-and live one day at a time as we have you here, again. © 2014 S.E. DiGonis, Le Poete Gitane/The Gypsy Poet. All rights reserved.
Though, to the outside I’m a Texas Girl who tries not to shed a tear Inside I’m the Greek, whose pain is always there-It scares me to lose you, as we walk along this path-This time I’m the one to hold you tightly by the hand. I don’t know how far we’ve come to get you to live again for no average man could survive
all the things you endured on this end-I hope I can hold it together when the time comes for you to fly I know that St. Michael will take you by the hand-without even a single try-My hope is that you get to see me accomplish every single one of my dreams and never let me go until you’ll know it’s time to leave There was not a day when you were in those hospital beds that I did not feel the pain-The fact we could have lost you
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DIANE FRANKLIN: SHE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART Interviewed by Jerry Saravia Actress Diane Franklin has the power to put a spell on you. Few recent actresses, particularly from the 1980’s, have displayed such uncommon warmth, sincerity and sweetness, only to uncover something deeper. Most horror fans know Diane Franklin from “Amityville II: The Possession” where she is pretty much the best thing in it. Her character, Patricia Montelli, has an incestuous relationship with her brother (Jack Magner), who it turns out is possessed by a demon. The most honest scenes occur with Diane, the only soulful aspect in a thoroughly misguided, uneven horror film. Not easy to play incest on the big screen, and few films ever uncover such taboo territory. 1982’s “The Last American Virgin” gave us a sympathetic Diane Franklin teen character who simply, as Diane puts it, gives in to a jerk and not the one guy we want her to end up with. Diane can break your heart onscreen but she also has expert comic timing, especially as the French exchange student Monique Junot in the 1985 cult comedy, “Better Off Dead,” opposite John Cusack. She is also not afraid to get wild and burst with bizarre, warped, cartoonish extremes in “TerrorVision” With a list of TV credits dating back to 1979 with an episode from “As the World Turns,” to her small roles in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “How I Got Into College,” to her lead parts in “Second Time Lucky,” Diane Franklin has slowly been creeping back into the Hollywood mist in the last few years. I am delighted to present Diane Franklin’s words here on her fascinating journey from TV to movies, and what that controversial ending of “The Last American Virgin” may actually entail. Jerry Saravia: Let me start off with the ending of “The Last American Virgin,” certainly at odds with most teen comedies of the 1980’s or anything of the John Hughes variety. My contention is that your character, Karen, felt compelled to return to Rick’s toxic charms (my wife Dana’s phrase) rather than
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go with the good guy, Gary, because it was Rick who deflowered her. So maybe it was an optimistic ending for Gary who pined for Karen - at least he knows that love is not always lasting with perhaps the wrong person. Your thoughts? Diane Franklin: Oh, I love this question! On the surface Virgin reads as soft core titillation. It lures the male teen audience with the promise of nudity, drugs and sex. That would be enough to bring in an audience. But then we discover more things about Virgin, it’s an 80’s time-capsule, complete with colorful dress styles, awesome 80’s music, 80’s culture including cocaine use, abortion practice and up-beat energy. Of course Virgins’ ending is crushing. That said, why would filmmaker, Boaz Davidson, make the ending to this crazy teen-sex comedy so…um… depressing? Well, Virgin is based on a true-life story. All the events in the film really happened to him as a teen growing up in Israel. But just because it’s truthful, doesn’t mean producers would want to put it in a film. I mean, Virgin is not a documentary. It’s a narrative about 3 guys trying to get laid! So
why would producers, Golan and Globus, ever agree to do this ending? Virgin is a remake of an Israeli film titled, Lemon Popsicle, which was a huge hit in Israel, so much so, they produced several sequels thereafter. Golan and Globus assumed American audiences would share the same cultural sensibilities: Good things and bad things happen in life – just accept it. No judgment. No moral to the story as Boaz has said in many interviews regarding the last scene of Virgin,“well…that’s life.”
up?! Wait, the bad guy won!!?” This film hits us in our core beliefs, but that is what makes Virgin memorable. It runs so much deeper than just titillating teen entertainment. Virgin will never be forgotten. It is an iconic part of American 80’s cinema.
Now, I enter the picture, a 19 year old, Americanborn actress, raised by first generation immigrant parents. I read the script and immediately thought “I love this script! My storyline is so real, but their gonna change the ending, right?” That’s when I learned I was the actress, not the writer. And though personally, I would not have made the choice Karen did, I had to find a way to make it work. I needed to justify Karen’s actions emotionally, and make her as likeable as possible, so you’d want her to wind up with Gary. So I said to myself “under what circumstances would I do what she did?” and then I realized something. We don’t know anything about Karen. We never see the inside of her house, meet her parents, find out her interests. She is just the girl. Her identity was based on what guys thought of her. I always imagined Karen like a feather in the wind. Whatever guy was nice to her in the moment she’d gravitated to. So, when Rick gives her attention, she turns to him, and when Gary helps her out, she goes with him. So, when we find Rick kissing Karen in the kitchen at the end, I always felt like he made the move and she gave in. She’s not two-faced, or manipulative. She simple allows it to happen. Then Gary walks in. She feel bad, she doesn’t have the strength to step away. She waits. This is the point, in an American story that the good guy stands up to the bad guy, and gets the girl, right? (I mean, even Lane dueled Ricky with ski poles in Better Off Dead.) But in Virgin this does not happen. Gary is hurt and walks out. So, as an American audience we have this conflicting feeling: I thought this was the Last American Virgin! Why doesn’t he stand up and fight?! Then when Gary walks away, in the end, crying, and the credits role, the American audience gets the final punch in the heart. “Bitch!” I can hear it now. It’s not Karen they’re mad at, it’s “where’s my happily-ever-after!? Where’s my uplifting message about never giving
Diane Franklin: I had heard a couple of years ago that Boaz was thinking of doing a remake of LAV, but I have not heard an update since. I think a remake would be amazing if the film had 3 things: A contemporary soundtrack: contemporary style clothing and set design; and lastly, references to the profound influence technology has had on how teens learn about sex, (sexting, hooking-up sites, Wikipedia and yes, internet porn). Of course, nothing will ever compare to the original LAV. That film is held in the hearts of the first generation who grew up with it. But that was our time capsule. Every teen generation needs a film that brings it up. I actually think a remake would be a visionary idea. The characters are timeless archetypes. The story can change to fit today’s world. (and yes, keep the ending.) It’s one of the few films that teaches sex (and love) education to guys. And, oh yeah, one more thing… I have to do a cameo. ;)
Jerry Saravia: I do not think “Last American Virgin” could be made today, in light of our post-AIDS era and the film’s portrait of wild, unruly teens having unprotected sex and only worrying about crabs.
Jerry Saravia: I noticed a lot of theatrical films you were in were not necessarily box-office hits but later became cult films. Is it possible that you were ahead of your time? I think, for example, “Better Off Dead” might fare better today because its jagged rhythms were at odds with most mainstream 80’s comedies. You stress in your autobiography that playing a firm, loving yet self-assured woman in that film stood out from the rest of the teen comedies, daring yourself to be different. Having been a teenager in the 1980’s, conformity was deemed essential (though I never did fit in with anyone) and being different was a hindrance yet you claim that your experience was different. Diane Franklin: Well, here is my story, I was raised by elderly, immigrant parents so right from the start I was NOT part of the mainstream. There was no way in heck I was going to fit in with my hand-sewn clothes, and my short curly hair, but I
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from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure Jerry Saravia: In your autobiography “The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s,” you mentioned that in the late 80’s, you didn’t even have to audition for a part in anything - your name carried enough weight. Aside from a few exceptions such as director Savage Steve Holland casting you in “Better Off Dead” and being cast as an evil babysitter in “Summer Girl,” it seems that very few casting agents saw you beyond the girl-next-door or the token vulnerable girlfriend part (Matlock episode “The Court Martial” comes to mind). What roles did you hope to be considered for, and what part were you up for only to be rejected in the TV series “AfterMash”?
didn’t care. I just wanted to act! So in school I just was myself. Buuut… part of acting professionally is fitting into a bigger scale social acceptance circle – advertising and entertainment standards. What does an American girl eating a burger look like? How does a teen’s voice sound when she’s talking about acne medicine? What’s mainstream and what’s not? I knew this was not me. It was a role. And if I wanted to work I needed to learn to fit in. I watched the world around me and tried to imitate it; straightening my hair, finding fashion tips in magazines, and wearing the highest platform shoes I could to compensate for my height. Then, as my character Monique Junot put it “I had a small taste of success,” I started to work. Bit by bit I started to get acting parts, commercials, modeling jobs. But nothing big clicked. Something was missing. Then I get this audition for a lead in a film. I had no time to prepare, so I rush uptown with frizzy hair and flats. And that’s how I booked The Last American Virgin. After that, I got lead after lead. And what did I learn? That whether it’s school, work or just being in the world, fitting in is a skill to learn, but it will only take you so far. If you are true to yourself, you will succeed in a much better way, and make the right frieeennndddzzz.
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Diane Franklin: Mmmm… I have answered this question recently, so I don’t want to repeat myself. My daughter has kept me acting over the last decade. Whenever she needs an adult woman, mom or even grandma I was there for her. But now she just started college, so I have to find my own roles now. I have a great agent who is sending me on auditions, so we will see what happens. ;) A more fun question is what would the reader like to see me play today? An investigator?lawyer? doctor? A Mrs. Robinson, type character in a nighttime drama? Or perhaps, a character in a time-period piece or scifi show? Or what about a raw and gritty character role on HBO or Showtime? And then of course there is guest-starring on a sitcom as a French teacher? So, reader, if you are into it, Friend me on FB (B&W photo from Better Of Dead – that’s me) and let me know what shows/roles you’d like to see me in? But, be honest. You’re the casting director!! Jerry Saravia: When it comes to actresses cast in horror films, particularly those where their characters face a horrific demise, there can be more obsessive fans coming out of the woodwork. Since you played Patricia Montelli in “Amityville II: The Possession” where your character is killed by her brother, do you find that role garners more attention overall, positive and/or negative? Diane Franklin: Amityville II: The Possession, is a film that does push the limits. The subject of incest attracts interest. There are fans who are attracted to my character, and those who are repulsed by what I go through in the story. Some viewers have
empathy for my character, or found me so real it gave them nightmares. I have heard people say they thought it’s the best Amityville film and compare it with the Exorcist, while others love the fact that it is based on a true story. And, of course, for some the incest story rings true, and find solace in it being addressed in a film. Regardless the reason, the character of Patricia Montelli has left a strong impression on those who have seen the film, and I have found fans to be reverent and respectful to me as well as the subject matter. Jerry Saravia: Any word on the progress of the TV series “Parole Officers” which, correct me if I am wrong, hasn’t been aired yet? Diane Franklin: Funny you should ask. Director/writer, Adam Ward, just signed a television deal to air the episode to over 40 million people domestically. I am not sure what network, but if your readers friend me on FB, I will post it there as soon as I find out. In the meantime, Parole Officers has won an award at the Pittsburgh Film Fest, and also was nominated for the Hollywood Shorts Festival recently. On another note, my daughter, Olivia DeLaurentis has completed a new 1/2hr film, titled Devon Bright and the Sensitive Boys. It is a hilarious boy-band parody that she wrote, directed and edited and was fortunate enough to convince her brother, Nick, to write and produce the music. I play a nervous, soulless stage mom, while Olivia cast herself as a…prostrate! ...no … prostitute;) Enough said. I will post more details about it on my FB page. Jerry Saravia: Lastly, as for “How I got Into College” - were you only offered a part as the stepmother? Diane Franklin: No, the great part was Savage just offered me the part of the mom, which was confusing to me at first. Then I read the sides… 18 year old step-mom?! YES!!! Playing that role was so much fun. Watching those scenes today still make me laugh. Savage is just an inspired filmmaker!! He has brought a lot of joy to the world. I am so fortunate he cast me in multiple films.
Diane in the 80’s
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Glen Buxton Birthday Memorial Interview With His Sister Janice by Alexxis Steele 64 | Steel Notes Magazine
Janice, diehard Alice Cooper fans would recognize your brother Glen Buxton, “The Blonde Bomber” who unfortunately passed away in 1997, as one of the greatest guitar players of all time. His birthday is coming up on November 10th, and I wanted to pay homage to him. I would like to hear about your brother and his life from your perspective, growing up as his younger sibling. Alexxis: You and Glen were both born in Akron, Ohio,then your family moved to Arizona around 1961 right? Janice: Yes we did. Alexxis: What was it like growing up,moving from Ohio to Arizona in two completely different types of environments? Janice:Well, for me, it didn’t have as much of an impact on me than it did Glen. He was 5 years older than me. I was in 2nd grade when we moved, and all I knew was that the kids that I went to school with I wouldn’t see any more and that kind of made me sad, but with Glen he had to go to a K- 8 school because he was in 8th grade at the time, and when we were in Akron he went to a Junior high and he just hated that. He really hated it. He graduated from 8th grade then started Cortez as a freshmen.
then when my mom and dad went out someplace at night, he would set it off, then he’d say - Now don’t tell mom! and I would say- I won’t!
Alexxis: Growing up did Glen play the protective older brother with you? Janice: Oh yes pretty much he did, and he would tease me unmercifully , then if anybody did anything to me he would beat them up! I remember walking to school in Akron because we both had to walk up the same street that if anybody would bug me he would take care of them, but he could push me into puddles and stuff, you know. Alexxis: Did you also attend Cortez High School? Janice: Yes, Glen graduated in 1965, and then I was not there for a couple of years later. Alexxis: What is something funny you remember that Glen did when you were kids?
Alexxis: Tell me about when Glen met Dennis Dunaway and Vincent AKA Alice in High school.
Janice: When Glen first started taking me in his confidence like the “don’t tell mom“things, it was mostly about him. He would take the powder out of caps and get it all together and make a bomb
Janice: Well Dennis remembers that more than I do since I was a little kid, but the first time I met them is when all came over and they practiced in my garage which they did all the time.
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Alexxis: The band started out as The Earwigs, then The Spiders and The Nazz before changing the name to Alice Cooper. Did you get to go to any of the parties and shows they had and hang out? Janice: In the beginning I was still too young, but every time when they practiced in the garage,people would come from as far away as could hear them,and sit outside the garage to listen to them. I had my two girlfriends,who were a few years older than I was, one lived next door, and one lived behind us, who would come over and sit and listen to the band to so that was always a party! I was about 12 at the time.
Floyd came over to the guy’s house the next day for Sunday dinner, so I did get to meet all of them and that was when Syd Barrett was still with them. Alexxis: Very cool! Alexxis: Do you have a favorite Alice Cooper song that Glen co-wrote? Janice: Schools Out of course! I was a teacher and taught Junior high for 20 years, and always played Schools Out, and turned on 20 years’ worth of junior high students to School’s Out. Alexxis: I bet they thought it was awesome!
Alexxis: So you had a ways to go before you could go to anything…
Janice: I even found an Alvin and The Chipmunks video of Schools Out and played that for them too..
Janice: Oh yeah, the worst thing I remember was when, after they had moved to California during the summer of love, and were playing at The Cheetah Club. My parents and I stopped by their house in Topanga Canyon,they had a camper, and we had come down from San Francisco at the time because my dad went to an electrical convention at the Cow Palace there. It was the “summer of love”. We drove up and downHaight Street, drove down to the Los Angeles area, and parked the camper in the driveway of the guy’s house. On Saturday or Sunday afternoon we drove down to the Cheetah where they were playing with The Doors, and they would not let me in because I wasn’t old enough, but my mom and dad got to go in and see The Doors.
Alexxis: Do you think the band’s lifestyle had a negative impact on Glen’s health?
Alexxis: Oh really? So even though you were with your parents they still would not let you in?
Janice: Well sure, it was the grueling tour schedule they had for Billion Dollar Babies. One thing that somebody reminded me of was that Glen always stayed in his room all the time. Well he was sick, he was not drugged up, he was ill with Pancreatitis. That’s why he did not come out of his room. When Glen came home for Christmas he had pain so bad, that’s when he told my mom to take him to the hospital and that’s where he stayed for about 3 weeks and finally when the doctor opened him up... the doctor said I looked at your stomach and I was disgusted… Alexxis: Was it all the drinking that did that? Janice: Yes, it was.
Janice: No they still would not let me in and I was so pissed off.
Alexxis: That is what happened to a friend of mine, it is a terrible disease.
Alexxis: I believe it! So then what did you do? Where did you go?
Janice: So that’s why Glen stayed in his room all of the time, because he was so sick.
Janice: I just stood outside the whole time!
Alexxis: Did that happen before the Billion Dollar Babies tour 1973?
Alexxis: Oh wow, well that stinks! Janice: However,that was also when they met Pink Floyd and Glen took me. I think there were 6 of us in the car – Michael Bruce, Dennis, me, Glen and I don’t know who else, so we went to see Pink Floyd play at The Bank in Torrence and then after that we went to the Landmark to party with them. Pink
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Janice: Yes, I think that was before it started because when he went on the tour he was still recovering from his trip in the hospital. Alexxis: He was in good spirits when I saw him at the Billion Dollar Babies after party in Philadelphia that year, and he was always so nice!
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a while I know he was in Billion Dollar Babies with Michael Neal and Dennis. Then Glen was basically working with local bands? Janice: Well he was interested in antiques and went to lot of estate sales, and collected a lot of stuff.His house was just filled with all kinds of cool stuff. Alexxis: So then the music became less of a focus in his life? Janice: He could charm the pants right off of ya, lol! Alexxis: Well, he was the Blonde Bomber and a real cutie!! Janice: He used to pull his little rap on me too, and say...Would you do this for me? I will give you a shiny new dime! That’s how I got the title for his group page on Facebook, because he always said that to me. Alexxis: How were Glen’s feelings about the band splitting up, and how did it affect him? Janice: He really did not say that much to me about it. He just said “well the band broke up,” but he had written my mom a letter. He didn’t write about it in the letter but said there is too much to go into, so I will tell you when I see you. We really didn’t discuss it a lot. It kind of came as a surprise to him that Alice went out to do a solo recording but the band never got back together.It’s easier to see now that they decided dealing with one person was a lot easier now that all of the documentaries have come out that they would rather deal with one person rather than 5 and they put their money behind Alice. Alexxis: That was such a shame because it was not the band but just one person. Janice: Right, They suffered for many years trying to make it big, and, starved. Alexxis: They did all of that together but then did not reap the benefits of it. Janice: Ten years of struggling, hitting the heights then boom! The record company worked them to death. You’ve got to keep touring, you’ve got to put out another album. They never really had time to rest and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Alexxis: Exactly! So after the band broke up, for
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Janice: Well, he was never without a guitar in his hand. He always had a guitar playing something. I was at his house in the summer of ‘76 when he was with his girlfriend Suzy at his house in CT. He had like in the Spinal Tap movie where they had the guitars lined up. He said you can hear the sustain on this one, you can still hear it. So these guitars were all lined up in this loft bedroom where I slept along with his gold records. It was really something seeing all of those gold records lined up. Alexxis: I can imagine what it was like seeing them. What he helped create from all the years of his hard work – the fruits of his labor in the form of a gold record – then what you have left is the royalties you make from them! Janice: My brother and I are splitting his royalties now. They were going to my mom and dad, and then they both passed away, so then my oldest brother Ken and I started receiving them. Alexxis: And the royalties will continue to come in because they are classics and timeless, and will go on forever! Alexxis: Tell me something,Janice, that people don’t know about Glen that would surprise or shock them. Janice: He liked to write. He kept journals and diaries of his thoughts and feelings and anything he was watching on TV. If there was a joke or a smart aleck comment, and he’d write it down then would work it into his own. He would wait weeks or months to use a line on somebody. Alexxis: Was he a jokester? Janice: Oh yeah, he was so funny. Just sitting in a room with him made you feel like the greatest person in the world because he was so fun to be around. I have a good friend Dewey who wrote
for the New Times in Phoenix and Dewey and Glen got along great. Dewey admired Glen’s sense of humor. He wasn’t real big into the music, but he liked being around Glen for his wit. That’s why Glen liked Dewey too because the two of them together would make your sides hurt from laughing so hard! He was so creative – I know Dennis talks to me about Glen and his quick verbal wit. It’s just something that you can’t catch. If you write it down, it just doesn’t sound the same. Alexxis: As it would be coming from him, right? Janice: Right. Alexxis: What one thing do you want the world to know about Glen? Janice:That he was really a great, fine musician and he worked hard at it. Alexxis: Well, he was one of the top guitarists in the world! Janice: I was watching the movie, Super Duper Alice Cooper, and I just kind of went wow, they were really something! Having lived through it and been so close to that success, it’s different, looking at it later, and I wound up getting chills, like wow so many people knew the band, saw the band, admired their musicianship, and it really just kind of caught me off guard of how famous they were. Alexxis: So I guess because you were in the midst of
the situation, it was harder for you to conceive, how famous they really were. Janice: Right, and is still like, those are my boys... Dennis, Neal, Michael and Vince and Glen. I knew Vince from the time he was 16 and I was 12.These guys would come over and played music in my garage and I would make them lemonade. Alexxis: What about Glen and Neal, they were close weren’t they? Janice: Yes,Neal was also from Akron, and that was something they discovered when they met in Phoenix when they were In competing bands. So then when they needed a new drummer,Glen said let’s get Neal we need another Akron boy. That’s when I first met Neal, when I got to meet Pink Floyd when they were at their house. Alexxis: If Glen were here right now what would he say to you and what would you say to him? Janice: I think we would just sit around and have a beer and smoke some cigarettes and have a laugh. Alexxis: And that‘s what it’s all about. Janice: To have my brother back that would be cool. Alexxis: Yes, Exactly. Janice: I would say that those two weeks before he passed away in Texas playing with Michael and Neal again, he wrote me a couple of lines in an email when the internet was just starting to get really big.I don’t think he realized how much of an impact he had on people I think he would overwhelmed with how much influence he has had on people over the years since the band and be humbled by some of the things that have been said about him. Like Rolling Stone named him one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. Alexxis: Yes I saw that. Janice: I think that would have just freaked him out, he would have went bonkers over it, and would have been really special to him. Alexxis: It also is a shame that he was not there when the band accepted the award when they were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame – that was really sad.
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Janice: I have the award, we have it here. Alexxis: That’s great! Janice: I wish he could be here to see some of the cool things going on now. Alexxis: Yes, a lot has changed since 1997. Janice: I sure do miss him, He was a great brother. We were close, helped each other out and kept each other’s secrets. Alexxis: Glen is definitely missed, that’s for sure. His passing was a great loss to the world!
You can read more about Glen’s life by going to his Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/ groups/280523658684684/ Or: http://www.theoriginalglenbuxton.com
Check out the New Facebook Group: Glen Buxton’s “Shiny New Dime” https://www.facebook.com/groups/280523658684684/
Glen and Janice
Glenâ€™s house in Iowa
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Positively Energized with Barry Pearl by Scott Brandon
Scott Brandon A native of Lancaster, PA, Barry Pearl has had an incredible career in entertainment since 1961. He appeared in the first national tour of Grease (where John Travolta played Doody) as Sonny LaTierri, and in the McCoy/Rigby production as Vince Vontaine. His Broadway experience includes roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Producers, and Oliver! TV audiences saw Barry guest star on shows from Murder She Wrote to Beverly Hills 90210. He also appeared on stage as Professor Tinkerputt in the US and UK tours of Barney’s Big Surprise. But Barry will probably always be most remembered for his role of Doody, one of the four T-Birds following the leadership of Danny Zuko (John Travolta) in the 1978 film version of Grease.
the role of Danny in the first national tour. This past summer, Barry taught film arts to special needs kids, with Joey Travolta (John’s older brother) in four different cities. Joey’s wife Wendy told Barry that a friend of hers was working on a production of Thirteen, which at the time of our conversation, Barry was on his way to an interview about. Barry elaborated that Thirteen is being produced in the same theatre where he is currently
Barry has a huge affection for Grease as a whole, not just the inceptions he participated in. He recognizes every revamping of that American classic as “something whose time has come.” Recent incarnations of Greaseclean up much of the original script’s raunchy dialogue, as did the film. One thing the movie did not clean up, however, is the lyrics to Greased Lightning. I mentioned to Barry how I had heard that the MPAA granted Grease a PG rating, despite Greased Lighting’s lyrics, because “It was just so darn cute.” Barry laughed, partially correcting, “Travolta was so darn cute!” When I asked Barry if John Travolta (as rumored) really demanded he be able to sing Greased Lightning (a song originally written for, and performed by, Kenickie), Barry replied, “Jeff (Conaway) would say that.” He then continued, “I wasn’t present, but I highly doubt that happened. That’s not who John is.” The late Jeff Conaway (Kenickie in the movie) was like a brother to Barry. Barry praises Jeff as “The definitive Danny Zuko,” explaining that Jeff performed
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holding rehearsals for Gift of the Magi: The Musical, which he is directing. Barry has directed various projects throughout his career, and finds it to be a very rewarding part of the business. When I asked his age, Barry proudly answered, “64.” He then boasted that he never shies away
from his age. “If someone doesn’t want to hire me because of that, then they don’t hire me,” he said. Pointing out that anyone’s age can be looked up online,Barry described how he can make himself look older or younger by changing things such as facial hair. “There’s always a role for you, whatever your age,” Barry concurred. I want to conclude this article by thanking two very important people for the wonderfully relaxed phone conversation between Barry Pearl and I. First, I want to thank Barry himself for being so wonderful. Second, this would not have been my most comfortable (and therefore best overall) interview so far, if it were not for the advice of my friend, actress Heidi Holicker. Thank you both so much!
To hear the audio recording of my interview with Barry, log onto www.PositivelyEnergized.net and search the keyword Pearl. Also be sure to visit www.BarryPearl.com.
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Photo By EmZ
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MBW: My good friends, Cindy Colon & Johnny Spice, called me up and said “We’re coming over to pick you up and take you to see Big Sexy “ ... I was game ... I had just recently friended her on Facebook ... Her real name is Emma Zakarevicius ... She was playing at a place called The Sidewalk Café down on the lower east side of Manhattan ... “ Action !!! “ ... the cameras were rollin’ ... and there she was ... a sensation on stage ... a big blonde baby doll in baby blue baby doll pajamas singing her heart out ... The place was jam packed ... We joined the crowd and went wild ... and then we met on the sidewalk out front ... She was fixing her stockings ... looked over her shoulder at me and said “ Are my seams straight ??? “ ... Now I ask you, Miss Emma ... “ What’s a nice girl like you doin’ in a movie like this ??? “
I love lovelove it. Immediately I thought of my love for downtown 81. I should send you a little bit of musings in response? You mentioned movie but New York always felt like a dream to me. Surreal. I love what you wrote so far it’s great.
I never came to Manhattan with the intent to take over, but as Frank Sinatra would say “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere! “ I grew up in very remote Australia and I had no concept of New York other than what I’d seen on TV. Even then I could never have imagined how this journey would unfold. It’s been crazy, beautiful, challenging and totally unexpected. In 2003, when I applied for funding to study painting for a summer semester at the New York Studio School, all I could see when I pictured New York was television static. I just wanted to paint and to challenge myself outside my immediate environment. I had no real idea about New York or that i would end up living here for the next 11 years.
MBW: I understand you are from Australia ... Don’t you think it is incredibly bold of you to come over here and just take over Manhattan ???
Especially in the early days, New York felt like walking in a dream fog. I found it very hard to comprehend where I was and what was going on. I used all those emotions and channeled them into my visual art work, it was raw. I wrote a lot of poetry. I was always trying to express my feelings about this place that was so completely beyond my comprehension. I was hooked on the idea of the gesture in art, signifiers - how modes of communication operate. I was discovering an entire history of painting and art I was previously oblivious too. My mentor and first roommate Arleen Schloss, a downtown underground art icon helped me
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photo by Tawania Pettus
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navigate the waters. We met online while I was in Australia. The moment she told me that Jean Michel Basquiat had performed in her loft in the 70’s I was sold. I always felt like I was retracing this ghost past-life in New York that I may have already lived. Two weeks after I arrived I watched the movie “Downtown 81” about the CBGB era. I kept thinking ah man... I want to be in that scene...and it ended up that I am, just another reincarnation of it.
MBW: I really like your voice ... strange but it has a certain little girlishness like My favorite, Gwen Stefani ... and ... top that off with a surprising sexy tremulousness of Marilyn Monroe ... How do you like them apples ???
EZ: That is a huge mind blowing compliment. Thank you! It’s very strange to hear one’s own voice with an objective ear. There is so much involved emotionally and environmentally when it comes to sound, so many factors are at play simultaneously. Being a singer you have to learn to accept your voice and work with it, explore it. I always loved vibrato in the voice, the tremor, the quiver...it’s sexy, it’s like a trampoline for the emotions. I was always moved by very emotional voices, singers who told the story through the voice as well as the music. The lyrics tell one story and then the voice
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reveals something else. Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday come to mind, Robert Plant. Marilyn was never one of my vocal inspirations per se, but I love her and have studied her style and mannerisms, her facial expressions and what makes her shine anyone off the screen. Gwen Stefani is bad ass and she has an edge which I can relate to, she was definitely rocking it when I was a teenager. In my heart I’m a rock and roller and good ol’ raucous music always turned me on; as long as the feeling is really there, I’m into it.
MBW: I am sure it would be really cool and interesting to sit back and watch and listen to the Emma Zakarevicius Story ... Would you like to tell us all how this film will begin ... Little girl Emma in Australia and her gigantic American dream ???
to sleep to the clacking of pool sticks and drunken rambling...America came about by accident. When I was 21 I felt the distinct need to escape my old self in a very drastic way. I ended up getting a scholarship to study art in Colorado which radically changed my life and sense of self. I had a perceptional shift after I landed in America; I shed skins, I met myself. I was introduced to all sorts of musical and cultural influences in Colorado that I never knew existed and my mind bloomed – JackKarouac and the beat generation and jazz literally blew me wide open. The landscape transfixed me, the expanse, the mountains...I was also deep into post-modern theory and very excited by words and subtext in art. It was always all about the art. When I returned to Australia I was compelled to get back to the USA as quickly as possible because an inner flame to challenge myself was lit and wildfire had begun. I worked my ass off to get to New York and the city accepted me immediately. When I arrived I felt like I had returned to an old friend, like I had walked these streets before. Anything seems possible in New York. I feel alive. I feel sexy. It’s a very sexy place.
MBW: How did you pull your band together ???
EZ: I think New York dreamed ME! Seriously though, I’m lucky that I’ve had the best of both worlds. I grew up in the wilderness of Australia - in unfathomable crocodile dreamtime landscapes where my little-child-mind was full of mystical natural worlds. It was a time of camping and outback escapades, sailing and hootenanny at the local Saturday night bush dance. My teenage life I lived in the hotel that my mother owned above the front bar. I fell
Well I have two bands actually. Crazy Mary is my first love and as lead singer, it’s where I really cut my teeth in the realm of music. We’ve been together for over seven years and are regulars on the Lower East Side rock and roll scene. It’s been a crazy good innings and we are still rocking strong. Big Sexy Music originated from a desire to sing my own songs and tell my story. It was a project that started out as piano and vocals because I was sick of screaming over a band and I wanted to express the sensuality and subtle nuances in my voice. But it’s morphed over the years. I met my Big Sexy band in Harlem at the New Amsterdam Music Association (NAMA), the oldest African American music association in America. I was invited to sing at the association by Zandrina Charles, my now backup singer and soul sister who
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I met through Crazy Mary at an outdoor gig at the east side river park. Zandrina and I held an open jam at NAMA and invited all these musicians to come down and play. A bass and guitar duo, who I’d never met, came, set up and starting vamping on this song. I turned to them and said, “Wow that’s a cool song, do I know this song?” They said - this is your song “Fallen Angel” and I was stunned to hear that they had learned eight songs off my debut album. The rest was history. I asked them to be in my band on the spot. I also met my drummer at NAMA. We were playing a show there and my current drummer was in the audience. When I got off stage he said to me “wow you have a lot of energy, where do you get all that energy?” I told him i got it from the earth. We hit it off straight away. He was playing with another group and I could see that he was a sensitive drummer, a singer’s drummer. So I approached him and asked if he would like to play with Big Sexy...he’s been a committed member ever since.
MBW: You gave me a copy of your CD and I lost it ... but ... I would love to hear your recording studio experiences ... Where did you record and how long did it take ... etc. ???
EZ: Recording “Postcards” was definitely a labor of love. As I mentioned, it started out as a piano, vocal duet but after we laid down the initial tracks we kept on having inspirational ideas of other musical elements that we could add. We were recording at JBS Studios in Whiteplains, (NY) and over weekly sessions for the next 14 months we orchestrated these tracks into something beyond our original intention. It was a laborious process for sure. Much like completing a painting – Lots of layers and waiting for things to “dry” and then adding another layer, another color. I listened to the album twenty million times and was very critical of every detail. I would never make an album that way again to be honest. I really trust my engineer, James Byron Schoen who I’m also recording my new album with “In your Garden”. James is a musician and a perfectionist and he understands my overall aesthetic and how I
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want my sound to resonate. I’m not big on effects and want my music to be as “natural” sounding as possible. James understands what I’m going for. I trust him impeccably which I think is really important when you are working on something so deeply personal. He just moved to Dumbo, BK so it feels great to continue our relationship through different life transitions. It’s very cool. The new album is going to be off the hook. It’s got a tangible energy. I’m really excited.
MBW: How about ‘Big Sexy’ ... What is the story behind the myth ???
EZ: Big Sexy came about as a nick name given to me by a co-worker when I was waitressing on 9th Street. The chef at the spot I worked at, a good friend of mine, was a lot younger than me and a lot shorter...and he used to call me Big Sexy. I called him my pimp sizzle. It was an ongoing term of endearment between us. Soon enough everyone was calling me Big Sexy which made me somewhat uncomfortable and I thought it was kind of ridiculous but it really stuck. Now my image is synonymous with the term. Big Sexy really took on a life of its own as a persona and I grew into it over time. It seemed to resonate with people’s sensibilities and I liked the idea of bringing sexy back into the music game. Not smutty or crass, but keeping the sexy vibe alive; classy, stylish, something that demanded attention and respect. I like to think Big Sexy equals “big” spirit and “sexy” as an aesthetic. It’s an interesting concept to create a character and then live that character. Sometimes when I am thinking within the box, or if I’m feeling defeated, Big Sexy comes into my mind and reminds me - NO, Big Sexy doesn’t act this way! Big Sexy is strong and self-assured. I think that is reflected in my music.
MBW: Do you live in Manhattan ???
EZ: I lived all over Manhattan from 2003-2008. I think I moved at least twenty times in those years. From living in the corner of people’s living rooms when
I had NO money, I went from being downtown, to the east side, the west, Harlem, Brooklyn, Williamsburg to Bushwick and everywhere in between. I live in Westchester now, about forty minutes north of Manhattan. I moved up this way for a number of reasons, mainly to get as far away from my ex-boyfriend as humanly possible, but also because Manhattan made me feel pretty crazy. I am very vibrationally sensitive and I could never come down in New York. I was always fully charged in the city and I need a more relaxed atmosphere. I also need trees in my life. I grew up in very remote wilderness and I think I am in constant need of natural environments. I do work in Manhattan though, so I am there nearly every day; I get the best of both worlds.
MBW: You told me you love New York so much ... How much ... and can you please describe a day of existence as Emma in New York ???
EZ: I do love New York, but I also think New York is a pretty hardcore city. Let’s be real. It’s a tough place to exist. I think if you are steadfast and have a goal New York can be really rewarding. But if you’re wishy-washy I think New York will swallow you whole and spit you out half dead. My typical day - I generally wake up at the crack of dawn, take a 40 minute ride to the city where I walk from Grand Central twenty blocks to my work. I spend the next nine long hours of my precious creative time as a studio manager at a Design firm. After I am set free from that painful endeavor I usually go straight to rehearsal at my favorite rehearsal studio “Funkadelic Studios” in Times Square, or to the studio to work on my album. If I have a “night off” and not playing a show downtown, I might show support to some of my fellow musicians. I think it’s really important to support live music and it’s almost like studying for me. I am always interested to watch bands play and deconstruct what’s happening on stage. I am constantly refining my own show and get inspiration from seeing other people play live. I’m generally pretty serious and feel like I have a lot to achieve, so I spend most of my time trying to get closer to my goal...relaxing for me is
MBW: I come to find we share a lot of the same groovy friends ... I feel a very strong family bond with these kids ... It feels kinda wonderful and somehow powerful to me ... What do you think we all have in common that has magnetized us all together like this???
EZ: I think we all want something from New York. It’s saturated with history and myth. I also think there is definitely a thriving rock and roll scene that still wants to evoke and pay homage to the CBGB days of “Do it yourself” artistic expression. I love the scene. It’s REAL. Our mutual friends all have a deep love and respect for music, especially rock and roll. The magnet is music for sure... and an uninhibited acceptance for personal expression. I think as New York becomes more corporate, people are looking for something authentic, something genuine. We need release from everyday pressures of living in a crazy place, somewhere where we can be ourselves and “wind down” after a long week at Otto’s Shrunken Head ( an East Village night club) and let it all hang out.
MBW: Let’s talk about your songs ... Some of them sound like you are on the rampage of cunning revenge and a hilarious, yet tender, slap in the face of love ... gone wrong ... Are they mini autobiographical Emma excerpts ???
EZ: All my songs are autobiographical yes, that’s for sure. A lot of them came about as a way to embody a feeling or a thought that was haunting my mind repeatedly. When I put a feeling (or experience) into song, it’s almost like closing the chapter on that feeling, like embalming the dead or something. Sometimes songs come to me fully formed almost, melody and all. I’ll be walking down the street and it starts of as a beat, a tempo then a melody erupts and suddenly I’m singing a hook. Then I’ll be recording it on my phone, rushing home to make a scratch demo, which may sit in my archives for
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years before it’s brought to life by musicians. I have different modes of writing but generally my songs are inspired by the muse, whatever muse that happens to be at the time; usually someone I am enamored with, sometimes the play of light...a general atmosphere. Love is a constant subject for me, as it is for many artists and musicians. I think it’s the need to create something tangible that represent emotions that are illusive. To create an object for something that essentially without form helps me feel like I can contain this mutable force. Love is very compelling. It’s what we all want, and it’s the hardest thing to understand.
MBW: I am now going to give you the stage ... I would love to hear you go off ... any advice, tips and warnings ???
EZ: Always be true to yourself. EVERYONE and their mother will have an opinion on your work and what you should do with your life. It’s good to listen and be open to new things but it’s also very important to listen to yourself and know your own (true) intentions. I have a very strong inner compass that directs me to what is right for me and I think the more you know yourself, in an honest realistic sense, then you have a good chance of being able to surmount any obstacle. In the end, I am a holistic artist. My health is very important to me. As a singer if your health is compromised then you can’t sing. Getting to know what you need to function as a healthy individual is so critical to any kind of success. If you know yourself then you’re in good standing for anything that life might throw at you. Love is really the most important thing you can invest in - and it must start with the self. It sounds cliché, but if you can love yourself, your battle is already half won...I try and encourage people to invest in their “best” versions of themselves. It’s easy to be self-deprecating and negative in this world, but when people are invited to believe in their dreams and live them; when they treat themselves with respect and love that’s when the magic happens.
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MBW: Any recommendations for a great place with great food in Manhattan ???
EZ: My whole eating regime has really changed in the last five years. I generally buy my food from the local farmers market and eat a ton of vegetables and salad at home. My days of eating out have been fairly limited. Something about the New York culture of constantly eating out as a social mechanism turned me off food completely for a while. It’s weird I used to think of food as a purely sensual endeavor but now I see it as a fueling mechanism to maintain my health. I did a 360 when it came to how I thought about food and what role it plays in my life. That being said...I do love Frank’s on 2nd Ave for a good old fashioned scrumptious Italian meal... any sushi restaurant and if I’m feeling like throwing caution to the wind I love an old school diner experience. I also love the Oyster Bar at Grand Central... but I’m also down with a bodega sandwich too.
MBW: You have a very explosive energy ... Makes me wonder where it is heading ???
EZ: Me too! I feel like I am about to explode sometimes I’m so full of this cosmic energy. There is so much I want to do but it’s a matter of time and not having enough time. I am very artistically inclined and I’m an endless dreamer. I want to study burlesque and incorporate that into my show. I also have a vision of writing a multi-media play incorporating all my songs and my visual ideas I studied film and sound as well as fine arts so my mind is full of various dreamscapes that I would love to peruse and create. I’ve got music video ideas for days! I would love to be on the big screen. And of course I would also love to tour. I know that when I get to Europe that my music will be really well received. I want to do it all. I think I can. I’m certainly going to try. I think you are only limited by the limitations you place on yourself. Anything is possible. It’s not that I want to be famous but I certainly want to
be successful, whatever that means on any given day. I think success is pursuing your dream...but it’s always work. You never really arrive at the destination because it’s a constantly shifting vantage point
MBW: If I could grant you three wishes ... What would they be ???
EZ: Wow hard question.... 1. That I could time travel/ teleport home to be with my family in Australia at will. I love them and miss them dearly. The most difficult part of my journey in New York is to be so far from them. 2. That I could sing on key ALL the time without effort :) Then I could really take over the world! 3. To be filthy freakin’ rich! Haha no seriously I wish that money was no object. Lack of money really blows. But you know what they say...an artist always needs to be a little bit hungry and a little bit horny....and totally sexy baby!
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MBW: Ladies and Gentlemen and Children of all ages ...I am Marlowe B. West ... your Ringleader ... and today I have the great pleasure of taking this Greatest Show On Earth to London ... where we find ourselves in the good and hot ... rocking ... company of Steven Jones ... Steven ... My awesome friend ...without any further introduction ... I will let you get right to the point ... and the point is ... We want to know what is the damn hold-up on the new album with the incredibly talented and beautiful Donna Destri ... You have us all on the edge of our seats ... in suspense ... since your sneek-release video STRANGE MAGIC hit the air waves ... I love the song and it’s enchanting presentation to the max ??? SJ: We’re working on a load of fantastic new material at the moment. Lots of a really cool new tracks. And some of these will be released next year as part of an EP called Utopia Boulevard. Donna and I were driving back from a Depeche Mode gig at Jones Beach when we came up with the idea for a song called Utopia Boulevard. It’s about hope, healing, transformation and letting go of sadness. So
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we have a collection of tracks in the works which express this vibe. It’s a great feeling to be driving fast along Utopia Boulevard, I can tell you. The future is golden, baby. We even have song with an urban vibe which is quite a departure from our usual stuff. And we’re planning some live shows also called Utopia Boulevard. So standby, Im gonna tell you more very soon. In the very near future, we’re planning a re-issue of Donna’s amazing EP ‘London’ which will include a few new tracks too. MBW: ... We miss you ... So when are you coming back to New York City ??? SJ: Im planning to be back in New York very soon. Its really my second home. I love the vibe of NYC, that crazy energy. Donna and I have been talking about doing some gigs and I’d love to play New York. And anyway, I’ve made a solemn promise to kiss Fred Schneider (of the B52s) under the mistletoe….so…..lets see…. MBW: You have a unique sound ... I really dig it a lot ...It’s alive with get up and dance energy ... and I also must put the spotlight on the most intriguing element you consistently deliver ... There is always this un-
mistakable trance inducing ingredient ... When I think of your music I can picture myself dancing deliriously in an echoing disco ... like The Tunnel ... full blast ... euphoric ... like the definition of the word “THRILL” SJ: Yeah, the word ‘Thrill’ is one of my favourites terms. I think electronic music should always contain some euphoria, some dark pulsing energy even if sometimes the vibe is melancholy. The most potent pop and dance tracks combine sadness with joy. There’s something shamanic in losing oneself on the dancefloor at 3am. It’s pagan. Its a cathartic. I like to think we inject something pagan into our tracks. An undercurrent of desire, of glamour, of a shimmering city at night. And because Donna and I love music so much, we have so much to draw on. I have a juke box in my mind containing a million tracks and I can refer at anytime to the vibe, to the feeling, to beat, to the bass of any of this music. And this can feed into our creative process and help us achieve that special Destri/Jones vibe. MBW: Please tell us all about STRANGE MAGIC ... This song and it’s video are just my type ... Magic and Egypt together can not be beat ... It really is an overwhelmingly beautiful and hypnotic piece of work ???
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SJ: Its true that a lot of our focus lately has been on Strange Magic. This song comes from a recording session Donna and I did earlier this year. We recorded four others at the same time but Strange Magic seemed to develop a life of its own. It had a mystical, hypnotic vibe from the start and so we felt it deserved some special attention. Its been exciting to evolve the song, shoot the conceptually intriguing videos and get some really talented people involved to remix it. I asked Red Electro to play in some synths and he really nailed the retro yet smoothly modern sound that I was seeking. The piano parts are especially lovely. Logan Sky (an amazing electro artist and part of the current line-up of Visage) produced a compelling remix which has attracted a whole new audience to our music. The fabulous Miss Luna has worked her own strange magic with the track and turned it into a really hypnotic chill out. And our old friend Marco Cozza has given us a wall of mystical sound in his version. We feel really proud of this song and we’ve had some really really amazing reactions to it. I think there really is a little bit of magic in it. Excitingly we got some really good DJ chart placings all over the world including a No 17 placing in the European DJ Charts! We release a collection of the remixes and some new tracks on CD recently and thats available now from Chop Chop Records. As for that Egyptian motif, well, Im a devotee of hermetic mysticism and Ancient Egypt was really the crucible of so much occult lore. So we thought why not reference this in our video. Kenneth Anger’s film ‘Lucifer Rising’ was the inspiration for the visuals. It’s dark and ambiguous and gave us an opportunity to wear lots of eye-makeup. And we are all more beautiful when we do this! MBW: You have always been very rich in the area of producers ... It is so interesting and very cool the way they each dissect your songs and emphasize all the different facets ... It’s like each song spurs off their own individual offspring ... Can you tell us about these people and how you all came together in the recording studio ??? SJ: Yeah, we love to collaborate with other creative people. It’s great to reach out and connect. And it’s so exciting to hear another interpretation of one of our songs. Im always open to other producers remixing our tracks. Its an organic process, an evolution. The more mixes that exist the better I feel about the song. So many re-incarnations of it. I love how Logan Sky has taken Strange Magic to its 80’s analogue roots. And how Dj Luna has taken it straight to Ibiza. It was so cool to hear her mix played in Ibiza Live Radio! These collaborations arise out of that love for music and that need to create. We’ve been lucky to have collaborated with so many great people. And digital recording makes this very easy. I can a record a vocal and send it immediately to New York or to Ibiza or wherever. And while it’s great to meet up, we really don’t have to be in the same room to make music. The ideas are literally flying all over the world. So bring on the collaborations. I’d love to do a track with Boy George and Marc Vedo. We’re gonna do some more recording with Logan Sky. I have Lots of intriguing plans…. MBW: I like your style ... What inspires you ... How would you classify yourself in terms of style ??? SJ: Think Bryan Ferry, 80s French Vogue, 70s Ray Bans, Gaultier, Man Ray, Eye liner. My ideal is a kind of louche melancholy glamour. I’m also drawn to a certain theatricality especially for photo shoots and video. It’s not about fashion though. Just a kind of moody vibe. MBW: Aside from your music and your look I admire you as a person, Steven ... You have dignity and elegance ... which is rare in people these days ... and your manner is peaceful ... yet contains a great sense of humor and humanity ... Would you like to give us an idea of a typical day in your personal life in London ??? SJ: A typical day? An early breakfast of fruit and green tea. I might send some songs to a producer for remixing. I’lI do lots of yoga. I practice everyday. I also teach yoga in a number of studios. So my life is really a synthesis of yoga and music. And both include a strong element of performance. I like to meet friends for coffee. In the evenings I might be recording vocals. I listen to lots of music. Read lots of books. I love to go to gigs. I saw Kate Bush live in September and that was a peak music experience for me. Truly
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amazing. I’m fortunate enough to live my life on my own terms and fill it with the things I love. Im really captain of my own ship. MBW: ... and ... While you’re at it ... What is the music scene like over there ... Tell us about the clubs ... Tell us about Will Sid Smith and Johnny Paris ... Who do you admire the most over there in England ... and why ... Can you tell us a recent fun-filled exciting celebrity story??? SJ: There’s a great vibe in London these days. Lots of good stuff happening in the clubs. Donna and I have been working closely with Angela Caruccio of the Wicked 7 Network which means that we get good connections with cool places like Egg London. Angela’s also started a fantastic new DJ event called Mazi at Canary Wharf. Did I mention we have a new EP of very cool club mixes coming out called No Limit heading for the London clubs? More on that very soon…… Will Sid Smith is a talented enigma. And Johnny Paris is evolving into a excellent performer in his own right! And did I tell I bumped into Debbie Harry and invited her to work on a track with us? She gave me a quizzical look but didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand. I admire Kate Bush. In her live shows she re-connected us with the true power of music to channel emotion, to unite audience with artist, to employ melody to express something about being human that we struggle to articulate in our daily lives. MBW: How about the future ...What direction are you heading in ... Where do you see yourself in 2015 ?? SJ: I see myself making more cool music and spending even more time in New York City! And I see myself hitting the dance floor with you, Marlowe! MBW: My favorite question is always ... “If I could grant you three wishes what would they be ??? Well, I could be glib about this one but what I really wish for is an end to our culture’s psychotic obsession with money and material gain, an end to seemingly perpetual war in the Middle East and an end to the strangle-hold of the mainstream media over the minds of so many millions. We need magical thought and a return to some real humanity. And Im wishing for it every day.
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna Black Friday Releases for Friday November 28th! The list of Black Friday releases has just got a whole lot more impressive as classic rock icons Judas Priest, The Beatles and Neil Young add exclusive vinyl sets to a list that already included David Bowie and Metallica. Pretender svocalist Chrissie Hynde will offer a new live EP that features songs from her first-ever solo LP “Stockholm” and Neil Young will be releasing a vinyl box set containing his long out-of-print 73 live LP “Time Fades Away”. With vinyl making a big comeback to collectors and those who revere the disc, this year will be a 12” bonanza! The Beatles - “Long Tall Sally” EP Bon Jovi - “Live 2” - 10 “ picture disc David Bowie - “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” – 2 unreleased songs The Doors/Peter LaFarge - “Honor the Treaties” Genesis - “From Genesis to Revelation” Gov’t Mule - “Stoned side of the Mule, Vol 1” The Grateful Dead – “LIVE” 11/18/72 HofheintzPavillion, Houston, TX Jimi Hendrix - “Hear My Music” ChrissyHynde - “Stockholm Live at the 229 Club – London” Iron Butterfly - “Heavy” Joan Jett the Blackhearts - Self-Titled LP Judas Priest - “5 Souls” (Redeemer of Souls - bonus tracks) The Kinks - “Muswell Hillbillies” Metallica - “Lords of Summer” vinyl single Roy Orbison - “At the Rock House” Joey Ramone- “Christmas Spirit...At My House” The Ramones - “Morrissey Curates the Ramones” Ronnie James Dio/Dio& Friends - “Stand Up & Shout 4 Cancer” Joe Satriani- Self-Titled EP The Velvet Underground - “Live MXMXCIII” Neil Young -“Official Release Series Vol. 5-8”
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna THE CATHOLIC GIRLS “Exposed” These 3 ladies have been rockin’ since the early 80’s and have achieved a cult status that has thousands of loyal fans that follow them all over the East Coast. Hailing from New Jersey, regulars in the NYC indie scene, music that was once considered to be controversial is now widely accepted. Their attire in parochial school uniforms has become their trademark and has set a fashion trend as has their music which takes a leap over accepted boundaries with telling lyrics on subjects some consider taboo. So What! It just goes to show that there are still some who are narrow-minded and do not appreciate individuality and creativity. They describe their music as powerful rock that is influenced by greats such as The Pretenders, The Ramones, Patti Smith and Debbie Harry. Gail Petersen can burn a hole thru you with those piercing eyes and her banging guitar riffs will slam you hard into the wall. Roxy Andersen, who also manipulates the frets and ivories, was exposed to The Runaways at an early age which set the pace for her dream of an all-girl band. Doreen Holmes uses her signature pounding backbeat to break all the rules and paces the band with slamming percussions. Steve Berger is the only male connected with the band as he gives it up on bottom on this CD. “Exposed” is packed with 14 tracks that will knock your socks off! “Sleep” just starts pounding you from the door with rhythms that are close to the Go Go’s. “Celebrity Guy” features awesome harmonies that are retro-mod in flavor. “It Doesn’t Become You” is very infectious with those synth chords in the background that add a full sound. “Manderlay” takes it down a notch in the mold of a Natalie Merchant. “No One Like You” is a powerful track with rich keys, percussion and strong pop vocals. “Lonely” could have been recorded by The Chiffon’s back in the 60’s. If I closed my eyes and listened to “You Never Know Why”, it sounds like a 60’s tearjerker that was redone with an updated sound. “Sleepwalker” takes you to another place in time with vox that are piercing and hypnotic! Shades of Patti Smith! SHIT HOT!! Best track on this CD!! “Grounded” talks about a young lady who gets a major time out. “Airplay” sounds as if it could be a recomposed, modernized Monkees tune! “Broken Record” WOW! Shades of Belinda Carlisle and Jane Weilin! “Called You Up” reminds me a lot of
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Rindy Ross from Quarterflash and her sweet vocals. “Heartbreak 101” has some slammin riffs and tight harmonies that accent the lyrics perfectly. “Thank You” extends kudos to all their associates who made this possible. If you are into ‘Rock of the 80’s’ and the girl bands such as The Bangles, Katrina & The Waves, The Waitresses, The Runaways, Pat Benatar and Bananarama then you’ll absolutely fall in love with The Catholic Girls. These ladies kick ass! This is a MUST LISTEN!! I give this effort a hearty 2 THUMBS UP!!!!
NEIL DIAMOND “Melody Road”
by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna
Neil Diamond is back! Now on a new label, Capitol, with a new LP and an upcoming tour that has sell-out written all over it, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Neil Diamond is still able to convey his heartfelt and deep emotions through his music that listeners have come to admire over the years. This effort is co-produced by the renowned perfectionist Don Was and notable hit-maker Jacknife Lee. Equally renowned players, BenmontTench on keys, Greg Leisz on pedal steel and Smokey Hormel on lead guitar give that perfect equilibrium to Diamond’s baritone vocals in a harmonious blend that offers vibrance, warmth and a wealth of energy. The title track “Melody Road”, which characterizes Neil’s long career, has that signature acoustic sound and flow one has come to enjoy. “First Time” goes back to his roots with this uptempo fun sounding track where Neil says ‘…gotta put your heart in the game...’.This track is HOT! “Seongah and Jimmy” is a true story about the singer’s brother-in law and his Korean girlfriend and chronicles their passion for each other. “Something Blue” evokes a country flavor with old-timey flair that exudes energy. “Nothing But a Heartache” is an examination of his conscious thoughts and feelings that is punctuated by powerful vocals. “In Better Days” reflects back on his personal relationship with that special someone who is now gone. “Ooo Do I Wanna Be Yours” is a heartfelt ballad that conveys so many emotions about who he really wants - that special lady. “Alone at the Ball” is a powerful track with that Flatbush storyline from the past. “Sunny Disposition” evokes memories of many of his previous compositions that are rousing, energetic and fun listening. “Marry Me Now” bounces along with that signature Neil Diamond style reminiscent of many of his classics. “The Art of Love” just projects so many feelings and emotions that Neil’s baritone vox enhance nicely in this tender offering. Capping a long career that includes 30 studio albums and 37 Top 40 hits and 75 million albums, The 12 track “Melody Road” contains brass, strings and energetic choruses that are combined with the proper balance of story lines and sentiment that one has come to expect from Neil. This CD will chart with a bullet, garner some gold and platinum in a very short time and become another notch in this talented singer’s career. This is a Must Listen!I give it 2 Thumbs Up!!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna
Hailing from the Jersey side, transplanted to the Pennsylvania side, Alex Radus tirelessly pursues perfection when it comes to his songwriting.Two years in the making, “Jewels &Tinware” is now a reality for this creative artist. His efforts to date include multiple CD’s, numerous awards and critical acclaim from artists like Ritchie Havens, Regina Spector and Nellie McKay. Consisting of 12 tracks, 11 original and a Rogers and Hart classic, the music tends to cross many different genres with such ease that one would have a hard time noticing the changes. “Genius” has lyrics that are full of ambitions and characterizations that sometimes crop up in a wandering mind. “We Can’t Play Like Django” fills our ears with toe-tapping country-like percussions in an old-timey western style. Dave Cahill’s string work is masterful! “I Haven’t Missed You” goes way back to an early 50’s jazz style that I haven’t heard in years. The Rogers & Hart classic “My Funny Valentine” is reworked with B.B. King sounding strings in the intro that morphs smoothly into a funky mid-tempo groove that is accented nicely with Dan Manchester’s upright bass. “Someday” would have the cats in the Delta jazz clubs groovin’. “Baptism Sketches” reminds me of a 70’s band called Poco in its style and presentation. “Never Get Lonely” has some cool acoustic riffs that give this track a peppy sound. “I’m A Pistol” is a country-flavored Americana song in the mold of the classic 1958 Frankie Laine classic “Rawhide”. “Soldier of the Devil” sees Dan’s vox go to a deep baritone reminiscent of the late master Johnny Cash. “Law of Lonesome Hearts” is a classic tear-jerker. “Shoveling Stone” reminds me of an old prison song that the inmates would sing while working on the chain gangs or in the hut. “Disorganized Religion” sees Charlie Heim’s toe-tapping percussions give this track a fun sound. The funky bottom enhances the straight-forward vocals that Dan nails with ease. The tracks on this effort take one to many different places, touch on realities that permeate our lives and leave one yearning for more. The creativity, originality and talents meld together seamlessly in a note of perfection. I had to listen to this CD exactly 3 times to get the total picture of what Dan and the boys were presenting. Well Done!! I give this 2 THUMBS UP!!!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna
Possessing a powerful unique sound, Beyond Eden takes their talents to the next level with this kick ass track that just blows one out of their boots. Behind the piercing vocals of Jennifer Eden, Travis Thieren on bottom, Brandon Skylar manipulating the frets and the pounding percussions of Truk Bennett, this tune makes one want to put it on autoplay and keep it running all day. Opening with Jen's vox and tight heavy string work the track flows in a precise manner with pounding rhythms that accentuate the energy that Beyond Eden projects. Having experienced both versions, live & studio, I can honestly say that the intensity and energy flow is present as this heavy attacks one's senses as it is both felt and heard in a manner that defies description. I can only say “AWESOME”!!!! Keep on Rockin’… destiny is knocking down your door! I give this song a MUST LISTEN and 2 THUMBS UP !!!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna
Hailing from the Philadelphia area, Flexitone recording artist, Blackrue is a kick-ass Rock/Alternative band with a Metal and Punk attitude which projects itself in their music. They have discarded the usual cover image used by area bands and have taken their creativity up a few levels to manifest themselves into a band with a unique sound, infectious lyrics and tight compositions. Their individual talents just totally defy description. Brianna Sig on percussion could make some of the best stand up and take notice. She doesn’t get in the way of the message with flashy fills and double bass drums, but instead uses precision with her drum parts. Buck Reed’s vocal ranges encompass more than one type and are nicely settled in his timbre. Matt Stabley has the uncanny way of linking the harmonies with the rhythms with his bottom and Blaine Alderfer manipulates the frets through the scale length of the bass side of the neck relative to the treble side. Guest musicians David Ivory’s acoustic guitar, Joe Lam’s backing vox, Pablo Batista percussion and Matt Kadsah’s guitar work put the icing on the cake. This effort contains 5 tracks that are expertly mixed and produced. “Last Chance” is a guitar rich jam with Buck’s upfront sharp catchy vocals complimented by a simple beat. “Baby Blue” could have been a Gin Blossoms number. It has that same makeup and 132 BPM rhythm with lyrics that are a dead match. “Anymore” contains riffs that are definitely ‘Rock of the 80’s’ with that retro/mod feel that fits in well today. “Lied To Me” has an urban/alternative mix that is refreshing. “Confusion” opens with Brianna’s driving beat that blends expertly with telling lyrics that Buck nails. Tight harmonies and a guitar solo make this one of the best tracks on this CD. It’s not heavy, it’s not soft, it’s just right! CHR and AOR should have a field day with this effort. Any one of these 5 tracks could breakout. Well Done! I give this CD 2 THUMBS UP!!!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna
Country/Pop-Rock artist Alana is a lady with many talents that allow her to be creative with her originals as well as her renditions of her favorite covers. In the spotlight at a very young age, she has adapted to changes over the years and it shows in the way she projects herself. Her new single “Asleep” has overtones of pop and rock blended precisely with a country flair that is very refreshing. Her powerful vocals show her tessitera range combined with unique voice quality and texture that spans many different transition points. The composition adds a nice flair that crosses the genres with ease and is accented nicely by the keys and a cool string solo. Her previous releases “Science Fiction” and “Rolling in the Deep” exhibit the same qualities as well as her acoustic abilities. A programmer would have no problems adding any of these tracks to a CHR/Country/MOR format. They are all a MUST LISTEN!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna
Joe Scarsone is that type of musician who embraces values, lives for a cause, and is not afraid to bring anything to the forefront. Brought up on the streets of West Philly, his daily exposure to the problems of the area led him to be a crusader for various causes and giving back to the community. One of the items on his long list include Anti-Bullying and he devotes a lot of time to going into the inner city and regional schools to talk directly to today’s youth who are experiencing this in theirdaily lives. Music is an escape where Flintface can express himself both in his lyrics and rock/alternative compositions. Teaming with producer Ross Hogarth of John Mellencamp and John Fogerty fame, Hope became a reality. The list of musicians who contributed to this effort include Rami Jaffee (The Wallflowers, Foo Fighters), Tim Pierce (Jason Mraz, Bruce Springsteen), Randy Cooke (Eurythmics, Kelly Clarkson), Kenny Aronoff (The Smashing Pumpkins, John Mellencamp), Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett), Matt Chamberlain (Edie Brickell& The New Bohemians), Cameron Stone & Loren Gold (The Who), Jessy Greene (Foo Fighters, P!nk, The Jayhawks). His touring band includes Darrell Jones (lead guitar &vox), Billy Sims (bottom), Chris DeMas (percussion), Anthony Scorsone (rhythm guitar) and Beth Scorsone on backing vox. Filled with songs that cut into today’s societal issues, these 9 tracks communicate Joe’s message in a very precise direct manner. “On Your Feet Again” is an urban rock/rap number that should be on every AOR/CHR radio station in the country! “Army of Rejects” is a catchy song that talks about the unlistened who band together to make a difference and let their voices be heard. Awesome hook! “When Culture Calls” is a cool mid-tempo number about what people deal with in their lives. “Rock Steady” has a nice retro/mod sound that has the line ‘steady like a metronome’ as society blindly follows the beat of the drummer. “Ready For It” is a monster that goes deep into ones being and feelings. One of this CD’s best! “Buying What You’re Selling” deals with the name calling that pervades today’s society and encourages one to be what they want to be and really are – without the bullshit. “Found My Voice” makes a statement about one’s self-esteem and inner strengths coming out from those depths buried inside. “Did I Stutter” is totally in your face with descriptive lyrics mated with pounding rock overtones that just kicks ass. ‘This is not your time to speak, tell me did I stutter then’. The title track “Hope” takes it down a notch with this telling ballad that says ‘after you lost it all, there’s nothing left to lose at all’. This rings true with a lot of people who have been down on the bottom rung of the ladder and are working their way back up. I was amazed at the message projected in these 9 tracks along with some of the best scores I have heard in a long time. This is one of the 5 best CD’s I’ve listened to in 2014. A MUST BUY! I give this 2 THUMBS UP!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna
Four talented veteran musicians, hard driving energy, Jersey shore roots all add up to what is being labeled as New Jersey’s First Supergroup, The Satisfactors. Based in Long Branch, NJ, the band has already left its mark on the regional music scene and has set its sights on national and international markets under the expert tutelage of Dutch entrepreneur Monique Grimme and her label Bongo Boy Records. Nationally acclaimed songwriter and producer, Gar Francis aka Jimmy Target, who has been labeled as ‘Jersey’s Godfather of Garage’ with credits that include Genya Raven and Mark Lindsday, lends his expertise on keys, strings and back vox; lead vocalist, Bruce Ferguson, former lead of ‘The Easy Outs, belts out the lyrics; Kenny Aaronson, who has played with such notables as Billy Idol, Bob Dylan, Edgar Winter and Brian Setzer, gives it up on bottom and Curtis Roy aka Kurt Reil, who owns House of Vibes and produced The Smithereens, shows his NYC club roots in his pounding percussions. This 12 track effort opens with “She Got Charm” that has slammin’ percussion and pounds you into submission from the door. “I Love Girls” expresses Bruce’s wants and desires as he chases what every man wants! SHIT HOT! “You’re So Crazy” talks about displeasure with his woman complete with the drama that goes along with it. “Hey Mama” smacks of the Rolling Stones ‘Beast of Burden’ in its composition.“Sweet Sunshine” is a retro/mod kick ass rocker that sees Gar manipulate the frets through the scale length of the bass side of the neck relative to the treble side, F....n Awesome! “Johnny Commando” does justice to the late Johnny Ramone (John Cummings) memory with this punk tribute with slamming riffs and heart attack percussions. ‘Hey Ho, Johnny Commando’ !!! “Take Your Troubles Away” is a mid-tempo 80’s style that is very catchy. “Hit Me, Hit Me, Hit Me” is a driving party number that would fill any venues dance floor. “Gimme My Rock N’ Roll” reminds me of my early days listening to garage rock. “Girl Just Wants To Dance” has a driving bottom coupled with powerful strings and tight harmonies that power this 60’s style jam. “My Baby Got It” has lyrics that are totally ‘out of the box’!! “Had It With You” takes me to the Rock of the 80’s sound that featured hard-driving 144BPM percussions and heavy string work. What can I say? This CD blew me clear across the room that had me bouncing off the damn walls! I have only 1 word to describe it....AWESOME! This is a MUST LISTEN! I give this a HEARTY 2 THUMBS UP!!!!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna SILVERTUNG “Devil’s In The Details” Hailing from south of the Mason-Dixon Line in the Baltimore area, Silvertung has already left their mark and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the region. Their energy onstage is explosive and their brand of modern/hard rock has been described as mature, humorous and filled with attitude. Having shared the stage with artists such as Godsmack, ShineDown, Adelita’s Way, Hailstorm and Papa Roach has earned Silvertung a solid reputation and has endeared them to their fan base that is known as “The Tung Nation”. Their inner confidence has allowed this band to open up their creativity and explore new avenues of songwriting. Consisting of Speed on lead vox& guitar; ZZ also on lead guitar and back vox; Skoot on bottom and back vox and Danno who provides percussion and the occasional scream effect, the symmetry is tight, precise and sometimes out of the box. Their 11 track CD kicks things into high gear immediately with their single “Coming Alive” that just explodes from the door with a sound that pounds you into the nuke zone. SHIT HOT!!! “Justify” smacks you with Danno’s heart attack beat reminiscent of Megadeath’s Shawn Drover. “Burden” takes it down a notch but envelopes one in a shroud of sound. “Use To Fly” should be tracking on AOR radio as it is in the mold of a 80’s metal ballad. “Deja Vu” makes me swear I heard this in an arena! “Never Too Late” comes off with soulful feeling that the chicks would go crazy over. “Sucker Punch” makes a statement with telling lyrics and Speed’s putting it in your face, the riffs wail! “Falling Again” showcases ZZ’s awesome fret manipulation as his guitar screams. “I Don’t Care” is a beast, AWESOME! “Daddy’s Little Girl” has a bit of a Steel Panther sound in it due to the sleaze factor. “Hello” strips this melodic feeler down to bare essentials and simplicity with a vibrant retro sound. Skoot kills this! Silvertung’s repertoire can be compared to the Big 4 of Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Comparisions like this don’t come lightly, they are earned and these four talented musicians have taken their talents to another level. They are not a ‘flash in the pan’; they will be around for years to come. This CD is a MUST LISTEN! I give this rocker 2 THUMBS UP!!!!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna THE DEVYL NELLYS “Too Much Information” They describe themselves as “Paramours of Funk Folk & Moody Grooves”. When you consider the myriad of influences that range from the funky Average White Band, Bootsy Collins and Prince to the classic rock T Rex, Talking Heads and ChrissyHynde with The Pretenders you begin to imagine what the sound that emanates from their CD would be like. Their independent creative processes have allowed them to be diverse and experimental, as well as far from the mainstream as possible, so that they are free to “do their own thing” without having to answer to Big Daddy! Kudos! Currently parking their bags in New Jersey, these 4 musicians including Nelly Levon on lead vox, Ben on bottom, Jake’s pounding drums and Christian on guitars have become a force in the New York City Indie scene and the band has backed that up with a 110 date tour. Their 11 track CD kicks things into gear with “More Excuses” thatopens with an Issac Hayes-like bass line and Nelly’s laid back vocals. “Hot Hurricane” has a retro rock/pop sound that is refreshing. “Little Bang” can only be described as a cross between pop and Americana blended nicely. “Attracted” injects Madonna’s “Vogue-like” spoken word lines that are intertwined with haunting string work mated with tight Eurogrooves. “Pandemonium” should be tearing up dance floors and CHR radio, it’s that HOT! I’d love to hear a club remix of this! “Hush” brings one back to the 80’s girl groups who had prominent harmonies that accentuated chorus lines. “Give It” is a pounding rock monster with slamming guitar riffs that just kicks ass! “Never Last” settles in at about 104 BPM in a mid-70’s funk mold that is so old school and way cool. “One Star” is a laid back track that radiates deep inner feeling which Nelly projects perfectly. “Rope’s End”, believe it or not, has a little bit of a country sound with that picking Americana guitar which radiates just the right amount of energy. “Wunderlust” is catchy, witty, refreshing and fun to listen to – the lyrics are banging! Just when you think that alternative pop is dead, it rears up and slaps you upside the head with precise rhythms, sharp percussions and a vocalist that has an awesome set of lungs that will attract you like a magnet. I can only imagine what their live show is like! Well done! I give this 2 THUMBS UP!
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REVIEWS by Michael “Jacobs” McKenna REDEEMER OF SOULS TOUR 2014
Judas Priest with special guest Steel Panther PPL ARENA – October 15,2014 The metal heads were out in force and ready for some head banging rock as all were prepared to pay homage to one of the undisputed masters of the genre. Just back from an extensive Euro tour, both bands exhibited no jet lag and were hyped and kicked major ass! When the opening act is a Hard Rock/Glam Metal/80’s style/Big Hair bunch of jesters named STEEL PANTHER, you know it’s going to be a memorable night. Although they’re truly funny with their sexist interjections, I believe their superb skills as talented musicians are what make them an awesome band for listeners. Vocalist Michael Starr, StixZadinia on skins, Satchel on lead guitar and “pretty boy”Lexxi Foxx on bottom just electrified the house with an 11 song set full of classics such as Asian Hooker, GoldDigging Whore, and Death To All But Metal, plus some songs from their new album “All You Can Eat” like Gloryholeand Pussywhipped , plenty of juicy expletives and tight/hard-driving riffs. There couldn’t have been a better warm-up than that for the Metal Gods. The groundwork laid, the stage set, I was ready to be transported to another plane of existence. An explosion of visual effects, ear-splitting sound and lights pervaded my brain as JP hit me hard with Dragonaut from their latest CD. Metal Gods, Devil’s Child and Victim of Changes took me back to another time as Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton & Co kicked some ass that had the crowd rockin’ hard. Halls of Valhalla, March of the Damned and the title track Redeemer of Souls elevated the energy level to the luxury boxes as the Metal Gods were smiling on all of us. Pounding percussion and driving rhythms spewed forth from the band as they performed the classics “Love Bites”, “Turbo Lover” and “Jawbreaker” – the prelude for the pinnacle of the evening. Yes, what everyone was waiting for had arrived! “Breaking the Law” and “Hell Bent for Leather” which saw Rob Halford ride his hog onto the stage had my adrenaline up and the hairs standing up on my neck! The encores with “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” saw Ian Hill’s bass lines stand out which complimented Scott and Glenn’s tight, precise metal magic. Wait! It wasn’t over yet as Judas Priest launched into overdrive with “Living After Midnight” followed by the finale “Defenders of the Faith” which by this time had everyone achieving a sonic orgasm! These heavy metal gods are just getting better with time and their new music will rapidly become fan favourites.
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REVIEWS by Dana Saravia Album Review: The Fleshtones “Wheel Of Talent” The Fleshtones are one of the hardest working bands out there. Continuously performing live since they started in 1976 and releasing albums since 1982, they are a band that easily has the energy and enthusiasm of more than 5 new bands combined coupled with the lyrical wisdom and melodic strengths that show their experience. When their latest LP “Wheel Of Talent” was released earlier this year, I expected an album full of songs that reflected all those qualities. I’m pleased to say that what I heard not only met the high expectations I had, but managed to surpass them. The opening song, “Available”, is catchy and includes a creatively used string section that helps make the song memorable from the first listen. It’s immediately followed by two of the album’s strongest and most important songs. “It Is As It Was” recaps the band’s history in a little over 2 energetic and fun minutes, referencing the excellent biography “Sweat” for its lyrical framework. The next song “Remember The Ramones” is a re-recording of a b-side from 2011 and it’s a joy to hear it included here. Giving the Ramones much deserved praise while reminding the listener that the Fleshtones were at CBGBs then too, it’s a very fitting tribute for Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, and Tommy as well as to the staying power of The Fleshtones. “What I’ve Done Before”, the song that closes out the first side, is a gem of a love song. Featuring a strong narrative and a lovely melody, it’s sweet without becoming sappy and in a perfect world, would be a huge hit. The second side opens with “How To Say Goodbye”, a deep and insightful composition that perfectly expresses the pain of loss. Anyone who has felt the sharp sting of a breakup and struggled with the feelings that inevitably follow will be able to relate and likely find hope in this song. “Stranger In My House”, found a little later on side 2, is equally as powerful. A song about coping with lawyers and splitting an estate in the aftermath of a death, this is subject matter rarely addressed musically and only a songwriter
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as talented as Keith Streng and a band with The Fleshtones’ experience and skill could create one so on point. Angry without being bitter, both the music and the lyrics, especially the guitar solo and the final vocals, this 3 minute song expertly lays bare the emotions a person treated unfairly in this situation experiences. “Tear For Tear”, the song that closes out the album, is catchy, danceable, and fun to sing along with and one that will be a blast to hear played live. Listening to “Wheel Of Talent” is a true pleasure. It’s a special gift to hear a band continue to create unique, high quality music with such rich diversity in every way. This is an album that not only provides a snapshot of The Fleshtones at this time in their lives and career, but it’s an album full of songs that you can dance to, sing with, and/or have an emotional catharsis to--and sometimes all those things at once. “Wheel Of Talent” is a worthy addition to The Fleshtonescatalouge, as well as to any record collection.
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by Michael Wade Douglass
I still remember vinyl. The whole audio visual experience of riding my bike to the record store, buying a vinyl album, bringing it home, removing the shrink wrap, putting it on the turntable. I remember setting the needle down, reading the liner notes, the smell of polyvinyl chloride and cardboard and ink. And then of course, the sound. I remember it with Kiss Destroyer. Joe Walsh The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get. James Taylor. Fleetwood Mac. Supertramp. Deep Purple. Carole King. Led Zeppelin. Heart.
lack of a better word, a “condition” called synesthesia. I see sound in my head. I can replay it in my head for a very long time after I’ve first heard it. Every note, every sound. I decided I was going to be a recording engineer before I even knew what that meant. I involved myself as much as possible. I waded in on my friends four track cassette recorders. I discovered the limitations of really shitty EQ. I started to understand reverb and delay. I began to invest in stereo equipment. I relinquished my managerial position at a fast food restaurant to work in my small town’s only record store.
I decided to go to school and study the craft.
There was vinyl, there was the eight track tape and the cassette tape.
I graduated with a 4.0 and received the outstanding graduate award.
I moved to Los Angeles and got hired as a janitor at the best recording studio in the world just before I turned 23.
I availed myself of all these mediums as a kid. I was absolutely enthralled by music and the mediums it was available on. More than comic books. More than the literature I was beginning to discover. More immediate and compelling. More than anything I knew.
I began to engineer and produce within a few years. I produced, recorded and mixed my first record when I was 28 years old.
We began to play instruments my friends and I. They were gifted, I was not. Thank dog I figured that out pretty early. If I hadn’t, my life would have sucked. But still, music. Like nothing else, it reached all my corners.
Less than a year after that, I co-produced and engineered a record that went platinum.
So as I began to realize that I would never be any kind of musician, I began to understand that I perceived recorded music, the production and engineering of it, somehow more acutely than my musically gifted friends. I discovered sometime later that I have, for
Here’s the story. What I know now is killing me. I worked in a record store when compact discs first came out. Perfect digital sound. I thought they were amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed blowing the fuses on the the record store system with Pachelbel’s Canon.
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My point is this, I know music. I know recorded sound.
Signal to noise ratio was just too much. I moved a lot in the years after and decided to keep hauling my books from apartment to apartment and forego my vinyl. Huge mistake. I am still grateful I kept my books. I went to work in a recording studio and discovered the warmth of vacuum tubes and analog tape. If you push tubes too hard, the distortion you get manifests itself in even order harmonics. If you push analog tape too hard it compresses and eventually distorts but it’s still even order harmonic distortion. The distortion is arguably pleasant because it is complimentary, it’s still, for all intents and purposes, in tune. Digital recording and processing, when overloaded, produces harmonic distortion that is dissonant. Of an odd order. Third order. Out of tune. Not pleasant. Ugly. It’s an over simplification but it’s true. I made quite a few records in my day and we always stayed analog until the last possible moment. We mixed to half inch analog tape at 30 ips and cut our album sequence together the old fashioned way. With razor blades and huge half inch analog tape reels. Only then would we take it to mastering. Only then would we load the project into the digital domain necessary to mass produce compact discs for public consumption. We had the benefit of a pretty famous mastering engineer shepherding us through this process. Sometimes, going to mastering can be like going to the dentist for a cleaning. It is then that you find out how bad you fucked up the record and what the mastering engineer can do to save your rotting mouth. This man, this mastering engineer in particular, was and is a genius. He often provided service and attention beyond our budget. He was kind. And there were times when he escorted us very gently into the digital domain because the record we had made required very little of his expertise. There were times when he did much more than we deserved or could pay for. He always did it though. He would always say “got a little money, get a little EQ”. And then he would do whatever was necessary to make us look good. It’s a fine art. A voodoo art. At one point or another he earned the dubious distinction of “Digital Dave”. I made the mistake of
referring to him by that name not long ago and he bristled. So I understand that now more than ever. Digital is evil. Fast forward to the present. I have just recently forayed into the world of recording again. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve miced a drumkit. I used to be pretty damn good at this and I found out I still am. But it’s all digital now. I rented some analog gear to cut the tracks. Neves, APIs Ureis. I recorded to an old school Mackie 24 bit hard drive. Not a Studer A800 III. We transferred those recordings to a PreSonus hard drive with Studio One software to mix. I am mixing with a mouse and a keyboard. This is where I begin to hate digital. I am impressed with it at the same time, however. The compression, the EQ, the gates, work amazingly well. I could not get the buss compressor to sound like an SSL and I could not get the snare reverb to sound exactly like an AMS nonlin program, but I got pretty goddamn close. That AMS sound was a bitch. Took me three separate presets and monkeying with the parameters for hours to mimic it. Here’s where it all falls down. Night before last I took a disc home. We had been printing to a standalone CD burner. This time we’re out of the recordable discs that we can use for this particular piece of gear. So we make an MP3 and put it on a disc in a MAC. I bring it home, load it up and hear all the sonic shortcomings on my ridiculously expensive stereo. Trust me, my shit is beyond reproach. Best system you will ever hear. I was confused for a time. Where’s my bottom? Where’s my top? What is this weird frequency smear? It sounds like shit. Data compression. All the world transacts music through tiny little ear buds now. It’s an absolute tragedy. A travesty. It’s no longer art. Why in the world would I aspire to make a good recording anymore? It was the first time I’d ever actually listened to an MP3 file of any music, much less my own work. I am in awe. This is what everyone is listening to.
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I’ve been listening to commercial radio again these days. Where there is melody, it’s Fisher Price. Production and engineering is clumsy. Like a woman who has no idea how to walk in heels. There is no product. There is no art. There is no artist identity or integrity. It’s like music is over. Give us a loop with subwoofer worthy excitement and an auto-tuned chorus mixed by some dickhead engineer who can make it the right kind of crunchy and we’ll put it on the Disney Chanel to lift pre-adolescent skirts and sell phones and apps and gum. Music is no longer performed and it’s no longer about performance. It is assembled. It’s fucking cheap. Lowest common denominator. There was a time in the not too distant past when an earnest musician with a modicum of talent could eek out a living in this country. People not only enjoyed but actively sought out the practice and display of the craft. People actually craved the visceral immediacy of live performance. No loops, no tapes, just real players playing and putting it out there. Now the only way to make a living is by being a tribute band or by being an actual famous artist from that era of yesterday. Even those famous artists barely make a dime off of their recordings anymore. They only make money by appearing as themselves live. I can’t stand it. I’m going to get to the point now. This vulgar phenomena is a metaphor for just about everything in contemporary American life. There are no more record stores anymore. There are no more book stores anymore. You can view masterpiece paintings online all day but it’s no substitute for standing in front of them and being able to see the brushstrokes and experience the color and palette and technique. The goddamn genius. Movies are increasingly sequels or remakes of tired ideas with more automatic gunfire and violence. The only attempted update is well, more realistic violence. More exaggerated violence. More profoundly ridiculous violence. This is not about me, some middle aged dude staring down the barrel of 50 years on this planet screaming get off my lawn. This is about contemporary American society in decline. Everything
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is now disposable. Nothing valuable is worth a shit anymore and everything that’s not is now a priority. Perception is far more valuable than understanding and appreciation. You can apply this notion to food, to cars, to just about anything. The very first sign of the rapid decline of America on the world stage is our failure to appreciate what makes a society great. Our contribution to the arts. We no longer give a mad fuck about it. We barely contribute anything meaningful anymore. We lead the charge in discounting and devaluing it. We no longer teach music in our schools. Journalism is widely regarded as a joke. Writers and painters have less of a chance of making a living than ever before and film makers only make money by being specious hacks. There are entire generations now in this country that have no real understanding of the value of art at all. They have never seen it or experienced it. It all goes hand in hand with the rampant concentration of wealth, the insidious increase of money in politics. The precipitous atrophy of the middle class. The erosion of compassion is a secondary symptom. The rise and celebration of avarice is perhaps tertiary but also the next to last stage of the lethal cancer we are actively succumbing to. Our relevance will die, our society will fail, once our addiction to fear becomes so profound that the waging of war becomes our exclusive occupation and identity and we are well on our way. We are in the advanced throes of this infection. We have been practicing it non stop for 60 years. Most of the world knows us more for our ability to make war than uniquely American contributions to art and culture like jazz, or rock and roll or our great writers and artists and film makers. Nice calling card huh? Welcome to stage four. “When Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and he was told that there were going to be major cuts in arts and culture because of the mounting costs of World War II, he responded with a simple reply, ‘Then what are we fighting for?’” Drinks for my friends.
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