Monday, April 24, 2017

The Day The Beatles (Almost) Reunited!

APRIL 24, 1976 - Forty-one years ago from the date of this here blogpost, the greatest band that ever hit the airwaves, stadiums and our earpans were presented with an offer they couldn't refuse:

Play a three-song set on NBC's new Saturday Night Live ... for three thousand dollars!!

The Beatles were offered, on the live TV show, the certified check from NBC by SNL producer Lorne Michaels himself.

As he held up the check for a camera shot, he said,

“Now, we’ve heard and read a lot about personality and legal conflicts that might prevent you guys from reuniting. That’s something which is none of my business. That’s a personal problem. You guys will have to handle that. But it’s also been said that no one has yet to come up with enough money to satisfy you. Well, if it’s money you want, there’s no problem here. The National Broadcasting Company has authorized me to offer you this check to be on our show. A certified check for $3,000.”

Sure, it was played up for comedy - but it got the attention of two guys who were visiting each other that night and had tuned in:
Paul McCartney and John Lennon!
Michaels continued:

“All you have to do is sing three Beatles songs: ‘She Loves You,’ yeah, yeah, yeah — that’s $1,000 right there. You know the words. It’ll be easy. Like I said, this is made out to ‘The Beatles.’ You divide it anyway you want. If you want to give Ringo less, that’s up to you. I’d rather not get involved.”

Well, both Lennon and McCartney decided, just for the heck of it, to take them up on their offer. According to Paul:

“John said, ‘We should go down, just you and me. There’s only two of us so we’ll take half the money.’ And for a second. But it would have been work, and we were having a night off, so we elected not to go. It was a nice idea – we nearly did it.”

Since they ultimately backed away from it, on May 22 Michaels sweetened the deal:

"John, Paul, George and Ringo, we are now prepared to up the original offer to $3,200!”

But there's more!!  In a tongue-in-cheek attempt to sway the lads, they were offered free lodging as well! Famed SNL announcer Don Pardo then described the amenities at the Cross Town Motor Inn with the same verve as he did on The Price Is Right: “round-the-clock elevator service,” water glasses that have been “sanitized for their convenience,” “48-hour dry cleaning” and free room-to-room calls.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to tempt The Fab Four to reunite. Wonder what it would've been like if they'd taken him up on the offer?

Imagine ...




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Keep Your Fan Base ...

Yup ... I'm back.  Just had some work to catch up on (y'see, I also publish a new online newsmagazine now), run errands, write a few articles, and trim my toenails.  But I ain't about to let the Mousers (or Uncle Lloyd's memory) down ...

Besides, we of the rock persuasion have to stand united, right? (er, no, not ... that ... "United". er ... ahem! ... different story ...). 

So let's kick this off (UNH-unh!! I'm still not referring to ... awww, fuhgidabouddit ...) with a brand new post:

One of the first things that every musical act knows is that, no matter where they are in their career, they have a fan base they need to consider and stay in touch with.  Unfortunately, a lot of those on the "oldies" circuit seem to forget that.
I mean, sure, they work their jobs, collect their pay, but go slip-slidin' away into anonymity until the next show.  No "one-on-one" with fans beyond the actual gig itself.  And, if they do, it's for a little PR to hype their next show.

But there are exceptions:  superstars like Mike Lane, Spencer Hannabuss and John Ford Coley (of solo act, The Fore and The 286 and the legendary England Dan and John Ford Coley fame respectively) are lads that, I know for a fact,  take time for any and all of their fans.  All three of these are on Facebook, btw, so you can follow and even chat with them there.

Basically, troops, it's like this:  If they ain't gonna forget you, then don't you forget them (NOTE: the preceding statement does not apply to tax men, bill collectors or telemarketers ...).

But, y'know, it's really the same thing in norml, everyday life with norml, everyday, non-musicminded people.  If they are of the mettle (not heavy mettle, but I digress. I'm not discriminatory ...) that they've stood with you since your salad days, they deserve you being there for them even though you've had a taste of the entree!!
As one singer out of Charlotte, NC told me once:  "Some singers act like their fans don't really exist.  But, without them, their records wouldn't really exist; their shows wouldn't really exist; and the only popularity they'd get would be if the papers ran their obituary.  Or wedding announcement, whichever comes first." 

It doesn't matter if you're in the music business or a dishwasher, the same thing holds true, right?

MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC!!

If you are a guitarist (or just have a hankering to play one), you know that there's more to those stringed wonders than just a fingerboard, frets, strings and a soundhole (or pickups).
You need quality!
And today's guitarist requires more than just the ax itself (ax=slang for "electric guitar"; down South, they're often called "gitfiddles"!).  From capos to tuners, cables, effects and more, guitars often require more equipment to produce a better sound.

To get just the right effect you want, all you need is to shop for your pedal board at musiciansfriend.com . For the best effects at unbeatable prices, just click that link you just saw.
You'll be able to shop by brand, condition, savings, new arrivals and more! So visit them now - and find out why they're truly the "Musician's Friend"!





Friday, March 24, 2017

Don't FIX Somethin' (If It Ain't Broke!)

Ahhhh, the good old days ...
It was my very first car -- just like you see it here. Except green. And dull. And with rust spots. And with someone's cigarette burn in the back seat.

But it ran great ... until the day my family told Ol' Fimblefingers (now known as me ...) to go out and put the oil and water in it!
Now, I knew more about brain surgery than I did about cars, but ...

Chuck, circa 196something: "W-well (gulp!), h-here goes: First, ummm, open the hood. Okay, now (tremendous crash, followed by searing pain) ... RAISE the hood and extract my fingers from the front."
A few hours later ...
"The doc said they're alright, just bruised. Now ... where were we? Ahhh, yes! Up with the hoodANDPUTUPTHATBARTOHOLDIT THERE!
Now ... ummm, that ... that fan in front can't afford to rust, soooo ... the oil goes ... I guess in ... that radiator hole! THERE! That'll keep it from jamming up!"
"And since the motor gets hot -- wellll, it'll have to cool down, and what better than water, right?? So the waterhose goes into that shiny-capped hole on the engine block!"

After a few minutes, Curly ... er, Shemp ... er, I went into the house and proudly announced that I'd done it! I'd filled it with water and oil!

(HEY!! Stop snickering, okay?? I'm older now and know better. Besides, you get a lot of fresh air by walking!)

Yeah, I took it for a spin. Of about fifty yards ...
and after the laughter subsided (a few hours later), my dad told me, Son, if it ain't broke, don't FIX it!"

And, Mousers, that's why I look so studious and pensive whenever I watch The Three Stooges now. I can identify!!

In a way, it reminds me of when some stations wanted Uncle LL to make his show more "sophisticated" (read: uppity). According to the MetTimes, they also meant cutting the lip-synching and "goofing off". Fortunately, Lloyd just kept on doing what he did best -- being himself -- and never changed what he did!

Y'see, just like my daddy said about the now-deceased BoltBucket, If It Ain't Broke, Don't FIX It!" Our Head Cheeser proved, time and again, that if you've got a winning combination in your career, life or both, stick with it! Don't let anybody tell you how to change it! Maybe they're good at their thing, but that doesn't mean they're experts at yours!
And Lloyd -- well, if anybody knew how to bring good vibrations to both the KCOP stage, the small screen and to hearts around the country, it was him!

Stay tuned ...

Monday, March 13, 2017

TODAY IN ROCK (It's March 13, btw)

Beginning with this post, we're gonna add some new segments to keep it fresh (now, if I could just do that with my store-bought bread, I'd be set ...)

Actually, I've cranked up the Way-Back Machine to (awww. if ya don't remember, I'll refresh your memory in a minute) to see what happened in R&R decades (or so) ago.

On this date in 1971, for example, a controversy surrounded one of the most tightly-harmonic top-charters of the decade.  Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley (collectively known, of course, as Brewer & Shipley) released a fantastic folk-rock tune called One Toke Over The Line.
Almost as soon as the song was released, a lot of ultra-conservatives (read: older folks) said that they were talking about drugs (ie, "toke" being slang for a hit from a marijuana joint).

But, people, I'd been bus/train human-cargo for some time, and can tell ya "'Tain't so!!"  You see, when you were thinkin' about going somewhere by either conveyance, you were coming close to "drawin' the line".  When I was actually sittin' in the railway station, got a ticket for my destination (whoops!  Heh-heh ... sorry.  Wrong song ...), I'd already gone (ready?) "over the line".  Meaning: I'd gone beyond deciding, and was on my way, having already bought the ticket!
Here .... listen for yourself, then I'll be back with more:

Now ya see? btw, if you hear a little steel guitar in the mix, thank the musician - a chap named Jerry Garcia!

DANCIN' WITH THE BB's: On this date in 1965, the Beach Boys released a cover of "Do You Wanna Dance?", the Bobby Freeman classic that hit #12 in the Billboard charts. The lead singer on this one was drummer Dennis Wilson. In his place on the skins was Wrecking Crew member Hal Blaine - with Leon Russell on organ and future Bread winner Larry Knechtel on bass.

OH, WHAT A NIGHT: And coming in at #1 on this date in 1976 was The Four Seasons with their hit December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) - a song originally written about the Prohibition era (ergo, "1963" was to be "1933". The producers thought it'd flop, though, so the crew got new lyrics and did a date-change on it). Unfortunately, it was the last hit of the FS.

THE WAYBACK MACHINE? Okay ... who remembers Rocky and Bullwinkle? Then you probably know about the eclectic, professorial and smart-as-all-get-out bowwow Mr. Peabody who, along with his hyoo-min sidekick Sherman, rode the time-space continuum (man, I love those Trekkie words!) to wherever they wanted. Preceded Marty McFly''s Delorean by a quarter-century!

Oh ... one more thing: In England, a chap by given name Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone decided to take that hyoo-min's name and call himself Herman. Then he hooked up with a fledgling band known as The Heartbeats and, voila - Herman's Hermits came to pass!
So now ya know!

Okay ... more coming up in a day or two, so stay tuned ...

Friday, March 3, 2017

High "Noone" At the HH Corral

Awhile back, I had the distinct privilege of talking at length with Peter Noone (he of Herman's Hermits, who, you might remember, played The LT Show). An amazing young man (well, he is! I'll explain in a minute ...), he still retains the lively, witty personality that made him a star to begin with.


But wait ... there's more!


"Herman" (named after the cartoon dude "Sherman" of Mr. Peabody's "way-back-machine" fame) has grown into quite a rock historian as well as savvy philosopher. He still has the looks that charmed millions of girls and some rabbits back then.


The last I'd heard of the other four: Karl Green (bass and left-handed, bless him) is now doing sound and keyboard installations; Keith Hopwood (rhythm guitar) is still performing and producing; Derek ("Lek") Leckenby (lead guitarist), sadly, lost a battle with cancer back in 1994.
Now, I'll share some of my interviews with him soon, but, for now. I'll ...


wait! I forgot their drummer, Barry Whitwam ...


Barry's now fronting the band, Herman's Hermits!

Ummmm ... WHAT?!?!?

Actually, there are two HH bands making the circuits! One is Barry's band, which is pretty much limited to UK (Britain, not that Kentucky university) gigs, and the other is Peter's band, which is actually a group of very coordinated and talented backing musicians.
The dig is that Herman Himself can't use the name of his old band over in England and, if Barry wanted to bring his troupe to America, he can't use the Hermits moniker.

But there's only one real Herman ... and, when you look at his "spunk" (that's allowed here in the states. Dunno about the UK ...), his creativity, his fan-friendly personality, and the fact that he's kept his hair, you'll see a guy who was more like Uncle Lloyd than most other rockers (Freddie Garrity excepted. More about this amazing "court jester of rock" later. RIP, mate ...).

And he and LL had one other trait: Due to their lively, optimistic and creative personalities, their fame has lasted lonnnnnnng after the British Invasion. In other words, they proved Andy Warhol wrong when he said that everybody has their 15 minutes of fame.
They took that "15 minutes" ... and extended it to fit a lifetime!

I'm checking the old Relic-box to find the interview I had with Peter himself. As soon as I find them, I'll post the gabfest (actually, more a Q&A) right here ... so

Stay tuned ....

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Not EXACTLY A "Masterpiece"!

Sometimes, ya just have to wonder about this "music" business ...

Just a couple of hours ago, I was listening to the radio when, suddenly, a song by the popular British performer Jessie J blasted across the speakers.  Granted, she has an amazing voice ... some pretty good looks ... but a potty mouth!!  Her song, "Masterpiece", could've been a pretty inspirational number - except that it blantantly included the "sxxt" word in the lyrics a couple of times!
After checking the lyric sheet, I was kinda glad that's the only slime-word they let in it!  There was another one ...

Y'know, for years, the broadcast media had standards that kept obscene junk like that off our radio and TV. (Sigh) but, of course, this is the age of "hip-hop" (not my cat; the "music"), rap and all sorts of attorneys who'll go to bat for composers and performers (they whine that their "First Amendment" rights are being breached). Fortunately, I had a young heavy-metalist from N.C. explain it to me: "Man, it all comes down to the money!  If they can make more by rattling some brains and shaking a few hormones, they'll do it!"

Now, back-in-the-day - when there was a moral code (remember??) - we were hoppin' and boppin' to the best music on the planet.  We didn't need the nasty-talk to make a hit, and the censors were pleased with that.  But there were some acts they could pick on - and, my, look how nasty these songs were (??? yes, I'm being sarcastic!) . For example:

Wear My Ring (Around Your Neck Elvis' song was panned and banned by many Catholics because -- it promoted "going steady"! (by the way -- do kids do that anymore?? Ya never hear of it ...)

D. O. A. Bloodrock's 1971 (and only) hit was banned almost across-the-board, because it described the death of a teenaged girl in a plane crash - despite the fact that it described an actual news report!  (But J. Frank Wilson's  Last Kiss and Ray Peterson's Tell Laura I Love Her were alright, right? And Dickey Lee's Patches as well?).

ROCK MUSIC The BBC banned the whole genre from its airwaves until 1966 (partly. 1971, fully). Part of the reason: Promoters Jack Good and Larry Parnes promoted a stable of performers whose stage names were based on their ... ahem! ... sexual performance.

BAD BOY The Beatles' rocker (from Beatles '65 here in the States) was banned from AOR stations because it promoted "juvenile delinquency."

BROWN-EYED GIRL
was banned in some markets because the original dealt with teenaged pregnancy. So Van Morrison recorded an alternate version to please the stations.

Listen to this: In El Paso, a radio station stopped playing all records by Bob Dylan because ... they couldn't understand his lyrics! (hey ... what's so hard about understanding peace??)

PICTURES OF LILY by The Who was banned in most markets because execs said it referred to masturbation. Funny ... years later, those same execs freely played Imaginary Lover by the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
What's the diff?

Record mogul Mike Curb, who was president MGM records in 1970, cancelled the recording contracts of 18 of the label's acts because he believed they promoted hard drugs in their songs. Among them: Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme! (sure ... and I guess his hit, Don't Be Afraid, Little Darlin', was a tempting lure into the psychedelic world! L-O-L!!)

In the aftermath of the Kent State shootings in 1970, the Ohio governor banned Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's OHIO from being played. He was afraid it'd cause more violence (ummm ... wasn't it ... the National ... Guard ... that brought on the shootings?).

So, does it make sense that some of these songs (and their legendary artists) would be banned, while a song with open vulgarity, from a singer who few know yet, can not just be admitted to the airwaves, but promoted so heavily it became a favorite in some markets?

UPDATE:  I have just been informed that Jessie J has "cleaned up" the live version of the song, reducing the vulgar words to "sh" and "effing" rather than the full version.  I'm gonna take it as truth; the girl's still young, and has too much talent to mess up her career (ya don't see Adele doing that, do you?   Point made ...).

It's a weird world ...

Stay tuned ...

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Beatles and Hinson TV

February 9, 1964 - It really was a day like any other day in the old Hinson bunkhouse.
The family had gone to church in the morning, as most of us did down there in Pineville.  Mama'd fixed a great Sunday dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans (fresh from the garden).. And (I meant the beans and 'taters.  The chicken was store-bought ...) we knew that (I ... think ...) there was going to be something rrrrreallybig on the Ed Sullivan shhhhewwww that night.

Sure, we'd heard about a popular band from England - one calling itself "The Beetles" or something (my mind went directly to Buddy Holly's Crickets when I first heard of them) - coming into LaGuardia Airport in New York on Friday.  But what, exactly, were they like?

Well, we kids wanted to stay home and watch it - just because we heard they sounded really cool. Oddly enough, daddy was in total agreement!!  He wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Sooooo,  at 8:04 PM on that magical evening, Ed introduced, "And now .... THE BEATLES!!" to an audience full of screaming youngsters.  Daddy broke out laughing at it, while Mama gave her quizzical "What-in-the-FARRR....???" and went back to the kitchen.

Sure, they looked kinda neat - and almost impish with that long hair and .... wait: that guy on the left?  Why ... he ... he's left-handed, just like me!!  Extra cool, to me!
Wish I could hear 'em better, though.  Those girls screamin' like that made it hard to hear.
The song, All My Loving?  Sounds sorta average.  I mean, Buddy could've done that one.  Kinda sounds like his style.
She Loves You?  Man, I'm swaying with it and, for some reason, my hands are gettin' sweaty!!  I'm watching that guy in the middle working the fingerboard of his guitar.  God, I want to play one of those things so bad  (read my guitar story).  And why does that guy on the end look like he's chewing gum or something?  Can you do that and sing, too??

They did a couple more songs (meanwhile, I was tugging at the hair over my ear, hoping it would grow like that.  Today, I'm tugging at my ear-hair, hoping it will stop growing), then Daddy reached over and, while laughing sort of like he was making fun of 'em, turned off the set.
At that time, he made his famous comment:
"Boys if I ever see you try to look like that, I'll get with you like Karo got with syrup!"  He never thought they'd get anywhere - just a "flash-in-the-pan" that Sullivan had dug up to get a rise out of his viewers.  Mama thought they looked silly ...

But ...

it wasn't long before Daddy got me an old guitar to practice on.  He'd take us to K-Mart to buy records from The Beatles and bands like The Dave Clark Five, The Kinks and others.  My favorite at the moment, next to these, was Del Shannon.  And he was (gulp!) American!!  When I started performing, Mama even arranged for my first two gigs.  A family friend, James White, arranged for me to audition for a talent scout.  And three men - Marshall Lemmond, our laundryman; Rick Tucker, who used to play with Chet Atkins (guitar I mean) and my Uncle A.L. Hinson - taught me more about the guitar and how to work it onstage.  But (referring to the link above), Daddy was the one who taught me the real meaning of the guitar.

Still, it all started on a Sunday night .... 1964 ... February 9 ... on an old Zenith black-and-white TV that was infested with ... Beatles!!