Monday, June 27, 2011

The ...WHO?!?

Flashbacks. They're really an amazing thing. We all have them every once-in-a-blue-moon, and old rockers like yours truly gets a carload of the rascals when a trigger word is mentioned (and I'm not horsing around).

A few days ago, I (get it? Trigger? horse? Awwww, nevermind ...) found a vid of Roger, John, Pete and Keith -- collectively known as The Who. In fact, it's the very second song I ever heard from these "longhaired noisemakers" playing their "yehyehyehbongabonga" music (thank God I had an eloquent father!). The song was Baldheaded Woman by the four lads with the outlandish-name-that-asked-a-question.
It was derived from an old Delta Blues tune from the '30s, but when the dudes-in-question (Who?) did it, the song took on a power of its own! It turned me on to the harmonica (a tremendous bridge, just before Daltrey's screaming the lyrics in the last few verses), as well as Townshend's wild guitar attacks.
Another song is worth a listen, if only for the moment after the record had played. The song, Happy Jack, had Keith's awesome drumming (especially in the bridge) and was a fairly happy-sounding ditty. But if you'll listen for a moment after the last note, you'll hear Pete yelling something off-mic. They might've cut it when it hit CD ... but it was fun to hear on the original.

Mary Anne With The Shaky Hands was one where the reverb wasn't really necessary. The song itself gave enough sexual innuendo and the feeling of nervousness that it shoulda been packaged in a plain brown wrapper! Again, Moon's heavy sticks carried a cool, Holly-like riff in the middle of the song. (PS I can't find the original, which was on the B-side of I Can See For Miles. The closest I could get was an electric version with Al Kooper on organ ...)

Y'know, it's interesting how many people think that Roger and Pete are too old to cut it onstage. Yet, if you take in one of their sets, you'll be surprised at how good they still are. Proof positive that, no matter what the age, you're never too old to rock-n-roll!

See ya with a brand-new post in about 24, so ... stay tuned!

Friday, June 24, 2011

ATTITUDE 1960s

Ahhh, yes: ATTITUDE -- the breakfast of champions (and rockers worldwide)!
It made our world back in the mid-to-late Sixties (and, brother, did we need it: a President dying "under the Western sun" [from a tribute by the late Kate Smith], his brother shot in L.A. just moments after flashing the "peace" sign to supporters, Dr. Martin Luther King gunned down in Memphis, Vietnam and race riots).
We spoke and believed in "peace and love"; from traveling light around the country to shows and more, we learned about the vast openness of America. We didn't have to be "cooped up" in one setting -- we were, in fact, freeborn men (and women); from the huge rock festivals, we learned that we weren't alone in this world! No matter what we believed, there were others, in fact, who would relate to us and our feelings in the world.

When Uncle Lloyd first started his show, it was at the time when we really needed his zaniness; not just "wanted" but "needed"! You see, not many adults seemed to realise (or even care) that we kids were being impacted by all that was happening around us, just like they were. Only ours seemed a bit worse, because we were beginning to wonder if there really was a future for us!


Well, LL came onstage with his crazy antics and one of the friendliest, most positive attitudes ever seen on the tube! That's Reason #157 (collect 'em all!) that kids loved him so much. They felt he really understood us (and, guess what? He did!). Whilst providing an hour of great music and fun, he also exuded assurance that things were gonna be alright.

Of course, there was the fab music of the era! From Animals to Zombies, Billy Fury to Wilson Pickett, the acts not only gave us the best music to jump, jive and wail to, but it actually lifted our spirits! And, when we saw them on TV or (better yet) in concert, we saw they played live, with instruments, and were more animated than any Bugs Bunny cartoon!

Today ... well, it's just not the same, musically. Somehow, the synthesizers, taped drum loops, computerised music samplings and Auto-Tunes just don't provide the same effect as the live acts of yesteryear.
And, after hearing all that noize today (just think: all it takes is one scalawag to unplug the power strip and WHOOSH!! .... there goes an act's set), but knowing that we're in much the same shape as we were then in many ways (e.g.: Afghanistan? Vietnam? Same tune, just different lyrics; hating Arabs? hating Blacks? The song's remained the same) why don't we take a look back and recapture what we had then? We can do it with our music ... we can do it with our media heroes ... and we certainly can do it if someone in TV would step up to the plate and emulate the man who helped make the feel-good attitude of the 1960s: Lloyd Eugene Thaxton.

Nuff said? Then stay tuned ...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'll Be Back Shortly ('til then, Gopher It!)

Okay, altogether now: AWWWWWWWWW ... !!!

Actually, I've been busy cleaning up the MouseHouse as well as working through more files than a pedicurist's warehouse handles in a week! But everything's just about to come together (consider it defragging a paper-trail! lol), and we'll get back together for our next Mousession tomorrow!

Until then, just relax and concentrate on those two cute little characters at the top of the post ...

AWWWWWWWWWWWWW

Stay tuned ... we'll be back up-to-speed tomorrow ...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Lesson from An Old Guitar (Rewind)

Since tomorrow's Father's Day here in America, I want to share a story with you -- a TRUE story -- that not only honours my own dad's memory, but may just give us all something to think about:

Years ago, when I was just barely into my teens, my dad came home from work carrying a battered, old guitar. He knew I wanted to learn to play one – I’d seen folk groups, country acts – even some new group called “The Beatles” playing them, and it looked like so much fun. In fact, while these performers were on TV, I’d watch carefully for the close-up shots, and (using a baseball bat as a “guitar”) I’d mimic their fingering, position of the chords and timing.

When he gave me the acoustic guitar, I sat down and, propping it up on my knee, began to position my fingers on the neck, just as I had seen the performers do. Certainly, I was going to be the next Elvis. But he did something that I’ll remember to my dying day: He took a big, calloused hand, put it over the fingerboard and stopped me from playing! Then he said, “Son, wait a minute. Let me tell you a little story.

You see, Life’s a lot like that old guitar you’ve got, especially when it’s time to pay your dues. And, just like the sounds you can make on that guitar, the ones you make in life is entirely up to you. We can’t stop you from framming away at it like an off-tune madman any more than we can stop you from playing beautiful music. When you get to be an adult, it’s going to be the same thing when you’re ‘out there’ in the real world. Nobody can stop you; it’s your choice as to what type of ‘music’ you give them.

Now, you see those strings, and how you’re holding them down with your fingertips? Each note is meant to create harmony with each other. That's your goal in life, son … learn to place each thing you do …each step you take … so it’ll be in harmony with mankind. Otherwise, just like with the guitar, you’re gonna make such a noise that nobody’ll want to hear you. ”I listened intently; this was good stuff! Then he continued,“ And, by and by, you’ll learn how to sing with that guitar – maybe even write a few tunes yourself.

When you do, remember that a simple tune does better when the words are from the heart. Make them easy for people to learn … to keep in their mind. And you’re painting a picture with each one. Son, remember to do the same thing in your everyday doings, and you’ll make friends and be happier than you ever thought.

And that ‘song’ that you sing … the one you show everyday in your actions … will be the one that’ll go ‘number one’ with your friends and others. Just leave the lyrics open to your brother’s and sister’s point of view, and they’ll be humming that song long after you’ve gone.
Now … let’s hear you play …”

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to each and every dad out there in our readership (and beyond). If your dad is still alive and kickin', how about takin' a few minutes -- better yet, hours -- to spend with him? If he's passed on, cherish his memory and lift up a few prayers in his honour, okay?

PUMPING UP

When my dad was with us, he ran his own one-man business called Hinson Pump Company. If anyone knew about water pumps, whether industrial or commercial, it was him.
One of the main things he taught me about them is to be sure you buy reliable, quality pumps. I wish he'd known about the industrial pumps behind that link you just saw -- but he passed away long before the internet reached us.
He would've loved the fact that, not only do they have a wide selection of top-grade industrial and commercial centrifugal pumps (as well as many others!), but that you could save money by purchasing through these folks!
You can choose by size, type -- even horsepower -- and also find accessories, valves and much more!
No question: Pineville, NC's "Pump Man" would've become a steady customer ...
So if your business or property needs a solid, dependable pump, the smart move would be to click that link and find the one that suits your needs. Do it today!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

One Wild, Weird Week

WHEW!! After a week like this past one, I called on my squirrelly buddy, Chulo, to join me at the top of the post here (C'mon -- fess up: Ya can't look at the little dude without smilin', can ya?).

Now ... back to the wild, weird week that was (now why do I feel so ... Elmer Fudd-ish after sayin' that??):

We've watched the latest episodes of that new courtroom drama, Law and Order:CA (Casey Anthony), which broke for occasional commercials about a non-Oscar-Meyer-Weiner, a special edition of LOST (Vancouver) and, of course, newsbreaks.
On top of all that, yours truly has fought the dreaded gut-bug (aka "intestinal virus", known by its scientific name "hell") and an accidental mold ingestion. All while recuperating from a bad knee.

Now, whilst I'm getting back up-to-speed, I can't help noticing that everything else is sorta evening out a little: The Anthony trial is now in defence-mode, the NY Rep has stepped down, and they're sweepin' the streets in that town where disgruntled hockey fans opened their own Canada worms ...

When Uncle Lloyd and Cousin John produced Stuff Happens, they were talkin' about "stuff" that happens to us personally. And LL told me, back in 2007, "If it's not your 'stuff', don't get hung up on it." Right. "Don't sweat the small 'stuff' -- especially if it's not botherin' your 'stuff'!"

Which brings me back to Chulo (PS He knows the secret of coffee: Take two cups in the AM. Y'see, according to my nut-bearing rodential friend, "The first cup clears the fuzz, but the second cup brings the buzz!"). If we're gonna be happy (encouraged, pleased, opposite of "sad"), we need to start with the simple things in life. What they're showing on the BT (boob-tube) is complexity for sensation's sake. It's short-lived, at best.

Uncle Lloyd was a true example of this. I mean, who else could take a budget studio, some records to lip-synch with, a bunch of school kids to dance to those records, funny little smiley-faces on five fingers, and a live feed (not taped-for-later-broadcast) -- and make it all into America's #1 teen show??
In his off-stage life, he spent time chatting with his peers -- but also with his many fans! He was ultra-devoted to the love of his life, his beautiful wife Barbara (and, man, how he loved to brag about her!!) and his children. He was humble, compassionate, understanding -- and he didn't spread any of that "other 'stuff'." Only genuine happiness and optimism.
And he wouldn't let a television courtroom -- or a disgraced Congressman -- get in the way of providing that!

DO TOY AROUND!

Every child loves toys -- whether they be five or sixty-five, there's something about remote-control cars, rockets, helicopters and more that brings out the kid in all of us.
Now, while it seems that the new electronic games are eclipsing these fun toys on store shelves, there is still one place where you can find a wide selection of kids toys -- and at prices that won't play games with your wallet!
By clicking the above link, you'll find the best of toys, from handheld to educational and even novelty items! You'll also find a link to their clearance outlet where you can save even more off their low prices.
And your purchase is guaranteed to be secure -- and speedily delivered to your door! So, for the best in selection, price -- and fun -- click that link now!

The Hidden Beatles

BEFORE WE BEGIN: Let me remind all of you that Skyline.FM will be interviewing Phil "Fang" Volk from 3 - 5 PM EST today. Tune in, dig the great stories from "Paul Revere and the Raiders" days forward, and his new hit cover of, "The Times They Are A-Changin'"

Listen … we’ve got a lot of industrial-strength challenges hittin’ us in the social face, thanks to those wars goin’ on overseas (Libya? Afghanistan? What’s the difference? Same machine-gun tunes, just different political verses …), prices skyrocketing and political bickerin’ over here. We’ve turned just about everywhere for answers, but there doesn’t seem to be an end to the madness.
Maybe it’s time we took a few “hidden” lessons from the Beatles … and other groups of the Invasion.

For example: John, Paul, George and Ringo were active in search for new and innovative ways to do things. They weren’t satisfied with the “status-quo” or the traditional.
Perhaps our political leaders, worldwide, could combine heads (rather than bash them) and think of other ways of ending the troubles (we’re already doin’ that on the home front, with things like hybrid cars that don’t use as much gas).
Maybe … awww, I know it’s a dream, but … maybe, someday, they’ll think of other ways to end their squabbles rather than point the traditional guns at each other and pulling triggers. That never works in the long run …

They arrived onstage (whether for a gig or an interview) with good-natured spunk. Can you imagine what an upbeat attitude could do on Capitol Hill? Geez … we might get some positive action for the people if they had it.

Of course, before their gigs, they’d rehearse. Think what would happen if the Big Meanies got together somehow and just painted mental pictures of worst-case scenarios, thus “rehearsing” the outcomes. Nobody’d want to go to war …

Then, when they were onstage, the Fab Four would attack each song, playing like they mean it! How often do the politicos (and, here, I mean local as well as in DC!) waffle, or give a vague answer or action?

tThey had a strong rhythm section in John’s Rickenbacker. It gave a good, solid backing to everything. When you’ve got the people in one steady rhythm, you’re more likely to see something pass … something change …

The guys used a lot of harmony. Man, if there’s one word that’s lacking in this old world of ours, it’s that one! Yet, it lends flavor, tone and beauty to a song; why can’t we use it in our daily lives? All it takes is hearing others’ voices and incorporating them into something that’ll be suitable for everyone to hear.

A good backbeat is necessary to keep tempo. Ringo was the master of this. The backbeat of America is its working class. When you’re listening to them, you’ve got a surefire way of makin’ the right decision.

And they knew when a song was finished. They didn’t drag it onandonandon … they moved on to the next one in their set … and the next … starting, using the qualities I mentioned before, and stopping it. Can’t we do that in our sociopolitical doings?

There are many other lessons we can learn … “hidden” because we’ve been so caught up in the music and individual personalities. We’ll discuss those later.

THE TALE OF THE TAPE

If you work with a company that relies on printed receipts for its customers and records, then you'll probably understand how a malfunctioning printer can jam up production, right?
And think about how the customers feel -- especially when their patience is tried while you're trying to 'straighten things out'.
For the best selection, service, style -- and price -- of any receipt printer on the market, all you have to do is click on the link you just passed! Imagine business running fluently, lines moving quickly, no hassles, jam-ups or print malfunctions ....
So why not click on that link now and save yourself a lot of hassle, tension, worry -- and money -- in the process?? You (and your customers) will be glad (and relieved) that you did!


Of course, the answer is getting a reliable, sturdy and precise printer -- and, preferably, one that doesn't cost your business a bundle!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

NETworking ...

A few days ago, whilst I was doing some quick sole-searching at our local maul (can you imagine? My shoes were so tired and worn, they had their tongues hangin' out!), a young man stopped me and asked for pointers (I have Shih-Tzus, btw ...) on popularising his band.

Well, to be honest, Chris, the best way to start this is to network. Now, there are at least three excellent social networks where you can pick up some loyal fans … but they’re gonna want to hear your music first!

And to do that successfully, you might wanna consider using a widget to build a playlist of samples that people can listen to online. You can make your own by clicking sites like www.last.fm/widgets.

Next up: Get a good MySpace® site. Now, this’ll take just a little time to build, so be sure to have your band’s info at hand (including: “influences”, who the band “sounds like”, a brief biography, etc.).
When you’ve completed (and, listen — when you’re applying, be sure to register the spot under your band’s name), then send an intro letter to all your friends and fans and give them your new MySpace address.

Now, along with that, why not add to the PR by getting a Facebook® page? On this one, you can share even more information, give quick updates and even find new “friends” who can follow the band!
You can also leave notes, participate in charities, contests and more!

Twitter® is sort of a smaller, no-frills version of Facebook, and you can update it from your PC or text from your cell phone! It’s great for on-the-spot concert coverage, since you don’t have to be at an actual computer to do it!

The best way, however, is to get the word out to all your friends that your band is alive, well and growing! Do it through your regular e-mail, word-of-mouth, business cards handed out to your fans when you’ve played.

Hope that answers your question, Chris. Of course, you've gotta keep pluggin' away at those gigs, get some demos up and press kits out -- but, if you wanna move and groove, you've gotta get in touch with the heartbeat of rock-n-roll, and that's by touching base with the folks who brought ya to the dance to begin with: the "everyday people" -- the ones you'll find as FB friends, Twitter tweeters and MySpacers!

SHOW AND TELL

Have you ever gone to a trade show, flea market or display area and seen a booth that attracts more potential shoppers than others? Sort of makes you a bit jealous, doesn't it?? You might think that, if you only had a display like that, you could sell your wares, creations or products and make some good money!
Well, an attractive Trade show booth can be in your future! They're not only affordable but, with so many selections available, you're bound to be pleased with your choice!
Not only are they attractive and sturdy, but, by clicking on that link, you'll get a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction, tips to get the word out about your brand, an online catalog to browse through -- and much more!
So, click there now ... and, when you set up your presentation, booth or display, you'll see how popular it really can be!

Monday, June 13, 2011

ORIGIN OF THE BEATLES (John's version)

NOTE: I've been off-post-and-my-feed for a bit whilst fighting both an intestinal bug and reaction to mold (courtesy: my garage). I'm doing better, but, until I'm up-to-speed (give it another 24, okay?), let's re-run THIS one, okay?? From 2007:

"And so it was that the John (he of Lennon ancestry) wrote upon the magic tablets of FatBoy the storied story of Beatledom (as was told by him):"

(In other words, here's the story of the rise of The Beatles, as actually written by John Lennon many years ago):

"Once upon a time there were three little boys called John, George and Paul, by name christened. They decided to get together because they were the getting together type. When they were together they wondered what for after all, what for? So all of a sudden they grew guitars and fashioned a noise.
Funnily enough, no one was interested, least of all the three little men.
So-o-o-o on discovering a fourth little even littler man called Stuart Sutcliffe running about them they said, quite 'Sonny get a bass guitar and you will be alright' and he did - but he wasn't alright because he couldn't play it. So they sat on him with comfort 'til he could play. Still there was no beat, and a kindly old man said, quote 'Thou hast not drums!' We had no drums! they coffed. So a series of drums came and went and came.

Suddenly, in Scotland, touring with Johnny Gentle, the group (called the Beatles called) discovered they had not a very nice sound - because they had no amplifiers. They got some.

Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision - a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them 'From this day on you are Beatles with an 'A'. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.

And then a man with a beard cut off said - will you go to Germany (Hamburg) and play mighty rock for the peasants for money? And we said we would play mighty anything for money.


But before we could go we had to grow a drummer, so we grew one in West Derby in a club called Some Casbah and his trouble was Pete Best. we called 'Hello Pete, come off to Germany!' 'Yes!' Zooooom. After a few months, Peter and Paul (who is called McArtrey, son of Jim McArtrey, his father) lit a Kino (cinema) and the German police said 'Bad Beatles, you must go home and light your English cinemas'.
Zooooom, half a group. But before even this, the Gestapo had taken my friend little George Harrison (of speke) away because he was only twelve and too young to vote in Germany; but after two months in England he grew eighteen and the Gestapoes said 'you can come'.
So suddenly all back in Liverpool Village were many groups playing in grey suits and Jim said 'Why have you no grey suits?' 'We don't like them, Jim' we said, speaking to Jim.

After playing in the clubs a bit, everyone said 'Go to Germany!' So we are. Zooooom Stuart gone. Zoom zoom John (of Woolton) George (of Speke) Peter and Paul zoom zoom. All of them gone. Thank you club members, from John anf George (what are friends)."


Gee ... does anybody have an idea of what happened next??

Actually, what we're lookin' at, yardbirds, is exactly what real rock 'n roll (y'know, just for once, I'd like to hear Elmer Fudd say those words!) is all about: ENTHUSIASM! Ya can't imagine John sittin' back in some fancy, cushioned chair, pipe in hand and a cuppa Earl Grey beside him, pondering "What shall I include to properly convey the evolution of blahblahblah?"

Nope. John Lennon (he who gave up WInstons for another brand. Should I speak of what is was? OOOONo!) just had fun with it ... energized it ... made it interesting. Those traits, combined with the musical ones I've given over the past few posts and John's bit of "history" above, came together, right then, over him, to form the greatest band the world has ever known:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Don't Forget to Press The Kits!

No, I'm not talkin' about felines here ... (but I do like that pic, so I threw it in there for fun ...)

Y'see, a few days ago, Chris from Chi-Town (who'd read about my, er, "escapade" there in another blog) weighed in with some info on his new band. They sound good, but he wanted to know what he needs to market his quartet (Silvertune).

Well, Chris, the most important tool you’ll need, outside demo CDs (those that have samples of your music), is the press kit or press pack. Now, these are important because you’re gonna need this to show (or mail to) prospective agents, radio stations, venue managers and A&R reps (those who can get you a record contract!).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Actually, the first order of business is to be sure at least 75% of your lineup is permanent. The prospects will need to see your roster as stable.
The second is to have a number of successful gigs (or venues; places you’ve performed) under your belt. Y’see, whoever you mail your press kit'll wanna see your onstage experience. With that, you’ll increase your chances of being hired, played or signed!

Now … that being accomplished, get someone to write up a professional-looking biography of members and band. Adding a small photo beside each member’s profile will allow the recipient to “see” the person it’s written about.
Don’t go into elaborate detail; basically, list name, age, hometown, which instrument(s), if any, he/she plays, when that member joined the band, shoe size and influences.
About the band: Be sure to include formation date and a brief history of the band up to the date you’re sending the kit. Make at least a dozen copies of each, plus one for your file and further copies.
(PS: only kidding about the shoe size ... I ... think ...)

Next, get as many reviews of your performances as you can. If you can get some professionals (such as owners/managers of the venues you’ve played) to write one, all the better! Again, make a dozen copies (plus the one you’re saving for your file and further copies).

Then, have someone take some good photos of your band in performance, and good atmosphere shots (taken at good locations, posed). You’ll wanna make copies (not computer printouts) to include with each kit. Remember: these must be real photos — not computer printouts! Places like Wal-Mart® can do these for you. Initially, get at least a dozen of your favorite two shots printed.

Now … if you’ve recorded any of your songs onto a CD (and they have a good sound quality), burn at least twelve of the discs. By the way, the songs must be in .mp3 format.
Place these in clean, scratch-free CD cases. On the front of the case, place a sticker with the band’s name and date originally recorded. Include the “playlist” of the CD, along with each song’s length.

Okay … we’re gonna continue this within 24 hours, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Quick Note Or Two (BRB)

I've gotta be honest: I was planning on starting this week with a big blog bang. Everything was ready --
until I got to my work desk.

Now, as most of you know, I'm also a journalist for two studios and a rock publicist. This past week, with three major pushes set to commence (you'll read more about 'em this week), five articles to complete before deadline and some record labels to scout, I've had more on my plate than a food addict at a free buffet.

But take heart, campers -- we will be back to norml by the dawn's early light tomorrow ...

BUT FIRST, I'VE GOTTA INCLUDE THIS:

This past weekend, some news came over the rockwire that stunned many of us -- especially those of us who were fans of singer Patti LaBelle. Now, I'm gonna post it as it was reported. You make the call:

"Patti Labelle and her bodyguards were sued Wednesday (June 1) in Houston over a March 11 incident at Bush International Airport there. A West Point cadet on spring break wandered too close to Patti's limousine while talking on his cell phone and alleges he was attacked by the diva's security. The incident was captured on security video and later shows Patti posing for pictures with police after the victim was taken away in an ambulance, neatly avoiding the blood on the pavement."

Later updates reported that Ms. L. admitted to ordering the attack on the lad -- and, in doing so, implicated herself in three (yep, 3!) infractions:

(1) A flagrant assault-and-battery (geez .. Richard King just wasn't watching where he was goin'! He was talking to his bro on a cell phone, and wasn't paying attention).
(2) By this action, West Point expelled the cadet, saying that he broke their moral code.
(3) The officers who posed with her impeded and influenced the investigation -- which, in most cases, would put them on administrative leave pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs (IAF) decision.

Here ... check the lower-right-hand corner of this vid (that's where the action starts):



Now, we'll be back up-to-speed tomorrow, so stay tuned ...