Friday, December 8, 2017

IMAGINE ... Lessons from John Lennon

It's sad ...

I just heard a reporter say, "It only took a few shots from a madman's gun to destroy the dream of John Lennon".

IS HE KIDDING?!?

Y'see, while we're all remembering (and saddened by doing so) that fateful Monday night in December, 1980, we also realize that, though a megalomanic misfit shot the mortal man who was Legend, he completely missed his amazing legacy ... one that lives on to this day.

Yes, there have been many lessons that we learned thanks to Lennon's short life. Here are a few:

From the Fab Four's pre-fame days, we learned the value of perseverance -- don't give up on your dreams, your goals -- ever! Oh, ya might have to tweak them a little to get what you want, but, if they're honorable goals, don't give up!

From his days as a Beatle, we learned to make our OWN kind of music. Okay, maybe it won't sit well with some hard-nosers -- but, if it's honorable, if it makes a point -- and if it's you, go ahead and play it, no matter what you do in life.

We've learned to develop a sense of improvised, somewhat impish humor. After all, it is LIFE we live -- so show it! I dunno of anyone who was harmed by Lennon's wit ...

He also showed us to be honest, even if it costs you a little. He said (and rightly at the time) that The Beatles were "more popular than Christ", and society bristled.
Beatle bonfires were everywhere -- and even a faux assassination "prank" occurred during their show in Memphis, Tenn. in 1966,  when some idiot threw a large firecracker onstage. But the lads recovered from that (in fact, they didn't know what happened until after-the-fact) and went on to create a new and exciting chapter in rock music with the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club album. They only became greater ...

About his post-Beatle days: Sure, he had his troubles in the Seventies, he also taught us to speak up -- become an activist for change! Sure, he got Nixon's attention -- but he also inspired young people from around the world to stand up and be counted -- and not back down!

He showed us what it could be like ... if we just "IMAGINE" the possibilities of peace ...

He taught us about the importance of dads being as involved in raising their children as the moms are (his five years as "househusband" to help raise Sean); how to finally beat an addiction (preferring -- behind Yoko's back, he would jest -- chocolate to cocaine); and how to change for, reconcile with and truly love your spouse!

John was truly a "Working Class Hero" -- an Everyman who'd made his mark on the world with fame given by millions of fans, and paid them back with the ultimate compliment -- by becoming one of them rather than another untouchable celebrity darling ...

Though John is 37 years' gone now, the memories of that fateful evening are still as fresh as they were on Dec. 8, 1980.  It caused everyone to give pause and think about John and all he contributed to our world.
You see, that "megalomaniac" I mentioned (God forbid I actually mention his name.  After all, I just ate breakfast ...) only took John's human form away from us.

But he didn't, and couldn't, kill the legacy ... one that lives on in the heart and conscience of every human being who craves peace and understanding ...




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Now ... Where WAS I??

WHEW!!! What a few weeks it's been ...

Yeah, I've been away from the blog for about that long.  Been tackling everything that Mr. Murphy could throw at me from that famous Law of his.
It's like that dude had it in for me!

But someone once said that "for every law, there's a loophole." And I was just loopy enough to look for it.  After a load of calls, study, and even a big dollop (an overused word on those sour cream commercials ...) of polyunsaturated, vitamin-enriched, low-calorie Elbow Grease, I finally crawled through those loopholes ...

RENOVATIONS IN STORE:

Twas weeks before Christmas, and allll thru the House, a few creatures were stirring - and each one a Mouse!  New ideas were hung on the corkboard with care, in hopes that our readers would find interest there.
Such as ...

DIDJA KNOW THIS?  No, not that singer Tina Turner got a Gold Record for a song called What's Love Got To Do With It? but that, a mere nine years earlier, when she left her husband, Ike, she only had 36 cents and a gas station credit card to her name!

Or that, on the Elvis Presley hit, Way Down, (1976) J.D. Sumner sang the lyrics "way on down" at the end of each chorus (low C) - and, at the very end of the song, sang the very same lyrics in double-low C -  which, according to the Guinness Book Of World Records, was the lowest note ever produced by the human voice at that time?  (Since then, it's been eclipsed by Tim Storms of the group "Pierce Arrow", who reached an amazing G-7 in 2012!)

LLOYD THAXTON - MYSTERY WRITER??  There's no question that LL knew how to keep readers riveted to his blog (as such.  I don't think he actually owned a riveter ...), book, shows and speeches.  But, here, he took a shot at writing a short-but-intriguing mystery novella!  Can you find the clues?  From his own blog (which Barbara has been so gracious to keep alive and online): MOM, Season 1, Disk 1, Episode 2 ...

TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY:  1969 - The song was actually recorded by Gary DiCarlo (vocals) with the help of Paul Leka and Dale Frashuer (keyboard and pre-recorded drum track, respectively.  No bass or guitar!) and was #1 this week, 48 years ago.  An actual group was enlisted to tour as the performers of the song, but Steam never played a note on it! Still, they took full credit for it and even had their picture put on the front cover.  For this reason, Gary walked away from the business .
The other two (Leka and Frashuer) could find no other band that could replicate the sounds on
Na, Na, Hey, Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.

Stay tuned ... more to come on Friday!







Tuesday, November 7, 2017

THE NEW AUSSIE INVASION

For decades, Americans have heard the Aussie engine rev up in airwaves across the country. From The Easybeats (Friday On My Mind) to Olivia Newton-John (Physical) to Men At Work (Down Under), AC-DC (Highway To Hell) and Keith Urban (Blue Ain't Your Color), the Australian invasion introduced us to didgeridoos, vegemite sandwiches - and some of the best music the planet has ever heard.

Today - and after charting hits, winning awards and exciting audiences Down Under for a few years - a new and exciting country singer is beginning to make a musical landfall here in the states!
With a mix of great, self-penned music, dynamic stage presence and boyishly good looks, Steve Eales has thrilled audiences in packed houses throughout his native country.
And, today, this musical hurricane is about to make landfall here in America!  Thousands are already turning on to his lively tunes, catchy lyrics and homespun delivery - all packaged in a personable style that makes you feel he's playing his music just for you!

THIS AWARD-WINNING WONDER has already gleaned many country-music awards to go along with his awesome performing and dynamic good looks.

Here ... just as examples, he's won:

2001 Song of the Year at the Victorian CMA
2004 2x Golden Guitar nominations for Country Band as well as Best New Talent of the year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl and Its My Town
2004 Male Vocalist of the Year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl
2004 Album of the Year Award for Wild One
2008 Tamworth People's Choice Awards for The Battler
2008 Album of the Year award Vic CMA
2008 Vocalist of the Year Award Vic CMA
2010 APRA Country Song of the Year Award
2010 Fifteen-time World Championship Performer Awards in LA

Want to know more (and who wouldn't?)?  Check out his YouTube videos by clicking here and here. I guarantee you'll be wanting more of this troubador's music, and your desire will be fulfilled when you order his albums via his website!
Great songs (mostly self-composed, btw), awesome guitarist, an electric presence, and fantastic looks - how can you ask for more?
OKAY ... HERE'S MORE:

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Inimitable Imitation

In case you didn't know, Uncle Lloyd had a show.
A very popular show, populated by teen people and watched by millions more.

In fact, by the time The Lloyd Thaxton Show had become the 5 PM staple on TV sets around the country, there were imitators beginning to pop up all over the place. They all wanted a piece of the pie that LL had baked - or at least the recipe! Quite a few of them were good, but they still lacked the "secret ingredient" that LL used in all his shows.

One such show was called Kilgo's Kanteen, a Saturday afternoon fave amongst the Piedmont-area (N.C.) teens (I was one, hailing from Charlotte). Hosted by WSOC radio DJ Jimmy Kilgo, it leaped to the top of the local Nielsens, right behind Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks (incidentally, Arthur was the one who created Guitar Boogie, an instrumental that became the most popular riff in rock).

Because the LT Show was grabbing such great ratings and didn't require a humongous budget, WSOC-TV (Channel 9) in Charlotte decided to have their own version, with Jimmy at the helm.
The boyish, wide-eyed wonder came up with a very cool format: Have the kids in a "soda shop", where they could sit at round tables and enjoy a Coke or soft drink between dances (of course, it was all created in the SOC studio). He'd emcee, introduce the latest danceable hits and interact with his high-school guests -- and, in the process, gained a tremendous regional fanbase.

Jimmy had some great local talent on tap for his show, as well as regional hitmakers. The Nomads, The Gayelords (who did a knockout version of The Animals' "I'm Crying"), The Paragons and others. Even my band (a short-lived, Byrds-like troupe we called Sons of Dylan) was scheduled thanks to producer Bob Champion, but we had to renege: a death in two of the members' families.

While Jimmy did a great job (he and his lovely wife, Wilma, are still with us and live in the Charlotte area), he still has every appreciation for Lloyd and the trails that he blazed. He and LL had three things in common, outside their career similarities (both DJs, both inspired to do teen shows, etc.):

(1) A very sincere love for the kids, whether in-studio or watching on television.
(2) A great appreciation for the rock genre and its performers.
(3) Belief that you don't need million-dollar setups and getups to become successful. All you need is a handful of creativity, a pinch of self-confidence, a dash of coolness ... and a whole lotta love for what you do!

Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery. And, believe me, Uncle Lloyd would've been more than flattered by the show that patterned itself after a small studio wonder outta KCOP-13 in L.A.

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hey ... Want Yer FEED Back??

All right, Mousers -- who remembers Reality Rule #8 from Uncle Lloyd's Stuff Happens? (ie the Pretty Good Book [the other name's been taken. Sorry ...)

It's "Feedback -- The Breakfast of Champions" ...

Whilst re-reading the book (I'm on my 43rd read now, btw! It's got more dog-ears than a big-city animal shelter ...), I was reminded how we're giving more feedback now -- and to more people -- than ever before thanks to a little wonder called Facebook® ...

Natch, you're gonna read a bunch of replies or comments or whatever they're called -- but remember: The only feedback you get is that which is positive: something from which you can learn, in order to better yourself or broaden your mental or emotional base ...

But how many of us are willing to accept feedback? LL called it "criticism" -- which, according to Mr. Webster (Noah, not the dude in The Monkees' track ...), means "the art of evaluating" (to which Cuzzin Relic adds "constructively"). It pertains to a specific task or venture, and is done so in order to improve your work or product.

People, we can't really improve without it. From the time we learned to walk, we've gotten feedback from someone in order to improve what we're doing (I had the "walking" thing down pat by the age of 19. Then I was drafted ...).

But Lloyd (and John Alston. It was a joint effort, remember. Don't know the name of the joint they were in when they wrote it, though ...) also reminds us of something else. Remember that little box with the analogy of the chef? He had to taste his recipe himself to determine if anything was missing ...).

So we also need to give ourselves some feedback ... and that comes from taking a step back and doing a bit of self-evaluation. Is what we're doing productive? Profitable (and I'm talking, here, about more than just "financially")? Are we doing it the right way? What can we add or lose to make it better?

The "Exercise" section of the chapter was my favourite part. Lloyd says, in essence, to "loosen up" (he called it "Body Lock") by getting on your feet, lifting your leg and really shaking it, then putting it down, doing the same with your arm and hand.

It worked so well (especially when I started shouting, "HEP muh! HUAH!! AH FEEEEL GOOOD!" and the strains of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" started pouring through my speakers ...) I'd recommend it to everybody (though my dogs are still a bit nervous, being around me).

So, when you're faced with a dilemma, or want some positive evaluation of your work, listen to the feedback. And, if you've got to give it yourself, remember the PPP Principle: Make it Plain, Positive and Productive.

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mr. Webster's Gotta Be Grinnin' Up There ....

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is an updated re-post from 2010, because the message is as true today as it was then.  Enjoy:

Who'da thunk it??
During the past couple of days, I've been poring over pictures, emails, books, DVDs and other Thaxtonian material, getting info for articles I'm doing about the Chief (including new and improved blog posts!). Natch, I've sent feeler emails out to get not just more info but a broader perspective of the man and his impact.
While getting my fingers ready to do a little walking through the yellowed pages of early material, I ran across an old (circa 2009, anyway) email from someone I didn't send a request to. From a woman named "Christine", the writing read:

"We would all feel so much better in a Thaxtonesque world. Imagine, we would all lip-sync our wars instead of fighting them; we would bring spontaneity back to our lives and finally enjoy them; if stuff happened, we could fix it and not be so grumpy; we could even come out of this recession by putting our own finger people to work for us; and we could learn to say to our troubles, SO WHAT?"

There was more (man, can you see us just "lip-syncing" wars? What a boss idea!!), but who can't dig the word?? I can just see it now:

Thaxtonesque (adj.) a quality whereby one is spontaneous, creative, optimistic, humorous, intuitive and helpful. Ex: "He helped so many smile with his boyish, Thaxtonesque approach to life."

Antonyms: Congressional, Eminemish ...

I tell ya, ol' Noah Webster would be proud!


Uncle Lloyd always dug that pic whenever it showed up on my blog ...
but it's also held some special significance for me:

A fantastic songwriter/drummer mate of mine, Peter Dintino, fought leukemia for years.  Sadly, after a long and courageous fight, he lost his battle against the devils that plagued him. But, with the skill of some dynamic doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, and a daughter who stuck with him every step of the way (by now, Lin has enough chops to be a doctor herself!), a prayer-and-thought chain that stretched around the globe, and one tremendous power of belief and optimism in Peter himself, he stuck around much longer than anyone ever expected.

Every single day, daughter Lin was there. As the prayer/thought chain inched its way around the globe, there was Pete the fighter -- trying to pry the grip of illness away from his body. Natch, the docs were all there, working feverishly (no pun intended).
Today, he's Linda's guardian angel ... and I know that heaven must be rockin' on one side, laughin' on the other - because he knew how to lean and rock with it all.  His knowledge of rock-n-roll (especially The Dave Clark Five and songwriting legend Ron Ryan), coupled with a hilarious and offbeat sense of humor, certainly must have the angels happy!
During the last conversation I had with "Shadow" (his nickname), we talked for about half an hour. As a result, Peter A. Dintino -- drummer, songwriter, dad, believer, inspiration -- became our newest Mouser!! And he had some great things to say about the boss Boss!

So, learning from what "Christine" wrote - and what Pete lived - we now understand that:
whatever you're up against, "Lean wit' it! ROCK wit' it!" And never, ever give up the fight!

Stay tuned ...

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Who Are The REAL Celebrities?

This special edition is addressed to high-profile stars ("celebrities") of film, TV and music. 

A few years ago, I received a rather terse email from a popular actor (don't worry, man. Your name's still safe with me ...) who asked,

"I don't know you but read your FB entries on occasion, and noticed you are from Kentucky. What makes you think you're included in our celebrity circles? No personal offense, but Kentucky is hardly a haven for beautiful people."

Y'know, it made me laugh. "Celebrities"?  You mean,"Beautiful people?" Let me tell you something:

If you think you're special or "beautiful" because you're seen every week on television or in the occasional movie -- perhaps perform gigantic venues for gazillions of dollars -- you have the wrong perception of the adjectives!

You want beautiful people? Think of the woman who works long hours at the Wal-Mart®, dead on her feet but still with a smile. She's got three children to feed and clothe on her own since her husband died.
Or the guy down the street who, once, had a home and family but lost it to a vicious drug habit. He's now trying to beat the addiction and clean up his act whilst looking for any job that will accept him.
How about the old, gray gentleman who's sitting in a hospital room, holding his wife's hand whilst she lies there, only hours from passing from cancer?

Brother, these are beautiful people ...

They don't have mounds of cash to fall back on. Instead of gracing a red carpet somewhere, their "premieres" are when they show up for work on-time ... or make it to their rehab session, one more day successfully clear of drugs or alcohol ... or back at a loved one's bedside, knowing they're one day closer to meeting his or her Maker ...

They come, not from L.A. or Tinseltown or wherever, but from towns like my scenic home of Pineville, NC, or the downhome simplicity of Ashland, Ky. ... and thousands of other locations around the country ... and the world (think Liverpoolin England or Melbourne in Australia).

They remember something else: Whatever their lot in life, they remember what brought them to this dance, and know that, once that "dance" is over, they'll be accepted and taken home by the same ones! Otherwise, it'll be a lonnnnng walk back ... and hitchin' a ride just doesn't work anymore.
Oh ... and those who brought them to the dance? Friends ... neighbors ... people they grew up with and know (and love) them for who they really are, and not some image on a screen or stage.

These, my star-studded friend, are the real celebrities ... the truly beautiful people. They don't need makeup, fancy clothes, limos, or paparazzi to show the world how good they are. People see their worth automatically, in the efforts they make to create a better world for themselves and those closest to them.

And, quite honestly, I'd trade a dozen "celebrities" for just one of these hard-working, caring, heartfelt "common people" anyday of the week!

So, before signing off, let me remind you of what an old friend of mine said many years ago. "Those famous people don't get it. They're born like everybody else -- ain't got nothin' on, cryin' and squawlin'. They eat, drink and (bathroom) like everybody else. They eventually gonna die like everybody else. And when that happens, they won't be no better than the ol' ditch-digger who's just a few plots down from 'em."

Stay tuned ...vv

Friday, October 13, 2017

And The Top Rock Song In History Is ...



Of all the classics coming from the vault we call “Rock-n-Roll”, ya can’t get any more genuine than Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone.

Awhile back, the song was crowned by (of all places) Rolling Stone magazine as being the #1 rock song in history (ahem … were you asked to vote? Naaah … me neither), and it's maintained that lofty position ever since.
But, hey — there’s good reason for the glory.

Y’see, not only does the Freewheeler put a little bit of soul into the soundtrack to his first non-acoustic single, but he includes the most ingenious wording of any folk-rock hit, before or after.

In the song itself, Dylan is addressing a young woman who, probably a “society darling", finally finds herself scrounging and street bound. It’s an exhibit in contrast, obviously meant to show the high muck-a-mucks that, in fact, it’s the everyday people — those who have to hang on to every dime, every crumb of bread, every drop of gas in order to survive — who makes them the so-called “superstars”. The jet-set’s a drag, and, more often than not, just wants to use you.

OUCH!! That kinda sounds like a sermon for the Housewives of  Los Angeles/Atlanta/wherever shows. But it applies to anybody who follows suit, right?

My fave part of the lyrics? Remember the line, When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose? That’s it. Been there, know the feeling. But everybody can take at least a few dozen lines of the song (and its equally-effective followup, Positively 4th Street), and apply the lessons they hold, right?

If ya can’t, you better go back and listen to it again …but open yer mind to it this time!


It’s QUIZTIME, Mousers! (Awww, you’ll find one of these little tidbits in specially-marked boxes … er, posts! t’s your chance to make a little noize!)

Okay … we all know that Bob Dylan idolized the late, great Woody Guthrie. But what mistake did Dylan make in trying to copy Guthrie’s style (hint: it really ticked off Guthrie’s wife!)?

Send in your answer, and you’ll be introed here on-post if you’re right. Otherwise, gimme about a week, and I’ll give ya the answer myself, okay?

Well, that’s it from this side. Stay tuned for more ...



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

LLOYD LLEFT US A NOTE

EDITOR'S NOTE:  I originally wrote this post years ago; it quickly became one of the most popular writeups offered here (back then, it was titled "Notes From The Chief").  This week, I've had requests to reprint it - and am honored to do so.
You see, Uncle LL was also an avid blogger - and, in this one and in his own words, he explained how he actually started his famed blog:


Y'know, when my own readers found out that I knew Lloyd Thaxton, their first response (after the obligatory "Soooo WHAT?" They weren't brushing me off ... they just remembered his famous teaser) was "He's still ALIVE?!?" (and, brother, he'll always be alive in our hearts. Can I get an AMEN?!?)
But, then, I told 'em about Uncle LL's blog (and guess what? In honor and memory of the man who adored her, Aunt Barbara has kept it online for everyone at lloydthaxton.blogspot.com! Be sure to stop by and take a stroll or two down memory lane. You can get there from the link, which opens in a new window).
Then I told 'em that, for the mere price of an imaginary car, they could come on over to the Mouse House (here) and join in more fun and memories.

And many of 'em did! And, thus, they did enjoy the verbiosity that emanated from the inner being of one Lloyd E. Thaxton, Esq.

But, how did the original Mr. T. actually start blogging?
Here ... let 'im tell ya in his own words:

"I’m constantly asked why I spend time writing a blog. Who’s going to read it? By last count, there are over 23 million blogs on the web. 23 MILLION! Insurmountable odds? I’m optimistic. I Look at it this way: There are about 300 million people in the United States alone. Do the math. Divided equally, that computes to over 10 million readers for each blog. And, I’m just out to get my share.

Actually, I think my chances are pretty darn good. According to LA Times writer Patrick Goldstein, we are now a nation of niches. “Today’s action is with the country watching cable shows … that play to a specific audience.”
Specific audience? That’s my fans. The Lloyd Thaxton Show was always kind of a “niche.” It certainly played to a specific audience. And that makes me a real “son of a niche.”


It is said that the reason “American Idol” is such a big hit is because there is a huge niche out there that wants to be a member of a group, encouraged by their peers. What the “Idol” audiences love to see are others like them up there competing for fame and fortune. They see how they dance, sing, how they dress, and how they are treated with great respect. They even accept the occasional put-down from judge Simon Cowell as meaningful. “That could be me” is most likely the “Idol” fan’s mantra.

That, if you think about it, is what The Lloyd Thaxton Show was all about. We had our lip-sync contests, dance contests and each show was a showcase for the latest dances and “what-to-wear” on a date. Young people watched because they saw themselves up there joining in the fun. And, everyone was treated with great respect.

Still doing the math, I’ve figured that in the years the show was on the air, we had over 45 thousand dancing and performing teens on the show. And that was just the ones who were actually there, in person, live. Add to that the millions who were watching each show and we had a pretty substantial niche going for us.


According to Princeton University’s WordNet, niche is “a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it.” In other words, a “clique.”
There is no doubt that the 60s represented a very unique period in history. Think about it. Civil Rights demonstrations and legislation, the Vietnam War, the draft, Woman’s Lib, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Flower Children, Students for a Democratic Society, and Sex Drugs and Rock & Roll. The country has never been the same since.


Throughout this tumultuous time, The Lloyd Thaxton Show was there pumping out The Twist, The Beatles, James Brown, Surf music, Motown music, Top Forty and Rock and roll. And millions of kids were dancing to the music. It was the oasis in the midst of chaos; The calm during the storm. And according to the many letters I’ve received from the show’s fans, it gave a lot of people the confidence that everything would turn out OK. I, myself, am completely awed and humbled by it all.

So, back to the original question: why am I writing a blog? The answer is quite simple. I have a niche I just have to scratch. And so far I feel I have only scratched the surface. Judging by the hundreds of emails I have received, there is a substantial niche out there that wants to hash over a lot of cool memories."


So there you have it, Mouskiteers ... and it couldn't've been said any better than that ...


Hey, listen! Do you have any vids, .mp3s or memories you'd like to share about the boss? Just send 'em in to therockrelic@yahoo.com and we'll get 'em on here! Heck ... we'll even pay the postage for ya ...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

We Need More Thaxtons!

IT'S BEEN 9 YEARS since the world lost an elfin giant ... a man who knew how to do more with his ten digits than just twiddle his thumbs (in fact, he make finger people out of 'em, of all things!) ... one who touched more lives through the shows he produced (Fight Back! with David Horowitz - aka the ultimate consumer helper), books (Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!)) and, of course, his inimitable trademark teen time, The Lloyd Thaxton Show, than you could ever imagine.  

He was the "hep cat" (for you youngsters, that's what we called "cool dudes" back in the day) who believed in traditional values and reaching for whatever productive and positive star there was out there in the universe (and he knew there was one for each of us if we were just striven to reach it).
LL looked for the best in everyone, and had a special place in his heart for each and every teenager, no matter their situation.

If he were with us today, he'd undoubtedly question the need for senseless protests and despise (as do we all) the senseless mass shootings happening around America.  He believed in talking things out rationally and, whether in groups, conferences or one-on-one, coming up with solutions we can all live with.  Lloyd was an advocate of the positive - the eternal optimist who knew that, if we threw off the blankets of doubt/fear/anger/worry/takeyourpick and approached our fellowman(orwoman) with love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T, we could iron out 99.9% of our problems - or even more!!

It might seem corny to a few of you who read this, but, for those of us who knew and loved this amazing miracle called Lloyd Eugene Thaxton, we know it's true:

WE NEED MORE THAXTONS IN THIS COUNTRY ... in this world ... in our lives ..
It would sure be a heckuva sight better than what we've got right now!!

A GUY WITH A DEJA VIEW:  One of my favorite friends down here in A-Town is an affable, easy-going gent named Mike.  Now, a short while back, he disappeared from the scene due to the untimely death of his wife, Karen - but he finally re-emerged and I was able to catch up with him last week at our local McDonald's (great coffee!  Food?  meh ...).  Three things struck me as we were talking:  (1) he looked exactly like Uncle Lloyd in his later years (though he's a bit taller); (2) it was October 5 - the ninth anniversary of LL's passing; (3) Mike's last name is ... Thaxton!!  

Now, I know that Uncle Lloyd's family can be traced back to Kentucky (though he told me he didn't know where in the Bluegrass State), so I sorta put two and two together.  Since Mike and I first met about a year before LT's death, I still had the opportunity to ask him if he was any kin to Mike.  He said, "We might be cousins somewhere down the line.  My family was spread out all over the place down there."

But the resemblance is more than eerie - and he def has that Thaxton attitude (and even voice!).

One more thing:  As we remember Uncle Lloyd on this ninth year since, please keep his beautiful guiding light (his wife, Barbara) in your kindest thoughts, prayers and good vibrations.  He adored her above all.  Thanks.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Heaven Is Laughing Today


JERRY LEWIS.  

The mere mention of his name brings thoughts of slapstick pratfalls, silly high-pitched voices and even (as in the case of The Nutty Professor) buckteeth and horn-rimmed glasses.  For others, memories of his act with Dean Martin come to mind.
And, for millions of others, the selfless and compassionate work he did for children - "Jerry's Kids" - through the Muscular Dystrophy Association is solemnly remembered with a smile.  In fact, the mention of "MDA Telethon" immediately conjures up a cartoon graphic of Jerry and his trademark comedic smile.

It comes to no one's surprise that he and Uncle Lloyd were friends.  In fact, some thought that LL and JL could've made a great comedy team.  Lloyd told me once that he considered Jerry as an inspiration, and was definitely impressed with his passion for helping children - just as much as he was Lewis' spontaneous humor and outlook on life.

A few years before he left us, Lloyd sent me footage that he hoped to use in a DVD release about him and The Lloyd Thaxton Show.  As I watched, it was all too obvious that a couple of sketches had been heavily influenced by Jerry.  Wish I could show them to you here, but copyright laws won't let me (some of you remember I tried years ago.  No hard feelings here, of course ...).

In fact, some of you might recall when Uncle Lloyd co-starred in a film called The Patsy.  His director?  Who do ya think?: The star himself, Jerry Lewis:


Today, both Lloyd and Jerry are entertaining the angels.  Occasionally, Jerry might see a little child who lost her battle with MD and flies over to hug her and make her smile.  Both he and Uncle LL are sorely missed - and they'll both keep their positions at the Top of the Charts for years to come!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Pausing For Station Identification ...

Ahhh, the old days ...

We'd be watching Uncle Miltie fumble through a hilarious sketch on Texaco Star Theater when, during what we now call "commercial breaks", the announcer would proclaim "We now pause for station identification. (cue station logo, or just the letters "NBC" in gray, shadowed block letters) This is the NBC Television Network.
It always looked a little eerie to me (I was just a youngster at the time. No, really!).

Well, we all have what's called "identifiers" on this thing we call the "internet" -- and, sometimes, our own "station identification" is ripped off by "hackers".
Hackers. It's a word that previously meant "chain smokers" or "cats who have continuous trouble coughing hairballs up!"

And, as luck would have it, I drew the losing numbers in the hacker lottery a few years ago -- and proceeded to have not only my Facebook® page pilfered, but my bank accounts (both business and private) put into the red!

I know it's not uncommon for this stuff to happen these days, but, of course, I had the same reaction as everybody else: Why'd they have to choose ME? followed with the self-pitiful I thought everything was secure!

But then I remembered what Uncle Lloyd told me, years ago: If you build something great and somebody else tears it apart, rebuild!! They only took what you made -- they didn't take the blueprint for it! That's in your head! So rebuild!!!

Of course, when you do that, you want to be sure and make it bulletproof this time:

Change passwords (make 'em harder for anybody to figure out; but be sure to remember them yourself!).
Use your "private browsing" function when browsing, working or especially when buying online.
If you do buy something, be sure it's over a SSL (secure socket layer. You'll know it's that when you see an "https" at the beginning of the web address).
Don't give out any personal information to anyone who doesn't already know you (friends, family, etc.). And ...
NeverneverneverEVER EVER give your social security numbers over the web!

Now, I'm gonna rebuild everything, and it's all gonna be tougher than my cuzzin Ruby's cooking (not that she was bad, but she was the only woman I knew who could burn water ...).
If you need help in making your sites, etc., more secure, check out some great reads at Cybercrime.com. You'll also find some great links there that can help you even further!

Soooooo, time for me to get busy. But ... stay tuned!

Friday, August 4, 2017

When Things Get Squirrelly

THINGS GET A LITTLE SQUIRRELLY in this world, and our schedules often reflect it.
Lemme 'splain:

Y'see, besides running the Mouse House (ie, this blog), I also publish an online newspaper, work as music publicist, am preparing to launch a new set of podcasts, and am proud proprietorial pet parent to a pair of pampered pooches and precocious puddy-tats.

Between and betwixt that, keeping my house livable as I prepare to move (pets, MH, business and all) to a new abode and, on occasion, eating and sleeping, I've been a little busy lately.

Yep, it's been a little "squirrelly" over here (not to besmirch the honorable name of the actual near-rodents.  They've worked hard to keep their little reputations clean ...).  But, at least once a week, we can get together here for new and improved! kaffeklatsches (fancy furr'n word for "get-togethers-over-coffee").  So stay tuned ...

Now ... let's get on with the news and stuff:

DANCE CRAZE TURNS 21:  Yep, it's now old enough to stand on its own (and, to many of us, should, since we don't do it anymore!!).

It was August 3, 1996 when, according to Neilsen Soundscan, "Macarena" was on top of the pop charts (do you remember dancing it when you were younger?). It was a little cheesy. Everybody who ever danced it knows that!

By coincidence:

August 3, 1986: According to  mysons' Fridgescan, "Macaroni" was on top of the food charts (do you remember eating it when you were younger?). It was a lot cheesy. Everybody who ever ate it knows that!

Actually, the full name of the song was "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" and was performed by an act called Los Del Rio (the stage moniker of two middle-aged guys named Antonia Romero and Rafael Ruiz).  It was written to honor the Flamenco dancer Diana Patricia and ... wellll, the chorus' lyrics were a little suggestive (probably why it was sung in Spanish?):

“Give joy to your body, Macarena, for your body is for giving joy and good things.”  

By the way:  She was originally called Magdalena in the song (hey ... there were already songs with "Diana" in the title, remember?) but the dudes changed it to the name of a neighborhood in Seville, For those who don't know, Seville is a province in Spain.  It's to the right of Brooklyn ...

And, no, I never personally tried the dance.  It's too easy for me to make a fool of myself without its help ...

More coming up this weekend, so stay tuned, campers ....






Friday, July 21, 2017

AUSSIE SINGER PLAYS TO THE RHYTHM OF FANS' HEARTS


There's a young country performer - new to many of us in America - that is definitely chart-bound here! He's got it all: charisma, stage presence, great pipes, dynamite songs -
 and, yes, girls, he's single! 
While y'all know me as (mostly) rock-n-roll, I dig a lot of country-rock, too; and this guy just knocked my size 10 Rockport Westerns (yeah. I know.  Smallish feet. But big heart, though ...) off when I first heard him!
You're bound to become a quick fan once you hear his music (which, by the way, you oughtta be hearing on CMT, GAC or RADIO regularly soon!).

Here's part of an article about him:

Steve Eales (Driftin' On) is one of Australia's leading Country Rock artists. - one whose energetic performances are already beginning to make an impact in both the United States and England.
As both performer and songwriter, Steve has led the way with some of his nation’s  harder hitting music and grittier rural stories. And he comes complete with all the charm of an authentic country boy. 

He's collected a huge swag of awards during his years as lead vocalist and songwriter including:

•2001 Song of the Year at the Victorian CMA 
•2004 2x Golden Guitar nominations for Country Band as well as Best New Talent of the year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl and It’s My Town
• 2004 Male Vocalist of the Year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl
• 2004 Album of the Year Award for Wild One
• 2008 Tamworth People's Choice Awards for The Battler
• 2008 Album of the Year award Vic CMA
• 2008 Vocalist of the Year Award Vic CMA
• 2010 APRA Country Song of the Year Award
• 2010 Fifteen-time World Championship Performer Awards in LA

He’s already played festivals and major venues, both in Australia and the United States, such as:

• Rod Laver Arena
• SydneyMeyer Music Bowl
• Gympie Muster
• Tamworth Town Hall
• TREC (Tamworth)
• Adelaide Festival Theatre
• Boyup Brook Festival WA
• Deni Ute Muster
• Grand Ole Opry TN USA

Now, I had the chance to interview Steve recently, and you'll get that interview in our next post (Saturday.  This puppy's gonna bark more often after this post).  But, for now, here's Steve doing his hit, Driftin' On.  Enjoy:



If you wanna know more about this awesome superstar, just click onto his website (behind that link you just saw).  You're really in for a great country treat!

Stay tuned ...



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Memories Are Made Of This ...

Think you dread going back to work tomorrow?? Think about these guys ... and be thankful ...

Now ... where were we?? AHHHH, yes ...

Y'know, it seems that, as we get older and wiser, we're more apt to hark back to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when things were groovy, innocent and cool (Ah, I remember them well: I was a wild, crazy kid with tremendous sex appeal and a head full of lavish hair.)

ANYWAY ... SEE IF YOU REMEMBER ANY OF THESE GEMS:

This little dude showed up almost every Sunday night with the rrrrrreally-big-shhhhhhhewwwman himself, Ed Sullivan.
I understand he's still around, but, having been passed over for the role of "Mr. Jingles" in The Green Mile, he's a bit despondent these days.
Hey ... got an idea here, Mousers. LET'S DRAFT HIM AS OUR MASCOT!! I mean, this is the Mouse House, right??

Think of the clout it'd give us! Topo Gigio  was an icon (okay, he was a mouse. But stretch it a little, okay?), and everyone who camembert him would come. It'll do us gouda, I think ...

These flash bulbs (remember the old blunderbuss of a camera that used them?) were never fully appreciated until you'd step on one in your bare feet! And, just after the shot, you'd hear a little "sizzle", followed by a loud cussword when you tried to take 'em out (they were blazing hot!!).

When my mama was moving from Morrow Ave. to Park Ave. back in Pineville (this was just after daddy passed away), we were packing up some boxes from the top shelf of her closet, and these fell out!
S&H Green Stamps were the coupons of the day! Saving those up could buy a 1966 Cadillac (not really. Just wanted to see if you're still with me here). Actually, it'd open a whole new world of merchandise (read: salt and pepper shakers and the occasional toaster) to your mailbox!

HONORABLE(?) MENTIONS

And who could ever forget those little Clacker Balls? The trick was to move 'em back and forth until they started knocking against each other, making a terrible racket in the process.  Sort of like your own personal protest movement.

Of course, sometimes a clacker would break off and clobber someone in the vicinity of the clackee (how do ya think I got the nickname knot-head back in 1965?).

Then there was the "story" game.  You knowwww: one person would make up a crazy story but leave words out of it.  Then, without reading them the story, they'd ask somebody to give them a noun or adjective to fill in the blanks?  The resulting "story" would be far-fetched and often hilarious!
Today, that technique is called "Newsbreak" on CNN, I think ...

Stay tuned ...

Monday, June 19, 2017

GRRRAND (okay, pretty good ...) RE-OPENING!!

Hey ...
welcome back to the Mouse House! Sure, I've been away for awhile, but there are some pretty cool reasons.

FIRST, A QUICK UPDATE: Since our last confab, I've opened the new RockRelic Music™, where I promote some of the best new acts on the planet annnnnd scout for new, undiscovered talent in the rock, country, Americana (or any mix thereof!) genres.

Now ... that being said, lemme introduce ya to one of the gang.

Hailing from Liverpool, England - and fronted by Keith Xander, a young guitarist that some have called "England's answer to Stevie Ray Vaughn" - are Xander and The Peace Pirates. Already in-demand all over the British Isles (and points east), they also have a unique backstory.

Y'see, Keith (lead guitar and singer) was born without a right arm, so he plays his axe with a hook! But the licks that he makes on that six-string machine is nothing less than awesome!

Now, over the next posts, you'll meet more of the roster, including Australian country music superstar Steve Eales, amazing Americana belter Robert Vincent and one of the very best undiscovered voices in rock, period: A Liverpudlian chap named Gary Brown!
But, for now here's Xander and the Peace Pirates with the official vid of their hit, THIS CITY:



These. as well as the other mic heroes you'll be enjoying, really deserve the breaks and exposure that today's Top Acts already are digging! And your fanship can definitely help! So come back early-and-often, and be sure to make some noize in our "comment" section, okay? (I'll be watching ....)

Natch, I'm also gonna continue spotlighting the Master Mouser himself - the dude who actually started this Clique about ten years ago or better: the late legend himself, Lloyd Thaxton!

So stay tuned, at least once a week, for more. Til then, I'll see ya on the flip side!!

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!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Remember? Oh, What A Feeling ...

He was my own little DAWK® ...

Actually, I bought this little number for my son, Mike, on his tenth birthday. The kid was wild about the Star Wars phenomenonemoennon and just had to have one of the little green dudes. Little did I know that I'd grow up to look like that character (minus the green skin. I'd stopped smoking ...)!
But, upon hitting the local toy supermarket and finding this much-in-demand squirt, I thought of Uncle Lloyd's famed mini-protester and figured, "One day, Mike'll be allll grown up ... and this little gem's gonna be MIIIIIIINE!HAHAHAHAHAAA!!"

Or so I thought ...

Years later, when Mike had discovered girls and turned sixteen (I'm not sure which came first), he hit me up with the same request. But, for some reason, the name had changed: gone was the Toy Yoda, the little Gremlin character from SW (a toy Yoda/Gremlin? Don't they call that a hybrid now??). The second "Y" was dropped, the "d" turned into a "t", it grew four wheels and a V6 engine, and was wayyyyy more expensive.
Yup ... he got it. And I've got my little DAWK® wannabe.

Guess which one's gonna be recalled??



Now, this little dude was the main-eventer in rock dolldom! Let's face it ... he (it ... was a "he", wasn't it?? Never bothered to check ...) actually epitomized everything about Uncle LL, his fans -- and, really, our generation in general: Lively, outspoken, a little rebellious/a little impish, cute-as-a-bug's-ear.
WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULARLY-SCHEDULED MADNESS FOR AN E-MAIL UPDATE: Dateline: RockVille -- We received word no less than two minutes ago that one reader considers baby-boomers too old to act like a bunch of (quote), "overexcited teenagers on, as you said in your last post, 'Gerital'"!
Ummm, careful with how you spell that last word, pardner! You came mighty close to ... well, it sounded like you were spellin' something else.
Mr. Fancy Pants continued, "At your age, you are all dichotomies."

Look: You can't tell what we, as boomers (including a few pre- and some pro-), have by just looking at us anymore than you can tell the value of a gift by looking at the box it came in.
What Lloyd Thaxton did was plant a few seeds of inspiration, happiness and hope within us. He knew how to push just the right buttons to get our creative engines started. His zaniness influenced our own attitudes. We felt that we really had a friend there on the screen -- and we did!
We carry that -- and memories of him -- inside us ... and we're all the richer for it.
So it shows up during those 1440 minutes of every day. After the bill-paying, timeclock-punching, drivetime madness of everyday life, we deserve the break that remembering Lloyd Thaxton gives us! Unlike you, Mr. Poison Pen, he really cared and appreciated us!
Okay, so we, in our minds, still have the liveliness we felt as "overexcited teenagers". To borrow from a very familiar phrase: "SOOOOOO WHAT??"

TICKLING THE IVORIES (kid version) ...

While a number of us still remember the piano lessons that our mothers signed us up for, we still love those videos of little kids tickling the ivories (aka playing the piano) for the first time.  And, when we see them on shows like America's Got Talent and the like, we're spellbound by how well they've learned their craft.
Today, there's a renewed interest among youngsters in learning how to play the keyboard.  Chalk it up to its domination on their favorite Top 40 hits, the actual sound of the pianos themselves, or even their awe at the sounds created by synthesizers, but children are turning to the "88's" again.
Of course, if a child in your family is interested in learning how to play, the very best place to start is just behind the link you're about to see.  First, you have a magnificent and affordable kids keyboard selection at MF .  But there's more!  They also teach you how to shop for the best one - the keyboard that could be tailor-made for your child!
So why not click that link now?  You never know - your child/grandchild could be an impresario one day, and it could start with that one little step!!



Stay tuned ...