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G.H. HARDING

ZAPPA — A new film documentary on the incomparable Frank Zappa will be released over the Thanksgiving Weekend, and its first trailer is out. Here it is: 

Magnolia Pictures will release Zappa, directed by Bill & Ted’s Alex Winter, to theaters and VOD on November 27.

Billed as an intimate and expansive look into the innovative life of the iconic — and iconoclastic — musician and artist, the pic was made with unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage. It explores the private life behind the musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time, particularly when it came to the controversial practice of warning labels on recordings.

Zappa features appearances by the musician’s widow Gail Zappa and several of his musical collaborators, including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others.

“Alex Winter has created an amazing documentary,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “Zappa is an incredibly nuanced and compelling look at the visionary iconoclast and the environment that formed him.”

Added Winter, the former child actor who helmed the recent docu Showbiz Kids, “This is the most ambitious project I’ve ever worked on, with a couple years of archival preservation in addition to several years to make the film itself. This isn’t your typical music doc but rather a multi-faceted narrative that aims to bring this complex artist to life. Magnolia, with its long and distinguished history of platforming great cinema, is the perfect home for Zappa.”

Zappa, who lived down the hill from Micky Dolenz in Laurel Canyon, was a singular musician and voice throughout his long career. Heck, I remember an episode of Miami Vice “(1993’s Payback, where he played Mario Fuente, who dealt in weasel dust) that he appeared in … he was fantastic.

I also want to reference a great book from last year, The Hot Rats Book, with terrific photos from Bill Gubbins. A classic presentation for sure. This should be an awesome documentary.

HERE’S HAL — For the traditional curtain call at the end of Saturday’s episode of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, host John Mulaney came out wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the name HAL. It was a tribute to longtime SNL sketch music producer Hal Willner who died in April of complications related to COVID-19. He was 64.

Former SNL writer Mulaney was among a slew of former and current SNL-ers who were featured in a video segment honoring Willner, which aired on the show days after his death. Mulaney spoke of “wonderful friend” Willner in the video, in which everyone shared touching memories about Willner’s decades on the show. It also featured a music tribute to the song “Perfect Day” by frequent Willner collaborator Lou Reed as well as clips of Willner himself talking about his work. 

I knew Hal for decades. Exemplary individual, encyclopedic knowledge of music; a visionary for certain … huge loss. Here it is: 

SHORT TAKES — Did I just see actress Edie Falco (The Sopranos) do a commercial against Vito Bruno? Geeze. My have times changed. Truth is, Edie probably has attended more Bruno-events than she cares to remember … RIP Sean Connery at 90.

Sean Connery

An awesome actor … always masterful! As good as he was as Bond … I loved him in his Oscar-winning role in The Untouchables (as Jimmy Malone). Simply spectacular. Huge loss. Check out GMA’s remembrance:

Robert Miller

 … Astor Place Haircutters, (aka Stylists) 70 years young, is about to fold. Very sad … “Pride Before A Fall” may be the title of the new Rolling Stones single – about you-know-who- but Project Grand Slam’s Robert Miller led the way with his exhilarating “You Can’t Tell The Truth,” off his forthcoming solo album Summer Of Love 2020. Take a listen:

Astor Place Haircutters
Kid Creole & The Coconuts

 … There’s another single from the re-mastered Kid Creole & The Coconuts debut album, Off The Coast Of Me: “Calypso Pan-American.” Billions of you may know (and, should know) that the album’s 40th Anniversary continues. This syncopated sizzler was written by the magical mulatto brothers, Stony Browder (RIP) and August Darnell and bristles with the energy that is Kid and the gang. It’s a damn shame that this anniversary offering (released in June) has been somewhat overlooked as this band has influenced so many artists, including Prince. Though the NY-band enjoyed more success in Europe; we’ve spoken to several international journalists who weren’t even aware about the anniversary release. Check out the lyric video for the track: 

 – check out the site for 2C2C records; the label formed by Darnell; Eva-Tudor Jones, and Peter Schott that released the anniversary opus: https://www.2c2cmusic.com/ … Happy BDay Barry Fisch!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dave Marken; Coati Mundi; David Sanborn; Alice Soyer; Richard Branciforte; Vic Kastel; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Cory Robbins; Sheila Rogers;  KC Baker; Bruce Haring; Will Lee; Lee Jeske; Mike McCann; Dina Pitenis; and, CHIP!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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GIAMATTI’S TREK — (via DEADLINE) Paul Giamatti has joined the cast of the upcoming Paramount+ original series Star Trek: Starfleet Academy in a recurring role. He will play the Season 1 villain, a man with an ominous past connected to one of our cadets.

“Sometimes you’re lucky enough to discover that one of the greatest actors alive is also a huge Star Trek fan, and meeting Paul was one of those miraculous moments for us. The sheer delight with which he dove in on Starfleet Academy is only surpassed by the gratitude we feel about him joining our incredible cast,” shared co-showrunners and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau in a joint statement.

He joins previously announced Holly Hunter, who will star in the series as the captain and chancellor of Starfleet Academy. The series will begin production later this summer.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy follows a young group of cadets who come together to pursue a common dream of hope and optimism. Under the watchful and demanding eyes of their instructors, they discover what it takes to become Starfleet officers as they navigate blossoming friendships, explosive rivalries, first loves and a new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself.

Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau serve as co-showrunners and executive producers of the series alongside executive producers Gaia Violo, Aaron Baiers, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Jenny Lumet, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Frank Siracusa and John Weber. The series premiere episode is written by Gaia Violo.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy is produced by CBS Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment and is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

HEART STOPPED — (Via Deadline) The Heart of Rock and Roll, the struggling musical built around the hits of Huey Lewis, will play its final performance at a matinee on Sunday, June 23. The show will have played 24 previews and 72 performances.

In a statement, producer Hunter Arnold said, “It was pure joy working on the show with the team of creatives headed by writer Jonathan A. Abrams, director Gordon Greenberg, choreographer Lorin Latarro, music arranger and orchestrator Brian Usifer and special gratitude to the support and participation of the iconic music legend Huey Lewis.

The musical began previews on March 29 and opened on April 22.

“We were honored,” he continued, “to have an amazing cast and crew who brought their immense enthusiasm, commitment and talent to each and every performance. With our original cast album just released and talks underway for a national tour and international productions, the musical will continue to delight audiences for years to come.”

The musical, received by critics with lukewarm reviews, did not received any Tony Award nominations and has been struggling at the box office, sometimes with the James Earl Jones Theatre just more than half-full with audience members. For the week ending June 9, the show grossed a tiny $272,051.

SHORT TAKES — Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis will be released through Lionsgate. Tepid reviews? Not really. Face it, Coppola’s a genius. Check out Roger Friedman’s (SHOWBIZ 411) take: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/06/17/coppola-leases-megalopolis-to-lions-gate-for-september-release-in-distribution-only-deal

Darius Rucker said that the bandmates in Hootie and the Blowfish tried to outparty each other? Interesting. Check this out here: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/darius-rucker-says-hootie–the-blowfish-bandmates-tried-to-outparty-each-other-that-was-just-how-we-lived-214135068.html

Add one more Jon Bon Jovi-intervene to the list. NBC’s Sunday With Willie Geist. Was good, but nothing on Richie Sambora and nothing new. He’s not going to tour; he wants to tour; a surprise gig in Nashville ….

Micky Dolenz and Michael Stip (R.E.M.)

what’s going on? More kudos for his PR-man Brad Cafarelli … Congrats to R.E.M. on their Songwriters Hall of Fameinduction … HAPPY BDAY Michelle Toscas!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mark Adelman; Christine Nagy; Race Taylor; Anthony Noto; Robert Funaro; Al Roker; Tony LoBianco; Les Moonves; Les Schwartz; Marion Perkins; Mary Wilson; Tony Seidel; Bob Schartoff; Julie Laufer; Liza Lillien; Richie Ridge; William Schill; Dan Zelinski; Carol Ross; Gary Gershoff; David Adelson; Roy Trakin; Lee Jeske; Anthony Mason; and BELLA!

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CAMPBELL’S KITCHEN — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Mike Campbell  has been making records since the ’70s, most famously as a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

“I’m grateful that I was part of that whole experience,” Campbell recently told UCR, speaking to his Heartbreaker days. It’s been a full decade since the band released their last album, 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, and six and a half years since Petty’s passing, which effectively ended the Heartbreakers.

Campbell describes himself as “still grieving,” but tries not to spend too much time dwelling. “If I think about it too hard, I’ll just get sad,” he says. In the past four years, he’s kept himself busy with new work, recording and performing with his band the Dirty Knobs. As Campbell sees it, their third album, Vagabound, Virgins & Misfits (out June 14 via BMG), marks “huge growth” for him both lyrically and vocally. After years of operating as Petty’s right-hand man and usually taking the backseat when it came to singing — Campbell sang lead on exactly one Heartbreakers song, “I Don’t Wanna Fight” from 1999’s Echo — it’s taken three albums worth of work to reach a place where he feels self-assured of his ability to front a band. “A lot of it is confidence,” he says.

UCR caught up with Campbell and talked about Vagabonds, Virgins & Misfits, including its various guest stars.

This is your third album with the Dirty Knobs, but obviously you’ve been in this business a long time. How would you say your approach to songwriting has changed from your early days to this new album?

Well, my approach to songwriting is the same as it’s ever been. Except when I was partnered with Tom, I mostly just did music. I would make music tracks and give them to him and if he liked it, he would write the words. Now that he’s gone, I have my own band, I’m exploring the lyrics and the characters, as well as the music. So that’s a new frontier, but I’m really taking to it and I’m just trying to get good at it, you know? I see a huge growth in three albums. This new album, I think, has some really good lyrics, and the band, as always. And just, you know, the music is just — it’s always there. I write all the time, you know, and that hasn’t waned at all.

I would like to mention though, just to carry on what you said before about the female’s perspective. (This writer spoke with Campbell previously about another upcoming album, Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty.) One thing on this album that I love, which was an afterthought, was Lucinda Williams’ addition of her words in the song “Hell or High Water.” [I] cut it as a Dirty Knobs song, and then listening back, it occurred to me and George Drakoulias, the producer: Wouldn’t it be great if this female character in the song actually came in and sang on the song? When I thought of Lucinda, I thought, God, if she would do it, that would be perfect. And she came through with flying colors, she put so much heart and soul into that verse. So, there’s an example [of a] song from a woman’s perspective adding much more depth to the song.

Totally. It would have been an entirely different track without that. It’s great that you have these contacts at your disposal that you can call up.

The guests on the record were not me going out and cherry-picking people. They’re just people who seemed to show up. Like Graham Nash, who did an incredible job. He was doing an interview with me and I got up the courage to ask him if he would maybe sing on one song (“Dare to Dream”), which he did. Chris Stapleton, I think was in town that weekend getting a Grammy or something and he came by the house. Here, would you sing on this song? And [Benmont Tench came over] and put piano on it, you know. So, the guests were kind of afterthoughts, but in each case, they made the song way better.

Did Graham record his parts remotely or did he also come by your studio? I know he lives in New York and you’re in L.A.

No, I had already cut the song. It was finished. And I did the interview with him, and you know, I’m a huge Hollies fan, the ’60s, all those bands. So just being able to have a conversation with him was wonderful. And I was really kind of sheepish like, I didn’t think he would say yes. … I said “Would you be interested maybe in trying to sing on something?” And he goes, “Sure, I’ll make your song better.” [Laughs] So I had the track. He went back to New York. I sent him the track, as a lot of people do now, he did his vocals and mailed it back to me and I lost my mind. It was so good.

There were several tracks on this album that when I heard them, I thought “Wow, Mike’s voice sounds great.” You’ve really grown into your role as lead singer, from the first Dirty Knobs album (2020’s Wreckless Abandon) to this one. How do you feel about your singing now?

Wow, can I send you some flowers? [Laughs] I thank you for saying that. I’m getting used to it, you know? And I have a little Florida slang that comes through now and then. But I don’t sound like Tom. When I first started singing…I actually did sound a lot like him because we talk a lot the same and stuff. But I think I’ve worked hard to kind of filter that out through the three albums, and there will always be little bit of that Southern thing in there. I think I found a voice that I’m comfortable with. I’m not a Roy Orbison, [but] I have the personality of certain characters that I put across. And a lot of it is confidence, Allison. If you get confident and work on the voice a little bit and believe that you pulled it off, you know, that’s a lot of the game right there. So, my confidence has grown as I keep working on it. But thank you for that compliment, that was wonderful.

And that goes for live shows, too. I would imagine that you also feel some confidence when you’re up in front of a crowd that’s encouraging you.

Oh, yeah. You know, it’s interesting, because I play with the Dirty Knobs, it’s our songs, it’s our trip, but I’m still a member of this legacy. And I sometimes will do a few Heartbreakers songs just out of respect for Tom because the crowd likes them and I like singing some of them. But the crowd, yeah. When they’re there for you and supporting you…I get the sense that a lot of the people in the audience that know me and my years are pulling for me. … I’m trying to find my own way and they’re supporting me and they’re helping me get there

Speaking of singing, your wife, Marcie, sings some backing vocals on the song “Hands Are Tied.” Is that the first time she’s done that on one of your albums?

That’s a funny story. Because, you know, she usually sings around the house. She’s not a singer per se, but all through my life — you know, I’ll be doing a demo and I’ll say “Why don’t you come in and put a little part on this?” “No, no, no, I don’t sing.” On this album…she goes, “You know what? I think I’d like to sing on this one.” And I said “Really?” I was in shock. I said “Okay, well, we got this song. All you got to do is go ahhhhh.” [Laughs] And her sound and her feel on it really helped the song a lot.

You have a note in your credits thanking Stevie Nicks for the “cool dulcimer.” And you’re actually holding the instrument on the cover of the album. Can you tell me about that?

Yeah, I hope she sees the cover, ’cause I think she will appreciate it. There’s a story with that. When I was doing the Mac project, we were at rehearsal one day, and Mick Fleetwood came in with one of those customized dulcimers, just beautiful. And I was talking to him about it and saying “Oh, this is really a nice instrument.” I guess she overheard the conversation and a week later, I walk in and she says “Here, this is for you.” She went and bought one just like it for me. I was blown away. In fact, I even wrote the song — “Innocent Man” was written on that dulcimer, on the album. But the funny thing is, I took it home and played it — it’s in my studio — and then a couple of weeks later, she came up, she said, “You probably never even play it, do you?” [Laughs] I said “I play it all the time!” You know, that’s so Stevie. So, I hope that she sees the cover and knows that I covered it and used it.

You’ve had a number of full circle moments, so to speak, in the last few years. I’m thinking of your time touring with Fleetwood Mac and reconnecting with Stevie Nicks, or playing with Bob Dylane at Farm Aid last year. You also shot the “Dare to Dream” music video with the Dirty Knobs at the Church Studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was where the Heartbreakers signed their very first record deal. Is there anything else along those lines you’d like to do? Anything you want to revisit?

Well, I enjoyed the Tulsa thing quite a bit. That was not my idea, but the idea came up [from] management. And I thought it was very touching to go back where Tom and I had passed through on the way to get a record deal and to revisit that energy and those ghosts in the studio there. I enjoyed that a lot. But to be honest with you, I’d rather like, think forward and not think backward because sometimes nostalgia can be sad, you know? I’m real proud of that video, though. But I think I want to move forward and think forward.

Speaking of blasts from the past: The Wallflowers are going to be playing a show in L.A. later this year and the plan is for them to perform the entirety of their album Bringing Down the Horse, which you played on, and also the entirety of the Heartbreakers’ Long After Dark. What do you think about that?

You know, it’s wonderful that people are pulling out this music and revisiting it, you know, and I love Dylan — Jakob Dylan. I played on their first single, “Sixth Avenue [Heartache],” which was really fun and I’ve always been proud of his career. And I think he’s taken on a lot to do all those songs in one set, but more power to him. I’m sure he’ll do a great job.

What are you most looking forward to about touring with this new Knobs music?

I’m thrilled beyond to go out on the road with my band and play the new album. I’m real proud of it and the songs sound great in rehearsal. And the show will be a lot of the new album, and I’ll be throwing in a couple of surprise Heartbreaker songs that I think people will like here and there.

Howie Mandel

SHORT TAKES — Why does Howie Mandel seem to be channeling Boy George’s fashion-look on the new America’s Got Talent season. A cry for help for sure …

I got a memo about a co-op for sale located at 12 West 21st Street in NYC. It took me a minute to recall that that was the address for the long gone and much missed Private Eyes club; where Scott Blackwell was DJ. Great memories for sure: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Eyes_(nightclub)

The Eagles will do a residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2024/06/13/the-eagles-announce-new-residency-at-las-vegas-sphere/

Seth Meyers

Is NBC really cutting the 8G band (led by Fred Armisen) for the Late Night with Seth Meyers? Read Roger Friedman’s exclusive take on this development: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/06/12/nbc-cheaps-out-cuts-seth-meyers-live-band-from-show-beginning-in-september ..

PR-pasha David Salidor called to tell  us about a new book project. Steven J. Immerman’s In Search of Pleasure Island.  Here’s the logline: “In Search of Pleasure Island” delves into the bowels of ‘international sex trafficking’ as Dr. MATHEW NOBLE (a professor of criminology and retired special warfare operator) journeys across the globe in the search for his daughter and the men responsible for her abduction and his wife’s murder – stay tuned for more on this … Happy Bday Roger Friedman …

Mark James

RIP Tony LoBianco and Mark James, who wrote “Suspicious Minds” and “Hooked On A Feeling.”

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tony Seidel; Mark Bego; Robert Shalom; Anni Bella; Terry Guerin; Terry Jastrow; Deb Caponetta; Melissa Davis; Dan Zelinski; Adam White; Glenn Friscia; Glenn Friscia; Vito Bruno; Lush Ice; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mitch Dolan; Race Taylor; Kent & Laura Denmark; Kevin Costner; Tony King; Elton John; Freddie Mercury; Donald Fagen; Warner LeRoy; and CHIP!

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A JON BON SURPRISE — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Jon Bon Jovi played a surprise five-song set in Nashville on Friday, June 7.

The intimate performance celebrated the grand opening of JBJ’s, the new rooftop bar and restaurant owned by Jon Bon Jovi. It also came on the day Bon Jovi released their sixteenth studio album, Forever.

The show was notable considering the lingering uncertainty surrounding Jon Bon Jovi’s voice. The singer underwent vocal surgery in 2022 and has been enduring a long road to recovery ever since. The frontman recently confirmed he’ll be unable to tour in support of his new album, noting that he’s “more than capable of singing again,” but that “two and a half hours a night, four nights a week” would not be possible.

The frontman’s voice appeared pitchy but strong during the Nashville club set. Bon Jovi showcased plenty of his trademark energy during the gig, dancing on the small stage and engaging fans to sing along with him.

The performance opened with “Blood on Blood,” the stirring album cut from Bon Jovi’s classic 1988 LP New Jersey. According to Ssetlist.fm, this marked the first time “Blood on Blood” has been performed in concert since 2019.

Later, the singer addressed his absence from performing.

“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been up on a stage with some people in the house,” Bon Jovi declared midway through the set. “Too long, too long. Yeah, it feels good. I hope it sounds good, because it feels good.”

Bon Jovi also acknowledged Nashville’s importance in his band’s history, noting that they’d spent “so much time” writing and recording in the town. “I always jokingly say, Nashville, this is my people.”

Motley Crue singer Vince Neil. Jelly Roll and Big Kenny from Big and Rich were among the celebrities on hand for Bon Jovi’s club gig. Other highlights on the night included a rousing rendition of “You Give Love a Bad Name” and the lead single from Forever, “Legendary.”

See the complete set list below, along with video of the entire performance.

Bon Jovi, 6/7/24, JBJ’s, Nashville, Set List

1.  “Blood on Blood”
2. “We Weren’t Born to Follow”
3. “You Give Love a Bad Name”
4. “Born to Be My Baby”
5. “Legendary”

Jon’s been very, very visible of late. From his Hulu-four-part show to stints on everything from Kelly Clarkson to Jimmy Kimmel and it seems to me he’s been a tad overexposed. Sure, he’s got a new album to sell as well as the cable-series, but his logline seems to be over whether he can tour … or not.  And, apparently, he can’t.

Honestly, that’s gotten bigger play than his rumored feud with Richie Sambora. I know Jon and he’s smart as a fox. He and his PR-person, which I believe is Brad Cafarelli, have done a stellar job.

This Nashville-appearance was after he may the ‘I can’t tour’ announcement, so what gives?

I’d love to know who he played with in Nashville. Was it some of the Bon Jovi-band or just some Nashville-players? Maybe we should ask Brad.

George Harrison

GO GEORGE — We loved this story from Far Out Magazine about George Harrison and Phil Collins:

The seed for his prank on the Genesis drummer began back in 1970 when Collins was a teenage session musician who grew up in absolute awe of everything Beatles related.

At the time, Collins was in his former band Flaming Youth and wouldn’t audition to join Genesis until later on in the same year.

“Our manager got a call from Ringo Starr’s chauffeur, who said they needed a percussionist, and he suggested me,” said Phil.

“So I went down to Abbey Road, and Harrison was there and Ringo and Billy Preston and Klaus Voormann and Phil Spector, and we started routing the song.”

George was recording his debut solo album, All Things Must Pass.

“No one told me what to play, and every time they started the song, Phil Spector would say, ‘Let’s hear guitar and drums,’ or ‘Let’s hear bass and drums.’ I’m not a conga player, so my hands are starting to bleed. And I’m cadging cigarettes off Ringo – I don’t even smoke, I just felt nervous. Anyway, after about two hours of this, Phil Spector says, ‘Okay congas, you play this time.’ And I’d had my mic off, so everybody laughed, but my hands were shot.”

“After that they all disappeared – someone said they were watching TV or something – and I was told I could go. A few months later, I buy the album from my local record shop, look at the sleeve notes, and I’m not there. And I’m thinking, ‘There must be some mistake!’ But it’s a different version of the song, and I’m not on it.”

Once Collins would become a world-famous star in his own right, he and George were back in contact.

“Cut to years later,” Collins added. “I bought [former Formula 1 driver] Jackie Stewart’s house. Harrison was a friend of Jackie’s, and Jackie told me George was remixing All Things Must Pass.

“He said, ‘You were on it, weren’t you?’ And I said, ‘Well I was there.’ Two days later a tape’s delivered from George Harrison with a note saying: ‘Could this be you? Suddenly the congas come in – too loud and just awful. At the end of the tape you hear George Harrison saying, ‘Hey, Phil, can we try another without the conga player?’

“So now I know, they didn’t go off to watch TV, they went somewhere and said, ‘Get rid of him,’ cos I was playing so badly. Then Jackie rings and says, ‘I’ve got someone here to speak to you,’ and puts George on and he says, ‘Did you get the tape?’ and I said, ‘I now realise I was fired by a Beatle.’ He says, ‘Don’t worry, it was a piss-take. I got Ray Cooper to play really badly, and we dubbed it on. Thought you’d like it!’ I said, ‘You f**king bastard!’”, Collins then reminisced in hindsight, “It was lovely, wasn’t it?”

Yes, George went out of his way to pay a whole band to spend a day in the studio with him just so he could pull a joke on Phil Collins.

The Killers

SHORT TAKES — Our spy at the weekend’s Governor’s Ball said The Killers were spectacular. They played “Mr. Brightside” and “Andy, You’re A Star” (first time in seven years). One of my favorite bands, ever! Great to hear this …

Dick Van Dyke

Congrats to Dick Van Dyke at 98 winning an Emmy for his stint on Days of Our Lives. Bravo! …

This Thursday at the Landis Theatre in Vineland, New Jersey, is a special screening of The Zombie Wedding. Based on the hit interactive play (which premiered in 2015). The first-ever wedding between a Human Bride and a Zombie Groom; starring Heather Matarazzzo; Kevin Chamberlin; Vincent Pastore and Micky Dolenz.

Details to follow from producer Robert Dragotta … Watched Michael Mann’s Ferrari over the weekend and just loved it. Adam Driver; Penelope Cruz and Shailene Woodley were just extraordinary. Not your typical Mann-pic either. A must-see for sure …

And also caught Netflix’s Hitman with Glen Powell-the man-of-the-moment in film. He’s great, sort of a George Clooney-in the making. Directed by Richard Linklater – a surprise. Kind of a silly premise, but he carries it admirably and does his love-interest, the sultry Adria Arjona – who makes a rather memorable debut.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jane Blunkell; Dan Zelinski; Jane Berk; Howard Bloom; Peter Lubin; Stu Taub; Roy Trakin; David Adelson; Michael Nice; Joel Diamond; Mark Bego; Jimmy Fallon; Julie Gurovitsch; Vince Napolitano; Obi Steinman; Peter Abraham; David Sanborn; Craig Zisk; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Brad Balfour; Jill Christiansen; Anni Bella; Lush Ice; Markos Papadatos; and Bella.

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TRAINOR’S TODAY — She first hit the airwaves a decade ago with “All About That Bass” and has managed to remain a headliner since. A new album Timeless dropped Friday and though she was pretty great on the Today Show; she’s certainly not in the same atmosphere as Beyonce or Cardi B or Janelle Monae. Why? Her performance on Today was without a band; with backing tracks; and six dancers. Corny? Perhaps.

Her whole allure seems to be somewhere on the Peggy Lee-spectrum, which if memory serves, was cute, but a tad boring.

As to her backing tracks, veteran PR-man David Salidor (who has worked with everyone from Madonna to Debbie Gibson) says, “It’s ironic, because if an artist used backing tracks in the 80’s, it was widely criticized and looked down upon. I think the audiences today don’t really care and it’s a shame because there’s a real artistry in having a band, Sadly, these audiences are missing that and they don’t even know it. I bet if they knew what they were missing, they’d demand it.

MORE BEACH BOYS — No doubt about it, this Disney doc has ignited opinions both pro and con.

The Brian Wilson-fans said since Brian couldn’t really be interviewed, the opinions were somewhat one sided, while fans of The Beach Boys loved it. Variety’s Roy Trakin perhaps said it best: Survivors get to tell the story. This is more hagiography and tribute than biopic but the music saves it. Beach Boys 101. Nothing new to see here. But it did look good in IMAX.

The last hour was quickly wrapping up all the pieces – perhaps a tad too quickly. Love’ s suit against Brian claimed to be about the publishing rights, which father-Murray sold years ago for peanuts, figuring they’d never be worth anything.

Dennis Wilson

“Kokomo” which was a big hit isn’t spoken about at all, instead used as a closing theme. and, Dennis’ death hardly mentioned. Pacific Ocean Blue not mentioned either.

As with most of these docs .. they leave you wanting more … and I did with this one.

Benny Harrison

SHORT TAKES — What ever chapped to Benny Harrison’s Back To Front series. This was to be a show featuring the backing musicians and studios that go into making a show. Great idea but apparently Harrison couldn’t find the right producers. There’s another show very similar out right (featuring The Power Station studio now owned by Berklee) now and that probably didn’t help … Eminem and Jellyroll dueted on “Sing For The Moment” for this week’s Detroit-concert. celebrating the re-opening of Michigan Central Station. They sounded great together. Also, there Diana Ross; Melissa Etheridge and Jack White …

New Eels album out- titled Eels Time ... Carol Klenfner was married to industry magnet Michael Klenfner. Here’s what she’s up to now: https://w42st.com/post/carol-klenfner-west-side-story-ping-pong/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR2qx06-OGVRqdQ-Uq_5Vban37FBUlmbINGjXI45lSRt2yDropCNpBIg9lU_aem_AUwj8G9hZ961orkpaRbod2lsomw3aHTWWS6h7ymamZxSKBXHozIvFkracqZg2NLQ4eHi-c_jC7H7zc6Pl1u0kRaL

Cheap Trick/John Lennon

Did you ever take a look at the John Lennon video with Cheap Trick doing his “I’m Losing You?” It was producer Jack Douglas’ idea. Brilliant if you ask me. Take a look: https://www.loudersound.com/features/cheap-trick-rick-nielsen-john-lennon-double-fantasy

… Great Neil Finn tale of how he joined Fleetwood Mac in Mojo:https://www.mojo4music.com/articles/stories/neil-finn-on-joining-fleetwood-mac/HBO/MAXjust canceled Toyko Vice after 2 seasons. I loved it … Happy Bday London Records’ John Boulos!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Ed Steinberg; Vinny Rich; Adrian Niles; Anni Bella; Nicole Nirvana; Lucy Woodward; Robert Miller; Alan Rothstein; Kneecap; Tony King; Jane Ayer; Pete Gidion; Ray Free; Ron Alexenburg; Herbie Rosen; Juggy Gayles; Jerry Lembo; Wayne Rosso; Tone Scott; Dan Zelinski; and ZIGGY!

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BEACH BOYS DISNEY DOC —I’m not a huge fan of these music-docs that now seem to come up inmultiples every week. Sure, Bohemian Rhapsody was good, although many of the facts were fudged a tad, but most of these others reconstitute old photos and recordings and talk about how it was back then.

The Hulu-Bon Jovi one was good as I was sort of on the inside there, but in reality, it could have been two-parts, not 4.

Phil Spector

This one is pretty good; if only for the music and the glimpses of Phil Spector – who was idolized by Brian Wilson when he first heard his productions. Face it, Brian Wilson’s genius has always been in the studio. Dennis predominantly liked pop and his first solo opus Pacific Ocean Blue remains a classic decades after its release in 1977.

Murray Wilson, the father, is benevolently trashed by Mike Love and Al Jardine. I didn’t know him, but the stories are horrendous. David Marks says that Murray would go onstage and lower his amp. After Murray left, Marks would go over and turn it back to where it was.

Still, having worked with kids and their parents, I know it ain’t easy. In fact, it never is.

They touch on Brian’s mental-health issues (and how he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1964) and how once he stopped touring (and Glen Campbell replaced him), brother Carl took control of the band. Brian stayed ensconced in the studio prepping for when his brothers came off touring.

Pet Sounds came next; then “Good Vibrations” followed and then Brian’s collaborations with Van Dyke Parks.

The song “Surf’s Up” remains my favorite Brian Wilson work. It’s a pretty above average doc although the appearance by Janelle Monae, Lindsey Buckingham (who looked terribly unhealthy), Ryan Tedder and Don Was (nee Fagenson) were odd choices too.

Definitely worth a look.

GOT TO GO DISCO — Watched Part One of the BBC’s Disco/Soundtrack of a Revolution, on PBS and while it was pretty good, they ignored the record companies and producers for the most part that really made the whole scene happen. I know as I was there for a lot of it.

Producer Tom Moulton is interviewed throughout, but DJ Nicky Siano was sort of the narrator. David DePino, from Paradise Garage, was there too, but he never really mentioned the club, or Larry Levan for that matter. I mean, where were Neil Bogart and Ray Caviano and Billy Smith? Also, most of the club owners (or, promoters) are not present either. Michael Fesco, Tony Martino or John Addison would have added an accuracy which is mush-missed.

Vince Aletti

Vince Aletti was there and spoke quite wonderfully about the whole movement. He was writing for Rolling Stone and the Village Voice back then and was always a reliable source.

Having lived through it, the show missed a whole lot! Let’s see what the rest looks like. Stay tuned.

SHORT TAKES — Wednesday’s Today Show celebrated 30 years on the Plaza. Hard to believe. For me, the memorable concerts include Ricky Martin, Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, Sting, Santana and Earth, Wind and Fire, who started it all. Scant coverage of Katie, Bryant and sadly, nothing of Matt, but there was a whisper-view of Willard Scott. Congrats … I sort of knew Alec Baldwin would do a reality show; I just didn’t know it’d be this soon. Check out Deadline’s take on it: https://deadline.com/2024/06/alec-baldwin-tlc-reality-series-1235958651/

Tony Bramwell

I never knew Apple Records’ Tony Bramwell. I knew who he was, but never met the man. He passed last week – one of the last Beatles-insiders, and I read this tribute to him which was quite wonderful. Check it out: https://webgrafikk.com/blog/news/goodbye-tony-bramwell/… Governor Hochul halted the Congestion Pricing in NYC due to start shortly; for now. Good move. Not to be overly political, but it will impact many. Personally, I was never for it … New Alien-sequel trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzY2r2JXsDM

… Adam Levine back on  NBC’s The Voice. Season 27! … Happy Bday Ed Steinberg!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Anni Bella; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Vinny Rich; William Schill; Anthony Noto; Tom Jones; Harvey Schmidt; Greg Porto; Dan Joseph; Sharon White; Matt Drudge; Roger Friedman; Bill Altman; Norah Jones; Michael Musto; Mark Bego; Randy Alexander; Lee Jeske; and CHIP!

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