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G.H. HARDING

CORNISH’S LOVIN’ — We just finished Rascal-Gene Cornish’s Good Lovin (My Life As A Rascal), and just thoroughly enjoyed it. The music of the Rascals is timeless – CBS’ Bull just used it for their opener last week and it sounded just as good as ever.

Cornish’s memories of the group’s evolution is just terrific; besides being a great read, it’s a primer for the new groups on the way up (Harry Styles and One Direction if you will). Once The Rascals achieved worldwide success, the individual jealousies and frustrations began to build up and that’s when things got dicey. From The Beatles to Badfinger to even The Rolling Stones, it’s just a natural progression. Sad but true.

The group’s real first manager Sid Bernstein was a genius at promotion; face it, he brought over The Beatles, but was not as focused on other business dealings. Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun was a major supporter of the group as he placed them in the very capable hands of the late Arif Mardin and he proved to be the perfect producer for them.

I recall one day walking up Broadway in Manhattan and when I passed 61st street, and I saw Cornish standing there starring up at 1841 Broadway, where Atlantic Records was based and in the recording studio there, did much of their brilliant work (fyi-that entire building was recently torn own … for a new set of condominiums). That’s actually how I first met Gene. True story!

After the group unofficially broke up – and, that is indeed one strange story; they were reunited at the massive 40th anniversary party for Atlantic Records (at Madison Square Garden) and were placed next to Led Zeppelin in the progression of performers. I happened to have been there and It remains to this day, one of my best music experiences ever. The Rascals btw were awesome.

After a burgeoning substance abuse issue and Gene trying to organize other groups (Fotomaker), he found solace and a loyal-fan Steve Van Zandt, who mounted the terrifically successful Once Upon A  Dream play/musical on Broadway. The Rascals re-united and for a time, enjoyed it immensely. 

Van Zandt had inducted The Rascals into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame … dressed, incidentally, in the group’s early garb of knickers. Believe it or not, the group was knocked early on for their style of dress; but, it certainly caught people’s attention.

I don’t know why this book clearly didn’t get a proper release – there’s not even a publishing company referenced on the book jacket. It certainly deserved more; but, like the terrific Tommy James memoir, its appeal is somewhat limited. I loved it! Thanks to Tom Cuddy for sending it to me!

MASON’S ALONE TOGETHER AGAIN—Dave Mason’s Facebook Q&A last week was hosted by someone who supposedly is writing the Dave Mason-story for a book. Turns out he got several questions and facts wrong, including when he asked Dave how it felt to teach a masterclass session on guitar playing. Turns out he never did. I don’t recalls his name, but if and when the book comes out – buyer beware!

Dave Mason

He also referenced Cass Elliot and seemed totally oblivious to the the fact that Mason cut a terrific album with Elliot back in the day with her and Paul Harris. This is my favorite track from a classic and totally overlooked album: “Sit and Wonder”

Guess he won’t get into the whole Blue Thumb Records fiasco – where some master tapes were suddenly missing! Too bad … I know the whole story. Guess Bob Karsnow’s ears must be ringing!

The Facebook-event was for Mason’s newly re-imagined Alone Together Again album. Also on the session was Bonnie Bramlett, who looked great, but throughout the session, bounced about, going in and out of camera. The two discussed the tour that Mason was part of – along with Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Bonnie said that even after the show which opened at Madison Square Garden, they played for hours together at the after-party. Mason said the whole tour was like an after-party. Hmmmm … that would have been something to have seen.

Old Pirate-Mason was at home in Reno and looked great, if a tad out of sorts, seemingly struggling to recall  certain facts. I mean, it was 50 years ago, so I understand it perfectly.

Would love to hear the  album, but since the album is on Mason’s own label, I doubt they’ll be any copies for us ink-stained wretches. We’ll see if Carla Sacks is doing the PR for this one too.

SHORT TAKES — God bless Michael J. Fox. Just watched Willie Geist’s interview with him. Against all the odds, he’s still a survivor, Bravo! …

One of the best albums of the year we’ve yet heard is the debut solo album from Project Grand Slam’s Robert Miller, called Summer Of Lover 2020. Miller has already done exemplary work with PGS; their Trippin; album was #1 in Billboard on the Jazz Chart and his choice of rock-classics to re-imagine has been superb. He’s done The Who’s “I Can’t Explain”; the Kinks “You Really Got Me”; and, Cream’s “I’m So Glad.” Miller, who was actually the famed Woodstock festival, is a rock-and-roll fan of the highest order and his work on Summer Of Lover is his best effort yet. Stay tuned for more on this one …

Looking forward to listening to Elton John’s just-released Jewel Box. I hear its superb … And, The Oxfords still #1 on Amazon!

NAMES IN THE NEWS – Lyndsey Parker; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Nicky Hopkins; Alan White; Ken Dashow; Howard Stern; Race Taylor; Mark Simone; Zach Martin; Scott Muni; Lush Ice; Mike Greenblatt; Maria Milito; Gene Cornish; 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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G.H. Harding

TODD’S AWATS — (from World Cafe) Fifty years ago, Todd Rundgren released his album A Wizard, a True Star, and it sounded like nothing else. World Cafe correspondent John Morrison says Rundgren was pushing boundaries, both in the technical creation of the music but also on a higher level. “Really, the entire approach to sound in this record is exploration of the mind, the spirit, the nature of sound itself,” Morrison says. “Like, the whole album is a trip.” In this session, Morrison takes us on a journey through Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, exploring what the album meant when it came out and how its influence continues to reverberate.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Todd recently -we’re both from Philly- and the caliber of his output is just astonishing. From his legendary solo albums (Something/Anything); to his work with Utopia ; “We Gotta Get You A Woman”; his production work with Meat Loaf and Badfinger; Ringo; and his terrific tour with Micky Dolenz; Joey Molland; Christopher Cross termed the Fifty Years Ago … celebrating The Beatles White Album and writing songs like “Black Maria,” “Just One Victory,” “Sometimes I Don’t Know How To Feel” and “The Want Of Nail,” Todd is simply amazing.

War Babies

Currently he’s touring with Daryl Hall and there’s a bunch of sessions with Hall that are on Daryl’s House. The way their two voices blend is simply amazing. One of my all-time favorite albums is War Babies, from Hall & Oates in 1974. Just amazing songs and the production, courtesy of Todd, is equally compelling. Stunning!

WILLIS REED RIP — I’m not much of a sports fan these days; I can’t even seem to keep up with all the new rules; but when Willis Reed was the center of The Knicks, I most definitely was. I even remember going to dozens of games at MAdison Square Garden (and always seeing Woody Allen there) and having the time of my life. Yes, it was eons ago; before the pandemic; but the game seemed to be so much more fun then. He passed yesterday. A giant for sure and an amazing player. RIP!

Joe Pantoliano

SHORT TAKES — Joe Pantoliano (Joey Pants) is essaying Morris Levy in the forthcoming play Rock & Roll Man about Alan Freed. Freed is played by Constantine Maroulis. Also coming is the movie Spinning Gold; the story of record exec-Neil Bogart. Both should be something to see … Am reading and reading nothing but rave reviews of Sunday’s Succession on HBO; the first of ten episodes which will wrap up the story. In all the reviews, the writing emerges the star. Jesse Armstrong, a genius for sure. Can’t wait. Check out Roger Friedman’s take from his Showbiz 411: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/03/22/succession-returns-for-finale-season-sit-down-have-a-drink-or-two-its-intense-as-ever 79 year old Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer: “Don Simpson (Bruckheimer’s late-producing partner) used to say we’re in the transportation business: we transport you from one place to another” …

Jason Ritter

Terrific Accused episode this week, starring Jason Ritter in Jack’s Story. Jason, John Ritter’s son was just excellent; the show was just renewed by Fox … Steve Miller, out on the road, has some interesting openers for his upcoming tour: Dave Mason and Joe Bonamassa. Mason’s book (Only You Know and I Know)  is out in May … Dennis Scott hosted a special invitation-only Happy Birthday, Mister Rogers event in Nashville for media, TV, radio and music industry professionals, with support from ASCAP, this past Monday.

Fred Rogers cake

The event featured special musical performances given by country singer-songwriter Teea Goans, singer-songwriter & guitar virtuoso Parker Hastings, who put a Chet Atkins-like spin on the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and studio vocalist Gary Janney. Here’s the cake prepared for the event … Happy Bday William Shatner ; Chaka Khan; Reese Witherspoon; and Anthony Pomes!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kim Garner; Cindy Ronzoni; Peter Shendell; Al Roker; Julie Gurovitsch; Avra; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; Charles Rosenay; Phil Collins; Tony Smith; Gail Colson; Howard Bloom; Carol Ross; Danny Goldberg; Paul Cooper; Tony Mandich; Randy Alexander; Shelley Cooper; Brad Balfour; and CHIP!
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G.H. Harding

WOODSTOCK COVER STARS — (Via Best Classic Bands) — Bobbi Ercoline’s name may not be familiar to most, but millions own her photograph: Bobbi, whose last name at the time was  Kelly, and her then-boyfriend, Nick Ercoline, were huddled together under a quilt at the 1969 Woodstock festival when photographer Burk Uzzle snapped their picture. The couple, both then 20, were unaware that their photo had even been taken until several months later, when the three-LP Woodstock soundtrack album was released. They were among friends when they first realized the couple on the album cover was them.

“We were passing the jacket around when someone pointed out the staff with the orange and yellow butterfly,” Nick told AARP in 2019 for the organization’s magazine. “That belonged to Herbie, a guy from Huntington Beach, Calif. He was lost and having a bad trip, and we hooked arms with him until he was clear-headed. Then we saw the blanket. Oh my lord, that’s us!”

Bobbi and Nick only lasted one night at Woodstock, and never even got near the stage. They had given it their all trying to get to the festival, ditching their car when traffic became snarled and walking the final two miles. They spent most of their single day there on the hillside where the famous photo was taken.

Two years later, in 1971, they married. They remained together until Bobbi Ercoline’s death Saturday (March 18, 2023).

Nick posted the news on Facebook: “It’s with beyond great sadness that I tell my FB family and friends, that after 54 years of life together, of the death of my beautiful wife, Bobbi, last night surrounded by her family. She lived her life well, and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her. She lived by her saying, ‘Be kind.’ As a School Nurse she always championed the kids … ALWAYS! As a person, she always gave. ‘How much do you really need if you have all you need or want?’ So she gave and gave and gave. She didn’t deserve this past year’s nightmare, but she isn’t suffering from the physical pain anymore and that brings some comfort to us.”

We’ve spoken much over the years about how that Woodstock event was so cataclysmic – culturally; musically; and certainly philosophically. Elliot Tiber wrote beautifully about it in his first book Taking Woodstock – a classic if you’ve never read it.

They tried to re-create it in 1994 and though it was good, it just didn’t have that magical flavor of the first one. I wasn’t at either, but as you can imagine, music from that 1969 concert still lives passionately today. I was, however, at Live Aid and that was my Woodstock for sure.

Not to get too poetic, but I came across a great quote yesterday: It’s worth being older now, to have been young then.

Derek And The Dominoes

SHORT TAKES — Derek & The Dominoes Bobby Whitlock on Jim Gordon: “Carl Radle and Jim Gordon … Didn’t get any better than that. The only other alternative [for Derek and the Dominoes] was Jim Keltner. And that’s who should have been the guy and who was supposed to be the guy. But it didn’t turn out that way. He was busy. The rhythm section of Carl and Jim propelled the songs we put together. Jim Gordon is the most musical drummer I ever heard. All of the drums were in tune. literally tuned to a key on the piano. Big kit. But Jim had this wonderful ability to interpret the nuances you could feel but not hear. Carl was solid as a rock. A downbeat player and right on it. So, we have Carl who is solid and down and Jim who is up and on it. So, it was perpetual motion” …

The Ides of March

Do you remember “Vehicle” by The Idea of March back in 1970? It became the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history. A little-known fact is that 14 seconds of the completed master of “Vehicle” was accidentally erased in the recording studio, (primarily the guitar solo), and the missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take. The song reached #2 in Billboard, and #1 in Cashbox. The album “Vehicle” reached #55 nationally … Dolly Parton sings with Elton John on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” on her forthcoming rock ‘n roll album. I bet it’ll sound great, but how many covers of that song has there been? Maybe they should have picked a John/Taupin deep-cut like “Come Down In Time” or “Amoreena.” Just saying … Does the phrase DLYZECOMKIN mean anything to you?

Micky Dolenz

Believe it or not, in one of those crazy-jumble games online, the phrase translates into Micky Dolenz. Crazy, right? See for yourself: https://invasion24.com/2023/03/19/daily-jumble-puzzle-answers-march-19-2023/

… Speaking of Dolenz, he departs Thursday on a Flower Power Cruise; then starts his Headquarters-tour on April 1 in Orlando …

Charles F. Rosenay does the Zach Martin Big Fat American Podcast next week, for his new release,  The Book of Top 10 Beatles Lists (KIWI Publishing) … HAPPY BDAY Gia Ramsey!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Carol Geiser; Bob Meyerowitz; eYada; Andy Rosen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Haig; Terry Jastrow; Anthony Pomes; Mark Bego; Charles F. Rosenay; Bill Graham; Kip Cohen; Heather Moore; Charley Crespo; [Robert Miller; John Luongo; LIME;  Carl Strube; Jen Ramos; and CHIP!

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Carmine Appice and David Salidor

G.H. Harding

SIXX APPICE –— (Via Ultimate Clsssic Rock) Nikki Sixx  spoke out against  Carmine Appice’s claim that guitarist Mick Mars had been in dispute with his bandmates in the run-up to his retirement from Motley Crue. Mars’ departure was announced on the completion of their 2022 Stadium Tour, with John 5 named as his replacement soon afterwards. The official reason given was that Mars’ longterm illness had finally caught up with him – but in a recent interview, former Ozzy Osbourne and Vanilla Fudge drummer Appice suggested otherwise.

Motley Crue 1985 by Mark Weiss

“[Mars] told me, ‘When I was on the Stadium Tour, I was not happy,’” Appice told Ultimate Guitar. “Basically, everything was on tape; it was all planned out and ultimately a lot of crap. … The truth is that everything has been weird for a while with Motley Crue… Mick told me that people that came to see it could tell that it was all pre-recorded and that everything was on tape.”

Appice added that Mars “would travel alone on a bus while the other guys flew everywhere,” and continued: “He said, ‘Man, these guys are pissing their money away, flying to every gig.’ They were all busy still trying to be rock stars, and Mick just wanted to play the music. … [T]here were a lot of disagreements. I think he was just done.” When Mars was told about Crue’s World Tour with Def Leppard, Appice claimed, the guitarist told his colleagues: “You can do it. I’m not going out with you for this.”

Earlier this week Sixx appeared to refer indirectly to Appice’s comments, tweeting: “Love how people talk FOR us without talking TO us. This is why the media has lost credibility. Obviously by printing BS they make money off of advertising and we’re not into that clickbait game. When the truth comes out it will be FROM us.”

But he was more direct during a Twitter Q&A session last night. “A washed up drummer trying to speak for us? And bottom feeder media running with it to make money off of lies? Welcome to the sad new world of LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME,” the bassist wrote.

He more or less repeated the same answer when asked: “Is what Carmine Appice said true?” Sixx replied: “A washed up drummer speaking for our band without any of the facts is as ridiculous as bottom feeder media running with stories without fact checking. When you hear the truth it will be from us.” He later commented: “It’s a funny money game.”

Crue will continue on the road through much of the year. Asked if 5’s status in the group was secure, Sixx stated: “Of course. He’s our guitar player. We have big plans.

Seems like there’s really a rumble in the metal-jungle. First off, I love these names … but, the name ‘Carmine Appice’ actually sounds pretty normal.

The metal world is a rough one for sure with fanzines named Blabbermouth; Louder Sound; Metal Edge; Metal Anarchy; Chaoszine; and Metal Injection. Remember, look before you leap!

The Longhorn

SHORT TAKES — Growing up, every Sunday night was family-dinner night at the steak-eatery The Longhorn in Rockville Center, Long Island. Sure it was a long-time ago, but the memory survives (as does the memory of our favorite waiter Tomas). Did you know that Micky Dolenz’s father George, owner and operated a restaurant in the heart of the Sunset Strip called The Marquis? The always regal-Alison Martino did a terrific piece on it, check it out here: https://martinostimemachine.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-marquis-restaurant-once-located-on.html?m=1&mibextid=uc01c0&fbclid=IwAR3wCiU_sgRmpjqWGpda_mEHthrj7OS1UfLOVkvYdbfVP_d5Iz0fO-KZbUw

Do you know the HLN Network? I really didn’t either, but it turns out its owned by CNN and Warner Brothers. This past weekend they ran a Fringe-fest, consisting of all the season of that show (2008-2013) which was one of my all time favorites. I watched most of it and it’s uncanny how well the show holds up. It features the wondrous John Noble; Joshua Jackson; Anna Torv and the late-Lance Reddick. The writing was just off the charts and more than being a sci-fi shows, it was about relationships. Just uncannily brilliant. Right up there with the X-Files and Lost
Is it me or has the movie 80 For Brady dropped like a lead-balloon? There was a top-heavy PR-campaign before it came out and then nada. I’d still like to see it …  HAPPY BDAY Andrew Freeman and Larry Yasgur.NAMES IN THE NEWS — Charles F. Rosenay; Jodi Ritzen; Jim Burgess; Richie Kaczor; Wayne Avers; Andrew Sandoval; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jodi Ritzen; Donna Quinter-Dolenz; Cindy Ronzoni; Kim Garner; Alan Rothstein; Crimshaw; Julian Lennon; Roger Friedman; Felipe Rose; Shep Pettibone; Mark Simone; Harvey Levin; Randy Jones; Bruce Haring; Andy Greene; and BELLA!
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