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G.H. HARDING

MICK SPEAKS —(Via Rock Cellar) In February 2020, just before the world went into lockdown, Mick Fleetwood, the namesake drummer of Fleetwood Mac since its mid-1960’s beginnings, corralled an A-List group of his rock star friends to pay tribute to the early years of his band, when it was fronted by guitarist and songwriter Peter Green.

The show, coming as a concert film and digital and physical release in April, is chock full of big names. Steven Tyler, Pete Townshend, David Gilmour, Noel Gallagher, Johnny Lang and others honor Green, who passed away in July at 73, giving life to his too often overlooked songbook.

Green had replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before connecting with Fleetwood and bassist John McVie and taking the English blues-rock circuit by storm. But drug use and mental health issues, not to mention a strong aversion to the sort of stardom so many around him craved so badly, led Green to leave the band and retreat from the spotlight in 1970. As a result, the band’s music during his tenure, though beloved by musicians and die hard fans, became largely forgotten in the years to come.

Here, in his first interview of the new decade, Mick Fleetwood tells Rock Cellar about Green, the ups and downs of putting together a show paying homage to his late-friend, and what the future might hold for one of the world’s greatest drummers, as well as his ever-changing list of bandmates.

Rock Cellar: The album and especially the concert film are amazing. What a great cast of characters. It’s wonderful how some of the folks you wouldn’t expect to steal the show do just that. Tell me a bit about how it all came together.

Mick Fleetwood: Well, half the people that played on that lovely concert, they’re simply friends of mine. A few years ago, I put together a book, Love that Burns, and I was explaining to friends around that time about Peter Green, and then that led to the idea for a concert, which took some time to get out into the world because of the pandemic, though I’ve literally never stopped talking about it!

But you’re right on mark, it was an amazing night.

Rock Cellar: It was a beautiful idea to pay tribute to the Peter Green era of the band, and prescient, too, as we lost him just recently. There was a great film a couple of years ago about him, but tell me a little about how and why it came together, because it was six months or so before he passed.

Mick Fleetwood: Correct. Well, I already had a sort of yen to do something of this nature, and that was an on and off thing over a long period of time. It was what we call in England a pipe dream of ‘wouldn’t it be nice,’ like the Beach Boys song. And it never happened. But then I really became focused on it, and I mentioned it when I was on a visit to London promoting that book we were talking about. I went out to dinner with an old publishing friend of mine, and he knew all the people at BMG. So it was just a conversation.

And he said, “You know what? This is such a cool idea, and Hartwig (Masuch, Chief Executive Officer of BMG Rights Management) is a massive Peter Green and early Fleetwood Mac fan, I think he should hear about your dream.” And bless their hearts, two days later, we were at the Ivy in London breaking a bottle of wine and having the conversation.

I was just overjoyed. Because Hartwig said, “This is a story about the ambience of London. It’s not just about the music.” And I’d always had a dream to recreate Then Play On, which was Peter’s last album. But that’s how it started. It led tot he pipe dream actually being dreamt in real time.

I didn’t know who was really going to be the people playing on various songs, and there’s a couple completely out of left field, but one of the first people was Steven Tyler, who’s a dear friend. And since the history of Aerosmith is hugely locked into those songs, it really kick-started things. Because Steven had told me, “I wouldn’t have joined Aerosmith if I hadn’t heard Joe (Perry) playing “Rattlesnake Shake” in the garage and thought, “I want to do that.”

And then I thought, I’m going to phone David Gilmour, who I did not know very well, but he still has a home where I started my whole little career, in London, in Notting Hill Gate, in a place called Harbury Mews, which is a Mews cottage cul-de-sac. I wrote him a letter saying, “Would you consider …” Because I knew that he liked Peter’s playing. And you can tell from the deference in his playing, which was sort of out of left field.

And I got a lovely letter back, and he said, “Well, I don’t know if I’m going to be good enough to step into Peter’s boots.” Amazing, right?

I wrote back saying, “Well, nothing of the sort. Are you kidding me?” And he replied, “I’ll tell you what. If this thing ever comes together, by then, I’ll have hopefully plucked up courage.” So, all this lovely stuff started way, way back, and then Fleetwood Mac did their usual thing, where out of the blue we all decided to hit the road for several years. And when I got back, more power to the people I’ve mentioned, because I thought, “Well, everyone’s just going to say well, that was a good idea, but not anymore.” But it was nothing of the sort. So when I knew that the last tour was coming to an end, I cranked all this up again. And all of these pieces, which are quite unbelievable, came together, because everyone involved seems to have a story to tell, and were astoundingly connected to Peter and the early band, like John Mayall and Jonny Lang, and, obviously, Rick Vito.

 Rock Cellar: Who I have to say, steals the show. What an amazing player and singer. And (Green-era Fleetwood Mac guitarist) Jeremy Spencer really surprised me. They’re both still stunning players

Mick Fleetwood: I agree! And Jeremy was lovely. He said, “Oh, I don’t have the courage to do it,” and all that. So, I phoned him up right at the end and said, “What if no one knows you’re coming?” And then he said, “Well, I’m going to take the night and really think about it.” And then I made a move I don’t often do, and I said, “I’m really asking you to turn up.” And the next morning, he said, “I’m doing it.” He came and he fucking killed it.

Rock Cellar: I want to ask you about a couple of people in the show specifically: Zak Starkey and you play incredibly well together. How did that happen? Have you known Zak a long time?

Mick Fleetwood: No. Obviously, I knew of him. But I went to see that big open-air thing where Bob Dylan, the Stones, the Who, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney — this unbelievable three-day festival thing happened in the desert (Desert Trip) — and I loved it and went backstage, and I popped my head in to say hello to Charlie Watts, who’s a classic. He calls me ‘young Michael.’

We really haven’t spent more than probably 10 hours in total together over the years, but it’s always been like he’s looking after me. And he’s in the dressing room and I said, “Oh, fantastic.” And he’s just so understated. I said, “Well, when I go out and play, just doing my thing, I’m sweating like a nutcase!” He said, “Oh, I don’t sweat at all.” And then jokingly, he said, “As far as I’m concerned, I could hand you the drumsticks now and I’d be quite happy.”

Very dry sense of humor. So, then I went from there into Zak’s dressing room — I was sort of summoned to Zak’s trailer — and then spent over an hour with him before The Who went on, and we got into this conversation about Peter Green. It was so deep and it was so passionate. He so loves Peter’s music. And that led to eventually to Pete Townshend doing the show, though I don’t know him terribly well, but at one point, Roger Daltrey was going to come sing and play harmonica and have fun, and then he couldn’t do it, but I met Zak in LA, and he said, “Have you ever thought about asking Pete?”

And then Peter found out that Zak was doing the show and wrote me this hilarious letter. “What the fuck? Why haven’t you asked me to play?”

Rock Cellar: Yeah. That’s him.

Mick Fleetwood: And then his was a strange connect, with a song that was not actually Peter’s. He did “Station Man,” because it was closely connected, he said, to “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” So I couldn’t have been more blessed with who turned up, which puts it in perspective as to who Peter was, and for sure how that strange band was formed around Peter in those early days that had this amount of long lasting, really deep appreciation. And that’s exactly why I wanted to try and do it.

Rock Cellar: It seems that you have been trying, over the last few years, to put Peter’s legacy forward a little bit more. There’s the Then Play On box and the Early Years box, and the documentary was just a few years ago, and now there’s this concert. When you were onstage, and you had all these great people doing amazing takes on these songs that had to be a good feeling.

But in retrospect, Peter was just gone when you were editing the concert film and mixing the record, and now you’re promoting it, so it has to be a bittersweet experience, but it also has to feel pretty good that you’ve delivered this thing for your friend. Whether he’s here or not, it’s going out into the universe and it will remind people, the more casual fans that this is where it all began. This guy was up there with Clapton and Beck and all the great players of that time. He was just as good, if not better, and let’s not forget him. So that has to be a pretty good feeling for you, especially since you were there at the beginning, even briefly during his John Mayall days.

Mick Fleetwood: It’s all of that, but, you know, even by just thinking about it, it becomes almost a self-serving wish that I’ve been able to do it. But once you get over that, the emotive part of it is always great. I mean, that’s how I feel.

He was super generous. He gave us the name Fleetwood Mac, after all, probably knowing right at the start that he would be moving on soon enough! And he could have become all of the things you said, though us bunch never knew what an aversion he had deep down to becoming the latest gunslinger. But no matter what he did, he was on that level, because he was so amazing and inspiring.

It’s so evident in the power of what he did, and how it’s lasted, so yes, I couldn’t be more thrilled. For a while there, when the world stopped, I thought, “Oh, you’re kidding me.” And during that time period, of course, Peter passed away, which was certainly unexpected by all accounts — he just went in his sleep. Like a king. So that was devastating. But it’s okay.

When this comes out, it will eclipse all of the bits and pieces that went wrong, because everything has its place. And I have that to look forward to.

So, “How does that feel, mate?” It feels that I’ve been able to do it, but you’re right, because I’m aware of that creeping thing where people say, “Well, why now?” And I said, “Well, I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be a band known as Fleetwood Mac — which any way you look at it, is nearing some form of end — without Peter Green. So that’s what pushed this forward. Because ultimately it’s about a band that broke all the rules.

 Rock Cellar: Many times over!

Mick Fleetwood: Yeah, and the incarnation which we all know — Stevie (Nicks) and Lindsey (Buckingham) and John (McVie) and Christine (McVie) and myself — absolutely, understandably more than takes precedence, now with the support of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, but they’re part of something.

But the dilution of the beginning became more and more and more. It really could have been forgotten about, because of the enormity of what happened after. And I think time itself pushed me into a creative corner of saying, if ever there was a time, this is so relevant to do now. It was really about that the longer Fleetwood Mac existed; the idea started screaming, “If you don’t do it now, then it was a nice idea, and you have to move on.”

Rock Cellar: I’ve got to ask, do you have any idea what your 2021, or even ’22, will look like?

Mick Fleetwood: Truthfully, I have no idea. None. And then you could go, “Well, what’s your pipe dream?” My pipe dream is at some point, I think we sort of have to say goodbye. And I have huge deference to the band that we now are, but I have total deference to Lindsey, and I think, “Wouldn’t it be great if some mutant fantastic stadium shows or something actually does that?”

Rock Cellar: A Fleetwood Mac super group, with Mike and Lindsey? Holy shit!

Mick Fleetwood: Well, we’re back in the pipe dream now. But in my own world, I know that I want to play. I will play. That’s who I am.

Rock Cellar: Well, that’s some kind of goal. [Laughter.]

Mick Fleetwood: Well, I’m really hoping that the thing built around Peter’s legacy can go out on the road. I can go on record that that’s my full intention. And from history, never say never is all there is to say about Fleetwood Mac. I’ll be there doing that, being the weasel in the background attempting to do something versus nothing. And the rest is really just how everyone would feel and whether it would even be possible. I don’t know.

One thing’s for sure, all the components are active. Lindsey’s active; Stevie by now would have done one of her lovely tours, though that never happened; Mike is always doing stuff, for sure. And Neil Finn is just beyond one of my dearest, dearest friends. And I’m hugely respectful of who he is and his talent, and how both Mike and he stepped in, because it was either stop or find something really spectacular that honored our funny trip.

Rock Cellar: And an unenviable task, to step into that the way they did.

Mick Fleetwood: Unbelievable.

What I like enormously about this interview (and, I am a huge Peter Green-fan) is that Fleetwood talks about the music … he’s a canny guy that Mick. Do you know that he once had a management company called Seedy Management?

Love this interview for sure. Check out this clip of “The Green Manalishi”: 

Jen Psaki

NEW JEN —(Via Deadline) In her debut as White House press secretary, Jen Psaki said that the daily briefings will return, but she also signaled a new direction from the years of Donald Trump.

Psaki told reporters that when Joe Biden asked her to do the job, they talked of the “importance of bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room.”

Her predecessor, Kayleigh McEnany, often took on the tone of a campaign spokeswoman during her tenure, and even held dual roles as the election neared.

That is probably why the first question that Psaki was asked, by the Associated Press’ Zeke Miller, had to do with whether she saw her primary role “as promoting the interests of the president” or as someone “to provide us with the unvarnished truth so that we can share that with the American people.”

“I come to this podium having served in the White House and at the State Department as the spokesperson there, and I traveled the world on trips to promote democracy where I saw the power of the United States, and of course the power of this podium and the power of truth, and the importance of setting an example of engagement and transparency,” Psaki said.

“I have deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy and for the role all of you play. …There will be moments when we disagree and there will be days when we disagree for extensive parts of the briefing, even perhaps. I believe we have a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”

“If the president were standing with me here today, he would say he works for the American, I work for him, so I also work for the American people,” she said. “So his objective and his commitment is to bring transparency and truth back to government, to share the truth even when it is hard to hear, and that is something I hope to deliver on as well.”

NBC News chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander said that “the battle for truth may be as tough right now as the battle against the coronavirus.”

How do you and President Biden plan to combat disinformation that in many ways led to that assault that we witnessed two weeks ago today on the Capitol?” he asked.

“There are many ways to combat misinformation,” Psaki said. “One of them is accurate information and truth and data, and sharing information even when it is hard to hear.”

Her first appearance as press secretary was a contrast to that of Donald Trump’s first press secretary, who devoted his debut to challenging news reports of the inauguration crowd size. The briefings became must-watch daytime TV for a bit, drawing spoofs on Saturday Night Live.

Psaki did not answer one way or the other when asked whether the new president had confidence in FBI director Christopher Wray. She hedged, but unlike the Trump era, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Wray’s days are numbered.

Another briefing is planned for Thursday, and Psaki suggested that it could go longer than the 40 or so minutes of tonight’s appearance. During Barack Obama’s presidency, the briefings typically ran for about an hour, drawing little of the drama of the past four years.

SHORT TAKES — Great line: Chuck Todd on NBC yesterday said, “40% of the population dines out on alternative media” – food for thought and so, so true … Check out an excellent interview with NEW HD’s Zach Martin and Romeo Delight’s Buddy Branch: 

Check out this profile on photog Jeff Smith on NYY1:  Music Photographer Now Aims His Camera Toward City for Work (ny1.com) … 

Watching Millie Bobby Brown on Netflix’s Enola Holmes made me miss her Stranger Things all that much more. When is that show coming back btw? Enola was a good romp, but tons of narrative was dumped on the viewer, making it a bit hard to take it all on. Also, if you didn’t know anything about the Holmes lineage … that was a problem too. That said, Henry Cavill was excellent as Sherlock. Brown was just excellent too and grown up tremendously since Stranger Things first debuted …

Katy Perry

Some thoughts on the Celebrating America special that followed up the inauguration: Tom Hanks looked cold; watching Kamala Harris, I could only feel that Maya Rudolph is the only one to properly channel her on SNL; Demi Lovato sounded great but at first I didn’t even recognize her; Dave Grohl is GOD; Katy Perry, who seems to have gone through another physical transformation was terrific; that Tim McGraw song *Undivided” did nothing for me; and, boy, Bruce Springsteen deserves the be the boss … what a performance on his “Land Of Hopes And Dreams.” And, welcome Joe and Kamala … we’ve been waiting for you with open arms!

Bruce Springsteen

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Joe Scarborough; Al Roker; Tom& Lisa Cuddy; Tyrone Biljan; Melissa Davis; Deb Caponetta; Howard Bloom; Doug Morris; John Boulos; Rob Dickens; Tony King; Steve Walter; Vinny Rich; Adam Pollock; Vince Aletti; Mark Simone; and, ZIGGY!

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

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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The Glorious Corner

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BULLETPROOF HACKS — Any reader of this column on a regular basis knows we’ve been trumpeting HBO’s Hacks as the show of the year. The writing is just so top-shelf and the industry takeaways are just so brilliant. In fact, I dare say that the entertainment business hasn’t been this thoroughly trashed since Entourage and the antics of Jeremy Piven as uber-agent Ari Gold.

Entourage

That said, their third season-finale (“Bulletproof”) was good, but it ended not exactly the way I wanted it too. Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) finally got her late-night dream-talk show but wouldn’t put Ava in the position of head-writer; owing to the political fallout it would cause.

In the show’s final scene, Ava showed up and essentially blackmailed Deborah into giving her the spot; as she knew Deborah had a late-night rendezvous with the head of the network.  Now, everyone got what they wanted, but an adversarial positioned was immediately set up between Ava and Deborah. Truth be told, the late-night rendezvous probably had nothing to do with it … as it’s usually all business with the network-suits. Or, I could be totally wrong! Go figure. They do call it Hollyweird for a reason.

It turned out that Deborah had lied to Ava; as she could bring anyone she wanted onto her team. And, plaudits for TV-veteran Hal Linden essaying TV-director Biff Cliff in the episode.

No doubt it will all work out for the best, but I still think it’s a bit dodgy all around; but make no mistake. this season ended with them as rivals … not friends.

Blondie

CHAPMAN’S BLONDIE — (Via Deadline) Previously unseen photos and video footage from a career that took in studio sessions with Blondie, The Knack, The Sweet and Suzi Quatro will illustrate Simply The Best: The Mike Chapman Story, a documentary about the eponymous songwriter and producer.

As well as co-writing The Best, the Tina Turner anthem that informs the doc’s title, Chapman has worked with a plethora of star names. He produced several Blondie albums including Parallel Lines. The band’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein will appear in the film and serve as executive producers.

Jason Bick will direct and produce. Mark Myers’ LA-based Citizen Skull and Michael Murphy’s Rockabill Media are also attached as producers.

“After several years of putting this together I am looking forward to getting it out there,” Chapman said. “It’s a story of how music changed and shaped me as I fought my way through decades of ups and downs. The directors and producers share that vision, and I am thrilled to be working with them.”

Chapman wrote 50 top-ten hits for the likes of The Sweet and Suzi Quatro with then songwriting partner Nicky Chinn. As that partnership unraveled, Australian-born Chapman relocated from the UK to the U.S. There he found success as a producer with several Blondie albums including Parallel Lines, which broke the band in the U.S., and hits including My Sharona by The Knack. The doc of his life will take in the highs as well as the lows, which included drug addiction and mental health issues.

“Through his songwriting and production prowess he shaped the lives of so many artists who have had a vast cultural impact,” said producer-director Bick. “Knowing this, the fact that he can walk down the street unrecognized and go un-thanked is a travesty. This project will address that and ensure his considerable and enduring contribution to music is finally fully understood by the wider public.”

Producer Rockabill Media is the label run by Michael Murphy, a longtime senior exec at Beyond and who left the distributor last year. A former Director of Programs at Irish broadcaster TV3, Murphy has a pedigree with music docs having run worked on projects about iconic bands including The Boomtown Rats and Nick Cave’s band The Birthday Party.

SHORT TAKES — Rumors abound that David Lynch will announce this week Twin Peaks-Season 4. Check this out from Collider: David Lynch Just Dropped a Huge Announcement … Icon Rupert Murdoch, at 93, married his fifth wife! God bless him! …

Kim Kardashian

I don’t usually watch Jimmy Kimmel, as I find him just too slick, but I tuned into to watch his interview with Kim Kardashian talking about her Skims-products and they talked how one “bra” product that comes with “nipples.” Hers as it turns out! I switched channels at that point …

Jay O. Sanders

SIGHTINGS: Law & Orders’ Jay O. Sanders at Uncle Vanya at Lincoln Center

John & Yoko

People of a certain age will well recall John & Yoko appearing (at the long-gone Americana Hotel) at a Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, Here’s a great piece on it from Best Classic Bands:When John Lennon and Yoko Ono Helped Jerry Lewis – Best Classic Bands

Beatles with Billy Preston

Finished watching the original Get Back/Beatles film. My first time since it came out in 1970. It was as impressive as when I first watched it and I noticed this time how much Billy Preston -on the rooftop sequences- brought. Interestingly, he wasn’t shown onscreen all that much, but he delivered. Much missed for sure. Loved it … Tuned in Netflix’s 6-episode Eric with Benedict Cumberbatch. Curiously interesting and disturbing for sure. It reminds me of HBO’s The Night Of, with John Turturro, which was great. Cumberbatch is always a treat …  Wing-nut, industry critic Bob Lefsetz went absolutely batshit on JLo canceling her tour. Sure, he’s right, but to compare her lying to Donald Trump lying … I don’t know. Give it a read: https://lefsetz.com/wordpress/2024/06/03/j-lo-cancels/  …RIP Tony Bramwell.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Annie Bella; Jerry Orbach; David Kramer; Kjersti Long; Plastic EP; Mark Bego; Mary Wilson; Doug Breitbart; Cara Lewis; Norby Walters; Savannah Guthrie; Dan Joseph; David Steel; Deb Caponetta; Zach Martin; Kent Kotal; Anthony Noto; Robert Funaro; Hubert Laws; Randy Klein; Joe Giaco; Kenny Kerner; Greg Brodsky; Richard Johnson; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Len Berman; Chris Boneau; Robert Dragotta; and ZIGGY!

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

ELTON’S METALLICA MOMENT —(Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Elton John provided inspiration as James Hetfield continued writing sessions for Metallica’s next album. They performed John’s “Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding” during the  March ceremonies where he and longtime co-composer Bernie Taupin received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Hetfield came away “challenged” – and inspired.

Metallica then took a break, only getting together for a few loose jams, before preparations began for ongoing European dates in support of 2023’s ’72 Seasons.

“The time off has been pretty fantastic but, at the same time, I missed playing with the guys,” Hetfield tells  The Metallica Report podcast. “And I let them know, ‘Man, I miss jamming with you guys!'”

Hetfield spent much of this downtime working on new songs while hidden away in a makeshift basement studio. John’s signature medley from the 1973 multi-platinum double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road stuck with him. “The Elton John thing was so fantastic – had a blast there,” Hetfield adds. “Elton, what a beautiful soul.”

It may have been a vacation, but Hetfield continued “playing guitar pretty much every day. I have to. It’s like breathing,” Hetfield confirms. “Whether it’s an escape from life or whatever it is, I love my little music room basement. I’ve got a computer, a few guitars and a little rig set up. It is my soul-nourishing place, to go in there and just play and write. Not so much practicing; it’s just writing.”

As for the songs, “I get inspired [by] all kinds of different music, listening to it. Even the Elton John thing, hanging out with Elton and Bernie Taupin challenged me. Watching [the 2019 John biopic] Rocketman and seeing how they wrote – Elton is such a visionary in the way that Bernie sets a set of lyrics, a poem, in front of him and he sees the music just appearing, which is bizarre to me. I’m more of the old  Tony Iommi way, where, ‘Here is the riff, and we build around the riff,’ you know?”

I wasn’t a Metallica fan, but when I heard their inventive and terrific “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” I was immediately hooked.

John & Yoko

SHORT TAKES — Great story in Clive Young’s Mix on 496 Broome Street in NYC, that John & Yoko owned and where The Committee for John & Yoko was headquartered as well as Yoko’s tarot-card reader John Greene – who lived there for decades there rent free. I know as I worked for the Committee when I was in college. Here’s the story: https://www.mixonline.com/news/john-lennon-yoko-ono-home-recording-studio-hits-the-market?utm_term=2B400D4A-A644-43F4-980A-3A38D94AC1E6&utm_medium=email&utm_content=6E5F5624-3022-44F4-BD6E-852EE8165A39&utm_source=SmartBrief

George Clooney/Brad Pitt

The new George Clooney/Brad Pitt movie Wolfs is due next month. Here’s the rather long trailer. Interestingly enough, the whole plot seems to unravel in the trailer. Weird? That usually means the movie’s a turkey. Take a peek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hRQyb5cCA8 … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor at Smith at Lincoln Center en route to Uncle Vanya

Orfeh and Andy Karl

Broadway’s Andy Karl and Orfeh separating? Wow Karl pulled a fast one. Read Page Six: https://pagesix.com/2024/05/27/entertainment/broadway-star-andy-karl-swanning-about-nyc-with-new-woman-after-ending-marriage-with-orfeh-weeks-ago/

This week’s Hacks is their third-season finale. What a fabulous show. Brilliant writing and acting. We love it and it just scored a renewal for Season 4 … Micky Dolenz’s The Zombie Wedding premieres in Vineland, New Jersey on Thursday, June 13. Dolenz cameos as DJ Cricket

Richard Dreyfuss

Both Robert DeNiro and Richard Dreyfuss had what some might call media-outbursts in the past week. I wonder if this is to be a new trend amongst the glitterati? Stay tuned.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — David Adelson; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Alison Martino; Jim Bessman; Joe Lynch; David Krumholtz; Vinny Rich; Robert Funaro; Donnie Kehr; Doug Breitbart; Harrison Jordan; David Browne; Evan Levy; Mark Simone; Dan Zelinski; James Edstrom; Barry Fisch; Ken Melamed; John Billings; Craig Newman; and Sadie!

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