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G.H. HARDING

RIP VIC KASTEL — Last August, PR-pasha David Salidor tipped us off about a new album from singer/songwriter Vic Kastel, called Time Traveler. The hook was that the material (all original) was recorded in the late-70’s; on analog equipment; and featured on every cut, Kastel’s cracker-jack band performing live. Funnily enough, Bruce Springsteen’s  then new album, Letter to You, was done in the exact same manner.

Vic Kastel with David Salidor

Time Traveler wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the true music media caught on immediately with sumptuous coverage in Keith Girard’s New York Independent; SKOPE; Music Connection; Good Times; No Place Like Long Island and several terrific ZOOM interviews with Ray K. and Zach Martin.

The first single from the album “Don’t Ever Let Me Catch You Giving Up On My Love” and “First Impressions” (written with Larry Vannata) were immediate favorites.  And, the album’s “Never Gonna Leave It” featured a killer Farfisa organ was also a big favorite.

Sadly, Kastel passed away somewhat unexpectedly Monday night. Salidor, who continued to promote the album right up till then, was very saddened. “I knew Vic for 30+ years. He was a great friend and his knowledge about music was exemplary. From our days at My Father’s Place to seeing Micky Dolenz in the It Was 50 Years Ago tour, we had some great times. I helped set up those early sessions, so it was great to see them finally released.”

Salidor say that stations are continuing to play Time Traveler and there are two TV shows that may well use his music. “These recordings, those songs; they’re a great testament to his talent.”

George Segal

SEGAL FOREVER — Our friend, Anthony Pomes, from SQ 1 Publishing, posted this about George Segal: Rest In Peace, George Segal #georgesegal. He passed yesterday age 87, a sublime actor from my Dad’s vintage – and a heck of a banjo player! Known best in film—and later TV roles in Just Shoot Me and The Goldberg’s for a varied cascade of character roles (and, in the 70’s, leading parts), he also appeared in Nicole Kidman’s kitchen TV in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (look at the TV, in the scene where Kidman’s “Alice” calls Tom Cruise’s “Bill,” and you’ll see the bearded Segal in Paul Mazursky’s 1973 gem Blume In Love). In a career of wonderful performances, we should all check out his mix of angst & melancholy as a conflicted gambler opposite Elliott Gould in Robert Altman’s 1974 film California Split. I’ll always remember the way he says “Sleepy, Grumpy, Doc!” in this scene. 

A fine actor and musician and all-around fun presence over the years, may we all take some time to embrace his work…another legend gone, but not forgotten.

Romeo Delight

SHORT TAKES — Buddy Blanchard’s Romeo Delight at Sweeney’s Saturday (3-27) night; here’s their site: https://www.phillyspecialsaloon.com/entertainment/ … Talk about a good review-here’s the review of HBO’s forthcoming Tina Turner-docu from the Chicago Sun Times esteemed Richard Roeper: https://chicago.suntimes.com/movies-and-tv/2021/3/25/22348446/tina-turner-hbo-review-documentary-movie … This week’s This Is Us ranks with their best. Featuring Griffin Dunne as Uncle Nicky, he was an acting tour de force. Someone posted, I hope all the cast members were watching and taking notes … Also, NBC’s New Amsterdam has indeed kept the passion and momentum of their first two seasons. Just exemplary work for sure. Kudos to Ryan Eggold and the cast for some truly great work . This could well be the best all-around TV show on right now … And, RIP Jessica Walter and HAPPY BDAY Elton John!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Monica Lynch; Mark Bego; Rudy Shur; John Mutter; Jeff Smith; Steve Walter; Donnie Kehr; Curtis Urbina; Tony Moran; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mick Jagger; Nero; Scott Shannon; Tony Smith; Jim Burgess; Roy Thode; Joe Lynch; 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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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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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

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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