MISTER MUSTO —If you lived in New York City any time between, say, the mid-1980’s to 2017, chances are you read the Village Voice.
And if you read the Village Voice, you almost certainly read Michael Musto, who wrote the gossip and entertainment column La Dolce Musto for the Voice for more than two decades. In it you would find the all the bold names, dipped in glitter and lightly spritzed with acid. It was funny; it was sharp; it was self-deprecating and it was perfectly bitchy.
Musto remains a frequent columnist, TV commentator on pop culture, an occasional B-movie actor and the author of four books, including Downtown and Manhattan on the Rocks. And this week Musto—for whom the qualifier “legendary” has been tossed around liberally and rightfully—is the guest on Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast.
“The 70’s was a pretty extraordinary time,” he says on the podcast. “When I graduated Columbia, I entered into the world of disco and eventually Studio 54,which was the greatest club of all time. It really was everything it was cracked up to be.”
Perhaps surprisingly, though, he says the current cultural moment is as exciting as any he’s lived through so far—which is saying something as a nightlife columnist who has had no nightlife to columnize about recently. We’ve all been in this together, he says, just as we will be when the city emerges blinking from the darkness of the coronavirus year.
“It’s going to be incredible. It’s going to be beyond the Roaring 20’s,” he says. “The nightlife is going to be better than ever. It might even surpass the 70’s.”
Michael would be a fixture at almost every event. He’d arrive on his bicycle and … observe. To tell you the truth, he was a lot like Warhol – not that I spent all that much time with Mr. Warhol, but Andy observed too.
A buyout must have occurred at the Voice. And it’s amazing that he’s surfaced only occasionally since. Truth be told, Fran Leibowitz may have gotten that show with Scorsese, but Musto’s musings were, to me at least, always much more interesting.
May I suggest Musto as a replacement for Cindy Adams when retirement for the always cheery Adams rings?
Check out Brooklyn Magazine’s pod cast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/brooklyn-magazine-the-podcast/id1541566903
A WHO SELL OUT — Nugs.net, the leading music platform for live concert streams and recordings, has partnered with The Who, UMe and Mercury Studios, for the livestream premiere of their “Classic Albums” documentary The Who Sell Out.
The Who is one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century with over 100 million records sold worldwide, and the documentary explores its groundbreaking record in detail, including a deep dive into the original multi-track recordings, as well as brand-new, exclusive interviews with Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and album producers.
Fans can tune in to the free livestream on Thursday, April 22 at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET at nugs.net/thewho. The episode will be available to stream on demand via Nugs.net, the Nugs.net YouTube page and The Who YouTube page through Sunday, April 25 at 9 p.m. PT / 12 a.m. ET. Streaming is available worldwide with the exception of the U.K. and Ireland.
Initially released in December 1967 (on Decca Records) and described latterly by Rolling Stone as “The Who’s finest album,” The Who Sell Out reflected a remarkable year in popular culture. As well as being forever immortalized as the moment when the counterculture and the “Love Generation” became a global phenomenon and “pop” began metamorphosing into “rock.”
The album was originally planned by Pete Townshend and the band’s managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp as a loose concept album including jingles and commercials linking the songs stylized as a pirate radio broadcast. This concept was born out of necessity as their label and management wanted a new album and Townshend felt that he didn’t have enough songs.
The Who Sell Out is a bold depiction of the period in which it was made, the tail end of the “swinging-60’s” meets pop-art mixed with psychedelia and straight-ahead pop. It’s a glorious blend of classic powerful Who instrumentation, melodic harmonies, satirical lyrical imagery crystallized for what was only the group’s third album. The album’s ambition and scope is unrivaled by The Who, or any other act from that period. Within the bold concept, were a batch of fabulous and diverse songs. “I Can See for Miles”, a Top Ten hit at the time, is a Who classic. “Rael”, a Townshend “mini-opera” with musical motifs that reappeared in Tommy, and the psychedelic blast of “Armenia City In The Sky” and “Relax” are among the very best material anyone wrote during the 1960’s.
In keeping with the spirit of the times, the documentary is a visual representation of the album’s concept as a pirate radio broadcast, coupled with extremely rare archival footage, new interviews with Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and a host of others, including John Entwistle and Keith Moon in archive. Additional narrative will be provided by filmed interviews with those who were there at the time, attesting to the importance of pirate radio and how pop music and advertising were beginning to feed off each other during the period the album was recorded.
The episode will also cover why 1967 was a pivotal year in popular culture by examining the era’s art, music and social influences, and how The Who Sell Out encapsulated that time but still sounds as fresh and vital as it did upon its release over 50 years ago.
The Who Sell Out documentary was produced by Mercury Studios and directed by Bob Smeaton, the double Grammy award-winning director with music documentary credits that include The Betales, Elton John, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Queen, Nirvana, Mark Knopfler and the Spice Girls.
To coincide with the “Classic Albums” episode, The Who will release a new super deluxe edition of The Who Sell Out on April 23 via UMe/Polydor, featuring 112 tracks spanning five CDs and two seven-inches, 47 of which are unreleased, including 14 unheard Pete Townshend demos, an 80-page, hard-back, full-color book, including rare period photos, memorabilia (nine posters and inserts), track-by-track annotation and new sleeve notes by Pete Townshend with comments from the likes of Pete Drummond (Radio London DJ), Richard Evans (designer) and Roy Flynn (the Speakeasy Club manager).
The super deluxe package also includes nine posters and inserts, including replicas of 20″ x 30″ original Adrian George album poster, a gig poster from The City Hall, Newcastle, a Saville Theatre show eight-page program, a business card for the Bag o’ Nails club, a Who fan club photo of group, a flyer for Bath Pavilionconcerts including The Who, a crack-back bumper sticker for Wonderful Radio London, Keith Moon’s Speakeasy Club membership card and a WHO fan club newsletter.
This release was of particular interest to PR-pasha David Salidor whose father worked for Decca and his first show, was The Who. Adds David, “My first concert was The Who at the Lido Beach club in Long Beach, Long Island (July 8, 1967). My father had to attend and I tagged along. The band played around a swimming pool, but they were absolutely amazing! Keith Moon with day-glo drumsticks, I had never seen anything like it before. That day, my future was cast.”
David adds that two years back, he encountered Townshend at Donnie Kehr’s Rockers On Broadway, and he says that when he mentioned the incident to Townshend, he denied it had ever happened.
“I was there. I know what I saw,” Salidor added. “It was a long while ago for sure, but it was their third album release and they were playing wherever they could. If he did actually forget, he’s forgetting something I’ll always remember.”
SHORT TAKES — Romeo Delight booked for Daryl’s House on May 15 … and, Steve Walter’s Cutting Room gets back into action too; look for Romeo Delight there too …
We’ve neglected to mention the passing of multi-instrumentalist Joe Lala at 66. Lala helped found the Blues Image (“Ride Captain Ride” in 1970), was a star with Stephen Stills’ Manassas, whose debut album remains a classic and, played with the likes of The Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Dolly Parton, the Allman Brothers and Herbie Hancock, and, of late, was playing with Firefall. Just exemplary work. RIP Joe … Interesting article on how the covid-stress has affected everyone. It also reckons that many people who look in the mirror don’t even recognize themselves. Crazy, right? Check it out here: https://www.studyfinds.org/body-image-covid-stress/ … Been watching Dr. Oz as the guest host of Jeopardy. At first, I thought he was a little too rigid, but have begun to like him. So far, his ratings are better than Katie Couric, but not as high as Ken Jennings. Sad to report that the show’s overall ratings have gone down.
Next up: Savannah Guthrie and Aaron Rodgers …
Celebrity-scribe Mark Bego sent us a photo (by Jeff Smith) of him with the late-Vic Kastel at Bego’s November 2019 Cutting Room soiree, celebrating his Supreme Glamour tome written with Mary Wilson. I was present and can attest it was a grand event. Bittersweet to think those days may be gone forever … Get ready for J.D. Belcher’s The Inescapable Consequence released on April 23 .. and, how about Miley Cyrus’ performance over the weekend for the final four NCAA games. Amazing for sure. And, I love that she sang “American Woman.” A classic for sure. Check it out here:
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jack Cool; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Lush Ice; Andy Rosen; Bruce Goldberg; Evan Levy; Ross Zappin; Joel Denver; Radcliffe Joe; Joe Levy; Joe Lynch; Richard Branciforte; Kent Kotal; Kurt Loder; Steve Walter; Toby Mamis; and, ZIGGY!