Last week, I asked Diane if she could spend time with any musical artist (dead or alive) who would it be? She said, “I really don’t know, but I know who yours would be.Warren Zevon”. Spend enough time with a person and they really get to know you. She was 100% right. Warren was uber talented (with a reputed genius level IQ), a brilliant lyricist (his lyrics often read like mini novels), a tortured soul (his demons had demons), but most of all, for me anyway, he was this different looking dude who made some of the best music of his generation. He wasn’t blessed with a great voice, but you always knew it was him even if you had never heard the song before. He wasn’t a chart topper, but record sales and musical genius are quite often mutually exclusive. He was equal parts funny, sad, brilliant, angry, romantic, sarcastic and wild. Warren left this world 14 years ago today. (You always knew he wasn’t going to grow old). But the legacy he left behind is astounding.
Yep, this my kinda post. The coolest story I know about him is that he hopped in his dilapitated car with his guitar and drove to California in the late 60’s/early 70’s, then supplied Linda Ronstadt with “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”, one of her greatest hits. Apparently Warren was headstrong enough and so contentious with music critics that one wrote a quick bio of the man (after he was dead, mind you) condemning him as a person while singing his praises as a songwriter/artist. As Chuck pointed out, the man certainly had an impact.
If anybody had asked me which musician I’d like to spend a little time with, the answer “Ringo Starr!” couldn’t come out of my mouth fast enough. He’s so humble and likeable that I’d feel actually feel comfortable asking him questions like “what’s it like to be a friggin’ Beatle, man???!!!” Beyond that, I love hearing him sing “A Little Help From My Friends”. It picks me up when I’m down and that’s the thing music has done, will continue to do and should always be so.
Lemme attach a coupla videos featuring Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money” plus Ringo’s “Photograph” (in no particular order).
As always, hit up Mamemagazine.com when u getta chance. Plenty of great stuff to see there.
I recently started mourning, while celebrating, the loss of great Americana traditions via the show “American Pickers” whereby the pickers find old motorcycles, jugs, art and other interesting memorabilia from people’s yards and barns, etc., displaying our past and how we got to the point we are today thru these objects.
This got me to thinkin’ about what treasures of the past I’d like to see make a comeback…
The Dunce Cap-Never heard of it? The Dunce Cap was used in elementary school to inspire lesser students to greater intellectual heights via ritual humiliation by seating the offending youngster in a chair at either the front or rear corner of the classroom while wearing a white, cone-shaped paper hat on his/her noggin that had the word “DUNCE” prominently displayed on the front of it. (Scarring kids for life wasn’t a big issue back then.)
The Hotfoot- Apparently this was a big hoot during World War II. Here’s how it works: If you notice that a friend, comrade, etc. has fallen asleep barefoot in your presence then the only thing to do (apparently) was to stick a lit match between two of his toes and wait patiently while the flame makes it way to skin contact. The resulting hilarity involves the subject waking and suddenly hopping around like some kind of nitwit while screaming like a banshee. Unfortunately, the targeted individual didn’t always quite see things in line with the intended humorous effect often resulting in a fistfight.
Working on Your Own Car- Yeah, yeah, people still do this but not like before. Dinging your finger on the fan, spitting out black fluid from an ill-advised posture during an oil change or being semi-electrocuted resulting in temporary loss of consciousness while dealing with vehicle issues was a rite of passage back in the day. It’s a man thing. Having black, oily, severe looking, emergency room-level cuts made you more of a man provided it didn’t kill ya. Nowadays you’ll be needing such ultra expensive, sophisticated equipment and such intensive training that the average backyard mechanic just can’t compete.
Music- Don’t get me wrong here. I LOVE seeing my favorite bands on YouTube while equally digging some of the new bands (big fan of the Pretty Reckless) and I don’t know what heaven’s like but I think I’d like to scan the radio, dealing with static only to hear “Hey WHAY listeners! Here’s newest number from Buddy Holly!” While I was used to scouting around my transistor radio, hearing static in my dialing search and getting frustrated from time to time, I still miss hitting a gem. Nope, Buddy Holly died before I was even born but his legacy ultimately made me want the experience all the more (and again).
Robby Krieger. A Concert Review…..
Last night, Miss Ruth and I were sitting 30 feet from an icon. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robby Krieger kicked off his “Doors Greatest Hits” tour in Collingswood NJ. When you get the opportunity to see someone in the upper echelon of rock some 45 years after their pinnacle of fame, a part of you wonders will he still be able to bring it.
The answer here is a resounding yes! His guitar work last night ranged from fantastic to jaw dropping to mesmerizing. Ruth and I shared two major concerns prior to last night’s show. One, were they going to be able to replace the musical inventiveness of Ray Manzarek and two, were they going to be able to find a solid lead singer. We didn’t kid ourselves. A voice like Jim Morrison’s only comes around once in a lifetime so you can’t replace him. What they did, however, was very effective.
Robby’s son Waylon handled the lead vocals and instead of doing some sort of lame Morrison impression, he just used his own exceptional voice. And it totally worked. Nathan Wilmarth on the keyboards did a very solid job at channeling one of my musical heroes. The rest of the killer band, Phil Chen on bass (even though The Doors never had a bass player. Astonishingly, Manzarek handled the bass lines on the lower end of the keyboard) and Ty Dennis on drums, did the legend of The Doors proud. They opened with the unmistakable samba beat on “Break On Through to The Other Side” and rolled through a good portion of The Doors eclectic catalogue including almost half of the tracks from their seminal debut album, “The Doors” .
This was such a great approximation of one of rock’s greatest bands, I’m sure they were both looking down and as smiling almost big as Ruth and I were. For Ruth and I, the highlight of the evening was the final 3 songs of the show. “LA Woman”, “Soul Kitchen” and “Light My Fire”. The energy and musicianship that was on display for those 3 songs was straight up amazing. Robby even threw a little Rogers and Hammerstein (“My Favorite Things”) into his extended solo in “Light My Fire”. Despite the absence of Ray (he passed 4 years ago) and Jim (he joined the Dead Poets Society in 1971), this was such a great approximation of one of rock’s greatest bands.
I’m sure they were both looking down and smiling.
Almost as big as Ruth and I were.