I know that it's been a very very long time since I've posted here and I apologize. But if I gave you the specifics of the reasons for my tardiness, you wouldn't believe it. So let's just move on, shall we?
First of all, I would like to thank all the cool people in Toronto that made me feel so at home at the opening of my little movie, MY DINNER WITH JIMI at the Bloor Theater. The press was, for the most part, pretty damned kind to our film and kudos go out to the peeps at filmswelike for treating me like a real movie guy. Plus, it was the first time I've been able to say to the host of a national TV show or two, "Let's set up the clip." And that, folks, is one of the coolest things that anybody can do. Trust me. I felt like Branjolina for a minute there. Ditto to the kind people in Winnipeg for winning a dinner with ME...sorry, no refunds...and I still have heartburn, thank you very much.
Next on my list of thanks are my friends Yo La Tengo. I think I've mentioned them--fan-boy that I am--at least half a dozen times in this blog alone. But this holiday season I had the very great pleasure of being asked to join them onstage at their yearly eight-night Hanukah party at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey. Man, I love these guys. And I had a great time. I wish you all could have been there to see and hear this one, cuz it was stellar, folks, if only in my own mind. David Cross was there disguised as Ira's rabbi and was side-splittingly hilarious. Then YLT hit the stage and, as always, took no prisoners. They are so great, it gives an old fart new hope. Afterward, I joined them onstage for a six-song mini-set finale. The set list was: Hungry Heart (James sang lead), You Baby, Metal Guru, Love Songs In The Night (from Dust Bunnies), She'd Rather Be With Me and--much to my surprise--One Potato Two Potato by the Crossfires (pre-Turtles 1964). Ira Kaplan is responsible for this set list...these are the songs that Yo La Tengo selected, folks. Not me. But let me tell ya', it was the coolest thing! We have a lot in common, both having worked with Ray Davies as well as Yoko Ono, among other things. And, as it was 40 years ago, getting to hang with the Beatles, being in the presence of greatness still feels great. Thanks again to Ira, Georgia and James.
And finally, before I get to business, another Thank You to my good buddy Alice Cooper for having Mark and I join him for his annual Christmas show this past December in Phoenix. Vince, you are still Da Man! It's been a long and educational journey that this life has spewed upon us, and you, my friend, are still delivering the goods, offstage as well as on. You're one helluva dad, a performer and a humanitarian. So, thanks man. On behalf of all of the kids you have helped through your Solid Rock Foundation. It was my pleasure to help.
Now to media.
It's pretty common knowledge that the late Ike Turner was a brilliant but troubled man. His fits of temper and jealously have been viciously documented over the past thirty or so years and make up, what the general public feels is the bulk of the man's contributions to the arts. Sure, his legendary guitar work has been lauded and his early (as early as 1951) R and B records were among the first to actually be categorized as rock and roll, but take it from a portly caucasian who knew Ike only briefly, Ike Turner was a really nice man who cared passionately about his music and shared his thoughts and possessions freely with anyone who took the time to ask.
I grew up in Westchester, a suburb of Los Angeles out by LAX that bordered the city of Inglewood..."the Wood."
There, as a teenager, the guys in my band (then called the Crossfires, later known as the Turtles) and I would venture to this bowling alley called the Carolina Pines on Century Blvd--it's a strip club now--to see the Ike and Tina Turner Review. They were incredible: Obviously more than a 15-year old mind could handle. Tina would shake, the Ikettes would shimmy in their flapper-style beaded dresses and their band was undeniably the best I had ever heard. And they let us stay to watch. We were babies and not ordering white port and lemon juice, but coca colas or milk instead.
Years later and cut to 1972. Flo and Eddie (my partner Mark Volman and I) had just ended a 2 1/2 year run with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and had signed with Warner Brothers to make our first duo record, The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie on Reprise. We enlisted the assistance of Zappa engineer Barry Keene and he found the perfect place for us to record our debut album: It was Ike Turner's Bolic Sound Studio right there in Inglewood.
Every day when we showed up for work, Ike was already in the studio, cleaning it up for us, checking the sound board and ready to offer up both suggestions and a liberal sprinkling of marginally illegal substances to make the day go by a little smoother. You might have heard that about that side of Ike already. I suppose the man had some nasty habits--don't we all? But, when all was said and done, Ike Turner was a supportive musician, a very caring mentor and basically, a really nice guy. Of course, I was never married to the dude, but no one I ever met as a professional player had anything unkind to say about Ike.
We all have our demons. Ike was never free from his. But he was a true pioneer and one of a handful of people who could be credited with literally "inventing" rock and roll along with Chuck Berry and Little Richard.
Later generations may have forgotten, but for those of us who learned at the feet of the master, Ike Turner will live on forever.
And Ike...you will be missed.
Although the Writers' Guild is still on strike as I write this, and, as a member of both SAG and AFTRA I am bound to support said action, I hope and pray that the crap on TV gets better. Although I will tell you what is currently playing on My Tivo...and after all, my Tivo "gets me."
You are going to notice a sudden shift in my viewing habits, kids, as I have only recently been converted to a devotee of television's most quenching oasis, the Discovery Channel.
Yeah, Shark Week.
But hey you guys, no one ever told me about Mythbusters.
These guys are amazing.
Every episode finds hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Heiniman testing urban legands using scientific means. They have their own special effects factory in California's Bay area and boast over thirty years of combined FX experince. Plus, they're hilarious. And you actually learn things. Imagine! From your television! Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Is it possible to be sucked out of a flying airplane? These questions and countless others are answered weekly by these two sorta hippie professionals and their team of scoobies Grant, Carrie and Tory. Typically, I am the last dude on the planet to know about this program...apparently it's been on the air for many years...but it's never to late to "discover" it.
Next, also on Discovery, big shout outs to Ben Baily and the program called Cash Cab. It's a game show that happens to unexpected NYC passengers just looking to get accross town. Next thing they know, they're being asked trivia questions for big bucks and their answers as well as their honest reactions are better than Fifth Grader or those other prime time excuses to keep the writers' strike going. Discovery generally runs two of these shows back to back and I watch them both. Hell, I could watch more than that. It's that much fun.
And next on my top three Discovery pix is Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. He's the personable spokesperson for Ford Trucks here in the USA and narrates other series on the network as well as doing this one on his own. Here, he's invited by hard-working people from all over the country, to join them in doing the jobs that most of us don't exactly find glamourous...like worm farming or cleaning the inside of a septic tank. Mike's collected owl vomit, make pottery out of manure and crawled through places that you can almost smell through your speakers. And the entire time, the man keeps his wits and humor about him and makes us appreciate "the little guy" that shleps for the rest of us. This series is America at it's best and I am trying my best to catch up on the several years of programs that I have missed.
Wait--have I forgotten Survivorman?
Oh My God!
This dude named Les Stroud takes a couple of tiny cameras with him--no crew--and gets dropped off in the middle of the desert or the ocean or the Everglades and has to spend seven days there eating, drinking and living off of the land. The stuff this guy will eat! The common sense aspect of his moment to moment existence is mesmerizing. He's terrific and the show's terrific. And he even does the soundtrack to the series. It will teach you things. It will amaze you. Plus, he's Canadian.
So there. Now that my brain has something to chew on, why not make room for a little desert. These are the other programs that I've been tuned to. This is just a list. It's in no particular order. Don't hate me, just scroll down it and add my recommendations to your own dvr. And I don't want to hear "How the hell could you recommend that piece of shit?"
This is MY list. If you don't like it, get your own.
The Next Great American Band
Masters of Horror
My Name is Earl
The Amazing Race
Penn and Teller: Bullshit
America's Next Top Model
Sarah Silverman Program
Real Time with Bill Mahar
Lucy: Daughter of the Devil
Beauty and the Geek
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Kenny Vs. Spenny
That oughta keep you busy.
Oh, now you want to READ something?
I've got just the ticket.
How about the wonderful Dresden Files? It's a fantastic series of humorously delivered tales of vampires, witches, zombies and other assorted beasties as visited upon by Chicago's only listed-in-the-phone-book wizard, Harry Dresden. Harry's assisted by his sister, an on-again-off-again girlfriend cop, a slightly werewolf-y brother and a skull named Bob. Oh yeah, and he's like 240 years old. But he looks about 30. Magic suits Harry in this droll group of novels by author Jim Butcher. Titles include Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, and Proven Guilty. And it does make a difference if you read them in order. Give the Dresden Files a shot. The Sci-Fi Channel tried to turn this into a series last year with less-than-inspired results. If you remember the show, don't let that stop you from tuning into the real thing with these great, easy reads.
That having been said, there's nothing on the radio worth hearing, so I'm just going to check my Tivo and go to bed.
And for those of you who attended our concerts in 2007, Thank You.
We had a great year.
And we loved doing Hippiefest with the Zombies, The Rascals, Mitch Ryder, Joey Molland, Denny Laine. Mountain and Country Joe.
Looking forward to another great year "on the road" and check out Flo and Eddie hosting this year's edition of Hippiefest coming to an open space somewhere near you this summer.
I am Audi 5000.
the artist formerly known as Eddie