Friday, August 29, 2008

I Got a Line...

Today in rock history, the original members of the band, Spirit, reformed in 1976 after a 5 year split. They were joined on stage at a reunion concert by Neil Young, for an encore of Bob Dylan’s, “Like a Rolling Stone.” The reunited group released the album, Son of Spirit earlier in the year. They would split again, and Jay Ferguson would make it into the top 10 with the single, “Thunder Island,” in 1978. As a kid, I was always fascinated by this band. With a guy named "Randy California" and a guy that was completely bald (Ed Cassidy - also Randy's stepfather)- a real novelty in the '60's)- they were certainly disctinctive and memorable. In one of my high school bands, we covered their hit "I Got a Line on You Babe" and it became a set-closing, rave-up kind of tune for us. So indulge me my walk down memory land as we enjoy this song one more time! Ok, I admit, it has really cheesy "special effects," but that only adds to its sixties charm! Thanks to for the info, and keep on rockin'!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Jack

Today in rock history, Bernard Alfred "Jack" Nitzsche died of a heart attack in 2000 at the age of 63. Jack was an Academy Award-winning producer, arranger and song writer, who worked with likes of Sonny and Cher, Leon Russell, Phil Spector, Neil Young, Graham Parker, etc. He was married to Buffy Ste. Marie for a time, too. A lot of folks don't know that had also played piano with the Rolling Stones on such hits as "Paint it Black" and "Let's Spend The Night Together." He was also Crazy Horse's piano player for awhile. As is the case with some of the most brilliant artists, he suffered from depression and substance abuse problems, and died way too young. So let's celebrate the life of Happy Jack and enjoy some vintage Nitzsche with "The Lonely Surfer." Thanks to and for the info, and hey, surf's up, dude!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“No Junior Ginger Bakers…”

Today in rock history, Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker was born in 1939 in London. Can you believe he’s almost 70 years old? He’s still going strong too, if his performances at the Cream reunion concerts in 2005 are any indication. I was able to see him with Cream at Veteran’s Auditorium (a horrible place to see a concert, by the way!) in Des Moines, Iowa in the fall of 1968, which was a high point of my young life at that point. I remember manic energy and ear-splitting volume, if nothing else, from that concert…Little known bits of trivia about Ginger: Baker always insisted on having his two bass drums nailed to the floor at the venue he was playing live. In 1965 he played at the Shaftesbury Hall, Cheltenham which was then a part of St. Paul's College. The stage boards were new and of high theatrical quality. Baker pulled a hammer and four inch nails from his bag and proceeded to nail his drums to the floor. The caretaker flipped and started to shout at him, but Baker persevered and completed the task. As a firmly established jazz drummer, he dislikes being referred to as a "rock drummer." Finally, the title of this piece comes from when Bruce Springsteen was looking for a drummer for the E Street Band, which Max Weinberg eventually took over, the ad required "No Junior Ginger Bakers.” Ok, now I think that would be high praise: I did aspire to be one in my youth, and I’m still trying! Let’s enjoy some vintage Ginger Baker, thanks to and for the info, and keep bangin’ them skins!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dr. Bob

I always like to try to surprise my good friend and Dylan expert, Mr. Whoamus, with some Dylan trivia, so I'm gonna try with this post. I know he's read Chronicles Vol 1, where Dylan tells about a trip to Princeton to get an honorary degree, and how Bob was pissed off about his introduction and had to be talked into staying by his good buddy David Crosby. This visit was immortalized in the song "Day of the Locusts," but what Mr. Whoamus probably doesn't know, and what was revealed in a recent interview with Crosby in Rolling Stone magazine, that Crosby's presence was immortalized in the line "The man standing next to me, his head was exploding;" Crosby proudly exclaims, "That's me!" So here's to you, good buddy, I hope I stumped you, and while we're at it, let's enjoy the song in question. Keep on rockin', and we'll see you later!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Charlie Mac at the Hammond Organ..."

After searching the Craig's List listings for what seems like years (actually, it's only been a few months), I've located a Hammond organ that a nice older couple in Richfield wanted to give away - you haul, of course. Well, I checked it out and discovered Hammond's diamond in the rough - an M-100 genuine tone wheel spinet organ in great shape, built sometime in the mid '60's. Some husky friends and I managed to get this monster on a truck and home last night and now it's sitting proudly in my garage. Now, as you know, I'm a guitarist and drummer, and I don't play a lick of keyboard, but I've been having fun pounding on the keys and checking out that great Hammond sound. Now if I can just find a Leslie (rotating) speaker that somebody wants to give away, then we'll be in business.

Some famous players of the M-100 were Matthew Fisher of Procol Harem (sorry, Mr. Whoamus, I mistakenly credited "Whiter Shade of Pale" to Gary Brooker), John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and this famous dude - the immortal Booker T. Jones, playin' them "Green Onions" (which was played on an M-100 without the Leslie that most folks use). Check it out, and let's get funky!