“LONG PROMISED ROAD: Carl Wilson, Soul of the Beach Boys – The Biography” out next month

18 Aug

Finally, a bio on Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys.

Publishing at the end of September, Long Promised Road: Carl Wilson, Soul of the Beach Boys – The Biography, is a long overdue bio on someone who I think has not got enough attention in recent years. Brian Wilson of course has received so much attention and deservedly so – Brian’s battling mental illness, his various comebacks, being musically productive is compelling, and he is, after all, still alive (Carl sadly passed away in 1998 at the young age of 51 due to cancer).  I’ve always thought, though, that attention and recognition has obscured the huge contributions Carl made and how important he was to the continued survival of the band after Brian retreated to his bedroom in the late 60’s.  Beyond that, Carl had possibly the most beautiful voice in all of pop music (don’t argue, just listen to “God Only Knows”).

I can’t wait to read it and while I have the PDF of the book, an advance copy should be arriving any day now ((full disclosure: I’m the publicist & marketing manager for the book). I still prefer a physical book!

For me, I’ve always been fascinated with Carl and The Beach Boys music from the late 60’s thru the mid 70’s. It was Carl who really kept the band going, blossoming into a great songwriter.  Those early 70’s albums – Holland, Surf’s Up, Sunflower, Carl & The Passions: So Tough” each have some great songs on them. If not for Carl, those albums wouldn’t exist.  The legendary song “Surfs Up” might have remained unheard without Carl going thru the tapes of the SMILE sessions and painstakingly piecing together for the 1971 Surfs Up album. And Carl blossomed into a great songwriter in his own right.  “Feel Flows”, “Long Promised Road” and “Trader” still sound great today.  It was Carl that tried to keep the Beach Boys from turning into strictly a nostalgia act.  It was a battle that went on throughout the 70’s that most would argue he lost.  Regardless, at the end of the day, its the songs that matter, and fortunately Carl won enough of the battles for The Beach Boys to continue to make great music, mostly without Brian and, also thanks to Carl, became a formidable live act in the early 70’s. The latter due to Carl bringing in Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin.

If you want to read further about Carl and his life this article is worth your time.

Want to enter to win a copy of the book? Go HERE, or click on the book cover, below.

Available September 29

Available September 29

This Day In History

16 Jul

Not only was the first atomic bomb detonated in New Mexico in 1945 in Alamogordo, New Mexico but in 1945 the world’s first parking meter was installed.

Park-O-Meter No. 1 as it was called, made its debut in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on this day in 1935.

“Indignant opponents of the meters considered paying for parking un-American, as it forced drivers to pay what amounted to a tax on their cars, depriving them of their money without due process of law.”

Cheap Trick: “Up The Creek”

29 Jun

A few notes:

  • From the soundtrack to the 80’s movie comedy romp “Up The Creek”
  • Written by Rick Nielsen and Randy Bishop – Rick has said on more than one occasion how much he’s embarrassed and/or hates the song (I can think of at least one other CT song that’s far worse, “Mighty Wings” from the Top Gun soundtrack. Though Robin’s vocals and Rick’s guitar solo I still love).
  • I’ve always loved the song, and this live performance. First, it rocks. Second, it was the first time I saw Rick playing the “Gonna Raise Hell” guitar which to this day might be my favorite guitar he has (and I got to play it once!).
  • It was several years later I realized Rick’s solo is basically copped from Jeff Beck’s “Freeway Jam”. Call it a homage, as Rick is an unabashed fan of Beck, and I would bet he threw that in there more for the humor of doing so, given his dislike for the song.  Love the whammy bar in the solo here.
  • Also, is there anything cooler than the stoic Bun E. Carlos bashing away with that cig dangling?
  • That’s Jon Brant on bass – the second bass player after Tom Petersson left. I was totally enamored with how he held the bass and just banged away in this song.
  • Love Rick’s leap. And looked for a version of Robin’s vest for years. I already had a pair of white Capezzio shoes.
  • The opening riff to the song still puts a big grin on my face.
  • The site of those big screens with the revised logo on either side of Bun E.’s drums made me jump for joy in 1984 when I saw this on TV. I still think they look great.
  • This might be the only live performance of this song. I think the show was called “Rock Palace” and the host was a ridiculously fey Roy Thomas Baker. CT also performed “I Can’t Take It” and “She’s Tight” on the broadcast. And there was a horrible band called Zot on it as well. So 80’s.
  • I recorded it with my trusty top-loading VCR (which cost a whopping $600 – the first of a lifetime of expensive purchases I would later come to regret) and damn near wore the tape out. I watched it so many times.
  • The soundtrack featured not only Cheap Trick, but also Heart, Kick Axe, Shooting Star, The Beach Boys, Ian Hunter – basically a slew of mid-80’s CBS Records/Epic Records rock vets.
  • One of the soundtrack’s co-producers was Spencer Proffer, who produced the Quiet Riot’s huge-selling debut album, Metal Health.  The entire album has that big drum sound – all played by Frankie Banali, QR’s drummer. Including “Up The Creek”

Jason Alexander Finally Revealed The Real Reason Susan Was Killed On ‘Seinfeld’

3 Jun Featured Image -- 1632


“Seinfeld is one of the few, if not only series in the history of television that has successfully managed to kill off a long-running character as a punchline.” And now we know why!

Originally posted on UPROXX:


Seinfeld is one of the few, if not only series in the history of television that has successfully managed to kill off a long-running character as a punchline. You have to admit, it was a bold decision to kill Susan, George Costanza’s on again-off again girlfriend, temporary lesbian and eventual fiancee; but it worked given that Susan Biddle Ross was that unlikable of a character, even amongst a bunch of terrible people.

As Jason Alexander told Howard Stern this morning on his radio show, the decision wasn’t purely from a comedy standpoint. The cast of Seinfeld, particularly Alexander himself, loathed working with Heidi Swedberg, the actress who played Susan. There was nothing scandalous going on behind the scenes, though, as Alexander assures Howard that Swedberg herself was a perfectly lovely girl, but acting with her was apparently not unlike trying to mix oil and water.

So, it goes without saying…

View original 107 more words

Gilbert Gottfried Podcast

3 Jun

Another podcast that’s a regular listen: Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. Besides being an amazing stand-up comedian, he’s also quite the film buff and is a fountain of classic movie info and trivia.  Movies are usually the topic of the podcast, no matter who is the guest.

Recent guests have included Lee Merriweather, Julie Newmar, Michael Nesmith, Ed Asner, Lewis Black, and this week Artie Lange.  The latter two guests made for uproarious episodes. While Gilbert’s voice and laugh might be annoying to some, there’s no doubt who is having the most fun in the room.

Mini-episodes are sans guests, and Gilbert and co-host Frank Santopadre riff on classic movies and TV. Actually, its not just about classics, as they’ll rip on anything and anyone.


Want to win the new book “JOHN HUGHES: A LIFE IN FILM”?

26 May

Click on the book cover


Here’s The Thing

17 May

I fell down the rabbit hole a long time ago regarding podcasts. There’s an amazing world of great conversations, interviews…great entertainment and information. I’m planning on doing a podcast sooner than later though increasingly, its later…and later (more on this in a later post).

One of my favorites is Alec Baldwin’s podcast “Here’s The Thing” out of WNYC in New York. Its actually been on the air since 2011, though, late to the party as I often am, I started listening regularly less than a year ago.  I’ve been a fan of Baldwin’s since I first saw him in Hunt for Red October (particularly this scene, and while we’re at it, this is another fave scene), various other movies, and numerous Saturday Night Live appearances.  And he was brilliant on 30 Rock (easily one of the best sitcoms of all-time), whip-fast delivery, funny and endearing even though his characterJack Donaghy is a pompous parody of an over-stuffed, right-wing CEO.  And speaking of 30 Rock and Baldwin, here’s one of the funniest-ever scenes, with Tracy Morgan.

Baldwin is often a crank whose and who seems like he can be a downright pain in the ass – witness those terrible voice mail messages to his daughter that leaked a few years back and numerous ugly run-ins with NYC paparazzi and ranting Tweets. However, he’s also extremely smart and a great conversationalist, and both attributes are utilized perfectly on Here’s The Thing.  He’s a damn good interviewer…inquisitive, and always very knowledgeable about the person he’s talking to, enabling some real in-depth conversations, that never feel forced.  This is the kind of interviewing I love – where its more of an actual conversation.  Charlie Rose first comes to mind when thinking about another interview show. though for me, he’s too staid.  And of course, there’s Jon Stewart (but not for much longer!).  Outside of that…the late night folks – Letterman, Kimmel, Fallon, O’Brien are great at what they do – but the guests on those shows are only there to talk about their movie, project, etc.

Here’s The Thing has had an amazing variety of guests – scroll the archives too see just how amazing.  Regardless of the guest, you’ll likely be interested in what they have to say, thanks to the conversational style and tone. For example, I never really gave much thought to the magician David Blaine, but was fascinated by his hard and sad upbringing, and how, very early on, he found his passion doing magic. My favorite interviews all tend to be with New Yorkers – John McEnroe, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, the aforementioned Blaine – as Baldwin is also a native New Yorker the conversations tend to be more relaxed, and for me very relatable – the settings are certainly familiar.  Baldwin telling the story of how in community college in Long Island he acted in a “Streetcar Named Desire” with an heir to the Pergament retail fortune had me rolling.  Another interesting and recent guest was actress Edie Falco (Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) and until that episode I never knew that both Falco and Baldwin have had long battles with alcohol (which both have been winning).

Whether the guests is an actor, comedian, author, the conversation is sure to be interesting.


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