Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Music

I love Christmas music. I have what is becoming too large a collection. Some rarities like a 45 of I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas to the ubiquitous White Christmas by Bing Crosby, which I probably have on over 30 CD's. Eddie G’s Christmas compilations are legendary. I'm not sure that he’s still creating them.
5 Favorites of the rock era:

1. Christmas Baby Please Come Home performed by Darlene Love. Her Letterman appearances are a must see each year. In fact Letterman always says It’s ain’t Christmas till Darlene Love sings. Although others have, no one should cover that song. She owns it.

2. Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys. The innocence conveyed in the song is sheer joy.

3. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus performed by John Mellencamp. He thought about the arrangement before he recorded it. He completely made it his own and made it a dance party. Most Christmas covers sound like the performer is sleep walking through the song: not this one.

4. Sleigh Ride Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. See above. This song makes me smile.

5. Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It’s Tom. Nuf’ Said.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

U2Charist: Is Bono the Second Coming?

In Encinitas, CA Christian masses are incorporating the music of U2. The minister at this Episcopal Church apparently donned dark wrap glasses ala Bono. This is not unique to Encinitas; this initiative is being embraced worldwide. The mission of this movement is to help the UN achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000 which include eradicating global poverty and diseases in the next 10 years. These services raise money for the cause. The Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation site explains it all.

Here is an excerpt from North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry's surmon at a U2Charist: I am convinced that these Millennium Development Goals, and our embrace of them passionately as an act of Gospel-based discipleship, is a way for us to discover live again as a church. (Yeah! and applause) And I'm convinced, because Brother Bono has shown us the way. God will always have a witness, and if the church doesn't give it, U2 will! (Laughter and applause). Bono is being raised to the level of deity.

There is a U2Charist MySpace page, with 130 friends. U2Charist founder, the Rev. Dr. Paige Blair is based in Maine. There are Service outlines and leaflet to be downloaded. Elevation, One and Beautiful Day are some of the songs that are sung at these masses. Upcoming services are being held in many states, but none that I've seen in NY. Love him or not, Bono continues to be a force to recon with. He's a unifier. If he can eradicate poverty by 2015 he should be canonized. I haven't been able to determine two things: 1. Is U2 a partner in these services (I'm guessing they are as Universal is working with Rev Paige) and 2. Who came up with the word U2Charist-it's branding at it's best.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Dennis & Carl Wilson

There are some things that never leave your brain. Being a long time Beach Boys fan I always think about Dennis Wilson on Dec 4 and Carl Wilson on Dec 21, their birthdays. Carl is my favorite singer. I had a chance to meet him as he checked into the Rhiga Royal Hotel when suddenly I became too shy to follow through. That is the only time that has happened. I now regret it because he passed away in 1998 at age 51. I read that Carl had perfect pitch. He sang my favorite song “God Only Knows” (It’s killing me that it’s being inappropriately used in a TV commercial). He had soul, was an underrated guitarist and sang like an angel. Dennis was I guess you could say the yin to Carl’s yang. He had sex appeal, females went crazy when he sang “You Are So Beautiful” in concert and he was the first Beach Boy to release a solo album: the wonderful Pacific Ocean Blue. I have it on vinyl and haven’t heard it in awhile, but it might be time to hook up the turntable and give it a spin. His voice was darker, somehow sadder. Dennis also died way too young at 39. He was the surfer who drowned; he was buried at sea. On a morbid note, there is a website dedicated to dead musicians. You can search by means of death. Dennis has company in Jeff Buckley and Brian Jones, whose first name wasn’t even Brian-I didn’t know that. I’ll probably never forget it now though.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What I heard at the airport

We had a 6am flight from our Thanksgiving vacation in San Antonio and the only open store at the airport at 5:30am was Starbucks. While waiting on the long line I was treated to one of my all time favorite songs, Lost in a Supermarket by The Clash. It was followed by what sounded like a mixed tape from my college days. I saw the Clash live probably about six times and they were consistantly amazing. I remember the show where Mick Jones smashed his guitar on the stage of the Palladium and at that same venue when they sang London Calling and ripped up a copy of the Post or was it the Daily News. The headline was predicting a Beatles reunion, the band sang "that phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust". The Palladium is now an NYU dorm-which houses the only Trader Joe's in NYC. We need more bands like The Clash now. Their songs meant something, they took in all genres of music and made it sound great and they put their heart and soul into their live show.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Marisa Monte at The Beacon

I'm amazed by the amount of music out there that I know nothing about. Last night I saw Marisa Monte at the Beacon. She is a huge star in Brazil and in the Latin music world. I would know nothing of her if it wasn't for Mike at AEG, who promoted the show. I don't think I've ever seen the Beacon that packed. Day of show they put 100 SRO tickets on sale and they all sold out. That's about 2900 tickets. I read that she hasn't toured the States in 6 years, so I'm guessing fans were starved. The staging was quite elegant, like Marisa. She performed the first song completely in the dark accompanied by 9 musicians. It reminded the of the Public Image tour where they performed behind a curtain. PIL had chairs thrown at them; this was not the case last night. A solo light shone on her face at the end of the song. She was seated for the first few song, playing acoustic guitar on a riser behind and above most of her band. The other guitarists were seated next to her. Lighted panels that moved, created a cocoon for the band. Marisa has a beautiful voice, which was heightened by the instrumentation around her: ukulele, flugel horn, trumpet (according to her site, at the suggestion of Phillip Glass, she added a trumpet/flugel horn) keyboard, something that looked and sounded like a cowbell. Songs were sung in Spanish. My college Spanish failed me. My ears were opened to some beautiful music. A natural siting: David Byrne in the lobby before the show.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

All Night Chemists: Point Of View

Point of View - The Making of a Video

Gabriel Trujillo, renaissance man and music lover shot this video on the ever scenic Brooklyn Bridge. Gabriel's vision was right in line with the direction Len and I were heading in. My idea was fueled by watching too many Beach Boys promotional videos from the late 60's early 70's on YouTube. I have Josh from The You to thank for that. Luckily it was mildly windy on the day it was shot. Luckily the pedestrian path is down the middle of the Bridge instead of on either side which would have eliminated me from the day's festivities. To quote U2-vertigo. No lip synching, just Len, Brandon and Andy hanging out on the bridge. There is a much cleaner version of the video on flurl. Watch it and enjoy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Gem: Poughkeepsie Live!

There are gems out there than can be unearthed. I booked the TV show Poughkeepsie Live! for All Night Chemists. They performed on it last night. Time Warner subscribers in the Mid-Hudson Valley, South of Albany area of New York can watch it. One act gets 30 minutes of airtime! Raj Sirohi leads an amazing team of volunteers who put on a top notch, profession show. Did I mention how friendly/accommodating everyone was? How much they enjoyed what they do? It was a great experience. For those unable to view it, the show will soon be streamed on the Chemists website. Len, Brandon and Andy rocked.
Set list:
Waste of Time

Fine with Me

Look Me In The Eye

No Reason

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

MySpace to Stop Streaming

I read the following today on Digital Music News. According to this article, streaming on MySpace, not downloading of copyrighted material will be banned. I've discovered new music from profiles containing audio players with that profiler's favorite music on it. Another outlet for people to hear music will be scratched. I guess the major labels want the same royalties they get when a song is played on the radio. Newcorp who owns MySpace could work out a deal, but you would think anyway to get music out there in this ultra consolidated world, would be a plus for the labels. Ged Dougherty who is Chairman of Sony Music BMG, UK said this weekend that the CD will lose another 50% in sales in the next few years and labels need to get back to artist development. If the major labels spent less money on legal fees to fight "the cause" and put that effort into true artist development, everyone would benefit.

MySpace Begins Music Filtering Initiative
Music is an incredibly integral part of the MySpace experience, and a
high percentage of profile pages feature popular songs. Most of those tracks
are copyrighted, and streamed without permission. Tackling the thorny
issue, MySpace has now tapped audio identification experts Gracenote to filter
unauthorized content. Moving forward, MySpace will proactively identify
and block copyrighted songs, and remove the accounts of repeat violators.
"MySpace is staunchly committed to protecting artists' rights – whether
those artists are on major labels or are independent acts," said Chris
DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of the social networking giant. "This is
another important step we're taking to ensure artists control the content they
The move was probably inevitable, especially following a string of lawsuits
and tough statements from Universal Music Group. Earlier, UMG chairman
Doug Morris pointed to major copyright violations at both YouTube and
MySpace. "We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us
tens of millions of dollars," Morris said during a Merrill Lynch conference in
September. "How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly."

Friday, October 27, 2006


The most recent New Yorker referred to the President as incurious. It struck me that incurious is perhaps the worst adjective that can be ascribed to a person. The immediate image that comes to mind is a human sitting in front of a TV, watching a test pattern for hours. Two artists with anti-incurious careers have new albums out: Beck and Los Lobos. Beck's latest album is called The Information and it has audio and accompanying video tracks (if you buy this version). I'm not as schooled in Beck as I am in Los Lobos, having managed them for 8 years, but he seems to be reaching for new heights with each endeavor. This one seems to carry on where Guero left off. On first listen, I immediately liked the songs Elevator Music and Think I'm in Love. With titles like these: Cellphone's Dead, Strange Apparition and Nausea (Shouldn’t this song segue from Elevator Music?), it's worth checking out. Lobos Lobos' new one, The Town and the City has a more blues/soul feeling than anything they've put out in past 15 years. Two hauntingly beautiful songs are the lead off track, The Valley and If You Were Only Here Tonight. Listen for the piano on The Valley. It's subtle, but it makes the track. Eddie Gorodetsky, long time band friend and the co-executive producer and writer of Two and a Half Men, (he also has an acting credit as Bacchus in the film Maked and Anonymous), has a co-writer credit on Free Up. Don't let the much-noted comparison between Little Things and Whiter Shade of Pale fool you. This song is all about David Hidalgo's soulful vocals and the lyrics by Louie Perez.
Little Things all around me, Little things that I could never see.
Like the Heart breaking inside me, that I just threw away.
If you're looking for an in-your-face/rock it to 11 track like Mas Y Mas, Colossal Head or Viking, you won't find it on this record. Pour yourself a cocktail, sit by the fire and enjoy The Town and the City.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ya Gotta Bereave

That’s the headline from today’s Newsday and it sums it up. The Mets (and the fans) baseball year came to an end last night. Here is my morning play list in order of emotion.
  1. Auf Wiedersehen – Cheap Trick
  2. Funeral For a Friend – Elton John
  3. Try Not To Cry – Greg Trooper
  4. Let It Go – The Domestics

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

My cousin Andrea, a lifelong Mets fan, reminded me of the lyrics to various versions of Meet the Mets. The words to the song are ingrained in my brain, but until I saw them in front of me, I never paid attention to this line: “Bring your kiddies, Bring your wife”. The song was co-written by a woman. This line infers that it’s being sung to men. Are women excluded from independently going to a game? The lyrics were updated in the mid 1980’s and I believe the version we hear today is sung by Joy Askew who sang with Joe Jackson during his “Steppin' Out” era. Knowing so many women who are passionate about baseball, it leads me to the most famous baseball song, “Take Me Out To the Ball Game”. Here is a wonderful take on the 1927 version of the song, lead vocals by Theresa James who is joined by Stuart Ziff. Ziff is a soulful songwriter and the lead guitarist for WAR. According to Wikipedia, these were the original 1908 lyrics

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad…

On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go
To see a show
But Miss Kate said "No,
I'll tell you what you can do:" Take Me Out…

The updated 1927 lyrics
Nelly Kelly loved baseball games,
Knew the players, knew all their names.
You could see her there ev'ry day,
Shout "Hurray"
When they'd play.
Her boyfriend by the name of Joe
Said, "To Coney Isle, dear, let's go",
Then Nelly started to fret and pout,
And to him, I heard her shout: Take Me Out…

These additional lyrics are rarely heard, but the song was written about a woman who wanted nothing more that to go to a baseball game. I can relate. Game Five NLCS. Glavin gets four days rest. Let’s Go Mets.

Monday, October 16, 2006

CBGB's RIP & Rain Helps

Last night after Patti Smith's almost all cover set, CBGB's closed the doors on its Bowery location. There is talk of it being dismantled and rebuilt in Las Vegas. Weird. I was only there a handful of times, most recently about 10 years ago. I don’t have a right to lament it’s closing. I haven’t patronized the club in a decade. Ms Smith seemed to put it best when she said, "Kids, they'll find some other club. You just got a place, just some crappy place, that nobody wants, and you got one guy who believes in you, and you just do your thing. And anybody can do that, anywhere in the world, any time." Isn’t that what it’s all about, one guy/gal believing in you?
Rain postponed game 5 of the NLCS. Glavin gets an extra days rest and things are starting to look brighter for the Mets.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mets 3- Dodgers 0, Iron Men

The Mets won, swept the Dodgers and on Wednesday they play the Cardinals at Shea. Saturday night's game will always be associated with "Iron Man". This goes to show you how advertising gets in your ears. Watching sporting events on TV (especially if it's the same network, Fox in this case) makes you imune to the visuals or the branding in the commercials as they repeat the same ads over and over. I saw one spot that takes place in an office and I think it's for Burger King, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. A car company- see the branding was lost on me again- uses the intro to Iron Man in their spot. I think I heard it at least once an inning. Now it's been in my head for the past three days. It didn't help promote the vehicle, but it makes me want to go to iTunes and download the song. Viva La Ozzy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mets 2 Dodgers 0

1986 Let's go Mets Video (FULL)

The Mets are up two games to none. Here's the 1986 Video Let's Go Mets. Quality isn't great, but it's worth watching to relive the glory days of '86. Fast forward 20 years and we're back in it again. Hopefully this team will not 1. Record a song or 2. Make a video.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mets 1 Dodgers 0

Mets up by one game. Game two tonight. Just when you think you've seen everything in baseball: Double play at the plate! Kudos to LoDuca who is also the answer to my last entry.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


PLAY BALL! Those are some of the sweetest word one can utter. The Mets, my addiction since 1969, begin the playoffs against the Dodgers today. This leads me to list songs that factor in Mets history. I doubt you will be downloading any of these into your iPod, but they did have their moment.
1. Meet the Mets. The team's theme song which is still used today. It was written in 1961 before the team played a single game by Ruth Roberts and Bill Katz. If I remember correctly, the version we hear now, which was recorded in 1984, is sung by Joy Askew who sang with Joe Jackson during his hit making days. The original version is awash in it's banjo and clarinet glory.
2. 1986 was a big year in song for the Mets starting with Get Metsmerized. Ok this is scary. A Mets rap! Maxim says that Darryl Strawberry's first wife Lisa sang background vocals. (We are going to ignore his single Chocolate Strawberry) Ponder these lyrics: I'm George Foster, I love this team/the Mets are better than the Red Machine or Lenny D. your spirit's contagious/what ya do to your body is really outrageous or my favorite rhyme When they want a batter filled with terror/they call on me, Rick Aguilera.
3. Let's Go Mets Go Not only was this a song/record, but it was a video. The scary facts according to Shelly Palmers website (he wrote and recorded the song): This was a gold record meaning 500,000 units were sold and the video went triple platinum. I confess to buying the record. There was a rumor, which my friends and I may have started, that Mookie Wilson sang lead on the song.
4. The Mets also had an album out after they won in 1969, but I think that was audio highights from the games. There seems to be a remastered CD out there with naration by Lindsey Nelson. I read somewhere that the Mets sang classics like You Gotta Have Heart on this record. This I am not aware of this and maybe it's better left unheard.
Of note: When WNEW-FM was a rock station in '86, they recorded parodies such as Lenny & the Mets using the backing track for Benny & the Jets.
Current sounds at Shea: Boggie Shoes. Who is at bat?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Labrador, Minty Fresh and Ba-ba-ba

There are three ways I find music 1. On Sirius 2. Through a friend 3. Blogs. It's a treat when the music leads you to a band/person/song you hadn't thought about in awhile. Through the 3Hive Site I was directed to Labrador, which is a pop label based in Sweden. On their roster is one of the most intriguing band names I've come across, Suburban Kids with Biblical Names. I had to listen to Rent A Wreck Link . From the first Ba-ba-ba's I had a smile on my face. This led me to the band's US label which is Minty Fresh, which was founded by Jim Powers a great music guy I had the pleasure of working with when he was at BMG. Music is the great connector.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sirius - Siriusly bad signals

I really enjoy having Sirius when I can get it. I listen to Howard in the morning, music the rest of the day: World Cafe, Vin Scelsa, Meg Griffin, Pappy and Bruce Lundvall. Left of Center was playing Apples in Stereo. I'd forgotten how much fun that band is. I didn't actually get the whole song - this morning my listening has been peppered with the dreaded "acquiring signal" message, which essentially means no reception. That message much like the spinning beach ball of death on Mac OSX can stall a good mood. This has been happening too frequently. I really would have lost it if it was a new Howard this morning. I wonder what kind of signal the new Stiletto will get as a portable? Check out the Apples- Love their website.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

All Night Chemists

Those of you who grew up in the music of the 60's, 70's and 80's and were passionate about it, should pay attention. All Night Chemists is the artist for those who say there is no good music out there anymore. The Chemists do all those things we remember our favorite bands (would they be called classic rock now?) doing right:
1. Making an album you can listen to from start to finish.
2. Writing songs. Don't laugh, there's a lot of stuff (notice how I avoided the word music) out there now that's not songs by any stretch. It's notes, but not necessarily songs.
3. Arranging. There was thought put into the arrangements of these songs.
4. Putting on a great live show. After seeing a Chemists performance, you'll know that rock is not dead. Len Monachello, the head Chemist plays guitar, keyboards, bass and you might even find him behind the drum kit. He also carries lead vocals. Brandon Wilde on bass/vocals and Andy LaDue on drums round out the trio. If you're in NYC come see them this Friday the 29th at the Living Room or October 11th at Rockwood. Listen to the band. Spread the word.

Monday, September 25, 2006


This is my initial blog. I've been in the music business for many years, am opinionated when it comes to music and pop culture and think the over 30 crowd has been sorely overlooked when it comes to music on and off the web. I will be tireless in promoting All Night Chemists. I hope to invite friends to post their thoughts (and files) to create a community of music loving, passionate and inspired people to keep the dialogue fresh and informative.