Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Musicians We Lost in 2010

NPR has a photo wall of musicians that died this year. Click on a name and hear a sample of her/his music. I was surprised to learn that Kate McGarrigle had died in January of 2010.  Not only the mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, but a fixture of folk music in New York City.  The McGarrigle sisters will always be associated with The Bottom Line in my mind.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ralphie and A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story is one of my favorite yule time movies (only How the Grinch Stole Christmas could top it).  Peter Billingsley starred as Ralphie.  All he wanted was a Red Ryder BB gun under his tree.  The semi-autobiographical story was written by Jean Shepherd.   Jean was also the film's narrator.  Peter has turned the book/movie into a theatrical production running now in Seattle complete with a leg lamp kick line.  

Nightline talked to Peter Billingsley who gave us some insight into the "stick your tongue on the frozen pole scene".  If a bully dares you to to it, pass.  In the movie, it was a fake pole with a hole in it so the actor could stick his tongue in it.  Looked pretty convincing to me. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why Your Band Can't Get Tour Support: The Label Spent It All On Lobbying

The Music Industry Report tells us that Universal Music Group spent $790,000 in the 3rd quarter to lobby the federal government to vote for a bill that would pay labels for songs played over the radio.  This reminds me of a conversation I had with Los Lobos' new A&R guy at Hollywood Records. The band had just signed to the label after being on Slash/WB.   There were great marketing plans on the table.  The problem I was told about a month before album release, was that the label spent all it's money marketing a flop by Jesse Camp.  There wasn't a budget for Los Lobos.  I'm betting no one even remembers the lanky VJ on MTV who tried to have a music career.  Can you imagine your band has already done all the social networking,  is about to release an album and go on the road, but all the marketing behind it has to be halted because there is no left? The label spent it all on lobbying a cause that would never put a dime in your pockets.  I hope no one has met that fate.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Buy A Piece of This Video

Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie has been viewed over 16 million times on YouTube.  As Techdirt points out  Oren is giving his fans a reason to buy. It's a stop motion video which was created by shooting 2096 frames with a still camera. Each of these frames is signed and  for sale starting at $250 for one frame.  1761 are left to purchase according to the HME Gallery website.  The video was storyboarded in animatics.  The gallery has an intro that breaks down the elements of the video.  It is nominated for a Grammy.  The video was originally released as a free download on iTunes in January of 2009. It was downloaded 200,000 times in that first week.

According to his website, he hasn't toured the US since February.   He was born in Tel Aviv. and studied theater in London.  In 2001, he moved to NY directing plays and devoting more time to songwriting.  After two years in NY, he settled in Berlin.  He is the author of funny books for sad children, as his MySpace page states. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Relive The Tom Petty Shows

If you attended a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers show this summer, you were given a code which allowed you to download the band's latest record Mojo for free.  As a Christmas gift, the band sent out an email yesterday so fans could download 8 live tracks recorded on the tour.  Choose your format. Some of the songs included are I Won't Back Down (Charlotte), Breakdown (Bristow, VA) and Good Enough (Philly). 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“Being rich and famous is hard,but being poor and famous is hell.”

So says Dee Snider.  He's quoted in a NY Times article.  His career has come full circle. He's now appearing until Dec 24th in the Broadway musical Rock of Ages.   It's a role he lobbied for after seeing the show.  During my high school years, his band Twisted Sister were ubiquitous on Long Island.  They played Speaks, Hammerheads, etc.  You name the club, they would have played it. Then they had their biggest hit, "We're Not Gonna Take It". As he says, you have to live a life if you're not Billy Joel or Elton John.  In the 1990's when offers were not forthcoming, he worked in businesses with his brother and his wife.  Dee keeps it going.  He had a short-lived reality show.  The band has been touring. Now he's on Broadway. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Karen Carpenter

Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen CarpenterThere seemed to be two sides to Karen Carpenter’s story.   Both play out in the book Little Girl Blue.  She admits to how lucky she was to be able to sing and perform for a living.  It brought her money and adoration from fans. She loved playing the drums and she loved performing.  On the other hand, according to the accounts in this book, in her mother’s eyes she was always second fiddle to her brother Richard.  The family moved heaven and earth so that Richard could have a music career.  The mother thought that relocating to Los Angeles from New Haven, CT would further Richard’s career.  This may have worked, but it also put the spotlight on Karen, something her mother Agnes would have never predicted.  Towards the end of Karen’s life, she has a meeting with her therapist, mother, father and brother.  Her mother was unable to tell Karen she loves her. 

I read this book back to back with Tatum O’Neal’s A Paper Life, another story of parenting gone awry. (In an ironic note, Karen’s mother’s maiden name is Tatum.  O’Neal was named after jazz musician Art Tatum.)  In Tatum’s case, both parents turn to either/or drugs and alcohol, essentially leaving the children to raise themselves.  In Karen’s story, her parents are very present. Her mother would probably be called a helicopter mom today.  She rules her kids.  No one can make a move without her.  When the duo leaves the house (Karen was already 26 at this point), they both feel guilty.  Ironically Karen spent the last night of her life in Richard’s old bedroom in her parent’s house, although she had her own home. 

At its core, this book is really about the love between brother and sister that was maybe too deep for them to address what was going on around them.  Karen worshipped Richard and felt guilty about recording her solo record. She did it while Richard was in rehab. I remember when she was recording that record.  She spent time in New York.  Phil Ramone produced the album and all I kept thinking was why is Karen Carpenter doing a disco record?  Richard and A&M hated it. It must have felt like a blow to the head. She shelved it.   To listen to that record now, it has production undertones of disco but it isn’t a pull out all the stops disco record.  It was finally released posthumously in 1996, the way Karen had approved it.  Some of the best parts of this book are the discussions with Ramone, the musicians who played on those sessions and how the record came together.  Karen used some of her own money.  Ramone recruited Billy Joel’s band, including drummer Liberty DeVitto, for most of the album.  DeVitto is candid about falling in love with Karen during this time, but he never acted on it. He was married and had no idea how Karen felt about him. 

She stayed in touch with old friends from her neighborhood in New Haven.  She had solid girlfriends in Los Angeles and New York, including Olivia Newton-John and Phil Ramone’s wife Itchy Ramone.  She let Richard handle the Carpenters' career.  At one point she dated Terry Ellis, artist manager and co-founder of Chrysalis Music.  He speaks lovingly of Karen (just about everyone in this book speaks highly of her, which is probably why it was so hard to confront her about her illness).  Ellis was interim manager for the band.  Not wanting to get too involved, he suggested Karen acknowledge her audience and play to them.  He saw their live show and couldn’t believe how dreadful it was.  Richard felt nobody noticed him, although he was the one arranging the songs and making sure every note was played properly.  Their show was known for it’s precise recreation of the albums.  Ellis suggested Richard be introduced before Karen and take his place as the conductor.  Both suggestions greatly improved a stiff live show. 

The saddest part of this story is that Karen basically killed herself, although I’m sure she didn’t think she was doing that. She was trying to control a situation in her life. She had a lousy marriage, which was scheduled to end on the day she died (she never made it to the lawyer’s to sign the papers).  She controlled it by drinking ipecac syrup, which is what used to be given to kids who swallowed poison.  It’s not only a vomit inducer, but it also weakens the heart muscle.  Between that and the medicine she was taking to accelerate her thyroid, there is no way her body could stand it. 

I was fascinated by Karen’s voice. I really took notice when I heard their Christmas record. When they were a viable band, it was hard for me to get past their dated clothes and strange haircuts.  The music was sappy.  Richard Carpenter’s arrangements were exceptional, just not my cup of tea.   It’s easy to speculate on what would have happened if Karen got better before her body shut down.  I’d bet that she would be considered one of the premier singers today and would have been able to sustain a long career. 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dexter and the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Although Dexter's sidekick this year is not as brash as Lisbeth Salander, there is a similar thread.  They both wanted and got revenge on those who did them wrong and they will stop at nothing to get it done.  Both are smart about how they operate and they both seem to have fallen in love with the man who is by their side.  Julia Stiles' Lumen is the perfect co-conspirator for Dexter.  Yes it does seem like he has found love quickly on the heels of his wife's murder.  How better to get over seeing your wife in a pool of blood?  Lumen gets Dexter. She's the only person besides his deceased father who understands him. He can be himself with her.  Next week is the season finale.  We'll see how much of Lisbeth is in Lumen.

On another Dexter note, Showtime is renewing it for a sixth season. 

Friday, December 03, 2010

100 Digital Albums at $5 A Piece

Amazon has this $5 special running for the month of December with titles ranging from Rosanne Cash's  The List to The Monkees Greatest Hits to The Very Very Best of Crowded House to Big Bad World from Plain White T's. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Billy Idol To Tell All

80% of my reading list lately seems to be celebrity autobiographies/biographies.   I just finished the Karen Carpenter story, Little Girl Blue.  Here's another to add to my future list.  It looks like birthday boy Billy Idol will be penning his own story to come out the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012 to be published by Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster.  No surprise that the book will be titled Dancing With Myself.  Per Billy's website he wrote, “Life gave me a golden key when I fell in love with rock n roll music.  It was the key to the answer of how to live and achieve your dreams. This world opened up to me with all the good opportunities but also every temptation—the drugs, the booze, the women, the 24-hour around-the-clock excess. And yet you have to write good songs to survive. Life had to be lived to do all that! Now I’m putting it all down in book form—from the heart. I’m going out on a limb here, so watch my back.”  Who  he needs to watch his back?  I'm sure he's getting a nice advance to tell all.  

Perri Lister will more than likely make an appearance in his book as she does in the Hot In The City video.  The site of her being raised on a cross in the final moments of the song prompted MTV to ban the video. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pomplamoose Commercial a 180 From Train

Pomplamoose is in the holiday commercial for Sonata.  I recently talked about the ill-conceived Train holiday commercial for Coke and the Sonata spot is the complete opposite of it.  It looks like Pomplamoose created, shot and edited the spot. It definitely takes a big cue from their music videos.  It's them; it's fun and it gets your attention. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Is Epic Records Hearing A Death Knell?

The Hollywood Reporter has an interesting article on who killed Epic Records. Rob Stringer chairman of the Sony Music Label Group goes on record, yet there are quotes from others at the diminished label.  Amanda Ghost the songwriter (You're Beautiful -hit for James Blunt) is the main focus of the label's demise.  She was hired 20 months ago for the excitement and enthusiasm that Stringer though she would bring to Epic.  According to co-workers she showed excitement by throwing a CD across the room. 

Two of my top 10 favorite albums of all time were on Epic: Heaven Tonight by Cheap Trick and London Calling by The Clash.  It would be a shame to see a label with such a great past go down the drain.  This piece seems to think it's inevitable. 

Censoring the Internet

A post in TechDirt prompted this post.  Yesterday the Senate voted to censor the Internet. The bill they unanimously supported is Combating Online Infringement  and Counterfeit Acts aka  COICA.  The bill would allow seizure of domain names accused of aiding piracy.  No surprise that the RIAA and Hollywood were 100% behind the bill.  TechDirt listed some of the Senators who voted for the bill and some of these are real suprises including my senator, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken and Dianne Feinstein.  There is a bit of hypocrisy here.  While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is chastising China for their censorship of the Internet, our senators are doing the same thing here. 

The following is the email I sent to Sen Schumer today.  If you think this is a violation of the First Amendment, it's time to contact your senator. 

Dear Sen Schumer,
I usually agree with your voting, but am very disappointed that you supported the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.   I have worked in the music business for over 25 years and I've slowly seen the record companies destroy their own business.  Having them back a bill like this is just one more nail in their coffin and government officials like you should not support their efforts to censor.  They tried doing it with DRM and they will continue to do it, when all they need to do is listen to the consumer and put out quality product. 

Please rethink this bill. Censorship of the Internet is last thing we need in this country.  How can we chastise China, when we're trying to do the same thing here?

Paula Sartorius

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pardoning Jim Morrison

It appears that Florida may pardon Jim Morrison for his indecent exposure conviction.  Governor Charlie Crist is strongly considering revoking the conviction.  Never underestimate the power of a fan.  According to CBS NewsThe issue was brought to Crist's attention by Dave Diamond, a Doors fan from Dayton, Ohio, who wrote the governor last month.  There doesn't seem to be any hard evidence that Jim actually did expose himself.  He alluded it to it from stage.  The alleged incident happened on March 1, 1969 at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove.  Jim was appealing the conviction and decided to move to Paris to get away from it all. He died before his appeal would be heard.  Here is an account from a 16 year old who attended the trial.  Interestingly this is posted on the website for the Washington Squares, a band that was omnipresent in New York in the 1980's. Not sure what the connection is.  Of note:  their photo gallery is great fun.   

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BIlly Joel on Howard Stern

Although he complained about the early hour's effect on his voice, Billy Joel was charming, frank and informative in his interview today with Howard Stern.  Howard warmed up the piano early in the show by playing Twilight Zone.  Billy wanted to take a bathroom break midway through his interview.  Howard was fearing that Billy would leave and not come back, so he instructed Gary to lock all the exits. Not only did Billy return, but it sounded like he was willing to stay all day. He'd love to come back as long as it was after 5pm.   What is Billy up to these days? He is the owner of a motorcycle shop that he does not expect to make any money.  20th Century Motorcycles opened this week in Oyster Bay, LI. 

Here are some interesting tidbits from the interview:

"Laziness can be a terrific ingenuity."  Billy was talking about how Scenes From An Italian Restaurant came about.  He referred to the B Side of Abbey Road.  George Martin took three unfinished songs and pieced them together as one. Billy said he spoke to Paul McCartney about this and that's exactly how that happened.  He also had three unfinished songs and pieced them together for Italian Restaurant

Billy dissected and later played Summer, Highland Falls.  He wanted the music to reflect his ups and downs, his sadness and euphoria.  He played the basic outline of the song which was musical ups and downs and then filled it in to what we now know as that wonderful song. 

Bob Dylan, always protective or over the top, depending on how you look at it, had a guy deliver a tape of the song To Make You Feel My Love that he wanted Billy to cover.  Billy said Bob sent the guy so he could take the tape back.  The song appears on his Greatest Hits Volume lll

There was a brief conversation about forming a one time super group with Sting and Don Henley.  It never got past the talking stage.

Allentown was originally going to be called Levittown, but the lyrics were so boring, he decided to change locales. 

Big Shot was written as if Mick Jagger were singing to his then wife, Bianca.  Billy went to dinner with the both of them and it seemed to him that Mick was over Bianca and her lifestyle. 

A little insight into a prolific career. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Phases of Bettye LaVette

This headline is a bit misleading. It might pertain to her career, but not her being.   There is an intriguing profile of Bettye LaVette in the New Yorker's Nov 15th issue by Alec Wilkinson.  She seems to have done things her way and without compromise. What you see is what you get.  She speaks her mind.  The piece describes an encounter with a fan who happens to be an ex-musician.  When referring to music, she says to him,  "Why do you white guys have to study it so much?"  He says, "I guess I do it for the love." Her response to him, "It's music.  It never saved nobody's life.  We still don't have a cure for cancer.  Honey, if I'm dying of cancer I don't want you to sing to me by my bedside."  This is probably the biggest clue into why it's taken till now for her to receive the adulation that seemed long overdue.  Her life isn't all about music.  Mr Parker asked her if it was true that she didn't listen to music.  She responded that she didn't want to sound arrogant,  but she's not a fan of music.

Bettye killed at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, which I've already written about. This was most likely her crowning moment, singing a song she originally wanted nothing to do with. She has regrets. Mistake #1 as she called it, was demanding that Atlantic let her out of her recording contract.  This was very early in her career.  Her first record was released in 1962 when she was still a teenager.  The beauty of Wilkinson's writing is that he doesn't judge, he lets her story unfold.  Bettye's brashness is evident.  She comes across not so much as a survivor (despite getting pregnant at 15, her childhood seemed stable), but as a determined individual who goes with her gut.  Alec refers to her Kennedy Center performance as intended.  "I didn't come there to try anything," she told him.  "Whoever else in on that show, they have to die tonight.  I haven't had the opportunity to be adored already when I walk out onstage."  "If I have to rise to the occasion of killing you, I will."  That's determination.  That's honesty.  She performed like she was going to battle.  When she hit the stage, she commanded it.

Singing the Townshend song must have inspired her most recent record, Interpretations, in which she covers the British songbook.  She hated the British Invasion, as it took over the radio and knocked she and her fellow R&B musicians off the charts.  With new arrangements, she has clearly come to terms with the Brits.  It's another phase in her career, one that seems to put the spotlight on her. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Holiday Train Wreck

Hypebot is spot on.   They describe the new Coca Cola commercial, which uses Train's song "Shake Up Christmas":  (the spot) totally derails a perfectly good holiday moment. The song is a very odd choice for a Christmas ad. Train's lead singer Pat Monahan was quoted in Reuters as saying, "I think of what I did with 'Shake Up Christmas' as a 'how can I help'" spread some happiness."   The commercial is cluttered and noisy. His idea of spreading happiness is lost in the mix.

Here's a Christmas ad that got it right.  I managed Luscious Jackson when they performed "Let It Snow" for a Gap ad.  It's fun, it's grabs your attention and the ladies are all wearing Gap.  Kudos to Sparkle Beauty Studio for making the ladies shine. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Karma from a Bad Bad World

Bad Bad World from Guster on Vimeo.

Guster engages their audience and therefore, they have a very loyal fan base.  The band recently asked fans to submit a video (in their quest to create 12 videos from 12 directors for the 12 songs on their album Easy Wonderful -they just accomplished that goal.) for the song Bad Bad World.  Guster crowned director Nora McCormack at Soft Shell Productions, the winner.  She randomly gave pedestrians in Portland, ME $10 and asked them to find a way to change a stranger's life with that money.  The resulting video renews your faith in humankind. As the band said "Nora, you made us weep, and you made us want to be better people."

These times are strange
I can feel it in the night
I'm standing in the dark
Holding up for the light
And here I'll remain
Til the great sun shines
Standing in the dark
Waiting up for the light 

Watch the video, listen to the song.  It will put you in a good mood.  

Monday, November 08, 2010

Barnabas Collins Is Back

I used to rush home from school to watch Dark Shadows. If memory serves, it came on after General Hospital at about 4pm.  Do we need a film version of it?  The show was so campy, so who else better to play the main vampire Barnabas Collins (originally played by Jonathan Frid) then Johnny Depp.  No surprise that Tim Burton is directing.  Will Kate Jackson be making a cameo?

Friday, November 05, 2010

What To Do With EMI?

Andrew Dubber has an interesting take on what to do with EMI's assets on his site Deleting Music.  He is suggesting the British government buy the assets from Citigroup at a fire sale price and nationalize the archives.  He argues that in the hands of the wrong people, the archives could be partially destroyed or lost.  He has a point. How many pieces of film or tape have been lost through corporate buyouts, mishandling or just plain negligence.  There is a trove of our past in those EMI archives.  I would love to be the one working on an archival project like that.  There is always the thought:  How much more stuff can they find that hasn't already been released?  I think we'd all be surprised what would be unearthed if someone had the respect for the music and the insight to archive and digitize the catalog.   I love the Beach Boys and I'd be happy to hear or see something I've never experienced. Let's hope it gets in the right hands.

Yesterday Citigroup won a legal dispute in New York against Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. over the U.K. firm’s 2007 acquisition of music company EMI Group. Read more at the WSJ.

Monday, November 01, 2010

An Argument For Happy Birthday

Should the song Happy Birthday To You be in the public domain?  Ben Sisto at freeculture.org thinks so. He meticulously documents the copyright history of the song.  Ben points out that the song is a derivative work  using folk song lyrics and combining them with the melody to the song Good Morning To All written by and copyrighted to Mildred Hill in 1893.  The original lyrics to GMTA were written by her sister Patty Smith Hill.  Warner Music currently owns the copyright on Happy Birthday which expires in 2030.  As techdirt mentions, the song generates about $2 million per year.  I thought that Paul McCartney had the song in his publishing arsenal, but it turns out it is in the hands of the Patty and Mildred Hill estate.  McCartney's MPL does own the rights to the Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).  Would love to know what that generates in royalties each year.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Game 2 World Series: The Theme Songs

As I was watching game two of the World Series, song titles popped  into my head to describe the action that was unfolding on the field.  The score looks worse than the game actually was for the Rangers.  The Giants had a huge 8th inning, scoring 7 runs to make it looks easy. 

Matt Cain-  Less Than Zero
Giants Pitching - Shut Down
8th Inning - Walk This Way
Texas Relievers - Free Fallin'

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baba Booey and Casey Kasem

They Call Me Baba BooeyTwo media greats Baba Booey (Gary Dell'Abate) and Casey Kasem come together for this trailer for Gary's autobiography,  They Call Me Baba Booey.  Casey narrates the ad for the book which comes out November 2nd. Gary follows in the footsteps of boss Howard Stern and his co-workers who also penned books, Robin Quivers and Artie Lange.  Some of the funniest Stern moments were Jackie Martling's readings of Robin's book.  It would be great to bring him back to take on Baba Booey.  Fred Norris is the last hold out. He is also the least vocal of the group, except when getting fired up over whether Carol Alt is a supermodel or not.  Will he be the next to pen his life story?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World Series Tonight, I Hope You Can Watch It

I live in two places.  In one of them we subscribe to Cablevision, which means that if I were on Long Island tonight, I would miss game one of the World Series and most likely the whole series.  Fox has just turned down Cablevision's latest offer according to the LA Times.  Being a big baseball fan, I can't miss the World Series, which means I will be staying in New York City this weekend.  My plans are dicatated by two conglomerates who can't get their acts together.  Having 3 million homes cut out of the World Series is criminal. The FCC spent way too much time on Howard Stern and it seems like they are ignoring this issue.  Isn't it more important that 3 million people get to see baseball then worrying about Howard and Co talking to strippers?

The New York Times has a pictorial on baseball gloves over the years.  It's amazing that the early players didn't have a hand injury a game. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ari-Up Founder of The Slits Dies

Ari-Up founder of the 70's female punk band The Slits died of a serious illness on Wednesday. Her death was reported on Johnny Lydon's website.  He was her step father.  Arianna Forster was 14 when she founded The Slits.  According to the NY Times, she met drummer Palmolive at a Clash concert and they formed the band.  The Slits wound up opening for The Clash.  Whenever think of The Slits, the album cover for Cut comes to mind.  The ladies are clad in mud and loin cloths.  Ari-Up was 48 and had three sons. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We Are R-A-T-T-L-E-S

Yahoo Kids debuts the new video R-A-T-T-L-E-S, from my favorite furry pop band, The Rattles. It will make Elvis Costello, The Ramones and The Bay City Rollers proud.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last Play At Shea: Billy Joel's Candid Interview with Howard Stern

'THE LAST PLAY AT SHEA' Theatrical Trailer from D&E Entertainment on Vimeo.

Howard Stern has once again proved to be the best interviewer in media.  He engaged Billy Joel in a phone interview today that was revealing, passionate and funny.  Joel was on to promote the one night (October 21st)  in theaters only showing of Last Play At Shea, which is a documentary he financed about not only his last concert at Shea Stadium, but also takes a look at the history of Shea.  As Darryl Strawberry says so eloquently in the trailer, "Yeah it was a dump, but it was our dump."

It in his interview Billy said Shea Stadium is basically the point where Long Island meets New York City. He grew up a Dodger fan and moved over to the Yankees when the Dodgers abandoned NY.  When The Mets appeared on the scene, he was happy to have National League baseball back.  He's a New York baseball fan. 

When Billy saw the Beatles, he decided he wanted to be a musician.  He even wore a Wells Fargo badge during his performances as Shea, just as the Beatles had done in the 60's.  He said The Beatles were driven in a Well Fargo truck to Shea and the driver gave them the badges which they wore.  Billy describes driving to Shea for the last performance and gets a call from Paul McCartney saying "I'm not sure my flight will land on time to make it to the show."  Billy explained that air traffic control gave Paul's flight clearance to land before others, so Paul could make it to Shea for the show.  The thrill must have been unbelievable for Joel.  It all came full circle. 

It seems that every detail has been covered in this documentary.  Pete Flynn deservedly gets his due.  If you're a Mets fan, I don't have to tell you who he is.

On the non-baseball side, Billy talked about his father who was from Germany and left the family when he was 8.  His father's family lost a profitable business to the Nazis. His dad was a frustrated musician, although Billy said he loved hearing his father play the piano.  He has a half brother who is a musical conductor. 

Howard asked him about his favorite song from his catalog.   He named a few including  Lullabye,  New York State of Mind and Summer Highland Falls, which is probably my favorite Billy Joel song.   Surprising, Billy said his favorite albums are the later ones, from Glass Houses on.  Was his mother mad that he decided to be a musician and skip school?  He said she just wanted him to be fulfilled and happy.  Here is the money point:  Billy said, "I had the fire" which is probably why he was so successful after many pitfalls, including having the Cold Spring Harbor album incorrectly mastered. The whole album was sped up, making him sound like a chipmunk.  Of course no interview of Howard's would be complete without asking about groupies.  Joel said they didn't have those kind of groupies.  The Billy Joel groupies wanted to be the band's friends. 

"Don't take shit from anyone." Howard said the last line he utters to the audience must have been calculated.  Billy was happy that the bullying issue is being addressed. He hates bullies.  To counter the bullies that would torment him on his way to piano lessons, he took up boxing.  His distaste of bullies probably led to him closing the show with that line. 

Howard mentioned he only has 29 shows left on Sirius (I guess the talks to keep him there have ceased) and he wants Billy to come back.   They'll bring in a piano and he'll talk about his songwriting (he writes the music first and the lyrics come later).  I agree with Howard, I could have listened to Billy talk all day. Can't wait for him to return to the show.