The Sex Pistols: Cocked, Loaded, and Firing F Bombs on British Telly

Dec 1, 2016 | 5514 Views | 3 Comments

It all started because Queen frontman Freddie Mercury had to go to the dentist, and his band was forced to cancel a scheduled TV appearance at the last minute. That bit of serendipity gave the U.K. public its first taste of the menace known as the Sex Pistols. On December 1, 1976, the punk rock band was summoned to the studios of Thames Television's Today program, an early evening live talk show hosted by Bill Grundy. The program's producers offered its substitute guests the customary assortment of alcoholic treats as they waited in the green room... Read More »

Giving Thanks — To the Forces that Fueled Rock-n-Roll

Nov 24, 2016 | 5578 Views | 6 Comments

Today, as I give thanks for all the people, events and opportunities that have enriched my life, I'd also like to acknowledge my gratitude for the cosmic forces that came together in the 20th century to create the music that saved my soul: rock and roll. I am thankful... That Woody Guthrie crusaded for the common people, inspiring hope and self-respect through his words, wit and wisdom. That blues great Robert Johnson went down to The Crossroads. That record producer and civil rights activist John Hammond chucked his aristocratic roots, devoted his life to the racial integration of music, and... Read More »

Happy Rockin’ Velvet Revolution Day, Czechoslovakia!

Nov 17, 2016 | 5916 Views | 2 Comments

Post-communist Czechoslovakia was a country reborn of the fire of rock and roll! Today is the 27th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution, a peaceful student-led anti-government protest movement that led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in December 1989. The name of the revolution stemmed directly from Lou Reed's Velvet Underground, the house band of Andy Warhol's Silver Factory art gallery/performance space in the 1960s. The Velvets' stripped-down, subterranean sound and nihilistic attitude made them a favorite among avant-garde Czechs seeking mind-expanding alternatives to bland Soviet-spun art, literature, and music. Within six weeks of... Read More »

Mr. DeMille, He’s Ready for his Close-up: Gram on Film

Nov 5, 2016 | 4355 Views | 0 Comments

Honky tonk honey Gram Parsons loved being in the spotlight. Whether he was singing and strumming on stage or posing for the camera in fancy finery and eyeliner, he was always the most exotic cat in the room. With his pretty face, Southern charm, and puppy-dog charisma, I believe he might have been just as adept at acting as he was at writing and performing country-infused rock. Like so many young male artists growing up in the 1950s, he no doubt envied Elvis's innate ability to make love to the camera. Whether or not he'd ever... Read More »

Tolerance, Hairdo Envy, and Bad First Dates: Lessons Learned from Frankie & His Bride

Oct 31, 2016 | 9234 Views | 7 Comments

Ah, you always remember your first time. There I was, in a dimly lit room...body tense and trembling under crisp sheets…heartbeat wild in anticipation…breaths short and shallow…spellbound by my first glimpse of something big, scary, and invasive…a spectacle that would excite me for the rest of my life: the 1935 classic, "The Bride of Frankenstein." I had already been wowed by the film's predecessor: the 1931 thriller about a doctor named Frankenstein who assembles a man from the body parts of the dead, using safe, clean, affordable electricity to bring him to life. At first the bolt-necked... Read More »