Friday, February 29, 2008


With all the people who DESERVE to suffer and die out there, why does crap like this happen? The fates couldn't have let him hang on for another couple of weeks? Give the guy a break.


That kind of shit drives me crazy. So now the attendees will be the Dave Clark Three. Well, I hope they crank it up so Mike and Denis Payton (who died in 2006) can hear it.


PBS showed a special on Pete Seeger the other night and I wasn't alerted to it until it was over. Does anybody locally know if they're gonna run it again?


I achieved a first last night. I've been a semi-regular at an open mic in Tempe at a sports bar called...damn, I can't remember. Let me go look...ah yes, the Final Round! On Mill just north of Baseline. Anyway, last night I actually got the ENTIRE BAR to shut up and listen to one of my songs. I think the fact that it's called "I Saw Your Daughter In a Porno" is what did it...


Thursday, February 28, 2008


Over on my friend Nancy Freeman's blog, which you can click to over there on the right, she got a request to list seven things that she thinks people don't know about her. So I figured, what the hell, I might as well try that.

Thing is, I'm pretty open about stuff. But here goes:

1. I have an unexplainable, and totally unfounded, fear of bridges and overpasses. It doesn't keep me from using them but it's there. (Oddly, I have absolutely no fear whatsoever about crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.)

2. Despite what it looks like, I have a terrible problem having intelligent conversations with women who I don't know very well. I blame my Catholic upbringing.

3. I have been practicing massage as a hobby for more than 30 years. (All you have to do is ask.) And I'm REALLY good for an amateur.

4. I don't "get" Bruce Springsteen. I've never liked his stuff. Or Jackson Browne. Or the Eagles, except for songs they recorded that were written by Jack Tempchin. (Oh, and "I Can't Tell You Why," which was written by Timothy B. Schmidt.) "Desperado" may well be the most grating song in the history of 1970s music after "Free Bird."

5. My first steady girlfriend was a drug addict. I thought I could change her. WRONG.

6. My first appearance on stage was in a 1972 school production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." I played CB.

7. While I can take or leave most classical music, I am a HUGE Haydn fan. I think he was better than Mozart. It doesn't get much better than that.

Now tell me seven things about you!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


...now you kids just get outa my goddamn yard...


I don't look much better than Mike Nesmith but I will be playing at Fiddler's Dream this Saturday during their spring festival. I'm on at 1:30 or so. Come on out! 17th St. and Glendale!


Friday, February 22, 2008


The answer to one of the greatest rock trivia questions died a few days ago from a brain tumor.

Scot Halpin.

Ever heard of him?

That's okay, I didn't know his name either until I read his obit.

Scot Halpin was "The Guy."

The guy who lived everybody's rock and roll dream by being in the right place at the right time.

1973. San Francisco. Halpin, then 19, and a buddy are standing at the front of the stage at a Who concert when Keith Moon, who had prepared for the show by downing a handful of pills and washing it down with booze, flat-out passed out with about three songs left to the Who's set. A frustrated Pete Townshend sort of half-kidding, says, "Can anybody out there play drums? I mean, GOOD."

Halpin's buddy immediately starts yelling, "HE can play! HE plays the drums!"

The Who does not hear this, but Bill Graham, the promoter, does. He comes over.

"Can you really play?"

"YES!" says Halpin's buddy. Halpin was too dumbstruck to say anything. Fact was, he hadn't sat down behind a kit in over a year, but he wasn't about to say that.

Graham ushers him backstage, hands him a shot of brandy to calm his nerves, and next thing you know, he's sitting in with the WHO. For three whole songs.

I bet he never had to buy a beer for himself ever again.

There's even visual proof! Go to Youtube and search "Scot Halpin" and you can see it!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue came out last week and when it arrived in my mailbox I was not overly impressed at first. I'm one of those people who's never really understood the reason for this thing to exist -- except as a brand expansion of the SI name. Which is good and fair and right in a capitalist economy. (Long ago, the swimsuit issue was merely the issue that had a short photo essay on the latest swimsuits. But over time, it got its own publication -- presumably to silence the prudes who refuse to admit their teenage sons are growing up and didn't want that issue in their homes.)

But the BEST thing about the SISI (nice acronym I just made up, eh?) this year is the ads. The companies who advertise in it know that you're gonna skip over the ads if they don't do something apropos for the publication. Next time you're in the store, check out the ads in the issue. Some of them are absolutely hilarious. And Taco Bell's three-page idea is brilliant.


Tonight, if you're a Suns fan, will be interesting. As you must know, even if you're not a basketball fan, About three weeks ago the Suns picked up Shaquille O'Neal off the Miami Heat's injured list. He's all better now because he's on a team that's winning.
Tonight, Shaq makes his Suns debut against his old team the L.A. Lakers and his FAVORITE human being, Kobe Bryant.

I think the lakers will probably win the game tonight because Shaq's gotta get the hang of how the Suns play before he's going to be very effective.

But I hope I'm wrong!


While the Suns are playing downtown I will be several miles northwest of there at the Encanto Park Clubhouse tonight! Come on by! Music starts at 7:00!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Chances are you don't live in an area where the Dr. Demento show is played anymore.

At last check on line, only about 12 radio stations are still playing the show.

I guess if you join the Demento society, you can still hear it on line and I guess that's where most of the Doctor's good listeners are these days.

But things have changed since the first of the year.

There's no "Funny Five' anymore. Now there's the ten most requested songs of the month, played the last show of the month.

Maybe the Doc is getting ready to retire.

Maybe he's had enough.

But Dr. D, if you're out there I just want you to know how much I appreciate the fact that you played my stuff. And good luck, no matter how long you hang on!


Monday, February 11, 2008


Those of you who hang out with the same kinds of ne'er-do-wells I do (read: Folk and Bluegrass Musicians) more likely than not knew Les Preston, who with his wife Lou Ann played a goodly amount of bluegrass music across this great valley for years. Les died unexpectedly on Feb 3 at just 58. They suspect he had an aneurysm, which of course, you can't really see coming.

I saw Les and Lou Ann perform at a Borders bookstore not 48 hours prior and he looked and sounded great.

I played a gig with them in December at the Paisley Violin, and about a week later I was volunteering at Fiddler's Dream the night they played there, which happened to be their wedding anniversary. This video is from that evening and it shows Les (on guitar and singing) doing what he liked to do and doing it well!


If you knew Les, there's going to be a memorial service and Jam this Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at Deer Valley Light and Life Church,
15220 N 39th Avenue, on the SW corner of 39th Avenue and Greenway.


I have THREE gigs this week:

On Valentine's Day, I will be at Chyro Arts Venue, 1330 N. Scottsdale Road, to participate in something called the Valentine's Day Massicree! Info: http://www.anthology.org/Events/Event_ValentinesDM.html

Then on Friday, I am at Alwun House for one of my favorite regular gigs, the Erotic Poetry and Music Festivus! http://www.alwunhouse.org

(On Saturday, I'm not playing, but I AM volunteering at Fiddler's Dream, where you will witness the musical stylings of Patricia Morrison, Matt Moran and Virginia Anders. Unless one of them DOESN'T show, in which case I'm stuck filling in.)

THEN, on Sunday I will be at Big Fish Pub with a bunch of other songwriters including Zach Hogstett (who put the evening together) and more. Big Fish is at 1954 E. University! Come to something!


Thursday, February 07, 2008


My friend Tom Pettyjohn and I went to see Donovan at the Orpheum last night. Good show! He didn't just play the hits -- although he certainly did that. He started with a gypsy song (he actually sang several old Scottish folk songs over the course of the evening, as well as a musical interpretation of an Edgar Allen Poe poem), then played "Catch the Wind," and from there he interspersed a lot of obscure stuff from his first, second and third albums almost exclusively.

As a kid I had his "Mellow Yellow" album and I was particularly impressed when he sang "Sand and Foam," a song from that album that had pretty much hidden itself in a back corner of my brain. It's a great song about a trip he took to Mexico with a friend of his, "Gypsy Dave" Mills.

Donovan is almost 62 and can still sing the old songs in the original key.

Being a musician myself I sympathized with Donovan last night -- he had a string (his high E) on his guitar that wouldn't cooperate, and about halfway through the show, after sometimes mid-song retuning, he said, "Tell you what. I'm going to take a five minute break. Then I'll come back and do all the hits." (At least those he hadn't done yet.) Which he did: about five minutes exactly.

His last song before the encore was of course, "Mellow Yellow." Now, for years, I've wondered just what the hell he was saying in the chorus, which has been published as everything from "Quite Righteously" to "Quite Rightly" to "Hi, there, Steve!" I knew none of those were right, so I made a note to pay special attention to what he said.

No help from Donovan, whose mouth was blocked by the microphone whenever he said it.

So I go to Youtube when I get home. I find a recent performance of the song from another Donovan concert. STILL can't figure it out. So I finally did some googling and I can report that the words he's saying are "Quite right, Slick." Apparently, "Slick" was a nickname that Paul McCartney gave him and so there you go. (Also, you do know that the guy making all the noise in the instrumental bridge on Mellow Yellow is Paul McCartney, don't you? Well, you do now!)

Best of all, while he didn't play two songs I'd hoped he would (namely "Riki Tiki Tavi" and "Cosmic Wheels" -- and let's face it, you and I BOTH know he wasn't gonna play "Intergalactic Laxative") he DID keep from singing "I Like My Shirt," probably the dumbest song of all time. This in spite of the fact that people were yelling for it all night and Target or Old Navy or somebody recently bought it to use in commercials.

Hmmm...maybe I need to write dumb songs. Oh, that's right, I already do.


Monday, February 04, 2008


Nobody cares, but since I'm in advertising it's my right to tell you which Super Bowl spots were the best because I'm never wrong.

First of all, GREAT GAME. True, you could've gone out to get your car washed during the second and third periods, but what a finish.

BEST AD: Coca Cola "Balloons." Perfect combination of 'How did they do that?" and "What is this a commercial for?" And not since Mickey and Bugs showed up together in "Roger Rabbit" have such diverse cartoon characters shown up together anywhere.

BEST PLOY: GoDaddy.com. The ad was awful but it did what it was supposed to do: I read where 1.5 million people went to the website to see the "foridden ad," which essentially showed Paris Hilton and Britney Spears lookalikes getting out of limos holding beavers. Get it? Cut to racer Danica Patrick who says, 'Thanks to my site at Godaddy.com I don't have to show my beaver to get attention." Best part of the on-line ad? The disclaimer: "No real beavers were used in the making of this spot, because they're really nasty and bite like hell!"

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Bridgestone Tires, the head-nodding ad for Super Pepsi, or whatever they're calling it, and FedEx "Pigeons." And both spots with Cavemen: Bud Light ("WHEEL SUCK!" --Hilarious) and Geico, where the cavemen trash the "Cavemen" TV series.

THE HALF-AND-HALF award: Great: Bud Light, "Ability to Breathe Fire." Not-so-great: Bud Light, "The Ability to Fly."


WORST ADS: I think the company is called Salesleads.com. These people spent 3.5 million dollors to air two commercials that brought horrible ethnic stereotypes back to animation for the first time since "Cholly" yelled "Mr. Magloo! Mr. Magloo!" Just...horrible.

WORST ADS -- Second runner up: E-trade. I HATE children selling adult products. But these at least were an interesting idea.
And I will admit that I chuckled at both of them. But it's still KIDS SELLING ADULT STUFF.

MOST UNORIGINAL IDEA: The Audi "Godfather" parody. I'm sorry , I know a lot of people thought this ad was funny, but the minute you saw the oil on his pajamas, you KNEW what was going on. Weak.


Judging by what people had in their shopping carts yesterday at the store, you'd think there was a football game on.


Speaking of stores, the checkouts always have "Archie Digest" comics for sale right at eye-level. Have you ever seen a rack where they were low on Archie Digest? I sure haven't. SOMEBODY must buy that damn thing, because they've been selling that magazine since I was a kid. But who buys it? I read comics as a kid and into adulthood and I can't recall even ONCE buying an Archie comic. And I'll admit to watching the cartoon show. No one I know has EVER told me they enjoyed reading Archie. But there they are, month after month.

Even weirder, since the guy in front of me was apparently buying enough party food to feed everyone at the STADIUM, I had a few minutes to peruse the Archie comic.




I have eavesdropped on conversations at Denny's that were more engaging that what was in the Archie Digest.


Speaking of Denny's (and here's something you'll NEVER see in an Archie Digest), a couple weeks ago after one gig or another , Jan and I were in Denny's for a late-night and there was a rather boisterous (read; FUN) group of younger adults in another booth. At one point, I look up, and one of the ladies at the table is suddenly walking barefoot on the back of one of the servers, who is lying on the FLOOR of the Denny's. Think about that. Your back hurts so much that you'd lie on the floor of a DENNY's to have a woman walk on it. And this was no little Oriental girl, either.

So I yelled out: "CAN I GET IN LINE?" and everybody laughed.


Tonight I am scheduled to be the opening act for the open mic at Smokey's, on Main Street and Gilbert Roads in Mesa/Gilbert or wherever that is. 8 p.m. Come out!


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