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The Beatles at Shea… Fifty years ago today! 

 “Ladies and Gentlemen…Honored by their country, decorated by their Queen, and loved here in America…here are The Beatles.”  So went the introduction by Ed Sullivan standing on the makeshift stage built over second base on that hot August night in Shea Stadium.  At that point, the crowd’s frenzied screams of anticipation pinned the needle at a level that would continue for the next thirty-plus minutes, blocking out even the ability to recognize what songs they were singing.  But let me step back for a…

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"Good Night, David Letterman"... 

 I’m very sad. Once again, I’m about to lose an icon… someone I admire… someone who has made my unconventional, often isolated mind and soul feel like I belonged.  Many times in the past, the loss of those rare people I could relate to, people who gave me joy and hope, was tragic and premature… Ernie Kovacs, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, John Lennon, and George Harrison to name a few. This latest loss, while thankfully not tragic, to me remains very sad nonetheless. Tomorrow night is the last Late Show…

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The Magic of Roy Orbison... 

 Back in the early 1960s, I often found myself at the Fair Lawn Star Diner on Route 4 in North Jersey.  It was conveniently located about half way between the east side of Paterson and Paramus, NJ, which was home to some of the very first shopping malls in the country.  There in the diner, at the far end of each booth, sat a magic silver and glass box. It contained page after page of current song titles, a coin slot and a speaker, and the red and white alphabetical and numerical buttons that would…

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Happy Birthday to "The Man"... 

I was seventeen in the summer of ’65 when I first walked into a professional recording studio. It was A-1 Sound Studios at 234 W. 56th Street in New York City. I was there along with the other members of my high-school rock band “The Flames”, soon to be called “The Living Ends”, to record our first original song titled “Self-Centered Girl”.  Our manager, Jack Peters, had booked just one hour of studio time, which was not uncommon back then, and the musicians who were in the studio ahead of us were…

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Janis Joplin takes a piece of my heart... 

  On October 19th, 1968…forty-six years ago today, I came face to face with Janis Joplin.  The circumstances were unlikely and unplanned…but isn’t that the way so many peak moments happen.  The band Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis were scheduled to perform a concert at Penn State’s Rec Hall which held about 6,000 people. The concert was to begin at 8pm and the energy in the hall was high…probably in more ways than one. 8pm became 8:30 and the crowd was getting restless when an…

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My Jimi Hendrix Experience... 

In the Summer of 1970, my partner Ken Mathieu and I were just about to sign a recording, publishing and management contract with the Robert Stigwood Organisation, managers of Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees, John Mayall, the Staples Singers and a couple of other class acts. One of RSO’s other new artists was Elliott Randall, guitar player extraordinaire.

At the time, Elliott was in the process of recording his album for Polydor titled “Randall’s Island”. One evening after a meeting with Rik Gunnell, president of…

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Thanksgiving 

I'm thankful for so many things... for friends and family, for music, laughter and love, for cats, for our five senses, for the abilities and the good fortune I've been given in this life, for the good and kind people all around the world, for the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the trees, for those who watch over us in this world and the next, for hot fudge on cold ice cream, for electric guitars and shooting stars, for drum sticks and magic tricks...but most of all for life itself with all its…

Happy Birthday, John Lennon... 

I thought, what better day to do my first blog than today, John Lennon’s birthday.  I still remember where I was the first time I heard a Beatles song on the radio.  It changed my life.  It made me want to switch from playing the drums to playing guitar and learning how to write songs.  The band he started brought so many of us a decade of wonder, and still brings me immeasurable joy.  I was fortunate to see them perform both times at Shea Stadium in ’65 and ’66. They influenced not just music, but style…

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