Saturday, March 27, 2010 

"About 20 Years Ahead Of Its Time..."

“The Rock & Roll Kitchen was about 20 years ahead of its time.” Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News.

Photo (left): Ginger Baker, The Rock & Roll Chef & Karen

I recently made the online acquaintance of Mark Brown, a writer for the Rocky Mountain News. That happened because I found and commented via a Facebook page about Caribou Ranch, and what I used to do at the legendary Colorado resort studio: one of the chefs. Mark is interviewing the owner and other key people & musicians, putting together a documentary on the place, but that’s a different conversation for later.

Regardless, what we did so long ago does seem to be pretty cutting edge – even compared to today’s cooking/entertainment vehicles which position chefs as celeb entertainers; it just seems to have staying power. Just this week, I got an email “blast from the past” from a girl named Karen who appeared with me on the pilot (?!?!) of “The Rock & Roll Kitchen.” She attached some screen grabs and a photograph (hell, I don’t even have photos from my OWN damn show!) It’s bittersweet stuff, to be sure. FYI, notice the “Mitsubishi Electric” text on the screen grabs? That’s only one example of the zero-control/zero-creative direction situation I got myself into – I can only imagine what these “producers” had going with my concept without my consent or knowledge. Another real crappy thing: I don’t have – never did have – the footage from my show. I got an email from one of the producers a few years ago, trying to get me to pay for my own footage (“I’ll give you a good deal,” he says). And no, that has yet to happen.

And so, here are some quick headlines on the history of my cooking/music/entertainment show called “The Rock & Roll Kitchen”:

* A full episode was never edited, even though there was TONS of multi-camera footage shot;

* I learned some hard lessons about compromising myself and my vision in lieu of someone with “experience.” Although someone may have a lot of experience in one area, it doesn’t necessarily mean they know jack about another area, especially an innovative one that’s never been done before. FYI, that lesson re-emerged at an industry party we did in Chicago in 2008; the “big time” live music director snidely assured me he could handle doing my “little cooking show,” but then neglected to get even ONE SHOT of the food or cooking. WTF, big time director?!?!?!

* I learned how most people need a scapegoat, vs. looking at themselves first to examine why the resulting outcome was the way it was;

* I learned that, for whatever reason, I’m pretty good at getting people to open up on camera (then & now);

* Just like cooking, art and entertainment are infinitely adaptable and completely subjective; it’s all about one artists’ interpretation of that art, their skill set, energy, style, etc., towards making it unique to them. The lesson I FINALLY learned for good when producing my pumpkin carving kit for X-Acto? I’m as good an artist as anyone out there, and I no longer doubt my talent, vision, intuition or creativity – and although I’m as non-religious as they come, I do have unshakeable faith in my own talent/luck/intution, and also have faith that stuff always seems to work out one way or another. Why do I say this? Beyond attracting some of the best musicians on the planet to play in my kitchen band (then & now), I finally took a page from the most successful artists in the world, stopped trying to reinvent the wheel, started doing what they all said they’d done: learned to S T E A L!!!!

So if anyone wonders why I’m not all that knocked out with any of the chef/entertainers these days who may add a little live music, or chefs who tap away at playing music a bit as a hobby – now you know why.

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Friday, March 26, 2010 

Tonight You Drink....

Just returning from a USO tour in Kuwait with Brad Cotter, Tim Beattie tells me this joke he heard from a soldier there (one of the best I've ever heard):

A guy rubs a lamp, a genie appears & grants him ONLY one wish (no wishes for more wishes, etc.); he wishes his... ahem... whizz comes out as the best wine ever known to man; the genie grants his wish.

The guy fills up a glass with his special "pour"; he tastes it, his wife tastes it - it truly is the best ever had by anyone.

Every evening after, they come home and enjoy the genie's magic; the husband "pours" two glasses, he & the wife partake.

One night, the wife comes home ready for wine, but the husband is only holding one glass. The wife: "Honey, where's MY glass?"

Husband: "Sweetie.. tonight you drink from the BOTTLE."

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010 

Steven Adler's "My Appetite For Destruction" 2010 Book

I've been hearing about Steven's upcoming book for awhile now from my pal Chip Znuff, who plays & stays with Adler fairly often - they really seem to be good pals (probably for life), and they're an EXCELLENT rhythm section to boot. As I was sharing with some Nashville musicians last night (including a guy who plays with John Fogerty), Steven can still throw down on the skins; I've personally witnessed him laying down a wicked country/shuffle train beat that swung like a lynch mob's rope. FYI, Steven got outvoted by his publisher on his choice for the title: "No Bed Of Roses." (hah). He's a funny one, and no dummy either.

I caught up with Chip a little yesterday, he was pretty pumped; he said Adler has a new 5-song EP of new tracks coming out soon - which is nice - but the thing Chip was most excited about: He tells me Adler will be doing Oprah this year? That IS big.

On top of that, I'm guessing the publisher (Harper Collins) will be scheduling a fair amount of national TV shows, multi-city signings, etc. All of which should result in putting some bodies in seats for concerts.

I have to say: I am LOVING the design on the cover - kudos to whoever knocked that one out. GOOD LUCK STEVEN & CHIPPER!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010 

San Franciso Time Machine Movie

This footage was supposedly shot in 1906, just a few days before the huge earthquake & fire that flattened San Francisco. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this footage is mesmerizing to me; and the music selection puts an even stranger spin on it.

I love the long, continuous shot; and no Hollywood movie or movie director could ever stage something this big or this interesting with only one camera and no editing. The natural interplay of the people on camera is amazing; They're either trying to get out of the way of the streetcar, ignoring the streetcar, barely jumping out of the way of carriages and cars - it's hard not to watch.

It's probably a pretty safe bet that every living creature in the video is long dead, which makes it eery; it's also fascinating to watch the horses almost outnumbering the cars, and all the bustle in downtown San Fran. And not one of them knew how their lives would change (or end) just a few days later...


Radar Love by Golden Earring

Remember the Dutch band Golden Earring, and their evergreen classic "Radar Love?" That record sounds as good today as it ever did - raw sloppy/tight drums, great hooky guitar & bass fills, an unexpected fat horn section breakdown - just a flat-out badass tune.

This tune really embraced me again this year, as I recently had a very interesting experience with someone I met online ("Don't need no radio at all..."); she invited me down to see her ("It's my baby callin', says I need you here"); I spoke to her a lot on my cell phone headset on the drive down ("
There's a voice in my head that drives my heel"); I drove half the day and all night till dawn to see her ("I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel"); The only thing different for my soundtrack: I was (shamefully for my rock & roll side), driving an automatic Japanese 4-door ("And it's half past four and I'm shifting gear"). FYI, I just heard Brenda Lee's "Coming On Strong" for the first time today - yikes. Hard to imagine how THAT song (disco-ish and NOT a strong tune at all) inspired a great song, but whatever inspired Golden Earring to write their hit is good enough for me...

Although it's too soon to say what the outcome of that trip is or was (I may be blathering about that here at some point for anyone who has nothing better to do than read this stuff), my main point now is this: How is it that some European band seems to capture the flavor & feel of the late-night American highway, crackly terrestrial radio stations and a mystical connection with a woman worth driving all night to see? Bottom line: They somehow created timeless musical art that transcends the radio, all the way into the age of cell phones and the Internet (and even online dating, yo?). Here's the video & lyrics:


I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel
There's a voice in my head that drives my heel

It's my baby callin', says I need you here
And it's half past four and I'm shifting gear

When she's lonely and the longing gets too much
She sends a cable comin' in from above

We don't need no phone at all
We've got a thing that's called radar love

We've got a wave in the air, radar love

The radio's playing some forgotten song
Brenda Lee's "Coming on Strong"

The road's got me hypnotized
And I'm speeding into a new sunrise

When I get lonely, and I'm sure I've had enough
She sends her comfort, comin' in from above

Don't need no radio at all
We've got a thing that's called radar love

We’ve got a line in the sky, radar love

No more speed, I'm almost there
Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care

Last car to pass, here I go
And the line of cars drove down real slow

And the radio played that forgotten song
Brenda Lee's "Coming on Strong"

And the newsman sang his same song
One more radar lover's gone

When I'm feeling lonely and I'm sure I've had enough
She sends the comfort coming in from above

Don't need no radio at all
We got a thing that's called radar love

We got a line in the sky
We got a thing that's called radar love

We got a thing that's called radar love

Friday, March 19, 2010 

Creedence Again At Woodstock Opera House

One of these days, I'm dreaming of having broadcast-quality, multi-camera footage with killer audio to work with, and edit together some video to really convey the total experience of what happens during our Creedence Again shows. Meantime... here's a 1-camera affair with canned track (the audio mix off their mixing board was suck-ola, no surprise there). However, it was a happy surprise to see pretty much the whole house truly rockin' (the stage lights prevented us from seeing much of anything past the first few rows). We tried to give a little backstage flavor of their sweet little (400 seats) theatre as well...


Stupid Should Hurt!

Me & a pal were getting a dollar-a-night video rental from a box outside Walgreen's in Nashville the other night, and having a quick chat with someone else in line behind us. Can't remember how the topic came up, but at some point she threw out a pretty brilliant phrase: "Stupid should hurt!"

My pal & I laughed hard, but were gone before I had the chance to ask if she made that up or heard it somewhere else? I know I'd never heard it before, just like I know I'll be using it from this point forward.