Tuesday, January 25, 2011 

Rahm Emanual Gets Bounced Off The Election Ballot

DAMN! Quite a surprise to see that news yesterday. Maybe his clout isn't as strong as everyone assumed? Or maybe he'll get that decision reversed before the ballots to go to press?

I actually met him once a few years ago (I've also met Mayor Daley and Governor Pat Quinn). Without going into a lot of detail, of the three, the guy comes in a distant 3rd with some basic one-on-one elements you'd think a politician would need to succeed.

Based on my one-time experience with the guy, plus the many stories about what he's like behind closed doors... you have to wonder if perhaps he hacked off the wrong people - specifically, those involved with the decision to bounce him off the Chicago's Mayoral Ballot?

Whatever happens or not... based on the economy of Chicago and Illinois (the parking meter ripoff nightmare in Chicago is only one of many), you have to wonder what kind of person would actually be best qualified for dealing with the issues waiting for the new mayor? 

Sunday, January 23, 2011 

I Guess I Like Wearing Women's Clothes?

Just played a show the other night, and made a discovery about the jeans I had on.

First, I have to say that I do indeed play a pink Stratocaster, so I've heard all kinds of comments on that one over the years ("you must be really secure about your manhood to play a pink guitar!" is the most popular). Truth is, I wasn't looking for a pink guitar when I bought it used; it's just an amazing guitar that happens to be pink. And MAYBE, just maybe, it helped our band get hired by Pink last year? But back to the jeans....

My pal Chip Znuff gave me a pair of "stretchy" jeans a couple of years ago (lord knows he's "borrowed" enough of my shirts that I'll never see again - apparently we have the same taste in clothes, food and yes: women). FYI, in Chip's view, he's a rock star 24/7, and unless he's wearing some bathrobe purloined from some hotel from some city he's traveled to (which is quite a lot of places, all over globe), he never leaves the house dressed down. His philosophy: He wants to make/keep fans whenever possible, and tries to make a good impression in hopes anyone who met him can say "Chip Znuff - a true rockstar AND a real nice guy." And that's just plain good business for an entertainer, I think.

Bottom line: Chip's clothes are always rock-star tight, fancy, loud, rude, bordeline-pimp at times - never conservative. So the Levi's jeans he gave me were in that same genre: a little too small for him I think - he's around 6' 2", a relative giant among these vertically-challenged rock stars (but that's another conversation). 

Truth is, I'm sure lots of musicians drift into the women's clothes section for the same reasons: Tighter, a little flashier, less conservative than most men's clothes. I heard that Elvis used to do that; Even my pal Rich Perez will admit he borrows selected stuff from his girlfriend's inventory (and vice versa).

So I'm looking at the label on these jeans, wondering what waist size they are, and I see it: Size 10 (women's). Hmmmmm.... When I shared that with some pals, they cracked wise: "Looks like Chip has been dating some Marty-sized women!" (pretty funny). But more likely, I'm guessing Chip shops in the women's department for at least some of his attire. Hey, maybe I will too down the road? If they look good in all the right places - case closed.

All that aside, I suppose it could be noted: Pink guitar, women's clothes... exactly what does that say about me?

Thursday, January 20, 2011 

Leon Russell | A Song For You (live, 1971)

This video really gets me. Always loved this tune, but there's some freaky stuff peppered throughout the clip, featuring Leon playing solo in some kind of big soundstage with random people floating around. 

Looks like Leon has a VERY delicate touch on the ivories, real slender fingers (excellent musician too). A fellow Okie, Leon got started in Tulsa, then landed in L.A.. I'd heard before that Leon was a studio musician there, but didn't know how extensive that was until right now (from Wikileaks): Russell has played & recorded with artists as varied as Jerry Lee Lewis, George Harrison, Delaney Bramlett, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Eric Clapton, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson, Badfinger, Tijuana Brass, Frank Sinatra, The Band, Glen Campbell, Clayton 'Red' WhiteThe Rolling Stones. 
(and don't forget Gary Lewis & The Playboys! Yeah.)

Check the camera guy with the Apollo 13-looking pack on his back; the smoke only revealed to be a cigarette at the end of the tune; and towards the end, a shot of some woman making biscuits (?) while Leon plays?

Sunday, January 16, 2011 

Meet The Whole Fam Damily

Working on the new Totally Chipotle website, complete with fancy new tabletop shots from Mark Battrell.

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RIP Myspace & Good Riddance!

Although I realize that they were among the first social media sites, and quite a few folks had nice success with them (like Fallout Boy from Chicago), my 2 bits on Myspace:  S-U-C-K. And now the smell of death surrounds them (to quote one of my fave southern rock bands). I think I read they cut their staff by 50% recently? What took so long?

Their site always navigated like a rotting pig; the pages always loaded real clunky/hinky; lots of banner ads; I remember them pulling down one of my cover band sites for no good reason (twice); zero customer support.
Most recently, I was trying to recover a password for a band site I haven't used for a few years to establish first use with another issue- and you wouldn't believe what they ask you to do for that: 

1. Send us a salute! (i.e., write your name, myspace account, etc. on a piece of paper, take a picture of it & email it! WTF?!?!?!)
2. So, I did that; after a few weeks, I start getting some various contradictory emails from some nameless support auto responder, which eventually tells me to "click the link for an encrypted generated password," which I tried several times - and kept getting an error message. 

3. After some back & forth "we're aware of the problem and are working on it" type messages, the auto email cycle started over from the beginning!

4. Finally, after some progressively pissed-off emails from me to them, I'm then told via email that ALL the band members need to do this ludicrous "salute" nonsense. Great, except - it was always a one-man band anyway! After that, I wished them luck looking for new jobs when myspace folds up & blows away, and walked away from that mess once & for all. Can you say Facebook?

Friday, January 14, 2011 

Marty Robbins Live TV | Faleena From El Paso

Live TV version featuring Marty Robbins playing solo, a followup to his monster hit "El Paso." Another REAL long tune @ 8 minutes - it's probably the real testament to his talent that he can keep the audience in it for that long (nobody would air a tune that long these days).

Check out the art direction/set & camera angles (including the rifle pointed at Marty's head?!?!?). But there's nothing like live TV to strip it all down: The guy had great pitch for sure & and was an excellent singer, with no digital tuning or pre-produced audio support to enhance things. Pretty solid audio mix, too.


Bad CCR Tributes

I think I'm finally going to start a collection of BAD CCR tribute bands from around the globe.

FYI, my definition of bad includes: Out of tune vocals; singers who aren't even close to properly pronouncing the lyrics; Singers who don't really sound much like John Fogerty; Bands who play 80s-style instruments (banana-shaped guitar necks, double kick drums, heavy-metal basses); and just any group of musicians who completely miss the boat about what made Creedence Clearwater Revival so timelessly fantastic, now & then.

In particular, CCR tributes from South America seem to hold the title for the worst tributes in the world. Why this is, is a mystery. All I know is this: Even the crappiest, most desperate bar in Nowheresville, USA wouldn't hire them.

First up: Witness "Swamp Factory" from somewhere in the southern American hemisphere slugging through "Who'll Stop The Rain." Enjoy?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 

David Polk Music | Recorded At Kenmore Live Studio

I was speaking to Chicago-based saxman/composer/band leader David Polk the other day about his appearance last August at KLS; he said he did a multi-track audio recording of his band there, which sounds like a million bucks to my ears. Check out the mixed/mastered tracks on his site: www.DavidPolk.com


Monday, January 10, 2011 

Top 5 "Big Game" Recipes from Kenmore Live Studio

I think I already knew this: The NFL has strict licensing rules tightly controlling any/all usage of the word "Superbowl"; which is why the  21 (?) video recipes we knocked out last week at the Kenmore Live Studio were introduced as "dishes for the 'Big Game.'"

Although the recipes weren't mine (I was strictly on-camera talent), and some of them were decidedly better than others, here are my picks for the top-5 dishes from the week. NOTE: I'd be curious to know what some of the other people from KLS would pick and/or if they could be persuaded to post their top 5 too? I'm thinking they know better than anyone what's what, as they're involved with just about every step of the dishes being created on camera, including sampling them when all the video & photos are in the can.

I would also guess they're working on getting them edited in time for this year's "Big Game," so keep a lookout for these video recipes at Facebook.com/Kenmore soon:


Mojito Shrimp Skewers
Mini Reuben Sandwiches
Chipotle Mayo (with sliders)
Artichoke Spinach Dip
Pan-Fried Ravioli w/ Pomodoro Sauce

Happy "Big Game" to everyone, hope your team wins...

Sunday, January 02, 2011 

Chuck Berry Collapses Onstage In Chicago

Got a text from a pal last night, saying he was at the Chuck Berry show in Chicago; then I read something this morning saying Berry collapsed onstage during the show? Well, the guy is 84 years old, and the online article also said he had shows in NYC last night PLUS... I know Berry doesn’t travel with a band (or rehearse with them either), so there’s that added stress of dealing with musicians he’s never met before. I have two musician pals/bandmates who tell me they’ve played with Chuck Berry, and here’s their stories:

Tam Milano (guitar/bass/vox) did a show with Chuck many years ago in St. Louis. According to him, the show’s promoter pays a performance fee PLUS a quality performance fee for the pickup band (which the promoter hires). If Chuck likes the band, he returns the extra fee; if he doesn’t like them... he keeps it.

Jeff Thomas (drums) says he played with Chuck in Chicago at the Cubby Bear years ago - I think he said Pinetop Perkins was on piano? He said he’d heard Chuck could be a little scary to deal with, but he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to play with the legend. After all, when you listen to “Johnny B. Goode,” it’s not quite swing and not quite rock & roll - it’s both. The drummer is playing a swing beat, but the guitar is playing a choppier “cut beat”... to me, that’s the marriage of old & new right there, and where it all began.

So Jeff got the call and says: “Chuck rolls up in front of the bar, alone, driving an old, fine Cadillac. He walks in carrying his own amp & guitar, and that’s it. They run through some stuff at soundcheck, but that’s the only ‘rehearsal’ there is.” Come showtime, Jeff said he was nervous about Chuck going off on the band (he has that reputation, even famously punching Keith Richards on camera). But Jeff would close his eyes from time to time during the show, and there it was: The genesis of rock & roll, coming through strong, and he was right there with one of the original messengers.

Sometime during the show, he sees Chuck wander over to the keyboard player and talk in his ear. Jeff starts thinking “this is IT - Chuck’s going to go off!” But he doesn’t. Next, he  rambles over to the bass player, and say something in his ear, too. 

After the show, Jeff pulls the keyboard player aside and asks “What did Chuck say to you?” The keyboardist replies: “He asked me what key we were in.” Next, Jeff asks the bass player the same question. Chuck had said to him “What song are we playing?”

Saturday, January 01, 2011 

2010 Top Ten Highlights

"... another one bites the dust..." 

In no particular order, here are my top 10 (public) highlights from last year:
  • Recording/songwriting/performing/video taping covers & original tunes with El Camaleon (Richard Perez);
  • Meeting Barry Krause, his family & his talented crew at Suite Partners;
  • Being chosen by Pink to perform at her private party (plus her quote & Tweet);
  • Recovering a number of YouTube, Twitter & .coms for friends & clients (Dale Bozzio, Chip Znuff, Baby Back Blues, Creedence Again);
  • My great/solid/small-yet-mighty circle of good pals;
  • Finally getting solid video demos of both covers & original tunes;
  • Jumping in hard with shooting/producing HD video;
  • Working with Mark Battrell & his great photos/video;
  • Helping Baby Back Blues get ready to franchise;
  • Internet/social media/online video finally being widely recognized as coming into its own for business marketing, with more & more people saying "oh, now I see what you've been telling me these last few years! How much for a video?"