Elvis Show '05 (Show Notes & Photos)
1st record/1st show
While it's easy to remember my first record purchase -- "Teddy
Bear" by Elvis Presley -- what my first concert was is a little
more difficult to isolate. I saw Pete Seeger at a very early age and
my father took me to see Louis Armstrong once at the Berkeley Community
Theater. Chuck Berry and the Grateful Dead blew my mind at the Fillmore
in 1966 and I went back every week for months. Hell, years.
But the most important early musical impression was undoubtedly created under
the influence of LSD. In this current moral climate, it is no longer fashionable
to ascribe any positive attributes to illicit drug use and I certainly don't
want to go on record as recommending indiscriminate experiemention in these
matters, but I have to come clean.
It was my second trip and I discovered stereo headphones. I sat and listened
to the then current Rolling Stones album, "Aftermath," no, more than
listened, experienced, until tears ran out my eyes. I went out the next day
and bought a cheap stereo set and a couple of albums.
I don't think my life has ever been the same since.
-- Joel Selvin, author, journalist and friend of Arthur Fein's in good standing
for 30 years (and counting).
AFM Feb 2005/
AF Stones Monthly
About 30 years ago a politico intoned that something sends a message to
the powers that be. The phrase so caught on it became worn like a bald tire.
Yet today you still hear it occasionally.
Also around that time came the Jaws ad teaser Just when you
thought it was safe to go back in the water.... The phrase Just
when you thought it was safe to bla bla bla still stands today as a proud
headline and story opener: people who write it have no shame, or knowledge
of that cliches long lineage. I dont exactly blame them, as when
I was in J-school in the 60s, a teacher warned us about cliches like fits
like a glove and I wrote that phrase down as fresh, brilliant expression!
But dunderheads at newspapers today should have editors to cleanse their copy
of worn out unfunny unoriginal word-clutches -- words that are usually delivered
with great pride and preening!
I (dont) suffer cliches. A fellow-sufferer is Jerry Seinfeld. On his
show he (or his writing staff) had characters deride happy camper, cut
to the chase and someones take on something. In a TV
guide interview, Seinfeld himself recently said of not that theres
anything wrong with that, the shows well-known gayness copout1, Are
people still using that? Its so tired.
1 The final
Seinfeld episode, lousy as it was, was a hammer-hit to fans saying These
characters are selfish, cowardly fools. Dont admire them.
Art Feins Dont Go There* List
Is everything important a wake-up call?
Does nothing blend, must it meld?
Can something change without morphing?
Does smoke or smell never drift but always waft?
Things once rose sharply. Now they spike. Why?
When was contradiction replaced by the wise, head-nodding oxymoron?
When is a central person NOT a go-to guy? (Always!)
Can something false or artificial be anything other than faux?
Is any singer not a diva?
No ones music takes no prisoners.
If its hip in the daily newspaper, it isnt.
Can we be in agreement without being on the same page?
Who asked for bona fides and gravitas?
Sea change, you have served well. Come back in 50 years.
Retro, get on the Metro, and make like Gonesville!
To call something simply vintage is to say it has an age.
Its a plan, a format. It doesnt have to be a template.
Is there a downturn that is not a reversal of fortune?
Can a pinnacular event NOT be a defining moment? (Please!)
Why cant a symbol not be a touchstone?
Inspire is nice. Inform is what traitors do.
Why are all past dates vaguely in the day? (Not the night!?!?!)
Can we just never again hear about a poster boy or girl?
The buzz is flies dying in the emptiness of your head.
* Another cliche.
Movies should not show credits at the end. They are of no interest to filmgoers,
only a few film geeks and the people actually credited. That information should
be posted on a sign in the lobby, a sign which will not get much wear from
customers tracing names with their fingers and whose question will less likely
be Who WAS the DGA trainee on that film? than What is a DGA?.
Moreover, news articles should not be signed. They are news. News should
be factual. We do not need to know who wrote it -- thats trade stuff.
Likewise, the tv news robots always say Im Jane Lopez and Im
at the scene of the big crime, and as a signoff, Back to you, Steve! He
says Thank you Jane as if they are one happy family, but Steve
only cares about Steve, not Jane, or the news, and Jane wants his job. TV news
people are prompter-readers who strive in other entertainment areas2.
2 A new Oriental news-gal here in L.A. posed
in bikinis and negligee for a fashion spread. Just like Walter Cronkite. No
fatties or wrinklies need apply! (Dont go to journalism school, go to
My kid, 13, wanted me to find the cassette tapes I made for her when she was
6. I found a couple. Among the standout songs, I feel, were --
-- Almost Saturday Night by Karla DiVito. My favorite version of the great
Fogerty song, her stellar singing encased in (Meat Loaf3producer)
Jim Steinmans faux (just kidding) Spectorian bells and clanging arrangement.
Not everyone can hit notes like she can. Song, and album, was a flop, but not
at my house.
-- Travelin Man by Dolly Parton. Is anyone more delightful than Dolly
at her fullest? The mid-1970s were a pinnacle for her and Tammy Wynette, in
no small part thanks to their producers, and Nashvilles, embrace
of modern musical embellishments. The productions are not country, maybe the
emerging countrypolitan, but in a bursting, life-filled sense. I love the syndrums!
And Dolly, the wonder!, is a smart gal who can hick things up as good as her
wonderful role model Rose Maddox.
-- Hold That Critter Down by the Maddox Bros, radio broadcast 1940. Its
a ropin and brandin song about cowboys who work hard and go out
on the town : Ill burn hair for next months tear is
a pretty unforgettable line. Of course, the damage they do to the Chink
cook is not only un-PC but unpleasant. Danged cowboys. Lotsa whoopin and
-- I Cant Stay Mad At You by Skeeter Davis sounds like a Neil Sedaka
song, with a sentiment few parents can deny.
Tom Wilt in Eugene clued me to a Little Richard discussion group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/littlerichard.
Joel Selvin, frontispiecer for this months Mess, has an elephants
memory. I told him many years ago that I had Leave Me Alone/Uh
Uh Uh Uh by the Canadian Squires, an early Band single - and he called
in January for a tape copy for his radio show. Another person with a good memory
was Richard Manuel. When I was with Capitol Records in 1973, the Band were
in the studio doing Moondog Matinee and I went down to watch. To
nobody in particular I said You guys still do Leave Me Alone?,
and he burst right into Im the talk of the neighbor HOOD!
3 When I went on the UK tour bus with
the Blasters and Nick Lowe in the spring of 1982, their Edinburgh show was
cancelled because a Meat Loaf concert got all the ticket money in town.
The Day the Music Died
Forty-six years ago this month Buddy Holly died in that plane crash.4 It
was my first death5.
It was a real life-shaker. But I felt less awful than I wouldve if it
had happened a year earlier when Buddy was making rock & roll records.
His latest, I Guess It Doesnt Matter Anymore, was OK, but
with the strings and things I could tell he had abandoned me and my music.
His death didnt cause the death of rock & roll, it just marked it.
Rock & roll stopped breathing in 1958, didnt reappear til the 1980s.
4 In Dave Marshs book about good
songs, he opens the entry for La Bamba with The plane didnt
crash and goes on to follow the careers of Buddy, Ritchie and Jape.
5 First full-on death. Six months earlier
Id felt bad for Elvis when I saw him crying over his moms death.
Theres No Business
Business is squeezing the last drop out of the lemon. Then steal the other
My DSL service shut down on Jan 11th. On Jan 18th I reached them through a
bramble-bush of voice-prompts designed to drive me away:
- I want to make sure I am not billed for these days.
- Did you get a case number when you called in before?
- No, I was assured it would be fixed.
- Well you have to have a case number if you want credit.
- Because how can you prove you called in earlier?
- I dont need to do that. Your company failed to provide service. It
keeps records of the failure, doesnt it?
- Yes, but you need to notify us that its affecting YOU.
- No, you know exactly what area is affected. Your rep told me.
- But we still need to hear from you to get your credit.
- No you dont. If I deliver milk to you, and miss a week, I dont
bill you for that week.
- It doesnt work that way here.
- You fail to provide service, but you bill anyway?
- You need a case number.
My DSL provider, Mister Globalnet (no first name, just initials, SBC) is a
I was a Beatle fan from the (U.S.) start. But unlike the Crickets love,
my interest did fade away with the Filler Album - I mean the White Album.
I recently saw part of a bootleg print of Let It Be recently, and
it confirmed my disenchantment. They looked ugly and everything was forced
- it was dark and the weather was bad. I know that is the point of
the thing, that they disintegrated before the camera lens, so whats good
about that? Id also not want to see a close-up study of Elvis in 1977.
When I glance at Meet Me In St. Louis, set around the turn of the
century, I wonder why people made so many movies about this period during the
1930s. But then I realized that for audiences of that day, it was like todays
nostalgia for the 1950s.
I mean the 1970s.
Im no judge of writing style. I just want the facts. But some things
in the L.A. Times astonish me:
8-7-04: Randy Lewis. Of Stephen Foster Yet his name, unlike those of
such musical disciples as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, often draws more puzzled
looks than instant recognition.
-- OFTEN! By WHOM? The Dylan reference is there to please his boss, but what
bunch of dummies is Lewis canvassing? To be fair, Stan Freberg, in his second United
States Of America, elaborately explained Foster in the intro to a parody.
Maybe people are that dumb.
8-3-04: Martin Miller. Everything you know about Franklin Pierce is wrong.
First, he was NOT a character on televisions MASH. That was Bejamin Franklin.
Second, Franklin Pierce was a noteworthy kind of guy. He was president. Yes,
of the United States.
-- The Ben Franklin remark was jest. But that last part, using the hackneyed Yes, was
telling the reader Ill bet like me you never heard of him til
this article. Give the reader some credit, Smartin.
12-8-04: Lynn Smith & Scott Collins. Considered a surprising choice, the
two (!) reporters say of a new tv show host.
Is this opinion just floating in the air, as they present it? Or were Smith & Collins
the dolts surprised when network executives make a decision they didnt
foresee? I saw no other names.
9-14-04: John Daniszewski. From London, Daniszewski reports that Tony Blair
might welcome a Kerry victory with Or at least thats the buzz in
the political talking classes here.
Where does one begin? The use of the horrid toy-word buzz in a
news report? A news report that reports that other people are talking? (I.e.,
other reporters.) And what means classes? Does Blighty offer college
classes in political talking? Are only certain classes in stratified England
allowed to talk so? What argy-bargy.
10-1-04: Edmund Sanders, reporting from Baghdad of a fatal bombing: It
was believed to be the deadliest attack involving children since the U.S.-led
invasion of Iraq.
-- The last first: what other invasion of Iraq? Worse, with fundamental irresponsibility
Sanders says It was believed as if such a fact could not be checked,
as if someone -- Sanders! -- could not investigate whether it is true. He turns
in a news story with an allegation and no editor objects.
11-16-04: Agustin Garza. Of 43 Cuban dancers defecting to the U.S. he writes Knowledgeable
observers said they believed that would be the largest such defection of Cuban
artists to date.
-- This is so loaded with qualifiers its breathtaking. Garza does not
check whether this IS the largest defection, he simply cites -- not quotes
-- Knowledgeable observers. If theyre knowledgeable, how
come they dont KNOW? Half-truth x half-truth = insufficient. What is
Garza paid for if not to get facts?
11-30-04: Lynell George. Of a neighborhood turning hip he writes Those
hipsters who rolled up in their ironic 62 Ford Fairlines in the 80s
look down two decades later on the guys with Beck hair, who are driving up
-- This is a lallapalooza of zany confusion. Foremost, what the hell is an ironic car?
That word is thrown around to mean sarcastic, dishonest and many things, but
never applied to a car til now. Its mindboggling. A 62 Ford FALCON
would be less ironic? Today different cars are ironic? Please tell me. Beck hair
is poorly chosen because it can be confused with Breck, a shampoo
brand. Not to mention the confusing use of driving at the wacky
1-2-05: Scurrilous James Verini wrote a long story about Jerry Lewis. I am
always anxious when I see a Lewis story because every writer, by mandate, mocks
his hair, his telethon, his popularity in France and what failures they can
find. This one augured ill when in the third graph Verini said Lewis claims to
be considering a number of movie scripts. The sneering tone continued over
this long piece which embarassed me for Lewis, who invited this worm into his
graces, and for the L.A. Time for printing it. Days earlier, Verini fell to
his feet praising Sean Penn in a piece which proclaimed that everyone, women
and men, stopped in their tracks when the magnificent Penn entered a room.
But Penn isnt a designated target like Lewis, and Verini wont be
scorned by his peers for praising him.
1-24-05: Daniel Hernandez. Re a bowling alley in Highland Park that is hippening says
the bldg was converted to keggling sometime in the 1940s -- no one today
can say for sure when.
NO ONE can say? Highland Park has no hall of records? Facts, Danny.
1-25-05: Scott Collins. In 26 column-inches of file news -- Johnny Carson owned
his old Tonight shows -- he writes that Carsons 4000-tape collection
is believed to be one of the largest collections in the world.
-- IS BELIEVED? Everything else in the story is long-known, why couldnt
he unearth a new fact? Because the L.A. Times does not require it. This musty news was
in The Nation section bec of its enormous national impact.
Feb 22nd was a special day in my family. It was my dads bday, same as
George Washington. Dad died in 1984, age 72. That doesnt mean Ill
die at 72, tho I might, because Im adopted. I have no yearning for a
family, as I had parents with me all my life. My biological father is
nothing but a sperm-donor. Bio-mom? No thoughts.
The only handicap of being an adoptee is medical stuff. Otherwise Ive
run free all my life without a precept of what I should be. What did I become?
I still dont know, but its all me. An offshoot of this is Im
fascinated with resemblances, having no lookalike relatives. I find resemblances
eerie. And because of this blank background, I am baffled by ancestor-worship,
bec it is admission that youve got nothing going for yourself.
A while ago I saw men in Viking helmets at the Doo Dah Parade marching under
a banner proclaiming We discovered America. No, I thought, you
discovered nothing but a name common with others.
Balkanization makes me think like a right-wing radio host -- I am not
a hyphenated American! Back in Chicago kids would ask What nationality
are you? and Id say American.
If you think youre beholden to Ireland or Poland for your identity, consider
how historical WWII look-backs feature U.S. fighter pilots with names such
as Schmidt and Wolff who saw it their mission to kill Germans. No love for
the fatherland their ancestors abandoned. The supreme commander
of U.S. forces who refused to shake a surrendering Nazi generals hand
was an American named Eisenhower.
Jewishness is problematic. Like every group Im impelled into, I accept
the good stereotypes and reject the bad. I like it that Jews are considered
smart, even if Im Irish. (Birth cert. say Ely.) My daughters
being raised openly, but I put Jewish on forms, as being part-Jewish
is like being half-pregnant.
A Jewish name can rear up and bite you. When I lived in an apt bldg in Hollywood
in the late 70s I got promo albums in the mail. Once when I picked up a batch
at the office, the mgr, a young English actor whose license plate, IM FLYNN,
bespoke his goal of portraying Erroll Flynn in a movie (that opportunity never
came for anyone, did it?) said Say, if you dont want all those
records, why not give me a few? I said that I traded in the unwanted
ones for more records.
Oh yeah, youre Jewish. You buy one piece of cloth and cut it into
pieces and sell it for a profit. The guy was from a Dickens novel.
Friday, Jan 14th, The L.A. Times ran a good-sized box obit for Spencer Dryden,
three-year drummer for the Jefferson Airplane. But next to it in the potters
field was a brief one for Jimmy Griffin, of Bread6.
Bread had tons of hits. For a member to pass nearly without mention is reflects
the bands lack of press cachet. NO rock crit singles them out. They were
not newly sanctfied like ABBA. The only people who liked them were record buyers,
and the crits know what swine they are.
Griffin recorded for Reprise (thru friends Johnny & Dorsey Burnette) in
1962: appeared in a teen-movie Summer Holiday; co-wrote For All We Know. Apparently
he was a deep-down rocker: at Elektra I saw a tour movie in which Griffin was
given his head to freak out on guitar on a portion of a Bread show, something
I guess did not ultimately take him, or the group, in a hard rock direction7.
When he moved to Nashville he joined Billy Swan and Randy Meisner in the Black
Tie group, doing casuals. (The Times wire service report cited only Meisner,
who was connected to the Eagles. Nobody found Swan significant.)
I dislike elitism. I dislike it especially in slams of musicians I like,
but also in slights to bands I dont like. Obits, as histories, should
examine impartially all accomplished people.
6 There was a Bread and Jelly tour when
both bands were on Elektra.
7 My friend Domenic posits that in 1976
everything went hard rock. I said What about all the Elektra/Asylum
acts? Except for Queen they got along fine with singer-songwriter stuff. He
shot back The Eagles hired Joe Walsh to move into hard rock. Perhaps
Griffin felt it too.
This World In Which We Live In8
- With all the new electronics it is remarkable that my tv cable service is
supplied, apparently, by wooden wire wrapped in burlap. What other explanation
for the service going out every time it rains?
- Many big companies make you punch in your account number when calling.
Then when you get a human, they ask for your number. I always, always, take
one or two minutes to ask what happened to the number I punched in: Arent
they connected electronically? Is someone with a quill pen writing down
my info and not passing it on? If so, you should find that person and ask him
to cooperate. I know I am wasting my time, but it pleases me to waste
- Ralphs is the main food-megabusiness in my area. They mark sale items with
stickers, sometimes just to mock your cheapness. The colorful tags generally
indicate deep slashes: Was $4, now 2 for $5.10 But
they also have tags like this: Was $4.99, now $4.96. This is no
banner sale. It is in fact no sale at all. But the colorful tag is there, and
the lazy-minded shopper may grab it. And for every such sale, the people at
the main office have a big laugh. There can be no other explanation.
8 Besides Live And Let Die, the
most egregious gramattical error in a rock record is Johnny, no hell
never do, Bobby, no it isnt him too in the Ronettes Walking
In The Rain9
9 The only Grammy Phil Spector ever
got was for the sound effects on this record.
10 Like macaroni & cheese, which
has five cents net value and sells for $1.29 and is occasionally marked
down to 3 for a dollar, they still make money on it.
Passing Music Thoughts
-- Woo Hoo11 is
a hit on a tv ad. I have been loyal to that Rock-A-Teens record since buying
it in 1959. Asked (hardly ever) what my favorite drum solo14 was,
I always said the one in Woo Hoo. Ten years ago I heard Max Weinberg
was doing a drum song comp for Rhino, so I asked them to alert him to Woo
Hoo, since it was on Roulette, which Rhino owned. He didnt hear
it, or my suggestion.
-- Johnny Cashs featured role on Columbo was simply fabulous. He played
a Johnny Cash type guy, but boy did he have presence.
-- Johnny Bragg, lead singer of the Prisonaires, died last year. Who knew
he was alive? His voice on Just Walking In The Rain, the song he wrote
while in Tennessee State Prison, is simply beatific. (Johnnie Ray never heard
him, he just followed a lead sheet.) The Prisonaires Surleen and That
Chicks Too Young To Fry are brilliant. On Sun Records.
I went to the Loud, Fast & Out Of Control12 Rhino
box to get a CD cut of Woo Hoo I had great difficulty finding
the right CD. Volume was white on black, but the number was dark-blue
on black. One of the non-joys of CDs is art directors insistence on
putting dark miniature type over dark backgrounds. (Hell, who reads anyway....)
ish wrote that crits oughtnt nitpick when a book or record is of great
merit. You dont think they should point out errors? Dave
Stuckey asked. Sorta, yes. The Loud, Fast & Out Of Control CD box is
a good example. Its loaded with great fast rockin songs, the
best-ever comp of its type Ive seen.13 If
the comp also has some unexplainable entries like Bye Bye Love, I
say overlook it. The uninitiated should be led to buy the box. To heck with
hard-rockin comps are extremely rare. Another is the UK-only double-CD
comp series as good as it gets, rockabilly edition, on Disky.
also has my favorite guitar solo, simple chords strummed briefly. Guitar
solos, unless driving rhythm, should be 15 seconds or less.
Many months ago I gave up on XM radio after a kindly friend sent me a unit.
It was too announcer-heavy, to the point of the box showing the deejays
name (!) instead of the songs.
So I gets into a friends car last month and he proudly points to his
Sirius Radio box. Fine, I said, maybe its better than XM. We listened
to a few blues songs, then came the announcer.
This is all blues! Real blues! For you! Now, I want you to call in and
tell me What was the worst Christmas present you ever got?
He stopped the car so I could throw up.
Ya Gotta Quit Kickin My Doors Around
In Waynes World 2, Dana Carvey dreams that the ghost of Jim Morrison
tells him to hold a rock concert. Rip Taylor is the only one who shows up to
play, and Carvey asks him how knew. A guy named Jim Morrison visited
me in a dream. I told him I had never heard of him, and he played me some music.
I said You sound more like a crooner working in the rock medium, but
I find you very enjoyable. Words like that.
In an old issue of Kicks (there are no new issues), they said they found
Jim Morrison working at a White Castle in New Jersey, and asked him how he
got such a rock & roll reputation when he sang like a lounge singer.
Beats me said Jim.
- 57 -
I have no idea whether Kevin Spacey does a good job impersonating
Darin. And I do like all facets of Darin--the rock and roll period, the
"from the half way mark" era, even the funky soul early 70's period
(like in that special he did in 1973).
However, I had to laugh at Robt. Hilburn's comment to the effect that "who
else played with both Buddy Holly AND Count Basie." And could that
have been on the same Alan Freed package show
circa 1958 by chance, since Count was playing a lot of Freed shows, movies
like JAMBOREE, etc. What a wild range of people to play with! (I guess Buddy
Holly recorded with strings more frequently than Basie, so there is a discrepancy
Jerry Lee Lewis has played with both Elvis and X, Willie Nelson's probably
played with Patsy Cline and the Supersuckers. The Friday before last I saw
96 year old Hawaiian uke player Bill Tapia. He said when he was 10 in 1918 he
played a WWI USO show in Hawaii with John Philip Sousa and his band. On Friday
at Taix's he was playing with King Kukulele. I'm sure he's played with
someone more famous than that who would be an amazing contrast to John Philip
Bobby Darin didn't live a long time, so he couldn't possibly have that big
of range of people. But I just found it funny to say he "played with one
the presursors of R&B and rock and roll, and he played with one of the
early figures of rock and roll," to show
his musical range. (At least he didn't say "everybody
from Buddy Holly to Count Basie," which I guess would have Buddy Knox
and Jimmy Lunceford hugging really close on the inside borders.)
I often call people
in thrilled disbelief about obscurities on the new local oldies station,
K-SURF: Elvis's "Let Me;" a
single by Little Anthony and the Imperials when they were still The Chesters; "Do
To my horror, they closed an hour recently with Kenny Loggins' "Celebrate
Me Home." No disrespect to Mr. Loggins, who'd probably dig K-SURF if he
could get it in Santa Barbara, but why the hell were they playing this wholly
incongruous 1977 record?
I fired off an e-mail to the jock in question: "If you're going to audition
for (smooth jazz station) The Wave, please do it on your own time." He
quickly responded to the effect that he wondered why he was playing the record,
too, and would pass my note to the station's music director.
I love 'em even more.
Last ish I mentioned that it was cosmic to see Johnny Powers backed by the
Big Sandy band on an old show of mine. Turns out my memory failed me: It was
a band assembled by Dave Stuckey, including some Big Sandy boys, backing up
Powers so well.
Elvis Show '05 (Show Notes & Photos)