- December 2007 -

Other Fein Messes

Now Playing: WHITE CHRISTMAS by Bobby the Poet

ELVIS 2008

Good Rockin' - Elvis Bday show, 7:30 pm, Jan 8th, 2008 The Music Box (nee Henry Fonda), 6126 Hollywod Blvd. (at Gower)

The lineup so far: Alan Clark, Barry Holdship, Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters, Blasters, Brian Ray, Count Smokula, Danny Dean, Doug Fieger, Dusk Devils, Fur & Steve, Gaucho Gil, Glen Glenn, Groovy Rednecks, Harry Orlove, I See Hawks In L.A., Johnny Legend, Jimmy Angel, Justin Curtis, Lisa Finnie, Lisa Haley and the Zydecats, Mojo Monkeys, Neil Morrow, Paul Marshall, Ray Campi, Rip Masters, The Rocketz, Stardust Ramblers, Surfaris

Elvis Birthday Bash: January 2008


My first purchased record was a dilemma. 

I had to choose between the lightworld (Autumn Leaves by Roger Williams on Kapp) and the darkworld (The Closer You Are by The Channels on Whirlin' Disc-even the label was black !!! ) Those that know me would know that The Channels eventually won, but the next week Roger became my second purchase. And so my whole life has vacilated between light and dark and continues to do so as all my solo albums would represent. 
The frst concert I ever attended is a blur. It's one of those Alan Freed shows in Brooklyn. My parents would NOT allow me to attend, so somehow I got the temple to sponsor a bustrip to the show; thereby sanctioning it by Jewish Elders and so not only could I attend, but all those soon to be bar & bas mitvahed could tag along as well. Lemme tell ya, the bus from Queens was sold out, and the evening was life-changing for me. Little did I know that a scant two years later, I would be on view on the same stage in my guise as a Royal Teen, my entrance into show biz in 1958. Who was on the show I attended ? Oh, just Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, Lillian Briggs, The Diamonds and a host of othErs eager to get their 45's played by the King of NY DJ's - Alan Freed. The audience was liberally-sprinkled black and white, with no race riots as the music was the neat tenderizer and all had theater seats and were comfortable. The movie they showed before each show was one of those "Frances, The Talking Mule" series and at the time was totally unwatchable; so the concessions sold smashingly as well. I used to have a program book from that show, but alas - I have moved once too many times....... 
Al Kooper

What was YOUR 1st Record/1st Concert??


Another Fein Mess
AF Stone’s Monthly
December, 2007

The Music Man

I used to watch a Christian minister on Public Access who spoke about Jewish culture with fulsome adoration. I identified with his supplicating position, but on another subject.

That’s me with musicians. I love music, I eat music, I live for music. And I know some musicians. But I have no musical talent. 0 I could plink a tune on a keyboard with a finger given enough time, and when the coffee hits me right I can sing two or three notes in a row. But the notes don’t sound good. I don’t have a good-sounding voice.

On the tv show, and in life, I make remarks about the injustices served musicians as if I experienced them myself. It comes from knowing people in L.A., where talent and effort goes unpaid and unacknowledged .... the majority of the time.

How many normies care about music like we do? In regular towns there’s a surplus of musicians: here it’s an avalanche. Abetted not just by the number of people who’ll play for nothing just to be heard but by the dwindling number of clubs that have live music. You can’t blame the clubs. When they switch to a deejay they get one person and a little box of CDs. They no longer have to deal with bands who play too loud or too long, show up late and have ego problems. And they’ll tell you with a finger jabbing your chest that dancers buy drinks DURING the music, not just after. I cry for bands. I suffer in their name.

0 So what bugs me are talented people who complain. I suffer fools, but this tears it. I know a musician whose soul pours out when they sing. They radiate a joy I pray for next lifetime.
When they say “Oh, I’m not very good” I want to sock them. They’re complaining about tight shoes to a guy with no feet.

Readin’ and a Rockin’

I read any music book that’s handy. A year ago I bought a book about Bing Crosby that ran 500 pages. I read it all, and I don’t care about Der Bingle.

Recently I was leafing through an enormous tome about the Byrds. One effect of it was to reinforce my attitude on lyrics. It said that “So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star” was a protest about the Monkees. Heck, I thought it was a musical lark about the Byrds’ career!


Everyone stop saying ‘ramp up.’ It’s poisonous. Writers exult in their hipness every time they throw it into a newscast. I shiver in rage. In the recent So Cal fires, every newcast proudly (sadly) incorporated the clich “perfect storm.”

And let’s kill ‘spike,’ Increase is enough! And how about “got your game on”? It’s “from hell.” People who say “snarky” are! Using impact as a verb is rampant and so is “grow” your business.

So I say let’s fuck up our wordspeak 1 completely:
The name of my campaign: Good Your English!

1 As sensible as backstory.


Robt Lloyd, a rock crit in tv crit’s clothing, creates a rotten neologism in the 10-19-07 L.A. Times Calendar when he complains that there’s not enough music in a Who documentary by saying it “scants” the music. Isn’t there a criminal statute for this? Also, Bob shows his rock crit soul, or lack of, same day when lauding the rock-band version of American Idol he praises Kelly Clarkson with the proviso “although she’s not musically my type.” Don’t want fellow-crits to suspect he likes her .... and speaking of Bobs, in the obit for publicist/con man Paul Wasserman, Bob Hilburn appreciatively recounts the enormous pains Wasserman went through to get Bob an interview with Paul’s client Mick Jagger, never considering the possibility that Jagger was refusing to speak to him, Bob, specifically ....

Where Do They Find Them?

The sneerers line up outside the L.A. Times, and they choose one.

Ann Powers, in a lengthy, cautiously neutral 11-7-07 L.A. Times story about her two-day visit to Kansas City to see Garth Brooks’ comeback shows, lets slip her true colors deep in the story. Saying that Brooks does not get the respect he deserves - from WHO? you can’t help ask - she says that “tastemakers” preferred “more rough-edged” music.

Godallfuckingmighty. TASTEMAKERS. Would that be Ann and her rock-crit buddies? Brooks has passed Elvis as the largest record-seller in history, and she crabs that “tastemakers” don’t like him. WHO THE FUCK CARES?

And in the next day’s paper, newcomer Oliver Wang gives us this (satirically?) haughty description 2 of of a Jay-Z concert 3:

“it doesn’t inspire passionate derision but it is phlegmatic enough to engender shrugged indifference.”

What the hell? This guy’s upper lip is curled to his eyebrow. What mighty thunderbolts he hurls. What oversyllabicated wordplay he weaves. Were these people tortured in the crib to make them so insufferable?

2 A description. Not a “take.” It is life, not a movie.

3 He missed the near-riot by disappointed ticket-seekers outside the House Of Blues. There were six squad cars in the middle of Sunset, a couple paddy wagons on the street, and a helicopter circling. Perhaps it was PC - mustn’t say anything bad about hip-hop!


Tim Carey on Art Fein's Poker Party

Music Notes

The clue in the 8-9-07 NY Times crossword puzzle was “Moon and Starr.” It was 3 letters: what’s the abbreviation for drummers? It turns out to be “QBS.” There are football players by those names! Who knew? .... In the 11/10/07 L.A. Times, class-warrior Ann Powers, championing Bob Dylan, said that Todd Haynes’ Dylan movie would revitalize Dylan and wrest him from “baby-boomers’ self-love.” By that definition Gen-X kids, now pre-menopausal and losing hair, are awash in self-hatred. Or just her .... I didn’t hear “Achy Breaky Heart” when it was current, only the backlash from people who claimed to like country: it was silly, singsongy, trivial. Then I heard it: catchy song, fun. Maybe I should’ve felt guilty. Then I read Hank Thompson’s obit: his first hit was “Humpty Dumpty Heart.” But no one in country respected HIS sillly singsongy music. Did they? .... Dave “pappystuckey” Stuckey has been kicked off youtube. They got complaints about copyrighted images and music. He’s relocated to Dailymotion.com , the French site for expatriate YT-ers .... Denny Bruce, onetime Takoma Records owner, onetime drummer for The Mothers (pre-”Freak Out”), hurt his legs in a fall and is in an assisted-living place in Hollywood with Yma Sumac. Not with her, in the same bldg. But for him it’s temporary .... This month’s AFM Christmas song, from the Cameo/Parkway box, is a Bobby Kennedy/Dylan style parody of a Simon & Garfunkel album cut, “5:00 News/Silent Night.”

Industry, In L.A.

I save bottles and cans and some detergent holders 4 and when I fill a 33-gallon trash bag give it to a homeless guy or gal 5 with a cart.

One Sunday morning I spotted a cart festooned with six full blue bags. I made a u-turn and said “I’ve got stuff for you.” I asked how long he’d worked for that much booty: six full bags is some haul. “Just this morning” he said, “you’d be surprised what people throw out.”

I pondered that. People have parties on Saturday nights, so maybe the Sunday haul is bottle rich. Then he said “I’ve got to pay the cable bill, you know 6.”

4 Plastic containers have a triangle impressed on the bottom. Recyclers take ones with the number one in the triangle. This includes containers that hold raspberries, and other odd things.

5 I told wo women at my daughter’s school that I saved bottles for bums. Both, separately, said “I wouldn’t give them anything. They’ll just spend it on liquor.” On the other hand I heard that Phil Spector used to take friends to the subway beneath Grand Central Station A at night and say “That could be you or me.”

A In 1982 or so I foolishly went downstairs in Grand Central to catch a train back to Brooklyn at 3 a.m. It looked like the worst parts of India, which I’ve never actually seen.

6 I dodged digital cable for many years, then caved in October because many times there was nothing to watch on Basic. (I am aware I could switch off the tv. It’s a sometimes thing.) When I phoned and asked how much it would be, the guy looked at my Basic/DSL plan and said “Say, you’re paying $90. The Time-Warner price is $69.” Which means they bought Adelphia and switched the service to Time-Warner, but not the price. Why do people call them rotten bastards?

That’s Why It’s Called the New Yorker

In the 9-3-07 NYer, Nancy Franklin, reviewing the tv show Californication, throws in a surprising note of self (NY) awareness when she writes

“follows the travails of a New York novelist turned Hollywood writer - Hello, you there? I thought I saw you nod off when I said ‘travails of a New York novelist turned Hollywood writer - ‘ “ .

Golly, someone in NY is aware of THE ENTIRE WORLD’S boredom hearing about New Yorkers in L.A.? But then she returns to form:

(the character) “ hasn’t written anything since he moved to Los Angeles, because he feels sick to the bottom of his soul. I believe this sickness has something to do with that city’s practice of using people until they’re all used up and then spitting them out, not to mention its low standards and its black heart.”

Anyone wanna parse this? Not me. Her experience in Our City may be non-existent, but she’s got ‘attitude’! May Miss Franklin be well in her city full of generous, open-hearted, non-”using” high-standard souls. (Maybe she never leaves her penthouse, or apt with the bathtub in the kitchen.)

And then there’s

On a recent tv show, Paul Body said the hippies didn’t like the song “San Francisco” because it came from L.A. I said he was being provincial, that hippies were everywhere, not just Frisco, in 1967, and that kids didn’t care where records were made.

L.A. people, in fact, have some of same geo-centricism as Friscans. Though we all heard “Rockin’ Robin” and “Elusive Butterfly” and “In A Gada Da Vida”, we never thought of them as L.A. Music - not like some people here do. I heard “San Francisco” when I was in Colorado and I sure had no damn idea where it was produced. And the Doors could have been from San Francisco for all I knew - they didn’t wear striped shirts and little beanies with propellors 7 like the Beach Boys so what was the geographical giveaway? I felt that music came from all over.

7 Maybe I dreamed this detail.

70 years Prescient

Sugar is now sought because it’s not as lethal as high fructose corn syrup.
Dark chocolate is found to be a super health food.

In “Sleeper,” Woody Allen, a health food store clerk awakened from a 100-year coma, asks what the healthiest food turned out to be. When they answered “hot fudge,” we all laughed.

Easy Fixes

Isn’t it time the California Lottery people turn the promised billions over to the schools? Education’s gotten worse since they started it. I guess it’s collecting interest, and the big windfall will be announced any day.

And in the area of reparations, shouldn’t the entire medical expense of smoking be shouldered by Native Americans’ casino money? If the living must pay for the sins of the dead, ‘Indians’ must step up and accept responsibility for having invented smoking.

And shouldn’t Al Sharpton signal his presence at any controversey by wearing a big red clown nose?

Prickly Dickly

In 1989 I had lunch with Dick Clark and Art Laboe, for an article about an oldies package Laboe was releasing. Toward the end I excitedly asked Dick how he liked “Hairspray,” my then and still favorite movie. “I’m not so crazy about it” he said. “I don’t like the way it portrays the tv show host.”

I reared back. What movie had HE seen? Corny Collins is the hero, he pushes for integration, he handles the teens with patience.

Dick was thin-skinned. I asked no controversial questions, but he still warned Laboe “Watch out for this guy.” He’d been burned a few times. When I explained that I was on assignment from a magazine, I was there for a puff piece, he said “Oh, well, then, he’s just a hired gun.” I wondered if the lunchtime drinks were kicking in,

But on that same note, a couple of Clark notes.

* I asked him if he was ever gonna issue rockabilly performances by Gene Vincent or Don French on video. “Look,” he said, “I put out the big hits on a video and it only sold 20,000. How many is YOURS going to sell?” I pondered a few seconds, picked up my fork and stabbed him. “This one’s for rock & roll!” I screamed. I mean, dreamed.

* In 1973 I went to his 20th Anniversary taping at the Hollywood Palace. They played three versions of Roll Over Beethoven - Chuck Berry, the Beatles and ELO. Afterwards Clark was walking the stage and I psst’d him, “Dick, you used the wrong Chuck Berry recording. That was the Mercury remake.” Pshaw, he said, it doesn’t matter.

Product News

* Big Lots!, the redundantly-named store (the reverse - Little Few!), is selling a $25 dvd player that handles both NTSC and PAL. Unbelievable.

* Double-feature DVD (pictured below) at the Dollar Tree for 50 cents.

* Experts in the field of Scotch Tape 8 are buying expensive lead-shot filled “console” tape dispensers that have metal-teeth. Consumer Scotch Tape dispensers originally came with such a blade, but since some genius decided they could make more money making the serrated piece plastic - intact, built in a single casting - you have to struggle to get a piece from the roll. Thank you 3M - Miserable Misers of Minnesota.

* Another fine company cutting corners is Colgate, whose toothpaste tubes come with an attached plastic top that is nigh on impossible to shut tightly. Once it had a separate screw-on top, but who wants that besides consumers? Cut costs! Let the toothpaste exposed to air by the inefficient top dry out and clog the closure. They’ll buy more. 9

* And to the t-shirt manufacturers who eliminate labels and print the sizes on the cloth, which lasts about 4 washings, I say “Come to my house and sort them out!”

8 Only that brand. Knockoffs don’t measure up. But Scotch’s A Magic tape is far from magic. When introduced in the 60s its advantage, offsetting its semi-opacity and half-strength glue, was that you could write on it. Note that the original, still sold, is called Transparent. As opposed to ...

B Scotch is code for cheap, thrrrrrrifty. I wonder who made the better tape when Scotch Tape started.

9 I only heard this, it might not be true, but Heinz’s fat upside-down ketchup bottles (stored that way, open easierly) are a boon to the company because kids squeeze half a bottle onto their plate and waste it, necessitating another purchase.

On Broadway 10

On a PBS Broadway docu, Julie Andrews intones that when Fanny Brice got a $75/week contract (with Ziegfeld? I’d have to re-view) she ran down the street telling everyone.

I think this was to be poignant, her getting excited about so little money. Why is that figure given? It was the 1920s: $20/wk was a good wage.

Also, in the dvd of the stage show “Sweeney Todd”, set in the 1800s, the Judge storms out of the barber shop scowling “You’ll no longer have my custom!” I guess that’s the base of the word customer.

10 Everybody knows this, but I’ll mention it. The guitar solo on the Drifters song “On Broadway” was played by Phil Spector, then interning with Leiber & Stoller.


L.A. is stratified, officially. You could almost say segregated. In the 90s signs began popping up indicating huddled nationality groups: Little Armenia, Thai Town, others. The result is to make non-’homeys’ worry they’ll waken to find a burning Buddha on their lawn.

Now they’re designating burgs. When a major street, Franklin, was blocked for a celebration of Franklin Villlage, I wondered “Where the hell is that?” In the Valley there’s Toluca Terrace and Cahuenga Cascades and Lankershim Paradise and Moorpark Mews and so many others I don’t have time to invent them sprouting up your map that says North Hollywood 11 or Burbank is useless.

11 In an L.A. Times article marking the 10-year anniversary of the 1990s Bank Of America shootout, the writer wrote that today people still think “crazy person shootout” when they think of North Hollywood. It’s a sprawling area, with several pockets of gentrification. The writer should get out of the office occasionally.

Cowards Of The Country

The pointyheaded guy with Jerry Mahoney hair on the Today Show asks Condaleeza Rice “What do you say to critics who say (bla bla bla)?”

“Critics who say” are the interrogator: he is also “Some people” and “Many people” and “One blogger.” Mr. Spindletop is, as most journalists today, afraid to confront the interviewee and hides behind straw “others.”


The Art-Chives

Raji’s, 1989. Carlo Nuccio, Billy Block, Harry Dean Stanton, Billy Bremner.

Denny’s, Hollywood, 1988. Cowboy Dick Montana, Syd Straw, Dave Alvin.


Car Talk

My wife bought a 2002 Volvo convertible in October 06 for $19,000. Approximately 5 year old car, with 49,000 miles on it.

Brought into Bozanni Motors for routine service, and they inspected it and replaced the cruise control, motor mounts, radiator and transmission. Gratis. From what I’ve heard about warranties, this is exceptional.

Also, for one day I rented a Prius, which was interesting and enjoyable. I’d been biased against them for their sanctimoniousness. It was fun, and the rear visibility is unbelievably good: from a downward-facing rear window you can see the road itself!

But after I drove 84 miles on the hiway I had to put in 5 gallons of gas! That 16.8 mpg was partly caused, I’m sure, by the previous renter not filling the tank, just stopping when the needle lit the last square. But it’s a long darn way from 49. I guess you shouldn’t drive 75 mph. 12

12 Instant update. Polly, who owns a Prius, told me that the final gas tank indicator, the eighth of eight horizontal rectangles, stays lit for about 150 miles, then the next 7 drop precipitously. The previous renter was a canny guy (or gal)!

Can’t Get It Up

I took the Volvo in bec the convertible top wouldn’t go up entirely. I cursed the electronics: why wasn’t it manual, like they were in the past?

Turns out we were wrong raising the roof (heh) while the car faced upward on an inclined driveway. The slant prevented the front connector from making a gravity-based connection.

Online Friends

A friend sent a note, from shelfari.com, encouraging me to send a list of my favorite books so we could pool our interests. As I haven’t read that many books I declined. Also I mentioned that I am leary of joining anything online.

He wrote back. “Thank god you didn’t respond. I joined this club and they got into my computer and sucked out the names of EVERYONE IN MY PHONE BOOK AND EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER WRITTEN TO ME. They would have done the same to you.”

Most Unaware Person Found

Dec. 3 Today Show, this news blast: Storm Hits Midwest. I said news. A woman in a fur-hooded coat said in contemporary singsong “I don’t know, I wasn’t prepared for this.” She was in Minneapolis.

Keep Em Going

Every time you enter a used book store, you should buy something.

Let’s Be Seasonable, Like French Fries

Don’t forget the greatest Christmas album of all time, A Christmas Gift To You From Philles Records.

- 57 -

Mark on The Move

Mark has been movin’’ this month, but not groovin’.



Re: “U2” naming itself after a UK govt form, AFPP Nov 07

Actually, and it's the sub-editor in me talking here, it's the hopeless, Birmingham-based reggae band UB40 who are named after a governmental form. A UB40 was a registration form for unemployment benefit (which, in these euphemism-happy times, has now been renamed 'Jobseeker's Allowance', dunno if it's still got the same designation number!)... 

Joss Hutton, UK



Artie...As far as my memory can tell my 1st record was a felix the cat  story 45...I wish i could find another copy (w/cardboard pic sleeve)...My 1st r.n, r 45 was -Get Off My Cloud by the Stones(this one i still have)...I was fortunate in 1968 to become a 10 year old mascot/pest at the Record Casino in Paterson New Jersey, perhaps one of the best “we got it- we can get it” shops in the area (co-owned & managed by Don Filetti - of Relic Records fame). I would help behind the counter for discounts. I got a real education in soul-blues & jazz music.I would study those 45 bins for hours. Oh to relive one of those days again with a couple hundred bucks.
In 1970 i went to my 1st concert Sly & the family with Carla Thomas & the Bar-Kays at Hinchcliff stadium (in Paterson). Carla was wonderful -her tribute to Otis Redding left not a dry eye in the house. Sly was late coming on (no surprise) but him & the Family Stone gave an on-fire performance. I really thought that band would last forever.

That year i also saw Spooky Tooth with the Hassles and later that month the Grateful Dead, 2 shows in one night at Paterson State Teachers College. I never realized Paterson was a real rockin town that year.

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite childhood memories,,, I look forward to your fein mess every month                

Bill De Graaf 



I recently heard from Keith Joe Dick, one of the illustrious stars on
Art Fein Presents L.A. Rockabilly (Rhino 1983). He and wife Diane moved
to Hailey, Idaho.

While Keith assiduously assaulted show biz in L.A. in the form of his
rockabilly band Keith Joe Dick & the Goners, the country band Keith Joe
Dick & The Dickeroos, the Vegas band Keith Joe Dick & The Dickettes and
roles in movies and the acapella band Mighty Echoes and occasionally a
couple songs on the Elvis Birthday show, he’s still active musically up
there in the sticks - in fact, with the hicks, on The Po' Moguls COLD
SUPPER, “A fine collection of Delmore Bros., Swing, And Western music
like you haven't heard in 60 years.” http://cdbaby.com/cd/pomoguls

Email Art Fein

Other Fein Messes