Opinions expressed here are probably not those of KTGL Radio.
If you’ve ever watched “Parts Unknown” with Anthony Bourdain on CNN (or his previous shows on other channels) you saw one of our generation’s great storytellers. He took his own life Thursday night in a hotel room in France where he was working on a segment for his show. Click here for a nice story about Bourdain from his friends at CNN. In the story, they quote him as saying, “We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions,” he said, “we tend to get some really astonishing answers.” So, at roughly the same time I’m reading this and trying to figure out how to share his story and my respect for his work in the short windows I have while playing music during the midday on The Eagle, I found it easy to answer the question, “what makes you happy?” As long as I get to pick more than one thing, one of them is going to be “watching hockey”. I grew up in suburban Chicago idolizing Blackhawks players like Tony Esposito and Stan Mikita. I’ve been a Lincoln Stars season ticket holder since day one. I used to drive up to Omaha to watch Lancers games before that. I love watching the Frozen Four and Stanley Cup hockey on TV. I marvel what those guys can do on skates. Last night I sat on my couch and watched the final game of the Stanley Cup finals. It was your typical championship game with near constant drama oozing from the back and forth scoring chances. Curled up next to me on the sofa is my 17 year old daughter who’s actually paying attention and caring about what happens on the screen. We high fived when Vegas scored. We groaned when Washington scored. We’ve been on that same couch watching my Blackhawks win 3 Stanley Cups in the last 7 years. Some of her favorite items of apparel have had Blackhawk logos. She has the Blackhawks app on her phone. She has been my hockey date at Stars games since she was nine or ten. She has team posters on her bedroom wall. Every year for her birthday celebration she brings a friend (or two) to a game and rides the Zamboni. Can you imagine anything cooler than sharing one of your favorite things in the world with your only child and having her genuinely enjoy it? You know who her favorite band is? The Beatles. You know how cool that is? Remember, I have been a rock and roll DJ my entire adult life. And my kid loves the Beatles. We’ve been to see a pair of Beatles tribute bands at the Lied Center and I’ve twice taken her to see Paul McCartney in concert. In a rare moment of honesty, Mike St. James once interrupted some story I was telling about my kid by asking, “do you know how lucky you are?” He was right. Since the day she was born I have been aware that each day was probably taking me closer to the day she would hate me (because that seems to happen with a lot of kids and parents). But, so far it has not yet happened and instead, there are lots of moments that make me happy. She’s also a good baker. After the game we ate some kind of chocolate chip cookie pie she made for my wife as a belated Mother’s Day gift. We’re both lucky.
Back to Anthony…yesterday we got a story from the CDC about suicide rates over the past 19 years. The numbers are going up. Way up. Everywhere. This is awful. Nebraska is not as bad as many places. 25 states have seen at least a 30% increase from 1999-2016. Only one state saw a decrease. Just 7 states had a smaller increase than Nebraska. I have no solutions. But I know that talking about it and sharing information like this is a no brainer.
I’m In Love With Roger Daltrey: I can’t stop blogging about the Who front man, He’s one of my favorite rock and roll people. He just released a solo album of mostly R&B-ish covers. His buddy Pete Townshend plays on some of the songs. You can listen to most of the album on Roger’s YouTube channel. But if you go to his Facebook page, you can watch a series of video clips where Roger sits with the albums producer and talks about the songs. It’s nothing lengthy, but it’s fun to hear Roger talk about this music that he is so fond of.
I’m Now A Kevin Durant Fan: Because, while watching a video showing Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant surprising a group of Bay Area teens by offering to pay for their first year of college education (not sure what they do after year one) I realized he was wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt. Click here (or below) to see which one…and the nice story about him and the kids. Go Warriors!
I Used To Think…that over animated, over the top, over caffeinated stadium public address announcers were mildly amusing. Now that they are everywhere I find them annoying. Very annoying. Stop yelling.
Mutant Paper Towels: I bet you’ve never seen anything like this before.
It’s a roll of paper towels with 2 tubes. I found it sitting by the sink in the radio station kitchen. Apparently, whatever company we get our paper towels from is not real big on quality control.
Imagine My Surprise…When I was watching the pregame ceremony for game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Las Vegas and I heard the Golden Knights fans yell NIGHT! in unison when they got to the “throught the night” part of the national anthem. Don’t they know that’s disrespectful? At least that was the argument when the Lincoln Stars started discouraging the yelling of STAR! during the “star bangled banner” line after 9/11. I miss those days.
Lisztomania: “10 of your all-time favorite albums that really made an impact and are still on your rotation list, even if only now and then. Post the cover (no need to explain) and nominate someone else to do the same.” Those were the instructions I was given on Facebook from an old radio friend. I usually ignore Facebook “lists”, but this was different, and I was curious to see what my 10 other friends would pick. I tried to pick some less obvious albums that wouldn’t necessarily be on everybody else’s lists. Some of these say more about where my head was at then, than now. And to be honest, I don’t listen to any of these all that often, mostly because these days I rarely listen to any one album all the way through. But when I do…
I’m Pretty Sure When Omaha Offered To Host The Big Ten Baseball Tournament…They were expecting Nebraska to be involved. Nope. Nebraska finished 10th in the regular season standings, but only 8 teams qualify for the tournament. So, my guess is the hosts are hoping Minnesota and Iowa do well, since their fans have the shortest distance to travel. It’s going to be a nice weekend for baseball in Omaha. But there going to be a LOT of empty seats at TD Ameritrade Park. For those of you who care regardless of who’s playing, click here for all the details.
It’s The STONES: It’s a book about the Stones, but you can read the first chapter or so if this new book from last year that mostly focused on the Stones appearances on BBC Radio and TV programs in the early-mid 1960’s. It’s a way more in depth story of how the Stones formed than you’ve probably read before and along with the obvious pictures, there are many other historical documents including letters, newspaper clippings, posters, and BBC audition forms. It’s a terrific time capsule that goes back to the time that classic rock as we know it was born. Even if you aren’t a huge Rolling Stones fan I encourage you to click here and give this a look.
Yes, I DID Watch The Royal Wedding: Well, some of it. I recorded it for my wife and when she sat down to watch it, I had the option of getting up off the couch or just staying there. So, we fast forwarded through it and luckily she didn’t need to see very much. So, I guess I “saw” the whole thing. I only needed so much of the cello solo, the black preacher or the many hat shots. I had memories of Harry Caray on a slow day at Wrigley Field. My wife said it looked like the women had dressed for the Kentucky Derby. I saw Elton John wearing rose colored glasses and looking bored, but the camera may have just caught him at a bad moment. If I was invited to the wedding, I would have hated sitting in the back half of the church. Unless you were sitting on the aisle you probably couldn’t even see the couple during the service. That was one hell of a train on Meghan’s dress. At first I thought it was a salute to the British fishing industry. As weddings go, I suppose it was nice. It certainly was less stuffy than what you would expect from the Royal Family. This does seem to be an indication that the Royals are becoming more open minded than they have been previously. They still seem willing to blow an enormous amount of money on a wedding (or even day to day life) for a bunch of rich people who won the genetic/marital lottery. When I watch spectacles like that I find myself thinking, “I wonder how many poor people they could have fed with all this money”, or “I wonder how many low or middle income kids could have had their college education paid for”, or “how many servants could have retired with a little nicer nest egg?”. I will never understand how the less privileged in countries like that can rationalize why they should subsidize such a ridiculous level of wealth for these people who nowadays are nothing more than figureheads. The other thing I found myself thinking was how talented those peasants who built those churches and castles were. I have no idea how they built structures with those huge vaulted ceilings without the use of diesel powered cranes. And then, there’s the ornate decorations. Keep in mind these people didn’t have any power tools and they built most all this stuff before our country even existed. There were no photos or video from the reception, (where phones were confiscated at the door), but I understand Elton played a handful of songs and (according to Vanity Fair) “There were even drinking games, including beer pong”. Let’s just hope they don’t screw this thing up and need a royal divorce.
Snots Running Down His Nose: It’s one of the most memorable lines from one of classic rock’s most memorable songs, from a great album with a memorable cover, that Ian Anderson believes depicts him as the character in the title song. Seems he is wrong, according to the son of the man who drew the “painting”. There are always competing versions of stories like this and no matter who is right, this is a good read and it’s more than most of us knew before.
Something Tells Me It’s Time For Something Lighthearted: So, let’s laugh while we watch bears playing ice hockey. Click here for a good chuckle. Come on, let’s make this think go viral!
Nothing Says Cow Town…like a 16 page newspaper. And these days, that’s pretty much what we get every Monday in Lincoln. Sheesh. Bear in mind, that includes several full page ads, a page of comics, another page of puzzles, the TV listings and a couple pages of both classified ads and obituaries. I’m not going out of my way to bash the newspaper. I read it every day. But I wish there was more to it. And I am definitely not suggesting this has anything to do with the people who work at the newspaper. Many of them have either been professionally or personally kind to me (or both). And I can think of many who do very good work. There just aren’t enough of them. Just like there aren’t enough TV reporters or weekend DJ’s in Lincoln. I’m sure the newspaper would like to hire more people, but the economy has not been kind to the old media. And it’s been especially unkind to newspapers. Hence, the light-as-a-feather Monday edition. Amazingly, they are charging roughly twice what they charged just a few years ago (or so it seems). “All The News That’s Fit To Print” has been replaced by “Half The Content For Twice The Price”. And then, you have their cockamamie “9 months for the price of 12” subscription scam. The front page of their mail offers quotes you a price for “12 months” or “52 weeks” or “1 year” (or whatever it is), but in the incredibly fine print on the back of the page they explain there will something like a half dozen “special” editions that will be priced at something like $4 or $6 each (sorry, I’m doing this off the top of my head). Now, I get that the day after Thanksgiving is going to include some useful, juicy advertisements, but these are advertisements…that advertisers pay to have included in the paper. There are also other special editions mostly filled with PR stories on local businesses in the community, that I don’t generally consider “news”. When you add up the price of all these premium editions and prorate/subtract that from the annual amount (as they inform you that they will do) your one year subscription expires somewhere around month 9 or 10. If lawyers worked for free, I would hire one and test the legality of this deal. I have previously tried to opt out of the “special edition” subscription, with varying success. So, despite the growing population, we seem to be a cow town…with a very expensive local newspaper.
Vote For Me And I’ll Set You Free: It’s election day in Nebraska. Many county, state and federal races are on the ballot. Some races will be narrowed down, others won’t. Independents can vote for most Democatic races, but only the federal Republican races. Unicameral races can be voted on by anybody living in that district. Need to know more? Click here for everything from sample ballots to polling places. Click here for complete results.
Don’t Hold Your Breath: By now you’ve probably heard that the U-S Supreme Court has overturned the 25 year old federal law banning states from legalizing sports gambling. And maybe you’re thinking it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be betting on KC Cheifs game here in Nebraska. Because I like to be a party pooper, I’m here to tell you that you’ll have to drive to Iowa or Kansas to place that bet, because I’m betting that Nerbaska will never allow sports betting. Maybe not never. But not soon. I’m guessing you’ll see beer in Memorial Stadium before you seeing legalized sports gambling in Nebraska. And if it ever does happen, it will only involve professional sports. Even with term limits in the Unicameral, I’m guessing there will always be a majority of state senators who think gambling is evil and don’t buy into the argument that any kind of tax revenue generated by legalized gambling offsets the expenses of dealing with people who have gambling “problems”. Based on opposition to previous attempts to expand gambling in Nebraska, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. It sounds like Kansas and Iowa are more serious about allowing something like this in the near future. Click here for a pretty good story about the case that ended up before the Supreme Court.
Again??? Usually I’m a fan/defender of the Public Works Department. But do we really have to close off one of the northbound lanes of N. 27th again? I can’t even tell what they are doing, or getting ready to do. But whatever it is, why couldn’t it have been done one of the last 2 or 3 times they were messing with N. 27th? So far, I hasn’t really affected me, so I’m not here to vent. But I feel for those who are affected. Again. Perhaps it’s time to use my lofty position to see if I can get some answers. I’ll get back to you…(if the city ever responds to my email).
I Used To Read Books: Then radio, cable television, a family and the internet started getting in the way. Now, the only books I make time to read are rock & roll autobiographies and it doesn’t happen very often. I don’t even average one a year. I’m not proud of this. I miss reading. When I was in high school my sister gave me a collection of paperbacks that had a big influence on me. If you ever wonder where my sarcastic sensor of humor came from, read a Kurt Vonnegut book. One of the early ones. Sirens of Titan, Slaughterhouse 5, Cat’s Cradle, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater or a later work called Dead Eye Dick. I also recommend the collection of short stories called Welcome To The Monkey House. He was also influential in other ways. I named my cat Eliot after Mr Rosewater (not T.S. Elliott, but that worked out nicely). Vonnegut was to novels what Larry Lujack was to DJ’s in the early 1970’s and you can blame the way I turned out on them. Because things naturally occur in three’s, I am also compelled to mention Jim Bouton, another author who wrote probably the single most influential book I ever read—Ball Four. Again, it drips with sarcastic humor. But this was an autobiography/diary of his 1969 season playing for the Seattle Pilots, who would soon become the Milwaukee Brewers. Bouton was black balled for lifting the curtain on pro sports and taking impressionable teenagers like me behind the scenes and showing me what really went on in the dugout, bull pen, team bus, hotel roof and back home at the kitchen table at a time when many major league baseball players still had off season jobs and the writers who covered them kept quiet about their PG-13 escapades and most of the realities of being a professional athlete. As a sports junkie who had previously been reading the sanitized sports biographies of the day, I found Ball Four to be an eye opening watershed moment. Ball Four literally (get it?) changed the landscape of sports biographies. Even Bouton gives credit for the idea for his book to a similar kind of MLB diary (though much more tame) written by Jim Brosnan, while pitching in 1959 for the Cardinals, called The Long Season. I later read (and enjoyed) it, but would only recommend it after you’ve read a Vonnegut book two. Click here for a quick rundown on each of his novels, ranked by a critic.
Bet You Didn’t See This One Coming: Remember Cub Hall of Famer Andre Dawson? Guess what The Hawk is doing now…. Wrong. Click here for the correct answer.
Where Did All The People Go? I’ve spent my entire adult life living on the edge of small town America. In fact, I have almost always been surrounded by farmland, because even my boyhood home back in Suburban Chicago was across the street from a cornfield. We were on the edge of the suburbs, with open fields between towns…fields that are all filled in now. I played on the fringes of that cornfield as a kid. As cornfields go, it was small. It was surrounded on 3 sides by houses and by the time I was in college it was replaced by houses. To be honest, I have no idea where the farmer lived and I never actually saw any farming talk place. Regardless, I went to college in a small town in rural, Southern Illinois. Then it was 7 years in the Quad Cities– the “Farm Implement Capital of the World” (because of all the manufacturing plants). The QC’s were surrounded on every side by cornfields (and were maybe 90 minutes from the “Field of Dreams”). Eastern Iowa/Western Illinois is farm country. Just like any place in Nebraska except Lincoln or Omaha. Wherever I lived, there were occasional forays into actual farm country, and I always loved the sights along the way. My work has occasionally taken me into (and more often through) many truly small towns and I am proud that my voice has become a small part of the lives of some of the people living in many of those small towns. Which is why I was fascinated by a recent on line article called “Rural Kansas is dying. I drove 1,800 miles to find out why”. It’s written by a Kansas native and much of it could have been written about rural Nebraska, Iowa or Illinois. Anyone living within the sound of my voice…should read this article…even if you are live nowhere near a farm.
Stepping Into The Wayback Machine: It’s not like I crossed something off my bucket list, but Saturday was a very memorable Rockin’ Road Show. I can now say I have stepped foot inside what used to be the Goodyear plant and had a look around. It’s not as hip or trendy as Pinnacle Bank Arena or Tony & Luigi’s or the Tastee In & Out, but it’s as iconic as any other Lincoln landmark and unlike 2 of those other 3, it’s still around, albeit under a different name. After several years under the Veyance name the plant was bought roughly 3 years ago by Continental and they still make belts of all kinds under the name ContiTech. They also seem to be making a bigger financial commitment to the place. We were there to help promote immediate openings created by recent and anticipated retirements. Good pay, good benefits, and a piece of history! Speaking of history, I had no idea until Saturday that before Goodyear bought the plant in 1940, it had been used by the Arrow Aircraft company to build planes. Small planes. Current plant manager Courtney is one of those legacy hires whose grandfather and great uncle worked at the plant (if I recall correctly). And my tour guide Mike has been there close to 30 years. Thanks also to Eric, Teresa and Michael for their hospitality and letting me have a peak into Lincoln/Havelock’s past. The cookies were also awesome. That’s me, Courtney, Mike and Eagle sales guy, Tim Bob.
The Lettuce Could Kill You: It’s true, but it’s probably not going to happen in Nebraska. At least it hasn’t happened yet. No cases of lettuce tainted with ecoli have been reported in Nebraska, but there has been one in Missouri, one in South Dakota and 2 in Colorado. 29 states now have cases. Click here to see for yourself and get more info on the lettuce scare. Update: There has now been a case reported in the Omaha area where someone got sick and has recovered.
Before You Upgrade to iOS 11.3.1: You might want to read this.
Now, THIS Is A Dust Storm: If you think things were bad earlier this week in Nebraska, be glad you weren’t in India. Click here to see what I’m talking about.
Dirt Blizzard: Did you hear about the “blackout” near York on the interstate late Sunday afternoon? It was actually more like a fog, that reduced visibility so much that there was a 20-car chain reaction accident that sent a dozen people to the hospital and left one person dead. This time of year nothing is growing yet along the I-80 and I guess all of last years’ corn stalks have been plowed under (agriculture is not my specialty), so there is all this loose dirt just laying around and those wind gusts blew it around like a light snow. Click here to see video somebody gave to 10/11. Click here to see photos taken after the crashes on the the Channel 7 web site.
Sad News From The Lunch Room: Today may be the most disappointing Tupperware full of leftovers I have ever brought with me to work. It was mostly cauliflower with a couple spoonfuls of noodles and some marinara sauce. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t very good. At least it was (seemingly) nutritious. PS: The next day all I had was the cauliflower and red sauce. I pretended it was mash potatoes.
Sad News From The Schoolhouse: The Musical Director and main songwriter from the Schoolhouse Rock educational cartoon series has died. Bob Dorough wrote songs like “Conjunction Junction”, “3 Is A Magic Number” and “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here”. Click here for the formal story about his death. He sang on some, but not all the Schoolhouse Rock songs. The most memorably singer was Jack Shelton, who also had a jazz background. Here’s a pretty interesting article about him called “Last Of The Hep Cats”, that makes no reference to Schoolhouse Rock, but does include quotes from Clint Eastwood. Did you know Scott has a cat named Lollie?
Let’s See, Where Was I? Oh, yeah. Right. Hold on.
Are You Ready To Rumble? Maybe you have heard of the song “Rumble”. It’s an early rock and roll instrumental, heavy on the guitar. And it’s one of the most influential of the early rock and roll songs. Any number of classic rockers will tell you that when they heard that song, something clicked inside. Watch the documentary “It Might Get Loud” and watch the smile on his face when Jimmy Page drops the needle on his personal copy of “Rumble”. Others tell a similar kind of story in a new documentary called “Rumble” that is showing this weekend in Lincoln during the Vision Maker Film Festival. It’s a festival that showcases works by Native American filmmakers. While you may have heard of “Rumble” by Link Wray, you probably did not know he was a Native American.
You can watch “Rumble”, Friday April 20th, 7pm at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on the UNL campus. There will be a Q&A session following the screening featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie (a member of the Cree tribe). Click here for more details on the festival. Click here if you don’t believe me about how influential “Rumble” was. PS: There is an encore performance next Tuesday night the 24th.
Oh, Great: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a funny thing. Like any Hall of Fame, it seems like a great idea at first. And then…it gets weird. Sure, Babe Ruth, The Beatles, George Mikan and Howie Morenz needed to go into their HOF’s on the first ballot and it takes a few years to get to all the obvious choices…but then, at some point you run out of the people everyone agrees on and you start considering people that at one time were considered long shots. Like them or not, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Journey, Hall & Oates and Bon Jovi were once more of a punch line than serious contenders for spots alongside the Stones, Kinks, Bob Dylan, or The Who. Of course MANY of the early inductees were a LONG way from what we now call “rock” music and it took them 5 years to get to the Kinks and The Who, but that’s another debate for another day. Figuring out exactly what IS the criteria (or what SHOULD BE the criteria) for getting into the Rock Hall requires a Ouija board (and is still another debate). So, now, on top of all that, the Hall is also going to start honoring the greatest Rock & Roll “singles” of all time. I guess that’s going to be limited to songs released by themselves on 45rpm records. Again, there will be some obvious choices…I guess. And then all hell will break loose and it will be every man for himself. And it will be pointless. This is ART. It’s not meant to be seriously compared to other art. And you either like it or you don’t. And you like some more than others and all the arguing in the world isn’t going to change anybody else’s mind. I suppose you could base the decision on record sales or radio airplay, but that’s already largely irrelevant at the Rock Hall (or used to be). This is as pointless have “teacher” or “mother” or “employee” of the year awards. For the record, here are the first 6 songs being honored: “Rocket 88”, “Rumble”, “The Twist”, “Louie Louie”, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and “Born to Be Wild”. Click here for more details. More on Rumble next time…
A Spider From Mars…who was David Bowie’s on stage sidekick during David’s early 70’s heyday: Mick Ronson. Or, Ronno, to his friends. He was a great guitar player, arranger and (eventually) producer, who later would become Ian Hunter’s sidekick. And he’s also the subject of a recent documentary called “Beside Bowie”. People like this are just as important to classic rock music as David and Ian. Well, almost as important. You can find the documentary on line and who knows where else. I haven’t seen it yet, but media critic Charles McBarron recommends it. Click here to watch the trailer.
Parking Like A Jerk: Who parks like this?
Me. But let me explain. I was actually horrified when I came out to my car at the end of the day and found my car straddling TWO parking spaces. I know what I would think if I saw somebody else’s car parked like this, so I immediately thought of what my co-workers were thinking of me. I even thought of going back inside and sending an “all-staff” email explaining why I wasn’t a jerk. You see…when I got to work that morning it had just started to snow and that snow was obscuring all the parking lot lines, and with nobody else already parked in that part of the parking lot, I had to guess where the lines were. Which is fine if other people start parking next to me. It looks like the blue car across me also got lined up wrong, but everybody on my side got there after the sun came out and the snow melted. And at that points people probably wondered how I ever passed the driver’s license driving test. So, next time you see someone parked like this, they may not be a jerk and you might want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Peace & Love. Peace & Love. PS: Speaking of pre-judging people. This is a great Twitter story. Really.
Sorry: Too busy doing corporate software training (again) today to make time for blogging.
Imagine…being able to write like John Lennnon.
That’s a sample of the new John Lennon Font from www.songwritersfonts.com. It has been created from John Lennon’s original handwritten letters and notes. This font is for a personal use only. They also have a David Bowie and Kurt Cobain font. —UPDATE: Oops. Too late. Turns out the font-makers didn’t have legal permission, and their site has been shut down.
Stop Whining About The Weather. Did you just move here?
This Just In: I suppose this story has been told elsewhere, but I am among those hearing it for the first time thanks to a new interview with Bernie Taupin in the Wall Street Journal where he talks about the Elton John song “Rocket Man”. He basically says he was upset that Donald Trump used the title as a nick name for Kim Jung Un, but realizes there’s nothing he can do about it. Besides, he says he essentially stole the idea for the story from the band Pearls Before Swine, who had a song of their own called “Rocket Man”, also inspired by the Ray Bradbury story called “The Rocket Man”, which was a part of the famous collections of short stories called “The Illustrated Man”, and which you can easily find summaries of with a Google search. First we learn the “fuse” line in a Volkswagen TV commerical, now we know where the original idea came from. Next time on Timmo’s Book Corner we’ll discuss Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot”.
This Will Make You Feel Old: John Lennon’s eldest son Julian is turning 55 on Sunday. Sadly, he and John weren’t all that close. This is one of those cases where it’s best to not know too much about the people who’s music you love. Same for any celebrity. Sometimes their private lives aren’t pretty. Or as admirable as their public work.
He Knows All the Chords: But, he’s not going to play at his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. Or even show up. Dire Straits was pretty much Mark Knopfler’s band, but he may not be there when they go into the Hall of Fame. UPDATE: Dire Straits co-founder John Illsley has confirmed Mark won’t be there and says those who do show up won’t play. He says Mark’s just not interested and he would never try to play without him. Originally there was a story from one of them that three original members of the band will show up and play an unplugged version of “Telegraph Road” on banjo, ukulele and harmonium, with vocals by Stevie Wonder, but Illsley called that a joke. Speaking of Dire Straits have you seen/heard the heavy metal version of “Sultans of Swing”? Think Metallica meets Dire Straits. It’s especially interesting in the middle and end. Mad props to the guy playing all the instruments and whoever put together the video. I read that Mark Knopfler asked that Eric Clapton or Bob Dylan do the Dire Straits induction speech, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Have I ever told you about the time I saw Mark open for Bob Dylan in Omaha? It was maybe 5 years ago. It was good. Mark mostly did his solo songs, but he closed with “Walk of Life”, which was a better show closer than I would have guessed. I like some (but not all) of his solo stuff a lot. Bob brought him out and had him play several songs with him during Bob’s set. Perhaps the most memorable thing about the show was that Bob played without a spotlight on him. They had a series of a half dozen or dozen “movie set” lights set up around the stage which created an eerie kind of orange glow around the performers, which was OK, but after a while you realized there was not spotlight on Bob. Maybe when you get that old, with that many wrinkles, it’s a good strategy. Or maybe there was a problem with the guy working the spotlight. Doesn’t matter. Last I looked, a Dire Straits presenter had not been announced, while everyone else had been paired up. Howard Stern will induct Bon Jovi, Ann Wilson will induct the Moody Blues and one of the members of the Killers will induct the Cars. PS: Mark never did show up and nobody officially presented the 3 members who did show up. I guess they inducted themselves. I’ve read that Keith Urban and Neil Young passed on offers to present the band. HBO will start showing highlights of the ceremony in early May.
Oops: I just tried popping a pill in my mouth…and missed.
Jorma: I know of only one person the planet with the first name Jorma. Granted, I don’t get out much. Doesn’t matter. The one I know of was a guitar player for Jefferson Airplane. He stayed in the business and has many stories to tell, which he is telling in a new book. Click here for more details. Are you a Kinks fan? Did you know they have remaster some of the early Kinks albums? Click here to watch Ray Davies listening to a couple songs and talking about the new versions. Did you see I came in tied for 13th in the Eagle on line bracket contest? I though that was pretty good, considering I took about 60 seconds to fill out my bracket, and I could probably count the number of college games I watch for more than 3 minutes this season on one hand. Still, I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing. That’s a big part of this job. Did I mention I was much more excited about the Frozen Four? Go Ohio State!
Omaha: People in Omaha tend to think everything in Omaha is better than it is in Lincoln. And people in Lincoln think Omaha is a crime infested haunted house of a town. I’m not originally from either place and I’ve never understood the competitive animosity, jealousy and rivalry that exists between the two cities. I am fond of both places. I guess I grew up in a place that was a combination of of the two. My suburb of Chicago was a LOT like Lincoln and was surrounded by other “small town” suburbs, but you were never far from “the big city” Most days it was probably like growing up in Ralston, or Bellevue, or Papillion, or Millard…and someday we’ll add Gretna and Elkhorn to the list. The only reason I brought this up is because I was in midtown Omaha this weekend and was appalled by the size of the potholes. Good lord, Omaha has big potholes. Especially on 72nd north of Pacific. Thank goodness there wasn’t much traffic and I could weave between the craters. It was way worse than N. 27th in Lincoln before they fixed that road last year. It was another example of how many people in Lincoln don’t appreciate how good they have it. Often times I think people who like to bitch about life in Lincoln need to get out a little more often. I think people who have lived elsewhere generally complain less about Lincoln. The pothole thing was annoying, but the REAL reason for this post has to do with Chuck E. Chesse. Not the Chuck E. Cheese in Lincoln . The Chuck E. Cheese in Omaha. Because they are one of many locations around the country participating in “Sensory Sensitive Sunday” designed for children with autism and special needs. Families who attend Sensory Sensitive Sunday can expect less crowds, dimmed lighting and the music turned down. Omahans are lucky. Look at me– two feel-good stories in a week! Click here for a story from a New Mexico TV station. Click here for details on the Chuck E. Cheese web site. Omaha-1, Lincoln-0.
Oh Dear God: This morning at home I spotted a newspaper clipping on our dining room table with this headline: “Make Your Own Peeps”.
This Also Gives Me Great Joy: When I posted my story about losing interest in baseball, I left out one factor: Hockey. I’ve been a Chicago Blackhawks fan since Bobby Hull was still with the team. And while my love of baseball waned, my love of hockey did not. Oh, sure, I stopped subscribing to Hockey Digest and I didn’t follow the sport much during my college days or when finding NHL games on TV was like looking for Big Foot, but, now the NHL has it’s own TV channel, I have satellite TV and my hometown team is a big draw, even then they aren’t winning Stanley Cups. And, we now have NCAA hockey on TV and there are few things I enjoy more than watching Frozen Four games. (There are former Lincoln Stars on 2 of this this year’s semifinalists). But, I digress. I only bring up hockey to explain this link. It’s the story of a 36 year old former college goalie who’s been playing rec league hockey at night and serving as an occasional stand by, emergency goalie at Blackhawk home games. Last night a pre-game injury, and then an in-game goalie injury meant Scott Foster got into the game with 14 minutes left to play. It was like a Disney movie, but for real. With all the bad stuff going on in this world, it’s great to see a story like this, which is close as you’re going to see me posting feel-good stuff.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game: But don’t buy me any Crackerjack. I never even cared for the prizes. Do they still have prizes? Now, peanuts I like. Today is opening day for Major League Baseball. I use to like baseball a lot. I subscribed to Baseball Digest. I played Strat-O-Matic Baseball. I played Little League baseball. I played Pony and Colt league baseball, too. I was a Cub fan until I was 12 or 13 years old. Then 1969 happened. Or maybe it was Harry Caray coming to Chicago to broadcast White Sox games. Did I mention that I grew up in suburban Chicago? In any case, at some point I stopped following the Cubs AND White Sox and declared permanent allegiance to the Sox. And it wasn’t because they were much better. They were just as bad. This was back in the day when you rooted for the closest team, not the one that had won the most divisional titles. By the time Dick Allen arrived I was all in on the South Side of town (except we didn’t actually say that back then). I’ve been rooting against the Cubs ever since. So, today, Go Marlins! Sorry, Royals fans, I will also be rooting against your team today. I am man enough to admit that I would rather see a Cub loss than a Sox win. I like it when the Royals win. I rooted for them in the World Series. But not today. I can still probably name the entire 1972 White Sox starting line up, but I don’t think I can name a single player on the current Sox roster. I moved away, fewer games were on TV, I got busy, the game slowed down. Jesus, the game slowed down. Spare me the tugging on the batting gloves and the pawing at the dirt, JUST HIT THE DAMN BALL. Pitchers are just as bad. I can’t watch anymore. It’s painful. I don’t know how the kids with ADHD sit through a game. So, really, don’t take me out to the ball game. But, if you want to bring me back some peanuts that would be OK.
Run For Your Life: I’m only kidding. This is only a test. Like the tornado warning test this morning. Radio and TV stations (and the city) try very hard to make sure we can effectively communicate severe weather info because if we don’t, people can die. I’ve been on the air during more than one fatal storm and you quickly realize Led Zeppelin and monster truck ticket giveaways are not nearly as important as trying to save lives. And with a radio signal that goes all the way from northern Kansas, west to almost Grand Island, north to almost Fremont, and across the Missouri River into Iowa, there are a lot of Eagle listeners to keep in mind. And that means once storm season heats up we may occasionally be interrupting the music to talk about a storm that may not be a problem anywhere near you. So, please bear with us. We realize people sitting at their desk or staring at their cell phones have access to just as much information as we do, but, there are also thousands of people in a windowless rooms who have no idea what’s going on outside, or sitting in their cars, unaware of what potentially dangerous weather they are driving into. Keep in mind there is a ton of severe weather info over on the severe weather page of our web site. There are radars you can zoom in or out of. You can change the settings to show hail, high winds, tornadoes or the latest watch/warning zones. You can also read the text of the latest watches and warnings. Traffic cameras can show you what conditions look like all over Lincoln and all around the state. There are also links to pretty good radar apps for your phone so you can keep an eye on the weather any time you like. I’m sure there will be a time this spring or summer when you’ll wish we would skip all the weather warnings and get back to the music, but, please don’t forget about Hallam, or Grand Island, or Omaha or Pilger. Click here for an interactive map that lets you look for tornadoes all over Nebraska, year by year, with details of each storm.
This Gives Me Great Joy: After many years in storage, I brought by old stand alone tuner in to the office and hooked it up to a pair of computer speakers in the empty cube next to mine. We go way back– to the early 1980’s when I bought it at a stereo store in Carbondale, Illinois, where I went to college. I’m pretty sure digital tuners hadn’t been around very long at that point. The equipment we used to listen to our favorite music used to be more important. There were dials, and meters, and glowing lights. If you went the component route they took up a lot of room. They were a status symbol for some. And a pain in the ass to pack up and move. But now, radios and digital music players, or phones with radios and digital music players fit in your pocket. It’s not the same. (Scroll down to my Roger Daltrey post for more music nostalgia commentary). Same thing for cars. Aftermarket tuners, tape decks, power amps and equalizers could turn even the crappiest cars (like a 1974 Maverick) into a great ride. You have no idea how many hours I spend, half upside down, my head under a dashboard, trying to figure out how to pull it apart (or put it back together). But eventually factory car stereos got better and I had better things to do.
Damn You Mark Zuckerberg! Freaked out about your Facebook data getting all over the Dark Web? Not even sure if you should be worried? I’m giving you three links to pretty good articles that explain what info is being seen and shared…and how you can keep it private. Keep in mind, most of the suggestions involve less activity on Facebook. Don’t worry, I promise not to watch. Click here, and here and here.
Ooh, Snap: Syracuse University basketball players were allegedly less than enthusiastic about coming to Omaha for the next round of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. One one of the writers at the Omaha World-Herald took exception to the dis and wrote a column comparing Nebraska and New York (and Missouri). Click here to read it (provided you haven’t already burned through you monthly allotment of free stories on the World-Herald web site. Nothing bores me more than people who look down their nose at places where other people live. Unless it’s the south. Granted, Syracuse has not drawn the most glamorous NCAA assignments this year. They started with a play in game in Dayton, then spent last weekend in Detroit. Maybe getting sent to Nebraska was the last straw. The other regionals are being played in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Boston. But, really, how much is their coach going even let them out of their hotel? Whoever makes it to the Final Four will be going to San Antonio. Speaking of brackets, I seem I am currently ranked 82nd in the Eagle Bracket Mania contest. However, my POTENTIAL score is higher than 6 of the people currently ranked in the top 10. So, I’ve got them right were I want them. Go Villanova!
My Favorite Led Zeppelin Song Is: “When The Levee Breaks”. Maybe yours is “Stairway To Heaven”. Twice I’ve seen Robert Plant cite a different song as his “favorite”. He talks about it during his hour long interview with Dan Rather on AXS-TV, which premiered last week. UPDATE: You can now watch the full episode on the AXS-TV web site. It wasn’t the greatest interview ever, but it was good.
If I Leave Here Tomorrow: That’s the name of a new Lynyrd Skynyrd documentary that debuted at the SXSW festival in Texas. It’s first TV appearance will be later this year on the CMT channel. Gary Rossington narrates the film which includes interviews from past and present Skynrd members. There is also lots of archival material and the approval of the band. Click here for a review of the film. I also highly recommend an older documentary (done by a British producer) called “Gone With The Wind”. Click here to watch a sample. It’s really long and the pace is slow at times, but there are some great insights into the bands early days from early managers, producers and Ed King, who joined the band just before the “Pronounced” album was released and stuck around for the first 3 albums. There is another recent film called “Street Survivors” which essentially tells drummer Artimus Pyle’s version of the Skynyrd story, but it’s release has been blocked by lawyers for Rossington and the estate’s of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines. It seems like most legendary bands eventually end up in court, and the are multiple versions of various stories, so you have to take everything with a grain of salt, but no matter who tells the Lynyrd Skynyrd story, it’s an amazing story about some great music.
Ted & Ellen’s Excellent Adventure: That’s Ted Glock and his daughter Ellen at Monday’s Eagles show down in Kansas City. Here’s part of what he had to say after the show: “Overall the band sounded great, the vocal harmonies were excellent. Adding Vince Gill and Deacon Frey didn’t harm the sound in any way. Much like the “History of the Eagles” show from several years ago. Vince sang his hit “The Next Big Thing.” I find it interesting that Joe does his (James Gang and solo) music but Don does not. Don sounds like Don, with a few years on him. Joe is a showman. Timothy sat on a stool, told us he fell in the shower in Chicago, entered and exited the stage on crutches. Five piece horn section and a five piece string section that performed on several tunes, they were a cool addition to the already great sounding musicians.” Thanks for sharing, Ted. The Eagles will be in Des Moines on March 26th. Hopefully Timothy will be off the crutches by then.
Tell Me Who Are You, You, You, You (you get the idea): I love Roger Daltrey. Warts and all. I’m not sure he even has any warts, but it seems we all do and he must, too. And I don’t care. Any minor downside is completely eclipsed by all the good things. Where do I start? The music. He’s part of some of he most important post-Beatles music ever made. Tommy, Who’s Next and Quadrophenia are the most potent trio of albums anywhere in the classic rock library (for me). And while Pete Townshend is the mad scientist behind those songs, Roger puts a stamp on most of them with his voice and on several occasions turns in what I find to be the epitome of a great rock and roll vocal. I will put his performance on “Lov Reign o’er Me” up against anybody else. “Getting In Tune” is another. I could go on and on but I’m late for a nap. It’s a great speaking voice, too. Go to the internet and watch any one of a thousand interviews he has done in the past couple decades. I’m a sucker for a British accent, but there’s also a twinkle in his eye and a devilish giggle. He’s a great story teller and over the years has developed a keen sense of history and perspective about The Who and music in general. A few years ago, in just a few sentences he said something about the music that struck me at my very core. I’m sorry I can’t copy & paste it here, or remember it verbatim, but the gist was that music MATTERED so much more back then. It was pretty much the only thing that was all ours. And everything connected to it mattered more than it does now. The records, the concerts, the radio stations. He was so right. Kids today will never know. He’s had another important effect on kids. Roger & Pete have done at least 100 live shows and devoted enormous energy toward their Teenage Cancer Trust, raising money to build hospitals devoted to treating those too old for a children’s hospital and too young at be ease while battling cancer amidst adults. They even have a pair of facilities here in the US. I cannot imagine a more perfect thing for them to do with their time and money. This alone makes up for a lot of warts. Even Pete’s. And he has a lot. His autobiography was simultaneously awesome and TMI. But that’s another blog for another day. Pete plays on the new Roger Daltrey solo album coming out in June. It’s mostly covers of soul or R&B songs like the kind Roger & Pete were playing and singing before Pete started writing original material. And while I have been openly critical of Roger’s signing in recent years (he’s almost 75) he sounds fine on the title track from this album, “As Long As I Have You”. It’s been a while since he could hit all the notes needed for many of songs in The Who catalog, but on something new, like this, he doesn’t have to measure up to some recording that’s been playing in my head for the past 40 years. Certainly, the passion is still there. It was also there on his recent collaboration with Wilko Johnson. Click here and see what you think of this new one. Click here for a fairly recent British late night TV interview. Click here to watch Roger talk with Dan Rather about the Teenage Cancer Trust, the Who and life in general. I think you’ll come away liking him, too.
Surprise: This is what makes a great concert memory– at least for me. I mostly remember the surprises– the stuff I wasn’t expecting to see or hear. Sometimes it was great to just see a favorite band or hear a favorite song, but an extended version, or a new solo, or a song I had never heard before often ends up staying with me much longer. Today on the radio I wondered what it must have been like to see the Eagles before their first live album came out and be caught off guard by the semi-acapella song “7 Bridges Road”. When I saw the Eagles a few years ago at the Pinnacle Bank Arena the thing that surprised me (in a good way) was how much I thought the show benefited by them taking a “History Of” approach and going in chronological order. Hearing the stories about the songs and following the progression of the band and its music gave the whole night a different kind of a context. Have you ever attended a show where (most) everything was played in the order it was released? Rush did a sort of a reverse chronological thing during their PBA show, playing recent stuff (with Neil Peart’s huge drum kit) during the first half of the show followed by the older stuff (on a much simpler drum kit) during the 2nd half. I’ve also seem them do all of the “Moving Pictures” album up in Omaha. And there was the giant inflatable top hat & bunny rabbit in the old Civic Auditorium on the 2nd tour after the Presto album (I think). I also mentioned a Pink Floyd concert surprise. There were actually two. The first was “Great Gig In The Sky” from Dark Side Of The Moon. I was sitting halfway back, on the side, at Cyclone Stadium in Ames, completely sucked in by this passionate, high decibel, note for note recreation of another semi-acapella song that generally takes a back seat to DSOTM songs like “Time” and “Money”. I still remember the goose bumps in Ames, every time I hear that song. I’m not big on scat singing, but those women were amazing. I’m not sure I would have felt the same way if I was hearing the song for the very first time. There was something about recreating the album experience in that setting that was special for me. And then later that night David Gilmour reminded me of what a great guitar solo he gave us on the song “Comfortably Numb”. It’s not the flashiest solo, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who overlooks it when thinking of great classic rock guitar solos. But not anymore. David knocked it out of the park that night with an extended version of that solo, which was enhanced by the surprise emergence of a giant mirror ball that lifted up out of a box at the 50 yard line during the last half of the song. And the Paul McCartney surprise I mentioned? That surprise (here in Lincoln at the PBA) was more subtle. It was the fact that he went 2 hours without a swig from his water bottle, while he and his band rocked much harder than I was anticipating. Oh sure, there was “Yesterday” and “Black Bird”, but overall, he rocked and I wasn’t the only person caught a little off guard. He’s 70, and could coast through a show without being called out for it, but he doesn’t. So that was nice. Let’s face it, the first wave of the classic rockers are getting old and not all have aged gracefully (or even stayed alive). Hips and knees and voices have all grown old and not necessarily held up under close inspection, so I often go to shows with low expectations. Which makes it all the more enjoyable when I am “surprised” that they still have it.
Chin-Chillin: I admit it. Some days I’m afraid I am at turning into the Progressive Insurance box. Except he has a “vlog”.
I only have a “blog”. And it’s going to stay that way. Gotta go make some ice cubes…
Ouch: Netflix has released a trailer for a movie made by Daryl Hannah, featuring her boyfriend Neil Young, Willie Nelson and members of Neil’s band. I’m an old Neil Young fan who’s not as crazy about his more recent stuff and who is not excited about this movie. In fact, I think it looks awful. It will be available starting March 23rd. Click here to watch the trailer for yourself.
I Told You So: The Husker Men’s basketball team will have to settle for the NIT Tournament. Good luck against Mississippi State on Wednesday night. Good luck to the Husker Women in their NCAA Tournament, Saturday against Arizona State. Have you signed up for the the Eagle bracket contest? Come on. You could with the $250 drawing just for filling out a bracket. Click here to sign up.
How Much?: Tickets went on sale Monday morning for U2 in Omaha May 19th. They are NOT cheap. Oh, there are some $41 (plus fees) tickets essentially up, behind the main stage, but most the nose bleeds to the side of the stage are $100+. Some seats at the back of he CenturyLink Center at $75. Many seats in the lower bowl seem to be mostly reserved for VIP and various fan clubs and are $400-$600. There are seats in the lower bowl, 30 rows up that are $300. Standing GA on the floor is either $114 or $400. No wonder they didn’t sell out immediately. Most (but not all) re-sellers seem to be asking for double face value. Click here to see for yourself.
What Day Is It?: So far, I have tried to keep this stuff either music or sports related. This will be an exception. Actually, no. It won’t. Because it is music related. Sort of. Today’s 10@10 is some kind of chick-rock theme because today is International Women’s Day. I’m probably picking a bad day to share the thoughts I’m going to share. I should have posted this on National Pancake Day or Hug A Pot Bellied Pig Day, but I was stuck for something to blog about…so…here’s my take on “days”: ZZZzzzzzzz. Nothing could be less interesting or more superfluous than the boat load of “days” that have snuck into modern calendars. Most are dreamp up by some trade organization or business looking for free publicity, which disc jockeys all over the country seem willing to provide while looking for a way to kill a minute or two. Until somebody called Scott to ask why we hadn’t done anything for International Women’s Day, I didn’t even realize it was IWD. No offense to women. Really. After looking it up, it appears more good things have happened on this “day” than most “days”. I had no idea it been around for 100 years. But, in general, all these “days” bore me to death. The only “days” I need to know about are days I don’t go work. Or days that the mail doesn’t get delivered. New Years DAY, President’s DAY, Memorial DAY, Independence DAY, Labor DAY, Thanksgiving DAY (and the DAY after), and Christmas DAY. Those are DAYS. I’m also willing to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Arbor Day and Pearl Harbor Day. I’m on the fence about St. Patrick’s Day. But if every day is a DAY. what’s the point? And don’t get me started on “months”. Low Vision Awareness Month? I guess I should be excited, because I wear glasses, but I’m not. Anybody remember “Who-Dee-Who Day”? In the end, this post has turned out to be just as irrelevant as all those “days”, so I suppose it’s a perfect fit. Sorry I don’t have a better pay off. Click here if you want to learn more about International Women’s Day. Happy IWD!
A Real Record Store Story: There was never a Tower Records store around here or around where I grew up, but they were legendary icons in the heyday of the music business. I used to peruse the 45’s at the local K-Mart with my friend Gary when we were in 5th or 6th grade back in suburban Chicago. But, as far as real record store loitering, I think that started during high school at a place called Tempo Record. Then Sights & Sounds. At Southern Illinois University there was a place called Plaza Records, and Wuxtry (which I believe is still around) and a place at the mall called the Record Bar. On trips to St. Louis I made a visit or two to a Peaches store which was akin to a small Tower store. I’m sure lots of people around here have fond memories of time spent at Twisters or Homers. Even the people making the music shopped at Tower Records. Those stores are gone and the founder just passed away Sunday night (while watching the Oscars). His passing triggered a resurgence of social posts about the recent documentary about Tower Records. Click here to watch the trailer. Click here to watch full documentary (for as long as it stays on line).
Nee-Brasketball: I just got done reading the first 2 parts of Dirk Chatelain’s profile of former Husker Basketball coach Danny Nee on the Omaha World Herald web site. Great stuff, if you were following the Huskers in the early 1990’s. I have fond memories of Danny. He was very much a friend of the Joe & Timmo show. He was not averse to stopping by the studio on his way to the office or doing the occasional phone interview. It was all a part of his hustler mentality that Dirk writes about. He also was more candid than most coaches are these days. And he wasn’t afraid to give us some good natured grief. You could tell he wasn’t from around here, but he was fun to be around. He really outdid himself when he agreed to take part in an April Fool’s Day joke and then offered to up the ante.
As best I can remember, we suggested floating a rumor that he might be considering applying for the opening at Creighton (which Dana Altman would eventually grab). He countered by reminding us that he got his master’s degree from Kansas State, and that would be a more logical place for him go. I think he was on the phone from wherever the Final Four was that year and told us (on the air) that he was on the verge of a big decision and had a special announcement he wanted to make that afternoon. Keep in mind that was after a string of 3 or 4 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and not only were some Husker fans getting tired of the one-and-done performances, Danny probably was wondering if it was time to move on. So, he says goodbye and leaves us hanging until that afternoon we get him back on the air and he does the “April Fool’s!” thing and we all have a good chuckle.
That’s Danny, his son and the winner of a “jet ski” that was a runner prize up for a car giveaway at Williamson Honda. Another Danny Nee/KTGL footnote: it turns out founding Eagle DJ Bill Barker was briefly a student manager for Danny while he was going to school at Ohio University. He claims that his primary responsibility was to make sure Danny always had enough chewing gun during practice. He also said Danny had a habit of showing up at the student radio station for his weekly coach’s show with a 6-pack in hand, that (I believe) he was willing to share. It’s not as good a story as the one Dirk tells about Danny’s trip to Chicago going to visit Carl Hayes in hopes of bringing him to Nebraska, but it will have to do. Click here to read the first installment of Dirk’s story.
In Memoriam: Did you watch the Oscars? Did you see Eddie Vedder signing a Tom Petty song while they honored these in the film industry who died during the past year? Click here for the video from Sunday night.
If I were King: I’d come up with a better venue for the state high school basketball tournaments. Football, too. I’m sure it’s the thrill of a lifetime for the players, but watching a high school football game played in front of 5,000 fans and 85,000 empty seats always looks sad to me. Same for basketball. PBA is a nice facility. But. It holds 15,000 for basketball (give or take a few). I’d rather see a high school game at the Devaney Center, now that it’s been reconfigured for smaller volleyball crowds. Or the Coliseum. Remember when volleyball games were played there? Anyone remember when Nebraska played basketball in the Coliseum? No, of course you don’t. I get it– there aren’t bars and restaurants within walking distance of Devaney. Then again, high school kids aren’t supposed to be in bars. You know what I like best about Husker and high school tournament basketball games moving to the PBA? Fewer parking conflicts for Lincoln Stars hockey games.
TV’s Timmo Highlights: Hey, why didn’t someone tell me Robert Plant was on the The Late, Late Show THURSDAY night? I didn’t see the story until Friday morning and went on the air telling people Robert was going to be on Friday night. Doh! You CAN still watch the full episode (along with Camila Marrone) on the CBS web site (S3 E75). The sofa-chat is pretty worthless, but Robert and his band do a new song in the final segment. It’s OK. The worst part is realizing that like all old people, Robert is beginning to shrink. Or so it seems.
I’ll Come Up With A Catchy Headline Later: I’m a sucker for “behind the music”, “making of” kinds of music documentaries. Not so much the ones about rampant drug abuse and awful band break ups, but the ones that show you how the music got made. I could post all kinds of links and go on and on. So, I think I will. I love watching a musician or their producer sit down at a mixing console and deconstruct a song. It always amazes me how goofy all the separate, unfiltered parts sound, until you add the effects and mix them together. Getting from point A, where it’s just a melody or a guitar lick, to the point where it’s the song coming out of the radio is a truly magical process. “One Hand Clapping” isn’t one of my top 10 videos, but, it’s Paul McCartney and that’s worth bonus points. I’m not aware of a lot of this kind of stuff, either from the Beatles or Wings era, so I’m going to recommend this video, which was shot while Wings was rehearsing for what would become the “Band On The Run” album. It’s not even shot very well. Lots of close ups of Paul singing, but, you also get the occasional shots of the other members of the band, a few minutes of them listening to the playback or working out the details, and some bits and pieces of them talking about playing or writing the music. This is the unglamorous part of the process. More glamorous is the part depicted in the movie called “Rock Show” which showed Wings on stage during their 1975 “Wings Over America” tour. The movie was released in 1980, but remastered several years ago and I have become a big fan. Maybe it’s because this is pre-MTV stuff when we didn’t get the chance to see bands perform or even lip sync much, except on “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” or the “Midnight Special”. Wings wasn’t the greatest band in the world, but Paul had a pair of very capable guitar players and it’s fun to watch them play songs that became (or already were) such huge hits. There are plenty of songs in the 30 song lineup that I skip over, but plenty that I love re-watching. You can watch “Rock Show” on iTunes. Click here to watch “One Hand Clapping”. At least it’s free.
This One’s Only For “Yes” Fans: Really. Well, maybe that’s not true. Fans of the band “Focus” would also get a kick out of reading a review of the annual Yes-hosted prog rock cruise called “Cruise To The Edge”. However, I think it’s safe to say the odds of a “Focus” fan stumbling across this blog are pretty low. How many can there be? In fact, I’m not sure anyone is stopping by this page. But, if you are into Yes, this review of this year’s cruise is accompanied by a photo gallery of every variation of the band, with photos of every member of Yes. If nothing else, it’s interesting to see Steve Howe go from a healthy, young guitar virtuoso to something out of a pirates of the Caribbean movie (I keed, I keed). Personally, I can’t get excited about these concert cruises. Or any cruise. But, I suppose if I was on one, I’d prefer one with a couple rock concerts, rather than a cabaret show with Tony Orlando. However, based on this review (and based on my own suspicions) it sounds like ragged performances are to be expected. I’m also not a fan of seeing bands with only a handful of original members. Although, I suppose there is something to be said for seeing members who never played together previously. Somebody must be digging these cruises because there seem to be more of them every year. Oh, yeah. Back to “Focus”, the yodeling flute-rock, Dutch guys who had a big hit with “Hocus Pocus”. They were apparently the “sleeper champions of this cruise” and the one the year before. Personally, I don’t take that as a good sign. I can name only one other Focus song. Which I actually like. But I probably only listen to it once every 5 years. Click here to watch watch them do “House Of The King”. Click here for the cruise review and the Yes photo gallery.
Paging Dr. Watts: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts is not going to put up a fight when it’s time for the band to call it quits. He just told a British newspaper that it won’t bother him when the time comes. He was never into the rock & roll celebrity thing. In fact, the 76 year old was never really into the rock & roll thing. He was a jazz guy, who ended up in a rock & roll band. His side band is more or a swing or big band than a rock band. And sadly, for him, even the traditional jazz club scene has disappeared or morphed into something different, thanks to public smoking bans and thanks to players and their audiences get smarter about their health. He says “the Stones’ infamous days of being a hard partying band on tour is a long way away from the doting grandfathers on the road today. We are getting to that elderly period, so it’s a good thing not to. When you’re 40 and you’ve got a hangover you get up and have another drink and you’re off again. I don’t think we could do it nowadays. . . at this age. Smoking and drinking are not like they were in the ’50s. In the ’40s and ’50s every film star smoked. You’d never see a film star now drinking or smoking, it’s not fashionable, I’m glad to say. In another way it has ruined jazz clubs. . . they are totally unlike what I would consider a club. They have become very clinical.” (Get it? Clinic. Dr. Watts? Goodnight, everybody.) Click here for more comments from Watts.
The Big, Slightly Weird Interview: AXS-TV is getting ready for a another season of Dan Rather classic rock interviews. He’ll talk with Robert Plant, Eddie Money and the remaining members of The Doors in March. In April John Mellencamp and members of Styx will sit down with Dan, who always seems a little out of his comfort zone talking with musicians, unless it’s somebody like Willie Nelson or Jerry Jeff Walker. Dan asks a lot of awkward questions, but you can sense these rock stars seem to get a kick out being interview by this journalism icon. They tend to give different answers to some of the same, tired questions they have been asked a million times before. It’s as if they realize Dan doesn’t really understand their music, so they take the time to explain things differently. Dan’s come a long way from the rice paddies of Vietnam. Click here to see this season’s line up, and watch clips of past and future shows. Click here to watch full episodes from last year with Steven Van Zandt, the Doobie Brothers and Geddy Lee. You can also watch episodes on iTunes for $2. Speaking of Dan Rather. Did you know he was active on Facebook? Not bad for an old coot.
How ‘Bout That One Hawkeye: When was the last time both the Husker basketball teams were top 4 seeds at their respective conference tournaments? As we sit around and wait to see what happens in NYC & Indy, let’s do the Nebraska Nice thing and give a little love to Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon, who had a chance to break the school record for consecutive free throws on Sunday, but intentionally missed number 35. He said he didn’t want to take the record away from Chris Street, who is the Brook Berringer of the University of Iowa. Chris died in a car accident during the 1992-1993 season. The program recently paid tribute to him on the 25th anniversary of his death. The team MVP award has his name on it. His parents were at the game where Bohannon bricked the potential record breaker. Click here to read more about Bohannon, Street and how Street’s parents felt about what Bohannon did. Even Husker fan can cheer for this guy…until he plays Nebraska.
Sweeping & Weeping: Randy Bachman from BTO is getting ready to release a George Harrison tribute album. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? It’s called “By George – By Bachman. It’s mostly covers of songs Harrison wrote for the Beatles or himself, plus a new song from Bachman. One of the songs on the album is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, which was always a great song, but it became even more apparent how great it was after his death when others started covering the song. Most notable was probably Prince’s contribution to the all star jam version at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, when George was inducted as a solo artist. It was a performance that many rockers take a new look at Prince. Eric Clapton was in the spotlight for a fabulous all star version at the Concert For George show a year after his death. Carlos Santana also has a terrific version with help from Yo Yo Ma and India Arie. Peter Frampton did a terrific studio version on an album called “Now” and since then had ended his live shows with an even better version. (You can find both by clicking on Peter’s name.) In fact, one of my all time favorite concert memories was several years ago up at Stir Cove, watching Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick and Larry Carlton joining Peter for that song. Somehow George came up with a song that just naturally lends itself to an incredible solos. Click here for lots more details on the new Randy Bachman album.
Snowflake Golfers: Seems like most golfers wouldn’t be able to hack it in other sports. You know, the ones where fans can say whatever they want. Click here to see Justin Thomas having a fan ejected from the Honda Classic.
Kids: Schools threats are popping up all over the country. Lincoln is no exception. This week there were reports of threats involving Lincoln Northeast and Southeast high schools. Luckily there were other kids willing to tell someone about what they saw or heard and a 16 year old believed to be behind the threat at Northeast was taken into custody. Click here to watch Lincoln Police Chief Bliemeister talk about the situation. Click here to read the post from the Northeast Facebook account. Luckily, nothing actually happened at Northeast. There was also an Instagram threat involving Southeast, which was traced back to a fake account allegedly created by the same 15 year old who REPORTED that threat. Those who spoke up are to be commended. As are the kids at Southeast (and probably other schools) who are trying to do something to lift the spirits of the of the kids at the high school in Florida where 17 people died last week. Click here to see a 10/11 News story about what they did at Southeast. KP!
We Can Make It Hap: As someone who grew up in suburban Chicago in the early/mid 70’s the band Chicago was a big part of the soundtrack of my life. So, I really enjoyed the new documentary on Terry Kath that has now shown up on AXS (and other streamers). I realize that outside Chicago they were less revered and the ballads may have tarnished their legacy, but they had a lot of fans, including many peers. Joe Walsh is among those featured in the doc. The Terry Kath Experience was made by his daughter but seems even handed and includes appearances by every member of the band. It’s also cool to see Terry on stage wearing a Bobby Hull jersey. Who knew his widow was later married to Keifer Southerland? Or that at the time of his death he was working on a solo project tentatively called “Cook County” (where Chicago is located)? AXS-TV will show it again Sunday afternoon February 25th. Click here to watch the trailer.
Congrats To The Lamoureux Sisters: One tied the game late in the 3rd period. The other scored the shootout goal that effectively gave the US Women’s Hockey Team the gold medal in last night’s match versus Canada. Their brother, Philippe, was a goalie for the Lincoln Stars. He’s currently playing (well) for a pro team in Vienna. Click here for more details. Click here for all the game highlights. Click here to read a Sports Illustrated feature on the family.
Now We’re Rockin’: I guess figure skaters can now skate to music with lyrics and some are skating to classic rock songs at the Olympics. Had I known this, I might have actually watched some of them. Maybe. Click here to watch a chick from Hungary skating to AC/DC. Click here to watch a dude from Australia skating to Pink Floyd. Not sure if they used this soundtrack at the Olympics, but here is a Canadian couple skating to a medley of Rolling Stones, Eagles and Santana.
I Think He’s Kidding: Todd Rundgren & Utopia are reuniting for a tour that (mostly) Todd, and the rest of the band talk about in this video. After the comedic moment at the end of the video, you might want to rewind to the beginning if you are any kind of a Todd Rundgren fan.
Leave It To The Russians: Have you heard about the doping controversy at the Olympics? A Russian curler (sorry, Olympic Athlete from Russia) has tested positive for a banned substance and stands to lose his mixed doubles bronze medal. This sport is only marginally interesting me, but if these people are on the juice (or some heart medicine that increases blood flow), I’m out. Actually, there’s very little at the Winter Olympics that can hold my attention for more than 3 minutes, performance enhancing drugs or not. Ironically, the first positive test of the games involved a Japanese speed skater taking a prescription drug I used to take…until I realized it was causing kidney stones. Turns out it is sometimes used to mask the presence of other, banned drugs. I was taking it because I was having migraine headaches. Luckily there are other drugs out there that can also get rid of the migraines. Good news if I ever need to pass a drug test. Click here for the rest of curling story.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Early this morning when I put together my collection of leftovers for lunch, I failed to put cheese on my broccoli. So now I am forced to eat plain broccoli. With no cheese. Who does that? I may have to make a trip to the station junk food snack machine to make up for it.
Not So Wonderful Tonight: Finally finished watching “Life In 12 Bars” about Eric Clapton. Wow, was that depressing. There’s a happy ending, because he’s sober and has a fairly normal life with his wife and 2 young kids, as well as a good relationship with his adult daughter from a previous relationship. But everything else is a train wreck starting with being abandoned by his birth mother, then spurned by her again at age 9, and humiliated by her as a teenager. I knew about the drugs & alcohol and stealing his best friend’s wife, but the depth of his personal problems and their impact on his music was startling. I might have missed something, but I don’t think the doc even mentions that he eventually DID marry George Harrison’s wife. He shares loads of photos and home movies from his childhood as well as examples of his comic book inspired artwork. And there’s a lot of Yardbirds and Cream stuff we’ve never seen before. After that stage, there is less about his music and more about his personal struggles. He and Pete Townshend have a lot of similarly depressing stories. There’s also plenty of time devoted to the death of Eric’s young son, Connor, before breezing through the last 2 decades of his life. The whole thing is bookended with Eric’s connection to B.B. King. Eric does a good job of explaining his connection and fascination with the blues and fills in a lot of missing pieces we never knew. But don’t expect t come away with a smile on your face. Click here for Rolling Stone magazine’s take on the documentary, which just starting showing on Showtime.
Put A Woman In Charge: Here’s an interesting concept– big companies tend to prefer a female CEO when that company is in crisis mode. Click here for the rest of the story.
Uh, oh.: The USA Men lost their first game at the Winter Olympics…to Slovenia. Click here for the sad story.
I Heard The News Today, Oh Boy: My daughter wanted to watch Shaun White do his Olympic snowboarding thing last night. So, we switched over from a “Murder She Wrote” rerun I was watching to the NBC Olympic coverage just in time to see Shaun do his thing. Because I was too lazy to reach for the remote so I could switch the channel back, we keep watching the Olympic coverage and saw them switch to figure skating, where they showed what they said was a poignant moment involving a pair of North Korean figure skaters taking the ice in South Korea. I was more struck by the fact the North Koreans were skating to a Jeff Beck recording of “A Day In The Life” by The Beatles. Click here to see/hear what I’m talking about.
Let The Games Begin: I’m a long time Lincoln Stars season ticket holder. Therefore, I will be rooting for the Norwegian Olympic hockey team. Oh, sure, I want the USA to win, but I want to see at least one Norwegian player to do well. Ludvig Hoff is a former Star, currently on leave from the University of North Dakota team so he can play for his native country in South Korea. Click here to read more about Ludvig’s excellent adventure to PyeongChang. (P.S. After being a scratch for the first two games, Ludvig played in the next 3, logging about 10-12 minutes per game with 2 penalties and 6 shots on goal).
He Was Such A Cute Boy: Showtime has started showing the new Eric Clapton documentary called “Life In 12 Bars”. Eric cooperated with the producers and lent them all kinds of materials from his personal archive. I’m only partly throught it, but it’s been great so far. Click here to watch the trailer and get more info.
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