Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down

Needed some Petty today

Love the accompaniment on this video ~smile~

Movie: Not Fade Away

The David Chase flim (Creator of the Sopranos), Not Fade Away speaks to the teen spirit inside us that rock and roll sets free. I love the soundtrack and what the trailer says to the rebel spirit ever-present in the music of our heart. It doesn’t hurt either that  the Executive Producer is Steven Van Zandt.;)

Hope to see this movie soon…

Five 2013 Blogging Projects

I love the time I get to spend between Christmas and New Year reflecting upon and renewing commitments to an ongoing pursuit of the arts. Its treasured down time from a perpetual teaching schedule that runs day and night, all year round.  I try to spend the time productively, teaching myself new software, preparing for certification exams, etc. I also spend time listening to music that escaped my grasp during the year, reading through my significant music magazine and book pile, visiting Barnes & Noble to stay vibrant and aware.

As a result I have accumulated some meaty writing topics for the coming year. They represent more substantive research into genres/artists I want to explore more in-depth, hopefully across multiple blog posts. This is my revised approach to professional blogging in 2013, which I hope my readers will like and seek to learn along with me (or teach me something new they know in these areas).

The five 2013 art blogging projects are:

  • Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan – I just heard Billy Corgan‘s interview with Howard Stern on Sirius XM. Oceania is a recording I did not do justice to in 2012. I have discovered more about the Smashing Pumpkin/Corgan direction as well as the various side projects by past/current members. The Teargarden by Kaleidyscope initiative interests me greatly. Time to do some justice about the art of Smashing Pumpkins in the music of our heart.


  • I was leaving through the current newsstand issue of Uncut Magazine last week at Barnes & Noble when I discovered a review of Joni Mitchell‘s box set, Studio Albums 1968-1979. The box set is a UK import via Rhino that is presently stocked out on Amazon. Once I can get my order fulfilled and I have given these 10 CDs a thorough listening I will write a blog series about that experience.

Studio Albums 1968 - 1979

  • I was browsing the music book section when I discovered the On The Road: The Official Movie Companion trade paperback. This stirred my sentiment about The Beats. I realized very quickly I had not really delved effectively into the writings of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen GinsbergPatti Smith has galvanized the poetic pentameter in the music of our heart for this halcyon period of art. I resolve to see the movie On The Road in New York City  before the wider theater release. I also make a commitment to read more of Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs books (and of course Patti Smith’s poetry books until her new book(s) come out!). I also plan to get some of the books by the “authoritative” researchers/biographers of The Beat, most notably Ann Charters. I must follow through on this as my core initiative for the arts in 2013. The movie has become the impetus for renewing my kinship with The Beats.

On the Road: The Official Movie Companion

  • I picked up another of The Ultimate Music Guide’s from the publishers of Uncut Magazine. This one is about The Kinks. The 146 page special collector’s edition covers each album in the Kinks discography, the solo albums from Ray and Dave Davies, rarities and singles. It is just the compendium I had looked for about The Kinks. I plan to summarize this satisfying publication in a later blog post article.

Uncut presents The Kinks: The Ultimate Music Guide

  • I am continually impressed by the quality and substance of the British magazine publications. I need to get that iPad 4 with Retina so I can electronically subscribe to Uncut and NME. The magazine I’ve had in my hands twice now at Barnes & Noble is the The Story of Joy Division and New Order. I readily admit I don’t know enough about this band. Realizing I should correct that problem makes this my fifth blogging project for 2013.

NME - Joy Division - Collectors Magazine

My WordPress Blog 2012 In Review

I thank my friends, associates, 1,666 followers, and global readers(167 countries!!!) for a bountiful 2012 professional blogging year.

I especially want to thank my loving wife Rosemary for her patience with my daily blogging.


This blog increased its views from 60, 223 views in calendar year 2011 to 138, 809 in 2012. That is a 130% viewing increase in a year. That speaks to the magnetic pull WordPress continues to show and data mine in the InterWeb.

My analysis of these results indicates that the Top 10 blog posts in 2012 were focused on articles from strong reader fan bases such as Santana, The Beach Boys, Jethro Tull, Neil Young, and Donald Fagen (Steely Dan). The blog posts were centered upon concert reviews, album reviews and music art work in advance of product releases (something I hope to do more of in 2013).

The relationship I have struck with Nick Rhodes at with SONY Popmarket has helped tremendously. Thank you Nick for contacting me to write more specifically for SONY Popmarket. Last I understood I am the top blogger on the Popmarket site with close to 150 blog posts.

I also want to thank my Santana brothers and sisters at the Moonflower Cafe for their continued readership, interest and support.

My San Francisco music connection with Bill Ortiz, Anna Karney, Steffen Franz, Charles Xavier (XMAN), Chris Buttner (PRThatRocks), Michael Brandvold and Shambhu continues to flourish and grow,  I am very thankful to have them all in the music of our heart.

I liked the concert analogy when it comes to the statistics mentioned below. The Barclays Center is high on my bucket list of new concert venues in my market to experience in 2013.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 140,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Elliott Randall – Virtual Memory

I am excited to share that Elliot Randall‘s new CD, Virtual Memory is available for purchase.

If you are not familiar with Elliott Randall you should be.

I first saw Elliott Randall with Randall’s Island  in 1971 when they were the opening act for John Mayall‘s band (USA Union vintage). I dug Randall’s Island and loved when Elliott Randall came back out to play “Reelin In The Years” with Mayall 😉

Elliott Randall is a consummate guitar perfectionist evidenced well by his latest recording which marks his 50th year of his “life in the music business”.

The tracks are uniquely diverse yet weave a cohesive blend for the attentive listener. The wide spectrum of genres recorded will appeal to the subtlest of music tastes.

You’ll marvel at the guest stars who play with Elliott, beginning with Mick Abrahams whose work I have always admired from Jethro Tull and Blodwyn Pig (Dear Jill). This YouTube video of Elliott and Mick will give you some flavor 😉


Guitars: Elliott Randall, Mick Abrahams, Steve Donnelly, Tommy Emmerton; Piano/Keyboards: Paul Griffin, Wayne Brown, Paul ShafferPete Murray, Eric Johnson; Drums: Allen Herman, Jamie Oldaker, Andy Treacey; Bass: Mo Foster, Andy Pask, Chris Bishop, “Level” Neville Malcolm; Woodwinds: Paul Fleisher, Sam Rivers, Frank Walden, Marty Kersich, Trumpet & Flugelhorn: Martin Shaw, Al Chez; Trombone: Kevin Osborne; Vibraphone: Hugh Wilkinson

SoundCloud Definitive Sample

Jay Blakesberg – Jam – Kickstarter Project!

I love music photography books and I enjoy ground floor opportunities. Jay Blakesberg is my favorite rock/jam photographer on the music scene today. He continuously captures with his lens the excitement and passion of live performance in the music of our heart.

Jay epitomizes design with a keen eye. Take a look at the way he engages you with his home page art 😉


I just saw that Jay has a Kickstarter project for a new coffee table book, JamThe premise of this title which will be Jay’s sixth music photography book is epic, live, magical music moments. If the sample pictures on the Kickstarter project are any sign of the vibrancy it will be a great publication. I decided todayI am going to back  Jay’s next book because I believe in his art and energy, a lot.

I have seen Grace Potter and the Nocturnals several times live and his photo exhibits how their concerts feel live.

© Jay Blakesberg

We welcome the opportunity to hang out with you at a live concert sometime Jay. Let us know if you plan to come to the East Coast in 2013 😉

Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood Collaborate

Music is a constant moving target, aided and abetted at times by synergistic collaboration. Along the lines of John Cage there is a collaboration between Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and composer Krzysztof Penderecki ( “Poland’s godfather of the musical avant-garde”). I happened to read an interview with Jonny Greenwood in Uncut Magazine where he discusses his awe of Penderecki so I thought I’d tune in….

So what is it about Penderecki that Greenwood finds so inspiring? “His pieces make such wonderful sounds. And it is a beautiful experience to hear them live. Of all the composers whose music suffers from what recording does, Penderecki is one of the biggest casualties. I think a lot of people might think his work is stridently dissonant or painful on the ears. But because of the complexity of what’s happening – particularly in pieces such as Threnody and Polymorphia, and how the sounds are bouncing around the concert hall, it becomes a very beautiful experience when you’re there. It’s not like listening to feedback, and it’s not dissonant. It’s something else. It’s a celebration of so many people making music together and it’s like – wow, you’re watching that happen.”


Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / Polymorphia / 48 Responses to Polymorphia cover art

Popcorn Superhet Receiver takes its name from a shortwave radio catalog, and is inspired by “white noise,” a sound that encompasses every audible frequency and often seems like static. Greenwood applied this concept to his composition, which he wrote by layering all of his violin parts on top of each other in a digital-editing program. He then transcribed it all with pen and paper.

The piece is a work of avant-garde romanticism. At its core, Popcorn is atonal, at times bracing, but in the altogether it forms a sweeping and beautiful noise. The Oscar-nominated film There Will Be Blood excerpts two sections of the suite, as well as a full-length score by Greenwood that achieves a great cinematic effect.

Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and Polymorphia written by Krzysztof Penderecki; Popcorn Superhet Receiver and 48 Responses to Polymorphia written by Jonny Greenwood

Lifting A Glass to Ray Collins

I was saddened to learn of Ray Collin’s passing on Christmas Eve. Ray Collins was instrumental to the creation of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention by mentioning to Jimmy Carl Black and Roy Estrada when they were part of the Soul Giants he knew a guitarist for their group.

The Soul Giants band consisted of drummer Jimmy Carl Black, bassist Roy Estrada, saxophonist Davy Coronado and guitarist Ray Hunt. Hunt, however, was incompetent or purposely messed up to be spiteful, Collins relates.

“I was new to the band but it was up to me to get rid of him,” Collins says. After the deed was done – no punches were thrown, he insists – he made a fateful suggestion.

“I told them, `I know a guitarist in Cucamonga. His name’s Frank Zappa,”‘ Collins says.

Zappa auditioned and fit in perfectly, but he was a prolific songwriter and a new direction was called for.

“If you will play my music, I will make you rich and famous,” Zappa is said to have told them.


Ray Collins first became known as a vocalist by performing with various doo-wop and pachuco groups in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

File:Frank Zappa - Cruising With Ruben & the Jets.jpg

My two favorite Ray Collins’s Zappa/Mothers recordings are:

America Drinks and Goes Home” – Absolutely Free (1967)

“Anything” – Cruisin with Reuben and the Jets (1968)

I hope we’ve played your requests…
the songs you like to hear…
Last call for alcohol!…
Drink it up folks…

(c) 1967 Zappa Family Trust


Edward The Mad Shirt Grinder – The Beautiful Articulation of Nicky Hopkins

Cover of "Beck-Ola"
Cover of Beck-Ola

Jeff Beck Group HandbillNicky Hopkins is without question rock’s greatest session musician. His signature contributions are still felt strongly today, 18 years after his passing. I continue being blown away by the breadth and depth of Nicky Hopkins piano contributions to rock.history

My first encounter with Nicky Hopkins’s musicianship was with The Jeff Beck Group and Beck-Ola. I saw Nicky Hopkins play with The Jeff Beck Group at the Fillmore East on July 3, 1969. He is depicted performing with The Jeff Beck Group on the cover of this definitive book by Julian Dawson.

Nicky Hopkins got his recording start with Del Shannon. You can hear his piano virtuoso as a lad of 17 on the 1961 hit, “Runaway”.  His frail health (he suffered from Crohn’s disease) forced him into the life of a session musician, where he excelled.

Nicky Hopkins was known as the Sixth Stone. His body of work with the Rolling Stones is immeasurable, ranging from “Ruby Tuesday” to “Waiting On A Friend”.

Nicky moved to Mill Valley, California to improve his health and took up with such San Francisco bands as The Jefferson Airplane and Jerry Garcia Band. He was considered a full-partner in Quicksilver Messenger Service and his touch played a fundamental role in Shady Grove and Just For Love.

The musicians he worked with over the decades were very taken with him.

“It was such a thrill to work for him as well as have him work with me. Every time I hear Joe Cocker’s ‘You Are So Beautiful’ I want to cry before Joe’s even come in. People try to emulate that piano piece, but there’s only one person could have played that—Nicky Hopkins.”
Peter Frampton

He worked with all four of the Beatles when they went solo. I am especially fond of his song, “Edward (The Mad Shirt Grinder)” that he recorded with QMS and on his best solo album, The Tin Man Was A Dreamer George HarrisonMick TaylorKlaus Voormann and Hopkins’ fellow Rolling Stones sidemen Bobby Keys and Jim Price.)


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