Flash! See this headline. . .
At South By Southwest, A 71-Year-Old Guitarist Makes A Belated Debut
And this reminds us all- never give up on your dreams!
Flash! See this headline. . .
And this reminds us all- never give up on your dreams!
(Jill here:) Because I am married to the musician, I can fully relate to this story below by Danielle Berman that appeared today on cntraveler.com (The daily traveler). Actually you would be amazed at my vast knowledge of all things musical. (Of course I know the difference between a Les Paul and a Stratocaster- p-lease)
“When you date a drummer, percussion shops become imperative stops on your romantic getaways. Never have I enjoyed perusing these music-geek havens as much as I did in Chicago, thanks to a visit to Vic’s Drum Shop, located inside a large rehearsal facility called Music Garage. One of Vic’s awesome shopkeepers gave us a tour of the building, and I stopped to snap a photo of the giant, clear-acrylic drum set that hangs—upside-down—from the ceiling.
Our tour guide explained that when the kit was originally crafted, the makers found a tiny gnat embedded in the shell. So on the condition that it would only be used as décor and never sold, Crush Drums & Percussion gifted the kit to Vic’s. About two months ago, the set was mounted on a platform, lifted, flipped, and secured to the ceiling. I had to ask: Was I standing underneath the World’s Only Upside-Down Drum Set? Apparently no: Buddy Rich and Tommy Lee had both performed on floating and rotating drum kits long before this one was installed. However, thanks to a gutsy little insect, I got this cool photo, and Vic’s is home to a striking new art installation.”
If you can’t make it in music- there’s another career awaiting. Courtesy of Vanity Fair (+ written by Cameron Crowe). . . Yes- you can rock the role. I just know it. And Oscar could be in your future.
There is a wonderful moment in Judd Apatow’s Funny People that is as surprising as it is funny. Seth Rogen portrays a struggling young writer-comic invited along on a corporate gig to assist his idol, a legendary stand-up comedian played by Adam Sandler. James Taylor is also on the bill, and in a casual moment after Taylor’s performance, Rogen asks him, “Do you ever get tired of singing the same songs over and over?” Taylor, playing off a long career based on graceful elegance, sharply replies, “Do you ever get tired of talking about your dick?”
For anybody paying attention to the long and tumultuous history of musicians crossing over into the dark and mysterious world of acting, this was a watershed moment. Taylor was operating far out of his comfort zone, throwing in with Apatow’s famously unruly gang of screen comedians. He nailed his moment with aplomb. This doesn’t happen often. The cinematic battlefield is littered with the bodies of musicians who have not fared as well. Though musicians and actors often long for each other’s career, succeeding is the Holy Grail.
To discuss this thorny issue of acting musicians, I went to James Taylor himself. Taylor has had a front-row seat to this time-honored challenge. In the early months after his momentous 1970 success with Sweet Baby James, he agreed to star in an unorthodox project written by Rudy Wurlitzer and directed by Monte Hellman: the road movie Two-Lane Blacktop. Though it enjoys success to this day as a serious time-capsule piece of 70s auteurism, the filming was torturous for Taylor. (The movie also starred Laurie Bird, Warren Oates, and another musician new to acting, Dennis Wilson, of the Beach Boys.)
“We only got a page of the script at a time,” recalls Taylor from his Massachusetts home. The frustration still sounds fresh. For months, he watched the valuable time of his post—Sweet Baby James success tick away while attempting to maneuver around the movie’s stringent existentialism. Taylor happily returned to music. When he was approached the next year to star in the remake of A Star Is Born, in a part written for him, he passed. (The project then went to none other than Elvis Presley, who nearly agreed, before the part ultimately landed with Kris Kristofferson.) Read the rest of this entry
Perhaps it’s the time of the year. . indulging in too many spirits + me just rejoicing in the merriment of the moment . . . . But Jill caught me dancing and she just happened to film it. I didn’t even notice her filming. Jill calls it: ‘Bob as you’ve never seen him.’ I like to call it: Bob as you’ve never seen him and never will again. That’s if she doesn’t catch me. I do have my moments. Happiest Holidays!!
Bah- humbug! In the Holiday Spirit. . . L-7 Studios is offering (for a limited time only. .)
$25 per hour recording. Good Tidings. Good Cheer. It’s a very good way to start the New Year.
Give me a jingle: 954. 341. 7572
I protest. In the great tradition of protest. And another protest album will be in the works.
Here’s a little story from Salon Magazine, November 2009 to get you in that protest mood. (You can practice by protesting . . everything. “Would you like broccoli with your dinner?” Answer with a quick: I protest. I am not eating broccoli. You may begin now. It may be seen as contrary but I like to think of it as a statement of protest.)
In July 1972, musician Johnny Cash sat opposite President Richard Nixon in the White House’s Blue Room. As a horde of media huddled a few feet away, the country music superstar had come to discuss prison reform with the self-anointed leader of America’s “silent majority.” “Johnny, would you be willing to play a few songs for us,” Nixon asked Cash. “I like Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie From Muskogee’ and Guy Drake’s ‘Welfare Cadillac.’” The architect of the GOP’s Southern strategy was asking for two famous expressions of white working-class resentment.
“I don’t know those songs,” replied Cash, “but I got a few of my own I can play for you.” Dressed in his trademark black suit, his jet-black hair a little longer than usual, Cash draped the strap of his Martin guitar over his right shoulder and played three songs, all of them decidedly to the left of “Okie From Muskogee.” With the nation still mired in Vietnam, Cash had far more than prison reform on his mind. Nixon listened with a frozen smile to the singer’s rendition of the explicitly antiwar “What Is Truth?” and “Man in Black” (“Each week we lose a hundred fine young men”) and to a folk protest song about the plight of Native Americans called “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.” It was a daring confrontation with a president who was popular with Cash’s fans and about to sweep to a crushing reelection victory, but a glimpse of how Cash saw himself — a foe of hypocrisy, an ally of the downtrodden. An American protest singer, in short, as much as a country music legend.
Years later, “Man in Black” is remembered as a sartorial statement, and “What Is Truth?” as a period piece, if at all. Of the three songs that Cash played for Nixon, the most enduring, and the truest to his vision, was “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.” The song was based on the tragic tale of the Pima Indian war hero who was immortalized in the Iwo Jima flag-raising photo, and in Washington’s Iwo Jima monument, but who died a lonely death brought on by the toxic mixture of alcohol and indifference and alcoholism. The song became part of an album of protest music that his record label didn’t want to promote and that radio stations didn’t want to play, but that Cash would always count among his personal favorites.
The story of Cash and “Ira Hayes” began a decade before the meeting with Nixon. On the night of May 10, 1962, Cash made a much-anticipated New York debut at Carnegie Hall. But instead of impressing the cognoscenti, Cash, who had begun struggling with drug addiction, bombed. His voice was hoarse and hard to hear, and he left the stage in what he described as a “deep depression.” Afterward, he consoled himself by heading downtown with a folksinger friend to hear some music at Greenwich Village’s Gaslight Café.
Onstage was protest balladeer Peter La Farge, performing “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.” A former rodeo cowboy, playwright, actor and Navy intelligence operative, La Farge was also the son of longtime Native activist and novelist Oliver La Farge, who had won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1930 Navajo love story, “Laughing Boy.” The younger La Farge had carved out an intriguing niche in the New York folk revival scene by devoting himself to a single issue. “Pete was doing something special and important,” recalls folksinger Pete Seeger. “His heart was so devoted to the Native American cause at a time that no one was really saying anything about it. I think he went deeper than anyone before or since.” Read the rest of this entry
Come on up to the Bamboo Room in Lake Worth this upcoming Thursday when I sit in with New Orleans finest: Gal Holiday and The Honky Tonk Review. I guess I’ll be “one of the players they’ve picked up along the way” for the evening. It should be fun- a little Patsy Cline and a smattering of Bobs: Bob Wills, Bob Dylan and me- yours truly (forever) Bob Wlos. Now I have to learn the tunes. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
(Looks like their regular steel player – when home in New Orleans plays an MSA!)