Friday, October 31, 2008

The Loves of My Life...

...the Adrian Belew Power Trio backstage Wednesday night in Den Haag, Netherlands (*SEE ETA JUST ADDED)

And you gotta love the energy in this...from the same show:


Finally, want to hear the trio on Swiss radio? I found this on the Projekction forum board:

"Last week I've seen the Adrian Belew Power Trio here in Milan and it was a great concert. A couple of days before the band played in Lugano (italian-speaking Switzerland) and the show has been recorded and broadcasted by the national radio.

A friend of mine made a recording out of it and I'm willing to share it (hence the subject). It's in AAC format and you can download it from here


In my opinion it even surpasses the great Side Four and, as a plus, you get the band's rendition of Neurotica."

I haven't listened to that yet but I'm really looking forward to it. I also know there will be a future broadcast with tunes specially selected by the trio...stay tuned.

And this just in...if you want to purchase one of my books today, there is a special Halloween promotion over at my publisher's website - you'll get 20% off! Here's the link and here's the info:

"To celebrate this spooktacular day, Phaze Books is giving you a 20%
discount! Just enter this promotional code when you check out:


Good for 20% off everything, on Halloween day only.

Happy Halloween and happy shopping!"

Phaze Books


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Adrian Belew Power Trio European Tour - another installment, sort of

Not to be repetitive or anything but it's true, basically everything I know about the current Adrian Belew Power Trio European tour I'm still getting solely via Julie and Eric's blogs because between the time difference and being super busy, we have barely connected at all nor have I been able to translate most of the reviews I've found. All I can say is, what little I do know is that this is an immensely successful tour and they are really, really happy.

Yeah, I think so!

And to add to the mix of great bloggers, I just this minute learned that their techie/tour manager and Project Object guitarist extraordinaire Andre Cholmondeley has started an on line journal as well, and oh boy, it is ever extensive and informative! Here's the link, which I will make permanent and add to my blogroll.

But you know me, I did manage to find a few other things. Here's some really cool links which will lead you to some interesting Adrian Belew Power Trio tidbits:

First, after clicking the ABPT link above to see some of the kind comments left on their MySpace site, wander over to Kill Ugly Radio where...what's this? A post by Eric Slick?

Then, Beana Bern, the fantastic photographer I mentioned in my post below, blogged about the recent ABPT concert she attended in Austria, and all of the photos in my post today were taken by Beana, who gave me permission to post them. Anyway, here's what she had to say:

"Every now and again (more often than I ever expect) something rolls into this little Tyrolean Valley and brings the world I remember with it. Last night the Adrian Belew Trio played a club called Komma in a little village about 30 minutes east of me. I rolled into the club just in time to hear Eric kick things off and remembered how often I find myself in awe at his talent…His sister, Julie, is also quite a prodigy and when you glue those two together with Adrian’s style its a pretty amazing show. The sound in the club wasn't perfect and there was one drunk douche bag who kept “conducting” the band as though he was driving but neither of those two things prevented me from enjoying myself. For those of you not sure who Adrian Belew is, hes a rock legend whose played with plenty of amazing musicians among them King Crimson. I first saw the Trio play at the 1st Annual Paul Green School of Rock Festival and knew they were worthy but enjoyed last nights show much more. Complicated rock is more fun for me in a little room where I can concentrate. After the show and a little QT they packed it in and so did I. All in all, an exceptional night of rock in Tirol..."

From the Bass Player Magazine Forum Board:

"Julie Slick is one hell of a bass player as you already know and she's currently on tour with Adrian Belew. She's started a new blog which is pretty damn cool. And man is she easy on the eyes."

"Saw them last night in Milano. She was playing a Lakland with a MarkBass amp and a MarkBass 4x10. She was using a Toneworks pedalboard and a couple of effects before it that I could not figure out, one must have been a compressor, lots of knobs. She has to keep standing the hell that Adrian creates on guitar, because the guitar is not taking particular care of keeping the groove or tonality. (Note from our author: Huh? I am going to chalk this up to an Italian to English translation glitch)

They did a couple of numbers from KC where she walks shamelessly barefoot in the footsteps of his majesty. All in all the Slick brothers are a hell of a rhythm section, laughing and joking while meeting the needs of complicated music." (Note from our author: Brothers? Ha! Yep, I'm right about the translation stuff)

Pretty cool, huh.

Here's a blogpost coming out of Spain. While I was able to translate it using Google translate, when I went to cut and paste it in ye olde blog, it turned back into Spanish. Weird! So click on that link and go to Google translate right here, being sure to click "Spanish to English" (d'oh) and you can read what it says and see a cool photo or two.

From the Planet Crimson forum board:

"Catched the trio in Woergl, Austria yesterday, and "e" had the crimson sparkle flying, a truly astonishing piece!

Only 70 people in attendance (Markus Reuter being amongst them), which is a shame, but Adrian & the Kids seemed to enjoy the gig nevertheless and received a storming reception. Adrian promised to be back soon, so I guess the trio might be a permanent touring outfit, which is good news. Don't miss them!

I think the 70 people issue is addressed in either Andre, Eric, or Julie's blog...they changed venues on them at the last minute or something...basically they've been playing to large, enthusiastic crowds every night - so much so that they are already getting offers to return to Europe next fall.

In my world, in three days I begin the challenge that is National Novel Writing Month. I thought I was ready to rock; all of a sudden I've had a change of heart and might do something completely different which is way scary because it means I haven't thought out anything other than the actual story. Oy.

I really, really need to meditate further on this today.


P.S. Go Phillies!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Odds and Sods for Sunday, October 26, 2008

Julie and Eric are doing such fabulous blogging while on tour that I'm thinking I should actually do some writing posts but strangely enough, I'm not in the mood. However, my free and usually 100% inaccurate Yahoo horoscope for today says: "You will have a good combination of positive energy and free time, today! Have fun. You're more in touch with your feelings than you have been in quite some time and you can communicate them as clearly as possible. It's a good day to sit down with your sweetie and do just that!" so okay, okay, let's break the Yahoo curse -- it sounds good to me. Onward and upward! This is going to be a journal entry containing all kinds of flotsam and jetsam...should be fun.

First let me post some photos which Julie didn't nick for her own blog har har. I have absolutely no explanation or stories to go with any of these pics though both Julie and Eric do kind of touch on some in their respective blogs. I kind of think they speak for themselves, anyway:

I'm really wondering about that hotel room photo which appears that they are inches away from the ocean. Or is that an optical illusion? I can't tell! Man, if that was their actual room, how awesome. And um, no comment as to the topless photo but let me just say they are part of a hilarious series and as much as I would love to post the photo of Ade and Eric inexplicably eating dinner in suchlike fashion...something tells me I'd better not.

An incredible photographer, Beana Bern took some amazing, amazing shots of the trio a few days ago in Austria, and here is the direct link.

Here's a You Tube of "Matchless Man" from a recent show but warning, it's a tease and not the whole song and you can't see Julie but you sure can hear her...damn!

Finally, tomorrow night ABPT will be performing in Aschaffenburg, Germany. I google imaged that city...have a look:

Gah! I repeat, why am I not on this tour?

In Belew-related news, kind of, the engineer for the trio's new studio album will be none other than Saul Zonana, and there's a way cool article about Saul and one of his new endeavors right here.

If I may take a minute to write about my own life, last Friday night I read from one of my novels at Bluestockings in New York City.

I had a lot of fun doing that and it was way cool meeting fellow author Donna George Storey in person as our paths have crossed many times in on line world, both at Zoetrope Studios and via weirdly parallel writing careers. We've appeared several times together in the same magazines and she also wrote an erotica novel with an actual plot and intelligent, thoughtful characters. Her book, Amorous Woman is brilliant. Simply brilliant.

After the reading, we ate at a really great Japanese restaurant called Hasaki in the East Village. I had grilled wild salmon with basil miso. It was to die for. And speaking of food, and speaking of basil, as you also may know, Julie got her food porn ideas from me -- and Gary and I are the one who nurtured that palate, damn it, so here's a few food porn shots of my own -- it's what Gary made me for dinner tonight and I'll post the recipe beneath it...but first, we had an appetizer of a salad made with red lettuce, (marinated/prepared by Gary) fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil, imported olives, sliced portabello mushrooms sauteed in a bit of teryaki sauce and all tossed together in a roasted garlic dressing:

Our main course was this: Sweet Potato Ravioli with Basil-Brown Butter

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as an entree (makes about 20 ravioli)

2 large sweet potatoes, baked through in oven wrapped in foil, scooped out hot
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 bunch chives, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 package wonton skins
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup packed Thai basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the ravioli filling: in a bowl, combine the sweet potato, five spice, chives and honey. Check for flavor and season with salt and pepper. When filling has cooled, form ravioli: place wonton skin down, lay one large Thai basil leaf in center, top with puree and another basil leaf. Brush egg wash around edges and top with second wonton skin. Seal tight and repeat with remaining filling and wonton skins. In a sauté pan over high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and add canola oil. Sear the ravioli until crisp, then turn and sear second side until crisp. Remove ravioli to a paper towel-lined plate. Position 3-5 ravioli per pasta plate on top of puree. Add remaining butter to pan and brown. When butter is browned, add basil, taking care to stand back because the natural moisture in the basil will cause the oil to pop. Add vinegars and stir to combine. Drizzle sauce over ravioli and serve.

You wanna talk about sick? That was one of the sickest dinners ever. And I didn't even have to go to Europe. (Ha ha - sour grapes, sour grapes...but seriously, I've eaten all over the world, too, and not too many chefs rival my husband or my daughter and I understand Eric is also rapidly becoming "one of them", too.)

Speaking of food yet again, tomorrow I am having lunch with Joan Baez. No, really, I am. Details will follow.

No one can ever say my life is boring.

P.S. There is a chink in the photo posting tonight in blogspot - hence the gigantic pics I am totally powerless to shrink. I'll try playing with them again tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio on Tour - Switzerland to Spain

Help, help, I've been rendered redundant.

Ha ha, I'm just kidding, but between Julie Slick's fabulous new tour blog (or is that food blog?) and the fact that there haven't been any on-line journal reports coming out of Switzerland or Spain, I am kind of left in the dust on this tour. Sob.

Not to mention the fact that Julie took my camera with her; is loading photos to my photobucket site; then using them for her own blog! Oh well, at least she left me with the one posted above.

All kidding aside, what parent in the world wouldn't want to hear this from their kids:

"I love my life. I have the best life in the world."

Seriously. If Gary and I have done nothing else in all our years on this planet, that is enough. We are literally walking around so damn proud and teary eyed it's ridiculous.

Yep, both Julie and Eric have instant messaged me how much they love their lives repeatedly ever since hitting Budapest last week. This is a tour of dreams come true - they adored Budapest; Lugano, Switzerland was breathtaking; San Sebastian, Spain is some sort of utopia, and early this morning they left for two days in Italy. I did speak to them at 2:00 a.m. their time following their show in Barcelona last night, and they were ecstatic.

Julie said: "Totally rocked - best show so far. But ya know, we were meant for clubs. We didnt really get to see Barcelona unfortunately though...too bad we have a day off in Milan tomorrow. Such a tough life huh?"

Eric told me he and Ade were flying - the club was packed, the reaction of the crowd can just feel their happiness oozing right through the computer monitor.

But I do have something really excellent to report which is sort of Adrian Belew Power Trio related. Please listen, via the web (or the radio if you are in the Philadelphia area) to WXPN radio (and that's the link to "listen live") tonight between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. eastern. Gary, who has also updated his Guitar God blog, has done something way, way amazing and you'll have to listen to XPN to find out. Cool? Cool! (And don't forget to check Gary's blog - he is up to #7 on his all time Guitar God list and you may...or may surprised at his choice).

Oh well. I've got nothing else to say at the moment but I did hear there were a ton of journalists at the show last night...I'm hoping something pops up on line later today, especially a You Tube, so I'll keep checking and I will come back in and add it to this post if I get lucky. But for now...

P.S. Oh, wait. I did find this pretty amusing blurb on, of all places, the Kawasaki Motorcycle Forum Board. Though Earl Slick may be surprised to find he is now the father of two musical prodigies...heh...

"If you like Zappa drumming, check out video on youtube of the Adrian Belew Power Trio. Adrian played lead guitar for Frank back in the 70s, then moved on to Talking Heads, David Bowie, King Crimson, and many more great gigs. His trio consists of Adrian on guitar & vocals, Eric Slick (a 21-year-old MONSTER) on drums, and Eric's gorgeous 22-year old sister slapping the Tony Levin out of a bass. Yes, the slick siblings are the offspring of Earl Slick, so they've got good rock n roll genes! Eric does stuff on the tune "Young Lions" that I had previously thought only do-able by the likes of Neal Peart and Mike Portnoy."


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio on Tour - Budapest to Switzerland Part I

Okay, stop the presses. Julie Slick has started an online journal called Having My Bass and Eating It, Too and she starts it off "The Final Slick Gives In..." It's a must read. I'm dying here right now. And when you are done reading that, Mr. Eric Slick has also updated his blog, too.

Here's a pic sent to me by a fan, Diana, following the first show of the tour in Budapest on Wednesday night.

And as usual, Andre Cholmondeley comes through again and sends me a whole slew of pics as well, which I'll post intermittently within the next few days as they cover both Budapest and Lugano, Switzerland, where they play their second show tonight.

Finally, a sign at an airport which makes sense:

Here's the trio posing under their own poster at the club in Budapest..

And a slightly off but at least mostly understandable English translation of an interview Adrian did with the Mike Oldfield blog a few weeks ago...and as usual, he's got some very cool things to say:

Mike Oldfield Blog interview with Adrian Belew
Written by Miguel Fernandez

While we are working with all the material we have gathered in the afternoon we spent with Tim Cross, and that little by little we will be publishing, as we said, I'd like to share with you a little chat that I was able to convert in an interview with Adrian Belew, Oldfield collaborator on the topics and Holy Far Country, Earth moving album (1989). Everything came a couple of weeks ago, when we send an e-mail to your personal web and we commented that Adrian happy and we would respond to our questions by phone. Shortly afterwards took place here will see what we transcribed it as closely as possible.

I would like to thank from here to own Adrian Belew for his kindness, his sincerity and patience during the 20-minute telephone interview and Renee (his secretary) for the speed of response and facilities provided to us all safe arrival. Thank you so much!

Mike Oldfield Blog (MOB): How did the collaboration with Mike Oldfield on Earth moving?

Adrian Belew (AB): I imagine it would be his producer that she would say that I was the appropriate voice for a couple of songs on the album.. I liked the idea and I accepted, and the truth is that I was surprised that anyone would like me to record voice and no guitars, which is almost always called me.

MOB: Mike chose what item (s) was going to work or you chose?

AB: Well, at first I was going to sing another song, I do not remember the title now, but it would not be Holy. Mike thought that my voice was not right for this subject, but I told him that I no longer try Holy, I did the best I could, and the result left him impressed.

MOB: Tell us about Far Country, the other issue on which we can enjoy their collaboration.

AB: (Laughs) Far country was a song in which I did not plan to burn, but as I had finished my shots vocal (I'm pretty fast in the study), asked me to record a guitar for that song and I thought " Oh, you know, another guitar that I asked to write! Really improvised, there was nothing formal for my part of the solo, because I had not brought my own guitar, because it did not have that! (laughs).

MOB: How were the recording sessions for those two items? Was Mike did this or distance?

AB: I traveled to England to record in the studio that Mike had in his house. There was a couple of weeks. And yes, Mike was always present with everything perfectly planned and the recording was like silk.

MOB: How was the experience of working with Mike in the studio?

AB: I liked the experience. Mike was a man with great sense of humor. It also coincided with several musicians who were recording with him for the disc, and sometimes we met to take some Guinness, tell stories ... it was fun.

MOB: Have you kept in touch with him since?

AB: Ya know ... with the passage of time, it becomes difficult to maintain contact with everyone, unless you call to do more things (laughs).

MOB: Let's talk now of Adrian Belew Power Trio, your current project. What criteria used to select the two musicians who accompany you?

AB: I already knew Eric and Julie Slick before starting this project (they were 19 and 20 years when we started, now are 21 and 22 years). They are incredible musicians: young, but very focused. I needed a change in my career and I thought they were the perfect musicians to join me in this change.

MOB: What are the main influences of the Power Trio?

AB: I really can not be said to have an influence, because by touching items that I have composed or helped compose throughout my career, because there is no common denominator in influence. However, the father of Eric and Julie always put them in touch with lots of music similar to what I've always played, thus greatly helped them to understand the songs.

MOB: What is taking place this tour?, Is the response of the audience you expected?

AB: Really great how the public is reacting to our concerts. We have played in Russia (it was the first time I did) recently and there were about 150,000 people, something unbelievable. We have also stayed in Japan and Canada and the response has been very good to the public. Now we will make a tour of Europe and Australia...hopefully everything continues this good.

MOB: Tell us how it is a concert of the Power Trio: Is everything planned millimeter or there is room for improvisation on the part of all three?.

AB: A concert with the Power Trio, it's a very energetic concert, the people like us as much to be engaged on stage and they love to see us on stage doing what we really like. There's always room for improvisation, both for me as for them. Eric and Julie carry a lifetime playing together, so it complete perfection, there is a lot of complicity between them, musically speaking and I can really party because I know that they will do so perfectly, and so I also have a small hole for my own improvisations.

MOB: Are there any reviews and funny anecdote that has happened on the tour?.

AB: If you enjoy the anecdotes I recommend that you visit Elephant Blog. I write a sort of diary of the tour and you'll find many fun things. I like to write it so that everybody can read it.

MOB: Recently on our blog, we had an interesting discussion about the term "progressive rock" with many differences of opinion. How would you define the progressive rock someone like you, that has formed (and is) part of it?

AB: Hmmm ... I would describe as an Rock complicated, with many changes of meter and key, as ... epic film, I do not know if I explain. In the beginning, the bands that were better represented as King Crimson and Yes, but now that has changed, and I do not know how to define it (laughs).

The truth is that many people are bent on labels, and progressive rock was much more than a label ... it's like jazz. Over the years there have been jazz, but is that of the 20s, that of the 50s, etc ... I think that would define the progressive rock as intelligent rock.

MOB: So, as you could ... classify any work by Mike Oldfield as progressive rock?

AB: Without a doubt. It was a complete novelty, and honestly had all the components that I mentioned earlier: it has that air all those changes and epic compass and key.

MOB: After so many concerts, albums, collaborations and different projects ... What are your future plans in the world of music?

AB: Right now I'm completely focused on the Power Trio. The truth is that in addition to the great happenings on the stage, we are doing wonderfully. With the whole issue of the Internet, anyone can download the discs for free, free to copy, share songs with other people ... So I think that what you cut the cake are the concerts live, and I am lucky to be with a great band, probably the best band I've played with, even better than King Crimson. And between concerts, I'm composing new items for what will be our next studio album with the Power Trio ... in fact will be the first album proper for the Power Trio.

It is also possible that rather than do anything with King Crimson for its 40th anniversary... someone will end up calling....

MOB: Is there or is there someone with whom you'd like to collaborate? Highlight some of those with whom you have collaborated?

AB: (Laughs) Not really ... I think that when you are young idols are just that ... you know, idols, people you never end up playing. The Beatles are gone. Jimi Hendrix, either. The truth is that I am very proud to have worked with all the people with whom I have done: Nine Inch Nails, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, including Eric and Julie! ... I think we all are to same height, and they are all about great artists.

MOB: It was a pleasure, sir. Belew. Belew. We stand expectantly waiting to this new album. Thanks for taking this small interval of time over the telephone and good luck with all your projects.

AB: Sure, the pleasure has been mine ... Oh, and tell your readers that if they have the opportunity to attend one of our concerts, they do so. Worth it and a unique opportunity in life!.

MOB: This will be done ... We are sure of that.

So that was very enjoyable.

There's a lot more, but I am truly wiped out from my New York experience last night, and I'll devote a separate post to that shortly. It was truly a blast and not without some laugh out loud moments...stay tuned.

Let me end this post with a fantastic photograph of the trio touring Budapest. It's just so Abbey Road, isn't it? God I love me some ABPT.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Tonight in New York City: Three Days in New York City

Gah! I get so wrapped up when the Adrian Belew Power Trio is on tour I forget about my own life, and I almost blew telling you all about fact...I almost blew the event altogether because I've been otherwise preoccupied with like a million other things.

So yes, I will be reading a chapter or two from Three Days in New York City, talking about the sequels, and just life in general. I'm seriously at my best when I just improvise and ad lib on the spot so that's the plan.

Oh. It would be nice if I tell you all where I'll be doing said reading and with whom. Well, joining me will be the fabulous Donna George Storey and we'll be reading at Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington. Bluestockings Bookstore is described as "a radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

We carry over 6000 titles on topics such as queer and gender studies, global capitalism, feminism, police and prisons, democracy studies, and black liberation. You can also find some good 'ole smutty fiction. We also carry magazines, zines, journals, alternative menstrual products and other oddly hard-to-find good things.

We host readings, workshops, performances, discussions and films almost every night. Please see our events calendar for details on upcoming events, and when visiting the store, take a look at our community bulletin board to learn about other events happening around the city. Oh, and we run a cafe which is full of organic, vegan, fair trade goodness.

So. See you tonight at 7:00 p.m.?

I'll have copies of all of my books for sale, I'll sign anything you want (within reason ha ha), and the usual copious amounts of chocolate.

Wait. I just read over this post. Excuse me? Alternative menstrual products? Oh God. The mind boggles. Well, at least I can never say my life is boring.

I just hope said products are not part of the menu at the cafe.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Live from Budapest...

I don't know how good this is sound wise because I'm currently somewhere without speakers, but video wise...this looks awesome. It's the Adrian Belew Power Trio, performing last night in Budapest, Hungary:

ETA: Can one of my Hungarian friends translate this news article for me and put it in the comments section? Thanks!

Adrian Belew Power Trio review October 16, 2008

ETA2: DO I believe this incredible comment on Adrian's blog?

"Blogger catalin.onel said...

Bravoo... bravoo Mr.Belew !!!

Absolutely fantastic concert!!! Man...what a great show was in Budapest. I came all the way from Romania (Pitesti) to see you guys. Julie you are phenomenal ! Never seen such a young woman playing bass so intense and so technical. Eric you are incredible ! I have rarely seen such powerful rhytmic energies coming from a drum set. It seems that the guy in the middle has teamed up with some of the finest musicians around. You all deserve to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Don't forget Romania has lots of your fans so maybe one day you'll come to Bucharest also. Hats off to you guys !!! Man.. what a night..."

Wow. On behalf of the band and as groupie Mom...thank you, Catalin.

I will be back with some fun photos and another short video clip sent to me by a fan later tonight.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Odds and Sods for Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life is oh so insane and great right now. I talked to Julie around 9:00 p.m. last night. She called me from the Detroit airport - the Adrian Belew Power Trio were en route to Budapest, Hungary via was an eight hour flight and I guess by now, they have arrived and all I can say is after speaking with her, you can tell how incredibly stoked the three of them are about this four week European tour and even more excited about the last four days In Nashville working on the new material...right now the tentative plan is to return to Studio Belew after the Australian gigs in December and record in January/February, 2009. Okay, I cannot tell a lie - they sent me some MP3s of their rehearsals for the new CD the other day. I still haven't recovered. It's unbelievable. Amazing. Brilliant.

So not only do I have that to look forward to, how about this. Finally, after four years of blood, sweat and tears, Daddy Left Me Alone with God will be released in early 2009. Have a look at the book cover. Is that amazing or what?

Here's the blurb that will appear on the back cover:

"Annie loathes middle age because in her mind, as long as she avoids mirrors in brightly lit rooms, she is still a cool, cutting edge hipster with a scandalous secret she has kept for almost three decades.

At age seventeen, Annie had a love affair with a man ten years her senior -- legendary British rock guitarist Mick Saunders. Now, feeling stuck in a boring, faltering marriage and desperate to change her life, she is unexpectedly given the chance to reconnect with Mick while chaperoning her fledgling rock star teenagers on a tour across America. To Annie, this opportunity to recapture her past is a dream come true. But will she and Mick be able to pick up where they left off?"

Sooo...the book is part memoir, part touches on the music scene in New York City in the 1970s interwoven with my insane experiences as groupie mom while Julie and Eric were students at the School of Rock (scroll down to read about J&E). I'll be talking a lot more about the fabulous artist who designed the cover, my new publisher, and the book itself a lot more in a future post.

But I hope I've tempted you a bit for now.

And for those who haven't seen it yet, here's a good quality version of the indie film based on a chapter in the book, which is currently up for yet another award in Italy. It still blows me away to hear words I've written spoken by actors. Whew.

So Gary and I had a weird bit of synchronicity with Robert Fripp as evidenced by clicking on his name -- a link to his recently posted diary entry which I read early Friday morning with my mouth kind of hanging open.

Here's an excerpt:

"Around the corner is the former Poole Music Stores, now the right half of the Coral betting shop. The entrance through the black & white doorway was an entry to the world of early rock ‘n’ roll records; the threshold Sister Patricia & I crossed, beginning in 1957, and where I discovered the early Elvis & Scotty Moore, Chuck Berry, Charlie Gracie, Jerry Lee Lewis et al. Buddy Holly came from Holman’s on King Street, on the far left of the photo."

Here's where the crazy coincidence comes in.

On Thursday night, Gary walked about a half block down our street to the restaurant on the corner (and where Julie works when she's not on tour)...they've introduced live music on Thursday nights. So who did Gary go to see?

That would be the great Charlie Gracie himself.

Is that freaky or what? I mean, really. How many people know who Charlie Gracie is...and to read Robert's diary the morning after Gary went to the just boggles my mind. And there's another bit of weirdness in that same post, but I'll get to that in a minute. Anyway, Gary had a total blast at the show and because it was a small, intimate setting, he got to mingle with Charlie, his wife, and son and talk extensively with him.

Let me tell you a little bit about him. He was born in Philadelphia (yay!), and at age 15, starting in 1951, "Charlie Gracie was experimenting with many types of music, years before many rock heroes had ever set foot inside a recording studio.

By 1956, Philadelphia had given birth to the new Cameo record label. Its founders, in search of a strong talent signed Charlie later that year. With a $600 budget, this new union went into the studio to record a single that would forever change their lives. The record, Butterfly backed with Ninety Nine Ways became a monster hit, reaching the number one position all across America. Charlie received a gold disc for the two million plus sales and became the first native Philadelphia rock star to achieve international success. His only other Top 40 hit was Fabulous the same year, which reached number sixteen. Other substantial sellers followed: Fabulous, Wandering Eyes, and Cool Baby. The financial success of these hits bankrolled the Cameo label, which became a dominant force in the recording industry for several years.

Charlie's personal appearances grew until he performed and headlined some of the biggest venues of that time: Alan Freed's rock and roll shows at the Brooklyn Paramount, The Ed Sullivan Show, Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" and the 500 Club in Atlantic City. He appeared in the 1957 film Jamboree[1], and toured with the likes of Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and his close friend, Eddie Cochran.

Charlie became only the second American, guitar-toting rock and roller to bring this new art form to the British concert stage. His two extensive tours in 1957 and 58 were a whirlwind, topped off by headlining the Palladium and the Hippodrome in London. He played to packed houses and drew rave reviews. In the audiences, among Charlie's fans and admirers, were future rock greats: Graham Nash, members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker and Van Morrison. These performers and many other well-known acts have credited Charlie as an influence. George Harrison referred to Charlie's guitar technique as "brilliant" in a March 1996 interview with Billboard Magazine; Paul McCartney invited Charlie to the premiere party of his 1999 release which paid tribute to the early pioneers of rock music.

So understandably, Charlie's got some wild stories, and he tells then in between songs. He spoke of his great friend and contemporary at the time, Eddie Cochran, and being in his car when he got the news of his untimely death in 1960 at age 22...he was so shook up he had to pull over to the side of the road.

Naturally he spoke a lot about Paul McCartney, too.

And that he was all set to do some more recording with Bo Diddley this year but then Bo went died on him in June.

Anyway, here's some more awesome shots Gary took of Charlie...and for your tech nerds out there, have a look at that guitar!

Okay, moving on, still not believing what I was seeing, I continued to read Robert's diary post and it went on to say:

"Upon returning to DGM HQ Butcher Fry, our Landlord, appeared from the back door of the Village Shop to show me a picture taken on his recent holidaying in Germany…

The photo depicts the memorial to The Fifty from Stalag Luft III. Of 78 escapers in The Great Escape, 73 were recaptured & 50 of those were shot. My Uncle Bill, who is often mentioned in this Diary, was a prisoner in Stalag Luft III at the time of the escape (1943). Bill was the navigator of an RAF reconnaissance flight shot down over Germany in October 1939 and held in a dozen different POW camps during the 5 years 7 months of his imprisonment. Although not a Great Escaper, Bill’s pilot was; recaptured & shot; and one of those commemorated on the memorial."

Why is this odd?

Because incredibly enough, a few days prior, I watched the Great Escape on television with Gary and it was the first time I'd ever seen it, even though it was released in 1963 and has been on television countless times since. Gary actually saw it as a young boy in the movie theater -- about the same time my Mom was taking me to Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedies which I totally did not understand at my (heh) tender age but enjoyed mostly for the malted milk balls and super large packages of Reese's peanut butter cups purchased at the concession stand for fifteen cents each....sigh. Ah, I can still see/smell the interior of those old movie houses...the red velvet drapes, the aroma of real popcorn, the scratchy seats...I'm gonna cry. As Gary pointed out as we were watching the Great Escape, the art of subtlety is gone from cinema today which is why we hardly ever watch a flick these days...truth to tell, the last movie I remember seeing in an actual theater was "Something About Mary" back in 1998 and I was so horrified...because a few years prior, the last movie I'd seen was the equally atrocious "Sleepless in Seattle" which just about ruined me for life it was so awful...that we just stopped going to the movies altogether. But yeah, getting back to the subtlety as opposed to the in-your-face garbage out now, as we were watching the Great Escape, at the scene toward the end where the captured officers are told to get out of the truck in the field to "stretch their legs", Gary said "Uh-oh!"

"What? What?" asked innocent me.

"You'll see," he replied grimly.

My eyes fixed on the television, I watched the characters I'd grown fond of during this film get out and stretch...and then I saw the Nazi officer load up a high powered gun...all you heard was an ominous "click"...and then the scene changed.

So yes, that was how they portrayed fifty men losing their lives, as mentioned in Robert's diary.

You know damn well in today's world, they would have shown each and every man getting his head violently blown off - we would have been spared no gore or bloody detail.

I'll take the 1963 version, please. That awful sound of the gun about to go off was way more gruesome and left a far greater impact than actually seeing what happened in gross, living color.

Anyway, that's our weird "close encounter" with Mr. Fripp - I'm still kind of freaked out by it.

Other than that, tomorrow begins the first night of the Adrian Belew Power Trio tour in Hungary so you know I'll be in blog heaven...and um, Go Phillies! I cannot believe they won last night (and as stated in my prior post, yep, they did in fact also win when Gary attended the game Friday night)...and it looks like they are going to go to the World Series, which is highly ironic because poor Julie, who was voted MVP of her softball team in 1998 (she both pitched and had the winning hit) has been waiting all of her life for the Phillies to be in/possibly win the championship and party it up in the big parade, etc....will be, oh, probably in Spain or Switzerland when and if it happens.

All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

Yeah, right. You know damn well I'd rather be tagging along with the trio on tour, but you know, someone has to stay home and walk the dog and eat Gary's incredible gourmet meals.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kenny Bloggins...

Eric has a fun blog post up today about hanging with Adrian Belew and what it's like to be down in Nashville right now, playing and writing some incredible new music.

That is all I can say.

For now, anyway.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm Not Your Friend, Dude

Okay, it's killing me not to go off on a political tirade but there are many others who do it better than I ever could so I won't...though holy freaking cow, why have I not read anything about Senator McShame's overuse...and I mean gross overuse...of the phrase "My friends" during every one of his speeches and especially during both debates.

We're not your friend, dude. And you come off sounding like you're selling ginzu knives on the Atlantic City Boardwalk circa 1960. Or worse, a snake oil salesman.

And let's not even go here. But she can quickly respond to whether she's a hottie, huh.

Guess what, sweetie. You're not. If I were a guy, I'd rather do moldy swiss cheese. And let me immediately issue a disclaimer for using a link to a Fox news article (bleh!) which is of course not favorable to my candidate of choice but it was where I found the quote on the front page of the AOL welcome screen and notice how I'm not using any actual names here as I don't want any of their lunatic supporters finding me via google and leaving their trailer trash comments. Speaking of that, I know this is America and I cherish our (diminishing daily) First Amendment rights, but how can people like this exist and not be arrested for hate crimes?

Okay, enough out of me. I need to calm down. The end is in sight. I have an absentee ballot here to mail on Julie's behalf - Eric already mailed his - and I know for a fact change is coming. So let's talk about things of a more uplifting nature. Like music.

Yep, the dynamic duo flew to Nashville this morning to once again become a a trio. And the reason I gave you that link is not only because I love Ade's take on things, but because of the comment section, where Gary has now officially been annointed "Slick Daddy". I am in love with that and can't believe I didn't come up with it myself.

Speaking of Slick Daddy, he just called me to let me know he has a ticket to the Phillies' play-off game tomorrow. I don't want to jinx things but let's just say that when Slick Daddy attends...wait...I am afraid of the jinx factor after all. Let's discuss this further on Saturday.

So yeah, Julie and Eric, according to my clock, have just landed in Nashville now (9:30 a.m. eastern) and, after 4-5 days of rehearsal and yes, learning brand new material, are about to embark on a month long tour of Europe. Hence the need for absentee ballots.

And how freaking cool is this - there's a commercial running on Lithuanian television for the trio's upcoming show! While it doesn't show Julie and Eric, it still rocks bigtime:

Oh my God, was that great or what? I'm still smiling. So now we not only have Slick Daddy, we have "Adrian Bee-loo". Ah, life is grand.

Beyond that, I don't have much more to say. Of course I'll be blogging daily once the tour starts...right now I'm busy mapping out my strategy for National Novel Writing Month. As my long time readers know, every November I participate in "NANO" and write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. My record so far is 100%. Every novel I've written via NANO since 2003 has been published or will see publication in 2009. Last year I was incredibly bold and posted daily excerpts of raw, unedited work - I managed 2,500 to 3,000 words a day easily. Should I do it again this year? I already have my plot and characters worked out and have a loose outline in my head (to actually start writing now would be cheating but okay, I do have a few false starts and will probably go with at least the format of one of them)...I'm kind of dying to tell you all what it's about but last year a funny thing happened - the book changed as I was writing it and kind of took a life on of its own. So rather than type a synopsis here now and wind up with egg on my face, I think we'll see how it unfolds together. Maybe. I still haven't decided if I should make my daily suffering writing public or not though I think I did have about two readers. Ha.

Finally, let me say Happy Birthday to a true hero - a man who knew how to make a real difference and did.