The year was 2003, and I was enjoying myself immensely at an after-show party at Lit Lounge in NYC’s East Village, partying hard with the members of Ministry and their entourage, having just seen the band kill it at the late, great Roseland Ballroom. That’s where this photo of me and Al was taken, probably by Paul Barker. I had become friendly with Paul and Al at the time, and you can see the love on Al’s face in this shot and he wraps his arm around my shoulder and smirks for the camera. I was fortunate to interview Paul and Al several times back in the day and they were always fantastic guys to speak with. Good times indeed. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more celebrity Rock Star stories from the vault!
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Nomiees (Image Source)
According to the odds-makers at Sports Betting Dime, the Foo Fighters (-400), Jay-Z (-350) and Tina Turner (-200) have better than even odds to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year when the Class of 2021 is announced in May. Both the Foo Fighters and Jay-Z appear on the ballot for the first time. Turner was previously inducted for her work with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue but has yet to be inducted as a solo artist. Devo (+110), Todd Rundgren (+150) and The Go-Go’s (+175) are the most likely to join them.
Here’s a look at the odds for the 16 nominees to be inducted as part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2021 from the oddsmakers at @SBD. By the way, if fractional odds confound you, whichever artist has the lowest number – less than a value of 1 being ideal – is the favorite to win.
1. Foo Fighters: -400 (1/4)
2. Jay-Z: -350 (2/7)
3. Tina Turner: -200 (1/2)
4. Devo: +110 (11/10)
5. Todd Rundgren: +150 (3/2)
6. The Go-Go’s: +175 (7/4)
7. New York Dolls: +233 (7/3)
8. Fela Kuti: +250 (5/2)
9. Rage Against the Machine: +250 (5/2)
10. Carole King: +275 (11/4)
11. Mary J. Blige: +300 (3/1)
12. Iron Maiden: +400 (4/1)
13. Dionne Warwick: +450 (9/2)
14. Kate Bush: +500 (5/1)
15. LL Cool J: +700 (7/1)
16. Chaka Khan: +800 (8/1)
(-400 = bet 400 to win 100. +250 = bet 100 to win 250)
Do you like Punk Rock? I sure do. The true spirit of Punk really thrived in cities like London (where it was born), Los Angeles and New York back in the mid-70 to early 80s, before it became a commercial product and fashion statement that was appropriated by Midwest mall kids, and completely lost its teeth. Kill me. Fortunately, all of that great music still exits, and we can also travel back in time to the early days of the mosh pit with amazing photographs of the iconic musicians and style-makers who embodied the Punk credo. The place to see and live through those photos is the Morrison Hotel Gallery.
As the definitive home of Fine Art Rock Photography, Morrison Hotels Gallery has just launched its latest collection, CBGB: The Age of Punk, and it is pretty sweet. I attended the opening reception here in Manhattan on May 17th, and the place was packed wall-to-wall with many of the legendary photographers who shot these photos, such as Bob Gruen, as well as a New York icons Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie. All of the photos in this post were shot while I maneuvered around a drunken, sweaty horde, so I chose to crop most them and you will just have to guess what they look like all framed and nice. Punk Rock!
Here’s the Gallery’s Official Blurb about the Collection:
Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock and CB’s became one of the quintessential locations to perform. Bands had the freedom to experiment and bring their own artistry and social commentary, no matter how depraved and raucous, to audiences hungry for new art, music and freedom of speech.
Contrary to what the series title would have you believe, not all of the photos were taken at CBGB, or even in New York.
As you might expect, there a ton of great shots of Patti Smith, both on stage with PSG, and off stage. She was so photogenic.
Here she is with her boyfriend at the time, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. So hot.
The first wave British punks get their due as well. I got this shot on the wall behind the open gallery door!
Joe Strummer of The Clash (RIP) looking like a Movie Star.
And, of course, the Ramones are well- represented, as they should be.
There’s no telling how long this exhibit will be on public view in the gallery, but you can always view the full collection at This Link should you wish to make a purchase. All orders are filled on-demand up the run limit of that series.
Morrison Hotel Gallery is Located at 116 Prince Street, 2nd Floor in SoHo, NYC.
Here’s another awesome Holiday Gift Idea for the art lover on your list who also happens to be a fan of David Bowie or Prince. Pay homage to Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie’s iconic persona from the early 1970s, or the late great Prince, with this modern take on Japanese Kokeshi dolls, which are customarily given as symbols of friendship. Each doll measures, 5.7 inches tall, is hand painted in vibrant colors, and is made of schima superba wood. Imagine the adventure these two could have together.
These cool little Dolls, which sell for $42 each, are available directly from the MoMA Design Store at the Museum of Modern Art, or online at This link!
To have experienced The Back Door, Martin Creed’s interactive art exhibit installed throughout the Park Avenue Armory, was like walking into and exploring an authentically disquieting dreamscape version of Disney’s Haunted Mansion for adults who dig weird art.
As the most mainstream-accessible part of The Back Door, two collections of small-canvas paintings can be found in the Armory’s first floor Board of Officers Room. It got much less-safe from there.
Crossing all media including painting, drawing, music, dance, theater, film, sculpture, fashion, and more, Martin Creed’s practice considers our everyday existence and the visible and invisible structures that shape our lives. Creed continues his ongoing exploration into rhythm, scale and order in The Back Door; the artist’s largest installation in the US to date, which is a survey of his work from its most minimal moments to extravagant, larger-than-life installations.
Utilizing both the Wade Thompson Drill Hall and the historic interiors of the building, Creed re-imagines the space with opening and closing doors and curtains, a slamming piano, and a room full of balloons, among other new works made for this exhibition. These materials and situations, when grouped together, create a playful spectacle within a framework that provides the viewer with a fascinating way to counter our visually overloaded, choice-saturated culture.
The most popular work in the exhibit is called Half the Air in a Given Space, which is a room filled half-way to the ceiling with large, inflated white latex balloons.
It was recommended that you queue up for this room as soon as you arrived, as there might be a wait of 10 minutes or more. They only let six or so people enter the room at one time. This is why:
Once you squeeze your way into the room, the balloons, which are about 17″ in diameter, will be over your head, and you will need to gently bounce them upward and away from you in order to navigate your way to an exit on the other side of the room, which is marked by a red Exit sign. I wouldn’t recommended this experience to anyone who is prone to panic attacks or who has claustrophobia, or for a small child, but otherwise it is quite fun and there is no need to freak out.
As you can see, I was able to get these fun photos while submerged in a sea of Balloons! When would you ever have the chance to do this again? There were assistants at the room’s exit door, to help you get out.
In the above video, I am in a room called The Parlor, in which the overhead lights flash on and off at one-second intervals for a piece called The Lights Going On and Off. The door on the other side of the room opens automatically, so it is impossible to be trapped in there. Again, no need to panic!
Next, I entered the Wade Thompson Drill Hall, which is a massive room the size of an airplane hangar. There is a screen suspended from the ceiling about midway into the room, which shows nearly static film clips of people doing mundane things like sitting and staring.
This is a woman sitting in a room.
This is the room she is sitting in. There are six short films ranging in length from 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Across that room to the right, you will see the above sign with an arrow. Follow it to an open door and enter an entirely new space.
You are now in a long corridor that extends the length of the building, which is divided into 9 small kiosks, each showing a different short film. The first one shows different people crossing the same street, one at a time, while demonstrating a “funny walk,” as the famous Monty Python sketch would call it.
Another film is this naked man standing in a room with occasional close-ups of his ass.
This video clip is from a film that shows a numerical countdown.
This one is called Fuck Off. Either there was no video, or it just wasn’t working, for this audio-only clip of someone using the F Word, a lot. (Warning: NSFW)
I didn’t stick around long enough to find out why she was squatting.
When you see this sign, you are about to watch a video of a penis going from flaccid to erect, and back again. Hashtag-trying-too-hard.
These Roving Musicians are fun to stop and listen to as they wander through the various rooms. Those curtains they are seen walking through open and close by themselves, and constitute a separate artwork called A Curtain Opening and Closing.
In the Field and Staff Room, you will see chairs stacked on top of other chairs and tables stacked on other tables, a row of small cactus plants in front of a mirror (lower right in the above photo) and a video installation.
I felt like I was back in the ’60s.
Even if art is not your thing, you would probably have enjoyed its distractions as you explore an amazing historical building and imagine what types of ghosts must inhabit this obviously haunted space.
Find out more about Martin Creed’s The Back Door, which has now closed at This Link!
By the 1970’s, Lichtenstein turned his eye toward the history of art, appropriating figures and motifs from the first half of the twentieth century and repainting them with Benday dots – the means of shading in newsprint and magazine pictures – in his signature palette of bright primary colors. For Stepping Out, (1978), he took one of Fernand Leger’s famous compositions, Three Musicians (1944), and added a female figure whose dramatically reduced and displaced features resemble the Surrealist women painted by Picasso in the 1930s.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Stepping Out is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Using a phrase like “The soundtrack of your life” means different things to different people. While I can admit to being a fan of music practically since I was an egg, as far as the role music had in attaching itself to seminal memories, informing my current tastes and shaping the person that I am today, the soundtrack of my life would have to be the music I heard on AM radio stations while growing up in Southern California during the 60s and 70s.
The pop music of that era is unique in many ways, but one facet of its enduring sound is tied in to the fact that so much of that music was recorded by a select group of highly versatile and keenly skilled studio musicians that came to be known informally as The Wrecking Crew. These musicians were constantly brought in for session work by legendary producers, such as Phil Spector and Lou Adler, for their ability to turn in top quality, professional performances in a brief window of time, and their presence on recordings of the era is nearly ubiquitous. To peruse a comprehensive list of Wrecking Crew recordings would likely make your head explode with its vast scope, but a few of the songs you might be familiar with include:
Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots,” Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High,” “Indian Reservation” by Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Windy” By the Association, The Mama’s & Papa’s “California Dreaming,” “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers, Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” (Note: Campbell was a staple Wrecking Crew guitarist before embarking on his own successful singing career) “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny & Cher”, “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds, anything by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass as well as TV-series-based bands such as The Partridge Family and The Monkees, and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album in its entirety. They were also responsible for creating Phil Spector’s signature “Wall of Sound.”
If you’ve just had to lift your jaw from the floor, please know that these songs barely scratch the surface of the extensive recorded catalog featuring members of The Wrecking Crew. You might think that setting out to create a documentary film about The Wrecking Crew would be a daunting task that no one could possibly be up for; but you would be incorrect. One highly prolific Wrecking Crew guitarist was a guy named Tommy Tedesco, who passed away in 1997. Before he died, however, Tommy’s son Denny began working on this documentary as an homage to his dad. After fifteen years of research, conducting interviews and going through film and photography archives, the film is now complete, though reams of footage remain for additional content. After doing well on the festival circuit, Tedesco has been screening The Wrecking Crew privately in select national markets in order to raise funds for a DVD release. I attended such a screening in Brooklyn on Sunday evening and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this film, and how appealing, worthwhile and valuable this movie is.
As much as the film was a labor of love and obviously a highly personal memoir of Tommy Tedesco and his fellow musicians, The Wrecking Crew is also a riveting piece of musical and cultural history, capturing a time in the music industry and the American lifestyle that will never, ever be duplicated. It is must-see viewing for any music fan. I am not exaggerating when I say that my mind was blown about every five minutes during this film. The movie is also extremely laugh-out-loud funny in parts, as well as being very deeply heartfelt. I had to dab tears away from my eyes more times than I care to admit because so much of it felt personal to me. I can’t imagine others will not have similar reactions. The Wrecking Crew is possibly the best music documentary I’ve ever seen.
While the Wrecking Crew consisted of approximately 20- 30 musicians, Tedesco focuses on a select few – with his dad being a key player, of course – to tell the stories behind the music, including drummers Hal Blaine (widely known as the World’s Most Recorded Drummer) and the late Earl Palmer, Bassist Carol Kaye, Saxophonist Plas Johnson (Think: Pink Panther Theme), Glen Campbell, Pre-stroke Dick Clark, Cher, Brian Wilson and Herb Alpert (known for both his stunning and iconic trumpet compositions as well as for having founded A&M Records) among others who may not be household names, but whose work you will know. I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to final credits. Wrecking Crew!
Denny Tedesco still needs approximately $250,000 in additional funding to pay for the licensing of all this awesome music. I’m sure that a mega-celeb such as Cher – who is interviewed several times in the film – could handle that size of a donation and not even miss the cash. But anyone who would like to see this important film brought to a wide audience can also support the film by attending a screening (suggested donations range from $12 to $30) or visiting the website and making a donation of any amount at This Link. To locate a screening in your area visit this list of upcoming screenings at Wrecking Crew Film Dot Com.