December 2019

Happy December everyone!  'Tis the season for a little barrage of GR videos over the next couple months.  I shot three "live in the studio" performance videos with  Matt Santos.  The first of which is "Eye of a Thief", see below.  That was the one song on the most recent  album that was just me playing and singing solo; it was the demo I sent to the boys during pre-production and they encouraged me to put it on the album as is, along with the band arrangement songs, I hope they were right!  So instead of making a video to the recorded  solo track, I just cut it again live for the camera.  I'll be following up with a couple more like that, a cover, a newly written song along with a couple songs revived from the archives, stay tuned!

On translucent vinyl no less...

On translucent vinyl no less...

In Tribute of John Lennon (October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980) 

We lost this great man on this day in 1980 (December 8), he was only 40 years old. I was barely 15 years old and had not yet lost a family member, nor a loved one, but the senseless loss of Lennon was a massive wake up call to the whole world as well as to my young self. I’d loved The Beatles since I nicked my mother’s 45 of “She Loves You” on the Swan label, I still have it.    

What a time it was 1980, on September 25, we lost the mighty John Bonham (age 32), Led Zeppelin’s drummer.  Led Zep was to be my first concert ever at the old Chicago Stadium, on the US leg of their “In Through the out Door” tour that was never to be, can you imagine?  That hit hard, I was just learning to love those boys, had purchased my first electric guitar and my musical journey was beginning, it was a big deal, losing Bonzo.  Then, on December 8, Lennon goes down, it was probably the greatest shared loss on a large scale in our culture since the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.   

Per Yoko Ono’s request, on Sunday, December 14, 1980, at 2 PM EST, anyone who was interested was invited to share in 10 minutes of silence to honor the man.  50,000 gathered in New York City’s Central Park to pay tribute, as many did in cities across the world.  Even many radio stations participated in the 10 minutes of silence. I sequestered myself to my bedroom and gathered the meager amount of Beatle vinyl, tapes and memorabilia I had at the time and spread them out on my bed.  I tuned in the radio to listen to 10 minutes of silence in solidarity with the rest of the world.  I knelt there and I sat there and I laid down there and I cried my eyes out.  I didn’t even understand why I had so much feeling for a man I didn’t really know. My mother sort of understood but my father thought I was a freak. 

What has become of us?  Our humanity? Even though in 1980, there was still a long way to go, and things were moving at a snail’s pace, it still truly felt like we were moving in the right direction. Progress; as in striving towards kindness and tolerance becoming the norm in the face of the rabid racism and misogyny of the past. It was noticeable even to a child.  Can you imagine commercial radio (or commercial anything) going silent for 10 minutes and losing all that ad revenue in this day and age? Can you imagine millions of people around the world coming together to honor a man as we did that day?  Can you imagine the people of this damn country truly coming together for anything at all?  Let alone to honor a single man?  An artist? A Rock and Roller? A man who fought for Peace?  I’m so sorry John. 

October/November 2019

Time to put my 2¢ in on the latest “Burnsy” doc - OK, overall, there’s a ton of great stuff there, and there is no way to do anything like this and not have thousands of fans complain about who is left out. However, much like the Jazz (no, Satchmo didn’t invent everything) and even Baseball (there were other teams that weren’t from NYC) docs, I am again perplexed by what they left out. What I can’t figure out is; does he know what he’s leaving out and thinks putting it in will ruin his “artistry” - or is he simply ignorant of how important one artist can be in relation to the rest, instead approaching it purely academically with no real feel for the heart of the subject. 

I’m sure there’s more that should be on this list that I’m overlooking as well, but man - if they are truly into telling the whole story (and have eight episodes to do it), how the hell would it hurt this documentary to take another 10 or 15 minutes to, at least give a brief mention of these very important and influential artists instead of absolutely ignoring them? He/they, spend and inordinate amount of time on peripheral subjects at the expense of ignoring major players. I don’t get it and I never will. Yes, better to have someone doing the work and putting this out there than not, especially for the neophytes, but jeez, to me, it wouldn’t take much to shine even more light on the subject to make the story more complete. (I did take a few naps so perhaps I missed some mentions…) 

For example; I love Johnny Western, but I can understand why he wasn’t in there - but no Johnny Horton? 

Plenty of Bob Wills and rightfully so but no Hank Thompson who had a whole unique style and outsold Bob in their day? 

A whole lot of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard but no mention of Wynn Stewart? - who was developing the “Bakersfield Sound” before Buck and Merle got there. 

Buck but no Roy Clark? Good lord… 

A whole thing on Ray Charles country music but zero on Jerry Lee Lewis? 

Thankfully, there was a lot on Waylon Jennings but not one mention of Billy Joe Shaver? - Yes Waylon would’ve had a great career without BJS but he was so instrumental in Waylon’s early career and repertoire, not to mention an influential solo artist himself. Criminal (errr) he’s left out of “The Outlaw” movement. One could say the same about David Allen Coe but he didn’t do himself any favors with the x-rated and racist releases. 

They did a whole thing on the Johnny Cash TV show, which was cool - it was the episode where they got into the Country-Rock crossover stuff - yet they neglected to even mention the very cool congruent story of Neil Young being booked on Johnny’s show in Nashville, but he shined on the TV appearance because he got carried away during some recording sessions with the best Nashville cats, (which he dubbed, the Stray Gators - where most of us met Ben Keith for the first time) along with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, and that became most of the “Harvest” album - with those little tunes “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man” - I guess that wasn’t worth mentioning either. 

While I’m on the Country Rock/Americana thing - plenty of Gram Parsons and some Byrds, but not one mention of Rick Nelson, who was doing it before those guys, recording/performing with James Burton and Joe Maphis? 

Ditto for the Grateful Dead - I did see a brief mention of Jerry’s jug band days but hell, they were a huge part of that as well, bluegrass/jug band backgrounds, pedal steel in a rock band, covering Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, but none of this worth a lousy mention? 

To the point I’m attempting to make here - Nudie got more screen time for making clothes than these (and other) artists? 

Ray Price should’ve got more than a mention, Johnny Paycheck deserves at least a mention, Linda Ronstadt and band, another genesis moment of the style, that’s where the Eagles were born - (for the un-initiated) - another inexplicable snub. 

My question to Ken (& Co.); how would including these artists, at least a brief mention if not a whole segment, have hurt this this documentary in any way? - Ken? ….Hello?

September 2019

Lisa Daly shot a great still shoot for me and at some point it clicked in my head that I might be able to sequence a lot of those shots into a slide show video for my song "I Don't Care What You Say". Once I got to it, I think I was right!


August/September 2019

Enjoying the summer but not the news, I'm with Ringo - "Peace and Love" folks Peace and Love.  

It's been brought to my attention that my recent self-titled release is indeed now on Pandora for all you Pandoas: 


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