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Happy Birthday Les Paul!

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2007 file photo, Guitar legend Les Paul performs at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York. Paul, 94, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, died, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 in White Plains, N.Y.,  according to Gibson Guitar. (AP Photo/ Colin Archer, file)

Les Paul (photo swiped from Google search)

Happy Birthday to the late Les Paul — he would have been 100 today!

I’m very fortunate to have caught one of his performances before his death at the age of 94.

Here he is performing one of my favorite guitar songs, “Sleepwalk” (on his 90th birthday!)

And in his younger years, with wife Mary Ford

And some more amazing-ness!

Happy Birthday Wendy O. Williams

Wendy O. Williams long hairWendy O. Williams (photo swiped from Google)

Happy Birthday Wendy O.! Rocking my world since I first discovered The Plasmatics as a teenager in 1980! I love this picture because it shows a softer side of Wendy. She was always so nice to us kids, so this is how I remember her.  R.I.P. = Rest in Punk! Truly an original. Never again will the world be blessed with such greatness!

Help get the original Plasmatics into the Long Island Hall of Fame: https://www.facebook.com/groups/701821216542687/

For more Plasmatics purchase my book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.” It has a few Plasmatics stories and was endorsed by Stu Deutsch, original Plasmatics drummer: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Welcome to My Nightmare, A Dream About Alice Cooper (and Bob Ezrin!)

Alice-Cooper-offstage_EDIT_w1Alice Cooper (photo by Roni Hoffman)

Welcome to my nightmare.

No, it wasn’t a real nightmare, it was a cool dream actually. That I was a writer for Creem magazine and I was interviewing Alice Cooper.

Alice CreemMy dream was not that far fetched. I was a music journalist most of my adult life and have written for publications like The Aquarian Arts Weekly, Punk magazine, music.com and kevchino music. I’m also interviewed many artists for the entertainment sections of The Montclair Times, The Patch online, etc.

My adventures are documented in my first book: “On the Guest List Adventures of a Music Journalist” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

But, no, I’ve never interviewed Alice. I never even thought of it. There’s so much music out there and while Alice Cooper isn’t one of my top 10 favorites, I do love him lots.

I was aware of Alice since childhood but what inspired me to buy his album “Alice Cooper Goes to Hell” in 1976 at the age of 12 was the song, “I Never Cry” (which I first had as a single). The B-side of “I Never Cry” was “Go to Hell.” I played both songs repeatedly and then got the album. Alice Cooper purists poo-pooed that album (and other stuff that Bob Ezrin produced). But what stood out most about my dream was that I asked Alice about Bob Ezrin. I told my husband this and he laughed.

Bob Ezrin, as a producer, knew how to attract the likings of young girls — at least me. Hey, I was 12 and listening to really cool music, but still, I was a girl and I wasn’t a musician either. And like most girls, I needed a softer touch, right? It’s perfectly normal that I’d be diggin’ something that was semi-commercial and borderline “not cool” such as “Goes to Hell” and “Welcome to My Nightmare.” And at the same time I was buying other Bob Ezrin produced records like “KISS: Destroyer.”

To this day I will argue with any Alice Cooper fan that “Alice Cooper Goes to Hell” is the BEST and most under-rated Alice Cooper album ever.

“Goes to Hell” is poetic genius. So much so that when I was a spoken word poet in the early 1990s, I spoke those lyrics as a “cover poem” to an applauding audience. “Goes to Hell” was my psych-song before I went on stage before a live audience. How can anyone deny such a clever tune?

And now, for the single 45-rpm record that I wore out as a little girl. The passion in the vocals sends chills up my spine, almost 40 years later. But “I Never Cry.”

When I was 12 and I’d spend endless hours listening to music, I’d display the album I was listening too. When “I Am The Coolest” was playing, my great grandmother was standing in the doorway listening to Alice saying, “I am the coolest, I am the baddest, I am the greatest …”

And looking at the cover to “Goes to Hell” she deadpanned, “But you’re ugly as hell.”

And, finally, the grand finale of “Goes to Hell” — “I’m Going Home” which wraps up the album beautifully. When I saw the comments on You Tube, I was touched to read that someone buried their father, who loved Alice Cooper, to this song.

Bob-EzrinBob Ezrin, the mastermind behind some of my favorite albums.

Warm Winds Caress Her, Her Lover It Seems …

heart_-_dreamboat_annie

Last night I watched a Heart concert from 2007. They played live, the entire “Dreamboat Annie” album. This was a treat that made me absolutely ecstatic. I haven’t heard some of these songs since I was 13.

The album was released on Valentine’s Day in 1976. If I remember correctly, I got “Little Queen” first and then went backwards.

The FM hits from “Dreamboat Annie” were “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man.”

Here’s the 40-minute album in it’s entirety, enjoy:

And here is “Crazy on You” from the live “Dreamboat Annie” concert from 2007

If you get a chance to view the concert in it’s entirety, do so. For encores they did songs by Led Zeppelin (“Misty Mountain Hop” and “Black Dog”) and “Love Reign on Me” by The Who. It was all off the hook, but hey, I really wanted to hear more Heart songs! I was secretly hoping for “Barracuda” (from “Little Queen”) or anything else Heart!

 

 

Relating to Morrissey on His Birthday … Kinda!

MorrisseyMorrissey

A very happy 56th to dear Morrissey.

Morrissey was a tad inspiring to me when I needed some music to include in my upcoming book, “Love Cats” — available on Amazon by June: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432316846&sr=1-1&keywords=love+cats+maryanne+mistretta

“Love Cats” is a fiction story that takes place during the 1980s and there’s a heavy duty gothic and dark wave soundtrack. You can read all about here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/love-cats-coming-soon-one-step-closer/

There’s a scene where lead character Beck Stewart is down in the dumps over his break-up with Janey Peyton and one of the appropriate songs, for him, is “How Soon is Now” by The Smiths (co-written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr).

I don’t think I’ve ever felt that low, but for me, “How Soon is Now” was a favorite nightclub song to dance to in the 1980s. Oh that Marr guitar is so sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Morrissey has another song that really speaks to me — in reverse. It’s the song, “We Hate it When Our Friends Become Successful” as I’m quite the opposite, I’ll be the one cheering you on!

When my first book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist”(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X)  came out last year, I got a ton of support from friends. And then a ton of flack from fake friends who couldn’t handle little me having a book published. (Oh, the stories I could tell you!)

That is when Morrissey’s song popped into my head … and I related from the opposite end, as I was the one being hated for an accomplishment. And it didn’t feel too good. But then again, they must not feel too good about themselves to behave in such a jealous manner, right?

I’m almost positive Morrissey wrote that song about himself, yet never expected a mere commoner like myself to relate so heavily to it.

But lucky me, I’m not a jealous type and I say to all my friends and family:

Write that book, create that song, find your soul mate, save a puppy or a kitten, get that ring on your finger, hooray for your new car, travel the world, lose 50 pounds, get a new job, get a sassy new look, and a whole lot more!!

I wish you all the blessings because I LOVE IT WHEN MY FRIENDS BECOME SUCCESSFUL!

SAM_4811Signing autographs = somewhat successful :)

It’s nearly laughable, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

And now, in closing of my tribute, enjoy something truly beautiful, by Morrissey:

Richie Furay and Brewer & Shipley at SOPAC

Originally posted on Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta:

SAM_6940Tom Shipley, me and Michael Brewer

Last night my husband and I went to a fabulous double bill at SOPAC (South Orange Performing Arts Center) in South Orange, New Jersey. We had eight row center for Shipley & Brewer and Richie Furay.

Prior to last night, all I knew of Shipley & Brewer was their hit “One Toke Over the Line” on an AM Gold 1970s compilation. But, boy was I blown away. Almost two hours of melodic acoustic tunes and story telling from the American folk rock duo.

Check out more awesome tunes by Brewer and Shipley on their website: http://brewerandshipley.com/

Next up was The Richie Furay Band. Richie Furay is an American songwriter and a founding member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco; and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member. His band had me hooked from the get go with high energy, catchy tunes and a few love…

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HIM – Starland Ballroom 12-11-14

Originally posted on Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta:

SAM_6548

I’ve been a HIM fan almost 10 years now, though they’ve been around a lot longer. I first saw them at Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC back in 2005.

Last night was the second time I saw them at Starland Ballroom. The sound was not the best, but they did all my favorite songs — songs I never saw them do live before, one great one after another, and a lot from my favorite album, “Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights.”

I was right in the front (stage left) but unfortunately couldn’t get a set list, so in no particular order, here’s some of my favorites: “Right Here in My Arms,” “Wicked Game,” “Rebel Yell,” Sacrament,” “Buried Alive By Love,” “Funeral of Hearts,” “Pretending,” “Heartache Every Moment,” “In Joy and Sorrow,” “Salt in Our Wounds.”

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SAM_6547Me, back at the bar

SAM_6601Drummer, Mika Karppinen was nice to pose on a very cold night!

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Happy Birthday Les McKeown

LesLes McKeown

Happy 59th to the lead singer, during the most successful time of The Bay City Rollers in the 1970s. Currently they seem to still be going strong with Les leading the band again.

Check it out:

The Rollers are one band I didn’t get to see live, though I did meet them when they were recording an album in New Jersey, back around 1981, though Les wasn’t in the band during that time.

Here are some hit songs from their early years, with Les on lead vocal:

Happy Birthday to Paul Cowsill!

SAM_5951Far left, PAUL COWSILL

Back: Me and my husband, Dennis

Front: Susan Cowsill and Bob Cowsill

(From Summer 2014)

Happy Birthday to a very down to earth legend — Paul Cowsill! It was such a blessing to go see The Cowsills over the summer when they performed in our neighboring state Pennsylvania. Here’s the blog I wrote back in August: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/the-cowsills-levitt-pavillion-bethlehem-pa-aug-31-2014/

Enjoy a few great tunes!

Happy National Saxophone Day!

ballyhoo_vintage_sax_appeal

Happy National Saxophone Day!

The party is here! Here’s some good ones (and to make it extra special, they are all from the 1980s!):

 

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