Maryanne's Jukebox

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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

1998 Radio City Music Hall: Pretenders and B52s Double Bill

Photo by James Yeramian, found on Flickr

Late June, 1998, I had the pleasure to see a double bill with The Pretenders and B52s at Radio City Music Hall, NYC.

I was a fan of both bands and saw them both much earlier (on separate occasions) at the Capital Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey — all the back in 1980.

With an 18 year time difference between the times I saw both acts, I can’t honestly say which shows were better because both of these bands were always a class act.

Aside from all the great songs, dancing, people not being in their seats during almost the entire show, high energy, etc., there were three outstanding moments from this particular gig.

1. Shaking hands with Gene Simmons. The B52s were up first. Now, from day one, whenever I went to a concert my eyes are always pretty much glued to the stage. But when my friend Janet pointed out that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were sitting right behind us, so I had to look.

She was right. It was Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley at a B52s/Pretenders concert! How surreal.

I said hello to Gene Simmons and he shook my hand. He seemed very nice. Paul was sitting a bit further down, so I didn’t get to meet him that night, although I met him over 10 years earlier at a club in Brooklyn called L’Amour’s.

It was so surreal seeing two members of KISS with their girlfriends. (I’m not sure if it was Shannon who was with Gene, as this concert was way before the “KISS Family Jewels” show was on the air, so I didn’t really know who Shannon Tweed was). Both women were blonde and beautiful.

And it just goes to show that musicians love all kinds of music — not just the kind of music they perform. This is why music fans should stop referring to anything they think is “uncool” as a “guilty pleasure” because it’s all cool!

Gene and Paul left in the middle of the B52s set. I guess too many fans were staring at them.

2. Chrissie Hynde acknowledging the death of Wendy O. Williams. Two months prior to this show, Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics killed herself. This was a shocker to me. I heard the news via email from an editor I worked with briefly. The news broke my heart. I was a huge Plasmatics fan and saw their show pretty close to 10 times. I met Wendy once and she was nice to me. I always admired her strength and viewed her as a woman way ahead of her time. I took her death very hard.

I don’t know if Chrissie Hynde and Wendy O. Williams knew each other personally, but I do know they had a major common ground as they were both vegetarians. Wendy O. Williams was even on the cover of Vegetarian Times.

It was very sweet of Chrissie to acknowledge Wendy. That was so nice and unexpected. Kudos to Chrissie for doing that.

3. Chrissie Hynde dedicating “I’ll Stand By You” to “the animals.” Being an animal lover myself, this was a very poignant moment for me. I love that Chrissie Hynde does so much for the animals. Whenever that song comes on the radio, I remember this concert that I went to so very long ago and ever since hearing Chrissie’s dedication, I love that song even more.

Patti Smith “Just Kids” — My Choice for Casting Call

Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethrope

Zooey Deschanel should be Patti!

Robert Pattinson should be Robert Mapplethorpe

I finally read Patti Smith’s award-winning book, “Just Kids” this weekend.

It was a fantastic read. Why I haven’t gotten around to it sooner beats me because I saw Patti Smith perform many times. She was one of the first concerts I saw. I saw her in the 1970s at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ.

As for Mapplethorpe, I saw his collection of work at one of NYC’s museums about a year BEFORE he died and I became a fan.

So inspired by the book, I was pleased to see that they are making a movie about it — with my fingers crossed for authenticity!

I don’t think they chose the actors/actresses yet, but my choice for Patti Smith is Zooey Deschanel. I think she possesses the same edgy aura as Smith and although cool, can come across as unsure of herself and a little goofy.

Robert Pattinson can play definitely play Mapplethorpe. Not only has he proven to have major edge, but he has the looks for it.

Since Patti Smith has her hands in this one, I have more hope for this one than the CBGBs movie.

“He’s Good Bad, But He Ain’t Evil”

THE SHANGRI-LAS

One of my favorite outdoor summer concerts was seeing the Shangri-Las at City Hall in NYC, June, 19, 2004.

There was only one remaining member, Mary Weiss, and her daughter and it was still a dynamic show.

Even though the Shangri-Las were before my time, I was no stranger to their music because every band I loved covered their hits. Aerosmith recorded “(Remember) Walking in the Sand” for their “Night in the Ruts” album; I had a bootleg Blondie album of them doing “Out in the Streets”; and Johnny Thunders not only performed their hit “Great Big Kiss” every time I saw him live, he sometimes wore a Shangri-Las t-shirt. “Great Big Kiss” is featured on Thunders’s best solo album, “So Alone” and the lyrics are slightly changed to suit his bad boy image, as opposed to the Shangri-Las bad girl image.

Johnny Thunders also covered their hit “He Cried” w/Patti Palladin.

But I think the Shangri-Las are most known for their hit, “Leader of the Pack.”

The girls formed their group while still in high school in the 1960s.

On that hot summer day when I saw them at City Hall, they did all their hits, plus some Ronettes songs, “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Be My Baby.” They also did “Locomotion” and other oldies.

The short set was only 40 minutes, but then they went over to J&R Music to sign autographs. The line was pretty short, so I bought a CD and met Mary Weiss and the other ladies for the fun of it.

Shangri-La member Mary Ann Ganser died on March 14, 1970. Reports of cause of death varied: encephalitis, a seizure disorder or barbituartes.

Shangri-La member Marge Ganser died of breast cancer July 28, 1996.

Many artists continue to pay tribute to the Shangri-Las covering their songs.

Long Live the Shangri-Las!

Let’s Dance — At Aldo’s Hideaway, 1983

David Bowie, circa 1980

Aldo’s Hideaway was a cutting edge dance club in New Jersey.

The first time I went there, I was barely 17 and a friend took me there to see The Stranglers. It was my first experience with breaking a curfew, as bands didn’t go on until 2 a.m. back in those days (which was great for older “kids” who went to college or worked because you could put in a full day, shower, eat and nap before a night on the town, which usually began no earlier than 11 p.m.)

I was hooked on this dance club. First of all because back then there weren’t “all ages” shows like they have today, so there weren’t places for a teenager to go. But for some reason the bouncers/door people were very easy going in regard to not checking IDs.

Second, because they played great music. All the popular new wave songs from the 1980s.

In spite of my grandmother’s warnings that the club could get shut down if our ages were ever found out, my younger sister and I went to Aldo’s on a regular basis.

There are so many stories to tell about this place, but one of the nights that I had the most fun was June 17, 1983, the day my sister turned 17. (I was 19 and the drinking age was 19 at that time, so I was finally there legally, but she wasn’t).

A DJ named Brian always played cool new wave music on Saturday nights. Brian was super skinny, had a bat tattoo on his upper arm and dressed like David Bowie did during his 1980s phase. Many Aldo’s patrons thought Brian was the coolest. But considering our very young age, my sister and I thought he looked like a younger version of our grandfather (even though Brian was probably only in his 20s, but mind you that is SO OLD to someone who is just a teenager!)  We even secretly nicknamed Brian, “Poppy” after our grandfather.

But Brian was very nice to us. As all the staff at Aldo’s was. I think they knew we were underage but they looked after us.

When I mentioned it was my sister’s birthday to Brian that night, he played David Bowie for her because that was her favorite at the time. Brian then came out from his DJ booth and on to the dance floor to wish my sister a Happy Birthday.

Then he played two Japan songs, back to back, for me!

When the clock struck midnight, and it was officially my sister’s birthday, he played another David Bowie song.

This was a very special night, and a very positive story about a young person (DJ Brian) looking out for even younger people.

Even though teens and 20s are a huge age difference, that’s just how it was in the 1980s. Music brought like-minded people together. And it felt so good not to be thought of as “just a kid” and that someone cool paid attention to us youngsters!

Patricia Kennealy-Morrison

Patricia Kennealy-Morrison

This post isn’t about a musician, but about a music journalist and very inspirational woman, Patricia Kennealy Morrison.

I was too young to know her early writings. She was editor of a magazine called Jazz & Pop in the 1960s. She also writes a ton of fiction books set in the 1960s. But my absolute favorite book of hers is “Strange Days” — an autobiography about her life with her late husband Jim Morrison.

Although I never met her, Patricia seems wonderful. She is very open to her fans, as she journals on Live Journal and has a Face Book page. She will converse with those who are intelligent contributors, but not those who seem obsessed with Jim. And I don’t blame her!

As you will see in her writings, Patricia has a great sense of humor.

Patricia also has a beautiful blog called “Mrs. Morrison’s Hotel” (http://mojohotel.blogspot.com/) where she shares poetry Jim wrote her, as well as what she wrote for him.

By this time next week, June 24, it will be the 42nd anniversary of the day Jim Morrison wed Patricia Kennealy.

What a blessing for two gorgeous souls.

And how lucky for fans of both Jim and Patricia to be able to read her intimate reflections. It’s very generous of Kennealy to let us get a glimpse into her world.

I highly recommend her, she’s a great read!

Welcome to Maryanne’s Jukebox!

(Icon made by Todd Gordon)

This blog is inspired by a “Jukebox” page I once had on Face Book, before I lost my password.

On the page “fans” posted tons of songs that they loved. It was out of control fun. Anything and everything goes. My motto was: “It’s not your mother’s jukebox, and it ain’t your daughter’s either!”

This blog dedicated to all types of music I love. My tastes run all over the map so there will be something for everyone: punk, new wave, easy listening, country, goth, AM gold, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s 2000s, spiritual, glam, hard rock, experimental, bubblegum, hardcore, disco, classical, and more, more, more — you name it!

I’ll talk about music that inspires me, music I’ve seen in the past, music I go to see currently.

Music is my life and I’ve written about music for many publications including: The Aquarian Arts Weekly, The Montclair Times, In the Flesh, music.com, and Punk Magazine.

To all the music lovers of Generation X — ENJOY!

Tommy James

About two years ago, Tommy James was performing an outdoor concert, free.

It was a gorgeous, June evening. A soft breeze, not too hot … just perfect.

At first I was discouraged to go because two artists from my generation, that I actually love, recorded Tommy’s hits (“Mony Mony” by Billy Idol and “Crimson and Clover” by Joan Jett) and I felt they were annoyingly overplayed. And especially annoying was the fact that whenever the Billy Idol version was played in a bar, drunken imbeciles would scream, “Get laid, get fucked!” after each verse. URGH! Not my idea of a good time.

My husband said, “Did you know Tommy James was playing?”

I said, “Yeah, but …”

He said, “Yeah, but WHAT?”

And I explained how I was turned off to the music because of how the Billy Idol version was made out to be such a joke.

“But it’s TOMMY JAMES!” he said.

And sure enough, the most magical part of the evening was hearing, “Crystal Blue Persuasion” — a spiritual song about the coming of Jesus Christ.

“Jesus is coming!” said Tommy James.

After the show, my husband and I walked over to his trailer and met him. We all shook hands — and he had a firm handshake. I thanked him for the free show and wished him a beautiful evening.

He thanked us for coming and looked us both directly in our eyes when he spoke to us.

About six months later, his book came out: “Me, the Mob and the Music.” At the time I was writing for the Verona/Cedar Grove Patch online. Since Tommy James lives in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, I figured I could write about him.

I contacted his manager, Carol, and she generously hooked me up with a copy of his book and several CDs, as well as tickets to see Tommy perform at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey, making it the second time my husband and I got to see him perform within a year.

When Tommy James called my house for the interview, I talked to him about 40 minutes. And then wrote this article, which was published in January 2011: http://bloomfield.patch.com/articles/the-hanky-panky-that-went-on-at-a-legendary-record-label-2

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