Saturday, May 20, 2006
I am generally one of those people who is of the same opinion as Carly Simon, that "these are the good old days". Having said that, however, I can't imagine a better or more exciting place to grow up than metro Detroit in the 60's. The huge number of talented bands. A club scene second to none, including San Francisco. The music festivals. The 68 Detroit Tigers. Cruisin' Woodward Ave. Belle Isle. CKLW and WKNR am radio.
Dbackdad and mister anchovy are responsible for this sudden case of waxing nostalgic. Mr. A with his post about an old Detroit Ballroom being renovated into condos, and DBD with his post about the top ten concerts you have ever seen. I had rattled off ten shows off the top of my head. Then Mr. A's post got me thinkin about all the great shows I'd seen and venues I'd been to as a teen. I saw an awful lot of great shows back then, and an enormous number of people who went on to great fame. The list of top rank Detroit area bands is huge and can be viewed here. A short list includes:
AMBOY DUKES (Ted Nugent, Steve Farmer)
BROWNSVILLE STATION (smokin in the boys room back then)
COMMANDER CODY AND HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN (ridin in that hot rod lincoln)
THE DEL-TINOS (front man Cub Koda later formed Brownsville Station)
FROST (Dick Wagner, later to be Alice Cooper's guitarist and colaborator, and is still very active as a studio musician, writer and producer. Currently writing songs with Alice Cooper for Alice's upcoming album)
FUNKADELIC/P-FUNK (yes, George Clinton was outrageous then, too)
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD (still an American band)
MC 5 (the forefathers of Punk)
MITCH RYDER AND THE DETROIT WHEELS
MUSHROOM (Glen Frye, yes, the Eagles Glen Frye)
PLEASURE SEEKERS (Suzi Quatro, yes, the little blond singer/actress/bass player who still looks fabulous in leather pants)
POPCORN BLIZZARD (Meat Loaf, before Rocky Horror Picture Show and Paradise)
QUESTION MARK AND THE MYSTERIONS (cryin' 96 Tears)
BOB SEGER AND THE LAST HEARD (later the Bob Seger System)
SKY (Doug Fieger, would later move to California and form THE KNACK)
STOOGES (Iggy Pop)
TEEGARDEN AND VAN WINKLE (more music than you could ever imagine from a Hammond B3 and a drum kit)
TERRY KNIGHT AND THE PACK (remember I WHO HAVE NOTHING? Also Grand Funk's manager. Murdered by his daughter's boyfriend in 2004)
I saw virtually every one of these bands at one time or another. Metro Detroit had literally dozens of venues, and these band would play them in two or threes every weekend. My favorites were Mothers in Romeo, and the Paladium in Birmingham.
Then there were the larger venues. San Fransisco had the Filmore and Filmore West, Chicago had the Aragon Ballroom. But Detroit had the Grande Riviera Ballroom, The Walled Lake Casino (till it burned on Christmas, 1966), The Eastown Ballroom and the Grand Ballroom at the Masonic Temple.
These larger venues would bring in big name acts who would play the same bill as the local bands. The MC 5 played the Grand Riviera so much people thought they were the house band. I saw them on bills with Joe Cocker, also with Cream. I saw Alice Cooper (Alice was to the Eastown as MC5 were to the Riviera) with Frost and James Gang (Joe Walsh pre Eagles). I saw Frijid Pink and Strawberry Alarm Clock at the Masonic's Ballroom (not to be confused with it's much larger theatre).
Then there were the outdoor music festivals, at least 40 between 1967 and 1972. Michigan must have led the world in rock festivals. I attended 3, including the one that is considered the best of all the festivals ever (including Woodstock), The Goose Lake Festival, Jackson MI, 1970. I really lucked out on this one. The only reason I went was because I'd met a group of kids canoeing on the Huron River the weekend before, and they had an extra ticket.
This was an awesome 3 days, and probably should have been on my list at Dbackdad's. And would have been had it not been for the fact that it was incredably crowded and at times, very uncomfortable.. They were only supposed to sell 70,000 tickets and sold 200,000. Two things that saved the weekend. The group I went with was smart enough to get there 5 days ahead of time and get a good camping spot, and I was smart enough to bring a camping toilet and solar shower. The bands were great! The only act that sucked was Chicago. I have seen them twice. At Goose Lake, and at Notre Dame in 1971. I came to the conclusion they are the most overrated band in history. I have seen nothing since to make me change my mind. The Goose Lake lineup:
Friday: John Drake's Shakedown, Mighty Quick, SRC, The New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, John Sebastian, Chicago, Small Faces w/Rod Stewert, Ten Years After.
Saturday: New World Symphony, Brownsville Station, The Litter, Teegarden and Van Winkle, The Flying Burrito Bros. (probably the best act of the weekend), The Stooges (musta sucked, I don't remember them being there), Third Power, Mountain
Sunday: Suite Charity, Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger System (did a kick ass version of Heavy Music), Frost, The Flock, Savage Grace, James Gang, Jethro Tull. What a great way to end a festival! Ian Anderson and Tull just rocked!
The other festival I attended (besides the one already discussed at DBD's), was the first annual Detroit Rock and Roll Revival at the State Fairgrounds in Detroit. Great lineup. All the big local bands (except Seger and Mitch Ryder), plus Sun Ra, Dr. John, Chuck Berry, Johnny Winter, and James Gang! Would have been a fabulous two days had the sound been better. Always a problem at the fairgrounds.
Of course, music wasn't the only great thing about growing up in southeast Michigan. The township I grew up in had 400 lakes. Virtually every subdivision had it's own beach. Then there was Belle Isle. The island park in the middle of the Detroit River. Two Yacht clubs, a childrens zoo, 9 hole golf course, canoe rental, riding stable, aquarium, and Great Lakes Maritime Museum. A great place to watch the Gold Cup Unlimited Hydroplane race. Or watch the micro miniskirted secretaries from the downtown offices who would go to Belle Isle to eat their sack lunches. Makes my heart beat faster just thinking about them!
Then there was Bob-lo, the island amusement park you took a 30 min cruise to get to!
Not to mention drag racin' my souped up 1966 GMC pickup (with a 6 pack on a 352 ci big block V-6 and Corvette tranny and rear axle) on Woodward Ave. on a Saturday night.
And, of course, Kaline, McLean, roly poly Mickey Lolich, and the 68 Tigers!
Okay, so it does suck (just a bit) to be you!
MUSCIC TRIVIA : On Rolling Stones Top 100 Guitarists list, three bands had two guitarists who played together on the list. Name the bands and the musicians. (answer on next post). Hint: Yardbirds don't count. Clapton and Page both played for them, but not at the same time.
AL GORE WOULD PROBABLY BE PRESIDENT! After all, we all know what horrible liars fishermen are. You know they can't be trusted. Well, it turns out that even El Presidente's biggest accomplishment in office is a huge lie.
I was browsing our friend Shaw's site and saw where George W. Bush said his greatest accomplishment since taking office was catching a 7lb perch in a pond on his ranch. Think, for just a moment, what a sad, pathetic statement that is. In 5 and 1/2 years as leader of the richest, most powerful nation on the planet, his greatest accomplishment is catching a big fish. But it gets worse.
Living in as close a proximity to Lake Michigan as I do, and having previously lived very near lakes St. Clair, Erie and Huron, I have done more than a bit of perch fishing in my day. Even on Lake Michigan, a 2 lb perch is a whopper! And perch are cold water fish, they tend not to thrive in southern heat.
So I did a bit of research. The world record White Perch is 4lbs 12 oz, caught in a Maine Lake in 1949. The world record Yellow Perch is 4lb 3 oz, taken out of Cross Wickes Creek in New Jersey in 1865. Now Dubya would have you believe that in a SOUTHERN pond, he caught a perch that is 50% bigger than any perch caught in the last 140 years! Funny, no photos. Nothing on the Texas DNR site about a new world record. Typical fisherman, he can't even tell the truth about his greatest accomplishment, as pathetic as it was.
How horrifying it would be if someone asked my granddaughter what my greatest accomplishment was, and she said, "well, we used to think that it was the big fish he caught, but that turned out to be a lie too!
Presidents come and presidents go
They rise like smoke they fall like snow
Do you believe the things you say
Your lofty thoughts are filled with hay
What is this faith that you profess
That led to this colossal mess
When you awaken from this coma
You'll find you were in Oklahoma
When you crawl out of this self delusion
You're going to need a soul transfusion
This version of the world will not be here long
It is already gone It is already gone
This version of the world will not be here long
It is already gone It is already gone."
from T-Bone Burnett's song PALESTINE TEXAS
Friday, May 19, 2006
Seger, Cobo Arena, Detroit, 1972, and Hall Of Fame, 2004
His first album since 1995's IT'S A MYSTERY and the first tour since he sold over a million seats in 1996! The new album FACE THE PROMISE is said to contain 11 new original songs, plus a killer cover of Vince Gill's Real Mean Bottle with Kid Rock. EMI has pushed back the release date at least 6 times, mostly because Seger is such a production perfectionist. But the Flint Journal reports that Seger's manager is booking a 21 city tour starting Sept. 16, so the Sept. 12 release date should be set in stone this time!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
THE THREE REASONS THE NSA PHONE DATABASE SHOULD SCARE YOU SHITLESS
J. Edgar Hoover
I took a bit of an informal and very unscientific poll yesterday. It seems that virtually everybody at work who is over the age of 50 is aghast at the NSA phone call monitoring program. However, a large majority of those under 50 either approved or didn't care. I had to think for a minute why the big difference pre and post 50. Then it dawned on me. Age 50 is about the cut off age between those who remember Richard Nixon, and those who don't.
Early in his presidency, Richard Nixon approached FBI director J. Edgar Hoover with a scheme to set up surveillance on his political adversaries and Viet Nam war opponents. Hoover (who we later learned had a long history of tapping the phones of politicians and civil rights leaders and using the information to discredit or blackmail them), refused to go along unless the Attorney General signed off on the program. Not because he objected, but because he wanted cover in case the program was found out. Not only did AG John Mitchell give the program the green light on the basis of national security, but became intimately involved in the program. As a result, the FBI and NSA tapped and monitored the phones of over 1700 political groups (mostly groups whose only crime was to be active in the civil rights or anti war movements) and their members. The information gleaned was used in a number of ways.
The FBI would raid and disrupt meetings. They would plant "agitators" at rallies and bring in opposing groups, hoping that the violence fomented would reflect badly on the protesters. Busting protest leaders on minor drug offenses became a staple in the justice department's attempts to decapitate protest groups.
Then came Watergate. In the ensuing investigation, the activities of Nixon, Mitchell, and Hoover were brought to light, and the FBI, NSA, and CIA were placed under much greater congressional scrutiny. But after 9/11 and the "war on terror," much of this scrutiny was relaxed, and intelligence agencies given the benefit of the doubt.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that George W. Bush is somehow less nefarious and paranoid than Nixon. I would argue the facts point to just the contrary. And even Nixon never declared that only he had the power to decide which laws he had to follow and which he didn't.
A Justice Dept. probe of the NSA monitoring program has been thwarted on national security grounds. Congress should demand the administration immediately grant full access to Justice. And if Bush refuses, he should be impeached.
Those of us who lived through Nixon remember life under a rogue president. We wish not to have to live through the excesses of another. Thus our repulsion at the NSA story. Incidentally, public attitudes on this story have turned, withover 51% now disapproving of the program.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
NEWSWEEK: Evidence puts Cheney at heart of Plame probe
Prosecutor files evidence directly linking VP to Plame outing. No wonder Dick looks so angry!
Al Gore on Saturday Night Live! In case you missed it, he was hilarious! Thanks to Julie for the heads up!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
1984 HAS FINALLY ARRIVED
I can't begin to tell you how much it angers me what craven, fucking cowards Americans have become. We have become so cowed by a few religious radicals we are willing to turn our backs on the Constitution, and the rights our parents, grandparents, and ancestors fought so hard to preserve for us. Give me liberty or give me death? HELL NO! Give me a life under the thumb of a few religious radicals instead! Better to live a slave to our fears rather than bravely fight to maintain our freedom.
I can't fathom the fact the 63% of Americans approve of this program (even while they disapprove of Bush's lack of forthrightness over the whole issue). Perhaps they believe it is a program run by a benevolent administration just trying to protect them from the terrorist threat. But if Mom and Pop America were paying any attention at all, they would realize this is an administration whose hallmark is flaunting, breaking, and disregarding any law that inconveniences them. The law forbids torture? No problem. The Decider just decides he doesn't have to obey that law. The law requires a warrant for eaves dropping on Americans? No problem. The decider decides that law doesn't apply to his administration. Why? Because The Decider says it doesn't!
I guarantee that with this administration, it is only a matter of time before they start mining this data base in search of political advantage. As a means of attempting to intimidate political opponents. As a means of stifling criticism. As a means to cow you into stifling your speech. For fear of Big Bro.. er.. The Decider. Quite frankly, Bush is beginning to make Nixon look like a saint.
And as bad as this all appears, there is plenty of reason to believe it is actually worse. Check out this story and this one!
Is anyone having as much trouble keeping track of all the scandals, guilty pleas, and indictments as I am? The Abramhoff scandal, the Cunningham scandal, Hookergate, and Plamegate? Did you EVER think things would come to the point the FBI would be raiding CIA offices? WTF?????? This country is not going to hell in a handbasket, it is going to hell in a runaway freight train! Josh Marshall at TPM is doing a great job keeping track of the whole Cunningham to Wilkes to hookers to Basset to Foggo to Goss connection. Hookers, sweetheart contracts, bribes, etc. I found this story particularly revealing. I know I keep plugging Marshall's site, but it is such a wealth of information, I can't help it!
The playoffs are the time when baseball and hockey prove their superiority over football and basketball. Unlike the incredibly predictable NFL and NBA playoffs, baseball and hockey always provide surprises galore come playoff time. Cinderella teams. Players who toil in obscurity for years suddenly emerge as the unlikeliest of heroes. Second stringers suddenly thrust into the spotlight to shine brightly. The rookie who puts his team on his back and carries them deep into the playoffs.
This year's Stanley Cup Playoffs have had as many surprises as I can ever remember. The top four teams in the West lose to the 5, 6, 7, and 8 seeds. The top seed in the east down 3 games to 1 in the semi finals. And the players who have come out of nowhere to lead their teams:
Ilya Brzgalov - Anaheim rookie takes over starting goaltending job from JS Giguerre, and leads Mighty Ducks to playoff victory over defending conference champion Calgary. Proves it's not a fluke by absolutely stoning Colorado as Ducks sweep the Avs.
Cam Ward - Carolina Hurricane was down 2 games to 0 to Montreal when rookie Ward replaced Martin Gerber in nets for the 'Canes. They haven't lost since, as Carolina took next four against Les Habitants, and first three games against the Devils.
Dwayne Roloson - loses starting job in Minnesota to Manny Fernandez, gets traded to Edmonton, and promptly stones the leagues best team, the Detroit Red Wings. Has his team tied with San Jose in the semis.
Joffrey Lupul - Mighty Ducks rookie left wing scores all 4 of his teams goals, including OT winner, in victory over Colorado.
Daniel Briere - Sabre's center has toiled in relative obscurity for five years on poor teams in Phoenix and Buffalo. But now the Sabres are about to knock off the East's best team, Ottawa, and Briere is a big part of the reason. If the vote for playoff MVP took place right now, it would have to be between he and Bryzgalov.
Finally, Crooks and Liars has three must view clips for you. Check out Keith Oberman's "Worst Person In The World" (hint: Michelle Malkin came in second). Jon Stewart on Bush's CIA appointments. Plus, Jackson Browne's new song and video. See it all HERE
Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Pita Bread and Jamaican Banana-Rum Bread
Saturday, May 06, 2006
LET'S IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT (and other catchy tunes)
Neil Young has a new album coming out Tuesday, titled LIVING WITH WAR. It is getting rave reviews. The song you are going to be hearing a lot of on the radio is little ditty titled Let's Impeach The President. Fox News is calling it the "catchiest" protest song since Country Joe and the Fish's 1966 classic I'M FIXIN TO DIE RAG. The lyrics to the song are:
Let’s impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door
He’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war
Let’s impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones
What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?
Let’s impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected
Thank god he’s cracking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean
My daughter has suddenly become something of a crusader. She has been making her views on global warming known in no uncertain terms, and castigating her relatives and coworkers for their indifference. She is also not bashful about pointing out your stupidity if you happen to mention you don't believe in global warming. Her cousin became the subject of her ire yesterday, much to the delight of her coworkers, as it focused her wrath on someone besides them.
It started a few weeks ago, when she heard a story about how global warming is affecting songbird populations. Then a story about drowning polar bears. The kicker came when she saw the trailer for AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.
I fear she has been hanging out with her father TOO much. One of her friends told her the other day "you're SUCH a hippie." Like that was a bad thing. Anyhow, I'm proud she has taken an interest in the larger world and politics. She doesn't suffer from her generations biggest disease, indifference.
If you are not checking in on Josh Marshall's TALKING POINTS MEMO at least a couple of times a day, you just aren't keeping up!
For example: How is it that the limosine company in the center of "Hookergate" managed to get a $25 million contract with the Dept. of Homeland Security, in spite of a long record of bad service, bankruptcy, revoked transport licenses, and numerous run ins with the law? Read the story HERE.
Also: The #3 man at the CIA, the official responsible for procurement, is under federal investigation as a part of the Wilkes-Cunningham bribary scandal and may soon be indicted. Story HERE.
And finally: AP: "Prosecutors have e-mails showing Rep. Tom DeLay's office knew lobbyist Jack Abramoff had arranged the financing for the GOP leader's controversial European golfing trip in 2000 and was concerned 'if someone starts asking questions.'"
-- Josh Marshall
These are just a couple hours worth of posts from Saturday. Marshall and Co. keep on top of the news better than anyone in either the MSM or the blogosphere. Guys and gals, TPM really is a must read daily!
Friday, May 05, 2006
FUGGEDABOUD HILLARY OR BARACK, THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. IS....
For a guy who isn't running, he certainly gives the appearance of someone who is. Gone are the scruffy professorial beard and work shirt. Ditto the Washington insider image makers. Refreshingly, it's Al being Al. Relaxed, funny, on point.
He has turned his slide lectures on global warming into a documentary film that is getting high critical praise. Titled AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, it opens in theatres at the end of this month. The film received three standing ovations at Sundance, and the reviews have been universally favorable.
Gore has recently dropped the kid gloves and has been taking the President to task on both the war and energy issues.
None of this is really news, I said he would be the Democratic nominee months ago. But the MSM is starting to pick up on it. Clarence Page had an excellent column in the TRIBUNE Wednesday on Gore. Definitely worth reading!
John Kenneth Galbraith died last week at the age of 97. The Harvard economist was highly influential in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was the inspiration behind Johnson's "Great Society"
Fifty years ago his book, THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY, argued that we were in danger of producing "private wealth and public squalor." As the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette ruefully noted , "Galbraith lived to see the U.S. he feared".
University of Colorado law professor and Rocky Mountain News columnist Paul Compos has an excellent column this week on Galbraith and his warnings come true. Read it HERE
On the other blogs:
THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Jamaican Banana Cake w/ Rum Glaze
Riverquest 2006: Day 2, THE ORDEAL
Thought of the day: If cow flatulence is such a contributor to ozone depletion, why don't we make it mandatory that all cattle be fed Beano with their hay?
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
STAR SPANGLED RANT!
So what are our reflections talking about? Whether the Star Spangled Banner should be sung in Spanish or not. Let me be as clear on this as I can possibly be..... WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK?
Why would it be unpatriotic to sing it in Spanish? How about those US citizens in Puerto Rico for whom Spanish is the first language. Pretty sure they've been singing it in Spanish for the better part of a century. Are they suddenly lacking in patriotism? Do the words suddenly take on different meaning when translated to Spanish? Is freedom of speech only applicable to speech spoken or sung in English? So it's okay for me to say "fuck you" on my website, but not "carajo tu"?
This subject is such a complete waste of time, so ridiculous, so STUPID! But there was the Idiot-In-Chief, weighing in with his opinion that the national anthem should only be sung in English, and if these immigrants truly loved America, they'd learn to speak English. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, if the president of the United States was a real patriot, HE'D learn to speak English! 'Cause I have heard him speak, and none of the stuff that comes out of his mouth sounds like any English I know. Nukuler war indeed.
I was watching the Carolina/Montreal game the other night. The inhabitants of Montreal were singing the Canadian national anthem in *gasp* FRENCH! Yet, I saw no offended politicians on the CBC the next day wringing their hands about the defiling of "Oh, Canada". Even Don Cherry didn't seem offended! Hmmm...
Seems our politicians will grasp at anything to avoid doing the real work of the people. Perhaps a few heads strategically place in the guillotine would motivate them!
Speaking of things that piss me off, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE RED WINGS? How do you blow a 2-0 lead after two periods? A 3-2 lead with less than 4 minutes left? Actually I know the answers to all these. Just too pissed off to talk about it. Suffice it to say, Nick Lidstrom should refuse the Norris Trophy when they give it to him. And Manny Legace should start packing his bags now, because he definitely will not be the Wings goaltender next year.
Actually, after four straight playoff flops, I am hoping they blow up this team, bring up the kids who have been waiting for their chance, and rebuild.
Now cooking at The Church Potluck: MARK'S BEST BEEF JERKY