On This Date: Michael Hutchence died

Michael Hutchence

It was on this date in 1997 Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS died in a Sydney hotel room.  I’m assuming everyone knows the lurid story behind it all.  It seems like such a waste.  Creativity and crazy seem to go hand in hand, that fine line between lucidness and madness.

When it happened , it was one of those “I remember where I was when I heard the news” moments for me.  I was house/dog sitting, had just walked in to check on the dog and flicked on the radio.  That’s where I used to get a lot of my music news, back in those days, radio.  No Twitter or Facebook.  Just dial up AOL.

I remember being very sad.  INXS was a big favorite of mine, and I never got to see them live.  Plus let’s face it, he was hot.

I thought it was in poor taste when the rest of the band signed on to do the  2005 television show “Rock Star” to search for a new singer.  My two cents-change the name of your band out of respect.  Talking to you too Journey.  ((Stepping off soap box now))

There’s rumors of a movie coming out based on a bio written by his mother and sister, but so far no release date has been set.

INXS “Shine Like it Does” Melbourne 1985

Elton John Biopic in the works

 

The idea of an Elton John biopic has been around for a while now, but it sounds like the stars are aligning and casting will get started soon.

That’s probably one of the hardest tasks in making a movie about Sir Elton, who is worthy to play the artist?

According to Under The Gun Review, the film, currently titled ‘Rocketman”, is being developed right now by director Michael Gracey and executive producer Elton John.

The work is being described as “a biographical musical fantasy that weaves together the life of Sir Elton John and his music. “

A front runner in the casting is a relatively unknown Tom Hardy, who played Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises”.

Good Bar Scene With Elton Sequence

 

Dave Grohl pops up everywhere!

Imagine you are checking out your local cover band, ready to kick back and enjoy some familiar tunes and Dave Grohl pops onstage!

Dave Grohl, performed a version of Queen and David Bowie‘s ‘Under Pressure’ with the celebrated California cover band Chevy Metal.

Their performance was part of a celebration for the California city of Costa Mesa’s 60th anniversary. According to UltimateClassicRock.com, Chevy Metal played covers of Van Halen’s ‘Panama,’ the Rolling Stones’ ‘Miss You,’ the Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ and the Vapors’ ‘Turning Japanese’

With death comes life

A great old friend of mine, (and by old, I mean I’ve known her a long time)  e-mailed me  the news that Gerry Rafferty died.

And though perhaps he’s not a household name as much anymore,  it got me thinking, about life and death and how it’s all too short.r.

Gerry Rafferty was a musician back in the olden days of albums, 45’s and AM radio that played music.

The single “Baker Street” was one of the first 45’s this little girl had. And I listened to it over and over again.

I was looking for my copy of the 45, to post a picture of it, but it is either somewhere else, or I pitched it during an “I’m so cool and punk” phase, in which I threw out a bunch of stuff I shouldn’t have.

It turns out, “Baker Street” isn’t as square as I thought it was. MTV says “Baker Street” “features one of the most legendary saxophone solos in music history and has since been covered by everyone from Waylon Jennings to the Foo Fighters.”

 

R.I.P Mr. Rafferty

 

Monday music-what songs take you back?

Everyone has ‘em…whether you’re into music big time or only a causal listener. The Songs That Take You Back. You know what I mean, the tunes that transport you to “back in the day”, suddenly remind you of a past place in such a vivid way that if you close your eyes and turn up the volume, you’re almost there.

The first dance in junior high, the first album you bought, the first band you saw in concert, the first kiss, The one song you played over and over again until someone in your household told you to knock it off.

We all have ‘em, and we forget. I have songs that remind me of my elementary days, my high school days, my radio days, when I lived in Ohio, when I lived in New Jersey, etc etc. Half the time, I forget they’re around, as they lie dormant in the back of my full of useless information head.

The other day I actually found myself driving and horror of horrors in a bit of traffic jam. I did what people do when stuck in a non-moving vehicle…fiddle with the radio. And lo and behold, I forgot for a moment I was stuck in Seattle somewhere, and instead was transformed to the Bonaventure Rolling Rink, full of popcorn, frozen cherry coke and dreams while jammin’ with my friends. All while on roller skates.

The song? “ Best of My Love” by The Emotions. I had the 45 and as I cranked the volume way past 11, I could see the Columbia label in my head. I did a little seat dance, (arms and head only, as I was still in a car), sang the lyrics as loud as I could and as the traffic began to move, hardly noticed people were looking at me like I was crazy.

What song takes you back?

 

 

Hughes, Hughes, Anyone…John Hughes?

I was tired of being “Home Alone”, so I decided to take a “Vacation”. I stopped at the “Breakfast Club” first which was so “Pretty in Pink” with “Sixteen Candles” at the counter. I ran into to “Ferris Beuller” who was acting all “Mr. Mom” when he told me “Curly Sue”…“She’s Having a Baby”, which seemed like a bit of “Weird Science” but I extended my congratulations as “ Uncle Buck” walked by and told me I’d have to take “Train, Planes and Automobiles” to get to my destination, which really made me feel “Some Kind of Wonderful.”


John Hughes, Director, Writer, Producer and by all accounts all around good guy left us yesterday. His movies were the background to my generation and his passing has made me ponder my mortally a little bit, and the fact that I’m getting older a lot. It’s been a heck of a summer for our icon’s.

John Hughes made the movies that made me feel good at the end, no matter how implausible.

John Candy, Molly Ringwald, Michael Keaton, and The Red Wing Shirt wearing guy from “Ferris Beuller”…All favorite actors portraying great characters that have never left my subconscious.

Speaking of the jersey guy…I just read that John Hughes was born in a Detroit suburb…duh…I could never figure out why a Chicago boy would be sportin’ a Wing’s shirt.

My university lumped together Radio, TV and Film as “Telecommunications” so I have a bit of a film major. I studied a huge variety of “films” and “cinema” (those words sound fancier than “movie” don’t they?) I viewed the very first films in America like “Birth of a Nation” and Russian and French flicks, and through it all I learned to develop an appreciation of “film as art.”

I wrote a term paper on the “Auteur Theory” ( A paper created on a typewriter, and no copy exists which bums me out)

The “Auteur Theory” in a nutshell is this: It means “author” in French and is generally associated with the French new wave. Essentially it means that films created by a director all contain his/her ideas and visions, like a personal stamp. I had stated, that directors like John Ford, Billy Wilder, Hitchcock, etc etc were true auteur’s despite the fact that they weren’t French. There’s a certain essence to certain directors’ movies that resonate throughout all of them. It’s a “Stephen Spielberg” movie, it’s a “Michael Mann” etc etc. You get the picture.

I won’t go into it much more than that, but to say that in retrospect, John Hughes is a true auteur as well.

I’m sure many scoff at that notion. He’s never been recognized by the Academy, yet he put his mark on a slew of movies that have never been erased from the collective hearts of those of us, for better or for worse, grew up in that much maligned 80’s era.

Sure, some of his movies and characters are far-fetched and improbable, and sometimes very “cheese on cheese” (The end of Sixteen Candles…,the sister and principle character in “Ferris Bueller” etc etc.) But I personally LOVE cheese and John Hughes’ movies are slices of hope, happiness and entertainment all wrapped up in a sassy bow for enjoyment over and over again.

The music, the dancing, the sappy moments. They take you away for a minute, if only a minute. Because at the end of the day, isn’t escapism why we watch a movie anyways?

 

 

Panic in Detroit Rock City

Today, I was sent a link to probably one of the best articles I have ever read about Detroit. It’s an article in Sports Illustrated written by Mitch Albom. Yes, it’s a little long and schmaltzy…but any Detroiter, former Detroiter or anyone who wonders what the heck it’s like to live in the Detroit area should read it. It certainly has made me ponder. It’s nice to know there are others who feel like I do.

It’s hard to be a Detroiter. I guess I’m a former Detroiter since I don’t live there anymore, but I think it’s kinda like being a recovering Catholic. It will always be in you; no matter how hard you distance your self or try to deny it, it will always be a part of your makeup.

Detroit and its suburbs will always be “home”…in that Hallmark “home is where the heart is place.” I was born there, grew up there, spent my best years in radio there. My family and some great friends are still scattered about all over area. Detroit’s a giant metro region that is very spread out. It can take you an hour or more to drive from the east side to the west side. There’s no such thing as public transportation, something I knew nothing about until I moved to the NYC area. And either you get it or you don’t. I suppose it helps when you’ve spent a long time there.

And you can love it or hate it. I know a lot of people that left and never looked back. I know alot of people who want to leave but can’t. I left 10 years ago and more or less always check behind me. Sometimes I’m embarrassed and frustrated to admit I’m from there and every once in awhile I want everyone I know to just leave already. But most of the time I keep up on what’s going on. I still root for the sports teams, although I really don’t like to own up to the Lions anymore. I love Vernor’s ginger ale (which you can buy in Seattle ironically) and crave Coney Islands, (hot dog’s with chili), Olga’s (sort of a gyro) and Sander’s cream puff hot fudge sundaes (self explanatory ☺). Yes we are a fat bunch, ha ha. But Michigan summers truly are legendary.

Back in town over the New Year holiday, I got used to having to drive everywhere again. The roads are generally a joy to drive on, and they keep ‘em cleared for the most part in the winter. Yes, there are potholes and what not, but you can drive 70 MPH in most places on the freeway!

And despite it all, people are still nice and friendly; as if all they have left to give is a smile and a kind word and they’re gonna flaunt it.It’s funny, because sometimes I tell people I’m from Detroit and they think I’m all tough. But if I say I’m from Michigan they just shrug a bit. It certainly is a sad little city, and the butt of so many jokes as Mitch said in his article.

it’s the place that built my backbone; my foundation my spirit, and I’m realizing you can take the girl out of Detroit, but man that Motown is still flowin’!

“Sooner or later, your legs give way, you hit the ground”


One of my favorite albums of all time is Special Beat Service by the English Beat. I bought it, along with many other fabulous records at Harmony House in Downtown Farmington-the wondrous local music store where I spent many a magical day, and much of my babysitting money on the splendors of recorded music on vinyl.

In my senior year, I would listen to that album over and over …the skip on my copy of the record in the beginning of “I Confess” would prove to be just part of the song to me.

When I heard the CD version years later, I could still “hear” the scratch, chuckling at the memory.

So I was very excited when I found out the English Beat was going to do a show at the Showbox Theater in Seattle. The Showbox is a charming joint, just grimy enough to give it a little character. A few months ago I was fortunate enough to catch Squeeze at the same venue. Squeeze is definitely another of my top fave bands, and although Chris and Glenn or getting old, they still put on a heck of a gig. (See pic at left)

Yes, a pattern is emerging, old 80’s bands, and albums. I’m getting a little ***gasp*** mature.

It’s ironic that I spent half my life immersed in new music, keeping up with all that is hip and hot, but for the last few years, I am less and less into it. I try to stay current, but glancing at a recent top 10 songs list I’m familiar with less than half of the artists. It makes me feel a bit out of touch. But these days, I am extremly comforted by all that is musically aged.

I don’t really know how it started, but I became a big BIG U.K music fan. I would anxiously await “Rock Over London” which came on after “The King Biscuit Flower hour” on 89X a Canadian station in Windsor. Or there was the “Dangerous Exposure” show on WABX Detroit, hosted by the Mike Haloran, who started the best alternative station in it’s day; XTRA in San Diego.

I loved all things musically British so much, I used to dream of moving to London and becoming a DJ there. I had heard they ironically liked American accents as much as I was enchanted by English accents.

So it’s comforting when an old school band comes around. To me sometimes, the 80’s happened just a few years ago. It’s when I go to a show and get a good look at the rest of the audience….
I realize that I’ve become an old fart.

The crowd overall was pushing 50. And Dave Wakeling, the only surviving original member is not aging well. ( see pic below) Despite not coming on until the late hour of 10PM…☺ they played a strong energetic show. I was exhausted when I got home at 12:30, clutching my requisite concert t-shirt and a bit sad because the one song they didn’t play was “I Confess”

I wanted to see if I would still “hear” the scratch in the live version. I’ll have to “Save it for Later”