Monday, August 11, 2014

Losing Peter Pan

Today, Robin Williams decided to end his life at the age of 63.  I found this out in the way you never really want to find this out, your Mother calls you on the phone, sobbing her eyes out, and then you follow instantly in concert.  I am absolutely devastated, as is the world, of this there can be no doubt. Find me someone who doesn't love Robin Williams, and I'll show you a man who doesn't love to live, and doesn't know how to laugh til you cry, or cry til you laugh.  Few could achieve such cosmic polarity, such energy and such conviction and be great.  Few men, had so much soul. Today's wretched world truly needed men like Robin, or rather eternally puckish boy/men. Robin was one of the great artists of our time.  As a comedian, he broke boundaries and elevated the art form.  As an actor, he constantly refused to be pegged, and showed more range than most will ever be able to fathom. Adorable Alien, Communist Defector, Son of a Pure Eccentric constantly in the line of fire, Snarky Shrink in the back of a grocery store, wise and paternal professor/advisor, not once-but twice, clown repetitively, a genie, a cross dressing Nanny and even most aptly, Peter Pan.

Robin had the eternal twinkle in his eyes.  Those eyes, distracted from an epicenter of pain, most knew about, but sadly, apparently no one, not any of us, could comprehend.

Add to this impressive array of personae he gave us like gifts, when it came to stand up, Robin could make nothing, into anything.  He could improvise off of any situation.  He could take an inanimate object, as witnessed in Olympian form on Inside The Actor's Studio, and do a solid hour with it, using the prop as a flexible Ginger Rogers to his always elegant Fred Astaire.  His energy was boundless, and this was even when he was sober, which...we all know, was a lifelong battle for him. He was the epitome, of Comic Relief.  I'll never hear the song Fire, or the voice of Elmer Fudd again, quite the same way.

Every now and again, I like to pull out, Robin Williams Live At The Met out for shits and giggles because when it came out in 1986 I thought it was arguably one of the funniest nights of comedy of all time, and though it hasn't aged as well as say Bill Cosby Himself, it's still a man, ruling the world, holding it in the palm of his hand and being so funny it's painful.  It's like watching the greatest in their prime, in their moment.  To think, with all the good fights he'd fought and won, that this live wire, would be leaving the planet of his own volition, makes me weep.

Robin, you were there for me when I needed instant laughs on days that were the worst.  You were one of my all time favorites, and you leave behind a great glorious legacy.  I'll never forget you, and I'll miss you for the rest of my days on Earth.  Rest In Pan.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement..But I Have To....

Hello.  Yes I never remember that I have a blog, I won't beleaguer anyone with the details of my inability to remember this, but today...I felt compelled to resurrect it.  Tommy Ramone, the last original member of The Ramones, is gone.  All of them, are now Monkey's Gone To Heaven, as the Pixies aptly sang, and seeing as how they were pretty into The Ramones, yes it's fucking relevant.

None of The Ramones lived to 65.  All of them died young, died fast, and died hard, like their music, 1,2,3,4...GONE, to the Rock and Roll High School in the sky (if you believe in that sort of thing).  As a fan, it would have been enough to have just enjoyed the amazing music, the energy-the veritable culture the 4 degenerates from Forest Hills provided, but I was more fortunate, my time slinging music in Downtown NYC providing a pathway to them directly.  More on that in a bit.

I, am from Queens NY, and to say this with pride, is a recent phenomenon.  It's only really become a badge of pride in the NOW.  My entire family having been born and raised in the 5 boroughs, most notably Brooklyn and Queens, were always very keen on anything that came from the hood, my Mom would trumpet with pride that Simon and Garfunkel were from Queens, that Jack Kerouac (she knew I loved him), lived in Ozone Park, as well as Louis Armstrong and Illinois Jacquet.  That said, until Run DMC, Kool G Rap, Nas, and Tribe Called Quest and hip hop culture changed Queen's perceptions, there really wasn't a whole lot of coolness about Queens.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Simon and Garfunkel, but it didn't have the razzle dazzle factor.

Until....The Ramones.

The first time I heard The Ramones, I was no longer living with grandpa in Queens.  I was living on Long Island in hell.  I hated everyone.  I hated my new neighborhood, I hated my new school, I hated everyone that involved me in the move.  I was also completely and utterly addicted, to music television programs.  The story of my entire life, is a common woe, that of being way too young to enjoy anything happening in your times.  I was too young to go to CBGB's (though a toddler siting there would have probably delighted the denizens), too young to go dance at Mudd Club.  Too young to wear platform shoes, or go to see my favorite band of all time, Led Zeppelin. Too young to score the requisite narcotics to dull my pain, so Soul Train, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and Midnight Special (both of which I was far too young to stay up for, but I was an expert negotiator), and even stupid dancing shows like Dance Fever, quelled my agony.  Watching those shows, I saw my future, I could escape into the wonder of being a rock star, a soul star, a dance star, anything but living in miserable Eastern LI.  I was also, partial to Sha Na Na's television program and it was HERE, introduced by John "Bowser" Bowman, that I saw....the four biker jacket clad saviors. The song?  Rock and Roll High School.  What more?  There was a MOVIE of the same name starring them.  After 30 seconds, seeing this movie, became my quest.  First however, there would be the task of getting every single album of theirs, I could find.

Thank heavens for Sam Goody.

I bought the debut and Rocket to Russia, as well as the Rock and Roll High School Soundtrack, because my new solitary mission, would be, to get someone, ANYONE to take me to see Rock and Roll High School.  I took my new records down to the basement, where I had a record player and it was the only place where I'd be left alone with my music.  Blitzkrieg Bop began it's rallying cry of "Hey Ho Let's Go," and I was gone.  GONE.  In love.  I should probably insert here, that I was not a normal child, I was a lonely child, didn't really fit it, blah blah blah, but music found me at age 6, got it's grip on me and wouldn't let go.  I should also make clear that punk rock, meant nothing to me at this point, my love for The Ramones were the same as my love for all the bands I worshipped at that time.  For me?  They were just another amazing band, and of course, they were stars, which is all I ever wanted to be. It wasn't until years later that I was informed, of course, that having an equal love of punk rock and prog rock wasn't...normal, and that the two spheres were in fact at war with each other, that in fact The Ramones were here to decimate bands I loved like Pink Floyd or.....Yes.  I was dumbfounded.  What if you love both?  What if both bands, what if punk and classic rock, jazz, blues, opera, what if it all means equally the same thing to you?  What if you choose not to choose sides?  What if you just want your punk and your polkas, in the same....realm?

My love of punk rock music blossomed of course, including other amazing bands, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Dead Boys, Dead Kennedy's, etc...but no one ever gave me that tingle like The Ramones.  The Ramones provided everything that was exciting about Rock and Roll, that part of you that wants to lick your finger and stick it into an electric socket, the same way I would feel listening to The Who, but even more base, even more depraved.  I went to see them a few times over the years live, always with a changing lineup, but the magic never diminished for me.  Those songs were bulletproof and a living testimony to the fact that all of the technical skill in the world, can not and will not, replace the skill of songwriting, and they had songs in ABUNDANCE.  One of my High School boyfriends was a hyperbolic Ramones fan, and it might have our only real line of communication, other than smoking dope and fucking.

Many many years later as a "working" (if you could call it that) idiot in Downtown NYC which makes Williamsburg look like the biggest stupid almost-ran in the game (call me old and crusty, I really don't fucking care), I had a chance to meet Joey Ramone, nee Jeffrey Hyman.  You'd never have met such a sweet soul, books and interviews can't really detail how sincere he was.  His love of The Beatles and Dylan was as pure when I met him in 1997, as it was when HE was a teen.  We spoke of music, and hugged.  The next time I saw Joey, it was late 2000, 7AM, I was staggering home from a party on Broadway and he was walking home too.  Our paths crossed, thankfully he remembered me and I said "hey man, you're up early!."  He looked uncomfortable.  I did not know him intimately enough to know he'd been struggling with Lymphoma.  He shrugged his oversized skinny shoulders and said " know NYC is often really the best when everyone is just waking up."  I gave him a hug.  It was the last time I'd see him.  Dee Dee, who I never met OD'd.  Johnny, who I also never met, died of cancer in 2004.  Today, Tommy takes his entire "happy family" back to the rock.  I can't believe in God.  No God, would take all of The Ramones away from the world.

So today, my heart is heavy and there are a lot of people whose hearts I am sure are even heavier than mine.  I want to personally thank Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy and even Marky, who I would imagine has to be the loneliest person in the world today.  Go put on a Ramones song.  Go dance.  Go celebrate their lives.  They worked harder than just about ANYONE, to give all the energy to the people.  Today, transfer some of that good energy to someone you know.  RIP.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Favorite 20 Things of 2011

Well hello there. I have to keep remembering I have a blog, which is BAD. Bad Bad Wicked Zoot!!!!

But seeing as how ERRRRRRRRYBODY is doing their best of 2011 lists.....I figured.....well....MIGHT AS WELL DO IT TOO!!

Here it favorite things in 2011

1. The Muppets. Sat there in a theater full of kids my own age, laughing and crying simultaneously.

2. Adele is the tipping point. Adele's 21 album while not on anything resembling constant rotation in the house of Amy, proves that fodder never sustains, but real talent does.

3. The Lana Del Ray Frenzy. Is she a viable notable artist worth the hoopla? Is she a fraud created by the last vestiges of the Music Industry, who seemingly knew how to get hipster trendmonkeys to jump when they said jump? Who cares? Nothing better than a front row seat at "The Emperor Wears No Clothes..."

4. Peach Melba Shameless self promo of course, but my project with DFA's Juan MacLean was not only my real house breakthrough, but it proved to be a huge influence in a ton of music I'd start working on for 2012

5. Cee Lo- Now I've been a HUUUUUUGE fan of this man since Goodie Mob and since his first solo album Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, but I guess when people really can sing and have viable talent, it takes a little while for the fine people of the globe to notice (see Adele). This man not only wrote the greatest song of the last 10 years (Crazy, for the Gnarls Barkley project) but he followed up said song with another one of the greatest songs of the last 10 years with Fuck You, a pure Motown-esque number in the vein of The Four Tops "I Can't Help Myself" and "Same Old Song" I love Cee Lo. Give me Cee Lo Radio 24-7

6. Bruins win the Cup. Okay, I'm a Noo Yawkah, always have been, always will be, but I do live in Somerville, MA now, and I was a B's fan before I left. To see them bring home the Cup after some 30 years was a huge treat, and watching my husband weep with joy, was a sweet thing to watch.

7. Nicky Digital's CMJ event- It was a horrific day weather wise, the driving was stressful, my group SPF 5000 thought we'd die at least 10 times that day, we didn't eat, we didn't get a chance to rest, but when we hit the stage, half blind with exhaustion and shaking with hunger, WHO FUCKIN CARED? We rocked it, we got to meet awesome people, and we created a theme song for Nicky that will be released in 2012 with an awesome video!

8. SPF 5000 I do a LOT of things musically but my Boston based project SPF 5000 had a really fantastic debut year. Three releases, great collaborations, silly wonderful great makings for a great future, and that our city Boston embraced us so warmly made it all the better. From playing Cool Ranch with the notorious (and awesome) Bodega Girls, to playing the Together Festival, it was a great year to be SPF

9. The Femme MC Army- Not since the 80's and 90's have there been this many women MC's doing their thang from Nicki Minaj to V Nasty, Azealia Banks, Dominique Young Unique, Kreayshawn, etc.... the ladies are back, demanding respect and letting loose with a slew of choice words.

10. Florence Welch's Clothing- I really enjoy Florence and the Machine, and Ceremonials is a great album, but THAT WOMAN CAN DRESS!!!!!! I swear I keep up with what she does just to see what she wears, as much as I enjoy her music!

11. Kelly Osbourne Watching her rise from what could have been your average run of the mill "damanged offspring of a famous person" routine into a style icon, and witty personality has been very enjoyable. She steals the show on Fashion Police away from Joan a lot of the time and THAT is a feat!!!

12. Marc Jacob's S/S 2011 collection- It had to be too good to be true. An entire Marc Jacob's collection which hearkened back to the glory days of Studio 54. Colors were opulent, cuts were incredible, it will possibly go down as one of his greatest ever. Then just like that? Poof. Gone. Sigh.

13. Boehner finally Blinks- We call him John Boner around my house for good reason. But when he finally blinked with regard to extending the payroll tax cuts for the middle class, I stood up and cheered. Obama didn't cave, and maybe he'll actually grow a pair, considering that this time, he played a game of chicken and didn't pull first!

14. OWS- It's kind of a hot mess, disorganized, and leaderless, but that it still continues to grow as a movement and is the best shot we have for the first steps we can take to restore our nation and tip it toward becoming progressive, makes me very happy.

15. Marcus Dowling and anything he wrote- Marcus is a passionate and very savvy music journalist from the DC area, and when he started 32org a virtual manifesto about how EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE, I applauded his intense focus, bravery and unwillingness to follow the fold. Here is a man who will shame you out of your apathy and bad choices. BRAVO!

16. Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon- Fearful that this INTENSELY hard to find product would no longer resemble the Stitzel Weller Reserve product that bourbonheads adore, the new releases of pure Buffalo Trace Whisky prove to be JUST AS GOOD, but still hard to find. Good thing I snagged me two bottles!

17. NCLA NAILWRAPS- foils and slap on decals of already ready to rock nailpolish???? SOOOO THERE!!!!

18. Herman Cain's Fall- Talk about going out with a BANG! Very satisfying to watch a complete dickhead of epic proportions get his clock cleaned publicly

19. Nile Rodgers- My hero since I can even remember, this man fought Cancer bravely, with dignity, traced it's pathology on his blog, wrote his autobiography, and continues to fight and tour with Chic and continues to produce epic amazing music. I have always loved and admired Nile, I love him all the more now.

20. Gay Marriage is approved in NYC- Need I say MORE??????