Category Archives: david bowie

Art Bell, Again

Yes. Again. Seriously. I don’t believe it, but then again, yeah, I do. Because he’s done it before.

This past week legendary radio host Art Bell quit his radio show. Again. The current incarnation, “Dark Matter,” broadcast on satellite radio by Sirius XM, is over. Bell cited technical concerns, as well as a small audience. In other words, it was hard.

And it’s not like he hasn’t done it before either. He’s quit before, or left under mysterious, sometimes highly suspect, circumstances, with little advance warning, or concern for his audience – no matter how big or small. As a matter of fact, he may well be more remembered for his vanishing acts than his radio act when history is done with him. He quits so often, it’s almost an industry joke.

The way he has left, and the reasons he’s given, all indicate one thing. Art Bell was doing this show for himself – not his audience, his fans, his loyal listeners. This was about him, not us. We would have listened without guests, without callers, and without a clear signal. Surely I’m not the only one who listened years ago with crappy reception from an AM station two cities ago, am I? It was hard for him. Again. So he quit.

Yeah, I’m angry, but that doesn’t dispel the man’s talent as a broadcaster, talk radio host, and interviewer. I would rather listen to bad Art Bell reruns than the best George Noory interview on Coast to Coast AM. At least Art would study up on his guest, ask intelligent questions, and not nap during the interview.

But now, not only is Art gone, but Coast to Coast AM has left Sirius XM as well. I am forced to rethink my satellite radio subscription once again. I love Opie & Anthony and Radio Classics, EW Radio, and I’m digging the sadly temporary David Bowie station, but really the only time I have dependably to listen is late at night, the former realm of Art and Coast.

Art has left me high and dry once again. I should have seen it coming. I hope Sirius XM saw it coming, and wrote that contract appropriately. I hope the quitter pays. Thanks, Art, for six weeks at least.

The Robin Renee Blog Tour – Wrap-Up

Wrapping things up here on the Robin Renee Blog Tour, and I want to thank everyone involved. Special thanks goes out to all the folks who participated and helped with to tour, including, and not limited to, Shelley Szajner, Marie Gilbert, Becca Butcher, Patti O’Brien, Fran Metzman, Ray Cornwall, Andy Burns, the South Jersey Writers, the GAR! Podcast, Biff Bam Pop!, and especially to Robin Renee herself. You all rock, very hard! Thank you!

Here is a breakdown of the stops on the Blog Tour.

Robin Renee is interviewed by Shelley Szajner here about inspiration, Kirtan, and This..

Marie Gilbert runs down some of the places where Robin can be found on the internet here.

Becca Butcher gives her thoughts on the This. release here.

Here, I give a song by song review of This., along with Robin adding her thoughts and observations as well.

Patti O’Brien talks about Robin’s music, and then interviews her about her travels here.

We return to Welcome to Hell, where guest blogger Fran Metzman interviews Robin about her influences, inspirations, and creative process. See it here.

Over on the South Jersey Writers blog, Marie Gilbert returns to interview Robin about encouragement, inspiration, and the ups and downs of a music career.

Robin was a guest on The GAR! Podcast where discussion included DEVO, David Bowie, Saturday Night Live music moments, and the creative process. You can listen to the episode here.

And finally, you can go here for the Biff Bam Pop! interview with Robin Renee, with a few edits for space considerations showing up here.

Robin can be found at her website, and on her blog, and check out her music at CD Baby, and at iTunes. Follow her on Twitter here, and Like her Facebook page here.

And don’t forget about Robin’s terrific new single “All I Am,” now available at CD Baby, with 20% of the proceeds going to the You Will Rise Project.

Thank you, everyone!

Lost Hits of the New Wave #26

“Jocko Homo” by DEVO

Over on The GAR! Podcast, as part of the Robin Renee Blog Tour, Ray and I interviewed Robin for about a half-hour or so. One of the things that came up in conversation was transformative moments in music on “Saturday Night Live.”

In those early seasons of the program I was exposed to many new musical experiences that shaped and influenced how I perceived music, and in the growing punk and new wave atmosphere of the late 1970s, “SNL” was full of new musical experiences. Both Robin and I were affected by an appearance by David Bowie. Ray talked about seeing Fishbone, although much later. I remember being amazed by Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, The Specials, The Clash, the B-52s, Gary Numan, and yes, DEVO.

I wouldn’t be as hardcore into the band as I was later in the Freedom of Choice and New Traditionalists years, but the visuals and sounds stayed with me. I was especially drawn to their cover of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and that it did what all covers should seek to do, overtake the original. I still to this day feel the DEVO version is superior to the Stones’.

Don’t forget to get over to garpodcast.com, and listen to the Robin Renee interview, and go to Biff Bam Pop! tomorrow for the next stop in the Blog Tour.

The Avengers on Biff Bam Pop!

For more than a decade I wrote monthly reviews of the current Avengers title from Marvel Comics at the Avengers Forever website. When that site closed up a few years ago, it left a void in my life as well as in the lives in many of the folks who hung out there. A version of Avengers Forever does exist on the Facebook here, but it’s just not the same.

This month at the Biff Bam Pop! pop culture website, it’s Mighty Marvel Month, and to celebrate, I have jumped back onto the Avengers bandwagon with a vengeance.

Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find:

Avengers NOW!, an overview of the Avengers franchise in the Marvel NOW! era.

Age of Ultron: Book One and Age of Ultron: Book Two, writer Brian Michael Bendis’ final storyline for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as their greatest enemy finally wins and takes the Earth.

Avengers Assemble Annual #1, a special spotlight on classic Avenger, the Vision, and his return to greatness.

Avengers #7, and how the New Universe fits into writer Jonathan Hickman’s plans for his eighteen member roster of Avengers.

And finally, there’s the new trailer for Iron Man 3 right here.

It has felt very good getting back into the driver’s seat. If you’re not into the Avengers, or comics, you could also check out my reviews of the latest albums from Adam Ant and David Bowie, and of course, you can find all of my Biff Bam Pop! work here!

David Bowie – "Where Are We Now?"

Earlier this week, on David Bowie’s birthday, he released the first single and music video from his new album. We all thought he had retired, so yes, it was quite a shock, and a delight.

David Bowie is a rock god. That is completely undisputed. I also love him. He is one of my favorite artists. I was thrilled to hear this news and downloaded the song, unheard, immediately when I found out about it. Take my money, iTunes, I don’t even have to hear it. That’s how I feel about Bowie.

Here’s the music video for “Where Are We Now?”

Wow. What is most stunning about the video is that after over forty years in the music video business (that’s right, kids, Bowie’s been doing it longer than MTV has), he can still amaze, and mesmerize, and innovate. The video accompanies a song that is slow and drifting at first but builds at the end, almost like the work of Kate Bush. The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

I can’t wait for the new album. David Bowie’s The Next Day is scheduled for a March 12, 2013 release.

Lost Hits of the New Wave #20

“Baby’s in the Mountains” by Peter Godwin

The last couple times I’ve talked about songs The Bride had not heard of and I had not heard of. Here’s one neither of us had heard of, first heard on 1st Wave satellite radio, but apparently released in 1983.

Peter Godwin also fronted the band Metro and his “Criminal World,” one of my fave Bowie songs, was covered by the Thin White Duke on Let’s Dance.

Don Kirshner 1934-2011

One of America’s greatest music producers, and a driving force in popular music for decades, Don Kirshner, passed away yesterday from heart failure in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 76.

I think it’s sad that there are probably generations who don’t even know his name, or if they do, it’s because of late night infomercials, or they think he’s a character Paul Shaeffer played on “Saturday Night Live.” Of course they are other generations, before the advent of MTV, who know the man and his contributions.

Kirshner was instrumental in starting the careers of numerous songwriters in the 1960s with his “Brill Building” school, where friend and producer Phil Specter also worked. ‘Graduates’ included Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Howard Greenfield, and Gerry Goffin. Together they scored dozens and dozens of hits, before they went on to have careers of their own, while Kirshner himself started several record labels and moved on into television. Known as “The Man with the Golden Ear,” he was one of the folks who created the Monkees, as well as the cartoon Archies, both groups prefabricated, and he also discovered many ‘real’ music acts as well like Bobby Darin and Kansas.

Kirshner was also a 1970s fixture on Sunday late nights with his legendary “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.” There he introduced many acts to America for the first time like Prince, Blue Oyster Cult, Earth Wind and Fire, Parliament Funkadelic, the Sex Pistols, Alice Cooper, Rush, Linda Ronstadt, KISS, Ted Nugent, David Bowie, and the Ramones, just to name a few of the hundreds who appeared on the program. The series, which ran from 1973-1981, was notable for being live and not allowing acts to lipsync, a widespread curse of the 1970s. We didn’t have MTV, we had Don.

We have lost one of the true geniuses of the music industry, he will be missed.

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