“IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO (x2) TODAY!” – The Beatles from Sgt. Pepper


October 8, 2011

With a great deal of GRATITUDE, I’m celebrating the 40! Anniversary my first radio show in California October 8th, 1971 at KZSU, Stanford, after moving from NYC to the SF Bay Area.  It’s been a bumpy ride, and there’s still much I’d like to accomplish before I head to that destination that Steve Jobs pointed out we all share.  This past week, we were all shocked by his passing.  Age 56 is altogether too young, especially from the perspective we “baby boomers” now have on aging.  I thank him for his passion for music that inspired what Apple did with iPod and iTunes.  And, I thank you, the listener.  The ones that tune in every week… Although tomorrow the Oakland Raiders game on 97.7 FM The River will preempt the broadcast.  FYI, you can still listen to a special internet only version.  Just click the roll-over on The River’s logo next to the cartoon crustacean’s left claw above.

Also, check out the San Francisco Chronicle article that was published on April 28th, 2011 and please add any Anniversary comments there, share it on facebook, twitter, +1, etc.   Thank God (or whatever you see as a higher power in the Universe) that we have souls that love music.  Cheers!

 

Neil Young posts video about philosphy behind latest release – A Treasure – available in CD, DVD and Vinyl


June 3, 2011

For our first Fresh and Frozen feature on June 5th, your friendly neighborhood Crustacean / DJ will play a track from the new Neil Young release A Treasure, recorded with the International Harvester band in the ’80s.  During the decade leading up to his 1989 timely Freedom album (propelled by “Rockin’ in the Free World” which he penned while the world witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall) Neil put out a series of albums with divergent musical styles: Synth-Pop, Rockabilly, Country and Blues releases.  Short “Lobster Tale” – The blues contingent, The Bluenotes, with Crazy Horse’s Frank “Pancho” Sampedro switching from Guitar to Hammond B-3 Organ and a horn section.  For their tour of Northern California nightclubs, Neil asked me to be the on-stage announcer who brings the band on stage.  As the 11th Bluenote, I had a new appreciation for Neil’s guitar playing.  There was an entire movie plot around the band and it’s manager selling out the tour to “Zonk Cola” without the musicians knowing.  Sadly, it never became a Shakey Pictures release.  Would have given more context to the song “This Note’s For You,” which had the lyric “Ain’t singing for Pepsi, Ain’t singing for Coke.”  Keep in mind, Neil Young is among a handful of artists in our generation who have never sold their songs for commercial endorsements.  Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen are also in that truly exclusive club.  “Shakey” was also Neil’s bluesman persona, and on that tour, no known Neil Young songs were played.  Just THE BLUES.  Funniest incident on the tour was a club in Salinas where a fan in front of the stage kept demanding “Play Cinnamon Girl, Man!” At one point, Neil as Shakey asked; “How much did you pay to get in here?”  “Ten dollars” the patron replied (remember, this was 1987).  At that point, Shakey fished a $10 bill out of his black jacket’s pocket and said “Here’s your money, there’s the door.  We’re The Bluenotes, and we don’t play those songs!”  The guy took the money and headed towards the exit, but later in the set, I saw him happily dancing around the front of the stage again.  But, I digress.  This is about the International Harvester band tour.  That country-tinged group had some of the finest players to ever grace a stage in Nashville.  One of them, the late great Ben Keith, passed away last year.  He was an extraordinary person and musician in Neil and Pegi Young’s extended musical family.  I always enjoyed being around him.  Occasionally I return to the Redwoods above Woodside, where I first lived after moving West from NYC.  Last time we saw each other was at the bar of The Mountain House on Skyline Boulevard, up the road from his Broken Arrow ranch home.  Damn, Ben will be missed.  Glad I got to raise a glass with him one last time.  Let’s let Neil tells the story in the video. http://www.neilyoung.com/treasure-technotesvideo.html

 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE GUITAR?


February 6, 2011

It’s not just a question for guitarists.

My “claws” are too thick to press down six strings…Must be why, as a teenager, after I had traded my accordion (started playing that torturous sideways piano at age 10) for an acoustic guitar, in complete frustration, I got myself a Bass. It was a cherrywood Gibson EB3, that looked like an Gibson SG. But, that wasn’t my favorite guitar. It was the one I couldn’t play, but admired in the hands of others who could. A Les Paul Custom, black with cream trim. When I was 19, still living in NYC, I managed a band called Garfield Place with a guitarist who played one. Ellery MacDonald Bowne. Mac is a gifted player who reminded me of George Harrison in his ability. Mac is part of the story of how I got the name “Lobster,” he was in the car with me and three other friends, listening to Robin Trower’s guitar playing on a live tape of a Procol Harum show that sounded like a lobster to my friend David riding shotgun.

Mac Bowne went on to be a studio engineer, but he did play lead guitar for Elephants Memory. They fired him right before I left New York…they wanted a rhythm player, and didn’t know that they were about to get one of the greatest rhythm guitarists in the world and become his back-up band. You see, this was just before John and Yoko Ono Lennon moved to NYC and Elephants Memory became John Lennon’s back-up band. Before I headed west in my Volvo (which came with a tool kit that had a wrench that said “New Lobster” as it’s brand…another clue…) I went to Greenwich Village to see Shawn Phillips play at the Gaslight at the Au Go-Go, two tiny basement nightclubs that dated back to the beatnik days that had merged into the same small space.

There was this big guy, hunched over a Les Paul just like Mac’s. His fingers were flying, and he was missing a tip on one, like Jerry Garcia. Being a college radio kid and seeing how he was playing my favorite guitar, I went backstage after the show and introduced myself. He and the other musicians were all getting together after the show, so I gave him a ride to the Hotel and hung out with them till nearly dawn. It was the day, going home to our Bronx apartment shortly before the sun came up, I announced to my parents (who were waiting up for me) that I was going to move to California. Oh, the Guitarist? Charlie Daniels. Been friends ever since.

We saw each other next at a nightclub in Palo Alto, California called “In Your Ear.” This was before his hit “Uneasy Rider” and he had a band with Jerry Corbett of the Youngbloods, a band he had produced. Yes, Charlie D has an SF Bay Radio connection, too. The band was going back to NYC after the gig, so I gave them my maps…yeah, maps, to follow the yellow line on Interstate 80 which I had marked with gas stations and restaurants a tankful away from each other. Because of that show, I got a job at that nightclub running it’s restaurant as “The Eggplant Hero.” More on that nickname and era later. I’ll save it for the book and movie.

 

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA


October 31, 2010

Steve Miller Elvin Bishop & Sammy Hagar Jamming

From the ’49ers of the Gold Rush days thru The Bohemians, The Beatniks, The Haight Ashbury scene of the late ’60s, The Castro in the ’70s, the growth of Wineries to the North Bay and on, the San Francisco Bay Area has always welcomed the cultural cutting edge.

The world has many capitals, and we live in one of them.  This is where North meets South, East meets West, and all cultures and cultural diversity collide.  We are the end point where all directions end and many things begin.  One of my favorites of all these movements is the music that has come out of and musicians that have come to San Francisco over the years.
On Tuesday night, October 26th, Joel Selvin had a book release party at Slim’s Nightclub in San Francisco.  Smart Ass is a collection of his SF Chronicle music columns, and a collection of musical friends showed up on stage as well as in the audience.  On stage was The Steve Miller Blues Band with Audie Delone and John Allair on Keyboards, Hutch Hutchinson on Bass and Ricky Fataar on drums.  Playing with them, the great Elvin Bishop, who like Steve, moved out here after migrating to Chicago to become young apprentices in Chi-town’s famous Blues scene. In the first set, Saxophonist John Handy jammed with Steve and his band.  In the second set, Sammy Hagar joined in on guitar and vocals.
After the 24th Bridge School benefit, the 24th Annual B.R. Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival, I’m reminded once again why we are all blessed to be here, and ocassionally witness wonderful Great Live Moments.

 

BIG ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND – 24th ANNUAL BR COHN FEST & STILL BROADCASTING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!


October 8, 2010

Today’s the anniversary of my first radio show in the Bay Area on October 8th, 1971. Was at KZSU Stanford where I volunteered after taking my NYC college radio demo to all 5 FM Rock stations at the time (Click below for the Lobster Tales archives for more on that story). Appreciate the ride and have gratitude to have heard so much great radio from mentors and peers over the years.

Thankful for the continued opportunity to have fun with the music broadcasting Lobster’s Sunday Brunch from 10a-3p on 97.7 The River in Santa Rosa, live from the BR Cohn Winery this Sunday and streaming live on 977theriver.com. Also grateful for producing and playing “3rd banana” on the talk radio show with Political Comedian Will Durst and Political Icon Willie Brown that was an award-winning morning show in 2006 and continues as a podcast to this day. In fact, we recorded a 2010 Pre-Election Special at the Buena Vista Cafe in SF and broadcast on Green 960 AM. If you’re interested in listening or viewing this chat with these sharp political minds, it’s available on demand from their podcast page that connects to Will and Willie.com and also on YouTube and Mevio.

 

Filed under: Lobster Tales — admin @ 3:22 pm

DAVID BOWIE’S ZIGGY STARDUST ALBUM


August 19, 2010

This is dedicated to Mark, the bartender at Bloom’s Bar, “downtown” Potrero Hill on 18th Street in San Francisco when I dropped by there after work last Monday night.

They’ve always had a great jukebox at Bloomies, and a song from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust came on. I asked who selected “Starman,” and it turned out to be Mark! The beautiful thing is, he wasn’t even born when the album was released in 1972.  It reminded me about my early days as a teenage DJ. (Cue flashback sfx here and warp the video…see young man with long hair and beard driving a new gray Volvo 164 cross country to San Francisco, then in Los Angeles a year later.)

At the FM Rock Stations in the Bay Area, we used to champion bands and sometimes try to beat each other to play a new artist or album first and exclusively. When I moved here from NYC, there were five progressive rock stations; KSAN, KSFX and KMPX in San Francisco, plus KSJO and KOME in San Jose.  After four years of college radio, I applied at all of them, and was given encouragement by one Program Director (who did hire me a year later), but no gig.  My brother Stuart was a grad student at Stanford at the time, so I volunteered at 90.1, KZSU.  Within six months, I became the station’s Music Director.

On a trip to LA that May, to get familiar with the hub of the music biz and visit the record company offices, I was listening to the Blaupunkt radio in my Volvo, driving down Sunset Blvd., when one of the DJs played a track from the new David Bowie album.  Bowie was still rather unknown, but the cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars showed him standing on the street under a sign that said K-WEST…which was something the Los Angeles FM Rock station of the same name was proud of and instantly gave it a spin.  I was blocks from the RCA Records office, so I drove right over and went up to their floor.  At the front desk when I identified myself, a woman told me that the record reps were out to lunch.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the open door to a record closet off the reception area, with about 50 copies of the new David Bowie album sitting on the floor.  I wheeled around, picked up two of them, and as the stunned woman tried to sputter a “Wa..wa..wa..wait!,” I jumped back into on of the elevators, pushed the button to the lobby, and as the doors closed said; “When they come back, please tell them I was here, and I took two of them.”

That night, I drove back up Interstate 5 to Palo Alto, and played the whole album on my show on KZSU Stanford when I got back…before it had even been shipped to anyone else.  In October of that year, David Bowie played Bill Graham’s Winterland.  Maybe 500 people were in the crowd, and most of them to see Sylvester, a San Francisco Drag Queen singing with his band.  I enjoyed watching the jaws of their fans drop when David Bowie came out on stage in his glam-rock inspiring Ziggy persona, with Mick Ronson and the bass and drums shaking the old hall.  That band ROCKED!!

Thank you, Mark for proving what my radio mentor John Bybee has long said; “With music, like cars, it’s not when it was, it’s what it is that makes it a classic.”

 

Father’s Day Live Broadcast @ BR Cohn Winery


May 27, 2010

JUNE 20, 2010 – CELEBRATE FATHER’S DAY AT B.R. COHN WINERY WITH CLASSIC CARS, BBQ AND LOBSTER’S SUNDAY BRUNCH BROADCAST LIVE FROM THE WINERY FROM 10A-3P!

Bring Dad to B.R. Cohn Winery on June 20th to celebrate his big day. What could be better than Classic Cars, BBQ, and live radio?

Bruce Cohn, proprietor of B.R. Cohn Winery, loves fast and collectable cars. He currently owns four of them; a 1933 Willys Roadster, a 1941 Willys Sedan Delivery, 1934 Henry Ford Five-Window Coupe and a 1946 Ford Woody Wagon. See these cars and others on display during Cruise’n Classic Car Sunday. Dads are encouraged to bring their own classic cars to vie for bragging rights to having the coolest car.

Wine Country Expressions BBQ will offer Tri Tip, grilled chicken breast sandwich, chicken salad and grilled sausages for purchase. Grab a bottle of wine from the tasting room to compete the perfect Dad’s Day picnic.

Radio personality, Paul “The Lobster” Wells, spins a menu of classic rock broadcast live on 97.7 The River from the winery during Lobster’s Sunday Brunch from 10 AM – 3 PM.

We’ll have prize drawings and a lot of fun. Hope to see you there on Father’s Day June 20th! The BR Cohn Winery is at 15000 Sonoma Highway 12 in Glen Ellen.

 

Filed under: Lobster Tales — admin @ 3:30 pm

LOBSTER’S BIRTHDAY BASH BENEFIT FOR LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY – SAT. NIGHT MAY 15th


May 11, 2010

This was the big party and fundraiser as part of Bianca Velishek’s Woman Of The Year Campaign @ The Broadway Studios in San Francisco, Saturday Night May 15th.

Special Guests for an All-Star Jam included Barry “The Fish” Melton, Joli Valenti (Quicksilver Gold), David Denny (Steve Miller Band), Carlos Reyes, George Michalski, Mindy Canter, Mitchell Holman (It’s A Beautiful Day), Prairie Prince (Jefferson Starship, The Tubes) and more.

 

Filed under: Lobster Tales — admin @ 4:57 pm

My Favorite Season


March 25, 2010

Doobie Brothers Toulouse StreetWelcome to my favorite season!! Last year, we celebrated this Crustacean/DJ’s b-day in May @ BR Cohn with a live broadcast. Be listening for plans coming up. Also, check out the new feature Car-Tunes, sponsored by G & C Auto Body. It’s every Sunday @ about 2:08pm. We started on March 14th with “Radar Love” by Golden Earring, ZZ Top’s “Arrested For Driving While Blind” on the 21st, and as of this blog entry, this Sunday, it’s The Doobie Brothers “Rockin’ Down The Highway” from Toulouse Street

As your chef of music, this Crustacean/DJ is fond of interactively mixing it up with our listeners, and I love to play your requests on the show. I invite you to click “About The Show” to see the list of features, and let me know what you’d like to have us cook up by sending an email to me right here.

 

Lyrics for Santana’s “Smooth”


February 28, 2010

Santana Supernatural SmoothThis week marks the 10th anniversary of Carlos Santana and Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas’ collaboration on “Smooth” from the classic album, “Supernatural”. Today on Lobster’s Sunday Brunch, we celebrate this momentus occasion with a sing-a-long of this gem. Go here to view the lyrics to “Smooth” and sing along with Lobster!

 

Filed under: Lobster Tales — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 11:46 am
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