If you every read the House of Blues book of radio interviews, you’ll come across one with the late, great James Brown. It may be credited as a conversation between Dan Aykroyd as Elwood Blues, but that was done in post-production. The interview was recorded at the Fairmont Hotel on a New Year’s Eve in the mid-’90s when James Brown and his band played the ballroom. As Director of Production, I had been sent to record the interview with James Brown. We had to rent a separate hotel room. First James Brown’s Security chief came in the room, and went through drawers, in the bathroom, looked under the bed to make sure it was safe. James Brown came in afterwards, wearing black leather gloves and shook my hand, and that of Juan, one of our crew at BMP, the company that produces the House of Blues radio shows. Before we could record, his handlers told me that we had to guarantee that we’d play his daughter’s new record on the shows, or no interview. They then produced a contract and asked me to sign. They were serious. I said; “Mr. Brown (I was coached to address him as Mr. Brown), I’ll sign the contract but I don’t have the authority to guarantee that she’ll get played. I can only give you my word I’ll do everything I can to make it happen.” James Brown smiled at me and said; “That’s OK. You don’t have to sign it. The fact that you were willing to is good enough for me.”, and he waived off his handlers. I started the interview, first telling him to address me as Elwood in his answers, and broke the ice by telling him that one of my prized possessions was the 45 I bought as a young teenager of “I Got You (I Feel Good)” on the King Label. He told me that I had the good one, then. He had many labels release the song, with bad pressings and recordings. Mr. Brown wasn’t too fussy about what he signed…and it was one of the best interviews I’d every had the pleasure of doing. His show that night was in the groove.
From 2002 t0 2007, Lobster’s Rock Box, aka The SF Bay Radio Hour ran on 97.7 The River in San Jose, 98.5 KFOX in San Jose, and in 25 Markets, Coast-to-Coast, including Charleston, SC, Nashville, TN and Pittsburgh, PA. Steroids had been headline news, and our San Francisco Giants were a few years away from becoming MLB Champions. Here, without commercials, is the highly produced, hand-crafted special, complete with fun bits of baseball ephema from movies, TV shows, classic baseball bits from George Carlin and even Humphrey Bogart. Enjoy!
On July 4th weekend, 1976, the Declaration of Independence was personally celebrated by signing off at KOME at Midnight on Friday Night, and then signed on at KSJO 6PM on Monday. Even with the confines of the streaming 128kbp file, you’ll hear the highs, lows, and stereo separation improve as I was tweaking the Top 40 compressor/limiters that were putting out a “wall of mud” sound. You can hear the volume drop for a second as I found the dials during Gary Wright’s “I Know A Place.” The changes are happening as Santana “Batuka / No One To Depend On” plays.
Listen to Lobster celebrate freedom and independence in the first hour at his new home…listen to the mostly local and very few commercials and the claws finding their way at the unfamiliar controls. After the first night, it was down to business the next day when the office was opened. The slow cueing turntables were changed at my request, and an Optimod was bought to replace the the old school “pump and suck” processing. Have fun entering a time machine before the words “Corporate” and “Rock” were linked. Click the play button below to listen.
Btw, the Billboard campaign was part of the contract. Our Program Director, Donald Wright, did the artwork. Listeners would call and ask me what was burning in the claw…and I assured them I didn’t smoke tobacco. ; )
Greg Kihn and Paul “Lobster” Wells are old friends. When Greg was first starting out in the ’70s on Matthew Kaufman’s Bezerkeley Records, our neighborhood, friendly local Crustacean DJ championed his music. For the “Jeopardy” video, Paul’s company, Flow Communications, was an Executive Producer of the ground breaking video, and can be seen in the video in a cameo role, throwing rice at the “Married couple” as they get into the limo outside the church. Greg came by Flow Communications at 69 Green Street in San Francisco for this in-depth interview: Kenny Wardell was there to take pictures, and threw in a couple of questions himself. Click to listen to the interview below the picture.
The celebrity chef for the 25th Annual Fall Charity Festival for the Friday night auction dinner this year was Sonoma County’s own Guy Fieri. He has in a short time moved beyond being the chef / owner of local restaurants like Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s to be a major Food Network star and also a TV Game show host. This hard traveling, hard working show business and culinary phenomenon has a big heart as well. In this quick interview with the Bay Area’s only Crustacean / DJ, Guy gives us a glimpse into his motivation to make time to oversee this dinner for nearly 700 people that raised over $200,000 for local charities. The wordpress upload takes time to play, so you can also go view the interview by clicking this link to YouTube.
Was a great pleasure to escort Jonni Smith and her friend Deanna backstage at Shoreline. First time Def Lep played San Francisco, it was opening for Pat Travers at The Warfield in 1980. They blew me away then, and still play a powerful set. Heart was on before them, and in addition to their usually one or two covers of Led Zeppelin songs, they had decided to close the set with The Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me.” The special effects were generated by nature, with lightning and a rain shower to punctuate the finish. Here’s a short video:
Sammy Hagar’s Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock, debuted as the #1 Best Selling Non-Fiction book on the New York Times list for April 3rd. We got in a few words while he swiftly handed the long line of fans waiting to get their copies of the book signed. Shot a short video of the event. Love the part where the security guy tries to enforce the “only sign books” rule of the event, and Sam obliges the fan anyway. I also posted this video on YouTube, but this version is a bit more high resolution and may take a few moments to load in after you click to play.
There was magic inside AT&T Park for The Giants in the 2010 season to carry San Francisco to it’s first World Series championship, and there’s been magic inside the white, ten story big-top tent across China Basin throughout the Holiday season with this spectacular show. Created by co-founder of Cirque Du Solei, Normand Latourelle, this elaborately staged fantasy outdoes it’s legendary predecessor in focusing specifically on the relationship between man and horse without overwhelming the senses with too much action to take in all at once. The description of “dream-like” is not hyperbole. The virtual settings captivate and transport you. The horses interplay with the riders, acrobats, aerialists and each other in truly enchanting ways. Was fortunate to have caught the show last Thursday night and was captivated by the staging, the music and the talented cast on two and four legs. There is an added performance tonight at 7pm and Monday at 8pm, with the final show on Tuesday January 4th at 8pm. The next stop is Burbank. For more information and to purchase tickets and VIP Packages, visit cavalia.net or call 1-866-999-8111.
Pegi Young has released her second album, Foul Deeds. Click for Interview below.
As Neil and Pegi Young are hosting their 24th Annual Bridge School Benefit at Shoreline Amphitheater on October 23rd and 24th, The Lobster sat down with Pegi on a beautiful day on an outdoor table at Alice’s Restaurant at Skyline Blvd and Woodside – La Honda Road. They talked about the music and players on her new album, the path that led her to the work of the Bridge School and the concerts that have benefited children including their son Ben over the years.