“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

 

Sammy Hagar Book Signing March 25th


March 31, 2011

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.

 

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.

 

Interview with Reza Kasemini at Yogurt Time


October 11, 2009

Interview with Reza Kasemini at Yogurt Time
One of the best things to ever happen to a Chocolate addict who needs to lose weight was the invention of non-fat frozen yogurt.
Paul “The Lobster” Wells, once ballooned up to 295 lbs. as a radio restaurant reviewer at age 23. During his stint performing for CBS as the Morning Show (The Lobster Breakfast) on KRQR San Francisco in the late ’80s to early ’90s, he went on a weight watchers program called “inner circle” and dropped down to 178. Reza is the owner of 3 North Bay self-serve frozen yogurt stops. The one on Farmer’s Lane is close to the Maverick Media studios where Lobster now cooks up his weekly program.

 

Memphis Minnie’s


February 8, 2009

Memphis Minnie'sIn San Francisco’s Lower Haight, there’s a popular Barbeque restaurant that serves several types of sauces at the table. It was also the perfect Restaurant to pair with the song “Memphis Soul Stew” by King Curtis backed by Booker T and the MGs.  Lobster walks in off Haight Street and right up to the counter with his Flip Video camera.

 

Tawn Mastrey given postumous LA Music Award


November 21, 2008

Tonight in Hollywood, Tawn Mastrey was given an award presented to her sister Cara by Kenny Ryback.  Had a  few words to add to it, and appreciated Kenny calling to read me what he had written.  What I said to him was that Tawn had a voice like honey being poured in you ear.  Tawn was my radio buddy at KSJO San Jose in the late ’70s and KNAC in LA in 1986.  More than cohorts, we shared the same spirit, love of music and many adventures.  This very talented, bright, loving, warm and beautiful woman lost her life in October 2007 due to liver failure brought on by Hepatitis C, a disease that has no cure and is more widespread than most people know.  The Bob Dylan song “Simple Twist of Fate” comes to mind and the lyric “I do believe she was my twin…and I was born too late, blame it on a simple twist of fate.”  There are Lobster Tales to be written with Tawn Mastrey playing a part, and I’ll share one with you in her memory on this occasion.  I was working at KQAK in San Francisco in 1982.  Tawn had been fired from KSJO the year before, for the third time, but that’s another story.

In search of work, Tawn had taken a flight from SFO to LA and was late, so she parked it in the short term garage…for several days.  When she drove to the gate upon returning, she told them she had lost the ticket.  Apparently, they had marked her back bumper each day with paint you can only see with an ultra-violet light and when they checked it,  they wouldn’t let her take her car out without paying nearly two hundred dollars for the time, which she didn’t have.  I picked her up at the airport that afternoon and had a plan.  We hung out at my house until after midnight, and then returned to the airport.  It would be well after a crew shift, and they wouldn’t know about the confrontation earlier in the day.  The car, by the way, was a big early 60’s pink and white Plymouth Tawn had named “Christine” after the haunted one in the horror movie of the same name.  It was a bit recognizable.

When we returned to the airport in my car, I pulled up to the automatic ticket gate at the entrance to the garage at the airport and pulled out the ticket, which triggers the gate to go up.   I turned to Tawn and said “On second thought, let’s not park in the garage.”…and backed away.  Tawn smiled as she realized what I was up to as we circled the terminal, returned to the entrance where I pulled a second ticket, this time going in.  We parked my car near hers and went and had a drink at an airport bar.   When we walked back to our cars, I handed her one of the tickets with less than an hour on it, and followed her and Christine to the exit gate in my car.  When she handed the attendant the ticket, he looked back but I was right behind her, blocking his mirrored view of her bumper, scowling at him with my best “Hey buddy, hurry up and take her money, I’m in a rush to get outta here” look.  He didn’t bother to ask me to back up so he could see her bumper.  She paid, I recall, $1.50 and was out.  We pulled over after we were clear of the garage and got our of our cars laughing like partners in crime after a heist.  Tawn thanked me, we hugged, kissed each other goodnight and both drove off, having bailed Christine out for pennies on the dollar.

 

An Interview with Steve Rose


October 12, 2008

We take the themes of Wine, Gourmet Food and Music deeper. For the first local Restaurant added to our growing selection of interviews, We chose The Vineyards Inn, located just west of BR Cohn, on Highway 12 in Kenwood. For 25 years, they have been serving great food, and striving to be a green and organic business, which has led to an award this year as The Greenest Restaurant in the Bay Area. Paul “The Lobster” Wells chats over dinner at their Patio room at the Restaurant / Bed and Breakfast with Steve (Chef Esteban) as the meal is brought to the table. If we had video, this could be a TV show!
www.vineyardsinn.com

 

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97.7 The River is the show’s flagship radio station. It’s home base to the program every Sunday, 10 am – 3 pm, hosted by legendary radio personality Paul “The Lobster” Wells.