“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

 

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.”

 

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

 

An Interview with Robin Goldstein


September 7, 2008

We take the themes of Wine, Gourmet Food and Music deeper. Second billed on our growing menu of a selection of interviews, The Fearless Critic, Author of The Wine Trials and recently creator of a faux restaurant in Milan, Italy that received a Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence for its non-existent wine list of sub-par reserve appellations.
www.thewinetrials.com

 

Jean-Marie Ancher


August 24, 2008

We take the themes of Wine, Gourmet Food and Music deeper on the website. To open up the menu of a selection of interviews, we start with one of the top restaurants in the world and its Director, Jean-Marie Ancher, of Taillevent Restaurant in Paris, France.

 

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