“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!

 

Bill Champlin of The Sons Of Champlin Interview


July 10, 2010

Bill Champlin stopped by our San Francisco location, and sat down to chat on the comfy chair with our host. This is the video of the entire interview, a clip of which was featured as our July 11th Local Catch of the Week along with the song “Follow Your Heart.” Although we had talked about later cancelled The Fillmore gig, The Sons of Champlin did a wonderful show at Rancho Nicasio Sunday, July 18th at the BBQ on the Lawn. Proprietor of the Bar and Restaurant at this old west town square, Bob Brown (Who also is the manager of Huey Lewis and The News) called it “the best show we’ve had here in thirteen years.”

 

PATRICK SIMMONS OF THE DOOBIE BROTHERS


June 27, 2010

Interview recorded with my trusty Flip Video camera on a tripod sitting on a coffee table in the lobby of the Concord Hilton after Pat and Doobie Brothers manager and proprietor of our sponsor, the B.R. Cohn Winery, did a bottle signing of Doobie Red at the Safeway in Alamo and before the Doobie Brothers / Chicago concert at The Sleep Train Pavilion. Thanks to Patrick, Bruce and Kathy @ Bruce’s office.

 

BR COHN FALL MUSIC FESTIVAL, 97.7 THE RIVER


October 11, 2009

At the BR Cohn Fall Music Festival, 97.7 The River kicked off another Lobster’s Sunday Brunch Giveaway. This time, we’ve added a really cool, or should I say, hot item of the Grand Prize, courtesy of Friedman’s Home Improvement: A Weber Genesis E-310 Gas Grill.

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One lucky River listener will also win dinner for two at Vineyard Inn in Kenwood, an overnight stay at Casa Verde Bed and Breakfast on the Rose Ranch, a private tour of the BR Cohn Winery and a gift basket filled with BR Cohn premium, gourmet products. You’ll also be eligible to win weekly drawings for gift certificates, CD box sets, concert tickets and more every Sunday through the fall from 10AM – 3PM on Lobster’s Sunday Brunch.

Listen to the Lobster for more details on how you can enter to win from 97.7, The River. Meanwhile, here’s the last Grand Prize winner, video taping her own name being drawn by Lobster and The River Road crew with Peter Romulus and his dad leading a rolling on the river sing-a-long of Creedence’s “Proud Mary” at BR Cohn on May 31st.

 

Interview with Reza Kasemini at Yogurt Time


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.

 

The Last Trip to Tulsa


July 5, 2009

Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the bands we discovered early on in the Bay Area. When their first album was released, your friendly neighborhood Crustacean-DJ was Music Director of KZSU Stanford and a weekend /fill-in DJ for KSJO in San Jose.

Since we were in the “South Bay,” we had an affinity for Southern rockers. At the time, playing “Freebird” at a college radio station was cutting edge, and not edits of any songs. We would play Michael Oldfield’s Tubular Bells one album side at a time, and could mix Led Zeppelin with Chuck Mangione, Joni Mitchell and James Brown. “Progressive Rock” on the FM was winning in the radio ratings. We were the social media. Interactive with the listeners. “Freebird” was popular with our audience, and the request lines were a source of our programming, and that and local album sales was how we decided that the music we were playing was working. The KISS principle…Keep It Simple, Stupid!

So, when Bill Graham’s Day of the Greens on July 4th Weekend in 1977 had Lynyrd Skynrd second billed to Peter Frampton, they played on July 2nd and July 4th. Since they had a 727 sent by Promoter Barry Fey to pick them up after the show in Oakland on July 2nd and bring them back in time for the July 4th D.O.G., they agreed to play Willie Nelson’s Picnic in Tulsa Oklahoma on July 3rd.

The plane had a lot of room, so they invited some of their Bay Area radio friends to fly with them on this tour date. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so even though I was using the KSJO Van to move to a house in Campbell, I left all my stuff in it, parked on the driveway and met up with Skynyrd at the Claremont Hotel to catch the flight that night.

Instead of flying directly to Tulsa, our plane was also supposed to pick up Waylon Jennings in LA as well. Since it was a chartered flight, we landed in Burbank and they dropped the back door down to the tarmac out of the tail section and waited. I was standing outside of the plane with Steve Gaines sharing a smoke when we heard a rumbling growl approaching the airplane. Up drove a troop of Hells Angels on their Harleys, with their girlfriends and a case of beer. Seems old Waylon decided to catch another flight to the gig, and had told some biker friends they could fly with us.

The H.A.s parked their Hogs by the hanger and boarded. Dean Kilpatrick, the road manager of the band, passed the word that all of us in the Lynyrd Skynyrd posse would move to the front of the plane and cede the back to the bikers with their babes and beer. Kind of pulling out wagons in a circle, I wound up in the aisle seat across from Ronnie Van Zandt. The band had just released the Street Survivors album, and would tour the rest of the year in support of it. It was nearly 3am when we flew on to Tulsa, and I decided that a couple of airplane bottles of Johnny Walker Red would help me take a nap. At the time, Ronnie had stopped drinking, and over indulging. The song “That Smell” was about getting away from excess, and he watched me down the whiskey. He was having none.

I finished the second and said to him, “I gotta get some sleep. It’s gonna take us all night to get to Tulsa. Ronnie smiled and said “Man, that’s nothin. In our plane it would take us twice as long and we’d be lucky if we made it.” That DC-3 their management leased for them was the plane that crashed in October, taking the lives of Ronnie, Dean, Steve and his sister Cassie Gaines.

Their set at Willie Nelson’s Picnic smoked, and their super-human crew managed to pack up their gear in Oakland, pack it on to the plane, get it all set up on the stage in Tulsa in time for their set at noon, break it all down again, load out, onto the plane and then set it up at Oakland when returned to Oakland that night. My hat was off to them and the band for playing three of the strongest sets I’ve ever heard from any rock band anytime, and sleeplessly flying half-way across America and back in the process.

A highlight of the Tulsa trip for me was the ride back to the hotel their after the performance. One of the roadies put me in a limo. Sitting in the back between two beautiful woman and behind a cloud of really good marijuana was Willie Nelson himself. We chatted, and years later we met again backstage at Neil and Pegi Young’s Annual Bridge School benefit at Shoreline in Mountain View. He remember our little meeting in Tulsa. So much for short term memory loss…

When we got back to Oakland in was after Midnight, and the band had a room for me the Claremont. After checking in, I went over to a room with a bunch of the members of the band and crew, and brought a live performance cassette of the band that I managed when 20 years old in New York City. It had a song called “I’m On The Road Again,” which I thought would be perfect for Skynyrd. The band, Garfield Place (named after the street in Brooklyn where the band had a flat they live and rehearsed in) did what we referred to as Country Rock Fusion. Upon hearing the tape, the Skynyrd guys asked when it was recorded, and were blown away to learn it was in 1970, long before Al Kooper discovered them. Garfield Place had a lot of influences, including the Allman Brothers, but it sounded so much like a Southern rock band, the guys were wondering if we we copying Lynyrd Skynyrd.

After their set at the July 4th Day on the Green, blowing away headliner Peter Frampton for the second time in three days, I said goodbye backstage to Ronnie Van Zandt, and handed him the cassette with an “x” on the side with “I’m On The Road Again.” He put it in his shirt pocket, and that was the last time I saw him or heard the song. I still remember most of it. Maybe I’ll sing it to Johnny and Gary sometime. That was also my last trip to Tulsa. Ironically enough, in 1991 at the Concord Pavilion, I saw Bill Graham backstage at a Lynyrd Skynyrd show, and that was the last time I saw him as well. Miss all the friends who have exited along life’s highway. and in another blog…or in the book version, I’ll include how Bill Graham prevented a stabbing in front of the stage during Peter Frampton’s set on July 4th, 1977…and of course you’ve never heard about it. More Lobster Tales to come. Thanks for reading…and for listening.

Musically yours, The Lobster121754

 

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North Bay’s Classic Rock97.7 The River
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.