Micky Dolenz

MONKEE MATTERS: After releasing one of the best albums of the year from K-Tel-wannabees Gigatone Records, our fave-Monkee Micky Dolenz has jumped back into another multi-month-run in the U.K. production of Hairspray; now touring Europe (this week in Dublin), where he plays Wilbur Turnblad - famously essayed by the wonderful Christopher Walken in the 2007 Adam Shankman movie; and, in the original 1988-vehicle from John Waters; where none other than Jerry Stiller essayed the role. Dolenz’s album KING FOR A DAY, a tribute to the songs of Carole King (who wrote several hits for The Monkees, including everyone’s favorite “Pleasant Valley Sunday”) was a fantastically conceived album (featuring the likes of Bill Medley; Emily Osment, and Micky’s sister Coco), along with the talents of producer Jeffrey Foskett, but, the day it was released, all the promotional efforts were inexplicably stopped; save for a mini-advert in USA Today. Dolenz’s selection of the literally hundreds of songs to choose from, were truly inspired: From “Crying In The Rain” to “Just Once In My Life” and “Sweet Seasons” are arranged and produced to perfection. In this writer’s opinion … this could have been a huge-multi-format success! The next thing you notice after the perfect song selection is just how Dolenz’s voice has matured, yet still fits just so perfectly in each and every song. It’s been said that Dolenz possesses one of the best voices in rock and roll … so true. If you’re a fan … of King or Dolenz, consider this a must have album.


Bruce Springsteen

LOST IN THE PAGES: Did you know that last week the Long Island Rock And Roll Hall of Fame held their induction ceremony at Oheka Castle in Long Island? Apparently no one else did either. How in God’s green earth can you have an event … albeit, an important one … and have no one know about it? (Full disclosure: Yes, Long Island’s Newsday assiduously covered the event … but, I believe that was it) Did you know that none other than Lou Reed (from Freeport) was one the inductees? Another inductee was the legendary rock venue in Roslyn, Long Island from the 70s, My Father’s Place. This was the club that ruled the venue-wars in the early 70s … introducing acts like Blondie; Hall And Oates; The Talking Heads; Bruce Springsteen; Dave Mason; and, many, many others, before their rise to superstardom. They also regularly featured jazz acts (or, jazz fusion as they called it at the time) like Chick Corea, The Brecker Brothers, John McLauglin, and Larry Coryell. They also featured regular reggae nights; Toots & The Maytals and Jimmy Cliff were regular performers. It was ruled by one Michael ‘Eppy’ Epstein and not only did he possesses a fine, fully realized sense of what was going to be the next big thing … but, he was a true character in the rather shady music business. I haven’t seen the book; apparently there were no copies available for the media, but from what I’ve been told by an insider; it’s essentially a vanity book with photos … no text at all! The photos are terrific (from the likes of Ebet Roberts and Gary Gershoff) but, what rich, terrific stories could have been told; Eppy was a masterful showman and raconteur. It was a moment in time that would candidly predict what would happen in the upward-spiraling music business of the 70s. I don’t know who coordinated this project, but clearly, a major mistake was made. Here’s the Amazon link for the book....


Kevin Spacey

CASINO JACK: We caught earlier this week a screening of the new Kevin Spacey movie Casino Jack. It tells the story of Washington-insider Jack Abramoff and his exploits of parlaying his insider-clout to an array of unsuspecting people. Abramoff seemed to have everything; a perfect family; totally aligned religious beliefs; and, one of his crowing goals was to build a school for underprivileged children. Yet, he and his partner Michael Scanlon (wonderfully and aggressively portrayed by Barry Pepper) sought to deceive, it seems, everyone. “Casino Jack is a story of greed and hubris so Gothic that it seems like a crime thriller,” says director George Hickenlooper, who tragically passed away suddenly several weeks back. The script is so tightly written and so well done that you really can’t decide if the character even thought what he was doing was wrong. The script must have been pretty good when Spacey first saw it; but, with Spacey’s brio-inspired participation, it is now one rather terrific movie. This is not a slam-dunk, boffo success, epic … but, rather a deceptively brilliant movie featuring some awesome actors.


Benjamin Walker

SHORT TAKES: We caught Broadway’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and came away feeling that it’s a play that doesn’t know what it wants to be: a Rent-like production; a comedy; or, a serious endeavor? It’s all rather well done, with a terrific dressing of the inside of the theater, but, every time we decided on what manner of play it was … our thoughts were changed. Lead actor Benjamin Walker is superb and I give him props for being able to do everything in every style … but, again, what does it want to be? The book by Alex Timbers and music by Michael Friedman are solid; but, confusing … I’m a Bee Gees fan. God, even Steven Spielberg is developing a movie on them. Our friends at Eagle Rock have just released a new DVD entitled Bee Gees: In Our Own Time, which is a fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary of their startling career. They talk about everything … Andy Gibb; Robert Stigwood; Australia; Saturday Night Fever … I found it scintillating and the wonderful concert footage just exceptional. If you’re a fan, this is for you … Also from Eagle Rock is a wonderful holiday concert featuring Michael McDonald: This Christmas. Shot live in Chicago, this disc captures all the Holiday-song-favorites delivered with McDonald’s unique vocal style. In addition to the usual favorites, he also renders some of his biggest hits, including “What A Fool Believes,” “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “Minute By Minute” and, “I Keep Forgettin’.”Classic McDonald.

Photos By: Walter McBride/James Edstrom/Retna