Thursday, April 14, 2011

BEFORE ROBERT PATTINSON & JUSTIN BIEBER



Justin Bieber



BOP NO MORE -- Charles Laufer, the founder of Tiger Beat, passed away at the age of 86 this week, according to the New York Times. Laufer, a pioneer in the teen-targeted magazine industry of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, started his career as a high school teacher, who was upset that his students had virtually nothing entertaining to read. He began publishing teen oriented fanzines in 1955, with a magazine called Coaster; that morphed into Teen. Before Justin Bieber and Robert Pattinson came The Beach Boys and The Monkees, yet all these years later the stories are basically the same: who’s dating who; what stars look for in girls; and, where they go shopping. Gloria Stavers’ 16 Magazine (which officially began in 1957) was really the biggest of them all. She is credited with being one of the first women rock and roll journalists, but male editors, her detractors, and those who scoffed at teen or celebrity magazines sometime called her mother superior of the inferior. Laufer’s style of excessive exclamation points and cluttered photo collages can still be seen today; although probably more on the web than elsewhere. Perez Hilton’s deliberate highlighting (usually in white!) of a photo or story on his site is a direct correlation. Laufer and his brother, Ira, started TB in 1965 after selling Teen in 1957. The tag line for the magazine pretty much sums up its stories: Guys in their 20s singing La La songs to 13-year old girls! Laufer was one of the first supporters of the pre-fab four and put them on the cover of TB in 1965, which helped shoot the band into superstardom and put the magazine on the map. Research editor Anthony Pomes; he did the terrific work with Micky Dolenz on the artist's Micky Dolenz' Rock 'N Rollin' Trivia from Square One publishing, said, “Laufer brought an early enthusiasm to teen culture that exploded at nearly the same time as The Monkess. A pioneer in 'tween' mass merchandising, he deserves credit of creating in Tiger Beat a magazine that aimed to please the kids before anything else. The fact that both Charles Laufer, the man who helped popularize the Monkees' image, and Don Kirshner, the man who helped popularize the Monkees' music, have died the same year as the group is about to re-unite lends even more poignancy to the upcoming tour than was there before.” The brothers sold TB in 1978 for a reported $15 million, with its circulation being around 700,000. We worked with daughter Julie Laufer in the 80s and found her to be one of hardest working people out there and terrifically creative. Rest easy Mr. Laufer!


****



Adrian Niles



ADRIAN NILES BAND – Every so often a band comes along with a distinctive sound; some compelling integrity; and, some balls. When we first flipped on the Adrian Niles Band. we were immediately knocked out by the terrific writing; scintillating production; and, uncannily catchy songs. One song in particular, “Skylark” we’ve been particularly taken with; humming it for hours. The track is off their current CD Roll & Move, via indie-Flying Box Car Records. Says Niles, who hails from Ohio, “Some of my earliest memories are of me at 3 years old, sitting on the floor, banging pots and pan’s along with my dad’s bluegrass band as they packed in the kitchen. I guess I get it honestly.” His musical influences, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Collective Soul, Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, and The Band, are evidenced throughout the CD making for an exceptionally good listening experience. In 1998, the band was ready to record their first full- fledged CD, co-produced by Pittsburgh legend and onetime CBS record artist Norman Nardini. As the recording emerged, they became the opening act for such rock-staples as Jefferson Airplane, Ben Orr (Cars); Pittsburgh-mainstay Donnie Iris; and, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Double Trouble, while continuing to develop a local notoriety. Niles put the band on hold in 2006 when he formed another band, Trainjumpers, with longtime friend and fellow singer/songwriter Matt Heusel. Their CD enjoyed some regional play and earned them several more live dates. With the band full re-formed in 2010 and the release of Ghost Road, things seemed poised for success. Shows with Rock and Roll inductee Dave Mason and Los Lonely Boys followed and secured even more interest in the band. Roll & Move came out in January and has created even more widespread attention for the band. Another concert date with Mason in late May is proof positive of their star-making success. The music business is in an interesting quagmire these days; the major seven labels are now down to like two, yet there are, because of the Internet, more opportunities than ever before do exist. And, for this band, with original material and scads creativity, I predict this will be their time.


****


Martin Scorsese



ROBBIE ROBERSTON IS IN – It's been 13 years since the last solo album from Robbie Robertson, and his new one, How To Become Clairvoyant is out his week. We've been in touch with his PR rep, Judi Kerr, from the West Coast for what seems like two months and she's sent us some links … but, no actual copy? What gives … we're fans!!! Regardless, what we have been able to hear sounds utterly fantastic. He was the leading force rebind the always awesome The Band; a veritable class act if there ever was one. We ran into Robertson once in L. A. where he lives and spoke to him for an extended time and found him to every bit as knowledgeable and funny as we had hoped. We've talked to him several times and can confirm he is the real deal. His appearances last week on David Letterman and The View were simply terrific. He looks great, sounds better than ever, and his singular guitar work simply outstanding. On both shows he performed the track “He Don't Live Here No More,” which tells of when he and Martin Scorsese (of all people!) shared a house. Robbie says of the song, "Marty's friends would still come over … as if he still lived there. So, this is the answer we had for them.” The one other track we've been able to glean digitally is “This Is where I Get Off” (with Eric Clapton) that chronicles the time he left The Band. In addition to Clapton, Trent Renzor and Steve Winwood also appear on the collection. His song “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” remains one of the best ever. We hope to have a more complete review soon! Please!!!


****



Micky Dolenz



MICKY LOVE – How about this review (from Bristol 24/7) of Hairspray in the U.K.: “I'd already been enjoying myself, but when Michael Ball – dressed up in, ahem, large ladies' attire and sporting lovely red lipstick – received a smacker on the lips from former-Monkee Micky Dolenz and struggled to keep it together as the audience whooped and cheered, I knew the long journey to see Hairspray been worthwhile!” Sort of gives the upcoming Monkees tour a whole new edge! The touring contingent of the play just opened their last leg in Bristol, England and on May 1, Dolenz will be in Florida prepping for the group's tour.


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