Story By: G.H. Harding
Ed Sheeran

VINNIE’S VINYL --- You’ve seen Vincent D’Onofrio morph into a variety of roles, ranging from his turn nabbing bad guys - as Detective Robert Goren on Law And Order: Criminal Intent; to bumbling around as Leonard Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket; as a man-bug in the Men In Black series … and, soon to be seen as Wilson Fisk (aka The Kingpin) in the upcoming Netflix series Daredevil. However, the actor’s next project is something of a passion project: a spoken-word punk album.

Titled Slim Bone Head Volt, the album is a spoken word punk record which he collaborated on with musician Dana Lyn. The album’s website describes their sound as, “Strings howl and percussion thumps while bells whistle and bass lines stalk, like a jazz band from hell recording in a smoke-filled zero gravity chamber.” 

The first track, a very beat-era song called “I’m A Hamster,” was leaked last week online. 

Slim Bone Head Volt will be released on March 3 via Buddhabug Records.

SARM CEASES --- When the likes of Bono, Ed Sheeran and Chris Martin recently descended upon a non-descript side street in West London to record the updated version of "Do They Know it's Christmas?," they were marking more than the song's 30-year anniversary.

The single that has topped the charts in the U. K. - an update of Band Aid's original 1984 Christmas charity effort for famine relief in Africa - will also likely be the last number-one song recorded in the iconic Sarm Studios before its redevelopment into luxury flats. 

Once home to Bob Marley, the converted chapel - launched as Basing Street Studios in 1969 by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell - is poised to become another casualty on a long list of notable music and film studios in London that have succumbed to technological advances and skyrocketing property prices.

"It's like the worst breakup of my life," said producer Aaron Horn, whose family made the difficult decision to demolish the studios where Marley's Exodus, Led Zeppelin IV and Queen's celebratory We Are The Champions were recorded. Marley, in fact, lived in an upstairs apartment in the building for years.

Horn's father Trevor acquired the space in 1982 and renamed it Sarm, an acronym of his company's name, sound and recorded music. 

In the mid 1970’s, Sarm was the first 24-track recording studio in England; it later became the first with 48-track facilities.

In 1984, Horn donated studio time at Sarm to Bob Geldof for the recording of Band Aid's original Christmas anthem.

"I personally will be very sad for Sarm, because I think that building is the heritage for Bob Marley," said record producer Robin Millar, who started his career in Basing Street.

Horn said the family refused to sell the entire lot to property developers as other studios had. Instead, the recording facilities will be downsized into a purpose-built basement, making way for nine flats and a garage in one of the trendiest areas of London.

Along with the studio's vintage consoles, microphone collection and partitions, Bob Marley's specially designed one-metre-deep shower bath will also remain on-site.

"There was always a want from the family to try and retain as much for music use as possible, but we have to be realistic," Horn said. "We'll get a similar usage out of probably a tenth of the space. The recording studio rental market just isn't what it used to be."

Horn said that bands today usually book small rooms for short recording sessions, whereas in the past, artists such as George Michael took nearly a year to record Faith at Sarm.

Millar recalled Sarm's predecessor, Basing Street, as "A very inspirational place".

"Basing Street was funky," Millar continued. "The whole way it was very stylishly designed, the layout, Lucky [Marley's personal chef] who served up West Indian food. There was a studio cat. Everything about it was a more informal vibe, which suited creative people."

Recording studios all over the country are taking a massive hit. For years, the legendary Philadelphia-based studio, Sigma Sound Studios, had an outpost in N.Y. It closed some time ago. 

What used to take 50 or so people to do, can now be accomplished by one person in one room. Another bad sign of the times.

LEFTOVERS --- It soon might look like another sudden departure has ripped through HBO’s The Leftovers.

The drama, which takes place after a rapture-like event, is shedding a number of its series regulars in advance of its upcoming second season. 

Leads Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Christopher Eccleston and Carrie Coon reportedly will return. Liv Tyler’s participation, however, is in doubt. 

The cast changes stem from the series’ decision to move the action from the fictional town of Mapleton, N. Y., to another location in Season 2. The drama, which is based on Tom Perotta’s 2011 novel, exhausted most of its source material in the first season.

For a show, that was to my mind, brilliantly done, but amazingly hard to watch, this seems like a death knell for sure. This is an amazing development, as this show was given every opportunity possible, to happen in a big, big way. 

The promotion was huge and the budgets were limitless. Creator Damon Lindelof, of Lost-fame, was interviewed over-and-over and seemingly given a free-pass; the industry, along with HBO, wanted this show to be huge. It was, but probably not in the way, anyone envisioned.

Their first season produced some of the best work ever seen on TV for sure, but it was disconcerting and hard to follow. Sure, I’ll watch this second season, but a total re-vamp sound impossible. We'll see. Here’s hoping.

CLOSING NOTES --- I watched last night’s I Love Lucy Xmas-revival and laughed like crazy. Yes … it held up. The first episode aired on June 15, 1951, and the final episode aired April 1, 1960. The Xmas-special was colorized and was a trip. It did look different, but little-by-little I got used to it. 

One of the predictable commercials was hawking Season One of the show … all 35 episodes! Wow. In TV these days, if you get 8 episodes, that’s deemed a success. They also showed the famous Job Switching-episode, where the girls worked in the chocolate factory! Funny as always. 

Interesting to note: that ep was directed by one William Asher-later to find fame on the TV-show Bewitched, and as Elizabeth Montgomery’s husband. Loved it! …

Also caught up on the final season of CBS’ The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker. The show’s had an amazing run and this first episode did not disappoint at all. Baker is just tremendous. Kudos! …

Screening of the final Hobbit movie tonight (The Battle of the Five Armies) - I am hearing great things about it ...

Looking forward to seeing Debbie Gibson at a holiday performance at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral on 12/18. Check it out HERE.