MONKEE MICKY DOLENZ & JOE FRANKLIN REMEMBERED
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
WINTOUR FOR HIRE --- I'm amazed at all the ink that Vogue’s Anna Wintour has generated due to her “spit-and-polish” tweaking of Sunday’s televised Tony Awards fete. Seems the powers that be at the American Theatre Wing called on Ms. Wintour (who is said to have been famously immortalized in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada as “Miranda Priestly” played to perfection by the great Meryl Streep) to ensure some real-life visual drama at the event. That seemed to include making the red carpet look redder than ever before and to have some real-life models, like Kendall Jenner, in attendance.
Now, I’m not saying a little tweak here and there wasn't necessary at the hallowed Tony event (which, more often than not these days, looks like some sort of class reunion) . . . but super-models was a surprise.
Several of the attendees said that they got a direct call from Wintour, asking if they personally needed anything . . . like, say, something a tad more glamorous to wear. Actress Debra Messing said she had already chosen her outfit!
Sadly, all this pomp and circumstance didn’t help as the show racked up its lowest rating ever—twenty-five percent (25%) down from last year. Still, we loved Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth.
PILL 20 YEARS ON --- It’s hard to believe that Alanis Morissette’s debut album, Jagged Little Pill, was released twenty years ago (on June 13) and helped define the genre we know today as “Alternative Rock.” It was her first rock album—she had previously released two dance pop records—and at twenty years old, Morissette didn't even have a U. S. record deal when she started to work on what would become Jagged Little Pill. But after being signed (to Madonna’s Maverick label, no less), the album received nine Grammy nominations and helped her earn a spot in the Canadian Rock Music Hall of Fame earlier this year.
In honor of Jagged Little Pill’s 20th anniversary, here are some fun facts about the album.
*Morissette met Guy Oseary, and the Maverick Records team who produced her third record, while wearing sweatpants. “I remember before I met Guy Oseary at Maverick, I was writing ‘All I Really Want’ in my sweatpants, and they said, ‘You need to go over and meet everybody at Madonna’s label.’ And I said, ‘I’m in my f—ing sweatpants!’ And they said, ‘Well, you gotta go now!’ So my first meeting with the whole team was me in my sweatpants. It was horrifying. Thankfully, they loved my music.”
*Each song on the album was recorded in only one or two takes, as Morissette said that was “the shortest distance from the personal to the universal.” She said in 1996, “There’s no better feeling than when you write something that you know is a piece of you and that at some point is going to communicate to someone else. Communication is what I get off on.”
*Jagged Little Pill has no title cut, but the phrase appears in “You Learn,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 40 in June 1996.
*“You Oughta Know” features the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on bass and Dave Navarro on lead guitar. “It was very instinctive,” Flea said in 1996. “I showed up, rocked out, and split. When I first heard the track, it had a different bassist and guitarist on it; I listened to the bass line and thought, ‘that’s some weak s—t!’ It was no flash and no smash! But the vocal was strong, so I just tried to play something good.”
*It took Morissette an hour to write “Hand in My Pocket.” “I saw her write that in front of me, like, in an hour,” the album’s co-writer and producer Glen Ballard has said. “I had a 12-string Epiphone electric guitar and we just wrote it on the spot.”
*“Ironic” was the first song Morissette and Ballard wrote together. Ballard said in 1996 that the track allowed Morissette to experience a “stream of consciousness, spiritual way of writing” that she'd “never tapped into before.”
*Even though the album presents challenging themes like “social commentary, eating disorder commentary, embracing emotions, flying in the face of what’s expected,” Morissette still encourages young music fans of today to listen to Jagged Little Pill. “It’s not the kind of record that I would discourage a fifteen-year-old to listen to,” she said. “It’s quite the opposite.”
*Jagged Little Pill won “Album of the Year” at the 1996 Grammys when Morissette was just 21 years old—making the Canadian singer the youngest artist to take home the honor until Taylor Swift did so at age 20 in 2010.
*There’s now a Broadway show based on Jagged Little Pill in the works with Tom Kitt, the composer behind Green Day’s theatrical production of American Idiot. “We’re just in the beginning phases of it so I can barely share anything about it because we haven’t created it yet,” Morissette said earlier this year. “But the story is going to be fictionalized and then at some point down the next 10 years I can envision myself creating a one-person show where I can really get into the subtleties and the stories, but for this particular musical it will be a fictionalized story and we'll add songs and change lyrics.”
A game-changing moment in music may now be just around the bend.
|Joe Franklin And Producer Steve Garrin|
GOODNIGHT, UNCLE JOE --- For all of us who still mourn the passing of the one and only Joe Franklin this past January, sources tell me that there will be a Joe Franklin Memorial Plaque Dedication Ceremony taking place this Friday, June 12th at The Actors' Temple, 339 W. 47th Street NYC, NY 10036. Friday Night Services are at 7 PM and the Plaque Ceremony should begin at 8 PM. Speakers will include Producers, Actors, Comics and close friends of Joe Franklin. (Some speeches may be before 8 PM and interwoven into the 7 PM Friday Night Service.) Broadcast legend Joe Franklin will be remembered and honored at The Actors' Temple with a Memorial Plaque alongside Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker, Smith & Dale, Joe E. Lewis, William B. Williams and many, many other showbiz Legends. The event is also FREE and Open to the Public. If you’ve lived in New York and had a TV (or even just a radio), then I don’t need to tell you how much more wonderful life in our city has been because of Joe Franklin. Everyone who wants to be there to remember “Uncle Joe” and to take one more trip down Memory Lane should be at the Memorial this Friday night. I certainly intend to be there . . .
R.I.P., V.A. “VINNIE” MUSETTO --- Speaking of the loss of great ones here in New York City, the great tabloid editor V.A. “Vinnie” Musetto has passed away this past Tuesday at age 74. His daughter indicated to press that her father had died from pancreatic cancer shortly after the diagnosis. There are many great things that you can read about Musetto in the coming days’ coverage in both print and digital media. However, everyone has to pay homage to his gritty wit by recalling the controversy of his 1983 New York Post headline “Headless body in topless bar.” It was an especially lurid and definitive “New York moment,” for sure. He will be missed . . .
DOLENZ BISQUITS --- British journalist and BBC personality Iain Lee and his 7A Records are proud to present the first ever reissue of Micky Dolenz’s original MGM singles. This beautifully-packaged limited edition, 180G blue transparent vinyl gate fold set includes all of Dolenz’s original MGM singles.
Dolenz has also done an exclusive interview for this project, which is included along with a 12-inch, 12-page booklet featuring extensive liner notes and never-before-published photos by legendary photographer Henry Diltz. All recordings have been transferred from the original master tapes, except for two tracks where the original masters could no longer be located. Those recordings have been meticulously restored from the original vinyl issues. This release is a must-have for any Monkees fan—even if you don’t own a record player!
We spoke to Iain for a quick interview:
*Why put this package together?
“These songs are an overlooked part of Monkees’ history. They show Micky’s versatility as a songwriter, a musician and they also show just how good his voice has always been! They’ve never been put together in one compilation, and have been unavailable for over 40 years. This is a unique opportunity for fans to get all of these tracks in one stunning package.”
*How supportive has Micky been?
“He’s been wonderful, although he was more than a little surprised that two fans in the UK were doing this! As he said to the executive producers of this project, ‘I am incredibly surprised, and very flattered, and honoured – I am very glad that some of this stuff is being listened to! I liked it, at the time! And I’m glad that other people do. It’s fantastic’.”
*How did your interview go with Micky?
“It was great fun. Micky told some incredible stories about the early ’70s, including hanging out with John Lennon, Marc Bolan and other rock legends. He also suggested that Mama Cass could be singing on one of the tunes. Then again, this stuff happened over 40 years ago and, as Micky says, his memory of the time is ‘definitely a bit hazy!’ The full text of the interview appears in the gate fold sleeve of the album.”
*The booklet features several never-before-seen pics from the legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz. How did that come about?
“Rather cheekily, I emailed Henry and his assistant Gary Strobl direct and explained our situation. They were so pleased to hear about this album that they very kindly went through their extensive vaults and sent us a load of pictures that had never been used. Fans will be amazed at the candid shots we managed to get hold of, these photographs are just incredible.”
*Will it just be available as a vinyl record?
“Once this vinyl run has sold out, we will release the album as a digital download. Don’t worry, the twelve-page booklet will also be available to download and we are investigating the possibility of bonus tracks. One definite thing we can promise for the download version is the audio of the interview with Micky—another world exclusive. We are also looking at the feasibility of a CD release.”
*What does the name of the label signify?
“Monkees fans will get the reference–it’s the spoken intro to ‘Daydream Believer.’ A very tired Davy Jones asking the producer ‘What number is this, Chip?’ to be met by a sarcastic ‘7a!’”
|Micky And Georgia Dolenz|
CLOSING NOTES --- More Micky: Here's Micky and daughter, Georgia, at last week’s Dwell On Design confab in L. A. They were talking about their new, fine-furniture design firm Dolenz & Daughters (www.dolenzanddaughters.com) . . .
The deluxe CD/DVD edition of Pete Townshend‘s Classic Quadrophenia, featuring Les Miserables' Alfie Boe, was released this week.
The deluxe edition of the rock opera from the composer of The Who‘s Tommy, includes the complete CD and a 44-minute DVD featuring an on-camera interview with Townshend, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album, and the new music video for the song "Love Reign O'er Me."
Recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Robert Ziegler, the recording features Boe on vocals, with Townshend on electric guitar and performing cameo vocal roles along with special guest vocals from Billy Idol and Phil Daniels.
The new simonized version of Quadrophenia, an album originally released by The Who in 1973, was orchestrated by Rachel Fuller.
Dolenz Photo By: Mimi Teller