Showing posts with label MICKY DOLENZ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MICKY DOLENZ. Show all posts

Sunday, August 23, 2015


A Little Bit Of Broadway

Broadway Records has announced that the newest addition to its Live at 54 BELOW series, “Micky Dolenz: A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock & Roll – LIVE at 54 BELOW” will be released on September 25, 2015. The album is now available for pre-order

In early July, Micky Dolenz performed several sold-out evenings at 54 BELOW, the famed performance venue in New York City. This charming Broadway performer and legendary rock ‘n’ roll star will be back to 54 BELOW September 25th and 26th by popular demand to celebrate the launch of his album.

This brand new show was a way for Dolenz to combine his love of Broadway with his love for rock ‘n’ roll into one exuberant concert. The album consists of The Monkees greatest hits and some rarities, along with songs from the musical roles he has performed and the shows he loves. Dolenz framed each song with personal anecdotes and behind the scenes intel, such as his friendship with the Beatles, how he met his wife and the fact that stalwarts Neil Young and Ry Cooder played on the original recording session for “As We Go Along.” The compilation of songs and stories creates a joyous and nostalgic atmosphere for both Dolenz and the audience.

“It was a little bit out of my usual comfort zone, but each show was better than the last and I guess our original concept worked. If the truth be known, the original TV-series was a lot like a half-hour Marx Brothers musical on TV. It’s great that we’ll have the live recording as a permanent record,” said Dolenz. 

Van Dean, founder of Broadway Records adds, “I grew up on the Monkees re-runs and having the opportunity to create this show and resulting album with one of my idols is definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment. It’s thrilling to see how much his fans have embraced this new show. We anticipated they would sing along with some of the Monkees songs at the concerts but to also hear them sing along with his rendition of ‘Pure Imagination’, was pure magic.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Peter Asher With Bruce Grakal, Micky Dolenz, Jim Kerr And Carol Miller

Micky Dolenz’s final night at New York’s 54 Below brought out a bunch of special friends; including Q104.3’s Jim Kerr and Carol Miller, as well as superstar-producer/artist Peter Asher.

Kerr, who had previously introduced Dolenz for two shows at B. B. King’s, did the same this night, referencing his work in his earlier TV-show Circus Boy, as well as the fact that the three-shows were all being recorded for a live album -to be released in September- which will share the title of the show, A Little Bit Broadway; A Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll, on Broadway Records.

Dolenz blazed through the show with stellar support from his bad, led by Michael Moritz, Jr.

Plans are afoot for Dolenz to return to the club in late-September.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Micky Dolenz

Monkee-Micky Dolenz knocked it out of the park at his cabaret opening this week at 54 Below.

Titled A Little Bit Broadway; A Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll, Dolenz neatly segued his Broadway-chops with several Monkee-hits, including the Carole King/Toni Stern (from HEAD) “As We Go Along,” which this writer just marveled at (fact: Neil Young and Ry Cooder were in on the original recording session).

Watching him do “Don’t Be The Bunny” from the show Urinetown, and, “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago was just marvelous; as he wrapped his golden-glove of a voice lusciously around these songs. “Cellophane” was preceded by a very home-spun story, as are all of these numbers. As always, Dolenz is a succinct and funny raconteur. I'm prompted to say that a book of these vintage anecdotes would be most welcome.

Of course the Monkee-hits flowed, including “Last Train to Clarksville," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer," the latter of which was followed by Dolenz's joking reminder to a child in the audience, "I sang that song long before Shrek."

It’s terrific to note that for the 70-year old Dolenz, his voice remains as strong and vibrant as ever; a welcomed mix of Roy Orbison and Freddie Mercury. The emotion that he can draw with each song is mesmerizing and admirable.

Also performed was the Lieber/Stoller standout, D. W. Washburn. That song, neatly bridged both of the show's themes, being both a hit for the Monkees and later prominently featured in the Broadway play Smokey Joe's Café.

After his musical director Michael J. Moritz Jr. explained that "I'm a Believer" would be performed in a Broadway manner more suitable for the 54 Below’s intimate, classy setting, Dolenz launched into a slowed-down, jazzy version which was quickly stopped.

"What's scary is that there's probably someone out there doing it like that," he said before the band reverted to the familiar rocking arrangement.

The youthful band was truly inspired; most likely because they were backing such a star, but were spot on.

Playing tribute to the songwriters whose efforts made the Monkees so successful, including Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Neil Diamond and Neil Sedaka, Dolenz seemed more comfortable than ever with his original band's musical legacy (next year is their 50th anniversary).

The evening ended with the rousing "Goin' Down" from their psychedelically tinged album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd., sending the baby boomer audience out in a blissful wave of nostalgia.

Photo Courtesy Of: David Salidor

Friday, July 03, 2015


Micky Dolenz

Next week in NYC, at cabaret-club 54 Below, Monkee-Micky Dolenz, debuts a new show called A Little Bit Broadway; A Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll, and we have an exclusive peak into his rehearsal sessions held last week.

Working with a new band, with music director Michael J. Moritz, Dolenz performs several Broadway-numbers that are simply sensational.

Watch him do “Don’t Be The Bunny” from the show Urinetown, and, “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago.

He also does several Monkee-numbers, including a rare performance of the Carole King/Toni Stern song from Head, “As We Go Along.”

The shows are July, 7, 10, and 11, and we’ll be on hand for a closer review. A lived-album will be recorded and released on Broadway Records in September.

Sunday, June 28, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Micky Dolenz

MAGIC MICKY --- We’ve been sworn to secrecy, but we were at a super-secret rehearsal last night for Micky Dolenz’s upcoming three-play at 54 Below on July 7, 10, and 11. The show is called A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll, which is a nice riff on Mr. Dolenz’s Broadway experiences (Aida; Grease; Pippin’; and Hairspray) then meshed seamlessly with his rock ’n roll music we all know so well.

Working with a different band than usual—fronted by the astounding Michael Moritz (Matilda; Beautiful)—the show is an amazing revelation from a gentleman with one of the best voices in rock ’n roll ever.

Micky’s stories, with which he explains and introduces each song, are hilarious and informative. Suffice to say that if you were a fan of Dolenz before, then this show is a must-see. I will exclusively add that’s there a song from the way-ahead-of-its-time 1968 Monkees feature film classic Head (hint: Carole King wrote it) that is not only one of my all-time personal favorites, but is also a major show stopper.

This month, by the way, is the 50th anniversary of that famous Variety ad that sought “four insane boys” to audition for a new music-based TV show. This is the ad that introduced the world to Micky, Davy, Peter, and Mike. Great pop history, indeed!

This new show from Micky will be recorded for a live album on Broadway Records, set to be released this September.

At the final Saturday night performance (July 11), Q104.3’s DJ Jim Kerr will introduce Micky from the stage. You’ve heard it here first: Do not miss this show.

TRUMPED --- Univision says it is severing all business ties to Donald Trump.

Univision is the biggest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States, so its decision is a blow to the Miss Universe Organization, a joint venture of Trump and Comcast’s NBC/Universal division.

Last week, in his speech announcing his run for President of the United States, Trump deplored immigrants from Mexico who "have lots of problems" and are "bringing those problems to us."

"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists," he said, adding, "and some, I assume, are good people."

Trump went on Fox News Thursday to say, "Of course I'm standing by the statement." He added, "I love Mexico, I love the Mexican people."

Trump also said he intends to sue Univision for refusing to carry the pageant.

"I'm going to have to sue Univision now . . . They have a signed contract," he said. At another point, Trump said, "They'll have to pay me a lot of money."

This morning, there are unconfirmed reports that NBC is distancing itself from Trump–which, if one reads between the lines, may mean Adios to The Apprentice.

While I knew Trump’s inflammatory speech would have a polarizing effect, I didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

Mr. Trump—a.k.a., Mr. Arrogant—is in trouble . . . again!

JOURNEY’S JOURNEY --- Journey has announced that their special guest on their Canadian tour will be none other than Neal "Vortex" Schon.

Of course, Schon is a founding member of Journey and will be playing with them on their section of the show, but he will also open as a solo performer, playing songs from his new all-instrumental album Vortex. Joining Schon will be Omar Hakim on drums, Rachel Z Hakim on keyboards and Jerry Brooks on bass.

Vortex was released on Tuesday via the Mascot Music Group.

Schon will then join his former Journey bandmates Jonathan Cain (keyboards and backing vocals), co-founder Ross Valory (bass and backing vocals), and lead vocalist Arnel Pineda (who was discovered by Schon) for a hit-filled set from the classic rockers.

Omar Hakim will also be doing double duty, filling in for Deen Castronovo who was recently arrested for assault.

If you ask me, I think things would get really interesting out there on the road if Schon were to reunite with one-time Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar (who remains teamed up with his fellow ex-VH bandmate and bassist Michael Anthony in the super-group Chickenfoot, also featuring master guitarist Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith on drums) and they put together a reunion tour of their short-lived but dynamic early ’80s band HSAS (which stood for Hagar, Schon, bassist Kenny Aaronson, and drummer Michael Shrieve). You never know—these kinds can happen.

CLOSING NOTES-- Fred Goodman, who I knew for years when he was with music industry rag Cash Box, is out with his new book Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Fred is a somewhat cantankerous individual, but a brilliant writer whose knack for getting to the meat of the matter remains essentially unparalleled in the biz. His previous book, The Mansion on the Hill (Vintage), remains one of the definitive books about rock-artist management in our time.

Klein, for those five of you who don’t know, was the business manager for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and many more. Simply cannot wait to read this one . . .

Which major NYC-based charity is being looked into for possible violations? Well, they just celebrated with a major gala this week—but the wolves are at the door. Stay tuned on this one.

Photo Courtesy Of: Brad Balfour/BMB Media

Thursday, June 25, 2015



Story By:: G. H. HARDING
Hugh Dancy

HANNIBAL SILENCED? --- Word came down Monday night that NBC has canceled Hannibal, Bryan Fuller’s juicer-than-you-can-believe take on the whole Hannibal Lecter/Thomas Harris mystique. NBC said that the ratings weren’t rising enough, which I can understand. What I can’t understand, though, is would NBC would cancel such a brilliant show. Everything about this series was top-notch, from the brilliant acting of Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy; the inspired camera and cinematographer work; and especially the writing.

From the moment this news of cancellation was announced, there has been immediate interest from other broadcast platforms (including the increasingly ubiquitous Amazon, which has the rights to the first two series.

Believe me, I wondered what kind of storyline would actually make its way to NBC network TV based around a series like this. Since its debut, though, it has proven itself a first-rate production at every turn.

Series creator Fuller is one strange cat. His earlier series, Pushing Daisies, and even a whacked-out take on the ‘60s hit sitcom The Munsters were amazing efforts. At first, he claimed that NBC’s Hannibal had run its course. Soon afterward, however, he was soliciting interest from other possible suitors, all the while claiming that his take on a possible Season Four for the show would be his best yet. Then, last night, NBC revealed that it would take the show to this year’s Comic-Con next month . . . for one final meal, so to speak. Now something like this rarely happens. Why would a network want to promote, for one last time, a show it has just axed? I predict that NBC will reverse its decision . . . at Comic Con. Stay tuned, as this tale seems to be far from over.

NEVERMIND --- In our gushing over the new season of HBO‘s True Detective on Monday, we neglected to mention the disturbing yet brilliant title song chosen for the show this year by T Bone Burnett: Leonard Cohen’s 2014 track “Nevermind.” This is a show that places great emphasis on its opening titles; maybe as important as those early James Bond title sequences, created by Maurice Binder. The mood of that show is immediately introspective, atmospheric, and perfectly suited to the material of the show. And this is not the first time that the music of Leonard Cohen has been used to set a mood for something that you watch: for example, the late great maverick film director Robert Altman used Cohen’s music all throughout his brilliant 1971 picture McCabe & Mrs. Miller . . . and Cohen’s music again was used to startling effect by the always-stirring director Oliver Stone in the opening sequence of 1994’s mega-violent satire of media—Natural Born Killers.

I’m not sure what led Burnett to choose this as the new opening music for the new season, but this one’s a charmer - take a listen

Dick Van Patten

DICK VAN PATTEN --- We were very sad to learn yesterday that veteran actor Dick Van Patten—a professional actor since the age of seven, but known best for his role as the loving TV dad Tom Bradford on ABC’s Eight Is Enough—has passed away at age 86 from complications due to diabetes. Perhaps the best that can be said about this great and beloved actor was shared by Anthony Pomes, VP of marketing at Square One Publishers, who worked as an editor with Mr. Van Patten on a TV trivia book back in 2007 but who then stayed in touch and became friends with the man. His comments, shared with Nancy Berk at Parade, can be seen in the article link below. Being that I also came to know Mr. Van Patten starting back in the ‘80s, I can say that showbiz lost one of its sweetest stars – we do well to remember him as one of the greats.

Roger Daltrey

THE WHO AT SHEA --- Next week, Eagle Rock Entertainment will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Who with the first-ever release of Live at Shea Stadium 1982. This is the first official release of the entire show, and features restored footage and newly-mixed sound.

The Who that performed that show in 1982(Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and—in place of original drummer Keith Moon, who died in 1978—Kenney Jones, who was previously the drummer for the Small Faces) delivered both classic tracks and songs that were rarely performed live: “Pinball Wizard,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “My Generation,” “Substitute,” “Who Are You,” “I Can’t Explain,” “See Me, Feel Me,” “Baba O’Riley,” and many more. The tour promoted the 1982 album It’s Hard, and so the set list was comprised of several tracks from that album, some of which the band would only play live on that tour. (It has become almost fashionable to consign It’s Hard into the dust heap of bad rock record history, but there are in fact several strong songs with lyrics that reveal much of Townshend’s struggle with the reality of getting older but also smarter – to get a taste of what can be found on that album, click the link below to hear the album’s final track, “Cry If You Want” (one of the hardest rockers on the album, with a rageful yet tasty guitar solo from Pete in the outro of the song’s slow fade):

The Who’s 1982 North American tour was the last to feature Kenney Jones on drums, and the band did not tour again until 1989. This concert film features the show from the second of their two nights at New York’s Shea Stadium, and was filmed on October 13th 1982.

2015 is a year of even higher profile than usual for this legendary band, with their 50th Anniversary European/North American tour taking place this summer. Live at Shea Stadium 1982 shows exactly what this legendary British rock band’s reputation has been built on all this time.

My first rock ‘n roll show was The Who in 1967 at Long Island‘s Lido Beach Club. At that show, drummer Keith Moon bashed his multi-drum Premier set with Day-Glo drumsticks and a young Daltrey and Townshend, anchored by Entwistle (a.k.a, “The Ox” as a nickname) literally overpowered the crowd . . . myself included. I had never seen anything like it.

Click here to view a performance of“Love Reign O’er Me” from the 1982 Shea show: 

Scott Shannon With Micky Dolenz And Patty Steele

CLOSING NOTES – Micky Dolenz with scribe Roger Friedman at Del Frisco’s last night; earlier in the day, he visited with CBS- FM‘s Scott Shannon and Patty Steele . . .

Have you heard the new Rod Stewart single “Love Is?” It’s brilliant. A total throwback to Rod‘s earlier music . . . a welcome change, after all the many orchestra-laden records of Tin Pan Alley standards that he has been releasing over the last nine years or so. The new single sounds like “Maggie May.” The new album from Stewart comes out next month on Capitol Records . . . looking forward to receiving a press copy of the album so I can share my thoughts on it with you.

The James Horner story is so sad on so many levels. What a talented individual; face it, his music for Titanic was spot-on brilliant. What a terrible loss . . .

Wednesday, June 10, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Anna Wintour

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.

Alanis Morissette

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 ( . . .

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Bruce Springsteen

“THE BOSS” IS BACK--- Is it possible that Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band could be releasing a new album before the end of the summer? The sources are less than concrete, but rumors of just that scenario are running rampant on the Springsteen fan site BlogItAllNight, as follows:

“I heard that Bruce Springsteen has finished recording his new album and it is now in the mixing stage. The best part of it all was that I was told it would be released this summer! It seems unprecedented for Springsteen to release a new album without a few months’ notice but after all, he is The Boss. As for what the album consists of, I was told it was very different from what Springsteen has put out before. So with my grain of salt, here is to hoping that this particular rumor is true!"

His last album, High Hopes (with the brilliant Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello), was among my favorites–and that’s a lot to say, as his output has been nothing short of miraculous. Darkness on the Edge of Town; Nebraska; Tunnel of Love; Born in the U.S.A. . . . all of it just exemplary.

Clearly, this remains a less-than-solid lead at this time. But in the current day and age, anything has to be considered—even if it is with a grain of salt. The blogger cited above is irrefutably correct on one crucial point, though . . . if it does in fact exist, a new Springsteen album should theoretically be one of the most hyped releases of 2015. Come to think of it, several of the biggest albums of the last few years—including BeyoncĂ©'s self-titled album, and Drake's fourth album If You're Reading This It's Too Late—have been released without any previous fanfare . . . so it remains tough to say for sure whether or not the Springsteen camp might look to attempt the same stunt.

If anything makes one skeptical about the notion that Springsteen might release a new LP during 2015, I would say it would be the gap between it and Springsteen’s previous album, High Hopes. Over the past two decades, “The Boss” has not exactly lagged in between new releases. However, he has always had gaps of at least two to three years between releases. High Hopes was released during January of 2014, less than a year-and-a-half ago.

Of course, that could be the perfect false flag for Springsteen. Until the end of the summer, all we can do is hope. High hopes indeed!

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

SAN ANDREAS --- Sure, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new movie San Andreas is just a modern-day variation on the “disaster movie” in the style of the 1972 classic The Poseidon Adventure and 1974’s The Towering Inferno (both films produced by the late great “Master of Disaster” himself, Irwin Allen). The action literally starts in the first sequence, and continues pretty much from there—spreading damage to L.A. as well as San Francisco. Johnson portrays an L.A. Search and Rescue officer, who is driven amid all the chaos to locate both his estranged wife (the always reliable Carla Gugino) and his daughter, played by the fetching Alexandra Daddario (from the Percy Jackson series) and it all works reasonably well. There are some terrific stunts and, in the final third of the movie, a seemingly indestructible boat takes them to safety. I saw the screening with a friend who is an avid boat aficionado, who told me that the motor on the boat would have been damaged long before that cataclysmic on-screen escape is over. So much for suspension of disbelief!

The great character actor Paul Giamatti essays the Caltech-based earthquake nerd who predicts correctly what in the film is about to hit California. And Archie Panjabi (Kalinda from CBS-TV ‘s The Good Wife) is brilliant. Truth be told, she’s the star surprise of the movie.

Believe me, the movie (which opens today) will have an epic weekend!

BRIAN’S SURF --- The new Brian Wilson solo album, No Pier Pressure, is amazing . . . perhaps (alongside Bob Dylan’s Shadows in the Night) one of my favorite albums of the year so far. No one makes a solo album like Brian Wilson; damning the trends, he always does exactly what he wants to do.

The back story on this album is that it was half of the next Beach Boys album, which he hoped to make with the re-assembled group two years back during their 50th anniversary tour. Well, cousin (and holder of the band’s name) Mike Love scuttled that project—so Brian returned to the studio to finish an entire album.

In a way it’s a slightly schizophrenic album. Half the songs sound like the Beach Boys, while the other half is distinctly Brian. I guess that’s a good thing, as we get the best parts of each. I hope Love realizes what a great album he could have been a part of realizing under the Beach Boys name!

What’s most amazing to me, though, is how good Brian Wilson sounds. After nearly three “lost” decades, followed by his active participation in that 50th anniversary tour of the Beach Boys—he sounds all over again like the proverbial surfing teenager out in Malibu.

On the track “Saturday Night,” sung with fun frontman Nate Ruess, Wilson sounds positively happy . . . concerned only with Saturday night!

“Sail Away” is a little too “Sloop John B”-ish for me, but “Guess You Had to Be There” is a wry commentary on the continuing flurry of ‘60’s nostalgia works and live shows.

The old-school track, “The Last Song,” is utterly beautiful. A report was that he had recorded this with Lana Del Rey, but she’s not here on the finished track. Instead, Wilson’s ghostly vocals amid strings and piano come together in a huge orchestral finale. “Don't be sad . . . there was a time and place for what we had.” Brilliant album.

CLOSING NOTES --- Amazing to see Entertainment Weekly‘s editor Jess Cagle at Wednesday's all-media screening of San Andreas. You rarely see the heavyweight guys at a screening like this. Usually, they're gifted with an advance-DVD weeks before. Also there was former Village Voice mix master Michael Musto and PR pasha David Salidor . . .

John Leguizamo

Also happening this week has been the Book Expo America (BEA) at the Javits Center. Starting a day earlier this year on Wednesday (as opposed to running last year from Thursday to Saturday), the show had its usual share of foot traffic. Word from our publishing sources, however, seem to indicate that the show continues to become more about the perceived glitz of the big houses than the actual work and endeavor to network and create viable channels for book sales. A publishing executive who wishes to remain anonymous observed that actual industry members seemed more interested in standing in line to meet notables like Jane Goodall or John Leguizamo (and don’t forget Snooki) than in working to make sales and place orders.

Next year, the BEA is moved back to Chicago after several recent years here in NYC. Whether or not next year’s BEA is an improvement over this year’s will be determined by those who actually attend it.

We are, however, happy to report that the great Dr. Ruth Westheimer was cited again at the BEA—it’s never a BEA without her!

Micky Dolenz

Here's our shot of Micky Dolenz speaking at LATTC. Somehow it went missing from Monday's column. Micky and daughter Georgia attend the Dwell On Design-conference Saturday in L.A.

Dolenz Photo Courtesy Of: Steven Harvey Photography

Thursday, May 28, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Taylor Swift

SHEP’S BACK --- To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Madonna’s “Vogue” reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the venerable music magazine has reached out to the song’s co-producer and co-writer, dance legend Shep Pettibone, for—amazingly—his first interview in twenty years.

Back in the day, Shep was the go-to guy for all-things-remix, and his candid responses throughout this new interview are all terrific. He explains to Billboard that he has successfully stepped away from the business for a host of other projects—but for most, myself included, he remains a sorely-missed craftsman.

A man still of impeccable taste and gentle persuasion, his new interview makes for a very good read. Interesting fact: Pop artists, like Madonna, all loved working with him.

EXTRA-EXTRAORDINARY ---20th Century Fox is rebooting its 2003 historical-fantasy film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—a graphic novel of the same name that centers on Victorian-era literary characters such as Captain Nemo, The Invisible Man, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde teaming up to fight a common enemy.

The feature film starred Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain; it was the actor’s final live-action movie role before he retired from acting. The plan was for League to become a franchise, but the worldwide gross reached only $180 million and was considered something of a flop.

Me, I loved it and think it remains a classic example of how best to turn a graphic novel into a successful movie. The director, Stephen Norrington, did a wonderful job and the film featured some startling special effects.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book series launched in 1999.

SUMMER’s HERE --- With Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones, U2 and other superstars launching U. S. tours this month, the summer concert season offers music fans a wealth of options.

Last year, Pollstar—a trade publication covering the concert industry—estimated the size of the North American concert business at $6.2 billion. That number could likely grow in 2015.

"What's on sale is doing well," says Pollstar's editor-in-chief, Gary Bongiovanni. "It may well lead to a record year for tour revenues."

At least a dozen acts are playing stadiums—including the Stones, Swift, AC/DC, One Direction and Foo Fighters, among others—and the forecast looks promising, given that 2014 was the biggest year for stadium shows since 1994, according to Billboard Magazine’s director Ray Waddell.

"This year is supposed to be just as big," he says. "I think people have missed stadiums."

The cost of attending these mega-shows will vary greatly, from the Foo Fighters tour (where tickets rarely cost more than $75) to the Stones, who set the top ticket price for their fourteen U. S. shows at around $400.

"The Rolling Stones are probably going to be the highest average ticket price on tour," Bongiovanni says. "They may not work as many dates, but certainly on a per-date basis, there probably won't be anybody that comes close to them."

Country music touring also appears strong this summer. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and the Zac Brown Band have stadium shows booked. Florida Georgia Line has already started taking its first major headlining tour into arenas and amphitheaters.

"Country is developing more headliners than any genre, and it is crushing it out there," Waddell said.

CLOSING NOTES --- The 2015 Book Expo began yesterday in NYC at The Javits Center . . .

San Andreas, featuring Dwayne Johnson, screens tonight in NYC. Look for my review this Friday . . .

Micky and daughter Georgia Dolenz will attend this weekend’s “Dwell On Design” 2015 conference. . .

Terrific review for David Duchovny’s Aquarius; which premieres tomorrow on NBC … 

Frank Shiner returns to The Cutting Room on July 25.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Don Rickles

BACK TO THE EGG --- Micky Dolenz, with daughter Georgia, visited at LATTC (Los Angeles Trade and Tech College) last week in L. A., at their 90th anniversary event.

LATTC was the school where he studied architecture at right before his audition with The Monkees. Said Dolenz, “My parents wanted me to have something to fall back on … just in case that other career didn't work out.”

Also attending the event were: LA County supervisor and former US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Gary Toebben; and, Secretary-treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor Rusty Hicks.

Dolenz and Georgia attend the Dwell on Design event ( in L. A. next week.

JOHNSON PASSES --- Louis Johnson, founding member of funk band the Brothers Johnson and an in-demand bassist who appeared on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," died on Thursday, May 21. He was 60. Johnson's nephew Troy confirmed his death, though a cause of death has yet to be revealed.

"I've never been given parts to play in my whole life. I'm the most rare bass player in the whole world," Johnson told writer Steve Knopper in 2013 for the upcoming book MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson. "No one ever gave me music paper to read; no one ever gave me anything to read. They tell me, 'Here's a track, play what you want.'"

The Los Angeles-based Brothers Johnson, a group featuring Louis and his brother George, got their start backing up Quincy Jones before releasing their acclaimed, Jones-produced debut LP Look Out for #1 in 1976.

Over the next five years, the Brothers Johnson racked up three Number One hits on the R&B charts: 1976's "I'll Be Good to You," their 1977 cover of Shuggie Otis' "Strawberry Letter 23," and 1980's smash "Stomp!" (Their rendition of "Strawberry Letter 23" was later featured prominently in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown.)

The Brothers Johnson's 1980 album Light Up the Night, featuring "This Had to Be" co-written by Michael Jackson and featuring the King of Pop on background vocals, ascended to the top of the R&B album charts.

RIP ANNE MEARA --- Anne Meara passed yesterday at age 85. She’d been living in the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale for some time, after a serious stroke a couple of years ago. She was the other half of the celebrated comedy team Stiller and Meara with husband Jerry; they were an absolutely brilliant and legendary duo.

I well remember their countless appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show … alongside the likes of the now departed Alan King and Joan Rivers.

It made me think of seeing Don Rickles on one of the last Letterman shows two weeks back; frail and not in the best of health, he still killed … and, with Howard Stern no less.

No doubt about it, these comedians represent the era of an era.

Meara was also a gifted playwright and director, as well as writer of Stiller and Meara’s many beloved commercials. She leaves her son Ben, the actor, and daughter Amy, who'd been taking care of her on a daily basis according to sources.

CLOSING NOTES --- Art Garfunkel told the U. K. Telegraph about Paul Simon: "I created a monster." Boy, would love to hear that next conversation between the two ...

PR-pasha David Salidor at Traif in South Williamsburg ...

George Clooney’s Tomorrowland came in first among among new releases overseas with an estimated $26.7M from 65 territories representing roughly 56% of the international marketplace.

Especially impressive as the movie came in with mostly negative reviews, save for this one: David Edelstein’s review from New York Magazine: “Brad Bird’s Disney-produced sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland is the most enchanting reactionary cultural diatribe ever made. It’s so smart, so winsome, so utterly rejuvenating that you’ll have to wait until your eyes have dried and your buzz has worn off before you can begin to argue with it.” Go figure.

Monday, May 18, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING
George Clooney

LETTERMAN’S EXIT --- This Wednesday will be David Letterman‘s final show. Let me just say that his past two weeks of shows have been nothing short of phenomenal . . . amazing, to be sure. With guests like Tom Waits, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, Bill Clinton, Adam Sandler, Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Bruce Willis, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Ray Romano, a frail-looking Don Rickles (though funny as ever), and just a sterling moment and deep-hearted performance from Norm MacDonald. Suffice to say that Dave’s exit is going to be an immense moment in TV lore.

Nothing against the Jimmys, but Dave had the gravitas and grace to do it all. His last two musical guests will be Bob Dylan tomorrow and Eddie Vedder with his still-going-strong group Pearl Jam on Wednesday. Dave’s final guest will be the man who has always been his first: Bill Murray. I am going to miss Letterman big-time.

That’s right, folks: We’re losing Mad Men and Letterman in one fell swoop.

PITCH ON --- The Barden Bellas are back . . . and back with a vengeance. Pitch Perfect 2 is officially the biggest movie-musical opening ever, making more in its debut weekend than the first movie earned in its entire theatrical run. Debuting to an estimated $70.3 million, Pitch Perfect 2 has surpassed High School Musical 3 to become the biggest movie-musical opening of all time. That’s well above the first Pitch Perfect’s entire theatrical total of $65 million. This isn't unheard of (Mike Meyers’ The Spy Who Shagged Me also opened to more than the first Austin Powers film made during its entire theatrical run), but it’s still pretty rare—and it’s a testament to just how popular Pitch Perfect has become since the first one left theaters.

Pitch Perfect 2 wasn't the only big opening this weekend. Mad Max: Fury Road debuted in second place. This R-rated, post-apocalyptic tale has earned rave reviews. And while it wasn't expected to break any box-office records, it still brought in a solid $44.4 million.

WOODSTOCK TIME --- I had thought that the acclaimed new memoir from Elliot Tiber, After Woodstock, was going to be all I heard about this summer in reference to the great 1969 Woodstock concert. But while I was dialing through my TV stations yesterday, I came upon an infomercial for Time/Life‘s new release, The Woodstock Collection: a 10-CD set, featuring the songs from the Woodstock festival including classics from Santana, Canned Heat, and The Youngbloods among many others.

The commercial asks the listener if, at just 74 cents a song, the viewers can live without it. It was hosted by Tommy James (and filmed on-location at the sprawling Museum at Bethel Woods, now in its seventh year of operation and built on the sacred “Yasgur’s Farm” land where the 1969 concert took place). In the spot, James admits freely that he was invited to play Woodstock but passed as he was vacationing in Hawaii. Whether or not one should truly take that at face value, it was still an amazing spot!

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS --- George Clooney’s new movie, Tomorrowland (the one movie I was greatly anticipating this summer), has gotten its first two reviews—and both just slammed the picture, calling the Brad Bird-directed epic forced and not all that entertaining. I'll still see it, but these reviews were definitely not expected. After Clooney’s lackluster Monuments Men movie, this can’t be welcome news by any means.

CLOSING NOTES --- “I am extremely excited to have the re-launch of RFC Records with the release of Lenny Fontana featuring D Train—'Raise Your Hands.’ The reaction from the DJs has been great and it feels real good to be working with Lenny on this project and the iconic recording artist James ‘D Train’ Williams.” This from RFC ‘s Ray Caviano who, in the 1980s, launched RFC Records in tandem with Warner Brothers to much acclaim. Caviano was given six million dollars from Warners back then to start, literally, the first major-label dance label. They brought out terrific records from the likes of Gino Soccio, Change (featuring the late Luther Vandross), and Janice McClain. It ran for years, and then fell by the wayside. Good to have him back . . .

We really wanted to review and talk to the legendary Boz Scaggs (for his new album, A Fool to Care), but his PR rep—Kurt Nishimura at 825 Records—never followed through with us. We did a major interview with Boz last time, but guess we weren't all that important this time around. Same thing with Ringo’s PR person, Elizabeth Freund. Wonder if the artists themselves know we were definitely dissed. Sad, as the artists pay for everything . . .

Monkees vocalist Micky Dolenz returns Thursday to LATTC (Los Angeles Trade and Technical College) in Los Angeles, where he studied Architecture for a while right before The Monkees‘ TV show audition happened and everything changed for him. Says Dolenz, “My parents wanted me to have something to fall back on . . . just in case.” Fortunately for all of us, that never happened . . .

Our final post on Mad Men will be up on Wednesday. Still letting all of it sink in . . .