Showing posts with label PETER TORK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PETER TORK. Show all posts

Monday, April 27, 2015



Story By: by G. H. HARDING
Bruce Jenner

BRUCE JENNER SPEAKS --- Fourteen million people watched, and here’s what I saw:

First, it was one of the most courageous things I’ve ever witnessed on broadcast TV. Second, I always liked Jenner and he certainly came across as confident that he was finally making the right decision after years of anguish, And third: of all those bleeding Kardashians, Kim apparently was the first one to step up and support him . . . with Kanye, of all people.

One journalist immediately termed it: “Bruce Jenner’s Coming Out Is the Millennial Moon Landing.”

I thought Diane Sawyer did a fine job, although perhaps Anderson Cooper or Ann Curry (yes, she's still positioned with NBC Universal) would have been interesting choices as well.

While Bruce kept saying it was a mostly private and personal choice, I just didn’t get why yet another reality show about his impending gender transition is necessary. Two days later, I still don't get it.

Micky Dolenz

2 MONKEES IN ONTARIO --- Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork kicked off a series of shows in Ontario this weekend, and here’s what our reporter Tyrone Biljan had to say:

“I’ve always viewed The Monkees as a diamond. A diamond in the rough, perhaps. What I mean is that you can look at it from any angle and see within many different things. It’s multi layered.

“The two shows outside of Toronto was a spotlight of the blues from their extensive catalog for these two sold-out shows.

“The Monkees’ band (Yes! They really are a band!) has had many configurations over almost 50 years. But while both Dolenz and the late Davy Jones put out a Monkees album called Changes in 1970, this is the first Monkees tour to feature Tork & Dolenz together as a two-some. (After a rare and very welcome return to Monkees concert tours over the past two years by Mike Nesmith, it seems that “Papa Nez” has decided to opt out of touring this time around.)

“Highlights of the night, of which there were many, included the return of an acoustic-seated set that included a bluesy ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ with Peter on lead and Dolenz on guitar and harmony vocals. Tork has maintained a very spirited devotion to blues music these past years with his own group Shoe Suede Blues, and this down ‘n dirty version of “Clarksville” was first recorded and released in 2007 as part of the Shoe Suede Blues album, Cambria Hotel.

“There was also Dolenz singing what he calls his ‘Layla,’ the Gerry Goffin- and Carole King-written ‘Sometime in the Morning,’ which sounded amazing. Just as Tork’s performance of ’Clarksville’ at the show came from his own 2007 SSB version, Micky’s version of ‘Sometime in the Morning’ was informed by his own fantastic recording of the song on his own 2010 album devoted to the songs of Carole King—and called, aptly enough, King for a Day.

“The duo also brought forth a classic and seldom-performed live version of Bobby Hart and Tommy Boyce’s ballad “I’ll Spend My Life With You.” Being that The Monkees recorded a version of this song back in ’66 with the great L.A. session musicians known collectively as “The Wrecking Crew,” only to then go on and re-record the song when they were playing all the instruments themselves on the 1967 album, Headquarters, means it can now be said without a doubt that this song stands as testimony to what Micky and Peter in particular have said all along—that they began as actors playing a band on TV, but quickly became a real band that made their mark both in concerts and on records.

“The solo set backed by the Monkees’ band included Micky’s sister Coco Dolenz, as well as seasoned musicians from various Monkees tours. They played a very bluesy rendition of The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar,” which Dolenz mentioned can be found on his most recently-released solo album Remember. (For those who know that it was the choice by Monkees’ original music producer, the late Don Kirschner, to have The Monkees record a single of “Sugar, Sugar” that got him fired by the band, Micky’s performance of the song was the ironic cherry on top of this song’s performance that night.) Peter also played 'Even White Boys Get the Blues,' and both songs got a very positive reaction from the audience.

“The video presentation, by tour producer and Rhino Records visionary Andrew Sandoval, was set with many rare images. My favorite of the night had to be a very early ‘70s photo with bearded and shoulder length hair Tork on stage playing guitar, with Coco singing in the middle and Micky strumming guitar with his curly hair and mutton-chop sideburns. There were also video clips from the original Monkees TV show that included songs by Nesmith and the dearly-departed 'Manchester Cowboy' himself, Davy Jones.

“A final highlight of the show was the duo singing and exchanging verses on Davy’s signature Number-One worldwide hit, 'Daydream Believer.' After seeing this concert, and taking into consideration all the many countless dozens of live shows that The Monkees have given to the public now for nearly the past forty years, it would seem sheer lunacy to me—and I’m sure to many others all over the globe—to suggest that The Monkees are not entirely deserving of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame induction that continually eludes them. For this reporter, the absence of The Monkees from the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame truly signifies a crucial ‘missing link’ in the evolution of this organization. But the ongoing snub didn’t seem to mind Peter or Micky that night or any other night. To paraphrase the lyrics from The Monkees’ own TV show, ‘We’re’ too busy singin’ to put anybody down.’ At these new Monkees shows in Canada, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork did themselves and their other two bandmates proud. Well done, gentlemen, well done.”

MOVIE DOWNLOW – I really was looking forward to watching two movies that had somehow escaped my view late last year: Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar, and J. C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year.

Nolan has seemingly been anointed as the director to watch. Whenever I see one of his Batman movies on TV, I simply cannot turn away. And his other films, Inception and Insomnia (featuring one of the best “serious” roles in the entirety of the late great Robin Williams’ acting career) and the first film, Memento, are among my favorites.

Interstellar (with a strong cast of Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Oscar-nominated Best Actress Jessica Chastain, no less) made less and less sense as it went on. It was totally impossible to understand. I was crushed. I watched the almost three-and-a-half hour opus, hoping that it would regain some momentum. It did not.

It wasn’t a big hit when it was first released and, though McConaughey is good . . . it just made no sense. I wonder if it made sense to the actors at all, or if they were just content to leave themselves in the director’s usually-capable hands. A mystery, for sure.

J. C. Chandor is the director who first gained fame with a terrific little movie called Margin Call, followed by his work on the stunning Robert Redford movie, All Is Lost. This new one, with Oscar Isaac who was terrific and the ever-busy and “also in Interstellar” Jessica Chastian, was simmering . . . and stayed that way for the duration of the movie. The gist of the movie was to show just how hard the oil business is. What?!

The ending was a conversation that ended with a question. In light of the film’s title, there was in fact very little violence, but plenty of simmering emotion. Again, I felt cheated. In my opinion, anyone who wants to see a remarkably entertaining motion picture over the past year that actually had a profound message at its core should go right away and check out Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Whatever these folks are doing with this fairly new re-boot of the classic Arthur P. Jacobs film series is working.

My new movie wish-list, meanwhile: the new Mad Max; Tomorrowland with George Clooney and, at long last Entourage, the movie—a.k.a., The Ride Ain’t Over. Yikes, what a title!

CLOSING NOTES --- Gloria Reuben's last NYC show is this Thursday night at The Metropolitan Room. Don't miss this one . . .

Hot podcast The SDR Show—hosted by metal DJ Ralph Sutton and comedian Big Jay Oakerson—will be celebrating their one-year anniversary at a special live recording party at The Museum of Sex’s Play Bar and Den tonight at 6pm, featuring a live performance by the Shift and appearances by comedian Aaron Berg and Savanna the Psychic Stripper.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been a year! We’ve hit so many milestones, between Shiprocked and Motorhead cruises, hitting number one in iTunes Comedy, signing with “All Things Comedy” and all of the amazing guests we’ve had, it’s truly been insane,” says Sutton. “And this special show recorded in front of a live audience with live music, a psychic stripper, and a few past guests all streaming live at The Museum of Sex seemed like a great way to round out the year. I can't wait to see what kind of craziness happens next!”

Furious 7 - the hugely popular sequel crossed the $1 billion mark at the international box office, becoming only the third film to pull off that track. It’s in some pretty good company in that regard, joining both of James Cameron’s films Avatar and Titanic. With a global haul of $1.3 billion, Furious 7 is now the fifth highest-grossing film in history.

Furious 7, which is the last film in the series to feature actor Paul Walker, is also now the highest-grossing film in China. Its $323 million gross in the People’s Republic exceeds Transformers: Age of Extinction’s record-breaking $319 million bounty.

Domestically, Furious 7 became the first film since The Hunger Games in 2012 to top box office charts for four weeks in a row, picking up a leading $18.3 million and driving its Stateside total to $320 million.

And to think that the biggest car-related moneymaker in Hollywood way back in 1968 was Disney’s live-action comedy, The Love Bug . . .

New bookings at Steve Walter's Cutting Room include David Lindley and David Duchovny .... now, that's booking!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015



Story By: G. H. HARDING

 Micky Dolenz With Peter Tork, Bruce Morrow And Donnie Kehr

SNL BLOATED BUT STUNNING --- Sunday’s Saturday Night Life salute at 40 certainly was a dazzler. With an over-the-top cast of guests stars (Nicholson Crystal, Samberg, Seinfeld, Douglas, DeNiro, Martin, Baldwin and Hanks) and music from Miley Cyrus, Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, the sheer-star-power was at times was overwhelming.

Steve Martin was tasked with the opening monologue and handled it admirably. Martin, a true star for years was consistently the one shining light throughout the whole show; even when he briefly reprised his famous “King Tut” ditty … this time, fully clothed of course.

The package of classic clips was sheer brilliance; from the very first SNL-skit with John Belushi and the late-Michael Donohue to Eddie Murphy’s brilliant takeoff on Mr. Roger’s Neighbor hood. Also, to see the work of Martin Short, Chris Kattan, Dana Carvey, Chris Rock, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley, Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman, just exceptional.

Face it, SNL’s been good more than it’s been bad and though the meat of the the show’s brilliance was with its original cast (Belushi, Aykroyd, and Radner) when SNL hit it right, its dead on.

Miley Cyrus’ take on Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To leave Your Lover” was superb and should once and for all silence the naysayers. McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” was a great choice, but his voice sounded tattered. The track on TV sounded downright frail; I wonder what it sounded like in the studio?

Chevy Case who is clearly on some sort of medication that has added massive girth to his frame, was funny, but he seemed miles away and even Dan Aykroyd, trying is best to reprise his famous bass-o-matic, looked old and tired.

Comedy is heavy … no question, but so many of the performers seemed word down and worn out. Sad.

One pundit said that SNL was funny … until it wasn’t … and, that sort of sums up this show. It worked … until it didn’t.

It’s a terrific legacy, certainly for NBC, which is under fire today for so many things today (read Brian Williams), and even when Lorne Michaels, who was interestingly sitting in the audience for the show next to Jack Nicholson, was dragged onstage at the end, even he looked suitably overwhelmed. It’s a stunning legacy to have created and maintained a show like this for so long.

HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES --- If you know your rock lore, you know that the famous Hollywood Vampires were a rather eclectic group of music folk in L. A. during the hallowed 70’s who met regularly at the Rainbow.

According to Micky Dolenz (who today is being interviewed for a forthcoming documentary) they originally began as a baseball team, who would retreat to the legendary Rainbow on Sunset to soothe their pain. Their group included, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Ringo Starr, Bernie Taupin, and Dolenz. Their story is legend.

Adds Cooper from the doc Prime Cuts: “The Speakeasy and Tramps were the place to be in London. There was a little loft at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in L. A. (West Hollywood), they only had that for the club: the club was myself, Keith Moon, Ringo, Micky Dolenz, Harry Nilsson, it was that crowd, every night those same people. Every once in a while John Lennon would come into town or Keith Emerson and they would be honorable members of the night. They still have a plaque there at the Rainbow, where it says 'The Lair of the Hollywood Vampires'." Can't wait for this one …

SUNNY IN SEATTLE -- I spent last weekend in Seattle and just loved it. From a great restaurant called Bastille, to a record store called Elementary and Pike Place Market, I loved it. It sort of reminded me of L. A. a bit.

Plus it was 59 degrees the whole time. Lovely!

CLOSING NOTES --- One last Grammy note: Interesting that sponsor’s Pepsi’s tag line for the night was Out Of The Blue. That was the title of Debbie Gibson’s debut album in 1987 …

Mega-manager Ken Levy’s client, Matt Szlachetka, plays Rockwood Saturday March 7th at 7:00 PM. Check him out HERE.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s next Broadway-opus is School of Rock (from the 2003 movie) opening in November. It'll be at he Winter Garden; where his Cats played 18 years ...

I enjoyed Rolling Stone's recent list of the best post-1960 Bob Dylan songs. Check it out here:

RIP Lesley Gore. We always saw her around and about in NC. She will be greatly missed ...

After a brilliant 7-year run, CBS' The Mentalist ends tonight with a two-parter. The shows this last season have been among their best. Simon Baker, Robin Tunney and the whole cast deserve an extra pat on the back. we'll miss 'em all.

Photo Courtesy Of: Bobby Bank/David Salidor

Sunday, October 26, 2014



Story By: G. H. HARDING

Micky Dolenz

A CORNER EXCLUSIVE --- We heard the rumors, but yesterday Rockers On Broadway’s director Donnie Kehr called and confirmed to us exclusively to that Monkee-Peter Tork will indeed be a special guest for their upcoming November 17 event here in new York, joining mate-Micky Dolenz on stage for several songs, and the presentation to Dolenz of his Lifetime Achievement Award. So, basically we’re having a mini-Monkee reunion here in Manhattan. The event will take place at Le Poisson Rouge in the Village. Check out their site here for more info:

JERRY MEETS MARTY --- The Grateful Dead will celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary with an authorized feature documentary that will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev, helmer of the terrfici films The Tillman Story and most recently the Penn State football scandal Happy Valley. Martin Scorsese, whose own rock docus have provided the template for how to make these kinds of movies, will be executive producer. Longtime Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux will serve as the film’s music supervisor.

The makers say their as-yet-untitled film will include never-before-seen footage of performances and backstage stuff involving the band, as well as new interviews with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, as well as many other characters and pranksters (and, they are legend) from the Dead universe.

The film will go back to the band’s formation in the Bay Area amid the rise of the psychedelic counterculture of the 1960’s. They continued to record albums and conduct tours where Deadhead fans would follow them all over the country for lengthy rave-like jam sessions. The good times came to an end when band leader Jerry Garcia died in 1995, though surviving members have done their best to carry on. There have been numerous attempts to mount a narrative feature on the band, but this docu is clearly on the fast track.

The band issued this statement: “Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years. With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese. From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living In The Material World, from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved. The 50th will be another monumental milestone to celebrate with our fans and we cannot wait to share this film with them,” said surviving members Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, and Weir.

Scorsese said: “The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved.”

CHILLER --- Another successful Chiller Theatre Expo event in the quaint laurel of Parsippany, New Jersey this past weekend. Spotted were Butch Patrick from TV’s The Munster’s; Debbie Gibson; Jimmy Hart; Terri Garr; Hulk Hogan; Brit Brashear; Henry Winkler, Jacqueline Boyd; paparazzo-Bobby Bank; Dawn Wells from Gilligan’s Island; Tony Orlando; Chuck Ziti; Lita Ford (Runaways); May Pang; Joyce Randolph: and, PR-pasha David Salidor.

And, if that wasn't enough, there was a Saturday night concert featuring The Cowsills and The Smithereens!

JACK BRUCE PASSES --- One of the premiere bassists in rock, Jack Bruce, has died over the weekend at 71 of liver disease.

Bruce was bassist in the 1960's supergroup Cream which also boasted Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, and are now considered one of the most important bands in rock history. Selling 35 million albums in just over two years they were awarded the first ever platinum disc for Wheels of Fire. Bruce penned and took on vocal duties on most of the songs, including “I Feel Free” and “Sunshine Of Your Love.”

John Symon Asher "Jack" Bruce (May 14, 1943 - October 25, 2014) was the founding member of Cream, in the late 1960's.

He maintained a solo career that spanned several decades, and also participated in several critically acclaimed musical ensembles. Known as a memorable vocalist and pioneering bass guitarist, Bruce was also an accomplished songwriter. His first solo album Songs For A Tailor was released in 1969 and his most recent, Silver Rails released earlier this year. His albums were a rather distinct departure from that music of Cream; thoughtful, provocative, intricately arranged and performed, they were nothing short of brilliant.

Bruce was trained as a classical cellist, and he considered himself a jazz musician, although much of his catalog of compositions and recordings tended toward blues and rock and roll. He also played in Alexis Korner's Blues Inc, the Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Manfred Mann.

Bruce's death was revealed through his official website, and confirmed by his publicist Claire Singers who said "He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family."

A statement from his family said:

It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father and granddad and all-round legend.

The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.

CLOSING NOTES --- Despite scrambling to post its Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer a week early after a leaked version went viral last Wednesday, Marvel broke viewing records with the first peek at its 2015 summer blockbuster. The company said Friday the Avengers 2 trailer notched 34.3 million views globally in its first 24 hours. Over 26.7 million of those came after the initial leak when Marvel responded by posting a high-resolution HD version to its official YouTube channel. Makes you wonder if this all wasn’t part of a carefully-crafted promo campaign. Me, I'm quite sure it was. Going viral is where it’s at these days …

SIGHTINGS --- Micky Dolenz drummer Rich Dart and friends at B. B. King’s catching legend Jerry Lee Lewis; Rocket’s Tony King on Manhattan’s Highline with friends last week; Chrissy Teigen at Casamigos Tequila presents Tacos & Tequila: A Late Night Fiesta hosted by Bobby Flay during the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival.