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I just received a CD from a new band called Space Apaches. The CD is titled Smile. I mention this because they must know me well enough to know what I like because this is the kind of Hippie, boogie Rock that takes me back. If they're any doubt I'm in a nostalgic mood see my posts below. This CD also takes me back to 1971.
Worst CD cover ever. They don't sound anything like this cover would make you think. Thank God.
The Space Apaches are (Space Apache is?): Andrew Reed on guitar and vocals, Tom Leiner on guitar, Rob Geisler on bass, Aaron Price on keyboards and Jim Arrendell on drums. Andrew Reed wrote all the original songs except for "I Am The Six O'Clock News" Which was written by Larry Norman. They describe their sound as a "Psychedelic Eagles".
Their press kit says they're Asheville, North Carolina studio session players which saddens me since that means there is a good chance these guys may never play together live. I sort of guessed they were a studio band since the CD has a pristine yet lush and heavy sound with special mention having to go to mix engineer Jim Georgeson.
Let's take a closer look at Space Apaches on a track by track basis:
Entry - Very much the kind of instrumental intro piece that Boston likes to use which segues into the first actual song,
Sunrise - Dense production with organic sounding instrumentation, i.e. fuzztone lead rock guitar and Hammond B3 organ with synth washes. Haven’t heard The Eagles yet though.
In My Mind – Acoustic guitars. This track kind of reminds me of the theme song to the TV show Sons Of Anarchy. Roadhouse Rock & Roll. Crisp, clean lead vocals and a smoking hard rock lead solo.
Empty - First song with a Country feel. Mid tempo, this must be what the Eagles referenced referred to. I appreciate a nice stereo separation on records but the rather dry , upfront, lead vocal works on this quasi-ballad but on the other songs the vocal seems a little too in your face. A little farther back in the mix would have put the vocal into the band instead of in the sound booth with the Producer and Engineer. That’s a matter of taste of course and others might appreciate the very clean, clear (dry) vocal. I keep referring to the voice as the “lead” vocal but so far it’s been the only vocal. How can I relate the Space Apaches to The Eagles without any harmonies or even backup vocals on the choruses?
Smokin’ Voyages - Pretty, spacey (is this the psychedelic part?) mid-tempo rocker. Some Doors’ “Riders On The Storm” style electric piano.
I Am The Six O’Clock News – More of the same, which isn’t bad. A mid-tempo rocker with a heavy guitar riff and an attitude. This one seems to have a bit of a political statement and jams out at the end.
Breakin’ The Ice – Driving bass line anchors this instrumental. This brings to mind Spinal Tap’s Jazz Odyssey and the Fusion bands of the Seventies. I also appreciate a band that includes an instrumental, another aspect of a bygone age and deeply missed.
Smile – Hippie Rock & Roll. I could hear this as the song the band plays at the free concert in the park when they make a movie out of my book The Haight* (shameless self promotion). Great organ solo, in fact this CD has a lot of great solos which is something I’ve been missing in music for about twenty years now. How sad that when a band shows exceptional musicianship it risks making them sound dated.
Just Dropped In – On the other hand, if a band records a remake of the old Kenny Rogers and the First Edition song “I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In” then they’ve only themselves to blame for being labeled dated. This is a very close remake to the original and as such it’s the first song to have backup vocals and harmonies. Unfortunately, if I was an A & R guy I’d probably pick this as the single which would be unfortunate as it is much more representative of The First Edition than it is of Space Apaches.
I’m On My Way To Feeling Fine - This tune has the kind of barroom piano and female chorus backup vocals that once again recalls some of the great old hippie music of acts like Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks or Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
A Song For The Rest Of My Life – Okay, what’s with the CD cover? These guys just have to have beards, mustaches and hair down to their waists. The CD absolutely reeks of Patchouli. Oh no! Not a double lead guitar solo?! Now I’ve heard everything (that I used to hear in my college dorm record collection).
Just kidding, I never lived in a dorm.
Love Should Come Easy – Good time, Boogie Rock & Roll. I’m beginning to think these guys are probably more my age than new at this game. They’re too good.
Maybe – This is probably the most pop sounding song on the Space Apaches’ CD. It’s a mostly piano mid-tempo with the most elaborate lead vocal production yet. Radio ready but not what you’d expect from the rest of the album.
Ghost Riders In The Sky – Their second cover tune and a legitimate Country song this version sounds like it could be the B Side ( B Side? How old am I?) of their version of “ I Just Dropped In”. Not nearly as close to the previous versions of this song as their version of “I Just Dropped In” is to Kenny Rogers’ version but psychedelic enough to make a good pair of tunes. Again, that single would not be indicative of Space Apaches basic style or even what they do best but the overall production of these two tunes clearly mark them as radio material.
Check them out at:
My major motion picture (okay, B movie) debut has finally arrived on Youtube. The Young Graduates (1971) was filmed at my high school and I appeared in it as an extra. I am in the background (way in the background to the right) in the school dance scene in the beginning. I can be glimpsed behind the teacher who broke up the scuffle between costar Bruno Kirby and another kid (actor). But my big scene comes about 30 minutes into the film during the sex education class scene. I'm seated in the front row, wearing a brown shirt and brushing the hair out of my eyes once I realized the camera was coming around to my right and my face wasn't showing due to my (surprisingly) long hair. I'm playing cards with my friend the late Phil Chateau who died in a rock climbing accident a year later.
The Young Graduates (1971)
What can't really be seen is the cartoon sperm cell I drew on the blackboard in the background. The camera shot a close up on it which I thought at the time would open the scene but seems to have ended up on the cutting room floor.
The funniest part of that scene to me is that the actress who played the frustrated sex education teacher looked just like my real English teacher and being shot in my actual high school classroom she seemed very authentic. However, whenever the director yelled "cut" she would lean over to me and Phil and tell us the most obscene jokes I'd ever heard. I was shocked as she seemed like a real teacher to me and my discomfort at her foul language and dirty jokes seemed to amuse her to no end.
This was Bruno Kirby's first movie and because of him I am two degrees from Kevin Bacon, two degrees from Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Jack Palance, Rob Reiner and Spinal Tap and only three degrees from Marlon Brando!
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 67%. Shockingly good for this exploitation film of an exploitation film. I always thought it more of a really bad porno (not enough sex). Youtube labels it a "Hippie 60s Counterculture Exploitation Film" but it was about high school students living in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley and driving dune buggies in the Seventies, not unemployed hippies living in San Francisco in the Sixties. I can't recommend it highly enough in that I can't recommend it. On a bright note, my son says I looked just like him when he was in high school. I'm flattered.
The first Pizza Fella comic was published in the premiere issue of L.A. Comics in 1971 and continued as a regular feature in the tabloid comics newspapers Two Bit Comics and Okay Comics until 1974 making it part of the Golden Age of Underground Comix (1967 - 1974).
Pizza Fella was a teenage delivery boy for a pizzeria in Los Angeles and his job allowed him to have adventures and meet new people in the marijuana counter culture of the early 1970s.
An original Pizza Fella comic from the Golden Age Of Underground Comix (circa 1972)
Now he’s back to experience a new drug culture in the age of legalized cannabis and medical marijuana. He’s a bit older as medical marijuana is still illegal to minors and no longer breaking the law but he’s as big a pothead as ever.
Touches of the underground comix style of the original comic of the Seventies has been retained but gone are the foul language and seedier elements of the drug culture as now the people he meets that use marijuana could just as easily be older cancer patients or suburban housewives than hippies or urban drug dealers.
Pizza Fella has returned to help chronicle a very interesting time period of changing attitudes and the social experiment that is the new Legalized Cannabis movement.
Created by cartoonist/animator Neal Warner while still in high school in the San Fernando Valley, Pizza Fella’s popularity at the time led directly to a job with legendary animation producer Ralph Bakshi whose first animated feature was Fritz The Cat, based on the underground comic book by Robert Crumb. This led to a lengthy career in the Animation Industry which included The Heavy Metal Movie, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Rugrats, Ducktails and many other television series and animated feature films.
It’s not the growing legalized marijuana movement that inspired the return of Pizza Fella but the boom in both online and print media that the movement has created. The Alternative Press as well as what some may preceive as the return of the “Underground Press” has created an opportunity for a new breed of comic character, or in the case of Pizza Fella, the updating of a classic.
The new Pizza Fella comics are created as full color, three-quarter tabloid page size intended for weekly publications as daily papers such as The L.A. Times are probably not going to be publishing marijuana themed comic strips any time soon.
The new Pizza Fella 2016 Calendar can be purchased online at: 2016 Pizza Fella Calendar
For information on publishing Pizza Fella comics contact: email@example.com
I’ve watched AMC’s Mad Men from its beginning since I’ve worked on the fringes of the Advertising Industry. I minored in Advertising in college and planned to enter the field. What I did do was enter the Animation Industry and as an employee of an animation production company I worked on many national TV commercials. I’ve helped animated such characters as the Jolly Green Giant, Charlie the Starkist Tuna, the Keebler Elves, The Quick Bunny, the Carl’s Jr. Starboy and a dozen others so watching how advertising is portrayed on TV has always interested me. It’s the reason I watched “Thirty Something” and “Bewitched” so Mad Men has been a favorite for years.
Some recent other shows I watched that I felt really dropped the ball with their series finales were Dexter (he fakes his death) and Sons Of Anarchy (he gets hit by a truck, really?). When this last season of Mad Men began (the second half of the last season) I groaned as once again Don Draper takes the show off the tracks into left field somewhere for no apparent reason. He’s done this a couple times in the past where he’s gone to California to visit the real Don Draper’s widow or has sex with a teenage girl as her parents smile. Weird little non sequiturs that seem to lead nowhere and are rarely mentioned again but now I understand the series as a whole it makes a whole lot more sense.
If you view the entire series run of Mad Men as the story of how the iconic 1971 Coca Cola commercial “Hilltop” came to be created, then everything becomes clearer. After all, how did that famous spot showing a group of young people all sitting on a hilltop singing, “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke” come from a 44 year old Madison Avenue advertising exec who would have grown up in the pre-hippie / Love Child era? What kind of a journey might a white, middle aged, high power executive type from the 1950s have had to go through to end up with such a Zen inspired spot? If that was the intent of Mad Men from the beginning then Don’s idiosycracies were an important part of the story and his excursions into the heart of America such as his hanging out with Craig Breedlove (?) trying to build his rocket car, Spirit Of America to break the land speed record are not just Don trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City to clear his head, nor a fact finding tour of Middle America to see what makes the common man tick these days but rather it’s Don realizing that to change people’s lives (by selling them things) he himself needs to live life. It’s his getting out and away from time to time that fuels his imagination and puts him in touch with his audience, to become one with them. Certainly without his finding his inner bliss through meditation he never could have dreamt up that Coke commercial just as without going through his divorce would we have come up with the Kodak Carousel concept.
As has already been pointed out, the receptionist at the Big sur retreat where he was forced to surrender himself to the program after his “niece” abandoned him there, was dressed the same as one of the hilltop singers shown in the actual 1971 commercial that ended the series suggesting, strongly, that Don Draper did return to New York and created the Coke spot. But was Mad Men about the creation of that commercial from its inception? The actual creator of the spot worked for the same ad agency Don ended up with but that could have been written into the show for the last season but what about the alliteration of both their names; Don Draper and the actual creator, Bill Backer? Bill Backer was 44 when he created the Coke spot and Don was about 35 when the show began so he too, was in his mid-forties at the end. Personally, I’d like to think it was planned from the beginning but either way it turned out to be perhaps my favorite TV series finale of all time.
Customers looking for the latest Educational Game where players learn of quotes made by famous people about marijuana can now play "Cannibus Quotes" by Unsigned Records Multimedia. The game can be found here: http://unsigned-records.com/indexpages/-games-cannibusquotes.html
Cannibus Quotes is designed to appeal specifically to anyone interested in opinions and information about Marijuana and includes:
- Zero Cost – Anybody with a computer and internet service and can play for free.
- He Said She Said – Learn what famous people have to say about Marijuana.
- Information About Marijuana's Psychoactive Effects - The different levels of THC and how long it remains in the system, including how second hand smoke will show THC concentrations in blood serum.
- Marijuana DUI information – Exiting the game takes you to "DON'T GET HIGH AND DRIVE" page with pertinent Marijuana DUI Penalties.
- The Concerns For Medical Marijuana Patients - Those using marijuana in compliance with state laws and their doctors' advice, but who would likely test positive for marijuana while sober.
Gregory Piper, Co-Owner of Unsigned Records Multimedia, when asked about Cannibus Quotes said: "Unlike any game on the market, Cannibus Qiotes is free, fun and fascinating to discover the vastly differing opinions on Marijuana made by famous people while learning the risks of driving while high and how long a high can last."
Those interested in learning more about the company can do so on the company website at http://www.unsigned-records.com. Those interested in playing the game can go directly here: http://unsigned-records.com/indexpages/-games-cannibusquotes.html
Unsigned Records Multimedia produces unique and creative concepts for marketing endeavors, finding the aspects of a product with press releases and syndicated articles that stand out. Unsigned Records Multimedia specializes in custom ancillary products such as award winning videos, books, graphics, games, jingles, music and comics that help promote in entertaining and memorable ways, enhancing ideas and building viral content.
This Day In Rock History: On this day in 2011 Greg Piper &. The Tooners debuted The Rock & Roll Rehab Show at The a Universal Bar & Grill in Universal City, CA.
These days what I heard on the radio I usually refer to Garageband Rock. A lot of what's out there sounds like it was recorded in someone's bedroom on their laptop. Pop, singalongs like "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster The People and "We Are Young" by fun sound light and airy even if the lyrics are dark but the really dark sounds of the Nineties and bands like Nine Inch Nails and Tool are nowhere to be found these days except perhaps online or on your alcholholic uncle's iPod playlist. For those of you lamenting the passing of the good old days of real heavy to the point of disturbing music I have good news; what you've been craving is still alive and well but it's been banished to the Great White North of Canada. From Calgary comes The Unravelling's new single "Revolt". Some may find this new song, well, revolting. But those who desire music "overflowing with a bloodthirsty passion" (Pure Grain Audio) The Unravelling may be worth seeking out. It won't be too hard since here's a link to the single: REVOLT.
I can use the examples they use to make comparisons such as "combines the alternative stylings of Tool with the adventurousness, ambition, and refusal to compromise of The Dillinger Escape Plan", but honestly I don't know what that means. Maybe I'm too old but I hear Marlyn Manson and NIN and if I really wanted wanted to show my age I'd say "Revolt" reminds me of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" even down to the disturbing lyrical images and the vocal effect.
The Unravelling have opened for acts such as Helmet and Bison, topped the CJSW Metal charts and have been nominated for three 2010 Alberta Metal Awards, winning in the Best Album Production category. The band is releasing 24 separate art pieces each with lyrics to “Revolt” over the next 24 days in celebration of the single, ending with the full cover (see below). More information on The Unravelling is available on their official Facebook page .
Their debut concept album, "13 Arcane Hymns" was listed in Suite 101's Top Heavy Metal Albums of 2010 with Metalunderground.com calling it "a surprising firebomb of an album" and Pitch Black Magazine called it "a thirteen track emotional and industrial infused metal masterpiece."
The Unravelling is comprised mainly of lead singer Steve Moore and founder and instrumentalist Gustavo De Beauville which seems to me to be yet another example of a predominately studio project being marketed as a "band". In my day these acts were referred to as duos. Does hiring backing musicians to fill out the stage during a live show really constitute a band? I suppose so. They've opened shows for Helmet and Bison and with tapes and loop pedals I guess a two man band can sound pretty full but I really have no idea how they reproduce their very full and powerful sound live.
Nice art for the single.
One interesting aspect of The Unravelling's press kit is the emphasis of singer Steve Moore's operation and recovery from cancer. It didn't say what kind of cancer which is none of our business anyway and although they may have mentioned it simply to explain the gap in time between their 2010 release and this new release five years later, it kind of comes off like an attempt to classify them in the "music inspired by illness" genre with bands like Bon Iver. The guy behind Bon Iver had Mono, something a lot of junior high school students get so I didn't really understand the PR hook there. Both of my parents died of cancer and I suppose it will eventually take me out too so I don't belittle the ailment at all but is it really pertinent to an Industrial Metal band's single release? I don't believe the song is about cancer and nowhere do they claim to be donating any proceeds to the American Cancer Society or the Canadian Cancer Society or whatever, so is it just a sympathy ploy? I'd let the music do the talking for itself. After all, The Unravelling has topped the CJSW Metal charts and was nominated for three 2010 Alberta Metal Awards, winning in the Best Album Production category so that should be good enough.
Maybe if you have cancer you shouldn't smoke cigars. Just a thought.
In 1985 the Coca Cola Company made one of the biggest bonehead moves in modern business history by announcing they were going to discontinue producing Coca Cola, the premier soft drink for nearly 100 years and replace it with "New Coke". New Coke was essentially undrinkable which made many people think that the Coca Cola Company had actually held Coke hostage because their market share had been slipping due to rival drinks. Taking away beloved Coke made people appreciate it more while making it mandatory to at least try New Coke. It was soon that New Coke disappeared and original Coke re-emerged as "Classic Coke" (now reverted back to just "Coca Cola"). If New Coke had replaced Classic Coke for much longer rival soda companies could have reproduced original Coke's recipe and filled that void. However, the Coca Cola Company almost immediately returned to making "Classic Coke" so no abandonment of its brand could be claimed.
Now another iconic American company, almost as old and certainly as beloved as the Coca Cola Company, has seemingly abandoned its brand, permanently. It is The Walt Disney Company. Because computer animation (CGI) was considered less expensive to produce than hand drawn animation, Disney announced that its feature, The Princess And The Frog, would be its last traditionally animated feature film. That was in 2009 and so far they've been true to their word. Even Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and the other classic Disney characters now appear exclusively as CGI characters.
Since so much of the "Classic Disney" style is dependent on it being hand drawn, CGI gives everything its own unique visual look, it would appear that the Walt Disney Company has abandoned its brand. After all, the "magic of animation", traditionally, has been due to the illusion of drawings come to life. Therefore, we feel the time has come to not only re-introduce traditional hand drawn animation to the American audience but also to re-establish the classic "Disney" art style, a style they themselves abandoned over five years ago.
Not only has enough time passed that the classic Disney style is now sorely missed, but a new generation of young fans are being born. This new growing demographic is the main cause of animated features such as Frozen becoming blockbusters after years of lackluster ticket sales for children's movies and the glut of "adult" animation on television. There is a generation of classically trained American animators who should be in the prime of their careers but are instead chronically unemployed who are available to help usher in the reemergence of hand drawn, "Disney" style animation in America.
To contribute to what we see as a inevitable movement to re-introduce the magic and dream-like quality of hand drawn animation to a generation of children who only know animation created by machines, we would like to introduce the first in a series of original animated movie projects; HummingBirds (www.hummingbirdsmovie.com).
Produced in traditional hand drawn 2D animation.
Hummingbirds character model sheet.
Hummingbirds tells the story of a young hummingbird named Robin, her hummingbird girlfriends and her friend, Jerry the Squirrel, who live in the yard of a suburban Southern California home. A major theme of Hummingbirds is that the seemingly ordinary and mundane location of a suburban neighborhood is actually a world of wonder and adventure when seen through the eyes of the wildlife with whom we share our world.
Here is a short story from the Hummingbirds comic book featuring Herbie the Hummingbird.
Greg Piper (Just Imagine, One Night Only, A Day In His Life, Rock & Roll Rehab) and award winning animator and writer Neal Warner (Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy Award), Chicago International Film Festival, Los Angeles Animation Celebration).
A Day That Never Ends
song from HummingBirds
Music by Greg Piper, lyrics by Neal Warner
The sun is shining and all my friends are here to help spend the day
It's perfect timing to have all of them near, I like it this way
I came to play with all of my friends
Spending a day with them I hope never ends, I hope never ends
We go out shopping, the stores are all in bloom so we hit the mall
Then we go bar hopping and all the boys make room, we never pay at all
Cause we're here to play with all of our friends
I hope today's a day that never ends, that never ends
But sometimes they say to me, "Please proceed more cautiously.
The world is not as you perceive" but I just laugh when they say, "Don't you see?
You're living a life of fantasy."
Why should I worry when I'm still cute and young and life is so long?
And why need to hurry when I have just begun and I'm where I belong?
Cause I'm here to play with all of my friends
I hope today's a day that never ends, that never ends
And when they say to me, "Be aware of what you cannot see"
I remain still worry free because, you see, I don't believe
I'm living a life of fantasy.
It makes me wonder why some feel the need to fly so high
In the wild blue yonder? They are wild indeed but why say,"Goodbye"?
Why not just stay with all of your friends
Spending a day with them that never ends
Yes, I came to stay with all of my friends
I know today's the day that never ends
New York City recording artist and songwriter Paul Maged's sophomore album, "Diamonds & Demons" is the follow up to his debut record, "In My Time" which has been described as having a raw, garage band feel. "Diamonds & Demons" is produced by multi-platinum producer Sean Gill and to my ears the lead off single, "Look At Me", also has a garage band feel but with a catchy pop rock melody and the relatable lyrics of a band like Green Day. But that track is a bit of an anomaly. What follows is slicker and, well, prettier.
"Images" has a retro vibe that reminds me of San Francisco psychedelic with a slight Bubble Gum/ Novelty Song feel but with some very good vocals, not garage band style at all. That's not to disparage the garage band sound, which I often like, but I usually assume the band can't help but sound that way and obviously Paul Maged is not so limited.
Paul Maged claims to have been influenced by Pearl Jam, Green Day, Billy Joel, Elvis Costello and R.E.M. but I hear more Bryan Adams and Steve Perry from Journey on his clean, clear, soaring vocal style and on songs like "Last Days" you can even hear the ghost of Neal Schon on guitar. On songs like "Blind Faith" he follows the tradition of popsters like Billy Joel in his harder rock guise and I suppose the Elvis Costello influence comes out in his lyric writing.
His press kit claims "Paul Maged is an artist for a new age, having taken the common definition of a Singer-Songwriter and blown it away, creating his own sound infused with punk, grunge, classic rock, indie pop and balladeer, in the form of an Alternative Rock Artist," but I don't hear "Alternative", I hear a pretty traditional (Classic) Rock and Roll singer backed by a very competent guitar based band.
This guy is a belter as shown on the track "Love & Loss In The Western World" and the more I hear of his "Diamonds & Demon" CD the less I like the video for the lead off track, "Look At Me". It really doesn't do him or the band justice (view video here as it doesn't seem to want to load on this site: http://youtu.be/f6DkR-UuhOs?list=UUGKzErkYDEHoCaJ6uNBLbKg). If you go to his Youtube page there's a pretty cool video of him doing Led Zep's "Good Times Bad Times" that has a real good (although too low in the mix) version of Jimmy Page's groundbreaking guitar solo. The band in that video may be a different band than is on the "Diamonds & Demons" CD but it's a cool video.
Overall, in my opinion Paul Maged would be best served by getting one of the other tracks from the CD onto Modern Rock radio since visually he does seem a little garage bandish. He's not a bad looking guy, just too "boy next door" and not "rock star" enough to have a video really break him. It's his voice that should be doing all the talking. It's worth listening to.