Showing posts sorted by relevance for query meet the tooners. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query meet the tooners. Sort by date Show all posts



The Tooners are a multimedia rock and roll band from Los Angeles who not only produce their own original music but also illustrate their songs. In the 1980s they were named WOMANIZER and released their songs on Flexi-Disc Soundsheets© inserted in PaperCuts, The Illustrated Lyrics Magazine which also included the songs' lyrics illustrated in comic book style. They also produced award winning (Chicago International Film Festival) fully animated music videos. When changing times, tastes and personnel instigated a change in name from WOMANIZER to THE TOONERS they continued to produce enhanced CDs which included music, videos, cartoons and games and then combined it all in their live, multimedia stage show, Rock & Roll Rehab.

Over the years there have been band members who have come and gone. The band was originally conceived by musician/animator Neal Warner who formed it with his cousin and childhood bandmate, Monte Solovy. Two more old friends, Corey Harris, a talented artist himself, as the third guitarist and Don Coorough on bass. An ad in the local newspaper brought in Tom Patrick as the lead singer and they found drummer Steve Bianchi when he participated in the Guitar Center Annual Drum-off Competition. This line up didn't survive till their first gig as Monte soon left the band.

The remaining five members began playing the L.A. Newwave club scene including multiple gigs at Madame Wong's, Club 88 and The Troubadour. After the third performance drummer Steve Bianchi left to join a Heavy Metal band. Patrick Meehan was a neighborhood kid who played in psychedelic bands with Neal while in Junior High School and with Neal, David Nigel Lloyd and John Bugbee  in the proto Newwave band, Wild Oscare. He joined to replace Bianchi in time for the Wong's and Troubadour shows.

Womanizer was invited to be one of the house bands at the Troubadour on KWST nights, sponsored by a local radio station, and played regularly at Wong's West and Club 88 until bassist Don Coorough quit. It took six months to find his replacement, Michael Montrose, and another six months before singer Tom Patrick left to return to Rhode Island to be replaced by another of Neal's boyhood friends, Greg Piper.

Womanizer played the L.A. club scene off and on for a decade during which they produced PaperCuts, The Illustrated Lyrics Magazine and animated music videos. In the early 1990s the core of the band, Neal Warner, Greg Piper, Patrick Meehan  and a former band mate of Greg Piper's, Richard (Buzz) Brissette, recorded the CD, Rocktasia and named the new version of the band The Tooners due to their multimedia productions.

Neal, Greg and Pat continue to record, produce videos , enhanced CDs and the live multimedia stage show, Rock & Roll Rehab.

Greg Piper - Bass, Vocals
    Greg Piper was born into a show business family whose parents were traveling actors in their own theater company, performed with Red Skelton on his television series and later co-created the hugely popular TV game show, Concentration. Greg, a singer and songwriter, has been leading original and cover rock bands since high school and started his theatrical career as the lead role of “Villain” in the melodrama production of Curse You, Villain. Since the Eighties Greg has toured the world with the leading Beatle Tribute act Revolution with whom he performed at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio in connection with the premiere of the John Lennon exhibit. He has appeared as an actor and musician in the live musical stage shows, One Night Only, A Day in His Life and Just Imagine. The Rock & Roll Rehab Show is based partially on his life as a hard core Rock & Roll addict.

Neal Warner - Guitars
    Writer, director, animator and musician Neal Warner began his professional career as an underground cartoonist and became a professional animator and animation director for Disney TV, Klasky-Csupo Productions, Marvel Productions, Universal Cartoon Studios, Fred Wolf Films and many others. He wrote and directed the live stage play, A Day In His Life, represented by the William Morris Agency and produced award winning animated music videos (Chicago International Film Festival). Awarded an Emmy Award for his work as director on Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies TV series, he also was a winner of the MTV Character Screen Test Competition, a finalist in the 3M New Talent in Music Video Competition and was awarded a Certificate of Achievement from the Billboard Magazine Songwriting Competition, and Certificates of Participation from the Denver International Film Festival and the First and Third Los Angeles Animation Celebration. He is the author of The Official Rock & Roll Rehab Handbook, The Official Rock & Roll Rehab Members Guide and the novel, The Haight, available on and for Kindle.

Patrick Meehan - Drums & Percussion
Multi-instrumentalist Meehan started playing drums in bands while in Junior High School inspired by the Who's drummer, Keith Moon, to whom he is often compared. Ironically, he got the opportunity to meet and talk with his idol at a beach party. He is considered by the band's fans the most dedicated musician of the group while Neal is considered the historian/philosopher and Greg Piper the Rock & Roll party animal


The TOONERS' The Haight CD

Last year, 2017, Greg Piper of The Tooners and I decided to put together a set of songs we could play on acoustic guitars and get some gigs playing coffee houses because we were bored and our drummer moved to Idaho. Going back through Greg's cassette collection of songs he recorded as demos for our old band Womanizer back in the 80s, we noticed that if put the songs in the order in which they were written, the ten songs that were originally rejected by the band for being too "soft" (romantic), actually did a real good job of telling the story of Greg's early relationship with his future wife. It seems he tended to write what he was going through at the time, his personal journal, and he and Jacki's meeting, romance and breakup, before reconciling two years later. After we released his songs as his solo CD by Gregory Shane Piper, called "Born To You", we went through both of our old song collections to see what else we could rerecord and press up before we forget about them entirely.

What we discovered listening to these old songs, some dating back to our high school years, is that they divide into two very separate categories. The first category consists of songs inspired by New Wave bands such as Elvis Costello and The Knack who had very catchy, Sixties British Invasion style Pop Rock but with very sexual and subversive lyrics. In the Sixties lyricists had to put their nasty jokes and sexual innuendo "between the lines". In the Eighties they were the lines. Our New Wave / Hard Rock band, Womanizer, specialized in "naughty" songs although we always felt they had a sense of humor about them. The other group of old tunes could only be categorized as odd. These were our "arty" tunes that tended to be a bit more experimental musically, and lyrically unique. Most of them didn't fit in with our live set although we did release three as singles with animated videos over the years and four of them were included in our live multi-media stage show, Rock & Roll Rehab.
 We decided to take these oddities and put them together in an album of their own. When we did this we discovered something very similar to the Born To You album; they appeared to tell a story. When we recorded The Tooners' Rocktasia CD we were aware that each of the songs illustrated a different emotion, anger, fear, love, lust, grief, etc. With this new collection of old songs it seems each song is about a particular belief and together they tell the story of one man's spiritual journey through life, told backwards. 
There are two ways of telling a story. Imagine you meet someone on the street you haven't seen since high school and he asks you to tell him what you've done since then. You can either start at the beginning and tell him what you did right after you saw him last and progress forward to the present time or you can tell him what your situation is like now and then tell him what led to that, and what happened before that, and what led you to that situation, and so on. Telling a story backwards has one advantage in that it has a definite ending which is actually its beginning. Telling a story from the past to the present only presents a temporary finish since it will continue on into the future, hopefully.

And so our new album, The Haight, is a story told backwards. Mainly because the music flows better with the songs in this order. The inspiration for the record comes from a book I wrote a while back called The Haight.

I had what I thought was an interesting idea concerning religion and I wanted to express this idea but who am I to espouse a philosophy? I'm a cartoonist, animator and rock musician, why would anyone be interested in what I have to say? But maybe if I didn't say it, maybe if someone else, someone more interesting, said it people might like to hear it. I thought of the various context in which these ideas might be expressed, naturally, and I decided these thoughts could best be expressed by a stoner. That way if he seems too far out it's simply because he's tripping. Also, my friends and I, although a few years too young to have been actual hippies, were of that mindset and totally into the cultural scene as it was happening back in 1967. I may have been a junior high school student and living in Los Angeles at the time but I was also a guitarist in an "Acid Rock" band, an Underground cartoonist and psychedelic poster artist. My friends and I all played in Rock bands, had long hair, wore Beatles boots, corduroy flares with wide belts, Cossack shirts and lovebeads. We were what was called "Weekend Warriors". And so I wrote a book of fiction, semi-autobiographical, about a group of hippies living in Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love called The Haight.

The Tooners' The Haight CD HERE.

My fascination with hippies goes back to the actual hippie movement and decades before I wrote the book I wrote a song about an old hippie looking back at the hassle his parents gave him when he wanted to visit San Francisco on his summer vacation from school. This is one of the old songs we decided to include on the new CD and I renamed it The Haight as it also seemed to tell the story of the main character in the book, told from his perspective of being much older and remembering his youth. The following is the "story" of the CD The Haight.

#1. NOTHINGNESS - This song starts the CD and begins the character's reminiscence. He is a grandpa now, fifty years since The Summer Of Love, and is tucking his young grand daughter into bed for the night. As did his parents, and a lot of parents in the 1950s, he recites a popular bedtime prayer; "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take". What an awful thing to make a child say before going to sleep! "If I should DIE before I wake!" But to his surprise this prompts the little girl to ask him a question, "What happens to me when I die?" Although this is a common question young children have, it catches him off guard as he believes that is something her parents or clergy should be asked. He blurts out an answer that he himself hasn't ever fully realized he believes. A question that is at its basis; is there a survival of personality and awareness after death or is there nothing after death? His spontaneous answer is that Consciousness did not evolve from physical reality, as we're taught in school, but that Consciousness creates physical reality. As author Eckhart Tolle says, paraphrasing Seth in the Jane Roberts books, "You can't lose your life, you are life". To his amazement the little girl seems to instantly grasp this concept, a concept he himself doesn't fully understand fifty years on, when she uses video games as an example. This was the song I initially wrote to express this idea before I wrote the book and it has since been developed as a concept called Biocentrism.

Now let's go to the last song on the CD and progress forward. This is going forward in time according to the story but backwards according to the song order.

#9. THE HAIGHT - In this song a man is remembering the time when he told his parents he was going to visit San Francisco for his summer vacation in 1967 and their surprisingly extreme reaction. His adventure in Haight-Ashbury begins his lifelong spiritual journey. This song represents Utopian-ism.

#8. I'M HIGH - Apparently his parents had something to be worried about. In this song he discovers psychedelic drugs which open his mind to deeper realities. This song represents Shamanism. See the I'm High video HERE.

#7. THE CATACOMB - Shortly after the Hippie Movement of 1967 and perhaps in some measure because of it, Christianity developed a youth movement known as the Jesus Freaks. Many young people, like our hero, looking for answers, turned to mainstream religion in the late 1960s and early Seventies after drugs proved not to be an answer but indicated that a deeper knowledge is available. The early Christians were similar to the Hippies in that they were both seen as a group persecuted for their beliefs and driven underground for their safety. The Hippie term "underground" as applied to the press, music, film, etc. is derived from the early Christians being forced into the catacombs under Rome for protection. Literally "underground". This song represents mainstream religion, particularly Christianity.

#6. I WISH YOU'D LOVE ME - Although it sounds like a love song it could be about a girl's devotion to a religious leader such as Jesus or a cult leader of which there were many in the Sixties and Seventies. Our hero is getting disillusioned by religion at this point mainly because of what he sees as mindless adoration for "leaders" especially when they infringe on his own would-be relationships. This song represents cults and hero-worship.

 #5. SEANCE - Rejecting mainstream religion leaves a spiritual void and with psychedelics proving there is in fact something out there, our hero sees Spiritualism as a more direct and personal connection to the eternal. This song represents Spiritualism

#4. GROWING OLD - Eventually the system of science and modern Humanism fights back and any notion of an afterlife, alternative dimensions of reality or Heaven and Hell is dismissed as old fashion superstition. However, between the personal, subjective mystical experiences our hero has already had in his life thus far and the bleak, depressing reality Humanism offers, he chooses to venture on. This song is about Humanism.

#3. FAITH HEALER - The New Age Movement began in the Sixties with the promise that modern science and technology wouldn't disprove religion or render it obsolete but rather would prove its validity by proving its concepts and beliefs scientifically. Although that promise still holds true, the "truth" is, as to be expected, extremely complicated and difficult to comprehend. The New Age Movement soon resorted to the usual dogma and ritual to which other religions de-evolved. Instead of the years of study necessary to understand the concepts behind the New Age Movement, one could simply wear a crystal necklace or a pyramid hat. It became like mainstream religion when it reduced Transcendental Meditation to simple prayer, mantras became hymns and to be a "Christian" meant going to church and giving it money. Today, to begin to understand the concepts behind the original New Age Movement, one would need to take graduate courses in Quantum Physics. This song is about our hero's ultimate disappointment in the New Age Movement.

#2. DRAWINGS FROM MY MIND - After decades of Spiritual adventurism our hero comes to understand that although what one's religious beliefs are is extremely important, personally, as such believes greatly influence our own perceived experience such as expecting to go to a Heaven or a Hell, ultimately the TRUTH is the TRUTH. It may be a arduous journey having to navigate through our own preconceived beliefs but eventually what will be, will be. Eventually the monk sitting on a mountain top contemplating his own navel will, if he does in fact achieve self realization, realize that life is not meant to be spent on a mountain top. As bleak, dangerous, depressing, fruitless and meaningless life may appear at times, it's supposed to be experienced in its fullness. The meaning of life, what the reason is for virtually ANYTHING that happens to us, good or bad, is for one reason; TO SEE WHAT WE'LL DO. Our hero's grand daughter is right. We're like characters in a video game. We are ultimately here to play the game, to have the experience that is our life, NOT to figure out how the game is programed or how the computer works. This song represents the state of mind of someone who has learned that eventually the journey leads to a destination and that destination is to be fully focused in the HERE and NOW. It is every day reality.

These songs are written by Neal Warner (Nothingness, Faith Healer, Seance, The Catacomb, I'm High, The Haight) and Greg Piper (Drawings From My Mind, Growing Old, I Wish You'd Love Me) and performed by The Tooners: Greg Piper, Neal Warner, Buzz Brissette, Jerry Strull and Pat Mehan with Susie Piper, Al Weiss, Michael Montrose, Gareth Fishbaum and Davey Justice.

Greg Piper & The Tooners' ROCK & ROLL REHAB REALITY SHOW

The Rock & Roll Rehab television series is to VH1’s Behind The Music what The Colbert Report is to The O’Reilly Factor. Based on the fictitious twelve step program for the control of rock and roll, The Rock & Roll Rehab TV Series is a satirical and heavily illustrated look back at the history and time period of a specific genre of rock and roll as seen through the eyes of the members of the show’s guest band. The Rock & Roll Rehab Show is a half hour series that is part reality show, part documentary, part cartoon show and part talk show. 

Host Greg Piper (A Day In His Life, Just Imagine) is an aging Classic Rocker who has been there and seen it all and is here to help other rock and roll addicts tell their sad and sometimes tragic stories of lives wasted in the vein quest to live a rock and roll lifestyle. 

A musician and comedian, Piper interviews each week’s episode’s guest band as if their stories are much more interesting, exciting and entertaining than they actually are. He is assisted in this by Rock & Roll Rehab’s team of writers, animators and illustrators who don’t let the facts get in the way as they create a story based on the real band members but with a large degree of creative license. The band’s members play themselves in fictional stories and adventures either as live actors or as cartoon characters in animated shorts. Commercials are shown within the show pushing the guest band’s music and merchandise and the Rock & Roll Rehab Twelve Step Program For The Control Of Rock & Roll.

Based on the books, The Official Rock & Roll Rehab Handbook ( and The Official Rock & Roll Rehab Members Guide (Kindle) by Neal Warner.

Greg Piper - Show Host

Greg Piper was born into a show business family whose parents were traveling actors in their own theater company, performed with Red Skelton on his television series and later co-created the hugely popular TV game show, Concentration. Greg, a actor, singer and songwriter, has been leading original and cover rock bands since high school and started his theatrical career as the lead role of ‘Villain’ in the melodrama production of Curse You, Villain. Since the Eighties Greg has toured the world with the leading Beatle tribute act Revolution with whom he performed at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio in connection with the premiere of the John Lennon exhibit. He has appeared as an actor and musician in the live musical stage shows, One Night Only, A Day in His Life, Just Imagine and the live Rock & Roll Rehab Show at the Hayworth Theater in Los Angeles.

Join Greg Piper each week as he explores the world of one particular rock band or rock band member's dream world. Some of his adventures include:

* Getting The Band Back Together
Piper tries to reunite a feuding band while telling each member what the others have said behind his back.

* What Could Have Been Part 1
Piper finds a classmate of a failed rocker, someone whose career path seemed much more secure, and finds out where he is today. He always finds people worse off today than the rocker.

* What Famous Band Would The Rocker Have Liked To Join Part 1

Piper gives the rocker a makeover in the style of different rock and roll genres.

* What Famous Band Would The Rocker Have Liked To Join Part 2
Piper has a rocker superimpose his licks over the recordings of his favorite bands to see if he would have been compatible.

* The Groupie Test
Piper shows young girls photos, videos and recordings of the guest rocker back in the day but tells them they’re all recent and asks if they’d like to meet him now.

* Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Piper takes a rocker out for a day to work at a nine to five job the rocker thinks he may have wanted to have had if he didn’t have music.

* Rocker For A Day
Piper takes a rocker out on the town to see how he would have handled a night of hard Rock & Roll partying had he been successful.

* The Wrong Choice
Piper makes a rocker record overdubs using instruments he’s never used before to see if he should have played a different instrument than the one he did.

* The Apology
Piper takes a rocker to the home of the rocker’s idol in order to get an apology from the idol for ruining the rocker’s life.

* The Party Animal
Piper has the rocker’s friends recount stories of when the rocker was really loaded and then have the friends act out his behavior.

* The Marketing Campaign
Piper creates a ridiculous marketing campaign for the rocker’s old record that the rocker then has to implement.

* The Testimonial
Piper makes the rocker speak to the class of Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp to try and make them quit the camp.

* The Rocker Shreds
Piper gets the rocker’s old band back together to overdub a new audio track to one of their old videos in order to get the band on Youtube with the other “Shred” videos thus elevating them into the ranks of Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana and other superstars.

* The Fantasy
Piper brings a rocker to a club to see a band that has been formed as a tribute band to his old band. The band gets girls in the audience screaming and a "record executive" signs the tribute band on the spot in front of the rocker (who may or may not get the joke). The musician portraying the rocker then gets pissed off and quits the tribute band in front of everyone.

* The Psychic
Piper takes the rocker to club to hear a young up and coming singer songwriter whose songs all seem to be rip-offs of the rocker’s old band’s songs with lyrics that mirror the rocker’s life all too closely.

* The Comedian
Piper takes the rocker to a club to hear a band but instead they see a comedian whose jokes are all about the style of music played by the rocker.

* The Fans
Piper takes the rocker into a bar where actors pretending to be fans convince the other patrons that the rocker is famous so the rocker can see how differently strangers would react to him if he had succeeded.

* The Remix
Piper has the rocker’s music “remixed” for today’s market and takes the rocker to hear it previewed at a dance club.

* The Autograph Signing
Piper has a Heavy Metal rocker dress up in his old leather outfit from the Eighties in order to go to a autograph signing, then drops him off at a gay leather bar.

* The Ultimate Fan
Piper introduces a rocker to another rocker who idolized the first rocker’s band so much that he tattooed the band’s logo and their faces all over his body and ruined his life chasing his own rock and roll dream and now wants an apology from the rocker.

* The Video
Piper tells a rocker that a Hollywood production company has produced a music video for his old song. The video is terrible. Then the production company gives the rocker the bill for it.

* The Movie
Piper tells a rocker that a Hollywood production company is producing a movie based on the rocker’s old band’s story and they show him the trailer. In the trailer all the band members are portrayed as cool and good looking except for him, he’s portrayed as ugly, fat and stupid.

* The Comeback
Piper tells a rocker that he’s put together a new band to back him up so he can revive his career but the band turns out to be kids who makes the rocker look ancient.

* The Coach
Piper tells a rocker he has to teach a class in rock and roll to school children which includes how to revive someone from a heroin overdose and how to tell if a groupie has Herpes before it’s too late.

* Lost In Translation
Piper uploads a rocker’s music video to Youtube and includes a foreign language translation which is completely different than what the song lyrics actually are. Then the rocker screens the video for people who speak that language to see their reactions.

* The Ringers
Piper brings a rocker to a concert in a park where a band is playing old cover tunes. A member of the band collapses onstage from illness or drugs and the band asks the audience if anyone can fill in. Piper pushes the rocker up on stage to fill in. The rocker thinks he’s a real good musician and the band seems to be real mediocre, playing old songs, but once he joins them they start playing Jazz Fusion versions of the tunes and the rocker has to keep up or do the Walk Of Shame.

* The Audition
Piper takes a rocker to a band rehearsal where they are auditioning new guitar players. The rocker is a real good musician but the guitar he’s given to play is rigged to go out of tune and play bad notes.

* I Want My MTV
Piper screens a rocker’s old music video for him making him think it’s being shown on MTV’s Pop Up Video Show. All the captions on the “Pop Ups” are humorously insulting to the rocker and the band.

* DNA Don’t Lie
Piper takes a rocker to the taping of a “Maury Provich” type of TV show where a woman claims she was a groupie for the rocker back in the day and she wants a paternity test to show he’s her baby’s father. The “baby” turns out to be thirty-five years old and looks and dresses exactly like the rocker did back in his band days.

* Here Comes The Judge
Piper insists a rocker deliver subpoenas to famous songwriters claiming copyright infringement against his original tunes. However, most of the songs he claims sound just like his were hits before he wrote his, some even before he was born.

* The Trouser Trout
Piper introduces a rocker to a groupie who used to make plaster casts of rock stars cocks and claims she made one of his. She then produces a plaster cock that looks diseased and deformed and the rocker has to somehow prove it’s not his.

* What Could Have Been Part 2
Piper interviews the old girlfriends of a rocker to find out what his life might have been like if he had quit his band and settled down with her.

* The Toll
Piper accompanies a rocker to a medical exam where he sees how much rock and roll has affected him physically over the years such as his hearing, sight, muscles, mind, aging and liver.

* Modern Music
Piper has a rocker judge a singing competition in which two of the contestants are amateurs but one is a singer for a new million selling band to see if he knows what’s considered good music today.

Part of the Rock & Roll Rehab Show involves the adventures of its animated spokesman, Bob. Bob is a middle-aged family man who hasn’t yet given up his rock and roll dream. His segments are part of the Rock & Roll Rehab organization’s promotion spots and appear within the course of the show.

1. Bob finds his teenage son’s iPod is load with soundtrack music and tries to come to terms with the fact his son may be gay if he’s listening to show tunes. All of his hard work to become open minded is for naught when he discovers the “show tunes” are the soundtracks to ultra violent video games.

2. Bob presents his band’s CD to a record company pretending he’s the band’s manager and then scrambles to find kids to pretend to be the musicians when the record company is interested but thinks it’s a band of young people.

3. Bob’s constant embarrassing of his young daughter and teenage son forces him to attend a meeting of Rock & Roll Rehab which does more harm than good.

4. Bob’s band’s feud with his neighbor kid’s garage band reaches a new low when both bands are up for the same gig.

5. Bob gets the chance to meet one of his Rock & Roll heroes to find that success can lead to even more unhappiness than failure.

6. Bob mistakes a saleswoman’s aggressive sales technique as the overtures of a groupie.

7. Bob and the band make a music video and see themselves for the first time with devastating results.

8. Bob finds his first guitar in a pawn shop and sets him on a quest to find all his old equipment which, to his horror, he finds his now worth a small fortune.

9. Bob’s new boss at work is not as understanding of Bob’s Rock & Roll personal style as his previous supervisor.

10. Grand Bob, Bob’s father, takes him on a fishing trip where he learns of the legend of the mysterious Monster Hunters.

11. Bob becomes jealous when his wife reveals she was a groupie for an old Seventies band.

12. Bob takes his kids on a camping trip and his “roadie” skills save the day when the camp site turns out to be in the path of a lemming migration.

13. Bob takes his kids to a glow in the dark miniature golf course where he thinks he’s having an acid flashback showing him all the things he did and didn’t do right in his quest for Rock & Roll success, until they turns the regular lights on.

14. Bob’s band mate, Jim, puts out an ad looking for “groupies” and gets more than he bargained for.

15. Bob’s band gets hired to be part of a large outdoor rock festival which turns into a survival course for the old rockers.

16.  Bob’s wife gets angry when his band accepts a gig at a Nevada bordello.

Rockin’ Hallo’s Eve

  Low Res Sample - Actual video is 4 minutes and high resolution
Buy The Tooners' animated music video, SEANCE, only $1.99
    First of all, a happy belated (by one day) birthday to The Tooners’ lead singer, bassist, songwriter and Rock & Roll Rehab Show star Greg Piper! And to everyone else; HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
    This is my favorite time of year. It’s not just because of the weather getting cooler and the landscape changing but autumn always seems like the start of the new year, not January 1. School starts in the fall, the new network television season begins in the fall, and between the leaves falling from the trees and the strange wind that always seems to pick up this time of year, nature seems to awaken and stir. Certainly it is easy to believe unseen spirits are among us with the kind of energy sensed in the fall.
    Halloween is a great holiday with fun costumes and free candy but it really started as a time to remember ancestors and leave offerings to past loved ones. It may be a time of ghosts now but it actually is a time of spirituality. I like the macabre as is evident by the Rock & Roll Rehab poster designs (see website Home page), but lament the losing of the spiritual side of the holiday. Christmas and Easter can claim the spirituality factor but are reserved for those of a particular religion while Halloween is all inclusive.
    In the world of Rock & Roll there are several acts that can lay claim to Halloween as a theme. My old neighbor, Steve Bartek’s band, Oingo Boingo, played every Halloween for years and had a Day Of The Dead art motif. There are a plethora of Heavy Metal acts including Rob Zombie and GWAR that fit right in the Halloween genre but my all time personal favorite and the Godfather of Horror Show Rock is the great Alice Cooper.
    Many years ago after attending an Alice Cooper concert at the Hollywood Bowl, my friend and I decided to stop by the Hyatt House on Sunset to see if we could crash the band's after show party. We entered the elevator figuring we’d stop at each floor, stick our heads out and see if any rock and roll types were milling about which would clue us to the band’s location. We didn’t have to do that as Alice Cooper himself and several other members of his entourage stepped into the elevator behind us. We were'nt quite as bad as Wayne and Garth bowing at his feet and declaring our unworthiness, but inside we were about to bust. Unfortunately when the elevator stopped at his floor some burly bodyguards stopped us from disembarking and cut short our adventure. However, we did see Alice Cooper. I got to meet him decades later when he was signing autographs at a Las Vegas home video convention. We even had our picture taken together. I know, what a groupie! But I’m not really that big an Alice Cooper fan. Wait a minute, I did paint a picture of him... maybe I am!

Join Rock & Roll Rehab and get a FREE MP3 download of The TOONERS's song, SEANCE
as our Halloween gift to you.

 Join Rock & Roll Rehab NOW!

What do you say?  Please leave a comment below.

My Very Own Christmas Carol

    I was thinking about all the great, and not so great, Christmas songs rock bands have put out over the years from The Beach Boys’ Little Saint Nick to Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Father Christmas of which U2 just did a great remake. I thought my band, The Tooners, should have a Christmas song but not being a Christian, or any of the other well established religions, writing a birthday song to Jesus might seem at best insincere. I could write a Holiday song such as The Christmas Song or Jingle Bells but living in Southern California the imagery just isn’t very Christmassy and California based holiday songs always come off as Christmas song spoofs.
    I considered writing a Christmas song from the point of view of someone living in a different time period. Perhaps a Victorian Era carol or an Early American Christmas song. Then I thought that if I was going to go back in time why not go to a time period when Christmas REALLY meant something. Back when even celebrating Christmas could get you the death penalty. I wrote my Christmas song from the point of view of the original Christians, the ones living in Ancient Rome and who were persecuted for their beliefs. These were the people who proved with their actions, with laying down their very lives, that Christianity was something to be taken seriously.
    I hope my song doesn’t come off as anything less than a sincere attempt to honor those people who sacrificed so that we could live in a world today that openly and happily gets to celebrate Christmas. You may notice that Christmas itself doesn’t actually get mentioned in the song as it is a tradition that developed at a later time. Merry Christmas!

Written by Neal Warner

Shsss, Quiet my brothers, while you’re down here.
There’s no need to worry, nothing to fear.
You’re among friends, you’re safe at home
Down here in the darkness of the catacomb.

Up in the light they hunt us like game
For infecting sick minds by spreading His name.
So they drive us below to finish writing the tome
By candlelight, in the catacomb.

They’ve all gone insane with liquor and lust.
They worship power and Caesar’s gold bust.
But cracks have been forming in their temple dome
That can even be seen from the catacomb.

Their golden age is beginning to rust
As any decaying thing turns to dust.
Some may meet again where lions roam
While the rest all meet here, in the catacomb.

I guess we can’t wait for our Savior's return
‘Cause a Centurion has knocked over the urn
That hides our entrance like the tomb by the stone
And will lead them to us, in the catacomb.

So we scatter like wheat upon the wind.
Next time we meet, we’ll grow strong and not bend.
And live through the ages, like an epic poem
We’re etched in the walls of the catacomb.

The Drummers Of My Life

This weekend is going to be interesting and rather sad. The Tooners’ long time drummer, Pat Meehan, is moving to Idaho. This breaks up a band, at least temporarily, that has been together for thirty-two years and a friendship that dates back to 1964.

Pat Meehan and I were in fourth grade together in Mrs. Alkire’s class at Platt Ranch Elementary School in Woodland Hills, CA. In junior high school Pat replaced my band’s drummer, neighborhood friend and fellow former fourth grade classmate, Rick Morrison, when Rick’s family moved to Texas for two years. When Rick returned he replaced Pat as he was our original drummer and neighborhood friend, something for which I don’t think Pat has ever really forgiven me.

Pat and I reformed as a band in the late 1970s along with high school classmate David Nigel Lloyd and bassist John Bugby in a proto New Wave band called Wild Oscare. I left that band to form Womanizer and when our drummer quit to join a Heavy Metal band Pat joined. All the recordings we did as Womanizer and later as The Tooners features Pat on drums although a total of ten different musicians have been in those two bands.

Womanizer started as a six piece ensemble and ended up as The Tooners, a trio with bassist and vocalist Greg Piper. Not counting the years in junior high and high school Pat and I have been in bands together for thirty-four years. I am going to miss him terribly when he leaves for Idaho on Monday as this is not just the end of a friendship but the end of a band that’s been part of my life longer than almost any other relationship.

What ever happened to our drummer Rick Morrison? I say other drummer as the first drummer I played with in a band was Randy Runyon in sixth grade. Randy was the son of television kiddie show host Charles Runyon aka Chucko The Birthday Clown. Next weekend, the very next weekend after I’m getting together with Greg, guitarist and old friend Jerry Strull (Pat’s former Brother In law) and Pat for a little going away party, I’m going to meet Rick Morrison for drinks. He’s coming into town for our high school’s 40th reunion. Weird coincidence.

I bumped into Rick once in Westwood many years ago, he’s lived in Texas and Washington state, but before that Womanizer was playing a club gig and when he heard me introduce the band he jumped up on stage from the audience, excited to see me and Pat after many, many years. It seems he was at the club to hear his sister’s band play that night. It's a small world after all.

A Tip O' The Hat

 At one of The Tooners' Rock & Roll Rehab shows someone accused Greg Piper of "ripping off" Slash's look. Slash (Saul Hudson of Guns & Roses and Velvet Revolver) has long black curly hair and wears a top hat. To set the record straight when Greg Piper and I were in high school, back before Slash was born, we would go to high school football games and to the dances held after the games. We weren't interested in the games but it was the only way to get onto the campuses of other schools in order to meet different girls. We knew better than to mess with the girls with whom we had to be in class, also they knew better than to date us as well. After the games was when the real games begun as the school hosted a dance with a live band and we loved to check out bands almost as much as we loved checking out new girls. Almost.

Football season is in the Winter and when it was real cold out (for Southern California that meant in the 50s), we would both wear hats to the games. The hats helped keep us warm but mostly they made us stand out. I worn an "Aussie" hat my grandmother brought back from Australia for me when she took a trip around the world and Greg wore an old magician's top hat he got from his show business father. His hat was the kind that would collapse into the brim and snap out with a flick of the wrist.

I lowered the brim of my Aussie hat, one side was supposed to be pinned up but I wanted the hat to keep the rain off not look like a fan of The Rat Patrol, so it looked more like a wide brim version of what we now refer to as an Indiana Jones hat.

Back then wearing a top hat, if you had long hair, was just part of looking Rock and Roll. Mick Jagger had worn one, Jerry Garcia had worn one and Alice Cooper was very popular and wore one. Greg had the same hair as Alice so that was the comparison that was made back then.

It's funny how the context of things change. About a decade ago I grew what was known in the Sixties as a Fu Manchu moustache. To me it represented the Old West like Wild Bill Hickok or Wyatt Earp or a Sixties rocker or a hippie but some kid saw me and called me "Hulk Hogan". 

The styles come around again but the context changes. It just irks me when someone accuses Piper of ripping off the style of someone who wasn't even born when he started wear it.

* Greg Piper

* Mick Jagger

 * Alice Cooper

 * Jerry Garcia

 * Leon Russel

 * Slash (Guns & Roses) 

* Mick Mars (Motley Crue)

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The Sound of the Counter Culture, Jim Ladd

     Legendary FM Radio disc jokey Jim Ladd is about to become the stuff of legend. In other words, he’s been fired. Getting fired is a frequent side effect of being in radio and usually merits little or no attention but Ladd is considered to be the last of his breed, a DJ that plays the music he chooses. I choose to believe this is yet another temporary situation and he’ll soon appear again on the airwaves of L.A., but if he doesn’t his disappearance is to Rock & Roll what losing the Rodeo would be to the Old West. Although Rodeo can be appreciated for what it is, what it has evolved to, it is in essence the Wild West Show first created by Buffalo Bill Cody to show Europeans and Easterners what the West was like. Ladd is rock music’s Buffalo Bill. His is the only remaining example of the free form FM music show of the late Sixties and one of the pillars of the counter culture that is quickly fading into the mists of time. Although some may argue that his style is now out of style and that the market dictates the survival of the fittest, Ladd’s show was not only a good time capsule example of music history but was just plain entertaining. An evolving and engaging beginning, middle and end of a program that is virtually nonexistent in the scatter shot hodgepodge of modern rock radio. Where else can you put on some headphones, lower the lights and be taken deep within your own imagination for an hour, late at night on a Wednesday?
    I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jim Ladd twice; once when he was doing a remote broadcast from a  local car dealership and again when when he helped initiate the members of The Doors onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Both times I gave him The Tooners’ Rocktasia CD hoping he’d play it on the air but really more just to ingratiate myself into his sphere of influence. A piece of me is in Jim Ladd’s world, even if he isn’t consciously aware of it, at least I am. That’s important to me because he represents a place and a time and a state of mind that I can only visit occasionally. He is like the tour guide who is your conduit to this other world in which he lives on our behalf. Because of him we can visit when we like and be refreshed by the energy of a gestalt which used to be our world too but have felt forced to forsake because of family, responsibilities, age and the distractions of an ever changing culture. Without Jim Ladd we can always play the music ourselves, in our rooms by ourselves, but the experience of knowing we’re sharing those moments with other travelers will be sorely missed.

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Happy Birthday Eve Of New Year

Today is the birthday of my wife, Sarah, the inspiration of the song Eve Of New Year from The Tooners' Rocktasia CD. We met at a club where Greg Piper of The Tooners, old New Wave band, The Pipers, used to play. The club was part of a restaurant called Womphoppers and was situated adjacent to Universal Studios. It is now called Saddle Ranch (last time I was there) and is part of the Universal Citywalk tourist area.

It is somehow fitting that I would meet my future wife at an amusement park and we now, thirty years later, can see Magic Mountain, another Southern California amusement park, from our bedroom window.

Mrs. Warner with the Rock & Roll Rehab road crew (left to right) Nicholas, (sound), Gregory (lights) and Benjamin (security) Warner.

On January 14, 2012 the Rock & Roll Rehab Show held its first preview performance at the Hayworth Theater on Wilshire Blvd. and I missed my son's friend Mike's wedding. Sarah and our three sons who would be at all the subsequent Rehab performances as they worked as our road crew, attended the wedding (see above photo). 

One of the funny things about how I met my wife was that Womphoppers was one of only two places I frequented because of a recommendation from my mother. In a way she sent me to find my wife. She always had the best taste and certainly knew what was best for me. I miss you Mom and happy birthday Sarah.