AUSTRALIA INVADES AMERICA (again)!!

For decades, Americans have heard the Aussie engine rev up in airwaves across the country. From The Easybeats (Friday On My Mind) to Olivia Newton-John (Physical) to Men At Work (Down Under), AC-DC (Highway To Hell) and Keith Urban (Blue Ain’t Your Color), the Australian invasion introduced us to didgeridoos, vegemite sandwiches – and some of the best music the planet has ever heard.

Today – and after charting hits, winning awards and exciting audiences Down Under for a few years – a new and exciting country singer is beginning to make a musical landfall here in the states!
With a mix of great, self-penned music, dynamic stage presence and boyishly good looks, Steve Eales has thrilled audiences in packed houses throughout his native country.
And, today, this musical hurricane is about to make landfall here in America!  Thousands are already turning on to his lively tunes, catchy lyrics and homespun delivery – all packaged in a personable style that makes you feel he’s playing his music just for you!

THIS AWARD-WINNING WONDER has already gleaned many country-music awards to go along with his awesome performing and dynamic good looks.  Here … just as examples, he’s won:

2001 Song of the Year at the Victorian CMA
2004 2x Golden Guitar nominations for Country Band as well as Best New Talent of the year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl and Its My Town
2004 Male Vocalist of the Year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl
2004 Album of the Year Award for Wild One
2008 Tamworth People’s Choice Awards for The Battler
2008 Album of the Year award Vic CMA
2008 Vocalist of the Year Award Vic CMA
2010 APRA Country Song of the Year Award
2010 Fifteen-time World Championship Performer Awards in LA

Want to know more (and who wouldn’t?)?  Check out his YouTube videos by clicking here and here. I guarantee you’ll be wanting more of this troubador’s music, and your desire will be fulfilled when you order his albums via his website!
Great songs (mostly self-composed, btw), awesome guitarist, an electric presence, and fantastic looks – how can you ask for more?
OKAY … HERE’S MORE:

The Week In Rock (for Oct. 23-29)

THESE ARE WRAP-UPS AND HIGHLIGHTS of events that occurred in rock history during the prior week.  We’ll be posting these each Sunday:

October 23, 2015 Billboard’s Top Rock Albums showed The Zombies’ new LP “Sill Got That Hunger” at #35 in its debut week, with sales of 3,000 copies. It was the band’s first album chart appearance since 1969’s “Odessey & Oracle”. (Is there any doubt that Rod Argent & Co. belong in the HoF?  Consider: their first hit was back in 1964, they’ve continued to churn out huge hits since then, and their fan base is second-to-none!)

October 24, 2016 Bobby Vee, who had 14 Billboard Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1968, died from complications of early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 73. His hits included “Take Good Care Of My Baby”, “Run To Him”, “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” and “Come Back When You Grow Up”, all of which reached the top three.

October 24 , 2017 Fats Domino, a Rock ‘n’ Roll pioneer who placed 37 songs on the Billboard Top 40 between 1955 and 1963, passed away at the age of 89. Born Antoine Domino, he was among the first acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and at the height of his career was second only to Elvis Presley in record sales.

October 25, 1982 An audiophile version of “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released by Mobile Fidelity. 5000 albums were recorded in what’s known as UHQR half speed. They sold out in two weeks … at $50 apiece!

October 25, 1992  Roger Miller, who rose to fame in the mid 1960’s with hits like “King Of The Road” and “Dang Me” died of lung cancer at the age of 56 . In a two year span between 1965 and 1966, he won eleven Grammy Awards.

October 26, 2008 Before game four of The World Series, Philadelphia’s Patti LaBelle sang her own special version of The Star-Spangled Banner, which included straying far from the original melody and singing the wrong lyrics. The 64-year-old LaBelle was heavily criticized following the performance for singing “sky lights last gleaming” (Instead of twilight), “through the perilous flight” (Instead of light) and “Lamp parts” (Instead of ramparts).

October 26, 2011 59-year-old KISS frontman Paul Stanley announced that he had undergone surgery to address “recurring vocal cord issues” that “come with 40 years of preaching Rock n’ Roll.”

October 27 1964 31 year old Salvatore Philip Bono marries 18 year old Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere. For a time they performed together as Caesar and Cleo before changing the name of their act to Sonny and Cher. Their union lasted 12 years

October 27 1977 In a rare feat for a Rock musician, Bruce Springsteen appears on the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines.

October 27 1995  Singer Gloria Estefan becomes the first Pop star to perform for Pope John Paul II as part of the celebration of his 50th anniversary in the priesthood.

October 28 2014 The Allman Brothers Band played what they said would be their final show ever, at New York’s Beacon Theatre, ending their forty-five year career (incidentally, it was on October 29, 1971 that we lost Duane Allman in a Macon, Ga. motorcycle accident.  He was three weeks shy of his twenty-fifth birthday.)

BONUS: October 29, 2003 Research by a University of Cincinnati professor found that songs get stuck in our heads because … they create a “brain itch” that can only be scratched by repeating a tune over and over. Songs like the Village People’s “YMCA” and the Baha Men’s “Who Let The Dogs Out” owe their success to their ability to create a ‘cognitive itch’.

The Valli of The Four Seasons

One of my favorite groups has always been the versatile Four Seasons. Whether it was the original lineup with Valli, Gaudio et al (and, one day, I’m gonna find out who “al” really is) or their later lineups, these guys were always at the top of their game.

Their sound was sort of a Jersey doo-wop, though they could play with it a bit and come up with soul, operetta, rock, pop, and even country sounds! In fact, they did a little experimental ditty — the Dylan tune, “Don’t Think Twice (It’s All Right)” — as the comically sweet “The Wonder Who?” Still, Frankie’s falsetto was unmistakable.

Having seemingly peaked during the Sixties (their last noticeable hit of the era, I believe, being “Electric Stories”), it seemed the psychedelic, antiwar Seventies all but shelved them … until they hit the disco stage with “December ’63 (Oh, What A Night!)” – a song that was originally written about a Mafia shootout in 1933.  Still, the revamped tune featured a new backup, with Frankie coming in at the hooks and bridge.

Now, we’ve heard about the stage production on the foursome called The Jersey Boys which drew rave reviews. If anyone deserved the accolade outside the Beatles (and Lloyd Thaxton), it was undoubtedly The Seasons. They successfully bridged the gap between pop and rock, influenced acts like Lou Christie, the Happenings, Beach Boys, inspired Billy Joel’s arrangement and recording of Uptown Girl (which many still believe is the Seasons!) – and the guitar on C’mon Marianne inspired The Doors’ megahit Touch Me.

C’mon … who didn’t play “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” at least once when they were in love? Or try the outtasite falsetto in “Sherry”? Or rock to those primal opening bars of C’mon Marianne?

So their accolades are well-deserved; their place in rock music history is definitely secure. Their music will be alive and fresh years from now … fab melodies, great arrangements, dynamite lyrics (often for the “underdog” or the guy who didn’t have much money) …

they were truly all-American originals.

The Relic In Chi-Town

Okay, it’s kinda long – and puts this author on a comical (but [sigh!] sadly true) hotseat. But I’m backlogged with work at the mo, so I’ve dug out this crazy-but-true story until I get caught up! So, enjoy …
Now … where’s my shovel??

It all started so innocently on that July morning …
Y’see, back in ’99, I took my (then) daughter-in-law and two-year-old granddaughter to Chicago so we could witness Kaela’s dad graduating from boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Air Station.

I said the trip started innocently enough: Since I hadn’t been to Chicago since 1897, I thought it was safer to take the Greyhound™ bus. Nothin’ to it: Buy tickets, load baggage, find seats, relax. Right??

Yeah … uh-huh … suuuuure

Since the night before had been a long and sleepless one, I dozed off just before the bus approached the Indianapolis station for one of its famed stops (long enough to get a drink, not long enough to use the bathroom). Suddenly, I heard Kaela’s unmistakeable cry.

(Now, for this next part, PLEASE understand that I was groggy. Please?? Thank you …)

So, still mostly asleep, I instinctively reached over, rubbed her arm and mumbled, “There now, honey … grandpa’s here! You’re gonna be okay!”

Suddenly, I was hit by a wadded-up piece of paper, and my name was being whispered loudly but urgently: “Chuck! CHUCK!!”
I barely cracked open my eyes when I noticed Kaela … sitting with her mother … on the other side of the aisle!!

I went from a drowsy to “freshly-poured-ice-down-my-pants” look in .015 milliseconds. If Kae’s up there with her, then who was ….??

As they (and a few other passengers) began laughing, I slowly, hesitantly glanced beside me.

Now, I dunno … maybe the sailor was coming off leave or something … but, fortunately, he was still asleep! Thank goodness. Maybe I was off the hook? Probably not, considering it wasn’t his arm I was stroking (NONONO!! It wasn’t, er, “that” … it was his leg! His LEG!! ONLY his leg!! Geez …)

And I was right. By the time we pulled into the Indy station and I started to g-e-n-t-l-y get up to retrieve K’s diaper bag, he tapped me on my hand and slipped me a piece of paper with his phone number on it! (And, no, I didn’t, so don’t ask … let me suffer in peace, willya??)

Finally, after pulling into the Windy City (I’d moved to another seat. By myself …), we got off the bus and into a cab, heading for the Metra™ train station.
Now, for you who’ve been there, you know there are some revolving glass doors in front — and Chicagoans move faster than the speed of light through those things …

ummm, until I showed up.

Carrying all the bags so K’s mum could focus on carrying her, I waited until just the right moment and finally jumped into a vacant door … which was smaller than my load …
and jammed the entire system!

Y’know, people look a mite funny when their faces are pressed against glass …

Eventually, I got out … just to see my daughter-in-law nearly bent over in laughter … red-faced, but laughing at me (imagine …)!!

On the escalator going up to the elevated train platform (remember, me: pack mule. Daughter-in-law: protective mum), one of K’s shoes fell off. Gallant granddad to the rescue. I reach over to retrieve the shoe … a couple of bags fell off my shoulder and sped down the escalator and …

remember the old bowling alleys?? Well, replace the pins with humans, and …

All I could do is run down (“down” an “up” escalator!), grab the bags, look around in embarrassment whilst trying to save my butt by mouthing “I’M FROM KENTUCKY!” and run back up the moving staircase while keeping my head bowed (at least that way they wouldn’t see the foot in my mouth!)

On the train, the conductor would come back and announce each suburb on the route as we reached it. The first time, little K. looked confused. The second time he came back, she looked angry. The third time he came back to announce the suburb, she jumped into the aisle, put her hands on her hips and yelled out, “NO S–T!!”

We finally got to the train depot at GLNAS and had to get over to the gym where the commencement was to be held.
But there was a problem: A wicked-looking barbed-wire fence separated us from the main area!

Natch, Mr. Braveheart took all those bags and negotiated the fence … pulling barbs out of his torn shirt, wiping off a little sweat and blood with my hand. FINALLY … I’d made it! I turned around …
to see K and her mum standing in front of me … and they were (do I haveta say this again??) laughing!!

Six feet from where I went through, the fence had stopped, allowing anyone (with any sense) to go around it …

We finally got to the gymnasium and the ceremonies (and, I’ve gotta admit, when Tim marched in with the grads to Anchors Aweigh, I jumped up, tears flowing, and shouted. The guy behind me did finally apologise for burning my butt with his cigarette, though …*).
After a fantastic July 4th weekend with him (and a great stay at the Great Lakes Navy Lodge), we took another stop in Chicago — a very brief and cautious one (eyes watched … and remembered) — and headed home.

*(Alright, I’ve gotta ‘fess up: The reason behind the tears and shouting was that I was proud of my boy. I’d raised him and his bro, Mike, by myself since they were pups, and to see him marching out there, so dedicated in his perfectly-pressed Navy whites, made me feel tower-tall …)
But I wasn’t done with Chi-Town … yet:
A year later, whilst on the way to work with a client up in Canada (I took a non-sailored Greyhound™ this time), I stopped in the Windy City; since the next bus wasn’t due for another eight hours or so, maybe I could make up for the mess I made last time.
Yeah … right …
I put my cigarette out in the ashcan as I turned around and headed for the terminal. With enough time on my hands, certainly there’d be enough time to take in one of the city’s famous blues gigs.

Suddenly, people started running in and out of the station, yelling excitedly. I looked out and saw the unmistakable flickering of fire!
Apparently, somebody’d thrown a cigarette … into … the … wrong can. One marked … ‘garbage’!
It was all just a simple mistake. I mean, any balding Kentuckian could’ve done it … right??
Anyway, after viewing the resulting festivities … er, from a distance, I thought it’d be a good time to exit the station right then (or, until the next bus came). So I checked my pockets and realized that … I’d lost my ticket!!
No problem, really. Since I was sitting in the station when the flames started flickering, I just backtracked. There it was … fifth seat from the right. I grabbed it, put it in my coat pocket, and took off.
“Hey!! HEY!!” The guy who was running after me had blood in his eyes: MINE!

“Who the hell do you think you ARE, man?? Gimme back my ticket NOW!!” Judging from the way he was reaching for my coat lapel, I don’t think he wanted it for warmth! But I obliged (either that, or this 6’4″, 275-pounder was gonna make me “late” — and I don’t mean for the bus; it’s what my friends would’ve called me …)

“Look …” I stammered to him (and the now-gathering crowd of mostly-roughnecks) as I pulled it outta my pocket. “I bought this ticket in Ashland, Kentucky, and I’m headin’ for Canada. See?? It clearly shows I’m heading to …

Boston, Massachusetts …

So, as I was fumbling my apologies and handed it back to the man, another guy looked over and under the seats. “Here go one for …” he checked it out … “Calg’ry, Canada … an’ IT from Kentucky!” He handed it to his friend who grabbed my lapel, opened my coat and shoved it in the side pocket.

No, my friends … I don’t think Chicago, Illinois, will ever forget me. That’s why I now have insurance … and a good set of fake glasses-and-nose in the event fate lands me there again!
(DISCLAIMER: Don’t get me wrong; I really love Chicago. The events that occurred in these posts actually happened, but does not reflect the city or its people … most of whom I hope to see if I’m ever allowed back there …)

Our Latest Podcast on Soundcloud

THE BEST INDIES ARTISTS ARE FOUND ON DOWNBEAT!

That’s the tagline we’re using because … well, we do have them! At least we think so – and so do thousands of others who tune in to this blog every week.

And, now, it’s your turn to experience these amazing acts!  On the episode you’re about to hear, you’ll be in the audience for:
Steve Eales
Ray Peters
The Fore
Mike Lane
The 286
Two-Doors Down Cinema Club
Jerry Carroll
The Operators
Seether
Princeton
Frank Lee Sprague
and much more!

Hope you all enjoy the tour:

See ya on the flip side soon …

 

Why The British Invasion Was Such A Hit.

With more cuts from the legendary “British Invasion” bands getting airplay rotation these days, have ya ever wondered how these forefathers of rock actually “made it”? Here’s the story:

Y’see, it wasn’t easy to start a rock act back in the late Fifties in England. While the BBC frowned on America’s new “rock-n-roll” and promoted what they called trad music (sort of a traditional Dixieland jazz), parents had pulled out an old vaudeville style that kids could afford to play — something called skiffle.

So young people started getting acoustic guitars, washboards and tea-chest basses and, after learning some rudimentary chords, set up on street corners and wherever they could find an audience to play old standards and “covers” of some stateside favorites.
Finally, one of the bands (known first as The Drifters and then The Shadows) traded in their primitive set-up for electric guitars and drums! Other skifflers (who’d moved up to parties, dances and other small venues) began to follow suit.

But it wasn’t easy; the electric guitars were costly — and hard to handle! Here’s what Ron Ryan — singer/songwriter (he wrote hits for the Dave Clark Five), founder of London’s Riot Squad (in which he introduced Mitch Mitchell, who later became the drummer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, to the stage) — says:

“First gear, the Yanks were spoilt!! They could walk into any music shop and buy a Fender or a Gibson guitar right off the wall.
In the late 50s (when most of the Bands who made up the Invasion started) to the early Sixties, we could not get them here. You would not believe the crappy guitars we had to learn on!!! The strings were so far away from the fretboard our fingers used to bleed after every practice session. Also, the strings we could get were so heavy!! Where you could get 10-46 in the USA, the lightest we could get were ‘Black Diamond’ 12-52, put them on a crappy guitar and, boy, you had to work so hard to play it!!!

We developed playing styles akin to the old Black Blues Players, where they played cheap guitars and heavy strings. Also most of the ‘Invasion’ Bands were ‘Blues Bands’ before they turned to Rock. So we listened to the Blues, and (learned to) play Rock in that style. That meant with plenty of attack, and ‘get in quick and grab the crowds attention from the first few notes of a song.”

And, with upwards of 1,200 young people in bands in Liverpool alone, you can imagine the rush to find gigs before the other ones got ‘em!
Remember: they didn’t have YouTubes, iPods, cell phones, etc. They had to do it with live auditions and a lot of footwork! Sometimes they’d get the gig, sometimes they wouldn’t.

Soon, the bands learned the value of having managers promoting them to different potential venues. If they went over well, then they could pick up more appearances at the clubs, or, if they were really good, they might even be chosen as a support act for visiting U. S. acts who’d already made it big in the states.

As their fan bases grew, they’d also cut demos — largely, reel-to-reel tapes of their music — and their managers would hand-deliver these to record companies, give them a big pitch, and hope for the best. Meanwhile, they’d perform long hours at dingy bars, pubs, or clubs — sometimes, the noise made by drunken patrons would drown them out, so they had to become louder … even improvise tunes in order to be heard.

Now, I could go on and on with this (and y’all know me; I [ahem!] normally do …), but I think you’re seeing how easy it is today as compared to the British bands that really started it all 45 years ago.
The main thing ya need to learn from all this is: never, ever give up! Play wherever you can, build a good fan base, get good management … and, combined with what we’ve talked about in past posts, you stand a great chance of making it on the scene. Maybe you’ll only glean a regional following … or maybe you’ll go international … but one thing’s for sure: You’ll definitely be on your way as an established, popular act that’ll become the favorite of many!!

More on its way, so keep your eyes on the skies, your feet to the ground, your heart with the music … and I’ll see you on the flip side!

CLassic Vs. Oldies – What’s The Difference?

Got a question:

What’s the difference between “oldies” and “classic” rock?

Or IS there one?

It’s like asking “is there a difference between a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and a big, juicy hamburger?” I mean, both are filling, but one’s got a little meat to it!

Lemme put it this way:
Back-in-the-day, there were thousands of cool 45’s twirling around the turntables, and some dynamite entertainers backing ’em up onstage. Many were danceable, some could turn your lovin’ up a notch or two, and a few could make ya wish you had a beer to shed a tear in …

Aaaaah, then there were those whose deep lyrics, churning rhythm, heavy guitar bridges, and flexing vocals just got deep in your soul and embedded itself there. They were the product of overall frustration with the establishment (man, did we ever wear out that word back then!), the war (ie, Vietnam), social injustice, or even themselves. They got deeper into everything, it seemed. And they were by performers who we could depend on for follow-up hits. These are the true “classics”.

Lemme give ya an example or two: Anybody remember Poison Ivy by the Paramounts? (okay … I know some of our readers from UK do!) Cool, but a cover. Classic?
Now … check out A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum. Classic? In the best sense, right?? Well …
It’s the same GROUP! Just years later … with a little more meat!

Or Go Now! by the Moody Blues (with Denny Laine). Good, listenable, killer piano … but classic?
They took a little time off, then hit with Nights In White Satin, I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock & Roll Band) and the my personal fave, Question. New flavor, ’cause there’s more meat!

So there ya have it. Gimme your feedback, okay? What’s “classic” to you? Drop a few examples while you’re at it, if you wanna.

‘Til next time, remember: Keep your eyes on the skies, your feet on the ground, your heart with the music … and I’ll see ya on the flip side!

What’s In A Name?

While watching Whose Line Is It, Anyway? (one of the most hilarious shows on TV … even if it is in syndication!), I caught a game called “Song Titles”. In it, Ryan, Wayne, Colin and Barb-or-Chip-or-Greg-or-Jeff-or-Brad would have to do a skit, speaking to each other in only song titles.

Well, it inspired me to try this:

Make a short storyline using titles from: Harry James, Kris Kristofferson, Hilary Duff, The Dave Clark Five, Godsmack, Patsy Cline, E L O, The Animals, Marvin Gaye, Adam Faith, The Who, The Beatles, John Mellencamp, Aretha Franklin, Neil Diamond, Chad and Jeremy, the Backstreet Boys, Aerosmith, Magnetic Fields, the Lucksmiths, Tony Bennett, Don Williams, Led Zeppelin, George Strait and the Hollies.

What’d I get?

Two guys talking. One’s down on his luck, evidently:

“I’m Always Chasing Rainbows. Why Me?”
“Why Not?”
“Because”
“Why?”
“I Fall To Pieces”
“Do Ya”?
“Oh, Yeah”!
(at this point, another guy butts in)
“What’s Going On”?
2nd guy: “I Just Don’t Know!”
1st guy: “Who Are You?”
3rd: “I Am The Walrus”
1st: “Uh-huh”
2nd: “Ain’t No Way”!
3rd:”I Am, I Said”!
2nd: “What Do You Want?”
3rd:”I Wanna Be With You”
1st: “Dream On”
2nd: “Get Lost!”
2nd: (to 1st, when 3rd leaves) “Where Were We?”
1st: “Who Cares?”
2nd: “I Care”!
1st: “Thank You”
2nd: “Go On” …
1st: “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”
2nd: (sighs) “Here We Go Again!”

(Okay … so I had “Too Much Time on My Hands” when I came up with this.)
Anyway, why not try this little gig yourself, and see whatcha come up with?

We’ve Become A Blog!

Yep! And here’s what the new setup’s going to be like:

First of all, the new RRM blog will continue to cover new acts, just like the full site did.  And they’ll all be positive reviews; after all, we don’t have any acts to grind here!
Secondly, we’ll be covering the classic rock scene, as it applies here in the ’17.  But there’s more …

We’ll also be covering “This Week In Rock History”, some “Didja Know?” facts you didn’t know, and a few videos along the way.  Of course, we welcome your comments and suggestions (just slide ’em under the door if we’re not in the office. Of course, you can always use our comment box if you want …).

Now, we’ve got a lot of work to do on the blog (banner, vids, USB plug-in for our coffeepot), but this is just to let you know we’re still on the scene of the crime and plan to bring you the best coverage for your money (oh … that’s right.  It’s free.  Well, we’ll still do it!).

Oh, yeah:  The page that used to be here has been merged with Downbeat Press. Whilst the site itself promotes our music press agency, you’ll find a link to the acts on the lower left of the page.

So stay tuned.  This rascal should be tuned up, oiled up, and ready to ride in just a few days (let’s sayyyy “Saturday” to be on the safe side, okay?).