Friday, October 12, 2018

Concert Stories, Pt.1

If I was rich, like I don't have to work and I have all the money I need, I would go to concerts all the time. I've been going to concerts since I was 12, my cousin Bobby took me to see the Velvet Underground, but that is another story.  I've got all these stories of concerts and lately I have been writing them down, partly to pass these stories on and partly to remember. The sad fact I'll never see those days again, so remember and bear witness.

I've been to a lot of concerts, some great and some not so great. The ones that stick in my mind are worth telling the story of the event. There are those I'd rather forget, either the concert sucked, my car got towed, or the date who took offence to basically nothing and drove off leaving me stranded 200 miles from home. Anyway the first concert story was Aerosmith at the The Scope AKA the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, VA. I'm pretty sure it was Saturday, 14 August 1976. I've long since lost the tickets and the online databases are pretty spotty when it comes to tour dates in the early to mid 1970's. It was either the "Toys In The Attic" tour or the "Rocks" tour. Either way

If I remember right it was hot that night, hotter than your average August night in Norfolk. Hot and muggy, you just knew there was a rain storm coming. My three sisters had tickets, the youngest M was going with her boyfriend, D. The oldest sister, L was between boyfriends and the middle sister C was going to go with her boyfriend but for some reason he bailed.  My guess was that C and whoever got into one of their knock down, drag out fights and he decided it was too much of a hassle. The truth was C was a bitch and a royal pain in the ass, most guys she dated only lasted 3 or 4 months before they had enough. Since C had a spare ticket they convinced me to go with them.

I think real reason they wanted me to go was I had a van, a 1966 VW bus, and I would be their ride to the show. L's car had a burned out clutch and my parents had talked me into fixing it for L. I really had nothing to do that night except watch TV so off we went.

The evenings first incident was at the Scope parking garage. I was driving and C was sitting in the passenger seat. As we pulled up to the guy passing out parking receipts there were two Norfolk cops standing there checking cars for drugs and alcohol. C grabbed the half a joint sitting in the ashtray and ate it. D say "I thought we were going to smoke that at the show" M says, "I've got 2 joints in my bra." D says "I thought you said you had no pot" to which M says "Oh, I took some from Josef's stash." Great, she is helping herself to my stash, no wonder I'm always out.

We get to the doors which open 20 minutes later and we ran to get to the front of the stage. We end up with all 5 of us right up again the barricade which was a good 20 feet in front of the stage. We started taking turns going to the bathroom before the Aerosmith comes on stage. C takes a really long time coming back from the bathroom. It seems some girls were smoking a joint in the bathroom then on the way back to where we were she ran into some friends who gave her a few tokes. By the time she gets back she is really fucked up, swaying, hanging on people and, taking crazy.

For the next forty five minutes we are standing against the barricade. People are passing joints and C is bogarting every joint that comes her way and she is acting more and more crazy. Aerosmith comes on stage and the crowd surges forward, crushing us against the barricade. They finish their first set and go off stage. People start backing up, heading off to the bathrooms, getting something to eat or drink so it's not a crushed at the barricade. M and L are trying to talk C into going to the bathroom but she is not going anywhere.

Aerosmith comes back for their second set and the crowd behind us surges forward again crushing us against the barricade. C suddenly decides that maybe she should have gone to the bathroom but it's too late now.  Then she starts passing out. We prop her up, trying to wake her. Security sees that she is in trouble, grabs her, pulls her out of the crowd and props her sitting up on top of the barricade. One of the security guys gives her a paper cup of water and C is feeling better.

Steve Tyler notices C, who is still very wobbly, sitting on the barricade being held up by security. At the end of one song he walks over to area of the stage closest to C and says "Are you alright, sweetie?" C nods and security says, "OK, you are either going back into the crowd or we are taking you out. Which is it?" to which C says "I want to sit right here" "No, either back in the crowd or out. Which is it?" "I want right here!"

Security decides she has had enough and starts to take her out. The band is still between songs, they have their backs turned to the audience and are talking. C stands up on top of the barricade, screams at the top of her lungs "STEVE! OVER HERE!" The entire band turns and looks at C as she lifts her t-shirt and bra flashing her tits at the band. The crowd sees this and starts clapping and cheering. C turns to flash the crowd, looses her footing and falls backwards into the arms of security who then takes her out to the main entrance. The band is laughing and finish the second set.

Aerosmith finishes the second set and walks off stage. This being the 70's people pull out their bic lighters, lite them and hold them. M managed to singe some hair so we had to deal with the smell of burnt hair. Aerosmith did a 2 song encore and then the lights came up. We walk out, found C, found my van and waited for the parking garage to clear out. We must have sat there for a good hour and a half. As soon as we got in to the van C passed out in the back. 

On the way home, we decide we are hungry but it's almost 2 am and most places are closed. We settle on the Steak 'n Egg at the foot of the Granby street bridge. We go in, sit down, each of us takes a turn at the bathroom. When we walked in there were 2 cops sitting at the counter. To go to the bathroom you had to pass these cops. I'm coming out and one of the cops says to me "We were working security at the concert tonight, that girl over there was the onc who flashed her tits at the band and the audience." I replied "Yeah, that is my 15 year old sister. (really she was 18 but for some reason I said 15) Not sure what got into her tonight". Cop: "She was quite a handful" "Tonight she was. I don't think I'll be telling our parents about this."

We ate, paid the bill and went home. End of story.

Epilog: Thirty years later my second wife and I went back to Norfolk for my father's retirement party. While in town the wife and I went around looking up some my old haunts. We were in one of my favorite bars up in Willoughby Spit having the boiled shrimp special and a few beers when this old guy comes over to us and sits down at the bar next to us. He says "You may not remember me but I remember you. I was a cop here in Norfolk for 36 years and I was working the concert back in the 70's at the Scope where your sister flashed her tits at the band and the whole audience. What ever happened to her?" I say "Oh you know; she graduated college, got married, had a kid, got divorced, and now she is working as a paralegal in Richmond." And with that the guy shakes my hand says "good to see it all worked out" and leaves. My wife says to me "What the hell was he talking about?" I say, "I'll order us another beer and I'll tell you about the Aerosmith concert."





Tuesday, October 9, 2018

WFMU

WFMU is a one of the last great Freeform radio on the air. I grew up listening to these guy when I was living in Lower Manhattan. Then my parents moved my sisters and I up to Northern Bergen county New Jersey for High School and picking up a signal became a problem. I go to be pretty good at building bigger and bigger antennas. This was back in the early 70's long before the Internet.  I eventually left the New York area and made my way west to San Francisco.

A couple of years ago I was happy to find that WFMU was live streaming on the Internet. Of course, most of the DJ's I used to listen to back in the day are no longer on the air but some still are. Since I've been listening pretty steadily the last year or so I got a few favorites. In no particular order ;

  • Three Chord Monte - Joe Belock has some serious good taste in music and he plays the sort of music you will NEVER hear on corporate radio. He also get local bands to come in and play on his show. If you ever get to thinking that there is no good music any more, well you need to listen the Three Chord Monte.
  • Seven Second Delay - Two guys, Ken and Andy, screwing around on the radio for an hour. They've invited women, only women, between the ages of 25 and 35 to call the station and sing "You Light Up My Life" to Andy. They've also, as part of the fund raiser, invited listeners to call in and, with the help of a volunteer lawyer, to amend their will to leave a portion of their estate to WFMU. Never a dull moment.
  • Honky Tonk Radio Girl - Damn, this is the real shit kicking deal. Becky plays the lowest, rowdiest, my wife left me for my best friend, my dog died, my truck broke down south of dallas, crying in your beer but I'm proud to be an `merican this side of Tulsa or Bakersfield. YEE HAW!
There is even a documentary about this station called "Sex and Broadcasting: a Film About WFMU" on Amazon prime. The old lady and I watched it about a month ago and at the end she turns to me and say, "Now I understand what is wrong with you." Check it out, it's really good.

But see here, this is the deal. These guys are a real Freeform radio station, one of the last of a dying breed. What this means is there are NO commercials, none. No lying sacks of shit trying to sell you crap you really will be better of without. What that means is they rely on the listeners to fund the station. So, do these guys a solid and toss em $20 or $30 bucks every 6 months or so and turn you buddies on to em.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Freeform Radio

Way back in the mists of time, the 1970's, there was a radio station format known as Freeform. Basicly what that meant was the radio station had no play-lists, the DJ was free to play what ever he/she wanted. This was before the rise of corporate owned radio stations like Clear Channel, with their tightly controlled, focus group blessed play-lists.
The Freeform stations were local stations, in-tune with the local area unlike the corporate stations that create the shows in their corporate offices and pipe the show into the local transmitter. I grew up in New York City listening to some of the great Freeform stations like WNEW, WBAI, and WPLJ with DJs like Alison Steele, Dave Herman, and Scott Muni.

All those DJs are gone now and for the most part so is Freeform radio but not completely gone. Here and there these stations still exist and thanks to the Internet most of these stations now stream their content. I've been collecting links to these on-line stations for a couple of years now the result is Here at Berkeley Guy Follow the links to either the states or the stations to get a m3u file to use to listen to the station.

I am always looking for radio stations, both terrestrial and internet based, that are Freeform and not corporate ruled soul sucking blights in my ears. I know I'm not the only one out there who is always looking for new music and local radio. Do you know of a radio station or web site I should check out, send me email.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Why the Spiral Scratch

Back in the spring of 1977 I was dating a woman who's name I have completely forgotten lets call her T, that should give you an idea how well the relationship went. Her aunt was a flight attendant for United airlines, based in Norfolk, VA. where I was living at the time, and making the flight between New York and London on a regular basis. T's aunt used to bring back records and 45s from London and I usually ended up with them. Most of the stuff her aunt brought back was dreary English and Euro pop, the kind of stuff your mother would not be offended by. I would end up just tossing the stuff into a record crate and forgetting it.

One EP really caught my ear, the Buzzcock first EP release titled Spiral Scratch. To place it into context this was Norfolk Va., a very conservative town with a very conservative Rock 'n' Roll radio station in 1977, and the airwaves were filled with Peter Frampton, Queen, and the Eagles. The Spiral Scratch was like nothing I had heard before. It was the EP that set me off to find the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, and The Modern Lovers. I have long since lost my copy of this EP mostly in a divorce but I still keep coming back to it like a touchstone.

You can still find copies of the Spiral Scratch. Original pressings on New Hormones can still be found but are going for hundreds of dollars. I recently saw a copy in near mint condition for almost $400.00 but this is San Francisco. I'm always hoping that I'll find a copy in a garage sale for $1.00. Don't hold your breath.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Top 50 albums

According to Rolling Stone magazine these are the top 50 albums. Well, that is one group of people's opinion. Some of this I agree with and some I'm not that sure. True, all these albums are great and you just can't call yourself a music fan without at least owning most of them. But, THE top 50? This is such a subjective list it really should be called "Our top 50 albums".  Declaring a list of any works of art as the definitive best strikes me as arrogant, both as putting your  aesthetics as superior to others and any works of art that don't make your list as not coming up to your lofty standards as not worth the trouble. There are two unspoken assumptions here; one, that the reviewers at Rolling Stone have heard enormous amounts of music and can remember all of them. And two, that their standards are beyond reproach. It's the socialist in me, it just rubs me the wrong way.

I prefer to look at this list as the fifty albums I am going to review. Yes, my opinion.  My opinion and $5.00 will get you a Happy Meal. These reviews are mostly for my own enjoyment and, I'm hoping, someone will get a good laugh out of it and then seek out these albums. I've heard almost all of these, only two, the Chuck Berry and Public Enemy entries, I've not heard. I own most of them so we shall see if this yields anything worth repeating.

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
  2. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
  3. Revolver - The Beatles
  4. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
  5. Rubber Soul - The Beatles
  6. What's Going On [Vinyl]- Marvin Gaye
  7. Exile On Main Street [Remastered] - The Rolling Stones
  8. London Calling - The Clash
  9. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan
  10. The White Album - The Beatles
  11. The Sun Sessions - Elvis Presley
  12. Kind Of Blue - Miles Davis
  13. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground And Nico
  14. Abbey Road - The Beatles
  15. Are You Experienced ? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  16. Blood On The Tracks - Bob Dylan
  17. Nevermind - Nirvana
  18. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
  19. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison
  20. Thriller - Micheal Jackson
  21. The Great Twenty Eight - Chuck Berry
  22. The Complete Recordings - Robert Johnson
  23. Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
  24. Innervisions - Stevie Wonder
  25. Live At The Apollo - James Brown
  26. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
  27. The Joshua Tree - U2
  28. Who's Next - The Who
  29. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
  30. Blue - Joni Mitchell
  31. Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan
  32. Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones
  33. Ramones - Ramones
  34. Music From Big Pink - The Band
  35. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars- David Bowie
  36. Tapestry - Carole King
  37. Hotel California - The Eagles
  38. The Anthology - Muddy Waters
  39. Please Please Me - The Beatles
  40. Forever Changes - Love
  41. Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols
  42. The Doors - The Doors
  43. The Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
  44. Horses - Patti Smith
  45. The Band - The Band
  46. Legend - Bob Marley And The Wailers
  47. A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
  48. It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
  49. At Fillmore East - The Allman Brothers Band
  50. Here's Little Richard - Little Richard

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