It was "Girl's Night Out" with Gloria and I going to see Leon Russell at the Mt. Tabor Theater on Hawthorne last night. Â We missed the opening band, and just as we walked in, Leon ripped into "Jumpin' Jack Flash" into "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Â Different than the way we are used to hearing it from the Concert for Bangladesh (August 1st, 1971) and a great way to begin the night. Â This was a different band than I've seen him with before. Â The last couple of times he's been to Portland with Commander Cody, I missed those shows. Â Heard they were great though.
The last time I saw him, was at the Roseland Grill. Â It was packed, and we had to stand through the show, and he had his son, Teddy Jack and daughter, Sugaree Noel with him. Â He also didn't say much to the audience at that show. Â Teddy Jack opened with an acoustic set, and he's a very good writer and singer. Â I bought his CD and he signed it for me that night.
But last night, Leon chatted with the audience after about 20 minutes of one song right into another. Â He also told the story about meeting Gram Parsons in L.A. Â Gram was wearing his beloved Nudie Suit, and told Leon that he should do a version of The Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses" which he also did last night. Â I could just sit and listen to the man dole out the memories of his life.
He also talked about touring with Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and Gloria told me how she saw that show in Boston. Â Delaney & Bonnie, Rita Coolidge and many other amazing musicians. Â I'm still jealous about that. Â What a show that must have been.
Leon started his career working as a musician at the ripe old age of 14 in the bars of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Â He's played with just about everyone you could imagine George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, JJ Cale, The Band, Ringo Starr, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Campbell, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many MANY more. Â Click here to link to Leon's website.
One of my favorite lines of his, is "I love you in a place where there's no space and time." Â Thanks for the music, Leon. Â Thanks for still touring like you were just starting out 14 years old, and playing with kids who weren't even born when the "Mad Dogs" tour or "Bangladesh" concert took place. Â Next time you come to Portland, if you can, please bring Teddy Jack with you.
Oh, and just so I can RANT one more time about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Leon Russell is not in there. Â Abba is, and Leon is not. Â Run D.M.C. is in there and Leon is not. Â Someone explain this to me, in a manner I can understand. Â It makes no sense, is wrong and bad and I'm sure there's artists who have been inducted who wonder the same thing.
I was stressing out about being on the air the night before I returned to the station. Seriously, you'd think that after all these years, it's second nature. Well, it is...but thinking about it is just...weird. I had an anxiety attack, thinking that things had changed dramatically and I wouldn't know how to push a button or something. So silly, but radio folks seem to be plagued with these nightmares. From everything from having a library filled with the wrong music, to showing up naked, and worse of all...DEAD AIR, we have these nightmares in common. I don't know one person who works in radio that hasn't had at least one agonizing night of terror courtesy of this business that we love so much. We share these dreams. Sometimes they aren't so much a horror, but just confusing, and after so many shows you'd think we would get over it, but we don't.
When I did stage productions in theater from grade school through college, I do not recall having one dream concerning the play that I was in. The minute I got my first airshift on the college station that only broadcasted to the cafeteria I started having nightmares. Good grief! I have no idea why. If it's performance anxiety, why didn't I have these night terrors when I could forget entire pages of dialogue?
The only dreams that equal the horror of the radio nightmare are the ones that I still have about tests at school. I'm in a class and don't know any of the answers and I forgot to wear pants. I still have these from time to time as well. Freud would have a field day with my dreams.
Meanwhile it was nice to return to my little slice of musical heaven on KGON. It truly was like riding a bike. I didn't forget how. Even if I wobbled some, I remembered how.
It's nice to be home.
Oh, and I'm feeling fine. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.
Dan Schauffler is one of my favorite musicians to watch on stage.Â Doesn't matter what he's playing, or who he's playing with.Â The versitile musician usually can be found playing with his band The Crazy 8's, or teaching music to a new generation in his day job as a music teacher...at a real school.Â He's always over the top, and I love how he commits to the music.Â I've seen Danny play at church doing the most reverent stuff ever...."Amazing Grace" on flute will break your heart...and I've seen him on the shoulders of his band mates wailing away on sax at the Crystal while adorned in flashy outfit and fez to match.Â His original music is incredible!Â He's also the very proud papa of two stunning young women.Â He's just a really cool man, and is married to one of the sweetest women on the planet.Â Annie, you rock!
Anyway, when he sends me a message, about what's going on with him and music, I'm all over it.Â So, here's the memo from Danny:
"The Funkadelik Mayham band that performed at the Crystal with Crazy 8s is now morphed into a Blues band named Jeff Handley Trio. They are headlining at Hawthorne Thursday May 13. On May 15th they are organizing a benefit at Valley Catholic School for one of our students who has cancer. The event will be covered in The Valley Times this week. Also playing will be Speakeasy, Waiting in Vain, Chris Delucco, Dirty Merchants, Pseudophiles.
Keep Rockin in the Free World,"
So, there you go.Â Make plans to join them.
Here's a link for more information on the event.
If you are a musician who has dreamed of recording at Abbey Road Studios in London, playing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, and sharing the stage with the likes of Bill Wyman, Nick Mason, Todd Rundgren, Slash, Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce, Mick Ralphs, Alan White, Kip Winger, etc...then your fantasy is actually possible.Â Let's see, you'll need a passport, and around $10,999 to apply.Â It's an extra $1,999 to play the Liverpool gig.Â If your significant other wants to go along (hey, you'll need a groupie, right?) it's an extra $2,199 for them.Â
Now, if you think about it, this is an amazing thing to do.Â I know it's a bundle of money but what a once in a lifetime experience for someone who plays music, but maybe has another career that they do extremely well at.Â Like a doctor,Â lawyer,Â stockbroker,Â business owner, sports figure, or someone who canÂ afford the fee, and fulfill a dream.Â Â Since I can't play a lick, I would not be even tempted to put up the money forÂ this.Â But I know there's lots of people who are REALLY talented and just do something else with their day.Â Like cure cancer.Â My doctor, Will Winter,Â plays guitar and could do this and hold his own, but he's got a medical practice,Â and a band who has been recording and playing, N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) the Band.Â His rock fantasy is pretty full right now.
If you want to go, and need more details, click here to go to the site.
Now, there's alsoÂ something local which is a different kind of Rock 'n" Roll camp.Â It's the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls.Â They teach great things to young girls...like team building, song writing, playing instruments, singing...all of it.Â It's really a great organization with a wonderful group of people who teach and do the administrative tasks.Â
They also have a Ladies Rock Camp going on May 21-23.Â In that length of time, you form a band, write andÂ rehearse a song, and then on the last night, you perform the song at a club in front of an audience.Â Some of the ladies have never played an instrument..EVER!Â I would have said that this takes big balls, but we're talking about women.Â Moxy?Â Yeah.Â All instruments provided.Â
There's another session in October for the ladies, and I'm considering participating in that one.Â However, that being said, I get a horrible stomachache just thinking about the final night and performance.Â SO, maybe not.Â But it would be a great way to step out of my comfort zone and do something wild.Â It's good for the soul.Â While you're in the process, the brain keeps asking "why the hell did I sign up for this?"Â Â But it's been my experience that once said performance (of any kind) is over, there's an extacy that just washes over you.
If you have a daughter who wants to rock, then you should definately consider sending her toÂ the summer session ofÂ Rock Camp for Girls.Â As camps go, it's really affordable, plus there are some scholarships available.Â
But if you're a doctor who wants to rock with the stars, go to London for that gig.Â Abbey Road.Â What a rush!
"Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends. Come inside, come inside!"-Karn Evil #9 1st Impression Part 2 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
As many times as Cirque du Soleil has come to town and set up the Grand Chapiteau just down the street from the KGON studios on SW Moody, I've never been to the show until last night.Â I've also never been offered free tickets to the show, so maybe that's the reason.Â Hey, I'm in the media!Â Where's that free ticket?Â Isn't that why I got into radio in the first place?Â Cool music, free records, free concerts, free movies, lousy pay?Â Of course it was.Â The lure of the freeÂ stuff had me right from the start.Â My first job in Eugene was for $2.50 an hour with no benefits, but all the free records I could haul home.Â I was in heaven.Â Medical?Â Why?Â I was 20.Â Free wine and cheese because of a $20 gift certificate?Â You bet!Â They had $2 bottles of wine and I had no conception of what "good" wine was, except that it wasn't Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill.Â
So, this time around, Cirque du Soleil sends out notifications to the media and I was lucky enough to get one.Â I suppose their partner stations and TV people have been getting these passes for years.Â Now it's my turn.Â
The only exposure I've had at all toÂ a Cirque performaceÂ was at the beginning of the Paul McCartney show at the Rose Garden Arena when he was still married to Heather.Â If you were there, you will remember the ornate costumed people coming from different parts of the arena as the music started.Â It was a cool way to start the show.Â It's no wonder that they have put together the production of "Love" for Vegas.Â Beatles music with the costumes and the choreography from Cirque du Soleil would be incredible.Â As much as I don't care for Vegas, I guess that's a reason to go again.Â Right now they have SEVEN productions going on in Vegas: "O" at the Bellagio, "Zumanity" at New York, New York, "Mystere" at Treasure Island, "KA" at MGM Grand, "Criss Angel Believe" at Luxor, "Viva Elvis" at Aria, and "Love" at Mirage.Â Don't hate me because I don't love Vegas.Â I've just been there too many times and I'm a horrible gambler.
Shannon and I were talking about what our favorite parts of the Cirque du Soleil's "Kooza" show from last night was and we both agreed on three things. (1) The contortionists (2) The Wheel of Death (3) The Music.Â The whole show is lots of fun, with incredible costumes, silly slapstick type comedy, and other acts like the high wire, the woman on the swing, the unicycle rider who weaves this woman around him, the woman and the hoops, and the really buff guy who does lifts and balancing.Â There's something for everyone.Â There's alsoÂ suggestive humor alluding to smoking reefer, a huge "dog" who lifts his leg on the front row (the really expensive seats) and little guys who are humping the legs of "volunteers" from the audience for on stage bits.Â So, if this offends you or the children you plan to take, then don't go.Â Otherwise you'll have a fine time.Â
Being a newbie,Â I had no idea what to expect, and Bonnie, who was with me for the show, hadn't been in years, so she couldn't remember the little things that you should know before going to "Kooza."Â So, in an effort to be oh so helpful, here's some tips for having a better time at the show:
1. Hit the bathrooms at home, or theÂ scene of the "pre-funk"Â BEFORE you get there.Â Also stop drinking ANYTHING an hour before you arrive.Â The show is long, and there are very limitedÂ toilets to access.Â If youÂ do need to go, you will either missÂ part of the show, or spend theÂ entire intermission in line.Â
2. Bring $10Â CASH to park.Â I know it's a big open lotÂ that's by the river and vacant most of the time, but this is prime real estate during the Cirque duÂ Soleil stay and that's what it costs if you areÂ driving there.Â Also know that there is stacked parking at the back and they will ask for your key.Â The parking guys were really sweet, but when I asked if I could avoid the stackedÂ situation, they called over their supervisor who told me why, in aÂ French accent, that I could NOT park anywhere else.Â I swear at that moment I loudly in the car ripped into theÂ French TaunterÂ fromÂ "MontyÂ Python's Holy Grail."Â I couldn't help it.Â Too many years of this exchange with otherÂ Python fans have damaged me.Â I was more than slightly pissy at that point.
3.Â If youÂ are sitting near the stage, expect to be messed with.Â You will either be a volunteer for something on stage, or will at least be made fun of at some point in the show.Â Not everyone, but you never know.Â Â Also if you are sitting there, don't wear your favorite suede jacket or something that can't get wet,Â or scattered with popcorn or confetti.Â Not exactly a Gallagher show, but itÂ could be messy.
4. The seats are small and not comfortable.Â They are obviously made with the acrobats in mind.Â I am not small and can't fold.Â I should have brought a cushion.
5.Â Bring yourÂ jolly attitudeÂ backÂ to the parking lot because it will be a long line, and getting out of there takes a while.Â Actually I was fooled by theÂ size of the audience because the tent is so big, and there aren't that many seats compared to my Grand Chapiteau perception.Â It's still a longÂ wait to get out of the lot.Â Â
So, all in all, it's still a circus...but without the animals and with better music and costumes.Â Â Â It's really more of a circus for adults, which is fine with me.Â TheÂ clowns still creep me out though.Â I just can't help it.