It’s been a busy four months. Postcards From Liverpool was launched on January 27, 2017 and is now on Amazon.com as both a print and e-book. I recently received an e-mail from a Beatles fan in Germany who had bought the book and wanted me to autograph it. Because of the cost postage to and from Germany would be prohibitive, we agreed that my sending a signed postcard would work best. He had heard about my book from an online catalogue and told me about a great Beatles Museum and annual Beatles festival near where he lives in Halle, East Germany. Who knew?
Postcards From Liverpool now available in twelve bookstores along the California coast from Ventura to San Luis Obispo. Getting publicity for a new book is always a challenge but I’m grateful to the journalists who have offered their words about my book. Newspaper articles have been featured in The Montecito Journal, Coastal View News, The Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Maria Sun and online at www.Noozhawk.com.
Signings & Events
On March 18, 2017, I appeared on Dennis Mitchell’s Breakfast With The Beatles radio show. His weekly Beatles fest has been on the air for decades and is broadcast to 70 radio stations across the country and overseas to Liverpool, England, Stockholm, Sweden, Wellington, New Zealand, Paris, France and Auckland, Australia. The podcast is taped at KTYD-FM in Santa Barbara, CA and broadcast live on KTYD Saturday mornings from 8-10 am (PCT). Dennis is the classic rock station’s Program Director. His “Breakfast” show features classic Beatles cuts, band interviews and rarely heard tracks. It was a real honor to be interviewed by such a legendary, professional DJ.
Hear my 2017 “Breakfast With The Beatles” radio interview attached to the site’s home page.
On March 25th, 2017, I appeared at the Beatles Fair in San Diego, CA. The noon to midnight (one-day) Beatles festival featured three stages of live music. I was interviewed on the Fair’s Main Stage and spoke to hundreds of Beatles fans at my author’s table, selling every copy of the book I’d brought with me. That was a first! The Beatles Fair’s headliner was 60’s pop singer Billy J. Kramer who capped his set with a great, upbeat original song, “To Liverpool With Love.” Check it out live on YouTube. He was mobbed by fans after his show ended.
On April 15, 2017, I shared a book signing event in Carpinteria, CA with poetry author Topaz Jan Abbott. Our dual book signing took place outdoors on a perfect Saturday afternoon at the Laughing Buddha Thrift. In addition to readings, the event featured live acoustic music from some of the area’s most talented songwriters. I was delighted that both my mother and sister attended the signing. Also in the audience was singer/songwriter John Cannon who drove up from Malibu, Ca. John played in The Jackie Lomax Alliance which was fronted by early Apple Records recording artist Jackie Lomax. George Harrison produced Lomax’s first album and gave Jackie his song “Sour Milk Sea” to release as his first single. Unfortunately, the track wasn’t a big hit for Jackie because it was released same week as the Beatles single “Let It Be.” Lomax’s band was later managed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein. John Cannon mentioned that he met the Beatles several times in New York and London. Cannon played an acoustic version of his terrific original song “Walking the Streets of London.” It’s sounded like a hit to me.
I will be speaking and signing my book at the Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria, CA on Thursday June 1st 2017. The theater will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The evening will also feature one of Southern California tribute band, Sgt. Pepper, who will play the band’s1967 album live, start to finish.
In my first Blog post I promised I’d review the four British Invasion groups I saw perform during the summer/Fall of 2016. I was lucky to hear English band Cream play live as a teenager but I hadn’t heard any of the following British bands perform live.
When The Yardbirds first toured America in 1966 their five man band had dual lead guitarists Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. On its 2016 tour The Yardbirds featured only one of the original band members, drummer Jim McCarthy. Now 73, McCarthy showed the stamina of percussionist dozens of years younger. At their Canyon Club gig in Agoura Hills, CA, he powered the group through the Yardbirds greatest hits and then some.
We viewed The Yardbirds show from front row seats and heard extended versions of “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,” “Shape of Things,” “Over Under Sideways Down” and many more. I didn’t remember how deep the band’s catalogue was. At the end of the two hour plus concert we were gasping for air but the band was sweating but still smiling. Just another great Yardbirds gig…
I saw most of my 1960s’ rock shows at Santa Barbara’s Earl Warren Showgrounds. I witnessed Jimi Hendrix set his Stratocaster on fire but somehow missed The Zombies. They were the second UK band (after The Beatles) to have a No. 1 USA Hit record. It was 1964’s rock classic “She’s Not There.” Their follow-up hits included “Tell Her No” and “Time Of The Season.” When it was announced they
would perform at a small outdoor venue in downtown Ojai, CA, I knew I had to be there.
I decided to drive to the show without a ticket and see what happened. After standing around for half an hour near the ticket window, I scored a great half-price seat under the oak trees at the Libbey Bowl. I’d forgotten what a presence Zombies lead singer Collin Blunstone brings to the stage…he may have rock’s most polished, pure voice. Ron Argent’s stunning keyboard skills kept The Zombies engine running all night. Their current touring band features a former touring member of The Kinks. I played the dancing fool during the show’s encore “God Gave Rock and Roll To You.”
Chad & Jeremy
If you fell in love in the 1960s, British folk singers Chad & Jeremy probably had something to do with it. Their romantic soundtrack included songs “A Summer Song,” “Willow Weep For Me,” “Yesterday’s Gone,” “From A Window” and their last Top Twenty Hit “Distant Shores.” The original versions of Chad & Jeremy’s songs were often heavily orchestrated which distracted from the simple beauty of the duo’s songs. Seeing them perform solo with only guitar and piano accompaniment striped away that unnecessary pretence, revealing their music’s melodic current and harmonic flow. Hearing “Everybody’s Gone To The Moon” without an orchestral string overlay was a revelation.
At their Soho Restaurant and Nightclub show, Chad & Jeremy announced they will be curtailing their future performance schedule. Hear these great 1960s performing artists before it’s too late. Let’s hope that Chad & Jeremy will tour again soon. They’re not to be missed.
The last time I’d stood in a four hour line to buy tickets was in 1974 to see Bob Dylan and The Band at the LA Forum. Fifty four years later I did it again to purchase tickets to see The Who perform at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. The venue only has 4,562 seats and may be one of smallest concert facilities The Who has ever played in (outside clubs). I scored two great $84 seats without Ticketmaster fees.
With a roar from the crowd, The Who ripped into their catalogue of hits. From the early years they played “The Kids Are All Right,” I Can’t Explain,” and “My Generation.” Pete Townshend’s roadie handed him a newly tuned Stratocaster after every song. There were multiple selections from rock opera’s Tommy and Quadrophenia featuring Townshend’s sweeping, power chord pinwheels. Lead singer Roger Daltry banged dual tambourines and swung his microphone on chord in huge 360 degree arcs. I’d forgotten about his amazing rock moves and 1960’s stagecraft.
I’d seen drummer Zac Starkey on TV playing during The Who’s Super Bowl halftime show but watching his sticks fly in-person was a revelation. Working in tandem with bassist Pino Palladino’s bass, Starkey was in constant motion, his rhythms slashing against Townshend’s counterpoint. Toward the end of the show Daltry tripped on-stage, upended by Townshend’s guitar chord. Daltry picked himself up quickly and laughed it off, saying “Getting old is a bitch.” Then he ripped into the concert’s final encore medley starting with “Baba O’Riley.” The show’s climatic moment was hearing Daltry’s wild, liberating scream…“We Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
The Beatles are getting a dedicated channel on Sirius XM satellite radio featuring their entire catalogue as well as solo albums and artists inspired by the Fab Four. It all begins on Sirius at 6:09 am on May 18th, 2017. That’s just eight days before the 50th anniversary of the Beatles 1967 album release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
That’s it for now. My next blog will include a look back at Billy Joel’s music and his concert at Dodger Stadium in LA. See you down that winding road…