Do You Feel Like I Do (old)

For some reason the song “There’s Only One Way To Rock” by Sammy Hagar has setup shot in my forebrain (prosencephalon) and keeps repeating “Crank up the drums, crank out the bass, crank up my Les Paul in your face” …

I don’t even LIKE this song! And I am certainly not a Sammy Hagar fan.

There may very well be only one way to rock, and I am sure that I’ve long ago forgotten what it was. I do know this, though…it wasn’t Sammy who let me in on the secret.


This got me thinking about Van Halen. When David Lee Roth left and Sammy stepped in, Van Halen officially died for me.

I remember the first time I heard Van Halen. It was in my friend’s 1974 Dodge Challenger. The year was 1978 and he had just bought the 8-Track and we were cruising around town listening to it. At the time I was just weaning myself off of Kiss and moving into my art rock phase. I remember looking at the production credits and seeing that the album was produced by Gene Simmons. It was an impressive tape, I must say. The only Van Halen I ever owned or liked.

I even remember the urban legend that Kiss and Van Halen were actually the same band…there was some deep controversy surrounding that rumor until it was finally dispelled satisfactorily. This was in the pre-Internet days. You kids today have it EASY. Back then you didn’t get a humility inducing e-mail directing you to a link at Snopes. We relied on sources like Rolling Stone Magazine and such for our facts. And that was only if you could afford to pick up a copy or browse the latest issue at the drug store quick enough not to get the bum’s-rush from the shop-keep.

Once my brain got to thinking about 8-Tracks I regressed to the time I was at my neighbor’s house in 1976. Peter Frampton Comes Alive had just been released and it was playing in the back room on his 8-Track player.

We must have let it play through 5 or 6 times (for reasons any child of the 70’s can relate to) so it became somewhat ingrained into my adolescent brain.

To this day, whenever I hear the song “Do You Feel Like We Do”, my mind puts in the audible click where the 8-Track manufacturer had to fade the song down, change tracks and fade back up on the next seeing as how there was not enough space to contain the whole song in a single track.

Speaking of Frampton, I just heard “Do You Feel Like We Do” on a XM Radio rebroadcast of American Top 40. I’d forgotten that pop radio often created short 3-4 minute remixes of the longer songs for airplay. Seems they didn’t want to play the full 14+ minute version. For the record, the short version sucks mightily.

I leave you with this recent Geico commercial which clearly shows that there’s more than one way to rock….

Blarney Fest

Back in 1995 and 1996 I organized two Celtic music events at the now defunct Rockefeller’s Nightclub.

The first event was called “Blarney Fest” and featured my band, the The Flying Fish Sailors, along with Ceili’s Muse and the first major public performance by the legendary band, Clandestine. The master of ceremonies was Jim McKenzie. The concert was completely sold out and by any measure, a huge success for all parties involved.

The second event was called “Son of Blarney Fest” and featured the same bands and also included Gordian Knot and a solo performance by Mary Maddux. This event also sold out and was again, a huge success.

Both concerts were recorded and a limited run of CD’s and cassettes were sold and they were never reprinted. But now, thanks to the digital age, these recordings are available once more via web download for ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Click on the following links to get your copy today!

BlarneyFest 95
Son of BlarneyFest

The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo

Long, LONG before there was American Idol there was a nationally syndicated program called The Gong Show.

Contestants would perform their variety act in front of a panel of celebrity judges and if they were not “gonged” in the first 20 seconds the judges would rate the performance on a scale of 1-10 and the winning act would receive a cash prize.

I vividly remember my my friends in Three Day Stubble getting “gonged” off the show almost immediately.

I watched the program pretty regularly “back in the day” but I don’t recall seeing this.

Watching this video it’s hard to imagine that the guy wearing the rocket would one day go on to score the music for movies like Batman The Motion Picture and the theme from the Simpsons.

I wonder what ever happened to the acts who’s only claim to fame may be that they lost to the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo on The Gong Show?

That makes two Gong Show conrestants I have met in person

And one time getting “gonged” myself from a recreation of the Gong Show.

There’s a hidden message here somewhere.

Gull pics from Bolivar

I have a fond memory of reading the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach during the early 70’s. It was a very popular and inspirational story in my youth and it came highly recommended to me by many of my friends.

It’s one of those memories that looses detail over the years but gains in mental and emotional significance because it marks a change in mental state. I have not read it again since that first and only time, and I am rather certain it would not have anything close to the same effect on me today as it did back then so I choose not to re-read it.

Rather, I choose to let my flawed and scattered recollection tickle my consciousness each and every time I find myself near the beach with an opportunity to feed the seagulls.

In doing that, I reach back and make a connection with a distant but pleasant memory. And maybe, just maybe the serenity and joy I experience in that moment is the true benefit of having nurtured this fond memory for over 30 years.

At least I hope so, because otherwise I am just giving free bread to a bunch of filthy sea pigeons.

Is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?

It was 26 degrees when we go up this morning!


We were getting ready to leave the house this morning and Cynthia came out of the bedroom wearing her wool poncho. Man, I love this thing. It’s over 35 years old and she’s the original owner.

There’s also a great story that goes with it. When Cynthia was in high school she was given some money by her grandparents for her birthday. Her parents told her that the money should be spent on a new winter coat as she had outgrown her old one.

Cynthia figured that there was no way her parents would let her go through an East Lansing, Michigan winter without a new coat to wear so she opted to use the birthday money to purchase herself a new guitar.

When her mother asked her where she got the money for the new guitar she told them she used the birthday money from her grandparents. Her mother then asked her how she intended to buy a new coat for the winter and Cynthia replied “I guess you’ll have to buy me one!”

Her mother responded “Oh no I won’t. You’ll just have to make due this winter” and left it at that.

Cynthia protested that she would need a new coat to make it through the winter and her mother let her know that she should have thought of that BEFORE she spent the money on a new guitar.

She was not about to return the guitar and with no new coat and the harsh Michigan winter at hand Cynthia was forced to improvise.

She had this poncho, and while it was made completely of wool, it was certainly not intended for the kind of cold that she would have to endure that winter.

Cynthia spent that winter bundled up in as many layers of clothing as she could muster and topped it off with that poncho and made her way to the bus stop and back each day. She describes it as pretty miserable and I can only imagine just how bad it was.

All that trudging in the snow and day to day use of that poncho did not seem to be a problem, though.
35 years later and it still looks like new!

Java, Cup of Joe

I can distinctly remember my first cup of coffee.
I was 12 or 13 years old so that puts it around 1973.

Yup, it was the “olden days.”

My mother used to go down the street to Mrs. Gladden’s house for coffee and gossip.
It was summertime and I was bored one day so I went with her to hang out. Mrs. Gladden’s son wasn’t around so I sat in the living room with my mother and Mrs. Gladden and Mrs. Gladden asked if I would like a cup of coffee.

I looked at my mother and she nodded her approval and I said “yes!” It seemed to me to be so very adult to get to hang out and drink coffee. There was the first sip of black coffee which was not too pleasant and then my mother and Mrs. Gladden coached me through the process of adding non-dairy creamer and some sugar which made it much more palatable.

I was hooked from the get-go.

Keep in mind that during my adolescence and early adult years I did not drink or experiment with drugs. That’s right, while the other kids rocking round the clock, I was hoppin’ and boppin’ to a thing called the Crocodile Rock Java Jive. While many of the kids my age were extolling the glories of casual drug use by doodling marijuana leaves and pills on their notebooks I was revelling in the iconic simplicity of a steaming cup of coffee.

There were plenty of head shops during the 70’s but not so many dedicated coffee shops. Places like Jo-Jo’s, Denny’s and Kip’s Big Boy served bottomless cups of coffee, but they were restaurants first and foremost. The wait-staff frowned on teenagers coming and ordering cup after cup of coffee without purchasing a meal. I can recall Rich Davis and me wearing out out welcome at the Kettle on S. Shaver (or was it Spencer Hwy?) in Pasadena, TX any number of times.

After I got out of the Navy and returned to Pasadena my coffee addiction was in full swing and now it was 1981. Coffee shops were still a rare commodity and I was pretty much hooked on coffee. I had a percolator my parents had given me and I kept that thing going pretty steady.

In late 1983 Hurricane Alicia came along and ripped the roof off of my small apartment and this was the catalyst for moving into the city. I landed in the Montrose and before long I was working at the Half Price Books on Waugh Drive. In the process of exploring my new neighborhood I discovered Tim’s Coffee Shop. It’s now Bambolino’s Italian Kitchen but back in the day it was a cozy little coffee shop/restaurant and I was there almost every day before heading in to work, reading the paper and drinking coffee and making friends.

Tim’s Coffee Shop became the formal gathering place of the Philosopher’s Guild, a small band of friends who would meet and stay up to all hours of the night discussing anything and everything while consuming mass quantities of coffee.

Tim’s eventually closed down and Charlie’s Coffee Shop opened just down the road in what was once a topless bar called The Boobie Rock and is now the lesbian bar Chances. I sometimes wonder if the patrons know the sordid history of that little piece of real estate…

Charlie’s, for all intents and purposes, was a gay Denny’s. While it was primarily a restaurant, you could still just grab a booth and sit and drink cup after cup of coffee. I spent a lot of time in Charlie’s and was very sad when it closed.

During this time frame two things happened that were directly influenced by my love/addiction to coffee.

My first radio show of any significance was on Friday mornings from 5-8 and when I was trying to come up with a name I thought of that glorious line from the 1984 movie Suburbia, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee” (which was also later used in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in 1986).

The third album/CD my band recorded adopted the title “Give Me Coffee” from the first song I ever wrote of the same name.

Fast forward some years and I’m in The Heights after Cynthia and I first got together. Coffee shops are starting to pop-up like crazy. Starbucks has begun to explode and coffee drinking is becoming quite the fad. I found a place called Java Java on Heights Blvd and that became my new coffee haunt.

After I finally managed to get out of working retail and on to a more steady Monday through Friday schedule working in the corporate worlds my trips to the coffee shop began to dwindle as I opted for the grab and go convenience of Stop and Go coffee.

In all the years I have been consuming coffee I rather prided myself in being quite basic about it. No lattes, no cappuccinos, no espressos or mochas or anything fancy. Just a cup of coffee with cream and sugar or black in a pinch. As Starbucks rose to power, other specialty coffee shops sprung up but I kept true to my coffee roots.

I practically swore to myself I would never patronize a Starbucks. That was until our trip to the UK. While we were in Edinburgh, Scotland we toured The Edinburgh Castle. It was cold, wet and windy. When we got to the top there was a gift shop and in that shop there was a Starbucks…

I didn’t change my coffee stripes then and there. I was a coffee addict and this had the appeal and benefit of actually being available. Still, the chip in my coffee armor was there now.

Over the years my resolve to stay away from designer coffee shops has wained.

Cynthia enjoys a “good” cup of coffee on Sundays. She’s not interested in Stop and Go coffee and suggested a few years back that we stop at Starbucks on the way to the grocery store. Her offer was to buy the coffee if I would agree to stop there. I capitulated and now it’s our Sunday tradition.

It wasn’t long before I was hooked. I can no longer drink the coffee offered at the local convenience store. Now I get a Starbucks pretty much every day on the way to work and often one in the evening.

But it’s still a matter of pride that I don’t order those designer froo froo coffee drinks.

No frappacinos, no half caff no fat grand mochachinos for me, no sir. Just a LARGE house coffee to go, thank you very much!