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Che Zuro's Winter 2015 Journal                Archived Journals HERE!

March 30, 2015

Even though it's been spring for just a little over a week, it has actually been spring HERE where I live, for months. Our winter came in November - December and then in January it kind of disappeared. We had little tease days of winter with some snow which helped the ski resorts all over Northern Utah, but in the yards just was white for a day or two and then POOF it disappeared as quickly as it arrived!!! This entry will be the last of my "winter 2015" journal even though it has felt like spring. I am hoping that spring doesn't feel like summer although these warm and balmy nights have been confusing for everyone. Yesterday when I went up to Powder Mountain to perform at the Powder Keg, I didn't even take a COAT! Ski season is about over and the resorts have been trying so hard to hold onto the snow that they have and try to entice all of us hard core skiers to keep coming up to the mountains, while many people have already gotten their boats onto the lakes and their bikes out and riding the long melted trails. Wish the western US lots of luck with the water issues this season.

And then we have our East Coast friends. Inundated with snow and bitter cold temps. 17 yesterday morning??? Snowing in Mass? STILL? Yes! That is OUR weather in mostly every year but not this year. Punxatawney Phil was not correct in his assessment about "6 more weeks of winter" as it has been 8 weeks since Phil's big day. The Boston Waterfront, a wonderful venue back home where I play every time I am there, will be closed through Memorial Day, due to massive flooding and extensive damage. The Youghiogheny and Monongahela Rivers both were iced over and then when the ice cracked, the damage down stream was incredible. Docks and piers taken out. Then the rivers started to rise. It has been a year of extra moisture this year back there. We all wish they could send us their extra water and extra cold temps. What we need here.

I will be heading back there at the end of April and will have a few shows in early May, but I will really miss not being able to even go to the Boston Waterfront for lunch or a drink. My dates will be secured and posted soon. There are a few tentative dates, which I may end up pushing to August - September when I will head back there again.

In the meantime enjoy winter (east) or summer (west) during this lovely spring!



March 28, 2015

I finished "No Saints, No Saviors" by my friend Willie Perkins, about his time with the Allman Brothers as tour manager and all around everything! The book was WONDERFUL! Here is the review I posted on Facebook for those who do not have a FB account:

My old friend Willie Perkins wrote this amazing book about his time with The Allman Brothers Band as well as The Gregg Allman Band, the latter being when I met him while working on 2 of GA's music videos (as an outlaw cowgirl)! My copy was signed and sent to me personally, and I am thrilled to report here that it was a wonderful story, written with so much personality and the feeling that you were right next to him while these things were happening.

There was so much insight into the inner souls of the musicians of these bands, things that can only be told by someone who spent 24/7 with them for so many years. He was their tour manager and did everything from organizing them to get to gigs on time to collecting the money from some not-so-on-the-up-and-up characters throughout the years. Lots of people not in the music industry have no idea how hard everyone works to make a successful band! NOT just the songwriters and the musicians!

The tragic deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are also covered in this book, with that personal sadness and disappointment, but with the determination of the band, road crew and family forging ahead to continue with their success.

Willie's writing is easy to read and it feels like he is telling you the story as a friend and in person. I LOVE THAT! I will keep this book and reread it in the future!

I unfortunately never got to see the ABB with Duane and Berry. As a young teenager I was heavily into the album Eat A Peach when it first came out, and then was thrilled to go see them play at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh on August 24, 1973, with my friend Lisa Taylor from Myrtle Beach, who was visiting me at the time. She and I hung out for hours before the gates opened at the stadium, met a ton of other ABB fans who became like family by the time we went into the show. The band was amazing. Soulful. Great musicianship. Wonderful to hear their voices and all of those songs that I adored. Inspiring for a young guitarist who was already playing in her first band, covering some ABB songs!

This book gave me insight on what was happening on the other end of that day! In my quest to read as many rock and roll bios as possible, this book really had a different twist. It is about the escapades of one of the many unsung heroes of the entertainment business.

Thank you Willie!!!!

You can order the book at Amazon by clicking on the book cover:


Now, how can I find Lisa Taylor??? She and I met in Myrtle Beach as her parents owned and ran the motel where my family and friends used to stay every single summer from age 10 on up. I spent a Christmas with her and went horseback riding on the SNOWY beach which was super fun - the fact that there had been snow on the beach really something in addition to riding a horse on a sandy beach! We remained friends until we both graduated from High School and then just lost touch.

I am in the throws of booking my summer. Please shoot me an email if there is some place you might suggest or if you are putting a show together somewhere and we can see what we can plan!!!!

March 26, 2015

I have been featured in the Salt Lake Tribune! Check out the story and especially the video, shot by my friend Rick Egan!

Story, Photos, Video HERE!



March 10, 2015

Autumn went into spring and winter kind of just waved a little as it flew by! There is virtually no snow in the valleys, even the mountain valleys are suffering, but the resorts in the higher altitudes are holding up okay. So I have been able to "hit the gym" every day that I don't have an early afternoon gig! Woo hoo! Here I am in my workout clothes today!



Tee hee. The weather has also been good enough for me to play OUTSIDE at Deer Valley Resort, which was amazing on Saturday catching some rays and sweating while performing to people dressed in ski gear! Super fun!

In the past few months, I have been interviewed by various people about Kim Fowley and the early days of the Runaways and the Orchids, and with scanning photos and being in touch with so many of my old pals from those days, the memories are flooding back. (Most of them!) It has been awesome remembering some of the things I had forgotten, like this photo shoot:



This looks like it was the fold out poster in a magazine of some sort. But I have no recollection of the photo shoot or anything. Of course this was in the throws of my joining the band and going into intense rehearsals, songwriting sessions, promo events, meetings with record company people, singing for people on the street, and immersing ourselves in MUSIC and the business of music! It was an amazing time. Meeting so many people from famous bands and record company executives, other musicians and characters from Hollywood. Everyone keeps asking me to write a book, so I have started recently on something, and now have an idea of formatting it more like a memoir. It will NOT be a tell all as there are so many people who are still alive or the deceased that have family living, and it will not be a hateful remembrance. It will be colorful and fun filled with stories how I met this person or got to play with that band. And why I continue to do it after all of these years!

My old friend Willie Perkins, tour manager for the Allman Brothers and whom I met while shooting the 2 awesome Gregg Allman videos, I'm No Angel and Can't Keep Running, back in the 80s, and I have just reconnected!!! We stayed in touch for a few years after the video shoots, but then people move and you lose touch. Well no more, thank to the internet! He has just sent me a copy of his 1st book, "No Saints, No Saviors: My Years with the Allman Brothers Band," which I so look forward to reading, and just told me that he has JUST finished his 2nd book!!! Its so cool seeing what people are doing after all of these years!

I have to say, I love the internet!

And this week I have started to work on the hows and whens and wheres for recording my next CD. I KNOW it is about TIME! I am in talks with one in particular, and we have to figure out budget and songs and then either go or no. It is exciting, but I have been a bit frustrated with living so far away from all of my peeps that could help me bring CD #7 (that includes the 2 Tisa and Che discs) to fruition. Then I came to the realization that so many people record and send tracks and ideas over the internet. It is pretty nifty! So, here I go. It could be a very long road, but I plan to finish something soon. I may even start a go fund me or kickstarter and then will be hitting you all up for an advance, haha!!!

Enjoy your last days of winter. The easterners are definitely ready for spring, while we here in the west are still, as mentioned above, waiting for some kind of winter. Even western Canada has not had the snow they usually receive. It is just one of those years.



March 1, 2015

Well, March came in like a lamb, kind of. Yesterday and last night it was actually SNOWING - we forget what that is around here this year - and it looked like it could stick. But today, it has all pretty much melted except for north facing areas and in the shade. BOO! We need the snow here in Northern Utah. (Central and southern UT has been getting dumped on... why not us????) And now this newly forecasted group of storms that are coming in tomorrow and all week, have now been downsized. We could get a little bit of snow and the "colder temps" are really only in the 30s.... So WHAT has happened to our winter here??? And then my friends in the east have had way too much snow and also have stolen our cold temps as well.... It is CRAZY!!!!

So, the sun is shining and there IS some fresh snow in the resorts - they are higher in elevation and any little amount really does help!!! - so today my gig at the Powder Keg should be plenty fun! Hopefully the skiers/riders will be in great spirits and tired enough to come in and rest their weary legs, have a burger and a beer and listen to live music!!!



I LOVE playing this venue!!!

Also I have been a scanning fool, getting photos from my colorful music career ready for a video spot for the Salt Lake Tribune's series "iLove!" Check it out and check back here (or twitter or FB) for when my video will be ready to go! The photos I have scanned and sent to Rick from the SLTrib vary from my childhood all of the way up to recent shots at Powder Mountain, The Century Club and more! Going through all of the memorabilia has been hysterical, reading articles and scanning photos of stuff from Backstage Pass, The Orchids, Josie Cotton Band, Population 5, through Charlie Sexton. It has been an unreal couple of days of a walk down memory lane regarding my music career. And really fun! I will be posting some of these crazy photos too, now and then, here and also on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter @chezuro, by the way!!!



February 21, 2015

Sad news to report. Another friend has passed away, and she was part of the gang of wild gals (and guys) in Pittsburgh who went to see bands and made friends with many, many rock stars. Only 7 weeks after Sandy Skrinjaric passed away, another wild child has passed away, Stef Cindric.



Sandy and Stef

Her ashes will be brought back to the Township and buried with family. It's been a sad couple of months....

February 17, 2015 Fat Tuesday

Well I am feeling pretty fat today, on Fat Tuesday! Not because of the festivities, but because the always-so-wonderfully-funny Jimmy Fallon made my old band, The Orchids, relevant again last night! Ha! He included our album cover and a song that was not even ON that album and was recorded with the original singer who was not on the album, in a funny segment called DO NOT PLAY! It was hysterical to watch and hear his comments on our lovely jumpsuits and watch his face when the song started - it is a PUNK song that we recorded with our bass player, Laurie McAllister (RIP) "singing" the baby cries. This song was so much fun to record and also to play live back in the early days of the Orchids when we were more punk and wilder and maybe not working as hard as we did once MCA Records picked us up. (And then it was all work! ...not really...

Here is the youtube video of the segment. Watch the ENTIRE thing because we are a part of the whole skit. Jimmy Fallon, you are such a hoot and the girls who were on this and are still alive are STILL laughing today!!! And grateful because you started the buzz about this old band again!!!!

And some photos, courtesy of Sunbie Sinn of the Orchids!







And one of the other LPs that he played and showed the cover.



This has made my week! Maybe we are now relevant like William Shatner is with HIS music career??? What do you all think?

Enjoy your Fat Tuesday friends!!!! xoxo



February 9, 2015

We are finally getting a storm, although it is rain here instead of our much needed snow (please, East Coast, send it BACK HERE!!!!), so I am home catching up on many, many things that I have not been able to do in the past week. It is amazing how the east is getting so much snow and very cold weather and how we, here in the mountains in a resort area where we depend on the snow for tourism, it is warm and raining. Yesterday I was outside in a t shirt, pants and FLIP FLOPS. Yes it was THAT warm. About 60. Scary. I think now I am finally believing in "global warming" although my family in Pittsburgh may disagree with me since they are getting such cold weather with so much snow. The snow bunnies in that area are HAPPY though!!!

Last night was the Grammy Awards.
I never watch.
I have not watched in years.
With so many faux pas in previous years, a la Milli Vanilli, and many, many deserving and talented artists not even getting noticed, I just decided, even after attending one of these shows, that "the best" is always in the eye of the beholder.

All award shows, in my ever so humble opinion, do not give awards to the nominees that are necessarily the way all people would vote. So, I just do not watch any award shows. (Even the one that I am in the voting community for!) I just do not watch! I DO find out who the winners are/were and also see all of the posts these days on Facebook and what people are excited about, angered about and disappointed in. But for me, unfortunately, people like Kanye West have ruined the beauty of getting an award for people like Beck and last year, Taylor Swift. And then this is all we hear about for the whole week afterward.
Not the beauty of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga singing standards and being such a classy duo.
Or someone like Lecrae who accepted his award with thanks to the Lord.
It always seems like the rotten apples DO spoil the whole bunch. They spoil it for everyone. It is all we seem to talk about, in person, on social media, on the news.
The bad apples.
How were these people raised?
Obviously with no respect for others.
Obviously raised with so much "self-esteem" that they use it to ruin things for others.
Why can't these bad apples just let the "winners" win and accept their awards like most of them do so well, humbly and with respect to the people who gave the award. I will never understand this.

So, I don't watch.

A year ago I was "invited" to be a part of the Grammy award organization, The Recording Academy. The people involved in inviting me were really excited to find out about the music scene here in Northern Utah and we discussed how some of us mentor young people and what is just going on here.
NOT in Park City or Salt Lake City.
HERE.
They knew my background and loved that I had all of this experience in music, that my career was varied and very colorful. They started making plans to come here and hold some small events to include others in the music industry, from the seasoned pro to the beginner. I was to be a part of this.
Then I "applied." Because everyone HAS to fill out the application. And in the application process, they found my "official biography" and it did not have the things that they needed. i.e. ALL of my recording info and the "facts" about my life. I went to their source for these "facts" about every artist they consider, and found a completely incorrect bio that someone, at some point, wrote and then submitted to this "truthful" site. And I could not CHANGE it. (The change process is long and tiring and even when it is all said and done, they do not change everything that you request them to change. Because I guess they KNOW more about me than I do, right?)
The Recording Academy people who approve the applications told me that this site is basically their bible and whatever is THERE is what the facts are. (Which included in just the first paragraph 3 completely incorrect "facts" about me that mostly everyone that KNOWS me would think "HUH?") I tried changing this "bio" and "complete factual discography" with this company and found that it was virtually impossible.
When this happened, I tried contacting the people who "invited" me to this organization and whom had started planning their trips to my area and received NO RESPONSE.

(((((Crickets)))))

It made me so mad that they would not even take my call to just discuss what was happening. These people who had made such a fuss and really wanted me a part of their organization. It made me realize that this is just another organization that
EXCLUDES
and does not decide things on an individual basis. It is black and white. You are IN or OUT. Nothing to consider. If your bio is wrong on the site that THEY CHOOSE to use as the ONLY place to get the facts about you, then you are screwed.

So, I do not watch the Grammys.
And I put no faith in the organization that votes for the awards.
This is my more than 2 cents about all of this.

I hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings or made anyone angry, but this is my experience and I just HAD to blab it in this forum, especially after last night's award show. Many people who are not connected to the business have no idea what actually goes on sometimes. Many of my friends have no idea what I went through with The Recording Academy. It disgusts me that they would have checked me out, invited me, and then basically dissed me after using some site with incorrect info to find out the truth about me.



January 28, 2015

Sorry this is actually being posted on February 1, but I started it on January 28th and just kept trying to finish the post. I did not want to add some things and then wait for the next group, so just worked hard on this and so, HERE YOU GO!!!!


Trip to L.A.

Decided to go to NAMM this year, not promoting Guitar Hands but as an Ernie Ball artist, which was an incredible way to get in! This year, unlike the past couple of years, I was able to really walk around and take in everything: new artists, old artists, new equipment, brand new inventions, and way more. Because I am going to be writing a few articles, one in particular about the gear that I really was impressed with, I spoke with people and got business cards, got to try some things out, and just really enjoyed that "Music Merchant" part of NAMM. On the way, though, I stopped in Vegas and visited by old friend Angelo Arcuri, who took me to see "Raiding The Rock Vault!"

Here we are in the car on the way to the show!



While waiting in the Casino for the doors to open, we ran into some folks that we both knew, including drummer Bobby Blotzer, whom I haven't seen since the 80s I think ("the 80s WERE a blur," to quote Paul Raymond of UFO the last time I saw him and he did not remember me!) - we caught up before going into the show:



The show was super fun! All pretty much 80s music, a little late 60s and 70s, but mostly the rock and roll of the 80s. The musicians were fun to watch and they had 5 lead singers - singing all of those high notes, I KNOW why they have all of those singers. The chick who sang the Heart, Fleetwood Mac and Pat Benatar songs blew my mind! She was a local Vegas girl who had been singing in bands, and wow, that band got LUCKY when they snagged her for this show! The played some Bon Jovi (here with B.J.'s bassist Hugh McDonald in the band and singer Andrew Freeman telling everyone to give him a big hand!



It was a fun night. Fun to meet the band guys, say hi to Hugh (who lives down the road from me) and Paul Shortino, whom I haven't seen in years.



L-R: Andy Freeman, Jay Schellen, Hugh McDonald, Robin McAuley, Christian (who was subbing for Doug Aldrich and was AMAZING and played all Gibson guitars - woo hoo!!!!), Paul Shortino, Howard Leese (Heart), and the keyboard player whose name escapes me. (Let me know on Facebook!)

Then I hit Los Angeles - well, actually Anaheim. Thursday was my first day at the show, and ended up that I only went 2 days. Thursday was my only real full day to get lots of work done. Saturday and Sunday are usually too crazy to try and see everything, so I planned to do most of my work on Thursday and then also go Friday afternoon into the evening. Unfortunately I missed the funeral of Kim Fowley. Bad planning on my part and maybe also the timing just was not right for me. His services were at Hollywood Forever at 3pm on Thursday and to get there from Anaheim would have taken forever. (It took me an HOUR to get from the freeway exit to the parking spot due to so much traffic on Thursday morning, about a whole mile.) Lots of old friends went to say their goodbyes. Joan Jett and Michael Des Barres spoke. Jeff Lindsey went and then scanned and sent me the program. (Thank you!) He was there with Sandy Fury, the young guitar player now actor, whom I replaced in The Orchids (story below), along with many, many other friends from my Los Angeles days. I will always remember Kim and be forever thankful for his amazing education in the music BUSINESS!!! I will never forget him introducing me to people as "if Brian Jones and John Lennon had a kid, it would be Che Zuro!"

WOW!

Back to NAMM... Arriving



... I got my badge (quickly, not a long line, very organized and wow factor, especially compared to previous years!) and headed in and saw this display!



And then immediately ran into old friends Kathy and TJR! (His website is HERE I think I have seen them at NAMM every year!)

Walking around, you hear music from here and then drums over there, people talking, you see old friends reconnecting and hugging each other and watch the wild dressed up folks (girls in spiked heeled shoes - ???) passing by there to be seen more than trying to see things!!! It is a rock and roll circus and WONDERFUL!!!!!



Moving through the crowd, I was able to see so many friends and even hang out with them, walk around, run into other friends, etc! Ran into Andy Freeman (whom I met 2 nights before after his gig with Raiding the Rock Vault!!!) and his beautiful and talented girlfriend Sara!



Then I ran over to the Hal Leonard booth to help my friends Tara and Todd Lowe with an interview for their magazine Guitar it Up and Guitar it Up For Girls! They were chatting with Jim Crockett of Guitar Player Magazine and his daughter Dara, who have a beautiful new book coming out with the best of the original interviews and photos that Jim did for the magazine when he started it! Yes, STARTED it! He had so many wonderful stories and still has a ton of great ideas, loves music and musicians. The interview will be posted sometime soon - I will let you know about it! Here I am sandwiched between Dara and Jim with Tara on the side, right after the interview!!! Fun!



I then ran over to the Sennheiser booth that had lots of different artists performing during the entire weekend with A LOT OF WOMEN! This always makes me happy - to promote more women in this music biz!!!! I got to see the tail end of Nina Story's set, and she was amazing!



Hope to see her here in Utah, since she does come often to perform!!!

And then, Sunbie - fella Orchid !! - and our photographer friend who has been at pretty much every single Orchids reunion from the beginnings of the band throughout the 2000s, and has DOCUMENTED just about every event, Don Adkins, met up with me at Sennheiser, and we had photos taken!!!



And the 3 of us plus some others, hung out for the rest of the day! Michael Mason joined us



and we talked about how we played in the band Backstage Pass together back in the day. That band was the first one I joined when I moved to California, a gazillion years ago! Backstage Pass was made up of all girls, except we always had a male drummer, Rod Mitchell (of Eulogy), Mike Ruiz (Milk n Cookies) and then finally, Michael, who has been doing music for TV and film for years now!

Also ran over to the Istanbul Mehmet Cymbal company where I can always find old pal, Carmine Appice!!!



And also hung out with my gal pals Lori and Karie, who were the ones responsible for getting me into the NAMM show this year. (And also got to hang out with STEVIE WONDER the day I left NAMM!!!!!!!! (News story at 11, or scroll down for more!)



These girls are amazing and I am thrilled to have them as girlfriends!!!!!! They are fun, loyal, beautiful and energetic, kind, generous, etc.!!!!

We all headed to the Gibson booth upstairs after losing each other, where I met up again with Sunbie, Don and Michael, and where Jenni Alpert was playing. Jenni and I played a lot of the same venues in SoCal years ago as well as places like the Mule Days events in Bishop, CA, and it was great to see her rock the Gibson's!!!



Then Sunbie and I had a fun time rocking the Gibson's ourselves, with Don at the helm of the camera!!!





We both picked out the 20 guitars that we want and need!!! The two of us played Les Paul Junior's when we were in the Orchids and the sales rep we were chatting up wants a copy of the magazine that she and I were on PLAYING those old LPJs!!! At the end of the evening, we all went outside to the Go Pro stage and watched Trombone Shorty, who was amazing!!!!



Then drinks and then home to crash!



Next day, round 2.


I got there late because I was working in downtown L.A. for Earth and Sky, and then when I finally got into the convention center, things were ROCKING!!!!! Walked in and right away ran into Ed Roscetti, whom I have known since the 80s and just have not seen in FOREVER! He was en route to a business meeting at the Hal Leonard booth but here we are!



Then I went over to the Big Joe Stompbox booth where friend Ed Tree was demonstrating again this year! They have a couple of new boxes that they were introducing at the show that are super impressive! I will cover these in my NAMM Gear 2015 issue of Blues-E-News. You can read 2014's article, all 4 pages of it with links and photos, HERE starting on page 78, but the entire magazine is filled with fun photos and links to videos and manufacturers, stories about musicians and more!!!! Here is the 2015 photo of Ed and me!



When I went back to the Digitech booth to see if the sales rep from Salt Lake City was there or not, I saw this young girl playing who was really amazing and wondered if it could be Sophia Dion, a teen that lives in Utah and has played with a lot of my Utah musician friends at events and charity functions as well as all over Park City! AND IT WAS! I went up and introduced myself and we chatted for awhile. I will be writing about her in one of the articles I am doing for "Guitar It Up For Girls" Magazine!!!



Here is Sophia's Facebook Page!

Then MORE blasts from the past!
GREGG WRIGHT was going to be appearing at The Fret King booth and signing autographs and playing his new guitar that they custom built for him.



It was so exciting to see him again - we were friends in the 80s, even were the guitarists in a band with Jan King fronting, called Jan King and Valentine, and I was able to wish him good luck when he went out on the Jackson's Victory Tour and his friends threw him a wild party!!!! (Fun!!!)



He played and was just as expected, AMAZING! He plays his guitars a la Hendrix, left handed and upside down. So is really cool to watch but to play WITH him when one does not know the song, is well, for me, IMPOSSIBLE! You have to train your brain to look at the chord upside down! It is hard enough right side UP!

When Gregg reminded me about a lick that he "stole" from me (HIS WORDS FOLKS!!!!) I just giggled so hard!!!!



We are all influenced by the people we play with and also take what we can from them and make it our own! (I have found that I have "stolen" quite a bit from guitarist Danny Johnson, but of COURSE I did, we dated for almost 2 years and wrote songs together, jammed together, etc. BTW stealing is NOT a bad thing in this case.... she tells herself....)

When Don and Sunbie, and then Jan MacKenzie (whom we hadnt seen for years!) all joined me at this booth, we just kind of took over. I loved their copy of a Junior and suddenly the cameras were going



and then we all - Jan, Sunbie, me, Pam and Sheila - grabbed guitars and became WOW factor for the guys at the booth! So much fun and good memories being made!!!



Here is Jan sandwiched between myself and Sunbie.



She was in the band The Industrials, another Kim Fowley band that had been put together around the same time as The Orchids, so we all crossed paths. Who knew that Danny Stag and JB Frank, both from where I am from, would be in this band and then reconnect later to form Population: 5 with me, Matt Sorum and Prescott Niles!!!!

NAMM also has alot of naked tattooed people, attendees dressed like zombies (do not ask me why, I do not know, nor do I want to know!!!) and sometimes furry animals, like this, um, pig???? (At first I thought it was a Grateful Dead bear and wondered where the rest of them were...)



Moving along.....

Before getting kicked out of the hall when the show was over for the night, we all tried to figure out if we were going to meet up or not, as well as WHICH IS THE WAY OUT OF HERE!!!!! The convention center is huge and you can take a wrong turn and be at the back corner of the building!!!! On my way out I finally saw Micki Free, whom I reconnected with on Facebook, and hugged him, met his partner Jean Beauvoir and then was introduced to his manager, DEAN SWETT who is also Danny Johnson's manager and whom I also have not seen since the 80s! It was a screaming match then, what a wonderful surprise and a truly weird small world!!!!!



I saw loads of other people that I either forgot to take photos of or missed the opportunity or waved from across he way... But the NAMM show was really amazing for me. I skipped the last 2 days and am kicking myself because Lori and Karie got to hang out with this man....



I am still kicking myself! Wow....

Friday night was the party in Angel's Suite, which is where Lori and Karie were also staying. With the Seattle Sirens! And it was hugely fun and I also ran into MORE people that I haven't seen since the 80s! (What IS it about THAT decade?????) Here are the girls sandwiched between 2 of their guy pals,



(and YES that is Randy Rand from "Autograph" on the left in the back!!!!)

and me with Alan Krigger whom I have not seen in forever! He and I were part of the "Screaming Demons" that sang on Dokken's "Back for the Attack" album, and to my surprise he started singing some of the parts that we did!!!!!!
YIKES!
Krigger has a GREAT MIND!!!



When everyone needed to go to their next events, concerts and other parties, Angel's Suite was vacated and we all said goodbye, some til next year, and I went back to Pasadena. What a FUN time I had and I look forward to next year's NAMM show in rocking and rolling Anaheim, California!!!



January 20, 2015

More movies.

Nightcrawler.
OMG
This film is amazing. What a great story, great acting. I loved it. Why are the not talked about films the ones that I am liking the most? It almost feels like "they" are telling us what to watch, what is INCREDIBLE and are giving us Birdman??? And "we" are listening to them? So, from now on I am going to go see the films that we are not getting hyped to watch. THESE are the ones that are pretty amazing!

Still Alice
Another OMG.
This film is so heart wrenching. It makes you wonder what might happen to YOU. Should you take that test for the gene that gives you this disease? And how come I have not really even HEARD of this film? Oh.... yeah... it is GOOD. CRAZY!
But heartbreaking.
So incredibly sad.
Frightening.
Poignant.
A totally must see but have that box of tissues handy!



January 19, 2015

I am a member of AFTRA-SAG and every year get to vote in the SAG awards, so get a slew of DVDs and digital downloads to watch and catch up on everything that I have not already seen! Last year was pretty amazing (check out my Winter 13 journal) - with 12 Years a Slave and The Butler, Philomena, American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, etc. So many amazing movies that it was SO difficult to choose the best of anything!!!!! This year, well, it has been difficult to find much to even choose from. (Sorry film makers!!!!)

My choice for the best, so far (I have only watched about 6.5 so far) is a REALLY fun and really well done movie with crazy wonderful scenery and sets and a whole bunch of well-known actors : The Grand Budapest Hotel!!!!



For me this is a MUST SEE! The story is super fun and it just reminds me of "The Producers" or maybe "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." In that same vein.

Some of the others, so far...

Birdman - meh....
Although Michael Keaton's acting is pretty darn amazing!!!

Boyhood - the soundtrack is wonderful! And it was fun to see Charlie Sexton as "Jimmy!" AND it was a really interesting concept for a film, to be filmed over 12 years using the same actors and just continuing the story of - mainly - the son in the film and his "boyhood!" - BUT I did not feel that it was an amazing film. (Sorry!)

Wild - meh...
Reese Witherspoon was good in this, but it was not a great film in my humble opinion. I loved the part when she was hiking through the snow and a skier and a snowboarder flew past her and then told her she was in Mono County! My old stomping grounds!!!

The Theory Of Everything - VERY good movie! The acting was great and Eddie Redmayne was AMAZING in this role. I still have no idea HOW he did this. Good movie but NOT the movie of the year. (In My Humble Opinion!)

The Judge - very good film, but hard to watch yet another dysfunctional family! GOOD acting from Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Recommended.

Foxcatcher - S L O W. Hard to watch Steve Carell in this role. WHY is this film so S L O W? I will never know. A tough one (for me) to even finish.

Gone Girl - OMG WOW. Acting superb, story is amazing. Hard to watch a lot of it though. But thrilling. Frightening. Worth it. Not sure if it is the "movie of the year." Once again.

That is all for now!!!!! As soon as I watch the next group, I will report in again! It MIGHT be awhile because I AM GOING TO NAMM in a couple of days!!!!



January 15, 2015

Kim Fowley is dead.

He was the producer who had put together the Runaways, and was also managing the Quick, had written songs with/for Kiss and many other famous bands before I met him through the Kessel Brothers in 1979. The brothers had known me from the band Backstage Pass, that I joined when I first moved to Hollywood, and although we did have some success, at the time I was plucked from the band to audition for a new Kim Fowley all-girl project, we were down to guitar player/ singer (me) and bass player / singer (Spock) so I thought that it was a good time for me to move on and see what I could progress to.

The audition was really uncomfortable. They brought me into the rehearsal studio where the whole band had been working on songs, a set list, plans for an EP, etc., and introduced me, and then Kim asked the guitar player, Sandy Fury, to go away and let me play. I couldn't believe that he would do this and that I was auditioning for someone else's place when that person was right there! Looking back, maybe I should have said, "No I will come back at another time when the person you are replacing is not there." But youth and an opportunity made my decision to go ahead and do this. Had I not been a pretty good guitar player and a pretty good singer, he would have probably told me to leave and go do my Dog Dance somewhere else.

For years I felt bad about the way the audition went down and how Sandy was gone in an instant. (She was let go right there in front of everyone!) BUT what some of us did not know, she was too young to even be able to play at lots of the places that Kim had planned for us to play. She also would not have been able to legally tour with us. She was TOO YOUNG. For years I know that she hated me. And I always felt bad. But it was a good move for me, turns out, to be involved with this band that ended up being a real amazing rock band, to get a record deal with MCA and also meet so many people in the music business. People that I still know today!

And an update on Sandy Fury. She is an actress and doing well! Years ago I ran into her at Genghis Cohen and we talked and hugged and cried and made up and forgave and became friends.

Photo of the band shortly after I joined, Sunbie Sinn, Laurie McAllister, Kim Fowley standing, Sindy Collins on the ground (original singer, also too young to really be able to play a lot of the places planned, BTW), me, Laurie Bell.



Photo by Brad Elterman

The instrumentation in this line up was: guitar/vocal, bass/vocal, producer/songwriter/everything/guru, singer, guitar/vocal and drums/vocal. Some of us also played other instruments and wrote songs for the band, etc.

Laurie McAllister left us a few years ago, Sindy Collins passed away sometime in the 1980s, still have not been able to get the actual information.)

One day Sindy disappeared. (Later she told us she needed to get away and was gone with no message for anyone, for over a week.) So after a few days, Kim brought in a girl who was a WOMAN and not a little girl, someone who had this VOICE. Amazing. Kind of a cross between Patti Smith and Lucinda Williams with a little Janis Joplin in there. She brought the ROCK to the pop band that we were. And Laurie Bell and I no longer had to sing our harmonies flat to sound good with the singer. Our voices BLENDED. It was amazing. We went from the Bay City Rollers to the Rolling Stones in one fail swoop.

Many people hated Kim. A lot of people are posting crappy things about him online, about his abuse and the way he called people nasty names. We all had nasty names originated by Kim. He put us through a lot of stuff. Some bad things. BUT this made us strong in the music business, which is just that - BUSINESS. He showed us how to write songs during a writer's block. And that work ethic. Oh my, it was unreal. I don't think I have ever been so busy in my entire life. It was 24/7. Every minute of every day. He told us to keep paper and pen next to our beds because we might wake up with a song or a lyric in our heads and you don't want to lose that! He would give us stacks of lyrics to take home and expect a couple of new songs in the morning. I always loved that because I was never strong with the lyrics, I was better with the chord structure and melody lines. So with all of these lyrics, I was able to write a ton of songs "with" Kim. It was an amazing couple of years of production. Writing, promoting, singing, playing, getting better at everything.

He would bring people together to record for fun and then make something of the fun! I will never forget when Sham 69, a punk band from London, was in town, and so was my old friend Stiv Bators who had made a name for himself with the Dead Boys from Ohio, and Kim pulled them and The Orchids and a boy band that he was producing that the time, The Popsicles, and we were all in the studio for a day or so, recording some crazy fun things. Some of the stuff was released on BOMP! records as a Stiv Bators solo endeavor, and one of the songs was called L.A.L.A., which was super fun to record.

Here are a few photos from that session. The first is the gang singing and playing. I am in the back, red headed, slightly hidden, playing my Les Paul Junior, with Stiv at the microphone and Laurie B, Sunbie, Laurie M, and a number of the Popsicles singing along.



And Stiv Bators, Kim Fowley and Jimmy Pursey, the singer of Sham 69 at the control board.



Amazing times. Amazing memories. I learned so much I don't even know where to start. This is everything in a nutshell.

When the Orchids broke up and everyone moved on, I remained friends with so many of the business people that I had met through Kim. People like Danny Goldberg who continued to give me encouragement and advice throughout the years. Friends like Jan King, whom Kim brought in to replace Sindy as singer. Sal Maida who played bass (ghost player) on our MCA record "The Orchids." Photographer Brad Elterman. Photographers that took photos of me in this band and then later were taking photos of me when I was in Charlie Sexton's touring band! Sherry Klein, sound engineer extraordinaire! (Kim loved hiring females for typical male jobs. He was very pro-female despite what some haters are saying!) Peter Paterno, my music biz attorney whom I would never sign anything without his advice. Lifelong friends made during this experience. There were many bad times. When I would get fined because one of the band members was late for rehearsal. When I could get crap because the band didnt have a new song ready to go. I was willing to work, but life was difficult with some band members that would rather party and sleep in than work on new songs and vocal arrangements. It was a tough time for me, but also there was so much to be gained. And without all of that knowledge, directly from Kim Fowley to me, I wouldn't be where I am today. Still playing music, writing songs, and putting out my OWN CDs.

Thank you Kim and keep doing your Dog Dance in Babylon!



January 6, 2015

Every year on this day I think about my upbringing and how we would go to my Grandmother's house for Orthodox Christmas Eve dinner which consisted of one of the strangest "dinners" probably known to man, but that my family embraced and carried the traditions. It is also Epiphany and my family always kept our Christmas decorations up through this day and usually through tomorrow as well, so that my Dad would have "his" Christmas. So now, I carry on the tradition of keeping up my Christmas tree and decorations through usually the first day available after Orthodox Christmas (January 7) and it warms me each and every year.

These days unfortunately, I have no family to celebrate with. There are no Aunt's left who actually cooked for days and prepped and planned the menu, table, got everything blessed by the Priest, decorated the table, put hay under the table cloth, did everything that was customary to prepare for the coming of the Savior. There is no way I could do a 12 course meal with wild mushrooms being one of the dishes, or trying to make the home made sauerkraut that was served in a bowl in the center of the table for everyone to fight for the first forkful! Neither could I imitate my Grandmother as we followed her around the dining table after the meal, in prayer, three times, solemnly, welcoming the Baby Jesus.

I have these incredible memories yet no one to pass them down to. And not many of my cousins were much interested in these old time customs from the Old Country, either, and now, of course, most of the churches do not even go by the old calendar anymore. This is distressing to me. Holding onto the old is not a bad thing. It is a respectful thing.

And maybe that is what we have lost in our world these days. Respect.

Christos Razdajetsja! - Slavite Jeho!



January 3, 2015

So, here I sit. At home. In my sweats (yes, I did get out of my pajamas) with hot tea and cough drops and I am coughing my head off. Tonight's gig will not be able to be done because I don't think I could really squeak through my songs... SORRY!!!! Last night I was fortunate to have an almost empty place - not sure why but the place was just not packed in the bar area - so I say fortunate because of my voice sounding like a 3 year old. At one point I couldn't use my harmonizer box because it sounded like a bunch of angry cats trying to tell me to shut up! Frightening!

Kyle Hicks will be playing in my place tonight and will be a wonderful substitute for me! His music is beautiful. His voice is soothing and he is easy on the eyes. So, go in and have dinner and relax and enjoy the evening!

NIGHT OFF!!! WOO HOO! Haha... What do you think I will be doing - yes, pajamas and tea (maybe a little something stronger to kick this out of my system) and T H E G A M E! The Steelers and the Ravens. Wow. I cannot believe that I will be watching this tonight. Kind of exciting that "my" Steelers have gotten this far this year. Who'd have thunk? So, true fans of Che Zuro, put on that black and gold and cheer with me (I will be cheering on the INSIDE) and let's get this team to the next game!!! It is pretty exciting.

Now back to my catching up on the Sag Awards films that I have to watch in the next couple of weeks!!! I will be reporting on those, too, like I did last January, remember?

Any comments or complaints, well, not complaints, please, but any comments, you can shoot me out an email or comment on my FB page!

Now where IS my terrible towel???



January 1, 2015

During the time that I neglected you all, I realized that my musings were all put on Facebook, which isn't fair to the people who have boycotted it for various reasons. I, myself, had not wanted to join for such a long time, then finally did to the prompting of my friend Debbie and the photos that she posted that only one could see if one joined. Sigh, I was then hooked.

But now having been almost a half year since keeping up with this journal, I do realize that i need to be more consistent. Not just in journal writing, but with keeping in touch with loved ones, cleaning my house, writing new songs, getting my hair cut, and more. And posting more photos on this forum to my most faithful of all fans and friends! It is so easy to just post on FB, upload a photo and a comment, and get a ton of "likes" and replies, but there is nothing like being able to tell a story or post some photos of the times and the people and the concerts and everything I have loved and have been involved with.

So, with my fingers and toes uncrossed, I will start with my first New Year resolution of the year - keeping up with my journal and talking to you. Hopefully it will be as current as my tour page is - every time I have an update or cancellation (unless I am already on the road, then it would be impossible - like Sunday's show at Snowbird - the road was closed, FYI) - it is posted immediately. So, with that said, wish me luck. Or prompt me with a "What's going on?" email now and again. I love hearing from you! Oh and Happy New Year!

2014 was an oh-so-interesting year. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of gains and losses. Lots of laughs and lots of heartaches. And deaths = losses. The most incredible loss was an old friend whom I shared many a crazy time with, Sandy. She had a huge heart and was the life of the party, at every party! After losing touch for many years, we reconnected "back home" where she had recently returned, and I was there for visiting and gigging. She was my merch babe for one of my gigs at Ohiopyle and did a great job, spreading out all of my cds on a blanket in the middle of the field where I was playing, enjoying every moment of that "job!" She will be missed by so many people.



Probably my favorite music from 2014 would have to be Leon Russell's "Life Journey" which I just received from my friend Patte (thank you again for all of that great music!!!!) and when popped into my CD player (yes, I still have one.... duh...) I immediately loved that old LR piano playing and the weathered singing voice. Chills.

My favorite movie of the year, (sorry people, I actually loved it from the beginning) is Winter's Tale, which begins with a family immigrating to the US from Ireland (I am totally into genealogy so that was what got me right away) and when they were sent back due to a medical issue of the man, the young couple put their baby into the water (on a raft) hopefully to be found by someone and given a better life. None of my favorite actors are in this film but I loved the scenes and the cinematography. Of course I am in the midst of watching everything that I missed, to be able to vote in the SAG Awards, an annual event for all members in good standing!!! (I promise to report on some of them!)

This year I will be trekking back to the NAMM show in Anaheim in late January, but in an artist capacity and will be just walking around to see what I can see. Hopefully I will be asked again to write a NAMM Gear article for their 2015 issue. In the meantime you can read everything I wrote about (with video links, manufacturer links and photographs) HERE!

I promise to be back soon! And once again, a very happy NEW YEAR!