Wednesday, 22 June 2011

MozzLink 1 - Bruce Springsteen "Streets of Fire"

RIP Clarence 'Big Man' Clemons

Let's talk about Bruce Springsteen for a second,

or a minute or two - then watch a shitload of truly 
revelatory videos, filmed in true, cinema verite-ish
black and white, each with a stunning 'board' mix that
features Bruce's full-out, unsung, heroic guitar playing,
not to mention his razor-throated, take no prisoners lead
vocals. In concert with, and married to The E Street Band, 
Springsteen acts out each and every one of his songs' 
main protagonists' roles, aided greatly by the raw 
attack of The E Street Band - and the charisma 
and integrity of a truly big, engaging man - 
Clarence Anicholas Clemons Jr.

I had the pleasure of meeting and looking eye-to-eye

with The Big Man, himself. Yep. He was BIG. Way 
back in 1985, while employed as a security guard, 
during 2 massive Springsteen concerts in Toronto, 
at the now-gone CNE Grandstand. My buddy, 
Dave Beatty offered me (with absolutely NO 
security guard experience, eh-ver) the plumb 
job of 'backstage left security guard'. My role
was simple: keep all dogged, determined and 
prying fans AWAY from the backstage area, 
and specifically, assist Bruce and his merry 
band of rockstars (including both his then 
AND future wives) onto and off of the 
stage - before and after the incredibly
incendiary, legendary shows.

Which is exactly what I did.

In between performing my duties,

I watched (from directly behind Nils
Lofgren's amplifiers) Bruce, Big Man
and the band transform 52,000 people,
each night, into their best friends and 
lovers and close family - for ever.

To this day, methinks, all real Bruce

fans feel a kindred affinity with not
only his and his band's recordings
and shows, but with Bruce, Big
Man, Patti, Miami Steve and the 
whole E Street organization,
past, present and future.

And while, in the present and future,
there'll be no more banter between the
best-est of friends that Bruce and The 
Mastah of Disastah were, we are 
blessed with enduring memories,
prompted by links like the one
I'm a-writin' about, today,
showing Springsteen and
the E Street Band in their
early days - at The Capitol
Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey.

Be sure to check out this link, folks.

Try watching the related playlist.

This is one MF'in' B-A-N-D.

This is talent. This is timeless.

This is Bruce Springsteen

and The E Street Band.

Mozz the Elder

"Streets Of Fire"

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Classic Song 45 - The Tornados "Telstar"

Alright -  time to talk about classic music.

Back in the years before The Beatles changed
everything, I was a little Kootenay kid that loved
pretty well all types of music that I heard, as I was
becoming more and more obsessed with the sounds
emanating from our radio and/or console stereo, and 
was constantly on the lookout for something new.

My brother Gord was my music hero, having
allowed me exclusive access to his band's
rehearsals (as detailed in Classic Song 
34). By eavesdropping on his daily 
guitar practice, whether played
on his '59 Jazzmaster or his
mid-50s Kaye, I heard many
exciting, reverb-laden tunes that
still resonate with me, over a half
century later, including guitar-centric
songs by Duane Eddy, The Ventures,
England's The Shadows or today's Classic
Song, featuring none other than The Tornados.

The story behind "Telstar" has been recounted 
often, so I'll give you only a snapshot summary of 
the salient points. The song was written and produced
by Robert George "Joe" Meek, who was not only into
music, but dabbled also in the occult, believing that he
could communicate with the dead, including the spirit
of Buddy Holly, himself. When not communicating
with ghosts, Meek was active in the British music
scene, having already had a couple of number
one UK records to his production credit. 

He was truly obsessed with futuristic sounds,
having already written and produced a concept
album, entitled I Hear A New World (which he
described as an 'Outer Space Music Fantasy),
for Brit act, Rod Freeman & The Blue Men.

But that was in 1960, and two years later, he was
determined to paint his audio masterpiece, with
the capable help of The Tornados. The title,
Telstar, refers to the US satellite that orbited 
the globe, in competition with Sputnik,
the Soviet Union's pioneering satellite.

The song itself features a very catchy melody,
played on a unique little instrument, called
the Clavioline, a forerunner to the analog
synthesizer, that was also used on The
Beatles' "Baby You're A Rich Man"
and many other pop tunes by acts as 
varied as Esquivel, Del Shannon,
The White Stripes and a young
David Jones aka Bowie.

After Telstar's massive success, Joe Meek 
was sued for plagiarizing the melody from an 
obscure soundtrack to a French film, and though
ultimately (and posthumously) found not guilty,
he was denied all royalties to Telstar, during
his short lifetime, and ended up deeply in 
debt and massively depressed by his
sad and lonely circumstance.

Though he ended it all in 1967 by murdering 
his landlady and subsequently committing
suicide, Joe Meek's legacy has grown in 
stature, with each new generation that 
has searched for greatness, and
found this classic song.

Now, the incredible "Telstar", 
following a totally unrelated 
photo, taken from my vast, 
personal collection of
unrelated photos.

Mozz the Elder

BONUS!! Joe Meek's demo of Telstar!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Classic Song 44 - Steely Dan "Kid Charlamagne"

Let's talk about classic music.

Synonymous with the term 'classic music',
the name Steely Dan conjures up memories
of my touring days in the 70s, especially with
Rhinegold, since our master soundman, Bob
Shindle, used to 'tune' our PA to each club
environment by playing various great 
sounding records through the board, 
including The Royal Scam.

I remember being in Halifax, setting up at
the infamous Zapata's (where our dressing
room was, in fact, the men's restroom), and 
hearing the jazzy opening strains of Steely's 
"Kid Charlamagne" signal that our PA was
ready for action. But before the band began
our full soundcheck, Bob and I listened to
KC a bit closer, noticing just how rich and
unadorned every instrument and vocal 
sounded. In particular, the drums had
that dry, in-your-face clarity that
Bob was able to effectively cop
for our drummer, Danny
Bourne's massive kit.

Though Steely Dan and Rhinegold
shared little, stylistically, we did both
aim for greatness: of song; of performance
AND of sound, and even though Larry and
I parted ways about a year after we played
our hearts out in Halifax, I will always
remember his huge musical influence
on me, not to mention the huge
musical influence Steely Dan
had on me and Bobby and
pretty well the rest of
the world, methinks.

Here's "Kid Charlamagne",
following a recently acquired
picture of yours truly, dressed
from head to toe in Malabar-
made stage clothes - circa
late '78 or early '79.

Mozz the Elder