Today at 8:56 AM
April 20, 2015
Claude’s Commentary No. 60
By Claude Hall
I recommend without reservation the book “Psychedelic Bubble Gum” by Bobby Hart with Glenn Ballantyne. A superb book about a generation that many of us experienced. And some of us enjoyed. Fascinating. Revealing. Power-packed with inside information about the music industry. From WWW.SELECTBOOKS.COM
Last week, I hadn’t finished the book. A few pages to go. I read slow these days. I wrote about it because I didn't want to wait. I’ve subsequently written Bobby Hart via his friend Don Graham and apologized for short changing him in my review. So, here we have a two-part book review. Probably the first such. Hart was kind enough to send me a thank you note for the first installment.
To be frank, I’m still reading the book. I’m currently nearing the end. And, frankly, the more I read this book, the more I’m impressed. Bobby Hart, a phenomenal songwriter and performer, has written a magnificent book. A book that you should read, a book that should grace your bookshelf in the living room. A book that should be in every library – college and city. A picture of Johnny Holliday is here, Don Graham permeates some of the book. Wes Farrell (poor Wes; Hart mentions his marriage to Tina Sinatra but stops there). Lester Sill. George Goldner. The tale behind the Monkees. And the venture of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart on their own through their breakup. As I said, I’ve always enjoyed their songs. Now, I’ve been enjoying their life. And it’s a damned good read! Great on you, Bobby!
Regarding my “water” story in the previous Commentary, this from Joey Reynolds: “There is was a sign in the men's room at KOA in Denver. Please flush the toilet. LA needs the water. I know, cause I put it there!”
Frank Shively: “Hey, Claude, about the water redistribution. Might be cheaper for the coastal states to do some desalination and not mess with other folks. Had they started desalination years ago, water would not be the problem it is today. The newsletter is great.”
Catalina Island off the coast has a water desalination plant and so does/did the town of Santa Barbara north of Los Angeles. Don’t know if the plant in Santa Barbara was ever used, but ….
Don Imus: “A wonderfully written essay on water and other matters.”
Whups! You know how it was: people expected to laugh when Bob Hope said anything. You say something, Don, and I shake my head and clean my ears. One thing, though, I’m grateful to hear from you. You are one of my barometers of reach. When I hear from you and Don Whittemore, hey, I figure I’m doing pretty good. Look! Hey! I have readers!
Bob Sherwood: “Dear Kindly Ol’ Uncle Claudius, your essay about the America that you (and I) love is absolutely spot-on! Instead of wringing your hands and saying ‘there is no Climate Change, we just need a little water’ -- Yeah! just like Custer needed a few less Indians. The problem in this country -- with all due respect to our President -- is, there is NO Leadership! You know who would’ve gathered the brightest minds and come up with a workable solution and implemented it in spite of a ‘do nothing’ Congress like we have today? Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
And who else? The man who become the most inspirational figure since FDR himself for several generations of American’s and peoples throughout the world … John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And then the man who delivered on JFK’s vision, your fellow Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson. While he didn’t exactly portray an acceptable Jeffersonian image and will sadly be remembered for his tragic handling of the Vietnam War, his legacy should be about his skill as the Master of the Senate. His focus, drive and unmatched political maneuvering produced the greatest improvement in social conditions for the dis-advantaged in the nation’s history.
And then there’s the Civil Rights Bill and the absolutely unprecedented Voting Rights Bill. We could spend a week discussing that puppy. So listen … if you’re gonna’ run, please lemme know so I can change my support to you and contact everybody I know. No, no. Don’t thank me.
When you’re in just consider me for Head of the FCC.”
Larry Cohen: “In response to Bob Sherwood's 'wish list' of personal political preferences addressed to ‘Dear Uncle Claudius, etc…’ I found his piece of journalistic excellence to be: Observant. Opinionated. Open-minded. And like Oscar Robertson, The ‘Big O’ of the old NBA Cincinnati Royals, OUTSTANDING!”
I, too, like the way Bob Sherwood writes … and thinks. All of those guys who worked at KROY in Sacramento, CA, were pretty bright. Musta been something in the water. Maybe someone was spiking their Coors.
Robert E. Richer: “A gentle reminder: When you state that all of these developments should be funded ‘by the government’, please remember that you and I ARE the government. The Government is not some big pot of money in DC. The Government is supposed to spend only what it takes from you and me (and what it short-sightedly borrows from China, of course). What really should happen in the water situation is that every user of water should pay for it … at market rates. That would certainly raise the price of lettuce, almonds, cantaloupes, etc., but wasting water would become a thing of the past, and even with lower snowpack in the Sierras, we’d see those reservoirs start to refresh themselves in short order. Las Vegas gets most of its water from the once-mighty Colorado River. So does Los Angeles. Even with the pending battle over water between LA and LV, hotels keep being built in LV as though water availability was not even a consideration. Mr. Wynn, if you want to build another hotel in Las Vegas, be prepared to factor a considerable fee into the room rate for water. And show it on the bill. Maybe even meter each room’s use of this precious resource. Installing a filter, such as a Brita for about $25 would remove all of the chlorine taste from your tap water. It could save you a small fortune in the cost of bottled water, not to mention the environmental disaster created by all of those plastic bottles. https://www.brita.com/why-brita/#water
Here in Connecticut, we’re lucky in that we have our own well, and goodness knows, we’ve had more than our share of snow and rain this year. Rain forecast again tomorrow.”
Just noticed today (4.17.15) in Yahoo that William Shattner wants to build a pipeline from Seattle to California and Lake Mead. My idea is better, I think, because it handles eastern floods and mid-western drouths. The government operates on taxes. It has never spent exactly what it takes in. More people at work equals more governmental income in taxes and, thus, the capability to fund national communication lines for travel, water transportation, electricity transportation, etc. Just FYI, Robert, we have the PUR device at the Hall House … and still buy bottled water. Doesn’t everyone?
Don Graham: “Claude … we got word that Bud Dain was walking across the street and got hit by a car last Monday night 4/13 …taken to the hospital. Sustained very severe injuries … in a coma and the hospital tells us they are not permitted to release any information regarding his status ... Ed Dejoy and Jerry Sharrell have been in to see him and tell us it’s extremely critical. All good thoughts for Bud. Be well.”
Please keep us posted. Bud is a good man.
Woody Roberts: “I don't know if during your 1950s UT days Kenneth Threadgill's gas station beer joint was one of your stops. It was on the outskirts of town on North Lamar Boulevard on the way to the Skyline Club that hosted Hank Williams, Elvis, Johnny Horton and others. Kenneth became a mentor and the encourager of Janis Joplin when she was at UT and part of the Waller Creek Boys, folk music regulars who played for fun and passed the hat at Threadgill's. She had been voted Ugliest Man on Campus. Pretty cruel. Kenneth told her to let it go and belt it out. Well, you can see Mr. Threadgill by queuing up to 3:05 on this video:
“Here is Janis with the Boys at Threadgill's in early 1963:
“PS, Guys, I know I'm overloading both y'all with email but be assured I am trying to break the habit that I built last three years with Lee Baby Simms, we sometimes emailing back and forth multiple times per day.
More Woody: “Funky ABC video but good enough peak into the past --
“One day the 'Dillo will be in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. I put three years of my life and money into its ten-year run, it was the era when we created the Lone Star Beer Longneck campaign that 25 years later added the word ‘longneck’ to Webster's Dictionary ... and we helped start ‘Austin City Limits’ TV show as a consultant on the two pilots, now the longest-running live performance show on television. Even though the hall is today a legend I consider the venture a failure, I was shooting for national radio TV syndication and a record label.”
Janis singing at Threadgill's with Waller Creek Boys early 1963 (Powell ST, John on harp) --
Don Sundeen @TheDonRocks.com: ”Bob Shannon asks 20 Questions of Ira ‘Eye’ Lipson, creator and programmer of the great Dallas, underground radio station KZEW, (The Zoo) that is currently celebrating its birth 50 years ago and fondly remembered by folks who loved it. Lipson took advantage of the emerging FM band and the hip music available on long playing records to create something very different from other stations of the day. The Zoo reflected the emerging youth culture with laid-back jocks playing a wide variety of artists and genre. The branding of the Zoo was brilliant, listeners were: ‘Zoo Freaks,’ proudly displaying the Elephant Radio logo on the cars and vans they drove to Zoo events: large gatherings for community charities, and Lipson’s greatest idea, ‘Zoo World:’ a weekend showcase of lifestyle choices and live music that drew huge crowds. In the TDR piece, Shannon asks Lipson thoughtful questions about creating The Zoo, his life, careers and memories. The answers are interesting and sometimes surprising, as is Lipson himself. If you're thinking of using the piece about the KZEW Reunion that I sent you yesterday, could you please correct an error? This is not a 50th anniversary, it would actually have gone on air in 1973 or 42 years ago. Apparently I misunderstood the information. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
My son John sent me one of the press tales of the Gary Owens memorial April 12. Lots of people there, including Arleta, Gary’s widow, and Gary’s two sons, Scott and Chris. Event was at the Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills. Speakers: Ben Fong Torres, George Schlatter, Fred Williard, Anne Worley, “Laugh-In” writers Chris Bearde and Allan Katz, former mayor Richard Riordan, Mad magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones, writer Ken Levine (Cheers, The Simpsons), comedian-director Howard Storm, Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall, documentarian Donna Kanter, writer-singer Monty Aidem (The New Laugh-In), actress Jolene Brand Schlatter (The Ernie Kovacs Show), actress Jackie Joseph (Little Shop of Horrors) and actor Hank Garrett (Car 54, Where Are You?).
Don Eliot was by this past week. Spent half an hour before he’d had enough of me and headed on down the road. I really enjoyed his visit. He’s supposed to be writing one or two of his tales up for Commentary. It’s astonishing how, when you get two old radio or music guys in a room, the tall tales start to flow. And they probably get taller with every telling. And that’s how it should be.
Someone who refers to himself only as Bill: “Love your weekly column. Keep it up, everybody I talk to from my radio days always mentions you. Enjoy not only the radio stuff, but the things that are on your mind are always interesting.” Bill sent me a jingle about radio and I asked where, what? Bill came back with the information that “It was part of the opening of ‘The Stan Freberg Radio Show’. At the time it was too hip for the room.” And he sent me the whole thing.
Chuck Blore: ““Where the heck did you get this thing (attached)? That's almost fifty years old ... I don't even remember the stationary. It's amazing how your fans like to hold on to things ... things they really care about and are emotionally connected to. Of course you know that better than I do ... dont'cha?”
They’re not my fans, Chuck. They’re yours! Chuck refers to a statement I attached last week of a rather ancient invoice sent by his commercial production firm in Los Angeles. It was sent to me by either Larry White or Bob Skurzewski. I think. I apologize for not knowing exactly who sent it.
Chuck Blore later: “f you want to hear some radio jingles (I never called them jingles, to me they were songs) I have plenty...some even with big stars; Roger Miller, Glen Campbell, etc. Lemme know, they are fun to listen to. Bless you, my friend. Make that my old friend.”
Roger Carroll: “I know Bob Fead and Don Graham. Who is this Morris Diamond?”
Woody Roberts: “Since you assembled a famous cookbook....
Lee Baby Simms would have rebelled. The strangest project in my 40-year career as a media consultant was to oversee creation of a cookbook. Whew! It was not a lot different than producing a chemistry book. Every recipe had to be closely examined by a chef and tested, proofreading won't do it. A simple typo can transform a teaspoon into a tablespoon or sugar into salt. In fact, the first edition had too much salt in the cornbread.”
Hah! Check a recipe? Not on your cottonpickin’ toenails! “The Disc Jockey Cookbook” assembled by me and Lee Baby Simms was a labor of love. I still get a kick out of it. And, furthermore, I cooked up a batch of Lazy Man’s Chowder just yesterday. Gone in a flash! I managed to get the last cup. Only because I’m fast!
Clark Weber: “Bob Hope said the time to get off the stage was when you could still hear the applause from your dressing room. At age 84 it’s time for me to step away from both the mike and the podium. Know that your help in what was happening in the world of music helped immensely therefore you’re a part of this award. Thanks.”
And Clark attached a note from Dennis Lyle, president of Illinois Broadcasters Association, to the effect that Clark Weber has been inducted as a member of the Hall of Fame for the organization. Clark will be honored June 16 at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal.
Great on you, Clark!
Bob Sherwood: “Claude, I send this FYI after hearing Scott Shannon’s quite righteous rant relating on Chicago not being in the R’n’R Hall of Fame on WCBS-FM on Friday morning.”
“Heard your comments about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame on Friday and you’re completely spot-on. It started out fabulously but the last decade or so it’s been totally irrelevant. The fact that Chicago isn’t in absolutely invalidates it. If the late Terry Kath’s searing, crunching guitar isn’t rock and roll, I’m Little Peggy March. And nobody is a more precise nor harder-driving percussionist than Danny Seraphine. Apparently Chicago was too ‘jazzy’ with all those great horn players and such and they certainly can’t have that in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. There’s not going to be any of that jazz stuff to water down our R‘n’R heritage. Except maybe for Miles Davis, the purest jazz musician who ever lived. He’s in. Chicago isn’t. And the other outrageous example of the balderdash that controls the R‘n’R H of F is the fact that it took more than two decades after she was eligible for Linda Ronstadt to be ‘allowed’ into the Hall. It’s clear that those gorgeous multi-zillion selling albums she recorded with Nelson Riddle, her album of her Mexican heritage and her starring in some live Gilbert & Sullivan plays in NYC invalidated her career as one of the biggest Rock and Roll artists of the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Jann Wenner and the other esteemed Board members of the Hall must’ve been listening to news/talk radio during that time and didn’t hear that Linda and producer Peter Asher used what became the Eagles on those ‘70s recording sessions and they were her back-up band when she was playing in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans nightly. But by golly the late Ahmet Ertugen was able to get Abba in the Hall years before Ronstadt or Neil Diamond!
Abba! Abba got in early because they so represented the spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, James Brown, Buddy Holly and the Rolling Stones. AAAaaarrrggghhh!”
Good on you, Bob! Just FYI, my son Andy told me yesterday, Saturday, that KISS was in the Hall. And Bobby Vee isn’t. I think someone should be tarred and feathered. But then, I remember when George Jones used to do “Long Tall Sally” on the “Louisiana Hayride” live Saturday nights out of KWKH, Shreveport, LA.
Good be upon thee!