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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Words that make me laugh


Micky Dolenz, Full-On

By request, here's my entire recent interview with Micky Dolenz, which the Tribune published a section of last week.

With more than 40 years of showbiz experience, do you have guiding principles in this business?

Yes, but it wasn't until another journalist asked me about this that I figured out what it was... I don't have a preference as it were [about the art form], saying, you know, "I really love to direct more than anything," or like that...there is no "only thing" that I want to do.

Aside from the music, the directing, and the acting, I have a children's book coming out at the end of the year. I've even invented a domestic tool that we sold to a company, actually, in Chicago. The product isn't public yet, so I can't tell you much now, I'm [also] an inventor.

I get attracted to a project, a property, and the content of it is what interests me-the role I'm gonna play, as it were. The exact job I'm going to have is, well, not irrelevant, but it's the content that gets me excited. I'd rather be directing a great little TV show than acting in a bad musical. I'd rather sing in a little musical than be on tour in a lousy show. It's the project itself.

[Former Monkee] Peter Tork has called you an intuitive genius; you do successful work in every genre you touch.

Well, that's very generous of Peter. The term "genius" is sometimes thrown around casually...but having grown up in the business, and it's the only business I know, it's not that unusual [to work in many fields].

In the old days it didn't apply so much, but look at someone like Barbra Streisand, who sings, writes, directs,'s not that uncommon these days. I tried retiring once, when I lived in England, and I was never so bored in my life. It was HORRIBLE. I realized that this was not for me.

What we do in this business, you can hardly call it 'work.' It's so creative. I get attracted to projects, and always have had a number of things going on at the same time-sometimes too many! If I have a weak suit, it's that I have too many things going and get a bit scatterbrained about it. I tend to dilute some of my energies. Over the last few years, I've managed to control that, focus a little bit better...I've accomplished more by attempting to do less.

But I always have a number of things in the works, because the nature of who I am and the business. [Two days after being taken off the radio] I got a call out of the blue from England from a major production company about a new reality show they want me to create and host. It's on the backburner now, depending on what surfaces and which project ripens, or finishes cooking, to mix my metaphors.

That happens in this business-you have a film "in development," a couple of TV ideas "in development"...there are plans for me to write another children's book. To some degree, you have to do what's at the top of the pile first.

Even when I had the radio show, or on any of the Monkees tours, I was doing things...I have to be busy. I'm bad at relaxing and staring at the moon. It's just not in my nature. On the 1986 Monkees, tour I wrote a screenplay, because there was NOTHING ELSE TO DO during the day!

Three days after the WBCS gig ended, I had an audition for a new musical in New York. I do have an affection for live musical theater-I came to it late in life growing up in L.A., where there's little or no theater. I always thought that The Monkees were sort of a musical theater on television, and it's was a fairly accurate representation of the genre, like a Marx Bros. movie...Essentially, The Monkees weren't anything like The Beatles. They were more like the Marx Brothers, doing these little movies on TV.

I love doing musicals. Aida [in which he appeared on Broadway] was great. To get a shot to play a villain...this was the first time since before The Monkees that I could play the bad guy; back then I could do it because of my punk kid look, the look of a kid who got in trouble. After The Monkees, everyone just thought that I was a drummer.

The most important move I made, and it was serendipitous, was going to England after the Monkees. I had nothing going on in L.A., nor did I have to [financially]...I was just kind of partying all the time, with lots of people who are now dead, actually-people like Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson, and John Lennon, back in the early 70s in L.A.

I had gotten divorced [from first wife Samantha], and I happened to meet another English girl and went over to England to do a musical, [Nilsson's] The Point, based on his animated featurette. They were doing it as a musical and Harry asked me to do it, and I went with my new English fiancé, and we got married so I could work in England.

I didn't have a project, or anything else that was keeping me in the states. I had directed an episode of The Monkees ["Mijacogeo"] and some commercials after that...and lo and behold, I'm sitting in England after this play is done and an agent I met there had sent my tape over to BBC and I got a job directing a drama for them. It's one of those stories when I went to England for three months and stayed for 15 years.

That was huge change in my life; I had a psychic tell me that going to the U.K. literally saved my life. It saved my career, and I stepped back and thank God I didn't have to tour and play clubs and make a living singing Monkees songs at that time. [In 1976, with Davy Jones and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart], I remember doing a few shows in Vegas, and people saying, "Make me laugh, because I just lost $10,000."

Having a new career gave me a chance to step back from The Monkees for those 12 to 15 years, there was little said or mentioned about them at that time [the 70s and early 80s]. I was known as Michael Dolenz, not Micky ex-Monkee; it was "Michael, the TV Director." It enabled me to detach myself from The Monkees, and from the danger of starting to believe that I was "Micky of The Monkees," which is always a great danger, especially when you have a lot of success. You start believing that you are the character. It is still dangerous to this day. If Britney Spears starts believing she's "Britney Spears," that's very dangerous. It's happened to close friends, people I've worked with.

Tell me about your current act with [his sister] Coco.

Basically, of course, the meat and potatoes show is Monkees songs, all the big hits. I always do them and I stay faithful to the original recordings. I really think you owe it to the fans to do that. Since I sang most of the hits, it makes up a good portion of the show.

I have a big band, a 9-piece band now. Over the years, I didn't do a lot of solo touring until quite recently, after spending a lot of time in England then doing musicals here...I really didn't do any solo touring after The Monkees.

I feel it's important...sort of an unspoken contract with an audience, that when you have a string of hits like I did, you owe it to them to play them. I've been to shows with artists, who will remain nameless, who had hits and didn't do any of them, or just did them in a medley, or did a reggae version of them or something. I just think doing them is important. And they're great songs, easy and good to sing. That makes up a good portion of the show.

I had, of course, to include some other material. I didn't want to just cover other tunes that I happen to like. There are a lot of songs that I like to sing, and could sing, by other groups, and I tried it a couple of times, but I got the feeling the audience was thinking, "Why is Micky Dolenz covering this old tune?"

So one of reasons I have my sister Coco on tour with me is that we've been singing together since we were kids. Both my parents were singers and actors, and [to prepare for this tour] I went back and started recalling and working up material that had influenced me through the years.

So we came up with quite a few songs...for instance I remember my mom singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by the Andrews Sisters. She had sang that in the Big Band era, and my sister and I do a version of that...I tell a story of my mom teaching it to us as kids.

I started coming up with these of my audition pieces for The Monkees was a Chuck Berry tune. If I were to do that out of the blue, people would wonder, "why is he...?" But if I say that this was the audition piece for the Monkees, cause I was a guitar player at the time, it makes sense to take the audience on this trip through time and do songs that have relevance for the audience.

She sings a couple of tunes herself; she sings "Different Drum," which Michael Nesmith wrote and Linda Ronstadt had a hit with. Coco sings that and does a couple of other tunes.

What was it like moving from the front of the camera to behind it, then back again for other TV, theater, etc.? Are you a hard actor to direct now?

I think now I'm easier to direct after having been on both sides of the stage, shall we say...if I'm in a project, as an actor I try to turn off my directing radar. You have to. I can't direct everyone else and myself. It's difficult to direct yourself...I've done it a couple of times and I don't like it. It's hard to be objective, especially in comedy. Woody Allen is an exception to that rule. Jerry Lewis was one of the first ones to do that who was quite successful. You can count them on one hand.

I'm easier to direct now because I know the problems a director faces...once you buy into the material, you have to let the director and writer and producer have their vision. [As an actor] you have to let them do that. I remember working with actors [when I directed] who thought they knew better than anyone else. Nine out of ten don't.

[Rolling Stone editor] Jann Wenner's anti-Monkees bias has kept you out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Had you heard that REM would not accept an induction until the Monkees are inducted?

I don't think The Monkees should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They should be in the television Hall of Fame. The Monkees was not a group. It was a TV show about an imaginary group that didn't exist. We lived in an imaginary beach house and had imaginary adventures.

We used our real names, which confused the issue. That was a wise move to help people identify with us, but for me as an actor it was harder to go into an audition after The Monkees, because people thought I was a drummer. But I was an actor playing a drummer!

Of course, we went out and became a group, and toured. I took about a year to learn to play the drums before we had to really play in public. But I approached it as an actor, an entertainer, as I would approach any role...if I was offered a role as an airplane pilot, I would have taken flying lessons.

So clearly The Monkees went on to become something I've said in the past, a bit like Leonard Nimoy becoming a Vulcan. Or like Tim Allen in the film Galaxy Quest. That, in a very real sense, is the story of the Monkees...Galaxy Quest featured the cast of a TV show that the fans (i.e. aliens) believe are real. And fans demanded of us that we be real and play concerts.

Jann Wenner, and some others, never got that. A lot of people just didn't get it. Something like The Monkees had never happened before. Many, many people take their rock and roll very seriously. It's no laughing matter. You're not supposed to have fun with it. And there is still that's supposed to be serious, or dark, or have some intense social commentary, and people still feel that.

For a long time The Monkees, which were about having fun, were outré. It's bizarre, but at the time we came on TV, the only time you saw long hair on TV was when people were getting arrested!

We did represent the counterculture, and to the hippie movement we represented all those kids that were wearing the paisley and growing long hair, but were normal, regular kids. We were into the style. Sort of like Henry Winkler helped make leather jackets and motorcycles cool in the 70s, or that the way that Will Smith did for hip-hop with Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Timothy Leary said that The Monkees brought long hair into the living room. "Look mom, these kids are wearing paisley and not committing crimes..."

The Monkees were an imaginary band that wanted to be The Beatles, and it was that struggle for success that made the show. We never "made it" on the show. It was all about the struggle. This was endearing, because lots of kids were doing the same thing in their garages and basements. The show was about these guys who wanted to be The Beatles. And at the time, to be honest, people like Rolling Stone and others in the media just didn't get it.

But the musicians got the Monkees. Someone who got it immediately was Frank Zappa. John Lennon got it; he was the first to say we were like the Marx Brothers. The smart people, musicians and Leary and people in TV, got it. The pop/rock and roll journalists and radio people and people like Wenner just never got it...and probably still don't. R.E.M. are kind to say those things...but it may not be appropriate for us to be in there.

Having said that, the writers and producers made a major contribution to pop music, rock and roll. Now, a lot of groups [from the 60s] are admitting they used the same session men we did-the Wrecking Crew [Drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Carol Kaye, etc.] Some of these groups, like the Byrds, were big; they are now admitting that they didn't play on "Mr. Tambourine Man." Everyone was using session guys. Even if you knew how to play, or played well, you might use a session guy because they knew the ropes, as it were. Not to take anything from the Byrds--they're one of my favorite groups of all time, and I know David [Crosby]--but in a funny way, The Monkees were the most honest of all. We were a flat-out television show.

I do take exception to the use of the word "manufactured" [to describe us]. This implies something derogatory...were no more manufactured than Star Trek or I Love Lucy or Friends or Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It's a television show. I was a cast member of this television show.

I think it pissed people off that The Monkees [soon] became a good, ass-kicking band. It doesn't bother me what Rolling Stain thinks; we were successful over a long period of time, so you have to figure that something's wrong there...a lot of talent was involved with The Monkees. The producers picked four talented guys. The auditions were intense, nothing like American Idol. You had to be able to play just to get into the audition.

Obviously the producers of The Monkees had in mind that we could actually perform, otherwise they would have just cast actors, or not even attempted to go the traditional Hollywood route, which was to cast an actor, like Val Kilmer, in The Doors, or Sweet and Lowdown, with Sean Penn. You knew that Sean Penn wasn't playing the guitar, but it didn't matter. It didn't matter that Natalie Wood didn't sing in West Side Story or that Sal Mineo didn't play the drums in The Gene Krupa Story.

Finally, have to ask-how are things between you and Mike, David, and Peter? Are the Monkees like a family that you don't always see but are always going to be part of?

I've known them as long as I've known my youngest sister. It is like a family, with all the relationship issues that come along with that. Sometimes you love them, and sometimes you hate them. It's much like that.

To anticipate your next question, there are no plans to get back together as a group. I've learned never to say never, but at this point it is very unlikely.

(C) Stuart Shea 2005. Reprinted with permission of the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Guest Blogger: Tom Gaines!

I'd like to welcome today's guest blogger, Tom Gaines, an old friend and longtime observer of two of MY favorite topics, baseball and music. Tom has kindly sent in his FIVE FAVORITE PAST AND PRESENT MAJOR-LEAGUE BALLPARKS. Thanks, Tom!

Of the 19 current or former major league parks I've visited, here are the best.

1) Wrigley Field - The genuine article, the one all the others are trying to emulate. "A little bit of the country in the city," a genuine baseball experience. All the seats, except the ones directly behind the posts, are good. A must-see for any baseball fan. And don't drive. Take the el.

2) SBC (nee Pac Bell) Park - A great view of the S.F. Bay and the Bay Bridge. And baseball too, with all the seats facing toward the field. A brilliant design, with the peepholes, the "splash landing," the fountains, the big Coke-bottle slide, and the Pop Art-y baseball glove. But go during the day. It gets cold at night, even in July. One of the coolest home run experiences: fountains and a loud foghorn.

3) Tiger Stadium - I went in '97, one of its final seasons. Like the Old Comiskey, but with seats much closer to the field. So much history here: Ty Cobb and the Babe patrolled the outfield, Reggie hit the light tower. Mickey Lolich, Denny McLain, the '67 riots, and the World Champs of '68 and '84. A great place to catch a foul ball. It was old and decrepit, but it is missed.

4) Petco Park - A sand box for the kids in the center field bleachers, with baseball-related sand sculptures. Like, gnarly, dude. SoCal baseball at its best, with a view of the Coronado Bridge and the "Western Electric Supply Building" built right into the ball park. Get a fish taco! Try to stay at the team-owned Omni Hotel, with its very cool walkway right into the park. Very cool. I found it on Priceline for cheap!

5) Dodger Stadium - The fourth-oldest ballpark still in use, and it's easy to see why. Easy access from the freeway, lots of parking, good seating, cheap tickets, palm trees, good food and a great view. DEL TACO, YUM!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Are You Joking?

This is a news story???

Friday, June 24, 2005

Micky Dolenz Interview in the Tribune

Today's Chicago Tribune features an interview I recently conducted with Micky Dolenz of the fabulous Monkees, who's in town for a show tonight. Hope you enjoy. This is a truncated version; if anybody wants the entire interview, I suppose I could post it later.

By the way, if you're not busy this weekend, my brother, Tom Shea, is appearing in a two-actor reading of several Mark Twain pieces at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, in Chicago. Tonight at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are ten bucks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Early Gig Warning

The Captain Blood Orchestra will be playing a show at Goose Island Brewery on Saturday night, July 2, beginning around 10:00 P.M. We'll be entertaining with a set or two or three chock full of mid to late 60s rock, glazed with the glistening vocal harmonies we're not quite known for yet...

Goose Island Brewery
3555 N. Clark St.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Artopia Playlist

The Open Studio Project ( held its annual festival tonight and I was asked to serve as DJ. While the need to serve an extremely diverse crowd is evident in this playlist, it was still plenty of fun.

Booker T. & the MGs--Time is Tight
Ruby & the Romantics--Our Day Will Come
Impressions--It's All Right
Roberta Flack--Feel Like Makin' Love
Rinky-Dinks--Hot Potato, Pt. 1
Herbie Hancock--Verushka, Pt. 1
George Baker Selection--Little Green Bag
MC Honky--What a Bringdown
Cajmere--U Got Me Up (Denny Tenaglia instrumental)
Barbara Lewis--Hello Stranger
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose--Treat Her Like a Lady
Jackie Mittoo--Get Up and Get It
Jimmy McGriff--I Got a Woman, Pt. 1
Fontella Bass--Rescue Me
Beatles--I Feel Fine
Hues Corporation--Rock the Boat
Labelle--Lady Marmalade
Frankie Ford--Sea Cruise
Ohio Players--Fire
JJ Jackson--But it's Alright
Rhythm Heritage--Theme From SWAT
Freda Payne--Band of Gold
Four Seasons--Who Loves You?
Bananarama--Cruel Summer
Beat--Tears of a Clown
Specials--Rudi, A Message to You
Aretha Franklin--Respect
Gloria Gaynor--Never Can Say Goodbye
Cyril Neville--Gossip
Bee Gees--Stayin' Alive
Supremes--You Keep Me Hangin' On
Martha and the Vandellas--Dancing in the Streets
Nina Simone--My Baby Just Cares For Me
Al Wilson--Show and Tell

And then I came home, where I plan to go to sleep.

Haiku For Brendan Donnelly

...Angels pitcher who is appealing his 10-day suspension for having illegal pine tar on his glove.

You are illegal
Baseballs are not meant to stain
So shut up and sit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The World Comes Crashing In

Tonight outside of Wrigley Field, members of the U.S. Army, either in fatigues or in "AN ARMY OF ONE" t-shirts, were passing out little American flags to fans coming into the ballpark. Memers of the military, in uniforms, berets, etc. will be at the park all night, throwing out ceremonial first pitches and the like.

Count on me, a skeptic, to think this whole thing is fishy and out of place, but the U.S. Army is a military organization engaging in a quasi-legal armed conflict that many Americans find distasteful.

I wonder if the Cubs would allow members of a peace-oriented organization to pass out flyers on their property, or invite them in to throw ceremonial first pitches. I bloody well don't think so. I find this kind of public relations for governmental policy disgusting, and it has absolutely nothing to do with baseball.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

DJ Session, June 12, 2005

Club 2200 hosted a tripartite DJ session on Saturday, June 12, 2005. Host Carlos O, Ted H, and I spun records for about three hours, trading off what the others had played and forming a sort of improvised art piece. And funky!

Here's a list of what we played (artist first, then song):

Curtis Mayfield--Right on for the Darkness
Bill Withers--You
Think--Once You Understand
Ravens--Give Me a Simple Prayer
Nina Simone--Suzanne
Magic Ship--Wednesday Morning Dew
Magic Ship--Life's Lonely Road
It's All Meat--Feel It
Neil Sedaka--The Immigrant
Quincy Jones featuring Bill Cosby--Hikky-Burr
Jackson Five--I'll Be There/Feelin' Alright (medley)
Beatlerama--She's the One
Bruce Prince-Joseph and his Group--Thou Swell
The Living Marimbas--Ring of Fire
Steel Vibrations Steel Drum Band--Oye Como Va
Apollo 100--Joy
Takusan & Sukoshi Oto--Tonkobushi Rock & Roll
Bob & Shree--Long Train Runnin'
Teri Summers--City's Hospital Patients (on CD)
Unknown--The 23rd Channel (on CD)
Ramsey Lewis--1, 2, 3
Nico with Brian Eno--The End
Shangri-La's--Sophisticated Boom Boom
The Purple Fox--Gittin' Busted
The Purple Fox--Are You Experienced?
Trip Ziegler--Theme from "Star Trek" on the Lowery Organ
Wings (1968 release from American band, not Paul McCartney)--General Bringdown
Wings (same as above)--Give Me Your Love
Xavier Cugat--Zombie (bolero)
Tom Jones--The Lonely One
Frankie Stein & His Ghouls--Stoned
Sonny Terry--Mountain Blues
Main Ingredient--Just Don't Want to be Lonely
Johnny Otis--Country Girl
Nite-Liters--Eleanor Rigby
Four Tops--Eleanor Rigby
Barbra Streisand--Mother
Rhythm Heritage--Theme from "SWAT"
Banshees--Project Blue
Don Pierce--Spookadelic
Johnny Thompson--Mainsqueeze
Four Seasons--Electric Stories
Maurice--What I Got, I Got (and Ain't Gonna Lose)
Regis Philbin--Toot Toot Tootsie/Baby Face (medley)
Lee Fields & the Explorers--I'm the Man
Mighty Imperials--Kick the Blanket
Meters--Chicken Strut
Meters--Here Comes the Meter Man

Thanks to Carlos for hosting and providing a great majority of the records played.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Baseball Thoughts

In the humidity of Wrigley Field's press box, a few thoughts emanate from the heathaze...

The Cubs continue to struggle at getting men on base. Tonight Jerry Hairston led off and went 1-for-3. Corey Patterson hit for him in the eighth and grounded out weakly to second. Peter Gammons, in his new column about the importance of on-base percentage to leadoff men (I sure do admire his research) states that the Cubs think that their top outfield prospect, Felix Pie, is an ideal future leadoff man.

I'm not sure what they're imbibing in the Cubs player personnel department, but I'd like some of it. Felix Pie is 20 years old, hits for average, runs very fast, plays center field, and has developing power. And he walks about twice a week.

Does that sound familiar? The Cubs already have a center fielder, Corey Patterson, who hits for average, runs very fast, hits with power, and walks about twice a week. And he made his major-league debut at the tender age of 21, quickly taking over as the Cubs' leadoff man.

Patterson became a major-league regular after just two and a half minor league seasons, and there were some in the Cubs' front office who wanted him in Chicago even earlier than that. But he failed in the leadoff role; despite his great tools, Patterson has never been a productive hitter for the Cubs because he lacks pitch recognition skills and, as a result, has low on-base percentages. He just makes too damn many outs.

Pie, like Patterson, is an impatient hitter who gets fooled by breaking balls. Do the Cubs somehow think that Felix Pie will somehow "learn" the strike zone at the major league level? That's something about one in every 500 guys does. Stu mantra #1: the major leagues are not a tryout camp. Before projecting him as a leadoff hitter, how about making sure that he has on-base ability?

Corey Patterson's career has been destroyed because the Cubs asked him to do something he wasn't ready to do--fill the leadoff role. Such an assignment magnified his weaknesses and negated his strengths. Isn't that a lesson they'd like to learn from?

Toronto used bullpen coach Bruce Walton as its first base coach last night, apparently because manager John Gibbons wanted bench coach Ernie Whitt (who usually covers first) in the dugout for the entire game. It was the first time in my memory that a big-league team had used a former pitcher as a base coach. Help me out if I've forgotten others.

Colorado Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes will undergo left shoulder surgery tomorrow and is lost for at least two months and maybe more. Barmes, in the running for NL Rookie of the Year honors, fractured his collarbone slipping on a stairway Sunday night, landing shoulder-first.

This injury looks, at first glance, like a death knell for the Rockies, but they're already 19-37, so how much worse can they be? The truth is that Barmes just isn't that good--at least not yet. He's done this year what a lot of young players do when they come to Denver: hit like hell in the thin air and struggle just to be average on the road. Barmes is hitting .390 with seven homers and 27 RBI in home games, but just .255 with one homer and seven RBI on the road.

Barmes' injury forces Desi Relaford, a decent veteran utility man, into regular duty. More important, it gives Colorado a chance to see if Luis Gonzalez, a Rule V pick after the 2003 season who played fairly well last year as a rookie, can effectively play second base full-time as Aaron Miles continues to recover from his side strain.

Colorado's franchise is in deep trouble. None of their "young" hitters (Brad Hawpe, Matt Holliday, Barmes, Miles, Garrett Atkins) are really very good. Hawpe may be the best of them. Center fielder Preston Wilson, and his chronically bad left knee, are on the trading block; the Rockies would like to trade Wilson as soon as possible, but when I saw him play recently at Wrigley Field, Wilson was walking back to the dugout from center field rather than running.

Meanwhile, Todd Helton, the team's only effective hitter, is being walked at an alarming rate and isn't doing much with what few pitches he does get to hit. Helton has said he that wants to stick around and lead the Rockies back into contention, an inspiring pronouncement that probably leaves Colorado General Manager Dan O'Dowd wishing Helton hadn't said anything. (Then again, it may be a strategy to drive up Helton's ransom if teams are interested.)

The Rockies have precious little talent to trade; their surfeit of talent is, surprisingly, in the bullpen. Marcos Carvajal, Brian Fuentes, and Scott Dohmann are valuable commodities, as is closer/starter/designated whipping boy Shawn Chacon. Starter Joe Kennedy might attract some interest if he ever strings two good starts together, but he appears to be following in the footsteps of the former and present Rockies pitchers who enjoy one good season before falling apart.

With a poor offense, not a lot of talent in the high minors, and an environment that is still hell on pitchers (even with the humidor-cooled baseballs now used at Coors Field), it's going to be a long climb back for this team. But they're in Denver. Climbing is what they do out there.

*Oakland's Marco Scutaro played in 134 games last year and walked just 16 times. This season, he's played 53 games and drawn 20 walks. Bobby Crosby's injury could have been a total disaster for the A's, but at least Scutaro has helped kept shortstop from becoming a black hole.

*Jim Bowden thought giving Cristian Guzman a multi-year contract was a great idea.

*How long does Scott Erickson get to prove that he can no longer pitch?

*For a player who is essentially horse$@%#, Neifi Perez is looking awfully good.

*Think the Nationals miss Endy Chavez?

*Who do people still complain about Alex Rodriguez?

*The Padres are 19-8 at home; they play a pitcher's game at Petco. When they go on the road, they have to outslug their mediocre starting pitching, and are 15-15.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Recent Record Finds

Over the last week, here are some of the old 45s I've dragged out of various dime bins, from Record Emporium in Chicago, and at the June 4, 2005 Mod Chicago record sale and swap meet....


Supremes: You Keep Me Hangin' On/Remove this Doubt (Motown) (a nearly perfect copy; good enough to DJ with)

Four Seasons: C'mon Marianne (Philips) (as above; I've written about this record before)

Jimmy McGriff: I've Got a Woman Part I/I've Got a Woman Part II (Sue) (classic organ jazz)

Baby Washington: The Bells/Workout (Trip)

Jazz Crusaders: Way Back Home/Jackson! (Chisa)

Tom Jones: I'm Coming Home/The Lonely One (Parrot) (the b-side is a FANTABULOUS soul stomper, 1966)

Crispian St. Peters: Changes (YES, THE PHIL OCHS SONG!)/My Little Brown Eyes (Jamie)

New Colony Six: Roll On/If You Could See (Sunlight)

Madness: House of Fun/Don't Look Back (Stiff) (My favorite Madness record)

Janis Ian: Insanity Comes Quietly to the Structured Mind/Sunflakes Fall, Snowrays Call (Verve) (1966 teen suicide record--out of its gourd)

Mac and Katie Kissoon: Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep/Walking Around (ABC) (Indescribably silly, but catchy, early 70s madness)

Packers: Hole in the Wall/Go Head On (Pure Soul Music) (mid 60s instrumental)

Connie Francis: Who's Sorry Now/You Were Only Foolin' (MGM) (great, if a little sappy, late 50s pop)

Al Green: I Can't Get Next to You/Ride Sally Ride (Hi) (one of the best versions ever of a Motown song; totally funky)

Les McCann: Kathleen's Theme/Shampoo (Pacific Jazz) (haunting piano jazz; beautiful melody)

Royal Guardsmen: My Airplane/Om (Laurie) (a-side is nothing; the b-side is great studio psychedelia)

Bing Crosby: Hey Jude/Lonely Street (Amos) (indescribably bad, but you realize how good of a singer he was anyway.)

Of course, to get to those good records you have to go through lots of awful ones...but that's part of what I love about dumpster diving...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Set List

The Captain Blood Orchestra played a gig last night, June 2, at the Lincoln Avenue Mayfest in Lincoln Square, Chicago. Here was our set list; songs are followed in parens by whoever wrote 'em and/or first made them, er, famous.

Set 1
I'm Not Talking (Mose Allison, The Yardbirds)
Little Girl (Syndicate of Sound)
Just a Little (Beau Brummels)
My Little Red Book (Manfred Mann, Love)
Hot Smoke & Sassafrass (Bubble Puppy)
Here Comes the Night (Them)
Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac)
Tired of Waiting (Kinks)
Take it as it Comes (Doors)
We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet (Blues Magoos)
Misirlou (Dick Dale)
The Letter (Box Tops)
Call Yourself a Man (Grand Funk Railroad)
The Spy Suite: Theme from Our Man Flint, James Bond Theme, Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers)

Set 2 (truncated by management)
Night Time (Strangeloves)
He's Always There (Yardbirds)
Nutrocker (B. Bumble & the Stingers)
You're Lost, Little Girl (Doors)
It's All Over Now (Bobby Womack, Rolling Stones)
It's My Life (Animals)
Mr. You're a Better Man Than I (Yardbirds)
Nobody But Me (Human Beinz)

We lost six songs--six!--when they shut us down. We had been told we could play until 10:30, but they reneged on that. Didn't matter too much; people seemed to like us and we had a good time.

Thanks to everyone who came out...and there were many of you!