Monday, April 19, 2021


Are we closing in on "normal???"

The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL, has published their latest concert line-up …

Things kick off on Saturday, May 1st, with the Jim Peterik / Carl Giammarese Storytellers Show we’ve been telling you about.

Friday, June 18th – Under The Streetlamp

Thursday, August 5th – Brit Floyd

Saturday, August 7th – The Happy Together Tour (featuring The Turtles, Chuck Negron, The Buckinghams, The Association, The Vogues, The Classics IV and The Cowills)

Saturday, August 21st – The Little River Band (with special guest John Ford Coley)

Friday, September 3rd – Bee Gees Gold

Sunday, October 3rd – Melissa Etheridge

Friday, October 8th – Jeff Foxworthy

Saturday, October 9th – Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey

Thursday, October 14th – Christopher Cross (40th Anniversary Tour)

Thursday, October 21st – The Million Dollar Quartet

Sunday, October 24th – The Michael Jackson Experience

Thursday, October 28th – Lance Bass (N*SYNC), Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray), O-Town, Ryan Cabrera and LFO

Friday, November 5th – ABBAmania

Thursday, December 2nd – Kenny G

Saturday, December 4th – Tommy James and the Shondells (with special guests The Box Tops)

Not to be outdone, The Arcada Theatre has also announced some of their rescheduled shows …

Saturday, July 10th – Leonid – Tribute to Chicago (from what I hear, an INCREDIBLE show)

Sunday,  July 11th – Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits

Friday, July 16th – Andrew Dice Clay

Friday, Saturday and Sunday (July 23rd, 24th and 25th) – Ted Nugent

Sunday, September 5th – Three Faces of the King

Sunday, September 12th – Bobby Rydell

Sunday, October 17th – Tommy James and the Shondells

Thursday, November 18th – Michael Bolton

Sunday, November 21st – The Association with The Classics IV

Thursday, December 2nd – Carrot Top

Notable passings this past week include Rusty Young, founding member of Poco, Felix Silla (Cousin Itt on TV’s “Addams Family”) and Mike Mitchell, Kingsmen Guitarist on their #1 Hit “Louie Louie.”  (“Louie Louie,” banned in numerous cities from coast to coast, still generated enough sales and controversy to hit the top of the Cash Box and Music Vendor Charts in late 1963 / early 1964.  Billboard only ranked it at #2 … but it SAT at #2 for SIX WEEKS, behind much softer fare like “Dominique” by The Singing Nun and “There, I’ve Said It Again” by Bobby Vinton.)

The Kingsmen were voted your #2 All-Time Favorite Garage Band in a poll we did several years ago (2012 to be exact!) in Forgotten Hits, right behind Chicago’s very own Shadows Of Knight.  “Louie Louie may be, however, the quintessential garage rock song.  Mitchell died on his 77th birthday.  He was the last surviving original member of The Kingsmen.

A TRIBUTE TO ADAM SCHLESINGER, billed as A MUSICAL CELEBRATION, VIRTUAL SHOW, featuring appearances by Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, R.E.M., Dashboard Confessional and The Black Keys, will premier on May 5th on the Rolling Live platform.  (Schlesinger, who died of COVID-19 a year ago.)  Proceeds from the event will be going to MusiCares and the venue The Bowery Electric.

Schlesinger, a prolific songwriter, was best known for his band Fountains of Wayne but was a producer and writer for several projects, including the television series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, whose star, Rachel Bloom, is also booked for the tribute.

He also produced The Monkees Good Times; their first album of new material in  20 years.

Others who will perform or pay tribute include Courtney Love, Sean Ono Lennon, Drew Carey, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, Peter Buck of R.E.M., Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, Ben Lee and Taylor Hanson. The lineup is expected to expand.

The tribute is being organized by Jody Porter, Schlesinger’s former bandmate in Fountains of Wayne.

“This is a proper musical send-off for my soul brother with a bunch of talented and groovy guests that would make Adam wince,” Porter said.

We’ll have more details for you as they become available.

Photo (L-R):  Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Adam Schlesinger

[courtesy of David Salidor]

Big Jay Sorensen sent me this cool Goldmine Interview with our FH Buddy James Holvay, formerly of The Mob (currently celebrating their 50th anniversary) and songwriter of FOUR of The Buckinghams’ biggest hits.

Our recent New Colony Six quest has turned up a copy of that Tastee Freeze poster that Jerry Schollenberger told us about.

In fact, it was founding member Ray Graffia, Jr., who sent me a copy …

With a notation of their new, 2021 goal!!!  (kk)

We just passed the anniversary of Dick Clark’s death …

And Harvey Kubernik sent me these memories to share with our readers …

Today I was reminded of the passing of Dick Clark.

I knew him and danced on "American Bandstand" and "Shebang!" a handful of times.  

His work and catalog still informs countless music documentaries we view and own. 

In my recent book "Docs That Rock, Music That Matters," I devoted an entire chapter to Clark and his celluloid legacy. 

Few have any idea what he did to expose R&B and soul music alongside pop and rock recording artists.  Check out my interview with him below. 

Harvey Kubernik 

Q: You know, the thing that strikes me about your durability and longevity is, during research, it became apparent that you gave and presented a TV platform for many seminal rock and R&B figures years before you were identified with "The Philly Sound".

A: Well, one of the aggravations in life - and it really doesn't happen much anymore - but there was a period of time when young music writers took a stance that "American Bandstand" was the home to Philadelphia recording artists. Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker. These are my very dear friends. I'm not demeaning their talent. That was one aspect of it. But they never really gave any thought to the fact that the Penguins, The Crows, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, all made their first appearances on "Bandstand". That aggravated me, but that's just stupid youth perpetuating an untruth. The truth has come out now and we don't hear much about that anymore. We've got smarter people writing." 

Q: You also put together touring packages that featured live bands from England during the initial "English Invasion". Through my writing for Melody Maker and later employing some of these music-makers, I've gotten to hear some pretty tall tales of road life, and especially some of the insane racial scenes that existed when you presented and toured mixed black and white performers. What a minefield you all were walking into in the U.S.

A: "The Caravan Of Stars" started in the late '50s and was derivative of Allen Feld's "Biggest Shows" concerts. Those were primarily black-oriented shows with a few white performers. Pretty much stayed the same for years. The headliners for years and years were blacks and whites, but primarily black. We would have a couple of teen idol white types as a closer for the white audiences. We played to segregated audiences. That's all documented. 

But when it came time to bring the English over, they had no feel for the racism we had in this country. Because the Indian people had invaded their shores, the Pakistanis had been there, and I used to have long conversations and discussions with Eric Burdon of The Animals. We sat and argued about this for years (laughs). He was such a fan of black music. I said to him, "You have no idea what this country has been through". His first introduction was on a rock 'n' roll tour. He found they couldn't eat with the black performers in public restaurants. They couldn't stay in the same hotels. It was a revelation. We'd run into posters like, "Don't Play Negro Music", "Don't Buy Negro Records". It was a very bizarre experience. And if you are a young person, it's gonna make an indelible impression on you." 

Q: On those package tours, did you always like the concept of multiple performers on a bill? Many acts, a few hits, and that sort of production?

A: I preferred multiple acts because I always had a short attention span. A plate full of a variety of things. I know that is offensive to an artist, I know there are artists that can command your attention for two hours. My personal preference is I'd rather have shorter bits and anticipate coming back for more at a later time.

Q: Did you ever think there would be a problem with recording artists lip-synching their songs on live TV, or that it would have such an impact on viewers?

A: Oh yeah. I've never relegated the lip-synch to a lower form of entertainment. Lip-synching is an art unto itself. A lot of people can't do it. Jazz singers, improvisational singers just can't pull it off.

Q: What about the interviews you conducted on "Bandstand," and even today what constitutes a good interview or technique between yourself and whoever you are talking to?

A: In the old days, our interviews with the artists were short. Two to three minutes max. The way I patterned them - I've done 10,000 of them - 10,000 individual interviews. I had what I hoped was a beginning, middle and end. I tried to get something out of it other than "Where do you go next?" I always tried to get something you could hang on to. Sometimes totally frivolous. Sometimes very stupid. Sometimes not memorable. Maybe just show the humanity. The Prince interview was a failure. Huge, but most memorable 'cause he didn't say anything.

Q: Is there a different technique or style when doing a radio interview?

A: I think radio is the most intimate medium there is because it goes with you wherever. On radio I get background information, so I know what I'm walking into. On the flipside, what is this guy or woman on the radio for? To plug a record or a television show? Give them the courtesy of allowing them to get their plug in and then get what you want out of it. It's a very symbiotic relationship. We are using one another.

Q: You emerged out of radio?

A: First job I had, I was 17 years old. I was primarily the mail room boy at the radio station. An FM station. And in those days nobody listened to FM. It was a bastard medium that played classical music, and that was it. I used to argue with my father, who was the manager of the station, "Why don't you play music that ordinary people would like?" In addition to classical, they had an FM rural radio network. Weather forecasts for farmers. So I did the area forecast and would relay it to Schenectady, knowing there were a few farmers and some geese listening. That's how I first got behind a microphone. Later I was on WFIL. AM dial with 5,000 watts that covered the world because it was low on the dial. It was like a powerhouse 50,000 watt AM station in those days, owned by The Philadelphia Enquirer. The play list was highly restricted. Based on the taste of the owner.

Q: When did you know or realize how valuable your film, TV and video archives were? Did you collect and document all performances, knowing one day the footage would be rare and valuable? The strength of your library?

A: I have no idea. I wasn't bright enough to know they had historical or money value. But I've always been a collector. Look around my office. I never throw anything away. (I have dibs on The Beatles butcher cover hanging.) I started when I was a child. I saved the returned kinescopes. I begged ABC to give me the old films. We have a huge file. Second or third biggest in the world. Now I realize the historical importance of all of this.

Q: When did you know there was afterlife with this stuff? Clips of Fabian and Bobby Rydell?

A: You've mentioned Fabian and Bobby Rydell. People think that's the file, but it's Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Crows ... It's The Jefferson Airplane, The Doors. That's what's so phenomenal about it. I knew it would have entertainment value. I didn't know it would have historical value until I got older.

Q: Who is the most popular requested music performer for licensing?

A: Buddy Holly. The irony there was that we once did a retrospective show for ABC, and I had an editor in from San Francisco who lost the Buddy Holly footage. Never found it. The only Buddy Holly footage we have of him doing "Peggy Sue" is from "The Arthur Murray Dance Party". I'm still a friend of Mrs. Murray and her former husband who passed on. I told her, "Let me have your tapes. You'll own them always, we'll just administrate them. And we'll take good care of them and store them in various formats so they won't get lost". Steve Allen's "Hound Dog" performance with Elvis was sitting in his closet in Encino. I said, "Steve, let me make a dub of it. I'll put it in my file and give you an extra dub". Two, three months later, he gave me a call. "That tape I gave you, did I ever get it back?" I said, "Yes. You signed for it." Here's the receipt. "I can't find it." I struck another deal. Somebody has to be crazy enough to save stuff. I mean, the very first show of "The Tonight Show" is gone because NBC destroyed it. When I called for the films of ABC, they wouldn't give them to me. Against company policy. I said, "You're gonna scrap 'em like at ten cents a pound - let me at least buy 'em for that." "We can't. It's against company policy. It's against the rules." Ironically, a mailroom boy called me one day and said, "I've got a truckload of stuff here. Cans of films and tapes that have your name on them. I'm gonna take it to the dump. Do you want it?" "DON'T MOVE THE TRUCK! I'll be down in a minute." We went to the truck and physically removed all those tapes that were going to be taken and burned, thrown in a pile somewhere, and saved them. So you have to cut through stupid organizational red tape. Sometimes they're human beings and know it has value.

All the clip requests come to me, the president of the company, and the archivist. The ball dropping at New Year's Eve is a big request. The night of "We Are The World" when everyone was on stage at "The American Music Awards", prior to Quincy and the gang going to A&M to make the record. The reason they booked the studio date was because we had 'em all on "The American Music Awards". As far as requests for footage - unfortunately, anybody who is deceased we immediately get requests. The most talked about things are early Michael Jackson when he was with The Jackson Five. Madonna's very first appearance is quite memorable. It all depends on the individual needs of the producers.

There were not a lot of sources for the early stuff. As time went on, and videos were made and other tape recordings were made of concert appearances, people saved them. So there's more material available. History gets shorter. You can get stuff from the '80s and '90s. '70s is fairly available. '50s and '60s is scarce.

Q: What about the home video market? Did you and your staff anticipate the growing lucrative market for collections?

A: It's not lucrative for us. The archives ... I guess maybe this year they will be profit-making. It's not a big business. We've never ever been able to put a compilation together that was clearable. The rights clearances are so horrendous. It's very difficult. Someday it will work.

Q You were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame. What are your feelings about the honor? I know Phil Spector was one of the people lobbying for your inclusion. I saw your note to him at his home.

A: Dion's speech is hanging framed on my wall. I needed his introductory remarks for my wall. It was a very big night, to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame with all of your musical contemporaries. Colleagues, icons, idols. That's heavy duty company.

It took a lot of years for me to get in. There was resistance. I'm a non-performer. So you sort of have to wait in line, because they only put in a few each year. I was overcome with emotion because they finally let me in. I think I had an important role in that period of time. I know it doesn't sound very humble, but I was there from the beginning. I appreciate the honor.

Q: Paul McCartney's appearance was utilized on a recent "American Music Awards". And, looking around your office, I mean, photos of The Beatles, John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe artwork, and I realized at one time you had a record label, Swan, that issued 'She Loves You' b/w 'I'll Get You' very early in the game. Can we talk about The Beatles? The anthologies are selling, the BBC tapes. What impressed you about them? (Clark goes to his office wall and shows me a Swan Records staff photo and a record presentation to The Beatles on their first American tour in 1964. And you ought to see the fantastic Jackie Wilson photo Dick has on the wall!)

A: You asked for it (laughs). Here's a ticket stub from November, 1961, from a Beatles show which amounts to 42 cents U.S. money. Here's the photo of Bernie and Tony, my former partners in Swan, with The Beatles when I was in the music business; after the government forced me out of the music business, they went on with it. The first record Bernie brought back was from these four kids from England with the funny haircuts. I put it ('She Loves You') on "Rate-A-Record" (an "American Bandstand" segment) and the kids gave it a 73. They didn't like it. I thought they looked strange. I didn't particularly care for it, because I thought it was derivative. It sounded like The Crickets and Buddy Holly, and a little Chuck Berry. Recycled old American music. I didn't focus in on the fact that it had a different thrust. I had no idea they would go on and make their own music and change the world. The irony of the picture of Bernie and Tony with The Beatles and the record 'She Loves You' was that, had Swan sold 50,000 copies of 'She Loves You' that we played on "Rate-A-Record", we would have had the rights to the Beatles ad infinitum. I said to Bernie years later, "Why didn't you buy 50,000 copies? (laughs) This was their second release. Vee Jay and Ewart Abner had them first. Bernie was an alert guy. Someone called his attention and he went over to England to check The Beatles out. At the time, Capitol didn't want them in the U.S.

I look at this photo. How fate changes things. I'm looking at Ringo Starr ... We did "Birth Of The Beatles" and Pete Best got aced out of a drummer's job and I met him and talked to him. I wondered, how did this man walk around without being a total nutcase, knowing that he got aced out of a job as one of four musicians who changed the world? He was the technical advisor on our show. A sweet man. I still hear from him.

Q: Did you ever see the band play live in the U.S. or promote any of their live shows?

A: I saw them in Atlantic City on their first tour here. The first time I saw them in the flesh. Several times thereafter.

Q: Did you like their stage show?

A: It was interesting because it was like the first time I saw Elvis Presley. There was this shriek, this sound, which I think is part of the reason they gave up performing in person. It was very hard to hear the music. The audience reaction was phenomenally interesting. That's what I found about Presley. I saw Presley in the '50s at The Arena in Philadelphia, a 4,000-seater. It was the first time my ears rang after a concert. The same thing happened in Atlantic City when I saw The Beatles. So you knew something was going on. We later promoted them in Pittsburgh, I think. We had to pay them $25,000 for the night, which was just incredibly expensive in those days.

Q: I couldn't help but ask you about Sonny Bono. Around the time of his funeral, you were quoted about his determination.

A: Yes ... I think it was his greatest asset. I've said for years, in a business that is a competitive one, young kids have said, "How do I get or make a break in the music business?" I've said, "Have bulldog determination". Artistic people very often wait for the lightning to hit. Sonny made the lightning come to him. There's something to learn from that. Put yourself in the right place at the right time. Be in the right city. Get to the right person. Hang in there. You have to be aggressive, or otherwise it will be a miracle if someone walks into the nearest Holiday Inn and finds you in the lounge.

Q: I met Sonny Bono. I knew Nik Venet, who just died this week, and who signed the Beach Boys to Capitol after they recorded for Candix. And I interviewed Berry Gordy, Jr., and naturally met Ewart Abner, who also died this week, and who was president of Motown and, earlier, president of Vee Jay Records, who released The Beatles' first record in America. Abner was a character. My dad even had lunch with him once. I mean, Vee Jay delivered The Impressions, Jimmy Reed, and I know you have fond memories of him. All of these people were by-products of independent music.

A: Yes. Ewart's contributions were overlooked ... Abner was one of the unsung heroes of music. He was one of the most extraordinarily imaginative, colorful, pacifistic men. He was there during the days of integration, helping to bring that about. He could bring people together. That was his great role. He could spot talent. (Earlier at Chance Records, he joined with Art Sheridan to feature two new groups, the Flamingos and the Moonglows.)

I mean, as late as a couple of weeks ago, before he passed, I was irate about something. We were working on a project together with Berry and some other people. And Abner was my point man for Berry. I was ready to throw in the towel. "I can't put up with this anymore..." He said, "Let me call you back."  20 minutes later he calls me back, "Let's talk about this now that you're over this."  Isn't this really the logical way? He got me around to where I knew I'd get eventually. He was able to take me like a big brother and say, "Come on, let's get on with it". And he did that with everybody.

Q: I also feel the indie labels then — and still today, but talking about Vee Jay, and the Swan effort with The Beatles, Sam Phillips with Sun — also knew where the talent was.

A: The independent guys found it and jammed it right up in their face. It was a very vibrant business in the early days. It was probably faster moving and more fun, because you weren't layered. You didn't have to go through the business affairs department, the accounting department, the promo department. Your fate was usually in the hands of one or two people who ran the joint.

It hasn't happened that way in years except in the area of rap now, where it's street guys instead of the multi-national conglomerates that pull the strings.

© Harvey Kubernik, 2004