Sunday, May 8, 2016

Cornerstones Of Rock - The Controversy Continues

We thought we were finished with our WTTW / Cornerstones Of Rock discussion and attempted to wrap things up the other day ... but new comments continue to come in ... and new evidence of deception has come to light ... read on ...

I have read all of the comments from FH and WTTW about the CD / DVD sets.  I got mine after you guys did a few weeks ago, and like you, have yet to view it.  I saw the TV version, so I don't know if I will watch it or not soon. 
That said, I am trying to look at both sides.  The TV "event" was magnificent for those of us out of towners who would not get to go.  The concert series would likely not have happened if NOT for WTTW's showing.  That said, that would mean we would not have seen Gary Loizzo's last performance or the gathering of the American Breed.  Maybe Ronnie Rice and the New Colony Six would not have ever performed together again.  Maybe there would not have been two follow-up concerts.  Maybe the Buckinghams leaders wouldn't have put their differences aside for an evening.  We got to see Jimy Sohns performing before his health problems sidetracked him.  Would we see the Cryan Shames back playing five classics with Jim Fairs and Hooke and Toad all onstage blasting out MY faves?  MY fave band onstage on TV!!!  Yes, the Ides can be seen these days, but it never gets old seeing them.  It was even recorded at WTTW.  We owe a lot to Jim Peterik AND to WTTW for bringing us the show Jim and JC Hooke have dreamed of for ages.  So much talent on one stage for one time.  It was a one and only "Cornerstones of CHICAGO 60's rock."
Now, on the other side, I paid $100 for a DVD / CD set that might have been better off as a double DVD of ALL the material, minus the CD.  Most who bought the set have the music on CD already, I'm guessing(?)  To get LESS than the TV show is pretty lame, indeed.  Now, thanks to my "generosity," I am being deluged with spam snail mail wanting MORE donations.  Latest, a letter to me from the Chief Financial Officer of WTTW.  They claim they need $403,000 by June 30 to keep operating, due mostly to a 16% increase in PBS programming and a 65% decrease in state funding.  Now, I can certainly almost cover that for them, but maybe they will have to just "downsize."  OR, they could not send letters to people living outside their viewing area every month ... especially the people they have kept waiting months for their first purchase from the pledge event in December??
All in all, it's a tough call.  WTTW must have big financial woes and this set is causing some bad blood, for sure.  Still, this station has supplied an incredible barrage of great programming over the decades, some dealing with our 60's childhood memories, and always done REALLY well.  Thanks to friends in Chicago, I have gotten to see some great shows WTTW has put together on Chicago and 60's rock memories. 
My suggestion is that WTTW broadcast the show in its full entirety with all the interviews over four hours or over two nights and AGAIN asking for donations and offering the same DVD set again for those who did not see the first show.  Show "Louie Louie" with the bad sound!  We grew up LOVING AM radio!  Kids today listen to music on these tin box phones that sound WORSE than 60's AM radio!  Heck, "Louie Louie" WAS the epitome of bad recording!  Just show us the whole thing, with or without pledge breaks, but the WHOLE thing.  What are you going to do with that classic stuff, otherwise??  Throw out history?  These ARE the Cornerstones of Rock!  Don't blow it again.  Make some money AND show us the whole thing.
That's MY solution. 

So let me get this straight ... the sound of the ensemble group's grand finale performance of "Louie Louie" was too distorted and not fit for inclusion on the dvd?  What made that song so popular back in the day was the fact that it was distorted so badly you couldn't make out the lyrics, thus inspiring thousands of music fans all over the world to determine what they THOUGHT they heard on the record ... which caused a WORLD of controversy way back then.
How do you call the show a tribute to garage rock and then not play the two greatest garage rock anthems of all time?  Louie Louie and Gloria BOTH deserved to be on the dvd ... they DEFINE garage band rock ... without them the very concept of this concert fails in every conceivable manner.
In reading the explanation from WTTW it sounds like they didn't investigate completely (or push hard enough) regarding obtaining the rights to the use of Gloria on the disc.  As you said before, the song has been licensed to countless other 60's compilations for decades now.  Sounds like somebody just didn't do their homework and has now alienated thousands of subscribers who feel they didn't get what they paid for.  (Meanwhile, WTTW continues to badger us almost daily with requests for more donations.)  This isn't what I signed up for ... I wanted my dvd of the WHOLE show PLUS the bonus footage and interviews they promised during the pledge drive.  They took our money but didn't deliver what they promised us to GET that money ... and that's just wrong.  Call it deception or false advertising ... or collecting money under false pretenses ... any way you cut it, it stinks.
Tim H

Isn't it ironic that sound quality was citied as a reason for not including "Louie, Louie" ... that's one of the hallmarks of that song. The real words used by the Kingsmen have been debated for years.

I was gonna leave the Cornerstones Of Rock controversy alone, but I like a good controversy as much as the next guy. I have never seen the broadcast and, from what I gather, I'm not missing much. However I attended the taping. Starting with the last first, the Louie Louie finale was sort of disorganized at best, as it almost seemed like an afterthought. It sorta reminded me of some of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame finales where everyone gets up on stage and Paul Shaffer is the only one who remembers any words. They were all joking about how they were gonna sing the "dirty" lyrics. It came across about as clear as the Kingsmen did. I can see why WTTW didn't want to include it, although they should have anyways. Just make a notation in the liner notes. 
I liked the 19 cut CD, however there is still ample time left to include Lake Shore Drive, Up On The Roof, Get It On & Gloria. I haven't listened to the live CD yet. The problem with these "premiums" is that unless you do the whole program, as shown, you'll never please anyone. I have no idea why it wasn't done like that, start to finish. After you delete the pauses between set up time, and Wendy Snyder's fill ins, the whole show could have fit on one DVD. A second DVD could have been included with rehearsals, some goofing around like Dennis & Jim did. There had to be more. Maybe some brief interviews with each of the bands. I suspect you, and the majority of folks in FH land are right. WTTW could have done a far better job. I'm not sure why it takes four months to get it together. Having edited tape in the past, it doesn't take that long to do it, especially if you're a professional and working with a lot better equipment then I'll see in my lifetime. 
Perhaps what annoyed me the most was about a half dozen solicitations for more money in between the time of the concert and the time I received the CD / DVD package. On one phone solicitation, I told the guy, they won't be getting any money from me until I get what I shelled out $149.95 for to begin with.  They haven't called back. At least with one mail request, they sent me some address labels. They still ain't getting any more money. 
In short, I'm happy I went, I'm happy that I got a souvenir from the experience, but WTTW screwed up big time. Now I know why I had never pledged before, to get one of the CD  / DVDs, for one of their programs. I would say there's an excellent chance that PBS, won't ever get any more money from me in the future. Still I don't mind the address labels. They're just not worth $149.95.   
"Louie Louie' kinda WAS an afterthought ... the original plan was to have everybody come back out again and sing "Sweet Home Chicago" ... but a last minute decision was made to go with "Louie Louie" instead, probably in keeping more in line with the whole garage band theme of the event.  For that reason alone it should have been left in ... "hot mess" or not.
I also agree that including the "Lake Shore Drive" and "Get It On" tributes would have made nice additions to the live CD, especially since they were part of the final dvd edit.
Releasing less than fans were expecting is bad enough ... but this non-stop badgering for more money is just adding fuel to the fire.  The overall consensus is that this experience will most likely prevent future donations from those who bought these packages.  This mishandling of merchandise has seriously hampered the potential for future donations from a brand new audience cultivated by this historic Chicago Rock event.  For that reason alone, WTTW should make this right ... give the fans what they want, chalk it up to a bad business decision, and move on.  If nothing else, this may get them some credibility back among those who are currently left with a bad taste in their mouths.  (kk)

Having read the past input regarding the Cornerstones of Rock DVD and CD, I have one more omission to ask about ... Love You So Much, which we did during the filming and which is a Sentar recording that I shared licensing for so that it could be included on the CD that featured the original recordings of these hits.  I, too, had hoped that these might turn up as part of the bonus features mentioned for the dvd release (as well as more of the interview that I did for the program.)  Oh well, life goes on.
Thanks for being irate on behalf of those who supported and continue to support us and WTTW.  Looking forward to a glorious Spring and Summer through more Cornerstones live shows.  
Peace, bro’,      
Ray Graffia, Jr. / The New Colony Six

I see through the Arcada website that another Cornerstones show has been added June 24th in Minneapolis at the Pantages Theatre (more information at, as well as the return performance at The Arcada Theatre on September 3rd (which, I was just informed we will ALSO be unable to attend ... damn, that means I will have missed all three of the local shows!)  Hopefully more ensemble gigs (as well as solo New Colony Six shows, where you can feature more of your extensive hit catalog) are also on the horizon.  (kk)

Even Jimy Sohns has felt the need to make a statement due to all this controversy stirred up here in Forgotten Hits ...

We have no control over Gloria being left off the Cornerstones of Rock: American Garage DVD ...
Direct your suggestions and complaints to Joe Thomas ( and Frank Pappalardo (
There must have been a way to get permission for them to have Gloria on the DVD ... after all, it's on hundreds of cds, tapes and 8-tracks all over the world.

It's interesting to note that the set lists of The Ides Of March and The Buckinghams were not edited for broadcasting ... each of their entire performances were kept intact.  

As the key organizers of this event, both Jim Peterik and Carl Giammarese are able to walk away unscathed ... even though, while speaking during the pledge drive breaks, both alluded to all the bonus "extras" that would be on the home dvd version if purchased through the pledges obtained that night.  My guess is that they were only promoting what they were told was going to happen ... and that somewhere along the way WTTW took the cheap way out and only went with the broadcast version instead ... and then even made edits to that!  (Carl???  Jim???  Wanna weigh in on this???  You guys know the truth!)  

I was kinda hoping that we might hear from Ron Onesti, too, as he hosted this whole event and MC'd the pledge drive ... certainly he was led to believe at the time that the dvd would include all kinds of bonus footage not shown as part of the original broadcast ... these guys wouldn't have just offered that up on their own ... it HAD to come from somewhere!!!  (Listen, I'm not trying to put anybody on the spot here ... nor am I trying to put anybody in an awkward position ... I know that these folks have long-standing, deep ties to WTTW ... but I also know that ALL of these guys have been around the block a time or two ... and THEY know that right is right ... and this just ain't right!!!)  kk

Basically what they did, from the edited televised version, was delete Gloria by the Shadows of Knight and the group Louie Louie finale and insert the Chase Tribute in its place. I am now surprised they didn’t leave in the pledge drive breaks.  I was really looking forward to Sunshine Psalm, Up on the Roof and Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White.  These three songs, although performed that night, are nowhere on the DVD.  It is still very well done, but a huge disappointment. 
Robert Campbell

Actually I think the pledge drive breaks were probably the most entertaining ones I've ever seen on the station!  It was SO cool to see Jim Peterik and Carl Giammarese talking with the hosts and explaining just how deep the ties go between these artists ... the "friendly competition" back in the day, celebrating each new success, and still being able to take the stage today, some fifty years later, and play to sold-out shows ... the '60's and '70's music of Chicago is alive and well. (I liked the filmed testimonials encouraging viewers to contribute by Nick Fortuna, Ronnie Rice and Ray Graffia, Jr., too ... even if they were begging for donations well into the millions and billions!  lol)

In speaking with several of the artists who participated in the original concert, they, too, are upset that their performances that night were cut short on the television broadcast ... but understand that this had to be done for broadcast purposes.  However, most were also hoping that these "extras" would show up on the dvd as well as some of the lengthy interview segments also filmed that evening ... yet NONE of this material made the dvd either.  In that respect, WTTW let down the fans AND the participants.

Upon closer review of the original broadcast, I see that it was when Jimy Sohns came up to join Jim Peterik and Ron Onesti that Jim performed a short piece of "Eye Of The Tiger", right after Jimy led a chorus of Ron, Jim and the telephone operators through a quick chorus of "Gloria".)

However it was during this very same break that the promise of dvd extras would accompany your $100 - $200 donations ... listen to the audio clip below.  In THIS way, WTTW failed to deliver on their promise ... and that is what the fans who bought these special packages are upset about. 

Here is a transcript of that conversation:

So I'm here with the legendary, the great, Jimmy Peterik of The Ides of March and you know what, you can see how much fun we're having here in the studio ... and you know that's the amazing thing about the dvd that you can get, everything you see right here on Channel 11, and if you come to the show, because the music is the music ... the music's on the dvd, the music's on the cd, the music's on tv tonight and the music's going to be live at the show ... but on the dvd you get all these bonus little stories ... all this extra stuff, all this juicy stuff about the bands, for $8 per month, only $8 a month, $96 one time this fabulous dvd with bonus tracks, stories, behind the scenes ... people LOVE that, you know ... and $8 gets you the dvd AND the cd ...

And that's ultimately what did them in ... the promise of more and the delivery of less.  The fans feel that WTTW should deliver on their promise ... simple as that.  We sent in our money in good faith ... we supported the station ... we should get what we were promised.  We kept our end of the bargain ... now it's time for WTTW to pony up and deliver on their end.
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits


Clark's suggestion that WTTW should rebroadcast this concert as the entire four-hour event and then ask viewers for new donations to obtain dvd's of the concert in its entirety really isn't a very viable solution ... even the biggest fans aren't going to shell out this money TWICE to get what they should have received in the first place ... nor is it fair that they should have to do so.  

However, putting together a 2-DVD set and then offering that to new subscribers (and sending out free, replacement copies to those who have already given money the first time around) doesn't seem beyond the realm of good customer service.  Yes, it's going to cost the station some money ... but this is a hole they dug for themselves by misrepresenting the contents of the dvd.  Everyone who contributed did so in good faith ... and they did not receive what they were promised.  Folks are genuinely pissed about this.  Bottom line ... WTTW should make good on their original promise.  They grossly misrepresented their product and then took the funds and delivered something inferior and less than expected.  This goes beyond false advertising ... and, in the process, they have seriously jeopordized obtaining future funds from all these new subscribers.

The concert (as it currently stands) is scheduled to be rebroadcast on Thursday, June 9th, at 7:30 and 9:45 pm and then again on Sunday, June 12th, at 9:00 pm.  There are no new notations on the WTTW website regarding omissions from the original broadcast ... they seem content to just let this one slide.  Fans and contributors feel otherwise ... they feel the station should be taken to task for this misrepresentation and the more I read about it, the more I tend to agree.

Larz of Chicagoland Radio and Media is going to continue our cause with the powers that be at WTTW and see if some type of solution can be arranged to best appease all parties concerned.  We'll keep you posted as things developed.  (I guess we're not really done with this topic after all!)  kk

More on this topic ... (it seems to be the talk of the town!):