Friday, May 31, 2013

Celebrating John Bonham's Birthday

On this date, May 31, 1948 John Bonham was born. He went on to be the power house drummer in Led Zeppelin. He died too soon essentially ending the band. Todsay we celebrate the music he left behind.

Here is John Bonham with Robert Plant before Zeppelin took flight in The Band of Joy...

Here he is with Led Zeppelin in 1977 performing Moby Dick..24 minutes worth of Bonzo...

Here is a shorter piece "Bonzo's Montreux"

Here is a rare interview with Robert Plant and John Bonham circa 1970

Below is a report of his death on the news...

Thanks for the songs, the thunder in the rock, you are missed... 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pickle My Monkey at the MET

Pickle My Monkey is a new play created by The Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick, Maryland. The original comedy is enjoying it's world premiere outing. It has sex, drugs and rock and roll! If that isn't enough I will throw in a talking pickled monkey and lizard man. The show got a bit wacky but it also brought a lot of laughs. You can read my review here.

You really have to give the theatre kudos for being a theatre where members can experiment and create new plays. They also produce some other daring works, some classics and have a wonderful assortment of theatre. This play really highlights the theatre's creativity and willingness to be daring!

The blog has been slow this week, since my household has been dealing with all kinds of itches...(mosquitoes, spiders, and poison ivy oh, my)

Since this post is kind of short here is a video of Kix performing "The Itch" (Kix, by the way is from this area so it kind of fits)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

R.I.P. Drummer Ed Shaughnessy

Ed Shaughnessy was the drummer for the Tonbight Show with Johnny Carson. Ed might not have gotten the fame of being a drummer in a rock band. However, it must have been a joy to play with all trhe guests, all the different genres of music, I think he had a cool gig.He died Friday after suffering a heart attack at 84.

Here he trades licks with Buddy Rich...

I think the video below really highlights his skills...

The piece he probably played the most..

Thanks for the memories, may you rest in peace Ed Shaughnessy

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Thank You on Memorial Day

Today on Memorial Day I send out a simple thank you to all the military, police and fire fighters who have lost their lives in duty and to their families. I was humbled to write such simple words considering their great sacrifices. However, those are worlds often forgotten to be said when the heroes are alive.


I hope you can take a moment and reflect what on the sacrifices these fine folks have made while you are enjoying you holiday. No long rambling post today, just a simple thank you.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan turns 72 today. How do you honor a man who has been covered, written many classic songs, has his own satalite radio show? 

Reunite Guns and Roses to play this..

Well that's not going to happen. Make him cringe with Miley Cyrus covering him...

Here is John Mayer covering "Don't Think Twice"

Yes, I am having fun selecting some covers but I want to make sure they are different from other Bob covers I have included in past posts. Plus with artists like John and Miley is shows he is still touching younger generations of musicians and his legacy grows.Below is the man himself singing Happy Brthday and performing "Like A Rolling Stone" with Tom Petty's Heartbreakers...

Here Neil Young covers Blowin in the Wind...

and here is Norah Jones

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan! I hope everyone enjoys the music and I will be back soon with a new post

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Secondary Characters Bloghop

Yeah! Another Bloghop! Today's is hosted by Rachel Mary Bean and a host of others. Check out Rachel's Writing on the Wall to find out more, sign up, or read some interesting blog posts.

The overview states favorite secondary characters from books or movies or both. I will expand on that in my post by adding bands and television shows.


Well a band really is the sum of the parts. They all have to work together to form a sound. However, we all know bands have the front man(or woman) which is usually a singer. Sometimes it is a guitarist. In a few cases it is some other instrument player like a drummer or in jazz a horn player. There are quite a few  to choose from. My pick is Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones. Why Keith? Well he is a songwriter partner with Mick Jagger. He has his own persona as well. However, Keith Richards is mainly a rhythm guitarist. A key role in rock, blues, and country but not always the most glamorous one. Try listing guitarists who aren't known more for their leads. In my mind three jump out Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), George Harrison (The Beatles) and Keith. However, Richards has impressed me with his musical knowledge in interviews. He knows his craft and is an encyclopedia of rock and blues. Well he is my pick and sometimes Mick stands asides and let's Keith lead he band...


One television show I enjoy watching with my family is Burn Notice. A show about a spy who has been kicked out of his agency. Well, besides losing his job he lost his bank account and people watch him. So he helps people to make a living with the help of his girl friend Fiona and his best friend Sam. Sam is my favorite secondary charecter. Sam Axe played by Bruce Campbell has some charecteristics that remind my wife of me in a playful way in her mind.


That's a tough one. I've only read a handful of fictional books this year so none are really jumping out at me. So I will defere to Hunter S. Thompson's classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and pick his attorney and side kick Dr. Gonzo.


I am going with Les Miserables on this one. It is probably not my favorite secondary character of all time but it is going to be my favorite secondary character from perhaps the last really good movie I have seen.Plus it breaks the unintentional theme I have going on. I mean obviously I have a booze loving friend fromm TV, my other choices were Keith Richards and a charecter from Hunter S. Thompson both known for drugs and booze as well.

Okay back to the movie. Really most of the secondary charecters really shine in this film. Anne Hathaway won for best supporting actress at the academy Awards and a lot of oother places.

Eddie Redmayne also recieved some nominations for his supporting roles.

So many good ones in this fim so can I just pick the whole cast?

Any way I will be back soon with a new post!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to help the Oklahoma victims

Most of us know a terrible tornado crushed Moore, Oklahoma outside of Oklahoma City. At least 24 were killed, eight were children, many injured, many suffered property damage, some lost their homes, in short a lot of folks are facing tougher times in these tough times. My blog post today is on how to help the Oklahoma victims.

The American Red Cross 

You can donate online to their disaster relief fund here.

You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 which will be charged to your cell phone plan.

They can always use blood too. If you are near Oklahoma Citty your blood will probably help disaster folks.

The Salvation Army

You can donate online here to help them help those in need.

You can donate $10 billed to your cell phne by texting STORM to 80888.

You can donate by phone by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY

The Episcopal Relief and Development

This group is collecting donations to help the Tornado victims in Fort Worth, Texas and Oklahoma and you can donate here.

Catholic Charities USA

Catholic Charities are helping the victims and you can support them here.

Those are some big organizations helping. Four I trust as well, having supported them or helped them in the past. I know there are several more organizations helping as well. If you want to share some of the other organizations you trust feel free to comment. Let's help these folks out. We can't bring back the dead or make up for the loss of losing love ones. However, we can help people get back on their feet.


Monday, May 20, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Manzarek

This song is so appropriate for today...

My heart goes out to the victims in Oklahoma adfter the terrible storm there. My blog post today pays tribute to Ray Manzarak who past away due to cancer at the age of 74.Below Ray jams out with Robby Krieger on The Doors L.A. Woman earlier this year in March...

Ray's organ sound was so important as the Doors rarely used a bass player. So Ray would cover the low end and when needed the high end as well.Here he performs with another project Roy Rogers enjoy...

Here Ray perfroms "Crystal Ship" solo...

Here Ray perfroms a solo...

He will be missed. The world lost a talented musician. Perhaps he will rejoin Jim Morrison in the after world. May he rest in peace..

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy 68th Birthday Pete Townshend!

Today is Pete Townshend's 68th birthday. Best known for his lyrics and guitar work, Pete is without question a talented and great musician.

Let's start the celebration with a solo song by Pete...

Here is a rare track...

The Who...

Here is Peter with David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd fame)

Happy Birthday Pete! I will be back soon with a new post

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Who will the Washington Wizards pick in the NBA Draft?

Hopefully the text in this post will show up! I obviously had problems with my last post. Well today is a new day and a new topic. Today's post is on basketball, and I know I posted a bunch of posts about college basketball. This one s about the NBA and who the Washington Wizards will pick in the draft. It is an important draft for the Wizards. They have a young and talented backcourt. I feel they need to add to the frontcourt by drafting a forward or center. You can read my article here. Adding a bit more in my blog by adding a couple of videos.

This guy could be on the Wizards list...

Reason he may be available when Washington drafts and why the Wizards might pass...

A hometown guy might be ...

Both are young and will need time to develop. However, they might be enough to get the Wizards into the playoffs.

Washington has two picks in the second round where I can see them adding a European player. The two players selected in the second round will have a better chance of making the team than past picks due to the salary cap. Here the Wizards might pick any position to add depth.

Stay tune I will be back soon with a new post!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Best and worst remakes blogfest

I found another blogfest to keep my blog fresh. Their rules of the blogfest.

List the best remake you've ever seen and the worst. Bonus best and worst cover song.

Best remake:

Miami Vice

I am not sure this one counts. It isa movie remake of a hit tleevision show in the 80's. However, it is not a remake of any specific episode. I've been watching reruns of the show lately and have found the show quite dated. The show has an awesome soundtrack just like the movie. The show has more humor written into it than the movie. However, the movie is much more intense and has more action.

Here are some clips of the TV show put to the main theme by Jan Hammer...

Here is the trailer for the movie version...

Okay so late me pick another one...

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This movie is a classic remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Perhaps a bit darker. It remains true to the original story. Updated a bit. I've been lucky enough to watch both on the big screen.

Here  is the trailer for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...

Here is a clip from Willy Wonka...


Can I start with all the movies being re-released in 3D. They aren't really remade.


This movie was a remake of the comic book character and TV show about The Incredible Hulk. I remember watching this movie and being disappointed in the theater. Here is the trailer...

Okay songs covered is nothing new.


Jessica Simpson's cover of These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

The original Nancy Sinatra...

The Best

Jimi Hendrix take on Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"

I mean it influence Bob Dylan to change the way he performed the song..Here is Dylan's orignal version

So many other cover songs I could list, some great, some bizzare, some different, some fun, and some not. I will be back with a new post soon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gone 60 years: Django Reinhardt

On this day in 1953 Django Reinhardt collapsed and died on his way home from a gig. He was the victim of a brain hemorrhage. He is considered to be one of the greatest guitarists to ever play the guitar. He died at the age of 43. Django left behind quite a musical legacy. Amazingly he only played his solos with two fingers on his fretting hand due to an injury that left his other fingers paralyzed. Maybe it is just a testimony to his incredible will to over come. The same accident had left his leg paralyzed. (It was a fire when he was 18) Django refused to let them amputate and he was walking, with a cane, within a year. Well enough of my rambling it is better to listen and watch his musical legacy...

Here he is with Duke Ellington.."Honeysuckle Rose"...

Here is someones list of best solos..remember he just uses two fingers,,,

Here he performs "Dark Eyes" in New York...

He did spend a lot of his youth living in Gypsy camps, so the Gypsy life influenced his music as well as he developed a gypsy jazz..

Here is Willie Nelson covering Django..

Remembering Django Reinhardt and celebrating his music, I will be back soon with a new post..

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Fender Stratocaster

Today in music history May 15, 1954 the Fender Stratocaster was officially released. One of the most popular guitars ever made and often copied.

Here is a video comparing two 1954 guitars...

Here is Buddy Guy playing a Fender Stratocaster, live in concert (photo copyrighted by me, Mike Spain)

Buddy Guy is probably the musician who should have influenced my liking of the Stratocaster.  But this guy is the one wh really turned me onto this guitar...Jeff Beck

This guy probably turned the whole world onto Stratocasters...

Of course there is this guy as well...Eric Clapton. here he is talking guitars..

Here is a look into the man behind Fender, Leo Fender's office...

Okay I don't want to be sexist so here is Bonnie Raitt doing her thing on guitar...

Here is how one is made...

Here is another Strat mand David Gilmour..

okay I have to put Stevie Ray Vaughan on this list as well

From blues, rock to country here is Brad Paisley...

and contemporary here is John Mayer...

The thing about a Fender Stratocaster I could go on and on! Happy Birthday Stratocaster!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Jack Bruce!

Jack Bruce the legendary bass player for Cream turns 70 today. Along the way he had a successful solo career and worked on a few other projects. I was fortunate to see him with Ringo Starr.

Jack Bruce with Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton....

I'll save Cream for last since he did other things in his career. This band was very Cream like..featuring Ginger Baker and guitarist Gary Moore....

Here is vintage Jack Bruce with Buddy Guy...that would have been fun to have seen!

Here he covers "Manic Depression" with Vernon Reid and Terry Bozzio 

                                 Here he is doing one of his own songs with Mick Taylor...

Okay, I will wrap it up with some Cream...

Enjoy I will be back with a new post soon! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Simply put I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for mom! Todaay we honor Moms. They should be honored and appreciated. All moms it isn't an easy job. Grandmothers, Stepmoms, Den Mothers, they all deserve a thank you!

I thank my wife for being a Mom I am blessed with a stepson and daughter. Without her I wouldn't have them in my life.My grandmother was also a great woman who spoiled me. She cared for me and wanted the best for me.

So, simply say thanks or I love you to the mons in your life. I am sure it will bring a smile to their face and touch their hearts.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Night of Dance at the Kennedy Center

Any excuse to go to The Kennedy Center is a good excuse. I went and covered a modern dance company called Monica Bill Barnes and Company. Lately I have been covering a lot of dance from traditional Chinese dance to ballett. The modern dance included a bit of comedy and a great soundtrack. 

Here is a preview of the group from NYU....

You can read my review here. Here is an another video..

I'll be back with another post soon.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy Birthday New Orleans

New Orleans was founded on May 7, 1718 by the French. I had the privilege of visiting the city 12 years ago, give or take. What can I say I loved the city. I stayed in the French Quarter. I was in town for Jazz Fest, formally known as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Being a music fan it was a musical heaven. Yes part of the fun was hanging out with good friends.However, being turned on to new music at least to my ears was fantastic. I ate local. I loved the courtyards. I loved being able to dart in from the hustle of Bourbon Street to sit in a quiet courtyard. I loved the local market and the hidden gem of a record store.

The music in that city seeps into almost everything I listen too. Being a blues fans, stretching out to jazz, and of course rock. The influence on folk and Jimmy Buffett. I could go on and on. It is all there. The city is not all like this...

but music is everywhere....

I want to go back. I want to go to Jazz Fest again. There are so many famous clubs I want to visit. I want to see how the city is now after Katrina and the oil spill.

Anyway Happy Birthday New Orleans!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Willie Mays

The great Willie Mays turns 82 today. He was a 24-time all star, two-time all star game MVP, and two-time National League All-Star. He hit over .300 for his career, hit 660 home runs and over 3,000 hits. Mays was a first ballet Hall of Famer. It goes without saying he was one of the best centerfielders to play the game.

Here is the play he is best known for "The Catch"...

Hete is his song...

His 660th homer...

Happy Birthday Willie Mays!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Today is the day Mexican beer distributors love. It is the 5th of May otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo. A  significant day in Mexico's history, a day celebrated more in the United States than in Mexico.

Some think the 5th of May is Mexico's Independence Day. It is not. That is Celebrated on September 16, to celebrate their Independence from Spain. Cinco de Mayo marks a significant day in Mexico's history, the Battle of Puebla. Where the Mexicans defeated Napoleon's French forces in a bloody battle. It changed the momentum of the war with France and the war would linger on for six more years.

Here is an article I wrote about five top Mexican beers to help you celebrate! Enjoy! Cheers! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Celebrating Dick Dale's Birthday!

Today was Dick Dale's 76th Birthday, he is known as the King of Surf Guitar.

He made a name for himself in the 50s and 60s but played with some great ones as Stevie RRay Vaughan...

and covers....

He is one of a kind....

Well I hope you enjoy! You are probably ready to hang ten at the beach now! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

A to Z Recap!

Well I completed the A to Z Challenge...

This is my third year in a row doing the challenge. This year I felt most of my blog posts stayed true to my blog. No big road trips in the middle like the first year. However, I did do a poetry challenge on another site.
I shared this with my mom who just started blogging and she joined in the fun!

I picked up a few more followers and I added a few more bloggers to follow. I received a bunch of comments (well by my standards). I'm not good at responding back to them on my blog, but I did try to return the visit and say something nice on their blog. Another fun April spent blogging away...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

R.I.P. To a Rapper and a Rocker

Chris Kelly, one half of the rap duo Kriss Kross died this week of an apparent overdose. The sad thing was the group was attempting a comeback and Kelly was just 34 years old.

Here is there biggest hit...

Here is a clip of their recent concert..

It looks lie the demons won, I hope he can rest in peace...

Slayer's guitarist Jeff Hanneman died today at age 49. Liver failure was the reason. He was regarded as one of the best thrash metal guitarists.

Here is another song...

He will be missed. May he rest in peace.
Two musicians one week who died too  soon...