Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sid Bernstein Tribute at the Cutting Room

Many great singers, production people & fans crowded The Cutting Room to celebrate this terrific producer/promoter.

There is a story, probably true, about him calling Brian Epstein's house to try to book the Beatles into Shea Stadium. He got Brian's Mom, who didn't believe any of his credentials. But, being Jewish, he knew how to schmooze a Jewish mother. She eventually got Brian, even though she never believed Sid.

He built his career on persistence & cha . We are a better world for that!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Elephant's Memory Panel!!

Elephant's Memory was a great band that had a full run from 1967-1976, but are perhaps most famously known as the backup band for John and Yoko (1972-1976).  They are amazingly versatile, as you can tell from existing live video from various performances.

It seems like one of those rock legends, existing more in memory and random footage rather than on official album status.  Gary shared lots of excellent stories.

The panel explored Gary's memories of working with John, and NOT working with him.  Due to some of John's immigration restrictions, he was not allowed to "work" in the US, and thus kept the band "on retainer" for an extended period of time.  When they were doing a benefit television performance in LA, John and Yoko called in LIVE to acknowledge them as their band, even though they couldn't appear with them.  John produced a self titled album of theirs on Apple Records, but it has YET to be released on CD, due to whatever bullshit reasons.

Gary discussed-briefly before choking up- the night of John's death. Gary had been scheduled to play a jazz gig across from the Dakota & was coming up out of the subway when he saw the ambulance carrying John pulling away . . .

Three handsome guys!!! 

Howie Edelson, Rock Writer

Gary Van Scyoc, Bassist with the Elephant's Memory, John Lennon's Band
"John asked if he could join OUR band.  That shows you how much respect he had as a musician!"

Darren DeVivo, WFUV DJ
Legendary (and all around fabulous) Beatlemaniac, sharing excellent music in the NYC-listening area.

40 Years of BeatleFest!!

Monkee Evidence at BeatleFest!!

Who left these flyers?? (Fred Velez?)
Big mystery!!


A few minutes later....
Guess who I run into?

John Rose of The Monkees Convention!!

Solo Beatle Panel

Howie Edelson
Ken Michaels
Darren DeVivo

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Capitol Records & Top 40 Radio

Bruce Spizer
Al Sussman
Allan Kozinn -wrote It's Got That Certain Something (EBook single)

He wants to know if ANYONE has the set list for September 20, 1964 at the Paramount. Gay Telese in the NYTimes wrote they only did 10 songs. Possible last performance of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"; they dropped it entirely afterward.

Other reviewers called one song "You Know You Should Be Bad". Nora Ephron. wrote about them everyday.

Ed Sullivan Panel

Irene Katz-the kid who held the sign (Elvis is dead, long live the Beatles)

Vince Calandra- production exec on Sullivan

Larry Kane hosting

Beatles got $10k for doing 3 shows, 2 live/1 on tape.

"Honoring Brian Epstein" Panel

This panel was particularly fabulous, featuring Pattie Boyd (married to George Harrison & Eric Clapton-at different times) who actually knew Brian and his influence on the Beatles. Billy J. Kramer was himself managed by Brian offered his perspective. Vivek Tiwary has control of the narrative in his lovingly produced graphic novel, "The Fifth Beatle"  (He's the one in the photos gazing adoringly at the others)

The conversation included mention (and re-affirmation) of Brian's gambling habit.  Pattie discussed how he was the one to teach her and "The Boys" about all the *poshest* things, she even used the word Svengali.  Once he took her and George on a trip to the South of France, where they expected a full tour.  Instead, it turned out that they were right near Monte Carlo, and Brian was more interested in "having a flutter" (the British term for gambling) than playing tourguide.

The entire room hushed as she began to discuss finding out about Brian's death.  She and George and John had just arrived in India when they heard the news.  The Maharishi was trying to explain to them about life being eternal, etc. But she said the real reaction was much more difficult, "That look on their faces, crumbled, ashen. 'We are done'"

L to R, Pattie Boyd, Martin Lewis, Billy J. Kramer, Vivek Tiwary

Billy J. Kramer & Vivek Tiwary

Billy told about being overweight as a young performer.  But he said how kind Brian was,  "the kind of Manager who could turn to a 300 lb kid like me", and encourage him to shape up. In a kind way.

Describing Brian as an agent, "There were 300 groups in Liverpool!" (slight exaggeration!) "The Beatles were together for 5 years before him. They were big in Liverpool & Hamburg!"  But Brian was unique.  Unlike Colonel Parker who was famously quoted as saying, "I don't get 50% of what Elvis makes; he gets 50% of what I make for him!"  Managers were sharks, that was the norm.  


Aside from the panel, another issue comes up.  The question of comparison between Brian Epstein and RayBert (Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider) and their effects on their respective groups while they were "in control".  

As Pattie said, and everyone pretty much agreed, the Beatles saw their end in sight with Brian not around to mediate their disagreements.  And the main dividing line of quality, the TV special "33 1/3rd Revolutions Per Monkee" was the first (and sadly not the last) Monkee project of the 60's.  They had been dropped by RayBert in favor of their new pet project (and ultimate goal) "Easy Rider".  RayBert had the strategy of one of those "sharks" from the beginning; does the artistic quality of those later movies excuse their quick exit?

Both groups began to flounder without their manager, their "Fifth".  The Beatles coasted on quality for quite a while before they began to implode.  For the Monkees, the support system collapsed immediately.  

If RayBert were the "Fifth Monkee" (and "Sixth" if you see them as individuals), how would things look if they were still involved in the franchise to this day?

Liverpudlian Panel on Humour!!

Terry Sylvester
Good Ol Freda
Julia Baird-John's half sister
Lord Mayor
Jean Castle
David Bedford-Author of Fab 104 Evolution

"NYC is Liverpool on steroids!!"

We're Talkin About Girls Now Panel

Susan Ryan
Judith Kristen
Candy Leonard

"I Feel Fine"

Ashram Sing Along, 12:45am!!

Darren DeVivo's Panel

Bruce Spizer
Chuck Gunderson
Al Sussman

Taken at 12:30 on the first night!!

Just before Bruce runs out in front, acting out the spinning plate act.

Davy Jones was on that Ed Sullivan show!!

George had 104 temp the day before!

Cameramen got headphones with earmuffs design bc they couldn't hear!!

"Sinatra was at the top of his game! Strangers in the night! And then he did something stupid with his daughter..., that was the name of the song!!"

Friday, February 7, 2014

Beatles Fest 2014

"Dear Prudence" Farrow is speaking in the "Ashram Room", telling her stories about George & John.
Julia Baird, John's half sister!
Allan Tannenbaum
Vivek Tiwary getting Brian Epstein into the RRHoF!!
"Remember what you did to the Cavern!!" sounds like the same cry as "Remember what you did to (the original) Penn Station!"

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In Memoriam, Samantha Juste Dolenz

Just posted on Micky's FB Page (approx 9:30pm, EST)

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved Samantha Dolenz, today, February 5th, 2014.  She suffered a major stoke on Sunday night whilst asleep and never recovered.
She will be deeply missed by all of her family and friends.
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved Samantha Dolenz, today, February 5th, 2014.
She suffered a major stoke on Sunday night whilst asleep and never recovered. 
She will be deeply missed by all of her family and friends.

From our beloved friends at Psycho Jello:
"Samantha Dolenz was born Sandra Slater on May 31, 1944 in Manchester, England. Sandra was a teen model and originally wanted to be known as just "Samantha" (perhaps she took her cue from Cher?) Anyway, she compromised and became Samantha Juste. Besides modeling, Samantha became a familiar face to teenagers in England by being the disc girl on Top of the Pops in 1964 (she remained the disc girl for more than 3 1/2 years). Top of the Pops was the biggest and best teen music show in England, and during her time on there, she became known as just "Sammy" to her legions of fans. "

That's where Micky saw her, fell deeply in love (or "gleeb" as they termed it).  They married June 12. 1968 (and were divorced in 1975) and their daughter Ami Bluebell Dolenz was born in January of 1969. 

When the Monkees went to England (after their taping of the Paris episode, #54), Micky wrote a song which captured the visit.  The lyrics of "Randy Scouse Git" have introduced & immortalized her for generations of fans.

Naked Persimmon posted this on FB (approx 11pm, 2/5/14) in tribute:

The Being Known As Wondergirl (R.I.P. Samantha Juste-Dolenz)

Today, the world is less brighter and beautiful because Samantha Juste (Dolenz) is no longer in it.

Samantha was mainly known to Monkees fans as the first wife of Micky Dolenz and mother of his first child, daughter Ami. Yet she had a life and career of her own long before Micky entered into the picture. Between working as a “record girl” on Top of the Pops and recording several of her own songs, Samantha was a ’60s U.K. celebrity in her own right.

The first impression that she made on Micky typifies the grace and elegance for which Samantha will always be remembered. From I’m A Believer:

"Micky is being hustled down a gray-green hall by his British adjunct. As he passes the studio cafeteria he glances inside and his eye catches the most unbelievable sight. There, framed in the doorway, is a vision. She is tall, blond, beautiful, and wearing an emerald green outfit that ends up in a short skirt (very short) which tops off her unbelievably gorgeous legs. As he passes by, she looks up. Their eyes meet. She holds his glance briefly, then looks away quickly with that haughty sophistication that only the British can do so well."

It was love at first sight for Micky, and Monkees fans fell in love with Samantha too, then and in the years to come. After moving in with Micky, Samantha brought a level of class and coolness to her Laurel Canyon surroundings that brought the rocking and rolling masses flocking to she and Micky’s home for wild party after wild party. Ever the gracious hostess, Samantha welcomed everyone with open arms (and copious amounts of tasty food and red wine).

Together, Samantha and Phyllis Nesmith were two of the most beloved Monkees wives, whose combined beauty and grace could not and will never be matched. We think of them with fondness and sadness, as today Samantha joins Phyllis—who sadly also passed away in February, in 2010—in the great beyond, and though wherever they are is surely now a wonderful place, our lives are that much drearier that they are gone.

Our hearts are heavy with grief, for it is never easy to say goodbye. Yet we will always remember the being known as wondergirl, and her smile as she played us a record.

Our love to the Girl in the Yellow Dress!!


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