Category: Music

RIP: Sonny Barger

Sonny Barger, one of the founding members of the Hell’s Angels, died yesterday from cancer.  Sonny Barger’s notoriety as a Hell’s Angels leader (including being part of the Rolling Stones security at the Altamont concert where Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane was knocked unconscious and audience member Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death) brought him into the public eye.  Mr. Barger appeared several documentaries about the Hell’s Angels and other motorcycle clubs, three feature films, but is probably known for his reoccurring role on Sons of Anarchy where he played Lenny ‘The Pimp’ Janowitz.  Sonny Barger also wrote or co-wrote six books.

I first became aware of Sonny Barger through his leadership of the Hell’s Angels and the wild stories and documentaries about him/them.  His addition to the cast of Sons of Anarchy added a level of authenticity to the show.  I’ve read a couple of his books.  He lived his life as he wanted.  His final message posted on his Facebook page was:

If you are reading this message, you’ll know that I’m gone. I’ve asked that this note be posted immediately after my passing. I’ve lived a long and good life filled with adventure. And I’ve had the privilege to be part of an amazing club. Although I’ve had a public persona for decades, i’ve mostly enjoyed special time with my club brothers, my family, and close friends.

Please know that I passed peacefully after a brief battle with cancer. But also know that in the end, I was surrounded by what really matters: My wife, Zorana, as well as my loved ones. Keep your head up high, stay loyal, remain free, and always value honor. – Sonny

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sonny Barger’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Jim Seals

Jim Seals, one half of the mega-selling recording duo, Seals & Crofts, died yesterday at the age of 80.  No cause of death was given.

Jim Seals met Dash Crofts when both were in a Texas band called Dean Beard and the Crew Cats.  They later joined Glen Campbell in his band, Glen Campbell and the GCs.  After a couple of years the band broke up and everyone went their separate ways.  Seals and Crofts met up again when both joined a band called The Dawn-Breakers.

In 1969, Seals and Crofts decided to become a duo.  They had moderate success until their fourth album, which contained the single Summer Breeze (also the name of the album).  The single shot up the charts selling over a million copies and earning Seals & Crofts their first Gold Record. Hummingbird was another hit song from the album.

Diamond Girl was Seals & Crofts follow-up album and single proving lightning could strike twice. Diamond Girl became their second Gold record.  We May Never Pass This Way Again was another chart topper from the Diamond Girl album.

Seals & Crofts had two more big hits, I’ll Play for You and Get Closer.  In 1980, Seals & Crofts decided to take a break.  In 1991, Seals & Crofts reunited for a one year tour.  In 2004, Seals & Crofts came together to create their last album, Traces.

Jim Seals’ brother, Dan was better known as England Dan of the singing duo, England Dan & John Ford Coley!  From 2000 – 2008, Jim and his brother Dan toured under the name Seals & Seals.

I am a huge fan of Seals & Crofts (and England Dan & John Ford Coley for that matter).  I remember hearing Diamond Girl when I was a little kid out to eat with my grandparents and asking for juke box money to play the song again.  We May Never Pass This Way Again was the theme for one of the graduating classes when I was in high school.  Jim Seals’ music had a positive impact on my life and the lives of millions.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim Seals family, friends and fans.

RIP: Ken Kelly

Ken Kelly died yesterday at the age of 76.  No cause of death was reported.

After serving four years in the marines, Ken Kelly decided on a career in art.  He studied under his uncle, the legendary artist Frank Frazetta.  Ken Kelly’s first professional assignment was for Warren’s Vampirella magazine.  That assignment led to Mr. Kelly becoming one of Warren’s most popular and used artists.  Soon other magazine and book publishers were seeking out Ken Kelly to produce covers for them.  His art was especially suited to science fiction, horror and heroic fantasy.

Then in 1975, Mr.. Kelly was commissioned to create the cover for Kiss’ Destroyer album.  The popularity of the Destroyer cover opened up new opportunities.  Soon Ken Kelly’s art was in demand for more album covers, games, calendars, book & magazine covers and books solely dedicated to his art.

I’ve always enjoyed Ken Kelly’s artwork.  My favorites were his barbarian paintings. He made warriors that didn’t look like they’d just come out of the gym, but had instead spent time on the battlefield.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ken Kelly’s family, friends and fans.

“Get on Up” (2014) / Z-View

Get on Up  (2014)

Director:  Tate Taylor

Writers: Jez Butterworth (screenplay),  John-Henry Butterworth (screenplay), Steven Baigelman (story)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Lennie James, Craig Robinson and Octavia Spencer.

Tagline:  The Funk don’t Quit.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The life story of The Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  If all you know is his music, this biopic will take you from Brown’s very humble beginnings in a broken home with parents that didn’t want him to being one of the best known performers in the world.   Along the way we get hints of both the genius and the self-destructive tendencies of James Brown.

Chadwick Bosman becomes James Brown — you forget he’s acting.  Special mention for Viola Davis, Lennie James and Octavia Spencer whose impact is felt long after they are off screen.  James Brown’s music is always a plus!  Get on Up was a fun ride and rates 4 of 5 stars.  

“JAZZ FEST: A NEW ORLEANS STORY” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I’m not one for crowds, but the New Orleans Jazz Fest just might be worth it.


Directed By: Frank Marshall and Ryan Suffern

Featuring: Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, Katy Perry, Earth, Wind & Fire, and many others.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell, aka “Jazz Fest,” is the signature annual music and cultural event of the city and has been called America’s greatest festival. Celebrating the music, food, and arts and crafts of all of Louisiana since 1970, Jazz Fest is an essential showcase of the rich heritage of the region, and hundreds of thousands attend the event each year. Local music heroes are joined on 14 stages by some of the most important figures in entertainment, highlighting the connections between Louisiana culture and the world.

JAZZ FEST: A NEW ORLEANS STORY weaves together live performances and interviews from the 50th anniversary of the iconic festival, featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry, along with a wealth of archival documentary footage from the past half century. This film not only captures the Festival in all of its beauty and glory, but also delves deep into the rich culture of The Big Easy.

“Elvis” – Directed by Baz Luhrmann, Starring Austin Butler & Tom Hanks – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The Elvis trailer did exactly what a great trailer should do.  I had little to no desire to see Elvis until I saw the trailer.  Now I want to see the film.

From Oscar-nominated visionary filmmaker Baz Luhrmann comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Oscar winner Tom Hanks.

The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

Starring alongside Hanks and Butler, award-winning theatre actress Helen Thomson (“Top of the Lake: China Girl,” “Rake”) plays Elvis’s mother, Gladys, Richard Roxburgh (“Moulin Rouge!” “Breath,” “Hacksaw Ridge”) portrays Elvis’s father, Vernon, and DeJonge (“The Visit,” “Stray Dolls”) plays Priscilla. Luke Bracey (“Hacksaw Ridge,” “Point Break”) plays Jerry Schilling, Natasha Bassett (“Hail, Caesar!”) plays Dixie Locke, David Wenham (“The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, “Lion,” “300”) plays Hank Snow, Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “The High Note”) plays B.B. King, Xavier Samuel (“Adore,” “Love & Friendship,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”) plays Scotty Moore, and Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”) plays Jimmie Rodgers Snow.

Also in the cast, Dacre Montgomery (“Stranger Things,” “The Broken Heart Gallery”) plays TV director Steve Binder, alongside Australian actors Leon Ford (“Gallipoli,” “The Pacific”) as Tom Diskin, Kate Mulvany (“The Great Gatsby,” “Hunters”) as Marion Keisker, Gareth Davies (“Peter Rabbit,” “Hunters”) as Bones Howe, Charles Grounds (“Crazy Rich Asians,” “Camp”) as Billy Smith, Josh McConville (“Fantasy Island”) as Sam Phillips, and Adam Dunn (“Home and Away”) as Bill Black.
To play additional iconic musical artists in the film, Luhrmann cast singer/songwriter Yola as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, model Alton Mason as Little Richard, Austin, Texas native Gary Clark Jr. as Arthur Crudup, and artist Shonka Dukureh as Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton.

Oscar nominee Luhrmann (“The Great Gatsby,” “Moulin Rouge!”) directed from a screenplay by Baz Luhrmann & Sam Bromell and Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce and Jeremy Doner, story by Baz Luhrmann and Jeremy Doner. The film’s producers are Luhrmann, Oscar winner Catherine Martin (“The Great Gatsby,” “Moulin Rouge!”), Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss. Courtenay Valenti and Kevin McCormick executive produced.

The director’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Mandy Walker (“Mulan,” “Australia”), Oscar-winning production designer and costume designer Catherine Martin (“The Great Gatsby,” “Moulin Rouge!”), production designer Karen Murphy (“A Star Is Born”), editors Matt Villa (“The Great Gatsby,” “Australia”) and Jonathan Redmond (“The Great Gatsby”), Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Thomas Wood (“Mad Max: Fury Road”), music supervisor Anton Monsted (“Australia,” “Moulin Rouge!”) and composer Elliott Wheeler (“The Get Down”).

Principal photography on “Elvis” took place in Queensland, Australia with the support of the Queensland Government, Screen Queensland and the Australian Government’s Producer Offset program.
A Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation, A Bazmark Production, A Jackal Group Production, A Baz Luhrmann Film, “Elvis” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is set to release in theaters in North America on June 24, 2022, and internationally beginning 22 June 2022.

RIP: Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, but who later changed his name to Michael, has died at the age of 74.  No cause of death was announced.  Although best known for his record-breaking best selling album Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf was also an accomplished actor.  He appeared on Broadway, had notable roles in The Rocky Horror Picture Show,  Black Dog and Fight Club.  

Meat Loaf’s musical career started right after high school when his bands opened for acts such as Van Morrison, Janis Joplin and The Who.  For the next 50 plus years, Meat Loaf did what he loved best – entertaining.  He alternated between touring, putting out new music and acting.

In a time when disco was king, Bat Out of Hell became an international best seller.  It was an album that everyone knew about and most owned.  It was odd that this guy who appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show could sing.  And, boy, could he sing!  It was always a pleasure to see Meat Loaf pop up in television and film roles.  One of my favorites is The Salton Sea with Val Kilmer. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Lee Aday’s family, friends and fans.

“The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story” (1996) / Z-View

The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story (1996)

Director:  Susan Warms Dryfoos

Screenplay: Susan Warms Dryfoos

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Al Hirschfeld lived a long and interesting life.  His career spanned over 80 years and Mr. Hirschfeld continued to create art until his death from natural causes at the age of 99.

At 17, Al Hirschfeld was named the Art Director of Selznick Pictures where he created or oversaw the making of all the company’s movie posters.  In his 20s he traveled the world to study and refine his art style. When he returned to the US a chance conversation led to his art appearing in the New York Times.  After that there was no looking back.

Hirschfeld went on to become one of the world’s most popular and influential artists.  His art appeared regularly in the New York Times (for 70 years), and could be seen in The New Yorker, Colliers, TV Guide, Playbill and Rolling Stone (just to name a few).  This documentary does an excellent job of presenting Al Hirschfeld’s life and art — both of which are extraordinary.  I really liked The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story and it rates 4 of 5 stars.

The video below isn’t a trailer for The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story because I couldn’t find one.  Instead this is a profile from CBS Sunday Morning of a Hirschfeld Art Exhibit.

“Janet” Jackson – The Poster and Extended Trailer are Here!

I like her music/videos and am interested in seeing the Janet Jackson documentary.

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Night one of #Janetdoc premieres Friday, January 28th at 8/7c.

The four-hour event, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Janet’s first album, Janet Jackson (1982), is set to simulcast on Lifetime and A&E, two of the flagship channels of the A+E Networks portfolio. With full, unprecedented access to the global icon, JANET is an intimate, honest and unfiltered look at her untold story. Producers Workerbee have been filming the incredible documentary for over three years and were granted exclusive access to archival footage and Janet’s never before seen home videos, along with star-studded interviews.

This will be the definitive story on Janet Jackson. One of the best-selling and highest-earning artists in music history, Janet has enjoyed immense levels of success, experienced incredible tragedy, and endured a tumultuous private life in the face of extraordinary public scrutiny. With no stone left unturned, JANET lifts the lid on her private life for the very first time and reveals some of her most intimate moments ever caught on camera.

15 Favorite Underrated Film Noirs

Nick Bartlett came up with his list of Our 15 Favorite Underrated Film Noirs.  I’m a huge film noir fan and Bartlett’s list is a good one.  Before you click over, using just his list, here are my top three and thoughts on each.

1.  The Set-Up.  While I wouldn’t classify this film as underrated, since it is on Bartlett’s list and is my favorite of the bunch. I place it in the top spot.  If you haven’t seen The Set-Up, you should.  It is a classic.

2.  The Breaking Point.  I didn’t see this film until the last year or so and wonder why I waited so long.  Definitely underrated and definitely worth a watch!

3.  Elevator to the Gallows is another film I just came to see in the last few years.  What a cool concept.  After killing his lover’s husband the killer becomes trapped in an elevator.  His lover begins to have doubts when he doesn’t show up for their getaway… add in a cool Miles Davis score and you’ve got an underrated noir!

RIP: Michael Nesmith

Michael Nesmith died today from heart failure at the age of 78. Nesmith was a singer, song writer, actor, producer and novelist!  He was best known for his role as a member of The Monkees.

The Monkees [Mike, as he was called then, along with Davy JonesMickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork] took the world by storm in 1966.  The group was hand-picked by Screen Gems in an effort to create a tv show about a group of young musicians.  Lightning struck and the group not only had a hit tv series but became one of the biggest selling bands of the 60’s.  In 1967, The Monkees sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.  The Monkees even appeared in a feature film called Head that was co-written by Jack Nicholson!

I was a huge Monkees fan like many kids my age [7].  I collected their albums, trading cards, comic books and magazines.  I had a model of The Monkeemobile.  I even followed The Monkees after Peter, then later Mike, quit the band.  Sadly, I never got to see them perform live when they reunited for several reunion tours.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Nesmith’s family, friends and fans.

“Mr. Saturday Night” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I don’t think the poster or the trailer for Mr. Saturday Night are all that great, but Saturday Night Fever and that era hits a sweet spot for me.  If you’re old enough to remember how the film and soundtrack exploded you’ll understand.  Saturday Night Fever quickly began to influence everything from the way we dressed to clubs we hung out in.  I’ll tune in to Mr. Saturday Night just to get a taste of that bygone time and if the documentary is good that will be a bonus.

#MrSaturdayNightHBO, an HBO original documentary and #MusicBoxHBO film about Robert Stigwood’s gamble that turned Saturday Night Fever into a cultural touchstone, premieres December 9 on HBO Max.

“Cowboy Bebop” Original Title Track & Steve Aoki Remix! Let’s Jam!

Even though I’ve never seen a single episode of the Cowboy Bebop anime (which I am going to rectify soon), I know and like the theme song.  The original artists recently reunited to perform it again!

Yoko Kanno + Seatbelts reunite to perform Tank! — the phenomenal title sequence and theme song of Cowboy Bebop for the live action series. Intros don’t get much better than this. OK. 3, 2, 1… Let’s jam!

From Netflix Geeked, COWBOY BEBOP: UNLOCKED is fans’ one-stop spoiler-filled destination digging into the story secrets, adaptation process and making of Cowboy Bebop.

Featuring fan-favorite Cowboy Bebop characters Jet Black, Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, Ein, Vicious and even Radical Ed, live action Cowboy Bebop Netflix release date is available to stream now!

I have seen every episode (and become a huge fan) of the new live-action Cowboy Bebop.  Steve Aoki created a remix of the title track.  Let’s jam!

Now, more than ever, 3, 2, 1… LET’S JAM to Steve Aoki’s remix of Yoko Kanno and Seatbelts’ iconic jazz piece TANK! Watch Cowboy Bebop, now streaming on Netflix.

“Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road” – The Official Trailer is Here!

I’ve never been a big fan of The Beach Boys.  I like several of their songs, but was more into other bands.  It has always intrigued me how people in the music industry talk about the genius of Brian Wilson.  I like the look of this trailer and look forward to learning more about the man behind the band.

Join The Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson on an intimate journey through his legendary career as he reminisces with Rolling Stone editor and longtime friend, Jason Fine. Featuring a new song written and performed by Wilson and interviews with Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Jonas, Linda Perry, Jim James, Gustavo Dudamel and Al Jardine.

“The Beatles: Get Back” Docuseries Poster and Trailer are Here!

I’m all-in for The Beatles: Get Back docuseries!

The official trailer for #TheBeatlesGetBack is here! The Disney+ original docuseries, directed by Peter Jackson, will be arriving on Disney+ just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Made entirely from never-before-seen, restored footage, it provides the most intimate and honest glimpse into the creative process and relationship between John, Paul, George, and Ringo ever filmed. Be sure to check them both out, and don’t forget to watch “The Beatles: Get Back” when it rolls out over three days, November 25, 26, and 27, 2021, exclusively on Disney+.

Directed by three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “They Shall Not Grow Old”), “The Beatles: Get Back” takes audiences back in time to the band’s January 1969 recording sessions, which became a pivotal moment in music history. The docuseries showcases The Beatles’ creative process as they attempt to write 14 new songs in preparation for their first live concert in over two years. Faced with a nearly impossible deadline, the strong bonds of friendship shared by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are put to the test. The docuseries is compiled from nearly 60 hours of unseen footage shot over 21 days, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and from more than 150 hours of unheard audio, most of which has been locked in a vault for over half a century. Jackson is the only person in 50 years to have been given access to this Beatles treasure trove, all of which has now been brilliantly restored. What emerges is an unbelievably intimate portrait of The Beatles, showing how, with their backs against the wall, they could still rely on their friendship, good humor, and creative genius. While plans derail and relationships are put to the test, some of the world’s most iconic songs are composed and performed. The docuseries features – for the first time in its entirety – The Beatles’ last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row, as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band’s final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.

An exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and Jackson presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., “The Beatles: Get Back” is directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, Olivia Harrison, Peter Jackson, Clare Olssen (“They Shall Not Grow Old”) and Jonathan Clyde (“Eight Days a Week”), with Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones (“Eight Days a Week”) and Ken Kamins (“The Hobbit” trilogy) serving as executive producers. Jabez Olssen (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) serves as the film’s editor, the music supervisor is Giles Martin (“Rocketman”), Michael Hedges (“The Adventures of Tintin”) and Brent Burge (“The Hobbit” trilogy) serve as the series re-recording mixers, and the music is mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell (“Yesterday”).