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popdude

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  1. In case anyone here might be interested, here's my review of MARATHON MAN that was recently published in Goldmine Magazine: Eric Carmen: Marathon Man By Bernie Hogya and Ken Sharp www.ericcarmen.com (softcover, 432 pages, $24.95) In his 30+ year career, singer/songwriter Eric Carmen has done it all. He’s been lauded as one of the founding fathers of power pop for his efforts in Raspberries, written classic popular songs that have been covered by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Celine Dion, toured with Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band and penned instantly recognizable tunes that were featured in two of the biggest films of the 1980’s (“Dirty Dancing†and “Footlooseâ€). Not bad for a kid from suburban Ohio, to be sure, and the comprehensive biography Eric Carmen: Marathon Man details all the highs and lows of his career to date. Marathon Man is the first book to delve in-depth into the career of Carmen and Raspberries, and it’s quite an entertaining and informative read. Expertly and exhaustively researched and written by Bernie Hogya (the man behind www.ericcarmen.com, one of the finest fan-run music sites on the ‘net) and Ken Sharp (musician, rock journalist and longtime Raspberries/Carmen fan), the book also contains more than 100 rare and unpublished images, such as hand-written song lyrics, previously unseen photos, contracts and more. Beginning with Carmen’s musical baby steps with local Cleveland-area garage bands and continuing through his years pursuing his rock and roll dream with combos such as The Quick and Cyrus Erie, finding fame with Raspberries and eventually going solo and hitting it big with “All By Myself†and “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again,†Hogya and Sharp paint a vivid portrait of an artist determined to “make it†and see his pop vision come to fruition. While the authors make no bones about their love for Carmen’s music, they never resort to fawning over their subject, instead presenting fair and balanced looks at such dramatic moments as the breakup of Raspberries (precipitated by guitarist Wally Bryson dragging Carmen around by his hair and banging Carmen’s head into a wall – yikes!), the relative commercial failure of Carmen’s solo masterpiece Boats Against the Current and the controversy surrounding the recording sessions for Carmen’s self-titled 1985 Geffen Records release. This being an authorized biography, Eric Carmen made himself readily available to the authors and is quoted extensively throughout, adding to the book’s high level of readability. In addition, all former members of Raspberries were interviewed for Marathon Man, as were other former band members, childhood friends, producers, managers, roadies and fellow musicians (Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett and Courtney Love are all fans). The stories regarding Raspberries witnessing a gangland murder in Germany, their fateful evening backing up Chuck Berry and Carmen’s run-ins with producer Gus Dudgeon are worth the price of admission by themselves. In addition to the biography itself, Marathon Man includes a chapter titled “Musical Rorschach,†where Carmen comments on pretty much every song he’s ever written (“One hell of a copyright,†he laughs, when asked about “All By Myselfâ€), as well as a discography and a comprehensive appendix listing rare and unreleased cuts, demos, live recordings and other rarities. Stunning in its scope and lovingly assembled---it has the look and feel of a major publishing house tome---Marathon Man will stand as the definitive look at Eric Carmen and his music, music that rocked and popped, music that that both power pop freaks and lovers of sincere balladry continue to enjoy to this day. (In addition to the softcover book, there is also a $75.00 hardbound limited edition, which features a full-color, wrap-around cover with each copy individually numbered and personally autographed by Eric Carmen.) - John M. Borack
  2. Bernie wrote: <<If Popdude and I can get along, can't we all just get along? :-)>> I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now... :-) But seriously, folks...Bernie does a fab job here and all you folks are very cool...and if anyone ever says any differently, they're gonna have to deal with Popdud! <wink>
  3. Brian Jones of the Stones played sax on the Beatles' "You Know My Name Look Up the Number."
  4. Marvin wrote: <<For the recent Donny Osmond show, there were so many people outside that the police came and complained.>> They probably all ran outside when Donny started to sing. KIDDING! :-)
  5. Thanks, Kathy and Jeff! I'll try to post the review here soon...
  6. I have all Foskett's stuff and most of it is quite wonderful. He's a heck of a nice guy, to boot (used to live about 3 blocks from me). I had the opportunity to watch Jeff record his version of "Your Very Eyes" for the SHOE FETISH tribute CD I produced about 4 years ago and it was amazing. The guy works so quickly, pretty much doing it all himself. And those vocals! Wow...
  7. YES! That Stringfellow tune is one of the best Beach Boys homages I've heard in years, and definitely the highlight of the album...
  8. It's better than calling it a "kick ass" Christian song. :-)
  9. Hey Marvin, Funny you should mention that "Top Pop Albums" article...stay tuned for a special announcement regarding that very soon! ;-)
  10. A review I wrote of the most excellent book MARATHON MAN has been published in Goldmine Magazine, and should be on newsstands now. It's in the March 18th issue, with Percy Sledge on the cover. Great book, but then again, I'm sure most all of you already knew that!
  11. "Rave On" has always been my favorite Artful Dodger record. Power pop doesn't come any better than "She's Just My Baby" ot "It's A Lie."
  12. I think the process is called "baking" the tapes, but I don't know how it's done. You might want to try a recording studio; they'd probably know...
  13. By the way, the Groovies' Cyril Jordan is also an artist; he did the cover artwork for Ken Sharp's power pop book...
  14. "Shake Some Action" is a classic power pop record and the two that followed it ("Now" and "Jumpin' in the Night") had their moments as well. Before these three records, the Groovies' sound was not as Beatles/power pop influenced, as co-leader Roy Loney leaned more towards straightforward rock/blues/psychedelia (he had left the band by the time of "Shake..."). After Loney left, Cyril Jordan steered the band towards the pop side of the street, with often thrilling results ("I Can't Hide" is another great tune from "SSA"). Jordan now plies his pop craft with a new Frisco-area band called The Magic Christian, who saw their debut released last year. The Flamin' Groovies' "Now" has just been reissued on CD, BTW.
  15. Speaking of "The New Rolling Stone Album Guide," I found this gem of a review in the Journey section: "Steve Perry clobbers power ballads like an old Italian lady with an umbrella catching a pickpocket on bingo night."
  16. Just another reminder of the 2 CD set scheduled for release on March 8th. It is called "Of Hands And Hearts: Music For The Tsunami Disaster Fund". At least 50% of the proceeds will be going to the humanitarian organization called CARE (www.careusa.org) to aid the survivors of the tsunami in Southeast Asia. The CD is a fabulous collection featuring classic, new, rare and previously unreleased music from THE RUBINOOS, KYLE VINCENT, DRAMARAMA, EDDIE SPAGHETTI (SUPERSUCKERS), WANG CHUNG, R. STEVIE MOORE, ANNABELLA LWIN (of BOW WOW WOW), ADRIAN BELEW, PAUL COLLINS' BEAT, BMX BANDITS, WONDERBOY, THE LOLAS, THE RECORDS, THE FIXX, DILLON FENCE and many more. 49 artists from 11 countries uniting for 1 cause! Please click on http://norwalkdist.com/ofhandsandhearts.html; it'll take you to the website, where you'll find all the songs and band info.
  17. I think I may have the issue around here somewhere, Marvin, thanks. I'm sure "Starting Over" was also in my top 10, along with Adam Schmitt's "World So Bright," 20/20's debut record, Tommy Keene's "Songs From the Film" and something by Shoes. I would add to the list the Orange Humble Band's "Assorted Creams" (AMAZINGLY GREAT pop album!) and Cotton Mather's "Kontiki" (imagine if the Beatles had recorded "Revolver" in 1997).
  18. Marvin, to be honest, I don't even remember ranking the albums numerically (although I will be for an upcoming book project I'm working on). Also, it's been a while since I wrote that piece. I'm sure that it will change when I rank the top power pop albums again (and it's all subjective, anyway). I suppose the high ranking would have been because the CvS record is so darned consistent, with nothing even approaching an ordinary track. It really is one of the best pop albums I've ever heard, and definitely in my top 10 of all time. Fans of Badfinger in particular would dig it, I think.
  19. Hey, Marvin, guess what? I wrote that article in Goldmine! :-) Glad you liked the CvS record. If you haven't yet, you should also check out his debut, "Sight and Sound." He has a great new record ready for release in 2005, too.
  20. I was just listening last night to what I feel is the best of the "Raspberries-inspired" power pop bands---The Scruffs. They came out of the same Memphis scene as Big Star at around the same time, and saw their first LP, "Wanna Meet the Scruffs?" released in 1977. It's been reissued on CD, along with lots of other archival, previously-unissued Scruffs stuff (the best of which is the "Teenage Gurls" disc). You can find some soundclips at www.notlame.com
  21. This on Billboard Online today: The Raspberries Blossom Once More With a smattering of recent live shows receiving rave reviews, reunited power pop quartet the Raspberries have fans clamoring for a full-fledged tour. It may very well happen, but before committing to such an endeavor, singer/guitarist Eric Carmen, guitarist Wally Bryson, bassist David Smalley, and drummer Jim Bonfanti want to make sure things are just right. "We are discussing it," Carmen tells Billboard.com. "There are a number of ways we can go about doing this. We've played three shows so far, and they've all turned out great, and I want to be able to keep that quality level where it is. We're talking to a number of different people; we've got a bunch of offers from agents, managers. Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing all those possibilities, and what we can do." Understandably, since the group hasn't issued a full-length studio album since 1974's "Starting Over," Carmen is concerned about the demand not being as high as it could be. "I'm not really concerned about playing New York and Los Angeles -- those are media centers," he says. "But I've always been a little concerned that in secondary markets like Denver, Milwaukee or places like that, this isn't going to fly unless there is a concerted overall national publicity campaign of some sort. I just don't think we're going to fly into Milwaukee and set up shop on a stage somewhere, and people who haven't heard of this band in 32 years are going to come in droves to see us." That said, Carmen figures there are several ways to boost the veteran group's profile. "I think the way to do it is to maybe talk to Capitol about a box set, including some of the live tracks that we recorded, maybe with a DVD involved. Then perhaps couple that with something like 'Behind the Music' on VH1 [and] maybe a 'Conan O'Brien' appearance [laughs]. Then do a tour, so that you've raised the awareness of the band." One Raspberries-related release that does seem to be forthcoming is either a live CD or DVD comprised of the two homecoming Cleveland shows the group played on Nov. 26 and New Year's Eve. "I've heard a rough mix of the first show, and I'm waiting to get the rough mix of the second show," Carmen says. "We might want to do a few more shows and get them recorded before we actually seriously sit down and pick which tracks and whatever. And then it's going to be, can we work something out with a record label that will actually promote this? I think at some point it will happen [but] I'm just not sure where or how yet." It also turns out that the shows have put Carmen back into a "power pop frame of mind," songwriting-wise. "Playing with the band has certainly rekindled some of the rock'n'roll thoughts that I used to have," he admits. "I think if I were to do anything now, I would think about writing something for this band, which would be fun to do. We haven't gotten to anything specific. But I think we could do that. We just have to see if there's anybody there who wants to buy it." -- Greg Prato, N.Y.
  22. I'll add these... "Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl" (not so much for the performances, but for the energy and the crowd hysteria---it's a piece of history). "It's Alive" - The Ramones "Live at Budokan" - Cheap Trick
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