Friday, October 14, 2016

Lampedusa



Lampedusa
with Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle,
Ron Sexsmith, Daniel Lanois, Milk Carton Kids
Massey Hall, Toronto
October 14, 2016




Patty Griffin was a no-show.
But Ron Sexsmith was there and he told two Canadian jokes.
Steve Earle was there too, and he said “fuck” twice.
He also did Copperhead Road.
The lovely Emmylou Harris was there as well,
the centre of attention as she should be, of course.
And she did her tribute to Kate McGarrigle.
Daniel Lanois was also there.
And so were the highly-entertaining Milk Carton Kids, who said
(after the aforementioned artists each finished playing a song):
“Well, you’ve already got your money’s worth.”
But oh, then there was Robert Plant.















Yes, Robert Plant!
He did Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down.
And then he did Elvis Presley!
I shit you not.
Robert Plant did Elvis Presley in Massey Hall!
“Don’t”
(written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
and released by the King of Rock and Roll in 1958).
Hearing Robert Plant sing this great song
caught me completely by surprise.
I was so moved.
It was the highlite moment of the night for me!


Don't
by Elvis Presley (1958)...



Saturday, September 10, 2016

Weirdos



Weirdos
2016 Canadian drama directed by Bruce McDonald,
written by Daniel MacIvor;
starring Dylan Authors, Julia Sarah Stone,
Molly Parker, Rhys Bevan-John
Toronto International Film Festival (tiff) world premiere
tiff Bell Lightbox, Toronto
September 9, 2016
by Live Music Head
















The place?
A boy’s bedroom in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
The time?
Summer, 1976.
His name?
Kit.
What’s he doing?
Listening to Caribou, an album by Elton John.
It’s the opening scene,
and I instantly relate.
For I too was an Elton John fan in 1976.
I too hung out in my bedroom listening to his records.
In fact, when my parents,
who were born and raised in Nova Scotia,
took me on vacation to Glace Bay,
I bought my first album with my very own money there:
Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.
I was 12, and it was 1975.
But Kit is 15 in the film, a few years older,
and Andy Warhol is his spirit animal.
Shot in black & white.
Kit also wears plaid pants and carries a suitcase.
I wore plaid in ‘76 when I fanatically followed the Bay City Rollers.
“I Guess The Lord Must Be in New York City.”
And Mother, Jugs and Speed was on the marquee.
While Kit hitchhikes from Antigonish to Sydney,
by way of the Cabot Trail,
with his girlfriend Alice dressed in an Edward Bear t-shirt,
they find themselves in a car with John Dunsworth.
You know Mr. Lahey from the Trailer Park Boys?
And yes, he was drunk.
I hitchhiked when I was a teen.
Well, until I got picked up by those Jesus freaks.
“This is the last song I'll ever sing for you.
You'll come looking for the light,
and it won't be there.
But I love you.
Oh, yes I do.
Yes, I do.”
In this new, off-beat coming-of-age story by Daniel MacIvor,
Kit and Alice are on their way to see Kit’s mother Laura
(played by Molly Parker, in a remarkable performance),
and hoping for a little adventure on the side.
Why doesn't Laura live with her teenage son in Antigonish?
Think Chelsea Hotel.
The relationship, or lack thereof, that Kit has with his mother
reminds me of the relationship, or lack thereof,
that John Lennon had with Julia.
This film also has a soundtrack I can really relate to.
Because yes, as you can probably tell,
I'm a Weirdo too.
“Which Way You Goin', Billy?
Can I go too?
Which way you goin' Billy?
Can I go with you?”
Ahhh, the Poppy Family!
Finding My Way by RUSH, to name another.
Cotton Ginny by Gordon Lightfoot.
Oh, What a Feeling by Crowbar.
Snow Bird by Anne Murray.
Down By The Henry Moore by Murray McLaughlin.
And Carry Me by The Stampeders,
a band I heard on the radio a lot
while skate boarding as a kid,
on the driveway out front of my parent’s suburban home.
“Ain't it good?
Ain't it right?
That you are with me, here tonight?
The music playin', our bodies swayin' in time.
(In time, in time, in time).”
Andy Kim!
Cigarettes, stubby beer bottles, and grave yards, too.
Yea, I started smoking at 13,
and didn’t quit until I was 37.
As a teen, I drank from stubby beer bottles hanging out under bridges,
and drove into a cemetery snow bank, high on acid.
“Hold fast, hold on.
Nothing is a dream, yet in changing faster,
it never seems to be here long.
Move on, turn 'round.
Just can't seem to find it.
Try and reach out, hold out.
I cannot touch the wind,
I touch you.”
FM!
CHUM Charts, rotary telephones, and Corelle dishware.
I’ve got my finger on my third eye,
remembering all the moments.
Thank you Bruce McDonald.
Can we get some fries?



Weirdos at TIFF…

Monday, August 15, 2016

Car Wash



Car Wash
(1976 American comedy starring George Carlin,
Lorraine Gary, Richard Pryor, The Pointer Sisters;
directed by Michael Schultz)
A Musicale presentation at the Royal Cinema
Toronto August 14, 2016
by Live Music Head



It’s gritty downtown Los Angeles,
circa 1976.
And soul, gospel, R&B and disco
make up the soundtrack
to a “day-in-the-life”of a car wash known as
Dee-Luxe:
a gathering place for a multiracial group of employees:
Mexican American,
Native American,
and Afro American,
all tryin’ to earn a lousy buck,
the only way they know how.
Dressed in prison-orange, and gettin' down
on your Chevrolet Camaro,
Ford Mustang, or Pontiac Trans Am.
And some of their women drop by for a fight.
Alright!
T.C.,
the breast and thigh man
has one big-ass motherfuckin’ ‘fro.
Between steam gunnin’ and vacuumin’,
he rushes to the telephone booth repeatedly
tryin’ to win concert tickets from KGYS, 
555 on the radio dial.
Disc jockeys and pinball machines!
He wants to impress Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa
the waitress who works at the 5-Spot diner across the street.
On a break,
T.C. is shown leaning on the jukebox
fawning over her,
and mouthing the words I Wanna Get Next To You.
Cut-off jean shorts and halter tops!
Mona thinks he’s a loser
with no money, no future and no class.
From inside a smelly locker room,
Floyd and Lloyd impersonate James Brown
like on Soul Train,
while practicing their stage act between
manual high pressure pre-washes and tunnel brushes.
Big-ass lapels!
Sexy Bitch, the drag queen
the first drag queen ever, prob’ly
to be employed full time at a car wash
is Antonio Vargas!
Remember?
He was Huggy Bear on the television cop show,
Starsky and Hutch.
"More man than you'll ever be,
and more woman than you'll ever get!"
Station Wagons!
Duane,
also known as Abdullah,
is a black Muslim revolutionary wannabe,
with a chip on his shoulder.
C’mon, brother!
Look!
That’s Pepe Serna,
also known as Rooster in Honeysuckle Rose,
one of my all-time favourite road films
starring that red-headed stranger from Blue Rock, Montana.
VW buses!
One thing is certain,
when it comes to serving the public,
these men will stop at nothing.
But I thought this was a drive thru/get clean.
Not a walk by/get clean.
Like Marleen,
a lonely, broken-hearted prostitute
who does it in the rest room,
hiding out from George Carlin,
the taxi driver of a yellow Standard cab.
Hang Loose, sister!
In red platform boots.
While street kids on wheelie bikes go by,
or on skateboards in slo-mo,
regularly.
Sportin’ Adidas and Converse running shoes.
Until Daddy Rich shows up!
That famous money-hungry television evangelist
with The Wilson Sisters,
his back seat singers
also known as The Pointers.
They do a gospel number right there in the car wash parking lot.
Why Not Believe In Me?
Praise the Lord!
TITHE is what it says on the license plate
of their gold chauffeur-driven pimpmobile.
Soapy suds, water balloons and hot wax.
Daddy is Richard Pryor!
He gets outta that car and sits on Snapper’s shoe shine throne,
with JFK and MLK looking over each of his shoulders.
They’re passin’ the hat,
but it’s on me, brother!
Other characters in the story include
a pop bottle urine sample bomber
who gets tackled.
Datsun by Nissan.
And Miss Beverly Hills,
also known as Chief Brody’s wife in Jaws
who arrives hysterical because her boy,
in red Levi’s jeans,
has thrown up all over her Mercedes Benz.
The guy who works the gas pump is Scruggs,
a cowboy with a social disease,
and Hippo is the one who whizzes around on a moped,
with a transistor radio held at his ear.
Right on!
And that guy Sly,
also known as Garrett Morris from Live, it’s Saturday Night
is a con-artist who drives a Cadillac.
Hey baby, how you doin'?
Far out!
Marsha is the hot-and-chesty office girl
who’s having a secret fling with big-hearted Mr. B,
the married owner of the Dee-Luxe.
But holy Plymouth, Oldsmobiles and Pacers!
Marsha has feathered her hair
just like I used to do back then,
with a curling iron.
I also used to have one of them yellow lace-up tops like hers.
I’d wear mine with similarly dark, bell-bottomed blue jeans too,
and those very same clogs.
Typewriters and rotary phones!
The Farrah Fawcett wanna-be forgot all about
her lyin’, cheatin’ married boss
when that Ken doll swooped in and flirted.
Man.
Originally conceived as a musical, 
Roger Ebert called this motion picture
"a wash-and-wax M*A*S*H".
And the theme song was an enormous hit for Rose Royce.
What’s more,
the soundtrack won the Grammy
for Best Original Score.
Thank you, come again!


The trailer for Car Wash…



Rose Royce performing the theme song for Car Wash
on Soul Train...







Saturday, August 13, 2016

Valley Girl


Valley Girl
(1983 American romantic comedy
directed by Martha Coolidge;
starring  Nicolas Cage, Deborah Foreman,
Frederic Forrest, Lee Purcell, David Ensor, 
Cameron Dye, Michael Bowen;
capitalizing on the Valley Girl fad inspired by 
the Frank Zappa and Moon Unit song)
Royal Cinema, Toronto
August 12, 2016
by Live Music Head




















“She’s cool. He’s hot.
She’s from the Valley. He’s not.”



It's Friday night in Toronto,
summer soiree time at The Royal in Little Italy!
And Neon Dreams is presenting 1983’s Valley Girl,
the romantic comedy that was made on 350,000 budget dollars,
but raked in fifty times that,
capitalizing on the Frank Zappa song
released a year before,
on the album
Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.
Total puke-a-loid!
In a shopping mall food court,
sporting Olivia Newton-John/Let’s Get Physical headbands.
Ha!
Nicolas Cage was first spotted on the beach,
as a shirtless hairy-chested hunk running along the water’s edge,
but back in the girly girl’s suburban bedroom,
I spied David Lee Roth, James Dean, E.T. and Devo.
Yes, Devo.
D-E-V-O!
However, the one that I was waitin' for
was Frederic Forrest.
My hero, also known as Houston Dyer in 1979's The Rose.
Here, he’s Steve Richman wearin’ #37
and Buffalo sandals that he got at Woodstock.
He smokes cigarettes,
and pot,
secretly in the washroom.
He owns a health food store
and he even macrame’s!
Bitchin’.
But that mustache makes him look like a porn star.
For sure!
You've got the Eyes of a Stranger
by The Payolas.
On Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue.
"Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?"

That’s Men at Work
in a San Fernando Valley shower stall.
And Cage is really Randy,
a Hollywood punk
who suddenly reminds me of Ross on Friends 
(1994-2004).
Yes Nick is Randy, but sooooo Ross!
I’m sure!
There’s An Officer and a Gentleman on a marquee
and guess what?
I had the same hairstyle back then as Steve’s daughter Julie,
the perfect San Fernando Valley Girl,
and apple of Randy, the rebel’s eye.
Yes, I wore colourful earrings that matched 
my colourful 80s clothes
just like her,
and pink track pants!
Like
Like
Like
Like, you know, really grotty?
So gross!
Or like, scarf and barf.
I’m so sure!
Modern English?
"I’ll stop the world and Melt With You!"
Valleyspeak is an American sociolect.
And Operation,
the game of physical skill powered by batteries
is mounted on that boy’s wall.
Hey, I had that game!
But I’d rather be with the girl’s
‘cuz they got John Cougar,
and Ruffles potato chips!
So tubular and all.
Look!
There’s an Elizabeth Taylor Warhol,
and a photo booth strip of Randy,
x3.
“in your lips, I see a danger…”
who has a buddy also named Fred,
another Hollywood gum-snappin’ punk
who reminds me of a young Dennis Hopper.
I’d take him any day
over that preppy blonde guy wearing a pink bandana.
Or Tommy,
Julie’s Valley Dude boyfriend
who wears a pink tuxedo to the Valley Junior High School prom.
Totally grotty like that.
Holy pink balloons and pink streamers!
"Johnny,
Are You Queer?" 

asks Josie Cotton,
a cross between Pat Benatar and The Go-Gos,
whose name is painted on the drum.
Don’tcha know Kings and Queens don’t grow on trees,
with hair like Stevie Nicks?
Like from 1967,
it ended just like The Graduate.
But the question remains….
did THIS Mrs. Robinson get what she wanted from Skip?
Fuck off, for sure!

The trailer for Valley Girl...



Valley Girl,
the Frank & Moon Unit Zappa song that inspired the film...






Thursday, April 28, 2016

As Seen on TV: The K-tel Story





As Seen on TV: The K-tel Story
and the death of founder Philip Kives
by Live Music Head


If you grew up in the 1970s and watched television,
you’ve definitely heard of K-tel.
If you grew up in the 1970s and watched television,
it’s highly unlikely you could ever forget them.
Your home may even have contained some of them K-tel gadgets.
I know ours did!
And you definitely owned at least one K-tel album,
prob'ly nine.
Today, Philip Kives, the founder of K-tel
passed away,
and it reminded me of his fascinating story
that I learned more about when I saw this
TV documentary a few years ago:
As Seen on TV: The K-tel Story.
I highly recommend finding it and sitting down to watch it
in its entirety.
But in the meantime, if you go to the clip below
and click around the 1:15 mark,
you’ll learn just how Philip Kives began marketing
the first compilation record
and the enormous success that became K-tel Records.
It was a vinyl revolution!
Here, The Guess Who’s Randy Bachman
talks about what K-tel meant to him,
and oh,
the story K-Tel’s producer Don Reedman tells…
about what it took to get Elton John, ha!
I particularly liked seeing the Record Selector again
(we had one)
and seeing Bob Washington,
the voice behind those ads that,
again,
no one who grew up in the 1970s and watched television
could ever forget.
We all know it was K-tel that inspired
so many great comedy sketches by SCTV and Saturday Night Live,
including the voice,
by Don Pardo.
For those with a love-on for 1970s nostalgia,
this documentary will bring you great joy…


As Seen on TV: The K-tel Story... 




Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Death of Prince
















The Death of Prince
by Live Music Head

In 1984,
when the film Purple Rain first came to the big screen,
I was in the cinema with the rest of 'em.
Yes, of course I was.
And I bought the soundtrack on vinyl.
Played it a lot, too.
Yet, despite how I may have enjoyed the film
and the soundtrack
and that Prince has since become known as
a musical genius,
I never considered myself a very large fan.
Only a little one.
Never saw him in concert, for instance.
However, the news of his passing this afternoon
was nonetheless completely shocking.
Almost as shocking as David Bowie’s was in January.
As many know, 
Toronto was a favourite city of Prince.
It is my home town.
And I remember hearing way back when
how he swung by the Cameron House
(an old hangout of mine)
and played their piano.
How cool is that?
And then there's the Torontonian he married
and the residence they kept on the Bridle Path.
In November 2014,
rumour had it that Prince would play a surprise gig
at Massey Hall
and a long line-up formed outside it's doors.
But it didn't happen.
When he did make an appearance
at Toronto’s Sony Centre last month,
I didn’t go.
But I did see the news last week
about the flu-like symptoms Prince was experiencing
that caused an emergency landing of his aircraft in Illinois,
and the cancellation of a couple of shows.
I didn't think all that much about it then.
Now a few days later, he's dead.
And I recall the memory of an old friend;
an old friend who's no longer a friend actually,
and for very good reason…
but a reason that has nothing to do with Prince himself,
other than I think he gave her a big head.
You see,
this former friend worked for Prince
back in the early 1990s.
And she would often call me from Minneapolis to tell me stories.
I would laugh when she told me these stories,
because she would only ever refer to her boss as
"him" or "he".
And she would never allow me to refer to “him” as
"His Purpleness".
Well, at least not on the phone.
Funny that I would indulge in such gossip then,
a behaviour I don’t find interesting in the least, really.
But that was then.
I suspect any minute now
updated reports will begin surfacing,
if they haven’t already,
with details of exactly what caused his death.
And an outpouring of emotion all over the internet
from friends and fans alike.
Having got his start in the 1970s,
Prince’s talent elevated him to superduper stardom
over the decades.
And he’s made huge impact on a lot of people.
He will never be forgotten.
The song of his I always liked the most:
Little Red Corvette.



Friday, April 15, 2016

Roxy: The Movie


















Roxy: The Movie
(1973 concert film starring Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention;
directed  by Frank Zappa;
performed at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, CA);
screening associated with a fundraiser for
Alex Winter’s forthcoming documentary
Who The F*@% is Frank Zappa?
Alex Winter in attendance via Skype for post-screening Q&A 
The Revue Cinema, Toronto
April 14, 2016
by Live Music Head


My film highlights,
from these seriously headwreckin’ musical geniuses
led by Frank Zappa who holds every fan his prisoner
and every guitar his slave, are…
Frank describing sex toys preceding
Penguin in Bondage;
Frank describing the 1956 sci-fi monster movie
It Conquered the World,
the inspiration for
A Little More Cheepnis Please;
Everything about Ruth Underwood,
that “hip-huggin’, patch-denim bellbottom-wearin’
xylophone, marimba and vibraphone player!
Sister!!
Frank Zappa playing I’m The Slime guitar
(unfortunately without the hair-raisin’ opener
from the original recording on
Over-nite Sensation).
Aaaah!
Don’t know ‘bout you,
but for me
it’s truly orgasmic watching FZ play guitar,
especially while pumpin’ the wah-wah pedal in
those colourfully painted almost-platform shoes of his,
Toes Knows!!
My eyes,
while travelling the length of the curly orange cable
that runs between his guitar and amp, said:
“lick me!”
George Duke delivering vocals on Inca Roads through
that one big-ass microphone!
The trombone and sax duel between
Napoleon Murphy Brock and Bruce Fowler;
and the Be-Bop Tango,
featuring Brenda the near-naked harlot who,
after coming out on stage and dancing to
Duke’s organ tweets
and the cheap bubbles that came out of a machine,
jumps up on Frank
(who holds on to her just the way I’d want him to hold on to me,
if it were me)
and wraps her legs around his waist.
Yowza!  
Lana: “Anything for you Frank.”
FZ: “Oh my god.”
LMH: Exactly!


The trailer for Roxy: The Movie…


Alex Winter,
director of the yet-to-be released
Who The F*@% is Frank Zappa? 
made himself available via Skype for 
a post-screening Q&A of Roxy: The Movie
whereupon he addressed the media reports that 
suggest Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa do not support 
Who The F*@% is Frank Zappa? 
Winter told the audience that he received full support for this project
from Frank's wife Gail, long before she passed away,
which is incredible
considering how protective Gail was over her husband's work.
I mean, Winter has access to Zappa's home, 
not to mention his vault.
Amazing!
Equally amazing is the Kickstarter campaign 
that Winter started to support the film
and that it not only exceeded its goal,
but apparently has become
the most successful Kickstarter campaign in history.
As of April 8, 
the campaign successfully raised $1,126, 037 U.S. dollars,
with 8,688 backers.
Upon Gail’s death last October, 
the Zappa Family Trust was turned over to 
Ahmet and Diva Zappa, not Dweezil and Moon. 
Winter said if there is any rift going on, 
it’s between members of the Zappa family, 
not between him and the Zappa family.


The trailer for Who The F*@% is Frank Zappa?



The Revue Cinema