Friday, April 30, 2010

A Few Memories Of And Thoughts On The Taste Of Minnesota Festival - Past And Present

There are just some things you can count on in life: Nice summer weather, fun with your friends and family, a good rock and roll show. I used to really look forward to the 4th of July weekend and the annual FREE 4-to-5 day Taste of Minnesota Festival in St. Paul - it was one of those things I could count on. Sunshine, friends, greasy (albiet overpriced) food, and best of all, free rock and roll shows. Well, the 2010 Taste lineup has been (mostly) announced and along with it, some BAD news. I'll get to that in a minute. Let me reminesce a bit first about better times...

I've lived in the Mpls./St. Paul area for almost 20 years now. I don't know why, but I didn't start attending the Taste of Minnesota Festival until the late 1990's. I'm not even sure what year it was the first time I went. It used to be held on the grounds of the St. Capitol in St. Paul. I remember some of the first shows I did go to see there though: Rick Derringer along with ELO II (a great show) and the following day I was back again to see pop singer John Waite, formerly of the 70's group The Babys . In 2001, we went to check out the Go-Go's. (Yeah, I know, not really my usual thing either, but it was FREE so what the hell, right? We had a great time.

2002 Taste of MN Festival Program
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

In 2002 a friend and I made it to the Taste on July 5th to see Joey Molland's Badfinger and The Guess Who. We met up with some other friends of ours and we all had a great time. I had to work the next day, but was excited at the idea that after I got off work I could come back to St. Paul and see a long-time favorite band I'd never seen before, Blondie. It was threatening rain all day but it held off. I got off work in the mid-afternoon and raced over to St. Paul. Shortly after I arrived on the Capitol Grounds, the clouds broke and the rain began. And it continued to intensify as time went on. I grabbed a bite to eat and found some cover from the rain and it was announced shortly thereafter that Blondie would not be playing because of the weather. I was really bummed out that I'd driven all the way there for nothing. To this day, 8 years later, I have still not seen Blondie in concert. And I'm gonna miss 'em when they're near here again later this summer - but that's another story.

2003 Taste of MN Festival Program

In July 2003, the Festival changed locations. Gone were the days of crowding in on the lawn in front of the State Capitol. Now the Festival moved to the much more spacious Harriet Island Park on the banks of the Mississippi River. I thought this was a great development and it turned out to be just that. The extra room made for a much nicer time enjoying the day in St. Paul. On July 5th that year, we were super excited to bee seeing legendary hard rock/heavy metal monsters Blue Oyster Cult. The weather was opressively hot but we were on a mission to rock and a little heat never stopped us from that. The show was amazing. We were back again the following afternoon to see John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers George Thorogood & the Destroyers. While Thorogood was on stage, Dickey Betts (he of the much hated - on this blog anyway - Allman Brothers Band), who had played on another stage earlier in the afternoon and had made us wish we'd been born without ears (God, this guy SUCKS!!) tried to get up on stage to jam with ole' George. Apparently he didn't discuss it with Thorogood before the show, and, being a moron and not wearing any kind of backstage passes or anything to identify himself, came walking out on the stage to jam.

One of George's beefy security guys walked over to him and quickly escorted him right back off the stage. My buddy "337" and I looked at each other and laughed and laughed - it was hilarious and I was thinking "Take THAT you talentless fuck!!" HAHA. Good times. Of course Lonesome George and his band absoulutely KILLED. Below is a clipping from the Minneapolis Star Tribune from a few days later - Dickey's humiliation had made the news! I blogged about this incident previously HERE.

07/06/03 Dickey Betts Thrown Off Thorogood Stage Newspaper Article

I laughed again and looked forward to the following year and wondered who would be on the bill.

2004 Taste of MN Festival Program

On July 1st, 2004, a few days after seeing Kiss absoulutely BOMB in Somerset, WI, we were back at Harriet Island in St. Paul for Taste of Minnesota 2004. On this particular night we were treated to the hard-rockin 70's sounds of Foghat. They were great and really looked like they were enjoying playing to such a large crowd. The following evening we were back again to check out Jefferson Starship (I think there may have been one or two original members), and 80's heart-throb Rick Springfield. Rick was better than I thought he'd be, a surprisingly good guitar player, we even stayed for the whole show instead of leaving like we'd planned, and man, that guy makes the ladies go crazy - it was fun to watch.

2005 Taste of MN Festival Program

On July 1st, 2005, we were in store for a real treat. Dave Mason and his band opened the show on the main stage and was followed by one of the best of all time - Deep Purple. This was the second time I'd had a chance to see them, the first time a few years prior, I'd paid $85.00 for the experience, this time it was free. Harriet Island was absolutely PACKED for this show and the Brits absolutely rocked the shit out of every last person on the grounds that night, playing old classics from 30 years previous and newer material that seemed to go over just as well. The following evening we were back again, this time to see legendary blues man Bo Diddley. Bo was getting on in years and was ailing a bit, so he was forced to sit in a chair for his performance, but he still played a mean guitar and it was a real treat to have seen him play that old cigar box style guitar of his. Later that evening, on the main stage, we saw former vocalist of Styx, Dennis DeYoung and his interesting and large band which included friends and family members. He played all the great Styx material you would expect and a handful of songs from his mildly successful solo career post-Styx. He also told a funny story about how Tommy Shaw had at one time back in the day dated Linda Blair, she of "The Exorcist" fame.

In July 2006 I missed the Taste of Minnesota for the first time in 6 or 7 years. Alice Cooper, Supertramp and local boys-done-good Soul Asylum were among the many acts that played in '06. I was in New York during the week of July 4th, so I really didn't mind missing it. I figured I'd go the following year. But, I had such a great time in New York that I decided upon my return home that I would be going East again in July of 2007. In 2007 the Taste of Minnesota, now in it's 25th year as the "Largest FREE Festival on the Mighty Mississippi." featured the triumphant return of George Thorogood, The Village People (did I miss that or did I dodge a bullet? I think the later.) Sub-Level, the Gear Daddies and many more national, regional and local acts. Same story in 2008 - In NYC again, I missed the 2008 Tatse of MN and featured acts REO Speedwagon, Eddie Money, Badfinger, and Minnesota Garage Rock legends the Trashmen.

I had fully planned on being in NYC during the July 4th weekend last year, 2009, as well. But pleasant unforeseen circumstances changed my plans and I found myself home over the holiday and able to once again attend the Taste of Minnesota. But there was change afoot - and not all of it good.

2009 Taste of MN Festival Program

When the lineup for the 2009 Taste was announced I was pleased to see some real heavy weights listed among the artists scheduled to perform - Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Chevelle, Stained, the Romantics and Elvis Costello. What I was NOT pleased to learn was that for the first time in it's history, the Festival was no longer a free event. It would now cost you $10.00 to gain admission to the festival grounds. Granted, you DID get $10.00 worth of food tickets along with your paid admission - but as anyone who has attended this festival over the years knows $10.00 won't get you much in the way of food. Maybe a burger. But then you gotta buy more tickets to get a drink to go with it. And as had always been the case, the tickets were sold in a way that you always seemed to wind up with extra tickets, 1 or 2, but never enought to buy another food or drink item. So you had to buy more tickets. This situation was not new - it's been that way as long as I've been going to the festival. It was tolerable - in my opinion, until they decided to charge admission. Over the years the quality and quantity of the food seemed to be lower and less. Instead of great restaraunt food there was alot of "Fair Food" - bloomin' onions, french fries and donuts by the bucket, cheese curds...pork chop on a stick - you get the idea. Anyway, we decided we would, despite the new "Not Free" policy, attend the Taste for two consecutive days, July 2nd and July 3rd. So we paid for gas for two round trips to St. Paul - figure that at about $10 - $12 covering both days. $10.00 admission X 2 each day X 2 days - so that's $40.00. Extra food tickets, drinks, etc. Oh, and parking $10.00 X 2 days. So we spent a bit of cash. We did NOT choose to pay for upgraded seating near the front of the stage that would have cost us an additional $50.00 each. This was also a new development at the 2009 Taste - "Gold Circle Seating." It used to be if you could get there early enough you could get up to the front of the stage to see your favorite band up close. Now you gotta pay what I feel is an exhorbinant fee for the experience.

It was enjoyable to see Chevelle, Halestorm, Priest and Whitesnake, even though it seems David Coverdale's best days are behind him now. We DID have a good time. I blogged about our 2nd day at the 2009 Taste HERE. Here's a bit of Judas Priest's July 3rd performance at the 2009 Taste of MN shot by yours truly...they tore it up!




...which all brings us to 2010. The Gorgeous One and I will be in New York again over the 4th of July, but I've been keeping my eye out for the announcement of the 2010 Tatse of MN lineup, curious to see who would be playing this year. Earlier this week a partial lineup was finally announced on the official Taste of MN 2010 website. The festival runs from July 2nd - 5th this year and so far the big guns announced are Sammy Hagar, Lou Graham of Forigner and John Waite, 311, The Offspring, Counting Crows and Gin Blossoms. More acts will be announced shortly. It has also been announced that the Festival is under new ownership and management. In previous years, the end of each evening was capped off with a huge fireworks display over the Mississippi River in front of the St. Paul skyline. Starting this year there will only be fireworks on July 4th. I guess they just can't afford that kind of a big pyrotechnic show each night. Read on:

The WORST news to come with this years announcement is the prices. Keep in mind that this was always a FREE festival up until last year. In 2009 it cost you $10.00 to get in the grounds.

In 2010 it will cost you $20.00 PER PERSON to get in from 11:00am until 4:00pm. After 4:00pm it will cost you $30.00. PER PERSON. So I'm wondring with all that money coming in, how come no nightly fireworks? They are promising over 100 hours of music on several stages and more "Family Friendly" entertainment this year.

Well, at least kids under 12 get in free with a paid adult admission. But lets say you have a few "over 12's" in your family and they want to go see the Offspring. Well, for a family of four that's gonna set you back something like this: Gas to get there (let's say $5 to $8 - and that's if you live in the Mpls./St. Paul area only), parking (gonna be about $10), admission for family of 4 (4 X $20 = $80. If you get there later, after 4:00pm it's 4 X $30.00 = $120). So you've spent almost/or over $100.00 and none of you have had a bite of food yet. With a family of four you can bet you'll easily spend another $100 or more on food and drinks. So you can figure for an evening of 4th of July fun in St. Paul will cost you about $200 - $300 easily, maybe more if you're not careful.

Small price for family fun? I don't think so. I'm very curious to see what kind of attendance numbers the Taste festival has this year - I think people will still go - but just not as many as in previous years. And it makes me kind of sad to think this is what has become of this once great Minnesota tradition. Maybe I'm wrong - maybe I'm cheap - I've been called worse, but I just don't think people are gonna be to thrilled with all this "change". I guess we'll see. I look forward to reading and hearing about it when I get home from NYC. I guess my days of attending the Taste of Minnesota are over.

It was a good run while it lasted...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

2010 Ramones Mania (Mpls) & Joey Ramone Birthday Bash (NYC)

It's coming up on that time of year again (May), when all you Blitzkrieg Boppers in Minneapolis and New York City can celebrate the music of the Ramones and the memory of Joey Ramone, and at the same time help raise money for Cancer research.

First up is the annual Ramones Mania, 2010 edition, held on Friday, May 14th at Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis:

05/14/10 Ramones Mania 2010 @ Minneapolis, MN (Flyer)
(Image via: Hey Ho! Let's Go! MplsTributeShow!)



Then, a few days later, on Wednesday, May 19th at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza is the annual and always star-studded Joey Ramone Birthday bash hosted by Joey's brother Mickey Leigh:

05/19/10 Joey Ramone Birthday Bash @ NYC, NY (Flyer)
(Image via: Joey Ramone.com)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Tune For Tuesday: Ace Frehley Birthday Edition

Happy Birthday to the man from Outer Space - Ace Frehley, who turns 60 years old today.

Here's a clip of Ace playing "Snowblind" at the Nokia Theatre in his hometown of NYC on 03/21/10.



In the latest Ace Frehley news...(Source: Blabbermouth.net)

Former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley will appear on the season finale of "Sober House with Dr. Drew" on Thursday, April 29 at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings) on VH1.

Ace Frehley will also induct legendary musician and inventor, the late Les Paul, into the New Jersey Hall of Fame at NJPAC in Newark, NJ on Sunday May 2. Ace will join Corey Parks (NASHVILLE PUSSY), Slash (VELVET REVOLVER, GUNS N' ROSES), Matt Sorum (VELVET REVOLVER, GUNS N' ROSES), Lemmy Kilmister (MOTÖRHEAD), and Allison Robertson (THE DONNAS) for a special performance.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Random Thought On Earth Day...

(Earth Skull image by Alexander McQueen via StyleFrizz.com)

Although many, including theirselves, may have considered Pantera a "Green" band (think about it!) I don't think they had the planet's best interest in mind when they wrote the line "Fuck the world for all it's worth/Every inch of Planet Earth..."


I'm just sayin...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

04/21/95 - 15 Years Ago Today in St. Paul, MN - Black Diamond/Aural Fixation

04/21/95 Black Diamond/Aural Fixation @ St. Paul, MN
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)
(Photos by: NYCDreamin)

04/21/95 Black Diamond @ St. Paul, MN

Back in April of 1995 the Kiss Reunion Tour was still over a year away and there were many Kiss Tribute Bands playing the small rock and roll bars in America and around the world - they were out there filling the gap - helping those of us who were to young to have witnessed the band in their full makeup 70's glory to recreate a moment in time that we missed out on. Black Diamond, an outfit from Vancouver, Canada, was one of the best of these groups.

04/21/95 Black Diamond @ St. Paul, MN

They may not have had the best "authentic down to the last sequin" costumes as some of the others, but they did look pretty close. They also had a cool light-up Kiss sign behind them and it was sure easy enough to believe the "Paul Stanley" guy was really Paul Stanley...the guy had a set of pipes on him and could really belt it out in real Starchild fashion.

04/21/95 Black Diamond @ St. Paul, MN

It was always fun to go see a Kiss tribute band just to see the other overly devoted freaks like myself who would come out to these shows. At that time, it looked like the original band might never again regroup to do live shows - Gene & Paul certainly said it in the press enough - they denied it right up to around January or February of 1996, even after having reunited with their old bandmates for MTV's "Unplugged" in August of 1995 - "No, no reunion tour with Peter and Ace. We cherish our past but we don't want to live off of it."

Wow...what a difference a few years and many, many millions of dollars makes. Now, 15 years later, with a few Reunion tours under their studded belts, 1998's "Psycho Circus" album and tour, a seemingly never-ending Farewell tour, Ace and Peter leaving the band, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer taking their places for most of the past decade, and last years completely horrid studio album "Sonic Boom" - it seems thats all the band has left - making a living off their past. At this point it's kind of like seeing a Kiss tribute band...just more expensive and with better pyro effects.

Back in 1995, I was also a subscriber to a few Kiss Fanzines - among them one from Canada called "Firehouse Magazine". After seeing Black Diamond in St. Paul I sent Firehouse the following review of the show - it was published in the May/June 1995 issue (#69):

On Friday, April 21, I had the chance to see "The Ultimate Tribute to Kiss", Black Diamond, at a local club here in St. Paul. Before the show started, I had the chance to talk to Benny Doro (Paul Stanley). He's a really nice guy. We talked about Black Diamond's inclusion in Kisstory, and about Ronn Roxburgh and Firehouse Magazine. He also told me Black Diamond is going to Europe for some summer shows - I want to wish them well.

After I talked to Benny, I began passing out the 50 Firehouse Magazine flyers I had printed up for the show. People seemed interested in them. Around 9:30, the opening band, "Shrine" (-funny, the ad says "Aural Fixation") began their set. They were pretty good and even surprised us with their version of "Love Her All I Can."

After about a half hour, the intro tape for Black Diamond began to play. It's a cool mix of song bits and Kiss quotes on the Kiss philosophy and lifestyle. Anyone who has seen these guys knows how cool this intro is. At 11pm sharp, Black Diamond hit the stage and began their all out assault. I couldn't believe how well they managed to imitate that classic Kiss sound. They are way better than "Strutter" whom I had seen about a month earlier in Minneapolis. The only thing "Strutter" has on "Black Diamond" is the amount of pyro they use (I think the reason for that is "Strutter" played a bigger club.) The band played all your standard Kiss classics like Firehouse, Black Diamond, God Of Thunder, Shock Me, Rock and Roll All Nite, and New York Groove plus many, many more. They played their asses off for two full hours and the crowd just loved it all. Even Benny's between song raps were authentic Paul Stanley - he even sounds like Paul when he talks!

All the effects were there too: "Gene" spits breathes fire and spits blood, "Ace's" guitar smokes and "Peter's" solo was better than a solo by the real Peter Criss.



Click HERE to see the full set of photos from this show.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Tune For Tuesday: W.A.S.P. - "Thunderhead"

With the 19th anniversary of the death of Johnny Thunders coming up on Friday, I thought a little W.A.S.P. was in order for todays Tune for Tuesday.

You see, W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless was at one time (for about 5 minutes in May of 1975) a member of the New York Dolls, taking over guitar duties for a few shows after Johnny left the band to go back to NYC - because it just wasn't easy scoring a good bag of "H" while on the road in Forida. Anyway, the Dolls soon disbanned, Blackie went to Los Angeles with Arthur Kane, and Johnny and Jerry Nolan soon started a little group you may have heard about called "The Heartbreakers". Eventually, Blackie found some success with his 80's metal group "W.A.S.P."

Johnny passed away under mysterious circumstances on 04/23/91 in New Orleans, LA. In 1989, W.A.S.P. released an ablum titled "The Headless Children" and among the gems on this ablum was a little ditty about the story of Mr. Thunders' addiction and subsequent premature demise. Whomever posted this clip was kind enough to include the lyrics, so read and sing along boys and girls...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

1977 Interview with John Holmstrom & Legs McNeil

Legs McNeil posted this great 1977 interview from Australian TV on his Facebook page and I just had to throw it up here as well - it's too cool! (Audio cuts out for a few seconds but comes right back.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

R.I.P. - Peter Steele

Peter Steele - Bassist & Vocals - Type O Negative
(Image via: TheGauntlet.com)

Rumors are flying this morning that Peter Steele, the vocalist and bassist of Type O Negative has passed away at age 48 due to heart failure. KNAC.com says the rumor has been confirmed from a "source within the band."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NY Post Covers NYC Album Covers

1975 Kiss Dressed To Kill CD Cover Art
The cover of Kiss' 1975 "Dressed To Kill" album. Photo by Bob Gruen.
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

This past Sunday, Apil 11th, the NY Post had a cool article titled "NYC's Greatest Hits: The City Not Only Invented The Modern Album Cover We Defined It With These Classics." Making the list: Led Zeppelin's "Physical Graffitti" (1975), Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic" (1974), Simon & Garfunkel's "Wednesday Morning, 3AM" (1964), and the one pictured above, Kiss' "Dressed To Kill" (1975). You can read details about the photographs appearing on the album covers listed here and see what other albums made the list by checking out the article and accompanying photo gallery by clicking the link above.

I Got Nothing So You Get This - Kreator

It's Tuesday - WAKE UP!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

04/08/03 - 7 Years Ago Today In Minneapoils - Cheap Trick/Guided By Voices/The Anniversary

04/08/03 Cheap Trick/Guided By Voices/The Anniversary @ Minneapolis, MN (Handbill)
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

04/08/03 Cheap Trick/Guided By Voices/The Anniversary @ Minneapolis, MN (Ticket)

Another week, another post about a Cheap Trick Concert. This show was held at the beautiful historic State Theatre in Minneapolis. I arrived just as opening act The Anniversary was taking the stage. My ticket had me seated near the back of the theatre on the floor level. There I remained until about 10 minutes into Cheap Trick's set, when all of a sudden people started getting up from their seats and going up and crowding around near the stage. I figured, "Why not?" and jumped up and joined them for a better vantage point. Security was cool and never made anyone go back to their seats.

04/08/03 Cheap Trick @ Minneapolis, MN (Picks)
This was great, not only did I get closer to the stage to see the rest of the show, but I also managed to scoop up 7, count 'em, 7 guitar picks from Rick Neilson. This brings my total number of picks from this guy (for those keeping track - and why wouldn't you be?!?) to 14 in just 2 shows - I scored 7 at another Cheap Trick show on March 26th, 2006 in Maplewood. I wrote a short piece on that show a few weeks back HERE.

At this show I also ran into Brynn Arens and Chia Karaoke from Flipp, who had actually toured with Cheap Trick at one point a few years earlier and had remained friends with the band. In fact, about a month after this concert, Cheap Trick released a new CD titled "Special One" and the cover art was done by none other than Chia Karaoke himself, under his real name, Kii Arens. You can check out some of his more recent concert poster art (including pieces for bands such as Radiohead, Them Crooked Vultures and Lady GaGa, among others) HERE.

Here's a great performance of "You're All Talk" featuring special guest guitarist Slash (who breaks a string in the opening few seconds of the song - watch him change guitars almost immediately.) This was filmed in Rockford, IL during CT's 25th Anniversary Concert back in 2000 and is available on the DVD "Silver".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

04/06/98 - 12 Years Ago Today in Storrs, CT. - Remembering Wendy O. Williams

12 years ago today in Storrs, CT, Wendy O. Williams, outrageous frontwoman of the legendary Plasmatics screamed "Fuck You" to the world one more time, taking her own life with a self-inflicted shotgun blast. We remember her in better days...

UPDATE - 04/27/10
Well, doesnt' this suck - the video of Wendy O. on the Joan Rivers show has been removed due to Terms of Service violation. Drag...

Monday, April 5, 2010

"I Like Manhattan But It's Filthy. It's A Filthy City..."

Driving in to work this morning, I heard a name on the radio I hadn't heard in many, many years...sleazy lawyer Nathan Thurm. I started laughing just at the thought of the guy. This is for those of you who remember him and for those of you who may not know him...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kiss Easter Egg

Hope you all had a great Easter Sunday. We had a great dinner with relatives and had a wonderful time and ate way too much. On Saturday, the Gorgeous One and I colored some easter eggs and I got a bit creative, making a "Kiss" themed egg with the faces of all four original members on one egg...

Gene Simmons Easter Egg

Paul Stanley Easter Egg

Peter Criss Easter Egg

Ace Frehley Easter Egg

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Honking My Own Horn - Ace Frehley: Behind The Player DVD Contribution

2010 - Ace Frehley: Behind The Player DVD (Cover Art)
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Back in August of 2009, I was contacted via email by a guy who told me he was producing an upcoming Ace Frehley guitar instructional DVD that was scheduled to be released in October '09. He wanted to know if he could use a few of my Kiss/Ace images from my Flickr page. I of course said, "Yes, by all means, use whatever you need." I got word back that they had indeed used something of mine and that I would receive a free promo copy of the DVD when it was released. The release date was pushed back by a few months, I'm not sure why, but it happens all the time. Anyway, the new release date was set for 01/19/10 and I was looking forward to seeing the DVD and to see what images from the NYCDreamin Archives they'd chosen to use.

07/13/00 Kiss/Ted Nugent/Skid Row @ Minneapolis, MN (Star Tribune Special Edition Front Page - Top)
Well, they only used one image of mine after all, and it's this one (above) - it's the top half of the front cover of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, dated July 13, 2000, from what was supposed to be Kiss' final Twin Cities performance ever. We all know how that worked out - the band is still on tour 10 years later, but, sadly, without Ace Frehley on lead guitar. The image appears briefly during the Ace interview segment of the DVD where he talks about leaving the band after the "Farewell Tour" was over.

03/16/2010 - Letter from IMV RE: Ace Frehley: Behind The Player DVD Photo Contributions
As I said, the DVD was released back in January. Just this past week I finally received my copy, along with this letter thanking me for my contribution.

2010 - Ace Frehley: Behind The Player DVD (Credits)
I have to admit, it felt pretty cool seeing my name appear in the credits (even though my contribution to this project was very small indeed) of an officially released Ace Frehley project. He's been my favorite guitarist ever since I was just a kid and remains so to this day, so it made me feel proud to be involved, even in some (really) small way.

Here's the official trailer for the DVD...

1964: Rebels In The Streets: The Story of New York's Girl Gangs

Rebels In The Streets: A Story of New York's Girl Gangs (1964) by Kitty Hanson (Alt. Cover)
(Imgae via: Get Back To Work)

A few weeks ago I ran across the above image over at Alex Smith's always amusing Tumblr site Get Back To Work. I did a bit of looking around and after finding a description of this book, I knew I had to track down a copy for myself. So about a week ago I ordered up a copy from Amazon.com and it arrived just a few days later. My copy arrived with a different but equally cool illustration on the dust jacket:

Rebels In The Streets: The Story of New York's Girl Gangs (1964) by Kitty Hanson
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Actually, the cover art in the second photo is more truely representative of the story in this book - the artwork in the top photo shows what looks to be a group of white girls, and the story is actually about a gang of Puerto Rican girls, which seems to be more correctly depicted on the (I'm assuming) original cover in the second photo. Anyway, it's a great book, just like I thought. Here's my short review from my GoodReads page:

This is a great book detailing the lives of several girls who, in the early 1960's, called the streets around East 108th street in Spanish Harlem in New York City's Upper East Side home, and how they ran wild in those streets.

The book is a detailed fist-hand account taken from the stories of "Karen" a youth comission councelor who finds herself working with a group of girls who call themselves "The Dagger Debs," the female counterpoints to a tough gang of guys who go by the name "The Daggers". The actual names of the gangs were something different, and the names of the girls and guys in the book have been changed to protect their identities, but the stories of their exploits are all true.

Coming from broken homes, some subjected to to sexual abuse since a young age, and surrounded by crime and poverty and abject hoplessness, these girls form a tight knit group for friendship and protection on the streets. Their indescresions include, but are not limited too, shoplifiting, mugging, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, street fighting and any other of a host of juvenile delinquent activities. Karen, the case worker assigned to the group, feels a bit in over her head when she first makes contact with the group, but in the course of just over a year she makes inroads and comes to earn the trust and confidentiality of several of the girls.

The story ends well for some of the girls, not so well for some of the others. After a fatally violent incident in a nearby neighborhood claims the life of one of their male friends from The Daggers, the girls of The Debs have a choice to make - wheather to continue on the path of wanton self destruction they have been following, or to get out of the gang lifestyle and try to make a better future for themselves.


Sound interesting? You can still get a copy from Amazon.com - there are currently 9 copies available.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

04/01/91 - 19 Years Ago Today in Grand Rapids, MN - Nuno Bettencourt & Gary Cherone of Extreme

04/01/91 Dave Eckstrom and NYCDreamin with Extreme's Gary Cherone @ Sawmill Inn, Grand Rapids, MN
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
(L to R: Dave, Gary Cherone, NYCDreamin)

On April 1st, 1991, in the usually broring-as-hell town where I grew up, Grand Rapids, MN, (the birthplace of Judy Garland!!) something kinda cool happened for once. The usually horrible local radio station WTBX-FM had some special promotion going on and as a result they brought in some musical talent for a free special appearance at the Sawmill Inn Hotel lounge.

04/01/91 Dave Eckstrom and NYCDreamin with Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt @ Sawmill Inn, Grand Rapids, MN
(L to R: Dave, Nuno Bettencourt, NYCDreamin)

Extreme were riding high on the success of their pop-rock ballad "More Than Words" and were all over MTV and radio at the time. The song was definately not my favorite on their new CD but it wasn't very often (more like never) that cool, high-profile musicians came to Grand Rapids (although there was that one time a friend and I raced to the airport to see if we could catch a glimpse of Motley Crue - we didn't see the band but we did see their private jet on the runway, all painted up with the Crue logo and "Girls, Girls, Girls" motif...but that's another story) so my buddies Dave and Kevin and I made sure we were at the hotel a bit early and we managed to meet guitarist extrodinaire Nuno Bettencourt (who seemed to be riding pretty high himself if you catch my drift - look at the guys eyes in this photo!) and vocalist Gary Cherone (who would later replace Sammy Hagar in Van Halen, for about 5 minutes) in the hallway of the hotel before their short accoustic set.

04/01/91 Dave Eckstrom and Kevin Cortese with Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt @ Sawmill Inn, Grand Rapids, MN
(L to R: Dave, Nuno, Kevin)

They both seemed like pretty cool guys and were very nice, signing autographs and hanging with fans before their short set. As seen in the seond photo, I had a promotional album flat of the bands new CD, "Pornograffitti" and I got it autographed. At some point in the years between then and now this piece has disappeared from the archives - I don't know if I lost it, if it was stolen, or if I just threw it out in a hair-metal backlash at some point - I wish I still had it.

1990 Extreme Pornograffitti CD
Cover art for Extreme's "Pornograffitti" CD.

04/01/91 Gary Cherone & Nuno Bettencourt perform at the Sawmill Inn Lounge in Grand Rapids, MN
Cherone & Bettencourt live on stage.

After a while the duo climbed up on the small stage in the lounge and played maybe 4 or 5 songs, Nuno playing an accoustic guitar and Cherone accompanying him on vocals. Of course they played "More than Words" - the radio station probably required them to play it, and in all fairness, the song was still new then so it wasn't so worn-out as it would become by the end of the summer of that year. They might have played "Song For Love" as well, but I really don't remember. After they were done, all those under 21 years of age, which included my friends and I (I was only 11 days away from my 21st birthday but there were NO exceptions) were required to leave the premises so the adults could get on with their drinking for the evening. I think we left and found someplace to drink as well, in fact, I'm sure we did, that's what we did for fun in those days. But we had a great time while we were there and it was just cool that we were able to see some half-way decent music in our home town, an event that surely didn't happen more than once when I still lived there.

Here's my favorite song from the "Pornograffitti" CD...sadly, I know they didn't play this one.