Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Tune For Tuesday: The Dictators "New York, New York" (Live, 1981)

I've posted this one before but it seems to be the only song I have in mind today.
We're outta here and on our way tomorrow...
Happy 4th of July to you all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

06/28/10 R.I.P. William "Bill" Aucoin - Artist Manager

1998 Bill Aucoin 13 Classic Kiss Stories CD Booklet
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Old school members of the Kiss Army are learning today of the untimely passing of the group's original manager, William "Bill" Aucoin. Aucoin, who was 66 years old, passed away just after 9:00am this morning after suffering complications during a surgical procedure to combat prostate cancer which he had been battling recently.

Bill Aucoin was frequently known as "the fifth Kiss" while he managed the group from 1973 until he was dismissed by the band from his managerial duties in 1982. After Kiss bassist Gene Simmons pestered him all through the early part of 1973 to come see the band, Aucoin finally took Simmons up on his offer and the story goes he "discovered" the band playing at the run-down Hotel Diplomat in NYC on August 10, 1973 and soon found himself managing what was soon to become one of the biggest rock bands of the 1970's. Along with his then-partner Sean Delaney (also deceased - 04/13/03), Aucoin helped develop Kiss' stage act to become one of the most theatrical and flamboyant shows of it's era.

Aucoin was also a shrewd businessman and marketer. Sensing the almost limitless marketing possibilities with Kiss, he soon formed Niocua Merchandising and released a barrage of Kiss related and officially liscensed products onto an unsuspecting world throughout the late 1970's. Who can forget the Kiss action figures, trash cans, trading cards, and the Kiss Radio?

During the 70's while he was working for Kiss, Aucoin managed several other groups as well, including Piper (with a young Billy Squier on guitar), the amazingly talented Spider (featuring a young Anton Fig on drums), and Starz, possibly one of the most over-looked/long forgotten bands to come out of the 1970's. At some point in 1982, Bill was "released" from his duties as Kiss manager. He bounced right back into managing other bands including a brief stint as manager of a then-just-starting-out Manowar and later on managed Billy Idol briefly. During the past decade or so, Aucoin was still heavily involved in the management of several recording artists and groups including Flipp, Crossbreed, Lordi, The Early Strike and Dreaming in Stereo.

Aucoin leaves behind his domestic partner of the past fifteen years, Roman Fernandez and two sisters, Betty Britton and Janet Bankowski. Funeral arrangements are pending and there may be a memorial service in NYC at some point but details are still being worked out.

Bill Aucoin Autographed CD Case

Back in the early 2000's, while Aucoin was managing Minneapolis area glam-punks Flipp, I was fortunate enough to meet him a few times through a friend of mine who did some road-crew work with Flipp. The first time I met him was at a Flipp concert in Minneapolis. He seemed to be a very nice guy, taking time to say hello and talk for a few minutes to a complete stranger who was introduced to him as "another one of those Kiss fanatics."

Several months later, I was busy at work one day (I was working for an independant music distribution company in those days) and this nicely dressed middle aged guy goes walking past my desk. I was looking at him - knowing I knew who he was but I just couldn't place the face. He disappeared and I kind of shrugged my shoulders and went back to my task. A minute later it hit me - "Was that Bill Aucoin? Nawwww...couldn't be."

I continued working and a few minutes later, here he comes, walking past my desk again, this time with one of our sales guys walking and talking with him. I looked up and said, "Hey, Hi, Bill." The sales guy looked at me like "How in the HELL do you know who this guy is?" Aucoin responded pleasantly, "Hello," and I mentioned I'd met him a few months prior at a Flipp concert. He didn't seem to remember me (and really, why would he?) but he brightened at my mention of the band and told me he was in town to see them presented with some local Minneapolis Area Music Award later that evening. He was obviously proud of them. Since I was at work, I didn't have a ton of Kiss merchandise with me...but I was thinking quickly. I grabbed an empty CD case (we had millions of them) and asked him if he would mind signing it for me, "I have that "Bill Aucoin's 13 Kiss Stories" interview CD," I told him. He laughed and said I really must be a big fan to have purchased that obscure CD. I assured him I was, since age 8. "Ahh, you were one of THOSE kids huh?" he joked. As he was signing my CD case, I grabbed a blank shipping label and asked him for one more autograph, one I could stick in the front cover of my Kisstory book. He was happy to sign one more item for me. I asked him why he happened to be at my place of employee and he mentioned to me that he was there shopping yet another music project, looking for distribution for his latest discovery, this guy who called himself "Glampire." He handed me a promo CD and said I should check it out. I still have it. We talked Kiss and Flipp for a few minutes and then, being the busy guy he was he was on his way. As he left, I stood there not believing I'd really met the guy - again - and at my work of all places. The memory of that brief meeting is a bit more special to me today...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dreamin' of a NYC Summer Vacation....

Ah, summer. The time of year you wait for. Sunshine, the outdoors. Grilling. Girls in bikinis. Road trips and rock concerts. Vacation...

Ah, vacation. One of the things that helps keep us sane. Something to look forward to for another year while you slave away all day for the man. A brief mental and physical respite from the day-in and day-out, mind numbing drudgery that comes with being a part of the individual destroying, dream killing capitalist machine.

I'm sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, vacation. Escape.

Our escape comes in 8 days. As such, things here at the ole' blog will be a bit slow over the next few weeks. I have a few of the usual things set up for the next week until we leave, but then from June 30th - July 8th or 9th there will be a deafening silence here (no new posts) while the Gorgeous One and I enjoy some well earned time away in...where else...New York City. Photos and a story or two to follow...

A Tune For Tuesday: Zoetrope "Amnesty" (1985)

Q: Who?

A: (From Wikipedia:)

Zoetrope was an American heavy metal band from Chicago, Illinois. Although their sound was akin to thrash metal, the group described themselves as "Street Metal". The group was formed in 1976 by teenage friends Barry Stern (drums/vocals), Kevin Michael Rasofsky, aka Kevin Michael, (guitar), and Calvin "Willis" Humphrey (bass), soon to be joined by second guitarist Ken Black. Initially playing covers, the band soon ventured into writing their own material and released a single in 1980.
Although undeniably a metal band, Zoetrope was also active in Chicago's hardcore punk scene, sharing bills with locals hardcore bands and hanging out at O'Banions, a Chicago punk bar (Ken Black and Barry Stern also produced the self-titled LP by Chicago-based hardcore band Life Sentence in 1986). Following the release of a couple of demo tapes, the group was signed to Combat Records and issued their first LP, Amnesty, in 1985.

In 1987, the band traveled to Los Angeles to record their follow up, A Life of Crime, with producer Randy Burns (Megadeth, Nuclear Assault). During the recording sessions, Ken Black left the band and returned to Chicago to sort out substance abuse issues. He was replaced by Louis Svitek. Although Svitek appears on the album's cover, Kevin Michael later confirmed that Ken Black had finished his guitar parts before leaving Los Angeles. During the tour supporting A Life of Crime, Svitek was recruited for M.O.D. by Billy Milano. After the tour, Barry Stern jumped ship to fellow Chicagoans Trouble. Kevin Michael eventually returned with a new line up for 1993's Mind Over Splatter but the band folded for good soon after.

Louis Svitek later played with the Chicago punk band Lost Cause, Ministry, Mind Funk, Pigface, The Hollow steps (also featured Ken Black on a few cuts) and Project 44. He currently runs Wu Li Records, a hip-hop label based in Chicago. Original member Barry Stern filled in on drums for a tour with Cathedral and made a guest appearance on the self-titled debut by Debris Inc., which featured former members of Saint Vitus and Trouble. Barry died on April 1, 2005, from complications after hip-replacement surgery. He was singing for the local band D-Connect at the time of his passing. Trouble dedicated their 2007 album Simple Mind Condition to his memory.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Tune For Tuesday: Crumbsuckers "Beast On My Back" (1988)

From the all-knowing Wikipedia...

Crumbsuckers was a hardcore band that formed in 1982 on Long Island, NY by bass player Gary Meskil in their home town of Baldwin. In June 1983, the band recorded a demo unofficially called "The Crumbsucker Cave" at Nino Studio in Baldwin with five songs, including a cover of Chubby Checker's "The Twist". It was with this demo that they landed their first CBGBs showcase, and subsequent Hardcore Matinees.

At the time, the line up was boiled down to Dave Brady (vcl), Dave Wynn (g), Gary Meskil (b) and Kevin "Toast" Carroll (d). From the time of their first matinee performance, they prided themselves on all original music. In early 1985 looking for a newer edge, they added Chuck Lenihan as a second guitarist, and (then) 16 year old Dan Richardson on drums.

The combined styles of Meskil's roots in punk and east coast hardcore, coupled with Wynn's classic and hard rock styles, and Lenihan's dive-bomb solos soon earned them respect among the CBGBs matinee crowd. In that same year, they recorded a second demo at CBGB's with the new five piece line up, and began searching for a record deal. It was during this time that vocalist Dave Brady left the band, due to differences in the bands musical direction, and his own taste in extracurricular chemical indulgences.

The Crumbsuckers were at the forefront of the hardcore and metal crossover movement with bands such as Agnostic Front, The Cro-Mags, and DRI, some might even argue they were the trailblazers.

In 1989, the band finally broke up due to musical differences and disagreements as to which direction the band should go.

It wasn't until some of the surviving members formed the band Pro-Pain, that all was once again righted.

The "band" reunited on August 3, 2006 in New York City to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the album Life of Dreams with a special appearance by founding members Wynn and Brady.

NYHC Forever.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

06/12/10 6th Annual Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues Festival @ Peavy Plaza, Minneapolis, MN

06/12/10 Famous Daves BBQ & Blues Fest @ Peavy Plaza, Minneapolis, MN (Ad)
Lineup/Schedule for the 6th Annual Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues Festival.
(Images and photos via: NYCDreamin Archives)

06/12/10 Famous Daves BBQ & Blues Fest @ Peavy Plaza, Minneapolis, MN (City Pages A-List Item)
Blurb about the festival from this week's City Pages "A-List."

One of the things I really look forward to each summer is the FREE Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues Festival, now in it's 6th year, held at Peavy Plaza on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The food is always delicious and the music is usually pretty happening. I've seen some really amazing and legendary blues musicians at this festival over the past several years. Our visit to the festival last year was cut short due to a foot injury so we were really looking forward to attending again this year. Earlier in the week we began hearing that there was rain in the forecast for the weekend but we hoped that might change.

We woke yesterday to gloomy skies and sporadic early a.m. rain showers and despite the rain the outside temp was actually not too bad, hovering in the mid 60's. We decided to wait it out a bit and see what happened by early-mid afternoon. Around 3:00pm the rain had stopped and things seemed to be drying off a bit, so we decided to give it a shot and soon we were off to Minneapolis. We made it maybe 5 or 6 miles by the time it began raining lightly again.

We got in to downtown Minneapolis and I went to park the car where I usually do (I've been parking there for years), and found, much to my displeasure, that the parking meters on that particular street are no longer free on Saturdays. This is an area close to the new Twins Stadium and all the meters in the area have been changed recently to a 2-hour time limit, including weekends. Looks like I'm gonna have to find a new place to park when I'm downtown. Anyway, we decided since it was still raining lightly that we'd park the car, feed the meter, head over to Peavy Plaza, grab some food and check out the music for a few hours and then get back to the car and head home.

06/12/10 Famous Daves BBQ & Blues Fest @ Peavy Plaza, Minneapolis, MN
The Famous Dave's Mobile BBQ Unit.

When we arrived at the Plaza we were pleasantly surprised to see that quite a few people were still attending despite the sporadic rain showers and less than ideal weather conditions. The band "Cool Disposition" were finishing up their first of two sets on the smaller second stage ("The Juke Joint Stage") as we lined up to order some food. I got the pulled pork sandwich, an order of beans and a piece of cornbread. The Gorgeous One picked something a bit more substantial - a 6 bone rack of ribs. When we found a place to sit down to eat, she opened up her box of food and discovered they had given her an 8-bone slab instead. No complaints from her. We sat and leisurely ate our BBQ, me eating with only one hand while the other held our umbrella aloft to keep the light rain from falling on our food.

06/12/10 Famous Daves BBQ & Blues Fest @ Peavy Plaza, Minneapolis, MN
A sea of umbrellas and rain jackets - they were almost mandatory to enjoy the music yesterday.

As you looked around Peavy Plaza you saw many people with umbrellas, many dressed in rian slickers, and several people with the old stand-by, the plastic garbage bag with neck and arm holes cut into them. Despite the rain, which was not really heavy but seemed to be just enough to be a minor annoyance, the attendance seemed pretty decent - not as packed as it would be had it been 85 and sunny, but still maybe a few thousand were on hand to enjoy the food and music. We finished up our meal and headed down to get a bit closer to the main stage.

06/12/10 Famous Daves BBQ & Blues Fest @ Peavy Plaza, Minneapolis, MN

Just before 6:30pm, the main stage came to life with the smooth, old-timey blues sounds of Hubert Sumlin and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and their band. We moved a bit closer to the stage so I could snap a few photos.


The rain would stop - umbrellas would close up. A few minutes later the rain would start again and back up went the umbrellas. Repeat. Repeat. Like I said, it wasn't a soaker or anything, just a damp annoyance. We enjoyed the music but the fact that we only had two hours on the meter where we parked was kind of dampening our spirits as well - either I was gonna have to walk back to the car a feed the meter again, and then walk back to the Plaza, or we were just gonna hang for a bit and then leave.



We chose the second option. Unfortunately, this meant we were unable to stay and enjoy the rest of the set and the much anticipated appearance of 97 year old blues legend/piano man Pinetop Perkins as well as the final artist of the evening, Guitar Shorty. But what we did see and hear was very enjoyable for the short time we were there. Around 7:20pm, with some resignation, we headed back for the car and we both agreed we'd had a good time but we were hoping for better weather and a longer stay at the festival next year. And another appearance by Ron Thompson wouldn't be so bad either.


06/12/10 Famous Daves BBQ & Blues Fest @ Peavy Plaza, Minneapolis, MN
The hands of The Gorgeous One after she polished off most of an 8-bone slab of Famous Dave's award winning ribs - finger lickin' good!

Random Works Of Art Seen Recently On The Streets Of Minneapolis

06/12/10 Randowm Artwork in Store Window Display  - Minneapolis, MN
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

There is cool artwork to be found almost anywhere you look in downtown Minneapolis. Yesterday, while walking to and from the Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues Festival, I spotted a few items that I found worthy of a photo. The above piece was displayed in a store window.

06/12/10 Electrical Box Artwork - Minneapolis, MN

Many of the electrical boxes throughout downtown have been brightened up and painted by local artists. The photo above and the one below are just two such examples, both featuring skull artwork, which I always enjoy. These are located just a few blocks from each other on the south side of Hennepin Avenue.

06/12/10 Electrical Box Artwork - Minneapolis, MN

06/12/10 Mural (Part 1/4) - Downtown Minneapolis, MN

A bit further east, just off the corner of Washington Avenue and 1st Avenue, there is this long industrial building that has, for many years, been a canvas of sorts for local artists. Every year or so a new mural gets put up here and it's always colorful and eye-catching. The above photo and the three that follow are of what is currently painted on this wall.

06/12/10 Mural (Part 2/4) - Downtown Minneapolis, MN

06/12/10 Mural (Part 3/4) - Downtown Minneapolis, MN

06/12/10 Mural (Part 4/4) - Downtown Minneapolis, MN

The Best Cheeseburgers And French Fries In The Twin Cities

2010 Lions Tap - Eden Prairie, MN (Bumper Sticker)
Lions Tap Bumper Sticker
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

(Image via: TwinCitiesFun.com)

I'd been driving by the Lions Tap in Eden Prairie for several years on my way to and back from Minneapolis. I always thought, as I drove by, "One of these days I gotta stop in there and try that place." It seems like everyone around here will tell you how good a Lions Tap burger is.

Finally, one day back in the late 90's or early 2000's I had a bit of extra time and I stopped in and ordered up a cheeseburger and side order of their crispy, golden, seasoned fries. The food absolutely lived up to the hype. I was back again just a week or so later for another fix, and while I was eating I thought it was probably pretty cool to be employed there and receive a free cheeseburger during your shift. I finished eating my meal, asked for a job application, and a week or so later found myself working there part-time in the evenings, adding to the income from my "real day job" and scoring a free cheeseburger each time I came to work. I wound up working there during the evening and on weekends for two summers.

When all you do is hamburgers/cheeseburgers and French fries, you become pretty good at it I guess, and they've been doing it at the Lions Tap (under the current ownership) since 1977, and for many, many years before that under the previous ownership. The awards that line the walls of the place can attest to how well loved the burgers here are. The 'Tap has even been named one of "The Nations Top 500 Restaurants."

Lions Tap has in interesting history and you can read about it (and see more photos of their mouth-watering burgers and even order up a bottle of their "special seasoning" or a Lions Tap t-shirt) on their website: Lions Tap.com.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nothing Stays The Same...Now It's Time For Change.

(Image via: arttherapyblog.com)

Now that we've passed the two year mark, I was thinking it might be time to change things up a bit around here. Hope you enjoy the new look.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shore Fire Media Press Release RE: Upcoming Max's Kansas City Book

Max's Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock and Roll (by Steven Kasher) - Published Sept. 2010

Received a nice email from the Executive Editor at Abrams Books and she tells me the pre-release media campaign for the upcoming book "Max's Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock & Roll" (to be published in Sept. 2010) has started. Not only is Abrams promoting the book, author Steven Kasher has retained Shore Fire Media to promote the book as well. This is the press release they sent out today, which features a link to our "Max's Kansas City: The Dates and Details"posting from last October, which I'm proud to say, will be included in a condensed form in the book when it is published.


subj: From V.U. to the Beasties – Upstairs at Max’s Kansas City

Though it opened in late 1965, Max’s Kansas City didn’t host live music until 1970. The first band to play there was the Velvet Underground, whose month-long residency would be the last shows that Lou Reed ever played with the group.

The final show at Max’s, some eleven years later, was a double bill featuring The Bad Brains and a young NYC group playing one of their first club dates – The Beastie Boys.

In between, this 100 plus capacity club was on the front line of the most convulsive decade in rock history. It’s where future legends like Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Bob Marley, Patti Smith, Tom Petty, and The Police played pivotal early gigs, and seminal cult figures like Gram Parsons, Big Star, NY Dolls, John Fahey, Tim Buckley and NRBQ built their reputations. Max’s is where the music attained immortality.

Click HERE for an exhaustive, fascinating year-by-year list of artists who took the stage at Max’s compiled by Bryan Kuntz.

Carrie Tolles
Shore Fire Media
32 Court Street Ste. 1600
Brooklyn NY 11201
p: 718.522.7171 x 13
f: 718.522.7242

You can have a look inside the book by clicking HERE.
You can pre-order a copy of the book from Amazon.com HERE.
And don't forget to visit the official Max's Kansas City website HERE.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Tune For Tuesday: Lamb Of God "Red Neck" (2006)

Coolest birthday party ever?

I say yes.

One From The Archives: 06/08/06 Slayer/ Lamb Of God/ Mastadon/ Children of Bodom/ Thine Eyes Bleed @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN

06/08/06 Slayer @ Mpls, MN (Ad)(Top) 06/08/06 Slayer @ Mpls, MN (Ad)(Bottom)
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

06/08/06 Slayer @ Mpls, MN (Ticket)

4 years ago today I attended what may have been the heaviest concert I've ever witnessed. This was another of those "I tried for weeks in advance to get someone to go with me but to no avail" concerts - thus I found myself alone, wishing a few of my more "hardcore" friends could be here to witness the absolute devastation emanating from the stage on this evening. "Oh well," I thought, "Their loss." The show started a bit early - around 5:30pm - with Thine Eyes Bleed, a band that features Slayer vocalist Tom Araya's brother in it's lineup. I remember being mildly impressed with Children of Bodom and even more so with Mastadon. Then Lamb of God came out and delivered an absolutely brutal set. And then there was Slayer...

06/08/06 Slayer @ Mpls, MN (City Pages)
Small preview of the show from the City Pages "A-List" section.

Like I said at the top, this may have been the "heaviest" show I've ever been to. I was seated in the upper deck of the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, a safe distance from all the craziness that was happening on the floor in front of the stage, and yet after the show was over, in the car on the way home, I was feeling like I'd been run over by a truck...I was physically wore out from the 5-6 hour audio pulverizing I'd just been subject to - I could only imagine how those kids who were down in the pit for the entire show felt.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

06/06/10 Fifth Annual International Day of Slayer

10/30/10 Slayer Jack-O-Lantern (Dark)
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Today is the 5th Annual International Day of Slayer.

No, really, it IS.

According to this website, NationalDayofSlayer.org:

Who Is Slayer?

Slayer is a band from California. Their music has come to epitomize Satanic speed metal music in the latter half of the 20th century. Their 1986 album, "Reign in Blood" is one of the single most influential metal albums of all time, typified by the modern classic "Angel of Death".

How To Celebrate:

Listen to Slayer at full blast in your car.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in your home.
Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.
DO NOT use headphones! The objective of this day is for everyone within earshot to understand that it is the National Day of Slayer. National holidays in America aren't just about celebrating; they're about forcing it upon non-participants.

Taking The Participation to Problematic Levels:

Stage a "Slay-out." Don't go to work. Listen to Slayer.
Have a huge block party that clogs up a street in your neighborhood. Blast Slayer albums all evening. Get police cruisers and helicopters on the scene. Finish with a full-scale riot.
Spray paint Slayer logos on churches, synagogues, or cemeteries.
Play Slayer covers with your own band (since 99% of your riffs are stolen from Slayer anyway).
Kill the neighbor's dog and blame it on Slayer.

HAHAHA - Good times, good times.

Anyway - in celebration, here's my choice for most impressive cover of a Slayer song. You may recognize some of these guys...

...and incidentally, we'll have a bit more on Slayer on Tuesday.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Waiting To Return To Max's Kansas City...

Max's Kansas City 40th Anniversary t-shirt (Close-up)
Image on a Max's 40th Anniversary party t-shirt from Dec. 2005.
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

In a VERY cool posting to be found over at Stupefaction today, comes word of and the first real look at what promises to be THE book that should be at the top of your must-read list this fall - "Max's Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock & Roll" - to be released by Abrams books in September 2010. More on this as the publication date nears...

We discussed the history of Max's around here, just a bit actually...back in October, 2009. You can check that out by clicking HERE. Or, if you're too lazy for reading, you can just check out this video of the Contortions filmed at Max's in 1979...

Legendary Minneapolis Music Venue 1st Avenue & 7th Street Entry Gets An Exterior Makeover

First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN (06/02)
(Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Caught a piece on the local evening TV news last night about First Avenue/7th Street Entry doing bit of updating/upgrading. Seems the club will be opening a new restaurant/bar next week called "The Depot Tavern" (an obvious homage to the previous use of the building as the Minneapolis Greyhound Bus Depot) and adding a ladies room in the 7th Street Entry. But the thing that has people around here buzzing is the repainting of the exterior of the building. There are currently over 500 "stars" painted on the exterior walls, each containing the name of a band that has played at First Avenue. According to a First Avenue rep who spoke on camera for the TV piece, when the repainting is done there will be "about 400" left, meaning many will disappear. Local bands will be given special consideration and a few "newer" artists will be represented now as well.

You can read more about the renovation project (with photos) HERE.

I just hope they don't forget to put this one back up...

Ace Frehley Star at First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN