Wednesday, June 29, 2011

06/28/11 R.I.P. Bleu Ocean

(Image via: Bleu

UPDATED 06/30/11

New York City based percussive multi-intstumentalist and recording musician Bleu Ocean passed away just after 12:00pm on Tuesday afternoon, June 28th due to complications from a heart attack he suffered while performing last Friday evening at the P&G Bar in New York with his latest group, The New York Blues Project. reports:

Bleu..."suffered a heart attack midway through the show amidst a scene that quickly grew surreal. A room filled with friends cheered him on as police and paramedics took the stage. In a place where music was to be performed, they instead performed CPR, trying desperately to revive him. Bleu was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he fought bravely for four days until he could fight no more."

A close friend to many in the early-mid 1970's NYC underground music scene, Bleu was a life-long musician and was involved in many interesting projects throughout his musical career. Some of his career highlights are detailed in the bio on his website:

*Toured and recorded with the Monkees.

*Formed the power-trio "Profit" in 1971 along with Jerome Arnold of Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Don Brown from Donovan’s band.

*Worked as an in-house promoter for New York City clubs "The Elgin Theater" and "Max's Kansas City."

*Managed artists Neon Leon, Kongress, Shanghai Side Show, and several others.

*Formed the "Ocean Star Band", a band that featured among it's members Jordan Rudess of Dream Theatre on keyboards.

*Appeared on the track "Bring The Boys Back Home" from Pink Floyd's legendary 1979 multi-million selling album "The Wall. According to Bleu: "I got the call from Michael Kamen and Bob Ezrin (producer) on Friday needing 30 drummers by Monday, and I was able to deliver."

To read more about Bleu's long career in the music biz and hear to some of his music, visit his website Bleu

New York City Images As Album/CD Cover Art #24: Lou Reed "City Lights" (1985)

Lou Reed City Lights LP
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives - courtesy MJG196 Collection)

Artist: Lou Reed
Title: City Lights
Release Date: 1985

One From The Archives: Lollapalooza 1993 Tour Ad

June-July 1993 Lollapalooza Ad IA-MN-IL (Top)
June-July 1993 Lollapalooza Ad IA-MN-IL (Bottom)
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Suggested Reading: "Cop!" by L.H. Whittemore (1970)

Cop!Cop! by L.H. Whittemore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Take an exciting and dangerous trip back in time to 1968/1969 with author L.H. Whittemore as he tags along with policemen from three of the most crime-riddled and violent cities in the United States at the time: Patrolman Joseph Minelli in New York City, Detective Ernie Cox in Chicago, and Patrolmen Colin Barker and his partner Gary Cummings in San Francisco.

It was a time of protest, social reorganization, population shift, rising urban crime rates, "White Flight," and "Black Power." It was a time that seemed like almost anything could...and would...and did...happen. And it was a dangerous time time to be a Cop in the big cities of America. Law enforcement had always been a dangerous career choice, but now the police in American cities were seen by a large segment of the younger generation not as a protective force but instead as an occupying force. They were seen as "The Pigs," enforcing the imposement of unjust laws enacted by "The Man" upon those who sought greater personal and social freedoms and liberties.

Cop! is the story of four vry different policemen in three very different cities and how each officer was doing the best job that he could do at the time to keep the peace and uphold the law, often amid circumstances that bordered on insanity and/or near-anarchy. Come along as the officers go on patrol out on the crumbling city streets, sit on long stake-outs, investigate various criminal activies, make arrests, and try to keep the streets from exploding in violence...all while trying to make it home alive at the end of the day.

Part one of the book, the first 109 pages, are given to police stories that can only come from the streets of New York City. A summer heat-wave, high youth unemployment and simmering racial tensions threaten to make the streets erupt with action and violence at any time, day or night. An in-home burglary and a shaken eldery victim. A domestic situation. Rowdy kids on the streets opening fire-hydrants to cool off, not realizing that the fire department needs the water pressure to douse the fires of the burning tenement buildings up the street. Small, unattended children aimlessly wandering the streets at all hours amid the junkies and pimps and whores who shot up, conducted business and settled scores on the same streets. Part one of this book educates you to the fact that there is not a dull moment in the life of a New York City cop.

In part two, follow the twists and turns of a routine-turned-complex investigation of a late-night Chicago street fight in a seedy section of the city that led to one man's death. Or did it? Did the victim's boxing match under the El really lead to his death or were there other unknown circumstances? Sometimes it seems this story will just keep going on forever with a cast of interesting street characters who each have their own motivation to be less than completely truthful with the police investigating the crime. BUt through persistent investigative work, the story finally becomes clear and justic is eventually served.

Then, come along in part three, as a pair of San Francisco cops navigate their way through the post-Summer of Love wreckage of Haight-Ashbury populating the streets in the summer of '68 or '69: hungry, poor, drugged-out runaways from all over America who came expecting to live out the hippie dream but had arrived too late and now clogged the streets of the Haight, peddling drugs and begging for spare change, making life a miserable and sometimes dangerous daily obsticle course for many of those who called the area home. To make things even more interesting, the young Patrolmen, Barker and Cummings, have several personal and idealogical differences; one being much more liberal in his politics than the other. This in turn would lead to many interesting and sometimes heated discussions between the partners concerning the application of law and race relations and how justice and policing seemed to be applied differently to people of color.

Cop! is a real page-turner of a book that takes you back to a time when the future of city dwelling in America was in question as violence, unemployment, poverty and drug use spiraled out of control and as the winds of great social change whirled throughout this country, altering forever, among other things, the way policing of the populations of big cities in the United States was to change during the coming, troubled decade of the 1970's.

Rock And Roll Cinema: "Because They're Young" (1960)

June 26 - 28, 1960 New Prague Theater Dick Clark Because They're Young
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Plot synopsis via IMDB:

Neil Hendry is the new high school teacher in town, but he is still haunted by a tragic event in his past. However, his friendly, casual style wins the hearts of some of the school's more troubled teens, as well as the principal's secretary. He is able to positively help them both in and out of school. But these same attributes make him an enemy of the principal, who discourages such close relationships between teachers and students.

One From The Archives: 06/26/05 The Demolition Ball 2005 @ Newcastle Metro Arena, Newcastle, England

06-26-05 Demolition Ball @ Newcastle, England
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One From The Archives: 06/25/05 Stephen Pearcy/ Modify/ Kwang @ Station 4, St. Paul, MN

06-25-05 Stephen Pearcy @ St. Paul, MN
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

New York City Images As Album/CD Cover Art #23: Buck Owens And His Buckaroos "I Wouldn't Live In New York City" (1971)

Buck Ownes I Wouldn't Live In New York City LP (1971)

Artist: Buck Owens and his Buckaroos
Title: I Wouldn't Live In New York City
Released: 1971 - UK ONLY release on Capitol Records

Want to see and hear Buck and his Buckaroos performing the song "I Wouldn't Live In New York City" on "Hee Haw" ?!? Of course you don't. But you'll watch it anyway because you have a morbid curiosity. You can see the video in my most recent post over at The New York Nobody Sings. And don't complain to the management over'll do you no good.

06/24/11 Motley Crue/ Poison/ New York Dolls @ Target Center, Minneapolis, MN (Part I - New York Dolls)

06/24/11 Motley Crue/Poison/New York Dolls @ Minneapolis, MN (Handbill)
(Images and video via: NYCDreamin Archives)

06/24/11 Motley Crue/Poison/New York Dolls @ Minneapolis, MN (Ticket)

After waiting excitedly for a few months for the day of this show to arrive, it was kind of a drag to come home from work yesterday only to find the Gorgeous One not feeling very well. By the time it was time to leave for Minneapolis, her headache was still pounding away and she was really not feeeling much better. So, after some discussion and with more than some regret, she decided to skip the show and sent me on my way to rock and roll solo. I tenderly kisssed her soft pouty lips goodbye and was soon on my way for a date with the Dolls and the Crue! Oh, and Poison, too.

After doing battle with the always horrid Friday-at-5:00pm Twin Cities rush hour traffic conditions for the better part of an hour, I arrived in downtown Minneapolis, parked the car and walked several blocks out of my way to grab a quick and as-always tasty bite to eat at Chipotle. Meal almost inatantaneously devoured and a ravenous hunger satiated, it was time to walk over to the Target Center and enjoy one of the finer things in life...a good old fashioned Friday evening rock and roll show.

A few blocks from the arena I spied a guy on the street looking for a ticket. I said I had one (since the Gorgeous One was forced to sit this one out) and I'd give it up for $15.00. He said $10.00. Or no deal. So I said OK...figuring $10 back out of the $25 original price was better than nothing. It would buy me a soda and nachos at the show or something I figured. I handed him the ticket, took my money, thanked the guy and continued on my way.

I arrived a at the Target Center a few minutes later. The doors were already open and people were making their way inside the arena. I fished my ticket out of my wallet and joined the line and was quickly inside and on my way up to the upper deck. I stopped by the concession booth and grabbed a large soda and M&M's. Then I checked out the t-shirt booth - nothing really jumped out at me except the $60.oo Motley Crue "Pentagram" hoodie - but I wasn't spending that kind of cash, so I passed - and went in and found my seat, ate my M&M's and slurped at my soda and waited for the show to begin. The people continued to trickle in slowly but it was soon obvious that the Dolls would be playing to a nearly empty hall as it seemed people were taking their sweet old time to arrive late to catch the headliners. Their loss. Just after 7:30pm, the house lights went out and the Dolls sauntered out on stage to a smattering of applause from the scant crowd that had assembeled thusfar. I was on the edge of my seat...ready and waiting for it. I don't think most of those in attendance knew what to expect...I did.

Looking For A Kiss

Dance Like A Monkey

And around this point it the set, the band locked into their groove and really began to lay it down...

Cause I Sez So

Who Are The Mystery Girls?

And then they took it down a notch...

Talk To Me Baby

Kids Like You

...and then it was BAM! Right back to kickin' some serious ass!



Personality Crisis

I was thinking to myself, "They almost sound like a metal band!" They were kicking serious serious ass at this point and those who arrived late really missed out. Before the show I was afraid the Dolls would be swallowed up by the "bigness" of the stage production and the size of the Target Center - they're mostly a "club" band after all...but I needn't have worried. Their set was brilliant, they came across with HUGE personality - rocking as if the hall was filled to capacity, which, by the time they finished up, was still not the reality of the situation unfortunately. But after each song they got a nice applause from the people who were there, which was nice to hear. I'm hoping they won over some new fans here because they worked hard for it. Bravo Dolls...thanks for bringing a bit of that beloved NYC 70's R&R sound to Minneapolis.

And they still had one more blast from the past left up their sleeve before their all-too brief set was over...

Jet Boy

...and then they were gone. The house lights came up and I got up from my seat to stretch a bit and to go outside and have a smoke. I didn't really feel the need to sit and watch the set change for Poison...or to actually even see Poison at all for that matter. So I got up and made my way outside to smoke...and to call The Gorgeous One and see how she was feeling and report to her the smashing brilliance of the Dolls' set.

CONTINUED in "06/24/11 - Part II - Motley Crue"

06/24/11 Motley Crue/ Poison/ New York Dolls @ Target Center, Minneapolis, MN (Part II - Motley Crue)

06/24/11 Motley Crue/Poison/New York Dolls @ Target Center, Minneapolis, MN (ad)
(Images and video: NYCDreamin Archives)

06/24/11 Motley Crue/Poison/New York Dolls @ Minneapolis, MN (Ticket)

Read Part I - New York Dolls HERE.

After a nice amount of time spent outside to smoke a few cigarettes and to call the Gorgeous One to see how she was doing (she reported not feeling much better and was glad she hadn't come to the show), and mostly to purposely miss as much of Poison's set as possible, I felt that maybe they were just about finished so I went back inside the Target Center and headed back upstairs to the upper level. I returned to my seat just in time to witness C.C. Deville finish doing his guitar solo. It wasn't mind blowing, but it wasn't too shabby either...the man can play a guitar, there's no denying that.

From there Poison continued on through their set, the crowd, now noticably much higher in numbers but not quite sold out, on it's feet partying like it's 1989 as the band rocked it's wasy through Unskinny Bop, Fallen Angel and Nothin' But A Good Time. Then, mercifully, it was over. I guess you can't argue with the fact that the entire place was rocking out, hands in the air like they just don't care...but for my money, I still could have done without them. It's just me...I liked 'em in back in 1987...not so much so in 2011. Sorry to all you mega Poison fans but that's just the way it is - I'm over it. But congrats to the band on a well received set.

The stage crews set about the task of removing Poison's gear and replacing it with Motley Crue's and thankfully the set change between the evening's co-headliners took maybe just under 30 minutes. The standard between-set intermission music was coming over the PA and then suddenly, without any warning...



Curtain Drop!

Motley...Fucking... Crue!

Wild Side

Saints Of Los Angeles

Sounds pretty good, eh? I'm not gonna waste alot of time writing about the show - you can see for yourself the band was in pretty good form last night and delivered a smokin' set of musical nostalgia that kept the nearly-sold out Target Center crowd on their feet for the duration of the evening. Even Vince Neil was a bit more impressive than I'd hoped for, he seemed to have a bit better vocal control, not gasping for air and actually seemed to be trying to sing as many of the lyrics as possible, something he's not always known for these days.

Live Wire

Shout At The Devil

S.ame O.le S.ituation

Primal Scream

Home Sweet Home

And then...the moment that people in the crowd had been anticipating all evening... Mr. Lee's fabulous 360* roller-coaster drum-solo! Hang on!

Tommy Lee Drum Solo

THAT was pretty impressive. All the haters will say, "Yeah, but his solo sucks." To which I reply, "Yeah, probably. But that was entertaining as hell and there's nothing wrong with being entertained once in a while either." And all you have to do is listen to the rest of the show to see that Tommy Lee does NOT suck as a drummer, he's a powerhouse...always has been. Maybe his solo isn't so technically proficient...and I don't think he's really trying to outdo Neil Peart or anything anyway. Tommy just wants you to watch him and go..."Bro, that is fucking bad-ass!" There's not another drummer out there that has consistenly brought you visual entertainment on that kind of scale for three decades.

Looks That Kill

At this point in the proceedings, my trusty Nikon was about to give out, so I reached in my pocket and grabbed the reserve unit, our old Sony that I haven't used in almost a year. I finished shooting the rest of the show with that and as you can see the picture quality is not quite that of the Nikon, but I did the best I could as the band continued on...

Dr. Feelgood

Too Young To Fall In Love

Girls Girls Girls

About midway through G.G.G., I decided that I'd had just about enough for one evening and that it was time to head for home. The band continued blasting away as I rose from me seat and made my way to the exit, I didn't even pay attention to what song it was though. The band had proven their point...after 30 years, Motley Crue are still a bunch of bad m.f.ers - and they still deliver the goods when it comes to getting your entertainment dollar's worth for a great evening of classic rock and roll.

This photo sums up the evening perfectly...

06-24-11 Motley Crue @ Minneapolis, MN (Motley Fan)


Check out the Minneapolis Star/Tribune show review and some great photos HERE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

(Not Really) Suggested Reading: "Understanding September 11: Answering Questions About The Attacks On America" by Mitch Frank (2002)

Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on AmericaUnderstanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attacks on America by Mitch Frank

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This little piece of trash should have been titled "An Preliminary Indoctrination Into the Politics of Apology For Acts of Terrorism Commited Against The United States On 09/11/01 and Why We Got What We Had Coming to Us."

I'm not even going to get into any type of real review of this garbage other than to say that if you're looking for answers to questions you might have about the attacks on America on 09/11/01, you'd be much better off reading just about any other of the numerous books that have been published on the subject in the past ten years. The back cover states "This edition is only available for distribution through the school market." I managed to pick up a copy at a local Church Garage Sale about a week ago for .25 cents. It's not even worth that. If I were the parent of a child whose school was teaching this material I'd be less than thrilled to say the least.

Suggested alternative uses for this book:

1. Toilet paper.
2. Confetti.
3. Kindling.

New York City Images As Album/CD Cover Art #22: Ramones - Subterranean Jungle (1983)

1983 Ramones Subterranean Jungle CD Cover (Front & Back)
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Marky looks forlornly out the window of a New York City subway car as his bandmates distance themselves from him, Johnny defiantly hanging out by the open sliding door. Didn't he know that's dangerous? Anyway, why was Marky set in the window by himself in this shot? The answer comes on page 1 of the liner notes for the 2002 remasterd CD:

"Marky Ramone knew the jig was up. He'd been stashing his vodka bottle in one of the recording studio garbage cans, and Dee Dee, no stranger to the dark side himself, was holding it up and waving it around for the rest of the band to see."

"He spilled the beans," Marky says. And that was that. After four albums with the Ramones, former Voidoid Marky (born Marc Bell) had to leave the band to cure his drinking problem. The 80's were starting out rough for the first family of punk..."

More details of the deteriorating situation within the band at the time can be found of page 5:

The strain...shows in the cover photo, taken a week befor Marky's departure. "I had an idea it was coming because they weren't calling me, and I was hearing things," Marky says. "I'd had enough."

When the group met for the cover shoot at the 57th Street stop on the B train - the last stop befor entering Queens - Marky felt the distance growing. His placement in the photos says it all..."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

(Not Really) Suggested Reading: "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock" by Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin (2011)

RedRed by Sammy Hagar

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I always kind of liked Sammy Hagar. Not a huge mega-fan or anything, just always enjoyed his music, starting way back when I was about 13 years old or so - at least a few a few years before he joined Van Halen. I remember picking up a few of his early 80's releases on cassette at my local drug store where they were usually in the $2.99 bin. Then he did that HSAS project with Neil Schon of Journey, Kenny Aaronson and Michael Schrieve. I still LOVE that album - hugely underrated project. Then he released a few more solo albums and by 1986 Sammy was the new lead singer for Van Halen, a development I followed with some interest as I was a big fan of DLR-era Van Halen and I was worried as many were at the time that the band might not recover from Roth's exit. But Sammy stepped in and the band seemed to take off to new levels of popularity through the late 80's. I caught the band on the 1988 Monsters Of Rock tour and they were really at the top of their game - they put on a great, high enegy show and the music was tight as hell. No sign of the disfunction that would tear the band apart just a few years later. At some point in the late 80's I was turned on to Sammy's first "big" project, Montrose. An influential and underappreciated album to be sure. Many years later, in 1999 I think, I managed to catch a free Sammy Hagar and the Waboritos show outdoors in a huge parking lot in Minneapolis. It was crazy - the music was loud and crystal clear, the crowd must have been somewhere around the 50-60,000 mark and on a hot summer night people were just letting loose and having alot of fun. So yeah, I could say I'm a casual fan of the man and his career.

I have to admit, though, that I'm not such a big fan that I had to run right out and pick up this book. I probably would have never read it if a friend of mine who picked it up hadn't offered to let me borrow it for a few weeks and give it a read. I tore through it in a few days time - it's not very "involved" reading. After I was about half-way through with it I had made my decision...I was NOT in love with the book. I didn't hate it either, but reading it sure didn't make me a bigger fan of the man.

I'll admit: I love all the dirt on the Van Halen years and how Sammy's involvement with the band deteriorated over the course of a few years time (YOU try and spend time with Eddie Van Halen...I'll pass.) until he left the band. The only person that comes out of this story rather unscathed and still seemingly like a rather "normal" person was VH bassist Michael Anthony. I always thought the Van Halen brothers were fucked up in the head and Sammy really let's you know just how fucked up they are. You can expect that there will be no further reunions with the band after they read the book (or someone reads it to them) and I'm sure Sammy really wasn't waiting for that phone call anyway - he's moved on to a better working relationship with his bandmates in the highly successful Chickenfoot, who will be releasing their second album shortly.Anyway, the Van Halen brothers have DLR back in the lineup now, along with Eddie's kid, Wolfgang, on Bass, the brothers having booted Michael Anthony to the curb for daring to have the audacity to play a few shows with Sammy and his band when VH was in a prolonged period of inactivity at some point during the 90's or early 2000's.

But my main problem with this book was that Sammy comes off as a braggart - he's rather boastful throughout. It's like "The Legend of Sammy Hagar as told by Sammy Hagar." I understand that it's his autobiography, but the tone he takes throughout the book just put me off a bit. And I think he glossed over the late 70's and early 80's part of his career just a bit too much - a period he says was quite sucessful for him, but he just blasts right through several years worth of recording and touring without much detail of what actually went down during those years, other than the sentiment that his career was skyrocketing. Now I admit, I don't know everything about his pre-Van Halen career, but I don't remember it that way until he released "Three Lock Box" and "V.O.A" (a really great album that still holds up well.) I just wish there had been more detail about those years of his career. I did, however, enjoy the details about his involvement in the early years of the Mountain Biking industry, something I hadn't known about. And the details of his slow-build to success with his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Mexico are good reading. The man has a mighty fine sense for business dealings, no one can deny that after reading this book.

Hagar does tell some enlightening and amusing stories in this book, but I just couldn't help thinking that this would have been a much better book if it had been written by someone else - someone a bit removed and more objective to reality. Sammy's story is a long one - he's been in the music game for about 40 years now, and has worked with countless musicians and people in the music industry. I think, had someone else written the book, with more opinions and insight from OTHER PEOPLE besides just the subject himself, it would have offered a much more thorough and historical view. With just Sammy's voice telling it all - well, I wasn't impressed all that much. I didn't hate it, but I sure wouldn't put it at the top of my "read it again" list. Once was enough for me.

I'm sure there are those who will find this book to be one of the greatest rock and roll biographies ever written and they will read it again and again - and good for them. But for my money, had I spent any on this book, which I'm thankful I didn't, it's a bit of a disappointment.

Sorry, Sammy, I didn't love the book, but I still like your music - at least that didn't change.

A Tune For Tuesday: New York Dolls "Personality Crisis" Live in San Antonio, TX 06/09/11

Here at TATSOL H.Q. we're getting pretty excited to see the New York Dolls open up for the Crue this Friday in Minneapolis. So in anticipation of that - here's the boys doing "Personality Crisis" on the opening night of the tour a few weeks ago in San Antonio, TX.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

40 Years Ago This Week: June 21 - 28, 1971 Celebration Of Life Festival @ Cypress Pointe Plantation, McCrea, LA

06/21 - 28/71 Celebration Of Life Festival @ Cypress Pointe Plantation, McCrea, LA
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

This week marks the 40th Aniversary of the mostly-failed attempt to hold what would have been one of the larger countercultural events/rock festivals of the early 1970's, the collosal failure known as the "Celebration Of Life."

"Never heard of it," you say? It's not surprising. This event was marred by poor planning, the fact that the event site was changed a few time in the days before the festival could take place, local civic ordinances enacted at the eleventh hour trying to prevent it from happening at all, a large number of drug overdoses, violence, sexual assaults and even a few deaths, food and water shortages and opressively hot weather. Only a handful of the nearly 70 artists and musical groups advertised actually got to play. Several of the artists advertised as scheduled to appear didn't even know they were supposed to be performing - their management had never been contacted in advance and the promoters just attatched their names to the event in the vain hope that the musicians would just appear because they were listed on the bill and didn't want to disappoint fans who thought they might get a chance to see them in concert.

Information about and photos from the Celebration Of Life festival have slowly been surfacing over the past several years, thanks to internet chat boards, blogs and such. But for many years, the best information and description of this festival came from a rather hard-to-find, long out of print book from 1980 titled "Aquarius Rising: The Rock Festival Years," by Robert Santelli.

Excerpts from:
Aquarius Rising: The Rock Festival Years
by Robert Santelli (1980)
[p. 204 - 213, 270]

Celebration Of Life
Date: June 21 - 28, 1971
Place: McCrea, Lousiana
Attendance: 50,000 *Estimated
Scheduled performers: At least 27 rock acts were to perform. Only John Sebastian, Chuck Berry, War, Jimmy Witherspoon, Stoneground, Bloodrock, the Amboy Dukes and a few other local groups actually played.

The largest rock festival calamity occured on the banks of Louisiana's Atchafalaya River after it was proclaimed the festival would renew the Woodstock Nation's faith in its future. The promoters billed the event as a "true resurrection of the rock festival." Celebration of Life lasted only four of the scheduled eight days, and when it was over, five people were dead, many were in hospitals nuring wounds inflicted by marauding motorcycle gangs, and hundreds had been arrested and thrown into jail.

The Celebration of Life was doomed from the very beginning. Before folksinger and Woodstock veteran John Sebastian had strummed the opening notes of the abbreviated event on Thursday, June 24, the festival's location had been changed three time in little over a week. Confusion, chaos, and uncertainty had effectively obliterated all efforts toward organization and order. The festival was on, then it was off. Then it was on again. Police officials and local politicians bickered about the proper course of action. Performers didn't know whether to fly into Louisiana or Mississippi. Only the drug dealers seemd to have a grip on the situation.

The festival, scheduled for June 21 through June 28, was first set to occour in Laplace, Louisiana, on a stretch of lakefront property owned by members of a prominent New Orleans family. The promoters had a verbal agreement with the Guste family that the musical event could be staged on the six-hundred acre Frenier Beach located on Lake Ponchatrain. But when Laplace residents found out about the rock festival, they pressured the owners of the property to rescind the agreement. The Guste family told Steve Kapelow, the spokesman for the Celebration Of Life promoters, that they did not possess adequate insurance coverage for the festival to occur at Frenier Beach.

Kapelow claimed that fifty thousand tickets had been sold, and already people were converging on nearby New Orleans. It was impossible, he insisted, to halt festival plans at such a late date. The Guste family stuck to their demand and requested that members of the festival's stage crew leave the property at once. Local authorities and sheriff's deputies set up roadblocks on all roads leading to Laplace and directed early arrivals away from the proposed site. Local campgrounds quickly filled up with those awaiting word on where the festival was to take place. Others went to New Orleans and received food and lodging from the Mardi Gras Coalition, a volunteer group designed to aid stranded young people.

Kapelow and the other promoters frantically searched for another site. The festival was set to begin in less than a week. A landowner in Lamar County, Mississippi, offered his property to the promoters, but before any plans could be worked out, a court order was issued that banned the Celebration of Life from moving into the area. Kapelow filed for an appeal, but the local judge, as expected, denied the request.

Kapelow and two other coordinators of Celebration of Life, Bo Emery and John Walker, went back searching for sites in Louisiana. Several landowners contacted the promoters, offering them leases on private plots, but none looked promising enough to accomodate the expected 100,000 young people for over a week. Finally, on June 17, an agreement was reached with a Baton Rouge attorney who owned a plantation in the small town of McCrea, Louisiana, located 40 miles north of the state capital. At a news conference that evening, spokesman for the festival told the press that the Cypress Pointe Plantation, a five-hunderd acre plot of land situated in a lush, green, damp environment and surrounded on three sides by the Atchafalaya River, was leased for $20,000 for the week of June 21. The festival was on, and people would be permitted on the site beginning Sunday morning, June 20.

It was obvious that the festival would need much luck to succeed. No festival the size of the Celebration of Life had ever triumphed with only three days of site preparation; all one had to do was glance back to Altamont in December 1969. It took months and a budget of close to a million dollars to produce a successful festival of this size and scope.

The promoters had previously announced a hard-to-believe lineup that included 70 acts, many of which had never been contacted and certainly were not bound to perform by contractural agreements. The philosophy of the Celebration of Life, like that of many other festivals, was to hype the performer lineup and seel advance tickets by the sheer magnitude of it, and then assume production and talent fees as the ticket money rolled in. This technique afforded promoters an opportunity to spend a minimum ammount of time and money on a festival project; just in case the festival plans fell through, they would not be badly hurt. The ones who would bear the brunt of inconvenience and lose time and money would be the festivalgoers who bought advance tickets.

One of the reasons the promters settled on the Cypress Pointe Plantation as the site of the festival was due to a feeling that very litle opposition would be made against the event in such an out-of-the-way place. This turned out to be a faulty assumption. The festiavl chaos had been front-page news in Louisiana for the past week and the tide of resentment to rock fests had swept across even the smallest of townships. Not twenty-four hours after Cypress Points had been officially announced, the governing body of the Pointe Coupee Parish went into an emergency session and adopted an ordinance that banned the Celebration of Life. The ordinance, passed by unanimous approval, was based on an antirock festival law that gave Louisiana counties the power to issue permits for mass gatherings and regulate the events in the interest of public safety and health. This law was enacted when the Louisiana legislature sought to block a small rock festival in Livingston Parish in the summer of 1970. The festival, which attracted ten thousnad young people, was ultimately held, but the law went on the books to prevent future rock festivals.

The law required promoters to apply for a festival permit and to guarantee adquate water supplies and sanitary facilities. At the time officials sought to check on these things, workers at the plantation had not completed plans for either, since they had been on the festival site less than two days. Point Coupee authorities informed the promoters that because minimum health measures had not been insured, the ban on the festival would be enforced. They pointed out that the ordinance called for a maximum fine of $450 and a five-moth jail sentence for those disobeying the ordinance, and that this applied not only to the promoters, but also to festivalgoers who remained on the site. At a press conference the local officials of Pointe Coupee Parish asked the Governor and the National Guard for assistance in upholding the ordinance.

News of the ban came too late for many. By Saturdy afternoon, June 19, the roads leading to McCrea were jammed as cars and people were halted a few miles outside Cypress Pointe. Although Louisiana state police had set up roadblocks and told festivalgoers that the event was off, many had traveled long distances and were not swayed by these claims. Thousands of young people set up camp along the roadsides, waiting for a more definative statement concerning the premature death of the event.

The sultry, sticky temperature in the Atchafalaya River region had become unbearable when the sun swung directly overhead on the traffic jam and makeshift campsites. The humid conditions aggravated the boredom of those who had been patiently awaiting further word on the festival's future. Clothes irratatingly stuck to the skin, the beads of sweat never seemed to leave the forheads of those who were just sitting and waiting. Clothes were shed by many, but this time it was to escape the heat much more than it was to cary on the tradition of disrobing at rock festivals. Those who were brave enough to try swimming in the swift currents of the Atchafalaya River cooled off quicly as the fast-moving water brought body temperatures down to a tolerable level. Most, however, were content to wet their feet and sunbathe on the river's muddy banks.

*Lets take a break here and watch what seems to be the only video in circulation from the Celebration of Life, originally filmed on Silent Super 8 film. The audio track has been added in for those of you who can't sit and enjoy 3+ minutes of silence...

*Now back to our cozy little story...

For those not interested in either activity, there were a host of drugs to purchase to alleviate the boredom. It started to look like Powder Ridge all over again. The drug dealing was done covertly at first, as people feared being busted by undercover agents posing as hippies. But after it became evident that many of the police were reluctant to make any real show of force other than in traffic control and entry to the festival site, the dealing became more widespread and open.

The police had no desire to buck the intense heat and chase after dealers without a firm statement from upper levels that the festival was definately off. They wanted direct orders stating a plan of action before beginning any strict enforcing of the law. They seemed content to leave the policing of the campsites and river area to the various motorcycle gangs hired by the promoters to act as security personnel.

In the meantime the Celebration of Life promoters were busy appealing the local ordinance to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. On Tuesday, June 22, one day after the festival was to have begun, the federal court ruled that a lower court judge had acted wrongfully when he refused to listen to the pleas of the promoters in fighting the ordinance and health permits. According to the decision, the festival would be allowed to take place if basic health facilities were guaranteed. Kapelow and the other promoters agreed immediately to provide water, shower, medical and sanitary facilities for eighteen thousand festiavlgoers and to increase the facilities as the crowds grew throughout the week.

The festival construction crew worked feverishly to finish building the stage and mount the sound system on its supporting towers so that the music could begin on Thursday evening. Truckloads of lumber were piled up near where the thirty-foot stage was being erected. Due to the hastily devised construction plans and the quickened work pace, no one had bothered to check the ground on which the stage was being built. Instead of solid earth as expected, the ground under the top soil layer was wet and muddy from underground tributaries of the Atchafalaya River. Sound-system towers were constructed without safety clamping. All the edifices were shaky at best; but still the construction continued.

The rain of the past few days further hindered proper design and construction. Then, during a particularly bad midday thunderstorm, the stage scaffolding gave way and the structure collapsed. Wooden planks and metal tubing came tumbling down, trapping several workers. One young carpenter was severly injured when he was struck with a long metal pipe through his midsection. He was rushed to the nearby hospital, where hours of surgery saved his life.

The sound of the ambulance's siren whining through the crowd became a familiar one as the week passed by. Things began to get ugly as the commencement of the music was routinely postponed due to stage construction difficulties and problems getting the performers to the site. Many festivalgoers had been at the Cypress Pointe Plantation for over five days, and food, water and money were dwindling to critical levels. The limited number of concession stands had run out of most items by Thursday evening, and the town of McCrea, with its one grocery store, had been practically wiped clean. A forty-mile round trip to neighboring communities was the only way for most to get food if their own supplies had run out or had been stolen. The mood at the Celebration of Life was by no means congenial. Maybe it was the heat or the delay of the music, but Woodstock harmony was hard to find.

Without any form of entertainment until Thursday night, most people spent their time getting high, walking around the camping areas, and, after the steamy heat became too much,risking a dip in the river. The murky water offered respite from the heat, but not without a price. During the course of the festival, four young people drowned and countless others had to be rescued from the deceivingly swift current. On Thursday afternoon mass panic broke out when gunshots were heard in the trees and bullets ricocheted off the water's edge. Members of the Galloping Gooses, Louisiana's answer to the Hells Angels, strafed the river bank throughout the day. A motorcycle gang member told a reporter that "it was a bitch, man, watchin' the chicks scatter when they heard the shots. It was cool seein their boobies bounce as they ran for cover, ya' know what I mean?"

As the week went by, the Gooses and the other motorcycle gangs present at Cypress Pointe became a serious problem. They grew tired of acting like policemen , wanting instead to return to their more fractious ways. It started with the shooting at the river and led to the beating of festivalgoers and almost a dozen cases of reported rapes. As the drug trafficking became more intense and large sums of money changed hands, the bikers took a special interest in holding up the dealers and robbing them of their stash and their profits. With the police still busy clearing the roads and attending to emergcy situations, the motorcycle gang members acted pretty much the same way the Angels had at Altamont. Senseless beatings were frequent. No one offered much resistance, since most bikers were heavily armed. Many of them brazenly showed off shotguns and holstered Colt 45s in addition to machetes and large chains.

Things got so out of control at the festival site that both promoters and campers asked the police to come in and rid the area of the bikers. On Friday afternoon local and state police moved onto the grounds in storm-trooper fashion and began rounding up members of the Galloping Gooses, the Vikings, and the Wheelers. By three o'clock a large group of assorted gang members were stripped of their weapons and escorted out of the festival by police officers armed with shotguns of their own. They were taken to the county line and told that if they returned they would be arrested and confronted not only by police officers but by members of the National Guard as well. One hundred fifty guardsmen stood on alert in nearby New Roads waiting to assist in any evacuation plans that might be necessary at Cypress Pointe.

The police remained on the festival grounds to implement law and order, and one of the first things they began was a crackdown on the drug dealing. Only Powder Ridge could claim more rampant drug dealing and more drug-related casualties than this festival. On Saturday a young person died of an overdose of a combination of drugs on the way to the hospital, expanding the number of festival fatalities to five. Another youth that day was shot by a narcotics officer or someone in the crowd. The scene was like something out of a bad Hollywood movie.

An undercover police officer had been staking out a young couple who were trying to peddle their remaining drug cache to passersby. A young bearded man stopped and inspected the goods. The couple discussed prices with him and an exchange was made. Seconds after the deal was concluded and the bearded man had walked away with the stash of pills, the officer quickly approached the two, told them they were under arrest for selling and posessing drugs, and handcuffed them together. The couple resisted and began screaming into the crowd. "Get this pig off us, man! Kill this mother! We didn't do shit and he's busting us!" The girl struggled to get herself free and fell to the ground. Her handcuffed partner followed, and in the scuffle the officer also went down.

The onlooking crowd had now swelled to forty or fifty people. They closed in on the officer and the handcuffed dealers. "Let 'em go. Hey, pig, let 'em go!" "Death to all pigs!" Someone threw a beer can that hit the officer on the leg. A Frisbee caught the woman in the neck. Everyone in the mob began shouting and whistling. A riot was in the making. The officer, frightened and not knowing how to handle the situation, drew his gun. Someone in the crowd also had a gun and fired a shot in the air. More people rushed to the scene to see what was happening. The police officer retaliated with another warning shot from his own pistol.

Another shot was fired, but due to the commotion it was impossible to tell whether it came from the policeman's gun or the one in the crowd. A young man dropped to the ground clutching his leg. Blood dripped through his fingers. The bullet had caught him in the thigh. By this time the shots had alerted other police officers, who came to the scene. The crowd quickly dispersed and the wounded man was rushed to the hospital. The two dealers were rushed off to a police car still shouting, "Get the pigs! Kill the pigs!"

The Woodstock Spirit? Woodstock? Woodstock? Brotherhoodpeacelovehappinessbotherhoodpeacelovehappiness.

There was some music at Celebration of Life. On Thursday evening, after a fireworks display, John Sebastian, Chuck Berry, War and Jimmy Witherspoon managed to get in sets. On Friday, Stoneground, Bloodrock, the Amboy Dukes and a few others played to the gathered crowd. Rumors flew that the Rolling Stones and the Moody Blues were to play at the festival. Nonsense, of course. Only eight of the twenty-seven rock groups that were supposed to perform actually did. Almost none of the circus and specialty acts that had been announced showed up. On Saturday night the rains that had made such a muddy mess of things earlier inthe week returned in full force. By Sunday the festival was over.

The rain was a blessing. Celebration of Life had been nothing but a drawn-out failure and a colossal ripoff. More rain convinced adament festivalgoers that it was time to go home. They were dirty, wet, tired, hungry, broke, and disappointed. It was time to return to a saner environment.

Three days after the festival ended, tax liens totaling $700,000 were filed against the promoters by federal agents. It was estimated by Variety that at $28 per head, gate receipts hovered around the $1.5 million figure.

The Celebration of Life and Powder Ridge left a bitter taste with rock fans and festival participants. Many felt cheated and victimized by promoters, who only cared, it seemed, about the possibility of huge profits. A growing number of young people began to assume it was wiser not to buy advance tickets to future festivals. Why, the reasoned, shell out $20 or $25 and have it ripped off. It was smarter just to show up at a rock festival and capitalize on the inevitable confusion.

Celebration of Life - a black mark in rock-festival history.

Celebration Of Life News Item
by Chet Flippo
Rolling Stone Magazine - 07/22/71

The festival began Thursday night--three and one-half days late--with Yogi Bahjan taking the stage, chanting and saying, 'God bless you. Let us meditate for one minute for peace and brotherhood.' 'Fuck you. Let's boogie,' responded a member of the crowd.

A tractor pulling two flatbed trailers would come around, and six hired hands would jump off to collect endless piles of rotting watermelon rinds, empty wine bottles, discarded clothing and other assorted garbage.

A festival worker ODed backstage and crumpled to the floor as 'Sister Morphine' was being played over the P.A. system to an impatient audience.

Finally, there was dope, and it was plentiful. You had only to walk to the intersection of Cocaine Row and Smack Street (as the makeshift signs proclaimed) to find dealers hawking an estimated 30 varieties of mindbender, only two of which could be smoked. Plastic syringes, at $1 apiece, were selling briskly.

*Life Magazine featured a short piece and a few photos from the festival in their 07/09/71 issue. Click HERE to see it.

Sounds like a blast, right? Yeah...not so much. One can see why this festival is not celebrated much in the annals of rock music history, it was not much of a good time for most of those who attended by all accounts. But now, 40 years later, there are still some people out there who attended Celebration of Life, and they are sharing their stories and memories and photos on the internet.

*A Celebration of Life recap with several great photos and text from a 07/12/71 Time Magazine article can be found at Retro

*Blueberry has a great, detailed story of her less than satisfactory experiences at Celebration Of Life, you can read "I Survived The Celebration Of Life 1971...Mostly." at her blog Texas Oasis. More details of anotherfestivalgoers experiences are to be found in the comments on her piece.

*A few memories from a Celebration of Life survivor named Chandler can be found HERE.

*More attendees have commented over at Tigerfan.Com and

*A rather large collection of detailed stories from people who attended the Celebration Of Life can also be found on The Hip Forums.

*More Celebration of Life photos have been collected at

*If you need're on your own.

Tonight! 06/19/11 Deep Purple & 25 Piece Symphony Orchestra/ Ernie & The Automatics @ Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

06-19-11 Deep Purple @ Minneapolis, MN
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

I wish I could say we'll have photos and video from this show here tomorrow but, alas, we are not able to make it out for this one.

One From The Archives: 06/19/09 Ratt/ Firehouse/ Downtread @ Myth, Maplewood, MN

06-19-09 Ratt/Firehouse/Downtread @ Myth, Maplewood, MN
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Suggested Reading: "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" - Various Authors (2006)

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die edited by Robert Dimery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book does indeed cover 1001 albums. Whether or not you need to hear most of them before you die is a question that struck me immediately as I thumbed through it for the first time a few weeks ago when I picked it up at a Library book sale for a cool $1.00.

Starting with the 1950's era and moving forward through the 2000's, 1001 albums are reviewd by a large ensemble of nearly 100 "leading international critics," according to the cover. There is a brief blurb about each contributor to the book so you know who wrote this stuff.

Some of the albums, a good number really, ARE indeed essential listening for any fan of modern music. Modern here meaning stuff from the "rock and roll era" of the 1950's and forward. But you have your Elvises and Ray Charleses Johnny Cashes and Beatles and Rolling Stones and Bob Dylans...all the biggies are here. Deep Purple. Kiss. Black Sabbath. Led Zeppelin. The Metal Gods are well represented. Queen and Abba. Disco divas. The folk rockers, the acid droppin' dope smokin' San Francisco rockers of the late 1960's. The smooth R&B guys and gals. 70's era Punks and gods of funk. Rappers and Alt rockers and several of the one-hit wonders from each generation that have somehow endured through the years.

Then are are a few surprises - for me anyway - I didn't figure the New York Dolls made the list - but they did. And The Dictators too! Suicide? Yep, they're here. The Motorhead? When did critics start paying attention to Motorhead? Sepultura. Napalm Death. It gets a bit strange when a band like Naplam Death or Venom(!) appears on a list like this - and it's a really good thing. It means this list really is broad in scope and very inclusive to all generes of rock and roll. So many projects like this are not nearly so inclusive and unbiased.

But then there are quite a few albums included that just may be the thing that actually kills you if you dare listen to my opinion.

Britney Spears' 1999 "Baby One More Time" is on on page, turn the page and it's Metallica's "S&M". You can keep 'em both. Justin Timberlake. Madonna. Kid Rock. System Of A Down. Wu-Tang Clan. Michael and Janet Jackson. Pet Shop Boys. George Michael. George Jones. Buck Ownes. Lynyrd Skynyrd. The list is long and bad. Simply fucking Red? C'mon...who listens to that shit?

But this is a great book for when you have 5 minutes to kill and need something to read. Not a book you sit down and read cover to cover - but if you do, hey, more power to you pal. One of those books you might keep handy in...say...your bathroom. Or on the coffee table in your living room so you look cultured when the guests arrive. Each album gets a nice description of from 1/3 page to a full page. Track listings are included for many, and nearly all listings feature the cover art from the album as well.

"1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" is entertaining and informative reading for the obsessive music lover who can never know enough about the world of music. Filled with thousands and thousands of little factoids and statistics to amuse and amaze your friends with. Definately a book to keep an eye open for when you're out at garage sales or browsing in thrift shops or used book stores - if you can find a copy for a few bucks (like maybe $5 or less) it's worth it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New York Times: "Brooks & Dunn have a song, “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone.” Maybe the Cro-Mags should cover that one..."

Yes, the New York Times actually printed that suggestion earlier today in a cool piece about the Rocks Off Rock and Roll History Walking Tours in New York City that we've been reading about recently. The Times article is titled "Walk This Way: The Punk Tour" and you can read it HERE.

Can't make it to NYC this summer (like this very frustrated blogger) and want to know what you're missing out on so you can be even more obsessively bummed out about not making out there to actually take one of these tours yourself? Or maybe you're a New Yorker who just wants to know what kind of bang you get for your buck on one of these tours? All is revealed in the video below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New York City Images As Album/CD Cover Art #21: Gordon Jenkins "Manhattan Tower" (1956)

Gordon Jenkins Manhattan Tower LP (1956)

Artist/Composer: Gordon Jenkins
Title: Manhattan Tower/Complete Manhattan Tower
Released: 1956

From Wikipedia:

Manhattan Tower was a multi-disc LP album by Gordon Jenkins, released by Capitol Records in 1956, as "Complete Manhattan Tower." It is a development of the first side of Jenkins' 1948 Decca Records LP Manhattan Tower/California Suite, which was characterized as "Two Musical Narratives" and featured Elliot Lewis, Beverly Mahr and Lee Sweetland. The 1948 Manhattan Tower/California Suite combined mood music, original songs, spoken narration, dialog, and sound effects to tell the story of a young man who moves to New York City to take a job. The tower referred to in the title is the apartment building he lives in. The album chronicles his rise in both business and society. Although the original introduces the theme of love, it is more thoroughly developed in the 1956 recording. (The flip side of the 1948 Decca album consisted mostly of short, impressionistic songs of historic California.)

Gordon Jenkins performed part of Manhattan Tower on the Ed Sullivan Show. At the time of its release, it was considered quite innovative. Patti Page released a monaural recording of Manhattan Tower on Mercury Records in 1956. In 1964, a new recording of Manhattan Tower featuring vocalist Robert Goulet was released in stereo by Columbia Records. It was marketed as the first recording of the Jenkins' work in stereo. The album was reissued in compact disc format by Sepia Records on March 19, 2007.

Here are a few more variants of the cover art that have been issued over the years...

Gordon Jenkins Manhattan Tower (1956)

Gordon Jenkins Manhattan Tower (1956)

Gordon Jenkins Manhattan Tower (1956)

Gordon Jenkins Manhattan Tower (1956)

Let's have a listen, shall we? Best not to watch the video though - it just distracts from the purity of the audio track. Just sit back, close your eyes and listen...

Suggested Reading: "The Savage City: Race, Murder, And A Generation On The Edge" by T.J. English (2011)

The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the EdgeThe Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a story about, among other things, the policing of a city. Not just any city. New York City. And not the "safe big city" NYC is known as now. This is a tale of the city back when it had some grit and character - some swagger - and some really ugly, deep rooted problems that made men and ruined others, mostly determined on the color of their skin - this in a "progressive" city. This is a story of New York City politics and racial relations between those in power and the average citizen of color on the street of New York City between the late 1950's and 1970's - heavy stuff. T.J. English's latest, "Savage Streets: Race, Murder and a Generation On The Edge" eaxmines a time when racial issues between the then mostly white NYPD and the then increasingly Black and Hispanic populations of the city were at at boiling point.

One man, some would call him uneducated and simple, leaves his home by a dump in Wildwood, New Jersey to look for a better life in early 60's era NYC. This man becomes the ultimate victim of a racist and corrupt pre-reform era NYPD through a set of circumstances he never could have imagined when he left home that day. Ultimately, he will lose years of his life to the legal system for a crime he was coerced into confessing to. This is his story.

One man is on the beat...a New York City cop. He's also on the make. He's a dirty cop. He draws his weekly salary, but he's shaking down money all over town. And he's the kind of cop who put men like the simple man mentioned above away out of convenience when it suited him. This cop was not alone in his attitudes, he had an entire cadre of brothers who were in on the deal and felt the same way he did about those of other questionable racial backgrounds. He is a dirty cop who eventually gets caught - then - becomes one of the biggest turncoats in the history of the New York police department, singlehandedly putting large cracks in the "Blue Wall of Silence", testifying to the leveles of corruption and racial bias then so prevalent throughout the NYPD. This dirty cop would be the catalyst for some of the changes to come in the New York police department over the coming decades. This is his story.

One man finds himself incarcerated, then freed. He is a smart man and is hyper-aware of the fact that change is coming to America and coming fast - a change in attitudes of racial relations. This man is inspired by others, powerful men with important things to say, to rise up and educate himself and to ascend to a postition of leadershp and great influence within one of the leading radical militant organizations in the city at that time. He is determined to help the struggle for racial equality in America by any...ANY...means necessary. This is his story.

Three men with very different tales. New York was a different place then and "The Savage City" paints an amazingly clear picture of what those times could be like for members of the minority community. The book also shows how change came, eventually, slowly, painfully. "The Savage City" is a mind blowing document of a city and a time that to many readers born after 1970 or so will seem like a fiction. Sadly though, this story was the reality of the times in those days of the 1960's and 70's. Days that seem so long ago but when you get right down to it, they weren't that long ago at all.

One of the best reads of 2011 and literery prize winner I have absolutely no doubt.

And for those of you that may have missed it last week when we posted it, here is author T.J. English giving the details on the book in his own words:

One From The Archives: Sepultura Summer 1994 Tour Ad

June-July-August 1994 Sepultura Tour Ad
(Image via: NYCDreamin Archives)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

06/11/11 - Scenes From A Street Dance: Division Nine @ Sugarbeet Days, Renville, MN

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 001
(Images and video: NYCDreamin Archives)

Saturday afternoon we were back on the road once again, this time for a 100-mile trip to Renville (including a rather long detour due to road construction.) to rock out with our friends Division Nine. This time the show was outdoors - on a mobile stage on the back of a semi truck in the middle of main street in downtown Renville, MN. The event: a street dance sponsored by local watering hole Shenaniganz, as part of the town's annual "Sugarbeet Days" festival.

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 002

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 009

We arrived early - not much was happening yet, as you can see in the above photo. We stopped in at a local place and had a quick bite to eat, then went and wandered around town a bit. It's a small place so it was a rather quick walk. By the time we got back the band had arrived and was setting things up on the stage. Things were still pretty quiet at this point though...

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 051

A while later one of the local businesses hauled out a few grills and set up shop on the sidewalk and began cooking up a pretty good quantity of hamburgers and hot dogs, filling the air with that familiar summertime aroma that is so hard to resist - so it looked like they were expecting some people to show up - and - lo and behold, slowly but surely began to arrive...

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 055

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 057

Around 8:30pm, with the crowd still a bit small but growing, the band took to the stage and began playing as people milled about, coming in and out of the bar, having a bite to eat, greeting friends and getting ready for an evening of rock and roll...

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 060

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 059

Once again, for those of you who don't know who the hell these guys are, these are the members of Division Nine...

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 095

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 093

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 092

...and Mikey.
06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 089

And as the band played on, and the sun went down, the people continued to come...

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 072

20 years from now, the kids will still talk about the night D9 rocked Renville to it's very foundations...

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 097

The band pulled out a very cool rendition of Badlands' "High Wire."

And by around 10:00pm, a few hundred people were milling about, enjoying the band and a beautiful but slightly chilly early summer evening. The adults conversed, the kids hung around trying to look cool, the food sizzled, the beer went down as it will on a summer evening, or any evening for that matter. And the band played on...

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 099

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 113

06-11-11 Division Nine @ Renville, MN 132

And before you knew it, it was well after midninght...and it was almost time for the Gorgeous One and I to split - a 100 mile drive at 1:00am is no longer on my list of favorite things to do in life. We decided to hang for one more tune then make a break for it...and I'm glad we stayed to film this one...check out the guy at the 2:00 minute mark trying his best to impress the pretty girls with his "amazing" dance/air-guitar moves...LOL. Like I said, a fun time was had by all and there was no trouble...and that's all it's really all about...

A full set of 77 photos is available for your viewing pleasure HERE.
More disturing video evidence is available for viewing HERE.