THE BEATLES’ REVOLVER ALBUM ART

Revolver turns 50 today. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band topped most Greatest Album Ever™ lists when I was a kid. But, with less and less rock writers around who were there when Pepper revolutionized ears, less-biased rock fans have declared Revolver the band’s best LP in MUCH bigger numbers for 20 or 30 years. I’m on that team. As a small child, I was obsessed with my Dad’s copy, listening to side one ENDLESSLY before ever turning it over. It wasn’t until high school that a mod kid at school told me that some of the best songs were left off of the US version of the album.  He was right.  “Doctor Robert”. “I’m Only Sleeping”. “And Your Bird Can Sing”!

rev out nowThere’s just something magical about 1966. Rock had a few post-Beatlemania years to evolve and it was just before things got a little too flowery and mustache-heavy there.  Things were raw and arty and rocking and stylish all over.  The Beatles pushed the boundaries of the studio so far that they went out for their farewell tour that year without being able to perform a single song from their new album.  They went from “She Loves You” to “Tomorrow Never Knows” in just three years, dragging all of pop culture along with them.

Robert Freedman, who had photographed the band’s last five album covers and took many famous pictures of the band creating Revolver at Abbey Road (collected in the 1991 book Revolver Sessions), came up with a fantastic circular photo collage that was fitting for the times and the album title. There’s little or no information on whether or not it was actually commissioned or why it wasn’t used but the band apparently wanted something different. As Freeman’s interests turned to film around this time, he never did another Beatles album cover.  His proposed design did appear in the band’s 2000 Anthology book. A fan created a white background for what the album might’ve looked like as an actual Capitol LP.
rev_freeman_lpTheir old Hamburg friend, Beatle haircut innovator and fellow ex-art college student Klaus Voormann had recently moved to London and John Lennon invited him to listen to the Revolver tracks in progress and come up with something for the album’s visual.  John and Paul searched through a huge stack of newspapers, magazines and Robert Freeman shots with childhood friend Pete Shotton to supply Voormann with actual photos to place over his sketches.  He drew the classic lines over the course of three weeks on a kitchen table in an attic flat for the whopping fee of £50. The main large portraits were done from memory but since he was never happy with how he drew George’s eyes, he used cut outs of a newspaper photograph’s eyeballs instead. He also inserted himself, peeking out of George’s hair under John’s chin.

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Klaus Voorman’s evolving Revolver sketches

Before John, Paul and Shotton had their photo party at John’s house, Voormann must’ve done his own archive scrapbooking for his earlier mock-up because he recalls Paul being surprised when he spotted a picture of himself on the toilet taken in Paris when he first presented it to the powers that be at George Martin’s office at EMI in Manchester Square. Paul was shocked at first then loved it but George Martin and Brian Epstein wouldn’t allow it to stay.
rev paul toiletrev aftermath paulAccording to Voormann, “Then they started talking about it. Everybody loved it, George loved it, John loved it, Ringo loved it. I looked at Brian, who was standing in the corner and he was crying… I thought, Oh no… what is he doing? He came up to me and said, ‘Klaus, this is exactly what we needed. I was worried that this whole thing might not work, but I know now that this the cover. This LP, will work – thank you.'”

The album was famously almost named “Abracadabra” but they supposedly caught wind that someone else was using it as an album title…or perhaps they predicted the Steve Miller Band heating up by about 15 years.  Ringo apparently suggested “After Geography” as a play on the Rolling Stones’ Aftermath.  Of course, someone online mocked it up.  Thanks, Ear Candy Magazine.
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The back of the LP used a photograph taken by Robert Whitaker from the set of their “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” studio promo films.  Several pictures from the session appeared on albums and bootlegs including this stunning color shot with Paul covering his still cracked tooth from a motor scooter accident.  It’s an interesting reminder that their first real psychedelic album had purely black and white album artwork.  Just add LSD and wear sunglasses so George looks like Keef and no one knows that’s happening. Wink.
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US alternate artwork

US alternate artwork

Uncropped version from back cover

Uncropped version from back cover with John Sebastian instead of Lennon

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Voormann won the Grammy that year for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts.  A talented bass player in his own right, he offered to replace Stu Sutcliffe before Paul switched to bass. After turning down joining the Moody Blues and the Hollies, he played with Manfred Mann, George Harrison, John Lennon, Lou Reed, BB King, Randy Newman, Jerry Lewis and dozens more. There was even a rumor after the Beatles split that they would reform as the Ladders with Klaus replacing Paul on bass. He designed album covers for artists as varied as the Bee Gees and Turbonegro and produced Trio’s Trio & Error album, a HUGE Yer Doin’ Great fave. He also designed the Beatles’ Anthology artwork. In 2008, for a Berlin art exhibition, he decorated a Volkswagen Beetle with wind-blown Revolver Beatles  Check out the great pictures of him taking pen to car at IHeartKlaus.com.  Info on his new book, Birth Of An Icon REVOLVER 50, can be found at Voormann.com.
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Rev 50 Cover Resize
For more info and great quotes from Voormann and the band about the album cover, check out the always great Norwegian Wood album cover page, a recent Guardian interview with Klaus and today’s Ulitmate Classic Rock piece.

Also, BUY THIS SHIRT from Go Ape Shirts (pictured below) and check out CCC’s incredible mashup album Revolved, most of which you can hear on this Youtube channel.  Genius and geniuser.
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BACK TO THE BEATLES ALBUM COVER OUTTAKE PAGE

Check out FAMOUS ROCK/ROLL IMAGE OUTTAKES VOL 1 and even MORE OUTTAKES on our Facebook page or our “BEATLESS” photo gallery full of rare, interesting pictures of that one band.  Make sure to “like” us to keep up on when we feel like sharing.

HOLY GRAILS

I recently came across a 1996 list of things I was looking for in the pre-YouTube era when I was trading tapes. A lot of them I’m posting on our Facebook page that I’ve seen or heard since then. There are still some elusive things that I haven’t found so I thought I’d put up this list of holy grails and add to it if I think of anything else.  Please let me know if you know where to see or hear any of these! Thanks.
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BEATLES Hard Day’s Night & Help movie outtakes, “Run For Your Live You” (??), Carnival of Light, In Spite of All the Danger (1993?!)
BLACK CROWES video of live show w/Andy Sturmer on percussion
LLOYD COLE “Billy Blake & the Eternals” Lloyd & Matthew Sweet doing covers
DILLON FENCE covering the Beatles “Rain”
GIGOLO AUNTS covering  “In The Street”
KRISTEN HERSH doing Big Star’s “Jesus Christ”
JELLYFISH Paul McCartney/Kurt Loder MTV interview that mentions Jellyfish(1990 or 91), “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (Todd Rundgren cover), “Double Vision” (Foreigner cover), first half of Loveline (LA radio 1991), Wembley footage or photos (had a VHS copy & gave it away. Oops), Acoustic at Craig Lee benefit (?9/4/91 The Palace, LA), British magazine the Face w/article on INXS show at Wembley, 11/20/93 Broward County Fairgrounds, Hallandale, FL (last show ever)
LEMONHEADS E! segment on Evan (Tower Sunset instore 1993)
LETTERS TO CLEO covering Dillon Fence’s “Living Room Scene”
LOVE JONES Conan O’Brien video
LOVED ONES last show
JON LOVITZ The Please Watch the Jon Lovitz Special (1992)
MAGNAPOP doing Big Star’s “13”
NIRVANA  full video of Kurt vs. bouncer  from Trees in Dallas uncut including car chase afterwards,BBC radio show where Kurt does a bit of Blur’s “There’s No Other Way”
POSIES  doing the Beatles’ “Two of Us” (acoustic) or Big Star’s “Back of a Car”, video of them singing the national anthem (have it on VHS but someone should upload it)
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS early crazy MTV interview praising Andy Gill (possibly longer version of this), on some kids show lip-syncing Fight Like A Brave on a bowling lane.
REPLACEMENTS Show in Toronto where they wrote songs onstage.
RUGBURNS singing the national anthem before an LA Clippers game
SCHOOL OF FISH KROQ acoustic show 1991
SLOAN Foxy Inc. boot
SMASHING PUMPKINS    any of the three Bay Area Lolla sets 1994
RINGO STARR Time Takes Time video EPK
STREET VENDORS live show
SUNDAYS early 1987, 1988 shows
MATTHEW SWEET  12/22/91 Live 105 acoustic show, Tower Sunset instore (or any instores w/”Countdown” by Lindsey Buckingham or “Isolation” by John Lennon), live @ McCabe’s (LA),  “When We Pretend We’re Dead” by L7
VERUCA SALT covering the Bee Gees “Holiday”
WONDER STUFF  any interesting Miles Hunt hosting 120 Minutes for Euro MTV.
THE (FAKE) ZOMBIES Had them lip-syncing on TV and stupidly gave it away

LITTLE RICHARDS/SCHIZOPHONICS EURO INVASION, PART 1

At my age, I’d long given up the dream of someone walking up to me out of nowhere and asking me to join an amazing band to tour Europe. Last September, I got asked to join TWO amazing bands on the California Dreaming invasion of Spain and Italy. It’s been over six months but I finally got around to putting my pictures, words and videos from when I was there in one place. Also included a lot of great stuff that other folks were nice enough to share.  The first part covers our first nine shows in Spain. little flyer
I can finally share this good news. I’m going to play bass, sing and dance with the Schizophonics and El Vez’s allstar tutti fruitastic revue the Little Richards in Spain and Italy through most of October. They needed someone and I randomly ran into guitarist Pat at a show a couple of weeks ago. He thought I’d be fun to have on tour, so I’ve been practicing on Kevin Gossett’s borrowed bass, trying to exercise and shunning tortillas in anticipation of playing two sets a night with a bunch of people going crazy onstage. The Little Richards play rocked out covers by wop-bop-alula-a-you-know-who, complete with choreography. Every single song is introduced exactly like this: “Hey, everybody. We’re the Little Richards. My name is Little Adam. This is a song by Little Richard called….” The Schizophonics are a fuzzed-out husband/wife-led trio packed with not-to-be-believed one armed jumping bean guitarist insanity. I’ve always felt bad for anyone who had to stand next to Pat up there. Now it’s gonna be me, at least for this tour. I’m in charge of posting updates while we’re slaying Europe, doing about 20 shows in 25 days, at https://www.facebook.com/TheLilRichards so give ’em a like. We’ll be announcing the dates there soon which cover a good chunk of Spain and a week in Italy playing Milan and a bunch of smaller towns. Back to studying 30 songs…right step left step right step left step….

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Pat’s great tour flyer

Justin airport photo

Justin airport photo

What I didn’t mention when I took the job is that I’ve never really played bass.  I can barely play guitar.  But they’d already rescheduled this tour and everyone they asked couldn’t do it.  I knew everyone in the band already and loved the music so it was a great last minute solution. I was in between living situations and needed a vacation.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  I ran every morning for three and a half weeks, lost 15 pounds, listened to 30 songs nonstop, got a passport, bought polka dot shirts, convinced them to do a Velvet Underground version of “Kansas City”, practiced like crazy, played a warmup show with the Schizos and got halfway decent in less than a month.  There was only one problem: “Jenny Jenny”, which required nonstop kicks while doing a walking bassline and almost drove me insane. I learned it kicking on the wrong beat and couldn’t get my brain to make the switch. After a lot of pushing and practice, I finally got it. Still can’t believe it.

Just touched down in Jersey. Uneventful flight. Jerks behind me kicked my chair nonstop.

Just touched down in Jersey. Uneventful flight. Jerks behind me kicked my chair nonstop.

Watching Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth at 20,000 feet over the Atlantic as the sun comes up bright red.

Watching Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth at 20,000 feet over the Atlantic as the sun comes up bright red.

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Footage shot & edited by Walter Graham. Tour graphics added by Marcelo Fioramonit.

MADRID

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Amazing feats of strength. Photo by Lety

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A bit overhyped but still muy bueno. Letyfoto

Arrived safely in beautiful Madrid! Had a day to wander around, eating chocolate dipped churro and drinking bueno wine, sangria and beers. Polka dots are everywhere to herald our arrival, even plastered on the walls. La Fiambrera art gallery was full of our favorite Americana pop artastic type stuff, including a dead ringer for Little Diana. Our poor downstairs neighbors had to hear us working on our heavy-footed dance moves. Packing up for Bilbao tonight. First up is Diana Death Y Sus Novios with Robert on guitar and Justin on drums, then comes the Schizophonics and then we all change into polka dots and emerge as the Little Richards at the end. See you there!!!
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CLICK TO SEE MORE PICS

MADRID/SHOW #1 BILBAO

First show

First show

Woke up and met our London based Spaniard tour maestro, Kike Louie. For all of my Jewish friends and family, that’s pronounced KEE-KAY. After 20 plus years of doing this, he agreed to put this tour together as a last hurrah. He set up all of the details with clubs and hotels, drives us and keeps everything together. It’s nothing short of amazing having someone like him running the show.

Leaving Madrid til tomorrow night. Beautiful drive up to Bilbao with a stop at the nicest truck stop on earth for health food and chips with a handle. We are being absolutely spoiled starting the tour in the beautiful Kafe Antzokian theater. Shirts and Polish keyboard are set to rock!  CLICK FOR MORE PICS
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Facebook video of Lety with the theater’s video marquee

The debut of the tour t shirts!

The debut of the tour t shirts!

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Diana Death Y Sus Novios at sound check. First show of the tour prep!

Facebook video of the first song of the tour

DENA FLOWS SNAPS DIANA DEATH Y SUS NOVIOS
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Video c/o Alberto Arzua Arrugaeta

Justin quad photo. "First night of tour. Load in, crowd packed in, free beern', schizos rockn'"

Justin quad photo. “First night of tour. Load in, crowd packed in, free beern’, schizos rockn'”

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 11.57.52 PMHOT SCHIZOPHONICS SHOTS BY DENA FLOWS

The Schitzophonics, Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao, 1/X/2015. Foto por Dena Flows

The Schitzophonics, Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao, 1/X/2015. Foto por Dena Flows

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Amazing drawing of Pat by Pieded Ortiz

Kike's photo of the mercy a few days before it all got sold.

Kike’s photo of the merch before it all got sold.

Great shot by Piru Lamiako from Bilbaoenvivo's rare review. Click to read it en espanol.

Great shot by Piru Lamiako from Bilbaoenvivo’s rave review. Click to read it en español.

Whoa!  Just found a Facebook album with more of Piru’s great pictures from that night!
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Justin photo of our daily Tetris life

Justin photo of our daily Tetris life

First night is THAT good?! Holy moly. We all played shockingly great and a packed theater gave us mucho amor. Incredible! If anyone took video or photos, please share!  I didn’t mention it while we were there but it might’ve been the very first night where I earned my tour name “Jamón”, Spanish for ham. Being new to the bass and having to sing and dance at the same time kept my moves to a minimum. I look like I’m standing still next to these crazies when I watch video now. I ended up walking upstage more than I meant to and found myself throwing facial expressions like I’d watched Robert’s backup singers do for years.  To be called a ham by these spazzes is saying a lot. I tried seeing how far my cable would let me get up some stairs near the side of the stage and just ended up climbing on top of the staircase pedestal.  Look at MEEEEEEEEE. Jamón it is, then.

Went outside and it was POURING rain. Kids outside of clubs and churches, drinking and singing all night (even now at 2am). Spain is putting the USA parties to shame! Hotel is amazing, as is Justin’s sleeping shirt and the fact that our mini bar has the Fanta Limon *in a glass bottle* I looked for all day yesterday. Triumphant return to Madrid tomorrow to play Rock Palace!   CLICK FOR MORE PICS , video of Lety and a video marquee


INCREDIBLE BILBAO LITTLE RICHARDS PHOTOS BY DENA FLOWS

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Post-show dog pile. Photo by Lety

BILBAO/SHOW #2 MADRID

Justin photo of Pat getting eaten by a spider

Justin photo of Pat getting eaten by a spider

Oh do we love Bilbao. Just look at the pictures outside of the theater we played last night. Did we mention Kike’s parking job? Not to be believed so I got proof. I didn’t write about it at the time but somehow someone broke into the van and made a mess of what little they could get to. In the end, the only things that were stolen was the art print we’d bought for Diana and Kike’s driving gloves. A HUGE bullet to dodge. We had time to walk around the town near the river and the amazing Guggenheim museum this morning before heading back to Madrid. Going onstage in a few seconds in a tiny 1977 punk loving club about 1/10th the size as last night in a much bigger city. Gonna be some sweaty polka dots! CLICK FOR MORE PICS

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Listening. The most important part of soundcheck.

Two nights of roconrol in a row, tying a previous record for this band. We didn’t think we’d have enough room for our choreography last night but we kicked it just fine. Rock Palace was a blast, especially meeting all of Kike’s hometown friends plus Tony the Tiger and Mateo who are also visiting from San Diego. So strange to see friends halfway around the world. We weaved our way back to the hotel through throngs of late night partiers to our sleek, modern suite. On our way to Leon for a late midnight show followed by a 1pm outdoor show in Aranda. iROCONROL!
RUTA 66’S REVIEW (much more fun via Google Translate)
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Tony shot us! First live evidence with Little Diana killing Ooh! My Soul so hard in Madrid that it blew Little Adam out the emergency exit….twice.


Facebook video of Schizophonics doing “Put Your Weight On It” on Facebook, thanks to Beat-riz Saru.

MADRID/SHOW #3 LEON

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Loadin’ in Leon. Photo by Lety

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What a night in Leon. Dinner at the amazing Mongogo. Mexican food with a twist dressed up in Zebra print, Spanish horror movie posters and the best bathroom door gender indicators….EVER. The menu looked like a Deadbolt album and our host excitedly ran off to show me her DB patch. I’d asked Kike that afternoon if there was good Mexfood in Spain that very day, so to have such incredible nachos, burritos n margaritas that night via a chef from Brooklyn was unreal. The show at Club Valentino, a strip club straight out of the 60’s, was red hot. The working girls seemed a little put out to have us interrupt their normal routine but grinned once we started. Featured dancer Cindy let me wear one of her dresses. Bandmates wouldn’t let me. Dreams dashed. Recreated all of my favorite Showgirls moves instead. (Ed note: Six months later, my tongue still hasn’t fallen off from licking the pole….yet). The aforementioned Cindy did an unreal routine during one LR tune and I woke up with Jesus & Marychain’s “Taste of Cindy” in my mouth. Constan spun amazing music all night and made it hard to load gear instead of dancing. PICSScreen Shot 2016-05-30 at 12.28.04 AMSFW Lety pole video

Shot of the tour. Sent to me a week or two later.

Shot of the tour. Sent to me a week or two later by Carlos Puente Alvarez .

LEON/SHOW #4 ARANDA
We finally settled in at our hostel around 4:30am in Leon, knowing that we had to load out our gear from the club the next morning at Valentino and then be onstage in Aranda in just nine hours. We weren’t sure what kind of set up there would be in the small town square but it was a cool truck with a fold-out stage and the sound guys knew what they were doing. Phew. Hundreds of townfolks came out for it, including little kids who were dancing along with our choreography. We shouldn’t have even been functional but ripped it up anyways. Kike got this shot of us and video of “Rocker” by those Australian Young bros including some nifty gravity-defying running man work by Little Robert and a great shot of the crowd at the end at http://youtu.be/R_KLdPMLfgU . We were then taken to a nearby park for mounds of fresh bbq lamb ribs and wine to celebrate our whirlwind tour intro. Despite hopes of fighting off sleep to keep our schedule normal, almost everyone napped well into the night in our Burgos hostel. Little Adam and Little Lety had stayed awake, so they brought back pizza for everyone and watched Highlander in Spanish. PICS
Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 12.34.41 AMYes! Tour maestro Kike Louie got video of our midday freak out in Aranda today on next to no sleep. Check out little Roberto’s amazing aerial act! We earned a couple of days off to correct our internal clocks (four of us are currently still “napping” at 9:30pm including zzzzzzzz

BURGOS DAY OFF

BURGOS

Garage on a hill in Burgos. Colors are amazing almost everywhere you look.

Our first day off in Burgos started with us all on different sleep schedules. Since only two of us have mobile access, we spent a couple of days not knowing what the others were doing in different combinations. Our hostel had good coffee, croissants, 80s floor patterns and views. After fueling up there, I wandered off by myself and found good middle eastern food served by a guy in an LA shirt that didn’t know what it stood for. It cost money to see the enormous town cathedral so I just took a couple of pictures from the entryway and in the gift shop where I strangely heard “So Lonely”. The whole city is one beautiful classic or modern colored building after another. Weather has been nice and cool with the occasional drizzle. The Plaza Mayor was closed for siesta so we returned later for the first of many drinks in several bars. Kike gave us the 411 on all the spots in his hometown. We ended up at Pecora, a rock n roll bar where we spent hours playing pinball, eating peanuts, misplacing an iPad, finding it (phew) and listening to incredible vinyl spun by our bartender in between serving drinks. PICS
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Boys of the Burgos Bar. Photo by Lety

Boys of the Burgos Bar. Photo by Lety

Awesome Flaimin Groovies mural at a bar! Lety foto

Awesome Flamin’ Groovies mural at a bar! Lety foto

SECOND BURGOS DAY OFF
Second day off in Burgos started similarly after we slept off our wine consumption.  We were awoken early to the news that the Schizophonics had won a San Diego Music Award for Best Live Act. We’d talked about different things we could do if they won, including filming a video but, in the end, got the news the morning after the ceremony.  Longtime friend and 91X DJ Mike Halloran accepted on their behalf.  It was definitely a kick to be halfway across the world, showing people why they are the best band in San Diego.Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 10.50.55 AM

 

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Photo by Dan Chusid

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“His nickname, Jam`on, with his lamb kabob.” Lety foto

I was the only one ready to venture out when I finally left at 2:30pm. Crazy Factory, a cool small shop around the corner was open so I peeked my head in and perused all their cool US/UK pop culture stuff. With all of the anarchy and Communist sickle graffiti we’ve been seeing, I couldn’t pass up a Germlins/Kremlins shirt. They even had a huge roll of polka dot gift wrapping paper and Mario was nice enough to get a shot of me with it then plug our show with a post on their FB page. Quite the celebrity sighting. I headed for the trees on the hill overlooking the town until I finally came to a huge empty clearing. The building on the other side turned out to be a bird study center. After some falafel, most of us got another workout going up to a castle. Then, when passing through an entryway near the cathedral, I ducked into a doorway which took us up olde stone stairs to an incredible museum which had an exhibit of old medicine jars and recent line drawings done on napkins. All that walking earned us an amazing meal of kebabs and sangria back at Plaza Mayor. Afterwards, we stayed in with Keef’s recent WTF interview and got ourselves ready for 12 straight nights of WROCK. MORE PICSScreen Shot 2016-05-30 at 12.44.03 AM

Burgos hostel

Burgos hostel

BURGOS/SHOW #5 SAN SEBASTIAN
Got up leisurely and left Burgos, where we’ll return tomorrow. Stopped at another Pausa rest stop, this one even nicer than the last. We all slept most of the way to San Sebastián but saw a whole lotta green hills and ocean views in between shut eyes. We arrived and checked in to our olde four room flat with its tiny tv’s and chamber pots. Thanks to my nose being a little stuffed up a couple of nights ago, I snored and Kike banished me to my own room. If you insist! Nearby Dabadaba is a gem hidden down a driveway. We shook off the cobwebs and the craziest, danciest crowd of the tour amped us up. Little Justin was on someone’s shoulders, Lil’ Adam was kicking on his back on a nearby couch, Robert blew his amp and had to strut n play keys the last two songs. Did we mention the two metal guys from France who cancelled their travel plans to come see us? They mirrored our moves, sang along and, of course, went nuts when we did AC/DC, who they’ve seen 62 times. Incredible veggie meal brought to us afterwards. Great club, great people. We just arrived back in Burgos for our fourth night where our abandoned shoes, canes and laundry soap were patiently waiting for us.  MORE PICS

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 12.54.07 AMSchizophonics half-song vids: “Red Planet/The Train”, “Rat Trap”“Move”

Videos by Pejerito Pejerito

Video of hearing Schizophonics on the radio in the van

SAN SEBASTIAN/SHOW #6 BURGOS

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Estudio 27 stage. Photo by Lety


The Richards returned to Dabadaba the next morning to find our gear arranged perfectly in a row. We bid beautiful San Sebastián adios and headed out for our fourth night in Burgos. Estudio 27, in the parking lot across from the town coliseum, is half of Studio 54 in name only. Covered in posters from past garage/punk shows, naked graffiti, colorful bathrooms and a few signs of Lady Dottie and the Diamonds’ past visit. The backstage had low and lower ceilings with all kinds of mid century furniture tucked underneath. After fueling up nearby on our favorite local treats (bread, potatoes, salad, blood sausage and a coffee liqueur), the show was smokin’ from start to finish. Lots of friendly folks. We’ll miss our second home of Burgos! MORE PICS

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SHOW #7 VITORIA
Off to Vitoria. The vets have been telling us  about Hell Dorado for the whole tour and it did not disappoint. After a quick check-in in yet another jaw-dropping town and a quenching of our thirst for Chinese food, we headed for an area of large industrial storage buildings where the club is. A team of soundmen helped us lug (yes!) and get settled on their huge stage. We gawked at the amazing mural of our favorite things that covers a whole wall (video link below)  and a book of portraits taken there that includes Lady Dottie and Little Roberto.  We had a fantastic three course meal at the nearby, empty Oh! Restaurant located next to an insanely popular Burger King. We’ve heard the BKs in Spain have Whopper Wine but didn’t want to brave the crowd to check. Pat’s voice had disappeared a few hours before but the magic of Hell Dorado, shutting up Little Richard style and our first smokefilled club miraculously restored it when he hit the stage. After a fun LR set, owner Juan made Robert come back onstage for praise and a second encore. Kike DJ’d hours of great tunes with an amazing video backdrop of old movie clips and cartoons that featured people dancing. After a fun autograph session, we were exhausted but once James Brown came on, we had to join the dance party too and didn’t leave until 4:30am when Juan insisted we give him a medium shirt. He apologized for his bad English and we finally realized we all had to go have a medium-sized shot. At 10am, he sent Kike a message that he was finally done partying and was calling a cab. Amazing night.
VIDEO Hell Dorado walls with Diana & Da Novios soundchecking
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MORE PICS
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Amazing shot by Stuart Macdonald from MusicSnapper.com. Click on the photos below to see more.

Amazing shot by Stuart Macdonald from MusicSnapper.com. Click on the photos below to see more.

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VIDEO “Bama Lama” (Facebook)
VIDEO the rarely played “Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey” (Facebook)
iGracias, Jon Aretxederreta!

SHOW #8 ZARAGOSA
Oh my Zaragoza. I thought our plaza set in Aranda was our one free outdoor show of the tour, so driving up to a huge stage in front of an amazing church was an unreal surprise. I’d been told that there was a massive festival starting a couple of days later so there would be a lot of people in town. Nope. It’s a ten day affair celebrating a vision of the Virgin Mary and it’s Mardi Gras crazy. This is the first year they’ve had rock and there was a huge set up, just for our three bands in the city center. Truly treated like estrellas with a friendly staff, house kit and amps plus dressing rooms full of food n drink with our names on them and EVERYTHING. There were a thousand people or more in the square, loving it. Very hard to concentrate with so many cute kids and LOLs (little old ladies) up front. When I took a picture of them and kiddingly made a motion to squeeze together, the whole place scrambled to the center like a Spanish wall of death. A huge thanks to Chema and his whole staff for having us. With Italy just a couple of days away, we ended the night appropriately by watching a classic Spaghetti western.
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Two by Chema Bernad Garcia who was in charge of our great night there. Thanks, Chema!

Two by Chema Bernad Garcia who was in charge of our great night there. Thanks, Chema!

Kike photos (click to enlarge):
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Video of the crowd saying hello to Alex Zaragosa.

 

VITORIA/SHOW #9 BARCELONA
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Woke up in Vitoria, headed to a laundromat and spent awhile in a nearby cafe while my new red shirt turned my whites pink. Oooops. Drove to Barcelona’s Rock Sound, the smallest place we’ve played just one day after our biggest show yet. The variety and surprise factor of each club and hotel is all part of the fun. We went to a bar full of random vintage looking American sports stuff, loaded in and then ate at nearby Pepe’s Bar, which the band has been calling the Motörhead Bar. Full of lots of random autographed rock stuff, really good sandwiches and a huge Motörhead logo. Annihilator was playing next door, so the metal fans of Barcelona walked by in droves.

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Matt Tomich, an online friend of close to 20 years. He’s done a Repacements newsletter called Skyway for that long. Fittingly, I brought a Skyway rolling suitcase for the trip. A swell guy and musician who’s lived abroad in Italy and Spain for years. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction to the Schizophonics and, like everyone, he was completely knocked out. Still he was able to take a bunch of awesome photos of us that I’ll be sharing soon. He even helped load and lug, earning him Best Guestlist Spot of the tour. The show was a blast, especially after all of the folded arms that greeted them last time here. I wasn’t sure how I’d sneak a ‘Mats reference into the set but slipped in a “Date To Church” mention during a gospel section.matt schiz
Supashort sideways Youtube Schizo vids by Matt:
“Train” guitar solo, “Ooga  Booga”, “Remake/Remodel” (Roxy Music cover) end

matt schiz2The other Richards were nice about letting me chat a little more instead of being a fifth wheel in our nightly Tetris session in the back of the van. We dropped a few unnecessary things off two days ago and have sold so much merch that they threw out one suitcase that was falling apart anyways. The packing is now MUCH easier. Wish we could magically have more records appear because we’ll be sold out of everything in a couple of days. If you’d like to order our album and/or single, just drop us a private message and we’ll get you the details. I’m biased but it’s REALLY rocking, daddyo.
matt lr

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To help lessen the long drive to our first show in Italy, we did our first drive after a show last night. We pulled into a sleeping Spanish town a couple of hours away where Salvador Dali was born and eventually found our digs: Hotel Los Angeles, of all places. It was close to 4am when we finally went to sleep but I was determined to get up the next morning and see the Dali Museum.  SEE MORE PICS

Us with THE Eva Fernández Fernández‎

Us with THE Eva Fernández Fernández‎

PART 2: ITALIA
COMING SOON!

MUSICAL PURSUIT #44 trivia quiz

Good times at the now annual quiz. Thanks to Debi Marks for donating enough Sony CD Walkmen and Poison prize packs to make me feel like Oprah!  See you next year.

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SECTION TWO: GREATEST OPENING RAP LINES (10 points)

Name the RAPPER (not the crew) that spit these rhymes as counted down by Complex.com They’re listed here in order from #10 to #1.

  1. “I wanna rock right now/I’m *********** and I came to get down.”  
  1. “Don’t call it a come back/I’ve been here for years.”  
  1. “Thinkin’ of a master plan, ’cause ain’t nothin’ but sweat inside my hand.” –
  1. “Back in the days when I was a teenager/Before I had a status and before I had a pager.”  
  1. “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy/There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.”  
  1. “6 in the morning police at my door/Fresh Adidas squeak across the bathroom floor.”  
  1. “First off, fuck your bitch and the clique you claim/West side when we ride, come equipped with game.”  (STUMPER)
  1. “Fuck the police, coming straight from the underground.”  
  1. “Broken glass, everywhere/People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care.”  (STUMPER)
  1. “It was all a dream/I used to read Word Up!magazine.”

SECTION THREE: THEY’RE BETTER LIVE (10 points)
Name these songs with live versions that became more famous than the originals.

  1. The dancehall, countrified 1977 single from In Color didn’t chart in America. It did, however, go to #1 in Japan, where the smash live album At Budokan was recorded, sending this song to #7 in the US.
  1. The studio version of this song originally appeared as the last track on In Utero. However, the MTV Unplugged in New York version became the video played by the network when the song was released as a single. The acoustic version was used on the band’s 2002 self-titled best-of compilation. (STUMPER)
  1. This song first appeared on the 1974 album Natty Dread.  It was chosen as the first single for the following year’s Live! album and became the definitive version, ending up on the band’s greatest hits album Legend and coming in at #37 on a 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine list of the greatest songs of all-time.
  1. This song was the first track on the 2014 album Singles but gained notoriety when singer Samuel T. Herring’s singing and dancing caught David Letterman’s attention on the Late Show and the clip went viral.
  1. The original version of this song from 1970’s McCartney was never released as a single but the live version from 1977’s Wings Over America went top 10 in America.
  1. This song first appeared on The Unforgettable Fire but gained fame when the band played it for twelve minutes at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium. While the band’s singer jumped down to help save a girl in the crowd and dance with her, the rest of the band was stuck playing two chords and had to cut the last of three songs they were supposed to play. They thought they’d blown it on a global stage but it turned out to be the most talked about moment of the day.  A live version from the Wide Awake In America EP usually gets the radio play, not the studio version.
  1. A six minute version of this song originally appeared on 1973’s Frampton’s Camel but the 14 minute version from Frampton Comes Alive made it famous. A six minute edit of the live version went top 10 in America but the song stopped getting local classic rock airplay in the 1980’s.  I never heard it until I went to college in the 90’s. Now KGB plays it regularly.
  1. Half of the name of this 1967 song was used for the title of the Who album it first appeared on. The studio version is an awkward, poorly edited series of short song sections. A year later, it became infamous when the band played it on the Rolling Stones’ Rock & Roll Circus. Legend had it that their one song upstaged the Stones so badly that they shelved the film.
  1. This single went to #4 on the country charts in 1955.  13 years later, it led off the At Folsom Prison record. That version went to the top of the country charts and #32 in the pop charts.  
  1. This song from Talking Heads: 77 only got to #92 on the pop charts. A solo acoustic/boombox version of it famously started off the live concert film Stop Making Sense.

SECTION FOUR: YOUTUBE KILLED THE VIDEO STAR (10 points)

Answer questions about the music in some of the most watched Youtube videos of 2015.

“Pint-size dancer Heaven King dancing to….” 145 million views

  1. What song does this kid dance troupe led by a pink Barbie car driving girl dance to? (STUMPER)

“Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart” 61 million views

Name any two of the six songs from this clip.  Take an extra point if you can name all six.

32.

33.

“Justin Bieber’s epic carpool karaoke on ‘The Late Late Show’” 67 million views

  1. Name the show’s host
  2. Name any of three Bieber songs in the clip.  Take an extra point if you can name all three.
  1. What Boyz II Men song does the clip close with?

“Love Has No Labels | Diversity & Inclusion | Ad Council” 56 million

  1. What Mary Lambert song accompanies this short film of a video screen showing skeletons in a city square, only to reveal the identities of people walking from behind in a “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover”/interracial, religion feelgood lesson?

Calum Scott’s powerful and emotional audition on “Britain’s Got Talent”, 51 million views

  1. What song by Robyn does Scott sing?

Mean Tweets- President Obama edition” 41 million views

  1. While reading mean tweets about himself on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, what alterna-hit played behind the President?

Dover Police Dashcam Confessional”, 38 million views

  1. What song does a Delaware police officer lipsync to while driving in this video?    

SECTION FIVE: ….AND THE REST (27 points)
****EVERY QUESTION IN THIS SECTION RELATED TO A PRIZE AT THE END OF THE NIGHT

  1. What is the official name of David Bowie’s last album?
  1. What band’s lead singer had a reality show called Rock Of Love?
  1. What Sony portable device hit the market in 1984?
  1. Coverband the Little Richards was started by Robert Lopez (El Vez/Zeros) to celebrate the one year anniversary of what North Park vintage resale shop named after a Little Richard song?
  2. What Beatlesque fictional band starred in the 1978 TV mockumentary All You Need Is Cash?
  1. Pop Will Eat Itself’s 1989 #38 UK hit “Can U Dig It?” is made up of references and samples from what 1979 gang movie?
  1. The song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” was rush released as a single after appearing in a commercial for what in 1971?
  1. The seventh single from Michael Jackson’s Bad album generated a 1930’s styled ten minute video, part of a longer forty-minute segment in his Moonwalker full-length video.  Name it.
  1. In 2004, Disneyland started screen printing vintage ride posters on demand and I bought a Skyway print because, that week, I was opening for a member of what band that had a song of the same name on their 1987 album Pleased To Meet Me?
  1. Who wrote the books In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works?
  1. What Danny & The Juniors 1958 #19 single was performed by Sha Na Na in Grease along with their #1 debut “At The Hop”?
  1. What lesbian duo scored a minor alterna-hit in 1994 with the song “You Suck”?  I once saw them looking bored waiting for their SD Pride parade car to move onto University Avenue. They seemed thrilled to be recognized when I walked by and said, “Cheer up. You suck.”
  1. What movie features Adam Sandler pulling up to a highschool in a Trans Am wearing an REO Speedwagon shirt and trying to impress students by cranking Billy Squier’s “The Stroke”?
  1. What band had a hit with that terrible cover of “Boys Of Summer” in 2003?
  1. Who were Kevin DuBrow, Rudy Sarzo, Frankie Banali, and Carlos Cavazo?
  1. What Beatles song is this Wikipedia paragraph about? (STUMPER)

In the song’s final bridge section, at 2:58,[67] the spoken phrase “Fucking hell!” appears. Scott admits that although he was told about it, he could not hear the words originally.[10] Lennon attributed the expletive to McCartney, according to Emerick,[56] who reports Lennon’s comment in his autobiography: “‘Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word,’ Lennon gleefully crowed, ‘but I insisted we leave it in [at Trident], buried just low enough so that it can barely be heard. Most people won’t ever spot it … but we’ll know it’s there.'”[68] Womack considers that the expletive was actually uttered by Lennon.[67] Malcolm Toft, the mix engineer on the Trident recording,[69] also attributes it to Lennon.[70] In Toft’s recollection, Lennon was overdubbing his harmony vocal when, in reaction to the volume being too loud in his headphones, he first called out “Whoa!” then, two seconds later, swore as he pulled the headphones off.

  1. Who wrote and performed the theme song for the Dukes of Hazzard?
  1. The last time I went to Coachella was in 2002 for the first of two days.  Everyone I remember seeing that day was European: the Charlatans UK, the Beta Band, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bjork. We left before the headliners, a British DJ duo, “performed”.  Who was it?
  1. About 10 years ago, my Dad met Connie DeLonge and arranged a lunch for us to discuss possibly having her help with a mortgage loan. She excitedly told me how her son’s new band had him really passionate about music again.  I bit my lip since his old band had screwed my friend out of at least half a million dollars. What was his new band?
  1. What band played the United States Postal Service’s annual National Executive Conference as part of a settlement on the band’s name infringing its trademark?
  2. What East Bay band opened for Big Star at the Fillmore in 1994 under the name the Shatners because they’d just done five sold-out shows there?  They were huge fans, name-checking Big Star in their biggest hit and taking Alex Chilton on tour as their opening act but didn’t want their fans to sell it out.

  3. What band put out their fourth studio album, A Ghost In The Machine, in 1980?
  1. As this is the 44th Musical Pursuit, I almost included a question about the song “88 Lines About 44 Women”. As I was putting the quiz together, I ended up taking Austin record store Sound Gallery to task on Facebook for stealing and reposting a video while adding a caption about supporting musicians by buying vinyl. The guy who responded was very cool, letting me know that a lot of the clips they post are from his own collection and I felt a little guilty for mentioning it. By an unreal coincidence, it eventually came up that it was none other than Marc Campbell, who wrote “88 Lines” as the singer for what band?

“PROMOTE MY GRANDPA’S BAND” CORNER

Friday April 8th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. GEEZER, NERF HERDER, FARTBARF, ALLIE GOERTZ.  

  1. Nerf Herder’s lone 1996 hit was an homage to the glory days of what band with their lead singer? (STUMPER)

Friday, April 15th at the Music Box in San Diego. FOOZ FIGHTERS, SLAVES AGAINST THE MACHINE, GEEZER.

  1. I saw the Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys at the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco in 1996.  What musician was the event’s main organizer?

BONUS POINT FOR HILARITY

To celebrate the recording of the new Geezer b-side “We Ain’t No Weezer Tribute Band”, come up with a name for a Weezer tributeband.  Best one in the room gets an extra point

WINNER: MANY RIVERS TO CUOSS

NAME TODAY’S CD OF THE DAY

Still bringing in one cd a day to work which I’ve done since 1995. I’ve been posting about them on Yer Doin’ Great but it’s been on hold for months while our offices reorganize. The last band I wrote about was the Rolling Stones but now I’m on the letter S (that’s a hint).

Year: 1992

Label: Murder Records

Track 1: “Marcus Said”

Why I have it: They’re one of my favorite bands, though this debut EP was definitely before they were great.

Trivia: The EP features an early version of their first hit, “Underwhelmed”. In 1996, the music magazine Chart conducted a reader poll to determine the best Canadian songs of all time, in which it was voted the second greatest Canadian song of all time. This version is….like the song says.

  1. Artist:
  2. Title:

SECOND HALF

50 POINTS (& 13 POSSIBLE BONUS POINTS)

Section 6-8 & two bonus questions

 

SECTION SIX: NAME THAT TUNE (50 points)

Answer questions about the songs played. More than just the normal name the song and artiste!

Here’s a Youtube playlist of the songs played for Name-That-Tune, some of my favorite Bowie covers….

 

SECTION SEVEN: BEST IN THE ROOM (5 BONUS POINTS)

I’ll read a question for you to work on while Name-That-Tune is played.  Write your answers on a separate piece of paper. The team that answers the most questions gets five points.  In the event of a tie, all tied teams will get five points.

Name as many of the musicians in Ranker.com’s list of 100 most famous Davids.
Winner got 9 out of 20.

SECTION EIGHT: SUPER EXTRA HARD (5 BONUS POINTS)

Before the last Name-That-Tune song plays, I’ll read one last hard question to work on while the entire last song plays.

What song did Bob Geldof suggest and practice with David Bowie and Mick Jagger in the hopes of a satellite duet for Live Aid?  Answer (STUMPER)

 

91X, 1987 & ME

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A watershed year for alt rock radio thanks to DMode, Cure and Smiss all releasing big albums. If I had to pick a fave, it'd have to be "The Vanishing Girl". Remember "My Boyfriend"?  That's why it's my least fave on this countdown.

A watershed year for alt rock radio thanks to DMode, Cure and Smiss all releasing big albums. If I had to pick a fave, it’d have to be “The Vanishing Girl”. Remember “My Boyfriend”? That’s why it’s my least fave on this countdown.

Ace jazz guitarist Greg Camphuis at my sister's bat mitzvah reception at the Catamaran Hotel shortly before finding and stealing a gavel in a podium upstairs in an empty ballroom.  Hoodlums, I tell ya.

Me and ace jazz guitarist Greg Camphuis at my sister’s bat mitzvah reception at the Catamaran Hotel shortly before finding and stealing a gavel in a podium upstairs in an empty ballroom. Hoodlums, I tell ya.

1987. Tenth grade rolled on. I settled in to my new neighborhood finally and had plenty of friends in every social circle from jocks to nerds to punks, thanks, no doubt, to my painfully neutral clothing and hairstyle choices. Parties started to become a regular weekend occurance and everyone was drinking except for me.  As a September baby, I was young for my grade so my friends couldn’t wait for me to turn sixteen so I could drive their drunk asses around.  Joy.  As a result, I was happy to stay home with a movie or late night television more often than most folks.

Whoa dude. To be young and a little scared watching locals get a little too into their first slam dance exposure. Saw a rubia get taken down and her top ripped off of her. Ok, maybe a lot scared....Apparently, the band/staff afterparty resembled Caligula

Whoa dude. To be young and a little scared watching locals get a little too into their first slam dance exposure. Saw a rubia get taken down and her top ripped off of her. Ok, maybe a lot scared….Apparently, the band/staff afterparty resembled Caligula

Listening to 91X seemed to quench my musical fascination.  I didn’t go to many shows or buy a lot of records yet but I was completely obsessed with all things pop culture. I gobbled up whatever music magazines I could get and would beg my friends to let me come over and watch MTV’s 120 Minutes on Sunday nights. This would’ve been a great time to pick up a guitar and play, like some of my friends were starting to do. My parents were encouraging, getting me lessons and renting me an electric guitar a couple of years before but I just didn’t have the discipline for it at that age. I figured out Sex Pistols basslines on one string for a month or two and we returned the guitar.

A week before I turned 16. I never did get the San Diego Reader ad for this back when I was obsessively keeping a scrapbook. Thanks, online archives! That whole page is quite the 1987 time capsule (below with scrapbook) Previously posted….At this legendary '87 show, Peter Hook came out for an encore and silenced an arena by screaming that someone up front needed to sit down and not move for the rest of the show. AWK-ward. Echo came on after and were amazing.

A week before I turned 16. I never did get the San Diego Reader ad for this back when I was obsessively keeping a scrapbook. Thanks, online archives! At this legendary ’87 show, Peter Hook came out for an encore and silenced an arena by screaming that someone up front needed to sit down and not move for the rest of the show. AWK-ward. Echo came on after and were amazing.

This might’ve been the year that my friend Dan and I started to predict what songs would be in the countdown.  I don’t remember what we did later that night but I do remember another friend actually ended up in his bedroom with a girl at midnight. When “Just Like Heaven” came on 91X as the #1 song, she was surprised that she’d never heard of it.  A HUGE “Boys Don’t Cry” loomed over them.  I swore I’d only ever date someone who liked good music, as if that is what had been preventing me from having a girlfriend.

I absolutely stand by these.....except for the blatant U2 ripoff.

Ballot never sent, I absolutely stand by these…..except for the blatant U2 ripoff.

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HARDY HAR, an unpublished piece on laughing in San Diego

Back in 2008, I wrote an article for San Diego CityBeat about places to laugh in San Diego.  I’m not sure whose idea it was but somehow I ended up seeing how many I could do in one night…and the following morning.  It was a fun concept but there wasn’t enough room to do a good job of describing all of them, so the piece went unpublished and we never did them separately, even though the Mystery Cafe Dinner Theater at Imperial House gave us two free tickets and dinners for a possible article (again, unpublished). All of the venues were nice enough to let me take a complimentary peek inside their establishments so I always meant to put this up somewhere as thanks. So….thanks.

Hardy har by Adam Gimbel

There’s quite a variety of places to get laughs in San Diego.  In addition to the unintentional hilarity of open-mic nights, drunk karaoke singers or your local DMV, there are quite a few clubs that feature comedy on a regular basis.  Places like Lestats, Winstons, Moondoggies, Bamboo Lounge and the new Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Aubergine all play host to regular stand-up comedy nights.  On a Saturday night, however, there are three places you can always go to get some laughs.  If you plan well, you can do all three in one night.

A good starting place is The National Comedy Theater (3717 India St, NationalComedy.com), which specializes in improvised comedy, something that many famous comedians don’t dare try.  For two decades, the NCTs here and in New York have been doing unscripted shows that come completely from audience suggestions.  Modern improv dates back to the 1940’s but most Americans got their first taste of it via the US version of British television program Whose Line Is It Anyways?  This local chapter has done so well over the years that it has its own versatile theater near Little Italy and teaches improv classes of its own.

Every Friday and Saturday night, performers are matched in a mock-competition with two three-player teams switching off doing short sketches that are moderated by a referee.  There are a few hundred improv comedy games that the NCT troupe uses to incorporate the crowd’s ideas and sometimes the spectators themselves end up onstage.   It’s a family-friendly affair (teams are actually penalized for inappropriate material) with the teams wearing matching bowling shirts that are a little hokey. However, the second they get started, there’s nothing to distract from how incredibly fast the comedians come up with material.  Whether it’s a rapid-fire charades session acting out “insipid oscillating elephant”, a series of recreations of an audience member’s recent charity walk or a rhyming exercise disguised as a rap battle, the cast members are all mind-blowingly quick-witted.

Comedian Robert Lariviere at the Comedy Palace

Comedian Robert Lariviere at the Comedy Palace

Up in Kearny Mesa, a very different night of comedy takes place every weekend.  Local comedian Tarrell Wright starts out the late show at the Comedy Palace (8878 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, TheComedyPalace.com) with a simple question: “Where my weed smokers at?” The crowd erupts at the surprising ceremonial first joke.  San Diego has long been a breeding ground for up-and-coming comedians like Jamie Foxx, Whoopie Goldberg, Bobby Lee, Rene Sandoval, Darren Carter, Bobby Lee, Dante and many more.  Our proximity to Los Angeles, long considered THE place to get noticed in comedy, means new talent can get good without the pressure of Hollywood looming too large.  Plus, there’s something hysterically familiar about watching local comedians deliver material about Santee, surfing, the Chargers, and Asian UCSD students.har2 In a town where it’s hard to keep any kind of entertainment club open, comedians are usually left to find a music venue or other unconventional establishments to host a night or two a week.  The Comedy Palace is no exception.  The shows take place in a Mediterranean restaurant that local comedian Sean Kelly approached a couple of years ago.  The large room works surprisingly well as a comedy setting and, three nights a week, you can catch some stand-up AND a buffet.  Trying to keep down gyros can be a challenge when someone like Dangerous Dick talks about his experience with an interracial relationship:  “You know what they say.  Once you go white….you go back to black.”har1 Just a few minutes away, you can catch a late set at the only full-time comedy club in town, the Comedy Store in La Jolla (916 Pearl St, TheComedyStore.com).  Since 1977, the more southern version of the famous Los Angeles club has played host to everyone from David Letterman to Robin Williams.  The town’s best locals perform here and Sunday’s open mic allows newbies to perform at the best joint in town.  The club’s iconic motif is “none more black”. Black walls, floors and tables feature caricatures of greats like Abbott & Costello, Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy while a huge stained glass design lights up the ceiling.  Of course, the big draw is that the country’s biggest comedy stars perform here regularly since it’s only a short freeway ride away from Hollywood.

On a recent Saturday, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garln headlined two hysterical sets of storytelling from his long career.  While young comics have to hone short bits and keep things moving, a veteran star like Garlin can just tell true tales about his life and keep a large audience’s attention for an entire set.  Of course, it helps if you were once saved from a dildo-wielding psycho at 3am by WWF star King Kong Bundy at an all-night disco with porn being projected above your head.  This kind of respect allows Garlin to go off on tangents, talk about distracting breasts in the front row at length and even have a pianist onstage to accompany a strange song repeatedly sung in French gibberish.  In Garlin’s case, you can even afford to retire from “the road” this year and be in your car and back to LA before your audience is.

If you wake up Sunday morning and want to keep laughing, you might try heading down to Mission Bay Park and join a group that meets to stretch, breathe deep and laugh like maniacs.  The group is one of 5000 worldwide “laughter yoga” clubs (LaughterYoga.org).  It’s a global movement started by Indian doctor Madan Kataria in 1995 that takes laughter being the best medicine quite literally. There’s no question that it’s good for your oxygen intake, breathing passages and lungs but there are many that believe it helps reduce stress, blood pressure and depression.  Whether you believe in its healing qualities or not, there’s one thing for sure: any decent stand-up comedian would have a field day with a bunch of earthy looking folks clapping and forcing themselves to laugh while chanting “Very good, very good YAYYYYYY!” in unison.