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Joe Walsh – For President?

Joe Walsh

Here’s a little something you may not have known about our favorite “Clown Prince of Rock”, Mr. Joseph Fidler “Joe” Walsh…..

He ran for President of the United States in 1980.

Yes, In 1980, Joe Walsh ran for president even though he wouldn’t have been able to take office if elected. He was only 33 years old at the time, and, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, the president must be at least 35.

Walsh ran as a write-in candidate, however, and garnered attention with his “Free Gas For Everyone” campaign. He said that he wanted to raise public awareness of the election.

He also promised that if he won, he would make “Life’s Been Good” the new national anthem, which would have been fun to see sung before sporting events, I must admit.

Although his dream of becoming president didn’t come true, it did not deter him from running for office again in 1992 as vice president with Rev. Goat Carson under the slogan “We Want Our Money Back!

He recorded the song “Vote For Me” as a campaign theme song.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I doubt we would have been any worse off with a guy as cool as Joe Walsh in the White House! Think of the awesome international relations we would have built! I mean, how can one even think about nuclear arms when rocking out on Rocky Mountain way?!

What say you?

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Karen Carpenter – Best Drummer In The World

Karen Carpenter

Yes, Karen Carpenter is the best drummer in the world – according to Playboy magazine readers.

In a readers’ poll conducted by Playboy in 1975, they crowned Karen Carpenter the “Best Drummer in the World” – beating out the likes of Carmine Appice, Ringo Starr, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, and John Bonham – who came in second!

Apparently, Mr. Bonham was not exactly pleased with the outcome either, stating “I’d like to have it publicised that I came in after Karen Carpenter in the Playboy drummer poll! She couldn’t last ten minutes with a Zeppelin number.”

Looks to me like maybe readers of Playboy back in ’75 weren’t necessarily “tuned in” to the whole drumming scene, but maybe I’m too quick to judge…..have a listen and decide for yourself…

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The Story Of Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein

Edgar Winter Frankenstein

Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein, from 1973, is a classic synth jam.

But – while you’ve probably heard Winter’s Frankenstein dozens of times – you may not know much about the songs’ origin – or how Edgar Winter came to be one of the few badasses of the keytar.

Winter recently explained the epic genesis of Frankenstein:

“The original riff for that (came) back when I was playing with Johnny (Winter). As a matter of fact, we played it at Woodstock.

And that’s a little known fact. I had written that riff basically thinking (how) I wanted an instrumental that I could use as a showcase. I thought of myself as an instrumentalist, though not as a singer at all.

I wrote the riff just thinking of that particular blues trio. Now what would be a cool, really powerful riff that I could use as a basis for a song? (Sings opening riff.)

I said, ‘That sounds really powerful and sort of bluesy.’

And I was playing Hammond B-3 and alto sax. And I also played drums as a kid. Played all of those instruments in various bands that Johnny and I had together.

And I said, ‘Well, I’ll just use this instrumental as sort of a platform. And I’ll play a little organ and play some sax.’ And then we had two sets of drums onstage. And I did a dual drum solo with Johnny?s drummer, Red Turner, and we played that song all over the world and then completely forgot about it. I didn’t think of it for years.

Then, with the advent of the synthesizer – I had just seen the synthesizer in various music stores. Manny’s in New York was the most popular music store. And I’ll never forget walking through the store and looking at these new synthesizers.

Basically, there were Moogs and ARPs back then. And the Moog was a built-in unit with the keyboards being a part of the control unit itself. But the ARP-2600 had a separate keyboard, a remote keyboard that was attached to the brain or the guts of the instrument with an umbilical-type cable. I looked at the keyboard and I said, ‘Wow, that looks pretty light. It looks like you could put a strap on that thing like a guitar.’ That’s exactly what I proceeded to do. The rest, as they say, is history.

I never thought about recording that song. I had no intention of recording it. We just called it The Instrumental.

It didn’t have a name – And ‘Frankenstein’ was this big opus that was 15 or 20 minutes and had all of these parts – And the way the whole thing came about was that back in those days, recording bands would typically go into the studio with three or four songs. They’d have three or four songs written and sit down in the studio and actually create an album in the studio. But one of the cardinal rules was the tape was always rolling. Whatever you played would not be lost and would be captured some kind of way. We loved playing that song and it was a song we used to, when we’d come in, to start the session a lot of times, we’d warm up by playing that song just because it was so much fun.

And I was talking to Rick Derringer about it – and Rick said, ‘Maybe we could edit that instrumental into something that would be usable.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, that’s kind of a crazy idea.’ But I like crazy ideas. It didn’t sound like anything else we were doing as a group, but it sounded like a good excuse to have a big end of the project bash and get a little more blasted than usual and have a big editing party.

That’s basically what we did. So we were sitting there with pieces of it lying all over the control room, draped over the backs of chairs and overflowing the console and the couch. And we were trying to figure out how to put it all back together.

And then, at that point, the drummer, Chuck Ruff, mumbled the immortal words, ‘Wow, man, it’s like Frankenstein.’

Wow. ‘Frankenstein.’ I think that’s it. It really has that musical imagery. When you hear that theme, you can just see that hulking monster, that hulking, lumbering monster. I couldn?t have written something that sounded more like Frankenstein if I’d been thinking about it, with that intention. As soon as I heard, ‘Frankenstein!’, the monster was born! And that’s the story.”

From Synthtopia article

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A History of Signature Guitars

MAB

For nearly two centuries, signature guitars have allowed players to sound more like their idols—and helped manufacturers sell more gear. Guitar World presents a history of the ever-popular phenomenon.

Ever since guitarists started gaining fame and fortune from their artistry, there have been players who wanted to emulate them. In response, guitar makers have created signature model guitars bearing the names of celebrated musicians.

As far back as the 1830s, top luthiers like Johann Stauffer and René Lacote were collaborating with leading guitarists of the day, including Luigi Lagnani, Fernando Sor and Napoléon Coste, to create custom models. This includes what are possibly the first seven-string guitars, designed by Coste and Lacote, some of which bear Coste’s name handwritten on the label inside the body.

The premise back then was much the same as it is today: as well-known and accomplished guitarists achieved new vistas of tone and technique, they lent their names and/or expertise to the design of instruments that—presumably—could help ordinary players attain similar musical feats. Even if you lacked the creative soul and dexterous fingers of a Sor, Hendrix or Vai, at least you could have the same kind of guitar.

The vogue for signature guitars escalated in the late Twenties and early Thirties as our modern concept of celebrity took shape around new innovations in entertainment technology such as phonograph records and movies with synchronized sound. The prime example of this phenomenon is the Gibson Nick Lucas model flattop acoustic, which was introduced in the late Twenties.

Lucas was a key figure in the guitar’s ascendancy over the banjo, which had been popular with dance bands of the era, and he recorded what is hailed as the first guitar instrumental record, “Pickin’ the Guitar,” backed with “Teasin’ the Frets,” in 1922. Lucas was seen by crowds of moviegoers playing his Gibson signature model while singing “Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips with Me” in the hit 1929 film Gold Diggers of Broadway, which today serves as an early example of guitar-industry-related product placement.

Another trend in the Thirties and Forties was to honor guitar teachers and big-band jazz players with signature models. Guitar culture is littered with names like Roy Smeck, Harry Volpe and George Van Eps, who are remembered today more for lending their names to signature guitars—for Kay, Epiphone and Gretsch, respectively—than for their music.

Signature models became even more prominent as the electric guitar began to go viral in the mid Fifties. The best known of these, of course, is the Gibson Les Paul, which was introduced in 1952. Les Paul had become known in the mid Fifties as an accomplished guitarist, technological innovator and early television personality through his work with singer/guitarist Mary Ford, not to mention Paul Whiteman, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. He was an ideal choice to lend his name to Gibson’s first foray into the solidbody electric market following the runaway success of Fender’s Broadcaster/Telecaster at the dawn of the Fifties.

Of course, the guitar that bears Les Paul’s name was mostly designed by Gibson president Ted McCarty. Paul’s only contributions were the initial models’ goldtop finish and the original trapeze tailpiece, which most guitarists hated because it wasn’t conducive to palm muting and was hence quickly replaced by the Tune-o-matic stop tailpiece.

These days, guitarists who lend their name to a signature model often have some input on the instrument’s design, but the Gibson Les Paul is a case in which the artist allowed his name to be used to increase the product’s prestige and, hence, its sales.

Then there are legendary quasi-signature models, like the Fender “Mary Kaye” Stratocaster. The Mary Kaye Trio were a Las Vegas act who hit the Billboard charts in 1959 with their song “You Can’t Be True Dear.” When Mary Kaye and her group were depicted in an ad for Fender’s mid-Fifties Stratocaster with White Blonde finish and gold-plated hardware, this gorgeous and highly collectible iteration of the classic Strat design became forever associated with her name.

The other great signature models of the Fifties were the Gretsch archtop electrics that bore Chet Atkins’ name on the pickguard: the 6120, Country Gentleman and Tennessean. Known as Mr. Guitar, Atkins was a widely respected country player and the producer of many of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits for RCA records. Several of the Atkins models were adopted by later players including Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran and George Harrison.

Which brings up an interesting point. While the Sixties were an era of guitar innovation—thanks to musicians like George Harrison, Roger McGuinn, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix—none of them had signature models in the Sixties. The big signature guitars of the era were jazzy high-end archtops like Gibson’s Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow and Trini Lopez models. While companies like Rickenbacker, Vox and Hofner certainly advertised their association with the Beatles, there was still an industry-wide feeling that rock music was a passing fad and not to be enshrined with something as serious and lasting as a signature model.

If you were an incipient rock and roll guitar player in, say, 1965 and you wanted to sound like George Harrison, you’d do your best to find a Rickenbacker 360 12-string or a Gretsch Country Gentleman—by no means an easy feat at the time. The thought of buying a guitar with Harrison’s name on it, or one designed by him, wouldn’t have entered your head. One simple reason for this is that the influential rock guitarists of the day were, for the most part, playing recent stock models. There was no sense of “vintage” at the time, and no aftermarket replacement pickups, hardware and so on with which to customize a guitar.

All that changed in the late Seventies and early Eighties, when guitarists began to value older instruments more highly than newer guitars. This was also when the advent of replacement pickups, hardware, bodies and necks from companies like DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan, Allparts and others brought about a vogue for “hot-rodding” guitars.

A key instrument in this phenomenon was Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein, a bricolage assembly of parts from different manufacturers (including a Stratocaster-style body) born of Van Halen’s desire to combine the best tonal qualities of Gibson and Fender’s archetypal rock and roll electrics. By this point in time, it was clear that rock music was here to stay, and Van Halen’s hybrid approach to guitar building was brought to market in a series of popular signature models such as the Kramer 5150 and Charvel EVH.

Virtuoso metal guitar playing did much to fuel the market for innovative signature models in the Eighties. Perhaps the most wildly popular examples of this trend are Ibanez’s Joe Satriani signature models (the JS Series) and Steve Vai’s signature Ibanez JEM models with their flashy “monkey grip” body cutout.

Just as George Harrison ignited Beatlemania on a Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar and Johnny Ramone made punk rock history on a Mosrite Ventures model, Vai’s seven-string JEMs were eagerly adopted by a new generation of rap metal and extreme metal players. Players ranging from Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Schaffer to Tosin Abasi were inspired by Vai to play Ibanez seven-strings and would go on to have their own signature models.

But the signature model market hasn’t all been about metal. When Fender got into the game in 1988 with its own line of signature Stratocasters, the company honored Eric Clapton as well as Yngwie Malmsteen with their own models. Both guitars incorporated custom features originated by the artists themselves, such as Malmsteen’s scalloped fretboard and the Fender Lace pickups and midrange boost circuitry that Clapton favored at that time. Signature Strats bearing legendary names like Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix all hit the market in the ensuing years.

Today, signature models are a vital part of pretty much every guitar manufacturer’s product range. And you don’t necessarily have to be a virtuoso to get your name on a guitar these days. Along with supermodel girlfriends and free designer clothes, a signature model guitar is one of the standard perks of modern pop stardom.

Read the full Guitar World article.

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Things You Didn’t Know – Cher

Cher

Cher is not usually a topic of conversation around here, but I found this one kind of interesting…

Before Cher was Cher, the guttural songstress went by the name of Bonnie Jo Mason. Bonnie Jo’s first single, produced by Phil Spector, was the Beatlemania inspired Ringo, I Love You. The song did not get sufficient airplay to even give it a chance in America, as local radio stations believed Cher’s low vocals to be those of man, and considered it a homosexual love ballad. Yeah.

Here are the lyrics to Ringo, I Love You. Imagine Cher belting this one out with her cheeks hanging out of her pants on a battleship…

Ringo, I love you yea yea yea
More than anything in this world
I wanna be your only girl
Please let me hold you
Ringo, they say yea yea yea
I’ll never get to hold you tight
But still i dream of you at night
Please let me hold your hand
I want to run my fingers through your hair
I want to let you know how much how much I care

Ringo, I love you yea yea yea
More than anything in this world
I wanna be your only girl
Please let me hold you
Ringo, Ringo, more than anything
I want to wear your ring
Oh Ringo, I love you
I wanna be your girl, girl, yea, yea

And, of course, the song itself. Enjoy!

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Things You Didn’t Know – Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury was one of the best frontmen of all time, leading the British group Queen for more than two decades.

Like the Geico commercials, you may be thinking to yourself, “Everybody knows that!

Well, something you may not have known is that Freddie Mercury’s real name is Farrokh Bulsara. It’s Gujarati. I have no idea how to pronounce either his name, nor the origin.

Anyway, something else you may not know, is that Queen had an Album entitled Sheer Heart Attack. They also had a song with the same title, but it was not on the Sheer Heart Attack album.

Today’s trivia question is : what album was the song Sheer Heart Attack on?

The grand prize is a big kudos from me, and bragging rights for eternity!

So, do you know the answer?