Archive for the 'Boomers' Category

“Remember … “

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

In the wake of Leonard Nimoy’s passing this week, the internet is filled with Star Trek video clips, but those alone don’t do justice to the actor’s legacy.

With the memory of Star Trek being so strong, it’s easy to forget that he was well-established as a TV actor for years before being discovered by Gene Roddenberry. Here he is on Gunsmoke — as was often the case (see the Mission Impossible clip further down), in full ethnic regalia!

And of course, most of the Trek main cast “auditioned” on Perry Mason. Here’s Nimoy’s episode:

And speaking of his Star Trek co-stars, this episode of Man From UNCLE shows Kirk and Spock working together for the first time (Shatner as a drunken jackass, Nimoy as a Russian spy). Bonus points: Colonel Klink!

Like a lot of celebrities, as soon as Nimoy had a good bit of fame, he was allowed to try to leverage that into record sales — and one of the most notorious pieces was this novelty song based on The Hobbit. (And keep in mind that “hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were not household terms back then. Long before the blockbuster movies, the only people to have heard of Tolkien were the ones who had read the books — and for the most part, that was limited to stoned college students. This song was actually groundbreaking in that regard.)

According to a Wikipedia entry, “When the single was originally released, Nimoy lip-synched to the recording during a guest appearance on the July 28, 1967 episode of Malibu U, a short-lived variety television series [and] survives as a ‘music video’.”

In addition to the occasional original tune, his singing career was mostly propped up using that time-honored (though hardly proven) route of the cover song, in this case of CCR’s Proud Mary. (Listen as your own risk, it’s kind of pitiful. Your level of respect for Mr. Spock might never recover.) Bonus points: As if it weren’t bad enough that he sings “toinin'” and “boinin'” at one point in the song (but not always), he sings “Pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans”.

Nimoy’s next career move was as a regular for two seasons of Mission Impossible after the departure of Martin Landau, as “master of disguise” Paris. Shown here is surely his finest hour, in full Kabuki makeup!

And finally: Nimoy’s post-Trek career has been dominated with re-hashing Star Trek (including several feature films), but he did occasionally find work in other films, such as 1978’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with Donald Sutherland:

(Thanks to For the Win for some of these links!)

Sixty Years Ago, Media History Was Made …

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I’m often asked why I named my “band” (that is, my musical project consisting of just myself) The Checkers Speech. First of all, everything else in the entire world is taken. But mostly, it’s because I’m a bit of a Nixon hobbyist — he was the President that came along just as I was gaining my political awareness — and because what I’m doing with my music is, politics aside, the same thing that Nixon was doing with this famous speech.

In 1952, young Senator Nixon had been chosen by General Eisenhower to be his running mate, but the opposition was were accusing him of improper financial dealings, and Ike and the GOP bigwigs were having second thoughts about his place on the ticket. Nixon took a look around and noticed this fresh new medium of television, realized that he could use it to take his message directly to the public, persuading them to convince the political powers that he be kept on the Republican ticket.

Not only did it work, but the speech, which takes its name from the cocker spaniel puppy mentioned toward the end, quite possibly won the election for the GOP.

When it came time to choose a band name, I realized that I’m doing conceptually the same thing: Using cutting edge technology (digital music creation and distribution) to end-run the powers that be (the music industry) and take my message (music) directly to the people.

It’s still an odd band name, but like I said, I can’t be picky.

Anyway, for more information on this historical moment, check out What was the “Checkers Speech” and why is it so important?

A Trip Down Memory Lane via Tornado Alley

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Today is the 40th anniversary of the big huge devastating May 11 Lubbock Tornado. More importantly, it’s the 30th anniversary of the 10-year disaster commemoration concert: Tornado Jam, starring Joe Ely, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and … um … lots of other people … in Buddy Holly Park. And I was there! As I recall, my date was a girl who didn’t much like me, and who I didn’t see much after that, which was pretty much the story of my dating life (especially when it came to big events) back then, just like the Chicago concert my senior year in high school. But I digress: Watch the video! Maybe you’ll see me in the background somewhere …

Another Year, Another Birthday Greeting for the Spook

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Yes, if you’ve been reading this blog all these years [and who hasn’t?!], you’re familiar with with my colorful ol’ college buddy that we called The Spook, and you know that every year I struggle to think of a different was to announce his birthday (which is actually tomorrow, April 11). This year, it occurs to me that I still haven’t posted the song that country singer Jake Kellen wrote about him [seriously!], so here’s the amateur music video that accompanies the song:

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Yes, I haven’t posted in a while – I’ve been working on lyrics for my music, taking piano lessons, giving computer lessons in return for piano lessions, working part-time, trimming tree branches away from the house, helping my wife cope with her evil step-siblings who are bullying her mom, DJing on Second Life, DJing on Blip.fm, posting things on Twitter and Facebook, and last Friday I cooked a huge pot of my signature beef vegetable soup, as is traditional on the first cold weekend that I have time.

Eh, who am I kidding — I could have posted but I was just dragging butt.

And besides: Look over to the left of the page: my Twitter & Blip.fm posts show up in the sidebar, as well as on Facebook, so it’s just as good as blogging, except you don’t get to listen to me blather on at length about things of no importance.

Like for instance.

Come to think of it, that makes it BETTER than blogging.

ANYWAY:

I have emerged from semi-exile to wish Happy Birthday to two of my readers (which means, to about half of the reading audience that I have left): Former co-worker Todn8r, and longtime blogging friend in Norway, RennyBA

Hope you two make the best of your respective days!

Farrah & Michael

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Celebrity deaths seem to cluster together; and today, it was Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. We’ve know for months that Farrah’s health was bad, but Michael Jackson’s heart attack was stunningly sudden.

I disagree with the title he gave himself, The King of Pop (although that act was the perfect embodiment of his almost total self-centeredness), but there’s no denying that his cultural impact was huge.

I was going to embed one of his videos here, but none of his videos on YouTube allow embedding (again, a reminder of how everything was always about HIM), and apparently his lawyers have managed to take down all “unofficial” postings of his videos.

This could be an indication that his biggest legacy is a portrait of a once-great artist who became totally wrapped up in himself until the very end.

Farrah, on the other hand, has always been known for her generosity, strength of character and willingness to work with others.

Here’s the news report of her passing, and a quick review of her life:

Work it out, Chicago style

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

The Blues isn’t my favorite musical genre, but I have a new favorite workout song: The Blues Brothers’ Sweet Home Chicago! Check it out, especially the killer trombone solo that starts at 3:57:

That solo is true vindication for everyone who was a trombone geek in high school.

Like, um, me.

Music Blogs

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

A couple of music blogs I just discovered on Twitter: Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist, and Whisper All the Notes in My Ears.

Over the past year, DJing in Second Life, I’ve been exposed to a lot of Indie & Alternative music, and I’m liking a lot of it (especially the girl bands) every bit as much as my native classic rock. And blogs like these are a great place to dive into the subject, especially Blalock’s, since he has huge lists of recommended music.

So check ‘em out.

Thursday Pinpoint, Vol. 1

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I’m going to try something this week. It’s hard to explain, but it’s about how there can be lots of material on one tiny little pinpoint subject.

This week: Videos of people playing the Ventures’ 60s surf hit, “Walk Don’t Run”.

The power of Web 2.0: Anyone can have a global audience!

It’s great to see that the young folks are helping to preserve the classics:

Jazzy!

An eight-year-old Japanese girl!

Acoustic trio!

From 80s German TV!

The way it was meant to be played: In a leisure suit at a wedding party!

Another youngster showing appreciation for the classics:

And finally, the real thing: The Ventures!

Set Phasers on “Hallucinate”

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Posting 2 days in a row! Actually, I’m still working on music, so here’s a video, via Attack of the Show, suggesting that drugs were an important motif for the first Star Trek series.

Bonus points: It’s set to “White Rabbit”:

I especially like the very last shot, of Dr. McCoy; very effective …

Anyway, enjoy, I’ve got to get back to my sequencer …