Johnny and the Spectacles of War

Oct 9, 2015 | 237 Views | 2 Comments

It's ironic that a tireless war protester like John  Lennon would have ever accepted a film role as a soldier. But that's just what he did back in 1966, when he appeared as Private Gripweed in Richard Lester's movie "How I Won the War." The film was an absurd black comedy about the misadventures of an army troop led by an inept Lieutenant Goodbody during World War II. John's fans may have been surprised to see him wearing glasses in this offbeat little film. Little did they know at the time that his vision had been poor... Read More »

Marking Your Turf: The Rock Star Tradition of Peeing in Public

Oct 7, 2015 | 460 Views | 3 Comments

As all dog-owners know, male canines urinate in specific outdoor areas to indicate "top dog" status. Are men prone to pee in public to achieve the same goal? And just what tactics do women employ to establish turf? Well, that's another story, and a lot more complicated. (Actually, I wish a power grab WAS as simple as strategic peeing.) As any guy will tell you, it's a liberating experience to take a whiz in the great outdoors. However, some do actually get busted for it, none more so than male rock stars who tend to be rather... Read More »

Who is Gram Parsons…And Why Does Yer Blogger Keep Writing About Him?

Sep 19, 2015 | 2347 Views | 2 Comments

I’ve read six books about a singer/songwriter that some of you may barely recognize or recall: Gram Parsons. Six books. And three more that feature him prominently. I begin each bio hoping to understand how and why such an enormously gifted musical visionary chose, or was predestined, to recklessly self-destruct at such a young age. The biographies present a wealth of information: about how this well-mannered Southern boy pioneered and popularized the merging of country sounds with rock, rhythm and folk...about his influence on artists as diverse as The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello...about how he... Read More »

Pumpin’ Some Pittsburgh Labor Day Love with The Iron City Houserockers

Sep 7, 2015 | 2095 Views | 0 Comments

There’s no city in America that defined labor quite like beautiful, hardscrabble Pittsburgh. Our workers produced the big, hard, heavy, clanging things that made the world go 'round: iron, steel, aluminum, glass, massive rotors, giant generators. Nobody worked as hard as Pittsburghers. And nobody wrote and sang about the working class lives and loves of Pittsburghers quite like the fabulous Iron City Houserockers. The band's original lineup included founder, guitarist and vocalist Joe Grushecky, bass player Art Nardini, drummer Ned Rankin, guitarist Eddie Britt, keyboardist Gil Snyder, guitarist Gary Scalese, and harmonica player Marc Reisman. These guys... Read More »

The Beatles and The Stones: Beasts of Beard-dom

Sep 5, 2015 | 2168 Views | 0 Comments

She asks me why I'm just a hairy guy. I'm hairy noon and night. Hair that's a fright. I'm hairy high and low. Don't ask me why. Don't know. Those words from the Broadway musical "Hair" pretty much summed up the let it all hang out, let it all hang long philosophy of the '60s. When it came to facial hair, The Beatles were always adventurous. At various times both John and George sprouted wild, full-coverage beards. Those two were at their absolute bushiest in the Ethan Russell photo featured on the cover of the 1969 "Hey... Read More »