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Showing posts from June, 2009

Songwriting 101: Steve Quotes

The song is a little miracle.

My Friend, Tree, Was There.

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Memories of Stonewall are still aliveBY Kate Nocera
DAILY NEWS WRITER Monday, June 29th 2009, 12:14 PM Hagen/NewsStonewall Inn bartender Tree was on hand when the Stonewall Riots occurred in 1969, and he still works there today. Daily NewsCrowd attempts to impede police arrests at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. We've come a long way, babies.A bartender who was slinging drinks at the Stonewall Inn the night it was raided 40 years ago says young people need to know how far the gay-lesbian bisexual-transsexual movement has come - and what the previous generation sacrificed to get here. "The younger generation needs to learn about gay pride," said the 70-year-old man, who calls himself Tree, and still serves drinks at the famous establishment. "They have no idea the older generation went to jail for them," he told the Daily News on Saturday. Tree recalled the days of disturbance that followed the late night raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich…

RIP Sky Saxon

Sky Saxon died. His band was called "The Seeds."

His song was a garage band that found a groove and a hook, "Pushing Too Hard," that kinda sorta spoke to the bratty teenager of the late 60s era as well as to the "too cool to live on earth" crowd.

Here's a video "from 1966." You can see how they're presenting. Tough. A little arrogant.



Then I found this. Here they are in Feb. 1967 with Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden on "The Mothers-In-Law." This is beyond priceless. The teevee dialogue is so Brady Bunch.



Speaking of anthems.

November 1996.

"I Can't Seem To Make You Mine" is one of those songs that is a hook surrounded by what sounds like cat sounds in the vocal and guitar. The lyrics are junior high level, which is why they're so appropriate to the groove -- and that's what fun about this song, is just his groove and way his voice cracks around it.



Hmmmm. Guilty Pleasure Night...

A Song For Animal Night.

Wednesday night. Kulak's Woodshed. Marc Platt, Steve Schalchlin and four or five women.

"Wow," Marc said with a huge grin on his face. "All girls. And just two guys."

"Steve's one of the girls," someone said.

And it's true. I am.

And so is Marc, by the way.

And the girls? Well, we had a variety from my generation rock chick to young and ambitious girls with guitars. It's small-cast musical nice.

I told them I had helped a friend write some "songs for kids," and that I've been thinking about Animal Night coming up on Saturday. And that it would be fun to write a song on that theme.

And that's exactly what we did. Val, Bo, Avril and Steve.

I'm going to sing it Saturday night. It will be broadcast live.

This is scary because I can tell you every songwriter loves The Newest Song. The Newest Song is the greatest song ever written by any being which can produce a song or body movement. The newest song is the epic you've always b…

Seeing Larry David. Hearing Zero Mostel.

It was a surreal experience sitting next to Jim Brochu at the new Woody Allen film, "Whatever Works," watching Larry David do a role originally written for Zero Mostel. I couldn't even HEAR Larry David. The pictures were him but the voice was Zero Mostel.

Soon, Jim and I were both doing the lines at each other how Zero would have done them.

It was like watching the replacement cast of a Broadway show. And that's no slam at Larry David.

But it's in those lines where he totally hates on the girl. They feel jarring coming from Larry David. Zero made cruelty seem like a hug. His pain was so written on his face, that you knew no matter what he threw at you, the lion masked a kitten. Zero could go from rampaging monster to cooing infant in an instant, looking up at you with innocent eyes and a goofy grin, his missing hair plastered down from the back as if by baby spit.

I saw two movies yesterday. I kinda enjoyed one of them.

A Letter From Iran.

After making our last video, Marc Platt, who wrote and recorded the song, got this message from a friend of his in Iran.
Hello Marc:


It is so nice to hear from you. I hope you're doing fine, and I hope that everything is well for you and yours.

Thank you so much for the video that you sent.I would definitely send it to friends and relatives; thanks for the time you allocated and devoted for making it. Your support means a lot to me. I thank you on behalf of my nation.

As you certainly know, Many networking websites have been filtered by using the common internet connection here lately. I used to go through the filtered websites by getting VPN (Virtual Private Network) cards. Besides, downloading the AOL desktop was a great help in openinig these sites; but now(during the last 10 days)it would only be possible to get access to youtube, facebook, twitter,etc....through applying the links that break the filters.

You've definitely noticed that inspite of all these, so many amateur vid…

Peter Tork, Social Networking & Cancer.

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I'm not one to beat up on the press. If I could do it better, I would. But there are some areas I do know about because I lived them. And one of them is how social networking on the Internet works, and especially, what it's FOR.

The Washington Post has an online story in it's Health section blog called "The Check-up" about Peter Tork of the Monkees having a rare form of cancer -- and that he's using Facebook as his way of discussing the disease and getting support. At the end of the post, the writer asks if it's "unseemly" to use Facebook in this way.

I actually thought that this was the whole point of Facebook.

Now, to be fair, the author was "friended" by "Peter Tork," which turned out to be his fan club. I guess she thought Peter had been waiting all this time to make her his friend. Maybe from an old fan letter.

But I know if I get "friended" by a celebrity I don't know, I know instinctively that it's not ac…

One of these persons is me.

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EDIT: This photos was posted on Facebook in memory of Mike Coke, who was one of the coolest and nicest persons on earth. I have lost touch with Phillip Dunn and David McCarley. But we were an EXCELLENT quartet. This would have been my senior year.

IRAN: "The Whole World's Watching."

This new video features another Marc Platt song and recording, written just for June 20th, 2009. As in "The Revolution Starts Right Here," I took footage of what was available online as the world "watched" the people of Iran standing against the injustice of a rigged election and edited against the soundtrack of Marc's song.

"He's Coming Back" (for Father's Day).

My brand new song. I tried it out at the open mic at Kulak's Woodshed this past Monday. Tell me what you think.

"The Revolution Starts Right Here"

I made this video for my friend, Marc Platt, a singer and songwriter here in Los Angeles. It's a great song and we've used it to illustrate the current situation in Iran.



EDIT: Andrew Sullivan featured this video on his blog. Thanks!

Iran: "The Religious Ones."

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I've been watching the events concerning Iran almost non-stop. I wasn't sure what to write until I saw this picture on the Huffington Post live blog of the Iranian vote fallout -- and thank you, Andrew Sullivan, for your live blogging of the events:


9:23 AM ET -- Solidarity. Via reader Dean, Iranian soccer players are wearing green wrist bands in their World Cup Qualifier match on Wednesday versus South Korea:






I once lived in a house full of Iranians. This is an excerpt from my upcoming memoir.

The day after I sat and told my Jesus band that I didn't believe in God anymore, and that I respected them too much to sit up there and pretend, I needed to find a job.

Since I had done short order hamburger cooking in Buna, I got a job in the kitchen of a local Mexican food restaurant.

I knew the manager, a woman, and told her I was a very hard worker. So, she signed me up and on the first day, I went into a kitchen full of Iranian college students. They were dark, handsome, sexy and…

Hen Warming Kittens. Watch it till the end.

Steinbeck Sings!

Jim tries to get Steinbeck to sing.

It's Jero!

I don't know why, but this story made me cry.

I'm Singing a New Song Tonight at Kulak's.

At the open mic tonight, which is broadcast live over the Internet, beginning 10:30 EST, 7:30PST, I'll be singing a new song called "He's Coming Back." I wrote with Avril Roy-Smith from our Wednesday night workshop. It's about the soldier son she just sent back to Iraq.

I don't know when I'm scheduled. We choose out of a hat at the beginning of the night, and then go for two and a half hours. Like any open mic, the talent can be sometimes great, sometimes weak. But there's always someone new and interesting to listen to.

And many of the regulars at the Woodshed are quite accomplished. Me, I love talent, new or old. In style or out. I love watching a young person find his or her own voice. I love watching an old guy or gal find his or her own voice.

And, as usual, I'll be on camera three.

A Letter From Iraq

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Last night at Kulak's Woodshed, I was doing my usual on-air hosting for the live broadcast when suddenly we had an email.

It was from a soldier in Iraq.

He was writing because he was excited that we were featuring two singers, Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers -- an incredibly talented husband and wife duo from Virginia whom he loved. And he was excited that they played a song that, for a moment, brought him back to the place he first heard it.

That was our first email from Iraq and it brought home to me how connected this world is. That he could be there watching us playing music on the other side of the world through a simple Internet connection.

It's especially meaningful to me because I've been talking to Bill Kibler, who is spearheading a campaign to issue a stamp commemorating the Beirut veterans. It was Bill who made it possible for us to broadcast "The Last Session" live over the Internet back when everyone was still on dial-up. (For the record, the Citizens S…

NEWS! San Francisco August 17!

I just confirmed that I'll be singing a concert as a benefit for the New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco on Monday, August 17.

More information soon. But bookmark your calendars.

"The Group" at Kulak's May 25, 2009

Returning to "The Group," one of the seminal four songs that formed the core of the score of The Last Session, is an emotional experience. (Those four songs saved my life and gave us the inspiration to keep on writing what became "The Last Session." I didn't really know that I would be playing this song last Monday night. I showed up at Kulak's Woodshed, as I always do on Monday nights, with no particular idea in mind.

But, the day before, I had sung "The Group" for a group of Jewish high school students down in Orange County, and it was fresh on my mind. The original song, written out of very honest passion, used the f-word twice. But I didn't feel comfortable doing that for the kids, and Paul doesn't want us using adult language on the air, so I sang my PG-13 version. (And, somehow, it seems even more cutting to say "stupid queer" instead of "fucking queer").



But I think it's a good performance.

Meanwhile, this morn…