Tales of Rock – My Daughter is Making Music

I’ll tell the story, but I wanted to get this out there now!

Let me know what you think!

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Esther Wong

Esther Wong (August 13, 1917 – August 14, 2005) was a Chinese-American restaurant owner and music promoter, called the “Godmother of Punk” in Los Angeles, California.

She was born in Shanghai, China, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1949.

After fierce initial resistance, she became a punk rock and new wave music promoter. She got started in the early 1970s as the owner of Madame Wong’s, a Los Angeles Chinatown restaurant with a floorshow—originally at 949 Sun Mun Way, located in the original 1938 Rice Bowl restaurant. Polynesian dance acts weren’t attracting customers, yet when Paul Greenstein, a Los Angeles “bum vivant,” first approached her husband George about booking bands, she declined. Greenstein’s persistence, and the fact that he had already given the nearby “Atomic Cafe” a new lease on life (cross-pollination between owners’ children worked the magic), caused her to agree to a trial run in Fall of 1978. Initially, under Greenstein, a showcase for unsigned, unbookable punk-bands, Madame Wong’s was one of few places such bands could perform. With the exit of Greenstein, Madame Wong’s morphed into a power-pop palace with bookings more influenced by a now-interested Wong. Notable bands that she showcased included a “who’s who” of rock music, including The Knack, The Police, The Motels, Fishbone, The Go-Go’s, X, The Alley Cats, The Bangs, Oingo Boingo, Naughty Sweeties, Los Illegals, Candy, Guns N’ Roses, Black Flag, No Mercy, Beowülf, Excel, Daniel Amos, Fear, Bad Actor, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Twisters, and The Ramones. Eventually this led to her nickname, the “Godmother of Punk.”

She closed the original “Madame Wong’s” after a fire in 1985[1] and “Madame Wong’s West”, 2900 Wilshire,[2] in Santa Monica, California in 1991.

The original “Madame Wong’s” unofficially reopened for a brief period in 2009/2010, when Ben Kramer, Stuart Friedel, and Rob Cudd, who were living in an apartment that now occupies the premises, hosted concerts in their living room, using the name Madame Wong’s in homage to the original venue. Acts that year included Devendra Banhart, Vampire Weekend’s secret 2009 Halloween show, The Answering Machine,[3] Wavves, Smith Westerns, Jounce, Pearl Harbor and the Explosions, Backbiter, Salvador Santana, The Growlers, Harlem, and others.[4]

Esther Wong died from emphysema and lung cancer on August 14, 2005 in Los Angeles, and was survived by her second husband, Harry Wong, two children, Frank Wong and Melinda Braun, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.[5]

 

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Tales of Rock – The Theory of the 13-year Rock vs. Pop cycle – 1990 to 2002 – Part 4

Cycle 4

The first indication of rock’s next rebirth came on March 20, 1990, when there was a riot at a Depeche Mode autograph session in Los Angeles. No one expected that many people to show up to see a band that had been a solid cult act at best for most of their career.

That riot came 13 years and 10 days after the Sex Pistols’ infamous Buckingham Palace stunt, 26 years and one month after the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan and 39 years after “Rocket 88” came out.

The Depeche Mode Riot was the start of the era of the Alternative Nation of the 90s. The next six years were once again incredibly fertile: Manchester, grunge, industrial, Goth, Lollapalooza, Britpop, hip-hop. Rock’n’roll was resurrected, this time in the image of Generation X.

The peak came shortly before Kurt Cobain’s suicide in April 1994. But then things quickly went off the rails. Metallica hijacked Lollapalooza in 1996. The Smashing Pumpkins melted down in a haze of drugs and death. Nu-metal’s polarizing sound tore the scene in half. And then came grunge derivatives like Creed to put the final nails in the coffin.

Meanwhile, a period of solid economic growth and the seeming end of the Cold War led to a rise in public optimism. Meanwhile, Generation Y began to come of age musically and all they wanted to do was dance to the Spice Girls, ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Rock limped through the rest of the 20th century.

Again, there were exceptions — the Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2 come to mind — but the era 1999–2002 was all about boy bands and pop tarts.

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Tales of Rock – The Theory of the 13-year Rock vs. Pop cycle – 1964 to 1975 – Part 2

Cycle 2

The second cycle began with the appearance of the Beatles. Even though they were originally rejected by Decca Records (“Guitar bands are on their way out! They have no future in show business!”) the Beatles eventually landed with EMI and — well, you know the rest.

They arrived just as the earliest of the Baby Boomers began entering their teens. These kids had their portable turntables and transistor radios, devices that allowed them to take their music away from the prying ears of parents. And psychologically, rock provided an escape from the funk that had fallen across the West following the JFK assassination in November 1963.

The Beatles had a fresh sound, were quick with a quip and were made up of four distinct characters with whom fans could identify. (Interestingly, you can make the case that the Beatles were the first boy band. What’s the difference between the reaction of Bieberites and what we saw with Beatlemania?)

Cycle 2 really kicked into gear with that Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, about three weeks shy of the 13th anniversary of the release of “Rocket 88.”

The Ed Sullivan Show First Appearance of The Beatles in video on Jukebox[4]from Zip Code on Vimeo.

To say that the Beatles rescued rock is an understatement. The years that followed their landing on American shores was one of the most vibrant times in music, a veritable gusher of guitar-based creativity that lasted for the rest of the decade. If you have to pick a moment when it peaked, I’d go with the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. But then came Altamont later that year with its bad vibes, corruption, and death. Almost overnight, the life drained away from the rock scene.

Creatively spent and disillusioned by the failure of the peace’n’love movement — not to mention America’s ass-kicking in Vietnam, Watergate, the oil crisis, the Cold War and a brutal recession — the mainstream turned away from rock toward pop music.

The Baby Boomers, who had driven rock through the 1960s, grew up and moved on. Instead of driving rock further forward, they settled into a period of nostalgia for the good ol’ days of the 1950s and the early 1960s. This was manifested in the rise of bands like Sha Na Na, movies like American Graffitiand TV shows like Happy Days. Even Elton John, a star in his prime, couldn’t help but get all misty-eyed for the old days.

Meanwhile, the aging hippy generation had a very hard time believing that the generation following them could be sucked in by simplistic pop made by the Bay City Rollers, Bobby Sherman and the Partridge Family. Of course, the Stones and Zeppelin were at their peak, but they were the exception. And we need to remember that critics absolutely loathed Zeppelin back then.

AM radio was at its absolute worst. Can you believe a song like this could be a #1 hit?

 

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Tales of Rock – The Theory of the 13-year Rock vs. Pop cycle – 1951–1963 – Part 1

At first glance, trends and sounds in popular music seem to come at us in random, fractalized bursts. Viewed up close on a day-to-day, week-to-week or even month-to-month basis, that’s how it appears. But if you stand back, patterns begin to emerge, patterns which have held surprisingly together over the last seven decades.

Since rock was born in the 1950s, rock and pop have been locked in a battle for cultural supremacy with each combatant a constant 180 degrees out of phase with the other. When rock is strong and ascendant in the public’s consciousness, pop is on a decline.

Eventually, though, rock tops out and begins a decline as the public’s attention moves towards pop. Then once pop peaks and rock bottoms out, the cycle begins again. This back-and-forth dance has played itself out every 12 or 13 years.

Let me tell you how it’s all gone down.

The First Cycle

While it’s impossible to pin down the birth of rock’n’roll — it was born through a gradual coming together of a dozen sounds and influences — many scholars point to March 3, 1951, with the release of a song called “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats. This band didn’t really exist. Jackie was the sax player for Ike Turner in his Kings of Rhythm and was thrust into the spotlight for this one recording with Ike and the boys providing backup. The sound, attitude and subject matter of “Rocket 88” make it a prime candidate for being the first true rock’n’roll record.

Even if you don’t subscribe to “Rocket 88” being the first rock record — and there are plenty of reasons not to — we can probably at least agree that something new was in the air by 1951, even if we weren’t calling it “rock’n’roll” yet.

Once loosed upon the earth, this new form of music gathered momentum with the mainstream, peaking with Elvis in 1956. But when he entered the army on March 2, 1958, rock went into a period of decline.

“See? It was all just a fad!” the haters said. “Time to get back to some good music!”

And lo, things were pretty dire for rock through the late 1950s and the early 1960s. The charts were filled with light pop such as Percy Faith’s “Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” and those execrable Sing Along With Mitch albums.

Yet there was still some rebellion in the air, except that it was rather quiet. The folk music boom of the late 1950s and early 1960s — a boom that would eventually result in Bob Dylan — tried to keep things interesting for people who weren’t interested in mainstream music.

 

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Tales of Rock – MÖTLEY CRÜE Movie ‘The Dirt’ Is Hated By Critics, Loved By Fans, Says NIKKI SIXX

MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx has dismissed the influx of negative professional critic reviews the band’s biopic “The Dirt” has received, insisting that the fans love the movie.

He tweeted on Friday: “The album is number #1.The fans are going crazy over #TheDirt. The critics hate it. @MotleyCrue @netflix WORLD FUCKING WIDE.”

“The Dirt” currently has an 86% audience score from 324 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, an online review aggregation service that allows the public to score the movies alongside critics. It has a 42% critic score from 36 reviews on the same site.

Indiewire David Ehrlich called “The Dirt” “wonderfully bad” and compared it to last year’s QUEEN biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”“Bohemian Rhapsody” has a 61% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes but won four Oscars.

“For all the unique details of their story (and their sound), QUEEN‘s big screen bow was so generic that it felt like Bryan Singer was trying to gaslight everyone into forgetting that ‘Walk Hard’ had already reduced this entire genre to a joke,” Ehrlich wrote. “And for all the legendary hedonism that defined their lives, MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s movie feels like it could have been made about any one of a zillion other bands. Hell, it could even have been made about QUEEN!”

Los Angeles Times called “The Dirt” “horribly timed,” “astoundingly tone deaf” and “as vapid and misogynistic as the band members and the book they wrote with author Neil Strauss.”

The Daily Beast said that “The Dirt” “spends almost two hours glamorizing shitty behavior, and then attempts to exonerate its stars with a few vague voiceovers about regret and rehabilitation.”

The Atlantic wrote: “The danger of a document like ‘The Dirt’ is in showing pigheadedness as not only fun and cool, but also elemental, inexplicable, and unstoppable.”

Deadline wrote that “The Dirt” has been “bleached pretty clean from its feral and self-admitted sordid source material,” citing frontman Vince Neil‘s drunken car crash that killed HANOI ROCKS drummer Razzle and the death of his daughter after a battle with cancer as “rare exceptions in this straight to MOR movie that has a limited emotional range outside of party time.”

The New York Times concurred, saying that screenwriters Rich Wilkes and Amanda Adelsonhad “sanded it down to a junior varsity ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.”

Some media outlets were kinder in their assessments, with Decider writing: “Lower your expectations, throw caution, decorum and good taste to the wind, and file it under ‘guilty pleasure.'” The Guardian praised the performances of actors Douglas Booth (who plays Nikki Sixx), Iwan Rheon (who plays Mick Mars) and Daniel Webber (who plays Vince Neil), saying that they “possess similar abilities to navigate between charm and repulsion, all working together to create such a chummy group that their power as an ensemble elevates the material. Just like their real-life counterparts.”

“The Dirt” movie, which was helmed by “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” director Jeff Tremaine, was picked up by Netflix after being previously developed at Focus Features and before that at Paramount.

“The Dirt Soundtrack” accompanies the movie and features a collection of MÖTLEY CRÜEclassics that meaningfully underscore significant moments that shape the film. Exclusive to the film’s soundtrack, MÖTLEY CRÜE recorded four new songs, including the single “The Dirt (Est. 1981) (feat. Machine Gun Kelly)”“Ride With The Devil” and “Crash And Burn”, plus a cover of Madonna‘s “Like A Virgin”.

 

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Tales of Rock – SPECIAL REPORT – Dick Dale, Surf Guitar Legend, Dead At 81

Dick Dale, the surf rock pioneer who took reverb to new levels, died on Saturday night. He was 81. The guitarist’s health had declined over the past 20 years due to a number of illnesses, including diabetes, kidney disease and rectal cancer. The news was confirmed to NPR by Dusty Watson, a drummer who worked and toured with Dale between 1995 and 2006, who says he spoke with Dale’s wife, Lana Dale. No cause was given.

Dale, born Richard Anthony Monsour in 1937, changed the sound of rock and roll in the early 1960s when he upped the reverb on his guitar and applied the Arabic scales of his father’s native Lebanon. Born and originally raised in Massachusetts, he found his aesthetic when his family moved to Orange County, California in 1954 — where he took up surfing.

His high-energy interpretation of an old song from Asia Minor, “Misirlou” (Egyptian Girl), became the most famous song of surf rock: He had learned the tune from his Lebanese uncles, who played it on the oud.

“I started playing it,” Dale, who had started out as a drummer, told NPR in a 2010 interview, “and I said, ‘Oh no, that’s too slow.’ And I thought of Gene Krupa’s drumming, his staccato drumming… When we went to California, I got my first guitar, but I was using this rocket-attack, Gene Krupa rhythm on the guitar.”

And that wildfire-tempo song became his signature: Dale self-released “Misirlou” as a single on Deltone Records in 1962, which led in part to a deal with Capitol Records to distribute his first album, 1962’s Surfer’s Choice. Dale’s first album for Capitol was 1963’s King of the Surf Guitar; he said that fans at an early show came up with the honorary moniker.

Dale’s collaborations with guitar inventor Leo Fender also made sonic history. “I met a man called Leo Fender,” he told NPR, “who is the Einstein of the guitar and the amplifiers. He says, ‘Here, I just made a guitar, it’s a Stratocaster. You just beat it to death and tell me what you think. So when I started playing on that thing, I wanted to get it to be as loud as I could, like Gene Krupa drums. And as I was surfing, when the waves picked me up and took me through the tubes, I would get that rumble sound.”

Fender and Dale also worked together on amplifiers, Dale told Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross in 1993. “I wanted to get a fat, thick, deep sound,” Dale remarked.

Fender kept trying options, but Dale still wasn’t satisfied. “We kept on making all these adjustments with output transformers, with speakers,” Dale told Fresh Air, “and that’s how I blew up over 48 speakers and amplifiers. They’d catch on fire, the speakers would freeze, the speakers would tear from the coils … So he went back to the drawing board came up and invented the Dick Dale Showman amplifier, and the dual Showman amplifier with the 15 inch Lansing speaker. That was the end result … along with the creations that we did on the Stratocaster guitar, making it a real thick body because the thicker the wood, the purer the sound.”

Three decades after he first released his most famous tune, Dale and “Misirlou” had a wave of resurgence after the song was featured in the opening credits of Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction. The movie’s soundtrack sold more than 3 million copies and helped put surf rock — and Dale himself — in front of a new generation of music fans. New compilations were issued and he was even booked on the 1996 Warped Tour.

Over the decades that followed, he released two more albums and kept playing in front of live audiences. “I make my guitar scream with pain or pleasure or sensuality,” he told NPR. “It makes people move their feet and shake their bodies. That’s what music does.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Dale. You will be missed, but your unique sound lives forever.

 

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