# CCCLXV…Rock-n-Roll Legend Lost Too Soon…

In case the title is too cryptic for you, today (October 3) would have been a birthday celebration for late guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954-1990), who was born in Dallas, Texas on this date.  As a child, his older brother Jimmie (who was the creator of the band The Fabulous Thunderbirds) influenced his decision to learn how to play.  It was this action, however, that led Stevie Ray to become one of rock’s iconic guitarists.

After his performance with his own crew, Double Trouble (bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton) at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982, he gained fame by his guitar work really impressing people; most notably, from People magazine writer James McBride, who said of him, “He had no album, no record contract, no name, but he reduced the stage to a pile of smoking cinders and, afterward, everyone wanted to know who he was.” (from Wikipedia).

He had, over his short career, also played guitar for David Bowie’s 1983 album, “Let’s Dance”, which included the title track and the smash hit, “China Girl”, and his performances with Double Trouble (with such iconic classics as “Pride and Joy” from the album “Texas Flood” and the smash “The House Is Rockin'”) are nothing short of legendary.  His unique style of guitar playing is well-documented and often imitated…however, Stevie Ray Vaughan will never be replaced. If you can, just perusing some of his performances and guitar work will leave you in awe!

RIP in Heaven to this rock-n-roll icon, a light forever missed…

Also, celebrating today are/were; late author/actor Gore Vidal (1925-2012), late guitarist Eddie Cochran (1938-1960), former wrestler “Bullet” Bob Armstrong {father of former DX member “Road Dogg” Jesse James} (1939), “The Twist” creator Chubby Checker (1941), Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham (1949), actress Pamela Hensley (1950) and former Yankees’ great Dave Winfield was born in 1951.

In the end of the list are/were; former journeyman reliever Dennis Eckersley (1954), the ubiquitous Rev. Al Sharpton (1954), golf star Fred Couples (1959), comedian Greg Proops (1959), actor/singer Jack Wagner (1959), Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee (1962), actor Clive Owen (1964), comic book iconic illustrator Rob Liefeld (1967), iconic songstress Gwen Stefani (1969), actress Neve Campbell (1973), singer/actress India Arie (1975), wrestler John Morrison (1979) and singer/actress Ashlee Simpson was born in 1984.

As our virtuoso was quoted as saying, “If the house is a rockin’, don’t bother…come on in!”, and I’ll be back soon…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCLXIV…Jersey City’s Own, Marilyn McCoo…

Today, on the last date of the ninth month of this year 2015, I would like to introduce you to a woman from my hometown of Jersey City, Marilyn McCoo (1943), who was one of the vocalists in the 60’s band, The 5th Dimension.  One of their hits in particular, the flower-powered “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In” {from the musical hit movie, Hair} is one of my all-time favorites; although, to be fair, they’ve had quite a few others, but I can’t expand on it right now (lots to cover).

In addition to being in a band that, naturally, predates this young writer, it was also her five seasons of hosting the old TV show, “Solid Gold”, that solidifies her place here.  She was also the first person to record the smash, “Saving All My Love for You” (later released as a hit by the late Whitney Houston) and a pioneer in television, as she and her husband, co-founder Billy Davis, Jr., were the co-hosts of a show which bore their name in 1977; they also have had many hits together.

On a related note, she is always automatically considered for a place here, in the future, as she hails from my adopted hometown…

And, now that I’m gonna have that song stuck in my head all day, I present today’s list:  late drummer/bandleader Buddy Rich (1917-1987), late playwright Truman Capote (1924-1984), actress Angie Dickinson (1931), songstress/matriarch Cissy Houston (1933), singer Johnny Mathis (1935), late singer Frankie Lymon (1942-1968) and late T. Rex vocalist Marc Bolan (1947-1977).

Also celebrating today; country artist Deborah Allen (1953), “The Brady Bunch” co-star Barry Williams {“Greg”} (1954), actress Fran Drescher (1957), country icon Marty Stuart (1958), actor Eric Stoltz (1961), actress Jenna Elfman (1971), Gold Medal-winning gymnast Dominique Moceanu {I still have the Daily News from the day after, BTW} (1981) and retired San Jose Sharks’ left-winger (also a Ranger and Devil) Ryane Clowe was born in 1982.

“This is the dawning of the…” Aww, rats…anyhow, as always…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCLXIII…89 North, Featuring Wizard of Ozz & Exciter…

Last night, at Patchogue’s 89 North, was the epic “Super Show” which was the combination of the premier Ozzy tribute band, The Wizard of Ozz, and the Judas Priest-based cover band of legend, Exciter.  The show actually consisted of two firsts; it was my first time at the historic venue (which has enough room to house a show of this magnitude) and it was my first time seeing the “headliners”, whose longevity and reputation in the scene (since 1998) almost made me apprehensive as to what to expect.

The venue itself is almost jaw-dropping; on the outside, it doesn’t really look like a place that would be able to house a book reading, let alone a concert with two premier cover bands.  However, the rustic feeling of the inside décor is really impressive and misleading; the amply stocked bar and the food choices were just two of the things that really impressed me.  Although most of the shows I’ve been to are “standing room only”, this place has plenty of places to park your carcass, should you feel the need to be comfortable.

As for the “opening act”, The Wizard of Ozz, they have been covered here multiple times; after all, they’ve been rockin’ the scene since 1993 and show no signs of going anywhere, anytime soon.  John’s rendition of the songs and his “performance” as a younger Ozzy are always spot-on; he sometimes makes you “believe” so much in his actions that he could have been spawned from Ozzy himself.  Also, back for last night’s show was long-time drummer Brian Gabriel, who played last night like he’d never left.

After opening with the motivational “Bark At the Moon” and grinding it’s way through such classics as “War Pigs” (which the audience ALWAYS assists with), “I Don’t Know” and “Mr. Crowley” (featuring Brianna Traylor on keyboards), John’s performance of the epic “I Don’t Wanna Change the World” was preceded by a shout-out to their former “roadie”; my late brother Fred (whose son actually assists in the “road crew”)…A hearty Thank You to Mr. Traylor for that.  Also, another highlight was the instrumental rendition of “Suicide Solution” which led into John’s stunning cover of “Diary of a Madman”, featuring a theatrical setup; he appeared from a stand-up, homemade “coffin”, completely with white facial makeup…which was so eerie that it gave this writer goosebumps!

Finishing the show in grand style, with such classics as “N.I.B.”, “Mama, I’m Comin’ Home”, “Shot in the Dark” and “Paranoid”, John was actually kind enough to play one of the many “audience participation” songs in his repertoire; the ever-popular “Crazy Train”, which actually turned out to be a better rendition…because of the acoustics in the place, the opening and closing “laughter” had a wonderful echo that mimics the original recording!

As for the “headliners”, the omnipresent Judas Priest-based Exciter (based on a hit of the band) were actually dead-on, with Jack Fontana’s brilliant voice and recognition of the “Rob Halford” persona and lead guitarist Virgil Varan (also a former member of Wizard of Ozz), the band really was a true “cover” of the “Metal Gods” (one song performed last night).  Along with band mates Richie Lien, Griff and Mike Haupt, this quintet showed why they have been part of the upper echelon of cover bands.

Performing such great hits as “Runnin’ Wild”, “Electric Eye” and “Beyond the Realms of Death”, they just totally blew the minds of the 200 or so people that made their way to this awesome outing.  By covering classics like “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”, “Freewheel Burning” and “The Sinner”, it was actually his rendition of the awesome song “The Ripper” that truly cemented my claim (and fans’ claim, as well) that this band is one of the premier acts concerning the heavy metal legends.

Overall, it was a show that, although I will never appreciate the same way because of my brother’s absence, was an awesome pleasure for this writer…and one that I hope to experience again soon.  It was a great night with good food, drinks and some friends enjoying music and having a great time.

In regards to the folks that this writer personally knows, thank you for your heartfelt words and actions and we’ll see you all again soon…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCLXII…PERSONAL: 150 Big Beautiful X’s

Today, September 23rd, is the 150th day since I recently and actively stopped from gambling of any kind.  Although some might say that this is not noteworthy, I totally disagree for a multiple of reasons.

First of all, I am (by most standards) “behind the times” when it comes to money matters.  That being said, I now understand how much of a burden the habit of gambling had on my life.  If you also take into consideration that, in matters of materialism, I am so far behind people that I still live with my family and that every penny is under scrutiny; but, as I have learned in the past five months, money actually isn’t all that matters (although, obviously, having a little more couldn’t hurt).

Secondly, and more important, is the fact that, with technology the way it is, it would be so easy to search for a gambling-type game that could whittle away hours of my already-thin free time; regardless of the fact that mostly it wasn’t for real money, it would further “feed the demon”, if I hadn’t stopped when I did.

Finally, and most importantly, is what is driving me forward with my recovery; my own personal “fountain” of patience and perseverance!  Right now, I have a project being worked on (which I will need every penny to see flourish), which will hopefully (once finished) alleviate some financial hardships.  Also, my children and my family are a paramount concern; I did just lose a piece of the “foundation” (aka my brother), but if he taught me anything, it’s to always stick with what you know…which keeps propelling me forward!

The title, in case you’re still here, refers to the method I’m using for my abstinence…a big calendar…and, every day that I don’t gamble, I put another big X through that date.  This has been ongoing since the end of April…and, if I can help it, will continue into the foreseeable future [knocks wood]…

Thank you for listening…I am not looking for applause; I am proud of myself for this latest go-round and that’s what matters to me…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCLXI…For My Friend, Bibi…

Today, September 22, is the birthday of a work-related friend, Bibi, who is celebrating her 25th birthday for the sixth time (aka 31).  The bad thing is that, aside from her love of comic books and reading, I really don’t know a lot about her.  I mean, I know she hails from Guyana (that’s in South America, just above Brazil…if you didn’t know) but her outlook on life, in general, is a good enough reason to post this second list in her honor.

Her presence in my circle reflects my own feelings, somewhat…for a long time, I have been pessimistic (still am, mostly) but she is an anchor of hope for me, as her personality and perseverance is one of the paramount reasons that I keep fighting the good fight (of course, my daughters are ALWAYS first in that regard).  She has a brilliant disposition and, in her defense, deserves to be happy on this, her birthday!

Many happy more blessed birthdays, Miss Bibi…hope this day is enjoyable for you…

In reference to her birthday twins, the list includes; late veteran actor John Houseman (1902-1988), former Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda (1927), former NBA commissioner David Stern (1942), 80s singer Toni Basil (1943), Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale (1951) and actress/singer Shari Belafonte was born in 1954.

Also celebrating today are; actress/singer Debby Boone (1956), Italian singer Andrea Bocelli (1958), singer/songwriter Joan Jett (1958), figure skater Tai Babilonia (1959), actor Scott Baio (1960), actresses Bonnie Hunt and Catherine Oxenberg (1961), rap star Mystikal (1970) and former “Smallville” ‘Supergirl’, Laura Vandervoort, was born in 1984, as well.

I will be back tomorrow…not for a birthday post, though; just a minor personal milestone…until then…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCLX…For Lindsey Stirling…

Today, September 21st, is the birthdate of diminutive dynamo Lindsey Stirling, who was born on this date in 1986.  The reason for her inclusion on this blog is due to her continued success with her music…she is a violinist that plays catchy tunes (with ‘dubstep’ components) and also dances during her performances.

I have been a fan of the pixieish Ms. Sterling since I heard her smash “Spontaneous Me” and, if you get a chance to check her YouTube channel (which, at six million followers, is traffic I wish this blog had…), you will not be disappointed.  Her musical style has garnered some pretty famous collaborative efforts, as well…from teaming with Pentatonix to Lzzy Hale’s appearance on the title cut of her second album, “Shatter Me”, this up-and-coming, non-bubblegum superstar is phenomenal.

In closing, she’s also a member of the Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30 In Music” for this year…which is not bad for someone that took an untapped facet of entertainment and made it her own…Many happy more to you, Miss Stirling…

Also celebrating are/were; late author H.G. Wells (1866-1946), late animator Chuck Jones (1912-2002), late actor Larry Hagman (1931-2012), late actor Henry Gibson (1935-2009), actress Fannie Flagg (1944), producer Jerry Bruckheimer (1945), The Eagles’ guitarist Don Felder (1947) and uber-author Steven King was born in 1947.

Comedian/actor Bill Murray (1950), Motörhead drummer Phil Taylor (1954), director Ethan Coen (1957), comedian/actor Dave Coulier (1959), songstress Faith Hill (1967), talk show host/actress Ricki Lake (1968), actor Alfonso Ribeiro (1971), actor Luke Wilson (1971) and famous child Nicole Ritchie (1981) finish today’s list.

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCLIX…Fanboy Status: Frosty…

September 19th is the birthday of the brilliant actress Danielle Panabaker (1987), who, aside from appearances in movies like “Sky High” and 2009’s “Friday the 13th”, has made quite an impression on folks like me due to her continuing portrayal of “Dr. Caitlin Snow” on the CW hit series, “The Flash” (now entering its’ second season).  Her screen presence is awkward at times (she is a relative newbie to the scene) but her flawless portrayal of the doctor on the show is definitely unmatchable.

{SPOILER ALERT}  The title of this post, however, refers to the fact that, in this upcoming season, her character (in being mostly canon-related to the comics) will be transformed into the entity known as “Killer Frost” (which was seen briefly in the Season 1 finale; with the power of the Internet, fans have actually posted the screenshot of her “upgrade”); hence, where this post derives its’ title.

Her presence here for a second go-round (Post # CCXXXV, titled “Flash” of Brilliance) is a perfect indication of how much credit she deserves…as it stands, her acting on the CW’s Number 2 show is nothing short of brilliance.  However, I (as well as all of the other “fanboys” of the universe) am looking forward to greater things to come for this up-and-coming superstar…especially if the “Killer Frost” persona comes to fruition!

Among her birthday twins are/were; “Inside The Actors Studio” host James Lipton (1926), late baseball star Duke Snider (1926-2011), veteran actress Rosemary Harris {“Aunt May” in the Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” movies} (1927), former “Batman 1966” star Adam West (1928), “NCIS” co-star David McCallum (1933), late manager of The Beatles, Brian Epstein (1934-1967) and The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley was born in 1940.

Late singer “Mama” Cass Elliot (1941-1974), sportscaster (and former baseball star) Joe Morgan (1943), “The Lion King”s co-stars Jeremy Irons {“Scar”} (1948) AND Ernie Sabella {“Pumbaa”} (1949), diminutive dancer Twiggy (1949), TV personality Joan Lunden (1950), musical collaborator Nile Rodgers (1952), former actor/singer Rex Smith (1955), singer/guitarist Lita Ford (1958), world-renowned chef Mario Batali (1960), country superstar Trisha Yearwood (1964) and comedian/talk show host Jimmy Fallon (1975) finish this list.

Wishing you all thanks for reading…for without you, I wouldn’t be here…

P.S.:  If you read this post (or any other, for that matter), please spread the word.  Although I’m not being paid, I love that I’m getting views (that’s what matters most to me)…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\