# CDXCVII…Black Sabbath Icon…from The Book…

Today’s date, July 17th, is the birthdate of original (and current) bassist, Geezer Butler (1949), who, in case you didn’t know, has been with the band {with a couple of exceptions for solo and other collaborative works} since its inception in 1969. Originally a rhythm guitarist, he actually made the iconic switch to a bass when lead guitarist (and fellow southpaw legend) Tony Iommi refused to play with a second guitarist. I think I speak for all the rock-heads out there in saying that that was the best deal ever, as without it, you’d never have Geezer on bass for classics like “War Pigs”, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, “Paranoid”, and the like.
As he has been an integral part of Black Sabbath and will continue to be until their Final Tour ends later this year, his style is loved by all in the rock industry; such iconic bassists like Jason Newsted (Newsted/Metallica), Les Claypool (Primus), the late Cliff Burton (Metallica) and one of my favorites, John Myung (Dream Theater) list him as their idol for his sheer brilliance.
His fourteen album releases with Black Sabbath, combined with the above-mentioned solo/collaborations, and the fact that he’s been playing bass since before most of you were thought of means that he’s more than certainly earned his place here…Many happy more to you, Sir!
Also celebrating on this fine day are/were; “Perry Mason” creator Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970), late super-actor James Cagney (1899-1986), late entertainer Art Linkletter (1912-2010), late comedienne/actress Phyllis Diller (1917-2012), actress Diahann Carroll (1935) and actor Donald Sutherland (1935) predate the Black Sabbath superstar.
Born after him are; veteran actor David Hasselhoff (1952), “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) heroine Heather Langenkamp (1964), actor Alex Winter {“Bill & Ted’s…” movies/”The Lost Boys”} (1965), Symphony X drummer (and New Jersey native) Jason Rullo (1972), country superstar Luke Bryan (1976) and former TNA/WWE star Mike Knox was born in 1978.
Thank you for coming with me down “rock-n-roll memory lane”…it’s always my pleasure to bring it to you…and, as always…
/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CDXCVI…Two Notable Music Birthdays…

On this date, July 7th, it has come to my attention that two musical legends celebrate their birthday today; former drummer for The Beatles, Sir Richard Starkey (aka Ringo Starr), who was born in 1940 {knighted 2018}, and former FireHouse and current Stryper bassist Perry Richardson (born 1963).  As a music connoisseur, I just found it weird that these two specifically share this date as their birthday.

For the man that needs no introduction, Ringo was the drummer for the great rock band from 1962 (when he replaced then-drummer Pete Best) and continued with them until their breakup in 1972.  Since then, he has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (both as a Beatle AND a solo artist, only one of 21 musicians to do so), has enjoyed a wonderfully productive solo career, releasing 19 solo albums and is also an accomplished actor, appearing in The Beatles’ films as well as a few minor roles (he also played Mr. Conductor for one season of Shining Time Station in the States).

As far as Perry Richardson, he started with FireHouse (the band with hit singles like “Love of a Lifetime” and “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, among others) in 1989 and played with the band until a personal conflict caused his departure in the year 2000.  After his release from the band, he played notably with such country artists as Craig Morgan and the ubiquitous Trace Adkins…which pretty much kept him busy until replacing the long-time Stryper bassist Tim Gaines in 2017.  He is currently touring with band for their latest release “God Damn Evil” {awesome album, as I posted review on here in April, when the album was released!}

The list of their birthday twins is as follows:  late baseball hurler Satchel Paige (1906-1982), former “Tonight Show” bandleader Doc Severinsen (1927), late movie critic Joel Siegel (1943-2007), “NCIS” co-star Joe Spano (1946), actress Shelly Duvall (1949) and singer/actress Vonda Shepard was born in 1963.

Also celebrating are; comedian Jim Gaffigan (1966), former NHLer Joe Sakic (1969), voice acting legend Cree Summer (1969), legendary figure skater Michelle Kwan (1980) and Avenged Sevenfold’s right-handed guitarist, Synyster Gates was born in 1981.

Like Ringo stated, “It Don’t Come Easy”, but remember to always…

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

# CDXCV…”Heavenly” Birthday Greetings…

The title of this post is in honor of the birthday of Stryper’s lead singer Michael Sweet (1963), just in reference to his being the frontman for the world’s most renowned Christian rock band.  Now, for those of you who might think that I’m getting all “righteous”, please hear me out; Mr. Sweet’s contributions to the world of music have been about The Lord and Our Savior.  However, it is HIS right and privilege to do so…and, in doing so, has made numerous contributions to music as a whole that have spotlighted him here today.

After starting the band called Roxx Regime (which would become the massively popular Stryper after a name change) in 1983, Michael and his brother Robert would become iconic names in music due to their undying messages of faith and compassion with the use of their craft.  As a long-time singer/songwriter for the group, he has made sure that their messages are still alive and well, even after a 35 year (and STILL GOING) stint in the rock-and-roll world.

After briefly splitting with the band in 1992, Michael would go on to release solo works (nine albums in total; the last two even while reuniting with Stryper) and work with the legendary Dokken guitarist George Lynch (in a project called, obviously, Sweet & Lynch) up until the band’s steady reunification.  He also had a stint with the world-famous rock band known as Boston for a couple of years in the early 21st Century…not a shabby repertoire, to say the least!

Being that this is also the “birth” date of this wonderful country of ours, among the other birthday twins are/were; late real estate magnate Leona Helmsley (1920-2007), actress Eva Marie Saint (1924), author/playwright Neil Simon (1927), late New York Yankees’ patriarch George Steinbrenner (1930-2010) and journalist Geraldo Rivera (1943).

Sparklers and firecrackers are also in line for; former Bad English guitarist (and solo act) John Waite (1952), second generation wrestling star Barry Windham (1960), ESPN journalist Pam Shriver (1962), former lead vocalist Mark Slaughter (of the band Slaughter) (1964), former New Orleans Saints’ defensemen La’Roi Glover (1974) and late Will Smith (1981-2016) and BabyMetal singer/dancer Moa Kikuchi was born in 1999.

In honor of America’s 242nd birthday, please remember Michael’s words about the “four words we see everyday”…In God We Trust…and have a safe and happy Independence Day!!!

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

# CDXCIV…From “Robocop” to “That ’70s Show”…

As today hasn’t been covered here before, and unlike I’m prone to do (which is usually excerpt from my book, ROCK ON DUDEZ (Amazon.com Kindle & paperback, too)), I figured that I would exclaim kudos to long-time veteran actor Kurtwood Smith (1943)…who is best known by today’s generation as Red Forman on the hit comedy, That ’70s Show.

As the head of the fictional family in the show, his character’s dialogue made him seem like someone that you love to hate…and Kurtwood Smith has been able to portray that almost villainous posture since 1980, but it was his casting as the criminal Clarence Boddicker in the 1987 smash science fiction film Robocop that sent this star on his ascendance through Hollywood!

A Southpaw Nation salute to you, Sir…on this, your milestone birthday and many happy more!

Also celebrating today are/were:  late director Ken Russell (1927-2011), former “The Mod Squad” actor Michael Cole (1945), late politician Jean-Claude Duvalier (1951-2014), former talk show host Montel Williams (1956) and late “Gloria” singer Laura Branigan (1952-2004).

Concluding the list are:  late comedian Ken Ober, who gained notoriety due to his hosting the former MTV game show, “Remote Control” (1957-2009), singer Aaron Tippen (1958), Ratt vocalist Stephen Pearcy (1959), fellow Southpaw actor extraordinaire Tom Cruise (1962), voice actress Yeardly Smith (1964), New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman (1967), former NHL journeyman (and former Shark) Teemu Selanne (1970) and actress Olivia Munn was born in 1980.

Thank you all for coming…just love spreading knowledge…

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

# CDXCIII…”Metal Mania” @ 89 North, Patchogue, NY…

As most of you are aware, every so often I get to tag along with the family (and a lot of friends, too) on the occasional outing to the local music scene, in the event of some ROCK event or another.  Last night was another case-in-point; the three-band event known as Metal Mania at Patchogue’s 89 North (which I’ve frequented and written about here on this blog!), which featured the bands Lost Boys (a cover band of mixed decades’ rock music), Damage, Inc. (a Metallica-performing act that I’ve seen previously) and everyone’s local favorite, The Wizard of Ozz.

Opening the show was the Long-Island product known as Lost Boys; five guys from the Island that I hadn’t had the privilege of seeing until last night.  As a cover band of a hodgepodge of rock classics, such as Guns N Roses’ “You Could Be Mine” (which they opened the show with), Black Label Society’s “Stillborn”, the classic Queensryche tune, “I Don’t Believe In Love”, and Anthrax’s “Madhouse”, they hit every note as expected and did wonderful jobs on the smash classics “Symphony of Destruction” (Megadeth) and “Armed and Ready” (Michael Schenker Group) before closing their set with a touching rendition of the late Ronnie James Dio classic “We Rock”.

As they were a wonderful opener for this early summer show, I would like to announce that, as a music “collector”, they did a bang-up job performing their repertoire and did so with a flawlessness that is expected when you cover a diverse range of music as their set-list contains.

The band that followed them, the Long Island renowned Damage Inc. (not to be confused with the West Coast edition) I have spoken about here before, as they are a wonderful Metallica tribute band that has always enamored me just because the band that they perform as just happens to be my Number 2 favorite band of all time!  Although Metallica’s performances are with a lead singer/rhythm guitarist (Mr. Hetfield), Damage Inc.’s members provide lead singer with BASS (quite a change in dynamics) and Bob Von Hammer’s look alone is what makes this band special; as I watched them play, I couldn’t help but to notice the eerie resemblance to the great James Hetfield…and the band was spot on, as well.

Performing such Metallica classics like “Master of Puppets”, “Leper Messiah”, “The Four Horsemen”, “Sanitarium (Welcome Home)”, “Fade to Black”, and “Battery” (which the real band opened with when I saw them over a decade ago), they even switched things up (in my eyes, anyway) with a newer hit (“Hardwired…” from the newest Metallica release) and a couple of really old ones, like “Helpless” {from Garage Days} and a mash-up of the classic “Am I Evil?” which led into the song that they get their name from.  After a few “shot” tributes to the late Vinnie Paul (Pantera’s co-founder/drummer), they finished their show with a great rendition of the song that got me started on Metallica; their smash “sell-out” hit “One”, completing a beautiful set that really made me appreciate this cover band more than I have before!

As expected, the headlining act, the Long Island mainstay known as The Wizard of Ozz, showed exactly why they are (or should be…) the pinnacle of Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath tribute bands on the Island!  As consummate performers of the music since 1993, every show that they perform at {believe me, as I’ve been to quite a few of them} leaves you practically begging for more!

Even with a few minor tweaks from the last few shows (like the addition of a performing keyboardist and different guitarist/bass player’s), Johnny, Petey and the boys still haven’t missed a beat in the 25 years that the band has existed.

Running the musical gauntlet from “Bark At the Moon”, “Mr. Crowley”, “I Don’t Know” and “No More Tears”, they also blew the roof off with renditions of such memorable pieces like “Suicide Solution”, the ever-popular hits “Sweet Leaf”, “War Pigs” (complete with participation from the mass audience that they kept from the previous band), “Diary of a Madman” (first time in a while for that one), and “Crazy Train”…and, further, encoring with “Mama, I’m Comin’ Home” and their smash rendition of “Paranoid”!

Without boring you too much more, I would like to say that, being a writer (?), it was a great pleasure to have witnessed this show in particular due to the band’s music alone…as music seems to be in my blood from my early days as a human.  As someone who continues to write without a steady audience, every time I get to enjoy one of these shows, I try to convey my personal feelings when it comes to “performance”; after all, I have such an eclectic collection of music at my disposal but, like the great band ELO once sang, “Rock N Roll is King”; and the three bands last night did not, in the slightest, disappoint!

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


# CDXCII…Father’s Day 2018…

As most of you, my dear readers, are aware, I am the father of two beautiful daughters (ages 26 and 18) and I’ve told everyone here on more than one occasion about my feelings on this day; while being bombarded with “x% amount of savings on stuff for Dad”, I have come to realize that, from my own perspective, these “sales” are only for the companies that make money on a day where we should be grateful that our children are present in our lives, not a financial stepping stone for people to fatten their pockets.
For my “case in point” segment, please allow me to elaborate; by being allowed to enjoy a three-day weekend (for the pleasure and honor of being at my youngest daughter, Erin’s, graduation ceremony {from Collier High School in Wickatunk, NJ}), I got to experience a new-found sense of self-worth; because the feelings that I’ve experienced by watching BOTH of my children exceed their father’s milestones (remember, I only received my G.E.D. about 20 years AFTER I dropped out of high school), there comes the realization that excellence in character doesn’t have anything to do with your financial status!
Whether it has been witnessing Mena (my eldest) graduating from high school eight years ago (and her subsequent degree from college), or being part of the youngest’s life-in-general, I can tell you {personal feelings here} that there is NO AMOUNT of money in the world that can make me understand the pleasures of being a father BETTER than these moments!
All of the skinned knees, stubbed toes, hospital stays (when/if necessary) and trials and tribulations that come with raising and/or being a part of their lives are the reasons that I love being a father.  Sure, when times are bad, you just have to suck it up and deal with it…because the love of my children is worth more than any money, trinkets or baubles that these so-called “sales” can bring!
And, I wouldn’t take any amount of money to “substitute” my memories and the pride that I feel on this day…
A Happy Father’s Day shoutout, however, to my late grandfather, Fred Hughes, and my late father, Fred Johnson; as well as to all of my fellow constituents (all of you other fathers out there)…enjoy this day with your offspring…they grow up a little too quickly but it’s worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears.
/,,,/ ROCK ON DADZ \,,,\

# CDXCI…More Than “Monday Night Football”…(Book Entry Title)…

Today’s birthday celebrator is none other than country music’s legendary scion, Hank Williams, Jr., who was born May 26th, 1949. Most of you know him as the long-time opener to the popular “Monday Night Football” television program (1989-2011). However, being that he is the son of the famous yet short-lived Hank Williams, the man known as “Little Bocephus” has certainly staked his claim as a member of country music’s upper echelon.

He has posted 37 releases (since 1964) and is a winner of countless awards (Emmys, Country Music Awards and Grammys), which was not really brought on by his father’s “presence” in the musical industry (his father died when Hank, Jr. was four). As such, he relied on his own personal talent in the aspects of songwriting and singing, as that was something that he had inherited from his father.

A wonderful composer and musician, his birthday twins include; late “cowboy” actor John Wayne (1907-1979), late actor Peter Cushing (1913-1994), late actor James Arness (1923-2011), late musician Miles Davis (1926-1991), late social pariah Jack Kevorkian (1928-2011), sports commentator Brent Musberger (1939) and Fleetwood Mac vocalist (and talented solo artist) Stevie Nicks was born in 1948.

African-American actress Pam Grier (1949), late astronaut Sally Ride (1951-2012), comedian Bobcat Goldthwait (1962), singing sensation Lenny Kravitz (1964), actress Helena Bonham Carter (1966) and R & B songstress Lauryn Hill was born in 1975.

Thank you, as always, for enjoying my post…or, if you didn’t enjoy, thanks for stopping by…and be back soon!

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

# CDXC (490)…Breithla Sona do Enya! (Post # 318 Updated)…

In my countless years of listening to and experiencing the music from my eclectic collection, none have been spent more productively than when listening to today’s birthday celebrator, the multitalented and multi-lingual superstar known as Enya (1961). Her music, while nothing short of spectacular, has been around since before most of you were born.

She sings in 10 different languages (some of the most amazing stuff you’ve ever heard), hails from Ireland, and (if you’re in a meditative mood) her music is mostly easy listening-type, melodically, because she is also an accomplished pianist and plays a lot of her own compositions, naturally.

Her eight studio releases, countless movie (soundtrack) appearances and calm, hypnotic voice is sure to evoke some pleasant memories…I know that, when I need to relax, I will pop in “Watermark”…just because that album is linear, for the meditating aspect. Also, her album, “And Winter Came…” is a perfect and shining example of how a Christmas album should be done!

Also, I have done a Saturday Spotlight on her, as she is in my Top 25 Artists of All Time…a stellar 35 year, critically acclaimed career, so she is no slouch when it comes to awesome (and different) music!

In closing, and just because I don’t want to list anyone else in this post, La breithe 57ú sásta Enya…and many happy more!!

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

Also celebrating today are/were; late baseball player Cool Papa Bell (1903-1991), late veteran actor Dennis Hopper (1936-2010), former Yes drummer Bill Bruford (1949), actor Bill Paxton (1955), pugilist Sugar Ray Leonard (1956), former “Full House” patriarch Bob Saget (1956), sportscaster Jim Nantz (1959), talk show host Craig Ferguson (1962), Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor (1965), actress Paige Turco {the original “April O’Neill from the original TMNT movies} (1965), singer Jordan Knight (1970), football star Matt Cassel (1982) and basketball star Channing Frye (1983)}

# CDLXXXIX…Meeting Charlotte Wessels…


The picture above is due to the fact that both articles are signed by today’s birthday celebrant, Charlotte Wessels (1987), who is the vivacious lead singer of the symphonic metal giants Delain.  The poster, which was from the show previously covered on Post # 486 (CDLXXXVI), the day after the show, was given to me at Irving Plaza (for which I paid good money as a birthday celebration for myself) prior to the meet-and-greet with Delain and Kamelot.  I have been a fan of the band since discovering them on Pandora (the music-streaming service), due to the fact that American radio stations don’t even HAVE a channel for the brilliant music that her and her band mates (and COUNTLESS others) produce these days!

After performing with a band called To Elysium in the early part of the new millennium, she met former Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt in 2004 for what she believed was a “one-shot” upstart, which became the superpower known as Delain, and since 2005, has been the lead vocalist (with her angelical ranged voice) and primary lyricist for the group.  She is also an authoress, as her debut novella, entitled “The Deviant Hearts”, was an accompaniment to a collaboration with her and Serenity vocalist Georg Neuhauser and Everon vocalist Oliver Phillips on a symphonic rock musical titled “Phantasma-The Deviant Hearts” and was released a few years ago as the “lyric sheet” for the “musical”.

The above picture, as I mentioned, has her signature on both articles…however, I neglected to mention to you the fact that only the poster was supposed to be signed by the band.  As I reached the table to have it signed, though, I pulled the lanyard from around my neck and politely asked Ms. Wessels to sign that…which she respectfully approved…and hers is the ONLY signature on it, making it a truly remarkable and unique item in my memorabilia collection!  As I have now been honored enough to have met her (and the band, naturally), I truly thank her from the bottom of my heart and, with this post, I think I have made up for the fact that her name is not in my first book, ROCK ON DUDEZ, and, for that, I apologize…as she more than deserves nothing but happy wishes for her birthday!

In my usual fashion, I now present her (and anyone else’s) birthday twins; late science fiction author Roger Zelazny (1937-1995), multi-talented actor Harvey Keitel (1939), late singer Ritchie Valens (1941-1959), veteran baseball manager Bobby Valentine (1950), NBA veteran Dennis Rodman (1961), political comedian/talk show host Stephen Colbert (1964), country sensation (and former frontman of Hootie and the Blowfish) Darrius Rucker (1966), actress-turned-martial-artist Imogen Boorman (from “Hellraiser III”) {1971}, former NHL star Darryl Sydor (1972) and actor Robert Pattinson {“Twilight”, etc.} was born in 1986.

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

{P.S.:  To all the individuals in my life that it applies to, like my Mom and the countless others that I’ve met and/or have known throughout my lifetime (as the list is too numerable to name without someone getting upset), HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, as it is only by your grace and love that people like me persevere!!!}

# CDLXXXVIII…For My Brother’s Milestone…

As a lot of you know (if you follow this blog), today is the birthday of my elder brother, Ed Johnson…born 50 years ago today at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey.  Not that it means much to my adoring public but, to me, this is a big deal for the workings of the universe, as my brother is someone that I look up to severely.  His ability to thrive in situations that would normally cripple people is what I admire most about the man…he has an unsurpassed skill set that I really do envy (the man can become a damn good engineer at times when most people would hire outside help to do what he would consider a mundane task)!

Because of the fact that he is three years my senior, the memories that we have created over the past 47 years have been nothing more than astounding.  Both of my brothers have contributed, in their own little ways, to my understanding of the universe…for that fact, and being that he has an unsurpassed tenacity for achieving a job well done, is just a small snippet of where my admiration comes from.  If not for my brother Ed’s outlook on how things work on this planet, I probably would have been a lot worse off.  His determination when it applies to achieving any goal is remarkable to me…if he can’t do it, THEN you should look into outside help (like I’ve been saying, though, there isn’t a whole hell of lot that he CAN’T do!!!)

In closing, I would just like to wish my brother a very special Happy Birthday…as it is not very often that one celebrates a milestone like this…on his 50th birthday and wish him (and the celebrants below) all of the best and many happy more!!!!

Also celebrating today are; late bandleader Duke Ellington (1899-1974), late actress Celeste Holm (1917-2012), the everlasting pothead himself, Willie Nelson (1933), late actor Lane Smith (1936-2005), modern pariah Bernie Madoff (1938), singer Tommy James (1947), and late racing master Dale Earnhardt (1951-2001).

Among the other twins for my brother are; comedian Jerry Seinfeld (1954), Star Trek captain Kate Mulgrew (1955), actor Daniel Day-Lewis (1957), actresses Michelle Pfeiffer and Eve Plumb were born in 1958, rapper Master P (1967), singer Carnie Wilson (1968), former tennis phenom Andre Agassi and actress Uma Thurman were both born in 1970 and former “Smallville” co-star Sam Jones III was born in 1979.

/,,,/ ROCK ON ED \,,,\