# LXXXIII…The fourth family birthday this month…

Of course, the month of April wouldn’t be complete unless I mentioned the other sibling, my older brother Ed, whose birthday is today.  And, like the other three birthdays this month, I will present to you the birthday list for today.

The late, great Duke Ellington would have celebrated his birthday today (1899-1974), as would multi-talented actress Celeste Holm (1917-2012) and founder of the ’50s group, The Coasters, Mr. Carl Gardner (1928-2011) and another of the actors that you’ve seen all over the place over the years, Mr. Lane Smith (he was in “My Cousin Vinny” as the District Attorney and “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (late 90s) as Perry White) {1936-2005}.

Also on the list, the birthday of Bernie Madoff (1938), music mogul Tommy James (of …& The Shondells) (1947), Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (1951-2001), comedian/actor Jerry Seinfeld (1954), Star Trek: Voyager captain Kate Mulgrew (1955), Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis, an actor whose works are legendary, was born in 1957, and the always beautiful actresses Michelle Pfeiffer and Eve Plumb (Jan on “The Brady Bunch”) were both born in 1958.

Rounding out the list for today are Testament bassist Greg Christian (1966), rapper Master P (1967), singer Carnie Wilson (daughter of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson) from Wilson Phillips (1968), tennis star Andre Agassi and actress Uma Thurman (1970), and actor Sam Jones III, who played Pete Ross in “Smallville”‘s first three seasons (1979), and former Trivium drummer Travis Smith (1982).

In closing, it has been a pretty busy month for me…time to sign off for now.

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

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# LXXXII…”Keep reaching for the stars”…(40th post, too)…

Just for the record, for those that have read this page and have followed it closely, you might think that all this blog is for is so that I can talk about celebrity birthdays…you couldn’t be more wrong.  The actual thing that I really wanted to do here was to inform anyone within listening distance of anything universally “upcoming”…new bands, new music, new albums, new tours, etc.  It’s just that, because of my already daunting career, I don’t have the proper time to enjoy that luxury…so it sort of evolved into the “Birthday Lists”, for now.

With that off my chest, I will give you the final Saturday without a Spotlight (Vol. XV next week)…and let you know that there are a few good birthdays to talk about today.

Starting today’s list is the venerable Casey Kasem (1932), who is the man behind the title of today’s post.  Mr. Kasem, for those that are TOO YOUNG to remember, was a former disc jockey who made a huge name for himself as a historian in the industry and as the host of “American Top 40” (also, he was one of the voice actors that have portrayed Shaggy on “Scooby-Doo”).  He is one of the most respected talents in the industry…also, his daughter is the co-host of “The Sixth Sense” syndicated radio show (with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue).

Also continuing the musical aspect of the list is a man that really doesn’t need introduction…Mr. Ace Frehley, the guitarist for KISS, was born on this date in 1951.  A guitar virtuoso in his own right (also started the group Frehley’s Comet), Ace’s penchant for science fiction is often reflected in his music (see KISS’ “2000 Man” for more).

The final two names on the list for today belong to two beautiful female voices…the multi-talented co-founder of The B-52s, Kate Pierson, who was born on this date in 1948 and the always versatile (singer/actress) Sheena Easton, who was born in 1959.

I will be back here on Monday, as it will be the FOURTH family birthday this month…and, like Mr. Kasem was so fond of saying, “Keep your feet on the ground…”, well, the title finishes that statement for me.

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

Post LXXXI…To be or not to be…

Today, April 23rd is the actual death date of one of the greatest writers of all time, William Shakespeare (hence the reason for the title)…it’s also considered to be his birth date (although he was baptized on the 26th of April, 1564 and his actual date of birth is listed as “Unknown”).

That, however, is not the reason for this column.  The reasons for this blog entry today are for two of the biggest influences of my musical life…the birth dates of Roy Orbison and former Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark.  Both artists’ music was prevalent throughout my life and both have pretty much cemented my base in rock music.

A career that spanned three decades, Mr. Orbison’s regally distinct voice was around in my childhood by listening to the local “oldies” stations growing up (WCBS-FM here in New York).  Born on April 23, 1936 in Vernon, Texas, he really was a driving force behind the young “rock-and-roll” business when his career took off in 1958.  Also, if you happen to catch his “Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night (from 1988, some 11 months before his demise), you’ll see just how well-respected he was in the industry.  Also, his collaboration with The Traveling Wilburys (along with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne of ELO, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan) is in my collection because of his voice, specifically.  His voice and his light are sorely missed here…RIP Mr. Orbison…

The latter, Mr. Steve Clark, born on April 23, 1960 in Sheffield, England and was a catalyst (and original guitarist) for the creation of Def Leppard.  Recruited before the first album…by performing “Freebird” without accompaniment, according to lead singer Joe Elliot, which speaks volumes about the man’s talent as a musician.  A tragedy that his death, on January 8, 1991, was caused by an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription painkillers, for his guitar virtuosity is also sorely missed here.

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

# LXXX…Wizard of Ozz 20th year kick off…which kicked @$$!!!!!

I mentioned to all of you in previous posts that I very rarely get out to experience the live music scene in New York.  On those nights that I do, however, I like to try and explain my feelings/emotions about the great times that some of you might be missing.

Case in point, last night’s extravaganza at Ronkonkoma’s Diamond Club, located right across the street from the train station, was a fine example of how rock-n-roll should kick ass and take names.  The Diamond Club, which I’d never even knew was there (I passed it a few times on my commute in three years but was not looking for it), is an exquisite venue (although a little cramped towards the end) for a show of this caliber.  With at least 10 big screen TVs and an entire building devoted to the sports world, they were able to host one hell of a show.

The first band of the night, an all-original track production of a group called Diligence, was a nicely done change in the atmosphere.  A trio of musicians (lead acoustic, drummer, and rhythm guitar/flute player (!)) from the area that really shocked me because of how well they sounded.  The crowd, which was just about to explode in size when they finished their 30-45 minute set, was really appreciative of their performance.

Next on the list was a brilliant cover band of the group The Cult…named “Love” (after the band’s second album), they performed the gamut of Cult classics (such as “Fire Woman” and “Love Removal Machine”) and even a few tracks that I, as someone who doesn’t listen to all of their music, appreciated; tracks which included “Lil Devil” and “Sweet Soul Sister”.  Lead singer Jay Nova Castronova, who performed diligently through the set, really impressed me (and the audience) with his on-point renditions of these tracks…considering he was pulling double duty last night (more on that in a moment).  A well-appreciated show, they were the shot in the arm that made the final act so special.

As for the final act, the aforementioned Jay Nova Castronova (now switching to drummer), John Traylor, Virgil Varan, and Julian Simonelli proved why they are the ROCK GODS known as The Wizard of Ozz.

Kicking off their 20th year in the industry (on 4/20, which you would know about if you read my post from yesterday) and consisting, for the first time that I’ve seen them, with the ORIGINAL line-up from 1993, they really mastered the crowd interaction (which had increased tremendously in-between sets) and pulled out some tracks that I had not, in all my countless times to see them, heard them perform on stage.

Performing such classics as “War Pigs”, “Road to Nowhere” (first time I’ve seen that), “Fairies Wear Boots” (ditto), and the always-popular “Flying High Again” and “Sweet Leaf” (420-based references), John and the gang truly showed why they have a great reputation for the industry…the vocals were on-point and the interaction with the crowd, as always, was paramount to their success all these years.

Also of note was the fact that, for two songs, Jay Nova stepped aside…the first track was for John’s daughter Brianna, who rocked the house on “Paranoid” (which she’s done before…and was treated with respect last night after ROCKING the track) and the finale of “Crazy Train” was percussed masterfully by another “brother” from the old days, Brian Gabriel, who did his job as an old pro would be expected to.

The night, on the whole, was a beautifully orchestrated night of music that any and all night-owls would appreciate.  The crowd was so enthralled and, as a writer, I was glad that I was a part of it…and one that I will certainly be enjoying in the future.

The Wizard of Ozz is definitely a band that you should check out…you will not be disappointed…as someone who’s seen them a lot, they showed last night why they have had such longevity and hopefully many, many more years to come!!!

/,,,/ RoCk On DuDeZ \,,,\

# LXXIX…(79)…It’s 4/20…

I personally would like to welcome you all to the post that may actually start some thinking…as you know, it’s April 20 (aka 4/20)…or, as it’s known in certain circles, 420.  I would like to point out that, while I may be considered a “pothead” by society-at-large, I will be the first to state that, to ME, alcohol is the “vice” that should be illegal, as it kills more people PER YEAR than marijuana could ever hope to!

Now, here’s where it gets interesting…I cannot sell my soul to a vice that will do more harm than good to your internals than pot.  And, for those of the uninitiated, the plant that it comes from has ALL SORTS of scientific use, as well (look it up…it might just astound you!!!)

If you really must know, society-at-large is more attuned to the 420 phenomenon than you realize…the person next to you could be one…and there’s ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with it…no matter what  you’ve heard!

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

# LXXVIII…A birthday post for me (finally)…

For those that haven’t been paying attention, April 19th is the most important day (for obvious reasons) of the calendar year.  It is the one day where I can truly be happy and remember all of my blessings that I’ve accumulated in this short, 42-year existence.

Without getting too mushy for you, I present the reason that I’m here this early; the list of birthday-mates for me (and everyone else born today):  The original “Untouchable”, former lawman Eliot Ness (1903-1957); “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” star Hugh O’Brian (1925); the second Darrin Stevens from “Bewitched”, Mr. Dick Sargent (1930-1994); actress Jayne Mansfield (1933) and actor Dudley Moore (from the original, and best, “Arthur”) (1935); “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” lead man, Tim Curry (yes, the “Sweet Transvestite” himself) celebrates his 67th birthday today (1946).

The youngest daughter of painter Pablo, Paloma Picasso, turns 64 (1949); former Metallica (and other artists) producer Bob Rock (1954); former Black Sabbath lead singer Tony Martin (1957); baseball players Frank Viola (1960) and Spike Owen (1961); race car phenomenon Al Unser, Jr. (1962); rap producer Suge Knight (1965); actress Ashley Judd (1968) and motorcycle enthusiast Jesse James (Sandra Bullock’s ex) turns 44 today.

The guitarist for the band Within Temptation (which I’ve spoken about here), Mr. Ruud Jolie was born in 1976; James Franco, whose works need no introduction to me, was born in 1978; actress Kate Hudson (1979); actor Hayden Christensen (you know him as “young Anakin Skywalker”) and sports “legend” Troy Polamalu were born in 1981 (32 years old); and, finishing the list, three baseball players born in 1983, Mr. Zack Duke, Joe Mauer, and Curtis Thigpen (all 30 today).

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little trip into “BirthdayLand”…for today, it’s the only day I truly appreciate.

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

# LXXVII…Another family birthday…and Post # 35…

On this early morning of the 17th of April, I just thought I’d pop in before my busy day gets started (on my way to see my little girl sing later today) to post about today’s birthdays.

Aside from the fact that it is my oldest brother Fred’s (Happy birthday, bro) AND that of a former co-worker (H.B., Suzie Q), it seems that people have forgotten who else celebrates a birthday today…and that’s where I apparently fill the void.  Also, I will be writing on here again, in two days, so posting today is not really a problem.

Of noteworthiness, before I get to the birthday list, on this date in 1964 (when my brother was born), I just wanted to mention that the Ford Mustang was first introduced into the US market.  I had never known that until two friends that I commute with mentioned it to me a few months ago.  Talk about ironic!!!

Today’s birthday list, in chronological order (but completely based on my knowledge of these names):  Don Kirshner, the man behind the 70’s hit show, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”, would have been 79 years old today (1934-2011); Jan Hammer, the keyboardist that composed the theme to the Miami Vice TV series, turns 65 today (1938); the “Rowdy One”, Mr. Roddy Piper of wrestling fame, is now a 59 year old (1954); fellow southpaw and New Yorker (West Islip, to be precise) Boomer Esiason turns 52 (1961).

Also, since that year seemed to be great for a lot of people, 1964 saw the births of hockey player Ken Daneyko and Tool/A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan, who celebrate their 49th like my brother.

Finishing the list for today are singers Liz Phair (1967) and Redman (of Method Man & Redman fame) (1970), actress Jennifer Garner (1972), Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice LOL) (1974), and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” star Rooney Mara turns a young 28 today (1985).

As I mentioned before, I will be back on in two days (wonder why LOL) but until then…

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