# CDLXVIII…In My Father’s Honor (1931-1999)…

On this date in 1931, my father, the late Frederick H. Johnson was born in New Jersey.  While this may not mean anything to you, my adoring readers, it literally means the world to me.  Without his “contribution” to this world (you’ve had biology, yes?), you might not have been privy to my unique views of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness {which I’m still trying to find}.

My father instilled in me, among other things, the fact that nothing in this world is perfect but, with the proper amounts of patience and tenacity, anything can be achieved.  He was a kind-hearted man with a knack for life that was mirrored by my late brother Fred, insofar as they both didn’t let too much break their resolves.  His time as my parent was filled with such love and devotion that, if he were alive today, he’d probably curse me out for writing about him because he wasn’t really into bragging but, by the same token, he would praise me for doing what I love!

Although the days of old have passed to the next generation, I am still left with very fond memories that can never be replaced.  Such memories include things like being with him on all the excursions to my grandmother’s house, working with him (as he was a brilliant mason) to fix my late aunt’s property, the fact that the man actually apologized for missing my wedding (which he didn’t need to do, in the first place) and all of the celebrations in Atlantic Highlands, NJ (where a plaque honoring my late uncle Edward still resides).

In his honor, his birthday twins include; Coca-Cola inventor John Pemberton (1831-1888), Ferdinand von Zeppelin {who was the creator of the airships named for him} (1838-1917), late oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) and his grandson, former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller (1908-1979), late fashion designer Hugo Boss (1885-1948), late actor/singer Jerry Vale (1930-2014) and late “Young Frankenstein” co-star Marty Feldman (1934-1982).

Also celebrating today are/were; singer/actor Steve Lawrence (1935), actor/comedian Jeffrey Tambor (1944), celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck (1949), actress Anjelica Huston (1951), singer/actor Kevin Bacon (1958), country sensation Toby Keith (1961), Filipino comic book writer/artist Whilce Portacio (1963), singer Beck (1970) and Sonata Arctica guitarist Elias Viljanen was born in 1975.

/,,,/ ROCK ON DAD \,,,\

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# CDLXVII…89 North Show, featuring Pump/The Wizard of Ozz, 07-01-17…

As most of you are unaware, last night I had the golden opportunity to once again see two of the premier cover bands that Long Island has come to offer; the wonderful Aerosmith cover band known as Pump (first time seeing this particular Aerosmith band) and the omnipresent masterpiece that has been doing this for almost 25 years, The Wizard of Ozz.  For those of you that were not in attendance, I think I can honestly say that this show, in particular, was a mistake for you to have missed!

The band Pump, which I don’t remember seeing before (too many memory gaps), went on first to a modest crowd of their adoring fans.  They did a very nice set, including many Aerosmith staples like “Toys in the Attic”, “Jaded”, “Walk This Way”, “Rag Doll” and “Dream On”.  Also included in their wonderful rendition were the smashes “Love in an Elevator”, “Sweet Emotion” and “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”.  For the two hours (?) that they played, the band actually had me debating myself on which Steven Tyler-based group was more entertaining (I’ve seen Ragdoll, another Aerosmith band, many times in the past)…however, I am not going to entertain that debate here, as Pump did a magnificent job!

As for the main attraction, I have spoken volumes about the Wizard of Ozz (proven by the myriad of posts on this blog devoted to them) and, last night’s show featured almost the same lineup as the show at Brody McKay’s in Selden a couple of months back; the bassist was the only “new” member since that show.  It featured the exact song set list from the April show; starting with “Black Sabbath”, “Fairies Wear Boots”,  “Into the Void” and “Snowblind” (featuring John’s voice wonderfully echoed), they rocked the crowd which packed the place for almost three hours!

Also during the night, the band (who sounded as crisp as they have ever been, with former member Brian Gabriel running the sound board, Pete Anselmo on drums and Brian Guinee from the Selden show on guitar) performed hits like the ever-present “War Pigs”, “NIB”, “Iron Man” and “Dirty Women”.  They also performed the hit “Children of the Grave”, which featured John’s daughter, Brianna, doing a back-up drumming role and, before leaving the stage, regaled us with the always-popular “Sweet Leaf” and, in a move that surprised people that haven’t seen it, finished with “Paranoid” (this time with Brianna behind the drum kit!!!)

With this venture in my cap, I have to thank John and the boys of the band, as well as the crew (my brother-in-law Steve, Nick Traylor and Steve-O, who are artisans of their craft and made sure everything was perfect with the performance) for yet another opportunity to focus on my endeavors as a writer.  As a die-hard member of “The Faithful” and as I’ve mentioned before, if you haven’t seen this incarnation of the band, it is clearly your loss; they’ve been around for a while and, hopefully, will be kicking ass for years to come!

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

# CDLXVI…Mom’s Special Day…

For those of you that don’t usually read this blog (unlike our honoree), July 1st happens to be the birthdate of my Mom, Ruth, who was born at a tumultuous time in American history.  Mom joined this world while America was knee-deep in World War II (General Eisenhower actually visited the Normandy front on that day) and, thankfully for this author, my grandparents raised my Mom to be the respectable citizen that she is to this date.

During the unbearable times proceeding the “split” between her and my late father, however, she did everything right raising us four kids…in a time WAY BEFORE today’s wonderful technology, my mom excelled in making sure that her children (us) followed the same ground rules that her parents instilled in her; to become law-abiding, good-natured people that could survive in the world that we live in today.  Times were tougher back then but my Mother performed (and is still, to this day) her duties well enough to make sure that we remain honest and true to those core beliefs.

As my biggest fan (she reads every post, thank you), she has definitely earned this place on my blog (and, in my book).  Without her presence, which goes without saying, I wouldn’t be doing this; naturally because I wouldn’t be here, in this seat, writing about her on her most special of occasions!

It is with great pride and honor that I present to you (and to her) the July 1st birthday list; we will start with what would have been the 111th birthday of cosmetics founder Estee Lauder (1906-2004), “Gone With the Wind”s Olivia de Havilland (1916), comedian/actor Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H) was born in 1934, actress Karen Black (who starred in “Airport ’75” and “Easy Rider”) was born in 1939, choreographer Twyla Tharp in 1941, Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry was born in 1945, former “What’s Happening!!” waitress Shirley Hemphill (1947-1999), The B-52’s frontman Fred Schneider and “The Cop” from The Village People, Victor Willis, were both born on this day in 1951.

Also on today’s list is actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd (1952), country star Keith Whitley (1955-1989), “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” sidekick and former “Spin City” co-star Alan Ruck (1956), 90’s TV star Dale Midkiff (“Time Trax” LOL…wow, my grey hairs) was born in 1959, R&B great Evelyn “Champagne” King turns a young 57 today (1960), track speedster Carl Lewis (1961) as well as the late, great Princess Diana (1961-1997), rap superstar Missy Elliott was born in 1971, and the always scrumptious Liv Tyler (sorry, Steven LOL) was born on this date in 1977.

/,,,/ ROCK ON MOMZ \,,,\