# CDLXIX…For “The Ankh”…

As I haven’t written on here in quite some time (lack of interest has led to my lack of writing), I figured that I would leave this snippet from my now-defunct attempt at being a paid author…

# cxii…Outcast but Talented Guitarist…

Today’s date, August 6th, is the birthdate of former KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent (1952), who, according to a quote from Wikipedia, felt like he was “imprisoned in a cubicle…like it was someone else’s house”…which was pretty much his feelings after two studio releases with the mega-powered band.  His skilled guitar work graces the albums “Creatures of the Night” (1982) and “Lick It Up” (1983) and is also credited with guitar workings on “Revenge”, as well.

He has also had some success with his eponymous band, The Vinnie Vincent Invasion, as well as collaborations with such greats as Wendy O. Williams, Peter Criss, John Waite and The Bangles.  In the overall big picture, however, he is currently celebrating his 47th year in the business (1970) and, as such, deservedly belongs here as a celebrity of note.

Also celebrating with “The Ankh” are/were; late comedian/actress Lucille Ball (1911-1989), late actor Robert Mitchum (1917-1997), late actress Selma Diamond (1920-1985), late art virtuoso Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and late wrestling star Dino Bravo (1949-1993).

On the end of the list are; former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey (1957), famed director M. Night Shyamalan (1970), former Spice Girls’ beauty Geri Halliwell (1972), former “Punky Brewster” star Soleil Moon Frye (1976) and former wrestler and wife of Matt Hardy, Reby Sky, was born in 1986.

Until tomorrow, as it’s a date on my calendar that cannot be forgotten…

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


# 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 \,,,\

# 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 \,,,\

# CDLXV…The Birthday Massacre, Part IV…

In my on-going attempt to “introduce” new music to your earbuds, I now present to you the proof of my love for this group…my minor contribution to their latest release, which was covered here not-so-long-ago!

I’m just gonna leave this here…it’s up to you to discover what I’ve known all along…this band is FIRE!!!!

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

# CDLXIV…Father’s Day, 2017…

On this special edition post for today, June 18th, which coincides with Father’s Day this year, I would like to indulge my own personal psyche and describe to you my elation with everything this “holiday” has come to mean to me.

As my ex-girlfriend and I were estranged at the time, I didn’t find out that my eldest daughter, Mena, was born until three days after her birth.  Nonetheless, once I was told of her existence, I did my best to accommodate her life on this planet.  Throughout her 25 years on this planet, I have done my utmost best (as any father should) to make sure that she remains an upstanding and productive member of society; she has, however, exceeded my own accomplishments, insofar as she is a high school AND college graduate!

My youngest daughter, Erin, I had the pleasure of being present with my ex-wife in the delivery room to experience the miracle of her birth 17 years ago…which, although it turns a lot of men into sissies LOL, had the opposite effect on me (as I’ve said in the past, I could hit the lottery twice and not be as happy as I was in that instant!!!)  She will be going into her final year at high school this year and hopefully graduating as a senior next year (which I will make EVERY attempt to witness, regardless of how much distance is between us).

Personally, in this day and age where MONEY is apparently key over all, I haven’t lived up to modern society’s vision of the perfect Dad; for example, I cannot shower my children with cars, houses or the extravagant items that are being produced for our enjoyment.  My children weren’t lavished with over-the-top Sweet 16s (although I would have LOVED to provided that, if my financial state wasn’t in ruins) or given the chance to travel the world on my dime but, at the end of the day, I can rest easy every night, because I know that I have given them the one thing that money CANNOT give them; my presence!

To my wonderful children, I don’t need any “gifts” that the stores are currently hawking for this joyous day; you are and always will be the only Father’s Day gifts that I need and/or want to receive on this date.

I would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all of my friends and contacts on social media, male AND female (in case you’re a single Mom pulling double duty because of the ineptitude of certain members of the male species who couldn’t handle being a father!)

And, in closing, I would like to mention a Happy Father’s Day in Heaven to two people who would be celebrating if it weren’t for the fact that they are no longer with us; my father, Frederick Johnson, and my late brother Fredrick; as this date is incomplete without you both.

/,,,/ ROCK ON DADZ \,,,\


# CDLXIII…Rock Spotlight Vol. IX…”Under Your Spell”, The Birthday Massacre (2017)…

When this band announced a PledgeMusic campaign to fund this new album, titled “Under Your Spell” (which features a silhouette of a “bunny-girl” skeleton embracing another shadowy grim reaper skeleton), I immediately and without hesitation did my part to kill the “bubblegum” that graces the airwaves.  As a man with a collection of music that DOESN’T include most of the moronic nonsense out there, this band is among my Top 50 (coming soon?!?) and this album is proof-positive that you’re missing out.

Before I get into the album, however, I would like to state my official position on this Canadian sextet (which I’ve covered in FOUR posts on this blog)…everything this band has put out since 2002’s “Nothing and Nowhere” is in my catalogue!  When I made my “pledge” (although a measly $16), it was with the intent of keeping them in my musical database because of their intelligence.  As true masters of their craft, this album is everything that is expected of them (in terms of recording music for all to enjoy!)

An 11-track romp through a Carroll-esque (“Alice in Wonderland”?) landscape of emotional highs and lows in dealing with life and, more specifically, love, it grabs you from the first song (aptly titled “One”) and keeps you enthralled, through Chibi’s haunting vocal styles, combined with Owen’s keyboard mastery with Rainbow and Falcore’s guitar prowess to finish.  The flow that this band has had since the beginning is something that everyone can enjoy.  The band is more tempered for the darker side (goth-synth?) and I can certainly relate to most of the subject matter on this album (as highlighted by tracks like the title cut, “All Of Nothing”, “No Tomorrow” (featuring two sides of Sara Taylor’s impressive vocals), “Games”, and “Unkind”.)

In closing, this is definitely a band that you should enjoy and this album is a five-star caliber album!  I suggest that you all mark June 9th on your calendars…you WILL NOT be disappointed!

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