# CDXCIX…(499)…Rock Star’s Milestone 75th…

Today, July 26th, for those that are unaware, is the birthdate of one of the most prolific names to come to America from England; Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger (1943). As he is the co-founder of one rock-n-roll’s premier English bands, his voice is pretty much unmistakable and sometimes hypnotic. His babyface (when he was younger) easily enamored the younger members of the “Flower Generation”; the band had multiple Top Ten hits in the mid- to late 60’s and dominated for quite a while among rock’s upper echelon.

He is known to me, in addition to his storied career as a musician, by his acting prowess, as well; specifically, for his 1992 co-starring role (alongside Emilio Estevez) in the science fiction cult classic, “Freejack”. He’s had roles in other film, naturally, but his anti-hero Vincent Vancedak in the film is an eerie look at how well a villain/antihero should be played. His countless hits and longevity in the industry more than cement his place here on this blog…Many happy more, Sir Jagger!

Among his birthday twins are/were; late “I Love Lucy” co-star Vivian Vance (1909-1979), late producer/director Blake Edwards (1922-2010), late actor Jason Robards (1922-2000), late “The Berenstein Bears” co-creator Jan Berenstain (1923-2012), late veteran actor and “The Dukes of Hazzard” co-star James Best {“Roscoe”} (1926-2015), late directing icon Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) and late patriarch Joe Jackson (1929-2018).

Also celebrating are; singer Darlene Love (1941), esteemed actress Helen Mirren (1945), Queen drummer Roger Taylor (1949), figure skating icon Dorothy Hamill (1956), “Star Trek” alum Nana Visitor (1957), superstar actor Kevin Spacey (1959), veteran actress Sandra Bullock (1964), action film star Jason Statham (1967) and veteran “Underworld” actress Kate Beckinsale was born in 1973.

Now you know how truly “useless” my knowledge base is…and why I’m more entertaining than watching paint dry…or playing stupid online games…

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

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# CDXCVIII…Reboots Be Damned!!!!!

With the latest “reboot” buzz-news floating around, I would like for you to peruse my views (from the book, of course) on the “original” star’s birthday…from “The Last Starfighter”, a film that came out when I was thirteen years young…

Today’s date, July 21st, in addition to being a famous late comedian’s (in the list to follow) birthday, is the creation date of a little-known actor (only because of his career in regards to present-day generation), Lance Guest (1960). With parts in such classics as “Knots Landing”, “St. Elsewhere”, “Lou Grant” and “Halloween II {1981}”, it wasn’t until his performance in 1984’s science fiction pioneer “The Last Starfighter” that he became a member of this date’s elite list.

That movie, which I first saw when I was about 15 or so (loved VHS, when it was king), is one of my all-time favorite movies, science fiction or otherwise. Although certainly campy by today’s computer-generated standards, “The Last Starfighter” will forever be remembered as the first movie to incorporate computer images into a live action film. Having said that, Mr. Guest’s performance as the trailer-park video game legend-turned-intergalactic hero Alex Rogan will stand the test of time; played to hilt with an almost “naïve” feel to it, he will always be among the honored for this date.

Also celebrating are/were his twins; late author Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), actress/singer Kay Starr (1922), late actor/comedian Don Knotts (1924-2006), late wrestling patriarch Bob Orton, Sr. (1929-2006), former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno (1938), singer-songwriter Cat Stevens (1948), “Doonesbury” creator Gary Trudeau (1948) and the late great Robin Williams (1951-2014).

Celebrating as well are; comedian Jon Lovitz (1957), Skillet frontman Korey Cooper (1972), actress/model Ali Landry (1973), actor Josh Hartnett (1978), young Jamaican scion Damian Marley (1978) and Yankees’ hurler CC Sabathia was born in 1980.

Be sure to check out the science fiction classic, “The Last Starfighter”…it might be one of the best and oddest smashes you’ll ever witness…

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

# 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)}