Here’s the Fundamental Problem with DC Comics

Here’s the Fundamental Problem with DC Comics.

 

DC

I’ve only done one guest blog. This is my second. Chris Sims of Comics Alliance nails it. Absolutely nails it. Enjoy.

http://www.businessinsider.com/dc-copies-marvel-2014-6

 

 

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Part Two of “Come and Watch us Sing and Play”; the Monkees Live in St. Louis!

(Part Two of) Come and Watch Us Sing and Play

          The Monkees at the Fabulous Fox Theater, June 5th, 2014

St. Louis, Missouri

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The concert started with the screen tests aired as bits during their TV show (there were no never-seen-before bits on the screen), followed by the theme song and opening video of their show. I’m kind of glad they didn’t perform it.

  1. Last Train to Clarksville (from The Monkees – first album)
  2. Papa Gene’s Blues (from The Monkees – first album)

3.      Your Auntie Grizelda (from More of the Monkees)

  1. The Kind of Girl I Could Love (from More of the Monkees)
  2. She (from More of the Monkees)
  3. Sweet Young Thing (from The Monkees – first album). This was the first of many times Pete played banjo. Ironically, days before I was listening to George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music on which Peter played the banjo. Legend says his track was not included on the album – but it was in the movie – but I hear banjo…)
  4. I’m a Bleeder – er – Believer (from More of the Monkees)
  5. (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone (from More of the Monkees)

Here was the first “break” featuring many video clips of the show – including Mike’s rapid-paced singing of his own “Different Drum”.

A wonderful part of the show was dividing the sets into their respective albums. The next set featured (mostly) songs from their most popular album Headquarters, unless otherwise noted:

9.      You Told Me

10.    Sunny Girl Friend

11.    You Just May Be the One

12.    Mary Mary (from More of the Monkees) (with this song Mickey took over the drums – I watched and he did very well – and the other drummer did percussion)

13.    Girl That I Knew Somewhere (B-side of A Little Bit You, a Little Bit Me)

14.   Shades of Grey (this song had a particularly great video montage – although it did distract from the band – it was here Mickey’s teasing Pete’s hair during the chorus). This was the first Davey song, although he co-sung it with Peter.

15.   Randy Scouse Git (this was preceded by the clip from the British TV show Til Death Do Us Part that inspired the title. The show was Americanized by Norman Lear and renamed All in the Family. So during a trivia night if you ever want to link the Monkees with Archir Bunker … here is it!

16.    For Pete’s Sake

17.    No Time

Video clips during this set break were clips of the show in Spanish.

18.    The Door Into Summer (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd … pant pant, hereinafter “Pisces”)

19.    Words ((from Pisces)

20.    Tapioca Tundra (from The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees)

21.    Going Down (B side of Daydream Believer)

The video screen showed clips of their movie “Head” … oh dear god in heaven are they going to do songs from “HEAD”!!??

The movie was awful, but the soundtrack was the best thing they ever did. It should air with Sgt. Pepper as examples of sixties pop/rock. I’m not kidding.

This was the best part of the show.

22.    Porpoise Song. Oh my god, they did the Porpoise Song. If anyone recorded this that loud voice in the audience singing along was me.

23.    Can You Dig it

They showed the video of Nilsson’s Daddy’s Song with Davy singing. The CD has a bonus track of Mike singing it. I liked that version better. So much so that I forgot that the “official” singer was Davy!

24.    CIRCLE SKY!!! (caps intentional – by now my sister and nephew asked me to sit down and stop embarrassing them. I never. NEVER. thought I would hear this song live. I hoped that someday I might see a solo set by Mike Nesmith, but this was a thrill.)

25.    As We Go Along (and by now the people sitting next to me were reacting and ushers had to be called. This is one of my favorite “deep tracks” by the Monkees. Hardly anyone knows about this beautiful Toni Stern/Carol King tune)

26.    Long Title: Do We Have To Do This All Over Again

After this wonderful set more videos aired as we headed for the big finish…

27.    What Am I Doing Hanging Round? (from Pisces. THIS is my favorite Monkees song. I was sooo glad they did it. Plus they did it at a slower tempo than the original. Overall the “new” live arrangements were superb, sometimes better than the originals)

28.    Daydream Believer (from The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees). This was sweet. Each of the surviving members took a verse, with Mike Nesmith taking the last. His velvety voice fit perfectly.

Encore:

29.    Listen to the Band (from The Monkees Present) (this was accompanied by a video of the song that I never knew existed)

The band members were introduced.

30.    Pleasant Valley Sunday (from Pisces). You knew this song was coming. It was one of their biggest hits and one of my favorites. Damn fun to play on the guitar, too.

I asked my sister how the show compared to the others. I expected the ones with Davy to be more Vegas-y. Lots more showmanship, horns, dancing, etc. I pointed out Mickey’s dancing during “Going Down” as an example of “Vegas-y”.

No, she said, those featured rock bands and were done in similar styles as this. The first tour with Mike Nesmith featured some of his solo songs. Ooo, I would have liked to hear some Nesmith tunes – Joann, for example.

She said there was more banter between the band members in their 2012 tour. There was some here, but not as much. I don’t mind that – I go to a show to watch them play. They can banter on Letterman…

The audience went bananas throughout. And there was quite an age mix – older men and women and small kids. Nothing like the Wiggles show, mind you, but there were kids under ten there. They used to introduce “…Believer” with “we used to do this before Shrek did…”

We need to start a petition to either make them put out a live album or a studio album of these arrangements pronto. Who’s with me?

Gentlemen, you were never jokes; you were never Beatle rip-offs. Bravo for Peter’s jibe about “we were accused of not being the Beatles, along with three million other bands…”

Thank you for nearly fifty years of wonderful music. And thank you for performing it for one night!

I am so glad I went – what a wonderful show. If you can, go see them. As Davy Jones’ death proved, we might not have many more chances to see them. In other words – you’d better get ready; they may be coming to your town.

 

Here’s another great review of the show: http://www.thetelegraph.com/news/lifestyle-news/1414036/The-Monkees-turn-back-the-clock-in-fun-energetic-show

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry

Come and Watch Us Sing and Play – The Monkees Live in St. Louis

Come and Watch Us Sing and Play

          The Monkees at the Fabulous Fox Theater, June 5th, 2014

St. Louis, Missouri

Part One

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This was my sister’s fourth Monkees concert – two with Davy and now two with Mike. This was my first. I was a Monkees fan before I was even a Beatles fan – the pre-Fab Four’s TV show reruns on Saturday mornings helped their songs to be as familiar to me as the theme songs to HR Pufinstuf or Scooby-Doo.

With some exceptions I have retired from concert-going since 1992. Shows were expensive even back then and my poor ears were suffering from enough tinnitus I didn’t need to aggravate it. I wore earplugs to my last shows – even Bob Dylan. During one, ZZ Top, I pulled out an earplug just to see how bad it was. I winced. Not at the music – they were in good form and supporting a great album – but at the volume.

I’ve come out of retirement twice not counting this show – Ringo Starr playing free at the VP Fair in St. Louis (a Beatle for free? Yes, I will come out of retirement to see a Beatle for free) and Rik Emmett playing a solo show in San Antonio (do I want to see the founder of Triumph for ten bucks? Oh yes…). I’ve not attended any other concerts. Rock concerts … the Wiggles and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra notwithstanding…

Until now.

The Monkees concert was a gift from my sister in exchange for purchasing some DVDs for her at Comic Con. She took her ten-year-old son and asked if I wanted to go.

They’ve toured extensively over the past eleven years; but I had to ask myself: “when am I ever going to get to see the Monkees again?”

Their story is familiar: NBC wanted a TV show to cash in on the success of the Beatles and capture the fun of their movies “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help”. The execs thought about getting an actual group – legend says the Loving Spoonful was considered – but decided to cobble together a group from actor/musicians. Stephen Stills tried out and convinced his friend Peter Tork to do likewise. Mike Nesmith was another budding musician. Davy Jones appeared on the famous Ed Sullivan show featuring the Beatles’ first appearance along with his fellow cast-members of “Oliver”. Mickey Dolenz was also child actor.

The plots of the show dealt with an up-and-coming band playing gigs and getting into various zany antics – spies, monsters, gangsters, and mistaken identities – the gamut of 1960’s sitcom fare.

But the music set it apart. During this show the band showed their admiration for the many wonderful song-writers they used and named them – Goffin/King, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Harry Nilsson, etc. And rightly so…

At the time the songs and the Monkees – although very successful on the music charts – were written off as bubblegum music. Well, that term came a few years later, but the criticism was the same.

The Monkees were mocked for not playing their own instruments on their songs and albums. The band members complained about this too, and were allowed to do so beginning with their Headquarters album.

Eventually the show was cancelled, their movie and TV special each bombed and their albums and singles failed to chart. One by one they left the group to do their own thing.

Their popularity grew as new fans discovered their show’s reruns on Saturday Morning (me) and in the 1980s on MTV (my sister). Their detractors were silenced over time as their music aged well. Very well.

They would reunite throughout the decades, usually Mike being the hold-out as his career was moving along and his participation was not necessary.

I am a big fan of Nesmith’s solo music and a subscriber to his video ranch productions. Check it out: http://www.videoranch.com/

Nesmith appeared on stage with the other three on occasion and helped with the album and TV special for their last album “Justus” in 1996. But otherwise, when the members were not doing solo shows or participating in “Teen Idol” festivals, the Monkees toured as Davy, Mickey and Peter.

Davy Jones died in 2012. Mike agreed to tour with Peter and Mickey in 2012 and again this year. Among the excellent band members were Mike’s son Christian on guitar and Mickey’s sister as one of the back-up singers. The other back-up singer, Circe Link and Christian are in a band called “Circle Jerks” and the bass player is their manager – so there was a lot of family up on the stage.

 

The musicians were wonderful. They rocked even during the more poppy numbers. Throughout the show I was amazed at how well these songs have aged.

And the Monkees themselves have also aged well. Mickey can still hit the high notes – particularly on “Words” and “Randy Scouse Git” and only rarely being unable to hit the higher ranges – most notably on “She”. Mike still sang with a caramel smoothness. Peter suffered the most from comparison, but then, he was never known for his strong vocals.

Recommendation: the Monkees should think about making a studio album of their live set to show off their musicians and the new, wonderful arrangements of their classic songs. Their version of “Daydream Believer” will likely make the charts, or at least be a popular download.

A video screen above the band showed constant clips of the TV show, their movie and TV special. At times I found it distracting. I’m there to watch the show, not clips from “The Monkees’ Paw”. But it helped give the band a break during sets and keep the audience cheering.

Next: Part 2 – the set list!

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry

PAPPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW BLOG!

PAPPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW BLOG!

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                If you have linked to my blog from one of my Facebook or Google or Twitter links, and are a regular reader, you may have noticed something different.

                (If this is your first look at my little set of blogs – either through a random search or through WordPress, welcome!)

                I have redone my blog through WordPress where I also started a web page – https://michaelgcurry.com/. So far it leads to my blog posts from Blogger – I imported all of them – has links to my Twitter feed and Facebook page and a cute link to Goodreads and I hope I can get a link (called a widget) to Librarything.

                I don’t like the transfer of my blogs from Blogger to WordPress – it has some errors, particularly lack of spaces between words, misaligned margins, white text that is invisible here, etc. Minor quibbles, I suppose.

                A fun and interesting addition will include tags and topics – I look forward to seeing which tags grow in size reflecting the common topics of my blog entries. I expect “comic books” will dominate haha.

                I like Blogger and will continue to post there as long I get enough hits. Perhaps in the future I can link the two – clicking on one leads to the other. But I wanted to expand my options and give myself an actual website for potential readers to view.

                Why do I need better access to readers? Why do I need an “intro” website to my blog?

                Because I do not intend the website to be only a doorway to my blogs because …

                … are you ready? …

                In a few weeks I will be publishing my first book.

                I am publishing “Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption; and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt helped”.

                I am using the company Createspace to self-publish my book through Amazon and its affiliates. When I have a cover designed I will then upload the book through Smashwords to publish it through Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and other venues Createspace does not use.

                I have updated my Facebook page (and created an author’s fan page), Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn to use as my link to readers for marketing my book. I hope “Abby’s Road” will do well enough to help pay for itself and my next book about children’s television – which I hope to be published in November. With Smashwords I will be able to publish the short stories I have written through the years. Some will be free; some will be a dollar.

                This isn’t vanity publishing, although that still exists; this is the trend of the future: bypassing the traditional – sometimes insurmountable – wall of traditional publishers.  Independent publishing – the last thing I would associate myself with is being on the crest of a wave of the future.

                Future blogs will discuss how I came to write the book and my experiences in publishing it. I also have a few ideas about sharing my current health issues and my attempts at overcoming them. Plus the usual movie, book, TV and comic book reviews; don’t worry my fellow nerds – I am still a geek at heart!

                So wish me luck and please be patient with this old Luddite when it comes to browsing my web pages. I’ll do my best! And I’ll keep posting!

Original material copyright 2014 Michael Curry

 

(noticed I dropped my middle initial “G” in all this? Smashwords recommends eliminating middle initials to allow people browsing authors to find my name easier … who am I to argue?)