COVID45: June 2020, U.S.A

I read and hear numbers, but they don’t always answer the questions I’m asking.

 So, since the end of April, I have been maintaining my own database, using the daily figures from Johns Hopkins. 

This is my analysis for the month of June, 2020 in the USA:    

New cases: 846,347 (up from 720,767 in May)
Resolved cases: 298,873 (275,873 recovered, 23,042 died)
% of resolved cases that resulted in death: 7.71% (down from 12.46% in May)
Increase of active cases: 547,432 (44% higher than end of May)

Total active cases: 1,788,482
% of total cases since onset that are currently still active: 68%
In other words, when you hear on the nightly news that there have been 2.5 million cases in the US, 68% of those people are sick right now.

June testing: 15,269,354 (up from 10,705,709 in May)
Positive %: 5.54% (down from 6.73% in May)
Death “projection”: 265,317

This “projection” is the result of taking June’s % of resolved cases resulting in death (7.71%), applying it currently infected people (1,788,482) and adding that result to the number of dead as of June 30th (127,425).

 This resulting death “projection” of 265,317 does not take into account anyone newly infected from July 1 going forward. Given that the increase of active cases for the 7-day period ending June 30 was 210,153 (13.31%), my “death projection” will pale in comparison to the actual number of American lives that will be lost.

 What does my close friend and confidant, the critically unclaimed Loop Granddady think of the precautions Americans are taking to stop the spread of this plague? Please check out our new tune, the Massk.

Thanks and good luck!

the Massk by Loop Granddaddy
© 2020 Hannah’s Dad’s Music/Samsongs BMI

How’d You Get That Name?

Years before the band existed, my girlfriend showed me a tiny little pen knife, maybe 2″ long. It was a salesman’s sample, with BARLOW SAMPLE X24 etched on the blade. I grabbed the blade and declared myself “Barlow Sample, agent X24”.

 A few times at our local bar, I pulled it out and, threatening no one in particular, lisped “My name is Barlow Thample, baby! I have a blade with my name on it. Mess with me and I’ll cut you”. People laughed. Before long, it became a bit of a thing and folks started calling me Barlow and demanded to be “threatened” with the puny weapon. 

 Like most silly jokes, it ran its course.

 Fast forward a couple of years. I’m in a new band. We’re struggling to come up with the perfect name. We try out ‘the Fontaine Brothers’ and other non-starters before unanimously agreeing that the name needs to be one word. Yes, one word! Absolutely. Definitely! But which word? My partner comes up with Pudenda, which stuck for maybe 11 hours. 

 One night, we’re sitting with a couple of our best buddies, perhaps under the influence of a certain herbal combustible, when I blurt out, “Barlow”. The four us laugh our asses off. And then, one by one, they giggle, “THAT’S THE NAME!” 

 And we solemnly agreed. The band shall be Barlow.

 We couldn’t wait for the next day’s rehearsal to tell our band mates what we were calling this new destined-for-glory outfit.

 When the glee settled down, I said,
“But in my heart, it will always be the Barlow Sample Band” (again, pronounced Thample)
My partner said, “Yeah, but we agreed that it would be one word – Barlow”
I responded, “Yes. Agreed. Totally. It’s Barlow. End of story. I’m just saying… IN MY HEART, it will be the Barlow Thample Band”.
Partner: Enough already, We agreed. It’s Barlow. One freakin’ word!
Me: Yes. It’s Barlow. No argument. I’m just saying that, in my heart….

This actually went back and forth for several more minutes.

 Finally, I gave up in frustration. I stood up and snarled, “Tomorrow, I’m showing up at rehearsal with a t-shirt that says, “the Barlow Sample Band, Baby!” and you’ll all be begging me for one” and I left. 

I went home and designed and printed one shirt.

 The next day, I walked into rehearsal with my new ‘the Barlow Sample Band, Baby! shirt’. On first sight, my band mates all said, “THAT is the name of the band”. I unconvincingly replied, “But we all agreed it would be a one word name”. 

 Over the years, I printed that logo dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Each print used different combos and swirls of silkscreen paint. No two shirts were alike, “and for the coup-de-gras” I handed one to Walter Becker at a street festival we played in Lower Manhattan (with Patti Smith).

That was “outrageous, oh honey, let me tell you” 🤣

 The knife? I still have it! Actually, I now have TWO. Found another one on eBay several years back. And, just today, I saw another one on eBay. Am I supposed to not buy it?

*This post contains lyrics from Steely Dan’s Showbiz Kids, written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

Little Richard Penniman

The first time I became fully aware of Little Richard was when I heard him playing piano on Delaney and Bonnie’s version of his song Miss Ann (from To Bonnie From Delaney, produced by Tom Dowd). I mean, I knew who Richard was, but he wasn’t on 12 year old Joey’s play list.

D&B, on the other hand… man, I knew their 4th record by heart. I was even blessed to see them live in Central Park, King Curtis’s last show before his untimely death.

I was blown away to discover this video today – arguably the greatest rock and roll band ever assembled. I mean, this is 1969. The Beatles still existed. Look at this lineup:

Bonnie Bramlett – vocals
Delaney Bramlett – guitar and vocals
Jim Gordon – drums
Carl Radle – bass
Bobby Whitlock – keyboards
Billy Preston – keyboards
Jim Price – trumpet
Bobby Keys – sax
Rita Coolidge – vocals

Damn!

Oh yeah… and on guitars, Eric Clapton and George Harrison

Leon must have been busy that day 🙂

Not sure how many R&R Hall of Famers have served as sidemen on other people’s’ recordings of their own tunes, but this tells you about all you need to know about the Bramletts!

Will Be Done

January 13, 2020 

When I don’t want to be somebody, then I will be done.

 Will Be Done – so I wrote that when I was 40. And Dad and I disagreed over what it meant. Trying to remember exactly what his view was (maybe he was right?*) but that’s actually a little off track. 

 As I become more absurdist, at least how I see absurdism – that nothing has meaning, especially in regards to ambition; Who am I trying impress? What is the point of “achievement” or notoriety other than the craving for acknowledgement, approval etc., as proof that we mean something, whether we’re a success and a winner or not, that we even exist, but we keep trying to find that meaning anyway? – my view has evolved. On one hand, that “when I don’t want to be somebody, then I will be done” means that when I no longer have ambition, I’ll be ready to die. But now, I see that perhaps I was 180 degrees off – that it really means when I stop wanting to be “somebody”, then I will be free and will live out my days happier. I won’t be done, I’ll be beginning.

Aha! But if that’s true, the lyrical premise can actually stay the same, but the definition of “somebody” and of “ambitions” change. My ambition is not to be acknowledged or approved by anybody but ME. It not about fame or glory or riches or “achievement”. Success is peace, and getting there is a very strong ambition. I don’t want to be “somebody”, but rather, that somebody is me! I just want to find me, love me, finally become me and live with me in peace. When I don’t to be somebody, but have become me… then I will be done! 

 Well… maybe I can wallow in my peaceful contentedness for awhile before being done. Doesn’t have to be instantaneous 🙂


Your Little Love Song

Hardest thing in the world for me is to finish recording a song.

I was blessed to have this simple little ditty show up late the other night, with the music nearly complete. I thought, “It’s just a little folk song, but WTF – accept the gift and be grateful for it”.

When I woke the next morning, the lyrics were running through my brain.
All I had to do was sing them.

Your Little Love Song

Well I’ll just be your little love song
And I’ll tuck you into bed at night
And I’ll be your sweet lullaby
So hold your head up high.

Ooo-oooh
Don’t let this make you cry
Ooo-oooh
I’ll love you ’til I die

Well I’ll just be your little love song
And I’ll tuck you into bed at night
And I’ll be your sweet lullaby
So hold your head up high.

Ooo-oooh
Now look into my eyes
Ooo-oooh
I’ll love you ’til I die

Well I’ll just be your little love song
And I’ll tuck you into bed at night
And I’ll be your sweet lullaby
So hold your head up high.

words, music, playing, singing by bobwhite
© 2018 Hannah’s Dad’s Music/Samsongs BMI
I wrote and recorded this without ever getting out of bed 🙂

100 words from March 17

Didn’t even realize I was writing 100 words way back on St. Patty’s Day 😉
Well, hoy de doy. I was!
And here they were…

I got in the car this morning and Modern Music by Be Bop Deluxe was on the radio. It took me back to one of the staples of my late teens/early 20’s. As the 12 minute masterpiece unfolded, I found myself turning the radio louder and louder and louder.

When it ended, Forbidden Lovers came on. What? Oh crap. I figured Bill Nelson must have joined the rock n’ roll heaven class of 2016.

“When will this journey be through?”

Good news. Unless the DJ knows something that the internets don’t, Mr. Nelson is still alive and well.

You’re welcome

Be Bop

100 words on Lennon and Martin

Watching a short clip of John Lennon speaking about George Martin; commenting “it’s hard to describe a relationship”.

As John speaks, it seems as if the more he verbalizes it, the more he acknowledges (to himself?) just how much George Martin brought to the party. It’s true, without George Martin, there is no Beatles; without the Beatles, we’re certainly not talking much about George Martin.

Together? We’ve been discussing this for over 50 years now and it’s not much of a stretch to predict that “we” will still be discussing them in another 50 years.

Rest in peace, Sir George.

https://www.facebook.com/johnlennon/videos/1161967817155263/

 

And the stars look very different today

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence

Nothing I can say about Bowie that hasn’t already been said better.
:
The short version – David, your music has been part of the soundtrack of my life since I was 11 or 12 years old. Your passing cuts deeply. You were more than a musician, more than a writer, more than an artist, more than a star. You were, and always will be, a true icon.

Every weekend, Molly, who has somehow become 16 years old (time flies when you’re having fun?) and I go on long drives. She, naturally, controls the music. Over the course of our journeys, I can l always depend on the fact that I’m going to hear Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things, All the Young Dudes…

The two best lines I’ve heard on this mournful day:
“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”
:
“No more crying. David Bowie wouldn’t want us to waste the eye liner”

Rest in peace David.
Thank you.

P.S. Thanks for turning me on to Stevie Ray!

DB
Photo by Masayoshi Sukita

All Things Must Pass

So, I hear that Colin Hanks’ Tower Records documentary is being screened in Los Angeles. I didn’t hear about this from the director or from the Tower brass. A former employee posted it on my Facebook timeline. I thank her for recognizing that I had a role in this company’s rise and fall.

I don’t delude myself that I was one of the top 25, or even 50 or 100, all-time MTS employees. I don’t imagine, if Tower had a Hall of Fame, that I’d be an inductee. I recognize that when I arrived on the scene, while not yet a worldwide, or even national, company, Tower Records was indeed already an iconic and revolutionary chain. Heck, that’s why I applied for a job within days of moving to Los Angeles in 1980. It’s the only place I wanted to work.

Still, I am a bit surprised, disappointed and curious that, other than a brief introductory email exchange in 2011 (“we’ll be in touch soon”), Mr. Hanks did not feel that I was worthy of even a five minute phone pre-interview by his lowest staff member. After all, I did work for Tower for 26 years. I was the Manager of Tower Sunset, “the most famous record store in the world” during its peak years. I was the pioneer of computerized inventory management for the chain. I founded Tower Israel (employee #1) and opened three stores in the Middle East. To my knowledge, I was the only person in Tower history to manage Store of the Year award winners at three different locations. And, for the last four difficult years of the chain, I was the Director of Purchasing for all US stores, overseeing $1.6 billion in sales. When they finally shuttered the place, I wonder how many staffers remained with an employee number lower than my #3047.

I look forward to seeing Mr. Hanks’ movie. I’m sure it will be glowing with well-deserved and sentimental, nostalgic praise for his hometown chain that conquered the world. I’m sure I’ll learn new things about those first ten years, gain new insight into the legends and mentors that preceded me and feel my own swell of pride for any tiny role I played in this iconic American success story. And I’m particularly interested in seeing how he portrays the demise. For long after the titans had left the building, after the passing of Bud Martin and Tony Valerio, the departures of Hopson, Sockolov (Ross and later Kenny), Barton, Viducich, Goman, Scarlett, MTS himself… and after Russ had lost all relevance, the fight went on. I wonder if this is covered in any detail. Is there mention of those who struggled through those last couple of years to keep the old gal afloat with smoke and mirrors, baling wire and duct tape? Is there any sentiment for the thousands of employees who fought on with no glory, no pay raises, no golden parachutes and, in the end, no severance packages whatsoever? Will their love, passion and selfless dedication be acknowledged?

And, will Russ ultimately take any responsibility for his epic financial blunders and loss of vision? Or will it be his usual litany of blame: Napster, the internet, downloading, record companies (that wouldn’t listen to him and produce more singles and classical records) and “those fucking banks”. Will Tower’s demise just be chalked up, like buggy whips and steam locomotives, to all things (such as record stores), must inevitably pass?

As an insider, and an eyewitness to the bitter end, I ain’t buying that story!

I recognize that this post is not likely to be embraced, but I feel I’m entitled to my point of view, my perspective, my feelings.

And, all that aside, I do sincerely thank Russ Solomon for signing my paycheck for 26 years. It was indeed, a great ride. Thank you sir.

Employee #3047:
1980-1991 Tower Sunset – W. Hollywood, CA
1991-1993 Tower Topanga – Woodland Hills, CA
1993-1995 Tower Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Israel (employee #1)
1995-2002 Tower Stockton – Stockton, CA
2002-2006 Corporate Headquarters, 2500 Del Monte, West Sacramento, CA, USA

P.S. In the Facebook post, I included a photo that I had sent to Kickstarter by way of introducing myself. I call it Hallow Ween (from Tower Sunset,1980). Facebook took it down.

As far reaching, and invasive, as their tentacles are, I don’t believe they can remove it from MY website. Here it is:

the Beatles

That was so awesome! And what class.

“We have to mention that we were in a band and it was called the Beatles”.

So many bands out there, R&R Hall of Fame bands, still playing their hits even though 1/2 of the original members are long gone. As far as I’m concerned, if those two legends had gone out there last night and played those songs under the banner “the Beatles”, I wouldn’t have found it one tiny bit less thrilling. The live audience sure seemed to agree!

If you had a choice to BUY tickets for one concert tomorrow, featuring real live current line-ups, would you go see:

1) the Rolling Stones
2) the Beach Boys
3) the Allman Brothers
4) the Who
5) Fleetwood Mac
6) the Eagles
7) the Beatles (billed as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr since they’re too cool to pimp the brand without John and George).

Me? I’d see “the Beatles” 10 times before even thinking about one of the other bands. No contest.

And hey, just saying, with all due respect to Anderson, Laboriel, Wickens & Ray, I’d rather see Paul and Ringo with Ringo’s current band. Lukather & Frampton are a SERIOUS upgrade!