DODGER STADIUM MEMORIES

I lived in Los Angeles from 1980-1993. I made a lot of great friends there, started a long career, played music in damn near every club, heck, my kids were born there and my Dad lived out his years there. Guess that makes me part Angelino.

Back in those days, Tower Records and all of the big record labels had season seats, so I could pretty much go to any game I wanted. For several years in the late ‘80s, during the Dodgers’ glory years of Fernando, Pedro, Orel, Sax, Gibson, Scoscia… Opening Day meant a limo to the park, box seats behind the Dodger dugout and free food. According to my ticket stub collection, I went to over 30 Dodger games in 1986 alone (I lived 10 minutes from the park, so I’d go all the time, even if it was just for an hour before heading to a concert).

But my favorite Dodger Stadium memory happened in the 1st inning of Game 6 of the 1985 NLCS. This turned out to be a game of infamy for the Dodgers, the “Jack Clark game”. The Dodgers were leading 5-4 with two outs in bottom of the 9th, one out away from forcing a game 7, when Mr. Clark hit a heartbreaking 3-run homer. Three outs later, the Cardinals celebrated on the Dodgers field.

But back to the first inning…

Spoiler alert – Kenny G performed the National Anthem (we all took a knee for that one. LOL).

So, I’m getting settled in to my seat right behind home plate – IN THE UPPER DECK – when a guy approaches me and asks for my autograph.

I’ll say that again. A guy approaches me and asks for my autograph.

MY autograph.

I say, “Um… I’m not all that famous, Chuckle. Chuckle”.

And the guy replies, “I respect your privacy, just need a quick autograph and I’ll let you enjoy the game”.

And I say, “No seriously, I don’t think I’m who you think I am”.

But this dude is now all in. He can’t back down and folks are starting to take notice (“DOWN IN FRONT”).

He says, “I really don’t want to make a big fuss. Just give me that autograph please”.
Finally, I have to know. “Um… Who do think I am?”.

And he says…“You’re Kenny G”.
Me: “Um… No, I’m not”.
Him, getting frustrated… “Yes, you are”.
Me: “Seriously, bro. Do you think that, a) You play the anthem and then get seated IN THE UPPER DECK?! and, b) How do you suppose that I got up here this quick?!”

Then I actually pull out my wallet; show him my freakin’ ID and say, “Look. I’m not Kenny G”.

I swear to God, he looks at the ID and says…

“I get it. Stage name”.

Completely humiliated, he finally says, “Well can you just sign your name?”.

And I “autographed” his ticket stub.

True story – this I swear.

100 words on the election…

A few days ago, an old friend (actually, he was my JUNIOR high school music teacher – so I haven’t seen him in 46 years!) commented on my Facebook post about Ted Cruz being a freaking bunghole. He said,

“…take it easy”.

At first, I thought, “My post wasn’t what I’d call hysterical. What’s your big deal?”
But now that I’ve reflected, the message I’m taking from his protective advisory is that this insanity, this political circus, goes on for another 8 months. After the conventions, it could get even crazier, so…

I guess I had better learn to pace myself.

bleak

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

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

September 25, 2014 Bronx, NY

Ya know, I’m not the most worldly guy, but I’ve witnessed a few things. I’ve seen a couple of babies born, watched a couple of folks draw their last breath. I’ve driven through a forest fire, seen a bus blown apart by a suicide bomber. I’ve walked the walls of Jerusalem, sung on gold records, had Michael Jackson call my home. I’ve stood on the beaches of Normandy, wandered the streets of Auschwitz, been in the presence of two popes, been moved to uncontrollable sobbing by the Sistine Chapel.

 I’m not sure where what I witnessed tonight will rank, but I know I’ll never adequately find words to describe it. To stand, screaming myself hoarse with my wonderful daughter and 48,611 of our closest friends, having the privilege to be present for what will undoubtedly go down as one of the most iconic moments in sports history…

Just…

WOW.

As we chanted in unison from the 7th inning on,

Thank you Derek!

DSC05707  DSC05708DSC05709

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:
Hollow Ween

 

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!

57

Doesn’t matter that it’s my birthday, this random thought could be for any day…

We’re all seeing these online quick quizzes lately; answer these ten questions and find out where you should live, what you should do for a living, what superhero you are…

As a single, available, relatively handsome, reasonably hygienic individual, one with a job, a home, no life-threatening illnesses (other than the aging process), a good sense of humor, compassion, gratitude, generosity, nice bridgework, yet unable to meet a single, available, relatively attractive woman if his fucking life depended on it…

Here’s one question I’d ask:
If you could just stay home tonight, have a nice dinner and curl up with someone in front of the TV and watch a movie, ANYONE (and they are there voluntarily) who would that be?

If you’re in a relationship, think carefully before answering