In The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed director John Waters for my "House Call" column on growing up in Lutherville, Md. (go here). While in college in the 1970s, I spent many hours in Boston movie theaters watching Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, The Diane Linkletter Story and Multiple Maniacs. I was stunned and addicted to John's cinematic glorification of trash in every form. I have to say, interviewing John was particularly rewarding since he immediately grasped the nifty quality of my "House Call" column, which focuses on the ups and downs of childhood. Finally, we learn the secrets of what made John tick.
Also this week in the WSJ, I interviewed early-'60s American teen idol and Bye Bye Birdie star Bobby Rydell on his late-in-life passion for Tower of Power's This Time It's Real (go here). In his prime, after Elvis left for the Army and before the Beatles arrived, Bobby was a teen idol, similar in many ways to any of the young male artists today who become the passionate focus of teenage girls. That whole six-year period—with Bobby, Dion, Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka, Johnny Rivers and several others—was fascinating. In truth, these guys laid the groundwork for the Beatles and the girl-crush phenomenon.
And earlier in the week, I interviewed Donovan for my "Anatomy of a Song" column on Sunshine Superman and why the first psychedelic #1 pop-rock hit in 1966 began as a love song (go here). Donovan is a wonderful guy. He's smart, gentle and spiritually aware. He's also one heck of a songwriter who became eclipsed by Bob Dylan and the surge of American folk-rock artists. On this one seminal album in 1966, several important things happened: Donovan (with the help of arranger John Cameron) invented psychedelic rock, John Paul Jones's bassline on Donovan's The Trip would be lifted by the Wrecking Crew a year later for Sonny and Cher's The Beat Goes On, the sound on Ferris Wheel would be leveraged by the Velvet Underground on their first album, and the fusing of jazz, Celtic, rock, folk and orchestral forms would inspire the Beatles' layering on Sgt. Pepper. Do yourself a favor and carefully re-listen to Donovan's Sunshine Superman album. So much starts with that one album...
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World Trick Shot Day. Here's Harlem Globetrotter Buckets Blakes making a shot you won't believe...
West Coast Jazz. On May 24-28, the Los Angeles Jazz Institute will host its "Big Band Spectacular," featuring the Tom Kubis Big Band, Bill Watrous Big Band, Carl Saunders Bebop Big Band, Steve Huffsteter Big Band, Mike Barone Big Band, Phil Norman Tentet, Roger Neumann Rather Large Band, Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra, Peter Myers Big Band, Les Hooper Big Band, Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra, Ron King Big Band, Brent Fischer + Clare Fischer Big Band, Mike Price Big Band, Bill Cunliffe Big Band, the Luckman Jazz Orchestra, Bernie Dresel B.B.B., John Daniel Stephens Big Band, John Daversa Big Band, David Angel Big Band, Ann Patterson Maiden Voyage and Joey Sellers' Jazz Aggregation. For more information, go here.
Denny Zeitlin at Mezzrow. In New York this week, April 19-22, pianist Denny Zeitlin will be at the Mezzrow Jazz Club at 163 W. 10th St. He'll be playing solo on April 19 and 20 and with his trio on April 21 and 22. Joining Denny on the second two nights will be Buster Williams (b) and Matt Wilson (d). Sets on all four nights start at 8 and 9:30 p.m. If you're out of town, there's live streaming here. For more information and reservations, call (646) 476-4346.
Teri Roiger at Kitano. If you're in New York on Thursday, April 20, vocalist Teri Roiger will be at Kitano Jazz, backed by Wayne Hawkins (p), John Menegon (b) and Steve Williams (d). They'll be celebrating the release of Teri's new album, Ghost of Yesterday: Shades of Lady Day (Dot Time). Sets are at 8 and 10 p.m.; there's a $17 cover and a $20 minimum. For more information and reservations, call (212) 885-7000 or go here.
What the heck. Here's the late great Teddy Pendergrass in 1982 singing The Whole Town's Laughing at Me...
Oddball album cover of the week.