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Charlie Thomas' Blog

Weekdays 6p - 10p


Ozzy!

Ozzy will be in Sac Friday night for a book-signing at Barnes & Noble on Arden.  His new book is "Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy"--and it reminded me of the afternoon I spent 0n-air with him in 1987.  Note the TURNTABLE  tracking his vinyl album..the Randy Rhoads tribute.  After chatting with the Prince of Darkness for a while--about the tragic loss of Randy..about his music--but also about his FAMILY life (his kids were basically toddlers at the time)...it occurred to me that here was a legendary rock god, fighting his demons, while also dealing with everyday family issues that all of us have encountered in our own family unit!  --so, it was NO surprise to me when the Ozzy MTV reality show was such a curious hit.   And it also won't surprise me if his book becomes a best-seller.  The man has some stories to tell--even if you have a hard time UNDERSTANDING him when he tells them.
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When I'm 64...

Don Felder turns 64 today (9/21).  I got to hang with the ex-Eagles guitarist at a soundcheck a coupla years ago at Jackson Rancheria.  What an AMAZING guitarist!..Don LEARNED to play slide from Duane Allman...and TAUGHT  a young Tommy Petty how to play.  And his 2008 autobiography "Heaven and Hell" is a fascinating look at his life, and the evolution of the Eagles (and one of the few BOOKS I've read in the last few years!). Happy b-day, Don...and go ahead...take a ride...on heavy metal.
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God Bless America...(the band)

Dan Peek, one of the founding members of America, passed away on Sunday at the age of 60.  I have to admit....America is one of my "guilty pleasures."--especially their early stuff, which had a Neil Young feel to it. Like Horse with No Name...Ventura Highway...Sister Golden Hair.  Or deeper tracks like Sandman.   OK,  Muskrat Love--not so much.   Peek left the band in 1977, and became a born-again Christian, & was a pioneer in the Christian rock musical genre.  Dan is survived by the other 2 members of America, Dewey Bunnell & Gerry Beckley. Excuse me, while I ponder the philosophical implications of ..."Oz never gave nothin to the Tin Man...that he didn't already have."
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Ozzy's Ferrari

Frankly, if I were a passenger in a Ferrari 458 Italia, I'd rather have Mr. Magoo at the wheel than Ozzy Osbourne.  It took Ozzy almost 20 attempts before he finally passed his driver's test.   BUT..at least he HAS a license.  Last December, Ozzy had a fender bender in his "old" Ferrari...hitting an attorney, no less.  Ozzy: "Jeez...just my luck...I hit Perry Mason!"    His car wasn't damaged badly, but Ozzy wanted a new ride, and has been spotted on the road near his new home in Calabasas driving a 458 Italia similar to the pic (list=$ 240 K).   "Oh, Magoo...you've done it again!"
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Happy Bday, Derek Trucks

Derek Trucks is one of THE finest blues guitarists you've (maybe) never heard of...and he turns 32 tomorrow (6/8). You MAY have witnessed Derek play if you've caught Eric Clapton OR the Allman Bros in concert in the past few years--he's performed with each of those bands, as well as his own, with his wife Susan Tedeschi (a fine blues singer herself). Derek is the nephew of ABB drummer Butch Trucks, and was named after Eric Clapton from his days with the Dominoes--which, of course, featured Duane Allman.  To see Derek play slide guitar now on his trusty red SG...well, you can close your eyes and imagine Duane bottleneckin' those riffs.  And Derek with Warren Haynes??--a modern reincarnation of Duane & Dickey Betts.  A good song to start with..."Midnight in Harlem." off the 2010 Crossroads Festival DVD.
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Lone Ranger!

Hangin' with Jeff Watson, on-air in 1987. Note the TURNTABLE behind me, spinning the latest Night Ranger tune.  Jeff is one of the finest guitarists to hail from Sactown...and he'll be playing with his All Star band, Lone Ranger, Friday nite 3/25 at the Boardwalk.  On Friday afternoon, Jeff & Lone Ranger will play a private session in the MetroPCS lounge here at the Eagle studios.  Wanna sit in??  We have a few seats for you & a guest.  Find out how to EARN your spot...at www.eagle969.com .
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Chicago in Sacramento

Danny Seraphine, the original drummer from the band Chicago, will be in Sac tomorrow (Saturday) at 1:30 for a free drum clinic.  Open to experts & beginners, the clinic will be at Holiday Inn Express on Auburn Blvd. Danny will talk about drum techniques, and tell stories from the early days of Chicago. --which also are in his new book, "Street Player." Oh yeah...he'll be signing copies of the book at the clinic!!  Those first coupla albums from Chicago were fabulous, blending horns with guitars, fusing rock with jazz...and Danny was a big part of that recipe.  Find out more about the clinic at www.skipsmusic.com.
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I Can't Quit You

But he almost did.  Robert Plant sez he almost quit Led Zep in 1977 after the death of his 5 yr old son Karac. "All of us had been thinking about what would happen next because the illusion had run its course," he said...adding "I'd already lost my boy, and then you think 'I really have to decide what to do.' I applied to become a teacher in the Rudolf Steiner education system. I was accepted to go to teacher training college in 1978." --Wow...Robert Plant as a teacher...do ya think he would have buttoned up his shirt for class??
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Jesus in Blue Jeans

Back in 1970, George Harrison looked a lot like Jesus in blue jeans, didn't he? ..wearing those work boots, and denim shirts.  He captured some of that spiritual mysticism on his masterpiece album, "All Things Must Pass"...released 40 yrs ago this November.  And what an all-star cast on that recording...! On guitars..Eric Clapton, Dave Mason & Peter Frampton...on drums, Ginger Baker & Ringo..keyboards, Billy Preston & Gary Wright.  To mark the 40th anniversary, the album will be re-mastered, and re-released--even on a 3 LP vinyl set!!  But if you're like me...you probably NEVER listened to the LP with those long, wandering  jams on it.  In my humble opinion..."All Things Must Pass" should have been a SINGLE disc.  George had just come into his own as a songwriter with the Beatles, and I think he had SO much material, he just wanted to release it ALL. The quiet Beatle was making some noise...well, CHANTING a lot, anyway. Look for the remastered album on November 26.
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Queen Borat

Sacha Baron Cohen--"Borat"--has signed on to play Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in a bio-pic. The surviving band members have agreed to their music being used in the movie, which should be out next year..20 years after Freddie's death.  We know Sacha can wrestle...I wonder if he can sing??  The resemblance between the 2 is uncanny, wouldn't you say? BTW..Sacha on the left, Mercury on the right.
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Don Felder's '59 Les Paul

Gibson Guitar will introduce a limited edition guitar resembling this 1959 Les Paul that Don Felder used to write & record on the Eagles' "Hotel California" album..including the title song, which features Don & Joe Walsh  on one of the most famous solos of all time. Don sez.."It's a phenomenal feeling to have written something that has become so recognized and well-received world-wide." Amen...LOVE that fret work...and I'm telling Don that in the other pic from Jackson Rancheria a year or so ago.
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The Boss's Big Box Set

I spent 4 years in New Jersey in the mid 70's, and witnessed Bruce Springsteen's rise from local hero to international rock boss.  He--like Dylan--is a modern day poet laureate, a wordsmith who paints vivid lyrical imagery..especially in his early work. Personally, I haven't been a BIG fan since "Born in the USA."  But I remember wandering the boardwalk in Asbury Park in 1976--before they renovated it for gambling--and spying, on the rickety planks, a boarded-up shack with a sign that read "Madam Marie's."  I laughed, realizing this was the spark for a line in Springsteen's song "4th of July..Asbury Park (Sandy)."  The line.."Did ya hear the cops finally busted Madam Marie..for telling fortunes better than they do."     I graduated college, and left New Jersey, the exact WEEK that "Darkness on the Edge of Town" was released--June 2, 1978.   And this November..the album will  be RE-RELEASED..in a massive 3 CD, 3 DVD collection. Included will be rare & previously unreleased songs, live recordings, the "making of" documentary, and much more. Get details here http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/News/?Index=11.  Bruce once said.."Darkness was my samurai record..stripped to the frame, and ready to rumble."  It also reminds me of my long drive outta Jersey to California.
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Aerosmith--Rock Opera, or Soap Opera

Jaded as I am..I thought that the Steven Tyler-Aerosmith "feud" a coupla months ago was just PR leading up to their current tour. And when Tyler was named as a possible American Idol judge, well--more of the same PR hype. Steven himself even joked, "..and I'm NOT pregnant with Joe Perry's love child."  But nowwwww...apparently Tyler is being seriously considered for the Idol  judges panel..and that has generated some friction between bandmates.   Last nite in Toronto, while the band was playing Love in an Elevator, Tyler bumped into Joe, causing him  to lose his balance and stumble.  Then, while Steven is on the edge of the stage, Perry hip checked him into the crowd!  This is beginning to look like a pro wrestling grudge match...
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Separated at birth?

Elvin Bishop & Harpo Marx. Harpo played a mean harp, & Elvin plays a mean guitar. He'll be headlining the NorCal Blues Festival Saturday, Aug 7, at Auburn Regional Park. Gates open at noon...also playing..Zac Harmon, Chris Cain, Sac Blues Revue, & more..win tix this weekend on the Eagle.  While Harpo never spoke (on camera), Elvin speaks quite a bit in his shows...his sense of humor adds another element to to the show.
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Happy B-day, Steve Morse

..maybe the best guitarist you've never heard of--kudos if you have. Steve WAS named Best Guitarist for 5 yrs in a row by Guitar Player magazine in the 80's..and was the founder of the cult fave Dixie Dregs. He also played on a coupla Kansas albums in the late 80's, and for the last dozen years or so has been with Deep Purple. But as incredible as Steve is on the fretboard, that version of DP feels like a "tribute" band to me.  Steve turns 56 today [7/28]..and about 20 yrs ago, lived in the El Dorado Hills area, occasionally coming to my studio to visit/perform. Besides being a helluva nice guy, he also worked part time as a commercial airline co-pilot. In my view...Steve Morse ranks right up there with the elite guitarists of all time, as far as technical proficiency.  Too bad he's not even MORE famous...
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Separated at Birth...Cousin Itt & Slash

Cousin Itt (from the Addams Family) and Slash must have the same hair stylist..and hat size! Slash turns 45 tomorrow...he'll be with GnR as they take on Van Halen in a Cafe Rock Cage Match.  You can text in votes for yer favorite at high noon...wonder if Cousin Itt smokes?
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Gold Country Blues Fest

Now that the Placer SPCA BBQ & Blues annual concert is history...where do ya go for a good summer blues fest? Same place...Gold Country Fairgrounds.  It's the Gold Country Blues Fest, coming up this Saturday July 10.   Blues guitar legend Walter Trout will headline, but don't miss Soul of the Gypsy Tour..which is basically Lydia Pense & Cold Blood with 3 other female vocalists--Annie Sampson, Dana Moret, and Lara Price.  * Dana is one of my fave local blues diva..the girl can BELT the blues.* Gates open at noon on Saturday..tix at Constable Jacks in Newcastle, Pistol Pete's in Auburn, or Cherry Records. **or win some this week on the Eagle** Proceeds help local charities...info at www.goldcountrybluesfest.com. Event sponsored by PCCA ..Placer County Contractors Association.
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Larisa...!

Larisa Bryski & her band will open for Steve Miller July 17 @ Raley Field at the Eagle's 20th anniversary concert. Get to the show early enough to catch them...!  Larisa has one of the FINEST female voices in the area (OK, I haven't heard EVERYONE, but she's damn good!)...you'll hear influences from Pat Benetar & Annie Lennox, with Larisa's own personality coming thru.  Here's a link to her website where you can hear more www.larisabryski.com.  Her husband Willy is on guitar & vocals, Darrell Hale on drums, and Andrew Houston on bass.   --Besides being talented, she's a truly NICE lady, in an arena with too many divas & bi*ches.   I've had the pleasure of working with Larisa at a number of Stairway to Stardom programs (an excellent Skip's Music presentation)..where her students & coaches have always given her rave reviews. --*photo by Kevin Graft, an outstanding concert/band photographer* Rock on, Larisa!
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Holy Diverrrrrrr.....RIP

Ronnie James Dio passed away Sunday a.m. at the age of 67...no real surprise, he had been frail for weeks.  Besides making the "horns" the universal symbol of rock..Ronnie had one of the most powerful voices around. He also had a "magical aura" that I experienced first-hand in 1987.  I hosted a listening party for the release of his "Dream Evil" album...we were at the old Swing Street studios, with invited guests. In the crowd, on a gurney, was a boy, 14 or 15 years old.  His dying wish..granted by Make A Wish..was to meet Dio. I'll never forget how gracious & attentive Ronnie was with this young, doomed fan...who smiled broadly all nite, despite his pain.  RIP, Ronnie...even tho you always reminded me of Carla from "Cheers." (!)
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Fine Vinyl

I miss vinyl records. Sure..you couldn't carry around 1000's of songs in a wallet--like your iPod..they were easy to scratch..and if you left 'em in your car for an hour, they WARPED. But there's a coolness to dropping a needle on a vinyl groove, and perusing the album cover art while you soaked in that warm analog sound.   CD covers just aren't the same... Tomorrow (Saturday 4/17) is Record Store Day...celebrating the culture of independent record stores around the country.  Events are happening all day at R5 Records, and at all the Dimple stores around the area..Sac, Roseville, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Davis.. And at the Arden location, Dimple will mark the opening of its VINYL store.  They have 1000's of records..from rock to jazz to blues...for sale.  You can even bring in your vinyl collection to sell or swap.  Giveaways will happen thruout the day..maybe you can win the turntable they're giving away..just in case yours has gone kaput, and is now gathering dust in your garage.  Forgive me..for waxing nostalgic about...WAX.
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Fear 0f Flying

Mick Ralphs turned 66 today...Bob had a Blue Plate special cake for him at noon in the Cafe Rock.  He was, of course, the guitarist & cofounder for Bad Company, and Mott the Hoople. I had a chance to chat with Mick years ago in London, at Abbey Road Studios. Mick explained to me that he has a morbid fear of flying..which explains why he quit touring altogether many years ago. He also explained to me that a "hoople" is basically a lazy hobo who doesn't like to work....sort of the rock n roll dream, eh?
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Big Star, Rock Star

Alex Chilton died a coupla weeks ago. Don't recognize the name...? You certainly know his songs--like "The Letter", with the BoxTops, from 1967. Or the Big Star tune "In the Streets"--the theme song for That 70's Show (re-recorded by Cheap Trick).  Alex was born in 1950 in Memphis--my ol' hometown..& that explains my "brush" with him.  When I was 10 years old, I would stay with my cuz John, who lived down the street from Bill Cunningham. Bill played bass in a garage band...& sometimes John & I would sneak out to watch em practice.  Turns out.. the garage band became the BoxTops...and with Alex, had an international hit with "The Letter" when they were all just teenagers, playing blue-eyed soul.  It was my first realization that folks in your neighborhood, could become ROCK STARS.  It was the first time I had SEEN someone that I HEARD on the radio...   The BoxTops quickly drifted apart, and in the 70's Alex Chilton formed Big Star.  Tho I never personally was a big fan of Big Star, they were indie cult heroes.  Alex certainly influenced countless bands in the 90's.  For me...he just showed that it was possible to move from your neighborhood garage, to the big stage.
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"The Runaways" BioPic

joankrisI always found Joan Jett to be sexy..even tho it looked like she could kick my a$$.  And I STILL crank up "I Love R&R" when it's on the airwaves. Now, there's a new "biopic" about her former band the Runaways.  The movie premiered this past week in Sundance. Kristen Stewart--yeah, the chick from "Twilight"--plays the role of Joan.  She's pictured on the right here..pretty close resemblance, eh?  Dakota Fanning plays the role of Cherie Currie, the Runaways lead singer who often took the stage wearing lingerie.  Wonder if I'll be able to see the movie in 3-D ??
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