Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving at Alice's Restaurant

Anyone turning on the radio yesterday was likely to hear a bit of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant," the 18-minute opus about a famous "Thanksgiving Day massacre" involving illegally dumped garbage, an ensuing arrest and imprisonment and, incidentally, a restaurant in Stockbridge, MA owned by one Alice Brock.
But did anyone go so far as to rent the Arthur Penn-directed, Academy Award nominated 1969 movie of the same name? Me neither.
If you're still looking for something different to watch over this long weekend, though, here's a review off the IMDB site from someone who's actually seen it:

"Seeing this cultural artifact from the late '60s is less like watching a story unfold than stepping into a time machine. The good, bad and tragic aspects of that turbulent era are all represented here, and the past - as observed from our tainted and narcissistic age of SUVs, AIDS and the Internet - seems positively innocent. And, with a few obvious exceptions,idyllic.

"The 1960s may have been a tumultuous era, but those years embodied one crucial concept sorely missing from today's society: youthful idealism. Way back when, before a six-figure salary became the college student's holy grail, when saving the world was more important than earning a law degree, young people were actually passionate - about freedom, about peace, about the long-term prospects for humanity. If that passion has not completely vanished, it has certainly been redirected - and not, in my view, toward a positive or productive end.

"Whether Penn's film works or not as a cinematic adaptation of Guthrie's song, whether it successfully mixes deadpan humor (hippies vs. bureaucratic clods) with tragedy (the dark side of drug use) seems almost irrelevant now. The movie succeeds in capturing a remarkable moment in time, a short period when the future may have been uncertain, but there was still a brilliant ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel - and a youthful force propelling us toward it."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Daniel's backyard

For those fellow Arizonans already longing for snow, here's a fantastic photo from blog contributor Daniel (vagabondvet) that he says is taken from his back yard in Oregon. Luck-ee!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Lefsetz Letter

It's hard to find people anywhere on the radio who still remember vinyl, the feel of album jackets and the anticipation of getting home to play a new album on the record player, not just sliding the shiny little disk into the car's CD player as soon as you get out of Best Buy.
That's why it was fun to discover Bob Lefsetz's podcast on the Rhino Records site. He's a funny, opinionated guy whose rambling recollections about his favorite albums and artists remind me a little bit of Toad Hall. He manages to push his musical tastes on you in a way you don't mind, and may actually have you coming back the next week for more.
Here's Lefsetz after playing some of his favorite Little Feat tracks: "This is exactly like it was in college. If you came to my house, I would drop the needle on the record - this was in the days of vinyl - and I would make you sit there and listen to these tracks. Little Feat's are not the type of records that you play in the background and people say, 'Oh, this is phenomenal.' You either force people to listen to it, and force them to get into it, or else they find out about it independently, and you run into them and you're soul mates."
The Lefsetz Letter is a podcast I'd be inclined to force someone who misses the kind of radio voices we celebrate on this page to listen to as well.

The Rhino podcasts are available here:
The one on Lefsetz reviewing a recent Eagles concert (Rhinocast 007) is a good place to start.

Friday, November 11, 2005

KCAC/KDKB Memories

Hi Folks:

I was born and raised in Phoenix, left there in '72 and have hardly looked back since. Anyway, the other day the name "William Edward Compton" just popped up in my head and I wondered "whatever happened to that dude?" So I Googled the name, came up with your site and also found out that Bill died tragically in 1977. Sad!

Anyway, your blog has really brought back some memories. It's not really accurate that KCAC/KDKB was the first attempt at free-form radio in the Valley. I remember that KRIZ-AM in 1967, feeling the winds of change, loosened up its playlist considerably. It wasn't exactly "free-form radio" but they did play the Doors, Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & the Fish and others of that Ilk, even the odd Zappa track! Then in the summer of 1968 KNIX-FM got going and AM radio in Phoenix was done for as far I was concerned! The thing about KNIX was so few people were listening you could really make out on the call-in contests. I remember winning tickets to a Who concert (where I saw Pat McMahon wearing a Nehru jacket-ha!), and I won all kinds of albums and stuff over the station's short lifetime.

I was even at that infamous New Year's Eve 1968 concert at Memorial Stadium that got the station in so much hot water! The Fraternity of Man (mainly known for the tune "Don't Bogart That Joint" on the Easy Rider soundtrack) did a song about a guy who'd just gotten dumped by his girlfriend. The refrain was "FUCK HER!" Then there was the Crazy World of Arthur Brown with their songs making fun of Jesus. I remember seeing a couple of 12-year-old teenyboppers in their "mod" gear wandering around the place with dazed looks on their faces, probably thinking "what am I doing here?" I believe Three Dog Night also played. This was before anyone had heard of them.

Well, after that concert the shit hit the fan. The Arizona Republic and Ev Mecham's throwaway rag the Weekly American made a big stink and Rock 'n Roll was banned from Memorial Stadium for awhile. I believe it was March or April of '69 that the plug was pulled on KNIX without any warning.

Even before KNIX there were a couple of lights in the darkness. There was a guy named Rich Rogers who did a jazz-R&B show (on KXIV?) that all of us hipsters at South Mountain High School listened to in 1968. I had a cool student teacher in my English class who was friends with Rich and brought him down to talk to us.

Then in the Fall of 1969 KCAC (and later KDKB) saved the day! I remember the old place on Camelback Road, then the studio at Tower Plaza and finally the place in an old converted Safeway store in Mesa. I got involved in the antiwar movement (I was friends with Morris Starsky, the college professor who was railroaded out of ASU) and I remember Bill Compton & KDKB were always happy to help out with publicity or whatever. We were always welcome down at the station to talk about whatever we were up to. I never really got to know Bill but he seemed cool & didn't let his fame go to his head.

Remember getting stoned and listening to bands down at the Encanto Park bandshell? The concerts out by Pinnacle Peak? Or for that matter, Wallace and Ladmo? Those were kinder, gentler times.

So long, and thanks for the memories!

John Beadle

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Riopelle's 30th New Year's Eve at the Celebrity

This just in from Mary Passarella at Evening Star:

Evening Star Productions is very proud to announce

30th Anniversary of Rockin’ In The Round

Tickets on-sale Monday, November 14 AT 10AM

Phoenix (November 7, 2005) – On Saturday, December 31, 2005 JERRY RIOPELLE will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his inaugural New Year’s Eve concert at Celebrity Theatre. The show will begin at 9pm with a soon to be announced special guest.

Jerry Riopelle started the New Year’s Eve tradition in Phoenix in 1975, 30 years ago, when he headlined his first New Years show at the Celebrity Theatre. He has played dozens of sold out shows there since then, and remains the biggest ticket seller in the history of the Celebrity Theatre.

“Playing New Years Eve at the Celebrity Theatre is my favorite gig, in my favorite theatre, in the world. It became a grand tradition in my life, starting 30 years ago, and I am thrilled to celebrate this 30th Anniversary and to share it with the incredible Phoenix fans, who have partied with me and the band all these years. It's been a great run and I'm sure it will be a night to remember. Many thanks.” remarked Riopelle when asked about performing on New Year’s Eve 2005.

"Jerry is a great legend in this city. He is known all over the world because of his regular appearances here since the 70's, with his fans branching out around the globe, spreading the word....but he remains Arizona's own. His legend has endured because he always gives such great shows, and is known to be a great guy. You can walk into his show and just get intoxicated with all of the good vibes in the room. That to me, is the definition of a great career and a great life." commented Evening Star Productions’ Danny Zelisko.

Mayor Phil Gordon furthered those sentiments, “Jerry Riopelle's New Year's Eve concerts are legendary. And that's exactly what you expect from a Phoenix legend. In my earlier life, I actually produced an album for Jerry for release on 8-track tapes. Jerry, of course, has gone on to bigger and better things while I have to wear a tie every day and am still sitting on a pile of 8-tracks."

Jerry Riopelle’s performances reflect a genuine honesty while his music offers husky vocals, intimate lyrics with heavy doses of rock, country and rhythm and blues. Songs featuring the trademark Riopelle sound include “Easy Driver,” “So Young,” “Naomi’s Song,” “Blues On My Table” and the instant classic, “Walkin’ On Water” to name just a few. Riopelle’s natural ability to draw from different contemporary styles while utilizing wide-ranging instrumental ideas and rhythmic variations gives the Riopelle sound a very distinct character. Of his music, Riopelle says it’s very “American,” with that he concentrates on writing lyrics in a caring way, with his belief that love is what music is meant to address. Check-out Jerry’s music at