LEVI STUBBS, 1936-2008
Sad news on the music front with the passing Friday of Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs. Levi had one of the more distinctive voices in Pop music, and although he was accused of over-emoting at times, Stubbs put such classics as "Reach Out...I'll Be There", "Bernadette" and "Standing In The Shadows Of Love" over the top with his peerless vocals. Sadly, Levi was forced to retire about eight years ago because of declining health with strokes and cancer. He was also known as the voice of "Audrey II" in the 1986 Steve Martin film Little Shop of Horrors. Rest in peace, Levi...
NEAL HEFTI, 1922-2008
Similar to the late Earle Hagen, who passed away a few months back, you may not know the name, but you know of this man's work if you watched TV at all in the '60s and '70s. Neal Hefti was a jazz musician/composer who came up with two of the most distinctive TV show themes of all-time, "Batman" and "The Odd Couple". Hefti passed away last weekend of natural causes.
MIKE LIVINGSTON, WHERE ARE YOU?!?
As I type, I am watching what is becoming a weekly Sunday ritual around these parts as el Chiefos are being stomped by the Tennessee Titans at the 'Head, during which K.C.'s "quarterback of the future"—one Brodie Croyle—went out of the season with a knee injury in the first half. Back-up Damon Huard is now out with a hand injury as well. Somebody get Steve DeBerg, Steve Fuller or Bill Kenney on the phone right away! Joe Montana's not doing anything these days, is he? Even Todd Blackledge or (gulp!) Steve Bono would be a step in the right direction. If nothing else, the Chefs are turning the "three-and-out" into an art form this season. That's okay, though—I picked up the Titans defense, as well as their kicker for my fantasy team this week.
Btw, John, my good friend, if I'm still being too cynical for you and it irritates you that much, then don't read my blog anymore—I'm cynical, therefore for I am...
M.U. = P.U.!
Sad to say, but the Missouri Tigers just can't get quite over the hump—as I've feared—and got smoked by Texas last night 56-31 in Austin. It was 35-0 at halftime and Missouri looked like—hate to say this—the Chefs. Kansas looked no better against Oklahoma in Norman yesterday, either.
GET A NEW RUG, ST. LOUIE!
I was rather bemused while watching the highlights of the Cowboys-Rams game today in St. Lou at how ugly their FieldTurf playing surface is at the Ram Dome. I haven't seen anything this hideous since the "Jungle Room" at Graceland. Watch "SportsCenter" on ESPN tonight and you'll see what I mean...
Interesting match-up in the NFL today as the New York Jets travel to Oakland to play the Raiders in the almost-40th anniversary of the famed "Heidi Game" of 1968. For the uninitiated, on November 17, 1968, the Jets and Raiders played a very exciting game that New York was on the verge of winning 32-29 with 1:06 remaining on the clock, but some crazy shit happened during the final 66 seconds, and the Raiders won the game 43-32, but most of the nation didn't get to see the end of the game because NBC cut away to its regularly-scheduled broadcast of the childrens' show "Heidi" at 7PM, Eastern time. Irate viewers blew out the switchboards in Gotham City, and because of the tumult this thing caused, the networks haven't cut away from football broadcasts (or those of any other sport) until their conclusion since. What I find cool about this game today is it's being played on the same field and both team's uniforms are virtually identical to those worn in 1968. Too bad Joe Namath and Daryle Lamonica can't still suit up...
The funniest story I ever heard about this game was when Jets coach Weeb Ewbank received a postgame phone call in the locker room from his wife, congratulating him on his "victory", to which he responded, "What the hell you talking about? We lost the #^%&*@@~ game!"
IT'S A GAS, GAS, GAS!
When I returned from California back in late August, gas was still priced at around $3.66 a gallon in the K.C. area. Today, not even two months later, you can fill up for $2.35 a gallon! That's a difference of $1.31 a gallon in less in barely seven weeks. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but something ain't right here. Why did the price of gas ever have to be that high in the first place?
CLASSIC MISHEARD LYRIC #99
"Success Story"—THE WHO (1975) "I'm your fairy manager...you shall play at Carnegie Hall!" I had trouble making out what the mighty Ox said here during his little spoken passage. I thought he said, "I'm you film manager—you shall play a comic role..." Big Johnnie Twinkle was a little hard to understand at times...
Very disgusted on this end to hear that the new AC/DC album due out Tuesday will only be available only at your local Wal-Mart store for two reasons: A) That AC/DC is following the lead of The Eagles in succumbing to this corporate bullshit in the first place, and B) that Wally-World would even want to be involved in promoting a heavy metal act in their ultra-conservative/über-Christian marketplace. After all, these are the same people who banned those veritable heathens Judas Priest from their music shelves not so long ago, and would only dare to stock anything as edgy as the New Christy Minstrels, Donny Osmond, John Denver and Yanni. Hell, even the Partridge Family and ABBA would've been deemed too satanic for these sanctimonious pussies back in the day. A pox on both entities here...
DOMO ARIGATO? NO THANKS, MR. ROBOTO!
After reading Styx bassist Chuck Panozzo's biography, I decided to rent the Styx concert DVD Caught Live In The Act from 1984 that chronicled the 1983 Kilroy Was Here tour. After 25 years, I'd forgotten how truly heinous this thing was! Looking back now, I think I was pretty kind to this debacle in my review of this show in "Concert Trek - Episode 5"--upon further review, it was worse that I remembered with the stilted dialogue and hackneyed acting. I have no doubt that Panozzo and guitarists Tommy Shaw and James "J.Y." Young just cringe when they watch this abomination today. In his book, CP admitted that he would just sit quietly with his bass offstage and not even watch the first ten minutes of the show while Shaw and Dennis DeYoung hammed it up for the audience. DeYoung's Broadway-style theater elements were definitely not a good mix at all, and it's no mystery as to why this once-mighty band fell apart not soon afterwards. The DVD wasn't totally wretched, though—it also includes nearly all of Styx's music videos from the '70s and '80s (some of which are quite good) as a bonus feature, which I found far more entertaining that the feature presentation.