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throwdown thursBIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN

If you are a music lover and you haven't been listening to BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN with Spins Nitely, then check it out!

Every THURSDAY at 8 PM. Listen live at http://wildfireradio.com/big-daddy-graham. By the way, all you have to do is click on that wildfire blue line and the most current show will AUTOMATICALLY begin to play,  Just give it a moment

 

This week on BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN?

GREAT BRASS SECTIONS
with special guest Matt Cappy
Part 1

Check out last week's ARTISTS & BANDS WHO GO BY INITIALS
Part 2
Don't miss!

avagrahamhoursm

 

Check out Ava's podcast THE AVA GRAHAM HOUR on Wildfire Radio live every Thursday at 5:30 PM.  It's really funny and of course being a podcast you can listen to it anytime you want.  Just click here to check it out

 

 

TRIVIA AND QUIZZO...

TUESDAY ~ PJs in Maple Shade at 7 PM

THURSDAY ~ Red Star Craft House in Exton PA at 8 PM

AVA QUIZZO

My daughter Ava is running a Quizzo nite every every Monday at 7:30pm at ROCCO'S in Wilmington!   And now at CHICKIE & PETE'S in Drexel Hill every Tuesday at 7 PM! Plus every Wednesday night at 8PM at PJ WHELIHANS in Haddonfield. Don't forget Thursday night at 7pm at CHICKIE & PETE'S in South Philly! That's a busy schedule!

Big Daddy Graham-Marc Farzetta & Joe Conklin taking a stab at Sinatra's "Summer Wind!" Click Here


Because of all the fuss that Joel Embiid and Carson Wentz have stirred up in Philly,
 I thought we would take a look at every city and see just who has had

embiid-wentz

We are going to go in alphabetical order.  We are not looking for the greatest of that franchise, but in that particular state or city.

ARIZONA

DIAMONDBACKS... Wade Miley
CARDINALS... Anquan Boldin
SUNS... Walter Davis    (Winner!)
COYOTES... Max Domi
 

ATLANTA
 

BRAVES... Earl Williams
FALCONS...  Al Richardson (Winner!)
HAWKS... John Drew
THRASHERS... Dany Heatley 
 

ANAHEIM

DUCKS... Bobby Ryan (Winner!)


libertybellbank-logoHey! If you need any mortgage work done whatsoever
get hold of my main man Ken Miller at
856-830-1131 or 609-238-3293
kmiller@libertybellbank.com
NMLS #152270

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RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 4/11

Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...

THE JOKE’S ON ME!

447PMMARCH 5TH, 2015As a professional stand-up comic for over 35 years, people often ask me “what is the worst show you ever did?  What was the worst you ever bombed?”  I always thought that was an odd question, but people really do inquire.

Now you would imagine that having performed approximately 8,000 shows, I would have a difficult time answering that question. There would be so many to choose from.  But the truth is, I have rarely bombed in my career.  It’s not because my material is so amazing that I am “bomb proof,” it’s just the overwhelming majority of my shows have been right here in the area where people generally know who I am before I hit the stage and that counts for a lot.  But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had any rough shows.

But the worst?  I don’t even have to think about it.  It took place right here in South Jersey!  Wildwood Convention Center.  August 10th, 1996.  On the bill with Weird Al Yankovic.  So in a month that celebrates April Fool’s Day, here’s the sad, sad tale.

I opened up for Weird Al at Valley Forge Music Fair earlier that year in June and had a tremendous show.  And working Weird Al’s crowd was not easy because for the most part in consisted of nine year olds with their parents.  And that’s the worst kind of crowd demographically.  Where do you find middle ground with such an age gap?

Weird Al had to work the same crowd but he had a seven-piece band and a terrific visual show with slides and films.  I’m out there on my own and if a joke doesn’t work, you know it.  Believe me, you know it.

But I did so well, they asked me to perform the next night in Long Island NY.  They limoed me up, paid me more money, and I had another strong show.

So when the tour circled back around in August to Wildwood, I was asked to work with Weird Al again and I took the gig.  Piece of cake, right?  Not so fast.

It’s August and it’s a 100 degrees and it’s even hotter than that inside Wildwood Convention Center.  It’s so sweltering that it destroys the soundboard and they have to go out and get a new one.  And it’s not like you can acquire one at the boardwalk store selling “I’m With Stupid” tee shirts.  The show is already an hour and a half late.  An hour and a half!  I am not advertised as being on the bill and the crowd has been chanting, “We want Weird Al” for forty minutes.

bdg armen pink caddy smallI seek out the promoter and tell him that it would be ill advised to have me go on and don’t even worry about paying me.  I’m staying over in Sea Isle and that it would be no big deal for me just to go home.  But he insists I go on.

Well, there’s this blonde DJ from a local radio station who’s going to go out on stage to this effect.  “Hi everybody!  I’m Laura from WEAK’s “Lou and Laura Morning Show.”  Are we ready to have a good time?!”  And the crowd starts booing her.  The “we want Weird Al” chant starts up again.  Ten-year-old boys are yelling, “Take off your top!”

I’m in the wings freaking out.  To hell with the promoter, I’m thinking.   I’m trying to signal her to just introduce Weird Al.  But she brings me on anyway.

All I can tell you is that the next four minutes were the longest of my life.  Yeah, you read right.  Four minutes!  The blonde DJ has to scream my introduction over the jeers and “Weird Al” chants.  It’s the first time in my career that I have walked out to boos.  They don’t let up when I step up to the microphone.  I try a joke but the audience doesn’t even hear me over the din.  Shoot, I can’t even hear myself.  This is what the Beatles must have felt like at one of their live shows.

The sweat starts pouring down.  It’s not flop sweat.  It’s 100-degree sweat.  It’s fear for my life sweat.  Now when a comic’s show is going badly, there are little tricks of the trade you can pull off to hopefully turn shows around.  But I had never been in a situation like this before and I can’t think of a damn thing to get me out of it.  “We want Weird Al!”  “We want Weird Al!”  “Boooooooo!”  I felt like Christopher Walken in the climatic scene of “The Deer Hunter.”

I try another joke.  Nothing.  Seriously, they can’t even hear me.  And I’m supposed to do thirty minutes! A light bulb goes off in my head.  I literally start running from one end of the stage to the other jumping up and down like a maniac.  I’m practically doing jumping jacks.   The whole time I’m screaming “do you want Weird Al?!  “Do you want Weird Al to come out?  “YES” the 5000 in attendance scream back.

“Then you’re going to have to quiet down while I introduce him.”   This actually works and the animals pipe down for a moment.  I stop jumping up and down, turn to the crowd, and bellow “I have a message from Weird Al.”  The audience gets even quieter.  “Weird Al has asked me to tell all of you to go enjoy yourselves!”  Except I don’t say “enjoy” and I storm off.

Four minutes.  That’s how long I was out there.  Backstage it’s a madhouse.  There’s some sort of Wildwood City Councilman yelling at me.  “You can’t use that language in front of kids!”  I tell him to do the same exact thing I just asked the crowd to do.  I see a door and I push it open just hoping it will get me out of there.  It does and I’m out on the streets.

Now all of this sounds like I was real macho about what went down, but when I get to my car I’m so rattled I can’t get the key (this was before those key fob things) in my car to open it.  Inside the car I had to fight back tears, but at least I could look myself in the mirror and know that no one in the Convention Center saw me like this.  Not that this thought made me feel any better.

To make matters worse, my buddy Dave (who I really didn’t know that well at the time, but whom I came close to later) was at the show with his kids and over the last twenty years has never let me forget it.  Thanks, Dave.

So there’s an April Fool’s Day story for you, huh?

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 3/21

Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

When I was a kid, I always took this expression to mean one thing.  That this was the year the Phillies were going to win the World Series. 

FLASHBACK WITH WILDGOOSE CHASEThe “hope” signified that this year, finally, was the season the Phils were going to pull it off.  When it’s the month of March and the boys are taking the field down in Florida, everyone is 0-0.  Why can’t it be us?  You waited all fall and winter to break out the bats and gloves, why can’t one hope?  Yeah, I get it, my old man, who was born in 1912 for crying out loud, had never seen the Phils win a World Series, but why would I let a little fact like that get in the way?

The “Spring” part of the expression came from just that.  The season of spring.  The arrival of baseball.  That’s what March brought.  It’s hard to believe, but ”March Madness” didn’t even exist when I was a kid.  Heck, the year Magic Johnson and Larry Bird squared off in college, the tournament was still on tape delay.  That’s how little interest there was. 

The “Eternity” part was, well, I was never sure about that part,  but being raised Catholic, I took it as tbe Phils better win or we were all going straight to Hell.  For eternity.

Hope.  It’s a terrific word if you stop and think about it.  So let me apply it to some other ideas.

RT 42 AND 295

I can only hope construction will be done on these routes in my lifetime.   It’s only been a mess for 47 years now.  What I love about it is that the backups always seem to be caused by three dudes in orange vests drinking coffee.  No matter what direction you’re headed, you know it’ll be backed up.   How can this be?  You would think that if three directions were backed up, the fourth direction would be smooth sailing, but it never is.  Rest assure you’ll be banging on your steering wheel in a matter of moments.

BILLS

I can only hope that someday when I call to go over a bill, that someone who grew up in South Jersey, will pick up the phone.  Look, without sounding like Donald Trump here, I have absolutely nothing against folks from the Philippines.  I’m sure they are just trying to get through their day like you and I.  But it’s extremely difficult to have a financial conversation with someone that you can’t understand.  I can only handle saying “what’s that?” a few hundred times.  It makes me wonder if someone from Gloucester City picks up the phone when a Filipino calls to complain about their bills.  “Hey, I’m in Gloucester City.  How the  &^%* would I know why you’re paying $400 a month for HBO?  Call someone in the Philippines!” is how one can imagine that conversation would go.

BEACH TAGS

I can only hope that someday we are rid of this nuisance.   With the way Mother Nature is pounding us with more storms that I can ever remember, maybe I get the need for these tags now.  Maybe.  I’m always under the impression that South Jersey relies on money from the government to replenish the beach more than it requires dough from your Aunt Edna who wants to simply spend the day sunbathing by the surf.  Before the beach started getting bombarded, I was always told that beach tags were needed to keep the beaches “clean.” 

Dr DonnHmmm.  Since beach tags for most South Jersey beach towns don’t really exist until the early 70’s, we can only assume that the beaches were filthy in the 30’s through the 70’s.  Which they were not.  I buy six beach tags a year.  I really don’t mind because I am a beach nut.  I sit on it all day during the summer.  I have written most of my summertime articles for South Jersey Mag on the beach. 

Most of your beach tag collectors are polite.  I have become friends with many.  But occasionally you bump into one who in another life must have been a member of the Gestapo.  You’ll show them your tag, then maybe a couple hours later, you might go up to the boardwalk to buy a slice of pizza. (Which the township wants you to do, right?)  When you return, the beach tag collector will insist to see your tag again.  When you explain that the tag is on your beach chair and that you have already shown it to them earlier, they will say to you, “well, you’re going to have to go down to the surf, grab your chair, and walk back up and show it to me.”  Not too mention that you can’t get on many beaches without walking through a beach tag person and when you get to the beach they have more beach tag collectors roaming the beach in case a couple teenagers managed to sneak on somehow.  That’s overkill and comes off as greedy.

It is exactly the kind of treatment that the vacationer does not want and wants to get away from when they’re on the beach.  I sometimes wonder if the money that beach tags generate is worth all that bad public relations.

BRAS

Now that I have your attention.  I keep weird hours.  I don’t even go on the air at 94WIP until 2am.  So I try to keep quiet while I am still in the house past midnight as my wife and Ava are asleep.  (I hope you’re catching Ava on the Morning Show.  I’m so proud)

The other night I was laying on the couch reading, quiet as a mouse, and I kept hearing this odd clicking noise.  I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from when I came upon the laundry room, which is on the first floor.  It was one bra all by itself in the dryer and the bra clasps (believe me, all men know what a bra clasp is) were rattling off the inside walls of the dryer.  I’m looking at this thinking to myself, “who runs an entire dryer cycle for one bra?!”  The electricity bill!  Then it dawned on me that this same one bra probably ran through the washer cycle all by itself.  Dag, how dirty do breasts get?  I can hope all I want that this never happens again, but who am I kidding?

MY DAUGHTER KEELY 

My daughter Keely, a Clearview High and Rowan University graduate, and my son-in-law Matt,  are having twins!  This will be a first time Granddad thing for me.   Already friends and listeners are calling me “Big Granddaddy Graham.”  So obviously, I simply hope for good health for everyone involved.  They are due in August and it’s going to be an exciting year.

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 2/11

Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...

MOMENTS IN LOVE

My daughter Ava and I were watching this really cool show on Netflix titled “Doctor Foster.”  Ironically, considering this is my annual Valentine’s Day article, “Foster” is about infidelity.  But there’s a scene in it where their son is enjoying his parents (unbeknownst to the kid, his Father is a cheating dog) telling a story about when the moment was when they realized they were falling in love.
Which led to Ava asking me the same exact question about my wife Debbie and I.  Here were the first four moments that first sprung to mind.

big daddy dinerHAILING A CAB

We now live in a world of Uber and because of our awareness of the perils of drunk driving, cabs and limo’s are also used now more than ever.  But that was not the case a million years ago in the early 80’s when I was a doorman at the Philadelphia Sheraton in downtown Philly.  It was midnight and I had just gotten off work and I was driving my $200 “car” home.  I had just turned the corner at Market when I saw her.  Debbie, hailing a cab.  She was waitressing downtown herself and had just finished her shift and was meeting some girlfriends at a club.
We had met at a couple parties and I knew who she was.  She was living in my Southwest Philly neighborhood with her grandmother, so to me she was a “local girl.”  And I had never seen anyone from my parish hail a cab.  I know today that is hard to believe, but it’s the truth.  She looked so hot standing in the street.  Hailing a cab!  That was something rich folks did in Manhattan or in the movies.  I floored it and pulled up to her before a cab could get to her and drove her across town to the club.  Nothing happened that night, but the mental note had been made.  “Who is this cool chick?”

THE LOOK

A few years have gone by and I was in Wildwood on a humid summer Saturday night.  It was past midnight and all the parties my boys and I had crashed were duds.  Or, more to the point, “we” were the duds none of the girls had any interest in.  Then I remembered that I heard Debbie might at this party in Margate.  Now that’s a good thirty minute ride and then I would have to find the apartment when I got there, which back before cellphones was not always easy to do.  But off I went.  Solo.
A miracle occurs and I actually locate the jam, but Debbie is not there and some drunk on a couch wearing a “Disco Sucks” tee shirt tells me she went out to Merrill’s.  It’s now about 145am and the club is still packed as I walk towards one of the back bars.  I swear to God, it’s like the Red Sea parts, and there she is.  Sitting at the bar, shining like a million bucks, and when she sees me she shoots me a look like there’s no one else in the world that she would rather see at that very moment than me.  No one had ever given me that look before and I’ve never forgotten it.   We were off and running.

SINATRA

We were officially an “item.”  Not married, not engaged yet, but an “item.”  I was living with a bunch of slobs in this rented house in Collingswood.  Deb and I had returned from the movies and no one was home.  We had seen Sinatra a few months ago at Resorts, almost by accident, and we eneded up seated at one of the front tables.  We were both music lovers, but at that time my taste in music was almost exclusively rock and soul.  Seeing Ol’ Blue Eyes live had converted me in a huge way.  (Today, I have one of the largest collections of all things Sinatra in South Jersey.)   But I was still in my twenties at this point and the crowd I ran with?  Well, I was the official DJ at our house parties and if I had dared trying playing any Sinatra between Springsteen and the Four Tops, I would have been stripped of all music responsibilities immediately and forever.  “Get that off!” would have been screamed out by the revelers had any Sinatra entered the fray.
But this night the house was empty and when I slipped on this Sinatra obscurity “All My Tomorrows,”  I kind of jokingly asked Deb to dance and she accepted.   Now I’m not that much of a Michael Jackson.  Play something funky and I come off like the white guy in a Soul Train dance line.  But I can slow dance with the best of them and “All My Tomorrows” has a mellow groove and when we danced I felt like Deb just melted in my arms.  Right there in the middle of the living room of this crummy rental.  She had no problem whatsoever digging on the Chairman of the Board’s sound.  I like to consider myself a music explorer (still do) and I remember during that dance that maybe I had found a music soul mate as well.  I had and it was a huge moment.  (BTW, I defy you to come up with better lyrics that describe the beginning of a relationship.  Many friends of mine have used it as a wedding song over the years at my suggestion.)

CASABLANCA

One thing about Debbie that I always found attractive was her energy level.  I always wanted to fall in love with a woman who was adventurous and enjoyed getting the most out of life.  But you also have to get lucky and find someone that you dig hanging with when you do nothing at all. 
I had a friend who worked for a big hotel chain and because of this we would occasionally get a room in Manhattan completely free.  The fact that we would check in with about forty bucks between us never stopped us from going.  And “go” we would.  It’s called the town that never sleeps for a reason and we would tackle the Big Apple all night long. 
We were up there on a rare Sunday night but we still had the night’s festivities all mapped out.  We were just not the kind of couple who stayed in.  But it was bitterly cold and it started pouring.  The TV had about three channels and the classic film “Casablanca” was coming on.  I had seen the film before but Deb had not.  We started watching and never stopped till it finished.  We had just spent a night in Manhattan not leaving the room at all, which we had never done before.  Yet we had discovered something very important.  That we could have a great night doing nothing at all except laying around watching the tube. 

So if one of your kids wants you to describe the “moment that you knew you two had fallen in love,” be prepared to answer.  It’s fun.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

********************

HEY! I'M LOOKING FOR ALBUM COVERS. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE VINYL...


 


NewYorkSkyline2

 

Saw the Rolling Stones Exhibition at Industria down in the village and if you're a Stones fan, it's thorough and fun and worth it.  Check out the times it's cheapest to go.

There is this amazing talent in the New York area by the name of Rachelle Garniez.  She's an versatile singer who accompanies herself on piano, guitar, and, yes, accordion.  She's a gifted songwriter with a tremendous sense of humor.  She often performs at a really cool Village venue Pangea that seats maybe fifty that itself is worth checking out.  Go to these sites for more info: www.rachellegarniezcom.virb.com & www.pangeanyc.com

You can take an inexpensive tour  of RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL that's well worth it.

Check out MASH ARMY & NAVY on 8th Ave between 45 & 46th streets.  A blast from the past!

Folks are always asking me about piano bars in Manhattan.  There's two I would recommend and they couldn't be any bit different.  DON'T TELL MAMA is on 46th St between 8 & 9th Avenues.  It's a comfortable narrow long bar where you either sit at thee bar or at a table.  They have a singing piano player and every fourth song or so a member of the bar or serving staff will get up and sing a three song set.  And sometimes a member of the audience will get up at the mic and sing. And they have awesome food also. It's a really fun joint, but completely different from MARIE'S CRISIS CAFE which is at 59 Grove St in the Village.  (Make sure you have the address handy before you get in the cab.)  MARIE'S is a tiny hole in the wall basement club where there is a piano player but no professional singer.  YOU are the singer.  It's insane.  People (like my nutty wife) go there TO sing.  There's no microphone and literally 150 people or so will be singing at the top of their lungs to some Broadway tune  Which, by the way, IS ALL Marie's does.  They don't mix in pop tunes like MAMA does.  The two couldn't be any different from each other and any more fun if a piano bar is your bag.

A HOTEL TO STAY AT?   We always use some hotel site and often stay at one of these two hotels which I would both recommend.  THE BELVEDERE on West 48th St is clean with a nice lobby and it's very convenient to Broadway and many clubs and bars.  THE WARWICK is pricier, but still affordable when you go through Expedia.  It's at 54th & 6th and many famous folks (like the Beatles and Liz Taylor have stayed there.

As obvious as this sounds, you can spend a couple hours exploring Central Park and never get bored.

LEXINGTON CANDY SHOP on Lexington between 82 & 83rd St. has been opened since 1925 and is a don't miss trip.

THE METROPOLITAN ROOM on 22nd St is a very cool, classic NY cabaret room where we have seen many cool acts at a very affordable price.

BIG ONION WALKING TOURS are a lot of fun and reasonably priced.  I have taken many of them and they never disappoint.

54 BELOW on 54th St. is literally the basement of the famous Studio 54 disco. It's a terrific place to see anybody. Top notch club.

Finally made it to BIRDLAND for one of those CAST PARTY shows. What a great time and the sight lines are excellent.  Legendary jazz artists perform there and if you ever thought about seeing one of them at BIRDLAND, do it.

 

 

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