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last call poster 2015last call BT poster 2015LAST CALL...
remembering my Dad...

The show about my Dad,
LAST CALL is back!

Pitman's Broadway Theatre...
Click Here for tickets
the Sunday before Father's Day,
June 14 at 2 pm.

The Media Theatre...
Click Here for tickets
the Saturday night before Father's Day, June 20 at 8 pm. 

DON'T MISS! 

Click on a poster for larger image

 

The winner of the trivia question was Ken Katzenberger
who knew that the 5 "Willie's" who won a MVP were Mays, McCovey, McGee, Hernandez, and Stargell.


COMEDY SHOWS

domirreraHuge show with Dom Irerra at the Tropicana in AC on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend,  May 23rd. Click here to get tickets

 

 


TRIVIA AND QUIZZO...

TUESDAY ~ Maple Shade's PJ Whelihans at 7 PM.

tunes logoWEDNESDAY ~ Champps in KOP from 6 PM to 8:30.

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'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN

throwdown thursIf 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. Watch and 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? 5 BEST SONGS PERFORMED BY VETERANS!

Check out last week’s 5 BEST SINATRA SONGS  COVERED BY OTHER ARTISTS. BTW, you'll be able to call in to the podcast when you watch or listen live and I encourage you to do so. Don't miss!

avagrahamhoursm

 

Check out Ava's podcast THE AVA GRAHAM HOUR on Wildfire Radio live every Thursday at 530 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

 

 

 

Check out Spin Nitely's incredible version of "Creep."

Click here to hear Spins singing "She's Getting Stoned Again.”

And now here’s Spins & Big Daddy singing Lowell George's "Willin'."

Click here to hear Joe Conklin completely nailing Elvis Costello's "Allison" with Spins Nitely on guitar
and some harmony help from the boys of Wildfireradio.

Check out the hilarious Sudsy (as B52 Fred Schneider) take on the Stones "Happy" with Spins on guitar.


THE TWENTY GREATEST MUSIC CONCERTS I'VE EVER SEEN

OMG, I have seen so many concerts.  Here's what I'm doing.  I go through my IPod in iPod alphabetical order.  When I see a recording artist that I've seen live, I will post that artist.  Remember, this is just the nomination process.  If you see "****" in front of the concert, then that is one I am nominating.  When I can,  I will post the year and venue that I saw that show.  But don't write me and say "BDG, the Knuckleheads NEVER played the Spectrum" or anything like that because I'll admit my memory isn't always sharp..  There will be artists that I have seen in concert MANY times, but if they are getting nominated, I will pick just ONE show.  Here's what we have so far...
If anyone has a ticket stub to any of the concerts that have been listed so far, scan them and email them to me, and I'll post them...
 

CLICK HERE FOR A to E...
 

FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS...

Bijou Cafe... May 7th, 1981... With the awesome Kim Wilson on vocals and Jimmie Vaughn (Stevie Ray's bro) on guitar.  Fantastic night.

****FAIRPORT CONVENTION...

Irvine Auditorium... January '72... With Lindisfarne who I was a huge fan of as I was of Fairport at that time.  Magical night

FATS DOMINO...

VFMF... 1988... Always a huge fan.  Had a tight band and did not go through the motions.

FELIX CAVALIERE...

2009? Dennis Flyer Theatre... Lead singer and principal songwriter for the Hall of Fame band, the Rascals.  I opened up for him and he was in terrific voice and really funny offstage.  

FIONA APPLE...

Taj Mahal... May 19th, 2006... She was part of a VH1 show that Elvis Costello had put together with Fiona and Billie Joe Armstrong.  She did "Shabby doll" with Elvis's band backing her, amongst other tunes.  Cool night.

FIT TO FAIL...

The Grange, Mullica Hill NJ... 2003... A bunch of local friends of Ava put together a band and they needed someone to put up the hall rental fee, which I did.  Because of that I went to the show to make sure the hall wasn't get ripped apart and I had a terrific time.  I love high school kids who put bands together.  One of them, Wayne Wildrick, is today a member of MAN OVERBOARD and they are on their way to great things.  By the way, the Grange has been around since 1874.

FLEETWOOD MAC...

Spectrum... April 30th, 1972... With Mountain and Spirit.  This was right before Buckingham & Nicks joined the band and it was the only time I ever saw Mac.  They were with Bob Welsh of "Hypnotized" fame and weren't all that well received.  I went for the other acts anyway, although at one point I was a Mac fan when Peter Green was in the band earlier in their career.

FOCUS...

Spectrum... Sept. 26th  '74? A yodeling hard rocking' Dutch band with a flute player.  And somehow they had an FM hit.  With Joe Cocker and Little Feat.  What a night.

FOGHAT...

Spectrum... October 19th, 1974... With Black Oak Arkansas (who for some reason I saw three times)  I was a huge Savoy Brown fan, hence I was a nut for Foghat.

FOO FIGHTERS...

Spectrum... Feb. 21st, 2008... What a great fun live band.  Love them!  Sat with half a dozen Flyers (not that we knew each other) in awesome seats courtesy of my man Ray of Novacare.

FOOLING APRIL...

World Cafe Live, Penn Campus... 2010? Terrific band who that night were performing the Beatles "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" in its entirety as well as some of their excellent original stuff. Fun night.

FOUR TOPS...

VFMF... 1988? I opened up for them years later at the KeswIck, but that night Levi Stubbs was sick and didn't perform. The night at VFMF he was there though, and in excellent voice.

****FRANK SINATRA...

Resorts... May 23, 1980... I saw the Greatest Pop Singer Who Ever Lived 20 times.  I could pick his show at VFMF.  Or the last time I saw him at the Sands in 1994.  (I had skipped some previous shows because he had been awful, but that night he KILLED IT)  Seeing him at Carnegie Hall was a thrill.  But the first time I saw him was so special.  I was hooked for life and look for the entire amazing story to be published in the May issue of South Jersey Magazine.

FRANKIE VALLI...

Sands AC... February 15th 1991... Hate to say it, but he was awful. 

FRASER & DEBOLT...

Main Point... May 73? Bizarre Canadian fold duo?  Anyone ever see them?

GALLAGHER & LYLE...

Bijou... May 26th 1977... Tremendous show promoting their "Breakaway" LP.

GARBAGE...

TLA... April 24th, 1996... What a legendary lineup of musicians that at the time Shirley Manson could not keep up with.

GARY CLARK, JR...

Borgata... July 12th 2014... Terrific guitarist with a disappointing live act.

GARY NUMAN

Palladium, NY... February 24th, 1980... I thought he was going to be on the cutting edge of Kraftwerk style techno pop and not the one hit wonder he turned out to be.  However,  the amazing one man band Nash the Slash was the opening act.

GARY PUCKETT & THE UNION GAP...

Tweeter Center... Camden NJ... Part of an oldies review (I was there to see Tommy James with Will Lee), this lame ass teen crooner actually did a Jimi Hendrix medley?!  Hilarious.

****GENESIS...

Tower... March 10, 1973? I saw them a dozen times with Peter Gabriel (including a 5pm Sunday show with my Mother), but the midnight show for anyone who was there is legendary!!!

GEORGE JONES...

Ryman Auditorium, Nashville... April 10th, 2011... He was 79, and not in great voice.    But to see Jones at the Ryman?  What a thrill!

GEORGE THOROGOOD...

Bijou... April 18th, 1978... What a terrific showman.

GEORGE SHEARING...

Carengie Hall... September 19th, 1981... Brilliant jazz pianist opening for Frank Sinatra.  To this day, i'm only beginning to get into jazz and I wish I would have appreciated this moment more.

GEORGIE FAME...

Trump Taj... May 12, 2005... Technically speaking, he wasn't the opening act, just a member of Van's band that night.  But He was huge British star back in the day, and Van allowed him 3 songs on his own that show, so it was sort of a mini-set of Fame on that fantastic Hammond organ.  It was also the last time I saw Van and the last time I ever will.  I love him to death, but he has such contempt for the audience.

****GLADYS KNIGHT...

Keswick... April? It was definitely 2005... One of my Mom's favorite singers, we had seen her many times.  My mother had full blown Alzheimer's by now and God I wish she could have seen me open for her and meet her and talk to her.  I had a great set, Gladys was amazing,  and Johnny Sample was hanging around after the show.  He died about there weeks later. 

GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA...

Keswick... 2000? I love big band music, but it just wasn't loud enough!

****GRAHAM PARKER & THE RUMOUR...

Shubert... June 5th, 1979... He was touring behind one of the rock's monumental albums, SQUEEZING OUT SPARKS.  This was as big as he was ever gonna get and I'm thrilled I was present.

**** GREGG ALLMAN...

SPECTRUM... April 27th, 1988... The Morning Zoo had this big anniversary show and I got to hang with so many greats.  Steve Howe, allman sig photoPaul Carrick, Southside Johnny, the Hooters among many others.  I did a set myself and got 15,000 attendees to shout out "Watch The Tramcar Please!" at the same time.  Pretty cool.  Steve Howe was so cool and we talked about a show Yes did at the Wildwood Convention Hall touring behind that green "The Yes Album" (the one with "Starship Trooper" on it) where they opened for Jethro Tull for about 15 minutes.  The Hooters actually went on before me and I joked for years whenever I bumped into any of them, "Thanks for opening up for me that night."  Paul Carrack was super friendly also.  When I went to Allman's dressing room it was right out of the back cover of "Live at the Fillmore East."  Bikers, strippers, strong pot smell, and a giant bouncer outside the door that none of the other acts had.  When I said to the the dude that I was on the bill and I wanted to meet Gregg and maybe get my "Fillmore" album signed, he put his giant claw on me and said "wait here."  He went in the dressing room and came back with it signed.  Lord knows whose signature is really on it, I extremely doubt it's Gregg's.  What a fun night!

HALL & OATES...

Willow Grove Air Station... June 23rd, 1989... I opened up for them in front of 10,000 people after having to follow the fantastic Soul Survivors.  I had a great set, but sad to say, it was a weird day.  H&O had this overzealous road manager and Danny Bonaduce (rightfully so) almost beat the crap out of him.  I split after H&O did three songs and I never saw them again. 

HARRY CHAPIN...

Villanova Field House... Sept 10, 1979... Great storyteller who died way too soon.

HERBIE HANCOCK...

Keswick... 2005? I opened up and there was an HOUR break between my set and his.  He just totally disappeared.  Then out of the pouring rain he walks in and went directly on to the stage with no intro, the lighting people weren't ready, and he sat down at the piano and started to play.  His backup band went scurrying put on stage to join him.  Then  years later, I'm reading about Hancock in a Miles Davis autobiography and there's a section where Miles bitches about how late Herbie always was when he was in his band.  Hmmm.

HERMAN’S HERMITS...

VFMF... 1995? Peter Noone is an excellent live act.  Just terrific.

****THE HOOTERS...

Chestnut Cabaret... Feb, 1984? So exciting.  They were the biggest band in town in years and they were on the cusp of being signed to Columbia.  I was opening and there were hundreds of gorgeous women pressed up against the stage.  I had not experienced that as a performer before and I remember thinking "not too bad being a rock star, eh?"  Now they are still a great band, but the buzz in the air back then was just incredible.  A night I'll never forget.

IGGY POP...

Tower... March 19th, 1977... With David Bowie as his keyboard player, I'm not sure if I was expecting Iggy to slice his head off or something to that effect, but I do know I left disappointed.  

INTRUDERS...

Robin Hood Dell... Summer '69?  They were part of a soul review and a lot of fun.

****J GEILS BAND...

Trenton Civic Center... April 5th, 1975... Not counting the E Street band (and they are technically a backing band), Geils may be the single greatest live band America ever produced.  I saw them 15~20 times and I'm not even sure why I picked this one, but we somehow got right up front and maybe that was it.

JACKSON BROWNE...

Mann... Summer 1978... Great band headed by the terrific slide guitarist David Lindley.

****JAMES BROWN...

Spectrum... Summer 1968... In his prime!  It was the first concert I ever went to.  Saw him many times afterwards, but this one changed my life!  Nipsy Russell opened.

****JAMES TAYLOR...

Main Point... December 26th, 1969... Not counting the occasional tune here and there, I pretty much stopped paying attention to Taylor after his third album, but this was the first show I ever saw at this legendary club and I awestruck by what you could do with just an acoustic guitar.  Plus I still say that his first album is one of the greatest albums ever made by anybody and his classic SWEET BABY JAMES wasn't even out yet, so he pretty much did the entire record.

JAY BLACK & THE AMERICANS...

Keswick... 1995? I opened up him and it was the first time I worked the Keswick.  I was told to keep it clean, no cursing.  Which I did and I had a great set.  Jay Black, what a classing booming baritone!  Then I meet him and he not only looks like Sam Kinison, he's got a mouth on him like Sam. 

JEFF BECK...

Tower... Oct 13,  2013... With Brian Wilson, so it was a great night.  Thanks to Center City Harvey for the 2nd row seats.  Brian was shot that night, but Beck was on fire and he does it as casually as you and I may make toast.  Amazing player.

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE...

Palestra... November 29th, 1969... With cool local band Sweet Stavin Chain and Lghthouse, it was the only show I ever saw at this fabled shrine and to my knowledge they never had another rock show.  Grace Slick with all her rebellious sexy swag.

JERRY LEE LEWIS...

Broadway... June 3 1983... A complete disaster.  He used an unrehearsed local band and songs would awkwardly start and clumsily finish.  He maybe did 35 minutes and he introduced his new fifth wife who was in the audience and she was mysteriously dead in a couple months.  I saw him again twice and he was awesome the second and really old and bizarre the third, but this is the show I choose to remember.  And now I perform at this legendary theatre.

****JETHRO TULL...

Wildwood Convention Hall... July 9th, 1971... Tull, with Ian Anderson as their dynamic frontman, was one of the great underrated live acts ever.  They were touring behind their latest release, a little LP titled AQUALUNG.   Opening up and performing their first show ever in the US was YES, touring behind THE YES ALBUM.  What a night and years later I opened for Steve Howe, Yes's brilliant guitarist and we spent 20 minutes discussing this memorable night.

JIM CROCE...

VFMF... Summer 1973? I went to see Woody Allen and Jim Croce, who I didn't care about at all, completely won me over.  He was funny, engaging, and put on a wonderful show.

JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE...

Temple Stadium... May 16, 1970... With the Grateful Dead, Steve Miller and Cactus and unfortunately I got really sick from something (Lord knows what) and the whole day was a blur.  Shame on me.

 

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RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 4/10

Here's my latest article that is running in South Jersey Magazine...

DEATH AND TAXES

Benjamin Franklin once said “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” 

Had Ol’ Ben been around today he clearly would have added that “the construction where 42 North connects with 295 South shall never be completed” as a certainty.  Because it never will.  Never!

So with tax season upon us it got me to thinking, which is always a bad thing, what else in life can we look at as a “certainty?”  Here are a few that I hope you enjoy.

big daddy dinerTHAT NO WOMAN I LIVE WITH SHALL EVER TURN OFF A LIGHT 

There is a TV commercial for a home security system where you see a woman attempting to unlock her front door in the dark.  The voiceover proclaims, “never come home to a dark house again!”

The commercial is unrealistic because obviously the writer of the ad agency who created that ad never lived with a woman. 

I, on the other hand, have lived with my wife and two daughters for twenty five years and in that time span not one of them has ever turned off a single light. 

It’s like Charles Manson,  even though he’s been in jail since 1969, is poised and ready to leap out of the hallway closet. 

When I come home to an empty house, it takes me ten minutes to turn off the lights have been left on.  Then there will be a night when I come home and everyone is asleep.  I’ll be laying on the couch reading and I will hear this annoying slightly clanging noise coming from somewhere in the house. 
It turns out it’s one bra in the dryer.  Going around and around.  Who’s running a full dryer cycle for one stinkin’ bra?  And I can only assume this one bra has run through a full washer cycle.  How dirty can breasts get?!

THERE SHALL ALWAYS BE ONE LIGHT YOU NEVER GET

For example.  I never get the light at route’s 45 and 322 where the Harrison House Diner is and I’ve never gotten the light at route 70 and Springdale.  No matter what direction I’m coming from.  How can that be?  You see the light is still green, you speed up, and bam!  Red it turns.  The next thing you know you are screaming and cursing at the light like it’s a rude talk show host.  One day I will make those lights and I will pull over and throw a party.

THALL SHALL NEVER GET MONEY IN A BIRTHDAY CARD EVER AGAIN ONCE YOU TURN FIFTEEN

What’s up with that?  Is it some ancient law that I am unaware of?  Even though it’s only a dollar bill, I continue to put money in the birthday cards of my wife and daughters and extended family.  Now of course they also get a gift, it’s not like they’re only getting a buck.  It’s the principal.  You’re supposed to get money in a birthday card.  It’s an automatic smile when you see that green.

I had an Aunt Helen who used to get these cards where you would slide a penny in these slots for every year you were turning.  (Hallmark also made these cards to accommodate nickels and dimes and quarters, but Aunt Helen was a tightwad).  So when I turned nine, I got nine cents.  Nine lousy pennies.  Now granted, there was such a thing as penny candy those days, but cut me a break.  I had other older relatives giving me dollar bills and my Aunt Rose was always good for a five spot.

Listen to me.  Put some cash in the card.  I don’t care if the recipient is forty-nine.  They’ll flash those pearly whites.  It’s a guarantee.

NO MORE NEW JERSEY DINERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO CLOSE

We live in Jersey.  Aside from cheap gas that you don’t have to pump, what are we most renowned for?  Diners!  It kills me whenever I cruise by where Olga’s used to be.  What a landmark that was.  Those donuts weighed ten pounds and were awesome.  And my wife and I never went to the former Ritz movies in Voorhees without going to the Country Club Diner afterwards and getting a ham and cheese omelet.  (White toast, please.  With grape jelly packets) Now that’s history also.  They should be made historical landmarks.  I know we still have plenty of fantastic eateries, but c’mon, it’s heartbreaking.

WHEN YOU CALL TO COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR CABLE BILL YOU ACTUALLY SPEAK TO SOMEONE WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH

Look, I’m not an “ugly American.”  I have absolutely nothing against anybody.  Nobody.  But when I have a complaint about my bill, it’s really frustrating when you can’t understand the person that you are trying to explain your problem to.  I’m not creating an international crisis here.  I just want to straighten out my bill.

It’s a nuisance enough that when you make the call that a human being doesn’t pick up the phone to begin with.  These companies should be able to hire an army’s worth of people to answer the phones with the amount of money they make off us.  And I know there’s nobody holding a gun to my head making me have HBO or the NFL Network.  I get that. 

But it’s just basic human politeness.  We are loyal customers who have been paying that bill for decades and how difficult would it be to treat us with a little respect?  But no, you have to push an endless stream of menu numbers before you even get a real live person.  If you get one at all.  It used to be all I would have to do is push zero and a live employee would eventually pick up my line, but a lot of these rude companies have gotten hip to that.

So you’re not in a good mood to begin with when you finally get someone to talk to and when you can’t understand that person it just drives you up the wall. 

So let’s recap.  They’re too cheap to hire anyone to pick up the phone to begin with and they follow that up being too tight to hire an American that they would actually have to dole out the minimum wage to.  Nice, eh?

Which makes me wonder.  When someone in India calls their cable company to pay a bill, do they get an American to discuss it with?  I can just hear that conversation.

“You’re what?  Calling to complain you can’t get your soccer game?  I got your bleepin’ soccer game right here.  Some nerve you got calling me, you bleepin’ knucklehead.”  

Just saying.

So there are certainly other things in life that are as certain as death and taxes.  Write me at bigdaddy295@aol.com with yours.  Have fun!

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 4/5

Here's my latest article that is running in the current Sea Isle Times...

4:47 PM... MARCH 5TH, 2015

I am stuck at 4th & Market in downtown Philly inside the Omni Hotel.  There’s 8 inches of snow falling on the ground and more on the way.   It is the hotel that 94WIP puts us up in when there's a weather emergency.  Unless you're Howard Eskin, then the management hopes he drives in and gets buried by an avalanche.

447PMMARCH 5TH, 2015I’ve been in this extremely fancy, almost extravagant, room for 36 hours and I am losing my mind.  There’s only one premium channel on the TV, no menu button on the remote, and there’s no close-captioning either.  It’s pathetic how much of my life is controlled by my TV.  That's my television in my house.  I need a thousand channels.  DVR.  Netflix.  On Demand.  Surround sound.  Giant screen.  I know exactly where every important button is on all my remotes by touch.  Sort of like Braille to Stevie Wonder. 

I would have lasted ten minutes as a cowboy in the 1800’s. 

I was channel surfing, desperately trying to find something, anything to watch and what popped up?  That insane scary looking nun on the Catholic Channel!  What's her name?  Sister Dirty Harry?  I travel a fair amount and there's not a television on this planet that she doesn't appear on.  How is this possible?  I went to St. Clement’s grade school for eight years.  Help!  Get her off this screen.  I did my time! 

I just got back from the Cosi across the street from the hotel.  I thought I was thrilled that they were open but I 37 bucks for a large coffee and a Blondie Brownie.  Room service would have been cheaper for chrissakes.  The lettering of the nutritional information on the brownie wrapper was so tiny that I had to ask the frozen looking dude behind the counter if there were any nuts in it because I couldn’t make out the info.  Now I’m not going to fall to the floor and spin around like Curly of the Three Stooges if I eat a nut.  I’m not allergic to them.  I just don’t like them in my brownies.  He assured me there were no nuts.

I grab my coffee, stuff the brownie in my pocket, and make the treacherous twenty-minute 75 yard walk back to the hotel without slipping and falling on my keister.  I get up to my room and take a bite out of the brownie and chomp right into a giant walnut!  (I know there have been a lot of exclamation points already, but what can I tell you?  This snow and ice has me insane in the membrane!)

I haven’t seen the sun in over a week.  My skin looks so Jack White pale that someone recently asked me if they knew me from “True Blood.”  I’ve gained twenty pounds from just laying around the house eating slabs of Ellio’s Pizza.  (It doesn’t help matters that you can only eat them in bed after 2am as you spill crumbs all over yourself searching for the remote.) 

I have fallen twice now just getting to my car in the driveway at home and that’s just in the last four days.

I would go somewhere warm, but I’ve used up all my vacation time on a recent trip to Hawaii and on an upcoming trip to Ireland.  (I know, poor me)  Hawaii.  I went there in September and looking out my iced up hotel window it feels like that beautiful trip was 30 years ago.  You know what I really need, don’t you?

I need Sea Isle City on the hottest damn day of the summer right now. 

I need to be riding my bike down the Promenade where I’m in danger of losing control because it’s so scorching my sweaty palms can barely control the handlebars.  (I taught both my daughters how to ride a bike on that promenade, by the way.)

I need to be lounging on our gorgeous beach taking in that delicious aroma of Banana Boat suntan lotion when the sun starts baking it into the skin.  (And since I’m imagining I’m on the beach, I need to see the mysterious Woman in the Black Bikini from last summer.)

I need to be chillin’ in a boat with the wind spraying my Long Island Iced Tea in my face as we cruise underneath the Sea Isle-Avalon Bridge flipping the bird to the toll collector.  Nothing against the toll collector, but I ain’t paying to drive into the slums of Avalon.

I need it so hot that  my air conditioner runs for seven days straight and the electric bill be damned.   So sweltering that the line at Yum Yum’s stretches for half a mile and you stand in it anyway.  So hot you stand next to the Juliano Brothers to get some shade.

 So humid the fake horse your kid is riding at the boardwalk arcade ups and dies.

So broiling I wanna be flatting away flies at any of our great outdoor bars as the sweat drips off my Rolling Rock.   So hot Mike LeCompt’s hair dye runs down his face as he rips into a red hot version of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” 

So humid the fake horse your kid is riding at the boardwalk arcade ups and dies.

So blistering you actually go to Mike’s Seafood to get relief  sitting on those picnic benches.  (What can I tell you?  Heat or not, he crab balls are so worth it).  So hot Mayor Lenny gives a key to the city to Fred the delivery man from Sea Isle Ice.

 So hot the band Secret Service collapses from heat exhaustion at the Ocean Drive and Jerry Blavat runs across the street form LaCosta to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  My good buddy Chris from the OD is quoted that “no one at the OD noticed anything was up because Secret Service always looks like they’re suffering from heat exhaustion.”

Years ago, when I used to stand on a street corner with my mother freezing my tush off waiting for the 36 trolley, she used to say to me “imagine you’re somewhere warm.”

Well the time for “imagining” is gone.  You might be in Sea Isle reading this right now.  Spring is here.   Bring on the warmth .  Bring on the sun.  Bring on the fun.  Bring on the summer of 2015!

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 2/15

Here's my latest article from South Jersey Magazine...

THE RIGHT TO LAUGH

Bear with me as you read this column.  I’m not used to writing anything this heavy, but the tragic murders that occurred in Paris really hit home.  I’ve been making my living as a standup comic for thirty-five years.  Add in that I’ve been doing four hours of talk radio a day at 94WIP for almost 20 years and that’s a ton of jokes and satirical comments.

bdg armen pink caddy smallWhat is it about religion that riles people up so?  My live standup show virtually makes no religious comments at all anymore and either do I on the air. 
However, that wasn’t always the case.  In fact, I wonder if I would still have a vibrant career today if it wasn’t for one song that put me on the map over 30 years ago.

I was performing at the Comedy Factory Outlet in downtown Philly.  I had a piano player back then (Andy Trackman from South Jersey) and I used to perform a song that my brother and I wrote called “Nuns.”


“Where do they come from?  Where do they go?
What are their real names?   I bet you don’t know.
They’ve been around for millions of years
They were the one thing that dinosaurs feared.
NUNS!  Stronger than you and me
NUNS!  Looking for someone to beat
I hope it’s not you, I hope it’s not me
NUNS!”

There was a lot more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it.  The song was inspired by my Catholic grade school upbringing and the years of beatings I took at the hands of the Sisters.  As funny as the audiences found the song, there was also a ring of painful truth to it that connected with a metro area that’s so Catholic.

John DeBella of WMMR’s Morning Zoo hosted shows at the Outlet on Friday night and he loved the song and the reaction it got from the crowd and said to me, “you record that and I’ll play it.”

Well, I did record it.  And he did play it.  Day after day for months.   It became a local hit.  I put it out on a vinyl 45 (if anyone remembers them).  It eventually landed on an album and sold 19,000 copies.  You can still buy it today on CD.    Then Clark DeLeon, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, did a major piece on the song and all hell broke loose.  A picture ran with the article of a nun threatening me with a yardstick.  (It was my Mother, by the way)

DeLeon got enough angry letters about it that a few weeks later he wrote a follow up on the original story discussing the reaction.  Then all the area talk shows started calling me to appear.  I had never been a guest on a talk show before.  AM Philly, a TV show on Channel 6, had me on with a nun.  I was young and just starting out and I just rolled with it.

Dr Donn The weird thing is that “Nuns” was about as controversial as I was ever going to get.  Oh, I have jokes with some edge to it today, but nothing any writer or talk show host will build an article or show segment around.  I’m not Bill Maher.  (And I like Bill Maher)  All I did with “Nuns” was “write what you know” which is the oldest trick in the book.

 There’s no doubt it was “Nuns” that kick started it all for me.  Yeah, it’s a funny song.  I’m proud of it.  I think it was well recorded for someone who had never produced a record before.  However, it was the uproar that it caused amongst some religious types who did not see the humor in the song at all that actually made my comedic bones.

But at no one point did anyone shoot at me with an assault rifle.  No one attacked me as I left a nightclub and walked down some lonely street by myself at 2AM.  What in blazes has happened?

Some people are just so easily offended these days.  I know that makes me sound like some old fogie, but how many times have you heard someone say that “All In The Family” would never make it to the air today?  So it’s just not my opinion. 

I never understand why anyone wants to label themselves as “Democrats”: or “Republicans.”  I have different opinions on all matters.  Some listeners may label one of my viewpoints as “liberal” or “conservative,” but I don’t.  My opinions are just that.  My opinion.  I am white.  I am half Irish and half Lithuanian.  Every now and then I make some stupid, grandiose statement on the air regarding some hot topic and after I make it, I remind my listeners that the comment doesn’t represent the viewpoint of all half-Irish, half Lithuanian people.  Where would I get off thinking I have that kind of authority?  To speak in behalf of anybody?  It’s infuriating when I hear people do that.  Who appointed them?

Look, I have very close friends, including my daughter, who go to church or Temple every week.  I myself do not, but if they get some sort of peace and comfort out of it, great.  We certainly need more calm and gentle people in this world.

However, sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if there was no organized religion at all.  I’m no numbers cruncher, but I have certainly have heard historians much smarter than me state that organized religion is responsible for more deaths on this planet than anything else.

I wonder if these same friends of mine, who I respect, would get the same solace if they just quietly prayed in their homes.  I certainly pray.  I’m all for prayer.

I’m just sick of turning on the news and seeing innocent people slaughtered in the name of religion.  It’s depressing enough that some crackhead may break into your car or mug you, but I at least sort of get that.  It’s about money.  It certainly doesn’t make it right.  But someone killing someone because of their religious beliefs?  Or worse yet, killing someone because you don’t like their religious beliefs?   It’s getting where I don’t wanna turn on the news at all.

All this anger also rears it’s ugly head in smaller and more personal ways.  On the air I make comments about the news of the day.  It’s mostly sports,  but when news the likes of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson breaks, the conversation crosses over into life issues.  When I say something that someone takes offense to, I get bombarded with mean tweets and emails and Facebook comments.  They don’t bother me.  I actually enjoy them and often I learn that I was wrong in what I said and that eventually makes me a better person, right? 

But if I make any comment on religion at all, even if it’s a 100% positive one, someone always twists it and somehow gets offended.   Then it gets really weird.  They won’t just write me.  They’ll call the station and get my bosses name and write them also.  How is that “religious?”  The end result?  I never mention religion at all on stage or on the air anymore.  I just don’t need the hassle. 

surfboardBut think about that for a moment.  If that’s how I thought back in the beginning of my career, I never would have wrote “Nuns” at all.  And people to this day still come up to me and smile recollecting that song.  And what’s wrong with that?

Even worse, however, is killing someone because they were attempting to make someone laugh, which basically is what Charlie Hebdo was doing.  I grew up on Mad Magazine.  I wrote a tribute in this very magazine to the awesome Joan Rivers when she died and she skewered everything that breathed and we certainly adored her, didn’t we.?  Geez, Louise, what is going on? 

Look.  I’m just a big doofus in a bowling shirt.   I’m not speaking for anyone but myself, but relax!  Joe Conklin and Josh Innes, at the station that I myself work at, constantly rip me by doing impressions of me and I’m friends with both of these dudes.  I get it.  All they’re trying to do is make you laugh.

 I myself am not an insult comic, but I certainly laugh at Don Rickles, The Onion, Howard Stern, Lisa Lamponelli,  to name just a few who work in that vein.  I also love Jerry Seinfeld and Brian Regan who do not.  Vive la diff’erence.

People have the right to make fun of your weight, your race, your sexual preference, your favorite team, and yes, even your religion.  You have the right to not like it.  You have the right to speak out on your behalf.  But, duh, you do not have the right to kill someone over it.  I’m just a regular Joe Schmo.  I’m don’t have the answer to anything.  So whenever I don’t know how to end a thought, I invariably turn to something my Mother would say to me. And in this case?  It’s  “take a chill pill.”

Thanks, Mom.

 

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


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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.

IT'S ONLY A PLAY is hilarious with an amazing cast.

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

Lincoln Center has a free SINATRA exhibit running till September 4th which has some pretty neat artifacts from his Hoboken days.

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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