SHARE A LIFE AND DEATH ISSUE, WITH WORDS
Both could say, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Most people think Twain did say that, in response to an American newspaper story run while he was on a speaking tour in England. The actual quote, from a note he wrote to a correspondent, was, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Not quite as… sassy.
I have not yet received such a note from my friend, rock and roll shouter supreme Simon Stokes, but I could, and deserve whatever he might say, but I’m sure he would be cool or even laugh.
Last week I wrote about the awesome (sometimes, you just have to use an overused word) music tribute concert being held tonight in his honor. (IMPORTANT NOTE: change of venue, from the Echo to Taix Restaurant, just across the street at 1911 Sunset. Tickets still honored.) Somehow, somehow, I ignored the note at the very end of a long post about it that said he is suffering from the onset of dementia. Somehow, somehow, I remember reading on some post that he passed away in late September, and that made sense that I missed it because I was distracted and out of town then. But I must’ve been trippin’. A British Simon Stokes died in 2015 and maybe I slipped onto that page by mistake.
I also know, I’ve seen, an old B&W photo of him on a couch with some famous group of outlaws, that I think included Malcolm X and Muhammed Ali. Maybe Tim Leary, with whom he recorded. Stokes has had the most interesting life you’ve never heard of, and for all his career frustration is a soft-spoken, sweet man. (I will find that photo.)
Simon may not be completely well but he’s alive and kicking and will be there and probably sing, hopefully with his infamous Black Whip Thrill Band, whose cartoonish album cover, with mild-by-today’s-standards S&M graphics, was reportedly the first album banned nationwide for its cover. (Today, 2018, it would be again in disfavor.)
The original BWTB lineup will be there (first time in 45 years!), coming from all over the country. Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra will do a set (he still performs like an angry 19-year-old who has to prove himself), as will The Voice, as Terry Reid is known in the UK, a legendary rock growler (turned down the spot in Led Zeppelin because he was just signed to a major label on his own, at 19) who, when performing on my cable TV show some years ago, went with standards and some Christmas carols, sung with his daughter. Nice.
If you miss this once-in-a-lifetime show, you will regret it.
I just want you girls (and boys) to… gotta have fun. Schedule 15 minutes to do this, mark it on your calendar, you’ll be glad you did. You will relive musical memories and get in touch with why music is so important to you. You may even start listening more and that will put a smile on your face, or move you in some way. Guaranteed.
Do this. What small selection of music would you choose to listen to, for the rest of your life? Five discs. Yes, albums, don’t fudge with The Complete Mahler Symphonies or Live Aid Every Note, I’m looking for single albums that have become part of your very soul. “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City” — Kendrick Lamar? “Shine On Brightly” — Procol Harum? “St. Vincent”? “Fully Qualified Survivor” — Michael Chapman? “Vivaldi: Four Seasons” — Nigel Kennedy (my fave 4S)? “The Incredible Simon Stokes and the Black Whip Thrill Band”?
Send entries to my email at the bottom. Tell me where you live, your age, gender if you wish, and any commentary will be delightfully read.
TONIGHT! Don’t Box Me In: An Intimate Evening with STEWART COPELAND (ex-Police, drummer extraordinaire, gone on to scads of very diverse creative projects including operas with Long Beach Opera) with just his drum kit and tenor Nathan Granner, soprano Jamie Chamberlin (pricey, yes, but $100 gets you two drinks and conversation, music performance and Q&A with Copeland, for $200 you get also face-to-face Green Room access, and he’ll autograph your stuff), Long Beach Terrace Theatre, 6 PM.
TONIGHT! ST. VINCENT, Hollywood Palladium, 7 PM, $42.50.
TY SEGALL (the boy can play! local treasure, never know where his show will go), Fri, Sat, Sun, Teragram Ballroom, downtown LA, 9 PM, $26.
MELVINS, FARTBARF, SPINDRIFT, Fri, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, 8 PM, $30.
THE JACK OF HEARTS BAND (damnfine covers of early-mid Dylan, and his band The Band — I’ll be there, fer sure), Sat, Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO, 7 PM, $15 (incl. 1 free concession)
3RD ANNUAL BOB MARLEY FESTIVAL featuring DON CARLOS (original Black Uhuru), Sat, Gaslamp, Long Beach, 5 PM, $25.
For more music and art than you can handle, NIGHT ON BROADWAY (4 outdoor stages, 4 grande old theatres, 40 art galleries, 4 beer gardens, Ferris wheel, folk dance, ballet, burlesque, DJs, mariachi and tons o’bands incl THE B-52S, WAR, LA SANTA CECILIA, downtown LA, Sat, 3 PM-midnight, free.
Or you can slip on over to Dorothy Chandler Pavillion for Lenny Bernstein’s CANDIDE with KELSEY GRAMMER in the lead, LA Opera, Sat, 7:30 PM, $29-$299.
Or Walt Disney Concert Hall for jazz keyboard wizard HERBIE HANCOCK, Sat, 8 PM, $52-$131.
Styx, Saban Theater, Sun…. just kidding, Kenny G, Microsoft Theater… really, really just kidding.
BOOTSY COLLINS (James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic), Wed, Amoeba Music, Hollywood, 6 PM, free (get there very early!)
BIRTHDAYS! — no BDs this week. Too important to write about Simon Stokes’ show tonight. Do y’all like that feature, anyway? It’s a big headache, lots of fact checking, and the days of birth are just an excuse to write about the entire list of musicians — everybody’s got a BD — some famous some not so, and tell you something about them you maybe didn’t know. Trivia is just a word for obscure knowledge, and all knowledge can enrich. Or at least be interesting or even fun.
BAND NAME OF THE WEEK: Space Shuttle to Nicaragua
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “Oh, Saint Alfonzo would be proud of me, PROUD OF ME, he shouted down the block, Dominus Vo-bisque ’em, Et come spear a tu-tu, Oh! Won’t you eat my sleazy pancakes, just for Saintly Alfonzo.” — Frank Zappa
(Sometimes, even music journalists just want to have fun, not deep meaning)
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org