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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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When most Christians observe Lent, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter, they choose something (or multiple somethings) of personal import to forgo for the duration. Some people give up coffee or soda, while others might choose to quit smoking or drinking. For the third year in a row, a craft brewery owner in Ohio says he’s giving up everything for Lent - except beer - and he’s using his notoriety to raise money to help bar and restaurant employees in his area that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Del Hall, 45, of Cincinnati, Ohio, says his doctor tried to talk him out of going through with his beer-only Lenten fast two years ago when he came up with the idea.

“She said ‘You’re an idiot if you do this,’ but she knows how strong-willed I am,” Hall said during an interview. “I filmed the whole thing kind of like a documentary, and once she knew I was determined to see this through, she recommended I take multi-vitamins, stay hydrated, and she told me not to do anything stupid.”

Hall gave up all solid food but augments his beer diet with black coffee, herbal tea and “about a gallon of water a day,” he said.

Hall said he was first inspired to undertake his Lenten beer-diet by the Bavarian monks of the 1600s who banished all solid food during their Lenten fast and replaced it with hearty dopplebock beer, rich in sugars and carbs.

“I wanted to myth-bust that legend and put it to the test,” Hall told me.

Sometimes a book can surprise you. I recently finished reading “From Headstocks to Woodstock,” the autobiography of Ric Lee, drummer for venerable British blues rockers Ten Years After. I’ve read a bajillion rock memoirs – some great, some half-baked and some that should still be in tree form. Lee’s is certainly in the first category. The man has led a fascinating life and he writes a riveting tale that is startlingly rich with detail.

No ghostwriter for this rocker, Lee says he spent the better part of 10 years writing, editing and perfecting his book. The stories within come alive thanks to Lee’s engaging writing style, the clarity of his memory, the research and interviews he undertook on his own, and the fact that he maintained diaries and journals through these years which lend authority to the text.

The hits just keep on coming. Here’s a look at some just-released and soon-to-come music offerings, with plenty of tunes from old friends and new faces alike.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced 16 nominees for consideration to be inducted into the hall later this year for its 36th class. This year’s nominees include Todd Rundgren, The New York Dolls, Foo Fighters, The Go-Gos, LL Cool J, Chaka Kahn, Fela Kuti, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Carole King, Rage Against The Machine, Devo, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, and Dionne Warwick. From that group, it’s expected that at least 6 will see induction during ceremonies tentatively set for this fall. The final list of inductees will be released in May, according to the Rock Hall.

Artists become eligible for induction to the rock hall 25 years after the release of their first record.

There is a bit of mystery regarding the process of how the list of nominees gets whittled down to the final inductees. As Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris told The Maine Edge a year ago “The industry vote is what ultimately determines election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” He explained that the industry vote is made up of more than 1,000 voters, many of whom are already inductees.

Until April 30, fans are encouraged to cast a vote for up to five nominees daily at www.vote.rockhall.com. As of this writing, world music pioneer and multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti is the top fan-vote getter with nearly 125,000 votes. Tina Turner is in second place with more than 88,000.

Peter Guralnick is, arguably, America’s most substantial music writer. When I saw that the title of his first book in five years was called “Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing,” the first thought that came to mind was that the title could not be more apt. Probably more than any other author of music-related books I’ve encountered, Guralnick has the ability to transport you from your present domain to the environs of his subjects where you can almost touch, see, smell, taste, and hear what they do. The reader gets lost in the best of ways when reading a Guralnick book or profile.

My bookcase at home is trembling from the weight of Guralnick’s work, including his first compendium of artist profiles, “Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in Blues, Country and Rock and Roll,” released 50 years ago, his staggering and definitive two-volume biography of Elvis Presley (“Last Train to Memphis” and “Careless Love”), his methodical account of the life of a soul legend (“Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke”), the myth-busting “Searching for Robert Johnson” and his masterfully crafted bio on one of the true OGs, “Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Each book left a deep imprint on this reader, while also serving as literary companions to the musical dives they inspired while reading.

In “Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing,” an anthology of profiles, old, new, and revised, Guralnick tells stories that no other writer could have told by going deep into the lives of his subjects to give us not a comprehensive summation of events but to ultimately reveal the truths that drew him, and quite possibly us, to their light.

When the pandemic shut down basketball courts, gymnasiums and playgrounds in his state, a Florida father of six decided he would create fun for his kids by building an amusement park, including a 310-foot-long rollercoaster, in his backyard.

“My son is a basketball player, and when they shut down the courts here, we put in a full regulation NBA court,” said Scott Friga, a contractor in North Fort Myers, during an interview with The Maine Edge.

“The next week, they started shutting down gyms, so we built one right here,” Friga continued, adding “the toughest part was finding all of the gym equipment, but we did it.”

The next request came from Friga’s daughter.

“She said ‘Dad, I want a rollercoaster.’ I said ‘Great idea, let’s do it.’”

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 12:55

Forthcoming archival classic rock releases

Never-before-heard music from pivotal moments in the respective careers of Bob Dylan, The Band, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and The Who, will be the drawing card for a number of forthcoming archival classic rock box sets. Designed for the super-fan looking for a deeper dive, these sets can be pricey, but they’re usually manufactured in limited quantities, which could turn some into sought-after collectibles on the secondary market when they’re gone.

They imagined fewer possessions then made it happen. I wonder if I can?

We all have a lot of stuff, most of it we never use. We’re consumers, that’s what we do. What happens when the things we buy because we think they’ll make us happy stop doing their job?

That’s a question asked and answered in the Netflix documentary “The Minimalists: Less is Now” from Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus. The duo has reached millions of listeners, readers and viewers through their podcast, website, books and films.

George Thorogood and The Destroyers have been among rock and roll’s most fervently reliable preservationists for well over 45 years. Known for putting their own stamp on classic blues covers like Rudy Toombs’ (via John Lee Hooker) “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love,” as well as creating originals inspired by the music of their heroes like “Bad to the Bone,” the band has carved a career out of delivering intense, driving blues rock on record, and especially onstage, where the songs live and breathe.

In the fall of 1982, Thorogood and The Destroyers career was in major ascent following an intense year of touring on their own and with the The Rolling Stones in both the US and UK. The year before, they’d tested their mettle with the punishing and astonishing “50/50 Tour,” where they rocked all 50 states (plus Washington DC) in 50 days.

On November 23, 1982, with their fifth album “Bad to the Bone” scaling the charts after an October appearance on SNL, George Thorogood and The Destroyers played Boston’s Bradford Ballroom, a venue that had recently reopened on Tremont St. and had once hosted legends like Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and James Brown. Today it’s known as the Royale Nightclub. That night, with a mobile recording truck parked outside, The Destroyers unleashed a relentlessly powerful two-and-a-half hour show that has just been released in its entirety for the first time as “Live in Boston, 1982: The Complete Concert” on four LPs, two CDs and via digital.

Laughs imitate life on the new CBS sitcom “B Positive,” airing Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. The show is the latest hit from executive producer Chuck Lorre (“Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom”) and series creator Marco Penette (“Caroline in the City”), whose real life need for a kidney transplant inspired its premise.

Veteran character actor Bernie Kopell, who plays a recurring character on the show, recalls his first table read for “B Positive,” when Penette introduced himself and shared his story.

“He told me that a few years back, he went to see the doctor because he hadn’t been feeling well,” Kopell recalled during an interview with The Maine Edge that aired last weekend on BIG 104 FM.

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