Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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Ponch would be proud.

Erik Estrada will forever be associated with “CHiPs,” the 1977 to 1983 California Highway Patrol motorcycle cop drama in which he starred as Frank Poncherello. Fifteen years ago, Estrada turned his childhood dream of becoming a cop into reality. These days, he’s busting child predators for the ICAC (internet crimes against children) Task Force through the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.

Estrada says he was four years old when he decided to become a police officer, after his mother began dating a New York cop Estrada remembers as “the greatest man.”

“My mom fired my real dad because he was stuck on the needle, then she began seeing this New York cop who was just the best,” Estrada said. “He’s no longer alive but he was with our family for about 10 years and he’s the reason I became a cop,” Estrada told The Maine Edge. “The first man I ever loved was a cop, he was my hero.”

Broken heart? There’s an album for that. For many songwriters, music is sometimes the best therapy, and that’s especially true when the songwriter has weathered a personal crisis. Watershed breakup albums like Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks,” Beck’s “Sea Change” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” were all born from relationships gone south, no doubt brutal to endure, but each resulted in high art.

The new studio album from prolific Maine-based singer and songwriter Joel Thetford materialized from similarly dark circumstances with results akin to those aforementioned musical milestones. “January Heartbreak,” out April 19, is his most powerful work to date.

Maybe Neil Young knows something the rest of us don’t. He seems to have amped up his already voluminous archive series of previously shelved studio albums and unreleased concerts like a man racing against time. One of the latest entries is a November 1990 tour warmup gig with Crazy Horse representing what many fans consider to be among the band’s best-ever nights onstage. “Way Down in the Rust Bucket” is two-and-a-half hours of the finest electric Neil Young available, and that’s saying something.

The 1990 studio LP “Ragged Glory” – due for an archival overhaul, expansion and reissue later this year – marked a true return to form for Young and his long-serving barn-rock collaborators in Crazy Horse. The album contained (arguably) his best batch of songs since 1979’s “Rust Never Sleeps,” and it arrived in the middle of a new golden era of great Neil Young albums that signaled his return to Reprise Records after his 1980s wilderness years with Geffen. Remember when Geffen unsuccessfully sued him for delivering work “uncharacteristic of Neil Young?” It was sweet to watch Neil stick it to them by handing Reprise knockout LPs like “This Notes For You” (1988), “Freedom” (1989), “Ragged Glory” and its subsequent tour document “Weld.”

Even better than “Weld” is “Way Down in the Rust Bucket,” culled from three sets performed on November 13, 1990 at The Catalyst, an 800-seater in Santa Cruz, CA, that’s long served as a favored home base for Neil to warm up before a tour.

Actress Taryn Manning made an indelible impression on viewers as Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Dogget through seven seasons of the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Manning says she loved being part of that show but was ready for new challenges when it wrapped two years ago, and she didn’t have to wait long. Manning currently has 10 film projects in the pipeline, either shooting now, or in pre- or post-production, and a new film in theaters and on-demand with the indie comedy-drama “Last Call,” directed and co-written by Paolo Pilladi.

“Last Call” co-stars Manning as Ali and Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”) as Mick. Friends since childhood, the pair lost contact when Piven’s character moved away from his suburban Philadelphia neighborhood to become a real estate developer. When he returns to tend to a family crisis, they reconnect as Piven decides to stick around to help resuscitate his family’s bar which serves as the neighborhood watering hole.

Manning and Piven’s co-stars in “Last Call” include Bruce Dern (“Coming Home”), Zach McGowan (“Shameless”), comedians Jamie Kennedy and Cheri Oteri, and Jack McGee (“Rescue Me”).

During an interview with The Maine Edge, Manning shared some behind the scenes tales from the shooting of “Last Call,” she discusses her passion for making music, and explains why it’s probably for the best that “Orange is the New Black” ended when it did.

Here at The Maine Edge, we really miss the live music experience, and you’ve told us that you really miss it too. Most stages, venues and concert halls have been quiet for more than a year and that silence is deafening. We miss the intimate in-person shows at Bangor Arts Exchange, the magic of live theater at Penobscot Theatre, the symphonies and concerts at the Collins Center in Orono – and we miss seeing legends take the big stage downtown.

We asked you to tell us about the best shows you’ve seen at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, presented by Waterfront Concerts. The votes are in and your picks are fascinating to say the least.

Before we reveal the list of your favorite shows, let’s look back at the rise of Waterfront Concerts and the effect it has had on the area’s economy and entertainment landscape.

It’s been nearly 20 months since Waterfront Concerts last staged a show at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, a venue that was preparing for its biggest season to date when Covid cleared the schedule for 2020.

Over 10 seasons, from July 2010, when Celtic Woman was featured as the inaugural concert at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, through August 2019, when Breaking Benjamin performed with four support bands, Waterfront Concerts staged 152 shows that brought well over one million concertgoers to downtown Bangor. In the process of entertaining all of those folks, the greater Bangor area’s entertainment landscape was transformed as a direct result of the concert series, which some believed to be an unworkable prospect.

My first interview with singer and songwriter Chris Ross appeared in these pages 10 years ago this month. We’d met up at The Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor on a Saturday for a freewheeling conversation centered on his debut album, “The Steady Stumble,” that soon morphed into a marathon dialogue about his decision to pursue music full time.

During that first interview, Chris shared illuminating stories about his influences, playing music, traveling, and the many colorful characters he’d encountered, some of whom I later learned wound up in his songs. The impression he left was of a fiercely intelligent young musician bursting with talent, a wicked sense of humor, and a deep hunger to have his music exposed to a vast audience.

ARUNDEL - Two generations of an Arundel family have surprised music fans and artists alike with the revelation that they made very audible appearances on over 25 popular albums by a variety of artists dating back to the early 1960s.

Warren Heider, 67, says seven members of his family are detectable on many of the best-selling live records in music history beginning with 1962’s Grammy-winning comedy album “The First Family” by Maine native Vaughn Meader, whom Heider says was an old school friend of his late mother’s.

You recognize Anthony “Sully” Sullivan as the OxiClean guy, the high-energy, omnipresent British-born TV pitchman of commercials and late-night infomercials. Sullivan has traded in his blue shirt for apparel more suitable for New England farming on VICE TV’s “Kings of Kush” (Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m.), a new series from Thom Beers, creator of “Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers” and “Lobster Wars.”

There was a time when success in the music industry hinged on the caliber of a record company’s promotions team. Tasked with taking their bosses’ latest investment to the top, these label reps could make or break a career. Iconic record company promo man Dave Morrell’s fourth volume chronicling his many years of music industry adventures and misadventures, “Run Out Groove: Inside Capitol’s 1980s Hits & Stiffs,” covers the decade he spent at the legendary label with astonishing tales of success, failure, hilarity and cruelty.

Morrell’s time at Capitol Records, from 1980 to 1990, was a rollercoaster ride that included dealing with career breakthroughs for bands including Crowded House and Duran Duran, working with legacy artists like Paul McCartney and Bob Seger, and helping some artists, like Bonnie Raitt, reach a new level of success.

Morrell also had to work internally with a few Capitol kooks whose eye-popping antics earned them nicknames in his book such as “Mr. Hollywood,” “Cattle prod guy” and “Psycho Johnny.” Morrell recalls every shocking instance of their absurdity with hilarious clarity and says some of his former co-workers have been in touch after reliving those years through his book.

I have a feeling we’re in for a deluge of new music titles as artists everywhere prepare to release the fruits of their lockdowns in hopes they’ll soon be able to take the stage in support. Here are a few recently released LPs that should not be overlooked in the pending flood.

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