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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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"Bath salts is sold under these innocuous names (Vanilla Sky, Monkey Dust, Kryptonite, White Ivory, etc.); people may not realize what it is. We've been seeing a lot of harm, both physical and psychological, come to those who have used it." - Dr. Anthony Ng, medical director Psychiatric Observation Unit at Acadia Hospital in Bangor.

"I hope that people learn from the tragedies that have already happened and have yet to happen. And I think there will be more. The stakes are so high with this particular chemical, people don't get second chances." - Shawn Yardley, director at City of Bangor Health and Community Services.

The public is encouraged to attend a Town Hall meeting on Bangor's "bath salts" epidemic to be held at the Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. This meeting will be a free information session and an opportunity for the public to hear first-hand information from area professionals who have direct experience in dealing with the bath salts epidemic.

Some fans were introduced to Grace Potter and The Nocturnals via their reimagined take on Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." Others may have come to the band through a festival appearance with Dave Matthews or at Lollapalooza. Local radio listeners can hear Grace Potter daily on Kiss 94.5 where the single "Paris (Ooh La La)" is currently in heavy rotation, or on 104.7 The Bear where her duet with Kenny Chesney, "You and Tequila," racks up frequent spins.

The band's self-titled third album is a musical Nor'easter of blues, rock, soul, funk and pop and has kept them on the road nonstop since it was issued more than a year ago. Grace Potter and The Nocturnals have played nearly 200 dates over the last 12 months and have seen their audience grow exponentially. The upcoming Grand Point North (GPN) festival in Burlington, Vt. finds the group headlining their own weekend of shows in their home state. As a warm-up to GPN, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals will headline the Friday, Aug. 12 lineup of the 2011 Kahbang Music Festival on the Bangor Waterfront.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011 05:38

Secrets of a repo man

"He came out of his bedroom loading a handgun...."

The stories you are about to read are true. The identity of this local "Repo Man" will remain a secret. He agreed to speak to me on condition of anonymity.

Dow: "How long have you been in the business, and how did you get started?"

Repo Man: "I've been towing for 20 years now. As for repossessions, I started doing that about 15 years ago. I was drawn by the challenge of it. It is a challenge at times. You never know what's going to happen."

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 05:38

Bob Dylan and Leon Russell pack 'em in

It was another win for Waterfront Concerts Saturday night as a sold-out crowd packed the Waterfront Pavilion to see Bob Dylan's first Bangor performance in more than 14 years. As of Saturday morning, 7,000 tickets had been sold and further seats were made available that day according to Mark Braveman, Waterfront Concerts ticket agent at Mark's Music in Brewer.

The next-to-last stop on this leg of Dylan's "Never Ending Tour," the concert was both thrilling and frustrating. He tours with a stellar band, including ace guitarist Charlie Sexton. They appeared to be having a blast cranking out Bob's songs, many of which were written when some of the band were in diapers.

Eight of the 15 songs that comprised Dylan's set list came from his classic 60s period, including the show opener, "Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35." "Tangled Up In Blue" and "Simple Twist of Fate" from 1975's "Blood On The Tracks" were set highlights as was a rolling, chugging arrangement of "Things Have Changed," a song that scored Dylan an Academy Award for best original song in 2000. Dylan spent most of the show seated at an organ that was mixed too low while his vocals were much louder than they should have been in the overall mix.

By most accounts, Bobby Whitlock of (arguably) Eric Clapton's greatest band, Derek and The Dominos, could have been declared dead at least three times. Actually, he's quite sure he died at least once and was sent back.

Today, Bobby is healthy and happy to be alive in Austin, Texas, where he spoke with me from the kitchen of a 200-year-old farmhouse and recording studio that he renovated with CoCo Carmel, his wife and partner in life and music. The pair recently completed a new double album, "Esoteric," to be released before the end of the year. "She is the love of my life and the light unto it," Whitlock told me.

2011 has been a remarkable year for Whitlock. His new book, "A Rock and Roll Autobiography" (with Marc Roberty; foreword by Eric Clapton), has been among the best- reviewed and best-selling music biographies on Amazon since June. "I look at the chart each week," Whitlock told me. "Ozzy (Osbourne) is #2 and I'm still at #1 above Keith Richards and everyone else. All I had to was write it (laughs) and listen to the voice that comes at 3:30 in the morning saying, 'Get up, it's time to write.' When you hear the voice that clear, you get up, sit there and wait."

Wednesday, 14 September 2011 05:38

The real George Thorogood

Beyond 'Bad'

One of the things I have always appreciated about George Thorogood is that he has never been a bandwagon jumper. As trends in popular music evolve, George and his band, The Destroyers, have essentially remained unchanged.

When the Top 40 charts of the 80s and 90s were populated with synthesizer-driven fly-by-night pop groups, spandex-wearing "hair bands," dance-oriented Hip Hop or "soft verse/loud chorus" Nirvana-rip offs, George Thorogood kept pumping out roots-based bluesy rock that seldom varied from what his fans expected.

George and The Destroyers will bring their show to the Bangor Waterfront on Friday, Sept. 23 in support of a new album, "2120 South Michigan Avenue." That's the address of the legendary Chess Records recording studio. Thorogood's new album, a tribute to some of his heroes who recorded at Chess, wasn't originally his idea. "It was Capitol Records' idea," Thorogood told me last week. "They asked my manager, 'Would George be interested in doing a tribute album to Chess?' I said, 'On Capitol Records? Are you crazy? Of course I'd be interested in that.'"

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 05:38

Buried in the mix

Do you hear what I hear?

Legendary musician and producer Al Kooper reveals a hidden joke he planted in Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." Kooper, long known as the "go to guy" among musicians, signed Skynyrd to their first major label contract and produced their first three albums.

"Right after the line, 'Well I heard Mr. Young sing about her,' if you listen real close in the left speaker, you can hear me sing in my best Neil Young imitation, 'Southern Man, better use your head...' It's nearly subliminal," writes Kooper.

Young's "Southern Man" was one of the songs that inspired "Sweet Home Alabama." Neil subtly responded to the attention in subsequent years by wearing Skynyrd T-shirts during his own concerts.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 14:05

Harvest in The County - from field to fries

Dry summer, then comes fall
Which I depend on most of all
- 'King Harvest (Has Surely Come)'; The Band
I got em in the ground, I can't quit now
You won't find me grieving.'
I'll bet you five dollars it's my best year yet
Cause it looks like I'm gonna break even
- 'Tater Raisin' Man'; Dick Curless
Friday, 07 October 2011 14:27

Wilco shares the love on new LP

'We'd go crazy trying to please all of the fans'
Glenn Kotche of Wilco

BANGOR - There is a sense of urgency within the grooves of Wilco's new album, 'The Whole Love.' This time out, the band offers 12 new Jeff Tweedy songs (16 on the deluxe version) that leave the listener with a feeling of contentment accompanied by the realization that time is short so make it count.

'The Whole Love' is Wilco's eighth studio album and was recorded in an atmosphere of total freedom and collaboration. Drummer and percussionist Glenn Kotche says every idea was explored in the studio when approaching these new songs. 'There was a sense of we know we can do all of these other things, let's just see what happens,'' Kotche said last week from his hotel room in Nashville, where Wilco had just arrived to play two shows at the Ryman Auditorium. 'When anyone had an idea, it was entertained. Nothing was really shut down.'


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