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Mike Dow

Mike Dow

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012 11:55

The Zambonis

Hockey Rock masters score hat trick on new LP

What started as a fun 'what if?' proposition has evolved into a joyous and celebrated institution. More than 20 years after forming, The Zambonis, the world's foremost purveyors of Hockey Rock, have returned with their best album to date, 'Five Minute Major (in D Minor).'

Hockey fans are as passionate about the sport as rock fans are about the music, and The Zambonis have offered the best of both worlds over seven hockey-themed albums.

'Five Minute Major' faces off with 'Brass Bonanza' the theme for the band's beloved Hartford Whalers for more than 20 years. The Zambonis' version combines surf guitar and drums, horns and even an electric sitar to form the definitive rendition of the happy, catchy tune which continues to be played during games in the band's home state of Connecticut.

When Jason Howe of Houlton heard the news that he was going to be a father of twins, he took care of the necessary preparations and formed a band with a childhood friend at the same time. This 'rock dad' likes to keep busy.

Howe, of popular acoustic jam-rock band Mellow Endeavor, spoke with me last week after putting his boys down for a nap. In addition to the babies, age 11 months, Howe and his girlfriend Danielle also have a 5-year old. Jason told me that he loves being a stay-at-home dad while continuing to work on Mellow Endeavor business. 'It's a full time job with twins and a five year old,' he said 'But I still manage to put about 30 hours a week into the band making contacts, answering email and booking shows.'

Since forming in 2010, Mellow Endeavor has become one of the hardest working bands in Maine. 'Originally, we were thinking we would be doing one show a month. We had no idea how quickly things were going to take off,' Howe said. In finest jam-band tradition, word of mouth has been their best advertising.

Wednesday, 07 March 2012 19:52

Why The Monkees were a big deal

When news broke last week that Davy Jones of The Monkees had died suddenly of a heart attack at age 66, tributes began pouring in on social networking sites. Some comments on Davy's passing from a few of my Facebook friends

'I feel like a piece of my childhood has just died.'

'Remembering Saturday mornings with Davy Jones. Those were the days my friend.'

'So simple, so true. Going to miss him most of all.'

'No drugs, nothing to sensationalize. Just a wholesome kid from the 60s. What a loss. Another big piece of my life has changed forever.'

Teenage depression and anxiety is the subject of a new movie that will premiere at the Gracie Theatre on Wednesday, March 21. The 35 minute film 'The Road Back' was largely created by a dedicated group of local teens and produced by The Acadia Hospital, Project Aware of Saco and Gum Spirits Productions of Portland.

Shot over five days last October at Hermon High School, the film is centered around Allie (Natalie Johnson, a senior at Hermon High School), who deals with depression, and Christian (Josh Devou, a junior at Hermon High School ), who suffers from anxiety. Over the course of the film, these two characters find themselves facing difficult challenges that are compounded by their conditions, but they are ultimately led to discover a way out through treatment.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012 12:46

New Bruce - Boring in the U.S.A.

The marriage of music and politics is tricky. For each instance where it works, (Neil Young's 'Rocking in the Free World' - as good as it gets), you could cite 10 where it doesn't (including Neil Young's 'Living With War' - ugh). On Tuesday, March 6, Bruce Springsteen will issue his 17th studio album, 'Wrecking Ball' - a collection of mostly angry songs with Springsteen assuming the role of various characters who feel betrayed by the promise of the American Dream. After I listened to 'Wrecking Ball,' I felt betrayed by the promise of a good Springsteen album. It hurts to admit that - I'm a fan and I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who feels let down by most everything Bruce has issued over the past 20 years.

Over the last 40 years, Bruce Springsteen has delivered some of the most vital, joyous, engaging and thoughtful songs in rock. Now that I think of it, most of those songs appeared during his first 20 years of recording.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 17:19

The animated Romany Malco

The 'Weeds' and '40 Year Old Virgin' star keeps it real in new FX series 'Unsupervised.'

Some actors have a keen knack for selecting roles that allow them to steal their scenes. Romany Malco has that ability, but he also allows his co-stars to shine and that is a true rarity.

As Steve Carrell's trash talking co-worker Jay at Best Buy-like Smart Tech in 'The 40 Year Old Virgin,' Malco provided some of the movie's funniest moments. As smooth and savvy Conrad Shepherd on Showtime's 'Weeds,' he had fans clamoring for a union with star Mary-Louise Parker, and they were crushed when he left after three seasons.

Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:38

Mu$ic and local bu$iness

'It's a Legal Matter, Baby'

'We fully support the local music scene and the right of songwriters and musicians getting paid. Ninety percent of the artists we feature are playing original music, not covers. In the long run, how does taxing our music scene help these artists?' -Gene Beck, owner, Nocturnem

'Using music in a business is a business decision. It is a very powerful tool to drive profits. In my mind, there is something fundamentally wrong with taking something that doesn't belong to you and using it for your own benefit.' - Ari Surdoval, BMI

The next time you walk into a business, listen carefully. Do you hear music? Depending on the type of business you are visiting and how they use music, they may be paying for the right to play it in their establishment. If they're not, they could be in violation of U.S. copyright law.

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 11:41

Remastered, reissued, reimagined

The music industry is cranking out archival releases in shelf-busting numbers during the fourth quarter of 2011. There seems to be a sense of 'now or never' for some of this material, as labels continue to tighten their belts while spiffing up old tapes and raiding the vaults for previously unreleased recordings.

These releases are largely designed for the music consumer who prefers a 'tangible' product: boxes, booklets, shiny discs, vinyl, posters, notes and trinkets that some might call excessive ephemera. The idea is to take a previously released title that sold well, improve it with (hopefully) superior mastering, add some relevant previously unheard material with new notes and put it out as the 'ultimate' version.

Wednesday, 02 November 2011 09:11

Mike Elliott hangs with old pal Jimmy Kimmel

This week, I have an opportunity to dish about my morning show partner of almost 14 years, Mike Elliott. Off the air, he is kind of shy and non-assuming. He's a great father. He loves his hair. At one time, he had the highest-rated morning radio show in America (per capita) with a 28 share - unheard of numbers today. He is extremely funny and has a soft spot for robots.

That probably isn't the juicy sort of dish you were hoping to read, but it's all true. Oh, and he has some famous friends. One friend in particular happens to be one of America's most beloved late-night talk show hosts, Jimmy Kimmel. Mike recently spent a few days in Los Angeles with his old pal and former morning show sidekick.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 14:08

Dude, you saw Zeppelin!

A few days ago, I was asked the following question: 'What's the best concert you've ever seen?'

My gut response was, 'Paul McCartney, Boston 2002 and again in 2005.' Those were absolutely incredible concerts. When he first appears on stage, it hits you: There he is. He's real. It's the actual guy. He's not a video or a hologram - it's Paul. For two hours and 45 minutes, you get the show of your life with each song played and sung as if his life depended on it.

Add to that the man who wrote or co-wrote those amazing songs is standing there in front of you and it's kind of hard to beat.

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