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Wednesday, 17 October 2012 13:08

Celebrity Slam - Oct. 17, 2012

The end of an era

Making fun of celebrity foibles is certainly an enjoyable pastime; it is what has made this space one of the more popular ones in our publication since its inception. Gentle (or not-so-gentle) mockery of the misdeeds of the rich and famous oftentimes makes for great entertainment.

However, sometimes an opportunity arises where we can celebrate the celebrities among us rather than debase them. This is one of those times. It was recently announced that The Mike and Mike Show, a longtime staple of area morning radio, is bringing its 15 year run to an end.

Published in Celebrity Slam
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 13:28

Days with Doris

Blue Hill resident remembers 20 years with America's original sweetheart

BLUE HILL - One day in early 1988, music producer Terry Melcher (The Byrds, The Beach Boys) walked through the door of his mother Doris Day's home in Carmel, California accompanied by John Phillips, formerly of The Mamas & the Papas. Phillips had a song running through his mind and was desperate to put the tune on tape before he forgot it.

Melcher called for his mother's assistant, an Englishman named Sydney Wood. 'Woody, do you have a cassette recorder in your room?' he asked. 'Yes, come on up,' Wood replied. Melcher and Phillips headed up the stairs with an acoustic guitar and sat on Wood's bed while they worked out the song's basic structure. There were no lyrics yet, but the melody and chords were there.

Melcher later played the tape for The Beach Boys, who wanted to record the song immediately. 'Kokomo' was released in July and hit #1 in November giving The Beach Boys the distinction of being the act with the longest span between #1 records (22 years). For Sydney Wood, seeing a Grammy-nominated song come to life in his bedroom was just another day at Doris's place. 

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 26 April 2012 08:44

Secrets of an illegal downloader

'Excuse me, but where were you all when piracy started to decimate the music industry? Why didn't you take a stand against that? Those free records felt good, huh?' - Duff McKagan, former Guns N' Roses bassist in a January 2012 blog post for Seattle Weekly on proposed PIPA/SOPA anti-piracy legislation. Plans to draft the bill were postponed following widespread opposition claiming threats to free speech and innovation. 

At the time SOPA and PIPA were being discussed and protested, the U.S. Justice Department shut down file-hosting/sharing site MegaUpload, just over a year after nailing peer-to-peer file sharing program Limewire. Despite government intervention, internet piracy is alive and thriving as hundreds, if not thousands of similar sites remain active. According to 2011 research from NPD Group, about 9 percent of internet users admit to regularly utilizing the services of peer-to-peer sites (networks of connected computers capable of sharing designated files including the illegal download of copyrighted material), down from 14 percent in 2007.

For this Maine Edge 'secrets' column, I interviewed an active illegal downloader who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. Ryan (not his real name) is 27 and works for a delivery company in the Bangor area.

Published in Music
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:29

Willie Wisely Trio get back a true reunion

From the opening chords of 'Kiss Her and Make it Right' on 'True,' their first album in 18 years, you're drawn into the wonderful world of managed chaos that is the Willie Wisely Trio a fierce foursome that are as comfortable cooking grooves wrapped in pure melody as they are tapping into an area they call 'no time' music or 'rocks and logs' music without a beat. Pure Pop for Wow People.

Formed in the late '80s with Wisely on guitar and vocals, James Voss on upright and electric bass, Peter Anderson on drums and Greg Wold on trombone, each member of the Minneapolis-based band arrived with a different influence.

Classic rock, jazz, pop, gospel and punk to comedy and theatrics The Trio stirred it up while traveling the country in a rust-colored van playing roughly 400 shows in five years. Word of mouth helped build an adoring fan base who relished the fact that no two Trio experiences were alike. Shows by The Willie Wisely Trio were equal parts raucous, hilarious, tender and dangerous, and at this moment, there is probably someone, somewhere, telling a story about one of those shows with the capper, 'Man, ya shoulda been there.'

Published in Music
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 14:35

From Korn to Jesus

Brian 'Head' Welch is back with new band, Love and Death

In 2005, after 15 years and more than 30 million albums sold, Korn, one of the most popular metal bands in the world, was about to sign a new deal with Virgin Records worth $25 million. Their lead guitarist, Brian 'Head' Welch, says he was living his dream, but inside, he was dying.

Welch says he started drinking on weekends when he was 15, and once Korn was firmly established, alcohol became a daily escape from the band's punishing tour schedule. After Korn signed to Epic Records in 1994, hard drugs entered Brian's life, leading to an all-consuming addiction to crystal meth that took his family (his wife was addicted as well; Brian later gained custody of his daughter, Jennea) and nearly cost him his life.

Welch says he used methamphetamines every day for two years before finally staggering to a hotel and checking in for a body, mind and soul rehab with Jesus. There, he sat and prayed for hours. 'I said, 'God, I'm weak. I'm going to die if I keep this up,'' Welch told me. ''Please be strong for me. Be real. Send people to help me. Get me out of this.'

'What I found was that God is real and all I had to do was ask Christ to help me,' Welch said. 'When I did that, everything bad that I didn't want fell out of my life.' Welch says he ran from Korn in February, 2005 and began a walk with Jesus that is even stronger today. His 2007 memoir 'Save Me From Myself' (also the title of his 2008 debut solo album) became a New York Times bestseller and led to two further books.

Published in Music
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.'

Published in Music

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.

Published in Cover Story
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.

Published in Music
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.

Published in Happenings
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
Published in Cover Story
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