A wee drive to Paul McCartney’s Mull of Kintyre

Mull of Kintyre — you either hate the Paul McCartney folk song, or you’ve never heard of it (in which case you can sample it here.) These may seem strange options for one of the biggest pop hits of all time. I should clarify that “Mull of Kintyre” haters are likely closet fans and self-loathing Brits, while those who’ve never heard it are mainly Americans.

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Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St. – Extreme Trivia Edition

exile on Main St

I’ve officially hit rock-bottom trying to find something new to write about the Rolling Stones. While perusing the back cover of Exile on Main St. the other day, for only the millionth time, I wondered about the photo of the newspaper headline that appears to read: “Father of Five Aids … Rescuer.” Read more

Down and out with the Beatles in Liverpool

Welcome to the world, Beatles! An unexploded bomb in a Liverpool garden, two miles from the home of John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi, November 1940. Courtesy: Merseyside Police.

Quick! Name the pub on the cover of Ringo Starr’s Sentimental Journey album (at right). Or, the venue where Ringo played his first official gig with the Beatles. Thanks to a recent trip to Liverpool, I know the answers—although it would have been cheaper to stay home and do an Internet search.

Liverpool

The Empress, 230 feet from Ringo Starr’s childhood home at 10 Admiral Grove (and next door to a mosque)

Hulme Hall, at the Port Sunlight model village in Wirral—across the Mersey from Liverpool. Ringo played here with the Beatles on Aug. 18, 1962, two days after Pete Best was fired.

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Artimus Pyle Band hits the West Coast

It’s not often that Artimus Pyle performs on the West Coast. Based in North Carolina, the former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer plies a thriving trade along the eastern seaboard with his astonishingly adept and clean-cut band. The last time I saw him play in southern California was in September 2013, and that may well have been his last gig in the state. Until January, 2019, when the Artimus Pyle Band (APB) ventured out West for five shows—a tour opener in Las Vegas, and four in California.

Artimus drove his van nonstop from Asheville to California, and back again.
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UPDATE: Lynyrd Skynyrd Memoir – Coming in 2019 (No, Seriously!)



Former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, the “Wild Man of Southern Rock,” is publishing his memoir in early-summer, 2019, through Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard. Street Survivor: Keeping the Beat in Lynyrd Skynyrd will be available in all good book stores, and at Amazon. The book was originally scheduled for publication in October 2017, but it has been delayed pending resolution of unrelated litigation pitting Artimus and Cleopatra Films against Judy Van Zant.

Artimus Pyle Read more

Someone tell Cameron Crowe that Florida has no hills …

… and that Lynyrd Skynyrd had a drummer (two of them).



While it was refreshing to see Lynyrd Skynyrd get its own episode of the recent Showtime series Roadies, the show’s creator Cameron Crowe made a couple of boo-boos. Cameron should know better. He toured with Skynyrd in Japan in 1977 and hooked up with the band’s accountant, Marybeth Medley. (Let’s just say that Nancy Wilson was a definite improvement.)

Skynyrd's Hell House? Hell, no! What the hell is that mountain range doing in a Florida swamp?

Skynyrd’s Hell House? Hell, no! What the hell is that mountain range doing in a Florida swamp?

Check out two screenshots. The band’s practice shack, the Hell House, is shown above with a mountain range in the background. In fact, the Hell House was located near an alligator-infested swamp in Green Cove Springs, Florida, the flattest state in the USA. In Cameron’s world, Skynyrd must have been a West Coast act.

Step right up! Buy a lot on the site of Lynyrd Skynyrd's old practice shack, the Hell House. Alligators and creepy-crawlies not depicted.

Step right up! Buy a lot on the site of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s old practice shack, the Hell House. Alligators and creepy-crawlies not depicted.

Incidentally, the site of the long-gone Hell House is currently being turned into a residential development. It includes a Free Bird Way and a Tuesday’s Cove.

Where's Artimus? Front row (l-r): Allen Collins, Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington (mostly obscured), Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, the Honkettes. Top (l-r): Steve Gaines, fictional character, Dean Kilpatrick

Where’s Artimus? Front row (l-r): Allen Collins, Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington (mostly obscured), Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, the Honkettes.
Top (l-r): Steve Gaines, fictional character, Dean Kilpatrick

More importantly, Cameron chose not to hire an actor to play the band’s drummer. Skynyrd had two drummers, band co-founder Bob Burns and his successor Artimus Pyle. Both were just as important as Ronnie Van Zant & Co. The rest of the band is portrayed by actors—with varying success. Cameron even cast actors to play tour manager Ron Eckerman, longtime roadie Dean Kilpatrick, and the three backing singers. But no drummer. Very strange. And quite offensive to Artimus and Bob, and to drummers in general.

Furthermore, a fictional roadie relates how he wishes he could have rescued the guys after their plane crashed on October 20, 1977. Well, somebody did. That was Artimus Pyle. His omission from Roadies is a great injustice to the man, and to the historical record. Stay tuned for more info on Artimus’ plans to reveal the true story of Lynyrd Skynyrd, America’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band.

Free Rolling Stones tickets in Seattle


… for the Stones’ first visit to Seattle, on Dec. 2, 1965 … As long as you were a parent accompanying your screaming teen.

Seattle Times, Dec. 1, 1965 Read more

Prince: “I don’t believe in contracts”


Prince answers my question - "One" - after I asked him how many albums he would record under his new deal

Prince answers my question – “One” – after I asked him how many albums he would record under his new deal

It took me a while to find this report that I wrote after attending a small press gathering with Prince at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 13, 2005. I think it was the only time I got up close and personal with him. He looked exquisite, like a beautifully crafted artwork. He had just signed a new deal with Universal Records.

I asked him a few questions at the outset, and got a laugh with my first one:

YOU ONCE LABELED YOUR TIME AT WARNER BROS. AS SLAVERY. WHY ARE YOU JUMPING ABOARD THE BIGGEST SLAVE SHIP OF THEM ALL? Read more

Ahmet vs. Dweezil Zappa

Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa, in 1993 (Photo: Steve Appleford, originally published in Strobe magazine)

Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa, in 1993 (Photo: Steve Appleford, originally published in Strobe magazine)


It’s sad to see the two sons of Frank Zappa engaging in a bitter public battle over money and birthright. The New York Times detailed the feud in April, sparking an open letter from Ahmet to his older brother, and an angry response from Dweezil. Frank must be spinning in his unmarked grave in Westwood, although his estate planning and marital choice could have been more rigorous.

Ahmet vs. Dweezil ZappaI interviewed the brothers in July 1993, at Joe’s Garage, the Zappas’ recording studio underneath the Burbank Airport flight path in North Hollywood. Under the moniker of “Z,” the brothers had just recorded an album called Shampoohorn, which I vaguely recall was pretty good, although it didn’t have any commercial success. (Z also included bassist Scott Thunes and guitarist Mike Keneally). I must dust it off one of these days. Read more

David Bowie: The Brixton Years


David Bowie Brixton

David Bowie fell to Earth 69 years ago today, January 8, in this home at 40 Stansfield Road, Brixton. He lived here until he was about six, often dreaming of an exotic life filled with laughing gnomes, tin machines, and a beautiful Somali wife.

As you can see, it had just been sold, in July 2015 to be precise. The agent informed me that it went for close to its asking price of 1.1 million pounds, or $1.6 million (!!), and there was no Bowie premium. Bowie’s father, John Jones, and his first wife, Hilda, paid about 500 pounds for it after WW2. Take a look inside here.

Max Roach Park is nearby. I’d like to say it inspired Bowie’s interest in jazz, exemplified by his new album, Blackstar, also hatched today, but the park—alas—was named after the iconic drummer in 1986.

See more Bowie/Brixton photos on my Tumblr page.