“Only Water In A Stranger’s Tear”

This is the last BlissVille episode for a little while. Today, I talk to Alex Saltz.

With a background as a musician and audio enthusiast, owner and engineer
Alex Saltz studied music and sound engineering at S.U.N.Y. Fredonia and
The New School / Parsons, NYC. During this time he took audio jobs in film,
TV and theater.

Years following, Alex recorded and performed as a drummer and worked as a
sound engineer at NYC studios, including East Side Sound and Masterdisk.

With a range of experiences in the music industry, along with critical standards
for fidelity, Alex established APS Mastering in 1997.

Show Notes:
APS Mastering http://www.apsmastering.com/
On the Odd http://wwwontheodd.com/

Music intro:
Song: “Bell Tower”
Artist: Kitaro

Music outro:
Song: “Not One of Us”
Artist: Peter Gabriel

Recorded April 11th, 2017
Aired April 25th, 2017

http://www.blissville.net
http://www.blissville.net/

This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended.

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“Woke Up With A Monster”

So how long has it been? I think the last time we got together, we were talking about Carrie Fisher, right? BlissVille is back with a new series of episodes sure to knock your socks off! Tonight, I talk to Geno Cuddy, host of Geno in the Evening, Comcast public access channel 15 in Connecticut.

Show Notes:
Geno’s IMDb Page
Comcast Public Access 15
Moviesucktastic
Geno’s YouTube Page

Music intro:
Song: Woke Up With A Monster
Artist: Cheap Trick

Music outro:
Song: The Hellion
Artist: Judas Priest

Recorded March 21, 2017
Aired March 28th, 2017

http://www.blissville.net
http://www.blissville.net/

This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended.

Vintage Cable Box: “Eddie And The Cruisers, 1983”

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“They’ll find a way to screw us, they always do. Guys like you and me, they strike oil under your garden and all you get is dead tomatoes.”

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Eddie And The Cruisers, 1983 (Tom Berenger), Embassy Pictures

We start off with a live, rousing Springsteen-esque anthem, “On The Darkside”. Sultry rock journalist Ellen Barkin gives us the exposition. They were the biggest, baddest band in the land! Eddie and The Cruisers! Barkin wants to write a story based on her wild theory that Eddie is still alive. His car went off a bridge one night when the band was in free-fall after recording a concept album called A Season In Hell; a follow-up to their successful debut. The label refused to release the album and dropped the band. Barkin wants to find the tapes that went missing a day after Eddie’s disappearance.

Keyboardist Tom Berenger (affectionately known as “Word Man”) teaches high school literature. While a fulfilling job, it doesn’t hold a candle to those lost nights of his youth performing with the band. He flashes back to the Jersey Shore, 1962, where he first encounters hot backing vocalist Joann Carlino (Helen Schneider), boyfriend and front-man Eddie Wilson (Michael Paré), douchebag bass player Sal Amato (Matthew Laurance), and the rest, including a drug-addicted saxophonist, and a frenetic personal manager named “Doc” (Joe Pantoliano). Impressed with Berenger’s musical acumen, Eddie asks him to join the band.

Barkin dogs Berenger for her story (pun!). She wants to know what happened that fateful night of Eddie’s disappearance. Berenger returns to his trailer home to find the place has been ransacked. Obviously somebody’s looking for those tapes. He hooks up with “Doc”, now working as a disc jockey spinning oldies but goodies. He wants the tapes so he can get a cut of the loot from sales and promotion, and he wants to bring the group back together, but Berenger ain’t buying what “Doc” is selling.

Berenger seems to be taking a trip through his past, touching base with “Doc”, Sal (who has revived the act with an impostor Eddie), and finally, Joann, with whom he consummates their long-standing mutual infatuation. In a particularly charming scene that traces the evolution of their hit song, “On The Darkside” from a simple keyboard riff to a fully-realized and produced pop song, Berenger listens to Sal’s revival and can only bemoan the lack of charisma and energy. Flashing back to the past, Berenger remembers the band’s initial success. “Wild Summer Nights” and “Tender Years” become big hits.

Things take an inevitable down-turn.  Eddie spies “Word Man” and Joann getting friendly, which causes a rift in their relationship.  Wendell, the saxophonist, drops dead of a drug overdose, and the band is in ruins.  Back in the present, Joann tells “Word Man” she keeps getting strange phone calls, and her place is also ransacked.  She tells him about the last night she spent with Eddie after the acrimony at the studio in the wake of A Season In Hell.  He takes her to a bizarre junkyard museum.  Joann tells him she took the tapes and hid them in the museum.  Together, they retrieve the tapes, but somebody’s been watching them this whole time.  Is it Eddie?

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Eddie And The Cruisers is a fast-paced rock n’ roll mystery movie. It’s a movie I watched constantly on cable. While given a small release in theaters, all but forgotten, the film became enormously popular on cable television. In fact, the success of the movie played in constant cable rotation inspired a sequel, Eddie Lives in 1989. As Eddie, Michael Paré is a charismatic and good-looking front-man. He almost made me believe he was truly singing the John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band signature tunes that energize this movie’s soundtrack.

Martin Davidson directs (from a script he wrote with Arlene Davidson) with a sure hand and a love of music and music lore. Frequent collaborator Joseph Brooks produced the movie. Brooks also wrote the nausea-inducing, “You Light Up My Life”, and was charged with sexually assaulting eleven woman in his East Side apartment between 2005 and 2008. He committed suicide in 2011. His son, Nicholas, was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of his girlfriend, Sylvie Cachay in 2011. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird).  We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images.  We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates.  About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties. 

Vintage Cable Box: “Get Crazy, 1983”

New VCB Logo

“If this is love, sex is gonna kill you!”

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Get Crazy, 1983 (Malcolm McDowell), Embassy Pictures

This is such a fun movie! Pandemonium reigns as harried stage manager Neil Allen (Daniel Stern) tries to put together the ultimate 1983 New Year’s party for Max Wolfe’s (Allen Garfield) famous Saturn Theater in Los Angeles. As he wrangles ridiculous rock acts and coordinates dangerous stage antics, he experiences hilarious sex fantasy sequences involving Willy Loman (pretty Gail Edwards), the former stage manager who has come to visit an ailing Max. Meanwhile, Ed Begley Jr.’s rival promoter, Colin Beverly wants to buy out Max’s lease so he can bulldoze it and put up a skyscraper.

Among the bands performing this night are Nada, a bizarre quasi pop-punk Go-Gos-type group with special guest, Piggy (Lee Ving from Fear!), The King of the Blues (Bill Henderson of the famous “Fred ‘The Dorf’ Dorffman tribute scene from Fletch), a hilarious Malcolm McDowell as Mick Jagger analog, Reggie Wanker, and the great Lou Reed as the Dylan-esque Auden, who hops in a cab destined for the show but tells the driver to take the scenic route so he can work on his new song.

The film plays with various music conceits; the stereotypical rock stars, the sex, the drugs, the groupies, and the money-grubbing developers. When Bill Graham (obviously the inspiration for Max Wolfe) closed the doors of the Fillmore claiming Woodstock opened the flood-gates to music of a lower quality, he pretty much killed the rock n’ roll vibe in the late sixties. Graham made enormous sums of money booking burgeoning rock acts like The Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. In point of fact, he made much more money than those bands saw, so it was about making money, not making music. Max Wolfe is more of an altruistic benefactor to young musicians and kids with no money. Director Allan Arkush had based the movie on his own experiences as an usher at Fillmore.

Get Crazy is loaded with sight gags in addition to Stern’s fantasies. A flooded restroom becomes the ultimate bong for a hookah party. A sentient marijuana cigarette runs through the mezzanine chased by a firefighter. A funeral for an old blues legend populated by a bunch of blind guys with canes takes a turn for the worse. A mysterious dark cloaked entity provides special effects-laden drug trips to unsuspecting parties. An epic drum solo that ends in a torrent of sweat and turkey legs. Reggie Wanker emerges from under a pile of naked groupie bodies that recalls McDowell’s turn as Caligula a couple of years before.

GetCrazy

The cast is incredible. Supplementing Stern, Edwards, Garfield, and McDowell and Reed, we have Stacey Nelkin as Stern’s baby sister, Robert Picardo as the Fire Marshal, Bobby Sherman and Fabian, Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, Clint Howard, and Dick Miller (a staple of Roger Corman, Joe Dante, and Allan Arkush movies). Despite the work of the entertaining stars, Arkush wanted Tom Hanks for the role of Neil, Jerry Orbach for Garfield’s part, and Mariska Hargitay playing Nelkin’s part (all of whom were virtual unknowns at the time). He was vetoed by Herb Solow, the veteran producer of the movie. I can’t say the movie would’ve been better with Arkush’s choices, because I really love this movie.

In a cute addendum to the credits, Lou Reed’s Auden has missed the show, but finally arrives to perform his song, “My Baby Sister” for an audience of one: Stacey Nelkin (unless you count the sentient marijuana cigarette and a dog wearing sunglasses), who has been waiting for him all night long. It’s wonderful and the perfect ending for a movie like this.

Get Crazy is an interesting case of a movie that was never meant to be seen, like the 1994 version of The Fantastic Four produced by Roger Corman’s company.  According to Allan Arkush, shares in the picture were sold to investors expecting the movie to fail, like the plot of Mel Brooks’ The Producers.  It was given virtually no promotion or publicity.  It sold to cable television and became an instant cult hit along with other musical movies at the time like Smithereens and The Apple.  Previously, Arkush directed Rock ‘n’ Roll High School starring P.J. Soles and The Ramones and the criminally underrated Heartbeeps with Andy Kaufman.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month. Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

NEW PODCAST: “The Spaghetti Incident?”

The-Spaghetti-Incident

 

Tele Novella had been around for a couple of years haunting Texas; an eclectic combination of lizard lounge, psycho-pop, pop-punk, new wave, liberal xylophone, Krush Groove, New Jack, synthesizer surf music with the musical substance of the 1990s as interpreted in Independent circles. It’s the kind of music you listen to while contemplating a dim lamp and sipping a glass of wine. Somebody might be sitting on your sofa and then get up and start swaying and grooving on it and seeing colors and talking about the death of hip-hop or why 9/11 was an inside job, or something like that.

Tonight, we have friend of the show, Sarah La Puerta, and I must apologize for going full pronunciation, but I can’t say “Tele Novella” without it coming out like an actor on a spanish soap opera, and I can’t say the name “La Puerta” without that roll, but that’s just me.

“It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person.  In a way, the notion of God is outdated.  One can be spiritual but not religious.  It is not necessary to go to church and give money – for many, nature can be a church.  Some of the best people in history did not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name.”  POPE FRANCIS

Music: “Pinching Pennies” and “Como La Flor”.

Vintage Cable Box: “American Pop”, 1981

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“A stripper gettin’ dressed ain’t beautiful unless she’s ugly to begin with.”

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American Pop, 1981 (Ron Thompson), Columbia Pictures

American Pop is a song with a simple rhyme; the condensed history of recorded music from big-band to punk, where the journey begins over a hundred years with Russian émigrés traveling to the United States to escape Cossack persecution. The descendants of an extended family fight in wars and face episodes of tragedy while trying to realize their musical aspirations. The story settles with young Tony, a Long Island punk who writes songs by night, washes dishes by day, all the while fighting an increasing dependency on heroin.

Tony reunites with his long-lost son, Pete, who also shares an interest in music. Together they deal drugs to high-profile musicians. Tony’s addictions grow worse and he sells his musical instruments in order to pay for more drugs. He abandons Pete after taking all their money. Pete, obviously learning from his family’s missteps in life in pursuit of their own musical dreams, is hired on-the-spot by a musical group whom are stunned by his talent.

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This was the nadir of adult animated features, and because of rights issues with the music used in the soundtrack, a forthcoming video release was blocked until 1995. The same problems arose with a pending video release for Heavy Metal, another cult favorite. Animated adult movies are not produced anymore. The market is now consistently geared for children.

American Pop is an incredible movie to behold; predating A Scanner Darkly by 25 years, this mixed media marvel uses rotoscoping to create realistic movements in astonishing dance and music sequences (which recall classic Disney), and the result is tremendously rewarding. Ralph Bakshi, most notably, directed the first X-rated cartoon, Fritz The Cat, as well as a popular adaptation of Lord Of The Rings, and later, Cool World. American Pop serves to remind the audience that talent and dreams are not enough to succeed in this increasingly cold world. Sometimes all we need is a little luck.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.

Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.