From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker: You Were So Beautiful

Just the other day I was going through some music and came across "High Time We Went" by Joe Cocker. I started thinking about him, and the fact that no one who watched him perform in the 60s thought he would live to see the 70s. Kinda like Keith Richards. Then yesterday driving home, I had my tunes hooked up to the car stereo and "Up Where We Belong" came on the shuffle. I said to myself, if he ever tours again, I need to see him live, something I have never done.

Sadly it seems, I won't get that chance. Word is coming out the Joe has died, possibly from lung cancer. I guess his spirit was bouncing around in my brain so I could get some thoughts together about him.

I've written about Joe before: "Always with a Little Help From His Friends," where I mentioned that he was one of the greatest vocal interpreters of our time. He was. The man could cover a ballad, or a rocker with equal greatness and intensity. And yes, when he was younger, his stage presence was intense. From Woodstock to Mad Dogs and Englishmen to late night talk shows, to the music shows of the era, Joe Cocker made everyone take notice as he gyrated around the stage with his crazed eyes and tie-dyed shirts. But man could he sing.

His "best of" list is absurd in it's length: "The Letter," "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Delta Lady," "You Can Leave Your Hat On," "You Are So Beautiful," "Unchain My Heart," "Feelin' Alright," "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window," "Cry Me A River," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "Hitchcock Railway," and on and on. No one, no one, covered songs with such beautiful passion.

This has been one really bad year in the number of great musicians we have lost. Several have been hard to accept, all have been upsetting. At 70, Joe Cocker lived longer than a lot of others from his generation, but I was still hoping there were more songs to sing.

Easy Journey Joe.

and because...hell yeah more cowbell.

See you on the other side Joe.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Turning Back the Pages

It's my birthday.

Not long ago I saw a wonderful piece of wisdom online somewhere, and we all know the internet is the true source of all wisdom, don't we?

It was a quote something to the effect of "Never complain about growing old because so many people never have the chance." Deep, profound, or far out, as my generation once said. And I agree, except not today, Sorry, today is my day to piss and moan and bitch to high heaven because this isn't just any birthday, Nope, this one really bites because I've turned another decade. Trust me, the last one was a walk in the park compared to this one. It's not pretty and there's nothing good about it as far as I can tell, except that I'm still actually here.

Today I am 60. Sixty. 6-fucking-0. Two years away from Social Security eligibility. A whole bunch of years away from middle-age.

I had a conversation with the Drum Mama a week or so ago about whether to actually mention how old I was in my birthday post. This is important to both of us because as I have mentioned before, she is three months younger than I am, so her time is soon gonna come. In the end we both agreed, fuck it. If you don't own it now, you never will.

So here's what I think about turning sixty. Are they any great things about it? Hell no.

But being alive for this long means I have seen and experienced some wild and crazy stuff. Not all good and not all bad. I'm still having a blast and doing things I never thought would be possible. I also see friends and family leave the table at an alarming rate. And this is why we drink.

Technology has been astounding. Music has definitely gone downhill.

The music. Yes. I was seventeen when I saw my first live show. So for the musical portion of this post let's go back to that first show. February 5, 1972 at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic NJ. Brewer and Shipley of "One Toke Over The Line" fame, opened up for The Byrds. Cost of the ticket: $5.50. Experience: Priceless.

I'll thank Mr. Dylan for the song and remember that "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

Here's to a new decade.

"Crimson flames tied through my ears
Throwin' high and mighty traps
Countless fire and flaming road
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mike Farris @ The Iridium NYC

Sometimes, even if you don’t realize it, your soul needs to be refreshed. Music can do that if it’s powerful enough. The music of Mike Farris is that powerful.

Starting out as a rock singer, the party life took control until nearly losing his own from a drug overdose before he turned twenty-one. While it’s not uncommon to hit rock bottom and find salvation, Mike Farris also found his voice, moving from the rock arena, first into blues and now even more comfortably into gospel. But don’t expect a revival meeting, what you get is more of a spiritual journey, along with some damn fine music.

Mike Farris and band members Paul Pesco (Guitar), Shawn Pelton (Drums), Andy Hess (Bass), Barry Danielian (Trumpet), Andy Snitzer (Sax), and Paul Brown (Keys), recently played four shows at The Iridium in New York City. The third show began with the band quietly taking their places and Farris asking ‘Everybody alright?” Then the service began.

To read the entire review, jump over to "Mike Farris @ The Iridium NYC"  - OnStage Magazine.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Little Talk with Keyboardist and Grammy Nominated Producer Paul Brown

There is no question Paul Brown loves what he does. With blonde hair whirling around his head and a smile emanating from deep within, Paul Brown lets his soul bleed through the keys of his Hammond B3 organ. The result is the most delicious side dish you might ever taste. Watching him play reminds you why that instrument has been included in so much rich musical history since its creation in 1935.

Paul's personal history is nearly as rich. The incredible positive attitude he radiates is in stark contrast with the story of his life. While living in Memphis, at the age of twelve, he and his brothers became wards of the state following the death of their mother. They were sent to live at the Tennessee Preparatory School in Nashville, where the only thing to give Paul hope was an old upright piano. That hope was later destroyed when those in charge took away his privilege to practice music. He soon ran away, eventually finding his way back to Memphis and work on the riverboats. While working as a deckhand, he continued his musical progression, adding R&B, funk, and soul to his rock background.

A chance phone call led to playing keyboards in Ann Peebles ("I Can't Stand The Rain") band and a friendship which endures to this day. Brown has played behind artists of every genre. At the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, Down in Louisiana by Bobby Rush was nominated as Blues Album of the Year and Paul Brown as Producer along with it. After working in the studio alongside The Waterboys, he was invited to tour with them in Europe this past year, and will join them for another tour early next year. He has also been having way too much fun working with Nashville-based gospel-blues singer Mike Farris.

I recently caught up with Paul Brown between Mike Farris shows at The Iridium in New York City, and in a casual stairway talk, I learned about the interesting life of Paul Brown.

Kath Galasso: You and I have something in common, that being the love for the Hammond. Sadly, only one of us can play it. You’ve developed a unique partnership with it. What is it about the Hammond that connects to your soul?

Paul Brown: It’s the colors and the expression. When you get a great singer and you’re playing it, there’s nothing like being able to add those more subtle colors to it. Small things, because it can inspire them, just like their voices inspire me to play in certain ways.  I think that I learned that early on. When I started playing with Ann Peebles, that was really when I connected with the Hammond. She was on Hi Records and all the stuff she did had tons of B3 on it, so I really started figuring it out quick. And it’s funny cause I’m not a jazz guy, like the Jimmy Smith guys, I’ve just got a different vibe. I’m just coming from a different place. I love the more simplistic approach, and there are some things I do on there percussively that just come out of me. And somehow a lot of people have picked up on it. I’m just grateful that instrument is around for me to connect with.

For the rest of the interview, please jump over to OnStage Magazine "Just a Little Talk with Grammy Nominee Paul Brown"


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Somebody's Darling Talks Music, CMJ

Opening up with "Bad Bad," from their just released Adult Roommates album, Somebody's Darling began an afternoon set of a CMJ Music Marathon showcase. The Dallas based band, featuring the bold, bluesy vocals of Amber Farris have paid their dues over the past seven years. With a heavy touring schedule as both openers and headliners, an appearance at SXSW, and now CMJ in New York, Somebody's Darling have followed a path which offers them a sustained shelf life in a business of blink-and-you-missed-it bands.

If the new album has a different sound and feel to it credit the collaborative writing of the band, and the willingness to try every musical suggestion offered in an effort to hit that point of nirvana when you step back and say "yeah, that's it." The process seems to be working.

For some time now there has been a resurgence of the blues, though the form is evolving through the new blood who have taken their influences from other genres as well. Somebody's Darling takes up the neo-blues flag and throws in a ballsy rhythm section, guitar licks refined just enough from a garage band feel to appreciate the skill behind them, and keys that punch in just when you want them to. Mix all that together, throw in those big vocals, and what you end up with is a grinding, no-holds barred southern rocking blues band. Tasty indeed.

Before their afternoon performance, I sat down with Amber Farris and bass player Wade Cofer to talk about the long road they travel.

For the full interview jump over to "Somebody's Darling Talks Music, CMJ" over at

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joan Jett Honored by Little Kids Rock

What would you do if you’re an elementary school teacher and you watch funding for music education decrease year after year? If you are David Wish, you basically say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.”He initiated local after-school music classes, but soon realized the need was larger than his immediate area. At that point, he founded Little Kids Rock, a national not-for-profit organization which offers schoolchildren access to music classes and instruments at no cost.

Each year the organization holds a fundraiser honoring a “Rocker of the Year,” and at the same time showcases some of the extremely talented kids who have benefited from the Little Kids Rock program. This year Joan Jett was honored for her work with the ‘Modern Band” program which teaches kids different musical styles.

Produced by Maureen and Steven Van Zandt, the event held at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom, featured a silent and not-so silent auction, speeches detailing the work of the organization, an impressive list of rockers who stopped by to sing a song from Jett’s extensive catalog, and a group of kids who sang from their hearts and blew away the room with their talent. And even though the pros all brought their “A” game, this night was about the kids.

For the rest of the story please jump over to "Joan Jett Honored by Little Kids Rock" at Onstage Magazine.

Monday, October 20, 2014

CMJ Music Marathon Opens in NYC

As if the New York City music scene wasn’t already in overdrive, 1400 band performances are about to drive the city’s noise ordinances into the red zone as the CMJ Music Marathon opens its five day run beginning tomorrow. In over eighty venues spread out across Manhattan and Brooklyn, CMJ will host artists from every musical genre.

After picking up a press pass and checking out the press party at the CMJ Penthouse, it will be time to get to work. With an overwhelming amount of music from which to choose, figuring out a game plan is the hard part. The mobile CMJ Music Marathon app has been extremely helpful, searching by artist, venue, or date brings up all the info you could need. While not every band I’ve been listening to has been exciting enough to check out their show, I’ve found more than enough music to keep me busy watching and writing about for the entire five days of the marathon.

I’m looking forward to a couple of interviews set up through Big Picture Media, the official media company for CMJ. The first is with a bluesy band out of Dallas, Somebody’s Darling. With the release of their third album, the band is fast becoming a favorite in the neo-blues tide rolling up from the south. Another band I am excited to talk with and watch is The Suffers, a wild ten piece band out of Houston. Behind the huge vocals of Kam Franklin, are horns, percussion, guitars, and keys, all throwing down a rock-soul-r&b gumbo. So much fun to be had, and that is only part of one day.

OnStage will be covering the CMJ Music Marathon and reporting on what’s good and what’s not. It’s now 34 years running for CMJ, which is not only a music party of epic proportions, it’s a meeting place for people within the industry to get an intense primer into what is happening right now. Starting on Tuesday, each band in the CMJ Music Marathon lineup has a chance to be the one everyone talks about. OnStage will have ongoing reports on which bands are worth a listen.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jim Peterik, His Words and Music

In talking to songwriters over the past several years, it becomes clear that although the end result is the same, the methods for pulling a song together can be very different. Some start with a guitar riff, and some have words just waiting to be put to music. Some get on their knees and pray for inspiration, and others, like Jim Peterik, can pretty much find inspiration everywhere.

Jim Peterik writes a lot of music, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. You may have heard of one or two of his songs: “Eye Of The Tiger” for Survivor, “Vehicle” for The Ides of March, “Rockin’ Into The Night” and most every other charting song for .38 Special. But wait, there’s more… so much more.

Jim Peterik is also a published author. In addition to writing the very successful ‘Songwriting for Dummies,” he has just published his autobiography, aptly titled “Through the Eye of the Tiger.” The book covers all aspects of his life, from nerdy kid living in the suburbs of Chicago to Grammy Award winning and Academy Award nominated composer.

In support of his autobiography, Peterik was the center of attention at The Cutting Room in NYC for a book release party. Proving that not all rock stars are made equal, Peterik walked in on time, and greeted everyone in the room like an old friend, asking questions and remembering names. After an hour of working the room, it was time for Peterik to slip into his comfort zone. It was time for a little music.

For the story of the rest of the night, please jump over to "Jim Peterik, His Words and Music" over at


Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 The Tears Remain the Same

It's thirteen years now. This day has not gotten any easier. It starts with dread, moves to sadness, takes a walk with anger, and ends with exhaustion. It's not only that I can remember everything about that day, I can still feel it.

I can still look out my window and see where the smoke hung over the city like a bird of prey descending upon it. I can still walk to the top of the hill where as I drove to a doctor's appointment that morning, there was one tower standing. When I returned, there were none.

This day still hurts like hell. For the souls lost, for our innocence that was lost at 8:46 on a beautiful Tuesday morning.

The following is a repost of what I wrote two years ago. Never Forget, yes. But Always Remember as well. Remember the firemen, police, and every one of those souls whose names will be read today.

September 11, 2012
Eleven years ago today, nearly 3000 people woke up and went about their morning. They would not go to sleep that night.

They say time heals all wounds...but maybe it doesn't. Ask most people in the NYC area about September 11, 2001 and you will still see eyes well up with tears as they try to explain what being in, or around the city was like for them in the first few months after.

I watched on TV as the second plane hit. I had a doctor's appointment at 10:15 that morning, not long after the first tower fell. As I drove up the hill in town, I knew I would see the skyline of Manhattan. What I saw was more smoke than I had ever seen in my life. And where there were two towers, there now was one. But not for long.

We all know what happened in the next few days, but unless you were couldn't feel the desperation, you couldn't smell the towers burn, you couldn't taste the fear. The fear of what had happened, what could happen and what we didn't know about what happened. And I was 10 miles outside of the city. For friends and family in the city, it was almost unbearable. Very few people who lived in New Jersey made it home that night...everything was closed down. Everyone who worked in the city walked with friends and co-workers over the East River to Brooklyn or Queens to find a bed wherever they could. Thousands and thousands walking in silence, some still covered in ash...walking to a place called normal.

That place no longer existed.

On the six month anniversary of the attack, two banks of lights were set up near the site of the World Trade Center. From dusk to dawn, they sent beams of light from the ground into the night sky. The blue lights gave an eerie, ghost-like appearance of the fallen towers.

I was in the city that night. As I left Manhattan and came out on the Jersey side, I was able to see the Tribute in Lights. To me it looked like it was a pathway for all the souls lost on that day, to find their way to heaven.

I still try to see it every year and I still feel the same way. It takes your breath away.

In trying to decide on a song for today, I was thinking about the Tribute in Lights and about the families and friends of those who lost loved ones. What do they think of when they see those two beams pointed towards the stars...what do they think of when they look at the sky every night since 9/11?

This is the song I chose. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals "Stars" 

Please read the lyrics as you listen to the song and remember...

"I lit a fire with the love you left behind, 
And it burned wild and crept up the mountainside. 
I followed your ashes into outer space 
I can't look out the window, 
I can't look at this place, 

I can't look at the stars, 
They make me wonder where you are 
Up on heaven's boulevard 
And if I know you at all, 
I know you've gone too far 
So I, I can't look at the stars 

All those times we looked up at the sky, 
Looking out so far, 
We felt like we could fly. 
And now I'm all alone in the dark of night, 
The moon is shining, 
But I can't see the light, 
And I can't look at the 

They make me wonder where you are 
Up on heaven's boulevard 
And if I know you at all, 
I know you've gone too far 
So I, I can't look at the stars 

They make me wonder where you are 
Up on heaven's boulevard 
And if I know you at all, 
I know you've gone too far 
So I can't look at the stars."

Never forget. Always Remember.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Jimi Jamison, When the Spotlight Fades to Blue

I can't even believe I am writing this tonight. It just doesn't seem possible that the news is real. But it is.

Jimi Jamison has died, and I need to write a few words about him.

Though I have a vague recollection of him as the lead singer of Cobra, really it was Survivor where most of us became aware of the voice and the entertainer that he was. I saw him for the first time in '87, actually a couple of times that year, then again in '91 and for me he was the epitome of a front man. He sang great, he looked great, he owned the stage.

I first met him in 2012 and shortly after I began asking him to do an interview. After a few months he agreed. Well, agreeing to and actually doing it were two different things, and it became a running joke between us of  exactly when the interview would take place. I'd email him, he'd promise we would do it. I'd see him at shows, he'd swear it would happen. When I saw him at a small show in March of this year, I felt something was different and this time it would happen.

I told people, even Frankie Sullivan when I was interviewing him, that I always kept the questions for Jimi's interview with me because I knew one day he would just call out of the blue and say let's do it. And that's pretty much what happened. It took two years but true to his word, he did the interview. He told me he waited so long because he wanted our interview to be special. Yeah, we both laughed at that one.

I don't pretend to have known him well, but over the course of a dance that lasted for two years, you learn things about each other, and you learn to trust. I'd like to think that's why he waited so long.

He was a good man and I will miss him.

The interview we did took place in May and if you'd like to see a little different side of him, click on the link below for the post in onstagemagazine.

"Catching Up with Jimi Jamison"

Easy Journey Jimi.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Take a look around you boy, it's bound to scare you boy"

Just a little commentary today.





Each photo is reality. 
Each photo is America. 
Think about it.

"But you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction"


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Revivalists @ NolaFunk NYC 8/14/14

With a temperature of 76 degrees at 8 pm, the sun was setting on the west side of Manhattan Island while the nightlife was picking up at the South Street Seaport on the east side. The Watermark Bar is set on a pier over the East River with a view of all three bridges that connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. As harbor cruise ships, water taxis and speed boats navigated the river, NOLAFUNK was underway in NYC, and it was almost time for The Revivalists to take the stage.

The Revivalists are a seven piece band out of New Orleans, throwing down funk and rock rhythms, creating an almost spiritual fusion of harmonies, horns and raising-a-little-hell vocals. Not a band to concern themselves with conforming to their own mold, The Revivalists are a free-form life force, ever creating and ever changing.

Why bother to slowly set the mood when pumping the crowd from the first song is such a better option. As David Shaw’s distinctive vocals began the set with “Stand Up,” the rest of the band immediately kicked into high gear as they drew the crowd into the music. Full of energy, and frenetic at times, Shaw is a mesmerizing frontman, with arms in constant motion and hair that moves to its own tempo.

For the rest of the review and more photos, please click on The Revivalists @ NOLAFUNK NYC 8/14/14  at


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Jimmy Webb, Writer of Songs

Back in the day when rock was young and radio was filled with more than three songs over the course of a day, stations went from playing rock, to country, to old standards to what would be considered new standards. In the late 60s-early 70s, it seemed one composer was on the charts non-stop. His name was Jimmy Webb, and I first became aware of his brilliance through the songs of Glen Campbell.

We all know the hits of Glen Campbell: "Galveston," "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," and "Wichita Lineman," all written by Webb. So was "Up, Up, And Away" by the 5th Dimension, "The Worst That Could Happen," by the Brooklyn Bridge, and we can't forget the WTF was he thinking hit for actor Richard Harris, "MacArthur Park," where we all learned to not leave the cake out in the rain.

Jimmy Webb has the ability to weave a story of loneliness with simple, heart-wrenching lyrics. My favorite? The story of a telephone line repairman. Just think about that, a guy traveling away from home, alone all day with only the memory of what you have left behind, to keep you company.

Now read these lines. So simple but achingly beautiful.

"And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line"

Jimmy Webb is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, has won Grammy Awards, and just about any other award a songwriter can.

Let's celebrate his birthday with a little of his music.

Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, recorded one of his songs which gave their group its name. It went to #1 on the Billboard Country chart.

Art Garfunkel version of "All I Know" was on top of the Easy Listening chart for four weeks and #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

And a song which placed #43 on BMI's "Top 100 Songs of the Century," The 5th Dimension with "Up, Up and Away."

Jim Webb. Songwriter.


Monday, August 4, 2014

the subdudes @ BB King's NYC

The date was entered into the iPhone calendar as soon as it was announced. The original subdudes were back together and would be playing BB King’s in NYC.

In March of 1987, three members of the Continental Drifters and another musical friend got together for an acoustic show in New Orleans. That for-one-night-only show started what has been an on and off partnership for over twenty-five years. Over that time the subdudes made a few changes in the band, have been on hiatus, have regrouped, and now are on tour with the original lineup.

Much like the blend of food their old hometown is known for, the music of the subdudes is a gumbo of zydeco, folk, roots, and a lot of swamp thrown in. It is based on sweet harmonies, lots of squeezebox melodies and, the absence of a drum kit. It is subdued… to a point.

For the rest of the review please jump over to by clicking on this link: 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dick Wagner, The Maestro of Rock

He had a nondescript name. His work however, was anything but.

Today word came down of the death of Dick Wagner. Trying to place the name? A true rock & roll guitarist, Dick Wagner was first known for his Michigan based band The Frost. But it would be his collaborations with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed where Wagner would find lasting recognition.

Wagner and Cooper wrote a lot of songs together, and in 1975 Alice Cooper released a song which he co-wrote with Wagner, about a subject only talked about in quiet hushes at that time... domestic violence and living in an abusive marriage. "Only Women Bleed" went on to be covered by: Tina Turner, Tori Amos, Slash, Lita Ford, Etta James and Favorite Angel, to name a few.

Another Dick Wagner song, "Remember The Child," dealt with child abuse. But beyond the songwriting, mostly he let his guitar do the talking. His recording credits read like a Who's Who of the music industry. His musical accolades include his songs or guitar work included on over 350 albums, of which over 35 have been certified Gold or Platinum.

Heart attacks, a stroke, brain surgeries, diabetes, kidney failure, and other health issues plagued him for years. He worked back from a paralyzed arm and played guitar on the road until his most recent hospitalization a few weeks ago. Sadly, another recovery was not to be.

In 2013, Dick Wagner said "Love is in the air. Breathe deep." He did, and when he exhaled, music filled the air.

Easy Journey Maestro.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Survivor's Dave Bickler, More Than a Tiger's Tale

In the movie Rocky, Adrian asks Rocky why he wants to be a fighter. His response: “Because I can’t sing or dance.”  Dave Bickler can sing; “Eye Of The Tiger” proved that. Whether he or Survivor could have imagined that song would go to #1 all over the world, win a Grammy, a People’s Choice Award, receive an Academy Award nomination, and become one of the greatest motivational songs of all time, well, probably not.

Sometimes though, the taste of success can be bittersweet. Following an extended tour, Bickler developed vocal problems and was forced to leave the band. Memphis singer Jimi Jamison stepped into Bickler’s spot, and Survivor recorded the extremely successful Vital Signs album.

After two more albums, Survivor went on hiatus, regrouped with and without Bickler, and finally in 2013, the band toured with both Bickler and Jamison together. The experiment proved to be successful, and with the one-two punch of both lead singers, Survivor hit the road on a larger scale this year.

After interviewing original band member Frankie Sullivan during the first tour with the two lead singers, and Jimi Jamison as this tour was getting underway, I was lucky enough to hear the perspective of the Survivor journey from Dave Bickler.

Kath Galasso: I’m going to ask you a question I asked Jimi (Jamison) when I interviewed him. In your vocal process, is there a certain way you work into it, or do you just go in and sing?
Dave Bickler: Well, I do just go and sing, but singing does require some thought. You have to be sure that you have enough breath to get through it, there is some thought that goes on in my head while I’m doing it. I couldn’t explain it exactly, but you use different parts of your voice too. There’s a full voice, a falsetto that you can transition between for certain things. So I do think about that.

Going back to your first stint with Survivor, and when “Eye Of The Tiger” happened, that whole roller coaster ride, what was the most memorable thing, what stood out the most?
Obviously we had the hit record so then we went out on the road, and doing the big halls, the big sheds, that was amazing. And I do remember when the record went to #1. We were doing phoners for the record company and they told us “your record just went to #1.” That was a good moment. Cause that’s why I got into it in the first place. I wanted to be in a band, I wanted to make records, to be able to do it for my living, and all that stuff, from when I saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. It’s cliché but it’s true.

For the rest of the interview with Survivor's Dave Bickler, click on the link to OnstageMagazine.
Survivor's Dave Bickler, More Than a Tiger's Tale


Monday, July 21, 2014

River City Extension @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar

Crossing three bridges through two states and three boroughs wasn’t nearly as stressful as it could have been. After finding that on-street parking was readily available, well it seemed like the evening was off to a good start.

The Brooklyn Night Bazaar takes place on Friday and Saturday nights in a converted warehouse in Brooklyn, New York. The surrounding neighborhood is full of similar places where people hang in bars or cafes, and the music is live and loud.

The Bazaar opens to low lights, arcade games, handmade crafts, vintage clothing, pop-up food vendors, and a stage where live music is played all night. Though the ventilation could have been better on a hot and humid night, the Bazaar was an interesting place to spend a Saturday night.

River City Extension took the stage a little after eleven. The Toms River, NJ based band has gone through some personnel changes since the release of their critically acclaimed first full length album, The Unmistakable Man, but with founder Joe Michelini still writing and fronting the band, the core sound remains the same. Defining that sound which can pull in roots, rock, calypso, folk, and other influences, is the hard part. River City Extension have been described as a band who couldn’t decide what to play, so they play everything. It’s not far from the truth.
To read the rest of the review, click on the link and head over to
River City Extension @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Santa and the Lady in Red... ho, ho, ho

It's funny how ideas can just come out of thin air. I wasn't really thinking about writing for Lance's 100 Word Song this week. I'm in the middle of a review, and there's an interview to transcribe. But for some odd reason the phrase "Christmas in July" came to mind, and boom. Had an idea.

It came all at once, wrote it, looked at the word count... 100. Read it through, didn't change a thing. So it's fresh and pretty much unedited. But nobody dies so there's that.

Ruby picked the song this week, and though you can use any part of it as inspiration, it's the title that sets it all up. It's an blast from the past by Chris De Burgh.

"Lady In Red"

He looked up from the work at hand and caught her glance. Even in the same red dress she’d worn forever, she still took his breath away.

Catching his glance, she smiled. After all these many years, he still had that twinkle in his eye. As much as she loved this busy season, the 26th could not come quick enough. She missed him, and if that sigh he let out was any indication, he missed her too.

Soon enough the gifts would be delivered, the helpers gone home, and they’d have some time alone.

And to all, a good night.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dark Sunglasses: Don't Leave Home Without Them

Nothing is worse after a late night than a beautiful sunny morning. That observation, and the prompt from Linda, who chose the Chrissie Hynde song "Dark Sunglasses" for Lance's 100 Word Song, made this week's entry relatively easy to put together.

So... when we last heard from the partners-in-crime...

As she lay on the bed lost in memories of the night before, the dark sunglasses shaded her eyes from the morning sun beaming through the hotel room window. Damn that was fun. 

Rock & Roll always is. 

Just the right ratio of music and booze. Not enough to make bad decisions, but enough for a good time.

Almost time for a shower, breakfast and the trip back to the place called Reality. A lot of shows, a lot of road trips, and a lot of laughs, over a lot of years. Wouldn't change a thing.

No retreat. No surrender.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Monday, July 7, 2014

Harmonies, Interviews, and Asking the Question

Over the past two+ years, I've had the pleasure of interviewing some interesting people. Some were easier to interview than others, some were more compelling than others, and some have done so many, it's a battle to keep the interview going in the direction you want, and not get pulled into their comfort zone.

Mostly I've done interviews with musicians because, duh... music. There is usually one question I always ask, and having read hundreds of interviews done by journalists more seasoned than I, it is one which seems to be asked in a vast majority of them. "What are your musical influences?" Sometimes the answers are predictable as to a specific genre, band or artist. But every once in a while, and this is why it's such a fascinating question, the answer just blows you away.

Saturday, as I was in the car, I caught some bits and pieces of an interview done with Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Graham Nash, which took place on the Deep Tracks station of Sirius Radio. As we all know, the CS&N sound is based not only on their excellent song catalog, but on the harmonies between the three, and especially between David Crosby and Graham Nash. The whole interview was an easy back and forth, when the influence question arose. Croz and Nash talked about an album they've had for over 40 years, and how the harmonies on it continue to influence them to this day. What group could possibly impact the two singers so thoroughly? The 1954 recording of the Women's Choir of Bulgaria. Wait, what?

Yep. Go figure.

Nash went on to tell the story about how, some years back, the present-day Choir was appearing in the United States, had heard about his love for their harmonies, and was asked to introduce them at a show. Though he lived in Hawaii, there was no way he wasn't going to do it. He was told the Choir wanted to meet him, and he expected they would sing a song to him as a thank you.  What he didn't expect was the choir to gather round him and sing the end to "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." You know the "doo, doo, doo, doo,doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo." Done in perfect harmony. Can you even imagine?

And that's why, even if you don't end up using it in the interview, you always ask the influence question.

So here's a taste of an old recording of the Bulgarian Women's Choir. I'm not sure if it's part of the album that influenced Crosby and Nash, but you'll get the idea.

And a little taste of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"

Absolutely love that story.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gerry Goffin: We Will Still Love You Tomorrow

Without a doubt, the seven songwriters who touched and influenced by early life were: John Lennon/Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, and Gerry Goffin/Carole King. All brilliant, all offering different compositions dealing with love and life. Today, we lost the second in that incredible group.

I'd say the majority of people who love music know the name of Gerry Goffin, most notably for his marriage and musical partnership with Carole King. That's how I knew him. It seemed the names Goffin-King were listed under the title of nearly every 45 rpm record I bought when I was a kid.

Starting with The Shirelles and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," a song whose subject matter is not as relevant today, but is still as breathtakingly beautiful to hear, no matter which of the twenty or more artists has covered it. The Drifters had great success with "Up On The Roof" and "Some Kind Of Wonderful." Aretha with "Natural Woman," and The Byrds with "Wasn't Born To Follow." And The Monkees, "Take A Giant Step," and "Pleasant Valley Sunday." So many more. It was a ride that never seemed to end.

Back then, I didn't know who wrote the words, I just knew they were beautiful. And even as a young girl in the days before feminism even had a name, I felt pride that a young woman, and Carole King was very young, could hold her own in the songwriting business, alongside her husband Gerry Goffin.

After his partnership with Carole was over, Gerry had other successful musical collaborations including Michael Masser, with whom he wrote  "Do You Know Where You're Going To," sung by Diana Ross in the movie Mahogany, and "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" for Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson.

Tonight, we celebrate him.
Easy Journey Mr. Goffin.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

John Steinbeck Move Over. I'm Talkin' Dust Bowl

For a while today, I was looking for the Ghost of Tom Joad.

I decided to look at the weather app on my phone to see just how hot it was. Now I believe I have three different weather apps on my iPhone, but since I only interested in the temperature, I went to the regular iPhone weather app.

My town comes up with the temperature of 90. But the present weather condition was... Dust. Now I live a dozen miles out of New York City, so I check their weather and it's also 90 and Mostly Sunny. Maybe I don't live in Jersey, maybe I'm in the freakin' dust bowl. So I go outside and... no dust, no tumblin' tumbleweeds, not a cloud in the sky. It was... mostly sunny.

This Dust condition bothered me, so I kept checking the phone. Apparently the Dust-Up last for hours. though the only dust I saw was indoors not outdoors. Perhaps it was Siri suggesting I do a little cleaning. I really do hate that bitch. But I digress.

Somewhere around the end of the workday, I finally got an all clear message on my phone that it was now Mostly Sunny.

No more flashbacks to The Grapes of Wrath, just a late afternoon sun in Jersey. Dust-free.

Slippin' Into Darkness, 100 Words

Yesterday was one drag-ass day. Nothing could speed it up. Must have been a slow one for Lance as well, because he decided to give his blog a face-lift, go check it out at Myblogcanbeatupyourblog. He also asked me to pick the song for his weekly meme, the 100-Word Song.

Fair enough. After some thought, I decided to go classic (no great surprise) but not melodic. A little something with enough meat to tell a story, but also something the readers of my blog wouldn't mind hearing.

Write 100 words with the song as inspiration. My choice, and as you will read, this is all about making a choice, is "Slippin' Into Darkness" by War.

There were no shadows, Cillia knew that. It was all black and white. She realized who he was, and more importantly, she knew what he was. Now she needed to know who she was. The choice was hers, and this was the night she needed to make it.

Almost dressed, it was time. Was it fear staring back at her in the mirror? Or was it shame? Oddly, she felt unconsciously the choice had already been made, though her mind remained uncertain.

Then she knew.

As she slowly slipped into the black stilettos, Cillia felt her own significance slipping away.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Got It Covered: You Keep Me Hangin' On

"and there ain't nothing I can do about it."

Even though the song was full of desperation, the first time I heard Diana Ross sing that line, I remember thinking "oh she'll be just fine."

"You Keep Me Hangin' On," was the eighth song by the Supremes to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Another great song written by the Holland-Dozier-Holland team out of Motown, it had hit written all over it from the get-go. And this great song has been a hit not only for the Supremes, but it has also been successfully covered by several other singers and bands. Let's take a ride..

It moved from the classic Motown sound, to psychedelic rock by way of Vanilla Fudge. I also remember hearing that cover the first time, and I believe my reactions was sort of like "whoa, how'd they come up with that?" It's just a fabulous version of the song.

In the 70s, it came back again again a few times. First, because I could listen to him sing an instruction manual, Mr. Wilson Pickett. Full of soul and hopelessness. Just damn good.

 Also from the 70s, this time by Rod Stewart. Much more theatrical, and going back to rock mode, it just proves a good song is a good song.

As the music scene went to the disco and dance era, and the pop scene became way too relevant for my liking, Kim Wilde used a different arrangement and created another hit.

Now for my money, I'd probably take Diana and the girls. After all, there are those memories of us girls fighting over who would sing the lead in our bedroom mirror version of 60s karaoke. But then, the psychedelic version by Vanilla Fudge brings up a whole very different rush of memories. Yes, the difference of a few years brought about quite a change in recreational time. But I digress.

Enjoy a taste or two, and feel free to leave your memories.


Friday, June 13, 2014

The Trews @ Bowery Electric NYC

While the New York Rangers battled to stay alive in the Stanley Cup Finals taking place a little north of Bowery Electric, a group of musicians from Canada, who this year had no team in the last round of the hockey playoffs, plugged in and turned it up to max vol.

The Trews were back in town.

While north of the border, the Trews continue to top the charts, win awards, and play to ever growing crowds, here in the States they are working hard to reach the same level. If achieving that success was only based on talent and hard work, the Trews would be a household name. So until luck and timing fall in line, the band will continue to drop into select markets around the U.S., and blow away new audiences, and probably a few amps.

For the entire review, please click on The Trews @ Bowery Electric NYC at


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

An Empty Chair

Yesterday marked the one year passing of one of this earth's great women. We are also coming up on Father's Day and I'm missing my dad, so when I saw Lance's selection for this week's 100 Word Song challenge, I knew immediately I would be jumping in.

Very simple, take the song as a theme and write 100 words in any form of expression.

This week's song is "Empty Chair" by Don McLean.

One’s in the kitchen, another’s in the living room too. Where I once heard words that made me smile, now just a place where memories linger in open air.

True, the days are less painful now. Though random thoughts still easily bring tears.

Like now.

I hope in twenty years I can still cry for you, as that would mean all you were to me is still in my heart. Though your voice is muted, your words, your lessons, your love is still entwined with my being, and my soul.

My heart is still full, only your chair is empty.

Miss you Pops.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Steve Perry, Captured by the Moment

Photo courtesy of Steve Perry Worldwide

I know... hardly anyone noticed.

So yeah, it was kinda big news, and yeah it's got everyone talkin' about it. Will he be back with Journey? A tour? New music? Just stop it.

Can we no longer just enjoy the moment? In the past week or so, Steve Perry decided to come out of hibernation and do what he was put on this earth to do. During the encore of two performances by the Eels, Perry came out and sang. And you know what. It wasn't earth-shattering, it wasn't mind-blowing. It was... nice.

I use that word because that's exactly what it was. It was nice to see him. It was nice to hear him. It was nice to remember. But apparently, that's not good enough. Let the comparisons begin... really people, get a life. Does he sound like he did twenty years ago? Yes and no. I'm sure he knows what his vocal limits are, I'm sure it was a little scary going back out there in the age of cell phone videos, knowing for good, bad or ugly, those performances will live forever on YouTube. But you know what... it was still Steve Perry, with that remarkable voice, the one that brought a smile to your face and tears to your eyes.

And there was something else there too. He brings heart to the table. That's not a vocal range, or part of showmanship. Heart is defined by a feeling conveyed. There was heart in those brief performances he just gave.  If for the twenty year absence, he wasn't feeling heart in his game, I'm glad he wasn't around. Nothing's worse than someone going through the motions onstage, as they make a buck or two. We see that way too often. But not with Steve Perry.

So ultimately, as he dips his toe in the water again, it will be his decision if it feels good enough to jump in all the way. As we've seen from the last twenty years, whatever he decides will be on his own terms. But for now, having him back, even a little bit, well... it's nice.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Don't Want To Be "Running On Empty"

The past week or so has been sort of a blur. A fun blur with music (Springsteen) and interviews (Jamison), and ok, maybe a little alcohol induced bluriness... but I digress.

Anyway it's been a while since I went on a play date over at Lance's MyBlogCanBeatUpYourBlog and did the 100 Word Song Challenge. So this week Renee picked the song, and I think Lance knew this one would sucker me in, so let's just do it.

100 Words using the song as a prompt... however you want to. This week's song is "Running On Empty," by Jackson Browne. 

This time let's take the title literally.

At least twenty miles. Nothing between here and Towson. Not even decent cell service.

For the tenth time in as many minutes, Lenore checked the rear view mirror for the headlights behind her. Too close. Too close for too long.

The red light on the dash had also been on for too long. Not gonna make it.

Hoping he would pass, she slowed, but the hairs on her arms told her all she needed to know. She was in trouble. Capital T type trouble.

As the motor died, Lenore pulled over and watched the headlights behind her do the same.

So my Public Service Announcement for the day is... make sure the damn tank has gas in it.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog


Catching Up with Jimi Jamison

When you grow up in the shadow of such legendary recording studios as Stax, American, Sun, and Royal Studios, one can only imagine what a young singer from Memphis might dream. Starting out singing radio jingles and playing in a band or two, maybe. Singing live in front of more than a million people, and millions more globally over the internet… well, most of us don’t dream that big, let alone achieve it.

Jimi Jamison has.

The man who replaced Dave Bickler as the lead singer of Survivor, is currently back with the band, and sharing the vocal duties with Bickler, who returned to the group last year.

His first true taste of the rock and roll life occurred when Jamison, as part of the Memphis based band Target, recorded two albums for A&M Records. The band toured virtually non-stop in the late 70s, opening for bands such as Kiss, Black Sabbath, Styx, Robin Trower, Journey and Boston. From Target, Jamison joined Cobra and recorded First Strike for Epic Records in 1983. Soon after Cobra disbanded, Jamison was invited to audition for Survivor, when Bickler was forced to leave the band due to vocal issues. With Jamison as lead vocalist, Survivor then went on to record Vital Signs, which scored three hit singles.  Around this time MTV was changing the course of music history, and the video for “I Can’t Hold Back,” also off Vital Signs, was top in their rotation for several weeks, catapulting the band to another level of success.

After two more albums, Survivor went on hiatus, coming back with various different incarnations, both with and without Jamison. Over the course of his solo career, Jamison has released several  albums, including 2012’s critically acclaimed Never Too Late.

Jamison rejoined the Survivor lineup in 2011, and the band toured in 2012. The next year, original lead singer Dave Bickler was invited back to share the vocal duties, and the lineup of Jimi Jamison, Dave Bickler, Frankie Sullivan (lead guitar), Walter Tolentino (keys,guitar), Billy Ozzello (bass), and Marc Droubay (drums), is gearing up for a full schedule of tour dates in 2014.

After wearing out several pairs of running shoes, I caught up with Jimi Jamison, and we talked about life, looking back, and of course… music.

Kath Galasso: First what I’d like to talk to you about, is your approach to vocals. When you’re given a song to record, how do you begin the process of how you’re going to sing it?

Jimi Jamison: I really don’t form a judgment about it before I go into the studio and try to sing it. That’s how you find out if it’s something you want to do. I’ve been kind of lucky with the songs I’ve been doing. It’s really not a pre-planned thing. I listen to the song before I sing it, of course, but I always get in there and just sing it like I would sing it. That’s pretty much the only plan I have.

For the rest of the interview with Jimi Jamison, please jump over to Catching Up with Jimi Jamison over at