Zero for Zooz

Late night, Duke Street
the wet cobblestones shine and sparkle, bubble and squeak; and the dense fog rolls in
the clock tower chimes twelve
And it’s Zero for Zooz

Late night, Duke Street
the gauzy moon bleeds and drips, gaslights burn
and gossamer sheets of a hazy white sift through
the inimical clouds of night
the clock tower chimes three
And it’s Zero for Zooz
Westminster . . .

Sunrise, Duke Street
a languid sun cracks itself open and splashes some invisible and distant horizon with
salmon pinks, royal purples and bright orange crush
the clouds of night rest just beneath the hush of dawn
and the clock tower chimes in crystal silence
And it’s Zero for Zooz
and Westminster waits . . .


Like a Glove

I got this from my good friend Annie.
This will meme me out for a while but this one was damn good . . . and fun too.

These are the rules:
1. Go to the Billboard #1 Hits listings (scroll down and you’ll seen them separated by decades on the left in the sidebar)
2. Pick a year you were in high school
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of that year
4. Pick 5 songs and write something about how these songs affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more people


Fame – David Bowie

What I remember most about this song is its infectious beat.
It had all the elements of a cool funk tune blended seamlessly into a rock anthem. Girls liked to dance to it and us guys used to like to watch.
I also loved the weird vocal stuff Bowie did with his vocals in the studio.
A classic tune for me. I love Bowie.

You’re having my baby – Paul Anka

I’m going to cut to the chase here.
This song buuuhlows and Anka should have had his junk blown off just for recording it. This is a total lameass piece of musical shit.
And that’s giving it something.
This ‘baby’ should have had a clinic visit long before it ever gave birth on the AM airwaves.
This song makes Rosemary’s Baby seem like a Walt Disney character.
Really crass . . . sorry.

The Joker – Steve Miller

“Some people call me the space cowboy yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
[insert your woo-woo HERE]
Cause’ I speak of the pompetous of love”

When they talk about songwriting it’s all about “the hook”, the line that grabs the listener.
This song had more hooks than my Uncle Bill’s tackle box.
IMHO, when you can combine space cowboy, gangster of love and pompetus ( a word that doesn’t even exist) in one song and make it sound like pure poetry, you’re a frickin’ genius and Steve Miller is damn close.
To this day, Miller remains prolific and ultimately solid as a songwriter.
His melodies will hopefully be around for generations to come.
Aren’t they lucky?
You bet your bippie.

Free Ride – Edgar Winter Group

This song brings me way back.
Remember Tango, Blackberry Brandy and Sloe Gin Fizz?
I used to go to concerts played by popular area bands on Saturday nights at the Middle School in my hometown.
Ah, the memories.
There was usually one stall in the boy’s room coated with Tango splash monkeys by the end of the night.
This song made you feel better even though you were already feeling pretty damn good.
How can you not love that?

You Light Up My Life – Debbie Boone

Another song from the gurgling bowels of some netherworld I’m obviously unaware of.
It even has one of the smarmiest lines of lyrics anyone ever had the sack to write:

“It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right . . .”

It makes me feel better when I make believe the songwriter was talking about sticking his head straight up his ass, an observation this song truly deserves.
If you must know, yes, I’ve played this song for many weddings (and spit anything coming up into an empty Heineken bottle)
(and yes, I’m kidding…I usually vomit after the set, I’m a pro).
The only thing that would have made this song even remotely salvageable is if it were totally re-worked (and I mean totally) by the Talking Heads or Devo.


A few songs that didn’t make the list—

We gotta get you a woman – Todd Rundgren (I love Rundgren)

Tears of a Clown
– Smokey Robinson (how can you not like this tune?)

How can you mend a broken heart?
– Bee Gees (I know. Gay.)

Uncle Albert – McCartney (weird tune. that’s me.)

Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group (albinos just can’t be this funky, he must be an alien)

There’s my list of 5 (+) tunes.
I could go on for days but . . .
I’m not tagging anyone but I’d love to see Hannah, Evyl, Miriam, Yvonne and Zoe do a post.
How’s about it guys?






Since I began blogging I’ve never dedicated a post to the most influential musician in my life. Over the years, he’s taught me (unknowingly) all I ever needed to know regarding the intense emotional aspect of the human voice in the midst of song.

Sounds almost fundamental but believe me, it’s not.

I’ve been in love with this man’s voice ever since I heard “Takin’ it to the Streets” back in the mid seventies.
It’s no mystery to anyone that truly knows me that I’m talking about the one and only Michael McDonald.

Michael holds a coveted title regarding my life; he’s the only person (other than my wife) that could literally steal my heart.
Obviously, it’s all about the music between MM and I.

You have little to no idea about the aching desire I have to simply shake his hand and say, thank you for everything you gave to me, an unknown guy from Boston.

I remember seeing the Doobie Brothers at the Cape Cod Coliseum after the Minute by Minute album came out, a record (showing my age) that was purely McDonald.
I went with my then girlfriend and someday wife, the only human on the planet with more amazing eyes than McDonald.
I wanted to be just like my blue-eyed idol so when I saw him playing a Prophet-5 synth, I had to get one. It was a revolutionary keyboard because it was ‘polyphonic’, 5 notes could be played at once. Minute by Minute was filled with Pro-5 synth as was Steve Winwood’s ‘Arc of the Diver’.
The synth you hear at the beginning of “While you see a chance”, is a Pro-5 in monophonic mode (believe me; I used it all the time for solos back then).
Winwood still uses the sound to this day. (…I think, could be a sample now)
Enough about Winwood, this is Michael’s post.

I’ve had moments over the years going to see him perform.

I had the chance to meet him in the early 90’s when he played the Club Casino at Hampton Beach (in New Hampshire).
I saw him walking on the boardwalk the next day with an entourage of 10+ guys and I totally pussied out because I just couldn’t make an ass out of myself in front of a guy I almost thought of as a God.
I still kick myself to this very day because I didn’t have the nads to walk up to him.

After working in Boston and meeting many different “stars”, from Peter Cetera (Chicago) to Billy Joel, I came to the realization that these people are just that, people.
Hell, we take cigar orders from the actor George Segal; regular people…at least some of them.

I found out that a dear friend of mine has listened to Robert Cray FOREVER.
For Christmas I bought him a CD but removed the liner notes.
I contacted Cray and told him who I was (I’ve waited on him several times at the store—what a peach, too) and asked if he would sign the liner notes for my dear friend.

Needless to say, the liner notes left for California last week.
There are a few Avo Signature Robustos in Robert’s future the next time he’s in the city, compliments of moi. Cray is much like me, a working musician that has paid his dues. The only difference is he could pack any blues club from here to Tucson and his salary makes my musical salary look like a welfare grocery budget.
Does he deserve it?
More importantly, do you even need to ask?
If you’ve never heard Cray and like blues music, buy a CD.
He’s a magical talent.

Back to McDonald;

I could go on and on about the reasons this man’s voice moves me so, but you’d think I was crazy or a semi-queer.

He’s given me multiple goose bumps, profound tears and so many wonderful years of solace that a thank you seems almost insincere and shallow.
Maybe this post would mean a bit more to the man, if he ever had the chance to read it.
This is the @fourth time I’ve written about him and the mere thought that this could once again wind up in some journal disgusts me.
McDonald deserves so much more than that.
For now, I’ll continue to be just another fan and someday I hope to be able to show him I was one of his very best students.


Triport OE



For Christmas, my wife got me a pair of Bose Triport IE headphones (In-Ear) knowing how much music I listen to on my daily journey back and forth from Boston.
I have a Nano Ipod that’s always loaded with all kinds of funky stuff.
From Mojo Nixon (Elvis is everywhere) to Anita Baker and Nine Inch Nails, I have some pretty cool stuff.
I’ve been using this pair of Sony earbuds for a few years now and my wife thought it would be nice if I had something just a bit better if only to improve the quality of sound.

She thought a Bose product would be a vast improvement to my current earbuds.

And at 99$ a pop, you would think these buds would sing, right?

I immediately put them in and gave them a trial listen.
It was early Christmas morning so I chalked up my blasé first impression to the fact that I’d only had one cup of coffee.
Maybe more Joe was needed to awaken my ‘rock and roll’ battered auditory senses.

I gave the Triport IE headphones a good listening to on the way to Boston on the following day.
Halfway to Beantown, I pulled them out and thought, God, these suck.

They weren’t any better than the crappy Sony buds I’d been using.
I was gobsmacked.

In short, the IE buds sounded boxy (blatant and annoying midrange), bottom heavy (bass up the ass), and lacking in anything resembling vocal sibilance (1.5Hz +).

I’m thinking, this is a Bose product, it should blow me away.
It really didn’t.

The icing on the proverbial cake comes when you put the damn things in your ears.
They feel like you’re inserting a cold and jelly-like cadaver finger into your auditory canal. Eeegaaads….

Must be me.

I called Bose the next day and said I wanted to return the buds, the rep asked me why.

Because they sound like shit, I said.

Ahhh, customer dissatisfaction, he said.


The buds were a distant memory the next day and I was back with my crappy Sony plugs and feeling a bit downtrodden.

Fast forward to a few days ago;

I’m at Target with my wife and go to see what they have for headphones.
The first thing I see is a row of neatly displayed Bose Triport IE earbuds.
Noooo, Thanks.

Next to the earbuds is a Bose display of two new headphones; one that covers the ear ($139.95) and one that ‘sits’ on the ear (OE @ $179.95).

I fell in love with the OE’s because they were foldable and sounded incredible in the store.
Obviously, they were the more expensive of the two sets of headphones but hey, I’m just being honest.
Don’t waste your time looking for a better price. It doesn’t exist.

My Christmas/ Birthday present turned out to be a pair of the OE’s.

These headphones make NIN a religious experience.
If you can believe anyone, believe me.
If you passionately listen to music on headphones, throw me a bone and click on the picture above.
My French Riviera chateau awaits…