Tinsel and Rot Exclusive

The media hasn't picked up on this yet, and I want to make sure that I break this news first to you, devoted Tinsel and Rot reader.

You have heard of the "Poltergeist "curse, wherein several actors in the movie met untimely demises. And then there is the "Superman" curse, which stretches from the original TV show all the way up to Christopher Reeve.

Now, with the passing of Don Adams, it has become painfully clear that there is another curse worse than any of the others, a curse so undeniable and so potent that it will rock you to the very core.

Yes, dear T&R reader, I am speaking of the "Back to the Beach" curse.

"Back to the Beach," a criminally underappreciated 1987 comedic tour de force starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funnicello that revisited the beach movies of days gone by. Unfortunately, the sheer brilliance of the movie (which had a killer soundtrack...which I own on cassette and vinyl) is now forever overshadowed by the devastation it has left in its wake.

Let's look at what's happened to some of the stars featured in that movie:

Bob Denver...dead

Alan Hale Jr....dead

Don Adams...dead

Stevie Ray Vaughan...dead

Annette Funnicello...currently fighting MS, and, if that picture I saw on a supermarket tabloid is to be believed (and why should tabloids be doubted?), not doing well.

Pee Wee Herman...busted in a porno theater

O.J. Simpson...had some trouble with the law

Lori Loughlin...TV show recently cancelled

Fishbone...not popular anymore

Oh sure, it's easy and perfectly sane to chalk it up to coincidence. But that would be foolish. Watch out, Frankie Avalon. And that kid who played his son, who I haven't seen since. Oh no...I haven't seen him in anything since!


Honestly, I'm pretty sure that if I pitched this to an entertainment magazine, someone would bite. Aint that America...


In yourself, you must believe

I'd been doing really well with not watching TV shows aimed squarely at the teenage audience. I mean, it's been months since I've watched a "Boy Meets World" rerun. I was almost starting to feel like an adult.

But then I read an article about the season finale of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" and it mentioned that Caitlin from the original "Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High" series was on the show. So I tuned in, telling myself that I was only watching to see if that childhood crush on Caitlin was justified by time and then I would move on.

You can probably guess that it didn't turn out that way.

After spending that first time watching trying to decide if Caitlin was still hot (still undecided) and getting depressed because Joey Jeremiah, the very epitome of cool when I watched the original show, was now an old, bald man, I started to become interested in the kids on the show. I tried to piece together their back stories through repeats so I would know what was going on (a task more difficult than I thought it would be). I would switch off Mets games to see if there was an episode airing on Noggin, a channel I forgot I even had, buried as it is somewhere in the 100s (OK, it's channel 131, but I was trying to seem less obsessed. Not working.).

And now I anxiously await the new season, which starts next Friday. As much as I would like to tell you that my Friday nights are so packed with socializing that I won't be watching the season premiere, we both know that's not gonna happen. I'll be glued to the tube, unless I decide to go to that wrestling card at the local fieldhouse. Still single, ladies.

I would say that you should watch "Degrassi," too, so we can share our thoughts about the show, but, really, you shouldn't. I have a sickness and it is important that it doesn't spread. I'll find someone else to talk about the show with. Perhaps I'll hit the local schoolyard.



Y'know, I was almost willing to let the whole $250 CMA Awards ticket thing go, even after checking to see where the seats would be on Ticketmaster.com and discovering that they would be in the 300 level of the Garden, far, far away from the stage and any actual celebrity-type people. But then I checked the CMA Awards website and found this press release:

CMA Board Approves Additional $500,000 For "Country Music's Biggest Night" In The Big Apple
NASHVILLE -- To help offset additional costs of traveling to New York City for "The 39th Annual CMA Awards" in November, the CMA Board of Directors approved a $500,000 budget appropriation to cover expenses for nominees as well other artists who are performing or presenting awards on the three-hour gala.

"This is an unprecedented situation. We recognize that hosting the CMA Awards in New York City for one year will result in added expenses for everyone involved -- especially the artist community," said CMA Executive Director Ed Benson. "The Board feels strongly we should help minimize those costs this year. The artists are central to our industry and the CMA Awards and we want to demonstrate our appreciation of their time and talents in this pivotal year by making it easier for them to travel and be part of this important occasion."

CMA will cover hotel, air and ground transportation for the nominees (artists, musicians, songwriters, album producers and video directors) and artists appearing (performing and presenting) on the 2005 CMA Awards, Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Madison Square Garden. Hotel accommodations will be covered for a specific number of days based on an artist'’s rehearsal schedule. In addition, hotel, air and ground transportation for a performing artist's band and essential crew members will also be covered (with some limitations). CMA will send detailed information about the travel program to all nominees and to presenters/performers as they are confirmed. . . .


OK, so let me see if I have this right. Kenny "Fraud" Chesney, who probably already possesses a criminal amount of money, will be getting an all expenses paid trip to New York City, while Mr. and Mrs. Country Music Fan have to pony up $250+ for a seat so far away from any actual goings-on that Trace Adkins will look like he's Little Jimmy Dickens? And the CMA thought this was information worthy of sending out a press release for? Is that guy from FEMA now running the CMA?

On a slightly brighter note, today I was able to buck the odds and get a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry at Carnegie Hall show on November 14. And upon attending, my dream of finally seeing the real, live Little Jimmy Dickens will be fulfilled.


Get Out: Special CMJ Edition

So, this weekend brings the College Media Journal music convention, and though I am neither in college or in the media (well, OK, I'm barely in the media), I would like to suggest some shows worthy of your attention, although most of them probably won't register with a lot of CMJ attendees and one has no actual connection to the convention. Look, people, I need a news peg, OK?

Thursday, September 15: Adrienne Young and Little Sadie, Satalla, 7:30 p.m., $15

OK, this show starts in roughly two hours, so chances of you attending are probably slim. But, let's face it, chances of you attending any show I suggest, no matter how far in advance I suggest it, are slim. I am under no delusion here (well I'm under some delusion, but not this particular one).

Anyway, if you don't go to this show and instead choose to spend your night suckling on the teat that is your XBox, PlayStation, etc., that's a shame. Because Adrienne Young and Little Sadie are a damn good band, folky without being cloying, bluegrassy without being boring, fun without costing you more than $20. Why not buy their new CD, "The Art of Virtue," if you're not going to the show? That will also cost you less than $20. God, the joy that can be brought to your life for less than $20.

Friday, September 16: Eric Ambel and the Roscoe Trio/Chip Robinson's Heavy Beat Outfit, Lakeside Lounge, 9 p.m., FREE (but give money when they pass the bucket, OK?)

And, sweet Jesus, the joy that can be brought for absolutely nothing (assuming you're so miserable that you don't give money when the bucket is passed around...I won't tell, but it will be on your conscience)! After an opening set by former Backslider Chip Robinson's band, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Yayhoo, Duke, Del Lord, Bar Owner, takes the stage (or, more accurately, the corner by the window) with his band for an evening of loud guitars and pounding rock and roll. It's Friday and you deserve some guitar. You also deserve a nice rowdy singalong involving the spelling of a certain four-letter word that begins with "F." And you shall likely get both at the Lakeside, voted the #1 NYC bar by non-drinking residents of Jersey City with "Saved by the Bell" shrines in their kitchens.

Saturday, September 17: CMJ Bloodshot BBQ, Union Pool (Williamsburg), Noon-7 (or so), $12 (plus free hot dogs and/or burgers)

Look, I won't lie to you, this is the weakest lineup for the annual Bloodshot Records BBQ that I can recall, mainly because the Waco Brothers and their various offshoots are not part of it at all (though they'll be around in October...I'll remind you). But Bobby Bare Jr., who is probably number 3 or 4 on the all-time Number of Concerts I Attended list (somewhere in the late teens, early twenties), is headlining, so that's reason enough to go. And to be fair to the other artists (Laura Minor, Eric Bachmann, Cordero, The Deadstring Brothers, Jennie Benford, and Mary Lou Lord), I think I'm just bitter because I won't get to watch the progression of the Waco Brothers' drunkenness over the course of seven hours, which is generally a pretty impressive sight. Anyway, the food's free, the music will likely be good, and fall will officially begin for me. Hooray.

Sunday, September 18: MOJO Aid (not CMJ-related), Irving Plaza, 7 p.m., $35

I think this is now sold out, but maybe you can find yourself a ticket somehow. MTV VJ Matt Pinfield once gave me a free ticket to see Jewel outside of Irving Plaza. Granted, that was about six years ago and he probably doesn't have free tickets to give out anymore, but who knows?

Wait. Did I just admit that I saw Jewel in concert? Was that wrong of me? Should I mention that I saw her three times? No? OK then.

Anyway, this show, which will not feature Jewel and/or any yodeling (probably), is a hurricane relief benefit put together by Jesse Malin, whom I've always heard good things about but just haven't got into yet. He's on the bill, along with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Joseph Arthur, Debbie Harry, Butch Walker, Ted Leo + Pharmacists, and a little band called Marah. And the evening's hosted by Staten Island's pride and joy, David Johansen. Find a ticket if you can.

That's all I have at the moment. Enjoy your weekend.

  • Adrienne Young

  • Satalla

  • Eric Ambel

  • Lakeside Lounge

  • Bobby Bare Jr.

  • Bloodshot Records

  • Jesse Malin

  • Irving Plaza
  • 9.12.2005

    Comments? Questions? Buy my book again?

    Just some notes on things you can do to make Tinsel and Rot the joyous interactive experience you long for...

    First, you can leave comments by clicking on the Comments line at the end of each post. One person already has, and she has thus taken the lead in the 2005 Tinsel and Rot Fan of the Year race. Don't fall too far behind.

    Second, I've figured out how to set up links here, so if you look to the left of your screen, you'll see a Links section with links to bands/musicians frequently mentioned on Tinsel and Rot. And, wow, look at that, a link to buy my book on Amazon! How did that get there? Golly, now I feel obligated to click on that link and buy a copy. Or several copies. Don't you?

    And, back to the links thing...some of the titles of blog entries are links, too. Any title with the three colored dots before it is also a link. Fancy, no?

    OK, that's all. Carry on.


    Fashion rocks?

    This year's random thoughts upon filling a seat at the Fashion Rocks show at Radio City Music Hall, September 8, 2005:

    ***I propose a new law: Don't tell me that you're donating money to hurricane relief; just do it. I'm tired of applauding corporations and rich people for doing something they should. As an alternative, I would be happy to boo corporations and rich people who don't donate money.

    ***Is there a point to listening to Shakira sing on a CD? She should only perform live or release DVDs.

    ***Big & Rich walked up the aisle a few feet away from me. I am sorry for not punching them.

    ***Responding to a question posed by the guy sitting next to me, Isiah Thomas declared that the Knicks are "most definitely" going to be good this year. You heard it here first.

    ***If Nelly sold that ridiculously enormous diamond wristband he was wearing, I feel confident that several Gulf Coast families could live comfortably on the proceeds.

    ***When Big & Rich said that Faith Hill and Tim McGraw were in "the middle of the catastrophe" the day before, my first thought was, "Hell, they've been in the middle of a catastrophe for about a decade now." I'm sorry, Gulf Coasters. My donation's coming.

    ***The exciting things you notice when you're a copy editor: Rebecca Romijn's last name was spelled wrong in the opening credits. I'm available, CBS.

    ***I found out this morning that I saw the "last live TV appearance" of Destiny's Child. What a story to tell the grandkids.

    ***I'm not sure if Mark McGrath ever had a soul, but he definitely doesn't have one anymore.

    ***Joss Stone really oughta consider being quiet for at least two seconds during a song.

    ***Rob Thomas seems like a decent guy, but I still wouldn't mind kicking him in the face.

    ***My favorite musical moment of the night was when they played a clip from the Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" video during a set change. OK, to be fair, David Bowie was good.


    Pickin' the flesh off the bones

    So, the Country Music Association Awards ceremony is coming to New York in November. The event is usually held in Nashville, a perfectly reasonable place to hold an awards ceremony honoring the alleged best of country music, but the Country Music Association decided to break with tradition and give out the awards in a city that doesn't have a legitimate country music radio station. Good call.

    But, whatever. I live close to New York, so I thought it was cool that the show was coming to the Big Apple. And I thought it was even cooler when I found out that it would be held on my birthday. Granted, I don't like a great deal of popular country music today, but I hold out hope for the genre as a whole. I want to believe. And I'm willing to sit through dozens and dozens of schlocky Kenny Chesney songs and Toby Keith's relentless odes to self in the hopes that somehow, someway, one good country song will make its way onto country radio. It's a tough fight, but I do love country music, so I'm in for the long haul. Just as long as Rascal Flatts only has, like, one more year of popularity. I'm just not sure how much more of them I can take.

    Anyway, with the CMAs on my birthday and with a venue as big as Madison Square Garden to fill, I held out hope that the powers that be at the Country Music Association would make tickets available to the public. I've never really been to an awards show (well, I went to the New York Music Awards when I was little, but all I remember is that Full Force, Buster Poindexter, and The Real Roxanne were there...I don't even recall actual awards being given out), and with country music being a genre that prides itself on being fan-friendly, I figured the CMAs would be a good time.

    So I've been checking the CMA website for info, and since today was the day nominees were announced, I figured information would be forthcoming. And, bang, there it was, a news item on tickets being made available to the public for the CMAs. There was a quote from Ed Benson, the CMA executive director, about how the association had been inundated by phone calls and e-mails asking how to get tickets to this event and how he was pleased that the fans would now have their chance to attend.

    The next paragraph gave the details--the on-sale date, where you can get tickets, and so on. Then, there was the last sentence of the paragraph:

    "The ticket price is $250 (not including tax and service charges)."

    $250! For $250, I better get a lap dance from Miranda Lambert. And she sure as hell better put her knee into it.

    I kept looking for the part where it said, "The entire price of your ticket will be going to hurricane relief" or something that would justify such a ridiculous amount of money. But there was nothing. Charging $250 was apparently yet another example of pure, unadulterated greed from an industry that goes out of its way to embrace fans, just so it can get a little closer to their wallets. I know it's not exclusive to country music, but there's just something about the Country Music Association--an association that purports to speak for a genre dedicated to common, everyday folk--charging such an exorbitant price for a seat that kinda makes me sick. And I'd like to believe that for $250, you're at least gonna get a good seat. But I ain't holding my breath.

    Fifty bucks would be a good price, and I think I could handle it if they charged, say, $100. That, to me, sounds almost reasonable. $250 just sounds criminal. But it's indicative of country music today, where every other radio hit is a sappy treatise on being a dad, where Gretchen Wilson might be the only man left on country radio, and where fans are really just ATMs in carefully creased cowboy hats, spitting out money whenever asked.

    Have fun at the Garden, kids. I'll be watching, as usual, on my TV, yelling periodically at the screen. It ain't much, but it's free.


    R.L. Burnside RIP

    Another one's gone, this time R.L. Burnside, a blues musician who recorded a bunch of fine CDs on the Fat Possum record label. He died at the age of 79 on the morning of September 1.

    Back in my blues-listening days, Burnside was probably my favorite blues guy, mainly because his throaty growl sounded a lot more like the blues than anything I had heard up to that point. His CD "Mr. Wizard" played nonstop for a few months during my college years. My dog ate my (signed) copy of that CD and I've almost forgiven him.

    "Burnside on Burnside" is another good R.L. disc, as it captures the man's live show, which is really what endeared him to a lot of people. R.L. would sit on a chair and play some ragged but right electric guitar, while Kenny Brown added some fiery guitar of his own and grandson Cedric Burnside attacked the drums with a vicious and righteous fury. Each song would slam to a ramshackle conclusion, punctuated by R.L.'s cry of "Well, Well, Well!" And in between songs, R.L. would tell off-color jokes as the mood struck him. Sometimes they'd be understandable, frequently they'd be incomprehensible, but his sheer joy at being on a stage and telling them always won out in the end. Given a shot at the big (or at least medium) time late in life by Fat Possum, he always seemed to seize the opportunity. And I'm glad that I was able to watch and hear him do that.