SHINE ON US: Long time Savage Grace front man, Al Jacquez (pictured above, center left) is now concurrently spreading the Gospel musically by serving in that capacity with the powerhouse vocal trio, One Achord. The group's new CD release, Dream is one of the most promising such releases of recent vintage. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell has the story in the New Releases section of The Shape Of Things To Come column. Click on the appropriate link at right under Previous Posts for details (Click on image to enlarge).


Welcome to the official web site for Blitz, The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People. Since 1975, Blitz has been the leading voice for the discerning music enthusiast. Blitz Magazine was also one of the first magazines of its kind to embrace the internet, having also been online since January 1996.

Here you will find news and updates about all of the key artists essential to the growth and development of rock and roll music and related genres, including rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and easy listening. For highlights from recent past editions of the Bits And Pieces and Shape Of Things To Come columns, click on the archival postings on the right hand side of this page. Be sure and check back frequently for regular updates.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at

Michael McDowell
Blitz Magazine
Since 1975 - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People

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Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People


Follow the fascinating and unfolding tale (through her favorite music) of the life and times of Blitz Magazine's late and beloved Photo Editor, Audrey McDowell, as told by her husband, Blitz Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell. A Facebook exclusive! "Like" us on Facebook at Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People, and watch for further installments.


Doctor West's Medicine Show And Jug Band front man and co-founder, Norman Greenbaum is recovering from injuries sustained in an automobile accirdent in Santa Rosa, California on 30 March. Jefferson Airplane co-founder and guitarist Paul Kantner recuperating from heart attack. Meet the ambitious Los Angeles trio, the Eiffels, who drew upon the inspiration of the new romantic and synth pop traditions of the early 1980s for their ambitious debut single, I Did It Now. We pay tribute to beloved vocalist/songwriter Lesley Gore, country music pioneer Jimmy Dickens and soul shouter extraordinaire Joe Cocker, plus pioneering rocker Shane "Alvin Stardust" Fenton and Manhattan Transfer founder Tim Hauser, as well as beloved Paul Revere and the Raiders founder and keyboardsman, Paul Revere, original Chocolate Watchband lead guitarist Mark Loomis  and Human Beings bassist Steve Fava of Because I Love Her fame. 


A certain late May 1967 Capitol Records album remains one of the most polarizing and divisive releases in all of music. That same year, Thomas Edisun's Electric Light Bulb Band nonetheless took its cue from that album and created a fine original work with The Red Day Album, now available on CD on Roger Maglio's acclaimed Gear Fab label. The fact that previously unreleased material is still extant in the catalog of an artist who passed away nearly forty-eight years ago is nothing short of a miracle. But such is the case with pioneering visionary and saxophonist John Coltrane, whose November 1966 landmark concert at Temple University, Offering is at last now available on a 2CD set. The highly prolific Real Gone Music label has added Various Artists collections to its enormous catalog of multi-disc collections, including the superb, 114-track four CD London American 1962 set. Beloved country music pioneer Stompin' Tom Connors is celebrated a year after his passing at age 77 with the first in a series of CDs featuring previously unreleased tracks and rarities. Ash Wells' Sydney, New South Wales-based Teensville label has released the third volume of their acclaimed Girls On 45 series, featuring rare and obscure tracks by Jill Gibson, Ramona King, Sandy and the Sophomores, April Young, Linda Hopkins, Debbie Rollins, Mer-Lyn, Diane Renay, the Blossoms, Lacey Jones and others.


In the New Releases section of The Shape Of Things To Come column, Savage Grace front man Al Jacquez has made a most imprssive addition to his curriculum vitae by serving in that capacity with the Gospel trio, One Achord, whose Dream CD is one of the best such releases of recent vintage. Singer, songwriter and Illinois native Deb Ryder returns with a blues inspired set of eleven strong originals in her latest release, Let It Rain. Washington's Dana Countryman returns with another collection of second generation rock-inspired originals. Medway's Groovy U.N.C.L.E. has turned out a stunningly perfect album with their latest classic garage rock inspired release, Persuaded. Folk rock pioneers the Brothers Four return triumphantly with their latest Seattle Works Entertainment release, The Beautiful World Of The Brothers Four. The Electric Prunes bring to fruition some of the last works that included the band's late bassist and co-founder, Mark Shalom Tulin in their latest Prune Twang label release, WaS. The Hardest Working Man In Show Business, Jeremy Morris takes Gospel music to a whole new level with his highly ambitious, garage rock-inspired new praise and worship CD, Bright Morning Star. We also take a look at the farewell Appleseed label by CD by the late and beloved singer/songwriter, Jesse Winchester. The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter John Zipperer has issued one of the most engaging new releases in recent months with his Nick Kirgo-produced album, Full Circle. Florida based saxophonist and former Elvin Bishop sideman, Terry Hanck has set the bar high with his latest Delta Groove Music release, Gotta Bring It On Home To You. 



COME TO THE SUNSHINE:The reissue of the great Van Dyke Parks' 1966 MGM label original version of the Harpers Bizarre monster classic, Come To The Sunshine was one of the highlights of Record Store Day in recent years. Retailers and labels across the country concurred that the 2015 version of Record Store Day on Saturday the eighteenth of April was one of the most successful to date. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell has the story below.


Many retailers opened one to two hours earlier than their normal business hours. Lines extended for more than a city block in some locations. And the wait time at more than one location to complete the check out process was nearly three hours, with the music lovers in line numbering in the hundreds.

Such was Record Store Day 2015 at various locations across North America, where the most devoted of musicologists and record collectors came to either add to their existing archives or peruse the hundreds of special, limited edition vinyl and CD releases prepared for the occasion. 

"Vinyl has sold very well all morning", said one retailer.

"We have also seen a sharp increase in interest in peripheral items, like posters and t-shirts."

In honor of this year's festivities, various labels rose to the occasion with limited edition vinyl 45s and albums by such perennially favored artists as the Monkees, Herman's Hermits, the Doors, the Ad Libs, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Procol Harum, the Kinks, the Small Faces, Thelonious Monk, Dionne Warwick and the Five Royales. 

Blitz also joined in the festivities, adding to the magazine's archives with rare vinyl and CD items by the Monkees, Gene Vincent, Buck Owens, the Supremes, Bill Haley and the Comets, the Short Creek Trio, Clyde McPhatter, the Bell Notes, Ornette Coleman, the MC5, Bobby Rydell, Jimmy Witherspoon, Jefferson Airplane and others.


WE ARE NOT THE SAME: That sentiment echoed throughout the capacity crowd at the Our Daily Bread Ministry Conference in Southfield, Michigan on 25 April, as the husband and wife worship team Brad and Rebekah (pictured above) premiered selections from their forthcoming Discovery House CD, All You've Done. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell takes a look at the duo's work to date below, as well highlights from the conference (Click on image to enlarge).


If veteran singer/songwriter and pastor, Jeremy Morris (who records prolifically and primarily for his own JAM label) is leading the charge in thinking outside of the box in terms of Gospel music, then the husband and wife worship team, Brad and Rebekah Bichsel and the musical arm of the Discovery House branch of Our Daily Bread Ministries is certainly following suit by orchestrating the first such collaborative endeavor in that respect.

To that effect, the Phoenix, Arizona-based Bichsels celebrated their recent signing with Discovery House by providing the worship interludes at the first Our Daily Bread Ministry Conference. The event was hosted by the Highland Park Baptist Church in Southfield, Michigan on Saturday the 25th of April. 

During the conference, Brad (who originally hails from New York) and Bakersfield, California native Rebekah incorporated into the worship segments several selections from their forthcoming Discovery House CD, All You've Done. Produced by Josh Silverburg (whose credits include the Newsboys), All You've Done is slated for early June release, and will include such true to form fare as We Are Not The Same, Lift Your Hands and Wake Up.

However, All You've Done is not Brad and Rebekah's first attempt at attempting to expand the curiously well defined parameters that have characterized much of Gospel and Christian rock in recent years. To wit, their 2008 Acoustically Inclined album was recorded in an unamplified setting. Brad Bichsel reasoned that although the album prominently featured drums, they were unamplified for that session in an attempt to bridge the gap between the two approaches.

And while their interim The One We Love album more than made up for its mainstream inclinations with an undeniable anointing and exuberant delivery, All You've Done seems poised to follow suit by treading relatively familiar ground with the joy of a fresh perspective.

The signing of Brad and Rebekah is also a significant victory for Discovery House's musical division, which heretofore had primarily featured releases by renowned vocalist Wintley Phipps, as well as various instrumental concept albums. And if the premier Our Daily Bread Conference was any indication, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based ministry (which recently changed its name from RBC Ministries, due to the widespread name recognition that has long been afforded its immensely popular Our Daily Bread devotional booklets) seems poised to make a major impact for God's kingdom on a variety of fronts.

Our Daily Bread and Discovery House (whose vast publishing catalog includes the complete works of the enormously influential early twentieth century evangelist, Oswald Chambers) have long been blessed with a wealth of remarkably gifted authors, evangelists and pastors; a number of whom ministered at the conference. Among the authors who were featured speakers during those sessions were psychologist Dr. Sabrina D. Black, broadcaster Sheridan Voysey, Moody Theological Seminary Professor Dr. Eric Moore and (via videotape) Warrior In Pink's Vivian Mabuni, as well as such beloved regular Our Daily Bread contributors as Marvin Williams (who concluded the day's events by delivering an impacting sermon in the guise of the Apostle Paul) and broadcaster Bill Crowder.

Near the midpoint of the conference, Williams and Crowder joined Our Daily Bread editor Anne Cetas and radio co-host Mart DeHaan in a panel discussion that doubled as an ad hoc writers' workshop. During the proceedings, the group also took a moment to remember long time Our Daily Bread contributor, Julie Ackerman Link, who sadly had passed away just days prior to the conference.

Although he was not a participant in the panel discussion, also on hand was the highly respected author and long time Our Daily Bread contributor, Dave Branon. A self-proclaimed Beach Boys aficionado and author of the acclaimed Philippians commentary, Stand Firm, the genial Branon also has more than two thousand devotional articles to his credit.

With many among the hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders in attendance attesting to the resounding success of the gathering in its intended purpose of furthering the Gospel, it is fair to say that both conference and musical interludes were a major blessing for all concerned. Hopefully Our Daily Bread will follow through on their expressed desire to make the conference an annual event.



FULL ON: Since the release of  his 1999 solo debut with Risin' Outlaw, Hank Williams III (also known as Hank3) has firmly established himself as one of the most astute, unique, creative and ambitious visionaries in all of music. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell spoke with Hank3 on the eve of his fourteen-date tour in support of his forthcoming Brothers Of The 4x4 and A Fiendish Threat albums. Story follows below.


By Michael McDowell

“Both the popular country music and the popular rock music of today leave much to be desired. It will get to the point that people will just get tired of its sameness and start demanding something a little bit better. I hope that’s where I come in. I’m very confident in my own abilities now. I hope everyone else will pick up on it.

So said country rock pioneer Hank Williams Junior in an interview with Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell in Blitz Magazine #32, which was published in September 1979. Although it would be nearly a decade before the so-called New Traditionalist movement would for one last time bring to fruition Williams’ vision for country music, the genre’s subsequent protracted aesthetic slump (combined with mainstream rock’s seeming inability to rectify its own situation) makes Williams’ observations all the more timely well into the twenty-first century.

In what is widely regarded as his signature track, the 1979 Family Tradition single (Elektra E-46046), Hank Williams Junior good naturedly celebrated what was generally perceived as the common thread between him and his legendary father, country music giant Hank Williams. But as is often the case, the difference between outside observers’ perceptions and reality can be substantial.

In the case of the Williams family, the common thread has actually been an extraordinary, God-given gift for artistic ability and creativity. Not so that each subsequent generation can dutifully follow in the footsteps of the earlier ones, but so that all concerned can assert their respective creative muse and produce unique and individual works of art that stand on their own merits.

To be certain, Hank Williams set the bar about as high as it can be set in that respect. In turn, Hank Williams Junior took into consideration his own inspirations, and for the past half century has established a most impressive legacy as one of the founding fathers of country rock with his various releases for MGM, Warner Brothers, Elektra and other labels.

Most recently, the current generation of the Williams family has grown exponentially in terms of breaking new ground. Beginning with the release of The Ones We Never Knew (Universal South 623392) in October 2004, Hank Williams Junior’s daughter, Holly Audrey Williams has since established herself as one of the premier singer/songwriters in all of music. Her third and most recent album, The Highway on her own Georgiana label is one of the most compelling new releases of 2013 to date.

All of which culminates in the work of a man who may well be the among the most qualified to not only rescue country music from the doldrums, but to inspire the world of music at large onto greater heights. Born Shelton Hank Williams in Nashville, Tennessee on 12 December 1972, Hank Williams III (also known as Hank3) has, since his 1999 debut as a solo artist with the release of Risin’ Outlaw for Curb Records, charted for himself a most unique and ambitious musical course.

As the son of Hank Williams Junior, Hank3 by definition was blessed with the creative capabilities that are indigenous to his bloodline. But as an avid musicologist, multi-instrumentalist and hardcore record collector, Hank3 also brings a wealth of experience and artistic acumen to the table. A firm believer in musical diversity, Hank3’s personal vinyl, cassette and CD archives include such inspirational visionaries as the late, great banjo virtuoso, David “Stringbean” Akeman and indie rock pioneers (and one-time Blitz Magazine cover story subjects), Black Flag.

In particular, Black Flag’s former front man, Henry Lawrence “Henry Rollins” Garfield has had a significant impact on Hank3, particularly in terms of his stringent work ethic. Likewise a relentless perfectionist, Hank3 has always made a concerted effort to persevere without compromise. While such noble aspirations may have temporarily cost him some momentum in terms of widespread notoriety, he nonetheless has amassed a most impressive recorded legacy along the way, with such triumphs as his 2002 Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’ album for Curb Records and the rather candid 2010 release, Rebel Within for Sidewalk Records to his credit.

In mid-2013, Hank3 once again took an ambitious step; this time in the form of two new albums that celebrate both of his primary musical interests. Recorded over a period of four months in his home studios (with Hank3 handling both drums and guitar, as well as production, mixing and mastering duties), the country-themed double album, Brothers Of The 4x4 also features Zach Shedd on stand up bass, David McElfresh and Billy Contreras on fiddle, Andy Gibson on steel guitar, Johnny Hiland on lead guitar, and Daniel Mason on banjo, with a special guest appearance by one-time National Old-Time Banjo champion, Leroy Troy.

In turn, the hardcore-flavored A Fiendish Threat affords Hank3 the opportunity to showcase his punk rock inclinations, which he does therein with resounding success. Brothers Of The 4x4 and A Fiendish Threat are scheduled for 01 October 2013 release on his own Hank3 label in both the CD and vinyl configurations. Hank3 is celebrating these new releases with a fourteen-date tour that will conclude on 08 September, including stops in Indianapolis, Flint, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Charlotte and Atlanta.

In the following conversation (which transpired on 07 August 2013), Hank3 shares not only his unique perspective as a member of country music’s royal family, but also the many varied inspirations behind his ambitious and engaging original material. To be certain, his is an artistic vision that at long last should appease the musical appetites of those whom are (in his father’s words), “demanding something a little bit better”.  

BLITZ: It’s good to see that the so-called Family Tradition has continued in your case. Not necessarily in terms of one generation following in the direction of another, but in that each has maintained a high level of creativity in their own right.

It’s always a challenge, trying to stand on your own two feet. Even if you’re Dale Earnhardt Junior or Frank Zappa’s son. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to find my own niche and my own voice. That can be a hard task, going up against Hank Senior and Hank Junior!

But my fans have stuck with me throughout the years. There have been a lot of great shows and a lot of different sounds that have come out of me over that period!

BLITZ: You came into an appreciation of music at a relatively early age. As early as the late 1970s, you were already expressing an interest in music and starting to accumulate a record collection. You had an advantage in that respect because of whom your father was, and he no doubt brought a lot of music to your attention.

But by that same token, you came into it right at the height of the burgeoning new wave/punk movement. It seems as though all of that factored into creating a richly diverse musical background for you. Did that concurrently spark your interest as a collector and a musicologist at that time, as well?

HANK3: It’s a little bit of both. My mom and my aunt always had interesting music around. Since I had a drum set and all of these different sounds, I kept trying to play along with Elvis Presley or Queen. Or when I got a little older, Gary Numan and the Sex Pistols. That’s basically how I learned how to play a lot of my instruments. It was kind of a natural progression for me on the guitar and on the drums.

For Hank Junior, Southern Rock was his thing. For Hank Senior, it was a little bit of country, blues and rock and roll. For me, it was just natural to learn other styles of music.

BLITZ: In a sense, you also carried on that perspective. Your grandfather reportedly had an interest in rhythm and blues, which was just coming into its own at that time. In turn, when Blitz Magazine interviewed your father, he mentioned that one of his early inspirations was Chubby Checker.

By that same token, from the onset, you seem to have embraced the rock of major label bands like Deep Purple, as well as the relatively underground movement espoused by Black Flag, the Sex Pistols and the Ramones with equal passion. Interestingly enough, at that time, those two camps were somewhat at odds, as though one was out to overtake or replace the other. Since that time, it seems that both camps have reconciled, though. Yet it seems that you always embraced both camps without that mindset.

HANK3: I’ve seen what you’re talking about. Sometimes jealousy or all of that stuff can come against bands. For me, that was a bit of a tricky one. When I was growing up, I liked Motley Crue. But I also liked Black Flag! Like you were saying, the followers of both were running down the street, hating each other as much as possible.

But with me, I just tried to keep an open mind. Throughout the country part of my show, I try to respect things, as I always try to give people their money’s worth. In the first part of the show, I always say, “I appreciate your coming out. I’m going to be doing some of these other sounds, which some of you might not like.” I think that kind of work ethic has helped me out in the long run, whereas it might have caused some issues with other bands.

BLITZ: There have been cases where artists have tried to move off into different directions or different genres. Or artists have taken careers that were established in one field and tried to establish themselves in another. Yet in those cases, there almost always seems to be some sort of resistance there.

You have always maintained that perspective. Yet for some reason, it seemed to have taken a long time before you committed your musical vision to record. You were involved in the Three Hanks project in 1996, in which you sang with your father and your grandfather’s recordings. But you didn’t make your debut as a solo artist until 1999, with the release of your Risin’ Outlaw album. Why the delay in putting your ideas into fruition?

HANK3: First of all, I wasn’t that crazy about that record, Three Hanks. I thought it was going to look bad, as if, “We’re paving the way for Hank3”. I naturally said, “Why don’t you wait ten years and then put that kind of record out?”

It was an honor to sing with Hank Senior and Hank Junior. But I definitely didn’t like the way that was done, being my very first country record.

The reason for the delay of the release of Risin’ Outlaw was up to Curb Records. They were getting used to me, and I was getting used to them. As time has gone on, I have probably been on my sixth year now without a manager. In some ways, it has worked to my benefit, just having the distribution company out there and putting out what I do, then going out on the road and trying to do it that way. 

BLITZ: You did go with Curb Records for the release of the Risin’ Outlaw album. You may or may not be aware of it, but in the 1960s, Mike Curb was involved with the Sidewalk and Tower labels, which were subsidiaries of Capitol Records. In the mid to late 1960s, they released a lot of film soundtracks and worked with independent first generation garage bands like the Standells, the Chocolate Watch Band and the Arrows.

Since that time, some of the artists who were involved with him have shared your sentiments about their experiences. Presumably you never sought out any of them for advice in that respect, then.

HANK3: Not really. It’s definitely a tough business. If you’re an artist or a musician that knows what your sound is and you know what you want on your records, it can always be a challenge.

For an artist like me, they just didn’t understand or get what I was doing. It doesn’t matter if you’re as big as someone on a huge scale level like Tim McGraw, or someone on a smaller level like myself. It seems like some of those same problems come up in the conversations!

BLITZ: Despite the circumstances behind it, if you look at the Risin’ Outlaw album from the perspective of an impartial, third party observer, there are definitely some tracks of merit in there. For example, it is very easy to be taken with your cover of Bobby Edwards’ You’re The Reason, which of course was also covered in 1965 by Gerry and the Pacemakers. You did a great, great job on that track. What inspired you to cover it?

HANK3: Honestly, I would go through all of the tapes and listen to the songs. And if I was going to be doing someone else’s songs, I at least got to pick out the songs. At the time that album was cut, the original version stood out a lot to me.

BLITZ: You once indicated that on the Risin’ Outlaw album, there are only a couple of tracks that still met with your standards. Presumably one of them was If The Shoe Fits, which states your case as an emerging artist quite well. In other words, “This is where I stand. You might not like it, but I am standing behind who I am”. Is that a fair assessment?

HANK3: Definitely! I would be down at Polygram or something, and see all of these people writing songs in offices. And I thought, “I’m not sure what the difference between y’all’s song is and one of my songs!” Songs like If The Shoe Fits, Mississippi Mud or Country Heroes, all of those in my eyes are decent songs.

Those are for my fans, and that was definitely one of the first to help get me on my way. It was before the heavy rhythm, high energy gallop was coming into play. But it was getting there!

BLITZ: You seem to have hit your stride in that respect with your next album, Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’.

HANK3: Yes! Working with (co-producer) Joe Funderburk on that record, and having (steel guitarist) Kayton Roberts there, working with musicians like that is always an awesome experience! It was a good learning curve. That was one of the last records that I got to do on tape to tape on the machines, pre-digital.

BLITZ: There is one song in particular on the Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’ album in which you and Blitz Magazine are definitely on the same page in that respect, the song Trashville. It seems to be an answer song of sorts within the country genre to Bob Seger’s Back In ’72, in which he talks about how the self indulgence in much of the music of the early 1970s crushed the music which had inspiration and took away the heart and the creative element. There were people who were trying to express themselves personally as individuals, but there was an undue obsession at the time with image and socio-political causes that took away from the heart of the music.

To take it a step further, Blitz Magazine has long maintained that country music’s last collective gasp of consequence was the so-called New Traditionalist movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, where artists like Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black, Carlene Carter, the Desert Rose Band and Highway 101 came in; plus a lot of the long time greats were concurrently able to return to the spotlight, like Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and your father. Would you say that was the cut off point when Nashville became Trashville? Or what was the cut off point for you?

HANK3: It goes back to that independent streak that I’ve had. I’ve always known myself and I’ve always known my songs. I’ve never really understood why someone needed to tell me how to write a song. If you think like that and you play like that, it’s not going to get you very far in Nashville!

I love living in Tennessee, and I love being born and raised in Nashville. There are just two streets that I didn’t get along with that well, as far as business goes. Because if you are a super creative person like you are saying, it’s a tough gig. For someone like me, they just didn’t understand what I do. It’s a challenge when you’re involved in it. The managers, the lawyers, the producers and all of that stuff.

Even back when I first started in Branson, they said, “You know what you need to do, and you know how to do it”. And that’s what I have always basically done. I had to do some time with Curb for a little while, just to get out there. But the deal is still writing the majority of my songs and trying to get out there on the road, doing the best I can and trying to hang in there with it.

It depends on what you’re in it for. I was in it for my sound, my songs. That’s just natural when you’re coming with a bloodline that’s as creative as mine! Some people get into it just to record that song that’s going to become a hit and definitely be played on that radio station. I have been just a little more independent in my ways of thinking.

BLITZ: It’s interesting that you have stuck with Nashville geographically. Consider the following scenario: In the early 1990s, an individual of our acquaintance was a successful radio producer in Southern California. But when the Northridge earthquake struck in January 1994, he panicked and relocated to Nashville, leaving behind his successful $100,000 a year career in Los Angeles.

His idea behind relocating to Nashville was to find success in that field in country music. But about a year after he relocated there, we spoke with the pastor of his church. The pastor told us, “Your friend came out here to die, and to die big time”. Instead of furthering his career in that respect, the former radio producer was now cleaning the house, taking out the trash and mowing the lawn for a successful Nashville producer and living close to the bone. Does such a scenario sound familiar from what you have observed? And if so, what did those involved do about it?

HANK3: For me, it’s not quite that bad. If you don’t set yourself up for that huge fall, then you’re never going to fall. Unfortunately, I have never been used to making that much money! I’ve just been out there trying to figure out how to break even. I had to file bankruptcy about ten years ago, just to keep it out on the road. But being born and raised here, I have gotten a lot of the respect of the old timers. That’s a tough one!

I’ve kept it inside of the bars. There’s something of beauty of not going outside of the bars. It’s been the perfect thing of not too big, not too small. I think that’s helped me a lot over the years.

BLITZ: To that effect, you have maintained your integrity, which means at least being able to sleep at night. We can return to the Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’ album as an example. The opening song, 7 Months, 39 Days is a masterpiece of the traditional country template. You took that sound and put your own personal, distinctive stamp on it. It sounds as though you are in solidarity with that genre of music yourself, yet you want to keep it within your own framework.

HANK3: I’m always open to working with other people. But when it comes to my records, I’m writing the songs! I am at least in a position now that’s great, when another musician calls me up and says, “Hey, man. You wanna sing on this record?” I say, “Sure!” I get to do it, and I have no problems.

I don’t have to miss out on a lot of great opportunities nowadays. I got to record with David Allan Coe. I’ve had Junior Brown here at the house. He likes the way I record and the vibe of the house. There are a lot of things I’m involved with. I’m not totally opposed to working with other people. I did a project for Alamo Jones, just for the sake of doing it. We did like a five song EP. I’m always trying to be creative. I’m just not trying to be creative with other people as much, but the door is still open.

BLITZ: You seem to have made peace with your so-called Family Tradition a lot earlier on than perhaps your father did. Early on in his own situation, the obvious reference point for his concerns in that respect was his 1966 Standing In The Shadows single for MGM. He took a stand for himself, and he did so quite well.

On the other hand, you have also taken quite an impressive stand for yourself. You have done what you do very well for roughly the past fifteen years. Yet you don’t hesitate to give credit where credit is due, and that’s great.

If nothing else, you have demonstrated that the Family Tradition means that the spark of creativity is found in each successive generation, but in an individual way. For example, a couple of years ago, you made a guest appearance on Marty Stuart’s television program, in which you sang an absolutely spot on, bone chilling version of your grandfather’s My Sweet Love Ain’t Around. Then you turned around and did it your own way, underscoring that the common theme of the bloodline is that each generation is creative, but in their own right. Is that assessment on target?

HANK3: Definitely! Once in a while, I will do a tribute to Hank Senior, just because there will never be another one. No one will ever come that close to doing it as good. You won’t see me doing a whole Hank Williams show. You will only see me doing a few. Maybe a couple of songs every now and then, but it’s usually for friends, or just for paying respect.

When I think of Hank Junior and Hank Senior and all of the things that they’ve done, I am strictly mesmerized as a musician, and as a songwriter, about all of the different phases that they have been through in life. So that is something with me. When I’m listening to music, I am always thinking about the process that they had to go through to write the songs. How they might have had to get up at 5:30 in the morning and go down to the radio station. How did they have a voice that early in the morning? I’m amazed by the talent and how they got it done.

BLITZ: Do you think it is possibly a matter of perception? For example, you are presumably familiar with the 2012 reissue CD on the Time Life label, Lost Concerts, which features two complete and previously unreleased 1952 concerts by Hank Senior. The traditional accounts of his life often suggest that things were not going well for him in 1952, with one challenge after another. Yet if you listen to the Lost Concerts CD, what is more than evident on there is an artist who is very much on top of his game. He was doing stand up comedy, his delivery was brilliant, he radiated joy and he was in absolute command of the proceedings. If indeed there were issues extant in his circumstances, you couldn’t make a convincing case of it with that record!

By that same token, certain things were expected of you. Curb Records and the Nashville elite wanted this and that out of you. But you defied their expectations and did things quite well. Is that then a case of the bloodline maintaining its independence and its creative spark?

HANK3: I think it just kind of shows itself naturally. If you look at my whole music career, I’m not trying to be that negative punk. I’m just trying to do what feels natural to me. Some have said that I have held myself back for a lot of years. But it just goes back to that not being too big and not being too small. It’s just being in my niche! Being a drummer and a rhythm guitar player, throughout most of my young life has brought me into a situation like, when Johnny Hiland takes a solo on my record, he says, “Man, your rhythms just really stick out to me. I play on a lot of records around town, and no one has these kind of rhythms!”

So when I hear a compliment like that from someone who is looking at me in the now and not even at the past hardly at all, it’s good to hear that kind of a comment from such a high end musician. Theory and songwriting has always been tough for me with my learning disabilities over the years. It’s always a challenge to pump that stuff out.

BLITZ: It’s interesting that you alluded to exploring the dark themes. That interim period after the release of Rebel Proud, amidst those later Curb reissues, like Hillbilly Joker, Ghost To A Ghost/Gutter Town, 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’ and Attention Deficit Domination, those albums seem to explore a lot of dark themes. Is it more of a situation of sharing first hand experiences, or perhaps doubling as a red flag of sorts to your audience, saying “Don’t go too far over the edge”? How do you view it?

HANK3: I would look at it more like when Johnny Cash would sing a sad lonesome song, or talking about taking his guns to town and killing somebody. You can only hear so much squeaky clean happy stuff on the radio, or whatnot. There has to be room for a lot of other stuff. I’ve just fallen into that “other stuff” category! I’m able to write about that other stuff a little more easily.

I definitely don’t try to push too much religion or too much politics. I do put it out there that yes, there is the light, and yes, there is the dark. And my granddad sang about the light, and he sang about the dark. I’m kind of doing it that same way. The genres are just a little more extreme nowadays. There is a whole genre called doom metal, which had that spooky, eerie, kind of ghostly feel to it.

Like on the new record, when I have songs like Deep Scars or Loners 4 Life, then I’ll turn around and put a good time feeling song in there, like Dreadful Drive, with the clawhammer banjo. Or Possum In A Tree, getting a little bit old school with Leroy Troy, just to brighten it up a little bit.

I’m always trying to keep some balance in mind. 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’ is kind of a lighthearted, fun record. It’s not getting real serious. I tell all the kids that! I’m always trying to have that come across.

BLITZ: You have two of the best new albums of 2013 to date with Brothers Of The 4x4 and A Fiendish Threat. On the track Possum In A Tree in your new Brothers Of The 4x4 album, there is some inventive steel guitar work. The delivery is, like you said, pure. Is there an attempt with that track to capture some of the novelty spirit of the genre, as perhaps your grandfather did with Kaw-Liga?

HANK3: I wrote that song for Leroy Troy. Leroy Troy is a purist, clawhammer banjo king. Yes, I wanted that song to sound more old school. I wrote it with him in mind.

That was my first attempt at trying to play steel guitar. I took my recorder over there. Me and him tracked it live in his shed out back. There’s a lot of reasons why that song is going to stand out. It sounds a little more low-fi than a lot of the record would. There is a reason for that. As Leroy Troy would say, “And to top it off, it’s a true story, too!”

That was definitely a good, lighthearted, fun recording session. I can’t wait to play it for Leroy. He gets to hear it when it’s officially done. I want to see his expression in person!

BLITZ: You mentioned the musicianship of the band. The title track on Brothers Of The 4x4 and Lookey Yonder Comin’ both feature strong instrumental workouts that celebrate the joy of the lyrics, but also showcase the strong musicianship of those who are playing on there with you.

You have always surrounded yourself with really strong musicians, who tend to soar when given the opportunity. Do you find that outside players gravitate to your work for that reason?

HANK3: I’m lucky enough to have a lot of the same players come back every time I make a record. Over both records, there is two and a half hours of music. Yet there is only about twenty minutes of editing. So almost all of these songs might have taken a hundred times to get that one take. But that’s how we did it. The players are definitely steppin’ up to the plate on those songs, like you were saying.

Johnny Hiland was the first guy to lay down some outside stuff on it. Then Daniel Mason on the banjo, Andy Gibson on the steel guitar, and Zach Shedd on the stand up bass. It’s always a challenge, doing the engineering and the recording process of it. Sometimes the players look at me, wanting me to tell them what to play. Then other guys just already know what they’re going to play and lay it down.

BLITZ: It works very well in that respect, too. It seems like with the Brothers Of The 4x4 album, you are shifting the focus a bit more towards instrumental dexterity, rather than lyrical content. Would that be a fair assessment?

HANK3: I’ve always loved the great musicians. It just goes back to writing vocals being a challenge for me. Yeah, I like turning the band up! If you listen to my mixes, you’re going to hear kick drum and snare pretty loud. I’m a fan of the band.

When I was growing up, I never could understand why a lot of the live band members weren’t playing on the records. That always baffled me. So I am lucky enough nowadays that the majority of my live band plays on the record. I get to see some friends that I’ve made over the years come in and do some of the super pickin’, just layin’ it down like it was nothing. Johnny Hiland and Billy Contreras.

BLITZ: You mentioned the clawhammer style of banjo picking. In the past, you seem to have professed an interest in the real pioneers of that work, such as David “Stringbean” Akeman. He was a forerunner of that style when he recorded for Starday. You even covered one of his songs. Would you say that Outdoor Plan from your new album is an attempt to carry on his mission statement? Or at least that of Elton Britt, Uncle Dave Macon or Hank Snow? There is a little bit of all of them in that song.

HANK3: What you are basically picking up on is the man who has been like my grandfather growing up, and that’s Eddie Pleasant. He writes probably two to three songs per day. That song is a co-write, and a lot of those influences are coming across on that song. That’s probably what you’re feeling. Even though he loved it when it was just me and my acoustic guitar. I put a little more of a current kind of bounce under it.

There is a lot more Stringbean that I probably need to get close to. I have some of his records that I want to get to in the future. It brings me peace. When I’m not feeling good, I can just pick up the banjo, go outside and sit down under the tree. There’s something about it that soothes my soul! I know I’ll be doing a little more recording of that one day.

BLITZ: You have stated in recent years that you get that same gratification from sitting down and listening to your record collection. Does that still resonate with you?

HANK3: Absolutely! I go through my highs and lows. If I’m not super busy with the crew, and the trailer is loaded, the gear is in place and the merch is counted, I have some times! Hasil Adkins is one of the guys that can make me hurt if I need to hurt. I can put on some of his songs and definitely get past some emotions. If I feel like working strong through the day, I’ll have Jimmy Martin blasting in the background and getting some stuff done. Music is still definitely tapping into my emotions very strongly, when I’m just listening to it.

BLITZ: Have you added to your collection lately?

HANK3: Right now, I’m kind of stuck. I’ve been into a lot of ’70s rock and roll, and getting into a lot of Roy Duke. I’ve been fascinated with Dock Boggs over the years. Something about Dock Boggs has just grown more and more on me. There is something about the banjo and the singers.

I save a lot of it for when I’m on the road. That’s when I do a lot of my vinyl shopping. I haven’t been on the road in almost a year. So I’m a little out of touch!

BLITZ: You at least maintained enough of that inspiration to be creative enough in the studio to produce an album like A Fiendish Threat. If you were looking to perhaps capture the spirit of Black Flag, the Sex Pistols or, to a lesser extent, the Ramones, you nailed it!

HANK3: Whatever music style it is, whether we are calling it punk rock or not, I think it has a unique sound for it all being played and sang at the same time on the acoustic guitar. The acoustic and the stand up bass has made it its own little whatever people call it.

My friends that I have known my whole life are saying, “What are you calling this?” I just know that it was a record that was a lot of fun for me to record. It made me feel like I was a younger man on some of those vocal takes. A lot of high energy! Imagine a skateboarder that had a really bad wreck, and he’s got to piece himself back together. I’m putting a lot of the “rebuild yourself” kind of hope into that record. There are some positive messages in that one.

BLITZ: That brings to mind another tangent of your Family Tradition situation. You are of course a father. You have a son and a daughter. If either of them approaches you and seeks your advice on music, how would you guide them? What would you suggest to them?

HANK3: With my son, while he’s still in college, I am backing him, no matter what! I always tell him to learn a trade. He’s kind of going through spurts of playing the guitar for a while. Then he will play the banjo for a little bit. Then he will be all about capturing sound with tape decks! Either way, I’m always telling him to try to learn a trade, and play your guitar as much as possible. It’s going to take you a little while to figure out what your calling is.

But I am glad to have the open relationship and to be supportive. It’s always interesting to see him go through the changes, trying to figure out what he wants to do. My main thing is, “You’re young. Enjoy being young while you can. You know I’m here to help you out whenever you need it.

BLITZ: During the times that you were both endeavoring to get started in your own respective careers, did you ever exchange feedback with your sister, Holly for ideas?

HANK3: Me and Holly have never talked all that much on a musical level, probably because we may both be a little bit afraid that we don’t want to offend each other! We just keep it as a family relationship. She knows that I respect her as a musician, and I think that she does the same. I think for right now that’s the best thing for us. We don’t want any of the business messing us up!

BLITZ: A couple of the more interesting tracks on A Fiendish Threat are Watchin’ U Suffer, Fight My Way and Full On. What is the background on those?

HANK3: Watchin’ You Suffer is in a deeper tuning. That’s one reason why it might sound a little different. It’s got a little bit of that melody kind of drive to it. That’s where a little bit of the sci-fi stuff might be coming in to it. If you’re thinking about some 1950s kind of alien movie, where they’re up in the sky watching you suffer, it’s that kind of thing.

Fight My Way is definitely inspired one hundred percent by 7 Seconds, to the point where I was calling them up and telling them, “This comes from y’all one hundred percent, and I need y’all’s permission before I can go through with this!” They gave me their blessings. That was a song that just spoke to me a lot when I was growing up.

Full On is just one of those creative, kind of going for it full on songs of energy, all at once.

BLITZ: When these two albums are released, you may confound expectations, but you should also meet them. Those who have known you and your music, and know that you have pursued multiple directions will be pleased to see how much your work has grown.

That of course leads to the issue of how these new releases will come to the attention of your audience. For example, of course for much of your father’s career, the goal was to get on a major label, make a record, get it on the radio, get it played, get the disc jockeys behind you, and then you will be a success.

But as you are no doubt aware, in the ensuing years, the game has changed radically in that the independent artist and label has largely taken over. Radio has lost a lot of its impact. Commercial music is no longer universally held up as the standard for all to attain. The major labels have pretty much begun to focus on reissues and catalog items, because they cannot do justice to artists as they once could, while a lot of the artists are doing that sort of thing for themselves now. Fan support, technology and social websites have further enabled the independent artist to do that. To what extent do you envision those developments furthering your own career?

HANK3: There is something that my dad had that I’ve never had. He had a great relationship with his managers. That is huge! I’ve never had that. I’ve had a couple that I had been close to for a little bit. But when you’re talking about Merle Kilgore and Hank Williams Junior, I’ve never had anything that powerful in my corner.

BLITZ: It was Merle Kilgore who set up the interviews that Blitz Magazine conducted with your father years ago. He couldn’t have been nicer. A world class gentleman.

HANK3: No doubt. But you need to understand that if you are talking about the music business, what Merle did for Hank Junior was pretty huge. It’s hard to say with an artist like me, but when I see some of my heroes in a tough situation when they get to an older age, it’s either going to work for me, or it’s not. It’s really hard to say.

I had taken advice from Henry Rollins a long time ago. He said, “You work hard. You tour hard. You know your sound. All you need is good distribution, and that’s it.” I’ve stuck by those words, and it’s helped me out a lot.

I’m not saying for certain, but one day I might have a manger again. Someone I feel comfortable with. But most of the time, I’ve found that there are some artists that management just doesn’t work for. I think I’m one of those, just because I’m creative in a lot of ways.

BLITZ: Henry Rollins has maintained a level of success over the decades by constantly reinventing himself. After he left Black Flag, he did spoken word recordings. Then he became an author and a newspaper columnist. Most recently, he has been dabbling in acting. He has been all over the map, but he has nonetheless had success in every one of those ventures. Like you said, he worked hard and asserted himself. Presumably that is also what you are trying to do right now.

HANK3: Absolutely! He is definitely one of my heroes. A lot of my heroes usually have a high work ethic. Sometimes I wish that I could hang in there as much as Henry does. He’s so smart, and he takes on everything. I am hoping to get more and more stronger as I go. People like him, who kind of understand my history a little bit, have helped me conquer a lot of my challenges.

After I’m fifty, I really don’t know what’s going to happen musically for me. It’s going to be hard for me to look past that. Having someone like Henry Rollins to look up to, shows me that there might be other things in life that will ring true for me some day.

BLITZ: So you aren’t thinking creative muse long term as much as you are a survival strategy.

HANK3: I’m more concerned about not being able to pull off the show that I want to pull off! Can I still put on the country and the heavy metal? Every tour is a challenge. I am definitely living more in the now than I am in the future, because if you look at my financial past and all of that, it’s always ups and downs. Every night when you play, sometimes there are a thousand people, some nights there are a hundred people. But they still get the same show! And I’m still there if I’m sick or if I’m well. I’m gonna be up on that stage, doing the best I can, and letting someone forget about their problems for a little while.

BLITZ: It’s interesting that you are concerned about being able to maintain and execute your musical vision once you pass a certain chronological point. In recent years, we have seen a lot of first generation garage rock and related bands such as the Yellow Payges, the Monkees, the Young Rascals, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys all take to the road again to considerable acclaim, in spite of such concerns. Would taking it from the standpoint of heightened self-confidence help in that respect?

HANK3: Absolutely! I’m always astounded by some of the older guys that can keep bringin’ it to the table. Two nights ago, I went and saw Adam Ant. The first time I saw him was in 1984. He still has the voice. He still sounds like the guy that I looked up to way back then. I am always amazed by the Iggy Pops and the Willie Nelsons. These guys are still out there singin’ and playin’ and takin’ it to the next level!

I am always fascinated with the voice. For me, the voice is something that is hard to hold on to. On the road, you lose it and it gets weak. It gets gravelly. And sometimes, when you get older, just listening to Hank Junior records, you can hear how much his voice dropped, aside from the mountain fall and all of that.

Or Robert Plant. He is another perfect example of how things change when you get older. It’s always a challenge, that’s for sure! It keeps you on your toes. Who knows what will be waiting around the corner?

BLITZ: Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz, who has a wide and commanding vocal range, keeps his voice up by doing vocal exercises. Many artists also work out in the gym to prepare themselves for the rigors of the road.

HANK3: I have also been psyching myself up mentally in getting ready for the tours. I do nothing but stretch and breathe steam. I’m not the kind of guy who can just walk out on stage and have my voice. After a week and a half into it, I have to work at it two to four hours every day just to get it there. I do warm ups, stretching and exercises to get it to where I want it. Singing three and a half hours a night is always a hard thing.

BLITZ: Is that part of the reason why your upcoming tour is relatively brief, so that you don’t over extend yourself? Some artists have toured up to two years consecutively at a time. But your upcoming tour is scheduled to be completed in roughly a month.

HANK3: I’m just trying to see what a few weeks is going to do to me right now. I’m doing a small run. The longest I can go is a month and a half. Doing three and a half hour shows and four different genres per night? Now if I was just a country act, I could maybe pull off five to six months straight. But doing all of the other hard singing is a lot more tricky for me, mentally and physically.

BLITZ: How much of the set list in your upcoming tour will feature material from the two new albums?

HANK3: The country show will just be here and there, because of the fans. I’ve got my songs that a lot of the people want to hear. Foundation songs.

In October, there will be a lot more. I call this next tour the Nothin’ In It tour! I'm just gearing myself up for a harder run and a lot more work. I’m saving the energy just to get really personally excited for the next two years out there.

BLITZ: With regards to your two new releases, what is your perspective on the current developments in the industry? As you are aware, there has been a lot of interest in bringing back vinyl. Conversely, there has been a push from other camps in the industry towards eliminating physical product and making everything available only as a download. In the middle of it all is the compact disc. All three camps seem to be at odds with one another, each saying that their respective formats have a place, and they don’t want to concede it. What is your take on format availability?

HANK3: I seriously hope that people always have a chance to hold the product in their hands. Both the CD and the vinyl album. I know that vinyl will probably outlast the CDs. But as long as there is something there for them to hold on to, read and flip through, well, you just can’t replace that! Digital downloads are great, but it’s just not the same.

Like you are saying, hopefully it will hang in there. It needs paper and ink!

Since we’re talking about vinyl, I don’t carry that much of it on the road. I always tell everyone that is the place to get the vinyl. If anyone does come out to see me live, I usually don’t have an opening band. I always tell people that we usually play early. If the showtime is eight o’clock, then we are usually on stage at eight o’clock, as we often play about three and a half hours.

We cover a lot of different genres. I always do the country part of the show first, and the rock part as the night goes on. We’ve had a lot of great shows at the Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan over the years. There is always a lot of energy in the room on those nights!



A TOWER OF STRENGTH? The Los Angeles-based trio, the Eiffels (pictured above) draw upon the inspiration of the best of the early 1980s new romantics and straight ahead rockers to produce a highly unique and extremely promising original sound, as evidenced in their debut single, I Did It Now. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell has the story below (Click on above image to enlarge).

Front man and co-founder of the legendary first generation garage band, Doctor West's Medicine Show And Junk Band, Norman Joel Greenbaum remains in critical condition after the 2002 Subaru Outback driven by partner and colleague Bonita Kay Capps (in which Greenbaum was a passenger) was struck by a motorcycle near Santa Rosa, California on 28 March.

As the lead vocalist and principal songwriter for Doctor West's Medicine Show And Junk Band, Greenbaum and his entourage enjoyed considerable acclaim in November 1966 with the single release of their irresistible, jug band-inspired original composition for the Go Go label, The Eggplant That Ate Chicago. The band soon after released a duly inspired album for Go Go that featured such memorable tracks as Weird and How Lew Sin Ate, and finally gained similar acclaim in 1967 for their Gondoliers, Overseers, Shakespeares, Playboys And Bums single; again on the Go Go label.

Greenbaum enjoyed further accolades as a solo artist for Reprise in the early 1970s, with such memorable tracks as Canned Ham, Petaluma and the Spring 1970 monster classic Gospel rocker, Spirit In The Sky. His sublime mid-tempo composition, Hook And Ladder provided Reprise label mate Nancy Sinatra with a first rate, career high single that same year.

Greenbaum's family has asked for both privacy and prayers during this challenging season.


Prayers continue for Jefferson Airplane co-founder and guitarist, Paul Kantner, who on 30 March had a stent inserted into a ninety-nine percent blocked artery after suffering a heart attack on 27 March.

Widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's most impacting bands, Jefferson Airplane produced a number of enduring standards for the RCA Victor label, including Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil, 3/5 Of A Mile In Ten Seconds, She Has Funny Cars, Volunteers, It's No Secret and the monster classic 1967 single, Somebody To Love. Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady was interviewed at length in Blitz Magazine in the 1980s, during his tenure with the band SVT.

A spokesman for Kantner indicated that the beloved veteran musician is stable, making progress and expected to return home to San Francisco by week's end.



A cohesive argument could be made for the so-called New Traditionalist movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s being country music's last collective musical gasp of consequence. That highly impacting return to form brought into the forefront such ambitious artists as the Desert Rose Band, Highway 101, Clint Black, Carlene Carter, Dwight Yoakam, Holly Dunn, Randy Travis, Restless Heart and Ricky Van Shelton. In the process, such pioneering giants of the idiom found themselves again rightly hailed as the absolute masters that they have always been, including George Jones, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Bill Anderson.

If indeed the rise of New Traditionalism was the last overall highly impacting musical movement, it could be argued that the diverse and enormously impacting so-called punk/new wave movement that rose to prominence in the mid-to-late1970s through such artists as the Sex Pistols, Dave Edmunds, the Clash, the Ramones, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello, and which by the early 1980s had splintered into several sub-genres (including new romanticism and hardcore), was the most recent rock and roll movement to unite its most diverse factions for maximum, positive impact and influence.

It is one of the latter sub-genres that in part fuels the mission statement of the ambitious and highly promising Los Angeles-based trio, the Eiffels. Comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Sean Ulbs, bassist (and Beware Of Darkness alumnus) Benjamin Sturley, and drummer Lee Stuart, the Eiffels profess an affinity for the rich and diverse output of the straight ahead rock, synth-pop and new romantic sub-tangents, typified by such artists as Haircut One Hundred, Roman Holliday, Tears For Fears, the Buzzcocks, Wide Boy Awake, Generation X, the Romantics and the Beat.

Inasmuch as the acclaimed Groovy U.N.C.L.E. has recently produced original material that stands alongside the best first generation garage rock, the Eiffels likewise more than prove their mettle as architects building upon their chosen inspirations with their debut single, I Did It Now. The band will follow up with their debut EP, which was co-produced by Ethan Kaufmann and Will Brierre, and is scheduled for May 2015 release. The EP will be supported with a nationwide tour that will include stops in Orange County, San Diego, Albuquerque, El Paso, Kansas City, Seattle, Eugene, Boise, Des Moines, Chicago and at home in Los Angeles, along with several other cities.



In Blitz Magazine's musical archives, there have been three vinyl albums throughout the decades that were played so extensively on our turntables as to wear them out completely.

One of those three albums was the monaural edition of the June 1965 Mercury Records compilation, The Golden Hits Of Lesley Gore. While it stands to reason that a Greatest Hits collection by a given artist might by definition have an edge in that respect, in the case of the New York City native and vocalist/songwriter who was born Lesley Sue Goldstein on 02 May 1946, it serves more as a reflection of the extraordinary talent of the artist herself, who was named Best Female Vocalist of the Twentieth Century by Blitz Magazine.
To be certain, a collection that sports such world class material as All Of My Life, I Don't Wanna Be A Loser, You Don't Own Me, She's A Fool, Judy's Turn To Cry, That's The Way Boys Are, Maybe I Know, the Marvin Hamlisch-penned Sunshine Lollipops And Rainbows (which found new life in 1965 as a two year old album track via its inclusion in the acclaimed motion picture, Ski Party) and the utterly stupendous 1963 monster classic, It's My Party could be deemed as nothing less than essential.

Gore persevered through the rest of her tenure with Mercury as a student at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York (from which she graduated with a degree in English and American literature), while making the occasional television appearance as a vocalist or in an acting role (most notably on the Batman series). Through it all, her impeccable standards were not compromised, as evidenced via such essential high drama singles as My Town My Guy And Me, I Won't Love You Anymore (Sorry), California Nights and a medley of Mercury label mates Keith's 98.6 and Spanky and Our Gang's Lazy Day. 

Subsequent releases for Crewe, Motown's Mowest subsidiary, A&M, 51 West and Engine Company maintained her discerning standards. In the 1980s, she also recorded a landmark duet with the great Lou Christie and continued to tour prolifically. 

Tragically, Gore had battled cancer in recent months. She succumbed to the disease on 16 February at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Survivors include her brother, Michael Gore, who co-authored her 1966 We Know We're In Love single. Gore was 68.


Sadly, the first musical casualty of 2015 is also one of its most beloved figures. Grand Old Opry veteran, long time Columbia Records artist, vocalist, songwriter, humorist, outspoken country music advocate and Bolt, West Virginia native, James Cecil “Jimmy” Dickens passed away in a Nashville, Tennessee hospital on 02 January after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day and cardiac arrest on the day of his passing.

Having begun his musical career in the late 1930s on WJLS radio in Beckley, West Virginia while attending West Virginia University, Dickens spent the next decade touring as Jimmy The Kid. He was performing on WKNX radio in Saginaw, Michigan in 1948 when he came to the attention of country music pioneer and Columbia recording artist Roy Claxton Acuff, who in turn introduced Dickens to the Grand Ole Opry and the label. By decade’s end, Dickens recorded his debut 78 for Columbia, Take An Old Cold ’Tater (And Wait) (Columbia 20548) as Jimmie Dickens, and became a regular fixture on the Opry; a position he would hold for the remainder of his life.

In the ensuing years, Dickens recorded prolifically for Columbia, with many of his tracks amongst the earliest examples of the fusion of rock and roll and country that became rockabilly. Some of his career highlights include They Locked God Outside Of The Iron Curtain, Lola Lee, Sidemeat And Cabbage, Out Behind The Barn, Stinky Boogie, Country Boy Bounce, We Lived It Up, Police, Police, When The Ship Hit The Sand and the November 1965 monster classic, Bird Of Paradise. He also recorded the Gospel staple, Old Country Church as a duet with the late, great Hank Williams.

In addition to his formidable skills as a musician, Jimmy Dickens was perhaps even more beloved in his role as outspoken ambassador for pure country music, possibly rivaling former Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda in his pure unbridled and outspoken enthusiasm for his chosen field. Dickens continued to perform at the Grand Ole Opry until 20 December 2014. He is survived by his wife, Mona and daughters Pamela Detert and Lisa King. Dickens was 94.


"I know you! You're the president of the Ray Charles Fan Club!"

So said Blitz Magazine Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell to Sheffield, South Yorkshire native and vocalist extraordinaire John Robert "Joe" Cocker, upon meeting him for the first time backstage after a live concert performance in the late 1970s, where he had shared the bill with Atlantic label recording artist Jay Boy Adams. The genial, gregarious and most gracious Cocker warmly welcomed the suggestion and responded at length how Charles' one of a kind musical persona was a major inspiration in his own mission statement.

That mission statement included a brief stint with the Cavaliers in 1960, where he performed primarily Lonnie Donegan-type material and continued to develop and perfect his capabilities as a world class soul shouter. By 1961, he had adapted the stage name Vance Arnold, inspired by ABC Paramount Records' rockabilly legend Vince Everett and country music pioneer Eddy Arnold. With his band, the Avengers, Cocker as Arnold featured covers of Ray Charles and Chuck Berry material in his set. By 1964 he felt confident enough in his capabilities to cut his debut single, I'll Cry Instead under his own name.

After a year's sabbatical from music, Cocker reemerged in 1966 fronting the Grease Band. By 1968, they had firmly established themselves with a faithful and inspiring cover of Joe Brown's With A Little Help From My Friends.

Seeing his enormous potential, A&M Records in the United States signed Cocker, who over the next several years firmly established himself alongside John Fred, Mitch Ryder, Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz, and the Animals' Eric Burdon as one of the world's leading soul shouters, with such first rate singles as his definitive rendition of Traffic's Feelin' Alright, plus Delta Lady, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, a cover of the Arbors/Box Tops classic The Letter, You Are So Beautiful (which also found its way into the repertoires of both the Beach Boys and Billy Preston, who co-authored the song with Cocker) and the utterly stupendous, 1971 self-penned (with Chris Stainton) High Time We Went. Cocker's 1970 Mad Dogs And Englishmen for A&M is also widely regarded as one of the greatest live albums in all of rock and roll.

Cocker was of course also one of the featured artists in the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival in New York. In 1994, Cocker joined in the celebration of the festival's twenty-fifth anniversary, where he provided one of the festival's highlights with a tour de force rendition of High Time We Went.

Cocker and his wife, Pam Baker in recent years had relocated to their duly named Mad Dog Ranch in Crawford, Colorado. Cocker continued to tour and perform regularly, releasing the acclaimed Fire It Up album in 2012. Sadly, not long after its release, he contracted lung cancer, which finally claimed his life on 22 December 2014. Cocker was 70.


He has been called the master of reinvention. Indeed, few have enjoyed as substantial of a career renaissance as did pioneering rocker and Muswell Hill, North London native, Bernard William Jewry. 

Jewry began his musical career in 1960 as road manager for the aspiring Shane Fenton and the Fentones. The band had recorded a demo, which was sent to the BBC for consideration. 

In the interim, front man Shane Fenton passed away suddenly from rheumatic fever at age seventeen. At his mother's prompting, the band opted to persevere, with road manager Jewry assuming both front man responsibilities and the stage name of his fallen colleague.

That move was ultimately a most fortuitous one, with Jewry as Shane Fenton proving to be a world class vocalist in the vein of Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Billy Fury. Shane Fenton and the Fentones signed with Parlophone, where from 1961 to 1964, they released such inspired singles as Walk Away, It's All Over Now, Too Young For Sad Memories, I Do Do You and their utterly stupendous signature track, 1961's I'm A Moody Guy. And in one of the all time great summit meetings of rock and roll, Shane Fenton and the Fentones co-starred with the legendary Billy Fury in the classic 1962 motion picture, Play It Cool. 

But when the so-called British Invasion came into being, the Fentones opted to disband. Fenton persevered for a season as both a solo artist and upon occasion with his wife, Iris Caldwell (who was the sister of fellow veteran rocker, Rory Storm), and also worked in artist management. 

As was the case for many a pioneering rocker, the early 1970s were a most unproductive and challenging time. Nonetheless, there were a number of artists who rose to the occasion and stood their ground against the mainstream in favor of the genuine article. Never was this more apparent than during one particular week in mid-1972, when three of the most beloved and influential veteran rockers (Rick Nelson, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley) had the top three selling singles in the United States. 

In turn, others such as the band Mud and former Love Sculpture lead guitarist Dave Edmunds began to outspokenly champion basic rock and roll, and their numbers grew exponentially. Duly reinvigorated, Fenton took a suggestion from Magnet Records' Michael "Lord" Levy and reinvented himself as Alvin Stardust. 

As Alvin Stardust, Fenton enjoyed an unparalleled career renaissance. My Coo Ca Choo brought him his first consequential recognition as such in 1973. It was followed by such noteworthy singles as Pretend, I Won't Run Away and the inevitable I Feel Like Buddy Holly.

Fenton in his Alvin Stardust persona also contributed significantly to Gospel music. His 1986 I Hope And Pray single with former CBN co-host Sheila Walsh met with considerable acclaim, which led to a role in the UK stage production of Godspell. In 1989, he briefly hosted the children's television program, It's Stardust.

Fenton/Stardust remained active in each of the aforementioned disciplines until the present day, juggling his professional responsibilities with his family commitments. Each of his four children has achieved a remarkable measure of success in their own right. Oldest son Shaun Fenton is a school teacher. Second son Adam is a music producer. His daughter, Sophie Jewry is a graphic designer. And in her early teens, younger daughter Millie Margaret May is being indirectly blessed with an extraordinary musical education, with rock and roll great, Sir Cliff Richard serving as her godfather. 

Despite a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer, Jewry continued to perform live as Alvin Stardust. He recently completed a CD of all new material, which will be released shortly. Tragically, the disease nonetheless took its toll, and he succumbed to it on 23 October, thus bringing to a premature end one of the most extraordinary careers in all of music. Jewry/Fenton/Stardust was 72 and is survived by his third wife, choreographer Julie Paton and his four children.

If Blitz Magazine is The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People, then musician, musicologist and fellow record collector Tim Hauser was the personification of our target demographic.

A native of Troy, New York, Hauser made a most memorable debut into the world of music in 1959 as a founding member of the Criterions. With lead vocals by John Mangi, the Criterions signed with Cecilia Records that year and turned out two of doo wop's finest moments with I Remain Truly Yours and Don't Say Goodbye. Hauser and Criterions members Tommy West and Jim Ruf persevered as a time as the folk trio, the Troubadours Three, while Hauser pursued his studies in economics at Villanova University.

During his years at Villanova, Hauser also began a lifelong fascination with broadcasting; serving at the university's affiliate station, WWVU. He continued to pursue his interest in music as a member of the Villanova Singers, alongside classmate and future solo artist, Jim Croce.

Following graduation, Hauser served in both the United States Air Force and National Guard. In 1965, he made a brief foray into the world of advertising as a marketing research analyst, with such noteworthy clients as Lever Brothers and Johnson and Johnson to his credit.

But true to form, Hauser's first love remained music. And in 1969, he launched the venture that would ultimately define him, with the formation of Manhattan Transfer. Comprised of Hauser, Gene Pistilli, Marty Nelson, Erin Dickens and the late Pat Rosalia, the ambitious quintet signed with Capitol and released the acclaimed Jukin' album.

While at the label, Manhattan Transfer also cut a sublime cover of Bob Dylan's Winterlude as a 6/8 dreamscape piece, complete with lavish and sublime vocal harmony. It was that Capitol Records single that brought Manhattan Transfer to the attention of Blitz Magazine and forever ensured their position in the upper echelons of group harmony.

However, creative differences brought the original Manhattan Transfer line up to a premature end. Determined nonetheless to keep the group's mission statement going while serving briefly as a taxicab driver, Hauser teamed up with the like minded vocalist Laurel Masse. The pair met fellow musicologist Janis Siegel at a party, and eventually recruited Grease veteran Alan Paul to to complete the line up. Hauser, Masse, Siegel and Paul subsequently signed with Atlantic Records and over the next several decades firmly established themselves as the world's premier vocal quartet.

Masse's tenure with the group ended while she was recuperating from an automobile accident. She was replaced in 1978 by the highly versatile and subsequently prolific solo artist and vocal coach, Cheryl Bentyne. It was that line up that persevered to the present day, with such groundbreaking albums as Music For Moderns, Bop Doo-Wopp, The Offbeat Of Avenues and Couldn't Be Hotter to their credit.

Throughout the decades, it was their mastery of many divergent styles that continued to serve them well. In terms of cover material, the group soared no matter what the source, making well established classics by the likes of the King Cole Trio, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Four Seasons, the Ad Libs, the Capris, Art and Dotty Todd, the Videos and Marvin Gaye their own. In turn, their original material made them virtually untouchable as a quadruple threat, with all four members contributing prolifically in a variety of disciplines.

In recent years, Blitz Magazine has had the pleasure and privilege of dialoguing with the various members of Manhattan Transfer on a regular basis. Beginning with a lengthy interview with the group's Alan Paul several years ago, the group has from time to time continued to share its passion as fellow musicologists, musicians and record collectors with Blitz.

Some years ago, the members of Manhattan Transfer astutely relocated to Southern California. And to his considerable credit, Hauser (along with such long time musical friends and colleagues as former Balancing Act guitarist Willie Aron, Tokens co-founder and original drummer Mitch Margo and beloved Blue Cat/Cameo label veteran solo artist Evie Sands) reflected his enthusiasm accordingly as a fellow hardcore fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Like the others, Hauser attended home games at Chavez Ravine regularly and was passionate about sharing his enthusiasm about MLB's premier franchise with Blitz and others.

Although Manhattan Transfer has continued to record and perform live regularly, both Hauser and Cheryl Bentyne were sidelined from the group for brief seasons within the past few years, due to major illnesses. To his considerable credit, Hauser successfully overcame prostate cancer (as did his long time friend and fellow musical visionary, Billy Vera), and also underwent successful spinal surgery. With Hauser and Bentyne back in fighting shape, the group had planned a series of live dates to take them through the remainder of 2014.

However, for Hauser, it was not meant to be. Tragically, he passed away unexpectedly on 16 October, just weeks prior to his seventy-third birthday. He is survived by his wife, Barb and two adult children. Thankfully, Manhattan Transfer has vowed to persevere in his memory. 


Although the news was inevitable, the multitudes who counted themselves amongst the band's faithful nonetheless were saddened by the news that beloved Paul Revere and the Raiders founder and keyboardsman, Paul Revere lost his long time battle with cancer on 05 October at his Idaho home.

Beginning as the Downbeats in 1958, the band that eventually became Paul Revere and the Raiders went on to cut a number of first rate sides for the Gardena label, including Beatnik Sticks, Like Long Hair, Orbit (The Spy) and the early Mark Lindsay vocal, Sharon.

Paul Revere and the Raiders then signed with Columbia, and in short order became America's premier first generation garage band. With a world class line up that included at various points along the way Revere, vocalist Lindsay, guitarists Drake Levin, Freddy Weller and Jim Valley, bassist Phil Volk and drummer Mike Smith, Paul Revere and the Raiders released a number of singles and albums for the label that rank among the finest in the genre, including Steppin' Out, Just Like Me, SS396, Kicks (which was subsequently covered by the Monkees), Good Thing, The Great Airplane Strike, Ups And Downs, Leslie (a B-side, which featured a rare Revere lead vocal), Tighter (a highlight of their 1967 Revolution! album), Him Or Me, What's It Gonna Be?, I Had A Dream, Too Much Talk, Don't Take It So Hard, Cinderella Sunshine, Let Me, Indian Reservation, Powder Blue Mercedes Queen and Love Music.

Although the band's Columbia era veterans each went on to great success in other musical ventures, Paul Revere kept the Raiders active until the present day, earning great ongoing acclaim as one of the world's finest live bands.

Sadly, earlier this year, Revere announced his retirement from the road, due to health concerns. True to form, he gave the battle his one hundred and fifty percent effort, but victory was not meant to be. Paul Revere was 76.


By the time that Blitz Magazine (and several others of similar intent) rose to prominence in the mid-1970s, radio had for the most part greatly diminished in its capacity as a viable source for worthwhile music.

Indeed, the times they were a-changin', and those of us in music journalism found ourselves fulfilling that role to an increasing degree. In terms of new releases, that task was made somewhat easier by the concurrent growth and development of the so-called punk and new wave movement, which gave rock and roll one of its last collective gasps of consequence.

For some publications (including Blitz Magazine), the sudden availability of an increased public forum also brought with it a golden opportunity to generate long overdue attention for solo artists and bands whose work had heretofore been overlooked by a widespread audience.

Amongst others, Blitz Magazine did so with the first generation garage band, the Chocolate Watchband. The group's three albums for the Tower label were readily available in the cutouts in the late 1960s (just months after their initial release), and had pretty much vanished from general circulation by the early 1970s. The band's work was nonetheless highly prized at Blitz; a point driven home in great detail in the early 1980s in our landmark three-part extensive interview with the band's late producer (and Four Preps co-founder), Ed Cobb.

With the release of the Chocolate Watchband installment of that Ed Cobb interview, interest in the band began to grow exponentially. So much so that before mid-decade, the Los Angeles-based Rhino Records commissioned Blitz Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell to composed the sleeve notes for the label's proposed anthology of the band's work. Due to temporary unavailability of master tapes at the time, the majority of the cuts on that vinyl anthology album were pressed from copies of the band's albums in Blitz Magazine's archives. Nonetheless, the Chocolate Watchband's best work was once again readily available, and the album sold briskly.

Thankfully, the long overdue interest prompted the band to reunite. In 1999, the Chocolate Watchband headlined a landmark show in San Diego, California that was put together by long time friend and journalistic colleague, Mike Stax. Despite the inevitable personnel changes, the band has continued to record and is readying a new studio album for release.

However, that joyous news was tempered somewhat with the news that Chocolate Watchband founder and original lead guitarist, Mark Loomis passed away in Hawaii on 26 September. A veteran of the San Jose-based Chapparals, Loomis became a key architect of the band's sound, which today is widely regarded as among the most essential and impacting in all of first generation garage rock.


The classic line up of the John Coltrane Quartet (John Coltrane - saxophone, McCoy Tyner - keyboards, Jimmy Garrison - bass, Elvin Jones - drums) has been held up as the standard of excellence within the jazz idiom for so long that many an aspirant has sought an alternative template on which to base their mission statement. Some have even done so after resigning to the inevitability that attempting to redefine and/or supersede their example is ultimately an exercise in futility.

Yet almost uniquely, one veteran saxophonist can lay claim to at least having the authority to do so. Little Rock, Arkansas native Farrell “Pharoah” Sanders is (along with Tyner) one of a tiny handful of surviving musicians who served with Coltrane’s vaunted organization. Along with Coltrane, his wife Alice Coltrane on keyboards, drummer Rasheed Ali and bassist Garrison, Sanders (as saxophonist and percussionist) was a part of the entourage that recorded the landmark, massive four-disc Live In Japan album for Impulse in 1966, which concluded with the jaw-dropping, fifty-seven minute rendition of Coltrane’s Atlantic-era signature track, My Favorite Things.

Since Coltrane’s tragic passing in July 1967 from liver cancer, Sanders has appropriated his mission statement and made it his own with a highly creative and prolific repertoire that maintains Coltrane’s impeccable standards without succumbing to sycophantic patronizing. And with his own virtuoso quartet (which features William Henderson on piano, Nat Reeves on stand up bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums), Sanders proved to be the ideal headliner at the thirty-fifth annual Jazz Festival in downtown Detroit, Michigan, which was held over the Labor Day weekend.

A committed believer who endeavored to express his faith through his music, Coltrane did so with unparalleled results in his February 1965 A Love Supreme album (Impulse AS-77). Sanders not only followed suit during his 30 August set before an overwhelmingly appreciative capacity crowd at the Jazz Festival’s Carhartt Amphitheater Stage by incorporating excerpts from Coltrane’s 1959 Naima (from Giant Steps on Atlantic SD1311) and A Love Supreme itself into his extended workouts, but by taking it a step further through the inclusion of his own duly inclined signature track, The Creator Has A Master Plan from his February 1969 seemingly incongruously titled Karma album (Impulse AS-9181).

Like Coltrane, Sanders has also surrounded himself with the finest of virtuosos. Pianist Henderson, bassist Reeves and drummer Farnsworth were all afforded ample opportunity to solo at length, and each responded with an enthusiasm that belied the over familiarity of the material within their own circles. In turn, Sanders reaffirmed his status as an adventurous keeper of the flame with a reasonable amount of thinking outside the parameters. At age seventy-three, he remains as on top of his art as he was on his earliest work for E.S.P. and Impulse.

To be certain, if Sanders is a keeper of the flame, then fellow veteran saxophone virtuoso, World War II veteran, North Carolina Agricultural And Technical State University alumnus and Badin, North Carolina native Lou Donaldson is one of the genre’s most uncompromising purists. With an impeccable repertoire that began with the 1952 release of his Quartet/Quintet/Sextet album (Blue Note BLP-1537), the generally genial Donaldson (who will celebrate his eighty-eighth birthday on 01 November) nonetheless remains an outspoken advocate for his art.

To wit, during his equally acclaimed set at the festival’s Mack Avenue Waterfront Stage on 30 August, Donaldson introduced his interpretation of Miles Davis’ 1957 rendition of Gene Austin’s Bye Bye Blackbird (from ’Round About Midnight on Columbia CL949) thusly: “We’re now going to play a tune made famous by Miles Davis when he was still playing jazz.

Undaunted, Donaldson moved on to his own 2002 Fast And Freaky (from his Relaxing At Sea: Live On The QE2 album on Chiaroscuro CRD 366), of which he said, “This is the kind of music that fusion musicians hate, because you have to practice to be able to play it!”

To further underscore his commitment to his principles, Donaldson paid tribute to Ivory Joe Hunter with an inspired rendition of Hunter’s 1949 I Almost Lost My Mind (MGM 10578), along with a faithful reading of Louis Armstrong’s 1968 What A Wonderful World (ABC Paramount 45-10982). And to dispel the undercurrent of uneasiness amongst a small yet relatively vocal percentage of the observers with respect to his observations about Miles Davis and fusion, Donaldson introduced the Armstrong track as, “A tribute to the greatest musician that ever lived. Now why are you all looking at me??” He reiterated the point with a spot on reprise of the tongue in cheek Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman from Relaxing At Sea: Live On The QE2 and (not surprisingly) got the biggest ovation of his set for his no nonsense extended workout on his own 1967 signature track, Alligator Boogaloo (Blue Note 1934). To be certain, few have been able to match such bravado with sheer ability, yet Donaldson continues to deliver both in abundance.

All of which pretty much sums up what was the most welcome and pleasantly surprising set of that evening back at the Carhartt Amphitheater Stage, with Detroit-born vocalist and Broadway veteran Freda Charcilia Payne triumphantly reinventing herself in celebration of her just released Come Back To Me Love album for the ongoing Festival co-sponsoring Mack Avenue label.

Long a jazz aficionado and an alumnus of the Impulse Records artist roster, Payne began her recording career accordingly in 1962 with a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Desafinado (Slightly Out Of Tune) on ABC Paramount 45-10366. Come Back To Me Love has brought her full circle, with Payne celebrating her not so latent enthusiasm for the genre via covers of the great Kenny Rankin’s November 1966 Haven’t We Met (Columbia 4-43885), bandleader Woodrow Wilson “Buddy” Johnson’s 1955 Floyd Ryland vocal, Save Your Love For Me (Mercury 70695X45), keyboardsman Eddie “Eddie Miller” Morgan’s I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water, and a show-stopping rendition of June Christy’s 1957 Thomas J. Wolfe and Frances Landesman-penned high drama masterpiece, Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.

Come Back To Me Love also features several like minded Gretchen Carhartt Valade-penned originals, including the reflective Lately, the Billy Eckstine/Joe Williams-flavored You Don’t Know, the mid-tempo and sublimely charted I Should Have Told Him, the Barbra Streisand-friendly Whatever Happened To Me, and the Billie Holiday-inspired title track. As executive chair of both the Detroit Jazz Festival and the Mack Avenue label, Valade has brought to the proceedings a keen and refreshing sense of solidarity and attention to detail, commensurate with that found in such earlier multi-tasking visionaries as Johnny Mercer and Fred Rose. True to form, Payne rose to the occasion accordingly, bringing unwavering world class interpretation to both studio and stage.

However, Payne’s biggest mainstream success came in the early 1970s with a series of singles for Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland’s Invictus label, including Bring The Boys Home, Cherish What Is Dear To You, Deeper And Deeper and You Brought The Joy. With all due respect for that phase of her work, she astutely sidestepped it for the most part during her set, with the inevitable exception of a sympathetically rearranged rendition of her 1970 signature single, Band Of Gold (Invictus IS-9075) as the set closer. Even so, the various tracks from Come Back To Me Love proved that Payne is far more in her element with this latest endeavor and is most assuredly on the right track.

Rounding out the three-day festival were inspired sets by such beloved legends as keyboardsman Ramsey Lewis (as part of a Nat King Cole tribute band), Stanley Clarke, Joey DeFrancesco, Diane Schur and Doctor Lonnie Smith; once again reaffirming the Detroit Jazz Festival’s status as the premier event of its kind.

Amongst aficionados of first generation garage rock, there are a number of tracks that are often held up as the standard of excellence within the genre. Some of the more obvious examples would include the Thirteenth Floor Elevators' You're Gonna Miss Me, the Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard, the La De Das' How Is The Air Up There, the Standells' Dirty Water, the Count Five's Psychotic Reaction and the Rationals' definitive rendition of Otis Redding's Respect.

However, for those of us at Blitz Magazine, the single that has represented absolute utter perfection more so than any other release within the idiom is the May 1965 Because I Love Her single by the Human Beings on the Warner Brothers label. From the Detroit, Michigan suburbs, the Human Beings (Ted Licavoli - lead vocals/rhythm guitar, Ronnie Blight - lead guitar, Steve Fava - bass, John Ruff - drums) created with that release a masterpiece of high drama. With its jangling guitar intro, Licavoli's pleading vocal and the great interplay between acoustic guitar and harmonica in the instrumental break, Because I Love Her peaked at number nineteen on the charts of Dearborn, Michigan's enormously influential WKNR Keener 13 in May 1965, in turn earning several television appearances for the band. It was also one of the tracks included in the acclaimed Michigan Brand Nuggets garage rock compilation album. Because I Love Her ultimately fared very well in the Best Singles category in the Blitz Awards For The Twentieth Century, which originally appeared on Blitz's web site in 2001.

Following that landmark release, the Human Beings then signed with the vaunted Impact label, which was also the recording home of such immensely respected artists as Mickey Denton, the Shades Of Blue, Sixto Rodriguez, the Sixpence, the Inner Circle and Jock Mitchell. The band cut three singles for Impact, beginning with the utterly stupendous An Inside Look/I Can Tell in November 1965, and followed with You're Bad News in March 1966 (which was coupled with a first rate cover of the Five Keys' Ling Ting Tong) and a unique, garage rocking take of Gene Austin's 1925 monster classic, Yes Sir, That's My Baby in March 1967.

Sadly, front man Ted Licavoli passed away in 2000 at age 59. Tragically, the world of music has now also lost bassist Steve Fava, who passed away on 23 February 2014 at age 67. Fava is survived by his three children, Stephanie Ludwig, Andrea Chambliss and Joe Fava, as well as two siblings and three grandchildren. Fava's family is planning a special celebration of his life for this coming spring. Details to be announced.