Thursday

WELCOME TO BLITZ MAGAZINE'S WEB SITE!



CHALLENGER: Among the first artists to address the current virus pandemic head on are the veteran Tokyo-based trio, PERFUME with the 26 March release of their Universal Music Group video, Challenger. Blitz Magazine Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell discusses the unique circumstances that led to its inception in an exclusive update. (Click on the Perfume Challenges Virus Pandemic link under the Previous Posts heading at right for the full story). Pictured above, left to right: Perfume's Kashiyuka, A-Chan and Nocchi. (Click on the above image to enlarge).

WELCOME TO THE INTERET HOME
FOR BLITZ MAGAZINE
SINCE 1975 -
THE ROCK AND ROLL MAGAZINE
FOR THINKING PEOPLE

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 BlitzMcD@aol.com.


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

E-Mail us at BlitzMcD@aol.com for a list of available back issues.


Be sure to follow Blitz on Twitter:
@BlitzMagazine
and
on Facebook at:
Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People

AUDREY'S MUSICAL JOURNEY:

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.

IN THE BITS AND PIECES COLUMN:


After suffering a major stroke in 2013, one time FLAMIN' GROOVIES drummer DANNY MIHM succumbed to his illnesses on 26 March

In a free standing article (see Previous Posts column at right), the beloved Tokyo-based veteran trio PERFUME were among the first artists to address the current virus pandemic musically with the 26 Marrch release of their new video, Challenger.

The sudden death on 06 March of beloved pianist and JOHN COLTRANE QUARTET co-founder McCOY TYNER marks the end of the most extraordinary and visionary group in jazz, if not all of music. Michael McDowell pays tribute.

The sudden passing of RAIN PARADE co-founder DAVID ROBACK on 25 February sent shock waves throughout the Southern California musical community. Blitz Magazine remembers this extraordinary visionary and the ongoing impact of his work.

The Hollywood, California outlet of the gargantuan AMOEBA RECORDS chain has confirmed a new location for its Fall 2020 move.

In a free standing interview (under the Previous Posts column at right), veteran composer and vocalist EVIE SANDS recalls her time in the studio, preparing for her forthcoming new album, Scandal Du Jour.

IN THE REISSUES / ANTHOLOGIES SECTION OF
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME COLUMN:

The Los Angeles-based Org Music label has at last once again made available the highlights of the catalog by the legendary Vallejo, California sextet, the VISCAYNES in their acclaimed new vinyl compilation, The Viscaynes And Friends.

The 7a label continues its impressive series of the finest Monkees-related releases with Cosmic Partners, the landmark 1973 live concert at McCabe's Guitar Shop by MICHAEL NESMITH AND RED RHODES.

Blixa Sounds has once again made available in the LP and CD configurations Mesh & Lace and After The Snow, the debut albums by MODERN ENGLISH.

The Stoney Plain label has made available The Lost Tapes, a 2 CD collection of heretofore live recordings from the early 1970s by folk rock pioneers IAN AND SYLVIA, with guest appearances by the great LUCILLE STARR.

The ROLLING STONES are once again subjected to the deluxe reissue treatment with ABKCO's 50th anniversary deluxe edition of the band's 1969 Let It Bleed album.

The Portage, Michigan-based JAM Records has reissued the classic 1978 Emerald Vision album, one of the early excursions into the Gospel / psych hybrid that has since become the ad hoc trademark of the recorded legacy of the prolific and inspirational JEREMY MORRIS.

IN THE NEW RELEASES SECTION OF
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME COLUMN:

Composer, vocalist and Juno Award-winner Laila Biali celebrates her triumph over a series of challenges with her latest Chronograph release, Out Of Dust.

The Tampa Bay, Florida-based Backtrack Blues Band has fueled the ongoing purist debate with their fortieth anniversary release, Your Baby Has Left for Vizztone.

Vocalist and composer Rob Martinez and Karma Frog head and multi-instrumentalist Adam Marsland have again joined forces for Martinez's third and most recent release for the label, Maybe Miss America.

In a free standing interview (link under Previous Posts heading at right), beloved Southern California composer and vocalist Kristi Callan discusses her latest release as co-founder of the Dime Box Band.

Veteran first generation rockers the Doughboys and drummer and co-founder Richard X. Heyman appear to be coming full circle by going in different directions with their respective new releases, Running For Covers (RAM) and Pop Circles (Turn-Up).

The Victoria-based first generation garage rock greats the Tol-Puddle Martyrs return with Brain Fade, their latest for the Secret Deals label.

Tuesday

PERFUME CHALLENGES VIRUS PANDEMIC


SPENDING ALL MY TIME: The beloved Tokyo-based trio, Perfume confronted the current virus pandemic head on with the release of their Challenger video on 26 March. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell chronicles the unique circumstances that led to the project's inception below. Pictured above: Perfume announcing the winner of the Challenger video contest at their label's headquarters. Left to right: Kashiyuka, A-Chan and Nocchi.  (Click on above image to enlarge).

CHALLENGER:
NEW PERFUME VIDEO
ENCOURAGES OPTIMISM
DURING VIRUS PANDEMIC
By Michael McDowell

During times of crises, musicians have generally proven to be a most resourceful and creative lot. 

Among the first to rise to the occasion accordingly in response to the current virus pandemic is the veteran Tokyo-based group, Perfume. The beloved trio's new Universal Music Group single, Challenger faces the crisis head on with the unwavering optimism that has characterized their work for nearly two decades.

Comprised of Ayano "Nocchi" Amoto, Ayaka "A-Chan" Nishiwaki and Yuka "Kashiyuka" Kashino, Perfurme has established a formidable track record throughout the current century for their trademark upbeat delivery, which often belies the more dramatic and/or topical subject matter of their material (a strategy that served such predecessors as the Four Preps, Harpers Bizarre and Apo Hiking Society quite well in their own endeavors). The group does so with a decidedly cerebral approach that is inexorably linked with high tech visuals. Perfume has worked in tandem in that respect with composer and producer Yasutaka Nakata since their inception in their native Hiroshima in 2000.

For the Challenger project, Perfume announced a contest in November 2019 and called upon their legion of followers to submit ideas. Among those who responded was an eleven year old aspiring visionary named Hiroto.

"My big theme for this video is connection", said Hiroto, who also submitted rough sketches of the proposed video along with his presentation.

"When I heard the song, two connections came to my mind. One is a connection between people. Another connection is time. Because of these connections, we can keep challenging".

"We'll make a music video based on his plan", said A-Chan, as Perfume announced the winner at their label's headquarters. 

"(I'm) surprised and happy", said Hiroto upon learning of the outcome.

"I don't know what to think".

Of course the project's inception actually precedes the onset of the pandemic by several months. Nonetheless, its relatively universal message of optimism in the face of adversity made the tie-in both timely and inevitable.

The resultant Challenger video dropped on 26 March. Response was both overwhelming and positive from the onset.

"Thank you for producing this wonderfully upbeat, joyful song", said one fan shortly after its release.

"We need more happiness in the world right now".

Perfume, whose previous triumphs include the acclaimed singles Dream Fighter, Tokyo Girl and their utterly stupendous and anthemic 2012 signature track, Spending All My Time, is characteristically optimistic that the crisis at hand will subside in time to complete their long planned P-Cubed In Dome tour in celebration of the release of their compilation CD box set, The Best P-Cubed in late 2019.

EVIE SANDS INTERVIEW


ANOTHER FULL DOSE OF LOVE: Beloved veteran vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Evie Sands and her band have spent most of the summer months of 2019 in the studio in preparation for the release of Scandal Du Jour, her highliy anticipated follow up to 2017's acclaimed Shine For Me on her own R-Spot label  Sands (pictured above with bassist Teresa Cowles, drummer Eric Vesper and guitarist Jason Berk prior to a live performance in February 2019) discussed the creative process with Blitz Magazine Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell, as well as her undertaking the extraordinary step of underwriting the project via a Crowd Funding Campaign. Long time colleague and keyboardsman Adam Marsland also weighed in from Southeast Asia, where he took some time from working on the second season of his video blog, Adam Walks Around and post-production work for recent live dates by the Association to particpate in the Scandal Du Jour sessions. (Click on the above image to enlarge).

SCANDAL DU JOUR:
EVIE SANDS
PREPS NEW ALBUM
By Michael McDowell

Creative autonomy is a tremendous asset for the recording artist. But it comes with considerable responsibilities.

It was the Monkees who initially paved the way for creative autonomy among artists who were signed to a major label, which they did via their so-called Palace Revolt in early 1967. While there had been artists since the dawn of the recording industry in the late 1880s who had contributed to the outcome in various extracurricular capacities, the most frequently invoked methodology up until that point had been the so-called Team Approach. 

The Team Approach basically involved drawing from the most adept sources in every capacity (vocalists, musicians, composers, producers and engineers) to produce the best possible results. But while that template served a purpose for many an artist whose gifts were not multi-faceted, it often produced a sense of discontentment among the more visionary among them, who were predisposed to seeing their efforts through to completion themselves. 

Since the Monkees as a band were blessed in each of those attributes from within, it was inevitable that the continued invoking of the Team Approach on their behalf was not the most viable option for their ongoing aesthetic fulfillment. To be certain, every band and solo artist signed to a major label in their wake owes them a debt of tremendous gratitude for the quantum leap they took in that respect.

Over the course of the next decade, creative autonomy took another giant step. With the advent of the so-called Punk / New Wave movement in the mid-1970s, artists determined to chart their own course began to do so by taking over the business end of the process, as well. Independent labels sprang up in great numbers, with artists often doing their own management, publicity and booking. Not surprisingly, the results varied widely.

Before long, a number of veteran artists followed suit. Disenchanted with long term major label affiliations for a variety of reasons, artists who had been in the spotlight for years and even decades at that point began to assume creative autonomy over every facet of their career. 

Among the earliest to make the transition and flourish in the process were country music legend Bill Anderson and Byrds co-founder Roger McGuinn. Both were blessed with a rare savvy on all fronts, and both continue to oversee their entire operations to the present day.

On the other hand, a number of veteran artists have learned the hard way that being signed to a major label may not have been such a bad option after all.

During their seasons of their respective affiliations with major labels, the artists entered the studio, laid down their tracks, and then performed a series of live dates in support of their efforts. Upon occasion, their touring schedule was augmented by interviews with the press, radio and television. But in general, that was the extent of their contribution to the process.

Cinecyde co-founder and front man Gary Reichel was a key figure in the creative autonomy boom during the late 1970s. It was he who astutely observed at the time that having made the greatest recording in the world was ultimately an exercise in futility if others were unable to hear it.

And while it may not have been readily apparent to other artists as of yet, that was where their major label affiliation was often a blessing. 

It is not uncommon, even in the present day, for a long dormant artist to opt to return to recording and performing, only to discover the hard way that the creative process is not what it used to be. Armed with great ideas and a renewed sense of purpose, they rebound into the studio and pour their hearts into their comeback projects.

But then comes the inevitable question. Now what?

The former major label artist is then confronted with the reality that was readily apparent to the ambitious independents of the mid to late 1970s, who had no such mainstream experience from which to draw. And that is where Gary Reichel's aforementioned observation comes into play.

Beloved musical visionary Ron Dante was among the first to come to this realization, during his affiliation with Roulette Records in 1964 - 1965 as a member of the Detergents. Weary of seemingly endless live dates in support of the group's November 1964 Leader Of The Laundromat single, Dante approached label head Morris Levy to inquire as to when the gifted trio might realize tangible compensation for their efforts.

While generally not remembered for his altruistic tendencies, Levy nonetheless gave Dante a bit of sage advice that succintly put the matter in perspective: "Your money is in touring. You let me worry about the records".

In other words, in that era of the Team Approach, Dante and his Detergents colleagues had done their part by recording and composing a significant percentage of their material, as borne out in their classic The Many Faces Of The Detergents album. It was at that point that their work for Roulette was done. 

But for Roulette (and any other major label, for that matter), the work had just begun. Mixing the master tapes. Post-production. Album cover design. Promotions. Advertising. Mailing out an endless stream of promo copies and press kits. Follow up. 

It was a gargantuan process; one that remains beyond the reach of many artists now, let alone a half century ago. Yet Dante ultimately learned his lessons well, having been a leading light on a variety of musical fronts in the ensuing decades. 

In turn, it was also to Bill Anderson and Roger McGuinn's credit that each succeeded in that respect at such a relatively early stage. As a former newspaper reporter, Anderson had the blessing of the so-called "nose for news" that enabled him to pay closer attention to such details than did many of his colleagues. 

In turn, McGuinn's career had run the gamut of experience, from session work for such artists as Bobby Darin and the Chad Mitchell Trio to pre-Byrds major label projects with the City Surfers and the Beefeaters. Their respective experiences and keen attention to detail both served them well in the long run.

Thankfully, other veteran artists with that "nose for news" and a wealth of experience borne of such misadventures as those which initially befell Ron Dante have taken the proverbial bull by the horns and have seen their careers blessed exponentially as a result.

Enter the beloved veteran five-tool player, Evie Sands.

With a wealth of major label affiliations to her credit (including ABC Paramount, A&M, Capitol / Haven and RCA Victor, as well as brief but most memorable associations with the storied Blue Cat and Cameo labels), Sands over the past few decades has navigated a healthy transition from the majors to the indies (fellow vet Chip Taylor's Train Wreck Records), and most recently overall creative autonomy via her own R-Spot Records. In the process (aided an abetted in no small part by an unwaveringly devoted long term fan base), Sands has continued to excel on all fronts. 

To that effect, Sands and her colleagues have spent much of the summer of 2019 in the studio, working on her forthcoming and highly anticipated new album, Scandal Du Jour. In doing so, she is taking the ambitious step of underwriting the project via a Crowd Funding Campaign.

"Crowd funding campaigns depend upon lots of sharing and spreading the word to work out successfully", said Sands.

"The campaign goes live (on the eleventh of September). It's all massively helpful!"

While an untested concept to date in terms of her own career, the Crowd Funding Campaign, if proven successful (as it doubtlessly will be) will underwrite for the time being both the creative process and the resultant business follow up. To her considerable credit, Sands had already more than proven her mettle on all fronts in 2017 with her highly acclaimed Shine For Me for R-Spot. By all accounts, the forthcoming Scandal Du Jour should follow suit accordingly.

"Scandal Du Jour is a full length album", Sands said, in comparison to the six-track Shine For Me.

"Twice as many songs and ideas to explore. The album will have a mix of high energy, somewhat of an edge, soulful stuff, moody textures and melodic earworms."

Quite a diverse mixture from an artist whose methodology to date has been to produce successive recordings that can at once both augment and stand in contrast to her previous efforts. And it is in that respect that the Team Approach continues to serve her mission statement well.

"The band is Teresa Cowles - bass and vocals, Jason Berk - guitars and vocals, Eric Vesper - drums and vocals, and me on guitar, keyboards and vocals", Sands said.

"Kurt Medlin will be adding percussion."

Sands and her band have previously worked together extensively in various capacities. In the spirit of the Team Approach, each is remarkably gifted in their respective roles. To wit, bassist Cowles is both a veteran of long time favorites Dragster Barbie, and also portrayed renowned session bassist Carole Kaye in the acclaimed Brian Wilson biopic, Love And Mercy.

"I love my band", Sands said.

"We all love making music together and we're all the best of friends. I think it affects the music in a special way."

To that effect, the physical presence of one esteemed colleague is missed at the Scandal Du Jour sessions. Long time band member, Cockeyed Ghost co-founder and Karma Frog Records CEO Adam Marsland presently divides the majority of his time between various locales in Southeast Asia, where he is presently filming Season Two of his acclaimed Adam Walks Around video series.

Nonetheless, through the miracle of technology, Marsland has been a welcome participant in the Scandal Du Jour proceedings.

"Adam is contributing at least one keyboard track for a song, remote recorded in Asia", said Sands.

"Others may be enlisted as the album takes shape."

For Marsland, his ability to participate is a relatively easy byproduct of his current video ventures.

"I have a little portable studio that I carry around with me", said Marsland.

"I borrowed a keyboard at a home studio owned by a friend of mine, Jaye Muller in Cebu (Philippines). 

"Basically, I just set everything up and banged out the part while Jaye and his wife were waiting for me to come down for dinner!"

Marsland readily echoes Sands' enthusiasm for their ongoing collaboration. Both had worked together regularly in Marsland's ambitious Adam Marsland's Chaos Band, in which Sands served as guitarist.

"I may do another thing for her, as well", Marsland concurred.

"These are both songs that we did in the early days of Adam Marsland's Chaos Band, which I did some arrangement on. I think Evie wanted me to play on those tunes because of that, which I appreciate!"

To underscore the success of the best of both worlds mission statements of both Marsland and Sands, Marsland has also devoted much of his on the road studio time in recent weeks to working on a project for yet another beloved veteran band.

"I did recently get asked to do some work on live tapes by the current line up of the Association", he said.

"It's a whole concert. But basically, I just did one song to see if the approach I would take to mixing it would be valid. 

"The last I heard, one of the guys in the band liked it and was going to the other guys. I don't know if it will go beyond that or not. Hope so!"

Meanwhile, Sands and her colleagues are persevering in the studio with considerable enthusiasm.

"At the moment, (I am) developing the next few songs to record, and will begin adding on to the first six", she said.

"So far, we've recorded six basic tracks, six lead vocals, and some backing vocals. The band recorded the tracks together live."

In the process, there should be much in Scandal Du Jour to both placate the long term devotees and please the more recent converts to her cause.

"There's a special synergy that happens in the room when a band records live", Sands noted.

"Listening to each other, in the moment with each other, and playing off of each other. Different nuanced ideas arise, evolve and are captured."

Even so, Sands is not averse to opting for alternative methodologies if the circumstances warrant it.

"It's fine to do it piecemeal, too, with each element recorded one at a time", she said.

"Both ways are good. It's still about songs, feelings, passion, emotion and telling the story. That said, recording tracks live as a band is a blast!"

To ensure optimum results, Sands has remained loyal to proven working relationships in the technological settings, as well.

"Steve Refling is again at the board", she said.

"I love working with that guy!"

Concurrently, Sands is dividing her time in the studio with her unwavering, ardent support of Major League Baseball's premier franchise, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sands is part of an ad hoc entertainment industry quartet that professes and promotes camaraderie between the industry and the team. The foursome also includes Balancing Act and Thee Holy Brothers co-founder and renowned session musician Willie Aron, fellow journalist and author Domenic Priore, and Blitz Magazine Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell.

"Would be nice to have a downtown parade this year", Sands said.

"Lots of baseball and, I'm sure, frustration to endure. Some opponents will be formidable. Let's hope they can get over it and find a second wind to blaze into October!"

In the meantime, Sands and her colleagues are persevering through the studio process with a healthy mix of creative autonomy and the Team Approach, which in her case is almost certain to guarantee the usual optimum results.

"Very happy and excited about this one", she said.

And if previous triumphs are any indication, Scandal Du Jour is certain to be far, far more than just a (in the words of one of her earlier triumphs for the A&M label), Close Your Eyes, Cross Your Fingers moment.


Saturday

BITS AND PIECES - NEWS ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS By Michael McDowell



JUST TWO UP TWO DOWN: After much speculation, the venerable Amoeba Music outlet on Sunset Boulevard and Cauhuenga in Hollywood has announced a confirmed site for its relocation in the Fall of 2020. Blitz Magazine Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell (pictured above with musicologist / collector Bruce Roubitchek in front of Amoeba's Sunset Boulevard location in December 2019) has the story below. (Click on above image to enlarge).


GOLDEN CLOUDS:
FLAMIN' GROOVIES' DANNY MIHM
SUCCUMBS TO LENGTHY ILLNESS

Sorry to report the passing during the morning of 26 March of one time Flamin' Groovies drummer Daniel Jon "Danny" Mihm in Napa, California after a lengthy illness.

Mihm had been with the San Francisco-based band during the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, throughout the period that produced such acclaimed releases as Sneakers, Supersnazz, Flamingo and Teenage Head. Their resultant Slow Death single has been hailed in many circles as a hallmark of the band's legacy. 

Mihm left the band as the result of his increased dissatisfaction with the growing emphasis on cover material in their live repertoire. He subsequently worked for a season with fellow Flamin' Groovies alumnus Roy Loney in the Phantom Movers. Mihm went on to drum with the Hot Knives, the Kingsnakes and the Bwana Devils. Loney passed away on 13 December 2019. 

"Such good times that we had", said long time Flamin' Groovies bassist and co-founder, George Alexander.

Mihm suffered a massive stroke in August 2013, which was reported in Blitz Magazine at the time. Memorial services are pending, in light of the current virus pandemic.



WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE EACH OTHER:
REMEMBERING KENNY ROGERS

Cowards and gamblers made for strange bedfellows.

But in the case of actor, vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist and Houston, Texas native Kenneth Ray "Kenny" Rogers, such striking and seemingly incongruous personality types ultimately set the stage for a six decade career that was highlighted by singles in which vivid and diverse imagery was key. 

The brother of International Artists Records' head Lelan Rogers (whose iconic label launched the careers of Red Crayola, Arnim-Hamilton, the Bubble Puppy and the legendary Thirteenth Floor Elevators), Rogers followed the lead of such fellow Texas-based visionaries as George Jones and Buddy Holly and made his initial mark in music via rockabilly. He signed with Joe Carlton's New York City-based Carlton Records (recording home of Jack Scott, Paul Evans, the Chantels, Anita Bryant and Dwight Pullen) in 1957, where he released several acclaimed rockabilly and ballad singles before decade's end.

In 1961, Rogers came on board as bassist with the New Christy Minstrels. He remained with the group until mid-decade, at which time he briefly tried his hand at jazz with the Chicago-based Mercury Records (he had previously worked briefly with the jazz trio, the Bobby Doyle Three). 

But it was in late 1967 that Kenny Rogers took center stage and remained in that setting for the duration of his career. Joining forces with fellow New Christy Minstrels alumni Mike Settle, Thelma Camacho and Terry Williams, the ambitious quartet formed the First Edition and signed with Warner Brothers' affiliate Reprise label. At year's end, the First Edition took a song recorded months earlier by Jerry Lee Lewis, put a decidedly psychedelic spin on it and produced one of the genre's overall highlights with Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

Despite the single's considerable acclaim, the First Edition's flirtation with psychedelic rock proved to be short lived. By the end of 1968, the group rebounded with the sublime ballad, But You Know I Love You, which had also generated considerable interest via renditions by Bill Anderson and Evie Sands. Reimagining themselves as front runners in country rock alongside Rick Nelson, Michael Nesmith And The First National Band and the Byrds, the First Edition closed out the 1960s and persevered well into the 1970s with such well received singles as Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town, Tell It All Brother, Heed The Call, Ruben James and Something's Burning. The First Edition also generated considerable critical acclaim for their 1972 The Ballad Of Calico album for Reprise.

Interest in the First Edition eventually began to wane, with Rogers reinventing himself as a solo artist as the group folded in 1976. His gravelly voice and generally low key delivery proved to be ideal for the high drama setting, as a musical version of sorts of Garrison Keillor's tales of rural Americana. United Artists records concurred, with label and artist joining forces for one of the most extraordinary runs in singles history. The omnipresent Lucille endeared him to country audiences in short order in 1977, with such standards as The Gambler, Coward Of The County, Love Or Something Like It, Lady, a cover of the Fantastic Four's To Share Your Love (as Share Your Love With Me) and the sublime duet with Dolly Parton, Islands In The Stream following suit and placing him firmly in the upper echelons of mainstream success.

Those musical triumphs led to film roles for Rogers, who in turn astutely invested his earnings in various business ventures. Those ventures were parodied in the acclaimed ABC television sitcom, Fresh Off The Boat in the late 2010s, in which Rogers served as the off screen business partner of the show's main character, Louis Huang (portrayed masterfully by Randall Park) in the fictitious Cattleman's Ranch restaurant.

Although Rogers continued to record and perform live until 2017, health concerns eventually took their toll. Rogers had been in hospice care in recent weeks, and finally succumbed to natural causes at his Sandy Springs, Georgia home on 20 March. Rogers was 81 and is survived by his wife, Wanda and several children. Due to concerns over the current Corona Virus pandemic, the family is planning a small, private memorial service.


ASCENSION:
REMEMBERING JOHN COLTRANE
QUARTET PIANIST McCOY TYNER


The term "genius" has been invoked so frequently within musical circles that it has often come close to becoming neutered in its impact

But in the case of virtuoso pianist and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Alfred McCoy Tyner, the genius distinction almost seems inadequate to describe the musical vision and legacy of an artist who was one fourth of what was arguably the most groundbreaking quartet in all of jazz, if not music overall.

A neighbor of fellow musical visionary Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell during his formative years, Tyner began studying piano and composition at the age of thirteen, encouraged by his mother. By 1958, Tyner had come to the attention of the genre's absolute master, saxophonist John William Coltrane, who covered Tyner's The Believer.

Tyner also worked with Coltrane on the latter's landmark My Favorite Things album for Atlantic, which is widely regarded as one of the genre's hallmarks. By 1961, Tyner had become an integral part of jazz's most storied combo, the John Coltrane Quartet, which also included bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones. The John Coltrane Quartet signed with Impulse, where over the course of the next several years they recorded a staggeringly brilliant body of work which was so vast that several albums' worth of heretofore unreleased material by them have surfaced within the current century.

Perhaps the most celebrated release from those Impulse sessions is the group's groundbreaking A Love Supreme album. Recorded in late 1964 and released in early 1965, A Love Supreme was Coltrane's musical tribute to the Lord, the story of which he articulated at length in the liner notes of that album. Numerous sources have cited A Love Supreme as the one of the genre's definitive masterpieces.

Sadly, by late 1965, the classic John Coltrane Quartet began to disintegrate as Coltrane continued to push the fundamentals of structure and composition to unprecedented heights. Finding himself increasingly disillusioned by those developments, Tyner then opted to embark upon a solo career. Meanwhile, Coltrane persevered with other musicians (including Alice Coltrane and fellow saxophonist Farrell "Pharoah" Sanders) until his tragic passing from liver cancer in July 1967.

At center stage, Tyner continued to record and tour prolifically. He often returned to the standards and relatively more structured material that defined his earliest endeavors, albeit with a stamp of distinction that invariably reinvented any such outside contributions. Blitz Magazine was blessed to have witnessed one such McCoy Tyner live performance in the first decade of the twenty-first century, during which he also incorporated a healthy amount of material from the classic Quartet into his set list.

For much of the twenty-first century, in addition to maintaining his relentless recording and performing schedule, Tyner (who also held a Doctorate Degree from the Berklee College Of Music) was a regular presence on social media, with Facebook and Twitter his preferred means of expression. Genial and accommodating to many who interacted with him there, Tyner was often fond of posting pictures from his vast archives of the John Coltrane Quartet in lighter moments, and inviting his audience to caption the photograph accordingly. 

In recent weeks, Tyner had been in preparation for a live performance itinerary that would have continued throughout the remainder of 2020. Tragically, his most extraordinary career came to an abrupt end on 06 March with his passing from as of yet unspecified causes. Tyner was 81.


YOU ARE MY FRIEND:
REMEMBERING THE RAIN
PARADE'S DAVID ROBACK

Sometimes it seemed as though we did not know how truly good we had it.

No two ways about it, Southern California in the early 1980s was THE hotbed for new music. Artists as richly diverse as the Blasters, Salvation Army (Three O'Clock), the Balancing Act, Black Flag, the Heaters, the Point, Wednesday Week, the Long Ryders, the Dream Syndicate, Blood On The Saddle, Lone Justice, the Minutemen, Thee Fourgiven, X, the Unclaimed, the Go-Gos, the Upsetters, the Germs, the Pandoras and the Last were each playing live regularly and recording prolifically, gaining an ever expanding audience in the process.

It was not uncommon for each of those artists to sit in on one another's records or to make on stage cameos during one another's live sets. In turn, many of those artists interacted socially, taking in a late night meal of Oki Dogs on Pico Boulevard or a sandwich at Canter's on Fairfax after a gig. Blitz Magazine was right there in the thick of it, as the movement at large's ad hoc journalistic champion and advocate. 

One of the first bands from that movement to gain greater exposure in Blitz Magazine was an ambitious quintet of psych rock aspirants known as the Rain Parade. Guitarist Matt Piucci, keyboard man Will Glenn and brothers Steven and David Roback brought to the table an inspiring mix of original music that drew inspiration from Buffalo Springfield, Pink Floyd and countless others of similar intent. 

While each member of the Rain Parade contributed significantly to the band's overall mission statement, it was David Roback that often seemed to take the group's vision to heart on a comparatively serious level. To that effect, on the night of one memorable performance, Piucci and Blitz Magazine's Michael McDowell were sitting on a sofa in the club's dressing room, exchanging humorous stories, holding court with others in the room and generally having a great time. 

During one particularly hilarious exchange, David Roback approached the pair and admonished them with a simple, "Guys.....", followed by a familiar one eyebrow raised look of reproof and correction that inferred in no uncertain terms, "Be serious".

It was not that David Roback did not have a sense of humor. Quite the contrary when he was in an off the clock capacity. But when pursuing his art, focus was of paramount importance.

Eventually David Roback and the Rain Parade went their separate ways. While his former colleagues persevered for a season without him, Roback went on to work briefly with beloved former Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith in Opal, and then achieved his greatest notoriety as co-founder of Mazzy Star with Hope Sandoval. 

And while David Roback and Blitz Magazine lost touch in due course, he and his legacy with the Rain Parade remained an enduring inspiration (albeit one with a painful reminder in the late 1990s upon the premature passing of Will Glenn after a bout with cancer). Sadly, Roback also met his fascinating journey's end on the 25th of February. He was 61.


DOWN THE ROAD APIECE:
AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD
CONFIRMS NEW LOCATION

After much speculation (and no small amount of anxiety among musicologists and record collectors), the wait is over. 

Amoeba Music, which ranks among the world's largest record retailers, has announced that its Hollywood location (which is presently on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Cahuenga) will be relocating in the Fall of 2020. The new site will be several blocks away, at 6200 Hollywood Boulevard, on the corner of Argyle.

"It's a bit smaller, but not a whole lot", Amoeba announced on 05 February in a statement.

"It's still a huge space that will house all the formats and goodies we carry now".

Long targeted for re-development, Amoeba's Sunset Boulevard location is directly across the street from the immensely popular Jack In The Box restaurant, and a short walk from the First Southern Baptist Church Of Hollywood, which is pastored by renowned musicologist Gary Tibbs. The new Amoeba outlet will anchor the El Centro complex, next door to the Fonda Theatre.

One potential concern may follow Amoeba from its present location to the new one. The Sunset Boulevard location offers limited on site free parking in the form of an underground garage, which during peak hours of operation has been known to generate traffic back ups onto Cahuenga. But according to Amoeba, some changes are inevitable in that respect.

"The El Centro complex has a large, well-managed parking garage", according to the Amoeba statement.

"We'll validate for the first 75 minutes with any in store purchase. There are many parking meters on all three of the surrounding streets (Hollywood, Argyle and El Centro)".

A fixture in Hollywood since the dawn of the twenty-first century, Amoeba also has locations to the north in San Francisco and Berkeley. The store is known for its massive inventory in virtually all recorded formats, including 78s, 45s, vinyl LPs, CDs, DVDs, cassettes and eight track tapes. Amoeba also boasts an extensive selection of such related merchandise as t-shirts and turntables. 

The move is scheduled to take place after Labor Day 2020. Amoeba anticipates minimal interruption in its day to day operations during the transition. Meanwhile, Amoeba's three outlets remain closed during the virus pandemic, as does the San Fernando Valley-based Freak Beat Records.