The Pop Blitz for 6/3/2011

Happy Friday Popsters! Welcome back to Pop Bitez and your Pop Blitz for the week ending June 3rd! Continue reading The Pop Blitz for 6/3/2011

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Pop Blitz for 5/27/2011

Happy Friday Popsters! If you’re in the states, you’re gearing up for the first holiday weekend of 2011 that will include bathing suits, barbecues and beers, can I get a “WooHoo!”? Alright lots of fun stuff in this week’s “Pop Blitz”, so, without further yada, yada, yada, let’s get this party started!

 The Big Lebowski Comes to Blu-Ray!

I can’t begin to tell you how freakin’ geeked I am over the news that The Big Lebowski is FINALLY coming to Blu-Ray on Aug. 16! The limited-edition package will include new bonus features and a collectible hardcover book.

I’ve owned it on LaserDisc, VHS and DVD, here’s hoping this is the LAST copy I will ever need or want to purchase. For the true Lebowski fans, this is the one we’ve been waiting for, to call it “definitive” would be a major understatement.

Here’s the breakdown of all that will be included.

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURES:

U-CONTROL: Universal’s exclusive feature that lets the viewer access bonus materials without leaving the movie!

Scene Companion: Watch cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes footage and more during key scenes with this picture-in-picture companion.

Mark it Dude: This onscreen counter really ties the film together. Keep track of all the “F-Bombs,” “Dudes,” and “Dude-isms” in the film with this ultimate fan guide.

The Music of The Big Lebowski: Instantly identify the songs heard while watching the film, create a custom playlist of your favorites and even purchase them from iTunes!

WORTHY ADVERSARIES: WHAT’S MY LINE TRIVIA: Test your Lebowski knowledge by finishing lines of dialogue during the film. Play as Walter or The Dude or in two-player mode against friends.

ADDITIONAL BONUS FEATURES:

JEFF BRIDGES PHOTO BOOK: For more than 30 years, Jeff Bridges has been snapping pictures on movie sets. The accomplished photographer presents exclusive shots taken on the set of The Big Lebowski providing personal commentary on each photo.

THE DUDE’S LIFE: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro take a look back at their performances and their delivery of the Coen Brothers’ dialogue that became classic movie lines.

THE DUDE ABIDES: THE BIG LEBOWSKI TEN YEARS LATER: A freewheeling conversation with the cast about the film’s decade-long reign as a cult classic, including a discussion about what ever happened to the “little Lebowski” that the Dude and Maude made that fateful night!

THE LEBOWSKI FEST: AN ACHIEVER’S STORY: An in-depth look at the popular Lebowski Festival, formed by the legion of fans in honor of the film.

FLYING CARPETS & BOWLING PIN DREAMS: THE DREAM SEQUENCES OF THE DUDE: From aerial flights over Los Angeles with his bowling ball chasing Maude on a flying carpet, to the large scale “Busby Berkley” dance sequences as The Dude goes flying through the legs of all the bowling pin headed dancers, this piece examines how these “ahead of their time” scenes were constructed.

THE MAKING OF THE BIG LEBOWSKI: A behind the scenes look featuring interviews with Joel and Ethan Coen.

PHOTO GALLERY: Slideshow of Jeff Bridges‘ on-set photography.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Take a tour of the locations of The Big Lebowski, then and now.

AN INTRODUCTION: Featuring Mortimer Young, a practitioner of “non-uptight” film preservation. His restoration of the famous “toe scene” will blow your mind.

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♦ The Best of Netflix Instant Streaming

• S u c k

Vampires are everywhere these days, in every possible shape and form you can imagine. The history of vamp-comedies is a very hit-and-miss affair but Suck hits more often than it misses and you could do a lot worse with 90 minutes of your life (like watch any of the Twilight movies, The Vampire Diaries or True Blood, ugh.)

Singer Joey (Rob Stefaniuk) and his band, the Winners, will do anything for rock ‘n’ roll immortality. So when vampire Queeny (Dimitri Coats) bites into bassist Jennifer (Jessica Paré), the musical wannabes prove that vampires can rock, but stardom too often sucks. Malcolm McDowell stars as a vampire hunter, Henry Rollins as a radio show host, Iggy Pop as a producer, Alice Cooper as an evil bartender and Moby as a rock band’s lead singer.

• Bunny and the Bull

If Michel Gondry, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep,  were to film a remake of Dumb and Dumber, there’s a pretty good chance it would end up looking a lot like Bunny and the Bull. It’s funny, it’s weird and it isn’t for everyone but I have to admit, I really dug this incredibly original flick.

Stephen Turnbull (Edward Hogg) hasn’t left his flat in months. With so much time to think, his mind wanders back to a road trip he and his friend Bunny (Simon Farnaby) once took across Europe. As he revisits the journey, a psychedelic swirl of memories invades his living room. And since most of the trip was an utter disaster, Stephen’s apartment is in for a makeover. Paul King, the mad genius behind The Mighty Boosh,helms this comedy.

• Mad Monster Party

If, like me, you’re a fan of the Rankin and Bass holiday classics, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, you really should  check out Mad Monster Party. Is it as great as the above mentioned titles? No. Is it a fun and nostalgic trip? Hell yeah! I actually thought I’d seen all of the Rankin and Bass holiday specials but, somehow, I’d missed this Halloween treat. It obviously never caught on to the extent that Rudolph and Frosty did, but it’s definitely worth your time.

Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller lend their vocal talents to this bizarre stop-motion animated parody of horror films. Dr. Frankenstein makes plans for his retirement and convenes a meeting of all monsters to announce his replacement. As word spreads that the doctor is going to choose his young nephew for the position, the visiting creatures plot a coup d’état that would leave Dr. Frankenstein retired … permanently.

• The Man Who Would Be Polka King

This documentary is a true jaw-dropper. They’ve already made a successful Broadway musical out of the Maysles Brother’s Grey Gardens and there’s currently a musical based on Hands on a Hard Body in development but, even more than those flicks, this one is BEGGING to be musicalized, hell this one’s half way there! Imagine a male version of Evita with a Polka score! Heads up Andrew Lloyd Yankovich! ( True, that does sound awful but, could it be any worse than Bono’s singing super hero? I think not! ) I seriously loved this doc, as much as I was floored by the story. It really delivers some serious WTF(?) moments all the way to the end.

After defecting from Poland in the 1970s, Jan Lewan became a worldwide polka superstar, famous for his musical talent and dashing showmanship. Filmmakers Joshua von Brown and John Mikulak show that Lewan’s empire was built on a foundation of lies. This irreverent documentary reveals how the charming entertainer used his connections to bilk investors out of millions in a complicated investment scam that eventually landed the Polka King behind bars.

• Saxondale: The Series

I knew nothing about this series before I started watching it but finding this kind of stuff on Netflix is exactly why I’ll never surrender my subscription. It’s a bit like an English version of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

This quirky Britcom profiles Tommy Saxondale (Steve Coogan), a former roadie stuck in his rockin’ glory days who isn’t afraid to speak his mind — loudly and offensively — despite the anger management sessions his friends hope will calm him. Tommy now has a sexually adventurous girlfriend, Magz (Ruth Jones), and his own pest control “empire,” which consists of hesitant assistant Raymond (Rasmus Hardiker) and annoying receptionist Vicky.

♦ Green With Envy 

Have you seen the new trailer for Disney’s new romantic comedy Green with Envy? If not you might want to watch it now. I’m not going to tell you anything about it, you just need to check it out for yourself…. I will give you one hint though, the title is a very cute and clever ruse. 

♦ Salvation Blvd.

I loved Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan in The Matador (if you haven’t seen it, you need to add it to your list or queue ASAP), which is why I was psyched when I stumbled onto this new trailer recently. Will it be as great as their first team up? Probably not. Still, this looks like it might be good for a laugh of two. Check it out now!

♦ Wild Beasts- Albatross 

I’ve really been enjoying the new album Lion’s Share from the U.K. band Wild Beasts, released earlier this month. It’s actually been playing in my car, non-stop, for the last two weeks. Check it out and let me know what you think.

♦ Some F#cking Good David Mamet News!

David Mamet’s new book, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, is sure to be ruffling some feathers on the left side of the political aisle next week. Having devoured everything the philosopher, playwright and film director has ever written, I will be downloading this one on my iPad 2 and reading it on my flight to L.A. next week! Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Mamet’s way with the pen. As far as “intellectuals” go, David has always been one of my favorites.

Next up for Mamet is the HBO film about the life and sordid times of pop record producer Phil Spector, which he will be writing and directing with a cast that includes Jeffrey Tambor, Bette Midler and Al Pacino as the notorious and legendary creator of the widely celebrated (and slightly overrated) “Wall of Sound”, (honestly, in my useless opinion, Spector’s heavy handed echo technique hasn’t aged all that well).

Mamet, Pacino and Barry Levinson are the executive producers. There is no ETA for this one as of yet so, stay tuned!

♦ “…..This One Goes to Eleven


I still haven’t decided what I’m going to be doing when my calendar flips to 11/11/11 this year. I’ve always joked that this specific date would be my wedding day but, alas, I haven’t met her yet. So, short of some kind of horrifying whirlwind romance that catches me by complete and utter surprise, I won’t be tying that particular knot this year. That being said, I am considering a trip to Vegas and, despite the commercial proclamations, what happens in Vegas doesn’t ALWAYS stay in Vegas, so, who knows? Maybe on 11/12/11 I’ll be having a conversation that includes the sentence, “Mom, I’d like you to meet your new daughter-in-law, Champagne…Mom, please, put down the knife….run, Champange, RUN!”

I’m not going to ramble today about the significance of the number 11 and the influence it’s had on my life for the last ten years but, let me put it to you this way, I was in the tattoo parlor again on 2/11/11 and I’m only giving you one guess as to what my new ink included.

One option for 11/11/11, first brought to my attention this week by an article in L.A. Weekly and also by one of my most loyal Popsters, (thanks T.J.!), is “Nigel Tufnel Day”. It would seem some very devoted fans of the cult classic mockumentary This is Spinal Tap have decided we should all mark and dedicate the date to Spinal Tap’s lead guitarist.

Apparently, this “movement” began last November 11th, when a group of Spinal Tap-heads started their year-long campaign to make Eleven-Eleven-Eleven internationally recognized as “Nigel Tufnel Day”

Since then, there have been websites and petitions making the rounds on Facebook and other social networks to immortalize the Christopher Guest character with his own holiday.

In case you’re completely out of the loop on this one, (though I don’t know HOW you possibly could be…ahem…Carrie!), here’s the clip that started it all!

♦ A New Pop Bitez PopCast for Memorial Day Weekend!

I’ve  got a fun new PopCast for you all this week that I think you’re really going to dig. This time around the theme is Chill, no vocals, 100 % instrumental and with the chat kept to a minimum. This one should be perfect for your post Memorial Day festivities as you wind down and chill with your friends and families. Just click the the PopCast link at the top of this page (on the right) and have at it! 

And that’s all the news that’s fit to POP for this week Popsters, thanks for dropping by, here’s wishing you and yours a very happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend! See you next time! Cheers!- Scott

Talk to Ya Now! A Conversation with Fee Waybill

It was the mid 70s and Alice Cooper had his nightmares, Devo had their theory of “Devolution” and The Tubes, with songs like White Punks on Dope, Slipped My Disco and What Do You Want From Life, were the clown princes of rock and roll.

They’ve been called many things; theater band, novelty act, cult group, two hit wonders and glam rockers. All of it is true as much as none of it is true. The success of the popular rock band, born in the dive bars of San Francisco, is due in large part to the fact that The Tubes never really fit all that easily into the predetermined categories of rock music acts.

When modern rock historians consider the bands of the later part of the twentieth century it’s unlikely they’ll give The Tubes as much consideration as they deserve, and yet there is no denying they were at the forefront of the music video revolution and, with their angst and satirical bite, beat the Punk movement to the punch by a few years.

Much of the group’s trademark humor is due in large part to lead singer Fee Waybill’s ability to write a lyric that brilliantly comments on our modern and twisted times. Waybill took the rock and roll pretensions of David Bowie’s performance art and put a fright wig and a red nose on it but-  even with all the winks and nudges- he always maintained a healthy respect for the music. The expert musicianship of the band has always been a perfect set up to Fee’s punch lines and-  without that strong foundation of solid rock and roll- the humor simply would have never worked.

The art of parody and satire is that it cuts so close to the bone that it’s sometimes hard to discern between the truth and the fiction. When you see The Tubes in the cult classic flick Xanadu, performing the tune Dancin’– an odd mash-up of 80s pop with Olivia Newton John‘s Andrews Sisters tribute- you watch and wonder; is it a Tubes cameo or, more likely, a parody of the band’s contemporaries? Likewise, in another cult classic, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous StainsFee makes his big screen debut as “Lou Corpse”, (lead singer of “The Metal Corpses”) with a performance that clearly has more in common with Iggy Pop than it does Fee Waybill.

After being a pretty big Tubes fan for several years, I finally had a chance to see the band live recently and I was blown away at how sharp and tight they still sound. I also stood a bit slack-jawed as Fee changed costume 11 times and delivered a 2 1/2 hour set to a packed and still adoring crowd. If you ever have the chance yourself, don’t think about it twice, just go to the show, you will have a blast!

I realize I’ve been promising this interview to my loyal readers for awhile now. The truth is, Fee was gracious enough to spend some serious time talking with me on the phone and it has taken me awhile to work through it all. The one thing I noticed in my many, many hours of transposing was; yes, Fee likes to talk but, unlike many other interviews I’ve done, not necessarily about himself. That’s not to say he avoided my questions or was deflecting in any way, it just became clear to me that he’s much more interested in talking about the brilliance of his friends Dave Grohl, Richard Marx, David Foster and Steve Lukather than he is himself, so much so that I needed to edit quite a bit for the sake of time and space. In a business riddled with over stuffed egos Waybill is refreshingly humble.

So, without further delay or ado, enjoy my talk with Singer, Actor, Songwriter and all around great guy, Fee Waybill.

Pop Bitez: So, it’s like this, I probably owe you something like $6.99, because my first introduction to The Tubes, although I’m a little ashamed to admit this, was at Woolworth’s, when I was about 13….

Fee Waybill: …I remember Woolworth’s.

PB: …yeah, well, I had some light fingers back then and umm…

Fee: (laughing) You stole a copy of the album?

PB: I did.

Fee: That had to be tough because they were big albums back then!

PB: Yeah, except, as I was thinking about this earlier today I realized…and this makes the story even worse I think…I’m pretty sure it was an 8 track.

Fee: Oh Christ, That’s funny!

PB: So a new remastered version of The Completion Backward Principal was just released last month, have you had a chance to hear it yet?

Fee: I have not heard it yet, no. I don’t even have a cd player anymore, everything is mp3 now, I don’t even have a fucking stereo anymore. It’s crazy.

PB: I hear ya, but it’s kind of cool to leave the house and know you’re carrying 10,000 songs in the palm your hand, right?

Fee: It’s kind of ridiculous, you know, I’ve got this hard drive thing that’s got like 250,000 songs in it and I can’t even open the thing, it’s just so daunting, it’s like ….what in the hell am I going to listen to?

PB: How did the idea to remaster the album come about?

Fee: We had nothing to do with it actually, we were contacted by this guy at Iconoclassic Records, which is a company that takes old classic albums and remasters them, I guess they buy the rights to certain albums they think are classic.

PB: And the additional bonus tracks, that was their call as well?

Fee: Yeah, they’ve actually got a tune on there called Gonna Get it Next Time, which was the end title song to the Chevy Chase movie Modern Problems, and that has never been on anything ever. We recorded that in Boston, in the middle of a tour, I guess it had to be early 80s, and we flew David Foster, our producer at the time, from L.A. and we recorded it. I actually wrote the last verse of the song but the movie company wouldn’t give me a writing credit on it. It’s never been released, we didn’t include it on any of our albums and the movie never had a soundtrack, so unless you’ve watched the movie, you’ve never heard the song. We’ve had requests through the years, people either at the shows or, you know, by email, asking ,”Where can we get Gonna Get it Next Time?” and our answer has always been, “You can’t”. So, cool, it’s out there now.

PB: Did I hear you’re singing a little back up on the new Foo Fighters album?

Fee: Yeah, I’ve been friends with Dave Grohl for years, we actually met in a vintage clothing store years ago. I was there looking for Tubes costumes and he was with his wife looking for clothes for an 80s theme party, he was looking for parachute pants (laughs), and I’m a fan, I was always a huge Foo Fighters fan, I love his voice and I love the fact that he can scream like that and get that rasp in his voice, that’s really hard, and to do that every night is just ridiculous. So I saw him there and I walked up to him and introduced myself and said “Man, you are the best” and I told him who I was and he said, “Oh, I’m a fan, I love The Tubes“! So, we became fast friends and we’ve been to each others parties and, you know, over to each others houses for dinner. They have a New Year’s Eve theme party every year and… he loves John Travolta for some reason… and the year before last was a Grease party where he came as Travolta’s character and we all dressed like greasers (laughing) the year before it was Urban Cowboy, so it was all cowboy music and everybody dressed like cowboys. So, yeah, we go to each others shows, I went to a few Crooked Vultures shows last year…. anyway, he sent me a text and said “We’re doing this tune and the background vocal sounds like you, come over”. So, we did it at his house, with no computers by the way, everything was recorded on a 24 track, ALL analog, Butch Vig produced and, you know, it was all real, no Pro-Tools, no flying in parts from here or there, we sang that chorus every time it came up.

PB: Very cool.

Fee: Yeah, it’s a song called Miss the Misery.

PB: Who else are you listening to these days, in terms of contemporary artists?

Fee: Oh, jezz, I don’t know, umm…you know who I really like lately is Duffy, she’s not rock and roll but she’s got such a great voice and I love that kind of Betty Boop thing she’s got going on in her voice, so I’ve been listening to that a lot lately and the new Foo Fighters of course.

PB: Now, David Foster, who is arguably one of the most successful producers of his generation, was fairly instrumental in helping The Tubes finally crack the Top 40. At the time he wasn’t really known for his rock records so, I’m curious, how exactly did Foster end up producing The Completion Backward Principle?

Fee: We had just been released from A&M after five albums… we actually had a sixth album with them, we call it “The Black Album’ which they didn’t like and they just shelved it and dumped us. You know, being a cult band only goes so far. After five records at A&M that never sold more than 150,000 and after they spend a couple million bucks and they don’t get paid back, they’re like “O.K. We don’t care about being THAT cool”. Herb (Albert) and Jerry (Moss) loved us, they thought we were great but, eventually the accountant said “We’re not making any money here, we’re in the red, so…” So, we were without a label and we were approached by Capitol Records and they said, “You know, we’ve got to have some kind of commercial success, we’ll give you a three record deal but the second two records are options. We know you’re a cult band and you’re really good and blah, blah, blah but we gotta have a record they can play on the radio, we’ve gotta sell more than 150,000 albums, we’ll give you one shot and if it doesn’t work, we’re done. We think you have the potential for mass appeal”.

PB: And this is where Foster comes in?

Fee: Right, so we started talking with quite a few producers, we talked to quite a few “L.A. types” and we were a San Francisco band, we were a bunch of hippies and not all that crazy about L.A. guys and it seemed like everybody who showed up from L.A. had a lot of gold jewelry and they were really just “too cool”. So we turned down a bunch of producers and they kept sending more and we had a bunch of songs but they were all weird, like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and Mr. Hate, we didn’t have Talk to Ya Later yet but we did have Don’t Want to Wait Anymore and a few others. So, Foster showed up and he’s got short hair, no gold jewelry, Levi’s and a sweatshirt and we were like, “Oh, O.K.” and he had just come off of Boogie Wonderland and we were HUGE Earth, Wind and Fire fans, we all loved R & B and we were always trying to get some kind of R & B feeling in the songs and David had just written After the Love is Gone which went to number one. So we sat down with him and we played him some of the songs and his big expertise was arranging and he took Don’t Want to Wait Anymore and in seconds he said “Well, you know, if you do this and then do that and do a modulation here and it all lifts up…because a song has got to pay off, the chorus has got to kill you” and he did the same thing with the song Amnesia and we were just like, “Wow!” and this was just in the span of one day, we were like “Oh my God, this guy is a fucking genius”. He had never done a rock and roll album and he was excited about making one and so we went to Capitol and said, “This is the guy, we want him!”

Fee Waybill with David Foster (L) and Steve Lukather (R)

PB: So, tell me a little about your experiences working with him on that album.

Fee: Foster was a ball buster I’ll tell you that, he refused to accept mediocrity, the first time I did a lead vocal for David it took me singing it again and again and again, it took me 8 hours before it was good enough for him and, by the end of the record I was pulling ’em down in about three hours, I became a much better singer with David Foster. So, went into the studio and started working and, of course, the record company is looking over our shoulder the whole time saying, “What’s the single,? Where’s the single?” and they really liked Don’t Want to Wait Anymore and we were looking more for a rock and roll track. Foster wanted to come up with a rock song that would get big radio play and we didn’t really have anything that was NOT weird or that was straight forward enough for rock and roll radio and we didn’t want to do a kind of bull shit formula Journey-like song. So one day David says, “You know what, we need to write a song, we don’t have the rock song we need and we need to write it” and then he says “I’ve got a guy, he’s a great writer, great guitar player, he’s like the number one session guy in L.A.” and, of course he was talking about Steve Lukather from Toto. So we met and David told him what we were looking for and… Steve is a genius, he’s amazing, we’ve been good friends for 30 years now and, you know, been writing together ever since. So we wrote Talk to Ya Later in like an hour, Luk came up with the guitar part and I sat down and started writing the lyrics and we actually recorded it before the band even got to the studio, Steve and David and myself, we did the whole thing in four hours. The three of us pretty much did the same thing a few years later with She’s a Beauty, that was another three or four hour session. I remember, when we recorded Talk to Ya Later, I was staying at my manager Rikki Farr’s house in Toluca Lake at the time, and I came in really late from the studio with a cassette in my hand, a rough mix, and I woke him up at like 2 in the morning and I said “Rikki! You gotta here this! This is it, this is our single,blah,blah,blah” and so we blasted this cassette tape at 2 o’clock in the morning and he flipped out, he was like, “This is it, this is gonna do it, this is gonna change everything!”

PB: And it did.

Fee: It did pretty much, although Capital Records never released it in the U.S. as a single, the first single in the U.S. was Don’t Want to Wait Anymore and Talk to Ya Later was never released in the states as a single, which I thought was a huge mistake, but back then everybody wanted to hear “power ballads”, it was a big, rock “power ballad” world, Don’t Want to… did O.K., it was like top twenty or something, but the whole rest of the world released Talk to Ya Later and it was number one in England, it went number one in like a ridiculous amount of countries, Sweden, Portugal, all over really. It was this massive hit and in Europe we were playing these huge shows, Sixty thousand seaters, these huge outdoor festivals and that, of course, led to us making the videos.

PB: In my research for today’s interview I came across an article that mentioned you were working on a solo album with your songwriting partner and friend Richard Marx, what’s the current status on that project?

Fee: I’m still working on it, we’ve got about five songs done and whenever he’s not busy and I’m not busy we go to his house outside Chicago… he’s got this big studio in his house… and we do some tracks and get his kids to play on ’em. His boys are great, he’s got three sons, they’re my God-sons and one is a guitar player and one of ’em is a drummer and they all sing great and we actually have a distribution thing happening, maybe, we’re at least going to try and finish off an EP and get it out there soon, maybe on iTunes.

PB: Now you’ve been good friends with Richard for a long time, haven’t you?

Fee: Oh yeah, we actually met on a David Foster project in L.A. Richard was just a kid, he was like 18 and he’d just placed a song with Lionel Richie that he wrote and…Richard grew up in a really musical household, his dad was a really successful jingle writer as well as a respected jazz musician, so Richard wanted to meet David Foster and watch him work and Lionel knew David so he set it up for Richard to come and watch David work and it just so happened this is when David was working on a Tubes session, so there’s Richard sitting in the back of the room, this 18 year old kid, and it was one of those days in the studio when everybody was frustrated and tired and just couldn’t get it right, and one of the guitar players was having a really tough time and he just couldn’t get it right and the sound wasn’t right and David was not satisfied, he’s in the control and he’s pissed and he sees Richard sitting over in the corner and he’s like, “Who the fuck is that? Get rid of him, I’ve got enough trouble here!”, and I was like, “C’mon man, he’s a fucking kid, he’s just watching Fos work, give him a break and go get your fucking part right.” So, after the session, Richard came up to me and was like  ” Thanks a lot man, fuck, I thought that guy was going to bite my head off”, and I was like, “it’s cool man, just one of those days.” And he said, “you know I’d really like to write a song with you, would you consider writing some lyrics for me?” and I said, “sure, that’d be cool” and so we wrote one and then another and then another, and then I had a solo album in 84 and he wrote some songs for that, we actually wrote a hit for Vixen, remember them? Eighties all girl band, they were rockers?

PB: Of course.

Fee: Yeah, Richard and I wrote Edge of a Broken Heart for them, it was their first big hit I think.

PB: Wow, I didn’t know you guys wrote that one!

Fee: Yeah, so, we wrote some songs for some other people and then Richard was like “You know, I want to do this, I want to be a recording artist and do my own album”, this was like ’87 or ’89, or something like that and I had like three songs on the first record, and then he did another and I had like four songs on there and I was living in L.A. and had left the Tubes by this point and I was writing for other people and cashing the checks and I was like, “This beats busting my ass on the road, I want to keep doing this!”

PB: When I saw you guys in concert recently I was really taken with how great you all still sound and I was especially amazed by your stamina. I’ve seen a few much younger bands recently that don’t even come close to your energy so, I have to ask, what are you doing to stay in such great shape? Did I hear you’re actually a polo player?

Fee: Yeah, but I’ve only been playing polo for about eight years now, I’ve got a bunch of horses and I like to do that. I don’t know, I’ve always worked out, always tried to stay in shape, always tried to eat right, I was never a big druggie, even back in the old days when everyone was crazed and doing cocaine. I hated it, I thought, “Fuck this. This sucks”, I hated the drug, I tried to get everybody I knew to stop using it and I finally ended up leaving the band because I just gave up, I couldn’t take it anymore. You know, I use to smoke a little pot but I never really got into drugs or alcohol, I’ve just tried to stay in good shape, I work out a lot and I’ve been doing yoga for 20 years, Bikram Yoga, “Hot Yoga” and that really helps. I go to Gold’s three times a week and I probably ride the horses three times a week.

PB: And it looks like you’re still having a blast on stage, there’s a serious party goin’ on up there!

Fee: Well, it’s the passion of my life, I’ve just been so lucky to get through life without a 9 to 5, and my voice has always held up pretty well, you know, I never pushed it too hard where I got nodes or anything like that and, like I said, I never did a lot of cocaine and fucked my voice, my voice is better now then it was before and we’ve never lowered the key, all of our songs are in the original keys. I just love the whole thing, on stage I turn into a different person, I’m a completely different person on stage. It’s funny, my wife and I have a commercial property development company, I manage about a million square feet of commercial property in Orange County. We have four buildings and every Tuesday I go down there and take care of problems and fix stuff and all of our tenants are all government, that’s kind of our niche’, The County of Orange Probation and Child Support Services and Social Services, so I deal with all of these straight government people all day long, who do nothing pretty much but complain about the most menial, trivial bull shit that you could ever imagine. And, you know, they don’t know who I am, they think I’m “John”. You have a problem? Call John, he’ll take care of it! And, if it’s something small, some stupid thing, like a faucet leaking or something easy, I’ll do it myself. It’s kind of embarrassing sometimes, you know, I’ll be in a building and somebody will go “Jeez, you’re not the guy from The Tubes, are ya?” and I’m like, “Umm, yeah” and they’re like, “What are you doing changing a faucet in our building?”, and usually I’ll just say, “I own this building”,(laughing), “I’m just here protecting my interest”. I actually did invest in one of our buildings, I own a piece of one of them so it’s not a complete fabrication.

PB: So, I understand you’ve added another hyphenate to your resume’, Singer/ Writer/ Actor/ Sweet Transvestite?

Fee: Oh yeah, Rocky Horror, I’ve been doing Frank-N- Furter for about 12 years now at a little summer stock theatre in Augusta, Michigan, The Barn Theatre, which is about ten miles outside Kalamazoo. It’s the oldest for profit summer stock theatre in the United States. The guy who runs it now, Brendan Ragotzy, actually went to San Diego State College back in the ’80s and he was a Tubes fan, so he was looking for a new guy to play the role and, out of the clear blue sky said “God, you know who would be great is Fee Waybill!”, because he loved The Tubes and saw me doing all of those characters and thought, “He could do Frank-N-Furter in a heart beat!”, so he called me in 1999 and said “You wanna do this? You wanna come do Rocky Horror? I think you’d be great, you got the part, I’ll send you a script, learn the songs”, and I said, “Fuck, that’d be great, I love that, I’ll do it!” and I love it, because, you know, I used to do a lot of plays in high school and in college, a lot of musicals, and I love the stage, the stage is my spot, that’s my home. So I’ve been doing Rocky Horror with them, like, every other year and I did a few other shows as well, I did a musical called The Civil War which was really great and I think I’m doing something with them this summer, I’m not sure yet what it is, they want me to do a play during the regular season and then Rocky Horror again in October, around Halloween. It’s just incredibly fun, I love it.

PB: Well when I heard that you were playing Frank-N-Furter my first thought was, of course! My second thought was, why did it take so long for THAT to happen? It’s no secret that when Richard O’Brien wrote The Rocky Horror Show, bands like The Tubes and Alice Cooper were just coming up and I’m thinking he had to have been influenced by you guys, in some way.

Fee: Right, I saw the play before it was a movie when it was playing The Roxy in L.A., when it first came to the West Coast with Tim Curry and a lot of the people who ended up doing the movie and I thought it was just great and I actually know Lou Adler pretty well, who directed the movie, I’ve known Lou for years, I did another cult movie early on that Lou directed called Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, which was Laura Dern’s first movie and I think Diane Lane’s second and Ray Winstone was the star and he’s pretty big time now….

PB: Yeah, I just watched it again recently and I was really taken with how disgusting you were.

Fee: (laughing) Oh, I know, it’s so great, I love that!

PB: Alright, so let’s finish up with the question that no one likes to answer but I still love to ask; you’re lost on a desert island and, somehow, you knew you were going to be stranded and you packed five albums that will keep you company until you’re rescued or dead, what are those albums?

Fee: Oh, jeez, umm…O.K., Led Zeppelin IV, Jimi HendrixAre You Experienced?, Pretenders- II, Foo Fighters- In Your Honor and The Beatles…a box set…I know that’s a cop out but any Beatles would be great.     

You can find more Tubes news and tour dates at http://thetubes.com

Let’s finish today with a few of my favorite flashes from The Tubes‘ past, Prime Time  and T.V. is King from the album Remote Control

The Weekly Pop Blitz

Hey there Popsters, how was your week? Mine was…..long and I am so very glad the weekend is finally here! I’ve got lots of pop news for you this week so, without further yada, yada, yada, let’s get this party started!

 
Darth Vader Wants You!

The gang over at PBH Network posted a collection of incredibly awesome Star Wars Propaganda posters this week and I highly recommend you surf it when you have the time. It’s impressive work from some very talented artists and I know you’re really going to love it! Check it, Popsters!

http://www.pbh2.com/astounding/incredible-star-wars-propaganda-posters/

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Weezer on the Cars 2 Soundtrack

When Pixar’s Cars 2 hits the big screen on June 24th the theater speakers will be rocking as Weezer puts their spin on The Cars‘ 80s hit “You Might Think”. Here’s a brief clip of the guys talking about the flick, followed by a very short vid of them in the recording studio. Enjoy!


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Ken and Barbie Go to Hawaii

Speaking of Cars 2, in case you didn’t already know, the short playing in front of the Pixar feature this time around will feature the Toy Story gang in what I’m calling Toy Story 3 1/3. The plot will revolve around Ken and Barbie on their Hawaiian Honeymoon…or not. Here’s a quick clip for you!

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New Trailer for Fright Night Remake

I’m still not sure how I feel about Hollywood remaking one of my favorite horror comedies from the 80s but, I have to admit, this trailer looks pretty freakin’ cool! I have to give the filmmakers credit, Colin Ferrell was an inspired choice. Fans of the original flick will notice the character of Peter Vincent, (originally played to perfection by Roddy McDowell and, this time around, David Tennant), is nowhere to be seen in this preview. Is that a good or bad thing? Who knows. We’ll see when Fright Night hits the big screens this August.

The posters I’ve seen for this remake are very reminiscent of the original and it’s heartening to see they’ve kept all the original character names, it’s clear the people involved are true fans of the first film. Here’s hoping they don’t mess this one up!

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Pink Floyd Lives!

(….At Least For a Few Minutes)

Last summer– shortly before Roger Waters began his “Wall Tour” – he played a brief set with his former band mate David Gilmour at a benefit for the Hoping Foundation. At the time, it was rumored Gilmour had agreed to make a cameo on Water’s “Wall Tour” at some point in the next year.

Well, that rumor and promise finally came to pass this week at London’s 02 Arena! Waters and Gilmour performed “Comfortably Numb” as the crowd at the arena went  insane. During the finale of “Outside the Wall,” Gilmour returned to the stage alongside Nick Mason, who played a tambourine.

The London audience was treated to a rare moment in rock and roll history as this was only the second time that Nick Mason, David Gilmour and Waters had played together in the last 30 years. 

Thankfully, today’s technology all but guarantees that somehow, someway, these fleeting moments of history will always be captured. God bless the amateurs and their cell phones!

 Just as he did on the original 1980/81 tour, Gilmour plays his epic solo on top of the Wall. 

I have to admit, this clip gave me a couple goose bumps and brought a little mist to my eyes. In my opinion, “Comfortably Numb” is one of the ten best rock songs ever written and David Gilmour is a true guitar God! Enjoy!

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Once More, with Less Feeling

Fans of the now classic indie film, Once, may have been longing for a sequel but I’m doubting this is the story they were hoping to see. 

The world fell in love with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová when their songwriting collaboration in the film Once culminated in a jubilant Oscar win. But behind the scenes, where Glen and Mar’s on-screen romance became reality, a grueling two-year world tour fractured their fated bond. Gorgeously filmed in black and white, this music-filled documentary is an intimate look at the exhilaration and turmoil created by both love and fame. 

For the record, Once, is an all time favorite of mine and I’m also a huge fan of The Swell Season, the band Glen and Mar formed following the success of their movie. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Glen and seeing the band in concert last year and it was a night and show I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. This is why I find this trailer so heartbreaking, it’s a sad but true example of art imitating life imitating art. It’s like a cinematic infinity mirror.

The Swell Season doesn’t have a release date as of yet but, if I were to guess, this one is destined for our most melancholy of seasons, you know, when all the leaves begin “Falling Slowly”? (I couldn’t resist.)

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Armistice- Mission Bells

Here’s one from a band featured in this week’s Pop Bitez PopCast which is available on this page every two weeks. Of course, if you really want to be a cool and loyal Popster, you’ll just subscribe to the PopCast at iTunes and have it automatically download to your iPod every other Friday!

And that’s all the news that’s fit to POP for this week Popsters! Thanks for stopping by! Have yourselves a poptastic weekend! Cheers- Scott

Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good

Given May is National Military Appreciation Month I thought this week would be the perfect time to talk about the most moving and patriotic film I’ve seen this year.

While attending the 2011 Sedona International Film Festival I had the great pleasure of viewing several excellent films but none more inspiring or deeply affecting as director Jonathan Flora’s Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good.

At first blush Flora’s documentary is a simple, nicely structured chronicle of muti-talented actor/ musician Gary Sinise and his gifted band mates on their seemingly never-ending USO tour but, as the film unfolds, it quickly becomes clear this movie is about something much more than just Sinise’s band on the run. Continue reading Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good

Pop Bitez 2.0 Has Arrived!


Well, here we are Popsters, POP BITEZ IS BACK! 

Before we get into “All the News That’s Fit to POP” today, let’s start by talking about some of the changes you should expect going forward.

1). This is a temporary set up on wordpress, I don’t plan on being here indefinitely. I have always considered Pop Bitez a weekly column, NOT A BLOG. Maybe, it’s just me but I’ve never been a big fan of the term “blogger”, I personally prefer the title “columnist” or “Pop Culture Reporter”. Admittedly, this is really just a case of semantics but, in the near future, you will be seeing the debut of the Official Pop Bitez Webzine. I decided to go with this format temporarily as I have some interviews and upcoming events that require me to be back on-line ASAP.

2). The original Pop Bitez was a weekly column, appearing every Friday and while the new Pop Bitez won’t be updated daily, it will no longer be limited to once a week . A great way to stay up to date with “All the News That’s Fit to POP!” is to SUBSCRIBE!

3). No American Idol or Dancing with the Stars here Popsters, I have a very strong aversion to “reality” of any kind. While It’s true, reality T.V. is currently a major part of our popular culture, with very few exceptions, I personally find paint drying and watching insects fuck on the sidewalk more interesting.

And with that, enough of the yada, yada, yada, LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!

Happy Mother’s Day 2011 or- for many of us- National Guilt Day!

So, given this Sunday is the day we all celebrate the woman responsible for bringing our goofy asses to the party, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to feature five of my favorite videos featuring “Mom”.

Let’s start with this “Mother’s Day” classic!


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And then there’s the remake!

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For some people Mother’s Day is all about flowers and candy but, to my mind, nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” more than a rap from Mr. T.


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The song is weak, the guys are dorks and can’t really sing but….the moms are wicked hot, ’nuff said.


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In the event I haven’t completely ruined your Mother’s Day by now, Carol Brady and her son Greg are here to pound the final nail, (and your eardrums), with their decidedly creepy duet! Enjoy!


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The truth is Popsters, I am fortunate enough to be the son of a pretty exceptional woman and consider myself quite blessed to still have her here on the planet with me. One need look no further than this pic to see our relationship has always been a special one. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Love ya!

* That’s her on the left, I’m the goofy Macaulay Culkin wannabe in the stripes. (This pic actually placed third in a Awkward Family Photos contest last year.)

Derby Weekend is Here Again!

Can you believe the Kentucky Derby is here already? I, myself, have always been a big fan of this perennial race, especially after having spent some quality years in Louisville, way back when.

The Horses will run and the celebs in their couture’ hats will be sucking down more than their share of mint juleps today at Churchill Downs but, what do you suppose will be on the menu?

For my money there really is only one, perfect dish for Derby Day and that, of course, would have to be the Hot Brown!

What, you might ask, is a “Hot Brown”? It almost sounds like something you’d pay extra for in an Amsterdam brothel but, I can assure you, this is one delicious dish!

In the 1920’s, The Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville Kentucky drew over 1,200 guests each evening for it’s dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were growing rapidly bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests’ palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. Exemplifying our unending dedication to serving our guests, The Hot Brown was born!

And now The Hot Brown – a Louisville tradition with worldwide appeal – has been featured in Southern Living Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, NBC’s Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, as well as being included as a regular entry in many of the finest cookbooks.

The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe

Ingredients (Makes Two Hot Browns):

  • 2 oz. Whole Butter
  • 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Qt. Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
  • 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
  • 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
  • Paprika, Parsley

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

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Alright, Popsters, that’ll do it for today. Next week I’ll have my exclusive interview with Fee Waybill, lead singer of one of my all time favorite party bands, The Tubes, as well as a brand new PopCast for your listening pleasure! Thanks for following me over to this new site and also for your continued patience and support as I put this new and improved webzine together. Please, stay tuned and, as always, have a great weekend! Cheers- Scott 

All the News That's Fit to POP!

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