By Rob Nagy

MATTHEWSWEET&SUSANNAHOFFS-2Pop recording artists Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs each came to prominence via different paths while enjoying varied degrees of success. Sweet, while born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, relocated to Athens, Georgia in the early 80’s and soon became a part of the burgeoning Athens music scene where artists like the B-52’s and REM were embarking on their now legendary careers. Sweet worked with REM front man Michael Stipe in a band called “The Community Trolls” while pulling double duty with Stipe’s sister Lynda in the “Oh-OK”. By 1985 Sweet had caught the attention of record Giant Columbia Records – landing a solo contract and releasing the album “Inside” to rave reviews but less than dazzling record sales. Departing Columbia Records, Sweet signed with A&M where, again, he had critical acclaim but very little response from the record buying public. It wasn’t until 1991’s Zoo Entertainment release of the album “Girlfriend” that Sweet got the long overdue radio airplay and record sales he had longed for. The title track “Girlfriend” reached the top ten, spawning the heavily rotated video on MTV. Along with success comes an end for too many artists; Sweet was no exception. He had achieved the notoriety and airplay that was most deserved, but fans – having little patience – moved on to the next new craze. Sweet released a handful of albums throughout the remainder of the decade and into the millennium but was unable to revisit his brief moment in the spotlight. In 2002 he put together the super group “The Thorns” releasing one album before breaking up. Along with writing and recording Sweet did some producing, co-writing and work in TV and film. Sweet and Hoffs were members of the band “Ming Tea” along with Mike Myers in the classic film “Austin Powers”.
Susanna Hoffs enjoyed far more media attention and notoriety as a member of the 80’s girl group “The Bangles”. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Hoffs was exposed to celebrity as the daughter of film director Tamar Simon Hoffs. Signing with Columbia Records in 1984, the Bangles breakthrough came two years later with the release of the album “Different Light”, which yielded the smash hits “Walk Like An Egyptian” and “Manic Monday”. As the most visible member of the Bangles, Hoffs garnered much of the attention. She co-wrote songs for other artists, most notably the Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle, and saw Rickenbacker unveil a Susanna Hoffs’ model guitar. With the 80’s rapidly coming to a close, the Bangles released the album “Everything” featuring their biggest single “Eternal Flame”, which Hoffs co-wrote and sang. Displaying her diverse talents, Hoffs co-starred in the film “The Allnighter” starring John Cusack, which was directed by her mother. By 1990, the Bangles disbanded eventually reuniting nearly a decade later, at Hoffs urging, to release the “Doll Revolution” album in 2003. Hoffs released a couple of solo efforts to a moderate response, but like Sweet, the glory days had come and gone. In 1993 Hoffs married film director Jay Roach (Austin Powers and Meet The Parents). It was during the making of “Austin Powers” that Sweet and Hoffs established a great friendship that continues to this day. In 2006, billing themselves as “Sid and Susie”, they recorded and released “Under The Covers” Volume 1, a collection of their interpretations of the 60’s greatest songs, which included “Monday, Monday”, The Kids Are Alright” and “Cinnamon Girl”. Following the release of a long overdue solo effort, 2008’s “Sunshine Lies”, Sweet and Hoffs returned to the studio to record their current release “Under The Covers” Volume II, offering a collection of classic songs from the seventies, which included “You’re So Vain”, “Hello It’s Me” and “Maggie May”.
On November 15, 2009 Sweet and Hoffs performed a two-hour set to a surprising capacity audience at the Sellersville Theatre in Sellersville, PA. The concert was in two parts with Sweet and Hoffs doing their 60’s cover songs the first half and the 70’s portion the second half. The duo was joined by two additional acoustic guitarists – adding a depth and richness to the overall sound. In between selections they told a variety of stories relating to their respective careers. The show itself seemed flat and a little on the unrehearsed side. Too much time was spent talking, and there seemed to be confusion at times over what song to play next. While Hoffs still has a very strong singing voice, her microphone was clearly put at a volume that was often overbearing and took away from the overall show. Still, it was fun to hear so many of the classic songs that have stood the test of time no matter who is performing them. Standouts included “You’re So Vain”, “Cinnamon Girl”, “Hello It’s Me”, “All The Young Dudes” and “Go All The Way”. There is talk of Sweet and Hoffs releasing an 80’s tribute but to date nothing has been confirmed. For more info on Matthew Sweet go to www.matthewsweet.com and Susanna Hoffs go to www.thebangles.com To stay up to date with all future shows coming to the Sellersville Theatre go to: www.st94.com

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bus3
THE NEW PHILLY SPORTS BUS is great idea for your next event!
By Mike Vagnoni

Here is something new for the 2009 and 2010 Sports season by the guys at Paddy Whacks & CASPERS…Get on the Bus..the PHILLY SPORTS BUS. On one side of the bus is a salute to the EAGLES and on the other side of the bus is the PHILLIES salute…this sort of splits up the PHILLY SPORTS BUS into two looks. The bus is great for all sporting events…weddings…anniversary’s, Birthdays and Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties, Parades, Fundraisers,Proms,or any kind of an event you can think of.
The Bus seats 25 adults,and has air conditioning and tinted windows…it has two Flatscreens and offers Direct TV….it has a DVD player and CD player along with Mp3, GPS, and I-pod….there is also a 3000 watt sound system with over 15 speakers…IT has a play station 3 set up for games…Private bathroom and sink,…there is full bar and oversized coolers… the bus also has a complete set up for your next Tailgate party with Tents, games and chairs….So on your next event with friends get on the bus.

Call to rent it out today. CALL 215-4647544 Ext 106 OR CONTACT CASPER’S or ANY OF THE PADDY WHACKS LOCATIONS.

Available for any special occasion!

· Sporting Events

· Weddings

· Birthdays

· Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

· Parades

· Fundraisers

· Proms

· or any other special event…

Bus Features

· Seating for 25 Adults

· Air Conditioning and Tinted Windows

· 2 Flatscreen HDTV’s with DirectTV

· DVD/CD, MP3, GPS, iPod

· 3000 watt sound system with 14 speakers (including 2 sub woofers)

· Play Station 3

· Private bathroom and Sink

· On-board generator and AC power

· Full Bar with oversized coolers

· All your Tailgate Supplies including Tents, Games, Chairs, etc.

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By Rob Nagy

HALL&OATES-SPECTRUM-PHILA.PA10-23-09On Friday October 23rd home grown rock heroes Hall & Oates, the Hooters and Todd Rundgren converged on the Philadelphia Spectrum for one last concert – paying homage to a treasured venue and the loyal hometown fans. Billed as “The Last Call”, the Spectrum stood proudly, looking much as it did when it first opened its doors in 1967. To commemorate this historic event ticket prices were rolled back to four to six dollars, the face value of a ticket back in the day. The near capacity crowd was treated to an evening of hypnotic foot stomping rock and roll. There were no large screen video displays, political messages, dancers or fireworks as there typically are today. The night showcased just three great acts playing barebones music they way it used to be – on a simple stage with a modest sound system and playing their hearts out. The Hooters opened the show by performing an impressive rendition of the National Anthem before breaking into an hour-long set, which included many of their vintage hits. The band was visibly charged and played in front of their hometown crowd with precision and enthusiasm. Highlights included “And We Danced”, “All You Zombies”, “Day By Day”, “Time Stand Still” and Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”, which Hooter Eric Bazilian dedicated to our National League Champion Phillies. Upper Darby’s Todd Rundgren, who was making his first appearance at the Spectrum since opening solo for Jeff Beck in the 1970’s, fronted a five-piece band. Rundgren, with guitar in hand, offered up his own hour-long set covering many of his hits and an acid rock guitar jam throughout that jolted the place. Standouts included “Hello It’s Me”, “Open My Eyes” and “I Saw The Light”. The evening’s finale featured rock’s all-time greatest duo Hall & Oates. Actor Kevin Bacon, together with his brother and fellow musician Michael, graced the stage while sharing memories of attending Spectrum concerts in their youth before bringing Hall & Oates on stage to a rousing ovation. Hall & Oates opened their hour plus set with “Maneater” followed by one classic after another. Their impeccable vocal harmonies were accompanied by an amazing back-up band, which included longtime members bassist T-Bone Wolk and saxophonist Charlie DeChant, whose melodic solos only enhanced the set. Highlights included “Sara Smile”, “Rich Girl”, “You make My Dreams Come True”, “She’s Gone” and “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”. Following one final intermission, Hall & Oates returned to the stage and were joined by Jerseyites The Soul Survivors Charlie and Richie Ingui to perform the 1967 classic “Expressway To Your Heart”. The Hooters Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian along with Todd Rundgren made the evening’s finale complete by performing a cavalcade of the Philly sound’s hits including “Backstabbers” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” and “Love Train” closing out the night with “Disco Inferno”. If there was ever a more appropriate line-up to count down the final days of this storied venue it was tonight’s concert. As in old times, there was even the occasional beach ball volleyed among the crowd. Pearl Jam plays the Spectrum’s final concert on Halloween night.


Photos by Rob Nagy

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By Rob Nagy

CHRISSIEHYNDE-STONEPONY8-09-09-4-ROBNAGYIt has been more than three decades since the “Pretenders” exploded onto the music scene. Bordering on punk and pop, the Pretenders made a huge splash in America with their self titled 1978 release.  Anchored by the brash, captivating vocal talents of lead singer Chrissie Hynde, the Pretenders achieved what few bands are able to do, establish a signature sound that has always unmistakably been the Pretenders. Now with their latest release“Break up the Concrete”, their first in six year, the Pretenders have been hitting the concert trail hard keeping the band’s name in the public eye while proving they are still capable of delivering a great song.

The Pretenders were given birth in 1978 when Chrissie Hynde met up with original bassist Pete Farndon in London, England. Hynde had been bouncing around the globe the decade prior attempting to launch a musical career without much success. Farndon was impressed with Hynde’s songwriting and started working with her. In need of a guitarist, Farndon lured James Honeyman-Scott to record an early demo with both he and Hynde.  In the summer of 1978 Hynde, Farndon and Honeyman-Scott returned to the studio to record another demo this time with Nick Lowe of Rockpile producing two Pretender classics “Precious” and “Stop Your Sobbing”.  Soon after Martin Chambers joined the band on drums and the Pretenders line-up was intact.  In 1979 the Pretenders released their self-titled debut yielding the single “Brass in Pocket”, which went to number one in the U.K. Two years later they released their sophomore effort “Pretenders II” and The EP/ Extended Play album containing the U.K. and U.S. hits  “Message of Love” and “Talk of the Town” and a live version of “Precious,” recorded in New York’s Central Park furthering the bands commercial success and solidifying their place for years to come. By the latter part of this same year Farndon’s drug addiction was putting a strain on the band and he was fired in the spring of 1982 following the bands world tour. Two days after Farndon’s departure the band received the tragic news that James Honeyman-Scott had died in his sleep, the result of drug induced heart failure.  “You don’t know what the repercussions are through the remainder of your life”, recalls Chambers. “I have missed him every day since.  He was one of my best friends. We used to share bedrooms before we could afford a real room. You can imagine the hilarity that brought on. We were Laurel and Hardy. It was just great fun. That was just an unfortunate thing three and a half years into the group to lose, for Chrissie it was her right hand man in Jimmy.” To their credit Hynde and Chambers regrouped and went into the studio a month later to record a new record, which featured the song “Back on the Chain Gang”, in honor of the late Honeyman-Scott.  Guitarist Robbie McIntosh and bassist Malcolm Foster were brought on board to complete what became the Pretenders next album “Learning to Crawl”. Tragedy struck days before the release of this album when Farndon was found dead in the bathtub from a drug overdose. Out of the ashes personal chaos, “Learning to Crawl” achieved much deserved critical acclaim and commercial success, with the single “Middle of the Road” and the band continued to tour until disbanding following their 1985 performance at Live Aid. Over the next decade a variety of musicians performed with Hynde releasing some successful singles including “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “I’ll Stand by You”.  Martin Chambers returned by the mid-nineties after abruptly departing the band a few years earlier.  Touring and recording continued highlighted by an appearance at the Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995. Hynde went into seclusion for a few years resurfacing with new material, which was released independently to a lukewarm response from the general public. In 2006 the band released, in conjunction with Rhino Records, a four disc box set, which included over five hours of music and a DVD of rare live performances. Chambers is quick to acknowledge that Hynde has been and will always be the centerpiece for the band, without her there is no Pretenders. “More than ever now it’s been Chrissie’s band a long time”, says Chambers. “It’s a completely different set of rules now. Chrissies is basically in charge and that’s that. She has called it a tribute band, a tribute to Jim (James Honeyman-Scott) and Pete (Farndon), which is a way of looking at it. For me, the Pretenders died in 1982, that was the end of the true Pretenders.

With the bands current release “Break up the Concrete”, they are proving that they aren’t going away anytime soon. Featuring a stellar line-up of musicians, which in addition to Hynde includes guitarist James Walbourne, pedal steel player Eric Heywood, bassist Nick Wilkinson and Martin Chambers on drums, the Pretenders have produced twelve solid songs showcasing Hynde’s songwriting backed by her vocal talents, which have not diminished as she has again captured the Pretenders sound and spirit. “She not only can sing but she’s got a great voice”, says Chambers.  Above all she’s singing her own stuff mostly so it’s a pretty good combination. There’s not many like that and she’s pretty unique. I’ve always thought it’s good never to work with rubbish so I’m glad to be working with her still.” Chambers added, We’re pretty lucky to have come full circle for a band that’s the top of the heap as far as I’m concerned. I’m very proud to be associated with it. Standout songs includes “Boots of Chinese Plastic”, “The Nothing Maker”, “Don’t Lose Faith in Me”, Don’t Cut Your Hair”, “Loves a Mystery” and the title tracks “Break Up The Concrete”.  Chambers is very optimistic when looking toward the future. “We’ve got a bit of life in us yet”, says Chambers. “It’s difficult in this business to look more than a year or two ahead but I can certainly see another great record. It’s definitely on the cards as far as I can see. It’s only a question of coming up with a few good tunes.” Chambers is aware of the bands place in history and would like people to think of the Pretenders fondly. “I’d like people to say, ‘we were a true band. That they put their priorities in the right place, that their music came first.’ We made a good noise. Had some good times and had some people that really enjoyed it and I think that’s really as far as you can go with that.”

On August 09, 2009 the Pretenders played to packed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  With the seductive presence of Hynde at the helm, the band played a ninety minute set of all the Pretenders classics, which included “Message of Love”, “Brass in Pocket”, The Wait”, “Middle of the Road” and “Back on the Chain Gang” as well as a handful of selections from their latest release. The band was near perfect, sounding as lively and as fresh as when they first conquered America three decades ago. Based on tonight’s performance, the Pretenders are going to be around for a while. Their tour, which started in the U.S. in January of this year, has since found the band performing through-out Europe. They wind things down this fall in the U.S. before taking a much needed break over the winter months.  Look for a possible new release sometime late next year. For more info on the Pretenders or to order a copy of their new release go to www.Pretenders.com

Photos by Rob Nagy

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STATEMENT BY KENNY GAMBLE AND LEON HUFF, LEGENDARY PRODUCERS AND ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES, ON DEATH OF DOO-WOP PIONEER JOHNNY CARTER
OF THE DELLS, PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDING ARTISTS

johnny_carter

SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA” PIONEERS WROTE AND PRODUCED ALBUM

I SALUTE YOU FOR ONE OF THE FINEST AND LONGEST-LIVED R&B VOCAL GROUPS IN HISTORY

    FUNERAL SERVICES TO BE HELD SUNDAY, AUG. 30 IN HARVEY, IL

PHILADELPHIA – Legendary producers and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees KENNY GAMBLE and LEON HUFF, who brought Philadelphia soul music (“The Sound of Philadelphia”) to “people all over the world,” reacted this morning to the death last weekend of doo-wop pioneer Johnny Carter, who recorded with Philadelphia International Records as a member of The Dells.

Carter, whose falsetto tenor also was heard as a founding member of The Flamingos, died Friday in his hometown of Harvey, IL, after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 75.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, Aug. 30 at Bethlehem Temple, 20 East 147th St., Harvey, IL 60426, at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. CST., in conjunction with Holts Funeral Home, also in Harvey.

Carter joined Gamble & Huff in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted twice as a member of The Dells and The Flamingos.

“The Dells have been together 58 years, and they really go way back with us, too,” said Gamble & Huff in a joint statement. “We’ve always looked at them as some of the key innovators of Rhythm & Blues, and Johnny Carter, was especially innovative, because of his earlier tenure with the Flamingos, which also was an excellent group. We considered him to be one of the best tenors ever in Rhythm & Blues, with an absolutely superb voice. Not only us, but a lot of people will be sad about his leaving.”

After coveting The Dells for years, Gamble & Huff finally got to work with the legendary Chicago vocal group in 1992, further updating their sound on the I Salute You album. One of the finest and longest-lived R&B vocal groups in history, The Dells signed with Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records through Zoo/BMG amid a flurry of record offers, and I Salute You was issued around the time of the group’s 40th anniversary. Two of the album’s singles, “Come and Get It” and the glorious ballad “Oh My Love” landed on Billboard’s R&B charts. Other notable tracks from I Salute You included the soul searching “I’m Only a Man” and the regional hit, “SomeBody’s Gotta Move,” which later featured high-powered Philly vocalist Grace Little.

Gamble & Huff recorded another album with Carter and The Dells in the early ‘90s that remains unreleased in the Philadelphia International Records vault. As a tribute to the group, the label plans to release that album in the near future.

Carter joined The Dells in 1960 and helped the group become one of the few to span music genres, with a repertoire that included doo-wop, jazz, soul, disco and contemporary R&B and resulted in successful recordings surpassing more than four decades. Carter belted out his tenor vocals smoothly blending them with Marvin Junior’s lead baritone to mesmerize audiences equally in concert and on record. The unmatched union of Carter and Junior took The Dells’ world-renown legendary songs to a heightened crescendo, from their two #1 R&B hits, “Oh, What a Night” and “Stay in My Corner,” to other favorites like “Standing Ovation,” “There Is” and “The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind).”

Gamble & Huff’s classic hit, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” was originally supposed to be recorded by The Dells, but Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes stepped in and took it to the top of the R&B charts and No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Gamble & Huff wrote over 3,000 songs with in 35 years, including R&B #1 hits, pop #1 hits, gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters’ awards honorees. Featured prominently in television programs (“The Apprentice”), films (“The Nutty Professor”) and advertising spots (Verizon, Old Navy, The Gap) for more than 30 years, Gamble and Huff’s songs have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. In fact, one of their songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes. With a stable core of artists led by the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB and the Three Degrees, Gamble and Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records and created monster hits almost from the first day of its inception. Songs they have written and produced together, like “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train,” “For The Love Of Money,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Cowboys to Girls,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive” and “TSOP,” have received songwriters’ awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). All told, the Gamble-Huff/PIR music machine” has generated over 100 Gold and Platinum records and over 70 #1 hits.

In 1999, four years after being inducted with Gamble into the National Academy of Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Huff was honored with his longtime partner by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with the Trustees Award, for his extensive body of work, both as producer and songwriter, and his contribution to the entire fabric of popular music. Last year, Huff was inducted with Gamble into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Huff also has appeared on American Idol in a show devoted to his music, and with Gamble has been inducted twice into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and the R&B Hall of Fame.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT:

www.gamble-huffmusic.com

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