Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Huey of the Fun Lovin' Criminals guests with the Rotten Hill Gang

There is an incredible buzz about the Rotten Hill Gang's gig at the swish Movida club club on Tuesday February 10th. Not only is Mick Jones going to be in the band's line up on the night, but I also hear that Hugh "Huey" Morgan the front man of the rock/hip hop group, the Fun Lovin' Criminals is going to be playing too. Key figures in the Music Industry will be attending the gig and I understand that top casting director, Jeremy Zimmermann (he worked on the Hellboy movies) has booked himself and his entire office in for the gig.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Sweetwater's Resurrection

I do hope for the sake of musicians, and besotted Music lovers that the Sweetwater music club in Mill Valley California will re-open in the near future. According to the January update on the club's website, 'all site planning, architectural, acoustic analysis and permits were complete as of August 2008.' But since then, the project has experienced 'a number of costly delays'. Until the club's tragic closure in 2007 (the building's owners 'pulled the plug on the month-to-month lease extensions under which the venue had operated for the previous two years'), it was for over thirty years the most important live music club/showcase in the San Francisco North Bay Area.

Impromptu legendary jamming sessions at the club happened regularly, consisting of international musicians ranging from Richie Havens to Marty Balin. Legend had it that Elvis Costello, Jerry Garcia, and James Burton , the guitarist for Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson not only jammed together on one occasion but also swapped guitars while playing.

During my visits to the Sweetwater, I have also constantly marvelled at Austin de Lone, who was not only MD for many of the famous Village Music parties at the club, where he performed with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Jerry Garcia, Sammy Hagar , Charles Brown, plus every brilliant musician imaginable. But he was also the host for the Sweetwater's packed out Open Mic nights on Monday nights.

According to the Sweetwater's most recent update, they have also moved some of their already booked shows to 142 Trockmorton Theatre, and will be working with Lucy Mercer, owner and Artistic Director of the theatre on keeping their 'music alive 'until the opening date, which will be 3 months from the time they restart the 'build-out'. Hope it happens soon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mick Jones Guests With The Rotten Hill Gang

I was having lunch with Richard Young, the celebrity photographer/ my old photographer on the defunct Ritz Newspaper today. (One of his sons is Sam Young, the international d.j.). We were in the middle of fondly reminiscing about our 'crazy' times working together (once we were trapped underneath the Palladium's stage with Mink de Ville and his band just before they were due to perform).

Richard suddenly announced he is co-managing the band, the Rotten Hill Gang with Stephen Webster, the jewellery designer. Ex-Clash vocalist and lead guitarist, Mick Jones of Carbon Silicon will be in the band's line-up on the night along with ex-fellow band members of the Big Audio Dynamite.

Richard has invited me along to the Rotten Hill Gang's next gig on February 10th at the Movida club in Argyll Street, built amidst the vaults of the London Palladium Theatre. I shall be there!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Austin de Lone's Magnificent Seven

While I was ogling the Inaugural Celebrations on a big screen at The Arts Club in London's Dover Street last night; the fab Austin de Lone's Magnificent Seven band played to a packed house at an emotional Inaugural Celebration Bash at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley.

The highly charged evening celebrated the change 'and promise' of the new administration of Barack Obama, America's 44th President! I wish I had been there in the flesh, as I've been told that my favourite chanteuse Ms Caroline de Lone (Austin's daughter) exquisitely warbled "Waiting on the World To Change", a song by John Mayer, as the opening song in a medley of 'hope and joy'. Other songs in the medley included "People Get Ready", "One Love", " A Change Is Gonna Come", and "Yes We Can". Other guest artists included (apologies if this sounds like a press release:) the wonderful Linda Tillery, Maria Muldaur, Annie Sampson, Timothy Hockenberry, and the charismatic guitarist Craig Caffal. My spies from over the pond assure me, a fine time was had by all!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Bonnie Simmons Show

When I was in the San Francisco Bay area over the Christmas holidays, the de Lone family took me to visit Bonnie Simmons, who until recently managed the band Cake for eight years. She is currently busy hosting her "eclectic" weekly show on KPFA. Unfortunately I missed Austin de Lone's and Paul Roger's live appearance on her show a few days ago. Their performance was hyped as:

'BOTH playing their grand piano at the same time - original songs and covers, ranging from the sentimental to the sardonic - just the way they like it.'

All was not lost. I visited the Bonnie Simmons site, found the relevant link and was able to wallow in retrospect (!) while listening to them on line. Did see Audie and Paul perform in the highly entertaining Christmas Jug Band in Mill Valley during my vacation. Both musicians appeared to do a witty double act with their accordions, and Paul's laugh out loud daft dancing was a hoot.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Austin de Lone is a (Marin based) killer keyboard player, which helps makes his compelling new Soul Blues album sound lethally hypnotic.

A free download track from Paul Carrack's new album

Paul Carrack, who has toured and recorded with Austin de Lone has got a stupendous new album out titled I KNOW THAT NAME. Go to his site and click on the free download of the album's track: "I don't want your love I need your love" . You won't regret it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Austin de Lone ROCKS

When I was a teenager, I saw ALL the bands play at London venues like UFO, Middle Earth and "Implosion" events at the Roundhouse in the heady days when Jeff Dexter was THE most famous disc jockey in England. I even attended the 'exclusive' Doors and the Jefferson Airplane double bill (when I was in diapers of course!). If I remember correctly (!) Jefferson Airplane had top billing, but of course Jim Morrison stole the show. I used to (primarily wear Biba and Ossie Clark clothes) and hang out with a lot of musicians in those days too. It must have been a long time ago, because "Lemmy", who is best known as the founding member of the heavy metal band Motörhead used to be good looking in those days!

Back then, everyone on the London 'Scene' seemed to be heavily involved in the Music Industry and I thought nothing of hanging out backstage at rock concerts (like "Blind Faith") in Hyde Park, and eating dinner in boxes (usually reserved for royalty) at the Royal Albert Hall, while seeing major artistes like Janis Joplin perform. Jimi Hendrix (whom I saw devour his guitar several times) even tried to run me over in his car on the Zebra Crossing at Marble Arch once!

I used to be crazy about West Coast rock at the time (The Grateful Dead ensemble was one of my favourites), and one of my biggest fantasies was to marry an American rock star and live in San Francisco. It didn't happen, but my sister Lesley did marry the legendary and versatile musician called Austin de Lone, who was 'gonged' with a "Milley" award in 2007 for bringing national and international honour to Mill Valley. Keyboards are his speciality ..... he also reworks bands as well as being a composer, songwriter, and producer. (He also helps organise benefit concerts in the name of Richard de Lone, his Prader-Willi Syndrome son).

Austin ("Audie" is his nickname) started the pub rock movement in England during the early Seventies with his legendary band, "Eggs Over Easy", and has worked and played with everyone in the Music Industry, including rocksters like Huey Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, David Crosby, Lightening Hopkins, Nick Lowe, Commander Cody, Loudoun Wainwright, Boz Scaggs, Howard Tate and Elvis Costello to name just a few. He currently resides in Mill Valley, California. He is the only musician I know now, so it was a huge treat to hang out in Mill Valley during Christmas and the New Year and listen to his pulsating sounds.

I now very rarely see live music in London (there aren't that many rock venues left now), so it was a delight to see Austin and his talented daughter (my niece) Caroline (I dedicated "Crushed", my YA novel to her) perform while I was there. On New Year's eve, we saw one of Austin's groups, the tight AUSTIN DE LONE'S SOUL BLUES EXTRAVAGANZA perform at the beautiful non-profit 142 Throckmorton Theatre.

Guest artistes included the brilliant Dan Hicks (he performed his haunting song, "I Scare Myself") and The Swizzle Sisters, a raunchy blues singer called Lisa Kindred (her "Steppin' Up In Class" CD is addictive!), Maria Muldaur, the youthful and sensational Lorin Rowan (of the Rowan brothers), does he have a portrait of himself in his attic?!) and the charismatic Caroline de Lone. Will Durst's Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show who opened the act were hilarious.

'Los Angeles is hell frozen over,' was one of their many laugh out loud wisecracks.

I also, caught Bonnie Raitt and Caroline (again) guest at the Mabel John show (after she left Motown, she was the director of the Raelettes, who backed Ray Charles), plus her magical musician son, Paul Collins also at the Throckmorton Theatre. Caroline is only sixteen (going on seventeen), but she is a natural performer with a belting big voice. Bonnie Raitt predicts she will do very well with her singing career. Praise indeed!

Other highlights of my action-packed holiday included a visit to George Lucas's lot in San Francisco (he lives in Mill Valley alongside all the old West Coast rock stars), and an intoxicating visit to Francis Coppola's Rubicon Winery in Napa Valley. I loved the film memorabilia upstairs which included antiquated magic lanterns. I had an exciting time, but the most positive thing about my trip was getting ideas for my work-in-progress novel, and a sizzling idea for a rock 'n' roll screenplay. There's nothing like a holiday to get the inspirational juices going!

Pick Of The Pops From One Who Knows

Thanks to Ms Caroline de Lone (I dedicated Crushed, my Young Adult novel to her) for recommending some of her favourite current music acts to me. I adore the track, "One More Time" from Daft Punk's "Discovery Album". This track has a special poignancy for me. After Caroline and her dad, Austin de Lone performed with his "All Star Band" at the Porretta Soul Festival last summer, the de Lones stayed with me in the U.K. before returning to Mill Valley. Coco and I made a soft focus video for YouTube, dancing 'exquisitely' to "One More Time" in my office. Sadly, this 'masterpiece' can not be seen by the public as my YouTube account has now been made private.

Other recommendations from Caroline include All American Rejects, Death Cab For Cutie, Norah Jones (Coco sings her song, "Come Away With Me" beautifully), and Lady Gaga (a title after my own heart!).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Metronomic Score for Code Grey

Clive Ashenden (of Snatching Time notoriety) co-wrote, co-produced and starred in Code Grey, a 'tense thriller which morphs into a surreal comedy about perception', specifically made for the Straight8 Film Competition. (The making of Code Grey can be viewed on this YouTube link).

It's a nifty, fresh and original short with some laugh-out-loud moments, but what grabbed me was Steve Cartwright's compelling metronomic 'ticking' that underlays the score. Code Grey can be viewed on YouTube.

Piracy in Argentina

A friend has just retured from a vacation in San Bernardo in Argentina, and told me he was amazed to find that EVERYTHING (on the racks and shelves) in a record and DVD store he went into was a pirate copy. He couldn't understand why the local police there haven't intervened. Unfortuately, he was in such a blur, he didn't focus on the name of the shop. Grrrrrrrr!