Book Review: “From Cradle to Stage: Stories From the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars” by Virginia Hanlon Grohl

“From Cradle to Stage: Stories From the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars”
Author: Virginia Hanlon Grohl
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 204 pages

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When Virginia Hanlon Grohl first saw her son perform in front of thousands of screaming fans she knew that rock stardom was meant to be for her son. And as Virginia watched her son’s star rise, she often wondered about the other mothers who raised sons and daughters who became rock stars. Were they as surprised as she was about their children’s fame? Did they worry about their children’s livelihood and wellbeing in an industry fraught with drugs and other dangers? Did they encourage their children’s passions despite the odds against success, or attempt to dissuade them from their grandiose dreams? Do they remind their kids to pack a warm coat when they go on tour?

All those answers and more are contained in “From Cradle to Stage: Stories From the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars”. Over the course of the books 204 pages you get a unique behind the scenes look like never before. However not from the stars themselves but from their mothers! Yes that’s right their mothers. Along with author Hanlon Grohl own story of motherhood we hear from other moms including Verna Griffin (Dr. Dre), Janis Winehouse (Amy Winehouse), Hester Diamond (Mike D of the Beastie Boys) and Bettye Moses and Harriette Brown (mother & step mother of Zac Brown) as they recount the years before, during and after their sons and daughters became house hold names. I don’t recall a book like this ever being released which adds to the appeal because who is better to ask about those earlier childhood years than one’s own mom.

The candid firsthand accounts are what really kept me turning page after page. “From Cradle to Stage” is a fun, fast read unlike any biography I have come across before. While the book does a great job showcasing several mothers’ journeys its underlying story about the bond between parents and children is its greatest attribute. Not only is this a great read for parents but also for anyone looking for a different look at some of music’s biggest artists and the moms who impacted their lives.

Film Review “Mother’s Day”

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts
Directed By: Garry Marshall
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 118 minutes
Open Road Films

Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 Stars

I typed out, “Are ensemble holiday-related movies doomed to be forever bad?” and realized that I answered my own question with the phrasing, ensemble holiday-related movies. Every time I watch them, I feel like I’m watching sitcom leftovers. So it only makes sense that Garry Marshall, who’s worked on dozens of sitcoms, would make “Mother’s Day”, a sappy, cornball movie. Of course this isn’t Marshall’s first rodeo, but I certainly hope it’s his last.

Like most of these movies, there are too many characters to go over, but they all have one thing in common, they’re dealing with some matriarchal problem. Sandy (Aniston) has to cope with her boys becoming attached to her ex-husband’s new squeeze. Jesse (Hudson) is dealing with avoiding telling her mom that she married an Indian man. Jesse’s sister, Gabi (Sarah Chalke) has the same problem, but instead it’s her inability to show off her life partner. The 81-year-old director surely must have thought a lesbian couple and a white woman marrying someone of a different race was groundbreaking material.

Then there’s Bradley (Jason Sudeikis), who’s dealing with the year anniversary of the loss of his wife. There’s also Kristin (Britt Robertson) who can’t handle that her boyfriend, and the father to her child, is proposing to her. Then Julia Roberts is kind of just floating around in the background as the “popular” HSN host. There are a lot more characters and a lot more actors looking for a paycheck that I’m sure I’m neglecting. Some of them connect and some of them don’t and live in their own personal bubble hell without having to bring anyone else into it.

The only thing this movie is missing is canned laughter or the gratuitous audience applause after someone stands up for themselves. The conflicts are forced, outdated, and their resolutions are equally as audacious to reality. I’ll go ahead and gloss over the fact that there’s obnoxious product placement. I mean, how many eight and 10-year-old siblings are going to get excited about going to IHOP? And don’t forget that any beverage must be drunk, has the label on the outside so that the camera can read it.

At times I did find it sentimental, oddly enough. Maybe it’s because I set my brain to cruise control or because there is a universal feeling that moms do go underappreciated. “Mother’s Day” does kind of touch on that, but it could be by accident. As for all you hard working moms in the world out there, you do deserve a movie that loves and supports you, but “Mother’s Day” is not that movie. Let’s spend Mother’s Day with our mom and stop attending these recycled holiday movies.

Concert Review: Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers

Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers, David Dondero

Date: Saturday, February 20th 2016

Venue: The Waiting Room, Buffalo, NY

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Against Me! Front woman Laura Jane Grace made a stop at the intimate Waiting Room in Buffalo, NY on Feb 20th as part of a brief 8 show acoustic tour with her group the Devouring Mothers. Also on the bill for these handful of shows was veteran singer song writer Dave Dondero. The night was part storytelling and part music as both set of performers aimed to provide the audience with a nights worth of entertainment.

As fans were still making their way up the twisted steps of the dual stage venue opening act Dave Dondero took the stage for a less than energetic set. At several points through the 30/40 minute set Dondero asked the crowd if they were actually interested in hearing him play and if not he was ok with leaving. At first what seemed like a joke carried on throughout the remainder of Dondero’s unprofessional and lack luster set.

As the room began steadily filling in Laura Jane and the Devouring Mothers (a group made up of Against Me! drummer Atom Willard and producer/ bassist Marc Hudson) would take the stage and blast through over 20 acoustic renditions of some of Against Me’s material both new and old. In between such songs as “Tonight We’re Gonna Give It 35%” and “Androgynous” Grace read entries from her upcoming book which will be made of countless journal entries and experiences. The set by Laura Jane and company was like a cooler version of “VH1’s Storytellers”. The set was a nice mixture of both new and old tracks which provided something for the various levels of fans the packed the intimate club setting. Missing from the set however was the song “500 Years” which was released in 2014 as a Record Store Day limited edition 7”. Despite this being the perfect setting for the somber number other tracks like “Because of the Shame” and “Two Coffins” filled the void nicely and, despite the of the night being a bit rocky Laura Jane, Atom and Marc did a great job as they more than made it up to the Buffalo fans.

Set List:
1.) Ache With Me
2.) Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
3.) Tonight We’re Gonna Give It 35%
4.) You Look Like You Need a Drink
5.) Sink, Florida, Sink
6.) I Keep Forgettin’
7.) Pretty Girls (The Mover)
8.) How Low
9.) Searching for a Former Clarity
10.) Joy
11.) Androgynous (Replacements Cover)
12.) The Ocean
13.) Harsh Realms
14.) Conceptual Paths
15.) Because of the Shame
16.) Two
17.) True Trans Soul Rebel
18.) Bamboo Bones
19.) Transgender Dysphoria Blues
20.) Black Me Out
(Plus 2 song Encore)


How I Met Your Mother’s most loved supporting characters: What are they up to?

Nobody needs to tell us what TVs How I Met Your Mother has done for its core cast – Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor – but what about the supporting cast of TV’s most popular half-hour? Well, they’re doing crazy good too!

LYNDSY FONSECA (‘Ted’s Daughter’)
Though her part on the show is a fairly thankless part, Fonseca’s seemingly done quite well out of having the series on her resume. In recent years, the 26-year-old has starred in such movies as Kick-Ass 2 and Hot Tub Time Machine, and also played a lead role on the series Nikita.

CHARLIE AMOIA (‘Wendy the Waitress’)
Amoia, whose comic timing on the series is amazing, displays her versatility in the dramatic short She, playing a depressed young woman who finds an unlikely friend in a rescued dog. The film played at festivals, and has also been featured in several major magazines. Amoia will also be seen in several diverse feature films, including Fat.

JOE MANGANIELLO (‘Brad Morris’)
Though he only did a few episodes (the first in 2006), Manganiello’s appearance on How I Met Your Mother was enough to get him on the radar of near every TV network in town. The actor has played Bon Temps’ resident werewolf on HBO hit True Blood for the past few years, and next appears opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in a big-time flick called Sabotage.

JAMES VAN DER BEEK (‘Simon’)
Though he was already well-known at that stage (for Dawson’s Creek), former TV heartthrob Van Der Beek wasn’t known for his comedy work. His 2006 appearance on the sitcom changed all that, and before too long he was headlining his own half-hour sitcom – well, a starring role on one anyway (Don’t Trust the B*itch in Apartment 23). Van Der Beek recently returned to the show to reprise the character.

CRISITN MILOTI (‘The Mother’)
Ok, so Cristin only recently made her first appearance on the show but all of a sudden she’s gone from ‘who is that?’ to ‘the How I Met Your Mother actress that’s now appearing opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street’. Can only imagine the ‘Mother’ gig helped the 28-year-old actress get the gig.

Best of Warner Bros. Mother’s Day Movie Night Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

We think that most can agree… Moms are the best – and they do a lot for us! Now it’s time to return the favor and celebrate this Mother’s Day by giving mom the movie night she deserves! Celebrate Sunday, May 12th in the best way possible by spending quality time with your family and watch one of YOUR favorite classic films! Watching a classic flick together tells the story of a different time and place, and is the perfect opportunity to catch up and share stories with your family… tell them something that they never knew about Mom!

To celebrate Mothers Day and WB’s 90th Anniversary, Media Mikes would like to giveaway one of the following Blu-ray titles below to our readers! (Prize will be chosen randomly from the titles below!) If you would like to enter for your chance to win this great prize, please post your results from the Guess-the-Scene Game below. Highest score wins! This giveaway will remain open until May 15th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.


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Son of Edie Adams, Josh Mills talks about keeping his mother’s memory alive

Josh Mills is son of the late singer/actress Edie Adams. Josh is also the owner of Ediad Productions & It’s Alive! Media & Management. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Josh about his mom and her new Christmas album Featuring Ernie Kovacs.

Mike Gencarelli: What are some of your fondest memories growing up with your mom Edie Adams?
Josh Mills: My mom was a pretty amazing woman. She was a very well known and talented but I remember her as just your average mom. She did the little things that I didn’t appreciate until later. She worked the snack stand at my little league games, she took me to Europe for the first time as a 15 year old after a medical scare she had because she wanted to make sure I saw it the ‘right’ way. She taught me to appreciate things I didn’t truly wouldn’t until I was older. I remember a story she told me about taking me to a Broadway show when I was a toddler. I had always been around the theater – she used to say I could sleep anywhere, even in the bass drum – because she was always doing one musical or another. Anyway, I had never been in the audience where she paid for a ticket for me, however. So we walk in, sit down and some prissy lady behind us says, “Oh no, a little kid. I hope he’s not too loud”. Without a word, I turned around and put my finger to my lips and said, “Ssssh. We don’t talk in the theater.” My mom almost fell over. Both my mom and my dad were took me everywhere and exposed me to a lot of things a lot of kids don’t get to see. Being a father now, I appreciate that a lot more.

MG: With Omnivore Recordings releasing “The Edie Adams Christmas Album: Featuring Ernie Kovacs (1952)” tell us about this album?
JM: I am really excited this is coming out. My mom was a part of Ernie Kovacs (www.erniekovacs.com) show on CBS in the 1950’s “Kovacs Unlimited”. They had met when she was hired on his local Philly show on WPTZ and became an off screen as well as an onscreen item and were married shortly after until Kovacs was killed in a car accident in January 1962. Anyway, my
mom was a classically trained singer and performer at Julliard so when they asked her to sing ‘pop’ songs on the Kovacs show on CBS – she was a little unsure about singing these modern songs. So with her own money, she paid for a transcription service to record the audio (not the video) of these shows so she could hear herself sing and make sure she was singing them correctly. It turns out that literally 60 years later, we connected with Omnivore Recordings folks to release this album. They are great – they listened to, cataloged, selected, mixed and sequenced what would eventually become “The Edie Adams Christmas Record”. Because my mom sang a new song every day on the show, we started with the month of December 1952 and put this Christmas record together. It’s so satisfying that after all this time; this never-before-heard- since it originally aired that this material is finally seeing the light of day on October 9th. The air checks that made this record were the same that we pulled from to get the bonus material for the new ‘lost’ Ernie Kovacs record, “Percy Dovetonsils…..Thpeaks” on Omnivore as well. I’m not a fidelity kind of guy but the sound is pretty great because while no one received the audio on an FM band on their TV’s in 1952, the sound originated on an FM band so the quality is pretty damn great.

MG: What was Christmas like in your house?
JM: You’ll have to buy it for the full liner notes, but here is an excerpt from my liner notes available on the CD.  “As Edie’s only son, I can safely say that I pretty much got everything I wanted for Christmas—even if I didn’t know I wanted it. Edie was big on lists. And catalogs. The Christmas I went away to college in Boston (my first time in serious winter weather) I was outfitted in more L.L. Bean than any native Beantown blue blood. As a kid, I can recall Christmas being about slot cars, superhero action figures and the latest Disney LP. I also had a full complement of dickies, scarves, gloves, ski hats and earmuffs that piled up in my drawers over the years. Had we lived in Fargo North Dakota, this wouldn’t have been at all odd. But we lived in Los Angeles, and I can recall more than a few 80+-degree Christmas mornings. I don’t think this Pennsylvania girl every truly grasped that she didn’t live on the East Coast for the last 50 plus years of her life.”

MG: Knowing your mom as not only a singer but also a television and film actress; what was your favorite work from her?
JM: Tough one! If you had asked me this question in 1978, I would have told you the “Love Boat”. I learned to play backgammon from one of the ship’s extras on the set and I was totally psyched to be on the Lido deck with Isaac and Gopher. Today, I think her two most famous roles were as Fred MacMurray’s scheming secretary in “The Apartment” or Monica Crump, Sid Caesar’s wife in “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. I know that film was a great time in her life. It wasn’t too long after Ernie died and she always said it was the first time she really laughed since he passed away. I know “Mad World” helped her psyche by just being around so many comics and crazy people on the set. The stuntmen on the film really pushed the envelope on that film. She loved it everything about it.

MG: Tell us about your work with Ediad Productions?
JM: Ediad Productions is a production company my mom started and I now run on my own since she passed away in 2008. I am in charge of making sure that anything we deem fit for release from both the Edie Adams (www.edieadams.com) estate and Ernie Kovacs estate is done with quality, integrity and excitement. Kovacs was an iconic comedian – Television’s Original Genius – but not as many people know who he is or what he did all these years later. It’s my job to make sure more people know who Kovacs was and to give him the credit he is due as both a comedian and an innovator. I’m 44 so I usually tell people under 40 to ask their parents who Edie Adams was. As soon as I turn them on to her career and what she did – their jaws drop. I have photos of my mom w/ President Kennedy and President Nixon. She did a Royal Command Performance for the Queen of England. I have photos of her with Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, Christopher Walken and Gore Vidal among many others. She had her own TV show from 1962-1964 with amazing guests like Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Mathis, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stand Getz, Andre Previn, Bob Hope, Buddy Hackett – the list is endless. Before I was born and she married my dad she dated singers, athletes, comedians who are iconic and special. It blows my mind to know that at age 8, my mom took me, my best friend and his brother to meet Groucho Marx at his house in Bel-Air….on Halloween….dressed as the Marx Brothers. I still have the photo of us three and Groucho and it blows my mind to know she could just call him up and he’d say, “Come on over and bring the kids.” Wow!

Photo Credit: Ediad Productions

MG: How did It’s Alive! Media & Management come about?
JM: I started the company in 2002. We are celebrating 10 years in business this year. I had about 3 jobs in the music industry from 1994 – 2001 and I just got tired of getting laid off so I started my own company out of necessity but also because even when things got bad, I knew I couldn’t lay myself off. We (erm, I) started out doing music publicity “rock bands” but since then I’ve worked DVDs, books, films and I also got into management.

MG: Tell us about some of the clients you represent?
JM: Currently I am working & managing the Cambodian & American band Dengue Fever (www.denguefevermusic.com) as well as doing PR for a few bands like 45 Grave (www.dinahcancer.net), Rick Berlin (www.rickberlin.com) and Double Naught Spy Car (www.doublenaughtspycar.com) who cover a lot of musical territory. But I’ve also worked with many old school punk bands (Dead Kennedys, Weirdos, Adolescents, Fishbone), DVDs & films (“Electric Daisy Carnival”, “The Ernie Kovacs Collection”, “Fix – the Ministry Movie”), books (“”Go Ask Ogre”, John Sinclair’s “Guitar Army”) and more. I still love music and the artists I work with….and even some I no longer work with.

Blu-ray Review “Mother’s Day (1980)”

Directed by: Charles Kaufman
Starring: Nancy Hendrickson, Tiana Pierce, Deborah Luce, Frederick Coffin, Michael McCleery
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 90 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I have been a big Troma fan from probably when I was way too young and even was an extra in one of their films, “Terror Firmer” but I was never a huge “Mother’s Day” fan. This was originally released by Troma Entertainment in 1980 and of course back then it shocked critics and developed a huge cult following among horror fans. Darren Lynn Bousman (director of films in the “Saw” series) even helmed the 2012 remake starring Rebecca De Mornay. The film just doesn’t hold up today and even though look and sounds nice on Blu-ray doesn’t really “wow” me. Overall Troma fans can at least rejoice and everyone else can just continue going on with their lives.

“Mother’s Day” follows three young women abducted by homicidal momma’s boys Ike and Addley, while camping. Ike and Addley are goaded by their “Mother” into violent and graphic acts of torture against the three women. While doing everything to stay alive, the three women muster the courage escape, and serve their maniacal abductors some old-fashioned justice! Relating to the films around its time like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, this film will definitely offend the weak of heart!

Since the film is over 30 years old, this film definitely shows its age. It does though feature an all-new HD transfer and looks decent overall with its 1080p resolution and in its original aspect ratio: 1.85:1. The audio track though is impressive sporting its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 goods. The special features on the disc are nothing special really. There is an audio commentary by the director, as well as an interview with behind-the-scenes footage There are also trailers and other sneak peeks. The only new extra is a newly created featurette with Eli Roth (Producer of The Last Exorcism, Grindhouse and Hostel 1 & 2).

Darren Lynn Bousman talks about remaking “Mother’s Day”

Darren Lynn Bousman is known best for his work on the “Saw” franchise and to cult fans of “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and “The Devil’s Carnival”. Darren recently took out some time to chat about his remake of the classic 1980 Troma film “Mother’s Day”.

Mike Gencarelli: What can you tell us about your version of “Mothers Day”?
Darren Lynn Bousman: We wanted a film that paid homage to the original without copying it. We wanted this film to be its own thing. We didn’t want to make a carbon copy because the film already exists. We tried to make something that had similarities to the first film while keep it independent.

MG: When did you join the project?
DLB: I was there from the beginning. Brett Ratner approached me about it and then him and another friend and I developed and wrote it.

MG: How did you know you had your mother with Rebecca De Mornay?
DLB: After our first phone call she was so particular about everything. She was particular about everything single aspect. To me that showed she cared. There was no bullshit and she got it. I knew we had her at that point.

MG: What are you most excited about now that the film is released?
DLB: I am glad people are finally going to get to see the film. Once a director turns in their movie you never know what’s going to happen. We tested high and thought this movie was going to be a big hit. The film then ended up sitting on the shelf for a few years. Now that it’s finally out I hope it finds an audience. I hope people will see it and support it.

MG: How does this film compare to your other films?
DLB: Every movie I have done has been completely different. This movie is more along the lines of a “Saw” film but more adult. You can’t compare it to something like “Devil’s Carnival” which is completely out of the box. “Mother” is more of an adult thriller/drama.

MG: What do you have planned next?
DLB: “Devil’s Carnival: Episode 2”!

Blu-ray Review “Mother’s Day”

Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Deborah Ann Woll, Shawn Ashmore
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Running Time: 112 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I may be one of the only horror fans but I was never a huge fan of the 1980 Troma horror classic, “Mother’s Day”. It is good but nothing special. This remake easily advances and improves on the film quite a bit. This film is a lot more graphic and in your face. It is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (“Saw II, III and IV”, “Repo! The Genetic Opera”) and he really gets a chance to stretch his arms and kick some ass. Rebecca De Mornay definitely gets a triumphant return into the starlight as the crazy-ass killer mom.

After a bank robbery gone wrong, three brothers are on the run from the law and seek refuge in their house. They discover though that their mother lost the house in a foreclosure and the house is now occupied by its new owners, a group of friends looking to party. Of course things turn out worse for group of kids when mommy comes home and encourages her sons to torture the current owners of their old home. It gives a new meaning to the term “Mommy knows best”.

Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray is quite impressive and looks great in the 1080P transfer and its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. There is also a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track included with works well with the score and jumps. This release also comes with a DVD copy of the film as well in a combo pack. The bad news is that there is very little special features. In fact the only extra is an audio commentary with Darren Lynn Bousman and Shawn Ashmore. It is decent overall but not enough to hold its own.