BEASTIE BOYS: ILL COMMUNICATION TURNS 25 TODAY

STILL ILL Mini-Doc Live at https://youtu.be/pp_2E2K9_L4

Debuting at #1 upon its May 1994 release, Beastie Boys’ fourth album was an unstoppable force, pervading every aspect of pop culture. Its charge to the top of the charts was led by “Sabotage” and its legendary Spike Jonze/Nathanial Hornblower ’70s TV police drama tribute, as ROLLING STONE dubbed Ill Communication 1994’s “soundtrack for summer.” Crowds and critics alike were floored by highlights “Sure Shot,” “Root Down” and “Get It Together,” as a VIBE (RIP)—in the magazine’s first cover story on a white artist–hailed Beastie Boys as “perhaps the most consistently innovative musicians to emerge out of hip hop.” It was a claim that Ill Communication has justified for years to come, and 25 years later Ill Communication’s impact has resounded with generation after generation.

For more on the anniversary visit Amazon Music’s dedicated Beastie Boys Page: https://www.amazon.com/beastieboys

Ace Frehley Releases New Music Video for “Rockin With the Boys”. New Solo Album Due 10/19

ACE FREHLEY RELEASES NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR “ROCKIN’ WITH THE BOYS” VIA BILLBOARD MAGAZINE
ALL NEW SOLO LP, SPACEMAN, DUE THIS FRIDAY
NYC POP UP STORE ANNOUNCED FOR STREET DATE

FREHLEY TO APPEAR ON GOOD DAY NY

2018 TOUR DATES ON SALE NOW
PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

Watch “Rockin With the Boys” here

Founding KISS guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member ACE FREHLEY has released the music video for “Rockin’ With The Boys.” Filmed live in Detroit Rock City, this is the first music video we’ve seen from The Spaceman since he released the video for “Fire and Water.”

That video featured KISS frontman Paul Stanley and was off of Origins, Vol. 1, released in 2016. The video was done by veteran director Justin Reich.

This is the second song Frehley has released this year, from his forthcoming all-new Spaceman album, due October 19, 2018, via Entertainment One (eOne). Frehley previously released the track “Bronx Boy” in April.

Spaceman, Frehley’s eighth solo LP, features nine new original tracks, plus a cover of Eddie Money’s “I Wanna Go Back,” a ripping power pop makeover of the original.

Ace Frehley will be appearing on GOOD DAY NY/WNYW Fox 5 tomorrow, October 16, 2018, at 9 AM EDT, performing his new single, “Rockin’ With The Boys” in its entirety.

Additionally, an Ace Frehley “Spaceman” pop up store powered by Looney Tunes is planned for Friday, October 19 at the Sam Ash Music store, located at 333 W 34th St. in New York City. Ace will be appearing from 5-7PM EDT signing copies of his new album.

Spaceman LPs and CDs will be available to purchase as well as the limited edition Orange Vinyl only currently available at indie store locations in the U.S.

“No need to worry, I’ll be home soon, ’cause I’m rockin’ with the boys,” Frehley sings on “Rockin’ With the Boys,” which tells the tale of life on the road. Ace says he wrote the original version of the song back in KISS’s heyday in the ’70s. Both “Rockin With The Boys” and “Bronx Boy” are available on all streaming platforms today, and are iTunes instant grat tracks for fans who preorder the album.

In addition to Ace’s distinctive guitar sound on each track, Ace played bass on all of the songs on Spaceman except for two. The listener might recognize the mighty dinosaur growl of a bass tone belonging to Gene Simmons on the album opener, “Without You I’m Nothing,” which Gene also co-wrote, and “Your Wish Is My Command.” Both songs were recorded at Frehley’s home studio in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Ace’s reconnection with Simmons and fellow KISS vocalist-guitarist Paul Stanley (who joined Ace on a cover of Free’s “Fire and Water” for 2016’s covers LP Origins, Vol. 1) might be chalked up to the fact that Frehley has been sober for more than a decade (he celebrates 12 years of sobriety in September). Ace’s clean living no doubt has a lot to do with his productive streak, which began with the release of his top 20 Anomaly album in 2009.
Spaceman (a title suggested by Simmons, himself) serves as the first collection of all new Frehley-penned material since 2014’s Space Invader, which debuted at #9 on the Top 200 Chart. The LP scored the highest charting position of any former or current KISS band member ever and marked Frehley’s first return to the Top 10 since KISS’s 1998 Psycho Circus reunion album.

Space Invader received praise from critics. Rolling Stone wrote, “Gene Simmons has claimed Ace Frehley doesn’t deserve to wear Kiss’ Kabuki clown paint, but the former Spaceman’s first solo LP in five years says otherwise,” while Associated Press hailed, “…the original Kiss lead guitarist has recorded his best solo album since his groundbreaking self-titled album in 1978.”

Widely known as the original “Space Ace” and founding guitarist for 16 cumulative years (over 2 tenures) of the multi-platinum selling rock band KISS, Frehley is demonstrably the most popular original member. In addition to having the best-selling solo album career (vintage or current) among the original foursome, Frehley’s self-titled Ace Frehley, released in 1978, went on to sell over one million copies, producing the only Top 40 single, “New York Groove,” from any of the legendary KISS solo albums (peaking at #13).

Upcoming 2018 Dates
Oct 27, 2018 – Oct 28, 2018 – Las Vegas, NV, KISS Mini Golf
Oct 31, 2018 – Nov. 5, 2018 – Miami to Key West and Nassau, KISS Kruise VIII
November 7, 2018- Pensacola, FL, Pensacola Saenger Theatre
November 9, 2018- Clearwater, FL, Capital Theatre
November 10, 2018- Melbourne, FL, King Center for the Performing Arts
November 11, 2018- Miramar, FL, Miramar Ampitheatre

Track Listing
1. Without You I’m Nothing
2. Rockin’ With the Boys
3. Your Wish Is My Command
4. Bronx Boy
5. Pursuit Of Rock and Roll
6. I Wanna Go Back
7. Mission To Mars
8. Off My Back
9. Quantum Flux

Ace Frehley Releases New Track, “Rockin’ With The Boys” New Album, “Spaceman”, Due In October

ACE FREHLEY RELEASES NEW
TRACK, “ROCKIN’ WITH THE BOYS”
ALL NEW SOLO LP, SPACEMAN, DUE OCTOBER 19, 2018

Photo Credit: Jay Gilbert

2018 TOUR DATES ON SALE NOW
PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

Listen to “Rockin’ With The Boys” Here

Founding KISS guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member ACE FREHLEY has released a new song today called “Rockin’ With The Boys.” This is the second song Frehley has released this year, from his forthcoming all-new Spaceman album, due October 19, 2018, via Entertainment One (eOne). Frehley previously released the track “Bronx Boy” in April.

Spaceman, Frehley’s eighth solo LP, features nine new original tracks including a cover of Eddie Money’s “I Wanna Go Back,” a ripping power pop makeover of the original.

“No need to worry, I’ll be home soon, ’cause I’m rockin’ with the boys,” Frehley sings on “Rockin’ With the Boys,” which tells the tales of life on the road. Ace says he wrote the original version of the song back in KISS’s heyday in the ’70s. Both “Rockin With The Boys” and “Bronx Boys” are available on all streaming platforms today, and are iTunes instant grat tracks for fans who preorder the album.

In addition to Ace’s distinctive guitar sound on each track, Ace played bass on all of the songs on Spaceman except for two. The listener might recognize the mighty dinosaur growl of a bass tone belonging to Gene Simmons on the album opener, “Without You I’m Nothing,” which Gene also co-wrote, and “Your Wish Is My Command.” Both songs were recorded at Frehley’s home studio in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Ace’s reconnection with Simmons and fellow KISS vocalist-guitarist Paul Stanley (who joined Ace on a cover of Free’s “Fire and Water” for 2016’s covers LP Origins, Vol. 1) might be chalked up to the fact that Frehley has been sober for more than a decade (he celebrates 12 years of sobriety in September). Ace’s clean living no doubt has a lot to do with his productive streak, which began with the release of his top 20 Anomaly album in 2009.
Spaceman (a title suggested by Simmons, himself) serves as the first collection of all new Frehley-penned material since 2014’s Space Invader, which debuted at #9 on the Top 200 Chart. The LP scored the highest charting position of any former or current KISS band member ever and marked Frehley’s first return to the Top 10 since KISS’s 1998 Psycho Circus reunion album.

Widely known as the original “Space Ace” and founding guitarist for 16 cumulative years (over 2 tenures) of the multi-platinum selling rock band KISS, Frehley is demonstrably the most popular original member. In addition to having the best-selling solo album career (vintage or current) among the original foursome, Frehley’s self-titled Ace Frehley, released in 1978, went on to sell over one million copies, producing the only Top 40 single, “New York Groove,” from any of the legendary KISS solo albums (peaking at #13).

Tour Dates
Aug 9, 2018 – Solana Beach, CA, Belly Up Tavern
Aug 10, 2018 – Las Vegas, NV, The Pearl at the Palms Casino
Aug 12, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA, The Greek Theater
Aug 17, 2018 – New Hope, MN, New Hope Cinema Grill – An Evening with Ace Frehley
Aug 18, 2018 – Detroit, MI, Hart Plaza, Motor City Music Festival
Aug 28, 2018 – Adelaide, SA, Australia, Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Aug 30, 2018 – Melbourne, VIC, Australia, Margaret Court Arena
Aug 31, 2018 – Sydney, NSW, Australia, Enmore Theatre
Sep 1, 2018 – Brisbane, QLD, Australia, The Tivoli
Sep 3, 2018 – Tokyo, Japan, Billboard Live (2 Shows)
Sep 4, 2018 – Tokyo, Japan, Billboard Live (2 Shows)
Sep 5, 2018 – Tokyo, Japan, Billboard Live (2 Shows)
Sep 6, 2018 – Osaka, Japan, Billboard Live (2 Shows)
Oct 31, 2018 – Nov. 5, 2018 – Miami to Key West and Nassau, KISS Kruise VIII
November 9, 2018 – Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre
November 10, 2018 – Melbourne, FL, King Center for the Performing Arts
November 11, 2018 – Miramar, FL, Miramar Amphitheatre

“Spaceman” Track Listing
1. Without You I’m Nothing
2. Rockin’ With the Boys
3. Your Wish Is My Command
4. Bronx Boy
5. Pursuit Of Rock and Roll
6. I Wanna Go Back
7. Mission To Mars
8. Off My Back
9. Quantum Flux

Pre Order “Spaceman” Here

Book Review: “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”

“Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements”
Author: Bob Mehr
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Hardcover: 520 pages w/ 32 pages of black and white photographs

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Trouble Boys” is the first definitive biography of one of the last great rock ‘n’ rolls bands of the twentieth century: The Replacements. With the participation of the group’s key members including reclusive singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson- Author Bob Mehr is able to tell the real story. Additionally based on interviews conducted with family, friends, managers and musical colleagues, Mehr paints a deeply intimate portrait of the band. Far more than a conventional band bio, “Trouble Boys” is heartbreakingly tragic, frequently comic and ultimately a triumphant tale.

Right away I was interested in picking up this book and learning more about a band I was fairly late to discover in my music listening exploits. The Replacements were always a band I saw cited as an influence of some of my favorite artists however I had limited knowledge of the actual group aside from guitarist Paul Westerberg. As a cautionary mention before I go too far do yourself a favor and brush up on your Replacements knowledge prior to diving into this book’s immense 520 pages. Time and time again the author sites numerous names, events and locations both big and small all throughout the book and with limited knowledge of the bands career the reader can easily become lost. At several points during my reading I found myself having to go back over sections to find where the book was at as the story of just the band and its members is easily lost amidst miniscule details that were explained in far more detail than they probably needed to be leaving me to seriously question the books editing.

What “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements” lacks in being clear and concise makes up for the shortcoming in content as I stated before the book is very detailed. The addition of 32 pages of photos was also a very cool addition. Hardcore Replacements fans will already have this book on their radar but more casual listeners may also want to take notice as this book will be a welcome addition to any music fans reading library.

 

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The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Jimmy Carter talks about new album “Talkin’ Christmas!” and the band’s 70th Anniversary

Jimmy Carter is one of The Blind Boys of Alabama, the five-time Grammy Award winning gospel group. This year marks the band’s 70th Anniversary together and Jimmy is a founding member and has been there since the beginning. The band has collaborated with musicians like Ben Harper, Tom Waits and has performed for numerous Presidents over the year. Jimmy took out some time to chat wiht Media Mikes about their new album “Talkin’ Christmas!” and about the band’s 70th anniversary.

Mike Gencarelli: “Talkin’ Christmas!” is your second Christmas album after 2003’s “Go Tell it On the Mountain”; how did this come about and teaming up with Taj Mahal?
Jimmy Carter: Taj Mahal has been fans of The Blind Boys for a long time and we have been a fan of his as well. When we approached him, he was ready and eager to do it! Then we all got together went into the studio and did our thing [laughs].

MG: I listen to a lot of Christmas albums and if you are lucky an artist includes one new song in their album. You guys have given us seven brand-new holiday songs – six of which you written yourselves with this new album; what made you decide to that this route?
JC: That’s right. It is mostly all original stuff on this album. We all got together and wrote some great songs. I think that is what makes it a good album. The first Christmas that we did was mostly traditional songs but this one we wanted the material to be new. I hope it goes over good. We are trying to remind people what Christmas really is about. Christmas had gotten very commercial, so we are trying to put Christ back into Christmas.

MG: Since this is a holiday themed album, I am curious when was it recorded?
JC: We recorded this one in March, if I remember correctly. With the songs that we had it put us in the Christmas mood. So it wasn’t hard at all to record after the holidays and ended up being quite fun.

MG: 2014 is your 70th anniversary of The Blind Boys of Alabama, what is it like to be performing together all these years?
JC: It still feels good. Every year you get a little older but when you still enjoy and love what you do it keeps you going. Everyone is still in pretty good shape, so I foresee us being around for at least a little bit longer [laughs].

MG: If you were asked to pick the first highlight that comes to your head over the many years together, what would that be?
JC: A few come up actually. We had the privilege to singing to three Presidents. Even got to meet former President Jimmy Carter twice [laughs]. That was really cool. Then we got our first Grammy in 2002 and that was an amazing moment. Those are the two that come up the top of my head right now.

MG: You have teamed up with songwriters such as Ben Harper, Eric Clapton and Prince in the past; any more team ups planned next?
JC: I especially enjoyed working with Ben Harper. He is a great writer, a great singer and a great musician. He brought a lot to the table man. I really enjoyed working with him. I think Ben wants to do something else with us. We have to sit down and talk about it but I think he is ready…so we will see.

MG: Any tour dates planned for this album this Fall?
JC: Yes! We are going to start our Christmas tour on November 28th. We are starting that Friday night in Fredrick, MD and we will end up December 23rd in San Diego, CA.

Blu-ray Review “Jersey Boys”

Actors: John Lloyd Young, Christopher Walken, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza
Directors: Clint Eastwood
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Running Time: 134 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love the music of Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons?! Based on the Tony Award-winning musical, “Jersey Boys” gets the big screen treatment from llegendaryactor/director and Oscar winner Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”). “Jersey Boys” features some great music and is quite the inspiring drama. Normally not a huge Eastwood fan but he did a great job on converting this stage play works to a feature. I have seen this on Broadway twice and I was a little hesitate in the film but it is very entertaining…oh and that music!

Official Premise: “Jersey Boys” tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. The story of their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the songs that influenced a generation, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn,” “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Who Loves You,” and many more.

The film stars John Lloyd Young, who reprises his Tony Award-winning portrayal of the legendary lead singer of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli. Erich Bergen (“Madam Secretary”) plays as Bob Gaudio, writer of the group’s biggest hits. Newcomer Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza (“Boardwalk Empire”) star respectively as Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito, two original members of The Four Seasons. Also perfectly cast in the role of mobster Gyp DeCarlo is Oscar® winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”), who does some great dancing and singing.

“Jersey Boys” is being released as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD = Ultraviolet Digital HD copy. The 1080p transfer gives the film a lot of scope and takes it off the stage and into the real world. I liked this transition and I thought it was very well done. The music is key for a film like this, obviously. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5,1 delivers a great balance between the songs and the dialogue. You can’t help but belt along with these wonderful classics.

The special features are ok but I would have honestly expected more. There are three featurettes included. “From Broadway To The Big Screen” is obviously focuses on the journey of this film from the stages of Broadway to the big silver screen. “Too Good To Be True” is a feature with cast/crew interviews. Lastly ‘Oh, What A Night’ To Remember” talks about the legacy of The Four Season’s music over the years. I would have loved to see some commentary tracks and more focus on the music.

Own “Jersey Boys” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital HD on November 11th

The Big-Screen Version of the Smash Broadway Hit “Jersey Boys” Arrives onto Blu-rayô combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on November 11 From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Blu-ray and Digital HD include bonus content featuring interviews with Clint Eastwood and the cast!

Burbank, CA, September 2, 2014 – Based on the Tony Award-winning musical, “Jersey Boys” arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on November 11 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Directed by Oscar® winner Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”), “Jersey Boys” is an inspiring drama featuring The Four Seasons’ songs that influenced a generation.

Jersey Boys” stars John Lloyd Young, who reprises his Tony Award-winning portrayal of the legendary lead singer of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli. Erich Bergen stars as Bob Gaudio, who wrote or co-wrote all of the group’s biggest hits. Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza star respectively as Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito, two original members of The Four Seasons. Oscar® winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) stars as mobster Gyp DeCarlo.

Clint Eastwood directed “Jersey Boys” from a screenplay and musical book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, song music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. “Jersey Boys” is produced by Clint Eastwood, Graham King and Robert Lorenz, along executive producers Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tim Moore, Tim Headington, James Packer and Brett Ratner.

Jersey Boys” will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and includes the film in high definition on Blu-ray disc, DVD, and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own “Jersey Boys” in Digital HD via purchase from digital retailers.

 

SYNOPSIS

Jersey Boys” tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. The story of their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the songs that influenced a generation, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn,” “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Who Loves You,” and many more.

These classic hits are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical, which has been running on Broadway for more than eight years and has also enjoyed successful tours around the globe.

 

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

Jersey Boys” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:

  • From Broadway To The Big Screen
  • Too Good To Be True
  • “Oh, What A Night” To Remember

“Jersey Boys” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:

  • “Oh, What A Night” To Remember

 

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS

Jersey Boys” will be available for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on their favorite devices from select digital retailers including Amazon, CinemaNow, Flixster, iTunes, PlayStation, Target Ticket, Vudu, Xbox and others. “Jersey Boys” will also be available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

ABOUT DIGITAL HD WITH ULTRAVIOLET

*Digital HD with UltraViolet allows fans to watch a digital version of their movie or TV show anywhere, on their favorite devices. Digital HD with UltraViolet is included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs. Digital HD with UltraViolet allows consumers to instantly stream and download movies and TV shows to TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones through UltraViolet retail services like CinemaNow, Flixster, Target Ticket, VUDU and more. For more information on compatible devices go to wb.com/ultravioletdevices. Consult an UltraViolet Retailer for details and requirements and for a list of HD-compatible devices.

Joseph Russo talks about playing Joe Pesci in Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys”

I’m sure it sounded easy for Joseph Russo. Cast in his first major feature film role, the actor portrays a name familiar to movie fans all over the world: Joe Pesci. That’s right, long before he was asking how funny we thought he was (and winning an Oscar to boot), Joe Pesci was a New Jersey boy who dreamed of being a singer (he actually released an album in 1968, “Little Joe Sure Can Sing,” billed as “Joe Ritchie.”

Joey Russo has worked a lot since his debut in 2010, appearing in such television shows as “Bones,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Parks and Recreation.” He even has a little “Jersey” on his resume’, starring in 2012’s television film “Jersey Shore Shark Attack.” This week he opens in “Jersey Boys,” director Clint Eastwood’s film version of the Tony-award winning Broadway hit. While promoting the film Russo sat down with me and talked about…..

Mike Smith: How did you get involved in “Jersey Boys?”
Joseph Russo: I got a phone call from my manager saying they were looking for an actor to play a young Joe Pesci. I went in and read for the casting director. Then I started to hear that I was on Clint’s short list…then I was on top of his short list….then I was his choice….and I found out a few weeks later that the part was actually mine.

MS: Did you know before you went in to read for the part that Joe Pesci had a musical background?
JR: Once I got the audition I did some research because I had no clue how he was attached to this story. Once I got word that I was seriously being considered for the role I really took the opportunity to piece together a time-line of his life from then until now to really understand how he was a part of that group.

MS: Playing a real-life person, especially someone as well known as Joe Pesci….did you have to reign in your performance at all so that you weren’t doing a caricature? I did notice in one scene you ask “Funny how?” about something and then in another you do a “ok, ok, ok” riff.
JR: I’m so glad you picked up on that. My main thing was that I didn’t want to make him a caricature. That was my goal when I went in to audition. Should I change my voice or not? I didn’t see the Broadway musical because I wanted to create something that was totally my own. I wanted to make him a real guy and at the same time earn the right to play a character like Joe Pesci. What I wanted to do was sprinkle a little Pesci-isms in each of my scenes. Show a little “Casino.” Show a little “Goodfellas.” Show a little Leo Getz (the “Lethal Weapon” series). I wanted to find a way to portray Joe Pesci from age 16 to 26. Because really, the first time the public saw him in “Raging Bull” he was close to 40. So I came up with the idea that everything Joe Pesci has done as an actor in his later life was drawn from something that was inside him when he was younger. Maybe at one time he did say “ok, ok, ok.” Maybe he did ask “I’m funny how.” I wanted to pay homage to a real guy. That was my main focus…paying homage.

MS: Once you got the role were you able to seek Joe Pesci out and maybe get some insight into his life and experiences back then?
JR: Once I got the role I immediately tried to get in touch with him. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to. My next avenue was to call up Tommy Devito. (NOTE: Devito was one of the founding members of the Four Seasons and, according to “Jersey Boys,” now works for Joe Pesci. Ironically, Tommy Devito is also the name of the character that Pesci plays in “Goodfellas”). I talked to Tommy and he gave me a lot of insight into how Joe was back then. He was a clown, always joking around and making everybody laugh. I also worked hand in hand with my acting coach and mentor, Jocelyn Jones, and she really, really helped walk my way through finding out who this guy was in this time period….what was going on in society during this time period…and coming up with my own guy based on that. It was really great. Jocelyn was phenomenal in helping to walk me through that.

MS: Did Clint give you a lot of lee-way with your performance?
JR: Yes, that was the great thing about it. I really didn’t know what to expect. I felt that I had won the right to do this role. I had done all of the prep work. The hours and hours of research, prep work and rehearsal. I knew I had won this right but then again, when I showed up on set, I was a little nervous because I didn’t know if he would let me play it as I wanted to play it. And he did. More so, really. He really let me take the role and make it my own. Even the day when I said “Funny, how?” I just threw that in there. We were rehearsing the scene and I thought how great it would be if Clint started laughing because we came up with that. We were shooting the master shot for the scene and I said “Funny how?” and the script supervisor said “I don’t see where that is in the script.” The camera operator told him “you’re not gonna find it in the script.” We all look at Clint and he smiles and says, “that’s genius!” He let us know we could run with our performances. If he felt something wasn’t right he would tell us. It was a great collaboration on set. It was nice to have that freedom.

Film Review “Jersey Boys”

Starring: John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza and Christopher Walken
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Rated: R
Running time: 2 hrs 14 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ah, the 1950s. If you were Italian and lived in New Jersey you had two photos framed and hung on your wall: Pope Pius XII and Frank Sinatra. No telling who had more power…the Pontiff or the Chairman of the Board. We are introduced to a little band called the Variety Trio. Fronted by Tommy Devito (Piazza), his brother Nick and their friend, Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda), the boys do all right but are searching for just the right sound. Enter their friend Frankie Castelluccio, whose amazing voice fits the sound Tommy is looking for. When a friend of Frankie’s by the name of Joe Pesci (yes, THAT one, played well by Joseph Russo) introduces the group to his songwriting friend Bob Gaudio (Eric Berghen) things begin to take off. Now a foursome, the group adopt the name the Four Seasons and the rest, as they say, is rock and roll!

Directed by Clint Eastwood, “Jersey Boys” is a behind-the-scenes story of epic proportions. Even long-time fans of the group will be surprised to learn the obstacles that needed to be overcome for these four young men to reach the top of the charts. Eastwood has wisely kept the basic premise of the stage show, allowing each member of the group to act as their own “Greek chorus,” breaking the fourth wall and narrating the story as it progresses.

Young, who won a Tony award for his portrayal of Valli in the original Broadway production, hits all the right notes here, both dramatically and musically. He is strongly backed up by Lomenda and Berghen, who both appeared in touring productions of the show, and Piazza, whose bad boy Tommy has a good heart…and a bad problem with money. Walken has fun as Gyp Decarlo, the local mobster whose encouragement and support of Frankie and the boys extends to the underworld.

Though Eastwood keeps the story flowing, the film does have an occasional slow spot. I remember checking my watch 2 hours in and commenting to my wife “wow…he’s got at least four hits they haven’t mentioned yet.” However, as if Clint sensed my fidgeting, the film wrapped up nicely 15 minutes later.

 

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Lou Volpe talks about working with Clint Eastwood on “Jersey Boys”

Photo Credit: Marnie Volpe

Born in Italy, Lou Volpe moved to America with his family when he was still a young boy. He made his feature film debut in 1987 and has worked frequently in both film and television since then. An accomplished filmmaker in his own right, Volpe has written and directed two feature films: “Divorced White Male” and “Every Secret Thing.” This week he will be seen as Anthony Castelluccio, the father of singer Frankie Valli, in Clint Eastwood’s film version of the Tony-award winning Broadway hit “Jersey Boys.” While promoting the film Mr. Volpe took the time to talk with me about his role in the film, his work and sharing a joke with his director.

Mike Smith: How did you come to be cast in “Jersey Boys.”
Lou Volpe: I auditioned (laughs). Me and several other guys. A few weeks later my agent called me and told me I had the part.

MS: Wow! That’s an easy story!
LV: (laughs) It’s not usually like that. But when I go to audition I try to do the best that I can do and this time I did all right.

MS: Were you able to speak at all with Frankie Valli about his father? Maybe try to pick up some little quirks or qualities of his?
LV: No. Unfortunately Frankie wasn’t on set during the time I did my scenes. I did do my own research…I looked into some of Frankie’s biographies and found out the kind of man his father was…what he did for a living (he was a barber)…that kind of stuff.

MS: You’re also a filmmaker. How does Clint run his set in comparison to yourself or other directors you’ve worked for?
LV: Clint was great. He’s really a very nice guy and really easy to work with….work for. He pretty much lets you do your own thing. He may give you a few suggestions but mostly he lets you do your own thing. He’s very easy to work with. Most of the time he doesn’t even call “action.” He just says, “OK, go ahead.” We had fun. When I was on the set, because he knew I spoke Italian and he had, of course, done many films with Sergio Leone’, instead of calling “action” he would call “Actione’” in Italian. Of course then he’d crack up…then I’d crack up. He’s really a nice, funny guy.

MS: As I mentioned earlier, you’re also a filmmaker…you’ve written and directed a couple of feature films yourself. Do you have anything coming up?
LV: I’ve just written a pilot that is getting some interest. And I’ve just auditioned for a film…it’s the lead role…that I hope will come through

Theatre Review “Jersey Boys” Bob Carr Performing Arts Center – Orlando, FL

“Jersey Boys”
Bob Carr Performing Arts Center
Orlando, FL
April 15 – 27, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Jersey Boys” premiered on Broadway back in 2005 and won a Tony for Best Musical the following year. I have seen many Broadway shows growing up and living in New York but I never did see “Jersey Boys”. Luckily living in Orlando, FL now I am still able to see Broadway quality shows at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. “Jersey Boys” is the latest show making its limited engagement during its national tour at this theatre.

I have always been a huge Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons fan and have seen them many times live over the years. I thought it was time to catch this show to see what all the fuss was about, especially being a huge fan of the music already. Well I didn’t just enjoy the play I absolutely loved it. I found myself moving my feet along with music and singing under my breath (sometimes louder)…and I wasn’t the only one.

Now obviously, I can’t compare the performances to the Broadway cast since I have never saw it but if I could I am sure that this National tour cast would really give them a very strong run. I was extremely impressed with Hayden Milanes in the role of Frankie Valli, that with an “I” not a “Y” because everyone knows “Y” is a bullshit letter. The guy has a voice of angel (sound familiar?) and really nailed this role. Nicholas Dromard was perfect as Tommy DeVito and really had the audience by the balls like woman type number 1 (or was it number 2?)

Quinn Vanantwerp was funny, charming and very charismatic. I really enjoyed his performance of Bob Gaudio. I am sure Bob himself would be impressed. Last but definitely not least Adam Zelakso playing Nick Massi was the quite one but delivered a surprising end performance and I am glad he didn’t start his own band. Adam will also be appearing in Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of this play, though in a different role, which comes in this June in theaters (and I will be first in line for this movie). I also never knew that THE Joe Pecsi was involved with crew, you learn something new everyday.

Let’s get back to the music now. Oh the music…so many amazing tracks sung during this show. If you are a Frank Valli and the Four Seasons fan how can you not be screaming along from your seat to hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like A Man”, “Sherry”, “Earth Angel”, “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, “My Eyes Adored You”, “Rag Doll” and “Bye Bye Baby”, which like always hits me very hard. Such beautiful music. Such wonderful talent. This is a show that is not to be missed.

“Jersey Boys” will continue at Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre through April 27th, 2014 (click here for tickets) and see below for future dates from the National tour.

Orlando, FL
April 15 – 27, 2014

Knoxville, TN
April 29 – May 4, 2014

Cleveland, OH
May 6 – 18, 2014

Sioux Falls, SD
May 21 – 25, 2014

El Paso, TX
May 28 – June 1, 2014

Fort Worth, TX
June 3 – 15, 2014

Tucson, AZ
June 17 – 22, 2014

Costa Mesa, CA
June 24 – July 13, 2014

San Jose, CA
July 15 – 20, 2014

Tempe, AZ
July 22 – August 3, 2014

Los Angeles, CA
October 1 – 19, 2014

San Diego, CA
October 21 – 26, 2014

Sacramento, CA
November 5 – 22, 2014

Reno, NV
November 25 – 30, 2014

The Oak Ridge Boys’ Richard Sterban talks about new live album “Boys Night Out”

Photo Credit: Jarrett Gaza

Richard Sterban is best known as the bass singer for the country and gospel quartet The Oak Ridge Boys since 1972. He started off his career singing with the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Going 40+ years strong, the band is currently touring around 150 days a year and shows no signs of slowing down. On tax day, April 15th, the band is releasing their first live album “Boys Night Out”. So if you have any money left over, I would highly recommend checking it out. Media Mikes had the privilege to chat with Richard about the live album, singing with Elvis and non-stop touring.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about the new album “Boys Night Out” and why a live album now?
Richard Sterban: This is something that our fans have wanted for a long time. Our fans always tell us that they love our studio albums but that live and in person we are so much more exciting. So we decided that it was time to capture that excitement on a CD. It seemed like every time we were going to try and record a live album, we would get an opportunity to do a new studio album whether it would be a new country album, Christmas album or Gospel album. So we always put the live album on the backburner, so to speak. Last year, we just decided we were going to record some of our shows live. We ended up recording eleven live shows and between all of those we chose out what we thought were the best cuts that would describe a live Oak Ridge Boys show. I think it turned out really well.

MG: How much planning when into picking the playlist for this album?
RS: There were certain songs that we felt had to be included, “Elvira” for sure and “Thank God for Kids” was another. Then we listened to the input of Cleopatra Records, who we just recently signed with. It was a combination of their input and what we wanted. We just put our heads together and came up with fourteen songs. I feel that it is really a great example of a boys night out with The Oak Ridge Boys.

MG: What was it like starting your career singing with Elvis? How do you top something like that?
RS: I have had a pretty excited life and career. For two years prior to joining The Oak Ridge Boys, I sang with JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and I had a chance to sing with the King of Rock and Roll, which was really exciting. I got a call one day that the bass singer from The Oak Ridge Boys” was leaving and they wanted me to take the job. So I had to make a very important decision. I loved singing with the King of Rock and Roll…lip-singing with Elvis but I joined the Oak Ridge Boys and I have gone on to bigger and better things with them.

MG: I know that you also have a book out that also covers your early years with Elvis and through your amazing career with The Oak Ridge Boys.
RS: Yes, I do have a book out called “From Elvis to Elvira”. It is my life story and is filled with tons of great stories. It is available on my personal site RichardSterban.com, Amazon.com or catch up with us at a show and I will have them with me to sell and sign if like.

MG: Over 40 years with The Oak Ridge Boys, what continues to drive you?
RS: I think it is several things but the most important is that even after 41 years we still enjoy doing what we do. We look forward every night to getting up on that stage and taking our music live to our audiences. We are still having fun doing this and I think that is the most important. We also love the creative process of going into the studio and creating new music. So that is what keeps us going.

MG: Why do you think that generations of fans are still following you guys today?
RS: We pride ourselves on that. There is no question that we have gotten older and our core audience has aged along with us. But we are really considered family entertainment. There is something for every family at our shows whether you are a grandpa/grandma or a young kid. We encourage parents to bring their kids to their show as well. Our shows are definitely fun for the whole family.

MG: Which of your songs really gets you going the most when you are on stage?
RS: Naturally, I would have a tendency to levitate to “Elvira”. That is our biggest song and everyone has to hear “Elvira” at our shows. We have tons of other really great songs. I think one of the most meaningful songs that we ever recorded is “Thank God for Kids”. We do that song every night and we look out in the audience and see parents hugging their kids and people holding hands. It is pretty emotional. Now at our age, when William Lee Golden sings this song at the end he says “Thank God for Grandkids too!” [laughs] We are all grandparents now and I hate to admit this but last week I became a great grandfather as well, so that is definitely something amazing.

MG: Can you reflect on music today in the age of Facebook, Twitter and other social media?
RS: We try to pay attention to that. Duane Allen is on Facebook all day and keeps the fans posted there. Joe Bonsall, our drummer, is on Twitter all day. There is an advantage to being in a group since you can spread the responsibility out. I am not a big social media guy. I am on Twitter though. I spend my time doing the old fashion thing, like we are doing right now. I talk to

Photo Credit: David Bean

newspapers and radio stations all the time. So that is the function that I serve. In this day and age, we have a lot of ways to get the news out and we are really embracing it.

MG: You guys never seem to rest; tell us about your non-stop touring this year?
RS: We average about 150 days a year on the road. You can tell by looking at our schedule this year going to be no exception, in fact probably more. But it is what we love doing. We look forward to each night and sharing our music with our fans and that is why we are still going strong. Touring is a big thing for us and we love getting out there and doing it. Health is probably the key to our future. I think as long as the four of us continue to enjoy good health then we are going to keep getting out there and touring.

Interview with Los Lonely Boys’ Jojo Garza

Jojo Garza is one of the three Garza brothers that makes up the band Los Lonely Boys. Jojo role in the band is the bassist. The band is currently touring the world for their latest album “Rockpango”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jojo about the bands music and also the new album.

Mike Gencarelli:  What’s the most challenging part of working with your brothers?
Jojo Garza: The fact that they are my brothers. I know it sounds funny but that’s the truth. The way we grew up was that family sticks together and that no one can help you better than family.

MG: Can you give us some back ground on your most recent album, “Rockpango”?
JG: A lot of inspiration comes from what we experience in everyday life. We try to write so that the music has an angle everyone can relate to. A lot of the new songs have that idea behind them however they also have some new musical inspiration as well. We tried to thrown in some funk grooves and also pay tribute to some our idols like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Musically we challenged ourselves on this album. The string quartet was something completely new as well. We really wanted people to hear some new sounds. The album is a whole new vibe.

MG: What do you like most about performing live?
JG: Being able to talk with people and letting them know we are still here. We are getting ready to go to Japan in a few days. We are going to keep spreading the word for as long as we can.

MG: Do you have a favorite song that you like to perform live?
JG: I just love jamming and playing any song really. I don’t think I could pick just one.

MG: Have you ever played the “Guitar Hero: World Tour” version of your song “Heaven”?
JG: Yes I did and I sucked at it. (Laughs) We actually did alright. It’s crazy that song did what it did. That song allowed us to show people we could play music. Playing that song on the game was not like playing it live on stage that’s for sure!

MG: Tell us what else you got planned for 2012?
JG: We are ready to play wherever. We want to bring the people some good times. We are working on new material as we speak and we can’t wait for people to hear it. We have a handful of songs that I think are very creative. We sing our hearts out in every song no matter what it is.