Thursday, January 1, 2015

Big Ideas 2015

The Red Plastic Buddha has psychedelic plans for 2015. Photo from the band's Facebook page.

The Elvis Brothers once sang, “I got big ideas on my mind,” and the start of a new year is always the perfect time for people to present those ideas in the form of resolutions and plans. Here’s Broken Hearted Toy’s annual Big Ideas column; a mix of upcoming events regarding entertainers, and in some cases, a suggestion of my own for them. Copy in blue was submitted by others.

Graham Nash He’s doing six solo shows in Florida during the month of January. So far, there’s no mention of him performing anywhere else, or of him doing any promotional appearances for his autobiography Wild Tales. Suggestion: Expand that solo tour with some gigs in other cites, especially Chicago. Also, please come to Chicago to talk about your book; and record some music with your life-long pal and former Hollies lead singer Allan Clarke.

The Luck Of Eden Hall (Submitted by band member Greg Curvey) 
The first episode of Moochie Kalala Detectives Club airs in January on WTTW, featuring music by TLoEH... THE HAPPINE$$ VENDING MACHINE 7" on Headspin Records (Netherlands) drops in January... Fruits de Mer Records box set titled Side Effects, four LPs includes TLoEH (and I’m creating the album art...Releasing TLoEH’s next album, The Acceleration of Time, 100 limited edition pop-up CDs...EU Tour 2015 in August (stay tuned for Kickstarter campaign!)...Planting seeds for collaborating on a project with Neil Gaiman (What!? .....Fingers crossed)

The Bangles The band released Ladies And Gentlemen . . . The Bangles, a digital-only collection of rarities and live tracks this past Thanksgiving Day. Suggestion: Put this collection out on colored vinyl and make it available for the next Record Store Day in April, 2015. Or, give it a general release on vinyl and offer something even more rare (like a cover of a Hollies song) for RSD. Also, think about bringing The Paisley Underground Reunion (with The Three O’Clock, Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade) beyond beyond Los Angeles for some shows in Chicago and other cities.

The Red Plastic Buddha (submitted by Tim Ferguson) For my part, I’m going to be trying to get The Red Plastic Buddha invited to Austin Psych Fest. We’re also working with The Luck of Eden Hall’s Greg Curvey to plan an actual Chicago Psych Fest, which (differentiating ourselves from the current Chicago version) will bring in regional and national acts.

Justin Fielding The Boston-based filmmaker is making a documentary that’s scheduled to be released in 2016 about the power pop genre. Fielding has brought International Pop Overthrow Founder/CFO David Bash and Bruce Bodeen (Pop Geek Heaven, Not Lame Recording Company) on board as Executive Producers. “The Power Pop Movie is a rock and roll love letter to music that is paradoxically infectious and little-known,” Fielding explains on The Power Pop Movie blog site. “If I do my job well, current fans will tell the uninitiated ‘Watch this, and you’ll understand why I love power pop,’ and they, too, will succumb to its charms.” Fielding dropped by IPO - Boston last year to film some of the bands, and has begun discussions with Shoes and other power pop acts. Suggestion: Come to IPO - Chicago this April, and be sure to interview Mike Gallassini, Phil Angotti, and Marty Scott. Their bands, 92 Degrees, The Idea, and The Critics, respectively, were at the very first IPO in L.A. in 1998. Scott is now a member of the successful Liverppol Legends Beatles tribute band might have to be interviewed elsewhere because I believe he no longer lives in the Chicago area.

The Valley Downs The above mentioned Mike Galassini still performs with 92 Degrees, and he has another very entertaining band with his wife Marianne Shimkus called The Valley Downs. They released an impressive pair of EPs, and when they were the opening act for Shoes at SPACE in Evanston last summer, Galassini and Shimkus told they planned to release a full album in the near future. 

Ken Sharp This prolific and acclaimed music journalist has embarked on a new limited-edition trilogy titled Power Pop Heroes. Volume One, which is no longer avaiable, is a treasure chest of quotes from Ringo Starr, Joey Molland, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks, and members of the BeeGees, Beach Boys, Zombies, and other influential acts from the 1960s. Keep an eye out for Volumes 2 and 3, which will be released in 2015.

Magatha Trysty (submitted by Christopher David) The second Magatha Trysty album will, at long last, come out this year!
The Hollies The British Invasion band has never broken up. The current lineup, led by original members guitarist-vocalist Tony Hicks and drummer Bobby Elliott, continues to tour and has 2015 dates throughout Europe. Suggestion: Add the United States to this tour, and Chicago in particular. Also, do a lot more to celebrate 50 consecutive years of being one of the world’s best pop bands.

Brad Elvis The former drummer of The Elvis Brothers and his wife singer-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell lead the indie rock band The Handcuffs, and Brad Elvis also tours with The Romantics. He does a sort of diary on Facebook about his days back in the 1980s with Graham Elvis and Rob Elvis. Suggestion: The Elvis Brothers diary posts are interesting and funny, and Brad Elvis is generally such a cool guy. It’s time for him to channel all that great writing into an autobiography.

Lin Brehmer WXRT’s morning air personality eschews the usual low humor (with an occasional lapse) of rock DJs who work this time slot, in favor of clever bits like Lin’s Bin and humorous conversations with news anchor Mary Dixon. He also does Linside Chicago commercials for Allstate, in which he delves into the city’s eclectic cultural heritage. Suggestion: Mr. Brehmer is overdue to put his musings into a book and/or a CD.

Saturday Morning Flashback Another WXRT highlight. Host Wendy Rice (and occasionally Johnny Mars or Marty Lennartz) focuses on a different year each week with a selection of songs, observations, and special reports from other XRT staff members. Suggestion: Extend the amount  of years that Flashback covers into the current century, up to maybe 2005. Rice is always engaging, but  she would probably love to explore some new territory. Flashback should also include 1966, one of the most import years in rock and roll history.

My Fellow Writers Group Members Katie Sparks’ funny Middle Grade book Reality Natalie came out this year, which puts her in the esteemed company of Susan Kaye Quinn, Cherie Colyer, Kym Brunner, Mike Kelley, Terri Murphy, and Marian Manseau. They’re all members of the writers group I belong to who have been published. Look for these talented people to have continued success in 2015. Veronica Rundell, who has written two emotionally charged YA novels, is sure to join them soon, and I have three finished novels that I’m currently shopping to agents and publishers. 

Fest For Beatles Fans  Founded by Mark and Carol Lapidos back in the late 1970s, this annual celebration makes its Chicago stop each August; bringing a wide range of fans to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont to relive Beatlemania and the original British Invasion via concerts, celebrity interviews; sing-along sessions; trivia contests; and artwork. Over the years, the celebrity guests/performers have included Peter Noone, Chad & Jeremy, Denny Laine, Peter Asher, Joey Molland of Badfinger, Terry Sylvester of The Hollies, and Lawrence Juber of Wings. A huge marketplace overflowing with memorabilia is almost worth the price of admission alone. Suggestion: Expand the line of official Fest For Beatles Fans memorabilia to include limited-edition t-shirts honoring the celebrity guests for each particular year. For example: Fest For Beatles Fans Presents: Peter Noone.

Phil Angotti; Casey McDonough; John San Juan; Holly Senchak and Metropolly; The Webstirs; and Androgynous Moustache Each year, these Chicago area musicians gather together to pay tribute to famous rock and roll acts for the Halloweekend event. Individually, (Angotti in particular) they do tribute shows to famous acts throughout the year. Suggestion: Record a holiday CD where they imagine how various bands would sound singing Christmas carols. Also, put together a multi-act show and tour the festival circuit with it this summer.  

Secret Weapon on Woody Radio This internet show always serves up an entertaining mix of catchy, guitar-driven tunes handpicked by a power pop expert who goes by the name of “Boris.” Even the most avid power pop fanatic will discover lots of new bands, so be sure to have a pen and paper handy while listening to jot down the songs and artists you’ll want to investigate further. 

Record Store Day The annual celebration of vinyl arrives on the third Saturday in April, with loads of collectable one-day only releases from artists across the music industry. Previous years have seen rarities from Cheap Trick, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Shoes, Pink Floyd, The Three O’Clock, and R.E.M. 

 Jeff Kelley The writer and host of the weekly Coffee With Jeff internet show recently worked with artist David Metzger on four episodes of an original sitcom called Zombie Grandma for Elgin’s annual Nightmare On Chicago Street Halloween festival. Kelley and Metzger joined forces for Nightmare in previous years, and it will interesting see what ideas they’ll come up with next. Kelley spent most of 2014 doing podcast versions of Coffee With Jeff  in place of his original visual production. He’s likely to do a mix of both in the coming year, although the visual Coffee might only be served on a monthly basis. I’ve worked with Kelley on Coffee and the Nightmare projects, and hope to continue to collaborate with him.

Best wishes to all for a creative and successful 2015!


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