Friday, October 17, 2014

RECORD REVIEW: The Mojo Gurus "Who Asked Ya?"

(Available NOW on Amazon)
Who Asked Ya?
Red River Entertainment

Submitted for your
approval — Dick Dale 
joins forces with New
York Dolls, The Tijuana 
Brass and Southern 
Culture on the Skids in 
a methadone clinic. Their mission  record 
the soundtrack to the 
latest Tarantino flick.
Get it? Good! Continue.

The 1989 major label debut from
Roxx Gang was arguably the
"coolest" record of the decade.
Singer, songwriter, street poet and storyteller Kevin Steele first ascended from the gutters of Tampa, Florida's back-alleys to attain international pro- minence during the late '80s as the frontman for MTV's favorite sleaze mongers, Roxx Gang. Yet despite be- ing recognized by many in the press as the premier act of the arena rock genre, Roxx Gang was much closer styl- istically to the New York Dolls than to its hair band contemporaries. In fact, Roxx Gang possessed butt-loads more street cred and authentic swagger than just about any other acknowledged "poster boys" of the era. As for Steele, his voice was unique honest and pure. His lyrics were dark — his message and stories had an edge. Simply put, the "Gospel" preached by Kevin Steele was light years away from a "nothin' but a good time" sermon. 

By the mid '90s, public tastes had changed (rather, changed for them), and Roxx Gang was able to shed the shackles of its hair band past and shine as what it truly was — a beautifully track-marked rock and roll band. Following a series of lineup changes, Roxx Gang had morphed into an entirely new entity by the late '90s — an authentic blues-based combo known as The Mojo Gurus. And in 2014, the band delivers its fourth full-length record, Who Asked Ya? 

Mojo Gurus' Doc Lovette and Kevin Steele.
Produced by the Gurus, the record boasts 13 Steele-penned treasures that run the stylistic gamut from gutter rock to boogie woogie funk to Mexicali blues.

Kicking off with a hefty hunka-hunka burnin' rock, "Where You Hidin' Your Love" smacks of Rare Earth's classic "Get Ready" and makes for a mighty opener.

"Hoodoo Man" and "Devil to Pay" are both downright stanky, harmonica / piano-laced nuggets that possess the aural sheen of Aerosmith (circa '75) and Southern Culture on the Skids (circa last Tuesday) respectively.

Noticeably reminiscent of Warren Zevon's "Carmelita," "No Damn Good" makes for one of the record's most unique moments, while the equally fiddle-fueled "Bad Attitude" packs the authentic old school punch of Johnny Gimble.

Additional highlights include "Someone Else Will" — a high-octane Little Richard-style house party rocker, 'The Last Rock 'N' Roll Show," which is delightfully reminiscent of The Stones' Goats Head Soup record and "C'mon Over To My House" a straight-up "Rock and Roll"-flavored, Dave Edmunds-inspired ditty.

In sum, The Mojo Gurus have delivered a bona fide rock and roll winner — one that'll kick ya, right where it counts!

-Christopher Long
(October 2014)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

CONCERT REVIEW: Samantha Fish / 10.9.14 (Guest Post)

@ Lou’s Blues
Indialantic, FL (10.9.14)

"Guest Contributor"
Michelle Wilson
returns to the
Show Biz Guru
with a firsthand 
review of yet
another high-
octane Florida 
concert event.

I feel blessed to live in an area where intimate venue settings that promote rising stars still exist, and that’s exactly what I got on a Thursday night in Brevard County, Florida. Brevard Music Group and Lou’s Blues Upstairs collaborated to present up-and-coming blues singer / songwriter / guitarist Samantha Fish  and she rocked the house.

Yes, Lou’s Blues was the place to be as this funky, gritty chick rocker engaged and delighted fans with her storytelling skills, accomplished vocals and im- peccable guitar prowess.

Following in the footsteps of such notable female slide guitarists as Bonnie Raitt, Nancy Wilson of Heart and Susan Tedeschi of Tedeschi Trucks Band, Fish brought her unique style of blues-infused rock with just a touch of country to Lou’s. The poised, stylish 20-something-year-old Kansas City native and Ruf Records artist is the real deal, playing acoustic, electric, slide and Dobro guitar, and credits John Hiatt, Tom Waits, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Angus Young and Freddie King as some of her early influences. With three records released since 2011 that all were produced by former Royal Southern Brotherhood guitarist Mike Zito, Fish won the 2012 Blues Music Awards Best New Artist category, and her sound continues to entice new fans. In 2013, Fish appeared on Devon Allman’s solo debut for Ruf Records, Turquoise, recording a cover with him of Tom Petty’s classic, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” RSB’s bassist, Charlie Wooten and drummer, Yonrico Scott, along with Zito, all contribute to Fish’s latest release, 2013’s Black Wind Howlin’. Eleven of the twelve tracks feature material written or co-written by Fish.

Samantha Fish, Go-Go Ray and Scot Sutherland.
Samantha Fish's "weapons of choice."
Kicking it off promptly at 8pm, Fish was backed by Des Moines, Iowa’s Scot Sutherland, a bassist who has worked with the likes of Pinetop Perkins, Tommy Castro, Debbie Davies and most recently, Mike Zito and The Wheel, and he was nominated by the Blues Foundation for a 2013 Blues Music Award for Bassist of the Year. Also joining her on stage was award-winning Kansas City drummer Go-Go Ray, who has been a professional drummer for 30 years.

Samantha Fish rockin' the "oil can."
Showcasing Black Wind Howlin’, Fish kept the audience hooked all night with such cuts as “Foolin’ Me,” “Lay It Down,” “Miles to Go” (featuring her custom-crafted Stogie Box Blues cigar box guitar — see the link below for more information about her equipment), “Sucker Born” and an incredible version of “Go to Hell” (co-written with Mike Zito), Howlin’ Wolf's “Who’s Been Talkin’,” and the title cut itself. Known for mixing it up with covers, Fish also included “Killing Floor,” a Howlin’ Wolf-penned song, “Jim Lee Blues Part 1,” an old-time Charley Patton classic and “Dead Flowers” from the Rolling Stones, one of my favorite covers that she performs.   

Paying homage to one of her great influences, Fish nailed “Tennessee Plate” from John Hiatt.  Also thrown into the set was an original from her forth- coming album, which highlights her custom-made oil-can guitar finesse. Closing it out around 9:45pm with a searing guitar solo during Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” Fish ended the night in stellar fashion and graciously partook in a meet-and-greet to shake hands, sign autographs and pose for pictures.

Michelle Wilson and Samantha Fish.
When I think about how young Fish is, I am even more impressed by her remarkable skill and utmost profes- sionalism, not to mention her genuine affability and downright charm. And let’s face it  in a world dominated by male players, it is refreshing to see a female artist who has the whole package  and Sam Fish certainly does! With a new album tentatively scheduled for a March release, I look forward to her entertaining Central Florida again in the near future. 


-Michelle Wilson
(October 2014)


Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my blog is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine—just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.


Saturday, October 11, 2014


With a bottle of 
nail polish in one hand and the Word 
of God in the other, 
I'm headed out 
once again to battle Satan in the jungle of
one of my favorite 
Third World nations!


My first missionary trip was to Popoyo, Nicaragua in 2012. Simply put, it was a life-changing experience. I immediately fell in love with Nicaragua and its people — and it rocketed quickly to the #1 slot on my Top Ten Favorite Third World Nations list. During that weeklong excursion, my teammates and I shared the message of Jesus Christ with countless locals. We also provided them with food, clothing and other life essentials. I recount the entire journey in the pages of my latest book, SHOUT IT OUT LOUD.

And then he told them,
"Go into all the world 
and preach the Good 
News to everyone."
Mark 16:15 (NLT)

I returned to Nicaragua in 2013 and I made even more new friends — souls were saved, sick folks were healed and lives were blessed (including mine). And I'm stoked about spending my 52nd birthday reconnecting with my peeps in Popoyo when I return to Nicaragua with the missions team from East Coast Christian Center next month. (Nov. 29 - Dec. 6th)

Nicaragua doesn't suck. 
Not even a little bit.
Told ya so!
Our team will travel from ECCC in Merritt Island, Florida to Popoyo, Nicaragua on November 29th — headed out on an amazing eight-day adventure. Our mission once again is to preach the Gospel throughout the local area, provide some light construction, feed the hungry, heal the sick and quite possibly, even raise the dead! As with our previous missions, our command center once again will be the Popoyo Surf Lodge.

This is the #1 reason why I love missionary work!
(But I need YOUR help to make it happen.)
And don't forget to do good 
and to share with those 
in need. These are the 
sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 13:16 (NLT)

Missionary trips ain't cheap. The cost of the building supplies, food and other essentials that we provide these folks is enormous. Heck, the personal price tag  alone, per teammate this year is nearly $2,000 — but thanks to many wonderful sponsors, my expenses are always covered in full. Should you feel led to contribute to this beautiful effort, I en- courage you to check out my personal fundraising page HERE "Boomerang blessings," for sure. Thank you, and God bless you!

-Christopher Long
(October 2014)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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Friday, October 10, 2014

CRAIG GOLDY: Rock Guitar Legend Unveils New Supergroup Project

Arena rock legend Craig Goldy
 Rock Guitar Legend Unveils 
New Supergroup Project

He's been a bona fide 
arena rock legend for 30+ 
years  playing to sell-out 
crowds worldwide and on 
an array of chart-busting 
records. And in 2014, guitarist, songwriter, 
author and philanthropist, 
Craig Goldy, returns to the
rock and roll "champagne 
room" with a new super-
group project that truly
has fans buzzing.

Craig Goldy (far right) scored his first gold album
and Top 20 single with the band Giuffria - circa '84.
As an admitted, true blue arena rock aficionado who has seen practically every major act of that era live on- stage, I can claim with considerable authority and without any fear of contradiction that there was (and is) NO greater guitarist of that ilk than Craig Goldy. And when he re- cently set aside some time to chat with me regarding his new band, I was, to say the least, over the moon.

Barely into his 20s, Goldly was first detected on rock's radar during the early '80s as the guitarist for the promising So-Cal comboRough Cutt. And by late 1984, the San Diego native had graduated to "solid gold" status with MTV poster boys, Giuffria.

In 1985 Goldy was invited to participate in Hear 'n Aid — an all-star African famine relief recording project that featured members of the biggest rock acts of the day, including Journey, Night Ranger, Judas Priest, Iron MaidenQuiet RiotDokkenMötley CrüeTwisted Sister and Queensrÿche.

"I'm just a fan that was lucky 
to get into a lot of things."
-Craig Goldy (2014)

Ronnie James Dio and Craig Goldy
together live onstage in the early 2000s.
Following the 1986 departure of original guitarist Vivian Campbell, Goldly was tapped to join the platinum-selling rock band Dio and was soon performing at sold-out "enormo domes" worldwide, as well as playing on the band's 1986 Intermission and 1987 Dream Evil  albums. And despite various ups and downs over the years, Goldy's close personal and professional relationship with the band's iconic founding front- man, Ronnie James Dio, endured until his passing in 2010. "I learned so much from that man," Goldly said of his longtime friend and mentor. 

"Sometimes musicians turn into 'ex-
girlfriends.' Ronnie wasn't like that."
-Craig Goldy (2014)

Goldy returned to the Top 20 in the early '90s — this time as a songwriter — collaborating with David Lee Roth on the track "Lady Luck" for the "gold" album A Little Ain't Enough. By the late '90s, Goldy had written an insider industry book and began teaching a college course offering valuable related advice, guidance, insights and encouragement to aspiring music artists. And soon, his curriculum had been certified and approved to be part of the state of California's Bachelors program. "If you've got a gift and have been touched by the hand of god," Goldy commented, "there's a place for you." 

"We (the music profession) should be
thought of as highly as doctors and lawyers."
-Craig Goldy (2014)

Today, Craig Goldy's plate is as full as ever. He spends much of his time touring internationally with the all-star tribute collective, Dio Disciples. The band consists of former Dio bandmates, as well as past and present members of such other legendary acts as AC/DC, Yngwie Malmsteen and UFO"We don't approach the DD shows so much as a rock concert, but as a memorial service," Goldy confessed. Under the nameCraig Goldy's 13th Floor, he recorded and released "Hole In My Heart" and "Dark Rainbow" in 2014. Proceeds from the songs benefit the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund.

"I'm playing better and writing better than ever."
-Craig Goldy (2014)

Yet of all of his career accomplishments over the years, what Goldy seems most enthusiastic about these days is his new all-star band. And although he wasn't quite ready officially to reveal the name of the powerhouse project at the time of our interview, he was MORE than eager to connect many of the other dots.

Fueled and inspired by such classic rock heavyweights as Rainbow and Deep Purple, the band's story began a year or so ago when Goldy's girlfriend took him to see a Deep Purple tribute concert in Los Angeles for his birthday that's when he first discovered frontman / vocalist Mark Huff, onstage. "Its taken me a long time to get excited about a singer since Ronnie passed away," Goldy said of Huff. "He's one of the best vocalists left on the planet. He pulls off Gillian, Coverdale, and Ronnie  he's three singers in one."

"It's not MY band. It's A band."
-Craig Goldy (2014)

"The spirit of this band is, 'be yourself.'"
-Craig Goldy (2014) 

(Photo: Alex Solca -
"I wanted to put the 'holy shit' factor back in rock."
-Craig Goldy (2014) 

"We've got (musical) twists and turns 
that people won't expect."
-Craig Goldy (2014) 

The band also features current hard rock go-to guy Dario Seixas on bass, drummer Chris Moore and guitarist / keyboardist Wayne Findlay.

Humble and down to earth, Goldy confessed, "I'm so honored to be working with Mark, Dario, Chris and Wayne." Brimming with enthusiasm for his new bandmates, Goldy further boasted, "Wayne possesses the solo ability of Jon Lord, and Chris can 'become' Bonham or Paice when needed."

Represented by longtime music industry vet and former Giuffria manager, Larry Harris, the band is expected to be in the studio this month, with its debut record set for release next year. Stand by — 2015 ought to be a doozie!

-Christopher Long
(October 2014)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 REMEMBERED (Guest Post)

Today marks the 
anniversary of one of the
most tragic events in our
nation's history. We'll all
forever remember where
we were and what we
were doing on that fateful
morning. I wasn't in
New York that day, but
"Guest Blogger" Michelle
Wilson was. And I'm
compelled today to reflect on 9/11 through
the personal story of
someone who was there.
On September 11, 2001, I was sitting in the unemployment office in FreeportNew York, a Long Island suburb of Manhattan—less than an hour away. I had accepted a position with a real estate appraisal firm, although I really did not want the job. My son was almost four and in preschool, my seven-month-old baby girl was waiting for me at home, and I was pregnant with my last baby. What I was thinking to accept this position I don’t know (the job lasted three days—I couldn’t bear to be away from my baby girl), but I had to meet with the unemployment people and make it official. As I waited, and waited, and waited, growing more frustrated and annoyed, I couldn’t imagine what could be causing this delay. Even for a government-run office, this was ridiculous. Finally, after what seemed like half a day, a woman came out and apologized for the delay. It seemed there was some situation in NYC involving a plane flying into one of the Twin Towers. Her daughter worked there, and she finally had made contact with her and she was ok. Thinking this was just a random bizarre accident, we proceeded with our appointed meeting and concluded it in a timely fashion.

I left the building and got back into my car, beginning the thirty-minute drive back home. The radio was delivering the panicked news—PLANES were flying into the Twin Towers AND the Pentagon—what? A plane was hijacked and eternal heroes eventually emerged. Here I am, pregnant, hormonal, driving by myself, one kid in preschool thirty minutes away, my mother babysitting my seven-month-old daughter at home, and my then-husband at work—also thirty minutes away in the other direction. Frantically calling everyone at once while driving as quickly as possible to reach my house, crying and truly believing that a nuclear missile was about to blow Long Island off the map, I thought I would never reach home. My husband left work to pick up my son and we all stayed glued to the TV as the horrific events unfolded.

My son went to preschool in FarmingdaleNew York, about a twenty-minute ride from home. That town lost so many firefighters and police, including parents of children from my son’s preschool. There were countless police-escorted funerals through that town. I  stood on Main Street for every one them to support these fallen heroes. My hometown lost two men in particular, Rich Bruehert, a friend of mine from long ago who worked in one of the towers, and Brian McAleese, a city firefighter. In a strange and ironic twist of fate, Rich dated a woman for years, and then they ended their relationship. She then dated and married Brian and they had four children. Both of these men lost their lives.

Everyone has different memories of this day—I think there are few people who could say that they don’t recall exactly where they were and what they were doing. This is not an easy story to write, I will say that. I feel as if I am reliving it while I type and the images and emotions it evokes are fresh and brutal. I’m always haunted by the memories, but the one thought that always remains foremost in my mind is the woman from the unemployment office. I think about her all the time. Did her daughter really make it out? I pray for them every time I think of it but I will never know. I just keep picturing over and over the crumbling implosion of those buildings, and I say a prayer for all those whose lost lives forever changed the shape of our twisted world.

-Michelle Wilson
(September 2012)

Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my blog is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine—just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

RECORD REVIEW: Queen "Live at the Rainbow '74"

QUEEN - Live at the Rainbow '74
(Available 9.9.14 on CD, LP, DVD and Blu-ray Disc)
Live at the Rainbow '74
Hollywood Records

A brash and
hungry young
rock band on 
the cusp of 
global super-
captured live
in its prime.

During the early to mid 1970s, Queen was one-of-a-kind. The band's sound was every bit as heavy as that of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple yet it wasn't restrained by blues-inspired shackles. Queen's live show was explosive and theatrical — while (for the most part) steering clear of the KISS and Alice Cooper-like camp factor. And overall, the band was simply more intriguing and possessed more street cred than most of its bloated British contemporaries. But what made Queen truly special was that Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were not only monstrous, badass musicians, but that they wrote great songs. Today, nearly 45 years following its conception, the band's legacy lives on. And despite Mercury's passing in 1991, Queen continues to reign among rock's royaltyAnd that's what makes this newly-released multi-record package such a treat it captures the iconic band in its prime, live onstage.

A must-have for any dedicated fan, this incredible multi-disc, 41-song package offers two complete classic 1974 Queen concert performances at London's famed Rainbow TheatreThe first concert was recorded in March, during the Queen II tour  the second, taking place just eight months later, during the Sheer Heart Attack tour.

QUEEN - Circa '74
(Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury)
The two set lists are similar, and feature the band's best from its self-titled 1973 debut, as well as selected gems from its sophomore release. However, the second concert offers an expanded song selection that also includes prime nuggets from Sheer Heart Attack.

Musically, Queen had nuts and guts to spare — particularly during this period. And that raw, savage vibe comes across throughout as loud and clear as the band's lively and adoring audience. May's signature guitar style, along with Taylor's masterful drum technique and Mercury's iconic vocals sound as powerful and potent here as when these shows first were recorded 40 years ago. 

QUEEN - Live at the Rainbow '74
(An impressive package)
Simply put, Queen's songs clearly have stood the test of time. Noteworthy tracks featured in both concerts include "Son and Daughter" and "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" from Queen, as well as "Father to Son" and "Ogre Battle" from Queen II.

However, the BIG payoffs include "Keep Yourself Alive" from Queen"Seven Seas of Rhye" and "Liar" from Queen II and "Killer Queen" and "Stone Cold Crazy" from Sheer Heart Attack. Even the remake of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" is a high-energy highlight. "We will rock you," indeed! 


-Christopher Long
(September 2014)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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