Monday, October 5, 2020

LED ZEPPELIN III: Iconic Rock Slab Celebrates a "Very Brady" Birthday

Iconic Rock Slab Celebrates
a "Very Brady" Birthday

The massive, yet oft-
missed third slab from
Led Zeppelin is turning
the big 5-0 this month
— a milestone that got
me to thinking.

Don't ya just love The Brady Bunch? I sure do! But you almost have to feel kinda bad for Jan Brady. Despite being a rather good-natured, conscientious teen, Jan always seemed to be overlooked — her presence overshadowed constantly by her older Prom Queen sister, Marcia. And she wasn't quite as cute as her precocious younger sister, Cindy either. Even competing for attention among her newly-adopted brothers proved challenging for Jan — as she was less outgoing than Greg and lacked the quirky charm of Peter. However, Jan did outshine younger brother Bobby. But then again, everybody did.

This month, the third album from Led Zeppelin turns the big 5-0. And what better time than now, to pause and reflect on its splendor.  With its eye-catching, built-in interactive spinning wheel, Led Zeppelin III boasted one of the most expensive album cover designs of the day. However, you still could snatch up a copy at Sears for a mere $4.48.

Stylistically, the songs presented a wide, rainbow-like array of colors — a massive 10-track palette — from the straight-metal fury of "Immigrant Song" to the hypnotic orchestration and unapologetic fret buzz of "Friends" to the soul-cleansing power of "Celebration Day" to the blues-soaked authenticity and John Paul Jones-imagined keyboard allure of "Since I've Been Loving You." 

As a result of prominent soundtrack placement in the 2000 film, Almost Famous, award-winning director Cameron Crowe breathed new life into two of Zep's all-time finest creations; "Tangerine" and "That's the Way" — decades after they'd already received their gold retirement watches from corporate.

Lyrically, Robert Plant provided pure poetic perfection throughout; Her face is cracked from smiling. All the fears that she's been hiding. And it seems that pretty soon, everybody's gonna know. Doggonit, man — that's some good stuff right there.

Produced by patriarch guitarist, Jimmy Page, the record was a crisper and arguably livelier-sounding affair than its two predecessors. As for the performances, the band were white hot — particularly John Bonham, whose rib-cracking, razor-sharp chops were showcased best on "Out On the Tiles."

Yet despite possessing immeasurable WOW-factor, topping the Billboard album chart and selling in excess of 10 million copies, Led Zeppelin III often is treated as the "Jan" of the band's iconic catalog. And as I revisited the album recently, in celebration of its milestone birthday, I got to thinking — what if the legendary Zeppelin story was presented as a grand Broadway production based on the Brady Bunch? And what if the roles of ALL their albums were played by Bradys? It's a totally logical notion, I know — and I've taken the liberty of casting the production...

Led Zeppelin I
(Mike Brady)

Led Zeppelin II
(Carol Brady)

Led Zeppelin III
(Jan Brady)

Led Zeppelin IV
(Marcia Brady)

Houses of the Holy
(Greg Brady)

Physical Graffiti
(Cindy Brady)

(Bobby Brady) 

The Song Remains the Same
(Peter Brady)

In Through the Out Door

(Sam the butcher)
*Understudy - Cousin Oliver

Commemorative Box Set

The cameo role of
"Hey, Hey, What Can I Do"

My Brady-obsessed writing partner, Bryan, shares my zeal for Zeppelin. And although he does recognize the fantastic potential of such a production, he feels that Alice should play Led Zeppelin III and Jan is better suited in the role of In Through the Outdoor. C'mon now! Any serious aficionada would know that's just plain silly.

So, what are your personal thoughts on this landmark record? And who would you cast in this Broadway epic? Feel free to share your related Brady Birthday wishes in the "Comment" section below.

-Christopher Long
(October 2020)

"10th Anniversary Edition"
(October 2020)



- C'MON! -

Friday, September 25, 2020

CHEAP TRICK: Power Pop Poster Boys Drop New Single - "Rebel Rebel"

Power Pop Poster Boys Drop
New Single - "Rebel Rebel"

The cover tune bandwagon
now has become so over-
crowded, most recent retreads
have become pedestrian and
disposal — that is unless the
band is really cool and can
truly own the song and make
it something really special.

Power pop poster boys, Cheap Trick, have just dropped a "rebellious" new single. Reuniting the iconic combo with legendary producer, Jack Douglas (Aerosmith / John Lennon / New York Dolls), the 2020 remake of the 1974 David Bowie staple, "Rebel Rebel," might come as a bit of a surprise to many. But while it's been an oft-covered classic for decades, this particular reboot is a shiny treat.

Oozing authentic rock and roll cred, the track feels familiar — like a welcomed high-five from an old friend — the long-haired "cool kid" with the denim jacket and bellbottoms who you used to bum smokes from out behind the skating rink back in high school.

However, the song sounds fresh. And therein lies Bowie's true genius. He was so far ahead of the curve, 50 years later, his lyrics remain relevant. And heart-stopping riffs and infectious melodies aside, it's the lyrics that have made this one a timeless teen anthem — You've got your mother in a whirl. She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl.

Cheap Trick's rebellious reboot - NOW on YouTube

From start to finish, the Cheap Trick version is a faithful recreation, while going to great lengths to claim ownership. Drummer Daxx Nielsen slaps the track to attention in short order with "Big Eyes"-style urgency. Amid Rick Nielsen's frenzied guitar slashing and Tom Petersson's signature 12-string bass chug, the song surrenders to Robin Zander's "Mommy's Alright"-inspired spin on the much-loved melody. And the breakdown upgrade is as arresting as a run-in with the Dream Police, 

With this latest rendition, Cheap Trick inform their seasoned audience, yet still speak directly to the ever-conflicted teenage experience — a juvenile success, indeed! 

-Christopher Long
(September 2020)



"10th Anniversary Edition"
(Coming October 2020)



- C'MON! -

Friday, September 18, 2020


The 2020 Edition

I'm in the people business.
It's how I do.

From the rock star with gold records galore to the convenience store clerk who's having a bad day to the kid down the street who just got their first bike, I love people, and I'm fascinated by their unique stories. As a result, it's tough for me to chat anyone up for more than five minutes without turning it into a formal interview. But over the years, I've discovered that one of the best environments in which to get to know people is relaxing at a local java joint and connecting over a calming cup of coffee. While I have enjoyed engaging many pursued peeps in various compelling coffee conversations, my brew-based bucket list seems never-ending.


As a founding contributor at
the iconic Creem magazine,
Jaan's "Wonder Years"-era
work ultimately would fuel
my future writing passion.
This chick got stories. And
we'd need to order up a few
rounds of Colombian brew!


Brad was a buddy of mine when
we were kids growing up in the
Ozarks during the '70s. But I got
so consumed by life after moving
to Florida in 1975, I didn't keep
in touch with him after graduation.
I sure hope that everything turned
out okay for Brad.


Her resume' is impressive.
And her talent — massive.
But while Linda Cardellini's
recent role as Judy Hale on
the popular Netflix series,
Dead to Me is arguably her
most compelling, I'd really
like to talk to her about her
1997 Good Burger gig.


Now that he's in a "man band,"
pop's platinum poster boy has
become a bit more appealing
to me. We could talk about
songwriting, fashion and
maybe even exchange our
personal nail tech contact info.


Back in 2016, "Big" Marco made
a campaign appearance at the
club where I've DJ'd for decades
— which is kinda cool. Political
perspectives aside, he was a
straight-up dude, and I'd love
to continue our conversation.


How many times do I have to
repeat myself? I am NOT a
delusional, creepy stalker 
alright? In fact, the co-founding
Dollyrots singer / songwriter and
bassist is more than welcome to
bring her equally gorgeous and
talented songwriting, guitarist
husband, Luis to our lil' coffee
chat. He's just gonna have to
wait out in the car. No biggie.


Simply put, Anna-Marie is
the writer I want to be. Her
riveting 2019 debut memoir,
Librian wrecked me. But,
what would we talk about?
Probably our shared passion


From murdering Christians to
his Damascus Road turnaround
to authoring two-thirds of the
New Testament, Apostle Paul's
personal story of transformation
is the most powerful — ever.
But we might have to put our
planned coffee meeting on
hold for another century or so.


Little did I know, Merry provided
iconic back-up vocals on so many
of my most-loved rock classics.
Then, I saw the amazing, award-
winning 2013 documentary film,
life story — what she's experienced
and what she's achieved — heart-
stopping and heartbreaking — a
bona fide rock star, indeed. While
I could sit and listen to her stories,
mesmerized for hours, I want to
have coffee with Merry primarily
so I can hug her and thank her for
blessing my life so abundantly.


You never stop being a parent.
Now 27, my son Jesse currently
is doing his thing in Colorado.
We saw each other not too long
ago, but when you're a parent,
a couple of months can seem
like an eternity. Hey, Christmas
is just around the corner. Maybe
he'll slide back down to the ol'
Sunshine State and join me for
a little Yuletide Glee and a tasty
Holiday Brulée.

Well, there ya go. I hope you had fun with my caffeine-crazed commentary. So, who's on your brew-based bucket list? Feel free to post your personal thoughts in the "Comment" section below.

-Christopher Long
(September 2020)


"10th Anniversary Edition"
(Coming October 2020)



- C'MON! -

Saturday, September 12, 2020

B's CREATIVE HIVE: Bold Biz Stirs Big Buzz!

Bold Biz Stirs Big Buzz!

Despite the lingering summer
swelter, fall HAS arrived. In
just a few weeks, even here
in Florida, temperatures will
take a dip, as the intoxicating
fragrance of pumpkin spice
(everything) fills the air. And
there simply is no better time
of year to get creative and
crafty with friends and family.

To some, it could be seen as an unlikely partnership  two longtime professionals from the Central Florida hair salon industry, launching a joint business venture. But Brittany Briel and Tim Doody shared a vision  a mutual desire to bring people together through an exciting new creative concept. As a result, they recently opened B's Creative Hive in Palm Bay.

We've all probably been to local art shows and seen the rows (and rows) of white vendor tents housing such eye-catching knickknacks as authentic-looking wooden "Life's a Beach" patio signs, or clever bar signs indicating that, "It's Five O'clock Somewhere." B's Creative Hive has harnessed the fun-factor of these types of home decorations and combined it with a personal interactive experience that allows YOU to be artist — from selecting the exact shape and size of your sign to designing the specific layout and choosing a personalized catchphrase, down to the hand painting — it's truly your unique piece of custom art.

"We want to draw people together
— to reach out to our community."
-Tim Doody

Curious as to what the "buzz" is about, I headed over and visited "the Hive" during Briel and Doody's opening weekend. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover the place had been commandeered by an impressive-sized faction from a local neighborhood — friends and family  bizzy lil' bees having a blast with their personal projects. Hey, Alexa — play '80s party mix!

And therein lies what makes B's Creative Hive so special. Unlike a typical-type art class, comprised of individual "students," Briel and Doody subscribe to a "more the merrier" house party philosophy. While singles and couples certainly are welcome, the experience is enhanced in a group setting — the gal from the bank helping her bestie's hubby cut out his stencil, as the construction guy from down the block cracks a "cold one" while picking his paint colors. Simply put, "B's" brings people together. Dude, who brought this dee-lish fish dip!?

"It's really rewarding when you
can display a piece of art in your
home and say, 'I MADE THAT!'"
-Brittany Briel

The bright yellow, full-front-window sign makes the business hard to miss — even from bustling Palm Bay Road. Inside, "the Hive" is a crisp, clean operation — one that owns unique indie appeal, yet also packs legit franchise potential.

Ever-helpful hosts, Briel and Doody walk folks through the entire super-fun process — offering guidance and encouragement every step of the way. And at the end of the day, the grandma across the street, and even the calloused mechanic from next door can say, "I made that!" as they display their personal pieces of art prominently in their respective family room or man cave. 

In sum, the B's Creative Hive experience is one heckuva good time for all. Hours are flexible, but appointments are required and prices vary. Find them online at their official site or on Facebook.

-Christopher Long
(September 2020)

"10th Anniversary Edition"
(Coming October 2020)



- C'MON! -

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

SIRSY: Pop-Rock Sweethearts Debut "Dreamy" New Video

Pop-Rock Sweethearts Debut
"Dreamy" New Video

Despite the current conflicted
world in which we live, I find
myself blessed abundantly. In
fact, I'm super-thankful for so
many things; Skittles, sunsets,
The Sopranos and  Sirsy.

February 2020 — all was right in my world. My GF and I were enjoying a warm and sunny weekend, criss-crossing Florida, taking in multiple live Sirsy performances during their most recent national concert tour. Be sure, we were NOT stalking the pop-rock sweethearts. Okay, maybe we were. Within days, the COVID "craze" had caught on, and in a flash, everything changed and the world shut down — completely. To date, Sirsy is the last live band I've seen. The harsh reality is, at the rate things are going, particularly at my age, Sirsy could be the last live band I'll see  ever. And I'm good with that. At least it wasn't Nickelback.

But despite the current world crisis, there is cause to celebrate. Sirsy have kept my batteries charged all summer with a slew of satisfying "shelter in place" cyber shows. And just yesterday, those crazy kids from Upstate (Melanie Krahmer and Rich Libutti) debuted a delightful video for "Sweet Dreams."

The super-sweet new Sirsy video can cure whatever ails ya — almost.

Truth be told, Sirsy were sent by Jesus to bring extra joy to the world — especially during today's troubled times. And "Sweet Dreams" is a "joyful" highlight from their latest EP, Like a Drum. Brimming with infectious "Oooh Oooh's" and dripping with a honey-soaked melody, all wrapped around super-sweet lyrics and glossed by Melanie's angelic vocals, the song and video are absolutely irresistible.

Now, if Rich would just man-up and learn that Debbie Gibson cover I've been bitchin' to them about, that would be another "sweet dream" come true!

-Christopher Long
(September 2020)

"10th Anniversary Edition"
(Coming October 2020)



- C'MON! -