Friday, July 13, 2018

RECORD REVIEW: Ken Sharp "I Wanna Be David Cassidy" (Jetfighter Records)

RECORD REVIEW
Ken Sharp 
"I Wanna Be David Cassidy"
(Jetfighter Records)
__________

While visiting South Florida
recently, I finally got my
hands on a limited edition 7"
vinyl copy of Ken Sharp's
infectious musical tribute
to the late David Cassidy. I
"got happy" in short order.
__________

It was a lifetime ago — 1971. Richard Nixon was revving up for "Four More Years," Laugh-In was one of the top-rated American TV shows and kids from coast-to-coast were being introduced to a couple of tasty, not-so-terrifying characters known as Count Chocula and Franken Berry. 1971 also was a magical time for pop music, as The Osmonds, Bobby Sherman and The Jackson 5 dominated Casey's weekly countdown. And television / music superstar, David Cassidy, was hot as a pistol.

For pre-pube purists like me and millions of other salivating die-hards during that glorious shag-covered era, David Cassidy was our "Elvis." The irresistible pop / rock music he produced and the feather-coiffed, boy-next-door image he projected fueled a lifelong fire that would lead us in our teens to discovering and worshiping such guitar-driven idols as The RaspberriesThe Bay City Rollers, Rick Springfield and Cheap Trick.


When the Partridge Family icon passed away last fall, the shocking news hit me like a mule kick to the rib cage — as if a chunk of my cherished childhood had gone with him. Fortunately, fellow aficionado, best-selling author and acclaimed singer / songwriter, Ken Sharp, was quick to offer the grieving masses an infectious feel-good tribute to the true "King of Pop" in his timely single, "I Wanna Be David Cassidy."

Written and performed primarily by Ken Sharp and overseen by famed musician and co-producer, Fernando Perdomo, the single captures Sharp's passion perfectly, from the personal lyrics, right down to the authentic-sounding harpsichord backing track and the realistic classic, black and silver Bell Records-inspired label on the 7" vinyl edition. A highlight track from Sharp's 2016 full-length record, New Mourning, the single's B-Side, "Let's Be Friends" is equally a pop treasure.

Recorded at Reseda Ranch Studios in Reseda, California and at The Manor in Toluca Lake, California, the single currently is available digitally on iTunes and BandCamp, as well as on 7" vinyl via Jetfighter Records.

-Christopher Long
(July 2018)

__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)


- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Monday, June 25, 2018

VINNIE PAUL: A Personal Tribute to a Rock Legend

Photo: Karen Romano Adams - www.stknthe80srockpix.com
VINNIE PAUL
A Personal Tribute
to a Rock Legend
__________

A famous rock star for whom
I worked years ago once told
me, "All we have in life is
our reputation." If that's true,
then Vinnie Paul was quite a
wealthy man, to be sure!
__________

Simply put, Vinnie Paul revolutionized drumming in the 1990s the same way Eddie Van Halen revolutionized guitar playing in the 1970s — he turned the whole game upside down. In fact, upon the release of the platinum-selling, landmark 1990 album, Cowboys from Hell, Paul's band, Pantera, also revolutionized the entire world of heavy metal — precisely at the time when the genre was most in need of a game-changing kick in the ass. Almost overnight, an entire generation of new drummers (and more than a few seasoned players) were taping quarters to their kick drum heads, in an attempt recreate Paul's signature drum sound. Truth be told, the ripple effect of Paul's influence on modern hard rock drumming can still be seen to this day.

Arguably THE most groundbreaking
hard rock / metal record of all time!
I vividly can recall both the first and last times I saw Vinnie Paul perform live. The first was in South Florida, near the end of 1991. Pantera now had blown up HUGE. The band's Cowboys follow-up record, Vulgar Display of Power was set to arrive just a few months later, and the club was packed to the rafters. Driven by Paul's ferocious drumming, and fueled by the equally revolutionary guitar style of his younger brother, Dimebag Darrell, the band's performance was potent, to say the least. As for frontman Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, what they brought to the live Pantera concert experience was simply brutal. I would enjoy experiencing MANY more live Pantera concerts over the next six years.

"A Decade of Domination," indeed!
The last time I saw Vinnie Paul perform live was equally memorable. Although there were several big-name bands scheduled to perform that night, I only had interest in seeing one of them —  Hellyeah. I'd seen the band in concert previously, back in 2011. But on that steamy night in July 2016, I hadn't come out to Orlando's Hard Rock Live for Hellyeah, the band. I'd ventured out specifically to see Hellyeah's drummer — the one and only, Vinnie Paul. It was so cool — as the house lights dropped, signaling the commencement of Hellyeah's set, the crowd offered a moderate rumble of approval. However, fans went absolutely berserk when a tiny spotlight appeared between the drums' two tom-toms — revealing Vinnie Paul's animated-looking face, grinning wildly while twirling one of his drumsticks. As always, his performance was masterful.


Over the years I've met and worked with many music industry professionals  and I've never met even one insider (or fan) who has ever had even one slightly negative thing to say about Vinnie Paul. He truly was admired and loved by all — which makes the recent news of his passing on June 22 all the more tragic, and the sense of loss even greater. I never had the opportunity to connect personally with the man — I sure wish I had. Fortunately, I still have many memories of great times seeing him perform live in a couple of his different bands. And as one of his many fans around the world, we'll ALL have Vinnie Paul's recorded music to enjoy forever. Thanks, dude — RIP!

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Friday, June 15, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: Tag

MOVIE REVIEW
Tag
(Running Time 100 Minutes)
__________

It's my annual dilemma 
seeking a summertime big
screen comedy that isn't a
complete steaming pile of
lowbrow refuse. But this
year, I actually found one.
__________

Despite the gratuitous dick jokes, jarring F-bombs and over-the-top drug references, Tag is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud romp.

In his directorial debut, Jeff Tomsic creates a crisp comedy based on the true story of an eclectic group of five childhood friends who, now in their 40s, continue their lifelong annual tradition of dedicating the month of May to a no-holds-barred game of tag — a silly-sounding premise that in execution delivers with true Hangover-style grandeur.

Oozing irresistible "curb appeal," the attractive cast members all offer incredible performances, most notably, Jeremy RennerIsla Fisher and Leslie Bibb. But while Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Jon Hamm also boast equally impressive performances, it's often tough to distinguish their Tag characters from their well-known past personas. Hey, how did Don Draper transport from 1965 to 2018?

In sum, if you can choke down a healthy dose of toilet humor, Tag just might scratch your summertime itch. (B+)

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: "Love is the Punch Line" - Kathleen Jones

BOOK REVIEW
Love is the Punch Line
- Kathleen Jones -
(Moonshine Cove Publishing)

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I don't exactly fit the target audience demographic for romantic chick lit. However, my interest was piqued when I first discovered Love is the Punch Line, the debut novel from Canadian author, Kathleen Jones

From the get-go, I found the premise intriguing — an abrasive, insecure aging comedian (Josh Steinberg) connects with an attractive, feisty, middle-aged businesswoman (Holly Brannigan) during one of his stand-up nightclub gigs. Driven by non-stop romantic tension, sparks fly between the "Jewish King of Comedy" and "Holly the Brain" throughout this light, quirky, and unlikely love story.

In sum, Jones writes from the heart, delivering an engaging, entertaining read — a romantic roller-coaster ride from start to finish.

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

Find
Love is the Punch Line
on Amazon
__________


Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)


Thursday, June 7, 2018

KRISTEN MARTIN: Bestselling Author Comes to Orlando (6.5.18)

KRISTEN MARTIN
Bestselling Author
Comes to Orlando
(6.5.18)
__________

These days, I'm seduced much
more by the allure of an up-close-
and-personal author event than by
any groovy backstage rock star
meet-and-greet. But when those
two worlds collide, well, you
definitely can COUNT-ME-IN!
__________

Polished, poised and packaged to perfection, Kristen Martin is a modern-day literary rock star. Her stats — impressive, indeed. A well-established Amazon author, she boasts a bounty of sci-fi bestsellers. Possessing impeccable marketing savvy, she also is a successful writing coach —  providing insightful, spot-on tips and experienced advice to her tens of thousands of loyal YouTube viewers. Simply put, as an established non-fiction author now navigating into the brave new super-competitive world of fiction, when Kristen Martin speaks — I listen.

"Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show 
me the glint of light on broken glass."
-Kristen Martin

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll confess openly to sitting in front of my laptop frequently for hours on end, binge-watching installment after installment of Martin's fascinating and informative YouTube clips — tasty bag of Doritos by my side and an ice cold can of Red Bull in-hand. And as a result of my unabashed, drooling fanboy obsession, there absolutely was NO way I was going to miss her recent Orlando in-store book signing appearance.

The Kristen Martin collection
available NOW at Amazon.
Possessing a particular (past) penchant for iconic rock stars, I couldn't have been more amped if I was set to meet Gene Simmons himself. However, I (hopefully) managed to project a reasonably calm demeanor. In fact, my knees were knocking only slightly as my buddy Chuck and I entered Gods & Monsters Comic Bookstore.

Although we arrived at the popular Orlando sci-fi shop a full 15 minutes prior to the book signing's scheduled 6pm start time, Martin already was engaged with other enthusiastic readers. And the fact that she was accompanied by acclaimed writing coach, Kaila Walker, only added to the event's WOW-factor.

As a fellow author, I've enjoyed traveling on my own national in-store book signing tours over the years. Hence, I stood by patiently, allowing both Martin and Walker ample time to connect personally with fans before wedging myself into the story.

With Kristen Martin in Orlando, FL.
(6.5.18)
Although recognized primarily for her bestselling sci-fi novels, Martin's current offering is a compelling, self-motivational-style non-fiction book, entitled, Be Your Own #Goals. She knows her audience well and speaks to her readers effectively. But as a doofy dude who typically doesn't connect with sci-fi, I don't exactly fit Martin's demographic. Yet, I was hoping to discover at least a few helpful tidbits in her just-released, chick-focused memoir. "Um, like I, uh, need to buy a copy of Goals, please," I announced, passing a crumpled wad of bills nervously across the signing table. To her credit, Martin didn't laugh at me for my clear-cut lack of slickness. Walker didn't either.

What impressed me most about Kristen Martin was how genuine and approachable she was —  spending as much time as necessary in order to connect fully with each reader who came through the line. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating — you can't fake transparency. And that's one of the special and unique qualities that endears her to so many fans. Heck, both Martin and Walker even took the time to offer me (more than a few) valuable insights when discussing my upcoming project  — which really meant a lot to me. #BRAVO #PROLOGUE 

-Christopher Long
(June 2018)
__________

KRISTEN MARTIN
ONLINE

- Amazon -
- YouTube -
__________



Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: Book Club

MOVIE REVIEW
Book Club
June Pictures / Paramount Pictures
103 minutes
__________

Boasting an impressive cast and
promising an engaging story,
Book Club was one of the films
that I had been really looking
forward to seeing this year.
__________

A lighthearted comedy, the debut from director Bill Holderman tells the story of four lifelong girlfriends searching for meaningful and satisfying romantic relationships while navigating through their golden years. Yet, despite the film's playful premise, the all-star cast's curb appeal and the general likability of the characters, Book Club tends to fall a bit flat.

The matinee showing I attended was packed with moviegoers primarily over age 50. And while the audience responded well to many of the film's laugh-out-loud moments, the story often felt painfully predictable. Featuring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen, the award-winning ensemble seemed over-qualified for the dumbed-down scenarios and contrived dialog.

Played by Keaton, the character of Diane is only in her late 60s. Hence the concern her daughters project for her well-being is rather over the top. At one point, Bergen's character, Sharon, "connects" with Richard Dreyfuss' character, George. Although they're both amazing, renown actors, the image of them "getting freaky" in the backseat of George's car was less than titillating. Additionally, the sizzle factor between Fonda's character, Vivian, and Don Johnson's character, Arthur, lacked legit "steam." Conversely, the husband and wife dynamic between Craig T. Nelson and Steenburgen was authentic and charming. But in the end, true love prevails, all around — YAY!

In sum, Book Club succeeded in living up to my expectations — sorta. And despite the story's occasional stiffness, it definitely was worth the investment — kinda. (B-)

-Christopher Long
(May 2018)
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

THE TOP 10 ALBUMS I THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO (Guest Feature)

THE TOP 10 ALBUMS
THINK YOU
SHOULD LISTEN TO
by Jesse Tanner Long
(Guest Feature)
__________

Pop culture kingpin, social media
aficionado and ice cream master
chemist Jesse Tanner Long returns
with his latest "Top 10" music list.
___________

I absolutely hate picking favorites. This list was a tough one to compile and I left out a few classics like Butch Walker The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let's-Go-Out-Tonites, Childish Gambino Camp, Van Halen Fair Warning, 50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and The Damned Things Ironiclast.

10
KIMBRA
__________

9
LADY RADIATOR
__________

8
TIDES OF MAN
__________

7
YOU, ME & EVERYONE
WE KNOW
__________

6
CLOSURE IN MOSCOW
__________

5
THE SAFETY FIRE
__________

4
COHEED AND CAMBRIA
__________

3
DANCE GAVIN DANCE
__________

2
DEFTONES
__________

1
PROTEST THE HERO
__________

-Jesse Tanner Long
(May 2018)

_______________________________

BE MY "GUEST!"
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 website 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.

-Chris
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com 
_______________________________


Friday, May 4, 2018

SUPERSTAR: My Fiction Debut NOW is Completed!

SUPERSTAR
My Fiction Debut
NOW is Completed!
__________

A five-year labor of love 
46 chapters, 60,000+ words.
Hooray, my fiction debut NOW
finally has been completed!
__________

God puts specific people in our lives for specific purposes. However, the true value of certain relationships often is recognized most clearly in hindsight. 

I didn't see it coming — that night in college Bible class during the spring of 2013. Tami had been a classmate of mine for some time. Her two teenage daughters participated in my weekly Youth Ministry group. I'd even gone on a recent missions trip to Nicaragua with her and her husband. Given our established relationship, I wasn't offended that night in class when she offered me a personal critique regarding my writing. "I read your latest book," Tami revealed, as she took a seat next to me at our classroom table. "I enjoyed it," she added. "But you're missing your audience." OUCH!

In short order, Tami began offering me some fascinating publishing insights. Although she seemed to "get" my faith-based perspectives, she commented how most people really didn't care about personal-style Christian non-fiction. "The REAL audience," she stated convincingly, "is in Christian fiction."

I responded immediately with a slew of self-defeating excuses — "I can't." "I couldn't." "I don't know how." "I only write non-fiction."

Calling me out in short order, Tami reached into her huge canvas "mom" bag and retrieved an assortment of related resource materials. She then encouraged me further to take my outrageous show biz stories from the past, mix them up with accounts from my recent ministry experiences, change all the names, and "voila," I'd have a gripping fictional story that would have readers at my future book signings lined up out the door. Challenge accepted.

Of course, the task at hand wouldn't be as simple as Tami may have suggested. However, my writing partner, Bryan Dumas, was "on board" with the project instantly  despite our lack of experience in writing fiction. So, we did our homework — diving into volumes of published work that resided outside of our typical comfort zones. 

Our mission seemed simple — to present a bold, yet authentic and potentially life-changing salvation message — one enveloped in an entertaining, realistic story so compelling, it would hook readers at page one, and keep them reeled in through the closing acknowledgments. 


Bryan and I both had spent much of our lives experiencing various aspects of the professional entertainment industry. Conversely, we'd also both moved into the ministry field in recent years. Hence, we had a near unlimited pool of personal stories from which to draw — ones that reflected our real life accounts from standing on both sides of the spiritual fence.

Another challenge we faced was combining the tales of both worlds convincingly and effectively. We recognized that with a story this powerful, we risked alienating non-believers while potentially also disrupting the "apple cart" of the Christian publishing status quo. Challenge accepted — again.

A true labor of love, Bryan and I have poured five years into developing our story and crafting our characters. Along the way, we sought the guidance of many well-established literary insiders and talented creative consultants — both believers and non-believers. And now, "it is finished."

In the fast-paced vein of a Showtime ratings champ, SUPERSTAR presents an incredible message of faith and forgiveness triumphing over fame and fortune as chronicled through the meteoric rise, scandalous fall and spiritual redemption of fictional country music sensation, Trent Davis.

As we now apply a final editing gloss to the manuscript this weekend and prepare to begin the process of pitching our proposal to potential agents and prospective publishers, Bryan and I would like to invite you to check out our SUPERSTAR "Sneak Peek" and offer us your personal comments. You can find our concise preview HERE.

Looking back to 2013, I recognize more clearly than ever the value in my relationship with Tami. Regardless of where this project takes us, Bryan and I will be forever grateful to her for offering us what seemed like an impossible challenge.

-Christopher Long
(May 2018)

*Since first posting this feature, Bryan and I signed a contract with Moonshine Cove Publishing. SUPERSTAR will be released officially on April 7, 2019!
__________

Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)