• Alice Cooper and Salvador Dali 1973

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    Alice Cooper and Salvador Dali with 'Brain of A Popstar' in NYC. February 25, 1973. © Bob Gruen/www.bobgruen.com Please contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: info@bobgruen.com Image #: R-88

    Before Marilyn Manson. Before Slip Knot. Heck, before Kiss, there was Alice Cooper.

    Not since Johnny Cash sang, "A Boy Name Sue," did we hear about a man with a woman's name. One would have thought that that alone would generate enough controversial attention. Yet, that was just the beginning.

    Mascara. Thigh high boots. An electric chair. Gallows. A guillotine. A boa constrictor that was quite long and quite real. All of that and more was integrated into a band - which later became the man - Alice Cooper.

    As Alice's fame grew, so did the size of the crowd of celebrities who wanted to be seen - and get to know - the founder of Shock Rock.

    From the beginning, our friend, Bob Gruen, was there, snapping images of this phenomenon; images that became as iconic as Cooper did.

    In the video on the right of this page, Bob shares exclusively with Boomerocity followers his history with Alice Cooper, his relationship with him, and the story behind this month's featured photo that he shot.

    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

     

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • Bob Gruen's Studio - Labelle-1972-and-Vicki-Wickham-OBE

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    (L-R) Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Patti LaBelle of Labelle on stage at Lincoln Center in New York City. October 6, 1974. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.comPlease contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: websitemail01@aol.com phone: 212-691-0391

    As Boomerocity viewers and readers already know, we not only like to cover the icons from back in the days of our youths but the influencers as well. We get a huge kick out of covering the movers and shakers that helped shape the culture of our times. This monthly feature exhibits that thrill by featuring the work of a legendary man behind the camera that shot some of the most iconic photos in rock and roll.

    This month’s featured photo by our friend, Bob Gruen, is about both the artist and the people behind them. In this case, Labelle and their legendary manager, Vicki Wickham.

    I won’t steal Bob’s thunder. You’ll want to hear and see it for yourself by watching the video to the right. I only want to accentuate that Ms. Wickham’s work with the British TV show, Ready Steady Go! is the stuff of legends - ReadySteadyGoCoverClick Above To Order Your Copyespecially in a male-dominated industry. So much so, that Bob speaks glowingly about her in this video as well as provided a link to a playlist tied to the show (here). There’s also a great book about Ready Steady Go! that references Vicki a lot.


    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

     

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • Bob Gruen's Studio - New York Dolls - Japan 1973

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    The New Yorks Dolls photographed at Studio 29, NYC. November 1973. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.comPlease contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: info@bobgruen.com Image #: C-53

    Before the punk and glam metal things started in the early ’70s, there were the New York Dolls. Their influence was - and is - far-reaching and phenomenal. According to Wikipedia, “They influenced rock groups such as the Sex Pistols, Kiss, the Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, the Damned, and The Smiths, whose frontman Morrissey organized a reunion show for the New York Dolls’ surviving members in 2004.” (Click here to go to read all that Wikipedia has to say about them).

    As we’ve learned long ago, our friend Bob Gruen was Johnny On The Spot and met the New York Dolls before they developed a cult-like following during their short but influential career. Believe it or not (actually, it is QUITE believable), Bob connected with the New York Dolls via his association with his good friend, John Lennon.

    How cool is that?

    Bob's featured photo for this month is from a photoshoot in Japan that he did with the New York Dolls. In the exclusive video on the right side of this page, Bob tells Boomerocity viewers his story of his relationship with the band and provides some deep insight into the band and Bob’s relationship with them.

    Bob's featured photo for this month is his iconic photo of The Clash with the New York City skyline as their back drop. In the exclusive video on the right side of this page, Bob tells Boomerocity viewers his story of his relationship with The Clash and especially with Joe Strummer as well as the story behind this photo.

    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • Bob Gruen's Studio - Sly Stone at NYC's Madison Squaare Garden 1973

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    Sly Stone of Sly and The Family Stone on stage at The Schaefer Festival in Central Park, NYC. August 1, 1973. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.comPlease contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: info@bobgruen.comImage #: R-326

    Sly and the Family Stone was - and to a certain extent, still is - a diverse (racially) band who are known for their huge hits like "Dance to the Music" and “Everyday People" in1968; "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and "I Want to Take You Higher" the following year; Family Affair" a couple of years after that, and 1973’s "If You Want Me to Stay.”. The band also made history by performing at the first Woodstock and the Summer of Soul concerts.

    Our friend, legendary rock photographer, Bob Gruen, first saw Sly Stone during that legendary Woodstock performance as a fan and participant. In the years since, Bob photographed him professionally, including the photo featured this month that was taken in 1973 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The video to the right is Bob’s story behind this month's picture as well as his history with Sly Stone. it is shared exclusively here on Boomerocity.

    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

     

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • Boomerocity Buzz

    Boomerocity Buzz.  The latest news in the music industry.

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  • Chris O'Dell Talks About The Beatles, Leon Russell, And Life After Apple Records

    Posted February 2022

    ChrisODell001How many of you can say that you’ve had a song written about you? Heck, how many people in the history of humankind have had a song written specifically about them?

    Hold that thought for just a moment.

    I have waited a long, long, long time to interview this lady that you're about to watch me interview. Her name is Chris O'Dell. She is, as she puts it, a normal person who has been involved and witnessed some of the most remarkable things in rock'n'roll history. She worked at Apple Records.

    Yeah. THAT Apple Records.

    She was there and saw the Beatles seemingly every day that she worked there. She was a guest in their homes. She watched a lot of things take place. In fact, you may recall the George Harrison song, “Miss O'Dell”. That song is about her.

    You can now let go of that thought I asked you to hold a moment ago because – as the old Ronco commercials use to say – “But wait! There’s more!”

    Two other songs written about her by none other than Leon Russell. One song was “Pisces Apple Lady” and the other one was “Hummingbird”. In addition to those, she’s “the woman down the hall” in Joni Mitchell’s song “Coyote,” and the “mystery woman” shown on the “Exile on Main Street” by the Rolling Stones.

    MissODellCoverClick Above To Order Your CopyAfter her tenure at Apple Records, she was elsewhere to watch a lot of other rock and roll history. She was a tour manager for lots of people. She worked with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones. She was an assistant to Peter Asher who, as some of you may remember, I interviewed a couple of years ago (here). A fascinating guy to talk to and the brother of Paul McCartney's first fiancée. Miss O'Dell is also still close friends with my dear friends, Nancy Lee Andrews (interviewed here) and Ken Mansfield (interviewed here, here, here, and here), Pattie Boyd, May Pang, and others in the various inner circles across the Beatles universe.

    So, you can see this is such a small, very interesting world that Chris was involved in, and she has so many stories. First, I highly recommend getting her book. You can order it by clicking on the book cover shown on this page. It's so good I bought two of them. It's still in print. It's still in print in paperback. You can probably find good use copies of the hardback online.

    You'll hear some more talk about the book in our conversation. So, if you're a rock'n'roll history fan; if you're a Beatles fan, Eric Clapton fan, and others from the world of classic rock royalty, Chris O’Dell has dealt with many of them. You’ll want to watch this interview. Tell your friends about it. Share the link to it. Buy the book. You can also follow her on Twitter.

     

    The Boomerocity Interview With Chris O'Dell

  • Chrissie Hynde 1979

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders on stage at Hammersmith Odeon in London, England. December 1979. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.comPlease contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: websitemail01@aol.com phone: 212-691-0391

    As the seventies were ending, a little band was formed in London. The band’s name was inspired by an R&B hit that Sam Cooke covered titled, “The Great Pretender.” Thus, The Pretenders were born.

    The band went on to record such hits as Brass In Pocket, Back On The Chain Gang, I’ll Stand By You, My City Was Gone (which, oddly enough, was used as the theme song for the Rush Limbaugh Show), Talk of the Town, Precious, Middle of the Road, Don’t Get Me Wrong, 2,000 Miles, and Boots of Chinese Plastic.

    Those hits were the foundation for the band to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. The Pretenders are still cranking out music with the band having released their latest album, Hate For Sale, last year.

    Chrissie Hynde, lead singer and front-person for the band, is the only remaining original member of the Pretenders. As has often been the case in his storied career, legendary rock photographer and Boomerocity friend, Bob Gruen, was photographing the band before they were a huge musical influence. This month’s featured photo, a 1979 image of Chrissie Hynde, is evidence of that.

    In the video on the right of this page, Bob shares exclusively with Boomerocity followers his history in following The Pretenders and his relationship with them.

    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

     

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • Elvis Costello 1977

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    Elvis Costello leaning on a pole at the 100 Club in London, England. November 1977. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.comPlease contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: info@bobgruen.comImage #: R-146


    Two years ago, when Bob Gruen first started contributing a monthly featured photo of his work, he started with Elvis his iconic photo of Elvis Presley.

    For two years, Bob has shared what he called some of his "greatest hits" of his work over his storied career. This will be the last installment of Bob's contribution to Boomerocity as he would like to give it a rest for now.

    How poetic that he closes his run with Boomerocity with a photo of another Elvis: Elvis Costello.

    As has been the case throughout Bob's career, he was "there" before Costello rocketed to international fame. In Bob's signature style, he spotted the star power in Costello and became a fan of his from the git go.

    In the video on the right of this page, Bob shares exclusively with Boomerocity followers the story behind this month's featured photo that he shot.

    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

     

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

     

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • Gordon Lightfoot On His Career, New LP, & Documentary

    Posted July 2019

     

    Gordon Lightfoot 01croppedImagine being an artist whose career is about to span seven decades (yes, seven). Imagine, writing songs that are immediately recognizable by every generation who listens to music today. Imagine writing songs that have been recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Olivia Newton-John, John Mellencamp, Harry Belafonte, and countless others.

    The artist who personifies that and so much more is none other than Gordon Lightfoot. My earliest remembrances of the Canadian artist (and national treasure, in the opinion of The Band’s Robbie Robertson) are of hearing “If You Could Read My Mind” on the Phoenix radio stations when I was a radio listening eleven-year old. I became an instant fan. That following was further solidified when I watched Elvis Presley cover “Early Morning Rain” on his historic “Aloha From Hawaii” televised concert.

    When I heard that the Canadian legend was going to be performing in my neck of the woods (East Tennessee), I had to reach out for an interview and was thrilled that it was granted. I reached Gordon at his home in Toronto. After making small talk, I asked him how he felt about still performing and having performed over six decades.

    “Well, I think I better be prepared! I think I had better be prepared and I stay prepared. I have a group of people working with me and they’re all prepared. We’re ready to go. We go out seven times a year. We go on tour seven times a year. Each time we do about ten or eleven shows. So, if you add up the year, we’ve done about eighty shows and we play all over North America!”

    When I mentioned that he’d be stopping at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga (my neck of the woods), he said:

    “Yes! That’s indoors! We try to keep things indoors in the summer. We do festivals. But I’ve played Chattanooga before. I’ve played there a couple of times already, so we’ll get back and pick up the ol’ vibes!”

    I noted that Lightfoot had seen countless changes in the music business. I asked him what the best and worst changes in the music business are that he had seen over the years.

    “Ah! That’s a question I cannot answer. It’s evolved. Things change into different modes. Country music becomes more rockGordon Lightfoot 02 Reduced and roll. That’s the best example I can think of. The rest of it just keeps rolling along; keeps changing. Hip-Hop music is out there big time right now. People like to tap their toes and dance to that stuff. So, do I!”

    And his opinion of the music business today?

    “It’s ongoing. If your stuff is good enough, it’s going to make it on the radio somewhere. The cream’s gonna come to the top. Take Drake, for instance. Drake is building a house right across the street from me. It’s a big thing around Toronto here. He’s been building it for two and a half years. I’ve never met him. But I wanted to what made his record be number one on the record chart for five weeks! Number one on the record charts for five weeks! I said, ‘I wonder what’s so special about him?’ I went and bought one (his CD) and it was like a great rap record. The great vocals. The great arrangements. Great rap, you know?”

    Word has been circulating about a possible new album of new material by Gordon, so I asked him about it.

    “The record is from some newly discovered material which I had forgotten I owned. Honestly. At that point, I really didn’t have enough for another album but when I found this stuff accidentally one day while cleaning my office. It became apparent Gordon Lightfoot 04that I had enough material available. It was interesting, too, because it was done just before I had a serious illness. I was at full strength. I was playing really strong on my guitar. My vocals were really at a peak at that point. It was about the year 2000. The stuff was written over a three-year period there. I dug it out and it was so good that I kept it all. I was able to work on it and do some orchestrating. That stuff sounds great! That’s going to be my 21st album. All original material.”

    Canadian Television has been airing a documentary on Gordon Lightfoot. It’s not yet available in the States so I asked him about the documentary and how he felt about it.

    “I’ll tell you, my wife and I have watched it together now four times – my wife, Kim, and I. She’s so philosophical about it that I really can’t believe that. I really got to give her great credit. It covers my personal life to a certain degree. But, mostly, it covers the titles. I have about twenty-five titles in there. A lot of photographs. Everyone from Elvis Presley right on down, performing my songs; like Gordon Downing. He just passed away last year. I had one called Black Day In July which got banned way back when. He did a great version of it. They showed me working with Johnny Cash and people like that. It was really fun. It showed some of my “Today” stuff with my band the way it is now. Now, it’s a five-piece band. Everybody’s all ready to roll. They’re a great bunch of guys. I have fourteen people in my entourage!”

    When I asked Mr. Lightfoot what fans can expect from this tour, he shared:

    “Well, okay, they’re gonna have a two-set show with a twenty-minute intermission. Each set is about sixty-minutes long. If theyGordon Lightfoot 07reduced can sit through that, they’re welcome! Some of these people, my goodness, they’ll go on for three hours up there! I like to be polite with my audience and time is one thing that I take very serious. I don’t like to work too long. We give them the best of everything we’ve got. And, believe you me, they play it well. We’ve got a good little orchestra here! By the time we get to The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, they start to get really excited.”

    With such a stellar career and a still successful touring regimen, I wondered what Gordon would like to do, career wise, that he hasn’t yet done.

    “It always comes to mind that Springsteen did his Broadway show. It’s there on Netflix. That’s a great show. I might do something like that, but I don’t think I could. You gotta be Bruce Springsteen to get on Broadway like that. Ha! Ha! A whole year! He’s one of my biggest influences! I love that guy! I love his work! Him and Bob Dylan and quite a few other people, too. Leonard Cohen!”

    Since Elvis had a song or two of his, what were Lightfoot’s thoughts of the King?

    “He covered my song, Early Morning Rain, better than anybody and that takes in a whole bunch of people because, I tell ya, a LOT of people recorded that song. I like George Hamilton IV doing it best of all. But, Elvis? Yes, I almost jumped out of my car when I heard it on my car radio because that was the first time I knew that he even done the song, when I heard it one day on my car radio when I was driving down the highway. I didn’t even know about it. All of a sudden, there it was, and I said, ‘Oh, my goodness! He’s done it! I remember buying a guitar when I was fourteen when I first started hearing Elvis Presley and there he was. I almost jumped out of my car, but I was doing about 75 miles per hour at the time. Ha! Ha!”

    Did he meet him?

    “Came close. Could have. They made a way for me in Buffalo. I was supposed to meet him backstage at the hockey arena when he played there. I didn’t make it back in time. They left by the time I fought my way back there. We were going to meet, alright. I just couldn’t get back there in time. They had to go.”

    I don’t what possessed me to do it, but I the legendary Gordon Lightfoot the ongoing question among baby boomers: Beatles or the Stones?

    “I gotta take the Stones because they’re still going at it and they’re this weekend up hear in Toronto! They’re doing a great big show! They’re expecting about twenty-five thousand people up there. You gotta choose the Stones because they’re still doing it! What else can you say? They’re still a band! They’re still out there doing it; playing their music! It’s amazing! I’m amazed that I am still doing it!”

    And why does he still do it?

    Gordon Lightfoot 01“I’m over eighty. You’re not supposed to still be doing this when you’re over eighty, so they say; still out there playing music. They tell me some people still play until they’re ninety. A prime example is Willie Nelson. Tony Bennett. They’re still playing their music. They’re not getting any younger. I really love the work. I feel confident and I like my material. I stay ready to perform. I stay prepared. You always got to be in a state of readiness to go out seven times a year. Those little month-long stretches in between there, they go by pretty quick and you gotta go back out there again, doin’ it. Each one is like its own little trip. Of course, you gotta make arrangements, too, for the work permits, all the time doing that for fifty-six years. I could’ve moved down to the states if I wanted to. It was my songwriting that got me accepted by the industry down there, originally. My songwriting deal allowed them to petition on my behalf for the work permits.”

    We all hope that Gordon Lightfoot is around and performing for many more years to come. That said, I asked him a question that I’ve asked many of his peers: How do you want to be remembered and what do you hope your legacy is? His answer was short, sweet, and to the point.

    “My answer is always so simple, it’s so stupid: That I took care of business! That I took care of business. Yeah!”

    Please check out GordonLightfoot.com to stay current on his touring schedule and other related news.

  • John Lennon and the Mobster 1976

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    John Lennon testifying in federal court, NYC. 1976. © Bob Gruen/www.bobgruen.com Please contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: websitemail01@aol.com phone: 212-691-0391


    Just when you thought you saw and heard everything to do with the Beatles, we are treated to something – not necessarily new – but just now seeing the light of day in minute detail.

    What on earth could that be?

    It is the story of the court case, Big Seven Music Corp. (who was pretty much the notorious Marvin Levy that took place in 1976 in New York City. That story has now been chronicled in book form by John and Yoko Lennon’s lead attorney, Jay Bergen, in his new book, “Lennon, the Mobster & the Lawyer – The Untold Story.” Jay is good friends with our good friend, Bob Gruen.

    During that trial, Bob was in the gallery and, with his trusty camera under his coat, clandestinely took two photos during the trial.

    Boomerocity interviewed Mr. Bergen (here) and Bob Gruen thought it would be a good idea to photo one of those photos this month.

    In the video on the right of this page, Bob shares exclusively with Boomerocity followers the story behind this month's featured photo that he shot.

    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

    While you're at it, watch the interview with Jay Bergen and order his book!

     

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

     

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • Kinky Friedman Speaks His Mind

    Posted April, 2016

    Kinky Friedman. Maybe some of you have heard of him. I’d describe him as the Will Rogers of our day. He is hands down one of the most entertaining and colorful people I’ve had the privilege of interviewing. Ever.

    Friedman is one of the most gifted writers of any kind (music, literature, or punditry) I’ve ever read or met. Admittedly, a lot of what he has to say my singe the most sensitive of listeners. However, what he does say – and how he says it – is the most logically thought provoking words you’re ever likely to hear.

    Kinky FriedmanPhoto by Brian Kanof

    An accomplished singer, songwriter, and pundit, Kinky recently released his latest CD, The Loneliest Man I’ve Ever Met and I had the honor of chatting with Kinky by phone at his ranch about this album.

    Before we started the official interview, Kinky slid into describing the kind of tour that he was about to embark on shortly after our chat.

    “This is a tour on the Hank Williams level as far as driving is concerned. We’re performing 35 back-to-back shows with no nights off and that’s done deliberately to produce the affect that we’re running on pure adrenaline. It’s the idea that will make the show purer and rawer. We’ll see.”

    Friedman ran as an Independent for the governor’s office in Texas, securing about 12% of the vote. Because of that, I asked him what he makes of the presidential contenders in both parties and what does he make of the news of Boehner having resigned earlier that day.

    “None of it’s terrifically important. I feel that being a musician is such a higher calling than being a politician, anyway, having been both. I think Mark Twain had it right that in America, we have no criminal class except the U.S. Congress. I think he’s correct on that. I think they’re all pretty weak. I think that if musicians ran the place, we’d be in a lot better shape. I know it would, in fact. We wouldn’t get a hell of a lot done in the mornings but we’d work late . . . AND, we’d be honest!”

    I was caught completely off guard by his comments so I asked him how, exactly, that would work out and what would really get accomplished if musicians ran our government.

    “Say that I had won the governor’s race – a race that I won in every place but Texas in 2006 – let’s say I won and I appointed a number of musician friends to run various aspects of the state. I think you’d have decent people and, you know when you talk about occupations? Have you ever been in a room full of lawyers or real estate people or politicians – whatever – doctors, even, you don’t get that kind of decent feeling that you get when you have a group of musicians together.

    “And, they’re problem solvers. They’re creative and, by and large, they’re decent people. The politicians have been corrupt before they even got into politics. They were hall monitors or something in elementary school. They were starting early.

    “I’m telling ya, Randy, it’s a kind of bad person that is drawn to politics and that’s exactly what JFK did not want. He’s one of the guys like you and me that got into it to help the country. It’s a thankless waste of time in a lot of ways because the crowd always picks Barabbas. The crowd shouts, ‘Free Barabbas! Kill Jesus!’ They do it every time.

    “So, that’s where we’re at and it’s been that way ever since. You give them a chance to elect an Obama or a Rick Perry, and they will . . . or a Jerry Brown or an Arnold Schwarzenegger, whoever – that guy will slip right through. But the Nelson Mandela’s and the Lincoln’s and the Churchill’s – that’s usually a fluke when they’re elected. It’s a twist of fate that gets them there.”

    This begged the question as to whether or not Kinky saw a Churchill or Mandela in today’s political circles.

    “Hell, no! Do you? Tell me where he is! No, I don’t. I was talking the other day about being a struggling songwriter and how really a beautiful thing that is to be – although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, maybe. But it is. It’s a wonderful thing to be. And to care enough about stuff like watch a movie twenty years ago and watching Willie Nelson signing autographs in the rain; a long line of people there along side his bus, it’s raining and he’s standing out there in the rain and they’re standing in the rain and he’s staying right with them. That was nice to see – autographs in the rain. All we’re talking about is inspiration!”

    Since we were mixing entertainment and politics, I asked Friedman if he thought that the entertainment industry was in the role of the dance band on the Titanic.

    “That’s an interesting thought. Well, that’s very possible. Speaking of the Titanic, one of my campaign slogans was ‘The professionals gave us the Titanic and the amateurs gave us the ark,’ which is partly true. Yeah, we might be listening to the dance band. Ha! Ha! It’s very possible. But I think we’re probably more resilient than that. I think that life is kind of like a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

    “I don’t know if you the story about Nelson Mandela listening to ‘Ride ‘Em Jewboy’ in his prison cell on Robben Island. There’s nothing as farfetched as that, I would think. I mean, when I first heard that, I really could not believe it. If you had told me that he had listened to Bob Dylan there. That they smuggled in a tape, well, that’s not even a story, okay? But the idea that he did get tapes smuggled in and one of them was my first record, ‘Sold American,’ which he had not ordered specifically. It was just whatever they could give him, you know? And, on that record, the song that he played every night late, late, before he went to bed was ‘Ride ‘Em Jewboy’ and this is from the guy in the next prison cell who was his right hand man who they put right next to Mandela in the next cell. That is amazing. That almost makes it all worthwhile. It’s remarkable.

    “The question was posed to me would I’d rather be a guy making millions playing in stadiums all over the country or would I rather know that a song I’d written was listened to by Nelson Mandela in his prison cell. The guy who asked me that said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you my choice, Kinky. I’d rather be you.’ Of course, I’m older than that guy. I gotta think about my goals as a young man which were to be fat, famous, financially fixed, and a faggot by fifty. Some of them I’ve achieved.”

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been 39 years since his last album, “Lasso From El Paso”. I asked Kinky what so long to come out with a new studio album.

    “Probably because life gets in the way. That pure place, Nashville, of the 60’s and 70’s, I was born a little too late on that one – to hang around Willie and the guys. But it was still a really cool place. Also, politics keeps intruding. It’s an addiction. Recently, Jamey Johnson, the singer, came up to me and suggested that we run on a ticket. I would run for governor of Texas and he would run for Lieutenant Governor and it would be the Kinky Johnson ticket.”

    I refrained from laughing because I didn’t know if he was joking. He obviously was.

    Continuing on . . .

    “Life does get in the way. The animal rescue takes time. I suffer from the curse of being multi-talented. Writing books – more than thirty, now, that I’ve written. That takes time. It’s really been thirty-two years since I recorded and I didn’t see it going anywhere. This record has surprised me because I wasn’t expecting all that much. I don’t know the answer to that. If I saw that people were actually hearing stuff.

    “There’s more buzz on this record than any record I’ve ever done except the very first one. This one sounds better. I attribute that – or I blame. Whatever goes wrong, I blame Brian Molnar – the producer who’s from New Jersey. So, he brings down this New Jersey kid named Joe Cirotti – who decimated my liquor cabinet. The kid – of course, a 47-year-old man could be a kid to me – but this kid did great! He really did some beautiful guitar work which is fortunate because that’s almost the only instrument on the record, it’s that sparse. What is added to it, then, is the harmonica genius of Mickey Raphael – Willie’s harp player. The Little Jewford played keyboards on ‘A Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis’ and ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square’ – two songs with long titles.

    “Jewford is a Jew and he drives a Ford. But other than them – there’s a little bit of stand-up bass put on the record and that’s about it. Even the Willie cut was very sparse. All of it was kind of spontaneous – the Frank Sinatra method. If you don’t get it on one take, we’ll try two and after that, **** ‘em and feed ‘em Fruit Loops, you know? After that, to hell with it.

    “We have a really good cut, actually, that we didn’t put on this, which is Mickey Newberry’s ‘San Francisco Mabel Joy’. That is a killer cut but, you know, enough’s enough. The album borders on the melancholy, perhaps. I think melancholy is very important. It’s a linkage between classical music and really great country music. I mean, anybody wants to be an artist better than others.

    “Step one is to be miserable. Not unhappy or you’re not going to create anything. That’s pretty sure. You look at the guys now and go, ‘Well, how come Bob Dylan or Kristofferson or Willie is not writing at the level that they used to write at? How come we’re not getting ‘Hello Walls’ or ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ or ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ out of those guys?’ I do think it’s an interesting question and I would say that, probably, enough success and fame will distance you from your art. That’s for sure. So you can show up. You still do shows. The shows can be inspiring and great. I don’t mean to take away from these guys because if you want to get inspired, Randy, you and I could go around and see bands all day and we wouldn’t. We’d see a lot of derivative bands with really good musicians, perhaps. So, the guy sounds like Stevie Ray Vaughan. So the guy sounds like Roger Miller. That’s not what we’re looking for, here. I mean, we’re looking for an original.

    “Maybe the gene pool is just dried up of talent. I don’t know. There’s a hell of a lot of good musicians and their hearts are in the right place. They want to be Townes Van Zandt when they grow up. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, for some reason, where Willie says all the dreams go down in Nashville – the kid with a pickup truck and guitars and a suitcase full of song lyrics. That’s where he goes. But, unfortunately, when he gets there, he sees that the guys making records and making all the money and all the success is going to guys their religion is click tracks and songs written by committee of four and five people. It sounds like background music for frat parties. Other than that, it’s fine.

    “I kinda took a page from ‘Red Headed Stranger’. This is real sparse. It’s stripped down to the soul. On many of the cuts - there’s no drums on anything. There’s no bass on anything. Some of it’s out of sync – out of rhythm. That is a deliberate effect.

    “On ‘Bloody Mary Morning,’ we want that to sound like it’s done in a West Texas bar room and that it’s spontaneous. We want that to come off. Now, listening to it, it’s close plus we’ve got a great couple of passages by the jazz cowboy, Willie Nelson, on Trigger (Nelson’s fabled, beat up acoustic guitar). Trigger rides again on this. That song, Willie told me, that Glen Campbell gave Willie twenty-five thousand dollars - back in the old days when it was a hell of a lot of money – so he would publish all of Willie’s songs for that year. The problem was that year Willie only wrote one song and Glen was not happy about that. The song was ‘Bloody Mary Morning’ which did not knock Glen’s **** to his watch pocket but it’s always been right up there with one of my favorite Willie songs AND it’s kind of a leg opener for the record.

    “I had a girlfriend years ago that used to refer to Jagermeister as a great leg opener. Now this (Bloody Mary Morning) is a leg opener. It gets you into the record. It’s pretty good standing alone, actually, ‘cause, I guess, it’s pretty raw. That idea of Willie’s about never taking a night off when you’re out there – that’s very interesting. That’s what we’re trying to do. I’ve done it for as many as sixteen shows in Europe before. It makes you really raw and pure – especially if you’re doing something solo like that. You start hearing ‘Jesus’ and ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and ‘Richard Pryor’ calling you. Hank Williams. It’s like Hank Williams opening for Mozart. It really elevates the experience and you operate on the Hank Williams level because you get out of Dodge every night that way. I’m a kind of guy that likes to – I’m prepared to be a Wal-Mart greeter if my career goes south.”

    When I commented that I would really like to see him as a greeter at Wal-Mart, Kinky didn’t miss a beat in responding.

    “Well, I like people! I think it’s a spiritual thing. I think Wal-Mart greeters are imitations of Jesus. They’re certainly closer to Jesus than politicians are. I mean, politicians say all the right words but all the Wal-Mart greeter says is, ‘How can I help you?’ and usually with a friendly smile.”

    Then, circling back to the CD and supporting tour, Friedman concluded:

    “I’m kinda jazzed about this. It’s hard to get excited when you’re seventy years old and I can’t get my head around the idea that I’m seventy. Of course, I do read at the seventy-two-year-old level. We will see how this all transpires.”

    Then, out of the blue, he adds:

    “I wish that I could still be a struggling songwriter. I think that’s one of the highest callings – being a legitimate, struggling songwriter. I guess they’re there but Nashville has seemed to me to be very a very corporate place now. That’s why the song, ‘Tompall Glaser’ – he epitomizes the way it used to be. You know, Tompall – as well as singing backup for Marty Robbins on ‘El Paso’ with his brothers – did not have to be an outlaw. He didn’t have to fall in with Willie and Waylon ‘cause he was already King of the Hill with the establishment. But he did. That meant opening up his studio at all hours of the night because of crazy people. All kinds of things. I think he burned a lot of bridges with that. He’s kind of an unsung hero in that regards because Willie and Waylon had nothing to lose at that point.”

    We had long since left his aforementioned “leg opener” remark so I had forgotten that Kinky had already answered my unasked question regarding which of the songs would he use as a calling card to people to entice them to want to buy “The Loneliest Man I Ever Met.” I led into the question by acknowledging that he had a few covers on the disc. He interrupted me by saying,

    “We prefer to call them interpretations! Well, I mean, if Tony Bennett records ‘Girl From The North Country’, that would be a cover. With me, I never really had a recording style – not recording in thirty-two years. I think ‘Girl From The North Country’ would be halfway between Bob Dylan and Kinky Friedman. That’s where it is. So, it’s not quite ‘cover’, although, yes, you are correct. Some of them are important or significant like Warren Zevon’s ‘My **** ****ed Up’ or ‘My bleeps bleeped up’. Ha! Ha! A song written by a guy dying of cancer but a bigger song than that because it aptly describes the world today. Really a good description of where we’re at. It’s kind of a visionary song. In a Zen way, the doctor is Jesus Christ.”

    Then, answering my “calling card” question, he adds:

    “I would personally point them to ‘Pickin’ Time’. Johnny Cash’s song that almost nobody appears to know. Are you familiar with that one, Randy? I tell you, I’ve talked to Johnny Cash fans and they’ve never heard it! It is a song – again, it’s kinda like Warren Zevon’s song – those songs are very different. It’s not about a guy looking forward to hauling his cotton into town. It’s more than about pickin’ cotton. We all have a pickin’ time, you know? We damn sure better take advantage of it when pickin’ time comes.

    “Then, again, ‘Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis’ is just a beauty. It’s interesting. That song has a real linkage to country music in that the whole song is a lie. The entire song is a fabrication just like you or I would say our career was not doing well. You ask a songwriter in Nashville, ‘How are things going for you?’ and they’ll say, ‘Great! We’ve got five new songs that they’re gonna record now’ and it’s all bull****. It’s all puttin’ up a front, you know? And we all do that – not as transparently as the hooker in Minneapolis – or a elaborately – but we all do that. Only the last lines of the song are true. ‘I need to borrow money to pay this lawyer. And, Kinky, hey, I’ll be eligible for parole come Valentine’s Day.’ I think it’s Tom Waits’ best song. And ‘Bloody Mary Morning’ is one of Willie’s.

    “As sure as I’m telling you right now, Randy, I go around Texas here, talking to people in their thirties and they’re not sure if they’ve ever heard ‘Bloody Mary Morning.’ They don’t know who wrote it. The people don’t ******* know this.

    “So, yeah, this record is personal. It’s not written to educate anybody. It’s written for a silent witness. That’s who it’s written for – who is either a dead sweetheart or a lost cat – both of which I have in my life. Yeah, and by the way, my animal rights group takes a lot of time.

    “If you’re just into one thing – like Willie is just into the music. Well, three areas: music, drugs, and golf. I find golf stuffifyingly dull and the only two good balls I’ve hit were when I stepped on the garden rake. And, pot, I only smoke it when I’m with Willie. It’s a form of Texas etiquette and I sure smoked it on Bloody Mary Morning because, I tell ya, I can’t believe that he could even hold his guitar on that. I’m tellin’ ya, the song sounded to me like it was an hour and a half long. I started tellin’ him, ‘Willie, this is going on too long.’ It’s under three minutes. It REALLY throws my timing off. But he’s just pickin’ away there. That one was two takes.”

    Kinky then proceeded to tell me the back story about how he got Willie involved on “Bloody Mary Morning.”

    “Well, I did kind of a dirge like version of ‘Bloody Mary Morning’, which I really liked but it’s really slow. It’s real slow. You hear some lyrics that most people haven’t heard because nobody’s listening because he sings it so damn fast. But there’s some really nice lyrics in there.

    “So, anyway, Willie didn’t like that take. He thought it was too slow. I was just doing it without Willie there. I played it for Willie and he didn’t like it. His people said, ‘Willie wants to do something you’ll both be proud of.’ I talked to him and he said, ‘Let’s do something more engaging. More upbeat.’ So, that’s what we did.

    “Again, it was a Frank Sinatra style – not using any particular charts or anything like that. What the record mostly is, I think, is intimate. We brought down a big microphone. It was that easy. Everybody can use a big microphone and sound great. It’s just an old fashion microphone. It was done in a little house here on the ranch. Joe on guitar and Mickey on harp. I couldn’t believe the sound! How good the sound is. On the other hand, it is stripped down to the soul so I don’t know if radio is going to play it. The problem is that it’s a Miley Cyrus world. That’s the problem and how you break through that white noise is the question.

    “So, not only do we shout out, ‘Free Barabbas! Free Jesus!’ but we’re all complicit in burying Mozart in a pauper’s grave. So, I don’t really know what we can do except to strive to be a struggling songwriter. I’m doing it with this tour. This is a privilege to me to be able to be out there and play to people who almost all of them are younger than the songs. In many of these places, I’ll be the oldest guy in the place. A lot of young people could not do thirty-five consecutive shows when you’re driving five hours, six hours, seven hours to the gig and playing. Then, getting out of Dodge afterwards after you meet everybody and all of that.

    “People say really interesting things. Switzerland and Austria were terrific. I’m the new David Hasselhoff there. The thinking man’s David Hasselhoff. The audiences are very young there but they know all the songs. They’ve read the books. You know, forty years after these songs have been written – some cases more than that – that’s remarkable to be able to do this. It’s a privilege to be able to go out and do this.

    “A teenager came up to me after a show on the last tour and he said, ‘Kinky, it’s so nice to see somebody enjoying his life.’ The kid didn’t know that I was in a tailspin of black despair at the time but he thought I was enjoying my life. Maybe I was. A little Jewish lady at the Jewish Community Center in Denver last year – she must’ve been four foot something – she was in her eighties or nineties – she toddled up to me and said, ‘Kinky, it’s so nice to have you on the planet.’ Then there was a guy in Texas that came up to me outside of Houston. This was not so long ago and I ended the show with, ‘They Don’t Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore.’ He said, ‘Why did your people kill our lord?’ and I said, ‘Because the ************ had it comin’.’

    “That’s been something I’ve been telling on stage. I never thought I would because I thought people are not going to like this. It’s a little too much but the Christians absolutely love it. They’re, like, spitting up on themselves.”

    With so much discussed about Nashville and the state of music today – especially country music, I asked Kinky what he would do to fix the music business (if it was fixable) if he was made Music Czar.

    “I think ***** ****** up. It’s unfixable and I think the problem is a combination of political correctness and cultural A.D.D.

    “Again, I think you could put Hank Williams in with Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor – they’d all be homeless people today. They would be homeless people if they were around. Hank would be just like Johnny Cash. He would not be able to get a record deal in Nashville, which is not surprising.

    “I don’t know if there’s been a good, standalone song that’s been written in decades there. If it has, it hasn’t emerged. There’s nothing against Toby Keith or Garth Brooks – I think Garth is the anti-Hank. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with those guys, especially. It’s just that when you’re writing in a corporate whore house with four other guys and you know that Garth is going to put his name on it or whoever wrote a little piece of it – all you can say is that this guy sounds like a young Billy Joe Shaver. You could say that’s a compliment. But, you don’t find anybody – except for geezers – that truly inspire and seem original. I guess that’s what I’m saying.

    “I’m saying you’ve gotta see a geezer! You gotta see Merle Haggard or Kris or Willie or Bob Dylan or Billy Joe Shaver. I guess there’s a few more but we’ve lost a lot of them. Levon Helm used to have that affect on me. I would watch Levon Helm play drums and sing and you’d come away saying, ‘**** that was rock and roll!’ That was a really good form of it.

    “Again, if inspiration is the source, we’re not getting it from the political landscape. I mean, if you look at the continent of Africa, do you see a bunch of Nelson Mandela’s popping up into leadership positions? Hell no! You see a bunch of corrupt, black leaders emulating what the white colonialists did. That’s all you see. Of course, in America, it’s not even worth mentioning. Look at all the candidates. Every damn one of them. We should have term limits for every elected official. I suggest two terms: one in office and one in prison. That would move the ball forward a little bit.

    “As music czar, how to get something by a handful of geezers to inspire people in the field of music. How do we do it? Willie is much more optimistic about Nashville than I am. Willie says that this is where people with there dreams go and I’m telling him that it’s like Haight-Ashbury. It’s over and when it’s over, it’s over. It would be stupid for me and Willie to go out on the sidewalk of the East Village in New York and play right now. Forty or fifty years ago, it would be cool.”

    When I asked if the old Nashville is the new Austin, Friedman said:

    “I call Austin ‘Dallas with guitars.’ It’s become very corporate. They never met a condominium they didn’t like. Randy, I’m serious. They have these meters they go around with – decibel meters – and they check the clubs for how loud the music is. That’s the reason why the people bought the condos in the first place, is the live music scene – excitement around that. Now, they’re shutting them down. Of course, they’re only shutting down the mom and pop places.

    “Anyway, I don’t know what the answer is. I mean, you do have to be miserable and frustrated to write in the first place. Maybe we’ve all changed, Randy? Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe this cultural A.D.D. has set in and we cannot listen to anything beyond not even a whole song. I really don’t know what the answer is except, shoot, the last time that I was in Nashville, they these three stories of bad music playing. It all sounded very similar. It sounded like this frat party music.

    “I’m not saying that country music has to remain heartbreak/lonesome whatever but there is that linkage. I’m tellin’ ya, I do think there’s that linkage between country and classical.

    As our call wrapped up, I asked Kinky Friedman how he wished to be remembered and what he hoped his legacy would be.

    “Well, I don’t know about that. I’ve said that, when I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes thrown in Rick Perry’s hair. Now, Rick’s gotten out of the race so that one doesn’t really work, anymore, really.

    “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about what I want to remembered as. Any life that you look at too closely is a failure – particularly your own. If you look at people that you think were great men like Churchill and John Lennon, for instance, both were convinced that they were failures, you know, with good reason. I mean, Churchill won the war and they just pulled the rug out from under him. John Lennon was convinced that Paul McCartney was the genius of the Beatles. Paul did write a couple of great songs but John was the genius of the band.

    “I saw Ringo in Austin at a concert that he did there. I had a chance to talk to him. I knew him from the Bob Dylan tour and all of that. He played the voice of Jesus on my song, ‘Men’s Room L.A.’ – which I did not write. It was written by Buck Fowler. Anyway, I asked Ringo who his favorite Beatle was and he said John. I said, ‘Me, too, present company excluded, of course.’

    “But, now, the reason why he was the spiritual heavy weight was he inspired. Without him I doubt that they would’ve been an inspirational band. I mean, he reached people! That’s kinda what we’ve lost. Now we’ve got a president that is the Forrest Gump of all presidents. You would think that at least he could inspire but he can’t. I mean, he just can’t!

    “I don’t know. I guess on my tombstone, how about, ‘I aspire to inspire before I expire.’”

  • Kiss Dressed To Kill 1974

     

    About Bob Gruen

    Baby boomers have seen and admired the work of Bob Gruen ever since his initial work with Ike and Tina Turner back in 1970. Since that time, Bob has not only photographed some of the most iconic people in rock music, many of his photos have become iconic, as well.

    Bob has been a friend to Boomerocity since 2010 when we first interviewed him (here). The interview was so well received that none other than his dear friend, Yoko Ono, posted it on her website (here). It only seems natural to feature some of his work here on Boomerocity. Whether the images are those you have seen countless times or ones that have rarely been seen by the public, Bob’s photos presented here on Boomerocity will bring back memories and smiles.

    You can own your own authorized copy of these and other images by visiting BobGruen.com.

    You can also read our other interviews with Bob here and here as well as read more about his accomplishments here.


    (L-R) Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of Kiss 'Dressed To Kill' album cover shoot at West 23rd Street and 8th Avenue in NYC. October 26, 1974. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.comPlease contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: info@bobgruen.comImage #: R-181


    Teens in the seventies were hit with some pretty mind blowing rock and roll acts. Our parents had Elvis whose shaking hips were all the scandalous rage. Then, our older siblings as teens in the sixties had the Beatles and the Rolling Stones with their own controversies.

    The seventies had to outdo all of that . . . and it did.

    First, we had the outer-worldliness of David Bowie. Then the shock rock of Alice Cooper. On the heels of those ground-breaking acts came Kiss.

    With the band members' true identity hidden behind kabuki style make up that transformed them into a demon, two space aliens, and a cat, Kiss catapulted to fame. Their looks and music was only part of the band's appeal. Kiss had a stage show unlike anyone with pyrotechnics, fire-breathing, and blood-spitting such the world has never seen. All of that and more allowed the band to ride a perpetual wave of publicity, controversy, and notoriety that has last to this very day.

    While Kiss's music has often been panned by music critics over the years, there is no denying that the band has made their indelible mark of the soundtrack of baby boomers during their youth.

    Case in point: Kiss's anthem, "Rock and Roll All Nite" from the band's third album, Dressed To Kill. The album's iconic cover photo was shot by our dear friend and monthly contributor, Bob Gruen.

    dressedtokillcoverClick Above To Order Your Copy of the Remastered CD

    Not surprisingly, Bob was right there when Kiss began to make the New York City music scene. He's traveled with them and shot lots of photos of them. But it's this "Dressed To Kill" photo that so clearly shows the contrast, mystique, and fun that makes Kiss one of the bands for the ages.

    In the video on the right of this page, Bob shares exclusively with Boomerocity followers the story behind this month's featured photo that he shot.

     

    Watch it. Tell your friends about it. After watching it, please consider ordering your own official copy of this historic photo directly from Bob by clicking here.

     

    Click On The Video Below To Listen To Bob's Story Behind This Iconic Photo!  

     

    Click On The Lower Right Corner To Enlarge This Video

    You Are At The Right Place With Bob Gruen & Boomerocity!

    rightplacerighttimecoverThe foundation of most successful people is being at the right place at the right time. That is certainly the case with our dear friend and renowned rock photographer, Bob Gruen. For over fifty years he has photographically documented the music scene with photographs that have become as iconic as the legendary artists in them.

    Over the years, Bob has shared his photographs in a variety of books and Boomerocity is proud to have most of them in its own library. Naturally, with word of yet another amazing book being released by Gruen, we are stoked!

    The book is entitled, "Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer" (Abrams Press; October 20, 2020). It is Bob’s “first memoir of his winding, adventure-filled journey.” In it he shares with us such stories as his intimate visits to John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City; having backstage access with KISS; being there in the early days with Blondie’s Debbie Harry; being on the bus with the during the ill-fated US tour of the Sex Pistols; being on the road with Ike and Tina Turner; inside CBGB and many other amazing stories.

    Of course, no book by Bob Gruen would be complete without him sharing some of his amazing photographs. He does exactly that with some iconic and never-before-published images that offer a unique peek into the last five decades of the evolution of American music culture.

    Don’t just take our word for it. Check out what some of Bob’s friends have to say about this book:

    “Bob has seen it all, lived the life, and he doesn’t hold back in this book.” —Billie Joe Armstrong

    “Bob catches those explosive, signature moments that every photographer hopes to get.” —Debbie Harry

    “Bob Gruen has been a witness to many of the greatest moments in rock and roll’s history.” —Jakob Dylan

    “Bob is the guy behind the camera who you actually like! He brings out your best cool.” —Iggy Pop

    You can order your copy by clicking on the photo of the book at the top. With the holidays just right around the corner, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer is the perfect gift for that music nut or photography buff on your gift list so go ahead and order extra copies.

     

     

     

     

     

     Click Below To Order

    SeeHearYoko

      Click Below To Order

    RockSeenCover

     

  • The Traveling Wilburys Collection

    travelingwilburyscollectioncoverThe Traveling Wilburys Collection
    The Traveling Wilburys
    Label: Concord Bicycle Music
    Release Date: June 3, 2016

    Concord Bicycle Music announced recently that it has entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with The Traveling Wilburys to represent the iconic band's entire catalog, including physical and digital reissues.

    It’s about flippin’ time that somebody finally stepped up to the plate and did the deed. Fans have been waiting!

    For the first time ever, the super group’s music is available on streaming services along with the re-launch of the hugely successful Traveling Wilburys Collection box set as a limited-edition, uniquely numbered 2-CD 1-DVD box set, standard 2-CD 1-DVD package, deluxe 180-gram vinyl box and for the first time as high-resolution downloads. The release includes albums (Vol. 1 and Vol. 3), bonus tracks and a DVD featuring footage of the band from the first chord to the final mix.

    How cool is that?

    When originally released in 2007, The Traveling Wilburys Collection debuted at #1 in the U.K. and six other countries and entered the U.S. charts at #9, making it the highest chart debut of a box set at the time, and has since been certified Gold.

    The previously released albums Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 feature music's greatest singer-songwriters — George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan — as the legendary band the Traveling Wilburys.

    The Wilburys formed in 1988 after Dylan, Harrison, Petty, Lynne and Orbison assembled at Dylan's Malibu, California studio to record a B-side for the Harrison single "This Is Love." The resulting song, "Handle With Care," was instead released under the Wilburys name, with the artists posing as a band of brothers. George later said, "I liked the song and the way that it turned out with all these people on it so much that I just carried it around in my pocket for ages thinking, 'Well what can I do with this thing?' And the only thing to do I could think of was do another nine. Make an album." The original album release, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, achieved great success; after hitting No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, the certified double Platinum album earned a GRAMMY® for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

    Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, the group's second album, was released in 1990 and dedicated to Lefty (Roy Orbison) Wilbury, who passed away in late 1988 before recording could be completed. "She's My Baby" and "Wilbury Twist" became radio hits as the album reached #11 in the U.S. and was certified Platinum.

    Scott Pascucci, CEO Concord Bicycle Music and Sig Sigworth, SVP Catalog Concord Bicycle Music said in a joint statement, "The global success of the Traveling Wilburys reissues in 2007 was one of our career highlights. So, we are very proud to bring the Wilburys' catalog to Concord Bicycle Music and work with these incredible songs and musicians a second time."

    Rock fans will most definitely want to add this collection to their, well, collection.