Thursday, March 21, 2019

Seeking Michael Stanley: The Timothy Giles Interview



The Michael Stanley Band was a huge phenomenon in Cleveland and Northeast, Ohio back in the seventies and eighties. They still hold attendance records at Blossom Music Center and the long gone Richfield Coliseum. Although they were on major record labels such as Epic, Arista and EMI and had a couple singles break the top forty ( "He Can't Love You" #33 1980 and "My Town #39 1983) and performed on Solid Gold and American Bandstand, they never broke out nationally. In fact outside of the Cleveland area, they were virtually unknown.

I was in high school in Cleveland at the height of their popularity and I must confess, I was not a fan. At the time, I was a budding music snob and probably thought I was too cool for MSB's Midwestern pop-rock. I was mistaken. I may have been a lot of things back then but cool was not one of them. Trust me, I have photos to prove it.

Regardless if you were a fan of not, in the early eighties, in Northeast, Ohio the Michael Stanley Band was everywhere. All over the radio, featured in newspapers and magazines, seemingly blasting from every boombox at every high school party I ever attended. My high school girlfriend was a huge MSB fan and I dutifully took her to a couple of Blossom shows and I remember attending a free concert in the parking lot of the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Although I was not thrilled about attending those shows, they were much more enjoyable than the Barry Manilow concert we went to. Wow, I must have been a really good boyfriend.

The Michael Stanley Band broke up in 1987 and I left the area not long after and completely forgot about the band.  I can honestly say I literally never heard an MSB song for probably twenty-five
years. I was a radio DJ for many years and every once in awhile I would get a request for “He Can’t Love  You” or “My Town” or maybe, “Lover” and I would immediately ask, ‘What part of Cleveland are you from?’ and the person would invariably answer, ‘How did you know I was from Cleveland?’

Four or five years ago, I ran across some Michael Stanley Band videos on YouTube and was completely knocked out. Once my high school nostalgia subsided, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the songs were. Really great eighties pop music. All these years later, I have finally become a Michael Stanley fan. I even like a lot of his "new" music with The Resonators. The prodigal son has returned to the fold.

Which brings us to Timothy Giles' book, "Seeking Stanley: The Elusive Search For The Michael Stanley Band". A great memoir on the author's thirty year obsession with MSB. Back in the eighties, Timothy Giles was having the complete opposite experience that I was having. Living in the Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia, he not only couldn't find another person who liked the band, he couldn't find anybody who had ever even heard of the band. The book chronicles one teenage fan's search for his hero in the age before the internet.

 Seeking Stanley is a fun read not only for Michael Stanley fans but for anyone who remembers what it was like to be a young person in that long ago time known as the eighties.

The book is available on Amazon and Timothy is generously donating royalties to charity. The initial royalties went to St. Christopher's Hospital For Children in Philadelphia, a reference to the MSB song, "Spanish Nights", and St. Jude's Children's Hospital will receive all future royalties.
 American Bandstand 1983

CASEY:   How did you first hear about the Michael Stanley Band?

TIMOTHY:  I grew up in southern New Jersey across the river from Philadelphia and my town got cable TV pretty early. In the early days of MTV, they were not playing a lot of well known bands and I happened to see the video for the song, “He Can’t Love You”.  I guess I was the original target audience using video to attract music buyers. As far as I know, they had little, if any, radio play in the  Philadelphia market since there were a plethora of local Philly bands that were going to be “the next big thing” at the time like Robert Hazzard, The Hooters, The A’s etc..,

CASEY: What was it about them that caught your attention?

TIMOTHY: As I mentioned in the book, I thought the band in the video were actually factory workers who played music on the side. I found the song to be very catchy and thought the video was pretty humorous. Again, I was like fourteen, so I didn’t get out much. Of course like anything, you can’t start a fire without a spark, so that was my first foray into a thirty year following of Michael Stanley.

CASEY:   You also tell a story about meeting the band before one of their shows.  What was that like?

 TIMOTHY: They played Slippery Rock University’s Spring Fling in April 1986 and it was the first time I was able to see them live and I decided I wanted to meet them. I was actually quite nervous, for some reason, but the band was very cordial and very unassuming. I used the intro about the Tribe playing that day and that got the conversation rolling. They could not have been nicer.

CASEY: You also mention you are not a fan of Jonah Koslen or MSB’s seventies music. Why?

TIMOTHY:  If you listen to the Epic and Arista years the band to me did not really have a pop or rock sound.  I don’t think I have
listened to “Ladies Choice”, “You Break It, You Bought It” or “Cabin Fever” more than once.  Nothing there really grabbed me. I feel on the album “Greatest Hints”, where Kevin Raleigh first joined the band, you can hear them gravitate to a more pop music sound that definitely shows up in their next album “Heartland”.

CASEY:  What are your top five Michael Stanley songs?

TIMOTHY:  “All I Ever Wanted” from the “Heartland” album. “Spanish Nights” from “MSB”, far and away my favorite album.  “In The Heartland” from “North Coast”, the title track from”Inside Moves” and “If You Love Me” also from “MSB”.  Ironically, the song that got me hooked, “He Can’t  Love You”, would not even make the top fifteen.  Michael Stanley’s post MSB recordings have produced some quality songs also, “The Ground” is a great song.

CASEY:  Why do you think the band wasn’t able to breakout nationally?

TIMOTHY:  That is the question that has plagued mankind forty years.  I am sure everyone has an opinion but I feel personally the early eighties were over saturated with the working class sound of Springsteen, Seger, Mellencamp etc..I used to love the two guitar, bass, drum and maybe a horn player type bands and back then there were lots of them. I think the Del Lords should have been huge but they never broke out of the bar band mold either.

CASEY:  I have always had a theory that one of the reasons they didn’t break out was that the band was too anonymous looking.  Nobody really stands out on the album covers. Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen had bands but they were always the main focus in photos, videos, marketing etc. Do think if Michael Stanley had been more the focus they may have been more identifiable and possibly had more success?
Michael Stanley in the eighties

TIMOTHY:  Not a bad observation but since they had two lead singers and two songwriters, Koslen and Raleigh, focusing on just Stanley would probably not have encouraged the other two to write and sing.  Raleigh did write and sing the biggest hit of the band’s career.  If you are farmiliar with the documentary, “MSB Confidential” they discuss this and it seems no one could nail down why.  Maybe having a band name like Styx or REO would have been a better decision.

CASEY:  It seems that Michael has sort of turned his back on the MSB years. I’ve been told he doesn’t play many of his old songs in concert. Why do you think that is?

TIMOTHY:  I personally have not seen Michael Stanley and his band, The Resonators, due to timing or geography. They rarely play outside of Northeast, Ohio. But I do have quite a bit of audio that has been made available over the years and they do play quite a few MSB staples. They do not usually play the songs written and sung by Kevin Raleigh but they do play, “all the hits that you wanna hear”.
There’s a “Midwest Midnight” plug.

CASEY: Do you think they will ever do a reunion show?

TIMOTHY:  No.  They did some reunion shows back in the day. I think nineteen-ninety something was the last one.  Over the years, members of the band have shown up at Michael Stanley concerts but they have not done an MSB reunion since the nineties.
Michael Stanley Today

CASEY: What made you write the book?

TIMOTHY: It's a bucket list kind of thing. 'Who the hell is Michael Stanley?' is the question I have been asked the most.  Followed by,
'How did you hear about MSB?'. It has been in my wheelhouse for quite some time and I finally decided to just go for it.

Thanks to Timothy for writing the book and taking time to do the interview.  You can e-mail Timothy at, timothyagiles@hotmail.com

Although the Michael Stanley Band broke up in 1987, Michael has continued releasing albums and performing live both solo and with his band The Resonators. He has also been a radio personality on WNCX -FM in Cleveland for many years. Most, if not all, of his recordings can be found on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify and he still does shows around Northeast, Ohio. For more information, check out his website http://michaelstanley.com

Casey's Website


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Young Person's Guide To The Rock N Roll

                                
 Here is my latest album, “A Young Person's Guide To The Rock N Roll". You can listen to it for free HERE               

Rock N Roll Casey:  Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Saxophones, Drums

All songs written by Rock N Roll Casey

Recorded, overdubbed & mixed at Casey’s Musical Dustbin
Shangri-La, Ohio

Available exclusively via the Iaintgotno Record Label

Copyright 2019 by Casey M. Redmond

You can listen to the album for free HERE

Casey’s Website



Friday, March 1, 2019

The Surfin’ Lungs: Chris Pearce Interview

The Surfin’ Lungs are a vocal and instrumental surf band out of Bracknell, Berkshire England. They have been together since 1981. They have been inspired by the music of  The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean but they play it with the energy and punch of the Ramones.
The Lungs have released a half dozen or so albums chock full of great harmonies and great tunes about summer, the beach, cars and girls.

I had a chance to interview Chris Pearce, the band’s lead vocalist and guitar player,  You can listen to the interview HERE

Surfin’ Lungs Website

Casey’s Website

Friday, February 8, 2019

Casey’s Musical Dustbin: Matt Mason Of The Concussions Interview



The Concussions are a Surf/Instro band out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 2002, they have released three albums on Eddie Angel's Double Crown Records and one independently.  The band consists of Dick Chiclet on guitar, Matt Mason on bass, Claude Nine on guitar and Billy Vitts on drums.

In addition, to playing great original surf tunes they also play live in full skeleton outfits. I had a chance to interview bassist Matt Mason on my podcast, Casey's Musical Dustbin, and to play some songs off of their latest release, Newaygo Sound Machine. Take a listen to the show HERE.

The Concussions Facebook Page

Casey’s Facebook Page

Friday, January 11, 2019

Whamo-o! Playlist

Casey’s Musical Dustbin:
Wham-o!: A Collection Of Rockabilly, Garage Rock & Blues
Listen to the show HERE

Playlist

Something Else. (Eddie Cochrane)

Ti Na Ni Na Nu. (Slim Harpo)
David Watts. (Kinks)
Top Of The World. (Shonen Knife)
Little Queenie (Chuck Berry)
Two Bugs & A Roach. (Earl Hooker)

Rock N Roll Neat. (Hi-Risers)
Love Me Do. (Beatles)
Pump City. (Concussions)
Mama, Talk Yo Your Daughter. (JB Lenoir)
Jolie’s Nightmare (Chuck E.Weiss)

Tipitina. (Professor Longhair)
You Call It Jogging. (Mose Allison)
Satisfaction Guaranteed (Chesterfield Kings)
Nobody But Me. (Contours)

Lil Clanton. (Frank Zappa)

Listen to the show HERE

Casey’s Website







Thursday, January 3, 2019

Baseball A Go Go: 1965 New York Mets

The Mets finished the season 50-112 for a .309 winning percentage.  Finishing in 10th place (last) in the National League, 60 games behind the first place Dodgers.

Their 112 losses are the sixth most losses in a season in MLB history.  They share the honor with the 1952 Pittsburg Pirates.

They had one 11 game losing streak, two 10 game losing streaks and an 8.

The Mets longest winning streak was four games from May 31st --June 4th taking two from the Cubs and two from the Pirates.

In late August, they took 3 of four from the league leading and eventual pennant winning Los Angeles Dodgers.

In '65, the Mets didn't win a series the entire season and were 4-14 against the Houston Astros. The Strohs lost 97 games.

It was Casey Stengel's last season as an MLB manager.  On July 25th at a team party at Toots Shor's, Stengel fell and broke his hip.  He retired five days later.  His record with the Mets was 170-404.  He was replaced by Wes Westrum.

Greg Goossen, a rookie catcher/first baseman, came up for a cup of coffee that summer.  He batted 32 times and hit a respectable .290.  Stengel was unimpressed.  "This is Greg Goossen" he said one day to a group of reporters. "He is 20 years old and in 10 years he has a chance to be 30." He played a few seasons with the Mets and went on to play for the Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers and the Washington Senators.  After baseball,  Goossen worked as a private detective, a boxing trainer and an actor. Some of his roles included "Officer #1" in The Heist, " Drunk #2" in The Replacements and a Vietnam veteran in The Firm.  He also was a stand-in for Gene Hackman in many films.

Three future hall of famers were on the roster that season.  In addition to Stengel, Yogi Berra and Warren Spahn also were members of the Mets. Both were player/coaches.  Berra only played in 4 games that season and the 44 year old Spahn went 4-12 and was released in July.

Jack Fisher and Al Jackson lost 24 and 20 games respectively.

Jackson lost 73 games in four seasons for the Mets. In 1966, he was traded to the Cardinals for Ken Boyer.  He returned to the Mets for one more season in 1968.

Future stars Tug Mcgraw, Ron Swoboda and Bud Harrelson were all rookies in 1965.   Swoboda hit 19 home runs, the most by a Mets rookie until Daryl Strawberry hit 26 in 1983.  All three would go on to play key roles on the 1969 miracle Mets team.

The Mets drew 1,768,389 fans. Third best in the Major Leagues.

rnrcasey@gmail.com




Thursday, December 20, 2018

Rock N Roll Christmas Party Playlist

Tired of the same old Christmas songs? Are you "Jingle Bell Rocked" to death? "Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’d" out? Then check out Casey’s Musical Dustbin’s Rock N Roll Christmas Party Podcast featuring the hippest Yuletide tunes you will ever hear.  Take a listen HERE


PLAYLIST 


BACK DOOR SANTA (CLARENCE CARTER) Great funky Christmas tune from the guy who would become infamous a few years later for his risque hit “Strokin’”. Santa’s been a bad boy.


MERRY CHRISTMAS (I DON'T WANT TO FIGHT (RAMONES) Joey and company give Phil Spector a run for his money on this one. Check out the Uber cheesy eighties video on YouTube.What says Christmas more than leather jackets and sunglasses?


THE MAN IN THE SANTA SUIT (FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE) One of my all-time favorite Christmas tunes from the band that brought you the 2003 top ten hit “Stacey’s Mom”. Great jangly guitar pop told from the view of a department store Santa.


SLEIGH RIDE (VENTURES) C’mon, it’s the Ventures. What’s not to like?


SANTA LOOKED A LOT LIKE DADDY (BUCK OWENS) Buck and the Buckaroos at their mid-sixties best.


BE BOP SANTA CLAUS (BABS GONZALES) Hipster version of The Night Before Christmas 


ROCK N ROLL SANTA CLAUS (LITTLE JOEY FARR) Great rockabilly from a kid whose sounds about twelve. No relation to the cross dressing actor in MASH


MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY (CHARLES BROWN) Turn out the lights, turn on the tree and snuggle on the couch with your honey. Cool late night Christmas blues. Otis Redding would rearrange this into an upbeat funky number a few years later. Bruce Springsteen had a Christmas hit with Otis’s version in the seventies. I prefer the original. Incidentally, Charles Brown also wrote “Please Come Home For Christmas”. You hear the Eagles’ version every thirty seconds during the holidays. Once again, the original is better.


SANTA ON THE ROOF (REVEREND HORTON HEAT) As always, the good Reverend brings us great music, funny lyrics and wicked guitar work.


SANTA CLAUS & HIS OLD LADY (CHEECH & CHONG) Politically incorrect on so many levels but so much fun


FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (LOS STRAITJACKETS) Christmas music in Mexican wrestling masks. How fun is that?


SANTA CLAUS (SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON)  Weird blues tune from, perhaps, the greatest blues harpist of all.


HEY, SANTA CLAUS (MOONGLOWS) The Moonglows were a doo wop group out of Cleveland, Ohio. The were discovered by Alan Freed and were pretty big on the pop charts. In fact, they were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame in 2000. This is a fun r&b bouncer with great tenor saxophone.


I WANT A ROCK N ROLL GUITAR (JOHNNY PRESTON) The spoken word tale of a kid who wants a guitar for Christmas. Johnny Preston does his best Elvis impression. He would go on a few years later to have a hit with “Running Bear”


JINGLE BELLS (SINGING DOGS) What a bunch of talented canines. When I had a dog, I couldn’t even get him to roll over.


WHITE CHRISTMAS (VENTURES) Okay, okay, I know we already played the Ventures but c’mon, it’s the Ventures for crying out loud!


TRUCKIN' TREES FOR CHRISTMAS (RED SIMPSON) I have never been a huge country music fan, (I don’t get why they dress up like cowboys) but I always liked truck driving songs. Not that C.W MaCall Convoy country/disco stuff but the mid-sixties tunes by the likes of Dave Dudley, Del Reeves, Red Sovine, Dick Curless and yes, the greatest of them all, Red Simpson. He actually put out a whole album of this stuff called, “Truckers’ Christmas”. It’s worth a listen.


SANTA'S ROCKABILLY CHRISTMAS (SKIP THOMPSON) I wonder why there are so many rockabilly songs about Christmas? There’s almost as many rockabilly Christmas records as there are rockabilly records about flying saucers. Almost. This is one of the best.


LIGHTEN UP, IT'S CHRISTMAS (GEEZINSLAWS) Here is a seasonal favorite for anyone who has had the misfortune to enter a mall during the time of “peace and joy”.


WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE (ORIOLES) Great Holiday Doo Wop.


Merry Christmas. You can listen to the podcast HERE




Casey’s Website