Folks, as a lot of you may know, HLN has once again 'hit the hot 'n dusty', this time headed to such exotic parts as Scotland, England, Hong Kong and Japan. I thought I'd try my best to chronicle our goings on, and it's such a fast and furious two weeks I should have something to report daily.
To that end, here's what we refer to at airports as 'Camp Hulex', with many tribesmen & tribeswomen gathered for the upcoming migration to the UK. Here at the Newark, NJ terminal the local natives proved to be a particularly hostile bunch, so as with any tribe, we were on our toes. The 'safety in numbers' concept allows a tribal member to leave their personal belongings and family members at camp while hunting, foraging, and attending to other calls of nature around the terminal.
Pictured left to right: Greg Maltby, lighting director; Sandy Griffith, vocalist; Teri Taylor, assistant tour manager; 'Sideways' Rick Fantl, production manager; Ralph Arista, guitar tech (this is the first time he's seen a camera); Jim 'Bugsy' Moran, house sound technician; Stef Burns, guitarist/hitchhiker; Bill Gibson, feigning sleep while guarding the flank, Sean Hopper, eagle-eye on the front door, and Lol Halsey, manager/tour manager/babysitter.
More tomorrow! JC
"TALES FROM THE TRAIL" WITH JOHNNY" 9/28/13
Tonight we have the honor of performing for one of golf's most prestigious tournaments, The Dunhill Cup at St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland. Pictured below is a horn chart I composed for a song we playing in tonight's show, "Feelin' Alright," which, as many of you may know, Huey sung in the movie "DUETS." The first person who can tell me who is making a guest appearance in tonight's show will win an autographed "I Hear Voices!" LP. (Here's a hint; he plays conga drums . . .)
Good Luck, this one's tough!
6/15/13 - Hello all, so sorry for the lapse in communication but I had a lot of balls in the air there for awhile . . . between promoting and keeping an eye on “Voices!” and putting the finishing touches on HLN’s ”SPORTS 30th” rerelease, I haven’t had a lot of wiggle room this year. They say busy is good, but there’s a limit to everything . . .
To that end, I’m still working on my a cappella rendition of “Voices!” and if I do say so myself, it’s-a-gonna-be way cool! The plan is to make a limited run of 200 CDs by hand at Morningside Studios, our little ‘artist’s enclave’ in San Anselmo, California. Between my production and my wife Christie’s artistic card-making expertise, we have a beautiful package in mind. Before we offer the CD on this site, we’ll be sending out an email notification to all of you who bought “Voices!” so you get first shot at it. It’s the least I can do for the most loyal of loyals . . .
What else? For those of you who’ve seen HLN live recently, you’ve gotten a small peek into our next CD project. “While We’re Young” was initially written by Huey and our bass man John Pierce, then I stepped in and added a much-needed third part to the tune. It’s a winner; all we need is about nine more of those . . .
That’s about all I’ve got for the moment. I’ve been listening to a lot of new, interesting music, most notably The Lumineers. I’m a big supporter of this “new folk/americana” movement because it’s so damned refreshing to hear real people playing real instruments! Did you watch The Grammies last year? It turns out actually performing music is becoming as rare as hen’s teeth. Go figure.
Okay, how about a little op/ed to finish up, get myself in trouble and polarize fans?
My first current irk (and it always will be) is commercial TV, period. Now I’m not adverse to TV-as-soudtrack (especially in a lonely hotel room) but I’m always take care that I don’t believe everything I see and hear.
As a matter of fact, if one does some serious critical listening without viewing you might be in for a real surprise. A good example is when you find out how many ways you can choke or die by taking a medication that’s supposed to be doing you some good. Then there’s the current “‘T’ Level” ad that snaps most men to attention (figuratively.) Men, this one you have to watch because apparently, used incorrectly (as the ad claims) your wife could grow a moustache. That’ll increase the old libido, eh?
In any event, the other day I had CNN humming in the background because I want to be the first to know about anything and everything, even if the story’s half-accurate, and I discovered proof positive that you can say anything on TV as long as you say it fast enough, and keep talking.
As I sat at my desk working, a young, perky commentator informed me, “Folks, here’s what we know now. There are things we know and don’t know, and we keep finding out more information that we don’t know.”
Amazing! Now before this very moment I suppose I never realized that when you discover new information, you didn’t know it before you discovered it. At least now I know that. If you’re looking for more priceless gaffs like that one, watch/listen to the weekend anchors to increase your odds. They talk among us . . .
Another general rule I always keep in mind is, “beware of a false sense of paranoia.” If I watch the right shows long enough I’m soon convinced the world’s going to hell in a handbasket. Try not to forget it’s just entertainment and they will do anything to keep your hand off that channel changer. Try BBC or PBS; they both have the patience and aplomb to get the story correct before they mouth off about it.
Okay, last one, and this ought to stir the pot. One of the hot topics this week involves our U.S. government collecting the phone records of millions of Americans. What a surprise! As if anyone with an ounce of common sense didn’t sort-of assume it was going on already; like wondering if your seventeen-year-old is masturbating yet. Duh.
Come on. This is the age of the internet, the age of instant information, where anything and everything goes. If you’ve got nothing to hide, you only have something to gain; the possibility that someone will be found out before they attempt to shoot your child’s teacher or blow up your capitol.
I only hope that if in fact the government does have my number, they call soon. I’ve got a few things I’d like to discuss.
All For The Moment! ~ J.C.
12/20/12 ~ WHAT'S NEW? In the 'unique and interesting' department, I just completed tracks on a song by Leigh Stephens for his forthcoming release, 'A Rocket Down Falcon Street'. Leigh was looking for a cool sax track on the tentatively titled 'Red Strats In The Sunset', we'd been corresponding as of late, and I gave him my best Steve Douglass imitation on this burning instrumental, remiscent of Link Wray's 'Rumble' or Duane Eddy at his nastiest; it's wonderful!
For those of you unfamiliar with Leigh, he was a founding member of the seminal acid rock band 'Blue Cheer'. In the 'small world' department Leigh and I both hail from Fairfield/Susiun California. As a kid, I was in awe of all the 'high school' bands a few years ahead of me, including 'The Donnybrookes' and Leigh's band, 'The Tallyrands'. They were as close to real hippies as Solano County got, and a few years later my band 'The Yewess Army' would stylize ourselves after 'The Tallyrands' and a handful of other bands popular at the time.
Keep your ears and eyes peeled for 'Rocket'. I've had the privilege of hearing several cuts from the CD, and if you like psychedelic instrumental surf music, you're gonna love this record!
Mahalo, see you next year!
PS ~ Some food fo thought these next couple weeks; DON'T PANIC! I think this fiscal cliff stuff will be closer to a 'fiscal curb'. I have complete faith in our government, our country, and most of all the regular folks who walk the street, work real jobs and have real families. Turn the cellular device off for awhile, take a break, take a walk, look around at what a beautiful place we live in; and if it isn't beautiful where you live, find a place that is. Or close your eyes and imagine. Turn off the TV, and when you turn it back on avoid any station that reminds you of FOX; they'll just make you feel bad. Things aren't as bad as our media paints them to be, and it's the individual attitudes in everyday life that make this country - and world - a better place. So don't panic, ever.
11/19/12 ~ WHAT'S NEW? Amongst other things I've been listening to lots of new music, and I thought this would be a good forum to talk about something or someone other than myself (!)
HLN wasn't the first to say "There's only 2 different types of music - good and bad," but it's a credo that continually rings true, and one I live by. I listen to everything from 1712 to 2012 - Beethoven to Beiber - and it helps keep my musical consciousness open to new ideas. My latest fave is a cool band out of South Carolina called "The Explorers Club" . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Explorers_Club_(band)
My wife and I were watching a movie one night and a song came on that I would have sworn was some obscure Beach Boys cut. I waited for the credits to roll around, jumped on the computer and hunted the song down, discovered the band for the first time, and a new musical window opened up. Turns out "Forever" and the LP from which it sprung - "Freedom Wind" - was an entire project of original material devoted to that 60's Beach Boys sound. I contacted Jason Brewer - the mastermind behind the band - invited him to a HLN show, and we've since become friends; even threatening to write a song together one day . . .
The band has two critically successful albums out, and currently they've released what I'd describe as a "Tom Jones meets Herb Alpert" kind-of single, titled "No Good To Cry" . . . http://www.noisetrade.com/explorersclubmusic
Recorded last month in Atlanta with producer/pal Matt Goldman, the song reaches back to 1967 when a young Al Anderson fronted his first recorded band, The Wildweeds. "No Good To Cry" was first released in the summer of '67, the song was a regional hit up in New England, and it managed a chart position on the Billboard Top 100.
I say check 'em out. It's different, it's refreshing, it's off the beaten trail, and if Jason is any indicator "The Explorer's Club" are a bunch of good guys.
What else? Interesting Tex/Mex band out of Arizona called "Calexico". Another favorite that swings through town now and again called "The Mother Truckers", and one of my favorite storytellers, Paul Thorn, with his latest release - "What The Hell Is Going On?" (no relationship to Marvin Gaye's LP).
Have a great Thanksgiving, do your duty and eat too much . . .
"All For The Moment!"
9/26/12 ~ WHAT'S HAPPENING? LOTS! KPIG (Santa Cruz, Monterey County, CA) just added three "Voices" tracks to their playlist; "A Wonderful Dream," "Um-Um-Um-Um-Um-Um," and "Slow Twistin." If you're not familiar with KPIG you owe it to yourself to stream this cool eclectic station with their unique "self-determined" playlist (Hell, they added ME!) "THE PIG" is well known worldwide as well. It was one of the first radio stations in the world to webcast, going online back in 1995, and currently song requests are submitted via e-mail from listeners around the globe. How about you? Dare you go to http://www.kpig.com and request a Johnny Colla song?
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING? Good News - the artwork is complete and mastering is underway for the "I Hear Voices!" LP. Bad News - we'll have product in hand about Christmas (hey, wait . . . could "Voices" vinyl make a good Christmas gift?) We have over thirty pre-orders, and about twenty slots left to qualify for our 'TOP TEN' CONTEST. The first fifty purchasers will qualify for the first ten albums off the press, each individually signed and numbered.
WHAT MORE COULD HAPPEN? Belgium's largest radio station - Radio 1 - has just added "Let Me In" to their playlist, and I understand that's a pretty big deal. Coincidentally, I know a girl from Belgium . . .
All for the moment!
9/1/12 ~ I want to thank everyone from AROUND THE WORLD taking an interest in "I Hear Voices!" I've had fans from Canada, Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and beyond purchase the CD, and to be quite honest it's been so long since I had a project out, I forgot I had such a worldwide fan base! Again, thanks a million, and I hope you enjoy the music as much as I did making it. Look for a cappella versions of "Voices" songs coming soon on the "Listen & Own It" page!