Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Your property will be branded to sell

A few years ago, I shared a post about real estate agent Marilyn Wilson Rutherford, a Southern Californian who is the mother of two thirds of Wilson Phillips, the former wife of one of the Beach Boys, and a former performer herself (with the girl group The Honeys).

But Rutherford is not the only musician turned real estate agent. If you need an agent in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, perhaps you may want to use this guy:

Sim A. Wilson III is First Vice President for CBRE in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 2009, Sim transitioned from Miami office to Eastern Tennessee assuming responsibility as principal broker for CBRE’s newly formed Tennessee office serving Chattanooga, Cleveland and Knoxville. Sim provides property acquisition, disposition and leasing services for CBRE Corporate Services and Institutional Clients both locally and regionally. Sim has been providing sophisticated real estate solutions for more than 22 years and has been with CBRE since 1994.

For more of Mr. Wilson's accomplishments in Tennessee and Florida, see the page.

Unfortunately, the page (unlike Rutherford's) does not discuss Mr. Wilson's previous musical accomplishments in California. Presumably this is because of the real estate market in Tennessee. While it's fine for Rutherford to speak of her musical background for her Southern California clientele, it's uncertain if Mr. Wilson's clients would necessarily be interested in his career as lead singer for a noted punk band - even if said band was a Christian punk band.

And Wilson is not the only Undercover Californian to head east. If you go to James Madison University in Virginia, you can take classes from Joseph Taylor. Incidentally, if you have not checked in with Taylor since the 1980s, his spiritual journey (documented in his blog) has been varied.

Monday, January 27, 2014

I went to Nashville to make my mark, but the mall cop shut me down

You know that someone is going to write a song about this.

Members of a glee club who have performed at Carnegie Hall and toured Europe were shut down when they broke into a spontaneous song for a lunchtime crowd at Opry Mills Mall in Nashville.

About 60 members of the men's glee club from Miami University in Ohio had just finished lunch at the mall during a break between performances Friday in Nashville when a security guard rolled up on a Segway.

It turns out that if you want to sing at Opry Mills, it has to be pre-arranged. None of this spontaneous stuff.

More here.

What rhymes with "Segway"?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Squatting and its effect on English music

Until recently, I had never heard of Fiona Russell Powell. I had, however, heard of Eden, briefly a member of the band ABC.

ABC was a band from Sheffield, England, that enjoyed success in both England and the United States during the 1980s. ABC was just one of many bands that emerged from Sheffield during that period; I mentioned some of them here in a post about the original singer of "The Crying Game" - a song made popular by one Boy George.

Back to Eden (if you can ever go back). Eden's real name is Fiona Russell Powell, and as a young teenager she had joined a band called Vice Versa. She quit the band before a gig, and was replaced by one Martin Fry. The band changed its name to ABC, and the rest is history.

In subsequent years Fiona would become a noted music journalist, rejoin the band ABC for one album, adopt the stage name "Eden," be dismissed from the band, and eventually go through rehab.

However, after quitting Vice Versa and before launching her journalism career, Fiona left Sheffield and moved to London. It wasn't an easy move.

By the time I arrived in London in 1980, I was already a seasoned teen runaway having left home in Sheffield and been removed from public school at the age of 15 and a half as a punishment for "refusing to conform". I was 17 and had no job, no money and knew only one person who also had no money, lived in a hostel and knew no-one. Through luck and serendipity, I ended up sleeping on the lounge floor at Glenn Gregory's basement flat in Ladbroke Grove.

If you don't recognize the name, Glenn Gregory would eventually become the lead singer of Heaven 17. However, after Glenn's girlfriend threw Fiona out, Fiona moved to a new place on Carburton Street. Since people were squatting at the Carburton Street place, things were somewhat precarious, but it was better than living on the street.

Initially Fiona shared a room with someone else, but eventually a new room opened up.

George had literally just moved out of his room into (poet and playwright) Jonathan and Pam Gem's flat, which was nearby in Goodge Street, so I moved out of Brian's room and took over George's. I also stopped going out with Brian. The walls in George's room were covered in pictures of Kirk Brandon and he had tons of a Theatre of Hate EP that he practically used as wallpaper! Also, he had the photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue, along with a large glass sweet jar that George had used to keep his cotton wool make-up remover balls in and so did I. There was a cute little doll made out of fruit that I also kept. I've still got it somewhere.

George was George O'Dowd, later known worldwide as Boy George. One of George's friends, a man named Marilyn who initially was as famous as George was, remained in the house, and Fiona experienced something with Marilyn that would change her life for many years to come.

Anyway, one evening, Marilyn was doing my make-up, using products from Charles Fox, the theatrical costumiers, which was what all the drag queens used in those days. In fact, Marilyn really taught me how to put on make-up and he was an absolute artist. Anyway, he wanted to pluck my eyebrows and I said no, it would hurt too much. He kept insisting and I kept refusing. Then suddenly he said, "'Ere, 'ave some of this", and shoved some brown powder under my nose. I knew what it was but asked "Is that what I think it is?". "'Course it is, now take it before I change my mind. I don't usually give it away."

For more about Carburton Street and other squatting locations, see Time Out, Fitzrovia News, and The Blitz Kids.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cliff Richard's part in the British Invasion?

Considering its relative size, the hold of the British music industry on the American market is remarkable. For example, I spent much of New Year's Eve listening to White Town.

When considering why a guy in California would be listening to a band like White Town, you have to go back to the Beatles, who dominated the U.S. music charts beginning in early 1964. Their arrival in New York has become a historical moment.

But it was not the first time that a Beatle visited the United States.

In September 1963, the Beatles were the talk of the United Kingdom, and had miraculously become even more popular than Cliff Richard, seemingly within a few short months. After intense activity, the band took a break, and guitarist George Harrison and his brother Peter went to visit their sister Louise - who happened to be living in the United States.

The long-haired guy with the funny accent was very busy during his time in the United States - he bought a guitar, he visited a radio station, and he appeared at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, backed by the Four Vests and billed as the Elvis of England. Among the songs they performed was "Roll Over Beethoven." (Apparently "Don't Bother Me" was not performed.)

But at some point during his stay in the States, George Harrison went to a drive-in movie - and was in for a shock.

George went back to England with horror stories of how CLIFF RICHARD, the biggest star in the U.K., was reduced to the second half of a double-feature here in the States at the local drive-in with his U.K. smash film SUMMER HOLIDAY....

George's conclusion? Despite the warm reception at the VFW hall, it was clearly apparent that the Beatles' music would never break in the United States. After all, if Cliff Richard had failed, what hope did the Beatles have for making a dent in this huge country?

As it turns out, George was wrong - within a few months, Beatlemania would strike the U.S.

But all was not lost for Cliff Richard in America either. Although he has never had a #1 U.S. hit like the Beatles, his song "Devil Woman" did reach #6 on the charts - in 1976.