Jim Guittard’s Place

Rodney Bingenheimer

Posted in Music, Rock and Roll History by guittard on May 14, 2008

Mayor of Sunset Strip
From my journal on May 5, 2004 – Dallas Texas

I went to see the movie about Rodney Bingenheimer called “The Mayor of Sunset Strip.” He is a guy that hung with many of the core music people of the 1960s and 1970s. Rodney was Davy Jones’ double for the Monkees Television series. Rodney knew Sonny and Cher and the Beatles.

He is most known for being the groundbreaking radio DJ for KROQ 106.7 in Los Angeles. He was first in putting on “the Runaways, Blondie, the Ramones, Social Distortion, Van Halen, Duran Duran, Oasis, the Donnas, No Doubt, Coldplay, Dramarama, the Offspring, the Go-Go’s, the B-52’s, X, the Vandals, and others.”1

The movie is a nostalgic documentary that shows much of my old stomping ground: the Tower Records on Sunset Blvd., Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Avenue, and the Denny’s Restaurant on Sunset Blvd. near the Guitar Center. There’s even a bit showing a crippled guy who polishes the stars along Hollywood Boulevard.2

Rodney also made his own English Disco Club that operated for awhile in Los Angeles. To me, Rodney’s a strange guy. I’ve never met him but I had a friend in L.A. that knew him well. Some people have talked bad about him but my friend said he was nice. I respect his great knowledge of music.

It seems that music was and still is his salvation. I can relate a bit. As a kid, I often locked myself in the bedroom and listened to the Beatles or Elvis. They were my heroes and took me to different places. At school, I was a freak and even loner, I suppose: the only guy with sideburns when I was sixteen years old. That was in 1990. Sideburns weren’t very in style then.

There was one time in the school cafeteria when I was sitting at the table alone and this bully behind me at the next table made fun of me. He yelled and got my attention. I looked over and he was holding two napkins up to both sides of his face like they were sideburns and laughing. I just ignored him. He was some punk clown.

In my high school days, I read biographies about rock and roll. I read one called Life With Elvis by his kid step-brother David Stanley.

At the age of sixteen, David Stanley found himself at the top of the world, traveling from city to city as a personal aide to his stepbrother Elvis Presley. Touring with the king of rock ‘n’ roll, Dave lived life in the fast lane – a way of living most people only dream about. On August 16th, 1977, tragedy struck when Dave found the king of rock ‘n’ roll lying facedown on his bathroom floor, dead at age forty-two. Life With Elvis tells Dave Stanley’s compelling story about growing up with Elvis, the dangers and disillusionment of life in the fast lane, and how he discovered true meaning in life through faith in God. — from book’s dustjacket.

It’s an interesting read. The book has a bit about how hoods often hastled Elvis about his sideburns in the boys’ room. One time at Humes High in Memphis, Elvis’ future bodyguard, Red West, stepped in to help Elvis. This was the time when short hair and flat tops were in style. Elvis styled his hair after truckdrivers. Elvis eventually became a truck driver for awhile before recording “That’s Alright Mama.”

From Elvis’ ’68 Comeback Special

It was natural that I picked up the guitar in the 9th grade and never looked back. Music was my way of relating to the chaotic world around me. Things would explode and erupt but the music remained with me. It is proof that music is power. I really hope that the kids these days can put good stuff in their heads to empower. Elvis, along with many others, instilled in me a philosophy of hope and trust.

I don’t think the kids are getting this message today. What do you think?

Me – With the Highlander Band 1991
Jim Guittard - Highlander Band 1991


up1Wikipedia contributors. Rodney Bingenheimer. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. May 9 2008, at 15:05. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Bingenheimer. Accessed May 14, 2004.

up2I spoke to him a few times en route to the Musicians’ Institute that I was attending.

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Influencing Society Through Music

Posted in Change, Good Music, Music, Society by guittard on May 7, 2008

Today’s mainstream music is not very healthy for the average person’s psyche. It leaves most people going in circles and never resolving anything, only hoping to win the lotto of material wealth and fame.

Music in the past had worthwhile messages and often empowered the listeners to strive for something good and meaningful. Nowadays, the listeners are often led on selfish head trips that do not empower at all but rather cripple.

Much of the music of the past was geared to correct society’s problems. Now, music is rather limited in its focus. The main focus is on appearance, material gain and other rather selfish themes. Take a look at MTV for evidence.

Plato

In Plato’s, The Republic, the role of music was discussed for the ideal state. In the ideal state, harmonies which expressed excessive sorrow and relaxation were to be banished completely. In musical terms, Plato only allowed for two modes in songs and melodies: Dorian and Phrygian1 Probably, Spinal Tap’s sad piece, “Lick My Love Pump”, would have been banned.

The modern Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said in his Case of Wagner in 1888: “Only sick music makes money today.” I believe this quotation has much relevance to most of today’s mainstream music.

Here is the Top Ten hits from Top 40 Charts for May 2, 2008 for sales and airplays.

1. Lil Wayne – Lollipop
2. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
3. Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown – No Air
4. Usher & Young Jeezy – Love in This Club
5. Mariah Carey – Touch My Body
6. Madonna & Justin Timberlake – 4 minutes
7. Sara Bareilles – Love Song
8. Ray J & Jung Berg – Sexy Can I
9. Chris Brown – With You
10. Lupe Fiasco – Superstar

Let us examine some of the lyrics.

Partial lyrics Chris Brown – With You

‘Cause if I got you
I don’t need money
I don’t need cars
Girl you’re my heart

Mr. Brown’s implied message is good. He implies that material things are less important than people. I give him a thumbs up for good positive message.

Usher & Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Might as well give me a kiss, if we keep touching like this
I know you’re scared, baby, they don’t know what we’re doing.
Let’s both get undressed right here, keep it up and, girl, I swear.
I’m gonna give it to you non-stop.
And I don’t care, who’s watching.

I believe this is bad message that promotes impulse and lack of commitment. Thumbs down.

Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

Touch my body
Put me on the floor
Wrestle me around
Play with me some more
Touch my body
Throw me on the bed
I just wanna make you feel
Like you never did.
Touch my body
Let me wrap my thighs
All around your waist
Just a little taste
Touch my body
Know you love my curves
Come on and give me what I deserve
And touch my body….

Trash lyrics. Maybe Mariah is tired of the Paparazzi filming her and claiming they had relationship with her. Thumbs down for negative message. (oh boy).

Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Closed off from love
I didn’t need the pain
Once or twice was enough
And it was all in vain
Time starts to pass
Before you know it you’re frozen um ooh ooh ooh yeah

But something happened
For the very first time with you
My heart melts into the ground
Found something true
And everyone’s looking round
Thinking I’m going crazy

But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you
They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth
My heart’s crippled by the vein
That I keep on closing
You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
I keep bleeding
I keep, keep bleeding love
Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
You cut me open

Trying hard not to hear
But they talk so loud
Their piercing sounds fill my ears
Try to fill me with doubt
Yet I know that the goal
Is to keep me from falling

But nothing’s greater
Than the rush that comes with your embrace
And in this world of loneliness
I see your face
Yet everyone around me
Thinks that I’m going crazy, maybe, maybe….

I’ll give credit to Ms. Lewis for staying committed and fighting the good fight through the problems. This song is obviously about love. Thumbs up for positive message.

The music of the 1960s brought about change in a turbulent decade. The time was about questioning authority. George Harrison’s song “Think for Yourself” is a good example of the philosophy of the 1960s. Now people do not question authority much. We have become too satisfied with life. We have too much idle time and so we become obsessed with determining who has “The Sweetest Ass in the World”. If you do not know this song, look up Alex C. on google or youtube. These are the type songs that are not only popular but sell money today. I think Nietzsche would be having a fit!

David

In the past, music had the power to literally break down walls. In Biblical times the town of Jericho was liberated by music and sound. The walls surrounding Jericho came down from the loud blasts of trumpets and the shouting of priests. 2 The music set the people free. The music of today often keeps us in bondage to depression or to bad situation we are going through.

Another Biblical musical reference is about the Shepherd David. David was requested to calm down the anxiety-ridden king of Israel. In the King’s palace, David played his soothing harp. This is an example how music can be used to benefit mental health.3

Most of today’s music is aggressive but it makes sense with the War on Terrorism and Iraq both raging. There are so many bad vibes floating around. The workplace is also very volatile and up and down with lay-offs, wage freezes, and rumors of recession. Maybe we are all fed up with what is going on or we should be. We are in a fearful and uncertain time. It is often hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I believe that most people should be a little angry and fed up. If the person is not, then the person is probably numbed by anti-depressants or other pills. (Been there, done that). Living in the comfort zone of America, people have become too apathetic to break away from American Idol or the latest fad or trend.

In the 1960s, there were riots, protests, demonstrations, assassinations, the most turbulent of decades. Today is probably just as turbulent or more but where is the cry for change from the mainstream?

There are a few but it is limited. System of a Down has been one of the more outspoken bands about the war in Iraq.

B.Y.O.B.

Everybody’s going to the party have a real good time.
Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine.

In 1969, at Woodstock, Country Joe sang his famous protest song of the Vietnam War. Here is the first part of the lyrics.

Country Joe

I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die

Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He’s got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die….

The band, Rage Against the Machine has been outspoken on such issues as censorship and artistic freedom.

This is a very big issue in the music industry these days. Stay tuned…

To end on a positive note, here is a list of artists that have thoughtful and forward thinking messages and have meant a lot to me. You cannot go wrong here!!

1. Animals, The
2. Arlo Guthrie
3. Association, The
4. Band, The
5. Beach Boys, The
6. Beachwood Sparks
7. Beatles, The
8. Beck
9. Black Angels, The
10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
11. Bob Dylan
12. Bob Gibson
13. Brian Jonestown Massacre, The
14. Bruce Springsteen
15. Buffalo Springfield
16. Byrds, The
17. Canned Heat
18. Carl Perkins
19. Carter Family, The
20. Chi-lites, The
21. Chris Stills
22. Chuck Berry
23. Coasters, The
24. Counting Crows, The
25. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
26. Cure, The
27. Dandy Warhols, The
28. David Bowie
29. Deep Purple
30. Depeche Mode
31. Donovan
32. Doors, The
33. Edie Brickell
34. Elvis Presley
35. Fairpoint Convention
36. Flat People
37. Flying Burrito Brothers, The
38. Further
39. Gene Clark
40. George Harrison
41. Go-Kart Mozart
42. Gram Parsons
43. Grateful Dead, The
44. Hank Williams
45. INXS
46. Janis Joplin
47. Jay Farrar
48. Jefferson Airplane
49. Jesus and the Mary Chain
50. Jimi Hendrix
51. John Lennon
52. Johnny Cash
53. Kinks, The
54. Kula Shaker
55. Led Zeppellin
56. Left Banke
57. Lenny Kravitz
58. Little Richard
59. Lou Reed
60. Louvin Brothers, The
61. Love
62. Lovin’ Spoonful, The
63. Merle Haggard
64. Monkees, The
65. My Bloody Valentine
66. Mystic Chords of Memory
67. Neil Young
68. N.W.A.
69. Oasis
70. Paul McCartney
71. Pink Floyd
72. Poco
73. Police, The
74. Quarter After, the
75. Radiohead
76. Rage Against the Machine
77. Red Hot Chili Peppers
78. Richie Furay
79. Ride
80. Roger McGuinn
81. Rolling Stones, The
82. Ryan Adams
83. Sheryl Crow
84. Sly and the Family Stone
85. Simon and Garfunkle
86. Son Volt
87. Spacemen 3
88. Stephen Stills
89. Strawberry Alarm Clock
90. System of A Down
91. Thrills, The
92. Tom Petty
93. Troggs, The
94. Tyde, The
95. U2
96. Uncle Tupelo
97. Van Halen
98. Van Morrison
99. Velvet Underground, The
100. Violent Femmes, The
101. Warlocks, the
102. Who, The
103. Willie Nelson
104. Wiskey Biscuit
105. Wilco
106. Wings
107. Zombies, The
108. ZZ Top


up1Plato. Republic. Trans. Benjamin Jowett.

up2 Josh. 6:20

up3 1 Sam. 16:23

Modern Psychedelic Influenced Bands

Posted in Good Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic by guittard on April 27, 2008

First of all I recommend a band called the Beachwood Sparks. They take the torch where Gram Parsons and the Byrds left off particularly with the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. I’ve seen them live numerous times and have never been disappointed. They are the best especially with
their extended Space Echo freakout endings. They have 3 albums out and the first called Beachwood Sparks is my favorite. I hear that the BWS is getting back together (coincidentally on Roger McGuinn’s birthday), July 13th in Seattle for the 20th year for Subpop label. I wish I could be there.

Beachwood Sparks 2000

Beachwood Sparks

The second band I recommend is called the Tyde. This band has mutual members of the Beachwood Sparks. The Tyde is more Bob Dylan or Lou Reed sounding with much reference to surfing. I’ve seen them live, too. They have 3 albums out. I like Once the best.

The Tyde

The third band that I recommend is the Quarter After. This band is Byrds influenced with chimey Rickenbackers and groovy lyrics. It is lead by brothers, Rob Campanella and Dom Campanella. Incidentally, Rob records and produces many of the bands I mention here. I was
fortunate to sit in on a Quarter After session a few years back.

Here’s my somewhat humorous review for their debut album:

The Revolution Is Coming Down!!!

I dig the Quarter After live and on record. They are nice
outstanding citizens who are dedicated followers of the
Revolution effort. If you don’t understand, look up the
Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Their song ‘Too Much to Think About’ can put you in a
trance if you are not careful. It takes you back to 1966
with some Raga-Rock influence. ‘Know Me When I’m Gone’
is my favorite track on the album. It is modern psychedelia.
Dominic’s singing is much like Roger McGuinn’s. Byrds fans
will love the Quarter After. Or any fan of the ’60’s or good music.

Quarter After is authentic and not cheesy. They do not
overdo it. Dominic’s 12 String Rickenbacker work is great.
Good harmonies too by Rob and various personnel.

The Quarter After has recently put out their second album. I have not got my hands on it yet but will review soon.

The Quarter After

The Quarter After

And last but not least is the band called the Brian Jonestown Massacre. These guys are pretty outstanding and have had a documentary about them already called “Dig!” This band is the one
that really should take credit for this revival in psychedelic sound. They have at least a dozen albums out. They are very prolific.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

I hope you will check these bands out. They really cook.

Optimistic Music

Posted in Good Music, Rock and Roll History by guittard on November 17, 2007

I think we should get back to the mindset of the past. At least the more open-minded thinking of the ’60’s. You say, oh, let’s don’t live in the past, let’s move forward.

I counter you with, “the thinking of the 1960’s was more healthy I think than today.” I’m all about moving forward and it seems that this period was about moving forward for the better.

It is my opinion that if all listened to the music of the ’60’s or that type of thinking then the world would be that much better. You’ve all heard the saying “garbage in garbage out.” Well, put this more positive type of thinking In.

Here’s my top songs that may clean up the pessimistic or status quo thinking. Just look to the words for inspiration out of this fearful terrorist world we live.

1. Bob Dylan – The Times Are A-Changin’

2. The Beatles – Think For Yourself

3. Gene Clark – Keep On Pushin’

4. Stephen Stills (Manassas) – Jesus Gave Love Away For Free

5. The Zombies – Time Of The Season

6. The Byrds – Turn, Turn, Turn

7. The Rolling Stones – Salt of the Earth

8. The Association – The Time Is Today

9. The Kinks – Animal Farm

10. George Harrison – What Is Life?

11. Pink Floyd – Burnin’ Bridges

12. The Beach Boys – I Know There’s An Answer

13. Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

14. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Teach Your Children

15. Donovan – Catch The Wind

16. The Doors – Take It As It Comes

17. John Lennon – Give Me Some Truth

18. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic?

19. Simon and Garfunkle – Bridge Over Troubled Water

20. Sly and The Family Stone – Everybody Is A Star

To Sir With Love (A Must See Movie)

Posted in Bulgaria, Life, Movies by guittard on July 10, 2007

The 1967 movie is “To Sir With Love.” I recommend it highly. It’s about a black guy (Sidney Poitier) who goes to teach English in this rough (Bulgarian like) school in the outskirts of London, England. He throws the books out the window after much trial and error. But this inexperienced teacher keeps at it. Groovy music too. Seriously.

The Ragas Approved Fab Movie List

Posted in Movies, Music, Society, The Arts by guittard on May 23, 2007

Easy Rider,
Blow-Up,
The Kids Are Alright,
Monterey Pop Festival,
Woodstock – 3 Days of Peace & Music (The Director’s Cut),
Altamont,
Concert For Bangladesh,
The Band’s Last Waltz,
Harold And Mod,
This Is Spinal Tap!
The Graduate,
Alfie,
007,
To Sir With Love,
The Beatles Anthology,
The Beatles – Let it Be,
The Beatles – Help,
The Beatles – Hard Day’s Night,
The Beatles – The First U.S. Visit,
The Beatles – Yellow Submarine,
The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour,
The Beach Boys – Endless Harmony (2000),
Shindig! Presents: Sixties Superstars (1964),
Shindig! Presents: British Invasion, Vol. 1 (1964),
Shindig! Presents: The Kinks (1964),
The Trip,
The Monkees – Head,
Riot On Sunset Strip,
Gimme Shelter,
Midnight Cowboy,
Stephen Stills and Manassas: The Best of Musikladen Live,
Mayor Of The Sunset Strip,
Dig!,
The Party,
Alice’s Restaurant,
Don’t Look Back,
Bob Dylan: No Direction Home,
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!,
Gimme Some Truth,
John Lennon’s Imagine,
Pink Floyd: Live at Pompei
Wilco: I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
The Forever Changes Concert,
The Rolling Stones – Rock and Roll Circus,
Psych-Out – 1968