Friday, May 21, 2010

The Who News

Thanks to Roger Daltrey and his charity Teenage Cancer Trust, another cancer ward for teenagers has been opened. This one is in Newcastle, U.K. according to this story. Nice job. In a world of hearing stories about celebrities and politicians constantly getting into trouble, it's good to hear something positive.

Oh and I came across this article about the various Gibson guitars Pete Townshend has used over the years.

I read that The Smothers Brothers announced their retirement this week. The above video is a memorable performance of "My Generation" by The Who on the show.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Pete Townshend!

Happy 65th Birthday to Pete Townshend! I only have maybe a handful of pop culture stars that I consider “heroes” and Pete is definitely one of them. I came across this video of Pete performing “Blue Red and Grey,” a song from The Who By Numbers album, which although I won’t/can’t say is the band’s best album, it is the one that resonated with me the most when I first heard it from start to finish, which wasn't until 1998.

Odds & Sods

Not one but two mosques are in the works for the neighborhood near Ground Zero. One of those mosques is planning to open September 11, 2011. If this happens, America will officially have lost its soul.

Sadly, as of yesterday 1,000 U.S. troops have died while serving in Afghanistan. We should all mourn their deaths.

I have to say that I am still shocked that the Boston Bruins blew a 3-0 lead against the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s going to be really interesting to see how the Bruins come back next season and if the loss will impact the players. Meanwhile, I thought the Flyers would have nothing left in their series against Montreal. So far, I am completely wrong, because the Flyers are up 2-0. The Blackhawks have also jumped out to a 2-0 lead in their series with San Jose.

There’s a really good documentary being shown on HBO this month called the Broad Street Bullies. One thing I took from it was that the N.H.L. rulebook was essentially a pamphlet back in the mid-1970s, but now the rulebook resembles a Yellow Pages directory, which can be credited, not entirely, but to a large degree the way the Flyers played back then. A style, which thankfully, is permanently gone from the league.

Newsflash: LeBron James will sign with the team that offers him the most money.

Former Knick/Net Chris Dudley, a Republican, has won the nomination to run for governor of Oregon.

I saw a very good documentary about The Doors on PBS recently, which was much better than Oliver Stone's movie about the band. The documentary, When You're Strange, showed a clip of Jim in the crowd before a concert looking at pictures of The Who. The Doors and The Who played at New York's Singer Bowl in 1968. That was when a girl jumped on stage to try and touch Morrison and got roughed up pretty badly by security for her efforts. Pete Townshend saw the incident and wrote the song "Sally Simpson," which is on The Who's Tommy album.

Inside The Squared Circle

I turned on NXT last night for a minute or two, just in time to see Bryan Danielson calling out broadcaster Michael Cole and getting in his face. Danielson made reference to Cole being fed lines by Vince McMahon through his headset. He also said Cole was a poor man’s Jim Ross. No kidding.

I'm glad that they dropped 'Daniel Bryan' and are reintroducing him to the crowd as the guy who dominated the indy wrestling scene for the last few years. If all things go right - i.e. staying healthy, etc. - Danielson will absolutely headline Wrestlemania at some point in his career.

Ross, by the way, has said on his blog that he has some big news to announce in the next few weeks. Hopefully, Ross will once again be on the air for someone in the near future.

D’Lo Brown is no longer co-hosting the "Between the Ropes" radio show on ESPN 1080 in Orlando. Brown works backstage for T.N.A. and I suppose he came to the realization that he can’t fairly comment about T.N.A. since they are the ones that are paying his salary these days. Brown has not been on the radio show since T.N.A. pulled the plug on Monday nights. By the way, the ratings tell the story: T.N.A. failed miserably on Mondays.

The commercial free Raw was good this past Monday night. The first half hour or so was probably the best television that the W.W.E. has put on in quite a while.

Shame on the fans in Canada for booing Raw's guest host, Buzz Aldrin.

Rumor has it that Bret Hart will be the new general manager of Monday Night Raw. Hopefully, the guest host thing will now fade away.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

NHL Conference Finals Picks

Wow what a second round in the N.H.L. playoffs! I'll have more on that in a future post, but for right now here are my picks for hockey's "final four."

Western Conference
San Jose (1) over Chicago (2) in seven.

I'm hoping that I am wrong, but San Jose seems to be over its past playoff hex.

Eastern Conference
Montreal (8) beats Philly (7) in four.

I think the Flyers are just going to be too emotionally wiped out and won't be able to answer the bell in this series.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pete Townshend On John Entwistle's Importance

Pete Townshend - rock's thinking man - gave some interesting insight into the significance of John Entwistle for The Who. A fan wrote into The Who's Website and asked the following:

"Roger has been quoted as saying that John's volume was a problem in the later years due to his deafness. Did this have any impact on yourself during rehearsal/on stage at all? It always makes me laugh that Roger always stood in front of John's amps then said he was too loud!"

Pete's response:
"I always felt John was more important in the Who as a musician than Roger. (Ed: steady now). Maybe he was more important than Keith or me. He was certainly a better musician. So although I sympathized with Roger’s predicament, I also knew that Who fans worshipped John, and his sound, in a way that indicated an understanding of John’s real genius.

John was never too loud for my taste. I have had more trouble over the years with noisy drummers. However loud someone plays, all I care about is that they listen, so Roger is right on two counts. When John started to go deaf he couldn’t listen quite as well, and started to guess, and sometimes his guesses were wrong. And Roger could not simply turn up his volume, but if he did manage to get louder on stage it was often his vocal screams that hurt my ears, not loud bass. Let’s be honest, we were loud, maybe too loud, but the music, the period, the whole message we carried required absolute concentration from the audience. We used volume to guarantee that."

John's playing is perfectly exhibited in the above YouTube video from the Royal Albert Hall in 2000.

Winnipeg Jets Coming Home

Wow it looks as though the Phoenix Coyotes could be moving back to their former home of Winnipeg, according to the Toronto Star here.

The Coyotes fell on hard times and filed for bankruptcy last year which led to the N.H.L. taking over the team. In an odd twist, the Coyotes had a great season - for them - and even made the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

A potential move back to Winnipeg brings back some memories. The Jets were one of eight World Hockey Association (W.H.A.) teams absorbed by the N.H.L. in 1979. Who doesn't remember those great Winnipeg teams that won back-to-back Avco Cup trophies in 1978 and1979? Seriously, though, Canada deserves another N.H.L. franchise.

Some of the team's former players I remember quite well, such as Dale Hawercuk, Lucien DeBlois and Ulf Nilsson. Bobby Hull was probably their most noteworthy star, however, due to the fact that he jumped ship from the N.H.L. and signed a big contract with the Jets in the early 1970s.

I used to have a poster on my wall of former Winnipeg Jet, Teemu Selanne. He scored 76 goals during his rookie year in 1992; a record that still stands. I remember how disappointed I was when former Rangers GM Neil Smith wouldn't part with d-man Sergei Zubov for Teemu. Instead, he paired Zubov with Petr Nedved and got back Ulf Samuelsson and Luc Robitaille; an ill-conceived trade during the ill-fated summer of 1995.

Favorite Bridges

I'm temporarily off of my "Sparks/Underture" fascination for the moment and am now onto great bridges (the contrasting piece of the song) that Pete Townshend included in his music; primarily with The Who but he did have some good ones in his solo work, as well.

There are a few that stand out for me. The first is from "The Song is Over" off of Who's Next. The bridge part begins at the 2:35 mark.

"When I walked in through the door,
Thought it was me I was looking for,
She was the first song I ever sang,
But it stopped as soon as it began."

Overall, this song has mostly a triumphant, rejoiceful feel, however, it tails off at the end and gets a bit more somber. There is a segment in Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who where the closing part of the song is played - "this song is over, I'm left with only tears, I must remember, even if it takes a million years" - while showing clips of the dearly departed John Entwistle. One clip shows the band on stage and John's image fading while Pete and Roger make some comments about how much John is missed. It goes without saying that this part definitely tugs at your heartstrings.

The next bridge comes from "The Punk Meets The Godfather" off of the Quadrophenia album.

"I have to be careful not to preach
I can’t pretend that I can teach,
And yet I’ve lived your future out
By pounding stages like a clown.
And on the dance floor broken glass,
The bloody faces slowly pass,
The broken seats in empty rows,
It all belongs to me you know."

I remember very well this part being sung by Pete Townshend when I first saw the band at Madison Square Garden in the summer of 1996 and I was absolutely mesmerized. By the way, the "I have to be careful not to preach" line should be a mantra for some people in our government and our media.

The last bridge comes from"However Much I Booze" which if off of The Who By Numbers.

"Then the night comes down like a cell door closing
Suddenly I realize that I'm right now, I'm on the scene,
While sitting here all alone with a bottle and my head a-floating,
Far away from the form and the conscience going on with me,
And on with me, and I don't care what you say,
There ain't no way out,
There ain't no way out."

Personally, Numbers could be my favorite album by The Who, if I were to declare a favorite, which I can't/won't. Most songs from the album contain lyrics that are as heartfelt and genuine as you are going to get, which doesn't necessarily mean they are sad. Although the aforementioned song was too personal for Roger Daltrey to sing and thus Pete handled the honors. I would probably describe By Numbers as the band's most "poetic" album. I don't think anyone could find anything somber or melancholic about the song "Squeezebox."

Ring of Honor Results - New York

Ring of Honor put on a great show the other night at the Manhattan Center! Basically, this is how wrestling should be done with solid, but get-the-point-across promos and really good matches. The crowd was very vocal the entire show. The way I see it, T.N.A. would do themselves proud if they mimicked R.O.H. The promotion's owner, Cary Silkin, shook hands with people leaving and thanked them for coming. Class act! Here are the results with some quick thoughts on each match:

The Briscoes defeated Kenny King and Rhett Titus.
The Briscoes are enormously talented and a definite favorite of mine.

Erick Stevens defeated Grizzly Redwood.
Balls Mahoney showed up to try and help Grizzly.

Sara Del Ray pinned Awesome Kong.
Probably the best women's match I have ever seen.

Christopher Daniels defeated Eddie Edwards.
Both wrestlers were very impressive.

Kevin Steen defeated Colt Cabana.
Bloody match. A bit too much for my liking.

The Kings of Wrestling defeated the Motor City Machine Guns by disqualification.
Chris Hero and Claudio should absolutely be on the W.W.E. radar. This should be a "match of the year" candidate.

Tyler Black pinned Roderick Strong
Strong could be dubbed "the man of a thousand holds." Technically as sound as they come.

Chris Russo - True Story

The guys on the "Boomer and Carton" show the other day were talking superheroes. The conversation led to a time when Mike Francesa asked Chris Russo if he had plans to go see the movie Daredevil with Ben Affleck. Chris then asked Mike if the theme of the movie was a true story? Yes "Mad Dog" it's a true story. If you want to listen to this really funny moment it takes place at the 4:00 minute mark in the above video.