B.B. Kings

Davy Jones Autopsy Confirms Heart Attack

The final autopsy report has been released on Davy Jones confirming that the member of the Monkees had suffered a heart attack.

66-year old Jones was discovered to have had a severe build-up in his arteries. The official cause of death was coronary artery atherosclerosis (or a massive heart attack). Jones was found to have an abnormal heart rhythm.

The report also found Jones had cannabinoids in his system at the time of death but it was not revealed if it was from smoking marijuana.

Davy Jones died at his home in Florida on February 29, 2012. He had complained of breathing problems in the morning but was pronounced dead by the time he arrived at hospital.

A memorial was held for Davy in New York. His daughters Talia and Annabel, former Monkees Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz and singer Deana Martin (daughter of Dean Martin) sang a tribute of Monkees hits at the event. Read more>


The Mac Wire’s Anne Raso Goes To Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp

Text And Photos By Anne M. Raso

Have you ever wondered about Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp and whether it is worth the steep price of admission? Well, we here at themacwire.com say to pick one of the camps with your favorite artist as a counselor and invest your hard-earned cash…because you get to spend hours upon hours with them in an intimate setting and learn three songs with them (including an original) and even get to record with them if you select certain package deals for the camp!

   We observed for a couple of days at the recent New York Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp, held at the Gibson Guitar Studios in midtown (this is the former Hit Factory where the likes of Thriller were recorded), and we were lucky enough to roam freely from studio to studio and check out the “counselors” (rock stars) and “campers” (students). Each band named themselves, learned three songs (including a Who song to be performed with visiting superstar Roger Daltrey) and recorded one song in a nearby studio. Bands consisted of six or seven members plus the counselors. Counselors during our visit included Rudy Sarzo, Mark Hudson, Sandy Gennaro, Non Hendryx, Mark Farner, Richie Kotzen and Kip Winger. We have to admire all the patience and knowledge the ccounselors had with their “campers”–and have to extend a special thank you to Mark Hudson for letting yours truly play tambourine on the all-star jam of The Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There” and to Richie Kotzen for letting me play cow bell on The Who’s “Can’t Explain.” 

     Each counselors also gave a “Master Class” where students could request to play anything from the artist’s repertoire. We sat in on Mark Farner’s class last Sunday in the basement of the Gibson Studios and were impressed to learn that Mark can play every part of every Grand Funk song! He took time out to give each camper who came up to the stage a “run down” no matter what instrument they played…and he was also up to having anyone who wanted in the crowd to come up and play tambourine or sing background vocals. Mark did a fierce version of “Mean Mistreater” with the campers and it was something no one else got to hear either privately (as part of his Camp group Red In The Hood or at the BB King’s show all the camp groups performed during their “showdown” at BB King’s).

     Many of the campers were given R&R Fantasy Camp packages as birthday, Christmas and Hanukkah gifts and most of the ones we spoke to worked nine to fives or owned business outside of the music biz. When we checked into drummer/counselor Sandy Gennaro’s room, we found an interesting a friendly group from all over the country whose chosen group name at Camp was The Usual Suspects. Lead singer Donna Travis has a Pat Benataresque vocal style and particularly soared on “I Hate Myself For Loving You”–one of the three songs the band had to learn as part of the R&R Fantasy camp program. Travis, who lives in Milford, CT, is the single mom of twin 14-year-old girls and is an administrative assistant to the head of the legal dept for Subway World Headquaters. Also, to give our readers an idea of diversity in each camp band, The Usual Suspects also featured Jeff Boice on guitar, who in everyday life is one of the owners of Classic Kitchen & Bath in Roslyn, NY, and Lee Stahl, another axeman, and owner of The Renovated Home in Manhattan.
    We also spent time with old acquaintance Rudy Sarzo, who we knew back in his Quiet Riot days and has since gone on to play bass with everyone and anyone–at press time he is with Blue Oyster Cult but was Ronnie James Dio’s bassist (and longtime friend) at the time of his passing last year. Rudy is an excellent counselor because of his easygoing nature and ability to find humor in anything–and because he has played with so many bands, his repertoire is amazing. When Roger Daltrey made the rounds to sing a selected song with each band, he did “Behind blue Eyes” with Rudy’s band (Heart Of Steal) and it was possibly the high point of the entire camp to get such an intimate audience with the Who legend. There were only a dozen people in the room, and Roger not only signed and posed for pics with everyone after singing “Behind Blue Eyes” but also spent some private time and shared hugs with the band’s lead singer. Hearts Of Steal performed an original song called “Seven Year Fog” about this touching subject matter for Roger, who seemed to greatly appreciate it.

    The “grand finale” to camp was the benefit for Jesse Farner at BB King’s on Monday, January 17th. The goal was to raise 100,000 for the Grand Funk legend’s 21-year-old song who is paralyzed as the result of a spinal cord injury. Farner has been busy making his Michigan home disability-friendly and besides having each camp band do ten minutes sets each, there were guest stars popping in and out including Bad Company’s Simon Kirke, AC/DC’s Cliff Williams and an hour long set by Roger Daltrey which included some unusual musical choices on his part (we never expected him to perform “Sweet Little Sixteen” or “Born To Run”)! Other than some technical difficulties during Roger’s set, it was a mind-blowing night and 3 Doors Down flew up all the way from their native Mississippi to do a half hour set. Promoter David Fishof auctioned off seven or eight newer models of Gibson guitars signed by all the rockers participating in the show of the tune of three and four grand each, which definitely helped up the take for the charity show.

    As you may know, VH1 has been televising Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp and there are camps coming up all over the globe. The next one is in late February at the Bahamas’ Atlantis Resorts and features Tommy Lee, Lita Ford, Ritchie Kotzen, Rudy Saro and more, so be sure to go to rockandrollfantasycamp.com to check out the details. We will be keeping an eye on all campers who participated in the future to see if they are able to climb the rock and roll ladder and “go pro”! We were quite impressed with that talented campers, who ranged from sixth graders to 50-something plastic surgeons! We want to see if anyone’s going to be able to give up their “day job”! (One of our camp favorites on vocals was Mark Dickstein of the camp band mentored by counselor Kip Winger called The Dicksteins. Mark actually has a band in the West Palm Beach area named Wild Card–and he’s one of our camp “picks to click”!)

Donna Travis, a Connecticut-based Rock And Roll Fantasy Camper who sang lead in Sandy Gennaro’s group The Unusual Suspects, could not resist planting a big wet one on Roger Daltrey when he came into her group’s studio to both perform and observe. Can any girl blame her?

The MAC WIRE’S Top Concert Pick For This Coming Weekend–The Smithereens at B.B. King’s, NYC, Saturday, January 15th, 8PM!

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Photo: Anne Raso

     By Anne M. Raso
The annual Smithereens’ mid-January show at B.B. King’s in NYC has become somewhat of a musical “must-see” in the past few years. All the band’s New York tristate area fans seem to congregate at this concert like it’s some sort of rock and roll convention and the guys can usually count on a sellout. There are dozens of YouTube videos from past shows at the famous Times Square club as a testimony to this, and some diehard ‘Reenies do fly in from out of state and even out of the country.

Besides all the hits (“Blood And Roses,” “Only A Memory,” “Behind The Wall Of Sleep” and several more), the ‘Reens do fabulous Beatles’ and Who covers from their three recent CDs Meet The Smithereens, B-Sides The Beatles and The Smithereens Play Tommy. It might have seemed like a gargantuan task, but the Smithereens really did these songs justice (even though they initially met with some criticism for doing covers of such monumentally influential material). 

The Smithereens’ large grapevine of fans has been spewing out rumors of new material from the band’s forthcoming CD being performed at B.B. King’s on Saturday. This will be their first CD of original studio material to be released in over 10 years and is highly anticipated by fans. (The project will be released on Koch Records this May and DiNizio just got done the penning of the lyrics over the winter holiday according to his Facebook page, although he took plenty of time out to post vintage pics of the group and some of his favorite vintage music clips.)

I have caught the Smithereens live twice, lead singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Pat DiNizio’s acoustic solo “Living Room” shows live twice and DiNizio’s Beatles cover band The Scotch Plainsmen once all the last five to six months; each show is uniquely different and features DiNizio’s unique stories behind the songs. The band–consisting of DiNizio, guitarist Jim Babjak, drummer Dennis Diken and bassist Severo “Tha Thrilla” Journacion (the newest member of the group who replaced original bassist Mike Messaros left in 2006) is working with legendary Don Dixon on their new CD and word on the street is that the sound is in keeping with their original take-no-prisoners power pop and good old-fashioned “hard rock” (something that sadly does not exist much these days since everything released seems to be mixed with EMO, R&B, country or rap).

Of further note, DiNizio’s tales of life as a veteran rocker will be coming out in a special audiobook/documentary combo in about three months called Confessions Of A Rock Star–it contains a whopping eight hours worth of audio and visual material. An earlier version of this project was released on a USB bracelet over a year ago in limited edition, and now they are nearly impossible to score.

Photo: Anne Raso

If you are lucky enough to score tickets to Saturday’s show and you are new to Smithereens concerts, you’ll find that the band has a certain indescribable “something “that draws you in besides just insanely catchy guitar hooks and timeless songwriting. They seem to genuinely be enjoying themselves onstage at all times. The highlights of a ‘Reens show include the solos by Babjak and Journacion that are done standing out in the crowd (it gets loud and crazy)! It is also flattering to the band that so many diehard fans of the Kinks, The Who and The Beatles come to their shows and consider the Smithereens in the same league. The ‘Reens are very fan friendly and you can easily meet them after shows when they come out to press the flesh and sign merchandise. In addition, the band seems to have many real friendships with his fans outside of the concert halls and theaters they perform in.

For more info on Saturday’s NYC show and other Smithereens concerts, go to their official sites, smithereens.com or patdinizio.com. As we “go to press,” you can still buy tickets that will be held at will call for $27 plus fees atwww.bbkingsblues.com (if you wait to buy at the box office–if any tickets are left on Saturday–they will be priced at $32 plus fees). B.B. King’s is located at 237 West 42nd Street just east of Eighth Avenue in NYC; phone 212-997-4144. Be there…or stay home and “drown in your own tears” (Yes, that is a play on a popular Smithereens’ song title in case you are not in the know!)

Themacwire.com Mini Concert Review: Jack Bruce Creams ‘Em At B.B. King’s NYC

By Anne M. Raso

We hate to sounds corny, but Jack Bruce proved that “the Cream still rises to the top” with last night’s performance at B.B. King’s in Times Square. The show was all the Cream material a fan could ever dream of, with one exception–the remarkable “Theme From An Imaginary Western,” which he opened with, accompanying himself on keyboards (and with no other instrumentation).
    The generally poker-faced Bruce, in his mid-60s and looking fit and well-rested, joked about opening act Joey Molland “stealing his band” and right before the encore, when his bass seemed to have just disappeared from the stage, he joked, “They must have just sold it on EBAY.” (Speaking of Joey Molland, he did all the Badfinger hits along with a couple of B-sides along with “Can’t Live (If Living Is Without You)”–which became a hit for Harry Nilsson and others but was forgotten about when his band recorded it back in the early 70s. The earlier opening act, The Funky Knights, a “bar band” kind of group that seemed out of place in their stage costumes that looked like they stole the Commodores’ old stage separates and them mixed and matched them in a garish way!)
       Bruce’s band was composed of the versatile axeman Godfrey Townsend and the bandana-headed, multitalented Bernie Worrell on keyboard. Sitting in the Ginger Baker seat was superb Steven Murphy. Murphy’s adept playing was not as crazy and “all over the place” as Ginger Baker by any stretch of the imagination but he’s definitely a contender as a saint among the skinpounders.
    The list of the “cream of Cream” played by Bruce and friends last night included all the necessary hits (i.e.,”I’m Glad,” “I Feel Free,” Sunshine Of Your Love” and “White Room”) and even folks into the more progressive “album rock of the late 60s” adores from “Politician” to “Sitting On Top Of The World” to “SWLABR.” Bruce added in some bass “gymnastics’ as only he can do–including intense distortion that make you feel like you were on acid even if you never took it in your life. Jack Bruce can take bass playing into the stratosphere as every classic rock fan knows but his solos were not long enough to alienate people that were there to see what was more familiar to them. 
     The lone encore number was “Spoonful” which wasn’t quite enough Cream in everyone’s coffee before they left. We are sure the audience would have wanted to stay even longer if union laws would have permitted. THEMACWIRE.COM RATING: 4.5 OUT OF FIVE STARS. (Honestly folks, you can’t rock the “Boomers” any heavier than this!)