Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Queen of Rock n Roll is Dead. Long Live the Queen! Kak Channthy from The Cambodian Space Project!

The Queen of Rock n Roll is Dead. Long Live the Queen! 

Kak Channthy from The Cambodian Space Project has passed away. Damn! I've been pushing this band hard for the last 3 or 4 years.

Recently, even Iggy Pop on his BBC show has picked up on them and was pushing them big time. It is rumored that Iggy agreed to appear in a Cambodian Space Project movie as music video - as well as an Iggy Pop Tribute Compilation!

Kak san! You were/are the best! God bless you our love!

The reports of her death: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/breaking-kak-channthy-cambodian-space-project-frontwoman-killed-crash-38

The Cambodian Space Project -- Have Visa No Have Rice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1oG4x2Y_HE

Cambodian Space Project - House of the Rising Sun: 

Goodbye, dear. you are the Asian Rock n Roll Legend!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sid Vicious is Dead... Or is He?

There's all sorts of tribute bands running around these days. 

There's a Beatles Tribute band (painful!) Elvis Presley Tribute band (painful and tons of those), a Queen tribute band, a David Bowie Tribute band, etc. etc. etc. 

Well, you know you've hit the depths of total shite (or is it cool?) when there's a Sex Pistols tribute band. Hell, there's not one, there's at least two! Never mind the Sex Pistols Tribute Band, here's the Sex Pistols Experience!

Frigging holiday in other people's Disneyland!

OK. I guess it's better than a Journey or Foreigner cover band.... Which isn't saying much.

By the way, there is one cool cover band. It's in Japan, and they are a AC/DC cover band called, ABCD. OK? 

At least those guys in ABCD have a sense of humor, and they aren't doing it for money, they do it for fun.

The rest of these bands mentioned above do it totally and completely for money. 

What a rock n roll swindle! 

NOTE: I think I find Disney's Country Bear Jamboree more entertaining, original and satisfying than these packaged rock band deals.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The True Story of the Rotters (Late 1970s Los Angeles Punk Band)

Rock Stardom for Dumbshits. By the Phantom Surfers! http://amzn.to/2Ba5AX6  Damn! Why didn't they put this out way back when? 
If I had read this in my youth, I'd have been bigger than Bavid Dowie! 
"The best book on the subject ever written. I wish it had more pictures, though." 
- Nigel Nitro of the Rotters

I got a message from one of those internet domain companies asking me if I wanted to buy a domain with the name of the band I was in forty years ago... 

Uh, I'll pass this time.... But it reminded me of some funny stories from the heyday of the Rotters...

L => R: Phester Swollen, Johnny Condom, Nigel Nitro (me),  Rip Chord 1977.

Today's post was originally written in the late 1980s (I believe). It was written by my best friend, Phester Swollen who was the original guitarist of the Rotters. My name was Nigel Nitro. I posted this today because I was reminded of just how bad rock music had become in those days...


The Rotters Story by Phester Swollen

It was 1978 and rock and roll was the worst putrefying heap of overblown bovine excrement imaginable. Walking into a record store was about as fun as having a raging bout of the Hershey squirts and with no choice but to use a Super Seven gas station toilet that was plugged with some wino’s puke and butt blow. Hearing the likes of Peter Frampton, Steely Dan, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and that phony working class schmuck, the Boss left us contemplating the big sleep to put us out of our misery. What the fuck was this shit? It sure as hell wasn’t rock. We were frustrated, pissed off and offended.
Nigel Nitro and I were a couple of nasty film production students at Moorpark College, just northwest of Los Angeles. We stuck out and didn’t fit in. Neither of us wanted to make films with a couple of retarded lovebirds walking on the beach to some lame ass Jim Croce ballad. Our goal was to make vicious, stabbing satires. If people were offended we knew we were on the right track. One night we both saw an episode of 20/20 on the lobotomy box ranting on the evils of this hideous new scourge on society from England called punk rock. It featured live footage of the Damned and the Sex Pistols with subtitles for the lyrics so that the world could see how vile and disgusting they were. They hated it. We loved it. If it pissed them off so much it HAD to be good! It had everything we’d been dying to hear for years and besides, any idiots could do it. That meant us too.
Within a couple of weeks we started The Rotters with another Moorpark film loony, Bruce Brink on drums and Rip Chord on bass. Bruce soon bailed out for fear that the local Oxnard or Ventura hillbillies would kill him for playing punk, a reasonable concern. Rip’s friend Johnny Condom took over on drums. Since Nigel and I were both students at Moorpark College we were able to weasel our way into the recording class almost immediately as they were in need of bands to record on the four track. The recording students hated us. We weren’t real musicians. We were sloppy, not together. We were out of tune most of the time. We didn’t know what the fuck we were doing. But we didn’t care. We had a lot of wild enthusiasm and the teacher of the class, Richard Simpson, caught on to this. He told us; "you guys aren’t any good, but you have fun and that’s all that’s really important." Then he encouraged us to put out a single, which he would master for us for free.
We’d played a few volatile shows. After being kicked out of the Mickey Moose disco in Ventura for sucking and being pelted with debris in Anisque Oyo Park in Isla Vista for being shitty, we knew we were good. Sit On My Face Stevie Nicks was a standout and the logical choice for the single. It had been written in about ten minutes as one of the worst songs possible while at the same time taking a stab at the big bucks rock world we hated so much. Amputee, a kind of anthem of the stupid, was on the flip side.

Once we had a test pressing we naively decide we should take it down to KROQ and give it to Rodney Bingenheimer to play. Rodney’s’ show Rodney on the rocks was THE punk show on L.A. radio at the time. We drove down to Pasadena to the station and snuck in by standing at the back door with a bunch of punk looking guest types. When they let them in, we walked in too. We didn’t know it right away but they were the Ramones and Clem Burke, the drummer from Blondie. Even though we didn’t have any drugs for Dee Dee, Rodney still played our record and put us on the air with Joey Ramone. Almost immediately Rodney asked us, live on the air, if we liked the Ramones. Nigel and I simultaneously said, "uh… er… we like the Sex Pistols". They broke for a commercial, told us "you guys gotta leave now!" and kicked us out. But the damage was done. KROQ was inundated with requests for Sit On My Face Stevie Nicks the next day.
For some strange reason Fleetwood Mac took offense. Well, there’s no accounting for taste. It seems this was the era when Mick Fleetwood was boning Stevie Nicks behind Lindsay Buckingham’s back and he felt he had to rescue her honor. Christ! As if they didn’t have enough problems of their own with all the break ups, infidelity, cocaine addictions and millions of dollars burdening them! They had to throw their weight around and go after some fledgling punk band. I guess it was a case of the big bully beating up the asthmatic wimp on the playground for making a smart ass comment and laughing during his oral report. We soon found we were banned in Los Angeles. Someone claiming to be Mick Fleetwood himself called KROQ and threatened them with a lawsuit if they played the song, then called Nigel at home with the same threat. All the major record stores in Los Angeles were threatened with no more big selling Big Mac albums if they sold our nasty little single. Ooh scary! What a threat. Who the hell bought Tusk anyway? It sucked the turds out of a dead bloated water buffalo’s anus. Some stores hid our records under the table like a bunch of pussys and some gave Fleetwood Mac the finger and still got their albums anyway. Then they decided to be less obvious and the doors to a number of the clubs in town closed to us mysteriously.

This was at the last show I appeared at in the USA with the Rotters was at UCSB with The Suburban Lawns and a bunch of other bands.
We didn’t really need their help in fucking everything up though. We could do that ourselves. Any money we might have made went into beer. We couldn’t play worth shit most of the time, didn’t follow any L.A. punk clique rules and were lazy as hell. None of this helped at all. The second single, Sink The Whales Buy Japanese Goods b/w Disco Queen, we couldn’t give away. None of us had any use for stacks of the record so many of the 1,000 copies went into the trash. Now it’s a coveted collector’s item. Go figure. Disillusioned, with our dreams of glory crushed, we broke up early in 1980. However, The Rotters have managed to survive although not with the original line up. But what the hell, how many punk bands stay the same for more than 20 years? The whole idea of middle age punks is offensive anyway. But then again, that’s the point.
Phester Swollen
NOTE: This is what started this all off.... $1888 (USD) for Rotters.com? Are you out of your mind?

But, then again, for a band that couldn't give away its records, some of the old stuff sure sells for a lot of money. Anybody who'd buy this stuff must be crazy.

Tell me this is the very first one printed or a clerical error!


Monday, March 5, 2018

Don't Create Your Life's Regrets: Having an Affair

(This article orginally ran in 2012)

Usually, at this time of year, I'd make my predictions for the next year. But, as baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." Of my top ten predictions for 2011, incredibly all of them were exactly correct excepting eighty percent of them....I predicted Kim Jong Il's death and Manny Pacquiaou kicking butt correctly, but the rest were way off. So I won't be doing predictions this year. 

Instead of predictions, let me state some facts. Such as, "If you do so-and-so, you will regret it" I have much experience with that, so I have confidence in that area.

I am an expert at doing stupid things and then regretting them later. So let me warn you about one thing that far too many people do that they later regret... Sometimes they regret it for the rest of their lives.... And that is having an extra-marital affair.

Guys do stupid things. I don't know an honest guy who won't admit it. I've done lots of them in my life.

One of the really stupid things we do is get married or engaged while still young and then go out an have affairs with other women.

They might be so-called, "One-night stands" but, if they are, that's usually only because the woman wasn't satisfied and is no longer interested in having sex with a dud. Yep. Been there. Done that.

Why we get a fiancee or get married and then still want to go out and screw around with other women is really a head scratcher. Oh sure, I can say that now that I am to be 55-years-old next year, but when I was 16 ~ 25, I, like 97% of all guys who will admit it (the other 3% are liars), would have sex with just about any girl on the planet at any time any place.

Oh, don't think I was so sexually active at 16. I wasn't. I only dated "Handrietta and her five sisters" back then. I didn't actually have sex with a girl until I was 20 or 21.

But I digress. Where was I? 

Oh yeah. Doing stupid things like having affairs. Why do guys do that? Well, it's definitely a problem of not being able to control hormones. That's for sure. Guys have a hormone problem when they are young and it makes us unable to think with our brains and only with our, er, family treasure. 

But when it comes to having an affair that means breaking a bond of trust.  When we make a bond of trust to some wonderful girl (and trust that all women have a little girl inside of them as all guys have a little boy inside of us) as well as her family, why do we have an affair and want to hurt their feelings? Many girls have some childhood fantasy that they carry through life that they will meet some white knight on a steed and we are going to take them away. I think they call it a "Cinderella Complex." We meet this wonderful girl that we fall in love with. Then we meet her family and father and mother who are kind to us; we marry. Then, we screw around with other women and mess things up for them and ourselves!? Why do we do that? What have they done to us that was so bad? Why do we want to hurt them so?

Especially if we have children. Do we hate our partners and children (and ourselves) so much that we want to mess it up so badly just for 2 hours of sex and then weeks and months of whispering, lying and sneaking around? What, are we stupid?

Ninety nine percent of young guys have an excuse for doing stupid things; if they are under twenty five, they can't control their hormones.  But when we are older, have kids and a meaningful job, why do we risk all of that? I mean, think about it. When a guy is married or has a steady girlfriend or fiancee, then why would they want another girl? 

To be totally flippant about it, isn't one girl enough trouble as it is? 

Go figure.

But even more confusing than men having affairs is married women having affairs, I think. OK, call me sexist, but, from what I have read and understand, women don't go around thinking about sex for seven or eight hours straight a day, everyday like men do. Women don't go to bed at night and dream about sex all night and wake up in a puddle.

Nope. From the literature I've read, they don't do that. 

There is a woman who lives in my neighborhood that we've know for at least six years, named Linda (not her real name) who I think is having an affair. Linda has two kids and is somewhere around 35-years-old. I have no solid proof, like photographs, that she is having an affair, but, like I said, "Been there. Done that." I could surmise from what she was doing, how she was dressed and how she has been acting, that she is indeed having an affair. 

I used to see Linda walking around in the neighborhood sometimes, like I see all the neighbors. I am a friendly guy so I always greet the locals. Linda would be walking around with her small children and I'd say, "Hi!" My wife and son would also say hi to Linda and her family.

Because of my job, I don't usually have to go sit in an office from 9 - 5 everyday. I often get to work from home or have very unusual hours. Often times I go to the local Starbucks for meetings with friends and clients and possible business partners. It was at the Starbucks that I saw Linda and knew immediately that she was having an affair. I felt sorry for her. But mostly I felt sorry for her children.

By the way, near the Starbucks, across the street, and a 4 minute walk on the back road, is also what we call a "Love Hotel." A Love Hotel is a hotel that rents out rooms for two-hour trysts. They are quite popular for young people and those having affairs... So the Starbucks is probably a convenient (but stupid) "meeting place." 

Anyway, my meeting with my client was at 10 am sharp inside the Starbucks which is on the seventh floor of this huge department store near my house. Ten am is opening time for the department store and Starbucks. I was one of the first customers in the Starbucks. I bought my coffee and sat down at a table near the door so that my client and I could catch each other easily. I don't usually pay attention to other people in coffee shops and certainly don't look around for other people that I might know so I sat down and opened my computer. After a few seconds, the lady at the table next to me abruptly stood up and almost ran out of the coffee shop. I noticed her because of the way she was dressed; She had on dark sunglasses (inside of a coffee shop on a cloudy day? Hmmm?) and was wearing a head scarf like some woman who was hiding from the police in an old detective movie. It was Linda. She didn't say, "Good morning" or anything to me and she swiftly left the coffee shop.

A tad bit odd, wouldn't you say?

See? This is how women dress (Jacqueline Kennedy) when they don't want to be recognized. If a person is dressed like this, they are ashamed of what they are doing or they are outside on a windy day. Dressed like this inside a coffee shop? 

Now, let's review this situation. It's just past 10 am. The coffee shop just opened. I am one of the first customers in the shop. I buy my coffee and sit down. This woman, who I've seen in the neighborhood (and who has even been to our house with husband and children for a BBQ party before), dressed in an obvious fashion to disguise herself, ups and abruptly leaves the premises without saying "Hello" and she's wearing dark sunglasses inside a building?!

What's that say to you? Circumstantial for sure, but it says to me that she's having an affair with someone.

As Shakespeare would say, "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive."

Like I said, I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for her husband and I certainly feel sorry for her kids. Hopefully she has stopped but probably not.

I suspect that she knows that I saw her (and I could "read her mind") as I have seen her around the neighborhood over these last few months but she definitely tries to avoid greeting us and avoids having eye contact with me anymore.... When I do see her, she has that "deer caught in the headlights"  look. Oh well. Poor woman.

It's hard enough in life to obtain happiness and peace as it is, why ruin your chances by your own stupid and foolish actions?

If my guess is correct, and I am quite confident that it is, now, what does she have? She is living in guilt. She has betrayed her family and children. Did the kids deserve this? Make no mistake about it, no matter how you slice or rearrange it, it is betrayal. Now, she has to live with that guilt and regret all her life. Like I said, I know what I am talking about. I've experienced this.

Maybe it is a sickness of the heart and soul? 

Some will say that it takes three to have an affair: two people to have the affair and a cold, mean or uncaring spouse to create the situation whereby the other spouse wishes to have an escape. This might be true. But it still doesn't erase the guilt that someone like Linda must feel when she looks into her children's eyes.

Life is too short to live if it is full of regrets. Of course, we should live life fully, but we should never betray the trust of those we love and who love us.

I hope that, in 2012, my friends, you can live a wonderful year without misfortune and regrets.

Happy New Year 2012. May the New Year see you and yours happy, healthy and prosperous. Live without regrets

NOTE: For you bilingual folks (or those who know about Google Translation), my wife has written a pretty funny commentary and take on this story. She thinks I am imagining things. It's hilarious: 男の勘、男の想像力

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Japan? Samurai, Ninja, Geisha and Benshi...

In the old days (1908 ~ the 1930s)、during the heyday of Silent Films, there was no such thing as subtitling of movies in countries like Japan (that loved western culture). 

Also, as in the west, pianists or string quartets would accompany the Silent Films (Until the music started recording those soundtracks in 1923). So, how did, say, Charles Chaplin or Rudolph Valentino, become worldwide stars when people couldn't understand the silent movies? Or the cards that were inserted into the films to explain situation or dialogue? 

There's no way the average Japanese could read this back then... 
Heck, it would be troublesome today!... Wait a sec... You guys all read English...
Imagine if the cards said this:
Get it? They could be on the screen for 2 minutes and it wouldn't matter! Chuckle!

Outside of English speaking countries, the films were narrated and explained by what is called, "rhetorician." The Merriam Webster dictionary defines, "rhetorician," as a: "master or teacher of rhetoric; an orator." Or "an eloquent or grandiloquent writer or speaker."

In Japan, these orators were called, "Benshi." 

Benshi (stage left)

The Benshi would stand on the stage to the side of the screen and explain the situations in the movies and even add in character dialogue... 

Some of these benshi were incredible at what they did; many became superstars in their own right. In fact, these benshi were responsible for people like Chaplin or Valentino becoming famous in Japan. Many fans came to see the Benshi, not so much to see the Hollywood stars! Chaplin or Valentino or the rest were the side acts... Many people came to be entertained by the oratory of the legendary Benshi...

For many people in Japan, it was the Benshi, not the Hollywood stars in the movie that was the main reason for attending the theaters back in old Japan in those days. 

I believe, as far as cinema and the mass media, the rhetoricians, the Benshi, were the very first in the evolution of today's voice actors. 

Thirty years ago, in Tokyo's Asakusa district, there was a theater called, "Kaminari Theater" (Lightning Theater) and they used to have performances just as they were held during of the heyday of silent films: They would have evenings set up to recreate the exact experience and event of Benshi and Silent Films from the 1920s. 

In the old days, in Japan, going to the cinema and seeing a Benshi was a premium experience for the high-class; people would have dinner and champagne or sake while watching the Silent Films.

I went often to those recreations in the 1980s.

Kaminari Theater used to show these Silent Films with quartet & Benshi. When the films were over, I was so impressed, moved and inspired, I had tears in my eyes. 

Benshi: Sawato Midori

If this is difficult for you to comprehend, about the Benshi, here's an example: It might be difficult to understand because it's in Japanese, but watch this lady, Sawato Midori, she is awesome. At the very start, she does the voices, of the daughter, mother, sister; then she goes on to do the voices of the samurai men who are fighting... And then flawlessly back to the narrator.

Here is Sawato Midori who is probably Japan's top Benshi.... Even today! She's an incredible talent, : https://youtu.be/nAdtP6Y01bs?t

I met some executives at a silent movie company in Tokyo the other day and am attempting to arrange a showing of, perhaps, a Chaplin movie (and an old samurai movie) with a string quartet accompaniment and a Benshi for our Mt. Fuji - Atami Film & VR Festival and other Japan film festivals planned. 

The events will be promoted just like the above explanation. They will be promoted as something like, "A time trip back to Japan of the 1920s." 

The shows will include a dinner (like the food they ate back in those days) and drinks.. Drinks from the 1920s: Salty Dog, champagne, rice wine.

After everyone is served dinner (which will be a meal like people would have eaten at a dinner show in 1923 and seated), the main event starts: A Chaplin or Samurai Silent film with quartet and Benshi... 

Everyone can experience the past and even foreigners will like it as the Samurai movies even have English subtitles in most cases movies and the Chaplin films have the dialogue and situation card inserted. 

I think this would be the most fantastic theatrical experience! 

Time trip back to the days of the Silent Movie stars, dinner, the show featuring a string quartet and the Benshi!

A once in a lifetime trip to a better time and an age long gone by.


For more information about Mt. Fuji Atami Film & VR Festival

Please, come and "Follow" our Twitter page: https://twitter.com/FujiAtamiFilm

And, we have a Facebook page too! https://www.facebook.com/MFAFFcinema/


This post is dedicated to Stephen David Brooks, Koji Kamibayashi, Sawato Midori, My wife, Candice Anne Marshall, Scott Hillier, Giedre Bumbulyte and Elliot Grove.

Musicians! Do Not Send DJ's Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud Links!

Once again, I have received a message from an artist asking me to consider their music for radio airplay. Once again, they sent me a Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link and asked me to go to the links and listen to their music, write back to them and tell them what songs I want, and they will send them along.

I won't do that. I don't know any professional DJs or curators who will.

It is good that artists make this effort; well done. But, artists, do not just send DJs only Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, please! Most DJs I know will not respond to you nor will they go to your link.

Why? There is no reason for us to go to the link. We can't play those links on air. So, if we can't play them on air, there's no point in even listening to them. 

If you want us to listen to your music, check out our playlist. If you think your song fits what we play, then put your best foot forward, and send us your fave MP3 or two (Don't send us full album downloads, either - if we want those, we can ask for that later.)

It is an extra process, or step, and a waste of time for DJ's to go to your Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link. We don't have time to write back to you or download the tunes using special software. Sorry, but you need to do homework and check our on-air playlist.

Yes, we DJs are lazy (and underpaid). But remember, our listeners will not increase nor decrease whether we play your track or not. I already write to lots of artists and ask for tracks for things I found and like.

Send me those Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, fine, but include a high -quality MP3 of your best track in the mail/message too.

If I listen to the MP3, and like it, I will immediately place it into the music list; I can't do that with a Soundcloud link. I don't have time to write back to you and wait for a response. I'll forget.

FYI: I know other DJs and curators who absolutely hate it when artists ask them to go to an online link and listen.  

Again, today, another artist has asked me to listen to their online music and pick what I like. They wrote: "Here's my Soundcloud or Spotify link. Please listen and then tell me what songs you like and I will send it to you." 

This frustrates me. 

The artist wants me to play their music on the radio in Japan? Great. But it is the artist's duty, not mine, to go to the radio show webpage, look at the playlist and then determine if their music is suitable (You'd be blown away at how many artists send me Heavy Metal or Death Metal - which I never play). 

I don't want to come off as a conceited jerk, but the artists have to make things easier for us. 

To the artist above I actually responded (most DJs won't). Here is what I wrote:

"Here is my radio show link. Please check out the link and the songs that I play. If you think your songs fit, please send me two of your best MP3s. I don't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud as it is a waste of time because I cannot play those on the radio. I know for a fact that most of my DJ friends, who do this job as an occupation, won't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud either. 

I'm not being a jerk. I want to, and always have, supported new artists. But I need for the artist to help me and save all of us time by sending the tunes that they think are the best fit (as MP3 attachments)

Please understand. 

Here is my show: http://www.interfm.co.jp/mrs/ 

Thx, Mike"

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Rock N Roll Music and the Proof of the Existence of God!

I'm making a rock n roll movie. It's called, "Ghostroads - A Rock N Roll Ghost Story" Here's the trailer: https://vimeo.com/210533272 

The movie stars my favorite Japanese rock band of all time, "The Neatbeats." Rodney Bingenheimer (AKA "Rodney on the Roq" KROQ Los Angeles) is also in the movie. Rodney is one of, if not thee most famous DJ in the world. He's made many great stars famous. As some regular readers might know, I used to be Rodney's assistant (Read: His lowly "Go-fer.")

Rodney Bingenheimer

In Japan, it isn't too cool to "toot one's horn" so to speak, so I tell few people about my past....

One day, during the shooting of the movie, I was at the Neatbeats' studio. There I saw they had a book about Phil Spector (a very famous music producer who did the Beatles, etc.) 

I saw the book and then I opened the book to a random page and, I'll be damned if there wasn't a photo of Rodney and Phil Spector right there. "What a coincidence!" I thought to myself.

I walked back into the studio where we were shooting and said to the Neatbeats members, "Hey! You guys like Phil Spector?" 

They all said, "YES! HE IS GOD!" 

Phil Spector

I answered, "Oh? I've met him two or three times. I even "had lunch" (or was it dinner?) with him and Rodney when he showed up to that restaurant that Rodney 'lives' at in Hollywood named 'Canters.'"

Oh. That was a mistake. I opened my big mouth. Should have shut up and said nothing.


I could tell by the expressions on their face that they didn't believe me at all. Their jaws dropped open in disappointed disbelief... They looked stupefied.... 

Here, all this time, I was their friend. They thought they could believe me and trust me.... But here I was telling them something that, to them, couldn't possibly be true in a million years...

I said, "No! Really! I have! I have met Phil Spector a few times.....I'm serious." They still looked like they thought I was full of shit....

Flustered and insistent to prove I wasn't lying, I figured I'd offer proof... I added, "Do you guys know who Rodney Bingenheimer is?" 

They all lit up again and said, "Of course! Rodney on the Roq is legendary! He is a DJ god!" 

I paused... hesitated a bit, and then I said, "I was Rodney's assistant from 1980 ~81. He introduced me to many famous people...."

It seemed then like the roof caved in. I was ready for the insane asylum by the expressions on their faces.

I could tell by the way they looked at me that they had lost all respect for me at that very moment. They thought that I was a total useless bullshitter. 

They didn't believe me at all. 

...Not anymore.... 

.....Not about.... 


I protested, "No! Really! I was! Rodney introduced me to lots of famous people. The Ramones, Phil Spector, etc. etc." 

They still didn't believe me... So, in frustration, I threw my hands in the air, gave up and said, "OK. Fuck it! Whatever!...." 

That was Jan. of 2016. 

A few short months later...

In May 2016, by sheer coincidence, Rodney came to Japan and I was able to be a tour guide for several days for my old friend, Rodney on the Roq! I hadn't seen him in over 25 years.... 

We went to many good restaurants and fun places in Tokyo while he was here with his girlfriend (and fab movie director), Kansas Bowling who made the horror film, "B.C. Butcher." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxsSH4NhXMc)

And, Rodney and Kansas both appeared in my movie too! What timing!!!! 

So, don't tell me, "There's no God!" 

There is. 

I have met him. 

His name is Phil Spector....

...and another legend, a god named Rodney Bingenheimer.


(I took lots of photos and wrote about sightseeing with Rodney here: http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2016/06/rodney-bingenheimer-in-japan.html) 

With my old friend and legendary radio DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer 
at the Poor Cow in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, Japan May 27, 2016.

The Best Teacher in High School I Ever Had Wasn't a School Teacher - She Was an Extremely Beautiful Classmate!

With that title, you are probably thinking about some hot high school "sexcapades" or a story of some girl who taught me about sex in high school. No way. I think those things only happen in movies or crappy Bob Seeger songs. For 90% of the people in high school (at least in my time) dates and going to dances were only things we dreamed about or saw in movies. I was one of those people. 

I never had sex until I was 20, or was it 21?

My high school yearbook photo 1975

After so many years of elementary, junior, high school and college and university, I can only remember a few teachers who really taught me something. I had one in 4th grade, Ms. Demuth, in Minnesota. She gave me a Snoopy card once that said, "Life is full of rude awakenings." I'll never forget that lesson. I don't remember any elementary teachers who influenced me or inspired me after her. 

In High School, I had Mr. Holts, my science and biology teacher. Mr. Holts taught me that there's a big difference between playing and doing. And then, and, in college, there was Mr. Al Miller. Mr. Miller was best of all because he taught me about television, how to handle myself in front of people and, outside of school, he taught me how to be a real gentleman; how to be kind and respectful to people - to all people.

Mr. Miller impressed me because he would, for example, talk to parking lot attendants and doormen and call them, "friend" or "sir." He treated everyone with respect. Not only did his mannerism and respect for people influence me, it touched me so much that it set the way I try to treat people all my life. Alas! I am a poor student and I can never attain the enlightenment of my sensei. I think few people can be such a sincere gentleman as Mr. Al Miller. If the world was filled with people like Mr. Miller it would be so much a nicer place to live. 

But I digress.

Mr. Al Miller was the best school instructor I've ever had  

Even though I had these teachers in school, the best teachers I had in school weren't actually my official teachers. Nope. The best teachers were girls I liked. There were several of them. They didn't teach me important things because they were my girlfriends or anything. They didn't teach me anything because they were particularly kind to me. They taught me well because they were only kind to me when they wanted something from me. They were kind to me when they wanted something like for me to tell them the answers to questions on tests so that they wouldn't fail. They taught me when they used me.

I'd oblige them because, well, in my high school immaturity and insecurity I figured being used and then dropped like a wet a dirty dish rag was better than not being used (or even spoken to) at all. This might sound bitter, but it's not. Those girls taught me well and I appreciate them for it. The lesson that they taught me was a lesson in life and, had they not taught me, someone else would have. They taught me the real world.

One of the girls who really taught me well was a girl who was in several of my high school classes named Kathy Dobbe (I think that's how it is spelled!) I'll never forget Kathy. Kathy Dobbe doesn't know that, all through high school, I had a crush on her and thought she was the most beautiful girl in school - maybe even in the entire world. I thought Kathy was a goddess. 

Kathy was a great teacher. The peculiar part about Kathy's teachings to me is that I'll bet we never spoke three words in total to each other my entire junior and senior years.

I am reminded of Kathy recently because, on Facebook, a few weeks ago, I saw one of those dumb "Guess who's joined your high school class Facebook community?" notices and saw that Kathy had joined (I don't join things like that - come to think of it, how do they know what high school I went to???). I also wonder why so many people seem to long for high school days. Are things that bad today? Were things that good back then? I don't think so... But, then again, I wasn't a popular kid in school...

Anyway, from the Facebook, notice, I saw what Kathy looks like today. Well, I am assuming it was Kathy.  I've never met her mom, but I gather that she today looks like her mom did back then. Kathy looked pretty good, all things considered. I think she looked quite good especially compared to her peers. 

Not aging fast enough? Drink soda! Hoo boy! Japanese people don't drink sweet drinks anywhere near the level that American people do. Even lots of younger Japanese still prefer tea. 

Damned if people in America don't look very old, overweight and past their years! Kathy didn't really look that way, but when I see people in America my age, they all have gray hair and are fat! I saw another picture of a girl whom I have known for over 35 years last night. She is a year younger than me but in her photo she looks easily ten years older than me. It must be that processed food Standard American Diet (it's called S.A.D.) that those people are eating. I'm glad I eat raw food and live in Japan where people eat healthy food. (Any wonder why Japanese women live, on average, at least six years longer than American women? The men live more than four years?)

But I digress.... Again!!!!

Unbeknownst to her, like I mentioned, Kathy also doesn't know that she taught me self respect. She taught me that because I had a complex all through high school; I thought I was inferior and shorter than all the (pretty) girls in school. Really! This complex messed me up because I figured that pretty girls don't like short guys. The guys all have to be tall, dark and strong; just like in the movies. Kathy taught me that I wasn't shorter. In fact, I was taller than her by a few inches... Actually, until she taught me, I never knew that I was taller than all of them. I simply never realized it.

Now, you're probably imagining that Kathy taught me this important lesson in self-esteem in life at some school function like a dance. Imagine! Kathy Dobbe and me dancing cheek to cheek on the high school gymnasium floor to some slow and romantic song. It's one of the last numbers of the evening. The lights are turned down low. Everyone grabs their date and heads to the dance floor.... We look into each others eyes and we embrace...

The saxophones start to play... "And they called it puppy love...." 

No. No. Stop the music... Stop the music! I'm not that old!

Think of it, Kathy and I, cheek to cheek, in a warm high school kid's love embrace? Can you imagine it? No? Neither can I. I was enthralled with Kathy but that was it. Even if I had asked her for a date, and she said, "Yes," that would probably be the end of it. She'd probably have scared me so much that, had we met for a date, I couldn't talk. Not a word. If I could utter a sound, it would be like a bird chirping or a wheel squeaking. Nope. Couldn't do it. Just like in the movies. And that's the only part of this that is like it is portrayed in the movies: Geeks can't handle beautiful women. Geeks are always like that. 

It's been scientifically proven that high school geeks' vocal chords stop functioning properly when they are around girls who they think are so pretty they aren't real or aren't from the Milky Way galaxy. 

I suppose I should tell you why I had such an inferiority complex. It's a long story so I'll make it brief. Before moving back to California, I had spent the last 8 or 10 years (I can't remember) moving all around the USA and going to a different school almost every year. That meant that when I went to a new school I had to start over and make new friends... This also meant that I didn't have very many friends. This is hard on a kid but a good lesson in life (that is for another blog post on another day). Since I went to schools in the South and Midwest, I was used to their school system and their curriculum.

Well, I don't know about today (but can't imagine that it's so different) the level of education in Midwestern and Southern elementary schools are a few years ahead of California public schooling. That means that what they are teaching in 5th grade in a school in Minnesota, they are teaching in 7th grade in California public school. So when I moved from Minnesota, where I was getting "C's," to California, I was suddenly getting "A's." Classes that I hated and struggled in in Minnesota, like Algebra, were, in California, one big joke. Suddenly, from being a dumb kid in school in Minnesota (or as my very kind older brother would insult me all my life, "The F-minus Kid") I went to being the smartest kid in my class.

Through high school, my older brother got all "A's." He went to school in Minnesota too (you do the math). So, even though my grades in academics weren't as good as his, I was still a geek, got mostly A's and, as such, an outsider. Because, even back then, in a California school getting good grades meant you were a momma's boy or teacher's pet and definitely NOT cool.

So here I went from being a dummy in school with no friends in the Midwest to being a smart kid in school with no friends in California. I thought being smart was good? Not in California public school it isn't. Can you imagine how that would play games with a 15 year old's mind? 

My high school in California, was a regular west coast high school like you'd see in the movies. You know, pretty blond girls and handsome blond guys. Everyone drove a hot rod American car and had perfect teeth. The ocean wasn't a ten minute drive from school so we had tons of surfers, stoners and our high school also had the standard issue football team and basketball team that every all-American high school had.

Everyone at my high school looked like they had just jumped out of some Hollywood movie. This is Janet and Randy, who were Prom King and Queen. 

The boys teams at my high school were lousy (you wouldn't know it by the "big man on campus" attitude those guys showed while at school). Nevertheless, it was a big deal every year when we'd play the cross town high school's own lousy team in our standard issue cross town rivalry. The teams would basically take each year going back and forth beating each other. The cheerleaders would cry because, well, as you know, beating Cross Town is so immensely important, especially since, as any cheerleader will tell you "...This is senior year and our last year at high school. We must win!" Maybe it was all planned that way... Maybe they do that in American society to teach militant tribalism (it's great for military recruitment)....

But I digress.... For the third time...

I was talking about Kathy Dobbe. Besides the very pretty girls, surfers, stoners, hot-rodders, and football and basketball players, my school also had geeks. I think I was King Geek at my school. I was King Geek because my grades were almost all "A's" and I was president of the Science Club for my junior and senior year.

Being a geek in high school sucks because the "cool kids" (pretty girls, surfers, stoners, hot-rodders, and football and basketball players) didn't want to have anything to do with you. The only friends a geek has in high school is other geeks. So, all through high school, I only went on a date twice. The first time was when Shanda Shinkaruk asked me to go to a backwards dance with her (she was pretty too and terrified me also!) and then, my senior year when I got up the nerve to ask one of the smartest and most popular girls in school, Debbie Henry to go to the prom with me. Debbie said, "Yes" and that changed my life too.... But let me stick with Kathy for now. Debbie is another story.

How did Kathy teach me self-respect and give me a better self-image? It's ridiculous, really, when I stop to think about it. Here, all that time, all through 11th and 12th grade I thought all these girls would never go on a date with me because, are you ready?.... I thought they wouldn't go on a date with me because I was shorter than they were.

Seriously. This is what I thought. It was what I believed. The day that Kathy Dobbe destroyed this belief is still strong in my memory...

Only geeks and dorks helped the teachers with things like the projectors and handing out petri dishes. I did that sort of thing a lot. Come to think of it, this might be my first photo of my ever having worked in the cinema industry.

It was biology class. I can't remember why, but Mr. Holts told us to line up to collect some materials. For some reason, it wound up that Kathy Dobbe was standing right in front of me. I had never come that close to her before.  I was an extremely shy boy and would never intentionally stand next to her. I was so shy that, had she come close, normally I would shy away and back off to the other side of the room. But here she was! The girl of my dreams! The girl I had only seen from afar and she was standing only two feet in front of me... This goddess!!!!  

As usual, Kathy paid no attention to me and was talking to one of the other beautiful people, a guy, in the class. When she turned her back to me was when it hit me. I was shocked! I couldn't believe it. I had to get closer and check and recheck again. Were my eyes deceiving me? Not only was I taller than Kathy but I was taller by at least three inches!

You cannot imagine how much that really confused me and threw me for a loss. I was absolutely dumbfounded. It was as if a scientist who dedicated his entire life to a theorem and was completely and totally convinced that this theory was true had just found out that all his beliefs and life's work were completely wrong. Everything he (I) had thought, believed and was convinced to be true was completely wrong and had zero basis in reality. You can imagine how this twisted my mind especially as a geek and president of the Science Club!.... Chuckle.

Soon after, I began talking to many other girls. I began to check my new theory and discovery by use of the Scientific Method: "I am taller than these girls hereby it is OK for me not to be such a loser." I tested it over and over and found it to be true.

I stood next to the beautiful girls in school. I was taller than them. When some of the pretty (but dumb) girls in science class would suddenly take a 180 degree turnabout and go from not even knowing that I exist or actually being mean to me to being so sweet and kind and asking for my help giving them the answers to Biology tests, I started having an attitude. I'd intentionally give them the wrong answers.... Really! I am ashamed to admit that I did that one time but then felt bad about it... After that, if those girls wanted my help, I'd just tell them, "You're always mean to me then you want my help at test time? No. I don't think so." Then these girls would get really mad at me and bad mouth me. I think they got mad because I had always given them answers before so they had come to depend on me and when the answers stopped coming, they thought I was a jerk. They treated me like a jerk 100% of the time from then on.

That's OK. I didn't care. Before that, they treated me like a jerk only 95% of the time excepting at test time. Now they'd treat me like dirt 100% of the time. So what? Their loss, not mine, I figured.

And, after all, I was taller than they were and I got good grades. "Who needs dumb manipulative girls, anyway?" I realized.

Life is full of give and take. Life is also full of manipulative people. I thank god that I was to have this seemingly banal experience of standing in line behind Kathy Dobbe and how that changed my life. It's weird the little seemingly unimportant things that make a huge impact on our lives and way of thinking. From the lesson I learned from Kathy Dobbe, I learned self-respect and self-confidence... Perhaps from that experience I also learned too much, way too much, self-confidence too and exercised that far too often.

But this self-confidence has taught me to be independent and to be creative and to depend on myself. It has helped me to avoid the rat race whereby too many people today fear for their jobs and their future. Of course, I sometimes worry about the future and money too, but, opposed to a company employee who has no control over whether or not they lose their job or get laid off, I create my own work and I create my own income. I have come to, through experience and self-confidence and a good self image, to know that, if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. I believe that thinking that way, and helping your child to do so also, could be one of the best lessons in life that they'll ever learn.


I think the lessons I learned from this one experience are (if you are a student, this is for you. If you are a parent, please consider how you can help your child):

1) What we think and believe is often not true. An open mind is necessary. Some of the things we believe are so opposite of actual truth it is epiphany when we realize it.

2) Often we need others to help us achieve these realizations and epiphanies. 

3) We need to have more self-confidence and to explore.

4) Learning to read and write in school is important, of course, but many of the other important lessons are not taught by teachers. They are taught by other kids, parents and the outside world. We need to prepare our kids better for that.

5) Parents need to tell your kids that they are beautiful. This seems obvious but not enough parents do this. Most parents never do this at all.

6) A kid with great self-esteem and self-confidence can do anything and be whatever they want to be. Make sure your child is that way. 

Thank you Kathy Dobbe and to the Kathy Dobbe's everywhere.

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