Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve......AGAIN!?!?

    What a beautiful day. Sun streaming in....surrounded by guitars and drums, Molly, with a full belly and beggin' for a walk, Linda roamin' around lookin' gorgeous gettin' ready for work....... and I'm off. is good. I said to myself, "Lyons...this is a good time to blog. But I'm gonna skip the blogosphere and post this right to Facebook. Read....don't read. It's only therapy, man. And it may take awhile.
 Some years back I was training at a Princeton commercial AM radio station. They said they wanted to hire me 'cause they liked my WDVR show. I thought...."Cool." But between having to play the songs with the blue dot and the songs with the red dot, traffic, weather, news, commercials for the Priceton Record Exchange (love that place) promos etc......I didn't have time to have any So the GM came in and the conversation, to the best of my recollection, went something like this. (Him) "Lyons, How ya doin?" (Me) Well, ok but, feeling a little restricted. Not a lot of time to vamp. (Him) "Waddaya mean. Right here between "Horse With No Name" and "Goings on in the area" you have 45 secs to go nuts!" (Me) "C'mon man, it takes me 45 secs to clear my throat." That was my last day of training.
   I was watching the news earlier and they had a lot of year end wrap ups. One of them was women in sports. The first female pitcher to win a Little League World Series game. She had a 70 MPH fastball!! On the boardwalk, on my best day, I could hit, maybe 55? And the youngest female golfer to qualify for the professional tour. 11 yrs old. (I think).
   I've known some extraordinary women. I'm living with one. The last few years have been a challenge for Linda. Spur of the moment trips to Pittsburgh, at all hours of the day or night, to take, pick up, or just be with her daughter in the hospital. Carrie's there as we speak. Linda just got back yesterday. (Thanks for your support and inquiries. No definite news yet on organ rejection) How many nights have I held her just wishing I could make it all better. I couldn't. Or waking up in the middle of the night to hear her crying in the bathroom. She didn't want to wake me up. My hero.
   My mom went through numerous amputations before she finally died after a long battle with a rare circulatory disease. She worked, took care of a disabled husband, a mother with Alzheimers and always had the door open for a musician son for extended stays when needed. She also bought me my first acoustic guitar..... and my first electric guitar and amp. And sprung for $5/week guitar lessons. She was kind of curious when the whole women's lib thing started. She was already living it. My hero.
   My mom died on New years day and my father died on New Years Eve. About ten years apart. So this time of year is always a little "weird" for me. Most New Years Eve's I have a gig. Tonight I don't. But I'll get to spend some time with one of my heros.
   I've been listening to a lot of Joel Osteen lately. He doesn't drive religion down your throat but is more inspirational, upbeat, positive. Delusional, some may say. I dig it. His main message is .....and I quote the great Bobby McFerrin......"Don't worry, be happy." Give your problems to....dare I say it....God. Or whomever/whatever you believe in. Things will work out just the way they're supposed to work out. A good number of your worries you have no control over, anyway. Try it. Try it for an hour. DON'T WORRY! It's not easy. But man, it feels good.
  Deviating like a drunk at a New Years Eve party......... Linda and I were talking about how rough cavemen/women had it. Especially before fire. (We have some strange conversations) Can you imagine?!?! Another one of those news bits from earlier. Cold, sick, hungry....for life! Toothaches, unhealed broken bones, no iTunes! Do we have challenges? Yeah. But it ain't so bad. I watched a Neflix movie the other night about the big it small we are... all my Facebook friends, regular friends, family, co workers, WDVR listeners (I'll be on tomorrow, 6 AM) have a wonderful happy safe New Years Eve. Don't drink and drive. Pet a dog, rub a cat (as Stymie said,"There's only one way to rub a cat. I found that out."), climb a tree, roll in the grass, smell a baby, dance your ass off patient. Don't sweat the small stuff. It's all small stuff. Peace
yadda. I love those things. We're here for a blip. A blip of a blip. We go by so fast a blip says, "Whoa, what the hell was that?" So what's with all the self importance. I'm gonna look at myself in the mirror and say, "SHUT UP!" That's better. (History of the Eagles is also a pretty good watch).

Monday, October 13, 2014


     I first saw The Doughboys in 1965. I was finishing a Friday night rehearsal with the Plainfield, NJ St. Mary’s Boys Choir and was making my way up from the basement when I heard The Yardbirds “For Your Love” coming out of the gym/assembly hall. WHAT??? I’d spent the last seven years in that school with the Sisters of (no) Mercy and that sound just didn’t jive! The five guys onstage were called the Ascots and their guitar player, my paperboy, Mike Farina…. had been downstairs singing with the choir an hour earlier. The bass player, Mike Caruso, was a neighborhood guy I was friendly with and the drummer, Richie Heyman, and I, did a couple seasons with the Braves in the Plainfield Little League. The lead singer, Myke Scavone, had been the drummer for the Apollos who I remembered from the Plainfield Fourth of July parade about a year earlier. And their other guitar player, Willy Kirchofer I’d seen playing guitar on his porch one afternoon a few months earlier. I tried to wrangle him into my band but he said he was already in a band. Yeah….sure. These guys were all about two years older than my crew and when you’re twelve and they’re fourteen that’s a serious gap. I’d been hearing music coming from Mike Farina’s house just on the other side of my back yard. That was, finally, The Ascots.
     Plainfield, NJ, like the rest of Main St. America, was in the throes of a 60’s/British Invasion/Carnaby St/folk/rock/political/pre flower power/head shop/ music revolution. In 1966 I moved from Plainfield to Piscataway but continued my weekly trips to the Queen City to play music with my pals, take a guitar lesson at Gregory’s Music and walk the streets of downtown Plainfield; usually, hopefully, ending up in the balcony of The Strand Theater with my girlfriend, not watching a James Bond flick. The band, girlfriend, Gregory’s and Plainfield in general faded out as Piscataway, new girlfriend, new band and new guitar teacher faded in. There was a whole Wonder years, coming of age thing happening. 
  The Ascots hit their stride a few years later when they donned WW One army uniforms, changed their name to The Doughboys and won Zacherley’s Disc – o -Teen battle of the bands. Zacherley was a cool Dracula type tv host who would play horror movies and occasionally interrupt the movie to deliver words of wisdom from his coffin. He’d then close the top and the movie would resume. Too hip. The prize for winning the band battle was a stint as the house band at The Café Wha? in NY’s Greenwich Village. Between St Mary’s and The Café Wha? I’d seen the Doughboys a few times at NJ Hullabaloos and scattered HS dances. Mike Farina had left and they were gigging as a four piece covering artists like Hendrix and Cream before anyone else. They also played snippets of commercials, old tv shows, cartoons etc on the wall behind them. That’s entertainment, man. They cut a record that could be found on most central NJ jukeboxes and were opening up for some name bands but soon after the run at Café Wha The Doughboys called it quits.
   Myke Scavone went on to front Ram Jam (Black Betty), Mike Caruso became a session player and spent some time playing with Jimi Hendrix. Richie Heyman, after playing, with Link Wray and Brian Wilson started a solo singer/songwriter career as Richard X. Heyman. In 2000 the Doughboy’s reformed for a “one time gig” at Richie’s birthday party. It felt, and sounded good and the Doughboys continued to roll. They kept it up covering a good chunk of the East Coast and releasing three cds along the way, in addition to a DVD documentary, “Rock n’ Raw.” After Willie Kirchofer’s sudden passing in 2005, Gar Francis, of Sticky Fingers fame, took over lead/rhythm guitar duties. Their latest cd, Shakin’ Our Souls features performances from Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere & The Raiders) and Genya Ravan (Ten Wheel Drive.) One of their earlier originals, Black Sheep, was dubbed one of the “coolest songs in the world” by Little Steven Van Zandt on his Sirius Underground Garage radio show. Little Steven nominated more Doughboy’s tunes including a very cool cover of The Moody Blues’ “Tuesday Afternoon.” The Doughboys song list is still a blend of sixties covers and originals delivered with the same high intensity enthusiasm I saw on that St. Mary’s stage almost fifty years ago. Take a look at their version of Route 66 on youtube live from The Stone Pony and you’ll get an idea. Wow! I guess Rock and Roll IS here to stay.