Sunday, January 22, 2017

SO... WHY A SINGER SONGWRITER COMPETITION?


I knew in January, when I started this years "Sonoma County Singer Songwriter Competition" that I was delaying, once again the release of my Ebook "Another Day, Another Decibel," but then again it always has been a work in progress... Either way, it gives me the opportunity to develop yet another chapter in my book, story and life... so please bare with me and enjoy my latest project... I am :-)


While on the promo trail for our upcoming "Sonoma County Singer Songwriter Competition,"
I recently did an on-air radio interview with Brian Griffith, Program Director for @ KRCB Public Radio in Sonoma County. Brian posed the question that a few people have asked me...

"Why a Singer Songwriter Competition?"

I had thought about this idea for a long time before proposing it to Michael McCullough, one of the two outstanding owners of Redwood Cafe in Cotati. It's a great formula for live entertainment and one that I like to think of as a self generating event... in theory, if you have a lot of connected people, given the proper tools to help promote the event you can get some great results. Sounds simple, but it's a lot like cat herding... and what makes this formula work? The answer is community, and when you embrace and build a Community you get a greater understanding and the ability to reach a goal together, two very important social skills right now.

 OK, so why a competition? I personally don't believe that musical competitions are supposed to be delegated to only individual instruments or full battle bands, believe me, I've done my fair share of fiddlers festivals and battling bands? As an audio Engineer for over 30 years I've always looked for the 1 ingredient that makes the song work. I've always pointed towards the core of what it takes to make a good Singer Songwriter... the song. From there it all boils down to one word "honesty!"

"With some performers, honesty transcends musical ability or excellence.
Honesty is it's own state of perfection and there is no score for that."


"There are a lot of other ways to feature Singer Songwriter's, open mics, singer in the round an opening act. But few offer the artist the opportunity to have the focus on their craft that a 
competition does. The Judges and the audience are "there" to listen and that's a prize in itself."

In producing this event I have spoken with more than one potential contestant and even a music business in this community competition that where virtually offended at the word "competition,"
as if it were akin to other scary words like "Communism" or "Commercialism." I prefer to think of competition as more of an "opportunity" to exchange our craft and network with friends. As I've mentioned at everyone of our "SoCo Comp" nights... "There are no winners and there are no losers in this competition, there's only 1 Top Contestant each night and they move on to inspire the next. It's through this "competition" that we stand side by side on a level playing field, exchange our thoughts and learn from one another... No one reinvents the wheel and as I replied to a few nay-sayer's and repeated on air at the KRCB and the KRSH Radio interviews...

"This is an opportunity to work together on a common creative goal... we are building a human pyramid of talented local Artists, and when we are done standing each others backs, we will have created the very best Encore Performance show possible." 


The ultimate goal of this event is to establish a greater focus for our local artists. I designed the event to give all of the contestants the opportunity to showcase their work and potentially raise their game. "The Grand Prize" is not $10,000 or a shiny new guitar, it's the awareness that your efforts, both individual and as a community member have been realized.  As part of this competition all of the Contestants will receive not only unlimited networking with other Singer Songwriters and music business professionals but professional quality photos and videos from our Counties finest music photographers... Jason Baldwin and Cheryl Alterman and at leaset 1 of every contestant's songs are being streamed LIVE on facebook for the world to see.  These tools offer the contestant the opportunity to review and critic their work at a later date as well as promotional tools for the future.


As for the future, even at half way point of this competition this event has been huge success and I am working on the details to make this an annual event. Frankly I'm having so much fun that I would run it all year if I could. My hope is that this inspires our County Artists to seek out, attend and support our County's other outstanding musical platforms like "Singer in a Round" or organizations like "West Coast Songwriters." My congratulations and heartfelt thank you's go out to all of our Contestants as well as our Judges for their contribution of time, art and energy. A special thank you to each and every person who has stepped up to help and attend these shows... on stage or off stage it is living proof of a growing Community.

So, take the advice of a fake Professor and don't let a few little words scare you in life...
Competition is good... greed is bad!

Photos and participants below are "STILL IN PROGRESS"

PHOTOS FROM ROUND #1
All courtesy of Jason Baldwin

MARCH 1ST

FEB 22ND

FEB 15TH

FEB 8TH




FEB 1ST


Friday, July 22, 2016

SAN FRANSICO MAGAZINE - August 2016 Interview

 

Published August of 2016 in the San Francisco Magazine

 
 
"A COSMIC WINK"

Listen to Randy Teaford for any length of time and you might easily be convinced that it's not just the drugs talking, Teaford - or, as he is known on stage as "The Professor"- is a master of audio visual synchronicity, and his masterpiece is a yearly staging of the dorm room legend "The Dark Side of Oz," this year at Petaluma's Phoenix Theater. Surely you've heard of, or maybe even tried, syncing the audio of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of The Moon" with the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz." But trust us - you haven't seen it done like this!

Teaford has presented his Oz remix for 10 years running, with incremental tweaks and improvements each year. The result is, well, trippy man. For instance, the lyric "balanced on the biggest wave" in "Breath" (in the air) lines up with Dorothy balancing atop a Kansas fence. Latter, the ethereal wailing in "The Great Gig in the Sky" is a perfect backdrop for Dorothy being caught in the twister. And the line "home, home again" (from "Time") plays when Professor Marvel tells Dorothy to - you guessed it - head home.

Teaford's biggest modification to the urban legend, besides the inclusion of all of the dialog from "The Wizard of Oz" mixed into Pink Floyd's score is to interject the 2nd half of "The Wall" midway through the film. (In sync, it takes 2 1/2 repetitions of DSOTM to equal the length of TWOOz.)

"It's like a cosmic wink," he says. There's no way this was ever preconceived; it just happened.
The amazing thing is that someone found it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The 10th Annual "The Dark Side of Oz - Somewhere Over The Wall"

 Special Ed Class of 2016

The Phoenix Theater, Petaluma California USA - 7pm Door - 8pm educational screening.
It's always FREE for those who are supposed to be there! THE PROFESSOR

,




Thursday, June 16, 2016

DSOTR - IN THE VERY THE BEGINNING: The Charles Savage Article

 
Originally published August 1, 1995
Copyright 1995, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The Dark Side of the Rainbow:
Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. The film version of "The Wizard of Oz." Two profoundly successful pieces of pop art you would think are completely unrelated. Yet there exists a connection - no, really a synchronicity - between the two that escapes logic or understanding.


Let lapse, momentarily, your reason and your belief in a sense of order to the universe. (Suspend, too, your belief that we might be doing some very serious drugs.)


Then rent "The Wizard of Oz," turn off your television sound, put Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon in your CD player and press play at the exact moment the MGM lion roars for the first time. (Some people advocate the third roar.)   The result is astonishing. It's as if the movie were one long art-film music video for the album. Song lyrics and titles match the action and plot. The music swells and falls with character's movements. Don't expect to be overwhelmed. But do expect to see enough firm coincidences to make you wonder whether the whole thing was planned. And expect to see many more coincidences that would be definite reaches if it weren't for other parts lining up so well.  

If you're not really familiar with The Dark Side of the Moon, it will help to have a lyric sheet handy. But always keep an eye to the TV, lest you miss something. (Don't try the pause-play-pause game; being three or four seconds off would really neutralize the effect.)   Half the fun of exploring this marvel is watching with a group of friends and shouting out the correlations as you make connections. So we won't spell out all the details. here, however, are a few major examples just to get you started:
  • During "Breathe," Dorothy does a tightrope-like walk along the holding pen to the lyric "and balanced on the biggest wave."
  • The line "no one told you when to run" from "Time" is sung just as the scene switches to Dorothy running away from home to save Toto.
  • "Home, home again" from the "Breathe" reprise is sung as the fortuneteller tells Dorothy to go home.
  • "Don't give me that do goody good bullshit" from "Money" comes as Glinda the Good Witch of the North floats in as a bubble.
  • "Black... and blue" from "Us and Them" is sung as the Wicked Witch of the West appears dressed in black. That is shortly followed by "and who knows which is which" (witch is witch) as she and Glenda confront each other.
  • "Brain Damage" - which begins at almost the same time as the movie's "If I Only Had a Brain" - contains the lines "The lunatic is on the grass" and "Got to keep the loonies on the path." This is just as the Scarecrow flops around like a madman on the grass and then on the Yellow Brick Road.
The numerous lyrical coincidences between the movie and the album are only part of the story. Often, the actions seems choreographed to the music.  

For example, the wordless moan-singing of "The Great Gig in the Sky" is almost perfectly matched with the tornado scene, rising as the storm gathers, falling to a lullaby when Dorothy is knocked out by the window, rising again as the house spins up in the sky, then falling again as the house returns to earth.   The song begins with the gathering storm and ends just as the house hits the ground. Dorothy gets up in silence, walks through the house, and then just as she opens the door to reveal Technicolor Munchkinland, the opening sound effects of "Money" startle the listener. (Moreover, "Money" was the first song on the LP's second side; Munchkinland is the opening of part two of the film.) And then there is the clincher: The album's dramatic ending heartbeats sound as Dorothy listens to the Tin Woodsman's empty chest. It's bizarre, uncanny. And it's more than a little puzzling.  

There is no obvious reason why a classic art-rock album recorded in 1973 would be even remotely related to the 1939 film, which is based on the story by L. Frank Baum. After all, it's hard to imagine Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour & Co. painstakingly writing their music to the movie's timing. It's even harder to imagine that a band so gimmickry-minded (it stuck a blinking LED light on the CD packaging of its latest release, PULSE, for example) would keep quiet for 22 years if it had done it purposefully.

And at least for now, no one is talking. Several calls and a faxed request to a Pink Floyd publicist at Columbia Records were unanswered.   A slightly less inside source, Fred Meyer, the secretary of the International Wizard of Oz Club, said this: "What? I don't know anything about that." He added that he had never even heard of Pink Floyd. All of which makes the origin twice as shrouded in mystery. Why would anyone just randomly play the album over the the film, timed with the MGM lion's roar?  

In April [1995], someone posted about it on the Internet Pink Floyd newsgroup, saying he or she'd heard about it from "some people down in Los Angeles." Most users told the poster to go back to his drugs. And a recent posting on the alt.music.pink-floyd newsgroup asking for help in the mystery produced no clues to the origin of the oddity.   In the end, the synchronization was either intentional or a cosmic coincidence - the musical equivalent of the "Infinite Monkeys on Infinite Typewriters Eventually Producing the Complete Works of Shakespeare" effect.   Perhaps all it means is that when everything under the sun is in tune, including two peice of cult-status entertainment seemingly completely separated by time and genre, it will seem as strange as when the sun is eclipsed by a moon.



Monday, June 13, 2016

DINNER & A MOVIE - Why Dinner & A Movie?


During my time at The Mystic Theatre as Production Manager & Chief Engineer, I put the concept of serving dinner and watching a movie on the big screen (30'x40') in the theater on the desk of owner and booking agent Ken O'Donnell a number of times, but I never could get him to agree to the concept. I think it created a conflict for him, even on one the off nights. At the last moment a big name band may pop up at the last monthly moment and well... no movies! There were of course a few adventure films and film festival events and of course my annual urban legend screening of "The Dark Side of Oz" that I produced there for 8 years, but sadly through the years very little was done with the movie theater aspect of The Mystic Theatre.

I did my best in the 15 years that I was there to treat The Mystic like the grand old movie house that it was by making my own theater trailers and eventually own music/video syncs as live pre-show door time entertainment just to push the movie house vibe and give the patrons something to point at (think Gene Kelly in "Singing in the Rain" mixed with Billy Idol's "Dancing by Myself".) Those experiments with the pre-show audio & video entertainment taught me a lot about audience interaction with the screen and also taught me a few good lessons about having a captive audience.

This feature that I developed for The Mystic led me into a full time artistic path, producing and releasing original Music/Video Syncs as well as having the good fortune of being able to feature my original art work nightly in front of hundreds of unsuspecting people! During this period I was also very busy setting up multiple youtube channels for the viewing of my syncs on-line. It just made sense to be able to pass my card along to curious patrons and say "most of my syncs are right here."

Those youtube sites are still up and running today and attract viewers from all around the world daily. It's precisely for that reason that I will be featuring my "Best Of Syncs" at my new "Dinner and a Movie" Series that I'll tell you more next.

HOME PLANET @
www.ViralMediaArt.com

VIRAL MEDIA ART - SYNC TV@
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0t6vRxIc_JJ__iiK1vrrtA

BOLLYWOOD - SYNC TV @
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCspjJEzVv4YWbZdl-_VGeEw



Dinner and a Movie... I've been wanting to do this for years...

"DINNER AND A MOVIE"


1st, you have to be optimistic and find a large room that will seat and hold a few hundred people, one that has a full dinner menu, good service and a large drink selection. The venue has to have proper sound and lighting and of course a large big screen or at least a location to place one for movie viewing. I haven't even mentioned one of the hardest elements to find, the requirement of a long term, like minded venue owner that has the community's best interest at heart.

I was recently contacted by Andre de Channes at KRSH Radio in Santa Rosa about a local venue in Cotati that was planning an expansion and wanted to know if I was available to come down and give the new system and stage a once over and offer any advice. Many of you are aware that I've had my hands and ears involved in quite a few of our County venues through the years, namely "The Studio KAFE" and "Magnolia's" in Santa Rosa as well as "The Inn of The Beginning" in Cotati and of course "The Mystic Theatre" in Petaluma. Apparently the rumors of my retirement are greatly exaggerated and of course I was very interested in the prospects of helping with the upgrade of yet another County treasures, "The Redwood Café" with long time owner Michael McCullaugh. As with any good venue, it's a work in progress and the results of that discussion are now the expanded stage and a re-designed sound and video system currently in the works, in a town that I dearly love... Cotati.

As The Professor, I'm looking forward to staging my "Dinner and a Movie" night once a month at The Redwood Café. The 1st of the series will feature "The Big Lebowski" on Tuesday June 28th followed by "Spinal Tap" on Tuesday July 26th from 6-10pm. This not only gives me the chance to dawn on my Professor robe but also offers you the opportunity to see some of the very best Cult/Classic movies and a way to introduce you to my illegitimate art of music/video syncs.

The Redwood Café is set up for dinner table seating and will feature a full menu and beverages for the entire evening as well as FREE POPCORN for everyone! A minimal $5 cover is requested (dinner not included.) Dinner seating @ 6pm - The Professor @ 6:30 - followed by our feature "The Big Lebowski" (Adult content warning) @ 7pm sharp - Costume Contest @ 9pm - Syncs till 10pm.
I've planned a costume contest for the best "Dude" or "Stranger" with a generous $30 gift certificate from The Redwood Café to the winner, followed by The Professor's music/video syncs until 10pm.

Well there it is and I'll leave you with this thought... A venue is only as good as the community that attends it. Get out more often and support live music and live entertainment. Put down your devices and connect with faces and maybe, just maybe we'll see you at the 1st "Dinner and a Movie" night on Tuesday evening June 28th at The Redwood Café in the colorful town of Cotati...

      Bon Appetite' - THE PROFESSOR


DINNER AND A MOVIE - FB PAGE @
https://www.facebook.com/dinnerandamovie1/

DINNER AND A MOVIE - FB GROUP @
https://www.facebook.com/groups/991503800903194/

THE BIG LEBOWSKI - FB EVENT PAGE @
https://www.facebook.com/events/967871859948826/

SPINAL TAP - FB EVENT PAGE @
https://www.facebook.com/events/1051626401582851/


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

DAVID PETRI - My Musical History and it's Motivations

For many years, when asked about my musical accomplishments, it seems that I've always gone right to the "I'm not nostalgic" mode.  That really is the truth of the matter but I also realize that to revisit back-in-the-day events feels uncomfortable to me and I really can not say why.  But the title of my chapter sums it up best:  motivations have always been behind the songs, videos and performance presentations that make up my portfolio.  I have written hundreds of songs and have several large boxes of cassettes that contain rehearsals going back 40+years.  I have dozens of reels of tape; 2, 4, 8, and 16 track containing completed & unreleased songs as well as an endless number of songs that no one has ever heard.  I never feel the desire to archive old stuff and there is a reason.  I am still burning inside to document current songs and express how I feel NOW.  My musical eye is always looking to the future.

However, (and here I take a deep breath) when I was offered the opportunity to be part of this Ebook, I realized I was being offered a complicated "First" for me.  I could be part of a book.  Never have before!  Thus began the task of meditating until a motivation came over me that would inspire a focus for the chapter.  I quickly realized that presenting my publically-released catalog would be the subject matter but finding a common thread that embraced 10 presentations proved to be quite a challenge.

After endless hours of note-taking and thinking about my works, I realized there was one common point to everything I had ever released:  Naughtiness.  So, here we go...

1977
 
#1-  My first record release was on October 27, 1975.  I wrote the lyrics & music to "Let's Have An Affair".  As lead singer and primary songwriter for Sonoma County-based $27 Snap On Face, I wanted to write a hit right off the bat and I think I did.  The song just celebrated it's 40th anniversary in 2015 and I did a special performance of the song to an unsuspecting public by performing the song, vocally and w/harmonica solo, to people passing by on a busy street.  The song has been the subject of several "tribute" videos and some of them can be seen on Youtube.  The song earned $27 it's only BMI royalty check.  (It remains un-cashed and is in my collection).  the song was debuted on a Sacramento television station during the band's appearance on the March of Dimes Telethon.  The solo on the song is me on a harmonica.  The purpose was to pay tribute to The Dave Clark Five.  As a kid, I remember played their song "Over and Over" endless times to learn the solo in it.  I can still play the solo exactly as recorded.  The last time I played the song was at the memorial for deceased drummer, Ron Ingalsbe.
 
#2-  1977 saw the release of the one and only album by $27 Snap On Face.  I wrote 4 of the 10 songs and co-wrote 2 others.  All the songs had a them of naughtiness.  "Mr. John" which featured no guitars; only accordions and keyboards, was about a frustrated serial killer in England.  He was in love with the Queen but, due to her not acknowledging him, he turned to murdering vodka whores.  The song "Two Timer" was written for a group of gay men from San Francisco who followed the band for about a year until they realized I would rather have sex with their sisters.  "I Guess I must Look the Type" contained more lyrical images of desire.  My other songs on that album (1,000 copies on blue vinyl) continued this trend.


#3-  1980 brought The Sonoma Soundtrack album; a benefit disc from radio station KVRE.  Proceeds went to The Sonoma County Junior Symphony and Preparatory Orchestra.  Approximately 120 songs were submitted for consideration on this 12-song album and I won a spot with "Give Me Another Round".  The song is a tribute to Sonoma County bars and I named a lot of them.  The "solo" is a blending of bar sounds; laughter, drink glass', dice cups, etc.  In addition to the obvious tribute to bars in the area, it was also my way of venting the many hours I'd spent in a bar looking at the pretty girls but never having the nerve to talk to them.  Lusting and losing...

#4-  "I'm Ready to Fight" was recorded in 1980 during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.  I played all the instruments.  It was a message of Patriotism and I sent a presentation of this song to President Jimmy Carter who send me a thank-you letter and autographed picture.  This record now resides in the Official White House Vinyl Collection.  While recording it, I thought about the brave soldier who returns from war to be greeted by a loving woman.  I wanted that kiss too.  This record was a 500 disc release and no copies were sold. 

1981 - HEAVY MENTAL MUSIC


#5-  During 1981's "International Year of The Disabled Persons" global event, I released my most time-consuming musical production to date.  "Heavy Mental Music" was issued on 3000 green vinyl disc'.  Monies raised went to Becoming Independent.  The song broke a lot of musical ground.  All instruments were played by adults with disabilities.  My audio participation is hidden in the mix of both sides.  It took me 2 years of daily practice to get the drummer to play his part.  The song won many awards including recognition by President Ronald Reagan who referred to it in a telegram to me as a "musical message of Hope".  This song also resides in the Official White House Vinyl collection.  At the end of the song are the only lyrics; 2 dozen adults saying "I Love You" one after another.  I found that inspiring, naughty, very rock & roll and inspiring all at the same time.

#6-  1986 was the year I release my only official music video:  "Animal Clout"  I entered it to the television station KFTY for their 2nd Annual Video Awards competition, hosted by Afton Auld.  The song won for "Best Music Video" and featured dozen of animals singing the song.  The animalistic nature of the song was an R+ rating performance for me.

#7-  In 2000, I released "Sick Sense: a journey through Anguish".  During one of the most difficult periods of my life, I recorded 22 songs in an ice cold garage where I was living for a short time.  No heat, no bed, no furniture.  Just me and my tape recorder on a cold concrete floor.  Songs like "Miss Leash" (about flirtation), "Help is on the way" (first date anticipation) and "Take My Ring" (about the prospect of marital bliss) fueled me.  During this time, I did not feel worthy of any woman's attention so I wrote about what I could not have.  This compact disc, w/lyric sheet, sold fairly well until an incident with someone who bought it that caused me to recall the cd. 

I composed a song called "Almost Over" that was my attempt to explain the torment I was feeling mentally and so I used conflicting musical patterns to explain my tension.  I based it upon the known bad side affects that strobe lights can have on people's nervous systems.  I got a letter one day from a lady who was listening to it in her car when that song came on.  For unknown reasons, the song made her have a seizure and she was forced to stop her car.  The seizure was so severe that she couldn't get the song to stop playing and was subjected to it for 15 minutes before she could stop the cd.  She told me she went through months of therapy.  I was devastated and immediately recalled as many of the cd's as possible.  I destroyed all copies except for one which resides in my files.  I will never re-release the disc.  I try to vent my naughtiness, desires and loneliness, I caused great harm to someone I have never met.

#8-  "I Love to Learn" was released in 2004.  It was a benefit for the California Public Library System.  One verse discussed my need to "stack wood"; a reference to having more sex.  No one caught the hidden meaning.  The song was sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who acknowledged it in a letter to me.  I had hope to do a video of the song but never did.  It raised some money to buy books and I got to hide another R+ in a song!

#9  "Tambourine Scars" was released in 2011 and is both an autobiographical story of the damage I did to my right wrist as a result of 30 years of rock & roll tambourine playing and a tribute to Mitch Ryder.  Great Sonoma County veteran rockers helped me record this song:  Paul Burke, drums.  Tom Miller, bass.  Mikie Kovach, Lead guitar.  Alan Watt, guitars.  I only released 100 copies on cd.  Again, not sold, just given away.  The song was debuted on Sonoma County radio station KSRH on it's "American Garage" radio program and it jammed the phone lines with callers.  The naughty part?...something about a devil with a blue dress..."

PUSSY RIOT - RUSSIA


#10-  In late 2015, I released my first digital-only presentation:  "Buttons From Russia".  It is an open letter to Russian President Putin and denounces his treatment of the Russian female band, Pussy Riot.  It also denounces the music piracy industry that exists in Russia of stealing the music of artists from around the world and selling it in Russia without paying royalties.  My album by $27 Snap On Face has sold huge numbers of copies and I receive nothing; not even a free copy!  But BFR has received air play in Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich and is doing quite well in Europe.  It has charted at #1 on Reverbnation.  My first genuine #1 record.  I am grateful to Jim Cassero, guitars and co-producer, Robin Hildebrant, bass, and Ed Bale, drums. This song is my strongest recording and one that I am very proud of.  A video is in the planning stages.  And the naughty part?...that's easy to figure out!  Listen to the first sentence...


Well, I guess I can say that my greatest hope was not to be a lead singer of a band but rather a successful songwriter.  I think I have almost accomplished that.  I will always write.  I already have a full length album ready for release later in 2016.  Will I ever sing in front of a "live" audience again?  I don't know.  Will I write more songs?  Yes.  Will I ever release them?  Only if I get the naught right.

DAVID PETRI - VIDEOGRAPHY:

"LET'S HAVE AN AFFAIR"

TIE YOUR BOOTS TIGHT

Monday, April 4, 2016

ASTROLOGICAL READING - RANDY TEAFORD 3/9/53

Name: Randy Teaford
March 9 1953
11:50 PM Time Zone is PST
Long Beach, CA 


 


Rising Sign is in 04 Degrees Sagittarius:
You are known for being open, frank, outgoing and honest. At times, though, you are also blunt and quite indiscreet. Others have to learn not to take everything you say personally, because you usually do not mean any harm. You appreciate living your life in a straightforward and simple manner -- you dislike social niceties and consider them to be hindrances to real communication. You have lots and lots of energy and tend to become quite restless if you feel confined. You demand the freedom to do as you choose -- you must be self- directed or you feel trapped and anxious. With your abundant energy, you enjoy being outdoors, and you should be attracted to physical exercise or to those forms of sport which can help you burn off some of that excess energy. Very gregarious, you love to socialize -- your innate enthusiasm livens up any gathering.


Sun is in 19 Degrees Pisces.
Extremely sensitive and emotional, you absorb the emotions of others (whether positive or negative) like a sponge. Emotionally vulnerable, you are easily upset and tend to cry readily. You are at your best when you can structure your environment in such a way that you are surrounded by positive, upbeat people. You are very helpful and understanding of the needs of others. Indeed, at times this can be a disadvantage, because you can be a sucker for anyone who needs help. Shy, dreamy, romantic in nature, you delight in retreating into your private fantasy world. Just be careful that you do not get lost in it! Trust your intuitions -- you may be quite psychic.


Moon is in 08 Degrees Capricorn.
You are serious and shy and very uncomfortable in those situations where spontaneous and exuberant emotional reactions seem called for. An achiever, you prefer doing practical, worthwhile things that produce tangible results. You need role models to respect, love and emulate. You tend to feel that you're a failure unless you get an important and highly respected position in life. Don't be so hard on yourself! For you, practical needs always win out over emotional considerations. Remember that you too have the right to comfort, security and love. Dutiful and patient, when you make an emotional commitment, you sign on for the long haul -- your love is long- enduring.


Mercury is in 02 Degrees Aries.
Very quick-witted, you are known for being an independent thinker. You love to debate and argue, and are excellent at repartee and battles of wits. At times, however, you act too fast on hastily formed opinions and thus waste a lot of energy defending your rash and sometimes incorrect conclusions. It is perfectly acceptable for you to defend your beliefs with your usual vigor, but try not to take the opinions of others as personal insults.


Venus is in 28 Degrees Aries.
You are a very affectionate person but you hate to be tied down. You are more than willing to be the aggressor in initiating new relationships. Indeed, once you have set your sights on someone, you tend to pursue him or her ardently and passionately. But you do demand your own way in a relationship. Try to give in to your partner's needs and desires once in a while.


Mars is in 22 Degrees Aries.
You are very independent and self-assertive, and you have lots of physical energy. You are not satisfied unless you can be the first to do something. As such, you are more comfortable in leadership positions than you are as an underling. When you are challenged by anyone for anything, you delight in the competitive process and will fight long and hard for your beliefs. You are bold and courageous and often act without thinking. At times, in your zeal to get ahead, you are tactless and offensive -- learn that cooperation with others can often bring you nearer to your goals quicker because of the support you will get.


Jupiter is in 17 Degrees Taurus.
Growth only occurs for you after you have found a stable lifestyle and a dependable, protective and secure environment. You are at your best when those around you provide you with a great deal of affection and support. When you feel insecure or threatened, you tend to become possessive and grasping and self- indulgent. You are an inveterate collector with an expensive preference for all the good things that life has to offer.


Saturn is in 26 Degrees Libra.
Although you take quite a while to make decisions, you usually consider all sides to a question, all the pros and cons, and the solution you come up with is very often the correct one. You tend to be very reserved and shy, but, once you make a commitment to someone (in either a business or personal relationship), the partnership is forever. You have a strong sense of justice and fair play and greatly respect the laws and institutions by which you are governed. As such, you are outraged when others break laws or show contempt for authority.


Uranus is in 14 Degrees Cancer.
For you, and for your peers as well, the demand to be free from entangling emotional bonds is of paramount importance. You have a unique and unfettered view of family life and will be attracted to experimenting with freeform styles of relationship commitments. This may lead to a rootless, unsettled lifestyle.


Neptune is in 23 Degrees Libra.
You, and your entire generation, idealize all of the various experimental approaches to relationships -- including "living together", the formation of communes and collectives and the whole concept of "open" marriages. There is a stress on weakened commitments on an emotional and contractual level, but there are heightened expectations of the level of commitment and mutual support on the spiritual and metaphysical level.


Pluto is in 21 Degrees Leo.
For your entire generation, this is a time when the relationship of the individual to society as a whole is being thoroughly re-examined. Major attempts will be made to find a balance between the need to be self-sufficient and the need to honor debts of social commitment.


N. Node is in 11 Degrees Aquarius.
As long as someone else (or a group or organization) appeals to your intellectual sensibilities, you'll try to ally yourself with them in some way. You may find that you always seem to get involved with many wide-ranging groups -- so much so that you find it difficult to fit them all into your busy schedule. Your many friends and acquaintances provide you with needed stimulation. You're loyal and fair-minded -- you try to spend time equally with all your friends, never concentrating on just one or two for any length of time. Although probably quite conservative yourself, you're attracted to those who are a bit offbeat or eccentric -- you enjoy watching their minds work.



Sunday, February 14, 2016

TONY STOUFER - PART 1 - ELECTRIC TOYS / MUSICIAN & SONG WRITER

INTRODUCTION
TONY STOUFER:

I am a musician. I have been a musician for most of my life.

 
I’ve written hundreds of original songs and I play the guitar, keyboards and bass and even program acceptable drum sections from time to time. Even though I am good at what I do, I’ve never reached what I consider to be a successful musical career. If Fact, I still don’t know exactly how one defines success within the music business.

Some people think success is the journey, experiences and the friends you meet along the way. If this is true, then I guess my life in music could be seen as very successful. After getting proficient enough with my musical instrument to write my own original music, I felt I’d reached a milestone and half my picture of success was complete.


I have played a lot of live music as a member of 20 plus Sonoma County bands to date and seen a lot of interesting places and things in my life time. I have been lucky to have met an extraordinarily long list of musical celebrities along the way. I will to mention a few of those celebrity encounters with my musical heroes within this story, the musicians/songwriters who influenced me or meant a lot to me over the years.

I am proud of most of the tunes I’ve created over 35 years and I believe I am a pretty good songwriter now, but creative talent and success in music industry are not synonymous. After a lifetime of chasing my musical dream, I’m now sharing my stories for those who want to learn about the true meaning of stick-to-it-tive-ness.

MY STORY:

As I look back, growing up in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa was pretty normal, I suspect. I was born at the start of the sixties and lived in the Northern California Sonoma County region.

Our small city seemed a very safe place for kids to grow up at this time. From my earliest memories I’ve had a fascination with words, lyrics and music. When I was six or seven years old, my parents used to play these syrupy instrumental records The kind with orchestral arrangements of popular songs of the day. Songs like "The Impossible Dream", and the "Hawaii Five-O" theme song.

I remember around the mid-sixties when my parents bought Joan Baez and Credence
Clearwater Revival records. They also bought two Glen Campbell albums: “By The time I get to
Phoenix,” and “Wichita Lineman.” I realized then that music could be something more than a Disney soundtrack, T.V. theme songs and The Archie’s records. I would listen to those first two Glen Campbell records for hours in amazement. How they could tell such swell stories within a song was fascinating to me. These songs were like mini movies and at the time and I would learn every word as I sang along.

Since that young age, I’ve developed a life-long admiration for the original songs of Jimmy Webb and am especially fond of his tune, “Wichita Lineman” which I still consider one of the best songs ever written by anyone who has ever lived.

My first creative memory was in third grade when we were doing a class project. It was a cut-out picture of a bunch of grapes glued to paper. The next day as the glue was drying on our project, I put in some extra effort by writing an original poem to accompany my picture.

I remember it was only 6 or 8 lines, yet the teacher was so thrilled about it that she put my picture and poem on the wall, front and center above all the rest of the pictures our class made.

I realized then that there was something cool about writing poetry and getting praise from others for my effort. I liked that feeling. For my little brother Tim and me, our childhood was like many of the other kids, we liked singing along to our Monkee’s records while holding broom sticks like guitars and pretending to be famous musical stars.

At one point my parents bought me a drum set and my brother a cheap electric guitar. I soon destroyed that kid’s toy drum set and turned my focus towards the guitar my brother had no interest in learning to play. It was hard for me to understand how to play that guitar at first because it was strung for a right handed player and I was a lefty. It made things a bit confusing at first, but those were my 1st toys...



Electric Toys- 1979 -80

Throughout the 70's I was very interested in the local music scene in the North Bay and would often go see original rock bands play in Sonoma and Marin Counties. One of the better bands in our area was a rock power trio called Electric Toys.

 
The Toys were fronted by a great guitarist/ Singer /Songwriter named Phil Holden, and the bass player was my childhood friend David Payne. I happened to meet Phil at a party one night when I was 18 and asked him if his band ever considered adding another guitar player and to my surprise he said yes, Thinking fast I quickly set up an audition for myself.

I had recently made a huge musical instrument purchase that included a Fender Rhoades Piano a new acoustic guitar and a huge Lab Series guitar amplifier with 2 speaker cabinets. The amp was taller than I was and had a unique tone for being a solid state amp. With pretty decent gear I now had some confidence to do a legitimate band audition.
 


My audition was a bit scary for me, I was 18 years old and this new band was very organized compared to my previous bands. Electric Toys had rented a huge warehouse and owned a full P.A system as well as many great Guitars and basses. Phil owned some very valuable 12 and 6 string Rickenbacker guitars and also had a huge Pyramid of Orange 4x12 speaker cabinets powered by two 50 watt Marshall Amps in fact, Phil’s set up was very impressive to me and sounded great. I was also impressed that they even had roadies/ family volunteers. I came prepared and went through a few tunes and afterword's everyone seemed happy.



I passed the audition and was thrilled to be joining this really good band and to be playing some really strong and unique original music for the first time. Once I was a confirmed Electric Toys member then things started to move very fast. Within weeks we were recording in a local 8 track studio called La Lomita which soon would be renamed and become the world famous Prairie Sun Studios. We did a four song demo in what was for me my first pro recording session. I was thrilled to be there and paid close attention to the recording techniques as I played my guitar parts as best as possible. The demos came out great and still sound good to this day .



Our drummer was a guy named Bob Burnheart who I thought was a real powerhouse, and certainly the best drummer I had played with up to this point. I believe Phil and Dave thought he was a bit of a loose cannon because of his attitude. They soon gave him the cold boot. I never got a real reason from them why Bob was ousted..
 


It quickly became apparent that I too was also only a hired gun for the band. Electric Toys was the Dave and Phil show all the way and I had no creative input whatsoever. I was just told what to play and what to sing, I was ok with it at the time because I felt I still had a lot to learn. Professionalism within music was new to me so I just observed and learned as much as I could from this fast moving outfit.


Phil quickly found a new drummer named Joe Murazzo who seemed to them to fit the bill. Dave and Phil were big Who fans and Joe could play Who songs equally as well so they felt his style was a perfect fit. Phil and Dave also found Electric Toys our first band manager, a guy named Tom Boylin. Tom was enthusiastic and had built a custom rehearsal studio and stage for our band in a Petaluma warehouse.
 

I was delighted by the huge financial investment he was making in the band and felt very lucky to be part of the good fortune we were having. We seemed to have everything going in the right direction. Around the time we moved into this big new studio I bought a new left handed Fender telecaster, so along with my Les Paul, I now had two great left handed guitars that had distinctly different sounds and only made the band sound that much better.



Electric Toys were starting to play some good gigs!


One in particular was opening for big acts like Greg Kihn to a sold out crowd at The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. The audience was very enthusiastic and loved us, Greg Kihn was on his way up as an artist would become very famous in a few years and have a lot of radio friendly hits like “The Break up Song “and “Jeopardy“. I felt really hopeful in those early days about the possibilities for the Electric Toys. Ironically I would be in many other original bands over the next 20 years that would also play the opening slot for Greg Kihn.


The demos we had just finished recording soon caught the ear of this guitar company’s owner and before long she had serious interest in becoming the band’s new manager. She had a few friends in the music Industry and persuaded her old friend, L.A. producer Paul Rothschild (The Doors, Runaways) to come up to Nor-Cal from L.A to watch us perform a showcase set of originals for him. I was very excited and at the time I thought this was it, we are on our way.


Well, we did our little presentation and after our set and a long discussion with him off he went.
Paul seemed interested in us but not enough to take us under his wing. It baffled me because we were much better than any of the bands he was working with at the time. He was busy producing a record called The Rose with Bette Midler at the time and he suggested we develop our sound a bit more and do more recording. This didn’t dissuade the owner of the guitar factory from her interest in managing us. In fact she knew we were a hot commodity and she obviously made Phil and Dave an even better offer to take over the manager position for the band.


Dave and Phil jumped at the chance so she also built a custom stage and rehearsal studio in her guitar factory and supplied our band with amplifiers, guitars, speaker cabinets, new shockingly bright stage clothes and most importantly good gigs. I felt bad about them just dumping Tom Boylin like they did because Tom was one of the nicest guys ever. It wasn’t my band and I had zero say in any matters concerning the change’s they made for our band.

 
All of our gigs went really well and I remembering a Palms gig opening for a band called “The
Textone’s” and their cute bass player Kathy Valentine, Kathy would soon go on to form a new band called The Go Go’s and have huge chart topping success also. At some of those Palms gigs, Singer Eric Martin would pop in to see us perform when he wasn’t rehearsing with his popular SF band Kid Courage.

 
As I grew as a player I continued to expand my record collection and at this point my musical tastes were changing dramatically. Phil turned me onto new bands like The Records, 20/20, Roxy Music and Japan. On my own I was becoming a huge fan of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson as well as discovering New Wave music by bands like The Paul Collins Beat, The Clash, The Vapors..

In my last months with Electric Toys, Phil was contacted by a well-known L.A personality named Kim Fowley concerning an Electric Toys ad Phil placed in B.A.M magazine. Kim talked to Phil many times on the phone and seemed to really like the band demos Phil was sending him. He wanted to fly Phil to L.A to record an album. His thinking was, Phil would sing and play all his guitar parts on the recordings of our songs but he wanted to have studio musicians play the Bass, Drums and my guitar parts.


The Idea was discussed that the rest of us would support the first Electric Toys album by touring but not get to play on the original recordings and this Idea didn’t sit to well with any of us, especially David. I thought it out, and would agree to the arrangement because Dave and Phil’s band was only a stepping stone for me. It could only lead to more contacts and opportunity for me in the near future. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.


Dave and Phil were fighting like cats and dogs over this dilemma and one night during rehearsal they came to blows. Our new manager was not at all pleased about things and I knew that night that the Electric Toys days with her were numbered. We were asked to leave and this ended our band relationship with the Guitar factory owner.



The last few months of the band were unsettling, Now without a manager we moved our rehearsals to a studio in San Anselmo in Marin County called The Church, we shared the studio with my old friend Mike Varney’s band Cinema. Mike and his band mate Jeff Pilson (soon to be bassist for the rock band Dokken) would watch us rehearse from the elevated windowed control room in the studio.

 
At a Church rehearsal one day, Mike came in and grabbed the mic and started singing the lead vocals to one of our tunes. I was shocked because it was spot on and word for word, capturing a dead on impression of Phil’s lead vocal style, a slightly affected fake British accent. I was really impressed by Mr. Varney’s impersonation and still laugh about that incident to this day.
 

In the last remaining months of Electric Toys, I was getting more comfortable writing my own original songs and was for the first time allowed to contribute two of my originals to the bands set list. The songs “Nothing to laugh about“, and Give me a Call” were allowed into the set list. In retrospect they were not very good songs compared to the songs I would soon be writing but they seemed to fit in pretty well with Phil’s tunes.

 
At this point the Electric Toys inner band conflicts between Phil and Dave were becoming too much for Phil to handle anymore, so he made the decision to leave the band and he packed up everything he owned and moved to L.A to live with Kim Fowley who promised to make him a star. Later, Phil Holden would return from L.A. and re-form The Toys version 2.0 again with David and some other really great local players and release the 45 single "Electric Energy," pretty impressive for sure!


For the most part I really enjoyed playing original music with Electric Toys. It really showed me what to do right and what not to repeat in my next original band. With Electric Toys, things were mostly very professional and I learned a lot from the experiences. We did get together once for a reunion photo about 20 years later and I enjoyed that a lot.



Sadly I was informed that our drummer Joe Murazzo died on a stage due to a heart attack while performing at a huge live festival in Sacramento CA. He was a really nice guy and a great drummer up to the last second. He will be missed.


For Electric Toys demos and pictures visit: Tony Stoufer FB


Electric Toys band members
Phil Holden - Guitar, vocals
David Payne - Bass, Vocals
Joe Murazzo - Drums
Tony Stoufer- Guitar, vocals
 
 
 
Here is a complete list of the local bands that Tony has either started or belonged to:


1. Expressers 71-75
2. Stallion 77
3. Fazor 78-79
4. Electric Toys 79-80
5. The Scam 81
6. The Defectors 81-82
7. Tony Lonely Band 83-84
8. Out Of The Blue 84
9. Boys Night Out 85
10. Wild Life 85-86
11. Lee Ryan Band 87
12. The Reactions 87-88
13. Mark Tate 88
14. Romeo Jones 88
15. Crying Out Loud 89
16. Bang Theory 89-90
17. Hidden Pictures 90-91
18. Strikes Twice 91
19. Euphoria 92-93
20. Romeo Jones II 94