Monday, October 8, 2012

January-October 2012


I know… It’s been a long time. Every time I started to write, a major icon of real school history passed on. We lost so many incredible people this year who inspired us through their legacies… I don’t think I like to use the term “lost”, because as far as I can see, they are very present through their legacies. 

I decided to do this cumulative issue from January to October  and then in November publish the special legacy issue to celebrate the memories of the icons who passed on in 2012. The special legacy issue which will be coming out in November marks the fifth anniversary of RSP!

So much has happened since this year began…On  April 4th, I became “grand”. Being a grandmother is amazing! And being grand in our generation of boomers is so different from how our parents viewed being grand. The first thing I discovered about being grand is that you see what being in love is really all about. So I am getting ready for holidays that hold magic for children and tea parties with doll babies.

I want to thank everyone for checking out my latest release “Gone With The Wind”…Special thanks to guitarists Marlo Henderson and John DePatie. I have a lot of fun working with some of the best in the business.

Robb Lawrence & Marlo Henderson: two great guitarists to work with.
This issue features still more real schoolers who continue to do great things and forge ahead with their creativity and wit…When I was growing up, I thought that getting older meant that I couldn't do all the things I normally do… Now I do MORE than I did when I was younger and had kids in tow!

Here is my favorite real school grand pic. Viv my friend and admin on RSP's FB page celebrated her birthday with her grands...



October 5th marks a  year since Steve Jobs died. I cannot say enough about one of most remarkable visionaries of our time. He talked the talk and walked the walk: giving us a new way to live and communicate. He saw clearly everything that we use today almost 30 years ago in 1983 at the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado...Years before they were actualized, Jobs predicted the iPad and wireless networking... Can you imagine being that far ahead of yourself? It is more than genius. Inventors of his caliber are in a league all of their own. We have had several in our lifetime.  I consider these pioneers a gift. 




reprint Oct-Nov 2010 Anniversary issue.

I heard the name Lucius Parr back in D.C. Never did I ever think that I was going to meet him once I moved  to California and that we'd become friends and work together.

There is something about guitar players. When they play, they speak a language. Not one guitarist speaks the exact same language as the other. Even if they are playing the same line. They speak with a voice that is uniquely connected with their souls. You could have a million guitarists in one room playing and they would never bump into each in other in body or spirit. They just become one planet  aligned with their own uniqueness.

Lucius Parr is an incredibly soulful, blues player. His style encompasses everything that is earthy and grounded. You feel his bio through his playing: from his earliest beginnings in Yokum, Texas, to his playing trombone in the high school band at age 10 and then when his dad gave him that guitar. He's played with everyone from Betty Swan, Mary Wells, DeBarge, Rudy Ray Moore, Bobby Womack, Charles Brown to Johnny Copeland.

What is the most incredible thing about Lucius' style? He makes it seem so easy and effortless. It's blues, country, soul, rhythm, funk all rolled into one. 

Every year, Charlie Daniels invites Lucius to play with him on stage... In June, Lucius laid his groove with the Charlie Daniels Band at the Pepsi Amphitheater in Flagstaff Arizona.

I love working with Lucius and I'm a big fan of his work. Stay  tuned. Lucius is featured on the next musical tribute single to my mom...


John DePatie is always working…And that’s a great thing. Sometimes, I’ll call him to see where he’s playing and check him out when I get the chance. He’s got a charisma that really radiates in photos…He’s been added to keyboardist, Pete Levin’s web gallery of bald musicians, Take It From The Head. Not everyone can wear bald…But like Yul Brenner and Telly Savalas, John can sport the look. 
John with Nancy Sinatra

Me and John D. at the Baked Potato 40th Anniversary Concert

John is a great guitarist to work with. He’s a dedicated and passionate player and it’s always a pleasure  to work with him. He’s featured on acoustic guitar in my latest single video, Gone With The Wind and has also worked on another single with me on a song I wrote with the late, Tommy Thomas. I met John back in the day working with Tommy. And it’s just incredible the folks you come to know and keep in touch with…Back in 2008 John played with Don Randi and Quest at the famed Bake Potato’s 40th anniversary celebration at the John Ford Amphitheatre. Awesome event…Among the many names he’s played with: The Coasters, The Marvelettes, Nancy Sinatra, Eric Burdon from The Animals, Leif Garrett..

A while back I was able to catch John at Speghetinni's in Seal Beach playing with Carlos, The Experience. A great group that pays tribute to Carlos Santana. I was able to take this video on my iPhone (I love this technology!)

John's latest video on Youtube:

About his latest single/video Lt. Worf 's Shred Machine  on YouTube, John says:

"I  won the guitar that I used to record this song in a magazine giveaway. I realized that winning the giveaway offered me an opportunity that I could take advantage of so I wrote and recorded this song. I figured at the very least it might be a good way to say thanks to the people from the magazine, and at the most I might get a little publicity from it. And, it gave me a nice push to finish a project. I did my best to make use of the style and playability of this particular instrument and it took me to some musical territory that I haven't been to before.

Since the song was conceived because of the guitar I wanted to do something that would appeal to the guitar geeks like me. The song is mostly in 7 and makes liberal use of whammy bar techniques and two-handed tapping and utilizes a very sustained, distorted tone. And, the melody to the whole tune is played by two guitars in harmony. 

The title is a reference to Lt. Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation. A friend joked that the styling of the instrument was very striking and would suit Lt. Worf. Being a lifelong Star Trek fan I couldn't resist using it as the title.

I was lucky enough to get some friends who will be known to fans of instrumental guitar music to help me out. This recording has Joel Taylor on drums, H Chris Roy on bass, Darrell Diaz on keyboards (and me, John DePatie, on guitar). I was also very honored to get one of my favorite guitarists, Jeff Kollman, to help me with the mix."

In Last year’s August issue I spoke of some new projects in the works. One was Kevin Goins' upcoming indie radio project… The now 27 year radio and recording industry veteran and “real school-pedia” has finally put his  new online radio endeavor Soulful Conversations online! It features soul/r&b real schoolers behind the scenes and center stage…You are going to enjoy the engaging interviews with Larry Dunn, Chazz Dixon and Audrey Wheeler…There’s  more interviews to come… Stay tuned!


Larry Dunn

"(Recorded June 28, 2012)
As the keyboardist and musical director for Earth Wind & Fire, LARRY DUNN is widely respected by fans for his focused musicianship as well as co-authoring many classics for the band, including their #1 pop hit from 1975, “Shining Star”.  His Moog synthesizer interludes graced many EW&F platinum albums such as “That’s The Way Of The World”, among others.  After Larry left the group in 1984, he formed the Larry Dunn Orchestra  with his wife Luisa and became a sensation overseas.  He recently appeared on “The Jimmy Fallon Show” on his birthday (June 19th) and has reunited with Earth Wind & Fire to cut a new album that will be released in the fall.  Because there were so many topics that were discussed, this Soulful Conversation with KEVIN GOINS is a two-part edition (the second will be posted next week).  Enjoy!"

Chazz Dixon keeps the flavor real

This has been  great year for Chazz Dixon! But look at his bio: performing since he was 4, first record deal at 17. EVERYTHING that this singer/songwriter and actor, published journalist, poet, print model and photographer has done is the pinnacle of his success…I heard about Chazz about 4  years ago when I was looking for real school artists to write about in  RSP and found De LA Soul Records online.  This smooth tenor with a jazzy r&b flavor,  knocks it right out of the park with his latest release…Emotional Therapy… gave Chazz a glowing review on his latest album release “Emotional Therapy”:
“Dixon went to the drawing board and returns with a record that embraces the entirety of his musical identity. Emotional Therapy is classic in its lyricism and its exploration of the topic of love. The record is also forward looking in its use of modern production techniques. In this way, Emotional Therapy pays honor to (Smokey) Robinson and all of the love men who influenced Dixon while not sounding dated and derivative. That kind of creativity stands as Dixon’s main tribute to Robinson.”


Chazz has had two great  mentors in his career Harvey Fuqua and Smokey Robinson. 

I had a conversation with my daughter a while back about music. I remarked that music was going back to being “real”. You know, real melodies, real flow, real content. She disagreed with me. As long as we have real school people like Chazz Dixon writing and performing, we have nothing to worry about.  Real music will remain intact and on point. 

Chazz and one of his grands!

Thank you, Chazz… Not only is he amazing and mentoring the real school preschoolers through his work, he is also grand! My new term for being a grandparent. He’s six grand strong. 

Check out his interview on Soulfulconversations with Kevin Goins…


When you Google the name Robb Lawrence, you’ll find out some amazing things about him…First he lives and breathes guitars. He is a guitar expert, with a collection to prove it. There isn't anyone that he doesn't know, or hasn’t worked with. His books, The Early Years of The Les Paul Legacy 1915-1963 and The Modern Era of Les Paul 1968-2009 are visually breathtaking.

Robb with Les Paul with Tommy Haack and Doug Lady of Hal Leonard Publishing
The photographs in these two editions on Les Paul literally jump off the page. The colors, combined with old black and white memorabilia draw you into the world of the legend who changed how music was communicated around the globe.

Robb back in the day

Lawrence was the west coast guitar tech for Les Paul who mentored him through the years. Through their friendship which began in the early 70s, Robb delivered a promise. A promise of a beautifully documented biography and guitar history told in amazing photographs and text. I cannot fathom writing a book of such magnitude. It floors me…But it is a brilliant testament to Robb's  dedication to music, photojournalism and sharing an amazing legend with the world. 

The first book  which was published in 2008 is considered by many, "the" definitive photo -biography on Les Paul. It has been translated into Japanese and is also available on Kindle...Personally, I can't endorse reading this book in virtual reality. . .The Les Paul Legacy is much more vivid in its original real book format and you've got to see it!

Summed up in two words: extraordinarily timeless.



Les Paul

"The volume 2 of this book is even better than volume 1, if you can believe that--and volume 1 is absolutely SUPERB! These are the ONLY books on the Les Paul guitars you'll ever need to buy. Robb Lawrence goes into meticulous detail with all the loving care, that all the other books lack. ALL of the photos and graphics are absolutely top quality. The problem with ALL the other books, regardless of the authors--is that they just can't get past the 1958-60 sunburst Les Pauls, Led Zeppelin and Jimmy they just blow off every single other LP guitar as hardly worth their "scholarship" and research to do any in depth writing about...resulting in a boring, redundant rehash of each others' books practically down to the SAME photos of the same spandex 'n hair metal artists, and the same catalog page reprints.
This book is the ultimate 'breath of fresh air' and EVERY variation of the Les Paul model, is treated with highest regard and respect. These guitars go FAR beyond heavy metal and blues...and this is the ONLY book to expound on that!
This book belongs in EVERY guitar player's collection...right alongside volume 1."
"Probably the best modern LP book ever! Consider buying the first part, then you will have it all. PS I have almost every single book wtitten about Les Paul and Les Pauls...Enjoy!"    
..."Robb has written the definitive work on Les Paul from his childhood in Wisconsin, his entry into show business, his work with, and marriage to Mary Ford and his incredible inventions and contributions to the world of guitars and recording techniques.
This second edition picks up where volume one left us...the later and final years of Les Paul's life and the guitar the will continue to be built and treasured for years to come..." 
"As Mr. Lawrence's second effort on Les Paul guitars as well as the man, this is a must have book for anyone who has an interest in contemporary (post 1960) Les Paul guitars. A well organized, fun to read book, with many wonderful pictures of a vast array of production and truly rare Les Paul guitars. Written not as marketing hype, but in an objective and accurate manner.
It is beautifully presented and bound, as well as exciting to read for any lover of Les Paul and Les Paul guitars. Insights into the Gibson factory, its staff, and methods of production as well..."
..."I being a fan of Les Paul was so addicted to this book and finished it in less than a week, honestly this was one of the best books i've ever read that involves guitars. I recommend to this book to every guitar player out there especially Les Paul players..."

Here Robb plays  at the Jimi Hendricks Birthday Party at the Hard Rock with real school pre    



RICK MIZUNO Indies in Motion

I met him at Speghettini’s one night last year when I was a checking out John DePatie playing with the Santana tribute group Carlos the Experience. Ever since I met Rick Mizuno, I have done nothing but think about writing about him in RSP…He handed me his card as he told me about his radio show “Indies in Motion”.. First off, I’m thinking, this guy is in radio? His smile is just too effervescent not to be seen… Rick has a smile that can fill a room with sunshine.

He has spirit with a long run as a musician. It began in his childhood and with all of his experience, he has reinvented himself and his talents threefold. And what hasn't he done? This percussionist has worked on numerous stages and played many musical genres. 

He’s authored two books: his novel 50.50 split and a collection of poems and letters, “From the Heart of A Man”. He has also authored a CD entitled “Promises Kept”…I forgot to add he's keynote speaker…

His successful radio show Indies in Motion, features some of the best Independent Artists in entertainment: music, dance, art, literature, theatre and film…Mizuno is part of a movement. It was a movement that began when more indie entrepreneurs were found worldwide by listeners and enthusiasts who were not satisfied with what was just the regular mainstream but those who hungered for the potpourri of a true “creative buffet. This movement has changed the music industry forever and given listeners the autonomy to hear all types of music all over the world.


Naughty Betty

How did I miss this show? One of my daughters turned me onto this one. I have never laughed so hard. Betty White’s show Off Their Rockers brings back the hilarity of Candid Camera with a twist. All of the pranksters are real schoolers “punking” real school pre-schoolers and its hysterical.

Betty White is showing us that 90 is the new living it up! She gets more incredible by the day and this show really let’s us see the real mischievous Betty…

” I happen to be blessed with loving what I do for a living.” Says White. “I love this business and I’m so fortunate to be able to still work in this business.”

Betty and her cast of real school pranksters


Is this photo of Kelsey Grammer any indication of the role he plays in the very cold blooded portrayal of Mayor Tom Kane? You bet it is! The series Boss is in its 2nd season on Starz and deservedly so. This is Grammer like you've never seen him. His character struggles with a degenerative brain disease while fighting to keep his political career...



I had to watch the pilot twice on this one. And I must say that for all of us disenchanted LOST fans who got taken to the bridge and dropped into some serious funk of the unexplained, Revolution on NBC might just be the "revival" we need. 
The story:
Someone turned the power off and civilization changed as we know it changing life for society into new millennium remake of "Lord Of The Flies. You can catch up On-Demand.

We get an inkling of when someone flipped the switch based on the product placements of iPhone 4s, iPods and a character who worked for a company named Google. Now, someone knows the key to how to get the power back on. But who? And if some of the characters look familiar, they're LOST alumni.

There is something reminiscent of the series Flash Foward (ABC) in Revolution... The scoring on this is classic. In a word, adventurous. Scoring is heard basically throughout the entire show...It's like a film on the small screen. I'm hopeful on this one.



Back in the day, in 4 of Spike Lee’s films, there was this  interesting character and it was always played by Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito aka Giancarlo Esposito. I always thought that he was Latino but actually the actor was born in Denmark. His mom was an opera and night club singer from Alabama and his father was a carpenter  and stagehand from Naples, Italy. 

Born in 1958, Esposito has done a wide range of roles, but I really saw his depth in Breaking Bad  Whew!  a chilling performance.  He has this demeanor in his acting where he can be a stark, cold unconscionable beast, or sad and broken like the genie coping with an  unrequited  love  in his role on ABC’s Once Upon A Time. But whatever role he plays he  delivers with accuracy and acumen.

He made his Broadway debut in 1966 in Maggie Flynn as an 8 year old slave opposite Shirley Jones…Since his career started, he has  literally been one of the most visible actors in stage, TV and film. He has six episodes in the new NBC series Revolution. Just seeing his name in the opening credits of the pilot, made me want to watch the show… I'm thinking, Who’s he going to be now? I really like this actor. He has matured like fine wine. His humility and devotion to his craft is obvious. Giancarlo Esposito is fluid…

"I first felt successful when I was 13 and in a show called Seesaw. I came offstage and heard the applause of the theater audience and felt a sense of accomplishment. Around that time my role model for success was Burt Lancaster. He was one of the first actors In Hollywood to start his own production company, and I respected him because he created something he believed in. Nowadays I look to spiritual people, such as Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, since I'm always asking myself, 'What do I have to give?' "


The real thematic works of Thomas Newman

While I wonder about the future of the HBO show, “The Newsroom” which just finished its first season a little over a month ago , the theme song, written by Thomas Newman deserves many accolades. It is the most moving, touching thematic work I’ve heard in a long time. It takes us back through melody and the visuals that accompany the work to a time and a place we all remember in television news broadcasting.

Thomas Newman
Newman knows how to get to the heart of the viewer. And on my curiosity of finding more about him, it was interesting to find that his cousin is Randy Newman, and his father is composer Alfred Newman. 

You may not know Thomas Newman by face, but  you have heard his work many times…

 Newman has  scored at least one Oscar-nominated film every year since 1994: 1994: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (Nominee: Best Pic, etc.), Little Women (1994) (Nominee: Best Score, etc.) 1995: Unstrung Heroes (1995) (Nominee: Best Score) 1996: The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996) (Nominee: Best Director, etc.) 1997: Oscar and Lucinda (1997) (Nominee: Best Costume Design) 1998: The Horse Whisperer (1998) (Nominee: Best Song) 1999: American Beauty (1999) (Winner: Best Pic, etc.), The Green Mile (1999) (Nominee: Best Pic, etc.) 2000: Erin Brockovich (2000) (Nominee: Best Actress, etc.) 2001: In the Bedroom (2001) (Nominee: Best Pic, etc.) 2002: Road to Perdition (2002) (Nominee: Best Score, etc.) 2003: Finding Nemo (2003) (Winner: Best Animated Feature, etc.) 2004: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) (Nominee: Best Makeup, etc.) 2005: Cinderella Man (2005) (Nominee: Best Supporting Actor, etc.) 2006: The Good German (2006) (Nominee: Best Score), Little Children (2006) (Nominee: Best Actress, etc.).
With all of this experience and talent, and nominations for best score at the Oscars I find it troubling that he hasn’t gotten one win. I really appreciate his approach to writing music for media.

"...I hate the notion that electronics are a cheesy way of doing things and that orchestra is the only 'true' approach to scoring. But you can understand those critics, because electronics allow you to make easy choices. Anyone can do it. But while synthesizers are things you hide behind sounds, they can also be put in places you'd never expect. I've always wanted these boundaries to be amorphous.

“The great thing about doing movie music is that you find out what you're capable of. You may think you're incapable of producing a certain rhythm, but it's your job to solve that problem. If you open your mind, an idea will lead you to the next one.
I think I like smaller [scores] better, because I find more interesting places that the music can go. When you're working with a 90-piece symphony, your interaction with the players is much different. You're standing on a podium and talking to a large number of musicians. So the notion of nuance becomes a group effort and that's a difficult thing to get. I keep thinking of ways to communicate better, to scale down the orchestra's size so it will fit into my ambient palette instead of lying on top of it…

I remember a teacher once asked me, what makes music sad? What a brilliant question. His answer was, it takes on the physical qualities of something sad. Meaning if it's sad, a melody will move in step-wise manner. It will tend to be slower as you are when you're sad; it takes on the physical characteristics of an emotional state. Something in the music rings and carries you back to a memory you have that elicits a feeling. I guess what's wonderful about music is that it's utterly abstract and yet has a great kind of sinuous, subjective emotional reaction. I like the idea that music can be dimensional, that it's not necessarily playing what's there…”


Okay… I really get to say it. My real FaceBook friend Vivi really takes the cake! 
I mean that, literally!  She takes the cake and transforms it into   exceptional art with a whole lot of love! 

I know that this type of creativity takes patience and diligence…How do I know? I tried it and failed miserably…So, as I look at Ms. Vivi's cakes, I live my “cake dream” vicariously through her work…

When I look at her work, I  see the passion she has for it and the love she sends to her clients.… “I seriously enjoy everything I do. Just wish I would have discovered it 20 years ago.” Vivi says. “… I was looking at all that I've gone through in this industry and I wouldn't change a thing.” And you can feel the energy of her living, knowledge and experience in her delicious creations.

Looped Brush Embroidery
She continues,"I may not be on Food Network or have a roster of famous clients, but I bake outstanding cakes for some of the most wonderful people that appreciate my time and talent. I'm thankful to have repeat customers. They'll never know how late I've stay up to make their dream cake a reality or the multiple trips to stores to find just the right color, cake board or fondant in the middle of the night...the tears, when I've been tired or the scolding from my husband when I've worked all day and have skipped meals. I love what I do and I'm happy with all the sacrifices that I've made to get to where I am....and the journey ahead of me to master my craft."

New Baby Shower Cake
Since I’m vegan, I asked about the vegan baking and the incredible revenue in it. As it stands, I pay 3 bucks for a vegan cupcake and they are soooo good. “Yeah,the vegan craze has taken off all over the country.” She laughs. “ The LA area is King when it comes to Vegan. The Bay area, too. I think Kara's Cupcakes was one of the first Vegan bakeries. I love the direction food is going in. Healthier, more variety and something for everybody.”

So feast your eyes on Vivi’s extraordinary edible art. It certainly says a mouthful. And as they say, "Let them eat cake!"

Chanel Purse Cake
Bride's Dream
Sweet Magnolias


Gift cake


She started as a dancer and chorus girl and did the club circuit in stand-up comedy. At 53 she got her biggest break from her childhood friend as the bible thumping nemesis of TV brother in law Fred G. Sanford. It was Redd Foxx that insisted his friend play the role.

Lawanda Page, born Alberta Peal in October 19, 1920, was billed as  "The Bronze Goddess of Fire" because she could  light cigarettes with her fingertips, swallowed fire and touched flaming torches to her body.

Some of the best, most memorable comedic lines in real school TV were born in the discourse between Aunt Esther and Fred. Lawanda Page died September 14, 2002.

Quote: "I lived the life I loved, and loved the life I lived."


It’s been over 50 years since I've watched a Popeye cartoon. When I watched a clip from the show recently, it was hysterically funny. This character was very interesting. Somewhat humble, he always talked to himself under his breath when he was confronted with an issue. The voice characterization was really quite unusual with it varying raspy  inflections as the character of Popeye reflected, mused and muttered under his breath. Popeye the sailor goes as far back as 1929.  The first time I ever saw a tattoo was when I watched Popeye.

William "Billy" Costello

The original voice actor for Popeye was William “Billy” Costello in 1933, but he was replaced  by Jack Mercer in 1935.

I used to parrot Popeye’s motto: “I’m strong to the finish, ‘cause I eat me spinach…” I really believed that spinach made you strong and brave like Popeye. 

In fact, thanks to Popeye, I defended myself against a bully…I was about 6 years old leaving school with a group of friends and this kid called me a name…Now since I knew I always ate my spinach, I wasn't going to take being picked on and I knew I was strong! With one straight ahead forward jab like Popeye, I clocked the kid in the nose and went on my way…Back in the day you took on a bully!

Another interesting character associated with Popeye, was the Eugene the jeep. A jeep was something like a dog, with magical powers… In the 1936 comic strip Popeye asked Dr. Brainstine what a jeep was and got this definition:

“A Jeep is an animal living in a three dimensional world—in this case our world—but really belonging to a fourth dimensional world. Here's what happened. A number of Jeep life cells were somehow forced through the dimensional barrier into our world. They combined at a favorable time with free life cells of the African Hooey Hound. The electrical vibrations of the Hooey Hound cell and the foreign cell were the same. They were kindred cells. In fact, all things are, to some extent, relative, whether they be of this or some other world, now you see. The extremely favorable conditions of germination in Africa caused a fusion of these life cells. So the uniting of kindred cells caused a transmutation. The result, a mysterious strange animal.”

Do you really think a little kid could reading the comic strip could understand that answer?! Well, neither did Popeye, who ignored Dr. Brainstine’s explanation and in the 1938 animated feature “The Jeep” gave it a simpler definition: "The Jeep's a magical dog and can disappear and things."

I love Popeye…And like Olive Oyl used to say, “He’s my hero.”


for sharing the journey...


  1. Great Issue, wish I had sat across the table as you outlined your idea's...
    Blessings & Adieu

  2. You brilliant, brilliant, woman. Love the Sonny and Cher background, honey boo.. a crack up. Betty White should have a super hero named in her honor. Incredible issue. Loved the content which was packed full of interesting tidbits of information that is entertaining. How could we ever know about some of these talented musicians without RSP keeping us in the loop..Ya got us talkin bout thangs that only grown folk can understand. lol...

  3. Wonderful issue Teira! As always, lots of information for us baby boomers and your friend who makes cakes is fantastic!! You can see the love she puts in each of her cakes.