Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 24

I can’t exactly call this a celebrity blog. Everybody’s got a birthday, but not everybody gets a “Happy Birthday.” Yes- happy birthday, Ron Weasley. Happy birthday, Dave Chapelle. I started this blog to write about the under-celebrated.

Like John Bush. He got his start as the vocalist for Armored Saint, a metal band started by his high school buddies. He remains the only guy ever offered the job of Metallica frontman (right after Kill ‘Em All,) but he stayed with Saint, right up to the death of founding guitarist Dave Pritchard in 1990. When Armored Saint was laid to rest, John Bush had his next gig waiting: vocalist for Anthrax.

I’m an Anthrax fan since State of Euphoria, so The Anthrax vocalist is Joey Belladonna. But the John Bush years helped the band grow up while keeping the speed. Metallica has been spending the last four albums trying to make a song as good as “Only.” Through three labels, the grunge movement, and 9/11, Anthrax soldiered on. But when it was time for the reunion/cash-in tour, Anthrax invited Belladonna back for a two-vocalist tour. Quicker than you can say “Sammy Hagar”, Bush said, “no, thanks,” and walked away.

The new Armored Saint album came out in early 2010, while Anthrax is doing the Sonicsphere tour with their 'classic' lineup...

Another guy I like is Mason Williams, of “Classical Gas” fame. I heard this song for years on radio stations that never tell you what they play anymore and finally learned the name, thanks to “The Simpons.”
It’s one of those songs I always wanted to learn to play on guitar.
When “Classical Gas” made its debut
What’s really cool about this song is, he played this on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, a show he was a joke writer Music composition was something he did on the side; comedy paid his bills. Matter of fact, he gave Steve Martin his TV break.
Sorry I couldn’t find the performance with the fishbowl guitar. Still, great to watch:

And then there’s Jeffrey Daniel, another guy I discovered due to this blog. If you were dancing in the 70’s, you probably heard of Shalamar, an R & B trio that bridged the way between disco and hip-hop; sort of an early-80’s Fugees. They even broke up and had solo careers; Jody Watley’s the most successful, yet least crazy.
Daniel was known for his dancing. Here’s some moves he did on a British dance show in 1982 (skip to about 2:00, if you need to…):

And here’s some guy dancing on a tv show in 1983:

That’s right; Michael Jackson was a fan. In fact, he’d seen Daniel doing his backsliding move on Soul Train, American Bandstand, etc… and asked Daniel to teach him how to do it.
Jackson would end up hiring Daniel formally as a choreographer, for such videos as “Bad”, “Smooth Criminal,” and “Ghosts.” Jeffrey Daniel lives in Japan these days, speaking fluid Japanese and Cantonese, and working on his solo career, although Shalamar might be back.

Finally, because there’s two members of the band celebrating a birthday today, here’s Quicksilver Messenger Service.

So, happy birthday, guys. Tomorrow, a couple of masters of metal. Or hair. Or something…

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