1910 fruitgum company

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The Rip Chords, 1910 Fruitgum Company, and Ron Dante at Jonathan Dayton High, Springfield, NJ

Published August 17, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0928Ron Dante

Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, Jonathan Dayton High School, Springfield, New Jersey, hosted a five-star musical extravaganza featuring The Rip Chords, 1910 Fruitgum Company, and Ron Dante.

The Rip Chords (http://www.theripchords.net/) — starring Richie Rotkin, Arnie Marcus, Mitch Schecter, Amy Lynne, Tony Tuttle, Mike Kelly and Randy Dance — were first up and wowed the audience with their classic surf/hot rod sounds. They performed their hits “Hey Little Cobra,” and “409” as well as a bunch of tunes from other artists of their era including a stand-out performance of Amy Lynne singing “Vacation.”

Original member Richie Rotkin was an exciting front man, showing off his groovin’ dance moves and later going into the audience shaking hands with fans. All members played instruments exclusive to the era, including the amps, creating an authentic sound.

Next up was The 1910 Fruitgum Company (http://www.1910fruitgumcompany.com/) with line-up: Frank Jeckell (original guitarist), Mick Mansueto, Glenn Lewis, Bob Brescia, and Keith Crane.

This is one of my favorite live bands of all-time. I started seeing them about 15 years ago when they first reunited and still had original  drummer Floyd Marcus in the band at Tierney’s in Montclair, New Jersey. Since then, I must have seen them at least 10 more times and it never gets old. I had their records when I was a little girl and to this day my favorite songs are “Simple Simon” and “1-2-3 Red Light” which they do at every show. Other tunes in their set include: “Kicks” and “Midnight Confessions.” This band is just so much fun and so full of life. You’ll always be greatly entertained.

Finally the legendary Ron Dante was up (http://www.rondante.com/). He’s best known for singing for The Archies and The Cuff Links.

The 1910 Fruitgum Company stayed onstage to back Dante up, which was a perfect fit. Last month I saw Ron Dante perform two songs at an outdoor concert before the show got rained out (though I was thrilled to dance to “Sugar Sugar” in the rain!) This time fans got to see the full show and it was amazing. In addition to “Sugar Sugar,” Dante performed his hit “Tracy,” a song that always sent chills up my spine; it’s just an adorable love song. Dante also sang some of the jingles he wrote, like the theme for Almond Joy. Finally, he brought the house down with the grand finale of “Johnny B. Good.” His vocals sounded just as pristine as the records; a true class act.

With three great acts, the night ended way too soon.

After the show all band members stuck around for a meet and greet. It was my honor to get to meet all these legends; some for the first time and others again. When you’re in the company of musicians you loved since you were a kid, it’s always fun and magic!

SAM_0938From left: Frank Jeckell, Ron Dante, Me, Mick Mansueto, and Keith Crane

Thanks to Mick for arranging this magical spur of the moment shot! 

SAM_0916Richie Rotkin and Me — He’s awesome! 

SAM_0941Two handsome fellows; my husband Dennis and Ron Dante.

Thanks Ron for signing these rarities! 

Check out their websites for upcoming shows — these acts are not to be missed! — and background information, as this is all the REAL DEAL! ❤

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

1910 Fruitgum Company and Ron Dante Show Rained-Out

Published July 4, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_05961910 Fruitgum Company

For nine years, every July 4th my husband Dennis and I loved going to see The 1910 Fruitgum Company at a park in Springfield, New Jersey, and this was the first year it got rained out after only a few songs!

From the get-go it didn’t look too good in the sky and for some reason the band started a half hour later than they were supposed to. (We actually got there early thinking maybe they’d start the show early because of the rain).

The band only got to do a few songs including their hits “Goody Good Gumdrops” and “Indian Giver” before the rain started. Original member Frank Jeckell jokingly put a towel over his head.

SAM_0602Original 1910 Fruitgum Company member Frank Jeckell

While the 1910 Fruitgum Company played in the rain, my husband noticed the legendary Ron Dante (of The Archies) standing by the side of the stage. We walked over to meet him. He was awesome! He signed one of my husband’s CDs and took a picture with me.

SAM_0601Ron Dante and me

After The 1910 Fruitgum Company cut their set short (so short I didn’t get to hear my two favorite songs, “1-2-3 Red Light” and “Simon Says”) Ron Dante came onstage, backed by The 1910 Fruitgum Company and did “I Want Candy.”

The rain was really coming down at this point, so he cut to the chase and did his biggest hit “Sugar Sugar.”

At least I got to dance to part of the legendary song before the sound guy pulled the plug.

My husband and I came home soaking wet, but we had FUN!

Oh, is that fireworks I hear — or thunder?

Happy Fourth of July

1910 Fruitgum Company and John Ford Coley, Springfield, New Jersey

Published July 5, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_79471910 Fruitgum Company

It’s tradition that every July 4 my husband and I go see the 1910 Fruitgum Company. I had their 45-rpm records when I was a little girl, so I love to support them. Their shows are always so much fun and yesterday was extra special because they had a kick-ass sound guy! I loved that they saved their best two hits for last: “1-2-3 Red Light” and “Simon Says” (which I always get up and dance to!) Their other big hits were “Indian Giver” and “Goody Goody Gum Drops” which they did earlier in the show. [Side note: Every time they play “Goody Goody Gum Drops” I always think about the ’90s song “Faith Healer” by Redd Kross — it’s almost the exact same song! Though I doubt Redd Kross blatantly ripped off Fruitgum Company, my guess is Fruitgum were a definite influence on them.]

Hits Fruitgum did by other artists included: “Midnight Confessions” (Grassroots); “Bus Stop” (Hollies); “You Know She’d Rather Be With Me” and “Happy Together” (Turtles); “Surfin’ USA” (Beach Boys); and so much more!

Ever since we’ve been going to these July 4th extravaganzas, Barbara Harris & The Toys performed too. Not so last night. I was sad not to see them, but thrilled to see John Ford Coley! Now his 45-rpm record, I had as a pre-teen, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight.” I was 12 when that song came out in 1976. I loved music since I can remember, which was probably at the age of 3 or 4. But it’s those pre-teen years that are extra special, when you go into a record store, pick out the singles you want — with your own money — and you feel like you know a little something. To this day I can remember buying the England Dan and John Ford Coley single, thinking I was so important! I was the nerdy late bloomer and all the other little girls had boyfriends already, but buying music, for me, meant something.

Ford Coley’s live performance was excellent. He had a great sense of humor, told some good tales and delivered his three hits: “Nights Are Forever Without You,” “It’s Sad to Belong to Someone Else (When the Right One Comes Along); and of course, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight.”

SAM_7964John Ford Coley

After the show we approached John Ford Coley to take a photo. I told him I had his single when I was 12.

He jokingly replied, “You were single when you were twelve?!”

I was so in awe of meeting him, I didn’t know what to say next. My husband and I were just smiling and laughing. John Ford Coley is a cool, down to earth guy!

SAM_7966John Ford Coley and me

Prior to the show, we checked out the petting zoo. Of course, the rabbits were the best!

SAM_7938So soft!

SAM_7934My husband and I enjoying the show!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

July 4th Music Extravaganza! (Toys/1910 Fruitgum Co./Buckinghams)

Published July 5, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5143Me and Barbara Harris

My husband and I had an amazing July 4th!

The town next to ours, Springfield, New Jersey, hosts a wonderful music program every July 4th — featuring Barbara Harris and The Toys, and 1910 Fruitgum Company. It’s been a tradition for us, for the past five years, to go see them and get a spot right in front!

Prior to the show, Barbara Harris actually recognized me (from going to all the shows!) She gave me a big, warm hello and we chatted. That truly made my night. Her hit “A Lover’s Concerto” is one of my favorite love songs of all time. Though it was a hit in the 1960s, I first discovered the song, around 1981, when I was working my first job and I’d hear it on the way to work on AM radio.

And of course it’s always the highlight of their shows when they perform “A Lover’s Concerto” (also known as “How Gentle is the Rain.”) They also did “Open Arms” by Journey, “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner, their other Top 10 hit, “Attack” and a medley of hits from girl groups of the 1960s.

When Barbara Harris was introduced, the announcer said she was “the nicest lady in the world.” I totally agree! Barbara is just full of light and love — a total inspiration! And boy, that lady can dance! According to Wikipedia, she was born 1945 — you’d never know it! She has the energy of a 20-something and is gorgeous too!

Next up was 1910 Fruitgum Company, another band I loved when I was a little girl. They did a string of hits of their own, plus hits by others such as the Beach Boys and the Turtles. My favorite Fruitgum hits are “1-2-3 Red Light” and of course, “Simon Says” which always gets me dancing!

As a bonus, last night, Dennis Tufano, of The Buckinghams, performed with Fruitgum Company. He was a phenomenal show man — funny and charismatic — and belted out tunes like he was on fire! Of his songs, my favorite was “Kind of a Drag.” He also did some Bobby Darin tunes and other numbers.

After the show, there was a fireworks display.

My husband, Dennis, got the Buckinghams CD autographed by Dennis Tufano — and joked with him that they were both Italians named “Dennis.”

I got to meet Frank Jeckell, original Fruitgum Co. member. We all took pictures too. His wife was so nice to take a picture of both me and my husband with him.

A very fun evening. Also got to see our friends Bobby (who once ran a very cool place in Montclair, The Soda Pop Shop),  and Art & Wendy (who we met a few weeks ago at the Lou Christie show).

A perfect summer night, that was actually chilly like September!

Fourth of July Concerts – 1910 Fruitgum Company; Barbara Harris & The Toys

Published July 5, 2013 by Maryanne

1910 Fruitgum Company(Photo swiped from their website)

Last night was spectacular! My husband and I went, for the fourth year in a row, to see the double bill of 1910 Fruitgum Company and Barbara Harris & The Toys in Springfield, followed by fireworks.

We were joined by our friends Diane and Mike. First had a beer at our home and dinner at Applebees.

The 1910 Fruitgum Company (http://www.1910fruitgumcompany.com/index.html) is amazing. I had their records as a kid and always loved them. I must have seen them about seven or eight times over they years. They did all their hits, “1-2-3 Red Light”; “Take a Giant Step”; “Indian Giver” “Simon Says” (my favorite by them) and their psychedelic “Reflections in the Looking Glass” which shows how diverse they can be.  They also do hits from other bands, and my favorite is “Midnight Confessions” by the Grass Roots.

I always love how they coordinate their clothing. This year all the band members wore classy shirts with American flags on them.

People of all ages enjoy the show, from kids to elderly. Everyone gets so into it.

Next up was Barbara Harris and The Toys (http://www.barbarastoys.net/). They always do a medley of hits from girl groups of the 1960s (Shirelles, Supremes, etc.) which is fabulous (but I do prefer hearing the entire song rather than a medley). Full songs included, the famous hit, “Lover’s Concerto (How Gentle Is the Rain)” which brought tears to my eyes. We were right in the front and I screamed out, “Thank you Barbara!” And she said, “Aw, thank you.” She’s such a doll!

All the girls in the Toys have such unique voices, it was wonderful hearing all of them sing, individually as well as together.

And I found out via Wikipedia — Barbara Harris is 67-years-old, she’ll be 68 this year (her birthday is August 18, the day before mine!) It’s amazing the energy she has onstage! Incredibly inspiring.

The surprise of the evening was when she sang “Open Arms” by Journey. I totally didn’t expect that song, it seemed out of character but it worked beautifully. Definitely a romantic evening.

After her performance we went to meet her again because Mike had the Toys single, “Lover’s Concerto” and Barbara Harris autographed it for him. So we took photos again even though we were all very hot and sweaty! We’re having a massive heat wave in New Jersey, but a wonderful evening nonetheless. Hooray for no rain!

DSCN0749Barbara Harris, me, Dennis

DSCN0751Mike, Barbara Harris, Diane

DSCN0748Barbara Harris autographing Mike’s 45 record! 

Look how cute her shoes are!

(Note: I don’t know who the guy holding the cell phone is!)

Wishing You a Star-Spangled Night, Tonite!

Published July 4, 2013 by Maryanne

Fireworks (photo by me!)

LOVE AMERICAN STYLE!

Wishing everyone a most amazing Fourth of July!

Maryanne with Barbara Harris and The Toys

For the past several years it’s been a Fourth of July tradition for my husband and I to go to a local park and see the same amazing two bands – 1910 Fruitgum Company and Barbara Harris and The Toys.

Here’s the song I look forward to dancing to tonite:

1910 Fruitgum Company “Simon Says”

And if this most gorgeous love song doesn’t bring tears of you to your eyes, you’re probably dead:

Barbara Harris “Lover’s Concerto” (How Gentle is the Rain)

I’m excited to do it once again this year — with our AMAZING friends Diane and Mike (cutest couple ever!)

diane-mike-maryanneDi, Mike and Me!

Maryanne and Dennis by JeffWas that fireworks? Or did my hubby just kiss me?

retro fourth of julyRetro cutie!

vintage-fourth-of-july-card_thumbGrand Funk Railroad “We’re An American Band”

Simon & Garfunkel “America”

David Bowie “Young Americans”

Elvis Presley “An American Trilogy”

AmericanTrilogyElvisP

Maryanne’s Best 12 of 2012

Published December 15, 2012 by Maryanne

Me in front of original Batmobile earlier this year

It’s the end of 2012, also the end of my first year as a blogger.

For those who follow me, you may have picked up that “fun” and “positivity” are my middle names.

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and I am so blessed that I have my amazing soul mate husband, Dennis; two gorgeous healthy kitties; my friends; a wonderful immediate family as well as in-laws; and all the other wonderful folks in my life; all a part of my big picture, there for me for fun times, as well as being there for me when I need shoulders to cry on or some damn good advice. What a blessing. Thank you all!

With so many special things going on every day, it’s really hard to pick what I feel is best, but I am giving it my best shot and I hope you enjoy my list! Thanks for reading and following!

Love, Maryanne xo

BEST OF 2012

1. Proudest Moment: When I found out The Aquarian Arts Weekly newspaper got into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame — every issue, which means a lot of my writing since I had my own gothic column in 2002 and reviewed CDs for them. Not to mention in 1991 I was a model for a guitar ad! After receiving this news, I felt like I became a part of pop culture history!

2. Creative Project Most Proud of: I am beyond honored to have had the opportunity to work with Scott Schiaffo, actor best known for his role as the Chewlies Man in Kevin Smith’s movie “Clerks.” Scott hired me to edit his poetry book, “Vicious Dogs Attack Me in Sleepless Nights of Summer.” But even better, I wrote the foreword about my long time friendship with Scott.

3. Most Rewarding Work: All year long I was writing for The Paterson Press online. This was a very rewarding experience to me for two reasons. One, I was able to write four articles about the Great Falls; and two, I got to write about so many positive things that kids have been doing for the community and the rewards they have received. Not much could beat the high I get when I am in the midst of it all. Writing will always be my first love and I am blessed to be able to make money doing it. Not to mention all the inspiring people I meet along the way.

4. Favorite Creative Moment: For the past several days I’ve been blogging about “Hounds of Winter” a Christmas studio project courtesy of musical masterminds Tom Corea and Tom DiPaolo. Each year my husband, Dennis, plays bass on several tracks and sometimes guitar too. Each year I go several times to the studio with him and have a blast. Well, this year I got to sing back up on one of the tracks “C’mon, C’mon.” Not a big deal, but a very big deal to me. You see, I’m not a singer. Several years ago I wrote a children’s Christmas song for one of the CDs and I couldn’t even sing my own song! Luckily we had a professional singer sing the song — the way I wanted her too (like Rudolph!) So I was shocked when Tom asked me to sing. Not like it was a big singing job, but it was singing! My husband coached me, tapping my leg when to join in because my sense of timing and rhythm is completely off. But I did it and I am so happy that this little dream of mine came true! It only makes me wonder what other great things can happen in the future!

5. My Most Viewed Blog: According to my stats, hundreds of people have viewed my tribute to Helen Gurley Brown when she died this past summer: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/rip-helen-gurley-brown-feb-18-1922-to-aug-13-2012/

6. Best Concert: I can’t do this to myself! I’ve seen so many fantastic shows this year (Gordon Lightfoot, Smokey Robinson, Dick Dale, Glen Campbell, the original Crickets, The Toys, 1910 Fruitgum Company, to name a few) … no, no, no, I can’t pick one!! But if I was strapped to an electric chair and had to pick one or die, I would have to go with Glen Campbell. Yes, the man has alzheimer’s disease and was playing songs in the wrong key, it was hard to notice unless you are a musician yourself and his audience was so supportive of him, he received standing ovation after standing ovation. He still had the star quality and I was moved beyond belief!

7. Best Song (and comeback): “Stay Away From Downtown” by Redd Kross. Check it out:

8. Best Cover Band: Tusk (Fleetwood Mac tribute). This band is so freaking amazing I saw them several times over the summer. They are just so on the money. The guitarist plays so well he inspired me to add a few Lindsey Buckingham CDs to my collection. What a terrific treat! Check them out: http://fleetwoodmactribute.com/

9. Best Natural Food: GT’s Chia Kombucha. I am so hooked, I have to have this drink at least once or twice per day.

10. Email of the Year:  Two years ago, 2010, I interviewed fashion icon Oleda Baker for my health column, “Here’s to Your Health.” I absolutely loved talking to her. She was great. But the surprising thing was, she emailed me earlier this year saying how much she loved my interview back in 2010 and wanted to thank me again. In all my years of journalism, I’ve had people thank me in the sweetest ways, but never so many times as Oleda did. She is just a wonderful person, that’s all there is to it! You can read the interview here: http://verona.patch.com/articles/fashion-icon-oleda-baker-shares-her-fountain-of-youth-beauty-secrets

11. Best Radio Show: The Glen Jones Radio Show w/X-Ray Burns. If you live in New Jersey, you can get it at 91.1 WFMU. If you don’t live in the area, you can listen to it on the internet: http://wfmu.org/jones/