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Best 13 of 2013

Published December 4, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1283Me earlier this year, at Arirang

It’s the end of 2013, and also the end of my second year as a blogger.

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

While this has been a trying year, as I’ve lost three very special loved ones — all in a row, I count my blessings that it’s been such a positive year as well with many new friends and amazing things happening in my career. It’s always so hard to pick “the best” but that’s the fun of it and of life itself, trying to figure it all out!

Love and blessings to all and thanks so much for your support!

1. Best Accomplishment: Definitely finishing my book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.” It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and it will be published Spring 2014. I’m thrilled that so many people I highly admire are supportive of my endeavor and that I’ve received super cool endorsements from WMFU DJ Glen Jones, author/columnist Judy McGuire, and original Plasmatics drummer Stu Deutsch.

2. Most Amusing Accomplishment: I was sold! Back in Oct. 2010, I modeled a series of photographs for Darlene Foster (www.darlenefoster.com). In the past some of the postcards with my photo on them sold, but I was thrilled when a big one — “Deliverance” sold!

Darlene pic of maryanne“Deliverance” by Darlene Foster

3. My Favorite Headline: One of the hardest parts of being a journalist is writing a good headline. Most of my life during my writing career, I left that up to an editor. But I have to say, I was pretty impressed with myself when I came up with “When Harry Met Sandy” for my blog about Prince Harry coming to the Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy! (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/when-harry-met-sandy/)

4. Interview of the Year: This year I’ve interviewed quite a few legends including comic David Brenner, NFL Star Eric Downing and Janis Ian. But my favorite interview was with Billy Childs of Britny Fox and Get the Led Out. That guy talked to me like he was my best friend for two hours straight! It was definitely a phone call to remember!

Billy ChildsWith Billy Childs, June 2013

5. Best Make-Up:Gabriel Cosmetics ZuZu Luxe. I love their products. You can’t beat hypoallergenic, cruelty free and a true quality product. I blogged about the goods back in May: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/love-for-gabriel-cosmetics-inc-zuzu-luxe-all-natural-no-animal-testing/

6. Best Healthy Treat: Chia Pod. Over the summer I discovered a simple, vegan, all natural treat called Chia Pod. Again, I was so excited, I just had to blog about it: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/ch-ch-ch-chia-pod/

7. Cutest Commercial: “Guess What Day It Is?” When my friend Darlene first sent me the link to the GEICO Hump Day Camel commercial I was thrilled! It was so funny I had to watch it over and over. I still get a kick out of it.

8. Best Drink: Moonstone Coconut Lemon Grass Sake, unfiltered. (By SakeOne).

9. Best Concert: I don’t know why I do this to myself, making myself pick a “best concert” every year. My husband and I must go to at least two or three concerts per month which brings us to … too many to choose! This year some of them included: The Dick Fox Doo Wop Extravaganza, Gary Numan, The Fab Faux (not once, but TWICE in one year!), The Smithereens and Gary Numan. But I have to say, Michael Nesmith at Union County Performing Arts Center tops them all. You can read all about my extraordinary experience here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/michael-nesmith-at-union-county-performing-arts-center-rahway-nj/

10. Best Tribute Band: Again, I don’t know why I do this to myself, making myself pick ONE favorite tribute band. With all the concerts I saw this year, some of the best tributes included: Abba Mania, The Fab Faux, One Night With Queen and Get the Led Out (to name a few). But I have to say, with no disrespect to the others, Tusk: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute trumps them all. Check out my blog here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/tusk-the-ultimate-fleetwood-mac-tribute-linden-new-jersey/ – and check back in a week or so, as I’ll be posting a review of their upcoming show in New Hope and an interview I did with the band a few months ago.

11. Best New Original Band: Stockton Bridge is my favorite new band this year. They are actually all the members of Tusk: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute. I was blown away when I received the CD in the mail. Every song was just super. You can go to their Face Book page and click on “Music Store” to hear them: https://www.facebook.com/stocktonbridgeband?ref=stream&filter=2

12. Best Song and Video: “Johnny Sincere” by The Deadbeat Poets. Wow, just wow! It’s that kind of song you can’t listen to just once. And it’s done so well too. I love everything about it.

13. Best Event: “Resintopia” I had the best time at plastic model kit and expo “Resintopia” this year, I’ve already penned in the date for next year! Check out my interview with founder/CEO Vincent Bordogna: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/interview-vincent-bordogna-ceofounder-of-resintopia/

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie Askew for giving it his best shot on “American Idol.” I loved Charlie and really wanted him to win.

RIP

Way too many losses this year, the public said good-bye to: Chrissie Amphlett, Ray Manzarek, Lou Reed and Senator Frank Lautenberg to name a few of my personal favorites.

And my personal losses were way too much to bear: My beloved Billy Cat, Joan Finn (my mentor and Montclair Times entertainment editor), my spiritual mentor Bayani Mendoza DeLeon (also famous musician in Philippines ), Uncle Bert and Uncle Tony.

Billy in the SkyBilly Cat, RIP

Get the Led Out – SOPAC, June 21, 2013

Published June 22, 2013 by Maryanne

Get the Led Out(Photo from Get the Led Out Face Book page)

Get the Led Out at SOPAC (South Orange Performing Arts Center) last night was phenomenal!

The theater only seats about 400 people, and thanks to Billy Childs (bass) for the comp tickets, about seventh row!

This is the article I wrote when I interviewed Billy Childs earlier this month: http://thealternativepress.com/articles/get-the-led-out-will-perform-at-sopac-june-21

Get the Led Out live was truly a mystical experience

and a perfect way to spend the summer solstice.

It never ceases to amaze me, when you see a GOOD live performance, how much better you enjoy and appreciate the music. Now these guys are obviously about THE MUSIC, not just being a cover band that imitates a live show. It took three guitarists to create the Jimmy page studio sound. There was a total of six people in the band, plus a female vocalist helping out on two songs. And the most surreal moment of all was then they performed my second favorite Led Zeppelin song, “Fool in the Rain,” towards the end when the part with the whistle blows, a man come on stage just to do the whistle part. The entire band was absolutely flawless and I honestly entered another dimension. I will never hear “Fool in the Rain” the same way again.

It was truly a mystical experience and a perfect way to spend the summer solstice!

Please check out their website to see the promo video (http://www.gtlorocks.com/). There is a lot on You Tube, but cell phone videos do not do this band justice. You can’t even imagine how GOOD they are and I’m not even a Led Zep head, just someone who appreciates good music. And you can’t go wrong with a band that has such a massive catalog of work that so many other artists covered over the years.

They played over two hours. Opened up with “Immigrant Song” and blew me away from the get go. A little boy was sitting in front of us, he was getting into it 100 percent. You KNOW when someone is going to grow up and be a musician. It was adorable. The entire audience was a good crowd. It was an overall great vibe. No assholes there just because they had season’s passes (I hate that pretentious shit). True music fans, each and every one of them. Get the Led Out got several standing ovations throughout the evening. And not once did I see anyone texting during the show. Get the Led Out had the audience’s undivided attention! And trust me, I go to a ton of shows and this was a rarity.

Other favorites included, “Kasmir” and “Whole Lotta Love.” I loved the drum solo too. They did so much and the two hours zipped by. I couldn’t believe it was over.

After the show Dennis and I chatted with Billy Childs for about 20 minutes. I asked him what I forgot to ask him during my phone interview, if he liked the work that John Paul Jones did with Diamanda Galas. He laughed and said, “No.” We all talked about music a lot, as Dennis and Billy both recorded in the same studio in the 1980s when Dennis was with Pharoah and Billy was with Britny Fox.

A magical night indeed!

SAM_1334Billy Childs, bassist Get the Led Out and Britny Fox

SAM_1329Outside the theater, by sundial

Happy Summer Solstice!

My article/interview with Billy Childs (of Britny Fox and Get the Led Out)

Published June 7, 2013 by Maryanne

Billy Childs - Britny FoxBilly Childs

Two days ago I had a blast interviewing Billy Childs for an upcoming Get the Led Out show at SOPAC in South Orange. We talked for 1.5 hours — the longest phone interview I ever did in my career!

Enjoy my full article here: http://thealternativepress.com/articles/get-the-led-out-will-perform-at-sopac-june-21

Interesting side note, Billy Childs recorded at House of Music in West Orange, New Jersey, with Britny Fox around the same time as my husband’s ’80s hair band Pharoah recorded there.

Their website, which you can find via my article has some cool videos so you can see them performing. They truly are an amazing band. I look forward to the show later this month!