carmine appice

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Best of 2016

Published December 29, 2016 by Maryanne

monkees-good-times

For so many people, putting “Best” and “2016” together is definitely an oxymoron, and in my world it’s no different. Personally, it was a bad year with many losses and tears. It all began with the death of David Bowie (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/rest-in-peace-to-the-prettiest-star-david-bowie/) Then my favorite cat of all time had to be put to sleep, at the age of 19 (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/rest-in-peace-derick-mommys-little-heart-6-24-96-to-4-29-16/). And finally, we said good-bye to my beloved father-in-law who passed at the age of 94 a few months ago (http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=181972211).

It was just one of those years where the “hits” just kept on coming and there’s not enough hours in the day for me to write about all of them.

Since I really don’t like to focus on negativity, let’s just say, THANK GOD for music; it’s what makes the world go ’round, and a salvation to many. Like every other year, 2016 was no worse in the music department. There were so many live performances my husband and I attended this year, including a few of his own with Rob Fusari and Pharoah. And my “Learn + Listen” series which made the cover of the Caldwell News: http://www.mypaperonline.com/library-patrons-learn-and-listen-about-famous-musicians.html

Lucky me, I also was blessed to write about many performances for various publications.

Whether it was outdoor concerts, or indoor venues, there was not one bad show in the lot. It’s always so hard to pick a “favorite” but as every music fan knows, there are those songs and moments that keep popping into your head, days, even weeks, after the show is over. To any musician who is reading, whether you’re mentioned here or not, if I approached you after a show, I sincerely loved your act.

That said, in my humble opinion, I’d like to present what I felt was the best on my radar this year. ENJOY!

BEST SONG/VIDEO – ROB FUSARI “Let Love Down” 

TOP THREE LIVE PERFORMANCES

1 – ROB FUSARI – The Bitter End, NYC, May 24, 2016

(“Your Trap” featuring Andrea Martin, Matt, Mario, Dennis, and The Constellations)

2 – SOUND + VISION: THE MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE (Musical Direction: RICHARD BARONE) – Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, NJ, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016

(“Fame” featuring Richard Barone, Jeffrey Gaines, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, Nick Celeste. In other outstanding performances: Wesley Stace and Elvis Perkins)   

3 – PUNKY MEADOWS + FALLEN ANGEL BAND – B.B. Kings, NYC,  June 14, 2016

(“The Tower” featuring Punky Meadows, Danny Anniello, Chandler Mogel, Bob Pantella, Charlie Calv, Randy Gregg. Felix Robinson also performed on bass in this show)

 BEST ALBUM – THE MONKEES “GOOD TIMES” 

“She Makes Me Laugh” from The Monkees “Good Times” 

BEST VINYL – JACK WHITE “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”

How cool to hear this on a record player! 

BEST MUSIC MOVIE – “LET ME DOWN HARD” 

Starring Keith Roth, DJ 95.9 The Rat “Electric Ballroom,” performs with Frankenstein 3000 and David Johansen; songwriter for Punky Meadows and so much more! 

BEST MUSIC BOOK – CARMINE APPICE “STICK IT!” 

Stick_it_book_01Honest; and in a strange way, endearing! Loved it!

And, again, because some things have to be said more than once, in my own little world, quite a few super cool things happened to ease the pain of the sadness, like going to see so much live music, being around amazing people, being able to write for a living — and public speaking (which includes music and health programs!) Not to mention, my incredible husband who is my rock through all the hardships and triumphs. All in all, there were two stand-outs that made this year incredible.

First I got a new kitty, Nicholas Gray; my husband and I adore our new snuggle bun! How can you not?

DSC_0137Nicholas Gray

And, thanks to Ashley Valentin-Patino, I became a professional wedding officiant, and will be marrying many more people in 2017! Speaking of “bests” Ashley’s wedding to Mitchell was not only the best of 2016, but aside from my own, I’d say the best wedding of all time!

May 2017 will bring more love, music, and happiness to the world! Grim Reaper — be gone with you!

sam_1357Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Ashley Valentin-Patino

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

To contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, write her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Book Review – “Stick It!” by Carmine Appice

Published May 15, 2016 by Maryanne

Stick_it_book_01

NOTE: Contains spoilers!

Last week I went to Carmine Appice’s book reading/signing at Barnes & Noble, Springfield, New Jersey. One week later, I am a better person for it. Seriously. This was more than a rock ‘n’ roll memoir, it was a religious experience.

Carmine Appice is refreshingly honest, down-to-earth and funny as hell. With assistance from Ian Gittins, the book is beautifully written … as if you are right there talking with a friend.

From the get-go, your adrenaline starts pumping because Carmine knew right away he wanted to be a drummer and he never missed a beat getting to where he was supposed to be in his career — effortlessly. He was in so many different bands with so many prominent musicians during a 50-year work span: Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Ted Nugent, Ozzy Osbourne … to name a few.

With life’s ups and downs, whether it was a band not working out, or a romantic interest going sour, or health issues, Carmine never stayed “down” too long. He was a survivor, a “roll with the punches” kinda guy. There was always an opportunity for him; and he always worked hard. Most impressive, he lived a rock ‘n’ roll life, but never really got into drugs.

Not that Carmine was a saint. Oh, no, there are plenty of groupie stories … weird, wild, and disturbing. Sex seems to have been his biggest vice. And love. Or what he thought was love; he married five times!

When reviewing a book, one is not supposed to reveal the ending, but #1, at the beginning of this blog I did write a disclaimer that this review contains spoilers. And #2, I can not contain my enthusiasm about how happy this book ended! Always a sucker for true romance, I cried tears of joy, at the end when Carmine fell madly in love with Leslie Gold (http://www.theradiochick.com/). Leslie herself even wrote a few pages about how they met and the challenges of their relationship. She is just as down-to-earth and honest as Carmine was throughout the book.

As anyone in a healthy relationship knows, love is not about having a “yes” man, but having someone who challenges you intellectually and emotionally, to get to a higher level. This is what Carmine found in Leslie. This is exactly what Carmine needed. In the final pages it’s where Carmine changed the most — for the best.

Carmine admitted to sleeping with 4500 women in his lifetime, but his Leslie was the lady that mattered most — his 4501. ❤

With all Carmine’s fame and riches, it’s the last pages that are truly the most prosperous — the last pages are like the pot of gold at the end of his life’s beautiful rainbow. During his final reflections, he looks back on the ups and downs of his career; he speaks of his remorse and shame for mistreating some groupies; he talks of his deep love for his children; and of course his love for Leslie.

If there’s ever a “feel good” rock ‘n’ roll story, this is it!

For more information on Carmine Appice and/or to purchase “Stick It!” please visit: http://www.carmineappice.net/

SAM_0028Maryanne Mistretta meeting Carmine Appice, Springfield, NJ

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award winning journalist and two-time author. Her book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” can be purchased on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Carmine Appice Book Reading/Signing at Barnes & Noble, Springfield, NJ

Published May 7, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_0028Meeting Carmine Appice

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than meeting a rock legend and hanging out with other music fans?!

Carmine Appice was at Barnes & Noble, Springfield, New Jersey,  today, promoting his memoir “Stick It!”

Over 50 people were in attendance, listening attentively as Carmine shared great stories about his adventures working with Ted Nugent, Rod Stewart, and Ozzy Osbourne. Carmine is also known for drumming with Vanilla Fudge and Cactus.

I first heard of Carmine from one of Rod Stewart’s records when I was a teenager. Back then, you’d listen to an album and study the album cover, front and back, and learn who all the musicians are. That’s how I learned the name Carmine Appice. Kids today don’t do that; they download music and take it all for granted. This is what I spoke to Carmine about during our brief chat. He was awesome! And afterwards I had a similar chat with his beautiful wife Leslie who was hanging out in the back with other fans. That’s the coolest part about going to any intimate music event — meeting so many people on the same wavelength!

Rod Stewart wrote the foreword to the book, which is endorsed by Max Weinberg, Brian May, Paul Stanley, Marky Ramone, and Ted Nugent.

I can’t wait to start reading it!

Stick_it_book_01

For more information on Carmine Appice, visit: http://www.carmineappice.net/

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

Chuck Negron and Tommy James at PNC Bank Art Center

Published September 16, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8555Chuck Negron (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Another exciting night last night. My husband and I headed down to PNC Bank Arts Center to see Chuck Negron and Tommy James. My friend Lorraine saved us seats so we had fifth row, left.

Chuck Negron was up first. Neither of us saw him before. My husband saw Three Dog Night without Chuck when we first started dating and he called me and let me hear over the phone. And now, there we were, together, hearing so many legendary songs that we grew up with from the lead singer. My moment was “One is the Loneliest Number.” Other hits included: “Joy to the World,” and “Eli’s Coming.” Chuck’s voice was great, he looked fantastic and was a real hoot, keeping the audience in stitches with jokes. A real class act.

Chuck Negron’s site: http://www.chucknegron.com/

Next up was Tommy James. We saw him so many times before. I actually was lucky to interview him for The Verona Cedar Grove Times, as Tommy James is a New Jersey resident.

His show was incredible, as always. Early on, Tommy does my favorite, “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” which brings tears to my eyes. He also does an acoustic version of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” and later an electric version. Other hits included “Crimson and Clover,” “Mony Mony,” “Hanky Panky,” and as a finale, “Sweet Cherry Wine,” with a nod to our Lord, “Jesus is Coming!”

During “Mony Money,” Tommy James walked into the audience of 17,000 and shook hands with fans.

Tommy James website: https://www.tommyjames.com/

Cousin Brucie was the emcee for the show; another sentimental treat as I grew up listening to his show. He’s a great host and makes the show even more exciting.

After the show, my husband and I saw Carmine Appice (http://www.carmineappice.net/)  in the audience. We approached him and he was cool to let us take a photo. That was awesome because I had albums he played on when I was 13!

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 and “Love Cats” which is available in paperback and on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513