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Bloganuary Challenge – Day 28 – What is On My Music Playlist? EVERYTHING!!

Published January 28, 2022 by Maryanne
In front of Queen + Adam Lambert Tour Bus

Music? Did someone say music? I live music and even have a 45-rpm spindle tattooed on my forearm.

This is my favorite topic, and I will not shut up about it. In fact, I’m a music snob, so do not challenge me, I will win any music argument.

I have a vast collection of CDs and albums in the thousands. I was a music journalist most of my life, and interviewed many of my favorite artists. Or I just met them either by chance (easy when you work and hang out in NYC) or at a record signing/book signing. I go see live acts at least once a month, much more in the summer time because you have the outdoor shows.

All my free time is spent listening to music. I can’t even brush my teeth without music on. That said, everything is on my playlist. I like a variety of music from all genres, so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but here’s just a taste of what is in my collection: Queen, Katy Perry, Billie Eilish, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, Cher, Sonny & Cher, Serge Gainsbourg, Ella Fitzgerald, Sierra Ferrell, Lou Christie, The Monkees, ABBA, Gary Numan, David Bowie, The Stranglers, The Sex Pistols, Neurotic Outsiders, Iggy Pop (solo stuff trumps The Stooges, don’t argue), HIM, Mission U.K., Ben Kweller, Amy Winehouse, The Smithereens, Hanoi Rocks, Japan, David Sylvian, Peter Murphy, Bauhaus, Daniel Ash, Mick Karn, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Blondie, The B52s, Boomtown Rats, Jim Carroll, early KISS, early Aerosmith, Keith Richards solo, The Stones, Redd Kross, Cocteau Twins, Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley, The Pixies, The Movies, Jonathan Richman, Culture Club, Coyote Shivers, D-Generation, Dead Boys, Joe Jackson…to name a few. This was all off the top of my head, but I’m probably missing quite a bit that I really love, I’m sure.

Also, if anyone wants to talk to me about music – I don’t do “greatest hits.” If you tell me you like a band and I ask, “What is your favorite album by them?” and you say, “Greatest Hits,” please, do not talk to me about music, ever. I’m a character out of the movie “High Fidelity” and I will shame you for not exploring a band’s history if you say you love them.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

RIP Mick Rock

Published November 19, 2021 by Maryanne
Mick Rock, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Lenny Kaye, 2000

RIP Mick Rock – LEGENDARY rock photographer, (David Bowie, Queen, Miley Cyrus).

I interviewed him twice during my writing career, for New York’s Westsider newspaper, but in this photo it was just a fun party at CBGB’s gallery, late 1990s or possibly 2000.

What a great guy! He asked me to get high, but I don’t smoke pot. Now I wish I did.

I first became aware of Mick Rock when I was 12 or 13. He photographed album covers for my favorite band, Queen. But he’s been known for photographing so many legends, as far back as Syd Barrett.

His work with Queen was dark and mysterious. But Rock seemed to be a huge fan of color too. A favorite of mine is the magenta/turquoise theme from Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” album cover. His use of color has always been genius, with colors that pop out and grab you.

It’s always sad to see an icon from your youth pass away. In this day and age, 72 is not that old.

Did Mick Rock’s work inspire you? Share your stories in the comments section below.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

My Story Featured in an Upcoming Queen Book

Published October 21, 2021 by Maryanne
The above will be featured in an upcoming book by Richard Houghton

I told the story so many times about reaching out to Jim Hutton–and that he wrote back to me. I’m excited to have this story in an upcoming book so the rest of the world can know what a great guy he was. I highly recommend “Mercury and Me” for a true perspective of the relationship between Jim Hutton and Freddie Mercury. It’s poignant and at times hilarious.

After all these years, I still cherish the card. Now you can too, this is it! The kitten’s name was Minky.

Jim Hutton’s kitten, Minky, from a Christmas card he sent me in 1996.

For Death She Ain’t Ready

Published May 3, 2021 by Maryanne
Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

FOR DEATH SHE AIN’T READY

That girl over there,

For death she ain’t ready,

Too young to see The Beatles,

But she saw Queen – with Freddie.

 

Of middle age, but still seems young,

Seems her life’s so full of fun.

Yet she hurts so hard, deep down inside,

So many dreams still unrealized.

 

You’re in a tough spot between life and death.

Far from youth, but elders shamelessly disrespect.

No matter what you’ve accomplished, what you did…

They still see you as a stupid kid.

 

Gets so far, gets pushed back some,

Don’t make it easy when friends die young.

Get back up and set to win,

Inspired by Tolle and Dispenza – again and again and again.

 

 

,

The Show Must Go On!

Published November 15, 2019 by Maryanne

Freddie Mercury - in Retrograde

Freddie Mercury

I just came across a website that features a poem I wrote about Freddie Mercury, way back in 2001 (or maybe even earlier!) Here’s the link to the site (scroll down past the discography): http://www.hotshotdigital.com/WellAlwaysRemember/FreddieMercuryDisco.html

Or just read here!

The Show Must Go On! 

by Mary Anne Christiano (copyright 2001)

news of the world/made sad

fans of old (and new ones too)

those songs/wore the grooves to the bone

a vocalistic promenade

a charmed delight!

i watched you prance about on the Midnight Special

a Harlequin in a grand parade

School girl dreams evoked in many (those naughty diary entries!)

sought tidbits in Circus and Creem magazines

Mega Rock Star of my restless youth

Time turned you into my dear dear friend

i never met you,

yet all fondness remains

Freddie Mercury

a classic

much more than a memory

you’re still the Champion

Show Must Go On!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

Did You See the Movie?! Yes, But Real Life is Better!

Published July 30, 2019 by Maryanne

SAM_2908Me, in front of Queen tour bus a few years ago

I loved the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But ever since it came out, I hesitate to wear my Queen t-shirt. Before the movie, if I wore a Queen t-shirt, true fans would speak to me about the band I loved so much since I was 12. And I’d have a conversation I’d truly enjoy; especially if fellow Queen fan was a little older than me and saw an earlier version of Queen. Or better yet, when they did the double bill with Mott the Hoople! I’m all ears to hear about that!

These days, when I wear a Queen shirt, it’s no longer about the rock band Queen, but the Hollywood movie about Queen, played by actors.

A typical conversation will go like this:

“You like Queen?”

“Yes, I saw them perform many times! Even with Freddie Mercury!”

“Did you see the movie?”

What’s wrong with that conversation? I share with you that I saw Queen perform with Freddie Mercury and you ask me if I saw the movie? I’m sorry for being a music snob, but this is just not right. A similar conversation happened regarding Elton John a few weeks ago. The song “Rocket Man” came on the radio in a store and a woman in passing said, “I love it!”

I said, “I saw him perform in concert twice. Once in Central Park, 1980; and in the ’90s at Madison Square Garden.”

I should have seen it coming…

“DID YOU SEE THE MOVIE?!”

I quickly walked away to avoid further conversation. YES, YES, YES, I SAW THE MOVIE! I thought to myself. It was a great movie! But why, all of a sudden, is a movie about an artist, played by an actor, more interesting than an live concert with that very artist performing?!  

Years ago I was working at a magazine. The vice president was an older gentleman, who happened to see Elvis Presley perform, as a warm-up act to Hank Snow! My mind was blown. I wanted details, details, details! And more details! Can you imagine seeing Elvis Presley as a warm up act?

Now imagine if I was to ask, “Did you see ‘Elvis and Me’?” What a conversation killer, right? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Don’t get me wrong, over the years I’ve seen many good movies about the lives of musicians, singers, and even criminals. But can I inspire you? Don’t stop at the movie. Instead, explore.

After I saw the movie “Man on the Moon,” I purchased anything I could get my grubby hands on about Andy Kaufman. I didn’t go around talking about the movie for months. I wanted MORE. Much more than a movie could offer. I read books written by people who knew him. I watched all the old “Taxi” shows that he was featured in. I watched Andy Kaufman in action on various television shows.

All this stuff took time to accumulate because back then it wasn’t as easy as it is today with all the internet access. Back then the internet was just taking off. Which brings me to being a young Queen fan and searching for months in the mid-1970s just to find their album Queen II in a record store. There was no Amazon back then.

But that was part of the fun! Digging for stuff about the real thing was cool. And uncovering real truths is cool. Like finding out that the REAL Mr. Arnstein wasn’t quite the charmer he was in “Funny Girl.” Like finding out the real Bonnie Parker wasn’t nearly as hot as Faye Dunaway. Like finding out the real Andy Kaufman was even more crazy than he was portrayed as in “Man on the Moon.” Like finding out the Doors concerts were much more mild than portrayed in Oliver Stone’s “The Doors” movie. In fact, I was told by a person who went to a Doors concert that they were boring.

See, this is why you can’t rely on a movie alone. Movies are often Hollywood-ized. They take snippets of a life and put them into a 2.5 hour film. It’s entertaining, but it’s not the complete picture.

When I read on a Queen Facebook page that a fan saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” over 50 times since it came out last November, I cringed. Why not spend that time exploring the real work of Queen? They have a grand library of studio albums from 1973 to the time of Freddie Mercury’s death. Plus several live albums, videos, and books. My favorite is “Mercury and Me” by Jim Hutton. I loved the book so much that I reached out to Jim Hutton, via his publishing company. This was back in the 1990s, before everyone had email. I forgot I wrote the letter and about three weeks later I received a handwritten letter from Jim Hutton himself! The letter was actually a homemade card, featuring his new kitten in a Christmas tree, since he didn’t get to keep any of Freddie’s cats after Freddie passed away.

The takeaway here is, movies are all fine and good. Yes, we all love movies. Even me.

But, don’t stop there. You can start by getting out of the theaters and going to a live show. It’s fun and exciting. Explore more of a band; not just the greatest hits. Take movies with a grain of salt. See it once or twice. If you have to see it again, wait at least a year. In the meantime you can learn more from reading books, watching interviews on You Tube, and purchasing full albums or CDs, not just the songs you like. You might just surprise yourself and say, “Real life is better!”

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (in which she mentions Freddie Mercury in both, and how he inspired her as a child, teenager, and still today!):

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Freddie Mercury, Bullied as a Young Boy

Published July 3, 2019 by Maryanne

Freddie Mercury as a BoyFarrokh Bulsara (photo found via Google Search)

The other night, my husband and I once again went to see our favorite Queen tribute band, Almost Queen (http://www.almostqueen.com/). Note that they have been around long before the successful Bohemian Rhapsody film. That said, if you’re a true Queen fan who loves the deep tracks, as well as the hits, be sure to check them out, as you will definitely hear some rare gems.

Anyway, before the show, I thought about how I’ve heard the stories of Freddie Mercury being bullied as a young boy because of his overbite. He was called a donkey by school bullies.

But did that stop him from becoming Freddie Mercury? Absolutely not.

If you’re having a hard time and being bullied, perhaps you have that special something that you can bring to the table by being YOUnique!

Check out my new video, where I speak about Almost Queen, Freddie Mercury, and how being bullied didn’t stop him from becoming a household name! (And if you like it, give me a thumbs up).

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (in which she mentions Freddie Mercury in both, and how he inspired her as a child, teenager, and still today!):

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Youngsters Do Vinyl

Published June 30, 2019 by Maryanne

SinglesMy tattoo of the 45 rpm spindle

If I had a nickle for every middle-aged or old person who stopped me in the street and commented on my tattoo, “I bet young people don’t know what that is,” I’d have a hellavu lot of nickles. It’s almost as bad as people asking me, “How’s Gilligan?” whenever I say my name is Maryanne.

I’ve never been a fan of redundant comments, especially when they are incorrect.

Allow me to school MY generation (Generation X), and those who are slightly older (Baby Boomers)…

YOUNG PEOPLE LISTEN TO VINYL.

Yes, they do! This is not something I am making up. It’s a fact.

My husband and I are vinyl listeners and buy on a regular basis. We score records online, in record stores, and in antique/vintage shops. We always see young people buying vinyl. On Record Store Day there are more young people around to buy vinyl than older people. Young bands put out vinyl records. And they’ve been doing so for some time now.

Here’s a link to a recent article about the vinyl revival: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/millennials-are-going-nuts-for-vinyl-revival/

But I didn’t need an article to tell me that. In my line of work (writing/journalism/speaking) or even shopping for groceries, I chat with many young people who share their love for vinyl with me. Most of them get their vinyl/music passion from their cool parents. We’re living in a time where the generation gap is closer than ever. Kids are no longer at war with their parents. They bond. They do things together (especially going to concerts). So of course they share the same taste in music. That’s not surprising at all. Thanks to tribute bands, rock movies, radio stations that didn’t cave in to modern music yet, Sirius, You Tube, and many music stream stations, kids are exposed to the good stuff. Plus, there are so many bands around that emulate music from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Like all good things, you may have to dig for it, but it’s there.

Maybe 15 years ago young people disrespected parents, and older people in general. When I was in my late 30s and early 40s, I truly felt a gap from those 15, 10, and even seven years younger than me. It was uncomfortable and not fun. But young people today are the best younger generation ever. As a 50-something adult, I have to say I’ve never enjoyed talking to 20-somethings as much as I do now!

From those 30 and younger I’ve heard amazing things like:

“I’m sick of texting and considering giving up my phone.”

“Don’t underestimate me because I’m young. My parents have a record player in the basement.”

And in response to me sharing my story about oldsters commenting on my spindle tattoos, saying that young people don’t know what it is: “Of course I know what it is. How old do they thing my parents are?”

Young people checking out vinyl is also a matter of curiosity and exploration. During evolution, we have set backs, but life becomes full circle again. Young people have ears just like we do. They want to explore the sound on a record. Young people see a movie about Queen and they want more than what is just spoon-fed to them. Like it was when I was young, they want the records, they want the liner notes. It’s not just about Freddie Mercury and Queen’s greatest hits, they want to hear the deeper tracks.

For a very long time, we were experiencing a me-me-me generation. But that’s now a thing of the past too. In a month, I’ve had several young people ask me questions about my life, rather than just talk about themselves. This new generation is flipping the switch to something more positive and genuine. So why wouldn’t they listen to something more authentic like vinyl?

So, to all my middle-aged peers…

If you see someone cool in your age bracket with a 45-rpm spindle tattooed on them (and there are many — since I got mine in 1996, I’ve met at least three people with the same tattoo!) think twice before inserting foot in mouth…

  • I’m not dating myself. Young people know what a spindle is. And I predict within the next three years you’ll see young people getting spindle tattoos themselves.
  • Young people are COOL. Give them a chance and pay some attention to them!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

Lyrics From Queen’s First Album Manifested in The Band’s History!

Published May 19, 2019 by Maryanne

Queen album coverQueen’s Debut Album

While many people jumped on the Queen band wagon after seeing the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I was a fan since 1975, just after their album “A Night At The Opera” came out. I loved the music so much, I went backwards and got their prior albums, “Queen” and “Sheer Heart Attack.” Note that it took me some time before I found “Queen II” because back then you couldn’t order from Amazon. You physically had to go to a record store. Each week, I’d got to Korvettes and actively seek Queen II.  I was thrilled when I found it and FINALLY had the complete set of Queen albums. To this day, almost 45 years later, I favor Queen’s first five albums.

In the late 1990s I was writing for several NYC news publications, mainly The Westsider and The Chelsea Clinton News (which covered the Chelsea and Clinton areas of NYC).

When I reviewed the play, “Mercury: Life of a Rock God” it dawned on me … lyrics in the song “Great King Rat,” written by Freddie Mercury were a foreshadowing of what was to come with Freddie’s failing health, and eventually death. I had to write that in my article because it was something a true Queen fan couldn’t overlook.

Check out Freddie Mercury’s lyric in “Great King Rat” …

“Great King Rat died today
Born on the twenty first of May
Died syphilis forty four on his birthday.” 

Both syphilis and AIDS are transmitted by unprotected sex. And Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45, one year older than his Great King Rat character. It truly is a bizarre coincidence. And a sad one. But Freddie Mercury wouldn’t want to be remembered with pity. Far from a “rat” — he truly is the Great King (make that the Great Queen!) Let’s remember him that way!

After the success of the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” it dawned on me how sustainable Queen has been in their career. I think back to the 1970s when I was a kid and recall how hard it was to find a Queen record or a poster. Now there’s Queen memorabilia everywhere. I recently got a Freddie Mercury Bobblehead doll. Just Goggle “Queen” and you will not come up empty handed at all. Collector’s rejoice! Thanks to the overwhelming success of Queen, if you want something, you got it.

While it was Freddie Mercury who said, “I’m not gonna be a star, I’m gonna be a legend,” it was actually Roger Taylor who predicted the band’s success with his lyric in “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll” …

Everybody in this bum sucking world
Gonna know just who you are

It’s pretty safe to say that Queen is now a household name. But back in 1973, when Queen’s first album debuted, who would have known? In the song “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll” Taylor could have been talking about any band or any rock star, but it was his band Queen that manifested the magic of the song and made it way over the top!

Freaky, right? Keep reading …

“The Night Comes Down” also on Queen’s debut was written by Brian May in 1970 shortly after Queen formed, following his break-up with Smile. Brian May admitted to being a Beatles fan, and there seems to be a nod to The Beatles and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” in the song with the following lyric:

When I was young it came to me; And I could see the sun breaking; Lucy was high and so was I…

In the past year, due to all the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” there was a Lucy who was high, right along with Brian May. That would be Lucy Boynton who played Mary Austin in the film. How crazy is that? What are the chances of an actress playing Mary Austin having the same first name as someone written in a song by Brian May 50 years ago?!

Lucy-Boynton-and-Brian-May-Fox-party-e1551134444579

Lucy Boynton and Brian May riding high on the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody”

There is one more crazy Queen coincidence that I can’t take credit for, but other Queen fans will appreciate if they have all the albums. I saw this in a letter in Circus magazine after “A Night at the Opera” came out. I am so sorry I can not remember the letter writer’s name, but this is something incredible he figured out. If you count all the Queen songs, in order, from the first Queen album to “A Night at the Opera” you will discover that Brian May’s song “39” is the 39th song recorded.

You can not make this stuff up!

Queen fans, comment below … Are there any more coincidences you’ve noticed Queen’s career that manifested from their lyrics?

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (which both mention how she was inspired by Freddie Mercury): 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Life and Music of Freddie Mercury”

Published February 5, 2018 by Maryanne

Jayne's picture 1

Jayne's picture 2

Rob Fusari and Maryanne Christiano Mistretta (photos by Jayne DiGregorio)

Pear Tree’s Learn & Listen Series presented “The Life and Music of Freddie Mercury” (February 4, 2018) at Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon, New Jersey.

Maryanne, a Queen fan since the 1970s, began the presentation by talking about the life of Freddie Mercury, born in Zanzibar, an island on the East Coast of Africa; how he worked at the Kensington clothing market in England, and soon became a member of Queen; his life with Mary Austin and Jim Hutton; and his solo career.

Audience members were invited to share their memories of Queen.

Maryanne ended the “Learn” portion of the show by reciting the lyrics to the Queen song “Teo Torriatte” first in Japanese, then in English.

Then Maryanne made the audience clap to the tune of “We Will Rock You” to cheer Rob on to the stage.

Rob Fusari, three-time Grammy Award winning producer, put on an incredible performance, singing, playing keyboards, and guitar, and telling stories about each song. He performed “Radio Gaga,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are the Champions,” and “The Great Pretender.”

Rob ended the show by encouraging the audience to sing the chorus of “We Are the Champions.” The energy in the room was electrifying! The audience wanted an encore, and several audience members cheered for an original, which he did.

It was a show many will never forget! Freddie Mercury would be proud.

Jayne's picture 8.jpgRob Fusari (photo by Jayne DiGregorio)

For more information on Rob Fusari, visit: https://www.robfusari.com/

For more information on Pear Tree Enterprises, visit: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/