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Why I Won’t Pay Big Money For Concerts

Published February 23, 2020 by Maryanne

Duran Duran concertMy husband and I at a Duran Duran show — FREE! 

I’ve been a music fan as soon as I knew what music was. Music was always playing in my house when I was a kid. And growing up, music was my priority in life. Mind you, I am not a musician; just a huge fan.

Concert going was always important to me. And even back in the day, growing up in an upper middle class family, tickets were overpriced. However, back then, you still had a fighting chance if you got to the mall early in the morning, you could score a front row seat for the regular ticket price before the scalpers got their grubby hands on them.

Then, things changed. You had no choice but to get tickets from scalpers. However, the most I paid to see a big name star, David Bowie, was $150 for 10th row center, during his Serious Moonlight Tour at Madison Square Garden in 1984.

David Bowie set the bar for me; he was worth it. And I subconsciously made a vow that I’d never pay more than $150 for a concert — over 30 years later, I stuck to it. The only other times I shelled out money close was $100 to see The Stones and $75 to see Prince.

Throughout the years, I’ve seen many big name concerts free because they were outdoors. OR, because, lucky, ambitious me, I was a journalist and was guest listed. And I have some friends in the music industry. And I married a musician. And I’m lucky. I’ve won tickets to see some great shows. And, last but not least, let’s not minimize the talent of our own friends who have made their way in the music industry on a smaller scale. Local talent should never be disregarded.

About 15 years ago I reconnected with a music loving friend I knew from high school. We went to many concerts together as teenagers; then a few as adults. She complimented me, saying that I was always up for a good time, and that I always had money to do things. She invited me to go to a concert with her that was well over $200. I declined. I couldn’t see the justification for paying that kind of money to see anyone when I’ve spent a lifetime of going to see music — GOOD MUSIC– for way less.

Here are some examples of great shows I’ve seen over the decades, for free, for winning, for being on the guest list (due to being a journalist or knowing someone), or for a real good deal. (Note: I’m not including concerts where people treated me as a gift).

Check it out….(note, all random off the top of my head, there are TONS more)

Free Outdoor Concerts

Elton John

Patti Smith

1910 Fruitgum Company

The Smithereens

Lou Christie

Tommy James

Gary Puckett

Ian Hunter

NY Dolls

Tom Tom Club

Peter Noone

Nancy Sinatra

The Turtles

Joan Jett

Chuck Berry

The Zombies

Sheila E.

And many, many more!

On The Guest List

Blondie

Tom Petty & Stevie Nicks

The Pixies

The Plasmatics

Diamanda Galas

Duran Duran

Judy Collins

Roger McGuinn (The Byrds)

The Fab Faux

Tommy James

And many, many more!

Tickets I Won

Richard Barone (The Bongos)

Jeffrey Gaines

Rain (Beatles Tribute)

Probably more, but I can’t remember unless I go to my diaries.

(And don’t get me started on tickets I won but couldn’t attend for whatever reason, urgh! Still kicking myself for not going to see the late Hasil Adkins at Maxwell’s in Hoboken!)

Shows I paid $10 or less! 

Sierra Ferrell (upcoming artist, Rounder Records)

Ratt (1980s hair metal band)

Brute Force (Apple Records Recording Artist)

And many, many more!

Maybe I’m blessed, or just spoiled, but with so many great musical acts out there, and so many opportunities to see cheap or free shows, why should I shell out big bucks to ticket agencies? It’s definitely not necessary. Especially since, when you think about it, what goes up eventually must come down. Not to put anyone down–no way, I love these musicians way too much–but it’s just a great fact for us fans that in years to come, one of your favorites that was charging a ton of money in a large venue will perform for much less (or even free) in a smaller venue in years to come. Just a few years ago I saw Cher in a theatre in Maryland for under $40.

What was your favorite cheap or free concert? What was the most you ever spent on a concert? How do you justify it? 

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

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

Teens Deserve a Voice as Much as Rock Stars

Published September 11, 2015 by Maryanne

Keith-Richards-Jerry-Garcia-630x420Photo by Jason Merritt, Getty Images, Warner Brothers

The big news in rock today is that Keith Richard bashed the Grateful Dead, calling the music of the late Jerry Garcia “boring shit, man.” (http://ultimateclassicrock.com/keith-richards-grateful-dead-comment/).

People are all over Facebook putting in their two cents. Since I follow rock groups, it’s most people that agree with Keith … agreeing that The Grateful Dead suck.

In later years our tastes change. As a woman in my early 50s, I’ve grown to the point where I enjoy some Grateful Dead songs and will listen on a Sirius, but I have no desire to see them live or purchase their music. As a teen, my attitude was not so kind. I agreed with Keith — they were boring shit. (Sorry, Jerry!) However, unlike Mr. Keith Richard, I was bullied, relentlessly, for my opinion.

I suppose Keith Richard will never have three guys attack him in a school hallway and have a teacher turn a blind eye. (Yes, that happened to me — a little girl, skinny, and probably the smallest in the class). Simply because I didn’t like the Grateful Dead, as most of my high school did. No, it was 1979 and I liked PUNK ROCK.

So every day I was punished for my musical tastes. When I shared with my husband that three guys tried to beat me up (again this tiny little thing) he said, “What kind of guys did you go to school with? I was always taught to respect girls.” PIGS! That’s the kind of kids I went to school with. Disrespectful, disgusting, fools who didn’t know how to be kind to others. By now half of them are probably serving time.

In another incident, a German girl who got left back a year in order to learn to speak English properly, was twice my size and always picked on me. I wasn’t sure why. We were once friends but one day she was over my house, playing in the pool. My mother told her not to splash around so much. Since then the German girl harassed me. I think she had a crush on my mom, as she always told me how beautiful she was. So since my mother yelled at her, she took her garbage out on me. She never laid a hand on me, but she threatened and verbally abused from grade school throughout high school. Then one day she actually took a photograph of me while I was changing for gym class. This German girl was now 18-years-old, picking on me — still a minor at 17. Again, twice my size. I was a tiny thing. She was a woman. I was still a kid. Shame on HER. Interesting one time she was in the school bathroom, strung out on acid, crying to me that she was upset I had a boyfriend and she didn’t. I thought that was an ice-breaker and an opportunity to be friends. Feeling bad, I listened. But then she came down from her trip and the bullying resumed.

These are just two incidents, but there were many … every single day and not one teacher did anything to help.

Did I deserve this, just because I chose to listen to punk rock?

What can I say, I thought The Clash had a lot more to say than, “truckin’ like a doo-dah man.” Though the funny thing is The Grateful Dead are about love and community, right? How funny that me, the little punk rocker, was just a shy, but good-hearted kid who was a great friend given the chance. Once I became a senior, in 1980 to 1981, I was happy to defend younger children from bullies. Listening to punk rock eventually gave me confidence — and a voice.

What was really funny though was one Halloween when I decided to go to school dressed like a Dead Head. Instead of wearing my leather jacket and black Nancy Spungeon make-up, I went to school without make-up. All these hypocrites approached me telling me I was “so pretty.” They were nice to me for one day because I fit in.

If not being true to myself meant making fake friends, I wanted no part of it.

SAM_1942“Scumbag” and “Dog” were names I was called every day

So where were you, back in 1979, Keith Richard? Gathering no moss, of course. Now you are an old codger who has paid your dues. Everyone listens to what you have to say and puts in their two cents. God bless you.

But, let me take this opportunity to put in a voice to those who need it: teenagers (and children) who are being bullied and harassed RIGHT THIS MOMENT just like I was once, simply for being themselves. In the words of the late Joe Strummer, “Go easy, step lightly … stay free.”

And in my own words, DEAR TEENAGERS:

Please be strong! Don’t do anything horrible, like killing yourself. I know I wished I was dead, many times, but that is not the answer. Be strong and be YOU-nique. There is life after high school and things do change. Though adults are no better and still bully, but in more passive/aggressive ways, so there is no escape. The good news is, as you grow, you’ll find others who are just like you — and know, in your heart, that your life has a purpose. People need you and someday you’ll be the one who inspires others!

Much love from one who has been there, Maryanne xo

SAM_8410Today = 52 and happy as shit! ❤

Here is my most recent interview on anti-bullying on The Drew Carson show (my segment is about 12 minutes in) http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/maryanne-christiano-mistretta-interview_57952

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist.” This book shares her experiences with bullying. Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

She is also an anti-bullying motivational speaker. Email for rates and availability: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Mother’s Little Helper

Published May 10, 2015 by Maryanne

mother's little helperGood chemistry!

Croatian born, Polish-American chemist Leo Sternbach was the man responsible for discovering benzodiazepines — the main class of tranquilizers. He is credited with the discovery of diazepam (Valium) as well as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), flurazepam (Dalmane), nitrazepam (Mogadon), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), clonazepam (Klonopin) and trimethaphan (Arfonad).

Valium, also known as “Mother’s Little Helper” was a big inspiration for pop culture. The Rolling Stones did a song, “Mother’s Little Helper” to praise the drug. And the novel “Valley of the Dolls” was inspired by the drug. Valium was released in 1963 and was the most popular prescription drug in America. Over 2.3 billion doses were sold during it’s peak year in 1978.

Leo Sternbach told me himself — first hand — he did not like the way pop culture glorified the drug. I had the honor to interview this legendary inventor when I worked at The Montclair Times. Mr. Sternbach was living in Montclair (where he had been living since the 1940s!) His wife had to help with the interview because he was hard of hearing — as he was in his 90s when I interviewed him!

Shortly after our interview he moved to North Carolina where he died in 2005 at the age of 97. (He worked until he was 95).

Leo Sternbach  received his doctoral degree in organic chemistry from the Jagiellonia University in Krakow, Poland. He worked for Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland, which helped him flee to the United States in 1941 to escape Nazis (his family was Jewish) as he was able to work in the Nutley, New Jersey division of Hoffmann-La Roche.

He held 241 patents and his discoveries helped Hoffman-La Roche excel in the pharmaceutical industry.

Leo Sternbach is in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame and right before he died, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Leo_SternbachLeo Sternbach, inventor of Valium

valley of the dolls

Sternbach told me he did not like how Valium was glorified in pop culture

Mother’s Little Helper Lyrics

“Mother’s Little Helper” (written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard)

What a drag it is getting old
“Kids are different today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
“Things are different today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day
Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old
“Men just aren’t the same today”
I hear ev’ry mother say
They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
They’re so hard to satisfy, You can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight
Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old
“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day

Sometimes I Just Like to Monkey Around

Published June 30, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1374Rain Forest Cafe, last night

Dennis and I went for a few drinks at the Rain Forest Cafe last night. Much deserved after all the stress of taking care of Billy Cat. (Who is actually improving a little. One day at a time.)

This picture inspired me to share some super cool monkey songs, since there are so many good ones to start off a Sunday.

ENJOY!

Patti Smith – “Space Monkey”

Iggy Pop & James Williamson “Lucky Monkeys”

Cramps “Monkey With Your Tail”

Pixes “Monkey Gone to Heaven”

Beatles “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”

Plasmatics “Monkey Suit”

Rolling Stones “Monkey Man”

Dim Stars “Monkey”

Record “Release” Party

Published February 26, 2012 by Maryanne

Image

They say when a woman cleans out her purse, she cleans out her life.

I feel the same about music.

Now, when it comes to music, I’m a major pack rat. My collection consists of vinyl, tapes and CDs. Call me a dinosaur, but I’ve not yet come into the iPod or iPhone stage. All my music is neatly kept in my dressing room and some of the older cassettes are in boxes tucked away for safe keeping.

As much as I love music, all types of music, I do believe that there comes a time when a woman (or man) should go through his/her collection and clean house.

So for those who still keep a record or CD collection and it’s a lot harder to get rid of something rather than just pressing a “delete” button on an iPod, here are my top five reasons for cleaning house.

1. Greatest Misses. Did you ever buy a “greatest hits” CD only to find out a lot of the songs suck and weren’t really hits at all? Then get rid of it. The “hits” you can always hear on the radio anyway.

2. Misguided Loyalty. Do you have every CD of an artist, including the ones that were lukewarm? Trust me, Steve Jones isn’t going to be disappointed in you as a fan if you toss his “Fire and Gasoline” album. Admit it, it’s the worst thing he’s ever done. Who cares that he was a Sex Pistol, that he wrote some of the greatest songs with Paul Cook, and that everything else he ever was musical gold. That album is awful and it doesn’t need to be in anyone’s collection — fan or not!

3.The Local “Stars.” Okay, so you were dedicated to a friend’s band, back in the 1980s, and went to every single show. That was the time of your life and you have a ton of memories. This band put out a CD, you brought it for support, but it wasn’t quite the same as going to see them live. The CD is in your house gathering dust. Unless they put your name on the CD, thanking you for being their greatest fan, you may as well toss that too. Face it, the ’80s are long gone and you’ll never listen to that CD again. If you ever feel you need to hear it again, you may find it in the $1.98 bin at Vintage Vinyl.

4. CDs or Records that Skip. Yikes! You weren’t exactly careful with your collection and now you have these ugly sounds on your favorite music. Even if it’s something super rare, just throw it out and move on. It’s just so annoying to have a great song pop into your head, but you’re so used to hearing a skip, that skip will be a constant in your psyche.

Remember 8-tracks? Songs would fade out at the end of one track and then pick up on the next. As a child, whenever I heard “A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done” by Sonny & Cher on the radio, I’d automatically hear that “fade out” in my head because it was embedded in my brain thanks to that damn 8-track tape! Just like skips, it’s not good. Your favorite music deserves so much more!

5. Overplayed “Classics.” I can definitely go the rest of my life without ever hearing “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones or “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd. And maybe even “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. Honestly! Yes, they are great songs. They are fabulous songs! But they are overplayed to the point that I get nauseated when they are on the radio.

“Wayne’s World” came out in the early 1990s and murdered “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Prior to that movie being out, Queen was an under-rated, hidden treasure that selected music fans cherished (that would be me). For almost a decade, I couldn’t listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody” thanks to “Wayne’s World” (which was a great movie, by the way, but abusing the work of Queen is almost as bad as stepping on Elvis’s blue suede shoes!)

So there you have it … go through your collection and if any of these musings are relevant, feel free to release them from your life. And if you can’t simply “toss,” then just put the shit aside for your next garage sale.

Then when you’re sifting through your music to find something to play, you’ll have a refreshing collection that’s not obscured by stuff you don’t really need to hear!