Come On Down To Coverville!

February 3, 2007

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I was bitching to Joe Klein of Podcast voice guys, about how few cover records I’ve gotten on my songs in recent years, and he told me about Brian Ibbott, the creator and host of COVERVILLE, who has one of the hottest podcasts around, with 40,000 subscribers, who ONLY plays cover records!

I’ve always been proud of the multi-million selling cover records I’ve been involved with over the years, which include “You’re 16” which I gave to Ringo Starr, “Rock And Roll Heaven” by the Righteous Brothers, and “Daydreamer” by David Cassidy. So needless to say, as a songwriter/ publisher who’s still running hot and heavy in the street, this program is very inspiring to me! As well as providing information on who’s doing cover records these days, I was surprised how many new versions of my favorite songs from the the 60’s to the present are spotlighted on the show. I heard covers of Elvis Presley songs I’d never heard before by the Pet Shop Boys, Cheap Trick, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. There were covers of Beach Boy songs by the Troggs, Elvis Costello, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra, John Lennon songs done by Eva Cassidy, Dream Academy and Roxy Music. Surprising covers of James Brown songs from The Who and Concrete Blonde. Even artists like Metallica, and Pink Floyd, had covers as well as hundreds of others!

COVERVILLE was the first place I heard Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line”, recorded by Fuel…whose arrangement was at the center of a controversy on “American Idol” last year. Chris Daughtry, a finalist in the competition, who currently has the number one album on the Billboard charts, performed Fuel’s version without crediting them for the arrangement. What The Fuck! When has anybody ever credited anybody for doing their arrangement on TV?

Before I got all worked up about it…I thought wait a second, all this controversy is over a cover? Maybe doing somebody else’s song is cool again?

It’s been a bitch trying to get a song recorded by a group who writes their own material, since artists and managers have long realized that song writing and publishing royalties are sometimes the only source of income from their”Multi-Platinum” CDs. Remember, the poor artist is usually charged with everything a company can get away including outrageous studio costs, touring expenses, promotion, and the making of million dollar videos!

I remember hearing stories about Beatle manager, Brian Epstein, sitting down with John Lennon and Paul McCartney and forcing them to start writing more original songs for economic reasons. I heard that Andrew Loog Oldham, The Rolling Stones manager, convinced Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to do the same, which changed the musical direction of two of the greatest “cover” groups of all time!

I was there with “Papa” Joe Jackson, the day that Michael and the Jackson 5 escaped from Motown, weary of being forced to do “covers” on their albums and”other peoples songs” on their singles. I was able to help Joe get a $25,000 dollar advance, within 48 hours for their sub-publishing around the world based on songs that were yet to be written by unproven writers.The deal ultimately included “Beat it”, “Billy Jean” and most of the compositions on the 65 million selling,”Thriller” album!!.

Okay…Okay, The world’s a better place because of these self-generating artists…but how many artists today are capable of really writing “Great” songs today? I asked Brian Ibbott, why do cover records seem to be coming back?

“I think because the reasons people cover songs have broadened. It used to be a purely financial decision to cover a song, but these days, many do it because it’s an honor, and a tribute to a band that helped shape their own music. At least, in an ideal world, that would be the most prominent reason.”

“Brian, you seem very committed to your podcasts and to cover records?”

“Second to my family, Coverville has turned out to be the joy of my life. I look forward to new episodes, email feedback from listeners, and the music they introduce me to. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing, if it weren’t for the show!”

Personally, I’d be happy as a music lover and consumer to have a couple of familiar songs, I could sing along with, on every CD that I buy. Am I wrong? Wouldn’t all of you like to hear more of your favorite songs performed by more of your favorite artists?

Copyright by Artie Wayne 2007

Check out Brian Ibbot’s “Coverville”, he’s got an archive of over 250 podcasts you can download. Hear what all the buzz is about! http://coverville.com

For Artie Wayne’s website and complete discography http://artiewayne.com

To see Sebastian Prooth’s inspiring video of Alan O’Day’s brilliant update of he and the late Johnny Stevenson’s classic, “Rock and Roll Heaven” https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/20/rock-and-roll-heaven/

For Joe Klein http://podcastvoiceguys.com

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Whoppy and Streaker in a reflective mood.

It’s been ten years since Alex, the lovely hostess at Genghis Cohen, gave her boss Allan Rinde, a little calico cat by the name of Streaker. I watched Allan, who had little experience with pets, proceed to spoil her over the next 6 months. I remember going to visit him once and he answered the door with Streaker dangling by her claws, casually, from the bottom of his shirt. That little booger would always manage to do something that would keep me in stiches. She knew how to use the remote control on the TV and would change channels just as a program was starting to get good. Allan thought he had the problem solved when he started using two remotes. Then I remember one night, we were all watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, just as Sarah Michelle Geller was about to drive her point across…Streaker changes the channel! I quickly change it back…and Streaker changes it again! This “duel” goes on for a while until I chase her into the other room where she ducks under the bed. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I could heard her laughing.

This was about the time that Allan and songwriter Toni Wine ( “Groovy Kind Of Love”, “Candida”), who I introduced, were starting to get serious about each other. Allan was spending more and more time in Nashville where Toni lived, so Alex suggested that he should consider getting another cat to keep Streaker company. That’s when she brought a chubby, but dashing little white tomcat over, recently rescued from a crack house fire, whose name was Whoppy.

Allan let me stay in his apartment, after my spinal operation, where I fed and looked after my two little friends. Whoppy, who was now tipping the scales at 25 pounds, would lie on my right hand which, was partially paralyzed until it opened up! Streaker remained aloof with me, but fell in love with “Whop”. When I moved into my own place in Silver Lake, Allan gave me Whoppy as a present. A few weeks later, when he and Toni decided to marry, he asked me if I would take Streaker as well, because Toni was allergic to cats!

It’s been almost four years since the three of us moved here to the desert. Although I hate air conditioning, I turn it on for my little pals when it hits a hundred degrees or when they start sweating…whichever comes first!

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This morning I was in a reflective mood myself and I took a look at the guest book on my website. I was amazed at many of the old and new friends who signed and some of the incredible stories they tell! If you’d like to see it just click onto http://www.artiewayne.com/Guestbook/

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About five months ago I met Sebastian Prooth, an American living in the U.K. Although we’ve never met face to face, as we got to know each other online, I gained more respect for his knowledge, ideas, talent and relentless ambition. When I listened to a couple of his podcasts and read a few of his blog entries I knew he was on the cutting edge of the new media and communications frontier!

In the course of Sebastian building a blog for me I discovered he was also a video producer and director. When he heard a demo of a song I was promoting, Alan O’Day’s brilliant updated version of his number one hit by the Righteous Brothers, “Rock and Roll Heaven”( O’Day/ Stevenson )

Sebastian urged me to let him produce a music video of it. Although doing a video of a “demo” is unheard of, after seeing one of his student films on the environment, Alan O’Day and I gave him our blessing!

Since the video was released on the internet about a month ago it’s been getting about 2000 views a week. The video, however, is not without controversy. In addition to images of Rock and Roll Icons who have passed away, he includes footage of American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson who have left some of her fans wondering if she is still with us!

SP- (laughs) I’m happy to say that , the reports of miss Clarkson’s demise has been greatly exaggerated!

AW- I assumed she was in your video because she represented the birth of a new Rock and Roll spirit!

SP- No…she was in there because at that point in the song the lyric is: there’s a spotlight waiting no matter who you are, and I knew when I was designing and pitching the video that I was going to use symbols of American Idol at that point.

AW- Are you surprised at the response the video is getting!

SP- I’m very pleased it affects so many people on such an emotional level. We all remember at least one of the people featured in Alan O’Day’s song. This video serves to remind us of not only the artists remembered in pictures, but also the ones that we remember personally. I hope it will be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.

AW- I know you’re still going to school…How do you manage to keep focused on so many things at the same time?

SP- I only try to work on things that I am passionate about. Generally when I blog I write something that I know is going to impact my readers. Sometimes I write articles to inform them about a new hot website or review. For example I wrote an article which pitted Open Source Word Processing Application, Open Office Writer, against the heavily used Microsoft Word.

AW- I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about…but I do know that you’re working on something new as we speak!

SP- Yes I have been working with the evaluation version of Windows Vista (for those who don’t know, the next version of Microsoft Windows.) I will be writing about some of its features in a blog entry soon.

AW- As a new blogger myself you’ve given me the courage to bring to light things that have caught my attention like the C.I.A. TV recruitment ad I saw on “Dancing With The Stars”!

SP- And see…no one’s tried to shoot you…yet (laughs)

AW- Is there a profile of what a blogger does or should do?

SP- I think the general consensus is a blogger is what a blogger does. I can qualify that a little by saying that whatever somebody is interested in, if they blog about it in an interesting and informative way they will build an audience for their site! Personally, I write about tech and life, and interview those who help make it happen. I was having a conversation with a really good friend of mine VIA Skype.. Joe Klein of PodcastVoiceGuys and I were having a normal skype-phone call when he received another call. When he came back he told me that it was a telemarketer, speaking spanish! I was shocked, having not heard about telemarking on Skype at that point, realized that it was something of headline blogger’s news. We wrote something for my blog up together and it became big news overnight. Digg among other sites were carrying the story on their front page!

AW- To continue in English please press one.

SP- (laughs)

AW- Okay enough frivolity… Is there a book on being a blogger and certain things that are expected of bloggers?

SP–It’s funny that you should mention that Artie because there is a blog I read a short while ago. A guy called Seth Godin, he is in the top 100 on Technorai and a very popular and well-read blogger and technology writer. He talked about the top one hundred ways he could think of to increase traffic and or readership of your blog.

AW-I know that you are doing quite a bit of interviewing for your site.

SP- Yes. Bloggers, Podcasters, Editors, whoever has something to say really. My first blog interview was with a gentleman by the name of Dennis Madalone. He is a singer and writer and what compelled me to contact him was that he was the stunt co-coordinator on Star Trek. He was also the patriot behind the great song America We Stand as One.

AW- I remember when you turned me onto that video, it was one of the most inspiring things I had ever seen. Then you took that and added stuff to it – a visual remix that I remember running on my website.

I know you were interviewed recently by Liz Strauss, can you tell me a little about that?

SP–I’d noticed that Liz Strauss was doing some interviews with people who had been named SOB (Successful Outstanding Bloggers) – I did an interview with her and she was kind enough to give me a two-parter. She really made me feel like an influential part of the blogosphere by naming me a SOB but then going as far as to actually interview me that was just tremendous.

AW- You’ve also been in touch with Robert Scoble, one of the internets foremost bloggers / vloggers in the world.

SP – Yeah, Robert and I have been talking about doing some things together.

AW- Wow, well that sounds great. Before you go, I want to wish you a Happy Birthday thank you Sebastian, for spending your last few hours as a teenager with Artie Wayne on the web!

SP-Thank you, Mr. Web , It’s been a pleasure.

To visit Sebastian’s Blog http://sebrt.com

To watch Rock and Roll Heaven http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2cijNKu9qc

For Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com

For the PodcastVoiceGuys http://podcastvoiceguys.com

For Alan O’Day’s Website http://alanoday.com

For Seth Godins’s Blog  http://sethgodin.typepad.com

For Robert Scoble’s Blog http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/ 

For the Interview with Liz Strauss and Sucessful Bloggers:  http://www.successful-blog.com/1/interview-101-sebastian-prooth-blogger-podcaster-film-maker/

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l to r- Streaker, Whoppy…….and Nookie

Whenever there’s a slow news day, they’ll run a heartwarming story about a cat calling 911 and saving it’s masters life or a dog who saves a family by barking relentlessly during a fire. Although these heroes are certainly worthy of media attention, I’d like to pay tribute to the millions of dogs and cats who are more than just companions.

As long as I can remember I’ve had an animal in my life who’s been less of a pet and more of a sidekick. They’ve shared the joy of a new romance with me, as well as the pain of heartbreak. They’ve celebrated buisness triumphs with kisses and wags and helped me get through dozens of setbacks with nuzzles and licks. When you confide in a dog or a cat, you know one thing for sure…they’re not going to gossip!

In the late 70’s I brought Nookie, a Cairn Terrier, over from Harrods in London and he helped me get through some pretty hard times. I remember once I came home after a hard frustrating day and layed down on my back exhausted with tears running down my face. Nookie came over, stood on my chest and dropped his favorite toy, a nasty little hand puppet name “BaBa” on my face. At first I started gagging, then I started laughing uncontrolably. I can’t think of any human who was able to change my mood faster than Nookie could, it was like having a monkey around without all the empty peanut shells.

As a tribute to him, when I was recording my album for Casablanca, Art Munson, Joe Klein and I produced a track, “Is The Puppy Hungry?” that featured Nookie and his friend Lester ( Joe’s dog ), barking in rythym to a reggae track. When the president of the label, Neil Bogart heard it he said, ” This could sell a million records, but not on my label!” I was crushed, but Nookie and Lester kept right on playing. Animals can make a positive difference in your morale which becomes essential if you have health problems. After sharing my life with Nookie for 12 years, he passed away. I felt lost for quite a while and didn’t want the responsibility of having another dog. 10 years ago, when my friend Allan Rinde got married and moved to Nashville, he asked me to take care of his cats, because his wife, Toni, was allergic to them.

I’ve always been a dog person and didn’t even know how to properly pet a cat. It wasn’t long, however, before they had me trained. When I had a spinal operation, my hands closed up on me and my 25 pound cat Whoppy would lie on my right hand to open it up. It wasn’t long before his girlfriend Streaker would lie on my left hand and open that one up as well. I can’t tell you how many times that touching them while they were purring calmed me down when I was stressed out. I don’t know how long they’ll be with me on earth, but I thank God for every minute we’re together.

A couple of years ago when I was able to use my hands again I started using acrylics to create animal portraits on quartz, which I called Petz Rock. Although I’m not making them any longer, I’m really proud of what I created. If you’d like to see some of my favorites, click onto http://artiewayne.com/petz.html

Special thanks to those animals of the present and the past who keep my friends healthy and happy…Waldo, Prince, King Arthur, Tippy, Walter, Gladys, Fluffy, Queenie, Pete, Harold Katz, Chipper, Mutt, Hula, Smarty, Faye, Buster, Alfie, Chuck, Little Bit, Miss Ellie Mae Lovejoy,Tiffany, Jocko, Sugar, Teddy, Girlie Girl, Duke, Max, Chester, Bella, Pico, Bullet, Daive, Rai, Kitty, Lucky, Goofy, Thelma and Louise, Hogart, Tommy, Abby, Chica, Molly, Nancy Sinatra, Pitchy Patch, Whiskie, Keetch, Spats, Ramona, Shasta, Avalon, Merlin, Titchie, Fagin, Nigel, Shasta, Kimbob, Lassie, Pumpkin, Roady. Benjy, Booger, Smiley, Midnight, Floyd, Harley, Lady Stella Stardust, Trigger, Ashley, Bojangles, Charlie, Natasha, Henry, Harpo, Fantoma, Moose, Sherman Ochs, Penny, Scotty, Squeeker, Trips, Bonnie, Cotton, Betty, Cleo and Arfer.

If you’d like to include your own animal friend to this list e-mail me at artie_wayne@yahoo.com

Joe Klein can be reached at http://www.podcastvoiceguys.com

Art Munson can be reached at http://artmunson.com

When I first went to London in 1965, Bess Coleman – one of the Beatles’ press officers and one of my co-writers – introduced me to Shel Talmy, a five star general in the British invasion of the pop culture. I was anxious to meet the legend who discovered, inspired and produced the Who, the Kinks, Chad & Jeremy and the Easybeats. About an hour before I met him, I was shocked to find out that he was a fellow American! When I knocked on his apartment door, in fashionable Knightsbridge, his beautiful assistant led me down a long hallway that was filled on both sides with more gold singles and albums than I’d ever seen in one place! As I sat sipping tea in his office, I heard someone playing a guitar and singing in the other room. The door opened, Shel introduced himself, as well as the singer I heard through the walls, Cat Stevens, who was there to play a couple of his new songs. Over the years Shel and I became good friends. He was one of the few people I could play a song for and get some good constructive criticism. Here he shares some stories and insights with me in this revealing Spectropop interview. Just click onto http://spectropop.com/sheltalmy/index.htm


When my late partner Lou Reizner, the man who discovered and
produced such diverse artists as the Singing Nun and Rod
Stewart, developed a taste for larger than life productions,
there was no going back. Still riding the success of his
stellar recording of the Rock opera “Tommy” that he produced
with a cast that included Roger Daltry, Elton John, Tina
Turner, as well as the London Symphony orchestra… Lou was
determined his next project would be as spectacular!

Lou was larger than life himself. At 6’4″ he looked more like
an action hero than the transplanted American who once ran
Mercury Records International in London. I remember one time
when I was staying with Lou and his wife Pam in Knightsbridge,
he sat me down in a futuristic cocoon like chair, with a
built-in stereo speakers and proceeded to play me a dozen or
so tracks he just produced on the Bee Gees. Robert Stigwood
had hired him to be the musical director of his soon to be
produced film, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
and these incredible recordings of John Lennon and Paul
McCartney songs were to be part of the sound track.

Several months later, when Lou was staying with me in
Hollywood, the project had developed into something else. It
seems that Robert Stigwood and Lou couldn’t make a deal, and
Stigwood gave the rights to the tracks back to Lou, including
3 performances by the Bee Gees as some kind of settlement.
Our lawyer and manager, Marty Machat, Russ Regan, who was
head of 20th Century records, and Lou got together and came
up with the idea of putting some of the biggest stars of the
day over the cuts and use it over WW2 newsreel footage from
20th Century Foxs’ vast archives. Talk about larger than life
…”All This And World War Two”!!!

The next few months were quite exciting, Lou was going back
and forth to London, putting Brian Ferry on “She’s Leaving
Home”, Leo Sayer on, “The Long and Winding Road”, then coming
back to Hollywood to work with Bob Gaudio, and Frankie Valli
on “A Day in the Life”. I recruited my friend, Helen Reddy,
to do “Fool On The Hill”. Elton John gave his friend, Russ
Regan, the man who discovered and signed him to UNI, the
rights to use his number one record “Lucy In The Sky With
Diamonds”. Russ also got 20th Century artists, Ambrosia,
[“Biggest Part Of Me”], to record “Magical Mystery Tour”.
While Lou was in London, I was at Cherokee studios in Hollywood
watching Rod Stewart put his classic vocal on “Get Back”, that
became number one in the U.K. I’m sad to say that the reggae
version I did of “Give Peace A Chance”, that I did with Art
Munson and Joe Klein, plays over the film credits but was
recorded too late for the album.

I’ve always believed that Lou Reizner’s, “All This And World
War Two” was ahead of it’s time. The new Hip-O records double
CD Re-issue is excellent. How many CDs have you bought
recently that you can sing along to almost every song?
Hopefully the DVD of the Film can’t be far behind.

Here’s the complete track list:

1-Magical Mystery Tour – Ambrosia
2-Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Elton John
3-Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight – The Bee Gees
4-I Am The Walrus – Leo Sayer
5-She’s Leaving Home – Bryan Ferry
6-Lovely Rita – Roy Wood
7-When I’m 64 – Keith Moon
8-Get Back – Rod Stewart
9-Let It Be – Leo Sayer
10-Yesterday – David Essex
11-With A Little Help From My Friends/Nowhere Man – Jeff Lynne
12-Because – Lynsey De Paul
13-She Cam In Through The Bathroom Window – The Bee Gees
14-Michelle – Richard Cocciante
15-We Can Work It Out – The Four Seasons
16-The Fool On The Hill – Helen Reddy
17-Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – Frankie Laine
18-Hey Jude – The Brothers Johnson
19-Polythene Pam – Roy Wood
20-Sun King – The Bee Gees
21-Getting Better – Status Quo
22-The Long And Winding Road – Leo Sayer
23-Help – Henry Gross
24-Strawberry Fields Forever – Peter Gabriel
25-A Day In The Life – Frankie Valli
26-Come Together – Tina Turner
27-You Never Give Me Your Money – Wil Malone & Lou Reizner
28-The End – The London Symphony Orchestra

For more information… Go to Hip-O records at
http://hiposelect.com