Tuesday, June 7, 2016

COMING SOON........

Hello South Florida and every where else, I'm Bird and this is the all new Hockeybird.com
My Daughter Alex and I attended the unveiling of the new logo and uniforms and I'll give you a full accounting as well as our interview with Steve "Goldie" Goldstein as soon as I can.
Stay tuned......

----}- Bird

Monday, April 25, 2016

THANK YOU NYR BUT I'M DONE

Hello New York and everywhere else, I'm Bird and this is the beginning of the new Hockeybird.com.

I was around four years old and living in Levittown, Long Island NY when I fell in love with the great game of hockey. There were six teams in the NHL and like my Dad I became a NY Rangers fan. Who knew back then what the league and my fandom would grow into? Both expanded beyond expectations. The Sixties were a strange time to grow up with only Saturday night games on WWOR  but by the early '70s the NHL expansion had added teams in places like Philly and elsewhere. The NY Islanders entered the league and Cablevision invaded our televisions. We now had a sports channel that played all the Islander games and the NY Mets games. In 1975, my Dad decided that he could no longer support the "Fat Cat" Rangers (his words) and with a playoff win for the Isles he decided that he would become an Islander fan. I thought he was nuts and a traitor. The five trips to the finals in consecutive seasons with four straight Cups rewarded his decision. As a club DJ I spent many nights playing to an audience that included Islander players. I was even on the air on WLIR the night Pat LaFontaine scored that famous overtime goals vs the Caps at 2am. I was reprimanded for breaking in to announce that.    


Although I became friendly with many of the players from that great team I remained steadfast in my support for the Rangers. I even had Wayne Merrick at my house for dinner DURING a Ranger vs Islander game that went to OT. (Adam Graves scored the OT winner!) My wife has worn each of the four Cup winning rings. Merrick, Tonnelli, Nystrom and Gillies each allowed her to try on a ring from each different Cup win. Still I remained a BlueShirt fan. When I returned to the ice in '95 I got the chance to play with NHL players and even spent some time as a practice keeper for the Isles. Yet still I was a die hard cut me I Bleed Blue Ranger fan. I opened Hockeybird and it became one of THE PLACES on the interwebs to read about the BlueShirts. From '97 to '07 Hockeybird (and it's off-shoots) dominated the online hockey arena. It was a blast and I'll never forget the support from all of you.

I have to make sure and point out that the NHL and the way it conducts its business is also a reason for my departure from NY. The '94 lockout didn't hurt me so much because we had just won the Cup. I was annoyed by the delay but dismissed the business part in my giddiness. The following labor disputes had a huge impact on me. The last lockout of 2004 came on the heels of some real hope and passion for the NHL. I had just retired as a player, moved to Florida and witnessed the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup in front of my eyes. I had attended several games during their playoff run. It was a dream of mine to attend a Cup final and for it to have been a game seven and to see that hunk of metal is something I'll never forget. At the same time, Glen Sather held a fire sale and things for my NY Rangers were about to change in a good way. A return to the playoffs and a real team build from within. The lockout stopped the fun. The NHL had no regard for us the fans and they made that clear. Not only did I feel that way as a fan, I also had the perspective as a player. The greed and stupidity of league officials made me resent the NHL and I stopped paying them my hard earned cash. No more tickets and no more Center Ice. The Hockeyrodent felt so disenfranchised by the NHL's most recent lockout that he no longer writes his regular commentary (which was stuff you could't get anywhere else) it was a tradition which began when Mattias Norstrom was still a Ranger. His forum remains open and he contributes there as a nod to the community of hockey loving friends he's accumulated over the course of his nineteen years of Interweb presence.

Of course I came back when they returned. Heck, Hockeybird was breaking news on the lockout back then. The player in me pinned for the game despite the disrespect from the league. I had to stay just to watch this Ranger rebuild and it was the only thing I could watch that reminded me of playing, something I really missed.    

During my playing days I have a few games that stand out in my memory. One was at the Long Beach Arena which was once the practice home of the Rangers. I had met Pete Stemkowski there and had to fill in on his team when their keeper got hurt. A few weeks later I played in an "open hockey" with his son. But the game that stands out there was a playoff game. I was filling in for an adult league team who's keeper couldn't play because of his religion. After three periods it was all tied up and both ten minute overtimes went scoreless. We went to a shootout and I think it was the fourteenth shooter who finally ended it. A tough loss but I played out of my mind all the while thinking that I was defending the crease that Eddie Giacomin did and it was an honor to do the same.

From Eddie Giacomin to Henrik Lundqvist and all of 'em in between, I supported each and every player and did so with an unmatched passion. True, if you are and old Hockeybird reader you know I can criticize the team with the best of them. But at some point I began to realize that some measured their fandom on how loud and how crude their criticism was. The louder and cruder it was, the bigger (and better) you were as a fan. I'm sorry, that doesn't work for me. So it's fair to say that I started to see a divide and unfortunately it appeared I was on the outside looking in. My move to Florida in '04 was the beginning of the end even though I didn't realize it at the time. Hockeybird remained strong until about 2007. My personal issues prevented me from managing the website and financially I could no longer maintain a server to handle the thousands of readers. I felt a responsibility to the readers and it killed me to close the boards and give up the server in NY. Thankfully someone stepped up to relieve me.

When Pete Rocha opened Rangerland this gave the readers two places to go with the other being the Hockeyrodent site. My place was essentially closed although I keep the domain with the hope that someday I can turn it into a place I can write about things not available all over the place. I have thought about writing on politics and that's still possible. I'm not sure I will take this place and make it a Panther site or a Bolts site but those remain options as well. It's not like I write about the Rangers anymore anyway. The last few articles have been about music, one of my other passions.

Look, it's been a great run and I really appreciate what we did here and I enjoyed being a Ranger fan all these years. It's time to move on. This does not mean I'm burning my Ranger jerseys and memorabilia. I'll always look fondly at the Tomas Klouceks', Dan Blackburns' and Petr Pruchas' whom I supported. The '94 team will always bring a smile to my face. But that was decades ago. It's true, the fire sale that sent Brian Leetch away was a good thing. It returned the team to the playoffs and set up the recent runs for the holy grail. My memories of going to Long Beach to see Nick Fotiu and Ron Dugay are never going to be erased. I just can't justify spending my passion on a team that doesn't give a rats ass about me anymore. They don't need me and in turn, I don't need them.

I can't be specific as to exactly where we go from here. Both politics and a Panther or Bolts page remain possibilities. The only thing I'm sure about is that I am officially retired as a New York Ranger fan. This was a long time coming and NOT a rash decision. This is NOT about the ass kicking the Penguins just laid on the boys in blue. It's just time. This is something I have been thinking about for several years now.

In regards to the team itself, the New York Rangers have had a great run. I think the playoff runs took a lot out of me over the last few years. I really poured my heart into it, invested time, money and energy that with a job and family, was taxing to say the least. With this years early exit it's my opinion that the "Lundqvist Window" is closing. He gave us a chance to win that Cup and try as they did, the Rangers around him came up short each time. While Henke is still one of the best his skill set is beginning to erode. The supporting cast has too many issues to solve in one off season so now is the perfect time to move on for me. If I'm going to go through a rebuild it's time I do it somewhere else.

They almost did it though. The homegrown guys the guys they drafted and brought through the system damn near got it done. Staal, Girardi, Stephan, McDonagh, Dubinsky, Anisimov, Prucha, Sauer, Korpikoski on and on. I was convinced that this would end with a Stanley Cup. Now I'm convinced unless traded (and I don't foresee that) Lundqvist will be the best keeper never to win a cup.

So, after nearly fifty years supporting the NY Rangers I am done. I will now choose between the two Florida franchises and it's the Panthers who really need the help. The Bolts won a Cup in '04 (I was there to see it) and that's helped them build a real fan base. The Cats had the Beezer take them to the '96 finals but really have accomplished nothing since. Their home games are fouled with opposing teams fans and if the Panthers are to survive they MUST build a fan base. That's a worthy challenge I just might want to take on.

I want to thank all the Hockeybird readers who supported me and the fantastic writers we had here. Ranger fans are passionate and I was honored to be among some of the most die hard hockey fans in the world. You guys will continue without me and not miss a beat. Good luck in the future. I'll always remember both the good and the bad, the ups and downs but the passion and devotion you have shown this place and your team IS AMAZING. I am not bitter and have no hatred for you or the team. You will always be a part of who I am and I'm forever grateful for that.

It's just time to move on.........

----}- Bird

Thursday, April 21, 2016

17 DAYS

Hello NY and everywhere else, I'm Bird and you're at Hockeybird.com

There is no way I can do justice in tribute to Prince. Hell, I never even sat down to write about the loss of David Bowie who has similar traits. However, I feel the need and here we are.

I've not kept secret that I began my career in music playing disco records. I credit the disco DJs of NY who taught me skills I then applied to what is now referred to as New Wave. (God I hate that phrase).  I think I picked up on Prince during his second record. 1999 and Pretty Little Red Corvette stayed in my rotation throughout my working days. I remember having conversations with a bar back at Paris NY (Huntington, Long Island Night Club) about Prince. We were both amazed at his talent and were into his lyrics. DJ Slave would go on to become an iconic DJ himself and at the time reinforced my thought that Prince, no matter how controversial should continue to get play at Paris.



Of course it seemed a match made in heaven when MTV came out and Prince released his own movie. Purple Rain stood on it's own as a movie. It was also tailor made for the MTV format. Each song was a video for your ears as well as your eyes. It's safe to say, I played every song on that album at Paris NY. Allow me to stray off topic here.....

I'm often asked what the top ten live shows I ever attended are as are many of you. Most are surprised when the Purple Rain tour appears in my top three. I was lucky enough to see that tour twice, once with the adorable Down Town Julie Brown. It was amazing in so many ways. At the Nassau Coliseum Sheila E opened the show. When she finished the lights came on and the curtain came down. About twenty minutes later some instruments could be heard. The lights never went down and the curtain never went up but we all clearly heard Prince saying, "we're just gonna jam a minute".

The band played 17 Days

17 Days was the B-side to When Doves Cry. I love B-sides, always listened to them all and played quite a few. This one was awesome. If I remember 117 beats per minute and an easy mix, in and out. Powerful bass and drums. Mesmerizing guitar. I played the hell out of it. To hear it live in a sort of live sound check was so cool. The curtain never came up. It ended and then twenty minutes later up comes the curtain and there's Prince doing his best Jimi Hendrix playing Let's Go Crazy! The Purple Rain tour was in fact one of the best live shows I've ever seen any where at any time.

Speaking of Let's Go Crazy, that song was one of the loudest songs ever played at Paris NY, was one of the only songs ever to be played more than once in a night and was the background music to our TV commercial. The place went nuts each night at that point where a song would fade and the organ would begin. Dearly Beloved........we are gathered here today to get to this thing called LIFE! Easily the high point of the night for many many weeks.

I was also lucky enough to see the Raspberry Beret Tour. Yes, I continued to play Prince even though his music didn't always fit the format and he no longer needed my exposure. I tended to avoid very popular artists but Prince, like David Bowie was different. I distinctly remember Slave telling me about the "Black Album" and finally getting to hear it. So, like many of you.......Prince and I are connected. His passing is quite sudden, unexpected and one hell of a shock. I hope this little remembrance gives you the same feeling as it does me. All he ever wanted was for us to feel a little love. I'm feeling it, are you?

----}- Bird


Sunday, December 20, 2015

BORN TO BE BAD

It's About Pride

Hello New York and everywhere else, I'm Bird and you're in the Birdcage here at Hockeybird.com.

Sit back and relax as I tell a story that spans five decades. It all begins in Levittown, Long Island NY. Back in the 70's. NY radio was ending a heyday of broadcast excellence. Rock & Roll radio had a lot of choices to make. A little station in Hempstead NY became THE place to tune in if you really loved your music. The interviews, the Tuesday Night Radio Concerts, the bands they played and the shows that came to town were all a part of what made WLIR so good. Southern Rock played a huge part in what WLIR was doing at the time. I had become a big Lynyrd Skynyrd fan and WLIR turned me on to a whole new crop of bands like Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, Charlie Daniels, The Alman Bros., .38 Special and of course one of my faves, The Outlaws. Getting exposed to these bands lit the fuse to a passion for music that would take me on one hell of a journey.

In 1976 I was a freshman in high school at Levittown Division. I was brought up to the varsity wrestling team and it was the seniors who were playing Green Grass and High Tides in the locker room. By '78 I was able to buy and own everything the Outlaws had recorded along with Skynyrd and many other acts. My friend Troy Moore was a heck of an artist and he painted me a Levis denim jacket with the Outlaws 2nd LP logo. It became a prized possession and I wore it all the time and everywhere.

Then a tragic event changed everything.

I found out about the plane crash on the CB. Rene Costarella informed me that WLIR was reporting a plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd had crashed. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Corina Gaines had been killed. This rocked the southern music community. Charlie Daniels wrote a song called Reflections and the Henry Paul band had Grey Ghost. WLIR played the hell out of those songs. Then at the Nassau Coliseum Charlie headlined with Henry Paul opening. I had to be there. There was just one little problem. Dad had a family camping trip planned and I was not allowed to go. After leaving a note in the camper, Troy and I headed off to meet Charlie at a record store on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow. Larry Kleinman was the WLIR radio guy there and I had the only bottle opener for their Heini's. I got my southern flag autographed and then it was off to the show. We were hitch hiking and it was my dad who stopped. We ran.

Running into a backyard we were stopped by a fence. The homeowner came out to ask what we were doing. I explained and she offered us a ride. Once inside the parking area I thought we were safe but there was my dad looking for me. We hid. We hid by the ramp used to load in and that's where Henry Paul and his band came walking in. We said hi, I described my issue and  Henry offered to escort us into the show. My tickets were replaced with floor seats and inside we went. Now we spot my dad inside the coliseum still looking for me. The lights went down and the Henry Paul Band starts the show! My Future boss Denis McNamara introduces Charlie later and all in all quite an emotional night takes place. Of course, Dad kicked me out of the house an all my stuff was piled on the front lawn when I returned home. It took a few weeks for me to get back in and a year before my dad and I reconciled. However, my journey into the music biz had begun. All the while that jacket was with me.

The following year I would once again go to Nassau and Denis would intro the band. Only this time it was Molly Hatchet and the Florida Guitar Army, The OUTLAWS. What a night! We sat behind Freddy Salem and of course, my jacket was there. Over the years while hanging out with bands like the Ramones, Joan Jett, U2, Billy Idol and Mick Jones I'd get asked about my southern roots and the jacket. I'd explain that it's where my passion for music came from. Besides, once an Outlaw, always an Outlaw!


Now you all know the rest of the story.........how I got into the music biz and how I became a part of the WLIR story. If not the links to the history of Hockeybird or the WLIR links will fill you in.

Now we fast forward to 2012. Back in 2000 I had an email exchange with former Outlaws drummer Monte Yoho. I asked about the band playing again. Hughie was with Skynyrd and Henry was doing his Black Hawk thing and Monte said it didn't seem likely. But after a lot of lawyers and other crap Hughie leaves Skynyrd and an Outlaws album is in the works. I don't know much about this time but unfortunately, Hughie passes from a heart attack. Henry decides he must keep the music alive and an album comes out that just blows me away. It's About Pride is as good as anything I've heard in decades. The Outlaws are playing out and I may finally get my wish, to see them again and see them here in Florida where it all started. True, I had seen several shows in the 80s with various line ups but that was then. It took a few years for me to pull it off but when I heard about this reunion show I just couldn't miss it. The Henry Paul Band would reform for one weekend and open for the Outlaws in Clearwater, Florida. This had never happened in all the years these bands were touring.

 I bought seats and invited my buddy Tommy Gambaro who was with me back in Levittown during the 70s and 80s and he lives in St. Pete close to the venue. He had moved to FLA back in the 80s while I got down here in '04. He and I have been friends since we met and music is something we've both shared together over the years.

It's a four plus hour ride and I got stuck in traffic delaying me. We missed sound check and the before show meet and greet. We took our seats as history unfolded before our eyes and ears. The Henry Paul Band was every bit as good as they were back in '78. The Outlaws were ever better. Special thanks go out to Richard Laurenzano whom I met online. He remembered how WLIR supported these bands and we had become friends. He hooked us up and we were able to go up to the roof after the show and hang out with the guys. Henry couldn't have been more gracious and hospitable. Many of the bands original fans were there and he was quite busy and tired. But he took time with everyone as did the rest of the guys. Swapping stories and taking pictures, my buddy and I had a ball. And yes, that jacket from 1978 made the trip and is featured in the pics! Some of the guys got a kick out of it.
This nice lady got the set list. The Horsemen are the hard core fans at every show

Bird and Henry Paul

Bird and Monte Yoho

Bird and David Dix

Bird and Chris

Tommy and Monte exchanging stories on the roof


video

So I've come full circle. It's been said I was born in the wrong place. Either up north in Canada with my passion for hockey or down south with my passion for music and bands like The Outlaws. I'd say I was born in the right spot. Sure NY is up north but I'm now southern by the grace of God. I got to do both. I suppose it all happened because it was supposed to. Just the same, I'm honored to be a part of music history and damned proud of it. To be a part of this historic weekend is kinda icing on the cake.  The guys played a second show in Orlando but I didn't go. I had to get back to my family and job. But for one night I was part of the OUTLAWS family. Meeting the Horsemen and the various musicians was a real treat and worth the 500 plus miles of driving across the beautiful state of Florida. Maybe we'll do this again sometime, eh?

----}- Bird

Saturday, December 5, 2015

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT - STILL DARING

Hello New York, Hello Pittsburgh and everywhere else, I'm bird and you're in the Birdcage! Yes, after all these years there are still people daring to be different. What we started all those years ago is still having an impact today. Let me tell you what I'm talking about.........



On November 28th, 2015 at the STAGE AE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, listeners, musicians and the original disc jockey's of Pittsburgh's WXXP 100.7 gathered to celebrate 30 years of the impact the station had on the city's music scene and economy. The city's current mayor, Bill Peduto had declared the day WXXP day (same as last time) and not only attended but he gave a speech that showed he was not just a listener.....he understood exactly what we tried to do and the impact it had on the Pittsburgh music community. Meeting the Mayor was one of the highlights of my trip. I don't know his politics but I can tell you he loves his city and understands what I have always known about the place. The people are great Americans. They are part of the heart and soul of this country and I learned so much from them.

Back in 1985, the owner of WLIR 92.7 in NY (the station I worked at) bought a station in Pittsburgh. Located in a little town called Millvale, the AC format at 100.7 was barely registering in the ratings that were dominated by the AM giant KDKA, the AOR WDVE and the top 40 station B 94. They had the most ratings and influence in the market by far. But, to the credit of the local music scene, the stage was set for someone to come in and tap into a small but passionate base of creative people who just needed a little push to get the scene to grow. That's where I come in.

I was asked to take the music director position, do a daily show and help shape and sell a hybrid version of what we were doing at the World famous WLIR. Because of my Rock & Roll background and my passion for the "New Music" we played it was like a perfect dream come true. WXXP was born and had launched the format change before I arrived so a lot of work had already been done. But there was so much more to do.

I won't bore you with all the details of the behind the scenes work that went into shaping what became WXXP and it's format but there is one element that I believe was THE SINGLE reason why WXXP still influences the Pittsburgh music scene. We listened to and then played local bands. Not just on an hour show buried in some crappy once a week time slot. We gave them the same treatment as any other good new band got. In addition we also featured a weekly show where local bands were played if they weren't ready for regular rotation. This was the fuse we lit on a scene that was primed to explode, and explode it did! I never understood why it took out of town-ers to get that party started but I was happy to play a roll. Many of the pieces were in place...venues, record stores, clothing boutiques and the musicians themselves were all there. 

It's my belief that the combination of bringing a new music format together with a strong local band scene is why so many are still influenced by the very brief existence of WXXP. The connection between the station and it's listeners quickly became a bond that remains to this day. With that in mind, allow me to tell you my story of the WXXP reunion  that took place at Stage AE on 11/28/2015.

10 years ago we gathered on Carson Street at the Rex Theater for two nights of WXXP music. It was a huge success and a ton of fun. There was a second show in 2007 at the same place. But when Paul Cramer (WXXP DJ and operator of WXXP.com complete with a web radio station) and Rod Swartz (Bass player of the 11th Hour and Generation XX) began to put this together it was decided to do one night at a bigger place. Stage AE is located between the Football stadium and the Baseball stadium in the city. It's a great place to see or play a show.


Iron City beer is still a fave of mine!

I flew in on Friday the 27th and set out for some food and memories. Once again I made the trip from the airport and when I went through the Ft Pitt tunnel and saw the city lights as I exited I was taken back 30 years. What a beautiful sight. We decided to hit Carson street and Bob Studebaker with his lady joined us for a good meal and some stories. We then hit a place called the Lava Lounge which has an eighties themed night in progress. Most if not all the songs played were WXXP staples. I was able to meet some of the musicians from Seven Color Sky, the band who would open the show the following night. Even my bartender was going to be attending. It was a real fun night filled with great memories and a few adult beverages. We headed back to the hotel which was only two blocks from the venue. The next day was already here and the real fun was still ahead of us.

I woke up early and grabbed a coffee before heading out for a walk and a smoke. The overcast skies seemed typical but the warmer temps were a welcome surprise. I walked out towards the river where the city has various monuments I wanted to see. I saved that for a little later but I was already feeling the excitement of the day. I returned to the hotel and we had breakfast. Then it was time to walk it off. With a drizzle of rain coming down we dodged the goose poop and walked along the river. We visited both stadiums as well as the various war memorials that dotted the riverside. Pittsburgh has always played a large role in the history of our country and the monuments told the various stories of those who had served and the roles they played. In addition, the sports hero's are well represented with street names and statues. Even the great Honus Wagner is on display. I had just enough time to get a nap in and then prepare for a 3:00 sound check. Then it was off to Stage AE for my first look at the place from the inside.

The place itself is fantastic. The first floor is quite large with plenty of space for concert goers. There is a bar so no worries there. Even the bathrooms were plentiful and clean. The sound system and the staff were beyond my expectations.......very professional and the high end equipment was used with expertise. As the various musicians took turns getting set up and tuned I had the chance to catch up with a few guys whom I had befriended all those years ago. Paul Cramer was beginning his marathon night by loading in a bunch of stuff and worrying about all the details he hoped to fix or finish. One can't say enough good things about the time and effort Paul put into this show. We all owe him our gratitude for his tireless work. I had met my buddy Duncan at the hotel and he, who is often overlooked in the WXXP story sat in the balcony as I walked the place and got a feel for it and the stage. If the sound check was any indication we were in for a great night! Then I did my part, not very well I might add but at least I remembered all the words. I was maybe at 65% as I didn't want to blow out my already weakened voice. It was time to return to the hotel and get ready for the show.

I had noticed all the parking lots in the area filling up and thought to myself, wow.....there are a lot of XX fans and they sure are early. Funny, there was the State High School football championships at Heinz Field. Thousands of locals were pouring into the area for several games that took place throughout the day and night. That too added to my excitement, it amplified the buzz around the entire area. Finally it was time to get to the venue. I didn't want to miss anything.

After arriving and checking into the XX DJ dressing room, other XX DJs began to arrive. What great fun seeing people I hadn't seen in ten years. We began to reminisce about our time together and swapped a few stories. We really did have a great staff and it was nice to see that my former co-workers were as excited as I was. The fist band went on as the place continued to fill and the night was off and running. Everything after that happened so damned fast I can hardly remember all of it. I had a chance to intro the Generation XX band and had way too much fun talking to the fans who had shown up. I'm told I asked the city to make love. Hey, I was having fun and so were they!

The outstanding performances were too numerous for me to describe in detail but a few highlights are in order. The Affordable Floors probably had the biggest benefit from their WXXP airplay and to this day has quite a loyal fanbase. Their fans cheered with delight as the Floors payed their set. Chris Theoret who fronted the Sponges (and owns the Rex Theater) did a version of Bowie and Queens Under Pressure that was just magnificent. I introduced the RE 52s who killed it and so many of Pittsburgh's finest took their turns delighting the audience. I would have been happy to just be there let alone be part of it.

Then the XX DJs were introduced and I had the privilege of standing on stage with these wonderful people one more time. We came from all over to say thanks to all those listeners who still care even though our last broadcast was back in 1987.  I an so honored to be a part of something we did that still means something decades later. It really is a special feeling to know that the work we did was appreciated by so many and continues to be a part of so many peoples lives today. I can't thank my fellow DJs enough for their hard work and for their time and effort to attend. Some traveled from even greater distances than the 1125 miles that I traveled. I'm quite sure they had as much fun as I did.

Being the ham I am I just couldn't let an opportunity get away so once again Rod and I had discussed me singing with the band. I had a three song set that I had worked on but trying to get all the musicians to learn and rehearse three songs on top of the 70 plus songs they had already scheduled was not to be. So we decided it would be easy to just do U2's I Will Follow as I had ten years ago. Sure, I would have really enjoyed the set I had in mind but this was still a chance at having some fun and I don't get a 1500 plus audience to perform for these days so I was happy to get any song at all!

I was always one that incorporated current events into a show and this night would be no different. I had thought about a few things I wanted to shed light on and hell, they gave me a mic and turned it on. First, I felt the need to express my thanks to the local bands so I took a lyric from a song by the S.P.U.D.S. an inserted it into I will follow. I hope that message was received. Second, Joey Ramone called me for a live interview on WXXP during my first week on the air and that helped give me some credibility with the listeners. Joan Jett did the same. I get to say thanks to Joan every so often. Joey is gone. So, the shirt was to say thanks to Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee. I am tied to the World Famous Ramones in so many different ways and they deserve to be honored. So I had thought about that a bit. The Human League who had played Pittsburgh first in the US had a song I loved, Things That Dreams Are Made Of. It all kinda made sense in my mind, so I get where all that came from.

The opening just came out.

".......two weeks ago some bad guys shot up a place just like this, the first shots on music in this war on terrorism...... forcing U2 to cancel two shows in Paris. They've since been rescheduled because you CAN NOT KILL OUR MUSIC. You can not kill our freedom. This is for Paris,.....this is for Pittsburgh, This is for WXXP, The Station That Dares To Be Different!"

I Will Follow



video

I'm hoping to get audio and video of the show at some point. Until then, this is one of two videos I have. Sorry, I can't film and perform at the same time but if any of you have video or pics, please send them to me. I'd love to have it.

I can't thank the people of Pittsburgh enough for inviting me to take part in this celebration. I truly enjoyed living there and each time I visit it's a treat. Perhaps we will do this again. I promise that if I am able, I'll be there.

----}- Bird