Saturday, September 24, 2016

THANK YOU BLACKHEART FAMILY!


Over the years I have been lucky enough to be on stage with some of the best bands/musicians on the planet. An actual dream come true story for a dumb kid from Levittown, Long Island NY. I may not have understood back then what I know now, we all have a chance to be a part of history. Last night in West Palm Beach three bands took the stage all of whom have been honored and inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Cheap Trick, Live at Buddakhan - as a kid it was on the pop stations at the same time Ring My Bell was a hit. Most of us know all the songs from that LP.

Heart, Barracuda - sure, they were not in my playlist but Nancy and Ann still got it and that's still a great song.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Bad Reputation - What can I say about Joan that I haven't already? The wife and I were remembering last night about when we were in the City to see Rocky Horror on Broadway (we went to a lot of Broadway shows in the early 90s) and as we crossed the street I hear, "Hey Bird!". It was Kenny Laguna, Joan's longtime manager and band member. I hadn't seen him in a while. When he found out we were going to the show he asked us to come backstage afterwards to say hi to Joan. Joan played Riff Raff. He must have told her I was there and she actually came to our seats during the show! Backstage we met Robin Quivers of the Howard Stern Show. What a blast! 

While I may know a bunch of R&R hall of famers it was only when the Blackhearts were inducted that I felt a part of it. I feel like I've been part of the Blackheart family because that's how they make you feel. The whole organization really appreciates the support given by radio guys like me and their fans. I remember while in Pittsburgh at WXXP she and I called up a few of her fans. It wasn't for my show......she just wanted to say thanks and she really made the kids feel great when she called out of the blue. 
The last few years have been quite busy for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts with tours like The WHO, a new album (Unvarnished) the Hall induction and this tour. Yet, they still found time to be a part of the movie, Dare To Be Different about WLIR. Out in 2017 and I still can't believe I'm in it.

From Julie at Blackheart records to former guitarist Ricky Byrd and drummer Tommy Price to Kenny and Joan herself, I've not been treated so well by an artist I played in the clubs or on my radios shows. Thank you to the entire Blackheart family for once again letting me and my family hang out and celebrate Rock & Roll history. Last night was the final show of the three month tour of these three rock legends. It was an honor to once again hang with the Blackheart gang.

----}- Bird



Friday, September 23, 2016

I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT MY BAD REPUTATION!

Hello South Florida and everywhere else, welcome back!



OK, the Russians won and the kids are out. Frankly, the tourney has lost it's lust for me. But today's post will not be about hockey. For those new to Hockeybird, I am in fact DJ Bird from 92.7 WLIR NY the station that DARED TO BE DIFFERENT. There's a documentary coming out next year on the station. I should also mention I also worked at 100.7 WXXP in Pittsburgh. I bring this up because 38 years ago I saw Joan Jett for the first time. It was a now famous show at Fireman's Park in Hempstead NY on Long Island. (we still talk about the woman in the red dress from that show)

Joan had become a hit on WLIR while I was still in high school. John Debella was the morning guy and played the hell out of Joan's first record. I was a big fan and here's a story I've not told. I had been dating a girl but we broke up. While looking for new records to play I found an old Runaways LP at a record store in Levittown. That was Joan's first band. The cover featured a picture and Joan looked a lot like this girl. I bought it. I kept staring at it......thinking I'd never get to meet Joan but maybe, just maybe I could get back with the girl.

Yep, we did get back together.

But that really didn't work out. However, a few weeks into my job at WLIR the boss Denis McNamara asked me if I'd like to join him that night at Hofstra University as he was hosting the Joan Jett show. This part I've told. I was giddy at the prospect of meeting Joan Jett. I had seen her live several times before this night but never met her. Denis introduced me back stage and I nearly melted. I'm sure I came across like a little kid. The show was great and to my delight, Denis said we had been invited to hang out after the show.

Man, in my mind I had all these wild after party thoughts running through my head. To my surprise, we went to a diner in Long Beach. I sat next to Joan. I was numb, just sitting there listening to her road manager tell war stories from his days on the road with some other famous bands. Then, it happened.

She spoke right to me.

"Hey Bird, can you pass me the ketchup?"



Um, wow. I was floored. I'm eating cheeseburgers with Joan Jett and she asked ME for the ketchup! I know, that sounds kinda silly. We made friends that night. Her manager Kenny Laguna and I also became friendly. This began a relationship that lasts to this day. I hosted so many shows for Joan after that both in NY and in Pittsburgh. Joanie called into my show in Pittsburgh during my first week there which helped me settle in.

I bring this all up because tonight in West Palm Beach I'll be seeing Joan again. it seem like once a year she plays here in South Florida and I always make it my business to stop in and say hi. Kenny and Joan have been so good to me over the years and I can't thank them enough.

So, if you happen to be going tonight to see Cheap Trick, Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, come over and say hi. I'll be wearing the black cowboy hat as usual.

And like Joan, I don't give a damn about my bad reputation...........oh yeah.


BTW: All pictures are taken by me at various Florida shows


----}- Bird

Thursday, September 22, 2016

GOING TO NEED HELP


It's not a done deal by any means. Team North America, you know the team everyone now loves beat the King Henrik Lundqvist and his fellow Swedes yesterday. The overtime goal in what most say was one hell of an exciting game put the NA kids in a position to move on......if and only if the Fins can beat their rivals, the Russians.

Sadly, the second period lapse Team NA suffered vs the Russians may just prevent them from moving on. By all rights they outplayed the Ruskies but BOB stopped them from tying it up even though they had a 6 on 4 for the final minute. The lapse in the second I speak of allowed the Russians to pop a few goals, just enough to outlast the kids.

The good news is that the Fins just love playing and beating the Russians so it's not out of bounds to suggest we could see the Kids in the semis. Let's hope Ovie and his boys look past the Fins and gets caught napping.

The other big story is that of the stud defenseman for the Cats, Aron Ekblad has left his team and returned home to Florida. His neck injury is reported to be "minor" but kept him out of the game vs Russia as well as the win over Sweden. It could be argued that had he played against Russia, Team NA would be 3-0. That said, Panther brass is much more concerned with his ability to play once the NHL season starts as are we fans. Sure, it would be great to see team NA advance and match up against Canada (the dream game for many Canadians) but it's much more important long term that Ekblad get healthy for the season.

So we are all Finland fans for one game. If they beat Russia then the kids move on, if not it was still more fun to watch them than it was to watch the USA squad. I will say it's been a treat to see this game played at such a high level so early in the year.

----}- Bird

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

IT WAS OVER BEFORE IT BEGAN

Hello South Florida and everywhere else.........well, that sucked.



I had to turn it off after the second period. I just couldn't watch anymore. I didn't feel good going in but the opening goal gave me brief hope. Hope that was quickly dashed with a few even quicker Canadian goals.

Now I will say this, to put on that Maple Leaf and play in Toronto means a hell of a lot to the Canadian players. As kids they dreamed of this chance. I get it. But the U.S. had 1980, the '96 World Cup and a slew of World Junior championships to lean on. But it's not the same. All eyes in Canada are on this tourney, few if any are watching in the lower 48. Just us I'd guess.

The crying has begun. Fire everyone!

At least we can still watch great hockey and it becomes more enjoyable for me without having to sweat out games. I just root for great plays, great saves and close games. Perhaps now I can begin to study the Panther roster and look forward to opening night.

For the US.......it was fun while it lasted.

----}- Bird

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THE KIDS FALL SHORT

Hello South Florida and everywhere else, can you believe the wife and kids wanted to watch the Voice instead of hockey? never fear, I popped on the large screen computer and found the game online.



The 23 and under team assembled is a who's who of the youngest NHL stars from the US and Canada. Florida defenseman Aron Ekblad who logged the most ice time in their win over Finland was kept out of the line up listed with an "upper body injury". I'm not sure if this is cause for concern yet but he was sorely missed. A lapse of attention in the second period in the D zone proved fatal as the Russians scored four times and squeaked out a 4-3 win over the upstart kids. My guess is that if Aron played they would have either scored the game tying goal or at least prevented one of the goals against.

It's clear the North American team has become the team to watch. They are fast, fearless and fun to watch. They stood toe to toe with team Russia and nearly beat 'em. If not for BOB the goalie, they win this game outright, warts and all. I'd swear Team NA hit the post in the closing seconds as they had pulled the keeper and were on a power play. The resulting 6 on 4 was fun to watch even though they couldn't get one past BOB.

The kids now sit at 1-1 with two more games to play. I'm not counting them out just yet.

The U.S. team is a different story. They have a must win game vs Canada tonight. The voice can be recorded, sorry girls we are watching this one. I hope for a win but I'm not betting on it. It should be interesting to see coach Tortorella figure out his line up. Dustin Byfuglien was scratched in the loss and I expect him to play.....but not sure who comes out and if he'll play forward or defence. If it's a physical contest and I expect it will be I'd want Buff out there in any capacity. It's do or die tonight for these guys so anything can happen with a desperate team. Get the beers cold for this one!

----}- Bird