Sunday, April 28, 2019

Large Local Fan Turnout At Recent New Album Signing For Cage The Elephant's "Social Cues" At Mellow Matt's Records & More In Bowling Green, Ky.

   

   Cage The Elephant and I go way back in Bowling Green during their early days before their second album release in 2011, "Thank You, Happy Birthday.'
Cage The Elephant

    Since CTE is from Bowling Green and my son, Tony Smith, who is also a Bowling Green musician, songwriter and producer and who now lives in East Nashville,  he became friends with CTE band brothers, Matt and Brad Shultz, earlier in their early days of the band's beginnings and eventually "Sleeper Agent," was formed (Tony's former band) and the rest is history. And that's another story to tell in of itself one day. However, the first time I saw CTE perform was at the second annual "Starry Nights Music Festival" in Bowling Green (which is now defunct) in the October of 2010. I was blown away by the band. (see video below) In the meantime, here's a little info about that time period during CTE's history with Sleeper Agent and the Bowling Green Music Scene on their Wikipedia page. I like to call it the "Heyday of the Bowling Green Music Scene":
Sleeper Agent

   'The group's audience expanded widely throughout 2011. Although they were formed in the 2000s, the band earned the top spot in Rolling Stone's "Reader's Poll: The Best New Artist of 2011". The band Sleeper Agent, another Bowling Green music group and close friends with Cage the Elephant, came in second place. The magazine also named Thank You, Happy Birthday as the 15th best album of the year. That year, Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra embarked on a co-headlining tour with Sleeper Agent as the opening band. In January 2012, the band released the album Live from The Vic in Chicago, recorded during their 2011 tour, and also toured with the Big Day Out music festival."

   Even though that is a long and interesting story especially on Sleeper Agent's part as far as I'm concerned, I will stay focused in this particular blog segment on CTE's recent new album signing for "Social Cues" at Mellow Matt's Records and More on Smallhouse Road in Bowling Green which was a grand experience for CTE local fans and the Bowling Green Music Scene from all appearances while I videotaped the event from the outside of the building and in the parking lot as well as the grass.
CTE's New Album, "Social Cues"

    Mellow Matt's is a small record store with not much space in a strip shopping mall. However, Matt and his staff somehow manage large crowd turnouts in order for fans to get autographs on records and CD's from famous bands such as CTE. It's also where Sleeper Agent had their second release album party in 2014 for "About Last Night." The crowd for Sleeper Agent was not quite as large as CTE's but they nonetheless they had a good turnout and that was Matt's number one album selling album for the year he had claimed. Actually, this was CTE''s was second new album signing at Mellow Matt's. The first one was a couple of years ago at the store for their fourth album, "Tell I'm Pretty," in which they won a Grammy for "Best Rock Album in 2015. I was not able to make it to that signing. But since I have a new HD DVC camera that my son, Tony, gave to my birthday, I decided to try it out in the parking lot at the CTE signing at Mellow Matt's. There are three little short video clips that I posted below from my Youtube Channel. They are not perfect by no means but I do believe I was able to capture a little of the magic, spirit and excitement among CTE's many local fans that were lined up waiting to get inside. And hopefully, I'll get better with the camera as time goes on. (Note: I did receive Mellow Matt's permission on the phone prior the signing in order to make these video clips). I also included one of CTE performing the song "Tiny Robots" at the Starry Nights Music Festival in 2010. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the videos!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

America's Bud Light Cult Following: Frat Parties In The 80's, 2019 Super Bowl Ads And No Corn Syrup

    When Bud Light first hit the market in 1982 in its early days of introduction to the world,  I remember a lot of frat parties in the 80's at Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., where the new fantastic and great tasting light beer was being served to guzzling college students playing beer games using a keg, a pump and a black hose with that little handheld flexible tap.

     According to USA Today, Budweiser's Bud Light is the number one selling beer in America these days with about 33 million barrels shipped a year. It's not just for your average, run of the mill for the beer guzzling frat boy anymore.  Oh no, it's much, much bigger than that.
    Just about everywhere you go nowadays-grocery stores, convenient stores, liquors stores, restaurants, bars, small sporting events and at the one of the biggest events in the world such as the NFL's Super Bowl with millions and millions of viewers watching on television.  And TV ads for the big event costs a sponsor such as Bud Light,  millions and millions of dollars for a 30 second spot.

 Bud Light was one of the major sponsor for this years Super Bowl in February with some memorable ads stressing the fact that they use "No Corn Syrup" in order to make their beer where some of the major other light beers do such as  "Miller Lite," and "Coors Light." Wow, earth shattering news, right! Lol.

 Also, Bud Light, the industry giant and leader, is the first to promote their new policy of labeling Bud Light boxes with nutrition and ingredient labels as a leader of the pack that shoots them even further into the stratosphere of the beer world. The nutritional labels are hard to miss: they are bold, black and white, and big. They're the same type of labels you see in other food categories.

   Most of us who watched the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the LA Rams, probably thought the game was pretty much a bore.  I did somewhat but what I remember about it the most was the Bud Light commercials.  I think the ads worked on me because now I know the beer has no corn syrup in it!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Ole Miss Lives On Forever

Ole Miss is a place. It’s a place that lives on in our hearts and minds whether we are 18 years-old or 94 years-old. It does not matter if you live in Nantucket, Mass., or Bowling Green, Ky., some of us attended school there and some of us did not. Nevertheless, Ole Miss is the place that you see in your mind when you close your eyes and meditate upon her. When I shut my eyes, I can see myself standing in The Grove or The Circle looking at the front of The Lyceum at a moment’s notice. I can still hear the Ole Miss choir standing on the staircase of The Lyceum during my freshman year back in December of 1982 singing Christmas carols to the administration and staff on the last day of school before the holiday break or in Fulton Chapel singing the Ole Miss Mater Song during an Award ceremony in the early Spring. No, we could never be mad at Ole Miss for what she stands for and what she means to us. She lives on forever and our love for will never end.  No one can ever kill our love for her or take away our memories. We will all die one day but she will live on forever creating new memories in the hearts and minds of students and other people from other places from far and between. Hotty Toddy!


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

There's A Small-town Disco That Still Lives On In My Head

    I still think about it all the time while driving my work truck throughout the rolling hills of Southcentral Kentucky during the day.
     I can't get it out of my head.  The music still lives on my mind and motivates me after all these years.  I may not be able to dance or move like I used too but I still find the music especially motivating and inspiring.  I really love to listen to it with my iPhone and earplugs while walking on the treadmill at the gym.  I have a whole playlist on Amazon Prime Music dedicated to Disco and Dance Music. I find it invigorating and youthful.  There's just something about it.  I have a fantasy that if I was super wealthy, I would build a mansion in Bowling Green with a disco in it with the lights, dance floor, sound system and the whole nine yards and invite all my friends over to dance.



 The other day while driving my work truck, all of sudden the 1980 hit disco song, "Stomp" by Brothers Johnson came on the Sirius radio channel's Studio 54.  My mind began wander back to the days of my dad's lake house in the hills of North Mississippi when I was a 16 year-old kid in the fall of 1978.  I can still see myself looking in the mirror dressing up in my polyester pants and shirt. I had a job to do but it did not pay anything. I worked for free in 1978 because I loved it.  I was the disc jokey at the former small-town disco on the square of Hernando, Miss., in North Mississippi.


    Also, I couldn't wait to get out on the dance floor to strut my stuff.  I thought I was really cool.  I was the "Disco Boy."  My brother and friend used to like to tease me when he got home from the disco at night.  I didn't mind though because he thought it was funny.  It reminded me of that Frank Zappa song, "Disco Boy," or his other Zappa's other hit song during that time period, "Dancin' Fool.



  The small-town disco was alcohol free where the local kids could come in and dance at no charge.  I would be upstairs on the balcony sitting at a little desk flickering light switches on and off while the kids below danced on the dance floor lined with Christmas lights basically to the disco music on the jukebox.  Lol. And yes, there was a disco mirror ball too hanging from the ceiling with a couple of spotlights shinning on it too.  I had lots of fun with it for a while until I started getting bored with it.  Especially, since I was not making any money.  Eventually, the owner of the disco got upset with me because I quit showing up.  I told him, "Look,  you're not paying me anyway, so I do have to show up."  Eventually, the disco was turned into a video game arcade which was really popular with the local kids also because they had lots of PacMan, Gallatical and other popular games at the time.  But regardless, there's still a small-town disco that lives on my mind and I can't get it out of my head.  It's engrained in there. I don't mind though.  Because they are really sweet memories! Happy 2019!
   

Saturday, December 15, 2018

College Town At Christmas, 2018: Looking Back At My 30 Years Of Living In Bowling Green, Ky.

    I remember years ago when I first moved to Kentucky in 1987, I used to get homesick for down South.  I missed my native city of Memphis, Tenn., and North Mississippi, the place where I spent my teenage years.  I used to miss my friends and family also.
    It's also where graduated from high school and went to college.  I was a Southern Boy and I am still am.  But things have changed tremendously back home.  To be honest, I can't keep up with it hardly anymore.  It's all becoming a blur now it seems.  Our memories do seem to slip as we get older they say.
   
Patty and I before a Christmas party in 1992
However, by fate, I met a lady through the Roman Catholic Church in Oxford, Miss., while I was college student at the time at the University of Mississippi, (Ole Miss) in the 80's. And then after we where married and our son was born, we eventually ended up in Bowling Green, Ky., home of Western Kentucky University.  WKU is where my wife went to college back in the 70's when she lived in her hometown of Russellville, Ky., which is 30 miles west of Bowling Green.  She said she had always loved Bowling Green and thought it would be a nice to live one day and to raise a family.  And indeed, Bowling Green or "BG" as it is affectionally known to us and its loyal citizens, has a been a great place for us to live, work and raise our son for these last 30 years.  Our son, Galen Jr. or "Tony" as he affectionally known to us and all of his family and friends, is a graduate of WKU and now lives and works in Nashville, which is 60 miles south of Bowling Green.
Our little family, 1988. Patty, Tony, Santa and me.
During this Christmas season, I have been reflecting a lot on my life and my life of living in Bowling Green all these years.  No, I have not made a big impact on the city by running for political office and serving as a leader making important decisions that ultimately effect its citizens or businesses in one form or fashion.  Nor have I been a major player in the Bowling Green business community making tons of money by managing a factory, a store or being a private business owner along with being a member of the local chamber of commerce.  Nor I have I been a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, a counselor and priest or a pastor by having a direct impact on its citizens and families on a personal level.  However, I have been a productive citizen, a homeowner and a taxpayer and staying out of trouble for the most part all these last 30 years of living here.  Yeah, I have ruffled a few feathers here and there regarding some of my strong letters to the editor in our local newspaper or stating my assertive opinions on the local morning AM talk radio program in the past.  But for the most part, I've had a good run in Bowling Green and I hope to have another 30 years! Being a writer, an observer of life and a sales and service professional all these years, I have met many fine people in this city and from the surrounding towns and counties alike.  Like everywhere else in the world, there's a story on every corner in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky. I have found this to be extremely true.  And I don't have to look very far either.  There's a lot of interesting people who live here. I have always been like a sponge through the years, absorbing everything I can about its people, its places and its culture.  It's only natural for me to be curious and to ask questions regarding people and their lives. And it's also the way that I was trained in journalism school while I was at Ole Miss.  Basically,  to ask questions and write stories along with taking pictures. ( I like making short videos these days too).
Me, Jude, our Australian Shepherd, and Patty with Santa in 2016
    So as I reflect back on my past Christmases of living here, BG has been very good to me and my little family.  For the most part, it is a safe place to live because we have an excellent police force as well as a great county sheriff's department and a wonderful Kentucky State Police force.  Also, the WKU police force is great too. Although, we are not natives to this town, BG has been accepting of us and thousands of others who come from all over the United States and from around the world.  We have a large Bosnian community and a growing Burmese and Congo African community too.  And like most places in the South, we have a large Hispanic community too.  WKU brings in students from all over Kentucky, the South, and other parts of the US.  And the university has its fair share of international students too.  So I feel very fortunate and blessed to live in Bowling Green.  God has been good to me all these years and I have received many special blessings by living here.  We have a wonderful church which is Holy Spirit Catholic Church and I have fairly good health, a good job, a good home, a good neighborhood and most importantly, a wonderful wife and son.  So if you live in Bowling Green, be thankful this Christmas season and for what this city does for us, its citizens.  We have good streets and roads and excellent schools.  We also have a good medical community too. 
      Mainly, we are a very blessed community especially during Christmastime.  Go outside and feel the Christmas spirit in the air.  And drive downtown, and see the Christmas lights on the square or eat at one our many fine restaurants.  Eat, drink and be merry! Be cheerful and jolly also! (But don't drink and drive. Get a Uber. Or the BGPD will get you!)  Yes, we are very blessed this Christmas season in Bowling Green and I thank God for that.  Merry Christmas and God Bless!
  

Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Beautiful Boy" Is A Story About "Everything"



"Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy"


"Double Fantasy" John Lennon, 1980


By Patty Smith
Bowling Green, Ky.
A book and movie review

About three years ago I read David Sheff's book, "Beautiful Boy" about his son, Nic, and his addiction to drugs and alcohol.   The book was so intense and amazing, I read it three more times.

On Facebook one day, I met David and we chatted.  His Facebook page is awesome, too, with stories about many, many parents who have been through similar episodes of alcohol and drugs with their children, though not always ending as happily as Nic's story.  (Nic is now "clean and sober" for ten years.) 

As we chatted one day, I asked David if he would please autograph my book if I sent it to him.  Instead, he sent me a signed copy of "Clean," his latest book that deals with ways and means for children and adults alike to overcome addiction.

As soon as I heard about the movie coming out, I anxiously awaited it to come to Bowling Green, Ky., my hometown.  It hit our theaters last weekend and my husband and I viewed the movie at The Great Escape 12 on Saturday afternoon.

The movie followed along much as the book, and the characters that were chosen to play David and Nic (Steve Carrell and  Timothee Chalamel ) really fit right into the bill.

Although I don't have any addicts in my immediate family, I do have some friends who are.  However, in 1989 after a very messy divorce from my first husband, three years earlier,  I turned to alcohol when the pain of losing my two daughters was too hard to bear.  Alcohol did the ease the pain WHILE I was drinking, but harsh reality finally would set in, along with guilt and shame and other negative emotions alcohol does cause afterward.

Nic Sheff was also from a divorced family, and hated when he had to travel to and from his home outside Los Angeles. (Inverness) to New York, to see his mother,  to fulfill conditions of the shared custody arrangement.  When he was growing up he and his father really had quite the bond.  When no more words would come when David would be trying to express how deep his love was, he resorted to one word "everything." So when the father and son would often say "everything" they both knew that their love was so deep and so beyond words that "everything" would let each know that depth.

Many people found this movie very hard to watch as Nic's disease progressed from marijuana to alcohol to other more serious drugs like heroin and meth.  It is hard to see him and his girlfriend in her living room with spoon filled with crystal meth and shooting it into each other veins after it was "cooked" in the spoon.  The most terrifying intense scene was when his girlfriend overdosed and he was desperately trying to bring her back to life, as he did, just as the emergency ambulance arrived.  She recovered and was taken to the a hospital for treatment.

David had remarried and his family consisted also of his wife Karen, and his son and Jasper and Daisy his daughter.  The brotherly love these children had for their older brother was evident from the start, even before his addiction began.  Wife Karen supported David throughout their marriage when David lay awake many nights wondering where Nic was and if he was alive or dead, calling hospitals to see if he had been admitted.  David often drove around looking for Nic and would sometimes find him hanging out with other addicts.  Many many attempts at rehabilitation had failed and Nic would again attempt to get clean and sober.

Finally alone in a bathroom in New York visiting his mom, in his aloneness and despair, Nic shot up one more time.  He is seen kicking out what could have been his final life on that cold bathroom floor.  But he was found in time and David was called to come to New York.  The doctor said he didn't know how Nic had survived with the amount of drugs in his body, but thankfully he did. in the final scene father and son, arms around each other, holding each other up, leave the hospital temporarily to sit outside in the sunshine and just "be together".

I had pondered over this movie and book many times. Was "Beautiful Boy" about David struggle to help his son or was it more about the addict Nic who struggled so long to get clean?  The movie is also about always having hope, never giving up on your child or your addict or alcoholic. It's about hanging in there.

In conclusion, I quote David from his latest book, "Clean," when he says,  "... most drug use is not really about the drugs...it's about LIFE."  So when my husband said after watching the movie that the movie was really not about the drugs but about the non-dying, non-failing love between a father and son.  Through this unfailing love, David didn't give up and saw his son through his final recovery.  So what is "Beautiful Boy" really about?  The love beyond compare that no one can describe....it's just "Everything."

Patty Smith and her "Beautiful Boy" and son, "Tony"
Patty Smith is retired and is a former correspondent for Western Kentucky Catholic.  She is also an avid reader, movie fan, crossword puzzle champion and Jeopardy fan.  She lives in Bowling Green with her husband, Galen, and their Australian Shepherd named "Jude."  Patty and Galen's son, "Tony" is a graphic artist, a musician, a songwriter, producer and studio sound reccording engineer who lives in Nashville.









Sunday, November 4, 2018

"Bohemian Rhapsody" Rekindles A Fire In The Hearts And Souls Of Queen Fans In Theaters Across America

    I was never a major, big, superfan of the rock band, "Queen," while growing up down in the American South in the 70's and 80's.




   But, I liked Queen and I liked a lot of their songs that were played on the rock radio stations back in those days.  I think everybody from the American rock scene, concert goers, party scene people, rock fans, radio listeners and album buyers liked Queen back then. And I think just about everybody knew who Freddie Mercury was too.  He was the lead singer from Queen who had the funny looking teeth but had a voice that could beat any opera singer's range of sounds, tones or harmonies.  And the band was kick ass too with Brian May on lead guitar, Roger Taylor on drums and John Deacon of bass.




 


     The first time I ever heard of Queen was when I was about 13 years-old in 1975 while living in East Memphis.  I was spending the night at friend's house and we watched the official "Bohemian Rhapsody" video on The Midnight Special television show which showcased popular rock musical acts on late Saturday nights in the 1970's during its heyday.   We were blown away by the video and the band.  We were like, "Wow, who are these guys?  They are so unique and different!"  And of course, we continued to hear hit after hit on the rock radio stations during those years of our youth on up through the late 80's.  Someone also bought me their "News Of The World" rock album for my 16th Birthday in 1978 and I absolutely loved it!  I listened to it over and over. I loved the artwork on the album cover and some of the big hit songs like, "We Are The Champions" and "We Will Rock You." Then MTV, the mega, super music video cable channel appeared in our homes across America and the world in the early 80's and the rest is rock history.   

   When Queen played Live in 1985, the band became a rock legend with their music and albums, concert performances and music videos.  Also, I remember one time in 1978, when Queen came to Memphis to play the Mid-South coliseum, the show sold out immediately.  They had a solid base of fans in Memphis.  One of my friends who lived in North Mississippi, who was originally from Memphis like me, had a brother who was a gigantic Queen fan. He bought front row tickets and presented the band during the concert a bouquet of roses and a plaque honoring their visit to Memphis.  I was also friends with the guy who drove the limousine that took them from the Hyatt Regency Hotel in East Memphis to the Mid-South Coliseum before and after the show.  My friend said that the band was really nice and cordial too. That was about my total knowledge of Queen at the time.

      Later on, I think most people in the world had heard rumors that Mercury was gay and had aids. And of course, a lot of people put two and two together and probably assumed he died from the consequences of his lifestyle.  I really didn't think much about it or could care less.  I figured that was his business and I still enjoyed his music and the fact that he was great performer.  That's what I remembered Mercury for.  And for a lot of Americans, I think life just went on and we didn't think a whole lot about it anymore.  We put it in the back of our minds and we just lived life, working and paying the bills.  However, we still loved Queen and their music regardless.

     Then we start seeing this movie trailer for the new Queen biopic called "Bohemian Rhapsody" on social media and especially on Facebook during the last several months.  I know I posted the trailer several times on my Facebook.  I was excited to go see the movie and my wife and I watched it at The Great Escape 12 theater in here Bowling Green, Ky.  We loved it! I thought it was a wonderful movie and I think the producers and director did a great job with it.  The actors were wonderful too!  And the music was incredible!

    The movie starts out in 1970 when Queen was basically a college band in a London club.  Their lead singer and guitar player quits after the gig. Mercury had already been a fan of the band.  Later on he approaches Brian May and Roger Taylor and makes a proposal to join the band.  Eventually he joins and so does John Deacon on bass.  The movie shows a lot behind the scenes about the band that their fans will find interesting like how they created certain hits songs in the studio like "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You," and "Another Bites The Dust" Also, the movie revolves around Mercury's relationship with his girlfriend, Mary.  He had proposed to her but later on they drift apart when Mercury admits to her that he is bi-sexual. But they still remain close. We also find out that Mercury loves cats too which is adorable!

     The movie depicts times of turmoil in the life of the band but ends on a note of triumph with the scene where band plays Live Aid and it leaves you with a feeling exhilaration.  What I liked best about the movie that it has a strong element of forgiveness.  The band forgives Mercury after he had left the band to record two solo albums for four million dollars without telling them first. And also, there had always been tension between Mercury and his father because his father thought that Mercury had not turned out like he should have.  But you see a strong level of forgiveness when Mercury and his lover stop by his parents apartment in London and his father hugs him before he heads off to play the Live Aid concert. After I got home after watching the movie, I loaded up my Amazon Prime app on my iPhone with Queen hits songs, put my ear plugs in and went out into the backyard to listen to their music while I played with my dog.  The movie rekindled a fire in my heart and soul and it had even inspired me to create a playlist for Queen's hit songs. I will start listening to them on a regular basis again especially while driving down the road in my work truck.
  
    If you're are a big Queen fan still to this day, you should definitely go see this movie.  If you were somewhat of Queen fan like me, you should still should go see this movie like I did.  And you were never a Queen fan and if you decide to go see the movie, you will become a Queen fan after seeing this movie!