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One Toke Over the Line by folk rock duo Brewer & Shipley was released in 1970 in an atmosphere of anti-war demonstrations and crackdowns on drug users. The song would become Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley’s biggest hit; so big that it caught the attention of Vice President Spiro Agnew, who termed the song – along with the Byrds’ Eight Miles High and Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit — “blatant drug-culture propaganda” that “threatens to sap our national strength.” Despite its marijuana references, the song somehow was performed on that bastion of wholesome American music, The Lawrence Welk Show. Produced by…

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The new novel Clockwork Angels begins with the line: “The best place to start an adventure is with a quiet, perfect life…and someone who realizes that it can’t possibly be enough.” Those words ring loud and clear for two small-town boys who dared to dream big: renowned sci-fi novelist Kevin J. Anderson and legendary drummer Neil Peart, who teamed up to convert Rush’s latest album, Clockwork Angels, into a full-length steampunk novel. It’s an innovative combination of music and literature, and the story of a young man on a quest through exotic carnivals, lost cities, and stormy seas, hoping to find the…

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Bruce Springsteen surprised fans in 2010 when he joined local band Timepiece at a Farmingdale, New Jersey club for a rousing rendition of Wilson Pickett’s Mustang Sally. Not that Bruce covering that song should be any great surprise:  In the history of music has there been another song played more often by more bands (at least in bars) than “that Mustang Sally song?”  Probably not. 2012 marks the 45th anniversary of the release of The Wicked Pickett’s classic, so Rock Cellar Magazine tracked down a couple of the musicians who helped make Mustang Sally a classic – Sir Mack Rice…

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Martha Davis strutted in heels onto the early new-wave scene in the late 1970s as part of The Motels – an intelligent, moody, yet still-catchy pop band. With her dark brunette 1940s femme-fatale style, Davis stood far apart from the squeaky, anemic, dyed-blonde lead singers of the day.  (And those were just the men.) The Motels didn’t perhaps have the gigantic career that some of their quirky contemporaries had, but semi-hits, Take the L (out of Lover), Suddenly, Last Summer, Total Control, and their biggest single Only the Lonely have cemented their sound into college-pop history.  Davis has continued to write,…

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In this month’s Rock Cellar Magazine – affectionately dubbed “The Ringo Issue” – all of Ringo’s All-Starr bandmates talked to us about their favorite Beatles albums, and a rather surprising number of them included 1966’s Revolver.  Link HERE. Well coincidentally (or not?), just this month a brand spankin’ new Beatles book hit the shelves and Kindles™ – an in-depth analysis of (you guessed it) that legendary Beatles record.  Its title is Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘N’ Roll. Rock Cellar Magazine got in touch with the book’s author Robert Rodriguez and asked him a lot of fun questions about…

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Reggae-influenced Aussie rock band Men at Work made headlines again just last month, although not for reasons they would have wanted:  Original member Greg Ham – best known for playing the fluttering flute riff in the band’s hit Down Under – was found dead in his Australian home. Men at Work frontman Colin Hay said of his late bandmate: “We played in a band and conquered the world together. I love him very much. The saxophone solo on Who Can it Be Now? was the rehearsal take. We kept it, that was the one.  He’s here forever. ” Just days before…

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Only a handful of individuals in music are known by a single name, and a few are legends. The artist simply known as “Donovan” certainly is one of those. His career took off like a folk-psychedelic skyrocket in the mid-1960s as he generated hit after hit after hit including Sunshine Superman, Catch the Wind, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Atlantis, Jennifer Juniper, Mellow Yellow, and Season of the Witch.  11 Top-40 hits in a row, in just 3 years. His personal and professional life walked hand-in-hand with The Beatles and his career was like a musical Zelig (o.k., or Forrest Gump):  wherever there was anything happening, there was Donovan – with the Stones, Bob Dylan,…

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In the song Hard Lovin’ Woman, Juliette Lewis belts out: “You better look around and get a hold of yourself, woman, and embrace what you’ve become.” What Juliette Lewis has become (apart from a Hollywood actress) is a bona fide rock star, touring summer festivals and nightclubs around the world.  Blender magazine hailed her as one of the hottest women of rock music, proclaiming she “delivered sonically varnished melodic punk replete with purring vocals and lyrics that bash porn, pharmaceutical companies and rotten lovers (in no particular order).” Lewis’ work in such films as Cape Fear, Kalifornia and Natural Born Killers made her famous — arguably more famous…

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