Charlie Brunner: Rock and Roll Mayor

So what does a shy teenaged guy who is totally uninspired by schoolwork think about as he watches the minutes slowly tick away during those seemingly endless classes at Bangor Junior High School during the 60’s? The Beatles? Nancy Sinatra in a bikini? Who was going to be on Shindig or Where The Action Is this week? Playing drums? The lyrics to “Get Off My Cloud”? What it would be like to have a car? The tight sweater and budding breasts of the girl one row over and what it might be like to run your hand across them?

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Madonna - What Would Make Her Blush?

What would it take to make Madonna blush? Whew! That’s a tough question to answer. It probably would not involve nudity. Madonna has appeared nude in magazines and in movies. Her coffee table book, Sex, revealed a nude Madonna in every sexual situation you could imagine and then some.

It wouldn’t be her videos and concert performances that have consistently riled the Catholic Church and the self-appointed morality police with her use of religious and sexual imagery. Politics? I haven’t seen any shame for the video on her most recent concert tour that included images of both John McCain and Adolph Hitler. Madonna is outspoken, but she didn’t seem embarrassed even by her profanity-filled appearance on David Letterman several years back.

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Norwegian Wood (a fantasy)

I was peaking on the acid I dropped at the Flamingo by the time we reached the Scotch of St. James. Burdon always had the best L.S.D. I’d been taking it several times each week since George, Pattie, Cynthia, and I had been dosed at a dinner party given by my dentist. Cyn had been scared to death, but I quite enjoyed it.

It’s a good thing Mal drove the Aston-Martin as everything had dissolved into a blur of color and sound. We were laughing hysterically as we stepped off the lift. I had briefly panicked and screamed loudly when I thought it had burst into flame after the doors had closed. It seemed like minutes, but Mal assured me it took only seconds for me to discover that it was a small red light on the lift’s console.

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Madonna - "We Have Her Key"

I love comedian Robin Williams’ famous quote, “If you remember the 60’s, you weren’t there.” Now if I have to explain to you why that’s funny, I guess either you really weren’t there or you don’t understand the drug implications in the quote. I’m also pretty sure that you could apply that saying to any of the subsequent decades as well, but just for the following story, how about if we change William’s quote slightly to “If you remember the 80’s, you weren’t there”?

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Doo Wop and Ronnie Italiano: Passion or Obsession?

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you are probably a fan of doo wop and rock and roll music. Maybe even a very big fan. If you are, let me pose this question to you. Would you prefer to have your love of doo wop and rock and roll described as passionate or obsessive? According to my thesaurus, some synonyms listed for passion include; adoration, attachment, enthusiasm, excitement, fascination, fervor, fondness, infatuation, joy, love, verve, zeal, and zest. In the same thesaurus under obsession we have; bee in one’s bonnet, complex, fetish, fixation, hang-up, mania, monomania, phobia, preoccupation, and zelotypia.

I made my choice rather quickly. How about you? What made me rethink that choice several months later, however, involved a 700 mile trip to Clifton, New Jersey, and meeting a man with the somewhat unusual name of Ronnie Italiano.

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Michigan Garage Band Compilations

Many of the nominated artists on the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends ballot come from the state’s vibrant garage band/teen club scene of the 1960’s. Most of these bands recorded and released just a few singles on small independent labels. Finding and listening to these recordings over forty years later can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are some excellent compilations out there that have made some of these hard-to-find 45's available to those of us who do not have the original singles but love this important genre of Michigan rock and roll.

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Destination Lucky's (A Memory)

My hands were sweating on the handle grips of my trusty red and tan colored Royal bicycle as we pulled to a stop in front of St. Laurent’s Nut House. The slightly fishy odor of the Saginaw River was strong and mixed with the smell of roasting nuts as we put down our kick stands.

There was nothing like a little chocolate candy to steel the nerves for our first bike crossing of the Third Street Bridge. “Nuts since 1904” was painted in large letters on the distinctive yellow brick building and it never failed to draw laughs from the three boys from St. Joseph Grade School who piled into the shop.

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