Category Archives: Rock

Today in KC’s Music History: “Some Kind of Monster” Released

Some_kind_of_minster_(film)One of the more fascinating tales in KC music history happened when the Metallica movie Some Kind of Monster was released on Jan. 24, 2004.

The film documents the band recording St. Anger, during which James Hetfield went into rehab. The band’s management hired Phil Towle, then a Kansas City-based “performance enhancing coach,” to work with the band and keep the whole thing from imploding.

Phil Towle was a KC-based "performance enhancement coach" when he was hired to work with Metallica.

Phil Towle was a KC-based “performance enhancement coach” when he was hired to work with Metallica.

Towle has a fair amount of screen time. It’s hard to say whether his efforts contributed to the band working through a rough patch. I think that there would have been plenty of incentive for the band to work things out, which they eventually did. It could be that Towle’s services, at $40,000 a month, played a part.

I really like this film for its portrayal of the band struggling to maintain itself during a difficult period in its history.

Towle has kept a low media profile since the film’s release. His Linkedin profile lists him as still living in the Bay Area (he moved from KC to work with Metallica). He is a principal consultant with Deviate LLC, a “performance improvement consultancy” based in Annapolis, MD.


Today in KC’s Music History: “If You Wanna Get to Heaven” Makes Top 30

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The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ first single, If You Wanna Get to Heaven, cracked the Top 30 the week of June 8, 1974.

The Daredevils were based in Springfield, Mo., but their management company, Good Karma, was located in Kansas City. Their best-known song, Jackie Blue, reached No. 3 the following year.

The National Recording Registry, KC Edition: Part 2

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To mark the release of this year’s additions to the National Recording Registry, we’re going to feature registry recordings with ties to Kansas City.

The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress honors and preserves recordings of significant cultural, musical and historical value. The registry contains 17 recordings that has ties to Kansas City.

Part 1 contains recordings added in 2002-2004.

One O’Clock Jump, Count Basie and His Orchestra. Basie’s signature recording was released in 1937 and features some of the best musicians ever to have come from Kansas City, including Lester Young on tenor sax and Buck Clayton on trumpet.

Record producer Dave Dexter Jr., who grew up in Kansas City.

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Eagles Receive Honorary Doctorates

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The Eagles, along with Allison Krauss (center) and Mulatu Astatke (left of Krauss), received honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music. Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh (far left) was born in Wichita.

The Eagles received honorary doctorates on this past weekend from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The current Eagles lineup of Glenn Fry, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmidt and Wichita-born Joe Walsh were recognized for their achievements in contemporary music, for their enduring contributions to popular culture, and for the influence their careers and music have had over Berklee’s international student body.

At its commencement exercises, Berklee also conferred honorary doctorates to bluegrass musician Alison Krauss and Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke.

The Eagles have begun a late spring/summer U.S. tour. Walsh’s first solo album in 20 years, Analog Man, will be released June 5, and he has solo dates scheduled for August.

KC-Area Resident Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Niki Sullivan (far left) was the rhythm guitarist for the Crickets, Buddy Holly’s backup band. After retiring from the music business, Sullivan relocated to the Kansas City area, where he lived until he died in 2004.

The late Niki Sullivan, the original rhythm guitarist in Buddy Holly’s backup band the Crickets, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in mid-April.

The Crickets were inducted with several legendary backing bands, all of whom were excluded when their stars were inducted.

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The Billboard Roll Call: The Eagles with Joe Walsh

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The Billboard Roll Call is a listing of regional artists who charted a song on the Billboard Top 40 from 1955-2009. The introduction has additional information.

Wichita-born Joe Walsh (second from left) played on the Eagles' classic recordings from the mid-1970s to early 1980s.

The Eagles were already one of the top bands to emerge from the Southern California scene in the mid-1970s when Joe Walsh replaced Bernie Leadon.

Walsh, who was born in Wichita, Kan., had been a member of the James Gang and had co-written Funk #49, a staple on FM radio. He also had a Top 20 hit with Rocky Mountain Way in 1973.

I remember reading articles in Rolling Stone and other magazines questioning whether Walsh would be a good fit. Leadon was the band’s multi-instrumentalist and contributed to much of the band’s country and bluegrass sound of their early records.

With Walsh contributing a rockier edge, the Eagles reached their commercial and creative peak with the albums Hotel California and The Long Run. On the Billboard Hot 100, they charted nine songs, equal to the number they charted before Walsh joined the band.

During this period with Wash, the Eagles had three No. 1 songs: New Kid in Town, Hotel California and Heartache Tonight.

Walsh continues to work steadily. He performed with Paul McCartney at the Grammy Awards in February. He will tour with the Eagles in April and May, and and an album of new songs has been tentatively scheduled for a May release.

Announcing the Gene Clark Symposium

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This picture of Gene Clark is a still from performance footage of the Byrds that was recorded in 1966 but never released. The footage will be shown as part of the Gene Clark Symposium in November.

I’m pleased to announce an event that will showcase some important Kansas City music history.

The Gene Clark Symposium will be a unique gathering of Gene Clark collectors and fans from across the country (and in a couple of cases, from Europe). The event is the idea of Whin Oppice, a noted Gene Clark collector. I’m assisting with planning and logistics, and will give a presentation on my own Clark research.

The symposium is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4-5, in Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City.

Gene Clark grew up in Kansas City and was one of the founders of the Byrds, one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of the 1960s. He also had an influential solo career and is considered to be one of the architects of folk-rock, country-rock and the singer-songwriter movement of the 1970s.

One of the ironies about Gene’s recording career is although there were long stretches between official releases, he wrote prolifically and recorded often. For a variety of reasons, much of this material remains unreleased. Through the years, as material became available, collectors bought it and preserved it.

This will be the first gathering of Gene Clark collectors in real life, although many frequently communicate online. It’s fitting that it’s in Kansas City, where Gene grew up.

The symposium is open to all Gene Clark fans, and you don’t need to contribute material to attend. For more information, go the Gene Clark Symposium section on this site.

The Billboard Roll Call: Rusty Draper

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The Billboard Roll Call is a listing of regional artists who charted a song on the Billboard Top 40 from 1955-2009. The introduction has additional information.

Rusty Draper initially started his career as a country singer, but found his greatest success in the mid-1950s with a rockabilly-flavored sound.

Draper was born in Kirksville, Mo., about 180 miles northeast of Kansas City, in 1923. He initially worked in radio in the 1930s and 1940s. According to his obituary in the New York Times, he often filled in for Ronald Reagan when both worked at a station in Des Moines, Iowa.

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The Billboard Roll Call: David Cook

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The Billboard Roll Call is a listing of regional artists who charted a song on the Billboard Top 40 from 1955-2009. The introduction has additional information.

Anyone looking to see how much the music industry has changed can look at David Cook’s career.

A native of the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs, Mo., Cook was the winner of the 2008 season of American Idol. Since then, Cook has worked steadily and has established a moderately high profile. If he has not reached the level of such Idol winners as Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, he hasn’t flamed out either.

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The Billboard Roll Call: Gene Clark

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The Billboard Roll Call is a listing of regional artists who charted a song on the Billboard Top 40 from 1955-2009. The introduction has additional information.

Gene Clark is an artist whose true legacy isn’t reflected in a pop chart.

He was instrumental in helping develop three genres in rock ‘n’ roll. As a founding member of the Byrds, he pioneered folk-rock. With the duo Dillard and Clark in the late 1960s, he laid the foundation for country rock. His solo work in the late 1960s and early 1970s anticipated the singer-songwriter movement.

Clark was born in Tipton, Mo., about 110 miles east of Kansas City, but grew up in the Kansas City area. He played in rock ‘n’ roll bands growing up, but moved to folk music in the early 1960s.

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