Kingston Springs: Home Sweet Home to Me

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis edition of Music Musing has been sitting in the back of my mind for a long time.  Occasionally, it will race to the front of my mind when I am looking for topics and with Horshack-like enthusiasm scream “Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!”  Well, I guess this is the time – sorta.  Read on.

I live in Kingston Springs, TN which is about 20 miles or so west of Nashville.  We have a very small, close-knit community which has a history as a resort town back in the day.  Anyway, they say you can’t swing a dead cat in Nashville without hitting an aspiring musician, but in Kingston Springs, you don’t even have to fully extend your arm or take a full swing.  Musicians tend to gravitate toward Kingston Springs and the surrounding area for some reason.  I don’t know why, but I have an idea that I will expound on later in this musing.

Flashback to about 10 or so years ago when I met a lady named Jessie who worked for JDRF.  As Jessie and I became friends, she mentioned that her dad, Jim, was married in Kingston Springs several years earlier.  Eventually, I met Jim and as we started talking, he told me he was a musician who hung out in Kingston Springs back in his “hippie” days.  As we talked through the years, he kept telling me about this album that he and a friend wrote titled “The Kingston Springs Suite”.  I kept bugging him to publish the album and he kept telling me that he was trying.  Turns out his friends was Vince Matthews.  When Vince died, a tribute article to Vince started circulating around Kingston Springs which talked about Vince’s history, along with stories of how folks would come out to Kingston Springs to play and listen to music.  Names such as Cash, Kristofferson, Silverstein, etc. were floated in the article. About that time, I started to realize that the music history in Kingston Springs continued to current day.

Well, a publisher was finally found for the “Suite”, and it is available now.  I haven’t picked my copy up yet because I am going to an event this week at the Country Music Hall of Fame where Jim and others will discuss the Suite and sell copies where I plan to get one and have them autograph it.  Hell, this story even made it to Rolling Stone magazine – while not the cover of the Rolling Stone, it did make it.  You can read about the history of it as written by people who get paid to write at

There are so many Musing stories that I could write about folks here in Kingston Springs, their history, and their work.  There are names that you would recognize and some that  you wouldn’t, but they play with those names that you would recognize.  Some that I have known are no longer with us and some I see on a daily basis.  But, something has always held me back.  Maybe they are drawn to Kingston Springs because they can be Tom, Dick, and Harry who go to the store or local bar in peace.  Kind of like the line in the movie Fight Club – the first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club.

A couple of years ago, a video of old pictures was put on YouTube to the music of “God Save Kingston Springs” from the Suite.   Enjoy –

Musing in Kingston Springs


Reliving the Music of 1982

music musings, beaverdamusa.comYes, it is that time of year.  College graduations, high school graduations, kindergarten graduations (please).  While we don’t have our own graduate this year, we have received our fair share of invitations and announcements.  All of these have gotten me thinking about my own high school graduation and naturally, music.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the top songs were in the year that I graduated from high school back in 1982.  There are several artists that are still making music today that were on the charts back then.  For those of you under 40, keep in mind that we played songs on 8-tracks, cassettes, and vinyl.  The concept of downloading a song was not even on our radar.

I pulled a list of the top 100 songs from 1982 and had the following observations as I walked down that memory lane:

  • There were three artists who had the most instances (3) in the top 100 – Go Go’s, Hall & Oates, & Air Supply.  Stevie Nicks appeared three times as well, but with Don Henley, Fleetwood Mac, and as a solo artist.
  • As I read the list, I noted that some were not with us any more – Donna Summer, Paul Davis, and Dan Fogelberg.  While I am positive there were some band members that have passed, I didn’t list them.
  • By my count, there were 83 unique artists and best I could tell, approximately half were still performing today, 33 years later.  Wow.  By the way, this bullet is dedicated to my accountant brethren.
  • Some of my favorite artists were there – REO Speedwagon, Stevie Nicks, Journey, Eddie Money, Van Halen, and Quarterflash.  It is great because I have seen all but one of these within the last five or so years.  Who’s the one?  Quarterflash.  While still performing, they are like Coors beer back in the day, nothing east of the Mississippi.
  • Jackson Browne’s Somebody’s Baby is in at #68. I can’t listen to that song without thinking about the movie – Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Then my mind goes to Phoebe Cates.  Another musical connection (legitimate this time) to that movie is that Nancy Wilson of Heart appeared in it.  She was the blonde at the stop light laughing at Judge Reinhold in his fast food hat.
  • Who remembers Pac Man Fever by Buckner & Garcia?  I recall there was a song, but can’t remember the tune.   I bet Buckner & Garcia are now  saying “Hello, and welcome to Wal-Mart.”
  • Journey’s signature ballad Open Arms slow dances in at #34.
  • The catchy 867-5309 Jenny by Tommy TuTone is at #16. While I don’t think he ever had another hit, this song will forever be in our head.
  • Harden My Heart by Quarterflash at #13 is a favorite.  The first single off their breakout debut self-titled album.  I remember seeing them at Charlie Daniel’s Volunteer Jam and later at Opryland theme park.  They played two shows in one evening with a couple of hours in between.
  • The mega-group Soft Cell (joke!) graced us with their contribution to society Tainted Love at #11.  That alone should give hope to all aspiring musicians that there is hope of making it.
  • The Rocky III fueled Eye of the Tiger by Survivor is the runner-up (that’s #2 for you non-beauty pageant folks) on the list.  If memory serves me correctly, I saw Survivor open for REO Speedwagon right when this song hit.  I later got to see them at UT in the “intimate” setting of Alumni gym.
  • Finally, the top song?  Olivia Newton-John’s Physical.  Yep.  Not proud of my 80’s folks, but it is what it is.  ONJ is on my list of must see folks.  I haven’t had the opportunity to see her yet, but maybe she will perform at a local park or something one day.  I will be the old man in the lawn chair with my headband on.

As always, thanks for indulging me.  For your own trip down memory lane, I am including the entire top 100 of 1982 below.  Enjoy your stroll.


Chart # Song Artist
1  Physical  Olivia Newton-John
2  Eye of the Tiger  Survivor
3  I Love Rock ‘N Roll  Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
4  Ebony & Ivory  Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
5  Centerfold  The J Geils Band
6  Don’t You Want Me  The Human League
7  Jack & Diane  John Cougar
8  Hurts So Good  John Cougar
9  Abracadabra  Steve Miller Band
10  Hard to Say I’m Sorry  Chicago
11  Tainted Love  Soft Cell
12  Chariots Of Fire  Vangelis
13  Harden My Heart  Quarterflash
14  Rosanna  Toto
15  I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)  Daryl Hall and John Oates
16  867-5309 / Jenny  Tommy Tutone
17  Key Largo  Bertie Higgins
18  You Should Hear How She Talks About You  Melissa Manchester
19  Waiting for a Girl Like You  Foreigner
20  Don’t Talk to Strangers  Rick Springfield
21  The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)  Juice Newton
22  Always On My Mind  Willie Nelson
23  Shake It Up  The Cars
24  Let It Whip  The Dazz Band
25  We Got the Beat  The Go-Go’s
26  The Other Woman  Ray Parker Jr
27  Turn Your Love Around  George Benson
28  Sweet Dreams  Air Supply
29  Only the Lonely  The Motels
30  Who Can It Be Now?  Men At Work
31  Hold Me  Fleetwood Mac
32  Eye In the Sky  Alan Parsons Project
33  Let’s Groove  Earth, Wind & Fire
34  Open Arms  Journey
35  Leader of the Band  Dan Fogelberg
36  Leather and Lace  Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
37  Even the Nights Are Better  Air Supply
38  I’ve Never Been to Me  Charlene
39  ’65 Love Affair  Paul Davis
40  Heat of the Moment  Asia
41  Take It Easy On Me  The Little River Band
42  Pac Man Fever  Buckner and Garcia
43  That Girl  Stevie Wonder
44  Private Eyes  Daryl Hall and John Oates
45  Trouble  Lindsey Buckingham
46  Making Love  Roberta Flack
47  Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard On Me  Juice Newton
48  Young Turks  Rod Stewart
49  Freeze-Frame  J Geils Band
50  Keep the Fire Burnin’  REO Speedwagon
51  Do You Believe In Love  Huey Lewis and The News
52  Cool Night  Paul Davis
53  Caught Up In You  38 Special
54  Why Do Fools Fall In Love  Diana Ross
55  Love In the First Degree  Alabama
56  Hooked On America  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
57  Wasted On the Way  Crosby Stills & Nash
58  Think I’m In Love  Eddie Money
59  Love Is In Control (Finger On the Trigger)  Donna Summer
60  Personally  Karla Bonoff
61  One Hundred Ways (Find 100 Ways)  Quincy Jones
62  Blue Eyes  Elton John
63  Our Lips Are Sealed  The Go-Go’s
64  You Could Have Been With Me  Sheena Easton
65  You Can Do Magic  America
66  Did It In a Minute  Daryl Hall and John Oates
67  I Ran (So Far Away)  A Flock Of Seagulls
68  Somebody’s Baby  Jackson Browne
69  Oh No  The Commodores
70  Take It Away  Paul McCartney
71  It’s Gonna Take a Miracle  Deneice Williams
72  A Love Song  Kenny Rogers
73  Don’t Stop Believin’  Journey
74  Comin’ In and Out of Your Life  Barbra Streisand
75  Gloria  Laura Branigan
76  Empty Garden (Hey Johnny) Elton John
77  Yesterday’s Songs  Neil Diamond
78  Crimson and Clover  Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
79  Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic  The Police
80  Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)  Air Supply
81  I Keep Forgettin (Every Time You’re Near)  Michael Mcdonald
82  Get Down On It  Kool and The Gang
83  Any Day Now  Ronnie Milsap
84  Make a Move On Me  Olivia Newton-John
85  Take My Heart (You Can Have It if You Want It)  Kool and The Gang
86  Mirror, Mirror  Diana Ross
87  Vacation  The Go-Go’s
88  (Oh) Pretty Woman  Van Halen
89  Should I Do It  Pointer Sisters
90  Hot In the City  Billy Idol
91  Kids in America  Kim Wilde
92  Man On Your Mind  The Little River Band
93  What’s Forever For  Michael Murphy
94  Waiting On a Friend  The Rolling Stones
95  All I Do  Stevie Wonder
96  Working for the Weekend  Loverboy
97  Goin’ Down  Greg Guidry
98  Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)  Christopher Cross
99  Through the Years  Kenny Rogers
100  Edge of Seventeen  Stevie Nicks


My Secret is Out

musings 250_edited-1Hi.

My name is Zach.

I attended a Kenny Rogers concert of my own free will.

Whew! Glad that is off my chest. Much the same way Fonzie had trouble saying “I was wrong”, I really didn’t publicize the fact that I was going to see Kenny Rogers. If I did, I always prefaced it with the phrase “For our wedding anniversary” – kind of like that excused it with the rock and roll crowd.

It was indeed for my wife & my 21st wedding anniversary. I knew we were going to eat dinner at Jimmy Kelly’s steakhouse here in Nashville; but what to do after that? Stop! Remember, I said 21 years. A few weeks before our date, I noticed that Kenny was playing with the Nashville Symphony. If you have read my columns before, you know that I love pairing symphony instruments with others types of music. So, off we went.

Kenny’s first group had a single on the radio in 1959. He has produced music in every decade since then. He was in the New Kristie Minstrels, the First Edition, and many solo and duet songs through the years. In case you are wondering, he is 76 years old. If you haven’t seen a picture of him in a while, Google him – he definitely has had some “tightening” done, if you know what I mean. During the show, he told the crowd that he had just had knee replacement surgery which was why he was using a stool and not moving around much. At one point, he brought his current wife out (considerably younger), along with their twin 10 year old boys. This was after he dedicated a song to them and had a photo montage of the boys’ shown on the big screen. The boys did a little song and dance (literally) for a couple of minutes. I could have done without the 10 year-olds hamming it up.

The music was great. He has had some monster hits through the years. There were several that I had actually forgotten. Throughout the show, he would tell stories, make jokes about the songs and even picked on a gentleman in the first row about being at a Kenny Rogers show. The best was when he did The Gambler. He told the audience that he was going to subject them to all six Gambler (made-for-TV) movies; and he did just that. He showed several clips on the video screen from the cheesy movies. You would have thought that The Gambler would have been the last song, but he saved Islands in the Stream (can’t believe I just typed that song title in one of my blogs). He did admit that normally he would walk off stage after The Gambler and pretend that he was surprised that the crowd wanted another song. He mentioned the new knee and said that at his age, he needed to conserve all the steps he could.

All in all, it was a fun night. While Kenny should think about parking the tour bus in a couple of years, he could still sing pretty well. Like all aging singers, the high notes weren’t as high or held as long as the original.

My secret is out – of course, I went purely for research purposes for this column. Yeah, that’s it…..

Zach, musing on some Kenny Rogers.

Musing While I Am Still Able

musings 250_edited-1No, the headline is not referring to the North Korean’s shutting down my Music Musing blog or the Beaverdam Tavern.  It is referring to the fact I am truly feeling old – musically, if that makes sense.  While my soon-to-be 51 trips around the sun have taken their toll on my body, I am truly feeling out-of-touch with the music world.

For a while now, this feeling has been lurking in the back of my mind like an awkward, nerdy kid at the prom – back in the shadows.  I scan the upcoming shows at our local arena and for the most part recognize the names, even if I don’t like them.  For instance, Eric Church set an attendance record at Bridgestone this past weekend.  I have heard of him – wouldn’t go see him in my living room, but still I know him.  So I scan the line-up for the Ryman auditorium:

  • Gregg Allman – ok, still alive I guess.  Seats still available for the show tonight.
  • Ben Howard – Thought he was directing movies when not at the Andy Griffith convention.  SOLD OUT!!!   People might be confused as me.
  • John Mellencamp – know him, like his stuff.  Tickets available.  Hmmm.
  • Trampled by Turtles – what the heck?  Who are those folks and how the hell can you not outrun a turtle?
  • Diana Ross – Still around – wonder if she will have a video of Michael Jackson?  Creepy.
  • Shovels & Rope – Sponsored by Lowes?
  • Lee Bice – American Idol right?  Getting better.
  • Willie Nelson = Sold out for two shows.  Good for him.  Folks must think he is passing one around, if you know what I mean…..
  • Hozier – Sold out.  Three shows.  Didn’t know they had a gym in the Ryman.

Okay, you get my point.  Then here comes the Bonnaroo lineup.  No, I won’t go, but it is cool to see who is coming.  The headline states – Billy Joel to headline Bonnaroo.  Now we are talking!  Finally a big name to hit Bonnaroo.  Then I start reading the other performers – uh-oh:

  • Mumford & Sons – Know them.  My youngest loves them.
  • Deadmau5 – Did the proofreader fall asleep on that one?
  • Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters – Not a Led Zep reunion, but cool.
  • Hozier – Again?  Maybe the championship game after the early rounds at the Ryman?
  • Spoon – For soup or your nose?
  • The War on Drugs – Guess the preceding question’s answer was “nose”.  Bet these folks will be busy at Bonnaroo from what I hear.
  • Tears for Fears – They were top 40 when I was in college.  Guess they are touring since healthcare costs are going up.
  • Shabazz Palaces – Sounds like a place where WMD’s were located.
  • Between the Buried & Me – Isn’t that a preacher?  Maybe they will pass the plate.
  • Pallbearer – Maybe opening (or closing) for Between the Buried & Me

Bottom line – I know I am old and really understand now how my parents felt when I brought home Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Loverboy, KISS, etc.  I realize it is a “passing the torch” kind of moment, but it doesn’t make it go down any easier.  I will be over here in the corner with my iPod listening to my golden oldies.

Until next time –

Zach – aka the old Geezer

Joe Savage: Musician and Firefighter

musings 250_edited-1If you use Facebook, you know one of the neat things it does is let you know which Facebook friends have birthdays.  I have always prided myself on telling people “Happy Birthday,” even before Facebook.  I must admit that I don’t always send birthday greetings to everyone.   I guess I am saying that there are people that I am Facebook friends with who aren’t really friends. Don’t hate.

Which brings me to last Wednesday.  One of the individuals I friended on Facebook was Joe Savage.  Joe doesn’t know me from Adam, Eve, or even Moses.  I saw his profile and thought “why not?” and friended him.  He turned 75 on December 3.  Wow.  When did he become grandpa age?

Who’s Joe Savage?  If you were raised in the Nashville area during the 70’s and 80’s, surely you remember the ads inThe Tennessean’s Sunday Showcase.  It promised a night of music and exotic animals.  Joe would bring his pet boa constrictors and leopards out on stage with him.  I always figured his show was more Ringling Brothers than music. I found out different on a particular night in Knoxville.

Obviously, I was never old enough to see Joe Savage when I was in high school in Middle Tennessee.  While attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in the mid-80’s, I noticed he was playing a club in West Knoxville.  My college roomie (who happens to run and I went to the show preparing for Lord knows what during the show.  I must say that I was very surprised by his show.  As something that would be best described as a musical revue, Joe ran through all music genres from rock to Frank Sinatra’s New York New York.  He really impressed me with the range of songs that he performed that night.  However, the music was not the most memorable part of the night…..

Best I can remember, toward the end of the show, there was THAT girl dancing on the dance floor.  You know the one I am talking about — alone and obviously enjoying her first or second beer ever.  When I say alone, I’m not saying she just didn’t have a partner to dance with.  She was the only person on the dance floor and I am convinced that in her mind, she was dancing with someone and was dancing well.  She then decided that everyone else needed to dance and party with her.  Earlier in the show, Joe had used shredded newspaper strips as confetti and it was all over the dance floor.  Doing her best cheerleader imitation with newspaper strips as pompons, she proceeded to shake the strips at everyone sitting at the tables on the edge of the dance floor.  Did I mention that these tables had burning candles on them?  Yep, you guessed it.  The wad of paper went up as quickly as dried newspaper could.  Immediately there were flames a couple of tables away from us and the room filled with smoke.

Before I could grab my drink and go elbows and a##holes to the door, Joe Savage grabbed one of the round tables, turned it upside down and proceeded to stamp the fire out.  Best I remember, the show was done due to smoke in the club.

Needless to say, anytime I think of Joe Savage, I am taken back to that night.  Maybe I should have wished him a happy birthday and told him the story.  Maybe he will see this musing.  If so, happy birthday and know that 75 candles would not produce as many flames as the drunk girl on the dance floor.

Inside Zach’s iPod and Mind, Vol. 1

musings 250_edited-1My wife has told me many times that I have the most varied tastes in music and it is true.  From country to rock and from vocalists to pop; my tunes also cover many years.  My iPod contains 3,874 songs as I write this musing.

While trying to come up with an idea for a musing last week, I had a crazy, random thought – why not write about some songs on my iPod.  I could write about the artist, what I associate the song with, whether I like it or not, and why I have it.  Here are the rules I came up with:

  • iPod is set to shuffle all songs.
  • I will write about the first five songs that play.
  • I am not allowed to skip a song, unless it has previously played.

So here you go, your first peek inside my iPod and my brain:

  • Calling Dr. Love (Hayseed Dixie) – Yes, you read that right.  The song is from a KISS tribute album (Kiss My Grass) by Hayseed Dixie.  The album includes KISS songs played in bluegrass fashion by some great Nashville bluegrass musicians.  I discovered this on a syndicated radio show – Rick & Bubba out of Birmingham.  Small world is that I later discovered that their “manager” that went with the band on the shows was none other than friend and Mr. Music Row – Billy Block.
  • Take Another Picture (Quarterflash) – Title track from their second album.  I have been a Q’flash fan since their blockbuster debut album.  I got to see them a couple of times at Opryland theme park and once at the Volunteer Jam.  Ironically, in the early days of Internet and e-mail, I found Marv Ross’s e-mail and he & I have carried on correspondence through the years.  Current information, including new albums can be found at   A cool tidbit regarding this song – when the band would do this song, they would have Polaroid cameras (Google it) and snap pictures of the audience and give them out.
  • I Go Crazy (Paul Davis) – Yes, I purchased a Greatest Hits album by Paul Davis.  While I knew a couple of his Top 40 hits, I really didn’t appreciate Paul’s talent until I got to see him in a songwriters’ round several years ago.  The line-up included Paul, Skip Ewing, Paul Overstreet, and the great Mac McAnally – some serious Music City heavyweights.  Paul had basically become a recluse and rarely performed, so this was a treat.  I later stumbled upon a Yahoo group dedicated to Paul and realized how lucky I was to have seen him live.  Sadly, he died about a few years ago.
  • Fast Company (Eagles) – From the Long Road Out of Eden double CD.  Honestly, this is probably the second time I have listened to this song.  If I wasn’t typing, I would have hit “next” already.  Reaching for the button now…..
  • Planets of the Universe (Stevie Nicks) – From the Trouble in Shangri-La album (2001); however, this cut is playing from the Crystal Visions (Best of Stevie Nicks) album.  I have been a huge Stevie fan for years.  As I listen to this song, I am remembering seeing Stevie at the old Starwood Amphitheatre.  My wife & I wound up on the third row and got to stand up at the edge of the stage.  Probably up there in the top ten concert experiences.  Stevie could sing the phone book & I would probably buy it.

Please stay seated until the ride comes to a complete stop and then exit quickly to your right.  Please be sure to let us know what you thought of your ride and come back soon.

Until the next ride through my iPod


Hold the Stuffing and Pass the Rock ‘n Roll

musings 250_edited-1I was really having trouble coming up with a topic for this edition of Music Musings.  No new CD’s, concerts, or books since the last column.  No one really made me angry in the music world lately, so I was at my wits’ end.  Then it hit me!  Next week is Thanksgiving!  What am I thankful for musically?  While I am thankful for health, family, housing, employment, etc.; I have decided to express my thanks for specific musical things.  In no certain order, I am thankful for:

  • My girlfriend (and later wife) asking me to volunteer at the Nashville Junior League’s Balloon Festival back in the early 90’s.  Because of this, I was there to see the Moody Blues with the Nashville Symphony under the stars.  This was the first time I heard rock music and a symphony combined.
  • Eddie Van Halen working a paper route to pay for his drum kit as a child.  If he hadn’t, Alex Van Halen wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take over Eddie’s drums.  As a result, Eddie took up Alex’s guitar and the rest is history as they say.
  • The local choir director pushing me out of my comfort zone.  If she hadn’t, I wouldn’t be singing in the church choir where I have permanent seat on the back row where me and my fellow basses live in the basement of the musical range.
  • Moving to South Cheatham County where I have lived in Pegram and Kingston Springs.  If I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t have made several friendships in the music world.  I treasure not only these friendships, but the music world I am connected to through them.
  • Les Paul wondering what an amplified guitar would sound like.
  • Getting to go to four of Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jams.  These concerts allowed me to see artists that I would have never seen before like James Brown, Roy Acuff, Quarterflash, Marshall Tucker Band, Molly Hatchett, etc.  What is the Volunteer Jam?  Google it.
  • My 32 gb iPod that allows me to put 3,500+ songs on shuffle.
  • Living in Music City USA and getting to see things that only happen in Nashville.
  • Discovering Jimmy Buffett several years ago.  I get his lifestyle and him.
  • Becoming a Jimmy Buffett fan which allowed me to discover Mac McAnally.

Lastly, I would like to thank you – the readers of Music Musings on the BeaverDam blog.  While we may never meet, I hope my rambling stories give you a chance to escape the real world for a while and maybe stir up a memory of so.  Hopefully, you discovered a new artist or learned about something while reading my virtual birdcage liner.  Of course, thanks also go to the website and my college roomie and dear friend Barry for asking me one day to write for his site.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Pause for a second and be thankful for not just musical things, but for all the things we are blessed to have.

Bret Michaels: Takes a Licking, Keeps on Rocking

bret michaels

Bret Michaels rocks the Franklin Theatre. (Photo: Zach Clayton)

It Takes A Licking and Keeps on Rocking.

No, I’m not describing a Timex watch.  I am describing the Bret Michaels show that I saw at the Franklin (TN) Theatre on September 9.  If you follow any rock & roll news, you know that Bret suffered brain hemorrhages, an appendectomy, mini-strokes, and swinging light rigs.  All this in addition to his life long battle with Type 1 diabetes.  Knowing a little bit about the latter, in his 45 years since diagnosis, he has endured well over 50,000 insulin injections and over 80,000 blood sugar checks.  I say all of that to let you know that Bret still knows how to put on a show and keep the crowd growing.

As the lights went out, Guns & Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” blared from the speakers and the P.A. announcer encouraged the crowd to get on their feet.  As soon as the majority of the crowd was standing Bret & his four-piece band came out and started the show with the Poison hit “Talk Dirty to Me”.

From there until the end of their hour-long set, they basically played what you would expect – a Poison greatest hits set list.  He did throw in Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” & Sublime’s “Love is What I Got”.  He indicated that the Sublime song was what he would listen to as he was doing physical therapy.  He would often provide an expanded introduction to each song, which is always a treat for me to hear why an artist likes or wrote a particular song.

Watch a video clip from the show:
Bret Michaels clip

If you have ever visited Bret’s website, you realize that he graduated magna cum laude from the Gene Simmons’ school of “how to sell anything”.  Throughout the show, they were talking about going to the merchandise table and get your meet & greet wristband.  Since my youngest son has Type I, my wife thought it might be cool to get one – Not $200/each cool, though.  After the show, they auctioned off Bret’s hat & shirt that he wore during the show for charity.

All in all, it was a great show and I was glad we went.  While his scissor kicks may not be as high as in the 80’s, he can still put on a rock show.  All proof that he can take a licking & keep rocking.

Musing in Nashville


“You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best: KISS!”

musings 250_edited-1In a few hours I will hear those words introduce probably the most recognizable rock band in the world, besides the Beatles.  I thought about writing this tonight after the show, but I know it will end past my bedtime and it is a school night.  I may post a comment to this letting you know how the show went.

This will be maybe the fifth or sixth time that I have seen KISS.  I even saw them during the period when they didn’t wear the make-up.  The first time was in Huntsville, AL with Night Ranger opening for them.  “Sing Me Away” had just been released to radio by Night Ranger, so they were virtually a no-name opening act.  They literally got booed off the stage because everyone wants to see KISS.

kiss, zach clayton,

KISS rocks Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on July 16, 2014. Click to enlarge. (Photo: Zach Clayton).

Tonight will be special because I am taking my two boys – Will & Kyle to see KISS for the first time.  While they each have been to several concerts, this is one that I am excited for them to see.  I am glad they get to experience KISS before they fade away. While arguments can be made as to whether KISS is past their prime or whether they shouldn’t play without the original four – you can’t deny their show.  Whether it is Gene spitting blood or Paul flying out over the audience, it is a sight to see.  I truly hope they enjoy the show.

I should also mention that Def Leppard is opening up for KISS.  I saw Def Lep (easier to type) a couple of years ago with Poison.  While Pyromania was in my tape player in high school, I never really considered myself a huge fan.  They really didn’t move the needle that much on the Zacho Likability meter after the show.  Everything seemed about a half a beat slower and it relied heavily on sound effects to replicate the song you heard on the album.  I hope the computer doesn’t freeze up on their show, if you know what I mean.

I should probably plug the KISS books while I have your attention – Bueller, Bueller.  All four original KISS members have written the tell-all books.  Regretfully, they each were published over the span of maybe eight years, so you have to have a photographic memory to be able to compare the versions.  From what I remember, Gene said he was responsible for everything, Ace was a tortured soul demonized by alcohol and women, Peter drank and chased everything, while Paul feels the band is his.  In between was various tales of debauchery.  I must say that the consensus is that Ace & Peter let drugs and alcohol control their lives until their playing skills were sub-par.  If you want to see what rock & roll was like in the 70’s during the sex, drugs, and rock & roll era – Peter’s book is the one for you.

In closing, I am really looking forward to the look on my boys’ faces when they see KISS.  That will be worth the price of admission alone.  By the way – if it is too loud – you are too old!

Savannah Conley & ‘Journey’: Bells & Tails on Friday the 13th

musings 250_edited-1I went to 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville on Friday the 13th expecting bells, and I ended up with tails. Bet that got your attention!

My oldest son’s close friend and classmate, Savannah Conley has been writing and singing for several years. She released her first full length CD “Bells” last year and has performed at several local clubs locally and out of town. This was to be the first time that I was able to see Savannah. Her previous shows were during the week and started after 8:00.

Savannah Conley on Facebook

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Savannah Conley plays Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley. (Photo: Zach Clayton)

I was excited to finally get to see Savannah live and she didn’t disappoint! Her music is probably best described as bluesy or jazzy. Based on her live performance, ProTools or AutoTune wasn’t used on her CD (check the FB page for ordering information). The girl has some pipes and isn’t afraid to use them. Go give her a listen and look for her. You will see her name again – trust me.

The second part of the night was a pleasant surprise. Being a tribute band virgin, I really was skeptical about the second act – Journey Resurrection. They bill themselves as a Journey tribute band. Ironically, Journey’s current lead singer was discovered singing in a tribute band. Check out my previous blog concerning the “new” Journey from a couple of years ago here.

This band seriously loves Journey! They had a Steve Perry sing-a-like and Jonathon Cain play-a-like contest before the show. They even included a “name that Journey song” contest via Facebook. I must say that musically, they sounded as close to the real thing as you can get. Journey has this effect which I call the “wall of sound”. Pretty hard to reproduce but these guys did it. The lead singer really wanted to believe he was Steve Perry (no, he didn’t hide!). His hair or a very good wig was long and straight. He even went as far as wearing the official Steve Perry uniform from the Escape tour – blue jeans, black & yellow shirt, and the mandatory black tux coat with tails.

Journey Resurrection on Facebook

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Journey Resurrection. (Photo: Zach Clayton)

If you are a child of the 80’s, you probably had Journey’s Escape in your car – maybe even on an 8-track. This album spawned the monster hits “Don’t Stop Believin’” and the belly-rubbin’ favorite for any high schooler at the time – “Open Arms”. These guys played the big Steve Perry-era hits including the deep cuts of “Mother Father” & “Escape”.

I looked around and suddenly there were people crowded up close to the stage. The band actually cleared an area of tables and had the metal barriers erected just like the front of an arena stage. I sat there and let my imagination take me back to high school when I first saw Journey on the Escape tour with Loverboy as the opening act. The ticket was $10. Probably, the best value ever! As I watched Journey Resurrection, I realized these guys were having fun! Almost as much fun as the guy down front who I theorized really believed he was seeing Journey.

Bottom line – I got to peek into the future and see an up & coming artist in Savannah and then relive the past as I saw a band from my teenage years recreated on the stage. It was a great evening that was far from unlucky. Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner