Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bill "Weird Beard" Vermillion, 1936-2008

Me and Bill Vermillion, September 2006

Sad news: legendary Orlando radio personality Bill "The Weird Beard" Vermillion of WLOF has passed away after a long illness.

I got the news from my Florida Rocks Again! co-producer Jeff Lemlich, who wrote, "I was saddened to learn that Bill Vermillion, WLOF's legendary music director, died this weekend... WLOF wasn't just a force in Orlando, but from a national perspective as well. Bill was directly responsible for several national hits ("Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison, "Dirty Water" by the Standells, which he was the first in the nation to play).

"As a fanatical record collector and aircheck/survey freak, to me what made Bill Vermillion unique was the way he threw away the national charts and trusted his ears. That's why records such as "2+2" by the Bob Seger System and "Psycho" by the Sonics not only charted on WLOF, but made it all the way to number one on the station's charts. Like Johnny Dark's WYND in Sarasota, WLOF broke many regional hits...It was guys like Bill Vermillion that made radio so alive and vibrant inthe '60s. According to WLOF's Dick Shane, Bill requested that there be no formal funeral or memorial service. Instead, there will likely be a celebration of his life, sometime in the future."

I had the pleasure of meeting Bill at the Orlando Reunion Concert in 2006, where he got to reconnect with many old friends. There was a lot of love in the room for him, and although he was in frail health, he was visibly moved. I was fortunate to be able to tell him that he was a major influence on our show, and to thank him for his many years on the air.

He will be missed.

Orlando Sentinel Obituary

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pam Grier

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S., when we Americans pay tribute to our fallen veterans by drinking a lot of beer and eating barbecue, burgers, and hot dogs.

It is also the 59th birthday of the incredible Pam Grier, who starred in some of the greatest Blaxploiation epics of all time, including Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974), as well as Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997).

She's currently playing a lesbian on The L Word.

In this promo photo from Coffy, she re-enacts the scene where she utters the immortal line: "This is the end of your rotten life, dope pusher!"

Happy birthday, Pam.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Oliver Reed Film Festival, Part One: The '60s

(1961): Ollie stars as a a young Spanish nobleman with a problem: he keeps turning into a wolf and disemboweling people. The film that led indirectly to Ollie getting his face slashed with a broken bottle in a bar fight in 1964. With Clifford Evans and Yvonne Romain.

Sub-Hitchcock hoo-hah with Reed as a creepy rich kid out to make sure he collects on his inheritance -- even if it means murder! My favorite (and most prophetic) line of dialogue: "I've been drinking. Now I'm going to drink some more."

THE DAMNED a/k/a THESE ARE THE DAMNED (1963): Not to be confused with Luchino Visconti's 1970 epic, this is a sequel to VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED and CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED with Reed playing a nasty biker who inevitably meets a bad end. An interesting combo of horror, sci-fi, juvenile delinquent and nuclear holocaust-type flicks.

Reed plays Stephen "Tinker" Taylor, a womanizing photographer in a seaside resort who gets his comeuppance when he falls for an upper-class fashion model named Nicola. Great theme song by the Searchers.

Reed plays "Moise," the leader of a pack of layabout no-goodniks called, appropriately enough, "The Pack." A wealthy young American girl falls into their orbit, and tragedy ensues. Ollie is mesmerizing as the charismatic, nihilistic would-be beatnik whose idea of a miracle is a girl who won't go to bed with him. Director Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger) tried to have his name removed from the credits after the British censors made heavy cuts. With Eddie Albert.

THE TRAP (1966):
Surprisingly tender adventure tale about a French-Canadian fur trapper who buys a deaf mute (Rita Tushingham) to be his bride. Ollie's accent varies wildly, at times spot-on, other times sounding more like a brain-damaged Belgian.

THE JOKERS (1966):
Two brothers plot to steal the Crown Jewels, but just for kicks. Co-starring Michael Crawford as Reed's ne'er-do-well younger brother.

Early Ken Russell effort made for British Television with Oliver as Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Creepy opening scene has him exhuming his wife's buried remains so that he can retrieve a book of his poems for his publisher from her coffin. Russell and Reed developed a shorthand for Ollie's acting range: "Moody One," Moody Two," and "Moody Three," ranging from quiet menace to bellowing rage.

Director Michael Winner and writer Peter Draper conceived this as sort of a sequel to The System. Reed plays Andrew Quint, a successful director of TV commercials who rebels by quitting his job, breaking up with his mistresses, and taking a editorial position at a failing literary magazine. Mayhem ensues. With Harry Andrews, Carol White, and Orson Welles as Jonathan Lute, Quint's Machiavellian boss.
QUINT: I'm going to find an honest job.
LUTE: Silly boy. There aren't any.

OLIVER! (1968):
"More? MORE? Never before has a boy asked for more..." Reed sports epic mutton chops as the villainous Bill Sykes, and is great in the role, even if his death scene is eerily similar to the one he did in Curse of the Werewolf. Directed by his uncle, Sir Carol.

An English soldier in a German P.O.W. camp is used as forced labor at the local zoo, and befriends an elephant named Lucy. It's STALAG 17 meets DUMBO. One of Ollie's most likeable performances. Co-starring Michael J. Pollard.

Reed stars as Ivan Dragamilov, head of the titular organization. Diana Rigg, at her loveliest, plays a crusading journalist who hires said organization to kill Dragamilov. Romance and mayhem ensue. With Telly Savalas.

Ken Russell adapts DH Lawrence, Glenda Jackson emotes for the ages while Alan Bates and Ollie have a nude wrestling match. With Eleanor Bron.

Stay tuned for The Oliver Reed Film Festival, Part Two: The '70s and The Oliver Reed Film Festival, Part Three: The '80s 'Til Death

Originally posted 9 August 2007

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Reprise Records

Before becoming the classic rock juggernaut that is Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, a group of musicians from Gainesville, Florida called themselves Mudcrutch, living on a communal farm not far from Dub's Bar, where they were the house band. The core members consisted of Petty, Tom Leadon (brother of Bernie, of the Eagles and Flying Burrito Brothers), Randall Marsh, and future Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.

Mudcrutch recorded a single ("Up in Mississippi Tonight" b/w "Cause is Understood") at Criteria Studios in Miami, and released on its own label, Red Pepper Records. The single went nowhere, but the band headed west to Sunny California in search of a record deal. They got the deal, but broke up after releasing a second 45, which did little better than the first. The label focused their attention on the bass player, a skinny dude named Tom Petty, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward 30 years, and Mudcrutch has risen from the ashes to finally release their debut album.

And it's a damn fine record.

In fact, it's the best thing that Petty has done in years, reminiscent of his work with the Traveling Wilburys, a project born out of the love of playing music. It's actually closer to the Wilburys sound than the original Mudcrutch, a mix of old school rocking and country rock textures. The first cut, "Shady Grove" is a traditional number given a Chestnut Mare-era Byrds-type arrangement, and elsewhere on the disc the band covers Roger McGuinn's "Lover of the Bayou" for good measure. There's a nice version of Dave Dudley's truck stop country classic "Six Days on the Road," which was also covered by the Burritos.

Two tracks stand out as instant classics: "Scare Easy" is top-shelf TP, with a contagious melody and a killer chorus, while "Crystal River," clocking in at over nine minutes, is an almost Allman Brothers-like song with an extended jam that allows Campbell, Leadon, and Tench to stretch out and extrapolate themes in a way rarely heard in the Petty canon.

Mudcrutch is a worthy addition to that canon, and stands on its own as an excellent album, regardless of who's in the band.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Alain Delon: 5-Film Collection

Diabolically Yours/The Swimming Pool /The Widow Couderc /The Gypsy /Our Story

Alain Delon was one of the great male film stars of the '60s, playing super-cool anti-heroes in a variety of international productions, most notably The Leopard (1963), Joy House (1964), Once a Thief (1965), and Jean Peierre Melville's trio of tight crime dramas, Le Samourai (1967), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), and Un Flic (1972).

This DVD boxed set brings together five films starring, and in some cases produced by, Alain Delon, starting with 1967's Diabolically Yours (Diaboliquement VĂ´tre), based upon a hardboiled novel by Louis Thomas, wherein Delon plays an amnesiac who may or may not be set up for murder. The piece de resistance of the set is 1969's The Swimming Pool (La Piscine), with Alain co-starring with the lovely Romy Schneider (What's New, Pussycat?) and model/actress/chanteuse Jane Birkin (she's no Francoise Hardy, but she's at her best here) in a bizarre love triangle with deadly consequences. In 1971's The Widow Couderc, Delon plays opposite French film icon Simone Signoret in yet another bizarre love triangle with, yes, deadly consequences.

Also included in the set are 1975's The Gypsy, with an aging Delon in the title role, and 1984's Our Story, directed by master farceur Bertrand Blier, which concerns, accoring to Delon's character, "The nympho and the drunk...Love at first sight on a train." Sounds like an excellent premise to me, and the results are intriguing.

To sum up, this DVD collection of Alain Delon's secondary work is a must for fans of the actor, as well as those who have never heard of the guy.

Available from Studio Canal/Lionsgate Home Video.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My "Vladimir Guerrero" Music Video

The "Vladimir Guerrero" music video I created for the Montreal Expos back in '99 has been posted on MySpace by the guy from Channel 57 who was the editor on it. Apparently, he's still a bit irked that I was unable to fully pay the station for the editing time: "Music written by a guy named Mal Thursday, but he never paid us for the work, so screw him."

Hey, the Expos never paid me.

And Industrious Films, my production company at the time, went under as a result. Oh well.

We also failed to save the Expos.

I wrote the song (originally entitled "F.P. Santangelo") with Paul Rocha, who provided the guitars, bass, and production, with Amy Sullivan doing all the vocals, and Jim Weeks playing drums. The video was great fun to make, and even though I never saw a dime from it, I got a full season media pass to Olympic Stadium in Montreal, and for a couple of games at Shea Stadium. Thanks to Ray, Spike, Rodney, and Rainbow for their help.

It ended up playing on the Expos Jumbotron for a couple of years, until everybody in the third verse got traded, Felipe got fired, and Vlad eventually blew town for the big money in L.A.

Originally posted March 14, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Florida Rocks Again!'s Greatest Hits, Volume III


Wednesday May 7th from 6 to 8 p.m.

Saturday May 10th from 8 to 10 p.m. ET

On Oldies 97.7 The Blizzard, Flagler Beach

Listen via Live365 at TheBlizzard.us


RAY CHARLES: I Don't Need No Doctor
BENNY SPELLMAN: Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)
JIMMY BUFFET: Margaritaville
FRED NEIL: Another Side of This Life

JOHNNY TILLOTSON: Poetry in Motion
BIRDWATCHERS: Girl, I've Got News for You
CLASSICS IV: Every Day With You, Girl
STEVE ALAIMO: Every Day I Have to Cry
BOBBY GOLDSBORO: Watching Scotty Grow

SAM & DAVE: I Thank You
It's Too Late to Turn Back
Precious Precious
Why Can't We Live Together

DOORS: Break On Through
31st OF FEBRUARY: Sandcastles
LAST WORDS: Can't Stop Loving You
WE THE PEOPLE: In the Past
FANTASY: Stoned Cowboy

HOYT AXTON: Boney Fingers
JIM STAFFORD: Wildwood Weed

38 SPECIAL: Hold On Loosely
LYNYRD SKYNYRD: Sweet Home Alabama

Series Hosted by Mal Thursday

Written & Produced by JM Dobies

Co-Produced by Jeff Lemlich

Florida Rocks Again! every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 8 to 10 p.m. ET at TheBlizzard.US.

Brought to you by Flagler County Heating and Air Conditioning

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Mal Thursday Show #5

Live n' Wild

Live recordings of rock n' roll bands from the mid-'60s are often a mixed bag of out-of-tune guitars, screaming girls, and questionable mic placement. Witness the Rolling Stones' Got Live If You Want It and The Kinks' Live at Kelvin Hall, to name but two. Then there are the fake live records, where audience noise is dubbed on to studio recordings, usually with underwhelming results.

This edition of The Mal Thursday Show on GaragePunk.com brings together some excellent live garage records, which are drawn from 45s, radio and TV broadcasts, demo tapes, and even a Hawaiian "Battle of the Bands" LP.

Presented in Living Mono.


13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS: You're Gonna Miss Me
: The World Ain't Round, It's Square
: I'm Gonna Change the World
: Howlin' for My Darlin'
: Snails Love Theme
: Summertime Blues

LYRES: 100 cc/Gonna Find A New Love
THE REMAINS: Hang on Sloopy/All Day and All of the Night/Why Do I Cry
13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS: Everybody Needs Somebody to Love/I'm Gonna Love You Too/Before You Accuse Me/You Don't Know/You Really Got Me
THE SPIRITS: Almost There

The 13th Floor Elevators, 1966

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Geezerpalooza 2008

George Butticaz and Jim Borgmann are pleased to announce “Geezerpalooza 2008” scheduled for Saturday, August 9, 2008. It is being billed as “The Ultimate South Florida '60s Rock and Roll Band Reunion”. This concert is a tribute to Rick Shaw for the many years of listening enjoyment he gave those of us who were fortunate to grow up in south Florida. Rick will be your host for the evening.

This concert is slated to be a significant musical event.

All profits from the concert will go to “The Majic Children's Fund” of which Rick is the President. In the weeks ahead you will hear more about the concert on WMXJ, Majic 102.7 FM.

You already know that south Florida was and still is a fertile area for popular music, starting as far back as the 1960's and continuing today. In the 60's, teen dances were prevalent all over Dade and Broward counties, in fact all over the State. Rick Shaw was involved with several of the venues that showcased many of the most popular national groups of the day and he provided a springboard for an untold number of local bands.

Our location for this once in a lifetime show? The grandaddy of all Friday and Saturday night dances…the historic War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets will be available through Ticket Master starting April 12 and also at the War Memorial Auditorium box office. VIP tickets will also be available for purchase. This special ticket will get you into the show early and into our VIP area where you can meet the bands, take pictures, get autographs and reminisce about the old days.

We have five of the most popular South Florida bands from the 1960's scheduled to perform at Geezerpalooza 2008:

The Birdwatchers with a special guest appearance by Steve Alaimo

The Montells

Dr. T & The Undertakers

The Dead End Kids


In addition we will also have several special guests appearing including Bob Gordon, WFUN DJ from the 60's and Tony Segreto, news anchor, WTVJ NBC6, South Florida.

Don't miss this once in a lifetime concert.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Florida Rocks Again!: Night and Day

Saturday May 3rd from 8 to 10 p.m.

Listen via Live 365 at TheBlizzard.US
and in Flagler County tune in to Oldies 97.7 WFBO

In perhaps the most rockin' episode yet of the long-running series, every song has the word "Night" or "Day" in the title, or both, as in the opening number by the Razor's Edge, out of West Palm Beach. Although the episode starts with a Cole Porter song, it quickly moves into the garage with rare cuts by some of the grooviest groups to ever emerge from the swamps, beaches, and backwaters of F-L-A, as well as three different 45s from the legendary Paris Tower label.

THE RAZOR'S EDGE: Night and Day
THE MOR-LOKS: Lookin' for a New Day
THE NIGHTCRAWLERS: All Day and All of the Night
THE ECHOES: Every Second of the Day
WAYNE COCHRAN: Sleepless Nights

THE SAVAGES: Every Night
TRACY PENDARVIS: One of These Days
JIMMIE GALE'S IMPERIALS: We're Gonna Rock All Night
STEVE ALAIMO: Twist All Night
RAY CHARLES: Nighttime is the Right Time

THE FIVE MEN-ITS: The Night Before
THE CANDYMEN: Deep in the Night
THE RARE BREED: In the Night
THE ESQUIRES: Heartaches Stay the Night
THE MISSING LINKS: Where Were You Last Night

H.Y. SLEDGE: Day of Realization
THE DOORS: End of the Night
HOUR GLASS: Out of the Night
GREGG ALLMAN: Midnight Rider

WE THE PEOPLE: The Day She Dies
BLUES IMAGE: Yesterday Could Be Today/Outside Was Night
THE MAVERICKS: Dance the Night Away

38 SPECIAL: Rockin' Into the Night
LYNYRD SKYNYRD: Saturday Night Special
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS: Strangered in the Night
SAM & DAVE: Goodnight Baby

Series Hosted by Mal Thursday

Written & Produced by JM Dobies

Co-Produced by Jeff Lemlich