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Grammy, How I Love Ya 

I apparently enjoyed watching the Grammys last night a lot more than others, but sometimes I’m easy to please. 

I first went to the Grammy awards in the early 1970s, when I was new in town and happy to be part of the scene, to arrive in a limo and walk on a red carpet, even if nobody knew or cared who I was, particularly me. It was held at the Shrine Auditorium then, and much more intimate than it is now. The after-party was at the Ambassador Hotel, and my wife and I got to dance to Count Basie and his…

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First Bass 

With all the nonsense coming out of the White House these days, the only people I can talk to who make sense are musicians.So I had lunch yesterday with Alan Lindgren and Larry Brown. We three collaborated on a few albums, under the name the Joy Circuit, back around the turn of the century. And of course Alan was there for almost all of my 40 years with Neil Diamond. One conversation topic that came up was Reinie Press. Alan declared that Reinie was the finest bass player he'd ever played with. 

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A Birthday Flashback 

Today is the birthday of my long-time boss, bandleader, vocalist and chum, Neil Leslie Diamond. 

When I was very new in town, I somehow was invited to audition to join his band. On a warm summer afternoon, I drove to Modern Musical Services, on Cole Place, just off Sunset Boulevard. Cole Place had a tiny left-turn lane and I got my first and only LA traffic ticket for not negotiating it skillfully enough. So I was admittedly a little grumpy when I arrived (at the appropriate time, thank you) and was told…

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One Year Later 

On January 22nd it will have been a year since Neil Diamond announced his retirement from touring. It also marked my retirement from touring, so I am collateral damage, in a sense. 

So what have I done in the last year? 

Not much, it seems to the naked or semi-nude eye, but actually it’s more than it appears. 

During the course of my 40 years of touring with “the best band in the land,” as Mr. Diamond effusively referred to us, there were regular pauses, some longer than others, when we went back to…

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At Work and At Play 

Parade Magazine has posted a lovely video of our performance of Cherry Cherry at the Greek Theatre in 2012, from the upcoming (the 17th) release of Hot August Night III. The band is featured in this video, so I have an airtight alibi for that night, even if you claim to have security camera footage of me stealing your hubcaps.

 

Dueling Invisible Pianists 

After Alan Lindgren retired from touring in 2012, his rele in the band went to Mark Le Vang, who did a great job. The photo above was taken at Calgary's National Music Centre, just one more thing Canada has figured out that continues to elude this country. The photo shows Mark and I sharing a piano in a non-traditional way.

In our mutual backgrounds, Mark and I share another thing which you may not be aware of. At one time, each of us was an invisible pianist. Let me explain:

One of Mark's early gigs was…

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The Larry King Show 

For the last thirty years, I've published a newsletter on each show day. One recurring feature of the PBI, as it was known, was The Larry King Show, a comic strip about the adventures of saxophonist Larry Klimas and percussionist King Errisson. Here is one such strip, a study of the variety of snack items provided on one of our charter jet flights.

Song of the Day 

July 4th has always been a big day for our band, with a lot of memorable performances over the years. 

The last couple of fourths, however, have been rather wistful because of what’s been done to the country by the unskilled people charged with running it. So I’ll just have to rely on memories for this time around. 

Those memories begin for me in 1976 in Las Vegas, our first fourth as a band. That was, among other things, the day that our guitarist Richard Bennett Tina got hitched to his wife Tina Ward…

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Last Tango in Glasto 

On June 29, 2008. The Arch Angel touring organization wrapped up phase one of its plan for world domination with a performance for an audience of wild-eyed youths and a few adults who managed to sneak past security at a festive gathering in Glastonbury. 

The late afternoon performance was telecast live by the BBC to a nation hungry for another look at us, or perhaps it was just hungry. It was tea time, after all. 

"It wouldn't be Glastonbury without the mud," we had been told, but still our vocalist was…

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Fake Osmond Alert! 

Picutred above, Left to right, are: Donny Osmond, Jimmy Osmond, Alan Osmond, Tom Osmond, Jay Osmond, Ron Osmond, Wayne Osmond, Marie Osmond, and Merle Osmond. 

Two of the individuals in this portrait are not actually bona fide members of the Osmond family. Yes, it's an extended family, but it doesn't extend quite that far. Perhaps you can spot the fake Osmonds if you look closely. If you do, write down the names of the two Osmonds you think are bogus and put your entry in your bedroom wastebasket. Then…

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