Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From New Glasses To The Knack -- It's A Mid-February Edition of Frost-Bites

(Here I am in wearing one of the pair of the new specs)

Lots of things to chat about in mid-February edition of Frost-bites – beginning with: Four eyes are better than two when you need to see….Doug Fieger of “The Knack” dies…We take a look at rock n’ roll and dying…and Dylan shows up on public television….so, let’s delve right into it all.

Any one who reads my status updates on Facebook knows that I recently went in for an eye examination to get new glasses. Well, I’m happy to report – I got ‘em! If you live in the Port Huron area and you’re looking for affordable eyewear – I recommend that you check out “Better Vision Center” a little Mom and Pop optical operation on 13th Street. Believe it or not – I was able to walk out of the place with two pairs of bifocals (one tinted) for the low price of $145.50 (and the eye exam was included in that price). I don’t think that there’s another place in the Port Huron area that can beat that price. It had been nearly two years since my last pair of glasses and I really needed a new pair – and I’m happy to report that I can see a whole lot better with the new specs.

We have all done this at one time or another: While watching a really good old movie on TV – we’ll point out to others that this actor or that actor in the movie is dead. Why we do it – I’ll never know – but we do it.

Here’s another thing that we do….we’ll read the obituaries and justify our mortality to the poor sap who has just died. The obituary will read that so-and-so died at the age of something or other and you’ll say to yourself, “Jesus, I better get my shit together, I’m just a few years away from that dumb bastard.” Do we change our lifestyle after reading the obit? No…but for that few seconds after reading it you realize just how short our time is on this planet.

On Sunday night, when I started to write this blog entry, I went to my Google News page to see what’s happening in our world and was surprised to read that Doug Fieger, leader of the Detroit rock band “The Knack” and younger brother of attorney Geoffrey Fieger, died of cancer on Sunday at age of 57. “The Knack” will forever be known as the band that gave the world one of it’s catchiest rock n’ roll records – “My Sharona”.

Anyone who has ever heard “My Sharona” can instantly pick up that it was influenced by the music of the 60’s British invasion. I can remember when the single was released and how the record company tried pushing that Beatles/British invasion angle in promoting the record and the group. The Knack’s first album was “Get the Knack” is eerily similar in title and look to the Beatles first US album, “Meet The Beatles”. Plus, The Knack’s record label, Capitol, brought back their old orange and yellow label that they hadn’t used since the Beatles to print the name of the album and song titles for the vinyl album.

I got a chance to see Doug Fieger and The Knack in concert during their “Get The Knack” tour when they stopped in Detroit to play Masonic Auditorium. I loved Sharona and the Knack’s other hit “Good Girls Don’t” – but I wasn’t blown away by their performance on stage. Their opening act – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – put on a much better show and history has shown that Petty had a lot more staying power when it comes to rock n’ roll popularity.

Doug Fieger’s passing also brings up another aspect to the “death” topic that I have seemed to latch on for this blog entry. I can remember a time when the news came out that one of our favorite rock star had died we’d naturally assumed that it was from drugs. There was a string of rock n’ roll deaths in the late 60s/early 70s – Jimi Hendrix – Janis Joplin – Jim Morrison – Keith Moon – John Bonham – Brian Jones – drugs, sex, rock n’ roll and death – it was the combination that we associated with one another. We still shocked that someone like Keith Richards – who was a poster boy for a junkie if there ever was one – is still living and watching around on the planet today. How in the hell did that happen? And now our rock stars are dying from things like cancer – does that mean that they are mortal just like you and I? How can cancer attack and kill someone like Beatle George Harrison – that’s not suppose to happen – Beatles don’t died from diseases and natural causes.

And speaking of rock n’ roll reality checks: Who would have ever thought that people like Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp would be performing at the White House? Both Dylan and Mellencamp appeared in a special White House performance dedicated to music and its influence on the civil rights movement that aired on last week PBS television stations across the country. I don’t know about you – but I am appreciating Bob Dylan more and more as he has grown older. His singing voice – which some people have a hard time understanding in the past – has seem to grow even more distinctive – sounding almost like Leon Redbone.

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