Archive for the Category »Music «

  Hotel of the Week: Where Rock and Roll Royalty Stay

The Sunset Marquis in Hollywood, CA has quite a storied past – It has always been the hotel for rock and roll stars, possibly by a stroke of luck: Just as the nearby Sunset Strip clubs were getting going 50 some years ago, the Sunset Marquis opened its doors.

The musicians finishing at the clubs in the wee hours liked the proximity, yet also the privacy. It is located in a cu-de-sac away from traffic, set in a lush garden.

Today it is still a hotel where the “who’s who” go to get away from groupies. Not only is it a private sanctuary, but there is one of the best recording studios in the country in the basement – According to reports this year alone, 21 of the Grammy nominated artists have recorded at the hotel’s below-house studio, NightBird.

In honor of the hotel’s 50th anniversary, the hotel got a little nip and tuck Hollywood style… and hotel management published the book, “If These Walls Could Rock.”

I had a fun visit to the place where many rock star photo shoots take place… and where rock and roll fantasies come true. Check it out:

  Music Lovers: Can’t Make the Grammys? Try the Grammy Museum and Others….

What’s your favorite song nominated in this year’s Grammy awards – winners to be announced Sunday?

Perhaps your favorites songs were those of years gone by…. well, if so feel free to wax nostalgic at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles!

Grammy Museum

Grammy Museum

The 30,000 sq ft complex is part of LA Live in downtown.



It boasts interactive and educational displays devoted to past Grammy winners, and Grammy history.

Example: “In the Studio” gives a peek into recording a sound track… with all sorts of audio visual enhancements.



And there is plenty of memorabilia for which to get excited. For more info, go here:

Other museums devoted to the seduction of song:

The Hollywood Bowl concert venue in Los Angeles has a museum – Free too. in Carlsbad, CA in Seattle, WA

and MoMA in New York has a whole section devoted to musical instruments – more than 5,000 examples.

As for the show this Sunday? Enjoy all the live performances- something you DON’T get at a museum. I’m lovin the lyrics to nominated “When I Was Your Man” and “Roar,”… hoping Bruno Mars and Katy Perry perform them.


  Players Only Love You When They’re Playin… Summer Music Festivals and Beyond

Fleetwood Mac 2013

The soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac still plays in my head after seeing them on tour this week. On a beautiful night, that outdoor concert was nirvana note by note, & I wasn’t even a big fan going in.

Amazing what a man on guitar can do to elevate the level of enjoyment. (But this isn’t any guitarist – Lindsey Buckingham has been named by Rolling Stone as one of the top.)

“If you wake up and don’t want to smile If it takes just a little while Open your eyes and look at the day You’ll see things in a different way..”

 Summer concert and music festival season upon us! Bring it!

Here are some festivals to watch, with some amazing talent slated to appear… very seductive and tempting.

“She rings like a bell through the night And wouldn’t you love to love her? She was alive like a bird in flight And who will be her lover?”

1) Bonnaroo, Manchester TN – Headlining: Paul McCartney, Mumford and Sons, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bjork.  June 13-June 16

2) Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI – Fun, Eagles, John Mayer, Pitbull, Tim McGraw, Go-Gos, Cake, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, New Kids on the Block, Billy Idol. June 26- June 30 and July 2- July 7

Austin City LImits Music Festival, from

3) Austin City Limits, Austin TX – Depeche Mode, The Cure, Fun, Muse, Phoenix – Oct. 4-Oct 6, & Oct 11- Oct 13.

4) Outside Lands, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA – Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Daryll Hall & John Oates – this is also a gourmet food fest! Aug 8-Aug 11.

5) Lollapalooza, Chicago – The Cure, Mumford and Sons, Nine Inch Nails, Lumineers. Aug 2- Aug 4

6) Bumbershoot, Seattle WA – Fun, Heart  Aug 31- Sept 2

Why not think about times to come? And not about the things that you’ve done If your life was bad to you Just think what tomorrow will do..”

But – there’s more than going to a music festival than just showing up. You need to be rockin’ ready. Beyond the obvious (sunscreen, etc.) here are some tips:

1) You can never predict summer weather in some areas, so bring a rain poncho. Lightweight, easy to pack, and won’t block the view of concert goers behind you like an umbrella would.

2) Make sure you have proper ID – some concerts I have read won’t let you in if the name on the ticket doesn’t match the ID.

3) Look at the map beforehand so you know where to park… and if possible, look into public transportation.

4) Bottles aren’t allowed in most concert areas, so pack soft containers for beverages.

May your summer be filled with much music…. no time like today to make plans.

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you….
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too….”


  Happy Friday! Music on the Road…

If when you travel you look for great music venues and artists who are playing, continue reading. Make sure to check out the Fillmore in San Francisco. Intimate , even though you may not always get a seat. I’ve had a lot of fun there…

Here’s a new song by Train performed at the Fillmore. Sorry for the video quality – but let it play… and enjoy this cheerful song! Hope it kicks off a great weekend.

  Adele, and Music Lovers’ Travel

It should be no surprise to any music aficionado – or anyone on the planet for that matter – that Adele received 6 Grammy nominations last night, including the most prestigious awards. And this young artist is a mere 23…

Who were her influences? Well growing up in London, she had many – but one moment she says inspired her the most is when she saw Pink in concert.

There are so many wonderful music-related venues in England, that Adele’s nominations and success reminded me of a London trip where I visited Abbey Road, the most famous music studio in the world, home to the Beatles.

Nothing special to see… no music to be heard… but I had a fun little glimpse of history, and imagines the Beatles walking up to the door. One of their album covers was shot right outside. It did inspire me to buy the “Let it Be” sheet music for the piano, so I did get something more out of it.

All of this reminded me of a Frommer’s article called “A Music Lovers Guide to Britain.” Here is the link. It mentions everything from spending a day in Liverpool… to visiting a dinosaur of a record store.

In the meantime, I am going to go back to enjoying Adele…and hoping her voice heals after surgery so there will be more from this incredible talent. It is rare that you can download an entire album and like 90% of the songs.

Although “Rolling in the Deep” garnered most of her Grammy nominations, “Someone Like You” is not to be missed. At the tender age of 23 it sounds as if she’s had her share of heartbreaks.

“Nothing compares, no worries or cares… regrets and mistakes they’re memories made…who would have known how bittersweet this would taste? Nevermind I’ll find someone like you. “ 

…… Soulful crooning, deep lyrics, and powerful voice.
Check it out:

  Travel Tip Tuesday: Top Ten Outdoor Concert Venues

John Mayer at the Hollywood Bowl Sunday, Aug. 23

Finally beautiful weather here in Southern California….perfect for a John Mayer concert at the Hollywood Bowl!

Sunday afternoon at the outdoor venue….

into the evening with a full moon shining down on the packed house of Mayer fans.

Any local will tell you that this is one of the best,  – if not THE BEST – Los Angeles attractions. When you visit Tinseltown, use all the resources possible to get a ticket…Stub Hub and Craig’s List are good options if tickets are sold out. The Bowl  is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but there are other artists’ concerts sprinkled throughout the season which runs June -Oct.

Make sure you picnic before hand to dine under the stars – that is part of the whole amazing experience. if you bring alcohol, get there early to sit on the grass outside, otherwise you’ll be relegated to pavement! No alcohol is allowed to be brought in the theater. Otherwise you can bring in your dinner and eat at your seats – buying  your beer, wine, or even sangria once inside – but it’s pricey – one beer costs $9.00! There is also a quaint restaurant at the Bowl…or you can order at least 24 hours in advance for the Bowl catering service (Patina restaurant – one of LA”s finest) to pack you a picnic.

Parking and traffic are still the biggest problems – another reason to get there early.

There are other outdoor venues throughout the country that are still operating through September, since most places still have nice weather. Check them out if you are traveling to these destinations!

Here is a list of the Top 10 outdoor concert venues in America….(there are other lists out there but I agree most with this one.)

1) The Gorge, George Washinton  – right on the Columbia River

2) Charter One Pavilion – Northerly Island, Chicago, Ill.

3) Red Rocks Amphitheater – Morrison, Colo. (On another note – look into the Moab, Utah Music festival every Labor Day weekend. A 40 minute boat ride takes you down the Colorado River into a cavernous red rock grotto where a grand piano and symphone awaits you to perform in the red rock cave. Nothing short of amazing.)

4) The Backyard at the Bee Cave – Austin, Texas

5) Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA

6) The Greek – Berkeley, CA

7) Summer Stages – Central Park, NY

8) Bands on the Beach – Pensacola FL

9) Dallas Cowboy Stadium, Dallas, TX

10) Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA

BONUS: John Mayer is scheduled to appear at two of the above locations in the next couple of weeks – Aug. 28 at the Gorge… Sept. 1 at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado..He’s in Irvine, CA tonight. He has more of a bad boy edge than the last time I saw him, which brings even more electricity to his performance. Gotta go download his “Stop This Train” right now…

For more


Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.

It is Elvis week again at Graceland, still going strong to commemorate the King’s life and death – of which the 33rd anniversary is Monday. It is a week of costume contests, candle light vigils by his grave at Graceland, and people who knew him giving fans anecdotes about his life. Thousands of grieving fans from all over the world make the pilgrimage, just to feel closer to him for one day, or week.

And although it’s always crowded, you still can find some room …where broken hearted lovers come to cry away their gloom…

Anyone who has ever been to Graceland knows, it is easy to leave Graceland heartbroken, and you don’t even have to stay at the Heartbreak Hotel. I know because I was one of those forlorn souls….not even of a generation to truly appreciate Elvis, but I reluctantly became a fan. (Paige – you know what I am talking about..)

Wise men say..only fools rush in. But I… can’t… help… falling in love with you…

My experience goes like this – I was there during Elvis week for the 25th anniversary of his death, covering it for the Travel Channel. The crowds were enormous. The first day there, I remember calling home and telling stories about how depressing it was to be there – so many people crying over Elvis, spending all their vacation money to come here, and of course dressing up like Elvis for no particular reason. I couldn’t believe these people, and snobbishly I thought they needed to get a life.

Paige Ryan, Amy Troiano, Tracy Gallagher at Graceland

The next day I got to tour his private planes, one called Lisa Marie…and visit his grave that was COVERED with gifts from people all across the globe…

Take my hand…take my whole life too..

And of course, I spent hours inside of Elvis’s Memphis mansion, affectionately called Graceland. It looks like nothing has been touched – the 60s shag rugs in the jungle room…

Jungle room at Graceland

His desk and writing room… and of course the hall where you can watch music videos, and look at all his gold records, momentos, and photos of his life.

We’re caught in a trap…I can’t walk out..because I love you too much baby…

That is where I realized I had crossed the line. All day Elvis music filled the neighborhood. Finally after absorbing hours of his music, his soulful and sometimes vulnerable lyrics grabbed me as I examined his life, tremendous talent, and the tragedy of such an early death. (OK his charisma wasn’t bad either…)

As the song goes, I was all shook up… I understood the tears being shed outside his home, by people he’d never met. Seeing all he had accomplished – and could have accomplished  -against the backdrop of his depression, drug addiction, and an unhealthy lifestyle left me achingly sad.

Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare? Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there? Is your heart filled with pain – shall I come back again? Tell me, are you lonesome tonight?

If you are an Elvis fan, and even if you aren’t, Graceland is a nice piece of Americana history…as well as a intimate look at the King of Rock and Roll.