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After watching last Monday night's stunning and rather upsetting installment of the ever-popular TV talent show "The Voice", and stewing about it all week, I propose today that we add a new word to the American vocabulary. It is the word "Campbelled". It simply means getting kicked out of a place for no good reason, or reasons that are a product of dopey thinking. I came up with this word in honor of "The Voice" contestant, Jesse Campbell, who got himself "Campbelled" like no other person has got Campbelled before in the history of TV by dopey Dopemeister, Christina Aguilera, a judge on the show. The concept of being "Campbelled" can be used interchangeably with a number of grittier words, most notably "screwed", but in this case getting "Campbelled" takes on a very special meaning.

Here are a few examples of what getting "Campbelled" could mean:

I went to the library to check out a library book, forgot my card, and the stern librarian "Campbelled" me. Or;

As a high school student student I bowed my head for a quick prayer and the teacher "Campbelled" me out of the class; Or

I rolled my eyes at the TSA agent in frustration when he insisted on looking down my pants during my flight check-in, so he "Campbelled" me; Or

I went to the car dealership and wanted to buy a vehicle without a down payment and the salesman quickly "Campbelled" me; Or

I asked my boss for a raise and got myself "Campbelled" lickity split;

I went to "Hooters", ordered up some hot wings, gave the waitress an appreciative wink, and she ceremoniously "Campbelled" me;

And how about this one: I appeared on a TV talent show, sang beautifully, and then got myself "Campbelled" by some imperious, snooty judge.

You get my drift.

There are alot of situations where you can find yourself getting "Campbelled".

Any reasonably objective person who watched Jesse Campbell and listened to him sing will know right away our new word is a very fitting description as to what occurred on "The Voice" stage last Monday night. Campbell was easily the most talented vocalist on Christina Aguilera's team, and arguably the finest singer in the whole competition this season or last. His voice was, and IS, pure and sweet and can ascend up the harmonic scale with the technical proficiency of Ms Aguilera herself. He is that good.

Jesse Just Got Himself

So, what happens? He got himself "Campbelled" by a Coach/Mentor/Judge who had PROMISED Jesse she would always fight for him.

In our definition of what getting "Campbelled" means, I also included the phrase "Reasons that are a product of dopey thinking". Christina certainly meets and even exceeds that part of the definition.

Following Campbell's ouster from the show, the next night "The Voice" host Carson Daly asked Aguilera directly about her shocking and hugely controversial decision to boot off Campbell. But rather than being able to deliver up any specific rationale for her decision, Christina launched into a confused loopy spiel praising herself for being, as she claimed, strong and resillient, a fighter. She sidestepped Daly's specific question just like the questions directed to her why she wears dresses on the show that makes her boobs looks as if they are about to erupt from their skimpy encasement.

Watch Out Or You, Too, Might Get Campbelled!!

Some fighter this Christina is. The only thing she is fighting is to keep those knockers under control.

In the case of Jesse Campbell, those fans, like myself, who have watched "The Voice" on a regular basis since its inception, detect there is something quite suspicious about Christina's (strange) decision to eliminate him from the competition, despite Campbell's obvious superb singing proficiently he displayed since Day One. Some theorize Christina has entered into a secret pact with Coach Adam Levine as a means to have contestant Tony Lucca, a former Disney playmate of Christina's who, for some odd reason, she does not like or respect, booted off the show. The story goes that Christina elected to sacrifice Campbell, hands down her best singer, in exchange for Lucca's coach, Levine, eliminating Tony this coming Monday night. Me? I think that is a little far-fetched because it would be giving Christina Aguilera way too much credit for clever thinking. No, I think the decision to get rid of Jesse Campbell is very simple and fundamental and something which has a recurring underlying theme in most TV reality shows: It is the product of outright jealousy on Christina's part. Here we have a contestant in Campbell who is every bit Christina's equal in vocal proficiency, and something like that surely can't set well with the delicate diva. So, what else is there to do for Christina but show Jesse Campbell the door. And she did. In other words, Jesse got "Campbelled".

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I like this new proposed entry into the lexicon for it is tailor-made for a number of situations that might crop up on our daily journey through society, but it is particularly applicable here to describe the inane decision to kick off the best voice on "The Voice".

Sadly, for Jesse and for music lovers everywhere, that's what getting "Campbelled" is all about.



March 12th 2012 11:13
Last year, in the typically uninspiring world of reality TV, NBC struck gold with its sensational new music competition called "The Voice". Produced by Mark Burnett, the master of reality TV competitions, "The Voice" delivered a unique new format whereby a panel of four well-known superstar musicians serving in the role of judges and mentors determined the worthiness of auditioning contestants solely by virtue of their singing voice rather than a spiffy visual image as do other reality shows like "American Idol" and the much inferior "XFactor". That's not to say contestants on "The Voice" weren't altogether unpleasant to look at. That's not the case at all. Weelllllll....... However, contestants on "The Voice" evoked audience reaction not by their looks, or lack thereof, but by the raw quality of their singing voice, which made lots of sense, being it was a singing competition, and it was definitely a refreshing change-of-pace from the same tired old Barbie Doll-Ken cookie cutter mold used yearly at Idol and on Simon Cowell's lame "XFactor USA". It also didn't hurt that the panel of judges/coaches on "The Voice" consisted of Maroon5's Adam Levine, flashy Soulman/hip hop extraordinaire, Cee-Lo Green, country music star, Blake Shelton, and, of course, one of the best voices in the whole music business, Christina Aguilera. With lively spontaneous repartee flowing constantly from the judges combined with a splendidly-talented cast of contestants, "The Voice" became an instant American hit and arguably surpassed the longrunning "American Idol" in terms of quality viewing.

At least it did for me.

In the wake of crowning its first champion, the sweet-singing Javier Colon, fans of the show could not wait for its second season, and now that it's finally here and in high gear, clearly the show has proved to be even better than last season's inaugural offering.

One reason for that is the astonishing abundance of awesome singing talent on display, even noticeably better than last season, which has made for some memorable blind auditions and even more compelling head-to-head singing match-ups early on in "Battle Rounds". In this season of "The Voice", even the auditioners who were rejected by the judges were powerful, accomplished singers, most of whom could easily outsing any Idol or XFactor contestant.

But, even amidst the assemblage of splendid talent on "The Voice" this season, one solitary contestant stands out for me, and I'm pulling for her shamelessly.

It's JORDIS. Jordis Unga, the rousing, ruby-throated, ripping rocker who dazzled me 6 years ago when she competed for the job of INXS's lead singer on another Mark Burnett-produced talent show, "Rockstar". I loved Jordis then, she was so cool and badass with her flowing dredlocks, tattoos and often-animated style of singing which flowed through the soul sometimes like butter and sometimes tore like razors. Although she finished fifth in that tough, hard-driving competion (but the top girl. INXS never really wanted a female lead singer) she gave some of the most memorable vocal performances I ever heard on TV. One in particular was a stellar version of John Lennon's "Imagine", performed so exquisitely and poignantly I still play the video when I need a big pick-me-up shot of magical music. There were several other song performances on "Rockstar" for which Jordis was praised, also, "Heart-Shaped Box" being one, but, I'll never forget the night she blew me away with her rendition of one of the best songs ever penned. So, it wasn't altogether surprising to feel my jaw dropping onto my chest as I watched Jordis step out on the stage to audition on "The Voice", and when she cut loose with a blistering, perfectly-performed version of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed", the chairs of the judges were spinning like tops and so was my head. There was no maybe about it---I was amazed and enthralled and captivated by the performance. Good Golly Miss Molly, Jordis was back, and better than ever!

Maybe I'm Amazed with Jordis Unga

All at once the interest level of "The Voice" picked up significantly.

But, I'm wondering now can Jordis actually win "The Voice"? With her audition she made glowing headlines and once again became talk of the town. Some insist she is one of the frontrunners. I agree. I agree she SHOULD be. She's THAT good. And, like me, a legion of music fans spread out over America and several other countries are elated to see her back and on "The Voice", so, naturally, she will have a large fan base to cast plenty of votes for her. Jordis Unga is an amazing singer by anyone's standards and certainly worthy of eventually coming out on top in this season"s "Voice" competition. Yet, after her first "Battle Round" match-up with rocker Brian Fuente, which she won handily in my opinion, I noticed there is something a bit....different.....about Jordis Unga this time around. No, it's not just the absence of the dreds or the transformation from the look of a smokin' rock chic to that of legal secretary. During her song performance duet in which she sang the Alanis Morissette hit, "Ironic" with Fuente, Jordis appeared to me, and to the judges, off her game---- uncertain, hesitant, emotional, a little too out of synch. Oh, she sang her part well enough, but it lacked the old familiar Jordis moxy and kick ass style that her fans have all come to love and expect, and what set her apart from other good vocalists.. Me? I chalked it up to the song choice Blake Shelton gave her because, ironically, "Ironic" has never sounded much like a "rock song" to me, and that's exactly what Shelton said he was trying to do: give Jordis and Fuente a REAL rock song. I also think Jordis might have been a little uncomfortable in performing a duet, something for which she is typically unaccustomed. And then maybe she is just overwhelmed a bit by the self-induced pressure she is putting on herself to excel and win "The Voice" before time passes her by. (Jordis is closing in on the Big 3-0 ) Whatever the real reason, Jordis Unga, one of the baddest rock chics and best singers around, looked a bit out of sorts to me last Monday night, and not only did that surprise me, it also gave me a temporary surge of foreboding about her eventual fate on "The Voice" if she continues that pattern. Her coach and mentor, Blake Shelton, said it best: "I don't know what's up with Jordis."

Jordis Will Have To bring Her A Game To Win The Voice

But, rethinking the issue, I believe my worries are much too premature. After all, this is Jordis Unga we're talking about, not some Cookie Cutter blonde on "American Idol" or one of Simon Cowell's rawboned, fresh-faced kids of marginal talent that he likes to lavish with faint praise before casting them away into the scrap yard. Personally, I think Jordis will be fine now that she has had her first exposure to "The Voice" system, and whatever song Blake elects to give her and her her next competitor, she will perform it flawlessly and with the old fire and passion we come to expect from Jordis Unga. Looking over the cast in Team Blake, I don't see any reason why she can't win this bracket and move on into the Finals. The only stiff competition I see, really, comes from Alisha Key's backup singer, Jermaine Paul, who has shown he is definitely not shabby in the singing department, but Jordis has the chops to win this thing if she can just muster up the same air of confidence she projected consistently during her "Rockstar" days. If we get lucky, maybe Blake will let her break out "Imagine" from the closet, and that would be a special treat to behold indeed.

Like I said, I don't believe for a minute INXS was actually looking to hire a female frontman, and that's a shame since JD Fortune turned out to be such a schmuck, but "The Voice" is definitely willing to put a crown on a worthy female vocalist, and there's no reason it can't be Jordis.

Go Jordis! The Jukebox Hero is pulling for you!

The Voice?


Today, for our story, let's start with a basic premise which just so happens to be a truism:

The Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame is a sham.

Not just any old sham, mind you. The sham perpetrated on rock n roll lovers everywhere by the knuckleheads in Cleveland, Ohio, goes to epic proportions. A big rotten, foul-smelling piece of eletist poop that rivals a sweet-talking Bernie Madoff's scheme to take your money.

That kind of sham.

This once great idea of a tribute to the rock music genre has gradually and resolutely become an homogenized joke, an institution run by mindless nincompoops with inflated egos and supervening biases who pick and choose candidates with utter disregard for record-buying fans or the sanctity and preservation of the genre.

I've been listening to Rock n Roll since the early 60's when Elvis and Little Richard ruled the roost. I've heard it all: The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. The Animals. Dave Clark Five. Cream. Jimi Hendrix. Zeppelin. Bad Company. AC/DC. Nirvana. Ozzy. Pat Benetar. The list rolls on forever. All these great legendary acts I named above, and so many I didn't, deserve an institution to honor them for their remarkable achievements and contributions to rock music, where people, old and young alike, can come and pay tribute, and learn about the progression (or some say regression) of the art. Yet, as great of an idea the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame was, it has failed miserably to live it to its promise. The very nature of the many acts that have been curiously bypassed by the Hall's Nominating Committee is in direct opposition to its stated mission, and enough to drive a true rock n roll fan bonkers with some of the decisions made by the nutcase Nominating Committee.

No Funk In The Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame? Say it ain't so!

Case in point concerns one of the most flagrant and egregious sleights, and what I consider a slap in the face to all rock music fans everywhere, is the continuing exclusion of the legendary seminal rock/metal band, Grand Funk Railroad.

This great kick-ass iconic American Band was without a doubt the biggest and most popular rock band in the USA from 1970-1971. This hard-rocking trio comprised of lead guitarist and vocalist, Mark Farner, drummer Don Brewer, and bassist Mel Schacher were primogenitors of metal, the percursors of Led Zeppelin, the band that influenced Eddie VanHalen and Ted Nugent, and Rush, just to name a couple on that long list. If you ever wanted a template or role model on how to achieve staggering success on the pantheon of rock n roll music it would come in the image of Grand Funk Railroad. They sold millions upon millions of albums, produced 3 smash Number One hits, ruled the charts, and sold out Shea Stadium quicker than the Beatles, a record that has never been matched by any other act. Yet, in spite of these amazing accomplishments, they were reviled by critics, notable among them Dave Marsh and Rolling Stone founder, Jann Wenner, two biased, imperious clowns who today exert a huge influence on the Rock n Roll Hall's Nominating Committee of equally clueless clowns. After seeing hundreds of great bands in my lifetime, including the Stones and AC/DC on several occasions, none managed to replicate the same charisma, stage presence, or old fashion balls to the wall energy that GFR gave to hungry rock n roll fans during the late 60's and well into the 70's.

And they are not in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Not only that, GFR hasn't even been nominated for that distinction ever.

Now tell me something's not wrong with this picture.

Even before the band became big, even really before they played a note on the American stage, nutjobs like Marsh and Wenner were labeling GFR a "hype band", meaning a deception, some kind of publicity stunt. This kind of baseless pejorative inflamed the passions of music critics everywhere during that era where good rock n roll music was at a premium and resulted in the band being repeatedly raked over the coals. That bias extends today with respect to how Grand Funk Railroad is treated by the Hall's Nominating Committee.

Yes, of course, no question about it, all the bad-mouthing Wenner and his clueless cronies did back then about GFR was pure bullshit because in actuality the Railroad was a genuinely talented trio of musicians who played rock and metal well, sang superbly, and created striking, memorable songs that resonated with music-buying fans everywhere. I know I snatched Grand Funk's music off the shelf like it was a bottle of cold water in a dry barren desert, and in many ways this statement accurately represents a proper metaphor for my thirst for great music during a time when the Beatles had broken up and the Stones were ensconced in legal troubles and in-fighting. Grand Funk Railroad kicked open the metal door to usher in the likes of Zeppelin and Rush and Deep Purple. Marsh and Wenner and other snooty music critics didn't have to buy albums or stand in line for hours to get concert tickets, but fans did, and they did it in droves and with unrestrained gusto when it came to Grand Funk Railroad. What fans witnessed, to their rock music loving pleasure, was a young, raucous, enthusiastic band playing hard rock with passion and at times, brilliance, selling out venue after venue as their music flew off the shelves. And maybe the best thing about Grand Funk Railroad, even better than the band's tasty music, is the fact they always treated their fans with utmost respect, always on time for shows, always giving ticket buyers an unforgettable bang for their hard spent bucks, which is something that cannot be said for many of today's bands who drape themselves in the delusional grandeur of entitlement and treat their fans with utter contempt. The same bands and performers that Wenner today believes are worthy and qualified for induction into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame and exerts influence on the Nominating Committee get them in.

Grand Funk Railroad, which should easily meet, and even exceed, all criterion used to become a Slam Bang induction into the Hall has repeatedly been left out in the cold.

Getting Closer To Their Home But Not To The Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame

When the band's name is mentioned for possible induction, the Nominating Commitee simply says, "Get the Funk outta here!"

Former GFR lead guitarist and vocalist, Farner, a vociferously proud tried and true American with a propensity for the kind of straight uncompromising opinions dealing with life in the USA that once aggravated critics back in the day, and who now tours with a great rocking line-up outside the GFR family, puts things in perspective when giving his take on why the band hasn't been inducted, or even nominated, into the Hall:

Mark Farner Still Tours With His Own Band Making Great Music

"Grand Funk isn't in the RRHOF because we haven't obtained the brown ring around the mouth from kissing somebody's hind end."

Very succinct. Remarkably true.

It is amazing to me, and a definite irony, that the band that epitomizes all the ingredients of true rock n roll has been ignored as a viable induction into the very institution that honors it.

This once reputable institution with great idealism and foresight to honor rock musicians for contributions to the genre has, during the last few years, veered stridently off its intended course, eschewing true rock acts worthy of induction to make way for watered down, non-rock acts like Madonna, Donna Summer, and the Beastie Boys while great genuine rock and roll legends like Grand Funk, Pat Benetar, and KISS remain on the outside looking in. This is a paradigm for utter disregard for the fans of a venerable genre of great music. The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is no longer that. It has become the Rock n Roll Hall of SHAME. And maybe they should rename it that, except just leave off the E.

Let's call a duck a duck. The Rock n Roll Hall Of Sham. The Nominating Committee sure quacks like one.


Ever since the astonishing verdict reached last week in the Casey Anthony murder trial, people around the world have vehemently expressed shock and outrage over the jury's decision to acquit Anthony on Florida murder charges related to the death of her 3 year-old daughter, Caylee. This confused, unprepared, inept rag tag collection of jurors, most of whom failed to even take notes during the course of the trial which was full of cryptic forensic evidence, conflicting testimony, and sidebards aplenty, deliberated for a little over 10 hours before reaching its dubious verdict. The head-shaking outrage of the hasty verdict was made even more questionable by the fact that some of the jurors admitted they were confused and in a hurry to finish up with their duties in order to meet their vacation plans and other personal commitments. In other words, in the eyes of the jury, the need to take the time to undergo a patient and reasoned analysis of all the available evidence was trumped by a bigger desire to meet those pressing playtime plans.

Some of the Anthony jurors have since questioned out loud why so many people believe they were incompetent. No, there is no "punch line" to add here

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Probably at some time or another most of us have joined an online discussion site where specific topics that tickle our fancy are batted around, sometimes in earnest. The list includes everything from politics to law to religion to fixing up cars to music. It's true what they say: Everyone has an opinion and most of us want to share it with like-minded readers. Online discussion forums and fan sites are the perfect vehicles for sharing our thoughts and impressions with others, and often just for venting. After all, it's a very human activity, that's for sure, the desire to communicate freely and openly with others in a social networking setting. Our thoughts, conveyed by words we type, can have an incandescent feeling, brighter and larger than life. Face it, taking part in a good online discussion can be very cathartic.

And, isn't that, really, what an online discussion site is meant to be

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Listen, can you hear it, the distinctive thump, Thump, THUMP of new life beating resonantly through the speakers of your television? It's there alright, this magnificent noise, and it's not the sound of a gentle awakening, but a bold surge of resurrection power, strong and vibrant with a bold dash of panache and confidence, even an air of cocksuredness..........sort of like a rockstar might display. Unhook the respirator, toss aside the shovel, forget about those last rites, and return the headstone to the mortician because despite what the multitudes of naysayers and grim-faced prognosticators who were ready to pull the plug on the longrunning TV talent series initially thought, euthanasia of "American Idol" will not be necessary.

Season 10 of "American Idol" premiered last Wednesday night to much pomp and fanfare, and for good reason: two new judges, iconic rocker, Steven Tyler, and pop star/movie starlet, Jennifer Lopez, sat at the table ruled by the notoriously curmudgeonly Simon Cowell for so many years. And what a breath of fresh air in the nostrils of TV viewing splendor it was! Hallejulah, finally "Idol" ushered in a couple of real pros. The duo instantly brought new life to the show and in one appearance almost erased the memory of the vapid Kara DioGuardi and her equally lackluster judging cohort, the self-styled "Voice Of The People", Ellen Degeneres. Tyler in particular has been brilliant in his own wacky way, engaging the contestants with snappy banter, singing along with them while they performed their audition songs, swearing up a blue streak, flirting with the girls, cracking jokes, and generally being dazzlingly funny and entertaining, something the boringly dour Cowell could never match in a million years as an Idol judge. Besides that, Tyler has shown he certainly takes no back seat to Crusty Cowell when it comes to his ability to render precise pinpoint assessments of singing talent. From tweeting Twitter fiends to the entire blogosphere, the verdict is in and the scrappy-haired 62 year-old Aerosmith lead singer with the big bodacious voice is an instant hit, making us all nearly forget about the "Boresome Foursome" who sat at the judging panel last season when TV ratings at "Idol" plummeted to all-time lows

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Finally.....The Beatles Are On iTunes

November 19th 2010 01:50
Nearly 50 years after the Beatles took television by storm, the songs of the Fab Four became available on iTunes Tuesday.

Apple announced a deal Tuesday to immediately begin selling the Beatles' music by the song or the album. Until now, the biggest-selling, most influential band in rock history has been glaringly absent from iTunes

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July 16th 2010 19:52
Not enough superlatives can be said for vacations, and that goes double for the author of "The Jukebox Hero".

Apologetically, I have been on an extended vacation with my lovely wife out of the country for several weeks now, but, very soon my blog will be back up and running, as in the past. Lots of music and musical events to cover, and I hope my former readers will honor me with their presence

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Give him credit, Casey James nearly messed up "American Idol's" plan..... uh scheme..... for a Season 9 Pop-Singer Finale.

Last Wednesday night, much-relieved producers at "Idol", were dancing a jig and giving one another big hugs and high fives when James was announced to be leaving the show

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