While in Italy, the Mad Poets’ very own Chris Ludwig recorded UFOs hovering over the Roman Coliseum at night with his cell phone!

No, we mean it!  REALLY!  Chris recorded a UFO sighting!

When he first TOLD the other MPs about the sighting, we sort of looked at each other and thought that it must have been a result of the Italian “vino” he was undoubtedly…”tasting” at the time.  I mean, hey, this is Chris we’re talking about!  THEN we saw the recording.

Watch the video for yourself and look for the following:

Check out the formation, appearing somewhat like the Big Dipper – only MOVING!  Do you think the Italian Air Force could’ve pulled that off?!  Notice the bottom two points closing their distance.  Looking closely, you can see the points of light alternating colors!  Also, the audio records absolutely no engine or jet noise.  Chris also stated that as he was later watching them, they all of a sudden disappeared.

We’re going to send this video file to Art Bell and Dan Ackroyd.

Great sighting, Chris!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqh2D4xEiiA&context=C38ae9b3ADOEgsToPDskKjv8FXK7nl20fV5KnK9eW8

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(A recent response of mine regarding the classical music works of Paul McCartney…)

Classical music listeners AWAKE!  If you can’t find “it” in the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Stravinsky, and all the artists before, after, or in between those I just listed, you probably won’t find “it” at all.  One thing is for sure – you will NEVER find “it” in the over-indulgent, “classical” works of rock artists – not even in the works of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (who I greatly admire).

And now, for a bit of a diatribe…

Unfortunately, when many artists become well-known, famous, sell a lot of wares (whatever those wares may be), they sometimes become a little too over-confident that their gifts will automatically transcend into ALL areas of the fine arts.  Across the board, actors become musicians, musicians become actors, painters become authors, and authors begin to paint.  There are WAY too many examples of this to list here.

It also happens when successful artists in one area of music try their hand in another.  One of the most infamous examples was when Garth Brooks released that Chris Gaines album.  Was it successful?  Eh…yes – financially.  But the album came out at a time when people would have paid money to see Garth Brooks stand alone on stage, reading from a dictionary.  Artistically, the album is tripe.

How about that foray Harry Connick, Jr. took into the world of rock?  That worked out about as well as Pat Boone’s heavy metal album.  Ouch.

How about the current trend of talented legends performing old standards.  Come on, guys – really?  Double-ouch.

This happens even in the sports world.  Remember when Michael Jordan woke up one morning and decided that he was a great baseball player?  Triple-ouch.

My beloved Beatles are not immune.  To this day, there are people who absolutely believe that John Lennon was a great artist in drawing and painting.  He absolutely WAS NOT.  To say otherwise would be like saying that artist/painter Stuart Sutcliffe was a great bass player!  Drawing on your own, in your spare time for fun or as a stress release is one thing, but to pretend even in your own mind that you are rock and roll’s answer to Picasso is just plain silly.  It’s just about as silly as the Merry Widow authorizing lithographs of your noodlings to sell to the masses at overly inflated prices.

Paul McCartney, who stated to Musician Magazine in 1980 that he would never “bore myself stiff” writing a classical piece of music seems intent on doing just that.  Only it is the public who he is boring, not himself.  To quote another fairly famous musician remarking about McCartney’s quality of work when he wasn’t really trying, “The sound you make is Muzak to my ears.”

One last thing –

Paul, dear Paul:

  • Stop feeling the need to constantly justify yourself publically regarding your role in the music world.  All those efforts are not needed, and are a huge waste of your time.  You’re one of the greatest artists of the last half century, if not all time – act like it;
  • Do what you do, and do it well;
  • That doesn’t mean that we want you to write or re-write us another Band on the Run, or Venus and Mars, or Tug of War, or even another Hey Jude.  We don’t need new ones – we already have the originals, which are perfect.  Just keep writing and recording what you do best.  It’s okay – get back to where you once belonged.  The well isn’t dry yet, is it?;
  • For the love of God, will you finally stop obsessing with misplaced anxiety over your errant thoughts of believing that the public feels that it was always LENNON and McCartney, and never McCARTNEY and Lennon?!  We’re not idiots.  We all know who did what, and other rabid Beatle fans like me probably know those things better than you remember them happening!;
  • Last, and most importantly, BE HAPPY!

 

The above represents only my opinions.  I reserve the right to be wrong.

I mean, what do I know?  I’m 47 years old and still struggling through my own Hamburg days to get to the next level.  But, hey – I’m having a blast doing it!

Respectfully submitted,

With Peace and in Love,

Tim McCarthy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny Seraphine, the bandChicago’s co-founder and drummer extraordinaire from 1967 to 1990, has written the first book by any current or former member about the 70s and 80s iconic band.

Seraphine, born in Chicago’s New Little Italy, received the bulk of his education on some of the toughest streets in the city.  As a high school dropout, Seraphine had two choices in life: become a low-level, mafia street thug; or become a professional drummer.

His selection as a replacement drummer with Jimmy Ford and the Executives introduced Seraphine to future long time playing partners, saxophonist Walt Parazaider, and tragic guitar legend, Terry Kath.  When their services in that band fell through, the three joined a local cover band called, the Missing Links.  Eventual dissatisfaction with the type of music they were playing, as well as the shoddy performance venues they were forced to put up with, motivated them to form a new kind of horn band.  This project would feature no “front man,” be 100% about the music, and be comprised of the best players they could find in Chicago.  Membership in this new band of brothers, which was soon to known as the Big Thing, additionally included trumpeter Lee Loughnane, trombonist Jimmy Pankow, and piano/organist Robert Lamm.

After signing a management deal with James William Guercio, and also securing bassist Peter Cetera, the band made it’s way out to California.  Renamed Chicago Transit Authority, then simply Chicago, the band endured many hardships before acquiring fame.

However, it could be strongly argued that Chicago’s toughest hardships occurred after they attained the success they longed for.  As Seraphine describes – sometimes broadly, while at other times in great detail – the mental breakdowns, jealousies, infighting, physical altercations, infidelities, minor scandals, mismanagement, serial writer’s block, financial blunders, one band member’s defection, and the untimely death of their guitar genius all point to one major contributing factor: drugs.

I always wondered why there was never a book written by Chicago about Chicago, and now I have my answer:  Who in the band would WANT their story told truthfully?!  There are many sad and dark tales hidden behind that silk-screened, Coca-Cola lettered logo.  It would be easy to condemn Seraphine (who was fired from the band for reasons that depend upon which side of the issue you ask) for writing this autobiography if it wasn’t for the fact that he seems to assign blame to himself as much as anyone else he writes about, and keeps all the who-had-affairs-with-whom discreetly out of his story, unless he is speaking about himself.

As much as I have admired Chicago, which goes as far back as when “Make Me Smile” and “25 Or 6 To 4” were new songs, my biggest gripe with the band has NEVER been about their inability to replace the irreplaceable Terry Kath.  No, my beef involves how they switched from being the innovators of their craft to being the followers of trends, like the period immediately following Kath’s death (disco, and their fading use of quality horn arrangements).  By the 1980s, Chicago was no longer simply following trends but rather chasing after them (drum programming, rock/power ballads, and little to sometimes no use of the horns)!

Sure, their musical performances from the very beginning of the band’s career have pushed the envelope at times (Walt Parazaider’s unique solo in “Movin’ On” from Chicago II comes to mind), and yes, I wish I had a dime for every time they said the words, “I don’t know,” in their lyrics.  But the instrumentation, band and horn arrangements, vocal leads and harmonies, song and chord structuring, album production, and sheer drive (that they possessed at least once upon a time) made Chicago a fascinating, fantastically exciting band to listen to THAT DOES warrant inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Okay, okay – end of sermon.

Seraphine delivers here an intriguing retrospective about his time withChicago.  Well written and possessing a good storytelling sense, this interesting look into the inner workings of a band that was never fully as respected as it should have been, makes Street Player an excellent read.