Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Have You Seen How They Make Cars These Days?

It's been over a year since I've been here. Working for Clear Channel takes alot of my time. I now do a blog for the Total Traffic Network site on KTRH's website where my co-workers and I write about events that are "traffic" related, loosely anyway. Today I've blogged about a Ford plant in Brazil. Hope you like it. It's nice to be back with you and I plan on doing a bit more in the future. Stay tuned!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clear Channel to the rescue!

The drought is over! I will be working for Clear Channel's traffic department(Total Traffic Network), as a fill-in anchor starting Monday. It's a full-time job and I couldn't be happier! Just know that whenever you hear a traffic report on 740 KTRH, 950 KPRC, 790 The Sports Animal, Sunny 99.1, 93.7 The Arrow or 95.7 The Buzz, you'll be getting the most up-to-date information. That's because it'll be coming from me!

Thanks to all those who have been praying for me, keeping me in their thoughts and all the emails to 740 KTRH... The prayers have been answered!!! Look for me to be filling in for Kelly Ryan on KTRH in the next couple of weeks!

I'll stay in touch don't worry.

Your servant,


Friday, January 29, 2010

Local Band Out to Beat the Odds

As you know, I am a native Houstonian and have been in the entertainment business here for over 25 years. I started off in oldies radio, then to adult-contemporary, then back to oldies before making my foray into the traffic world. Now, while being in the traffic world, before TV, I delivered traffic to a multitude of radio stations, KLOL, KHMX, KRBE, KODA, KLDE, and the list goes on! You could say I've been around music my entire life and I have wide variety of tastes and that would be pretty accurate.

Now I'm no expert, but with all the years I've spent in radio listening to what is good, what is great and what is garbage, I've kind of developed an ear for what I think is going to be good, great or garbage. For example, one day a long, long time ago, I was driving down Highway 149 heading into Montgomery to go visit my aunt and uncle who live near Lake Conroe. I was listening to (in my best radio voice) 104 KRBE and a song started to play. In the first few notes I heard, I said to myself, "this song will go to number one on the Billboard charts". I didn't even know who sang the song yet, I just knew it was a hit! Well, it turned out that the song was "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson and of course it went straight to number one. Yeah yeah, I know what your thinking, every MJ song went to number one so it's a no brainer, but I didn't know it was MJ until after my prediction, so there. Worst part was that MJ beat out my favorite song at the time "Shattered Dreams" by Johnny Hates Jazz, which stayed at number two for weeks. MJ was just too tough and I'm pretty sure the fact that "Shattered Dreams" didn't go to number one is the reason we don't hear from Johnny Hates Jazz anymore. I digress because I wanted you to know my background before I tell you that I've heard a song (or two, or three) by a local band that has the ear markings for a hit (or two, or three).

The name of the band is the Jud Johnson Band. Yes the lead singer (and guitarist) is Jud Johnson. I've known Jud for just over 2 years now, I met him right about the time his band was forming. I'll never forget the first time I saw him, he had been hired to run the sound board for KHOU's morning show and Great Day Houston because he had vast experience with setting up bands for live shows from doing it at his church. Here comes this young stud, in his mid-twenties, driving a Porsche Boxter into the parking lot! Hey, I'm in my mid forties and I can't even sniff a Porsche! Well I figured this guy has got to be full of himself, so I paid no attention to him at first. Then one morning the battery went out in my microphone while we were live. I made a mad dash during a commercial break to the sound room where Jud kept the batteries. I come bolting into the room asking for a battery and he knows it's a big deal for me and he's rushing to locate me one. While I'm waiting I hear this music playing. It's jazzy, yet not Jazz. It has a rhythm that grabs you right away and pulls you into the song. For a moment I forgot that I was doing a live morning show! Nonchalantly, I asked Jud what group was he listening to because I was thinking it was someone that was already established in the music industry that I had heard of. You guessed it, he said "this is my band man!" The song was "One More Time" and I knew I wanted to hear more. After the show I went back in to the audio booth to hear more of his music and that's when I found out that his bass player, Scott Cole (funny guy), was one of our camera men! Needless to say, I loved their music and have become close friends with the both of them since that day and have come to find out that Jud is one of the most down-to-earth kind of guys you'd want to know. He's also financially savvy. Daddy didn't buy him that Porsche.

Thursday I met with Jud between his two shows for KHOU at Niko Niko's on Montrose. If you like Greek food, this is the place to go. It's just a couple of blocks north of Westheimer. Now Jud was pressed for time but not for words. Every question I asked he more than just answered, he gave me a complete history. I'm used to that because my father is the same way, so in a way, I felt a bit at home talking with him. When I asked him how the Jud Johnson Band got started, he told me that he had been a musician for years at his church and just wanted to put what he called a "live" band together, one that was made up of accomplished musicians, not just another cover band or "boy band", the world has plenty of those. So, believe it or not, Jud put the band together through his friends on Facebook, who were musicians in other bands Jud had worked with and respected, and the rest is what you would call history.

I should mention the band consists of: Jud Johnson, lead singer and guitarist. Scott Cole, bass. Nigel Zamora, lead guitar (Jud says Nigel is as good as Eric Johnson. You be the judge.). Zach Spruill, saxophone. And Ben Sandstrom on the drums. Now all of the guys are accomplished musicians, so when they get together it is one big jam session where no song is played the same way twice, but the funniest thing is that when you talk to any one of them, they'll tell you that they aren't the core, or the heart of the band. They always defer to one of the other members. They're very humble in my opinion and that is something you don't see out of youngsters these days. It should carry them quite far.

So the band is together, Jud has written songs and they have a play list and what they feel is a good sound. Now, let's get out there and play! Not so fast there Slim. Jud starts calling around town to different venues and nobody will hardly speak to him much less book his band. The people that do speak to him tell him that he has to be established before they'll even consider them. This goes on for 3-4 months with nothing but rejection. Feeling down and almost out, they finally find a little hole-in-the-wall bar in a tiny strip center down near Alvin that will let them play, of course for no pay. It was better than nothing, but just barely. The place had no stage, no lighting and no customers. Jud had to go to The Home Depot to buy those work lights you see with the aluminum covers, then off to Walmart to get colored bulbs for effect. The night they played, the entire audience consisted of family and friends. 14 people in all.

Since then the Jud Johnson Band's audiences have grown to epic numbers, at least for Houston. Anyone in the music business in Houston will tell you that if a local band can bring in 50 people to see them when they play, they are considered successful. Jud's band consistently brings 400+ people to their performances.

Back to my story. They called back the little hole-in-the-wall bar three weeks later to see about playing again and the place had closed. Jud couldn't give me the name of the bar because he thinks he tries to block it out of his memory. Too funny. A few months later Jud was fortunate enough to meet one of the bartenders at the popular Gingerman in Rice Village. By this time the band had made some of what they call "garage demos" which is a CD of recordings they had made in his parents garage in Pasadena. Ironically, the name of the CD is "Demonstrations of a Destiny". The sound on the CD wasn't top notch, but he handed one to this bartender, who then handed it to the manager and voi la, they received a phone call and had their first paying gig! With some excellent self-promoting, they managed to get enough people to satisfy management and they were off to the races.

After that they were the opening act at Fitzgerald's, where they brought in more people than the headlining act and because of that fact, they were the headliner the next month. They quickly outgrew Fitzgerald's and moved on to be an opening act at Warehouse Live, where again, more people came to see them than the headliner. Yes, a month later they were the headliners, bringing in 150+ people to see them every time they played. Not only that, they were beginning to sell their merchandise and fans were asking for pictures and autographs (something that Jud to this day says is still so surreal).

In the beginning, no one would talk to them. A year or so later, all the major venues were trying to contact them to play. They've now done four shows at the Hard Rock Cafe, they've been on Great Day Houston with Deborah Duncan, they've been on CBS's Early Show in New York and as of this blog, just played on Fox News this morning. Next up, headlining at the famous House of Blues.

The Jud Johnson Band is having their CD-release concert for their new CD entitled "Jud Johnson Band 2010" this coming Friday, February 5th, 2010 at the House of Blues downtown. Tickets are on sale at the bands website, House of Blues website, and Live Nation. The price is $10.00 if you buy early. You better hurry because it looks like they'll sell out. The place will hold 1200 people comfortably and they've already sold 800+ tickets. And remember, you only need to bring in 50 fans to be considered a successful band in Houston. I'll have my wife and several family members there so I hope to see you there too. If you can make it, come find me! I'd love to meet you or see you again.

Clint Black and I were neighbors for a few years when we were just kids and I watched him rise to fame. After that it was Beyonce' and Destiny's Child. Next up, the Jud Johnson Band!

Until next time,


Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving is here!

Well it's almost here... Thanksgiving! I can still smell my grandmother's homemade rolls baking away in her 1966 GE oven. It was olive green, had knobs instead of buttons, no digital read-out, and it lasted as long as she did (that's when they used to make appliances that would last forever), God rest her soul. Since she passed away, Thanksgiving hasn't been the same (same with Christmas for that matter). It's still good don't get me wrong, it's just not the same. My grandmother is missing and that means a piece of me is missing. All I know is that I am trying to teach my children that tradition is sacred, because it is! You just don't realize it until it's gone (like the Texas A&M aggie bonfire).

So, speaking of tradition, I thought I would give you a quick lesson on The History of the Pilgrims as written by geopolitical writer Chip Wood. It's a link my wife sent me. It's does have a political overtone (not too bad though), but it gives you an excellent history of the Pilgrims you may not have read before. And they're the ones that brought us Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy it. Let me know.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween is coming!

It's that time of the season when one day it's hot and the next day it's cold. Rainy one day, sunny the following day. Football season is in full swing (pun) while baseball is coming to a close (will the Yankees do it again?) and basketball is making its first push. I love it! In October you seem to get all four seasons packed into just 31 days.

And then comes Halloween. I remember when I was a kid, Halloween was the second greatest day of the year behind Christmas. You got to dress up in your favorite costume (I was usually a ghost because it was cheap and easy) and go door to door in your neighborhood saying "trick or treat", and amazingly people would put candy in your bag, bucket, grocery sack, whatever you could find that was big enough to hold a neighborhoods worth of candy (I used a pillow case). Then you'd go home and pour out all that candy on the floor and separate it into your favorites (Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfingers, Tootsie Roll's) and the one's that weren't your favorites. You'd hide your favorites for later (although I would have to have a couple of favorites to begin with) and start in on the others that were good but not as good, and you'd be happy to share this candy with anyone who would like some. You'd eat candy until you couldn't eat anymore! Good times.

Then came the year that someone in our neighborhood (mind you I grew up in a nice neighborhood) put razor blades in some apples. Halloween was never the same. After that, for Halloween we could only go to peoples houses that our parents knew. Right then, our haul of loot went from 200 homes to about 20-30. Bummer to say the least. Then came stories of people poisoning candy with syringes making it difficult to tell if someone had tampered with it. My parents then made us pour out our candy, and they would inspect each piece individually. It really took a lot of the fun out of Halloween.

Here in the last decade or so, I've noticed that Halloween has made a resurgence of sorts. More kids are getting out and trick or treating and they're going to every house that has a light on, looking for that sugary treasure. I even see more adults decorating for Halloween. My neighbor down the street always has a mini haunted house. He has probably a dozen life-sized monsters that move and talk as well as one larger than life monster (it's a huge pumpkin ghoul about 10 feet tall and it scares me) and a bunch of other scary creatures that he makes you walk through to get to his treats. People come from all over the Katy area just to see what he's going to do each year. It's really great to see cars parked all up and down my street with parents and their children, in costume, heading towards Don's house. Did I mention he plays that scary music from the movie Halloween? He does. It's creepy.

So Halloween is back right? For now, but they're trying to take it away again. I keep hearing in the news that Halloween has too many religious overtones, and that with the separation of church and state in this county, we need to get rid of this special day because it may offend some people. Get serious! For one, if anybody was ever offended, why haven't we heard of it. I mean they want to get rid of Halloween before it offends someone. That's a new one on me. Preemptive offensive. Is that an oxymoron?

Well, I did some checking, and it seems Halloween has almost no religious overtones. And, the religious overtones it has, were put there by the church in the 9th century to dampen the effect of the pagan festival that took place on that day.

The Pagan festival that took place on October 31st each year was called Samhain, a festival to celebrate the end of the "lighter half" of the year and to usher in the "darker half" of the year. It was also believed that on this day, the spirit world had an easier time of crossing over to the living world. Hence the costumes, which were made to keep the bad spirits away.

Now stay with me here. The word Halloween comes from "All Hallows Eve", which is the eve of "All Saints Day". All Saints Day was on May 13th of each year until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved it to November 1st, which back in the era of the Florentine calendar, each new day started at sunset of the previous day (October 31st). With the Gregorian calendar, All Saints Day is now on November 1st. So Halloween is celebrated the day before, or the eve (e'en, evening) of a religious event, not the event itself.

So what do we do? Do we change the name of Halloween back to Samhain? Or do we get rid of Halloween altogether? Or move All Saints Day back to May 13th? Maybe we should just let people decide if they want to take part in an age-old tradition that started well before this country existed! If you don't want to be part of Halloween, don't. If you do, let's go trick or treating!

Question. When did we quit getting to choose?

Until next time,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mike McGuff

If you don't already know, Mike McGuff has been blogging about me and my where abouts for the past several months now. I've given him an exclusive interview and wanted to post it here for all of you who subscribe to my blog. Thanks for your support, and go check it out.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Guest Host on "The Sports Animal" 790 KBME

This just in!

Just a quick blurb. I wanted to let you know I'll be guest hosting with Ted "The Monster" Deluca on KBME 790 AM tomorrow morning Tuesday October 13th, 2009 from 6am-8am and again from 11am-3pm if he'll still have me. With as much as Ted knows about sports and as little as I know (save for Tiger Woods) about sports, I wouldn't be surprised if Ted decides to fly solo for the second part, but I will give it my best shot. If you would like to call in, I would welcome the support. Their phone number to the studio is 713-212-5790. If you want to listen on-line just go to their website and they provide a link.

Talk to you soon.