Joe Bonamassa this and Joe Bonamassa that

Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


He is a virtuoso guitar player and evangelist of the blues- I have an unnatural and possibly not quite legal love of the blues myself.

I should love this guy and all he stands for.

He is from Upstate N.Y where I call home…and not just “everything 12 miles north of NYC” Upstate but close enough to me in Upstate that his town gets on my local weather map.

I should love this guy and all he stands for.

There he is with his Sunburst Les Paul playing with Eric Clapton. Wow, the classic tool of the trade and how cool is that to be sanctified by slow hand himself?

I should love this guy and all he stands for.

I can’t watch or listen- he is too close.

If he was from Mongolia, I would love him…I picture him riding his horse over the grassy plane to meet the tribe leader who happens to be his Dad to tell him that he is done herding Yaks and going to N.Y to follow his dream –“Dad, I will play a searing blues guitar that will make beautiful women scream and strong men cry.”

Then I would listen.

If he grew up on the streets of a post-industrial working class city like Pittsburgh, Cleveland or maybe Newcastle and was full of angst and rage that needed an outlet, then like the proverbial oyster forging a pearl, he transformed that pain into reverberated and distorted beauty that would conjure the ghost of Jimi.

Then I would love him.

Even if he changed his name to some kind of alter image- Like Johnny Ace or Joe Bomb or Alice Samobon. Anything to remove him from that regular guy down the street image of him stuck in my head.

Then I would love him.

So when I flip channels and find Joe Bonamassa live in Vienna as a P.B.S special- I should be all over it. I should be clicking to it and cranking it up. I should live and die with each perfectly sustained bent string of gleaming purity that emanates from this master of his craft. I should be almost to tears before the first pledge break.

But alas- he is too close to me and I cannot separate my preconceived feelings about him and just enjoy the show.

Joe Bonamassa this and Joe Bonamassa that, I get it but I can’t go there.

This is my problem.




Wonder #5, Cleveland Rocks! Alan Freed + Ian Hunter + Me-frozen like a chipmunk


Wonder #5- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A city can’t just proclaim itself worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and become the real home of Rock Music and its history…just like that…something out of nothing….Going all Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams-“just build it and they will come”

Can it?

Isn’t the audacity to proclaim yourself something and then go out and do it-the whole point of Rock Music!!!

In 1951, when it did not have a name, this upstart disk jockey Alan Freed on Cleveland WJW radio named Rock and Roll. It may not have been birthed in Cleveland, but that is where it got packaged so it could take over the world. This new name rebranded R&B music and opened the door to all American kids in a big way.

We are not done yet

Cleveland Rocks is a song by Ian Hunter. Ian Hunter is Rock n Roll

Ian Hunter is not just a good Rock musician; he has gone beyond that and become the thing itself. He never got so big that he lost himself and never got so small that he became irrelevant. Endlessly skating away on the thin ice of rock music, day after day and year after year until he has produced an ocean of work. The closest example I can think is George Jones in country music because I would hear that said about him-“George is Country!”

So when Ian Hunter says Cleveland rocks-Cleveland Rocks!

Cleveland is not a glamour city and the same could be said for Liverpool –and if you go deeper, the same for a lot of the cities and places that serve as incubators for the disgruntled youth that gravitate to the outlet of rock music. Cleveland rocks.

Now the Chipmunk thing

Mott the Hoople with Ian Hunter put out one of the most iconic songs in Rock music-A David Bowie song known as “All the Young Dudes”. There is a part at the end of the song where he picks out a young dude in the audience and brings him down to the stage. The only criteria for this selection- this young dude in question must be wearing glasses.

I (self proclaimed rock blogger) as a young dude went to see Ian Hunter and had good seats along with the required eye wear (which I have worn my whole life)…And when he got to this part, he pointed me out of the audience and said “You there-with the glasses- I want you” then he smiled a smug smile and kept on rocking.

I, on the other hand was frozen like the proverbial chipmunk in front of a tree. (To my European readers who have never seen this little animal freeze when approached as if that somehow makes them completely invisible and safe, when in fact, it reveals them as cute and funny little creatures…forget Disney Land and shopping at Walmart-for a taste of America-go find yourself a chipmunk!)

Anyway, that was my reaction as I became part of a rock song for one brief shining moment in time while my buddy says to me…”Hey Wayne, he’s pointing to you”.

Yes- I did a cartoon…

I am making The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a Wonder

When you look at the entire list of inductees-this place gets it right most of the time. And this place willed itself into existence from nothing. What more can you ask from Rock n Roll?

English: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleve...
English: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio; architect: I. M. Pei (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joe Strummer’s Telecaster

Even though The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is adding both Rush and Donna Summer to their sometimes questionable list of stars. They do have this, this famous Telecaster alone is worth the trip to Cleveland…. and they have Mr. Rock Historian Dude talking about it.

On the plus side, they are also adding Randy Newman in 2013- Do you think Neil Pert will play drums and Getty Lee will add a killer bass (please don’t sing) on a version of “Burn on” with Randy?…”There’s a red moon rising On the Cuyahoga river rolling into Cleveland to the lake ”  That might start me on the way to respecting Rush…just might, but that is a long trip for me to take… “Burn on, Big River, Burn On”