Thursday, June 30, 2011

Motley Crue singer Vince Neil talks about all those 'girls, girls, girls' taking off their tops

L to R: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee of Motley Crue/PUBLICITY PHOTO

From my interview with Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil for today's Weekend cover story:

Despite consuming copious amounts of pills, powders and booze, Crue continued to sell millions of records and play packed arenas. The band’s 1987 album “Girls, Girls, Girls” hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

Almost a quarter century later, the hit title track, an homage to exotic dancers, remains an anthem, especially in strip club-rich Tampa. It’s also Neil’s favorite song to perform.

“I love doing ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ ” he said without hesitation when asked what Crue tune he likes singing best. “The crowd loves it. That’s when all the tops come off and the girls are dancing. That never gets old.”

Read more.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UPDATED 7/4: 'Two and a Half Men' minus Sheen date announced

HERE'S MY SUNDAY COLUMN: "How will they kill Charlie?"

"Two and a Half Men" hasn't been close to hilarious in years but you could still count on each new episode for a few mindless chuckles.

At least during the Charlie Sheen era.

Thanks to his torpedoes of terrifying lunacy, though, he has been replaced by Ashton Kutcher, who, alas, only makes me laugh when I see him with Demi Moore and Bruce Willis.

Hanging with your much older wife and her super cool ex who's old enough to be your dad?


Anyway, I will watch the season premiere episode Sept. 19.

Just to see how the writers come up with a remotely believable explanation for Charlie's absence.

As if with any good lie, they'd be best served by sticking as close to the truth as possible:

Locked up in an insane asylum.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays with special guest Mike Kach

Mike Kach at Get Down Downtown in Bradenton June 16, 2011. By Wade Tatangelo

Today's Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday at Aces Live in Bradenton features special guest Mike Kach — who rocked the Frankie Toler celebration Saturday —  along with a performance by Blind Pig recording artist the Damon Fowler Group.

As a member of Dickey Betts' Great Southern group since 2003, Kach gets to sing lead vocals on such Allman Brothers Band and Betts-penned classics as “Statesboro Blues,” “One Way Out,” “You Don’t Love Me,” “No One Left to Run with It,” “Nobody Knows” and “Southbound.”

“Dickey enjoys not always having to sing and just being able to play and wail on his guitar,” Kach said in an interview to advance his May 14 performance at MacFest in downtown Bradenton.

Kach turned in a killer Sugar Shack performance back in January, deftly blending blues, Allman chestnuts and first-rate originals.

We're stoked about Kach's return to Aces Live before he joins Betts in a couple weeks for a Northeast tour!

Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays
Showcasing the best in touring talent
8:30 p.m. Mon., June 27 with the
Damon Fowler Group  
and special guest
Mike Kach
No cover

Click to watch the performances and my interviews with Kach, Fowler and some more surprise guests. 
8:30 p.m. Monday, June 27

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Former Allman Brothers Band drummer Frankie Toler celebrated Saturday in Manatee (with video)

Dan Toler  honoring his brother Frankie on June 25, 2011. By Wade Tatangelo

Former Allman Brothers Band drummer David "Frankie" Toler, who died June 4 in Bradenton, didn't want a funeral.

He requested a celebration.

And that's what he received Saturday at Tom Mossman's beautiful grounds and the barn he uses as a recording studio/practice facility in the woods of Parrish.

Frankie's big brother Dan Toler, the guitar great who played with his sibling in the Allman Brothers, Gregg Allman Band and Dickey Betts' Great Southern, delivered a performance teeming with emotion and skill that bellied the fact health conditions forced him to sit throughout the set. 

Frankie (left) with Dan Toler. By Wade Tatangelo.

Percussionist Chaz Trippy, who played with his best friend Frankie, and Dan, in the Gregg Allman Band from 1982 to ’89, organized the commemorative concert with Mossman and Angie Vail Cook.

Gary Guzzardo, who replaced Frankie in the Marshall Tucker Band during the 1990s, augmented Trippy’s spot-on congas work. Dan’s longtime collaborator Johnny Townsend handled vocal duties on moving renditions of Allman faves like “I’m No Angel” — Gregg’s smash 1987 single featuring the Toler brothers and Trippy — as well as “Midnight Rider” and “Statesboro Blues.”

Betts couldn’t attend Saturday because he was not feeling well, according to a close friend of his. But Great Southern members Mike Kach (keyboard/vocals), Frankie Lombardi (drums/vocals) and Mark Serio (guitar) enhanced the festivities in honor of their pal.
Another highlight was watching on a large inflatable screen an unreleased DVD of the Gregg Allman Band performing at Daytona Beach in 1987. It features fierce interplay between the Tolers on "Whipping Post."  The crowd roared every time the camera focused on Frankie.

Good times inside Mossman Barn. By Wade Tatangelo

More than 300 friends and admirers were there with folding chairs and coolers enjoying the festivities that also included delicious barbecue for sale and raffles to raise money for Frankie's widow Marsha and their daughter Aja Kayle.

The congregation of Sarasota-Manatee musicians were all smiles, whether on stage or sitting around telling stories about the good old days.

People enjoyed a superb Southern party.

And Frankie Toler's last wish was definitely granted.

Former Allman drummer leaves lasting legacy
David ‘Frankie’ Toler: 1951-2011

Frankie Toler - Celebration of Life - Parrish, FL

Friday, June 24, 2011

Remembering Peter Falk: My interview with the 'Columbo' star

Peter Falk in 2002 by Ron Frehm/Associated Press.

I only met Peter Falk once, briefly.

But like most Americans, I loved watching the actor, who died today, in the television show "Columbo" as well as in movies such as "The In-Laws," "A Woman Under the Influence," "Wings of Desire" and, yes, "The Princess Bride."

I did a phone interview with Falk and Paul Reiser for the Herald in 2005. It was to advance the screening of their underrated feature "The Thing About My Folks," which played at the 2005 Sarasota Film Festival.


Paul Reiser (left) and Peter Falk in "The Thing About My Folks"/PUBLICITY PHOTO

Falk and Reiser play father and son in 'The Thing About My Folks'
Wade Tatangelo, Herald Staff Writer

Family relationships are often strained.

Most of us want to make amends before it's too late. But it frequently takes a sizeable event to shake things up. These are the issues producer/writer/co-star Paul Reiser addresses in his film "The Thing About My Folks," which makes its East Coast premiere tonight at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.

"The story is fiction but a lot of the dialogue is real," said Reiser, 47, during a phone interview, "taken from actual conversations I had with my father."

The dramatic tone of "The Thing About My Folks" might surprise viewers who only know Reiser as a comedian. The film is peppered with humor, but on the whole, it's a serious look at the complex relationships between fathers and sons and husbands and wives.

"It is meant to be real," Reiser asserted.

After appearing in the 1982 coming-of-age favorite "Diner," blockbusters such as "Beverly Hills Cop," and on TV's hit "Comic Relief" specials, Reiser was one of the best known stand-up comics in the country.

In 1992, he co-created and starred alongside Helen Hunt in the sitcom "Mad About You" and the award-winning series ran for most of the decade. After it concluded, Reiser divided his time between acting, producing and authoring two best-selling books, "Couplehood" and "Babyhood."

All the while, the story about his "folks" was sizzling on the back burner. The premise was there from the start, Reiser said, but the personal nature of the script kept him from actually writing it. A national tragedy finally prompted him to put thought to paper.

"I always knew I wanted to do it, ever since I came out to Los Angeles," said Reiser, a New York native. "But I didn't start writing until after 9/11, the realization of life being so short and unpredictable got me going."

Reiser added: "I had it done in about two weeks. I showed it to my wife and then called (Peter Falk) and he agreed to do it the next afternoon."

Reiser, who has been a big fan of Falk's since childhood, said Falk reminds him of his late father.

"I wrote this film for Peter and it was written because of him," Reiser said after nailing a dead-on impression and quoting an entire scene from Falk's comedy classic "The In-Laws" (1979). "We all went out to dinner and afterward my wife says 'Oh my God, he is so your father.' He doesn't look like him but the way he carries himself, he's channelling him."

Falk, a multiple Emmy winner and Oscar nominee, was touched to learn he inspired the film.

"(Reiser) did not tell me that before I read the script," said Falk, 77, during a phone interview. "I can't think of anything that gives me more satisfaction than hearing that story, that's so satisfying for an actor to hear."

A family movie for adults, the inciting force comes early when Falk's Sam Kleinman finds a Dear John letter from his wife Muriel, played splendidly by Olympia Dukakis.

"That character (Sam), he hooked me very early, in the very first scene," Falk said. "When one member of the family puts a note on the refrigerator door that changes everyone's lives I'm interested right away."

Falk paused frequently while speaking just like his characters on screen. Unlike, say, "Columbo," though, Falk sweetly curses when he can't recall something. While he thoughtfully formed each response, it was easy to picture all the hand gestures and facial expressions for which Falk is famous; or a warm smile lighting up his face when he spoke of how much the "The Thing About My Folks" means to him.

"The fact that this character was the recipient of that dramatic announcement and his reaction to it --- his determination to underplay it and me as the reader knowing that he was kidding himself and his attempt (laugh) at normalcy --- that drew me to him," Falk said. "And the other thing that appealed to me was that in a way he sounded like my father, but it was Paul's father. Both of them sounded like world-class pains in the (butt). The type of guys that like to know more than anyone else --- and the thing about it is, half the time they're right!"

The bulk of the film centers on a father-and-son road trip through beautiful upstate New York, just as the leaves are turning. Reiser confirmed that the experience was as wonderful as it appears on screen.

"(Falk) is so disarming, exactly like you think he would be, he is so not about airs," Reiser said. "Doing those scenes, I kept thinking this is so great, just working with Peter Falk. It was so joyful, I have such an affection for him, he made acting so easy, everything came so natural."

The film shifts from moments of understanding to obscenity-laced arguments. The conflict is tempered by the occasional comedic episode. One of the funnier scenes occurs when Falk's character runs the pool table. He gives a young hick his comeuppance but inadvertently whacks his son (Reiser) with the same blow.

"That was a kick in the (butt) to do that scene," Falk chuckled.

At its core, though, "The Thing About My Folks" is a heart-string tugger about family relationships that packs a jolting, bitter-sweet ending.

"I am partial to stories that add unexpected layers and ends up in a place where you never expected," Falk said. "In this case, there's an emotional explosion at the end and I guarantee anybody who see it is going to be affected because you never know where it's going. That's what I liked about it, I never saw it coming."

The movie made its world premiere earlier this month at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in California.

"This one woman, she wanted her husband to see this picture so that it will release him from some of his guilt," Falk said. "That's a guy who is not satisfied with the amount of time he gave to his family (laugh) and she wants him to see this picture to know he's not alone."

Peter Falk (left) and Paul Reiser in "The Thing About My Folks"

The movie also resonated with Falk's wife, actress Shera Danese.

"The line that got to her the most is when Olympia Dukakis said 'Why did I do it? . . . I didn't want to be taken for granted.' I think that rings true for a lot of women."

When asked if he viewed his character Sam as a good or bad guy, Falk struggled to recall a quote by the late John Cassavetes, the man who directed him in several films including the cinema verite classic "A Woman Under the Influence."

"Hollywood has conditioned people to see things in terms of good guys and bad guys but when (Cassavetes) looks around at his life he doesn't see good and bad guys he sees people who have a thirst for love but don't always know how to get it," Falk said.

"Love is hard to find. Relationships are difficult. All marriages have issues. It's not a question of good and bad guys," Falk let out a chuckle. "I wish I had John's quote, it'd be a helluva lot better than what the (expletive) I just said."

The subject matter of the "The Thing About My Folks" has made it "a tough sell," Reiser admitted.

But the film's creator is determined to find an audience for the picture.

"This really is a labor of love and we're nurturing it and pushing it along," Reiser said. "We're taking it to festivals and distributors are taking interest (in releasing it theatrically)."

Galvanized by the reaction the film received at Palm Springs, Reiser is confident filmgoers across the country and Sarasota will be impressed.

"People were leaving the theater going: 'I gotta call my parents, 'hug my kids,' 'be a better dad,' " Reiser enthused.

This story appeared in the Bradenton Herald on Jan. 28, 2005.  

REVIEW: 'Marilyn: Forever Blonde' heats up Asolo Rep

Sunny Thompson as Marilyn Monroe/PUBLICITY PHOTO

Nearly five decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains one of America’s most powerful — and fascinating — pop culture icons. “Marilyn: Forever Blonde,” now playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre, offers an intimate, multifaceted portrait of the quintessential sex symbol. Billed as “the Marilyn Monroe story in her own words and music,” it brilliantly humanizes the highly objectified actress, singer and model.

Set on the day of Monroe’s final photo shoot with an unseen photographer heard in voice-over, the one-woman show stars Sunny Thompson. The curtain rises and she’s seen posing in bed, wrapped in satin sheets. From that moment forward — through various costume changes — it’s as if you are in the same room as the Hollywood legend.

Thompson’s impersonation is stunning.

And it’s not just about the way she moves her hips and handles the star’s other signature gestures. Thompson nails the various voices Monroe would adopt when speaking in private, to the media, on screen as the voluptuous vixen or playing the “dumb blonde.” Thompson’s pitch perfect in the singing department, too.

Written by husband Greg Thompson, the show deftly uses songs Monroe performed in her films to propel the story. For instance, the opening number “Ev’ry Baby Needs a Daddy” coincides with the star admitting to sleeping with photographers and producers to get work early in her career. “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” closes the first of two acts, right at the point when Monroe reflects on her glory days. Thompson sings “I’m Through with Love” while appearing convincingly intoxicated and showing the star at her most vulnerable.

Much of “Marilyn: Forever Blonde” is salacious. And there are plenty of laugh-out-loud one-liners as well as humorous anecdotes. But what makes the show truly memorable is the way the Thompsons capture the pathos of the orphan who became the ultimate sexy symbol and then died of a barbiturate overdose at the age of 36. It’s a tragic story handled with skill and class, offering a fitting tribute to the woman, who, like the songs goes, we all would have liked to have known.

If you go.

My interview with Sunny Thomspon, which ran June 12 as "Marilyn Monroe lives ‘forever’ at Asolo Rep."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

UPDATED 6/23: Sarasota Blues Fest sold to Texas company

UPDATED 6/23: Here's my interview with Barbara Strauss and president of new owners ExtremeTix:

Sarasota Blues Fest Executive Producer Barbara Strauss has sold her popular music event to Texas-based ExtremeTix and its entertainment division Three Zebras.

Since 1991, Sarasota Blues Fest performers have included Gregg Allman, Solomon Burke, Buddy Guy, Dr. John, Derek Trucks, Little Feat, Delbert McClinton and New Orleans native Trombone Shorty, who blew audiences away in November with his superb "supafunkrock."

“I am very excited to pass the torch to ExtremeTix and Three Zebras,” Strauss said in a statement. “I have been ready to move on to other projects for a long time. Finding a team as committed to blues and live music as ExtremeTix and Three Zebras is a dream come true for myself and Sarasota.”

Strauss, who grew the fest into Sarasota's largest annual music event, will continue in her role as executive producer of the festival this year, which takes place at Ed Smith Stadium on Nov. 5, and act as a consultant to future festivals.

“We couldn’t ask for a better partner in the citizens of Sarasota and a visionary leader and live music producer of Barbara’s caliber,” reads the comment by Charly Garrett, president of ExtremeTix. “We’re looking forward to continuing the legacy of excellence and seek to provide Sarasota with enriching and engaging programming for years to come.”

Houston-based ExtremeTix lists Jannus Live in St. Petersburg among its long, diverse list of clients.

As for talent, the company has spent the past 30 years booking everybody from the Allman Brothers Band to ZZ Top. Here's ExtremeTix's "partial artist roster."

'Bonnie & Clyde' on Broadway in December

COURTESY OF ASOLO/FRANK ATURA Bonnie (Laura Osnes) and Clyde (Jeremy Jordan)

The outlaw musical "Bonnie & Clyde," which enjoyed a winning run last year at the Asolo Rep in Sarasota, will open on Broadway in December at the Schoenfield Theatre.

The production, which held an industry reading earlier this month has been receiving great buzz from insiders, including the hard to please Michael Riedel in the New York Post. 

Laura Osnes (Bonnie), Jeremy Jordan (Clyde) and pretty much the rest of the cast seen on stage in Sarasota will be performing in New York.

Here's my review from last November: "'Bonnie & Clyde’ lives up to Broadway hype."

Poster of my review that sat outside Asolo Rep; now it's in the Herald newsroom.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WATCH: Damon Fowler, Anthony Gomes, Ed Zeppelin rock the Sugar Shack at Aces Live in Bradenton

Sweet night at Damon's Fowler Sugar Shack Mondays with Ed Zeppelin and special, surprise guest Anthony Gomes.

Here are the clips from Aces Live in Bradenton:

Fowler and I introduce Ed Zeppelin.

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Ed Zeppelin performance featuring amazing Led Zeppelin medley.

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

I do my best to maintain crazy interview with Scott Cable (producer of Damon Fowler's last two albums and various other national releases), Wally and Lil' Charley. Volume kicks in at 1:27. Fowler, Ed Wright, Chuck Riley, the rest of Ed Zeppelin at 6:00. We even get Jack Sullivan of Blues Revue magazine on camera for added madness.

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Anthony Gomes sits in with Damon Fowler Group/Ed Zeppelin.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Damon Fowler nominated for two Blues Blast Music Awards; headlining Sugar Shack Mondays tonight at Aces in Bradenton

Damon Fowler/Blind Pig Records

Blind Pig recording artist and Bradenton Beach resident Damon Fowler has been nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award in the Contemporary Blues CD category. He's up against superstar Buddy Guy and Sugar Shack Monday's debut guest JP Soars, among others.

Both Fowler and Gina Sicilia, last week's Sugar Shack Monday guest, have been nominated for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

From the press release issued this morning:
In early May, a group of Blues music industry professionals including music critics, journalists, festival promoters, music venue managers, musicians and other Blues music industry professionals nominated the best of 2011 Blues music in eight categories.

Voting to determine the winners begins July 1, 2011 and continues until August 31st, 2011 on our website at Voting is open to anyone who is a Blues Blast Magazine subscriber. Subscriptions are FREE and you are automatically signed up as part of the voting process on our website.

The 2011 Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will be held at Buddy Guys’ Legends in Chicago, Illinois, October 27th, 2011. The awards ceremony will feature music by some of the artists nominated. Tickets for the event will go on sale in mid August at

Click for complete list of nominees and listening links.

This week's edition of Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday at Aces Live in Bradenton features the Damon Fowler Group with special guest Ed Zeppelin.

What's Ed Zeppelin?

A killer side-project full of surprises that Fowler has maintained for years.

Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday
Showcasing the best in touring talent
8:30 p.m. Mon., June 20 with
Damon Fowler Group 
and special guest Ed Zeppelin
No cover

Click to watch the performances and my interviews with Fowler and others in Ed Zeppelin 
8:30 p.m. Monday, June20

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bruce Springsteen's classic father and son story

Here's an excerpt from my column "The Boss, Pops and me," running today on front of the Herald's A&E section:
My first Springsteen show is one of countless special memories my dad has made with me.
But we also have our share of cruddy ones.
Few people can argue like my old man and me.
Drives Mom crazy.
We’ve both mellowed with age, but every now and then a friendly political or religious debate turns into a war of words.
That’s when, after cooling down, I often go home and play “The River,” my favorite track from “Live 1975-85.”
Read the entire column

Incidentally, I filed this column nearly two weeks ago because of a long-planned vacation and wasn't fully aware of the worsening health of E Street saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who died Saturday. RIP Big Man.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

UPDATED 6/19: WATCH Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday with special guests Gina Sicilia, Jack Sullivan of Blues Revue magazine

UPDATED 6/19: Just returning to work mode after a week vacation. Here ya go.

Interview with Jack Sullivan of Blues Revue magazine from this June 13's edition of Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays at Aces Live in Bradenton.

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Performance by VizzTone Label Group artist Gina Sicilia.

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

My interview with Sicilia and her guitarist/producer
Dave Gross.
Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Sicilia set two.
Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Gina Sicilia publicity photo
This week's most exciting edition of  Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday at Aces Live in Bradenton features special guest Gina Sicilia.

In addition to interviewing Sicilia, I'll also be doing a special segment with Jack Sullivan of Blues Revue, the international blues magazine that recently moved its headquarters from California to Bradenton.

It prompted this story I did that ran on the front page of the Bradenton Herald on Saturday:

"Famed Blues Revue magazine HQ moves to Village of the Arts."

Sicilia records for Blues Revue's highly regarded record label VizzTone.

From Sicilia's website:
Young Philadelphia songstress Gina Sicilia exploded onto the scene in 2007,
as her debut CD, "Allow Me to Confess," was met with joyous acclaim by fans and
critics alike.

She was heralded as a distinctive new voice in the Blues, as well as an
insightful songwriter and interpreter of neglected classics in the Rhythm & Blues

In 2008 she was nominated for “Best New Artist Debut” at the Blues
Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee, just as her sophomore release "Hey Sugar" proved her also to be a legitimate contender in the worlds of Classic Country and

With her new 2011 release, "Can't Control Myself," Gina broadens her stylistic
palette, infusing even more Soul and Americana into her bedrock influences of Blues
and R&B. This CD features seven new Gina Sicilia compositions, as well as three
choice covers borrowed from Bobby Bland, Stevie Wonder, and Ike & Tina Turner.

Gina’s singing and songwriting continue to break new ground, showing remarkable
depth, power, and seemingly unstoppable growth. "Can't Control Myself" was
produced and engineered by Gina’s label mate, the insanely talented Dave Gross,
who also played every instrumental track on the record
except for trumpet, sax, and one lap-steel track.

Now 25 years old, the genre-defying Gina Sicilia continues to smash
pigeonholes into kindling and redefine the boundaries of soulful music.

Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday
Showcasing the best in touring talent
8 p.m. Mon., June 13 with special guest:
Gina Sicilia
No cover

Click to watch the performances and my interviews with Sicilia and Sullivan.  
8:30 p.m. Monday, June 13

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WATCH: Bradenton band Have Gun, Will Travel featured in 'Big Lebowski' documentary

Danny Burke (left) of HGWT with Jeff Dowd (center) from the documentary "The Dude"

This is cool news, man.

Nationally-acclaimed Bradenton band Have Gun, Will Travel makes an appearance in this USA Network short film "The Dude" about Jeff Dowd.

He's the Coen Brothers' inspiration for the central character in their totally awesome 1998 film "The Big Lebowski."

At around 13 minutes in, HGWT can be seen performing Bob Dylan's "The Man In Me" at the recent Lebowski Fest in Tampa.

Movieville Int'l Film Festival announces lineup

The Movieville International Film Festival's lineup has been announced:

Click for more info.

Monday, June 6, 2011

WATCH: Damon Fowler's 'Sugar Shack Monday' with special guest Soupbone and performance by the Damon Fowler Group

Here are the links to view last night's tribute, terrific performances and interview:

Frankie Toler tribute.

Soupbone performance with Damon Folwer.

Wade and Wally puppet sketch—Soupbone interview with Fowler.

Damon Folwer Group performance with members of Soupbone.

Damon Fowler's friends Soupbone/publicity photo.

Today's Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday at Aces Live in Bradenton features special guest Soupbone along with a performance by Blind Pig recording artist the Damon Fowler Group.

Statement form Soupbone:
Soupbone is a band from the Tampa Bay area. We have just released a self- titled CD. Our music is rooted in New Orleans funk, rock, blues and country.. The band is full of real players, George Harris (guitar), Rob Stoney (piano and organ), Mark Dupuy (drums), Vince Caruso (bass) and Kyle Rohde (vocals.) This is our first gig in the Bradenton area since the CD dropped, so come on out and get yourself a copy. We were so thrilled to have our friend Damon play on two tracks on the disc. Looking forward to having him sit in with the band at Aces. Come on out and experience Soupbone for yourself on Damon Fowler's "Sugar Shack Mondays" at Aces.

Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Mondays
Showcasing the best in touring talent
8 p.m. Mon., June 6 with special guest:
Damon Fowler Group 
No cover

Click to watch the performances and my interview with members of Soupbone andFowler 
8:30 p.m. Monday, June 6

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

UPDATED 6/27.: Former Allman Brothers Band drummer David 'Frankie' Toler has died in Bradenton

UPDATED 6/27: Former Allman Brothers Band drummer Frankie Toler celebrated Saturday in Manatee (with video)

UPDATED 6/8: Frankie Toler being remembered nationwide, with story running in numerous McClatchy Newspapers publications from Sacramento to Miami.

UPDATED 11:30 p.m.: Finished story "Former Allman Brothers drummer dies"/"Former Allman leaves lasting legacy" with a link to sign the Legacy Guest Book.

Paying tribute to Mr. David "Frankie" Toler at Damon Fowler's Sugar Shack Monday at Aces Live in Bradenton.

Watch live streaming video from sugarshackmonday at

UPDATED 2:45 p.m.: Marshall Tucker Band lead singer Doug Gray worked with his friend Frankie Toler from 1992-94.

"Frankie's personality was so big — it stuck out farther than his mighty drumsticks," Gray said. "I didn't know anybody who couldn't talk to him."

Gray paused and added, "There are a lot of people who loved Frankie. I'm just one."

Frankie (left) and brother Dan Toler/undated live photo provided by Mark Pucci Media.

A key player of the national Southern rock scene — and a beloved local — has passed.

David 'Frankie' Toler, former Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman Band and Marshall Tucker Band drummer, died 2 p.m. Saturday at Tidewell hospice care in Bradenton after a prolonged illness following a liver transplant.

He was 59 years old.

Frankie is survived by his wife, Marsha, their daughter, Aja Kayle, and his older brother, Dan Toler, who played with Frankie in the Allman Brothers Band, the Gregg Allman Band and several other projects. Dan Toler headlined MacFest in downtown Bradenton on May 14.

“Frankie was absolutely the best drummer I have ever played with in my entire life," Dan said in a statement. "He was a part of my life for the past 60 years and to lose him now is just devastating. But I did have the opportunity to grow up with one of the best rock and roll drummers in the world and it was truly a gift from God. I was blessed to have known him.”

Frankie Toler’s health had been in decline for several years and it prevented him from recording and going on tour, but after receiving a liver transplant two years ago he had been able to play at some band rehearsals.

Frankie (left) and brother Dan Toler/undated publicity photo provided by Mark Pucci Media.

"It's a sad day in Sarasota, Bradenton and in the music world in general," said Sarasota Blues Festival producer Barbara Strauss. "Danny and Frankie, you always said them in one sentence. They'll always be loved by everyone. Our hearts are broken but there are no words for what Danny and Frankie's family must be going through."

Frankie Toler came to national attention as the drummer on Dickey Betts & Great Southern’s 1978 album "Atlanta's Burning Down" and toured extensively with the group. He was then asked to be the drummer for the Allman Brothers Band and appeared on their 1981 album "Brothers of the Road," which features the Top 40 hit single "Straight from the Heart."

When Gregg Allman began planning his solo album at the time, he only had one drummer in mind for his new band: Frankie Toler. Frankie recorded two albums with Gregg — including the 1986 gold record "I'm No Angel" —  and toured extensively as the drummer with The Gregg Allman Band.

“Frankie was a big part of that era of the Brothers,” Gregg Allman told shortly after Toler’s passing. “We had amazing times and we stayed great friends. I’m gonna miss him.”

Frankie also played and toured with The Marshall Tucker Band from 1992-1994 and he played on their album, "Walk Outside The Line." Frankie, along with his brother Dan, recorded two albums as The Toler Brothers Band and together they toured extensively throughout the country in the early 90s. In 2005, Frankie recorded an album with a legendary ensemble of Southern Rock all-stars as the Renegades of Southern Rock; and in 2009 Frankie played drums on the Toler/Townsend Band’s self-titled first album.

Gregg Allman introducing Frankie Toler and rest of band before performing his solo masterpiece "Queen of Hearts" at New Orleans show from 1982.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jose’s Real Cuban Food air date on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' pushed back

 Jose Baserva by PAUL VIDELA/
The suspense is killing Jose Baserva.

His beloved Bradenton restaurant Jose’s Real Cuban Food had been scheduled to be seen at 9 p.m. on June 6 during an episode of Food Network’s popular road show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

But now Baserva won't know until June 9 when the nation will be able to watch crazy-haired host Guy Fieri dine on his picadillo, paella and boliche.

"I got an email from Food Network saying there was a scheduling conflict," Basevra said. "It will be posted on their website and mine on June 9 as to the exact date of the airing."

(I'll have the info posted here, as well.)

He noted business has quadrupled since the news broke last month.

“It’s nuts, it’s absolutely nuts," Baserva said. "We really appreciate community helping us out."

What's Baserva expect in terms of customer turnout after the show airs?

“Forget it!” he said with a big chuckle.

Jose’s Real Cuban Food is at 8799 Cortez Road, Bradenton.

UPDATED 6/10: Pics of country star Josh Gracin parasailing off Anna Maria Island with local contest winner

 Country music artist Josh Gracin and contest winner Lisa Burns smile after sharing their first parasail off Coquina Beach on Friday. Photo by Grant Jefferies.

UPDATED 6/10: Herald photographer Grant Jefferies and I were on the boat that pulled the parasail for today's story (with more pics)"Country star Josh Gracin parasails off Anna Maria Island."

UPDATED 6/9: "Josh Gracin to parasail over Anna Maria then perform at Joyland."

Country star Josh Gracin has decided to parasail for the first time.

And you could be joining the singer in the skies above the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island.

Gracin, who has sold-out Joyland in Bradenton three times, will join one local winner for his debut parasail trip at YOLO (You Only Live Once) Parasail Adventures.

The high-flying fun is part of a contest Joyland, Cool Today and YOLO Parasail are having to promote Gracin's June 10 concert at Joyland.

Titled "Cool Today's Up, Up n' Away with Josh Gracin," the contest can be entered online by clicking  Cool Today’s Facebook page:

The contest officially begins June 3 but organizers have given Bradenton Herald readers a head start — the link above is live and accepting entries now.

You can be entered until 6:30 p.m. June 8.

Only persons residing in Florida who are at least 18 years of age can enter.

Second Prize:

There will be eight winners who will be invited (with a guest) to a Beach BBQ with Gracin and his Band. The BBQ will occur in the day before his June 10 concert at Joyland. The Beach BBQ will be held on Anna Maria Island and will include food, drinks and a private acoustic performance  Gracin. You also win two tickets to the concert that night.

Third Prize:

There will be six third place winners who will win two tickets to Gracin’s June 10 Concert at Joyland, and Meet and greet Passes to meet Josh before the concert.

Gracin's hits include "Nothing to Lose," "I Want to Live," "Brass Bed" and "We Weren't Crazy."

Concert details: 8 p.m., June 10, Joyland, 5520 14th St., Bradenton.  Tickets: $10 (advance) $15 (door). Information: (941)  756-6060 or

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TONIGHT: 'Man V. Food Nation' viewing party

Skipper's Smokehouse will be throwing a 'Man V. Food Nation' viewing party this evening for good reason — the iconic Tampa restaurant/music venue is in it.

Adam Richman and crew were at the Skipperdome in February to shoot an episode for the reboot of "Man V. Food," now re-imagined as "Man V. Food Nation."

The revised concept involves the public more in a particular town, getting recommendations for local favorites and has members of the public doing the beloved/dreaded Food Challenges.

Richman didn't do the Food Challenge at Skipper's but he did eat a Grouper Reuben and Gator Ribs "and if you follow in his, er, mouthsteps(?) and order either of them today, you'll receive two-for-one admission to Island Nite (reggae every Wednesday) so you can dance off those calories," reads the press release.

Visit the MVFN page on the Travel Channel site for more info about the show and to see behind-the-scene photos,

9 p.m in the Oyster Bar and Smoking Garden.
Skipper's Smokhouse

Can’t be here in person? Watch in on Brighthouse 54 (standard), 1267 (HD)and Verizon 170 (standard), 1623 (standard), 670 (HD).