Tuesday, February 28, 2023

My Comix Zone And Comics Zone: Two Blocks (And A Lot Of Comic Books) In North Syracuse

Some (not quite all) of the new comic books I purchased at Comix Zone over the last two weeks or so

A random thought occurred to me last week, after I picked up my regular weekly haul of new comic books at Comix Zone in North Syracuse. Over the course of my life, and specifically over the course of the nearly six decades since the 1966 Batman TV series compelled me to become a comic book fan, I've bought more new (and old) comic books within a roughly two-block radius of Comix Zone's location than I've purchased in any other small geographic area. It's possible I've bought more comics in that two-block comics zone than the combined number of comics I bought elsewhere.

That shouldn't be much of a revelation. I grew up in North Syracuse, lived there until I graduated from college in 1980. I bought a lot of comics in other places, too--in the city of Syracuse and in some of its other suburbs, in bus stations from here to Southwest Missouri, at stores in Missouri and Kansas, in California, in Florida, in Brockport, Buffalo, Manhattan, Staten Island, maybe in Vermont, definitely in Arkansas, some other North Syracuse locations, and possibly some other elsewheres my mind can't conjure on demand--but that two-block span in the 13212 zip code has loomed largest in my comics-buyin' legend.

That started with Sweethearts Corner, a grocery store at the corner of Taft Road and Main Street. I didn't get my very first comic books at Sweethearts; my initial 12-cent acquisitions were scored in Aurora, Missouri in the summer of '66, preceded by several hand-me-down comics and followed by a few cover-compromised books (including my cherished Superboy # 129) my dad let me pick out at a shop much farther down Taft Road, all (I think) before I started spinnin' the rack at Sweethearts. Sweethearts became my go-to funnybook connection in '67. 

The Spectre # 1. Fantastic Four # 73. Justice League Of America # 55. Judo Master # 96. I won't attempt a list of individual comic books (nor even individual comic book series) I snagged at Sweethearts in the '60s and into the '70s. Trust me: there were a lot.

Even then, though, I was also buying comics in other locales, and I loaded up on new comic books while vacationing in Missouri most summers. I'm not sure that two-block comics zone could have claimed credit for an unchallenged plurality of my comics purchases at the time. 

The 1970s bolstered the comics zone's case. In addition to Sweethearts, there were occasional coverless comics purchased at McMahon's Grocery, right across the street from Sweethearts. On the same side of Main Street as Sweethearts, but separated by Taft Road, the Williams Shopping Plaza housed a drug store, Henry & Hines (later Gold Star Pharmacy), that also sold comics. I bought a ton of stuff at the drug store, especially when I was in high school; the high school grounds were directly adjacent to the Williams plaza. That plaza was also home to World Of Books, where (not counting stuff I scored in trades with friends) I bought my first back-issue comic books.

My comics buying tapered off when I was in college. I'd guess my final lower-case comics zone purchase was circa '77 or '78. It would be a very long time before I made another.

I spent most of the '80s away from Syracuse, living in Brockport and Buffalo, and buying my comics where I lived. When I moved back to the 315 area code in 1987, I lived on the city's North side, within easy walking distance of Twilight Book And Game Emporium, a shop owned by an old friend named Bob Gray. I bought my comics at Twilight, and continued to do so even after buying a house in the suburbs in 1989. 

Twilight closed its doors around 2000. A referral led me to Comix Zone in North Syracuse.

At the time, Comix Zone was in a tiny plaza on Main Street, directly opposite the plaza formerly known as Williams. I've been a contented Comix Zone customer throughout this newfangled millennium so far. They're in a bigger store now, but in the same familiar 13212 comics zone: in the former Williams plaza, not far from where Henry & Hines was, across the parking lot from where World Of Books was.

I'm at Comix Zone every week. I buy comics faster than I read them, but I do buy them, and I do read them. The sheer bulk of titles I've purchased at Comix Zone over more than two decades adds to the accumulated books I got at Sweethearts, McMahon's, Henry & Hines/Gold Star, and World Of Books to assure that this two-block comics zone in North Syracuse is the area where I've purchased the most comic books.

And I'm a big fan of Comix Zone. The store's owner Greg and his enforcers Mike and Matt treat their customers like gold, the place is well-stocked and well-organized, and it's a joy to buy my comics there. I aim to continue doing just that, at least until I finally grow up out of this superhero nonsense.

Heh. That ain't happenin'. And tomorrow is Wednesday. NEW COMIC BOOK DAY! Which means I'll be back at Comix Zone for my weekly fresh fix. Up, up, and away!

(For additional reminiscences of my life as a comic book fan, see also my pieces about buying comic books since 1966, DC's 100-Page Super Spectaculars, writing letters to comic book letters columns, the original Captain Marvel, BatmanAquaman, the Legion of Super-HeroesNot Brand Echh, Marvel Comics, Marvel Super-HeroesQuicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Inferior 5, Charlton Comics, E-Man, and the Red Tornado. Among others!)

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

Carl's new book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones is now available for preorder, courtesy of the good folks at Rare Bird Books. Gabba Gabba YAY!!

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

Monday, February 27, 2023

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1170

First off: a MILLION thanks to America's Sweetheart Irene Peña for asking Dana & Carl to appear as live guests Sunday on her Twitch TV channel Irene Peña Music. Extra thanks to Irene's surprise guests Dolph Chaney, Bruce Gordon, and Steve Stoeckel, and super extra thanks for their outpouring of support for this little mutant radio show. We felt special! And we are very nearly humbled.

Naturally, we opened our own show this week with a shot of Irene's music. "Must've Been Good" was the first Irene Peña track we ever heard, thanks to a heads-up from our longtime pal John M. Borack. John plays drums on the track, from Irene's 2016 EP Trying Not To Smile, and it was the start of a long and percolatin' connection with Irene and her peerless pop performances. In 2017, Irene allowed us to use "Must've Been Good" on our compilation album This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4. To us, she's been America's Sweetheart ever since.

As This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio heads into the third month of its 25th year, and the Dana & Carl radio partnership has already blitzkrieg-bopped past its 31st anniversary, we realize we're still here in large part because of the friends we've made along the way.

So gather 'round and turn it up, friends. We have another invigmoratin' batch of tunes slapped together for our mutual listening pleasure. Here's to all of you, all of us

Must've been good? No. Must've been GREAT. This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on another Sunday night in Syracuse this week.

This show is available as a podcast.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, streaming at SPARK stream, and on the Radio Garden app as WESTCOTT RADIO. Recent shows are archived at Westcott Radio

You can read all about this show's long and weird history here: Boppin' The Whole Friggin' Planet (The History Of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO)

TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS are always welcome.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:

Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download
Volume 5: CD or download

HEY! Looking for something to read? Check out Carl's book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones You can also follow Carl's daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at https://carlcafarelli.blogspot.com/ If you would like to receive links to each day's blog, please reply to this email.

TIRnRR # 1170: 2/26/2023
TIRnRR FRESH SPINS! Tracks we think we ain't played before are listed in bold

THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? (Rhino, End Of The Century)
OLD TOWN CRIER: Everybody's Somebody's Baby (n/a, A Night With Old Town Crier)
THE SUGARCUBES: Motorcrash (Elektra, Life's Too Good)
OSCAR TONEY JR: Moon River (Westside, Oscar's Winners)
THE EDGAR WINTER GROUP: Hangin' Around (Epic, They Only Come Out At Night)
STAR COLLECTOR: Beat It To Death (n/a, Attack, Sustain, Decay...Repeat)
BADFINGER: Love Is Easy (Real Gone Music, Badfinger)
THE FOUR TOPS: If I Were A Carpenter (Hip-O Select, 50th Anniversary--The Singles Collection)
NEW ORDER: Working Overtime (Warner Brothers, Waiting For The Sirens' Call)
THE CYNZ: Tell That Girl To Shut Up (Jem, single)
TRANSVISION VAMP: Born To Be Sold (MCA, Velveteen)
THE STAYAWAKES: I'm Still Waiting (Kool Kat Musik, VA: Redrawn--A Tribute To The Pencils)
THE BABLERS: I Hope It Wouldn't Rain Tomorrow (Big Stir, Psychadilly Circus)
STEVE STOECKEL: Mod Girl [a cappella mix] (unreleased; full-band version available on the Big Stir Records album The Power Of And)
MAJOR LANCE: It's The Beat (Epic, Everybody Loves A Good Time!)
HOLLY & THE ITALIANS: Just For Tonight (Wounded Bird, The Right To Be Italian)
AIMEE MANN: Choice In The Matter (DGC, I'm With Stupid)
THE MONKEES: You Told Me (Rhino, Headquarters)
EDDIE FLOYD: But It's Alright (Stax. Knock On Wood)
THE RAMONES: Any Way You Want It (Radioactive, Greatest Hits Live)
BEN VAUGHN: Sundown, Sundown (Bar/None, Mono USA)
EYTAN MIRSKY: If I Could Only Draw (single)
DAVE MASON: Waitin' On You (Rev-Ola, Alone Together)
RANSOM & THE SUBSET: Don't Remember What Was Her Name (Futureman, Perfect Crimes)
HERMAN'S HERMITS: Searching For The Southern Sun (Repertoire, Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter OST [expanded])
LITTLE RICHARD: Bama Lama, Bama Loo (Specialty, The Very Best Of Little Richard)
THE BEATLES: I'm Down (Apple, Past Masters)
THE WHO: The Good's Gone (MCA, My Generation)
ROY LONEY & THE LONGSHOTS: Don't You Think My Heart (Sound Asleep, VA: Hit The Hay--Volume 12)
WRECKLESS ERIC & AMY RIGBY: Rebel Girl Rebel Girl (Southern Domestic, A Working Museum)
DONNA SUMMER: He's A Rebel (Mercury, She Works Hard For The Money)
THE YARDBIRDS: Little Games (Rhino, Ultimate!)
AMOS MILBURN: Down The Road Apiece (EMI, The Best Of Amos Milburn--Down The Road Apiece)
WARREN ZEVON: Poor Poor Pitiful Me (Rhino, Genius)
THE CLASH: Train In Vain (Epic, Clash On Broadway)
THE PRETENDERS: Brass In Pocket (Sire, The Singles)
RANDY KLAWON & JIM BONFANTI: Marlo Maybe (single)
WET LEG: Chase Longue (Domino, Wet Leg)
WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour (Rhino, A Man And A Half)
LINDA RONSTADT: How Do I Make You (Rhino, Greatest Hits 
KISS: Easy As It Seems (Mercury, Unmasked)
THE ZOMBIES: What More Can I Do (Big Beat, Zombie Heaven)
THE SPONGETONES: Got Nothing Left To Hide (Black Vinyl, Oh Yeah!)
THE MILKSHAKES: You Can Only Lose (Damaged Goods, Talkin' Bout...Milkshakes!/After School Session)
HOT NUN: Hey You (single)
THE CRICKLE: Place In My Heart (ROIR, VA: Garage Sale)
BILLY SCOTT & THE GEORGIA PROPHETS: I Got The Fever (Ripete, VA: The Beach Music Anthology)
LAURIE & THE SIGHS: Face To Face (Wounded Bird, Laurie and the Sighs)
THE RAMONES: I Believe In Miracles (Sire, Brain Drain)
LES HANDCLAPS: Shake Your Tailfeather (Handclaps, Ouh Ouh Ah!)
BLOTTO: Twist And Shout (n/a, Live At The Jab 9/17/81)
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE: Better Things (Rykodisc, VA: This Is Where I Belong)
THE KINKS: Destroyer (Velvel, Give The People What They Want)
THE ISLEY BROTHERS: I Say Love (Varese Sarabande, Shake It Up, Baby!)
THE JAYHAWKS: She Walks In So Many Ways (Rounder, Mockingbird Time)
JUNIPER: I Cry Cause I Care (Confidential, She Steals Candy)

Sunday, February 26, 2023


This week brings a DOUBLE DOSE of Dana & Carl! At 7 pm Eastern, we'll be the guests of America's Sweetheart IRENE PEÑA on her Twitch TV channel IRENE PEÑA MUSIC. She'll ask us some questions, random viewers like you will ask us questions, and we'll refuse to answer on advice of counsel. JOIN US, Sunday February 26th, 7 pm Eastern, at  https://www.twitch.tv/irenepenamusic. After that: WE STILL GOT A RADIO SHOW! A radio show with music from--of course!--America's Sweetheart IRENE PEÑA, EYTAN MIRSKY, LITTLE RICHARD, HOT NUNTHE FOUR TOPSTHE STAYAWAKES, OLD TOWN CRIER, THE CYNZ, HOLLY AND THE ITALIANS, STAR COLLECTOR, THE MONKEES, BADFINGER, RANSOM AND THE SUBSET, BLOTTO, THE ISLEY BROTHERS, STEVE STOECKEL, EDDIE FLOYD, ROY LONEY AND THE LONGSHOTS, and much, much more. More Dana & Carl than you can stand! First with Irene Peña on Twitch TV at 7 pm Eastern, then our own little mutant radio show on SPARK! WSP 103.3 and 93.7 FM in Syracuse, and via the TuneIn Radio and Radio Garden apps as WESTCOTT RADIO. The weekend stops HERE!

Saturday, February 25, 2023


This Sunday, February 26th, America's Sweetheart Irene Peña will welcome Dana & Carl as her live guests on her Twitch TV channel Irene Peña Music. The conversation commences at 7 pm Eastern, and we'll talk about...well, it's a live event, so I don't know yet what we'll talk about. Hey! That means you can tune in and find out at the same time WE find out! I think we're even taking questions from viewers, so ask us something interesting.

I imagine we'll chat a bit about the secret origin of Irene's billing as "America's Sweetheart." Yeah, that definitely started here on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio. My archives surrendered these little blurbs about that:

"I don't remember when it was that we started referring to singer-songwriter Irene Peña as America's Sweetheart. We did call her a sweetie in this 2017 piece, which chronicled our path to discovering the sweet wonder of Irene's music. However the billing manifested, it's an ongoing testimony to the prevailing vibrance of the Irene Peña sound...."

"Attempts at branding are part and parcel of my silly ambition to pretend TIRnRR is a force in pop culture. Humor me; I'm harmless. So we become The Best Three Hours Of Radio On The Whole Friggin' Planet, preaching The Joy Of Radio, noting that Radio's Job Is To Sell RecordsThe Kinks become The House BandThe Ramones are The American Beatles, The Greatest American Rock 'n' Roll Band Of All Time. And Irene Peña is America's Sweetheart...."

"Is Irene Peña America's Sweetheart? She is if This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio says she is, and [ahemThis Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio says she is. See, there it is in print and everything...."

"The good folks at Big Stir Records have taken a shine to our description of Irene Peña as 'America's Sweetheart,' and that's how ya start a movement, friends...."

I agree with me! Irene's work has enhanced the TIRnRR experience since our belated discovery of its beauty, splendor, and wonder a little over five years ago. Which brings up two more archival blurbs:

"One of the many greater goods understood on this little mutant radio show is that when Irene Peña puts out a song, we play it. Duh...."

"As much as I hate being late to a party, a great party can embrace the tardy and make us feel as welcome as its first revelers. It's been ten years since the release of Nothing To Do With You, the debut album from Irene Peña. We didn't hear about Irene until late 2016 (a story told here), and we've been playing catch-up ever since..."

But just because Dana & Carl were late to the party, that doesn't mean you should make the same mistake. And don't be late for Irene's Twitch TV party with Dana & Carl this Sunday, February 26th at 7 pm Eastern. She'll bring the sweet, we'll bring the curmudgeonly, and we'll have an event. A LIVE event! TWITCH AND SHOUT! Hope you can join us.

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

Carl's new book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones is now available for preorder, courtesy of the good folks at Rare Bird Books. Gabba Gabba YAY!!

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

Friday, February 24, 2023

10 SONGS: 2/24/2023

10 Songs is a weekly list of ten songs that happen to be on my mind at the moment. The lists are usually dominated by songs played on the previous Sunday night's edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. The idea was inspired by Don Valentine of the essential blog I Don't Hear A Single.

This week's edition of 10 Songs draws exclusively from the playlist for This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1169. This show is available as a podcast.


As the pop world mourns the passing of the legendary Burt Bacharach, we decided to thread a tribute to Bacharach and his frequent songwriting partner Hal David throughout this week's program. I think we managed a nice blend of recognized prerequisites from the Bacharach-David songbook with a few less-expected choices in song and/or performer.

Our first strand of that thread was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' title tune from the all-star 1967 James Bond comedy Casino Royale. It's an instrumental, so you don't hear lyricist David's work here, but we chose the track deliberately as our snarky response to pundits who greeted news of Bacharach's passing with quotes from what they mistakenly believed were Bacharach's lyrics. Bacharach was the melody guy; he collaborated with gifted lyricists like David, and it's a disservice to those lyricists to assign credit to Bacharach.

Although Hal David passed in 2012, we wanted to pay equal tribute to David in our salute to Burt Bacharach. And, since "Casino Royale" does have lyrics--they're just not used in this instrumental version--the song is credited to Bacharach and David. And our Bacharach-David tribute was under way. With guns. And knives. We're fighting for our lives...!


In our position as hosts of The Best Three Hours Of Radio On The Whole Friggin' Planet, Dana and I possess the good sense, good taste, and good, good, good, good vibrations to be big fans of the music of Steve Stoeckel. Steve Stoeckel in the Spongetones? Check! Steve Stoeckel in Jamie and Steve? ALSO check! Steve Stoeckel in Pop Co-Op? Checkity-check-checkaroonie! Steve Stoeckel and his THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL Allstars? Duh. All good!

So of course we're delighted to expand that ongoing circle o' good with Steve's first-ever solo album The Power Of And. We've been playing stellar tracks from The Power Of And the past few weeks, and this week we got around to "Mod Girl." There's a lot of good stuff on this record.

And we got around to "Mod Girl" twice this week. We played the album track, and in the following set we played an unreleased a cappella mix that shows off the amazing backing vocals by Jamie Hoover and Elena Rogers. Goosebump City! We sure hope the good folks at Big Stir Records release this mix as well. And we'll play it again next week.

IRENE PEÑA: In This Room

Yes, it's America's Sweetheart Irene Peña! "In This Room" is my favorite among a big stack of sublime Irene Peña numbers, and it's available on her digital album Nothing To Do With You, and on our 2022 compilation This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5. This particular spin was in anticipation of Dana & Carl's guest appearance on Irene's Twitch TV channel Irene Peña Music this coming Sunday, February 26th, at 7 pm Eastern. SUNDAY! We'll chat! We'll laugh! She'll wonder why she's wasting her valuable time on the likes of Dana & Carl! But she'll manage it all with a smile (or at least a smirk), because she's AMERICA'S SWEETHEART! We hope you'll join us on Twitch this Sunday, and then come back for TIRnRR as we open our show with another example of Irene's musical magic. Sweet is its own reward.

MIKE BROWNING: Blood Of Oblivion

We have played Mike Browning's fabulous current cover of the Rainy Daze's 1967 obscurity "Blood Of Oblivion" each and every week since its release as a single earlier this year. It is guaranteed a berth on our 2023 year-end countdown show. An act of Congress couldn't keep it out. It's taking a break next week, but we absolutely love it, and it will be back very, very soon.


Fab musician Johnathan Pushkar is into the Marvel Comics movies, and I think he's also into the comic books that spawned that cinematic universe. Me, too! I identify as more of a DC Comics guy in general--I'm BATMAN!!--but I love DC and Marvel superheroes as much as I love my rockin' pop music. Johnathan's new single "Let's Get Small" provides an opportunity to combine those interests, with an engaging li'l radio-ready ditty in tribute to the latest Marvel cinematic outing, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Pop guys ASSEMBLE!

I go back a long, long way with Ant-Man. The current character (on film and on the comics page) is Scott Lang, but my Ant-Man in the '60s and '70s was Dr. Hank Pym. By the time I first saw the character in 1966, he'd already grown into being Giant-Man, a member of the Mighty Avengers. After my earlier introduction to Marvel with Sub-Mariner and the Incredible Hulk in Tales To Astonish, Giant-Man and his fellow Avengers the Wasp, the Mighty Thor, the Invincible Iron Man, and Captain America represented my second exposure to the Marvel Age of Comics.

This comic book was published in 1965. but I saw it in '66
I'm proud of my passions. At the still-(willfully) immature age of 63, I keep on blasting my music, reading my comic books, and seeing most of the new superhero flicks as they're released. Dig what you dig. 

A few recent purchases at Comix Zone in North Syracuse
Johnathan Pushkar gets it. Those who don't get it are just thinking too small.

GENE PITNEY: Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

COLIN HAY: I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
NANCY SINATRA: Wishin' And Hopin'

The results of playlist construction can surprise even the ones who construct 'em. It was a given that a Dusty Springfield track would be part of our Bacharach-David thread. I figured it would be Dusty's version of "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself"...until I decided some intangible oomphability in ex-Men At Work frontman Colin Hay's rendition suited our needs better.

Right. So! Dusty's "Wishin' And Hopin'," a record I fondly remember from my childhood. Slam dunk choice. Then I heard Nancy Sinatra's version, and really wanted to include that. I wasn't gonna give up on Dusty--no way, no how--so her shimmering performance of "The Look Of Love" became our designated Dusty Bacharach-David.

During the show, we heard from listeners who regard "The Look Of Love" as Dusty's best record, and their favorite rendition of any Bacharach-David gem ever recorded by anyone. See, the playlist takes care of itself. Even when it surprises us.

THE RAMONES: She's The One

The American Beatles. The greatest American rock 'n' roll band of all time. For me, 2023 is the year of the Ramones. Sure, every year is another 1-2-3-4! Ramones year in these quarters, but especially so this year because of my Ramones book. As someone who's spent the last five decades wanting to write books, finally getting my first book published is a pretty big deal. I'm going to try not to be a boor about it, try to rein in my enthusiasm as much as I can, but...yeah, this is a pretty big freakin' deal.

But it was Dana who played the Ramones on this week's show. From the group's fantastic 1978 album Road To Ruin, "She's The One" was described in Bomp! magazine as the Ramones' best-ever fast song. Since the lads weren't especially known for their ballads, that's high praise. And it's another high-octane part of my year of the Ramones.

DIONNE WARWICK: Do You Know The Way To San Jose

We end almost all of our shows with at least one after-the-tag bonus track--WAITWAITWAITWAITWAITWAIT! We got a little more This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio!--to spin immediately after Dana and I have signed off for the week. Given our Bacharach-David tribute thread, this week's bonus also needed to be something from that songbook.

My original intent was to use the 5th Dimension's "One Less Bell To Answer" in this spot. As I thought more about it, and knowing that Dionne Warwick was often said to be Bacharach's favorite interpreter of his work, and even though we'd already played her superb rendition of "Walk On By," it felt imperative to end with a Warwick track. 

And it had to be "Do You Know The Way To San Jose." I remember the song from its hit heyday in 1968, which just happened to be the summer I made my first trip to California (a tale told as part of this long narrative of my life in the '60s). The track's sprightly, winning ambiance belies the capitulation expressed in its lyrics. 

Or is it capitulation? Granted, the singer in this story is ditching dreams of stardom in L.A. for a reset in San Jose, presenting a spiritual predecessor to the luckless would-be superstar catching a midnight train to Georgia in the classic '70s hit by Gladys Knight and the Pips. But both Dionne and Gladys see a path to a potential happy ending. There are many ways to succeed. Some of those ways include success on one's own terms.

Do you know the way? It seems that Dionne Warwick did know. Bacharach and David definitely knew. Whether a great big freeway like L.A. or a chance to really breathe in San Jose, Hal David's words teamed with Burt Bacharach's melodies to craft the sound of the American...no, the International Dream.

(I almost included a little snippet of me trying to sing the first verse of "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" before introducing Dionne's record as the way the song is supposed to sound. I thought better of it. I'm certain Dionne would have remained Bacharach's favorite. And rightly so.)

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

Carl's new book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones is now available for preorder, courtesy of the good folks at Rare Bird Books. Gabba Gabba YAY!!

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

Thursday, February 23, 2023


Please indulge me for a minute. Today's post is all about me.

When you write a book, part of the process of selling the book is the act of selling yourself. Not in the negative sense of selling out (though, for the record, I'd sell out in a heartbeat if anyone were buyin'), but in terms of hyping the sheer 'n' irresistible wonder of you and what you do.

Charged with that task, I prepared an about-the-author bit for my new book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones. Oh, before I forget: the laws of self-hype demand I mention that the book is due May 9th from Rare Bird Books, and that the book is already available for your preordering needs RIGHT HERE!! See? I speak fluent hype!

The graphic up top shows my About The Author bio as it will appear on the inner flap of the book's dust jacket. Below is the original, pre-edit draft of the bio:

CARL CAFARELLI is the co-host (with Dana Bonn) of the long-running weekly broadcast and internet radio show This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. When he's not playing records and yelling into the microphone, Cafarelli has been writing about rock 'n' roll, pop music, and pop culture for nearly forty years. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame cited his 1994 interviews with the Ramones as “essential reading," and Not Lame Media referred to Cafarelli as “one of the world’s most respected power pop scholars.” Cafarelli has written for Goldmine, DISCoveries, The Syracuse New Times, The Buffalo News, Rhino Records, Warner Brothers Records, BMG Europe, and more. Cafarelli maintains his daily--DAILY!!--blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), an ill-advised commitment which calls his sanity into question. But we love 'im anyway, the big lug! Cafarelli's work has been referenced in Billboard and Rolling Stone. Cafarelli has written short fiction for AHOY Comics, and contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked TruthShake Some Action, MusicHound Rock, and Lost In The Grooves. Cafarelli still revels in the memory of a letter from a pair of disgruntled Goldmine readers insisting, "Carl Cafarelli should have his head examined!" And that was before he started blogging every freakin' day.

Cafarelli lives with his wife Brenda in the suburbs outside Syracuse, New York. Their daughter Meghan is Carl and Brenda's proudest accomplishment.

Awwww...! But it's true, especially the part about Meghan. The credits are all legit, though the Buffalo News one is a tiny stretch; I wrote a couple of TV reviews for the paper's Critics At Large column, for which I was paid the princely cumulative sum of $20. In 1985 money! That's sufficient justification to pad the ol' résumé with a reference to The Buffalo News.

For additional background info, here's a different bio I did a few years ago (for my long-threatened, still in development book The Greatest Record Ever Made! Volume 1):

Carl Cafarelli has written about rock ‘n’ roll, pop music, and pop culture since 1984. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame cited his interviews with The Ramones as “essential reading.” Not Lame Media referred to Cafarelli as “one of the world’s most respected power pop scholars,” Rex Broome of Los Angeles record label Big Stir Records called him a “scene legend,” and critic Bill Holmes described him as “[one of] the most trusted names in pop journalism.” Legendary rock critic John Mendelsson “flipped out” over Cafarelli’s personal reminiscence of discovering the music of Buddy Holly as a teen in the ‘70s. These quotes make Cafarelli blush and preen, all at the same time. Cafarelli’s byline is viewed by fans of pop journalism as a guarantee of passionate, informed, and accomplished writing about the music they love.

Since 1998, Cafarelli has been the co-host (with Dana Bonn) of the weekly radio show This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, which airs Sunday nights in Syracuse, NY on SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, sparksyracuse.org. Cafarelli and Bonn have assembled, designed, annotated, produced, and promoted four nationally-released, critically praised This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio compilation CDs to date, featuring contributions from artists including the Cowsills, the Smithereens, and the Rubinoos. Cafarelli was a regular contributor to Goldmine magazine for 20 years, and is currently a contributor to AHOY Comics, one of the most buzz-worthy publishers in the current market. He maintains his own daily blog, Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do), which he started in the immediate aftermath of David Bowie’s death in 2016.
Cafarelli’s writing for Goldmine was seen by an average readership of 30,000 music fans and record collectors, and Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) has nearly a half million views. Cafarelli’s work has been referenced in BillboardRolling Stone, the venerable UK rock magazine Bucketfull Of Brains, and in the books Cult Rockers, Sound Tracks: A Musical ABC, Play On! Power Pop Heroes, The Popular Music Teaching Handbook, and Boys Don’t Lie: A History Of Shoes.

In addition to his work for Goldmine, AHOY Comics, and Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do), Cafarelli has written for Rhino RecordsThe Syracuse New TimesDISCoveriesREET! magazine, Warner Brothers RecordsBMG EuropeAmazing HeroesThe Buffalo NewsBig Stir magazine, Yeah Yeah Yeah magazine, The Comics Buyers’ GuideThe Power Pop Hall Of FameJem RecordsKool Kat MusikComics CollectorWizzard In Vinyl (Japan), Air Mail Recordings (Japan), International Pop OverthrowAudities, and Love Letters To Rock N Roll. He contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked TruthShake Some ActionMusicHound Rock, and Lost In The Grooves, and still revels in the memory of the letter from a pair of disgruntled Goldmine readers insisting “Carl Cafarelli ought to have his head examined!”

In his home town of Syracuse, NY, Cafarelli was the promoter, co-organizer, and co-host of BRIGHT LIGHTS!, a  phenomenally successful series of live performances reuniting acts from Syracuse’s late ‘70s and early ‘80s punk and new wave scenes. As an expert on pop music, he has been interviewed for TV, radio, newspapers, books, and magazines in Syracuse, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Brooklyn, and the Hudson Valley, with a radio interview for Maui’s KMNO-FM Mana’o Radio planned for the near future.  

Dorothy Parker said she hated writing, and loved having written. Cafarelli loves both parts of the process, from inspiration through perspiration, rewrites, honing, crafting, getting it right, encouraging the work to speak in its own voice. Writing is nearly as much fun as music. And writing about music? That pleasure is infinite.

CC? That's me! For now, you can even call me CC Ramone. My book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones ain't far, not hard to reach. Gabba Gabba Hey! And you can quote me. That's what this author's all about.

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

Carl's new book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones is now available for preorder, courtesy of the good folks at Rare Bird Books. Gabba Gabba YAY!!

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl