Scotty Moore: “Elvis Presley, What Kind Of Name Is That?”

‘Elvis Presley, what kind of damn name is that?’
An interview with legendary guitarist Scotty Moore

By E.C. Gladstone

Scotty Moore should need no introduction. Unfortunately, his name is hardly well known, though his music is among the most popular around the world. How? Because Moore, one of the “three wise men” of rock and roll, if you will, was the guitarist on the earliest, and best, Elvis Presley records, including those originally credited to “Elvis Scotty & Bill” or “the Blue Moon Boys”: “That’s Alright. Mama,” “Blue Moon,” “Mystery Train,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight” “Blue Suede Shoes” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock”…yes, all of these, and a lot more.

In fact, it wouldn’t be hard to argue that without a Scotty Moore, there wouldn’t be an Elvis Presley. Back in 1954, Moore (already a Korean war Navy vet) was playing semi-professionally for the Starlite Wranglers, who recorded for Sun at the Memphis Recording Service, when the subject of “an interesting boy singer” came up in conversation with Sam Phillips and his secretary Marion Keisker. Even lesser known is the fact that Moore was also Presley’s first manager, as detailed in his recently published memoir That’s Alright, Elvis. But we’ll let Scotty tell the story…

At 75, with notable successes as a label owner and producer also to his credit (not to mention sigcant work with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and others) Moore is still active, playing around the world and enjoying his rare “living legend” status (not only is he in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, but almost every other guitarist there owes him a huge debt). caught up to him at the 5th Annual Ponderosa Stomp Festival in downtown Memphis, TN, right where the whole thing started.


Scotty, let’s start with the obvious. Elvis, Scotty and Bill were put together by Sam Phillips, right?

“There’s a couple of different sides to that, that I wasn’t privy to. I didn’t know that he [Elvis] had been there [Memphis Recording Service.] before, the stuff with Marion, all this came out later. But when I did the first [Starlight Wranglers] record  I became good friends with Sam. That record probably sold 8 copies, but we became good friends. And the job I had, I’d go by Sun in the afternoon, and if he wasn’t recording anybody, we’d go next door to Miss Taylor’s restaurant, drink coffee and just chit-chat about the business in general.

So you always had an interest in the business side of things as well (Moore later had success as a label owner, producer, and studio manager)?

“Oh yeah. Right. And actually Marion Keisler, she was having coffee with us one day and she turned to Sam and said ‘What about that boy that was in here ‘couple weeks ago? Did you ever call him?’ Because she had actually cut the demo acetate on Elvis. She was struck by it. And he said, ‘No I never did.’ But I hadn’t heard the [boy’s] name. This went on about 2 weeks, every time I’d go by, I’d say ‘Ever talk to that boy you was talking about ?’ No. And then about two weeks, ‘What about the boy?’ Still hadn’t heard his name. And he said to Marion, ‘Go get that guy’s telephone number,’ and he turned to me and said, ‘listen to him and tell me what you think.’ I looked at the paper and said ‘Elvis Presley, what kind of damn name is that?’ [laughs]

“That’s the first time I’d heard his name. This would’ve been the 3rd of July. The 4th was on Sunday, and we actually cut on the 5th. So I went home and called him, and his mother said ‘he’s not here but when he gets in I’ll have him’ Which he did, and I asked him to come over to my house. He came over to my house on Sunday, and it seemed like he knew every song in the world. I’d name things, do me a country song, do me a pop song, whatever you’d want to name. Bill Black [Starlite Wranglers bassist] lived just a few doors down from me at the time. And he came down and listened. And after Elvis left, Bill came back down and I said ‘What’d you think about him?’ And he said ‘Well, he’s got real good meter.’ That’s what really impressed both of us.

By ‘meter’ you mean… a sense of rhythm?

“Sense of rhythm. He’d sing a song, he’d quit playing and sing it and come back in and it was perfect, every time. So Bill said, he’s got good timing, and I said, yeah he does. That’s what our impression was. That’s about all that was said. And I called Sam and told him, ‘knows all the songs, got good timing.’ And he said ‘I’ll call him and see if he’ll come in tomorrow night, Monday. Can you and Bill come in?’

“Now, tape recording was very new at that time. You had disc machines and stuff. He said ‘I want to hear what he sounds like on tape, and I just want a little music behind him to see what he sounds like.’ So Bill and I went on Monday night, worked 2-3 hours, same old deal, say ‘you know so-and-so [song],’ and I guess it was around 9:30, it was getting time to get home ‘cause Bill and I had to go to work the next day. I was working as a hatter at my brother’s cleaning plant, University Park Cleaners. Blocking hats, cleaning ‘em. I think I had already pulled my guitar case over and was starting to put my guitar in it, and Elvis stood up and started slapping his guitar and singing “That’s All Right.”

“Now I don’t know to this day—of course, Sam had released this song before on [Arthur] Crudup [editor’s note: actually, Crudup recorded the song in the ‘40s for RCA] and Elvis knew the song. Now whether he was trying to impress Sam, it was never mentioned. I hadn’t heard it, Bill had never heard it. Sam stuck his head out the door, the door was cracked open, he said ‘What’s that you guys are doin’?’ We said, ‘just goofing around,’ and he said, ‘well everybody get back on mic, let me hear a little bit more. With about three or four takes, that was the first record.

Other than that, what’s your favorite memory of Elvis?

“Oh, I don’t think I could break it down to just one. See, when he was onstage, it was really a joke to him, too. It really was.

You know, I’ve noticed when you look at the old films from ’56, he’s cracking up.

“He’s cracking up! I’d have to go back to…the first thing we played before a live audience was at the Overton Park Band Shell [in Memphis]. There was always ‘extra guests’ [on the shows] and Bob Neal put us on there. And there was several little girls sitting in the front row. We only did two songs, maybe three. If you’ve ever played guitar, try playing rhythm, raising up on the balls of both your feet, in the big britches that they had back in those days, and see what happens. It tore those girls up. They thought he was doing it on purpose [the hip wiggling]. But he was a great learner, anything you’d do, he’d pick up on

Both of those stories, about ‘That’s All Right,’ and the hip wiggling, really point to the fact that Elvis was a very ad-lib type of musician and performer.

“Yeah. He didn’t talk a lot on stage, either. But he’d do little things. I think he thought if all of those little girls laughed, well he’d do it again. Never planned anything.


[A fan interrupts the interview to confirm what a website had said was their first professional gig]

“There was a nightclub in Memphis, out on Summer Avenue–the Holiday Inn was there–where the highway turns, called the Bonaire club.

[The website says something different]

“Well, he wasn’t there… It wasn’t the first professional thing, it was a club, but it wasn’t the first live audience. We took [the gig] to see how the crowd was going to react to him. See I had the other thing, Starlight Wranglers, and the reason we quit that is because, see it was just me and Bill that backed up Elvis on the record. And we went out there and played one night, I think it was only two or three times we played there, and Bill said ‘wait a minute, this ain’t working out, all the rest of the guys [in the Wranglers] get a break, and I’m playing through the breaks.’ That’s why we quit that.

Your book says right in the subtitle that you were not only Elvis’ first guitarist, but also manager, something not a lot of people know. How did that come about?

“How that came about, [after] we did the first record, Bill, myself and Elvis were down the studio one day, and Elvis mentioned to Sam ‘All these people are calling me asking questions and I don’t know what to say, I don’t know how to handle it.’ And it was actually Sam’s idea, he said, Scotty, why don’t you sign a contract with Elvis, so he won’t be lying, a legit contract, so that when people ask him something, he can tell them ‘Talk to my manager.’ And I did, I had a one page contract drawn up for one year, and that’s how all that came about. And then Bob Neal, who was a disc jockey here in Memphis, and had been booking him in some clubs around here [Memphis], he became the second manager before Parker.

So the burning question I’ve always wanted to ask you: which was a harder boss to work for, the US Navy or Col. Tom Parker?

“Well, Parker didn’t like me and and I didn’t like him, from day one. ‘Cause I could see straight through what he was. He was just an old carny man, knew the business, knew how to deal with people to get what he wanted. He did a lot of good things for Elvis, and he did a lot of bad things too, as we know.

Now, the ELVIS TV special in 1968 [a/k/a ’68 Comeback], that was the last time you worked with him I believe. Because you had gone off and done a bunch of other things, record labels and engineering…

“Yeah, especially when he started his movie thing. He didn’t do anything but movies for a long time. And he was very nervous when he did that TV special. That’s why they wanted to get all the old guys, DJ and myself, back out there. And he had a couple of other guys who had been traveling with him also sitting there. That was just strictly for him. But after he did that first song, it come back real quick, and next thing, he stood up. See, we were supposed to be sitting down, nobody had guitar straps or anything. And he stood up, put his foot on the chair—you remember ? The next thing, he looked over, and I think it probably dawned on him, ‘Hell, that guitar’s plugged into the amplifier, you can hear him.’ That’s when he took my guitar! [laughs] If you look at it close, you’ll see the look I made on him too!


Scotty Moore on the ELVIS special, after Elvis has traded guitars.

You’re looking like ‘Uh, okay?”

“What? What?”

Was that a fun moment?

“Yeah, it really was, ‘cause it was good for him. He’d been tired of the movies for a long time, but there again, Parker would sign the contracts on him. It just got to be junk, let’s face it.

Just one more question, as a guitarist, who are your favorite guitar players?

“Gosh, I got so many I don’t know…

Who influenced you coming up?

“Well, actually, when I started playing, see, the records, everybody that was playing guitar on ‘em was fine, but I didn’t know who they were. Les Paul and Chet Atkins were the only two that I can really remember where you’d see their names. On a lot of other records with guitar players on them, you didn’t know who they were. So I just picked up bits and pieces from different ones and tried to incorporate it, I guess.

And I bet you never knew that there were two or three of Les Paul [with overdubbing] on his records!

“No [laughs], I didn’t know. Hank Garland was another one who I loved later on. And the story that’s told on him is that when he heard some of Les’ records with all that overdubbing, he’d go in and figure out how to do it all at once! He was something else.

I heard you mention earlier today that you just had an injury?

“My shoulder. I had an operation on it about two weeks ago. I won’t be playing tonight. I’ve got about 3 or 4 more weeks of rehab to do, then I think I’ll be okay.

Originally posted on 2005

A Silents Tribute

The original history of film studios in Los Angeles has been a topic of interest for me since my role in opening the Edendale Grill restaurant. To give the Oscars a local spin, editor Anthea Raymond asked me to pen a blog focusing just on the elements of the Academy Awards which connected them to the original Edendale studios (many of which pre-dated the studios in neighboring Hollywood).

Here it is:

Revisiting the West Memphis Three

nvg9744-03The recent release of the West Memphis three brought back memories for me. Back before my current career focus, I wrote a vanguard independent film column for Alternative Press magazine. One of the edgy, controversial films I was happy to champion was Paradise Lost, the documentary about the West Memphis Three that brought their story to light, even before Henry Rollins and others were championing them.

I will scan the original article as soon as I locate it, in the meantime, here’s the original text, submitted July 17, 1996:

Head: The Reel Deal

Sub: The art of documentary film and “Non-fiction storytelling”

Despite the nominal success of such films as *Hoop Dreams* and *Roger And Me*, despite the proliferation of “reality-based” TV programming, despite the aping of documentary style in films like *Natural Born Killers* and *To Die For,* documentaries remain an underappreciated art and infotainment form.

“Hollywood is totally about money and power,” says filmmaker Joe Berlinger. “[Those] people don’t ultimately think a documentary has true breakthrough potential.”

When compared to blockbusters like *Independence Day,* Hollywood may have a point. But the films of Berlinger and his partner Bruce Sinofsky, who prefer the term “non-fiction storytelling” to “documentary,” neverless offer gripping drama for theatergoers.

Their new film *Paradise Lost,* which will appear in theaters at the end of September (after premiering at Sundance, and airing on HBO in June), is as harrowing a story as anything Hollywood could have dreamed up. An unintended sequel of sorts to their breakthrough *Brother’s Keeper,* *Paradise Lost*  begins seemingly as a “real-life *River’s Edge*”: In West Memphis, Arkansas, the bodies of three eight year old boys are found in a shallow creek, mutilated, drained of blood, and tied up with shoelaces. Three teenagers are arrested for the crime: a17-year-old with an IQ of 72, who gives a factually erred confession to the police, a mullet-wearing 16-year-old, and Damien Echols, 18, who wears black, listens to heavy metal and confesses a certain “interest” in Wicca, Steven King, and Anton LaVey.

“So what if he wears black pants?” says Damien’s father, one of the many involved parties interviewed by the filmmakers, “Johnny Cash wears black pants.”

As it progresses, the story begins to seem more like the Salem witch trials, in which questionably guilty parties are railroaded just for being outcasts. Myriad intrigues emerge as the two trials progress, particularly when one victim’s stepfather gives the filmmakers a knife which may have been used in the killings. Without any conclusive evidence, and much contradictory testimony from all sides, the three defendants are accused of a satanic ritual killing. Ultimately their convictions prove more about the town of West Memphis, and the American justice system than guilt or innocence.

“To go out into the real world, capture this kind of drama, edit it so that it makes sense dramatically, and is truthful, I think is harder than making a feature film,” says Berlinger, who worked with a crew of four people over a 10 month period, shooting 150 hours of footage on 16 millimeter and video, and spending even more time gaining interviewees’ trust than actually shooting them. “We had no idea where the story was going to take us, and it could have easily fallen apart.” *Paradise Lost* is long, at two and a half hours, but thankfully, never falls apart. It’s also the first film to feature the music of Metallica, who gave permission for free usage because they liked *Brother’s Keeper* and were interested in a story where their music is implicated.

Another documentary due late September in theaters (after premiering at Sundance) also implicates music as a guilty party. *Hype!* tells the story of the rise and fall (or at least, plateau) of Seattle grunge, mixing interviews and live performances from both the famous and lesser-known players of the most recent musical revolution, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Seaweed, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Supersuckers, Mudhoney, the Fastbacks,The Melvins, Gas Huffer and the Gits.

But more than the music, *Hype!* follows “the story about how America packages things,” as director Doug Pray puts it. Soonafter he began filming, Pray recalls, “Everywhere I turned grunge was on the cover of a magazine, grunge was everywhere, and the difference between what was there and what I was reading about was so striking.” Thus *Hype!* includes “grunge” fashion,  the “grunge” effect pedal, “grunge” pencils (from Seattle cartoonist Peter Bagge), Pearl Jam’s appearance as a Jeopardy question, Nirvana muzak, even Seattle band trading cards. It also reveals much about Sub Pop’s abilities to exploit the media, from the initial Everett True story which arguably started the furor, to Megan Jasper’s interview with the New York Times, in which she made up an entire lexicon of non-existent grunge jargon. “75% of what Bruce and Jon say is a lie” says Sub Pop publicist Nils Bernstein of his bosses Pavitt and Poneman, “but it’s served them well.” Behind-the-scenes players Jack Endino, Conrad Uno, Susan Silver and Charles Peterson are also interviewed.

Like Berlinger and Sinofsky, Pray, whose previous experience is limited mostly to music videos, Pray spent more time in the Seattle community (the entire process took three years) gaining trust than just shooting film. Sub Pop, of course, will be releasing the soundtrack.

The Failure of Punk Rock in America: Where It All Started

…well, at least for me.

For curiosity seekers, this is my thesis paper from 11th grade on why punk rock never made a foothold in America (which was quite true at the time). It failed to take into account the influence of commercial radio, but otherwise, in many respects, it still holds up. At least as a document of a cultural moment.

Click to download PDF of full paper!

Click to download PDF of full paper!

The Smithereens Files

The Smithereens were one of the first of several bands coming out of New Jersey that I was fortunate enough to write about in the early years of my career as they emerged to national attention (others included Monster Magnet and Ween). It is an incredible feeling to see a band who played your local bar appear in movies, on TV, and eventually score a #1 hit. I think these articles (three revisions in a short period of time) capture the energy and excitement of that experience, even if they are very rough by my own standards today.

Click on all pages to enlarge.






Haute Living blog: Los Angeles Culture


Arts, museums and culture aren’t easy-sell topics on the web, so it’s a pleasure to have a forum to promote them, even a little. Here are a few of my blogs on cultural events, gallery showings and more in LA:

Dance: Baryshnikov, A Legendary Occasion

Singular Cause, Singular Event: Art Project Los Angeles Benefit

Haute Performance: Shen Yun at Dorothy Chandler

LAND Sakes: An Arts Benefit Not to be Missed

Haute Tribute: The Academy’s Classic Cinema

Decorative Haute: The Furniture of Charles Rohlfs

Competitive Canvases: Thomas Eakins’ Sporting Lives

Haute Ticket: Rent Hits Hollywood Bowl With A-List Cast

Conceptually Haute: John Baldessari’s Pure Beauty

Music to My Ears: The Haute 5 Live Music Venues in Los Angeles

Classics Revisited: Dick Van Dyke’s Geffen Benefit

Party Time: The Haute 5 Galas in Los Angeles

Haute Hyphenate: Herb Alpert’s Black Totems

Haute Legacy: Frank Sinatra Jr at the Catalina

Red, Haute ‘n’ Blues: The Pasadena Jazz Fest

Dennis Hopper’s Double Visions

Perfect Portraiture: The Photographs of Yousuf Karsh

Event of the Season: Concours D’Elegance Arrives

Haute Ticket: John Cale Performs Paris 1919 Live

Haute Culture: Placido Domingo Premieres Il Postino

Dita for PETA

Dita Von Teese performing in her custom-designed champagne glass bath.

Dita Von Teese performing in her custom-designed champagne glass bath.

In honor of Dita Von Teese’s return to the Crazy Horse of Paris show at MGM Grand, Las Vegas, I thought I would post this interview I did with her last time around, talking about her PETA campaign, and how she would do her own Vegas show if she had a chance. Take a look… (click PETA ad to download PDF)


A Select List Of People I’ve Interviewed


Mark Andelbradt, Paul Bartolotta, Geno Bernardo, Osamu Fujita, Martin Heierling, Jean Joho, Emeril Lagasse, Scott Linquist, Shawn McClain, Michael Mina, Rick Moonen, Bradley Ogden, François Payard, Luciano Pellegrini, Guy Savoy, Kerry Simon, Alex Stratta, Masa Takayama, Charlie Trotter, Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Actors, Directors and Personalities

Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Alison Anders, Greg Araki, Samaire Armstrong (Entourage, Dirty Sexy Money), David Arquette, Desmond Askew, John August (Go, Charlie’s Angels)

Alec Baldwin, Elizabeth Banks, Roseanne Barr, Kristin Bell (Heroes, Veronica Mars), Lorraine Bracco, Wayne Brady, Michelle Borth (HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me), Steve Buscemi

Kelly Carlson (Nip/Tuck), Kristin Chenoweth (The West Wing), Steve Coogan (24 Hr Party People, Alan Partridge), David Cronenberg, Russell Crowe, Jon Cryer

Matt Damon, Jonathan Demme, Ted Demme, Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Taye Diggs, Robert Downey Jr., David Duchovny, Kirsten Dunst

Jon Favreau, Jerry Ferrara (Entourage), William Fichtner (Prison Break, Black Hawk Down), Clare Forlani, Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous, Wristcutters), Edward Furlong (Terminator 2, American History X)

Beau Garrett (Turistas, Fantastic Four), Janeane Garofolo, Rebecca Gayheart, Larry Gordon, Maggie Grace (Lost), Greg Grunberg (Felicity)

Anthony Michael Hall (Breakfast Club, The Dead Zone), Eddie Izzard, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Spike Jonze, Tommy Lee Jones, Mike Judge

Kim Kardashian, Stacey Keach, Arielle Kebbel (American Pie Band Camp), Ben Kingsley, Neil LaBute, Diane Lane, Heath Ledger, Tea Leoni, Doug Liman, Eva Longoria, Baz Luhrman, Robert Luketic

Ewan MacGregor, William H. Macy, Romany Malco (Weeds), AnnaLynne McCord (90210), Eric McCormack (Will & Grace), Jay Mohr (Action, The Ghost Whisperer), Sophie Monk, Mandy Moore, Bill Murray, Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)

Anna Paquin, Audrina Patridge, Bill Paxton, Jesse Peretz, Todd Phillips, Matt Pinfield (MTV, VH-1), Joe Piscopo, Whitney Port, Jaime Pressly

Sam Raimi (Spiderman), Keanu Reeves, Brad Renfro, Ryan Reynolds, Emmy Rossum (Phantom), Geoffrey Rush

William Shatner, Vinessa Shaw (Eyes Wide Shut, 3:10 To Yuma), Ally Sheedy, Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos), Kevin Smith, Brittany Snow (Hairspray), Kevin Spacey, David Spade, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Julia Stiles, Ben Stiller, Domenique Swain (Lolita)

Noah Taylor (Shine, Pirates of the Carribean), Dita Von Teese, Charlize Theron, Christopher Titus, Stanley Tucci

Gabrielle Union, Amber Valetta, Gus Van Sant, Vince Vaughn, Natasha Wagner, Paul Walker, Patrick Warburton, Estella Warren, John Waters, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Williams, Owen Wilson, Scott Wolf (Party of Five, Everwood), John Woo

David Zucker (Airplane!, Scary Movie 3/4)

Musical Artists and Producers

Atari Teenage Riot, Dan the Automator (Dr. Octagon/Gorillaz), Burt Bacharach, Beastie Boys*, Beck*, Natasha Bedingfield, Archie Bell, Tony Bennett, Jello Biafra, Bo Bice, Mary J. Blige, Boss Hog, Holly Brook, Bobby Byrd, Mariah Carey, Nick Cave,  Citizen Cope, George Clinton & P-Funk, Bootsy Collins, Julian Cope, John Doe, Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers), the Dust Brothers, Hillary Duff

Earth Wind & Fire, Elastica, Perry Farrell, The Frogs, Greg Ginn, Girls Against Boys, Greyboy, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana), Gwar, PJ Harvey, Richard Hell, Robyn Hitchcock, Holland, Dozier & Holland, Jamiroquai, Jawbox, the JBs, Wyclef Jean, Jesus Lizard*

Kool Keith, DJ Keoki, KMFDM, Gladys Knight, Korn, Ben Lee, La Ley, Lords of Acid, John Lydon (Sex Pistols/PiL), Ian MacLagan (Small Faces/the Faces), Mazzy Star, Meat Beat Manifesto*, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Ministry, Monster Magnet, Scotty Moore (Elvis’ guitarist), Mudhoney, Wayne Newton, Nickelback

Ohio Players, Yoko Ono, Ozomatli, Prince Paul, Pavement, Pigface, Portishead, Phil Ramone, Red Hot Chili Peppers*, Royal Trux, Gil Scott-Heron, Adrian Sherwood, Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park/Fort Minor)

Slash, Smashing Pumpkins*, The Smithereens, Sonic Youth, Soul Asylum, Soul Coughing, Jon Spencer (Pussy Galore/Blues Explosion)*, Spinal Tap, Candi Staton, Supergrass, John Taylor (Duran Duran), The Temptations, Thrice, Thrill Kill Kult, Urge Overkill, Dave Vanian (the Damned), Veruca Salt, Vitamin C, Don Was, Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think, film composer), Ween*, Weezer

Moguls and madmen

Author Terence McKenna; Industrial/interior designers: Dodd Mitchell, Thomas Schoos; Master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim; LPGA Pro-golfer Natalie Gulbis; Music Supervisors Karen Rachtman; Chris Douridas, Randy Poster, Happy Walters; Brett Gurewitz (Epitaph Records); Nightclub owner Jason Strauss (Tao, the Mansion, Lavo); Photographer/filmmaker Richard Kern; Rockstar Games’ Sam Houser & Terry Donovan; Skincare guru Kate Somerville; TV producer David Saltz; Water feature engineer Mark Fuller (WET Design); Professional poker player Jennifer Harman

NICHE Media Cover Stories

From 2006-2009, I wrote 25 celebrity cover stories for Niche Media’s luxury titles, including 13 VEGAS magazine covers as well as the following covers for OCEAN DRIVE (Miami) and ATLANTA PEACH:

Eva Longoria Ocean Drive January 2007

Eva Longoria Ocean Drive January 2007

Sophie Monk Ocean Drive May 2007

Sophie Monk Ocean Drive May 2007

Emmy Rossum Ocean Drive May 2008

Emmy Rossum Ocean Drive May 2008

Mila Kunis Ocean Drive August 2008

Mila Kunis Ocean Drive August 2008




click to see full text:MAGGIE GRACE



STYLE of the Venetian/Palazzo


Here’s some attention from bloggers on the Annalynne McCord cover, again here

For Kristen Bell:

For Maggie Grace:

Sasha Grey: A Porn Star With Smarts

Talking turkey with adult actress Sasha Grey–at the Silver Lake home of singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart–was a more substantive experience than I expected.

Sasha Grey asked me to hold her muffin. Devendra wore pink PJs.

For some reason, Sasha Grey wanted to know if I could handle her muffin? Devendra's pink PJs: model's own

Here’s why! Read the full story…

Celebrating Sasha Grey's 21st Birthday at TAO, Las Vegas

Celebrating Sasha Grey's 21st Birthday at TAO, Las Vegas

Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Rocks Out


Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger onstage Las Vegas 10/2/09

Those who might question the musical chops of Pussycat Dolls’ lead singer Nicole Scherzinger would be silenced if they saw her performance last night (Oct 2) during a Mirage resort anniversary party hosted by guitarist Slash. Perhaps the most unexpected guest of the rock-legend heavy roster, Scherzinger joined Slash and friends onstage first for a metal version of PCD’s “When I Grow Up,” and then recalled both Heart’s Nancy Wilson and Tina Turner in an undeniably ripping version of “Whole Lotta Love.” Did she kill it? More like she tore it into shreds and hurled it from a freeway overpass.

The next guest, Courtney Love (making a rare stage appearance in recent times) promptly got on the mic and said “I just got my ass handed to me–I can’t follow that!”


Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger and Courtney Love embrace backstage, Las Vegas 10/2/09

Afterward, Nicole was overheard backstage saying “I just learned that Led Zeppelin song yesterday.” Other performers on the show–filmed for the US A&E channel–included Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Guns’N'Roses alums Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan [thx MA], Chris Daughtry, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Cypress Hill rapper Sen-Dog. Nicole and Courtney returned to the stage together along with all performers for an encore of G’n'R’s “Paradise City.”

Elsewhere in town that night, Paris Hilton and her thinspo friends held an invite-only bikini evening fashion show at the Hard Rock Hotel pool to introduce Hilton’s sunglasses line– Apparently declaring it hip again to wear ‘sunglasses at night.’

VEGAS Magazine Cover Stories

From 2006 to 2009, as Contributing Editor, I wrote 13 celebrity cover profiles for luxury title VEGAS Magazine. Click on the cover images below for excerpts…

Elizabeth Banks Vegas Magazine September 2009

Elizabeth Banks Vegas Magazine September 2009


Olivia Wilde Vegas Magazine January 2007


Eva Longoria Vegas Magazine Februrary 2007


Vanessa Marcil Vegas Magazine March 2007

Jamie-Lynn Sigler Vegas Magazine May 2007

Jamie-Lynn Sigler Vegas Magazine May 2007


Tea Leoni Vegas Magazine July 2007


Brittany Snow Vegas Magazine August 2007

Saffron Burrows Vegas Magazine November 2007

Saffron Burrows Vegas Magazine November 2007


Gabrielle Union Vegas Magazine March 2008


Jaime Pressly Vegas Magazine August 2008


Whitney Port Vegas Magazine October 2008


Kim Kardashian Vegas Magazine November 2008


Emmy Rossum Vegas Magazine May 2009

ELIZABETH BANKS (40 Year Old Virgin, Spiderman)

OLIVIA WILDE (Turistas, House)







GABRIELLE UNION (Bring It On, Meet Dave)

KRISTIN BELL (Heroes, Forgetting Sarah Marshall)





My Slack Rages: Rhino Reviews, Features

Celebrating the discovery of some rare blues 78s on a trip down South!

Celebrating the discovery of some rare blues 78s on a trip down South!

A few years ago, Rhino Records’ website had a great run of posting original indpendent content. Luckily, they’ve kept most of it on the site since…though the recent changes in staffing there alarmed me enough to post all the links to my work here. Check it out while you can!

One of the gratifying things about writing for online sites is the opportunity to see reader responses posted, as in the articles below…

Tightening Up With Archie Bell

Elvis’ Original Guitar Man Scotty Moore


James Brown:Father of the Funk Part 1, Part 2

Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett

Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun

Producer Arif Mardin


Gladys Knight

The Temptations

Holland, Dozier, Holland

Jim Dickinson

Arielle Kebbel

What It Is: Funk Box Set

DVD Reviews

Best DVDs of 2005

The Addams Family: Season OneArrested Development: Season TwoAt Last The 1948 Show/Do Not Adjust Your Set (Monty Python)Christmas with SCTVThe Clash: Rude BoyThe Bill Cosby Show: Season OneThe Dick Cavett Show: Comic LegendsThe Dick Cavett Show: Ray CharlesBest of The Electric CompanyEveryone Stares: The Police Inside OutGoodnight We Love You: Phyllis DillerThe Harder They ComeMC5: Kick Out The JamsThe Muppet Show: Season One9 SongsNirvana: Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!No Direction Home: Bob DylanThe Partridge Family: Complete First SeasonPublic Enemy: It Takes A NationSmall Faces: Under Review StonedTales of the Rat FinkThat’s The Way of the WorldTony Orlando & Dawn: The Ultimate Collection

T. Rex: Born To BoogieThe Weird Al Show

CD Reviews

Mary J. Blige Bootsy CollinsThe CoupBetty DavisMissy ElliottEminemGoldie Lookin ChainAl GreenDiana KrallJohn LegendJohn LennonKeith Moon

Roy OrbisonSly & the Family StoneBettye Swann

Bill WithersWolfmotherLif Up Yuh Leg An Trample (Soca)

The Complete Motown Singles vs. Complete Stax/Volt Singles

Son Cubano NYC


Beck @ Gibson Amphitheatre

Jamie Cullum @ The Avalon

Brian Setzer Orchestra @ Gibson Amphitheatre

Tony Joe White @ Hotel Cafe

Holly Brook @ Knitting Factory LA

Greg Dulli & Twilight Singers @ The Scene

Reaching even farther back, here’s a reposting of a live review I did for Rolling Stone on the Jesus & Mary Chain…

Visiting Wayne’s Manor

WAYNE NEWTON-NOV-VEGWayne Newton, the one and only Mr. Las Vegas, just announced his return to a regular gig on the Strip, which reminded me of this feature I did visiting his illustrious home Casa De Shenandoah. I have seen many estates, but this was certainly one of the most reflective of its owner’s personality. Where else could you see a Rembrandt, a letter from Sinatra and Bill Harrah’s Rolls Royce? Great pics by Francis George as well…

Somerville Summit

0918090943aRed Carpet glamour may focus on “what are you wearing?” but let’s be frank: if you haven’t got it going on above the neck, what’s below won’t matter. So facial guru Kate Somerville made use of the Emmys moment to gather together a small dream team of aesthetic pros in her “White Room” medi-spa, reminding Hollywood that you can’t fake the fundamentals. Oh, and to gift-suite some nice products to celebs and their happy media tagalongs. Denise Richards, Sal Masekela, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Rachel Harris (The Hangover) and Aaron Stanton (Mad Men) were among the celeb turn out yesterday, and Marla Sokoloff wandered in while I was there, just after todays press presentation with Kate, Bare Escentuals CEO Leslie Blodgett, and Alexandre Chouery, the official hairdresser for the royal Saudi family, and in his spare time, one of Frederic Fekkai’s Creative Directors (with the French accent to prove it). All three stressed the importance of customer care in all service elements and proven results for products as the keys to their success. In other words, even at luxury levels, it’s time to break away from b.s.

With Kate Somerville

With Kate Somerville

Goodies and gimmies included a KS Ageless Collection package (her Quench, Deep Tissue Repair, Total Vitamin and Line Release serums in a glam little sliver kit case)…some baobab and olive oil-based products from Fekkai’s new line…a bare escentuals BareMinerals sampler…Clarisonic’s new travel-sized skin care brush…GoSmile’s pocket-packable flavored tooth whitener vials…Ajne natural-based perfume…and one of Dayna Decker’s very fancy candles–sorry, “chandels” (I dropped a suggestion that they adapt their cool oil lamp for a channukah menorah).

I even got a (near-perfect) manicure from Yuka Nishizawa of Calgel, a South African company–apparently huge in Japan–that does long-lasting gel-based nail art. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take advantage of the Fashion Forms lingerie table (note to self: bring lingerie wearer along next time) or the Michael Greene pearls the size of gumballs (note to self: bring along filthy rich lingerie wearer next time) and my hands were too full to take a Sprinkles cupcake!(clearly I have my priorities upside down)

Also notable:

Fekkai just moved his salon out of Beverly Hills to the less showy, more boutiquey Melrose Place (near Somerville).

Somerville has a big book coming in March 2010, and hopefully before that, the long awaited debut of her take-home light therapy device…

UPDATE: Debra Messing, Lauren Conrad, Debi Mazar (Entourage, Dancing with the Stars), Lisa Rinna, Sally Pressman (Army Wives), Judy Greer (Love Happens), and Michaela Watkins (SNL) also showed up after me on Friday. Guess I shoulda loitered more… And then on Saturday, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Felicity Huffman, Bryan Batt, Paris Hilton, Kate Walsh, Jordana Brewster, Perrey Reeves, Olivia Wilde, and Rachel Boston came by for freebies. Paris apparently made lunch of it, when she found out M Cafe was catering…