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Tales of... by Josh Alan Friedman
32 minutes | Mar 28, 2019
#17: Doc Pomus Comes Back/Part 2
THE GREAT BLUESMAN TELLS IT STRAIGHTDoc Pomus no longer had to cater to the teenage rock ’n’ roll market. He wrote sophisticated songs for adults. In his final years, he mentored dozens of singers, discovered bands like Roomful of Blues and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and wrote the best lyrics of his life.Episode LinksDoc’s websiteAKA Doc Pomus, the documentaryRock and Roll Hall of Fame(Music bed under "Mr. Nobody:" "Highway 61" by Josh Alan Band) Josh Alan Friedman, Josh’s mother Ginger, Doc, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Peggy Bennett, at Bitter End after Josh’s show, 1989 Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman at the Brill Building Uncle Doc, courtesy of Shirlee Hauser
23 minutes | Mar 14, 2019
#16: Doc Pomus Comes Back/Part 1
THE EARLY STIGMA OF ROCK 'N' ROLL After a dormant decade, the great songwriter Doc Pomus was back in business by the late 1970s. I became his sidekick, entrenched in Doc’s late-night rock ‘n’ roll whirl, where he held court like a Buddha. He was amazed that so many of his songs became iconic anthems in a genre once vilified as teenage junk. Episode Links AKA Doc Pomus documentary trailer Blues in the Red (Doc’s early 78’s) Song under Sinatra quote: "Fat Back," by Josh Alan Band (unreleased) Doc Pomus at the Pied Piper in New York, 1947 Late night at the Lone Star Cafe: Josh’s wife Peggy, Doc, (unidentified singing protege), Josh, 1982 French Elvis Lp. Mort Shuman became a pop star in France and thus received top billing here. Still from documentary, AKA Doc Pomus: Josh, Doc, (unidentified), Ahmet Ertegun
34 minutes | Jan 31, 2019
#15: The Fall of Al Goldstein/Part 2
FROM PARADISE TO THE GUTTER The Great Pornographer went from Upper East Side family man/pornographer-next-door to Bowery bum. The First Amendment hero became destitute. But he never lost his appetite for pussy and pastrami. Episode Links I Goldstein: My Screwed Life, by Al Goldstein and Josh Alan Friedman When Sex Was Dirty, by Josh Alan Friedman Al’s Pompano Beach mansion, with the 11-foot finger that welcomed boats on the intracoastal waterway Goldstein’s New York office Beach Blanket Hippos: Goldstein and Ron Jeremy on Al's beachfront Screw ’69, front row: Jim Buckley, Goldstein, and 18-year-old Steve Heller, who would next become The New York Times art director for 33 years John and Yoko’s Screw interview, 1969 Terry Southern in Screw #801. Cover: Julius Zimmerman Hitler's Worst Nightmare: Screw’s interview with surviving Third Reich architect, Albert Speer, with Goldstein as “Diddler on the Roof .” Cover: Curt Hoppe.
22 minutes | Jan 24, 2019
#14: The Fall of Al Goldstein/Part 1
THE GREAT PORNOGRAPHER GETS SCREWED With the creation of Screw and Midnight Blue, Al Goldstein liberated sex from the shadows of shame and illegal obscenity. He had no idea what it would lead to today. But in his era, the sexual revolution was a cry for liberation and the laws against sex came tumbling down in his wake. Episode Links I Goldstein: My Screwed Life, by Al Goldstein and Josh Alan Friedman When Sex Was Dirty, by Josh Alan Friedman Screw magazine, #1,024, "The Weird Sex Life of R. Crumb", illustrated by cartoonist R. Crumb Screw magazine, #735, "Is God Gay?", illustration of Al Goldstein as God by Curt Hoppe "Al Goldstein donned a fake prison outfit before his sentencing yesterday." New York Times, 2002 Goldstein with legendary Harlem congressman, Adam Clayton Powell, in late ‘60s. Al Goldstein’s bar mitzvah, 1949. In three years, he would wear the same undersized suit for his first hooker.
25 minutes | Jan 11, 2019
#13: Mel Shestack: Magazine Management Trickster
AN EDITOR’S EDITOR A legend among his peers at the old men’s adventure magazines, Mel Shestack made people believe the impossible. And anyone who fell for his “gentle cons” felt privileged afterward. Episode Links Weasels Ripped My Flesh Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos It’s A Man’s World True Action, one of the many magazines published each month by Magazine Management Mel Shestack presenting a fake mock-up cover to Bruce Jay Friedman at Bruce’s Magazine Management retirement in 1966. (photo: Jules Siegel) A Mel Shestack cartoon on a letter to Josh
24 minutes | Jan 3, 2019
#12: Jack Bruce Follows His Own Path
A BASS PLAYER PREPARES Jack Bruce reinvented the bass guitar and wrote spectacular songs. Cream lasted a mere three years. But he remained a working musician first and disregarded the pretense of rock stardom. Episode Links Cream Box set Harmony Row Songs For A Tailor Jack Bruce in mid-career Classically trained in cello
20 minutes | Dec 20, 2018
#11: Cy Coleman: Broadway Jazz Maestro
A COMPOSER PREPARES Cy Coleman wrote the scores to a dozen legendary Broadway musicals. But he was a jazz pianist first, and virtually invented the sophisticated culture of New York cocktail jazz in the 1950s. Episode Links The Best Is Yet To Come Witchcraft and Lenny You Fascinate Me So
23 minutes | Dec 6, 2018
#10: Mario Puzo
WHEN ADVENTURE MAGAZINES BEGAT MOVIES My father hired Mario Puzo as associate editor at Magazine Management at 655 Madison Avenue in 1960. While working there, Puzo would write his great novel about Hell’s Kitchen, The Fortunate Pilgrim. And then at age 49, break out with the most successful novel in history—The Godfather. Episode Links The Fortunate Pilgrim The Godfather Papers Weasels Ripped My Flesh! Two-Fisted Stories From Men’s Adventure Magazines Mario Puzo’s 1966 children's book, with a character named Josh. Mario Puzo and Bruce Jay Friedman at Bruce’s party leaving Magazine Management in 1966 1960 masthead for Male, Men, Man’s World and True Action magazines
22 minutes | Nov 29, 2018
#9: The Masked Announcer – Joel Dorn
A HUSTLER WITH EXQUISITE TASTE Joel Dorn was one of the last record producers standing from the old music biz. When the new industry pushed him out in the 1980s, he bounced back with the creation of CD box sets. “Don’t give me that ‘Hey, baby’ shit,” he said. “I invented it.” Episode Playlist Joel Dorn discography Don Mclean: Homeless Brother Joel Dorn standing behind one of our mentors, Doc Pomus One of Joel’s repackages on his own Label M
41 minutes | Nov 15, 2018
#8: Lou Reed – A Foul and Bitter Interview
UGLY PEOPLE GOT NO REASON TO LIVE As a new, 22-year-old writer for The SoHo News in 1978, I was sent out to interview Lou Reed. He gave the nastiest interview of his life. Then demanded it be printed verbatim. Episode Playlist Lou Reed: Growing Up in Public Transformer Little Richard Lanham: On Your Radio SoHo News, March 9-15, 1978 Lou Reed in front of his doorway. “You oughta fucking kiss the ground you’re walking on that I’m even talking to you." (photo: Anton Perich) The record that Reed thought was Frankie Lymon’s little brother
31 minutes | Nov 8, 2018
#7: The Lullaby of Tiny Tim
A DIVINE MADMANTiny Tim lived in his own bubble with angelic girls dancing in the clouds, while 1920’s Broadway lullabies played on harps. He became the biggest fad of 1968. But his lifelong dedication to early 20th-century music was without equal.Episode PlaylistPrisoner of Love: A Tribute to Russ ColumboGirl: Tiny Tim with Brave ComboGod Bless Tiny Tim Read Josh's original article with Tiny Tim on the blog
34 minutes | Oct 26, 2018
#6: Seymour the Kike
THE BRUTE PIMP OF WHITECHAPELThe 19th century life model for anti-Semitic caricatures was quite a guy. Except I made him up. And he now joins the cast of this season’s Dead Heroes.Episode PlaylistThe Worst, Bela's Funeral Dirge heard in this episode.
23 minutes | Oct 18, 2018
#5: Keith Ferguson Remembers/Part 2
PACHUCO BLUESFerguson avoids the Vietnam draft, plays Houston lesbian clubs with young Johnny Winter, and joins the Thunderbirds. Like an old wolf, Keith paces his communal porch in Austin. It was his last refuge.Recommended PlaylistGirls Go WildT-Bird RhythmThe TailGatorsSecond Winter
28 minutes | Oct 11, 2018
#4: Keith Ferguson Remembers/Part 1
AUSTIN'S GREATEST FALLEN MUSIC HEROIn a town known for its fallen musical heroes, Fabulous Thunderbirds bassist Keith Ferguson was a tour de force. He submerged into semi-retirement on his rustic estate, a hangout for wounded animals, reptiles and old pachuchos. The music biz turned ugly, but Austin’s beautiful losers—as well as the heroin—remained pure. And Keith was Numero Uno.Recommended PlaylistGirls Go WildT-Bird RhythmThe TailGatorsBig Guitars From Texas
26 minutes | Oct 4, 2018
#3: Midnight Jerry Leiber/Part 2
IS THAT ALL THERE IS?Writing songs with Jerry was, for me, like having a catch with Willie Mays or Joe DiMaggio—when they were old. But his genius was never far away. Cloistered in his exquisite home in Venice Beach, the awards for Leiber & Stoller’s achievements came in by the week. But only Mike Stoller showed up to receive them.Episode Playlist50 Coastin’ ClassicsPeggy Lee Sings Leiber & StollerJosh Alan Band (“Strike A Match”)
29 minutes | Sep 27, 2018
#2: Midnight Jerry Leiber/Part 1
THE IRVING BERLIN OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLLWe worked on a book in which he would tell off the world, to be called Kiss My Big Black Ass. It remained unfinished. But Jerry Leiber blew my mind. And he was one bitch of a chef.
23 minutes | Sep 19, 2018
#1: Almost George
BUT ALMOST DOESN'T COUNTWhen Josh auditioned for Beatlemania in 1977, he was just one hopeful in the callbacks for George. Thousands of Beatle manqués descended from the hinterlands to audition for the Broadway show. There were only four parts, but no shortage of broken dreams.
3 minutes | Sep 13, 2018
Tales of… Season Two Trailer
Josh's dead heroes. Interviews, memories and short stories. First up, A 20-year-old Josh auditions for Beatlemania in 1977. Coming September 20.
24 minutes | Jan 25, 2018
#17: Josh in Times Square
So long, SuckerOld Times Square was at the brink of extinction and my job was done. The finale of this series.
27 minutes | Jan 11, 2018
#16: Old Flesh Agents
OLD FLESH AGENTSIrv Charnoff and Jess Mack were the last remaining vaudeville/burlesque booking agents in 1984. They mourned the decline of wholesome American show-biz, as it devolved into pornography.
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