March 2008

Well, okay it’s almost April but it’s been a busy month. How busy? I’m, of course, going to tell you.

  Cruising to Music  Aboard the Costa Fortuna

So I’m sitting at my computer one cold January day, checking my email, when I come across this subject line: “Cruise Opportunity for Rock Historian.” Now, first off, I do not consider myself a...

“rock historian.” Yes, I did write that little (okay, so it’s not so little) book on Northern Ohio rock history. And yes, it did take nearly 4 years of research and 300 interviews (at last count). And I did chronicle the decades of rock and roll history throughout the book… But calling anyone a historian somehow gives people the impression that you know everything about that topic and I’m here to tell you that’s simply impossible. There is always someone who knows more than you and I’m first to admit it. So please don’t test me. Though I will say, I know an awful lot about the area of which I write.

Now that that’s clear, I can tell you I nearly deleted that email before reading it, thinking it must have come from this website and was spam.

Sure glad I didn’t.

Long story short (Hey, it’s a goal – though, as we all know, I usually fail miserably at that), it was indeed from a reputable Ft. Lauderdale company that books entertainment for cruise lines and they asked me to be a presenter for a Rock ‘n’ Roll themed cruise (right up my alley) with The Lovin’ Spoonful (“Do You Believe in Magic”? Yes, I do!) and Three Dog Night (“Joy to the World” among others) - two bands I grew up with and whose music has given me fond memories of my misspent youth.

So where do I sign up? was my first reaction…

So I have now just returned from a week-long cruise to San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola Island, and Nassau Bahamas aboard the beautiful ship, The Costa Fortuna.


Yep, my husband Jeff and I were cruisin’ with aging rock stars!

(Sorry guys, don’t take it personally, after all, we’re all aging, ya know) -  though a few of them weren’t aging quite so much since there were a few “young guys” in the bands. But before you’re thinking this was all just a pleasure cruise, believe me, I had to work for it. I had to put together (and deliver!) four 45-minute presentations on the bands and the ’60s and ’70s – and while I do know a bit about all that, in order to do it right, I had to do a lot of research and update my knowledge on the bands, past and present.

But it was fun dressing for the parts – some examples:

Check out the peace medallion (actually is from 1972!) and the embroidered bell bottoms!

Yeah, sure looks like I’m working hard, doesn’t it?

You like my go-go dress? And how ’bout those cool boots? If you look closely you’ll see I also have on BIG peace earrings.

Dressed in tie-dye and faded jeans – now all back in style! 

By the way, the man who shared the stage with me was my “technical support” guy, Jim Cannon from Online Vacation Center - I couldn’t have done those power points without him!

So despite all the preparation work and having to entertain these people J I managed to have a great time. Jeff and I were able to chat and get to know a lot of interesting people as well as these talented musicians, and that was a real pleasure. They were all terrific. The first night at the VIP party (yes, they actually let us in!), we were lucky to sit next to two of the guys in Three Dog Night – Paul Kingery (bass, guitar and vocals), and Pat Bautz on drums (who explained the difference between a right-handed drummer and a left- handed drummer, he being a lefty – like me). These guys were so friendly and funny!

Me and Paul Kingery

Jeff had fun too – with the rockers wives!


And the concerts!  Those great songs by both bands really took you back to “the old days.” Oh, did I just say that? 

The Loving Spoonful – Left to right - Joe Butler, Steve Boone, and Jerry Yester. Phil Smith (the younger one) behind Joe and their excellent drummer, Mike Arturi (another of the “younger ones”)


Three Dog Night


“Three Dog Rap”

The group did a rap version of “Mama Told Me Not to Come” – now that alone was worth the price of admission!


Then there was the “’60s Party!”

Talk about reliving the past!

As you see, everyone went all out with those crazy outfits!



And I guess I should also include a couple of picturesque shots of our travels...

Yes, it really was beautiful

This photo is from Tortola Island - and where the local teens hang out – their underwear!


He Didn’t Have to Be So Nice…  I Would’ve Liked Him Anyway….

A real treat for me personally was meeting the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Joe Butler, former drummer now on auto harp and vocals (Mike Arturi is the band’s drummer, and man, this guy plays an amazing old-fashioned drum solo!).

Anyway, I had a major crush on Joe when I was 12 and got to meet him back in 1966 when the group was performing at Euclid Beach Park. My grandmother stayed at one of the onsite cottages each summer, and the group used the empty cottage next to hers as a dressing room – so when they came out, my brother, Dennis, and I were right there to meet them - though I was so nervous and shy (I know, I know, hard to imagine) and hardly said boo to him. But I’ll never forget it. Particularly because he was so nice. And he’s still just as nice. I talked to him briefly on the ship but then was lucky enough to run into him at the airport as we were awaiting our flights to go home. Joe came up to the bar Jeff and I were at, and sat down with us. And of course we bought him a drink – the least we could do for all those great years of wonderful songs (and a hell of a concert). We chatted for a full half hour and even after four decades, I was thrilled to hang out with him, even for a short time. Did I mention how absolutely Nice he is? It does my heart good…

Me & Joe – Finally - together after 42 years!


Well, I’m all out of time – but not out of stories – or pictures.

But must go and make a living now. Like writing for money!


So Till Next Time:

As my teenage daughter says “Peace Out!”