May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
May 27, 2023
Hi everyone! Here's an update on my new and upcoming exhibits.I have ten photos at Theatre Charlotte, all tied to the play Detroit 67, which debuts tonight. The show runs the next three weekends, so please check out the play, and my photos.
Five years ago, I drove ten hours to see the Cyrkle play in Van Wert, Ohio. I enjoyed the show, took some good photos, and drove home. Looking over the photos the next day, my first thought was to ask them about writing a book. However, a second thought soon followed, and kept coming back to me. I want to hear a new album from the Cyrkle.
After much work, plenty of recording sessions, and an occasional pandemic, the Cyrkle and I are proud to announce that our new album will come out in 2024 on Big Stir Records. This new edition will feature more new songs, with new singles released digitally beginning this summer. The Cyrkle are also now labelmates with the legendary Spongetones, whom I'll also be working with again soon.
Congrats to the Cyrkle, and everyone along the way that believed in this crazy dream. See you (again) on the charts, and see you on the road.
May 15, 2023
RIP Kathleen Johnson. See you in the stars.
May 15, 2023
Saturday, photos of two JazzArts concerts, Charlotte Folk Society gathering, Veterans Bridge Home gala, and co-produced a new single by the Mannish Boys. Sunday, photos of Picasso at the Lupin Aigle at Divine Barrel, and Branford Marsalis at the Knight Theater.
May 15, 2023
I interviewed designer and illustrator Mark London for the new issue of The Big Takeover Magazine. (www.bigtakeover.com). Look for it on the newsstands, and look for a link to the article here soon.
May 12, 2023
For those of you that have asked when I'll be doing an exhibition of my photos in the Charlotte area, that time has arrived. In a couple of places.
April 28, 2023
Photographed three to six events a day for the past two weeks. Check out my appearance on Meagan RockRadio Paese's History Of Rock & Roll radio show, online at www.thehistoryofrockandroll.net . Much more soon. See you on the road.
April 28, 2023
Saturday, photos of my friend Marin's birthday party, then to the Cat's Cradle for photos of Holsapple & Stamey, Johnny Folsom, Too Much Fun, John Howie and the Veldt in the main room, and John Harrison, Mayflies USA and Jennyanykind in the back room. Happy birthday John! So good to see so many friends from long ago. Check out some of the photos at my Instagram page, @danielcostonphotos. Happy Easter, and see you on the road.
Pop culture news? Let's discuss.
My interview with John Sebastian and Plastic EP, done in the middle of photographing another event. Enjoy.
April 7, 2023
This past week. Oh, my.
RIP Keith Reid. Tell Gary I said hello. Shine On Brightly.
April 7, 2023
Saturday, lunch with Larry Sprinkle and Dolph Ramseur, photos of the Deborah Triplett memorial, LAWA gala, and Parker Gispert at a house concert. Sunday, photos of the Oscar Party at the Independent Picture House, and Falllift at the Evening Muse.
Tuesday, photos of the Blumenthal LEAP event, Ascend 20th anniversary party, Nebula at Snug Harbor, one video shoot, one phone call with a record label for an upcoming project, and a 2 1/2 talk on Stan Cocheo's Musical Conversations radio show.
March 19, 2023
St. Patrick's Day. As a child, I went to St. Patrick's School in Seneca Falls, NY. This was always a special day. All of the students would gather in an adjacent parking lot, and we would all release green balloons with our contact info, in the hope that someone would find our balloon and write us back. We would then get the rest of the day off, and I would wonder where my balloon had wandered to.
Friday through Sunday, photos of the Make A Wish Ball, Todd Johnson and Heavy Friends at JackBeagle's, JazzArts Charlotte, Charlotte Symphony, High School talent showcase at Blumenthal Arts, and Rhiannon Giddens, Justin Robinson and Laurelyn Dossett at Davidson College.
Thank you John Hancock for the kind words. See you in the stars, Mark Federal.
February 18, 2023
This Friday, I'll be joining the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte for a celebration of Doc Watson. I'll have several of my photos of Doc on display, and will have pics and books for sale. This will be a fun night of all things Doc.
If you're at the Heart Ball tonight in Charlotte, a lunch with me is back at a silent auction item. All subjects are open for discussion. Photography? Charlotte history? Music? North Carolina Rock & Roll of the 1960s? Marx Brothers? Comparing music of the 1920s to the 2020s? Bid, and let's discuss.
It's here! The new EP by Todd Johnson & The Revolvers. Love Sessions, produced by Dan Hood and yours truly, has been an absolute joy to put together. Check it out now, and see Todd debut the EP this SSaturday night with a special Valentine's show at Oh My Soul. See you there, and play it loud.
Congrats to Cheryl Pawelski, Jeff Tweedy and Bob Mehr for winning Grammys for the Wilco YHF boxset. What an adventure!
February 2, 2023
RIP Deborah Triplett. Thank you for all the years of friendship and inspiration. See you on the other side of the camera, someday.
January 31, 2023
I have been meaning for some time to write about my time with Wilco in 2002. It was quite a journey, from hopeful photographer, to having ten pages of photos in the recent Yankee Hotel Foxtrot boxset. These are some of the verbal pieces of the puzzle that go with the visual ones.I first saw and photographed Wilco in Charlotte, NC in the summer of 1998. They played halfway through a remarkable show dubbed The Newport Folk Festival tour. Alongside Lucinda Williams, Dar Williams, Mark Eitzel, Marc Cohn, Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett, this show had everything but ticket sales on this day. A few of my photos from this show later end up in the 2014 Wilco best-of What's Your 20? I then saw them in Raleigh, NC the following year, thinking that I would photograph them opening for REM. However, I found out upon arrival that my pass was only good for REM, so I had to watch their set that evening from the lawn area.
The last few days. Photos of several events, MLK Daybreak Of Freedom concert, Charlie Starr and Stevie Tombstone at the Neighborhood Theatre, Something Rotten photos for Theatre Charlotte (show opens this Friday!) and the CFS Youth Showcase, where I was finally there in person to accept their Heritage Award.
Lots more to come. See you soon, and see you on the road.
January 17, 2023
Spread the word, and best wishes,
January 17, 2023
Hello everyone. If you ordered the Cyrkle CD in the past few weeks, you may have received an email today saying that your CD is on the way. We've been dealing with some technology issues today, so please disregard that email.
A true gentleman and character. Working around him on the 2013 Brian Wilson tour was an amazing experience.
More photos here soon. Safe travels, Jeff.
The Music Explosion: Sunshine Games
by Daniel Coston
Big Takeover Magazine
Issue 91, out now
In the fall of 1967, the Music Explosion rode the wave of “Little Bit O’ Soul”. The catchy song sold over a million copies, launched the careers of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz of Super K Productions as bubblegum svengalis, and put the band’s hometown of Mansfield, Ohio on the map for spawning great Garage Rock.
After many years away, bassist Burton Stahl and the Music Explosion returned to the stage last year, touring with the Cyrkle, the Outsiders, and fellow Mansfield legends, Dean Kastran and Dale Powers of the Ohio Express. “Little Bit O’ Soul” may have only lasted for two minutes and eighteen seconds, but all of these years later, Burton and guitarist Rick Nesta are still thankful to ride that wave.
Coston: The Mansfield, Ohio area produced three hit bands during the 1960s. The Music Explosion, Ohio Express, and Crazy Elephant. It’s amazing, the amount of talent that was around that area.
RICK NESTA: In Ohio, there’s a small ski area called Snow Trails, and they used to have shows there every night with the Mark Three Trio, and the sax player of the group was Grover Washington, Jr.. They were a little more smooth jazz, but they were trying to extend into some Rock & Roll clubs. Our lead guitar player, Don “Tudor” Adkins, Tudor and myself would sit in with the Mark Three Trio at these smoky basement clubs.
There was a lot of inspiration that came from them, because they were all accomplished musicians, and they were at least ten years older than us. We got schooling from some of the guys that had already polished their trade as musicians.
Coston: Your first single was a cover of “Little Black Egg”.
BUTON STAHL: When we went to New York to record “Little Bit O’Soul”, we recorded five songs. One of the others was “Little Black Egg”, so were recorded both songs at the same time. Jeff and Jerry liked that one, so they released “Little Black Egg” on Attack Records, which was their own record label that they had come up with. Jamie [Lyons], our singer, did such a great rendition of that. Jeff and Jerry then worked out a deal with Laurie Records for “Little Bit O’Soul”.
Coston: When you recorded “Little Bit O’ Soul”, did you think it was a hit?
Stahl: The one thing that stuck in my mind, was I wanted things more like a Rolling Stones song. The song was a little more melodic and pop, but when Jamie and I came back to the hotel room, we worked on doing the intro to the song, with more staccato, and a lot faster. Then we went back in and played it for Jeff and Jerry, and everybody was just on top of it. We had a whole lot of great people that worked with us. Ritchie Cordell, he was playing congas, and keyboards. They put it all together, and we heard it put together in the studio, it was like, “Wow! That’s pretty good!”
Coston: Were you aware that “Little Bit O’ Soul” was going up the charts?
Stahl: Our managers had a marketing plan for the West Coast. Rick’s mom and dad started calling long distance to radio stations, saying “We’d like to hear Little Bit O’Soul” again.” You get enough people doing that, the music producers and going, “Hmmm.” That’s what happened. We were getting picked up, and all different parts of California, and Arizona.
Coston: You then toured with several groups, including the Easybeats.
Stahl: We all became really good friends with the Easybeats. Their bass player, Dick Diamonde, taught me more on bass than I had ever known before. I stayed in touch with him for a long time.
Nesta: We toured with the Easybeats for five weeks on the Gene Pitney tour. Gene Pitney had six or seven acts that he toured with. He was a great guy. The Easybeats were definitely an inspiration. When we started the tour, they had two tour buses to take care of all of us that were on the tour. The congregation point was at 55th and 7th Avenue, in New York City. As we walked on the tour bus, WABC announced, “The number one song this week, for the second week in a row, is “Little Bit O’ Soul!”” Half the bus booed!
Stahl: The Buckinghams, the Easybeats, the Happenings. Everybody started booing us as soon as we walked in, because we didn’t know them, and they didn’t know us. It was like, “What are we in for?”
Nesta: Do you know the name Ronnie James Dio? That was Gene Pitney’s bandleader, at the time. Gene had seven or eight guys that backed him up for his performance, and Ronnie was the leader of the Pitney band. He was a great musician, but he was also a schoolteacher.
When we were in New York, we would hang out at Steve Paul’s Scene. The first time there, we walked down the steps, and Steve Paul said, “You gotta be somebody for them to get in here!” We said, “We’re the Music Explosion!” and he let us in.
Coston: Tell me about playing American Bandstand in February of 1968.
Stahl: It was phenomenal. We had to pantomime the record, but the people just loved it. We had our stuff that we had bought on the Sunset Strip. People are looking at me like, “Who is this?” And then they heard the song, and they’re like, “Yeah! We love this song.”
The song was already a hit when we did that taping in February of ’68, but people still loved the song. We had a new song coming out, so we played that. It was so much fun to stand on a stage that you’d seen every Saturday afternoon since you were a little kid, and all of the sudden, you’re part of the scene.
Nesta: That might have been my first time in California. We did the show with Blue Cheer. It was a thrill, because growing up, and watching Rock & Roll with Dick Clark, that was a bridge that you crossed only when you’re able to climb the mountain.
Coston: Tell me about the singles that followed “Little Bit O’Soul”.
Nesta: “Sunshine Games” had great energy in the studio. Tight recording, lots of rhythmic things.
They had all of this great equipment, but then you take it down to these little speakers that you have in the dash of your car, and then mix it, so that it sounds good when you’re driving around, listening to the radio. That was just around the beginning of eight-track. I never thought that “Sunshine Games” came out with the right dynamics on a car radio. But I think that Burton will agree, we were all excited about “Sunshine Games”. We thought it might have been a little better than “Little Bit O’Soul.”
It kind of stalled out around 45 on the Hot 100, and Kasenetz and Katz made a strategic move to pull the record while it was still going up, and put out the song “We Gotta Go Home”, which was a good song. And who knows what a good song is until the public hears it, and they have the final decision if it will sell a million copies, or not.
Stahl: Our B-side of “Little Bit O’ Soul” was “I See The Light”, and when people heard that, they loved it. It was just a great song. We thought that that one might hit.
Nest: On the West Coast, there were some stations that played “I See The Light”, instead of the A-side. In some markets, it was a double hit.
Stahl: People didn’t know what side to play! The B-side sounded like something it would sell. If it had gotten a push, it could have been a really good follow-up.
Coston: How did the band end?
Stahl: For me, I was ready to get out of it. I wound up not as happy with everybody. Rick was still in the band, but we wound up with some other players. Our guitarist, Don got drafted, and had to go to Vietnam. All this stuff was going on, and it was hard to find out what our niche was. I thought, “Maybe it’s time for me to get a job.”
Nesta: I was invested in the band with Tudor. Losing him was like losing the inspiration.
We were doing a show in Akron, Ohio, and Jeff and Jerry came. They hardly ever came to any shows. They said, “This is going to be the last show of the Music Explosion. The name is going to be Crazy Elephant.” And that was my stepping off point.
Coston: How was it to take part in last year’s Re-Livin' The Dream tour?
Stahl: That was a lot of fun. The Cyrkle headlined the show, and backed us up. The Cyrkle is a great band. Our friend Jamie Lynch came along with us, as well. I couldn’t believe that there were two thousand people out there in the audience with gray hair, but they still knew how to clap their hands, and have a good time.
Coston: What is it like to be able to play with your friends for fifty-five years?
Nesta: Fifty-five years go by in a hurry. Every day, you turn on the news, and some other musician has left us. So it’s great that the friendships survived, and the music survived. I’ve guess you’ve got to count your blessings.
Saturday, photos of the Press On event at Devil's Logic with David Childers, Paleface and Letters To Abigail. Saturday, photos of Chasing Pheonix's NYE show in Newton, NC, then back to Charlotte for the Avett Brothers NYE show. Today, called Maurice Williams to tell him that the Avetts covered Stay during their show, and he was thrilled.
December 31, 2022
All photos copyright 2022 Daniel Coston
January 1, 2023