All posts tagged: Survivor

10 Movies Starring…People Who Are Famous For Being Famous (To Prepare You For ‘Tyler Perry’s Temptation,’ With Kim Kardashian)

Eventually the tabloid fixtures, the celebutantes, the people that are famous for being famous, heck, even the D-list “legitimate” celebrities yearn for real fame, which is to say launder their fame with a role or two in what will likely be very bad movies. Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry’s Temptation opens this week, by the way, and the cast includes Kim Kardashian. Never trust a big butt and a smile, or most of these films and their hollow celebrity co-stars. Butterfly (1982) Pia Zadora was a child actress on Broadway and in the weirdest movie of all time Santa Claus Conquers the Martians in 1964. Her career stalled until she met a shady businessman three times her age named Meshulam Riklis and married him in 1972. He financed the 1982 film Butterfly, which, apropos of nothing, is a romantic movie about daddy-daughter incest. Riklis may or may not have paid off the ever-sketchy Golden Globes voters who named Zadora Best New Star for Butterfly, which was both box office and critical poison. Riklis definitely funded a …

Jim Peterik

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 9: Jim Peterik

When you get an offer to speak with a guy like Jim Peterik, it’s an opportunity that you really sink your teeth into. As Jeff points out during our conversation, Peterik, whether he realized it at the time or not, was writing songs that were (and would become) the soundtrack to the youth of many. While Peterik is perhaps best known for his work as the keyboardist and songwriter for Survivor, his songwriting success extended well beyond that project as he wrote songs for artists ranging from .38 Special and Sammy Hagar to REO Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Beach Boys in more recent years. Jeff and I really enjoyed having the chance to pick his brain on songwriting (something which he says is still “50% inspiration and 50% perspiration), the business side of things and more than anything, we just enjoyed the chance to hear Jim tell us a few of the stories behind the songs and at times, simply how he was able to get it all done. And how does he continue …

Jimi Jamison

The Popdose Interview: Jimi Jamison of Survivor

In more than four decades in the music business, Jimi Jamison has worn quite a few different hats. While perhaps best known for his work with Chicago-based AOR rockers Survivor, his trademark vocals also helped to power albums by ZZ Top (take a fresh listen to “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” for example), George Thorogood and Joe Walsh, among others. When he stepped into the lead vocalist slot for Survivor in the mid-’80s, following the departure of original vocalist Dave Bickler, it was an important addition that would bring the band a second lease on life and add an extra five Top 20 hits (four of them went Top 10) to their resume. The road-worn huskiness of Jamison’s vocals helped make him one of the most distinctive vocalists of the decade, instantly identifiable on a crowded radio dial, where sounding different was the key, especially considering the hefty amount of competition that he was up against. Never Too Late, the new solo album from Jamison, plays out like a lost chapter from the Survivor discography and …

Way Out Wednesday: Big Daddy, “What Really Happened to the Band of ’59?”

I’ve written previously about the novelty group Big Daddy. In case you’ve slept since then, here’s the concept for the band: While on a USO tour of Southeast Asia in 1959, Big Daddy was captured by Communist forces and held captive until the mid ’80s, at which time they were rescued by CIA forces and subsequently returned to the United States. While being held at Camp David for de-briefing, they were given sheet music of contemporary hit songs so that they could re-build their repertoire and get back to the only work they knew…making music. Of course, not having heard the evolution of rock music during the quarter century they spent imprisoned in the jungles of Laos, they arranged and performed these songs the only way they knew how…in the classic styles of the 1950s. Sometimes the song will be in the style of another song or artist, and sometimes not. That’s really all there is to it, but it’s amazing how well the conceit works. Here are a few examples from their first album. …

Death by Power Ballad: Jim Peterik, “Above the Storm”

This is the final entry in our DbPB salute to Jim Peterik, and it is, I admit, an odd choice for a conclusion. “Above the Storm” is not Peterik’s best ballad; truth be told, I’m not all that fond of it, certainly not as fond as I am of Survivor’s “Desperate Dreams” or their unreleased “The Love We Never Made”  demo, or of Pride of Lions‘ “Faithful Heart,” or .38 Special’s “Changed by Love,” or a score of other Peterik ballads I could have selected. Why, then, choose “Above the Storm”? Indulge me, for a moment: A week from tomorrow, I will have been a parent for ten years. That milestone and a recent event in my extended family got me thinking about perfectionism and parenthood, and how the twain never, ever meet. Oh, sure, I’ve had my moments. Like the time when Dylan was small and suffering from an ear infection, when I rocked him to sleep and, with that sleep, provided him some modicum of relief. I also felt pretty good recently, when …

Death by Power Ballad: Jimi Jamison, “As Is”

The next few DbPB installments will feature the work of a man who, to these ears, has contributed as much as if not more than any other artist to the power ballad arts and the melodic rock genre in general”Jim Peterik.  Many know him as the voice and driving force (no pun intended.  Okay, maybe I intended it) behind “Vehicle,” the great 1970 single by Ides of March.  Many more know him as the bespectacled keyboard player and chief songwriter (along with Frankie Sullivan ) in Survivor.  Yeah, that guy.  “Eye of the Tiger.”  “I Can™t Hold Back.” “High on You.” “The Search Is Over.” Ah, “The Search Is Over.”  How many makeout sessions/couple skates/lonely nights of the soul in ’84-’85 had that one as their soundtrack?  Survivor contributed many other fine, powerful ballads”“Man Against the World,” “Everlasting,” “Ever Since the World Began” (read about my personal relationship with that song here)”but none had all the weapons that made “Search” such a killer”the developing tension, the underlying power chords, the dramatic chorus and bridge, plea …

Death by Power Ballad: McAuley Schenker Group, “Anytime”

When last we left Michael Schenker, he was totally shredding through the last 40 seconds of UFO’s majestic power ballad, “Try Me.” Mikey hung around the band for another year or so before leaving in 1978 to rejoin brother Rudy in the Scorpions. That, too, lasted a year or so before he left again, this time to form his own band, the imaginatively named Michael Schenker Group, the moniker under which he would rape, pillage, and drink his way through arena tours here and abroad for a number of years. Three decent studio records and a very cool live album brought Schenker some middling chart success in the very early 80s, but nothing could touch the power and finesse of the peak UFO material. By the end of the decade, Schenker’s desire for chart success could be measured in the length of the hair extensions he wore, apparently to keep up with new vocalist Robin McAuley, whose semi-artificial mane was prominently featured on the cover of the first album released under the name McAuley Schenker …

Unsolicited Career Advice for… David Bowie

You never know when your college friends may become useful professional contacts. One night 17 years ago, Lev Skwatzenschitz and I found ourselves stumbling down College Avenue at Rutgers, trading verses of “I’m a Little Bumblebee” and praying aloud for the grease truck with the good cheeseburgers to still be open at 3:00 in the morning. By 3:05, we were seated on the sidewalk, empty-handed, discussing our impending graduation and our dreams of life thereafter. Lev actually told me, “I’m gonna make my dreams come true, Smitty. I’ll be a star, and I’m going to take you along with me!” Lev works in sanitation now, but his uncle, Donnie Skwatzenschitz, is some sort of representative for one or another music industry entity (he’s held a lot of jobs over the years). He hobnobs with the rich and famous and keeps trying to get Lev into “the family business.” As part of that effort, Uncle Donnie sends Lev copies of his correspondence with musicians, to inspire him, I suppose. Recently, Lev gave me a whole box …