Haters gonna hate

Originally posted on Cristian Mihai:

haters There are two things limiting artistic expression: fear of rejection and fear of anonymity. Simply put, oftentimes aspiring artists are afraid that no one will see their works or that the ones that do see their works will hate them.

Sadly, there’s no way out of this. No matter how much you work, how hard you try, you’ll never please everyone. It just can’t be done, simply because art is subjective.

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The Trail of Local Rock and Roll

Do you remember what local bands rocked your world when you were growing up? How about the bands that actually went on to regional or national recognition? They were the trailblazers of the local rock scene…the one’s that provided the live entertainment at our night clubs, civic centers, auditoriums, weddings, and high school dances. The most prominent from my generation were Blues Image, Mercy, and White Witch. Some lesser known, but equally vital, local acts included Pieces, Bacchus, Rock and Roll Circus, Joey Ray and the Ritual, Circles, Strut, and a host of others that elude my feeble memory at the moment. These bands not only entertained us, they inspired us well. On a personal level, they were the ones that influenced my decision to devote my life to songwriting.

And let us not forget the radio stations and discjockeys that had a hand in developing the market. Stations like WLCY AM and WQSR FM, and DJs like Tedd Webb and Rick Randall, also helped to pave the way for the growth of the local music scene. I know that all these trailblazers helped to make Tampa what it is today…a continually growing hotbed for musical talent and up and coming artists who are producing work that is making its mark throughout the world. It was in honor of the early pioneers of our local music scene that I wrote the song “The Trail of Local Rock and Roll”. And if I left out anyone in the video I’m linking you to now (and I know I did), please forgive me. It was not intentional, and I would certainly appreciate any comments reminding of other great artist from the Bay Area that I may have forgotten about. My objective was to pay tribute to everyone, in general, that helped make Tampa’s music scene what it is today.

The Trail of Local Rock and Roll





The Ripple Effect

In January 2013, I began experimenting with my grandson’s Ipad, and more specifically, with a popular Apple App called Garageband. The first thing that I produced with the help of Garageband was “I’ll Be With You”, a song which reflects on the struggles of the human condition and the way that I have chosen to deal with it. Once the song was completed, I accumulated a few images, put together a lyric video, and posted it on YouTube. As usual, I began to share the video’s link on a few other social networks, including Tumblr, Google +, and Twitter. And as usual, I got a hit here and a hit there, but nothing resembling the viral response I’d love to get for each song I release. But then again, my contention has always been that if one of my songs can move just one listener, I’ve done my job. That is why I do what I do. It’s not for monetary gain or notoriety…I’ve learned to live without either. I write, record, and produce because for whatever reason, which I do not question, I am compelled to do so. It is my calling, and at this stage of my life, my intention is simply to share what I’ve got to give with as many people as will listen. And once in a while, when it does, the ripple effect that is created leads to some very enlightening moments. This morning, I noticed that one listener had favorited the song on Twitter. His name is Eugene Chung. My curiosity to learn more about this one listener who responded to my post led me through a two hour crash course on solipsism, the singularity, Aaron Schwartz, life, death, compounding technological advancements, the film industry, SOPA/PIPA, and a host of fascinating details betwixt and between. Ultimately, the experience led me to this blog installment, which is dedicated to the serendipitous ripple effect that can be encountered in the slightest of crevasses of the wild, wild web.


The Bus of Broken Dreams

The Bus of Broken Dreams

As I ride across America on the bus of broken dreams
I see so many different passengers, so many just like me
Heading to their destinations, lookin’ back at where they’ve been
Wonderin’ how things would’ve worked out if they could do it all again…


A True Tampa Troubadour: Ronnie Elliot


My first official post on Open Mike is about one of Tampa’s most prolific singer songwriters, Ronny Elliott. He has been around for several generations and is still actively recording and performing on the local music scene. Here is his Bio, which can be found on his website at http://www.ronnyelliott.com/index.htm


It’s the Fall of 1964 and Ronny Elliott has begun his musical career, playing bass and singing in the Raveons, a Tampa-based garage band. He’s pretty sure he’s got the blues, but let’s face it, the boy’s a hillbilly!

By the early 7O’s Ronny has been through stints with the Outsiders (not those Outsiders), the Soul Trippers, Noah’s Ark, Duckbutter and the Outlaws (yeah, those Outlaws) among others. He’s had flops on Knight, Laurie, Providence, Decca and Paramount with these bands.

He’s done shows with the Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry, the Coasters, the Chambers Brothers, Mike Bloomfield, Canned Heat, Dion, Bo Diddley, the Dave Clark Five, Van Morrison, Gene Vincent and Jerry Jeff Walker along the way. When he opened for Jimi Hendrix with his band, Your Local Bear, in 1967 the local newspaper referred to his music as country rock’n’roll.

He’s still pretty sure that he’s a rhythm’n’blues musician but his songs call to mind Hank Penny more than Prince Lala.

There have been lots of bands since then but now he’s a solo act, usually backed by some twisted version of the Nationals. He’s shared recent bills with Jimmy Lafave, NRBQ, Joe Ely, the Bottle Rockets, Wilco, Patti Smith and the Fiji Mariners.

Someone coined the musical term, Americana, and he gets called that in No Depression and Billboard. He still thinks he plays the blues.

By the time he was 10, Ronny’s mom was buying him guitars.

In 1964 a buddy he bagged groceries with asked him to form a band. Ronny was? reluctant. Then he went to meet the singer. From a ’57 T-Bird emerged a guy with hair down to his collar wearing candy-apple red patent leather shoes with zippers. His name was Warren Novak. Ronny joined the Raveons.

Before long, Elliott signed on with The Outsiders and enjoyed the benefits of a small pond. That group morphed into the Soul Trippers with the cockeyed service of a New York pr firm once the band with the same name from Cleveland hit the top 10.

In ’66, Elliott hooked up with his pal Buddy Richardson and formed Noah’s Ark. They landed a deal to cut some singles for Decca, the label home at that time for Ricky Nelson, Brenda Lee and the early Who. Noah’s Ark messed with feedback, violin bows and noise – stuff that would soon fall into the realm of psychedelic rock. They cut a proto psychedelic garage song called “Paperman” that garnered a bit of exposure. (Elliott recalls receiving minimal BMI checks from Sweden and Japan.)

Elliott quit Noah’s Ark in 1968, tried to form an R&B group, but could rarely get all the members in the same room at the same time. The remnants of that outfit constituted Your Local Bear, which Elliott calls a hillbilly band. They opened for Hendrix at Curtis Hixon Hall. “After we finished, our job was to stand behind his Marshall cabinets in case he whacked them,” Elliott says. Local Bear was a short-lived venture. Next was Duckbutter, a “psychedelic vaudeville hillbilly revue,” that featured a front- man Harry Hayward, who was also a magician.

By 1970, Elliott had pretty much taken himself out of the scene. He promoted some shows, including the only time Duane AlIman played a full set with Eric Clapton’s Derek & the Dominoes. It was at Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa.

Duckbutter arose off and on over the next couple of decades through country rock n  roll, new wave and punk with oddball brushes with the music and record business which Elliott was always trashing.

After discovering that there was a new market for the hillbilly rock n roll that he had been working for several decades he joined forces again with Harry Hayward with both of them on somewhat shaky guitar and formed Loco Siempre.

It was soon obvious to the slow learner that at his age someone would always be marrying, divorcing, dying or cracking up. Starting over annually was no longer an option.

With a crude 8-track set-up in his house, Elliott recorded an album, Ronny Elliott & the Nationials, an unreconstructed, lo-fi effort that received strong critical response and positive reactions from industry people.

Ronny and the Nationals have gone on to release six more critically acclaimed records. His latest Valentine Roadkill was honored as one of the top ten Americana Albums 2005 by MOJO Magazine.

The Nationals have kept the original line-up from the first job with the addition of Jim McNealon on steel. Not bad for a bunch of misfits who don’t consider this a band at all.

Open Mike: exploring the Tampa Bay area’s music scene

Welcome to my latest blog on WordPress.com! I’d like to invite everyone out there to experience and participate in my attempts to provide a glimpse of the music scene in the Tampa Bay area. There are a number of great bands, solo artists, clubs, radio stations, discjockeys, promoters, studios, and music related publications that have helped to shape Tampa’s past and make today’s… Read more.