Tag Archives: Deborah P. Miller

The Zombies + congas + hot food + hot music

Rod Argent / The Zombies

What’s Your Name? Who’s Your Daddy?
I fell for the British invasion hard. Like a rock. The Animals. The Yardbirds. Them. The Kinks. The Zombies. I couldn’t get enough and couldn’t spend my allowance fast enough on 45’s at The Record Bar on Henderson Street in Chapel Hill.

 I first saw The Zombies in the cult classic film Bunny Lake is Missing (1965). Filmed in black and white AND in widescreen, it was gritty film noir at its most psychologically thrilling. There’s a scene in a London pub, all of about 1 minute long, where The Zombies are playing Just Out of Reach in the background. I walked out of the Varsity Theater and went straight to The Record Bar. Time of the Season and House of the Rising Sun were two of the first songs I loaded on my IPOD. I still crank them up a little louder when they shuffle past and am instantly transported back in time.

Breathe In/Breathe Out, released in 2011, is a beautiful collaboration musically and vocally. No, these are not the raw, spare Zombies songs of the 60’s that made dramatic use of today’s equivalent of “white space” … pauses full of meaning and longing followed by the almost religious chording from a Hammond B3. Instead it’s like a long visit with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. Their musical talent is maybe even more impressive; the vocals fluid and touching. In an era where too many of my favorite singers on this side of sixty have started to deliver barely recognizable vocals, Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent still have it, and then some. A Moment in Time and I Do Believe are my favorites …but then I have a weakness for soaring piano. Each listen I hear something new and wonderful. Playing with them on this tour are bassist Jim Rodford (Argent and the Kinks), Rodford’s son Steve play on drums and guitarist Tom Toomey.

Given the chance to interview one of the original members, keyboard player Rod Argent (also front man for Argent 1968-1976), made me giddy like a little school girl. He was open, amusing, and charming, and it took little to send him off in various directions with a true story about this or that. Whether it was the visit the band made to Graceland to find Elvis, working with Director Otto Preminger on Bunny Lake is Missing, or the 2008 live London performance of their classic Odessey & Oracle when it was performed in it’s entirety for the very first time.
CLICK TO READ THE ENTIRE Q&A WITH ROD ARGENT
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Uh-oh … shame on me … I forgot all about you.   Well, not really, but I’ve been what you might call a little distracted. Who knew that falling in love would both give clarity and focus to some things and turn right around and take it away from others?  Apparently I’d forgotten about all the fall out when you fall in.  Even Remy is feeling slighted.  Please to forgive!

And, oh yeah … Dear October, Hurry up and get here already.  It’s just too hot for comfort.
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The day the Tycoon’s came to stay

The conga drums came to live on my street. In my living room. They promptly made themselves at home.

My neighbors have not complained yet, which I’m taking as a good sign that I can continue my thrumming and thumping to my hearts content.

Now I just need to find a good teacher.

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Define busy.  Some days  I’m not sure there are enough hours to go along with all the things I honestly intend to do.

Crossed off the list since May 23, the last time I was here =  a treasured evening with two dear friends at Magnolia Grill before they closed + ten days at Sunset Beach with the wacky Williams cousins + a book reading by Robert Goolrick (one of my favorite authors) at Flyleaf Books + Stray Dogs Howlin’ jammin’ at The Blue Note Grill + Johnny Winter at The ArtsCenter + a biker bar adventure in Richmond + Bro’ T. Holla at The ArtsCenter + SideDish interviews with Mel Melton & Joe Taylor (Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse), Mickey Maloney & Marshall Smith (Glasshalfull), Jimmy Crippen (Fire in the Triangle), Susanna Reich (Minette’s Feast), and Dick Barrows (Kitchen) + The WEEKLY interviews with Rod Argent (The Zombies & Argent) and Paul Barrere (Little Feat) + make that two biker bar adventures in Richmond = me worn out just typing all that.

More to come. SunJam 2012 is this weekend and I’ve got resting up to do.

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Angklung + Mickey Hart + Trampled by Turtles + Catch/Wilmington + Angklung

There’s an Angklung in my backseat.
And it’s been back there for about a week. Yes, I put it there.  But we’ll come back to that.
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Mickey Hart/Cat's CradleCat’s Cradle.  Early & late … all at the same time.

4/17/12.  Mickey Hart at Cat’s Cradle was an all-encompassing visceral experience. There was so much “bottom” in that room that my bar stool was vibrating. Sexy as all hell and back.  I was having lascivious thoughts about that stool, and I think my friend Liz was too. Permanent vibrations. To be sure, I’m not a Deadhead, but Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum is just one of my favorite percussion albums.  So I was in it for the boom-boom pow.  There were Deadheads out in force. Whirling dervishes in tie-dyed  tees spinning out in worship … gigantic blow up “planets” swaying gently from the ceiling … and the punctuation mark … an old friend next to me who leans over to yell in my ear that he wishes he’d waited an hour to drop that blotter acid since the band didn’t start until nearly 9 instead of 8.  It was that kind of night.

Listen to Not Fade Away (Mickey Hart & Band)

Come to think of it, I think the Angklung belongs with Mickey Hart.

Megafaun at Cat’s Cradle

4/19/12.  Megafaun & Drive By Truckers.  I’m a Megafaun fan from way back.  Well, at least since 2009, about a year after they got together. Banjo and harmonies done thoughtfully and right.  Wikipedia describes them as an American psyche-folk band from Durham, NC.  Pssst … I liked them better than DBT, if truth be told, because the Truckers were so loud I had to go buy ear plugs.  That’s something I never thought I’d see myself type.

Listen to The Longest Day (Megafaun.)

Trampled by Turtles

4/23/12William Elliott Whitmore & Trampled By Turtles.  Trampled by Turtles, an indie-bluegrass-folk band, from Duluth blew in and took the Cradle with it all night long, including 2 salutes to Levon Helm with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “The Weight.” What struck me was how many of the mostly-younger-than-me audience knew every lyric to those two classics. They are as tight a band as I’ve ever seen and I loved every note.  Those boys can pick a tune every which-a-way and back. Don’t miss TBT tonight on David Letterman.

Listen to Alone (Trampled by Turtles).  Get past that commercial.  It’s worth every second.
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The Angklung is at least behaving itself in the back seat.  No clanging aloud.
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Catch (Wilmington, NC)
Crab Cake

Catch/Wilmington,NC Thursday, 4/5/12
Keith Rhodes was a cheftestant on the most recent Top Chef Texas series on Bravo. I followed and cheered him on proudly like the good Tar Heel I am.  Gathering in Wrightsville Beach, NC for a family beach wedding, I jumped at the chance to visit Catch with my sisters and brother (and their families).

Wow, wow, wow.  We’re a foodie family and we don’t impress all that easily.  The menu is simple with fresh, local ingredients, when available. I started with a grilled asparagus salad followed by the Pan Roasted “Oriental, NC” Back Fin & Lump Crab Cakes with a White Truffle Mash + Mixed Farm Greens + Lobster Cognac Bisque.  Lord, help me.  It was eye-rolling.  In fact, everyone at the table spent the first full minute in a stunned silence as they took bites of whatever they ordered. Well, maybe there were a couple of orgasmic groans that I’m forgetting to mention.  Keith came by the table to meet and check on us. His beautiful wife, Angela, is the front-of-house magician to whatever he’s conjuring in the kitchen.  From the minute you meet her you imagine that you’re suddenly best friends, sipping sweet tea on a porch rocker somewhere. She had to show me their hydroponic herb garden growing behind the bar, and pulled out a basil plant that had roots so long they just kept coming and coming.  I’ll go back and you should too.
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Ok, the Angklung.  I was at the Chapel Hill Historical Society and someone said “I just wish someone would get that clangy thing out of the back.”  Now, being a fan of clangy things, I said “I’ll probably be happy to take it.”  So I did without even knowing what it was … though, from the look of it, it was definitely some kind of percussion instrument. Which I’m also a fan of. (Did I really just end that in a preposition?  “Of which I am also a fan” just sounds so … so … like I was trying too hard.  I’m allowed a little poetic license, right?)

The Angklung

I imagined it had Asian origins. And it does. Indonesian, to be exact, played throughout Southeast Asia, mostly in Sudan. Bamboo tubes, carved and tuned to octaves, attach to a bamboo frame.  Hold the base of the frame in one hand while the other hand strikes the instrument. There are actually angkalung ensembles where each player strikes just one note or more, that when played altogether produces complete melodies.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this clangy thing, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a personal performance.

Listen to Bohemian Rhapsody performed by the amazing maestro Daeng Udjo with his students from Saung Angklung, Indonesia performing at the Washington Monument Grounds – July 9th 2011

If this doesn’t make you laugh out loud, then you ain’t right, I say … not right.

‘Splainin’ + if it’s the beaches + o Canada + music to ….

I know, I know … I got some ‘splaining to do.  It’s been a month.  Coming up in the next few days is a full blown rave on dinner at Catch in Wilmington. Chef Keith Rhodes (Top Chef Texas contestant) & his wife Angela blew me away.

Driving from here to there, or there to here gives you time to think.  My head was in a different direction while my car was busy on highway 87 south.  It went something like this …

Have you seen me except in light blue suede?

What the hell ever happened to that pair of baby blue Frye Boots I used to have?  I saved a long time to buy those boots. When and where was the last time I saw them?  You’d think I’d remember if I left them somewhere and had to walk home barefooted.  Would I have given them away? Sold them?  Not likely.  Or maybe someone stole them.  But I’d remember that, right? Or maybe not.  It was, after all, sometime pre-80’s. I wore them to that Fleetwood Mac/Livingston Taylor  show in Little Rock.  Wasn’t that was the last concert I saw Sweet Connie of Little Rock, the ultimate rock groupie?

Boots. I was talking about boots.  I got to imagining a parallel world where all my missing stuff  – Frye boots … green cut-glass necklace from Chelsea … Flash, a dog I had in Atlanta … a Fender Rhodes …  still lives, all accounted for and still perfectly good. It’s right next to to that world where all the dryer socks go.  They can practically wave at one another across that universe.   Maybe Jack Daniels, or the major beer companies, should start putting “Have You Seen My _________ (insert name of item here)? for missing possessions on each bottle to help people locate their lost stuff? Now there’s a public service that would get some attention.

I won’t numb you with every detail about the last month … just the highlights.
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March 19

Crook’s Corner impromptu 30th birthday celebration!  Congrats, y’all!  I didn’t take any photos, I was too busy enjoying myself with the likes of Moreton Neal, Marcie Cohen Ferris, Bill Ferris, Claire Cusick, Whitney Brown, Nancie McDermott, Dan Shannon, and countless others.

Put a pig on it!  And Matt Neal, son of original Crook’s owner Bill Neal, did just that.

Bill Smith and Gene Hamer joined me to record an upcoming edition of SideDish this week.  Stay tuned for it to air Sat. May 12 & Sun. May 13 on 1360WCHL.
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Sunset Beach, NC

March 21 – Sunset Beach, NC
You won’t often find me turning down an invite to the beach.  Sunset is just one of my favorite places in the entire world. I can get downright lazy in a hurry not long after I unpack my car and hug up on my cousins. I drive the back roads taking neighborly pleasure in swooping down two lane roads waving at strangers, seeing farms, fields and towns so small they don’t even have a stoplight.  I’ve been making this same trip for nearly 5 years and now anticipate my own designated landmarks along the way …  the Church of Praise just the other side of Fayetteville down 87 where I tried to wait it out once in a torrential rainstorm. (When I pointed it out to my sister, she thought it read Church of Pause, so that’s what I see now every time I pass).  The roadside picnic table on 701 heading into Whiteville. And then there’s the intersection in Clarkton that’s my cue to put Jimmy Buffett on for the last 45 minutes to ease into beach mode.
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March 27, Il Palio @ The Siena Hotel
Wine and whine with Wendy Sease and Susan Reda, new Director of PR and Special Events for Il Palio … actually, we did whine for a few minutes, Susan and I with a Gruner Veltliner and Wendy with a sparkling Rose.  About halfway into a glass, we drew the line at whining and dove eagerly into the cheese plate expertly arranged with Looking Glass Creamery Ellington, Chapel hill Creamery Carolina moon, and Chapel Hill Creamery Calvander with fresh honey comb, membrillo (quince paste), and pear mustarda along with housemade crackers.

Adam Rose and Isaiah Allen are masters with a an empty plate.  I’d marry either one of them in a New York second except for one tiny little thing.  They haven’t actually asked.  That, and they’re both already married.  *sigh*
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O Canada
Dear those of you who can’t live without me,

I will NOT be packing my bags to move to Canada.

I’m only including one paragraph of their rejection letter.  But let me just say this … I’ve applied for over 28 jobs at Duke and have yet to hear anything. Thanks. No thanks. Kiss my ***. Go away. Nothing.   One application to a Canadian corporation and I get a response within 3 weeks.  I’m not giving up on Cirque though.  They need caterers on those tours.

Bonjour Deborah,  (Bonjour, Deborah … don’t you just love the sound of that?)
We have received your application for the position of Publicist, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that you have not been selected for this position.
Best regards,
Cirque du Soleil
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So the job search goes on and on and on.  I’m over-qualified. I’m under-qualified. I might get bored. I might not.

I sent this out today as a cover letter.  What am I becoming?

Dear Company,
I’m absolutely, positively and completely out of my mind for even sending this. After all, my lifetime of public relations experience includes damn near everything BUT working in an advertising agency.  I came close one time though.  When working for IFusion in NYC, our offices were in the former BBDO space on 5th Ave so it stands to reason that I just naturally absorbed creative advertising energy by osmosis.  They left behind a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen, where as High Priestess of Corporate Culture, I served up culinary genius in hopes of feeding the imagination while brainstorming in a room made out of white board walls.

Heck, I don’t even know who you people are … but …  I have a wicked (sometimes irreverent) sense of humor, am 80% right/20% left brained, keep a Gene Simmons action figure somewhere on my desk along with a Magic 8 Ball in case I don’t have a good answer at the time and because I once met the son of the inventor.

Thanks for listening!
Deborah

Now that you’ve read my response I am including the Craigslist ad just so you can see why I went where I went with the cover letter:

Do not respond to this Mid-Level Public Relations Position (Triangle)


Date: 2012-03-14, 12:26PM EDT
Reply to: pg86g-2901788756@job.craigslist.org


(just FYI, this is a real company, with a real job. This morning in Raleigh, it’s actually warm – spring is here, and I-40 didn’t have any real slowdowns). If you’re a talented PR Person, you shouldn’t be reading this ad. After all, if you’re any good, you probably have a cushy job at a cushy place, running your brain on auto-pilot every day, for if you actually used more than 15% of your brain, you would completely befuddle those around you. If you’re that kind of PR Person, and we hear about you, we’ll more than likely offer you a job. And after that, your days of faking it will come to and end. And on some days, you might actually break into a minor sweat, because we might not like your first plan. Or your second. Or third. You might even be a part of some several ground-breaking campaigns, fueled by your brilliant strategy, that gets so much National attention, your Facebook friends will get jealous of you. Which will cause other problems. If your style of PR is sending a carefully-crafted press release out everywhere, we don’t want you. However, if you’re into coming up with guerrilla ideas that gets our client on the 11:00 news, or get a million hits on YouTube, we’re interested.So, you’re probably best off not responding to this ad, for it might turn your life completely upside-down. Which is what we do best – there are many employees here whose lives haven’t been the same since they walked in the front door years ago.Regardless, hopefully we won’t hear from you.PS: If you’re completely out of your mind, and do respond to this ad, we’d like you to have up to 3 years experience doing PR for an advertising agency. No whiners.
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Music on shuffle while job hunting:
Je Suis Desole (Mark Knopfler)
Against the Wind (Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band)
Boom Boom Pow (The Black Eyed Peas)
Keep the Car Running (Arcade Fire)
Come See About Me (Tedeschi Trucks Band)
Somebody That I Used to Know (Gotye)
I Dug Up a Diamond (Emmy Lou/Mark Knopfler)
Life For Rent (Dido)

O yeah + the Sand Bar + 100 years of Oreo + shuffle off to somewhere

O Yeah
I haven’t quite decided yet, but as job piles go, I either sank to the bottom of or climbed to the top this week when I found myself actually applying for 27 jobs in Canada.  Not the “eh” Canada … the “oui” Canada.  Queest-ce que je pensais?

Truth be told, for about the last 10 years whenever I found myself getting itchy for change, I’d do one of two things … come home from work, pour a glass of wine and scour the web for

1. beach bars for sale in the tropics
2. job opportunities with Cirque du Soleil

Note that both things involve wine.  Crazy, I know.  Two such disparate callings … there is nothing I can offer in the way of explanation.  Nothing that makes sense anyway.  Well, there was that childhood fantasy of running away to join the circus …
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Soggy Dollar Bar Jost Van Dyke, BVI

In my own private version of Fantasy Island, Ricardo Montalban and Hervé Villechaize would be welcoming me.  De Bar!  De Bar!

The Sand Bar.  Built close to the sea on the sand, I’d never have to … well, do things like vacuum, sweep or mop ever again.  My toes … your toes … all God’s chillun’s toes would always be in the sand.

I’d pour wines I would drink, grill extraordinary seafood and cheeseburgers on my oil drum Chargrill  … basically spending all my days and nights polishing glasses, listening to music, wearing flip flops (or not), and living the low life.

A couple of years ago I found what could have been THE perfect place.  Island Blues, a bar in Coral Bay, St. John, USVI that had also been the home of the St. John Blues Festival.  All the signs pointed to “yes” … it was even on Carolina Avenue. How’s that for a sign?  I had this great idea that I could help raise the money by selling endowed deckchairs.  Beautiful teak numbers with an engraved brass plaque on the back. Your chair. Your beach. Your view.  Why didn’t y’all fall for that?  All I needed was 350 of my closest friends to fork over 1k each. You could be there sitting in your chair right this minute. You know who you are.

There was also the vineyard on Crete.  The small beachfront hotel in Roatan.  The seafront B&B in Belize.  Good thing my credit card has a low limit.  Yet, in the immortal words of Aerosmith, Dream on … dream until the dream comes true.
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But back to Canada … about as far away as you can get from a tropical paradise.  It’s the frozen north. It’s where you ran away to dodge the draft. It’s Hymns of the 49th Parallel.

The same country that had American kids everywhere singing Alouette.

Currently being used in a Target TV commercial, I found myself singing along with this French Canadian folksong the other day. Did I know what I was singing? Not really, so I searched for translated lyrics online.  This sweet sounding little progression song is disturbing on so many levels.


Lark, lovely Lark
Lark, I am going to pluck you
I am going to pluck your head,
I am going to pluck your head,
And the head, and the head,
O-o-o-o-oh …..

All followed by the successive plucking of various bird parts ….  beak, eyes, neck, wings, back, legs and tail. YOW!

What we have here is a perky, infectious melody about bird dismemberment, innocently and happily sung by little kids.  Coming from a country whose national sports are ice hockey and lacrosse, a little bird bashing isn’t really such a big deal. Sure, this could have been written by a chef plucking a bird prior to cooking, but how much sustenance could the tiny lark offer after all that plucking?  But, here I go getting off track again.

Cirque du Soleil
Pure take-your-breath-away magic.  A circus worth working for in any language. Every time I’d verbalize my wish to work for CdS, inevitably I’d hear “as a performer?”  Smack your own face for even asking such a silly question. Of course not as a performer. Do I look like I’ve had years and years of acrobatic training to the exclusion of all else?  Bend and twist like a pretzel?  Soar across a room on a scarf? I do not. I wear scarves, not hang on to them 50 feet in the air.  But I could help them do it from behind the scenes.  Can you imagine how many people it takes to make all that magic happen on stage?

So this was the week.   Oh, I don’t expect to ever hear from them, but I created my own internal magic just by hitting the submit button.  Under special talents, I listed “can ask how to get to the library, as well as sing Alouette, Frère Jacques, Dominique, and La Marseillaise.”  I’d hire me just for that.
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Happy 100th birthday to Oreo!

Regular or Doublestuff?  Twist and lick?  Just bite?  As a milk dipper? How do you eat yours?

Did you know that Nabisco holds a worldwide Oreo Stacking Competition?  How high could you go?_________________________________________________________

Shuffling off to Buffalo, over the Rainbow Bridge and hang a right … a variation on hymns from the 49th:
Long May You Run (Neil Young)
River (Joni Mitchell)
Great Big Love (Bruce Cockburn)
Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye (Leonard Cohen)
Love is Everything (Jane Siberry)