Author Archives: Jon Sidel

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Inside every man / Lives the seed of a flower / If he looks within he finds beauty and power / Ring all the bells, sing and tell the people everywhere that the flower has come / Light up the sky with your prayers of gladness and rejoice for the darkness is gone / Throw off your fears let your heart beat freely at the sign that a new time is born

What’s the difference? If I was to guess it would be the little things in life? I don’t know, but I do like using a “question” as a muse for a playlist. Flipping through my crates, I came across my old Smiths albums. I remember hearing “What Difference Does It Make?” on Rodney on the ROQ. Thinking back it was a fascinating time in music.

The punk movement I adored as a teenager had essentially faded, replaced by new wave, which had it moments. California hardcore punk was still fun—and then there was this new music called rap. By this time I was a hip art student at UCLA. I found myself making blacklight graffiti paintings for the coolest underground nightclub in the Hollywood scene. The Rhythm Lounge played only rap and ’80s dance records (like Tyrone Bronson’s “Sticky Situation”).

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Well, I don’t exactly know / What’s going on in the world today / Don’t know what there is to say / About the way the people are treating / Each other, not like brothers

Leaders take us far away from ecology / With mythology and astrology / Has got some words to say / About the way we live today / Why can’t we learn to love each other / It’s time to turn a new face / To the whole world wide human race

Every now and then I enjoy Father’s Day. Certainly being a dad has been life changing. Take my word for it, dealing with a “Sidel kid” is beyond your wildest dreamz. My life’s goal is to just stick around to see what Zoe and Jonah do.

It’s not always easy, but my journey as a dad has been filled with so many amazing moments. Hey, just this week Zoe won best actress at the Brooklyn Film Festival for a film she did called Signs Of Love. Today she sent me three songs from her new band. Both filled me with tears of joy.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

You only live twice / Or so it seems / One life for yourself / And one for your dreams

You drift through the years / And life seems tame / ‘Til one dream appears / And Love is its name

And love is a stranger / Who’ll beckon you on / Don’t think of the danger / Or the stranger is gone

This dream is for you / So pay the price / Make one dream / You only live twice

Today’s thought? You only live once. Unless you’re Sean Connery of course. Life might be too short, then again it might be perfect. Songs are vehicles for my sentimentality as my Instagram flooded with photos from proud parents at graduations.

Surely Nancy Sinatra stuck a chord this week. My old man wasn’t much of a concert goer but he did enjoy a show and a dice game. Shortly after moving to LA for college, the old man had me meet him in Vegas for a weekend.

We drank, gambled, and sniffed our way to Caesars Palace where we stumbled into the showroom to see the Sinatras—Nancy opening for Frank! The impact of seeing Sinatra with Kenny was more profound than he would ever understand. In our final moments together I simply held him and sang “New York, New York.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

And I just had a dream the other night / I was married to the Queen / And Madonna lived next door / I think she took a shine to me / And the kids were all grown up / But I had to turn her down ’cause I was still in love with you

“God save the Queen” is an old and meaningful expression. More than just a rad single from The Sex Pistols, I believe it should be understood as “God keep the Queen.” If so, what does the old mum stand for? As an angry young John Lydon pointed out, “our figurehead is not what she seems.”

Or is she? All I can say is she’s sure as shit been reigning over some great rock ‘n’ roll songs. Yes, painfully stiff, she certainly has given way to a few generations of song lovers (as opposed to gun lovers). So for this Jubilee week, The Idelic Hour salutes Her Majesty, my British friends and co-workers.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Hipsters, tripsters / Real cool chicks, sir / Everyone’s doin’ that rag

You needn’t gild the lily, offer jewels to the sunset / No one is watching or standing in your shoes / Wash your lonely feet in the river in the morning / Everything promised is delivered to you

I’ve often write how I’ve never cared for long weekends. My poor attitude stems from coming of age in the nightclub and bar business. It’s taken years for me to learn how to take a break.

This said, Memorial Day weekend has always been a nice “marker of time.” I remember as a kid noting, Memorial Monday was a day to hit the school yard for some serious street ball (NYC). This weekend I’m gonna do what this old Idelic rocker often does, simply pass the time with my old lady and some cool tunes.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It feels so good / You lying here next to me / Oh, what a groove / You have no idea how it feels / My hands just won’t keep still / I love you, baby / Oh, I love you, I love you, I love you / I just wanna hold you / Run my fingers through your hair / Ooh / Outta sight

Slight drizzle in the canyon last night. Yes, I know, I’m from a family who likes to chat about the weather. In these parts we’ll take any rain we can get.

On Wednesday my mom texted to wish Susan and me Happy Anniversary! We both laughed, having completely forgotten about that afternoon 15 years ago. Marriage is quite a journey and I’m glad to report I scored a cool chick.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Out of grace / Out of grace, out of style / Out of grace, out of style, can you sit a little while? / Out of dreams / So it seems / The nightmares will greet me at my bed

Shut me up, if you can / Shut me up, take my hand / Shut me up, be a friend, through a random act of kindness

After a couple of weeks of slightly cool weather, strong hot winds plan to invade our canyon. It would be nice to enjoy spring.

So why not? Tons of new releases crowd the internet—call them delayed vinyl releases if we must.

My wish is to enjoy every moment I can spend on a field of dreams.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

There is a happy land where only children live / They don’t have the time to learn the ways / Of you sir, Mr. Grownup

There’s a special place in the rhubarb fields underneath the leaves / It’s a secret place and adults aren’t allowed there, Mr. Grownup / Go away, sir

Last week The Idelic Hour featured an hour of “the class of 77” punk 45s. I guess it was not a coincidence, I started reading the Dalai Lama’s The Art Of Happiness. Putting together the set and then listening back time and again, I was remembering gigs, friends, and the very inspiration that has brought me here. I guess I’m a lucky dude. It only takes and hour of songs to make me truly happy.

Ironically, on a sad note, rock ‘n’ roll lost another friend this week. I don’t want make my little IH column an obituary, but with a few lines I often try to simply celebrate rock ‘n’ roll. So here is a memory from childhood and that “class of 77.”

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen had moved into the Chelsea Hotel in the summer of ’78. The couple must have been running low on dope money so they set up a few shows at Max’s Kansas City. At that time neither The Sex Pistols or The Clash had played New York City. I would guess many of us had been burned by the Pistols cancellation/rip off at the Elgin Theatre the year before. Maybe it was Sid’s image? That night was unlike any Max’s had seen before or since.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

We are the leaders of tomorrow. / We are the ones to have the fun. / We want control. We want the power. / Not gonna stop until it comes.

We are not Jesus Christ. / We are not fascist pigs. / We are not capitalist industrialists. / We are not communists. / We are the one.

The expression “too cool for school” is bang on for us Sidels. This week my former classmates are having a get together on the upper west side of NYC. Over the past few weeks a chat thread has emerged, 50+ classmates strong. It’s a cocktail hour for the class of 1980. It was great to see so many names; many of us have been in touch. Most are parents. I reached out to Tom Nagorski. We were co-captains of the basketball team and it was fun trading photos. Too my joy, big Tom still hoops it up.

With this “class reunion” mix I want to send my love and positive vibes to all my life long school day pals. All said, mine is “the class of 77.” It’s the year punk broke and changed my world. My reunion took place over the last few nights digging through my old 45 collection. Listening to punk records from the late ’70s makes me happy. So I’m just gonna listen over and over and remember so many “heroes!”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge / Of memories where I can’t get back / All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge / Of memories where I can’t get back / To you, you

What if our hard work ends in despair? / What if the road won’t take me there? / Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold / What if to love and be loved is not enough? / What if I fall and can’t bear to get up? / Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold / We could stay gold

Could stay gold / Stay gold

Post Easter egg hunting found my son Jonah and I watching Francis Ford Coppola’s flick The Outsiders. In truth, young dude was too lazy to read the novel cover to cover during spring break. All said, both father and son were moved by S.E. Hinton’s tale of Greasers vs. Socs and the dreamy trio of Ponyboy, Dallas, and Johnny Cade.

Digging through my record collection, it was no surprise that Robert Frost’s poem and this tale of two sides of the railroad tracks that “stay gold” could seep into the subconscious of many of my favorite songwriters.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’m all lost in the supermarket / I can no longer shop happily / I came in here for a special offer / A guaranteed personality

I’m all tuned in, I see all the programs / I save coupons from packets of tea / I’ve got my giant hit discotheque album / I empty a bottle, I feel a bit free

The kids in the halls and the pipes in the walls / Make me noises for company / Long distance callers make long distance calls / And the silence makes me lonely

Good Friday in the canyon. It’s mind bending that we’re in mid-April. I’m still re-upping on my 2022 resolution to look at the “half a cup” as full.

Indeed it does feel like warm sunny days lay ahead. Baseball season started and LA has Freddie Freeman. For those not familiar, Freddis is the star who always has a small and a kind word for any base-runner who makes it to first.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I could have loved you, girl, like a planet / I could have chained your heart to a star / But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas

I could have built a house on the ocean / I could have placed our love in the sky / But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas

I could have turned you into a priestess / I could have burned your fate in the sand / But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas

But it really doesn’t matter at all / No it really doesn’t matter at all / Life’s a gas / I hope it’s going to last

Yesterday was April 7th. My dad would have been 88. Now, a day later, I feel much the same as the last time I saw him, speechless.

All I can write is that a couple of weeks ago I heard his voice in a dream. I woke up and wondered if his voice would remain with me—the thought that has been with me since that night. I would say my dad was really never a big music fan. I didn’t really plan this playlist of songs with him in mind but when I sat and reflected on my dad’s huge New York City life, the T. Rex song above did feel appropriate.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I pity the country
 / I pity the state / 
And the mind of a man
 / Who thrives on hate

 / Small are the lives / 
Of cheats and of liars
 / Of Bigoted newspress
 / Fascist town criers

 / Deception annoys me / 
Deception destroys me
 / The Bill of rights throws me
 / Jails they all know me

 / Frustrated are churchmen / 
The saving-of-soul men
 / The Tinker the tailor / 
The Colonial governor / 

They pull and they paw me / 
They’re seeking to draw me / 
Away from the roundness
of the life /

A friend and co-collaborator just texted me: “It’s the little victories.” Oh my god, so true!

This morning I woke up a touch frantic, not really sure if spring break just ended or is about to start. I’m open to the possibility that winter is over, or maybe it’s Groundhog Day? Was is just St. Patrick’s Day? It seems like I saw ugly people in green roaming the Strand shit-faced weekends back.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

She says, baby everything is alright, uptight, out of sight / Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight

She’s a pearl of a girl, I guess that’s what you might say / I guess her folks brought her up that way / The right side of the tracks, she was born and raised / In a great big old house, full of butlers and maids / She says no one is better than I, I know I’m just an average guy

No football hero or smooth Don Juan / Got empty pockets, you see I’m a poor man’s son / Can’t give her the things that money can’t buy / But I’ll never, never make my baby cry / And it’s all right, what I can’t do / Out of sight because my heart is true

Stevie Wonder’s “Up Tight” has always signified unrest. The first notes bring back childhood memories of ’60s and ’70s New York City driving through Harlem in my parents car, eventually playing football in Franklin Park, the only white kid on the East Harlem Chargers. I never thought of myself as a tough guy or was much for fighting, but I smoked some of my first joints in Central Park with Vietnam vets.

Something about those shell-shocked Nam vets. I guess they felt more comfortable hanging with hippie kids. Many still whore their army jackets. Some had an unforgettable distant look in their steely eyes. There were those too who came undone on the basketball court. We knew on those occasions to stand back and keep our mouths shut.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Winters going / And the leaves turn green / I remember times / That we have seen

I cannot rid myself / Of old memories / Winter’s going / And the leaves turn green

Young woman crying / In the soft spring light / Pain in her body / Makes her weep for the night

Flowers around her / Can’t bring her delight / Young woman crying / In the soft spring light

Summer will come / And where will i hide? / Summer will come / And where will i hide?

I went to a club to see a band last night. Watched a young band and afterwards hung out with new friends. They were smoking cigarettes and I was telling stories about bar days and partying with rockstar friends.

Is this where we are? In some ways covid and the internet have leveled the playing field. All or none of us are rockstars, and a rockstar is all I ever wanted to be. Well, maybe a pro basketball player in the early ’90s Haha!

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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