Author Archives: Jon Sidel

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’m on the outside looking inside / What do I see? / Much confusion, disillusion / All around me

I talk to the wind / My words are all carried away / I talk to the wind / The wind does not hear / The wind cannot hear

Spent last weekend bombing back and forth to Vegas. First time I’ve seen my dad for a few years. Ol’ Kenny got to see young Jonah crush a baseball. The two seemed to enjoy their brief encounter. It made the long drive worth it. Hours of Idelic songs, traffic lights and pavement. By the time we reached LA, wind gusts were blowing close to 40 mph.

Are we just “dust in the wind?” At times, maybe so. In the meantime I choose to allow myself the joy of baseball and rock ‘n’ roll. I had such a “breezy” time cutting this show’s “fall ball” records.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Take my hand and take my heart / I shiver when you’re near / Deliver me from everything that drives me, oh my dear

Accelerate your pain / White knuckles on the wheel again / Shut your mouth, let’s move on out of here / Just try and keep it light / Or someone may get hurt tonight / Don’t talk that way, don’t talk that way, don’t talk that way

Hold it there a second / Let me dump this stupid pride / I’m ready for you sweetheart / Now my mind is open wide

Cutting it short to hit the road. I’ve got the Sidels packed in the car, and it’s off to Vegas to play baseball and see family.

I hope to bank some fond memories and give my grumpy old man a big hug and as much love as I can muster.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Load up on guns, bring your friends / It’s fun to lose and to pretend / She’s over-bored and self-assured / Oh no, I know a dirty word

Hello, hello, hello, how low / Hello, hello, hello, how low / Hello, hello, hello, how low / Hello, hello, hello

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous / Here we are now, entertain us / I feel stupid and contagious / Here we are now, entertain us / A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido / Yeah, hey

Hello, hello, hello. I saw an article last week celebrating “the inside story” of Nirvana’s Nevermind at 30. It brought back a flurry of memories, most centered around Small’s, my bar in Hollywood (circa 1989-91).

Okay, forgive my boast, but if there was an epicenter for grunge rock, that would be Small’s in Hollywood. We played the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” advance cassette weeks before the video release. That summer, I’d often play the song twice in a row to satisfy the many rockers who came to the bar specifically to hear “the new song from a group called Nirvana.”

Smalls hosted every major band of the era, save Nirvana. (I wouldn’t call Kurt much of a social animal.) Aside from the shy Kurt & Co., everyone was there drinking at the bar or doing drugs with the owner in my office across the street.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’m a teenage Jesus superstar without a mighty cross to bear / And when mom complains about my hair / I say hey mom I just don’t care

I’m in hell and the angels cry cause I’m trying to sell my soul / And when mom complains about my clothes / I say hey mom leave me alone

Come on little girl, it’s gonna be alright / Come on little girl, it’s gonna be alright / I got one thing on my mind girl / I got one thing on my mind and I don’t care

I’m a teenage Jesus superstar

Summer’s official end came this week. Yesterday a daunting red sunset filled a smoky sky. For those who follow the stars, Mercury went into retrograde. I guess keeping my stars in line has been on my mind. I always loved the idea of “a star”—movie star, rock star, film star.

East River Pipe sang, “You’re a superstar in France.” The Vaselines’ line, “I’m a teenage Jesus superstar”—a pretty bold statement from the Scottish teenagers. Many decades of rock ‘n’ rollers crying out with the same claim.

“You just don’t understand.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Now it is 1984 / Knock-knock at your front door / It’s the suede denim secret police / They have come for your uncool niece

Come quietly to the camp / You’d look nice as a drawstring lamp / Don’t you worry, it’s only a shower / For your clothes, here’s a pretty flower

Die on organic poison gas / Serpent’s egg’s already hatched / You will croak, you little clown / When you mess with President Brown / When you mess with President Brown

California Über Alles / California Über Alles / Über Alles California / Über Alles California

In light of 2021, it’s hard to imagine knocking ex-California “Gov” Jerry Brown. Jello Biafra’s politics have always been absurd, but I cherish the two Dead Kennedys shows I saw upon moving here in the early ’80s. At times I’ve felt the passion and fury of those shows. Tuesday’s recall election brought memories back of that large pack of Nazi skinheads confronting Fishbone (DK’s opener). Mayhem broke loose and all us there (DKs, Goldenvoice, and friends) ran from backstage to stand our ground.

That’s kinda what happened last Tuesday. It’s not like I rant about politics online but…FUCK YOU!!!!

“NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF!”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

As a child I was known for make believin’ / All alone I created fantasies / As I grew people called it self-deceiving / But my heart helped me hold the memories

As I walk through the world I find around me / Something new yet familiar’s in the air / I feel it everywhere / Like a child’s eyes on a Christmas night / I’m looking at you now / Findin’ answers to my prayers

I’ve been having weird dreams all week. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they are clueless and disorienting. In the music business I’ve heard the expression, “living the dream.” Maybe I am? Maybe I have? I think I will today.

It’s hot and dry in Los Angeles. Please be safe.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

If we tell you that you’ve got two days to live / Then don’t complain, ’cause that’s one more than you’d get in Zaire / So don’t hang around and be foolish / Do something constructive with your weekend

From Monday morning I work for Friday nights / Collect my wages, then try to paint on the smell of soap / ‘Cause tonight I get ready early / Score what I need and go pick a girl up

It seems like ages since we had some fun / Here comes the weekend – I get to see the girls / Long live the weekend, the weekend is here

Labor Day weekend has always had a strange aura. My “internal time-clock” seems to have set itself at childhood.

My parents would send us to the “beach” for the summer. Careless days of slow summer fun would start the weekend and quickly fade before returning to the dirty humanity of a hot city. Dark, cooler evenings and the excitement of a new chapter. Possibilities permeate the air.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

The sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind / Just another mad mad day on the road / I am just living to be lying by your side / But I’m just about a moonlight mile on down the road

Made a rag pile of my shiny clothes / Gonna warm my bones / Gonna warm my bones / I got silence on my radio / Let the air waves flow / Let the air waves flow

Some musicians just simply deserve a standing ovation. Charlie Watts was one of those players. As I came to the final song for this week’s Idelic Hour, I just stood up—my instincts had my fingers flipping through crates and reaching for one of the first albums I purchased. It was 7th grade, fall of 1974.

I believe I bought Hot Rocks at Marlboro Books on 86th Street just below Lex. By spring I had my first pair of Rolling Stones tickets. I invited my friend Jeff Sampson. He was the biggest and toughest kid in the middle school. As I recall, Jeff wasn’t the biggest music fan but he knew The Rolling Stones were playing and the Hells Angels would be there, so he was game for the danger.

We were sitting on the side of stage, last row of the lodge (red seats), waiting for the Angels or the Stones to show when Jeff leaned over and told me to slowly turn around and check out the man standing behind us. I turned and my eyes focused in disbelief as adrenaline rushed through my veins. It was Mick Jagger looming over me, giant Jackie O shades and a hooded cape. As I turned back to Jeff he calmly asked me…

“Are The Rolling Stones standing behind us?”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Pray my hands, pray my voice / Give the reason, take away / Make believe an order for to stay

Lighting one up like I used to / Dancing all alone like I used to / Giving it up like I used to / Falling in love I like I used to

Open my heart like I used to / Making out long like I used to / Holding hands openly, rights to / Taking what’s mine like I used to

The summer of 2021 is a history lesson in the making. Some of us had some R&R and beach time. Some of us traveled. God knows, maybe we’ll all be in search of the summer of 2019. Two lives—one before and one after—the teens. Speaking of teens, Jonah (mask and all) skated into 8th grade.

This week’s Idelic Hour muse came out of a dozen eggs left in our fridge by our house sitter. Both Susan and I cracked open eggs with double yolks. In fact, 3 double yolks in all. We hear it means good luck and great change.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Now the trees are almost green. / But will they still be seen? / When time and tide have been. / Fall into your passing hands. / Please don’t destroy these lands. / Don’t make them desert sands.

Soon I hope that I will find, / Thoughts deep within my mind. / That won’t displace my kind.

Jonah Sidel turned 13 on Tuesday. To his annoyance, I am a very sentimental parent. I learned from raising my daughter Zoe, sometimes you feel like a cab driver left on the corner without a tip.

I wouldn’t be writing this open diary on a vinyl site if I didn’t have a strong connection to the records of my past. So by 13 I had just started to frequent the 6 record stores within a few blocks of our apartment on East 85th Street NYC! And at 13 I was “green lit” to go to concerts with a friend. Sly & The Family Stone, Alice Cooper, Bad Company, and the Stones’ ’75 tour.

I was gone!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Lazy bones, sleepin’ in the sun / How you ‘spect to get your day’s work done? / Never get your day’s work done / Sleepin’ in the noon day sun

Now, lazy bones, sleepin’ in the shade / How you expect to get your corn meal made? / You’ll never get your corn meal made / Just sleepin’ in the evening shade

When tainers need sprayin’, I bet you keep prayin’ / The bugs’ll fall off the vine / And when you go fishin’ I bet you keep wishin’ / The fish won’t grab your line

Back safely in my canyon pad. The last few days of the trip confirmed that there’s no place like California. One interesting note from the road is to beware of east coast traffic. Gone are the yellow taxis of my youth, and what’s left—a traffic jam!

Speaking of the summers of yesterday, it was a cool counselor from Fayetteville, Arkansas who turned my pals and me onto ZZ Top. The claim was that ZZ’s guitarist ended their show by making his guitar say “thank you very much.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from New York City!

What you gonna do when you get out of jail? / I’m gonna have some fun / And what do you consider fun? / Fun, natural fun

I’m in heaven / With my boyfriend, my laughing boyfriend / There’s no beginning and there is no end / Time isn’t present in that dimension

He’ll take my arm / When we’re walking, rolling and rocking / It’s one time I’m glad I’m not a man / Feels like I’m dreaming, but I’m not sleeping

Check it out, y’all / I’m in heaven / With the maven of funk mutation / Clinton’s musicians such as Bootsy Collins / Raise expectations to a new intention

No one can sing / Quite like Smokey, Smokey Robinson / Wailin’ and skankin’ to Bob Marley / Reggae’s expanding with Sly and Robbie / I said, oops, your mama said, uh

Today is the last day of a two and half week trip back east. It took most of the week to get in a New York state of mind, but after walking the streets and playgrounds of my old hometown, I’m just about here.

My feelings are mixed—well, kind of like the Idelic Hour? There are happy and sad songs, old and new of every tempo. My overwhelming feeling at this moment is gratitude. Thankful for family and close friends and the opportunity to have been living a rock ‘n’ roll dream-life.

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The Best of The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole / Just strap your guitar and we’ll play some rock n roll / But the money’s is good / Just get a grip on yourself

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that 1977 was 40 years ago. It’s rather obvious, but for some reason it’s just finally sunken in. Honestly I’m in a bit of shock. ’77 was the year when punk rock and I came of age. I was 15 at the time—obsessed with punk rock 45 singles and pretty much bought every record of the era. Punk was more than just music. I listened to every lyric and read every “zine,” and I BELIEVED in every note and every word. I took down all my rock and Bruce Lee posters and replaced them with British punk posters I used to buy from Bleecker Bob’s—the Clash, Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks lined my walls.

I remember explicitly embracing the concept of being 15 and being PUNK. I knew I had missed the ’60s, but “77”—that was my movement and I held it tight. I went to every punk rock show of note in New York City that year and the two after. When I visited San Francisco for six weeks that summer I went to the Mabuhay Gardens and saw The Nuns, Crime, The Screamers, Weirdos, the Dils, and The Avengers. I flipped tables, tossed chairs, and showed the SF punks how us New Yorkers throw a bottle at a band.

“No, you don’t throw it at the band, you throw it against the wall to the side!”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from New York City!

Stuck in a rainstorm, but hi from NYC.

Heading to Cooperstown, NY to play on a field of dreams!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Got a feeling inside (can’t explain) / It’s a certain kind (can’t explain) / I feel hot and cold (can’t explain) / Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (can’t explain)

I said (can’t explain) / I’m feeling good now, yeah, but (can’t explain)

Dizzy in the head and I’m feeling blue / The things you’ve said, well, maybe they’re true / I’m gettin’ funny dreams again and again / I know what it means, but…

Heading into July 4th weekend I’m still trying to set my head straight. Last week I hit the high seas fishing with a couple of pals, but I still can’t seem to shake 18 months of pandemic isolation.

Next Friday I’ll be crusin’ my home turf of NY with Susan and Jonah in tow. Time to eat a few burgers and follow my son’s lead—and shrug this past year off and rock ‘n’ roll.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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