Chicago in Moscow – Highlights from the 2/27 Scott Owen Show

Up Front:

According to Seth Godin, nobody owns a “tribe”. The constituencies we serve remain loyal as long as we add value.

Congestion Pricing inches closer to reality in The Big Apple. You used to be able to show off your wealth with what you drive. Soon, you’ll be able to show it off by where you drive. via @NYTimes

Today in History:

Emanuel Celler

1960: Representative Emanuel Celler of New York introduced two anti-payola bills in the U.S. Congress. He blamed payola for ‘the cacophonous music called Rock and Roll’ and said that Rock and Roll would never have gained popularity, ‘especially among teenagers,’ if not for payola. Cellar would become the longest serving member of the House to lose a primary. Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman, eked out a 635-vote victory, based chiefly on Celler’s opposition to feminism and the Equal Rights Amendment.

1968: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, first man to orbit the earth, died in a plane crash at the age of 34.

1972: Grand Funk Railroad fired producer/manager Terry Knight for alleged nonpayment of royalties. He promptly sued them for breach of contract, resulting in a protracted legal battle during which the band dropped Railroad from their name. Later Knight repossessed the band’s instruments and other gear after a concert at Madison Square Garden.

1973: What started as a routine $15 speeding ticket in New Jersey became something more for Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia when police searched his car and found a significant quantity of LSD. He was released on $2,000 bail.

1977: In aviation’s worst disaster, a KLM 747 and a Pan Am 747 collided with each other on a foggy runway on the Canary Island of Tenerife, killing 583 people.

1977: Actress Diana Hyland (Eight Is Enough) died of breast cancer at age 41.

Eric & Pattie on their wedding day ©Alpha Press

1979: Eric Clapton married George Harrison’s ex-wife, Pattie Boyd, for whom Clapton wrote the song, ‘Layla.’ The marriage lasted nine years.

1980: In Washington state, Mount St. Helens became active after 123 years of dormancy. Seven-and-a-half weeks later, on the morning of May 18, 1980, its catastrophic eruption was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed.

1998: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the prescription drug Viagra, the first pill for treatment of male impotence.

2002: Comedian/TV pioneer Milton Berle died of colon cancer at 93. Actor/pianist Dudley Moore died of progressive supranuclear palsy at age 66.

Lennon at Home

2003: John Lennon‘s boyhood home at 251 Menlove Avenue, Liverpool was opened to the public.

2006: Elvis Presley’s Graceland was declared a U.S. national historic landmark.

2007: Jefferson Airplane/Starship vocalist Grace Slick and former manager Bill Thompson sued former bandmate Paul Kantner for touring with different musicians under the name ‘Paul Kantner’s Starship,’ claiming he was in violation of both trademark rights and an $80,000 legal settlement he signed in 1985.

2007: National Football League owners voted to make ‘instant (video tape) replay‘ a permanent officiating tool for NFL games.

Happy Birthday to:

(1924) Sarah Vaughn (d. 1990)
(1930) David Janssen (d. 1980)
(1942) Michael York
(1947) Walt Mossberg
(1952) Maria Schneider (d. 2011)
(1963) Quentin Tarantino
(1970) Mariah Carey

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “Thomas Merton, the American monk, pointed out that we may spend our whole life climbing the ladder of success, only to find when we get to the top that our ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
~Richard Rohr, Falling Upward


How a Moscow tribute band became an international sensation

Leonid Vorobyev

Sixty is the retirement age in Russia. But for Leonid Vorobyev it was a new beginning. The former choir conductor and sound engineer cut his chops in a number of Russian garage bands. As he approached his seventh decade, he told the Orange County Register, “I decided to make a gift to myself.”

Vorobyev pulled together the best professional musicians he knew to create a rendition of Chicago’s ‘Brand New Love Affair.’ In the process, one of the group suggested making a video. Two weeks later it was on Chicago’s official website.

It was Vorobyev’s son, Roman who inspired the group to take “Leonid and Friends” to the next level. “This whole project started not because they tried to do some smart marketing move or there’s an audience for this or whatever. No, it’s just because they had fun playing this music, and that’s why it’s so authentic.”

And authentic it is. Vorobyev, now 64 has created a slew of Chicago covers, along with a tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” and a reimagination of The Rolling Stones, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”.

Chicago has never toured in Russia. Vorobyev originally fell in love with the band listening to bootleg recordings of their work and painstakingly creating identical arrangements for his fellow musicians to play.

How does the genuine article feel about the group’s covers? Founding drummer Danny Seraphine sat in for a few songs when the band played the LA The Village. Robert Lamm stopped by the venue meet them in person before coming back for one of the weekend shows.

“Brand New Love Affair” isn’t one of Chicago’s biggest hits, but It was a Vorobyev favorite for, “the way the musical imagery changes as it unfolds.”

The group is a little mystified about the wild acceptance they have received wherever they play. For their 900,000 plus Facebook Fans and anyone who has watched their YouTube videos (over 1.2 million have), two things are clear: Their renditions are dead on, in some cases even better than the originals. And they are having a blast playing the music. Numerous bootlegs of their live shows are in circulation and the commonality is that these Russians are having the time of their lives.

Leonid and Friends’ two CDs, “Chicagovich” and “Chicagovich II,”  are getting rave reviews on Amazon, CD Baby, Google Play and iTunes. Jon Huntsman Jr., the US Ambassador to Russia sat in on keyboards at a Moscow concert. The the band’s  debut American tour was sold out at every stop.

For Vorobyev, it’s all about breaking paradigms.

“I have an idea about if you’re not afraid to break the rules you have a chance,” he told the Register. “Because we break all the rules of show business in Russia, you know.

“To be a cover band, it’s not very good,” he says. “To sing in English in Russia, it’s not so very good. To go out on the stage after 60? Wow!

“We break every rule. In result we make our dreams come true.” (Video)