Elvis Costello with Larkin Poe at the Ryman Theater June 21, 2014


Photos: Michael G. Plumides, Jr.

I like to take photos – it’s fun. Check out these shots I took in Nashville on June 21, 2014 at the Ryman Theater (the original “Grand Ole Opry House”). Normally I get a photo pass but in this particular situation I didn’t ask for one.  But knowing how I love to capture the moment, I brought my new Canon SX 280 HS and shot these from the balcony. Elvis 1 ??????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

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MY SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH GWAR: A HORROR COMEDY


My dear friend, David Murray Brockie (50) of the shock-rock group, GWAR, has died. This is a piece I wrote in October of 2012 examining the twenty-five year relationship with David. Details and funeral arrangements are pending.

Michael G. Plumides Jr.'s The Decline of Southern Civilization

me and oderus book crop bw

This is a piece I wrote two years ago regarding my relationship with my long-time friend and partner in crime, Dave Brockie, who died yesterday. David Murray Brockie, 50, was found dead in his bed Sunday afternoon by his roommate. I don’t have further details at this time. The last time Dave was in Charlotte he hugged me around the neck and said, “Man, I’ve been keeping up with all your stuff. I’m so proud of you, man. I’m a fan. You really got your name out there.” That affirmation meant a lot to me. Dave and I go back twenty-five years. Indeed, this is a sad day in music and a terrible loss – Of all the many people I know in rock-n-roll, Dave was the brightest, quickest, most intelligent and creative person I had ever met. To read more, go here:http://m.styleweekly.com/richmond/gwar-frontman-dave-brockie-has-died/Content?oid=2048548  I will, more than…

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THE YEARS OF SOCIAL DISTORTION


social d picTHE YEARS OF SOCIAL DISTORTION

Photo and Story: Michael G. Plumides, Jr.

Over the many decades of my jaunt into the now dying format of Rock-n-Roll, I have experienced a multitude of legendary bands, changing music trends, and devoted fans who have influenced this writer’s perspective. I have watched with a keen eye as the times change and when they stay the same – and watched music acts come and go. One of the few constants in my sojourn has been Social Distortion; the group has transcended many of their contemporaries from meager and tumultuous beginnings to continue to mesmerize a crowd.  I caught their sold out live show at the Fillmore – Charlotte, November 10, 2012.  Interestingly, Social D. and I have some history, as a fan, a promoter, and now as a music writer.

When I transferred in 1984 from University of South Carolina to UNC- Wilmington, I met this guy named “Death Skate” from Va. Beach, a pock-faced punk rocker with wisdom beyond his years. One of Death Skate’s many astute observations as he sat in the dirt in front of the student union smoking cloves (or maybe doing an Ollie – I can’t remember) was, “Cats are Anarchists. They do whatever they want” referring to the feline lack of ability to take commands.

Death Skate’s name was Brian.  He was real. While I was living in Wrightsville Beach jamming to The Replacements, The Smiths, and English Beat, Death Skate was dropping the needle on Crass, Government Issue, and The Vandals. In an infinite moment of clarity circa 1985, Death Skate hand-painted the moniker of the now legendary So-Cal quartet, Social Distortion – with a skeleton holding a martini glass, on the back of his leather motorcycle jacket. Back then you didn’t have all this contrived merchandise everyone wears today, you made your own.

1983’s album entitled, Mommy’s Little Monster had already become the stuff of legend among punkers –  but due to front man, Mike Ness, and his addiction to heroin at the time, Social Distortion was one of those unattainable bands live. They were a rumor.  You rarely had a chance to see Social D, unless of course, you lived in California and even then their appearances were sparse.  Ness spent a lot of his time in-and-out of institutions and flopping on friend’s floors; factors which contributed to the band’s on-again off-again status.

Punk took a surmountable dedication to be authentic, and most of the good stuff wasn’t on the record rack at the mall. If you wanted to be in the know, you bought Maximum Rock-n-Roll or Flipside and those were hard to come by too.  Early on, to acquire Social Distortion’s music, you had to order the LP from your local Record Bar and wait several weeks to get it. Punk rock and hardcore wasn’t about fashion but more about attitude – to fly in the face of an overreaching and stifling federal government, i.e. the PMRC, and music ratings hearings spearheaded by the Reagan Administration.  The dissention was by-and-for an alienated and disenfranchised suburban youth with scenes burgeoning in every locale: DC, Boston, Chicago and especially Orange County.

But Ness’ band had tapes with songs like “1945” (which had garnished the attention of long-standing West Coast radio staple KROQ as far back as 1982), “The Creeps”,  and the Rolling Stones’ “Under my Thumb” floating around like Dead shows, with great hooks and unique vocal-styling; all would become anthems for the socially outcast.

After working at the fabled “Cable-FM” station in Wilmington, the lost but lauded WLOZ-FM (incidentally the station shut its doors in 2001),   I transferred back to Gamecock Country in 1986 and signed on with WUSC-FM.  Upon my return, I had adopted an outward skate punk ethos in my Dog Town t-shirt and Chuck Taylor’s with a “Suicidal Skates” sticker on the back of my Celica. I was also busy with my Sunday radio show at WUSC, and filling in for the host of “Raucous Waves” (The Gnashing Chicklet) and the request line would always light up with teen punker’s suggestions of a Social D. play, along with Dead Kennedys and Suicidal Tendencies.   Social D.s’ Prison Bound EP had made its way into heavy rotation by the spring of 1988, after the band had signed to Restless Records (The Cramps, The Dead Milkmen, Flaming Lips).  Ness had spent some time in County and acquired a taste for Johnny Cash, prompting the recording “Ring of Fire”, with Social Distortion adopting a “Cow Punk” sensibility that would become the band’s driving element in their music for some years.  It would also appear the band was arriving.  This would pave the way for what was to come – the quartet signed to a major label, and my involvement and subsequent show promotions of Social Distortion.

By 1989, I was booking bigger acts than just your local fare at the 4808 Club, with a little help, of course. One can’t have too many friends. I started co-promoting with a guy named Chris Bojonavic, a scrappy, punk rock Clemson grad with a thick New York accent – a so-called “silent partner” of mine, a little on the shady side.  “Bojo” had just inked some backing from legendary concert promoter, Cecil Corbett, which later he would come to regret. Chris and I promoted a number of shows together: Bad Brains, Corrosion of Conformity, Soundgarden, Danzig, and of course, we did Social Distortion – it was a glorious time for headbangers and punks.

So Bojo and I promoted a Social D show early in February of 1990.  Recently signed to Epic Records, they played songs off of their upcoming effort, “Ball and Chain” and “Story of My Life” and of course “Ring of Fire” of which, they would re-record for their self-titled album.  The band liked to play their new songs for a live crowd to test them out before they recorded them.

I used to love to take the bands to eat. It was the moment you could examine them.  Before the show, I took Ness and the others to eat at Ty’s on 7th Street. Ty’s had a “Cajun Ribeye” steak with a loaded backed potato, salad and beverage for eight bucks (and the buyout was ten) so I always took the bands there, and if I was strapped for cash Ty would take a check.  I became fast friends with Dennis Danell, founding guitarist for the band.  Dennis was just a sweetheart of a guy; he and I talked about a sandwich shop he had opened in Newport Beach, the tour, and the new record deal.  We all made mostly small talk, but they were a genuine group of guys – you could tell they were elated about taking their SoCal punk to the next level.  But there was also an underlying apprehension.

The then line-up of Social D, Ness: Danell, John Maurer, and Chris Reese almost had a fear of the unknown after knowing only the indie world since the band’s inception in 1978 – but they also knew it was time to get their shit together.  Of the band, Mike was the quiet one, who didn’t say much as he sat at the head of the table.  He would mutter occasionally, in his raspy voice, and laugh as he pushed the food around on his plate. Ness did say, “This is a great steak. Could I get another glass of tea?” But when he did speak, everyone listened.

That year, Social Distortion would release their first album on Epic, entitled, Social Distortion, recorded by engineer, Dave Jerden (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains). The album was certified “Gold” – which was unheard of for a punk act.  I would promote one other Social Distortion show in August of 1990 at the new incarnation of 4808 on 5th Street (the other was shut down after fire code violations following an L.A. Guns show the previous April).  Dennis and I were out all hours of the night after the show getting into trouble, but not as much trouble as we would have liked.  Sadly, Dennis died of a brain aneurism in 2000. Of the experience, Ness expressed, “I am saddened beyond any possible form of expression. Dennis and I have been friends since boyhood, starting Social Distortion together while we were in high school. My deepest regrets go to his family.”

After the infamous GWAR bust in September of 1990, I moved to Myrtle Beach, SC, and started promoting shows again at different clubs up and down the East Coast to moderate success.  My main venue was The Purple Gator. It was right around the corner from my house and a great venue, way before House of Blues arrived. Another was in Wilmington called Jacob’s Run – a club that had taken up the mantle of the Mad Monk when it burned to the ground in late 1991.  I did tons of stuff in the Southeast since Bojo had split the country with the gate receipts after a Megadeth debacle (incidentally I broke my nose after I got roped into working security – somebody’s ass came over the barricade and landed squarely on my face) at the Grady Cole Center – Bojo hasn’t returned since.

So, I took his place as the new indie promoter in the South.  That summer I did: Widespread Panic, Helmet, Testament, White Zombie, Bad Religion, Agnostic Front, Colonel Bruce Hampton, L 7, and I grabbed a couple of Social Distortion shows, with openers Reverend Horton Heat and Paw, for Savannah at Congress Street Station and in Charleston at the Music Farm. The band was supporting their new release aptly entitled, “Somewhere between Heaven and Hell” which was exactly where I was about to be.

Savannah was always a little troublesome, promotion-wise.  You did have the art school there but when you promoted shows in the summer, everyone moved to work in Hilton Head forty-five minutes away, so surfers and skaters would have to travel.  Now that Live Nation has a monopoly and rock’s appeal is definitely more selective (and with $10 canned beer), its commonplace that shows start around 8 PM but back then club shows usually started around 10:30 PM and ran until about 2 AM so the bar could sell some booze.

When I arrived on July 24, 1992, the city looked abandoned. I was worried to death. And the band was touring with this Samoan sound man – charging me an extra $500 for monitors.  I remembered this guy.  He was a real pain in the ass and loved to start shows way too early so he could load out at midnight even after I objected and gave him the set times. The Samoan did the same thing to me on a Testament/C.O.C./White Zombie bill at the Purple Gator – I lost money on that one too.  That afternoon I popped my head inside Vinnie Van Go-Go’s while the band grabbed some pie.  The employees assured me that the show would do well which, for the moment, put my mind at ease.

Paw hit the stage at 8:45, Reverend Horton Heat at 9:40, Social D at 10:30 – and I got creamed. People were showing up at 10:45 and Social Distortion was already playing.  They had missed Horton Heat, who had a good buzz at the time and easily seventy-five people turned away. I don’t think it was the band’s fault. They just show up and play when the Samoan tells them to.

I was frantic – about $1200.00 short at the door plus I had no reserve cash and no way to get any on a Saturday. Back then, there wasn’t a cash machine on every corner and I doubt they were gonna take a check. I remember sitting in the Congress Street manager’s office and the Reverend was bitching at me in a drunken stupor, “Why don’t you pay us our money, man?”  After some interrogation, Quincy, one of the club owners, agreed to loan me the $1200.00 as he placed his fire arm on the table.  Quincy, with his mustache, mullet, and gold chain, alongside a 6’ 4” goon named Larry, would then follow me in his Sedan Deville to Charleston with the intent of collecting his cabbage after the next show.  It was a scene right out of Burt Reynolds’ Gator.

The Charleston show was a whole ‘nother ball a’ wax. I made sure the show started later – but since it was a Sunday night show, the club had advertised it as an early show. Needless to say, Social Distortion packed it – the show was a huge success with the support of the Music Farm, and WAVE-FM.  In the wake of the Battery being rebuilt, Charleston was also manufacturing an involved and supportive local music scene.  So I paid Quincy off, and got him off my back –then I drove back to Myrtle Beach with $13 dollars.  I barely had enough gas to get home.

Fast forward some twenty years later.  Social Distortion had come through town last year as the opener for Foo Fighters at Time Warner Cable Arena – I guess this is one of the stories where the times have changed.  Then I heard they were coming around again. So, I contacted Andy Somers, their long-time agent and he put me on the list (I occasionally have to remind him of my sufferings those many moons ago) and when I arrived, there was a ticket, an “After Show” and a “Photo” pass.  I take pictures with either a digital camera, or screen capture from my Flip – I love being in the orchestra pit with the hoity-toity photographers and their big lenses because they always look at me peculiarly, wondering how I got there.

Lindi Ortega and the Biters ably opened, a three-piece conjuring feigns to P.J. Harvey, and Jucifer with hints of The Del Fuegos and maybe the more contemporaneous sound of Heartless Bastards.  After running in to a handful of old school punks mixed in with the crowd of transplants, I took my position stage center in the orchestra pit and got settled. Mike Ness came out wearing a suit, tie, red suspenders, and a fedora – and boy did he rock the house.  I forgot all about the $20 I just spent on a beer and Jagermeister and happily contemplated my youth.  With that undeniable, soaring guitar sound that would wake Les Paul from his grave, Mike Ness played with all the intensity and angst of a teenager sneaking out on a warm summer night to the sold out Fillmore crowd.

The band opened with “Far Far, Away” followed by “Bad Luck”, “Highway 101” don’t take me for Granted” and “Machine Gun Blues”. The show was breath-taking – and loud.  Ness continued to woo onlookers with favorites like “Cold Feelings”, and the perennial “1945” – “Telling Them”, “Bakersfield” and the jangly-hillbilly tune, “Sometimes I Do, and Sometimes I Don’t”. The band continued with songs like “Black Magic”, “Company C” and with Ness’ rendition of “Ring of Fire” it was evident my sojourn had come full circle.

Social Distortion continues their tour through December and January, returning this week to where it all began; Orange County – playing five shows in Anaheim, then to Las Vegas, West Hollywood, and San Diego.

I think this quote from one of Ness’ latest entitled, “Still Alive” sums it up:   “With a guitar in my hand I stand a little taller, and I’ve been to hell and back.  I ain’t falling off this track, from the back to the front page, from the gutter to the stage.”  I don’t long for the good old days, but I do reflect on them fondly. And as for these “cats” – Social Distortion are among those “Anarchists” I spoke of.  Mike Ness did whatever he wanted, and it looks to me like he has a great time doing it.

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THE DUDE IN 2012 – An interview with JEFF BRIDGES


THE DUDE IN 2012 Jeff Bridges (originally published on http://www.blurtonline.com)

Nov 13, 2012

The celebrated actor/singer/activist talks Lebowski and Crazy Heart, music and politics – and his role with the “No Kid Hungry” project (photo: Michael Plumides).

BY MICHAEL G. PLUMIDES, JR.

Foraging through the carnival-esque streets of Charlotte, North Carolina during the opening ceremony festivities of the Democratic National Convention, it occurred to me that I didn’t recognize my town anymore. On my bicycle I traversed the once familiar byways to find CNN had invaded the EpiCentre with its moniker erected on the side.  I contemplated I was actually in Atlanta or even New York as people bustled and newsmen reported on the street corners. It was alien to me.

Not one to overly reminisce (well, maybe…), it had come to mind that the old warehouse on 5th Street,  once home to my legendary 4808 Club where the infamous GWAR obscenity arrests had occurred in 1990, had been leveled and is now paid parking.  In the blink of an eye, the city had grown up with all the unadulterated commerciality of any metropolitan area. The Daily Show was taping live in the Queen City as was Colbert, Tom Brokaw was rushed to the hospital after mistakably taking a morning Ambien, Chris Matthews was broadcasting live, and Scarlett Johansson was somewhere. Even more enthralling, one of my all-time heroes, Jeff Bridges, was performing songs with his band “The Abiders” in the middle of Tryon Street.

I originally thought I would approach this article with an attempt at some sprawling New Yorker type shit as any tragically aging hipster turned political pundit would – but my page count and subject matter were not only prohibitive but cautionary. Although my charge was to cover the events that transpired at the convention, this article’s focus is primarily representative of a legendary man; a man who is truly a priceless piece of Americana. In my opinion Bridges is, and has been, a quintessential example of an American Patriot: An entertainer, philanthropist, devoted father and husband, Jeff Bridges truly is “The man for his time and place.”

 

BLURT: First, let’s talk about the new record on Blue Note you recorded last year.  You worked with T Bone Burnett on your self-titled album, Jeff Bridges

JEFF BRIDGES: T Bone and I go back maybe 30 years.  We worked on a movie together called Heaven’s Gate. Kris Kristofferson starred and he brought along a lot of his musician friends – Ronnie Hawkins, Norton Buffalo, and T Bone. And you can imagine having all of those great musicians there. We played a lot of music together. We had a wonderful time and we remained friends all these years but had kind of lost touch.

 

You have collaborated with Burnett on numerous occasions, for instance on the Crazy Heart film and soundtrack. Did you usher T Bone into the Coen Brothers fold on The Big Lebowski and is that how he garnered the attention and later collaborations with the Coens?

We hooked up again when T Bone was music supervisor on The Big Lebowski. I don’t think I introduced Bone to the Brothers.  It was just a coincidence. Crazy Heart came down the pike and originally I turned it down. Although it was a good story, it needed music, so I sent the script to T Bone to see if he had any interest in it and he said, “If you’ll do it, I’ll do it.” So I said, “Okay, let’s go”. The movie, Crazy Heart, was dedicated to Steve Bruton.  He died shortly before the movie came out. “What Little Love Can Do” off the latest album is a Steve Bruton tune.  But Steven wrote a lot of the songs from Crazy Heart.  “Falling and Flying” is one of his.

 

There’s been some reference to the newest album; that it’s “gloomy” and “slow”, even a bit “dirgy” which, to me would reflect dissatisfaction of some kind in life.  But with all your successes in film, art, photography, and now music – let’s face it, you are a pop icon – you are “The Dude.”  Although your persona is one of melancholy with a hint of realist-positivism, do the songs that you contributed to the album reflect that tint of sadness you possess?

As a human being I have my dose of melancholy as we all do. You know, it’s funny.  Even when you’re at the top of your game it doesn’t mean that you’re happy all the time. “Falling Short” is an old song but one I can relate to. It’s about never quite hitting the mark. Being obsessed with perfection and sometimes that desire can keep you from enjoying life. “Everything But Love” was written by my old friend, Johnny Goodwin.  We go back to the fourth grade.  It talks about what an incredible thing love is.  You could be on top of the world and if you don’t have love, you’ll be wanting and hurting.  “Tumbling Vine” is an up song, in a way. It speaks to my thought process.  I’m what I would call Buddhistly bent. I kind of lean toward that philosophy.

 

A review of your live set on Austin City Limits by Ain’t it Cool News described the show as “good-time music- hand-clapping, toe-tapping and yee-hawing.”

That doesn’t sound so melancholy. (laughs)

 

There are your obvious influences: Dylan, Johnny Cash, The Grateful Dead, The Beatles. What about more obscure influences such as Frank Zappa, or Dr, John?

I was sort of a Captain Beefheart fan over Frank Zappa. Leonard Cohen is a great poet.  I love his stuff. My buddy, John Goodwin, I love his stuff. I don’t listen to a whole hell of a lot of music. I have an iPod. I don’t text, or use Facebook, or tweet, or anything that sophisticated.  I do have a website though.

You know, you being from Charlotte, I’m surprised you didn’t ask me about my North Carolina connection.

 

And what is that?

Well, one is I was in a film with Gary Busey, another actor-musician, called The Last American Hero, about the life of Junior Johnson, the race car driver. The other is Benji Hughes, man. He’s a wonderful cat.  I love his music.  He sang back up on my album.  You should check out Love Extreme on iTunes. I had a wonderful time hanging with him at the convention.

 

You know, someone said that to me at the DNC. I mentioned Benji in my book, Kill The Music.  Okay, I have to ask you a serious question.

Oh, wow. Go ahead.

 

Do you really hate the fucking Eagles?

(Laughs heartily) That was a character I played, man.  No, the Eagles have made some good music and I don’t hate them.  But every time I see one of those guys at a party around town they give me a dose of shit.

 

You perform some songs from Crazy Heart – a film you won your first Academy Award for. But Rolling Stone referred to you as a “Cleaned up ‘Bad Blake’ or a ‘Dude with ambitions beyond the bowling lanes’.”

That’s not so bad, is it? I don’t see that as a dig.

 

You touring with The Abiders, and as your good friend, Sam Elliot narrated in Lebowski, “There’s a man for his time and place”… you are doing so with a few secular purposes, one being “No Kid Hungry” – which I think has really raised consciousness about hunger in America.  Expand on your different roles as an entertainer, a philanthropist, a musician, but mostly as an American.

Basically, I consider myself a product of nepotism.  My father, Lloyd Bridges, was on a television show in the ‘60s called Sea Hunt. If you’ve ever seen it you’d see a little chubby kid. That was me.  I grew up in the entertainment business, and all the other actor’s children were becoming actors. My father helped me get my first break.  When my acting took off in my teenage years I was still interested in music. It was my dad who told me stick with acting.  The great thing about acting is you get to use all sorts of different aspects of yourself. I’m glad I listened to my dad because he was right.

But as I got older I started thinking about being not only an American but a citizen of the world, man.  An Earthling, you know. And my dad brought home a book one day called, The Family of Man, a photographic essay that looked at all the different people of the world as a big family. I started thinking how we’re this little speck out in space and all this fighting doesn’t make any sense. That’s when I realized we’re all in this together and we should try to make it a good trip for all of us. That train of thought led me to my hunger work with the “No Kid Hungry” program.  In America we have sixteen million kids hungry. It wasn’t a matter of how to end hunger, but to create the political will to make it a priority.  I just felt that safety net they talk about was starting to get holes in it.

In Esquire you said, “Live like you’re already dead, man. Have a good time. Do your best. Let it all come ripping right through you.”  So, is politics next? Do you have any political aspirations?

(Laughs) Yeah!  As for politics, not really.  I’m best used outside of politics, but I went to both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions because I felt American children going hungry is a non-partisan issue.  I was happy to find that the Chairman of the Governor’s Association informed me both the Republicans and Democrats are all on board. Governor O’Malley from Maryland and I jammed together at the School of Rock (at the NC Music Factory in Uptown Charlotte).  We rehearsed and we were supposed to play but it rained on us so it didn’t happen.

You know that you have 1257 fans on Facebook for you as a “write in” for President in 2012.

Really?

The slogan at the top of the page is, “They say America is becoming a third world country, but, like… that’s just their opinion, man.”

Yeah, I don’t think that’s an accurate quote (laughs).

What about a Clinton/Bridges ticket in 2016?

Oh, God.  That would be something, wouldn’t it?  Only in the movies, man.

 Interacting with the politicians at both conventions, what have you learned first-hand about the political process? My guess is you’ve met a lot of “Big Lebowskis” stealing from the “Little Urban Achievers”?

You got to hand it to these guys, you know? Politicians, people willing to get into that game it takes a lot of courage and a lot of heart. Just like every aspect of life there’s corruption, but there are those that are really good people. I had dinner with the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and he was inspiring on the hunger issue – it was heartening that he was so supportive.  It gives you a feeling of hope when you can talk to guys like that. When I heard about Paul Ryan’s plan to cut food stamps by a hundred billion dollars over the next ten years, I thought that was a bummer, man.  We had to get motivated.

So, I’m throwing all these ham-handed Lebowski references at you. But didn’t you just reunite with your cast mates in New York? 

That was a kick off for The Big Lebowski Blu-Ray release at Lebowski Fest. We all got together and we were interviewed on stage in New York. It was wonderful seeing everyone again. I have a film coming out with Julianne Moore next year called Seventh Son.

And your Thunderbolt and Lightfoot co-star Clint Eastwood stole the show at the Republican National Convention.  I think it was a publicity stunt for his upcoming film release, Trouble with the Curve. Care to comment?

That’s one of the great things about being in the movies.  You get to work with people with all kinds of “opinions” as The Dude might say.

Speaking of past co-stars, she won a Golden Globe and a SAG award recently for her role as Constance in American Horror Story, also recently received an Emmy for her role.  Describe what was it like when you first laid eyes on Jessica Lange in 1975 for King Kong?

Oh, God.  She was and still remains a wonderful woman inside and out. She was gorgeous. In that movie, King Kong, playing the airhead was so far away from her, actually.  She was a smart person and a talented actress.

Have you thought about doing television?

I’m open to anything.  I wouldn’t rule it out.

You’ve got a thing for blondes.  You are married to one. And they are a big inspiration for you.  Your daughter even has a new album, correct? Jess Bridges?

Jess has an album that’s up on iTunes.  She’s been my assistant on the last three movies I’ve been in.  We shot the last one in Vancouver. We ended up playing a lot of music together.  Jess liked it so much she stayed two months afterward to record some music. They’ve got a wonderful music scene up there.

My niece, Alexandria’s favorite movie is True Grit.  Of all of your films, give me your top five and why?

Oh man, that’s gonna be hard. I’ll just mention my favorites, the ones that come to mind. The Last Picture Show, that stands alone.  It sits there all by itself.  Great performances by Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, and Sam Bottoms.  Sam was great – he passed away recently. The cast was wonderful.  It’s films like Picture Show that have a home movie quality to me.  Lebowski, True Grit, it’s always great to work with the Brothers… Crazy Heart, Fabulous Baker Boys, The Fisher King with Terry Gilliam.  I’ve made some great movies, man.

Do you have any advice for filmmakers, musicians, photographers, writers, or artists in general?

You’ve got to just do it. There’s so much fear involved in life.  That’s why you’ve got to be afraid and then do it anyway.  Follow your dream.

Michael G. Plumides, Jr. is the author of KILL THE MUSIC, about his experiences in music during the moral hysteria of the PMRC years available on Amazon.  Also a filmmaker, Plumides’ concept, GHOST TREK, is in development.  Plumides recently contracted with Morgan Creek Productions as a Creative Consultant on “Clive Barker’s Night Breed”.

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Join us Monday Night, October 29th at 7 PM for our “Double Creature Feature” presented by Back Alley Film Series and The Light Factory


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THE DUDE & HIS ABIDERS: LIVE AT DNC


The Dude & his Abiders: Live at DNC

Jeff Bridges performed live in Charlotte yesterday, Sept. 3, to help kick off the Democratic National Convention (at a concert headlined by James Taylor) – and also to help raise consciousness for his “No Kid Hungry” project to help end childhood hunger.

Story and Photos by Michael G. Plumides, Jr.

Iconic California actor Jeff Bridges brought his country-twang-cum-Cajun-rock musical stylings to Charlotte’s city center, opening for James Taylor on Monday, September 3rd for “CarolinaFest 2012.” The Labor Day festival also featured performances by The Blue Dogs, Janelle Monae, and Anthony Hamilton.  Halfway through the set, the bottom fell out of the sky (the publicist texted me last night and stated how all the gear was soaked).

Anyway, “The Dude” released a superb album in August of 2011 via Blue Note, aptly entitled Jeff Bridges and produced by T Bone Burnett. But the actor is in Charlotte for several days not necessarily to promote his music, but more to raise consciousness about his passion philanthropy, the “No Kid Hungry” project. Bridges was afforded the opportunity to meet with a number of Governors, Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as the Secretary of Agriculture to get their commitments to participate in the program that hopes to end childhood hunger in America by 2016. (Pictured below is Bridges with Democratic NC Gov. Bev Perdue.)

Bridges made an appearance on CNN yesterday and again today to promote the “No Kid Hungry” project and encourages his fellow Americans to participate or donate to the “No Kid Hungry” project.

From the website: “You are critical partners in our fight to end childhood hunger. Please help us protect nutrition programs that serve at-risk children and families. Often, they are the difference between a meal and a child going hungry.”

Between conventions, Bridges just spent several days in Nashville recording some new material for a future release. For more information, please go to www.jeffbridges.com or you may also take the pledge Jeff spoke of at http://www.nokidhungry.org 

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Look for my upcoming Jeff Bridges piece in the BLURT fall print issue with an in-depth interview and a look at the inner-workings of an event run by difficult, rude, self-important organizers – you know, interns who finally achieve a low-level position of authority.  I’ll be honest, to take a few pictures, I was abused.  Let the record show that my family has been involved with the Democratic Party for five decades and – “This aggression will not stand, man!”

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KILL THE MUSIC gets a face lift. Buy it on Amazon today


KILL THE MUSIC gets a face lift. Buy it on Amazon today

This is the new cover for my book, KILL THE MUSIC, available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/KILL-THE-MUSIC-censorship-ebook/dp/B002NGO1WM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

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