Friday, April 24, 2009


It's getting pretty warm these days. When the average temperature is 80 degrees or above, it's time for my favorite insect- THE PRAYING MANTIS, also known as MANTIS RELIGIOSA.

Every year I do a fun science experiment involving my garden, organic pest control, and the fascinating Praying Mantis. If you have kids, they will love it, believe me, AND they will learn something. I will walk you through it one step at a time.

First of all, I will attempt to keep you informed with frequent videos outlining all the things you need to do to successfully raise Praying Mantids. As far as I know this is the ONLY place in cyberspace where step by step instruction is available on video for raising Praying Mantids.
There are two ways to do it: in the wild and in captivity. I like to do both. Here's how it works. I let the Praying Mantis eggs hatch in my garage and let most of them go in the garden (where they provide excellent pest control) but I also keep a few in a bug jar to raise in captivity. To get them to hatch in the garage, simply leave the egg sack in its cardboard container. Check it carefully everyday. Don't miss a day! They might all be born and die before they get out. So, it's important to check everyday. Also, keep in mind that when they hatch, there will be 100's of them coming out of each egg sack and they are quite fast! They will jump out the moment you open the container so be careful! Also, do this outside. Invariably, a handful will get away. Best to let them go outside where they have a chance.

If you're not intending to raise some praying mantids in captivity, then you should let the eggs hatch outdoors. Affix them to the lower branch of a bush or shrub in the backyard. You can do this with the aid of a piece of thread or dental floss, or maybe a small piece of plastic netting. The baby mantids will be born when the average outdoor temperature is over 80 degrees. The nymphs (that's what the babies are called) will hatch and hang from the egg case on tiny threads that resemble spider webs. They hang for a while until they dry off. Then they march off to eat other bugs. The best kind of bush to use is a rose bush because roses often have aphids and the baby mantids love aphids. By hanging the oothea from a rose bush, the babies will have a ready source of food as soon as they're ready to eat.

Step one- go to your local nursery or hardware store or garden center and ask about organic pest control. They will probably have a small refrigerator full of Lady Bugs and Praying Mantis Eggs (called oothea.) They keep them in a refrigerator so they won't warm up and hatch ahead of time. Buy a few oothea. There are usually three kinds of mantids available commercially: the Giant Chinese Praying Mantis, the Carolina Mantis and the European Mantis. There's no way of knowing which kind you're going to get in a container, but the larger oothea are usually the Giant Chinese variety. Bring the egg sacks home and decide which way you want to go with them (wild or captivity). There's no reason you can't go both ways, I do. Hang one of the oothea from a low branch of a bush. Check it everyday. If you decide to hatch some in captivity, leave one container in the garage and check it everyday. One day, when you peak inside, you'll see hundreds of baby Praying mantids crawling all over each other. Shake a few into a plastic bug jar, no more than half a dozen in each bug jar. Leave them alone for a day or two. Soon they will get hungry and start eating (usually a sibling) and it will be time to furnish food. I'll give you the lowdown on feeding them in the next installment.

I bought my oothea a few days ago at Navlets, but they are available all over at this time. In the wild, the eggs usually hatch in June, but in California it could be any time after the danger of frost is past.

Good luck!

Barry Zito didn't get the win, but he did pitch 7 scoreless......I recorded an hour of video last night for the website Praying Mantis

Barry Zito didn't get the win, but he did pitch 7 scoreless innings and the Giants beat the Padres last night behind Benji Molina's pinch hit double in the 10th. I love Barry Zito for supporting the troops (one of my favorite causes) and Barry gets major points in my book for doing so. The Giants paid him a ton of money and so far he has looked like a bust, but you gotta hand it to him, he's coming back! Let's hope he regains his old Cy Young Award winning form real soon. Elsewhere, the Oakland A's lost to the big, bad Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium in New York. That place is turning out to be a real home run hitter's paradise, not exactly the "house that Ruth built" anymore.

Still no baby from my daughter Alexis! I called her 4 times yesterday! She said, "Dad, cool out! I'll call you when it happens!" I think I'm a little too excited.

There's a huge ice hockey game tonight in Anaheim. Down 2-1 in the series, the Sharks are running out of time. They don't have to win tonight, but if they don't, it will take 3 in a row to get them to the next level. I don't have to tell you, that's not easy! The Stanley Cup playoffs are one of the most exciting times in Sports, right up there with the World Series and the Super Bowl. The Sharks are up against the wall and let's hope they kick some ass tonight. The quest is to bring Lord Stanley's Cup to San Jose.

I recorded an hour of video last night for the website Praying Mantis section, but I didn't have the right cord to run the camera into my computer. It turns out that my camera is several years old and technology changes so fast these days that the connector to my camera is already obsolete! I'll have to find an adapter, it may take a few days! Yikes! I hope they don't hatch during this heat wave! I'm going to bring you every development in the Praying Mantis experiment this year. If you have kids, you might want to play along at home. It's a cool entomology experiment everybody can participate in. Plus, it's a great way to organically control pests in the garden. In fact, the Praying Mantis Eggs (oothea) are sold as natural pest control in nurseries and hardware stores all over the country.

Today I worked on the new Sharks song. It's coming along. Yes, I know it sounds a little like "Fortune Teller" written by Allen Toussaint, an old New Orleans R&B tune once recorded by the Stones, The Who, and the Hollies, but don't worry about it. We'll fix it in the mix!

Sharks win!........I am compiling a boxed set of Greg Kihn material

Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Yes! There WILL be a game five in San Jose!

Come on Sharks! Call me for the National Anthem in Game Five! I am good luck! The team needs me! Let me spread the love around the Shark Tank! This is way too important to leave to just any anthem singer. You need my LUCKY MOJO! Remember my record is 4-1. I'm waiting for the phone to ring. I won't budge until after game five. Ask Coach Todd McLellen, he'll tell you, it's time to quit messin' around.

No word on Lexi yet! I spoke to her a couple of times yesterday. She swears I will get a phone call the minute she goes into labor! I sure hope so! I'll drop everything and run to her side. I can't tell you as a father how much it means to me. More as it happens...

I am compiling a boxed set of Greg Kihn material from the last 20 years containing some greatest hits, odds and ends, unreleased nuggets, live cuts, out takes, Joe Satriani cuts, and acoustic tunes, plus some rare spoken word items, AND a DVD containing all the videos (and there are many) to be released later this year. I worked on the liner notes yesterday and they will be extensive. There's a ton a stuff in the can and I want to put out as much as possible. I'll let you know when its ready. This will be the ultimate GKB experience.

her baby had dropped!

I talked to my daughter yesterday and she told me that her baby had dropped! That means that it is in position for birth, which could happen at any time now. I'll be visiting her today. It goes without saying that the birth of my first grandchild is the most important event in the Kihn family these days. God bless the miracle of birth!

She doesn't want to know if its a boy or a girl, so in her ultrasound exam she asked not to be informed. I think that's so old fashioned and sweet! She says she doesn't care what sex the baby is, she'll love it either way. God bless her.

Names? Yes, she has a few picked out. I won't give you any clues here. But she's got one name for each sex already picked out. I suggested a bunch of Kihn family names, none of which she liked. I was pushing for my father's name- Stanley, or Stanislaus in Polish, or Stashu for short, or my mother's name- Jane. She didn't go for any of them. That's cool, it's her child, she can name it whatever she wants. I'll love it either way. If it's a boy, they want to name after her husband's father, which is a good strong name which I promised not reveal to you yet.

I'm expecting a phone call any time now! Wow, this is really exciting!

I will let you know the minute I find out! Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

John Madden retired? Holy Cow!

John Madden retired? Holy Cow! I guess we should have seen it coming, the guy makes so much money on his games that he really doesn't need to work. Last year I was negotiating with Wente Vineyards about buying some acreage planted with Cabernet grape vines in Livermore and I learned that John Madden had already made an offer on the property. In fact, I found out that he owned significant chunks of the Livermore Valley. The man has more money than God! Good for him. John is a once-in-a-lifetime talent who makes football oh-so-entertaining on TV. But, let's face it, the man hates to travel, can't stand airplanes, takes his bus everywhere, and already has enough money for the next couple of generations to live and retire comfortably. So, why am I grumbling? Because I will definitely miss him. Boom!

I think John Madden is the best football commentator ever, or at least since Howard Cosell. One of the reasons I am in radio today is because of some advice I got from John Madden about 16 years ago. We were at a charity event back in the 90's and I happen to sit next to him at the banquet. I mentioned that I had an offer from KFOX radio to do a 7-midnight show, but I wasn't 100% convinced I should do it. John got right in my face. "Do it! Someday, all DJ's will be ex-musicians," he said, "Just like sports. Who would know more about the music than a former professional musician?"

John's words rang true and I took his advice. That was over 16 years ago and here I am, still enjoying a career in radio that seems to have no end. Thanks, John. You probably don't remember it but it sure meant a lot to me.

Good-bye John Madden! TV football will never be the same. We'll miss you!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Save the 4th of July in downtown San Jose!!!

Save the 4th!

The annual 4th of July Show in downtown San Jose is in danger of being cancelled! Somebody save it! Please!

It's all about budgets these days and the word I heard was that the grants that the City of San Jose used to give to help defray the costs of putting on the downtown 4th of July celebration have dried up! Without giving you the numbers, let me just say that the budget for this event has been slashed to next to nothing. What does that mean? It means no family fun on the 4th, no fireworks display, and no Greg Kihn Band concert.

It costs money to put on an event like this: overtime for the police department, fire department, emergency services, the cost of the fireworks display, etc. The City of San Jose is trying to save some money this year, and that's understandable, but cutting out the 4th of July? That's positively un-American!

Mayor Chuck Reed! Help us! Find the money somewhere! Don't let the kids of San Jose down! In these tough times, we need a smile! What's the 4th of July without fireworks?

It seems strange to me that in Silicon Valley, the most high-tech place on the planet, crawling with successful businesses, that we can't find private funding for this event. How about some corporate sponsors? Surely some company out there will come to the rescue.

We're not talking about a million bucks here, in fact it's not even one tenth of that amount, but without a knight in shining armor, this event will sink like the setting sun in the west. Come on, all you Silicon Valley millionaires! Come to the rescue of San Jose and save the fireworks show and rock concert!

I am going to dedicate myself to this cause. I don't care what it takes! We can't let this tradition die! I am going to call the mayor today and I will let you know how it went on Monday's blog.

Save the 4th of July in downtown San Jose!!!

Thank God its Friday!

Thank God its Friday!

My son Ry is coming over today and we're going to have lunch near the station (KFOX) in San Jose. We might have some pizza and salad at Vito's on Skyport Blvd. I love that place and the owner George is a great guy. You should check out his world class collection of autographed album covers displayed in the restaurant. He's got everything from the Beatles to the Godfather! I have great memories of Vito's. I used to take Brianna there all the time when she was alive. She loved Italian food and especially pizza! I sure do miss her.

Or maybe we'll go to House of Genji for some Japanese food. Or maybe El Burro for Mexican food. Or maybe the Hickory Pit for some BBQ. Or maybe a sandwich at Genova's delicatessen. Or maybe.. I don't know, I love it all.

I'm still trying to shake off that Sharks loss last night in Game One of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That was painful.

Tonight I get to sleep for 10 hours straight! Damn, I love that. After getting up at 4:00am all week I look forward to catching up on sleep on the weekends.

Wolfgang's Vault

Wolfgang's Vault

There are many Greg Kihn Band live shows out there in the Internet. People send me links all the time. Wolfgang's Vault has a bunch of them, and the quality is excellent. They currently have posted a live show from 1986 recorded in Philadelphia featuring Joe Satriani on lead guitar. Here's a link to that site. There are many GKB live shows archived there.

The Tea Parties

The Tea Parties

I drove to my local post office to mail my tax returns yesterday. It's getting so I know the addresses by heart: The Internal Revenue Service and the Franchise Tax Board. God, I pay a ton of taxes! __Are we one of the most taxed civilizations in history? I don't know but it sure seems like it. Then, as I drove home, I happened on something very interesting, a tax protest! I guess it was one of those "tea parties" we've been hearing about. Some people were dressed in Colonial Era clothes with tri-cornered hats from the American Revolution. As I looked at the faces of the protesters, I recognized some neighbors and friends. They too felt over taxed. Let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought only the lefties could protest around here. Anyway, I honked my horn and waved and proceeded to drive home. But, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Was this a spontaneous demonstration of people's frustrations? I've been feeling over-taxed for years now, but I thought I was alone. __Obama is spending money that we haven't even earned yet to bail out whoever he likes (some companies get lots, others get nothing, and you and I can only dream about it.) I can't tell you how unfair I think that is, but what can you do? That's great for the people who will get checks, but what about the rest of us? We have to pay for it through taxes. I hope this mutates into a grass-roots political movement. I'd love to vote for tax reform! Maybe this is the beginning of something great. Right now, the politicians tax everything except the air that we breath (and don't hold your breath, because that's probably next!) __Hopefully the ruling class will take pity on us someday and lower SOME taxes, but don't count on it. As long as the socialists we elected in Washington need money to fuel their programs, the rest of us will have to get up early and work late. __As if you didn't know. __How about those tea parties?

The Pirates Of Somalia

The Pirates Of Somalia

These pirates aren't cute. They don't look like Johnny Depp. These guys are murdering punks with AK47's and bad teeth. They've been hijacking unarmed ships in the Gulf Of Aden off the Somali Coast. Here's my solution to the problem. It's quite simple. Picture this. We put about 1500 Marines, Navy Seals, and Army Rangers in civilian clothes on a big cruise ship and have them float right into harm's way. Through the pirate's binoculars it will appear to be a party boat full of drunken revelers. However, when the pirates try to board the innocent-looking vessel, the machine guns come out, and boom boom! Out go the lights! No more pirates. Do that a couple of times and these scurvy dogs might think twice about boarding a vessel on the high seas.

I love using the term "scurvy dogs" when referring to the pirates.

Who would have guessed, at the end of WWII, after our fathers fought and died to defeat Nazi Fascism, that such vile human endeavors such as terrorism and piracy would flourish in 2009? It's inconceivable that mankind would sink this low in just 60 years. Looks like our father's work isn't done yet.

Thank God the Navy Seals took out the pirates before they could kill the American Captain. Remember, the Captain of a vessel is prepared to go down with the ship. It's part of being the Captain. They all know it when they take the job.

I sure hope Obama gets tough with these pirates. I don't want my grandchildren growing up in a world with pirates and terrorists running wild.



Easter is a time of rebirth and this Sunday that's just what I intend to do! Traditionally, we always go over to my mother-in-law's house for some Filipino food on Easter. I guess I'll have to throw my diet out the windows. She always makes a ton of food. I can't resist.

I took my wife to see the Giants vs. Milwaukee yesterday at AT&T Park. It was our first game this season and it was great. The Giants won 7-1 and it rained. We missed the line drive off the forehead of Joe Martinez. That was a scary moment. We had already left the park after 8.5 innings and had just gotten into the car when we heard it on the radio. Thank God he's going to be OK.

Have a great Easter! Remember to call or visit your parents if they're still alive. Once they're gone, you'll wish you had.

I have fond memories of making Easter eggs in my mother's kitchen when I was a kid. Back then we did it the old-fashioned way with food coloring and vinegar. Just think, next year when I'm a grandparent, I will make Easter eggs with my grandchildren! I can't wait! Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts were wonderful diversions way back when. Share them with your kids this weekend. Happy Easter everybody!

Bruce The "Other Man?"

Bruce The "Other Man?"

Bruce Springsteen a cheater? It doesn't seem possible. But in the media today the reports are coming in that he has been named as the "other man" in a New Jersey divorce case. Arthur Kelly has named Bruce as the man his wife of 17 years, Ann Kelly, has been having an affair with after meeting him at a local gym. Shocking, isn't it? First of all, let me say for the record that I find this very hard to believe. I am going to wait until all the facts are in before I make up my mind. I know what it's like to live in a fishbowl. While there is no excuse for cheating, there are some extenuating circumstances that can be a factor. I know because I did it myself back in the 80's. I'm not proud of it, but I am being honest here. A guy like Bruce is under tremendous pressure all the time. Women throw themselves at you when you're a rock star. Most guys crack under the pressure. I did. I was only human, after all. For years nobody paid attention to me, then I had a hit record and guess what? Suddenly I was the most popular guy in town! I didn't know how to react so I just went nuts. I didn't care whose heart I broke, I was selfish and horny. I think my case is typical. (By the way, I learned my lesson 20 years ago and I would NEVER do that again.)

Also, the media is totally out of control and they go into a feeding frenzy as soon as they smell blood. You think they smell blood here? Damn right they do. They won't wait for a response from Bruce, they will run with this story regardless of who gets hurt, even though the jury is still out. It's a shame but in today's world it is a fact of life.

Tonight Bruce plays in Denver. I gotta wonder what Patti and their 3 kids think about all this. The media doesn't care whose life it destroys, as long as it gets ratings. That sucks. I say wait until the facts are all in. Give Bruce the benefit of the doubt.

Here's a link to the news story:,2933,513297,00.html

Magnetic Levitation!

Magnetic Levitation!

Greg Kihn demonstrating the new "Maglev Belt" (Magnetic Levitation) in the KFOX Parking lot as seen by Tim Jeffreys and Chris Jackson. Greg will be attempting to become the first recording artist to use this new technology at _Kihncert 2009 May 24th at the Shoreline.

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Magnetic Levitation!

The Maglev belt! Well, it's not actually a belt, it's more like a harness or a girdle, but the concept is real, I will actually levitate above the crowd at this year's KIHNCERT. Let me tell you the whole story. A few days ago I was contacted by the EMS (Electro Magnetic Systems) Company of Sunnyvale, California about the possibility of wearing one of their Magnetic Levitation devices at the KIHNCERT. __As you can see, it actually works! Of course I am concerned about the safety aspects of the Maglev Belt. If something breaks the magnetic field while I'm aloft, I could fall and not only injure myself, but also some concert goers in the first 20 rows at the Shoreline. __If this works it will change the way gigs are played forever! I understand that the company has already been contacted by KISS about using their belts to levitate all 4 band members above the audience. Also, I hear that MADONNA is interested. But forget about those guys! I'll be the first to use a Magnetic Levitation device ever!__We are waiting to hear back from the Shoreline Amphitheater about the legal ramifications of the Maglev Belt. Of course, safety is our #1 concern. We don't want to see anybody get hurt. So, hang tight and I will keep you informed on this great experiment in live entertainment. Wish me luck!

When I was a kid I always went to opening day at the ballpark.

When I was a kid I always went to opening day at the ballpark. My parent's house was only a few blocks from Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. It was acceptable to play hooky on that day and go to the game. As I grew up, I drifted away from that tradition. This year I will miss it entirely, but I am going to Thursday's game. It's a 4:00pm start and a lot easier to get to than an afternoon game. Since I don't usually get out of KFOX until after noon it is hard to make a 1:00pm game. But, 4:00pm is a piece of cake! So, I'm going home, grabbing my wife, and heading to the ballpark to watch the Giants against the Milwaukee Brewers. Opening day represents the start of another season, another spring, another summer, and another chance to dream of a world series. It connects with me in a way that few sporting events do. I remember when times were tough between my father and I, we could always talk about baseball. Baseball is the great communicator. Every team is a contender on opening day. Opening day is a time for rebirth and renewal. I welcome it as I do every year. Life is good!

The KIHNCERT is coming up on May 24

Kihncert Songs

The KIHNCERT is coming up on May 24
and I have scheduled a rehearsal for the Greg Kihn Band. What I'd like to know is this: what songs do you want to hear? I thought I'd ask now, before the rehearsal, so we can run through the songs before hand. So, why don't you email me your suggestions at-
or on here.
It would be fun to know what you'd like to hear not only at the KIHNCERT but for all the other gigs this summer. Of course we will be doing all the usual hits like "The Breakup Song" and "Jeopardy" and "Lucky" and stuff like that, but I'm looking for the odd songs we haven't done lately. In some cases, we NEVER played the song at all. So, that's the challenge this year. Email me your suggestions and we will rehearse them and if they sound decent, I will preform the songs at this year's KIHNCERT. No guarantees, of course, but it should be fun!

Here's a partial list that I started of songs I plan to rehearse:

Madison Avenue Man
For You
Sweet Little Sheila
Can't Stop Hurtin' Myself
Happy Man
Real Big Man
Love and Rock & Roll
Little Red Book
Love's Made A Fool Of You
For Your Love

Opening Day/ National Anthems

Opening Day/ National Anthems

I saw Taylor Hicks from American Idol (he's in town to play in "Grease") sing the National Anthem on opening day at the SF Giants yesterday and it reminded me how hard it is to sing it in AT&T Park. Most baseball stadiums have a huge delay in the sound system because of the size of the place. Usually it's about 1.5 seconds. Have you ever tried to sing with a 1.5 second delay in your ear? It's damn near impossible. I noticed Taylor used a monitor wedge (speakers) right in front of him pointing directly into his face. That's OK except you still hear the delay, it's just not as loud as the primary signal. That delay can really throw you off! It's death to singers! I usually plug my ears with cotton or tissue so I can't hear anything except the sound of my own voice resonating inside my head. It's a brutal way to do it but it works every time. You don't want to take a chance with the National Anthem.

By the way, I haven't heard from the San Jose Sharks about singing the National Anthem at a NHL Stanley Cup playoff game yet. I hope they call soon. I don't want to miss that opportunity, besides the Sharks could go all the way this year!

It's just been confirmed that I will be singing the National Anthem for the San Francisco Giants on July 4th. Afterward there will be a fireworks display. I love the 4th of July! It's the most patriotic holiday!

The next time I sing the Anthem I will take a video camera with me out on the field (or the ice) and tape what it looks like from my perspective. I might have to hand it off to someone else at the last moment before I sing, but I think you'll get the picture. It's pretty amazing. It's a whole lot easier to sing the Anthem indoors at the Shark Tank than it is outdoors at the ball park. It's all because of that damn delay!

Hey Taylor! Welcome to the club!

The Tornado That Ate Our Gig!

The Tornado That Ate Our Gig!

Creedence Clearwater Revisited had already refused to play. Their tour bus was long gone. Most of the audience had already fled in terror. The roadies were running for cover. The wind had picked up considerably and was now carrying away picnic tables and small dogs. The sky had morphed from ugly gray to ominous black, as black as sky can be.
I stood there watching things go from bad to worse, wondering how in hell we were gonna get paid amid all this chaos.
Ah yes, life on the road. It’s never boring.
The “outdoor rock festival in the middle of nowhere” is one of my booking agent’s specialties, and I’ve become a bit of an expert on the proper way to approach such gigs. First of all, the most important thing you can do upon arrival is find the guy who’s going to pay you and become his best friend. Hang with this person and establish a relationship based on mutual respect. In the old days that could have meant flashing your piece or your lawyer’s business card. Nowadays it might mean a friendly pat on the back and dropping names like Guido and Bugsy. Whatever. Discuss the amount of money scheduled to change hands and the different forms such payments may take, then create a timetable that is of benefit to all. Cash preferred. This being done, you can move on to more immediate concerns like unpacking your equipment.
That’s if you’re going by the book.
On the date in question, the book blew right out of our hands and was carried away by gale-force winds. We were completely on our own.
As fate would have it, our road manager was on the injured reserved list and couldn’t make the trip. “What could possibly go wrong?” he said as he bid us good-bye at the airport. “Get in, get paid, get out. Do a good show, everybody’s happy. Easy as pie. Here’s a list of telephone numbers and a copy of the contract. See ya Monday.”
It all sounded so simple Friday morning in San Francisco, by late Saturday afternoon those words had come back to haunt us. Nobody had figured on an “act of God.”
We were in the Midwest, during tornado season, and twisters were commonplace in this neck of the woods. In fact, we learned that a tornado had touched down the day before a scant one-mile from the site of the concert. No worries, Mate, as they say in Australia, what are the odds of it happening again?
Apparently the odds were pretty good, because by gig time, the damn place was ground zero.
Bass player and GKB co-founder Steve Wright acted as road manager. He pointed to the only thing in the contract that could save us, the dreaded “Force majeure,” sometimes known as the “act of God” clause. That said that if the band were at the gig, ready to go on, and fully intending to play, and an act of God prevented such gig from occurring, the band in question would still get paid. After all, they had traveled there in good faith, hadn’t they? Force majeureseldom comes into play, but when it does, it’s a doozey. It always means disaster.
The promoter had pretty much closed up shop and gone into a rope-a-dope mode. In the production office, everybody was shouting. Steve got tough and demanded our money.
The promoter had already been worked over by pros, including heavyweights like Creedence’s road management team, plus all the other bands, and every local opener within a two hundred mile radius, and it seemed hopeless.
Steve somehow convinced the guy that we would play regardless of weather, that the tornado meant nothing to us, and that we’d played in tornados all the time, and we were tough as nails, and what are you, some kinda wussy? This is rock and roll, Mister! We came to play! Now get that stuff set up and let’s get crackin’!
Miraculously, the guy handed over the money. In cash, no less. As crazy as it sounds, Steve had actually convinced the guy that the gig could be salvaged. In doing so, Steve had preformed the miracle of miracles and become a holy man. Later, back at the hotel, he would walk on water. But, I’ll tell you that story another time; it involves lots of liquor and an indoor pool. But getting back to the gig…
Steve came back to the dressing room smiling and told us to suit up. Ry tuned the guitars and Dave went up on stage to set up his drums. The roadies hurried to get the amps in position and fired up. The word went out- damn the tornados, the Greg Kihn Band is gonna play!
Then the poop hit the fan. About ten minutes later, all hell broke loose. Everybody ran. There were bunkers built into the underside of the stage, and people shouted to take cover. At this point in time there were still about three thousand hard-core fans standing in front of the stage, expecting to rock. They disappeared in seconds. I don’t know where they went, but they were gone at the blink of an eye. It got really dark really fast and the wind began to howl.
The cymbals on Dave’s drum kit flew away like giant metal Frisbees, threatening to decapitate anybody that got in their way. The huge lighting truss above the stage began to swing back and forth, making a groaning noise. In the middle of it all I saw Ry on stage! He was grabbing his guitars and foot switches.
“Ry! Get outa there!” I screamed above the shrieking wind. Amplifiers flipped over. The lighting truss swayed ominously above us. “Now!”
We ran, father and son, off the stage to safety. I’ll never forget it.
We never did play that day.
But we did get paid.
Miracles do happen.

The roar of the rubber, the smell of the crowd, the smoke

The roar of the rubber, the smell of the crowd, the smoke, the noise, the thrills! Last night had it all! I took my Corvette out onto the quarter-mile track at Infineon Raceway and opened it up. Tim Jeffreys challenged me to a grudge match, and I couldn’t refuse. Let me say right now, this is the most fun I’ve had in years.
If you’ve never seen Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, it’s a beautiful facility. They host the NASCAR Winston Cup, NHRA, Superbike, and the American LaMans Series. When it comes to racing, these guys really know what they’re doing.
I’d like to thank all the good people at Infineon Raceway for taking care of us and letting us participate in their Wednesday night drags. The quarter-mile track awaited, all lit up and stretched out like an asphalt ribbon of broken dreams. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous.
I’d never raced before. In fact, I’d never even opened the ‘Vette up all the way before. When I saw “opened up” I mean in a way you never could on city streets. As you may know, I’ve gotten way too many speeding tickets of late (3 in 4 months) and my lead foot has gotten me into considerable trouble. So, the good folks at Infineon Raceway came to the rescue saying, “Go as fast as you want! It’s legal here! Go nuts!”
So, when the smoke cleared, I found myself in front of the staging lights, gunning my engine, waiting for the green light. Tim was on my right; I could see his white knuckles on the steering wheel. His Mercedes would be no match for my ‘Vette, I knew, but they had handicapped the race and given him a head start. I took a deep breath and when the green light went on, I floored it. In fact, that was my only strategy, floor it and keep it floored and don’t let up until the finish line flew past. Tires squealed, the smell of burning rubber filled my nostrils, and I was off!
Neck-snapping acceleration pinned me back in my seat as the Corvette exploded off the line. Hurtling through the night air toward the finish line, I passed Tim in a heartbeat and did my best to keep the car from getting bent out of shape. I fishtailed a little, but the ‘Vette is born to race, and all I did was hang on and let the car do it’s thing. I could see the finish line rapidly approaching ahead and kept my foot on the accelerator until it flashed behind me. I was so caught up in the moment and the adrenalin surge that I forgot to glance down at the speedometer the first time I ran. As I rounded the course and headed back, I saw my top speed for the first time. I hit just under 110 mph at the end of the quarter-mile and traversed that distance in a brisk 13.114 seconds! What a rush! Official speed: 109.70! Ye-haa!
I’ve always wanted to do that, but I never had the chance until now. Later, driving home, doing the speed limit felt like I was going about 20 mph.
Next time I’m tempted to go 100 mph on the freeway, I’ll remember the feeling I got on the straightaway last night and I will SLOW DOWN and save it for the race track. I’d advise you to do the same. Those speeding tickets are expensive!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Fender Telecaster

The Fender Telecaster
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Bruce is coming! Bruce who? Get out. You know. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, that’s who. Have you seen the adds? Bruce is playing an old beat-up Fender Telecaster guitar exactly like mine. That’s cool. I love my Tele. It’s outlasted several wives, dozens of booking agents, a bunch of record companies, and more than a few managers. A great guitar is forever.
Let me show you the scars.
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On the backside you can see a huge divot where the finish had been chipped away right down to the wood, then someone had applied new lacquer to the raw wood. What’s that from? I’m glad you asked. See that indentation there near the backside of the bridge? That’s from a guy’s tooth!
And there hangs a tale.
The Greg Kihn Band played at the Chicago Fest back in 1983. We had a number one hit record and were headlining concerts all across the nation. Chicago was always a good city for us and we played there at least 2 or 3 times a year. Chicago Fest was a big gig for us. It usually drew around 10,000 to 20,000 people outdoors in the middle of the summer.
For some reason, the Festival was being picketed that year. I don’t remember exactly why, except I think it had something to do with the organizers not booking enough black acts, although the night before Stevie Wonder had played and the night after us Earth, Wind, and Fire was booked. Still, some people felt the urge to protest our appearance there. I hated to cross a picket line, but I had a contract and a band who expected to be paid regardless of circumstance, so I had no choice. We’d played Chicago Fest before, and never had a problem.
Once we were inside the venue everything was fine. A huge crowd awaited us and I could feel the energy building. It was a breezy night; a little cool, but quite comfortable. The main outdoor stage was lit beautifully. This was during a period of time where we not only had a sound mixer with us on the road; we also had a lighting director. He was in charge of a dozen spotlight operators. Their job was to make us look good on stage. That’s just one of a million changes a band goes through making the transition from a nightclub band to a concert attraction. I’ll talk more about that next time, right now I’ve got a hell of a story to tell.
The gig started well enough, we were having a great night. The band sounded good, I was singing well, the stage looked professional, and all was going great guns. We finished the set and went off stage, only to return a few minutes later for the encore.
During encores, Gary Phillips often played my guitar because his was in a weird tuning and I usually took mine off and just sang on the last song anyway. I never thought about it. In fact, it didn’t dawn on me until later that Gary was still playing my guitar at that point in the show. If I had known what was going to happen, I never would have taken the Tele off in the first place. Hindsight is always 20-20, right?
Everything was going along just fine when, from the corner of my eye, I could see somebody running across the stage. In my peripheral vision, I saw a middle-aged man sprinting across the front of the stage. He was moving fast and heading directly at me. He looked like a linebacker ready to make a tackle and, at the rate of speed he was traveling, the only thing he could do was tackle me. He certainly wasn’t going to give me a hug, he was moving way too fast for that, and besides, he had a look of utter depravity in his eyes. I caught a glimpse of his face and deduced that he DID NOT HAVE my best interests at heart. In fact, he scared he crap out of me. Was he an over-the-top protestor out to get me? Who knew? Was he a crazed fan? An angry husband or boyfriend? Or was he just a garden-variety drug-fueled maniac, out for blood? I had no idea. Visions of Mark David Chapman flashed through my brain.
All this happened in just a few seconds. I had no time to react. The atmosphere on stage was absolutely supercharged. The lights were blinding, the crowd was cheering, the band was rockin’ at high volume, and here comes this guy. In the hysteria of the moment, time slowed down. I could see the stage bouncers reacting (too late) as the interloper flew past them. I don’t remember if I worried that he might have a weapon, I just remember trying to get the hell out of the way. But it was too late.
I braced for impact.
What happened next has been talked about for decades and has gone down in the rock and roll record books as one of the greatest on-stage moments in modern times. It has become known as the “Lights Out, Chicago!” incident.
Gary Phillps was standing next to me; a few steps back, playing my Telecaster, when he saw the guy coming toward me. I noticed he was a pretty big dude, much taller and heavier than me. There was a moment of indecision when it became clear that Gary was the only thing between the crazy man and yours truly.
Gary never hesitated.
We were in the middle of “Road Runner” I believe, in the part of the song just before Steve did his bass solo. I was singing the chorus, sans guitar, in the middle of the stage, completely vulnerable. The guy sprinted the last few feet between us.
In one fluid motion, Gary slipped the leather guitar-strap off his shoulder and grabbed the neck of the Telecaster with both hands. Swinging it around like a baseball bat, Gary clubbed the guy full in the face as he ran past. The body of the guitar hit him in the face like a Barry Bonds home run. The guy ran right into it. The force of the blow knocked him back, but his legs kept going. They flew out from under him and for a moment he seemed to be completely suspended in space, as if levitating. Then he fell, flat on his back. A tooth went flying. Some blood splattered. The man was knocked out cold.
Without missing a beat, Gary followed through with his homerun swing and brought the guitar back over his shoulder. It landed in the proper position and he resumed playing the song as if nothing had happened.
The poor guy was out cold on the stage and Gary just kept on playing! Amazing! But here’s the kicker: THE GUITAR WAS STILL IN TUNE!
Those Telecasters can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’! I guess that’s why Bruce plays one on stage. You never know when you might have to use the thing as a weapon.
They carried the guy away and I never saw him again. We finished the gig without further incident, went back to the hotel, and got drunk. Everybody went home happy, except that guy. I wonder what became of him.
God bless the Fender Telecaster, best electric guitar ever made! Next time I’ll tell you how it got those ugly scratches on the side. Now that’s a hell of a story.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I had lunch with Guy Kawasaki

I had lunch with Guy Kawasaki

I had lunch with Guy Kawasaki on Friday and it was great catching up with one of Silicon Valley’s leading entrepreneurs. Go ahead and “Google” Guy Kawasaki before you go an inch further and you’ll see what I mean. The man is everywhere. He’s ubiquitous! (Use that word during a job interview and you’ll get the job!) It’s always interesting for me to “Google” somebody just to see how many references you’ll get. A recent Guy Kawasaki search yielded 2,275,000 results! You know the dude is heavy just based on that! I mean, John Madden only got 1,080,000. If you “Google” Greg Kihn, I clock in at a puny 138,000 results, hardly worth leaving the house for.
By the way, since when did the word “Google” become a verb? It’s a well known fact that the world had been going downhill since the word “Party” became a verb back in the 70’s. I’ll leave it to the good folks at Strunk and White’s Elements of Style determine if “Google” will now join “Party” on the list of the damned; words that used to be nouns, but have now been forced (sometimes at gunpoint) to become verbs.
Anyway, getting back to Guy, here’s how his own website characterizes him in the official bio; “Guy Kawasaki is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. Guy is the author of nine books including Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.”
He wears a lot of hats, for a guy with a normal size head. But, the more we spoke, the more down to earth I realized he was. In fact, it was a pleasure hanging with him at lunch. I hadn’t spoken much to Guy since we last had him as a guest on the morning show way back in 1998. A lot has happened since then. It was time to get back.
I must confess, I had ulterior motives. Knowing that Guy is the Guru for Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, and considering myself a bit of an entrepreneur as well, I planned to pump him dry on the latest marketing techniques, the newest technologies, and the freshest philosophies the big boys were using. After all, just like everybody else, I want to build my little empire on the side of the road too. In my case, it’s my syndicated radio show, now heard 7-midnight in 90 different markets around the United States, and supported by a host of websites.
We sat down to lunch at one of those ultra-cool private rooms at McCormick and Schmick’s in downtown San Jose. The appetizers hit the table a few minutes later and we dug in. Everybody was hungry and the food was fabulous. I had the sautéed wild English sole (which I joked was like the Dave Clark 5 of fish), Guy had the Salmon, My manager Joel had the Scallops, and his son Skyler had the Chilean Sea Bass. Wow! We ate seafood like kings. Best lunch I’ve had in ages!
The conversation was interesting. Guy gave his thoughts on various Internet topics, and filled us in on what he’s been doing lately with, a news gathering website that could make everything else obsolete. acts as an “on-line magazine rack” on the Internet. You can custom-make your own page according to your interests and will update it every hour. He had already created an page of rock and roll news that I will use everyday on the radio show. It’s a lot more convenient than going fishing with a bunch of search engines and wasting time. Guy has done it again! He has found a niche and filled it, and isn’t that the very essence of successful entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley?
Guy is scheduled to appear on my KFOX morning show this week. Listen to him. You won’t regret it. I really like the way he cuts through the crap and goes right to the truth. By the end of lunch he had described how to best streamline my websites, be more effective online, and boost my Internet presence. It was stuff I probably wouldn’t have thought of for years. Guy showed me the right way to think.
No doubt about it, Guy is a champ. Read his books, attend his lectures, the man knows what he’s talking about. And be sure not to miss Guy Kawasaki on The Greg Kihn Show this week.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The San Jose A's?

The San Jose A's?
The Oakland A's moving to San Jose?

It's not such a outrageous idea after all.

Tomorrow I will be talking to Chuck Reed, Mayor of San Jose. We'll be discussing the possibility of moving the A's to San Jose. I want this to happen so bad I can taste it! This idea makes sense on every level.

Think of it! The A's in San Jose! What an awesome concept! Consider what this will mean to our city. We'll be a major league city in every sense of the word. It will mean big revenue for San Jose, money for local merchants, and a huge boon to downtown. Green and gold, baby!

I remember as a kid when the Orioles came to Baltimore (they were formerly the old Cleveland Browns.) I was only 5 years old but I remember how everyone was excited to have our very own team in Baltimore. We weren't some second-rate backwater town anymore. After years of living with an inferiority complex from New York, Baltimore was now major league! Civic pride went through the roof. People were so happy. My father took me to Memorial Stadium (only a few blocks from our house on Southway) to see the boys of summer play. When they won the world series a few years later the whole town went nuts. The parade went right down Greenmount Avenue, half a block from my mother's house. I can't tell you how stoked I was. It literally defined my childhood.

Now we have that very same opportunity here in San Jose. The A's have exhausted every avenue in Oakland, and it really seems like Mayor Ron Dellums and the Oakland City Council have turned their backs on the A's. Lack of support would not be a problem in San Jose. We are foaming at the mouth for the A's and we've already proved this is a city that supports its teams. (Unlike Oakland.)

Imagine that first World Series Championship in San Jose! Wow! Is there any question that we could build the most beautiful ballpark in baseball and fill it with people for every game? Hell no! Look at what the Sharks have achieved. Would the victory parade route go down Santa Clara Street? How about Market Street? Could you visualize a fleet of cars carrying our very own world champion A's past the reviewing stands? I can. Maybe I'm getting a little carried away, but I think this is not only possible, but pretty damn probable. Here's how we can achieve our goal:

Oakland is in decline, San Jose is on its way up. In Oakland, businesses are closing, stores are boarded up, and people are afraid to go out at night. In San Jose, business is booming. People are swarming all over downtown. Don't believe me? Just try getting a dinner reservation on a Saturday night. Silicon Valley is the future of business in America, we deserve a major league team here.

I can't wait to have a hot dog at the new ballpark and watch the San Jose Athletics play. We'll be thanking Chuck Reed for generations to come! What an excellent legacy to leave us with! Like when former Mayor McHenry brought the Sharks to San Jose and got the HP Pavilion built. I say let's support current San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and bring the A's here! This is completely doable! San Jose has the juice to actually get it done. Mayor Reed says the odds are 50-50. Let's see if we can tip those odds upward to 75-25. Let's get the A's into a brand new downtown ballpark and start selling out! We can do this! Keep saying this over and over in your head until it sounds like reality- here come the San Jose A's!

Years from now, I want to bring my grandchildren to see games in San Jose. Don't we owe it to them to try?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lord Stanley's Cup

Lord Stanley's Cup
I didn't watch American Idol last night because I watched the San Jose Sharks game instead. God, what a finish! Horrible! With 27 seconds left in regulation and the score tied at 3, Jonathon Cheechoo was sent to the penalty box for 2 minutes for interference. It was a completely bogus call, since Cheechoo was just trying to get out of the way. Anyway, here we go again! Another game decided by the officials! That really frosts me! The Sharks were swarming in that last minute, peppering the Phoenix goaltender with shot after shot, and it was only a matter of time before one dropped (either during regulation or in OT), but the freakin' officials decided to hand the game to Phoenix by sending Cheechoo to the box for no reason! Damn! So, we lost with 27 seconds to play. All this after we battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie. The Sharks played well once they got back in the game and the fact that they came back from 3-1 meant a lot in terms of winning desire. I really felt like we had momentum on our side at that point and we were going to win. Now my panties are all in a bunch! The good news is that, even though they lost, they clinched a playoff spot, and all they need is one more point to clinch the Pacific Division. __Also I heard from the Sharks that they are all booked up for the remainder of the season as far as singing the National Anthem is concerned. Not the result I was looking for, but that's the way the cookie crumbles... __Don't they realize that I'm a good luck charm? The Sharks record this year is 4-1 in games where I sing the national Anthem. Coach Todd knows it. I hope he calls me when they are in a "must win" situation in the playoffs. I have nothing against other Anthem singers, in fact I know most of them do a much better job then I do, but you can't argue with 4-1! They may sing better but what's more important? A win or a great singer? OK, don't answer that. __I guess I'm just too worked up about the Sharks this year. I still believe that they can and will go all the way! My passion is way over the top. Sorry. All I can say is Stanley Cup here we come! Go Sharks!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's day everyone!

Happy Saint Patrick's day everyone! Try not to get too crazy. Since I quit drinking (and smoking) it has been a whole new experience on St. Patty's Day, and I don't miss the drinking at all. In years passed I would get toasted with the guys by early afternoon at a place called Brennan's in Berkeley, Ca. We'd drink green beer and shots of Irish whiskey until our lips got numb and we couldn't play the ocarina anymore, then we'd all eat corned beef and cabbage until we puked. Sounds great, doesn't it? Ah, well, we were young and crazy.

I have a ton of memories of St. Patty's Day, dating back to the 70's when we toured in the Emerald Isle. The late, great Phil Lynott, singer/bassist for the classic Irish rock band THIN LIZZY, had a hollow leg and could drink more liquor than anybody I have ever seen in my entire life! He could literally drink all of my band, plus roadies and management, under the table without breaking a sweat. He was amazing! Plus he was the only black Irish guy I ever met. He once took us to buy bright green African bud from a Chinese woman in Ireland! It was like the united colors of Beneton! As a bunch of homesick Berkeley boys far from home, we really needed a toke at that time. We just couldn't keep up with the Irish guys and their drinking, and I think Phil took pity on us. So, he took us on a journey to find good bud in Ireland, something he insisted was real. We scoffed. After all, we were Californians! We knew all about good bud. Ireland was the land of drinkers, wasn't it? Well, in the end, the bud was crap and we didn't even get a buzz. But we were forever in the debt of Mr. Phil Lynott, and I will never forget him. He was a hell of a singer too!

We ran into him years later in our own area code and returned the favor. I don't think Phil realized how strong Northern California weed could be. Who knows? Maybe we could have gotten him off the sauce and saved his life... Tragically, Phil favored alcohol instead of pot, or maybe we could have saved him. I heard that he got into coke and heroin later. What a shame. Phil died from heart failure and pneumonia in January 1986 following years of alcohol and drug abuse. It broke my heart. He was a major supporter of Manchester United Football Club and he loved to talk about them. I think of him every St. Patty's Day.

Here's a link to his Wikipedia page in case you want to read up on him:

And just for the hell of it, here's THIN LIZZY, one of the greatest bands of all time!