Doobie Brothers: Listening To The Music Gets Even Better With Time

September 26, 2010

Note: If you are reading this on or before Monday, September 27th, 2010,  Cisco TelePresence will be presenting The Doobie Brothers live as part of the release of their new CD on Monday at 3:30PM (Pacific Time).   Cisco will be using their TelePresence technology enabling you to interact over the web with The Doobie Brothers as they perform selections from their new release, “World Gone Crazy.” To watch the live event via the web, go to:

On Tuesday (9/28), The Doobie Brothers will release “World Gone Crazy” which is their first studio album in 10 years. On the surface, one might think,  “Ho-Hum, another aging band milking it… next!”  But a lot of people in the entertainment world are standing up and taking notice:

  • Industry  publications are covering this as a major event.
  • Billboard magazine is featuring them on the cover of their September 25th issue.
  • Last week, they were featured in a live broadcast on
  • The “buzz” in the industry is that this CD is one of the major releases of the year.

L to R: John McFee, Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, Mike Hossack (

One might ask,“Why the big deal?”  I mean, the Doobies were a successful rock group “back in the day” (the ‘70s and early 80s) that had a few big hits and that’s about it, right? Guess again.

That’s what those who didn’t take the time to dig into their albums might have thought. If they did a bit of research, however, they’d have found the genesis of the group consisted of fine musicians and writers whose talent surpassed many of their contemporaries. On the other hand, like so many other groups in that era, you didn’t have to look far to see talent that was also squandered from the excesses that were the trappings of the rock and roll lifestyle.  As drummer Keith Knudsen himself told me when I interviewed him in 2003,  it really WAS about Sex Drugs and Rock & Roll… in that order.  It’s not surprising that they broke up in 1982. What’s amazing is that they didn’t break up sooner.

That could very well have been the end of the Doobie’s story. But then, post rock fame, a funny thing happened: They got their heads on straight, raised families and simply matured as people.  In 1986, they reunited for what was to be a fundraiser for a fledgling organization called The Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation (now expanded and known as the National Veterans Foundation.

It was Knudsen (who, sadly, died in 2005) that contacted nearly every musician who had been a member of the Doobies during their run from 1970-1982 to see who would be interested in getting together for this 1-time reunion. To his surprise (and joy), every member who had spent time as a member of the band wanted to be part of the concert.

They booked the Hollywood Bowl and the tickets to the reunion show sold out faster than any other concert before, including the Beatles final performance there. There were about 15 musicians on stage during the show, all former members of the band at one time or another.

The concert was so well received that  core members Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, and Mike Hossack decided to get back together and, along with John McFee have been together ever since. Knudsen was committed to another band at the time, but would rejoin the group several years later. He was credited for the reunion, and with unanimous support from the band, continued to support the National Veteran’s Foundation over the years, donating well over a million dollars to the non-profit organization.

Upon Knudsen’s death in 2005, the group’s manager, Bruce Cohn (who owns a winery in Northern California) announced that all profits for the first five years sales of his line of award winning wine called “Doobie Red” would go to the foundation in memory of Keith.

Over the years, the Doobies have sold well over 30 million CDs and continue to sell their catalog to new, young fans who have only recently discovered the band. For the new release, the Doobies have returned to their original producer Ted Templeman who produced their earliest work and hits.  In fact, the first single from “World Gone Crazy”called “Nobody” (which is already in rotation on many stations) is an updated version of a song from their first album.

With their dedication towards top instrumental and vocal performance, they truly do sound better than they did 30 years ago. The following video is the first single from the CD to be released Tuesday showing the Doobie Brothers in the studio, intermingled with film clips of their 40 year career.

If you miss the live release on the Internet, but would like evidence of their talent live, there are numerous concert videos on youtube, but one of the finest samples you’ll see is of this rendition of the classic hit, “Taking It To The Street” with an intro that takes the audience by surprise. The below video is from the DVD “Live At Wolftrap” and features Bass Player Skylark who is currently recovering from a stroke. All of us at Grand Rants wish him a quick and complete recovery. The video also features the late Keith Knudsen on drums. His spirit, talent and activism is sorely missed. The DVD is available through

In the end, most rock groups make their money, do their drugs, and eventually crash and burn out.  Once in a while, however, a group comes along that somehow “gets it” and transforms themselves from “merely a rock band” to full-fledged entertainers who respect their audience and themselves enough to dedicate themselves to their craft. After 40 years, and within their own realm, the Doobie Brothers have, in my opinion, established themselves firmly in the latter category.

To learn how to participate in the live launch of the CD and to read more on their 40 year career (as well as check on tour dates), follow this link to their web site, and join the millions who still love to Listen To The Music of The Doobie Brothers as they head into their 5th decade.

Gerry Ashley

The Grass Is Greener…

September 23, 2010

…over at the Jefferson North Chrysler plant in Detroit. In fact, the grass is green, the beer is cold, and the malt liqour comes in 40 oz. bottles.

This is why Chrysler needed a bailout.  And this should be their new logo:

All that bailout money… up in smoke.


GOP Party Unity? Not So Much

September 23, 2010


With Republicans set to make what might be record gains in the mid-term elections, I can’t help but reflect that we seem to be saddled with the sorriest bunch of sore losers ever seen within a political party.

Remember Dede Scozzafava, from last year’s special election in New York? Despite being “an ACORN-friendly, union-pandering, tax-and-spend radical Republican,” she was the Party establishment’s choice in the attempt to pick up the House seat left open when John McHugh was appointed Secretary of the Army. When Doug Hoffman, a dark horse solid conservative, started to surge in popularity, dear Dede withdrew from the race and gave her supporte to Bill Owens, the Democrat in the race.

Sore loser and traitor.

When Christine O’Donnell, to the amazement and dismay of the party elite, took the Primary last week in Delaware, did her opponent, Mike Castle, congratulate her and throw his support behind her, working to get a Republican in that Senate seat? Not a chance. Not only did Mr. Castle refuse to endorse her, but the NRSC promptly leaked that it would not support her either. After some serious outcry from the common folk, Sen. Cornyn (head of the NRSC) flip-flopped and allowed as how he guessed they’d send her money after all.

Sore loser and flip-flopper.

When Joe Miller in Alaska surged past Lisa Murkowski to take the primary in that state, Murkowski, a sitting Republican Senator, toyed with the idea of running on the Libertarian ticket, running as an Independent, and finally decided to run as a write-in. Against her party’s chosen nominee and clearly against the will of the people of her state. And when the NRSC threatened to strip her of her post on the Senate Energy Committee, it’s likely that she threatened something… what? — to vote with the Democrats if that happened? — because you’ve never seen such quick backpedalling:

“We all respect the system, and she still is a Republican senator,’’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah.) after the closed party caucus. “It’s just a matter of good taste.”

Sore loser, party traitor, and possible blackmailer.

And those are just a few. Ed Morrissey wrote a great article for the Washington Times last week, outlining many more in the Sore Loser Party, ending with the following gem:

“If the Republican Party wants to survive, let alone succeed, it has to stop acting like sore losers and start acting like a party that wants to win elections on principle and not just strategic posturing.”

To which I say, it’s not even strategic posturing. I say it’s behaving like a spoiled child or a drama queen; maybe both. There never was a party as adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, due in no small part to its penchant for sore loser-hood.

Party unity, my a**.


IHOP(e) This Suit Is Pancaked By The Court

September 16, 2010

From the semi-tongue in cheek department: 

According to an International Business Times report, International House of Pancakes (the restaurant chain known for its all-day breakfasts and which, for years, has used the acronym “IHOP”) is suing a church group based in Kansas City Missouri calling itself the “International House of Prayer”. The reason? Because they too are using the acronym “IHOP.” Quick: Circle the syrup dispensers!

Sign created by the author

Apparently IHOP (the restaurant) is afraid people might get confused with the double use of the acronym. 

I can appreciate a company wanting to protect its image, name and likeness from a competitor. But if that were really the case, then why didn’t IHOP go after a chain restaurant called “HOPS” (which DID confuse me at first). 

But what is the likely confusion with a small, one-off church group based out of Kansas City Missouri? There are three IHOP restaurants in the area. Are they afraid people might wander into the restaurant looking for a prayer service? And I’ve thoroughly checked the church’s web site. Not ONE mention of Chocolate Chip pancakes. Or “Rooty-Tooty, Fresh & Fruity Salvation.”

Since we at Grand Rants have been suggesting solutions to the political time bomb that is the current administration, I figured we ought to be able to resolve a simple issue like this, and it didn’t take long for me to come up with I believe to be the best all-around solution: 

I recommend the church group change it’s name to the Diocese for the Enlightened Natural Nazarene in You

That would be DENNY’S for short. 

Once they’ve changed their name, the church could implement an intervention program to break people of domestic abuse. They could call it the “GRAND SLAM INTERVENTION.”  

Then there could be variations of their Ultimate Skillet program to break people of bad habbits like smoking, drug and alcohol addiction.  

And to top if all off: Free Redemption on your birthday! 

Problem solved.  Next? 

If you will excuse me, I have to go now to attend the grand opening of my new business: 

Created by the author

Gerry (“Come to IHOP to get your i-Phone”) Ashley

Lest We Forget What’s Really Important

September 8, 2010

If it seems to you there’s been a lack of input from me lately, it’s not your imagination. Perhaps it’s been a lack of mine. The promise of Grand Rants is to discuss our world, not just politics. Unfortunately, the most important news over the past 2 years has been political in nature. And make no mistake: We intend to cover political issues as needed. Expect a lot of it from now until the mid-term elections.

But every now and then, I need to step away from the sewer of politics and just breath in the beauty of life itself. And the older I get, the more beauty I discover. Some of the most special moments can be found in the examples some people give us of their selfless devotion to causes. Sometimes it’s just a touching moment or lyric that makes me realize the beauty of a phrase or a simple act of kindness. These moments are easy to miss if we are so steeped in the argument of politics that we close our eyes to the awareness of that which sometimes surrounds us. I needed to open myself up to an awareness of these things, and so I stepped back from the body politic for a brief period in an attempt to bring something a little more uplifting and positive to the table.

I believe my efforts have paid off.

Meet Kristian Anderson, from Australia. Last October, Kristian was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Because he waited so long to be tested, he discovered it had also spread to his liver. Anderson, 35, is married and the father of 2 little boys. He’s not ready to leave his two children fatherless, so he’s stayed positive with the support of his wife Rachel. Together, they are fighting the disease.

Recently, with her birthday coming up, he wanted to make it very special… and he chose a very special way of accomplishing that goal: In addition to a surprise party, he created a video birthday card for her. Through a local radio station, he was able to get actor Hugh Jackman to make a cameo appearance and, because his wife is from New Zealand, Andeson managed to get New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to appear also.  The video has found its way to youtube and I predict it will go viral. I hope it does, because in the four minutes it takes to watch, it acts as a reminder to us all of just how important it is to get checked periodically for any unusual health issues that might benefit from early detection. And it also teaches us how important it is to stop and smell our own roses:

Kristian has kept a blog to chronicle his journey since becoming diagnosed with cancer. It’s called “Days That Matter.” I invite you to follow his journey. Something tells me that as this video goes viral, he and his family are going to have the prayers of a lot of people pulling for him.

I know he’s got mine.

Gerry Ashley

Charles Krauthammer: Half Right

September 6, 2010

Just about a year ago, I disagreed with one of my idols, Charles Krauthammer. In a discussion about healthcare, he had stated that insuring the uninsured was a moral imperative; I took him to task for that.

Well, as of late last week, much to my chagrin, I must disagree with him again. While we here were engrossed with the impending non-disaster that was Hurricane Earl, Charles Krauthammer was discussing the outlook for the impending disaster that will be the mid-term elections, and he made the point that, while people are angry with President Obama, they’re likely to vent that ire on all the incumbent Democrats in November:

He is spot on about the arrogance and contempt shown by the Democrats; absolutely spot on; and the voters will be ready for them come November. However, he leaves fully half of the equation completely unmentioned. And that is the arrogance of the GOP old guard:

“When given the chance this election season, Republican voters are tossing out hidebound incumbents and ushering in new blood, sending a signal to the GOP establishment that the flip-flopping and rampant spending of the latter Bush years won’t be tolerated…

“Whether the GOP newbies win in November isn’t the point. The turnover shows that Republican voters aren’t just upset about Obama and Democrats. Instead, they’re demanding principled conservative behavior from members of their party as well.”

The New York Post is correct. And it shouldn’t seem like too much to expect, principled conservative behavior from Republican Congressmen. But feathers in the caps of Tea Partiers and Mama Grizzlies (including Joe Miller, Marco Rubio, and Sharron Angle, to name but a few) suggest that the battle on the right side of the aisle is being hard fought. And as Sissy Willis pointed out recently in response to Joe Miller’s unlikely win up in Alaska against the embedded incumbent, old boys’ gal Lisa Murkowski:

And now Miller, indeed. The darkhorse candidate’s likely win — to be determined after absentee ballots are counted starting next week — caught incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski and the effete elites of the NRSC off guard in Tuesday’s Alaska primary. Shellshocked, Murkowski “lawyered up” in anticipation of the NRSC’s doing whatever it took to assure the final count went her way. The will of the people was never on the table. As Johnny Rocco said in Key Largo:

How many of these guys in office owe everything to me? I made them.

Unfortunately for the Johnny Roccos of the GOP, the old way of doing business isn’t working anymore. It happened in the Massachusetts special election that sent Mr. Brown to Washington, and it’s happening again. The national GOP is being disintermediated via the Internet. No wonder they’re upset. The people’s choice, Joe Miller — endorsed by Sarah Palin and with major funding from the Tea Party Express — is battle ready…

We the People are finding our voice, and we’re beginning to realize that for the good of the country, we must demand integrity from our representatives, because it seems they’re not going to give it willingly. It’s not only Democrats who should be running scared in November. It’s anyone, of any party, who will not represent his or her  constituency with honesty and integrity.
And that’s why Charles Krauthammer was only half right.


H/T: Instapundit

Something There Is That Does Not Love Arizona

September 2, 2010

And that something is the Obama Administration.

Seriously, what has the President got against the state of Arizona? It’s bad enough that his Attorney General brought a lawsuit against the state to prevent AZ from attempting to curb illegal immigration after Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law earlier this year. In fact, A.G. Holder was is such a hurry to prevent Arizona from defending its borders that he brought the suit before he even bothered to read the 10-page law.

And it’s clear that there’s something about the Grand Canyon State which rattles Obama, especially after he promised the governor a staggering 532 National Guardsmen to assist at the border; of course they won’t actually be allowed to arrest any illegals they may spy crossing the 361-mile border between Mexico and Arizona. And it will take nearly a month to deploy all 532 of the Guardsmen.

And if he didn’t despise Arizona, why would he include an indictment of the state in his preening gasconade to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (an oxymoron if ever there was one)? An indictment which, as Michelle Malkin put it, “essentially singles out Arizona’s immigration enforcement law as a human rights deficiency ‘that is being addressed in a court action.‘” All other arguments aside (and there are many valid ones), why, in Obama-land does politics not stop at the water’s edge?

And then there’s the case of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, another popular Arizona whipping boy. He is the most recent subject of litigation by – who else? – the Obama Department of Justice. In this case, a DoJ “National Origin Discrimination” investigation, which seems designed to bring work in the sheriff’s office to a complete stand-still by demanding tens of thousands of pages of documentation, apparently in the hopes of finding some poor jailed illegal who has been harassed simply because he looks Hispanic.

Last but not least, we have the latest attack on the state in the form of yet another lawsuit. In this, the DoJ goes after community colleges in Maricopa County for trying to verify that non-citizens are in fact eligible to work in the United States, by requesting to see copies of their green cards.

Since the I-9 form, which all employers and employees are required to fill out, is somewhat paradoxical in its guidelines for what documentation is acceptable as proof of eligibility to work, and since employers are subject to all sorts of penalties if it is found that they have hired unauthorized workers, it is understandable that Maricopa Community Colleges might like to see that holy grail of authorization, the green card, before an employee begins working there. Understandable, that is, to any reasonable person. Which clearly excludes Obama and his Justice Department.

Manifestly, Arizona is coming in for far more than its fair share of persecution from Obama and his minions. Probably because he’s attempting to purchase Democratic votes by refusing to secure our border. This, of course, violates his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, specifically Article IV, Section 4:

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” [emphasis mine]

As for me, I say good fences make good neighbors. I stand with the U. S. Constitution; and I stand with Arizona.


The Beck/Sharpton Rallies: A Telling Dichotomy

September 1, 2010

Glenn Beck has been putting himself in a position ripe for parody and ridicule lately.  Beck predicted a miracle would happen at the Restore Honor Rally. To those who  scoffed, I submit exhibit A: 

Source: Video from


The military may have refused Glenn Beck a “flyover” to open his rally, but God didn’t disappoint. As the event prepared to begin, a skein of geese flew over in formation as if He was blessing the event from above. 

Beck also predicted the rally would be “a defibrillator to the heart of America.”  I’m not sure about that, but after the geese thing, I’m not betting against it. In fact, I”m going to go so far as to say it’s official: America is emerging from its self-induced coma. The attendance at the rally alone established that. 

Beck predicted the rally would be the next generation’s Woodstock. Let’s hope it was. Because just as Woodstock launched my generation’s justification for self (over-) indulgence to all things liberal, maybe this event can launch a generation that inspires the benefits of conservative values and an era of honor. By virtually all measures, the rally accomplished its goals. It was, indeed, a good week-end for those of us who still believe (as Ronald Reagan did) that America’s best days lie ahead. 

For an excellent re-cap of the event, please check the guest posting by Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s blog

But there was also an unfortunate affirmation this weekend that racism still plays a major role in the lives of some who chose to belittle and besmirch the work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

There were two rallies in Washington this past weekend. One headed by Glenn Beck and the other by Al Sharpton. Only one of the rallies stressed the kind of character, honor, accountability, and sense of unity necessary for America’s survival and recovery and was inclusive of all, regardless of race or religion. 

It’s no surprise that it wasn’t Sharpton’s. Read the rest of this entry »