Living in More Than One World,

The Blog of Bruce Rosenstein

Learn from the Michael Nesmith Curriculum

Everyone is looking for an edge in today’s uncertain economy. Perhaps a somewhat counterintuitive guide to thriving in this era is Michael Nesmith, who has been a part of pop culture for more than 50 years, since his mid-1960s days as a member of The Monkees. These thoughts are prompted by his book Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, released last year in hardback and recently in paperback.

The book (only partly about his experience in The Monkees) is a candid look at a varied life, one in which he owns up to often being his own worst enemy. His honesty about his personal and professional shortcomings and what he has attempted to learn from them is admirable and not something many authors would easily admit.

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Wilko Johnson and the Ultimate Comeback

There are few real-life stories as inspirational as the unfolding saga of the iconic British rock guitarist Wilko Johnson, who first became known in the ‘70s pub rock band Dr. Feelgood. On July 12th, he turned 71, which not that long ago did not seem like a viable possibility. In early 2013 it was announced that Wilko had terminal cancer, and supposedly had under a year to live.

To broadly recap the Wilko-related output since his initial diagnosis:

January 2013: Johnson announces that he has terminal pancreatic cancer, and that he will forego treatment.

January 2013: Announces farewell tour dates.

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Radio in the Relay Shack with Ben Vaughn

It’s doubtful you’ll hear a more eclectic set of songs within an hour than in the weekly radio program The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn, featuring the singer/songwriter/composer/producer/radio host-curator. Now, along with its original stations, WXPN in Philadelphia, and WEVL in Memphis, the show is in wider syndication and also available via podcast.

ben vaughn harp image from site
In 2013, I interviewed Ben, whom I have known for many years, for my blog, in which he discusses, among other things, how he constructs the Many Moods. I’ve had great enjoyment recently catching up on some of the shows, which he informs his listeners emanate from the “relay shack,” in “Parts Unknown, USA”.

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Tom Guernsey: A Guitar Silenced

Last Sunday, June 23, was one of the most memorable days I’ve spent in a long time. I was at the Town Hall in Garrett Park, Maryland, not far from where I live, for a celebration of life-memorial service for guitarist/songwriter/producer/entrepreneur Tom Guernsey, one of the icons of the Washington, D.C. rock scene for the past 50 years. Tom had ALS/Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (AKA “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”), and died last October 3 in Portland, Oregon, where he had moved several years ago. On October 20, The Washington Post ran an extended appreciation/obituary by Terence McArdle, “A Local Life: Tom Guernsey, Md.

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Ben Vaughn Q&A: Many Moods, Many Talents

Today’s post is a Q&A with Ben Vaughn, whose multidimensional life encompasses playing music, songwriting, producing, radio, TV and films. He formed the Ben Vaughn Combo 30 years ago, and in the mid-1990s started a parallel career as a TV and film composer, hitting it big with his work on NBC’s 3rd Rock from the Sun, and later That ’70s Show, on Fox; as well as other series for different networks.

Ben grew up on the South Jersey side of the Philadelphia area, and though he has long lived in California, the Ben Vaughn Quintet will join the terrific lineup at the 52nd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival in August.

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My 2012 Claremont Drucker Days, Part Two

Last week I wrote about my experiences in Claremont, California at Drucker Day, on November 10th. However, I also had the pleasure of spending November 8th and 9th, and part of November 7th, on the campuses of The Claremont Colleges and The Claremont Graduate University. In between meetings with friends at the Drucker School and the Drucker Institute, I also managed to take advantage of a few on-campus activities.

After arriving in town mid-day Wednesday, I attended a fascinating talk by John Bachmann, senior partner (and retired managing partner) of Edward Jones, and chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Drucker School and trustee of Claremont Graduate University.

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Drucker, Dylan and The Beatles

What did Peter Drucker have in common with Bob Dylan and The Beatles? More than you might initially think. All were/are at the top of their fields; all were/are prolific, serious innovators. They also changed their initial styles of expression from their early to more mature work.
Beyond that, there are interesting geographic angles. Drucker, who was born in Vienna, Austria in 1909, began working as a clerk apprentice, and studying law at Hamburg University, in Germany, in 1927. This was a formative time for him, which included being introduced to great works of literature by a local librarian, and also attending the opera on a student ticket to hear what became a life-changing work, Verdi’s Falstaff.  Thirty- three years later, in 1960, The Beatles left Liverpool and did their own apprenticeship in Hamburg; playing grueling hours in the city’s gritty clubs.…

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D.C. Punk at the Arlington County Public Library

If you are anywhere near Arlington, Virginia from now until the end of May, check out the recently extended “D.C. Punk” exhibit at the Arlington County Public Library (where I did an author event in 2009). The combination of flyers for gigs and album cover posters vividly illuminate the music scene of the early punk era. In 2009, I wrote about part of my connection, including being neighbors in the same Arlington apartment building as Henry Rollins before he moved to California to join Black Flag.  Even before that, I first met Henry and his longtime friend Ian MacKaye, who started the phenomenally popular Dischord Records more than 30 years ago, while launching his own band, Minor Threat.…

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The Leonard Cohen Economy

Leave it to The Economist, and specifically the Schumpeter management column, to find the intersection between Leonard Cohen and entrepreneurship. The February 25th Enterprising Oldies explores, in a neat package, why all of us (no matter where we are chronologically in adulthood) may have to explore entrepreneurship and other forms of self-employment at some point in our working lives.
As we think about how to diversify our portfolio of work experiences, it’s worth digging deeper into how we can apply some of the life lessons of the 77 year old Cohen, a singer/songwriter/poet/novelist who was inducted into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

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Chuck Leavell: From Sea Level to Tree Level

One of the best examples of a multidimensional person living in more than one world is Chuck Leavell. He is probably best known as a top-level pianist who has played with The Rolling Stones for nearly 30 years and was with the Allman Brothers Band before that. He has also led his own band, Sea Level, and his discography is jaw-dropping. But as his recent bylined piece, A Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour de Forest, in The Wall Street Journal shows, he also operates on many other important levels: operator (with his wife, Rose Lane) of a tree farm in Georgia, conservationist, environmental/sustainable development advocate, author and tech entrepreneur.…

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