Are You Ready for some Football?

The Hank Williams Allstar Band…and one funny Little Stephen line

How to produce and arrange a track featuring... Little Richard,Joe Perry, Quest Love,Little Stephen ,Clarence Clemons, Bernie Worrell, Rick Neilson, Charlie Daniels, Bootsie Collins ??

You start with a scratch piano track and basic drum groove…take track to the various artist / studios all over the country ..adding parts.

Start with drums, bass, then Joe Perry , Rick Neilson, Little Stephen, keys with Little Richard and Bernie Worrell…and me (ghost), Clarence’s horn, Charlie Daniels fiddle

Then edit edit edit …the musical equivalent of a 1000 piece jig saw puzzle.

Go to LA and mix with the great Bob Clearmountain

Then ...schedule everyone for the shoot at the Hard Rock in Orlando Fla.

Except... there was a hurricane coming

Miraculously everybody gets in town, we get parts we need…except Little Richard …delayed.

1 hour prior to the downbeat of the shoot we get the call : Good news: Little Richard has arrived…Bad News : His luggage is lost.

I tell co-producer Little Stephen and he responds : "Johnny we may be in trouble here...this guy doesn’t buy off the rack"

Fell out of the chair.

Luggage found, show goes on, Little Richard resplendent.


Bomb Scare at the Stone Pony

Sept 2000

 The Big Man lived up to his billing on a daily basis. Funny, sneaky smart, loving , cruel all in one sitting.

   The worlds most interesting man.

   Stone Pony , outside stage. 2 night billing. Bruce Springsteen joined us for an encore set on Friday…where we did a magical version of Mustang Sally.

    Now it was Sat night. He was rumored to return on an encore set – as well as Bon Jovi .

    As we were wrapping up our set, Clarence comes over to me (on Keys) and says “We have a situation here “..we end the tune and he announces to the audience …Management is saying everybody has to clear the area for a few moments then you can return.

   The confused crowd left …and only a few people returned. Our special guests all long gone.

    Turns out a disgruntled local promoter had phoned in a bomb threat …We all knew it had to be a hoax.

   Next week 9/11.


The First Espy’s

Brainchild of John Walsh. Our mission was to create “The Oscars of Sports”

Setting : Madison Sq Garden 

Host : Bill Murray

     I’m leading Delbert McClinton and his band. Murray is changing the musical opener as people were filing in.

     Jimmy Valvano was to be honored. He was inspiring, charismatic - a world class motivator – and dying of cancer.

     Our band was 10 feet from the podium as we watched Dick Vitale and

Mike Krzyzewski help Jim to the stage….where he came alive before our eyes.

     Suddenly vibrant, energetic, inspiring –radiating life.

     Announcing the establishing of the V Foundation

He went way long despite the motioning of the stage manager.

    Mike and Dick then literally carried Jim back to his seat…exhausted.


Ken Burns’ “The brooklyn Bridge”

     Living in the Amherst Mass area, Ken and I knew each other from a Gurdjieff Study group.

     Ken was working on his first film, hired a composer and it wasn’t working out.

     Somehow Ken had the faith that we could work together on the score, both new to the process. So with a stopwatch and a Steenbeck over a number of weeks created the score.

      Months later a mutual friend stopped me on the street in Northampton ...”call Ken Burns”

       The Brooklyn Bridge had been nominated for an Academy Award.



    I had been writing sports themes for ESPN since 1984 …virtually everything on the network. Continually trying to come up with the equivalent of the NBC this case 4 notes.Lots of themes- nothing stuck.

    Fall of 1989 it was time to create a new Sportscenter theme, the spec was to write something “Saturday Night Live’ish”. To me that meant R&B sax driven.

    Wrote, recorded,aired, on to the next project.

    A few months later Charley Steiner grabbed me in the office, took me to the nearest video player and shares clips of the great athletes of the day making a great play and singing “dadada”- the tag on air

    Went viral in the pre internet era.

    There was my ESPN chime.

    That great sax solo…Danny Wilensky