Announcement Imminent: WMAL’s Chris Plante

On his morning radio show this morning, WMAL personality and talk radio phenomenon Chris Plante tantalized listeners by saying he will have an announcement tomorrow morning, Friday, December 20, 2013, about "this show" – his show.  

At the same time, he spoke about the major afternoon shakeup in the lineup after January 1 that moves nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage into the 3 PM time slot held by Sean Hannity for several years at WMAL.   The combination of topics implies that Plante may be making an announcement about his show’s schedule.

Longtime listeners have been expecting Plante to go into national syndication sometime, perhaps this is it.  

Stay tuned.

Justin Bieber’s mom talks with Kathie Lee Gifford about abuse and suicide attempts

Just a few days ago, on December 9, we here at Skere9 reported about Kathie Lee Gifford‘s brand new Kathie Lee and Company Podcast.  Days later Gifford’s new podcast show made headlines worldwide in the entertainment media with its episode of December 11, 2013.  That episode features a revealing interview with Pattie Mallette, the mother of Justin Bieber, who speaks about her own experiences with abuse and even suicide attempts.

You can listen to the entire show here:

You can also visit Kathie Lee’s podcast website by clicking here.


BBC: “The Eva Cassidy Story” from 2001

I just came across this fascinating video on YouTube of a 2001 BBC special by BBC reporter Jonathan Maitland. It’s a brief look at the life of Eva Cassidy, and was created only six years after Eva passed away, and right about the time her music had finally been gaining international fame, climbing the charts in England. In the piece, Maitland travels from the UK to my home town of Bowie, makes this comment:

“This is where Eva Cassidy grew up, it’s a town called Bowie, on the outskirts of Washington, DC, and it’s not the kind of place you’d expect one of the greatest voices of her generation, as she’s now been described, to come from. It’s very stayed, it’s very suburban, it’s not very musical …”

HA! I had to laugh and laugh at that last comment. Bowie – not very musical? I can see why a BBC reporter from the UK might assume that to be the case, but we Bowie-ites know better, just as we knew when Eva was still alive and performing here. OK, so the streets of little ol’ Bowie aren’t lined with nightclubs and concert halls. Or at least – they weren’t then, today there are a few coffee shops and other venues in which to perform. And Eva was incredibly talented, we all knew it then and are happy the world knows it now. But other musicians who performed with her then – like Todd Bauchspies and others – are phenomenally gifted performers in their own right. Kathie Lee Gifford broadcasts live every morning fom Rockefeller Center in New York City on NBC’s Today, but she grew up here and started her career in Bowie. Other locals from the surrounding area – like Doc Scantlin and Chou Chou and their Imperial Palms Orchestra, who Forbes called “America’s Best Band” – are still very much with us and performing regularly.  This is one of the reasons I created the Skere9 blog, to feature creative talents like Todd, Doc, Chou Chou, and others, in the Skere9 Gallery of Stars.

I love this piece by Maitland. He might consider a follow-up to cover those who are still here and wowing the crowds.

In the meantime, enjoy this excellent BBC video, from March 15, 2001, titled The Eva Cassidy Story.

Doc Scantlin at Joe’s and Moe’s, circa 1990

Local DC dance legend Tom Koerner has unearthed a rare video treat, it’s a 20 minute home video shot at Joe’s and Moe’s, featuring Doc Scantlin and the Imperial Palms Orchestra:

The video blurb dates this treasure at 1992, but Doc tells us he thinks it may be closer to 1988.  Either way, it’s a gem and a great few moments from the early stages of the big band resurgence in the Washington, DC area.

Of special note is the excellent swing dancing by Tom with Debra Sternberg, who are featured starting at 7:21.  Don’t be fooled by the credits shown at that point, I think the names Gary Gregg and Scotty Babcock that are shown on the screen at 7:21 are the musicians, but there’s no question that the dancers you’re watching at that point are DC local legends Tom and Debra, of “” fame.  I’ve taken dance lessons from them myself and would recognize them both anywhere.

Thanks to Tom himself for posting this great video!

Tom Kreuzburg

Thanks to my mother and father, I had three guitar teachers growing up.  The first two were at the Music and Arts Center in Bowie, MD.  One of them I had for a very brief time, but Gene Goldsmith taught me the fundamentals and gave me a strong foundation on which to advance.  Once I had those fundamentals down, I moved on to my third and most influential instructor, Tom Kreuzburg.

Tom was a legend in the Bowie area, and taught guitar lessons to a lot of Bowie kids.  Tom was talented, challenging, fun, funny, always in a great mood, and could teach anything I asked of him, from the latest pop rock song, to proper classical guitar in the style of Andres Segovia, and anything in between.   He was part of a pop music nightclub band called Bits and Pieces, who toured out of the area and were known around the East coast of America and elsewhere.  He also performed Flamenco guitar brilliantly, and did solo performances of classical and flamenco in DC venues, sometimes accompanied by Flamenco dancers.  At one point Tom was working with Flamenco legend and then-local DC resident Carlos Ramos to transcribe old Spanish Flamenco pieces that had been only passed down from generation to generation and never transcribed before.

Thanks to Tom, I managed to join a great established rock band in the Bowie area named Majestic, and performed with them starting in my senior year of high school and all through college.   We performed throughout the DC area, and sometimes hit the road briefly here and there – we performed in Manhattan at one point.  And one memorable evening, Majestic performed at a huge facility at the University of Maryland, and Tom came to the show and recorded us on video.

If memory serves me correctly, I believe that’s the last time I ever saw Tom Kreuzberg.

As web search engines came into being, I think most of all of us have used them to search for old friends with whom we’ve lost contact, and Tom is one of those I’ve often searched for, but to no avail – until recently, when I found two mentions of him online.

The first thing I found was the video below on YouTube, a news report by the Las Vegas Sun from March 30, 2008, showing Tom teaching guitar and showcasing some of his students at a local coffee shop.

But the second item was this obituary reporting that Tom passed away on March 30, 2011, in Las Vegas.

I was shocked to learn of his passing, what a great loss.

Tom was one of the greatest influences on my life growing up.  When I see the kids in the Las Vegas Sun video piece below, I’m reminded of myself – I remember playing a few of those exact same pieces under Tom’s instruction, and how some of those works formed the basis of future guitar riffs I’d use in the future on stage with Majestic.  Most importantly, I remember the joy of playing guitar, and how enthused Tom was and how encouraging he always was.

I have a great appreciation for all the teachers I’ve ever had. I think we all agree that teaching is a special calling and a crucial social connection that, to me, is one of the most important aspects of society.  Whether instruction is written, video recorded, or taught in person, the act of one person sharing knowledge with others is what enables us all as a society to connect, advance, and build on one another’s achievements.  Without it, we are all floundering around without the benefit of each other’s achievements.  With it, we are stronger as a society.

Tom was the best example I ever had of what a teacher should be.  You can get a brief sense of that in the video below.