In April of 1987 I was working with Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon promoting concerts in Atlanta and still doing a little management. My old friend Gary Rossington and his wife Dale Krantz Rossington called me to say Amber Ertegun suggested they talk to me  about me managing their band Rossington. We had a Kansas show at the Fox Theatre and Rossington was the one artist to put that show over the top. They were added to the bill and the show sold out. Night of show two strangers Gary Dale & I had not seen in a while show up and all of a sudden Billy Powell and Leon Wilkeson are on stage with the Rossington Band and doing Sweet Home Alabama…. the place explodes and now it’s 2:45am in a bar in who the hell knows where and Billy and Leon say ” we should do a tribute show on Oct 20 to honor 10 years after the plane crash … Gary says don’t do it … Dale says should we and what was to be one show turned into 32 shows turned into 1987 and the music carried on ….
God Bless and RIP Gary Rossington

Charlie Brusco


Sorry I’m late on this but it’s been such a weird time with so many of my friends and heroes leaving us of late. I had the good luck to go write songs with Lynyrd Skynyrd a few years ago, one of them ended up on their “Vicious Cycle” album. At that time Gary Rossington and Billy Powell were the only originals left I think, but the group was funny and great to work with, not seeming to care that I’m an old Jewish punk rocker. I remember  Rickey Medlocke was really on top of things, a very sharp writer- but I really bonded with Gary. He left the session for a few minutes saying “I gotta talk to Elvis” which was his code for blowing some weed. Hysterical. Gary and I and his wife Dale got together a while after that to write what was the title track for their next album “Take It On Faith” and I was struck by how deeply they were in love- just a very respectful relationship that was kind of amazing just to be around. They ended up doing a stunning version of our song, Dale’s vocal has made me cry many times…. but then the video! Oh man. It just kind of shows his whole thing, living with the loss and the memories and continuing to make music. I’ll never forget our time together, both of them made a deep impression on me.

Thanks for bringing everyone together to mark these occasions, it’s important. Or at least it is to me.

Kevin Bowe


I had the pleasure of writing some songs with Gary and his wife for a side project. One day when we were writing, someone stopped by my house to deliver him a beautiful flamed out Les Paul. We marveled over what a great instrument it was, and at some point I said I wonder if they can make one of these in white, just joking around about my Whitey Johnson thing. He said you know they can do anything at that custom shop. A few months later Barbara and I returned from a trip to India to find many messages from the Gibson custom shop saying they had something there for me from Gary Rossington. When I got there the guys told me that the beautiful white Les Paul that Gary was gifting me had been personally gone over by Gary. They said the neck came from Memphis and the body was from Nashville, and that he had tried various pickups before he was satisfied. There was a gold engraved “Whitey” on the head stock. it is a wonderful instrument that has served me well on many gigs through the years. I thanked him over and over, and he always acted like it was no big deal, but it was very special to me. That kind of generosity is rare. What a treasure of a fellow he was he will be missed by so many. RIP brother 

Gary Nicholson


I was saddened to hear of Gary Rossington’s passing.

The first session I ever worked on was Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1990 at Ardent Studios in Memphis.  Tom Dowd producing.  It was their first studio album after the crash.  I was just a kid and my first task was assisting Dallas Schoo in getting their gear set-up.  Setting up guitars and diming-in amps.   Tom Dowd had Dallas flown-in during a break in U2’s Achtung Baby sessions.  Much of Skynyrd’s gear had been in a warehouse since the crash.  So it needed help.

A few days later the band came in.  It was clearly Gary’s band at that point.  And when the band kicked-in it sounded like the original gangsters.  He was quiet whenever I was around them but you could see the wheels were always turning.  And now he’s carried home to see his kin.

Steve Wiggins
Memphis TN

PS. The other thing I clearly remember about that session is we had to remove the Steinway and exchange it for a Yamaha because Billy Powell was hitting the strings so hard it was flattening them out and the studio was having to tune it everyday. He had forearms like Popeye!


In 1972 I shared a dorm room at Ga Tech with two of Gary and Allen’s high school buddies – Jeff Carlisi (38 special) and Dave Webb who were also great musicians – their two sets of double stacked Marshall amps, a vintage reverse Firebird and an SG among other gear made for a pretty awesome if crowded 3 man dorm room. It was not unusual to meet the band members at Junior’s Grill on North Avenue for a late breakfast. Compared to the mostly clean cut Tech clientele, these guys were absolutely scary looking! At the time Skynard regularly played gigs in Atlanta and they would show up to hang with Jeff and Dave from time to time. One evening Gary and Allen came by with a new tune they were working on –  Freebird. I happened to have a vintage (60s) Guild 12 string in the room and suggested that to help build the dynamics, they use an acoustic under the slide solo at the beginning of the song. When they recorded the song in 73 they borrowed that guitar for the studio version. Listen carefully after the organ intro stops and Gary begins to wail on slide. That’s Allen on the 12 string.


William Ripley Ballou


I grew up in Miami where Skynyrd was a staple act.

I remember seeing them headline in March of 1975 at the Miami Marine Stadium, when I was still in high school.  Bad bootleg seconals were going around that week, and someone had printed and sold a ton of counterfeit tickets for the show.  Hundreds of ticket holding fans were stuck outside because the arena was already at capacity, and they rushed the gates and swarmed inside ignoring security.  Overheated, angry fans jostled for space and occasional fights broke out while the band played a hyper-energized set.

By the time they got to the Free Bird finale, you could sense things were about to go haywire.  Down in the water, between the mainland grand stand and the floating stage, where dinghies, row boats and inner tubes held a couple of thousand sunburned, drunk/stoned fans, some fool tried to walk across someone else’s inflatable boat and the owner swung a wooden oar at him and knocked him off onto another boat… and all hell broke loose.  The water foamed up like a shark feeding frenzy as the fight spread like fire in a pile dry pile of leaves.  Soon innocents were climbing onto the narrow walkway/bridge from shore to stage, until the entire railing collapsed sending 50 or so people back into the watery melee.  At the peak of the never ending guitar chorus, some poor soul tried to climb up the front edge of the stage to escape the carnage.  I’ll never forget how casually skinny little Gary Rossington, dressed all in white, stepped to the edge of the stage and drop-kicked the guy in the head, sending him flying backward where he disappeared into the chaos.  Gary was wailing in mid-solo at the time, and he never even missed a note.  It was the most surreal and chaotic moment I’ve ever experienced.

The band gave the big finish to the song that they liked to do when they performed it live, and the crazy energy waned in the crowd.  Everyone picked up their wounded and headed for the doors, satiated and satisfied as they could be.

Just a couple of years later. I had moved to Boston for college, and went out to my local bar one night proudly wearing the black and white “Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Old Florida Whiskey” tee shirt patterned after the Jack Daniels label.  On my walk from the front door to front of the bar, at least five people stopped me to tell me the band had been in a horrible plane crash just hours earlier and most if not all of them were dead.  We drank toasts to our fallen heroes until closing time and still seemed to stagger home sober from the sad news.  For me it was my “day the music died.”

God rest your soul Gary Rossington.  I like to think you are reunited with your brothers and that the band in heaven just got better once again.

Marc A. Von Arx


I had forgotten for many years this episode that happened in early 1976, but it came back to me a couple years ago and I began to tell the story from time to time.

I had graduated from a North Country NYS college in 1975 with a BA in studio art and possessed no marketable skills.  A high school buddy convinced me to join him in moving to Birmingham Alabama as his dad was moving there having lost his wife to cancer.  With no other prospects, it sounded like a great adventure.


After bouncing around a few temporary living arrangements supplied by my friend’s relatives in Birmingham, we found an apartment in a cool part of the South Side and my friend hit it off with the young woman Denise that lived across the hall.  So now it’s mid-February 1976 and my buddy, the girl next door, her sister and I are planning to head down to the sisters’ family cabin at Gulf Shores for the President’s day long weekend.  Her sister is a couple years older, married with a couple young boys.  As we’re picking her up for the trip, she hugged her boys and kissed her husband goodbye.  He said “hold on”, and gave her a handgun, saying “just in case!”


A few miles down the road, the sisters decided to stop for some groceries to bring along.  The two of them went into store and my buddy and I stayed in the car.  Neither of us were comfortable with a loaded gun in the car so we took the bullets out and put them in one of the side door pockets.  10 minutes later the girls came out, we squeezed the groceries into the trunk and Denise started the car.   The radio came on and it was playing a new song we had never heard before.    Can you Guess????


M Sull


Probably my all time favorite band… saw them at least 10 times…the Day On The Green that’s all over you tube was my last time seeing the original lineup…I remember seeing them in Santa Barbara… Gary had been in a car wreck and wasn’t gonna perform …they hit the stage and there’s Gary…they tore it up…how lucky was I to see this? Gary passing though not unexpected is a crusher… Lynyrd Skynyrd is gone… all of em…I’m having a hard time…

Tom Clark




I have been hoping for a few years now that karma would strike and Bill would get a bad case of Covid. Unfortunately, no luck yet. Also the bs study of the emotional impact vs physical in children is just that bs. We have no idea how many more kids would have had mis-c or long Covid in the early days of the pandemic if not for lockdowns and school shut downs not to mention all of the older adults those kids could have passed the virus along to and killed. People like Maher pretend everyone was wrong and overreacted to Covid while showing complete ignorance to how bad covid was until the virus got weaker when omnicron came along. We didn’t just learn to “live with the virus” it mutated to a weaker form of itself allowing us to live with it (not to say it still can’t be deadly in extreme cases). You know this of course but so many like Maher still don’t get it: As for where it’s from the bottom line is the CCP has been doing major coverup work since the earliest days of the pandemic and if China wasn’t such an economic power the world would not be giving them such an easy pass for their complete lack of transparency.

Jarred Arfa


I would like Bill to have an ICU nurse on his show sometime to talk about how COVID was a hoax and overblown.

Sara Joseph


Bill Maher is an old, crotchety man that has lost the ears of the next generation. While I wouldn’t outright “cancel” the guy, I think it’s time for him to STFU and let someone else speak. His comments and rhetoric are just plain ignorant and selfish.  He has no children, thinks the thought of marriage is appalling, but we should listen to him because he knows EVERYTHING?  Eff that, he’s not omniscient and has moved over from the middle to someplace else I do not recognize, nor care to appreciate.


Eww. Just ewww.


Khila L. Khani


You know, I find it curious that doubters still say covid isn’t real/really a threat. I just saw this morning that 5 residents died in a Massachusetts nursing home from a covid outbreak.  I suppose to many, that demographic isn’t relevant. Yippee, our world is about demographic categories instead of humanity – go us.

Trumpers claimed it wasn’t real, even though Trump himself got it!  That just shows you how beyond-help a segment of conspiracy theory believers are.  The Republicans downplayed covid while Trump was in office, and let Fox fictionalize the news all they wanted. Now that they won the House, they want to investigate the origins of covid?  Oh, right, then they get to play the anti-China card, a page out of the 1800s playbook.  That will be curious – 1.5 billion people are a bigger target than their current cross-hairs (and yes, it recognize that metaphor and literal combination) of the small number of US trans people*.  What will they do when Xi plays Putin in Taiwan, try and weaponized blame of covid and they inflate it’s damage?  What data do they already have on covid, will they trickle facts or fiction to turn their base on China and blame it for the pandemic that was previously a Liberal fiction?  It really makes a thinking person’s head spin. Unbelievable there are so many that just avoid thinking and questioning.

Bill Maher has always been I’m-smarter-than-you smug. At least I always thought so. Haven’t watched him since the 90s. He liked to stir things up and start conversations, regardless of his opinion of the matter, I appreciated that then, but now, he just strikes me as the personification of white noise. He hasn’t been relevant in years.  I’d much rather watch John Oliver. I miss Jon Stewart. Trevor Noah, too.

Mary Holland

P.S. As an aside, what on earth will the GOP come up with after they run out of “morality” legislation passed?  When they’ve done what they can to ban anything deemed remotely liberal?


I have voted dem since 1984 without reservation and I’m done.

Mahr is right.

This whole thing is a farce. Some of us have the luxury of sitting behind desks and spouting things for a living and telling people to do this and do that and they do it from our our armchairs.

The rest of us actually work. Not getting famous. Not influencing. Not taking money from people in the electric industry to wipe out the competition in the gas industry.

Not banning a company from doing business in your state because they simply obey laws in other states, like we all should…

I’m a musician for a living and it’s a blue-collar job. It involves physical work, mental work, bookkeeping, accounting, marketing, traveling, loading and unloading, practicing, and I’m sick of hearing all of this rhetoric from people who can sit in chairs and at least this guy is calling out the bullsh*t in real time.

Biden is a full on white supremacist racist who doesn’t believe people of color can do anything without the white man’s help.

There are people out there who think if some people are hurt than everybody else on the entire planet has to adjust.

Now the US government is trying to hold an entire country in Africa accountable for not allowing gay marriage and completely disrespecting their traditions and cultures. I guess black lives only matter if they support LGBT. As if there are not LGBT racists in the world.

We watch one man assault and battery another man on national TV and people make excuses for this violence when he should’ve been handcuffed and taking straight to jail.  Like you and me.

It isn’t white privilege.

It’s liberal privilege.

Jimmy Becker

Instagram @rockingjimmybecker


So you’re mad that you were duped and he’s calling you out because guess what you were scared and you fell for it and the writing is on the wall it was one big racketeering scandal. The masks were bullsh*t, so are the vaccines and boosters make it worse. You were had. Just like Neil. Sad but you’re old and scared.

Bill is right and you’re woke.

Andrew Hunter


Like millions of us who strive to make this a more just world, I enjoy and appreciate Bill Maher’s comedy, as well as his articulate commentaries. If your blog is going to promote ridicule and one ideology to the exclusion of independent-mindedness , then please remove me from your list. Otherwise, carry on, rock on, etc.





No fun trying to be objective today, you must stay in your lane and don’t dare challenge the narrative…  I love Bill Maher…and much like Tucker, I don’t agree with them on most things, but they are the only two that are challenging their parties narrative…and when they do, the skies falls down on their heads…

Stay informed, humble and safe.

Edmund J. Kelly


I had Covid with my family

My doc said natural immunity was better or equal and my family has zero comorbidities


My kids don’t get sick
We have enough money to eat amazingly well and take care of ourselves

I was cancelled by all left friends for my views on June on 2020

I said it was possible this came from a lab and that my doctor said we didn’t need the vaccine

I was ridiculed

Now – what I was saying was true

Do yo remember free speech?

Do you remember a woman’s right to choose?

Do you not find it interesting lefties were triggered to be on a moral high ground with incorrect data

Did anyone come back and tell me they were sorry or give me a friend request?


Lefties have done the same thing righties did in the 80’s and 90’s and into 2000’s…..

They claimed to be correct and had the moral high ground to call the others out

Lefties used not a moral religious high ground…. They used a scientific high ground

And just like righties – they are wrong

“I can’t watch Maher anymore….he challenges my belief system to much…. With words…. And words hurt…. “

So sad

Billy Zero


Brand’s brand is constantly morphing..

Like Rogan, he WANTS to be in the biz, but lacks any discernable skills..They’re not gonna’ let a little thing like THAT stop em’..

So they throw various things at the wall, to see what, if anything, sticks..Comedy, wrestling, game show host, recovery expert, etc..

Brand DOES invoke laughter..But we’re laughing AT him..An aging 70s rocker wanna’ be, who eloquently speaks the Queen’s English.. Incongruous and often hilarious..

Disruption for disruption’s sake..

THAT was the meme, circa 2016, that gave us Trump and Brexit..Let’s just throw out all babies and bathwater, and see what happens.

Who needs our institutions? Let’s just listen to random podcasts and piece together a society of sorts..All platitudes and no solutions..

That’s Brand’s career du jour..There IS an audience for that..

Of course YouTube videos popped up.

“Russell Brand destroys MNBC anchor’s (Hileman) career!”


James Spencer


Can we stop arguing about “the liberals were wrong about Covid” bullsh*t? Nobody f*cking knew anything the first half of 2020. Yes, maybe some things could’ve opened up a bit sooner, sure. Hindsight is 2020 my dude. It was better to error on the side of caution. Republicans only and always only care about money, not people. Don’t forget that. And lest we forget, Bill Maher’s character in the 1987 horror comedy “House II” was most likely a mirror of his actual self.

Danny Jay


Bob, as always, so grateful for all your posts. I stopped caring about Bill Maher when I realized he is a hypocrite and a fat bigot.

Linda Arroz


Bill Maher does not give a sh*t. He never had kids does he have to worry about the future. No.



Why not make fun of Bill’s hair?

Jimmy Wachtel


He lost me with his remarks about Muslims. He’s a dick! I stopped watching.

Steve Ferrone




Bob, Your interview with Willie Nile has to rate as one of the finest podcasts you’ve offered over the last few months. It was probably one of your easiest, too, as Willie is quite the story teller in his own right. His stories about his family, growing up in Buffalo, his college days, and the music business, with zero pretense, and absolute honesty prove he’s a survivor and salt of the earth kind of guy.

Willie Nile is typical of so many famous people from Buffalo who don’t act famous and don’t act like their sh*tzel doesn’t stink; guys like bassist Billy Sheehan, the Goo Goo Dolls, among others. His words about being with his 105 year old father in a sub-freezing Buffalo blizzard without electric power were riveting. A lot of Buffalo people were in the same predicament. Like Willie, they just made it work and survived one day at a time. His stories about his experiences in the music business were unvarnished … and funny (working at the post office, proofreading, his Showtime days …  and Huey Rosinbag?! Bwahhh-hahhh! )

The guy was never one to put on airs. I met him at a local radio station concert  in the early 90s. He’d just come off the stage after a rollicking performance in front of 15 hundred fans who loved every song he played. He stopped and talked to dozens of people as if they were family. I hope Willie stays healthy, vibrant and strong for many years to come. And although he has no quest for fame, I do hope he strikes it rich. Yeah, that he can take … and he deserves it.

Jim Mandrew


The 5’4” Willie Nile is a giant who espouses the true sprit of Rock n Roll. The only thing bigger than his talent is his heart of gold.  I did many events and interviews with him and he graciously cut some jingles for WRNR that turned out to be some of the best production the station ever aired. Once, he invited me on stage to sing “Satisfaction” and did not give a f*ck that I couldn’t sing at all. It was all about a genuine moment of shared love.

The Pope of Greenwich Village?

Please. It’s Willie Nile.

Bob Waugh


Thank you for featuring Willie Nile. This guy is the real deal. We hadn’t heard of him in Canada but we took a chance and he blew to doors off our place. Here’s a video we shot that shows the energy that Willie puts into every show. This guy should be a superstar.

Kelly Breaks

Canada’s Hottest Live Recording Theatre


We’ve been friends bordering on family since the eighties when we asked him to get us over the lyrical hump on a Hooters song we’d been struggling with. Willie is a force of nature and I want to be him when I grow up.

Eric Bazilian




I saw an old interview with Ray Manzarek recently, and for the song L. A. Woman, he thought he would give a musical shout out to his friend Al Kooper by stealing a piano lick from “house in the country”. I always thought it sounded the same, but I thought those five notes were just a bit of unconscious imitation, but there’s Ray admitting to paying homage to Al.

Mitch  Horowitz


With all this talk of Al & BST I feel like a very important person has been left out-Jim f*ckin’ Fielder. Jim was the first true link to Jazz bass playing for a lot of us “Low-Enders” in Pop music. Al has gigantic “ears” no doubt. One of the  many nice things Al did during his tenure here in Nashville was invite Jim down here to survey the music scene. Even though I’m a singing bassist I encouraged Jim (through Al) to play some local gigs with us with Jim playing bass. He was quiet, unassuming, kinda shy, and of course, played his ass off.

Last time I visited Al we spent the better part of an afternoon talking about and listening to Herbie Flowers (in my opinion the UK’s version of James Jamerson) and Harvey Brooks.

Anyhoozie’s, am REALLY digging your podcast.

Thanks Bob,

John Cowan


If you worked at Tower Records on Sunset you have plenty of celebrity stories.

Al Kooper may not have been the most notable shopper…

But he was the most frequent.

He would slowly and methodically make his way through the albums.

Always appeared to be on some sort of  research project…

And listening to the many musical varied styles from any of his great solo albums…

He was.

Al Kooper—a listener, a learner, and a leader of the band.

Marty Bender




Well, we should all be thankful that we aren’t buying tickets the old Grateful Dead way. Pulling out our hair over the 3×5 index card tour ticket madness. I spent more time on those cards than I did on some college projects. Triple checking the info, making sure the money order was perfect, decorating the envelope. As frustrated as I get with the ticket buying process these days, it’s still less stressful than that process. Meanwhile, I anxiously wait to see if I got Phish and Tedeschi Trucks Band tickets for their summer tours. A lot of people want a few tickets!

Heidi Jones




We had Shinedown at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts back in 2019. Brent went from office to office backstage, to personally thank every single person he encountered for having him at the venue and to shake their hand. In my 10+ years in the business, I’ve never encountered ANYONE doing this, let alone a headliner/front man. This is the type of stuff that sticks with you as a standout for the rest of your career. 

Julie Kaufman

Senior Director of Programming

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts 


It’s often the episodes I almost skip that turn out to be the best. I’m so glad I stayed with this one. Not sure if my taste will ever expand to include true appreciation for Shinedown’s music, but I have so much respect for Brent Smith based on this interview.

Just an utterly decent and genuine human being, from the sounds of it. I believe him. And so much truth about what it really takes to make it. Tenacity being the most critical element. I wish I had this interview to listen to 20 years ago. Glad to know it’s out there for youngsters looking for direction in today’s biz.

And thanks for the brief detour into AmEx chat. Love to hear about the money stuff!

Matt Kollock


I listened interestedly to the Brent Smith podcast even though I was completely unfamiliar with him and with his band Shinedown (mea culpa for that).

I am compelled to write because I was made very angry when he described his life, i.e. no home ownership/no car ownership, as being akin to that of a gypsy.    ‘I am the definition of a modern day gypsy.   I don’t steal though’ being his exact words.   He followed this abuse and defamation of a much oppressed ethnic minority with a jocular, laughing ‘I love you, gypsies.’

His brazen labelling is not acceptable and I sincerely hope that, with hindsight, he will find a way to re-educate himself about the massive history and culture of gypsy/roma/travelling people, including the horrific exterminations they suffered, like the Jewish people, during the Second World War and the ongoing racism to which they are subjected in locations all over the world including my own country of Ireland which continues to display shameful behaviour to travelling people.

Thank you for allowing me to express these opinion.

Fachtna O Ceallaigh

P.S. Just to add, my misgivings (euphemism) re his branding of gypsies are completely separate to my respect for the long term commitment he and his band mates are showing to suicide prevention.

Thing is, in my country (ireland) the highest rates of suicide, the shortest life expectancy, the highest infant mortality rate, the greatest difficulty in accessing education and employment, in all of these tables the travelling community, what Brent refers to as ‘gypsies’ is number one.

There is a proven link between the blazé stereotyping of ethnic groups and the terrible racism of people worldwide towards them.




When I think of records I wish I had made “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is at the top of the list. Perfect in every way.

Russ Titelman

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