The Power Of The Dog

Trailer: https://bit.ly/3pCfkoz

I thought it was based on the Don Winslow book.

When I know I’m going to see a movie I don’t read the reviews. The unfolding experience is what entrances me, which is why I’m so pissed that trailers reveal so much. Then again, I never go to the movies anymore so I don’t see trailers. “The Power of the Dog” is playing in theatres, but today it opened on Netflix.

There is no buzz, none that I can feel. But when it comes to streaming TV it’s all viewer generated, and it happens slowly, but I don’t think there will be a huge groundswell of “The Power of the Dog” viewers, because it’s so slow at the beginning.

They’re in Montana, endlessly beautiful, but I hung on through the credits to find out where they shot it and it turns out New Zealand, chalking up another mark to visit the country where I have only been to the airport.

So what you’ve got here is a western set in Montana in 1925, not a cross-border dope dealing movie like I thought. Although it took me a while to realize it wasn’t. I was waiting for my memory of the book to kick in, and it never did. But you should read “The Power of the Dog” trilogy. It’s pulpy and far from highbrow but it’s eminently readable and will keep you hooked, as it educates you on dope in America.

But like I said, this movie is not that book. Rather it’s based on a obscure fifty year old novel. Jane Campion wrote the screenplay. And as I’m watching the film unfold I’m remembering, as great as Campion is, her films are usually very slow.

So I’ll tell you, up until nearly the end I wasn’t impressed. I had no desire to write about “The Power of the Dog.” But when it was over…

I misunderstood what was happening. I needed Felice to explain it. And then I’m running through the scenes in my head, figuring it out. Then I’m discussing it with Felice again. Finally, I have to go online to research, I wanted more, needed more, I wanted to make sure I understood the film correctly.

This is what moviegoing experiences used to be like. This is what the golden age of cinema was all about, the late sixties into the seventies, all the way up to the eighties, when the blockbuster paradigm instituted by Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” took hold and the film business was forever altered. Before that there was no talk of tentpoles, not every film was required to be a blockbuster, and superheroes were rare, never mind cartoons. I mean you see a Marvel movie and what is there to say?

So… I never would have gone to the theatre to see “The Power of the Dog.” I don’t want to waste that much time. I can’t be late. So I go early. And I’ve got to budget for traffic and endure the aforementioned trailers and… One of the main reasons I don’t go, other than Covid, is I’ve found I can’t slow down enough for them. My regular life has my brain firing and the experience is unsatisfactory.

And to be honest, my brain was firing during the initial scenes of “The Power of the Dog” and then…

Did I need to see this to the end? Was Felice mad that I made her watch it, the day it came out, telling her about it all day?

The cinematography is astounding. And unless you’ve got an OLED TV you’ll miss something, it’ll be better on the big screen, you need those blacks, that contrast.

So, you get hooked by the movie, you’re trying to figure out the plot, and then it’s over and you wonder WHAT HAPPENED?

“The Power of the Dog” is a bit too highbrow for it to become a streaming phenomenon. But I will tell you that if it didn’t open within a week of its big screen debut, I probably never would have watched it when it finally came to pay cable, even streaming services. The heat is off. Whereas opening day on Netflix, the heat is on!

So it’s two hours and change. You’ve got to commit. It’s not painful, but at first you will not be riveted. But then you’ll be drawn in…

Jesse Plemons as brother George is always good, although he always has the same slow, stilted delivery in every film, I wonder how he talks in real life.

As far as Benedict Cumberbatch… I’ve missed seemingly everything he’s done other than “Sherlock Holmes,” so…he’s good, and different.

Now if you check RottenTomatoes, “The Power of the Dog” has a 95% critics rating and a 76% audience rating, which is exactly what I expected. “The Power of the Dog” is not for everybody. But if the foregoing resonates, if you’re a fan of art house cinema, if you can spend the time to get the dividend, I highly recommend it. Because it will get you thinking, it will stick with you.

Donny & Chris

DONNY OSMOND:

Best…podcast ..EVER! 

James Spencer

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I didn’t think you’d match the Paul Anka so soon, but you did! His honest answers to your blunt questions were awesome, and the little digressions (“why Android instead of Apple?”) were great too. I loved it!

Mark B. Spiegel

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I just listened to the Spotify interview interview you did with Donny Osmond. It was fabulous!  You were wondering if Donny was for real. Yes, he is. He has both feet planted on the ground, but can look ahead and look behind and still be present. He is as nice as he seems.  When you talk with him,  you feel like he’s your best friend. 

Be healthy, stay strong,  live safely

Randy Fuchs

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You have interviewed so many cool people on your podcast – who would ever guess that two of the most fascinating would be Paul Anka and Donny Osmond? Donny seemed a little tough to crack open, and he wouldn’t go all the way, but tons of interesting info was revealed. Lots of inside “showbiz” stuff. Nicely done!

Rich Madow

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Great interview with Donny. 

I would have to guess that you haven’t been the recipient of the amazing birthday ecard he did for American Greetings online, otherwise you would have mentioned it. It’s the best one out there, far and away better than Shaq’s or Dolly’s, which are both really good, don’t get me wrong, but Donny’s production is at another level. https://www.americangreetings.com/

Since I don’t know when your birthday really is, I just sent you the Donny ecard to witness for yourself. Enjoy!

BTW, dunno about you, but I quit having birthdays years ago. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from reminding others of theirs!

Larry Butler

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another good one. You are the Charlie Rose for the music industry. Good Questions

Kyle J. Ferraro

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Killer interview. You are right on – his self-awareness is really rare, and in addition to his other-worldly talent, it’s what has enabled him to keep it alive.  

He’s also genuinely as nice as he seems. In the early ’90s he was in Toronto doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I was President of EMI Music Publishing. Donny was signed to Virgin publishing, which EMI had just acquired. He reached out to invite my family to see the show. We had great seats, he put on an incredible performance, and when it was over we the followed instructions to stay in our seats. When the theater was empty someone came and ushered us  into his dressing room. Donny was incredibly gracious, letting my 7 year old son TJ try on his coat, and entertaining us for about half an hour.  That was nearly 30 years ago and my wife still talks about it.

Donny told you about the Canadian National Exhibition shows where he met Michael Jackson. My first industry job was at Jack Richardson’s Nimbus Nine studio, and his son Cub was at those shows. I vividly recall him the next day saying “nobody will ever believe this but Donny Osmond and his brothers absolutely blew Michael Jackson and his brothers off the stage”. I’ve had great respect for his talent ever since.

Best,

Michael McCarty

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I didn’t think I’d like it.   But if you chose to interview him, there must be something there. Impressive guy and clearly super talented.  Great interview.  Good questions.

Lizzz Kritzer

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I just finished listening to this and was amazed at DO’s business acumen.  His unwillingness to give up was inspiring as hell!  He’s on top, then broke, reinvents himself to please himself artistically.  The fire in his belly still burns!!!!

Tim Pringle

I worked Marie gigs here and there when she was signed to Columbia and I was in college. Donny would sometimes play those gigs with her. I found them both to be polite, profession…just nice people. I don’t care what their public image is, as you said…they are good apples!
 
Jim Lewi

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One of the greatest guys I ever interviewed.

Jonathan Gross

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one of my most favorite ever.  what a life..what a guy!!

Gary W. Mendel

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As you may recall, in Jeff Beck’s video for ‘Ambitious’ directed by Jim Yukich for Epic (1985), various array of singers step-up to audition as the vocalist for Jeff Beck. In a surprise, amongst celebrity cameos, Donny Osmond appears in the audition line-up and has a tongue-in cheek response when asked if he has done anything lately? This was a brilliant clip to bring Jeff Beck to the MTV world and was equally as hip for Donny Osmond at the time. It was a great way for Donny to poke fun at himself and associate with an artist who has street cred like Jeff Beck – setting up his a potential comeback for the child star. (Clip also features guest appearances by Parker Stevenson, Marilyn McCoo, Herve Villechaize, John Butcher Axis, Cheech Marin, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Phil Alvin (Blasters), Willie Tyler & Lester, and Herb Alpert). 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbpQf22c494

Bruce Barrow 

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Quick story about Donny. I was a freelance concert reviewer for the New York Daily News (’88-’93.) He did a show at the Palladium in NYC back in ’89 when “Soldier of Love” was out. I dug him and took that angle for the review. I later heard he called the News and asked for me; he wanted to thank me for the review. In all my time at the newspaper, he was the only performer to do that. I dig Donny.

Matt Auerbach.

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Crazy Horses – one of the great lost classic rock albums of the 1970’s…

Vince Welsh

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Really enjoyed the Donny Osmond podcast in part because I was working in promotion at Capitol during Soldier Of Love. He’s as genuine as he comes across. A pleasure to work with and a really good guy. 

If you end up having dinner or speaking with him again please make a gentle reminder about putting the single version of Soldier on Spotify. 

Thanks Bob.

Frank Murray

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Listened to the Donny podcast. I played in his touring band for 6 yrs, 2001-2007. Its funny about how he mentions that his name is poison, because when I first got the call from Phil Ramone’s assistant (Phil had just produced an album for Donny and got involved with our first tour), it was, ‘I won’t tell you the artists name yet, but can you do a tour for ‘X Dollars’ a week”. I said yes and then had second thoughts when I found out it was Donny, but it turned out to be a really fun gig.  He’s a way better musician than I had imagined…hired stellar musicians, rehearsed our butts off, and the gig was always smokin’. One thing I was surprised about was…. how huge he was/is in the UK. We played theaters and casinos in the states, but arenas in the UK and it really was insanity. At the end of the interview you asked if you were getting the real guy, because he always sounds on. I would say yes you were, that’s him, always up, energetic and looking forward, a true pro. 

FRANK VILARDI

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best podcast interview of year.
@Lefsetz is the best interviewer in podcasts, @donnyosmond
is the truth

@makeamoveUKCAN

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I consider You the finest interviewer around.  

When you had Bode Miller on your podcast, I almost did not listen as I don’t follow skiing at all, last time I was skiing was when I was 17 ( I’m 64 now), but I figure your interviews are always great, loved hearing Bode.  Next was Paul Anka , I know some of his top songs, but 2 hours of him, again excellent interview.

This week with Donny Osmond, I had the same thoughts, I am the same age as Donny but I never listened to his music,  when he was young it was too bubblegum for me, and when he tried to position himself as a adult singer after Michael Jackson’s success with Thriller, I sampled a bit and thought he was trying to hard.  I totally enjoyed the interview, was sorry when it ended after only 130 minutes. 

I found him to be real, friendly and open, of course we all know he is doing interviews for the publicity, I have heard enough to know when the interviewee is going thru the motions.   I will try and seek out some of his later stuff on Apple Music or iff not available on YouTube.  

I love your podcasts and the SiriusXM show.

Tom Melle

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CHRIS KIMSEY:

Dear Bob, the Kimsey podcast was the most entertaining I have ever listened to. BRAVO. Joel

Joel Sercarz

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Hi Bob, the interview with Chris was a total grand slam. He is such a fabulous storyteller and remembers everything! There are so many things about his storied career nobody could really know about until now. I urge everyone to listen and learn. I wanna meet him! 

Danny Melnick
Absolutely Live Entertainment

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One of your best interviews/interviewees ever, which must become a book/author/+.  
Talk about two keen minds/memories for this beautifully crafted composition beautifully played!  We all thank you both. 
Please share our appreciation with Chris Kimsey

Don Brannon

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Thoroughly enjoyed your podcast with Chris Kimsey, Bob. What a humble, forthright guy. You can see why everyone he’s worked with has stayed friends with him. Once again, you were a great facilitator in drawing him out. Thank you

Mark Doyle

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This was great!  Thanks for pushing for some technical details!  Love that stuff!

Anthony Goddess

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A great interview of a guy behind the scenes who played  an integral part of so many recordings. And a nice guy as well! It’s interesting that a lot of people in the music industry didn’t make a lot of money or got cut out of the revenue stream.

Ron Maiorino

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To my #1 podcast of 2021, The Bob Lefsetz Podcast: thank you for keeping me company on @Spotify all year long! #SpotifyWrapped

Anthony J. Resta

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industry…lastest with Chris Kimsey excellent

Blair Morgan

Good Morning Judge

Spotify playlist: https://spoti.fi/3EaXgb3

“He didn’t do it, he wasn’t there
He didn’t want it, he wouldn’t dare”

I don’t know why these words started going through my head twenty minutes ago but there they were, unable to be excised. And the more they played in my brain the happier I was. I was entranced by the music, in my own private bubble, if not Idaho. I was so happy I didn’t want to be free.

10cc. At this point known for “I’m Not in Love” and “The Things We Do for Love,” if they’re known at all. Scratch that, if they’re REMEMBERED at all. The latter hit came out in 1977, and that’s 44 years ago. And the opening cut on that album, entitled “Deceptive Bends,” was “Good Morning Judge.”

The track is jaunty. But would it close someone who never heard it before? “The Things We Do for Love” is a one listen smash, perfect, a hit in any era. And then there’s the suite that ends the album, “Feel the Benefit,” an eleven and a half minute opus that reminds me of the Sweet’s “Love is Like Oxygen,” from their 1977 LP “Level Headed,” the only one I ever bought, even though they’re not really similar tracks, but they’re both extended, majestic.

You didn’t quite get this majesty in the original iteration of 10cc, which had too much talent to maintain. Ultimately Kevin Godley and Lol Creme went on to make a triple album boxed set with their musical invention the Gizmo and when that failed they became legendary video directors, pushing the envelope in the original explosion of MTV. But Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart soldiered on under the old moniker.

But those initial LPs, especially the eponymous first one, whew! Now that’s a masterpiece of not only construction and production, writing and playing, but HUMOR! Which is completely absent in today’s music sphere, then again it was just a small part of the enterprise back when, but the band’s “Rubber Bullets” ran up the chart in the U.K., and meant nothing over here.

“Rubber Bullets” is the best Beach Boys song Brian Wilson never wrote. Well, maybe we need to include “Back in the U.S.S.R.” in the equation too, but…”Rubber Bullets exploded out of the speakers, you had to run to catch up with it. As for the other songs on the LP, they were tongue-in-cheek and in the style of classics and the whole album was infectious, one of my favorites, but it was on Mercury, which was poison, and was far from meat and potatoes, which was dominating FM rock in the United States, so it stiffed over here.

The second LP had a radio track, “The Wall Street Shuffle,” and then the third, which I did not think was as good as the first two, had the gigantic hit, “I’m Not in Love.”

The fourth LP sounded much more like the first two, especially the second, and it did nothing in the U.S. marketplace, despite containing “Art for Art’s Sake” and “I’m Mandy Fly Me,” and then the band splintered.

Now the truth is I actually prefer the second Gouldman/Stewart album, “Bloody Tourists,” over “Deceptive Bends.” “Dreadlock Holiday” was a hit seemingly everywhere but the States, but it’s actually the slower, dreamier numbers that ring my bell, like “Old Mister Time.”

Anyway, I was thrilled one of my favorite bands had another hit so I rushed out and bought “Deceptive Bends,” which I would have bought anyway, and thus I know “Good Morning Judge” by heart. Just like seemingly everybody in the U.K. and northern Europe, where it was a successful single, which even had a video!

https://bit.ly/3rnzzIU

I just learned that, doing some research on credits. And I watched it, wary of this early video, pre-MTV, when they were made as ads for Europe where state radio was hard to crack. But when I watched it…it was magical! That sense of humor. Never forget, conception supersedes production every day of the week. And the video just reinforced what I knew from revisiting the track, these guys could WAIL!

“Well good morning judge how are you today?
I’m in trouble please put me away”

There’s a brash guitar opening, a lick and a slash, this cut hits the track running, it needs no build, it’s already built.

But then leaning towards sotto voce:

“I couldn’t stop it so I let it be”

Then comes the part that is stuck in my head:

“He didn’t do it, he wasn’t there
He didn’t want it, he wouldn’t dare
I didn’t do it, I wasn’t there,
I didn’t want it, I wouldn’t dare”

And then a little over ninety seconds in the cut starts to explode, there’s a guitar flourish and then a dancing lead which ultimately gets syncopated akin to an Allman Brothers cut and then both guitars are playing and there’s more of the hooky riff, and then it’s back to the story:

“Alcatraz is like a home sweet home
I’m so wanted and I’m never alone
San Quentin is the place to be”

There’s that humor, the ranking of prisons, never mind the HAPPINESS!

“I’m so happy I don’t wanna be free
So happy I don’t wanna be free”

That’s rock and roll, it takes you prisoner, you can’t shake it, you can think you’re burned out, done, but then it creeps back in. And it’s a big tent, the guitar is a key element, but there are so many styles, there’s a whole world to explore and relish. And the thing is you believe you’re the only fan and then you go to the show and find all these people who feel exactly like you, who were in their bedrooms alone, spinning the records, who are now at the gig to bond with the sound. They don’t need to talk, they don’t shoot selfies, they may even close their eyes as the music washes over them, a live version of what they know so well.

And I went to see 10cc at the Santa Monica Civic and…

Now they no longer have shows there.

And rock and roll no longer dominates the chart.

And chances are the obscure album you’re into has few other fans, there’s just so much product.

And everybody’s complaining they can’t make any money while they’re grubbing for it.

And the audience itself believes it’s entitled to be stars, as rich and well known as those on stage.

And the work is secondary to money and fame.

But if you were there, it was different. And it’s not coming back. But the tunes, the magic remains. I’m so happy I don’t wanna be free!

Adele In Vegas

It’s always the stars that change the paradigm.

Credit John Meglen with starting the Vegas residency trend, with Celine Dion. And over the years more and more acts have played there for extended periods. And now we’ve got Adele.

The traveling is hell. Isn’t that what Dan Fogelberg said? The traveling kills you. The best part is the hour or so you’re on stage, the rest of the time…you’re unable to sleep, hanging with the same people every damn day and just trying to hang on. As for the rock star shenanigans, those are history now that everybody has a smartphone with a camera, never mind the #MeToo movement.

But let’s not forget Garth Brooks. Who plays until demand is exhausted. At low prices. This is the best way to kill scalpers ever invented. Why do more people not do this?

Because they want the money, they’d rather not work that hard, a lot of the old acts are pissed they’ve got to go on the road to earn their keep now that recording income is down.

But having the audience come to you?

It’s no longer the 1960s. Everybody’s been on a plane, flight is no longer classy, as evidenced by the air rage incidents of the last eighteen months.

And if you want to go to Vegas, not only are there numerous direct flights, but there are a zillion hotel rooms, and not all of them expensive, and Vegas needs to fill them. It’s a win win win. For the acts, the audience and the hotels.

There’s nothing cool about it, but it turns out cool is out of style. Do you want to go to Bonnaroo or JazzFest, do you want to camp in the mud or retire every night to your hotel room? Which is why the most successful new festivals are based in cities, not only are there a ton of customers in the surrounding area, you don’t have to camp and live together with everybody else. People don’t want to get together and live together, that faded with the sixties too.

As for Vegas… The truth is if acts are willing to commit to dates, tickets become available. Much of the mania of on sale dates is overblown. The flames of the hysteria are fanned by the absence of tickets, many having gone to scalpers, prices are driven up beyond demand. This is the Garth model. You could always get tickets for Celine. The showroom might be full at the end but you didn’t have to buy your tickets a year in advance to make sure you could see the show.

It’s business, it’s mature. You don’t go backwards. Concerts were nascent fifty and sixty years ago. There weren’t that many rooms, they weren’t all for music and sound was a challenge. Those problems have been fixed. In addition, with the roll-up in the nineties, the business has become professionalized. You’re not worried about Live Nation stiffing you, you’re willing to be paid by check instead of cash. So in what other ways can the business evolve beyond the old slog from town to town?

Credit country music, they figured it out years ago, with Branson. I’m not saying we need a whole new city, costs are too high and Vegas has the infrastructure. You’ve just got to train the public to go to Vegas to see their favorite acts.

And it’s well known that superstars don’t travel from city to city anyway, they park their butts in one metropolis and jet out to local gigs and then relocate to another hub. Maybe there can be residencies in these other hubs. You can play Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Everybody is close enough to one of these cities. Forget the people who bitch, the truth is fans are willing to pay umpteen bucks to see their favorites, money is not the issue, why shouldn’t the burden be shouldered by the fans instead of the acts?

We haven’t had a revolution in touring in decades. Recorded music was disrupted, but not touring. But touring is ripe. The model can be changed to the benefit of everyone. Adele is going to do a better show if she’s not hassled with all that travel.

As for the coronavirus, did you read about Phish’s Halloween shows in Vegas?

“COVID from Vegas.’ Phish concerts leave a long trail of infections, fans say – Those who attended the Vermont-based band’s Las Vegas concerts over Halloween weekend say few wore masks and air was stagnant”: https://bit.ly/3EaixBv

Bring everybody to one location and they bring everything back all around the country.

Food for thought.