Bill Mankin first fell in love with music listening to late 50s radio in a small suburban town north of Chicago. That love blossomed and then exploded in Atlanta in the 1960s, and then got interesting: from 1968-1973 Bill attended five rock festivals in Georgia and Florida, and worked on innumerable rock concert stage and security crews, in promotions, as a stage manager, and on concert tours as an equipment roadie, truck driver, and sound technician in charge of stage audio. Via the great good fortune of world travel as an international environmental activist, Bill’s musical tastes have significantly broadened over the years, and he is just as likely to fall in love with a new artist from Mali as he is to wax nostalgic over an old psychedelic San Francisco favorite. In 1980, Bill won a Bronze Award from the Houston International Film Festival for his screenplay about dreams, desperation and death in the world of rock’n’roll. He currently lives in Washington, DC, where he occasionally recalls a favorite Leonard Cohen quote from Chelsea Hotel No. 2: "We are ugly, but we have the music."
Today marks the 40th anniversary of my singing debut with British rock band Mott the Hoople. I remember it being pretty exciting at the time, but others may have had a different reaction.
I had been hired by a concert sound company, Maryland Sound Industries of Baltimore, to be one of the two crew members on a month-long US tour. I was to handle miking and monitors on the stage; load, unload and drive the truck; and share general setup duties, while the other…Continue
Posted on August 19, 2013 at 8:00am — 2 Comments
To my ears, the best music transports me to another place or time, another world, or another universe. That’s certainly what Neko Case did for me with her 2006 album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood – my first introduction to her world. As the release date (9/3) for her new album draws nigh, my memories of hearing that album come flooding back.
What follows is what I wrote down in a rush after listening to Fox Confessor for the first time. It has sat…Continue
Posted on August 7, 2013 at 9:30am — 2 Comments
The dawning age of America’s great rock festivals was legendary both for its music and its massive crowds. But a different kind of legacy could be its greatest.
When the Rolling Stones took to the stage one windy November night in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1969, it’s doubtful their audience had any thoughts of politics or cultural change. We were just a crowd at a rock festival who had endured a downpour the previous day and now braved the bone-chilling cold front that had…Continue
Posted on June 2, 2013 at 9:30pm — 2 Comments