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October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat!


October 30, 2014

"BETWEEN TWO FERNS" WITH ZACH GALAFALAANIAKDLIADAD AND BRAD PITT MAKES ME LAUGH RIGHT OUT LOUD -- BRAD IS (HOT) PRICELESS...



http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/83609486f9/between-two-ferns-with-zach-galifianakis-brad-pitt

AMY GRANT RELEASES REMIX OF CLASSIC HIT "EVERY HEARTBEAT" AS FOLLOW-UP TO THE MEGA-HIT REMIX OF 'BABY BABY' WHICH WENT TO #3 ON THE BILLBOARD DANCE CLUB CHARTS EARLIER THIS YEAR


Amy Grant Premieres “Every Heartbeat (Amy Grant Featuring Moto Blanco)”
 
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New Single Taken From the Remix Album, “IN MOTION: THE REMIXES” OUT NOW
 
Amy Grant - Every Heartbeat (Radio Edit/Audio) ft. Moto Blanco
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Six-time GRAMMY® Award winner Amy Grant has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, with numerous singles landing on Top 40 charts, and now debuting the new single “Every Heartbeat (Amy Grant Featuring Moto Blanco)”  taken from her remix album In Motion: The Remixesavailable now.  The album features a collection of Amy's biggest songs, remixed by well known remix engineers and DJs. With hits like “Baby Baby,” “Every Heartbeat,” and “That’s What Love Is For,” Amy's first career remix album brings a new sound to the songs that have defined her three-decade career.
 
 
Preview Amy Grant Ft. Moto Blanco - Every Heartbeat Club Mix and Dub HERE
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About Amy Grant
Amy Grant's career spans more than 30 years and stretches from her roots in gospel into becoming an iconic pop star, songwriter, television personality and philanthropist. With three multi-platinum albums, six platinum albums and four gold albums, her total career album sales have exceeded 30 million. Grant’s chart success has been consistent throughout her career with six No. 1 hits, ten Top 40 pop singles, seventeen Top 40 Adult Contemporary tracks and multiple Contemporary Christian chart-toppers. In addition to her six GRAMMY® Awards, Grant has earned 26 Dove Awards (including four Artist of the Year Awards) and has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Conventional wisdom has it that Grant put Contemporary Christian Music on the map becoming the first Contemporary Christian artist to have a platinum record, the first to hit No. 1 on the Pop charts, and the first to perform at the GRAMMY® Awards. With that, her legacy as one of the most influential artists of the past couple of decades is assured. Her first studio album in more than a decade, 
How Mercy Looks >From Here, released May 14, 2013 and debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Her first career remix album In Motion: The Remixes is available now.
 
 
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Out Now
 
Get Connected with Amy Grant

October 25, 2014

45 Things I've Learned about Life After Living Life 45 Years

45 Things I’ve Learned about Life After Living 45 Years by
Ron W Roecker
(In no particular order)

1)    If it feels weird it is weird.
2)    The key to success in life is how you handle it.
3)    When you are feeling grateful, you can’t feel anything but.
4)    You can choose one of 2 ways to approach arguments:  to win or to create peace/harmony.
5)    Nothing changes if nothing changes
6)    Life is too important to be taken seriously
7)    Getting bullied really sucks
8)    One day I had no gray and then next day I was my father.
9)    So irritating but adults were right on just about EVERYTHING!
10)     Life doesn’t get easier.
11)    I absolutely hate absolutes.
12)    Money is important.
13)    Music is even more important.
14)    I like witty way better than funny.
15)    Passive aggressive people should be punched…by someone else.
16)    Bitching about how dramatic everything in your life is while giddiness overcomes you probably could stand a little looksy…
17)    No one thinks about us as much as we think they think about us.
18)    Loyalty has been an evolving definition.  Friendship has not.
19)    Parents actually are people.  (I know…so weird…)
20)    Therapy is a game changer.
21)    Vitamin D.
22)     Humor makes everything better. EVERYTHING.
23)    There are truly evil people in this world.
24)    Angels come in all forms
25)    Every time I see someone crying because someone they loved died, I cry, even if I don't know either one.
26)    We should send each other more flowers and cards.
27)    When I owe people money, no one forgets but when people owe me money, no one remembers.
28)    Nothing is a done deal.
29)    Getting thanked can never be the motivation for being nice.
30)    Always say hello and thank you to as many people you can each day.
31)    If you have it, give money to anyone who needs it.
32)    If you loan money to friends just consider it a write off from the beginning.
33)    Understand your body.
34)    I can decide whether I am going to be a bitch or not.
35)    No one is as happy or together as their Facebook suggests.
36)    Candy Crush invites should be illegal.
37)    I love everything about going to the movies.
38)    I want to walk down a street and see a mural that I painted…
39)    It’s never too late to live up to your potential.
40)    Phrases that are…not so much with…”because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” “we don’t want to rock the boat,” “you are emotional,” “I’m sorry you’re upset (the person saying it did the thing that made you upset),” “I know I said I would but I didn’t…” (Bonus:  “Can I ask you a question?”)
41)    I miss my grandma and my dad every day.
42)    I am such a dog person…cats are BITCHES!
43)    Family is so important even when they make you NUTS.
44)     Being 45, single, and gay in Los Angeles…I’m like the Crypt Keeper
45)     I wouldn’t want to be 23 or 33 again if you paid me (36…maybe!)

October 19, 2014

WARNING ALL HOMOSEXUAL MEN! DO NOT OPERATE HEAVY MACHINERY WHILE READING THIS POST ...WE ARE ABOUT TO ENTER GAYPOPTOPIA...


Tracklisting ‘It’s The Girls’
  1. Be My Baby (originally by The Ronettes)
  2. One Fine Day (originally by The Chiffons)
  3. Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (originally by The Andrews Sisters)
  4. Baby It’s You (originally by The Shirelles)
  5. Tell Him (originally by The Exciters)
  6. He’s Sure The Boy I Love (duet with Darlene Love) (originally by The Crystals)
  7. Mr. Sandman (originally by The Chordettes)
  8. Come and Get These Memories (originally by Martha and the Vandellas)
  9. Too Many Fish in the Sea (originally by The Marvelettes)
  10. Teach Me Tonight (originally by The DeCastro Sisters)
  11. Waterfalls (originally by TLC)
  12. You Can’t Hurry Love (originally by The Supremes)
  13. Give Him A Great Big Kiss (originally by The Shangri-Las)
  14. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (originally by The Shirelles)
  15. It’s the Girl (originally by The Boswell Sisters)
Releasing the album AND then we can come up and see her some time as she channels the Divine Miss Mae West for HBO!!


 A bondage photo shoot with Madge means only ONE THING:  
a duet on the Material Girl's upcoming album!!OMG!!!
WHAT'S NEXT?  BABS, LIZA AND CHER COVERING WILSON PHILLIPS' "HOLD ON"?!!

September 11, 2014

COMING SOON: TRACK BY TRACK REVIEW OF MAROON 5'S LATEST "V" -- HINT: It's Very Close to a Perfect Pop Album...very close...

September 9, 2014

Jimmy Fallon with YouTube (and now Billboard) Superstar Meghan Trainor and her infectious "All about the Bass" on Toy Instruments with the Roots -- AWESOME!!



And I am becoming a HUGE fan of Meghan's as she has an awesome personality and attitude -- and maybe even a bunch of talent...love it....her and Jimmy...

TICKETS NOW ON SALE: "AN EVENING WITH AWARD-WINNING TRUMPETER DAVID LONGORIA AND AWARD-WINNING FLAUTIST WOUTER KELLERMAN" IN AN INTIMATE CONCERT AT GRAMMY MUSEUM OCT 1

Wouter Kellerman's latest CD "Winds of Samsara" with Indian composer/artist Ricky Kej debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard New Age Album Chart, iTunes New Age Chart, Billboard Australia World Album Chart, and the Global ZMR Album Chart.  In its 7th week, "Winds of Samsara" is #5 on the U.S. Billboard New Age Album Chart. For more information, www.windsofsamsara.com.

September 5, 2014

THE NIGHT I PISSED OFF JOAN RIVERS AND THE LESSON THAT SHE TAUGHT ME by Ron Roecker

(Photo from GRAMMY.com)

It was the 47th GRAMMY Awards and we were just about ready to officially open the red carpet. I glanced over at the fan bleachers and several of them were donning paper masks on a stick of some celebrity. By the time I got to the bleachers, there were 150 GRAMMY Foundation kids and their parents donning Joan Rivers masks.  I promptly let the producers of E!'s red carpet special know they had 14 seconds to kill the masks or watch the coverage from home.  Within 5 minutes, the masks had been collected and I was thanking the E! producer for her understanding. Suddenly, from the E! producer's walkie talkie comes this voice of the devil (who sounded exactly like Joan Rivers):  "WHERE THE F*** IS RON ROECKER, GD, HIM?!" As everyone turned to look at me and I turned to look for that poor bastard Ron whatever, the voice comes back and now it sounds like it's in stereo: "Never Mind, I've almost got 'em!"  Who? Where? WTF?  Before I knew it, this tiny gorgeous blonde woman grabbed me by the lapels and manhandled me like fresh meat in prison. 

"I printed up 500 GD Joan Rivers masks that don't really look like me for some reason for a really great bit and you nix them 10 minutes before we go on the air?  Come on, Ron Roecker, wanna hear the bit?"

I tell her that I'm sure it's hilarious, that she was right about the masks not looking quite right but there were a ton of other shows on which she could try out the bit.  My answer didn't impress her and she aggressively kept coming at me with how ridiculous it was blah, blah, blah, producers were trying to get her to back-off a bit while mouthing "We're so sorry...you know, it's JOAN!" 

Things were actually getting pretty heated up and the feisty broad was all up in my grill.  I finally said, "you know why I am killing the masks, Ms. Rivers?" (her response: "Because you just like to kill fun?" touche)...I said (and I wish I was clever enough to realize what I was saying but this was just no self edit button...),

"Do you have any idea how tight they would have to pull that mask for it to actually look like you?"  WTF...who said that??  I thought, this is where Joan Rivers takes me out...and it was silent...and she looked up at me and she said, "What did you just say, Ron-Roecker??" And as I started to sweat and apologize,  Ms. Rivers says, "No, what did you say, word for word because that's probably the funniest f-ing joke about my plastic surgery that I've never told...now, I'm a Jew so how much for the joke, Ron-Roecker?!"

Needless to say, no money exchanged hands ;) -- but the priceless lesson she taught me was the value and power of humor -- it can stop the spiral, catch us off guard, make us think, force us to look at things differently...humor also puts us on an even playing field.  To someone who was in a league of her own, you were a trailblazer and you were hilarious and you were classy and you were kind, despite what anyone thinks:)  Thank you for that moment which has helped me navigate life more than a couple of times.  God Bless you, Joan Rivers.

August 17, 2014

Ron Roecker's Track-by-Track Review of Amy Grant's "In Motion: the Remixes" Out Tuesday, August 19 Might Surprise You


If you were even a little bit alive in the early 1990s, either you had a copy of Amy Grant’s mega pop masterpiece “Heart in Motion” on cassette tape or three of your friends did!  The album was the equivalent of a Katy Perry album today – pure pop perfection!  It sold more than 5 million copies and spawned 5 hit singles: “That’s What Love is For,” “ Every Heartbeat,” “Good for Me,” “I Will Remember You” and her biggest hit to date “Baby, Baby.”

In 1991, if you asked me what the chances were of Amy releasing a dance remix version of “Baby, Baby” in 2014 that would hit #8 on the Billboard Dance Club chart (and climbing), I would have said, “not a snowball’s chance in, well, heck.”  (BTW, “Baby, Baby” is indeed at #8 on the Club Charts at publishing time of this review and has a solid chance of moving into the top 5 this coming week, if not hitting top 3 (23 years after it was originally released!))

SKEPTICAL
I digress… Yes, I am a huge fan of Amy Grant as an artist and as a human being.  However, I am a huge fan of pop remixes and pop remix producers (I probably have 200 different Madonna remixes alone) as well, so I’m always skeptical when an artist decides to do a remix project when he/she hasn’t had much experience with creating club remixes and with the club culture (such as Amy Grant).

About a month ago, I was sent a super secret stream to preview the entire album.  Cut to the chase…skeptics are made to be proven wrong as I haven’t taken it out of heavy rotation in my car, home, office, gym (if I went to the gym), etc.! 

GRANT DID HER RESEARCH
The GRAMMY-winning, multi-platinum producers who participated on the album have created mega, multiplatinum remixes for the likes of Gaga, Madonna, Adele, Britney, Beyonce, Justin, Rihanna, Whitney and Katy.  The producers include Tony Moran, Warren Rigg, Dave Aude, Chris Cox, Ralphi Rosario, Moto Blanco, 7th Heaven, Hex Hector, Guy Scheiman, and Mark Picchiotti.  These are some of the biggest players in EDM and they’re remixing songs by one of my favorite artists of all time Amy Grant?!  The only thing that could be more spectacular than that would be, say, a gaggle of shirtless hunks riding majestic stallions down the middle of a cartoon koi pond baring gifts of nachos and diet coke to yours truly!  HEAVEN.

WHAT GOT REMIXED?
And back to Amy…Kudos to her for not going what may have been the easier route of releasing an album of only commercial hits – the producers dug deep into her vast catalog of songs, finding and remixing tracks from a variety of career stages and albums (but not touching her most recent collection “How Mercy Looks from Here”), including “”Heart in Motion” (Baby, Baby; Every Heartbeat, That’s What Love is For, You’re Not Alone), “Simple Things” (Out in the Open), “Somewhere Down the Road” (Better Than a Hallelujah), “The Collection” (Stay For A While), Unguarded (Find a Way) and “Lead Me On” (Say Once More).   

KEY TO SUCCESS
The thing that is quite evident is that the producers who participated have a great respect for Amy Grant as a musician, songwriter and pioneer and her respect for them is equal to that (notice she credits each song as “featuring (insert producer’s name)” as opposed to simply listing them as the remix producer in the liner notes).

Amy Grant’s “In Motion: the Remixes”
Various Producers
Available August 19, 2014
Track-by-Track Review
By Ron Roecker
August 17, 2014

Track 1: “That’s What Love is For” (featuring Chris Cox who has created huge remixes for Madonna, Celine, Mariah, Whitney, Britney, Deborah Cox)                                                               

If you want to know what this remix project is all about and whether or not Amy and her collaborators were serious, get the album, turn up the volume and push play as “That’s What Love is For” starts off the entire dance party.  As Deborah Cox once told me, you can’t have a great remix without a great original song.  I think Deborah would say “That’s What Love is For” is one of those goodies!  A beautiful song co-written by Amy, it’s her biggest ballad so far, and let me tell you…this is one of the best remixes on the entire album – it will take you gladly or kicking and screaming to the dance floor and you’ll still be dancing even when it’s over – while you congratulate yourself for still knowing all the words.  The credit goes equally to Grant’s song writing power and producer Chris Cox who approaches every remix as a musician and not a producer first.  He’s incredibly talented and musical and turned this ballad into a bona fide club thumper that has all the makings of a massive hit! Since Amy has released both “Baby Baby” and “That's…Love” prior to the album release I am assuming this is going to be the 2nd single. 

Although it’s an incredibly solid choice, I would have picked a different one for 2nd single (read on to find out which!)…

Track 2:  “Stay For A While” (feat Tony Moran and Warren Rigg (these legends have worked with Madonna, Mariah, Celine, Kylie, Ricky Martin, Celine…you name it.)

This track was one of the new singles included on Amy’s first Greatest Hits project “The Collection” when it was released in 1986.  It became a big hit – again, pop perfection here.  Moran and Rigg have produced some of my favorite remixes of all time so I had really high hopes for this track.  The brief acapella intro and the subsequent beats that almost lift you out of your chair are a sure sign that this is going to be a great track all on its own.  It doesn’t disappoint!  Try listening to it and NOT belting out the chorus…all day!

Track 3: “You’re Not Alone” (feat Guy Scheimen who has worked with Rihanna, Lady Gaga, JLo and has single handedly become the fave DJ of gays from club-to-club and coast-to-coast)

THIS IS THE TRACK I WOULD HAVE PICKED FOR THE 2ND SINGLE WITHOUT A DOUBT. The EDM crowd will eat this remix UP thanks to its “I’ve got your back” theme and production that sort of harkens back to the jumping, playful beats of “The Popcorn Song” from the mid-80s.  With Scheimen’s skyrocketing career, this will be of interest to club DJs without a doubt.   Amy ate some Lay’s potato chips before she recorded this, as that’s how she gets that extra raspy edge to her voice when she wants it.  Combine that with very relevant and much-needed affirmation that “you’re never alone” which will resonate like crazy with teens and club goers, and then top it all off with a production that’s probably a little harder and edgier than any of the other tracks and you have a remix that is Madonna-worthy.  Yes, I did.  I just said a new Amy Grant remix is Madonna-worthy. (Oh my Cher, can you imagine if Amy and Madge did a duet???!!  Texting Amy now…)

Track 4: “Every Heartbeat” (feat Moto Blanco who have remixed Adele, Lady Gaga, Janet, Jlo, Cee-Lo, and more) 

If you love the original version of this song (it was the 2nd biggest hit off of “Heart in Motion”), you are going to be absolutely giddy with this dance remix by the British duo.  The remix takes the original and wraps it in a more modern beat while keeping the playfulness in tact and the chorus bubbly -- without ever becoming too cutesy. 
If anyone who hears this doesn’t automatically start singing and dancing all over themselves then those poor souls are dead inside.  ‘Nuff said.

Track 5: “Better than a Hallelujah” (feat Mark Picchiotti who has worked with The Killers, Kylie Minogue and Beyonce to name a few, and has made his mark as a house music and remix producer of Gospel). 

He was very ambitious when he set out to do what he did with this very brooding song.  And he started by adding an entire gospel choir all throughout the song. 

I thought this was a risky choice at first and when I heard what the producer tried to do with it, I had to give him props.  If you know the song (and especially the video), it’s not a song that makes you wanna get up and twerk…it’s very heavy.  But the remix takes us to church and makes it an uplifting, full-on anthem. This is a single that I would have loved Amy to record new vocals on, as her vocals from the heartbreaking original don’t match the through-the-rafters intensity of the new remix.  Laying down new vocals that were really feeling the spirit would have made this the most powerful track on the album.  However, it’s an inventive approach and reworking of one of Amy’s newest classics.  I dare you not to move or sing or raise your arms, children…’cause Amy and Mark are takin’ us to CHURCH with this one.

Track 6: “Find a Way”
And then we come to “Find a Way” – one of Amy’s very first crossover songs that is a fan favorite. It’s also one of my old personal faves and when I saw that Ralphi Rosario (yes, another one of my fave DJs/Remixers) was on the job, I couldn’t wait to be blown away by the new version.   However, it’s my least favorite remix on the album and that lies squarely on the shoulders of Rosario who phoned in his part at best.  Thinly layered, repetitive and uninteresting – he wastes a sing-along chorus that begs to have a huge build up and then fireworks shooting out of it’s end.  I mean, all I keep hearing in my head is a truly inspired dub step treatment of the song and VOILA…you have a “Find a Way” masterpiece.  Unfortunately, didn’t happen on this one..

Track 7: “Baby, Baby” (featuring Dave Aude who has worked with everyone who’s popular today!)

It’s a 23-year-old song that was remixed by one of the hottest DJs in the world and it’s #8 on the current Billboard Dance Club Chart.  So do the math if this is a good one or not!

Track 8: “Say Once More” (feat Hex Hector who has worked with Madonna, Mariah, Celine, Britney, Justin, Pink and more)

A haunting, beautiful love song off Amy’s contemporary Christian masterpiece “Lead Me On” (it is considered one of – if not THE -- Best Contemporary Christian albums of all time).  This is reworked into a modern, beautiful and lyrical ode to unconditional love.  Like Dave Aude and Chris Cox, Hector is a musician who is able to create a new dance landscape for his remixes while holding on to the original’s essence.  This is another catalog track that wasn’t a commercial hit (it was never released as a single) but because of the caliber of producer and the quality of the song, Amy and Hex were able to make a gorgeous new anthem of unconditional love that is as modern as it is touching.

Track 9: “Out in the Open” (remixed by one of today’s hottest producing teams 7th Heaven who has remixed for Demi Lavato, Britney, Katy, OneRepublic, Pink, Lady Gaga, and many others)

This little known song from her album “Simple Things” from the early ‘00s, which should have gotten more attention than it did, isn’t one that any die-hard would have on his/her radar necessarily.  But here it is…It’s my favorite track on the entire album – why? All the creative juices of the various parties involved collide and mesh so well that it truly creates a new masterpiece of a song.  It’s a beautiful, timely song tonally, lyrically, thematically and musically. 

It starts off dramatically with an electronic boom as if it were a drum roll and in comes that sweet alto voice almost acapella:

“They were the sweetest words I’d ever heard
My heart could barely take it in
Like water offered to the lips of a tired and thirsty man
‘cause it’s a tangled web I’ve woven
I don't’ know all the reasons…
But I’m standing here and spinning ‘round
in the fields of freedom
and I’m still alive and reaching out
and I can feel the healing”

The remix production pays homage to the slow-burn-starts-and-big-thumping-finishes of a Donna Summer hit from the 1970s.  It’s incredibly powerful, and I’m sure why Amy put this as the last official track on the album. It’s the “big finish” that truly is a big finish because it’s not gratuitous and it has a depth that is rarely found – and badly needed -- in most dance tracks today.  Well done with this underdog of a brilliant song that became the leader of the remix pack for me. 

Track 10: Bonus “Stay for A While”
Track 11: Bonus Megamix

So??
In Motion: the Remixes was a risky project for Amy Grant.  If it sounded or felt like she was merely trying to capitalize on the popularity of EDM, it would have prevented any new fans from embracing her and it would have alienated a chunk of her otherwise very loyal fan base. 

Luckily for us, Amy Grant – although it might come as a surprise to those who don’t know a lot about her – is a risk-taker.  She always has been, and I do believe it isn’t in her nature to change now.

If none of these songs had ever been recorded or released prior to this album, the collection of the remixed versions in and of itself would be an amazing, relevant, thought-provoking, dance-til-you-hurt effort.  This is the album that will bridge new fans with the old because it celebrates and embraces EDM and its influencers and it celebrates and spotlights the essence of one of the most prolific songwriters of our time. 

In Motion: the Remixes is a winner for artist and fans alike because it starts with a genuine, mutual respect that the producers and Amy have for each other.  Then the producers were able to start at a higher level because of the quality of the songs which upped everyone’s game.  And when I asked Amy why she wasn’t doing press around the album (she begged her manager for the summer off after touring for 2 solid years), she simply said…thanks to these talented musicians and DJs, I want the music to just speak for itself.  (I think she’s ready for a Madonna duet…definitely!) 

What’s next?
With covers in her arsenal which shout “remix me ASAP” such as Big Yellow Taxi, The Things We Do for Love, and It’s Too Late, hits such as I Will Remember You, Lead Me On, House of Love, Lucky One, Next Time I Fall, and catalog tracks such as The Power, Oh How the Years Go By, Children of the World, What About the Love, Curious Thing, Nobody’s Home and more, I can’t imagine “In Motion 2: the Remixes” isn’t already in the works!

Amy Grant’s “In Motion: the Remixes” is available on iTunes Tuesday, August 19.