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September 17, 2004. That was the very last day that I worked for the late Musicland Group in their Sam Goody division. It was not a "small step," but a "giant leap" into the unknown, the second major risk I'd taken in the early 2000s - the type of dice roll you only take when you can, and for me, a chance I was only able to take thanks to the support of my wife - the same girl that encouraged me to take another drastic measure just a few years prior. The bottom of my "voluntary resignation" form read like this...

Published in James' Journal

Around 30 years ago, my parents took my sister and I on a road trip to Washington, D.C. Along the way, we stopped at several locations in Pennsylvania, making memories that have lasted a lifetime. With our girls hitting two and five this year, my wife and I decided it was time for our first family vacation - and as such, it was to be a road trip. We plotted several potential courses, with the Philadelphia area set to be the focal point and ultimate destination for a couple of reasons. First off, we were going to finally take Sprout up on a long-standing offer to stop by the Comcast Center and see Chica at the Sunshine Barn during a visit to the set of THE SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW. Second, we wanted to head for Langhorne to visit SESAME PLACE. During our planning, we attempted to pack in as much as possible, with potential stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, West Virginia and Cincinnati on the chart. Instead, we strategically plotted our trip to be centralized in PA - visiting some iconic locations in Philly (but scrapping the Sprout visit), our big trip to SESAME PLACE, a visit to THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE in Easton, HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD in Hershey, and a swing back through Ohio to visit my friends at SMUCKER'S on our way back to Northern Illinois.

Published in James' Journal

It was probably around 11:30pm on the night of January 27, 1994. There I was, a seventeen-year-old headbanging television host, standing in the midst of unexpected destruction - the aftermath of a concert which should've never taken place in this particular venue, The Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa. Whoever decided that it was a good idea to hold a rock show featuring WHITE ZOMBIE, PRONG and THE OBSESSED in a seated, classical theater with no standing room was undoubtedly in deep trouble - and I was right there in the middle of it - looking up from the ground floor as a faint cloud of dust could be seen still rising into the lights from above. To one side there were security guards and theater staff, bewildered by what had happened. On the other, a group of Police Officers equally puzzled. Directly next to me and a friend were members of the evening's headline act, WHITE ZOMBIE. But Rob wasn't there.

Published in James' Journal

Originally Posted July 14, 2014 - Updated October 9, 2015

There've been several running themes that I've revisited on occasion here on THE ROCK FATHER over the past few years, and one of the biggest is the importance of imaginative play. Especially right now, in the summer months - when so many would just surrender the little ones to a tablet or smartphone - it's important to get the kids outside and let their imaginations run wild. Playing dress-up is a classic tradition that works indoors and out no matter what the season, but when the weather is good, we need to take advantage of it. Actually, I posted about this very subject exactly one year ago, and now that Little Finn is mobile and can join big sister Addie in the action, we've been revisiting a favorite locale... but under a new theme. Two little girls... two young sisters... completely enamored with Walt Disney Animation Studios' FROZEN. I present to you, Anna and Elsa: Arendelle In Summer, featuring Adalyn as Elsa, and Finley in her new Deluxe Anna costume, graciously provided by my friends at BuyCostumes.com.

#WWEDadsNovember 7, 1985. I was just two weeks past my ninth birthday when my Dad and I hopped in the car and headed north to the Rosemont Horizon for THE WRESTLING CLASSIC, a WWF pay-per-view event for the newly-launched WRESTLEVISION service. It was there that I witnessed some of the true "legends of wrestling" live and in-person... and I can still vividly recall those larger-than-life figures like The Iron Sheik (who entered with a giant Iranian flag), Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Miss Elizabeth, Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, the Junkyard Dog and Nikolai Volkoff, all flying from the ropes and hitting the mat hard. This was at that time when Sports Entertainment was really becoming a huge deal, and it was something that families would enjoy together, kids would discuss at school, and "Hulkamania" would become widespread while Hogan and others began appearing in cartoons, in movies, recording albums, and selling a ton of action figures. Nearly 20 years later, history is repeating itself... but on a little different level.

Published in James' Journal

May 10, 1994: On this date, WEEZER released their self-titled debut album, the one that soon became known as THE BLUE ALBUM. A monumental record that still holds up two decades later (they play it live in it's entirety on a frequent basis), no one would've expected the band to become as long-lasting and successful as they have, especially after the initial "failure" of PINKERTON, and the extended hiatus that followed. Last year, I wrote a feature here on THE ROCK FATHER that is very appropriate to be re-shared today: "Everybody Get Dangerous: WEEZER, Kids and Rock." If you haven't already, go give it a read, and crank up some tunes below...

Published in James' Journal
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