SPECIAL REPORT: My Daughter has TWO New Original Songs Out!!!

 

During quarantine, my daughter has been working hard in the studio creating not one, but two new songs!

Check them out here!

https://m.soundcloud.com/innovatedtruce/jollyrancher

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Phicklephilly 2 is coming soon on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

Sabrina – Post Birthday Brunch

Sabrina looms large in the phicklephilly universe. She first appeared two years ago as part of the Sun Stories series when I was moonlighting at the tanning salon. I met her through one of the other clients named Jill who was one of our regulars.

I haven’t seen or really spoken to Sabrina in a while. We cross paths on social media but that’s about it. She’s been a huge fan of phicklephilly for years, and for that I’m grateful. I remember she once said, “I love all the stories about all of these crazy women in your blog. I read them and pretend it’s me that’s doing all of these crazy antics.” I love that! It’s so nice to have people out there that love what I do. It keeps me going to write more content. It’s been hard the last few months, because there’s been literally nothing happening. I’ve been in quarantine for the last five months!

About a week or so ago, I liked something she posted on social media and she thanked me. Now I remember! She re-posted a pic of me standing in front of a poster of the cover of my last book, Angel with a Broken Wing. The caption said: Buy this book! Of course I loved that. But then she texted this, “Hey, me and Jill are going to dinner at Parc on Sunday. What are you up to?”

“When will you be there? Maybe I could swing by and say, hello!”

“5:30. Swing by. We’d love to see you.”

“Same! I’m gonna put that in my calendar!”

“Yay, I’ll tell Jill.”

I was excited. I need to start getting out more and creating new stories after all of this time in quarantine. So, on the day we were supposed to meet I sent her a text. “Are you still meeting with Jill at Parc today at 5:30?”

“Hey. No. Look what she sent me this morning.” (She enclosed a screenshot from her convo with Jill) It read: “Good morning. My dear friend please have patience with me. I can’t go to dinner today because I’m still broken, but the good news is I’m working on it. I’ve only had one therapy session, so it’s going  to probably take a few more before I can start becoming normal. I love you and miss you.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I know. I hope she gets better.”

“Yes. The important thing is she’s trying. That’s a lot. I was looking forward to seeing you.”

“I know, Me too! I’m in DC this week for work but I’m around Friday if you want to do lunch or dinner just you and I.”

“That would be awesome. Do you like Korean barbecue?”

“Yes!”

“I have just the place. I can do Friday around dinner time.”

Okay that works. What’s your usual work schedule?”

“I’ve been furloughed since March.”

“Oh, okay. Good for you for taking this time to write your blog and your books.”

“Exactly! It’s been a creative explosion for my daughter and me.”

So that’s bad news about Jill. If you want to learn about the full Jill saga, you can simply put her name in the Search bar on the homepage and you’ll find her history on here. It’s quite the story. Jill is a lovely, hard working woman who has a charming personality. But we all have our demons. For some it’s harder to spank them and make them pay.

So Friday rolls around, and I’m pumped to see Sabrina for some delicious dinner at my new hangout, Southgate.

Then I get this text: “Good morning! I am still in DC today for work so I’ll have to re-schedule our dinner. Could you do Sunday?”

“Sure. See you then.”

Then Sunday rolls around, (My birthday. We all know how that went. See: Iris – Happy Birthday Papa Squirrel)

I get this text: “Charlie, I hate to ask for another re-schedule but I have no car today due to check engine light coming on. If you’re open to one last change tomorrow at 5pm I’ll be so happy. I’m in the office tomorrow on Columbus Blvd. and can just Uber to location.”

“Okay.”

“Tomorrow at 5pm? Oh, you know what place I drove past the other day? Misconduct. Can we go there or are you set on the Korean BBQ? I am trying not to eat meat.”

“Misconduct at 18th and JFK is fine.”

“Yay, see you there at 5pm. Can’t wait to hear all about your life.”

“Yours too!”

So, Monday rolls around and I get this text: “Hey, can you meet sooner, like 3pm?”

An hour later I awaken from my nap and respond.

“Sure. See you then.”

“Okay, great let’s do 3:30pm. My meeting is still going on and will end at 3pm. See you there then. Sorry, last time change.”

“Okay, 3:30pm.”

So, I pull myself together, and spritz myself with cologne. I put on a clean shirt, and suit up to go meet with Sabrina after not seeing her lovely face for over two years.

I make the seven block walk up 18th street through Rittenhouse. I think back to when I first met Sabrina. She and Jill were both sharing some struggles in their lives. I remember when she said her boss where she was working had cut her hours. She was very upset and I told her to meet me at Misconduct, and I’d bring a big list of all of my business contacts, and we were going to find her a job. That day everything changed for her, she updated her resume and sent it out. Several businesses got back to her and she got a great job with a real estate development firm. She loves her job, and is still there today. That’s why she had to go to DC last week. I’m really proud of her and all of her accomplishments. She thanks for my faith, assistance and good energy, but it was Sabrina that made it all happen.

I get to JFK blvd. and head up the steps to Misconduct. One of the girls meets me and I think it’s either the hostess or my server or both. It turns out to be both and her name is Danessa. It’s funny now, I have to gauge peoples emotions by their eyes because everyone’s wearing a mask. She’s very sweet and shows me how to do the bar code thing with my phone but I’m already wise to that thanks to my birthday brunch with Iris.  I like that I’m a little early for my 3:30 meeting with Sabrina. Gives me a chance to get settled and order a drink. I order my signature Manhattan, because I know they’re good here.

The pictures don’t lie…

The dining room is obviously closed to the public but they have plenty of seats on the front deck. I love Misconduct. There are two of them, and this is their second location. I like this one the best. I have so many great memories from this location. I used to come here for lunch when I worked in advertising at Philly Weekly. It was a favorite of mine and my associate Rocco. We were the two old guys in the company. This is the place where I first met and fell in love with my muse for this blog, Maria. She was the inspiration for phicklephilly. She has a pretty long series. You can check out the first post here and decide if you want to go on.

Maria – Chapter 1 – Amor en Vano – Part I

I used to have all my meetings here at table 12. That was MY table. My friend Mary used to work here as a hostess. She’s got to be at least 75 years old now. She no longer works here. I should text her to make sure she hasn’t been taken by the Covid!

I brought my girlfriend Cherie here for her birthday a couple of years ago. Hell… that was the Fall of 2016! Time sure flies. You can check that out right here:

Cherie – Chapter 9 – Misconduct on your Birthday

So many good memories. I’m sitting there listening to some rock on my phone through my earbuds when a woman dressed in black wearing a mask approaches me. Oh my god, It’s Sabrina! She takes a seat and looks amazing. An ageless beauty! She orders a Cosmo and we catch up. She’s doing so well at her job. “I got my house, my kids, and this great job. Everything’s going so well.”

“I’m so proud of you, Sabrina. I knew you’d be a shining star. So, Danessa brings her a drink and off we go down memory lane. We ordered some delicious food. She went with the mac ‘n cheese, (Two different women over the last two days both ordered mac n’ cheese! Kismet!) I went with my favorite thing on the menu, the chicken tenders. (w/barbecue, honey mustard and buffalo dipping sauce!) Misconduct has the best chicken tenders in the city, They make then from scratch, Never frozen!

I hope phicklephilly isn’t turning into a food blog after all of this time in quarantine! It’s been a while for me, so for now, it’s all food and no romance for me yet!

We had a lovely couple of hours eating, chatting and sipping our delicious cocktails. It was a lovely post birthday brunch! This Leo is really feeling like a king this year. First James at the Drive In, then Iris at Lou Birds, now Sabrina at Misconduct! Too good for a man my age, but I feel great! I feel better and younger than I did in my thirties!

I was so happy to see Sabrina that I had to give her something. When we were finished brunch I handed her an envelope. I think she knew what was inside, based on the size and weight.

If anybody deserves a free copy from the author, Sabrina does. She’s been a friend and fan since 2017! She was really happy about getting a copy of Angel.

“Do you want me to sign it?”

“Yes!”

Of course I whipped out my black sharpie that I always carry for such events. I wrote her a nice little note and autographed the book. It felt really good to sign my work and give it to a friend who really cares, and will read it. The pleasure was all mine!

When the server Danessa came by, Sabrina held up the book to her. “Look at this. My friend Charles here wrote this book. He’s a writer!”

“Wow. That’s awesome!”

(I have to admit, I totally loved that moment. I felt like Hank Moody.)

The check came, and she wouldn’t even let me kick in.

“No. It’s your birthday, I got this!”

“Well, I can’t argue with that.”

We gathered our things and I walked her to her car. To my surprise it was a midnight blue Cadillac. Wow, our girl Sabrina is really doing well for herself. She gave me a hug, (masks on!) and she got in her car. She said she’d like to get together for lunch soon. I told her I’d be happy to travel down to the waterfront and dine with her anytime.

Well, it looks like phicklephilly is back in full force on the social scene and I couldn’t be happier! This has been a helluva great birthday thanks to all of the wonderful people in my life!

Thank you one and all! You’re keeping me young!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock – 10 Richest Rock Stars in The World in 2020 And Their Net Worth

Is that Bon Jovi or Glenn Close?

Image Source

The richest rock stars in the world at the moment are worth several billions of dollars combined. That’s quite a whole lot, but who are these rock stars? This is the question many fans of rock music have often asked over the years as they try to find out which of their famous rock stars have made the most money from their musical careers.

Apparently, the world has witnessed the rise of many insanely gifted rock stars who have thrilled fans with their purely unique musical talents. Rock stars like Elton John, Paul McCartney, and many others of their kind, have cemented their names on the sands of time as some of the most popular and most influential music legends in the world. The contribution of rock stars to the growth of music trends in the globe cannot be overstated and many rock stars remain among the most successful and richest music artists to date.

There are many wealthy musicians who are making waves in the rock genre at the moment, but who exactly are the richest rock stars in the world right now? Let’s look at the facts immediately.

10 Richest Rock Stars In The World And Their Net Worth

Like we have mentioned earlier, there are many wealthy rock stars at the moment who have established themselves as musical icons looked upon as legends. Apparently, some are richer than others and so, we have done our investigation, and will now present you with the richest rock stars in the world right now.

1. Paul McCartney – $1.2 billion

Paul McCartney

The name Paul McCartney is one of the most resounding names in the world of music and the man behind that name is regarded as one of the most successful people to have handled the microphone. McCartney, an English singer who is also a songwriter, composer and producer rose to fame while he was a member of the legendary rock band, The Beatles. He served as a co-lead vocalist of The Beatles with another legendary music figure John Lennon and rose to become one of the most beloved rock stars of all time.

Following the disbandment of The Beatles group, Paul McCartney went on to build a solo career that is regarded as one of the most successful of all time. He has sold more than 100 million records all over the world and has written or co-written 32 songs that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Paul McCartney currently tops the list of the richest rock stars in the world at the moment and his net worth has been revealed to be $1.2 billion by different sources.

2. Bono – $700 million

Bono is a musician who also ranks very high on the list of the richest rock stars in the world at the moment. An Irish singer and songwriter, Bono, whose real name is Paul David Hewson, is best known around the world as the lead vocalist of the globally famous rock band U2. He is also the main lyricist of the group. Over the years, he has won over so many admirers around the world who consider him to be among the most talented musicians on earth.

Apart from his work with the U2 band, Bono has also collaborated with so many other popular artists to create mind-blowing music. He has also created soundtracks to major movies and has also invested in several ventures as a businessman.

At the moment, Bono’s net worth has been revealed to be $700 million by different sources, making him one of the richest rock stars in the world right now.

3. Jimmy Buffett – $600 million

Jimmy Buffett

Born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Jimmy Buffett is an American musician who established himself as one of the most gifted songwriters of his time. He is known for composing songs that portray an “island escapism” lifestyle. The musician has a band called the Coral Reefer Band, with whom he tours the globe and records hit songs. Today, he has millions of devoted fans around the world who are often referred to as “Parrotheads”.

Having sold out millions of records during his career, which has spanned across more than 50 years so far, Jimmy Buffett is a very wealthy man. At the moment, Jimmy Buffet’s net worth has been revealed to be about $600 million by different sources.

4. Elton John – $500 million

Elton John

Widely regarded as one of the most significant musicians from England, Elton John has established himself as one of the most highly acclaimed and successful solo artists of all time. Having kick-started his career since 1962, he has gone on to release globally famous hit tracks and albums, breaking records and selling a mind-blowing number of records. As a matter of fact, he is regarded as one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold out 300 million records so far.

Elton John has made so much money as a musician and is regarded as one of the richest rock stars at the moment. Right now, his net worth has been revealed to be about $500 million by different sources.

5. Bruce Springsteen – $500 million

Bruce Springsteen

An insanely talented man, Bruce Springsteen is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is revered for his songwriting skills which have been hailed by many over the years. Having spent more than 50 years making music, Springsteen has cemented his status as one of the most successful rock stars in the world. He has made giant strides both as a solo artist and the leader of the popular American rock group, E Street Band, winning so many awards for his incredible work.

Bruce Springsteen is a very wealthy man at the moment and is considered to be one of the richest rock stars in the world, having sold out more than 135 million records worldwide during his career so far. At the moment, his net worth has been revealed to be $500 million, tying him with Elton John.

6. Jon Bon Jovi – $410 million

Jon Bon Jovi, whose real name at birth is actually John Francis Bongiovi Jr., is an American singer and songwriter. He is also an actor, a record producer, and philanthropist who has gained widespread fame around the world. The musician is known as the leader of Bon Jovi, a popular, Grammy-award winning rock band which has churned out lots of super hit tracks that are globally listened to. It is noteworthy that he has also released some solo albums as well.

Apparently, Jon Bon Jovi is a wealthy man; with his band, he has sold over 130 million albums worldwide, raking in millions of dollars. At the moment, the singer’s net worth has been revealed to be $410 million, making him one of the most wealthy rock stars right now.

7. Sting – $400 million

Sting

An English musician, Sting is regarded as one of the most influential musicians from Britain alongside Elton John. The singer whose full name is Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, is known for leading the famous rock band, the Police from 1977 to 1984, before launching a solo career in 1985. His work with the Police band and as a solo singer has earned him so many awards including 17 Grammy Awards.

Like his contemporaries, Sting is a very wealthy man, having sold over 100 million records both as a solo singer and with his band. Today, his net worth has been revealed to be $400 million, placing him high among the richest rock stars in the world at the moment.

8. Mick Jagger – $360 million

Mick Jagger

Widely described as one of the most popular and influential front-men in the history of rock & roll, Mick Jagger is an English musician who has risen to become one of the most celebrated rock stars of his generation. Jagger, who has been in the music industry for more than 5 decades, rose to global stardom as the lead singer and one of the founder members of the Rolling Stones, a world-famous English rock band. However, he has also had a solo career and has also acted in movies over the years.

Mick Jagger has climbed to number one spot on the UK and US singles charts with 13 singles both as a solo artist and with his band. He has also sold millions of records with his band raking in a lot of money over the years alongside his acting career. At the moment, Mick Jagger’s net worth has been revealed to be $360 million.

9. Gene Simmons – $350 million

Gene Simmons

Known for his dramatic costumes and energetic stage performances, Gene Simmons is an Israeli-American musician, singer, and songwriter who has won the admiration of millions around the world with his rather wild stage persona. He shot to widespread fame as the lead singer and co-founder of Kiss, an American rock band.

Gene Simmons is a very successful musician; along with his band, Kiss, he has sold out as many as 100 million albums worldwide making them one of the biggest-selling bands of all time. At the moment, Gene Simmons’ net worth has been revealed to be $350 million.

10. Ringo Starr – $350 million

Ringo Starr, whose real name is Sir Richard Starkey, is a highly respected English musician, singer, and songwriter who is renowned for his vocal strength and songwriting skills. The musician who is an actor originally gained widespread fame as the drummer for the popular band, The Beatles. However, when The Beatles disbanded, he kick-started his solo career and released some really successful singles.

Since he started his career, Ringo Starr has achieved a lot of success and has raked in quite a lot of wealth. In fact, he is now reported to be the richest drummer in the world and one of the richest rock stars in the world with a net worth of $350 million.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Orange Goblin

 

Orange Goblin was originally formed in 1995 under the name Our Haunted Kingdom, with fifth member Pete O’Malley on rhythm guitar.[3] The band released a split 7-inch single, Electric Wizard/Our Haunted Kingdom with Electric Wizard in 1996 on Rise Above Records before changing their name to Orange Goblin.[3] The first three studio albums under the name Orange Goblin, Frequencies from Planet Ten (1997), Time Travelling Blues (1998), and The Big Black (2000) were in the stoner metal and doom metal genres,[2], and have also been described as space rock,[4], but on 2002’s Coup de Grace they began to add punk rockhard rock, and other influences to their sound.[5] Their album Thieving from the House of God was released in 2004 and included a cover of ZZ Top‘s “Just Got Paid.”[6]

Their first five releases were issued by Rise Above Records. O’Malley left the band in 2004 to pursue a career as an artist and was not replaced.[6] Their 2007 album Healing Through Fire was released on Mayan/Sanctuary Records. In 2008 the band announced that they had signed with Candlelight Records.[7] Two new songs were revealed in May 2009, though the associated album was delayed until 2012.[8]

In mid-2010, the band’s back catalog was reissued on Rise Above Records in digipack form.[9] Their long-delayed seventh album A Eulogy for the Damned was released in February 2012.[10] The album earned the band critical acclaim,[11][12][13] including being voted No.3 in Metal Hammer magazine’s Top Albums of 2012. [14][better source needed] The same year the group was voted Best Band by the readers of Terrorizer magazine.[15][better source needed] The band then embarked on a world tour in 2013, playing 161 shows across 28 different countries.[16]

In March 2013 Orange Goblin released A Eulogy For The Fans: Orange Goblin Live 2012. The CD/DVD package included the band’s complete performances at Bloodstock Festival on 11 August 2012 and Hellfest in France on 15 June 2012.[17] In October 2014 the band released the studio album Back From The Abyss through Candlelight Records.[18]

In December 2015 the band undertook a 13-date 20th anniversary tour of the United Kingdom.[19] In December 2016 singer Ben Ward received national media coverage in the UK for setting up a JustGiving campaign aiming to raise money for the staff of music publisher TeamRock who were laid off when the company went into administration.[20][21][22][23] As part of the fundraising effort Orange Goblin played a gig at the Black Heart in Camden, London on 5 January 2017 with all proceeds going to the campaign.[24] Orange Goblin’s ninth studio album The Wolf Bites Back was released in June 2018.[25]

Band members

Current lineup

  • Ben Ward – vocals (1995–present)
  • Joe Hoare – guitar (1995–present)
  • Martyn Millard – bass guitar (1995–present)
  • Chris Turner – drums (1995–present)

Former members

  • Pete O’Malley – guitar (1995–2004)

Session musicians

  • Duncan Gibbs – keyboards on Frequencies from Planet Ten
  • Jason Graham – keyboards on Healing Through Fire

Discography

Studio albums
Live albums
  • A Eulogy For The Fans (2013)
EPs
Singles
  • “Some You Win, Some You Lose” (2004)
Compilation appearances
  • “Saruman’s Wish” on Dark Passages II (1996)
  • “Aquatic Fanatic” on Stoned Revolution – The Ultimate Trip (1998)
  • “Quincy the Pig Boy” on Rise 13 (1999)
  • “Black Shapes of Doom” on Bastards Will Pay: Tribute to Trouble (1999)
  • “No Law” on High Volume (2004)

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Chinese Chicken Salad

“Because of him I learned that if you’re funny, the kids on the corner won’t beat you up or pick on you anymore. Why kill the lowly jester? He makes us laugh. He entertains us. Let him live another day.”

Lawndale, Philadelphia – Mid 1970’s

When I was a kid I remember hearing my first Bill Cosby record. I don’t remember what it was called. I think it was my friend R.J who brought it over my house. But we may have listened to it on a little record player out in my garage. They were recordings of his stand up routines. When we were kids there were few places to access audio entertainment. The radio was one of the main sources, and any records our parents and older brothers and sisters listened to. That’s how we got our music back then. It was the Sixties and Seventies and resources were limited.

I think I only knew Bill Cosby from an animated show called Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids that was on TV on Saturday mornings. It was a cute show about this massive fat kid and his friends. There was always a heartfelt lesson at the end of each show. Bill Cosby even hosted the animated series. I watched it every Saturday around lunchtime.

Bill was a beloved figure in the entertainment industry. A comic who always worked clean and never blue. His stand up routine consisted of these long story pieces that were vivid and absolutely hilarious. We kids loved them. He had so many cool tales about his childhood. Chicken Heart, Ice Cream, and a trilogy about Noah and God. Just fantastic. Fun entertainment fit for everyone’s ears.

Other comics in the industry looked at Bill like he was a deity. A guy that could get up on stage for a solid hour or two and just kill with his delivery and stories. A wholesome man that was loved by millions. He was the first African American entertainer to ever star in a dramatic series in the history of television. A national treasure. America’s dad.

The First African American to Co-Star in a Dramatic TV Series

I remember for Christmas I would always get a Bill Cosby record. I remember getting, The Best of Bill Cosby, Wonderfulness, Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow, Right? and Why Is There Air? Just to name a few. All brilliant. Loved them all!

But as you get a little older, your tastes change. And this story is not about Bill Cosby.

One day my friend Jimmy Hunsinger came over and he had a George Carlin record. He was also a comedian. We had never heard of him before. I think we were all around the ages of fourteen through sixteen.

I remember Jimmy had a record by George called FM & AM. We popped it on the little green and white record player in the garage and let it roll. We had never heard anything like it. This comic talked like we did. He said a lot of curse words. Back then, most boys that age all spit, smoked cigarettes, giggled at anything remotely sexual, and cursed like sailors.

Carlin’s bits were absolutely stunning. He quickly became my favorite comic. His material was so irreverent and funny, you just lost your mind laughing at his bits. He wasn’t afraid to use the ‘whole language’ as I say.

I quickly absorbed all of his skits and could perform them verbatim. I remember the gang of big kids that hung up the corner would ask me to do his comedy for them. I would stand there and perform Divorce Game like a young George Carlin impersonator.

Because of George I learned that if you’re funny, the kids on the corner won’t beat you up or pick on you anymore. Why kill the lowly jester? He makes us laugh. He entertains us. Let him live another day.

It really worked!

I saw the power of comedy in George Carlin. Not just that he was hilarious and brilliant, but he knew how to use words and his wits to make things that were normal, really funny. He had a gift for seeing the world a bit differently than everyone else and was fearless in his delivery of the truth. Just an incredible, unique mind.

I acquired his record albums, FM & AM, Occupation: Foole, and Class Clown. All brilliant works. Writing this makes me want to go find all of those recordings and listen to them again. I bet I’ll be able to perform those bits right along with George because his words are so ingrained in my mind. (All on YouTube, no doubt)

 

Let’s jump forward to 1983. Santa Monica, California.

Now I’m twenty-one years old. I’m working at a place down by the beach on Main street called Merlin Mcfly’s. I have a previous post about it. It’s part of the California Dreamin’ series. You can read it here:

https://phicklephilly.com/tag/merlin-mcflys/

I started out working there as a cashier. I’d gotten a job there thanks to my buddy, Frank Roberts. He had worked there until he returned to his home in Belfast, Ireland. When he left I simply took his place. I would work from 4pm until midnight at the front of the kitchen ringing up food sales. I remember it was a big old upright cash register, where you would push big buttons and ring up the sales.

The Cash Register

I was making $4 an hour plus tips. When I say “tips” I mean a big jar I set on the counter with a sign on it. I would charm tips out of the customers. They would be split between me and the two cooks I worked with in the kitchen. If we each walked away with an additional five or ten dollars a night we were in good shape. That would buy cigarettes and beer.

But before Frank left the states, he told me about a thing he used to do that he learned from someone who worked there. He called it, The Moves. The moves were performed on a couple of cash food sales a night. Instead of ringing up the sale, you’d punch it in, then clear it, then simply hit the CASH button, and the register would open. This way, that particular sale was never recorded on the internal tape inside the machine. You’d take the customer’s cash, put it in the drawer and give him the appropriate change. At the end of the night when you were upstairs counting your drawer, there would be some ‘extra’ cash in there. Your drawer would be over by maybe twenty dollars. I would take that overage and split it among the two cooks. They never questioned their portion of the tips I gave them. But it was a way to skim a little extra cash out of the company and help out the hard working guys. It sounds bad, but at the time we were earning so little, a few extra bucks a night wouldn’t hurt anybody. We never got greedy, so we’d only take a little each night. This went on for some time.

There was a chef that worked during the day, named Smedley. Her real name was Brenda but for some reason everybody called her Smedley. I never found out why. I do remember she made all the soups. So pound for pound, she was the best chef employed there at the time. Her sister Lisa had recently come out from New York and needed a job. Management approached me and asked if I wanted to become a cook. I came from a world where my mommy made all of my meals for the first 20 years of my life. I couldn’t cook a damn thing. But they told me it was $5 an hour, so I leapt at the opportunity to increase my earning power by a dollar at this fine establishment. Lisa became the new kitchen cashier and ‘the moves’ went away. Too risky.

Lisa became known as ‘Lis’ the Piece’ because she was a provocative and sexually aggressive girl. She fit nicely into our rock n’ roll world. I have fond memories of my time with Lisa. There’ll be a future post about her and it’ll be quite lurid. But let me focus on the story at hand.

In the kitchen, I worked what is called the cold side, as opposed to the hot side of the kitchen. The more experienced cooks always worked the hot side. Which was primarily the grill. Burgers, chicken and steak. The cold side was less glamorous and actually a bit more complicated than the hot side. I was in charge of making all of the salads, sandwiches, anything fried, and other assorted tasks. (French brie in the microwave topped with toasted almond slices!) I remember one night after work I met this girl at a party in Venice. She said I smelled like fried food. I told her I had just come from working in the kitchen at Merlin’s and she laughed and said, “You’re cute and I love chicken strips.”

I think that’s the first, and last time smelling like delicious appetizers ever worked in favor of anyone’s romantic endeavors.

Working in that kitchen actually taught me how to become a proficient cook. It’s a talent I’ve carried with me my entire life. I’m grateful for the experience, but vow to never work in the hospitality industry ever again. It’s brutal work.

The great thing about working in the kitchen was, you could eat whatever you wanted on the menu. The rest of the staff had to eat the employee meal, and if they wanted anything better had to pay extra for it. So being a poor musician in LA, I knew that at least I would get one nutritious hot meal every day. Which is sustaining for a young lad.

I remember we had this really big guy that was a doorman. His name was Mike. Picture a good looking, muscular guy that was easily 6’6″. I think he did gigs as a stunt man. He would come up and usually order the same thing… the Chinese chicken salad. But he would say, “Can you throw a little extra chicken on that?” Of course I would always oblige, because when he came to pick it up he would grab the big wooden bowl, and drop a couple of joints on the shelf. I would stuff them in my pocket and smile. The same would go for certain cocktail waitresses we liked. They’d get a little extra something and bring us a coke spiked with rum. It’s just what we did back then to help each other. Trade and barter. I’m sure as you’re reading this, someone is pulling some sort of a move in a restaurant at this very moment.

Chinese Chicken Salad - Damn Delicious

One night, I was just working my shift and one of my favorite waitresses, a honey blonde named Colleen, came to me with some news.

“Do you know who’s sitting over in that booth?”

“I can’t really see from here.”

“George Carlin!” she whispered.

My heart began to flutter and I got really nervous and excited. Fame is a strange and unnatural thing. You experience the same dopamine drop meeting your favorite celebrity as you do when you’re about to see someone you’re falling in love with. But you don’t know the celebrity. It’s an odd feeling, but exhilarating nonetheless.

“What did he order, Colleen?”

“He got the Chinese chicken salad.”

Oh my god, he’s my favorite comedian of all time. I love him! Is he finished eating?”

“Yea. They’re just sitting there chatting.”

“Do you think I could go over and meet him?”

“Give it a shot, Chaz.”

Thinking quickly, I grabbed a guest check and a pen and headed over to the booth where my idol was sitting with his wife and another couple. I cautiously approached the table.

“Hello, sir. Excuse me. How did you like your salad?”

“It was great.”

“I made that for you.”

“Well, it was terrific, thank you.”

“Mr. Carlin, I love all of your work. I have all of your albums. I used to perform your bits like Divorce Game and Hal Sleet, The Hippy Dippy Weatherman for the big kids up the corner so they wouldn’t kick my ass. May I have your autograph, sir?”

“Of course! What’s your name?”

“Chaz.” (hands him the guest check and pen.)

He signs it and hands it back to me with a smile.

“Thank you Mr. Carlin. It’s been so nice to meet you.”

“You too, Chaz. Next time make it George.”

“Okay, George!”

And that was it. I walked back to the kitchen clutching the signed guest check like it was the Rosetta Stone. It was a magical moment in my life and I’ll never forget it.

Sometimes when someone tells me an extraordinary story, I always wonder about the validity of the details.

That’s simply not the case here.

 

That sacred artifact still hangs on my living room wall to this day. I’ll never part with it.

Thank you George Carlin for all of the joy and laughter you’ve brought to me and the world. You’ll never be forgotten.

Take it away, George…

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock: Remembering the Glam-Rock Bars of the Sunset Strip in the 1980s

What’s next for the place Vince Neil called a “cesspool of depravity?”

Welcome back to Tales of Rock, a look back at the great drinking scenes of yesteryear. Today, we visits Los Angeles in the 1980s to recount the nascent glam-rock scene that was then cropping up along the Sunset Strip.

In the early months of 1981, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx moved into a filthy, white apartment complex on 1124 North Clark Street. The two-bedroom was financed by their manager. In apartment #205, they wrote songs for their then-unknown band Mötley Crue, but they mostly drank and did drugs with an always-crowded house of people. Groupies would arrive in shifts, like hockey lines subbing in and out. Every night, the trio would leave their hovel and walk down the sloped block to what was becoming one of the greatest bar scenes in American history.

“We’d get drunk, do crazy amounts of cocaine and walk the circuit in stiletto heels, stumbling all over the place,” claimed Neil in The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. “The Sunset Strip was a cesspool of depravity.”

Running through the city of West Hollywood between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, this 1.5-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard had always been a fairly wild area, due it being unincorporated (until 1984) and not under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department. Loosely overseen by the County Sheriff’s Department, no one really monitored what was going on — thus, it became a hotbed of liquor, drugs, nightlife and shenanigans.

In the 1920s the Sunset Strip had hosted speakeasies and underground casinos; the 1930s through ’50s would see glamorous restaurants and nightclubs spring up to be frequented by movie-industry hot shots; by the 1960s, hippies and the counterculture were slowly working their way there as clubs like Whisky a Go Go (1964), Pandora’s Box (1966) and the Roxy Theater (1973) sprung up and bands like The Doors dominated the scene; the 1970s saw more new wave and punk acts like The Stooges and New York Dolls.

It was the 1980s, however, when the so-called “Sunset Strip” might have reached its apex as, according to Rolling Stone, “big-haired dudes and the girls who loved them turned the boulevard into their own personal playground.”

The big-haired dudes of Mötley Crue would actually make their debut right off the Strip, as an opening act at Starwood on Santa Monica Boulevard on April 24th of 1981. Even if that early set included a cover of The Beatles’ catchy pop hit Paperback Writer, the raucous rockers quickly started setting a template for how to behave on the Sunset Strip. Especially as their shows moved to the Whisky a Go Go, just about 200 feet from their crash pad.

“Did I tell you about the time I tied a girl up in the Whisky bathroom with Mick’s guitar cable, and then went to get a bump of blow from Tommy?” Sixx told LA Weekly in 2011. “I forgot she was in there! I think Vince found her and everything was [fine]. Ah, to be in Mötley Crüe in 1981 in Los Angeles.”

Ah, to be anyone who visited the Sunset Strip in the early 1980s when, on any given night, the bars and clubs might feature sets from perhaps 75 to 100 emerging and already-made-it bands like Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, Motörhead and even Metallica, who first opened for Saxon at the Whisky a Go Go in August of 1982.

“I think of all the late nights and early mornings, probably the craziest year of my life in L.A.,” Lars Ulrich told Mick Wall for his book Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica. “Living everything that you can imagine when you’re twenty-six years old in L.A. and your dick is fucking six feet long.”

The favored haunt of many rockers was The Rainbow Bar & Grill, just across the street from the Whisky, at the corner of Crescent Heights Boulevard. (“[T]he reason is simple: the clam chowder,” Sixx once told LA Weekly.) It opened in 1972 by hosting a party for Elton John, but by the 1980s had become the after-hours hangout for various hair bands and their hangers-on.

“The place was set up like a circle, with the coolest rockers and richest deviants sitting at the center tables,” explained Lee to Curbed in 2019. “Guys had to be twenty-one to come into the club, but girls could be eighteen. The guys would sit at their regular spots and the girls would walk around the ring until they were called over to someone’s empty chair.”

After everybody was kicked out of the Rainbow, they’d spew into the parking lot to score drugs and girls, before heading back to 1124 North Clark. More and more bands started joining the party, but the Strip also had bars like The Comedy Store, where you might be able to see Robin Williams or Sam Kinison doing stand-up on any given night — it was wild even there, where “half-naked women draped over fat, out-of-shape funny men, booze and drugs flowing freely,” as Corey Feldman wrote in his memoirCoreyography. There were also gentlemen’s clubs like Seventh Veil and The Body Shop, both of which would eventually be name-checked in Mötley Crue’s Girls, Girls, Girls while providing some of the girls, girls, girls for the music video.

Further up the block, at Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Doheny Drive, was the Troubadour. Lenny Bruce had been arrested there on obscenity charges in 1962, and it was the place where Steve Martin was discovered. By the 1980s, however, it was all hair bands all the time. A Slash-less Guns ‘n’ Roses would play their first ever show there (where they were discovered by a David Geffen A&R rep at the club). Poison, too, would get their start at the Troubadour.

“When we finally pulled onto the Strip it was, ‘Holy shit!’” Bret Michaels recalled to Rolling Stone. He and his bandmates had driven in from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, in March of 1983. By then the billboards lining the Strip were going for $4,000-$6,000 a month in rent; pure vanity for the now-famous musicians who had actually made it at the clubs below. “We’re driving past the Rainbow, Gazzarri’s, the Roxy, the Whisky, and there’s gotta be, like, 100,000 people walking around. And they all look like they’re in a band. For a bunch of small-town guys, that’s a lot to take in.”

A block away from the Rainbow was Gazzarri’s. A sensation when it opened, the club was well past its heyday by the mid-1970s. Then Van Halen became its house band from 1974 to 1977 and put it back on the map. That ushered in a 1980s scene with bands like Quiet Riot, Warrant and Stryper, many of whom would eventually be honored with giant hand-painted murals on the outside wall of the club.

From the front steps of Gazzarri’s, 300 feet of Strip sidewalk led to a parking lot between the Rainbow and the Roxy Theatre. Aspiring bands would congregate there, passing out handmade show flyers, hustling for gigs, buying drugs, and getting into amorous hijinks.

“I saw so many people fucking on the lawns behind Gazzarri’s that I actually got bored of watching and started to throw empty beer cans at them,” Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy wrote in his autobiography Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll: My Life in Rock.

It wasn’t all inconsequential fun, however. On March 4, 1982, Harry Dean Stanton and Robert De Niro coaxed a disheveled John Belushi out for a night of bar-hopping on the Strip, starting at On the Rox, the lounge above the Roxy. At the Rainbow he ordered not clam chowder, but lentil soup, before returning to bungalow No. 3 at the Chateau Marmont and overdosing on a speedball. As Shawn Levy noted in his book about the luxury hotel, The Castle on Sunset: “It stood slightly apart from the commotion around it — compact, old-world, elegant, just off to the side of the circus, much as it sat just off Sunset Boulevard itself. After Belushi, that changed.”

By 1984 the Strip was finally getting some legitimacy, especially when, according to Visit West Hollywood, “a coalition of gay men, Russian Jews and the elderly” successfully held a vote to incorporate the area as the new City of West Hollywood. Now under the watch of a city council run predominantly by an often persecuted, openly gay majority, the area was bound to stay a bit wild, but it would never be quite the same.

“The era of glam metal would be the last gasp of lawlessness on the Sunset Strip,” writes Hadley Meares on Curbed. Every band, fan and groupie started looking the same, and a few other things were about to spell its end. The arrival of grunge was one, with Nirvana rocking The Roxy as early as August of 1991. The growing corporatization was another, as high-priced hotels and condos sprung up, as well as theme-like chain bars like The House of Blues, “the toxic fruit of an alliance between Hard Rock Café co-founder Isaac Tigrett and the insufferably unfunny Dan Aykroyd,” according to LA Weekly. And if neither Belushi’s death nor Nikki Sixx’s near-brush with it in Slash’s room in 1987 didn’t slow down the party, River Phoenix’s 1993 overdose at the just-opened Viper Room would.

By 2005, a sanitized stage production called Rock of Ages (followed by a 2012 film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise as “Stacee Jaxx”) — with its storyline centered around the Sunset Strip in 1987 — was all that was left to honor the era. The Strip has now gone “From Louche to Luxury” as the Wall Street Journal write in 2018. “To make way for the new vision of Sunset, some of the most iconic symbols of its past are being demolished.”

Gazzarri’s closed in 1993, but the Whisky, Roxy, Rainbow and Troubadour still stand, though you’ll rarely see a major act appear there these days. Even the strip clubs are apparently no fun anymore; LAist by 2008 was calling Seventh Veil “The Least Exciting Strip Club in Hollywood,” with Jessica P. Ogilvie writing “The club had seemingly remained firmly, unapologetically and possibly even aggressively in the 80’s.”

Today, the Strip that was once described as a “cheerfully depraved Aqua Net playground” instead has over one million square feet of luxury hotels like 1 West Hollywood and condos like AKA West Hollywood, where single-family homes go for around $2.5 million. It has private clubs like Soho House and the Gwyneth Paltrow-backed The Arts Club (which replaced a Hustler Store they bought for $18.3 million); there’s an Armani store, a Fred Segal and a Warby Parker; you can even get an “Originally from ‘’Dorchestah’” burger at Wahlburger’s.

“What the fuck happened?” wrote MÖRAT in a 2015 article “Farewell to the Sunset Strip” on Metal Hammer. He notes that the biggest band playing there these days is Steel Panther.

“Doubtless you’ll see some great bands from time to time, but rarely any truly great shows, rarely a band at their peak, playing the kind of shows that keep you buzzing for weeks afterwards.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Think You’re Too Broke to Date? You’re Not Alone

If, like 30% of millennials, you believe you’re too broke to date, we have a few suggestions for you. 

It appears that searching for a soul mate just got a little tougher, at least for some millennials. According to dating app Match, 33% of young singles believe that their financial situation is getting in the way of dating. What’s more, 20% don’t even think they should be dating at all until they achieve a particular income level.

Why is money getting in the way of dating?

Singles managed to find a way to court during global wars, depressions, political upheavals, and pandemics. What’s different about today, and why do a third of young singles believe that earning more money would make a difference?

The great recession may have played a role in the way millennials feel about finding their soul mates. For a large swath of millennials, the recession set the stage for their early adulthood. In 2008 alone, 2.6 million jobs were lost, and the total number of unemployed surpassed 11 million.

Into this dreary economic picture emerged fresh-faced millennials, 40% of whom held at least a bachelor’s degree in 2016. But being the most educated generation yet did not help them get a job. For example, only 44% of law school students who graduated between 2009 and 2017 said they had a good job waiting for them.

In fact, millennials of all education levels were impacted by the recession. For the 60% without a degree, jobs in farming and manufacturing had dried up. It was more difficult to start a business due to tight credit, and there were fewer opportunities for apprenticeships. A generation earlier, it had been blue-collar jobs that kept the economy humming, but now those jobs were scarce.

And with full-time employment hard to come by, many have been pushed to take part-time jobs. According to a study on underemployment by The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), in 2018, 11.1% of young college graduates were underemployed, up from 9.4% in 2007 and 6.9% in 2000.

The term underemployed includes graduates who are unemployed as well as those who could only find part-time jobs. Other research puts the total unemployment rate for millennials (with or without a degree) at over 12%, which is much higher than the national average.

Employment is not the only area where millennials are struggling. They are also a lot more reliant on their parents. A study by The Ascent found that 63% of millennials still depended on their folks financially to some extent. And no fewer than 33% of 25–29 year-olds still live with their parents or grandparents, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly three times more than in the 1970s. It makes sense that young people might want the stability of their own apartment before finding that special someone.

All in all, many young adults are working hard just to find jobs and get homes, which pushes dating down the agenda. Millennials have become the largest generation, outnumbering baby boomers by 11 million. That means more competition for everything they do, from landing a job to dating.

The high cost of dating

In 2018, the average cost of a date — including two dinners, one bottle of wine, and two movie tickets — was $102.32. That number does not include other costs, like gasoline. For a millennial buried in student loan debt or struggling to find a job that supports them, $102.32 per date may feel excessive.

Fortunately, there are other ways to get to know someone without breaking the bank. If you really want to get out there but feel stuck financially, here are some ways to make it happen:

  • Check out local museums. Some offer free or discounted ticket days. It’s a great way to show a potential love interest that you’re cultured.
  • Have a pool day at your neighborhood swimming hole.
  • Get friends together and enjoy a bonfire and s’mores.
  • Attend a lecture or book reading (it’s much more interesting than it sounds and can spark a great conversation).
  • Tour a cool business. Wineries, breweries, chocolatiers, and bakeries often offer tours that also allow you to sample the goods.

Get your finances in order

Whether you are struggling to find a job or keen to pay down your debt before you get into a relationship, there’s plenty of things you can do right now to become financially stable. According to research by The Ascent, 70.7% of people identified setting financial goals as a desired trait in a romantic partner, so perhaps that would be a good way to start.

These four steps are an easy way to begin:

  • Find a consistent source of income. If you’re unable to land a full-time job, look for two part-time jobs that allow you to use your talents while getting your financial house in order.
  • Create a budget. Our research showed that 70.4% of people value a partner who follows a budget. Even if your bills are few and your income is low, a budget allows you to fully understand your monthly expenses and set savings and debt repayment goals.
  • Build up your credit score. You don’t need to earn a lot of money to have a high credit score. Make sure you pay bills on time and try not to spend more than you can pay off each month to keep your credit utilization ratio low.
  • Save up an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses. That way if your car breaks down or you need to do some unexpected house repairs, you’ll be able to pay for them without going into debt.

Don’t put off finding love just because you aren’t where you want to be financially. There are plenty of affordable ways to date, and you need to get finances in order, no matter what your romantic status is.

Savings account rates are skyrocketing — Earn 23x your bank

Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. Our picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 23x the national average savings account rate.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Phicklephilly – Do It Yourself

“What’s with all the ads on my favorite blog?”

It’s been an interesting time during quarantine due to the Covid-19 crisis. I’ve had the pleasure of finally taking a rest from working 55 hours a week on my feet in a business that’s incredibly challenging. My daughter and I worked in the same industry, and we both agree that we needed a break. I think the workforce as a whole needed a break.

The first week or so it was just strange. Then we sort of settled into the fact that we couldn’t go to our jobs anymore.

What would we do with this sudden, paid free time?

We’ve had some ideas.  I decided to make phicklephilly.wordpress.com into my own domain. I bought Phicklephilly.com four years ago and own it. So I called the nice folks over at GoDaddy and had that integrated into my site. Now it’s more searchable on Google and has brought so much more traffic to the site. If you google phicklephilly now, it’s the first thing that comes up. That, and my books.

With that came wordpress ads. They run ads on your site, and that generates revenue. You have to complete a bunch of forms for that and give them all of your tax info. Because it’s real income.

But here’s the thing… the revenue for the ads run is minimal. They’ll serve thousands of ads on your site. But the return is tiny. Phicklephilly has been around for over four years and I have a tons of content. (Over 2,000 posts) I’ve always been prolific. I figured, more content, more page views. It worked, but I’d probably need millions of page views to make any money from these free ads thrown to me by wordpress.

I’m not complaining, but I felt I needed to do more. So I recently signed up for Google Analytics. That opens up the world of Adsense. Once that’s processed over the next few weeks, that’ll generate ads on my site which will equal more revenue. I’m looking forward to that. The site is really coming into it’s own. We’ve hit 50,000 page views so far this year, with 84,000 visitors, 2200 subscribers, and over 147,000 page views since its inception. So, we’re growing.

But while writing Angel with a Broken Wing, there was something nagging at me. The itch I had to create was being satiated by writing the book, but I felt there was something more I could do for Phicklephilly. The little blog that started me on this journey shortly after the death of my father in 2016.

I started to think… I’m putting all of these pieces together, is there something else I could do?

While creating Angel with a Broken Wing I would listen to music on Youtube. I’ve been listening to everything! It’s been great, but sometimes between songs they run these commercials. I don’t really mind it if it doesn’t go on to long. I grew up in a world where radio and TV were supported by commercials.

I worked in advertising for 10 years when I returned to Philadelphia from New York back in 2007.

I remember as I was typing one day, this ad came on for a company called, Dr. Squatch. I stopped what I was doing to watch it. Normally, when people are enjoying  a show or listening to music, all they want to do is skip the ads. But Dr. Squatch’s ads were so good, I was captivated by their brand. It was a brilliant, fun campaign to promote their male hygiene products. You know an ad is good when you WANT to watch it because it’s so engaging.

It got me thinking… all I did for 10 years in Philly was sell advertising. Digital advertising. For Philly.com, a happy hour website, and Philly Weekly. I started with nothing at all three of those companies and made it work. Most people don’t like to sell, or can’t sell. Either you have it or you don’t. No one likes rejection, and that’s 95% of sales. You need mad game to sell. It’s a ruthless, thankless business. But perfect for me. An over achiever with low self esteem, and a track record of closing impossible deals. In banking as a broker I was a million dollar producer every year. At Philly.com I was billing $40k a month. It all comes down to who will relentlessly make calls on clients, meet with them, close them, cross sell them, and get referrals. Then repeat that over and over again. That’s sales. Just run down the game and kill it everyday. Like a lion on the savanna, you hunt every day to feed your cubs. Most days you go hungry. But you keep at it. Most don’t have the will to keep at it. But if you do, like anything else, eventually you’ll make a kill.

So, here I am creating content for my dating and relationship blog here in Philly during quarantine. How can I write a blog like this in quarantine? I feel like I’ve been grounded by my parents and I can’t go out and do what I do socially.

But, while I’m waiting for WordPress and google analytics and adsense to all come together for me, I should maybe try to do what I’m good at.

Sell digital advertising while I’m waiting for them to get their act together. It’s what I’m good at. Selling stuff. Any job I’ve ever worked where I don’t get to create or sell stuff I usually fail. Because we have plenty of people that are built to take orders and work hard to build somebody else’s dream. Business leaders love cheap labor.

Don’t get me wrong… Phicklephilly, and writing books isn’t my dream. The only dream I ever had died 40 years ago in Los Angeles as a failed rockstar. Now the only dreams I have come to me during slumber and that’s just my brain dumping thoughts, feelings and images to keep me sane.

Phicklephilly has been a glorious hobby. Yea, it’s a hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, you should think about maybe getting one. It’s a lovely release from all of the things you HAVE to do everyday to survive. It’s a sweet little pleasure that you get to create.

It’s kind of cool to watch something that started as a passion or a hobby become something bigger. It’s like a garden. You tend the seeds and the plants and vegetables, with water, care and sunlight. It starts to grow. Because you care about it. You like it. It’s fun. It feels good. It’s not a job to pay the bills. It’s your thing. It belongs to you. 

I don’t know why I never thought about this back in March, but I guess I was busy writing my book. But it started to work on me about two months ago. Back in May I decided that part of my day would be dedicated to going through all of my leads and contacts. I have hundreds from New Jersey, New York, and obviously Philly.

I would spend only one hour a day for 60 days going through all of my social contacts, (business ones, not you drunken assholes) business contacts, business cards, Linkedin, old sales files from the last 20 years, and see what that would yield. I called on every advertising agency in my old book of business. I knew if I dug into all of my New York contacts, I could mine some gold. Sometimes the one hour goal would stretch beyond that, but I wanted to do it everyday consistently. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, in case it never came to fruition.

Which brings me to this.

The sight obviously looks different. Especially the sidebar. I wanted to fit them all in where I could.

At least for now.

What’s weird is… I remember being contacted years ago by acquaintances that had attached themselves to me like sea lampreys in the industry. They had their websites about Philly, or food, or music. They always wanted me to sell ads for them on their sites. I have no idea what their business plan was for their sites, but I can guess. Write a blog with some relevant content about something they were passionate about. But somewhere they thought they’d like to run ads on their site and make money. Sadly, they didn’t possess the ability to execute that part. So they approach some schlub to do it for them. They have no revenue to pay said individual. Sadly, all of those sites have failed, and hopefully those folks found jobs somewhere. I get it. Great idea. Poorly executed.

But don’t be nice to me thinking I’m going to do your job for you. That’s just fiction, man.

Most writers can write, But there aren’t really any writers out there that can sell.

So, I’ve been digging in hard everyday for the last few months to maybe monetize Phicklephilly. There’s no way I’d do this for free for someone else’s little dream, but for my little hobby…sure.

I haven’t sold advertising since 2017. But I still have all of my contacts from my corporate life. I haven’t had a platform worth selling anything on. But the cool thing is, Phicklephilly just sort of grew like a weed over the last 4 years. It grew because I gave it a lot of love. (Along with all of you reading this!)

So here we are.

Funny what you can accomplish when you don’t have a job to go to.

I know for the moment the site is looking a bit cluttered, but I wanted to show everybody that decided to run on my site. I’ll clean it up, and WordPress and Google will help me out.

I’m blown away by the support that all of these brands have brought to Phicklephilly. 

I want to take a moment and thank everybody!

ALYAKA, AQUATALIA, BERETTA, BERRYLOOK, HARD TAIL, TRETORN, BUXTON, EVERLAST (You guy have been great! I appreciate all of the rapid responses!) FREDRICKS OF HOLLYWOOD (I have a story for you guys from my youth when I first saw your ads in a Hollywood gossip mag!) GRAND SLAM – NEW YORK, JACH’S – NEW YORK, KATY PERRY (Katy… your agency is a delight to work with!) LANCER, LIFELINE, LUVYLE   (I love you guys! Thanks for Berrylook!), MADDA FELLA, MADISON STYLE, PURLISSE, ROYAL DOULTON (Thank you guys in London for being first!), SLEEPSTAR, SMOKO (Beautiful ads, guys!), WATERFORD, WEDGWOOD, YOUNGBLOOD MINERAL COSMETICS (Best models ever!)

You guys rock! You’ve all been so kind and patient with me. I can write, but I suck at all of the technical stuff. I just love that I was able to pitch you guys and you got it. I can’t run all of your stuff all of the time, but I’ll do my best to promote your brands on the site to the best of my abilities!

Thank you!

(If any of you readers have any opinions about the way the site looks, please let me know!)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 2

I decided to go back in my memory and try to remember all of the inspiring moments in my own life that helped bring this book to life. I published Part 1 last Monday, so you can check it out to gather more insight into the book. Anyway, here’s some more stuff…

Maria LaParilla: Maria as far as I can remember isn’t based on any one person. But if I’d have to say she’s like anyone I know, it would have to be my friend Maria. She has several posts written about her on Phicklephilly, and is actually the inspiration for me wanting to write this blog. But sadly, Maria LaParilla is a totally fictitious person, and all of the fun stuff that happens between Maria and Christian are completely made up.

Jeeves: He’s the English Chauffeur that drives the limo to enhance Christian’s date with Maria. His name is a poke at the internet search engine, Ask Jeeves that was on AOL in the 90’s. He’s completely made up. But I really like him. The classic, cool English driver. Maybe I’ll bring him back in the sequel, Angel Rising... (Did I just say that out loud?)

Answering Machines: Before the advent of cellular phones, everybody had an answering machine at their house. Unlike today, when everybody has access to everybody else instantly 24/7, that never existed back in the 90’s. If somebody called your home number, you had to wait until you got home that night to listen to the message they left you on a little cassette tape in a machine. It was a slower time back then, but kind of a pain. The only way anybody could reach you immediately, would have to be on your work phone, if they even had that number.

The Finance Company: Andy, Christian’s boss is based on a real guy who was my boss when I worked at a finance company in the early 90’s. He was exactly like the Andy in the book. Christian’s co-worker Paul was also a real guy I worked with in the Turnersville, NJ office. (And all of that horrible stuff really happened to the poor guy) The last I heard he was sober, and making music in Ohio. I hope he’s doing well. The story about the Banker Broker license really happened. The way it happened in the book is how it really happened to me. I did exactly what Christian did, so I loved writing that bit. Unlike Christian, I didn’t just quit with no other job lined up. I had already secured a better job as a branch manager at First Union Bank in Philadelphia for $10k more a year!

Brenda the Waitress: Brenda was a real girl who worked at Charlie Brown’s. She was my favorite waitress when I would go there with my friend. The real Brenda was exactly like the one in the book. Cute, sweet, and excellent hospitality. We loved her!

The Carousel and Sarah Turner: The Carousel is based on The Carnival Book store in Bellmawr, New Jersey. I remember I dated a girl who worked there back in the early 2000’s. I was on a rebound from a toxic relationship, and rebound girl was 20 years my junior. She was also toxic but I kept her at a distance. I remember she used to tell me all of these wild stories about working in that hell hole. Little did I know that it would be great fodder for this book years later. Is Sarah Turner based on her? Not at all. Sarah is just a character that was created for the story.

Here’s some pics I found online:

I love the scene when Christian first encounters Karl Itzky in that parking lot on that fateful rainy night!

LA stories about Celebrities: The tales Christian shares at Honest Files about his encounters with famous people in Los Angeles in the early 80’s are all mine. It’s all true, because it happened to me when I lived and worked in Santa Monica from 1982-1984.

Christian’s Family: The family Christian describes when he’s telling Jill about his life, is my life. I have 3 sisters and I just changed the names and let him describe them to her. But that’s all me.

Jill Adams: Jill is based on another girl I met at Gloucester County College back in the 90’s. We were both taking a psychology course. She was an attractive 22 year old who was engaged to be married. I developed a crush on her, and we ended up at Charlie Brown’s one night. After several drinks we closed the evening by making out in her car. (That’s were the mint game came from.) That’s all that happened that night, and I didn’t see her again. I sort of carried the torch for her for five years after that.

I was working as a manager at Commerce Bank back then and we reconnected when she called the branch. After 5 years of marriage, she was getting divorced from her husband. But, she had two young sons. I was already divorced by 2001, and we started dating. I ended up moving her and her kids into my house in Woodbury. What I didn’t know is that the real Jill had severe bi-polar disorder. If you know anything about that mental disorder, it’s only good in one room of the house, and it’s not the kitchen. Being with Jill was probably some of the best sex I’ve ever had, and I have the video to prove it.

I showered her with gifts, clothes and jewelry. I even sold my Woodbury house because she didn’t want to live in the house my ex-wife and I had bought together. Jill was crazy as a shit house rat. I paid her credit cards, bought her a GMC Yukon Denali, and had a house built in a brand new development in West Deptford, NJ. Jill was unable to hold a job and actually attempted suicide one afternoon while her sons were down for their nap.

After 3 months in the new house she started cheating on me with some scumbag she met at the local gym. Jill couldn’t hold down a job because of her mental illness, so she had a lot of free time on her hands. Idle hands…

I told her if she didn’t want to be with me she was free to go. She moved out and lived somewhere for a short period of time before moving back in with her father and his second wife. She ended up giving custody of her sons over to her ex-husband, and ran around with the scumbag guy for awhile I’m assuming.  Last I heard she had married another guy, who had two kids of his own, and I think she may have had a daughter with him. The real Jill turned out to be a terrible, selfish, wicked person. Mental illness, especially bi-polar disorder is an insidious monster.

I should write about the whole sad saga of my brief life with the real Jill, but this blog has been about my life here in Philly, not Dirty Jersey.  I may tell the story at some point but it’s a dark, shameful part of my past and I kind of want it to stay there.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of a sequel to Angel with a Broken Wing. I was thinking about calling it, Angel Rising, and having Jill in the story mirror the real Jill. Of course my man Christian would have to divorce her, or maybe I just have her killed off.

I ran the idea by my daughter. She said, kill the bitch.

Thoughts, dear readers?

 

More to come next Monday!

 

You can buy Angel with a Broken Wing right here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 1

The truth behind the story!

This is a 4 part mini series I wrote over the weekend as a companion to my recently published book. It will run over the next 4 weeks, every Monday morning at 8am!

Thank you!

Angel with a Broken Wing is my first work of fiction. It’s got all of my favorite elements in it. But where do these ideas come from? Well, I’m going to tell you.

I’m going to think back and try to remember some of the inspiration for this story.

I am obviously Christian Blackmore. Not anymore, but I was back in the 90’s. I was miserable in my marriage and my job, and I wished  I could just run away from the life I had created. I assembled his name from the word, Christian. Thinking he was a good Christian. He was a good man despite his shortcomings. Blackmore comes from the darkness that lies within him. More Blackness. (As a musician, I always liked the name of Deep Purple and Rainbow founder, Ritchie Blackmore, so there’s also that.)

The Cover: I was an art major all through school. When I think about that now, it feels like a million miles away. I liked comic books growing up, and my first exposure to art was in comics. I always made art throughout my childhood, so art class was a natural progression for me in school. It was the only class that was effortless.

I loved to work in pen and ink. I liked its stark simplicity. I have several works from high school that I still retain in my collection. This one, The Angel is my favorite.

It was an incredibly cold day in February of 1980. I was in my double period, art major class. There were only two of us in the class that were any good. Me and Bill Polini.

I looked out the window as the snow came flying. I took pen in hand, and imagined a beautiful girl. In a warm place. She’s with me. We’re maybe riding horses…or camels. She turns to look at me, and the reflection of the oasis behind me reflects in her sunglasses. I long to kiss her.

“Yea. I should try to draw that.”

Uncle John: I had an uncle John on my mother’s side of the family. I share many of the same characteristics of my mom’s side of the family more than my dad. My mother had four brothers; Roland, Robert, Norman, and John. All of her brothers kept their hair and all died in their late 70’s and 80’s so maybe if my liver holds up, I’ll meet the same fate. John never left me any inheritance, but my uncle Rob left all of us kids some loot and it was substantial. He lived in Florida.

The Pinto: My grandmother, (My dad’s mom) We called her Grammy. I loved her. When everybody thought I was a piece of garbage in my early teens, she was the only one that had faith in me. So She will always have a special place in my heart. She was a cool lady, who liked a cold glass of beer and some good neighborhood gossip. Just an adorable lady. When she died, the last car she owned was a gold Ford Pinto. That car is my last memory of her. So I used it in the story. The car’s fate is based on stories I heard back in the 70’s about an engineering flaw in the vehicle.

Woodbury, New Jersey: I lived in Woodbury from 1992 to 2001. My wife and I owned a house on Barber Street. I modeled Christian Blackmore’s residence after my own house there. So when I wrote about him in his house in Woodbury, I could picture my own life there.

The Phoenix: I remember first hearing about the story of the Phoenix on an old record album. It was a collection of stories about superheroes. It was like an old radio show type collection of plays on one LP. I remember hearing about the Phoenix in one of those stories, probably back as far as 1973. When one of the characters describes the Phoenix, it is a verbatim rendition of what I heard on that record, nearly 50 years ago. I always felt like I could relate to the Phoenix in my own life. I always felt that no matter how many times I got destroyed in my life, I always came back better than what I was before. I think that’s why I have the characters make a stop over in Phoenix, Arizona on their journey to LA. There are some transforming moments for a few of them in that chapter.

Gloucester County College: When I was married back in the 90’s my then wife came from a very collegiate family. I never went to college, but had several college credits from the American Institute of Banking through courses I had taken through the bank I worked for. My wife thought I should go back to college at night and take courses to get my college degree. So I did. I took those classes at night after work, at Gloucester County Community College. I don’t feel that it was a waste of time, because it led to some interesting things. I’ll be getting to them shortly.

The Gun: Everything you read in Angel about the Bulldog .44 revolver is true. I never owned a gun, and like Christian Blackmore, I hate guns. But all of the info about that weapon is from real events. The story Christian tells Sheryl about the girl at the shore is all true. That happened to me in the summer of 1977. Funny thing is, I recently reconnected with that girl from New York on Facebook. (At 57, she’s still hot!) Oh, one last thing, I had to make a slight change in the action sequence involving that gun. During the final edits of the book I discovered that the bulldog .44 only holds 5, not 6 bullets like most revolvers! I guess because those bullets are so big!

Sheryl Stanton: Sheryl was inspired by a girl I met in one of the banking courses I took at Gloucester County College. I pretty much describe Sheryl as how this girl was in real life. We had a good friendship for a brief period and even had some romantic dalliances. She did break it off with me when she moved to California for a period of time. The real Sheryl never worked in a mental health facility. That’s completely made up for the story.

Karl Itzky: The first kid I met when I went to Frankford High School in 1978, was a guy named Karl Itzky. He was the only person I knew other than my older sister. I just liked his name. He is nothing like the Karl Itzky in the book. He was a nice guy, who I sadly lost touch with when I moved up the social ladder in high school.

Honest Files: The name of the bar/restaurant where Christian and Sheryl hang out is taken from a song by the band, Urge Overkill. There are many references in the book about music I was listening to back in the 90’s where this story takes place. It’s from their album, Exit the Dragon. Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Hey, hey I’m dead on arrival
Hey, hey I’m distant
Crawling right back
Yes, I’m crawling right back
‘Cause I’m honesty, don’t break my heart
Honesty won’t break it
Honesty won’t break you heart
Honest it won’t
It won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t…

I thought it was a cool song, and that bar is where I hung out with the real Sheryl back then. It’s where we would spill our guts to each other about everything in our lives. I used to say we were opening the ‘Honesty Files’ about what we were experiencing at that time.

The real place is exactly the way I describe it in the book. The animal trophies on the walls, all of the real bookcases all around the room, and the fireplace. We spent many a night there pounding martinis and smoking tons of cigarettes. (Yea, you could smoke in restaurants and bars back then!) It was a welcome repose from our chaotic lives.

Exterior - Picture of Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, Woodbury ...

Here’s the real Honesty Files… It’s a place called Charlie Brown’s at 111 Broad Street, in Woodbury, NJ

 

More next week!

 

You can buy Angel with a Broken Wing on kindle and paperback right here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly