And they all got fired by James Taylor

Went to see The Immediate Family at the Lobero Theatre April 2, 2019.  Four guitars, and drums. Solid sound. What a line-up  — some of my favorite guys from bands I went to see probably dozens of times.  Opening the first and second set with a Warren Zevon compositions that Waddy Wachtell co-wrote with the man set the tone for the evening “Send Lawyers, Guns and Money” – and that’s where Waddy added the line “And we all got fired by James Taylor” – you can see it on the YouTube clip. I really did LOL and replayed it twice more and laughed each time.  That stuff never gets old.  Unlike the band and the audience – and I speak from the view of a 67 y.o. because the white and silver hair in the theatre that night was mind-blowing.  (Reminded me of the time I went out for a commercial audition in NY City and part of the casting call must have been “no one over 5 feet tall” – I hover at 4’10” and so when I went up on my toes and could see over all the heads in the room, it was very disconcerting – I didn’t get the job. I think it threw me off. ) Opening the second set with the Zevon audience pleaser “Werewolves of London” and yes, we all howled at the right parts. Group experience.

Back to The Immediate Family show.   The management of the theatre asked we all put our cell phones away so we could all enjoy the show.  And for the first time in YEARS I didn’t see any of that screen light in the house.  I did see three people way down front taking pictures but it was a very pleasant experience.  Kunkel on drums and Sklar on bass would have made my night alone.  They are like milk & honey.  Albeit of the rock n’ roll kind.  One of the great lines of the night was said by  Postell, “We’re a cover band that plays originals.”  Some cover band eh? Great songs from the catalogs of Henley, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and originals by Waddy and Danny Korchmar.  But no James Taylor songs were in the mix. LOL

The official 411 on the group:  This group began life as a studio project, recording Danny Kortchmar’s upcoming solo CD. The CD, which will be released this spring, features guest performances by James Taylor, Jackson Browne, David Crosby & Michael McDonald. On guitar and vocals, Danny Kortchmar, who has played, produced and written for James Taylor, Don Henley, Carole King, Jackson Browne and many more. Also on guitar and vocals is Waddy Wachtel, the consummate rock guitarist who has played with many of the same artists, including many years with Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, and the late Warren Zevon with whom he co-wrote and produced a number of hit songs. The Immediate Family also features absolutely one of the most recorded and revered rhythm sections in the world; Leland Sklar on bass and Russ Kunkel on drums. Their credits would require several more pages at least. Rounding out the band on guitar and vocals with Danny and Waddy is Steve Postell, a well seasoned touring/session musician who has worked with Jennifer Warnes, David Crosby and many others. Together, the members of The Immediate Family have played on close to 5,000 records, many of them classics in the rock n roll pantheon.

OMG, They’ve played on five-fucking-thousand records?!?!?  I didn’t have that many records, but I know I had a lot of their music in my collection. If they’re playing your town or city – DO GO!

It was the Name of the Street

For more than 26 years I had a great office in the center of downtown Santa Barbara – the building called ‘El Centro’ appropriately. It was built in 1929 and had a great vibe to it. Twenty-four offices and each one occupied by an interesting person or people.

I wrote about the history of the building for the SB Trust for Hysterical Preservation, I mean Historical. (wink wink) Here’s the story, to give you an idea of the place. I knew all the people who worked there. My office was located where the old reception area was for the original law offices it was made for. People naturally gravitated to my doors to ask, do you know where suite number so and so is? I’d ask them for the person’s name – then I could tell them where they were.

I was thinking about this because , earlier this week, I read Neal Graffy’s write-up in about how the name of the street the El Centro was on, Canon Perdido, came to be. It translates to mean ‘the lost cannon.’ There’s a funny anecdote here told by the self-proclaimed historian of Santa Barbara – Neal Graffy. I give all kudos to him for the history and stories he has accumulated.

High Times Going Through Hard Times

Just read this incredibly good investigative piece in Politico about the slow and steady downfall of magazine High Times, not by the Feds, not by the police or informants, but by greed. Once upon a time I worked for the man who started it – Tom Forçade as his executive assistant. He’s rolling over (and rolling one up) in his afterlife. ‘Tis a sad state of affairs.

Anyone else thinking about “War of the Worlds”?

Never in my career have I experienced anything like the rapid shut-downs of events, places and spaces due to the COVID-19 (Corona Virus). I was amazed when UCSB shut down all its winter quarter classes this past Monday and are going online. Alright I thought – that’s a campus with more than 10,000 kids – that makes sense. A virus was doing this. Never thought of that possibility.

It was then the thought struck me – this is how HG Wells took down the Martians in ‘War of the Worlds’ with a virus. ACK ACK!

Around 12:30am Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom posted online a request for all events or gatherings of more than 250 be shut down. The NBA shut down, No March Madness either the players will play, but to no one in the house. No fans. No cheering, just the squeak of sneakers, grunts and a few names called between players. Surreal. A virus is shutting us down. A virus! Not in my lifetime.

Thursday, the gala events started dropping like tiaras from Princesses heads, as the local British gossip columnist would say, one after the other. In fact, he ran down the whole list to me while asking about an art show I was working on. ‘Could be you’ll be the only game in town. That could bode well.’ in his ever so perky Brit accent. Of course, he was jesting. Even the infamous 75th SB Orchid Show set for this weekend was cancelled and they had everything in place. My pal who works in radio said as he pulled into the parking lot at Earl Warren Showgrounds for a story, they had just decided to call the show off. Saw the KEYT TV senior reporter – John Palminteri – do a story from inside the hall with all the orchids on display. He was emcee for an auction they were due to have.

This morning around 9:30 am I got a call from my client with the film festival who said, ‘I’m telling you something now, but you can’t say anything yet. We have to postpone. We’re working on dates with the venues. I’ll get back to you soon.’ Sure enough in an hour I had an official statement and dates to announce for its reschedule in the fall. All-Access passes purchased for the film fest will be honored then. I called my pal, the radio reporter, left a message, sent a text in case. Shipped out the statement about postponement to my media list and the news was picked up as the outlets started to keep running lists of cancellations and postponed events. This I want to go viral.

Meanwhile the day is moving along. I’ve sent a couple e-mails to the art show folks. No reply. They were still holding on, hoping to let it go on, but it just was not smart. Finally, someone put their foot down, put in my need for a 5pm deadline to get the news to the media so it could be included on their outlets. I called them around 4, and said we need to get out there with at least 24 hours’ notice that the art show will not happen. (That’s to the reception not the opening time either). It was a very narrow escape. They got it, and by a little before 5, I had a statement.

Had my head down with another client’s work when I got a call back from the Radio Reporter. He’d been running all day, but thought he saw a note from me that the film festival was not happening. Yeah, I confirmed. The team feared we could screen the films and there could be a no-show effect. Roll film, to no audience. Like the NBA and college ball. People are self-deciding to not go out. And they aren’t letting the venues know. It would be awful for the artists and the beneficiary to not be able to reap the accolades and funds from this event. Grateful to the venues leaders for their willingness to find a time to re-schedule the fundraisers.

I’ve been shut down by cold & snowy weather back east. I would describe it as very serious weather. White-out weather. Nothing moving weather. Cancellations make sense for those. A virus? Never thought about it frankly.

Out in CA, the multiple day, heavy rains of the mid-to-late 90s I experienced up here shut down a show I was working on – rains! Ha, but it was no laughing matter. Glad my roof was water-tight because the velocity the rain hit with was impressive. I kept saying, rain has bumped my dance company out of a couple performances. A virus? Still never thought about it.

This one is total sci-fi – a virus. LA Times and NY Times calling it a ‘novel virus’ – novel indeed. We could be having this state of high anxiety for a few more months. That’ll get old soon. Most who get it don’t die from it unless they’re systems are already compromised – think COPD, asthma, I’m lucky to not have anything like these. The symptoms are like the flu – nausea, sore throat, coughing, aches. But it’s the older population with compromised health who are in the gravest danger. Younger people recover. That’s my single biggest take-away.

Sent a note to my friends in Italy – they live in Northern Italy, the Liguria region. Where they’ve been locked down in their homes. Did you read the Op-Ed by David Unger in today’s LA Times? said it was a very good example of how they are living right now.

Be careful. Wash your hands – (I can hear you, ‘oh Mo, I know’) Find the humor in this because that will get us through it. Two fucking months of this? Maybe the world needed to learn a little patience. It’s certainly dialed the rhetoric down on the political front. For that I am grateful. Can’t watch the news for very long, I get enough pings and dings on my phone about breaking news, so it’s as if I had the TV on all day.

A few days have passed since the Thursday closures started happening. Swinging back to the perennial Orchid Show – Nancy Melekian, president of the exotic flower show said in this story linkthey would take a huge hit. But they must have insurance I thought? Nope. The answer came out in this story – “We’re not covered for viruses.”

Gatherings have been brought down to 10 or less. I’m staying put at home. I can call younger friends to help if need be. I can order online where possible. I did have a month-long homebound experience a few years ago when I broke my leg. Since I have theatre background, I look at it as a rehearsal for this COVID-19 reality. A virus? I never thought about it frankly.  I will now.

BTW if you haven’t seen this seven-minute video on the COVID-19 virus… Here’s the link.  PBS Digital Show “It’s Okay to be Smart” hosted by Joe Hanson.  Brilliant.


Calling All Hearts & Minds Who Love Our Gaviota Coast

Important public fundraiser for GCC

Recently I was hired to work on an event for a local environmental/conservation non-profit that I have admired for many years – The Gaviota Coast Conservancy (GCC) has been doggedly protecting the last 20 miles of rural coastline in Southern California for more than 20 years.  My first brush with the people who volunteer at Gaviota Coast Conservancy was through a local painters group that donated 40% of all its sales for a show dedicated to showing people the incredible landscapes we have in our backyard called “Visions of the Gaviota Coast.”

My heart beats loud and strong for environmental and conservation causes – like Audubon and the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).  Now that last group has become a part of the fabric of Santa Barbara county with its’ stewardship of The Jack & Laura Dangermond Reserve – better know as The Bixby Ranch to most who live here.  It’s a hot bed of bio-diversity.  The Dangermond’s plopped down $165 million for the parcel and then donated it to TNC. Their personal story to this land is the thread that brought them back after 50 years to do something so generous and lasting.  On their honeymoon they camped on the Gaviota Coast and never forgot the beauty of the land.

Come join us at the Coastal Legacy 2019 event on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 21 at the Music Academy of the West.

Here’s the details:

You are invited to the Gaviota Coast Conservancy special event on Saturday afternoon, September 21stat Santa Barbara’s gorgeous Music Academy of the West

Gaviota Coast Conservancy(GCC) is a Santa Barbara based conservation organization that has been actively protecting 76 miles of coast stretching from Coal Oil Point Reserve to Point Conception for more than 20 years.  The Gaviota Coast is a globally significant bioregion with features qualifying it as a National Seashore.

In 2017 the biggest privately-owned ranch on the Gaviota Coast was preserved in perpetuity by philanthropists Jack and Laura Dangermond. The Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve, now under the direction of Michael Bell, protects 24,500 acresof the Cojo-Jalama Ranches (aka Bixby Ranch), with spectacular, undeveloped and largely undisturbed lands. We are thrilled to be honoring these two outstanding conservation heroes at our upcoming September event with the Coastal Legacy 2019Award. Michael Bell, Director of The Dangermond Preserve, will be accepting the award in their honor.

GCC has been holding the line on Gaviota Coast development since our inception in 1996, working with farm and ranch owners to keep land in productive agriculture, and keeping the coast open for the public to explore and enjoy for generations to come.

Join us at this fabulous event to protect the last rural stretch of undeveloped SoCal coastline.

Live and Silent Auction items so far:  Chris Potter original painting, “El Capitan Panorama,”;Jack Johnson personally signed Ukuleleand songbook; three nights in San Francisco Pied-a-terre; Plethora of Patagonia gear; GCC Guided Hike for eight;Dogtown-The Legend of the Z-Boysby CR Stecyk III, Glen Friedman, signed by alumni Zephyr Skate Team, donated by Team Member Peggy Oki; and more.

Follow us on Facebook to discover more auction items and other announcements as they come in.


When Trigger Had Pop Culture Status

End of workday yesterday, I went into the parking gargage to go home.  Two young men in their 20s were walking away from their car, an SUV of some nondescript make.  The owner of the car pushed the auto lock and it beeped.  No surprise there, I’ve used that beeping lock sound to find my car in a lot when I can’t recall exactly where I parked.  I’ve often called the lock beep my personal Trigger.  Well, the next thing that happened is why I titled this post what it is…the SUV started up!  I laughed and the guys looked at me.  I said “it’s just like Trigger, it’s ready to ride!”  That’s when the blank look on their faces clued me in.  I said, “you aren’t familiar with who Trigger was or Roy Rogers?”  And went on to explain how the Roy only had to whistle and his horse Trigger would be there.

I used to fantasize I was in harm’s way – usually stranded in some desert complete with the saguarro cacti on the landscape –  Roy would come in and swoop me onto his horse, Trigger, to save me when that show was in its heyday.  His wife Dale could ride as well as her man Roy.  She would, of course, welcome me into their ranch home to recuperate.

Maybe the exchange made those guys search for more info on Trigger but probably not.

The name Trigger always brings a smile to my face and I bet more than a few horses must’ve been named after him. If I had a palomino it’d be my first choice.

Do you have a special memory about that TV show?  I’d like to hear from you.


2017 Marks 25 Years for McFadden & McFadden Entertainment PR

Time flies when you’re having fun and it sure has flown by for me looking back on 25 years in business here in Santa Barbara.  Where it all began, my office location at El Centro building is coming to an end I’m sorry to say.  It’s the only address I’ve had in SB that has not changed over the years.

The Lippincott Family who owned it since 1948 went and sold it to a land baron and his investors for …$8 million dollars.  Do ya think the rent will go up?  Oh yeah.  Mine is increasing nearly four-fold.

Top shot is Siam Carving Academy work in Bangkok, Thailand – friends who make my business logo look delicious!

Second is inside my suite – the great large red knot I rec’d from the Chinese Opera Co. for the great PR work I did for their show at the Lobero.  I gave the knot to Lovejoy’s Pickle Room when it opened in October 2013 for more good luck.  It looks even better in the new location.

Third down – Paul Wellman photographer for the SB Independent took this of me on the front steps of El Centro for a story on how I made it in SB a few years ago.

Fourth down – Back in the 90’s I was Communications Director for the Lobero Theatre. Santa Barbara Magazine wrote this little item up on me for it’s “Around Town” section.

Five & Six are Shots of the Lobero stage house, and shadows on the walls of the theatre on the dressing room side.

Last shot is the press and ads for the newly opened El Centro in 1929.  Caught with a Model T Ford of what might be the same year.  My good luck!

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I am going to relish the time I have left on my lease – through the end of February 2018.

If you’ve never seen my office, well, it’s not like any other pffice in SB.  Been described as a “Tin Pan Alley” office by which I take as a very high compliment.  Every inch of wall space is covered with posters from shows I have worked on or people I have worked with at the Lobero as well as other places.  Sweet sweet memories!

Even though my downtown era is coming to a close, I’ll still be working.   Ready to help you out.   Same phone number 805 689 5053 and same e-mail for business inquires.


Live Jazz @ Pickle Room Wed. March 18

For years, Willy Gilbert created one of the coolest soundtracks with his extensive collection of jazz CDs and coming in Wednesday night 6:30 – 11 pm, the soulful jazz duo of John Schnackenberg & Cougar Estrada are going to be “Willy’s live juke box” as Schnack said to me… they’ll be playing with vocalist Liz Barnitz too — she’s a jem of a singer.  Stop in and catch the jazz groove and enjoy a classic cocktail.

keyboard player Cougar Estrada and Sax player John Schnackenberg
keyboard player Cougar Estrada and Sax player John Schnackenberg

What a week!

Three events in five days that were as varied as could be. Lots of press breaks to advance the info – first up was a presentation by an expert in PTSD with a new book out, a luncheon/symposium on the 70th Anniversary of Iwo Jima and the public screening of the documentary on Jimmy’s where I was Mistress of Ceremonies.  Every event was so well-attended.  When I got to Sunday – and really had no idea of how many would show – walking into the house and seeing it full, put the cap on a powerful week for me.  I cried.  Happy tears.  Oh, and I got another client a TV news story as a new business in between the events that just aired tonight in 6pm news.  Not too shabby.

Steve Binder Returns to Plaza Playhouse with Elvis’ ‘Comeback Special’


Don't ya just love those neckerchiefs?

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(Carpinteria, CA) Elvis Presley would have turned 80 on January 8, 2015. To commemorate the anniversary of the King’s birth, the Plaza Playhouse Theater in Carpinteria will screen an extended cut of the Elvis Comeback TV Special on January 10, 2015 at 7pm. The special had a one time only showing on NBC-TV on December 3rd, 1968 and was the highest rated program of its type. This is Elvis at the top of his game and looking great in a sleek all black leather outfit, to match his jet black hair in the traditional pompadour for most of the show. Dancer’s costumes and make-up are vintage 60s. All his #1 hits are included in the show and this screening adds more footage not used on the TV special. Running time is 90 minutes.
At a get acquainted meeting in the spring of 1968, Steve Binder—recently tapped to direct an upcoming Christmas TV Special with Elvis Presley—was asked by the King of Rock N’ Roll where he saw the singer’s career at the moment. Binder, knowing that Presley hadn’t had a chart making hit in a number of years and that his last TV performance was nearly seven years before, jokingly replied, “In the toilet.”
Surprisingly, Presley didn’t take offense to the comment, but instantly took a liking to the honesty expressed by Binder which then launched the two of them into collaborating on what would become a record breaking show by the end of the year. Simply called “Elvis,” the 1968 TV special became better known as “The Comeback Special.” Elvis’ popularity soared and he roared back into the public eye.
As initially conceived by Col. Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, and several executives of NBC, it was to be a show that would feature primarily carols, hymns and gospel songs. Binder bluntly told Elvis it must showcase the huge hits he had made so popular over the past 12 years and it should be staged in an intimate setting, with Elvis surrounded by the audience. Elvis agreed, but Parker angrily rejected the idea and wanted Binder fired, however, he too came around to accepting the concept.
Proceeds from this show will be for the theater’s “Big Screen” campaign. Peter Bie, PP board member said “This will be the final push for the money to buy the big screen and all the accessories needed to complete the experience.”
Get the inside story behind the making of the special, fraught with all kinds of off stage troubles and his mutually respectful relationship with Presley, as told by Binder in a Q&A that will follow the showing of the special.
When Steve was at the Plaza in August for a screening of “The T.A.M.I. Show” it sold out 24 hours in advance and everyone who was lucky enough to be in the house said, “Bring back Steve Binder!” Find out how TV handled the new craze of rock n’ roll music with the man who broke all the rules and a few barriers along the way.
Tickets for this one night event are $20 and available in person at Seastrand, 919 Linden Ave., Carpinteria during regular business hours (cash or check only). You can also buy online at
The Plaza Playhouse Theater is located at 4916 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria, CA 93013. Phone: (805) 684-6380. Free parking nearby. The box office will be open on Saturday, January 10 from noon until the start of the show at 7pm to accommodate last minute ticket purchases. Wheelchair accessible.
www. In Steve Binder’s Bio: 1968 would be the year that Steve conceived, produced and directed Elvis Presley in the highly acclaimed ratings winner for NBC, most often referred to as “The Comeback Special.” Legendary record producer Bones Howe handled all the recording chores for the show. TV Guide called it “the second greatest musical moment in television history next to the Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan.” Steve’s 2008 book on the making of the Elvis special, “’68 at 40–A Retrospective,” tells the inside story of how Elvis initially reacted to Binder and the working relationship that developed between the two.