A devastating time for California

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The news coming out of California has been so devastating these past few days. First the Nov. 7 shootings at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people, mainly college-age students.

Then the VERY NEXT DAY (Thursday), the Northern California town of Paradise was almost completely consumed in a wildfire that is now considered the state’s most destructive fire on record. At least 29 people have died so far, 110 people are still missing and 6,700 buildings, mainly homes, were destroyed, according to CNN. It has burned 111,000 acres across Northern California.

Then the NEXT DAY (Friday), only a few miles away from the site of the Nov. 7 shooting , two more wildfires started – the Hill Fire and the Woolsey Fire. As of tonight, Sunday, they are both still burning and more than 250,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from their homes. The Woolsey fire has spread to 83,275 acres and the Hill Fire covered 4,531 acres, according to CNN. Together, they are responsible for the destruction of 179 structures, but another 57,000 are threatened, according to fire officials.

I have several relatives in Los Angeles and nearby areas so I have been paying very close attention to these Southern California fires. Fortunately, thank G-d, at this time none of their homes are in danger.

However, I’m still watching the fire’s devastation closely because I know the areas fairly well having lived in L.A. for several years and am shocked about how much damage these fires are inflicting to people’s lives, animals’ lives and the landscape.

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A surreal scene on Zuma Beach

Although I don’t know anyone personally who has been evacuated, I’m very concerned for those affected and cannot even imagine what they are going through as they wait to learn the fate of their house.

As you may know, Rick Springfield lives in Malibu and his house is in the fire zone.

When the fire started, RS was on tour in Florida and then El Paso, and according to FB reports by others, his wife and dog safely evacuated. That’s good news that everyone is safe. And now his fans all are waiting – and praying – that they will all get to go home. Because RS has been so open with his fans in the past, we know about his collections, his parents’ piano that he shipped from Australia and his home studio, the Black Lagoon, where he has created so much incredible music. To many fans, he almost seems like family, even to those of us he doesn’t actually know. And we hope that these fires stay the #$@* away from his house.

We are waiting and praying that the fires will soon be extinguished and that everyone will be able to safely return home and that there won’t be any more casualties or destruction. Thank goodness for all those dedicated and brave firefighters, police officers and other first responders who have been working so hard to protect people and save their animals and their homes. Wishing them much strength and success in their work.

UPDATE ON THE AFTERNOON OF NOV. 12:

Their house is OK (besides a burnt fence)! Relief!! (So sorry to hear about the neighbors though, and all others who weren’t as lucky.) As of today, the Woolsey fire has burnt 91,952 acres and is only 20 percent contained, according to CBS. Plus there’s lots of wind – more prayers are needed!

UPDATE ON THE AFTERNOON OF NOV. 13:

See his Instagram post to see what happened to his neighbor’s house, two doors down. So devastating. Sadly there are hundreds of similar scenes in both Southern and Northern California this week. So many lives affected.

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Before ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ there was Zoot

Years before many of us ’80s kids started plastering Rick Springfield posters all over our walls, Mr. Springfield was already a star back in Australia. You may not have been familiar with his band Zoot because, if you’re around my age, you were just being introduced to solid foods around that time and weren’t following the Australian music scene.

But he was the guitarist in the popular Australian band from 1969 to 1971. (According to his autobiography, “Late, Late at Night,” this was when he bought his Gibson SG guitar, which he wrote “Jessie’s Girl” on and later played in the “Ricki & The Flash” movie with Meryl Streep.)

Why am I writing about Zoot today? Because this tweet popped up in my news feed today:

Although I’m not very familiar with Zoot, I have watched some videos of them in the past, such as their version of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

And “Hey, Pinky,” which was written by RS:

When the band broke up in 1971, everyone went on to successful careers: Beeb Birtles was a founding member of Little River Band, Darryl Cotton was a successful Australian entertainer for many years (both in music and acting, as well as a TV host) and Rick Brewer was a drummer for many bands. Oh, and that guitarist Rick Springfield, well, you may be familiar with some of his work over the past 50 years.

The band reunited for a Rick Springfield fan cruise in 2011, which I bet was amazing for everyone who was a part of it. Sadly, Darryl Cotton died the following year from liver cancer.

So the fact that this new CD, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band, is being released on Nov. 23 is a super cool thing. It’s a great name, too: “ZOOT Archaeology.”

An article on rockclub40.com explains a little more about the 24-song retrospective.

The ZOOT members have dug deeply into their archives for ARCHAEOLOGY, which features the first song the band recorded, a cover of The Move’s ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’, as well as the band’s EMI debut, ‘You’d Better Get Goin’’. The album also includes the hits ‘Monty and Me’ (produced by Molly and featuring a whistling Johnny Farnham), ‘One Times, Two Times, Three Times, Four’, plus their classic hard rock cover of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’, a Top 5 hit and Go-Set’s Best Australian Single of 1971. …

ZOOT ARCHAEOLOGY also features live covers of The Beatles’ ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ and Neil Diamond’s ‘Shilo’, plus rare photos of the band, and liner notes written by Beeb and Rick.

EMI will also reissue ZOOT LIVE – THE REUNION, the CD and DVD documenting what was the band’s last performance, 40 years after they initially broke up.

ZOOT LIVE was recorded in 2011, on the Rick Springfield and Friends Cruise in the Caribbean. The re-formation was so successful that the band started planning an Australian tour; what would have been their first Australian shows in 40 years. But soon after, singer Darryl Cotton was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died in 2012.

ZOOT ARCHAEOLOGY is dedicated to Darryl.

After Darryl died, Rick discovered that both he and Darryl had recorded separate versions of ‘Life In A Northern Town’. “Sitting in the studio listening to Darryl’s solo vocal gave us all goosebumps,” Rick says. Combining the two versions, he then asked Beeb to sing the third verse. “Fifty-four years after I met Darryl, we have a new ZOOT song,” Beeb smiles. “Thanks to Rick, I got to sing one more time with my best friend.”

Isn’t that beautiful? And so is the song:

 

I can’t wait to hear more!

Zoot

“Zoot Archaeology”

1. One Times, Two Times, Three Times, Four
2. Monty And Me
3. Flying
4. Hey, Mr. Songwriter
5. You’d Better Get Goin’
6. Sailing
7. Yes, I’m Glad
8. About Time
9. Sha La La
10. She’s Alright
11. Feelings
12. Little Roland Lost
13. Shake Your Feathers
14. Hey Pinky
15. Strange Things
16. Eleanor Rigby
17. Turn Your Head
18. The Freak
19. Evil Child
20. I’m Only Sleeping Recorded Live 1970
21. Shilo Recorded Live 1970
22. Life In A Northern Town
23. I Can Hear The Grass Grow
24. Eleanor Rigby Live