Talking With Mike Love – April 28, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo MIke Love

This week, Ira spoke with Mike Love. To listen to the interview click below.

Mike Love, lead singer and a founding member of The Beach Boys, is bringing the iconic group to Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center April 30. The Beach Boys have been part of the American musical experience for more than 50 years.

Love wrote the lyrics to The Beach Boys’ first song, “Surfin’,” released in 1961. He then co-authored eleven Top 10 singles in five years with cousin Brian Wilson, a string of hits including “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “California Girls” and “Good Vibrations.”

The period between “Good Vibrations” (1966) and The Beach Boys’ biggest selling hit “Kokomo” (1988) is one of the longest spans of time between number one records in history. Love is the co-author of both of these smash hits.

Love was among the first pop musicians to become involved in the practice of Transcendental Meditation. He began practicing TM in December 1967. He was among those who included The Beatles, Donovan, Prudence Farrow and Mia Farrow on their famous trip to Rishikesh in India in 1968. Love still maintains his practice of TM and participates with such organizations as the David Lynch Foundation to promote the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

The Beach Boys annual tours have reached all of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, with the result that Love has not had a summer off in 50 years in his role as lead singer.

It was his idea to perform free Independence Day concerts on the grounds of the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital beginning in 1980. After a national uproar following Secretary of Interior James Watt’s ban of The Beach Boys for this event, they returned on July 4, 1984, by a personal invitation from First Lady Nancy Reagan. On July 4, 1985, The Beach Boys played to an afternoon crowd of one million in Philadelphia and the same evening they performed for over 750,000 people on the Mall in Washington. The day’s historical achievement was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Love has been a longtime supporter of environmental causes and was among speakers at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janiero in 1992 and Earth Day 2000 on the Mall in Washington, D.C.. He created the Love Foundation, which supports national environmental and educational initiatives. He personally donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Love has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lake Tahoe School in Incline Village, Nevada, and has been responsible for raising over $1 million to benefit the school as well as numerous other schools.

In 2007, he spoke on environmental concerns at The National Press Club Luncheon in Washington, DC and was named as a member of Wolf Trap’s National Advisory council on the Arts and Environment. Love proudly carried the Olympic torch for the 2002 Salt Lake City, UT Olympic Games, just as he has proudly carried the torch for The Beach Boys for more than 50 years.


Talking With Taylor Dayne – April 21, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Taylor Dayne resized 4-21-16

This week, Ira spoke with Taylor Dayne. To listen to the interview click below.

Taylor Dayne, one of the most popular vocalists of the modern age, will be performing this April 22 at The Golden Nugget Las Vegas as part of its 52 Fridays Concert Series. Dayne has enjoyed Top 10 hits in three consequent decades, selling a combined 75 million singles and albums along the way. Originally signed by music mogul Clive Davis in the 1980s, Dayne has become a true crossover artist, someone whose popularity spans multiple generations and many different music formats.

With the release of her first two albums, 1988’s Tell It to My Heart and 1989’s Can’t Fight Fate, Dayne racked up three number 1 singles: “Tell It to My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back” and “Prove Your Love to Me.” Her Grammy-nominated songs could be heard across the radio dial, from Top 40 pop stations to adult contemporary channels. Meanwhile, Dayne sang in front of audiences across the world, even joining Michael Jackson for the European leg of his sold-out “Bad” tour.

As the ’80s gave way to the ’90s, she began establishing herself as a film, television and stage actress, too, appearing alongside Warren Beatty in the movie “Love Affair,” starring in Elton John’s Broadway award-winning production of Aida, and playing Grizzabella in the 2013 Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival’s production of “CATS.” She also gained notice not only for her singing ability, but her songwriting skills, as well. Several of Dayne’s gold and platinum-selling solo albums featured her own compositions, and “Whatever You Want,” a song she co-wrote for Tina Turner, became a Top 40 hit in 10 different countries in 1996.

After taking a break from music to raise her two children, Dayne made a highly publicized return with her 2008 release, Satisfied. She co-wrote the album’s lead single, “Beautiful,” which climbed to number 1 on the dance charts. It was her 17th time cracking the Top 10 on the Billboard charts. Two years later, Dayne performed the official theme song of the 2010 Gay Games, “Facing a Miracle.” She followed that song’s release with her 18th Top 10 hit, “Floor on Fire,” and continued making appearances on film and TV. Fans of “American Idol” even chose her as the top candidate to replace former judge Paula Abdul in a poll conducted by Rolling Stone, proof that Dayne was still a household name.

More than 25 years after the release of her single, Taylor Dayne continues to tour the world. She was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2012, joining other luminaries like Billy Joel and Joan Jett. She is currently on tour around the United States.


Talking With Janis McKay – April 14, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Janice L McKay

This week, Ira spoke with Janice L. McKay. To listen to the interview click below.

Janis L. McKay, author of “Played Out on the Strip, The Rise and Fall of Las Vegas Casino Bands,” is associate professor of bassoon and principal bassoon of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra. She also performs as principal bassoon for the Classical Music Festival in Austria and as Contrabassoon for the Reno Philharmonic.

McKay has held positions and performed with numerous orchestras including the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston (WV) Orchestra, the Springfield (OH) Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, and the Louisville Orchestra among many others. A busy free-lance musician in Las Vegas, McKay has performed and/or toured with such artists as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Charlotte Church, John Williams, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Metallica, Stevie Wonder, and Tony Bennett.

She has twice been a featured soloist with the International Music Festival in the Ukraine, twice with the Classical Music Festival touring Austria and Hungary, and once with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. She may be heard on Summit, d’Note, Starkland Records, and First Edition recordings. McKay has given masterclasses and recitals at numerous locations including the Shanghai Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, the Ohio State University, the University of North Texas, Florida State University, the University of Georgia, Butler University, Miami University, Arizona State University, and the Musikschule Eisenstadt among many others.

McKay received her DMA from The Ohio State University, the Master of Music degree from the University of Louisville, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia. Her major teachers were Christopher Weait, Matthew Karr, and William Davis. McKay previously taught at Baylor University, Capital University, the Ohio Wesleyan University, and Wright State University. She was also a faculty member of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.


Talking With Don Friesen – April 7, 2016

FotoFlexer_Photo Don Friesen 1
This week, Ira spoke with Don Friesen. To listen to the interview click below.

Don Friesen, headlining at The Laugh Factory in the Tropicana Las Vegas through April 10, is a modern suburban dad just trying to raise his kids, and get through the day with a bit of money in the bank and a scrap of dignity intact.

With a unique style that can best be described as frenetic and engaging, Friesen captures the irony of parenting, marriage and everyday absurdities through characters, voices, and parodies.

He’s a wanna-be geek who constantly upgrades to the latest technology, but can never get it to work, leading to signature bits about tech support, idiots guides, texting and passwords.