Monday, December 5, 2016

Audio - Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers - 1990 Encore Set

Audio of Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers recorded live on November 13, 1990 at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT. Simulcast live on Connecticut’s rock station, 99.1 WPLR. 

Audio clip contains:

- Workout (in progress)
* Encore *
- Jailhouse Rock
- Rock With You
- Here I Come 


Audio was created by converting two (2) 12" reel to reel audio tapes off to a digital file. The beginning audio is semi-warped, most likely due to the 20+ years of the reels sitting on a shelf.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pierre Robert - 35 Years with Philadelphia Radio and WMMR


Happy 35 years of radio in Philadelphia this month to WMMR's Pierre Robert! Here's one of Audio Rumble's favorite audio clips of Pierre Robert introducing Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at the Spectrum in 1987.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers Concert Video - 11/19/16

Video from Saturday night's Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers concert at The Ardmore Music Hall - 11/19/16. Thanks to Chris Cafiero for posting on YouTube. 

Part One:



Part Two:



Setlist: 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Top Five Live Versions of TCYR's Gonna Breakdown

On today’s #ThrowbackThursday, DJ Caterina counts down the TOP 5 live versions of “Gonna Breakdown” by Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers on YouTube. Why? Because…TOMMY CONWELL AND THE YOUNG RUMBLERS PLAY THIS SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19!!! 

Phew. Got that out of my system. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Gonna Breakdown - Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at the Ambler Music Festival, 6/14/14

What would a Tommy-Conwell-guitar-solo™ be without seeing Tommy precariously perched from a very high point on the concert stage? Exactly.

 

===== ===== =====
#5. Gonna Breakdown – Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers, Nov 6, 2010. 

The audience sing-along, a tight band and great concert energy at the now-gone Blockley Pourhouse.


 

===== ===== =====
#4. Gonna Breakdown - Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, November 23, 2012. 

What a great venue. What a great night of music. Tommy’s vocals are amazing. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING! And I was there!




===== ===== =====
#3. Gonna Breakdown - Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at the Bay Center in Dewey Beach, Delaware, Aug. 21, 2010. 

This concert was a rehearsal (of sorts) for TCYR’s “reunion” Philadelphia concert (see #5) at the Blockley three months later.


 

===== ===== =====
#2. Gonna Breakdown - Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers in Italy, 1989. 

It’s the third month of 1989 and this is the best band on tour in Europe. What band am I talking about? Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers, that’s who. And listen for Chris Day’s soaring background vocals!

Other dates in Europe:
- 03 MAR 1989 :::: Lund, Sweden – Mejeriet 
- 06 MAR 1989 :::: Hamburg, Germany - Grosse Freiheit 
- 10 MAR 1989 :::: Amsterdam, Netherlands – The Paradiso




===== ===== =====
#1. Gonna Breakdown - Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at the Pennsylvania State Fair in Bensalem, PA, Memorial Day 1989. 

The 80s. Enough said.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Interview with Tommy Conwell: CIGARS, BOOZE & CONVERSATION [with Darryl Ray]

Interview with Tommy Conwell -- it's a Q and A with Darryl Ray on Cigars, Booze and Conversation

Tommy: There would be no Little Kings without Darryl Ray. 
Darryl: I hear ya. 

AND... possibly a new Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers album in 2017? YES! YES! YES!

Monday, November 7, 2016

I'm Seventeen - French style!

"I'm Seventeen" -- or "J'ai 17 Ans" -- Tommy Conwell's song cover in French by Hervé Paul - acoustic version.
[Adaptation par Kent Cokenstock (p) Hervé Paul]


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hershey Concert Doused - July 1988 Article

Hershey Concert Doused
Patriot-News Co.
24 July 1988


Rain is usually good for plants, but for rock singer Robert Plant, it might have put him on the Stairway to Heaven.

Rainstorms are no place for electric guitars, microphones and amplifiers.

Plant, former lead singer of Led Zeppelin, was scheduled to perform outdoors last night at Hershey Stadium. A heavy downpour in the late afternoon and early evening forced postponement of the concert until 2 p.m. today.

Mike Brandon, a spokesman for Electric Factory Concerts, said the heavy rain would have made the concert unsafe for both Plant and his band, as well as the audience. "Robert Plant appreciates everyone's understanding," Brandon said.

He said gates at the stadium will open at noon, and tickets will be sold at the door.

Some 13,000 tickets had been sold for the show, which also features Cheap Trick and Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers. An estimated 10,000 ticketholders made it to the stadium before turning back.

Promoters announced the postponement about 10 minutes before opening act Conwell and his band were scheduled to go on.

Traffic was backed up through Hershey as concertgoers arriving at the stadium were forced to turn around upon hearing of the cancellation.
"Our main worry was safety," said Hersheypark spokeswoman Kim Schaller. She said it appeared the rain would not let up. 

Plant, whose plane had circled fogbound Harrisburg International Airport several times before landing, did not want to play if the fans would have to stand out in the rain the entire time, Schaller said. 


The well-soaked fans had mixed reactions to the rescheduling.

"At least this way, we don't have to stand in the downpour," said Sheila Albert of State College, who planned to stay in the area and attend the show today.

Tracey Barish, a 16-year-old Harrisburg resident, expressed displeasure while walking barefoot through the stadium parking lot.
"We're already soaking wet, and it doesn't matter to us if we get any wetter," she said. 

Only a 30 percent chance of rain is predicted for today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tommy Conwell's Young Rumblers - Live at Veterans Stadium 1986



Thirty years ago this month, Tommy Conwell's Young Rumblers (Tommy Conwell, Paul Slivka and Jim Hannum) perform in concert live via television simulcast on PRISM and WMMR radio from Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia on Labor Day, September 1, 1986. 

The event was also a celebration for PRISM's 10th Anniversary Birthday Bash! 

Included in the select video playlist is a pre-concert Tommy Conwell interview (with rehearsal footage) and interviews with Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian of The Hooters before the concert. 

Setlist:

- Workout
- Tonight's the Night
- It's Your Life
- I'm Home
- Do You Still Believe in Me
- I'm Not Your Man
- Walkin' on the Water
- Roadside
- Million Pretty Girls
- Dig the Possibilities
- Yeah Yeah Daddy

| Encore |
- Demolition Derby
- I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll 


 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Review - Tommy Conwell and the Little Kings' "Sho' Gone Crazy"

Six From The Philly File
by Jonathan Takiff

Daily News Staff Writer 
October 03, 1997 

Philadelphia-spawned artists rule the roost this week...

Burned badly by a major entertainment conglomerate that tried to reshape him as the next Bryan Adams, Philly blues rocker Tommy Conwell kissed the music business goodbye. He drove a cab for a spell, studied jazz guitar with local great Jimmy Bruno, then returned to college for an education degree and became an elementary school teacher. ("Here's my record review, Mister Conwell.") 

But in his spare time, Conwell is again making good time, retro rock 'n' boogie music - the bar-band-bashing brew that first got him noticed in this town in the '80s. And trust me, the spirit's still catching. 

Get a charge with the giddy "All God's Children Wanna Rock" and "Bad Haircut," the big beat rhythm and blues bopper "Get Down and Ride" and Chuck Berry-ish guitar blaster "Betty Jean" You'll also find a pretty cool treatment of Bobby Timmons' jazz lounge instrumental "Moanin'," and a couple of new songs that spin off the titles of old tunes - "Pony Time" and "Mashed Potatoes."

 
* Tommy Conwell and The Little Kings - Sho' Gone Crazy - Llist Records Grade B

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at Stone Balloon, Newark DE - July 9, 1988

Live video of Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers at the Stone Balloon, Newark DE - July 9, 1988

Full stage shot from a stationary camera in the back - a great show!
(courtesy of 1980s Philly music on YouTube)



Setlist
- Tell Me What You Want Me To Be 

- Big Jet Plane
- Oh What a Thrill (Rockpile cover)
- Tonight’s the Night
- Gonna Breakdown
- Do You Still Believe In Me
- I’m Home
- Everyday I Have the Blues
- Everything They Say is True
- Love’s On Fire
- I’m Not Your Man
- Walkin’ on the Water

Encore
- Here I Come
- Rock With You
- Demolition Derby
- Cruisin' Slow

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Amps and Axes Podcast - Interview with Tommy Conwell


From the Amp and Axes show podcast: "Guest of the Week: Tommy Conwell. A player and songwriter that decided to meld together a couple musical styles into his own brand of entertainment during the '80's, so please find your happy place and help us welcome from the Young Rumblers, Mr. Tommy Conwell. Enjoy!

Podcast show link here.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Conwell and Crew Rumble into Town

Conwell and crew rumble into town 

by Marty Racine 
18 October 1988, Houston Chronicle 
Hearst Communications, Inc.

Bulletin!

"Local commercial rock-radio station helps break career of local band!"' 


In Houston? 

Don't be silly. It happened in Philadelphia - City of Brotherly Rock 'n' Roll Love, and home to album-rock outlet WMMR-FM, long considered one of the more influential in the industry. That station has helped spring Philly locals Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers into a regional and possibly national act. 

The Rumblers try Houston on for size in their local debut tonight at Rockefeller's. It's in support of their  "Rumble"' album on CBS. 

For mainstream singer/songwriter rock fans, this may be a newcomer to watch. They'll be on at 10 for a 90-minute set. CBS reps will be in attendance. It will be a showcase in every respect. 

"WMMR will play good local music,"' Conwell said last week from Austin. "We were in their regular rotation (with an independent record) "before'' our Columbia (CBS) record came out. They got behind us. They got behind the Hooters, too, and they got behind other bands before them."

"Radio and the public (in Philadelphia) realize that they have the power to make an act well known around the country. They have the power to propel an act."

Were they really "that" instrumental in the Rumblers' case? 

"Yeah, it's definitely - you kick around the bar scene, you've got your following, and it grows and grows. But still, you get a record on the radio and it's played a lot, your following is gonna triple. That's the power of that medium."

Prior to getting airplay, the Rumblers - Christopher Day, Jim Hannum, Rob Miller and Paul Slivka - had established themselves as a regional act in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.-Baltimore, "within three or four hours' drive from home. But that's as far as we had ever gone," Conwell said. 

The Philadelphia club scene also rates good reviews from Conwell.

"
It's a great scene. There's a whole lot of good clubs and good bands. The people are very receptive to original music."


"I don't know who's to credit for that - the clubs or the people. It's hard to find a cover (copy band) club in Philadelphia unless you're looking for one. There's a lot of clubs that book only original music."

With airplay, CBS/Columbia was not alone in pursuing the group. "We also talked to a number of other labels; Columbia is just the one we chose," Conwell said. "We waited until we felt we were ready, which is maybe different than a lot of bands do. We didn't go knocking on the door until we knew we were good and were ready for them, that we had something they could use, that we had a good product."

And that product is... ?

"The product being a band that is ready to go out on the road and knows how to play live; a band that knows how to make a record, since we had made our own record; a band that has established a track record among its fans. If nothing else, we'll sell records in Philly. So, we have a base from which to start. 

"Also, a band that has played a lot of opening acts - we opened for (David) Bowie, the Pretenders and Robert Palmer when they came to Philly. So we have experience, and it took four to five years."

For the first half of that apprenticeship, the band was a three-piece: guitar, bass and drums. "We were pretty much a blues band - Slim Harpo, B.B. King and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. I was really inspired by the T-Birds and Stevie Ray (Vaughan). Jimmie Vaughan changed my life. Those first two T-Birds records, 'whew!'"

From there, Conwell took it back to earlier inspirations: Lazy Lester, Freddie King and Magic Sam. 

But, tired of copying old blues songs, Conwell decided "to give my own songwriting a shot. When I made that decision, I started writing rock songs. I started writing for this band."

"Songwriting was never my thing. I tell you what: Being a rock star was never my thing. I was never interested in being a rock star, a singer or a songwriter. I'm a guitar player."

"But I realized that the singer and the songwriter - you can't do without them. I figured, if I could do those myself, I could save a lot of hassles with other people. So I just forced myself to become a singer and write songs. I was born with enough music in me to be able to do that."

"And one thing I've found out about songwriting is, I cannot take a break. If you don't use it, you lose it. I cannot take a break. I've got to keep it up."

With his fixation on the T-Birds, Conwell was eating up his first visit to Austin. He had rented a car and was making the rounds. 

"You familiar with Austin?"' he asked.

Somewhat. 

"Well, I think I've got the clubs cased out. I'm looking to buy some clothes, maybe some used clothes. You know any places?"

Cool young rock 'n' roller. You can tell.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tommy's Guitar - Hard Rock Cafe

Two Tommy Conwell guitars were donated to the Hard Rock Cafe at different times and locations.

The first event was an unveiling and presentation of a signed Tommy Conwell guitar to the Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia on March 2, 2004.

Tommy later donated his infamous 1969 Guild X500 (the one with all the signatures, of course!) to a Hard Rock Cafe location in Florida.

At this writing, neither guitar is on display in any Hard Rock Cafe location.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Buzz Zeemer on Walnut Street - 1996


Buzz Zeemer plays on Walnut St.- Philly-1996. Tommy Conwell, Ken Buono, Frank Brown, Dave McElroy.
(Image from Buzz Zeemer's MySpace page.)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Buzz Zeemer No Depression article - 1999

A July/August 1999 No Depression Buzz Zeemer article written by Phil Sheridan.


Buzz Zeemer - Nothing Comes Easy 
June 30, 1999 

The story of Buzz Zeemer is really two stories, each straight out of the standard rock 'n' roll manual. First, there was Flight of Mavis, a three-piece band from the Replacements school of melodic, attitudinal rock. Distinguished by Frank Brown's cut-above songwriting and warm, personable singing voice, Mavis seemed in flight toward great things in the late 1980s and early '90s. 

The highlight and lowlight were one and the same: a six-week tour opening for the Reivers. "We were exhausted," Brown said. "We were gone for six weeks and we each came home with $50 in our pockets. I mean, it was a great experience. It was fun. But 50 bucks?" A lot more than 50 bucks was riding on the second story, whose star was a promising rocker named Tommy Conwell. Signed to a big bonus and hyped to the hilt by Columbia Records, Conwell and his band, the Young Rumblers, were all set to be stars. Surprise, surprise: It didn't quite happen. 

The stories collided in the mid-1990s. Brown broke up Mavis around the same time that Conwell got his degree in education and became the hippest second-grade teacher in North America. Eventually, the two started playing together in a new band, Buzz Zeemer (whose lineup also included other former Mavis members). Their debut disc, Plaything, came out in 1995. 

Looking back, Brown can't say whether it was a mistake to break up Flight of Mavis. Any momentum they'd built up seemed to disappear with the name change, but Brown's view is that there wasn't much there to begin with. "We had momentum when the first Buzz Zeemer came out; that was like another round of attention," Brown said. "But I think you only get a certain amount. You have certain periods, and that really goes with any band." 

Buzz Zeemer's new record, Delusions Of Grandeur, is a subversively brilliant pop-rock record on Philly's Record Cellar label. Brown, 34, is a master of the three-minute pop song, a quality craftsman along the lines of Jack Logan or Tommy Keene. Brown's innate gift for melody is surpassed by spare lyrics that reveal layers of meaning and emotion not apparent on first listen. "Red Balloon", from the new album, is a straightforward tale of a kid being goaded to spend more money by the barker at a midway water-gun game. But when Brown lets loose with "Nothing is free, nothing comes easy," you realize the barker is every slick A & R guy and the kid is every wide-eyed musician who ever stepped up to take a shot at the grand prize. 

"I love pop songs," Brown said. "You get to a point where you invested so much time listening to rock music, it doesn't do you any good. You can't make any money from it, but you have all this worthless knowledge." 

Again and again on Delusions, Brown establishes the foundation with a catchy verse and memorable chorus, and then Conwell steps up and elevates the song to another level with a virtuosic solo or two. That might sound formulaic, but the whole thing is carried off with a joy bordering on goofiness. You can't help smiling along. 

"Tommy's great," Brown said. "My feelings about getting anywhere [with the band]...I mean, I don't think about it. But just the idea of playing with Tom, that's half of what keeps you going. I'd write a song and I always had this hole left for Tom. It's so hilarious to be able to write something you're happy about and then have Tommy put the icing on. Anything you imagine, he can play." 

There is a definite connection between the relaxed brilliance of the tunes and the life stages of the band members. Brown has a 1-year-old son and is working on getting his degree. Conwell is teaching. The pressure is off. 

"You still hope," Brown said, "but everyone has so much going on in their lives. It's so different from eight or 10 years ago. That's a whole different world. There's nothing you can do to make yourselves bigger. You can't just go, 'We're big.' Because we just can't take it seriously enough to believe it."

Friday, March 11, 2016

Matt Maguire - #BuzzZeemer20



Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Matt Maguire with some words on #BuzzZeemer20. 

(An EP from his project, Larabee, was produced by Ken Buono, Buzz Zeemer drummer and a veteran of the Philly scene; Buono also played drums with Flight Of Mavis and for his own band, The Tell-Alls.)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Buzz Zeemer - In Reviews

A snapshot of Buzz Zeemer…in reviews. 

(Various Buzz Zeemer critic reviews -- Plaything in 1996 and Delusions of Grandeur in 1998 -- compiled by Audio Rumble from the now defunct Record Cellar website.) ‪#‎BuzzZeemer20‬

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Buzz Zeemer Billboard Magazine mention - October 1995



"…melodic pop-rock band Buzz Zeemer…has stepped up to the most-unjustly unsigned level since adding Tommy Conwell on lead guitar."

- Billboard Magazine, Indie Labels Discover Freedom in Philly – 10/28/1995

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Onstage at the Theatre of the Living Arts: Buzz Zeemer

In 1996, PRISM, a now-defunct cable television channel in Philadelphia, aired a concert special -- PRISM and The Art Institute of Philadelphia Present ‘Onstage at the TLA: Buzz Zeemer.’ 

Included with concert footage of Buzz Zeemer at Theatre of the Living Arts were thirteen songs, interspersed with interviews of the band: Frank Brown, Tommy Conwell, Dave McElroy and Ken Buono.

Setlist: 
  • Sometimes 
  • Break My Heart
  • I Live Next Door 
  • Everything You Should 
  • Downed 
  • She Don’t Care 
  • Chosen One 
  • Red Balloon 
  • Don’t Pull Away 
  • Crush 
  • Lost and Found 
  • Goin’ Home 
  • Through It All 



Monday, March 7, 2016

Buzz Zeemer Interview - 1996

To quote Tommy Conwell -- "Frank (Brown) is a great songwriter..." ‪

#‎BuzzZeemer20‬ 

Buzz Zeemer's lead singer and songwriter, Frank Brown, talks about the "three-minute, thirty-second" pop song and how it fits into the band's mold. 

Also Tommy Conwell, Ken Buono, Dave McElroy. 1996. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Useless Information (live) - Buzz Zeemer

Just one of the many examples of their great live showmanship, here’s audio of Buzz Zeemer performing “Useless Information” live at Upstairs at Nicks in Philly, USA - ‪‬ April 4, 1997.  

With a bonus - Tommy Conwell on backing vocals!

Audio featuring Frank Brown on lead vocals and guitar, Tommy Conwell on backing vocals and guitar, Dave McElroy on bass and Ken Buono on drums.

#BuzzZeemer20
 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Buzz Zeemer - 20th Anniversary Release of 'Play Thing'


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the official release of an independently-released album called 'Play Thing' made by the little band that could – a band called Buzz Zeemer. 

Audio Rumble is taking a week out of 2016 to revisit the music and musicians of Buzz Zeemer – one of the great Philadelphia rock bands of the 1990s! ‪

Follow the posts on Audio Rumble's Facebook page.


A quote by Marc from West Chester:
“Singer/songwriter, Frank Brown, formerly of Flight of Mavis, in 1996 found guitarist Tommy Conwell for his band Buzz Zeemer (along with drummer Ken Buono and bassist Dave McElroy) and recorded a pop masterpiece, Plaything, on independent Philadelphia label, Record Cellar. Zeemer featured Brown’s witty, tuneful song craft complimented by Conwell’s tasty hooks and grooves. Plaything received rave reviews -- and Buzz Zeemer’s sophomore effort released in 1999, Delusions of Grandeur, generated additional buzz with music critics. The band performed at South by Southwest in Texas along with countless gigs at their home court - Grape Street Pub in Manayunk.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tommy Conwell - National Anthem at Wing Bowl

The best national anthem you would have heard over the 2016 #SuperBowl weekend happened on Friday, February 5, in Philadelphia.

See the official SportsRadio 94WIP video of the performance on Facebook:

And fan video, too! From WIP Wing Bowl, Wells Fargo Center, 6 a.m.

Image posted by The Hi-Fi on Twitter. [ @thehifiband ]

Saturday, February 6, 2016

MTV's Week in Rock - Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers


Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers featured on MTV's Week in Rock on October 16, 1988. Featuring an interview with Tommy Conwell as well as live performance clips from TCYR's performance at NYC's The Bottom Line on October 4, 1988.

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TJ Tindall [1951-2016]

Capturing Tommy Conwell and TJ Tindall's guitar duel during the TCYR classic "Workout" -- in January 2012 at the New Hope Winter Festival -- is one of the greatest pieces of concert footage I'll ever hope to record. 

The whole experience made me feel like I was Martin Scorsese filming The Band



That's how I feel about the greatness of David Uosikkinen's In the Pocket -- such an accomplished and first-rate group of musicians.

We'll miss you, TJ.

Originally posted on Audio Rumble's Facebook page.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Happy Birthday, Tommy Conwell!

Happy Birthday, Tommy Conwell! [January 14, 1962]



Originally posted on Audio Rumble's Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tommy Conwell - Opening for David Bowie at The Spectrum

Tommy Conwell interviewed by New Jersey 101.5 about his band -- Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers -- opening two nights for David Bowie's Glass Spider Tour at Veterans Stadium in 1987.



Newspaper advertisement, 1987.