Blog and Roll
With his handwritten notes at the ready, ten-time Golden Mike award winner Rich Marotta delivers daily his fast paced, articulate and always entertaining sports updates. Since 1991, as KFI's sports authority, Rich writes and broadcasts seven morning sports updates on Bill Handel.
Rich's input on Bill Handel is not limited to his much respected sports updates however as Rich is often called on by Bill to give his unique perspective on news and current events. Rich also takes every possible opportunity to mention how much he loves the music of Bruce Springsteen.
In 2011, Rich received the high honor of induction into two Halls of Fame. In January, he became only the 26th inductee into the Southern California Sportscasters Hall of Fame. Then in June, he was inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame.
Spending three years with the Los Angeles Kings, 11 years with the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders and four years with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers makes Rich the only sportscaster ever to have been a part of the regular broadcast teams of three major league sports franchises in Los Angeles.
Rich is a four-time Emmy award winner for his television work on KCAL doing boxing ringside color commentary and Raiders preseason play-by-play. Also, as ringside commentator for FOX Sports Net's weekly Sunday Night Fights, KCAL's Fight Night and host of Rich Marotta's Neutral Corner boxing talk show on AM 570, he is considered one of the nation's foremost boxing experts. It is no wonder the L.A. Daily News called Rich Marotta "L.A.'s most versatile sportscaster."
Rich was recently named recipient of the Sam Taub Award, given annually to the "Broadcaster of the Year" by the Boxing Writers Association of America. Rich has two children, Angela and Joey. He is married to the lovely "Helen of England."
This blog may contain profanity and/or material considered inappropriate. The views expressed in this blog are the opinions of the individual writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of KFI AM-640 and Clear Channel Radio.
The 60's turned out to be a great decade for music and went off in a lot of different directions. It stretched from "Surf Music" to the "British Invasion" to "Psychedelic" music, but I am an unabashed lover of the genre of "Garage Rock", especially that unleashed in the 60's. To take it a step further, I'm an unabashed lover of what might be termed West Coast Garage from the 60's. So I got to thinking about my favorite garage rock songs from that era. Here's a list of what I came up with:
1) LOUIE LOUIE-The Kingsmen
The all time party song by probably the best all time garage band. So many bands did this before and after the Kingsmen, but this is the version we all loved, and most bands emulated.
2) GLORIA - Them
Them might be one of the most underrated bands of all time, fronted by Van Morrison. You couldn't really call Them a Garage Band, but Gloria became a Garage Rock Classic, and believe it or not was the "B" side of a record where the chief single was "Baby Please Don't Go"
3) HEY JOE- The Leaves
Here's another song that was done by others before and after. In fact, Jimi Hendrix' version is far more famous. This however, was a West Coast regional hit and was a total rocker.
4) TALK TALK-Music Machine
This song really cooked. Musicd Machine was fronted by Sean Bonniwell, and Talk Talk was a massive hit in 1967. Unlike the three bands above however, Music Machine never really had another big hit.
5) PUSHIN' TOO HARD-The Seeds
Sky Saxon was the driving force behind this song and this band. The Seeds became a pretty strong touring garage band and had a couple of other hits, but Pushin' Too Hard was thier signature song, and an iconic song of the garage era.
6) LIES- The Knickerbockers
The Knickerbockers were not West Coast Garage, they came out of New Jersey, but their big hit, Lies, was a national hit and cracked the Top Twenty. A great sound, reminiscint of The Beatles, but unlike The Beatles, were one-hit wonders.
7) MONEY-The Kingsmen
Second big hit by The Kingsmen to crack my Top Ten. The Beatles made it an even bigger hit later, but Kingsmen had, in my mid, the better version. They also had other hits like "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and "Jolly Green Giant". Legit success as a garage band who lasted longer than most.
8) LIAR LIAR-The Castaways
Great rockin' beat, for what was almost a novelty song. The Castaways were a one-hit wonder, but Liar Liar was so good that Deborah Harry covered it many years later and turned it into a Top-20 hit.
9) WHY DO I CRY-The Remains
Quintessential garage rock song that faded into obscurity but was then resuscitated by the movie Superbad and appears on its soundtrack. This is what garage rock was all about.
10) TOO MANY PEOPLE-The Leaves
The Leaves had a few other hits besides Hey Joe, and this was the best of the rest of them. More proof that being a garage band was a pretty good gig.
I am enjoying not just a retro summer but a retro year of rock and roll. All the acts I've been enjoying are from decades past, some long past. That's with the exception blues-rock guitarist/vocalist Joe Bonamassa who is only 32, and who blew me away with an unbeleivable, amazing performance. My most recent concert though, was on a beautiful night in Lake Tahoe, an outdoor show under the stars behind Harvey's Hotel on South Shore. It was a double concert featuring Huey Lewis and the News, followed by Joe Cocker. Huey was huge in the 80's, Cocker stretches all the way back to the 60's. In fact I saw Joe Cocker in 1969 when he was a long-haired, curly, black-haired wildman with a frenetic stage presence including weird, herky-jerky motions and facial ticks. Anyway, the show was terrific. Both Lewis and Cocker seemed to be energized by the big, appreciative crowd on hand. Lewis sang all his hits and there were a lot of them. He played for a full 1:30. Then out came Cocker and he was incredible. The hair is gone, the body carries more weight, the crazy moves toned down a lot, but the voice remains. That unique, gravelly, gargle-with-razor blades voice which sets him apart is still there. He bounced on to the stage and just ripped into "Hitchcok Railway" and was unstoppable himself for the next hour and a half. "Feelin' All Right", "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window", "Unchain My Heart", "The Letter", "With a Little Help From My Friends", "Cry Me A River", and "Up Where We Belong". What a great night. If you get a chance, don't miss it.
This was just the latest though, having seen Bruce Springsteen, Peter Frampton, and believe it or not, Herman's Hermits this year.I even went to one of those Doo-Wop concerts you see on the PBS telethons. I actually got to hear The Tokens sing "Lion Sleeps Tonight" and the lead singer sings it in the same key he did 40 years ago. I must say however, I resisted, and did not go to see Frank Sinatra Jr even though we were offered free tickets. The only concert on my list that was a definite disappointment was Van Halen. Still on my list: Crosby, Stills and Nash on Sept 22, and yes, Springsteen again, December 4 in Anaheim. I would be a lot better off financially if I didn't spend all my disposable income on concerts.
Summertime musings:........I'm enjoying the Olympics although I think NBC's decision-making in its prime-time programming leaves a lot to be desired. How NBC came to the decision to just delay THE glamour event of the Olympics, the 100 meter finals until most of the country was asleep boggles the mind. That was unforgiveable. What I do like about NBC's coverage is the feature broadcasting of Mary Carillo. she has been superb.My favorite athletes so far have been swimmer Missy Franklin and 400 meter champion Sanya Richards Ross, with personalities to light up any room. The "WOW" moment though, was, what else, Usain Bolt'selectrifying 100.......I think the Dodgers can do it, win the National League West, that is. I loved their moves before the trading deadline. Those trades proved to the fans that they intend to win and win now. However, we should all settle in for a season long fight for the division title between the Dodgers and Giants. The Giants improved too, and I think the outcome will be in doubt until the final week.......Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band completed an unbelievable European tour with an all-time record 4 hour 7 minute concert. He has now added more dates in the United States to include four West Coast dates to end the tour, Portland, Oakland, Anaheim and Glendale, Arizona. I'll find a way to get to one of two of those.....Glad to hear one of my favorite bands, "The Killers" has re-united and embarked on a long European tour to promote their new album. I assume they'll tour here in America once they are done in Europe.......I think the presidential campaign sucks. Too much Super Pac money, too much hate, too many negative ads, too much spin, very little substance. Right now, in reading the electoral map and projecting ahead, I see it very close in popular vote, but President Obama getting in the neighborhood of 280-300 electoral college votes to win the election.
So I just came off a week's vacation. In the past few years, I've taken lovely trips to Taiwan, Hawaii, the Oregon Coast and New York. This year I bought a lovely house and did a lovely remodel so there were no lovely bucks left for a lovely vacation.
Therefore, I was relegated to staying home for a week. Now this is good for getting much more sleep than usual, but otherwise, i had to do some stuff that would make it a decent vaca....sorry, staycation. First thing, book tickets to a minor league ballgame. Two cousins of mine flew in to share this extraordinary experience. We went to the game on $1 rib night. While I was able to control myself by purchasing four ribs, my cousins could not and bought 20 ribs. This, by the way, was after a full dinner. we also attended the All-American barbecue festival and this time, I was the one who could not control himself. I had tri-tip, pulled pork, chicken, brisket, and pork ribs. Needless to say, later that evening, Alka-Seltzer was needed to prevent a disastrous trip to the porcelain god. On the Friday night of the week, we went to see one of our favorite cover bands, "The Spazmatics". Goofy name yes, goofily outfitted as nerds, but those dudes get down. They can play just about every hit from the late 70's and 80's. the the day after it was another music festival and excuse for gorging, this one the Barbecue, Blues and Brews Festival at which we not only munched enthusiastically but listened to cover bands of Bon Jovi and Tom Petty, which were very good. Throw in a couple of casino visits and it made for a pretty great time, totally exhausted after a week. Who says you can't stay home??
One of the biggest rock and roll tours of the year has been the Van Halen reunion tour featuring David Lee Roth on vocals. I was very excited myself since I had last seen Van Halen in 2008 and they put on a great show. So I got my tickets to two shows, one in Phoenix and one in Reno. As it turned out, Van Halen postponed the last 30 shows of the tour inclduiong that Reno show. I still had my tickets for Phoenix however and made it a rock road trip.
In a rather odd pairing, Kool and the Gang opened for Van Halen, but that was OK with me. I had seen Kool two years ago, and they were still, for lack of a better word...kool. It was no different in Phoenix, they put on a tight, 45 minute, 9 song show featuring all their big hits. They raced through them: Ladies Night, Get Down On It Jungle Boogie, Hollywood Swings, Fresh, and of course, Celebrate. Not much talking, straight music, a ten piece group, lots of dancing, well-choreographed and tight. Unfortunately, Van Halen could not say the same. Sound was bad in the arena. They played for a couple of hours, but Roth was off his game. Couldn't hit the old notes, voice broke during Jump, mic slipped out of his hands and into the crowd, and he dropped the mic stand when he was doing his whole baton twirling thing. The rest of the bad was all Van Halen, Eddie on guitar, Alex on drums, Wolfgang (Eddie's son) on bass. I'm a huge fan of Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing but he put us through a 15 minute solo piece that was completely self-indulgent, way too distorted and nothing much more than shredding up and down the guitar. Alex also had to do the solo thing, and he is not among rock's great drummers, so I'm not sure what that accomplished. Wolfgang has improved since thier first tour and he's playing with a lot more confidance, plus he does well singing backup and harmonies with Eddie. With Roth not his old self, except for his strutting and posing where he's still among the top, and sometimes sloppy playing, it just wasn't up to their standards.
Jiggs McDonald admitted that he danced a bit of a jig.
"It was a slow one," the 73-year-old said from his summer home in
Rich Marotta watched from his home in
"I couldn't talk to her - I was getting choked up," he said. "Tears, a big lump in my throat. I said, 'I'm sorry, I gotta go.'"
Pete Weber had his own sob story.
He excused himself from a gathering of about 800 at the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association annual awards banquet in North Carolina, found a laptop computer in the hallway that they were about to auction off for charity, had someone there fire up the
He had to give himself a quiet moment in the restroom.
"At least I was intelligent enough to make sure had a good supply of Kimberly Clarke stock in my pocket so people wouldn't worry about what was wrong with me," he said.
They were three former Kings broadcasters on the other end of the media moment on Monday night, watching the team they once covered - endured may be more like it - finish off their first Stanley Cup championship at Staples Center.
Maybe McDonald, Marotta or Weber may not be part of today's Stanley Cup championship parade or celebration at Staples Center, but they, along with Bob Miller, Jim Fox, Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans, are just as entitled to the own royal satisfaction in seeing something completed that never happened during their time with the franchise.
McDonald, who would otherwise be known as Ken had he not been pinned with his nickname from owner Jack Kent Cooke, began his Hockey Hall of Fame career as the Kings' first play-by-play man in 1967. He stayed around for five seasons before going to do games for the Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders, retiring from fulltime work in 2004 but still doing fill-ins to prolong his career over six decades.
Read more here.
So there I sat, watching the final seconds tick away, big knot in my throat, eyes welling up, and when the final horn sounded, it was very emotional to see the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup. Thank you Kings for finally winning the Cup after 45 years of frustration. Thank you Kings because I felt an emotional attachment to this team that I did not have for others. The Kings brought me to Los Angeles to be colorman and Bob Millers partner on radio and TV. I served a second stint with them in the late 80's and early 90's as their TV host. On their winning note, my thoughts drifted to all those people who contributed along the way to finally get to this point. Announcers Bob Miller and Nick Nickson, with the Kings for decades. Original owner Jack Kent Cooke who formed the team in 1967 and actually hired me, as well as other owners Jerry Buss, Bruce McNall and Philip Anschutz. Players like Marcel Dionne, Butch Goring, Rogie Vachon, Rob Blake, Kelly Hrudy, Luc Robitaille, Jim Fox, Bernie Nichols, Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer and of course the incomparable Wayne Gretzky. All those Kings fans, so loud, so rabid, so loyal. I think we are all feeling a part of it. Just fantastic. Thanks to this current team for getting us all there together and all hail the L.A. Kings!
Mixed with all my elation over the Kings trip to the Stanley Cup finals, the Dodgers sensational start to the season, and two concerts I attended by The Boss, are a number of items from my two great passions, music and boxing that don't raise the spirits.
Bummer: Van Halen cancels thirty concerts. Nobody knows the reasons, but speculations is rife with fighting rumors, medical rumors, fatigue rumors and more. All I know is I had tickets for August 30 in Reno, and that was one of the 30 to fall by the wayside.
Bummer: Robin Gibbs dies. One of my secret pleasures over the years has been the Bee-Gees. I really liked those guys. One of my favorite concerts is the one they did in 2002 at MGM Grand, One Night Only. I admired their muscial talent, their harmonies, their songwriting. I admired their longevity and ability to adjust to chaning times. I like them through all their eras, the 60's, the Disco era in the 70's and the post-disco era. So now Maurice and Robin are gone, throw in Andy and thats four of the Gibbs brothers lost, leaving only Barry
Bummer: Johnny Tapia Dies. The former 5-time world champion boxer was one of the most talented, controversial and tormented athletes of the '90's and 2000's. the former champ was the hero of Albuquerque, and despite his continued relapses and brushes with the law, maintained a loyal fan base. Johnny was vulnerable and he had a way to makie you feel you were important to him. when I told him long that he was my son's favorite fighter, he got very animated and excited, and from then on, always asked me how my son was doing. I can remember when I was doing Forum Boxing telecasts around 1999, and I would put up my list of the top ten boxers in the world. A fan approached me one night and said Johnny was deeply hurt and upset that I had not included him on that list. Actually he was right. I apologized to Johnny the next time I saw him because he was right! He made that list the next time I issued it. My wife and I sat with Johnny and his wife Theresa at the Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales fight. We had a great time. I was in his lockerroom as part of the broadcast team before a big fight at Caesars Palace, and felt like such an intruder when he fell on his knees praying out loud before the fight and crying. Last time I saw him was last October. He was training a fighter on the undercard of a show I was broadcasting on FOX Sports net. he came up and gave me a big hug. The guy has so many sides. Throughtout all those years, I knew and everybody knew that Tapia was headed for an early grave. His demons of drug abuse were too insidious and too powerful. He died this week at the age of 45. I'll miss him.
Bummer: Paul Williams paralyzed. ONe of the most talented and versatile boxers in the world, Paul Willaims, has seen his career come, literally, to a crashing halt. Williams was thrown from his motorcycle when he swerved to avoid an oncoming car, was thrown from the bike and severed his spine. He is paralyzed from the waist down. Williims, who is promoted by the Valley's Dan Goossen was supposed to have a big million dollar payday fight against Mexican sensation Canelo Alvarez on September 15. Now his biggest ambition in life is to someday walk again.
I admit it, I am totally geeked by the L.A. Kings amazing run in the National Hockey League playoffs. I LOVE it! I have bought into the fact totally that they can and will win the Stanley Cup.
Maybe it goes back to my professional beginnings in Los Angeles. I came to town in 1976 to join Bob Miller as color analyst on the radio and television broadcasts of the Kings. This was after I had called three years of college hockey in Colorado. In the late 80's and early 90's, I rejoined the Kings as the studio-host for their telecasts. In my first stint with he Kings, I got to call the exploits of Marcel Dionne, Butch Goring, and Rogie Vachon. In my second go-round, it was with the likes of Luc Robitaille, Jim Fox and at the very end, the Great One, Wayne Gretzky. What fun times I had, broadcasting with the likes of Miller and Nick Nickson. Those two are still there, Miller on TV, Nick calling the radio play-by-play on KTLK AM 1150. It's about time they get to call games for a team like this current edition.
While I said all season long on our morning broadcasts that the Kings were underachieving and had the capability and potential to be a real Stanley Cup contender, they never validated my comments until the playoffs. It is there that they have been magnificent, rolling over the likes of Vancouver, St Louis and Phoenix, the top three seeds, all of whom had been favored over the Kings. This is a real team. The last time the Kings were in the finals was 1993, and that was Gretzky picking 20 teammates up and carrying them on his shoulders. This team doesn't even have a star, outside of their goalie Jonathon Quick, who I believe is the best in hockey. However, they attack ferociously, and do so with great cohesion. They are relentless and haven't given their opponents in the playoffs room to breathe. So I am not surprised they are contending for The Cup. I believe they will beat whoever they face from the Eastern Conference and they'll do it in six games or less. So yes, Go Kings Go! Go out and get that Stanley Cup for the fans who have waited nearly a half-century for it!