Podcast: Whatever happened to Skippy from 'Family Ties'?

skippy.jpgMarc Price probably was worried from the moment he got a call from Hollywood asking him to join TV's Family Ties: It's usually a curse to be an add-on character late in the life of a successful TV show. Just ask Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch. Lucy Ewing from Dallas. Ummm ... Scrappy-Doo from The Adventures of Scooby-Doo. Well, you get the picture.

But Price nailed it as Skippy, the nerdish friend to Michael J. Fox's Alex P. Keaton and would-be soulmate to Mallory Keaton. Unlike most late additions, his character had depth and dimension in addition to providing extra laughs.

So I was pretty floored when I got an e-mail out of the blue a month ago from Marc Price saying essentially, "Hey, it's Skippy from Family Ties. Wanna chat?"

Hell yeah, I did. Turns out Marc is still active in Hollywood, usually as a producer on various cable TV shows. And he tours the country doing stand-up comedy. You can guess what happened next: Podcast time.

Marc catches us on on behind-the-scenes scoop on Family Ties, the public and private lives of his castmates and some interesting stories about life on the road (including a woman in Grand Rapids who got too secure a grip on Marc after a comedy show).  …

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Rick Springfield returns to Clearwater for Q-Fest on April 21

springfield.jpgRick Springfield, my old friend. There's nobody in the Stuck in the '80s catalog of interviews whom we've talked to more times than Rick Springfield. And why? Because he's still basically the same rock god today that he was decades ago when his music topped radio charts. And because he's a great storyteller who puts his interviewers at ease. [Listen to our last podcast.]

So I'm happy to report that Rick Springfield is the headliner for this year's Q-Fest at Clearwater's Coachman Park on April 21. General admission is free. Reserved seats are $20-30 with VIP tickets going for $75. However, everyone is a VIP at a Rick Springfield concert. Expect him to crawl through the crowd while playing some of his biggest hits. And if he stops in front of you to start those opening chords to Jessie's Girl, well, then you're that night's lucky girl (or guy).

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Duran Duran returns for another U.S. tour in August

Duran Duran/Getty ImagesDuran Duran is about to head to the U.S. for a tour supporting All You Need Is Now. Which, of course, is exactly what Duran Duran did last year. Ah, who cares. The lads are so beloved that they could go on an indefinite touring loop and probably never fair to sell a seat.

There's still the small matter of a European and South American tour to tackle before returning to American shores, so let's hope Simon is taking extra vitamins so that his voice holds up.

In the meantime, here are the announced U.S. dates so far from the ever cool Slicingupeyeballs website. You'll notice there are no Florida dates (and probably no room to add any). That's okay. It's time for the good people of ... Catossa, Oklahoma? ... to see Duran Duran anyway. Enjoy.

Aug. 8: TBA, Saratoga, CA
Aug. 9: TBA, Saratoga, CA
Aug. 12: TBA, Tuscon, AZ
Aug. 15: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Catoosa, OK
Aug. 17: Memphis Botanical Gardens, Memphis, TN
Aug. 18: Hard Rock Casino and Resort, Biloxi, MS
Aug. 19: TBA, Atlanta, GA
Aug. 21: Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham, NC
Aug. 24: TBA, Mashantucket, CT
Aug. 25: TBA, Atlantic City, NJ
Aug. 28: TBA, Kettering, OH
Aug. 29: Ravina Festival, Highland Park, IL Full Story

'Twins' sequel goes into labor with Arnold, Danny ... and Eddie Murphy?!?

twins-schwarzenegger-devito.jpgTwins, the 1988 movie that paired Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as long-separated brothers Julius and Vincent, is giving birth to a sequel. And guess who's the long-lost brother now: Eddie Murphy.

"Titled Triplets, the story would see Schwarzenegger and DeVito as brothers Julius and Vincent, conceived experimentally, who discover they have third sibling," the Hollywood Reporter says. "The project doesn’t have a director at this early stage -- Ivan Reitman, who helmed the original, would only act as a producer ... but the hunt is on for writers to develop the idea."

In case you're wondering, "Why Twins?" ... well, the original movie made more than $200 million on a $15 million budget. Even critics were amused. Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, famed critic Roger Ebert said, "Twins is not a great comedy - it's not up there with Reitman's Ghostbusters and DeVito is not as funny as he was in Ruthless People and Wise Guys - but it is an engaging entertainment with some big laughs and a sort of warm goofiness."

In case you're wondering, "Why Eddie?" ... well, this actually sounds like the first good project he's been attached to in a long while.

And yes, Arnold, Danny and Eddie are all attached. Hopefully not by an umbilical cord. Yet, anyway.

TOP 5 MEMORABLE LINES FROM TWINS:

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Best. Cover. Ever. Hall & Oates' 'I Can't Go For That' ... in a van

That's Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers in their so-called Van Sessions, covering the impossible-to-cover Hall & Oates. I presume someone else is driving other than Nicki.

Special tip of the hat to my favorite Valley Girl, Deborah Foreman, for pointing that song out.

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Aerosmith, Cheap Trick team up for summer tour

Aerosmith/AP photoAerosmith calling it quits? Not a chance. At least not in 2012. Despite frontman Steven Tyler's new and sometimes-annoying love-affair with American Idol, the band has announced a "Global Warming" tour of North America this summer. Cheap Trick will be the opening act. Tickets went on sale Tuesday for most dates.

Okay, now the bad news: No Florida dates have been announced, and after looking at the tour dates, I don't really see room for a trip this far south either.

Feel free to read the canned quotes from bandmembers provided by Pollstar.com. It's not like Aerosmith really needs to sell themselves these days.

AEROSMITH/CHEAP TRICK 2012 TOUR DATES: …

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Howard Jones' new concert DVD puts his dream into action

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Howard Jones is an amazingly gifted musician. Talented enough to thrill fans with every song and performance, yet humble enough to never let it go to his head. It's this intoxicating combination that fuels the concert DVD Howard Jones: Human's Lib & Dream Into Action Live at IndigO2.

A double disc set, Howard takes on his first two albums in their entirety. If there's any oddity here, it's that he chooses to tackle Dream Into Action, his second album, in the first set. Just as well: That means we get the near-pop-perfection of New Song as a finale.

Here are some thoughts on the concert package, a must-own for all Howard Jones fans. (Insider tip: Howard's about to set off on another tour, where he'll play both albums live again. Click here for tour dates. And click here to listen to my interview with Howard.)

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Who wants to buy Beetlejuice's 'Handbook for the Recently Deceased'? (First edition)

handbookfortherecentlydeceased.jpgBeetlejuice fans, how can you resist this? A first-edition, hardbound copy of The Handbook for the Recently Deceased, the manual for ghouls that "reads like stereo instructions." The actual prop from Tim Burton's 1988 movie is under auction, but it might take you until your own afterlife to pay it off.

The book in question is actually a psychology textbook with a custom cover over the top. According to the Atlantic Wire, several replicas are out there for sale at about $20. But if you want the one actually used in the movie, open a line of credit. Current bid: About $3,250.

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Worth reading: 'Music on Film ... Purple Rain' shows why the film endures

purple_rain.jpgOkay, Darling Nikki, you may think you know everything about Prince's Purple Rain, but a new book by John Kenneth Muir quickly proved at least myself wrong on that account. At about 150 pages and just four chapters, Music on Film ... Purple Rain feels more like a weighty Wikipedia item sometimes -- I read it start to finish in a couple hours in a single night -- but don't let the width of the book distract you.

Thanks to interviews with some of the stars, the producer and director, the author packs each pages with items that will impress even hardcore fans. (Sorry, no actual Prince interview here. The Purple One is just as elusive with this author as he is with most of his watchers.)

Here are a few things I didn't know before reading Muir's book:

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Podcast: Find out why Martin Short was the Cheap Amigo

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Martin Short. It's hard to imagine the '80s without him. He began the decade a guest star ("passenger") on TV's Love Boat. Moved to do some great work on SCTV and Saturday Night Live. Then cranked out a couple of movies that we still adore today: Three Amigos and Innerspace.

If Hollywood has ignored his '80s flicks in their current remake mania, it's not because of a lack of enthusiasm on Marty's part. He'd love to see a remake wave, starting with Three Amigos.

"It was the beginning of a style of film that continues: an absurdist film for just pure comedy," told Stuck in the '80s. I remember Chevy (Chase), Steve (Martin) and I were promoting it on the Today show, and Bryant Gumbel said, "What would you say if someone said this is a 'silly' movie?" And he spit the word out. And Steve Martin said, "Well, that depends on how you say the word 'silly.'" Steve is an absurdist guy. ... The Three Amigos script, with the Invisible Horseman and all these strange things, was his sense of humor. It was a fun shoot, but it was daunting. They were big movie stars. I was the cheap amigo."

Marty was our special guest on this week's podcast. Listen to the full interview by downloading the show for free.

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Karma Chameleon hat: Start planning Halloween 2012 now!

boy_george_hat.jpgEvery year, it's the same drill. Two weeks before Halloween or some '80s party, everyone panics and e-mails me for '80s costume ideas. Really, it's a no-brainer. Just head to sites like 80stees.com or Founditemclothing.com, and all will be revealed.

This week, 80stees.com introduced the Boy George Karma Chameleon hat, which is bound to be a best-seller because "there's a loving in your eyes all the way." Personally, I think it'd work better without the beard. It's $15 and then the rest of the outfit is up to you. Or hell, just wear it with a Captain America shirt like this guy.

charles-in-charge-shirt.jpg80stees.com also has its Charles in Charge t-shirt on sale. $5 for this? Come on, gang. I'm making it easy for you.

If you want 80stees.com to do all the work for you, just click on their Halloween costume page. (I still love the Greatest American Hero outfit the best.)

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Watch Van Halen's 26-minute finale online

If you're missing out on Van Halen's 2012 tour, well, I'm sure you have a very good reason. But, thanks to the miracle of the Intrawebz, you can watch the final 26 minutes of their recent show in Indianapolis on Youtube. Amazing quality too. [Special thanks to Martha Quinn for fiding this and posting it online]

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Bruce Springsteen's 2012 setlist: Heavy on new stuff

Bruce Springsteen/AP photoBruce Springsteen plays the Tampa Bay Times Forum tonight. It's not yet a sold-out show, so if you're sitting on the fence about going, maybe seeing the likely setlist would help.

Here's the basic setlist Springsteen has been playing in the last week or so. It's heavy on tunes from the new album, but there are a few classics sprinkled throughout as well.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN 2012 SETLIST

 

Encores:

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I know this much is true: Help pick the best commercials featuring '80s music

Spandau Ballet is the latest '80s band to lend a tune to a TV commercial, offering up True to Chevrolet. Seems nice enough. The band even linked to it from their official website, so they're proud of it. (And why not? It's a great song!)

So here's my question: Can we name the best and worst uses of '80s music in TV commercials? Yes, list time again. These should preferably be commercials in the last few years. When possible, give me a link to the online video of the commercial.

And then in early April, I'll post the complete list. Have fun.

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El DeBarge in the clear after drug arrest; still on Funk Fest bill for St. Pete

El DeBarge/Getty ImagesEl DeBarge has hit some hurdles over the years, but the '80s nation has been rooting consistently for his comeback.

But we broke into a sweat this week when we heard our Who's Johnny/Rhythm of the Night crooner (born Eldra Patrick DeBarge) was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles for felony possession of narcotics with intent to sell -- the singer's third drug arrest since 2001, TMZ reported.

According to official D.A. documents, "police officers noticed DeBarge and another man speaking on the street -- and for some reason, decided to search them ... without giving a reason why," TMZ says. Though they found nothing, and DeBarge denied any wrongdoing, cops found rock cocaine under a nearby car and the singer was arrested.

Later, prosecutors decided the evidence wasn't there -- and the charge was dropped.

That's especially good news for fans in Tampa Bay, where El DeBarge is scheduled to play the Funk Fest in St. Petersburg on April 6-7 in Vinoy Park. A spokesperson today said they've been in contact with his manager and that El DeBarge is still in the show.

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