Joe Viglione’s Unique Perspective on Film

The upcoming Spiderman film looks like fun. Doctor Octopus, Doctor Strange chock full of docs…. I started writing reviews at the age of 15 in 1969 for my fan publication Varulven Magazine. 52 years later I have developed my own “writer’s voice” giving insight quite different from other critics. My theory is, why do a regular mainstream review that you can find online from any publication? With a film out worldwide Marty Balin Live on the Esplanade – Rock n Roll Hall of Fame artist directed by Joe Viglione, the first solo Marty Balin (of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship) disc full of surprises, and a number of new films already in the planning stages, you get ideas inside my reviews from behind the camera and from the front row of the theater.

From Joe V, the director: This Marty Balin DVD is the “ultimate fan package”…meaning, rather than allow unauthorized tapes to flourish we got footage together from both professionals and people who are long-time Balin supporters who wanted to run cameras at the June 14, 2008 concert in Boston. The spirit of the recording was to document a rare Balin gig a la Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven’s “The First Annual Camp Out Live at Pappy and Harriet’s P”. It’s a 9 camera shoot utilizing 7 of the cameras in the edit. Don’t expect a multi-million dollar production – this disc is a labor of love spanning 14 years beginning with an interview from 1995. As the 1995 concert footage that accompanied the original television broadcast interview was Jefferson Starship material we decided to film a new concert with Marty’s band. Balin was originally scheduled to open for Johnny Rivers in 2007 but due to a prior commitment with Jefferson Starship in New York the date got moved to June of 2008 – a gig with the group/duo America at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade (same venue Rivers played the year before).

The cover photo is not from this America/Balin concert…that’s a picture that former Jefferson Starship lead singer Darby Gould took from the stage when Marty was in the latter-day J.S….and we thank her for such a beautiful and mysterious shot. Marco Centola and Rob Fraboni remastered the two-track soundboard audio…D.J. Eli Polonsky at WMBR in Cambridge/Boston played “Somebody To Love” on the air and it sounded great coming over the radio. Marty Balin was interviewed by Polonsky on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 and when the DJ noted that singer Didi Stewart is a legendary Boston figure Marty said immediately “She’s a great singer!” As producer/director I would love to see an extended version of this DVD a few years from now…and maybe an audio CD mixed from both the soundboard and the multiple cameras. The August 1976 hit “With Your Love” was performed in the studio practice at Newbury Media on 6-13-08 the day before the show and is probably up somewhere on the web as a trailer for this project, though that classic wasn’t performed the next night at the show. Those songs were digitally recorded, multi-track, at the world class facility which has gold and platinum for Marky Mark, New Kids on The Block and other major recording artists. Three of the Newbury Media rehearsal sessions are on this DVD – Essra Mohawk’s “Shaping The Night”, a second version of the Jesse Barish classic “Count On Me” and Balin’s own “Somehow The Tired Reach Home”. The audio on those three bonus tracks was mixed by Ken Kanavos at the studio and the quality is superb.

It is my hope that everyone gets to see the genius of Marty Balin 39 years after he performed at Woodstock and enjoys this presentation that we put a lot of time and love into, released on the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock event. Four of the songs the Jefferson Airplane performed at Woodstock appear on this disc recorded 4 decades after the Summer of Love.

As noted above I’m the producer/director of this document. The 5 star rating I give it is for Marty Balin’s performance and the performances of singer Didi Stewart, keyboard player Gordon G.G. Gebert (of a latter day version of the group Angel), bassist Dave Trupia (also on Marty’s upcoming CD) and the extraordinary Donny Baldwin, drummer with Elvin Bishop Group and the latter day Starship (the Mickey Thomas version of the band after Marty Balin went solo). It was an absolute honor to work with these talents and it is my hope that the public enjoys this recording for what it is: an historical record of a rock & roll hall of famer with no frills and lots of bonus material including interviews with Signe Anderson, Jeff Tamarkin and Marty Balin himself.

Johnny Thunders/ Joe Viglione The Daughters in Paradise

February 1983

February 27, 1983, I opened for the legendary Johnny Thunders in Paradise with my friends The Daughters. They backed Johnny up. WERS student wanted to interview Johnny, but Thunders said “I will only let Joe Viglione interview me.” So I interviewed Johnny and it purportedly was played on 88.1 FM WERS, Emerson College. Would love to get a copy of that. Never heard the interview. These are Terry Brenner’s Ticket Stubs

Captain America: The First Avenger 2011 Review by Joe Viglione

Captain America: The First Avenger – Movie Review


 Massachusetts native Chris Evans returns to Marvel Comics’ “House of Ideas” as Steve Rogers – Captain America, with a much different look than exhibited in the two films where he appeared as The Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm. This important component of the Avengers collection, the final “prequel”, if you will, has to be at least as effective as Kenneth Branagh’s Thor: The God Of Thunder, and that it is.

Director Joe Johnston has had plenty of experience with Science Fiction, from 1989’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids to Jurassic Park III. He does an elegant job of blending cliche after cliche in Captain America: The First Avenger, a forumla that has become a quite necessary merry-go-round of sorts for the variety of D.C. and Marvel superheroes launching out of the big screen. These are the spawn of the James Bond blockbuster pictures when Goldfinger was identifiable to the mainstream as Dr. Doom was to comic book fans in the pages of the Fantastic Four.

Captain America sports the film texture from Kerry Conran’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow with a bit of Josef Rusnak’s The Thirteenth Floor enhanced with a darker (and so obligatory nowadays) 3D. Let’s face it, the choice of director for these high stakes films is made with mathematical precision and Johnston doesn’t disappoint. The estimated budget of $140 million is in the ballpark for these Marvel epics, a rather daunting figure when The Matrix pulled in four hundred million more than the sixty-three million invested to start that series. Hugo Weaving is recycled yet again, and his vision for The Red Skull is most satisfying. Said to have been pulled, in part, from a James Bond villain, Maximilian Largo (if we are to believe Wikipedia), actor Klaus Maria Brandauer’s psychotic madman is a good study for Red Skull. Weaving’s malevolence far outpaces his Agent Smith from the Matrix…the calculating machine mind replaced by megalomania and a penchant for Norse mythology and the occult. He certainly uses his previous three movie stint as the computer virus as a foundation for this, and his hatred is far more believable here.

Back in the 1960s comics were for kids along with bubble gum cards and Monkees records. Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee had a vision of adults walking down the street with his comic magazines, not in brown paper bags or hidden in their suit jackets, but consumers proudly holding his creations for all to see. Decades after achieving that initial goal – establishing the colorful stories as legitimate literature, the successful author is as revered to his massive following as Alfred Hitchcock was to his, both icons making important cameos as a kind of on-camera signature, to the audience’s delight. The expensive action does get a bit hokey, my recollection of the 1960s Captain America didn’t have him this amped up. The film version gives the hero bonafide super powers that were not as evident in the comic book. This motion picture takes the liberty of giving Cap some of Daredevil’s instinct, Hulk’s strength and Spiderman’s gymnastics, probably to cope with the fact that he’s the most vulnerable super hero of the bunch. Think Superman with a bit of Kryptonite following him about 300 yards away.

As Johnny Storm the producers used Chris Evans for eye candy (though his acting skills rose above the scripts he was handed in both FF adventures).It’s not a stretch to see an actor go from one superhero to another as Marvel made it a habit to switch their comic book creations around…just as Medusa from The Frightful Four became Medusa of The Inhumans (two of the more underrated teams in Marvel history). Here he gets to transform his cerebral approach to Steve Rogers in the same way his body is morphed from stringbean to …well, Wolverine or Incredible Hulk…take your pick. These “origins” are very similar and the trick is to do it as flashy as possible. Marvel is well aware that the film going public has tired of the origin of Superamn, or how Batman came to be is told time and again. Having to address that for a figure unkown to the mainstream means keeping it brief, and adding a little contemporary terrorism to keep things modern and different.

To spice things up the audience is treated to a little Bride of Frankenstein mad scientist laboratory, a little dash of the early Batman serials from the 1940s and some military madness from the 1950s sci-fi film stampede. And while you’re at it, make it a World War II saga to boot. The two hours contain all of it and do it with enough action to make it the roller coaster ride it is supposed to be.

Captain America: The First Avenger has to follow the last Harry Potter film. That’s probably a good thing as the fantasy audience that is devouring Potter magic will, no doubt, want to get right back to the theaters. It’s no Deathly Hallows II, but it is pretty much what comic book fans want. The packed house in Boston waited to see if an Avenger’s trailer would follow the credits. Their disappointment that it did not only shows how devoted the audience for this genre still is.

More Joe V Film Reviews here:

July 7 Esoteric Diaries from Joe V…Wild Cherries in the yard…and Black Widow at the movies. Marvel Summer

Wild Cherries …about 3:39 pm in my backyard/driveway. The birds are feasting on these cherries. I wasn’t sure what they were until two neighbors came by and asked through my living room window if they could “…have some wild cherries.” I’ve been living here 3 years and 1 month as of Saturday, 37 months and wasn’t aware of WHAT kind of fruit or berry was on the tree. Well the wildlife is amazing, birds and seagulls and bunny rabbits and squirrels, it’s lots of fun to watch the plant life and creatures here. So i tried a couple of the cherries today, very tangy with a bite. Seed inside, of course, not as sweet as store-bought cherries.

All photos by Joe Viglione about 3:39 pm July 7,2021

The Esoteric Diaries on an extremely hot summer day Wednesday 6/30/21

Thanks DavyH Photograph of Poppy(below) by DavyH off of his Twitter

on Twitter


Lou Spinnazola just played the “Last Days of May” by Blue Oyster Cult on the Spin Room and I cannot believe that a month has flown by. Found this interesting blog transcribing part of my August 1995 interview with the wonderful and brilliant Bobby Hebb:

Bobby told the story of how he came to write ‘Sunny’ in a TV interview with US TV host Joe Viglione in August 1995…

“I find it more psychological the way I was thinking…it’s your disposition…you need a lift, an up, that’s all. Sometimes everyone needs an up. So “Sunny”, to me, is that disposition, you need a Sunny disposition to get away from whatever, just as I said before, “amuse me”, “make me forget what I just saw man”, “I don’t wanna know, I know I have to know, but I don’t know how to deal with it right now. I will deal with it, I’m not running away from this.  I just need a break.

So this was the idea behind “Sunny” – (it) was (to) give me a brighter idea so that my emotions will not be as disturbed as they are. I need a calmer feeling so that I can balance myself and adjust and then continue forward, onward.”
AllMusic link to the original here:

She Cracked by #ModernLovers #JonathanRichman

She Cracked by #ModernLovers #JonathanRichman Song Review by Joe ViglioneOne of the six John Cale produced “demos” from the combination of tapes which are the first Modern Lovers album, “She Cracked” is the stuff Velvet Underground fans’dreams are made of

91 in Medford 6:28 pm 94°F°C Precipitation: 15% Humidity: 47% Wind: 10 mph Malden, MA Tuesday 5:00 PM Partly cloudy

It’s 6 pm in Malden. Now 6:28 …I’m scurrying around The Esoteric Diaries Tuesday June 29, 2021

Review by Joe Viglione  [-]
Writer Jeff Tamarkin says “ex Butterfield Band guitarist Mike Bloomfield, drummer Buddy Miles, and others put this soul-rock band together in 1967. This debut is a testament to their ability to catch fire and keep on burnin’.” That The Electric Flag do so well — they appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival with the Blues Project, Paul Butterfield, and Janis Joplin, and all these groups had some musical connection to each other beyond that pivotal festival. A Long Time Comin’ is the “new soul” described appropriately enough by the late critic Lillian Roxon, and tunes like “She Should Have Just” and “Over-Lovin’ You” lean more towards the soul side than the pop so many radio listeners were attuned to back then. Nick Gravenites was too much of a purist to ride his blues on the Top 40 the way Felix Cavaliere gave us “Groovin’,” so Janis Joplin’s eventual replacement in Big Brother & the Holding Company, Gravenites, and this crew pour out “Groovin’ Is Easy” on this disc. It’s a classy production, intellectual ideas with lots of musical changes, a subdued version of what Joplin herself would give us on I Got Dem Ole Kozmic Blues Again, Mama two years later, with some of that album written by vocalist Gravenites. Though launched after Al Kooper’s the Blues Project, A Long Time Comin’ itself influenced bands who would go on to sell more records. In the traditional “Wine,” it is proclaimed “you know Janis Joplin, she’ll tell you all about that wine, baby.” As good as the album is, though, the material is pretty much composed by Mike Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg, when they’re not covering Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and adding spoken-word news broadcasts to the mix. More contributions by Buddy Miles and Gravenites in the songwriting department would have been welcome here. The extended CD version has four additional tracks, Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” and “Mystery,” both which appear on the self-titled Electric Flag outing which followed this LP, as well as other material which shows up on Old Glory: The Best of Electric Flag, released in 2000. “Sittin’ in Circles” opens like the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm,” the keyboards as well as the sound effects, and a hook of “hey little girl” which would resurface as the title of a Nick Gravenites tune on the aforementioned follow-up disc, where Gravenites and Miles did pick up the songwriting slack, Bloomfield having wandered off to Super Session with the Blues Project’s Al Kooper. Amazing stuff all in all, which could eventually comprise a boxed set of experimental blues rock from the mid- to late sixties. Either version of this recording, original vinyl or extended CD, is fun listening and a revelation.

The first Paradise Rock and Roll Spectacular happened on June 29, 1978…after the blizzard of 78 into the summer. The Cars played the night after us. Here’s an audio of the Cars on July 1, 1978 two nights after

Erma Franklin did the original Piece of My Heart. It’s where Janis Joplin and Big Brother got the song from; Aretha’s sister joins the Electric Flag and performs Piece of My Heart go about 55 minutes in Erma sings her sister’s Chain of Fools and then her own pre-Joplin (though in 1968, the Joplin era “Piece of my Heart”

Esoteric Diaries of Joseph Viglione Second Day of Summer 2021

I produced this!

My Robin Gibb Review

Robin Gibb

How Old Are You?

AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione  [-]

How Old Are You? is an extraordinary pop record from vocalist Robin Gibb, although none of these ten excellent tunes penned with twin brother Maurice joined his other two Top 40 hits on the charts. Heavy synthesizers embrace Gibb‘s distinctive vocals and embellish the sensational “Juliet,” which launches side one, as well as the very serious “Another Lonely Night in New York,” which opens side two. In between are gems like “Danger,” an elegant techno journey. This is the type of song which FM underground radio could have played in the early ’80s, a dark sound with hooks galore, and a joy to listen to. But why put Robin Gibb alongside Joan Jett, Genya Ravan, and Ian Hunter on the FM while the Bee Gees were so overexposed on Top 40? This is such a radio-friendly record by a proven artist that it only goes to show that a frosty march like “He Can’t Love You” has no place on the public airwaves if the artist isn’t hip enough, and what a statement that is; of course if Jett had performed this in her heyday, it would have gained some chart action. A poster photo of Clark Gable and Ava Gardner is separated from the box office by a solitary Robin Gibb on the front cover, while the singer sits in an empty movie house on the back, accompanied only by a young couple kissing (with Robin being a voyeur). “Kathy’s Gone” has film references and all the elements of a hit single. Every track shows the precision and professionalism the record-buying public encounters with each Bee Gees release. This is as much Maurice Gibb‘s album as Robin‘s, with co-production, co-songwriting, bass and acoustic guitar, backing vocals, and synthesizers provided by Robin‘s twin. “I Believe in Miracles” could have been a big hit for Dolly Parton or Linda Ronstadt, and why no ’80s adult contemporary artists jumped on this treasure chest of songs in America is a mystery. “Juliet” received substantial airplay in other parts of the world, reaching number one in Germany. Collapse ↑