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And the cradle will no longer rock by Bob Lefsetz

And the cradle will no longer rock.

That’s my favorite Van Halen song. It sounds so alive, but Eddie Van Halen isn’t.

He paid his dues. You’ve got to be a virtuoso. When no one is watching, no one is paying attention, you’re on a mission.

And then they started knocking around town. Most bands fermented in their local burb and ultimately pulled up roots and moved to Hollywood. Van Halen started here. And you could see them all the time. At clubs like the Starwood or Gazzarri’s, which never featured stars, just those on the way up or those who would never make it. The stars played the Whisky, the Troubadour, the Roxy. You went to the Starwood and Gazzarri’s to rock, to hang with like-minded people, it was a niche, and few broke out of it.

So Gene Simmons decided to pony up for a demo. We knew because we heard it on KROQ. “Runnin’ With The Devil.”

But still, Van Halen was stuck in no-man’s land. Everybody in L.A. knew them, but no one outside Tinseltown did. One wondered if their moment was gonna pass.

And it was not an act that played nicely with others. As in it didn’t always fit. Van Halen were born to be headliners. I saw them opening for Nils Lofgren at the Santa Monica Civic before the first album came out. David Lee Roth resembled no one so much as Jim Dandy, of the execrable Black Oak Arkansas. A larger than life cartoon that was playing to the back row of the arena even though we were in a theatre. As for Eddie Van Halen’s guitar, it was so loud and I was so close that it all washed over me, I didn’t get it.

Until “Van Halen II.” When the clerks at Rhino Records were testifying how great Eddie was, and they didn’t like anybody unless they were obscure, and someone playing this kind of music? It perked up my ears.

So, they were always around.

I took a class with Jim Rissmiller, he’s gone now too, about concert promotion. He brought in Noel Monk, the band’s manager at the time, and Noel filled us in on “Diver Down,” which was imminent. But it was “1984” that broke the band wide, I mean to everybody.

And David Lee Roth thought he was the act, but it was always Eddie Van Halen, always. Van Halen could continue with a new lead singer, but not without Eddie. Van Halen was one of the very few bands that could succeed at the same level with a new lead singer, that’s testimony to Van Halen’s skills. Sammy Hagar has the pipes, but look at the venues Hagar’s playing now.

But back to “1984.” It was released on New Year’s Day, when at the time no one put out any music in January whatsoever. And it dominated the airwaves. “Jump” was in the jukebox at the Rainbow, it was played over and over that spring and summer, long after it had left the airwaves.

And of course Van Halen was supercharged by MTV. But somehow they truly bridged the gap. Most of the classic rockers, those with careers before the music television service, did performance videos, where they stood still, Van Halen jumped around, to the point where Eddie had to get his hips replaced.

Actually, my favorite track on “1984” is “I’ll Wait.” That was one of the album’s breakthroughs. Not only was Eddie a star on guitar, he mastered the keys too, he could add new sounds, he wanted to grow.

And Dave went on to sing about “California Girls” as the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony licked their wounds and then two years later, the newly configured Van Hagar came out with “5150.”

The hit was “Why Can’t This Be Love.” The work track, the one that came out in advance. And at first it was different, you didn’t quite get it, but then you couldn’t get enough of it, you played it over and over again.

It was still the vinyl era. I bought the LP the day it came out. And it’s very good. At this point its most famous, most played cut, is “Dreams,” which could never be done with Dave, but my favorite opens the second side, “Best of Both Worlds.” It was the riff and the dynamics. From loud to understated. I tingle as I listen right now. This wasn’t pure balls to the wall, it mixed in-your-face with subtle, twisting and turning along the way.

And if you watch the video live from New Haven, not only can you see Eddie play the notes effortlessly, you see him moving in time, dancing at the front of the stage and the effect is one of pure, unmitigated joy. Isn’t that the point, to let the sound elevate your mood, to take you to heaven right here on earth?

And Sammy’s manager, Ed Leffler lifted the band to new financial heights. They were true superstars. They continued while everyone else faded.

As for the ill-fated encore with Gary Cherone, let’s forget it, everyone else has.

But we can never forget what came before.

Van Halen hooked up with Ted Templeman and redid “Runnin’ With the Devil” and it was all over the radio in L.A.

Eddie Van Halen lived his life like there was no tomorrow. As did those caught up in the sound. To the point there are tons of old fans scraping by, they never expected the sound to die.

And it turned out the simple life wasn’t that simple. Once you made the record you went on the endless road, where you got high and got laid but it was never enough and you could not get off the treadmill and Eddie got further into drink to cope. It’s hard to be a hero when you’re shy and you’re not sure if people truly understand you.

As for Jamie cryin’…the bands did not want to get stuck, they were reaching for the brass ring, settling down to a traditional life was not in the cards, you made it or died trying, there was no safety net.

And Eddie could make covers his own, but it was always the originals that gripped you, you truly wanted to dance the night away. And when you did you were singing along at the top of your lungs, even if you couldn’t hear yourself, because you bonded with the sound, it was your sound, your life. We all wanted some. As for Junior’s grades…school didn’t help you in rock and roll, it was religion, not something you could learn in class, you were either bitten by the bug or you were not, and those of us who were needed heroes to put our faith in, like Eddie Van Halen.

So where have all the good times gone?

That’s what I want to know. They evaporated. Rod Stewart sold out and sang the Great American Songbook which a rock fan might have heard on the way up, but never wanted to hear again. We believed, we put our faith in you, you weren’t supposed to let us down. It was love with Van Halen. We were looking for something to fill the hole and Eddie always did.

Did Eddie finish what he started?

I guess he did, but it doesn’t feel that way. We expected him to pull through. We expected to see him on the boards again.

And Eddie forged his own path. You know if you see his original Frankenstein guitar. If you owned it you wouldn’t let it leave your bedroom, it appeared that fragile. But in Eddie’s hands not only was it solid, it emanated the elixir of life, that’s what music provides when it’s done right, and Van Halen did it right.

What can I tell you. Everybody on the inside knew Eddie was sick. But he was sick for so long it looked like he would always be with us. But now he’s not.

And Eddie had a reputation for being off-putting, but the truth was he was just gun-shy, that’s how you get when you’ve been ripped-off and pushed around so much, some people embrace stardom, others know to put it on a shelf, they know who they are, and they don’t want the accolades to change who they are.

And first and foremost Eddie Van Halen was a musician. He’d be silent and uncomfortable, but if you got him into conversation, if he trusted you, he’d light up, he’d talk a mile a minute about music, he was passionate. That’s the essence of a great artist, that passion, the quest, which has got more to do with the music than the fame, the fame is just a byproduct.

So we expect the classic rockers to die. After all, many are pushing eighty. But Eddie Van Halen came from the second generation, he didn’t make it in the sixties but the seventies, and he knew what came before, he’d digested the Beatles, unlike today’s rockers he knew about melody and song structure.

But we don’t expect anybody from the second generation to die yet, unless it’s an accident, or…

The Big C.

It knows no limits, no matter how rich you are, oftentimes no matter how healthy you eat and live, it can still get you, it can still bite you in the ass.

Now one of the great things about being a musician is if you do it right your work sustains. And the work of so many of the bands of the seventies and eighties has already been forgotten, but not Van Halen, never Van Halen.

And there will be no more Van Halen. Without Eddie you just can’t do it, no one can replace him. Didn’t we learn that with Dave, with his revolving door of axemen? You see it isn’t solely about skill, it’s something more than that, it’s inspiration. Being able to transcend what has come before and create something new. To the point where Eddie Van Halen has a place in the same cadre of guitarists as Clapton, Page and Beck. Like Jimi Hendrix before him, Eddie Van Halen tested the limits, came up with a new sound. Suddenly everybody was tapping, trying to re-create “Eruption.” But the key is to come up with it first, to innovate, to push the envelope for the thrill of it all.

And it wasn’t only guys who were fans, but girls too, which wasn’t always the case with these bands. And Eddie married America’s sweetheart and looked like he was living the life, but life is more complicated than that.

Janie got Eddie clean. She sat him on the couch and said he was going to do rehab her way. And it stuck. But you can use all the bullets in your arsenal and still not beat the Big C.

And now I don’t want to end this. I could write about Van Halen forever. And I have, many a time.

And there’s such exuberance in tracks like “And the Cradle Will Rock…”

And such gravitas in numbers like “Love Walks In.”

It’s a conundrum. Eddie could do more than one thing, it was fascinating to follow the evolution.

But now it’s done.

But on hot summer nights to come we’ll still have that mellifluous sound of his guitar coming out of dashboards, out of earbuds. Van Halen was the sound of life, how can Eddie be dead?

I’m in shock.

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One World: Together At Home, by Bob Lefsetz

It was not must see TV.

Bob Lefsetz

I thought the Stones were good, Mick Jagger sounded great, and then when the keyboard came in, I realized it was all prerecorded and massaged and I was disappointed.

Yes, “One World” was not live. And it played to the lowest common denominator, the supposed one world we all live in, whereas when music was in its heyday, it was us versus them.

Even during the heyday of MTV. MTV made music into a monoculture, you were either on the station or off. But Live Aid was a seminal event yet to be repeated. Because it was about those in the know versus those out of the loop. Live Aid did not need to be on every television outlet, just MTV, because that’s where the youth lived, where the heartbeat of music lived, it was a club for those who not only had a sense of humor but could be irreverent and make fun of the status quo. It was about testing limits. The VJs were our heroes.

Instead, Saturday night we got late night hosts in suits. Come on, are you wearing a suit and tie at home every day? Isn’t all the scuttlebutt about how people are wearing no pants, yet you dress up like it’s business as usual?

Sure, it was cool to see the first responders, they got their due. And I can’t argue with the $127 million they raised, but this show missed the mark.

First and foremost it was not promoted properly, you did not get the feeling you had to be there, had to watch, or you were gonna miss out.

I chalk that down to promotion. Funny how a business based on promotion doesn’t know how to do it, especially when it’s out of their comfort zone. MTV would give away a house, constantly embellish the brand, but there was no innovation in the promotion of this show. No regular member of the population featured because they raised the most money themselves, no engagement of the audience in an era where it’s all about the audience.

The Stones built their rep on calling themselves the World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band to the point where it was nearly impossible to get a ticket. Whereas you knew you didn’t have to watch on Saturday night, because if anything good happened, you could replay it on YouTube the next day, just like with SNL, just like with everything in today’s world other than sports. Once again, MTV had this right, with its VMAs. You had to tune in because of the antics, you never knew what you might miss, you wanted to be able to be part of the discussion right away, whether it be about Pee Wee Herman opening the show after being arrested, or the give and take between RuPaul and Milton Berle. We live for these moments.

As for the two hour TV show… This is what network does best, condense the product, remove all the edges for consumption for a mainstream that does not exist. Either it’s an all day event that we have to sit on the couch for, or we’re just not interested. As for tape delay on the west coast…even the Grammys don’t do that anymore.

And hip-hop rules the world, but it was markedly absent here. You can get the Stones, but not Jay-Z, Kanye and Drake to perform? The show was safe, when music has always prospered when it’s dangerous.

We do not live in a one love world. As a matter of fact, we live in an incredibly fractious world. But this was not addressed, for fear of offending someone.

Meanwhile, John Oliver goes on HBO from his house, makes jokes about the lame cellphone signal of AT&T, his boss, and then proceeds to eviscerate Fox News and Donald Trump, there were no false equivalencies, he attacked the preacher who blew away the virus, picturing his private jet in the background…this is what music did in its heyday, shine a light on hypocrisy.

And when the acts don’t do it live, oh some did, but when you don’t, you lose credibility. Give Alicia Keys credit for appearing without makeup, everybody else was so busy massaging their image and their music as to be homogenized. As for the tattoos… It’s just like in the seventies, long hair no longer made you a dangerous outlaw and today neither do tattoos. Years ago, but not now. Now you look like a follower more than a leader. Leaders always do the opposite. Want to test the limits today…get no tattoos!

But they’re part of the image today, and it’s solely image.

And there was no metal… For a show that claimed to want to bring us all together, a lot of musical elements were left out.

It’s easy to pat yourself on the back, say you did a good thing. But people who make a difference do more. They push the envelope, they make people uncomfortable, they make people think. Hell, there wasn’t even a DJ on this show, would that have been too hard to include?

Just because you raised some money, that does not mean you’re immune from criticism. Next time, make it must see. Everybody plays live live, it’s done in real time, the edgy genres are included. It’s the mistakes that draw people to you. Everybody would accept a technical glitch, especially under these circumstances. But instead we got a seamless production that no one is talking about now that it’s over. Hell, I just checked the Spotify streams, and not one has broken six figures! Sure, it’s early, but this show was up Saturday night, and if there was a huge desire to experience it, those streams would be through the roof, they’d dominate the Top 50. But the Top 50 is still dominated by the Weeknd, strangely absent here. Even Dua Lipa, promoting a new album, was left out. Tones and I, still at number six, with one of the absolute biggest tracks of the year?

This could have been done so much better.

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Original Woodstock Poster hanging at the office of Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

Woodstock, by Bob Lefsetz

Everybody was on the bill.

Back then there were two lanes, AM & FM, hits and album tracks.

Woodstock was a festival for the album tracks. An era that began with either “Sgt. Pepper” or “Rubber Soul,” depending on your viewpoint. Was your hair long or short? Were you for or against the war? These were lines of demarcation. And those who went to Woodstock were on the FM, long hair, against the war, peace side.

But no one knew the contingent was so big, NO ONE!

That was the essence of Woodstock, THAT EVERYBODY WENT!

I’m sick and tired of writers opining on Woodstock and getting it wrong.

No, I did not go to Woodstock, I was at a summer program in Chicago. But to tell you the truth, we never thought it would happen, it was too good to be true.

So everybody drives upstate and the straight press is overwhelmed.

Now, by this point there was an alternative press. “Rolling Stone” being the music bible. But even “Rolling Stone” didn’t gain mainstream credibility until its scoops on Patty Hearst, and that was five years later!

I’m trying to paint the picture for you. The counterculture was hiding in plain sight, but the establishment didn’t see it. And Woodstock was evidence of its humongous size, even its members were overwhelmed. It was a tribe. And from thereon forward, the younger generation ruled.

Oh, it’d been percolating since the early sixties. It was not like today,  your mom didn’t have to work, there was extra money, there were no homeless people. Money did not drive the culture, MUSIC DID! And the music was not mindless, not made for money, but a direct transcription from the players’ hearts to vinyl, which you purchased and ate up like manna from heaven.

And you didn’t only listen to hard rock, soft stuff resonated too. As evidenced by the inclusion of such disparate acts on the bill as the Incredible String Band and Jimi Hendrix. We were addicted to FM radio, we were addicted to the music.

And now we’ve got all these naysayers saying there were not enough black performers. You can’t look at the past through modern eyes. The truth was there was very little black music on FM radio. It was kinda like Bob Pittman saying that MTV was an AOR station. Sure, it switched, as did FM radio, but at the time, every act that was credible other than Bob Dylan was there, and the rumor was that he was gonna show up too.

Now we keep hearing from the musicians what a dump it was. About the delays. And the lack of infrastructure.

If you expect musicians to get it right, you expect them to be able to pick the single and understand the business, and these are very rare qualities. It was another gig.

But really it was about the audience, the fact that everybody showed up and there was peace.

There are school shootings today, but back then they shot the Kennedys, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and there were riots and Nixon ran on restoring law and order and then 400,000 kids show up and no one gets hurt? IMPOSSIBLE!

It’d be like having no security at the airport and no planes getting hijacked.

And speaking of killing the Kennedys, don’t compare Altamont to Woodstock. You can only do it once, you can only surprise people once, you can only make your point once, after that it’s a variation on a theme.

And that’s what the Stones did, in an ersatz fashion. Pushing their faux danger, hiring the Hells Angels for security. The band had no pulse on how America worked. And they were English. And although English bands appeared at Woodstock, it was quite definitely an American production.

Now you’ve got to know that Woodstock didn’t really blow up until the following April. With the three disc set and the movie. News doesn’t stick to your ribs like music.

You dropped the needle and you were there, but you weren’t. You reveled in the tunes, knew all the stage announcements.

And then the movie!

Oh, I’ve seen “Monterey Pop,” I’ve seen them all, and “Woodstock” is the best. Because first and foremost it’s a MOVIE! With interviews and special effects and you felt like you lived through the weekend, you didn’t want it to end, which is why it played through the summer and I saw it three times, some people even more.

That’s another thing that bugs me, the naysayers who say the music sucked. Come on, you ever been to a gig? The only time it’s perfect is when it’s on hard drive. Rock music is a feeling, an emotion, and when it resonates…

Kinda like when you listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival.

They were seen as a singles band, because their tracks were so good they crossed over to AM, and they were on a crappy label, Fantasy. Most people had never seen them. And then the trio hits the stage and…

Listen to the studio recordings, they’re slick, smooth, but rock music live is not like that, it’s rough, it’s got edges. Kinda like Creedence’s performance of “Born On The Bayou” at Woodstock.

John Fogerty is screaming. In tune, because he needs no help, this was back when you had to have a great voice to front a band.

And as you listen, your head starts to nod, because the music has penetrated your soul and turned you into a follower.

This is how it was back then, that’s how powerful the music was. It was not background, but positively FOREGROUND!

And when I heard Creedence’s performance of “Proud Mary” on Deep Tracks yesterday, I didn’t wince, I got into it. This is the concert experience, first and foremost it’s about the energy, delivering the music, production was unseen and irrelevant back then.

And sure, you can talk about tracks on the original three disc set not even being recorded at the festival, but that was irrelevant, here was this SOUND!

And the bands that said no to being included. Like the Band, and Mountain and Creedence. Thereafter everybody said yes. Because Woodstock turned Ten Years After into an arena act overnight. Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez and John Sebastian got a second wind. Sly & the Family Stone crossed over to white people, now it was not only about the singles. Bottom line, if you played Woodstock you were a SUPERSTAR!

Do you know what it was like if you weren’t there?

Now you had to go to every rock festival thereafter, because of the fear of missing out. And none was ever as good. But boy, the music scene flipped, now it was all about FM and the album acts. Credit that to Woodstock.

So don’t talk about the business. Today’s festivals are nothing like Woodstock. They’re corrals to sell stuff and shoot selfies. It’s about the money. Woodstock was an experiment. What would happen if you got all the greatest bands together? Now we know what happened, fans came out of the woodwork to see them.

So yes, it was a moment in time. Never to be repeated. In the spring of ’70, students were shot at Kent State.

But the war eventually ended. And the youth and their protests helped make this happen. The youth are why Johnson didn’t run for another term and why Nixon kept trying to wind down the war. And even Nixon went out and talked to the protesters at the Jefferson Memorial. He may have been evil, he may have been tricky, but he had more of a heart and more of a sense of reality than Donald Trump.

That’s another point… Back then the youth were Democrats. There were no Republicans in the music scene. Sure, money mattered, but not as much as the music itself. Which spoke to the culture. The acts insisted on using the studios of their choice with their own engineers. Albums couldn’t be rejected. The covers were a big deal. It was not a product, but a STATEMENT!

And the story of the seventies was about ever bigger acts dominating. Hell, every show sold out, you couldn’t get a ticket. And when corporate rock got traction, it was all over, the audience tuned out and disco reigned and then the whole thing cratered.

And then we went to the monoculture known as MTV.

So what did we learn?

Woodstock was the cultural monolith it was considered to be and described as back then. Lack of shelter, lack of food, the inability to hear…that’s what boomers used to VIP say today. But back then there was no VIP. We were all equal. And then Reagan legitimized greed and we got income inequality and we can never recapture that spirit again.

We’ve gotten so far from the garden it’s nearly impossible to see it.

But the truth was music was the highest art form. Its profits built the Warner Cable system. Music made more money than movies. It was a juggernaut. Driven by the best and the brightest.

We didn’t want to work in government, never mind the bank. Our lives were experiments, we wanted to be the best we could be, the Army ended up ripping off our slogan. We wanted to follow our heroes, look to the Grateful Dead for example.

But in ’69 it was a choice. Not everybody was on the same page.

But by the following spring, when the youth were exposed to what really happened at Woodstock, they just could not get enough.

It was a giant victory lap, a consummation of the sixties, the straight and narrow disappeared and it was all about personal liberation. Funny how income inequality has enslaved today’s youth to play it safe, talk about going backwards.

And that’s why you see the Woodstock blowback. Most of the writers are pissed they missed it. They weren’t there or they weren’t old enough or they weren’t even born yet.

The sixties were something special.

And so was the music.

It was a can-do era. Against all odds, Woodstock happened. Credit those in charge, irrelevant of how disorganized and unprepared they were.

Today it’s all about finding scapegoats, the problem can’t be with yourself. And you play it straight for fear of falling behind. And we measure everything with money.

But back then we were all in it together.

You can get by with a little help from your friends.

Image Top: Original Woodstock Poster hanging in the office of Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency.

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To book Martha & The Vandellas call 202-369-1063 today!

2019 Music & Entertainment Legend Award goes to Ms. Martha Reeves

2019 Music & Entertainment Legend

Each year the Casino Entertainment Awards honors a Casino Entertainer for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in the Casino Entertainment Industry.


R&B Singer, Actress, Author and Politician

For more than five decades, Martha Reeves has reigned as one of the legendary stars to emerge from Motown. In this 60th Anniversary of Motown her top 40 hits with her iconic vocal group Martha and the Vandellas include the still relevant tunes “Come & Get These Memories,” “Heat Wave,” “Nowhere to Run,” “I’m Ready for Love,” “Jimmy Mack” and her signature, “Dancing in The Street,” which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Ms. Reeves is a member of the Rock & Roll, Soul, Rhythm and Blues Music, Vocal Group and Alabama Music halls of fame. A former elected council woman for the City of Detroit, she has been an advocate on behalf of musicians, session singers and recording artists for better wages and royalties. More at

As her agent, Mark Sonder will be accompanying Ms. Reeves to receive this Lifetime Achievement Entertainment Award at the Casino Entertainment Awards Ceremony to be held in October at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Congratulations Ms. Martha Reeves for all you have done for music, entertainment, and the betterment of the world!

To book Martha & The Vandellas, at their Award Winning 2019 Special Fee, contact:

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency
– Recognized Leaders in Event Entertainment Services 2019 – United States
– The Innovation & Excellence Award for Best in Event Entertainment
– Best Places to Work in Events, nominated
+1-540-636-1640 / +1-202-369-1063 / +1-919-985-2740 / +1-747-333-6003

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Fundraisers: Boosting Attendance and Donations with Headline Entertainment

Fundraisers: Boosting Attendance and Donations with Headline Entertainment

Molly HatchetWhen the Golisano Children’s Hospital at The University of Rochester Medical Centre (New York), has a special fundraising event, who do they rely upon to send a great band who will bring in the VIPs and big donations? The award-winning nationwide firm Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency is the answer!

Coming off another fundraiser this past Saturday (July 14) at The Meadow Brook Theatre in (funny enough) Rochester, MI where the Entertainment Agency provided The Drifters to a SOLD OUT crowd paying between $85-$125 per ticket, Sonder Productions has chosen for the Rochester, NY engagement the Southern Classic Rock Band Molly Hatchet. This event will round out the month of July just prior to the band performing in Italy in August.

The Drifters 2018To boost your attendance at events engage headline entertainment from Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency. For the best in Motown, R&B, Classic Rock, and Latino music and entertainment.

Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP, VFC

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency

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Coldplay At The Super Bowl by Bob Lefsetz

Bob LefsetzAnd the winner of the night?

HONDA! For offering free Uber rides home, at least in SoCal, where I was watching.

You make the most of an opportunity. The advertisements were so busy being clever that they missed their target. You want to make us believe in your product and want to use and buy it. But in an era where fame is everything and substance goes out the window it’s no surprise that Madison Avenue demonstrated cluelessness.

But the truth is our nation is in a mass upheaval. That’s the essence of both Trump and Sanders. We want the truth, authenticity and credibility, we want to be respected, and when you see only dollar signs we shrug and move on.

Sometimes you have to say no. All exposure isn’t good exposure. What was the chance casual Coldplay fans would be infected by the band’s performance and purchase tickets to their show? Close to nil.

Now the band has a stink upon it, relegated to second tier status in their own supposedly shining moment, they appeared to be smiling nitwits in a sea of humanity that resembled nothing so much as Up With People, the lame, safe, halftime show the NFL used to employ, when musicians abhorred the rules and regulations of sports, when they were all about rejecting cultural norms as opposed to embracing them for profit.

It’s a violent sport. What’s up with all the wimpy music?

Lady Gaga stretched out the national anthem to the degree there was barely time for football. She’s gotten a publicity pass she does not deserve, her last album was a stiff and her trek with Tony Bennett a sideshow. It’s a hits business, and she hasn’t had one in eons and probably will never have one again, why is she considered a national treasure?

Because the NFL and CBS don’t have their ear to the street. They don’t know there’s a generation gap. They just believe everyone will buy the crap they serve them. As if nobody under thirty wants to cut the cord, as if football deserves a spot in America’s heart along with apple pie and religion. Did you see the MVPs walk out at the beginning of the game? Terry Bradshaw could barely amble out. How could Goodell let this happen? How come everybody in the 1% has lost touch and perspective, not knowing their success depends on the little guy, who is arching his eyebrows and judging what they’re seeing?

Chris Martin looked like a dork. And although the video stage was cool, he and his band’s music never lit up the joint. And the diversions looked like something from the June Taylor Dancers, but Jackie Gleason would want nothing to do with them. You could barely hear the vocals and you had the nincompoop teens running out to swarm the stage, even though they were barely conscious the last time the band had a hit. It was a celebration the audience was left out of. You could do nothing but sit there and wonder why anybody cared.

Until Bruno Mars took the stage.

Bruno knew it was not about music so much as show, and he delivered. Slinking around on stage with his backup singers you were energized and enticed. It may have been meaningless, but at least it was satisfying. Music is like porn, you know it when you see it. And Mars was the only person on stage who seemed to come from the music business.

Beyonce came from the gym. She was working so hard that when she aligned with Chris and Bruno in the finale she was nearly exhausted. She too missed the message, 2016 isn’t about reveling in your excellence, adoring you from afar, but embracing you when you get down in the pit with us, your audience. I’m not in that good a shape and most Americans aren’t either. Watching Bey was like watching an Olympian, you could respect her, but you just could nor warm up to her.

Never mind the chutzpah of doing her new song. I give her credit for that actually, most of the audience was unfamiliar with most of Coldplay’s material so what difference will it make? Did it help her sell tickets?

Not much.

Not for Coldplay either.

You see we’re inundated with marketing messages. And we choose what to pull in, what to embrace. We have no problem watching entertainment and then discarding it nearly instantly. I mean who at home is sitting there saying…I didn’t know Beyonce was going on the road, let me fire up my credit card and drop $100+ a ticket. No, the decision to go is much more considered these days. Sure, it’s hard to get the message out, but it’s not hard to say no if you’re a customer.

So why is it so hard for a manager to say no?

Come on, you see witless actors whoring themselves out, everybody from Anthony Hopkins to Christopher Walken to Helen Mirren. But they’re chameleons, filling roles. We don’t believe in their personalities, we don’t even really know who they are!

But musicians touch our souls. They’re consistent. They stand for something.

But the only thing Chris Martin and company stood for is promotion. And we know hype when we see it.

It was a strange game, dominated by defense. It may have been Peyton’s last, but one wonders if Brock Osweiler could have done just as well. Still, it was riveting to see Cam Newton, the biggest star on the gridiron according to the industrial hype machine, be completely hamstrung. Not so much by any individual, but a team, the Denver defense.

After losing the Super Bowl two years ago, Elway retooled. Threw out what didn’t work. He didn’t put new paint on an old edifice, he got a clean piece of paper and started over. Kudos to him, it worked!

We need a clean piece of paper in music. We need musicians who have some self-respect, who think they’re bigger than the game, who are willing to turn down promotional opportunities because they make them look small, like Coldplay.

But the NFL knows nothing about music. It wants something entertaining, but not edgy. But in music, that’s death. Then again, we’ve got so much of that on today’s scene. It’s almost like the string-pullers don’t want to champion anything outside the box, they want it safe.

But the world is dangerous.

Music used to reflect this.

The only peril on the field today was to the players.

Coldplay was immune.

No, that’s not true. By refusing to turn down this promotional opportunity they revealed the band to be the sham that it is. Four blokes who should have stayed in college who appeal to white people afraid of edge.

Sid Vicious is rolling in his grave.

Remember, you win in music when you’re outside, when you play by your own rules, when you behave like the rock star you are, not a tool of the man.

It wasn’t quite Billy Squier territory, but Coldplay’s career was stopped in its tracks today. Now fans will be subjected to hatred for their choice. We all saw the show and said HUH?


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Jo Dee Messina and Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency, Alright Together

Jo Dee Messina and Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency, Alright Together

for Meetings, Conventions, Special Events, Club, Concerts, Collegiate and Festivals

Jo Dee Messina 202-369-1063Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and Chief Entertainment Officer at Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency is proud to announce that his award winning 30 year old international company has booked Jo Dee Messina for one of its clients this week.

Jo Dee is a country music artist who crosses over to pop and works fine for special events.. She has charted nine number one singles on the Billboard country music charts. She has been honored by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. She was the first female country artist to score three multiple-week Number One songs from the same album. To date, she has two Platinum and three Gold-certified albums by the RIAA.

Hit songs you can expect to experience at her up to 90 minute show:

  • Jo Dee Messina 540-636-1640“I’m Alright”
  • “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore”
  • “Heads Carolina, Tails California”
  • “Bye Bye”
  • “Bring on the Rain”
  • “Because You Love Me”
  • “He’d Never Seen Julie Cry”
  • “Do You Wanna Make Something of It”
  • “Downtime”
  • “Burn”

From established to upcoming, from country, rock and pop to world music Mark Sonder Productions books them all, all over the country and abroad for meetings, conventions, events, collegiate and facilities.

About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, clubs, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com to book this great contemporary artist for your event today and see what Mark can do for you!


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At Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency We Are “Proud To Be An American,” so we hired Lee Greenwood

At Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency We Are “Proud To Be An American,” so we hired Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood 202-369-1063Mark Sonder Productions just acquired Lee Greenwood for one of our client’s events.

When you are deciding what entertainment to have at your themed meeting, convention, event, or collegiate function, think of Lee Greenwood.

From a theme of country, pride, nationalism, The US, God, leadership, stars & stripes, the flag, July 4th, Independence Day, Washington DC, to praise, workship and motivation, etc. Lee can answer all those calls with his special brand of music and entertainment.

Lee is a country music artist that has released more than twenty major-label albums and has charted more than 35 singles on the country music charts. He is best known for his single and signature song “God Bless the USA”, which was very popular back when it was originally released in 1984, and became popular again after the September 11, 2001 attacks (becoming his highest charting pop hit, reaching No. 16 on the Hot 100). He also has charted seven No. 1 hits in his career.

From established to upcoming, from country, rock and pop to world music Mark Sonder Productions books them all, all over the USA and abroad. God Bless The USA!  Call today to book him as well as your other favorite artists 202-369-1063.

About Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency:

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Logo 540-636-1640Created in 1985 to fill a growing need for music, entertainment, speakers, headline entertainers and supportive production in corporate and association meetings, conventions and special events plus facilities, clubs, casinos and concerts, the company in its 30 years, has worked in the US, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Contact: +1-540-636-1640 or msonder(at)marksonderproductions(dot)com.

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Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Hits a Double-Header This Week with The Outlaws and Blackhawk

Mark Sonder Productions Entertainment Agency Hits a Double-Header This Week with

The Outlaws and Blackhawk

The Outlaws 540-636-1640Buying entertainment for meetings, conventions, trade shows, expositions, special events, festivals, casinos, clubs, collegiate, and concerts, the 30 year old award winning national entertainment agency has acquired both The Outlaws and Blackhawk for its clients this week.

The Outlaws are a Southern rock/country rock band best known for their 1975 hits “There Goes Another Love Song” and “Green Grass and High Tides.”

Blackhawk, with their musical ties to The Outlaws, are best known for their hits, “Goodbye Says It All” and “There You Have It.”

Blackhawk 540-636-1640So there you have it, from its classical and jazz roots to pop, rock, world and Southern rock/country Mark Sonder Productions books it all, all around the country!

Call today and ask, “What can Mark do for you?”



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Blinddog Smokin’, Bobby Rush and Gerardo Contino All In One Week!

Mark Sonder Productions booked Blinddog Smokin’, Bobby Rush and Gerardo Contino All In One Week

Entertainment Takes a Bow at Nationwide Event Entertainment Agency

Logo of Mark Sonder Productions, Inc.Mark Sonder, MM, CSEP and The Chief Entertainment Officer at the award-winning national entertainment agency Mark Sonder Productions had the trifecta of events last week booking headline entertainment.

This run of three grand special events has chosen Mark Sonder Productions to book their entertainment.  Sonder actually combined two great artists, Bobby Rush, whose style incorporates elements of blues, rap and funk and on June 6, 2015 Rush was inducted into the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in Clarksdale, MS with the 2015 Grammy Award nominee Blinddog Smokin’.  Also last week Sonder acquired Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros to perform. Named, “El Abogado de la Salsa,” Gerardo is a Cuban singer and songwriter, featuring an elite lineup of some of New York’s most highly regarded Cuban and Latino musicians.

From established to upcoming to world music Mark Sonder Productions books them all, all over the USA and abroad.

For all bookings of music, entertainment and production call on Mark Sonder.


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