R.I.P. Clarence Clemons

The music world lost a legend yesterday as Clarence Clemons died at the age of 69 following a stroke he suffered last week. Clarence was Bruce Springsteen’s sidekick and the heart and soul of The E Street Band, and he’ll go down as the best sax player in rock history. He helped to define Springsteen’s signature Jersey sound with his epic saxophone solos, and like Springsteen he was a natural showman. The two of them were always in sync as they played off of one another onstage, both musically and when they were clowning around.

There was nothing like the drama of a Clarence Clemons sax solo, so no rock concert was quite like a Bruce Springsteen concert. His booming sax would put an emphatic exclamation point on many of Springsteen’s most powerful songs like “Thunder Road.” (see below)

Bruce issued the following statement:

Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.

Hopefully Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will tour again, but it will never be the same without The Big Man.

  

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Drink of the Week: The Sidecar

Sidecar cocktailAllegedly dating back to the days of World War I and Papa Hemingway’s favorite bar in Paris (that would be Harry’s, of course) and apparently invented either by or for a motorcycling serviceman with a sidecar on his vehicle, this is a drink that is being revived more and more often these days. As with most of the other classic cocktails, there is a pretty huge amount of variation in the proportions of what boils down to being a delightfully simple drink. However, after looking at a number of recipes from different sources, there are two basic variations.

The Sidecar (modern day)

2 ounces cognac or brandy
1 ounce Cointreau
1/2 – 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake very vigorously, and pour into a pre-chilled glass. Some bartenders garnish with a lemon twist. Others rim the glass with sugar by wetting the edge of the glass with lemon juice and placing the glass on plate of bowl of sugar. However, serving this drink garnish free in simply a chilled glass will do just fine.

Now, some recipes from less reputable sources might also suggest you could use any brand of triple sec — Cointreau is the relatively pricey “original” triple sec and is drier than the garden variety. After experimenting all week with a cut rate version using a decent but basic brand of the orange liqueur, I’m here to tell you that simply doesn’t work in the above recipe. Even with an entire ounce of lemon, it was way too insipidly sweet if I used the smaller amount of lemon juice for me, and I have more of a sweet tooth than most hardcore cocktail aficionados. Even with more of the super tart juice, however, the darn thing simply failed to come together, which I guess is why everybody in the booze world I respect implies it’s either Cointreau or the highway here.

However, there is an older version of the beverage which is an entirely different story and great news for us impoverished cocktail hounds

The Sidecar (original)

1 ounce brandy or Cognac
1 ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

Again, this is prepared by simply shaking very vigorously and lengthily and pouring into a chilled martini glass.

While this is a bit less stiff than the drink above and in theory should be more sickeningly sweet, the cocktail alchemy seems to be entirely different and the arguably excessive sweetness of the triple sec and the tartness of the lemon juice counterbalance each other quite beautifully with the brandy acting as an effective moderator. I can’t wait to try this and the above recipe with Cointreau. Maybe somebody will send me a free bottle…

As for brandy vs. Cognac, I’ve had Cognacs that were not as good as the inexpensive French brandy (Raynal) I’ve had great luck with on other drinks, but just be aware that Cognac is simply a more expensive type of grape brandy made in a specific part of France. If anyone wants to send me some Cognac, they’re naturally welcome as well.

  

Friday Video – ‘Green’ two-fer: Dink and New Order

With “The Green Lantern” assaulting the multiplexes this weekend, we thought we’d do a themed piece to go with it. First up: Dink, a Kent, OH quintet that scored a modern rock hit with this little aggro dance number “Green Mind.” (Think Soul Coughing, but more aggressive.) Always loved this song, and watching the video now is so amusing. Look at how much fun those kids are having. Not sure they’d be allowed to mosh like that now. Bonus points to the band for sampling Kenneth Mars from the 1968 version of “The Producers” (the 1-2-3-4 count-off in German). And of course, for that great, great intro. “Frankly, I’m getting a little ticked off.” “Go to hell.” Awesome.

Second, we have New Order’s “Everything’s Gone Green,” where the remaining members of Joy Division were still trying to find themselves after lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. You can definitely hear the groundwork for “Blue Monday,” which would appear a year and change later, being laid down here.

Lastly, for no real reason other than to pretty up this post when it hits our Facebook page, here is a picture of New Order. You have to hand it to them — they were pretty indifferent to fashion and style trends, and that’s a good thing. It gives them a timeless look, and ultimately, we believe that is how New Order will go down in history. These songs are going to live forever.

  

Kenneth Cole’s new Automatic collection of watches

Watches always make a great gift for Father’s Day, so check out the new Automatic collection of watches from Kenneth Cole.

They sent us the KC 1631 model to check out and we loved it. The Automatics are truly unique as they offer exposed gears on both sides of the watch. Our model had a black band and a large face that highlighted the skeleton dials so it definitely grabs attention. Yet it’s stylish without being gaudy. The watches also feature a self-wind function that automatically powers your watch by the motion of your body. No batteries are required.

These watches make a great gift for the dad who appreciates style and also wants something new. The Automatics are unlike anything else in his collection. This applies to you as well. Watches make great accessories, and having something unique yet elegant will give you a great option for everyday use and also nights on the town.

Check out our Father’s Day Gift Guide for more great gift ideas, including more watches and plenty of gadgets.

  

Bullz-Eye visits Monte Carlo and New York – New York resorts

Awhile back we told you we were heading to Las Vegas to spend some quality time at the New York – New York Hotel and Casino and the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino and now the time has come to head on out! Bullz-Eye is looking forward to the experience but you also have the chance to hit these two great properties by entering sweepstakes here and here for your chance to live large in Vegas!

So make sure you enter for your chance to enjoy the spoilings of the New York – New York Hotel and Casino and the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, where some of the sharpest people go to enjoy their time in the ultimate getaway destination on the planet. Some of the exciting events we are really pumped up about include catching Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity, which is described as a seductive twist on reality making the provacative playful and the forbidden electrifying. At the Monte Carlo we’re going to kick back with our group and order some of BRAND’s creative signature cocktails. This modern spot sports dramatically lit ceiling canopies, favorite DJ’s and great people watching!

Check back soon for our complete rundown of our excursion to Vegas and don’t forget to enter your chance to win one of these incredible weekend giveaways for the New York – New York and the Monte Carlo!

  

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