Friday, December 16, 2022

Concert For George Producer John Beug Dead At 75

 John Beug, veteran music industry executive and film and television producer died on October 15 in Northern California. He was 75.

John Beug was a trailblazing producer and influential executive working at the intersection of the music and film industries. He is best known as the producer of documentaries including the recent Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall as well as The Doors: When You're Strange, Tom Petty: Runnin' Down A Dream and concert films such as Concert for George, the all-star tribute to George Harrison. Beug was a key figure in music filmmaking; his work dates back to the dawn of MTV and through the DVD boom of the 1990s to the present day's golden era of music documentaries.

John Beug was born in 1947, in Chicago to Theodore and Lucille Beug. He was one of five children with two older brothers, James Beug and Thomas Beug and two younger sisters, Virginia Low and Barbara Dyson.

He began his professional career as a talent booker for Northwestern University and Chicago area venues. He booked acts as disparate as Joni Mitchell and Cheech & Chong, the latter leading him to a job with producer Lou Adler in Los Angles. During his tenure with Adler's Ode Records, he was involved with the building of The Roxy, the fabled music venue on the Sunset Strip and the production of Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

A passionate music and film fan, Beug was an early proponent of the music video format. He produced A-ha's award-winning, ground-breaking "Take On Me" video for Warner Bros. Records and caught the eye of Mo Ostin, the label's legendary Chairman who hired him in 1986 to head Creative Services for the company. At Warners, Beug supervised countless award-winning videos, including Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," Traveling Wilburys "Handle With Care," and Neil Young's "This Note's for You."

Beug was quick to see the potential of the DVD format for musical artists and would produce concerts and documentaries for DVD, notably Nothing But The Blues directed by Martin Scorsese, Fleetwood Mac's The Danceand Eagles: Hell Freezes Over. Under the Rhino imprint, Beug produced four years of the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival and won a Primetime Emmy in the process. Grammy Awards followed for Concert For George, Tom Petty Runnin' Down A Dream, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and When You're Strange: A Film About The Doorsdirected by Tom DiCillo, co-produced with Dick Wolf.

Beug was known as sensitive to artists' concerns and was, thus, collaborative, aesthetically attuned, and passionate about doing great work. He built relationships with artists such as George Harrison, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Don Henley, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Van Halen, Seal and R.E.M., buoying their careers while serving as their sounding board for film and television projects for the rest of his life. He retired from Warner Music Group in 2014.

Beug was a confirmed bachelor until meeting Carolyn Mayer, a producer and Disney executive whom he wed in 1994. They were an instant family of five with Ms. Mayer's children Nicholas, Lauren and Lindsey, all of whom shared an affinity for art, music and culinary pursuits.

John Beug's deep bond with his children and their love for each other helped them to move forward in their lives after the immense tragedy of losing Carolyn in the 9/11 attacks. He took great pride in serving for over sixteen years on the Board of Trustees at Rhode Island School of Design, an institution very dear to him. He found joy in cars, watching F1 racing and collecting them. Beug bought, sold and then re-bought a 1996 Porsche 993, a clear favorite among his automotive acquisitions over the years.

John Beug found love again with Cidney Vinall, whom he married in 2015. Seeking a quieter, slower pace of life, the couple moved from Los Angeles to Northern California in 2019. She survives him as do Lauren Beug and Nathan Boldman; Lindsey Beug and Marcus Wood; Nicholas Mayer; James Beug; Thomas Beug; sister Virginia Low and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. His sister Barbara Dyson predeceased him.

A memorial event for John Beug is being planned for early 2023 in Los Angeles. 

A fund is being established in his name at Rhode Island School of Design.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Notes from Cheech and Chong Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson Part Deux

 If you get your brain to filter out Leslie Jones' shouting, you can hear some good Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Mike Tyson stories.

Cheech and Chong will no longer tour.

Cheech and Chong already made $4 million in two months from their weed chews.

Cheech and Chong once opened for The Allman Brothers, The Four Tops, The Isley Brothers.

James Brown visited Tyson in prison.

Cheech and Chong met James Brown on a plane.

Cheech and Chong played basketball with Marvin Gaye.

Diana Ross discovered Chong's band, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, after seeing them with her boyfriend, Berry Gordy, at a club in Vancouver.

Chong met Muhammad Ali at Bobby Taylor's place.  Chong was friends with a stripper that Ali had been with.  Chong and Ali were on the elevator to Taylor's place, having never met each other.  Chong says to Ali "Lady Scarlett says hi." Muhammad Ali wondered how this guy (Chong) knew her.

Bobby Taylor and Tommy Chong discovered the Jackson 5.  Years later, Cheech saw Michael Jackson in Lou Adler's bar above the Roxy.  Michael confirmed that Bobby and Tommy discovered them and that Bobby let the Jackson 5 stay with him.

Chong was in a band named The Shades.  They converted a Vancouver theater into a dance hall (Blues Palace).  They hired the Ike and Tina Turner review for $700.  Ike wanted to hook up with women so he told women that Tina was his sister.

Elvis would send Cheech and Chong a signed Christmas card every year.

Bombed at the Bitter End in NYC after partying all day/doing blow with John Belushi.

Note from this site: Interesting to see Tommy Chong and Cheech getting along.  During the initial leg of their reunion tour, they took separate planes, stayed in separate hotels, didn't speak with each other during the meet-and-greets.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Cheech and Chong to Appear at SF Sketchfest

 SF Sketchfest has announced a slate of new acts for its long-delayed 20th anniversary celebration, which is scheduled to take place from Jan. 20 to Feb. 5 at venues across San Francisco.

Among the additions to the lineup is a three-night residency by comedian Fred Armisen; performances by Maggie Lawson and Timothy Omundson, James Adomian, and the Sklar Bros.; and concerts by the Red Room Orchestra featuring music from the “Twin Peaks” and “Repo Man” soundtracks.

After SF Sketchfest was canceled in 2021, the comedy celebration was originally slated to return this past January, following a virtual Festpocalypse! live-stream event. But the long-running comedy festival’s anticipated live return was postponed to 2023 due to rising COVID-19 omicron cases.

Highlights of the previously announced schedule include a screening of the 1973 film “The Long Goodbye” at the Castro Theatre with Elliott Gould; a 20th anniversary celebration of the mockumentary, “A Mighty Wind,” with “Schitt’s Creek” stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara; and tributes to Cheech & Chong, Laraine Newman, and David Alan Grier.

The festival also includes an all-star roast of “Evil Dead” star Bruce Campbell; a “Perfect Strangers” 35th anniversary special; and a staged reading of  “I Married a Monster From Outer Space” with Dana Gould, Bobcat Goldthwait, Laraine Newman, Janet Varney and others.

The complete schedule is available on SF Sketchfest’s website.

Tickets, priced between $22-$55, are available now at Those who bought passes to attend SF Sketchfest 2022 can use their tickets for the upcoming dates, organizers said.

It's been 50 years since Cheech & Chong pulled up on the comedy scene and we're celebrating their trail-blazing comedy by giving them the SF Sketchfest Tribute treatment. Join icons Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong for a high spirited conversation that will have you rolling in your seat. Moderated by legendary journalist Ben Fong-Torres.