Tag Archives: justified

It Was Much More Than an Interview – It Could Save a Life

On Friday August 1, 2014 I had the pleasure of interviewing Mickey Jones on my radio show (as I warned you about here).

If you don’t know who Mickey Jones is – look here. If you don’t know about my radio program on 97.3  The Surf – look here.

Anyway – about the interview…

Just prior to calling him, I played the song Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers to get the listening audience primed – since Mickey was the drummer on that track.

secret agent manI called Mickey and we exchanged pleasantries off-air while the song played. Mind you – Mickey couldn’t hear the song so he had no idea what the audience was hearing.

When the song finished I brought our mics up and welcomed Mickey to the show, telling him that we had just played Secret Agent Man.

“That’s a good song,” he said. “Let me tell you a story about that song…”

He launched into a story about the making of Secret Agent Man, which led to another story about Johnny Rivers, which led to a story about touring England with the Rolling Stones as their opening act, which led to a story about John Lennon telling Mickey he hoped the Ed Sullivan show would be seen in California, which led to…

Well – you get it.

We talked about his book That Would Be Me (a must read for music lovers) and his work-in-progress I’m That Guy which will chronicle his acting career. Mickey is a born story-teller so neither of these books will disappoint.

That Would Be MeNinety minutes after we began I had to interrupt him in the middle of a story about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He sounded disappointed that he had to stop. I really think he felt as though he was just getting started!

Judging by the response from the listeners I should have let him keep going.

Talking with Mickey is like having a conversation with your best friend – the one you haven’t seen in a while, but as soon as you get together it’s like you just spoke yesterday.

Shortly before we wrapped things up I let a cat out of the bag. I revealed a bit of a secret on the air that Mickey doesn’t talk about.

As far as he knew it was just another interview about rock-and-roll, and he was fine with that, but there was a more important message I wanted to get out.

Quite simply – Mickey needs a kidney.

When I first met him in 2011 he had found a donor and things were looking good. Unfortunately, complications arose and the donor was told, for her own health reasons, that she could not donate. In the meantime, Mickey had been removed from the waiting list for reasons I am not sure of.

The would-be donor (we’ll call her Lark) asked me if we could interview Mickey and get the word out about Mickey’s need for a kidney. Like Mickey, Lark is also an incredibly self-less person and even though she can’t donate her kidney she has taken it upon herself to help find another donor.

I announced it on-air without giving Mickey any advance warning and he was immediately choked up with gratitude (although he tried to blame it on his allergies!).

Tim on the air

On the air talking to Mickey Jones on WQFB 97.3 The Surf – flaglerbeachradio.com

Here’s the thing that struck me the most; Mickey spends a great deal of his time and energy traveling the country, and sometimes the world, to participate and lend his support to charities – especially charities aimed at helping children. (click here to see one of the charities Mickey supports – where he and I first met)

Putting his own health issues aside, he selflessly devotes himself to causes that will help others…but when I reached out to my listening audience for help, he was so overwhelmed that he was left speechless for a few seconds – something that doesn’t happen too often!

The bottom line is this…Mickey’s chances of finding a kidney increase greatly every time somebody hears about his situation – so spreading the word is the first, and biggest step.

You can help greatly simply by sharing or reblogging this post.

share this

Finally – Anybody interested in learning about donating a kidney can contact:

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

If your last name begins with A-K, call Jessica at 310-423-8463

If your last name begins with L-Z, call Enrique at 310-423-8463

It is very important to tell them you wish to be tested to donate to Mickey Jones

If you missed the interview don’t worry, I will be posting a link to an encore presentation very soon.


As always – thank you for reading


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Big News! I’m Going to be Interviewing That Guy! (you know…that guy)

Imagine you’re on Jeopardy… Final Jeopardy

The final Jeopardy category is “Entertainers” and you’re feeling pretty confident so you wager the whole enchilada.

And the answer is: The man who played drums for Johnny Rivers, Trini Lopez, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, Bob Dylan and The Band?

You should know this, but… I don't know

He has also been in 30 movies including Total Recall, Tin Cup, Vacation and Sling Blade.

You really should know this…

He has appeared in almost 40 television series such as M*A*S*H, Baywatch and Northern Exposure.

He’s had recurring roles in Home Improvement and Justified.

This should be easy…

Not only has he been in dozens of TV commercials…one of his commercials holds the record as the longest running commercial in television history.

The music starts playing and you start sweating as you draw a complete blank.

You’d think with a resume like that he’d be a household name.

Aaaannnnd – time’s up.

The name we were looking for is Mickey Jones.


I see by that look on your face that you think a mistake has been made. Surely with a list of accomplishments so impressive the name would be instantly recognizable.

Mickey Jones?

Wasn’t he one of the Monkees?

Sorry – but there has been no mistake…

Mickey Jones is the quintessential “best kept secret in the entertainment industry.”

Mickey began his musical career in the late 50’s and it ran through 1976, at which time he changed his focus to acting and is still at it.

So now you’re wondering why I’m quizzing you on this guy.

Long story short…I will have the honor of interviewing Mickey on my radio show on Friday, August 1.

Mickey with Ann Margaret

And how did I land an interview with a living legend?

I met Mickey a couple of years ago when he was the celebrity guest on a charity motorcycle run/golf tournament. During the golf tournament I got to drive him around in the cart. For four hours I heard stories about Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Ann Margaret, David Bowie, Tim Allen, and Chevy Chase – and he hadn’t even scratched the surface of his experiences.  Mickey Tool Time

For me – a guy from a small town in Rhode Island – it was an amazing weekend, and best of all, Mickey is a genuinely nice guy.

Not once in two days did this guy act above anybody.

To an outside observer he would have looked like just another biker hanging out with his buddies.

So there you have it…tune in to Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers on Friday August, 1 at 7:00 p.m. EST and check it out.

The interview will be broadcast live on 97.3 FM – The Surf as well as over the internet on www.flaglerbeachradio.com.

In the meantime – if you have any questions for Mickey, leave them in the comments section below and I’ll try to work them into the spot.

The First Edition

By the way…all of the stories I heard in the golf cart, along with dozens more, can be found in Mickey’s book, appropriately titled That Would Be Me.

I’ve read it – and it’s great.

The title of the book, he told me, comes from his standard reply to people who approach him daily and say “Hey, aren’t you that guy…”

Mickey doesn’t mind that people don’t know him by name – he never did anything for the fame or the glory. He did it because he loved doing it. He always felt like the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity to do the things he did!

That Would Be Me

I hope you can tune in, Mickey is always happy to make new friends!

As always – thank you for reading








Tim Mickey golf cart


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Is Bad the New Good? No, but it’s Important in Writing Your Characters

They say a writer’s life is spent either “writing, or thinking about writing”


…and I can personally attest to the accuracy of this statement, both from my own experience and from the testimony of the dozens of writers I have the pleasure of knowing.

So it should come as no surprise that one of the most treasured commodities for the independent author is extra writing time. Most of us have to fit our writing time in between a day job and a host of other adult-like responsibilities. Logically, it is easy to understand how most indie authors will go into a tail-spin of depression when an opportunity to crank out a couple-thousand extra words is missed.

writer's clock

This happened to me this week.

When I left work last Friday my “big plans” for the weekend were to plow through the most recent set of editorial comments for my next bookEyewitness Blues”, which is scheduled for release in August, and to write a new short story for an anthology I’m working on called “Path of a Bullet.”

When I woke up Saturday morning with a sore throat and a stuffy nose I didn’t really think much of it, I turned on the computer and sat down ready to give it hell…

After an hour-and-a-half, and a word count of about twelve…I realized that the sore throat and stuffy nose were a little worse than I had given them credit for. I made the executive decision to write Saturday off (no pun intended), get some rest and be back at the keyboard bright and early Sunday morning “greased and ready to kick ass” (to quote Sha-Na-Na).

You know what they say about the best laid plans, right?

Sunday was worse than Saturday.

watching TV

I was pretty much confined to the couch going through the contents of my DVR. Not one word written, but I did think about writing, for whatever that’s worth. On the bright side, I now have lots of free space for the recording of future programs.

The score for the weekend stood at illness – 2 days…word count – 12.

Monday was no better. I called in sick and made my way back to the couch for another date with my television…but now there’s a problem…I’ve pretty much wiped out my DVR and I’m not in the mood for watching movies on DVD, as this would entail having to get up every 90 minutes or so to put in a new one. I’m sure as hell not going to watch daytime TV, as this would entail…watching daytime TV.

Then I remembered…

Somebody had “loaned” me the entire first season of a NetFlix program called Orange is the New Black.


The thumb drive had been sitting on my desk for months, but I had never gotten around to watching it. I figured it was serendipity…

I plugged the thumb drive into my TV (it’s a very smart TV) and started my binge.

Thus went my Monday…twelve-plus hours of watching a show about a women’s federal prison.

The series is based on the real-life memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. Kerman is a self-proclaimed WASP from a wealthy Boston family who spent a year in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking.

I’m not writing this post to give my opinion of the show, but I will say it’s pretty good. It succeeds in giving the viewer something to watch with a little more substance than The World’s Wildest Police Videos, Survivor or American Idol without resorting to the cliché images about women’s prisons…but it falls a bit short of some of my favorite shows…The Sons of Anarchy, Justified and Hell on Wheels.

That being said – one thing that impressed me about the show was the handling of the protagonist, inmate Piper Chapman (the fictionalized version of author Kerman). It must be quite a challenge to write a story where the good guy is a convicted felon, thus making them, by most standards, a bad guy.

Since the show revolves around her I, mistakenly, assumed that Piper would go through her trials and tribulations and come out on the other side a better person for it – and the rest of the characters would come to accept her and realize that they had misunderstood her the whole time.

I was pleasantly surprised when this didn’t happen.

In fact, by the end of season one, almost the exact opposite is true (no spoilers here). The writers did a great job of making it difficult to assign the good guy/bad guy labels to any particular character. The viewer will find themselves rooting both for and against almost every character at one point or another.

That’s good writing.

My point is this – I think we, the book-reading, movie-going, TV-watching public have been brainwashed into accepting, as fact, that our protagonists are “the good guys” and that they always help the old lady across the street, retrieve the kitten from the tree and restore order to the universe.

It’s a romantic notion, to be sure, but come on…we know better.

To use my favorite show, The Sons of Anarchy, as an example…the show’s protagonist, Jax Teller, is seriously flawed, but we root for him nonetheless.


We see both sides of him. We can identify, on some level, with his inner turmoil, because it’s something we’ve all dealt with. We have all been in situations where it seemed like the only way to do the right thing was by doing the wrong thing.

It’s an inevitable element of the human condition – and therefore we shouldn’t ignore it in our writing.

As writers we naturally want readers to enjoy our stories. I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me that the level of enjoyment is greatly increased when the characters seem more like real people than some unattainably perfect androids.

I’m not saying bad is the new good…but you can add so much depth to your protagonist by sprinkling some flaws into his/her personality—that is to say, give them a dark side. Likewise, you can also make your antagonists ring truer if they exhibit a touch of humanity now and then, i.e. a light side. Don’t be afraid to let your characters be who they are…as opposed to who they’re supposed to be.

If you make the good guys too easy to like and the bad guys too easy to hate, you aren’t challenging your readers (or yourself), which will leave them unsatisfied, even if they don’t fully understand why.

Challenge them. Make them like your story, but make them work for it.

I think they’ll appreciate it.

I know I’m not preaching anything new, I just thought a friendly reminder never hurt.

So, I wasted three days of potential writing time and all I have to show for it is this blog post…it doesn’t make up for the words that should have been written, but hopefully the overall lesson will be a fair trade-off.


As always – thank you for reading


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