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"Going to jail is something I will wear like a badge for the rest of my life," said Chong in a telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles. "It's not often you get thrown in jail for being a protective father. But that's the kind of government we've been dealing with for a while now."

Tommy Chong
Cheech and Chong

About The Book
Like the moment that a projection room attendant adjusts the focus so that the picture on a movie screen becomes sharp and clear for those in the theater, the idea for this book became clear during a series of interviews – with Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, and Dewey Bunnell of America – in the fall of 2011.

After nine years of doing entertainment stories as executive editor of Montgomery Media – a group of 18 weekly newspapers and websites based in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia – it occurred to me that I had talked to a lot of artists whose work had served as the soundtrack for many of the memorable moments of my life.

Negron, Johnston and Bunnell had either written or been a singer on songs associated with some wonderful memories, like my high school prom, my affection for a particular jukebox or the first time I inadvertently witnessed what we now call a "wardrobe malfunction" as a teenager.

But they weren't the only ones. The Beach Boys, Olivia Newton-John, Barry Manilow, Hall & Oates, The Monkees and even The Lawrence Welk Show all provided words and music along the way, from growing up and spending the first half of my life in the Midwest all the way through a move to the East Coast at midlife.

In some instances, the soundtrack consisted of not music, but words. Listening to Cheech and Chong albums in the early 1970s and laughing hysterically at them provided some of the early foundation for what became the sideways sense of humor I exhibit today.

In other instances, even though there was still a music connection, there wasn't really a music connection. I wasn't a big KISS fan in the 1980s, but the KISS story in these pages featuring frontman Paul Stanley involves painting and a very special pinball machine – the only one in my life I could ever beat.

Sometimes, the story doesn't happen until after I interview and meet someone. I was familiar with, but had no particular personal story attached to, the music of The Lovin' Spoonful during the band's great run of hits in the 1960s. But after interviewing original member Jerry Butler on the phone, and then spending a wonderful hour backstage before a show listening to him tell stories about the early days of the band, I gained a greater appreciation and renewed affection for the music of The Lovin' Spoonful and the group's place in rock and roll history.

Even film and television are represented. The theme song from the original "Hawaii Five-0" television show – recorded by The Ventures – is represented here, but the interview that goes with that chapter features Al Harrington, one of the show's original stars, who I had met during a trip of Hawaii in 1979. Jill Hennessy starred in the early years of "Law & Order," but I didn't know until many years later that she was an outstanding singer and songwriter. And Chazz Palminteri, who both wrote and starred in the semi-autobiographical movie "A Bronx Tale," used a song in that film by Dean Martin during my favorite scene in the movie that became particularly poignant for me later in life.

The thread that connects all these stories is the music that through everyday circumstances became associated with the happier times in my life. And then 20, 30, 40 years later, I had the opportunity to talk those people who made the music that help me make those memories.

This book, "Dancing in My Underwear: The Soundtrack of My Life," combines autobiographical elements, how the music itself connected to my life, and the journalistic experiences of interviewing – and oftentimes meeting – those artists who made what became special music to me.

A lot of people have soundtracks to their lives. But how many of them actually get to talk to the people that made up their soundtrack? Because it's my job to talk to people and tell their stories, I've been one of the lucky ones.

Maybe some of these artists are among your favorites, too, and maybe they're part of your soundtrack as well.

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