Singer in sound state of mind

Tonight, you can see Ray LaMontagne sing at the Palms. I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but this is like having the chance to see Nick Drake or Cat Stevens in 1973.

Critics love LaMontagne. And his songs are so easy on the ears, they get played on "Gossip Girl," "American Idol," "Rescue Me," "Parenthood" and a slew of other TV shows. Even an insurance ad, starring a cute dog, uses his song "Trouble."

I always worry about such genius singer-songwriters, because Drake overdosed, Jeff Buckley drowned, Stevens went religious, Fiona Apple is Fiona Apple -- and Elliott Smith stabbed himself twice in the heart.

So I got LaMontagne on the horn to inquire into his state of emotions. He eased my mind.

"You could also talk about guys like Willie Nelson and Guy Clark and Lyle Lovett and John Prine," he told me. "They're not walking around saying they're going to kill themselves. They're happy and they're writing and they're working and they're loving what they do.

"That's how I feel about music," he said. "I couldn't be happier."

OK, Ray, I will be holding you to this "I couldn't be happier" quote.


At 84, Jerry Lewis tells me he's looking for a replacement to host his MDA telethon after he perishes.

But Lewis, hosting the telethon this weekend, isn't planning to perish for 17 years. He promised George Burns he would outlive him, to 101.

Lewis jokes Pee-wee Herman will replace him. I suggested two possibilities -- Ryan Seacrest and Jim Carrey -- but Lewis shook his head tentatively. He's seeking someone who deeply cares about the MDA.

Lewis has conquered major health issues with his heart, lungs, prostate, back, meningitis and pulmonary fibrosis. And he's upbeat about that.

"I have to sleep with oxygen every night. And I can't fly without oxygen. But that's not a bad price to pay, being given my life back."

Read more about Lewis in today's Neon section.


Kelly Rowland performs "Commander" Sunday at club Surrender. ... Diddy hosts at Wet Republic pool Saturday. ... LeAnn Rimes steps out to Tabu lounge Saturday. ... spins a DJ set Saturday at Moorea Beach Club. ... Carmen Electra hosts Sunday at Moorea. ... Travie McCoy performs "Billionaire" tonight at club Bank. ... Ray J performs tonight at club Haze. ... Busta Rhymes performs Sunday at club Haze. ... And Cali Swag District go to Jet tonight to do "Teach Me How To Dougie." Oh, I'll teach you how to Doug E, all right.

Doug Elfman's column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail him at He blogs at


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