Friday, 21 June 2013

The Long Goodbye

Gibson’s 10 Epic Guitar Outros makes the point that great guitar work at the end of a song can be an exclamation point.  I agree!!!!!!!!!

Here’s the list:

Ozzy (Randy Rhoads) – Mr. Crowley
ZZ Top – La Grange
Zeppelin – Black Dog
Bowie (Mick Ronson) – Moonage Daydream
Rolling Stones – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
Guns “n Roses – November Rain
Derek and the Dominoes – Layla
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
Eagles – Hotel California
Skynyrd – Free Bird

Yep.  Epic.  I some cases, these outros are the best part of the song, the signature.  Comfortably Numb, for example.  That, and Hotel California, where the outro almost becomes a second song that provides an emotional reaction to the first part.  It’s like the band is saying, “Ya, think about this for a minute.”

And we do.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Big Deal

This is not, repeat not a political statement:  FDR’s New Deal was the best thing that ever happened to music.

Stay with me.  Without the New Deal’s “make work” projects, Alan Lomax would not have been sent out to collect folk music.  If Alan Lomax hadn’t done that, we might never have heard of Son House, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Doc Boggs, Big Bill Broonzy and Skip James.  Woody Guthrie might be an interesting footnote.

If the folk music, white and black, of the south had not been captured and exposed to a broader audience, the Chicago Blues as we know it might never have come into being, “race music” and rhythm and blues might never have been noticed by white kids.  There might never have been a folk revival in the 50’s.

No delta blues?  Nothing in Chicago?  No folk revival?  No:
Rolling Stones
Bob Dylan
Led Zeppelin

Shall I go on?

Elvis, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins…  life, and culture, as we know it would simply not exist.

I can’t imagine a better use of government money.  Big Bird might just agree.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

I’ll Cry Instead

A rock band can be like a romantic relationship.  So says Rolling Stone Magazine in The 10 Messiest Band Breakups.  Here’s the list:

Guns N’ Roses
The Everly Brothers
The Police
The Eagles
The Clash
Smashing Pumpkins
Rage Against the Machine
The Pixies

So, we’ve got all the ingredients.  Out of control egos, drugs, betrayal, rivalry, verbal and physical abuse, smashed guitars, lawyers.

What we don’t have, however, is the biggest, messiest breakup of all: The Beatles.  It was all captured in a butt-ugly, downer of a film!  The lawsuits went on for years!  They wrote nasty songs about one another!  People are still mad at Yoko!

Hell froze over for The Eagles, and the re-union tour has now lasted longer than the original band.  The Everlys and The Police also patched up and cashed in.  Shouldn’t one of these bands be pushed aside?

I mean, this is not a list about honour and glory, but The Beatles gave us more than enough drama - and stupidity - to “earn” a place on this particular list.  It’s all too much.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


I got to thinking about how your perceptions and loyalties change over time, and decided to fill in this matrix of who my favourite artists were decade by decade.  It came out like this:

Some time bending was required to jam things into the decade pigeonhole, and some revisionism is at work here.  Looking back as each decade turned over, I definitely would not have listed the Stones as my second favourite band of the preceding ten years.  The third place band would have been #2, and the likes of Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and The Cars – or maybe The Police – and Bonnie Raitt would have shown up.  Oh, and John Lee Hooker, just a few decades late.

But this is a pretty accurate reflection of how I would rank the music as I listen to it now.

A coupla “Ya I knows”:
1. The Stones have not really done anything since Voodoo Lounge, or arguably Tattoo You.  But somehow they remain cool and the concert DVD’s are fun.
2. Not a lot of newness in the past 20 years.  Yep.  I’m getting’ old.  What can I say?

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Thrill of It All

Gibson has an overdue list of 10 Guitar Greats Who've Been Unduly Neglected, the list being:

Terry Kath
Ollie Halsall
Luther Grovenor
June Millington
Phil Manzanera
Lenny Breau
Jimmy Nolen
Randy California
Robert Quine
Bob Stinson

Amen, especially for Kath, California and Manzanera.  I might also add Peter Green, Kim Simmonds and Rory Gallagher.

The article hints that maybe you need a larger-than-life personality to get all the attention.  Maybe.  Maybe it was the tunes, the bands, the PR, the hair …

It certainly wasn’t the licks

Monday, 3 June 2013

Believe I’m Sinking Down

Have I ever mentioned I’m not a fan of award shows?  I rarely watch them because they always disappoint.

But I made an exception this year and watched the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions. I mean, Rush, Heart, Albert King.  Gotta be good right?

Guest appearances by John Fogerty, Tom Petty, Jackson Brown, David Grohl, Gary Clark, John Mayer.  People I admire.  Music I love.  Gonna be good for sure.


Lame speeches.  So-so performances.  Well-meant and no doubt all very sincere, but in the end, just a bunch of silliness.

You know, when Alex Lifeson gets the most applause for literally saying “blah blah blah” for 3 minutes (though it seemed like 7), the evening has been kinda dull.

Cool jam on Crossroads as the credits rolled, though.