Sep 052014

I’ve noticed some startling parallels in how the roles of certain members of different bands match up, making me think that rather than arising organically from a mutual love of music, these bands were assembled by the record industry, or more likely the Illuminati, from templates. For instance:

Rolling Stones/Grateful Dead

Brian Jones is to the Stones as Pigpen is to the Grateful Dead

  • Defined the image early on
  • Largely influenced the band’s musical direction in the beginning only to be eclipsed by band mates

Mick Taylor = Keith Godchaux

  • Virtuoso brought in once they were established.
  • Feelings of being under-appreciated by audience/bandmates cause them to leave their once-in-a-lifetime gigs.

Ron Wood = Brent Mydland

  • Solid, unobtrusive player
  • Goes along to get along

Mick Jagger = Bob Wier

  • Of the two main band members, he is seen as being much more uncool
  • Actual contributions to the band are frequently underestimated

Keef = Jerry

  • Always given the benefit of the doubt by the fans.

Bill Wyman = Tom Constantine

  • Nobody really cares
  • Possibly just photo fodder to make the other members look more interesting/attractive

Are there any other two bands where individual member’s roles match up so neatly?

Aug 252014


Naming a band is not as easy as it seems. Ideally, the name will convey a lot of information, giving the general public a clue about what to expect without feeling to forced or overwrought.

  1. What is the greatest gap between a good name and bad music?
  2. What is the greatest gap between a bad name and good music?
  3. Which band name, regardless of the quality of the music or the name itself, seems the most inappropriate choice for that given band?
  4. Which band name seems like the people naming it were trying too hard?
  5. Which band name seems like the people naming it couldn’t give a shit?
  6. What would you name a band and what type of music would your band play?

RIP Dick Wagner

 Posted by
Aug 012014

By playing guitar for Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, KISS, and most especially on Lou Reed’s Rock ‘n Roll Animal, this guy had an immeasurable yet under-the-radar impact on me during my musically formative years. He was a GREAT man.

May 292014

In the past few days, I’ve become obsessed with the song “Pancho and Lefty,” by Townes Van Zandt. The lyrics contain some great lines, but the more I listen to it, the more I wonder, what is this song really about? It should be noted that I usually take narratives at face value and have trouble reading into subtext and symbolism.

The several accounts that Townes himself gives don’t really shed any light, so here’s a few theories that I’ve formed and/or collected on the internet:

  1. The narrator is telling someone a cautionary tale about the dangers of living outside the law. Pancho and Lefty are two bandits. Pancho was killed by the Federales after being betrayed by Lefty, who is allowed to keep Pancho’s money in exchange for the betrayal. Lefty’s fate is arguably not any better than Pancho’s since he’s relegated to living in a cheap hotel in Cleveland, in hiding and with the guilt of betrayal on his conscience.
  2. Pancho is Jesus and Lefty is Judas.
  3. Pancho faked his own death and is now living in hiding as Lefty.
  4. “Pancho” is a Walter Mitty-like fantasy of Lefty’s.

Any additional theories? Which one do you think is the most accurate interpretation? The lyrics follow…after the jump!

Continue reading »

Oct 292013


It’s time for another installment of Name That Tune.

Please identify the following lyrics:

“If I still remember going anywhere tomorrow? Because I travel a lot to ‘ ‘ now immediately messages that appear”

The tricky part? Using, I translated the lyrics from English to Italian, then Italian to Hindi, then Hindi to Portugese, Portugese to Japanese, to Spanish, then back to English.

The category is Classic Rock.

Let me know if you want any hints.

Feel free to stump us with re-translated lyrics of your own.

Oct 162013


Please list this year’s nominees for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the order in which you think they should be included. If you don’t have the patience or interest in listing them all, please just list the top 5.

And the nominees are…

Nirvana, Kiss, the Replacements, Hall and Oates, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, N.W.A., Link Wray, the Meters, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Yes, and the Zombies.

Jul 312013


A large part of Rock ‘n Roll has always been the aesthetics of it. There are innumerable takes on what makes for a cool Look, but seldom are those looks based on things like “comfort” or “utility.” That’s not to say that a cool look can’t be comfortable, but rather that comfort is a secondary concern. Even “anti-Looks,” like that of Neil Young are still making a statement. To paraphrase noted Canadian philosopher Geddy Lee, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

As the father of 2 young kids, I spend a fair amount of time at playgrounds and get-togethers and such with other parents who may not have the same priorities when choosing what to wear. Plenty are well dressed, even fashionable, but there is a certain pragmatism that take hold when you are getting dressed for a day to be spent hanging out on the sidelines of a little league field or at the playground.

Which brings me to my question: Which is the most style-free, utilitarian, and therefore least “rock and roll” footwear, Birkenstock or Crocs? If forced to wear one or the other, which would you choose? I recognize this is very much a Hobson’s Choice so rest assured, your answer will not be interpreted as an endorsement of one type of footwear, rather it will be seen and an indictment of the other.

Which is the most style-free, utilitarian, and therefore least “rock and roll” footwear, Birkenstocks or Crocs?

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