2000 Man

2000 Man

Apr 052012

I know, I did it to myself. What did I expect? I listened to Classic Rock radio this afternoon and it’s just so stale that I swear, it sucks the very will to live right out of you. So my mind was wandering while they were playing “Start Me Up,” which is a pretty good song by my favorite band in the whole world. But I was just thinking, “maybe I should just turn on my mp3 player or NPR.”

Then I started thinking that the Oldies station doesn’t play a steady diet of Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. In fact, they seem to have made these kinds of great artists almost invisible. I was thinking that wasn’t such a bad thing. If I were a big fan, I could listen to them until I couldn’t bear it anymore anyway. I started thinking that when Classic Rock radio became a format, it was pretty much just Rock radio, and they played old stuff and new stuff (much like people actually do in their cars and homes). Then I thought, “Program Directors need a Death Panel!”

But like our Nation’s Death Panels, these Panels need to be made up of people who care. People with a vested interest. People for whom cutting these songs out of the rotation to make some room for something new are actually going to be affected by this action. I figured if I were on this Panel, I’d have to make those hard decisions about my favorite band, The Rolling Stones, but I wouldn’t be able to chime in about a band like Led Zeppelin, which I can’t stand. It just wouldn’t be fair because I don’t have a vested interest.

So I thought members of the Hall would be good candidates for this heavy burden. We’ve got to do something! These Program Directors are obviously in way over their heads, too attached to their heroes to make rational decisions to help get some decent new Rock on the radio.

Will you step up and make the hard decisions? I’ll start off by making my own cuts. I’ll miss these songs on the radio dearly, but I understand we just can’t support them anymore. It’s for the younger generation. It’s for the greater good. Can you help cut 5 songs from your favorites?

  1. Start Me Up. There may be no song with more private support, with all the plays it gets in stadiums and on TV.
  2. Miss You. It’s great for dancing and parties, but it’s a pretty long song, and a lot of new artists will benefit from the amount of air time freed up.
  3. Gimme Shelter. A stone cold classic, and I truly love the song, but Martin Scorcese has promised to use it in every movie he makes anyway.
  4. Brown Sugar. I’m pretty sure a riff like that will never die. It doesn’t need any more help on the Public airwaves.
  5. Angie – I love it. I really do, but face it, there are plenty of other ballads every bit as deserving.

Get a Free EP!

 Posted by
Nov 032011

Man, Greg Cartwright is one of my rock ‘n roll heroes, and this is a swell little EP that they’re giving away on Scion’s website. If you’re not familiar, The Reigning Sound is a terrific little band, just tight enough to keep it from sounding sloppy and just loose enough to keep it fun. I’ve only had a chance to listen to a little of it, but I’m liking what I hear. I hope it comes out on vinyl someday.



RIP Jane Scott

 Posted by
Jul 052011

Every Rock nerd in Cleveland (let’s make that northeast Ohio) knows who Jane Scott was. Jane was the Rock Music critic for The Plain Dealer. She was at the first shows in Cleveland by The Beatles and The Stones and I swear she was at every show that ever mattered here in Cleveland, or at the major US festivals. I saw her all the time, and she was always fun to talk to at a show. The trick was to catch her between acts or right before showtime, when she wasn’t talking to the bands and the music hadn’t started. She wore white go go boots a lot of times, and she was the oldest person in the room by the time my concert attending part of life came along.  She was 92.

She wrote in a very enthusiastic style, and she tried to find out why people liked every band. She was no Rock Snob, and I really don’t remember her ever writing a really negative review. She used really funny words, like “kicky” and she would never be confused with some Rock Critic that thinks they are enlightening us to some heretofore unknown truth. Jane was writing about having fun, and her weekly column, The Happening, outlived almost every underground weekly entertainment magazine by decades. The Cleveland music scene was made better by Jane’s 50 or so years of going to concerts, and performers big and small, as well as fans, are all going to miss her.

Feb 212011

Sshh...Be vewwy vewwy quiet...

I’ve been noticing songs played in places more than usual for some reason, and in particular the songs that jump out and make me think, “Who programmed this? And why did they do it? Is this some kind of joke?” It’s not so much that I hear songs that I haven’t heard in a long time, or just seldom hear, but it’s songs that seem to fit into the overall scheme of what’s happening, but just seem a little obscure to be anything but a nod to a possible Music Nerd in the audience.

For a case in point, I’m in Columbia, South Carolina the other day at IHOP, and all of a sudden The English Beat’s “Mirror in the Bathroom” is on. I’m thinking, “Wow – this is pretty cool. One of those Songs in the Wild Sightings I’ve been noticing, but then they play “Rock Lobster” and a whole slew of quirky early ’80s songs and I know this is a theme, and not an actual rare sighting. The real rare sightings are the ones that probably fade into nothing unless a Music Nerd is there to see it, like the first song that had me thinking about this a few weeks ago.

We were at Tuesday Morning (some store that sells overstocks and buyouts, I think) and all they play are the country hits of the day, but after a little bit I hear Neil Young’s “Cripple Creek Ferry” and I know this is a true sighting, because it’s so short that it’s almost subliminal in that the only reason the programmer tossed it in was in the hopes that someone, somewhere, might know that this guy is just doing his job and he hates that crap as much as any reasonable Music nerd would. That piqued my interest, and I mush admit I have been paying more attention in stores and restaurants lately (I think my wife thinks I’m ignoring her, but I’m actually working here!). I was in a place call Charming Charlie’s (if you’re male, never go there – it’s awful) and they play horrid dance music really loud. But all of a sudden, blasting out loudly, comes the worst Jam song ever. Yeah, they actually played “Beat Surrender.”  They went straight back to pop tartlets and pretty adolescent boys after that, and I had to admit, for a minute, my least liked Jam song actually didn’t sound so bad!

I really don’t see or hear this stuff often, and what reminded me I wanted to write about it here was a few days ago when I was getting gas and the gas station was playing NRBQ’s “Ridin’ in My Car.” I thought it was like when I heard “Mirror in the Bathroom,” but this was a true sighting. The next songs had nothing to do with cars and were the usual prattlings of Taylor Swift and Toby Keith. I felt really fortunate to hear that little NRBQ song. It’s usually a fake out, and part of a theme, but catching a true Song in the Wild is pretty rewarding. Bird watchers may be on to something. What sightings have you had lately?

Nov 292010

I remember it was freezing cold when The Stones released Undercover. The winter of 1983 was really brutal around here, so what else was there to do but sit inside and really get to know The Stones’ new album? The album is all new music, as far as I can tell, with “Too Tough” being at least the only song that had been worked on previously that was leaked out and bootlegged. I think what made Tattoo You a little uneven for me was the fact that the songs came from so many different sessions. Undercover is a singular project, and it’s different from almost every other Stones album.

This may be the last album by a band that would be a surefire big seller in the ’80s that didn’t have that horrid drum sound (like Steve Lilywhite almost wrecked Dirty Work with). The drums are big, and integral to the sound, but they aren’t splashing constantly like they have a puddle of water sitting on them. They aren’t Jimmy Miller’s drums, but they aren’t bad, and the more popular sound of the decade is actually used to good effect on “Undercover of the Night.” While the drums are prominent, this is definitely a guitar album, first and foremost.

“Undercover of the Night” is one of those Stones semi-disco songs that their rocker fans can get behind in a way they couldn’t with “Emotional Recue.” I think it’s partly the slashing, machine-gun guitars, and partly really dark subject matter concerning sex and violence. I know, the video is kinda dumb, but is there a video of a song anywhere that makes the song better? I don’t think so, so why would anyone expect this to be any different? At least Tawny Kitaen isn’t washing a car with her tits in it. The other single that made a name for itself was “She Was Hot,” and it’s just a road song of the type that makes up the entirety of what most bands that get a record deal end up calling their second album. Again, the guitars are great, Keith and Ronnie sound like one guy with four arms. The other highlight of side one is Keith’s “Wanna Hold You,” which is about his last fast song with The Stones. His ballads are okay, but this is Keith Richards, International Rocker, and it bums me out that he has chosen to play his guitar with no hands so much lately.

Side two kicks off with the pure dance club record, “Too Much Blood.” I know a lot of people thought it was really disturbing, but I think it’s pretty cool. The 12” version is longer and has more of Mick’s weird carrying on about all that’s going down on the seedy side of things. I really like the second side the best. After the dancefest of “Too Much Blood” it’s pure guitar riffs. Ronnie’s “Pretty Beat Up” is pure groovetastic goodness and lyrically carries on the theme of the album, which I swear is, “Don’t trust anyone, and be afraid of the dark.”  “Too Tough” is The Stones finally coming to grips with a middle for a song with a working title of “Cellophane Trousers.” I can listen to it all day.  It’s the kind of mid-tempo rocker that The Stones seem to make with ease, but if it were really that easy, there’d be a lot more good songs to listen to.

The guitars just keep cutting and slashing through the last two songs. Mick Jagger sounds like he’s pushing and the band is pulling but it all seems to meet in some dark, slightly disturbing middle. I think that middle is “Don’t go out in the dark, and be afraid.” I love it. It’s one of my favorite Stones albums, and if they had put “Feel on Baby” as the B-side to “She Was Hot” instead of “I Think I’m Going Mad,” which would have worked better on the album if you ask me. “Feel on Baby” is an odd, slow, mostly boring bit of reggae.

I remember reading Steve Simels’ review of this in Stereo Review when it came out.  He said something like, “This is a classic Stones album, and most of their fans won’t like it. It’s too dark, and it’s too depressing. But the fans that get to know this will be well rewarded.” I totally agree, and I think one day when some future generation listens to this, they’ll think it ranks as one of the best Stones albums. Like me.

Nov 092010

I like Suzi Quatro, and I always have. There’s just something about her whole approach I really enjoy. She did some pretty cool sounding stuff until some treacly ballads made her label a couple of bucks, but I think by then she had decided to to be on Happy Days anyway. But this video, and a black and white one pretty much just like it, show a certain woman’s touch that most boys just couldn’t compete with. This really seems to me to be like a little sister teaching her older brothers a dance routine, and the older brothers being good sports about it, and then finding out that it was really kind of fun. I know we usually find all the flaws in videos, but there’s none in this. It’s just pure fun!

Sep 212010

I went to a Record Show the other day, which is something I have always liked to do. Lately, they’ve been like having a mega Record Store all to yourself, but last Sunday was different. It was packed! The way it used to be in the early ’80s. [Which reminds me, if you have never been to one, and you go, don’t put your bag on a row of records and look through the one next to it. I know, there isn’t anywhere else to put your records, but I got tired of asking people to get their shit off the crate next to them.] That was good to see, and prices were still generally three bucks for the records I want anyway. Since Alive Naturalsound started reissuing The Nerves‘ and Breakaways‘ stuff, I’ve been getting more interested in Paul Collins‘ side of things. I always liked Peter Case, but didn’t really follow Paul at all. I found the first Beat album, and loved it. I found a more recent one, Ribbon of Gold, and I loved that, too. So I was kind of surprised to find the second Paul Collins Beat album, The Kids Are the Same at the show I was at, and I figured I had to grab it. I was expecting another good power pop kind of album, and I think it holds up well.

This came out in ’81 or ’82, which is about when I started raising a family on $4.50 an hour. Cable TV was something I did not even think of having, so I missed whatever MTV airplay Wikipedia said this album got. What I did have was a radio and we listened to it all night at work on the night shift. I can remember hearing this song, “On the Highway,” and it was one of those songs that I instantly loved and instantly thought was a perfect nighttime song, like “Marquee Moon.” The problem is, I knew who sang “Marquee Moon,” but back then college kids spent way more time playing records than telling you what they played, so I never knew who sang this, what album it was on, or anything about it. I put it on yesterday afternoon and was feeling pretty good about my purchase (nice clean record, not noisy, flat and sounds great) and this song that I loved came out of nowhere and was cranking out right there in my own living room!

Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened once or twice to me, but it’s been a long time. I think that’s like the best feeling of all in a Rock Music Nerd’s Life (or lack thereof). It happens so seldom, but I have a feeling it’s what keeps me digging through crates and reading about music instead of living a normal life. What song jumped off a record unexpectedly on you?


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