Mr. Moderator

Mr. Moderator

When not blogging Mr. Moderator enjoys baseball, cooking, and falconry.

Mar 302020
 
A sound salvation

Townspeople,

We hope you are healthy and abiding by your community’s social distancing practices. I’m keeping my hands as clean as Chris Martin’s.

COVID-19 has thrown us for a loop. I don’t know about you, but all this time shut in the house has made me long for an outlet that not even social media can satisfy. I need to mix it up with my most-intimate music-loving friends. I need to call bullshit with you on some things and, more importantly, have bullshit called on myself.

I’m not alone. A few of you have reached out to me and my close, personal friend sammymaudlin to ask if we could re-open the Halls of Rock, at least until we make it through this global pandemic. We’re brushing up things just enough to give us the rock-nerd shelter we may need to have the intimacy to kindly attack sacred cows, analyze the influence of facial hair on an artist’s musical development, and get a report on the Bill Wyman documentary on Netflix. This emergency trial re-opening of Rock Town Hall can even provide a safe haven for a discussion of Bob Dylan‘s new 17-minute song about the assassination of JFK, which I’ve been afraid to listen to without you.

Who knows where this goes? I hope it helps us through the coming months, if that’s what it’s going to take to get back out to clubs and backslap with friends.

Don’t hesitate to ask if you need a refresher on how to navigate things, how to post new content, simply how to log in. Of course, there is an auto-reset, if you’ve forgotten your password. Who could blame you?

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Mar 252020
 

Townspeople,

Can it be? Will our time spent in relative isolation give us the opportunity to get back to the Halls of Rock?

Stay tuned.

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 Comments Off on Is This Thing On?
Sep 232016
 

Few personalities — particularly as one as protean and occasionally as brilliant as Reed’s — can be summed up in two syllables. But if you were to do a word cloud of memories of Reed in the various volumes that have been published on his life, the word asshole would turn up in surprisingly large type.

Maybe you’ve heard of this Lou Reed character? This article is worth a read, even if you think you’ve heard it all before. (And you probably have.)

One aspect of many of even Reed’s classic-era albums that doesn’t get talked about enough is the sonic inconsistency. It’s a subtle thing, but most decent rock albums have a sonic palette that forms the core of the work. It’s not that every song must be orchestrated identically, but a good album will generally sound like it was recorded a certain way in a certain universe. Reed’s own lack of sophistication and the B-level producers he used over most of his career combined to make many of his records sound internally random, and jarring. And even fans can point to few nuanced compositions to make the search worthwhile. Along the way he sold “Walk on the Wild Side” for a TV commercial for the Honda’s short-lived line of scooters; Reed appeared at the end of it, to say, “Hey — don’t settle for walkin’!”

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Jun 132016
 

1975_Hotline

Hello,

Hopefully this post will only be seen by contributing writers to Rock Town Hall. If the public at large, relatively speaking, sees this as well, so be it. As I’ve mentioned, in announcing the gradual wind down of Rock Town Hall, as we’ve come to know it and love it, The Back Office and I are seeking a way to “preserve” the work we’ve done for the benefit of future generations. As this place winds down and I try to get my head around where our powers may go next, I’ve also been thinking of ways to solidify the “characters” we’ve established through the years. I’d like to set up time with a number of you to talk over the phone or over e-mail to capture some of your thoughts – anything from final important rock stances you want to take…once and for all…to highlights you want to recap or dirt you want to dish on a fellow Townsperson. Let me know if you’d be up for a 15-minute call, and we can work it out through the summer. Thanks.

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Jun 122016
 


I don’t have a graceful way of stating this: at some point, in the coming months, Rock Town Hall is likely to cease its active life and be preserved as an archive site of often dazzling rock insights and articulation. I can’t imagine what more we can do with this current vehicle. I don’t want to repeat myself. As much as I may joke about it, I actually feel too old and too wise to keep blasting away at the same ducks that refuse to leave the barrel. We’ve been in our public blog form since January 2007; we existed as a private Yahoo Group listserv for a few years prior to that. In the shortened lifespan of the digital age, does that mean we’ve managed to keep this place in business on the back of an 8-track format?

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Jun 112016
 

Pete-Townshend_empty-glass
My oldest son, who recently got his first turntable for his 19th birthday and who has proceeded on a heart-warming (mine), wallet-emptying (his) vinyl binge, sent me the following text while I was at the gym this morning:

When I go to record stores I see lots of solo albums by different artists but I never want to buy them cause I’m not familiar with the music and I know lots of artists suck when they go solo. For example, Ive seen lots of Fogerty solo work and McCartney solo work but I don’t know if it’s good. Can you think of the best artists who went solo so I know what to buy and what to avoid?

Good question, right? One of those questions I sometimes get from people young enough to be my kid that makes me think we need to follow Rock Town Hall with a next-generation spinoff. I’m not sure, myself, whether Pete Townshend’s Empty Glass is actually good. I can advise him on solo John Fogerty (“Eh…”). His question reminds me that I need to warn him to tread lightly with any other solo (or in any way post-Move) album by Roy Wood beside Boulders, which he borrowed from me last week and liked a lot. I’ve had mixed feelings about Pete Townshend, the Occasional Solo Artist, for years. Should I finally buy a used copy of Empty Glass? I’ll have a talk with him about McCartney and let him know that there’s really no difference between McCartney solo and Wings and that there’s nothing McCartney has done post-Beatles that is worth anything but a greatest hits collection beside the nearly amazing Band on the Run. (I know some of you stand behind Ram, as well. I’ll be fair and represent your thoughts on that album.)

What solo albums by musicians primarily associated with being members of a long-running band would you recommend my boy check out? Don’t suggest Van Morrison, because he spent his first couple of years in Them. Likewise, as I remember perceiving things at his age, my son still thinks of and likes Lou Reed as a solo artist before thinking of him as the guy from the Velvet Underground.

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