I hope you’ve been enjoying our Pandemic Relief Reboot of Rock Town Hall. I believe all of you who have been regular participants in our resumed discussions have contributor/author rights, meaning you can enter the Back Office and draft new thread content for the Main Stage. Let me know if you have any questions or need a refresher on how drafting posts works. This is your Rock Town Hall. Feel as comfortable as the members of a reunited Buffalo Springfield felt in Stephen Stills’ living room in 1986. Thanks.
In a nearby thread, my close personal friend E Pluribus Gergely mentioned his regret over having missed The Specials‘ show in Philadelphia in June 2019. It was a rare show I didn’t regret missing, and better yet, I took my oldest son to the show with me. It was our first show together where he could be among the drinking-age crowd. Thinking about this made me realize that many of us are probably old enough now to have a great concert experience or two with our kids. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard stories direct from a few of you. And perhaps we were all once young enough to have had a cool (or not-so-cool, as I know is the case with Townsman andyr) experience of being taken to a real-life concert by our parents. Share away!
I was uplifted by the Specials’ show, and my son loved it, too, which raised my spirits even higher. He’d already developed a taste for third-generation ska, which I try not to be too didactic over, so it was important to get him closer to the real thing. Was this the full-blown reunited Specials I promised I’d hold out the rest of my life to see, at least a reunited Specials involving both Terry Hall and Jerry Dammers? No. (How does a guy like Dammers pay his bills after all these years seemingly doing almost nothing? What do I know about the daily lives of Dammers, Tom Verlaine, et al. That’s a topic for another day…)
Brendan, the gamer dude who posted this video on YouTube with commentary, is really annoying me. I have never heard of Brendan and his game before in my life. Probably thinks Zack de la Rocha is a cool singer. Okay.
Do the Doughnut with our Lockdown Sessions captain and close personal friend Townsman hrrundivbakshi! That hole in the middle is for you to fill in this All-Star Jam.
Considering that INXS was one of the most popular bands in the world during their reign, you will be forgiven for thinking, “What asshole thinks INXS is in need of a critical upgrade?”
Recently, on a work call, a Scottish colleague quoted an INXS lyric that was actually poignant. I’d never considered the lyrics of INXS, and maybe the rest of their lyrics are still not worth my consideration, but I did realize that one reason I never paid any attention to their lyrics was because the rhythms and animal desire expressed by Michael Hutchence were so strong. The craft of those unavoidable hit songs from the late-’80s was strong, too. I’ll go one bold step further: For a popular ’80s band, they struck a solid Look.
I never particularly loved or even liked INXS, but they had it down. I discovered Roxy Music just as they started to get super slick, over their last couple of albums. Because I was hooked by the early, wild stuff, I could “excuse” some of the too-slick-for-my-sensibilities areas into which Bryan Ferry led the band. On the other hand, INXS came out of the gates, for me at least, all slick and shiny and pumped up. Looking back, I’ll take this INXS song over any late-period Roxy Music song other than “More Than This.”
I expect that both my close personal friend E. Pluribus Gergely and the wonderful 2000 Man are squirming as they read this, but I think they’d agree that Mick Jagger, from 1983 on, would have cut off his left nut to make music this good.
I woke up today and was reminded on public radio that it’s Ringo’s birthday, his 80th! The first thing I thought was, “Wow, just thinking about Ringo makes me feel good! He’s the perfect antidote to these times.”
Last week, his song “Photograph” came on the radio, and as happens any time that song kicks in – pre-pandemic, pandemic, and eventually post-pandemic – I teared up. There’s so much empathy in that song, in Ringo’s delivery, in the arrangement. If I’m ever required to tear up, something that isn’t too hard to get me to do, play me “Photograph” or Elton John’s “Daniel.”
I’m a John Guy with a strong Paul Sensibility lurking in the background, but I’m going to let Ringo be my co-pilot today.