Aug 202021

This one’s easy, but it may reveal more about you than you think. Just finish the sentence:

“There’s a special part of rock and roll hell reserved for…”

It could be anything or anybody: pointy guitars from the 1980s, David Clayton-Thomas, Paul McCartney’s late-90s dye job, “Mighty Like a Rose,” anything. And don’t feel restricted to providing just one answer; the more the merrier.

I look forward to your responses.


Jul 292021

Last night, I dreamed that E. Pluribus Gergeley and I went to a record show together. For some reason, he drove, so I was relying on his wheels to get home after the event. At one point, EPG asked me whether I liked the song “I’m Looking Through You” by the Beatles. I replied, more to get his goat than anything else, that I considered it “a seven out of 10.” Upon hearing this, EPG flew into a rage and split, stranding me at the dream record show. Things got weirder when he sent a flunky over with a smoked ham, asking if I’d trade my copy of “Rubber Soul” for it. I refused, which angered him all the more, and the next thing I heard, EPG was slagging my name all over the show, telling all and sundry that I couldn’t be trusted because I didn’t even think the Beatles were as good as smoked ham. Then I woke up.

Anyway, my question is this: have you ever had a falling out with a friend, significant other, or person you otherwise respected because you learned they had an utterly indefensible position on a band, album, song, genre, what have you?

I look forward to your responses.. And EPG, I hope we’re still tight. I actually love that song — and I probably would trade you a decent copy of Rubber Soul for a high-quality smoked ham. Though country ham would be preferable.


Jul 282021

I’m not clever enough to properly embed the link you see above, so it just plays auto-magically. So click on the link, and spend a few moments remembering “the Dust.”

Also: it seems only fitting on this sad day that — yes, seriously — footage has finally emerged of the Top playing on their Worldwide Texas Tour. Enjoy.

Memory eternal.




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Jul 202021

I do like a good rock “woo.” You know what I mean by a “woo,” I hope. I mean those moments when somebody in the band just has to let out a cathartic, falsetto “woo” at a critical, “woo”-worthy juncture in a song.

Do you have any favorite rock “woo”s? I’ve posted an audio collage of a few of mine above. For extra credit, identify them. I look forward to your responses.


Jun 282021

It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong — but it takes a much, much smaller man to take nearly 40 years to ‘fess up to his mistakes. And that’s just the kind of man I am. So here I am, stripped naked of shame and regret, chained to the Orockle doors, megaphone in hand, ready to scream into the howling wind: I WAS WRONG ABOUT ALEX CHILTON’S 1980s OUTPUT!

Like everybody else who came into rock maturity in the 1980s (other than E. Pluribus Gergeley), I fell deeply in love with Big Star upon hearing them as a pimply-faced college puke. Big Star had everything I needed as a budding music nerd, in overwhelming abundance: Impeccable song craft! Soaring harmonies! Clanging guitars! Doomed-to-fail braininess! I-know-more-than-you-do exclusivity!

I rhapsodized over the pop perfection of their first two albums, and made excuses for the shambolic weirdness of the third. I agonized over the band’s collapse, and cursed the world for not appreciating their greatness, even as I enjoyed being one of the select few who actually owned a copy of “Radio City” on the original Ardent label. I decided Alex Chilton was a genius.

Of course, I wasn’t the only music nerd in the 1980s to discover Chilton and Big Star, so a few indie labels decided it would make good business sense to green-light various Chilton “comeback” projects, which were targeted fairly specifically at people like me. And here is where I started to go very, very wrong — because, like almost everybody else at the time, I thought these albums and EPs sucked.

The critical take on Chilton’s first “comeback” album, “High Priest,” was basically:  “huh?” Everybody, including (probably especially) me, just could not understand why the man we perceived as the creative genius behind the dense, powerful, proto-power pop of Big Star would debase himself with such a lazy throwaway album of obscure ’60s AM/soul radio material. The arrangements were sloppy — not insane, or non-existent, as on “Like Flies On Sherbert,” but stripped down, basic, elemental… yeah, “lazy.” Basically, if Alex had wanted to piss off all the people looking for a return to Big Star’s style and substance, he couldn’t have done a better job.

But — even as some critics twisted themselves into pretzels trying to convince us this was all part of a Chilton master plan to fool the world by deliberately making music that was beneath him — the truth is that this album, and most of the other stuff he released as an indie elder statesman, was great. Not Great with a capital “G,” but impeccably curated, played with honesty, clarity, and nuance, and generally pleasing to the earbulbs. I’ve grown into a place where I absolutely adore these records, and I listen to them far more often than the Big Star material (which I still marvel at, but find to be very much “of an era.”)

I should point out that I also love the original artists’ versions of the covers within this catalog. But Chilton’s soulful interpretations are unique, and meaningful. Like a bop jazz trio doing a set of Broadway show tunes, they’re measurably different from the originals, but respectful of the source material.

All this to say: go check out “High Priest,” or “Set,” and listen with an open mind. I think you’ll like what you hear.


Jun 132021

Hey, gang — I need some help with some Stones lyrics. I cued up a bunch of trackssss from across their career — nothing too obscure — and wrote down what I heard, starting right at the top of each tune. But Mick was pretty much incomprehensible, so I stopped transcribing before I hit the choruses. Which was pretty stupid, because now I don’t remember which songs these are. Can you help ID the tunes? Once I get the song names, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to figure out what the heck Mick is yelling about. Thanks.


Yeah, once papa cold when I was crazy spade

Gear New York’s lanky legs

I saved my money, I took a plane

Ever I go seems the same


I’m a little bit clean of mulcher

All my friends are cultures, snot feelers too


When your walrus is rough

Satan’s glove

I been browned in your love

You got a front door blue, yeah

I’m from the same one that you, yeah

Oh, I mock the helm mop blues


Break me five, big me down, me runny, know my way around (assy Choo cha!)

Pig me pile, ping me dan, beat me run-in, beat me on the ground


No git, can’t sleep, wing up, no sleep, sky diver insider, slip brooch, sky dang

Moon bed lover, got no time on feen

One less sucker bare freak on the soul scene

Oh, for bid nay oh, git stand


Made me think of Percy

All the kind of worsen

Make me fer the cattle on thang

Baby, Baby

Doe these the jews in a frown


Reb troll up the cold town bully

Come on bend my hand

Riff so yo you braille buddy

Briss so muss so pram

Bray buss every lane granny you and stay

But I lost a lot of girl over you


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