Aug 032010

While I was washing my car today, AC/DC came on the radio. This was the Bon Scott-era AC/DC, not the Brian Johnson version, which I consider to be superior. Anyway, it occurred to me that Bon Scott is the answer to a burning Rock and Roll Question: “What would it sound like if Bob Dylan fronted a hard-rock band?”

Since most of us are approaching the age where curling up with Trebek is going to be a dominant form of entertainment, this format shouldn’t be too hard to get: 1) Set us up with the answer to the Question, 2) then fill us in on the answer when the suspense is killing us.

Here’s another example:

A: The Goo Goo Dolls.
Q: What would the Replacements sound like if they kinda sucked and got really famous?

And yet another:

A: The Brian Johnson-led AC/DC
Q: What would it sound like if Marge Simpson sang lead in a hard-rock band?

You get the format; this is Rock and Roll Jeopardy. We’ll open the board, but first let’s meet our contestants. First, we have this nerdy guy from Philadelphia who once got stuck in an elevator…

Feb 162010

At Mr. Mod’s request, Rock Town Hall’s self-proclaimed Official Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Correspondent, NorthVanCoveMan, is on the scene, bringing you the rocking news from north of the border an attempting to fashion it into a rock-related discussion..with yet to be determined results.

Yesterday I had some dumb luck. As many of you may be aware, and some of you may be avoiding completely, the 2010 Winter Olympics are happening in my fair city. I have made a point of pushing aside any misgivings or general grumpiness and really trying to get out and enjoy the whole thing. It has not been hard to do; the town is electric right now! And there’s alcohol!

Tonight is the first night I have nothing on tap (literally and figuratively) but I will be back in the swing of things Wednesday and Thursday with a trip to see some speed skating and hockey. The corporate pavilions, such as the ones set up by Molson and Heineken (50-75,000 sq. foot beer palaces) are at least as much of a draw.

But back to yesterday. A friend from back east who is in town for the games called with an extra ticket to the men’s moguls event up on Cypress Mountain. Turns out, the first Olympic event I have ever attended would be the one to break Canada’s gold medal drought on home soil (We were shut out in Calgary ’88 and Montreal ’76). Anyway, It is a really big deal up here. A virtual unknown, a young man from Quebec named Alexandre Bilodeau, took the gold. He seems to have been ordered from Central Casting under “Modest and Respectful Canadian Hero.” They gave him the gold tonight in front of a football stadium full of people. Twenty thousand more were singing “Oh, Canada” outside.

Now I’ll be the first to admit I don’t give a shit about moguls. And like most Canadians I didn’t know Bilodeau from Bordeaux at the beginning of this past weekend. But being there in the moment makes me feel different about it, I am drawn in. I’m hooked on the feeling.

Has a charismatic person or unexpected electric moment ever gotten you out of your comfort zone? Find yourself listening to reggae or jazz when you hate reggae and jazz? Who in music came out of nowhere and rocked your world and had you listening to stuff you normally wouldn’t?

Who is your Rock and Roll Bilodeau?

Dec 112009

Last year, the Whos of Rock Town Hall’s Whoville put together what was only, probably, the GREATEST CHRISTMAS RECORD OF ALL TIME!. There are still a ton of great Christmas songs out there, but beating 2008 will be hard to do. Here is the record, which was sequenced by The Great 48

1. “Santa Claus is Back In Town” — Elvis Presley
2. “Run Rudolph Run” –Chuck Berry
3. “Little Saint Nick” — The Beach Boys
4. “Christmas In Suburbia” — Martin Newell
5. “Father Christmas” — The Kinks
6. “Christmas Wrapping” — The Waitresses
7. “Sleigh Ride” — The Ventures
8. “Blue Christmas” — Elvis Presley
9. “Fairytale of New York” — The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
10. “Please Come Home For Christmas” — Charles Brown
11. “2000 Miles” — Pretenders
12. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” — The Plastic Ono Band
13. “Jesus Christ” — Big Star
14. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” — Darlene Love
15. “Christmas Time Is Here” — Vince Guaraldi Trio

You know the rules by now. You nominate a song for inclusion. The moment another villager seconds your vote, it’s in. We keep going until we have 15.

Jul 182009

“I wouldn’t join any website that would have me as a member…”

When I was a kid, the first show I can remember watching with regularity was M.A.S.H. M.A.S.H was huge in the ’70s and the show’s biggest star was Alan Alda, as Hawkeye Pierce, a womanizing anti-establishment wiseacre who lived to deliver a stinging one liner.

In 1977 I didn’t know what a genius was. But if I did I would have been certain that Alan Alda qualified. A few years on I didn’t think Alan Alda was a genius any more, in fact I had my suspicions that Alda was even a good actor. The reason? Groucho Marx. I had caught a Marx Brothers movie late a night and….Holy Shit…Hawkeye Pierce…stole his whole act from Groucho Marx…Alan Alda isn’t a genius, he’s a fraud! Well a few more years went by and I realize this is kinda the way the world works sometimes.I have since made my peace with Alan Alda. He’s all right in my books. You know what they say about tragedy plus time, right?

Anyway, this got me thinking, have you ever been sold on a rock and roll Alan Alda, until you found the rock and roll Groucho Marx? Did you make peace with your rockin’ Alda or do you still hold it against him?

Jun 192009

About 6 months ago now I started a thread that was a lot of fun. It was The Rock Town Hall Christmas Record. Participating in that heated debate was a good way for a newbie like me to get to know all the visitors to RTH, and it produced a tangible result; nothing less than the greatest Christmas record ever (not)made!

Over the past 6 months I have resisted the temptation to stretch this format to Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, Arbor Day, MLK Day, Independence Day, or even my home country’s beloved “May Two-Four”, Victoria Day.

But here we are, hours before the official start of Summer. The time is right. The season is right. I summon the collective genius that voted, no insisted, that “Christmas In Suburbia” by Martin Newell secure its place underneath our trees. The genius that would happily hear “Jesus Christ” by Big Star with rum and egg-nog. That wouldn’t dare tie a bow before they heard “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses. I summon this collective brain to produce

The Rock Town Hall Sounds of Summer, Volume 1.

The Rock Town Hall Sounds of Summer is the 15 greatest songs about Rock and Roll’s rightful season. Spring is for sissies. Girls wear too many clothes in The Fall. I’m Canadian…don’t even talk to me about Winter. Only Summer truly Rocks.

You know the format. Nominate a song. When another Rock Town Hall member seconds that song, it’s in!

To kick things off, I nominate “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper

Is it just me, or is it getting Hot In Herre?

Apr 052009

My significant other will tell you that I am a man of endless pet peeves. People who drive slow in the left lane. People who have tiny apartments always inviting you to a party there. DJs (not the Alan Freed kind).

At the risk of coming off as excessively curmudgeonly, I want to share one pet peeve has been bothering me more than the others lately.

So here it is: There are endless songs, almost an infinite number it would seem, that proclaim the dance floor as the ultimate spiritual salve. Don’t you know that getting on the dance floor will solve all your problems, Mr. Uptight?

Did you recently lose your job at GM? Well,then: “kick it out on the dance floor like you just don’t care” (REM). House foreclosed?: “Just dance, gonna be ok, just dance, spin that record babe” (Lady Gaga). Going through a painful divorce? Well: “I hope you dance” (Lee Ann Womack)

Enough already. This hippy sentimentality does nothing for me. A moratorium on songs suggesting dancing will solve your problems. It’s time for the truth. Lost your job at GM? “One Bourbon, one Scotch and one Beer…” House foreclosed? Don’t worry, we’ve got “Two More Bottles of Wine.” Going through a painful divorce? “Have a Drink on Me.”

Please help me compile a list of these songs with misguided dancing sentiments and suggest rock and roll drinking alternatives to them.

Feb 242009

Ever come in through the out door of a favorite artist’s career?

I am sure we have all had this experience. You discover an artist whose music you come to treasure. You plunder their back catalogue for all the gems and eagerly await all the great albums to come. Only they don’t come.

I would love to say I followed XTC from Drums and Wires, but the truth is the first time I listened to a full XTC album was Nonesuch. I later went on to discover all the excellent stuff they had done, but, sadly, I had checked In Through the Out Door of XTC’s career.

Have you had a similar experience?


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