May 172016


The Feds got Al Capone on tax evasion charges rather than the more horrendous crimes he committed. In similar fashion, rock critic Sasha Frere-Jones was nabbed for running up a tab at a strip club rather than alleged Rock Crimes, as documented here (for gross exaggeration of research) and played out at least one other time in the Halls of Rock, possibly back in our days as a YahooGroup, when I believe I actually had a couple of e-mails back and forth with the critic over whatever instance of shoddy criticism it was that we flagged.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Frere-Jones recently filed a $5,000 expense report for a venue that the paper discovered was actually a strip club.

Asked to explain, Frere-Jones said he was writing an article about a rapper. But according to the insider, the rapper’s representatives told the paper that no interview had taken place.

In addition, a source close to the situation said that Frere-Jones had accepted a luxury trip sponsored by Dom Pérignon to The Joshua Tree National Park in April — a freebie that is considered a no-no by most mainstream news organizations.

I know, I know…taste is taste and to each his own and whatnot, but I always thought that guy wasted a lot of word and pseudo-social criticism on a fraction of musical content. Funny, to me, that he tried blaming the strip club tab on a rapper.

May 202014

Are you kidding me, the estate for Spirit guitarist Randy California is considering bringing suit against Led Zeppelin for allegedly ripping off 2 measures of the interminable instrumental album filler “Taurus” for the intro to Led Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven”? It takes 45 boring seconds to even get to the allegedly ripped off 2 measure. I doubt Jimmy Page could have lasted that long. For all the blatant heists Page has masterminded, this is like charging Willie Sutton for taking a magazine home with him from a doctor’s office. Dismissed!

In related news, the state of California is considering bringing suit against the estate of Randy Craig Wolfe for ripping off its name.

Apr 052013


If you’ve been following Rock Town Hall for even a couple of weeks you probably have an inkling of my severe distaste for the mainstream culture of the 1980s. If you didn’t live through that era and find it “charming” or whatever, I feel slightly worse for the future of humankind. That’s OK, I’m used to feeling that way. What troubles me is how we got to this point considering how great my generation was and how much greater our parents’ and grandparents’ generations were. If we were so great, shouldn’t the youth of today be better?

If you lived through that era and look back on it fondly, I am not-so-secretly jealous of you. I had a lot of youthful energy and love to give to the world at that time, and for all my exquisite taste I would have been happy to spread my energy and love on a mutually appreciative world, as you may have been able to do back then. Bravo, ’80s Mainstream Culture Beneficiaries!

Many of my associations with the ’80s, then and now, were filtered through my not-always exclusive pursuits of rock ‘n roll and girls, as I was young enough to call them through most of the decade. I desired a mastery of both, yet constantly found myself falling short of the mark. Most of the roadblocks encountered were part of my genetic makeup and/or self-erected. I think of all the poor decisions I made and inflexible stances I took owing to my born and bred stubbornness. I did have good taste, however, and I have no regrets about that. The mainstream culture of the 1980s threw its share of roadblocks at me. Perhaps no cultural artifact was a more daunting roadblock than a copy of Duran Duran‘s Rio placed at the front of a stack of albums in a girl’s dorm room or apartment.

Jan 152013

The other night my wife and I were watching TV when an ad came on for that new David Chase movie, Not Fade Away. As I was getting agita at the thought of soon hearing a patented, mouthbreathing Captain Obvious Fresh Air interview with another one of Terry Gross‘ darlings, something along the lines of her Fall 2012 interview with Stephen Colbert, which for some reason focused on his favorite musical artists, mostly obscure soft-rock pioneers like James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg, my wife distracted me with an unexpected question:

What’s this, a movie about the Dead?

I would never have made that connection, but I only saw the Dead once in college. She saw the Dead and assorted offshoot bands a total of 10 times before I knew her. That would have qualified her as a Deadhead, which helps to explain why I thought she was hot the first time I saw her. I always had a soft spot for Deadheads. Well, that’s not quite the right term, is it? However, by the time we met and started getting to know each other her Dead bootleg tapes were buried in a box of personal items, stuff I wouldn’t know existed for a few years.

For the next few days I couldn’t get the notion of the Dead’s cover of “Not Fade Away” out of my head. It gnawed at me, the way the thought of hearing Chase wax poetic over whatever obvious albums he grew up loving gnawed at me. I felt compelled to re-examine the Dead’s dreadful cover of one of the finest cover songs the Rolling Stones ever committed to vinyl. I got no further than the YouTube clip posted here: the Grateful Dead captured mid-jam. Note that the clip of this interminable cover is entitled Grateful Dead – Not Fade Away 12-31-78 – Pt. 2. The “Pt. 2” says it all: ROCK CRIME!

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Aug 272012

This one puts me in a Cold Sweat…or…makes me wanna put your ray gun to my head. Either way you figger it, someone seriously ripped someone off here and the guilty party is either David Bowie or James Brown.

A couple of weeks ago Mr. Moderator made a west coast trip to The Back Office to discuss some Q3 RTH ventures. As part of this company retreat we attended a taping of Conan, complete with VIP tickets (true story).



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