Dugout Chatter

 Posted by
Nov 282020

President elect Joe Biden’s choice for Secretary of State is a guy named Anthony Blinkin and he has a band and two of their songs are on Spotify. I suspect you’re thinking the same thing I was: Great, let me brace myself for some flaccid, middle-aged blues rock fumblings along the lines of that band of hedge fund guys from a few years ago, or Joe Scarborough’s mid-life crisis offerings.

The first indication that this might be different from what I feared was the picture of Blinkin playing a Danelectro. I believe that you can tell a lot about a person by their gear choices, and this is a hip choice. Noted bassist Mike Huckabee can be seen with the occasional P-bass but there are also plenty of pictures of him with some Guitar Center Special like a Yamaha, or an overly fussy high end bass like a Warwick, or, God forbid, a 5-string. So it’s no surprise that he turned out to be a horrible human being. A Danelectro, on the other hand, says to me, “Sure, I could have gotten a Tele. They are iconic and a choice that is beyond reproach. But I wanted something just a little more left of center.” (I’ve always liked the Danelectro but, much like the SG, I frankly don’t think that I’m cool enough to pull it off.)

Then I read the bio notes:
“Singer-Songwriter and, with Eli Attie, Jay Carney, Dave McKenna and David Segal, member of studio-only bands — including Cash Bar Wedding and Big Lunch — that have recorded in New Orleans, Bakersfield, Minneapolis and Washington, DC, with contributions from Alex Chilton and Grant Hart. Perform with two Washington, DC-based occasional charity concert bands, Pink Noise and Coalition of the Willing, formed in 2004 by Andras Simonyi with Linc Bloomfield, Dan Poneman, Dan McDermott, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers acclaim. Inspired, still, by 1970s classic rock and R&B.”

Okay, Skunk Baxter kind of makes sense since he designs missile defense technology or something these days. But Grant Hart? Alex frigging Chilton? I need more details. The word “contributions” seems intentionally vague in a way that is meant to capture almost any musical contact so I would like some clarification.

I see that he’s been in a band with Jay Carney, the former press secretary for Obama who namechecked Guided By Voices from the podium once. I’m assuming that Jay was the one that came up with the name “Cash Bar Wedding” since it sounds like it could be the name of a GBV album or song. This is an objectively great band name. “Coalition of the Willing” gets the silver medal for band names mentioned in this bio but loses out due to its wonkiness. The name “Ablinkin” must have seemed like a great idea that fell right into Blinkin’s lap but I think the cutesyness of that name causes it to wear out its welcome fairly quickly.

The songs: There’s only two songs. They both seem like they are recorded professionally. Honestly, they’re both catchy and well done. The arrangements are well thought out, and the playing is solid. His voice reminds me of someone. Do I hear notes of Elvis Costello? The songs seem like they fall into the category of Dad Rock as I understand that category to be. He seems like just a guy with a day job who never got tired of playing in bands, so in that respect, he’s not unlike me or a number of my fellow Townsmen. Are these songs changing the world or breaking new ground? Nope. But if the Donuts were putting together a show for a Saturday night with Nixon’s Head and these guys ended up on the bill too, I don’t think they’d be wildly out of place. Maybe they’d even have Skunk Baxter with them and I could confront him about the time when I was bartending and he was rude to me. (We’d probably end up laughing about it and then talking about compressors and whatnot.)

On to the questions:

  1. Are these songs legit or are they the little red sports car of someone’s midlife crisis?
  2. Is this Dad Rock?
  3. How do you define Dad Rock?
  4. Are a person’s gear choices a window into their soul?
  5. Are there any particular guitars you consider to be especially cool?
  6. Are there any guitars you consider to be inherently uncool?
  7. Between Blinkin name checking Grant Hart and Alex Chilton, Jay Carney professing his love for GBV, and people like former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine saying the Replacements are his favorite band, are we entering the Golden Age of Musically Relatable Politicians?
  8. In terms of relatable politicians, would you rather have a beer with George W Bush, or argue the ranking of the three original Big Star albums with Blinkin?


  64 Responses to “Dugout Chatter”

  1. Vocally, it’s absolutely extremely Elvis Costello. Musically, the first one sounds like slightly grittier yacht rock. The second sounds like a sensitive singer-songwriter offering from a not-singer-songwriter–in other words, musically, it sounds like when a band like KISS or Poison or someone like that gets tender, as opposed to actual Nick Drake or James Taylor or Jackson Browne, yet still with the EC vocal stylings.

  2. Not nice fooling us like that cdm. ‘Fess up, these are outtakes just released on that super duper deluxe edition of Armed Forces, right?

  3. 1. Are these songs legit or are they the little red sports car of someone’s midlife crisis?

    Is there a difference.

    2. Is this Dad Rock?

    All rock is now Dad Rock.

    3. How do you define Dad Rock?

    See Response to 2.

    4. Are a person’s gear choices a window into their soul?


    5. Are there any particular guitars you consider to be especially cool?

    I love Jazzmasters. Also, a great local guitarist, Rick Iannacone, who played with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and TSOP live acts played a Fender Maverick, a Frankenstein creation that Fender issued briefly to clear out some parts inventory, including Twelve string stuff. It was very cool in its dissonant familiarity. https://www.gak.co.uk/blog/top-5-weird-fenders/

    I’m also partial yo excessive SG’s, with the giant pickups and block inlays. and cherry stain that shows the woodgrain. I always thought a similar finish in a deep blue would ROCK.

    6. Are there any guitars you consider to be inherently uncool?

    Yes, but it’s important to keep an open mind, at least until the sound coming out confirms the aesthetic transgression.

    7. Between Blinkin name checking Grant Hart and Alex Chilton, Jay Carney professing his love for GBV, and people like former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine saying the Replacements are his favorite band, are we entering the Golden Age of Musically Relatable Politicians?

    No, we’ve just reached the point where national politicians are younger than us. I reached that stage ages ago. Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education introduced the Mekons at a Mercury Lounge show I say 12 years ago.

    8. In terms of relatable politicians, would you rather have a beer with George W Bush, or argue the ranking of the three original Big Star albums with Blinkin?

    ABlinken, all the way. I don’t drink beer and I like the stage name a lot. for the record, I’d go 3rd, 1st, 2nd.

  4. My first impression of Blinkin when he was tapped for Sec. of State was about how beautiful his hair was. Just an awesome wave of hair in the front. And, he’s a singer/songwriter! Why waste time in government with those chops and hair?

    It’s the Smithereens voice! Really low and nasally. And of course, Lip Service is already a Costello title.

    Geo hit the mark on Dad Rock questions. You wouldn’t insult a jazz musician by saying he’s playing Dad Jazz just because he’s old. By virtue of the age of rock, you could probably just call it all Dad Rock. OK, Boomer? This one hits too close to home for the middle-aged me.

    Excellent point about the Danelectro. Certainly a left leaning guitar. ALL Gibson’s and Fenders are automatically cool. DiPinto’s and weird Hamer’s are cool. I’m snobby about Ibanez. Not cool. Not really a window into the musician’s soul only because young poor guitarists have to play what they can afford when they start. More a window into their socio-economic standing. I don’t need to see a 17 year old with a $10,000 vintage Les Paul.

    Don’t forget Beto and his punk rock band. I’m glad rock music is part of the debate now. I don’t think Trump did himself any favors with his Frankenstein YMCA dancing.

    LOVE the name Ablinkin. Funny. Band name should be Blinkin Park.

    Skunk Baxter is far right. Get your own band with Huckabee!

  5. I will get some time this afternoon to dig in on this EXCELLENT post and add that image. Outstanding work, cdm.

  6. As chickenfrank notes, the man does have impressive hair! I hope it redeems the miserably failed promise of Steve Bannon’s hair.

    1. Are these songs legit or are they the little red sports car of someone’s midlife crisis?
    I say legit. People are people, and people do what they need to do. It’s not like he’s Bruce Willis. Good effort, if you ask me. I agree wholeheartedly that if he were on a bill with our bands, cdm, I wouldn’t have to give him my go-to insincere compliment, “The kick drum really cut!”

    2. Is this Dad Rock? 3. How do you define Dad Rock?
    Geo nailed this and the follow up.

    4. Are a person’s gear choices a window into their soul?
    Pretty much so, at least regarding my judgments on my own and others’ souls.

    5. Are there any particular guitars you consider to be especially cool?
    Top to bottom, I think Gretsch may be about the coolest guitar manufacturer. I’ve never been a Gibson guy, but there’s an integrity to their sense of cool that I admire. Fender can be really cool, but they have gotten more mileage out of Strats and Telecasters than warranted – and they’ve been a little too comfortable fiddling with those flagship models. Fellow veterans of my bands will remember a former bandmate’s gray Strat, for example. It was like the mock turtleneck of Stratocasters.

    6. Are there any guitars you consider to be inherently uncool?
    Pointy guitars, starting with anything by Yamaha through the span of metal guitars and guitars favored by guys who like to show off their chops in Guitar Center.

    7. Between Blinkin name checking Grant Hart and Alex Chilton, Jay Carney professing his love for GBV, and people like former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine saying the Replacements are his favorite band, are we entering the Golden Age of Musically Relatable Politicians?
    It is. First, our country became comfortable with politicians who’ve inhaled. Now, they can talk about the records they got into while inhaling. It’s a beautiful thing. Or will be until the day some candidate on the Far Right expresses his love for a skinhead punk band. Perhaps it’s already happened in the UK.

    8. In terms of relatable politicians, would you rather have a beer with George W Bush, or argue the ranking of the three original Big Star albums with Blinkin?
    I have long thought having a beer with W could be a hoot. I suspect his taste in rock ‘n roll would peak with a three-sheets-to-the-wind, late-night high-five over Foghat’s “Slowride,” but we could spend hours talking baseball and get into one of those “So-and-so is a real asshole”…”Bigtime!” tangents. Ranking Big Star albums with anyone is fun, but I get bugged with the number of friends who prefer the second album over the first or third. It’s first, third, second. Bigtime!

  7. Mr. Mod said:

    “Or will be until the day some candidate on the Far Right expresses his love for a skinhead punk band.”

    Already kind of happened. Major douchebag, Greg Gutfeld, originally on Fox as some kind of wacky comic take, now treated as a presumably knowledgeable pundit, is some sort of punk metal head, has a playlist with the Clash, Wire, Slayer, etc.

    Did I mention he’s a real dick?

  8. i have a lot of guitars, but my favorite is my black and white reissue Jimmy Page Dan Electro. It feels and plays great and has no issues whatsoever. And I will have one of those long horn Dan Electro basses within the next year as well. Why? It’s not like I need another bass, but that thing is just unbelievably cool.

  9. 1. Are these songs legit or are they the little red sports car of someone’s midlife crisis?

    The song sound legit to me. When I think of Midlife Crisis Rock, I think of sort sort of tepid blues rock that is played by the Viagra house band in that commercial from a few years back.

    2 & 3.Dad Rock?

    I don’t know if this is Dad Rock but again, I’m not sure how that “genre“ is defined. I’m sure it was just initially some sort of snarky put down, but there is no doubt some truth in it. I’m guessing Dad Rock has a little more introspection and a little less manic energy than one would expect from some scrappy up and comers. More brains, less gut. Calling all rock Dad Rock feels a little territorial and defensive to me. Let The Kids have their fun and carve out a place for themselves.

    4. Are a person’s gear choices a window into their soul?


    5. Are there any particular guitars you consider to be especially cool?

    Almost every cool design was invented by the early 60s and every “innovation“ since then is just trying to capture some of the magic from back then with maybe less of the technical issues. So almost any classic Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, Gretsch has the potential to be grandfathered in as instantly cool. Obviously, though. this inherent leg up can be squandered with some sort of enhancement like a locking tremolo or a bad color choice. A couple of nitpicks with the Mod‘s comments about fender and Gibson: Gibson is definitely as guilty as Fender when it comes to oversaturated the market with various nuanced versions of their flag ship models. They had a self-tuning Les Paul a couple years ago, for chrissake. And for is ubiquitous as they are, I don’t think the telecasters status as a go to guitar for most genres is unwarranted. I read an article one time comparing Strats and Teles which made the general point that Strats were these space-age sleek guitars whose designs reflected the pop culture of the time (the beginning of the space race, the American auto industry, etc.). Teles, on the other hand, or essentially like a couple of planks of wood with some strings attached. The stripped down design makes for an honest working man‘s guitar.

    6. Are there any guitars you consider to be inherently uncool?

    “Performance Enhancing” guitars like Steinbergers, pointy headstock shredder guitars, and the Parker Fly. Swiss Army Knife guitars like Paul Reed Smith’s (“You can split the coil so it sounds like a Strat and a Les Paul!”). Most solid state amps and all modeling amps.

    7. Between Blinkin name checking Grant Hart and Alex Chilton, Jay Carney professing his love for GBV, and people like former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine saying the Replacements are his favorite band, are we entering the Golden Age of Musically Relatable Politicians?

    It appears so but it’s also likely that people just have savvy PR/media teams who are curating cool but relatable images.

    8. In terms of relatable politicians, would you rather have a beer with George W Bush, or argue the ranking of the three original Big Star albums with Blinkin?

    As charming as George Bush seems with his “aw shucks” personality, I’m going with Blinkin, at which time I will zealously advocate. Big Star’s second album is criminally underrated and that the third album would be an excellent ep but I suspect gets a big boost among Chilton fans because he’s krazee! We should have a RTH Zoom to hash out this universally important
    issue. 2,1,3.

  10. 5. I bought the Les Paul auto-tuning guitar. I always wanted a Les Paul, and I saw them on Sweetwater’s site 5-6 years ago. It was a good price, and only a little more to get that auto-tuning feature. My ear stinks, and I always need electronic help to tune, so I went for it. It actually worked so I was glad I got it. The mechanism broke about 18 months after purchase as I kind of suspected it would. So, guilty for ordering that silly gimmick, and got what I deserved for trusting it would last. (and I knew it wasn’t cool). Guitar is still a player, but now I have to tune like all the other chumps.

    I think I learned too that ordering amps and boxes online makes sense, but probably not guitars. They are too personal. I think I want to hold it and play it before I buy it. There is just too much variety when they come off the line.

  11. Chicken, this is a stunning revelation. I’m not suggesting that I have completely clean hands when it comes to dorky gear purchases (most notably the BC Rich Bich I had in college, with two built in pre-amps and 11 different knows and switches), but you are old enough to know better.

    Also, kudos to Scott for that spot on description of the second Ablinkin song.

  12. The mechanism was hidden behind the headstock, so I thought I could get away with the victimless crime. Now I see it was a mistake to reveal this embarrassment, like when I showed you the boil on my semprini.

  13. I’m glad that you had the courage to come forward and unburden yourself but I thought it was an act of contrition. And this is hardly a victimless crime.

    I had to look up “semprini” by the way An impressively deep cut.

  14. CDM said:

    “Calling all rock Dad Rock feels a little territorial and defensive to me. Let The Kids have their fun and carve out a place for themselves.”

    I wasn’t denying the Kids their fun, merely indicating that they usually don’t find it in “rock.” They’re often more interested in hip-hop or, God forbid, that Bro-Country stuff which although dads know is merely bad 70’s era stadium rock. Or gaming. But not rock.

  15. My apologies for checking in with something, once again, that has nothing to do with the topic on hand.

    Me and the wife were just listening to the latest Ben Vaughn show while eating dinner and playing 500 rummy. As always, the show was great. The theme was all about guitar solos, which gave Vaughn yet another in to play Billy Swan’s “I Can Help.”
    Vaughn let us know that Billy Swan hated the song’s solo. Swan changed his mind about that when the record hit the number one spot.

    After picking up a card, I said, “I don’t get his fascination with that thing. He plays it all the time. It’s pleasant enough, but there’s really nothing to it.”

    My wife shrugged her shoulders and replied, “I think it’s great.”

    “So does the Moderator. I could be wrong, but I think that’s been on every Spotify mix I’ve heard over at his house within the last couple of years or so. I don’t know. Like I said, it’s…”

    “You know why I like it? It’s like a Ringo song.”

    Man, and I thought Jesus was something when he gave Bartimaeus the power to see! She nailed it! It is indeed the missing Ringo song.


  16. Correct, EPG. “I Can Help” rules. If Ringo had actually done that number, it would have strengthened the case for his classic, ’70s-era greatest hits album being the second-best among solo Beatles greatest hits album.

  17. Just curious, was that also an unspoken revelation that you’ve always had, or is that something solely attributable to Little Mo?

    And two other observations about the song:

    One, you can almost hear McCartney saying, “And now, we’re gonna hear one from Ringo.” Two, I see it as a poor man’s version of “With a Little Help from My Friends.” something Lou Reed’s Special Olympics kick board crew might have come up with after accepting yet another challenge after successfully survival floating for 15 minutes or so. Yes?

  18. I had not made the Ringo connection, but it makes perfect sense. Lil’ Mo gets all the credit for that, as far as I’m concerned! I always thought Fat Elvis missed a chance to have a late-career hit with “I Can Help.” I think Billy Swan was a session man or touring band member for The King, no? I don’t think it’s a Lou Reed Special Olympics number, honestly. I think it’s a pretty perfect proto-retro song, up there with Dave Edmunds’ cover of “I Hear You Knockin’.” What makes the song, for me, is the organ part. I love how the two chords change without any interruption. There’s no sense that the organ player ever lifts a finger. It has, what the old, crazy couple who lives next to us once referred to, when complaining about hearing Sethro’s cymbals seep out from our house, as a “psychological effect.”

  19. I have to disagree Geo. I know rock is not the juggernaut that it was when I was coming up but there are plenty of kids who are actively interested in rock. Some anecdotal evidence:

    – I spent a lot on time this summer playing guitar with a 20 year old, Black Crows loving nephew who now has a jam space in the basement of his apartment. Some of the songs covered: Willing, Something So Strong, Don’t Look Back in Anger, and Where’s My Mind.

    – I just coached neighborhood kid through his first guitar purchase. This is the second time I’ve done this, and as with the last kid, I sensed an interest, and then lent him a several guitars so that he could get an idea of what he was looking for. He’s into ACDC, the Beatles, and Pink Floyd.

    – Another neighborhood kid sends me videos of the new songs he’s sorted out. This kids zoomed past me in terms of chops (not a particularly amazing feat), but he has really gotten under it and is quite good now. The last video he sent me was of him playing a very impressive version of Maple Leaf Rag (not rock, but still…). He also has a bunch of vinyl including some that I lent him and need to get back, now that I’m thinking about it.

    – A nephew was a dj at his college radio statin before the quarantine kicked in. I used to listen to his show on the internet. It was all rock, and he played a Smiths song and a Tom Waits song almost every show.

    – Me and a few brothers and a bunch of nephews have a record club. Each week, someone posts an album or playlist which we all listen to and then comment on. An occasional hip hop album will get posted (usually by my son) but the range of rock has been pretty broad. Granted, there’s a lot of new rock that I don’t like, but that’s a different discussion.

    Now YOU get off MY lawn.

  20. I don’t know. Some of those anecdotes seem to support Geo’s point. When I was first learning guitar, I definitely wanted to know how to play 1960s Beatles and Stones. I also wanted to know how to play what I was hearing on the radio at the time like Skynyrd, BTO, Aerosmith. (not that I was ever successful)

    If kids are still attracted to ACDC, Floyd, Beatles then they are all playing Dad Rock. That music is 30-60 years. Old enough to be Grandpa rock.

    Imagine when we started if anyone suggested warming up a practice on some Bing Crosby or Ella Fitzgerald.

    Who is the kid now who is inspired by current rock trends? No, they all get inspired by what rock their Mom and Dad listen to. That’s not the Rock and Roll ethic.

  21. I’m not referring to Dad rock as a time stamp when the music was recorded. I always assumed it referred to elements of a type of music.

    I’m not suggesting that there aren’t classic rock bands that fall into this very loosely defined genre, but I think it has more to do with elements of the songs than strictly when they were initially released. I think it encapsulates bands whose contemporary music leans heavily on classic rock instead of bringing something new to the table. I think the energy needs to be lessened, the edges softer and the lyrics more contemplative. The Stooges first album came out in 1969. White Light, White Heat came out in 1968. Are either of them Dad Rock? Tom Petty, on the other hand, found a great path early on, and never really strayed from it so he should probably be considered. Maybe Wilco is considered the fountainhead of Dad Rock but even though their songs are generally tuneful and their lyrics occasionally drift into ordinary domestic and dad-like concerns, I think their songs are often subtly subversive with weird and inventive musical shenanigans going on in the mix, so if they’re Dad Rock, then I like Dad Rock.

    And although I never suggested in any band practice that we warm up with Billie Holiday (until the Ukulele Orchestra, anyway), but I did have an album or two of hers back in high school. Apparently, I was an early adaptor of Great Grandma Rock.

    Here’s an article in Esquire written by the guy who claims to have popularized the term Dad Rock in… wait for it… a Pitchfork review of Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky (https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/a29419783/what-is-dad-rock/). It is as pretentious as you might imagine.

  22. I read the article. It’s a little clearer what you mean when you refer to Dad rock, which is hard to clearly define beyond it being pejorative. It’s new music using the same tools as Rock, but sanding off most of the energy, inventiveness, and danger. Bigger lyrical emphasis on domestic and aging issues instead of partying, cars, and girls, girls, girls.

    The article mentions Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and The National. I also thought of My Morning Jacket. There’s a problem when you see a big burly dude with thick facial hair rocking a Les Paul, and all he seems to be asking is for you to sweetly hold him. C’mon, nut up.

    I think I’ve made the transition to Dad rock while still keeping a fair amount of the danger in my music. Have you heard my new one? Big 10 Inch Prostate.

  23. Simply put, Dad Rock is not for me. All I ask is that if Dad Rock is for you, don’t torment others with it. And don’t provide it unless there appears to be a sincere desire for it, which is very rare. The Dad Rock gang usually includes, and for the most part, is limited to, a lot of unhealthy Sammy Maudlin like back slappers incapable of giving anything approximating objective criticism. Finally, and most importantly, don’t be frustrated when acceptance is low. Partakers are not unlike those old fart Lionel train enthusiasts. The only real difference is that they keep their weirdness to themselves, in the garage, where it belongs.

  24. Big Ten Inch Prostate is frigging classic.

  25. Gergs, like most genres, made up or otherwise, I’m certain that here are some Dad Rock songs that I like and a bunch that I don’t. And the music that I like frequently suffers from a low acceptance rate by the general public, which begs the question: Am I a contrarian who picks music that he subconsciously knows will be unpopular? Or am I cursed with exquisite taste in a world full of Dockers-clad Coldplay fans?

    One last Dad Rock question: Is appearing on a Starbucks compilation and/or being piped into the sales floor at the Gap the pinnacle of Dad Rock-ness?

  26. CDM, whatever Dad Rock is, it can’t be anything good. The name alone says it all. Can’t speak for all, but for me I don’t want to see or hear any rock performed by anyone who looks, sounds, or thinks like a dad. Simply put, rock is a young man’s game.

    I listened to the songs you posted. They’re bad, really bad. Insufferably boring. You know why? They’re written and performed by someone who’s a dad. Any real edge and passion for God only knows what are gone. If one chooses to be a decent father, one is not going to write songs ala “Hear ’em whip the women just around midnight.”

    A lot of us have a hard time letting go of all that. Understood. Just have a sense of humor about it. There’s a dad rock guy in our neighbor who’s been friends with my wife for years. He’s the greatest. If I wanted to be the ideal human being I think might actually exist, I would be him. Simply put, he’s the greatest. Why? He’s unbelievably modest about his whole dad rock thing. He acknowledges that it’s an aberration and brings it up only when asked about it. Running one’s mouth about the ups and down of the Dad Rock world is fine when one is with the Sammy Maudlin gang, but it is absolutely and positively not all right to bore the living shit out of others who have no interest in it whatsoever.

    Chickenfrank summed up the whole Dad Rock thing perfectly with his reference to his big ten inch prostate. No one wants to see it, hear about it, or think about it.

  27. EPG, for a proponent of unbound music with a chaotic edge, you seem to have a lot of hard rules. What is the exact age a person should stop writing or performing rock? Or, is it just at the very moment they fertilize an egg?

  28. It’s a young man’s game. Simple as that. If you can’t get that game out of your system, just keep it to yourself and your Sammy Maudlin gang, which is more less the whole point of Rock Town Hall. Again, no one wants to think see, hear, or think about Dad Rock’s big ten inch prostate. You said it best.

  29. EPG, at what age should an older person cease listening to a younger person’s music?

  30. An older person can do whatever they want as long as it brings no harm to others. Listening to a younger person’s music is fine and dandy. Just know that an older person’s critique of the music is and should be seen as pointless. A young person’s music is and should not made with Dad in mind. Younger people do not and should not care one whit what Dad and the Dad Rock gang think about their music. And if they care they’re probably not making worthwhile music. For those young lost souls who do care what a misguided Dad Rock guy thinks, Dad Rock criticism could be harmful. It could screw up some possibly original creative process that your typical Dad Rock guy would never be able to grasp..

    Honestly, no 18 year old needs to have Rolling Stone’s David Fricke up his ass because he finds so and so’s work unfocused.

    This is really difficult to understand? Cheetah Chrome and insert any old fart’s name are still making something that needs to be heard? Christ almighty!

  31. I don’t want to keep you from the early bird special but man, I didn’t realize this was so complicated. There are more rules to this than there are to that convoluted progressive rummy game that my in-laws play. I finally figured that out, and enjoy it so much that it’s the only card game I play now. So don’t give up on me EPG. I’ll wrap my head around the ins and outs of your rules yet.

    One quibble: nobody’s critique about your music should carry any weight no matter how old you are (except for a few chosen bandmates of confidants).

  32. EPG, is there a danger in a young person listening to an older person’s music, even if that older person’s music was originally made for younger people? Is there a mathematical equation that may help me understand all this?

  33. Like I stated earlier, Chickenfrank said it best. It might hurt, but it is indeed the truth. No one wants to see, to hear, or think about Dad Rock’s ten inch prostate.

  34. CDM:

    What Chicken said about your examples. At one time rock music was the coin of the realm for young folks. But that was a long time ago. Even then, there was an occasional oddball that might’ve been more interested in Thelonious Monk or Broadway musicals, even though they were “Dad” music in those days. Yes, there are young people still interested in rock, but the interest in historical rock precedents is antithetical to the “This now” aesthetic of rock at its apex.

  35. You didn’t answer my question, EPG. Please review and reply to the specific question. Thanks.

  36. Answer to the first question: The question’s lack of clarity makes it impossible to answer. Answer to the second question: 4 dads.+ 4 rock like instruments = dogshit.

  37. The “Rock Era” lasted multiple generations. So punks shouldn’t have been listening to Bo Diddley? Got it.

    My approach is much simpler, and really only has one rule (aside from common sense stuff like no shorts on stage and no pointy headstock guitars): When recording music or putting together a set, put out something that you’d like to see. If other people like it, regardless of age, all the better.

  38. That first sentence was a response to GEO, the second to EPG.

  39. Honestly, for the most part, we’re all in the senior citizen age range. Is rock really the forum one should use at this stage of the game to express one’s self? Rather than piss away time using the outline of a pop song to discuss the ups and down of marriage, job related issues, kid rearing problems, etc., it might be better to use that time to familiarize one’s self with a new form, be it a novel, screenplay, TV series, . . .hell, painting seems like it would make better sense.

    Honestly, you’re gonna cram 50 or 60 years of lunacy into a 3 minute rock song? And you can’t figure out why the general public doesn’t seem to be thrilled with it? Thank God for solid health insurance that covers trips to the psychologist.

    I consider everyone up here skillful enough to crank out something more worthwhile than a half assed Dad Rock pop turd. And I so look forward to reading, hearing, and seeing those works that’ll be so much more audience worthy than Chickenfrank’s big ten inch prostate.

  40. My favorite part of this whole discussion is that for the past few years, I’ve been channeling most of my energies into French lounge pop songs. I just want to reserve the right to switch back to garden variety pop/rock when I’m done.

  41. misterioso

    geo indeed nailed it, and his simple but spot-on formulation is helpful since it liberates me from having to think in terms of this category at all. Fact is, I don’t care if something l like is Dad rock or alt-rock or oldies or disco or any of the categories that can be formulated. Happily, I am way past caring if anyone is impressed by the music I like listening to. Like Cream, I feel free.

  42. Right on, misterioso. I’ve had to endure EPG and this “rock ‘n roll is for the young” pose since about 2 weeks after we first became friends, when we were still young and when I spotted that copy of REM’s Lifes Rich Pageant at the front of his “recently playing” stack. It’s like an endless scene from one of those early rock ‘n roll movies with an appearance by Alan Freed, to help the parents calm down over the ruckus of that wild, new youthful sound.

    Meanwhile, my dear friend has been glorifying hillbilly music and Depression-era jazz 78s, or what some people who were once young might have considered Olde Thyme Musick. I’m going to root through his basement and report back to the Hall someday on how many copies of Lifes Rich Pageant he now owns. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I can see why he would have once liked that album.

    Meanwhile, whenever we can get back to playing out; going to shows; yelling over each other at loud, packed parties, EPG has hereby forfeited his right to insincerely compliment any of us who still make music, simply because we’re happy doing what we’re doing. He was never that good with faux sincerity as it was.

  43. That’s all I wanted to hear, EPG. Send me your address. I want to send you Volumes 3-7 of my haiku series (those 5 volumes are the best ones). I want to send you my screenplay about a hard-boiled 1940s era detective in 1940s California named Micky Chicken. I have hours of video of interpretive dance to share. My opera is really coming together.

    You’re really going to enjoy the epic rawness of all this output, and not the boring repetitiveness of what I actually know how to do. Everyone knows changing your artistic format is just like changing a pair of pants. Right, McCartney? Right, Costello?

    Now where’s my copy of Tarantula?

  44. Hey Mike, suck on my big ten inch prostate. And when you’re done doing that, send me volumes 1 and 2 of your Haiku series. I have no doubt whatsoever that what whatever’s in there will be way more interesting than any Dad Rock pop turd. When I’m through with that, send the rest of your new stuff. It’ll be great to see something, anything that looks like artistic growth.

    You guys are incredible. Look at your heroes. Have any of them done anything worth a shit popwise after their mid thirties? No.

    Hate being a prick, but you got this whole ball rolling with your always laugh out loud posts. Really, why haven’t you thought about doing something more elaborate with a talent I consider enviable?

  45. I am not going down the rabbit hole of listing my hero’s post mid-thirties worthwhile output until you give me the age cutoff of when rockers need to put down their tools.

    Not to spoil too much of the plot, but all the dames love Micky Chicken until it’s revealed in the final act that he’s actually a hermaphrodite. It’s a hell of a twist!

  46. Yes, EPG, Nick Lowe has had moments well past his 30s that transcend what he did in his prime.

  47. Yet another short but sweet laugh out loud post. Again, why haven’t you thought about doing something more elaborate with a talent I consider enviable?

    Cut off point is mid thirties. I think that’s a fair ball park. I thought about giving a specific number, but that’s only going to give the Moderator a reason to nitpick and waste time with posts about Life’s Rich Pageant, which is what he usually does when he can’t put together an argument that makes sense.

  48. OK. Respect for giving a number. I’m probably being so unrelenting because I know you are “mostly” right. But, only mostly.

    You know I’m never going to stop rocking. There’s no way I could disappoint my fans like that.

  49. Mod, good call with Nick Lowe. Tom Waits fits into this category too, as do the guys in Los Lobos.

  50. There’s nothing to argue over, EPG. You hold a weird, didactic point of view on this matter that I get, but I don’t see the point in ranting over. You stopped making music in your mid-30s. I agree that 99% of rock artists’ output suffers over time, but so do most things in the arts and in nature. Hold onto your beliefs all you want. My perspective on what it meant to be young and full of vim and vigor isn’t going anywhere, but if I don’t continue my journey through time doing what I love doing, seeing the world through my tools for making sense of life, I’m cheating myself. That’s how I feel about it. My failed career as a sculptor will have to wait.

  51. The truth of the matter is that you’re cheating yourself out of something bigger and more important, but the comfort of routine isn’t going to allow any of that to happen. And that’s a real fucking shame.

  52. THAT makes more sense than spouting off a bunch of insults like you’re welding an automatic weapon! Thanks.

  53. Moderator, I just passed your house about an hour ago. I got a nice record collection in Barrington. I would have stopped to say hi, but I decided that I wanted to keep my teeth.

  54. Catching up on the last 3 dozen posts in this thread has my head spinning. I’m not sure which side I’m supporting with this statement but I’ll state it unequivocally – Ian Hunter’s 21st century rock & roll output (and that means from age 61 to 81) is superior to his 20th century output, Mott and all.

  55. How about the subcategory Dad Christmas Rock? Presenting Mitch Ryder’s Christmas album


    Who knew such a thing existed? And based on this, the Detroit Wheels played a bigger part than anyone suspected.

  56. One last thing about this whole Dad Rock thing.

    I played the Blinkin cuts for my wife. Her response is as follows:

    “You know what that reminds me of? When you’re at the beach, and there’s nowhere good to go for food, so you wind up at one of those places that has a big outdoor deck. The food is awful, and you’re surrounded by people you’d never ever want to be around. You eat mozzarella sticks that give you stomach cramps while a band like that plays. And when the lead singer says, ‘We’re gonna play a couple of originals for ya’ , that’s more or less the final straw and you leave.”

    Again, I’ll be glad when Blinkin’s so busy figuring out what to do with the mess Trump left behind that he’ll never find time to write and record again.

    That said, it is nice to know that when January 20th arrives, we’ll actually have cabinet members with legitimate credentials.

  57. EPG, I don’t hold grudges. I told you what I had to tell you. You did likewise. Funny, though, that we had our conference call this evening to make that difficult decision for the good of humanity. I hadn’t seen your note when we spoke!

  58. CDM said:

    “The “Rock Era” lasted multiple generations. So punks shouldn’t have been listening to Bo Diddley? Got it.”

    Punks were part of the death throes. It was a niche movement that rebelled against the then dominant “classic rock” format which tried to freeze the dialectic in some platonic but washed out 1971 ideal. So yes, punks in the year zero might have had interest in Bo Diddley, but no average rock radio listener at the time did. The emergence of Nirvana is often described at punk breaking through to the mainstream, which I wouldn’t disagree with, but that is also the moment when things like rap music became a pretty potent stand in for white suburban rebellion in lieu of rock.

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying that there is no new rock music worth listening to, just that the genre itself has become a genre of “Adult” choice, rather than a sign of tribal, youthful animalism, or whatever that word was EPG used to denote quality back in the day.

  59. Geo, that was a helpful clarification.

    By the way, I talked to my son about this. He’s in 10th grade and he defaults to hip-hop but took great offense to the idea that rock is essentially old people music. He’s more of a song guy than an album guy and whenever he DJs in the car, you can expect a very eclectic mix (Simon and Garfunkel, the Lovin Spoonful, Rancid, the Clash and a bunch of other rock mixed in with a lot of hip-hop, especially Lil’ Uzi, who grew up about 10 blocks from here, Joey Badass, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye.)

    He started rattling off names of rock acts that he maintains are not Dad Rock, like Tame Impala, Mac Miller, and Current Joys.

    I had never heard of Current Joys but they have a song called New Flesh that has almost 68,000,000 plays on spotify (and almost 20,000,000 on youtube) and a bunch of other songs that have millions and millions of plays. The main guy is 28. New Flesh sounds like a very lowfi demo by a contemporary of the Cure or Echo and the Bunnymen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaNnztBVD7w

    Mac Demarco’s biggest Spotify song has 156,000,000 streams, and he has a bunch of other songs that have really high
    numbers. His stuff is also lofi and synthy with melodic, clean guitars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQsF3pzOc54

    I suspect you all know Tame Impala since they’ve been around for a while. Their biggest song on Spotify has 672,000,000 plays.

    I don’t know how “plays” corollate to the old way of determining an artists success or popularity, but no matter how it’s being calculated, 68 million plays seems like a lot to me.

    I think my son gets most of his discoveries, new and old, from Spotify, Soundcloud, tic tok, and possibly Instagram. So I think there is still plenty of rock out there even if it has to share more space than it used to with hip-hop, but maybe the new generations are coming to it from different sources. Maybe there’s a whole new scene out there that’s not necessarily on our radars because we lack the desire to get up to speed on every new platform that pops up, or as time goes on, things start to sound like a lesser version of something that we already consider to be the gold standard of the genre.

  60. CDM:

    I was going to say I’ve seen Mac DeMarco twice, then I realized it was Marc Benevento, once at a Free at Noon, which I generally attend(ed) indiscriminately to see what was up. and once as an opener at the Fillmore.

    I do have a Mac Miller T-shirt that I somehow inherited from my kid.

  61. Mac Miller is one of the guys who I like whenever my son plays him.

  62. Does anyone have a line on Blinken? I think we need to interview him.

  63. But Ukeuniverse, what is your opinion of the relative drumming strengths of Keltner versus Gordon?

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