Feb 152012

Today we launch another chapter in our ongoing effort to squeeze some fun and entertainment out of popular music’s banality, with a segment I call:  In a Word — Schtick!

Here’s how this is going to work: contestants will vie for the coveted RTH No-Prize by attempting to use as few words as possible to describe a vital component of a given performer’s “signature” move, or Look, or some other thing by which he, she, or the group is identified. The goal is to have RTH readers guess the artist in question with the schtick-clue provided. The fewer words used, the bigger the prize awarded — and prizes are only awarded to townspeople who can provide a clue that elicits a correct artist ID on the first try. You lob a schtick clue into the void, and hope the first guess that comes back is the right one. If it is, you win! If it isn’t, it’s the dreaded buzzer for you.

For example — if I wanted you to guess “Keith Richards,” I might submit “drugs” as a one-word clue — but chances are that clue would be too broad, and somebody might incorrectly guess “Sly Stone.” BUZZ! If, on the other hand, I offered the schtick-clue “skull-ring” — that might work.

A few ground rules are in order:

  • God-given/natural aspects of appearance or behavior are not allowed as clues — so, for example, saying “big lips” to get us to guess Mick Jagger would result in a buzzer. But “omega shirt” would be okay.
  • Dialog is only appropriate if it was part of the artist’s schtick, and no famous one-time quotes qualify — so “thank you very much” is allowed for Elvis, while “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” is not allowed for John Lennon.
  • No song lyric snippets or alliterated riffs are allowed.  It’s about the schtick!

I look forward to your responses.



  423 Responses to “In a Word: Schtick!”

  1. All right, I think I’ve got this: let me throw out a schtick clue and see if a Townsperson can identify the schticker on first effort:


  2. Bzzzt. Back to Remedial Rock School for you, HVB. It was Ringo who screamed “I got blisters on my fingers!”.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    Chuck Berry.

  4. hrrundivbakshi


  5. Take that pince nez, HVB!

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    I get buzzed!

    I’ll try again: karate.

  7. Strike that! For some reason I had a vision of early VH in jumpsuits. Damn! BUZZ!

  8. Sorry, man. This is going to be a real trust-building exercise.

  9. Karate has got to be Elvis!

  10. mockcarr


  11. hrrundivbakshi


  12. I’ll try again – and sure, this is a softball for my man HVB, but I think it’s important we establish the point of this game, right?

    High scissors kick (I think that’s what you’d call it)

  13. hrrundivbakshi

    Not sure that qualifies as “schtick,” but… Cobain?

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    Diamond Dave?

  15. hrrundivbakshi

    Torn jeans

  16. tonyola

    Ian Curtis

  17. The grunge genre was founded on torn jeans, but to me no rocker’s jeans were as torn as Dave Pirner’s, from Soul Asylum.

  18. hrrundivbakshi


  19. tonyola

    Windmill arms.

  20. Here’s an easy one:

    High Kick

  21. hrrundivbakshi

    Nigel Tufnel hair

  22. Sorry -Mr Mod beat me w/ D:R

    Here is another:


  23. Jeff Beck

  24. hrrundivbakshi

    Either you or I suck at this. Trying again: Converse hi-tops

  25. hrrundivbakshi

    Pete Townshend!

  26. hrrundivbakshi

    Elvis Costello

  27. hrrundivbakshi


  28. mockcarr

    nope, it’s a band schtick in a way.

  29. mockcarr

    Ramones. Isn’t it supposed to be ONE word?

  30. mockcarr

    Style Council

  31. mockcarr

    Joe Cocker

  32. tonyola


  33. hrrundivbakshi


  34. hrrundivbakshi

    Alice Cooper?

  35. hrrundivbakshi

    Ding, but to your second point: the fewer the words, the bigger the prize upon guessing. Delivering a successful one-word schtick-clue is pretty manly.

  36. tonyola

    Pirate gear

  37. hrrundivbakshi


  38. hrrundivbakshi

    Adam Ant

  39. hrrundivbakshi


  40. Jimmy Page

  41. Badfinger?

  42. mockcarr

    I say ONETWOTHREEFOUR is a better clue for those guys…

  43. mockcarr

    Spinal Tap

  44. hrrundivbakshi


  45. hrrundivbakshi


  46. Pirner was a much better answer than the Ramones. Hand over the No Prize!

  47. Ian Dury would have qualified, too. He wrote a song about it, didn’t he?

  48. I’ll go James Brown.

  49. cherguevarra

    james brown

  50. Microphone lariat.

  51. Roger Daltrey

    (When I think “lariat” I immediately think “Stan ‘The Man’ Hansen.”)

  52. cherguevarra


  53. Flip (NOTE: This does not involve a rocker who’s already been the answer to another schtick.)

  54. cherguevarra

    Nils Lofgrin?

  55. cherguevarra


  56. cherguevarra


  57. Another No-Prize Winner!

  58. cherguevarra

    dreads, I mean

  59. cherguevarra

    Not to toot my own horn, but that was pretty good, huh? Ok, to toot my own horn.

  60. You know, until I just read cher’s slight misspelling of LofgrEn’s name I never realized that his old band Grin may have been named after the sound of his name.

  61. That was good. I would have pegged BigSteve as Most Likely to Have Gotten That One.

  62. This is dangerous territory. I’m going to rule out Marley on the “god-given” exclusion clause. Dave Pirner, on the other hand, worked for his white-man dreads. (Pirner’s got to be the right answer for something.)

  63. Happiness Stan

    Bob Marley?

  64. mockcarr

    If not that then the Counting Crows schlub.

  65. Happiness Stan

    I was posting simultaneously there. They wouldn’t have been god-given if he’d brushed his hair, surely?

  66. mockcarr


  67. Happiness Stan

    Square gee-tar

  68. cherguevarra

    Ah, I was thinking Marley. Are dreads god-given? you have to grow them.

  69. hrrundivbakshi


  70. hrrundivbakshi


  71. Maybe not god-given. Maybe I had the moment about 7:45 into the following clip in my head:

  72. BUZZ!

    I apologize for not giving as specific a clue as possible. How about this one:


  73. cherguevarra

    Stevie Nicks

  74. cherguevarra


  75. hrrundivbakshi


  76. tonyola

    Ted Nugent

  77. hrrundivbakshi


  78. hrrundivbakshi

    Ian Anderson

  79. hrrundivbakshi

    Alvin Lee

  80. cherguevarra

    Rats, oh well. Not who I had in mind…

  81. hrrundivbakshi


  82. cherguevarra


  83. tonyola

    Buddy Holly

  84. tonyola

    tube socks

  85. cherguevarra

    Muu muu

  86. tonyola

    Elton John

  87. tonyola


  88. alexmagic


  89. mockcarr

    erm, good guess, but not particularly warm

  90. alexmagic

    Mod, I’d love to see a version of this – maybe under Password, Taboo or $10,000 Pyramid rules – played and recorded for a future episode of the Saturday Night Shut-In.

  91. mockcarr

    Residents. Marty Feldman didn’t have a band, right?

  92. mockcarr

    Mama Cass?

  93. Happiness Stan


  94. mockcarr

    Burnt setlist

  95. alexmagic

    Little Richard

  96. mockcarr


  97. Yeah, this may be reason alone to hold another live event. We may have to stop the game before we use up all possible answers.

  98. Please clarify: is the second “p” intentional?

  99. Great White?

  100. alexmagic

    Most definitely.

  101. tonyola

    The Barbarians

  102. tonyola

    Of course!

  103. tonyola

    Not as far as I know, so it must be the Residents.

  104. alexmagic

    Too soon…*

    *…to pick comment of the month?

  105. alexmagic

    GG Allin. I would have gotten his with a clue of “he passed” as well.

  106. KISS (or NY Dolls, or Katy Perry)

  107. No “or” choices allowed. Choose one!

  108. I was just pointing out how flawed your clue was.

  109. alexmagic

    I think if we could figure out a way to do it under one of those alternate rule systems, we’d be good. For example, if I were to say to you:

    “Celebration of the Lizard…Beatles on SNL…Worldwide Texas Tour”, you would say?

  110. The non-Bonn singer from ACDC?

  111. Giant Inflatable Penis

  112. tonyola


  113. alexmagic

    There you go.

  114. cherguevarra

    Roy Orbison

  115. cherguevarra

    Oh yeah… but not who I was thinking. Rats again.

  116. cherguevarra

    Wow, that was terrible. I might as well have said “Strat.” Was thinking BB King, though Berry is probably a better answer.

  117. Is that a U2 thing, from their Berlin period?

  118. hrrundivbakshi

    Rotten schtick-clue! I was thinking Elton.

  119. hrrundivbakshi


  120. hrrundivbakshi


  121. hrrundivbakshi


  122. hrrundivbakshi

    Plastic hats

  123. hrrundivbakshi

    Dickens glasses

  124. hrrundivbakshi


  125. Roger McGuinn

  126. Frank Sanpedro. Just kidding, Steven Stills.

  127. electrical tape

  128. tonyola


  129. I’ve never seen a picture of Dickens in specs. Do you mean Dickensian glasses?

  130. tonyola

    We always called the type of specs that McGuinn wore “granny glasses”.

  131. B-52s?

  132. hrrundivbakshi


  133. hrrundivbakshi


  134. hrrundivbakshi


  135. hrrundivbakshi

    And a double-reverse pince nez on you, too!

  136. hrrundivbakshi


  137. hrrundivbakshi


  138. hrrundivbakshi


  139. I did cape already. It’s still James Brown. Come on, man, I think you owe the Hall an apology.

  140. Good one – ?uestlove, or however he spells that name.

  141. hrrundivbakshi

    Sorry. MY cape was going to be Rick Wakeman. Try “reel-to-reel”; I wonder how many of us will get that one. Remember, this artist’s reel-to-reel is part of a schtick!

  142. hrrundivbakshi

    Wow, you’re good!

  143. I hear you. Sorry to come down so hard on you, but as this thread proves, you are a crucial figure in the Hall and we expect nothing but the best from you.

  144. Fripp and his Frippertronics?

  145. Nice. I was stuck on Al Capp and wondering if he was part of John Lennon’s schtick.

  146. ZZ Top on RTH’s Bullshit On series.

  147. Flavor Flav

  148. Ooh, how about that ’80s synth-pop guy and his band – Scritti Politti?

  149. hrrundivbakshi

    True dat!

  150. Maybe too vague. Add Cockney

  151. Billy Bragg?

  152. Slade!

  153. Correct, sir

  154. I would have gone with Rod Stewart

  155. Not bad, but kind of period-specific.

  156. P.S.: I’d go with the Bay City Rolelrs as a backup.

  157. Skip Bittman!

  158. Double-neck


  159. hrrundivbakshi


  160. hrrundivbakshi

    Leslie West?

  161. hrrundivbakshi

    Sorry, that would be double-chin. I believe you’re describing the schtick of Jimmy Page.

  162. DING!


  163. and DONG!


  164. (going for an alliteration certificate here)

    Star-Shaped Stone-Studded Sunglasses


  165. alexmagic

    Ooh, I’m sorry, we were looking for “Things That Never Happened”…”Things That Never Happened”.

  166. hrrundivbakshi

    Ahh… the name is Bootsy, baby!

  167. hrrundivbakshi


  168. Brian Wilson?

  169. Good job!! I worried I’d have to quash some Elton guesses.


  170. “Hello. I’m…

  171. Simon & Garfunkel


  172. tonyola

    Or John McLaughlin. He famously played a double-neck in the Mahavishnu Orchestra days.

  173. tonyola

    Got it.

  174. tonyola

    Southern Comfort

  175. cliff sovinsanity

    Johnny Cash

  176. cliff sovinsanity

    Janis Joplin

  177. cliff sovinsanity


  178. BAM!


  179. I was going to put Pirner’s clue as white boy dreads.

  180. ladymisskirroyale

    Einsturzende Neubauten.

  181. hrrundivbakshi


  182. hrrundivbakshi


  183. ladymisskirroyale


  184. cliff sovinsanity


  185. cliff sovinsanity


  186. Plasmatics!


  187. The Purple One Who Shall Remain Nameless?


  188. ladymisskirroyale


  189. ladymisskirroyale

    Armpit hair.

  190. tonyola

    Already mentioned above.

  191. Now that’s a post of the month contender!

  192. Bay City Rollers is the answer I was seeking.

  193. ladymisskirroyale


  194. tonyola

    The lead singer from Nena.

  195. R. Pollard.

  196. cherguevarra


  197. “How ya dooooin’?”


  198. Keith Emerson?


  199. cliff sovinsanity


  200. hrrundivbakshi

    Good one! Run DMC.

  201. cherguevarra


  202. EDDIE!!!


  203. The singer from The Soundtrack of Our Lives?

  204. After we get through RaoulG’s last 2 head-scratchers (I’m going to kick myself when I find out what “How ya dooooin’?” is), try this one on for size:


  205. bostonhistorian

    Shane McGowan

  206. No, that falls in the “god-given” category. The teeth I have in mind are all about schtick.

  207. GG Allin was already used, god rest his soul.

  208. BigSteve

    A day late and a dollar short as usual.

  209. Seriously, I’m thinking you’ve found the schtick clue to describe Jerry Lee Lewis, when he gets up from his piano stool and kicks it aside so he can start banging on the keys and letting his hair flop forward.

  210. Is that Paul Stanley’s go-to stage patter on those KISS Alive albums?

  211. BigSteve

    Iron Maiden?

  212. Jerry Lee would be a very valid guess, but I’m thinking more of “sitting on a stool”. Perhaps I should have permitted myself more than one word.

  213. bostonhistorian

    If those teeth are God-given, I’m becoming an atheist.

  214. Crass, dude. Reminds me of the elementary school joke:

    Q: What’s brown and sits on a piano bench?
    A: Beethoven’s Last Movement.

  215. Fripp again? Most other stool-based musicians I can think of are folky and, therefore, following an established convention.

  216. Fripp is whom I’m thinking of. He always has played sitting on a stool, no matter how wild and out there he got.

  217. Not familiar with that and not what I’m thinking. Pretty sure my guy’s fairly well known for this greeting, both on-stage and interviews.


  218. Good Get!!


  219. Killing Joke?!


  220. trigmogigmo


  221. trigmogigmo

    big suit

  222. trigmogigmo

    bottle blonds

  223. trigmogigmo


  224. trigmogigmo

    I guess Mick is ruled out by the rules.


  225. BigSteve

    David Byrne

  226. BigSteve

    The Police

  227. BigSteve

    Rick Nielsen

  228. BigSteve


  229. BigSteve


  230. Townshend?


  231. BigSteve


  232. Steven Tyler?


  233. BigSteve


  234. BigSteve


  235. Queen Freddie!!??


  236. Eddie Money? His daughter?
    (I don’t know if this is his schtick, but it seems like what he’d say if you ran into him on the street).

  237. BUZZ! Correct answer is Jimi Hendrix, who played guitar with them.

  238. tonyola


  239. tonyola

    Grateful Dead

  240. That’s a good one! I was thinking about what might be the clue for him.

  241. That’s who I would have thought, although I can see why Elvis would come to mind. My Mom got a scarf from Him in 1975 or so. I should have her pull it out from wherever she keeps it when I see her this weekend.

  242. Prince, who took that gimmick from Donnie Osmond and his socks, right?

  243. Jimmy Buffett?

  244. tonyola

    Or Paul McCartney.

  245. I’m curious to hear who suffices for this clue who was not born that way. It’s just the way god made some of us, BigSteve.

  246. Skunk Baxter

  247. Kate Bush?

  248. The rumor of live cattle

  249. Guit-steel

  250. mockcarr


  251. Fox head hat

  252. mockcarr

    ZZ Top. Also, Beards!

  253. mockcarr

    leather vegetarian

  254. mockcarr

    psychic oblivion

  255. mockcarr

    Freddy Mercury

  256. alexmagic


  257. mockcarr

    funny but it was indeed a stage thing

  258. tonyola

    Ooh, good point. High lefty five!

  259. tonyola

    Barbra Streisand?

  260. That sounds like Chrissie Hynde to me, although maybe that’s pleather she wears in those early photos.

  261. Good guesses so far, but not the mainstream, slam-dunk answer I was seeking.

  262. Right back at you, brother!

  263. Is that that guy you like, Junior Brown?

  264. mockcarr

    Ding! That always struck me as an oxymoron. She rationalized it as the cow was already dead.

  265. mockcarr

    Ha! His schtick is “no trend”.

  266. mockcarr


  267. Really? I don’t know about her, but the meat I eat also comes from animals that are already dead.

  268. mockcarr

    Yeah, but I suppose you can wait until a cow lives out its “natural” life to get their skin, you probably don’t want to be waiting so long to eat those suckers.

  269. mockcarr

    One-Note solo

  270. mockcarr


  271. alexmagic

    Let me add another word:


  272. alexmagic

    Robert Pollard

  273. hrrundivbakshi

    Pat Benatar. And the problem is not the guesses, it’s the clue!

  274. hrrundivbakshi


  275. Paul Stanley

  276. What would your clue have been? Should I have branded that outfit: Danskin? Please advise for future schtick clues.

    (You’re lucky, by the way, that I’m really busy in work. Otherwise I’d be tempted to compute who has compiled the highest “batting average” so far in terms of providing clues that are guessed on one try.)

  277. alexmagic

    People, this guy right up here, this guy in the front row, he GETS IT! Listen people, when KISS comes to your thread, we KNOW you want us to ROCK YOU, people, and that’s what we’re gonna do, people, because we know when you’re out there in your miserable jobs, reading a thread with 330 replies, thinkin’ “maybe I oughtta do it, maybe I oughtta end it all”, people, we know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for ya, a reason to keep goin’, and people, that reason is you’re gonna come to this thread for a ROCK ‘N ROLL PAAaaaaaAAARTY! Anyway, this next song’s called She’s So European!

  278. hrrundivbakshi

    Or BTO, for whom the schtick-clue ought to be “fat Canadians.”

  279. No to both.

  280. Could be Neil Young or Johnny Ramone. I’ll go with JR.

  281. I know, but this reminds me of fat vegan Prince Fielder and junkie vegan River Phoenix.

  282. BigSteve

    Oh yeah sorry. I was thinking Hendrix. I guess the schtick was playing a right-handed guitar upside down.

  283. BigSteve

    The odious Steven Tyler was the one I was thinking of.

  284. BigSteve

    I was trying to respond ‘yes,’ and I got this error message:

    “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!”

    That’s a new one on me.

  285. Didn’t Peter Gabriel wear one of those things in early Genesis performances? (If I’m right about this I’m ashamed that tonyola didn’t beat me to the answer!)

  286. diskojoe

    Hunting jackets

  287. mockcarr

    thinking of the first.

  288. mockcarr

    It’s not so much that they love animals, they just really hate plants.

  289. BigSteve


  290. trigmogigmo


  291. trigmogigmo

    I know, too easy.

  292. Ricky Martin?

  293. trigmogigmo

    Or Stevie Nicks.

  294. trigmogigmo

    Yes. My other schtick for Sting would have been “eee-aayyy-ooo”.

  295. Verlaine or Smith. I’ll got with Patti Smith

  296. “go with”

  297. trigmogigmo

    Nice one!

  298. trigmogigmo

    Alternate clue: “mugging”

  299. Not the Money. Guess this is too obscure for Good Schtick. At what point should I give it up?


  300. diskojoe


  301. hrrundivbakshi

    pink fedora

  302. mockcarr

    Are you sure you don’t want to guess two answers?

  303. Isn’t that your boy, the bassist for J. Geils Band?

  304. Wasn’t Jim Morrison the first rocker to play the Rimbaud card?

  305. I almost scarfed my yogurt, mockcarr!

  306. Here’s one, and the punctuation is crucial to the clue:


  307. Has this been neglected simply because it’s so easy an answer? But you gotta admit, it’s Ultimate Schtick:



  308. hrrundivbakshi

    Indeedie do.

  309. hrrundivbakshi


  310. The show must go on: The Beatles!

  311. Yuck! No, I wasn’t thinking a father-son dynamic.

  312. I thought of him – and you – the other day during the Dave Grohl thread. Talk about a guy who had too distracting a Look for lead vocals but just the right Look for his role as bassist!

  313. White Stripes?


  314. YeahYeahYeah!


  315. You are correct, Mod!

  316. Iron Cross


  317. E! E G E D C B!


  318. D’OH! No. I was thinking Orbison.

    I gotta friggin’ get my schtick together


  319. hrrundivbakshi


  320. tonyola

    Wouldn’t that be “god-given”?

  321. Yes, courtesy of an angry god. BUZZ! on HVB, our otherwise sterling Master of Fun and Games.

  322. hrrundivbakshi

    Good point! I was just trying to be clever, pointing out an actual Lemmy trademark. But you’re right… I get the buzzer!

  323. You would be wise to follow this man’s example, Townspeeps!

    HVB, you ARE the man!

  324. cliff sovinsanity


  325. hrrundivbakshi

    Lovin’ Spoonful!

  326. hrrundivbakshi

    This is *exactly* the kind of schtick I had in mind. “We’re not like every other guitar-pop band with bowl haircuts and a minor hit under our belts… we play ZITHERS!”

  327. hrrundivbakshi

    Bjork? Or maybe Marc Bolan?

  328. How about my bad news girl Fiona Apple?

  329. tonyola

    Marianne Faithfull?

  330. ladymisskirroyale

    Babes in Black/Red Lipstick

  331. trigmogigmo

    Chris Robinson?

  332. trigmogigmo

    Might as well face it…
    Robert Palmer

  333. trigmogigmo


  334. Jeez, how did I miss that one!

  335. cliff sovinsanity

    All good answers but I was thinking of Juliana Hatfield.

  336. cliff sovinsanity

    The Roches ?

  337. Nelson!


  338. BigSteve


  339. BigSteve

    Zither? I though that was an autoharp.

  340. ladymisskirroyale


  341. trigmogigmo

    D’oh! Opening song from her album Made in China — “New Waif”

  342. trigmogigmo


  343. ladymisskirroyale

    Mod, I’m proud of you (although would take umbrage at characterization of “synth-pop” for his early stuff).

  344. Other “socialist” musicians that came to mind, whatever that term means musically, would included Henry Cow and, I believe, Robert Wyatt.

  345. Boho Hobo.

  346. hrrundivbakshi

    Tom Waits

  347. CLANG! I mean, DING!

  348. Explosives

  349. BLAMM-O!!!

  350. Aquatic drunkenness…

  351. Dennis Wilson? That was no schtick!

  352. tonyola

    Jimmy Buffett

  353. If you haven’t noticed, this post has set the new RTH record for Most Comments Ever!

  354. DING!

  355. Messianic

  356. That’s show biz!

  357. hrrundivbakshi


  358. Bingo!

  359. […] be said for throwing down a Last Man Standing challenge that results in more than 400 comments. Ask hrrundivbakshi and cdm how it feels to grab so much attention and respect in the Halls of Rock. Short of […]

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