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.



  422 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. cherguevara

    james brown

  50. Microphone lariat.

  51. Mr. Moderator