May 012020

A friend of mine recently sent me this description of Steve Winwood:

Not an arrogant asshole, written classics, outplays virtuosos live on stage, catalog is essential, sold millions of albums solo (some self-produced and self-played all instruments), led/joined influential bands, and songs covered by various genres. He’s Rock & Roll’s Swiss Army Knife.

I thought it a pretty apt, very RTH-type description/metaphor but I couldn’t think of any other Rock & Roll Swiss Army Knives. Any help?

Is there a perfect Rock & Roll Duct Tape? Rock & Roll WD-40?


  8 Responses to “Rock & Roll Swiss Army Knives”

  1. How about that Jason Faulkner guy – and maybe anyone from that Jellyfish crowd? I wish hrrundivbakshi were here to verify.

  2. cherguevara

    Duct tape? That’s Paul Carrack. You have something that is a little fractured. Slap a little o’ this on top and it will get you through. But after time, you’ll need a more permanent repair, so you’re back to your broken thing again, now with the residual goo that is difficult to get rid of, the remnants of the duct tape are now a part of your original object.

    WD40 – Sammy Hagar. Similar to duct tape, a temporary fix. But instead of leaving goo, WD40 promises nothing but a temporary fix, maintenance not repair, which lubricates moving parts so it seems to be a genuine improvement at first, but then it attracts dust and thus actually serves to only make things worse in the long run, maybe even ruining the original object.

    I really dislike duct tape and WD40, so it really is cruel to compare these products to people. I have a few pet expressions, one of them is, “there is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution.” Because it is true.

  3. What would Michael Des Barres be, duct tape or WD40? He’s gotta be one of ’em.

  4. I saw where Chris Hillman has an autobiography coming out in the fall. I don’t know enough about him to know if he qualifies as a Swiss army knife but he certainly has popped up in a lot of rock & roll history chapters.

  5. Des Barres is no better than masking tape.

  6. 2000 Man

    When did anything Steve Winwood did become “essential?” If I go buy Arc of a Diver I don’t actually have to listen to it, do I?

    I think Nicky China and Mike Chapman were the duct tape of Rock music. Got a floundering band? Get Chinnichap and hit the top of the charts! Neglect to keep applying it and turn into Sweet, a band people used to know.

  7. Happiness Stan

    Not sure I quite buy into the premise, or would necessarily apply it to Steve Winwood, but it’s an interesting question.

    I have three Swiss army knives, a big one which I use for something at least once a week, with about a dozen classes. It’s got saws, files, screwdrivers, I’ve used every blade at least once, though done are more practical than others. Since I was at the Hall last I’ve dabbled in woodwork and make small pieces of equipment for spinning wool for Mrs H and get friends, and the pointy thing on the back to get stones out of horses hooves is the best tool I’ve found for the just stage of the operation.

    I’ve a standard one that I don’t use often, usually just when I’ve put the big one somewhere daft, and s little one on my keys with scissors and a cross head screwdriver, that I probably use for something or other every single day.

    So, if somebody is to be one of these knives, which of the range are they going to be? And isn’t a multi pack of different sorts of glue and duct tape more appropriate? Does ensemble music call for cutting, it is it about sticking things together without gumming up the works?

    Nick Lowe comes to mind. Hasn’t sold as many records, so maybe he’s middle of the range rather than the big flashy ones you need a truck to carry. Andy Fairweather Low has supplied a lot of glue to a load of people, as well as having big hits on the sixties and seventies with Amen Corner and solo. Mick Taylor? Sly and Robbie are more of a three blade model, but without them reggae wouldn’t sound like it does.

    Along with Winwood, they ask seen to share being nice bloke who get along with people, so is the key here the ability to park your ego at the door?

  8. Peter Holsapple’s role in REM?

    I think of Paul Carrack as a rock and roll mercenary – he brings his own weapons too!

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube