Jun 142013

Just a couple more days to go for my wife, who is a teacher… Just a week to go for my boys, including a few pointless half days… School is just about OUT FOR SUMMER! Although I still go to work, a household including 3 people without daily responsibilities has its merits: no complaints about tests, no reminders about homework, no disrespectful kids other than our own. In honor of the final days of school, which may have come already for some of you in other parts of the country, let us count the ways we are fed up with school…in song. LAST MAN STANDING: Not just any old song about school, no, we’re talking songs about being sick of school!


Apr 062013

I don’t know if anyone else is into Deerhunter, but they did a pretty cool performance on Jimmy Fallon the other night. Freaky leader Bradford Cox came out as an alter-ego, full of Patti Smith/Johnny Thunders sass and fake chopped off fingers. It was a pastiche, yes, but it still tapped into something that is quintessentially rock n’ roll to me.

I’m still trying to assess the RTH and BAC states of mind. Do you like this?

Mar 222013


As I may have mentioned a few times over the years, I HATED THE 1980s!

I hated ’80s style and culture in general, but as a music-obsessed person, I especially hated “’80s” music, which I typify as synth-pop featuring Yahmaha DX7s and strained vocals. I hated hair gel and guys with dyed hair. I hated asymmetric hairdos and shirt collars. I hated shirts with shoulder pads and epaulets. I hated puffy socks and women wearing jeans with high-riding waistbands. I even hated Madonna, although stripped of her iconic ’80s style she was my idea of a Hot Woman. Thankfully Madonna provided some opportunities to confirm that suspicion.

I hated what the ’80s did to Michael Jackson. I hated the bright colors. I never aspired to androgyny. I even hated much of the “cool” underground music of the ’80s: hardcore, shitcore, REM, that goth stuff like Bauhaus coming out of England… I even hated bands that were making music fairly similar to my own band’s aspirations because I was jealous of their relative success.

I think I hated myself as much as anything. I grew up in the 1970s, feeling pretty much out of place but certain that I would develop into a well-rounded hipster in my early ’80s college years only to be unleashed in a world where I fit in even less. Damn you, 1980s!

Today, my wiser, kinder, gentler self occasionally hears Human League‘s “Don’t You Want Me Baby” on the radio and thinks to himself, “At least I always liked that song. There must have been another 24 hit songs in the ’80s that I liked, right?”

Well, were there? I am calling on you, my trusted Townspeople, to help me recall whether I liked 25 hit songs from the 1980s. The rules for submission follow…after the jump!

Continue reading »

Jun 092012

Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

On tonight’s episode of Saturday Night Shut-In Mr. Moderator tries one more time to rally a few Townspeople to join him for a screening of the upcoming Rock of Ages. He also passes along a gauntlet regarding the new Saint Etienne album thrown down by our old friend The Great 48. Finally, he discusses the final scene in the American remake of Wings of Desire, whatever the hell that was called. Good tunes to boot, including Bob Welch’s finest moment!

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/RTH-Saturday-Night-Shut-In-81.mp3|titles=RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 81]

[Note: You can add Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your iTunes by clicking here. The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player.]

Jun 022012

Many of you know me as RTH’s Minister of Fun and Games — and I do take a small degree of pride in being the primary inventor of most of the shallowest, most trivial time-wasting activities on offer here. But the reason I continue to hang around in the Hall of Rock is because much smarter people than me really put some honest effort into posts that provoke thoughtful, chin-scratching discussion of things that ought to concern us all. I frequently feel bad about my basic laziness in this area.

In an effort to make up for my seriousness deficit — while still preserving my laziness point total — I’m sharing something a Facebook friend posted on their wall today. It concerns his trip last night to see the Dandy Warhols, and it’s as well-written as it is thought-provoking.

I don’t know how old the author, Giles Kotcher, is — but I believe he is in his late 50s or 60s. (This, as you’ll see, is relevant information.) In any case, I invite you to read and comment:

(I was) treated to the Warhol Dandies & 2 younger bands last night & faced my age & the 5 or 6+ decades passed since “rock” originated. The sounds hit me like debris sucked off Japan by the tsunami and floated across the Pacific to crash on Western shores. Time is the ocean & the music dislodged wreckage. “They’re like The Velvet Underground.” No, they’re not. The audience —- including several in their 40’s, 50’s & 60’s [ I was likely the oldest person in the room —- in the world ?] —-had heard the songs before on cd & could rehearse mentally what the numbing volume of live performance made unintelligible. Jerking zombies hungry & starving on imitated, wanna-be charisma, schtick poses & licks.

This scene in miniscule epitomizes what we see & hear everywhere in a very “late” stage of culture: the Age of Sequels. Sequels of movies, Postmodern architecture, alt country, Mad Men, Mid-Century Modern decor: tweaked recreations, simulacra empty of all else but style. We live AFTER a century in which an avant garde of creative artists, pioneers in science & clairvoyant inventors of redefined liberty, equality & justice enjoyed a historical privilege to discover the New.

I’m often embarrassed here to post so many “old” “nostalgic” bits of the cultural past. I do not want to live in a “period piece” version of the 20th C, but the contrast I see and hear between the present and the 20th C Modernism I was educated to admire— or stumbled onto dancing through youth— deafens me on the edges of the Warhol Dandies. Huge goals remain in the fight to find practical comfort in liberty, equality and justice, but—- no longer so floated by the new—-we continue the fight in a largely exhausted American culture, surviving mainly as commodity.


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