Aug 272020

Here’s a topic I have been thinking about for years, but that may never have made it to the Main Stage. I guess I’ve been thinking about this since Rock Town Hall first fizzled away.

KISS‘ “Hard Luck Woman” is such an obvious pastiche of mid-’70s Rod Stewart that it’s a wonder that Rod never covered it. (Or has he?) Some of you may recall how much I personally despise KISS, but I have to give it to them: they were rock solid as Rod Stewart imitators.

What’s the first thing anyone of my generation thought when first hearing the Stealer’s Wheel song “Stuck in the Middle With You”?

New Dylan tune? Cool!

Bob’s a proud man, but he’s got a devilish sense of humor. How has he gone all these years without covering that song? (Or has he?)

And here’s the tune that has most had me thinking about this topic for the last few years: David Bowie‘s “Diamond Dogs.” Maybe it was 5 years ago when it came on and I thought to myself, That is the greatest song the Exile-era Stones never recorded!

Can you hear it as a swaggering Stones song, with Jagger sashaying and laying into the word “brooch” the way Bowie so expertly does*; Mick Taylor and Keef doing their thing; E Pluribus Gergely‘s favorite saxophonist, Bobby Keys, honking away? Ever since that day the thought occurred to me, that’s all I can hear. Well, that and the way Bowie sings brooch. And the cool This ain’t rock ‘n roll; this is genocide intro.

So here’s my assignment:

Starting with the 3 songs I’ve noted (and dispute those nominations if you must), what would make the greatest collection of covers of pastiche songs by the original artists being imitated? Imagine, a revitalized, coke-and-brandy fueled Rod the Mod singing “Hard Luck Woman.” Bob Dylan and his most crack modern-day band rambling through “Stuck in the Middle With You.” The Rolling Fucking Stones coming back for just one more album and world tour, featuring their version of “Diamond Dogs.” Hell, the Stones promise 2000 Man a seat on the tour bus!

*Brooch is probably my favorite word in the English language, or at least a close second to penultimate, on the basis of the way Bowie pronounces it in “Diamond Dogs.” Somehow, Bowie made it sound dirty!

Jan 212016

I suspect you agree I’m a kinder, gentler, wiser Mr. Moderator. It’s not only apathy that’s kept me from saying anything about the sudden, premature death of founding Eagles member Glenn Frey. It’s also maturity. And increasing fear of The Reaper.

I hadn’t planned on posting any snarky thoughts Frey’s death, and I still won’t, but some Guardian piece lambasting people for mocking Glenn Frey’s death while celebrating David Bowie’s, which a friend posted on his Facebook feed has me feeling like, I don’t know, the meaner, harsher, more ignorant Mr. Moderator of old.

The holier-than-thou tone of the Guardian’s subtitle was enough to make my blood boil:



Who’s this Guardian writer to call younger, nastier, less-afraid-of-dying himself me a hypocrite? Call Younger Me and my ilk rude, immature, disrespectful…sure, but where does it say anyone needs to pretend that Bowie and Frey’s life works need to be considered on the same playing field? Can’t we be respectful while staying true to our own tastes and feelings? I tried, in my reply to my friend’s Facebook post. For the record, after being up there in his thread for nearly 12 hours, I have yet to receive a single Like. I’m not sitting by a large window, looking out at the rain, as a single teardrop rolls down my cheek, but I am a bugged enough to share my thoughts on the death and life of Glenn Frey. I hope my words help as you process this passing:

Jan 112016



On this week’s very special episode of Saturday Night Shut-In Mr. Moderator reflects on his experiences with David Bowie’s lyrics.

RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 146

Rock Town Hall’s Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 146: Bowie’s Lyrics by Mr Moderator on Mixcloud

[Note: You can add Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital library by subscribing to the Rock Town Hall feed.]

Jan 112016

Just read that David Bowie died. Just this Saturday I was watching the Ziggy Stardust concert film and marveling at how fiercely his fans connected with him. I have spent years poking at the fact that, although I acknowledge his music is great and I love much of it, that I still couldn’t embrace Bowie. On New Year’s Eve this came up with old friends. I was reminded of the fan club insert that came with my copy of ChangesOne, one of the 3 greatest greatest hits albums in rock His fashion/mime thing never appealed to me and explained every gross misstep I would spot in a mostly excellent catalog. I used to wish he could just play music and stop making proto-Zoolander faces. What I’ve learned in just the last few years is that his entire Bowie thing wasn’t for my benefit – and that was OK. I finally realized how beautiful his thing was for the people he served. Beyond his excellent catalog, I’m glad to have him as a guide for people near and dear to me, and even as a guide for my own alien self.

Nov 032013


Here they are, direct from Scotland: The Beatstalkers! Bassist, Alan Mair, went on to be a member of The Only Ones, also serving as their co-producer. There are a few websites with info on this band, I can’t say I knew anything about them other than that they recorded a handful of songs by David Bowie, with the singer doing his best to turn his accent from Scottish to English.

Here they are with a song called, “When I’m Five.”

According to their All Music bio, they formed in 1962 and became wildly successful in Scotland.They signed a deal with Decca in 1965 and then moved to London in 1967. At this point, they hooked up with a manager who also counted David Bowie as a client. He had the band record three of Bowie’s songs under a new contract with CBS. Despite their huge success, previously, at home, they were unable to get any traction in the big city. The saddest part of the bio, to me, is that it states the band broke up after a van containing all of their equipment was stolen! I guess it was the last straw.

If I am understanding the timeline correctly, Alan Mair opened up a clothing shop in London between the Beatstalkers and the Only Ones, where he sold leather clothes, platform shoes and other glam clothes, employing Freddie Mercury until Queen found success. While this band is mostly a footnote in rock history, people who lived in Glasgow in the early to mid-60s considered them Scotland’s answer to the Beatles.

Here they are again with “Silver Tree Top School For Boys.”

Silver Tree Top School For Boys

And here’s another Bowie composition, “Everything Is You.”

Everything Is You

Hope you enjoyed this Mystery Date, maybe you’d like to see them again, dinner and a movie, perhaps.

Nov 022013

I’ve been listening to the David Bowie channel on Sirius/XM radio and it is flat out fantastic. Crazy old stuff, the hits, and covers by others. It’s great to have someone else curate one of your heroes, so to speak.

What’s great about Bowie is that everyone has a favorite album — and you can say — “well I can see that.” Mine is Lodger, only because I was a teenager when it came out and it didn’t get played on the radio — so it’s mine.

So, what is your favorite Bowie album . . . and why?


Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube