Dec 032010

In our Bullshit On thread involving Linda McCartney, Townsman Oats made the follow wisecrack (I think) that got me thinking about something else:

I always thought Linda helped invent the two-fingered style of playing Minimoog that has since popped up in all kinds of settings, from The Cars to Dr. Dre to assorted indie rockers.

The “something else” I thought about was John Lennon‘s subtle claims in his final interviews that Yoko must have been a big influence on New Wave bands they were hearing, like The B-52s. Perhaps Yoko was the influence for the singing style of those women, but what this really got me thinking about were suspect claims of influence in rock ‘n roll.

These suspect claims of influence often come long after the fact. They sometimes seem orchestrated to add relevance to the comebacking career of a veteran artist, such as Neil Young‘s Godfather of Grunge campaign. There may be merit to these claims, but they can just as easily be as whacked out as the now-commonly accepted notion that Buddy Holly ripped off his entire act from Bo Diddley.

What claims of influence in rock ‘n roll do you find especially suspect?

Dec 022010

A longtime lurking Townswoman posted the following question on her Facebook page, which she said we could hash out in all our nerdy glory here:

Why does Yoko get such a bad rap, and no one gives Linda shit for letting Paul write the screenplay and star in Give My Regards to Broad Street? She could have put a stop to this nonsense!

In our offlist chat, she added, “Just because you used to be a Beatle doesn’t make you infallible!”

This raises a plethora of RTH-worthy questions, among them, Does Linda deserve shit for not blowing the whistle on Paul’s worst musical tendencies? and Do Beatles fans deserve shit for not calling bullshit on Linda re: Paul as they did on Yoko re: John?

I think Linda was not held in as negative a regard as Yoko because Paul didn’t need Linda to “bring him down” in any way. He was perfectly capable of sucking without her “help.” This is not to suggest that Yoko really made Lennon turn out a good deal of solo crap on his own, but John gave off a strong sense of dependency on Yoko, while Paul seemed to simply enjoy Linda’s company. Also playing a role, I would think, is the fact that Yoko was an artist in her own right, while Linda, photography career ignored, was considered little more than the “cook of the house.” Yoko and John presented themselves as equals and collaborators, whereas Paul and Linda presented themselves as more of a traditional “married team,” in the 1950s sense.

I also found it interesting that another longtime lurking Townswoman responding to this Facebook post brought up unfair criticisms Linda received for her perceived lack of Paul-worthy beauty. I always thought she was pretty good looking and never felt like Paul should have chosen me or a woman I would have picked out for him, but since it was mentioned I do now recall Beatles fans having that hang-up.

Nov 032010

Granted, the following video of Can is probably not considered representative of the band’s sound, but the revolutionary, political mumbo jumbo surrounding it is – I believe – a major factor in this band’s critical acclaim among rock snobs.

I can empathize with many of you who identify with the “socialist” stance of a Can or Henry Cow, with the “anarchist” stance of an MC5. It’s hard to give up on the belief that rock ‘n roll is important, and who better to uphold rock’s claims to social relevance than some avant-garde German hippies? If only these high-minded expressions were upheld in the grooves… Continue reading »

Sep 282010

There are reasons we rarely close the comments on the issues that are discussed on Rock Town Hall. Among them, with our deep archives, we never know when someone will dig back into a once-hot topic and put his or her stamp on it. At times we try to recognize the new, key detail that’s been added to the rock discussion record. Today, we add yet another eyewitness account of ZZ Top‘s Worldwide Texas Tour, the legendary tour involving livestock on stage while the band performed. Because I’d never seen photos of the band performing surrounded by livestock, I called Bullshit On this tour! Thankfully, Townspeople like gregg were there…to call Counter-Bullshit On me! Thanks, gregg!

Next, UNDENIABLE EVIDENCE! Continue reading »

Sep 022010

I don’t know if Paul McCartney blew his mind out in a car in 1966, but it’s clear to me that by 1969-70, he’d gotten pretty rich and tired — or maybe just lazy. His noble savage/country farmer persona — only hinted at during the Get Back sessions — probably reached its most fervent, greasy-haired expression in the music (and photos) that fill his first solo album, entitled simply McCartney.

Who knows why Paul decided to retreat to his farm/lighthouse/sheep station/rock studio and record this half-baked collection of unfinished demos? But he did — and, for my money, it’s a sad preview of the dozens (hundreds?) of half-assed songs he’s foisted on the world since then, just because he can.

As usual, there’s at least one jaw-dropper on the album (in this case, “Maybe I’m Amazed”) — the song that makes you want to sock the guy in the nose for betraying his talent on the rest of the record. But the rest of it is just stupid. I mean, really: is this LP any better than a bootleg collection of home demos — clearly never meant to get “finished” — would be?

Reading current reviews of this record, I’m sensing that the rock and roll revisionists are circling around this disc, telling us that it’s a hidden “rough gem” in McCartney’s otherwise polished catalog. Bullshit! The album sucks eggs.

Don’t you agree?


Aug 262010

Jody Stephens (center), join the club!

Bev Bevan and Rick Buckler have been raked over the coals in this long-suspended series already. Today a Townsperson other then E. Pluribus Gergely finally called bullshit on the drumming of Big Star’s Jody Stephens. In honor of cdm‘s candidness, let’s open the floor to other drummers who suck* despite powering the rhythms of bands we love!

*A point of clarification: By “worst” or “suck” I’m not really asking for a list of the technically worst drummers in rock, if any of us are even capable of assessing that, but drummers whose playing you find necessary to overlook (overhear?) while listening to a favorite artist.


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