Dec 242020

Flunk Punks “Guitar Tech” Paul Shields, with THE INFAMOUS YAMAHA DT 175 IN THE BACKGROUND!

Happy holidays, Rock Town Hall members and hangers-on!

As has become a bit of a tradition ’round these parts, on this festive day of the year, I present you with the annual telling of my greatest moment of rock embarrassment — namely, the story of The Day I Rode My Motorcycle On-stage at School Assembly and Proceeded to Suck Mightily. This year, however…there’s more!

First of all, there are pictures to share, culled from dusty old photo albums–including, as you’ll see above, a picture of the actual motorcycle! I wish I had pictures of all the members of the “band,” but there seem to be just a few in my possession. Perhaps more illuminating, I’ve managed to gather a few recollections of the event from other members of the Flunk Punks! This year, I managed to track down two: David “Bertie” Bertram and Peter Horn. Peter was characteristically taciturn about the whole affair, but Bertie remembered something I’d long since forgotten: the Flunk Punks “groupies!”

Anyway, the story proceeds below, followed by our star witnesses’ commentary. Enjoy, and–best wishes for the season, RTH!


Dec 202015

And so this is Christmas…or, should I say, the Christmas season. For the last 2 years, Townsman Al has requested that we run a 16-song tournament via the old Rock Town Hall poll. For the last 2 years I’ve been tormented that the poll has been fucked up and stuck on some stupid question regarding Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers. The poll is just one of a handful of features that I hope we (and by “we” I mean The Back Office) get to tune up before technology moves us any further into the future and people start telepathically communicating 18-character affirmations to a network of loosely connected music fans who somehow all seem to enjoy having Joe Jackson tunes streamed through their smartphones.

But enough of my yapping… Al wants to know if Rock Town Hall has ever…once and for all,,,picked the Best Rock ‘n Roll Christmas Song Ever. I don’t think we have.

Each year we retell the Best Rock ‘n Roll Christmas Story Ever. We revisit the Best Rock ‘n Roll Christmas Hairdo. We’ve determined the Best Solo Beatles Rock ‘n Roll Christmas Song Ever (sorry, George). And we’ve collected not one, not two, but almost three volumes of A Rock Town Hall Christmas, thanks in large part to the efforts of the legendary northvancoveman (who will be SUMMONED). We’ve even collected some of the Crappiest Christmas Music We’ll Ever Hear.

Rather than me continue to gripe about the broken-down RTH poll feature and continue suspicions that I have joined the War Against Christmas, how about we keep it simple and make a case for any one of the songs compiled from our past rock ‘n roll Christmas song compilations or another song that did not come up in the past, perhaps because you were not yet a member of Rock Town Hall. Al has compiled some contenders…after the jump. If we’re ever going to settle…once and for all…The Best Rock ‘n Roll Christmas Song we need your vote/rationale. Don’t be a smartypants and simply list out a half dozen obscure numbers you are not willing to get behind. Choose one of the following or suggest a winner of your own devise. Thanks.

Dec 262013


It’s the day after Christmas. Whether you celebrated or not, I hope you had a marvelous day. In the true spirit of the holiday… sowhatchaget? What new music-related items have entered your household?

Santa brought me a new, sparkly red amp, a set of glasses decorated with images of cassette tapes, and an awesome book on legendary guitars, with a foreword by Billy F Gibbons.

HVB: What’s with the middle initial in your boy’s name? Has that been going on for some time, or is this how Billy distinguishes his literary side?

Dec 232012

John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time.” Amazing, isn’t it, that the John vs. Paul thing can be expressed so perfectly in the Christmas songs that each released.

John’s anti-religion (“Xmas” instead of Christmas), anti-war, thought-provoking song:


Paul’s silly love song, holiday edition”

I think John’s song is the better, more creative, more distinctive one but, damned, if I’m not singing along every time Paul’s comes over the radio waves.

How about you?

SHOWDOWN (Choose One): "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" or "Wonderful Christmas Time"?

View Results

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Dec 072012

In honor of Rock Town Hall’s original Canadian (and hockey) correspondent, northvancoveman, is it time we prepare for the Hall’s third Christmas music mix (see and hear our first RTH Christmas)?

Christmas has long been a cause for joy in the Halls of Rock. If our old friend northvancoveman is ready to come home for Christmas, may I pose an even grander challenge? Rock Town Hall asks, Will YOU be home for Christmas?

You know who I’m talking about—founding members like E. Pluribus Gergely, kpdexter, dr john, dbuskirk, meanstom, sally cinnamon… Hell, saturnismine reappeared yesterday before he knew I called him out. This means something.

What about our dear friend, the delightful Happiness Stan? What about tonyola, who’s cape and Moog synthesizer lean against the fireplace, a chilling reminder of Christmas future?

Are you ready to compile a new Christmas mix? State your themes here and now.

Are you ready to come home for the holidays?

Jan 312012

Don’t worry, Bryan’s all right.

This is not to make light of the Zeebrugge Disaster, involving the capsizing of a ferry in 1987, which killed 193 passengers and crew. I hope this effort raised money for the families. Cause aside, however, there are things you might find humorous in this (mostly minor) star-studded Ham-Off. What I’m curious to know, in the chronology of these “Aid” extravaganzas, is whether this is the last original Aid song of the genre? If the Aid Era started in 1984, with “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and the 1989 Band Aid II version doesn’t count because it’s not an original Aid song, what Aid event marked the end of this era? Live 8 wasn’t quite the same. It’s a “8” event, not “Aid.”

But all that aside, who won this particular song?

Dec 022011

A few months back I was trawling the net for something to take the edge off the pointy bits of life and stumbled, after nearly a quarter-century of looking, upon someone’s vinyl rip of Frank Sidebottom Salutes The Magic of Freddie Mercury and Queen and Also Kylie Minogue (You Know, Her off Neighbours). I tried to make the family listen to it while we were driving around Wales in the summer, the kids loved it, but Mrs H had views. This song was re-released as a single last Christmas, and reached number 66 in the UK charts. I am fairly confident that it will divide opinion in the Hall, indeed I would be keen to learn whether anyone present will join me in its defence.

Frank Sidebottom was the alter-ego of Chris Sievey, who started his musical career in The Freshies, and moved on to find precious little fame and even less fortune while trying to change the world by wearing an enormous papier mache head and singing his own compositions and idiosyncratic cover versions to the accompaniment of a rinky-tink Casio keyboard in a northern nasal whine.

His persona was that of a rather insular and naive teenager, trying to play music and record in his bedroom or shed while trying not to attract the attention of his Mum, with interruptions and occasional assistance from his ventriloquist puppet Little Frank, comprising a smaller papier mache head and a body cut out of a cardboard box, with neither of them able to move their mouths. Life mainly revolved around his home village of Timperley, and was either “fantastic” or “bobbins” (bobbins of cotton = rotten).

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