Apr 012014
(NOTE TO JIMMY PAGE: Don't think we put the Mickey Mouse ears on Aleister Crowley!)

(NOTE TO JIMMY PAGE: Don’t think we put the Mickey Mouse ears on Aleister Crowley!)

It’s not often we get a message through The Back Office from someone who may not even be registered as a Rock Town Hall participant suggesting a thread idea, but recently we received such a suggestion from such a lurker! I won’t give this person’s name, but I encourage him to register and claim credit for this cool story. Dig:

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Dec 202013

How did I miss this Ann and Nancy Wilson tribute to Led Zeppelin at the band’s Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony, or whatever that thing is called?

Oh, I remember now: I didn’t think it was right that our United States President was taking time out of his work on behalf of our nation (not to mention, I presume, our taxpayer dollars) to honor an English band that made a living off, in part, ripping off the works of American blues musicians. I love Led Zeppelin and don’t actually care too much about any of that stuff, but I honestly felt myself thinking that that honor should only be reserved for American artists. I’m not usually prone to such thoughts!

Anyhow, how did I miss this? It’s spectacular on so many Rock Town Hall levels. The performance features—SPOILER ALERT—amazing shots of audience members pondering the significance of what they’re watching, meaningful looks, the First Couple, video footage of a dove, a horn section, not one but TWO robed choirs, David Letterman as a member of Led Zeppelin, and Lenny Kravitz, not to mention BOTH Wilson sisters!

I need to watch this about 10 more times to study the reflective, pondering faces on the surviving members of Led Zeppelin and other dignitaries in attendance. Perhaps you will choose to watch along with me and report on what you can read.

I look forward to your thoughts.



Scream Meme

 Posted by
Sep 052013
It’s a simple question: Is there a better, more iconic rock scream than Roger Daltrey‘s wail in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”?

It could be a wordless scream, or just one word like Daltrey’s “yeah!” Maybe it’s a whole line or verse or song belted out with rage or destroyed vocal cords. Perhaps something less old school, like Trent Reznor in “Head Like a Hole” or Billy Corgan‘s rat in a “caaaaaage” in “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”.

Does Robert Plant have anything to bring to the challenge here? To start things off, I submit the “Immigrant Song” wailing as a top contender to the throne.
Please offer up your best candidates!

RIP Andy Johns

 Posted by
Apr 082013


He was a Great Man who engineered Exile on Main Street, The Greatest Record Ever Made.


On coming to America, from an interview on uaudio.com:

I came over here in 1970, because I was working with Jimmy Miller and he was an American who had a production company out here. The studios were a little behind the times, though. When I was mixing “Stairway to Heaven” over at Sunset Sound and I wanted to pan something, I said, “You don’t have pan pots on the channels.” They responded, “We have a pan pot. Bring on the pan pot!” They bring out this guy on a gurney, you know? A big box with a huge knob, a pan pot man. Christ, the Americans sent someone to the moon, but they only had one pan pot. It was like having one meatball. You can have all the bread you want, but only with one meatball.

Jun 212012

The “money shot,” that big payoff moment… In the first installment of our Money Shot series we examined rock’s most influential vocal money shot moments. While we await the return of Townsman tonyola before exploring mellotron money shot moments, let’s turn our attention to the bass guitar.

Putting aside outright bass solos (sorry, John Entwistle on “My Generation”), what brief, shining moments in a song are brought to new heights by something as simple as a bass lick. I will suggest John Paul Jones‘ measure-long bass fill following the first chorus in “Good Times Bad Times,” heard at the 54-second mark of the following clip.

Imagine how many kids bought a bass guitar in hopes of learning that lick. Now what’s your bass guitar money shot?

Nov 012011

NOT the Fake Robert Plant.

Last night, Mr. Royale and I joined some friends to hear a couple of tribute bands. First up, a Rolling Stones cover band with a very spry Jagger impersonator. Then, the Led Zeppelin tribute band.

In general, I’m not a big fan of tribute bands but in the case of these bands, for which I am highly unlikely to fork over big bucks to see the remaining members totter around and play their hits from 30 or 40 years ago, this was something entertaining to do. Eighteen dollars seemed a decent price to pay to listen to some renditions of music I enjoy.

I have to admit I haven’t been to see a tribute band since, say, 1981, when I went with a friend to Arizona State University to hear whatever was the touring version of the “Beatles.” So I assumed that the gig would include some guys dressed up and aping the mannerisms of their chosen band.

Instead, we were treated to the oddist mixture of spectacle and fakery. The members were dressed up to look like the original musicians, circa 1974 or so: long-haired wigs, unbuttoned polyester shirts or suits, turquoise jewelry. And they played instruments (to my untrained eye) that also resembled those of Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. But it was the lead singer who broke my heart. While he wore the long, blond locks and the tight, tight jeans of Robert Plant, and sang with an impressive range of vocal technique, when he opened his mouth to talk, he lost me. I believe we were listening to the Joey Buttafuoco Robert Plant. Although he professed to be Robert Plant, that accent, most notable when pronouncing the /r/ sound, was just too distracting. Mr. Royale, being kinder than me, believes that it was his English accent. Ha! And then the moves. Mr. “Plant” had only four: the “Stretch the Microphone Chord Over the Head,” the “Lemon Thrust,” the “Hair Toss” and the “Modified Rock Iwo Jima.” It was tiring and lacked any sense of sex appeal.

Granted, I’ve been a few times to see a local ’80s cover band. That band seemed to not take themselves very seriously, and in spite of their Worst-of-the-1980s’ fashion stylings, were highly enjoyable.

Please help me here. How important is it for the tribute musicians to look and sound like the originals? Are you able to get past the imperfections of appearance or mannerisms in the show? Is it really only the sound that matters? What is the difference between a cover band and a tribute band?

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