Sep 212011

Everyone has their decade and judging by recent RTH threads, the 1960s topped many people’s lists for the Best Era of Rock. And although I appreciate the music of the 1960s, a large part of my heart is saved for the ’80s. Much of this connection reflects my personal experiences growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, followed by the watershed experience of receiving my first copy of the Trouser Press Record Guide. But as I’ve become older, I continue to listen to and think about a lot of this music.

So I offer this bridge to our fellow Townspersons who may sneer and consider the 1980s an era of ridiculous fashion and over-the-top musical groups. But it didn’t necessarily start out that way. I paraphrase the mighty Simon Reynolds in his stellar history, Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984, that 19781982 rivaled the years 19631967 in the amount of amazing music, the spirit of adventure and idealism, and the way the music was connected to the social and political events of the era.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the Post Punk Years:

But first, a few words about Punk music.

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Sep 212011

I like some bands that get lumped under the “post-punk” banner, including at least three in particular that I object to frequently falling under that banner: Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd, and Joy Division. There’s a good chance that what I’m about to say is a case of me talking out my ass, at least in terms of the chronology of the term post-punk. I honestly don’t remember it being thrown around when I was a teenager getting into punk rock in the late-’70s/early-’80s. Do you? Do you actually remember that term carrying any weight in 1981, or is this a term that was, as I suspect and feel the blood rushing to my temples whenever I think about it, introduced years after the fact?

Maybe it was already in use in the then-legendary and completely annoying British music press at that time, but in the small world of US underground music fans, I don’t recall the term being applied to second-wave and lesser punk bands at the time. There were “No Wave” bands and other subgenres, but I remember them all being considered part of the broader punk (and New Wave) spectrum.

Life was simple then. There were fewer critical ghettos to annoy me.

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Mar 242011

It had been awhile since I watched this. I think it’s even better than The Who‘s legendary “live” performance of “Join Together.” Also, is there any better example of why Dick Clark may be Rock’s Consumate Pro? As a control freak and generally protocol-obsessed tight ass I can’t imagine how poorly I would have reacted to this scene had I been in Dick’s shoes.

Jan 222011


In tonight’s edition of Saturday Night Shut-In, Mr. Moderator and his prednisone-charged airways kick out the mucous membranes before getting annoyed with former PiL guitarist Keith Levene, his 2008 non-interview, and a commentator named Charles. It’s an unfortunate, uncharacteristically unclassy end to an otherwise rockin’ show.

[audio:|titles=RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 12]

[Note: The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player. In fact, you can even set your iTunes to search for an automatic download each week’s podcast.]

Dec 122008

The first Major League game of baseball I ever attended was a 1973 Oakland A’s game in Oakland. I was 9 and I don’t remember who they played but I do remember that it was “Official Oakland A’s Baseball Night” and all kids received a baseball with the A’s logo on it. Players were available for autographs and I got me some.

Shortly thereafter we moved back to Phoenix. No major league baseball…but we had Spring Training and every year my grandfather gave me season tickets to… the Oakland A’s training in Scottsdale. This gave me tremendous access to gather autographs on my team ball. At the peak I had; Rollie Fingers, Paul Lindblad, Ray Fosse, Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris, Phil Garner, Ted Kubiak, Vida Blue (who insisted on signing with a blue pen), Joe Rudi, Manny Trillo, Billy North, Dick Green and Philly favorite Chuck Finley.

The only other sig I really, really wanted was Reggie Jackson

And I got my chance.

I was at a Spring Training game with my dad and hustled down mid inning to get a hot dog and who should be in line right in front of me…Mr. Reggie Jackson. He was on the injured list that day with a broken toe. My dad was watching me from the back of the top of the bleachers. We made eye contact and without a word he dropped down my baseball and a pen. I flagged the ball and scooped the pen off the ground and asked Mr. Jackson for his autograph as he left with his hot dog and Coke…

“Get outta here kid! Can’t you see I’m injured?!”

My dad was pissed, took my ball and pen and started off for the dugout. I stopped him. I didn’t want that guy’s autograph anymore.

I followed baseball for a few more years. The A’s disbanded, most going to NY, and I tried to become a Yankee fan. But that just furthered the bad taste in my mouth. Reggie, the Yankees and a growing dislike of all things JOCK, put me off baseball for close to 20 years…


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