Jan 232009


Long before Paul McCartney and Wings put out an album of the same name, the idea of a band on the run ties into rock’s rebel spirit as well as the earlier tradition of the bluesman with hellhounds on his trail. Although rock artists often sing of being on the run – from The Man, hellhounds, adoring fans, what have you – they rarely agree to be filmed running. Lately I’ve been scouring YouTube to find videos showing actual rock musicians in the act of running. It’s been tough finding all but a handful of clips that my fading memory could remember from the days when MTV and VH1 actually played music videos. Even that wildly popular OK Go video, although choreographed for treadmill, includes no running. The results are mixed, but I think the results of my survey will satisfy any lingering questions you might have over the marriage of rock music and running. Take your time with this one; we may need all weekend.

Let’s start this examination of bands on the run with arguably the greatest of rock running videos.

NEXT: Arguably the greatest of rock running videos!

Jul 012008


From The Lodgers

On my arrival I was greeted by four characters. Stephen White, who had just been proclaimed Master Of The Sticks by a pirate station in Cumbria run by a retired colonel. Miss Dee C. Lee who I espied on a clifftop alone with nothing but her sweet voice singing out into the clouds and a large parrott on her shoulder. Paul Weller, who sat naked in front of the sea on a deckchair shouting, “stop I say, hold thyselves, my parts freeze,” as the waves rushed past him, and Master Michael Talbot by a bonfire, splendidly clad in a lame blanket and hard at work on one of Stravinsky’s unfinished works he had come across in a disused priory.

Remember The Cappuccino Kid, that mysterious liner note writer for releases by The Style Council? Nobody knew who exactly The Cappuccino Kid was, but many speculated!

Not ringing a bell yet? Perhaps the following passage from Our Favourite Shop will jog your memory:

Jul 012008

It saddens me to find myself stuck in the middle with Townsmen Hrrundivbakshi and E. Pluribus Gergely over issues of The Style Council and animality. I’m reminded of the words of founding Traffic member Dave Mason.

Before we turn the page on these issues, before we possibly reach the level of understanding and unity offered by the first-ever European International Pop Festival (go to about the 00:50 mark of the above video for a full explanation of our potential as a community of music lovers), let’s consider the following clip:
Continue reading »

Jun 302008

Quick, Townspeople! Who among us most firmly believes that rock and roll started losing its mind when bands began obsessing about albums, rather than finely crafted singles? Answer: E. Pluribus Gergely! Who’s the guy who thinks the Venn Diagram intersection of tradition, groove and melody is where the best pop music has always lived? E. Pluribus Gergely! Who’s the guy who thinks Paul Weller‘s greatest shortcoming as an artist was his unwillingness to put his heart on his sleeve and sing about his *feelings*? E. Pluribus Gergely!

For all these reasons and more, I’m happy to report that E. Pluribus Gergely — whether he knows it or not — loves the Style Council!

Now, let’s be clear: I have no illusions about our dear, beloved Plurbie and his willingness to open up even one small, wrinkled fold of his fevered brain to consider this overlooked phase in Paul Weller’s career. But I know, deep in my heart, that he should.

When Paul Weller shit-canned the Jam (one of the great, classy moves in rock history, as far as I’m concerned), his stated intention was to launch a loosely knit “band” — more of a collective, really — whose primary aim would be to produce killer singles (*not* albums!), loosely fashioned after the 45s that had brought meaning to his life as a youngster.

With that in mind, check out this vuh-deo, for the Style Council’s fourth single, “A Solid Bond In Your Heart.” Talk about an explicit blueprint for action! Weller wanted to bring back dancing, community, style, and general freedom from bullshit when he started this band. Mr. Mod may tamp his pipe and complain about the Weller “four on the floor” beat that he incorrectly perceives as being central to every Weller tune ever written — and I’m just waiting for the snarky observations about how Mick Talbot is the only guy in this video who’s actually chasing after a girl — but, hell. The tune still churns up the dancefloor, Paul’s heart is clearly in the right place, and there’s some positivity on display. As the band plowed through its first couple of years, Weller would open up even further.

Continue reading »

Jun 302008

Comes a time…

Coming July 22, Paul Weller will release a sure-to-be sprawling masterpiece, entitled 22 Dreams. If the following Product Description from Amazon doesn’t inspire you to pre-order the CD, perhaps an honest re-examination of Weller’s work with Style Council will.

”After As Is Now I thought the time was right to make the sort of record I wanted to make,” says Paul Weller of the creative process which led to his striking ninth solo album 22 Dreams. ”Instead of worrying about anyone else, I wanted to really push the boat out. I think the result is going to surprise a few people.” Surprises have always been part of the artistic vernacular for the man who changed rock forever with The Jam, explored a host of eclectic influences with The Style Council and cemented his position as the patriarch of Brit pop with his legendary solo work. 22 Dreams is the latest chapter in a creative journey spanning 30 years, with material spanning the full breadth of popular music rock to classical, avant garde to funk and spoken word to experimental. In addition to a cast of Weller s frequent collaborators including Steve Cradock and producer Simon Dine, 22 Dreams also features some of the largest beneficiaries of Weller’s incalculable musical influence. Noel Gallagher and Gem from Oasis lend their talents to “Echoes Around the Sun”, a writing collaboration between Weller and Gallagher. Ex-Blur guitarist Graham Coxon appears on “Black River”. The spirit of collaboration and an in-the-moment creative approach have resulted in one of Weller s most spirited works and one that is sure to expand the artistic canon of the one and only Modfather.

To help us pass the time while we eagerly await delivery of our pre-order, does anyone care to read between the lines of this Product Description?

Apr 082008

My teenage rock nerd treasure hunt begins.

Some of you are aware of the profound influence issue #46 of Trouser Press had on my young rock nerd’s development. It was the first issue of the new decade, and my favorite underground rock magazine kicked it off with a snazzy, double-length issue that looked back at the decade that had just passed and looked ahead to the promise of the 1980s!

As some of you are also aware, the promise of the 1980s soon turned ugly for this once-young man’s dreams of a return to energetic, concise rock ‘n roll on the radio. Instead of The Clash, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Buzzcocks, The Jam, and The Undertones ruling the airwaves, the underground pop song movement would emerge victorious, Yamaha DX-7 synths in tow, as the synth-pop of mildly entertaining types like Thomas Dolby and Thompson Twins and finally the massively successful dance-pop of Madonna and Rock Town Hall flashpoint Prince. Despite the success of a few more commercial contenders from that scene, like The Police, The Cars, and Blondie (and Costello and The Clash, to some extent), the closing credits were rolling on the dream.

Trouser Press #46, “Some 1970s Albums You Might Have Missed” (~40 mb)

That didn’t mean I couldn’t spend the ’80s seeking out cool, underground albums from the ’70s that were mostly alien to me before I’d reached my late teens and became a loyal Trouser Press reader. I scanned what’s still my touchstone article from that issue, “Some 1970s Albums You Might Have Missed” (~40 mb; click to download). It’s a large file, but if you download it and print it out, you’ll have some choice bathroom reading! Then – after you’ve washed your hands – I’m sure you’ll want to log back into the Halls of Rock and share your thoughts on these albums, those times, your own significant moment that helped launch your personal rock nerd journey.
Continue reading »

Feb 192008

No dogder, this Roger!

May I begin by sharing with our Townspeople what a thrill it was for me to chat with producer/engineer Roger Bechirian! As a teenager, while intently studying the liner notes of the records that first made me feel as if I’d finally hit on “my” music, music made for me and my bandmate friends, his name kept cropping up. My friends and I never saw a picture of him, and we still don’t know exactly how his surname is pronounced, but this Roger Bechirian fellow was held in very high regard among our band of nobodies.

If I may, I’ll continue in the first person plural, because that’s how strong my love is over this guy’s work – and beside, my old friends and fellow Townsmen, Andyr and Chickenfrank, contributed to this interview. Our introduction to Bechirian was as the engineer on all those great Nick Lowe productions for Elvis Costello and The Attractions. Shortly thereafter, we saw he had his own thing going as producer of The Undertones, the band in our wildest, humble dreams we thought we could emulate.

With Costello, Bechirian produced the one Squeeze album we all agreed sounded great and steered clear of the stiff, awkward moments on their earlier albums. Then we noted his name on the credits for what we thought was The dBs‘ last great single, “Judy”. This guy not only engineered my all-time favorite album, Costello’s Get Happy!!, but he produced one of my favorite overlooked gems for listening to in my bedroom with the shades drawn, The Undertones’ Positive Touch. As Elvis would eventually have an album produced by George Martin engineer Geoff Emerick, we fantasized having an album produced by Nick’s right-hand man. Considering the likely disappointment (for him!) resulting from this fantasized collaboration, his taking the time to answer the tough questions from Rock Town Hall is more than enough wish fulfillment for anyone to bear… But enough of this ass-kissing, no matter how sincere it is! Let’s get on with the questions.

RTH: I’ve read that you were born in India and moved to England when you were a boy. When did you get into music and how did you get into recording?

RB: There was always music on in the house. My father was a big Jazz fan, and my sister would get all the latest hits from the UK and the States. I also played piano, and would spend hours making up my own tunes. We had a tape recorder at home, and I soon started making up my own sound montages by editing various recordings… I did the same thing as you, scouring album credits, looking for the engineering and studio credits. I got my first job training as a mastering engineer, cutting vinyl!

I was so opinionated, and couldn’t stop myself from telling people what I thought they should be doing!


Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube