Need a refresher? After the jump…!
Following the current Rock Town Hall questions and poll about my alleged knowledge of “illegal choreography,” I had a surprise visit from an interesting duo. A man and a woman appeared at my door. At first, I thought they may be solicitors, but upon closer look, I noticed some unusual things. They were dressed in black, although the woman also wore a touch of light pink. The man wore a tailored short jacket, but instead of pants had on very tight, lightweight leggings and soft leather boots. The woman wore a wrap sweater, a long chiffon skirt and slippers. It was when I noticed that she had her hair in a tight bun, and that both had darkly drawn eyebrows, false eyelashes and rouged cheeks that I realized that something was very, very wrong… These people were not visiting members of Roxy Music but instead had come to tell me that I had inadvertently broken one of the Ten Commandments of Dance.
Following is a copy of document that they shared with me. I am permitted to share it with you so that you don’t make the same mistake as I.
It’s no secret that, like a lot of young teenage boys in the early-to-mid-1970s, I found Carly Simon hot. Although I never cared much for any of her songs beside the outstanding “You’re So Vain” and, OK, I’ll admit it, her duet with James Taylor on “Mockingbird,” there was a sense of anticipation over the release of each new album cover. With her XL smile; sleepy eyes; soft, flowing fabrics; a flexible, acrobatic posture; and a soap operatic personal life Simon was rock’s safe-as-matzo Jewish American Princess. She wasn’t tangled up in that smelly CSNY crowd, like Joni Mitchell. She wasn’t a practitioner of witchcraft, like Stevie Nicks. She made no claims to being “one of the boys,” like Linda Rondstadt. Carly was all woman, more like one of my Mom’s younger waitressing friends than a rock star yet not half as square as a Barbra Streisand, who couldn’t manage an acute angle alongside renegade Kris Kristofferson. For a middle-class boy venturing into the world of sexual longing and rock ‘n roll, she was as pervasive and only mildly daring as a woman’s subscription to Cosmopolitan.
As I got into my later teens and became both more judgmental and daring, the mid-’70s appeal of Carly rapidly diminished. By 1981, when the likes of Debbie Harry and Exene were my maturing notions of rock womanhood, I had no idea the following video ever existed, of a song called “Vengeance,” which thankfully I don’t recall ever hearing. Talk about an ultimate rock soft-on. Let’s examine the moments that would have immediately spelled the end of my young lust for Carly, had I not already been heading in that direction.
In-depth analysis…after the jump!
I would imagine we’ve all been on the receiving end of what I call Rock Schoolyard Bullying at some point or another in our musical development. Perhaps some Classic Rocker upper classman called you a “pussy” for liking punk rock or New Wave or Disco or whatever. Or maybe some asshole blogger once “outed” you for professing to like Bruce Springsteen‘s Nebraska while claiming you’re a cliche for professing to love that album while having long been too cool for school to admit liking any of The Boss’ popular works. Those rock bullies really get my goat!
I have, however, been guilty of acts of rock schoolyard bullying. I know this confession may shock you. To illustrate an experience I had on the giving end of this regrettable dynamic, here’s an excerpt from a longer piece I have in the works:
The rhythm of music has helped me better understand my own rhythm and the rhythm of others. “What makes that guy tick?” I’ve asked myself a few thousand times over the years. If he’s a music lover to any degree I may be able to quickly home in on his Inner Metronome and reach a level of intimacy that two dudes may not otherwise reach so easily. I have to tread with caution, though. Snap judgments and insults based on an artist he initially expresses as a favorite that I don’t like won’t help. I still regret walking into a party in my mid-20s, with a roomful of people I barely knew, being immediately cornered by a perfectly excited fellow music fan who wanted to make a connection, and then bluntly telling him his favorite local band of the moment “sucked.” It would have been better form had I simply shoved him against the wall and sucker punched him. Sorry, man.
Do you have a memorable moment of rock schoolyard bullying you feel needs sharing, be it on the giving or receiving end? I trust much healing will ensue.
If my father’s side of my family kept their genealogical records straighter than they did their own lives I’m one-eighth Irish. This should give me at least one-eighth reason for joy on St. Patrick’s Day, but a childhood of family induced shame of that small part of my heritage still makes it tough for me to muster any enthusiasm for the wearing of the green and all that goes with the holiday.
Deep down I spend part of St. Patrick’s Day, including the days that lead up to it, mocking the Irish and their history of drinking and bad food. It’s a time for my Italian-American pride to secretly bask in the glory of my maternal side’s delicious food and sensuous homeland. It’s a time for me to derisively laugh at the memory of my dead-but-much-longer-than-that-gone father and all the hell he caused for the family.
“Jimmy,” my maternal grandmother—my first favorite person on this earth—would rib me from as early a time as I can remember, “are you Italian or Irish?”
Let he who is without a Rock Crime record cast the first Rolling Stone!
Whether your personal Rock Crimes are big or small, we know you’ve committed at least one. If nothing else, you were born with original an Rock Crime. It’s time you ‘fess up and come clean with a Rock Crime you’ve committted. Those who confess and apologize will be granted immunity. Those who continue to run from The Truth will be suspects in the next sweep of the Nebraska Manhunt!
You may recall the interview I conducted with former Television guitarist Richard Lloyd in 2007. Among other topics, I tried to engage Lloyd in a discussion of his time accompanying Matthew Sweet. We quickly veered off into other more pressing matters, but we were able to scratch the surface of guitar porn, or Gentleman’s Rock.
RTH: When I saw you with Matthew Sweet, every guitar player in Philadelphia at that time was gathered at your side of the stage –
RL: Yes, staring at my fucking crotch! OK.
RTH: I was surprised people weren’t shoving dollar bills down your jeans.
RL: I was saying to myself, Will you please move over and let me see some tits? At least if you’re gonna stand there staring at my crotch lend me your girlfriend after the show.
I’m not a guy who goes out of his way to get off on ax-wielding guitar heroes, but Lloyd’s playing was worth the occasionally embarrassing moments of bumping into another guy with a hard-on for the man’s fretwork.
Check out this live clip of Sweet from the tour I saw. I’ll still stand behind much of Sweet’s work from that period, but the guy wasn’t a dynamic performer. No wonder all the dudes stood in front of Lloyd’s side of the stage.
Whether you frequently attend stip – er – rock clubs to metaphorically shove dollar bills into the waistband of a lead guitarist or not, who’s your favorite “adult guitar player” – or “adult” player of any instrument?