Aug 272012

Left to right: Mod, Conan, Sammy.

Stick with me for a few minutes, OK? I want to tell you about some cool behind-the-scenes workings that sammymaudlin and I experienced a few weeks ago, during a taping of our first appearance on Conan. First, it may be out of our jurisdiction, but I’d like to issue an official RTH SUMMONS for the show’s host, co-host, band members, and crew to join us in the Halls of Rock.

I’ve long suspected that Conan O’Brien would make a fine Townsman. He’s got a self-deprecating sense of humor, for starters, which helps when any one of us decides to duck away from work or family responsibilities for a few minutes to chat about an obscure record label sampler album or the role of the headband in rock. As many of you know, there are times when we find ourselves taking this stuff a little too seriously, at which point it helps to know the joke’s on us.

Conan’s always been comfortable with the musical aspects of his show, from his rapport with his always excellent band (originally the Max Weinberg 7 [?] and now known as Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band) to his enthusiasm for his musical guests. I remember the night he introduced The Soundtrack of My Life, a band I’d not yet heard, with the anticipation of a teenage boy ready to rock. Thirty seconds into their performance I extended a virtual high-five to Conan to share in his appreciation for the band’s ability to tap into the Power & Glory of Rock. I bought the album the next day. Another time he had one of my heroes, Nick Lowe, on with Conan’s his band backing him up. It was magic. I had tears of joy streaming down my face, and it was all the better knowing Lowe was performing this magic under Conan’s watch and not some soulless asshole like Jay Leno. (Leno strikes me as one of those guys who doesn’t actually hear or perceive the qualities in music. Yeah, I like all kinds of music, he’d say, shrugging his shoulders unconvincingly. As a side thread in whatever discussion ensues, Quick: Name an album Jay Leno may actually own and know!)

In recent years Conan has been more open then ever about his love for rock ‘n roll: buddying up to Jack White; performing with White and others on his NBC show’s farewell; and as I was lucky enough to witness, popping up on stage to sing “My Bonnie” with The Fab Faux, the awesome Beatles cover band featuring Vivino. Whenever I’ve seen Conan onstage playing music it’s a kick. He’s not a “real musician,” but he’s clearly in heaven whenever he gets a chance to play onstage with real musicians. It’s a feeling with which many of us can identify.

I don’t know about Andy Richter‘s tastes in music, although I’ve read his is rumored to have appeared in the film Tommy. Regardless, he makes me laugh my ass off. If he’s got any rock nerd chops I could see him working under alexmagic‘s wing. It’s easy to register, Andy.

The story behind our appearance on Conan (indisputable proof can be seen here) still amazes me. My wife, boys, and I were a couple of days away from our grand West Coast tour. We were at the kitchen table running through the itinerary. “We should have looked into getting tickets for a taping of Conan,” I said.

“I’ll try Quinn,” my wife said, “she knows everyone!”

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Aug 242012

Let’s face it, E. Pluribus Gergely had an especially poor showing in the Halls of Rock this summer. He wasn’t alone, but in past years the anticipation some of us have held toward the man’s summer break and expanded schedule for giving (and taking) shit has paid off in spades. Not this summer, though. EPG, we hardly knew you!

Word is he was tied up fending off competition in his side business to attend to our needs. There’s a new kid cutting in on his turf, and he won’t have it. That’s his business, though. Our business takes place right here. Earlier this week I held his feet to the fire.

I’ll be seeing the man tonight. Before the summer slips into fall he has promised to field questions and concerns from us. Either he will answer directly, in the coming days, or I will summarize his responses for you. You may simply have a few words to say to him, not so much a question or concern. That’s cool, too. Don’t miss your chance to engage with this charming fellow before his summer break is over.

Aug 242010

My friends, it took me long enough, but I finally manned up and spent a few days with that Prince deep cutz collection that hrrundivbakshi demanded that I confront for Hear Factor. It was one of the most difficult series of listening sessions I’ve ever encountered, but I am a better man for it – and you, HVB, are a better man for having put me through it.

E. Pluribus, you’re a good egg, too – and thanks for never making me sit through anything as painful as those Prince deep cutz. However, I need to call you into this, too, because you like to make a big stink about how exquisite your tastes are, yet you can’t even begin to appreciate anything remotely in the “Art Rock” camp, can you? I’m calling you into this alongside hrrundivbakshi because I think he can put a little heat on you. I think HVB has it in him to find a bearable angle on Roxy Music. I doubt you do, but I hope he will shame you into opening your mind a little bit. As painful as it may be for one of you to budge, I’m confident that your need to distiguish yourselves from each other will result in one of you expressing something profound and fascinating, something more than what we may expect.

Now, if you have some time, I want to know if either of you have it in you to appreciate Roxy Music. I’m offering a completely unbalanced sampling of two songs each from my favorite two Roxy Music album for your analysis, gut responses, and possible pleasure. In case you need a visual, I’ve also placed a video of the band playing another favorite from their debut album. I feel this will demonstrate the band’s usefulness in the research that is done in RTH Labs. Please take all the time you need, or at least as long as the tracks last. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

“Virginia Plain”



“Mother of Pearl”

Don’t think the rest of you have not been summoned as well. I urge those of you who’ve stayed on the sidelines through past discussions about Roxy Music to step forward. Do you want to be part of the angry mob forever, or do you want to stand out and be your own person?

Aug 202010


Your feelings are important to us. Although typically think of you as our moral compass and expert on the teachings of the Holy Trinity of Rock and all matters regarding guitar tone, we care about how you feel. We know that hippies typically don’t make you feel good about yourself or the state of humanity. I suspect that the following videos might make you feel worse. My aim is not so much to see if I can annoy you, but to provide us with an opportunity to empathize with your reactions to the following “interviews.” How do the things being said make you feel? How does the fact that someone filmed these “interviews” make you feel? Our feelings are important. Sometimes it only takes the expressed feelings of one Townsperson to open the rest of us up to our own feelings. I look forward to empathizing with your feelings and, possibly, sharing some of my own. I or some other Townsperson may even determine who a certain “Vito” is and share nerdy facts about his existence or the circumstances surrounding these important video findings.

I thank you in advance for the depth of feeling you are likely to share with us. Here goes!

First, an off-camera David Byrne (?) “interviews” Chris Frantz.

Then, David “interviews” someone only identified (as far as I can tell) as “Vito.”
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Mar 312010

Okay, I was gonna save this one for later in the series, but Townsman Bostonhistorian‘s gift for deciphering lyrics has made me shuffle things around a little bit. Here, submitted for your listening “pleasure,” is perhaps the weirdest — if not the creepiest — song I’ve yet to encounter in the many years I’ve been poring over discarded vinyl. Entitled “Dwarf In Heat,” this song requires very careful listening. I think I have an idea what it’s about, but… well, better heads than mine should be put to the task of figuring out what the author — one “R. Farkar” — meant to convey.

So, Bostonhistorian, enlighten us. And the rest of you: give the song a listen, if you dare!

I look forward to your responses.


Feb 162010

A recent post by an otherwise well-respected Townsman in another, unnamed forum (for shame!) has prodded me into action. This Hall member took the time to “join” a “group” professing their admiration for the works of Lindsey Buckingham. Now, we’ve discussed Lindsey in the Hall before, but I feel it’s time for folks to take a stand on this issue. I’m looking for a digital answer, people. No pipe-tamping, no donning of the lab coat, no dithering over shades of gray. Summon all the strength you possess and CHOOSE SIDES! Are you FOR or AGAINST Lindsey Buckingham?


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