Jun 142012

Save your soul, this ain't rock 'n roll!


As excruciatingly bad as this upcoming movie Rock of Ages looks—and because of how bad it looks—I can’t wait to see Rock of Ages. First of all it’s a summer movie, not quite a blockbuster (but who knows), starring Tom Cruise. Cruise delivers almost every summer. He was born to act larger than life on a hot summer day when one just wants to duck into a dark, air-conditioned movie theater, eat popcorn, and laugh at the notion of Tom Cruise, American Superhero. Not a spring goes by that I don’t anticipate the summer blockbuster starring Tom Cruise or my other go-to guy for ridiculous acting in preposterous movies, Nicolas Cage! Oh god, if only Cage could appear in Rock of Ages as a dumped-upon, sensitive singer-songwriter like Bruce Hornsby. He’s got the hair.

I know nothing about this coming movie other than it stars Cruise as some kind of badass Bon Jovi character, looks like it was directed by that dickhead who turns “rockin'” Broadway musicals into “rockin'” Hollywood smashes (you know, the guy who made Chicago and the musical version Fellini’s ), enables Russell Brand to continue his worthless career, and features a soundtrack that may drive me to shoot holes in the screen as I sit in the theater and watch the movie.

That’s right, I’m pretty sure I need to see this piece of crap and reconnect with the crap music that was popular in my high school years and that drove me to do the Lord’s work I do today here in the Halls of Rock. I need to witness this movie, the way Jimmy Carter used to fly to corrupt South American countries to “witness” their first, somewhat free elections. I may have to bring leaflets to hand out before and after the movie, like some rock ‘n roll Jehovah’s Witness. Save your soul, they might read, this ain’t rock ‘n roll!

Who’s up for joining me to witness this movie when it comes out? If you can’t join me in the Philadelphia or South Jersey area, we can all choose a day to attend and report back, maybe even posting live from our smartphones, like the kidz are purported to do during movies as they text and Tweet to their heart’s delight. I know they give warnings before movies about refraining from such activities, but since this is going to be such a rockin’ movie, do you think anyone will care?

Let me know what you think and we’ll get this bad boy on the RTH Calendar. Thank you.

May 232012

As I’ve mentioned before, our 10-year-old boy is a serial song obsessive. He’ll fall in love with a song, then spend the next week or two playing the same song as many as 30 times in a row, learning the lyrics and mimicking every nuance of the vocals. He’s not a big fan of long fadeouts, so his love affairs with The Rolling Stones‘ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and The Who‘s “Getting in Tune” would be cut short and the songs repeated as soon as the extended jams commenced. Once he’s moved onto a new song he will still circle back every few days with a favorite song from the past. Now that I think about it, it’s been some time since he’s started this practice. David Bowie‘s “Changes” was the first song that really caught his ear. This 2008 post developed out of repeated listens to that song.

Anyhow, our younger son lives among 3 other rock snobs. His ear is superb and his taste in music is generally strong, although now and then he does get turned onto Top 40 songs like Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep” from his school friends. (We may have to consider home schooling…) Past the 15th spin of any song, be it a song I obsessed over as at his age, like The Band‘s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” or “Party Rock Anthem” (as I think it’s called), my wife, 15-year-old son, and I yell in unison: PUT YOUR HEADPHONES ON!

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Feb 202012

On the most-recent episode of Saturday Night Shut-In I promised to tell the story of breaking up a fight between our 2 boys minutes before my wife and I departed the house for yet another delicious meal at Le Virtu, a restaurant in South Philadelphia owned by 2 old friends, Rusty and Cathy. A few of you wrote me off list, disappointed that I did not ever get around to telling this story. I apologize. I was caught up in the flow of the show and lost track of my note to share that tale. Here goes, and a resulting thread suggested by the owners of Le Virtu follows!

So my wife and I had our coats on and were leaving the boys their instructions/reminders for the couple of hours they’d be spending alone when suddenly our older son had our younger son in a headlock…

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May 232009

Time to strap on a dynamite belt?

In a recent thread Townsman Chickenfrank made the following comment that is worthy of bringing to The Main Stage, as part of our occasional Rock Crimes series. His comment may still qualify as May’s Comment of the Month (I’ll have to consult with the judges), but until then, this is too important a topic not to bring to the fore.

Chick wrote:

CNN has an article about classic rock bands reuniting and recording new material together. The photo of Journey, Styx, and REO Speedwagon all together seems akin to Hitler, Pol Pot, and Idi Amin miraculously being together simultaneously. If I were to strap on a dynamite belt and eliminate either of those trios, would the country celebrate a 3-day weekend for me?

Stay tuned for new songs by Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire together. I assume Tower of Power was busy that weekend.

Chick’s question raises a number of other questions that may be worth discussing here:

  • If his dynamite belt could eliminate only two out of three of these heinous bands, which one would (to be clear I ask would not should) survive?
  • In the Steven Speilberg film of this historic event, who would play our real-life hero, Chickenfrank?
  • Which band is Mussolini and who in the rock industry is Chamberlain?

I’m sure you’ve got thoughts of your own on these questions as well as others. On this Memorial Day weekend, I think it’s only right that you share. Thanks!

Jul 062008

I couldn’t help but watch the first song of this Styx concert on VH1 Classic. We’ve already discussed the bewildering, inherent contradictions of the classic Styx lineup. This recent Styx iteration — Tommy Shaw, James “J.Y.” Young, and hired hands — raises some new questions. Pay very close attention to the keyboardist’s innovative accoutrement. You’ll first see it 24 seconds into the video. Where can I get one of those?

Aug 142007

In response to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Shame thread, Townsman Alexmagic chimed in with a treatise on Styx that needs to be brought front and center for the good of future generations of rock nerds.

Styx may deserve a spin-off thread from this spun-off thread. Everything about the band is worth discussing in this context, from the name, to their costumes, their moves, their lyrics and their Look. A vintage Styx band photo gets you a lead singer who looks like the Living Mannequin from Today’s Special, a guitar player who looks like Muppet Show-era Mark Hamill and another guitar player who looks like Red Rose Speedway-era Linda McCartney with a moustache.

If you can find the video for “Rockin’ the Paradise” online (click this link!) – one of the first ten videos played on MTV – you would indeed see that a competent prosecution could build a pretty mean case in a Rock Crimes Trial of Styx. But that would miss the point, miss how the video showcases the sad truth at the heart of the band, miss how five men could at once be together and yet so very, very alone. The inherent duality of Styx, the battle of Tommy Shaw’s all-consuming need to rock vs. Dennis DeYoung’s refined desire to add a sense theatre and lyrics about robots, is on full display. And so while the band is triumphantly captured at the height of their popularity, we can also see the inner turmoil that would drive them apart.
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