Aug 162012
 
An unused photo from the Who's Next album cover shoot

Who's pissed?

In a recent post about the closing ceremonies concert of the 2012 London Olympics, I mentioned the segment performed by “The Who,” whose name I put in quotes because I am not sure this is really The Who any more with half the band now deceased. Townsman mockcarr called them Who Are They? and 2000 Man referred to them now as The Two.

If they make another album it could be titled Who’s Left.

When a rock band member departs for whatever reason, whether the departure is fatal to the group continuing in any useful form depends on many factors. One may no longer find much interest in the current Who, but surely with Townshend and Daltrey still onboard as principal and front man, the two most important ingredients remain. Surely, had either of them had passed away rather than Moon and Entwistle, the band most definitely could not have continued.

What about the Stones? We still have Mick and Keith and Charlie and Ronnie. Is Charlie “expendable” in this context? I think Ronnie is. I take no joy in considering this.

This subject also reminds me that Shatner and Nimoy are the last of the four main original Star Trek actors left. There’s still a feasible Superbowl MMXVI-1701 Halftime Show to be had there. Rocket Man!

Scene from 2001 with primitive humanoids pawing at monolith.

Who Came First

What other bands are in need of a home care rock nurse or actuarial study? Is there a formula for declaring it over? I think the Who example is a good basis: the main songwriter and the front person are required and probably sufficient to continue. If they are one and the same, everyone else might be expendable if their roles are not too prominent. Of course, the non-casual fans know it all and have their own calculus for a particular situation.

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Jan 062012
 

"Put a quarter in the jar, Pete!"

When you get to the 1:25 mark of Pete Townshend‘s demo for “Doctor Jimmy,” from the spectacularly fascinating Quadrophenia box set, listen closely and tell me what’s missing from the album version, the version we know so well and listened to while trying to make sense of our teenage angst.

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/10-Doctor-Jimmy-DemoDemo-Version.mp3|titles=”Doctor Jimmy” (Demo)]

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Dec 312011
 

Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

In this week’s New Year’s Eve edition of Saturday Night Shut-In a prednisone-fueled Mr. Moderator makes up for any previous episode in which you wished he would have talked more. He covers some of his favorite releases of 2011, reveals Pete Townshend‘s career path not quite taken, and announces Rock Town Hall’s 2011 Townsperson of the Year. This is the ultimate shut-in edition. Listen at the risk of your own sense of self-esteem!

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/RTH-Saturday-Night-Shut-In-60.mp3|titles=RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 60]

[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 of each week’s podcast.]

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Nov 282011
 

You may recall an earlier discussion of the fascinating Ken Russell film Tommy. The controversial director has died at 84. While I find most of his films head-scratchingly badly amusing, his exaggerated, well-lit, creepily sexually charged film bios of music figures probably was highly influential on 1980s music video directors. As we reflect on his well-documented and discussed work on The Who’s rock opera Tommy and review some of his other likely influential works, let’s keep in mind some of the “drop-the-cat” video moments in the heyday of rock music videos that may not have been possible without Russell’s unique vision. And let’s keep in mind this quote from the director, which speaks for the spirit driving even his most laughable efforts—not to mention our own:

“I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly, passionately, and what’s more, I simply go about my business,” he wrote. “I suppose such a thing can be annoying to some people.”

I’ve never seen Lisztomania, but I wish I could say I had. I don’t know if I’d have the patience for it today, but I really should have jumped on the opportunity to watch Roger Daltrey acting in another movie. The following scene is just a taste of what I’ve been missing all these years:

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Nov 122011
 

Stap me vitals, folks, what a Who-tastic week. I’m feeling all ready to swing a mike stand around my head and shout “WWWWAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” even if you’re not. And what’s more, I think I’ve got an old one in the shed.

I thought that this clip ties this week’s ‘Oo discussions and LadyMissK’s venture into the world of obscure British music telly together quite neatly, clearly demonstrating why many (Britons mainly) argue that British telly is the best in the world, or at least unlike that found in most other countries.

Oh yes, it’s Roger Daltrey and Kenney Jones on Tiswas!

For the uninitiated, Tiswas was a live British children’s TV programme which ran for 8 years from the end of the ’70s and most of the ’80s on Saturday mornings, for about 3 hours a week. In common with most classic British telly almost all of the original tapes have been wiped, but this home-taped clip captures the essence of the show pretty well.

The first bit is a regular spot parodying a very long-running and rather staid kids programme, a nature programme of the time which featured the naturalist David Bellamy and the long-running agricultural radio soap opera The Archers. That’s followed about 3 minutes in by a live bit and an interview, and a sing-song at the end.

Can any Townsperson think of anything you’d rather do on a Saturday morning than stay in and watch this? And do you have anything in your shed which you would like to swing around your head to unleash the Power and the Glory?

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Nov 072011
 

The recent post about the critical downgrading of concept albums has been an interesting read, hasn’t it? One album that was proposed for a downward revision was The Who‘s Tommy. Now, stalwart RTHer machinery stated that record only has two (2) good cuts. I’m not about to go that far, but there is undeniably some filler. Perhaps it might be possible to cut Tommy down from a double album to a single. I’m personally somewhat skeptical about that since it would probably torpedo the storyline as well as leaving out some good music. However, some of you folks might have ideas on what should be trimmed to make Tommy a really strong single album, running somewhere in the 40- to 45-minute range. So get out your scissors and razor blades and have at it! What would you snip? The full track list follows…after the jump!

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Jul 192011
 

Et tu, Eddie?

Has any rocker ever made music of merit wearing a sleeveless shirt? Not while making music bare-chested or wearing a tank top, not bare-chested under a vest, but specifically making music while wearing a sleeveless shirt.

If you’ve clicked these opening links you’ll see that U2 drummer Larry Mullen has been known to wear the sleeveless shirt. I’ll grant that an argument can be made that U2 made some music of merit while Mullen donned such a gun-bearing fashion atrocity, but he’s a drummer. In past style pieces on Rock Town Hall, drummers have gotten a pass for all sorts of questionable fashion choices, including performing in barefeet and wearing shorts. We make some allowances for rock’s driving forces based on matters of comfort. For the purposes of this survey, we’ll give sleeveless drummers a pass. Beside, I want no part of George Hurley.

Granted, as a guy who’s never expressed his vanity through his forearms (as if I could), the whole sleeveless shirt thing mystifies me. It’s to be expected that the poster boy of Rock Town Hall’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas series, Alan Vega, would go sleeveless, but the style would spread to some of the coolest of the cool. How much comfort does a man need to be a rock legend? How much do we really need to know about him? Sure, sometimes even the President of the United States has to stand naked, but did Bob Dylan really need to play sleeveless?

Sleeveless shirt, leather pants, two pairs of shorts...Jerry wins this battle of Best Stage Look!

I don’t know when the sleeveless shirt craze took over, but do a search on a number of rock artists with the date “1985” following their name and I’d bet you can come up with as many shots of them sleeveless as I just did with Dylan. (BTW, I didn’t realize he was into the Bare-Chested Vest Look as early as the mid-’70s, for that Renaldo and Clare movie.) You don’t believe me? Try these:

Strummer, for all his late-period Clash fashion faux pas shouldn’t surprise me, but seeing him in sleeveless shirts still hurts. Make it stop already!

Even a search on Rock Town Hall’s patron saint of mediocrity, “Bob Seger 1985,” turns up this. I pray that’s a bare-chested hippie vest shot and not what it seems.

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