May 272020

There are actually two things that drive me wild in this Pretty Things song, which the rational part of me knows, as is the case with all Pretty Things songs, is only so interesting as a song itself.

The chugging, bass-driven rhythm, similar to Deep Purple‘s “Hush,” turns me on right out of the gates.

Your bass neck is so long!

Then, as the guitar solo gets underway, 1 minute and 40 seconds in, there are the trademark cascading, harmony fuzz guitars. The Pretty Things mastered the art of delivering on this fetish on their S.F. Sorrow album.

Oh yeah, I like it when you two fuzz guitars get it on like that!

With the chugging bass part, a missed opportunity on the fadeout that would also speak to one of my deepest rock fetishes would have been a nod to the octave bass leaps in Spencer Davis Group‘s “Gimme Some Lovin’.” If I could legislate such a thing, every artist’s album would have at least one song that features octave-spanning bass leaps. I’ll have to pull out Jimi Hendrix‘s “Dolly Dagger” for that specific thrill. Ah hell, let me take you right to the “great Steve Winwood quote, from Billy…”

All right, I’ve shared some of my specific rock fetishes with you. How about you return the favor?


  21 Responses to “What’s Your Rock ‘n Roll Fetish?”

  1. diskojoe

    A couple of my fetishes would be 1. The way the vocals go “DEEP AND WIDE!” on the Beach Boys’ “Time to Get Alone” 2. Lou Reed’s guitar in the VU’s “I Heard Her Call My Name”, especially when it explodes after he sings “I got my eyes wide open”

    Also, I do own Supersonic & I like it, although it doesn’t have anything about the Blur/Oasis fight to be #1. Another thing I noticed about Oasis is that their albums seem to be mastered VERY LOUD, especially if you listen to them on headphones.

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    That Pretty Things clip is, I don’t know, it’s like it should’ve been etched into the brass plaque on the Voyager space probe, it’s so good.

    As far as fetishes go … a really well executed guitar-as-cock maneuver can excuse a lot of crummy music. I’ll see if I can dig up some good examples. You can’t go too broad with the GAC, it’s gotta be a subconscious thing.

  3. You two are turning me on. Keep this hot material coming!

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    Lots of GAC on display here:

  5. When bands have two or three guitarists and each one is playing a different brand/model. (Bonus points if they’re especially iconic, such as a Tele, Strat or Les Paul.) So the famous Lynyrd Skynyrd set at Knebworth, in 1976: seeing a lineup of a Gibson Explorer, a Gibson SG and a Gibson Les Paul just gives me the tingles. The E Street band with a Tele (okay, Esquire), a Strat and Jag (I think)—mm-MM.

  6. diskojoe

    One other rock ‘n roll fetish that I have is seeing bands that use white guitar cords. I first noticed this watching Bo Diddley in The Big TNT Show & the whole band were using white guitar cords & it looked rather cool to me.

  7. The white guitar cords makes me think of clips of CCR with John Fogarty stretching a curly cord to its limit. Smokin’!

    HVB, you found a perfect example!

    Scott, I feel you on the steaminess of a swath of classic guitar models.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh! Oh! Any performance in which the lead singer shakes a maraca or two yields an instant Rock Boner. But there’s a hierarchy:

    Good: one maraca
    Better: two maracas, one in each hand
    Even better: two maracas, one hand
    Best: two maracas, “crossed,” two hands held in front as a group. Highly advanced/restricted to members of The Brotherhood Of the Cruciform Shakers. See: Davy Jones

    (Side note: maracas must be of the large variety, preferably painted wood)

  9. cherguevara

    What turns me on?
    • Gear’s glowing lights on a dark stage before a show.
    • A four piece drum kit with a minimum of cymbals.
    • Any rocker who can carry off a suit, there is something uber-cool about this look when pulled off with panache.
    • Fender Jaguars and Mustangs. A beat up instrument is cool, but has to match its owner, otherwise it is bogus.
    • Livestock on stage.

  10. All of what Cher said, plus:
    – a guitar slung just a little too low
    – a balance of classic amps, preferably one British and one American (e.g. one guy playing a Marshall half stack and one guy playing a Bassman, or one with an AC30 and one with a Super Reverb)
    – seeing an iconic instrument being played live. I saw Joe Strummer fronting the Pogues and he was playing that Tele. The last show I saw before this quarantine started was Marty Stewart and he was playing the Clarence White Tele with the B Bender.

  11. cdm mentions the low-slung guitar, a very popular fetish. It may be akin to getting turned on by the dream of the sexy librarian, but I actually get more excited by guitarists willing to wear their guitar high, like a fastball across the letters:

    Even in the 1970s, John Lennon wore his guitar pretty high:

    More perverse is the way some 1960s bassists played with their neck angled high. The otherwise least-sexiest musician in rock, Bill Wyman, was the master of this technique. Maybe it was a carryover from having learned on a standup bass?

  12. Ugh, a big No Thank You to the high slung guitar. Aesthetically unpleasing and also very unsafe! How are you going to keep your meats protected with a high slung guitar?

  13. Happiness Stan

    Big heavy bass driving the songs would be mine, mixed louder than they ought to be and played with the confidence to get away with it.

    I really, really struggle to get past the misogyny in the Stranglers lyrics these days but their version of Walk On By stops me every time I hear it. I love most of the Fall from the seventies to the nineties, but pay more attention to Steve Hanley than Mark E Smith most of the time, The Man Whose Head Expanded, Slates, Slags etc, Garden, all awesome. Pere Ubu’s Heart of Darkness, all of the Datapanik stuff, and Peter Hook on Joy Division, especially the Peel sessions.

  14. BigSteve

    I have a fetish for big organs, especially the Hammond B-3.

  15. I love those drum breaks that are comprised of little back and forth chatter between the kick and snare drum, for example, the breakdown in “Rock Steady” by Aretha. I can’t get enough of that.

  16. diskojoe

    I just want to say that Upstairs Planet, a documentary about friend of the Hall Martin Newell & the Cleaners from Venus is available for download on Vimeo for about $5 until June 12th:

  17. I have a soft spot for songs with extended metaphors. I’ve thought of trying to do something with these songs for a Last Man Standing but it’s hard to define. This morning I was listening to Paul Westerberg’s “Dyslexic Heart” which fits the bill. I love this song so much I’ll trade you the entire ‘Mats catalogue for it.

    To me it’s perfect Westerberg balancing the rock and the pop. It’s ragged, the lyrics are difficult to get, it’s melodic but there’s a lot of bashing going on.

    There are a number of soul songs that use metaphors; two of my favorites are “Agent Double-0-Soul” by Edwin Starr and “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” by 100 Proof Aged In Soul. That’s been a favorite since listening to it on WFIL & WIBG but as much as I like the single, if you haven’t heard the album version with the minute-plus instrumental break, you should check it out.

  18. 2000 Man

    I know it’s kind of like saying you’d rather look at pictures of Betty Page getting a spanking than watch Porn Hub these days, but if you’ve got a saxophone squonking away in your rock n’ roll song, I’m probably coming back for more.

  19. I can’t get enough of bass slides especially timed with a snare hit/roll

    Also rhythmic sort of chordal guitar riffs – like the beginning to Clarence Carter’s “Snatching it Back” or the single “Love grows where my rosemary goes” or even the guitar breakdown in the Doobie Bros “Rolling Down the Highway”

  20. alexmagic

    “The Brotherhood Of the Cruciform Shakers”: Can I break out a “WE REACH!” for this? I love it. HVB, I don’t want to assume that you have the time or headspace for it in these uncertain times, but I for one would love a “Ranking The Greatest Maraca Players” kind of thread. Or at least breaking down proper maraca form and determining if rock’s tambourine enthusiasts belong in the same conversation. Does anyone come close to Davy? Is the end of 33 1/3rd Revolutions Per Monkee the Peak Maraca Moment in Rock?

    Could we, in fact, do a MARACA TOWN HALL week?

    On the subject: I’m sure it can go poorly, but when done well, I’m all about multiple false endings/fake-outs in music. Gimme that “Needle In The Camel’s Eye” business, baby, build the whole plane out of fake endings!

    A much easier one to pull off that works for me every time: the lead singer or a particularly bold backing player letting out an unscripted “YEAH!” or “HEY!” during a break in a song. I wanna know that it’s real!

  21. I’m not sure who the third and fourth would be but these two guys have to be in the discussion for the Mount Rushmore of Maraca players:

    Roy Loney from the Flaming Groovies:

    Eddie Brigadi from the Rascals:

    Speaking of the Rascals, they also have a contender for another Rock and Roll Archetype: the Greatest Italian American Drummer. Also in the running, that guy from the Knack.

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