Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thank God ...

... or whoever you want, but I'm glad somebody said it: On a stairway to Hell.

It must say something about how tame youth music has become that the year's most talked-about gigs star a “girdle power” group and boring even-older farts who had a nice cup of tea afterwards.


  1. Hey hey, what can I do, Frank? Maybe I'm dazed and confused.

    Good times, bad times, I'd go over the hills and far away, tune into XM LED while going to California, take the ocean (but not the stairway to heaven) and ramble on to see them.

    Led Zeppelin's not getting a whole lotta love here. You shook me with this communication breakdown. In the light of it, though, this is either the battle of evermore, or your rock and roll time is going to come.

    Thank you.

  2. Actually, Rus, I am a first-generation rock 'n' roller. Bandstand started here, remember. And I still vividly recall the Sunday afternoon when I first heard Elvis sing "Heartbreak Hotel." But this nostalgia business gets on my nerves. "When I was a child, I spake as a child ..." Now, get over it.

  3. Anonymous7:46 AM

    I've happily listened to endless contemporary hip-hop, neo-punk, emo, indie rock, death metal, math rock, and the like, and I have yet to find a current artist or group who really makes me want to ask them to get off my lawn. Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be about rebellion, but instead it's become benign and touchy-feely. Sure, I can recommend albums from Spoon, LCD Soundsystem, The Bees, and Dr. Dog from last year. But all this is really tame when considered against the impression that Minor Threat or Sonic Youth made back in the day.

  4. Do you WHY the old dino rock bands are still around, and still popular? It's not only nostalgia. It's also that the music industry contains a dearth of actual creativity, actual interest, and actual artistry. Artists are packaged and produced now more than ever (not that they weren't, always, but it's even worse now). The music biz is reeling from the effects of the internet on their formerly monolithic (monopoly) distribution channels. And so forth.

    Not that I ever liked Led Zep. (Except for John Paul Jones, who as a solo composer/artist has had a brilliant and creative career. Plus he's just a nice guy.) I'm more included towards punk in its DIY attitude anyway.

    But, y'know, one of the other appeals to some of these older bands is that it's a live show, with live musicians playing their instruments, rather than pre-packaged crap that's all spectacle and no heart. Think of MIlli Vanilli; they were pretty-boy lip-syncers, but they also predicted the future of non-live concerts.

  5. I'm with Art, and I kind of like that all my sons are fans of different 60 and 70s groups.

    I thought it would be obvious, but I need to note that in my first comment, each phrase contained a title song from Led Zeppelin, including the "thank you."

    Sorry for any misunderstanding, and so much for my being clever. I thought it might be enjoyed by some.


  6. I got it, Rus. I thought it was pretty clever, actually.

  7. I noticed, Rus, but focused on the message. I also should have pointed out that I rather liked Led Zeppelin - think I still have the classic T-shirt with Pegasus on the front. And I happen to love The Song Remains the Same.But I still can't warm to rock done by old guys. There's just this let's live out youth all over again mindset that I find ... annoying. Art is right, too, about the canned crap that passes for music these days. And does anybody remember the Pork Dukes?

  8. Hi Frank,

    The reason I was hanging out with music here and other places, is that I was too tapped to write clearly or think sanely last night. So I got to spend some time putting that together.

    My favorite song by Zeppelin is "Your Time Is Going to Come" and I was trying to fit that in, and nothing worked, so I thought the interjected "Rock and Roll" would do. It didn't hit my ear with the sour note until you responded accordingly. Thus the apology. My bad.

    You can imagine I don't watch too much TV, but I am a great American Idol fan, which brings its share of aging rockers and others, some who simply cannot sing any longer, to the stage. My feelings are mixed. I see what you mean. On the other hand, there is a torch passing going on from a great period in music, especially on Idol where they mentor.

    My youngest just drove all the way from Lowell here to Long Island to drop a new black Malibu LTZ off for me and pick up white one. It took 11 hours, including the ferry. He preset the stations, and one of the six he had was the all-Zeppelin station. If they come this way on the upcoming tour, might he go see them? His oldest brother is a great fan as well. I was more Allman Brothers and J Geils myself, even Clapton and Beck at the time, as if there had to be defining jazz or blues note somehow mixed in with the rock.

    If they go see Zeppelin, I may go see young Amy Winehouse. What a fabulous talent. Suddenly a unique and potentially very important jazz-blues voice comes on the scene. But I cannot bear to hear about all the drugs and this barefoot and bra stuff out in the cold night. It seems there needs to be some all-to-human edge nowadays, something on the mortality brink, like aging is fatal.

    A few years back, the Stones were the biggest concert draw in rock and roll. And wasn't Aerosmyth also?


  9. It may be wrong of me, but at this point I just have to mention one of my all time favorite bands:

    Dread Zepellin

    Essentially, they were a cover, playing all Led Zep songs, but done in reggae style–and it worked.

    Plus, their lead singer was an Elvis impersonator.

    I saw them a couple of times in small clubs before they became well-known, and it was a real trip. My favorite kinds of music, or one of my favorites, is when creative bands do these impossible hybrid versions that sound horrible but really work, and are really funny.

    Dread Zepellin rocked, dude.

  10. Anonymous3:24 PM

    The mainstream is simply interested in pushing the crap, as in general the mainstream across all media is about a dumbeed down, passive idiot culture. You're almost certainly not going to hear the interesting music being made unless you delve well beyond what the mainstream churns out. Which isn't to say music is necessarily in a wonderful state, but even going back a little in time, those here describing music as being aware are you of an album such as My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless', or Underworld's Dubnobasswithmyheadman, or Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works. If not very aware, then you simply are completely out of touch with the music that has mattered in relatively recent times.

  11. Anonymous3:31 PM

    On the other hand though, the very strength of the argument about the apparent tameness of youth culture is testament to the successful stifling of human consciousness and truth by the purveyors of this defiled dumbed- down vision of life by the ruling elites of the social order. Much as the Aldous Huxley mentioned elsewhere did so much to warn us.

  12. Hi Patrick,

    The music you mention are attempts at the fringe, which is good. It is creative. There may ultimately be problems with validity, especially with the electronic work. But it remains an open road from Eno et al to the present and beyond.

    What makes a good countercultural movement is the good culture in the counter culture. There is that Kerouac effect, of validating a different way of being, and then finding oneself through the success of the countercultural movement, going from the perimeter to the center, where an artist almost by definition must be uncomfortable. Who is there to meet you in the center? The buyers and sellers, the necessarily psychopaths of the economic exchange. The heartless meets the soulful in this center.

    With rock and roll, especially of the 70s, that which grew from underground music found extraordinarily wide acceptance in the open market. Here again, we have a counter-cultural movement going from the periphery to the center of everything. Which brings up a pet peeve of mine, and that is the over-commercialization of the "classic rock" movement to include pop music.

    All this, by the way, has a lot to do with why a poet must have complete poetic license, license to be free to explore any and all fringes. A poet gives voice to what we already know, but often cannot accept because of where we define our center. The poet calls us to another place, and lets us hear the voice of our own essence, that part of us we have been missing.

    When the poet or any artist is successful, and has returned from a musing with gold for us and not mud, what gets shared is great art, and for the purpose of this discussion, great music. People from my generation had to listen to those not ready for rock and roll, saying that Elvis and the Beatles couldn't sing, that the great guitar gods were making noise.

    It's a continuous and necessary process.


  13. Anonymous6:53 AM

    Hi Rus. I'd agree with much of that, & it was extraordinary that genuinely incredible people like Dylan, Lennon, Hendrix were somewhere near the centre of popular culture in the 60s. The Brave New Worlders, ruling elites however didn't particularly want heightened culture and consciousness, & naturally hallucinogens & marijuana illegalised/ kept illegalised, while as is clearly proven, the authorities flooded us with harmful drugs like heroin & cocaine( What a surprise that heroin production in Afghanistan has gone thru the roof since Afghanistan's "liberation."
    Also that Pop Idol, Britney Spears, Paris Hiltons are now force-fed the masses rather than, for example, The Flaming Lips, is obviously no coincidence.

    I'm not sure what you mean about music made with electronic instruments' problem with validity; this is a broad repitition of The Beatles can't sing argument. Music is validated by how good it is, and what separated work by Aphex Twin from innumerable others with similar equipment was his own creative imagination.
    Granted artists like MBV & Underworld could hardly be described as political, but one could say something similar about the Kerouac you mention, & their art intrinsically liberating, or of a far higher order of truth than that purveyed by the mainstream, which is manifestly opposed to truth.

  14. Well, I certainly know now what to do to get a discussion going here. I's better not go into the spectacular performance of Rachmaninoff's second symphony that I heard last night.