Hall of Famers Live—What’s Your List?

While we’re on the subject of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it always gets subjective and emotional. Everyone can name one band that should be there already, and make an excellent, albeit subjective, argument against one of the losers who snuck in with the last batch.

Let’s get out of the subjective and put some numbers to it. My buddy Chris Curtis shared this list of the 20 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers he’s seen live:

  1. AC/DC
  2. Aerosmith
  3. Chet Atkins
  4. Black Sabbath
  5. Hal Blaine
  6. Jackson Browne
  7. Eric Clapton
  8. The Clash
  9. Fleetwood Mac
  10. Genesis
  11. The Kinks
  12. Madonna
  13. John Mellencamp
  14. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  15. The Police
  16. The Pretenders
  17. Bob Seger
  18. Rod Stewart
  19. Van Halen
  20. The Who

Here’s my short list:

  1. Chet Atkins
  2. Chuck Berry
  3. Bob Dylan
  4. James Taylor

How ’bout you? Here’s the list. Who have you seen live?

Strange Wonderful Crimson King

I painted one side of the white paper liner: a walled pond in a garden with three paths approaching and crossing from different directions; all very Seussian and psychedelic.

King Crimson’s music is not an acquired taste. I don’t think it’s possible to acquire it. Your DNA connects with it instantly or you never will. Feeling compelled to paint the liner is a symptom. Continue reading Strange Wonderful Crimson King

2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: All Over the Place

As requested, my random opinionated rant about the 2012 inductees. If this is your first visit, I feel compelled to warn you that I write about music I like, and when I have a reason to write about music I don’t like, it’s brief and to-the-point without feeling the need for explanation.

My blog, my rules. So there.

  • Guns & Roses—Not a fan. It all feels so angry. I’ll get arguments on this one.
  • Red Hot Chili PeppersAirplane and Dani California are huge fun. Otherwise, not a fan.
  • Donovan—Can’t even say his name without a visceral reaction of joy. While the rest of popular music was turning angry and antisocial, he was singing songs like I Love My Shirt and Atlantis and Wear Your Love Like Heaven. And don’t forget his rock, and I don’t mean folk-rock. I mean Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (later in this band called Led Zeppelin; you may have heard of it) on Hurdy Gurdy Man and psych-guitarist Jeff Beck on Barabajagal, one of the strangest blistering weird rockers of the era. Finally, the version of Catch the Wind from his Greatest Hits is the primary track on the heartbreaking soundtrack of my youth. There is no finer song about unrequited love. (Alas, the best version only appears on the vinyl version of the album; all others have the original acoustic version which is less powerful by far.)
  • Laura Nyro—A songwriter’s songwriter, tragic early death, yet I’ve never made an emotional connection to her songs.
  • The (Small) Faces—Two iterations of the group, fronted first by Steve Marriott, then by Rod Stewart. Marriott doesn’t get his due today; his vocal on Humble Pie’s 30 Days in the Hole is a match for anything Rod ever sang in his famous raspy drawl (which I also love, by the way.)
  • Beastie Boys—In retrospect, I see they were in the vanguard of something big. Back then, I though they were a parody . . . I just couldn’t figure out, of what?
  • Freddie King—You’re not a rock guitarist if you can’t play Hide Away. In true blues fashion, King stole it from a muddy blend of others, who had nicked it elsewhere and no one really knows who wrote it. The parts you recognize were borrowed from King’s arrangement later by Ted Nugent and others. Clapton and Beck both list Freddie among their influences.
  • Don Kirshner—One night when I was supposed to be in bed, I discovered that you could watch rock and roll on television. (Hey, I was born in the woods in Wisconsin; we didn’t even have a television then.) Seeing people I’d heard on the radio actually doing what they did . . . I was mesmerised. Kirshner also helped bring us The Monkees, which I consider a plus primarily because it gave Nez a launch pad.
  • Cosimo Matassa—Had to look him up, and glad I did. Virtually every R&B recording from New Orleans from the mid-40s to the early 70s came out of one of his studios.
  • Tom Dowd—Engineers getting their due. Real engineers, as in, the man worked on the Manhattan Project before turning to music. You’ll have a hard time finding an album from the 60s or 70s that doesn’t have his name on it. An incomplete list of folks he recorded, produced, or both: Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton and Derek and the Dominos, Allman Brothers Band, Cream, Dusty Springfield, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Chicago and the James Gang. In a seminal moment in rock and roll history, Dowd gave Ginger Baker the rhythm that became the core of Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love.
  • Glyn Johns—Okay, if you looked for albums not engineered by Tom Dowd, you found this name. The Eagles’ first three albums, f’rinstance. The Who’s Who’s Next?. Zeppelin’s first album (their 3rd and 4th were engineered by his son Andy. Nepotism FTW.)

I’m more interested in engineering these days, as I finally get serious about recording my first album. I know I have good ears, but I need to train them, and learn more about the equipment. Plan to take a course in recording so I can do my own recording, mixing and mastering on the first album. After that, let’s hope I can turn it all over to the professionals and just do what I love best: write emotionally evocative songs.

300 by 10?

March 12, 2012 will be this blog’s 10th anniversary. I built it by hand way back then; better tools these days.

I had hoped to write post #300 for the 10th anniversary. Should have been easy; when I first thought of it I had 14 months (=64 weeks) to write the 57 posts it’d take to get there.

Then, I spent almost a year doing nothing here at all.

Now it’s less than 90 days out. Can I write 57 posts in 90 days? Only if I streamline, stop fussing so much about perfecting the details, and just share my intense fire for music.

Counting down. It’s on.