Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Day the Guitar Heroes Died part 2

Can you name one guitar player from the likes of Blink 182, Yellow Card, Train or even the rebel voice of the 21st century, Green Day? Hell no! Why you might ask? Because rock music of today truly deserves the label “corporate” rock. Bands of the past such as Styx, Journey and Reo Speed wagon were accused of this because their releases followed a formulaic pattern. Today’s bands are virtually interchangeable musically. Sure some have their gimmicks…..Yellow card using electric fiddles in place of guitars* or Bliks very distinctive vocal style. However, other than those two examples the bands of today are all clones of each other. Record company execs are grasping at the remnants of once great recording empires. If you truly want to hear original music one must turn to the internet. Websites like “MySpace” and “cd baby” are the places to visit.
I used to loose my mind every time I heard a classic guitar oriented song in a TB commercial. Not anymore. Those commercials are keeping the rock of my youth alive. So the next time your 14 year old kid is humming that Zepplin, ELO, Boston or Beatles song they heard on the commercial for a Cadillac be sure to school them in rock history and pass along that coveted Bon Jovi cd.
Don’t get ne wrong, there are some bans of today that are worth taking a listen too. Linkin Park, Salvia, Papa Roach, Sun 41, Green Day and a few others. Then there are bands like Velvet Revolver, made up of members of Guns and Roses and Stone Temple Pilots.
I was shocked to hear that British metal gods, Judas Priest have a new album dropping in late June or early July that is dropping #1 on the charts. The first time for them in the 40+ years they have been rocking.
With the huge popularity of “retro” rock tours of the past few years maybe we will see the second coming of the Guitar Gods.
Long live Van Halen, Lynch,Newstead,Vai,Satriami,Nuegemt,Rhodes,VanZant and all the rest.
We are Legion!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Sad Day for free Speech

Wow, George Carlin passed away yesterday from apparent Heart Disease. What a huge loss to the comedy community not to mention an advocate for Free Speech.
I recall seeing him in concert at the theater at George Washington University in Washington D.C... This was in the late 80’s many years after the infamous 7 dirty words fiasco. Yes, he was charged with “indecency t” by the Commie Reds known as the FCC (Federal Communication Commission). A commission of politically appointed individuals that think they can tell the free citizens of the United States of America what is indecent and what is not. This “responsibility” of a few appointed people who take all expense paid trips from the right leaning PAC’s is way above what its (the FCC) original preview was. The FCC was established to assign radio and television frequencies and make sure that these stations did not broadcast at a power higher than was assigned to them.
Carlin came up with a comedy bit where as he made fun of the FCC and radio/TV standards officials (censors). In his routine he repeated the 7 deadly words over and over punhuating each with how saying that particular word would affect the person saying it.
Of course he had much more material than that; he was no one trick pony. My personal fave was his rant on everyone’s “stuff”. How we all spend our lives in the pursuit of more and more stuff. So much so that even when we go on vacation or to visit a friend we end up taking little portions of “our stuff. Classic.
If you have never seen or heard any of Carlines stuff *grin* I have included a few You-Tube links.
What is ironic about Carlin is he may very well be remembered as a foot note in American Supreme Court judgments than his comedy.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Day the Guitar Heroes Died….

Oh the horror of that fateful day. I turned on the radio, waiting for Van Halen, Ac/DC, Scorpions or even some Warrant. Alas, it was not to be. There was a new sound, a mood and worst of all it all came wrapped in flannel. And it smelled, smelled like teen spirit.
For those of us from Generation X 1989 was a horrible year for music, and it continues today in 2008. Of course it took “Smells like Teen Spirit” till the fall of 1992 to reach #1 on the charts. However, the damage was done. Following Nirvanas release of their debut cod “Never mind” there followed quickly bands like Pearl Jam, XXXXX and XXXX. All referred to as “Grunge”.
Bans that were just on top of the charts: Ratt, Quiet Riot and Kix who were selling out Arenas and breaking records in sales suddenly found their albums in the barging bins.
The axe heroes that gave all the “guitar oriented rock” bands their signature sounds were suddenly thrust aside as fast as a David Lee Roth kung-fu kick. All of a sudden it did not matter how fast you could play a chord or if you were a wizard of the chromatic scale. All that mattered was how much angst and personal tragedy you poured into a song.
Classic guitar rock suffered as well. Classic Rock radio stations were dropping like flies.--
Bands like Led Zeppelin, ELO, Styx and Thin Lizzy saw the sale of their classic rock albums all but stop.
. Concerts suffered mightily. Gone were the million watt speaker systems, the elaborate light shows and pyrotechnics. Iron Maidens “Eddie” was shoved into a closet, becoming a thing of ridicule, ala Spinal Taps “Stone Hinge”.
What were red blooded American hard rockers to do?
We kept on rocking, When our vinyle bit the dust we played that cassette copy we made for the car and walk-man, no DRM (digital rights management) here. Of course that is a topic for another day. And eventually when all of the magnetic coating had worn off those cassettes we bought the CDs and marveled at how clear those guitar solos were and we swore we heard different licks than before.
And all along the guitar heros were being replaced by yet another new comer to the mucic scene…..Pop Punk, Boy Bands and……the bain to all, Gangsta Rap.