Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So, when exactly did Rock n' Roll become RESPECTABLE?

OK, which one of these men was on massive amounts of tranquilizers, and which one should have been?

"Well, now you're respected in society,
You don't worry 'bout the things we used to be"

The Rolling Stones, Respectable (1978)-they weren't yet, but soon became that way

Yeah, yeah- I know, the horse has been out of the barn for a long time on this one. But just humor me for a minute, OK? Thanks.

Neil Young has long criticized the rock n' roll establishment for selling out, playing it safe, and after producing a series of "uncharacteristic" albums in the 70's for David ("You're So Vain") Geffen, was sued for recording something that was off script, and without a radio-friendly single to sell more "units." Jon Langford, longtime Mekon and Waco Brother, has ripped Nashville and the country muzak factory for deifying pop-country ear candy and acts that are all hat and no cattle, while ignoring and even ostracizing the talented people who created the real country sound, folk heroes like Hank Sr., George Strait, and the late great Johnny Cash. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Bruce Springsteen railed for years about the entertainment monopoly grossly inflating ticket prices at virtually major venues; with last year's merger between Ticketbastard and Lie Nation, without so much as a whimper by DOJ and the FTC, the die is cast, and the suits have won, continuing to strangle every last penny they can out of live music loving consumers.

May they all rot in Hell.

When did it all start to go so terribly, tragically wrong? Here's a few events that may have forecasted the handwriting on the wall, when colorful free-form graffiti was replaced by Times New Roman in not so bold 12 point type:

Elvis (not El Vez, who is still cool) meets Nixon at the White House, gets badge as a "Federal Agent at Large," soon dies in mid-dump

MTV launched as first 24/7/365 music television network, commercial free in 1981; video killed the radio star.

Within a few short years, ads far outnumbered music videos, prompting Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys to write "MTV Get Off The Air"

Wilson- less Beach Boys play play Republican inaugural balls for George H. W. Bush; James Watt calls them "hippies"

Don Henley pens lyrics for "The Boys of Summer" making the characteristically profound observation that he saw a "Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac;" unfortunately, it didn't back up over him and the Eagles reunite for the Hell Freezes Over tour, several years later

Led Zeppelin's "Rock 'n Roll" used for a Cadillac commercial- the transformation is complete; I predicted that "A Touch of Gray" by the Dead would next become jingle for "Just For Men" hair color

Milli Vanilli wins Grammy, say they're "bigger than the Beatles;" Rob Pilatus commits suicide and has 30-something health gurus name "Pilates" exercise in his dubious honor

Peter Gabriel releases Us; "Come Talk To Me" simultaneously released as AT&T commercial

Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter play the original Birchmere; Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al and Tipper Gore go on first (and last) pre-inaugural double date

Bob Seger and John Mellencamp do commercials for Chevy and Ford trucks, semi-cleverly disguised as rock songs

The Stones play the Super Bowl and change lyrics in China: are not run over by tanks

Stevie Wonder goes to the White House (or so they told him- rumored that it was actually Ben's Chili Bowl, we'll give the poor SOB a pass on that one since he's a national treasure and the only man in America to wear the same haircut longer than me)

Tipper Gore sits in and plays percussion onstage with the Dead at Verizon Center; later censors self, divorces Al

The Who plays the Super Bowl- I hope I die before I get old.

And, just recently:

Brett Michaels on Oprah, vows he will write his own best selling biography without a ghost writer or performance enhancing drugs

Mick Jagger meets Larry King, compare notes on divorce settlements, good pick-up joints

American Idol remains the most watched show in America, Steve applies to replace retiring Simon Cowell

I'm sure there are many more examples any sentient being with a pulse could cite, but you get the picture. See you at the Rockopalypse!

And anticlimactically enough, in 2010 MTV has FINALLY removed the phrase "music television" from it's logo, now officially stands for "Morbid, Tasteless Viewing"- like we didn't know that, all along

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010)

Sad news for metal fans everywhere. The Holy Diver, and sometime Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell frontman Ronnie James Dio passed away after a long illness on Sunday, May 16th. With one of the most recognizable growls anywhere, and a series of classic records with bands, going all the way back to Ronnie and the Red Caps recording surf rock in the early 60's, and then with Elf, from 1969 until the early 70's, when he and several band members joined Ritchie Blackmore in the original incarnation of Rainbow. of course, he also toured as bandleader under the name Dio, one of rock's most consistent and hard-edged acts for over 20 years.

Our heartfelt condolences go to Ronnie's family and especially his devoted wife, Wendy. He was one of a kind, and will truly be missed.