Abe Lincoln by a mile

I’m just gonna leave this here…

 

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Top 6 Rocky Horror Songs

Like an elitist, I’m going to pretend that the remake of this timeless classic never happened.  However, since it’s Halloween and I haven’t posted for over a week, and because 5 didn’t do the soundtrack justice, here’s a quick rundown of six songs from Rocky Horror Picture Show that everybody should know.

6.  Time Warp

Most everybody’s introduction to the world of Rocky Horror, as it has received the most airplay through the years.

5.  Sweet Transvestite

The song directly following Time Warp in the soundtrack.  Tim Curry at some of his greatest.

4.  Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me

The dirtiest song of the movie by a mile.  But dangit if it isn’t a load of fun to sing.

3.  The Floor Show

This has become one of my favorites because it contains the line that, to me, is the whole point of the movie and the reason it endures.  “Don’t dream it/be it” is a fantastically simple line that encourages people to be exactly the people they want to be.

2.  Dammit Janet

Brad loves Janet so much, the square will even utter a curse word for her…over and over again.

1.  Science Fiction Double Feature

I’ve been a Rocky Horror fan for 22 years now, since fledgeling network FX showed it back-to-back. I watched it both times.  As I got older, I used this song as a template for classic science fiction movies that should be watched.  It sets the audience in the right mindset and reminds them not to take the movie for any more than what it is.

 

Bonuses:

And of course the best track from the Rocky Horror “sequel”:

My dad’s name was Denton, and at one point in time, my gf and I were jokingly trying to organize a flash mob of this song for him…

Wolverine meets Johnny Cash

I haven’t enjoyed a superhero movie in a while, mostly because Hollywood makes so damn many of them, but this trailer for the final movie where Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine look stunning.

Maybe it’s the fact that Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” provides the soundtrack, but I’m in.

Three quick bits on musical icons from consequence of sound

Madonna opened for Amy Schumer last night at Madison Square Garden, doing a short comedy routing in which she described her BJ technique…

 

Eminem surprise released a song called “Campaign Speech” which may portend an impending new release.  Not his best work, but a welcome return.

 

Hibbing High School recently honored their first Nobel Prize winner, Robert Zimmerman…

Quite Proud

My 2017 Rock Hall Ballot

I cast my fan ballot for the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction.  I was a little disappointed that both The Smiths & Nine Inch Nails, who were on last years ballot, weren’t on this one. That said, there were some welcome possibilities.

Below are my 5 choices for 2017 induction and rationales for each selection:

Bad Brains:

An African-American band from Washington DC who played punk music faster and louder than nearly anybody else.  They also encouraged audience interaction and expression, thereby creating, as singer HR dubbed it, the “mash pit”.

Kraftwerk:

German electronic band who started in 1969. In the US at the time, it was all CSNY & Jimi and an electronic band gets started in West Germany.  Modern electronic music owes this band a gigantic debt of gratitude.  Plus, they had enough style to have had their own freaking modern art exhibit!

MC5:

Formed in 1965, the same year a Rubber Soul, MC5 were a Detroit band who, upon releasing their first album in 1969, cemented their history as some of the progenitors of the punk rock movement.  If this band doesn’t get in, I expect the next band below to do them proud.

Pearl Jam:

Nirvana’s Nevermind is known as the jewel of the grunge scene, but it’s Pearl Jam’s Ten that has actually sold more copies.  Cobbled together from the ashes of Mother Love Bone and Green River, they are a band who have never forgotten that they need to keep their fans happy.  They regularly play 3 hour shows, they release all their concerts on official bootlegs, they take care to cultivate vinyl releases for their audiophile fans.  This is one of the inductees I expect to be a shoe in for honorees next year, and well deserved.

The Zombies:

The Zombies were part of the British Invasion of 1964, scoring hits with “She’s Not There” and later “Time of the Season”.  It is their immortal and trans-generational track, “This Will Be Our Year” that made me fall in love with them, and gave them the vote over other artists on the ballot.  And they’re still at it over 50 years later.

 

 

I fully expect that at least a couple of these won’t make the cut.  I mean, Janet Jackson and Tupac are on the ballot.  Outside chance that Jane’s Addiction gets in, but I’m guessing they’re got a few years.  Next year, Doctor Dre, Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine become eligible.  Rock Hall, get ready for some raucous gatherings.

Welcome back, Drive by Truckers

This is what happens when alt-country band Drive by Truckers get angry.

The veteran performers, whom I first discovered through a free cd BMG sent me in the early 2000s, have just unleashed this quiet rager about endless war and what has happened to this country in the last 15 years.

Features an incredible one liner about “half cocked excuses for bullet abuse regarding anything browner than tan”.

Bless you, Drive by Truckers, for bringing war protest songs to alternative country music in 2016.

It Was 20 Years Ago Today…October 1996

Counting Crows:  Recovering the Satellites

When a band comes along and on their debut album, releases a seeming unending stream of hits, from “Mr. Jones” to “Round Here” to “Rain King”, what do they do for a follow up?  The answer to that question is the album Recovering the Satellites, the sophomore effort from Counting Crows.  Rather than re-create lightning in a bottle, they decided to merely continue their story-telling brand of songs, vulnerable and confessional while also being able to be memorable and quotable.

Track two on the album is the single “Angels of the Silences”, the first released from the album.  It served to reintroduce rock/alternative radio to Adam Duritz’ distinctive vocal delivery.  Musically, the guitars have a little more feedback than the typical song from their first album, but not too much so as to turn off fans of their earlier songs.  It features a sing-along style chorus about longing for something that will likely never happen.

Track three, “Daylight Fading”, also served to expand the Counting Crows sound.  It features a more classic-country guitar (not so much twang, as bending strings) and drawling vocal delivery.  The song compares the titular “Daylight Fading” to the feeling of struggling to connect to friends and loved ones.  It was the third single from the album, but honestly, I don’t remember hearing it on the radio and it is instead relegated to album track status in my mind.

Speaking of album tracks, track five, “Goodnight Elisabeth” is and has always been a crowdpleaser.  The lyrics tell the story of waiting on a girl Adam was interested in, and she was interested too, but neither had time for each other.  He being a successful musician and she busy with school.  The longing comes across in both the lyrics and the musical delivery.

I’m going to fast forward to the reason I really wanted to give this album a 20th anniversary send off.  Track 13, “A Long December” is one of my favorite songs of all time.  I cannot even begin to guess how often the song has had specific meaning in my life, how often I’ve sung the chorus, how many more times in my life I will find new joys in the track.  It tells the story of a real-life incident where one of Adam’s friends was hit by a car and spent much of December in the hospital being treated for her injuries.  The lyrics are a treasure trove of meaning and discovery, from “it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls”, to “I guess the winter makes you talk a little slower” to “I can’t remember all the times I tried to  tell myself to hold on/to these moments as they pass”.

Aching pours out of every line, clearly inspired by how worried Adam was for his friend.  You can feel the longing and the sensation that he’s just trying to get through the month, all while hoping that there will soon be a day when he’s no longer smelling “hospitals in winter”.

Personal story:  Around Thanksgiving 2012, my son was in the hospital for 12 days, after having swallowed a foam substance they had to extract via surgery.  I spent 12 days and nights sleeping on the hospital bed, spending the days at his bedside, going to the family break room in the morning to take full advantage of the free Folger’s coffee.  November may not be winter, but I fee I lived this song.  There was an end to hospitals, but those 12 days were among the longest stretch of time I can remember experiencing.

Counting Crows have continued to have success on Adult Oriented Rock radio, even having a comeback hit from one of the Shrek movies, but their albums, at least to me, have never seemed as cohesive ad the one-two punch of August and Everything After followed by Recovering the Satellites.  I have continued following their career, but apart from their 2014 release, Somewhere Under Wonderland, they have never felt as cohesive as they did in the mid-1990s.

Bob Dylan, Nobel Lauriate

Bob Dylan basically had his entire career validated today by the Nobel committee awarding him the 2016 Prize for Literature.

It is the first time a musician has won the prize.

Here is some poetry straight from his trailblazing mind:

and of course:

Bob Dylan accepts the award on December 10th.

Boyish Girl Interrupted

I recently picked up the new standup album from Tig Notaro, who tells personal stories about her life from an off beat point of view.

Here are two of the tracks, one a story about her cancer diagnosis (fuck cancer, y’all)

and the other about her grandmother having memory loss and thinking Tig had written the words to “When I’m 64”.

Check out her new special, Boyish Girl Interrupted on HBO, or pick up her new album of the same title on Secretly Canadian records.