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« Verharmlosung | Main | Bubblology »

Sep 01, 2006


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Joe Killian

You booed Toots and the Mayhals?

Were they crap live, or were people just being stupid?

Ed Cone

I was 13 and fairly clueless, although I remember not digging the reggae version of John Denver's Country Road. The hard rock crowd in 1975 was apparently not ready for reggae -- and the reaction was not limited to Greensboro.

Joe Killian

Wow. That's really interesting to me.

Punk rock - which was the music of my teen years - was plenty raggae friendly. I guess by 1975 a lot of the R&B influence had rubbed off of the Who and the mod thing wasn't far enough behind them to be nostalgic about...so white males who wanted to hear loud guitars were their bread and butter.

I was once at a Ben Folds show where the opener bombed so badly Ben had to come out onto the stage, tell the audience he was a genuis and play the last few songs with him to keep the crowd from throwing things. I felt bad for the guy - he wasn't bad, it's just that what he did didn't particularly appeal to Ben's audience -- which is mostly composed of the musically open minded but on this particular night got pretty nasty.

Being the opening band is a tough gig.

Fec Stench

Joe, your mention of Bend Folds brings to mind Jesse, his bass player and his old band Toxic Popsicle. That rhythm section was also behind Evan Olson and the Snooze on their breakout.

Alas, this is recent history.

And yet, I saw Fleetwood Mac for $5 in 1977.

Joe Killian

Did you demand a refund?

Fec Stench

Now Joe, be kind. Lindsay was pretty heady business back then and the Wife went on to know one of his coke whore wives in Atlanta.

Buckingham's right hand remains one of the strnagest things I've ever heard.

Samuel Spagnola

Nobody picks rock guitar like Buckingham. It works great for him.

Fec Stench

No that the Wife usually knows coke whores. I'm certainly not one.

Fec Stench

Sam, you actually commented sans soliliquy. Thanks.


"Nobody picks rock guitar like Buckingham."

Two words:



Samuel Spagnola

I have my moments. Or maybe it's just that I'm only talking to myself when I say what others don't want to hear.


Fec --

Toxic Popsicle? I'm impressed.

Samuel Spagnola

Bubba, Clapton doesn't play the same picking style as Buckingham. It's actually quite interesting to watch. Clapton is great because he has a better "feel" than any guitarist I've ever heard.

Samuel Spagnola

I admit to not seeing many shows at the Coliseum. The acoustics there are generally terrible. However, I have to say Springsteen last year was definately the best. Probably the best sounding show I ever saw (McCartney at Carter-Finley in '89 is real close, though). I attribute the great sound to the intimate setup. The Boss sounded like a CD it was that good.

Worst was KISS in 2001. Awful show, awful sound. They were much better in Dallas in 1996.

Fec Stench

jw, I took another shot not too many years ago. It was ill-fated, a product of unmedicated mental illness. But one 4th of July we opened for Toxic at Rock92's private party under the tower near Level Cross.

Joe Killian

My problem with the Mac isn't necessarily the musical aptitude.

I just think the songs are sort of whiny and unrelateable and nobody in the band strikes me as anybody I'd want to hang out with.

There is, however, a pre-Buckingham, pre-Nicks era Mac cut called "Somebody's Gonna (Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight)" which always makes me smile.

David Boyd

Being. Transported. Back. To. 1990. Toxic Popsickle? Dude. They were great.

Fec Stench

Yeah, they had Tracy with has jamaican metal drums.

David Boyd

There's always been great music and great scenes here and there. That was one of them. Remember the quote from Joey the Lips in The Commitments?

Sure we could have been famous and made albums and stuff, but that would have been predictable. This way it's poetry.

Fec Stench

Toxic and the DJs at Rock 92 and Burley at Somewhere Else created this nonjudgmental vibe. They had fantastic drum circles at night around bonfires. It was a magical time, again.

Jeffrey Sykes

I saw Toxic Popsicle in Charlotte the same night I saw Geezer Lake, the night before Lolapalooza in 1993. I lived in the mountains at the time, and besides meeting Angelo from Fishbone, seeing Toxic and buying their tape and a sticker to put on my guitar where the highlights of the weekend.

Samuel Spagnola

There was actually a music scene here back then. A lot of different bands, a lot of different genres- Dillon Fence, Connells, Hootie (who I don't like), Perpetual Iniquity...

Joe Killian

I think it would be hard to argue there isn't still a music scene in the Triad - it's just shifted. There aren't actually fewer genres than there were, they've just sort of solidified.

You can still see plenty of good rock, rap or country/bluegrass groups for instance, it's just that there isn't a lot of crossover the way there was in the early 90s. That's much more the times than the bands, though. The early 90s, like the early 70s or the early 80s, was a time when people decided it was cool to like EVERYTHING. Now - in this area at least - there are largely venues that cater to specific types of music, or even specific types of bands.

I'm excited about the Violent Femmes at Get Downtown next weekend, myself. Haven't seen them live since high school.


"There was actually a music scene here back then."

Here's hoping the Anvil revives that with a nice mix of national and regional to support the local.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Wow, talk about memories of the '70s I thought I had forgot: Boston 1st tour, ELO with the little robot, Skynard, Clapton, CDB, JJ Cale... wait, that was Chicago, ZZ Top firing another opening act-- Metallica?, Led Zep., Atlanta Rythmn Section, Outlaws, Steve Miller, the Who, Mac, Kansas, Floyd, getting in a fight with a Greensboro Cop and winning (it was a fluke win, he slipped and fell on the wet floor... I bet he never tells another man he can't sit beside his own wife) dozens of bands I can't remember them all and ticket prices were never over 7 bucks.

Oh, different venue but I saw Floyd do the WALL concert in LA.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Yes, JW., we once had a real music scene with a huge mix of venues until our city fathers decided to bring it to a close with their senseless attacks on small venues and their inept management of larger venues. On any given week the coliseum was booked for 3 or 4 big name acts and there were great clubs all over town.


"There is, however, a pre-Buckingham, pre-Nicks era Mac cut called "Somebody's Gonna (Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight)" which always makes me smile."

Ah yes, the Peter Green era.

"I can't help about the shape I'm in
I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin.

But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to.

Oh well."

Too much Yellow Sunshine did him in. More's the pity.......

Fec Stench

Who was the guy after Peter Green and before Nicks and Buckingham? They had a couple of hits with him, too.

Margaret Banks

Sam, I thought KISS rocked in 2001, but it was the first time I had ever seen them so I had nothing to compare it to. We had great seats - with an unobstructed view of the stage. Plus we also had a side view that gave us a chance to see stagehands mixing the "blood" Gene Simmons spits out during "God of Thunder." I couldn't stop laughing throughout the concert. It was such ridiculous fun.

My husband, who was an original member of the KISS Army, said their shows are like Broadway productions: There's few variation from show to show. Too bad you didn't have as good a time as we did, Sam.

Best show at the coliseum: John Cougar (sans Mellencamp) sometime in the early to mid-80s. Only because it was my first concert, and it displeased my classical music-loving parents.

Worst: Cheap Trick, who opened for Robert Plant in 1988. Ew.


Good God, a thread at Ed's blog in which people are not shoving each other, throwing punches and spitting. Even Bubba put aside his bully persona long enough to contribute something without ridicule and one-upmanship. It's nice. It's sending good vibes out around the planet.

The fights of the last four weeks haven't just been stupid and pointless, they've made everyone involved look small and dysfunctional and less intelligent, and made everyone reading feel slimy and bummed out.

I would say that I hope everyone remembers how much we have in common before resuming the feces-flinging, and that that might make someone think twice and walk away before they write something ugly, but - well, no, I'll just say that, 'cause that is what I hope. Laugh all you want, I'll make more Hallmark commercials.

Samuel Spagnola

I was in the rafters where everything echoes. I also think Ace Frehely was way off, and Paul Stanley retreated into his bad habit of looking down at his guitar neck while singing into the microphone causing him to fade in and out.

I was also at the 1988 Cheap Trick/Robert Plant concert. I really like Cheap Trick, and Plant is a legend, but I thought both shows were incredibly boring.

David Boyd

I was at that Cheap Trick/Robert Plant show, MB. 8th row, right behind two thirty-something yuppies (husband and wife I assume) who happened to be right beside two hippie types. The hippie types would fire up joints and pass them over. The yuppie husband would bend way down and take a drag. The wife would play lookout and then vice versa. Very conspicuous and very paranoid.

Always seemed a good commentary on yuppies to me. They wouldn't have hid from The Man at Woodstock when they were 18, but when they had something to lose, they weren't above slinking around.

Chewie, put a sock in it.

David Hoggard

Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" tour at the coliseum back in, what?... 199?.

I was the sales rep for Takamine/Ovation guitars and Trace-Elliot amplification (Kaman Music Corp) back then and had the best seats in the house because everyone one of them was using my equipment.

That was the finest, clearest, highest-precision, performance I've ever witnessed. The harmonies were astounding and I still play the DVD from the tour once a month or so. Some said they were lip-synching during the tour due to the perfection factor, but I'm here to tell you they were not.

I've got a whole downstairs freezer full of toxic popsicles, btw. Cleaning out that freezer is one this weekend's 'honey do's'.

To: Chewie. Re: Socks Reminding folks of their common goodness and alike-ness is just soooo cheezy and kumbaya... but you are right, Ms. Hallmark.

Ed Cone

I saw KISS at the Coliseum in the late '70s. I was old enough to disdain them for sucking but not old enough to just enjoy them for being loud and flashy and putting on a show.

I saw the Eagles on the Hotel California tour, I guess I was in high school. I think that's when I really understood how evil and awful they were.

One of the earliest shows I saw was Jethro Tull, which impressed my 13-year-old self.

Joe Killian

Damn. That's a good column.

Every time I try to write a column about music I end up flubbing it.

But I end up having essentially the same argument with my girlfriend all the time - it's all right if lyrics are dumb as long as they own it (Iggy Pop). It's all right if lyrics are hard to figure out, as long as they aren't needlessly and strenously pretentious (Elvis Costello). But it is not all right for people who are simply bad poets to shoot for the moon and end up barely as high as your chimney before congratulating themsleves and spawning legions of people who want to tell you why, for example, The Wall is AMAZING.


"Who was the guy after Peter Green and before Nicks and Buckingham? They had a couple of hits with him, too."

You're probably thinking of Danny Kirwin, who joined after the second album, before Green left, or perhaps Bob Welch

Samuel Spagnola

Ed, I agree the Eagles are pretentious, especially the self-righteous Don Henley. I wouldn't agree that they suck, but your analysis is pretty good. I'll take Gram Parsons (the real deal) over them any day.

I disagree that Zepplin is dumb though. They invented a sound that is uniquely their own. All the mysticism may be a bit overboard, but from a musical standpoint, they are far from dumb. Still, I burned out on them a long time ago thanks to the incessant playing of their music on "Schlock 92" and also because they became one of those bands that was cool to like simply because it was cool to like them. I said about 10 years ago that I would need another 15 years of not hearing any Zepplin song to appreciate them again. Classic rock radio has ruined many a great band by forgetting that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Joe, I had a debate just this past week with a musician/lawyer friend of mine as to whether "The Wall" was pretentious or not. I don't think it was due to the genuine nature of Roger Water's personal story behind it. The Wall works on many levels beyond just Water's intended view. It's examination of the depths of the psyche and the motivations behind their actions could be applied to many situations. Most importantly, you can feel Water's emotions in the whole package- not just the lyrics, but the music and production. It's sort of the "anti-Pet Sounds"- a largely negative personal statement that arises from anger and pain rather than a positive, hopeful personal statement that arose from pain of a different sort. John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band" has a similar bend as The Wall, albeit without a thematic storyline and all the bells and whistles.


"One of the earliest shows I saw was Jethro Tull, which impressed my 13-year-old self."

Did Anderson pull the "toss the flute into the air,while the music stops, and catch it just as the band breaks back, all in perfect time" routine?

Ed Cone

I love me some Zep, having pretty much taken that prescribed decade off (more like two, really) before getting back into them with my kids. I appreciate their contribution to rock and think Page is a wizard and not at all dumb, but overall I think gloriously dumb fits them pretty well, and I like it.

(Tangential: What happens before that last verse of the Immigrant Song to turn the Vikings into hippies? It's actually not totally off as a much-compressed history of Scandinavia, but it sucks as a song.)

I like that analysis of The Wall. It has a cheese factor, but (if you can put yourself into a place where you don't barf at hearing it one freaking more time) there is some memorable music, sharp lyrics(e.g. the poured derision and exposed weaknesses and fat sarcastic wives) and moving, atmospheric songs (Comfortably Numb, Mother). But the decade-off rule probably applies.

Yeah, Ian Anderson rocked the flute, baby.

Samuel Spagnola

Ed and I agree! See what happens when we avoid politics..

Margaret Banks

Oh, that Don Henley really chaps my hide. We're all friends here, so I'll reveal one of my biggest secrets: The song "Sunset Grill" is the thing in this world I hate the most. Seriously, when I hear it - and that's gotta be a couple times a year for some reason - I cover my ears and run, sometimes screaming.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Oh, I remember more: Alice Cooper in '72, Bloodrock in '72, Eagles '74? and partying with the guys from 38 Special at the Side Door Lounge just minutes after leaving the colliseum, I promise the unplanned show they put on at the bar was even better than the paying gig they did that night and they bought all the beer!

Samuel Spagnola

I was thinking more along the lines of "Vera", "Hey You" and "Nobody Home" which are delivered as only Roger Waters could do. These are his versions of Lennon's primal scream for Plastic Ono Band and convey emotions that I think everyone has felt at one time or another.

I also think David Gilmour's guitar adds another layer that accents Waters' moods. Gilmour is one of my favorite guitarists for that reason. Sure, he kind of plays the same thing over and over again (kind of like Edward Van Halen), but he has an excellent feel with those heavily delayed sustained notes that take you to wherever he is going emotionally. His guitar plays what Waters is feeling. Perhaps the best melding of the two is on the title track to "The Final Cut". Just great stuff.

Of course, Gilmour later said that the world wasn't as dark as Roger Waters thought it was. Then last year, Waters plays Live8 with Floyd and he's grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Maybe Roger has finally put his demons to rest.


The River Tour, 2/28/81.

When Springsteen busted into John Fogerty's apocalyptic, timeless "Who'll Stop The Rain" early in the show, I though I'd died and gone to heaven. Hours later the band wrapped up the Blue Dress Medley and left the stage.

But the house lights never went all the way up, and they never started playing recorded music over the PA. So while everyone else filed out, a few thousand of us kept yelling and chanting.

Twenty minutes after the band left the stage, they returned and played "Twist and Shout." And we did.

There was an Allman Bros. show sometime around the time of Brothers And Sisters that was pretty sweet, even without Duane. And a Clapton show right after 461 Ocean Blvd. that I really enjoyed. Drove down from Boone with some buddies for that one. Ah, youth.

I'm pretty sure it was Bob Welch in FM just before the Buckingham/Nicks era began. And Lindsey is an excellent fingerpicker of course but the interesting thing about his playing is that he doesn't use a pick. He thrashes at the strings (expertly) with his fingernails. Unique.

And finally, I don't mind hearing "Ol' 55" every now and again but otherwise, those birds have flown.

Music is fun. Thanks Ed.

Samuel Spagnola

Probably my most memorable concert moment was at the Texas State Fair in 1996. The Beach Boys were playing (Carl wasn't there due to his life ending bout with cancer). Pretty boring, just Mike Love, Bruce and Al and a backup band. About 8 songs into the set, Mike introduces a very special guest, and out comes Brian Wilson. They play "God Only Knows", "Surfer Girl", and "In My Room". Of course, Brian ain't what he used to be, but he hadn't played with the Beach Boys in 10 years, and there was certainly a question as to whether anyone would ever see Brian Wilson play live again. But there he was, the legend in person. That was enough for me.

Joe Killian

"The Wall" is not useless, certainly.

There was too much talent in the group for them to make something thoroughly awful...but Jesus, it's definitely the worst classic lineup Pink Floyd record. Overblown, produced within an inch of its life, pretentious, overreaching...and none of those in a good way. I mean - the same could be said of most of the Flaming Lips' catalogue - except that it isn't largely joyless and doesn't take itself too seriously.

I too love Led Zeppelin...but yes, they are dumb. Extremely dumb. From lyrics inspired by the Lord of the Rings to lyrics inspired by...oh, God...who knows...to lifted blues riffs, themes and song structures that sounded better the first time around (and for which they were sued and settled out of court), they're simply a big, loud, dumb proto-metal electric blues-rock band.

But a great one. They rock. You don't have to be smart to rock. You don't have to be smart to be cool. I will always be thankful for their having taken many women I've loved from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds.

You can hardly blame them for all of the big, dumb, loud awful hair metal that they inspired -- but I think there's really no argument to be made that they are (apart from the perspective of marketing and business end of the business) groundbreaking. Their sound was really just a louder, more over-the-top version of what The Yardbirds (and three or four other such groups) had already been doing. Like early Ted Nugent raping early to mid period Eric Clapton. Most of the things with which people would credit Zep are really better put at the feet of Hendrix, I think - and done more artfully by him.

But Zep, Iggy Pop and Motorhead all stay on my MP3 player - I don't have to think they're brilliant to rock out.

Samuel Spagnola

The Soft Bulletin is a great album. Very much like Floyd, but more along the lines of "Dark Side". I would exclude that album from the Lips "pretentious" lineup, even though you may place it at the top of the list. Really, how can a song about excessive concern over someone elses spider bite be too pretentious?

Zeppelin's roots were certainly from blues, but they added so much more musicality for lack of a better term to that influence. Plus, they had that hard rock edge. I still standby my analysis that nobody sounded like Zeppelin but Zeppelin. There were a lot of imitators (Kingdom Come, Zebra, to name a few), but only one Zeppelin. Jimmy took those influences, including that from his previous band, the Yardbirds, and turned it into something far more complex and spectacular. In many ways, Jimmy was a mentally stronger version of Brian Jones, in that he was a blues performer at heart who introduced other exotic instruments and styles to augment his version of the blues. Of course, Brian barely got started before his drug problem rendered him worthless, and Mick and Keith took over the musical direction of the band.

Nobody short of Keith Moon pounded like Bonzo. Nobody wails like Plant, and Jimmy becomes possessed when he picks up an axe. Maybe I'm a bit snobby on that point, because although I appreciate groups like Sabbath and the Yardbirds, Jimmy was the first guy to put it together. And besides that, Page is the king of guitar rifts (Townsend comes in a distant second, then probably Angus Young, and Hendrix was a mutant who reinvented the way guitar was played- like McCartney did on bass) and understand their influence, I just don't think in terms of musicianship, other contemporaries in that hard rock/blues genre of the late 60's early 70's are comparable. Zeppelin was hard rock Sgt. Pepper.

Zeppelin also invented arena rock, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you limit it. Of course, after a while, a 20 minute guitar solo does become pretentious.

I also can't imagined a more stripped down version of "The Wall". The grandiosity of the album is an essential part of it's theme. It goes from quiet lows to exploding highs, just like Roger Waters emotions. I think that is precisely what he intended. Of course, Gilmour wasn't that thrilled about it. Gilmour thought the message was overshadowing the music, and that was the central cause of the rift between he and Waters. Later, Gilmour I believe was guilty of the reverse, with many of his post Water's songs seeming to be written with a Gilmour guitar solo as the ultimate goal. I love Gilmour, but I think he did fall prey to a formula when writing his songs that rarely changed.

Samuel Spagnola

Oh yeah, "But Zep, Iggy Pop and Motorhead all stay on my MP3 player - I don't have to think they're brilliant to rock out."

Consider The Ramones. Not breaking any new ground musically (big Beach Boys influence), limited musical ability (a Ramones guitar solo is when they change chords), silly lyrics, but absolutely great none the less.

Samuel Spagnola

And I'll shut up now, but I forgot to mention Joe that you are the first guy I know who was able to seduce a girl to the sounds of Led Zeppelin. Prince, I can understand, but I have a hard time accepting that "Living Loving Maid" works like Spanish Fly. Then again, maybe you are just a much better player than I was.

Joe Killian

I have not been a player for a while - but I have an uncanny attraction to the kind of girl who loses it when she hears something like "Whole Lotta Love."

I actually don't think that the Lips are pretentious at all - I think that the fact they don't seem to take themselves so seriously prevents that. I've also been a huge Ramones fan since high school. A friend of mine turned me on after he saw that I was carrying around the first album by the Violent Femmes (who are playing at Get Downtown next weekend). For me GOOD garage rock is always the best sort of rock - and probably the hardest to do well. A band like The Dandy Warhols, who I love even when they disappoint me, are fascinating because so often they get the simplicity dead on and it's beautiful and then, sometimes for a whole album, their ambition takes them over the cliff.

There are a number of Floyd albums I love - and I always defend them to people of my generation who trash them. But The Wall...the Wall I just can't handle.

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