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« Verharmlosung | Main | Bubblology »

Sep 01, 2006

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Samuel Spagnola

Re: The Wall- guess you had to be there. I think part of the deal with "The Wall" is the movie. After you see the movie (which I'm sure you have), you appreciate the album more because you can visualize the storyline. Of course, I was in 4th grade when the album came out, and the "we don't need no education" was an anthem on every schoolyard. That was all I knew about the album until about five years later.

On the garage side, my second cousin was guitarist "Weasel Spagnola" of "The Electric Prunes" ("I Had Too Much Too Dream Last Night"). I'm also probably more into more artistic rock overall ("Pet Sounds", "Pepper", "Abbey Road", "Dark Side", etc), but garage rock can be a good thing at the right moment. Maybe that's why I defend "The Wall" so much.

Joe Killian

Your cousin was the guitarist on "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night?"

Are you F-ing kidding me?

Samuel Spagnola

Yeah, but I never met the guy. He lived in California, and I'm not sure he's alive now. His father and my grandfather were brothers. He played rythym guitar and vocals. The famous vibrato intro was done by Ken Williams.

http://www.classicwebs.com/elprunes.htm

http://shadwell.tripod.com/indexnf.html

Ed Cone

I'm with Sam on the Zep thing -- doing familiar stuff louder and with attitude and in different combinations can be a new thing.

As for the swords-and-sorcery themes, Battle of Evermore and Misty Mountain Hop are still great songs, and introducing the latter to a grade-schooler who had just read The Hobbit was fatherhood at its best.

Re seduction, Kashmir (a supposedly great Zep song that I now find unlistenable, but boy I love that album, and Ten Years Gone was a highlight of that '77 GSO show) is the soundtrack to one of my happier high school memories.

John, that Springsteen show sounds great. I'm trying to maintain discipline and limit my contributions to concerts I saw at the GSO Coliseum, but I saw that same tour as a college freshman in Philly, and it was an ear-opener for a kid from Greensboro.

Billy, I think you win the frequent-attendee award.

Joe Killian

I guess I can see where you're coming from on Zep, though you probably had to be there the first time around to really gauge the impact.

I remember in high school I hear "Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols" for the first time and thought it was amazing. And then, a few months later, someone turned me on to The New York Dolls' fist album. Man, was I pissed.

"The Pistols...they were just immitating the Dolls!" I said. "The phrasing, the riffs, some of the clothes - even the structure of the track listing. It's the exact same thing...the Pistols are just sneering more and they have English accents!"

"Yeah," my friend said. "But that's what makes it different."

Eh - all right.

David Boyd

Regarding New York Dolls/Sex Pistols, JK, I used to feel the same way about Led Zep. I was a huge Zep fan until I discovered Willie Dixon. I couldn't forgive them for a long time for ripping him off so blatantly and taking the writing credits themselves.

But, you know, it is what it is and Zep had a pretty cool spin on things and we'd be worse off without them. Same with the Sex Pistols. It's not always the music, it's the whole package, including some things that are out of the control of the artist like the culture of the time.

Ed Cone

I wasn't quite there the first time around, and in fact as a teenager I felt I'd missed the good stuff...In retrospect, the break-up of the Beatles that seemed such ancient and sad history when I heard about it five years after the fact was three times closer than we are now to the peak of Seattle grunge...I did catch one good (if not great) Stones album, Some Girls, in real time, and heard The Wall for the first time the day it came out, in my friend's basement, exactly as it should have been...

David Hoggard

The concert venue of my youth was Freedom Hall in Louisville. My first concert was Steppenwolf (with Strawberry Alarm Clock opening).

Fast forward a few years... anyone out there remember tokin' to Robin Trower's "Bridge of Sighs"... or was that just a Kentucky thing?

John

Ed, allow me to break GSO Coliseum discipline just long enough to tell you about The One That Got Away:

April 1976, end of freshman year at ASU. Digging the Allmans and Clapton, but also heavily into Leo Kottke, Ronstadt and of course the area's local treasure Doc Watson.

A few months earlier, this guy I'd never heard of (and still hadn't heard on my radio or anywhere else) had been on the covers of both Time and Newsweek the same week. Gotta be all hype, right? So when he came to our campus in BOONE (!) to do a show, me and my friends didn't go.

This was shortly after Born To Run came out. By the time Darkness On The Edge Of Town was released I had transferred to UNC and I was huge fan. But I'm still kicking myself for missing that show in Watagua County.

Back to the topic at hand: the bad thing about going to shows at Greensboro in that era was the drive from the Triangle, as this was pre I-40. Getting stuck in concert traffic on Highway 70 (before even arriving in Greensboro) was a given.

Lex

The two shows I've ever seen at the Coliseum: Rolling Stones ('72 or '73 -- Exile on Main Street tour) and Prince '84.

One show at the Greensboro Coliseum I *wish* I'd seen: Guns N' Roses, opening show of the Use Your Illusion tour, which would've been, what -- '91? Several people I know who saw it said it was the best arena show they'd ever seen.

Best arena shows not in Greensboro: Springsteen, Columbia, 2/81; Springsteen, Charlotte, 1/85; Queen (believe it), Charlotte, 8/79. Best auditorium shows: Boston, Charlotte, '77; REM, Greensboro, '84; Police, Davidson, '79. Best shed show: Tom Petty, Carowinds, 7/79.

Best club shows: Brains, Charlotte, 5/82; Woods, Charlotte, 10/86 (or thereabouts); Right Profile, Greensboro, fall '84 and Charlotte, March '85; Connells, Chapel Hill, sometime in late '85 or early '86; Pressure Boys, multiple sites/dates, '84-'86.

Britt Whitmire

Put me down for REM, fall of '89 and Pearl Jam 8/6/2000 (my 30th birthday; supported by Sonic Youth). During the encore for the latter, Eddie Vedder pointed out a guy in the front who had been taping the concert and offered to put his tape recorder on stage for better sound and so the guy could hug his chick. How can you NOT love the band after that.

jw

I forgot about REM.

No Eagles in arenas. I saw the Eagles back when they were a bar band.

David Boyd

Lex, regarding the Guns N' Roses Show in 1991. I didn't go. Heard what you did and wish I had. But check out where I heard it from.

I worked at the Sears Warehouse on Lawndale when I was in school. 2nd shift. Had a buddy there who was really into them more than me. We went back and forth all evening about leaving early to go to the show. Seems like it was a Tuesday or some other weird day for a concert. Long story short, he went, I stayed.

He was from Eden so this was a big deal because my friend with his shoulder length hair, leather jacket and Harley Davidson tee had to get there on his moped (DUI, of course). He drives it down Lee Street in all that traffic and parks it right out front at the bicycle rack, walks up, buys a ticket. They play for something like 3 hours after starting late. Epic. More so because at the time they weren't like Springsteen where you knew you were going to get a three hour show. It was just as likely that Axl would blow the whole thing off.

Anyway, my friend got back to Eden on his moped at 3 am.

Moral of the story? I left work early a few months later to go to the first Lollapalooza in Raleigh. Albeit not on a moped.

Samuel Spagnola

Jane's Addiction at Lollapalooza (Raleigh) 1991 was pretty good. Worst show I ever saw anywhere was the Monsters of Rock Tour (Metallica, Dokken, Kingdom Come, Scorpions and Van Halen) at RFK in 1988. Sound sucked, the best part were the fires that erupted on the football field when Van Halen was delayed over an hour.

I wasn't there, but I heard REO Speedwagon at GSO in 1981, and Def Leppard in 1987 were great shows.

I appreciate everyone who has been involved in this thread. It has been a great, non confrontational discussion.

Samuel Spagnola

Also heard the Stone at Carter Finley in 1989 was awesome. I had tickets, but got mono two days before the show so I didn't get to go.

Samuel Spagnola

Why don't we expand this thread- nominations for best live album?

David Boyd

I saw Def Leppard/Tesla at the Coliseum in '87, SS. Wasn't bad.

Lollapalooza was a unique thing just prior to grunge. I was a huge Jane's Addiction/Ice T fan. Got there late and missed Nine Inch Nails unfortunately. Anyway I went by myself and ran into some Meredith College chicks. Hung out with them for the show and was heading to their house afterwards for what was shaping up to be a pantheon weekend. Walking down the bank out of Walnut Creek whilst giving one of them a piggy back ride I tripped and sprained my ankle. Came home instead.

PotatoStew

"April 1976, end of freshman year at ASU. Digging the Allmans and Clapton, but also heavily into Leo Kottke, Ronstadt and of course the area's local treasure Doc Watson."

Leo Kottke is amazing. I got to see him play with Mike Gordon from Phish several years ago in Philadelphia. The music was great, and the fun thing about Kottke is that the show is entertaining even when he's not actually playing, because of the funny stories he tells.

Bubba

"Why don't we expand this thread- nominations for best live album?"

Little Feat, "Waiting for Columbus"

Patrick Eakes

I was at the 1991 Guns show, and I think it was a Tuesday, too.

The opening act played their normal 45 minute set, but it was something like two more hours before Guns bothered to play. We were second row upper deck and were entertained by various keystone cops chasing fans with joints around the coliseum.

When Guns came out, Axle was wearing an outfit I had not seen before, but that I would see again - catcher's mask, kilt, combat boots. They played almost exclusively from the two Illusion albums. That was cool, except the albums had not yet been released, so all the music was new and made it a little hard to get into.

I do recall Axle playing piano on November Rain, which was different. I also remember someone hit Duff in the head with a beer bottle. Axle threatened to end the show "because some fuckin' teenager can't handle his high."

The chick in front of us was so plowed, she almost went over the rail several times. I spent the whole night grabbing the back of her belt so she did not plunge to the lower level.

Since it was a weekday night, and my factory opened at 6am, we left around 1:30am. Tbe show was still going, and it became somewhat legendary as reported on MTV and in Rolling Stone.

Overall, it was more noteworthy for the time than for being excellent. It certainly would not be in the top 20 shows I have seen in GSO or other venues.

Fec Stench

Poco, Boston and Van Halen - Carter Findley Stadium - 1977. Poco had written several hits and were great openers. Boston was great, but when Dave came running out of the Field House and up on the stage, the shit was on. It was the greatest front man, a gymnast really, and the hottest guitar player in the same band. The wolrd hadn't seen anything like it since Plant and Page.

PotatoStew

I like Boston, I don't care what anyone says. Especially their first album. I was too young to really care about them when they were first doing their thing, but my roommate in college had their first CD and we would listen to it constantly. Yeah, they're a little bit cheesy, but their songs are fun and they're good musicians.

Fec Stench

Boston was run by an engineer named Tom Scholz who worked for Kodak. He was a freak about recording to analog tape. He had a bunch of tracks down on tape and found to his horror that the reels desintegrated. Much of Boston was neve heard and lost forever on those tapes.

Samuel Spagnola

In no particular order:

Live at the Star Club 1962 – Jerry Lee Lewis
This is why he is the Killer. One of the most raw, energetic live performances ever captured.

Alive!- Kiss
If you couldn't go to the show, this was the closest thing. I remember me and my friends guessing at which point does Gene spit blood and when does Ace's guitar start to smoke. I cut my teeth on this album. It was the album that really introduced the Kiss spectacle to the world. Even after all these years, nearly every close friend I know can quote all the banter in between songs. "When you're down in the dumps, there's only one thing that's gonna bring you up - Cold Gin!"

Under a Blood Red Sky – U2
"This song is not a rebel song, this song is "Sunday Bloody Sunday""

Live – Bob Marley
My introduction to Marley

Live at Leeds – The Who

Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out – The Rolling Stones
"Well you heard about the Midnight... Goddamn!"

Live at Budokan – Cheap Trick
The peak of Cheap Trick. The definitive version of "Surrender"

Unplugged – Nirvana

Live at the Hollywood Bowl – The Beatles
Bad sound quality, but this was the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania. They are fighting to be heard over the sound of screaming fans. Shea stadium would have been better, but it wasn't released as an album.

It’s Alive – The Ramones

And Boston sucks. The only thing notable about them is the unique sound of Neal Schon's guitar. Other than that, it's the same song over and over.

I never saw GnR, but Axl is definately in the top 5 front men of all time.

Samuel Spagnola

I meant Tom Scholz, not Neal Schon (Journey).

Fec Stench

Sam, Boston's vocals were impossible. I liked them 'cause they reminded my of a great little band called Nantucket from Raleigh.

Ed Cone

Nantucket -- memories of my high school daze -- and further proof the bands-named-after-places-suck theory. Sorry, Fec, I don't mean to be a heartbreaker, a mean misery maker, but that lyric alone shows in retrospect how awful they were, much as we may have believed otherwise at the time. (I know, see my own Eagles column for proof that enjoying them meant they were good, or something.)

But anyway, geography. It's true of country music (Alabama), MTV-era hair bands (Asia, Europe) and brass-heavy pop (Chicago). Don't name your band after a place on a map.

David Hoggard

Yeah, bands named after cities just can't sell records. They'll flop every time. Your Chicago and Alabama mentions are prime examples.

Disparaging the Eagles and Chicago in the same thread (even as long as it is) is about more than I can stomach.

The "top 40" is, for the most part, the soundtrack of my life as I suspect it is to many others reading here. Sure I've ventured into some of the Iggy Pops, Flim and the BB's, Alice in Chains, David Grismans, Leo Kotkes, Bela Flecks, Yellow Cards etc - but I remain drawn to singable melodies and (preferably) rhyming and easily understood, lyrics.

Can't help it... don't want to.

Joe Killian

Maybe it's just because it was the music that was on the radio when I became serious about rock music - but I think Alice in Chains had singable melodies and catchy lyrics...easily understood's another question altogether. Could say the same thing for Nirvana, I guess - but I'm always going to have a soft spot for 90s "alternative rock."

Fec Stench

Ok, Nantucket sucked and maybe Boston, too. How about Mother's Finest?

Ed Cone

Hoggard, I like melody and hummability, too, but selling records is no sign of merit. The relationship between popularity and quality is not direct, as anyone who has eaten a McDonald's hamburger can attest. If you just want to say screw it, fun is fun, that's fine (and the point of the Eagles column I linked), but crapola is crapola, and place-name bands have a high statistical correlation with crapola. And it's not like I don't know every word and every note of all those songs, or enjoy the occasional meal at Mickey Ds...

Britney Spears is kinda named after a place, too, isn't she?

Fec, you are killing me here. We must have passed each other in the parking lot sometime along the way. Reminds me of a getting-to-know-you conversation I once had with my friend Billy Joe, who was my year at a different local high school, turns out we went to see the same show of Hendrix' Rainbow Bridge at the Terrace Theater -- he was the guy passed out in the bathroom. Ah, memories.

David Boyd

Add America to the list of bands who are named after places suck.

However, there has to be an exception. Sugarhill Gang perhaps.

Ed Cone

America was on the original list we made up in college. So was John Denver.

Samuel Spagnola

Well, the Manhattens ("Kiss and Say Goodbye") were pretty good, but they weren't a rock band. I also have to exempt Chicago, because although they eventually sold out, they were a very talented band. What about the Ozark Mountain Daredevils???

Bubba

"So was John Denver."

My favorite all time Denver lyric:

"Sunshine on my shoulders
makes me sappy."

The place was MUCH better than the singer.

Fec Stench

I liked Kansas alot.

Ed, I was getting turned down by the girls you were dating.

Ed Cone

Carry On My Wayward Son seemed like an epic at the time, but it was really just dust in the wind.

I don't think the guys who were dating the girls who were turning you down probably knew all the lyrics, as I too plainly did...

Fec Stench

I saw those wankers at the Coliseum, too.

I was just kidding about the girls.

Ed Cone

Some non-Coliseum memories...

Best stadium show: Stones 1981 tour opener, Philly. Start Me Up was on the charts, and this was the last chance anyone would have to see them live...or so we thought, all those tours ago. Plus we booed Journey off the stage, which was great.

Best outdoor show, small venue: Neil Young and the International Harvesters, on a pier in the Hudson River, 1985.

Best theater show: tie, REM, 1986, Radio City Music Hall. Document tour. 10,000 Maniacs opened. Scalped 3d row tix to impress my girlfriend, whom I married;

and, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, Tower Theater, Philly, circa 1982.

Best arena show, too hard to call... that Sprinsteen/E Street Band show at the Spectrum in '80 mentioned above is a contender...

Dead shows are their own category.

David Boyd

Speaking of the Dead, how about bluegrass and all the geography there?

Foggy Mountain Boys
Greenbriar Boys
Virginia Boys
Kentucky Colonels
Lonesome River Band
Clinch Mountain Boys
Kentucky Thunder
Yonder Mountain String Band

It's like the exact opposite - don't name your bluegrass band after a place at your peril.

Ed Cone

Yeah, I started thinking about that -- seems like the curse of geography is mostly for rock/pop...and dont forget the Soggy Bottom Boys, for O Brother Where Art Thou?....

Patrick Eakes

Does Richard Florida work into this theory somehow?

PotatoStew

Here's a list of bands named for cities, countries, etc.

I've been trying to think of an exception. Buena Vista Social Club definitely does not suck, but they also aren't rock or pop, so I guess the rule doesn't apply to them.

Ed Cone

You can pull a few from that list -- NY Dolls, Ohio Players -- but, damn, the exceptions prove the rule.

I had considered Buffalo Springfield as an exception, but wasn't sure that they were named after the places...

Samuel Spagnola

I'd have to take Berlin off the shit list. They were a good band, and Terri Nunn is smoking hot.

Samuel Spagnola

Ed is right 'bout dem Soggy Bottom Boys...nice hair, that lead singer...must be that Dapper Dan pomade...

Laurie

I just came here from Fec's blog - Mother's Finest. Oh yeah. BEST CONCERT EVER - Pembroke State, around 1978.

John

Ed, I'm pretty sure Buffalo Springfield was named for a steamroller.

The old (pre-country) WQDR in Raleigh turned me on to a lot of great music, including that fine band.

meblogin

Doobie Brothers
3 dog night

Glenn C Jordan Jr

Two of the best shows I saw in GSO were during the fair. In '89, I saw Gregg Allman, sans most of the Brothers, Warren Haynes and Allen Woody the exceptions. They had the whole arena opened up and I don't think it was an eighth full. Gregg rocked more in this show than any I'd seen him do with the Bros.

In'00 Willie Nelson put on a good show. This time they restricted the crowd to the lower level and gave it a more intimate feeling. Only opening the lower level put a cramp on the bathroom lines. There were as many women in the men's room line as the ladies' room line.

Most unusual show: In '00 a buddy and I were in Asheville looking for something to do and headed into this bar where they tell us at the door that Steve Howe is playing. We go into to a packed place and there's Steve Howe with his guitar only. No singer just his playing. He looked like someone's 50-something dad jamming away on the little stage. I guess he was someone's 50-something dad.

New Grass Revival at the Green Acres Music Hall outside Forest City and Ralph Stanley in Galax on a cold and dark January night were classics too.

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