I bought the Basement 5 album 1965-1980 unheard. Cool logo, promise of reggae-punk fusion, and I’m not sure what else. Did I know the drummer was in the Blockheads? I don’t think so, but maybe I did. Don Letts sang with the band at some point, but they weren’t Clash or PiL associated that I remember at the time. But who knows, it was a long time ago.
I stumbled across the artwork yesterday, remembered I owned the disk, then found that the elpee had been rereleased recently on vinyl by Rough Trade. And then I stumbled upon this Peel Session recording from 1980, which sounds a whole lot better than the album did. Or does.
I was talking about this at dinner last night at a friend’s house, the song immediately appears on our host’s Spotify over Sonos magnificent sound system from the elpee, and it sounds terrible.
Peel Session sounds great. Last White Christmas is a keeper. My attention has wavered on and off after that one. But for an obscure one-off from a long time ago, having one song worth listening to is pretty darn good.
Don’t know how I missed this very early, primitive Turbonegro attempt at a genuine music video.
Cool in countless ways.
I guess my favorite is the guitarist on the far right in the video.
This is from Ass Cobra, absolutely a glaring omission from the Rolling Stone best punk album list (not that they would know). My vote for best hardcore album ever.
Before I retired, I was a pretty high level Project Manager at ATT, a gig I worked my last eight years with the company.
Of course at work we all have our own styles, and my boss decided to audit a meeting I was holding one day. This was fine: I liked my boss a lot, and was good at my gig and always got good reviews and such.
And, with my job, I usually ran between 4-6 meetings a day. As it happened, during one of the agenda items the day my boss listened in, a couple of team members got tasks accomplished that should have taken at least another month and I blurted out, “you guys so rock it.”
The only comment Yolanda made about handling my duties was suggesting maybe another word than “rock” was appropriate. But, after another year, she retracted since my clients mostly loved my work and style telling me, “Just keep doing what you are doing and be yourself. That seems to work quite well.”
It was a big moment, for being told professionally to be yourself, was not something I have ever been used to hearing in any environ.
I have thought about that incidentt in concert with the stupid and incessant discussions (nee arguments) on this site about what RockRemnants is about.
It is clear to me that in Steve’s view, we should only be writing around Rock’n’Roll for as he points out, that is in the name of the site.
But, aside from that being boring, not to mention smacking the face of Aristotle, our first literary critic, who said writing should “teach and delight,” Steve’s provincial view of the term as it applies is just a bunch of crap.
For one thing, we all have views and the site is for fun, so suggesting some category of music or art shouldn’t be included is specious. If all he wants to write about is the Germs, fine. Boring, yeah, but again, if that is what he likes, who am I to call him “an idiot” or suggest he “ramble incoherently?”
But, to me, as I have stated repeatedly, Rock’n’Roll is about attitude and the music is simply a subset of that mindset, irrespective of whether Allan Freed named the shit before he saw Elvis swing his hips or not.
For sure Rock’n’Roll is in the first licks of Johnny B. Goode, but it also lies within the words of Howard Beale (Peter Finch in Network) when he screams “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” Rock’n’Roll is in the soul of any teenager who ever sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night to meet a lover in secret, or see a forbidden band, or ride fast in cars with one’s mates. And, like it or not, it is within Johnny Paychecks words when he said “take this job and shove it.”
So, for fun, here are some things that define Rock’n’Roll as far as I see it.
- Muhammed Ali’s poetry and left hook.
- James Dean’s smile.
- Johnny Rotten’s sneer.
- The Doors saying fuck you to Ed Sullivan with Jim Morrison screaming “girl we couldn’t get much higher” rather than the “much better” Sullivan insisted upon.
- Mick and Keith’s on-stage interplay.
- Joni Mitchell refusing to sell her song rights for commercial use.
- Prince refusing to allow Itunes and Spotify stream his songs.
- Marilyn Monroe’s voice.
- Raj Davis’s homer to tie the 2016 World Series, and Ben Zobrist’s tenth inning double to tie it back up.
- The wings at Virgil’s.
I could list more, but I think I make my point, and well, this is how I will continue writing and supporting the site because to me, Rock’n’Roll is indeed a music genre, but it is also part of a musical bigger whole, and music is one of the arts–like movies and painting and writing and all the other slices of imagination–the Muses ruled over.
To make one more point, if by having the name RockRemnants we are supposed to be limited to just Steve’s definition of the words and art form, then I suppose “all men are created equal” should only be applied to rich white landowning men, right?
And, if this song by Gabby Pahinui doesn’t kill you and tell you Rock is in everything, well, I feel sorry for your parochial existence.
In the process of discussing our teen favorites, Tom pointed to the incredible run of brilliant albums Steveland Wonder released and I commented, noting that I felt Talking Book, Fulfillingness First Finale, and Innervisions were on my list of artists who produced three just brilliant albums in a row.
Also added in were:
- Blue/Ladies of the Canyon/Court and Spark (Joni Mitchell)
- Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed/Sticky Fingers (Stones)
- Revolver/Rubber Soul/Sgt. Pepper (Beatles)
- Bringing it all Back Home/Highway 61/Blonde on Blonde
Elvis Costello (first three) and Neil Young (Goldrush through Harvest) also made it once the list was initiated, and Prince just missed. But Steve made suggestions of Alice Cooper, the Ramones, and AC/DC which I quickly dismissed
This does not mean I don’t love Road to Ruin and Love it to Death but if we look at Cooper and Steve’s example, maybe I can explain the difference, at least as I mean it.
Love it to Death triggered three wonderful albums from the Alice Cooper band, but the third, School’s Out was a little thin in my view, and Love it to Death included the throwaway Black Juju, an immediate disqualifier.
Why, you ask?
Because in looking at the records produced by the Beatles for example, in Rubber Soul the band clearly kicked their songwriting to a deeper level with the focus of their lyrics moving to a new level, not just for the band, but for pop music. The Fab Four continued this growth, both lyrically and sonic-ally with Revolver, and then even further with Sgt. Pepper. The same can be said about Wonder, Dylan, Mitchell, the Stones, Costello, and Young, all of whom have challenged themselves and their sound, pushing into new directions, and delivering breathing works that pushed the groups collaborative art to a new level.
Not that Love it to Death isn’t art, or a fantastic album, but as good as the record is, by Killer, the band was still spot on musically and lyrically, but while 18 might really fit what I defined above, nothing else on any of the three suggested Cooper albums suggests or provides any kind of growth of the group’s art and sound any further than where it was.
Not that this means Cooper or AC/DC or any performer(s) should be dismissed, but, there is a major difference between releasing three very strong discs that contain great songs, but all basically of the same ilk, as opposed to the other artists who truly moved their skills and experience to a different level.
But, well, hard to argue? I don’t know.
Have at it, and just to show I understand my roots, let’s leave with Alice, and as good a garage tune as you will ever hear. It is just the individual tune does not the album or artistic value of the relative catalog make.