Let me start with a ‘Copters tune that I happened to listen to over the holidays (when I head for a CD to drive with it’s always difficult to past up The Hellacopters). It includes one of my favorite all-time rock lyrics:
“I got my radio on,
It’s playing that same old stupid song,
Over and over for much too long.
I gotta turn that damn thing down,
I gotta turn that damn thing down,
A wonderful answer to Peter’s “We Must Respect Current Popular Music” crusade. Bullshit. Dog shit covered with chocolate is still dog shit.
Also a wonderful answer to all the great songs from the past that urged us to turn the radio up (before the radio became dog shit). Perhaps Mr. Costello started it with “Radio Radio” but, of course, The Hellas version is my favorite.
Speaking of Elvis, a couple of buddies and I finally had our Wake for our departed friend DC Hoffman, the last and best drummer for Follow Fashion Monkeys, who shockingly hung (hanged? – I think that’s correct but no one ever says it) himself a couple months ago on a Saturday morning. His wife was in shock and he never had a funeral or even an obituary.
We got together and started slow with some Lucinda Williams, Ruin, Husker Du, etc. We were drinking and talking all the way. The climax was the entire “This Year’s Model” album (knew I had to tie in the “speaking of Elvis” somewhere) which we discussed all the way through. We finished with wild monkey-dancing to “Supershitty To The Max” and then, the greatest full-length album of all-time, the sacred “Apocalypse Dudes.” It was a great send-off to our old friend, who we never knew was suicidal and who never cried out for help even a little bit. Sad. Here are a couple highlights from those last two. DC was at the reformed Hank-less Turbonegro show that I attended in NYC two years ago, by the way. Right up at the front of the stage with me.
Finally, I have a bunch of Amazon gift card money to spend and I’m making a list, mostly back-filling essential stuff I don’t have anymore since I sold my records. I’m buying CDs, of course, clinging to a format I can hold with my hands as it slowly dies. Maybe I’ll buy all of them. Rock ‘n’ roll everybody! Remnants of it still do exist although you wouldn’t know it from what’s mostly on this site anymore. In no particular order (except the first one):
Hellacopters – Strikes Like Lightening – Pretty much the only CD music left that I don’t have from The Only Band That Matters (well, there are a couple others). It’s expensive, but I’m sure it will be worth it.
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats – Mind Control – The follow-up to Blood Lust isn’t supposed to be as good, but isn’t supposed to be bad either.
Circle Jerks – Group Sex – We played a couple songs at DC’s wake and I realized I need to re-get this punk essential.
Entombed – Wolverine Blues – The main guy from the Hellacopters first band. Yes, it’s death metal, but, according to reviews, this album is very groovy death metal. I truly think I’m missing something with quality death metal (like jazz, but more important), so I’m gonna make myself listen to this at least five times in its entirety and see if I can get used to the Cookie Monster vocals in order to absorb the rest.
Red-Headed Stranger – Willie Nelson – My favorite country album of all-time. I had this on CD, but loaned it to someone who must never have returned it along the way. Hopefully he paid it forward.
Fear – The Record – Another punk classic I never got on CD for some unknown reason.
The Damned – Damned Damned Damned – How I never got their classic debut on CD I’ll never know.
Joe Jackson – Look Sharp – This was about all for Joe Jackson, but I liked this one a lot at the time.
The Stranglers – Old Testament Box Set – I really wanted the first two albums, but may just buy this box set of all the early stuff instead. Surely I’ll find some hidden treasures.
Generation X – Debut – This is good, even though Billy Idol’s later stuff is awful.
The Germs – Complete Anthology – This is another CD I know I had at one point and I don’t have it anymore. Maybe I need new friends.
Bad Brains – Debut – We played a couple of these at DC’s wake as well and I got excited. Anyone who thinks Living Color was a pioneering black rock band knows nothing.
Good Hellacopters cuts, great Turbonegro tune.
My point about the chart music isn’t that it should be respected, clearly most of it is horrid beyond belief, but that it shouldn’t be ignored. Or maybe my point is that I choose not to ignore it, and I find things there I like or that interest me sometimes. You can turn them down.
I had a little spinfest with Look Sharp last year. There are some good songs, I have the original 10″ vinyl double album down in the basement, but for me it didn’t hold up. Too clever, too new wavey jangly, too spastic, by half.
I know Red-Headed Stranger is Willie Nelson’s classic, but the disc I play more often is Crazy: The Demo Sessions, with his demo versions of all the great tunes he wrote. Really simple and real.
I look forward to a Best 11 from the Stranglers, a band as easy to hate sometimes as easy to love others.
I think Sam Cooke’s “Dancing With My Baby” pre-dates Elvis and listening to the radio by almost 20 years? I think there have always been radio tunes about listening to the radio as long as we have had said device.
Lindsay (niece) actually turned me onto the Circle Jerks.
No Lawr, I meant “Radio Radio” as a song critical of the radio. That’s probably not the first either. It was probably Howlin’ Wolf “The Radio Give Me The Blues” or something.
I don’t remember ever hearing the Circle Jerks. I will remedy this. I despised Joe Jackson then and I despise him now. I don’t know what’s worse and have no stomach for the distinctions, Billy Joel or a Brit Billy Joel. Is that Hellacopters supposed to be death metal? More straight ahead punk/metal. My sons Pat and Pete are big fans of the Cannibal Corpse strain, mostly it makes me laugh. I call it Viking Rock – rape and pillage destroy the village…good poignant post, Steve. RIP, DC.
No, Hellacopters were never death metal. The odd saga of lead Hellacopter Nicke Andersson is, he started out drumming for death metal band Entombed, then he moved to guitar with the Hellas (although continuing to drum elsewhere, i.e. Supershit 666) as the Hellacopters got progressively poppier. Now he fronts a power pop band called Imperial State Electric. Strange progression, I think. Gene, you’re talking me out of the Joe Jackson.
Ahhh, misconstrued, Steve. Thanks for the clarification.
By the way, Peter, can I ever say anything to rile you up or make you mad? Do you ever yell at your kid?
The only time I’ve yelled at Lucy was when she seemed to disregard the traffic or fire, or got too close to the edge of a steep dropoff. You know, safety issues. It is perhaps telling that when I speak to her sternly about something less urgent but important, she reports it as yelling. Sometimes less is more.
More is more works with kids too. You can ask mine.