Showing posts from August, 2007

Kristal follows CBGB’s

Hilly Kristal , founder of the landmark rock club, CBGB , died Tuesday, August 27. Sadly, lung cancer took him out. He was 75. Opening the club in 1973, Kristal became the proprietor of punk rock in America, facilitating its historic beginnings with appearances from The Ramones , The Talking Heads , Television and Patti Smith to name a few. Not being a fan of the music that made his club popular, (CBGB stands for “Country Blue Grass Blues,” and was originally meant to host such bands), Kristal’s only real rule for any band playing there was that they had write originals. He didn’t want any cover bands playing there. As a result, he wound up booking a lot of bands that other venues wouldn’t touch; relative unknowns that would wind up changing music’s soundscape forever, while harboring the unhappy miscreants that these bands spoke to. It was during the late 70s that an overall disenchantment with music led to an increase in aggression and a decrease in extravagance. Arena bands

Roach I Presley

Thursday, August 16th, exactly 30 years ago, Elvis Aaron Presley , the King of Rock n’ Roll , was found dead. On the same day, while media personalities and fans everywhere were recalling Elvis’s demise, Max Roach , jazz drummer and co-architect of Bebop, passed on at age 83. A while ago, while reading Chuck Klosterman ’s latest collection of anecdotes, reviews and essays , I was particularly drawn to one article that examined the juxtaposition of two superstar deaths. One was Dee Dee Ramone , who died on June 7th, 2002, of a heroin overdose. The other was Robbin Crosby , lead guitarist of glam band, RATT , who succumbed to AIDS on June 6th, 2002. Klosterman went on to compare the two deaths, pointing out that these events’ validity would be extremely one-sided due to the fact that one of these guys was in an “important” band and the other was essentially a flash-in-the-pan. Did anyone notice whether or not the guitarist from RATT died, other than the band’s remaining fans? Comp

“All the punks still singing the same song” & Other Observations From The Self-Proclaimed “New Wave”

Against Me! New Wave Sire Released 7.10.07 Rating: 3 out of 10 “Let breathe new dawn this art is dead! No signs of original thought in the mainstream.” There was a point in time, years ago, when bands claiming to be punk rock actually were. Against Me! is astounding, not because of how UN-punk rock they really are, but because of how unbelievably high they place themselves on their own pedestal. And, honestly, as much as they’d like to think otherwise, they’re exactly the type of band they lambaste in “Piss and Vinegar:” ”I would be lying to you if I did not say something/ That would make me feel like a politician/ A middle of the road opinion that no one finds offensive or challenging.” Forging their sounds from elements of pop punk and folk, Against Me! takes it upon themselves to right the wrongs of the mainstream, acting as purveyors of a spirit long lost in the mire of Green Day and A.F.I. and revivalists of a sentiment of a “protest” persuasion. They do thi

New Appetite?

The cover story of the latest Rolling Stone was staring at me on my way out of the apartment a couple days ago, haphazardly stacked among mailers for missing children and strewn coupon rags: GUNS N’ ROSES: APPETITE TURNS 20 I was on my way to braving the morning commute, and wound up thinking about the fact that Guns n’ Roses really did put out Appetite for Destruction twenty years ago. Wow. Twenty years. I turned 11 that year all the while agreeing wholeheartedly that the riffs on “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” were fucking badass. That was a pinnacle album. At the time, it was all about huge hair, neon lipstick and metal cheese. The external was the focus as bands partied hard and used their groupies to sell the image. It’s a lot like what’s happening now with rap music as its message has more or less been eviscerated by its masturbatory boasting of material wealth and “ho’s.” The music took a backseat and the crowd was okay with that, so long as there was

August 9th: Now celebrating ANOTHER dead musician

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon proclaimed August 9th to be Frank Zappa Day . Baltimore being Zappa’s place of birth, it was decided that a day be set aside to celebrate the man and the music. In honor of the occasion, Dweezil Zappa is taking the Zappa Plays Zappa tour to town for a show . Wouldn’t it be nice to be in Baltimore right now? So, to all you Zappa freaks out there, time to dust off those Bizarre LPs and celebrate America’s last greatest composer. Happy Frank Zappa Day. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead P.S. – To all you Deadheads out there, sorry for your loss.