Posts Tagged ‘Rock and Roll’

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Fancy Plans… Guide to Rock and Roll (More Requests & Old Favorites)

August 16, 2010
[Another from the Way Back Machine. Originally appeared 05/23/09.]

Another edition of the Fancy Plans… Guide to World Domination thru Misinformation (finally!). Feast your eyes on these delicious chunks of san-serif text and badly-captioned photos.

The Fancy Plans... Guide to Fighting Tin Lizzy

The Fancy Plans... Guide to Fighting Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy
Formed in 1967 in Dublin, Ireland and still regarded to this day as “the only band to have come out of Ireland,” Thin Lizzy featured two former members of Them, whose lead singer was a young Jim “Van” Morrison. Morrison’s penchant for impromptu poetry slams and malfunctioning trousers frequently found the band at the receiving end of police brutality.

The epitome of 70’s rock, Thin Lizzy released their biggest hit, The Boys Are Back in Townduring the pinnacle of rock’s power (allmusic.com pinpoints this as ca. 1974-1978). Thin Lizzy’s “definitive” sound and “unique” lyrics allowed them to sound more like everyone else than anyone else.  Among the songs that could quite possibly be theirs:

  • You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
  • Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
  • Hair of the Dog
  • American Band
  • Slow Ride
  • Roll On Down the Highway
  • Lost Inside Your Love
  • Rock & Roll Hootchie-Koo
  • Life’s Been Good to Me
  • Teenage Kicks
According to Brownsville Station's concert rider, they were to be accompanied by a minstrel at all times.

According to Brownsville Station's concert rider, they were to be accompanied by a minstrel at all times.

Brownsville Station
Formed in Michigan in 1970, Brownsville Station scored a minor hit with their cover of Thin Lizzy’s Smokin’ in the Boys Room. True success came later with 1977’s Martian Boogie, an influential space-rock track that post-dated the scene by nearly 10 years. Championed tirelessly by British tastemaker, Dr. John Demento, Brownsville Station recorded four classic Demento Sessions.

Christian Death's first lineup featuring Anthony Soprano Jr.

Christian Death's first lineup featuring Anthony Soprano Jr.

Christian Death
Formed in L.A. in 1979, Christian Death combined two staples of the goth rock scene (hatin’ on Christians; acrimonious splits) into a swaggering proto-deathrock nightmare. A nightmare for band members.

Original lead singer Rozz Williams left the group and former guitarist Valor promoted himself to lead-singer-for-life. Rozz tried to retain sole ownership of the Christian Death name but, as they were hardly a real band and not anywhere close to being on a real label, he was unable to do so. Various band members came and left and by 1983, there were no fewer than 16 Christian Death configurations touring, often opening for each other all around the Midwest.

Rozz Williams detached himself fully from the convoluted mess and devoted his time to his various sideprojects, including: Premature Ejaculation, Erectile Dysfunction, Inability to Achieve Orgasm, Female Pattern Dryness and Pee-shy.

Just really not that current at all.

Just really not that current at all.

Current 93
Death folksters whose name, much like Prince’s 1999, means less with each passing year.

house_of_pain811

Everlast models the primary form of Irish communication.

House of Pain
There’s nothing about this group of white rappers that hasn’t been better said by me already.

Chuck E. Cheese engineers prepare to scare the bejeezus out of your kids.

Chuck E. Cheese engineers prepare to scare the bejeezus out of your kids.

Kraftwerk
A joint effort of Disney Imagineers and the Ford Motor Co., as a tribute to all things German and nationalistic. Kraftwerk are fully-functioning animatronic showroom dummies and their icy synths and metronomic beats have captured the fascination of children worldwide, including Georgio Moroder and Afrika Bambaata. Now on permanent display at EuroDisney, they entertain dozens of people yearly with their hits Trans-Europe Blitzkrieg, Tour de France and Whalers on the Moon.

Previously on the Fancy Pants… Guide to Rock & Roll
Vol. 1
Vol. 2 (Requests)

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to Rock & Roll Vol. 12

December 5, 2009

It’s been awhile since the last volume of the never-ending Guide to Rock & Roll. The last time we gathered to enjoy libelous tales of the has-beens and never-weres of the rock world, we tackled only requests. This time around there isn’t a request to be found. It’s not because I don’t take requests. It’s more likely due to my scattershot posting schedule, shortened attention span and mandatory attendance of several premature funerals for rock and roll.

At this point, Oates knew the relationship was over, both with Hall and MTV itself.

Hall & Oates
1/2 moustache, 1/2 blond, Hall & Oates epitomized 80’s pop in a way few others did, except possibly Wham!, whom they were often confused with. The parallel chart success of this pair of duos saw tanned and well-rested men jousting for the affection (and money) of “the ladies.”

They deployed every weapon imaginable, including smoldering good looks (Wham!, Hall & Oates), short shorts (Wham!), moustaches (Oates) and prolific hitmaking, all despite being saddled with an underperforming partner (Andrew Ridgley, John Oates).

Once their made-for-VH1 meteoric rises and falls were over (“falls” being more accurate, especially when handcuffed to “meteoric” by some hack blogger), it became apparent that only one band was truly in it for “the ladies.” (Not Wham!) However, the information came too late to affect anything more than their respective solo careers (except for Andrew Ridgley, who ran down today’s specials for me at the local Outback).

George hid his anger well, but he had specifically told Paul to dry his guitar on "Delicate."

George Harrison
Known as the “fifth Beatle,” after being displaced by Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney, respectively, Harrison nonetheless had a successful and prolific solo career which spanned over 20 years. Famed for his combination of psychedelia and folk rock, Harrison proved that there is life beyond the Beatles (although not so much for Lennon) and enjoyed some chart success (although not as much as Paul McCartney, who was upgraded to “The Only Beatle”).

In addition to his musical contributions, Harrison was also known for:

  • Not being Ringo.
  • Not shoving his vegan ideals down his touring bands’ throats.
  • Impressive facial hair.
  • Being slightly smaller than Jesus.

Human League shortly before their defeat at the hands of Tyrell Corp.'s More Human Than Human League.

Human League
As one of the forerunners of the New Romantic movement, Britain’s Human League found itself defending its turf (and pedigree) against all comers, including the Anti-Nowhere League, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the newly-minted (and freshly dead) Zombie Nation.

They enjoyed a seven-year run on top of the musical heap before succumbing to hair metal, synthpop backlash and internal wrangling (which is not so much a reference as an indication that more people should be listening to Clinic).

As the band slowly fell apart, their legacy lived on with multiple appearances on 80’s compilation and the Grand Theft Auto:Vice City soundtrack, which would mark the only time 50 million people purchased the (Keep Feeling) Fascination single, which came bundled with a lawsuit-baiting, open-world murder simulator.

Iron Butterfly, featuring (clockwise from top) Guy Pearce, Matthew Broderick, Steve Zahn and Steve Coogan.

Iron Butterfly
Known for a single track (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida) which spanned three albums due to the space limitations of vinyl. Their monstrous hit song was one of the first singles to “go platinum,” albeit in a stripped-down three-minute version, which trimmed off nearly 90 minutes of psychedelic excess.

The track’s title (loosely translated by Hooked on Phonics as “In the Garden of Eden“) was a staple of their live shows, thanks to its sprawling length, which gave each band member a chance to dick around while their audience members retrieved their drugs, took their drugs or purchased more drugs.

During their brief heyday, the average Iron Butterfly set list looked like this:

1. Intro
2. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Encore (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida [reprise])

Having paved the way for mainstream awareness of psychedelic hard rock, Iron Butterfly abruptly lost all relevance and faded into obscurity, leaving behind an overwrought back catalog, which proved useful for seed-and-stem sorting.

As his music career faded, Rick James hit the tour circuit as a Whoopi Goldberg impersonator.

Rick James
Rick James (born Dave Chappelle) took the late ’70s funk scene by storm with his hit single Superfreak, which set the stage for the brief flareout of a “career” that was the Reverend MC Hammer. Following his own blueprint for brief success followed by spectacular failure, James made some runs at chart success with a few other, less sample-worthy singles before deciding to follow his true calling: drug addiction.

After joining nearly every other musician ever in eventual irrelevance, Rick James briefly lifted his head from the dusted mirror to release an album in the mid-’90s, approximately 15 years after anyone gave a shit. Unable to produce the “skills” to pay the “legal bills,” James returned to obscurity and blow, taking with him his talent (which at this point was as weak as the 3/4-baby laxative blend “coke,” whose possession resulted in immediate arrest).

-CLT

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Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll Vol. 11 – All Requests Version

October 24, 2009

After a slight delay, the Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll has returned (slightly) with a handful of bands hot off the request line, which is located in your comment threads and ignored for long periods of time right here on this blog.

They say “All good things come to those who wait.” I really wish “they” would stop saying that. Enjoy.

CALEXICO

Calexico spy an under-tipping diner.

Calexico
As Americans channeling Mexicans and distributed by Germans, Calexico are the “domestic” auto of indie rock. While probably (perhaps even fiercely) American, Calexico are the sum of their foreign-made “domestic” parts, often raising the ire of Lou Dobbs, who normally shows no interest in recorded music, domestic or otherwise.

Following a twisted path through Giant Sand and Friends of Dean Martinez (neé Martin), Calexico gathered up its mariachi leanings and headed for the welcoming climes of Germany, where they recorded their debut album. Due to a translation error and general German good-natured obtuseness, they were listed as “Spoke.”

Having had enough of this foreign bullshit (except for the mariachi stuff), Calexico returned home and re-issued their debut under the correct name. They continued to build their reputation as an “unavoidable” live band by annoying diners throughout Arizona with their flashmob mariachi-ing, often in support of other confrontational groups like Pavement and Lambchop (the latter of which often broke building capacity codes as soon as they entered the restaurant).

They further cemented their pristine indie rep (and swelled their tip jars) by performing with such alt.rock luminaries as Lisa Germano(!), Naim Amor(?) and Nancy Sinatra(!)(indie?).

Having conquered the all-important “street cafe” scene, Calexico went on to conquer NPR’s tastemakers with their multi-cultural blend of interstitial music, which meshed well with the give-and-take of various left-wing pundits. While definitely critical successes in the US, their popularity grows exponentially overseas, which would seem to indicate it is time for Calexico to haul their big-brimmed and sequined asses across the drink and return to the glory of being “big in Germany,” which has worked for so many “fringe” artists over the years.

3rd Place - Donnie Darko Lookalike Contest

3rd Place - Donnie Darko Lookalike Contest

Bright Eyes
The brainchild of indie wünderkind Conor Oberst (whose parents mysteriously shorted him an “n”), Bright Eyes burst out of the Omaha scene much the way that anyone bursts out of Omaha: by stumbling badly right out of the gates.

Critics responded to his debut album (the redundantly titled A Collection of Songs Written, Recorded and then Burned onto Round “Compact Discs” and Perhaps Recorded to the Occasional Cassette to be Listened to By Listeners with Stereos and Walkmans and Whatnot, Maybe in Their Car, But This is 1998 So Possibly a Cassette: 1995-1997) with everything from abuse (allmusic.com: “…unintelligible babblings of a child”) to confusion (Omaha Star: “Supposedly music, but I’ll take the remaining members of Journey at the State Fair any day of the week, even without their original singer…”).

Two years down the road Bright Eyes release Fever and Mirrors which is heralded by Pitchfork as “an instant classic, which nobody but us have ever heard of.” Metacritic hails them as “Pending. Still waiting on 5 reviews.” Their “improved” sound is chalked up to a more mature sound due to the addition of instruments such as flute, accordion, clavichord, sousaphone and Ouija board.

Pretension now safely on board and loaded with multi-instrumentalists, Bright Eyes break into the mainstream as a much-heralded “new” artist, despite being in existence for nearly seven years (sort of like adopting a “starter” child). With this celebrated status (and sudden change in tense two paragraphs ago), Oberst and co. begin to reap the perkiest fruit of their labor. Called upon to provide support for a Springsteen tour, Bright Eyes were afforded the opportunity to play to a much larger indifferent crowd when not carrying luggage for the “Boss.”

Soldiering on, periodically releasing an EP or actual album every six weeks or so, Bright Eyes continued to refine their twin powers: bedroom electronica (as displayed on Digital Stems and Seeds on an Electric Ladyland Dust Jacket) and their slightly creepier bedroom acoustical work, which features Oberst sitting on the edge of your bed for hours at a time, alternating between chugging PBR, strumming softly on his guitar and quietly watching you sleep.

Hull's mobsters ranged from "pasty" to "nerdy."

Hull's mobsters ranged from "pasty" to "nerdy."

Housemartins
Straight outta Hull, the Housemartins were an English pop group with an infectious sound and a cheery outlook that combined Christianity with Karl Marx, thus ensuring complete rejection by both of their target audiences.

Formed by Paul Heaton and Stan Cullimore who originally performed as a busking duo, (Ed. – Oh. My. God.) the two friends went on to add a few more members in an effort to attract an audience that preferred its musical ambushes came from the hi-fi rather than Tube platforms or duck ponds. Their most notable addition was superstar DJ Fatboy Slim, who agreed to put down the records and cocaine and play some unobtrusive bass under his given name, Beats Int’l Mighy Dub Katz Pizzaman Freakpower Quentin Cook the BPA Norman Cook.

Having ensured their place in history with the addition of their most famous member (added bonus: free remixes for life!), the Housemartins released their biggest (and only) single to date: Happy Hour. The single shot to the top of the charts, aided by a popular claymation promo video featuring the British counterpart to the California Raisins: the Hull Prunes, who spent the entirety of the video doing very British things like “trainspotting” and “bitching about the dole.”

Their next single, Caravan of Love, enjoyed exactly one week at the number 1 spot before being shoved rudely aside by Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite, which shows exactly what is both very right and very wrong with British musical tastes.

The single’s a cappella styling drew the ire of their biggest fans, prompting shouts of “Judas” during their completely unplugged gig at the Newport Folk Festival. Heaton was in turn prompted to stop the show and say, “Oh, so you’ve heard of him? Let me just take a moment of your time to give you the good news about Jesus H. Marx, who will free us from the twin oppressions of capitalism and rational thought. I would also like to address our growing trade deficit.”

The band split in 1988 but the members have remained friendly, often joining each other’s bowling/busking teams and dropping by while on holiday.

Axl often announced band firings through cleverly trimmed photos.

Axl often announced band firings through cleverly trimmed photos.

Guns N Roses
Formed by the common-law marriage of W. Axl Rose (born W. Oral Sex) and Tracii Guns (born Tracy Gunns), Guns N Roses tore apart the hard rock scene with their hard-charging riffs and dangerous behavior, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Rolling Stones still had their original guitarists and hips.

Perhaps one of the most important bands of ever (and your can drop “perhaps” if you throw “self” in front of “important”), GNR hit the fucking ground running with their debut full-length Appetite for Destruction. While the album itself was a hard-rock revelation, the album cover itself was much more memorable.

The original controversial cover, which featured the band members hanging around a stream in some sharp suits was met with complaints from record store owners, who refused to stock the “weak-ass nature bullshit” in the appropriate “Hard Rock” section.

After a hasty redesign, GNR presented Plan B, an album cover featuring them holding various doll parts whilst standing around in a butcher’s shoppe. Again resistance from record shop (or shoppe) owners was high, leading to threats of “brown bagging” the album due to its general “WTF-ness.” Various iterations were tried and rejected (naked prepubescent girl playing with a model, Slash surrounded by naked electric chicks, a naked 15-year-old hanging out at the park, someone smelling a glove, a robot rapist) before settling on the cover we all ended up with: a heavily stylized depiction of the band as a tattoo template.

As Appetite for Destruction took off, GNR toured tirelessly, inciting riots, destroying hotel rooms and, very occasionally, playing an entire set without storming off. As the band headed back into the studio for their followup, Axl decided GNR needed a new look. He issued a kilt to himself, a top hat to Slash and whiskey bottles and pink slips to the rest of the band. (Thus began the revolving door of GNR musicians, each of which Rose would herald as the band’s savior, until finally refining the group down to its only essential member: W. Axl Rose.)

In 1991, GNR released Use Your Illusion I and II, which was described as “bloated” (as double albums often are) and “mercenary” (as double albums packaged and sold as two distinct single albums often are). Both albums were chart toppers and featured several outstanding tracks, none of which I can think of off the top of my head other than November Rain, which clocked in a 8 hours and 56 seconds, often being the only video MTV had time to play between The Real World, Real World retrospectives and The Grind.

A rare shot from Rose's ill-fated foray into "faith healing."

A rare shot from Rose's ill-fated foray into "faith healing."

After the release of the now-prerequisite covers album The Spaghetti Incident?, which featured a rundown of their purported influences, none of which they sounded like, W. Axl Rose headed back into the studio with the remaining band member(s) for the next 15 years.

Although Rose appeared sporadically to announce that the album was “just around the corner” and “fucking awesome,” the LP was not released until November of 2008. Problems began when it became apparent that there were few musicians willing to work with Rose, whom the press had affectionately dubbed “an egotistical maniac.” Holing up in L.A.’s Up My Own Ass studios, Rose issued the honorable threat that he would not release any more music until there was “democracy in China.”

After a decade or so of dicking around, Chinese officials (in conjunction with the independent bottlers of Dr. Pepper) began to call his bluff, beginning with a series of trade embargoes targeted at various takeout joints and dry cleaners in the Hollywood area. As the lack of pepper steak and freshly pressed shirts began to erode Rose’s willpower, China stepped up the pressure, stating that while W. Axl Rose had a “proven track record in the music industry,” they had the “willpower of over a billion oppressed people, most of whom have been forbidden to listen to your music,” adding “not to mention a fuckload of tanks.”

To save face (and the independent bottlers of Dr. Pepper), Rose released the poorly titled Chinese Democracy to rave reviews such as “That’s hard rock, alright…” (Spin, Nov. 2008), “Sounds like Rose’s trademark vocal stylings…” (Bill’s Record Blawg, Dec. 2008) and “We’ve had this album for years…” (thepiratebay.org).

Rose announced through personal assistant Sebastian Bach that Chinese Democracy was the first in a planned trilogy, with the follow ups due to be released in 2023 (“weather permitting”) and 2038 (“…at which point I will likely be dead”).

The Pirate Bay (piratebay.org) invites you to “beat the rush” and check out these two fine albums today.

-CLT

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Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll Vol. 10 – All F-ed Up Edition

September 22, 2009

Volume 10. Has it been 10 already?

Time for an anthology. If any of you have time in your lives for approximately 12,000 words containing approximately 0 facts, please let me know. I can send you the appropriate links via horseless carriage. My manservant Riley will be pleased to dictate these to you in his unplaceable Continental accent.

Tip well. Riley has a hot temper and a driver’s license. When he says he’s about to “lay a bitch out,” you can rest assured he means it.

Without further ado, whatnot and misc. bullshit, here it ’tis: Volume 10 – All F’ed-Up Edition.

 

Faith No More: they clean up real nice...

Faith No More: they clean up real nice...

 

Faith No More
Charged by absolutely no one to draw up the funk-metal blueprint, Faith No More charged onto the scene in 1985 with the heavily rotated single We Care a Lot. After priming the pump with a track that name-checked Transformers, Garbage Pail Kids and the police departments of various major U.S. cities, a band usually has only one way to go.

Not so with Faith No More. Following a long-running rock tradition of replacing lead singers, FNM shattered expectations (and a few hotel TV sets) by getting rid of the shitty vocalists first (Chuck Mosely, Courtney Love) and bringing in the stud (Mike Patton).

Expectations duly shattered (and repair bills passed on to label execs), the new Faith No More hit the ground rapping with their huge single, Epic. The accompanying video’s live fish execution scene shook up a stagnant metal scene in ways no one could have predicted. Suddenly everyone wanted more funk in their metal, rap in their lyrics, peanut butter in their chocolate and keyboard players in their band.

Stagnant metal scene duly shook up, Mike Patton gazed upon this wreckage (that’s a Numan reference) with a mixture of contempt and bemusement. Rather than crank out Epic v.2, the band delivered Angel Dust, a roaring disfigurement of an album which left their label heads shaking their collective heads in contempt and, presumably, musement. Or bewilderment.

The band reached their peak with a nearly note-for-note cover of the Commodores’ Easy. With their metalhead crowd left to puzzle out this inscrutable move (and scurry for their dictionaries), Mike Patton served notice that he was no ordinary lead singer, perfectly comfortable with shredding your eardrums and his vocal cords or laying you down by the fire to make sweet, sweet love at you. (And I stole that one from Zap Brannigan. But as the old saying goes, “If you have to steal, make sure you tell everybody about it.”)

At this point, the Faith No More story becomes vague, another in the multi-volume set (from the Time/Life Series Diminishing Returns). Patton split from the band to pursue side projects that ranged from “unlistenable” to “potentially brain damaging.” Keyboardist Roddy Bottum went on to form the incomparable Imperial Teen. The other guys went on to do “other guy” stuff, presumably.

Lionel Richie continued to crank out regrettable product. Like Nicole.

 

Welcome to the fifth dimension. (Not pictured: The Fifth Dimension.)

Welcome to the fifth dimension. (Not pictured: The Fifth Dimension.)

 

Fifth Dimension
A group that was always “a little bit soul; a little bit hippie bullshit,” the Fifth Dimension are best known for their pioneering work done in a dimension that was two past where most bands were willing to go.

Often performing their entire tour in the fifth dimension, the band would draw huge crowds despite there being hardly anything visible on stage. Die-hard fans would claim to see brief glimpses of the band members between bright flashes of light and faint snatches of otherworldly voices. Those in the audience who were not psychotropically enhanced often claimed to have “not seen a damn thing” and that the whole “experience” was “bullshit.”

During one of their brief forays into a third dimension studio, the Fifths recorded their massive hit “Age of Aquarius,” which soundtracked a key nude scene in naked-hippie musical Hair. Hair’s producers wisely reasoned that a fair amount of nudity would be a box office draw, but theater-goers found the nudity was far less than gratuitous. In fact, because this was the Sixties and the performers were hippies, the advertised “sexy bits” were left to the imagination due to the incredible amount of hair. Said one theater-goer: “Dear God. It’s everywhere! And the smell…”

The Fifth Dimension faded into obscurity as fans flocked to bands more readily visible on stage and less likely to spin watches backwards or leave the audience members covered in ectoplasm and artifacts.

There was also the matter of the class action lawsuit filed against the band by the city of Pomona, CA. The suit alleged that the Fifth Dimension were “dicking around with forces they can’t possibly comprehend,” thus cataclysmically opening “a gateway to hell.” The court found in favor of the city as the Fifth Dimension were either unable or unwilling to attend in any sort of visible fashion. The members were ordered to pay for any damages incurred by Satan’s minions and to “cease and desist from making music and fade into obscurity.”

 

mark-e-smith

The Fall's Mark E. Smith - His voice sounds every bit as good as he looks.

 

The Fall
Anybody who knows me knows I have a weakness for Manchester natives who can’t sing for shit (hello, Happy Mondays). Mark E. Smith, he of the inimitable Mancunian drawl, has combined with various iterations of his band to produce over 1,200 albums. This includes nearly 4,500 singles, 300 live albums and 150 or so one-offs, released on anything from 45’s, cassette-only and wax cylinders. If you are new to the band, you can’t go wrong starting out with any of over 200 greatest-hits compilations.

As you make your way through the treacherous back catalog that rivals the legendary vaults of Prince or the drunken productivity of Guided by Voices, there is also the shifting band dynamic to consider. Various styles and influences will crop up as the band continually experiments with their sound.

A lot of the shift also comes from Mark E. Smith’s on-again, off-again relationship with his sometimes wife and guitarist, Brix Smith. This can also be said about his relationship with the rest of the band, although probably with a lot less sexual contact. Hence, a lot of comparison just within the Brix and non-Brix albums.

Which brings us to the pinnacle of their career: a cover of disco favorite Lost in Music by Sister Sledge, proving yet again (see above) that great bands are at their best when they cover classic pop without irony.

Of course, much like above (see also: Faith No More), this set a precedent that was followed by shitty bands whose careers never really had a pinnacle (Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes [the Who]; Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal[Michael Jackson]; the Ataris – Boys of Summer [Don Fucking Henley])

One final note: Mark E. Smith’s singing can be an acquired taste and should actually be prefaced with quote/enquote. It’s not so much singing as it is a rambling drawl with extra ending syllables. But before you start talking shit about lack of vocal talent, ask yourself this: who would you rather listen to for an extended period of time: Bob Dylan or Celine Dion?

The prosecution rests.

 

It was the early '80s. Mirrors and restraint hadn't been invented yet. Or color, apparently.

It was the early '80s. Mirrors and restraint hadn't been invented yet. Or color, apparently.

 

A Flock of Seagulls
The quintessential ’80s band, A Flock of Seagulls were truly a snapshot of their place and time, so tied to the brief “new” wave of music that they spent several weeks in the Top 40 Wishing (They Had Taken A Better Photograph). Epitomized by their stupid hairdos and overuse of parentheses, AFoS were charter members of the Haircut 100, a group of New Romantic groups whose cross-country runs were immortalized in AFoS’ greatest hit, I Ran (a 10K for Charity).

As music progressed, bringing with it hair metal and ridiculous hairdos of a different kind, AFoS remained in a creative holding pattern, doomed (as with so many other bands) to fade into obscurity, only to be harshly marginalized by smartass “blogger personalities” such as myself.

Godspeed, Seagulls. And take these fucking things with you: ( )

-CLT

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Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll

September 19, 2009

Rivers Cuomo finally trims the band down to just the "important" members.

Rivers Cuomo finally trims the band down to just the "important" members.

[With Volume 10 of the Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll headed your way early next week, I thought it might be fun and self-satisfying to re-up the original. It was never intended to be a series, but people started making requests and, oddly enough, I actually started fulfilling them. I’m still way behind on the requests, but as Abe Vigoda is fond of saying, “I ain’t dead yet.” Enjoy. (Originally published on May 13th, 2009.)]

Here at Fancy Plans… we are often asked the question, “What is rock?” We reply, “Well, what are you listening to now?” The answer comes back, “It sounds like rock.” And our answer comes back, “It sounds like suck!”

Secure in our superiority, we retire to the bar, down several shots, head home alone and cry ourselves to sleep. Usually to Sigur Ros or some other depressing Nordic band. Unless we feel like murdering our friends and burning down a church. Then it’s Dimmu Borgir.

But enough about us. It’s time for some Rock and Roll 101. Remember, we do take requests. Just put them in the comment box.

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Fronted by an underwear ad, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch succeeded in putting the “fun” back in “funky.” Tragically, they completely failed to put the “funk” back in “funky,” creating a sound that can only be described as “funy,” a made-up word that means nothing but sums up the group perfectly. Marky Mark went on to be a successful actor dues to his enormous prosthetic penis.

New Kids on the Block
Much like other “new” bands (Riders of the Purple Sage, Christy Minstrels, Order), there’s nothing remotely new about these kids. They’re still the same old kids who’ve annoyed you ever since they were old enough to leave their yards.

Remember, a few Christmases ago, when they showed up on your doorstep, bursting with four-part harmonies and well-rehearsed choreography? And you said, “Would you youngsters like some hot cocoa?” and while they were nodding enthusiastically, you hurled the cocoa into their freshly scrubbed faces? Ho ho ho!

Well, if you do remember would you care to indicate that by marking an “x” in this box and signing the bottom of this statement?

The Alan Parsons Project
Supplies:
– 16 Popsicle Sticks
– 4 Pipe Cleaners
– Intergalactic Spaceship (ask your parents for permission)
– Dry Macaroni Noodles
– Magic Markers
– Psychedelics (ask your older brother)

The Strokes
Grandpa’s favorite band, or at least he thinks so now, when he isn’t catching strange scents or ordering “strangers” like you out of his house. He used to tell you war stories but all he does now is argue with the television, occasionally stopping to yell, “Listen to me, you motherfucking beanpole. I don’t know who you are or where you got that haircut, but get the fuck out of my house! Your skinny tie reeks of purple.”

Awwww. Don't you just want to eat him up?

Awwww. Don't you just want to eat him up?

Eminem
As popular as his namesake and twice as sweet. Cute-as-a-button blonde candy coating with a dark chocolate core of blustering misogyny. Melts in your mouth, not your hands, ladies.

Pet Shop Boys
PETA’s least favorite band. Chock full of glittery synths, intelligent lyrics and a wardrobe to die for. If the Boys ever covered Venus in Furs covered in fur, several hundred angry protesters would show up and try to reconcile their hatred of furs with their respect for gay celebs and little red ribbons. Heads would explode.

Or perhaps, PETA will again take the low road and pimp out some objects (excuse me, models) to stand around nakedly protesting, thus ensuring press coverage both legitimate (AP) and bastardized (hello, Internet!). Possibly NSFW.

Led Zeppelin
Early pioneer of the heavy metal spirit, Led Zeppelin is perhaps best known for their song We Fucked a Groupie with a Shark. Amongst their other achievements: exposing youngsters to Satanism, Whitesnake, and founding member Peter Jackson’s movie career, which finally allowed the band’s Tolkien love to blossom fully.

the Sex Pistols
Formed by Malcolm McLaren as yet another London sex shop, the Sex Pistols inadvertently became a band. They were briefly popular and reached their pinnacle when they serenaded Queen Elizabeth on her 103rd birthday. Frank Sinatra nodded his approval.

Tragedy would befall the band as bassist Sid Vicious fell in with the wrong crowd and began murdering his girlfriends. Fortunately, his lack of personal hygiene and crippling heroin addiction stopped him at one, a Miss Chloe Webb. Malcolm McLaren went back to running both sex shops and his mouth, pausing briefly to photograph naked 15-year olds.

Carter, the Unstoppable Sex Machine
Current favorites in the mostly British arch-off, along with Certified Balsa artist Fatima Mansions and undeniably popular Blur. As Blur has dropped their class warfare angle to concentrate on world music, animated side projects and screwing Justine Frischmann, this leaves Carter USM (Shopper’s Paradise, Sealed with a Glasgow Kiss) in a neck-and-neck race with underdog Fatima Mansions (Only Losers Take the Bus, Blues for Ceausescu).

A dark horse candidate has appeared out of the US, though. It’s Negativland and their piss-take of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. And here come the lawyers! Stay tuned!

(Or not, with the exception of Blur, none of these bands are still producing music.)

Lemmy, under the influence of nearly goddamned everything, is suddenly entrance by his "massive" hands.

Lemmy, under the influence of nearly goddamned everything, is suddenly entranced by his "massive" hands.

Motorhead
Fronted by Quentin “Lemmy” Kilmister, former contributor to space rock pioneers, Hawkwind. Lemmy (Quentin to his mum) wished to head towards a more straightforward metal sound while founding member, Jethro Tull, was more than happy to prance around playing his flute.

Lemmy fought long and hard for his release from the label, finally forcing their hand with his refusal to comply with their sideburn policy.

KISS
The founding members of KISS met at a Kabuki class at an upstate New York Montessori school. They soon took their love of rock and roll and stage makeup to the next level, forming KISS in 1972. The original lineup included Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz), Ace Frehley (Alfred Carlson Entemann), Peter Criss (Christopher Peter Rasmussenjinsenn) and Vinnie Vincent (Vincent Vincent, III Esq.)

Fortune and fame came quickly. Gene Simmon’s tongue and little black book became the stuff of legends (apparently, he is quite the master storyteller and writes down his dreams for later interpretation). In 1996, Gene Simmons was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago, thus temporarily making him “Dr. Love,” until his title was bestowed on Dr. Drew.

Alice Cooper
During his formative years as a member of the high school tennis team, Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) suffered a debilitating case of tennis-lesbianism. While recuperating (or should I say, “recooperating”), Vincent took a long trip to Sweden and returned as Alice Cooper, rock star. (I guess I won’t say that. It’s ridiculous.)

Much like your former uncle, Aunt Patricia, whose house you never get to visit anymore. Which is too bad because s/he was giving you free tennis lessons. Oh, well. We all wish her the best as she continues to climb the levelled playing field.

Cynthia Plastercaster
Not specifically a rock star, although she does know a great many of them and could probably pick them out of a crowded, darkened, half-dressed room. Ironically, Cynthia’s start can be explained by a malaprop caused by a gardening accident suffered at an early age.

The story is that Cynthia approached Jimi Hendrix backstage and asked to be “a fanclub of his member.” Jimi was delighted by this play on words and gave her some suggestions as to what she could do with Jimi’s jimmy.

Another anecdote adds to her considerable legend. Apparently, a young George Lucas received a backstage pass to a New Christy Minstrels show. While touring behind the scenes, George happened across Cynthia, working from her normal plaster-castering position. As a 31-year old virgin, Lucas was confused and thought that this was her actual height. This image, combined with her eccentric speech patterns, stuck with Lucas and was the inspiration for the character Yoda.

Please stay tuned for future installments as events warrant.

-CLT

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Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll Vol. 9

August 24, 2009

In the past volumes of this guide we’ve taken some swipes at some pretty big names. “But what of the small, indie, critic’s darlings?” I hear you asking. Well, they’ll get theirs as well. It’s just that, well, if you’ve had a 30-year career of diminishing returns, it’s just so much easier to broadly swipe. Not to mention, they’re all big boys and girls (Heart, especially) and should be able to take it. And while I hate to admit to taking the easy way out, today’s lineup is probably the easiest. It does include one request, however: Steven Wonder.

Def Leppard - Britain's finest seven-armed rock monster

Def Leppard - Britain's finest seven-armed rock monster

Def Leppard
If someone asked you what the ’80s sounded like, you could grab any of their first three albums and say, “Listen to this.” A band that was always more pop than metal (and more hair than talent – zing!), Def Leppard defined an era. That era was the “MTV stands for Music TeleVision” era, the early days when MTV was still pushing music in video form, rather than relegating it to soundtracking promos, bitchy Real World infighting or rolling behind the Real World closing credits.

They power on to this day, a testament to their longevity and their fans’ unwillingness to branch out their musical tastes. They’ve earned a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame if for no other reason than their multiple triumphs over adversity, including losing a drummer’s arm to a car crash and losing an entire guitarist to death. That, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s noticeably lax standards and elastic definition of “rock.” (No worse, really, than the Grammy committee’s definition of “metal.” Jethro Tull, indeed.)

Voted Most Likely to Be Asked to Please, for the Love of God, Put a Shirt On
Voted Most Likely to Be Asked to Please, for the Love of God, Put a Shirt On

John Denver
Speaking of elastic definitions, John Denver never strayed near “rock” or “roll” once in his career, or in the afterlife, according to our sources (Sonny Bono, the Big Bopper). As sickeningly clean-cut and wholesome as a busful of Young Republicans, Denver tore the ’70s a new wuss-hole and presaged country’s descent into bland pseudo-pop. Presumably Denver released several individual albums, but who fucking needs them, considering he released around 19 “Greatest Hits” compilations.

Unlike the edgier Pat Boone and the comparitively “gangsta” Air Supply, Denver never toed the line once, cruising a steady, easy-going center line that left people yearning for the street toughness of the Eagles or Jackson Browne. Oddly enough, he was the subject of one of the darkest tribute albums ever, as death metal’s finest took on such classics as Sunshine on My Shoulder and Sweet Surrender on the unfortunately named Things to Do with Denver When He’s Dead (Cleopatra Records). Keep your ears peeled for Morbid Angel’s take on his (also unfortunately titled) classic, Fly Away.

The secret of Dire Straits' success? Glow-in-the-dark headbands.
The secret of Dire Straits’ success? Glow-in-the-dark headbands.

Dire Straits
Speaking of bands that hitched their star to MTV (we were: just scroll up to Leppard, Def), Dire Straits were yanked out of their mopey pub-rock scene and held under the fast-flowing mainstream, when their single Money for Nothing burst onto the scene in 1985.

Propelled to multi-platinum success by a video so meta it name-checked the only channel that would play it, the Dire Straits seized this opportunity, wove it into a wicker lawn chair and collapsed into it for six long years. Having Rip van Winkled right past their sell-by date, the Dire Straits awoke to a very different world; one that had passed them by in a blur of distortion and flannel.

Now stuck in the unenviable classification of “boomer rock,” the Dire Straits are doomed to walk the earth, playing mid-sized arenas and large corporate conventions along with other hellish acts like Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Steve Winwood.

Album cover for Wonder's relatively unknown classic "Stevie Wonder Sings the Rick James Songbook"
Album cover for Wonder’s relatively unknown classic “Stevie Wonder Sings the Rick James Songbook”

Stevie Wonder
A brilliant child prodigy (perhaps not on par with Mozart, but at least up there with Bill Withers or Huey “Piano” Smith), Stevie Wonder went on to usher in a new era of R&B in the ’70s. This, of course, was followed by another ushering in the late-’90s by, among other artists, Usher. Known for his well-crafted hooks, infectious swaying and not being able to see, Wonder is a shoo-in for the African-American Blind Piano-Playing R&B Singer Hall of Fame, joining charter member Ray Charles and Jamie Foxx, who portrayed Ray Charles in the 2004 film, Ray.

Wonder lost his sight at an early age during a tragic “Wonder Twin Powers” accident with brother Davie. Due to a disagreement in terms that neither was aware of until after the word “Activate,” the resulting mixture of garbled syllables resulted in their potent twin powers being activated in the form of “Summon Baphomet,” an ancient malevolent diety (who is not a morning person, per se). The wrathful and drowsy god responded by removing Stevie’s eyesight and Davie completely. The suddenly removed-from-this-dimension twin was renamed “He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken or Referenced To” and so we won’t for the remainder of this piece.

Stevie Wonder went on to sign with Motown Records as age 11, thanks to Baphomet, who admitted he had “overreacted” and “owed him one.” The rest is history. Wonder went on to release album after album with hit single after hit single, culminating in the peak of written music: I Just Called to Say I Love You. Understandably, no self-respecting indie record store clerk will come within 100 miles of this single, leaving you to purchase it pretty much anywhere else.

The hundreds of members of Little Feat prep for a turf war with Chicago
The hundreds of members of Little Feat prep for a turf war with Chicago

Little Feat
The story of Little Feat’s formation is a fascinating one, filled with facts, intrigue, Frank Zappa and jazz fusion. Legend has it that Lowell George was trying to form his own group, using members of Frank Zappa’s touring band. Fed up with Frank’s terrible anal jokes and endless guitar wankery, George approached Bill Payne, another Zappa band member.

Word of this dissent leaked back to Zappa, whom George overhead saying, “Trying to organize these halfwit guns-for-hire into an actual band would be no small feat.” George overheard this and took off as fast as his size 4’s would carry him.

George formed his own group and, poking fun at his diminutive shoe size, suggested they name the band “Little Feet.” His bandmates and promoter heard this as the much-more-clever “Little Feat,” and hastily cranked out thousands of posters and album covers featuring this spelling. After discovering their error, George was furious and shuffled band members in and out of the lineup for the next 30 years.

Little Feat’s blend of rock, jazz, funk, R&B and shoegaze proved popular and Lowell George soon found himself surrounded by groupies, all oohing and aahing and saying how “cute” and “adorable” he was. Because you know what they say about guys with little feet? They have big hearts. And are as cute as buttons.

-CLT

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My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies

August 8, 2009
Mr. Richards would like to point out that he is British

Mr. Richards would like to point out that he is British

Someone once said “Rock stars ain’t what they used to be.” His name is Alan and he said it much more eloquently and verbosely.

What’s even more pathetic is that these geritol fueled geezers still rock harder than today’s delicate and sensitive prefab pop stars. The cry of the musician is no longer “1, 2, 3, 4” but “Dear Diary.” They’re so busy eating tofu, saving rain forests and hanging with politicians that they’ve forgotten the number one rock star rule. You are a god, so act like one! And make sure the god you model yourself after is cruel and vain. You know, like Zeus, or the Buddha…

It’s true. The demystifying of rock and roll continues, especially in the mainstream. There are no dangerous rock stars out there. Everything is too clean and media-friendly. Your average rock star these days is no more threatening than a Hot Topic employee. When the best story we have is Amy Winehouse stumbling around the stage or Scott Stapp drunkenly harassing other celebrities, it’s time for a true revolution.

As anyone should know by now, being a rock star was never supposed to be about lifetime employment. You were supposed to live fast and hard because your career was on the burnout tipping point perpetually.

Tastes would change. You could chart with a couple of singles. Your band members would OD, quit, get married, get divorces, get back with the band, get hospitalized, go to rehab, throw shit out of hotel windows, etc.

Now it’s the RIAA and ASCAP trying to secure perpetual residuals and copyright extensions. It’s instant legacy acts and music safe enough for your parents to appreciate. It’s reality show appearances and career retrospectives. It’s vegan menus and bottled water on the tour riders.

I remember when a band coming to town meant locking up your daughters and medicine cabinets. When shows ended with fistfights in the mosh pit or riots in the parking lot.

Fall Out Boy: Suitable for ages 3 and up

Fall Out Boy: Suitable for ages 3 and up

What do we have now? Holy fuck, Fallout Boy is coming to town! Better lock up… the front door, I guess. Make sure the stove is off as well. We’ll probably be gone a good three hours. Family trip to the arena! I may cut loose and have a Heineken or two while waiting for the kids to exit.

In the worlds of Frank Booth: “Fuck that shit.”

My heroes used drugs. They fucked with the establishment. They turned the world on its ear, at least temporarily. They set fires and snorted blow of groupies’ asses. They did it up right.

Smack has been the drug of choice for fine musicians everywhere, dating back to the early days of jazz. It wouldn’t seem to be a very creative drug, what with all the passing out and vomiting, but you can’t argue with the results.

The Velvet Underground
Influenced every band that has ever came after them. If not directly, then they influenced the band that influenced this band. Hell, they even wrote a track named Heroin, which may have been a restrained 7 minutes on the album, but became an epic in concert.

Skinny Puppy
Canada’s industrial pride and joy. They used enough smack that each member spent some time in rehab. Dwayne R. Goettel’s OD was a key part of their 1993 breakup. Evidently such an inseparable aspect of their music that fans openly speculated as to the amount of “suck” a sober Nivek Ogre would bring to their next album. Skinny Puppy was an ugly band, and their drug of choice brought that out, resulting in some of the most nihilistic and apocalyptic industrial music of the last 20 years.

Pigface
It goes without saying that any supergroup containing members of Ministry, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, the Jesus Lizard and Front 242 would be heavily influenced by their substance abuse. Their collective music was dubbed “heroin rock,” a brutal spin on the psychedelia of “acid rock.” Experimental, nasty and confrontational, Pigface gloried in their crowdsourced noise machine, releasing the beautifully artless live album, Welcome to Mexico, Asshole recorded in Tijuana.

Happy Mondays
For the most part a cheerful “baggy” dance-rock group, whose club-friendly beats and twisted lyrics epitomized the ’90s Madchester scene, Shaun Ryder and his cohorts trafficked in nearly every drug imaginable. Particularly partial to heroin (“Kentucky Fried Chicken” in the band’s internal parlance), the band made no effort to hide its nasty habit(s), with Shaun Ryder lazily threatening to “lie down beside you/fill you full of junk” in Hallelujah.

The band soon took a sizable chunk of their label’s money to record an album in Jamaica, where they discovered crack. The advance was blown through quickly and Shaun Ryder returned to the label offices, holding his own demo tapes hostage. Another injection of cash freed the master tapes and the band was back in business. Before wrapping up the sessions, Ryder stepped out for some “KFC” and never returned.

Nothing subtle about this...

Nothing subtle about this...

Spiritualized
Jason Pierce’s combination of drone, space rock and gospel is one of the cultural touchstones of British music. After the acrimonious split of Spacemen 3 (slogan: Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To), Pierce took his ideas and addictions and set about crafting some on the finest paeans to drug use ever recorded (and distributed as mini-disc pop-out “pills” in the case of Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space).

The heroin references are everywhere. From Cop Shoot Cop (there’s a hole in my arm where the money goes) to I Think I’m In Love (warm as the junk running down my spine), the references are everywhere. Pierce likes to play ambiguous in interviews, leaving the lyrics open to “translation.” But he named his daughter “Poppy” for chrissakes.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are others, some of which are less notable, in my opinion.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Under the Bridge finally made Kiedis’ shirtless torso and “heavy feelings” relevant. Flea got shot in the foot during a bit part in Point Break. They had their moment and are shifting into legacy mode. I think they lack the last bit of push they’ll need to be remembered any more fondly than their contemporaries (RuPaul, Right Said Fred) 30 years down the road.

Smashing Pumpkins
Touring keyboardist Jonathon Melvoin and drug buddy Jimmy Chamberlin both OD in a hotel room. Chamberlin lives but leaves the band. Somehow I get the mental image of Billy Corgan attending to Melvoin funeral just to make sure everybody knew how much he disapproved of the drug use.

That’s the drugs. The bad behavior is gone as well. What we get now is faux “rock star” moments at the MTV VMAs and red carpet posturing. With the exception of the thug life intertwined in hip hop, everyone is out there pretending to live like a badass but most likely spends nights at home writing in their diary, updating their LiveJournal and smoking cloves with the windows open.

It used to be the shit to be a rock star. Ego on, brain off. Strut, fuck, get paid. Look ridiculously good while 10% sober and 90% hungover.

Early days of the Black Crowes:
Chris Robinson is in a convenience store. A fan recognized him and says something like, “OMG! Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes!” Her friend says, “Who?” Chris Robinson says, “Maybe if you’d stop stuffing twinkies into your face you might learn a little something.” Apocryphal? Maybe. Reported as fact in a Spin interview. If it’s not true, it should be.

Jane’s Addiction:
Perry Farrell says he got head from some guy just to “see what it felt like.” Perry figures since it’s a guy it should be good. After all, men should know. But the guy went at it “like eating corn of the cob.” Rock star living? A solid yes. Let’s hear Chris Carrabba tell a story like that.

Pulp:
Jarvis Cocker interrupts Michael Jackson’s Christ-like posing and child wrangling during a performance at the Brit Awards. Cocker waves his bottom in Jackson’s general direction. Assault charges are filed and dropped. Melody Maker suggests instant knighthood. Always standing up for what you believe in, no matter how inappropriate? Hell. Yes.

Rolling Stones:
The ultimate legacy act, now entertaining millions of parents and grandparents every year, used to have the swagger. They used to frighten people. Ed Sullivan makes them change their lyrics. For the love of god, their haircuts used to be more upsetting. How about this choice lyric (from Stray Cat Blues): “I can see that you’re fifteen years old/But I don’t want your ID.” Statutory rape, ladies and gentleman. That’s how the Stones Roll.

Voted most misleading title of 1984

Voted most misleading title of 1984

The Cure:
A legacy act in their own right. Robert Smith earns the derisive nicknames of “Mad Bob” and “Fat Bob” during the Pornography recording. Loaded to the gills with every drug imaginable, the Cure (mainly Smith as usual) release a nightmarish album awash in suicidal lyrics and tape manipulations. Smith also briefly splits the band and cites label pressure, although I doubt they indicated that he should do more drugs and be more weird. “It doesn’t matter if we all die,” indeed.

Case two: Shiver and Shake, from 1987’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. Robert Smith invites the object of his hatred (band member Lol Tolhurst) into the studio for a private rendition of this song. Smith makes him stand front and center while he belts out the pointed lyrics:

You’re a waste of time
You’re a babbling face
You’re three sick holes that run like sores
You’re a fucking waste…

Rock star 1, former rock star 0.

So what happened? Who can we pin the blame on? Can “society” take one more for the team? Is it the homogenization of radio that began at the tail end of grunge? Is it just something cyclical?

It used to be when a band like Metallica went on tour, they left behind a wake of destroyed venues, massive bar tabs and paternity suits. Now they travel with a full orchestra and a sweater-clad therapist. I would assume they stay up late into the night, talking things out and carefully itemizing their tax deductions.

I can only assume that music has “matured,” pop fluffery notwithstanding. We’ve got adolescence on life support. Rock and roll operating under a living will. Take it back. Support those who know it’s just for today. Rock and roll is dead. Let’s make the wake a blast.

-CLT

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Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll Vol. 8

August 1, 2009

And now, a series that needs no introduction…

I honestly don't see how anybody could poke fun at this.

I honestly don't see how anybody could poke fun at this.

Vampire Weekend
The next big thing, according to everybody everywhere, Vampire Weekend are the refinement of all the most pretentious parts of hipster touchstones, such as: Paul Simon, the Talking Heads and hippie apparel store background music. As this indie world music band began its meteoric rise to stardom, they became increasingly unbearable. Now safely coasting on its laurels, Vampire Weekend is primed for its slide into “legacy act,” a restful state of listlessness, no doubt hurried along by its incessant public fellation by mainstream tastemakers such as Rolling Stone, Spin and Pitchfork. (Yeah, don’t kid yourselves.)

No doubt the release of a new album will only encourage the mass fellatio, allowing them to pass Obama in the number of times they’ve heard “Use me like a filthy congressman.” Unless they make a Goo Goo Dolls-esque leap into power balladry or discover how hard it is for someone to say “poly-rhythmic” withtheir mouth full, Vampire Weekend should continue to raid Paul Simon’s record collection and liquor cabinet for years to come.

I think we all preferred them back in the day, when David Lowery was still an integral member and they performed under the name “Vampire Can Mating Oven.”

Another fine selection from the "Malcolm McLaren Collection of Arrestable Art"

Another fine selection from the "Malcolm McLaren Collection of Arrestable Art"

Bow Wow Wow
Another one of Malcom McLaren’s projects (after holstering his Sex Pistols) which allowed him to take nude photos of his underage lead singer and file it under Art, Album. (If it’s an album cover, it’s beyond reproach, apparently.) Their biggest hit was I Want Candy, which made a mockery of sex offender laws with its open baiting of cargo van owners everywhere.

Fortunately (mostly for Malcolm) this was done in a more permissible time before our teenagers’ incessant sexting made child pornographers out of many unsuspecting parents. Many people were able to pick up the album without having to mail order it in a plain brown wrapper or register with the county after opening it.

Karen Carpenter, in happier times

Karen Carpenter, in happier times

The Carpenters
Breaking into the soft rock scene with their hit single Close to You(well, not “breaking” really; they actually knocked first and politely asked if it would be ok to come in and play a couple of their songs, if that was “cool” with everybody), the Carpenters began an impressive run of hit singles and skipped meals.

Never content to rest on their laurels (out of concern for the laurels, poor things!), the Carpenters continued boldly into the future with both hands grasping wildly at the past. They toured tirelessly, entertaining thousands of politely seated concert-goers nationwide.

The endless touring and soft rocking began to take its toll. During the Carpenter’s 1982 Rock You Like a Pleasant Breeze tour, Karen Carpenter frequently found herself pinned underneath her shadow on the stage, due to unexpected lighting changes.

She collapsed in her parents’ home after an attempt to close the screen door and was rushed to the hospital. On February 4, 1983, Karen Carpenter was declared dead when an intern mistakenly allowed her to turn sideways, at which point she vanished completely.

A panoramic shot featuring 1/4 of Chicago's touring band

A panoramic shot featuring 1/4 of Chicago's touring band

Chicago
Despite popular opinion, Chicago was not named after the city. The Chicago Chamber of Commerce often places unsolicited calls to Wikipedia to make sure that this is being made perfectly clear.

They are actually named after their favorite mode of transportation, the Chicago bus line, which had the vehicles large enough to carry their entire bloated band, which at times swelled to over 1,200 members. Plus, they actually came from nearby suburb Vernon Hills, so their claim to Chicago’s name and street-tough history was about as legitimate as Vanilla Ice’s claim of being raised on the mean streets of Miami.

Setting out to be the “worst band in rock and roll” by ensuring an unhealthy ratio of non-rock instruments, Chicago worked the bar circuit for years before their recorded debut in 1969. Chicago-area bar owners breathed a sigh of relief as booking the massive band often meant they had reached capacity before any paying fans even had the chance to get in the door.

Being the “worst band in rock and roll” took a heavy toll on the band and extensive touring often found various members on the disabled list and Peter “Et” Cetera scouting the local talent for a replacement “5th Trombonist” or “Backup Vocalist #8 – Verbs Only.”

But as all proud “rock” bands do, they kept on keepin’ on. Ceteradid all he could to retain the “worst” title by his dalliance with Amy “Whore of Babylon” Grant and his refusal to use anything more than a mixture of Roman numerals and “real” numbers to name their albums. (Exception: Hot Streets, which was their XIIth album.)

The “worst” remained the best at being the worst, running virtually unopposed for several years until Jefferson Starship wrested the title away from them with the release of We Built This City (On Suck). Chicago (the “rock” band, not the city – thanks, City of Chicago Chamber of Commerce) was never the same again. Cetera left the group, claiming that he had “done all the damage he could.”

So who is the current holder of the “worst” title in rock today? With so many front-runners, it’s hard to pick one. (Nickelback.)

Digposter

Not to be confused with Digg! which contains no artistic merit whatsoever

Brian Jonestown Massacre/Dandy Warhols
Two bands whose fate is forever intertwined thanks to Ondi Timoner’s rockumentary Dig! and his follow-up, Holes, which went down a much more commercial path by straying from the original subject matters (much like Dandy Warhols themselves.)

Originally BFFs, both bands had the same original ambition: to have a really clever band name. The Brian Jonestown Massacre combined Brian Jones (whose deathkicked off a 30-year period where you couldn’t step out the door without tripping over a cooling rock star corpse) with the Kool Aid guzzling hi-jinks of the Jonestown Massacre (which kicked off a still-ongoing trend where you can’t step out the door without tripping over a cooling religious fanatic’s corpse).

The Dandy Warholswent in a much more upbeat direction withtheir band name, combining Dandy with the name of Portland’s famous Warhol’s Dinner Theatre, whose “fine dining” and “outrageous antics” are not for the weak of heart. Or stomach. On the other hand, the Soup of the Day is pretty consistent.

The BJM, with their antagonistic name, and the Dandy Warhols, with their inadvertent play on artist Andy Warhol’s name originally presented a united front as the revolution of music. They also both claimed the Velvet Underground as an influence, which put them in the exclusive group of every fucking band ever. At least the BJM followed through on it.

The Dandy Warhols, however, soon realized that they were operating several levels above their pay grade and began to tentatively return the embrace of the mainstream. Once it was clear that the feeling was mutual, the Warhols threw caution (and credibility) to the wind and proposed on the spot to their many suitors. Tragically, most of these suitors operated on the “use ’em and lose ’em” policy, cutting the Warhols an alimony check before leaving them alone, jealous and stoned. (Hello, Secret Machines!)

The Dandy Warhols did have the good fortune and lack of self-respect to be picked up immediately on the rebound, starting the vicious circle over and over again. Their mom keeps hoping they’ll finally find Mr. Right, but has sort of resigned herself to fielding late-night phone calls and making emergency Ben & Jerry’s runs.

The BJM went in a different direction. They wanted nothing less than a full-on music revolution. Their first step was to form antagonistic relationships with label after label. A&R men and label execs were treated to Ike and Tina Turner-type dustups and subjected to long lists of demands, like “full creative control,” “studio selection” and “a hoverbus for tours.”

Another point of contention was the pay scale: BJM frontman Anton Newcombe argued, unsuccessfully, that they should be making more as every band member was a “multi-instrumentalist.” The execs frequently mooted this point by stating (yet again) that their “royalties were based on record sales, not on number of instruments played.” They further pointed out that “all the talent and artistic integrity in the world won’t sell any records, and unless your name is Prince, we honestly could give a shit how many instruments you play.”

As the Warhol’s success increased, BJM began to complain that their former friends had sold them out. Astute observers reputed this by pointing out that:

a.) the Warhols sold themselves out; and
b.) the world does not revolve around BJM; that’s called “projection.”

BJM went on to make a metric shitload of records, flying bitterly and jadedly under the radar. The Dandy Warhols continued to splash around the in main stream, being fairly successful and losing their right to be described using interesting adjectives.

The lesson to be learned from this tale: Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Don’t expect to get paid for it, though. And: If you must whore yourself out, at least get paid well for it. Because an amateur whore is just a slut.

You may be asking “All else being equal, which one is the band for me?” The answer is: Go with whichever band name appeals to you more. You’ll probably be right.

-CLT

Previous episodes here: the RockNRoll Archives

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Fancy Plans… Guide to Rock and Roll V. 6

June 27, 2009

Yet another volume of rock and roll factoids, jam-packed full of information you just can’t get with yer wikipedias and yer allmusics. Does your average fansite speculate on the true meaning of Chrome’s wah-pedal fetish or explain Wes Borland’s misshapen head and career-ending gig with Limp Bizkit, the band you knew he’d leave as soon as his pockets were full?

I think not.

Previous versions include:
the Original
the Second
the Third
the Fourth
the Fifth

Chris Martin counts noses before the band heads back to the tour bus

Chris Martin counts noses before the band heads back to the tour bus

Coldplay
Gwyneth Paltrow’s vanity project, featuring “kept man” Chris Martin tickling the ivories and singing his heart out. When she’s not busy dabbling in the music biz, Paltrow takes time out from her hectic mirror-gazing schedule to dole out sickeningly sweet platitudes at her website, GOOP. Most posts are about as pleasant as being on the receiving end of candy that has been in someone’s pockets all day.

Coldplay has been in the news recently due to the fact that they ripped off both Joe Satriani and Cat Stevens in the same song. Martin has issued a statement saying: “If we’re going to rip anyone off, it’s Ben Folds and U2. Perhaps a dash of pretension from Radiohead. That’s it. Maybe a little of the House of Love.”

The most subtle thing about the album was the cover

The most subtle thing about the album was the cover

Consolidated
Basically a stream of slogans hitched to a drum machine, Consolidated with all the subtlety of an ELF-ordained mob beating. Despite “entertaining” their audience with deep political conversations both pre and post-show, Consolidated somehow failed to achieve long-lasting mainstream success. Fans noted that “while it’s nice to be preached at now and again, at some point you just want to yell, ‘Enough! We’re converted already!'”

The members of Consolidated, while not working various odd jobs, gather at their communal flat to swim through the vast vault of ideals and dogma, much like Scrooge McDuck does with actual, useful money.

The Cranberries pose for band photo pose #31: lead singer, look to your left; the rest of you, eyes on me...

The Cranberries pose for band photo pose #31: lead singer, look to your left; the rest of you, eyes on me...

the Cranberries
Much like their namesake, the Cranberries are a bittersweet band, best consumed in small doses, preferably once a year during family holidays involving thankfulness. Sure, you have a little with the turkey dinner, but you’ll never find yourself wandering the aisles of the local food jobber and grabbing a can or two as an impulse purchase.

Maybe it’s the lyrics, which strain for gravitas, much like Keanu Reeves in any costume drama. Maybe it’s lead singer O’Riordan’s brogueish wail, which reminds everyone why they can’t stand Sinead O’Connor. Whatever it is, you’ll put the Cranberries back on the shelf and ask yourself why you even put up with this shit once a year.

Man, these mariachis sure say "fuck" a lot...

Man, these mariachis sure say "fuck" a lot...

the Violent Femmes
There are at least two things wrong with this band’s name, especially the violent part. These three non-femmes, with their acoustic guitar, bass and trap set, resemble not so much the punk outshoot they are supposed to be, but rather a psycho-sexually charged pack of profane buskers.

Largely more tolerable than the Arcade Fire (and twice as compact), a band that sounds nothing like them, but has been known to spend a lonely night or two grabbing their instruments in a public park, subway, petting zoo, etc.

A clear indication that your band has crossed the disappear-up-your-own-ass pretension threshold: Someone asks if anyone feels like busking and more than half the band says yes. It evokes the forced emotions of the musical theater, especially “spontaneous” celebratory songs featuring the entire cast.

Perhaps still known best for their debut album (featuring the best summer song the Beach Boys never wrote: Blister in the Sun), which is OK is you’ve only been in existence for five or so years. Not so much if you’ve been together for nearly 30 years.

After viewing the photo, Danzig fired the band member on the far left

After viewing the photo, Danzig fired the band member on the far left

Danzig
Fronted by the only Spinal Tap member who wasn’t mortified by the Stonehenge set, Danzing features the Morrison-esque bellowing (Jim “Van” Morrison, not Alanis) of Glenn “MOOOOOOTHERRRRRRfucking” Danzig, the Tom Cruise of rock and roll. Strutting around the stage like Foghorn Leghorn’s charge in search of a chicken, Danzig belts out black metal with all the subtlety of leftover Meatloaf, his semi-contemporary.

Apparently “awesome” live, you really owe it to yourself to check them out. Get seats near the front if you wish to see anything other than his backup band (whom he has replaced several times with either shorter musicians or hired guns willing to stand in strategically places “stageholes”).

Because Glenn Danzig is short.

Experts aren't sure exactly when Everclear began sucking, but they theorize it was some point before the tambourine became a featured part of the act

Experts aren't sure exactly when Everclear began sucking, but they theorize it was some point before the tambourine became a featured part of the act

Everclear
Fronted by Portland, OR’s Kurt Cobain, Everclear made a promising start with kickass single Santa Monica. They then proceeded to take the road heavily travelled, producing watery, half-assed rock like so many formerly great bands before them. (I’m looking at you Filter, Goo Goo Dolls and Soul Asylum.)

The only reason to have any Everclear in your music collection at this point would also be the only reason to keep Everclear in your liquor cabinet: to separate less-discerning young women from their underwear.

AM Radio = Take A Picture = Iris = Misery = Jungle juice-powered FAILboat filled with streetdumb amateur hookers.

moodyblues

The all-new Moody Blues, featuring Kenny Rogers and his two illegitimate sons, both of whom are illusionists

Moody Blues
I said “Fuck off.” *disgusted sigh*

The battle of the sexes now has a soundtrack

The battle of the sexes now has a soundtrack

Girls Against Boys
The oldest rivalry in the books, dating back to the Garden of Eden, when Eve said to Adam, “Hey, big guy. Want an apple?”
Adam responded with, “I’m watching the game.”
“Come on, Adam. All the talking snakes are doing it. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, whatever the hell that means.”
Adam returned to the game. “Well, it certainly seems to be working in Canada.”

After a few more hours, Adam relented and downed the apple, which was spiked with the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve both realized (at the same time, OMG!) that they were naked and extremely self-conscious about their figures. Adam said, “Jesus, woman. Isn’t the laundry done yet?”

Of course God, like all mad scientists, was extremely irritated to find his creations had become sentient. He booted them from the Garden of Eden with, “Well, you’re the world’s problem now,” figuring they would survive “two weeks, tops” in the wild and He would soon be able to sweep the whole fiasco under the rug.

Unfortunately, they lived for years and inbred up a storm, turning their back on God, thus beginning the world’s second longest rivalry: us vs. them. (See also: Pink Floyd)

I've been making a man, with blonde hair and a tan...

I've been making a man, with blonde hair and a tan...

Nelson
The twin sons of Ricky Nelson, conceived in-vitro using Nova-IVF’spatented “Rock & Roll Stud” baby blend, which features the “contributions” of Edgar Winter and Fabio. The Nelson twins were born without fully-functioning autoimmune systems and were raised in a protective bubble and fed a special diet consisting of wheatgrass shakes and adult contemporary music.

Later in life, when doctors declared the boys “adequately healthy,” the Nelsons formed their own band, diluting the shallow end of the rock pool from 1990-1992. After several VH1 specials failed to raise public interest above “Who Gives a Shit,” the beautifully hideous twins sank into obscurity, surfacing briefly to finish each other’s sentences in Grit magazine interviews and battle the Proclaimers in low-level wrestling matches.

-CLT

h1

Fancy Plans… Guide to Rock and Roll (More Requests and Random Victims)

June 4, 2009

Much like previous installments (first, second and third), almost all information should be taken with several pillars of salt. Prepare to be blasphemed and sodomized by everything you never knew you didn’t know about the world of rock.

Einsturzende Neubauten band members loved to create their own instruments; ignore manufacturer's warnings

Einsturzende Neubauten band members loved to create their own instruments; ignore manufacturer's warnings

Einsturzende Neubauten
Ever since the first children climbed out the primordial ooze, opened the lower cupboards and proceeded to beat the hell out of pots and pans, man has been searching for a way to express this musically.

Einsturzende Neubauten, formed in 1980, fulfilled this dream. Early concerts featured band members flailing away at any percussive item, including fellow band members, the audience and lederhosen-clad beer wenches. Their name, which is often misspelled (often within this post itself) means “collapsing new buildings.” In a delightful play on words (and another display of German whimsy), the emphasis can be shifted to the third syllable of the first word to form a completely different phrase: “prolapsing new rectums.”

Guitarist, vocalist and pinup Blixa Bardot, has branched out from her noisy roots to play and tour with Nick Cave as “Under-Utilized Guitarist #1.” Her distinctive sound can barely be heard during interminable live renditions of such dark classics as Stagger Lee and Piano Man.

Einsturenzo Teubauten’s has influenced a number of industrial and noise groups including KMFDM’s early days as vacuum demonstrators, the Blue Man Group and their improvised instruments, Test Department’s general political cacophony, Rammstein’s general Germanness and the first 30 seconds of Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages.

Psst. Would you have the latest Sex Gang Children behind the counter?

Psst. Would you have the latest Sex Gang Children behind the counter?

Sex Gang Children
The only band in history to have been arrested for naming themselves, Andi Sex Gang and his Children have subsequently been cleared of all charges. Despite this, their name alone has caused more stage whispering in record stores than any other band on record (runners-up include Rapeman, the Negro Problem and Celine Dion). Each album release party tends to be swarmed by irate FBI drones and concerned politicians up for re-election. The band themselves have been asked not to perform within 1,500 yards of schools, playgrounds and public television stations.

The Catholic Church has of yet refused to take a solid stance on this band and their activities, so you may be able to catch a show in the unfortunately named rectory.

The Gang of Four's early years as a barbershop quartet

The Gang of Four's early years as a barbershop quartet

Gang of Four
The original seminal punk-funk band, to which the less politically-minded the Rapture owe their careers. Originally just a poorly organized student protest, the Gang of Four coalesced their displeasure with pretty much fucking everything into a funky, left-wing monster. Tackling everything from the military (I Love a Man in a Uniform) to capitalism (It Fails Us Now), poverty (To Hell With!) and assorted other hot-button topics (Anthrax).

Much like other seminal bands, they continued on to outlive their usefulness and reformed in 2004 to cash in on everyone who has missed their topical complaining the first time around. New waves of students were galvanized by their aging rhetoric and went about making posters and whatnot.

Rage Against the Machine could learn a thing or two from this band. Oh, they did. Mainly the reforming and touring. Because there’s money to be made. Evil, capitalistic money that spends the same as good, natural money. Actually better, because the first one exists while the other is simply the brainfart of many stoned students, whose lack of interest in making money has evolved into a bizarre hatred of those who will only exchange goods and services for money. Good luck with that.

Say, guv. The boys and I were wondering if you wouldn't have some fooking drugs?

Say, guv. The boys and I were wondering if you wouldn't have some fooking drugs?

Happy Mondays
Essentially a drug habit masquerading as a chart-topping band, the Happy Mondays formed in the “Angriest City in Britain,” Madchester, in 1980. Their effect of the burgeoning “baggy” scene was monumental.

While rewriting the blueprint for club music, the Mondays also has a tremendous effect on the slang of the day. Their code words for various items became ubiquitous. A few examples: “Kentucky Fried Chicken” – Heroin, “Junk” – Heroin, “Bez” – Psycho, “Case of the Mondays” – Suffering from heroin withdrawal.

While not producing club hits and referring to everyone and everything as “cunts,” Shaun Ryder and co. were hoovering up every available drug like Keith Richards understudies. Their unofficial slogan, “Taking Drugs to Make Music to Sell and, Subsequently, Purchase Drugs with the Profits” was shamelessly ripped off from contemporaries, the Spacemen 3. This set a precedent for “borrowing” that Ryder followed for the rest of the Mondays career and his solo work, taking solid chunks of Beatles’ lyrics, Pierre Henry’s Psyche Rock and, in the case of monster hit Step On, someone else’s entire song. (See also: David Lee Roth vs. Just a Gigolo.)

It all ended the way parent and politicians like to see a powerful drug story end: a disbanded group and a bankrupted label.

More exciting than this band

More exciting than this band

Bush
As children, someone asked them to “keep it down to a dull roar.” Bush ran with it, producing some of the dullest roar imaginable, following the trail inadvertently blazed by the subpar Candlebox (“Shit! I dropped one!”)

As Bush became the poster boys for everything wrong with Lowered Expectation Brand rock radio, their name has become synonomous with all things mediocre or worse: Bush league; Bush, George; Bush pilot; Layo and Bush Wacka!; Bush, George Dubya; Bush Wick Bill; 70s’-era porn Bush.

This man does amazing things with staircases

This man does amazing things with staircases

KMFDM
The show pony of Chicago’s Wax Trax! label, KMFDM became the go-to band for motion picture soundtracks due to their Teutonic bombast and lead singer MC En Escher’s ability to perform in more than three dimensions.

Much has been made of their name, which fans have speculated stands for anything from “Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode” to “Kylie Minogue Fans Don’t Masturbate.” In reality, it is the somewhat butchered German phrase “Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid,” which Google translates as “No Midland Waffle Tuesday Ennui.”

Pontiac announces their updated tranny

Pontiac announces their updated tranny

Trans Am
A fine, if somewhat boring American-made sports car. In an effort to cross-promote, G.M. executives signed three Washington, D.C. youngsters in 1990 to “get the name out there.” Unfortunately, the band’s blend of synthpop and garage rock, coupled with their nearly lyricless output, appealed to few and sold even less, proving once again that if there’s one thing American auto executives don’t know, it’s running American auto companies.

Alex Patterson of the Orb (left) performs for a lucky Make-A-Wish Foundation child

Alex Patterson of the Orb (left) performs for a lucky Make-A-Wish Foundation child

the Orb
Having become bored with chart success, dumping dead sheep and burning money, KLF founding member Jimmy Cauty formed the Orb in 1988 in a shameless attempt to court the under-hygienic and overly-broke Grateful Dead crowd. Instead of 12 minutes of guitar wankery during the “ultimate live version” of Space Truckin (Cleveland 1978), the Orb dished out a 32-minute single, Blue Room, a song which repeatedly asks the question, “Is this the best use of your time?”

Citing influences as “disparate” as Pink Floyd and Brian Eno, the Orb continued on to release several albums of audio wallpaper, under the assumption that they would be used for ravers to “come down” with while being revived by paramedics.

allmusic.com says, “If you only listen to one Orb song, that’s probably all you really have time for. I mean, you’ve got shit to do, right? Work, walk the dog and that rain gutter won’t fix itself.”

The Crystal Method refused to buy another sequencer and live shows often turned into full-fledged fistfights

The Crystal Method refused to buy another sequencer and live shows often turned into full-fledged fistfights

the Crystal Method
Named after Dennis Hopper’s acting school (“Finding Your Character’s Center Through Massive Drug Intake”), which followed in the footsteps of old acting buddy Jack Nicholson’s “All Blow, All the Time” theory, the Crystal Method released their debut album, Vegas, in 1997.

Released during the height of the “techno takeover” of America, Vegaswent on to become one of the biggest-selling electronic albums of all time. Despite some major label star power and MTV’s half-assed co-opting, techno has since returned to its accepted uses: scoring movie club scenes, bumper music for sports-talk radio, and the lazy ad exec’s go-to genre for making something sound “new” or “exciting.”

In America, techo remains the “soccer” of the music world, more popular everywhere else but here. Having peaked on their debut, the Crystal Method waited seven years before releasing an underwhelming followup (see also: the Stone Roses). They are set to release a new album in 2009 and I couldn’t care less.

Comes free in every dime bag (while supplies last)

Comes free in every dime bag (while supplies last)

Bob Marley
Jamaican reggae singer who, during his brief but prolific career, released thousands of posters, hats, shirts, Jamaican flags and black velvet paintings, all featuring his dreadlocked, pot-smoking self. In the middle of the massive outpouring of self-promotion, Marley found time to release one album, the inexplicably named Legend: Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits.

Co-opted by a generation of couch-surfers, Marley’s sole album occupies a slot in even the least-discerning pothead’s music collection, alongside such favorites as Phish, Widespread Panic, the Dave Matthews Band, the Grateful Dead and, of course, Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits.

When not being used for seed-and-stem sorting, Marley’s powerful album is the cornerstone (and only member) of the stoner’s reggae collection. Unless you count UB40. (Ed. – You know we don’t.)

Easily lost in the hotboxed haze is Marley’s revolutionary work and tireless anti-racism work, as is detailed in his songs:

  • “Is This Love” – the power of love; weed
  • “No Woman, No Cry” – comforting loved ones; weed
  • “Could You Be Loved” – again with the love; weed
  • “Three Little Birds” – props to the Audubon Society; weed
  • “Buffalo Soldier” – Black soldiers in the Indian Wars of the mid-1800’s; weed
  • “Get Up, Stand Up” – standing up for one’s rights; weed
  • “Stir It Up” – 5:33 – picking fights; weed
  • “One Love/People Get Ready” – monogamy/preparedness; weed
  • “I Shot the Sheriff” – shooting law enforcement; weed
  • “Waiting in Vain” – covering the Clash; weed
  • “Redemption Song” – double-coupon days; weed
  • “Satisfy My Soul” – getting some satisfaction; weed
  • “Exodus” – Moses, bitches; weed
  • “Jamming” – giving whitey something to sing along to, badly; weed

-CLT