Shootin’ the Breeze
Those of you that have been reading my drivel for a while
know that sometimes I write about whatever happens to
be passing thru my headbone at the time. This is one of
I heard a great song on the radio the other day. The artist
was Alex Harvey, and it occured to me that I never heard
him on the radio before. I was exposed to him over 30
years ago by a madman drummer I used to play with. After
hearing old Alex one more time I came up with the idea
that I need to start a music club for the express purpose
of conserving and promoting classic rock, especially classic
rock that ya never hear on the radio. I have a pretty
big musical library and sharing it is half the fun.
In the old days it was said that rock n’ roll would
never die. Well it’s still alive, but barely. Some
new bands kick ass, but the problem is they’re overshadowed
by other music that kinda stretches the definition of
the word “music”. I know I sound like an old
fart, but I have the right to ‘cause I am.
Regarding “Classic Rock”, I’m afraid
that it’s gone the way of our parent’s music
[Glen Miller, etc.]. Some radio stations play it, but
so much of the old stuff has been forgotten. I mean I
love “Turn the page”, but come on! Some people
forget anything was recorded except by Creedence, Led
Zepplin, Seger, The Doors and ZZ Top; great bands, but
there were so many others!
My idea is to get together with like minded people and
go to Blues bars, concerts and places like the Rock Hall
of Fame and to discuss and share music by bands like The
Kinks, Uriah Heep, the Yardbirds and too many others to
I remember thinking to myself that music of the 60’s
and 70’s would be around forever, and it is. The
problem is you only hear what was most popular because
the programming directors of your local radio stations
are probably too young to remember the rest of it or never
heard it the first time around.
By the end of the 60’s music had gone beyond the
AM “Top 40” stage with the introduction of
Rock to the FM format. In fact a new concept of Album
Oriented Rock [AOR] began. For the first time some artists
released entire albums without one hit single on it. The
focus was on the entire album. The FM stations would at
last play songs that lasted more than 3 minutes, or had
content that was too risky for AM radio.
slayings are. I have no idea what that all means, and quite
frankly I gave up trying to understand it. I’m just
surprised it’s lasted as long as it has.
Interspersed thu the 90’s were “Grunge”,
“Techno”, “House”, and many more
including mindless “Pop“ written for pre-pubescent
teenagers; forms of music, but not exactly my cup of tea.
“New age” was soothing, but too hypnotic.
Made me feel like a damned cow waiting to be milked. If
I’m offending anyone out there, just remember I
have a right to an opinion also, I just get to write what
mine is. Call it one of the perks of the job.
About that same time something else weird happened....Country
music started sounding like classic rock! Once again I
don’t know what that means, but Porter Waggoner
used to give me a headache. Now I don’t mind country.
In fact a lot of it is actually pretty good stuff [once
again in my humble opinion].
As I’ve said in a past column, John Lee Hooker,
Mozart, John Coltrane, Hank Williams and Billie Holiday
are artists from the past, yet nobody should ever say
their music is old. Good music is timeless, unless it’s
some kind of fad, in which case it probably isn’t
Classic rock needs to be preserved. And I’m not
talkin’ ‘bout the “Top Ten” hits.
This music is not just nostalgic, it’s history.
And a lot of it would be just as fresh today as the day
it was recorded, if you could only hear it.
Next time ya get the chance, why don’t ya call up
yer local radio station and ask for something ya really
want to hear. Dig back into yer memory and make the DJ
do his job! Stand up for yer rights! Call yer congressman!
Write a letter...uh, excuse me I forgot what the hell
I was talkin’ about.
I miss the old days when ya never knew what you were gonna
hear next on some FM radio stations. It might be a lunch
time live session of visiting musicians or some folk music
that a DJ dug out of his archives. Now, I usually listen
to public radio for variety. I get tired of all the commercials
on other stations. When they’re not tryin’
to sell ya somethin’, they’re selling how
cool they are. It seems ya listen to more b.s. than music!
In fact most of it sounds just like AM radio used to,
only it’s stereo and the signal comes in better.
Music, and art in general, is what separates humanity
from other life forms, whether it’s a far out paint
job on a set of tanks, a tatoo or a great song. Good music
can make a beautiful day shine brighter. It can make the
blues bluer. It can make ya jump up and dance, and it
can make yer heart bleed. I can’t help but feel
sorry for so many people that are missing out on the pure
emotion of it
I almost forgot! Merry Christmas! If yer stumped about
what to give somebody, give ‘em music. It is the
gift that keeps on giving. Also make sure yer cool on
New Year’s Eve.
I just wonder what the hell I’m gonna blab about
[TOP OF PAGE]
The major music corporations would never promote an album
unless they could make singles out it for quick bucks,
but artists were writing great music that wasn’t
commercial and some new, smaller labels were willing to
sign these artists up. Before, a lot of tracks were put
on albums just to take up space, but at last music was
heard that didn’t sound like filler or snappy singles.
How many times have you said, “Wow! I haven’t
heard that song in ages!” Sometimes yer even surprised
that anyone but you has even heard it before and you identify
with those that have, like yer sharing something personal.
Now I know a lot of you are probably asking yerselves,
“What does this have to do with motorcycles?”
Well, I dunno. I just write this column, do ya actually
think I have any control over it? If I had control over
what I do my police record would be a lot better and I
wouldn’t have so many ex wives.
Anyway, gettin’ back to it.....
By the mid 70’s fusion rock began. There was country
rock, jazz rock, folk rock, funk rock, reggae rock, blues
rock and even classical rock. The old rigid classifications
were breaking down. Even hippies were listening to people
like David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings. Out of nowhere
the Eagles and others were singing about cowboys and cheatin’
By the late “70s” they even came up with an
AM stereo format, but that never floated. The GM plant
I worked in sold a few cars with ‘em, but the idea
never caught on and that was a dead end.
Next thing ya know ya started hearing rock on television!
Commercials selling cars and washing machines were using
music that people used to listen to as they broke the
law! TV series began using rock and by the 80’s
a show called Miami Vice appeared with a dynamite soundtrack
that was selected and directed by Jan Hammer, formerly
of the jazz rock fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra. Rock
‘n roll was everywhere. Elevator music went from
Lawrence Welk to Pink Floyd!! Then something weird happened....
As is always the case the younger generation rebelled
against the older generation. The music of the “Hip”
became too outdated for those who were looking for their
“own” musical identity. An angry and negative
“Punk” phase rapidly emerged, then just as
quickly diminished. There’s still some punkers around,
but not as many as there were.
Following the advent of “Punk”, “Rap”
seemed to take over and was even angrier and more negative.
Music of love and philosophy, of joy and heartbreak and
social commentary disappeared from the top of the charts
and was replaced by songs about booty, ghetto life and
how cool gang