Everything louder than everything else

My title, of course, is one of the great Lemmy Kilmister’s most well-known lines, as well as the name of an album by Lemmy’s band. So I’m sure you can easily guess what I’m going to be embedding for this evening’s Tune Damage segment.

Mass shootings just one sign of the systemic collapse of western society… more hunger, violence, debt and destruction yet to come
We are watching the downfall of western civilization as we know it.

The rule of law is dead. Elections are rigged. Free speech is disallowed and a criminally corrupt government now runs an actual Ministry of Truth “disinformation” board. “Science” is a total fraud and the medical system is a murder system. Most of the youth refuse to work, and real-world skills are practically non-existent among those under the age of 30. The education system is run by pedophiles and groomers, Hollywood has gone all-in with satanic programming of children and the US military, under the leadership of woketard Pentagon officials, has become a pathetic shadow of its former self.

On top of all that, the dollar is collapsing in real world value, even as it rises against other currencies (temporarily). The Fed is trapped in an inescapable economic collapse scenario, and the housing bubble is in the process of bursting. Our “president” is a dementia patient who was installed in a rigged election, and our news media — if you can even call them that — are journo-terrorists who parrot CIA lies and corporate disinformation to invoke race wars and covid panic while pushing depopulation vaccines that are designed to exterminate humanity.

None of this is going to get resolved through sanity and reason. It’s all headed for collapse. And when I say “collapse,” I mean the total collapse of western civilization as we know it. This includes the collapse of Western Europe, which is also run by retarded lunatics who are wholly incapable of functioning in any sort of rational way whatsoever.

The West has lost the ability to reason. Logic no longer applies to anything, not science, medicine, journalism, elections, etc.

Oh, I assure you it still DOES apply, and always will. It’s just that most “Americans” have fully bought into the Left’s cherished delusion that logic, like reality itself, can be suspended completely at their capricious whim, then reinstated soon afterwards with no real harm done.

“Journalism” is now just parroting the lies of the corporations and deep state agenda-setters. “Elections” now simply means Democrats running vote-stuffing mules to achieve whatever number of faked votes is necessary to “win.” “Science” means rigging studies, censoring data and destroying the careers of scientific whistleblowers who dare to speak out and warn the world. “Medicine” is a process whereby hospitals and doctors gain financial wealth by murdering patients for profit. “Wall Street” is a Ponzi scheme propped up by seemingly endless money printing. The “gains” are ephemeral. Pension funds and retirement funds are ghosts, and they will collapse toward zero as the house of cards collapses.

Western countries like the USA manufacture almost nothing. We have virtually no domestic supply chain for steel, rare earth minerals, electronics or industrial chemicals and polymers. We are a nation that has abandoned industry and embraced “financialization,” which is the scam of creating make believe wealth by pretending to move numbers around on computer screens, creating derivatives and CDOs and “synthetic CDOs” and other incomprehensible financial instruments that ultimately produce nothing in the real world.

Meanwhile, as China is stockpiling grain in anticipation of a global food shortage — and India has just banned all exports of wheat in order to feed its own people — America continues to export corn, wheat, soy, millet and other agricultural products to China, helping make sure that China won’t starve even while America’s population faces mass famine this year (and next).

There is no longer anything resembling sanity or reason in America. The nation has lost its mind, and the oblivious masses are getting angry enough to start shooting each other with greater frequency. This should come as no surprise.

Believe me, it doesn’t. But odd as it may seem, it ain’t a bad thing, nevessarily. In fact, it’s abundantly clear by now that “shooting each other with greater frequency” is our only way out of this mess. To be specific: sane, sensible, normal Americans are gonna have to start shooting Leftards in job lots if they want their situation to improve. As the saying goes, you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.

(Via WRSA and Bracken)

Update! Dang it, forgot the embed.



Why yes, of COURSE I have a great story about meeting and hanging out with Lemmy once. Ill have to tell ya all about it sometime.

Updated update! A 2009 live version so racy it has to go below the fold. Continue reading “Everything louder than everything else”

Dream come true

This lucky kid just got to live out a fantasy quietly treasured by every aspiring rocker who ever lived.

Teen drummer Kai Neukermans had counted off the beat for many songs before, his drum sticks leading into fierce covers of bands including Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age.

But this time it wasn’t his younger brother and a friend at guitar, bass and mike. Seated at the drum kit, the 18-year-old from Mill Valley stared back at none other than Eddie Vedder and the rest of popular grunge band Pearl Jam. Plus a crowd of fans in the nearly 20,000-seat Oakland Arena.

“Everybody this is Kai; Kai this is everybody!” frontman Vedder called out to the cheering crowd.

Four beats from Neukermans, and they were off. He had led them into an explosive rendition of “Mind Your Manners” from the group’s 2013 “Lightning Bolt” album. Vedder leaned over and screamed into the microphone, chugged from a bottle of red wine and pumped his fist as the audience sang along.

Spin back about 24 hours to get to the unlikely series of events that led this Tamalpais High School senior to share Friday night’s stage with one of the most steadfast bands still kicking from Seattle’s grunge movement.

Neukermans is not just any teen drummer; he’s one-third of the hard-charging teen rock group the Alive, a band “launched between surf and skate sessions in 2018,” as their web bio explains. They’ve played significant stages, from the BottleRock Napa Valley main stage to Lollapalooza Chile and Boardmasters in England. His 14-year-old brother, Manoa Neukermans, plays bass, and their friend Bastian Evans, 17, of Laguna Beach (Orange County) handles guitar and vocals.

Neukermans and his brother had just seen Pearl Jam perform in Los Angeles — the band was in town for a recording session. During Pearl Jam’s first show in Oakland on Thursday, Neukermans and his family started receiving text messages from friends watching the band perform. Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron wasn’t performing because he’d tested positive for the coronavirus.

Unbelievable. So we’ve now reached such an advanced stage of pussification that nothing more menacing than a positive test for this grotesquely overhyped malady is excuse enough to skive off work and stay safely home quaking in fear over your imminent demise from the Chinky Pox, eh?

Now, I have no wish to bring down The Jinx on our non-pussy readership by being impertinent about this silliness, mind. But I can’t help but wonder: would those weak-kneed Pearl Jam panic-ninnies have called off the show if the stand-in hadn’t been up to it for whatever reason? Would disappointed, screwed-over fans have received an expiditious, full refund of the exorbitant admission price they shelled out? It’s a dead cert they’ll have to eat the cost of gas, food, drinks, plus the staggeringly high cost of parking about a good half-hour’s trudge, maybe more, from the venue, no helping that.

But still. Does Pearl Jam feel any obligation to not let their fans down if they can possibly avoid doing so? Can they possibly be so naive, so profoundly gormless, that they do sincerely believe that a single positive test is adequate justification for abjuring that solemn obligation? Could the band make a plausible case for that, collectively or individually, to the fans with a straight face? WOULD they?

They pressed him to offer himself up as a replacement for Friday night’s show.

“It was a last-minute thing, and I didn’t think it was going to work out,” Neukermans said.

But he gave it a shot.

Neukermans had met Vedder’s daughter Olivia Vedder in 2018 at Ohana Fest, founded by her surf-loving father and held on the beach at Dana Point in Orange County. So Neukermans sent her a text. She responded that night and said she’d ask.

Friday morning Neukermans went to school. Around lunchtime he heard they wanted to see a video of him drumming.

Neukermans left school before his last two periods — with permission from his parents, Stefaan and Alexandre Neukermans — and drove down to Green Room Music in Pacifica. He put “Mind Your Manners” on repeat in a rehearsal room and started drumming. Over and over and over.

Okay, enough with the excerpting. If you’re at all interested in these momentous affairs, click on over for our thrilling conclusion.

1

Guitar heaven

Ed Driscoll reports from the Dallas International Guitar Festival, and if you’re at all into guitars, it’s pretty sweet stuff.

On Saturday, I attended the 2022 Dallas International Guitar Festival at the Dallas Market Hall, the second festival after a timeout in 2020 due to the pandemic lockdown. As I wrote last year at Instapundit, unlike the previous guitar shows in the DFW Metroplex, 2021’s show had a somewhat more low-key feel, lacking the large exhibits by the music industry heavy hitters such as Gibson and Fender. (In pre-pandemic times, a large trailer owned by Gibson would be displaying their newest and most impressive guitars, Fender usually had a large display, and Roland was showing off the latest effects in their Boss line as well.)

While Gibson and Fender were still absent in person, this time around it was nice to see a few bigger names back on display, such as…

Fender, Boss, Gretsch, Taylor, Eventide; Les Paul, Strat, Tele, Black Beauty—the names alone evoke an overwhelming nostalgia in me whose taste is bittersweet at best nowadays, seeing as how my hands have been utterly ruined by the curse of DePuytren’s Contracture, or Viking Disease. My left-hand ring and pinky fingers are curled tightly up against my palm and can’t be straightened, even by physical force; as I tell foks who ask, my once-agile fretting hand is useful mainly as a place to hang my keys, no more. The right hand is only a little bit behind, but well on its way. The sensation brought on by this condition is so intensely unpleasant it actually wakes me up at night sometimes. It’s fucking awful, is what it is.

All that aside, any halfway serious guitar slinger—by which I do NOT necessarily mean a professional musician who earns his daily bread wielding an axe onstage and/or in the studio—will enjoy Ed’s reportage tremendously. The photos alone will be enough to bring a tear of joy to your jaded eye, trust me. Although I must say the Les Paul pics run way heavy on the Tobacco and Honey Burst varieties—which, I can’t stand those ugly, dull-looking turdballs—and way light on Cherry Sunburst—which are my all-time faves. Examples:

Tobacco Burst: uglier’n homemade sin


Honey Burst: slightly more bearable

Purty!
Cherry Burst: a little bit of Heaven on Earth

Of course and as always, your mileage may etc on that. There’s no real shame in disagreeing with me; it just means your taste is in your ass, that’s all. I should maybe also mention the subspecies of the parent Tobacco and Cherry Burst finishes, such as Lemon and Tangerine. In fact, the Honey Burst model depicted above is actually a sub-category of Tobacco Burst its own bad self.

One last photo from Ed’s post to take home witcha.

TeleStrat.jpg

For the uninitiated, that two-headed beastie at Foreground Left flying Distressed White colors and decked out in its Sunday-best gold hardware is something of an odd duck: a double-necked Strat-style body, with the top half being pretty much the standard three-pickup Stratocaster deal. The bottom half, though, veers off in a decidedly different direction: one single-coil pickup, slightly beefier than those found on Strats, mounted on a steel plate way back by the bridge with the familiar, jaunty Telecaster tilt. It also sports the knurled steel volume/tone knobs and long-throw three-position pickup selector switch which typically adorn the Telecaster control panel.

TeleCP.png

Ahh, the precious memories. All well beyond my reach now, alas. As my Uncle Murray always insisted, with no little heat: Gettin’ old sucks. Wise man, Uncle Murray was.

1

Dwight! Buck! Bakersfield!

Buck Throckmorton displays his impeccable taste in music with a vid of Dwight Yoakam doing a too-short greatest-hits medley on the Grand Ole Opry stage. It is indeed some mighty fine stuff, gooder’n grits and redeye gravy. Unfortunately, though, Dwight somehow failed to include my own personal fave on the setlist, an instant classic called “The Distance Between You And Me.” Please allow me to rectify this oversight.



Buck thoughtfully tosses a little bonus verbiage into the mix.

THROCKMORTON’S FIRST LAW OF LIVE MUSIC: IF THERE’S AN UPRIGHT BASS IN THE BAND, IT’S PROBABLY GOING TO BE GOOD

Ain’t no arguing with that sentiment. Funny thing is, though, that ole Dwight chose to work with both a standup and a Fender bass in the video. I have no idea why; the only other time I can recall seeing anybody using two bass players onstage was when the Playboys opened for Little Richard in NYC: the experienced old road-dog Richard had been using since the late 60s pumping out those sweet licks in the old-school way over on Stage Left, and a much younger Young Turk thumping and popping and slapping some more contemporary Fo’ Da Peepuls funkitudeadelicalicity at Stage Right.

The setup seemed to work well enough to suit Richard’s purposes as the Architect of Rock and Roll, yes. But generally speaking, if you have the fat, round, full-throated sonic ooooomph!! of an upright making your point for you onstage, you have no need of the thinner, midrangey, somewhat nasal skrooonk! of an electric too. Next to a properly mic’ed and/or amplified standup, the electrical whippersnapper is just pointless and superfluous and really needs to get the hell off my lawn.

Plus, you’re padding the payroll unneccessarily by taking on a spare bass player you don’t need—paying for extra meals, extra booze, extra hotel rooms, and assorted other extra goods and services which personal experience tells me you damned well can’t afford.

Then there’s having to help your redundant bassman wrangle his gear into the band van…and believe you me, those Hugh Jass™ Ampeg 8×10 “refrigerator” cabs insisted on by every discerning bass player who has clawed his way up to the less-cramped stages and overly-muscled stagehands characteristic of the midsized-venue circuit are fucking HEAVY, no joke. Topped by an early-70s all-tube SVT head and we’re talking between three and four hundred pounds of bottom-end rumble to lug around, which adds up to some serious no-fun for all involved parties. Nothing else sounds better, or anything like as good. But nothing else is a bigger ass-ache to have to deal with night after night after night out on the road.

When you’re listening to the intoxicating sound an Ampeg SVT rig produces, you love that infernal beast more than the soft, sweet coo of your peacefully-slumbering child. When you’re trying to work your freshly-mangled hand out from under it, or you and three of your least-svelte buds are struggling to manhandle the thing up a staircase lengthy enough to accommodate the takeoff roll of an Antonov An 225 which leads up to the loft in which tonight’s venue is situated, there’s nothing and no one you’ve ever hated worse. Ask me how I know. Go ahead, I dare ya.

Remembering how Dwight Yoakam crashed the country music charts in the late 1980s with raw, retro-country gives me hope that there will someday be another Dwight emerge with a retro-sound that breaks the hold of bro-country/tailgate-rap on modern country music.

We can only hope so. Retro? Fine and dandy, I gots no nits to pick there, either. But what Dwight really was, was a living, loving tribute to the game-changing Bakersfield Sound pioneered by the legendary country artists Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Billy Mize, among others. Yoakam was personally close to and did a goodish bit of studio work with Owens, proudly acknowledging his Bakersfield affiliations with 1988’s chart-topping duet with his friend Buck, “Streets Of Bakersfield.” Owens had recorded the song back in 1973 his own self, which quickly died the death upon its release. As is remarkably common in country music, a wonderful backstory comes along with the song.

Homer Joy, the song’s writer, was approached in 1972 by representatives from Buck Owens’ studio in Bakersfield, California, about recording a “Hank Williams Sr. soundalike-album”. Joy initially refused, saying “I don’t want be like Hank, I just want to be me!” Eventually, he agreed to come in and record it, on the condition that he would also get to record some of his own songs as well. After the recording, however, the studio manager told Joy that he’d forgotten that the Buckaroos (Buck Owens’ band) were practicing for an upcoming tour, and that Joy would have to wait to record his original songs.

Refusing to back down, Joy would show up at the studio at 8 AM every morning, only to be told that the Buckaroos were busy and that he would still have to wait. One night, Joy decided to take a walk around downtown Bakersfield, only to have the brand-new cowboy boots he’d been wearing give him blisters all over his feet: “I barely made it back to the car, and on top of that, I was still upset about everything, and I went back to my hotel room and wrote ‘Streets of Bakersfield’.”

As usual, Joy went to the studio at 8 AM the following morning, and the studio manager, out of frustration, grabbed a guitar off of the wall and gave it to Joy, saying, “Sing me one of the songs that you’d record if we could get some time to record it.” As kind of an “in-your-face” gesture, Joy performed his eight-hour-old “Streets of Bakersfield”. Afterward, the studio producer went into the back of the studio, brought out Buck Owens, and had Joy play it again. Owens then said to the manager, “The Buckaroos have the day off, but you call them and tell them that we’re going to do a recording session on Homer this afternoon.”

Buck Owens released a recording of the song in 1973, and while that version wasn’t a major hit, the re-recording he did with Dwight Yoakam in 1988 (with slightly changed lyrics) reached #1 on the Billboard Country Music charts.

That 1988 revisit to the Number One spot was the first for Buck Owens since 1972. Here t’is:



Two things to look out for here: one, the brilliant, fluid guitar stylings of Yoakam’s longtime partner, producer, and behind-the-scenes mastermind, the seriously gifted Pete Anderson; and 2) the always-understated presence onstage of Flaco Jiminez, King of Tex-Mex accordion. When it comes to putting a smile on the faces of his audience, I can honestly say I’ve never been able to watch one of Flaco’s joyous, open-hearted performances without grinning like a mule eating briars.

Flaco got his first big break in the 60s when he landed a regular gig with Doug Sahm, a founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet (“She’s About A Mover,” featuring a pitch-perfect Vox organ hook from Augie Meyers). Flaco worked with Sahm for years, stepping out to bebop around on his own hook before eventually reuniting with Sahm in the Texas Tornadoes, also sharing stages with fellow music icons Augie Meyers and Freddie Fender.



Good stuff, no? Almost all of those guys are long gone; it saddens me to think that, after bringing so much happiness to so many people, they should be all but forgotten nowadays, fringe weirdos like myself being the ever-lonelier exceptions. I’ll leave you with one last nugget of “Behind The Music” trivia before signing off for the night.

The Cadillac with an upright bass strapped on top of it always brought me a smile in Dwight’s official video for “Guitars, Cadillacs.”

Didn’t bring very many of ’em to Elvis Presley’s original standup bass player, Bill Black. For Elvis, Bill, and Scotty Moore, the hitch-hiking bass wasn’t just a photo shoot, it was everyday life. The boys spent a good chunk of 1955 actually hauling Bill’s doghouse bass around on the roof of Elvis’s newly-acquired pink Caddy (don’t miss the incredibly rare pictures at the link!), which Bill didn’t like even a little bit—all the moreso since he had to hang his arm out the window and hold onto the neck of his fragile, expensive instrument so’s a sudden gust wouldn’t rip the bass up, up, and away, transmogrifying Bill’s pride and joy into so much kindling wood strewn across the Tennessee blacktop. Black disliked his admittedly unappealing circumstances enough as it was, the bitterness and envy at having been eclipsed by Elvis as the star of the show which would torment him for the rest of his abbreviated life already beginning to rankle*.

As you might well imagine, he was absolutely beside himself with rage whenever those April showers came their way.

*In Bill’s opinion, being rudely elbowed out of the spotlight and into supporting-player status was an entirely unfair and ill-considered error in judgment, a mistake which could only damage the combo’s career prospects. From practically the moment the ink had dried on Elvis’ signature on his contract with RCA, the label snootily announced that neither Scotty nor Bill’s presence would be required in the tracking room for the first RCA album. This insult would only intensify Bill’s rancor, the only real chnge in his hostile attitude from then on being the slow shifting of his anger onto Elvis himself, for not standing up like a man to support and defend his erstwhile bandmates. Bill was much older than Elvis, and he had come to regard the soon-to-be King of Rock and Roll as a wet-behind-the-ears kid, easy pickings for the wily, conniving big shots from up North in their chaffeured limos and their fancy suits. These interlopers had obviously seduced Elvis into cutting ties with those who truly cared about him and understood his music and ambitions far better than any damned Yankee ever could. Bill persuaded himself into believing that his primary concern was keeping watch over Elvis, fending off the ravening major-label wolves and looking out for Elvis’s best interests, over and above any conceit or careerist ambitions of his own.

Scotty, reliably affable and easygoing, shared Bill’s sense of betrayal and abandonment at the dastardly hands of a presumed friend who had proven false, only setting his anger and hurt aside after many years had passed and time had attenuated his youthful passions. The BP’s manager had gotten to know Scotty fairly well in the years after Elvis’s death, and says that for a long while there, just about the only conversation anybody could get out of Scotty Moore was “FUCK Elvis, the goddamned backstabbing phony” and such-like. Mostly, while he never had any of Bill’s overbearing, aggressive vanity, he still felt he had been ill-used badly enough to cherish his grudge against Elvis until only a few years before he died. Bill Black, on the other hand, carried his with him to the grave.

Testing, testing

Just signed up for a Rumble account, and thought I’d upload a couple of BP live-show vids I have just lying around the house and embed ’em here, just to see how this whole shebang works. Or, y’know, IF it works.



Huh, well how ’bout that, it DOES work. I’ve read here and there that Rumble is just about the best YouTube alternative currently available, so I felt obliged to give it a whirl.

On a roll update! Here, have another.



5

One for BCE

Just ’cause he brought this up:

It reminded me of the old Lone Ranger joke…

The Lone Ranger and Tonto are looking down the side of the mountain into the valley, which is teeming with ten thousand pissed off Apache. Lone Ranger looks over to Tonto and says “Looks like we’re in a tight spot old friend!”

To which Tonto looks at him and says “What’s this “we” shit Paleface?”

Heh. A pretty decent oldie-but-moldie that reminded me of this, from 1974…when I was all of, erm, uhhhhh…fourteen years old?!?

DAMN, but I’m old.



Yeppers, that little ditty was a solid AM radio hit in my youth, among many other off-the-wall and inexplicable novelty offerings. No need to thank me, Expat. Probably no reason to, either.

Are you are as impressed as I am?

No, not in the least.

800-Volt EV Charging: The Other Palliative for Range Anxiety
Taking 18 minutes to charge to 80 percent makes top-up pit stops suddenly more palatable

Not to anybody who remembers that the last time he gassed up his current ICE vehicle it didn’t take him even five minutes, it ain’t…and that was filling his tank completely, not stopping at 80% and then calling it a “top-up.” Not to even mention that said ICE vehicle cost him around thirty-forty grand to buy, considerably less than the hefty 56k-and-up tariff the little Green Weenie windup toys bring along for the ride.

“Range anxiety” has been a headline concern for electric vehicles. Some automakers keep trying to soothe it with ever-larger and heavier battery packs, so that consumers can go farther between charges.

The problem is that lithium-ion cells remain expensive, heavy, and in critically short supply around the world. And battery bulk alone, especially in monstrously powerful trucks, can be a short route to a relatively inefficient and prohibitively expensive EV.

The Hyundai Ioniq5 and Kia EV6 that I recently tested—a pair of wildly impressive, high-design EVs—take a different approach to solving range anxiety: an 800-volt battery architecture that delivers some of the fastest charging in the EV game, and unheard of at these price levels. These handsome crossover SUVs might not be able to cruise for 7 hours on the highway, like the 500-mile-range Lucid Air. But their ability to charge to 80 percent capacity in as little as 18 minutes shows how EVs might circumvent the problem of battery overkill and still be fully viable as interstate cruisers.

The Hyundai, especially, left fellow drivers doing double takes and whipping out phone cameras.

But not their checkbooks, one may have noticed. So far at least, the only proven way to move EVs off the showroom floor and into peoples’ garages is for goobermint to mitigate the heart-stopping sticker shock with a nice subsidy package—or, to put it more honestly, a bribe for swallowing the multitudinous downsides of these Loser Cruisers, at the government’s (taxpayer’s) expense. (HINT TO LIBTARDS: Having to resort to bribery to sell a products is NOT an indication of said product’s popularity with consumers. Quite the opposite, actually.) We won’t even go into the many other disincentives that add up to make EVs a very hard sell indeed. Like, say, the very real and serious risk that your shiny new EV strugglebuggy might explode and/or spontaneously burst into flames, taking down your house along with it.

TITLE BACKSTORY: Back in the middle/late 70s I had an interaction—an abbreviated one, for reasons which ought to soon be apparent—with the manager/salesman of one of CLT’s perennially cellar-dwelling music stores, the name of which I don’t remember. I had wandered in there out of sheer desperation in search of a pack of whatever semi-obscure guitar strings I was enamored of back then, kidding myself that I’d be more likely to find off-brand strings in an off-brand store—a hopeful hypothesis which the science would invalidate posthaste.

Music Store Dude’s idea about my quest for cheap but effective guitar strings did NOT concur with my own, oh no no. According to his professional Music Store Dude expertise, what I really wanted was a brand new, all-chipboard-no-tube, cheaply made, sounds like the worst cheap-beer-and-Indian-food morning-after diarrhea-dook you ever took smelled like, Peavey guitar amplifier. Having one of those crimes against rock and roll all plugged in and ready to befoul the air long before my entry into the shop had made the little bell hung over the door go “ding,” MSD leapt into Sell! Sell! Sell! mode, turned the offensive thing on, and began idly strumming the guitar he had been holding in his lap. After each chord, the guitar’s melodious tone curdled into a gnarly, muddy mess courtesy of that sorry-ass Peavey. Then Music Store Dude would beatifically roll his eyes Heavenward as he repeated the corny mantra that had clearly been drummed into him in the Salesmanship 101 course he had flunked out of in community college: Are you as impressed as I am? Are you as impressed as I am? ARE YOU AS IMPRESSED AS I AM?

There was but one answer to be made to this increasingly aggressive query, to which I immediately resorted in self-defense: I muttered, semi-sotto voce, something along the lines of Sorry, gotta go, I think I hear my friends at Reliable Music shouting for me. Which is where I kicked up my heels and hurried off to without further delay, and bought the stupid pack of strings that had so nearly brought a strange doom crashing down upon my head—Death by Shitty Guitar Tone. I should’ve just gone to Reliable in the first place. I don’t know why I hadn’t, but it was a mistake I would never make again. In every city I played in, I kept strictly to the music stores I was familiar with when I needed one, shunning all the weird-looking, down-at-heels ones as if they had leprosy.

Yeah, yeah, I know: Skynyrd used and endorsed Peavey amps, as did pretty much every other ’70s Southern rock hit factory you could name.

And so what? I’ve always been pretty sure the second part of “used and endorsed” explains the first adequately enough: those Southern rockers played ’em not so much because they liked ’em, but because they were being paid to look as if they did. Myself, I hated the damned shitburgers back then, and I still do now. But hey, if Peavey handed me a big enough wad of cash, I’d try my best to pretend I liked the useless boat anchors too.

Obligatory disclaimer/confession: I DID play a Peavey Bandit for a couple-three months in the earliest days of the BPs; it belonged to one of the guys I had originally conceptualized the band with, an old-school purist who just could not abide the Marshall JMP half-stack (ie, the King of Rock, long may he reign—one of the very best amps ever produced, by anybody) that was helping me work through my rage issues back then. I make no apology for my brief lapse into the Shame of the Peavey; after all, none of us is without his own skeletons in the closet, right?

The moral of the story? Never let yourself be taken in by a hustler (the gooberment) trying to pressure or swindle (or legislate) you into settling for an inferior solid-state counterfeit (EV) of the tube-driven (ICE) real deal. You’ll be throwing away your money (your money) in the end, it won’t work out as promised (your house will burn down), and the only one who will end up happy with the whole deal will be the salesman (goobermint).

Oh, one more point to be made: If your product is good enough you won’t even have to sell it, it will sell itself. In contrast to the Peavey band-endorsement hustle, do note that Jim Marshall kept strictly to his principle of not paying for artist endorsements, the lone exception—until 1991 and the release of Marshall’s JCM Slash signature-model amp—being Jimi Hendrix.

According to an old book I have chronicling the amazing history of James Marshall’s world-beating amps (Marshall, amusingly and ironically enough, was actually a drummer his own self, and had enjoyed some local fame playing jazz in London nightspots), their names partially explains the Hendrix exception. Jimi was introduced to Marshall at the small London music store and amp-repair shop James owned and ran—and where his iconic amps had originally been created, at the request of Pete Townsend, probably the most famous of several other shop hangarounds that would later become rock stars themselves—and was blown away by the coincidence of their names—James Marshall Hendrix, guitar god, and James NMI Marshall, immortal guitar-amp legend. The two became close friends, Jimi switched to Marshalls for good, and the rest is rock and roll history.

Some good stuff from the previously-linked article, for any gear-geeks that might be reading:

You’d think that a guitarist of Slash’s stature would have a warehouse full of amplifiers at his disposal. As it turns out, though, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist only has a handful of trusty heads, which were discontinued in 1989, and they’re all just about ready to be retired. “I’ve been using the same Marshall Jubilee heads at every gig and session since I got them in 1987,” says Slash. “A bunch of those got badly damaged at the riot we had in St. Louis in 1991. After that, I was really nervous about my amplifier situation because I knew that if anything happened to the Jubilees I had left, I would be totally screwed.”

It was in the aftermath of the riot (which was prompted by an abbreviated GNR set) that Slash and Marshall began discussions that would ultimately result in the limited-production JCM Slash. And while Marshall amps have been associated with many of rock’s legendary guitarists, this is the company’s first endorsement deal-not to mention its first signature model.

“I’m totally honored that Marshall is doing this,” says Slash. “I’m the first person ever to get a free amp from them-except for Jimi Hendrix. And from what I understand, the amps he had were just on loan.”

The new amplifier is an exact replica of the Silver Jubilee 2555. However, unlike the Jubilee, the JCM Slash boasts the guitarist’s “smoking snake” logo and comes complete with a pimpin’ snakeskin cover.

The all-tube, 100-watt head boasts a quartet of Russian EL34’s in its power section and a trio of ECC83’s driving its two-channel preamp. There’s also a handy, front-panel-mounted half-power switch that allows you to drop the amp down to a more manageable 50-watt triode mode perfect for smaller venues. Slash admits that even he runs his amps on half-power much of the time. “If you have a singer who’s sensitive to loud backlines like Axl is, having a half-power switch is a godsend. It’s the only I way I can get the power tubes to work as hard as I need them to.”

I got chills here. Honestly, reading stuff like this makes me miss playing more than just about anything else, it really does. Nothing sweeter or more satisfying than the spine-tingling yowl of a Model 1987 50-watt Plexi reissue firing a pair of Celestion G12T-75s, the rig I happily ran for many years. Never have I owned a setup I liked better than this one, and I’ve owned ’em all. I never liked GNR, but I do like Slash just fine. He’s an excellent player, and I envy him his guitar/amp setup.

Update! If you can’t bribe ’em, try extorting ’em.

Pete “Just Buy A Tesla” Buttigieg Buttplug (FIFY—M) Says To Get Used To Price Hikes Until We Have Energy Independence Based On Clean Energy
Just another reminder that the higher gas prices you are suffering under are intentional.

Ever since the Obama Administration, the left has made it their goal to make gas so unaffordable that the American people will dump the convenient and plentiful fossil fuels the entire global economy is based upon for “clean” energy sources.

Here’s Mayor Pete telling Americans that the beatings will continue until morale improves:

Here’s the thing to remember, even if all the oil we use in the USA were made in the USA, the price of it is still subject to powers and dynamics outside of the USA.

Which means, until we achieve a form of energy independence that is based on clean energy created here at home, American citizens will still be vulnerable to wild price hikes like we’re seeing right now.

Gay Mayor Pete and the Biden crew will never admit that gas prices were low under Trump and that it was because of his energy policy.

But now that Biden has made it impossible to drill in the US, then all of a sudden all the drilling in the world won’t help the United States. It’s a global market.

Forget the four years under Donald Trump, those never happened.

There’s nothing that can be done, except buying electric cars, building more windmills and solar panels, and keeping the serfs at home forever.

Never mind that Biden’s Energy Secretary even says that they are using the Ukraine crisis and rising oil prices to transition America off gas.

It’s all intentional. It’s meant to cause pain.

Yep, t’is. There must be some way we could return the favor and cause them some right back, don’tcha think? Gee, I wonder what it might be

OBEY update! When bribery and extortion have failed, you might then try a little judicious legislation removing the serfs’ ability to choose for themselves.

Last week, the current Democrat Governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, signed a bill into law that aims to ban the sale of most non-electric vehicles in the state by 2030.

This legislation follows the lead of other deep-blue states like California and New York that recently announced bans on gas-powered vehicles in a move to end sales of these vehicles no later by 2035.
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The Post Millennial reported that Inslee signed the “Move Ahead Washington” package into law stipulating that all publicly owned and privately owned “passenger and light duty vehicles 2030 model or later that are sold, purchased, or registered in the state” must be electric.

This legislation comes with a $16.9 billion price tag and will receive funds generated by taxes on gasoline.

Ummm, I believe I see a tiny little problem with this Supergenius!™ idea.

Inslee claimed that the package would help “combat climate change,” but the state of Washington will be reliant upon its residents and visitors continuing to fill their cars with gasoline in order to fund reach this green goal.

So here we are then, where every socialist tyranny eventually winds up: using the wealth only capitalism can create to fund their adolescent fantasies, feeding off the very host that sustains them until they’ve killed it.

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The crowning accolade

Ronnie D gets another feather in his cap, courtesy of some legendary fellow denizens of the Sunshine State.

Johnny Van Zant, lead vocalist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and his brother Donnie Van Zant created a song to celebrate freedom and Florida, thanking Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership over the past few years.

As Governor DeSantis heads into a reelection campaign, he mentioned to Van Zant it would be great if they created a song for Florida in the same genre as their famous hit Sweet Home Alabama. The two brothers took the challenge and wrote and recorded “Sweet Florida.” It’s a catchy tune.

Governor DeSantis joined Johnny and Donnie Van Zant this morning on Fox & Friends to discuss.

Catchy it most certainly is, a stirring Southern rock anthem in the true old Skynyrd style. Dear departed big brother Ronnie would be damned proud of his junior siblings, I think. Sundance includes vid of DeSantis promoting the Skynyrd tribute on Fox, as you might expect. Meanwhile, have yourself a taste of the song itself.



As if all that weren’t enough rich, buttery goodness for even the greediest gourmet, the song has its very own website, here.

Yeah, we’re free down in Florida; our governor, he’s red, white, and blue. Hott-O-Mighty DAMN, but I love it. Big ol’ Southren-fried hat tip to Barry.

Update! Just watched it again, and the song not only has the same key signature—D Major—but the exact same 1-7-4 (D-C-A) primary chord progression as Sweet Home Allybammer does. God bless Florida, the South, the Van Zants, Ron DeSantis, and good ole Southern Rock.



Ahh, the 70s. What the hell, since we’re well down the rabbit hole at this point, let’s just dive a little deeper so’s I can share with y’all what always was my own personal favorite Skynyrd tune.



Smash ’em up-date! And the hits just keep on coming.

DeSantis broaches repeal of Disney World’s special self-governing status in Florida
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed on Thursday the suggestion of repealing a 55-year-old state law that allows Disney to effectively govern itself on the grounds of Walt Disney World, following the company’s public opposition to a controversial parental rights law in Florida.

“What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday.

DeSantis’s comments comes after Florida State Rep. Spencer Roach tweeted that he has met with legislators to discuss repealing the self-governing law in response to Disney’s recent actions.

“Yesterday was the 2nd meeting in a week w/fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government,” Roach tweeted. “If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County.”

While I’m viscerally against any flexing of government muscle in the private sector just on general principle, it’s clear we’re way beyond the point where stubbornly standing on principle can help us much. This is a war we’re in here, and out-of-control Woke mega-corps who think to dictate to state governments what they may and may not do is a bridge too far for me. As DeSantis has said:

“This state is governed by the interest of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives,” DeSantis said. “They do not run this state. They do not control this state.”

Nor should they, nor should they be allowed to summarily act as if they do. With the announcement that “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts…” Disney declared war on the very concept of self-government. Fine then, motherfuckers. You want a war? You got one—with Ron The Knife as our commanding general. Let’s see how that works out for ya.

Disney’s wildly mistaken notion of what their “goal as a company” should be needs to be corrected, badly and most ricky-tick. DeSantis and his like-minded cohorts in FLA government just might be the perfect teachers to straighten Disney’s ass out but good, seems to me. It’s absolutely imperative that US corporate execs, whatever their employer’s field of endeavor, are reminded of the proper role, priorities, and boundaries of American businesses. Given their own outsized power, influence, and reach, this reminder must be firm, unequivocal—even painful, if that’s what’s required to force them back into their own lane again.

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RIP

We mourn the untimely loss of one of the most pure-tee badass drummers I ever did hear tell of.

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has passed away at the age of 50, according to a statement from the band.

A cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

Whatever the cause turns out to have been, I’m mighty sorry to hear this news. Check out this great old (1998?!? That CAN’T be right) live footage, from some outdoor festival or other up in soggy Vancouver.



The above show marked my first exposure to Hawkins, who blew me away completely. He’s the only kind of drummer I ever really liked: laying down a solid, rock-steady rhythm, gangly arms and legs flailing wildly about, rivers of honest sweat flowing from the opening number; throwing his entire body into pounding those skins so danged hard the front five rows would be in pain from the bludgeoning for days after—in sum, a perfect marriage of flawless technique; originality, passion, and style; and just sheer, fangs-bared ferocity. Seeing him play, you almost had to feel sorry for those poor drum heads and sticks, so profound was their ordeal.

Dave Grohl is a supremely talented multi-instrumentalist, a top-tier drummer, and a bona fide rock star his own self (Grohl, remember is the guy who propelled Nirvana to legendary status; the band spent years spinning their wheels and going nowhere until signing him on). As such, only a monster ass-kicker could ever play drums behind him, or would ever dare to attempt it. The Foo Fighters kept Taylor around for many a long year, which speaks volumes all by itself.

Fare thee well, Taylor Hawkins. You’ll surely be missed, and sorely. Your departure leaves your bandmates with some mighty big shoes to fill; I can’t say I envy them the task.

Update! Doubt me concerning Hawkins’ rabid-gorilla approach as a confirmed Brutalizer of Beat? Think I must be exaggerating the raw, impassioned fury of Taylor’s inimitable attack? Pick up the above vid at, say, 1:35 or so, watch that big tall drink of water slash and burn his way through the turnaround—this is but one of many examples, there are many more. After you do, come back and tell me you still feel that way.

Above their station

The Wokester punk-ass cockholsters dare to dream of cancelling Tchaikovsky now? SRSLY?!?

I see poor old Tchaikovsky is getting canceled by world-renowned ensembles such as the, er, Cardiff Philharmonic because he has stayed silent when he should have been noisily distancing himself from Vladimir Putin. As our friend Laura Rosen Cohen has pointed out, Peter Ilyich was quite the Ukrainophile: he used to summer there every year, just like many American politicians and money launderers. Nevertheless, his boots were on the ground far more often than Lindsey Graham’s: There are statues of Tchaikovsky and museums to him in at least two northern Ukrainian towns, as well as in Kiev.

So I thought, as compensation for disappointed Cardiff Phil customers, we’d have a little Tchaikovsky for our Sunday musical selection. Of course, ours is a department of songs, so you’ll have to suffer the great Russian with an American lyric – and, indeed, with a British lyric.

Our story begins in 1939. Well, actually, it begins in 1869. That’s when Tchaikovsky’s fellow composer Balakirev proposed Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a subject to young Pyotr Ilyitch. The resulting “fantasy-overture” uses the Bard’s characters and themes for a series of musical contrasts, starting with the reflective clarinet-and-bassoon melody representing the star-crossed lovers’ pal Friar Laurence, next a stormy passage for the feudin’ an’ a-fightin’ Montagues and Capulets, and then the famous soaring love theme…

As it happens, Pyotr Ilyich is a long-time favorite of mine, and the Fantasy Overture one of my favorites among his works, although I must point out that I like Tchaikosvky well enough that I can’t really think of any of them I find off-putting. The FO stands out in the Tchaikovsky catalog, with its strangely ominous and dark opening section:




Yep, we have ourselves another brilliant SteynMusic post here, folks. Incredibly, Mark missteps slightly with the next bit.

In the context of the full piece, it’s as if the composer is either too cool or too serious to let rip with the theme and blow the roof off.

Think so, do ya? Well, I don’t know what we’re to make of the thunderous close-out, then.




If that don’t blow your roof off but good, then I’d say you got yourself one hell of a stout roof. When Tchaikovsky’s signature drumroll begins its thunderous, crashing announcement of the final bars it’s some truly stirring stuff, and no mistake.

The story of What Happened Next takes some truly wild twists and turns from there, even by SteynMusic standards. Highly, HIGHLY recommended, people.

Hold onto your hats, folks

A significant departure—SIGNIFICANT—from our usual Embed-O-Phenia music-vid fare tonight, one which I’m betting a good many if not most (if not ALL) of you guys ain’t gonna much care for. Actually, it’s hardly my usual preference in musical styles either, to be charitable about it. But I was over at a friend’s house a few years back with a cpl-three others of my usual crew of reprobates, criminals, and ne’er do wells, when my boy Travis pulled this one up on the TeeWee and we all just busted a gut laughing at it.

Oh, and apropos of not much, the guy whose house our crew was chillaxin’ at was the domicile of my friend Phillip, who is a black dude. The below vid ain’t his usual musical cup of tea either, contrary to what someone given to making assumptions about the typical relationship between our darker-complected brethren and kinda-sorta rap like this usually is. Phil is a rock and roll/surf/punk-rock drummer, against all odds, and a damned good one at that. So much for stereotypes, eh?

ANYHOO. I’m posting this as a dedication to our friends over at GFZ (I never have figured out how to ascertain who’s posted what over there for some reason; if anybody wants to clue me in, I’m all ears), on account of this recent rip re: Five-Oh, Da Man, Johnny Law, Offisah Friendly, the Po-Po.

Two things can be true at the same time:

One: Without effective policing cities will dissolve into chaos, like in San Francisco and New York City, where mass looting, violent street assaults, and quality of life crimes have rendered those cities into shitholes.

Two: This is an obscenity.  There was absolutely no reason for a cop to attack a dog like that on the dog’s home porch.  That was vicious and unnecessary, and the officer should be punished for that.

This is the sort of shit that turns me against cops.

It’s not just possible but reasonable and  moral imperative to say “the Left’s ‘defund the police’ is bullshit but this here cop needs to be tossed out like the piece of shit that he is.”

Lots of ’em do, which doesn’t in any way disprove or gainsay my oft-repeated insistence that, having known and/or been related to more than a few LEOs myself over my whole damned life, there ARE still good cops around out there. Getting harder and harder to find, maybe. In fact, strike that: CERTAINLY. The white-hat cops I’ve known are all long since retired, and almost all of them swear that there’s no way in hell they’d take the job now, so far sideways have things gone since they worked as lawdogs. According to them, we’ve come a long way from “Protect And Serve,” in precisely the wrong direction. But the good ones haven’t all walked away, although the clot-shot mandate is going to see to it that they’ll be in the minority from here on out. And not just by a little bit, either.

On to the embed, which came to mind immediately when I read the GFZ post not because of the “Kilos in my bag” verse, but for the rousing (a-HENH!) chorus; trust me, it will be more than obvious why. Like I said, brace yourselves for something way, way, WAY out of the usual line here with this one. But I guar-on-tee you I’m gonna watch a little bit of it when I go retrieve the embed code from YewToob, and will laugh like hell when I do. So there. Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful.



Good while back I seem to recall reading someplace that, ironically enough, Stitches (a/k/a Phillip Nickolas Katsabanis) has a stepdad who either is or used to be a cop. Don’t know if that’s true or not, and I don’t care enough to go digging around to find out, but I deeply, deeply hope that it’s so. Because, funny as I think the above video is already, that would really put the cherry on top of the sundae for me.

Golden opportunity: JUMPED ALL OVER

I may attempt a post later on the closing arguments in the Rittenhouse Kangaroo-Court Show, or then again I may not. What I do want to get to right away is the golden opportunity emphasized below:

Richards (the defense attorney) has finally woken up. Although he’s still not the clearest-thinking or most articulate guy in the world, he is hitting most of the most important points.

He called the prosecution’s dishonest photo manipulation “Hocus pocus that’s out-of-focus.” Rekeita’s panel liked this. Pretty cornpone.

“Cornpone”? Au contraire, mon frere. In my own estimation, at least, which is that Richards may have been giving a wry, undercover shout-out that Ace didn’t pick up on.



The golden opportunity I’m talking about is the serendipitous chance to expand on last night’s “offend the Progtards to death, literally” post and, better yet, to toss a third post into this here hat too.

Y’all may or may not remember the story about some moronic Wokeist bint proposing in a NYT op-ed that the next candidate for erasure from Western cultural history her fellow mental defectives needed to consider setting their sights on was classic rock. As you would expect, my response to said fascist bint was then and ever shall be the usual resounding Not just no, but HELL no, amongst several other choice expletives, personal insults, and marrow-freezing threats of crippling bodily injury and/or death.

So essentially what we have with the above embedded vidya might be thought of as sort of a lather, rinse, repeat. Of which I got plenty more, and ain’t a-skeered to use ’em, either, for as long as it takes these meddlesome, dictatorial baglappers to either give up and go home, or else wind up shot in their fucking empty gourd by some fed-up-and-then-some Deep Purple fan like, say, myself, don’t care which. I say again: Now go ahead and try to tell me something else you think you’ll forbid me to do, Proggy shitstain.

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No country (music) for old men

The Bellamy Brothers score big-time with an instant classic.



Seeing as how the song’s title is a play on the title of one of the best movies EVAR, plus a cameo from one of the last true country artists before the country music thing veered off the road completely and into the MOR pop-rock ditch, I ain’t finding anything not to like here. Background deets on this superlative tune:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country music icons, the Bellamy Brothers and John Anderson, pair for a tribute to the genre’s past in “No Country Music For Old Men.” The video, shot by Derrek Kupish of dkupish productions, captures the Bellamys and Anderson lamenting on the loss of the old guard interspersed with shots of Nashville’s historic landmarks and murals honoring the legends lost.

“No Country Music For Old Men” was included on the Bellamy Brothers’ EP, Bucket List, released in July of 2020. Written by David Bellamy, the song was inspired by Kenny Rogers’ death. Bellamy explained, “Bucket List was meant to be light-hearted and up-tempo. We figured lockdown was depressing enough without lamenting more about hard times. Then Kenny Rogers passed away on March 20, and I wrote the song that night. It felt like in addition to the pandemic, there was a cloud over country music at that moment.”

According to David, he kept hearing Anderson’s voice in his head singing the lines, so he and Howard decided to invite their longtime friend to join them on the track. Anderson, who released Years, a similarly reflective project in 2020, shared, “I’ve known David and Howard for over 40 years. I have always been a fan and loved their music and their style.  It’s an honor to work with them and we always have a great time.”

When the stay-at-home orders took effect in March, the Bellamy Brothers and Anderson were on the road with Blake Shelton for his Friends And Heroes Tour. The Bellamys returned to their Florida homestead where their hit reality series “Honky Tonk Ranch” is filmed and started working on Bucket List. The EP featured five additional songs such as the lead single “Rednecks (Lookin’ for Paychecks),” a timely take on the current situation, and “Lay Low, Stay High,” which ties into their new partnership with the Florida-based medical marijuana company, Trulieve, on their flower product line Old Hippie Stash. Season two of “Honky Tonk Ranch” recently wrapped up on Circle and included footage from the Friends And Heroes Tour and appearances from several of the duo’s legendary friends. 

As for that Anderson cameo, you old dogs like myself might recall his first smash hit.



I remember thinking when I first heard this song back in the early ’80s that John Anderson had to be one of the very last Nashville phenoms who really, truly got what good old country sangin’ was supposed to be all about. He ain’t the handsome young rake he once was, of course, but that’s all right. As long as people like him and the Bellamys, bless their hearts, keep throwing us old farts a tasty bone now and then like the above, getting old and decrepit ain’t gonna be ALL bad. All of which justifies throwing another unforgettable Music City classic out here for y’all.



Is it just me, or are these interminable fucking YouTube ads becoming just INCREDIBLY obnoxious? Jeez-O-Pete. Extry-special thanks to our friends at GFZ for the Bellamy Bros steer.

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GOOD GAWD, Y’ALL!

Tonight’s Tune Damage embed is another beloved classic from my misspent youth.



Even in the eclectic, anything-goes era when it was released, Edwin Starr’s version of “War” managed to not sound quite like anything else on the radio at the time, a genuine standout. Mark-1, Mod-0 antiwar-shitlib sentiment lyrically, of course, but I never was bothered by that; Edwin Starr’s powerful, rock ’em-sock ’em, old-school-R&B vocal performance simply flattens all other considerations. Plus, this is Soul Train we’re talking about here, man—the real-deal original, the likes of which have never been equalled and will never be seen again. Taken altogether, there just ain’t no gainsaying this vid far as I’m concerned. The raw data:

Motown hitmakers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote this song. Starr began his career recording for Ric-Tic Records, a Detroit label that was a rival to Motown. In 1968, Motown bought Ric-Tic, which gave Starr access to their writers and producers.

This is a protest song about the Vietnam War, although it makes a broader statement of the need for harmony in our everyday lives.

“War” was one of the first Motown songs to make a political statement. The label had always been focused on making hit songs, but around this time Motown artists like The Temptations and Marvin Gaye started releasing songs with social commentary, many of which were written by Whitfield.

The Temptations were the first to record this; it was included on their 1970 album Psychedelic Shack. Motown had no intention of releasing it as a single, but many in the protest movement, especially college students, made it clear that the song would be a big hit if it was. Motown head Berry Gordy had other plans for The Temptations and didn’t want them associated with such a controversial song, so he had Starr record it and his version was released as a single. Starr didn’t have as big a fan base to offend.

This song has a very distinct tambourine part, played by percussionist Jack Ashford. He was one of the Motown Funk Brothers who played on the track; bass player Bob Babbitt and guitarist Dennis Coffey were also part of it.

Coffey came up with the psychedelic guitar sound Norman Whitfield used on “Cloud Nine” by The Temptations, which marked a musical shift for the label. In a Songfacts interview with Coffey, he said: “Norman wanted to change the sound of Motown, and I was the guy that helped him do it. He wanted to get into that protest and social consciousness stuff, so I did that fuzz tone thing up high on ‘War.'”

Starr added the interjections “good God y’all” and “absolutely nothing,” which became some of the most famous ad-libs in music history.

Starr won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Male Vocal for this song.

Starr died of a heart attack in 2003. He was 61.

Starr’s rendition was released in ’70, rocketing straight up to Number One and holding firm there for about a month. I was 10 years old myself and well remember what a monster hit “War” was; it was absolutely all over AM radio that summer, which in those glorious days was exactly where any artist and record label needed a new release to be if it was to ever have a hope of amounting to anything. As you might expect, I got the .45 from my uncle’s drugstore just as soon as I could get my hands on it. Wish I still had it, too; God only knows what it would be worth on eBay now.

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2

Hey brother, can you spare a Doobie (Brother)?

Was listening to something called the IHeartRadio ICONS Event earlier, which featured an interview and live performance by the Doobie Brothers as promo for the recently-released album LIBERTÉ. The first tune, “Better Days,” was pretty much MEH, or so I felt. But after a little more Q&A, the boys lit into this one, and…



Not bad a-tall for a buncha old geezers, no? A bit more MOR than I usually like ’em, but still…not bad.

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Local color

Even though I’m not their biggest fan by any stretch, I still love this.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one, but rock-and-roll royalty Mick Jagger walks into a dive bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, and no one seems to notice. According to the Rolling Stone frontman’s Twitter account, that’s just what happened last night at the iconic Thirsty Beaver Saloon. Jagger stands in front of the storied establishment, sipping a beer, and the other customers aren’t even looking in his direction. “Out and about last night in Charlotte, NC,” the post reads.

The Rolling Stones play the Bank of America stadium this evening, so presumably Jagger had some time to kill last night and grabbed a brew at the Plaza Midwood bar. The Thirsty Beaver is an unpretentious establishment well known for refusing to sell to developers building up the area. The tiny bar is now surrounded massive apartment complexes, looking much like the house from the Pixar film Up.

The Thirsty Beaver has been a fixture of the neighborhood since 2008 and remains a spot for live music, cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and folks having conversations with their friends and neighbors — and a the occasionally international rock star.

Here’s a pic Tweeted by Jagger his own self:


Further deets, followed by an explanation for why I’m even posting on this in the first place.

He looked like any other ball-cap clad, jeans-wearing North Carolinian as he stood at a high-table and quaffed a brew at one of Charlotte’s most famous dive bars Wednesday night.

No adoring fans to shrug off, no security guards by his side as Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger enjoyed the night air on the patio of the Thirsty Beaver Saloon on Central Avenue.

Several other patrons seated at a nearby table and bench seemed to ignore the rock ‘n’ roll icon. They looked the other way as someone snapped a photo that Jagger later sent onto Instagram and Twitter.

“Out and about last night in Charlotte NC,” Jagger wrote.

Did Jagger rent out the bar, and were those “patrons” his crew?

“Absolutely not,” Brian Wilson, co-owner of The Thirsty Beaver, told The Charlotte Observer on Thursday.

Turns out, the four or five patrons pictured in Jagger’s photo had no idea it was him, Wilson said.

The bar had no advance notice that Jagger would drop by, and even the bartender had no clue it was him when she served him a beer, Wilson said.

Jagger appeared to be drinking a Miller Lite or a “Mick Ultra,” err, Michelob Ultra, but Wilson said he didn’t know yet what brand the rock star ordered.

Wilson had already gone home to put his young daughter to bed when Jagger showed up at about 10 p.m., he said.

Now, among the several things that make this so amusing to me is the fact that I know the Beaver and Brian quite well. Admittedly, the Beaver has never been a preferred hangout of mine, which isn’t so much that there’s anything in particular wrong with the joint, mind. It’s more because it gets so dang elbow-to-elbow packed on the weekends. I just never could deal with that. Doesn’t stop most of my friends from flocking there, especially on their Sunday afternoon biker gatherings.

Brian and his brother have a band that has done shows with my own plenty of times over the years, and Bri is a-okay with me, although there was some mild to moderate aggro from his brother towards me for a while there that I never really understood but which seems now to have abated, near as I can tell. Whatever the problem might have been, it was something I never even tried to figure out; if you’re hoping to find someone who’ll tell you I’m a grade-A prick and an asshole, you won’t have to look very hard or long before you do.

That never has bothered me, and never will; as the frontman of a fairly well-known band, I accepted that sort of hassle from the earliest days as just part of the game. My feeling was and remains that a person fragile enough to let such silliness get under his skin is a person who has absolutely no business ever setting foot on a stage in the first damned place. Show biz is NOT known for being kind to the delicate, the diffident, or the uncertain. An iron, unshakable confidence is a non-negotiable requirement of the job, any deficiency or even momentary flagging of which Show Biz will immediately seize upon and use to viciously beat you with, until you’re stone cold dead.

Anyhoo, the Wilson boys have another place on Monroe Rd across from Lupies: the Tipsy Burrow, which I like a lot better than the Beaver, having a lot more room to move around unmolested as it does. Really good food at the Burrow too, which the Beaver doesn’t offer at all. Onwards.

Wilson said he could only guess that someone suggested Thirsty Beaver because Jagger would be able to drink in peace there, given its typically eclectic mix of patrons who would likely leave such a musical legend alone.

“Everybody’s used to it being an eclectic place,” Wilson said.

But Mick Jagger??

Wilson said his bartender that night has come in for some good-natured ribbing.

“C’mon, Hayley, the greatest rock ‘n’ roll legend of all time?”

Heh. Hayley is a friend too, as it happens.

Years ago, Wilson said, Eric Clapton visited the now-defunct Double Door Inn music venue in Charlotte.

Yep, he did. Remember that Double Door business, gang. You will be seeing that material again.

“And we got Mick Jagger, so I think we did all right.”

Retired Observer sports columnist Tom Sorensen devilishly replied with a reference to another Stones hit.

“@MickJagger A man of wealth and taste,” Sorensen wrote.

Known Tom for many years as well. He was a colleague and friend of the band’s manager, Mike Evans, before Mike inexplicably decided to ruin his life by up and quitting his cushy, well-remunerated Charlotte Disturber sinecure to wantonly ravage his bank balance, his liver, and his personal reputation via going into the music biz.

I swear, it’s beginning to seem like Old Home week up in here, ain’t it?

On to the Double Door. Clapton did indeed famously show up and play a set there back in 1982, after headlining a concert at the old Coliseum on Independence, I believe. Now, by the late 80s the Double Door Inn had forged a stellar reputation for itself as one of the premier stops on what you might call the chitlin’ circuit for old-school trad blues bands. Autographed band photos covering every wall testify to a roster of legendary alumni that really has to be seen to be believed: Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown; Junior Walker; Levon Helm; JJ Cale; The Fabulous Thunderbirds; and even Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name but a few.

And, beginning in late 1989, the DDI also became the home base for a fledgling local RAB outfit yclept the Belmont Playboys. Owned and operated by a soft-spoken but savvy Greek feller name of Nick Karres, the place was blessed with a warm, clear, full-throated sound both onstage and off, so good I’d put it in the top two or three best out of all the places I’ve played. There was even a documentary movie made about the Dirty Floor, including footage from the final show before it shut down. Yes, the BPs are in it.

And now we come to it at long last. See, Jagger is by no means the only instance of world-renowned rock and roll royalty gracing a local institution on the QT. During the Southeastern leg of their Black Ice tour, a certain little band from Australia you may have heard of settled themselves in for a couple weeks hereabouts, putting out from CLT for several shows ranging from Raleigh down to ATL. And on their days off, the boys got into the habit of dropping in at a certain legendary blues venue in the late afternoon/early evening for the daily Jeopardy Happy Hour ritual to restore the tissues and recharge the batteries via quaffing a cold one or three amongst the handful of grizzled regulars.

I didn’t learn about AC/DC’s daily pilgrimage to the DDI until well after the fact, which enraged me so thorougly I immediately called Nick to scream sundry epithets in his ear, all based around the “WHY THE HELL DIDN’T YOU TELL ME…” theme, until I was hoarse and out of breath. I can’t remember any specifics of Nick’s response, other than a gruff laugh and a “Idunno,” which I see to this day in my mind’s eye accompanied by his characteristic apathetic shrug.

I don’t care about missing Mick’s visit, honestly. But missing the chance to kick casually back with Angus, Malcolm, and Brian to share a friendly tipple and a few road-dog stories frosts my nuts blue to this very day. I’ve told Nick again and again that I’ll never forgive him for it, and by God I mean it, too.

4

Embedophenia

Tonight’s installment is from another band I never did have a whole lot of use for, but this one is…well, it’s simply monstrous.



That’s some mighty tasty harp playin’ right there. Whatever your opinion of J Geils might be, there’s no gainsaying Magic Dick. He’s a true master of the beast—an instrument the bassist/harpist from a band we toured with (whose identity I shan’t reveal here, for their own protection) always called a “nigger whistle.” I laughed so hard I think I cracked a rib or two the first time I heard Joey say that.

1
2

RIP Charlie Watts

A bit belated, I know, but still. One of the all-time great drummers just shook these mortal coils to join Heaven’s Own Band.

In a previous piece, I described Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham as the overall rock drummer par excellence. Extraordinarily dynamic, Bonham had a lot of gears. He could play louder and heavier than anyone, but could also finesse quiet passages, zig-zag between funk and reggae and swing, and, well, you get the picture.

Charlie was a different sort of drummer, at least while playing with the Rolling Stones. If Bonham was a six-gear, $100,000, 230 horsepower, hot-rodded Harley (with Batmobile-style mods like a smoke-blower, mini-machine guns, and oil-slick dispenser), Charlie was your English grandfather’s vintage Raleigh bicycle. It never broke. It was easy to maintain. You could cruise along on it all day long year after year, decade after decade. It had only one gear, but for a bicycle, it was the perfect gear. And it is with drummers and vehicles as it is for everything else: horses for courses. Which one’s best depends on what you need.

Simple, steady, rock-solid—that was Charlie Watts in a silver-sparkle Ludwig nutshell, and is exactly why I always loved his playing. No flash, no trash, just a backbeat you can feel deep in your soul, if you have any at all. The very best rock and roll drummers are like that, or so I believe. I never have been just a huge Stones fan, I can take ’em or leave ’em alone, but I DO love me some Keef, and some Charlie too.

No eight-bazillion flavors of crash cymbals; no racks-o-toms surrounding him; no gongs behind him, nor tympani he might hit one precisely (1) time over the course of a two-hour set; no synchronized kick-drum pedals by the dozen, when you only got two feets to play ’em with anyway. Just a simple trap kit, a no-nonsense, smack-it-silly snare-drum crack, and…well, just sheer nonchalant elegance, really.

I saw Buddy Rich a couple times years ago, and he was pretty much the same way, at least as far as his bare-bones kit went. The nonchalance and elegance…ehh, not so much; Rich’s facial expressions alone were absolutely maniacal, truly a sight to behold. Both times I saw him, he was sweat-drenched and purple-faced from early into the set, and he weren’t no spring chicken by then either. The energy level and overall vibe he exuded was powerful, not something easily caged or controlled. Joyful too, which I didn’t expect, having heard the stories and the infamous recordings confirming all the rumors of what a total bastard he was to work for, onstage and off. It was a little like watching a precocious teen on his first trip to the titty bar or something.

Anyhoo, back to Charlie.

First, you might never guess, listening to his recorded Rolling Stones drum performances, that Charlie was a precocious jazz drummer. With the Stones, he was a paragon of percussive minimalism. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a single drum fill on any Stones song a five year old couldn’t play.

But that’s no sleight. What matters is playing the right thing—not the complicated thing—and as it happened, Charlie always played the right thing. He played what he played because that’s what he should have played in the Rolling Stones song he was playing. That’s what good musicians do, after all.

Bingo. I’m reminded of something I saw in the Creem mag letters section soon after Van Halen had hit big with their debut album, wherein an EVH fanboy got himself all worked up and slobbery over Eddie’s otherworldly virtuousity, which nobody was trying to argue with anyway. He ended his long, effusive rant thusly: “Why play three notes when you can squeeze in ten?” Which flabby sentiment one of the editors blandly eviscerated with one of the pithiest yet most profound comebacks I ever did see, one that’s stuck with me ever since: Why play ten notes when you can say it in three?

I’m sure that statement went right over that kid’s head, but it’s a more important point than most non-musician types might realize. In all pop music, the Thing, the essential, crucial Thing, is to not overplay, to not burden a good tune with a lot of extraneous self-indulgence. Every talented professional will get his chance to show off his chops and shine a little, in every set he plays. But the REAL pros know that when you throw in everything but the kitchen sink in every damned song, you dull the impact of your sharpest material. First rule of showbiz, taught to me by my dad, my uncle, my early-childhood piano teacher, my church-choir director and high-school band director (same guy), and pretty much every musical mentor I’ve ever had: always, always, ALWAYS leave your audience wanting more. ALWAYS. Playing with discipline and restraint rather than letting it all hang out and flop around all over the place is one of the ways you do it.

This is the key to every Rolling Stones song. Charlies never breaks character. He starts the song, pumps along underneath, hits the fills where needed, but never plays a single gratuitous note. Then the song ends. Then he starts a new one. On it goes. As each song begins, everyone else hangs on, so to speak, to his chugging rhythm. It’s no wonder Keith once said “Charlie Watts is the Stones”.

Not to shortchange Charlie here, but there’s another great drummer who also lived his musical life by the less-is-more rule I gotta mention: Cheap Trick’s Bun E Carlos. Way underappreciated, in my view, but he’s another one who eschewed the flashy sturm und drang for just quietly doing an impeccable job of holding down the bottom end and keeping the proceedings rockin’ right along with neither fuss, muss, nor excess of any kind.

And this KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid, not their 1977 tour-mates) approach from the drummer of a band that, for years, opened every show with a fucking DRUM SOLO, mind you. I mean, NOBODY likes drum solos, ferchrissakes. Not even other drummers.



Ahh, but simplicity wasn’t always the Bun E Carlos Way. As with almost every aggressive but unschooled young hotshot whose only thought is to swing for the fences on every pitch, holding back was an acquired taste for Carlos too.

In 1973 or 1974, Carlos gained a major insight into his drumming. He told interviewer Robin Tolleson in 1986 that, like most young drummers, he was mostly interested in making his drumming stand out (“Where can I get the most licks in, and how cool can I sound”). While listening to a tape of a Cheap Trick concert, he realized he was rushing the beat and interfering in the performance of the other band members. Afterward, he began taping every Cheap Trick show to study his own drumming much more objectively, focusing on keeping time and supporting his bandmates. The band also played several gigs alongside Mahavishnu Orchestra about this time. Carlson says he learned a great deal about ambidextrous drumming from drummer Billy Cobham.

Making yourself a part of the music instead of trying to dominate or overwhelm it—recognizing that YOU must be all about the music, rather than the music being all about YOU—is a critical step in every player’s career, and sometimes a quite difficult one as well. Given my own background in hard rock/classic rock, I struggled mightily with it myself, and never really managed to master the thing. In fact, that’s why I never was able to play traditional blues at all well, and eventually just pretty much gave up on ever getting it right consistently, aside from the occasional (VERY occasional) fluke solo.

When it comes to restraint, blues is a particularly demanding genre, maybe the toughest of any modern popular music styles. It’s often said that blues lives and breathes in the spaces between the notes, not in the notes themselves. With blues guitar, what you DON’T play is every bit as important as what you DO play, very often moreso. Of equal importance is playing those notes correctly, what BB King meant when he used to talk about making his trademark single-note solos “sting.” Shaping the notes you play is paramount, and attack is all.

All of that is a little different for drummers than it is for guitarists, of course. Nonetheless, the basic principle of Less Is More still applies. Both Bun E Carlos and Charlie Watts spent long and notable careers providing an excellent education for all of us in how it was fucking done.

Update! Almost forgot another thing I always dug about Carlos: when onstage with Cheap Trick, he actually had a drum tech whose primary responsibility was this: whenever Bun E’s ever-present cigarette was near the end, said roadie would light up another, run out, and replace the expired butt with the fresh one, thus averting the unacceptable calamity of Carlos having to play without a gasper dangling from his lips. Too funny, that.

The (rock) gods that fell to earth

You’re never too old to rock and roll?Like HELL you ain’t. Although this could well be related more to general dissipation and decadence than strictly age.

Vince Neil performed on his first concert after pandemic his solo band headlined the Boone River Valley Festival in Iowa over the weekend. From what we could heard, it’s probably for the better that MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s stadium tour with DEF LEPPARD has been postponed to next year.

Vince’s band opened with “Looks That Kill” before jumping into “Dr. Feelgood,” and though Neil’s vocals on “Dr. Feelgood” weren’t “that bad,” it definitely wasn’t one of his strongest performances.

But everything started to fall apart when Neil launched into a cover of the THE BEATLES’ “Helter Skelter.” Vince seemed to forget the words to the Beatles classic, while struggling to keep up with his band’s down-tuned instrumentals.

One fan wrote: “I was there front row seen Vince 8 times worst performance EVER he was reading the lyrics that his roadie taped on the floor while Vince left for a well need break. NO WAY he could do a stadium tour.”

And then, while performing “Girls Girls Girls,” Vince finally gave up addressing to the crowd: “Hey guys… I’m sorry, you guys. It’s been a long time playin’. My f*ckin’ voice is gone… uhh… we love you and we uhh… hope to see you next time, man. Thank you.”

A pic from the show of the new, suckier Bloated Vince onstage:

Great SCOTT. Didn’t anybody learn ANYTHING from the ghastly trainwreck Elvis finished up as? Anything at ALL? Double-threat superstar Chris Jericho—whose rockin’ ‘n’ ‘rasslin’ combo, Fozzy Osbourne, had the best band name in all history before they had to change it—had a little something to say about Neil’s sorry state.

Asked how he felt after seeing the footage of Vince’s gig, Chris said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s disappointing because I think everyone is pulling for Vince and they’re pulling for MÖTLEY CRÜE. And it’s gonna be tough doing [‘The Stadium Tour’ in 2022 with DEF LEPPARD, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS] because Joan Jett, I don’t know if you’ve seen her recently, she’s freakin’ awesome. And Bret Michaels — I was just talking about POISON the other day; they’re gonna steal the show. You’d better watch out for POISON, ’cause Bret Michaels is the best frontman out of all of those bands. And then DEF LEPPARD’s DEF LEPPARD; they do what they do. And MÖTLEY CRÜE, they’re gonna have to really step it up.

Meh. I never liked Dead Leper (which is what my mom actually, literally believed their name to be back in their glory days, s’truth) at all. Poison simply sucks ass, hard; always did, always will. I see no reason to expect improvement now that they’re all decades down the road. As for Joan Jett—well, I can’t quite consider her as being on the same plane with the other dudes, exactly. No slight intended, mind, she’s just…different. Different musical style; different approach; different draw; different attitude and presentation; different everything. Anyhoo, Jericho goes on:

“I’m disappointed to see Vince the way he is, because I think if he lost some weight and did some training and came out there and was in some semblance of shape, a) his voice will sound better just from that alone, and b) people would go, ‘Holy shit! Did you see Vince Neil? He looks great.’

“I think if he really wants to do it, he could do it,” Jericho continued. “But I don’t know if he does. And that’s the thing. And it’s up to him. And either way, it’s MÖTLEY CRÜE — people are gonna go, and they’re gonna love it. But to me, as a performer, I would take that as a challenge: ‘I’ve got one year. Let’s do this. It’s been long enough. Let’s do this for real. Let me call Phil Collen and Duff McKagan and other rock guys that have got themselves into great shape: ‘How did you do it?”

From what I heard said on the radio the other day, Dead Leper’s likewise-flabby frontman (Joe something or other, I think) pushed Neil into purchasing a shit-ton of workout gear and the two gone-to-seed rawk icons have been hitting the iron pile together, trying to get themselves fit enough to take the stage without embarrassing everybody present.

I wish ’em all luck, with the training and the tour both. Crue I DID rather like; they were one of the very best of the 80s wave of hair-farmer bands, in my opinion. Out of a horde of mediocrities, also-rans, and wannabes from that era, Motley Crue lived the sex-drugs-rock and roll lifestyle to the absolute fullest, at great personal cost to some of them. But that’s just the way the dice roll in that game sometimes, and they knew what they were signing up for when they took their seats at the table and ante’d up. Love ’em or hate ’em, either as musicians or as people, nobody can ever say the Crue weren’t entertaining as hell, both onstage and off.

2

THIS SHALL NOT STAND!!

I have been saddened and dismayed by the rather blasé response to Dusty Hill’s death from my local classic-rock radio stations, which I listen to sometimes while I’m out delivering food or picking up/returning the young ‘un or whatever. When Tom Petty died, it was pretty much a three-day orgy of tribute to the man, which I had no problem with. I mean, I was by no means a rabid Petty fan, but on the other hand he WAS a truly gifted songwriter, with a top-notch band behind him. All in all, Tom was okay with me, and he had a long string of hits, so give the man his due, right?

By contrast, I’ve heard very little at all in the way of mention, recognition, or repeat ZZ Top spins in the wake of Hill’s death apart from a brief notice that their tour dates would go on more or less as scheduled. Commercial-free two, three, or four-play song sets,, interviews with the band, obscure live tracks, all that sort of thing? Not on your life, or not that I’ve heard, anyway.

Well, screw that. When I said the other night that I considered ZZ to be one of the greatest rock bands that ever was or ever will be, I meant every word of it. So have yourselves a couple bonus slices of musical genius from that li’l ole band from Texas, gratis. No need to thank me, y’all.



For anybody who might not know already: the trademark deep, rough-and-ready grizzly-growl on their records is Billy Gibbons, who handled most of the lead vocal duties. The higher, somewhat smoother, sweeter croon swapping verses with Gibbons on some songs, and holding forth on its own on others, is Dusty Hill. Of course, that’ll be obvious in the video footage. But still.

I repeat: God rest him, and may His comfort and love bless Dusty’s bandmates, family, friends, and fans.

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