Sunday, February 28, 2021

50 years late to the VU Loaded party

Half a century down the road, I just “discovered” the music of The Velvet Underground.

My journey of discovery and redemption was sparked by a challenge from my blog partner and five-decades-long friend, Scott, a VU and Lou Reed fan long before our first meeting back in the mid-1970s. Scott and I were college roommates who continued our cohabitation as we began our post-graduation journalism careers at the same newspaper. (I was a legitimate news reporter; he wrote about sports. But that’s a discussion for another time).

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Robert Smith dives into the ugliness of his depression to paint his masterpiece

Way back in the first season of South Park, young Kyle Broflovski goes all fanboy on Robert Smith Of The Cure after our hero, having transformed himself into Mothra Robert Smith, vanquished a marauding Mecha Barbra Streisand, saving Kyle's hometown from certain annihilation.

"Goodbye, Robert Smith," Kyle yells as the town's savior walks off into the sunset in that South Park way of gliding around. And then, Kyle just couldn't help himself. It was the opportunity of a lifetime for a little boy: "Disintegration is the best album ever!" the boy exclaims. "Robert Smith kicks ass!"

Thursday, February 25, 2021

With the Velvets, it's all about first impressions

1967: Morrison, Reed, Cale, Tucker

It only took about 45 years, but it finally happened. My old roommate Geezer Bob listened to a Velvet Underground album for the first time in his life, and he got blown away.

Bob has known from the first time we met sometime around 1976 that I was a dedicated Lou Reed fanboy. But he never paid much attention, never heard anything from Reed either solo or with the Velvets that captured his interest. I did get Bob to go with me to a theater in Kansas City to see a mulleted and newly bespectacled Reed touring his 1989 LP, New York. Bob was a good sport about it, but as I recall, he wasn't impressed.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Another country-music morality tale

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. If you want to be doubly humiliated, hitch your plans for the future to a faithless woman.

That morality-tale fate is achingly articulated in country-music singer-songwriter Hunter Thomas Mounce’s latest single, “What She Forgot,” which premieres Feb. 24 on streaming services. To pre-save the song, click here.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Viva Voce: A delicate balance that got a little heavy

Viva Voce was a husband-wife duo from Muscle Shoals, AL, who relocated to Portland, OR, to get a foothold in the active indie scene there. They made a pretty good name for themselves, releasing several full-length albums and becoming stars on the festival circuit in the mid- to late 2000s. I first heard them in the early 2010s on a podcast hosted by a guy who worked for the NPR affiliate in Portland. (I can't remember the guy's name, and now I can't find any trace of that podcast, which ran for a few years.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Bloodrock: Here and gone like a comet in the sky

1972: Cobb, Hill, Taylor in front; Pickens, Rutledge, Grundy in back

Have you ever seen a shooting star? Look at that picture at the top of this page. That's a photo of a shooting star.

Bloodrock appeared in early 1970 with a debut album that became iconic among hard-rocking high-school kids. They issued three more successful albums and had a Top 40 single by the end of the following year. And then, just like that, by summer 1972, poof, Bloodrock was gone, kaput, vanished, retreated back to the obscurity from whence they came.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Keeping it clean in the era of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll


“You should write one about Gunhill Road’s ‘Back when My Hair Was Short’ with all the drug references.”

Interesting suggestion, I thought, though I didn’t recall drug references in the 1973 one-hit-wonder song.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Some things about 'D.O.A.' just can't be explained

1970: Grundy, Pickens, Hill in back; Taylor, Rutledge, Cobb in front

Kind of a funny thing happened the other day when I was preparing to write a piece about the weird song that made Bloodrock a one-hit wonder.

I had my Pandora shuffle station going for awhile when "D.O.A." suddenly appeared. It was the first time in awhile that I had heard that song, and it got me to reminiscing. Bloodrock when I was in high school a half-century ago had become the one band not called The Doors that I most obsessed over. These guys from Forth Worth, TX, knocked out four really good hard-rock albums in 1970 and 1971, and I got down with them a lot on the air guitar I had secretly stashed in my bedroom.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Geezerology on YouTube: Rough and Rowdy Ways

It happens to everyone, I suppose. Bob and I on Sunday had our first major disagreement on the Geezerology YouTube channel.

Each of us gave our first listens last week to Bob Dylan's 2020 album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. He didn't like it, found it boring. I loved it, thought it was an inspired piece of work.

Listen to our debate, and let us know where you land on this one.

Next week, we're going to talk about Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Please subscribe to our channel and get notified whenever our videos go live.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Geezerology on YouTube: Highway 61 Revisited

Here's the third video, recorded Jan. 31, on our YouTube channel. Bob and I talk about Bob Dylan's 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. Neither of us are fans of it, and we tell you why. Bob really dislikes it, while my reaction is more a shoulder shrug.

Have a listen, and tell us what you think. 

Coming up: Bob and I plan to talk about Dylan's 2020 release, Rough and Rowdy Ways. Both of us are listening to it this week for the first time and will talk about our first impressions.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Geezerology on YouTube: Strange Days

Bob and I discussed our slightly differing opinions of Strange Days, the second album by The Doors, for the second video of our YouTube channel, recorded Jan. 24. Bob likes the album considerably more than I do.

We agree that producer Paul Rothschild's studio experimentations don't work very well. Our biggest disagreement was over the 11-minute closer, "When the Music's Over."

Please check it out. Please visit our channel and subscribe. We would love for you to contribute to the discussion through the comments section at the bottom of this page or on the channel. 

My final word on Genesis: Completing my album rankings

1977: Rutherford, Collins, Banks, Hackett

One more piece before I put Genesis to bed.

I spent a bit of bandwidth discussing the band's Peter Gabriel years and ranking the albums from that period. But Gabriel's departure was not the end of my time with Genesis. I did remain a fan for a little while longer, through their first two post-Gabriel albums, with Phil Collins as the lead singer and continuing with guitarist Steve Hackett on board. I fell off the Genesis train, though, with their first post-Hackett album, when the band became the three-piece that took the 1980s pop charts by storm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Geezerology on YouTube: A discussion of The Doors' debut

We two geezers decided a few weeks ago to test-drive a YouTube channel. We've done one video each of the past three Sundays, and we were happy enough with the results that we've made all three videos public and decided that we're going to make it a regular thing.

Our first video, recorded Jan. 17 as a test run, was a discussion on The Doors' debut album. Bob and I both have known that album pretty well for a few decades, so we thought it was a good place to start. We basically winged it, got about a 25-minute discussion out of it, and both of us were thrilled with the first effort. It was technically a little rough, but we put together a fairly substantive discussion.

Monday, February 1, 2021

The song heard 'round the world


Don McLean’s “American Pie,” an eight-minute paean to the cultural and musical history of America in the 1950s and ‘60s, has intersected with my life twice, first as a teenager and later as an adult half a world away from my Southeast Missouri home town.

The song is part of the music that makes up the interactive, spiritual road map of my life, chronicling where I have been, what I did and felt at that particular moment and the incredible people who interacted with me on the journey.