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Coffee Generation X

11 Jan

I give full credit to the National Coffee Association for my coffee addiction, and maybe for yours too.  Back in 1983-1984, this spot played on MTV constantly. I must have seen it 1000 times.   

Because you know, “coffee calms you down and picks you.” And who didn’t want to be a Mover and Shaker like icons of Generation X such David Bowie, Ken Anderson, and (what?) Kurt Vonnegut…

I don’t know about Movers but they definitely made Shakers out of us.

   

Anderson Coffee

Modern Rock Holiday: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Theme

25 Nov

planes 1   

Sometimes in business travel, you’re Steve Martin (Neal): sophisticated, reserved, well-dressed. But every messy incident on the road with other people is uncomfortable.

Sometimes in business travel, you’re John Candy (Del): not the sharpest or coolest guy. But your customers like you. And your wife likes you. What you see is what you get.  

Sometimes getting home is all that matters. Cue the theme to Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

I am not a big fan of electronic music. But I love the song Red River Rock by The Silicon Teens. I am posting about it here due to its connection to holiday music and Thanksgiving even thought the tune itself has nothing to do with either. But this electronic version of the old folk tune “Red River Valley” is my favorite Thanksgiving song due to its prominence in the now-classic movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Enjoy below and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

16 Oct

RonaldiOS6

 

Big Data? Small Numbers Are Sometimes More.

16 Jul

 

Do big numbers impress you? Sometimes smaller number mean more.

We’re fascinated by TV shows that reach 100 episodes or 10 years on the air; bands creating a record with multiple producers and dozens of musicians; or movies with a cast of hundreds. But does that make them good?

These small numbers impress me more:

12 = number of Fawlty Towers episodes (6 in 1975, 6 in 1979). Fawlty Towers


10 = number of years The Beatles were together.


= number of Led Zeppelin original studio albums.


3 = 
number of guys in Johnny Cash’s band…including Johnny Cash.

Johnny Cash, Luther Perkins,  Marshall Grant

                                                          .
1
= number of musicians playing all of the instruments on John Fogerty’s Centerfield album (and that was John Fogerty!)

John Fogerty Centerfield

Huey Lewis / Sports – 30 Years Later.

24 Jun

Huey Lewis Sports
How do you feel when an album that you didn’t like when it came out celebrates its 30th anniversary, and you still don’t like it today…BUT, it’s still  better than most of today’s music?  

This summer celebrates the 30th anniversary of Huey Lewis and The News’ Sports album. Okay, “celebrates” is a bit of a stretch. Let’s say “marks” the 30th anniversary.

Yeah, Huey Lewis still sucks. He’s not a great singer, songwriter, or musician.  But he’s still better than Kanye West or Justin Beiber. Yeah that’s right, I said it. Beiber sucks so bad he’s worse than Huey frickin’ Lewis.

I spent the 80’s making fun of those who bought this horrid stuff. But here and now, I would listen that mediocre mainstream rock and roll album now any day over any Hip-Hop / Pop nonsense by Jay-Z or Beyonce. And, as far as “The News” was concerned, there is a cool connection is the always-cool Elvis Costello. Also, I did kind of identify with the one guy in the band that always had the sunglasses and the dangling cig…

Check out the most tolerable of Huey videos below:

30 Years of Confusion: The Kinks

3 Jun

Kinks State of Confusion    

If Pete Townsend was the Godfather of Punk, then Ray Davies is the Godfather of New Wave.

The Kinks delivered a one-two punch in 1982 and 1983 with the albums Give The People What They Want followed by State of Confusion. The former was loved by the critics; the latter was loved by the masses. 

Next week marks the 30th anniversary of State of Confusion. It had everything that albums by new bands in 1983 had: World premiere videos on MTV, stylish costumes on stage, and non-stop radio play on Top 40 and Rock and AC formats. For most of 1983, Ray Davies was both as iconic as McCartney or Jagger and also as relevant in the moment as Bono or Madonna. Check out the title track video below!

 

MTV Christmas Videos 1981 – 1986

19 Dec

MTV Christmas

During MTV’s golden age of 1981 through 1986, an annual tradition was the low-budget, slapped together, in-studio Christmas video! Let’s take a look…

  

Billy Squire “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You” 1981

This was the first MTV Christmas video and arguably the best of the songs. The video itself could be replicated now with the phone in your pocket. It set the trend of featuring the MTV staff, most of whom look really high. I think there was a White Christmas in the MTV offices in 1981!

The video set a nice precedent for having A-list artists involved in these MTV-produced projects. Squire was huge at the time, a veritable one-man Led Zeppelin reborn. But that would end in just a couple of years, ironically when his “Rock Me Tonight “ video on MTV killed his rock credibility in less than 5 minutes.

Joe King Carrasco “It’s a Party Christmas” 1982

This song is truly awful. It’s not only the worst Christmas song of the Modern Rock Era, but is in the running for the worst song EVER. I’ve tried to like it for years in the spirit of being such a fan of the genre. But, c’mon, this sucks. I am embedding the video below, but do yourself a favor and DON’T watch it.

George Thorogood “Rock n Roll Christmas” 1983

Unfortunately this video has been pulled from YouTube. C’mon Lonesome George, really?

Bryan Adams “Reggae Christmas” 1984

By ’84 the budgets were bigger and Pee-Wee Herman showed up. Somehow this give us Canadian Reggae. Yeah, mon, eh?

Jon Anderson “Three Ships” 1985

This is 90125 – era YES lead singer Jon Anderson. It’s indescribable;  just watch.

Monkees “Christmas Medley” 1986

Sixties nostalgia reigned supreme in 1986, culminating this part of the Monkees’ comeback. The Monkees were one of the biggest bands of 1986 and capped the year with this video that officially reunited Mike Nesmith with the other boys. Spoiler! He’s in the Santa suit. 

And there’s the circle of life for MTV: Nesmith, whose PopClips videos were an inspiration for MTV’s creation appears at the very end of the golden age of MTV via this Christmas video. Within a year, new owner Viacom would gut MTV and begin replacing music with reality shows and other nonsense.

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Modern Rock Christmas: JD McPherson “Twinkle Little Christmas Lights”

18 Dec
JD McPherson on The Tonight Show

JD McPherson on The Tonight Show

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Sometimes when you hear newly-written Christmas songs, you end up thinking, “man, they sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.” But Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s new favorite son JD McPherson is here to prove that wrong. See, this little white dude who sings like Little Richard DOES make ‘em like they used to. And without any ironic, cooler-than-you sensibilities. Nope, this guy and his band (notably including bassist and musical director Jimmy Sutton) nail their vintage sound so well, you actually just feel like you’re listening to the greatest 1950′s album you’ve never heard.  One review of his record said it was “engineered to renew your faith in rock’n’roll” and that is dead-on.

And while you are busy having your faith renewed in rock’n’roll, why not multi-task and have it renewed in newly-penned Christmas songs. This one takes a little something old, a little something new, adds some warm feelings and some holiday cheer, and comes out of the oven with my favorite track of the season. Merry Christmas.
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Thanks to Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Michael Hodgin for today’s guest post!

Modern Rock Christmas: Paul Westerberg “Away In A Manger”

10 Dec

Paul Westerberg Away IN A Manger

Ah, Paul Westerberg. The great Replacements frontman and solo songwriter has been cultivating a reclusive persona of late, only plugging in his guitar this year to put Hank Williams and Gordon Lightfoot covers on a tribute album for his ailing ex-bandmate Slim Dunlap.

But a few years ago, Paul put this little gem on a non-Holiday collection available via download only from Amazon, as he’s been doing with most of his material in recent memory. And what a gem it is. Leave it to PW to put his idiosyncratic spin (and a little Chuck Berry influence) on Christmas and come out the other side with an instant new classic. The Little Lord Jesus never rocked so hard.

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Thanks to Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Michael Hodgin for today’s guest post!

  

Modern Rock Christmas: Run-DMC “Christmas in Hollis”

6 Dec

Die Hard

As we all know, Die Hard is one of the best Christmas movies ever made.  And as such, it features some perennial Holiday music favorites as well.  Of course, it closes with the timeless “Let It Snow,” sung by Vaughn Monroe, but this time we’re featuring limo driver Argyle’s favorite selection on the soundtrack, Run DMC’s “Christmas In Hollis.”  

I don’t think I ever actually saw this video back in 1987 but watching it now makes me long for the days when videos actually acted out the lyrics of the song.  “We better point to the Christmas tree when he says ‘Christmas tree.’”

Welcome to the party, pal. 

 

 

Thanks again to Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Michael Hodgin for today’s guest post!

 

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