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“Rock and Roll and Commercial Chasm, Notes”

Rock and roll reaches the tips of the fingers of those who have been forgotten, neglected: from slavery in the old South, to New Jersey, to Seattle, pre-1991.

Heavy metal is basically with the keyboard taken out. True bands, though, should have a keyboardist, like The Doors, Beach House and Cave.

Amazingly, The Doors were able to convince the entire listening public that Morrison Hotel was some cock-flailing blues album just by putting “Roadhouse Blues” at the beginning. It is my favorite Doors album, even though “The Spy” is possibly the worst Doors song in the entire catalog. “Land Ho!” and Robby Krieger’s fine form on “You Make Me Real” more than make up for it. Just ask Billy Corgan.

Two minutes into Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks’ Wig Out at Jagbags, and I’m already bored as sh** by it. No keyboard. It’s like, tryin’ to get by w/o a keyboardist, who do you think you are, Sebadoh? This thing makes Terror Twilight sound like Dream Police.

I’ve spent the better part of the year so far looking for that song “Oh Jackie.” Little did I know, he’s saying “Oh, chariot”, and it’s some half-Irish half-Russian New Yorker-babyface by the moniker of Gavin Degraw. “Chariot”. It’s better than the vast majority of Wilco songs. It is, though, an example of commercially viable rock and roll music adhering excessively to a structural mold, and, though the redo of Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” definitely didn’t do a great job in in some way amputating or truncating the second verse, it is commendable in its attempt.

Also from L.A. likewise to The Doors, Morphine substituted keyboard with saxophone. “I’m Free Now” from Cure for Pain, “All Your Way” from Yes, these are a couple favorites. Both Morrison and Morphine’s Mark Sandman moved from the East to L.A., and then formed rock bands. Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, too. “Say it Ain’t So” is an extra great song because, while being musically unimpeachable, the lyrics are about something almost nobody experiences — domestic violence by way of alcohol. The whole thing’s sort of a nice way of saying, You could never do what I do, in a million years. Sit back and nod your head.

 

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