Tag Archives: rock and roll

#Occupy Van Halen?

This morning I took a few minutes to watch the vid for the new Van Halen single, “Tattoo.” I was a little startled, in the final verse, to encounter these lyrics:

Uncle Danny, had a coal tattoo.
He fought for the unions,
Some of us still do.
On my shoulder is the number
of the chapter he was in.
That number is forever
like the struggle here to win.

I had never thought of VH as a political band, so I did some snooping. Read more

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame sucks; here’s how to fix it

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a joke. I think we all know this, but if you’re new to the issue a quick illustration should suffice: Madonna is in it. Rush, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Deep Purple, Big Star, The Cure, Devo, Dire Straits, ELO, Hüsker Dü, INXS, Jethro Tull, Judas Priest, The Moody Blues, Motorhead, My Bloody Valentine, New Order, Peter Gabriel, The Replacements, Warren Zevon, XTC, Yes and Graham Parker aren’t. I could go on. And on. And on and on and on. But, in the interest of brevity, I won’t.

This is frustrating for a lot of people. Many of the artists would probably like to be acknowledged, and their fans no doubt take the slight personally. And the critics, gods, imagine trying to think about this if you’re a serious professional covering music. Read more

The S&R Interview: 22 questions with Sarah Lewis of Jag Star

I remember distinctly how I first discovered Jag Star. I was snooping around on eMusic for new bands and was using the old triangulation method – who sounds like band X? One of my favorite bands is VAST, and Jag Star turned up as a “Similar Artist.”

That was both a great moment and a confusing one. On the one hand, I immediately liked Jag Star’s music. I’ve long loved Power Pop, and while you wouldn’t exactly slot Jag Star in with other bands in the contemporary disciples of The Beatles / Raspberries / Who / Big Star / Badfinger Pop Underground scene, they write great hooks, play really well and aren’t at all afraid to turn up the volume. Not only that, they’re doing it on their terms, the establishment and labels be damned.

On the other hand, I can’t for the life of me figure out how they got into the “Sounds Like VAST” queue. Read more

WordsDay: The hegemony of poetry vs. lyrics, part 2

A couple weeks I go I offered up part one in a series on poetry vs. lyrics, noting from firsthand experience the differences between the two. In brief, I’ve always felt like it was wrong to call rock stars poets – even if their words are fantastic, as they often are, the very nature of bending words to suit a song structure makes what they do a very different thing from what poets do.

In that piece, I looked at the song version of “Hegemony,” which I penned for Fiction 8‘s most recent CD, Project Phoenix. “Hegemony” was adapted for music from an existing poem, which I wrote for my most recent book, Chained to the Gates of Heaven (a book that is in search of a publisher, by the way – so if you know somebody….)

In this installment, Read more

WordsDay: the hegemony of poetry and lyrics

Reach out and touch me now
Aphrodite said
You aren’t the only one
with armies in your head

We’re fond of calling our great rock stars poets. Dylan is a poet. Springsteen is a poet. John Lennon was a poet. Jim Morrison (*gag*) was a poet. And so on. Certainly the first three (have) produced some marvelous words, but as a poet – forgive me if I call myself a “real” poet here – I’ve never quite been willing to accord their work the status of poetry. This isn’t necessarily a slam – their work isn’t architecture, either. Read more