I think we’ll just let this one speak for itself.
I have fond memories of Zeppelin, the dreaded version of course. Don’t worry I love the leaded version of zeppelin too, but there is something about an Elvis impersonator belting out Robert Plants lyrics to a slightly more rhythmic version of the standard Zep. tunes, …it was hilarious and beautiful at the same time. I’m talking about Dread Zeppelin of course. If you don’t know what I’m talking about the, not even Jah can save you.
I saw these guys at a New Year’s performance at Calamity Jane’s in Las Vegas many many years back. They put on a Hell of a show, and yes I still inflict their tunes on my friends whenever I get a chance. I always thought the most brilliant thing they ever did was this little gem For those insufficiently familiar with the original Zeppelin canon (shame on you again!), the name of the tune is of course, Moby Dick.
…a fact that has had me laughing for about 2 decades now.
(Oh yeah, here’s the original)
I need some help waking up today, so I’m gonna turn to my favorite lyrical terrorist, M. C. Hawking. I hear he has a side-line as a theoretical physicist or something, which helps to explain the content of some of his tunes. You gotta love the Hawk-man! Seriously, you have to man. Cause he’ll fuck your shit up.
Yes, he will!
Roses are red, Violets are blue.
Love songs bore me, How about you?
…but I’ll make an exception when foreplay begins with dentures.
(Thanks to Maria Falvey for help with this epic poem.)
“Hey Geezer, what rhymes with masses?”
My friend, Mike, likes to make fun of the lyrics. I laugh, because It’s a fair cop. That doesn’t stop me from loving this song. It’s crude, and it’s angry, and frankly, I think that suits its subject rather well. When one thinks of war protest songs, Heavy Metal isn’t normally the genre that comes to mind, but perhaps this is one well-earned exception. Hell, I even like the cheated rhyme!
In fact this song has four places on my favorites play-list rather than one, because there are a few non-Sabbath versions of War Pigs that are well worth a listen. The Suck doesn’t add too much to the composition, but this apartheid era rock band seems so out-of-place in South Africa, they get triple credit for simply thinking of recording the song. Hayseed Dixie is of course funny as Hell, but I think they are as sincere about it’s message as anybody. Check out their remake of Holiday to hear these rednecks take sarcasm and bitterness right to 11. The most creative reworking of War Pigs may come from the Dresden Dolls. Theirs may also be the most earnest. Unfortunately, I don’t think they ever recorded it in a studio; one has only a few live bootlegs to choose from. The version below is the best I can find.
To the best of my knowledge, there is but one instrument that can be played without touching it in any way. It was invented in 1920 by Léon Theremin, and yes, it’s called a Theremin. The idea occurred to him while developing an early form of motion detector. Theremin’s own life is a damned interesting story in its own right, and questions still remain about much of it, but let’s just concentrate on the fact that he designed an instrument to be played without physical contact. The instrument generates an electromagnetic field which is then played by moving one’s hands in proximity to its antennae. One hand controls the frequency; the other its volume.
The result is music!
The video above features Theremin playing his own instrument. Below is an audio recording of his protégé, Clara Rockmore, whose work helped to popularize the instrument. If you are having trouble placing the sound of this instrument, just think ‘horror movies’. It has featured in quite a few.
(Ugh! Spelling corrected, thanks to Mr. Washburn)
The hey-day for Jethro Tull would have to be the 1970s, though I always thought they got a lot more airplay after the classic rock stations began to form in the late 80s. They sort of peaked as an active band, and then peaked again with a trace of nostalgia a few years on down the road, not that they’ve ever stopped touring. It just seems that their biggest hits really took off a little after the fact.
Back in the early 80s when I was in high school, most of my classmates had no idea who these guys were. The only people that did know about Tull seemed to be the metal-heads, which was a little odd, because Jethro Tull was hardly a metal band. They had one album that could be called hard rock, and that was Aqualung, but the rest was hard to classify. Today folks tend to call it ‘prog rock’. In any event, for those that do know about them, Jethro Tull has always been known for one thing, the way that front man, Ian Anderson, played the flute. The flute is more than a little unusual for a rock band of any sub-genre. Oh sure, folks may add it to a tune here and there, but to have a band incorporate it as a standard instrument throughout their entire body of work. Well that was weird. The instrument absolutely defined the band. In any event, I’ve been a well-hooked fan ever since first hearing my older sister’s 8-track of Songs from the Wood.
…which is why I found this story to be so damned interesting. You see, in this interview (and a few others), Ian Anderson explains how he learned the proper fingering technique for playing the flute.
And a little sample…
I’ve always loved this particular tune. I grew up listening to the Allman Brothers version, and count it as one of my favorites. Like a lot of great rock&roll tunes, though, it has an interesting past. You see, it isn’t just that the old rock bands were inspired by blues. Some of their greatest hits were cover tunes. According to the almighty wiki, this was first recorded by Elmore James who didn’t release it for several years. Later Sonny Boy Williamson put out a couple different versions. I think my own favorite would be the Williamson version with Buddy Guy on guitar.
What the Hell is a Rockabilly band doing claiming the Cramps as a major influence, opening for Ministry, and working with Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers? None of these things would seem to add up to that 1950s nostalgia that always comes to mind when I hear the word ‘rockabilly’. And in the case of the Reverend Horton Heat, they really don’t. No, this band is its own kind of monster, and I love them for it. Their work often goes to 11, but for this Monday, let’s just take a minute to listen to this wholesome-sounding tribute to a bit of Texas folklore.