Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hard to Find the Time/I Just Don't Get It.

I have to say that this music blog thing us fun but I just can't seem to find the time to keep it going. I love reading all the blogs in my blog roll and wonder how everyone seems to keep up with it. When I started this blog I actually thought I could make a few bucks doing this and realize I do not have the time to put in to do that. So I am now going to post when I can, respond to other blogs when I can and just have fun with this thing. So I hope everyone else will come along with me as I have made some good connections via the blogosphere and would like to continue to do so.

So with that in mind, let's have some fun. I loved doing the “I just don't get it” and I want to do another one.

Punk Rock

I hate it. Punk Rock was supposedly the antidote for the excesses of prog rock. To me I just say that is a bunch of crap. OK, so let me get this straight, two chords and yelling about how being put down is cool is better than Rush, Yes, Jethro Tull etc., etc. I don't think so. Those guys actually KNOW how to play their instruments and formulate coherent lyrics (although deep at times). To me, punk rock was the beginning of the end for rock and roll in the sense that after that, everything in rock went so simple that musicality became a thing of the past. Can you say – The 80's, Grunge Rock, Rap . All those are based on the premise of simplicity. I am not a huge fan of the 80's hair metal but at least they knew how to play and had songs with guitar leads in them and for that I guess I miss that a bit (not the songs but the format).

To give you an example, I am a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain but he has in numerous episodes of his show “No Reservations” expressed his love for The Ramones. He even said he wanted to find Jethro Tull and punch him (he obviously does not realize that there is no one in the band named Jethro Tull). That type of simple mindedness is exactly what I get tired of. I understand music is one of the ultimate forms of expression and opinions run rampant, but that type of one-sided “write-offs” to prove a point drives me nuts. Although I love prog, I still listen to a lot of other things (except rap, but I will save that for another episode of “I Just Don't Get It”). I played in a prog rock band, blues band, southern rock band, and (gasp!), a wedding band so I know music fairly well from the 50's to today. I have opinions like everyone else but at least mine founded in years of exploring the rock genre in general.

I hear every summer of all the amazing music festivals being held in Europe and I get jealous. For those of you old enough to remember Monsters of Rock, that type of thing happens in almost every country in Europe. What do we get: Ozzfest cool but too much death metal, Lollapalooza has lost its foundations, Van's Warped Tour, no thanks, too close to punk (emo sucks too).

To bring this all back around, I blame punk (along with rap) for the crappy state that music is in today. Most of what is played on the radio toady is either classic rock, (which is great but you can only listen to so many times), crappy dance tunes, rap/hip-hop which makes my skin crawl and “alternative”, most of which is just lame. Music in general is so watered down that good rock is hard to find. It's out there, and what ever it is, is in the eye of the beholder, but maybe there is still a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately the record executives and radio managers still want to force feed us the same old crap like Blitzkrieg Bop and Anarchy in the UK. Just crap.

I hope you know where I am coming from. Thanks for letting me vent and let me know what you think.


  1. While I wouldn't call myself a fan of punk by ANY stretch of the imagination there is some I like (marginally so) and I do "get" the appeal to it even if it doesn't particularly appeal to me.

    Punk is the anti-prog yes because it's based on pure emotion (usually anger and/or frustration) and in that regard I'd say there's a place for it just as there's a place for prog. Sometimes you want to hear and appreciate music sometimes you want music to tap into that raw nerve you want it to express something more primal. And I think that's when punk fits the bill.

    What I don't like/get are those who hold punk in high regard at the expense of other types of music (such as Bourdain or the late rock critic Lester Bangs).

  2. Perplexio, you make some excellent points. I too like to tap in that raw nerve now and then. I use metal for that (Metallica, Slayer, etc.). I just hate the "We're punk and you you better be too" attitude. I think that ultimately led to its downfall. Unfortunately we now have emo. Thanks for the post.

  3. emo gave us My Chemical Romance who put out one of the best albums of 2006, The Black Parade so it's not all bad. Although that album is the beginning and end of the emo in my music collection.

    For anger/frustration I too lean more towards metal. Dream Theater's Awake & Train of Thought and Steve Lukather's Luke album are my "go to" albums for raw emotion (that last one is hard rock, not metal-- but certainly shows far more technical proficiency and musical skill than all of punk rock combined).

  4. Tone, old buddy, I think you've kinda got the wrong end of the stick on this. This comment is probably gonna B an epic, & I apologize in advance.
    I'm also a big Prog fan, but Prog can't always give me what I need from music, certainly not the crash & bash & rush of adrenaline that a lotta New Wave & more "simplistic" musical forms can. 4 me, the best way 2 interpret New Wave/Punk was sorta as a return 2 the simpler approaches of say, early Beatles or early-'60s pop.
    Without Punk Rock/New Wave having come along 2 shake things up a little, you'd never hear any of the following folks on the radio:
    U2, Tom Petty, Police, Sting, Cars, Blondie, Pretenders, Bangles, Go-Go's, Nirvana, Clash, Talking Heads, REM, Green Day, Tears for Fears, Coldplay, Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, the entire "Alternative" scene, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morrisette, Barenaked Ladies, New Order, The Church, Human League, Peter Gabriel (I know he came from Genesis, but his solo stuff don't SOUND like Genesis & he never woulda broken thru without things loosening-up), Flock of Seagulls, Split Enz, B-52's, Squeeze, Missing Persons, Dream Academy, Rickie Lee Jones, Keane, Fleet Foxes ... & probably 100's more, these are just some of the folks on my shelf. Would you miss any of these?
    My point is, it takes all kinds. I worked 3 years in a record store Back In The Day ('79 to '82, back when I was an even BIGGER Prog fan), & 1 of my co-workers hadta play the 1st Cars album over&over&OVER B4 I was grudgingly willing 2 admit that they MIGHT have some talent. I was an idiot. Now I wonder why I couldn't hear them back then....
    Radio didn't go 2 Hell Bcos of Punk Rock & Rap & Grunge & Alternative, it went 2 Hell Bcos it's a business -- now a mega-business -- & a commercial venture hasta appeal 2 the widest possible audience 2 make big $$$. & the fun & excitement of it got washed away. Which doesn't mean we couldn't get it back....
    Tony Bourdain isn't on TV because he's a rock critic, he's on Bcos he's an amusing food critic. His Attitude is part of the package. His ignorance about Tull is pretty funny -- but millions of Tull's FANS think Tull is ONE GUY who plays a flute & hops on 1 leg, & they couldn't care less who the backing band is. They don't know who Ian Anderson is & couldn't tell you the name of the guitarist. Look up some of their old concert reviews & you'll see what I mean.
    I was never much of a Punk fan, but the subculture is actually pretty intresting: check out Jon Savage's book ENGLAND'S DREAMING & see what I mean. & I know that Green Day, 4 example, wouldn't exist without the Sex Pistols -- Green Day's "Holiday" sounds EXACTLY LIKE the Pistols, & it's great!
    There's a lot of REALLY BAD Punk/New Wave, just like there's a lot of REALLY BAD Prog (I've written about some of it at my blog & hope 2 get back 2 it again when I feel brave enuf) -- remember Sturgeon's Law: 90 percent of everything is crap.
    Don't get me wrong here. I've bn following you 4 awhile & have enjoyed your posts. I thot about this 4 a coupla days B4 commenting. Even at my advanced age (52) I know there's A LOT I haven't heard. & I don't have a whole lotta time 4 stuff I don't like. I know there's lotsa stuff I Don't Get (most metal, death metal, REM, The Band, Janis Joplin, etc.), but I try 2 stay open-minded. If you've survived this, I'd love 2 hear yer thots....

  5. TAD, great response. I see your point that punk spawned other types of bands. I always try to give credit to those who pave the way. However, it is punk that I dislike, not necessarily those who came later (I do like the Police, for example). I too try to stay open minded but what is played on the radio (at least here in Milwaukee; which isn't saying much) is rehashed classics or formulaic emo/punk. There are always songs and/or bands that come along that surprise you and that's what makes being a music fan fun. I liked Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains back in the day (NOT Nirvana; maybe a post in the future?) But it seems that in the mainstream of music those are getting farther and fewer between. You could say I am getting older but I listen to prog bands that are relatively new and still putting out great music. I like some of the stuff by Nickelback and Muse. It all boils down to taste and opinion but I would go screaming into the night if I had to listen to an entire CD of The Ramones.

    Your right, the music didn't kill radio, but my point was that once the listening community got hooked on things like rap and punk/emo it was at the expense of music that more thought put it in to it and musicianship that we are slowly losing. I am not a huge fan of country but those folks are amazing musicians. I am always surprised when I here a car roll by that is NOT blasting dance/rap crap. I often wonder if anyone listens to rock anymore.

    As I mentioned to Perplexio, I have my own mean for simplistic raw energy and if may differ from others (Slayer gets me pumped up). We need that, especially coming from the often too serious world of prog.

    For the record, I could not agree with you more on REM as an "I just don't get it.

    Thanks for the post.

  6. Tone: Glad you survived. After I sent you that comment I went back & re-read it & felt like I'd beat you over the head -- didn't mean to....
    The Ramones have ONE great song: "I Just Wanna Have Something to Do" -- great choruses, great guitar, funny lyrics. You might like it, if you can track it down....
    You'll be posting more in the future, I hope...?

  7. TAD, this is the type of banter I am looking for when I post this stuff. I try to be open minded and glean tidbits from others. We get opinionated and stuck in our ways (just ask my wife). I am still not a fan of punk but the replies have made me think a bit about my generalization of an entire genre. Thanks again for the posts.

  8. I'm not big into punk music music either, however there is some early punk I get into like the Velvet Underground and MC5-the roots of punk. Other punkish I like are the early U2 and REM. Only in small doses, though.

    To vent out my frustrations, I lean towards the heavy metal of Guns n' Roses and the grunge of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

  9. drewzepmeister, the song Heroin by Velvet Underground is pretty cool. I once had the Best of tape by them. They also had some really bad songs as well. Not sure why they let Nico sing;) Thanks for the post.

  10. My exposure to Velvet Underground was the Doors soundtrack. They used Heroin in the film and it is a great song. I found it interesting that in the film, the vocals were Val Kilmer's but on the soundtrack they used the Jim Morrison originals on the Doors songs. Despite not being a Doors song, Heroin remains one of my favorite songs on that album.