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Posts tagged ‘rock n roll’

RIP Ronnie James Dio

Back in my college days, heavy metal was just starting to take hold.  Sure, the seventies had seen some metal bands, but they were plodding at best – decent music if  you were stoned, I suppose, but nothing to really bang your head to.  But there was one voice that cut through the  mist … or smoke … like a scalpel – Ronnie James Dio.  As the diminutive front man for Blackmore’s Rainbow, he’d helped the former Deep Purple guitarist establish a new, higher energy sound for heavy metal.  When Ozzy Osbourne was fired from … er, quit … Black Sabbath, Dio breathed new life into an old band, resulting in the classic album “Heaven and Hell”.  And as the leader of his own band Dio, he showed the rest of the industry how to kick ass and rock hard.

At a time when most of his peers had been forced to the recliner, rehab or reality TV, Dio soldiered on.  It took a diagnosis of stomach cancer to slow this rock god, and now that massive voice has been silenced forever.  Ronnie James Dio died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 67.

Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the wall when RJD met St. Peter? I’m just sayin’ …

Rock on, my brother … rock on!

For God’s Sake, Man – Cover Up!

Let me say for the record that I love Iggy Pop. He does his thing his way, always has, and doesn’t give a fig for what you and I think about it. That said, there comes a time for a little common sense, even into the Popster’s realm – and now would appear to be that time.

Leatherman Lives ...

Ever since Iggy rolled out of Detroit in the late ’60s as the lead singer of The Stooges, he’s looked for ways to shock the audience as much as entertain them. Initially intrigued by The Doors’ Jim Morrison and his antagonistic relationship to his audience, Pop took it to another level, frequently exposing himself to the crowd and inventing the often-imitated “stage dive” as the ultimate demonstration of the idolation of the crowd. Though his popularity has waxed and waned over the years, his dedication to his craft has remained.

An iconic part of the Iggy Pop look over the years has been his bare chest. If you saw him in concert, whether last week or last century, you saw Iggy without his shirt, wearing nothing but jeans or leather pants – hopefully, zipped up. There was a point in time when he could pull off that look, but as this shot of a recent concert demonstrates graphically, those days are gone.

Like any performer past his prime but still wanting to connect with older fans, Iggy puts on the show everyone expects to see – and that includes losing the shirt.  But at 63 years of age, time and decades of hard living are clearly catching up with him.  Frankly, he looks like something out of a B-movie horror flick.

Please, Iggy – in the name of grandfathers everywhere … put the shirt back on!

Jonesy’s Back … Sort Of …

Those of us who have felt a void ever since the demise of radio’s Indie 103.1 back in January have reason to celebrate. Steve Jones, one-time guitarist for the Sex Pistols and host of Indie’s flagship show “Jonesy’s Jukebox” has returned to the air.

For five years, Jones and his unique approach to radio provided a glimpse of just how good an entertainment medium radio could be if only given the freedom to experiment. Dead air air and miscellaneous bodily noises competed with awesome music and the kind of guests that only a rock icon coudl pull to create a show that was totally unique. And who could forget Jonesy whistling his favorite tunes and asking listeners to guess the song? Good stuff, until the suits pulled the plug.

Jonesy is once again on the air, this time back in his homeland. His new show, “A Months Of Sundays with Steve Jones“, runs on BBC 6 on Sundays. Fortunately for those of us on this side of the pond, his shows are streamed over the Internet – and available on demand!

The Sire of Wilshire has returned … long may he reign!

RIP Jim Carroll

I’m feeling particularly old today … Jim Carroll has died.

Carroll was best known as a poet, with his work “Basketball Diaries” having been turned into a movie in 1995 by Leo DeCaprio. But for I and my college friends, Carroll was the underground rocker who created the classic “People Who Died,” a litany of friends who had passed to the Great Beyond by increasingly bizarre methods.

Less singer than spoken word artist, Carroll’s vocals were in many ways reminiscent of The Doors’ Jim Morrison, and his lyrics were equally deep and twisted. He had a way of turning a phrase – among my favorite: “It’s too late … to fall in love with Sharon Tate.”

Carroll himself had a description of his unique performance style:

“There ain’t much time left, you’re born out of this insane abyss and you’re going to fall back into it, so while you’re alive you might as well show your bare ass.”

My friends from Bannockburn are mourning today. Jim Carroll was 60.

Little Bit Of Heaven … At Least For A Day

I was raised on radio.  Fell in love with it as a kid, and was really hooked after I did a stint as an FM DJ in college.  Were it not for the footloose lifestyle it tends to force, I might have gone with it as a career.  Even today, I love the chance to see behind the scenes of a radio station.

One of the problems over the years has been the number of great stations that have come … and gone.  At the top of my list – and that of most SoCal rockers of my generation – is the late 94.7 KMET.  God, what a station – it defined what rock and roll radio should be in the ’70s and ’80s.  Brash, irreverent, political – it had it all, including some of the greatest jocks ever.  But, as they say, all good things come to an end, and the Mighty METs end came in 1987, as the station was replaced by … smooth jazz.  The hair sticks up on the back of my neck just remembering the moment.

Treasures from the past

Treasures from the past

Many stations have come along in the intervening years, hoping to recapture the magic.  The current candidate is 100.3, The Sound, a station whose birth we documented right here in the MarlinBlog a couple of years ago.  They’ve lived up to the initial promise, and are quickly developing a loyal following.

Tomorrow, past will meet present as, for one day, The Sound becomes The Mighty MET for what they’re calling “Finally a KMET Friday“, a nod to the old Friday parties held by the 94.7 staff.  Jeff Gonzer, KMET’s morning man, is now a weekend jock at the Sound and will be back in the morning chair tomorrow.  He won’t be alone, as newsmen Pat “Paraquat” Kelley and Ace Young will be along for the ride.  Throughout the day, former MET jocks will be back on the air in LA – Jack Snyder, Billy Juggs, Rick Scarry … even Dr. Demento!  It’ll be an interesting experience.

In many ways, it was the rise of corporate radio that doomed KMET, and unfortunately, corporate politics is interfering with this event as well.  Several KMET vets, including Cynthia Fox and Jim Ladd, are now on the air at rival KLOS and extended an invitation to participate in the recreation.  However, they were blocked by their management, even when offered the chance to plug their own current shows.  According to Gonzer, KLOS brass even went so far as to ban their current staffers from attending a reunion dinner the night before.  Oh well …

To me, it’s always a little dangerous trying to recreate the past.  As we saw this week with Michael Jackson, the present can be a poor imitation of the glory days, and leave a bitter taste.  That’s certainly the case with rock and roll, as there’s nothing so pathetic as a band long past their prime hanging on to the last threads of fame having long lost the last shreds of dignity.  But that shouldn’t be the case here – I suspect it’s just going to be a fun, irreverent time.  And if they do the Fish Report With A Beat, well, I’ll just die.

The lineup starts at 7AM on 100.3, The Sound.  Whooya!

Still Rocking …

In keeping with our rock and roll theme today, we bring an update on rocker Joan Jett. A founding member of ’70s girl group The Runaways, Joan went on to have the most solo success of any of the bandmates. Now, she’s serving as an advisor to a biopic about the Runaway days.

The Runaways hit the scene my senior year of high school. Most of the guys wanted either singer Cherie Currie for her looks or guitarist Lita Ford for her rack. But I was always Joan Jett fan – she seemed to the one in the bunch who was the most serious about the music, and that’s always been what was important to me – then and now. Long after the other girls had burned out – or sold out – Jett continues to rock it.

There’s something to be said about being true to your roots, and Joan is clearly that. A Philly girl through and through, she still looks like she stepped out of a Ramones shoot at age 50! You go, girl!

Rock and Roll Never Forgets

If you came of age in the early ’60s, chances are you wanted to learn how to play the electric guitar. And if you did, chances are there’s one song you used to hone your early chops. Close your eyes, and you probably hear it now – that up-and-down, walk the neck joy that is the Ventures’ “Walk, Don’t Run”. So popular was the Ventures’ surf-style instrumentals that they were tabbed to do the memorable theme song to “Hawaii Five-0” and even made an album of instructional music for fledgling guitarslingers.

The Ventures were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and a version of the group continues to tour today. However, the man behind that memorable guitar sound has left the building. Original guitarist Bob Bogle, a construction worker who found fame in what started as a part-time gig, died last Sunday from the effects of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 75.