I told you a long time ago that the reach of BRP was national in scope, and I recently got on a big jet to the West Coast just to prove it. California to be exact. And to see some live music. Here are some thoughts and observations.
I was in NoCal, so none of that “French bikini on Hawaiian island dolls by a palm tree in the sand” stuff. The beaches up here are rugged and beautiful, but they’re also cold. We got close to the Pacific at Muir Woods, and did some logging there. Check out these shots of the coastal redwoods:
I’ve been lucky enough to have been to California many times (I used to work for an outfit based in San Francisco). But this was the first time in years and years of coming to the state that I actually saw it GREEN. Yes, the hills were emerald and beautiful, and not that typical dry brown grass stuff that looks like it will catch fire at any second. It’s nice that the drought ended and left the state looking lush (well, Western lush, nothing like the East Coast). Now, here’s a nice photo of the wine country in Sonoma to illustrate what I’m talking about. Beautiful!
As long as I was in wine country, why not catch some live music? What, you thought I was going to say drink some wine? Not me, cowboy, but I did see some badass bands and rode a horse. Yup, here’s an illustration of me riding that fine filly. BillyRidesFilly.com sounds like a famous rock blog! Anyway, I look like a natural, don’t you think? I need that ten gallons just to cover my egotistical head, which somehow just barely fit into this picture.
So what about these bands? Well, the variety was huge, and unfortunately, I didn’t catch all the band names. Apologies for that – I’ll update should I get the names later. Anyway, up first was a jazz trio from SF who did a bang up job. Not your typical BRP music, but I appreciated their professionalism, virtuosity and the fact that they were willing to hang out with me for a few minutes. A photo of the boys in action is below:
Next was a BANGIN’ Motown band hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. Check out these shots: three lead female singers in shiny dresses, two male lead singers, four horns, etc.
And they did not stop playing for 3 hours straight – I mean, no breaks at all, just non-stop jammin’. What Motown songs did they play? Oh man, I can’t go through the whole list, but Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Glady Knight, etc, all got the full treatment. I danced a wee bit. Check that, a lot, and kept the groove going for hours. I got back to my motel that night and my feet hurt, but I had a big smile on my face. And the fun was just starting.
The next day, it was bluegrass in the wine country. Now, you would think that to hear great bluegrass you would need to be at the Lincoln Theater in Southwest Virginia (suspiciously close to one of the nation’s finest universities), but you would be wrong. Because here I was in NoCal wine country listening to the banjo and mandolin, and just loving it. These guys were cool and they treated me with all the respect a rock blogger deserves. Here’s a pic:
Once these guys stopped playing, a very different band started playing. BRP snuck around the building, and lo and behold found these guys just cranking it out: the Good Time Haver’s. They were playing Petty (Tom, not Richard), John Prine, Leonard Cohen (the dead guy du jour), and everything in between. They were tight, fun loving, taking requests from yours truly, and doing a damn fine job of not laughing at me while I danced like a fool in front of them. Four stars, boys!
To top it all off, on came Phil Cook and the Guitarheels. If you don’t know this dude from North Carolina via Wisconsin, well, you should. Phil is a really nice guy, has a tight band, and played 2 hours of alt-country/Allman-esque/Little Feat-inspired fun music. I caught a few songs during the sound check, and then came back for the full set that night. They did a great cover of “Blue Sky” and used the keys to handle the Dickey Betts guitar licks. Whatever, it worked. And Phil started the show with his own song, “1922,” and finished with another strong original, “Ain’t It Sweet.” It was great. By the way, Phil has a terrific sense of humor and a nice stage presence. Here are some shots of Phil and the boys bringing it, both at the sound check and later during the show:
OK, that’s the first time I’ve ever done the five-bands-in-one review, and I had to keep it light on the details in order to enable you to read this through without taking a nap in between. At least, that was my intent. If you did drift off, I hope you had BRP ringing in your ears while you dozed.
Now, The Man is sent me straight from California to NYC for the rest of the week, where he made me WORK!! But not to fret because while I was somewhat indisposed this week, next week I’ve got three live shows coming up in five days that will blow your minds. Oh, and a trip to Charlottesville, VA to visit Monticello in the meantime. So now is the time to go stock up on milk and bread because the BRP onslaught is going to consume you like 36 inches of snow in February. You’ll be stuck for days reading this blog, but thankfully, you’ll have power and food. Are you ready? Let’s count it down: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ……
It’s not easy to run a rock n’ roll blog. The demands of the loyal readers are immense and intense. For instance, I keep getting asked to show pictures of me busting moves. Well, after months of dodging, bobbing and weaving, your wish has come true! Here are some recent pictures of BRP taking it to the limits. I think you’ll like them.
First, here’s a picture of my dance to Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall.”
Nice, huh? Who else does this move and sticks it? Seriously, I’m like the fly here. Either that, or I stepped in gum. It’s brilliant either way.
You’re right, one move does not make the man, so how about this one? It’s my patented move and it’s called, what else, the BRP: ear grab with one hand, foot hold with the other hand, jerk violently with both, and stick the landing. Amateurs fail regularly at this move, but being the professional that I am, I’ve never fallen (well, at least doing this move). Why haven’t I fallen? The secret is in the patented process itself, which I can’t reveal. It’s more of a Col. Harlen Sanders trade secret kind of thing. Suffice to say, it’s an incredible move, perfected by the hard working R&D folks at BRP. The one bad thing is that I sometimes make an ugly face doing it, and this picture caught me at my worst. Nonetheless, I know you’ll forgive me. Whew, what an intro! And with that, here’s the picture:
The last move I’m going to show you is one I’m a bit embarrassed about, so let’s just keep this to ourselves. A long time ago, someone called me an Ass Clown. I’m not quite sure what that term means, but I don’t think it was meant as a compliment. I decided to roll with it and came up a dance that I call the Ass Clown. And here’s the picture to prove it:
In the spirit of this danceable post, I'm going to give you a great great song by one Wilson Pickett. He's some no-name guy from way back, hahaha, but man is this one terrific tune. Enjoy.
So what do you think? Dancing with the Stars material or what? On second thought, I think I’m just going to keep it rockin’ here at BRP and only let my loyal and discerning readers dig on this stuff. With that, I’m going to sign off just for a short time (I hope) and then come roaring back with more kick butt material for you to laugh at with your friends. Thanks for reading.
Howdy, ya’ll! Welcome back to Living Like a Rocker, Part 3. If you missed the first two Parts, I am so sorry. Frankly, I don’t know how you have survived these last few weeks. They are, and I say this humbly, mandatory reading for all Americans in 2017. OK, that’s a slight overstatement, but just a slight one. Anyway, I saved some of the best stuff for last, and I’m anxious to get at it. You, too? Hold on tight and keep your seatbelt secure across your lap:
Addict the Kids/Grandkids: This one is more of a brainwashing exercise, and I learned its secrets while I worked at the Pentagon in the 80s (that’s true, I did work there, but it’s not true that I learned brainwashing there – that happened later in corporate America). Look, we all know that modern pop/rap/hip-hop is slightly phlegm-worthy, and you don’t want to hear that smut blasting out of your kid’s rooms while you are at home, right? You didn’t go completely in hawk with a mortgage the size of Gibraltar only to come home and stew while listening to that crap. So use subtle subjugation techniques mastered over the centuries by the Catholic Church to hook your kids on rock, and put the fear of God into them should they venture very far from two guitars, drums and a bass. For instance, buy this Disney toy and put it prominently where your kids will see it.
Put on the Replacements while they play with their toys – I did this with my own kids, and they were singing “Kiss Me On The Bus” as they boarded the yellow school bus on the first day of kindergarten.
Get them loving it. Here’s a true modern story in this vein. My grandson (he’s 4) really likes guitars and music, but he is also kind of shy. When he went to preschool recently, the Director saw him and engaged him in conversation. The Director asked what he liked, and my grandson said he liked the guitar. The little guy continued by saying that he really like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmie Page. Yes, that’s all true. And yes, he is 4! He even has a Jimi Hendrix poster in his bathroom, and his sister, who is 2, wants one of Jimmie Page put up. Again, it’s true. I’m so proud my buttons are flying across the room as I write this. How did they get this knowledge? Well, Dad and Mom showed the YouTube videos of these rockers at their craft, and it clicked. That, my friends, is how you do it.
Rules of the Car: If you’re going to go rock star, you should have a cool car. Now wait a damn minute, you are saying, because in feigning the lifestyle of a celebrity, you also have watched award shows and know how deeply all these rockers care about climate change. How is a hot ride consistent with your core beliefs? Because, damn, you are a celebrity, the rules apply to those who are not celebrities, and how cool is that Maserati? And don’t forget that rock ‘n roll as a profession is totally dependent upon the electrical grid, private jets and the next gas station.
So how can you truly bitch about climate change? You can’t. Thus, it’s back to the cars. How about a convertible?
OK, not everyone owns a convertible. And that’s a goddamn national disgrace! Trust me, you should, as it’s fantastic. But if you are in the market for a new ride of whatever type, recognize that certain rock rules apply to you once you become an owner. First, regardless of the car you own, you have to drive fast, like a rocker would do. It’s simply appropriate rocker behavior. Next, you need to play great driving tunes as you drive fast. It helps to circulate the blood and the adrenaline rush gives you the strength in your leg to push the accelerator all the way to the floor. And, more importantly, to hold it there. Finally, you need to turn up the music loud. No, not that loud, LOUDER. You’re not doing it for attention – get on TV like Mama June, Sugar Bear and Honey Boo Boo if you want attention.
You’re doing it because it is a healthy lifestyle choice. Oh, and cranking the tunes is particularly impressive if you have a convertible and are riding with the top down. On snowy days. With sunglasses on.
That’s commitment to the art, baby. And playing loud rock music as you drive into work sets the standard for appropriate business behavior at your company. There is a well-known study by Accenture that shows that those companies that rock loud and hard also have higher shareholder returns and pay substantially higher wages than those companies that forego rock. Just watch The Big Short for proof. So there you have it.
Lie About What You Read. Let’s face it, most interviews with rock ‘n rollers are like reading interviews with federal judges or bad high school kids (there’s a difference?). There are not a lot of college educated people in the rock crowd, which is cool. But many are wannabes, and feel compelled to lie about what they read and who they are influenced by because they are artists and artists are nothing if not smart. Thus, Jack Kerouac is a favorite. A boring prig to anyone who’s actually read him, but one that the bad high school kids like to cite.
Say, didn’t Sting have to throw the name Nabakov into a song? Of course he did because Sting is a pretentious butt wipe. Zeppelin wrote many songs about literature, particularly the Hobbit, hahaha. Oh, and don’t forget political revolutionaries like Malcolm X, Castro or Mao. Only the Beatles did Mao the right way, btw (“If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.” That doesn’t quite explain 1.4 billion Chinese, but it sounded good with a fuzzed out guitar).
Anyway, it’s not hard. Just do what the rockers do: google the name of an author, read a Wikipedia blurb, and then go spouting off some nonsense like you actually went to school and studied things (which, if you are reading this blog, you probably did). And don’t stop at authors. Cite other crap that people with way too much time and drugs on their hands can do, and then talk about it like you’re an expert. You know, the newest raw food diets, Bigfoot, tiny exclusive resorts on St. Barts, private jets or some other silliness. It’s all about the appearance, the style, the braininess of singing “gabba gabba, hey.” Got it? Of course you did, you large-brained mammal, you!
Buy Instruments and Leave Them Around Your House. Now, I’m not going to lie to you. Instruments are expensive. But they are cool props even if you don’t know how to play them. How do I know? Well, go to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and check out the displays. They are all either costumes, instruments, or pictures. Go to a Hard Rock Café, and check out what they have hanging on the walls. It’s sort of like the faux surf bars with surfboards hanging up. They are props to signify that on the scale of coolness, you are so cold that visitors get frostbite. Ante up and go!
Get A Police Record. No, I don’t mean buy a record by the 70s band The Police. You should already have their early stuff in your collection and their later work in the trashcan, so why would I recommend duplicating what you already have? No, I mean the REAL kind of police record. Yup, you need to get arrested.
Hey, if you’re as old as me and haven’t ended a night or two in the back seat of a police car, well, I am very disappointed with how you have chosen to lead your life thus far. But don’t despair! There is still time to correct things. And remember, most rockers have been arrested. Usually for drugs, which is kind of boring, but sometimes for beating the crap out of someone, driving waaaaaaaaaaaay too fast, smashing up a hotel, or some other such high-brow behavior. You might not enjoy the actual arrest and trial process, although it will be an interesting criminal justice lesson, but you will most likely thoroughly enjoy the behavior that lead to your brush with the law. I mean, who doesn’t walk into a chain hotel, look around at the same drab room you can find anywhere, and just want to go nuts and rip the hell out of it? Or maybe set it on fire? Do it!
Or drive around like a maniac at a very high rate of speed in a car designed to go at a high rate of speed? I mean, if you weren’t pre-ordained to drive 185 miles per hour in a 35 zone, why are you sitting in a Maserati anyway? Do it!
So do something crazy, get arrested, create some memories. Your mom will be so proud. And me, too.
Do Up Your Hair. You knew I had to get to this one, right? Rockers, college professors and government employees can wear whatever hair style they want and not suffer the consequences. They can go huge beard, Mohawk, long down-the-back-or-in-a-ponytail, massive curly fro’s, bangs completely covering the face, colors of the rainbow, whatever.
And why not you? Don’t you think your boss will be impressed when you show up with sidewalls and a purple 5 inch Mohawk and explain it all by saying “you told me to think outside the box.” Yes, there are hairdo’s that you can wear that are acceptable in the business world, such as the pompadour (an all-time BRP favorite), but think bigger than that. After all, you want to emulate behavior that will lead to people saying, “wow, now THAT’s cool.” What better way than a flash hair style? One caution: the Flock of Seagulls hair is verboten because people will never say “now THAT’s cool” with those ridiculous locks.
Hmmm, so are you living like a rocker yet? I am. I don’t follow all of my rules, but I do abide by many, including all of the really bad ones. You don’t believe me? Oh ye of little faith! C’mon, there’s magic in the night, let’s go have some fun, turn up the tunes, and party like a rock star. Test me out. Haha, did I just scare you? Do you want me to?
And with that, I put this little 3 part rules of the rocker to rest. I’ll be back soon with a couple of live music reviews and other entertaining drivel. As always, thanks for reading, rockers.
About a year ago, I came across a Fortune Teller machine at a traveling fair (picture below). I put a quarter in and wished “I want to write a blog.” I received a card that said “your wish has been granted,” and sure enough, here I am. I’ve been hunting for the darn thing ever since then, thinking to myself “I’m not ready for all of this.” But alas, I’ve never found it. If you locate it, please let me know where it is. This blog has become … BIG.
Hahaha, I know you get that movie reference, right? And how cool is this machine? Super cool. Oh yeah, it was working again when I found it this weekend, but check it out - the plug is now in an active electrical socket. And so it wouldn't take back my fortune! Oooooh!
Hey, speaking of big, here’s Biz Markie performing during a timeout during the 76ers-Mavericks game. He’s a performer of substance.
Rock on, my friends!
I’m always humbled that you came back to read more. Thanks! I’ll try to keep the good times rolling. As you know, I was recently going off on why it’s cool to be middle aged and still rockin’. If you missed Part One, well, you missed out. So go back, get caught up, and then join us here for Part Two. For those of you who actually read Part One, there will be a trophy for you later. Here we go with Part Two. Ready? I am:
I Don’t Have to Mosh. Don’t get me wrong – I used to love to mix it up in there. I may be a pencil-necked, toothpick-legged twerp, but that just means my elbows are sharp. I can take a hit and I love to give them out. But hey man, there comes a time when it’s probably not a good idea to be down there doing the Huntington Beach strut. Even if the music is calling for it, I can restrain myself because God finally gave me something I was sorely lacking in my youth: good judgment. (One observation: when did women start going into the pit? It’s cool, I’m all about equality. But it’s also weird for me, too. It’s rough in there and guys are pigs. Just sayin’.)
Yes, I Love Alt Country. And Some Not So Alt Country. In my youth, alt-country was Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, the Outlaws and the like. They were actually alt-arena rock with a southern, drinkin’ and fightin’ mentality that appealed greatly to me. I have lots of records by these rockers and have seen them all. But I had so much testosterone running through my body that a slow song, even one by a great like Johnny Cash, was hard for me to take. Eventually, I stabilized some and learned to slow it down a bit. And lo and behold, Nashville (and people who borrow heavily from Nashville) was waiting for me. Wow! Thanks for your patience! I love it and I love most Americana roots music, too.
I Got to See a Lot of the Big Bands in Their Prime. Yes, the Stones are still touring. But live rock ‘n roll is physical activity, and I don’t care how many devils you sold your soul to, the body is going to break down. So seeing them now isn’t the same as seeing them decades ago. I saw the Stones when Jagger could, well, move like Jagger. I saw Zeppelin in ’77. I saw the Who when Daltrey still had a voice, and Entwistle and Moon weren’t dead. I saw Rod Stewart with pipes. And I got to see other bands that simply can’t be seen anymore because the key guy (or guys) died. There isn’t going to be a Clash reunion because Joe Strummer is dead. But I saw them. Same with the Ramones – guys died, and the touring band went with them, but not before BRP got to experience them. Sure, I missed out on some, like the Beatles and Hendrix. But I caught most of the legends. And yes, there are still guys who bring it like they are still young, like AC/DC and Springsteen. But those numbers are getting slimmer and slimmer. As the Quebecois have on their license plates, je me souviens.
And I Was There When That Tune Was New. This is an interesting one. I remember when certain songs came out, and I was ridiculed by my peers for listening to “punk” or “new wave.” Those bands and their songs were not radio ready when they came out. Well, they were, but the radio listening public wasn’t ready. Instead, you had bands like Journey, ELO, Yes, ELP, Supertramp, etc, who dominated the airwaves. That is the truth. So now, it’s funny to go to an arena and hear them playing “I Wanna Be Sedated,” and watching everyone bopping along. And then people who you know were big Styx fans will look at you and say how great this Ramones song is and how they’ve always loved it. Yeah, right you Johnny-come-lately poseur. The best arena “WTF” I had was at a Washington Caps hockey game last year – they actually played “Waiting Room” by Fugazi, perhaps the least likely song ever to hear in an arena. But if you were listening to everything that came out when it came out, you could hear all these great bands releasing brilliant tracks and trying to capture quicksilver. Bands that became huge, like REM, U2 and the Pretenders, were struggling and unknown artists for their first few albums, but I was listening. And some bands never made it big who should have. Like Wreckless Eric – check out the youtube link below, and tell me where I can get that suit and the pin that says “I’m a Mess” – and the Jags – everyone knows Back of my Hand, but they had other great tunes, too, and I linked you to one. And then there were the one-hit wonders of the day, like Martha and the Muffins “Echo Beach.” Yup, us old dudes were there when these songs came out, and we have been enjoying them for years and years.
I Can Give a Quiz to Loyal BRP Readers. Now I’m normally not big on tests and quizzes. If you had my academic record, you would understand why. I could never remember what I was being tested on, but I do remember two words from biology: endoplasmic reticulum. What that is, I haven’t the foggiest, but I remember those words to this day. It’s weird because I can’t remember the name of my own kids. Now back to the quiz: I’m breaking with my own taboo just this once to give YOU a quiz. Sit down, come back, it’s going to be fun. Here’s the quiz: of the two pictures below, which one scares you more:
Hahaha, wasn’t that fun? The nuns and priests at my school NEVER gave that kind of quiz, which explains why they sucked. BRP, on the other hand, is where even the quizzes are fun!
So when I started on this post, I thought maybe I would come up with two or three things to say. But clearly that was not the case. In fact, I finally just got tired and stopped thinking about new items. I may revisit this topic. Or maybe on the reverse side – you know, things that kind of suck when you get older, because those do exist. Nah, I’m lying, it’s all good on this side of life’s journey. Hey, rockers of whatever age, I love you all and hope that your life’s journey is accompanied by great tunes and mind-blowing shows. Thanks for sharing some of your precious moments on Earth with me. Until next time, be good.
I don’t think growing old sucks. Let me qualify that statement. I don’t want to be OLD old. And if you had lived your life like I have lived mine, you would fear death more than the average Joe. But in my opinion, middle age is badass, and it goes on for a long time.
So what? Well this is a rock blog, so I’m going to discuss the joys of middle age rock things. Want to know what they are? You’re in luck! Here are some of my favorites, but I’ll have to do this in two parts:
Am I The Oldest Guy In The Club? This is a fun game that I play with my friends, but it doesn’t work at all concerts. If I go to see Tedeschi Trucks or Tom Petty, there are a ton of people in the crowd who are older than me. In a slight change to the AC/DC song, for those continuing to rock, we salute you! But when we go to certain shows, say, Sleigh Bells or Joywave, we look around and see if there is anyone older than us in the club. It’s not always easy to tell. Some dudes always look older – it was like they were born 50. Women dye their hair and look more youthful as a result – keep it up, it’s cool, but so is letting it go like Dudes do (those with hair, at least). But usually, it’s pretty obvious. And when it turns out that you are the oldest MF in the joint, there is a certain perverse pride in that. Unlike all your sorry contemporaries sitting at home binging on TV (see Black Flag’s “TV Party” video below for a smack on that), YOU are at the club catching something that no one else in your age bracket even KNOWS about, like, say, the Struts (where I was the oldest by about 10 years).
So when you find yourself out with your cohort at the new new thing restaurant and they’re droning on about some boring-ass tax or insurance item, you can change the subject and make them think you are, well, a freak. And then you can change the subject to the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and see whether they were cool in their youths. So to all you middle agers who are still bringing it, let’s get the party going even if we are old as dirt!
ID’s? Nope, not for me. I’ve been to clubs where they have a strict “we card everyone” policy, and they still let me stroll right in without pulling out my license. And they’ll stamp my hand or give me a wrist band, too. It doesn’t always happen. On those occasions when they do insist on having me drag out my license and blow the cobwebs off that sucker, I use the line: “what, are you checking on that AARP discount for me?” I always laugh at my own joke because It’s my joke, it’s funny as hell, and I like it. But it must be a good one because it always gets a laugh out of the bouncer. It’s sort of like the joke that I always use since I quit drinking and some dipshit asks why I’m not getting drunk. The answer? Well, when people are born, they are given only a certain number of alcoholic beverages that can they can consume during a lifetime, and I just used mine up earlier than most people. Pretty good, huh?
I Can Afford To Scalp. A Lot. Ah yes, the peak earning years. Guess what, these aren’t a myth. The brats are finally out of the house and no longer sucking on the parental teat, and there is something weird in your pocket. Yes, it’s money, long green, clams, dough. Whatever, it’s something that hasn’t been between your fingers for a while. So you save some and you blow some. And what better way to blow it than 4th row seats for Wilco, 6th row for Gregg Allman or 2nd row for Mellencamp? Is someone coming to town that you want to see but all the seats are gone? No biggie, you get on line and snap up some choice ones then merrily make your way up front on show day. It’s great.
You Have Time to Blog. Hahahaha, what a great thing this is. I’m glad you’re here reading this because I love doing this. But when I had kids at home, I actually thought it was important to be there doing stuff with them. Nope, I didn’t think it was right to be working all the time, blogging or dumping my kiddos on other people’s parents while I went out. So now I have free time, my kids are the coolest and best-adjusted on the planet, and I fill my time writing drivel like this. And that leads to ….
I Can Be Honest. I’ve done and seen a lot. Not every rock show is great or amazing. Some suck, some are mediocre, some are letdowns. And I can call them like I see them. I don’t have to gush about “wow, they were great” when they weren’t even good. I can even leave early if they are atrocious. I don’t have to stay until the Replacements finally get their drunk butts off the stage hoping for, well, sobriety. It’s refreshing.
OK, that’s enough for one “virtues of being old” post. I’ll be back shortly with more. You hang in there, too, and stay as cool as you always are.
Yo, sports fans, just a quick mention that the Virginia Tech Hokies men's basketball team made the NCAA tourney. They are the #9 seed in the East, and will play Wisconsin, the #8 seed out of the Big Ten. This is the first time the Hokies have been to the tourney since 2007, so it's been a long time coming. The game is on Thursday in Buffalo.
Let's Go! Hokies!
I don't always write about Philly in my posts, and sometimes when I do, it's disparaging. I grew up in the DC area, and I am lucky enough to be able to travel a lot and see bands all over the place. Philly is a different place than most other cities as the best things about it don't slam you in the face the minute you arrive. It doesn't have a sparkling bay, palm trees, or mountains. It has great American history, but even those remarkable places, while remarkable, are still humble and subtle. And when you drive in from the airport, you pass a refinery, a wastewater treatment plant, and a metal scrapyard. It's like the city tries to keep it's best parts hidden and accessible only to its residents.
But Philly is my home and I have come to love it. The living here is great, the countryside is fantastically beautiful, and it has wonderful culture - world class art museums, the best orchestra in the US, a thriving theater district, and fantastic restaurants. It's not just high-brow stuff, either. It has the best indigenous junk food - the soft pretzel, Tastykakes and cheesesteaks - which are all amazing. You want sports? Not only does it have the four major pro sports represented, it has Big Five basketball (including the defending NCAA men's champions, Villanova) and has produced huge names in boxing like Joe Frazier and Sonny Liston. And while I don't partake anymore, it's the best beer city in the country, with tons of craft beers, bars devoted just to Belgians, and Yuengling as its local Budweiser.
So how about rock and soul music? Are you kidding me? Dick Clark and American Bandstand blasted out of Philly way back when. It has the best radio station in the land, WXPN, playing indie, blues, alt-country, and everything in between. Great clubs? Tons of them. Check out Union Transfer, Johnny Brenda's, Kungfu Necktie, the Fillmore, the Foundry, the Electric Factory, Underground Arts, the Trocadero, the TLA, etc, etc.
And some damn fine home-grown bands and bands that call Philly home. Like who? Here's a bunch that you might know: Hall & Oates, the Hooters, Boyz II Men, the Roots, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Patti LaBelle, Joan Jett, Chubby Checker, Teddy Pendergrass, Amos Lee, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Evelyn "Champagne" King, and Stanley Clarke. There are more, of course.
And let's not forget about the new music scene,. Fantastic bands abound: Low Cut Connie, Marah, Beach Slang, Hop Along, Dr. Dog, The War on Drugs, Bardo Pond, Kurt Vile, Sheer Mag, Robbie Fulks, Marian Hill, Pete Donnelly, the Districts, and on and on. Check out this Red Bull link for more bands that call this city home and that are garnering national attention. https://www.redbull.com/us-en/10-rad-philadelphia-rock-bands-you-need-to-know This is a wonderful American city that produces and supports a ton of great musicians.
So that's my love homage to Philly. And to show that Philly gives back, here's the best love song from local musicians. This one is from Hall & Oates. Yes, it's very old. So what? It still moves me. I'm linking two videos: one is a pure play of the song from the album, and the second is much newer off of Live From Daryl's House. I really like the latter video - it's a beautiful song and this arrangement is brilliant. Enjoy.
Please don't take this post as a slam on other places. I still love DC and Florida. But Philly gets a raw deal a lot of the time, and that's b.s.: it's a great place. I've met some amazing people here who have changed my life forever. And with that, I'll be back with something a bit nuttier next time. I think you'll like it. Take care, be safe, and I'll see you here soon.
Check it out, ladies and gentlemen. It's the official BRP t-shirt, and man, does it look great. Look for this bad boy the next time you are at a concert - who knows, maybe you'll meet your mysterious blogger in the flesh! One thing is for sure - that turkey neck is a dead giveaway. Later.
Hey guys, it's been a while since I posted some tunes for you to check out. I have a few that are all over the map in terms of style, but they share that one thing that is really important. Yup, they're all great. So let's do this thing.
First up, a super hard rocking band call the Black Rainbows with the song "The Prophet." Now, if you don't like this much jam on your toast, don't let that sway you from checking out the other tunes below. With that out of the way, have at it:
How about something completely different? No, not Monty Python, here's St. Paul and the Broken Bones. These guys are just unbelievably soulful, and played a sold out show in Philly at Union Transfer this week. I love this! And I found a link on youtube that includes a couple of great songs from NPR's Tiny Desk Concert. Seriously, if you listen to no other songs on this post, don't skip this. You're welcome.
Do you like alt-country? You know, country with a rock kick? If so, do not let this next song pass you by. It's by Kathleen Edwards, and it's called "Six O'clock News." This song is so freakin' good that you'll listen to it over and over. Quite a bit different from the Black Rainbows, right?
I'm going to move to another great band, Soft Science. This trippy video is kind of fun to watch, and the song makes for great listening. And you can feel special because only about 3000 people have viewed this. I think I heard this band on Sound Opinions and just liked their sound. I think you will, too, because you're cool. Enjoy.
This next one is out of character for BRP. It's kind of hip-hop, check that it is hip-hop, but there's a lot of old-school soul in there, too. It's none other than Miguel, who is huge, and the track is called "Coffee." The video is a bit soft-core, sorry about that (or maybe you dig it, and therefore, enjoy). Anyway, the song itself is great. Here goes:
How about something a lot more traditional BRP? I'm glad you asked. Here is a great band with jangly guitars, catchy hooks, and at least one pompadour hairdo (a true BRP favorite look). The tune is called "Rebel Heart," and it's so radio-ready that it's ridiculous. Great rock and roll!
Want a boppy, poppy great tune? Good guitar, some synth, soul singing? Want a song that will rattle around in your brain for days? Well, check out Vox Eagle with their track "No Sleep." 598 views? Ridiculous, BRP community, let's kick it up a notch for a worthy song!
Who is one of the absolute best songwriters out their right now? If you said Jason Isbell, you would be right. Is this country? Well, yeah, but don't let that dissuade you. This guy is great. I don't usually like balladeers, but Jason writes such honest and powerful songs that you just have to appreciate the dude. Here's "Something More Than Free":
Want to hang out with me in high school? OK, picture this: a 1976 White Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon and your roller-skate skinny blogger (with long hair) at the wheel. Be happy that there's plenty of metal around you because seat belts are optional, a DUI means the cops tell you to pour the beer out and be on your way, and the tunes are loud and hard rockin". This one is an all-time BRP favorite and goes out to my dude, Aaron. Oh yeah, it's the long version!!!
Friends, I'm tired. I need to go crash. But hanging with you and listening to all these great songs has me feeling good. Thank you so much for reading and listening. And as always, if you have something that you think the entire BRP community should be listening to, well speak up and let us know. And with that, I'll see you soon.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.