Why would anyone write a post about 50 great and terrible songs? Because it’s my duty to recognize songs that are worthy and bring them to your attention. And it’s fun to bug the heck out of someone with a truly awful earworm that will rattle around inside their head for the next two weeks. But the real reason to do it is to see if you agree with me, or if you think, hey, that song isn’t great or that one isn’t awful. In fact, I HATE the song that you love, and I LIKE that song you subject to ridicule. Yes, we can disagree and maybe even do so respectfully. And it’s better than me posting about 50 good and terrible smells (which I would do if I could figure out how to get each of you a scratch and sniff card).
Now, to do fifty songs of each variety is a fair amount of work. They all deserve comment on why they are loved or despised. For the truly great and remarkably awful, I’m going to link in the youtube version of the song so that you can go, oh yeah, that song turns cloudy days into sunshine, or that song is worse than my dog’s breath after he has been out eating his own turds in the backyard.
This is going to take a while, so I’m going to do this in as many parts as necessary. In order to kick this off, I’m going to start with the first five comparisons. The themes for the songs selected generally come from the awful song. Got it? Good, I’m glad someone does. If you are ready, take some deep breaths, keep those eyes on the horizon, and off we sail.
2. Good Animal Song:When Doves Cry, Prince
Awful Animal Song: Muskrat Love, America (redone – why?!? - by the Captainand Tennille).
Comment: Have you ever read the lyrics to Muskrat Love? Here’s a link – careful, don’t hit this link if you’ve just had a heavy meal as it’s the musical equivalent of “just one thin mint.”
Tidbits ... Just For You
Yo, BRP fans, I’m back with a “tidbits” for you. Can you dig it? Let’s check and see.
Tidbit One: I’m in DC waiting for an Uber after the LCC/Skribe show, and these guys come bounding up the street:
They were, shockingly, inebriated. They were also laughing and having a grand old time. There was a craft beer festival in town, and I think they had something to do with that. Regardless, it was funny, odd, and weirdly cool. I think that this sign I saw in DC somehow was related to these fellas being picked up on New York Avenue.
Tidbit Two: I was at a wedding in Tucson recently, and the bride walked down the aisle to a mariachi band. How cool is that? I love mariachi music, and they stuck around and played for about an hour. Pics? You got it:
Don’t you love the costumes? How do they clean those babies? Or maybe the better question is, do they ever clean those babies? Regardless, when they broke into the Mexican Hat Song, I broke into a smile.
Tidbit Three: Check out this Pool Rules sign.
There is just too much rich stuff here for me not to comment. So here we go:
What, pray tell, are “common” towels, combs, brushes and drinking cups? And why is there a pool rule against them? I think I know the answers, but it is one weird rule.
Cleaning your private swim suit is required. I guess the prohibition on common swimsuits means that they don't have to be cleaned - it's a two-fer? Anyway, there is no rule against not cleaning your common swimsuit. Which is why I only use common swimsuits.
If you have an infectious or communicable disease, you are “prohibited” from using the pool. On the other hand, if it’s just “open blisters, cuts” there is a mere advisory not to use the pool. I’m grossed out by both fact patterns, but please, keep those open blisters and cuts out of my pool.
Spitting and spouting water is clearly prohibited. But do you really need a rule not to blow your nose or “discharge bodily wastes” in the pool? Who is discharging bodily wastes in a pool? We know: Mr. Shitty Pants.
Tidbit Four: Any jell-o wrestling volunteers out there? The smiles on these people make it look like so much fun!
Now, I’ve always thought that the answer to solving intractable world conflicts should be clearly in the domain of jell-o wrestlers. Wouldn’t it be great to see world leaders forced to strip down to “private” bathing suits, jump into a vat of orange gelatinous goop, and slug it out for domination and supremacy? Yes, I know, we would need rules against the discharge of bodily wastes in the jell-o pit, and an advisory of not going in there with open cuts and blisters, but otherwise it would be a free-for-all with no rules. Sort of like Wal-Mart on Black Friday.
Tidbit Five: Which of these Warhols is more cool – Dolly Parton or Elvis Presley?
Who cares? They are both icons (and I seldom use that over-used word) and these pictures are just too funny. And did you know that Warhol wore a wig? I think that’s true – fact check it and let me know.
Tidbit Six: Motorcycle riders are a badass breed. Think Hell’s Angels, Pagans, and the like. Which gang do you think this guy belongs to:
Yes, it’s sort of funny to ride around with Elmo on your helmet, but I think you are giving up the swagger with that one. Turn in your license to kill, dude.
Tidbit Seven: This is it, the final one. Two pictures, one of no radio and one of the king and queen.
I fancy myself to be a bit royal, and if you guess that this king is what I look like, well, keep trying. Not enough turkey neck in there for your blogger, I’m sorry to say.
Alrighty then, it’s time for me to move on for the day. I sure hope that whatever you are doing, like sitting in church, that you have your billyrocksphilly up on your smart phone. It will make the time pass much faster, and like all great things associated with rock ‘n roll, will get you a first class express ticket on the Highway to Hell. Carry on! Until next time, my friends, be good, be cool to each other, and live like a rocker.
Hey brothers and sisters, BRP has been BUSY. But now I’m back! Let’s get right down to it.
So my last post was about the Low Cut Connie concert in DC. And it was a great show. I said I would be back with more information about that show – the opening act Skribe and the venue itself, the Hamilton.
Let’s talk about Skribe. I had never heard of these guys before the show, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Some of my concert buddies never want to get to a show early because the opening act usually sucks. But I always want to see the opening act because you never know what you’re going to get. I saw the Bravery as an opener for Ash, the Lovers Key as an opener for the English Beat, and the Vaccines as an opener for the Arctic Monkeys. All openers were keepers. Well, guess what? Skribe is a keeper, too.
Skribe plays self-described “garage folk.” It’s a cool term and does kind of cover what they do musically. I’m not a huge folkie, but what I think they are saying is that it doesn’t wail but it still rocks. It’s blues-oriented, has some foot-stompin’ southern vibe to it, but remains on the slower side of life and is lyrics-oriented. Whatever label you want to affix to it, it’s good. And the lyrics, as best as I could hear them at the show, are witty and wry.
The stage presence is also terrific … but not perfect. So Aaron Yealdhall is the frontman, and he is funny and keeps things rolling along. My only suggestion is to keep the show moving. They spent a lot of time between songs doing the tuning of instruments and chatting thing. It’s ok to do that periodically, of course, but not after every song. It breaks up the momentum of the show. Other than that, however, the guys are fun. In fact, one of them built a homemade instrument – I think they called it a “canjoe” – that was made from an oil can. It sounds a bit like a banjo, but it’s something different. It’s cool, down home and fits the image of the band to a T. Check out the pics to see it.
My conclusion is that while I don’t normally write about opening acts, Skribe was worth mentioning to my massive blog audience. Check them out – here’s a link to their site and it includes a lot of good stuff – songs, videos, band information, and the like.
One last thing before I go back to the salt mines. The Hamilton is a really nice venue! It’s in the basement of the Hamilton restaurant right in downtown DC (about 3 blocks from the White House). It has a nice stage, great acoustics, and a spacious layout. There are tables and a dance area in front of the stage. And the food is really good. I’m not sure how it would work for a sold-out show, but it was simply terrific for the LCC and Skribe show. If you get the chance, go see a show there. I think you’ll like it.
Hey, it’s time for me to split. I’ve been completely slammed at work lately, and haven’t had much time to write. But I have some good stuff in store so check back soon. I promise I’ll get you feeling good yet again! And there is lots more on the live music front coming up, with BRP catching shows in Philly and going on the road yet again to see some great musicians. Yowza!
Are you ready for some music? I am! Last Monday night at the Hamilton in Washington, DC, I saw, bar none, the absolute BEST live act touring the US. Yes, Low Cut Connie was in town, and so was BRP.
Let me set the baseline. I go to a lot of shows. I probably saw 40 headliners last year, more than that in opening acts, bar bands, cover bands and whatever else is live and electric. I see some sort of live music virtually every week, and have been doing so for years. I’m in Arizona for a wedding and saw two live bands last night, with another one coming on tonight. It’s what I do. Have I seen everyone? No, but I’ve seen many of the reputed great live acts, like the Stones, Springsteen, Chuck Berry, U2, Led Zeppelin, The Who, AC/DC, The Clash, blah blah blah. And many who will never be as heralded but were super-talented live musicians, like NRBQ and the Bottle Rockets.
Without denigrating any of these other bands, Low Cut Connie blows them all away. Why? Well, first, their songs are great – rocking, rollicking tunes that bridge the gap between early rock (think Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry combined with boogie woogie, blues and rockabilly) with modern sensibilities (they tour with a piano named Shondra named after a stripper in Atlanta).
Next, Adam Weiner, the band’s frontman, is a showman extraordinaire. This guy understands that rock shows are not just about playing the songs, they are also about transforming the recorded tracks into high energy and highly entertaining FUN. It’s hard to understate his stage presence, his inventiveness, and on-stage presence. He gets rock ‘n roll unlike many of his peers – he understands its subversivness, its appeal to indiscretion, its joy, its rebellion. And he gleefully plays the part, dressing in jumpsuits or high-waisted pants, and wearing his trademark white socks and black hard-soled shoes. He is all over the stage, and often times off the stage interacting directly with the crowd. With his floppy, curly hair, he could be in every picture taken of early rock ‘n roll heroes.
But this is far from a one-man show. The entire band is fantastic. James Everhart, Will Donnelly, Larry Scotton, and Lucas Rinz are all top flight musicians and entertainers. Scotton, the drummer, is simply ferocious, pounding out rhythms like he is possessed. Will Donnelly is fantastic on guitar – ripping solos and ensuring a great electric sound to the band. Plus, he has a great look, knows how to pose, and gets into the Shondra act, too, by playing on top of the piano and jumping down, all while not missing a note. Lucas Rinz, the bassist, clearly enjoys the heck out of the spectacle that is Weiner, but also never misses a beat, and along with Scotton, combine to form an amazing one-two punch. And James Everhart adds his excellent guitar work with flair and tenacity.
While each is talented and entertaining, the sum is stronger than the parts, and these guys know it. Weiner is all over the place, standing on Shondra while singing, going out into the crowd, playing keyboards on his knees and while standing on the piano bench, pulling out chest hairs and throwing them to the crowd, pointing and smiling, and basically acting like a crazy nut-job, but all the while never forgetting that he is paid to deliver the musical goods. He is hard to take your eyes off of. But you should do so, because behind him the rest of the band is clearly feeding off of his energy and enjoying the heck out of playing with each other. Take a look at the pictures I took: you seldom see bandmates having as much fun as these guys are doing, and you never see a tighter, more focused and more professional rock ‘n roll than this band. There was little time between songs, no interminable “wait while we tune up our instruments,” just ripping from song to song. It’s fantastic.
I love LCC on their recordings, but if you simply listen to those and size up the band, you are doing yourself a disservice. Seldom have I seen a band take their recorded output and simply take it over the top during their live performances. It’s not just volume, either – they throw such passion and vigor into their live set that it’s impossible not to dance and carry on right with the band. And both the crowd and the band feed off of each other.
And this all happened on a Monday night at a show that was not sold out. BRP was right there, front and center, taking pictures, dancing, singing, laughing and simply marveling at the best live set on the road. I took some concert friends to the show, and I had been talking up LCC for weeks before the show. I was a little concerned that I had oversold them and that my friends would be disappointed. What an idiot! LCC delivered and blew us all away. When we were leaving, I told them that someday they will be telling people that they saw LCC back in the day, right up front and interacting with the band, and it will be a boast that makes their friends envious.
If you get the chance to see LCC, do it. Don’t think about staying home. Don’t tell yourself that BRP knows not of what he speaks. Don’t even think “I don’t know any of their songs,” because that doesn’t matter – the music, the performance, the rock ‘n roll experience are second to none! Obviously, I took tons of pictures, but they are just a teaser for the real thing. Nonetheless, they are badass.
There was an opening act with LCC that was worth mentioning, too, and I’ll write them up shortly. And I need to tell you about the Hamilton as a live venue. And with that, dudes and dudettes, I am off. Keep coming back for more and keep the faith.
April 16 is a day of remembrance for me. Ten years ago, my beloved alma mater, Virginia Tech, was rocked with the worst mass shooting in US history (until the 2016 nightclub shooting in Orlando). Thirty-two people died and seventeen more were wounded, innocents who did nothing wrong except to be in the incorrect place when a mentally deranged person decided to take their lives. For better or worse, VT will always be associated with this horrific massacre.
I was well gone from Blacksburg by 2007. What I remember about Virginia Tech is that it is one of those remote universities sitting in a lovely college town surrounded by mountains. It was a generally peaceful and happy place where people didn’t even lock their doors. Students studied, partied, went to sporting events, and otherwise engaged in the typical college activities of a large state university. For me personally, it was a place where I got my act together. I have great and cherished memories of VT.
It was inconceivable that a massacre of this nature could happen in this lovely part of the world. I’m saddened today. I remember the victims and their families, and I wish them comfort and peace. God bless them.
But I’m also heartened by VT. This was a university community that could have buckled under the pressure of such a horrific crime, but instead rallied and grew closer and stronger. I still remember the shrill pundits on TV proclaiming a horrible future for VT. But those pundits looked so bad when juxtaposed against the televised interviews of young VT students, who were poised and eloquent in their thoughts on this incomprehensible occurrence. I was crushed emotionally for all the families who lost loved ones, and for the families that had students that were not injured but who clearly spent a period of time panicked about their own children. Yet I was so proud of the students who stood tall and who reacted in measured and controlled ways.
The whole event rattled me. I listened to Springsteen’s “The Rising” a lot in the aftermath. He wrote that album to try and cope with 9/11. I had been in DC on 9/11 and saw the smoke coming from the Pentagon, a place where I used to work and where one of my buddy’s brothers got a bronze star for heroism on that tragic day, but somehow the VT thing impacted me more personally and in a more direct way. I don’t know why, and perhaps it is wrong, but that is the truth. I thank the Boss for helping me with rousing songs of triumph and hopefulness, coupled with songs of sadness and incomprehensibility.
As you go about your day, take the time to remember those students and professors who senselessly lost their lives. Remember the American spirit of not succumbing to disaster, but instead, moving forward into a new future to overcome whatever present day adversity is present. And listen to “Lonesome Day.”
Travis Tritt - Live Review
Hey gang, Nashville came to Valley Forge last Friday night in the person of Travis Tritt. Along with his seven piece band, Tritt played the kitschy venue known as the Valley Forge Casino, which in many ways was appropriate. And I have to tell you: I enjoyed this show quite a bit.
For those who don’t know, Tritt is an old-school country musician who also dabbles in southern rock and blues. I wouldn’t call him a crossover musician, but rather a guy who plays Americana. He generally sits on the country side of the country/rock continuum, but there is enough electric volume to satisfy the rocker in most people. And it doesn’t really end there. Tritt grew up in Georgia singing gospel tunes, and he has incorporated that style and influence into his repertoire. And as I will recount in a bit, he digs into some Tom Jones-esque escapades as a performer.
Now, the casino circuit is a notoriously hit-or-miss experience. I’ve seen Gregg Allman twice in casino venues (the Sands in Bethlehem, and the Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL), and those were good shows. More than that, the casinos had actually dug into their platinum pockets to develop performing spaces that were legitimate, with good stages, seating, unobstructed views and professional sound and lighting equipment. I've also been to see Collective Soul at the Harrah’s in Chester, which has one of the worst live music spaces I have ever experienced. In fact, it was just a ballroom with a crappy little stage up front. Never again.
Valley Forge falls into the middle of this spectrum. Its venue is more ballroom than showroom, but it has a real stage and lighting. It’s oddly configured with a big open space next to the side of the stage and columns obstructing the views in certain places out front. And it’s temporary seating with no floor elevation so those in the back are kind of screwed. The sound, however, was amazingly good, and with an artist who is heavily lyric-dependent, that was a good thing. I’m not sure that I would hit many shows at this space, but for the right act, I would go back.
Enough about the venue. Tritt himself is a good performer, and he has a solid backup band with two standout musicians – Wendell Cox on lead guitar and Scotty Simpson on guitar, mandolin and fiddle. Cox can flat out rip it on guitar, and Tritt was smart enough to allow him to strut his stuff a few times. I wasn’t really expecting that at a country show, but it appealed quite a bit to the “rocks” part of BillyRocksPhilly. To keep things country, however, you have to have a fiddle and pedal steel. Tritt is country. Simpson is good on the pickin’, but his real talent is with the fiddle. Again, Tritt sublimated his own ego to allow a truly terrific musician to crank it up, much to the pleasure of the crowd.
I found out about Travis about 10 years ago. I was in Austin in a bar at happy hour, and there was a solo guitarist playing country songs. He was also drinking heavily, but that’s another story. Anyway, he kept asking for requests, and then ignoring the requests and playing songs by Travis Tritt. They were all great songs – tuneful, wry and honest lyrics, and sporting the “everyman” themes of old-school country music. I liked them immediately and set out to learn more about Mr. Tritt. Turns out that Travis has a bit of an outlaw image (uh oh, BRP alert), and that he channels that attitude into his shows.
Tritt played only about 1 ½ hours with no opening act. He doesn’t waste much time, but he does know what his fans like, and he delivered. Some songs, like “Country Club,” were veritable sing-alongs with good ol’ boys and girls from Philly belting out all the lyrics at top volume, BRP included. Tritt has good stage presence with odd little jumps and hops, a zany mullet hairdo, a funky conference-room style chair bolted to a little platform that he uses for a few solo numbers, and a shirt that had to have been bought at some western boot store in Tulsa. And at the end of his show, he wipes his sweaty brow with towels and then tosses them into the crowd, ala Tom Jones. I wasn’t close, thankfully, because I generally shy away from someone else’s sweaty towels, but there were fans jostling for those babies, thus proving that the veneer of civilization is very thin indeed.
As you can see, I took some photos, but was generally at a distance. I think they are ok … but they are NOTHING compared to the photos coming up in my next posts. Here’s a link to a youtube version of my favorite Tritt song.
And now, it’s onward and upward as BRP heads southbound for a presidential tour, and then hits the nation’s capital to see the best live act going right now. Pins and needles, right? See you soon my cool cats.
Son Volt - Live Review
Man, get me some relief! It had been almost two weeks since I saw live music. I wasn’t exactly dying, but I was ready for a hit of that stuff. It’s weird that I’m still such a gremmie for live shows – the most stoked kid on the beach – even though I’m fortunate enough to see a decent amount of acts.
Off the top of my head, I can think of two terrific bands out of Missouri: the Bottle Rockets and Son Volt. I’ve seen the Bottle Rockets before, and I highly recommend them. Their songs are funny, honest and feel like real life (check out “Thousand Dollar Car,” “Stuck in Indianapolis,” or “Kit Kat Clock” to get my drift). Best of all, they are a great bar band.
What about Son Volt? Funny you should ask as they were the fix for me this week at the Ardmore Music Hall. SV is a good live act, specializes in that roots/Americana sound with a lot of electric guitars, and we had a fun and enjoyable night.
If you don’t know Son Volt, well, shame on you, haha. They are best described as an alt-country band, and are led by Jay Farrar. You might know Jay from his previous band, Uncle Tupelo, which was fronted by Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, who went on to found Wilco. Uncle Tupelo was a fantastic alt-country band, and both Son Volt and Wilco are worth seeing. It’s interesting that Wilco has gone on to more success – who knows why in the fickle music business – but maybe it’s because Son Volt has been much more true to their alt-country roots.
Whatever. As readers of BRP already know, we saw Wilco last summer at the Mann Music Center in Philly and they kicked butt. The Mann is a much bigger venue than AMH – probably about 10,000 fans bigger - so when I saw that Son Volt was playing this tiny Main Line venue, I was all over it. The show was waaaaay sold out, but that meant only about 300 people got to see SV rip it. Wilco would sell it out faster, but I’m not sure that Tweedy’s ever expanding ego, filling the universe like the birth of a new star, could fit into a club that small. Farrar doesn’t have that problem at all, and we were the delighted beneficiaries.
But Jay is not a massive stage presence. Yes, he is front and center, and clearly the leader of the band. Nonetheless, he did not interact much with the crowd, and didn’t even smile until nearly the end of the show. I don’t know if he considers his live act as “work” per se, but the band was all about coming out and playing music without much else in terms of crowd interplay. Son Volt is not unique in this regard. The Feelies are another band that simply plays their songs. It’s cool and much better than the alternative, you know the guy who won’t shut up and you end yelling “play music” at him.
Son Volt is not just Farrar. In fact, far from it. It’s a five piece outfit featuring Andrew Duplantis on bass, Jacob Edwards on drums, Chris Frame on lead and slide guitar, and Mark Spencer on keyboards, pedal steel, and rhythm guitar. Frame and Spencer, in particular, are really fantastic musicians, and they know how to rock it. Frame and Farrar share the Wilco affinity for changing guitars, and both travel with a sizeable quiver. It worked: the band was remarkably tight – they went from song to song with hardly any time between them – but never were off with each other and simply jammed into the tune right in time.
The band played tracks from their new album, but also a number of their best staples: “Drown,” “Route,” “Windfall,” “Back Into Your World,” “Picking Up The Signal,” “Catching On,” etc. They played a little over 1.5 hours, but with no banter and little time between songs, they probably played 20 or 25 songs. The songs varied from pure slower country tunes to rock ‘n roll rave ups, but all were in the Americana/roots style. I love that stuff and was fully in my element. We also had a great spot, close to the stage, but without people pushing and shoving. We had breathing room while the bar area was PACKED. I’m not giving away my location because I have staked a claim on it and am now officially a squatter there. But check out the pictures – nice and tight, some showing the entire band in action, and some close ups of the individual players.
I’m glad I got back into the live music swing. Two more shows are coming really soon, and I’ll be back here to dutifully report on those acts. I think you’ll be a little surprised at one of them, but totally in your BRP element with the second band. In the meantime, here’s a great song by Son Volt to carry you through the weekend.
As always, keep hyping BRP to all your friends and family, and thanks for coming back to check out the latest on the site. And for those of us on the East Coast, enjoy spring – it’s beautiful outside and the best 6 months of the year are nearly upon us. Salud!
Long-time readers of BRP know that I went to Virginia Tech. How did I get there? Well, I turned on to a dirt road, kept following it, and it led me directly there. It was easy. You can find Blacksburg that way, too. Seriously, no GPS required. Any dirt road in the continental US is guaranteed to get you to Blacksburg, I promise.
But that’s not really how I got there. I got there by applying. Now, to say I was an indifferent high school student is to give a bad name to indifferent high school students everywhere. But when they admitted me to VT I decided, hey, if these guys in Blacksburg are willing to let me in even though I filled out my application in crayon, they must be alright. I’m going.
Now, Tech’s motto is Ut Prosim, which means “that I may serve.” Given my less than enthusiastic high school academic career, I figured that meant that, if nothing else, I would come out and be ready to move into the food service or hospitality industries. You know, would you like ketchup with your fries? That I May Serve! Only later did I realize that the motto was adopted by the school in an attempt to attract top tennis recruits. (Did you know that Serena and Venus Williams went to Tech? They didn’t, but it would be cool if they had.)
Now, I grew up with four older siblings, and I had a pretty good basic understanding and appreciation of rock music before I left my parent’s house. But Tech was where I got my musical shit together, and what a great time to do so. I was there during the height of punk and new wave rock (unfortunately, also the height of REO Speedwagon, Styx and Supertramp, but let’s step over that detritus and head back to the good stuff). And Tech had a great college radio station, WUVT, that was devoted to all the new alternative music. Boo-yah!
I didn’t have much money back in those days, hence the application in crayon, but I could always scrape together enough to get drunk and to see bands. Oh yeah, and to buy books, too, which make a handy place to sit your beer on. (I finally found out my senior year that the reason my used books didn’t sell was because they all had beer rings on the cover and that made them look like crap. Damn! The insides were PERFECT since I never read any of them).
Back to the music. We saw some great bands, both in Blacksburg and elsewhere. Like who? OK, when I list these guys, remember, this was when they were in their prime, not some retread reunion stuff with bald heads and fat butts. So I saw The Clash. Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Squeeze. The Joe Jackson Band. Graham Parker and the Rumour. 20/20. The Ramones. The Talking Heads. The Specials. Warren Zevon. And that doesn’t even cover the great southern and arena rock bands I saw. Anyway, the list goes on, but it’s boring to read lists.
The other cool thing was that there was a thriving college band scene. It was full of cover bands that made the Virginia/North Carolina college circuit. (Quick aside: why is it that Yankees from the Northeast think that people in the South are stupid because they have these beautiful accents, but push their kids to go to all these great schools in the South? I never figured that out. It’s an even bigger mystery than how anyone with a Long Island accent could look down their nose at anyone else’s accent.) Anyway, there were bands that were local – Nasty Habits, Lee Street – and I was a big Nasty Habits fan, who had the Holly and the Italians cover stuff DOWN – but the best bands made the circuit. Think Skip Castro. Johnny Sportcoat and the Casuals. Tex Rabinowitz and the Bad Boys. The Nighthawks. But the best of the bunch, in my humble but well informed opinion, was the X Raves.
The X Raves played only punk and new wave covers. That made them unique. I don’t think I’ve seen a cover band since that played songs by The Undertones, XTC, Sham 69 and 999. But here they were, hot out of Virginia Beach. We saw them many times when they came to town. But one time was particularly memorable. It was hot – Tech was on quarters, which meant we started in late September and went through early June – and this was late May or so. It being Virginia, it was hot and humid out. As John Hiatt would say, the moon was sweating, too!
The X Raves were playing a local club called Kennedys. I wasn’t a huge fan of Kennedys because it was more expensive than places like 117 South Main, Top of the Stairs, or Mr. Fooz. A beer at Kennedys cost something like $1. That’s usually what I hope to pay for a pitcher of brew, so whoa, that was generally out of my league. But occasionally we strolled in to tear it up because of the band playing there. So that’s how we found ourselves in Kennedys that hot May night, dancing and jamming and sweating in shorts and t-shirts like the Southern college kids that we were. Did I drink too much? Of course! But the cool part was that the band would play long sets, then take a pretty lengthy break. And we lived right across the street (and I mean, RIGHT across the street), so we went back, took showers, drank a bunch more beer fresh out of the freezer in those short stubby brown bottles that signified a Wiedeman’s Brewery product, and then scurried back for the next set. It was fabulous.
I don’t ever want to go back and relive my life. And trust me, you don’t want me back in my youthful days, either, because I was, um, unconstrained. I did stuff that still makes me shudder all these years later, and some for which the statute of limitations may not yet have run. But there are times I remember, many of them rock-related, that make me wish that I still was youthful and full of arrogance and ignorance. Now, I write a blog to try and entertain you because, well, Ut Prosim. Would you like coffee with this post?
Hey sports rock fans, tonight is the final of the NCAA men's basketball "March Madness." It's Gonzaga University v. the University of North Carolina. How about we get some music to match the madness?
I'm not going to lie to you. Finding music for these two schools that are appropriate for this blog site wasn't easy. But then again, this is BRP, right?
I couldn't find any rock songs about Gonzaga. Zilch. But I did find a metal anthem that is used as the entrance song by MMA fighter Gabriel Gonzaga, and that's good enough for BRP. And this song is bad: Tipper Gore hated it, etc. So it's a natural for BRP. And with that, here you go: Danzig's song "Mother:"
Now, North Carolina is much easier. There are throw up songs by James Taylor, there are references to "going to Carolina" in the Allman Brothers "Blue Sky," etc. But there is also a song that is as direct to UNC as it gets: "Chapel Hill" by Sonic Youth. And as you know, Sonic Youth is a BRP favorite. Time for lift off:
Who am I rooting for? Well, if you know me, you know that I have a lot of sports-hate, and UNC is one of those teams that falls into that bucket. Elitist pricks whose sports programs are scandal-laden and who tried to keep VT out of the ACC. Gonzaga, on the other hand, means nothing to me. I know the school is in Washington state, but otherwise, it's an unknown. So I'm going with the Zags, which of course, means that UNC will win. Rock on, babies, and 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.