I’m back with more rock ‘n roll ABCs. I’ll keep the opinions rolling and hope that you properly check me where I veer off into la-la land. I’m going with D, E and F this time. Again, if an artist travels under their given name, I used the last name to categorize them. For example, James Brown would be listed under “b.” Good? Let’s roll.
D is for __________. I’m sorry, I thought and thought about a great band that begins with D, and came up with some good bands, but not one that is truly worthy. Please don’t say “what about the Doors” or “the Doobie Brothers.” I was never a huge Doors fan, although I like some of their songs, and the Doobies? Decent but no dice on them either. So if you’re starting a band in your garage right now, this is your chance. Find a good name that starts with D, and I’ll reserve this space just for you.
Honorable Mentions: The Damned – good British punk band with Captain Sensible at the helm. They are solid as a live act. But they aren’t even the best of their contemporaries. The Darkness – I almost put these guys up in the slot of glory, but they aren’t that good. Nonetheless, a terrific and fun live act, they glam it up well, they rock hard, and Justin Hawkins did the best stage dive (actually, a balcony dive) I have ever seen. He’s rock’s best unheralded frontman. I love ‘em and you should, too. Dashboard Confessional – really solid hook-filled band. Good, but not great. The dBs – Chris Stamey leads this very influential band out of North Carolina. Big Brown Eyes is a wonderful song, and they were miles ahead of their time. Death Cab For Cutie – terrible name for a band, but another band that delivers the catchy tunes. They’re still at it after a pretty lengthy career. Dexys Midnight Runners – have you ever heard a better, more rollicking, jug band-style pop song than Come On Eileen? At this moment, this band means everything to me. Dick Dale – the undisputed king of the surf guitar. He’s still touring and you’ve probably heard a ton of his songs without knowing who was playing them. The Dickies – these guys are hilarious, but sometimes try too hard to be funny. But they had smart songs with wit and attitude. Dire Straits – I almost disrespected these guys, but really, they were good back in the day. They make me remember when watching MTV music videos was super cool. The Doobie Brothers – I liked them better without Michael McDonald, but they had a lot of hits in their time. I saw them a few times, and they used the dry-ice smoke like there was no tomorrow. Dr. John – still making relevant music late in life. Great New Orleans sound and some memorable songs. Dead Kennedys – offensive name, offensive songs, but true punk heroes. East Bay Ray, Jello Biafra, haha, quaint at this point, right? Ian Dury – he wrote Sex Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll, plus a number of other witty songs. And he’s cool. One of the original STIFF Records guys, a label I miss a lot.
Newbies who are worth checking out: DIIV – Really good guitar driven songs with dreamy lyrics. Keep an eye on them – they could make it big. Delta Spirit – sometimes they are too slow for me, but their songs are solid and lyrics meaningful. Destroyer – cool name for a band that isn’t a metal act. Dirty Heads – these guys bring it and have received a lot of radio play. They’re worth the effort. Dinosaur Jr. – not exactly newbies, but they broke up for a long time and have reformed recently. Some of their songs are earworms, but of the good kind. Dr. Dog – good name, from Philly, solid songs. What’s not to like?
Disrespect: Bob Dylan – he hasn’t done anything relevant since the mid-60s, is oftentimes lousy in concert, went through a Jesus phase, wrote misogynistic songs, and has a lousy voice. Other than that, he’s great. Tell the truth – when was the last time you listened, voluntarily, to a Dylan song? That’s what I thought. The Doors – yes, I like LA Woman, Break on Through, Riders on the Storm, etc. I’m just sick of them. Jim Morrison has been dead for decades, and I’m tired of the retread stories about him. We’re packing up the truck and moving on. Daft Punk – WTF? Weirdos. The Dead Milkmen – Punk Rock Girl is a great single. The rest of their songs try way too hard to be funny and don’t succeed. One hit wonders. Devo – Never liked them, never thought they were clever, never want to hear them again. Destiny’s Child – I don’t really care much for Beyonce. Overexposed, power-couple, rich, pop, American crap music. Drive-By Truckers – I like alt-country music. I’m supposed to like these guys. I’ve tried and it isn’t working. It can’t be me. Put them on the suck bus. Depeche Mode – I never ever ever liked these guys. Synth garbage. If you act fast, you can pick up all of their CDs in the bargain bin at the Salvation Army.
E is for Earth Wind and Fire. How many great songs did these guys put out in the 70s? Millions. They dominated the charts and the airwaves, and for good reason. Their music was tuneful, danceable, and backed by an amazing rhythm section. Their music has staying power, and I still get up when September comes on. Why did this kind of music go away and hip hop take its place? A mystery for the ages. Thankfully, I got healthy doses of this while growing up.
Honorable mentions: The English Beat – How wonderful is their music? Tried and true, and one of the most fun bands on the live music circuit today. How they got a visa to stay in the U.S. and basically tour forever is beyond me, but if you’ve never seen them, you are making a grave mistake. Joe Ely – super West Texas roots rock/country. If you ever get a chance to see him with Joel Guzman, who plays the accordion, do it. I know it doesn’t appear to work on paper, but trust me on this one. Steve Earle – another alt-country hero of mine. Long career and we should all be happy about that.
Newbies who are worth checking out: Alejandro Escavado –I just like his name. No, that’s not true. He’s pretty good, and has developed a sizeable following. Ex Hex – Watch out for these women out of DC. On the rise, and for good reason.
Disrespect: The Eagles – life in the crap lane. Yeah, I like some of their songs, but had to listen to this on non-stop radio airplay for at least a decade. They weren’t that good, and the over play ruined it for me. And some of their songs, like New Kid in Town and Desperado, are used in emergency rooms throughout the country to induce vomiting. Nothing works better. Jonathan Edwards – Go away today, I don’t feel much like listening. Emerson Lake and Palmer – Hahaha, what were you thinking listening to these fatty, overproduced, classical-music rip-off songs? Did you see them in the round? Its ok, I’m going to give you a mulligan for this one. Unless, of course, you also liked Electric Light Orchestra. In which case, you need to beg your maker for forgiveness and pray that there isn’t a hell, because if there is, they’re playing songs by disrespected bands whose names start with the letter “E.”
F is for Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl thinks too much of himself. But he was in Nirvana, is perhaps the best drummer in rock ‘n roll history, and then emerges from behind the drum kit to astound us all as a great songwriter and band leader. You recognize their sound when you hear them, but there is significant variation, and you don’t get bored. And hooks aplenty with a lot of guitar. Truly, these guys are hall of fame worthy.
Honorable mentions: Fishbone – smart lyrics, catchy tunes, full horn section. Party at Ground Zero is the most-danceable anti-war song ever. Flatt and Scruggs – yep, the Virginian in me is coming out. Bluegrass, loaded with dobro, fiddle and banjo. Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Orange Blossom Special. No more needs to be said. Fleetwood Mac – I really like Say You Love Me. But see, below for the dreaded double listing. The Fleshtones – out of New Jersey and into your heart. A super live act with good musical chops. Rosie Flores – The most bad-ass rockabilly woman I have ever heard. Incomparable. The Four Seasons – these guys are so good that they ought to do a Broadway play about them. Frankie Valli is a classic voice in rock history, often imitated, but never matched. And great songs. Just thinking about them brings a smile to my face. The Four Tops – Woot-woo, here come some Motown classics. Amazing string of hits that you still like to hear. Aretha Franklin – What pipes! What songs! Hallelujah! Fugazi – they may be the best band ever out of DC. Repeater is a post-punk classic. And Waiting Room is an amazing single with call-and-response vocals and a huge sound. The Feelies – wonderfully catchy songs, great strumming sound, kick-ass live band. Foghat – I always liked these guys, and Slow Ride still makes me turn it up to 11. Flying Burrito Brothers – the original alt-country band. Devil in Disguise is a fantastic song. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out is two great songs in one. I like many of this band’s songs, and they have a signature sound.
Newbies who are worth checking out: Fang Island – when they added vocals, a lot of fans got pissed off. Those fans are fools because this band is solid. Watch ‘em. Fitz & The Tantrums – great first album, sophomore slump on the second one. Fingers crossed. Floor – you want new metal? This is your ticket. Fountains of Wayne – to be honest, I don’t know that much about these guys, but I love the single Stacey’s Mom. Foxy Shazam – they have already broken up. If you missed them, I’m so very sorry. You can still catch them on CD. Go for it.
Disrespect: Foreigner – you know, back in the day, they had a couple of songs. But they haven’t held up over time, and now it’s just flabby classic rock. To get their songs out of your system all you have to do is lather, rinse and repeat. Fleetwood Mac – Overplayed so very much. Rumors was a great album the first time you heard it and then after the radio flogged it to death, you realized how cloying and obnoxious most of it was. Please, god, never let me hear this again. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – They can’t get there fast enough in my opinion. Out, you poseurs! Florence + The Machine – I don’t care much for her voice. They get way too much radio airplay. Ship to Wreck was good the first few times I heard it, and then it became a shoot the radio song because it is so annoying.
Was this better for you than A – C? I’m sure all you Eagles fans are mad, and same with the Fleetwood Mac pack. And why did I pick on poor Bob Dylan? Don’t I know that he is a LEGEND? I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not. So let me have it, tell me what a bonehead I am, and get your ya ya’s out. BRP is done with six letters, and we have 20 more to go. I’m going to blow your mind with what is coming.
See you later and thanks for reading.
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.