I’d like to thank the person/people in charge of the Record Archive Facebook and Twitter accounts for keeping my brain thinking about music when I could be pondering way worse stuff. Really interesting questions get posted on the store’s social media, and I wind up trying to come up with good answers for minutes, hours, and sometimes days.
I thought it might be fun to collect some of these questions from the past couple weeks and share my thoughts here.
Q… What musicians would be the best to be quarantined with?
A… In general, ones that play guitar and/or piano, and like when you sing along. I’m not a partier, so I’m in that small camp of people who’d want a quiet, drug free, teetotaler who likes to read and watch TV when he’s not playing. Does that exist? I’ve heard that Ted Nugent never uses drugs and alcohol… I’d rather have the members of Guns n Roses shooting heroin into their foreheads in my kitchen than live with Nugent.
Q…What musicians would be the WORST to be quarantined with?
A… Based on my previous answer I’ll go Ted Nugent, followed by the members of Guns n Roses.
Q… What concert that got cancelled were you the most excited about?
A… I was supposed to go to a sold out Brian Fallon concert at Babeville in Buffalo a few weeks ago. As I mentioned in the last newsletter I’m a big fan of both his Gaslight Anthem rockers and his solo stuff, including his new album “Local Honey” . That show is now rescheduled for August at a new venue. We’ll see.
Q… What are your favorite podcasts about music?
A… I love podcasts. There are tons of excellent music podcasts out there, but I do have a couple faves…
I’m a big fan of author Chuck Klosterman. He and his friend Chris Ryan have a show called Music Exists, where they talk about how people think about music… how does music shape the world around you? How does it affect your life even when you’re not thinking about it? They don’t tell you what you should listen to… Chuck and Chris ask (and answer) bigger questions about how we experience music. They are naturally curious, bright, and funny as they debate things like “Do other people’s opinions matter when it comes to what you like?”, “Does knowing about music history help you enjoy it?”, and even “Beatles or Stones (and why)?”. I’m pretty sure that Music Exists is exclusively on Spotify. Check it out here.
Another favorite music podcast is Sound Opinions, with Chicago based music writers Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis acting as hosts. They do try and point you towards music new and old that you should listen to (and what you should avoid). They also interview musicians, answer listener questions, and discuss music industry news. They are sort of a Siskel and Ebert for all things audio. Am I showing my age with the Siskel and Ebert reference? Two thumbs up for Sound Opinions. It’s syndicated on NPR radio stations across the country. You can find it here.
Q… Which Record Archive staffer do you miss the most?
A… Not fair!! I’d only been working there about a month when I was told to stay home until further notice, so I don’t have a fully formed opinion on that yet. I do miss me being there, so can my answer be “Billy”?
I seriously look forward to seeing them all again… they’ve all treated the new guy great.
Q… If you could play one song for a person who lived 100 years ago, what would it be?
A… This question really struck a chord in my brain. There are so many ways to approach this.
Do I want to choose something that might sound close to music they’d be familiar with so they feel more comfortable? Jazz, blues, and hillbilly music fueled the phonograph boom of the 1920s, so maybe something like early Elvis… “Trying To Get To You” for example
Do I want to play the weirdest, most abrasive thing possible to freak them out? Am I looking for the type of confused, scared reaction I’d get if I showed Abraham Lincoln an airplane? Nah, that’s not nice.
Do I want to play them my all-time favorite song? Yeah, that’s the route I’m going. I choose “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” by The Temptations. I’d like to play it for that hypothetical person from a hundred years ago, and tell them what I’m hearing and feeling as we listen. I’d like to share that with everyone.
Q… Is punk dead? What is your best evidence to prove punk isn’t dead? Didn’t it die the moment Johnny Rotten got new teefies?
A… I’m not as well versed on punk music as I should be, but my good friend (and Record Archive customer) Brian Cummings is, so I asked him to answer for me. Take it away Brian…
“Punk ain’t dead. A lot of the less abrasive aspects of it have been absorbed by the mainstream (Paramore, Fall Out Boy), and it probably has as many careerists/opportunists as any other genre now. But it still works as pissed off folk music. Superchunk’s “What A Time To Be Alive,” & Bad Religion’s “Age Of Unreason” are what a GenZ Woody Guthrie would’ve come up with in response to Trump. You rarely see a ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ sticker on guitars anymore… it’s just understood.
And The Descendents picked up where Joey Ramone left off as sad, schoolboy poets, begat descendants of their own in that whole Punk Class of ‘94 (Green Day, Weezer, The Offspring, Blink-182). Country is three-chords and a rote formula. You want three chords and the truth?! Find a good punk band. https://youtu.be/n5Y5wPiY0L4 ”
Thank you Brian.
Q… Have any of you ever seen the KISS movie “Kiss Meets the Phantom of The Park?” I need to see more campy terrible band movies! Please recommend some to me!
A… How about the Paul Williams take on the same story, “Phantom Of The Paradise” ?
Also, a movie I loved as a teen, but I don’t think holds up very well… “Rock and Roll High School” with The Ramones and P. J. Soles. Sure, The Ramones always rock, and P.J. Soles was really cute (you may remember her as Bill Murray’s girlfriend in “Stripes”, or as Jamie Lee Curtis’ friend in “Halloween”) but the humor is really silly, and the script is ridiculous. The concert scene at the end is awesome though.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago how much I love The Monkees, but I consider their 1968 film “Head” almost unwatchable. There are a couple musical sequences I enjoy, but the rest of the movie is a trippy psychedelic mess trying to disguise itself as a satire on fame, and a protest of the Vietnam War. None of the charm of the TV show is evident. Watch at your own risk (or really high).
That’s all I’ve got for this week… but isn’t that enough? Remember to follow Record Archive on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can give your own answers to questions like these, and see lots of cool pictures while you do it.
Have a good week and stay safe. -Billy