"The blog has made Glab into a hip town crier, commenting on everything from local politics and cultural happenings to national and international events, all rendered in a colorful, intelligent, working-class vernacular that owes some of its style to Glab’s Chicago-hometown heroes Studs Terkel and Mike Royko." — David Brent Johnson in Bloom Magazine
In case you haven’t noticed*, I’m taking some time off.
[*I highly doubt my absence has gone unnoticed; I hear certain local churches are open around the clock for Pencillistas to hold vigils while I’m on hiatus, and the Bloomington City Council meets in emergency session as we speak to determine what to do as the Pencil remains dark.]
Honestly, I haven’t been at all happy with the topics and my treatment thereof in any of the attempts I’ve made at posting the last few days. As always, I figure it’s better for me to spare you from substandard blathering than it is for me to maintain some phonus-balonus record of publishing every day.
So, I’ll be back. Count on it. If you don’t see a post in these precincts by Sunday, send someone out to Pencil world HQ to check my pulse.
And often for the better. Dig this remastered blast from the past. Rare Earth was the first all -white group to have a hit on the Motown label. This album cut goes on for nearly 22 minutes, as did many anthemic and iconic tunes did back in 1969 and ’70.
These are blue-eyed soul brothers if there ever were any, to borrow a phrase from the late, great Don Cornelius. You can cite this tune as proof if you care to make the argument that music was better three, four, five, or six decades ago. Which seems a fool’s errand as far as I’m concerned.
This track has a drum solo that goes on for — get this — more than three minutes. Hell, plenty of rock ‘n roll era songs lasted just three minutes in toto.
Here’s a confession: I detested drum solos. In fact, when I stopped going to big, arena-rock concerts sometime around 1975, one of my main reasons was the fear that I’d climb the rafters and jump off to my certain death if I was subjected to yet another drum solo.
Neil Peart Bangs Away
I ask you, my loyal readers who are old enough to remember big shows at the International Amphitheater or the Chicago Stadium or Market Square Arena in Indy or Freedom Hall in Louisville, what was the purpose of the drum solo? Did you enjoy hearing them? Why?
Honestly, I want to know. Because I always felt they drained the life out of any concert. I recall always starting to look around the arena in a state of sheer boredom when the drummer got going. I could never understand why the people around me went apeshit at some point during the drum solo.
Anyway, I assume there aren’t drum solos anymore, which seems a huge mark in favor of today’s concert-goers.
I await your comments.
My last arena-rock concert was Paul McCartney & Wings at the Stadium in 1975. McCartney was my least favorite Beatle and by the mid-70s his music was unlistenable. By the ’80s, when he pushed treacle like “The Girl Is Mine” and “Say Say Say” with Michael Jackson and “Ebony and Ivory” with Stevie Wonder, he should have been brought before the World Court for crimes against humanity’s ears.
Still, a guy I knew was scalping tix to see McCartney and I felt compelled to buy them for the then-princely sum of $25 the pair because of the history of the thing. Within a year and a half I’d made the full transition to punk music and more intimate venues like the Aragon Ballroom and Tut’s.
In fact, somewhere in my box of keepsakes I still have the tickets for the Sex Pistols New Year’s Eve show at the Ivanhoe Theater, one of four stops they had to cancel because they couldn’t get visas in time. They only played seven dates on their American tour, the highlights of which being Sid Vicious carving the words “Gimme a fix” in his chest and Johnny Rotten coughing up blood due to the flu.
I get the feeling that some arena-rock aficionados and drum solo lovers might call me out on this one but I’m not claiming the Sex Pistols were anything more than a sensational middle finger directed at the pretentious prog rock of the day. As long as they helped bury Kansas, the Pistols’ll be okay by me. Suffice it to say I’ve seldom, if ever, listened to them on iTunes.
Court & Spark
Right now my money’s teetering between conviction on a much lesser charge and a complete acquittal for King Doofus George Zimmerman in Florida.
Book it: He ain’t gonna fry for a 2nd degree rap. He was getting the bejesus kicked out of him by Trayvon Martin (not that I blame the kid) and any reasonable jury has to nix the murder call.
I don’t think the jury really wants to let the pudgy Guardian of the Neighborhood walk but they may have to. And if they do, what’s the reaction on the streets going to be? Are we in for a reprise of LA 1992?
The Thick Blue Line
Back twenty years ago after the Rodney King verdict came down South Central LA residents tore up the town, leading to 53 deaths and a billion dollars-worth of damage. But that was well before the election of Barack Obama and the resultant sense among the lower primate orders of the American electorate that “outsiders” and “aliens” (read the N-word here) were taking over their holy land. If dark-skinned folks take to the streets after a potential Zimmerman pass, are the armed-to-the-teeth Ted Nugent wannabes of America going to wade into the fray?
It could happen.
Then the Prez might be pressured to send in federal troops and once that happens, the militias and tinfoil-hat gangs will really take the gloves off.