Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

14Jun/1224

Return of the Stereo Dictator

Hey everyone, it’s great to be back on the ATV beat once again!  After a lengthy sabbatical, I have returned to share music, news and old-school rock and roll stories with you.

Here’s a quick rundown of 2012 so far to get us caught up.

GRAMMYS
The Grammys were somewhat interesting in that some very typical choices were made in the winner’s category and a few surprises snuck in.

The queen of typical ended up being Adele, who fit the mold of the ultra-talented, non-offensive, multi-million selling, safe British winner.  Remember Jethro Tull over Metallica for best hard rock band in 1988?

My choice for star of the night was the ultra-talented, non-offensive multi-million selling heartthrob Bruno Mars. He and his band were great live as they put on a true “show” for the crowd.  Also, his single “Grenade” was easily the song of the year as it was superior on all three levels: lyrics, melody and production.

A surprise came in the form of the Civil Wars, as they won two awards for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.  Members Joy Williams and John Paul White are standalone performers who rely on the intimacy and immediacy of their well-written material to create a special bond with the listener. Their sometimes comfortable, sometimes edgy harmonies and stark arrangements bring their songs back to their core, ala the American Recordings done by Johnny Cash with Rick Rubin.

ROCK HALL
Well, in its own inimitable fashion, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame found another wide-ranging group of inductees.  From Laura Nyro to the Beastie Boys with a nod to the world of hard rock/metal from GnR, it’s an eclectic 2012 class.  My favorite of this collection is the Small Faces/Faces followed closely by Freddie King.

The Small Faces were poppy, psychedelic and featured one of the greatest white soul singers to ever let it go, Steve Marriott, later of Humble Pie fame. Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane and Kenney Jones picked up the pieces in 1969 and became Faces, the band you loved to drink and dance to and the band you wished could be in.  Straight up rockin, they also backed up Rod Stewart on many of his early solo records through 1975.

Freddie King, what can I say?  A frenetic soloist who sent the notes stinging and bending out of the guitar accompanied by his barrelhouse blues voice, King was the bridge between rock and roll, electric blues, Texas boogie and a good time.  He is also remembered as the Freddie King who is mentioned in Grand Funk’s “We’re an American Band,” a number one single and a number two album from 1973: “…up all night with Freddie King, I got to tell ya, poker is his thing…”

AEROSMITH
I read that Joe Perry is about to become the third author to emerge from Aerosmith as he prepares to give the world his version of AeroBuildup/AeroMeltdown/AeroReturn/Where Aero We Now?  Will it be enlightening, gossip-filled or even interesting? Who knows but probably as Joe is still one of the coolest guys in rock and roll.

I’m seeing Steven Tyler all over the place between American Idol, CMT Crossroads, VH1 Classic, Burger King and on and on and on.  I guess you gotta make the money while it’s there. They did blow through a fortune at one time and it takes dough to live like a rock star so… as a senior citizen, he is now among the hardest-working people in show biz.

FAREWELL
Davy Jones, lead singer for the Monkees, died suddenly and that was a shocker, one of those “he was how old?” types.

Watching the Monkees' “A Hard Day’s Night”-inspired TV show during its heyday in the late 60s/early 70s, I was hooked both musically and visually on “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone,” “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville” like the rest of the groovy guys and gals across the U.S.A.  I was hooked again when the same episodes aired on MTV in the 80s as part of a campaign to promote the group’s first new album in nearly two decades.

Jones was integral to the group’s external appeal with his boyish good looks and British wit, while his singing and dancing skills enabled him to establish some credibility among skeptical industry insiders who saw the Monkees as a collection of talent-deficient actors trying to be musicians.

While we’re still on the Monkees, don’t you think that Johnny Damon of the Indians looks like he could be Mickey Dolenz’s son?  No doubt…

Another celebrity music death was not necessarily unexpected, but still very significant in the form of Dick Clark. A true icon, Clark was as important to the development of rock and roll as Bill Haley, Elvis and the Beatles.

His signature show, American Bandstand, was a television staple for rock music fans from the 50s through the 80s, ultimately dying a slow death as MTV took front and center.

Nonetheless, the show broke ground by making rock and roll a part of mainstream TV as it set the table for countless regional descendents, one of which took a bit of a left turn out of Chicago and became the rhythm and blues/funk/soul crossover sensation of the 70s, Soul Train.

Lest you think that it was all teeny-boppers and mainstream, know that in the late 70 s and into the 80s, bands such as the Sex Pistols, X, the Blasters, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys all made appearances on the Bandstand.

Bonus points for those who know the writer/singer of the Bandstand theme used from 1977-87.

Because they always come in threes, we also said goodbye in March to one of the greatest players of his generation, Ronnie Montrose.

A giant among 70s hard-rock listeners as well as musicians, Montrose first came to attention as the guitarist on Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey album in 1971.  He was soon to be featured on Edgar Winter’s 1972 smash They Only Come Out at Night, which featured the monster hit “Frankenstein” and the summer sing-along, “Free Ride.”

Montrose then broke through in 1973, guided by the hand of Ted Templeman, producer for Van Morrison, Van Halen, the Doobie Brothers and many others.

The pair, along with Sammy Hagar, Denny Carmassi, Bill Church, and later Alan Fitzgerald, delivered two seminal releases, Montrose and 1974’s Paper Money.  “Bad Motor Scooter, “Rock Candy,” “Spaceage Sacrifice,” and “Paper Money” are among 16 total tracks of groundbreaking hard-rock/metal that influenced countless bands for decades.

Ronnie went on to release more albums with Montrose, as well as solo albums and collaborations with Gamma, Rail, and a load of sidework, both playing and producing. His virtuosity was unquestioned and his legend continued to grow with time.

Montrose suffered a recurrence of prostate cancer in 2009 and died earlier this year.

SO LONG
All right gang, time to slink back into the basement. I will be back soon with an assortment of stuff including songs from the big black cabinets of tuneage that will be downloadable for your continued listening pleasure.

Thanks to Matt for always having my back and also for having me back.

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