Learning to rock, the classic way

I was born in 1979. Just in time to actually remember the eighties, but quite a bit late to catching anything from the years of pure rock greatness.

It’s just a shame you missed out on rock ‘n’ roll. It’s over. You got here just in time for the death rattle. Last gasp. Last grope.  – Lester Bangs (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Almost Famous

I even missed that. The synth of the electronic drums and keyboards became the ruling sound on the airwaves for a decade of hot pink and leg warmers.

But I have always had a strong affiliation with the seventies, and more than just the attire. The music was known to me great. Names such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Cream, Aerosmith and more are legends in their own right. They influenced so much more from their work in during that decade. But I always felt I knew of them more than really knowing them, more like an acquaintance than a long time friend. I took a Rock since the 1960’s class in college where I found a deeper respect for producers and Brian Wilson, but other than that, I didn’t gain much else.

So Saturday, Roger and I will be going to see RUSH. Less than a month ago, my only comment would have been, “Yeah, they are one of those hair metal bands from the late seventies/early eighties, right?” I wouldn’t be incorrect, but the depth of my knowledge was only at the surface, barely making a scratch.

Since then, I have had some hard-core training of the best kind. The initiation started with the RUSH documentary. Music documentaries are not foreign in our abode. I feel like we see at least one a month if not more. As documentaries go, this one was pretty comprehensive talking to the band members as well as family and friends. The skill is evident. Mind blowing, in fact (I might be forced to use that term several times in this post). I was amazed by their focus… no after parties, just on to writing the next song/album. Did I mention their skill?

After the documentary, I was ready to take on the catalogue. I loaded all of the albums on my iPod and just listened. Well, I was listening and working. Not the same, at all. It was like I was doing my due diligence. It never reach the veins or the marrow.

Last weekend, I took a trip to Phoenix, driving all the way… solo. Desert road trips solo seem to constitute finding myself. This time, I wanted to find the deeper connection to the music that only had skin deep meaning from the era of true rock n’ roll. I had Roger stockpiling my car with recommendations on where to begin. So here are the bands/albums, that reached my ears…

  • Black Sabbath: Paranoid
  • Rush: 2112, Moving Pictures, A Farewell to Kings
  • Heart: Greatest Hits
  • Alice Cooper: Love it to Death
  • The Who: Who’s Next
  • Led Zeppelin: III and IV (to be fair, I already knew and love these albums)
  • Creedance Clearwater Revival: Not sure which, might be a hits album
  • Aerosmith: Toys in the Attic
  • Cheap Trick: Greatest Hits

I covered a lot of ground, both musically and literally. Listening to these albums straight on the open road is a similar experience to strapping on headphones and just listening, no distractions. Rush’s 2112 took my ears by storm. Seriously, it may have just knocked Jeff Buckley’s Grace right off the pedestal. I was surprised to find out how much I liked Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. Maybe I’m turning into a 13-year-old boy for my new-found love for these albums, I don’t care. I know that I will be soaking it all in on Saturday, praising to the drum god Neil to send some of that skill to my boy.

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5 thoughts on “Learning to rock, the classic way

  1. I really love reading what you write! You have a gift! I’m so glad you’re learning to love some of the music that I loved growing up!! Have a great time at the concert and know that I’m a little jealous!!!!

  2. Mike and I will be driving to New Mexico in late July for a wedding, followed by a road trip to Rollercon. Somewhat coincidentally, we plan on loading up the iPod with classic albums in their entirety to listen to on the drive. It’s actually making me excited for the otherwise daunting 12 hour drive.

  3. Adam, Emma and I embarked on a musical adventure on our road trip to Oregon. Adam had Emma pick a letter and we started the iPod so that it played all the songs starting with that letter. We only got through “D” (there is a LOT on my iPod), but it was a neat little way to pass all the hours of driving.

    Also, I LOVE 2112.

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