Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back In Black (and Gold)!

As a native Missourian, I've always been partial to the University of Missouri, and I'm tickled pink (Pinkel?) over MU's big win over Kansas 36-28 in the big foosball game at Arrowhead tonight as I can hear the fireworks thereof going off as I type from my house six miles away.  This town has been off its collective gourd this week more so than I can recall since the Royals won the World Serious in '85, and for good reasonthis is a big freakin' deal!

I must admit I'm a bit of a fence-straddler when it comes to KU-MU because I have no real grievance against KU, although I can really do without some of their "whine-and-cheese-party" fans and their sense of entitlement when it comes to basketball supremacy.  I generally root for them when they play anyone else other than Mizzou, like in '88 when Danning Manning (pun intended) led them to victory in the NCAA Tournament over Oklahoma at Kemper Arena.  But on this night, I bled black and gold from the get-gowhat a fucking monumental win this was for a program that's been dragged through the mud for so long.  QB Chase Daniel personally saw to it tonight that the ghosts of 5th down, Ricky Clemens, Tyus Edney, Paige Arena, Woody Wiedenhoefer, Quin Snyder and that bleedin' '97 Nebraska heartbreaker were properly exorcised and burned at the stake!

And this is not meant to denigrate KU's season by one iotatheir football program has grown by leaps and bounds under Mark "Big Bambino" Mangino since he took over.  Hell, I attended the KU-MU game in Lawrence ten years ago, and all the people around us could talk about was how good the basketball team was going to be in the upcoming seasonand this was while the Jayhawks were winning the fucking football game!  Bully for KU for getting their fans to give a shit about their football team for a change this year.  I really hope KU remains competitive for years to come so we don't have to deal with Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma dominating the conference anymore.  Let's hope the KU-MU game at Arrowhead next year is every bit as important as this year's was.

As for MU, it was like they won twice tonightonce vs. KU and once vs. the officials, who called numerous penalties against the Tigers (14 to 2are you shittin' me?).  Oh well, it's on to San Antonio for the "official" Big 12 Championship Game vs. Oklahoma next Saturday, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.  Unlike last time, I do believe MU will send the Sooners packing this time...

And even without the rise of KU and MU, has this year's college football season not been one of the most exciting ever?  The NFL has been so dull this year with the Patriots winning everything in sight, but the colleges have been a total hoot with high drama, crazy upsets, lots of changes in the Top 10 and Notre Dame sucking asswhat a year!

And The Beat Goes On...

Since I did bass players the other night, it's time to salute the other half of the rhythm section. Thus, I give you my Top 20 Rock Drummers of All-Time...

20) PHIL "PHILTHY ANIMAL" TAYLOR (Motorhead)  Brother Lemmy once gave this assessment of his band:  "We may not be the best band in the world, but we are definitely the fastest!"  Little Philthy is living proof that speed don't kill...
19) MIKE "SMITTY" SMITH (Paul Revere & The Raiders)  The first Rock drummer I ever listened to on a regular basis, young master Smitty made his contemporaries (like Ringo Starr) look like amateurs.  Not to be confused with singer Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five.
18) RICK ALLEN (Def Leppard)  Anyone with the personal fortitude to lose an arm, then re-learn how to play the drums (mostly with his feet) deserves a spot on my list.  He was already a pretty decent hard Rock drummer before his tragic accident, and his comeback three years later was nothing short of miraculous.
17) BENNY BENJAMIN (The Funk Brothers)  Motown's house drummer was outstandingwhen he wasn't all fucked-up, that is.  Drugs and booze and personal demons did him in at age 43 when he died of a stroke.  Check him out on Stevie Wonder's "Uptight"you can't miss him.
16) MITCH MITCHELL (Jimi Hendrix Experience)  This guy makes my list for his performance on "Fire" alonequite possibly the greatest steering wheel finger-drumming song in the world!  Mitch was pretty good on Jimi's other stuff too...
15) HAL BLAINE (Session musician)  This man has probably played on more Top 40 hits than any other musician on earth, and hardly anyone knows his name.  He played on everything from Paul Revere & The Raiders and the Mamas & The Papas to the Carpenters (displacing Karen on the skins) and The Partridge Family and countless others.
14) JEFF SIMON (George Thorogood & The Destroyers)  Extremely-overlooked skinsman, and that's a shame, because he's pretty darn good.  Excellent timekeeper, and when the Delaware Destroyers hit their stride in concert, they're like a runaway freight train.
13) FRANK BEARD (Z.Z. Top)  Nothing flashy here, but rock-steady and solid all the way. Doesn't always appear to be having a good time in concert, though...
12) CARL PALMER (Emerson, Lake & Palmer/Asia)  Not unlike Chris Squire of Yes on my bass player list, CP would've scored much higher here with more exciting material, especially from ELP. Asia's "Time Again" was a nice showcase for his chops.
11) ERIC SINGER (Kiss)  Second-best drummer Kiss ever had named Eric.  With all apologies to the Cat Man, he's the second-best drummer Kiss ever had, period, and an excellent replacement for the late Eric Carr.
10) DENISE DUFORT (Girlschool)  One of the best hard Rock drummers ever, gender be damned.  And as Charlie Daniels once sang about Elvin Bishop, she "ain't good-looking, but (she) sure can play."
9) CHARLIE WATTS (Rolling Stones)  Quite possibly the greatest timekeeper in Rock history.  His drum kit looks like something right out of the Sears catalog, but he likes it, and that's all that matters.
8) KEITH MOON (The Who)  Bet y'all thought I'd rank Moon The Loon #1, didn't ya?  Surprise!  I don't even think Moon is the best drummer The Who ever had (keep reading)and this is coming from a mondo Who fan!  Lovable as he was, Moonie was too erratic, especially toward the end, and I actually think he's a bit overratedhis constant fills and rolls were really overkill to me at times.  Awesome drummer, yes, but there are better ones in my book...
7) TOMMY ALDRIDGE (Black Oak Arkansas/Ozzy Osbourne/Whitesnake/Ted Nugent)  Journeyman drummer who is one of the best bashers of all-time.  I've never seen anyone just beat the living shit out of the drums in concert the way he did while touring with Nugent opening for Kiss in 2000 during "Great White Buffalo".  Even my hands were hurting afterwards!  I wish I could've caught him during his BOA days too...
6) NIGEL OLSSON (Elton John Band)  Most underrated drummer in Rock history.  Love to watch him play live because he looks so calm and effortless while pounding away.
5) JOHN BONHAM (Led Zeppelin)  If John Entwistle was "Thunderfingers", then Bonzo was "Thunderhands".  Love the intro to "When The Levee Breaks".  This man died far too young at 32, and for such a stupid reason too.
4) BUN E. CARLOS (Cheap Trick)  For a dude who looks like he belongs in the fictional Larry Davis Experience on "The Simpsons", Bunzuela (AKA Brad Carlson) certainly packs quite a wallop on the skins.  The Dream Police album highlighted his talents in numerous places.
3) ZAC STARKEY (The Who)  There are basically two different types of drummersbashers and timekeepers.  The late Keith Moon was a basher, and his replacement Kenney Jones was a timekeeper.  Well, Ringo's little boy is both a basher AND a timekeeper, and he blows his old man (and Moon, for that matter) away.  I just wish he'd stop wasting his time with those Oasis pussies...
2) NEIL PEART (Rush)  Is there anything this man won't bang on with sticks?  This virtuoso's drum kit is so huge, what with all his bells and (literally) whistles, it needs its own ZIP code!  While most in-concert drum solos are exercises in overkill and/or interminibility (I hope that's a word!), Peart's solos are always highly entertaining, and he makes it look so effortless.  And if you watch him real closely, he eventually does crack a smile now and then...
1) ERIC CARR (Kiss)  A bit of a sentimental choice, given that he's no longer with us, but this little dude was just unreal on the drums!  The guy certainly brought some musical credibility to the band during the early '80s, too.  And based on everything I've ever read about Eric Carr, I wish I could've met himhe seemed like a damn nice guy and totally devoid of ego, too.  And it was exactly 16 years ago tonight that he lost his battle with heart cancer.  R.I.P., Little Caesar...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oh, by the way...

Happy Thanksgiving, from your good friends at WKRP!

Top 20 Greatest Rock Bass Players Not Named Entwistle

Time to pay tribute to those who lay down the bottom end of the music spectrum, the mighty bass guitarists of the Rock era.  My musical idol, the late John Entwistle of The Who, is in a totally separate league from everyone else in my opinion, but that don't mean the rest of them suck.  On the contraryhere's the best of the rest:

20) JACK BRUCE (Cream)  I tend to think Cream is just a tad overrated in the overall scheme of things, but there's no denying what a fine musician this guy is.  He filled in the gaps admirably whilst Clapton wailed away during his solos.
19) LEE ROCKER (The Stray Cats)  Anyone who can tackle an old upright acoustic bass and make it rock can't be all bad!
18) JOHN DEACON (Queen)  The highly reticent member of Queen, to be sure, but he came through loud and clear with his bass work on "Another One Bites The Dust", as well as "Dragon Attack" from 1980's The Game album.
17) FLEA (Red Hot Chili Peppers)  I'm not a big fan of RHCP, but Flea was able to make Stevie Wonder's funky classic "Higher Ground" even funkier with his titanic bass playing.
16) CHRIS SQUIRE (Yes)  A poor man's John Entwistle in many ways.  He'd have scored a whole lot higher on my list if Yes' music wasn't so bloody tedious throughout most of their career.
15) MICHAEL ANTHONY (Van Halen)  While not nearly as technically-accomplished as the others on this list, Mikey makes my list on pure chutzpah and personality.  This is also a personal "fuck you" to Eddie Van Halen for kicking this guy out of the band for no good reason.  Fuck you, Eddie, and take Diamond Dave with you!
14) DONALD "DUCK" DUNN (Stax Records/The Blues Brothers)  This dude is about as prolific and funky as they come.  Played bass on just about everything important that Stax put out in the '60s.
13) NICK LOWE (Brinsley Schwartz/Rockpile)  Understated bass playing from a guy who is better known for his songwriting and producing prowess.  Check out his thumping pulse on tracks like "Heart Of The City" and "Bobo Ska Diddle Daddle".
12) BILLY BLOUGH (George Thorogood & The Destroyers)  His bass bits on 1978's "Move It On Over" are what initially drew me to the song in the first place.  As Charlie Daniels once sang about Elvin Bishop, "He ain't good-looking, but he sure can play..."
11) DUSTY HILL (Z.Z. Top)  For a man whose fingers resemble nothing more than big link sausages, ol' "Groover McToober" can lay down some bad-ass bass!
10) JOHN LODGE (The Moody Blues)  Very underrated player who reminds me of Entwistle at times, especially on "The Story In Your Eyes" and "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock 'N' Roll Band)".
9) LEMMY (Motorhead)  Hardly the most technically proficient bass player in the world, but what he lacks in technique he makes up for with volume and attitude.  Almost like another rhythm guitar, really.
8) GEEZER BUTLER (Black Sabbath)  Totally unorthodox style of playing, but hey, whatever works! His best moments were "N.I.B." and "Heaven And Hell".
7) DEE MURRAY (Elton John Band) This man, rest his soul, never gets any credit for his outstanding work on EJ's recordings from 1970 thru 1975 and in the early '80s.  Very subtle, to be sure, but check him out on "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and "Ballad Of Danny Bailey" from Yellow Brick Road and see what I mean.
6) PAUL McCARTNEY (The Beatles/Wings)  John Lennon may have had issues with Paul on numerous fronts, but even JL accurately gave Big Macca his due when it came to his bass playing, saying that he was grossly underrated for it.  I tend to agree.  "All My Loving" is an early example of Sir Paul's prowess on the ol' violin bass.
5) BILL WYMAN (Rolling Stones)  About as exciting as watching paint dry in concert, but Wyman was about as rock solid as anyone on record.  Love his funky little bass lines on "Undercover Of The Night" and "Winning Ugly".
4) JOHN PAUL JONES (Led Zeppelin)  Like Wyman, he was boring as whale shit to watch play live on-stage, but on vinyl JPJ delivered big-time, especially on that first Zeppelin album on tracks like "Dazed And Confused" and my personal all-time Zep favorite, "How Many More Times".  Not a bad keyboard player, either.
3) JAMES JAMERSON (The Funk Brothers)  The majority of the music produced on Motown Records in the '60s wouldn't have been nearly as good without this man.  Entwistle himself acknowledged Jamerson as a big influence on his own bass playing.
2) TOM PETERSSON (Cheap Trick)  Four strings ain't enough for this dudehe's best known for playing an 8-string bass, and sometimes even a 12-string behemoth!  Check him out on CT's 1988 Lap Of Luxury LP on their excellent remake of Elvis' "Don't Be Cruel" and especially the underrated track "All Wound Up"it's sure to rattle yer pots and pans...
1) GEDDY LEE (Rush)  This guy never ceases to amaze me with his multi-tasking in concert.  The boy not only plays very complex bass lines, but he doubles on keyboards and sings some fairly advanced lyricsall at the same time!  And he doesn't even wear a tuque! Pretty good, eh?

Nyuk! x 3


Just say Mo!

Why, I oughtta...

He was just a victim of soy-cumstance...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Sorry, but I just can't resist a bad pun!

"I don't wanna cause no fuss..."

...but I often do, anyway!

For the "Gonzo Papers" blog (see link at right) and his little Blogiversary Carnival event, featuring submitted writings from various bloggers, including yours truly.  You'll find my "7-6-82" Elton John concert blog entry near the bottom of this little blogfest.  Read up, peoples!

It may well be against protocol to re-post other people's blog entries without permission, but I can't resist here.  This is from Dave's Window (see also link at right), and it sounds just like something I'd write, and I fucking wish I had:

If you're a consumer who has actually purchased the product Head On, you deserve a headache.

No offense, of course. It's not like you're stupid or anything, it's wait.  Yeah, it is like you're stupid.  Ironically the head-bone is the reason that using Head On is a bone-headed idea.  If you apply it to your forehead, there is a huge barrier between the medicine and the's called the skullIronically, using Head On makes you a real numb-skull.  Ah, so much irony in such a stupid product.

The funniest line of the commercial (besides the annoying "apply directly to the forehead" crap) is "no prescription necessary."  No shit?  Look, if your doctor tries to give you a prescription for this product, you should open your network provider booklet immediately.  End rant.

Dave, you're a voice of reason in this vast wilderness of stupidity!  Hope you don't mind me borrowing your stuff...

Actor Dick Wilson died Sunday at age 91.  We knew him better as pop culture icon Mr. Whipple of Charmin toilet paper TV commercial fame. I kid you not, folks, I was out of T.P. and had to buy some on the way home from work today, and I gave a little squeeze in tribute.  R.I.P., Mr. Whipple...

After seeing the entire TV Land/Entertainment Weakly "Top 50 TV Icons" list, I have even more grievances.  Jon Stewart?  Calista Flockhart?  Sarah Michelle Gellar?  George Clooney?  Come on, now!  Where the fuck is Fred Sanford?  George Jefferson?  Fred Flintstone?  Adam West as Batman?  No one from "Cheers" or "Frasier"?  Not even fucking Gilligan?  The entire "Brady Bunch" snubbed?  Yet hacks like Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres make the cut?  Horse hockey!

High school pep bands now play Bon Jovi songs.  Even "You Give Love A Bad Name" with the "bad name" echo vocal done on trombone, no less!  A sure sign of the Apocalypse...

In lieu of the Elton John concert at Sprint Center I missed last month, I picked up his new Elton 60 DVD which chronicles his 60th birthday concert from March of this year at Madison Square Gardencoincidentally his record-setting 60th performance as the world's most famous arena.  Well worth the 15 bucks I paid for it too, as it features a gi-normous set list filled with the usual suspects like "Bennie" and "Levon", and the not-so-usual suspects like "Roy Rogers", "(All The Girls Love) Alice" and "(Where To Now), St. Peter?", among many other long lost Elton gems that he's been known to dust off and play in concert.

Other highlights for me from the concert itself were "Hercules" from Honky Chateau, "Holiday Inn" from Madman Across The Water (and the title track from that one as well), and "High Flying Bird", the beautiful closer from the Don't Shoot Me album.  Also included in this 2-disc set are several other long lost live performances from various points in EJ's career, including the rarely performed "We All Fall In Love Sometimes/Curtains" from Captain Fantastic.  Another thing I found impressive is how Elton often says things during the show like, "Here's a song we haven't done in over 30 years..." as in "we as a band" instead of "I".  With longtime stalwarts Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson in the bandnot to mention lyricist Bernie Taupinthis is especially appropriate.

I encountered one little problem whilst singing along with Elton on these great old songs, though:  I found it just a tad disconcerting when I'd hit those high falsetto bits on songs like "Madman", "Bennie & The Jets" and "Philadelphia Freedom" and Elton didn't!  Sadly, since his 1987 throat surgery Elton is no longer able to scale the heights of his vocal range as he once did.  Fortunately, I'm 17 years younger than he is and my high range is still intact.  Meantime, jolly good show, ol' chap...

I also checked out the new Who DVD documentary collection Amazing Journey this week.  For all you young'uns out there who think Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Kid Rock were/are the shit, I suggest you watch this video and get educated!  For the rest of you unitiated out there who just want to learn about the history of one of the finest Rock 'N' Roll bands ever on earth in this hemisphere, this is as good a place to start as any.  I was quite pleased with the extra effort Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey went to in highlighting the late John Entwistle's importance to the band, as well as the lunatic fringe that late drummer Keith Moon brought to the table.

One thing I could've done without is the crackle sounds they used to simulate an old phonograph record album to accompany the documentary.  Cute concept, and yes, the crackle sounds were par for the course on old vinyl records, but they're highly irritating and distracting on a Dolby 5.1 DVD!  Oh well, long live Rock.  I certainly need it every night...

"Gemini Dream"--THE MOODY BLUES (1981)  "Make it work out (make it work)/Make it work out, for each other tonight..."  I first mistook the "for each other tonight" line for "you're in trouble tonight..."

I attended the very first sporting event at our mighty new Sprint Center last night, a college basketball doubleheader featuring UCLA vs. Maryland and Michigan St. vs. Missouri in the CBE (College Basketball Experience) tournament.  As expected, the arena doesn't suck as a sporting venue with its awesome sightlines, outstanding lighting and superior sound system that makes Kemper Arena seem like a V.F.W. hall by comparison.  This joint will make one helluva hockey arena one day too...

One thing I did miss last night was the concession stands at Kemper, which were far more efficient that the one I waited in line at for well over 20 minutes at Sprint Center before the MU game.  I read later that they ran out of hot dogs in the entire arena by halftime of the MU game.  Uhhh, were y'all not expecting a big crowd last night?  You had nine straight sellout Garth Brooks concerts and never ran out of hot dogs, yet you couldn't properly prepare for a freakin' basketball crowd?  Get on the ball, folks!

Then again, I loved the well-lit state-of-the-art lavatories, which are a major upgrade over those at our "dump with a hump" in ye olde stockyards (Kemper).  I much prefer the one man-one urinal concept over pissing into the communal trough, as it were, and I also feel a bit more secure when I'm actually seein' where I'm peein'!