Saturday, May 17, 2008

Concert Trek--Episode 11

It's been a while, but it's time to resume my recollections of the many concerts I have attended throughout the years...

51) Ray Stevens/Butch Baker (Saturday, November 5, 1988St. Joseph Civic Arena) Ticket price: Free

Being that the metropolis known as St. Joseph, MO is located a mere 50 miles away from the even bigger metropolis known as Kansas City, MO, Joetown basically had to settle for table scraps when it came to attracting big-name acts for concerts.  I don’t mean to denigrate Mr. Stevens, herehe’s always been a favorite of mine when it comes to comedy recordsbut this was one of the few major concerts staged in St. Joseph during the 13 months that I worked there at the radio station, and we naturally promoted the hell out of it.  It was also one of the rare times that I got to meet the headliner afterwards, and the only time that I actually have photographic proof of it!

Brother Ray and his entire band must’ve thought it was St. Patrick’s Day, as they were all decked out in green leisure suits throughout their set, which covered all the bases of Ray’s career, from serious songs like “Everything Is Beautiful” to his comedic classics like “The Streak”, “Ahab The Arab” and “Guitarzan”.  The highlight for me was his 1987 song “Sex Symbols”, during which he performed with a ventriloquist dummy on a bar stool dressed as Julio Iglesias, with whom Ray “duetted”.  It was a good show, overall, but disappointingly short, though.

As for this photo, between the two of us, Ray and I surely would’ve qualified to appear on an episode of “What Not To Wear”!  I’ll just plead insanity with my choice of wardrobe hereas much as I loved those old rainbow Astros uni’s, it probably wasn’t the best choice on that night.  Anywhoo, I even managed to engage Ray in conversation, as it just so happens that I went to high school with the daughter of songwriter C.W. Kalb, who wrote Ray’s hit song “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” (as well as “Sex Symbols”).  Mr. Stevens was most accommodating in signing autographs and taking photos with everyone, and I came away very impressed with him.

The opening act was an up-and-coming Country singer named Butch Baker, whom we plugged pretty heavily on our FM station at the time.  I also met him after the show and had my pic taken with him, and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember a damn thing about his act, but he seemed like a very nice guy.

52) The Who (Sunday, August 8, 1989Arrowhead Stadium) Ticket price: $22.50

This concert was one of the few highlights for me during the dismal summer of ‘89, during which I was unemployed for five months after I left the radio station in St. Joseph, even though Pete Townshend now deems that tour “The Who on ice”, after seven years of dormancy following the 1982 “Farewell Tour”.

This was the tour for which The Who was augmented by several other musicians, including drummer Simon Phillips, who was a major upgrade over Kenny Jones on the skins.  They also recruited guitarist Steve “Boltz” Bolton on electric guitar, as Pete’s hearing problems at the time relegated him to playing acoustic guitar for most of the show.  To me, acoustic guitar is the equivalent of black-and-white TV, as opposed to electric guitar’s color, so it almost seemed as if Townshend was handicapped for this tour.

No opening act for this one, and The Who got right down to business by opening with about 30 minutes’ worth of Tommy.  After a brief pause, the show resumed with three Townshend solo tunes, then Roger Daltrey returned with a guitar to perform the old Bo Diddley tune “I’m A Man”, but his guitar was malfunctioning, so he chucked it to the floor in frustration.  The show finally kicked into gear with “I Can’t Explain”, and it was smooth sailing from there.  The stage was swarmed by moths throughout the night, which prompted bassist John Entwistle to remark, “From ticks in the night, we go to ‘Trick Of The Light’” as he intro-ed his very underrated song from Who Are You.  The Ox was beginning to resemble a college professor at this point, but there was no questioning his prowess on the bass.

“My Generation” was a surprise on the set list, as Townshend had pretty much sworn off playing that song on the ‘82 tour, as was “Join Together”, a somewhat-forgotten Who classic.  “I Can See For Miles” was also dusted off and performed by The Who for the first time in ages on this tour, and it came off quite well.  For a band that was “on ice”, they still seemed fresh and viable, even with all the extra (and superfluous) musicians.  To date, this is the last time The Who (as a group) ever set foot in Kansas City.  Y’all come back, now, hear?!?

SET LIST:  Overture/1921/It’s A Boy/Amazing Journey/Sparks/The Acid Queen/Pinball Wizard/See Me, Feel Me/We’re Not Gonna Take It/Secondhand Love/Let My Love Open The Door/Face The Face/I’m A Man/I Can’t Explain/Substitute/I Can See For Miles/Trick Of The Light/Boris The Spider/ Who Are You/Magic Bus/Baba O'Riley/My Generation/A Little Is Enough/5:15/Love, Reign O'er Me/Sister Disco/Rough Boys/Join Together/You Better You Bet/Behind Blue Eyes/Won’t Get Fooled Again  ENCORES:  Eminence Front/Hey Joe/Twist And Shout

53) Kiss/Faster Pussycat/Slaughter (Saturday, May 12, 1990Sandstone Amphitheater) Ticket price: $18.00

In a strange bit of strategy, the Hottest Band In The World set out on tour a good seven months after the release of their latest album, Hot In The Shade, which came out in September, 1989.  It all worked out anyway, as this was considered by most Kiss fans as one of their best tours of the decade, as the band focused their set list on more of their ‘70s stuff and barely even touched their new albumonly two songs from Shade were performed.

This was also the first time Kiss had ever toured without their trademark light-up Kiss logoat least to start the show, anyway.  In its place, the band emerged from the mouth of a mock-up of the Egyptian sphinx from the album covernicknamed “Leon Sphinx”complete with a cool lazer show.  A small Kiss logo eventually did appear near show’s end, but meantime, the band played for well over two hours, and the old stuff sounded just as sweet with drummer Eric Carr and guitarist Bruce Kulick in place of Peter Criss and Ace Frehley.  Little did any of us know that this would be the last time we’d see Eric Carr in concert before his tragic death a year and a half later. R.I.P., Little Caesar…

My friend Tom and I arrived just as up-and-comers Slaughter were performing their signature song “Fly To The Angels”, so I can’t really comment on their act.  Same goes for Faster Pussycat, mostly because I don’t remember anything about them.  Perhaps this is because I was distracted by the couple off to our right that was fornicating right there on the lawn at Sandstone.  Too bad we didn’t have cell phone cameras in 1990, eh?

SET LIST:  I Stole Your Love/Deuce/Heaven's On Fire/Rise To It/Fits Like A Glove/Crazy Crazy Nights/Strutter/ Calling Dr. Love/Hide Your Heart/Black Diamond/Shout It Out Loud/Lick It Up/Cold Gin/Forever/God Of Thunder/Tears Are Falling/Under The Gun/I Love It Loud/Love Gun/Detroit Rock City  ENCORES:  I Want You/Rock And Roll All Nite

54) Z.Z. Top/Jeff Healey Band (Sunday, December 16, 1990—Kemper Arena) Ticket price: $20.00and
55) Z.Z. Top/Extreme (Friday, August 16, 1991Sandstone Amphitheater) Ticket price: $22.50

That Little ‘Ol Band From Texas took about four years off between Afterburner and Recycler, the latter of which was the last really decent album they’ve made to date, and even it was only about partially satisfying.  But to my surprise, the accompanying tour for Recycler was one of the better shows I’ve seen ZZ put on.  The stage was a re-creation of the album cover from Recycler, set in a junk yard, and it included a few new wrinkles, like conveyer belts on the stage floor which made Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons appear to be walking in place.  Then at one point in the show, a giant trash compactor comes along and collects Billy and Dusty and appears to drop them into a dumpster at the rear of the stage, only to reappear at the other side of the stage, fully intact.

The show rocked from start to finish, in spite of the inclusion of too many lame songs from Recycler like “Tell It”, “Concrete And Steel” and “Lovething”.  ZZ did perform two really standout tracks from that album, “Give It Up” and “My Head’s In Mississippi”, but omitted the hilarious “Burger Man”.  At the Kemper show, Billy Gibbons dedicated “Blue Jean Blues” to opening act Jeff Healey and commented, “He’s somethin’ else…”  Jeff was indeed something else during his opening set, which was highlighted by his cover version of John Hiatt’s “Angel Eyes”.  At one point, Healey got to rocking out on one song and abruptly leapt out of his chair and started jumping around awkwardly, which prompted my friend Tom to ask why he danced around so weirdly.  “Uhhh, the man’s blind, dummy!” I had to explain…

I liked that Kemper show so much that I took Z.Z. Top in again nine months later when they blew through again at Sandstone with opening act Extreme, who were riding high on the success of their second album, Pornograffiti, and the hit singles “More Than Words” and “Hole-Hearted”.  Extreme put on an excellent opening set, and ZZ was quite good again, although they couldn’t use quite all of their bells and whistles this time because of Sandstone’s rinky-dink stage.  I was also a tad disappointed that ZZ’s set list had not changed one iota since December, and they played the exact same songs in order as the Kemper show.  Still, both shows were vintage Z.Z. Top, and you can’t sneeze at that.

SET LIST:  Planet Of Women/Sleeping Bag/Tell It/Waitin' For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago/Ten Foot Pole/Gimme All Your Lovin'/Concrete And Steel/My Head's In Mississippi/Manic Mechanic/Heard It On The X/2000 Blues/Blue Jean Blues/Just Got Paid/Lovething/Got Me Under Pressure/Sharp Dressed Man/Give It Up/Legs  ENCORES:  Tube Snake Boogie/La Grange/Tush

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Out of my brain on 5-15...

…and many other selected dates as well!

I had to do some major cutting with my chainsaw yesterday following recent storms that knocked big limbs out of two of my trees.  The latest one fell during straight-line winds around 45 MPH on Saturday night, and would have crushed my car big-time if my mom’s answering machine wasn’t giving her problems.  Let me ‘splain:  I normally park my Chevy Cavalier (that I owe 3.5 years more of payments on) along the side of my house, but I was parked on the driveway in front on Saturday so Phil and I could load sheet rock and supplies for my bedroom project into the house during the day.  I get a call from Mom around 6PM saying there was something wrong with her answering machine, and since my parental units only live a mile away, I hopped in the car and went over to fix it for her.  Good thing, because I might not have moved the car otherwise, and that limb would have landed on the back end of the car for sure.  It was also blocking the front of the driveway when I got up Sunday morning, and was so heavy I could barely move it out the way, plus it fell from way up high in the tree, so I can only imagine how much it would’ve mangled my vehicle—a fortuitous bounce, indeed!  And, anytime I come away from using my chainsaw with the same number of fingers and toes that I started with, I’m quite pleased.  Ohhh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay...

In a very annoying trend, TV and Internet news outlets (ESPN included) are really overdoing the "Breaking News" thing these days, and it’s high-time to get a grip on it.  I am so sick of how the media make sure to urgently alert us about such routine non-stories as "Hillary vows to remain in the race" or "Gas prices on the rise", so I hereby propose a ban on labeling any of the following as "Breaking News" until further notice:

"Sprint announces layoffs"
"Clemens denies allegations"
"Britney (fill in the blank)"
"Phelps family protests funeral"
"Iraq War not ending anytime soon"
"Rap singer (or Cincinnati Bengals player) arrested and/or shot"
"Economists unsure if U.S. is in a recession or not""Brad and Angelina are adopting"
"Paula Abdul says/does something stupid"
"Environmentalists blame tornado outbreak on Global Warming"

There are tons more examples of this, but you get the idea…

Speaking of headlines that won’t go away, I can’t take any more of this whole New England Patriots videotaping scandal (I refuse to refer to it by this arcane "Spygate" nickname), especially since Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (a Republican, naturally) won’t let it go—even though the NFL apparently is going to—and is threatening to pursue Congressional hearings on the matter.  What, just because the Pats beat your Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl a couple years back, eh, Senator?  Granted, I don’t think the Patriots are totally guiltless of malfeasance in all this, but until these fuckers in Congress are able to end the war in Iraq, solve the gas price situation, fix the economy, sort out the illegal immigration mess and the veritable plethora of other important issues that our nation faces, I don’t want to hear shit about them investigating a friggin’ pro football team accused of cheating.  And you know it’s just a matter of time before another one of these elected schmucks launches an inquest about the judging process on "American Idol", too.  Enough already, you nimnuls!

BTW, I’ve been looking for a good excuse to use the word malfeasance for quite a while, now!

Don’t look now, folks, but those dreaded Tampa Bay Rays are in first place in the American League Eastern Division.  I have no doubt that all the fundamentalist super-Christians out there would credit the team’s newfound success to them dropping "Devil" from their moniker.  I will politely point to the success of the New Jersey Devils (three Stanley Cups since 1995) and the Duke Blue Devils basketball team (three NCAA Tournament titles since 1991) and shut up…

First it was "Family Jewels", then "Celebrity Apprentice", not to mention that recently-unearthed sex tape, and as I type, I'm watching "Ugly Betty", and there's Gene Simmons gracing the boob tube yet again!  Next thing you know, he'll be on "The View"oh wait, he already did that show, too.  Hey Gene, you could at least lose the shades when you're indoors, Stud...

"Manic Depression"—JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE (1967)  "Woman so willing, the sweet cause in vain…"  At first, I thought Jimi was singing "the streetcar's in vain"!  Then again, the author who wrote the Jimi bio ’Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky was just as bad in reciting the line from this song that goes "Feeling, sweet feeling, drops from my fingers, fingers…"  In the text of the book it read, "Fingers, fenders"!  Not sure what the guy was thinking, unless he was referring to Jimi’s Fender Stratocasters…

JOHN RUTSEY, 1953-2008
Original Rush drummer John Rutsey passed away last week.  You might say Rutsey played the part of Pete Best in Rush—opposite Neil Peart as Ringo—by leaving the band before the gravy train arrived.  Not unlike Best, Rutsey wasn’t a spectacular drummer, by any means, but he was quite serviceable, and he played on tracks like "Working Man", "Finding My Way" and "In The Mood" from the eponymous first Rush album in 1974 before being replaced by Peart for their second album, Fly By Night.  Rutsey formed the group in 1968 with guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Jeff Jones (ultimately to be replaced by Geddy Lee), but was unsure if he could hack the rigors of heavy touring because of his diabetes, so he departed the band fairly amicably.  Peart—who was far superior on the drums—was a fine lyricist to boot, and subsequently took the band to heights they most likely never would’ve reached if Lee had continued to warble lines like "Hey, Baby, it’s-a quarter-to-eight—I feel I’m in the mood…" as opposed to typical Peart phrases like "a victim of venomous fate", which kinda sums up Rutsey, who was found dead of an apparent heart attack, possibly connected with his diabetes.  R.I.P., John…

After missing the show several times, I was finally able to catch VH-1 Classic’s fund-raiser concert for the victims of 2003’s Station Nightclub fire on TV the other day that featured Twisted Sister, Tesla, Stryper (they’re still around?!?), Winger (oy vey!) and several other Hard Rock and Country acts that was staged back in February on the fifth anniversary of that horrific night.  It’s easy to forget that many of those who survived the whole ordeal are still struggling to regain their health and/or are unable to work because of it.  The show featured some of the victims who’ve endured numerous surgeries and procedures and will continue to endure them for some time to come, and I can’t begin to imagine what’s like for those people whose lives were altered so dramatically.  In the words of Pete Townshend (again), "No one respects the flame, quite like the [person] who’s badly burned…"

I clearly remember driving home from work the day after the fire happened and DJ Marty Wall was talking about it on the now-defunct 99.7 KY.  I immediately turned on CNN when I got home and watched the video, and my jaw just dropped at how quickly it all went down.  Seeing those people in the video in the front row all pumped-up for a Rock show, then realizing that most of them were dead left me very depressed that whole weekend, too.  I love pyro during a Rock show as much as anyone, but it’s best left to the professionals like Kiss’ road crew who know what they’re doing in a big arena or stadium, as opposed to some amateur in a tiny club.  Anytime I go to see a show at a club (or any bar, for that matter) now, I make it a point to scope the place out and see where the exits are—you never know what could happen.  If everything works out, my itinerary for my upcoming road trip to New York and New England in August includes a stop at the Station site in West Warwick, RI, which is now (as the pic shows) a shrine to the victims.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"They blowed 'em up real good!"--Part 2

And the hits just keep on comin'! More stadiums and arenas biting the dust on video...

Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati (1970-2002) Here you go, Andy!  The home of the "Big Red Machine" spent its final years known as Cinergy Field, and with a huge hunk taken out of it in during its final two seasons in left and center field to make room for the new ballpark next door.  They also ripped out the Astroturf after the Bengals moved across the way to their new stadium, and between the new Shea-like open end and real grass, Riverfront was suddenly a half-decent baseball stadium.  Here's another view of the implosion from a different angle.

Capital Centre, Landover, MD (1973-2002) The former home of the Washington Bullets and Capitals was replaced by the soulless Insert-phone-company-name here Center near the White House.  I'm not sure what it's called this week...

Charlotte Coliseum (1988-2007)  This gi-normous arenaaffectionately known as "The Hive"that held up to 23,000 people for basketball had quite possibly the shortest lifespan of any modern sports venueit didn't even make it to age 20!  This was thanks mostly to a lack of corporate luxury suites, remote distance from downtown (see pic) and the dickhead owner of the Charlotte (now New Orleans) Hornets, George Shinn.  Now Charlotte has their fancy new arena downtown with all the bells and whistles to house the NBA's Bobcats.

The Kingdome, Seattle (1976-2000) Speaking of short lifespans, the giant concrete tomb officially-known as King County Stadium didn't last much longer than Charlotte Coliseum.  Actually, it was only tomb-like for baseball's Mariners, who were just about as moribund as their surroundings until they moved next door to the BMW of baseball stadiums, Safeco Field.  On Seahawk Sundays, however, the Kingdome was the place to be.  The 'Hawks current home was built on the site.  Here's another cool video that features a pictorial history of the place from birth to death.

Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia (1971-2003) Reviled by both baseball and football fans alike, The Vet's demolition was celebrated by sports purists everywhere.  I visited there in 1992, and I didn't think it was so bad, really.  They weren't kidding about the funky smell that permeated the place, tholike dirty mop bucket water combined with grease from a deep fryer!  As was the case in Pittsburgh, The Vet was replaced by two far superior facilities.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"They blowed 'em up real good!"--Part 1

For no particular reason, I found myself checking out various stadium and arena implosion videos on YouTube the other night.  As much as I hate to see old venues go, I'd much rather see them go out in a blaze of glory, rather than be torn down piece-by-piece, so just for shits and hoots, I've compiled a few of them for your viewing pleasure...
Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh (1970-2001)  Most baseball purists weren't sorry to see this place go down"a five-tiered cement ashtray" as I once heard Three Rivers called.  It actually made a better football stadium than a baseball stadium, but that's not saying much.  It was replaced by two far-superior facilities.

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (1966-1997) The "Launching Pad" was launched into oblivion the year after Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics.  Like most of the "cookie-cutter" stadiums of the '60s and '70s built for both baseball and football, Fulton County served neither sport particularly well, as the Braves and Falcons slogged along on a crappy field and in front of scores of empty seats most of the time.  Interesting tidbit:  The first Braves batter in stadium history was Felipe Alou in 1966.  The final Braves out in stadium history in 1996 was made by his son Moises Alou.
Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (1974-2001)  This was the last building Elvis ever left in concert, and it was killed before its time, I think.  I attended a Pacers game there in 1990, and was impressed with the sightlines and overall atmosphere.  MSA was unique too, in that a public street ran length-wise right underneath the arena floor.  I've heard its successor, nearby Conseco Fieldhouse, is pretty nifty.

Winnipeg Arena (1955-2006)  The former home of the Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose was defiant to the end, refusing to completely fall during this implosion attempt, as you'll see in the video.  Oops!

The Arena, St. Louis (1929-1999)  I didn't find out they were imploding the "Old Barn" on Oakland Avenue until the day before it happened, or I would've driven down to St. Louis to see it in person.  I attended more events there than at any other arena outside of Kansas City.

New Haven Coliseum (1972-2007)  Scene of Van Halen's 1986 "Live Without A Net" concert video, the Coliseum had a very unique layout, with its parking structure actually built above the arena itself.  Ironically, during the VH concert video, bassist Michael Anthony proclaimed, "We're just gonna have to tear this playhouse down!"  Some 21 years later, they did...

Monday, May 12, 2008

They leave me "Breathless!"

I think I’ve mentioned a time or two on this here blog my affinity for songs with rapid-fire lyrics/vocals, because they are almost always funny, and if nothing else, fast-paced. So without further ado, I give you my Top 25 (or so) Greatest Rapid-Fire Lyric Songs of All-Time:

Honorable mention:  “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)REUNION (1974)  One-hit wonder song during which former Ohio Express lead singer Joey Levine breathlessly reels off a veritable who’s who of Pop music history in three-and-a-half minutes.  Actress/comedian Tracey Ullman also turned in a respectable cover version of this one in 1984.

25) “Face The Face”PETE TOWNSHEND (1985)  I have no clue what Pete was singing about on the signature track from his White City album, but it’s a dandy song.  The Entwistle-esque bass line was provided by The Ox’s subsequent replacement in The Who, session man Pino Palladino.
24) “Rip This Joint”ROLLING STONES (1972)  One of the more underrated Stones songswhy they don’t play this one on the radio anymore is beyond me…
23) “Party On The Patio”Z.Z. TOP (1981)  Not unlike “Rip This Joint”, a very underrated song from my very favorite ZZ album, El Loco.  I do hope they rescued Billy G. from underneath the sink…
22) “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”TED NUGENT (1977)  In one of Ted’s more lucid moments, he introduced this song on Double Live Gonzo! by proclaiming, “Anybody wants to get mellow, you can turnaroundandgetthefuckouttahere!”  Hard to argue with that sentiment…
21) “We Are The Road Crew”MOTORHEAD (1980)  Pretty self-explanatory here:  “Another town, another place, another truck, another race, another word I’ve learned to say…”
20) “Travelin’ Band”CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL (1970)  One of my all-time favorite CCR songs, even I was tempted to “call the state militia” the first few times I heard it…
19) “Battle Of Kookamonga”HOMER & JETHRO (1959)  Classic parody of Johnny Horton’s equally-speedy “Battle of New Orleans”.  I can‘t help but agree with H&J:  “Awww, them big guys get everything!”
18) “Crawling From The Wreckage”DAVE EDMUNDS (1979)  The song that introduced me to this very underrated musician.  Dave has a knack for doing speedy songs anyway, both vocally and musically—witness his classic rendition of Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance”.  One would think half of ALL our brains would get the messagesooner or later...
17) [Tie] “Traitor”MOTORHEAD (1987)/“On Your Feet Or On Your Knees”MOTORHEAD (1993)  Brother Lemmy strikes again with two of my favorite Motorhead songs ever, both of which prove that speed don’t always kill.
16) “Dear Dad”—CHUCK BERRY (1965)/DAVE EDMUNDS (1982)  Extremely witty tune from Mr. Berry all about high schooler Henry “Junior” Ford begging his old man to buy him a new Cadillac to replace his P.O.S. Ford.
15) “Gump”WEIRD AL YANKOVIC (1994)  It’s a household name.  Fuck the Presidents of The U.S.A. (okay, at least the current one, anyway), Al’s parody of “Lump” makes a helluva lot more sense!  A sample verse:  “Gump’s buddy Bubba was a shrimp-lovin’ man/his friend with no legs he called ‘Lieutenant Dan’/His girlfriend Jenny was kind of a slut/Went to the White House and showed L.B.J. his butt…”  And that’s all I have to say about that.
14) “Hard Headed Woman”ELVIS PRESLEY (1958)  Can you believe this damn thing is 50 years old already?!?  Thisalong with 1959‘s “Big Hunk O’ Love”was the last of Elvis’ truly bad-ass songs before Uncle Sam and movies derailed his career.  Ever since the world began…
13) “Too Much Monkey Business”CHUCK BERRY (1956)  Ah yes, the trials and tribulations of teenage youth, so eloquently (and rapidly) described by Mr. Berry.  Dollar gas?!?  Awwww…
12) “Jools And Jim”PETE TOWNSHEND (1980)  “They don’t give a shit Keith Moon is deadis that exactly what I thought I read?”  Pete was obviously in none too good of a mood when he wrote this one…
11) “Boobs A Lot”THE HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS (1971)  Originally done by The Fugs in 1965 and a veritable Dr. Demento classic, this one asks the burning question, “Do ya like boobs a lot?”  Well, do ya?  Why, soitenly!
10) “They Called It Rock”NICK LOWE (1978)  Music Business, 101.  I love Nick’s colorful description of this mythical band:  “The drummer is a bookie, the singer is a whore, the bass player’s sellin’ clothes he never woulda wore…”
9) “Tennessee Plates”JOHN HIATT (1988)  Very funny song about a couple of small-time crooks who break in to Graceland to pilfer one of Elvis’ Cadillacs.  JH justifies said thievery by saying, “Anyway he wouldn’t care—hell, he gave ‘em to his friends!”
8) “We Didn’t Start The Fire”BILLY JOEL (1989)  School teachers everywhere actually used this song as a study aid soon after it came out (and probably still do) for kids to learn about each topic Billy reels off here.  My gripe is how he whipped through the ‘70s and ‘80s in one verse after spending most of the song in the ‘50s and ‘60s.  Still, this was a damn sight better than BJ’s other rapid-fire lyric song, 1986’s “Modern Woman”, which may well have been the nadir of the Piano Man’s career.
7) “It’s The End Of The World And We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”R.E.M. (1987)  I’ve listened to myself churn on many an occasion, so it’s pretty hard to leave this one off this list.  I’m sure Leonard Bernstein would be highly pissed if I did…
6) “Get Over It”THE EAGLES (1994)  Don Henley’s verbal bazooka was set for stun for this direct hit on all those Geraldo/Montel/Maury/Jerry panel members and the fools who watch them daily.  “You’re making the most of your losing streak—some call it sick, well I call it weak…”  Touche!
5) “Stairway To Cleveland”JEFFERSON STARSHIP (1981)  All-purpose rant complete with mob vocals and the mighty mantra “Fuck you--we do what we want!”  Whatcha gonna do about it?…
4) “Man With A Mission”DON HENLEY (1985)  A hidden gem from DH’s classic Building The Perfect Beast album, this song shuffles along with a fair amount of alacrity as he threatens to “run a few red lights, grind a few gears/Start a few fist fights, drink a few beers…”  Good clean fun…
3) “What Did I Do Last Night?”DAVE EDMUNDS (1977)  Another hidden gem of a Nick Lowe song sung at break-neck speed by Edmunds all about the perils of waking up with a killer hangover and a strange woman.  Dave had to sing fast here because this song barely clocks in at a buck-45!
2) “Get Out Of Denver”BOB SEGER (1974)/DAVE EDMUNDS (1977)  Try and keep up with this one as you sing alongI dare ya!  Believe it or not, the Dave Edmunds version is even faster than Bob’swith double-tracked vocals, no less!
1) “Subterranean Homesick Blues”—BOB DYLAN (1965)  Total nonsense, to be sure, but this has to be the all-time rapid-fire lyrics champion.  I can usually make it through the first verse and maybe halfway through the second one before I stumble on the words when singing along.  As senseless as the song was, brother Zimmerman was absolutely right about one thing—one truly doesn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows…