THE RULES OF ROCK ‘N ROLL
Follow these rules and improve your musical selections and taste! Or begin a vicious argument….your choice.
1. Progressive Rock is always bad. Whether you kick it “old school” with Yes & Emerson, Lake And Palmer, or think you’re super trendy by referencing the last 20 years of Tool, Live or TV For The Radio, you’re just listening to the same old, pretentious drivel. Naming your albums “Tales Of Topographic Oceans” or “Secret Samadhi” may be a tipoff that you are a huge wanker.
This may also be a clue when this is in the liner notes:
"We were in Tokyo on tour, and I had a few minutes to myself in the hotel room before the evening's concert. Leafing through Paramhansa Yoganada's "Autiobiography Of A Yogi" I got caught up in the lengthy footnote on page 83. It described the four part shastric scriptures which cover all aspects of religion and social life as well as fields like medicine and music, art and architecture. For some time, I had been searching for a theme for a large scale composition, so positive in character were the shastras that I could visualise there and then, four interlocking pieces of music being structured around them. That was in February. Eight months later, the concept was realised in this recording."
Even RICK WAKEMAN thought this was ridiculous.
I rest my case.
2. Be wary of referring to popular musicians as “artists”. 85% of the time they are not. They are chemists. They follow a formula.
3. There are 3 groups of music; music you love, music you hate and music you hate made by people you respect. I call this The “Rush” Rule. I admire the musicianship of Rush and they’re super-likable guys (I highly recommend the documentary “Beyond The Lighted Stage”) but I find their albums unlistenable. Bruce Springsteen also falls under this rule. Sorry, Bruce….admire the 3 hour shows but I can’t listen to songs about cars, knocked up girlfriends and Americana.
4. An harmonica should never be played on any song that isn’t country, unless played by Stevie Wonder. Alanis Morrisette should have hers taken away for life.
5. Nobody born after 1950 and white should play the blues. Not only is it insulting to the origins of the genre, it dismisses the cultural significance of the time and place in which it was a form of protest. Otherwise, you’re just a poseur. (Hello Amy Winehouse!) Plus, do you really ever want to hear of John Mayer again?
6. “Back In Black” is the greatest hard rock album ever. This is not up for discussion.
7. Punk happened. (Note tense.)
8. Hippies and their music are awful. They also get docked one point for inventing the “bald guy with a ponytail” look.
9. Everybody runs out of talent eventually. George Harrison got this and retired to Hawaii after having some fun with his buddies in The Travelling Wilburys. People like Sting, Paul Simon (who, granted, had no talent to begin with) and the Stones should follow George’s example.
10. Always judge a singer/band not by their first album, but their second. Many claim “Appetite For Destruction” is the greatest debut album in popular music history (they’re wrong). What happened after that? Dolphin videos, Paul McCartney covers and Axl whistling. Horrendous.
11. Sometimes addition is gained by subtraction. The Eagles and Led Zeppelin were awful; The Eagles just wrote lazy, soft ballads to get 70’s California pussy and Zep stole so much from ‘50’s blues pioneers in attempting to (alledgedly) get 16 year old versions of the English equivalent. Ewww.
However, after Don Henley and Robert Plant dumped all the losers (save John Paul Jones, Zeppelin’s secret weapon), their work immediately got much better and interesting. Don’t believe me?Listen to “Tequila Sunrise” then “The Boys Of Summer”. You’ll find you agree with me.
12. Never reference yourself in a song. This is known as The Wang Chung Rule.
13. Disco didn’t suck. This is a musical myth. EVERY musical genre is 90% crap, just like disco. Wouldn’t your ears be sad if they never got to hear Donna Summer or Chic?
14. Never try to re-invent a historic musical genre. I love New Wave, but I don’t want it to come back (okay, that’s a big, fat whopper….I loved The Hives) because it won’t be as good. Be creative and invent something new.
15. Having interesting videos doesn’t mean a band makes interesting music. This is also known as The Beastie Boys Rule (before sending me hate mail, listen to “She’s On It” again. You’ll stop typing the email)
16. Any song with a choir in it is always horrible. (Exception: “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2”…along with “Have A Cigar” and “Arnold Layne”, it’s the only time Pink Floyd ever exhibited a sense of humour)
17. Be very wary of any band/singer who attended art school. It always ends up in tears….for you, the listener (Exception: Bryan Ferry)
18. Supergroups never are.
19. Bands like Cheap Trick, Crowded House and Hall & Oates are some of the most underappreciated bands in music history. Discover/re-listen to them.
20. Everything KISS did from 1975-1980 is frickin fantastic. This is also not up for discussion.