Posts Tagged ‘rock and roll’

Roger Waters Performs At Staples Center

Hard to believe this is America, but zionist official is trying to ban Pink Floyd member Roger Waters from performing in Long Island NY!

Roger Waters concert on Long Island violates anti-BDS law, lawmaker says

Need I mention that an “anti-BDS law” is COMPLETELY IN VIOLATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT, and that Americans can say “fuck you” to any and everything their little hearts desire? Including the apartheid terror-state Israel.

Speaking of rock bands and Israel…

Radiohead in Israel: A fig leaf for apartheid

Radiohead has lost its edge.









Kim Niccolini has a new initiative…

Dead Rock Star Pen Noise Show at Beyond Baroque



This ensemble comedy features Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost and others. Very loosely based on a true phenomenon, the story is completely fictionalized and excessively silly.  They didn’t take it very seriously.

Made as an homage to rock music, the name of the ship has changed. The story was Hollywoodized with some familiar tropes. The British government clowns are ridiculously over the top and given names like Twatt.


The BBC monopoly on the airwaves, however, is true. As is the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act of 1967. Government hostility to freedom is a clear theme throughout. In the spirit of the times however, the government found itself on the wrong side of a majority of the population. The film could have been funnier. Perhaps they rushed the script and went for a number of silly setups. The characters often veer into slapstick territory, diminishing the gravity of the situation. It’s all a non-serious bit of escapism set to a 60’s rock track. Perhaps there were too many characters fighting for screen time, and they couldn’t develop them quite enough to make them real. Something didn’t quite click here, but it picks up in the second half.




I’ll admit it; I was a pretty big fan in the 80s, went to 3 or 4 shows.  Places like Madison Square Garden and the Meadowlands Arena, huge crowds, sold out, the golden years for Rush. They had matured by then, moved past the Dungeons and Dragons screechy half-hour song phase and into some seriously tight, relatable social commentary set to the most difficult to play rock and roll around.

A cohort introduced me to 2112, one of the aforementioned screechy half hour concept albums, early in high school.  It was weird, for more than a couple reasons.  I still have the CD somewhere, but I never play it.

Rush’s moment, the one that made them, came with their near demise after a particularly radio-unfriendly concept experiment.  They couldn’t get played, and they were booted off tours.  Desperate to just open for other bands like Kiss, Bad Company or Manfred Mann, it looked like a dead end.  Their manager accepted every note the record label demanded.  They wanted pop, radio friendly hook songs.  They wanted #1 chart singles.  Of course they did.

The band, however, did the exact opposite.  Giving the finger to the record label, this was what inspired 2112, an album like no one had ever heard.  It was science-fiction, fantasy, battles of ideas.  It was a rock opera from another realm.  Of course no radio station would play it, but the fans went insane for it, made it a gold record.

Now it’s hard to get strongly behind the vocal stylings of Geddy Lee, actually.  This single factor has held the band back, always, and kept them off the mainstream radar.  I often wondered if they had only hooked up with another singer, someone with a less grating voice, what could have been?  Perhaps one of the greatest missed opportunities in rock.

Now, the film.  It’s a thorough exploration of the band’s origins, covering their entire career right up to the release of this documentary.  Great editing, and lots of never-before seen clips.  Only it spent too much time on the early years and later years, and it gives short attention to the best period the band ever had: Moving Pictures, Exit Stage Left, early 80s.  This is what the world thinks of when they hear the band’s name.  That one period could have been the bulk of the film and no one would have complained.  The director decided to go for the longevity angle, staying power.


I got the impression that we haven’t learned enough about Neil Peart, as he is a legendarily private person, protective of his personal life.  He’s always at arm’s length, even from the other guys in the band.  He’s also probably the greatest rock and roll drummer and the band’s lyricist.

An unexpected twist in the late 90s came as a shock, one that I wasn’t aware of.  The film does have a third act, and packs a decent ending, which is sure to please fans everywhere.

Rush fans can be cultish and fanatical, and they have multiplied exponentially over the decades.  Round about the time I was tuning out, from their synthetic new wave phase, the band was gathering more and more of a flock.  It’s the fans that have made all the difference, and their shows still all sell out, even 60,000 seat stadiums in Brazil – some of the most fanatical music fans I’ve ever seen.  Rush has had a 20 year period of ever-growing notoriety, one that I had missed completely.

The film also revealed a private little tidbit, of relevance to me, near the middle.  I actually wrote a letter to Neil Peart when the band’s sound turned synth-heavy and marginalized guitarist Alex Lifeson – and that is exactly how I put it in the letter.  Peart wrote back, in typical Peart style, telling me off for suggesting how they should be writing songs.  I was a little bummed out at the time, but it seems I was dead-on accurate.  In the film that’s what Alex himself says!  The synth-heavy direction of the band had marginalized him in the songwriting, making it literally more difficult to find space in the mix for his own instrument.  Peart and Geddy Lee agreed and changed the direction for a more raw-sounding subsequent album.  Perhaps a lot of others wrote them too, or told them likewise, but the personal connection was pretty satisfying.

So that’s Rush, in a box, if you’re interested.  Songs are cut short most of the time, and thankfully so for a lot of the earlier stuff.  But you can’t ignore that they have influenced many thousands of musicians, some of whom appear in the film and attest to the fact.


Finally got around to seeing Velvet Goldmine (1998), which I had always considered watching, but what a disaster this thing is.  We’ve got Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale and a Bowie-esque homage to 70s glam rock.  Can’t miss, right?

Whew.  This is a brutally bad edit, a script so disjointed and mangled as to be barely recognizable as a movie.  It’s self-indulgent, gay soft core to the point of annihilation.  I am sort of shocked this thing got made as is.

The cinematography, mind you, is outstanding.  What a job on the visuals, but this story just doesn’t work.  Nor does much of the music.  Ewan McGregor has one good performance near the end, and how I wished the whole film could have been more like that, and less of the gay directorial fantasizing.

The straight version of this tale is Stardust (1974), with a tight, impressive script by Ray Connolly.  Definitely a few amplifiers stacked above this thing.

stardust original soundtrack 1974

Other rock and roll odysseys I want to recommend…

The Doors

This is Spinal Tap

Sid and Nancy


Pink Floyd’s the Wall


Across the Universe


Heavy Metal

Rock Star

Hedwig & the Angry Inch

American Pop

The Commitments

Rocky Horror Picture Show



Coming soon — victims of their own success. It’s hard to be revolutionaries on the cover of Tiger Beat???



Violent Days (2004)

Posted: September 12, 2009 in Larry Portis
Tags: , ,

Violent Days

Lucile Chaufour’s “Violent Days”
Working-Class Culture, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Social Crisis


Are you waiting for the Revolution? Well the time is right, because the long-awaited financial collapse has already happened. All we have to do now is wait for the social and political consequences.

Just kidding; we know it’s more complicated. After all, the working class has to be politically conscious, and that means being aware of its historical role as the bearer of revolutionary change in the form of a new mode of production and social relations that preclude domination and exploitation. Yet, wherever you go, the workers—the proletariat if you will—seem to be far from realizing this destiny. In fact, they could be further from it than almost any other group.