Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"One Two Three Fo'!"

On this day in rock history in 1965 the Beatles performed at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN to an estimated crowd of 4,000 teenagers, mostly girls, turning the event into what one writer described as "Shrieksville, U.S.A." With the continued popularity of Beatles’ recordings long after their breakup in 1970, the irony of early panning is shown in sharp relief by a Pioneer Press comment on the performance: "The Twin Cities was visited Saturday by some strange citizens from another world. They wore long hair and wide grins and were easily identified as Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. They were the Beatles—alleged musicians." You wonder if those reporters – probably older men (real squares, most likely) who got the short straw for that assignment – ever regretted making fun of the four lovable lads from Liverpool? I would have been about 14 at the time. I never really got into the Beatles too much when I was a teenager; my awareness of them came much later, during my college days, with my consciousness and hipness quotient suitably raised. I do remember, though, that when I was about 12 or 13 the Methodist church across the street from my junior high school used to have noon-time “sock hops” with punch and cookies, probably to keep the local truants from skipping school and heading down to Carl’s Hamburgers (burgers were only 15 cents in those days!) and plugging the pinball machine. At any rate, a popular song that was usually blasting from the record machine was “I Saw Her Standing There”. This was my first exposure to the Fab Four and I
remember thinking (as I looked across the church basement at all those 7th and 8th grade girls swooning as Paul McCartney made the impassioned promise that he'd “…never dance with another…”), “Hey – this stuff is pretty cool!” Now if I could only have summoned up the courage to ask one of those girls to dance – but no, that would come later (much later, in my case!). I was content to listen, and wonder what all the fuss was about…
P. S. - Confidential to "Who Am Us Anyway" - it was J. Frank Wilson, and we played that one too!

Thanks to http://www.buzz.mn and http://events.mnhs.org/bookofdays for the trivia, and, as always, keep on rockin’!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Teenage Tragedy Songs

August 8, 2007

Today in Rock History, Ray Peterson wasn’t selling too many records in 1960. It was reported that Decca Records discarded 25000 copies of his latest single, “Tell Laura I Love Her,” because it was vulgar. The song told of the dying moments of a teenager who was just in a car accident. It didn’t make much difference, however, as the song made the top 10. I am intimately familiar with that song, as we must have played it a hundred times or more during my tenure in a ‘50’s band called “The Telstars” (later renamed to “Too Much Fun”) from 1973 to 1975 (with reunions of some of the original members in the ‘80’s, ‘90’s and ‘00’s). I wouldn’t necessarily call it vulgar, but we always introduced it as “a very sad song” (you could hear my fake crying in the background) that “really didn’t happen.” I can remember lead singer “Delbert” (in his gold lame’ jumpsuit lovingly stitched by his girlfriend) belting it out. He was later replaced by Ronnie Jo in the Too Much Fun band. Now I owned a microphone and I thought that gave me the right to sing back up (a lot of “doo wops” to be sung in a ‘50’s band), but, truth be told, I could be lead singer in The Monotones. So we reached a compromise – I could belt it out to my heart’s content, and the sound guy would just unplug my mic. Worked for me (and for the rest of the band, too)! The rest of Too Much Fun were: Rick, guitar; Bob, bass; Dan, distorted Baldwin organ; and yours truly on the ancient Slingerlands. We really did have “Too Much Fun;” and you all keep on rockin’, until next time!

Thanx to HYPERLINK "http://www.garylessard.com" www.garylessard.com for the trivia.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Take a Break On Me!

Hello, and welcome to “We Have All Been Here Before.” My name is Charlie (with a difficult last name), so you can just call me Charlie Mac, if the hypenated name is too much for you. I’m going to write about things I love – rock music, drums, guitars, etc. What makes me think I have anything unique to say on these subjects? Well, I may not, but I’ve been a musician for over 40 years, have lived through the music scene in the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s (the more recent stuff I tend to gloss over), have played in many bands (none that you have heard of, probably), and may have a unique take on where rock music has been and where it is going. I’m 56 years old (a geezer, to be sure!), live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and have a wife and three boys, all of whom are musicians in their own right. After 41 years of drumming, I decided to take up the guitar, after buying an electric for my oldest son. It has been a daunting task, but a rewarding one as now, nearly four years later, I can finally strum some of the songs I grew up on. I feel like a 15 year old again, as I obsessively pore through the Musician’s Friend and Guitar Center catalogs and fantasize about all the cool gear there. What, does this mean I can get a new Strat by the time I hit 60? I can tell you the tube compliment in a ’65 Fender Twin and what kind of equipment the Who used at Monterrey Pop, but I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday… Such are the perils of aging, but I’m not ready to hang up my rock ‘n’ shoes just yet. I am an active musician on drums, bass and guitar, and manage to jam frequently with friends both far and near.

So what I want to do here is, each day I post (and I can’t guarantee that I’ll post every day), I’ll take a look back at what happened in rock music on that day in history, and make some comments on how it affected me or add some information that may not be widely known. I don’t claim to be an authority on every aspect of music, but I have been told that I am a fount of useless rock trivia. Better to be known for something rather than nothing, eh? Well, here goes…

Today in rock history Duane Eddy peaked at number 6 with “Rebel Rouser,” a guitar driven instrumental. Eddy would score many other hits over the next 5 years, including, “Forty Miles of Bad Road,” “Because They’re Young” and “Peter Gunn.” Duane Eddy was famous for his big, twangy sound, made by single-note melodies, low string bending, whammy bar bends and vibrato. John Fogerty called him “the first guitar god.” Well, I don’t know about that, but ” The “Peter Gunn” theme seemed to be the universal “break song” for many of the rock bands in my home town when I was in high school. If you heard “dada dada dada dada…” you knew it was time to hit the snack bar, the head, or the parking lot for a smoke (if you were into that sort of thing). I know it was used in at least one of the bands I played drums in. A monotonous song, really, with an uninteresting drum part, but thankfully short, since, if you’ve just sweated through a 45-minute set, you don’t want to play 4 or 5 minutes of the song or do any solos, you just want to take a break. I do remember the TV show too; with Henry Mancini’s orchestra pounding out the beat… it was the first TV show that used modern jazz numbers to spice up the sound track. I seemed to remember that Mr. Gunn himself (played by Craig Stevens) always got into big trouble, but managed to solve the mystery week after week. So if you hear “dada dada dada dada…” go ahead, take a break, you’ve earned it!

Thanks to www.garylessard.com and www.wikipedia.org for the trivia, and until next time, keep on rockin’!