Category Archive 'Rock & Roll'
11 Mar 2018

F*** Safety

, , , , , ,

Henry Racette is not one of those swaddled, buckled-up-for-safety types, begging for the Government to take away his guns and drive his car for him.

There’s talk – silly, absurd talk – of banning the private ownership of cars. Molon labe, baby! You can have my Yukon, my three-ton id, when you pry it from my cold dead hands. And you can forget the self-driving nonsense, too: up here where I live, you can’t see the lines on the road four months out of the year on account of the blowing snow. Good luck dealing with that, Google.

Ayn Rand, in one of her two major works of fiction (I’m going to go with Atlas Shrugged, but someone correct me if I’m wrong – it’s been almost 40 years since I read it) has her heroine wax rhapsodic (as if there’s any other way to wax) about the act of smoking. Dagney (or possibly Dominique) marvels at the flame held in obeisance inches from her, the spark of destruction so casually lashed into service for the pleasure of mankind. Never having been a smoker, and coming of age as I did during the first great anti-smoking crusades of the ’70s, I admit that the imagery was less compelling for me than it might have been for someone of my parents’ generation. But Dagney’s ruminations have remained with me, an oddly vivid example of our peculiar attraction to dangerous things – and to mastering them.

I like guns. I didn’t always: when I was a child, I was indifferent to them. Then I became a man, a lover of liberty, and an enthusiastic critic of the insipid and emasculating idea that safety comes first. Lots of things are ultimately more important than safety. Being able to credibly say “thus far, and no farther” is one of them; merely reaffirming that we have the right, the moral right and the legal right, to say that is another.

Safety is important, don’t get me wrong. But of all the parameters that define the human experience, safety isn’t the one we should seek to maximize. John Lennon’s “Imagine,” the most comprehensively evil song ever written, is an ode to safety above all else, the pathetic celebration of the apathy-induced coma. I’m glad Lennon never became a US citizen.

Living as an adult male – as opposed to an androgynous, pajama-clad, cocoa-sipping man-child – means spending years, decades even, standing precariously close to the edge of doing something stupid. (The life of a young man is a race between the rising arc of sensibility and the statistical certainty that, if we’re only given enough time, we’ll have our “hold my beer” moment and, if we’re lucky, the ER visit that goes with it.) That sometimes leads to tragedy, but most often to maturity, and there’s no path from baby to man that doesn’t, at least occasionally, tread close to a dangerous edge.

The best things in life are dangerous: freedom, love, faith, women, sex. Children – those raw nerves we thrust out into the world. Cars. Guns. Saying what you think.


15 Jun 2017

Anita Pallenberg Died Tuesday at 75

, ,

Anita Pallenberg

Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone:

Let’s raise a toast to the late great Anita Pallenberg, queen of the underground, the Rolling Stones muse who gave the Glimmer Twins their glimmer lessons. Pallenberg, who died Tuesday night at the age of 73 [Really 75], wasn’t merely Keith Richards’ consort – she was a rock & roll legend in herself, a style icon, a crucial part of the Stones’ mystique. She taught Keith her sinister glare, taught Mick Jagger her wiggle, taught Brian Jones how to wear floppy hats. Look at pictures of Keith before and after Anita – it’s like the difference between Buddy Holly and Jack the Ripper. As soon Keith connected with Anita, he lost his gawky shyness and learned to strut like her, wearing her scarves and shirts and bangles. She was the flower of evil in the Stones’ orbit, the baddest of bad girls – her grin declared she knew more about sin than any of these English schoolboys had ever imagined.

Things tended to burst into flames around Anita. Her friend Marianne Faithfull used to call her “Glenda Hindenburg.” “Loads of people were scared of me,” Anita said in Victor Bockris’ Keith Richards: The Biography. “I guess it was all that savoir-vivre that I had, and I was from Rome and I had traveled and been in New York and I knew all these people, and I was pretty reckless as well. You could see Keith and Mick exchanging looks like, ‘Who is this weird bird?'” That was putting it mildly. As Keith recalled, “She knew everything and she could say it in five languages. She scared the pants off me!”


Ann Althouse:

What an embodiment of the mod beauty we adored in the 1960s! Go to the link — it’s to the NYT — to see the photographs of her that made us so envious — in the arms of Keith Richards in 1969 and drawing lipliner on Mick Jagger (in the movie “Performance”) in 1970.

That movie “remains as hallucinogenically strange and disturbing as ever and Pallenberg will be for ever remembered as Pherber: sexually omnivorous, dangerous, sweetly amoral. The movie… captures the psychosis of the end of the 60s, where art, crime and sex open up the gates of social mobility but identity becomes fragmented.”

    Pallenberg spoke of drugs freezing her, so she did not grow emotionally. Faithfull has spoken of not being able to have sex without being semi-anaesthetised with drugs. Their stories remind us of what sexual liberation could mean for women in the 60s. These great beauties paid a huge price for being the “girlfriends” of rock stars. Both these clever, multilingual, arty women educated their boyfriends (Jagger and Richards) about culture and art and style. Pallenberg got the boys to wear her clothes. Everyone, Faithfull once told me, was in love with Keith, even Mick of course …

“I like a high-spirited woman. And with Anita, you knew you were taking on a Valkyrie — she who decides who dies in battle.” — wrote Keith Richards.


Telegraph: 17 Reasons Anita Pallenberg was the coolest girl in the world.


It was Anita Pallenberg who did the unusual voice backgrounds in “Sympathy for the Devil.”

26 May 2017

Lou Reed in Trouble With SJW Snowflakes

, , , , ,

Traditional Values defender Maggie Gallagher seems to have gotten the last laugh.

Lou Reed was the minstrel boy to the wars of the sexual revolution. His haunting 1972 anthem urged young Americans to “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” It celebrated the polymorphous perversity of Andy Warhol’s New York. …

Lou Reed was transgressive, progressive, and prodigiously talented. And yet somehow over the weekend Reed became the poster child of “transphobic” intolerance? How?

Meet Chelsea, Emily, Becca and Kayla. They’re the executive officers of the University of Guelph Central Student Association in Ontario, Canada. Guelph is one of Canada’s top five universities. Last Thursday, these young women held an event to distribute summer bus passes. One of them (they won’t say which one) prepared a playlist. It included Reed’s anthem.

Apparently a transgender student complained. The young executives posted a heartfelt apology on the CSA’s official Facebook page. They said that the song appeared because of “ignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.” …

Here are the new moral rules outlined by the young executive officers of the CSA: “The song is understood to be transphobic because of the lyrics and the sentiments that they support in present day,” the group responded to the student. “The lyrics, ‘and then he was a she,’ devalues the experiences and identities of trans folks.” And thus “minimize the experiences of oppression.” They also said the song was problematic because it suggests that transgender people are “wild,” “unusual” or “unnatural.”

“While we acknowledge that the song was written with certain purpose and intention, we would also emphasize that media is not always consumed in the ways that it was intended,” they added primly.

The whole comic incident lays bare certain truths about our own cultural moment, compared to the 1960s.

The old SSRs (Sixties Sexual Revolutionaries) wanted to transgress norms. To break boundaries. To “liberate” behavior and trample on icons. Then to rip up the Bible-based sexual morality associated with the bourgeois life. The new SJWs want to build a new moral orthodoxy imposed uniformly on all. If anyone from the properly certified minority group has hurt feelings listening to “Walk on the Wild Side,” then nobody should have to hear it. The SJWs want to be the new bourgeois morality.

SSRs attacked Bible-based moral codes. But these sex codes also had deep roots in human nature across lines of culture and religion. They were multicultural in the best sense. Details varied. Virtually every human society has understood that disciplining sexuality in the service of children and marriage was a critical and necessary social task. …

The lack of any standard, paradoxically, makes the SJW moral code far more intrusive and punitive than Victorian morality. (Could Lou Reed have ever dreamt of that?) You can’t avoid breaking its rules, since they aren’t announced in advance. You only find out you’ve done wrong once someone complains. And from that, there is no appeal. Guilt is absolute and automatic. You have no choice but to grovel for mercy. The Guelph students clearly knew that. Hence their abject apology.

The old SSR codebreakers threw out the Biblical baby with the bathwater (often literally).

But at least they understood one great and obvious truth: You can’t take a walk on the wild side in a safe space.



08 Sep 2016

Buddy Holly’s Birthday


Buddy Holly 8 September 1936 — 3 February 1959.

The legendary Charles Hardin Holley —aka “Buddy Holly”—- would’ve turned 80 today. Born this day in Lubbock, Texas in 1936.

10 Aug 2016

Eric Clapton, Salmon Fisherman

, , , ,



Guitarist Eric Clapton (who knew?) is evidently a salmon fisherman, and caught this year the biggest fish, 28 lbs. (12.7 kilo.) 42.5″ (108 cm.), taken in Iceland’s Vatnsdalsá River on August 5th.

“Clapton had to run a good kilometre down river with the salmon before he was finally able to draw it ashore, the salmon was hooked and after an exciting hunt came ashore just over an half hour later.”

Comments indicate that Clapton is partial to Marc Aroner’s fly rods.

Nice fish, even if it has been in the river quite a while and is getting very close to “wearing the Brodie tartan.” Look at the kype on him! If I were Clapton, I’d smoke this one.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

19 Jan 2016

Keith Reading the Obits

, ,


14 Dec 2015

Stuck in the Middle With You


26 Sep 2015

Keith Richards: “The Rock’n’Roll is Important. The Sex and Drugs is just Something that Happened to me Along the Way”

, ,


The Vancouver Sun responds to the arrival of Keith Richards: Under the Influence, a Netflix documentary by asking: How did Keith Richards become everybody’s favorite Rolling Stone?

Watching the old buccaneer in action, you have to wonder how he became so universally loved. He has been hailed as the Human Riff and anointed the world’s most elegantly wasted human being, the bad-boy pin-up for junkie chic with the heavily wrinkled face. Surely Richards should be nobody’s idea of a role model: self-indulgent, irresponsible, a star squandering his gifts on drugs and alcohol? Mick Jagger’s former partner, Jerry Hall, warned their children of the dangers of drugs by asking them if they wanted to grow up to look like Uncle Keith.

So how did such a reprobate survive five decades on the edge to become everybody’s favourite Rolling Stone?

Back when it all began, it was Jagger who was the epitome of sexy, rebellious cool. Richards was his scruffy sideman with a swaggering line in guitar riffs. Aficionados loved him but the dreamy Brian Jones was hailed as the band’s genius (not least by Jones himself). As the 60s ended, though, there was a shift in the Stones hierarchy. Richards was getting his look together: cigarette permanently attached to lower lip, jagged hair cascading around his head like an electrified mop, ragged gypsy clothing accessorized by skulls, rings and bandanas.

Dark-eyed and lean, Richards, even with his piratical flamboyance, took on a very masculine presence next to Jagger’s camp theatricality. It corresponded with his growing maturity as a musician. Richards took the reins for the Stones’ greatest run of work, from Beggars Banquet in 1968 to Goats Head Soup in 1973, reshaping blues for the modern age. But at the same time, he was developing habits that have made him the personification of all the most extravagant myths of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.

Read the whole thing.

16 Jun 2015



At Pinkpop Festival 2015 in Holland, John Coffey, lead singer David Achter de Molen, catches a beer thrown from the crowd, while crowdwalking, and drinks it!

Full song ‘Dirt and Stones’ here.

via Ratak Monodosico.

07 Jun 2015

Red Army Choir: “Sweet Home Alabama”

, , ,

Claire Berlinski finds Russians most endearing when they are found releasing their inner American redneck.

21 May 2015

That Asshole Zevon

, ,

Warren William Zevon, 1947 – 2003.

Wiliam L. Repsher reacts to Crystal Zevon’s, the musician’s widow’s, bio: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon.

I, and lots of other “bespectacled guys in knit shirts and khakis” have a thing for Zevon.

[M]ost of it seems brutally honest, underlining Zevon’s years of alcoholism, resulting in strained familial relations, spousal abuse, a blown marriage, dozens of affairs, etc. The usual rock-star stuff, only this time it’s presented in a “this is simply how the guy was” light as opposed to either glorifying or condemning his behavior. Even after he got sober, he could be assholic: self-centered, argumentative, problematic, etc. It was made clear that his goodness, which is also noted many times over in terms of his humor, intelligence and flashes of generosity, was counter-balanced with a very dark side.

What I felt reading the book was virtually no different from the vibe I get around many musicians, whether or not they’re anywhere near the level of success Zevon had. Danny Fields had a great quote in the Legs McNeill oral history of the punk scene, which boiled down to: “All musicians are assholes.”…

It seems to me Warren Zevon’s life was what happened to a stereotypical musician who hit “the big time” in some respect and spent the rest of his days leading a relatively pampered rock-star life. Good work if you can get it, but I suspect your average person with zero contact with musicians doesn’t understand what that implies, which is never as alluring as the image.

From what little I’ve seen, a successful recording artist or band functions in its own little snow-globe world, especially on the road. Since the artist tends to be the center of attention much of the time, he doesn’t fully develop an adult sense of the world. In Zevon’s case, he just took money out of the bank whenever he felt like it, had very little understanding of his finances, and assumed money would always be there for him. Luckily, it was, although it got tight from time to time as his success boiled down to a few 70s hits he either recorded on his own or wrote for others (like Linda Rondstadt, who was hugely successful back in the 70s). After 1978’s Excitable Boy, his albums were much more critical than commercial successes, and aside from “Werewolves of London,” he never had any huge hit singles. He often toured solo in theaters and small clubs, most likely to reduce costs and make as much money as possible.

The artist also tends to populate his world with people who either support or depend on his ongoing success. Imagine a large family where a father is encouraged to be both infantile and patriarchal, and you have your average rock star. Reading the book, that’s how Zevon came off to me. I suspect that’s how many famous entertainers conduct their private lives, save they’ll be lucky not to receive the same sober scrutiny Zevon’s life receives in this book. (And not to worry if you don’t like the concept of rock stars being ambiguous and hard to accept beneath the image: there won’t be too many more rock stars. And just about everyone I know comes with strings attached, sooner or later.)

That’s also how a lot of his songs come off to me. With this renewed interest in Zevon, I doubled back and listened to his songs (of which I have just about all thanks to a returned MP3 favor from a friend). The first few albums, I was struck by how rigid his work was – either a slow ballad or stomping rocker, with little in between. And most of the rock songs I can live without. For years I’ve noted how “Roland, the Headless Thompson Gunner” has got to be the most retarded song I’ve ever heard, from the clunky martial beat to the silly mercenary story line. (I recall cringing the first time I heard it on my brother’s basement stereo in 1978.) I’ve always favored his ballads, and those early ones, like “Mohammed’s Radio” and “Carmelita,” still sound great.

Even when he lost his way a bit production-wise in the 80s, he had roughly the same formula that worked for him. What struck me most was how much his later work loosened up, to the extent I found myself more drawn to that material. He experimented with different styles (even incorporated a few celtic numbers), and there was a sense of artistic freedom I picked up on that wasn’t in his earlier, more popular work. The harder-rocking songs, like “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead” and “Factory,” swung more than they stomped. In his case, I’d say the lack of pressure to write and record a Top 40 hit did him a world of good. I should also note sobriety agreed with him creatively, which is sometimes not the case for recording artists.

His lyrics? Always excellent, even on musically awful songs. Another reason I never warmed up to Zevon over the years was this odd effect his songs have on writers, and not just the famous ones he knew. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been around newspaper or magazine types in bars in New York, whom I know personally to have very little taste in music, but the one thing they can all agree on is a deep, abiding Warren Zevon appreciation. And while these guys are often great writers, they’re dicks when it comes to music, jam-band types who own about five CDs. Thus, I pictured Zevon concerts being a bunch of bespectacled guys in knit shirts and khakis, rocking out to that awful headless gunner song, and recalling their crazy nights copy editing while stoned after midnight at the campus newspaper.


29 Apr 2015

Plan B: “She Said”

, ,

A British Film Noir Rock/Rap Song.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

09 Apr 2015

Tweet of the Week

, ,


Hat tip to Walter Olson.

22 Oct 2014

Turning 60

, ,


Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Rock & Roll' Category.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark