Monday, February 07, 2005


Warning - anyone under 30 who isn't an 80s pop obsessive will find this post, at best, almost interesting.

In pop music more than most other spheres of human endeavour we often find, in the words of the Swedish bards, that the history book on the shelf is always repeating itself.

In the mid-late 1980s I was a bigtime obsessive fan of T. Rex and also had a rich fondness for the other early 70s glam-rock bands - the sleazy bubblegum metal riffing, big pop choruses and outlandish slender gender benders.

I used to get royally pissed off at the reuse of the term Glam Rock to mean 80s preening po-faced poodle-metal bands with egos even bigger than the root vegetables they'd stuffed down the front of their spandex, widdly-widdlying through guitar solos as long and wanky as a masturbation session with a cock as big as the aforementioned foodstuffs.

Garage was originally named cos its practitioners - MC5, Blue Cheer, The Stooges etc - sounded like they were enthusiatic inept guys rehearsing in a garage. It's a zillion miles from the overpolished production of 21st century garage.

The recent reusing of the word goth is considerably more appropriate. Although the music is a lot rockier and has less of that relentless cold tension that characterised the first goth, the audience nevertheless remain teenagers full of gloom in ill-fitting black clothes and panda eye make-up.

The new definiton of R'n'B is somewhat wider of the mark. It used to mean rhythm and blues, a pretty accurate moniker for the music of Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. Modern R'n'B certainly has prominent rhythm, usually an overloaded soulless drum program, but it's overlaid with vocal acrobatics that bear about as much relation to the blues as Jim Davidson's version of White Christmas.

(Which does, by the way, actually exist. It was a single in 1980. As a species, we have clearly earned the merciless wrath of any gods that want to punish us).

But now there's a move on from recycling old genre names to recycling the artists names. This is much less annoying and a lot more funny.

Bad Company were an early 70s hirsute rock band. (I think with hindsight we can define a lot of 70s music as 'hirsute rock'). It's also the name used by a current cutting edge kickass filthy drum & bass outfit. Nobody's told this to people who sell records, so Amazon will tell you on their page for scorching D&B classic Shot Down On Safari that 'Customers who bought music by Bad Company also bought music by these artists: Free UFO Paul Rodgers Deep Purple'. Unlikely.

This tickles me a bit, but nowhere near as much as the new phenomenon of reusing the phonetic structure of names.

Busted split up cos Charlie wanted to prioritise his new band, the harder rock guitar power of Fightstar.

If you've only got half an ear turned to the radio or the kettle's on or somesuch then it doesn't half sound like people are referring to Five Star.

It's a surefire quizzical frown inducer thinking you've just heard someone say 'live reviews say that Five Star played a brilliant set; fast, powerful in-your-face rocking from these hungry heads-down guitar heroes'.

Similarly, negligable Fame Academy ponce Lemar is a pox on our airwaves until you mishear the name.

News that Limahl is touring and performing Al Green covers gave me quite a jolt.

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