150 Best Albums of 1975

“Our long national nightmare is over,” Gerald Ford had promised his fellow Americans the previous August, as he was sworn in as the most un-elected president ever, replacing the only president who ever resigned. But 1975 still had plenty of nightmare left: State Department bombed by Weather Underground, FBI gunfight on a South Dakota Indian… Continue reading 150 Best Albums of 1975

Outsider Proto-Punk Reissue Licks, 2003

MICHAEL YONKERS BAND, Microminiature Love St. Paul, Minnesota, 1968. Techie-teen leader of Michael and the Mumbles tires of twanging surf ditties at prom and VFW crowds, so he saws down his Fender and slashes open his speakers and lets his ominous baritone vibrato’s pomped-up medieval-castle Procol Harum poetry fall into black holes of Link Wray-reverbed… Continue reading Outsider Proto-Punk Reissue Licks, 2003

Monster Records Metal Reissue Licks, 2004

TRUTH AND JANEY, ERUPTS! In April 1976, an unpretentious numskull trio from some Iowa cowtown recorded this ballroom concert (longest endurance tests 9:05, 8:12, 7:21, 6:51), not issued on double vinyl till the early ’90s, and not on CD till now. To read their backstory, you need their 1,000-pressing 1976 studio LP, No Rest for the… Continue reading Monster Records Metal Reissue Licks, 2004

A Bubblegum Top 40

Reprinted in the 2001 Kim Cooper and David Smay-edited anthology Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth; possibly excerpted and/or cannibalized in scores of things I’ve written since. But this is how the original version looked on the page. A year later or decades later — after Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, the Spice Girls, Radio Disney, Aqua,… Continue reading A Bubblegum Top 40

Charlene et. al. review, 1995

An excuse to rave about quite possibly the most ridiculous, brazen, inconceivably over-the-top soliloquy ever to go Top 10. And since you ask, yes I have indeed karaokied it. Did you expect otherwise? Eye Weekly, 25 May 1995

What is New Wave??

And now, something completely ridiculous for the time capsule: Written in straight grey pseudo-objective journalismese, an attempt to explain to squaresville suburban Detroit weekly newspaper readers what exactly is this new wave punk rock stuff they keep hearing about. Some of the predictions are pretty amusing: “no new wave band will ever achieve the mass… Continue reading What is New Wave??

The making of ZoSo

Just realized I’ve talked on the phone to half of Led Zeppelin — Robert Plant (see Creem interview piece in my third book) struck me as a very nice guy as well. This John Paul Jones conversation was for something called The Rolling Stone 200: The Essential Rock Collection, which I assume was some kinda… Continue reading The making of ZoSo

Words to the Wacky

Lalena ordered a can of Bon Ami cleanser over the Internet, since it gently cleans without harsh chemicals and since it wasn’t findable at whatever stores at which we looked for it. Upon seeing it, the only thing remotely familiar about the label was that it reminded me of a Wacky Package parody from the… Continue reading Words to the Wacky

Blondie review, 1981

College, senior year. I guess I just liked the exercise of reviewing a best-of collection — especially one I didn’t technically own. In retrospect, given the essentiality of their first four albums, seems like it’d be pretty redundant. As for Autoamerican, I’ve always been fine with a 45 of “Rapture.” Not sure I’ve ever even… Continue reading Blondie review, 1981