Archive for November, 2017

“Forty Years and Malcolm — Gone”

November 26, 2017

Malcolm

Although his younger brother, Angus, was their public face, Malcolm Young was the founder, leader and guiding force behind Australian super group AC/DC. Malcolm passed away earlier this month at the age of 64. Michigan’s WTAC was first radio station to play the band in America. That’s why they came to Flint on December 5, 1977 — exactly 40 years ago next week. It was my last “Peter C. Rock & Roll Presentation”.

I picked up AC/DC at the airport. A major snowstorm had moved into the area earlier in the day. Roads were becoming blocked by snow. Attendance would be limited by conditions. The group was still virtually unknown. Who cared?

I killed every light in the theater. Atmospherics were utterly dark and ominously promising. It started with a single, pounding, thundering bass note droning in constant repetition. The screaming lead guitar came out of nowhere. It was “Live Wire”.

Four spotlights instantly flooded the stage, all focused on a remarkably strange, rapidly moving, seemingly possessed apparition. He wore knickers, dressed as a proper English schoolboy with necktie and knapsack. His name was Angus Young.

They played for over ninety minutes. I paid them a thousand dollars in cash. They wanted to try some “Arby’s Roast Beef”, so we stopped at the nearest location. They loved the Arby’s sandwiches, both as food and projectiles. I dropped them off at their hotel.

A few months later the boys were back in town. I traveled to the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak and caught them opening for Thin Lizzy. The Aussies were excellent, but I noticed sound mix peculiarities near the middle of their scheduled set. Several security guards rushed onto the stage and attempted to conclude the performance. It was all fiercely fast.

One uniformed enforcer made the tragic mistake of grabbing lead singer Bon Scott’s arm. A violent head butt sent the uninvited transgressor flying backward. Chaos reigned. More police poured out on the stage. The group formed an immediate protective circle, rapidly expanding as several members of Thin Lizzy joined the fray. Feet flashed. Fists flew. Foreheads filled faces.

A phalanx of record company and management personnel jumped into the midst of the mêlée and separated participants, much to the relief of those authority figures still unmarred. Confusion was everywhere. It was clear the group had no idea of what had triggered so unpleasant an incident. The band members had reacted with instinct, not intent. It turned out to be a noise thing.

Neighbors near the theater had been complaining. The city of Royal Oak had passed a local ordinance proclaiming any sound level over 100 decibels as “noise” and thus a nuisance. An official “Decibel Deputy” had arrived on the scene and, standing next to the AC/DC sound board at the very back of the building, had clocked the lads in at a stunning 125 and climbing. Security police dragged a mystified sound technician off the monitor platform and proclaimed arrest. This is where the sound mix got screwy. The cops then ordered the performance to stop. That’s when the stage went wild.

Calming cash miraculously sprang forth – properly placed. Pacified heads prevailed. Charges forgotten and sound restored, the group returned to their set.

I sent a formal telegram to AC/DC the following day apologizing for all the “dainty little ears” they had encountered in our fair Michigan. They responded with a note expressing appreciation. The “Battle of Royal Oak” had ended with several encores.

R.I.P. Malcolm Young.

Rock in Peace.

 

 

 

“Good Morning Little School Girl”

November 12, 2017

moore-gun-photo1jpg-2e60caa23f59831e

“Good Morning Little School Girl.

Can I go home with you?’

Alvin Lee and Ten Years After (1969)

Ten Years After – “Little School Girl”

She was 14.

The 32 year-old Assistant District Attorney took her to his shack in the woods for illicit sexual sport. Twice.

That’s the unproven charge.

There’s backup. Three other teens-at-the-time confirm that he “went out” with them. A former colleague said Saturday that it was “common knowledge” the Alabama Republican dated high school girls back then, adding that “everyone we knew thought it was weird.”

 What’s clear is that former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore may well be elected to the U.S. Senate on December 12th if his supporters have their say.

State Auditor Jim Ziegler can’t see what all the fuss is about; suggesting child molestation is positively God ordained. He sermonizes, “Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became the parents of Jesus. There’s nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Alabama Marion County GOP Chair David Hall chimes in, “It was 40 years ago. I really don’t see the relevance of it.”

 Many down home folks interviewed by the national press said anyone was better than a Democrat no matter what. Boys will be boys.

Who wouldn’t fall under the charm of good old boy Roy when he whips out his tiny little gun in mid speech and waves it about with a jaunty flourish? Who’s not impressed with Roy Moore’s Christ-like condemnation of homosexuals, Muslims, same-sex marriage, and the Kenyan born Barack Obama? What if he personally pocketed over a million dollars in a five-year period from his nonprofit Christian legal organization “The Foundation for Moral Law”? His wife is the President. The Foundation paid for his health-care benefits, travel expenses and bodyguard. It also employed two of his children on a full-time basis. The Lord helps those who help themselves.

If ignorance is bliss, a term coined by eighteenth-century English poet Thomas Gray, Alabama might be the Alhambra – a palatial complex in Grenada, Spain, once described by Moorish poets as “a pearl set in emeralds.” Poet Gray adds, “When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.”

 It’s not just Alabama.

Recent polling by the Annenberg Policy Center indicates large segments of the American population are tragically clueless and could care less. More than one in three could not name a single right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Only 26% knew all three branches of government and a third could not identity any the branches – not one. A full 25% believe Congress should muzzle the press when it “threatens national security”.

 Facts would seem to have little relevance to an uninformed public in which many citizens can’t tell an elf from an elephant.

Such voters are easily misled, incapable of critically analyzing issues and vulnerable to the lure of wild demagoguery – the kind that promises everything and delivers nothing.

The nightmare of this Donald Trump presidency did not emerge from a vacuum. It oozed like a blistering sulfur bubble from the depths of downright dumb.

We are collectively on a train to nowhere and getting there fast with no survival at arrival.

I believe Roy Moore is a pathetic pedophile as much as Donald Trump is a perilous Putin fan. Evenly evaluating the obvious should bring the same conclusion to any fair mind.

Let’s stop the preaching and start impeaching.

 

“Getting the Led Out”

November 5, 2017

led-zep-ticket

They turn 50 next year.

It was and remains the very best concert ever.

Such lofty placement atop the hierarchy of Rock & Roll is surely a matter of subjective taste, but the band was really on that night and played for an uninterrupted three hours and forty-five minutes. It was precision and perfection.

I had been curious as to how closely they could duplicate their heavily produced studio sound. It was surpassed in every instance. I was concerned they might be a little fatigued from their long road tour and/or excessive consumption of various substances rumored to offer relaxing measures of succor and solace during their travels.

It was at exactly 8 p.m. on Friday, January 31st of 1975, that the lights at Olympia Stadium in Detroit dimmed and four tall figures strolled confidently onto the stage. Launched with a roaring, soaring explosion of sound, the mighty Zeppelin took flight.

Led Zeppelin had been formed nearly seven years earlier in July of 1968 by guitarist Jimmy Page, who had just left The Yardbirds. Page added singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham from the little known British group “Band of Joy” and completed his assembly with a leading British session musician named John Paul Jones as bassist and keyboard player. Led Zeppelin had quickly stormed into the forefront of heavy Rock with the release of their first album.

Keith Moon of The WHO had suggested the band’s name.

As was true of WHO, Led Zeppelin had always been essentially a musical trio with Robert Plant limited primarily to vocal contribution.That the sound had always been as big as it was with only three basic players had been an awesome realization.

I had always believed there are a number of consciousness levels accessible through and evident within Led Zeppelin music. Zeppelin’s primary definition and function as a “Rock & Roll Band” was beyond dispute, offering an enormously evident primal beat that powerfully throbbed throughout their more high volume efforts with unfailing distinction. They were incredibly tight as a unit and could sweep through dimensions of intensity with total command. Their highly accomplished use of acoustical instrumentation offered yet greater focus, depth and unique musical originality. And I found them supremely spiritual. Through Led Zeppelin, I sensed a timeless magic finding expression and release.

In the ancient blood of some flow the genes and genius of masters, teachers, physicians and priests from a time when Druids walked the land and even long before. Celtic mysticism enveloped the night. With both conscious and subconscious awareness, masterful words unveiled an absolute reality, both universal and beyond. Lyrical poetry and sweeping imagery spoke of many parallel worlds — all joined. With vibrant sexuality, flesh and spirit became as one in an exuberant celebration of timeless existence and exaltation. In Led Zeppelin, rock music offered eloquent articulation of the unknown as merely unrecalled, expressing passionate human desire in both physical and metaphysical terms.

I remain amazed that this unique transcendence has never been fully appreciated nor extensively explored.

Zeppelin never stopped. In addition to all of their most familiar material, the group introduced large segments of a soon-to-be-released double-album. It was thus I first heard much of “Physical Graffiti” with virginal ears as they first introduced “Kashmir” to an American audience.

That night in Detroit I was ruined for life. The measure of excellence established on stage by Led Zeppelin became the absolute standard.

As of 2017, “The Song Remains The Same.”