Saturday, July 30, 2011

Spar Power

Circle of Fits continues to look for new writers, music based pundits and purveyors.  Our first submission actually comes from a friend I've had for many years, Mr. Glenn Hawley. Glenn has been ahead of the curve since the mid 80s. I remember multiple suburban bedroom walls of LPs and several long residences at some of the best record stores in existence. Glenn's dues are paid in full.  And he remains well- versed in all things music and movies to this day.

Glenn doesn't get Led Zeppelin. He never did. I do. I really do. Me and Zoso are, like BFFs. So we're going to spar a little with much love and respect. Volley some barbs back and forth, so to speak. Be nice to Glenn, in a Circle of Fits sort of way, cuz he knows more than you do.

Here is his essay.

Ever Since I was a Rockin' Kid, I've Been Constantly been told What to like ( & what NOT to like) This became my Nature to "trust my Own ears."  This Also became my Gospel to spread the word about Everyone doing & being able to do  just that!  A mantra of Free thoughts, Musical Thoughts, It has Served me well, all these years. But, for years, certain artists, have always presented certain mysteries, to me. Puzzled about their popularity or why I resisted them, even when the Music is definitely there. We can't like Everything, But why is the Bad stuff So BAD? or Good stuff Ruined by a Blind acceptance.

            I grew up in Upstate, Suburban NY, so 70's rock was accessible & for the most part "acceptable" to me. It was constantly being Hammered into my head that i HAD to like certain Artists/Groups. Sometimes so much that the artists are Just Lost to me forever, with no real sense of "loss". Yet still, some "broke on through" & are now Favorites. Some which i now need to almost defend their sheer undeniable Incredibleness (The Doors, The Who…) Why do I set up theses walls? Where did all this start??

            The First was the Grandpappy's of BIG 70's Rock: Led Zeppelin. Over & over I was told this was The Band, The Group. I was some Loser for Never getting into them. All mostly from being told I Had to get into them, Had to Love them! Fans can Ruin a Band faster than some Smack filled train ride to hell! Check the Cure, U2, REM, The Beatles…. Robert Plant's shrill voice grated on my nerves Anytime I heard it, coupled with seeing every stoner wearing a LZ t-shirt. Never wanted to be in that Gang! Talk about their GREATness of Musicianship & Power to move the decade Forward> (this was the 80's after all)!

            Funny, a few things about Zeppelin I can't get enough of! I love to Read about them! Their Touring adventures as The BIGGEST band in the World. Tales of Devil Worshipping & The Black Arts.  Landsharks & Other Fish Tales, Dirty Deals involving their Fat, Evil Ooozing, Manager the Late Peter Green. Their Own Charted Flying Party Bus, Teenage Groupies (i'm talking Real teenagers, like 13 & 14)! Intake of Every illicit substance available, which culminated in the Death of their drummer John Bonham & the demise of the Band. I'll Always have a Visual of Bonham riding that tractor, in the Song Remains The same (sound Off) Weren't you listening?? I hate the music!

            Jimmy Page's 50/60's studio work as a Hired gun, & with the Yardbirds, supplies my intact of his Genius. He IS talented! John Paul Jones, just seems a big Crybaby these days, But He went Toe to Toe with Diamanda Galas, in the Studio for an Album, so he Must have Balls (& ears of Steel)

            Will I ever wake upon tomorrow morn to the Opening bars of Kashmir or Stairway to Heaven?? Changing my Life Forever? Doubt it! But I always know When its Time to Get The Led out on Any Classic radio station, I Can get a half hour  Break from them playing the Only 3 songs from the Doors or The Who, that they have in Constant rotation!  Deep Cuts! Deep Cuts!!! Or a Silent Lunch time!

            I get Why They are Popular! Tight, Big, Mythological Sounds, But it seems more an Empty Given to Young Rockers these days. Not to be Discovered, but to be Simply Adopted. No Mess, No Fuss. Doesn't it Dilute their, so called, Power of Creativity? Dilute the Evil, of the Deal with The Devil Peter Green made for their successes?? I'd rather be a Dirty boy Rockin' with the Bad stuff. That surely brings me Closer to Jimmy Page, without the Track Marks!

            I gotta Trust my Old Ears of Many years, sticking to my Guns. And to not lose my Freedom to be My Own Man. Flying around in my OWN imaginary Flying Tour Bus! Music will be Lost & Found, Because The Hits Abound, But Lets Talk it out & Let me Prove you Wrong!



1 comment:

  1. Thanks Glenn. Now sit back and listen to a Zephead preach. I grew up in the same town as you, a partial slave to the mid 80s, small market radio that made most of our peers classic rock robots. I too, thought my only way to coolness was to buy the Zep IV cassette(through Columbia), and don a WCMF baseball jersey. I never made it to the top tier of coolness, though, which gave me the time (via abundant alienation and loneliness) to sit in front of my Panasonic tune box, dry my tears and peel back the layers of the mighty Zep.

    Zep started as a blues band. A quadrant of long haired brits slinging covers of Willie Dixon, Otis Rush and the plagiarized like. But they played it loud. Surprisingly loud and precise. Too loud to cry. Jimmy and John Paul got their start as studio musicians. They had more chops by the age of 20 than the rest of the post flower power Brit Invasion.

    And it showed.
    To pluck Robert and Bonzo from Band of Joy was calculated genius. Together, they could play ANYTHING. And for the entirety of their career, they did. Folk, Funk, Rockabilly, Country, Bluegrass, baroque,etc.

    Because of their massiveness in the 70s and the plague of overexposure that filled too many a spot on the anorexic playlists 80s rock radio, most of the lowest common denominated lemmings out there, never got past Stairway,Black Dog or Whole Lotta.

    The beauty is in discovery. Zeppelin III is one of the biggest risks ever taken by a band of their stature. It has always been my favorite. The multi- genre leaps from Immigrant Song, to Gallows Pole, to the mesmerizing Friends and lets not forget the massive wailing proclamation of Since I've Been Loving You still stop me in my muddy tracks to this day.

    But that was what they did on their third album. In 1970. Before the record breaking tours, the flaming gongs and the mud sharks.

    Physical Graffiti, Presence, and In Through the Out Door are weird albums. There are pockets of brilliance,wonder and head scratching for the fans in each, and they were largely untouched by radio. Carouselambra? Huh? Tea For One? OK? Sick Again? Sure? And that is the element of surprise that made me a superfan.

    Only the Beatles (and maybe the Doors) rival the mighty Zep in experiment and influence among the cruddy cluster of classic rock bands.

    And I have to at least comment on Robert. As it was his oft criticized banshee wail and golden god-ness(goodness!)made me pick up a mic all those years ago. I remember bowing and praying on the orange shag in front of that poster in my room...the one with him standing on stage, shirt open to his belt buckle, clutching a dove in one hand and the entire crowd of 55000 in his other and that's a rock star. Only Freddy, Jim and Mick rival him from the era of the rock star....that long gone era where people valued personality, stage prowess, and mind blowing vocals over dance moves and portable playlists.