Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rock Music's Independence

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post actually ran on this blog a few years back. But, with the Independence Day celebrations coming up (and the Big Day following on Monday), I thought it'd be an appropriate time to run it again.
It will also be simulcast on the two other blogs I have:

This weekend, Americans are celebrating events heading up to Independence Day (which falls on a Monday this year). And, while most are celebrating it as the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, others are using the holiday to reflect on other revolutionary movements that brought freedom.

A few of you might be thinking, "Okay ... but what does that have to do with ROCK music?"


You see, the very theme of rock-n-roll, even before it first hit the charts, was freedom! From the Chuck Berries and Elvis Presleys in the states to the amazing bands that covered England from coast to coast (and, beginning in February, 1964, changed the course of rock music forever), the sound was raw, unchained, and thumbed its nose at censors and strict performance rules.

From T-Bone Walker and his wild splits and Hendrix-like guitar playing, to the Good/Parnes management team and their stable of singers named after their sexual prowess, the world was seeing a brand new, liberated movement.

 Elvis had his gyrations, Faron's Flamingos had Bill Ruffley (Faron) doing splits and his drummer somersaulting over the drumkit. Of course, we had Jerry Lee Lewis while the UK had Keith Moon and Screaming Lord Sutch. So, on both sides of the Atlantic, we were truly seeing a revolution occurring.

This independence was no more strongly felt than when The Beatles landed at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on February 7, 1964. When young people around the U.S. saw the Fab Four in performance, and followed the antics of the "moptops" -- especially the brash, outspoken and witty John Lennon -- they began forming bands of their own, and mimicked the boldness that this band from England exhibited.

The Beatles, along with other "British Invasion" acts, not only revitalized youth in the states but also influenced them to openly protest the status quo that had been set by a previous generation. They began rebelling against inequality, prejudice -- and a war going on in Southeast Asia.

By 1969, they began seeing minute changes and, eventually, these small breaks for independence in civil and women's rights eventually became larger. The voting age eventually was lowered. And, by 1975, our involvement in the war was over.

Today, the rock world is seeing a reversion to the sounds that, actually, were the soundtrack to the amazing drama that young people unfolded in the name of independence. We're seeing the "baby-boomer" segment of America in our Congress, witnessing the results of their labour so many years ago, and actually help each other long before any state or national assistance comes.

So, if anything, rock music is independence-in-action ... and what more fitting day to honor it than on this Fourth of July weekend ...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Weekly New Spaper

The Wayback Machine takes us to 2006, when my old hand-held newspaper (ie, one you buy from a news rack) had just folded and I was planning a new one: "Let's Rock!" It was to be dedicated to the oldies (music, not people).

I discussed the concept with our Mouse-In-Chief, Lloyd Eugene Thaxton, Esq., who dug the idea and provided some fab ideas for it.

We both knew that hard-copy newspapers were giving way to online versions that would reach a greater cross-section of America. So it was decided that LR would be an online read. And, since it was new, Uncle LL even came up with a new word for it:

It would be thus-and-hereafter dubbed .... a New Spaper! (No need to create a new-fangled name when the word "newspaper" is already composed of two words, right?)

Well, with life happening while I was busy making other plans (gee ... that Lennon guy was smart, wasn't he?), that particular New Spaper never made it to press (er, online).   But, after a few false starts (hey ... computers are 'search engines', right?  So it's appropriate), yours truly, with my business partner and good friend Darryl Worley, came up with a new New Spaper called Webside Weekly.

The cool part about this little webside wonder is that most of it's actually composed of contributions from our readers.  But it also has a fab music page - and even those new-fangled, readily-installable videos (for you older folks, they're like little animated coloring books set to music).  In our first issue, we feature a dynamic UK country star named Mike Lane, and include some cool videos of his music.
More acts - including a few flashbacks - will be coming up in future ishs, so stay tuned.

We've also learned an invaluable lesson:  If you want a New Spaper done right, don't try editing on one of those supposedly-smart phones.  You'll be faced with the dreaded ... autocorrect!  Then a simple sentence like Dave Davies could be the Kink's singer in a push could turn out Dave Davies could kick a sinner in the tush.
He might.  I don't know.  But this has nothing to do with religion or anatomical parts, thank you (PS I really like and respect Dave, Word is that he and brother Ray are trying to work the kinks out so they can get The Kinks out on the road again.).

(Just a thought:  If these new computerized cars are so great, why don't they come with "autocorrect"?  Would save us a lot of roadside trouble if they worked ...)

Anyway, we do hope you'll visit the site early and often. Remember, though: Don't put this New Spaper down on the floor for your pups to use when you're finished! If you do, you'll end up with a shorted-out computer and a fricaseed pooch!

Remember, it's published every week on Saturday, so ....

stay tuned ...

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Return of The Clique

I know ...
for a long time, it seemed the Mouse House was in turmoil (actually, it was in Charlotte, but there's very little difference for a small-town guy). So, after a lot of wishing and hoping and thinking and praying (sounds like a song, doesn't it? May be a little Dusty in singin' it, really ...), I've brought it back home, made the necessary improvements, added new cheese and voila! THE MOUSE HOUSE (aka the house that Thaxton built) is back in business!! And it's gonna have the mark of the LL all over it. He taught me and my cousins how to continue his blogwork style, and we're not straying from that this time!!

A (HAIR)CUT ABOVE THE REST Most of us remember Uncle LL with that playful, impish grin and wavy brown hair when he manned the studios of KCOP for his show. But, by the time he left us, he was sporting a shock of white hair that would make a well-groomed pekingnese jealous (and here I was back then, with longer hair on the sides and nothing on top. Hair, I mean ...) We had a barber here who offered to help me change that. Perry (his first name) said I could grow it super long on my left side, then he could comb it over, shellac it - he had a fancy exotic concoction just for barbers (I guess) called ... "kra zee glu" that would certainly keep it in place.

But I'm no fool (okay ... it's debatable). Whilst he was a great singer, I was in no mood for a Perry comb-over! Last I heard, he gave up the business to go somewhere and catch falling stars ...

They say "everybody has a double," and that even applied to LL. But his doppelganger is a bit taller. Otherwise, he talks, looks - even has that same white shock of hair - like Lloyd.

He lives in Ashland, Kentucky - and his name is ...

Michael Thaxton!!

I mentioned him to Uncle LL once and (wouldn't ya know it?) he said his dad was born in Kentucky! He didn't know where but, chances are, Mike and his family found their way up to Ashland one way or another.
Actually, he said they were probably second or third cousins or something.
Still, there were so many similarities that I sometimes (and inadvertently) called Mike "Lloyd" at times!

Would've been so much better if he hadn't called me a "Dawk" and showed me the tallest of the finger people ...

Stay tuned ...