Classic (Punk) Rock
September 24, 2005... I have made my peace with classic rock. If you've been following this blog closely, you already know that. That's why I've posted tracks by such dinosaurs of the Paleolithic era as Cream, (The) Alice Cooper (Group) and Mott the Hoople. There is no irony involved in any of this. I honestly like the music, just like I honestly like the music put out by young-critic-approved bands like Les Savy Fav and the Shins. And it's not that I'm easy to please, just that I try hard to hear the beauty in whatever I'm listening to. For a guy who once cut new grooves into his big sister's Creedence Clearwater Revival records with shards of broken glass, that's a pretty big change.
Anyway, what brings this all to mind is Hurricane Katrina, and more specifically, the news coverage I heard about Hurricane Katrina recently with C.C.R.'s "Born on the Bayou," trembling away in the background.
One of the things that stood in the way of my acceptance of C.C.R. over the years was the fact that the band's singer sang like he was born on the bayou, even though he was actually born in Northern California. I just could not accept the phoniness of it all, just as I could not accept the phoniness of the Tragically Hip--from Kingston, Ontario--trying to come across like a southern rock band, or Robert Pollard--of Dayton, Ohio's Guided by Voices--singing in an English accent.
Then one day, while listening to a countdown of the "top 500 rock'n'roll songs of all time" on the radio, I heard this song.
Exactly what is not to like about "Fortunate Son?" It's two minutes long, has about three chords in it and nary a whiff of the excess and decadence that classic rock is often criticized for. Add to that the lyrics--and what great lyrics they are--and you've got a classic punk rock song. In fact, if you look beyond the fact that it's a song about war, "Fortunate Son" could be an anthem for all the people left behind in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached; all those (mostly African American) people not fortunate enough to have a way to get out of the city before the hurricane covered it and them with twenty feet of water; all those people whose "leaders" said "I've got mine, Jack," as they fled the scene and "I don't care about yours."
Don't get me wrong, there's only so much Creedence Clearwater Revival I can take before I find myself throwin' up around the bend, but the fuzz guitar at the 3:09 mark of "Born on the Bayou" is pretty righteous…
I'll close today with a song from a formerly-young-critic-approved band that would probably agree with me about C.C.R. "Sci-Flyer" is the leadoff track from Swervedriver's awesome 1991 long player, Raise. You remember Swervedriver, right? You know, the aggressive, melodic-yet-noisy rock group in whose footsteps 1,001 effete, melodic-yet-noisy shoe-gazer bands tip-toed? Yes, that's the one. Gee, I wonder where they got this riff from…
P.S. If you're looking for another rant about how Hurricane Katrina exposed the ugly truth about the place of the poor in our society, check out The Allderblob. Jake and I are saying the same thing, but his way of saying it will make you feel better.
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