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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Little Musical Interlude

I think it is time for a little respite from politics, the stock market crash, and anything else that has been giving you the heeby jeeby worries.

Today, we are talking about music. Specifically rock and roll. No Air Supply here. No Abba, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, or The Supremes. Just good old fashioned rock and roll.

So, here's our question. Give me your five most influential rock bands to grace a stage, lay down a track or two on vinyl, or bust up a perfectly good guitar for dramatic effect. Here's my list, in no particular order.
  • The Beatles - this group has got to be on everyone's list. If they aren't, you are just kidding yourself. Quite simply 6 of the most dominant years on the American music scene.
  • The Rolling Stones - the classic bad boys. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and the crew struttin' their stuff for years. To some, the all time best band.
  • U2 - Bono and his boys. A nod to the younger set, and certainly worthy! While not a favorite of mine personally, their impact, and that of Bono has transcended the genre.
  • Led Zeppelin - if you were in high school in the 70's, you danced to this groups music. It is interesting to note that they never had a number 1 single, not even "Stairway." Nonetheless, one of the most important groups in rock history.
  • Queen - have you ever seen tapes of this group in concert? They were phenomenal. Simply one of the great rock bands.
Honorable Mention - Nirvana, Eagles, The Doors, The Band, CCR, The Who, Pearl Jam, Green Day, and The Clash.

So there you have it. I don't claim that it is a definitive list, it's just mine. Now chime in with yours.

Comments on "A Little Musical Interlude"


Blogger James & Emilee said ... (10:53 AM) : 

Here is my list of those that defined the alternative rock genre.

1. Nirvana. Kurt Cobain was a disturbed genius. He defined the genre.
Song Choice: Any of them.

2. Third Eye Blind. Those that hadn't heard of Nirvana sure heard of Third Eye Blind. (Song Choice: "Semi-Charmed Life."

3. Blink 182. Brought the punk scene to the masses, and their music video/onstage antics have often been emulated (playing in nothing but a sock {not on their feet})
Song Choice: "Whats my age again"

4. Green Day. Brought the political side of punk to the masses
Song Choice: "American Idiot"

5. Acceptance. A one album wonder, they have recently redefined the genre with melodic guitar riffs and harmonic vocals.
Album Choice: "Phantoms"

There's my list. Enjoy!


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (11:50 AM) : 

James, you can't have one album wonders on this list.

I also think it would be hard to argue that Blink 182 has been influential in the biz.

I thought you younger folks would put Nirvana on the list. I can see that.

That being said, who do you eliminate from my 5 to fit Nirvana in??


Blogger Patrick M said ... (8:42 AM) : 

Dave, you had to get one of my other obsessions on display, didn't you? Nevertheless, despite that fact (and since I had to spend time revising to come up with just 5), here's my two cents on the subject.

The problem is that there are too many bands, having much influence in different periods of my life. So sorting it out will be a challenge. I do have to say that both of you are totally wrong (for the most part) in your choices (except when you agree with me). But on to the list (in no particular order), let we argue too much:

1. Metallica - This is the band that took metal from simple thrash, injected melody, and defined a hard-edged energy into everything they've done, from the fun of Kill 'em All through to the 21's century. And although their last effort, St Anger, sucked, everything before that was an evolution in music. I discovered them around 1992 after they turned out their self-titled black album, and have been a fan since.

2. The Doors - A lot of bands were long gone by the time I found them. But in the insane and beautiful poetry of Jim Morrison, I found a kindred soul. With magicifent keyboard work, unique guitar, and a (thankfully) understated drum, this wove a tapestry that could easily take me back to the 1960's, especially since I was yet to begin gestating. This even gave rise to much of my characters during my college radio days.

3. Guns 'n Roses - Axl is a dick. Slash is a guitar god. But G'n'F'n R was essentially balls to the wall rock, with leanings toward the symphonic. Of all the groups that emerged from the 80's, I know of none that made more of an impact in my world than this bunch, especially with only four albums (The Spaghetti Incident never existed, okay?) to their name. And while Slash and Duff have gone on to fun in Velvet Revolver and Axl keeps pretending GnR still lives, I can still get fired up on their combined genius.

4. Nirvana - I didn't really appreciate the genius of Kurt Cobain in the beginning. Like many other groups, I really discovered Nirvana after they were gone, although I had heard them many times before. We're talking chord combos that hadn't worked before, with a simple rawness that had been missing since the 80's glam rock. However, to really appreciate them, you have to listen to the Unplugged album, or pick up the video. It's really pure, and a warning that Nirvana, like Kurt himself, will soon die too soon.

5. REM - I've covered most of the other rock subgenres, but REM has a special place as well. When I was in high school, I dismissed them as whiny crap. A few years later, when they released Monster, with the same music, only using distortion, I discovered melody and an emotional state that none of the louder, faster, and angrier rock could convey. That, and it sounds the best of my list when I apply the songs to my 12-string. An absolutely different place to rock out.

Okay, that's the list. Now it doesn't cover all my faves by a long shot. The mentions include Aerosmith, The Beatles, Bon Jovi,
Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Green Day, and Led Zeppelin. But that's not all that could fit on the list, because I left out the solo artists. And I could subdivide this onto decades and places in my world.

Now as to bands already mentioned:

The Stones would not be in my list, although their longevity alone earns them honors.

I loathe Pearl Jam, only because I can't stand Eddie Vedder's voice. But they earned their rank alongside Nirvana.

J&E, I've never even heard of Acceptance. I'll consider that a challenge. 3EB, is good, but "Semi-Charmed" is really the overrated song on that album. "Jumper" is better. And Blink? They're almost as bland as The Band, but still good listening.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (9:22 AM) : 

Good points Patrick. G & R is a worthy addition.

You are soooo right. Trying to limit this to five picks is really tough, and obviously subjective based, I really believe on your younger days.

The Doors were a gem, no doubt about it and good stuff on REM.

Perhaps in the future, I'll do another genre.


Blogger Jesús said ... (11:19 AM) : 

Led Zeppelin. Sin duda el más grande. El poder de la voz y la guitarra de Jimmy Page lo hacen que sea mi preferido.

Queen. Geniales cada uno de ellos, aunque Freddy es incomparable. Los ví en Puebla, México en 1981.

The Beatles. Clásicos. No pueden faltar para todos los que nos gusta el Rock. Son parte importante de la cultura del Rock.

Kansas. Uno de los que su música me hace gritar. Es una combinación de rock con elementos clásico. Son un excelente grupo.

Foghat. Desde que los descubrí hace años me gustaron. Tradicionales, con muchos movimiento en su agrupación, pero mantienen el estilo,

Saludos David


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (12:35 PM) : 

Jesús, es cierto que Kansas y Foghat estan muy famoso, pero lo mas importantes?

Esta fin de semana, Foghat esta en concierto aca en Las Vegas.

Y tu, donde esta?


Anonymous Gordon Mallon said ... (7:50 PM) : 

The Clash. THE punk band. They had something to say and knew how to say it. The always were what Green Day wishes they could have been but never will be.

Pink Floyd. Nobody did introspection like Roger and the lads. Not even the next band on this list.

Nirvana. Busted out of the foggy damp world of Aberdeen, Wa, and took Seattle and then the rest of the world by storm. They spoke for their generation like Dylan did for his.

The Who. Nobody rocked like The Who. (This is a rock and roll list not a pop list, sorry fab four) I listened to a four disc compilation recently. From their raw beginning to their techno tinged end, they were about rock and roll and nothing else.

Rolling Stones. I have a CD made from some small club shows which were basicaly practice sessions before one of their tours. Called "Stripped". Strip away all the glitz and those boys know how to rock.

Can't list U2 for their sell out period. ("Lemon", "Zooropa" etc.)

Pearl Jam almost there, as is Los Lobos and Jimi Hendrix, and Foo Fighters.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:14 PM) : 

Great addition Gordon. I'm a little surprised no one has added the Ramones or, while really Punk, the Sex Pistols.

Looking back we would probably say the Beatles were popish, but not then.

It should also be noted that no one has mentioned any southern rock, ala Allman Bros or Lynyrd Skynyrd


Blogger James & Emilee said ... (7:00 AM) : 

The reason I included Acceptance in my list was because lately I keep hearing bands that are compared to them...

Blink? Oh yeah. Still on my list. My whole generation knows them, and many bands are really only knock-offs of them.

I wouldn't knock anything off of your list, as mine was the alt-rock list for my generation. A more recent list.

I didn't get on the Nirvana Train until recently...I had heard of them but didn't really know them when Kurt was around. Don't laugh, but I didn't even know he was dead until about three or four years ago...


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (7:08 AM) : 

Ah James, the vestiges of youth. Even so, Blink does not make the list.

Do you think in 15 years you'll look back and say Blink 182 was as important musically as any of the other bands listed here?

We'll see, pero mientras, esperamos!


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