You know what I miss? Songs about ROCK. I don’t mean songs THAT rock; we all can name five songs off the top of our heads that totally fucking rock. In fact, I’ll try it right now:

1. Kiss – “Detroit Rock City”

2. Jane’s Addiction – “Stop”

3. The Kinks – “All Day and All of the Night” (guitar solo)

4. Led Zeppelin – “Black Dog”

5. Archers of Loaf – “Sickfile”

Jesus, that was easy. Anyway, I’m talking about the songs that take on the issue of “rock” itself, and the myriad ways one can and can’t rock, and the proper environment to do so. Back in the ’70s, before I was really conscious about my own ability to rock, it was apparently a subject of much discourse.

Let’s not confuse this with Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” which is not about rock, it’s about “talking about rock” – an act far too removed to fit anywhere near the act of rocking.

The Who, in the song “Long Live Rock,” found themselves fit to proclaim “Rock is dead! Long live rock!” in the old-fashioned role as town crier for rock itself. Neither the Beatles nor the Rolling Stones ever had the gumption to make that kind of statement about rock, or even rocking.

Kiss expressed their interest in “rock[ing] all night and party[ing] every day,” which signaled their belief that partying and rocking were exclusive acts. This is corroborated by Sammy Hagar, who informed his listeners that there was “Only One Way to Rock,” which, frankly, I found a little limiting. He even said that 8:05 was the time to rock (I assume PM).

By far, the ballsiest song about the act of rocking was AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” – which, with the cannons firing at the end, has to be one of the greatest statements ever made. Assumedly, if you had to ask whether or not you were about to rock, you probably weren’t.

In regards to rocking, you knew who you were. I also salute those who are about to rock, or those who have been rocking for some time. ROCK and FUCKING ROLL!!!


0 thoughts on “whiddly-whiddly!

  1. Sean

    You and I were on a road trip with Scotty Q. Bullocks and they played “For those about to Rock” and then “We Will Rock You” and I think we all felt, y’know, *prepared* to rock, but I don’t know that we were rocking *in the present*.
    Hot Blooded and Jukebox Hero. When singing along to those songs, you know you are rocking. The power of One Guitar is mentioned only in the latter, but is present in both.

  2. Alan

    The relative rocking capacities of the Stones and AC/DC was made manifest during last summer’s SARSfest broadcast on TV here in Canada. The Stones lost. No drooling chinned guitarist. Remember Jimmy Page on Live Aid? Solid ball of drool and sweat. Non-rocking Phil Collins drummed behind Page agast, with an expression on his face like he stepped out of a JC Penny into the bowels of hell.

  3. Scotty Q. Bullocks

    Goddamn, Sean of the Dead, that’s my favorite segue EVER (and one that immediately came to mind as soon as Ian whispered “rock”. The only thing that could have made that roadtrippin’-through-Virgina-one-two punch any heavier would be to rock so hard death is the only relief. I firmly believe that if that dj had moved into “(Dont’ Fear) The Reaper” and then into the little-known Wurm blitzkrieg “I’m Dead,” the backs of our heads would’ve exploded right then and there. “Officer Johnson, that’s the damnedest thing I eva did seen. Three gents with only faces on their shoulders. Those smiles will haunt me foreva. Fuck.”

  4. Tanya

    Ian Darling,
    I think you waxed prophetic/poetic/philosophic a while back re: Tears for Fears (speaking of rock … sort of). Well, I heard on the radio on my way in to work today that they will be on Conan tonight – apparently they have a new album! Side note: even though nobody’s making actual albums these days, is the vernacular still correct? Anyhoo. For what it’s worth, I’m going to have that song stuck in my head all day now. “don’t take my heart, don’t break my heart, don’t, don’t, don’t throw it away…”
    I guess it’s better than “Wheels on the bus.”
    dammit. there it goes.

  5. Sean

    For the record, so to speak, it is still considered and “album” since an album is any collection of stuff you can peruse. Like a photo “album”. Cool, huh?

  6. Jennifer

    In the late ’80s, a group called The Whispers advised that it was best to “rock steady” – it was even okay to do so all night long and until the break of dawn. I guess this was their way of saying screw you to Mr. Hagar and his 8:05 notion. At any rate, I suppose it’s sage advice. You’ve got to pace yourself when it comes to these things. Let your rock get out of control too early and before you know it, somebody’s lost an eye, another is wearing a lampshade and the police are on their way. It’s not pretty.

  7. Jenn

    Ian (and Tanya) I meant to metion the new TFF album as I brought it up here in the past (I think in a post about Real Genius). It’s fantastic actually. The single they’re playing out and about is a little too happy for me, but the album as an entity is very well done and it’s gotten excellent reviews. It follows the vein of Sowing the Seeds (but w/more Beatles, less 80s AOR) No one’s calling out “washed up”. They’re touring Oct/Nov, medium sized venues. *dork*

  8. Bud

    They Might Be Giants said it best in “We Want a Rock”:
    “Everybody wants a rock
    to wind a piece of string around.”
    Now that’s REAL rock, rock that you can really sink your teeth into (metaphorically only, please).

  9. Eric G.

    I’m glad a buddy of yours is involved in “Veronica Mars.” It’s easily the best new show on TV. Which ensures that it will be cancelled. Probably not as quickly as pure quality gets you killed on the Big Four networks, but I’m sure we’ll all be sending Mars bars to the UPN corporate offices sooner or later in some ill-fated, last-ditch effort to Save our Show. Kristen Bell is quite talented; did you catch her in “Spartan”? Don’t worry if you didn’t; I’ve yet to meet another human being who did. The dad seems miscast. Loved him in “Just Shoot Me,” but I find myself flinching when he appears onscreen and that “Who’s Your Daddy” shit is just creepy. Well, I hope whatever you’re doing is going well. I’ll get back to watching the Cubs self-destruct now.


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