Rock And Roll

i'd said:
sometimes i use a cello bow to play the guitar... it gives neat effects

peter replied:
Way to go, dude!

rick replied:
hmmmm.....seen jimmy page do that

peter adds:
Yeah, he invented it.

i asked:
yup! exactly... as i recall... his dad was a violin maker?

rick said:
got no clue

so i reply:
well... i hadda know...

"His father was an industrial personnel manager"

"Page also put to use his bowed playing technique he developed during his session days, and experimented with feedback devices and a theremin."

i believe i remember seeing him say in an interview that someone in his family made violins... and that's how he picked up the bow to experiment.

peter confirms:
Yup. Da Mahn be correckit.

"Then I had Billy Williamson, the steel guitar player, hit what I called lightning flashes, where he'd take the steel bar and hit it across the strings of the steel guitar and make it arc. It'd make POW! POW!'"
-- about the song Rock Around The Clock

i think about guitar styles and techniques:
hmmm... very interesting. i happened to experiment with the cello bow by accident... my grandfather had left me a cello... the bow happened to be sittin' there... sooo. in hindsight, it was probably cuz i saw jimmy do it with The Firm.

i tried lots of steel rods... and glass

also in hindsight, i think i picked up using tools from the front of a doobie brothers' album

and of course... i'd seen early footage of the who smashing... and hendrix burning

but i think i may have originated a couple techniques (or as leroy teases me... "patented guitar moves")

one i call the handsaw... using the blade of your hand like a saw you "cut" at the strings in a sawing motion

however, my favorite is called the "pick axe"... where you use a camera as a guitar pick (also known as the guitar pick cam)

peter continues: Now let's get serious about the best damn rock and roll band that ever hit the face of this planet. How many of you truly appreciate where they're coming from?

First of all, it's the playing. Nobody covers Zep songs, simply because nobody can play what they played. John Bonham is by far the most powerful and technically brilliant rock and roll drummer who ever lived. I saw him from backstage once. I sat there mesmerized, with my chin on the floor and my tongue hanging out, because I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing. Nobody played double bass drums like John. Nobody has the power, the speed, and the four-limb coordination. Then there is Jimmy. I hardly know where to begin. And John Paul Jones is not only a brilliant bass player, but a brilliant keyboard player to boot. And finally there is Robert, the totally unique Voice. There is no other singer that could have possibly fit in with Jimmy's playing. I mean, Paul Rogers is pathetic compared to Robert.

Secondly, it's the writing talent. It starts with Jimmy's incredibly powerful rhythmic guitar riffs, which are the basis for the song structure. No two riffs are the same, and no two songs are the same. He just goes on and on and on, endlessly creative, both rhythmically and in his fabulous leads. And even though you can't figure out what Robert is saying most of the time, his lyrics are usually great; i.e. "Stairway to Heaven" - a brilliant piece of poetry about Janis Joplin.

Thirdly, it's the shear volume of great work. They were producing music for longer than anybody great, with the exception of the Stones, and their body of work stands alone for shear brilliance and originality. Their debut album is still the best debut by any band, ever.

And lastly, it's their charisma on stage. Robert with his rock and roll hair, his skinny bare chest and his tight pants. Jimmy with his outrageous outfits, stamping his little feet madly, and swaying drunkenly around while he creates a tropical hurricane of sexual musical energy. Good God, what it must have been like to be in the middle of that!

So, waddaya got to say folks? Anybody disagree?

i ponder:
well... when it comes to "bands"... they're up there... with the beatles, elton john, the moody blues, pink floyd, and genesis would likely be "the most" when it comes to groups

but, those are all "concoctions"

i'd have to think on it for a while... the person that comes to mind as a musician and songwriter with the largest and bestest body of work... would probably be ray davies of the kinks... or maybe peter gabriel

dylan and neil young are great songsters too... but i ain't fond of their singin'

rick replied:
now yer cookin' with gravy... throwing Ray Davies into the mix. Great underated wit. Zany sense of humor

i add:
hmmm... now that i've thought a bit... there is another that i can not exactly say what he is... but i would put em there with zep, etal. -- alan parsons

engineered sgt. peppers
produced dark side of the moon
and al stewart's year of the cat, etc
plus had a gadzillion albums and hits as the alan parsons project
and, was able to do it outside the normal... not a normal musician... not a normal songwriter... his band never really toured

seems to have kept em focused on the big picture... instead of songs about groupies and being on the road (listened to I Robot lately? or how about Eye In The Sky? perhaps alan's "dreams" are sadly coming true)

and like ray davies... a super wit / philosopher undervalued by society

a nice oddity

peter replies:
Only the Beatles have got the body of original work to compare with Zeppelin, and they did become perfect players for their music, which was avant garde at the time and still is. For shear genius of stereo production, nobody will ever top Sgt. Pepper, and their vocals can't be topped. But as instrumental players, they still can't hold a candle to Zep - no one can. Besides, they broke up too soon, and John The Prophet was murdered. Elton's work is pretty good, admittedly he has some great songs, but actually the vast majority of his stuff is pretty average, and his recent stuff stinks. Plus, he's only a so so keyboard player. He uses other keyboard players to do the really hard stuff. Now how in the world can you include the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd with this crowd? I mean, the Moody Blues only had maybe 5 or 6 good songs, and Pink Floyd is SLOW SLOW AND BORING. They take the all time record for slow boring music. And the best thing about Genesis is Peter Gabriel, and his best stuff is solo. Phil Collins is another bore bore bore.

Oh come on now. I've got all Ray Davies stuff, and he certainly was a rock and roll pioneer, but still, nothing like the Beatles or Zep. What about the Genius Bob Marley? Or Jimi Hendrix? You completely forgot them. Bob has an incredible number of great songs. He wrote about really important subjects, things that Elton, Ray or Peter couldn't dream of concocting. And together with Jimmy Cliff, he invented Reggae, a most original type of music. You guys know that when I was in Jamaica with Jamaica Dandy, I met Bob Marley in Kingston. And Jimi invented a whole new style of guitar playing, and even a new approach to songwriting structure. After Jimi died, Jeff Beck purchased Jimi's strat, and even Jeff couldn't get the very same guitar to make the sounds that Jimi got out of it.

Well, I quite agree with you about Dylan. His voice is like fingernails on a blackboard. But he did just about invent sophisticated lyrics, and even John Lennon took inspiration from him. Now Neil Young is an acquired taste, and I love him. The trip with Neil is, you have to see him in person. He is one of those rare guys (and Steve Stills, and Graham Nash, and David Crosby) who can just sit down in front of an audience all alone, without any other musicians, and move from instrument to instrument, just singing and playing and being better than anyone else at doing just that. It's very hard to do. Try it sometime, without a band to back you up.

i reply:
that's funny... you rave about sgt. pepper here... but later you say alan parsons doesn't belong on the list?

also, i'd have to disagree with ya about Elton... i've seen him... he can really play. (it's his song writtin' that needs help from bernie)

the moody blues... what? the moody blues recorded an album in 1967 with the london symphony orchestra. to the best of my knowledge, this is the first full length concept album that married a rock band with an orchestra. just that one album has more than 5 or 6 good songs.

floyd is boring? you must have gone nutz? run like hell... careful with that axe... the list goes on... not to mention that every year since it's release dark side of the moon has been the #1 selling album.

ahh... you're killin' me... phil collins is one of the best drummers ever seen... phil... carl palmer... bun e. carlos. as a matter of fact, when i went to see robert plant... phil was his drummer... so that seems odd... phil is good enough for zep (in fact played at live aid with 'em)... but not good enough for you?

and, about ray davies, you are right... he is more than them... first of all he is just one guy... second of all he was around before... and after them. his body of work is much, much larger.

and again... before zep. existed... jimmy played for the kinks on one of the first and best rock songs of all times, you really got me now.

dave davies is a great guitar player too... and on that record... dave couldn't get the sound he wanted... it was pre-distortion pedal days... so he took a razor blade and slit the speaker cone in his amp.

inventing a new rock sound... in 1964

they were/are much more adventurous than zep... with a huge number of albums covering a much wider range of influences. (zep and the beatles both admit that most of their music is based on early american r&b. there is very little originality in the zep style.)

as for bob marely, yes. i think you missed the thread on studio 1? i've had extensive dealing with the originator of reggae... it's not bob marley... it is clement dodd.

nonetheless, i would put marley over zep.

when it comes to jimi hendrix, i always liked his experimental side... but only found a couple good tunes i could relate to

peter stands firm:
I'm about to give up on you (hehehe). Alan Parsons was good, but not Zep material, and you can stop trying to think of any more because there simply aren't any. I mean, do you really think Alan was a master piano player? Or one of the world's great singers? Come on now. To the list of Zeppelin unbeatable qualities, I now have to ad LENGTH OF SONGS without dumb musical repetition. "In My Time of Dying" is 11 minutes of pure genius. "Nobody's Fault but Mine". Another one. Now I have 9 (count 'em 9) Zep CD's, without any duplications, and that makes maybe 80-90 incredible pieces of music, and their songs average 6 to 7 minutes each, which totals maybe 10 hours of rock and roll originality. Now who the hell else does that? Nobody. End of subject. Good Night!

(is this highly opinionated enough for ya?)

wow... i'm thinking of a bunch more that deserved mention

bands --
if i had to pick between zep and ac/dc... i'd rather listen to ac/dc

thin lizzy... too often forgotten (i'd take the jailbreak album over zep's "presence" any day)

U2... one of the only newer bands worthy of mention

queen had many a solid album, lots of styles and could really play

jethro tull... been around doing great things for a long, long time

supertramp covered a wide range of great music (i'd put crime of the century, tull's Aqualung, floyd's The Wall, and genesis' Seconds Out on my albums to be stuck on a desert island with... ya might call that combination the Last Testament)

yes, YES may be the most talented of the bands (which reminds me... bill bruford should be mentioned as one of the greatest drummers... which also brings to mind king crimson's contribution including robert fripp, greg lake and john wetton. bill has played with both bands... so has tony levin.)

individuals --
jeff lynn
steve miller
peter frampton
and philly's own prodigal son, todd rundgren
(now there's a good example of an under appreciated genius)

ah ha! and how about lindsey buckingham / fleetwood mac?

huge body of great work

and, remember we were talking about guitar playing style... that's how this thread started

well, all that equipment used in experimenting... bows, slides, tools and cameras, etc... in the end my own style is to play with just my hands... not even a pick.

later i came to learn that lindsey is one of the only other guitar players to play this way.

i heard eric clapton comment about playing with his just his hands on his "unplugged album"... how he loved playing that way, but it was too hard on his fingers.

it does cause you to bleed on occasion

wally replies:
as far as having sex goes, led zeppelin is hard to beat.......see if you can count how many times robert says "baby". he does all the sweet talkin' for ya....

peter says:
Now Wally's got the essence of the thing. I should have added that quality to Zep's other unbeatable qualities. Sex. Yup. That's it. Zep's music is pure sexual sound. Only Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady comes close. In fact, I used Zep when my first date came over. Zep III, and then Zep I, over and over, for five solid hours! Yum Yum!

i respond:
yup.. i was afraid that's where you were headed

to which i'd say, what about terrible ted?


or even VH (whose whole lottla love style version of the kinks' you really got me now says quite a bit on the subject)

rick replied:
Zep seemed to enjoy the notoriety of especially bad press. Who can forget the groupie and the fish story as well as John Bonham and Manager Peter Grant's merciless beating of a Bill Graham employee at an Oakland by the Bay Day Concert. The Stones always said it first that bad press is good press.

Shame Page went through the late 80's and 90's too stoned or drunk to perform his craft live. The results of which were embarrassing to say the least. He only now seems to have regained his abilities.

And while we're throwing other groups into the mix, how about those boys from Boston, Aerosmith? Sitting here listening to a smokin' new album of R&B classics called "Honkin' on Bobo".

We all know what that means now don't we?

i respond:
i always liked how aerosmith did those play on words album/song titles, too... "get a grip"... "draw the line"

and, they did one of my favorite "albums" of music... "rocks" i mean... it's easy to get your rocks off on how "rocks" rocks

(a couple other notable boston bands from the same time period include... boston... and the cars... both had amazin' first albums... and were able to stay on the charts for years after.)

rick added:
The Cars were an amazing live performing band. Elliott Easton is/was a monster on guitar (had a bad ego problem from what I've heard). I've got a live in performance DVD of them in the early 80's from Germany and the renditions were note for note reproductions of their album classics.

The last part of the DVD was a full band interview conducted about 2 months before their bassist Ben Orr passed on from pancreatic cancer. It's a shame as he looked like a hollow shell, a ghost of his former self when he was probably the best looking of the original band.

And go figure, Ric Ocasek, possibly one of the hardest to look at rock stars nails and is still married to one of the most beautiful models in the world Paulina Herzagova (sp?)

i reply:
heehe... ya know it's funny... this actually bothered me a bit when i saw them. at that time, no touring bands were lip sync'in or playing to backing tracks, etc.

soooo... i was expecting to see some "jams," extended solos, etc. now... in hindsight... i find it amazing... and would guess they probably played the most accurate renditions of any band of seen.

and, i finally got "connection with the crowd" when greg hawkes started playing "moving in stereo"... he had a real small synth (for the time)... and had it on a real long chord... he took hold of it and approached the audience... turning the cutoff and resonance knobs to get that special sounds. he walked back and forth in front of the crowd... lookin' us in the eye... and getting us to the place where we could move in stereo.

it was one of those special moments

speaking of benjamin orr... he had a solo album that is actually better than many of the cars later efforts.

ps the "just another band out of boston" band, Boston, is also a good case study for "the music business"... how many albums have they put out, 3? yet, they are huge n' profitable. that's because not only is tom sholz (donald t. sholz) an amazin' guitar player... he's an inventor. he patented some of his own guitar pedals and electronics... making him rich... and able to choose his musical endeavors.

rick replied:
I've got some of Scholtz's Rockman effects systems. The thing with Boston and all those bands with a recognizable sound was that they had the "voice". Tell me Brad Delp couldn't sing the high one's?

i go on:
oh yeah! he did a nice side project when boston wasn't touring... called RTZ (studio musician lingo for Return To Zero... or push the counter on the recording deck to reset... so it reads 000 )

peter replied:
Do you guys know the story on how Boston got their record contract? Scholtz produced everything himself, and then sent tapes to the record companies. When they heard "More than a Feeling", they fell all over themselves, and a bidding war developed. I've never heard of anyone having that effect on so many record companies at once, just by sending out tapes. Of course "More than a Feeling" is a classic, and an obvious #1 with a bullet hit, so we can't give the record companies that much credit, can we?

i reply:
heehe... that's funny

just about every time i start working with a new band... that thinks a fatcat in a limo with a big stoggie is gonna sign a contract and hand em a million bucks... boston starts playing in my head --

"A man came to the stage one night;
He smoked a big cigar, drove a Caddilac car.
And, said, "Boy's, I think this band's outta-sight;
Sign a record company contract...."
-- Donald T. Scholz, Rock & Roll Band

ps does anyone know how the multiple spellings of his name started? his sheet music uses Donald T. Scholz

rick replied:
I was just thinking. This stuff makes it kind of fun to "show your age". The weird thing is that my 2 youngest kids (15 & 17) are really getting into my old music. Tom Petty, Zep, Derek and the Domino's, Steve Miller, Grateful Dead, and Dylan are all I hear from their rooms now.

i respond:
heehe... i was just thinking about tom petty.

i always liked his music... but earlier in his career i was somewhat put off by his personality. i couldn't understand how he could get so frustrated that he punched a wall and busted his guitar hand. how could he? he must be an ego pig?

but, then later... i watched him stand up to the music biz... and put music before money.

the same is true of john "cougar"

peter suggests:
OK, we've beat Led Zeppelin to death, and apparently I failed to make my points. Now here's my vote for the best rock and roll band that never made it really big:

H.P. Lovecraft. Anybody ever heard of them?

They had two lead singers who did the most remarkable and distinctive vocal harmonies, unlike any other harmonies I ever heard, and some of their songs were great; i.e. The White Ship and That's the Bag I'm In. They were a "psychedelic" band, with one of those acidy flowery album covers. They were very popular in CA at the time (late 60's I think), but they never got a hit record. They broke up, and the two singer/songwriters disappeared off the face of the planet, never to be heard from again.

rick replies:
How about the Electric Flag, Orleans, Love, Foghat, Ten Years After, and of course Moby Grape

i add:
how about the babies, grahm parker, UK... or ian hunter

speaking of ian hunter... we seem to have left david bowie out of our "made it" list. not only did bowie write mott the hooples' biggest hit, but mick ronson went on to become ian hunter's gtr player... and he was one of the greatest guitar players to have lived. ian's live album, welcome to the club, is one of the better albums ever made... and certainly one of the best live albums to be found.

and... the members of UK should be noted... john wetton, eddie jobson and terry bozzio. eddie is an amazing musician... i saw him up close when he toured with jethro tull... ya gotta see em to believe it. terry went on to be the drummer for missing person.

wally said:
how about all the people whose albums we own and love for our own personal individual thread please.....

i reply:
what you don't wanna share em with us?
qsms? (quick silver messenger service)

wally coughs it up:
sure, lets beat the thread dead......

steve kimock is by far the best, unknown guitarist that has ever lived....

plenty of free downloads at has played with everyone in his career........his current band also sports the hottest drummer on the planet, rodney.

rodney holmes ( must be seen to be believed and even then its still unbelievable.

rick replies:
Kimmock recently moved to our area up near Reading/Allentown on a farm with a nice studio on premises. My keyboardist recently went up and jammed with him for a day.

John Cippolini from Quicksilver is still one of my favorite and influential guitarists of all time.

i ask peter:
hey how about your studio band... some of those guys in the picture with you at hyde studio... aren't they part of a "best band that never made it big"... zero or sumpin'?

peter's reply:
Yeah, but I wasn't including myself in this, although I guess I deserve to be there. Timmy certainly deserves an award for the best undiscovered rock and roll guitar player. Think about it. My music is very varied - rock, to country, to ballads, to Belchmeister - and Timmy played perfectly on every one of them, almost always on the first take. I used to sit on the floor and just say, "Go Timmy", and then sit back and listen to him do his thing - and it was right on the money every damn time. It hurts me that he won't even return my phone calls now.

Bobby Vega is the bass player in the photo. He's a well known session player - a real pro. Burleigh Drummond is the drummer, another session player, although not quite as successful and well known as Bobby. I only used these guys on three songs off "Phase I", but the photo was taken at that time.

I wish I had a photo of Eric and Phil Goff and Dino, because these guys played brilliantly on most of my stuff.

Eric lives in Laguna Beach, and I see him every time I go there. Which gives me the idea to take my camera next time and photo him and his unique Laguna Beach mansion overlooking the ocean, and then scan and upload his photo to my site. Maybe I will. He certainly deserves it.

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