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RockNotes: Thurston Moore vs. Axl Rose

1. Now you, too, can read the rock 'n' roll ramblings of Thurston Moore.

Sonic Youth has always been firmly in the category of Thinking Nerd's Rock Band and now Moore gives it another shove in that direction with his new blog flowers & cream.

Up now is a really cool and thoughtful post about what he calls his "favorite classic record these days," Iggy & the Stooges' Raw Power. He says that once he got a load of the bare-chested Iggy snarling with his chipped teeth and walking on the hands of the audience, "the drama of Bowie and glam seemed all at once tame."

Coming in for slams from Thurston are Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Helen Reddy, who, to him, represented all that was wrong about the "nowheresville" rock 'n' roll of the early 70s that Iggy slew with his greasy glory.

"The cover with Iggy bare chested, in silver lame trousers staring off into some rock 'n' roll psycho void had me in a heartbeat. And the back cover with the various photos of the band in glam anxious repose were all the invitation I need to the future."

Moore wraps up by saying, "A lot of it was due to the delivery of Iggy's vocal - it was as if the flaming voice of rock 'n' roll had found its Rosemary's Baby to deliver us from nowheresville. And by God, it did."

Maybe not coincidentally, the Raw Power: Deluxe Edition box set is due out from Columbia/Legacy on April 27.

Iggy Pop - Raw Power (Live At The Avenue B)
Uploaded by aldonero64


2. "The world died a little" last Friday," the Guardian laments.


Because Guns N' Roses "managed to clear out" the John Varvatos fashion boutique that was once CBGB in their first public appearance since the release of the long-awaited but underwhelming Chinese Democracy in 2008.

The venue, the Guardian said, was "half empty" as Axl Rose, playing without Slash and Duff McKagan, "strutted amid ($150) belts" at the boutique as part of a New York Fashion Week aftershow.

"On the bright side," the Guardian snarked, "this feeble incarnation of Guns N' Roses (which included former Replacements member Tommy Stinson) played only four tunes from Chinese Democracy. Much of the 17-song acoustic set came from 1987's Appetite for Destruction, including hits like 'Paradise City' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine.'"

Axl reportedly yelled to the half-empty boutique after the band wrapped at 3 a.m., "This was the best fucking show of our tour!"

3. On the other hand, a real rock 'n' roll talent, Buddy Holly, is about to get some more official recognition.

Over in Ioway, the Surf Ballroom - where Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson played their final show before their infamous and fatal 1959 plane crash, could soon be placed on the National Register of Historic Places at the recommendation of state officials.

The Surf, in Clear Lake, was built in 1947 in the Art Moderne style, KIMT-TV in Mason City reports, and has morphed from a music venue into something like a rock 'n' roll museum and outreach center. Executive Director Laurie Leitz told the station a historic designation would be key in securing the building's physical future.

"We will be eligible for a number of grants that can keep the Surf alive for many years to come," Leitz said.

And maybe then they wouldn't have to host events like next month's Bret Michaels Birthday Weekend Concert.


4. Speaking of true rock 'n' roll pioneers, some mention should be made of the passing of Dale Hawkins, the Arkansas rockabilly great who died over the weekend in North Little Rock after a long battle with cancer.

Among his many accomplishments, the writer of the 1957 hit "Susie Q" was the first white artist ever recorded by Chicago's Chess Records. Only 15 when he wrote it, it was so swampy and bluesy it actually worked against him, according to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame:

"He continued to record, but never experienced another comparable hit, in part because many listeners and radio programmers wrongly assumed that Hawkins was black," the RHoF notes. "The era's rigid, prejudicial boundaries hurt Hawkins' career in both white and black markets."

Hawkins was a Louisiana boy who "worked the rough-and-tumble country circuit around Shreveport and Bossier City" while closely following "new developments in blues and R&B through his day job at Shreveport's Jewel Records."

In a well-received profile of Hawkins for the Oxford American, Lauren Wilcox reports that he sold the rights to "Susie Q" for a couple hundred dollars before Creedence Clearwater Revival scored a smash with it in 1968.

Hawkins in the '60s was also quite successful as a producer, manning the controls for such hits as "Western Union" by the Five Americans and "Judy In Disguise" by John Fred & His Playboy Band.


From Avril Lavigne and Kid Rock to the Replacements and Radiohead, we've got the best RockNotes around. Comments and contributors welcome.


Posted on February 17, 2010

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SPORTS - Remembering Baseball's Historic 2020 Season.

BOOKS - Go Ahead, Eat Those Cheetos.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Suffering With Stoics & Cynics.

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