Dedicated to my brother, Bobby Camp (1969-2015) who introduced me to more bands than I can count. Frank Zappa (among others) once said something along the lines of writing about music is like dancing about architecture. That’s wrong. If listening to music is an experience, then writing about said experience is just as valid as writing about a trip to India. You can write about … Continue reading 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die…Or Not: 1985 – 1986
1979-1980 is the first period of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die…Or Not in which I had heard every record prior to writing the associated essay. In some cases, I was listening to the record for only the second time, but there were no surprises, only disappointments and hasty generalizations. On the other hand, this period also has the fewest strikethroughs and the … Continue reading 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die…Or Not: 1979 – 1980
Rock music is about to get interesting. I’m excited. Good stuff is about to happen. Key: Strikethrough indicates what you probably think it does Green indicates highly recommended listening Underlined indicates questionable but ultimately acceptable record Blue bold italic indicates ABSOLUTELY MUST HEAR BEFORE YOU DIE Note: Suggested alternatives are from the same year as the contested entry unless otherwise indicated. Also, anything in Red … Continue reading 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die…Or Not: 1977 – 1978
Over the years I’ve grown exceedingly skeptical and often dismissive of almost any article, book, or list that promotes something the reader “must do.” You don’t have to do anything. However, if you’re interested in the development of rock music as an artistic, historical and/or social movement, there are more than 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, as declared by the popular coffee … Continue reading 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die…Or Not – The Introduction
From an informational perspective, opinion-based “Best Of” lists, especially related to music, are generally worthless. For instance, Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs [Of All-Time], contains neither surprise nor revelation, yet abounds in cringe and grimace. Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums is another story altogether, and I’ll get to that some time in the future. While the online version of 500 Greatest Songs features a nifty … Continue reading 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All-Time, More or Less
Fantasyland. It was just like being home except home wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about having me around. Despite a litany of things to do, people to see, and places to be, it was inevitable that I would spend some time at Baltimore’s Inn. One night Freddie was behind the bar. It had been over a year since I’d been back, but very little had changed. A … Continue reading Jukebox Antagonist – Episode 7
For the majority of its existence, Rockford, Illinois has generally been considered one of the armpits of America. It’s a gritty industrial town near the Wisconsin border which has consistently been listed as one of the U.S.’s worst cities by polls and surveys published in major magazines, often winding up in the top ten worst cities. Since World War II, Rockford’s economy had been driven … Continue reading Bill Dolan Interview Part 1
Welcome to Petrology 202. We’re going to pick up where the 101 course level ended and take things in a more personal (for me) direction. Today we’ll be dealing with a musical hero I’ve actually met, Mike Watt. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to meet several of my so-called rock n’ roll heroes. You may have read this account of meeting Robert Plant … Continue reading Petrology 202: Mike Watt/Minutemen/fIREHOSE
Here’s how it descends into madness. I have a new book coming out, A Musical Education: Stories in the Key of All Right; it’s my second book and the first published by Black Sunshine Media. Aside from writing, editing, and all the creatively technical crap that goes along with producing the guts of a manuscript—which is 99% complete—there’s a whole nother laundry list of stuff that needs to be done; the majority of which are tedious tasks that make you regret having written a book in the first place. Some of you may have gone through the sausage-making process of querying agents and publishers, so I’m winking at you right now. Fortunately, and I say this with fingers crossed, by publishing under the Black Sunshine umbrella, several of those chores are no longer necessary. One of the benefits of being self-employed is not having to bother with a resume.
However, a completely different set of tasks come with being a publisher. This isn’t really about all that nonsense—it’s supposed to be a promo for the new book. In fact, that’s what I was working on when the wheels came off. But first, there is the subject of the book, which I’m hoping from the title you should be able to infer that it’s about experience and the splendor of music in life. More than half of the 10 stories that comprise A Musical Education have been previously published, either here on BSM or on my previous weblog, and each story is accompanied and augmented by relevant photos. Or at least, that’s what I was able to get away with on the website. Publishing a book is a different ball of wax.
My original thought was that while the inclusion of these photos was not essential, it would substantially improve the overall reader experience. For instance, the book’s opening story, “Fourteen Thousand Screaming Japanese Girls Can’t Be Wrong” is an extended meditation on my adolescent fascination with Kiss lunchboxes and Cheap Trick’s At Budokan. It seemed obvious to me that the narrative would benefit from, at the very least, a thumbnail of the album cover. Meanwhile, as long as we’re at it, why not throw in a few more photos, like one of the Kiss lunchbox? Since every story involves music in some way, we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 potential images.