Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kid Rock

St. Paddy's Day

The Secret Museum

Jim Webb & Michael Mooney

Kid Rock - The High Priest of Trash Tries Recycling

A few weeks ago I saw Kid Rock’s video for his song All Summer Long. Bob “Kid Rock” Ritchie popularized the Las Vegas White Trash Style (still manifesting itself on The Strip in 2009), and has been blending rap, rock, pop and country since the early 90s. On this song he hijacks the riff from Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London and parts of Lynyrd Skynryd’s Sweet Home Alabama, adding his own lyrics into the blender to come up with this recent hit. The idea of Kid Rock taking old songs and weaving parts of them into new stuff is one I like. The two classic rock tunes he uses are better than the new final result, but I think his attempt at creating something new from the ashes of the old is praiseworthy, even if it is greater in concept than actualization. It will be interesting to see if other rock/pop acts follow his lead in recycling old songs into new. Rock Music is slowly dying from the twin effects of the short attention span of the digital download generation, and the domination of urban/rap top 40 radio across all youth demographics. Kid’s approach could help the younger crowd discover some past classics they missed firsthand. One of Pop Music’s traits has always been its disposability (“low art” trash); something new will be quickly taking over the airwaves and making last week’s hit obsolete. Is All Summer Long good trash or bad trash? Will the Eco-friendly/Green conscious youth decide this kind of song recycling is good for the planet and their iPods? Can we expect The Archie’s Sugar Sugar or other pop trash to be brought into the 21st century with a new body and facelift? When it comes to these questions, there’s only one thing for certain: Kid Rock will be partying near the front of the pack.

-Jim Webb


Given that the history of Rock is rife with blatant wholesale theft, it doesn’t surprise me that two-bit hustler Bob Ritchie ripped off a couple of the 70s lesser musical moments (neither songs contain a bridge) to earn (?) himself another empty-headed hit (I’m reminded of the Clash singing about ‘gimmick-hungry yobs digging gold from Rock and Roll’- Ritchie’s entire career is summarized in that line.) There aren’t many plundered songs in the Rock canon that have been improved by the thieves themselves. The Beach Boys’ Surfin’ USA- pilfered from Sweet Little Sixteen- comes to mind (and even that one’s debatable), but few others. What Ritchie is doing here is typical of his type: stealing from a creative source and calling it homage.

These are the first 10 songs from my iPod this morning (random setting):

1. Steve Hillage: U.F.O. Over Paris (Green- 1978)
Spacy (what else) riff over tight but funky rhythm section, dissolving into celestial
glissando coda. Trippy.

2. Can: Deadlock- Instrumental Title Melody (Soundtracks- 1970)
And sounding like the theme to an Italian horror flick (which it may very well be.)

3. Damien Dempsey: It’s All Good (Seize The Day- 2004)
One of the finest songs of this young century. Co-sung by Sinead O’Connor.
Mournful and beautiful, as is all the best Irish music.
“Love yourself today. OK, OK”

4. The Kinks: Strangers (Lola VS Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One- 1970)
Possibly brother Dave’s finest Kinks moment, and certainly his best 70s track.

5. Sir Douglas Quintet: Lawd, I’m Just A Country Boy In this Great Big Freaky City
(Mendocino- 1969)
Doug Sahm’s hippie/redneck ode to San Francisco.

6. Microdisney: Idea (Everybody Is Fantastic- 1984)
Leadoff cut from an essential pop LP.

7. Adele: Je Ne Veux Plus d’Accordeon (Femmes De Paris, Volume 2- 2002)
Not the pavement chaser, rather an obscure Chanteuse from les sixties;
French Freakbeat waltz ends in tragedy for the aerophonist.

8. The Zombies: Nothing’s Changed Backing Track (Zombies Heaven Box- 1997)
Hugh Grundy is one of Rock’s greatest drummers. Here’s proof.

9. Nelson Riddle: Batman Thaws Mr. Freeze or That’s The Way The Ice Cube Crumbles
(Batman Original Television Soundtrack- 1966)
Fun mashup incorporating Nelson’s classical vamps with Neal Hefti’s theme and the
great George Sanders (who sounds just like Otto Preminger.) Later sampled by
Juno Reactor.

10. NoMeansNo: Manic Depression (You Kill Me EP- 1985)
Heavy Hendrix cover version, far surpassing the original in both spirit and execution.

And a little something for all you Micks (courtesy Fovea Hex):

"O Cormac, grandson of Conn," said Carbery, "what were your habits when you were a lad?"
"Not hard to tell," said Cormac.

"I was a listener in woods,
I was a gazer at stars,
I was blind where secrets were concerned,
I was silent in a wilderness,
I was talkative among many,
I was mild in the mead-hall,
I was stern in battle,
I was gentle towards allies,
I was a physician of the sick,
I was weak towards the feeble,
I was strong towards the powerful,
I was not close lest I be burdensome,
I was not arrogant though I was wise,
I was not given to promising though I was strong,
I was not venturesome though I was swift,
I did not deride the old though I was young,
I was not boastful though I was a good fighter,
I would not speak about anyone in his absence,
I would not reproach, but I would praise,
I would not ask but I would give...

for it is through these habits that the young become old and kingly warriors."

Happy St. Pat’s!
-Michael Mooney

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