Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A reader question for Meat Loaf...

Dear Meat Loaf,
Why, after saying that you are "tired of words" in Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, does it take you 343 more words to finish what you have to say?
Excellent question, reader*. Did you really count? I'll take your word for it. 
I normally avoid answering reader questions, preferring instead to act as a conduit to the rockers. But in this case I think I can clear things up with just two words: Jim Steinman. Steinman, as you surely know, was the lyricist behind this song and most of Meat's biggest hits. He is also renowned for being just a tad verbose. 
I could provide loads of examples of Steinman's propensity toward wordiness, but one of my favorites is the 1983 chart-topper Total Eclipse of the Heart, written by Jim and sung, of course, by Bonnie Tyler.
Several months back a friend hipped me to the "literal video version" of Total Eclipse. I've been looking for a plausible excuse to post it ever since. I guess today is my lucky day. Bless you, Jim Steinman. This vid has had 7 million viewers on youtube, so there's a good chance you've seen it. If not, you're in for a treat. Thanks to Beth for passing it along and remember readers...never let your meat loaf.

Got a question for a classic rocker? Send it in and we'll pass it along.
Lyrics to Two Out of Three Ain't Bad here.
Literal Bonnie Tyler here...

* I normally identify readers by initials, but I seem to have misplaced the name. If the submitter of this question would be so kind as to email me his/her name, I'll update this post to give credit where due. Thanks!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A reader question for Electric Light Orchestra….

Reader Becky D. has long been perplexed by the ELO song, Do Ya, which begins:

In this life I've seen everything I can see, woman,
I've seen lovers flying through the air hand in hand.
I've seen babies dancing in the midnight sun,
And I've seen dreams that came from the heavenly skies above.
I've seen old men crying at their own gravesides
And I've seen pigs all sitting watching picture slides,
But I never seen nothing like you.

Do ya do ya want my love?
Do ya do ya want my face?
Do ya do ya want my mind?
Do ya do ya want my love?

Becky D.'s question: If the woman (you're singing to) is so much stranger than all those things, would she really ever want your love?  Might not her tastes run toward the more eccentric?

Excellent question, Becky! But, I can't help wondering just the opposite. Jeff Lynne has clearly seen a lot of things. I wonder if by that point in his life, he had had enough of the flying lovers and dancing babies and porcine photography enthusiasts. Perhaps he’s so keen for this woman to want his love, face, and mind precisely because she is more prosaic than all these things he’s seen. It’s like being relieved when your vacation is over so you can go back to working all day and eating pasta over your own kitchen sink. Sure rampant hallucinations are fun, but they’re also exhausting.

Full lyrics to Do Ya here.

Do ya have a question of your own? Send it in and we’ll pass it along to the hairy Monsters of Rock. Hey, here come some now…

Electric Light Orchestra, Do Ya, 1976.
Click it. I think you'll find that you DO want Jeff Lynne's face.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A quick one for Aerosmith...

Dear Carly Simon's mom Steven Tyler,
How big were the gym lockers at your high school?
Was it really possible to fit three young ladies into one of them?

Full lyrics to Walk This Way here.
Question for classic rocker? Submit.

Friday, March 5, 2010

An Automotive Omnibus: Reader questions for The Cars...

“You can knock me. I don’t care.
You can mock me. I don’t care.
You can rock me just about anywhere…”
--The Cars, You’re All I’ve Got Tonight

Ah, The Cars. Good memories and fond associations. I can mock them. They don’t care. But my heart's just not in it. The Rockmocker may be going a little soft. I guess my allegiance to The Cars mainly comes down to three things:
a) The songs: catchy, distinctive, fun to drive to, just damn, you know.  
b) The fact that Ric Ocasek snagged Paulina Porizkova.
c) The cover of Candy-O.  (And The Cars and Shake It Up, for that matter.)

But Rockmocker readers aren’t so quick to give The Cars a pass. In recent days two different readers have sent in questions for Mr. Ocasek and/or The Cars. I pass them along as a public service. Gentlemen, we await your answers.

Reader P.B. writes…
Dear Ric Ocasek,
 In your Cars song, Let the Good Times Roll, you say,
…let them leave you up in the air
let them brush your rock-n-roll hair
let the good times roll.

What is “rock-n-roll hair”? Is it like “bed head”? Do you have to go to a special hairdresser to get it?

You go on to sing “…if the illusion is real, let them give you a ride”

If the illusion is real, wouldn’t it not be an illusion? 

Fine questions, P.B. I think Joe Walsh might be your best resource on that illusion question. As for “rock-n-roll hair,” if you don’t know what that is, you clearly didn’t live through the '80s or don’t currently reside in San Luis Obispo.

In a similar vein, reader D.S. would like to inquire of The Cars just what is a “clock machine” as mentioned in the song Let’s Go.
She’s winding ‘em down on a clock machine
And she won’t give up ‘cause she’s seventeen.

That’s a legitimate question too, D.S. I’d try to answer it for you but the old clock machine on the wall says it’s time to walk away from my computer machine and get some real work done.

Are you like me, readers? Do you like the nightlife, baby? Well, then…Let’s go! 
(The Cars, live 1982. Ben Orr lead vocals. R.I.P. 2000)
Got a question for classic rocker?
Send it to the rockmocker and we’ll pass it along.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A question for Ronnie Van Zandt...

re: Simple Man

Dear Ronnie,
I know that you are in heaven with your mama now, and I hesitate to bring up anything that might cause an emotional rift between you two, but I just have to ask something about the song, Simple Man.

You know the song, the one that goes:
Be a simple kind of man.

And maybe some day you'll love and understand.

Baby, be a simple kind of man.

Won't you do this for me son, if you can?

In it, you share all the sage advice your mother gave you when you were young. And it is fine advice--follow your heart...find a woman...forget your lust for the rich man's gold... All good stuff.

My question is this: did it ever bother you that she seemed to have such low expectations for you? I mean, "Be a simple kind of man?" Is that really the best she thought you could be? Just be simple. Don't be complex, or ambitious, or interesting, or multifaceted. Just simple. In the song, you never say what your reaction to all this advice was, or if you followed it. 

Honestly though, I'm surprised you remembered the conversation at all. You say that she said, "Come sit beside me, my only son," so this must have happened before your brothers Donnie and Johnny were born. You would have been, what, four years old? Pretty heavy stuff to put on a preschooler. Seriously, Ronnie, the more I think about it, I don't know if your mom was doing you any favors with this little heart-to-heart.

Anyway, I sincerely hope all is well with you, and honestly, do not feel any pressure to respond personally to this question. Just wanted to let you know that some of us are still thinking about what you said. 

But no matter what your mom says, I'm still gonna lust for the rich man's gold. Gimme that gold, rich man!

Got a question for one of the Van Zandt brothers or another classic rocker?
Send it in to the rockmocker, and we'll post it here.

Full lyrics to Simple Man here