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

Friday, February 19, 2010

A reader question for Journey...

Rockmocker reader T.I. of Chicago* writes:
I'm hoping you can pose a rather vexing question to the fellows from Journey. In their song Lights, Steve Perry sings, "When the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay..." Exactly what time of day is Mr. Perry describing? Lights generally go down around bedtime, and yet the sun would shine on the bay during the morning because the bay is east of the city. If the song were about Oakland, the setting sun could perhaps illuminate the bay while the lights are going down. But reportedly the song is not about Oakland, but San Francisco.

I once posed this question to a friend of mine, and she suggested that the song described morning, and that it was reasonable to assume lights (such as streetlights) would be "going down" around this time. But I pointed her to John Stewart's song "Gold," in which we are told "When the lights go down in the California town, people are in for the evening." (And "Gold" had Stevie Nicks singing backup and Lindsey Buckingham on guitar and production, so you know it's authoritative about late-'70s California.)

All of this has me very confused. I hope you can help.

Wow. Now that is a well-considered (and by that I mean “long”) question! Seriously, T.I., we applaud your perseverence in what has obviously been a long search for truth. Normally, we avoid answering questions on this site, considering ourselves to be merely a conduit to the rockers we so admire, but your question piqued my interest so I did some searching. (There’s this little site called wikipedia…). Seems Mr. Perry himself has more-or-less addressed this point. If you believe what you read on the Internet, your answers can be found here. Attn: San Francisco readers! Steel yourselves. Apparently Perry wrote this song about a different cit-tay altogether--one whose abbreviation rhymes with "the bay".

How about you then? Got a question for a classic rocker?
Send it to the rockmocker and we'll pass it along.

A special welcome to all the new tri-state readers who heard me on WLW. Be sure to sign up to get posts via email in the right column.


* Incidentally, did it ever strike you that the song Tra La La by the Banana Splits sounds eerily similar to Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley? Me neither. But it did to T.I. of Chicago who submitted today's question. T.I. is a clever fellow who would like to invite Rockmocker readers to visit his website, a part of which is dedicated to identifying similar-sounding songs. Clever indeed. Thanks, T.I.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Speaking of the pompatus of love...

Dear Steve Miller,
It's been awhile since I've written. I hope you are still being well and truly rocked by your sweet baby. I know to what great lengths you went to make that happen.

Just a quick question today regarding The Joker
You say:
People keep talkin' about me baby, 
say I'm doin' you wrong (doin' you wrong),
But don't worry, don't worry, don't worry now mama,
Cause I'm right here at home.

If I read you correctly, you're saying that the mere fact of you being right there at home rules out any possibility that you are doing your baby/mama wrong? Does she actually buy that? I'm no fancy social worker, but I'm pretty sure that a lot of wrong-doing happens, in fact, right there at home.

Still, if you would have stopped the song there, you might have convinced your sweet baby, if only grudgingly, that you were doing her right. But just a few lines later--after providing a laundry list of things you are (picker, grinner, lover, sinner, etc.)--you mention, almost as an afterthought, that, oh yeah, "I get my lovin' on the run."

Dude, you are either super-ballsy or your sweet baby has the intellectual capacity of an actual sweet baby. But, whatever works for you, Steve Miller. Just keep on tokin' and it'll probably all be fine.

Incidentally, have you ever considered playing your music in the shade? Not even The Joker can laugh away basal cell carcinoma. Think about it.

Full lyrics to The Joker here.
The mystery behind "the pompatus of love" revealed here. Really!

Below: The Joker, 1973. This one is well worth 3 minutes of your life. 
To see The Joker with kittens (Fatboy Slim remix), go here. Yes, kittens.

Got a question for the Space Cowboy or another classic rocker?
Query the Rockmocker.
Sign up to get rockmocker posts via email over there...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rock is dead.

We don't traffic in concert reviews here at Rockmocker Central Command, and after seeing/feeling/touching/healing yesterday's half-time extravaganza, it's just as well. No slipped nipples, thankfully. No denim-clad crotch-into-camera slides. Just flashes of Pete's white belly whilst nominally windmilling and two rock and roll heroes attempting the impossible--to live up to their legacy. Everyone in the world over 40 feels older today. Except for Pete and Roger who feel richer.

Anyhow, before we dismiss The Who entirely, I do have one quick parting question for them:

re: Long Live Rock
How are you so sure that you were "the first band to vomit in the bar and find the distance to the stage too far"? I know many bands have had and continue to have that problem, and I'm not saying it didn't happen to you, but first? What about The Spinners? Or the Electric Prunes? Or Badfinger? They all seem likely to have vomitted in the bar. How about Dizzy Gillespie? Hot Tuna? The Acid Reflux Experience? (Okay. I made that last one up.)

Also, did you always vomit as a band? How do you synchronize that?

Lyrics to Long Live Rock here.
Question for a once-mighty rocker? Query the Rockmocker.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A reader question for The Who...

Whoa... The Rockmocker apologizes for the looong delay between posts! While I cannot divulge the location, for the last several days I was attending--okay, I was keynote speaker at--a Monsters of Classic Rock summit meeting in Reykjavic, Iceland...oops! I divulged. ...Anyway, amazing what you learn when the masks come off and you're just "hanging out" with superstars. You might be interested to know, for instance, that Ric Ocasek is actually a quite handsome man who stands 5'3", Sir Elton John loves John Wayne movies and squirting Cristal through the gap in his teeth, and Jim Morrison is planning a comeback for 2012 in honor of the Mayan apocalypse. Oh! I've said too much.

While I was away reader questions have literally been figuratively stacking up, so let's get right to it!
We're all looking forward to seeing The Who perform at the Superbowl on Sunday--mostly to see if Roger Daltrey has the temerity to sing the line, "I hope I die before I get old", which according to actuarial tables should actually be amended to, "I hope I'm now dead."

Today's question comes from Rockmocker reader, D.R., who writes:
Dear The Who,

Nothing looks any different in the street? Really? Even with the slogans replaced, the parting on the left now parting clear over on the right and everybody's beards so much longer than they were yesterday? I just don't think you're paying attention, dude. And by the way, if you really need to fight in the streets, maybe you should put your children someplace safer than at your feet. 

Excellent and insightful question, D.R.! Clearly, The Who is not paying attention to the situation on the street. Sounds to me like they are ripe for being fooled again!
And what is it about rockers that makes them want to put their children in harm's way? Granted, The Who does say later in the song that he will "move myself and my family aside," but that's only if they happen to be left half alive. Oh rockers, will you ever learn about child safety?

Well, readers, enjoy the mini-concert on Sunday and be sure to watch this space for more updates from the Monsters of Classic Rock conference. Late in the evening, Stevie Nicks whispered something in my ear that you just will not believe...

Below: The Who (sigh) when they were The Who...
Won't Get Fooled Again
Parting on left/parting on right line at 4:40
Solos start at 5:45 and mercifully end with...
The Scream at 7:50
Instrument destruction at 8:40. Thank you.

Question for a classic rocker? Ask the Rockmocker!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Rockmocker call to action!

Greetings fellow dwellers of The Rockosphere!

The Rockmocker is currently on assignment (i.e. busy with paying work) and will likely not be posting for the remainder of this week. But I do have important news to share...
The Rockmocker has recently secured funding to break ground on The Rockmocker Center for the Study of Dubious Metaphors for Sexual Congress in Rock Lyrics

Now I need your help! Have you collected a favorite lyrical euphemism for doing the nasty? A carnal turn of phrase that is juvenile, puerile, prosaic, or flat-out goofy? Please send them in to the rockmocker and together we will build the largest (and only) database of lyrical intercourse innuendo in the world. This invaluable research tool will then be permanently posted on the Rockmocker site.

I'll get things started with a couple of my favorites:

My cup is on the table, my love is spilling
Waiting here for you to take and drink of...
-Roll With the Changes, REO

Show me round your fruitcage
‘cause I will be your honey bee
open up your fruitcage
where the fruit’s as sweet as can be...
-Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel

What say you, fellow rocker? Will you be a part of this historic endeavor?
Post your contribution as a comment to this post or email the Rockmocker.

Now, get out there and think dirty!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A question for Loverboy...

You say "everybody," but what about the people who have to work on the weekend?

Below: Will Ferrell doing Robert Goulet doing Loverboy. I could not, in good conscience, ask you to watch the actual band.
He starts singing at 1:45, but it's all pretty funny.
Question for a rocker? Query the rockmocker.

Email the Rockmocker!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I hate to bother you again, Stevie Nicks...

It's about Landslide. I know everybody loves this song--especially the ladies--and I don't mean to be petty, it's just... I've spent a fair amount of time in the mountains. I've looked at a lot of snow, but I have yet to see my reflection. Shadow? Certainly. Reflection? No. I read that you wrote this song in Aspen, but I've looked at Aspen snow too. Nothing. Tell me, Stevie Nicks, where does one find reflective snow?

Also, minor point and I hate to quibble, but you say you saw your reflection "in the snow covered hills till a landslide brought it down". If the hills are snow covered, wouldn't it be an avalanche rather than a landslide that brought it (your reflection) down?

Also, still waiting on that Edge of Seventeen answer. Thanks, Stevie. Look forward to hearing from you soon!

Lyrics to Landslide here.
Read about the distinction between avalanches and landslides here.

Got a question for Stevie Nicks or another ethereal gypsy rocker?
Send it to the Rockmocker. We'll pass it along.

Okay, ladies. Here she is. Doing Landslide with Lindsey B. Apparently they had a bit of thing once.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A question for Judas Priest...

I suppose that by now a helpful fan has hipped you to this, but were you aware that the actual, correct phrase is, "you've got another THINK coming"? No big deal. You can say what you want. Artistic license and all. Just puttin' it out there.

Lyrics to You Got Another Thing Coming here.
Discussion of the mild grammatical controversy surrounding this phrase here.

Below: a then-still-closeted Rob Halford does his thing.
Excerpt from the comments posted below this video on youtube:
"a dude as bad ass as Rob Halford could possibly turn me gay as long as i would be as cool as him..." -mattman67560
Well said, mattman. I think you're halfway there.

Got a question for a classic rocker? 
Send it to the Rockmocker and we'll pass it along.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A question for Jon Anderson...

Rockmocker reader, J.H. has a question for Jon Anderson of YES. He writes:
How did the "gold stainless nail" get "torn through the distance of man"?
And what the hell is a "Siberian Khatru"--a particularly incoherent sneeze
that comes from the kind of cold you catch there?

Whoa. Those are pretty heady questions, J.H.! I'm afraid they're way out of the Rockmocker's sphere of expertise, so we'll have to wait for Mr. Anderson to respond.
Huh. No response. Maybe some clues will emerge if we look more closely at the lines in question:

Gold stainless nail,
Torn through the distance of man
As they regard the summit.
Even Siberia goes through the motions.
Hold out and hold up;
Hold down the window.                                        
Hold out the morning that comes into view.
River running right on over my head.

Huh. Running right over my head too. Do hold down the window, though. I think I might hurl.

Full lyrics to Siberian Khatru here. Warning: it only gets weirder.
Five things you should know before adopting a Siberian Husky here!

Anyway, thanks for the question, J.H. I'll send an alert the minute Mr. Anderson responds!
How about you? Got a pressing question for a classic rocker?
Don't hold it in! Send it to the Rockmocker.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A question for Billy Squier...

Regarding the person that everybody wants in the song Everybody Wants You, where does he or she work? I'm just curious to know at which company you are able to "take your pension in loneliness and alcohol." Do many people opt for that over the 401k?

See full lyrics to Everybody Wants You here.
Below, a 30-second clip of a close-cropped, modern-day Billy performing the song acoustically with a red puppet. If that thing's on his own left hand, I am impressed and humbled. If not, just confused.
Question for a classic rocker? Send it to the Rockmocker.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

You know what's driving ME crazy, Sammy Hagar?

Your lack of even the most rudimentary botanical knowledge.

"Hot, sweet cherries on the vine"?
Where exactly are these cherry vineyards of which you sing so passionately?

Lyrics to Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy here.
Learn about cherry trees here.

Got a question for classic rocker? Send it on over to the rockmocker.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A question for Foreigner...

re: Double Vision
Feelin' down 'n dirty. Feelin' kinda mean.
I've been from one to another extreme.
Dear Foreigner,
Don't mean to be nitpicky, but "down 'n dirty" and "kinda mean" don't strike me as particularly antipodal ways of feelin'. I'd say the terms are more complementary than contradictory.
If you truly have been "from one to another extreme," wouldn't it be more accurate--and no less rhymey--to say:
Feelin' down and dirty. Feelin' up and clean.
or perhaps,
Feelin' rather friendly. Feelin' kinda mean.
Opposites, you know? From one to another extreme. 
Also, Foreigner, you might want to check out this t-shirt. I think somebody owes you money for this one.
Full lyrics to Double Vision here.
Symptoms, causes of, and treatment for Double Vision (diplopia) here.
Got an urgent question for Foreigner or another tight-panted rocker?
Send it to the Rockmocker and we'll pass it along.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Say, you want a resolution?

Here's one for you... Mock more in 2010!
Sign up to get updates from the Rockmocker posted to your inbox.
(See button in right-hand column.)
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Ringo's onboard. Shouldn't you be too?

(Yo B-Ho! Thanks for the clip tip.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

A question for the Doobie Brothers...

re: China Grove
...every day there's a new thing comin'
the ways of an oriental view
The sheriff and his buddies
with their samurai swords
you can even hear the music at night
And though it's a part
of the Lone Star State
people don't seem to care
They just keep on lookin' to the East...
Okay, given that their sleepy little town is called China Grove, why do the sheriff and his buddies carry (Japanese) samurai swords? Would not Lungchuan swords be more appropriate? Also, should the sheriff's buddies even have swords? You told us in the first verse that the people of the town are strange. Seems like doling out samurai swords to a bunch of crackpot yokels might not be the most prudent idea.
I suppose that's the kind of logic we should expect from so-called "brothers" whose only familial bond was apparently a common and close relationship with the doob.
Know what I'd like to see someday? Some real brothers (and sisters) rock the China Grove.
Oh, sweet Jeezus! Here come some now...
(Seriously. Click that little arrow. You are so gonna dig this. Awesome back-up singers at 0:50. Even awesomer back-up singers at 0:57.)

Question for a classic rocker?
Send it to the Rockmocker!

Full lyrics to China Grove here.
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