Posts Tagged ‘Steven Tyler’

Refusing to read

Yesterday I promised you a guest blogger, mystery novelist Deborah Donnelly. Due to circumstances beyond our control, Ms. Donnelly will not eventuate. Not on Day 4, anyway. She says hi.

New kids on the block
I’m speaking now to the new readers I’ve just detected, thanks to the stats dished out by WordPress. Are you lost? You’re not getting your money back! What you’ve stumbled on is a blog about popular music, but right now I’m engaged in a six-week write-a-thon that ends August 2. I don’t want to abandon music entirely, so I’m finishing each post with the musical picks and pans I wrote over the past few months. I’ve already run out of pans. And people say I hate everything!

The writing cartoons have aged for years in my lifelong collection. The cultural references may provoke laughs but the themes are timeless.

I’ve cleverly hidden indexes to the first two years of this blog (November 2010 to November 2012) in the left-hand column under Blogroll. You’re on your own for Year 3.

Not all who wander want to find their way back to the freeway
Day 4 for me was like urban in-fill in most U.S. cities: packing more people into already established neighborhoods. Yesterday I solved the challenge of the chapter that goes forever on by breaking it up. Chapter 5 became much more manageable after I evicted a third of it. That section became Chapter 6. A few stray paragraphs became the opening of Chapter 7.

My task today was to write a real ending for Chapter 5 and a real beginning for Chapter 6. I didn’t finish either but I know I’m headed in the right direction because I was surprised by some of what I wrote. “Where do I get my ideas? I don’t. They get me,” Lewis Carroll said.

The problem with writing a novel the way I’m writing a novel, with a set of ideas rather than a set of ideas and a roadmap, is that I plunge into chapters without knowing exactly where they’re going or what they’re trying to accomplish. Everything takes longer than it should, even though I’m enjoying every minute of it. Maybe I don’t want it to end?

I wouldn’t recommend my method to anyone. Maybe someday I’ll listen to me.

Box score
I’ve written for four days out of four
– 5.5 total hours

Random Pick of the Day
The Vines, Highly Evolved (2002)
These Aussies bow to Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots, but I suspect they would sell their souls to be a catchy little pop band. All the tempo changes and other experiments on Highly Evolved could’ve been Duran Duran reimagined as a grunge act circa 1992. This is especially true on my favorite tracks, “Outtathaway” and “Sunshinin.”

The real treat on this album is “Factory,” in which The Vines pretend to be Nirvana pretending to be The Beatles.

Random Rock ’n’ Roll Image of the Day
Aerosmith and J. Geils Band at Fenway Park, 14 August 2010: Steven Tyler in a Sox jersey at a white grand piano atop the Green Monster belting out “Dream On.”

Toys in the Attic

You don’t have to be a music critic to sense that Aerosmith sucks dead bears. If Led Zeppelin and AC/DC were battleships, Aerosmith would be barnacles. If my roof was leaking, I’d nail Aerosmith LPs over the leaks. Exposing their vinyl to acid rain could only improve the sound.

But you once loved these guys!
You know me too well, Mr. Subhead. I’ve played air guitar for years to Aerosmith’s version of “Train Kept A-Rollin’.” If it came on the radio right now I’d do it again, and then I’d call NPR to ask why they’re playing Aerosmith in the middle of Thistle and Shamrock.

As long as I’m confessing, I might as well confess it all. Some years ago, after the glaciers had retreated but before we speared the last saber-toothed tiger, the young Aerosmithers played an all-ages dance at the National Guard armory in Fall River, Massachusetts. We high school journalists-in-training wanted to interview them for our school paper, but we never got backstage. In my memory we were chased from the building by an enraged Steven Tyler wielding a flaming guitar, but if I could travel back to that moment I’d probably find it was just a Pabst-swilling roadie with a Carl Yastrzemski baseball bat.

Eventually I grew up, realized just what it was I was listening to, and traded my Aerosmith records for something better, like a frog.

Aerosmith: Plague or pestilence?
If scientists cannot answer this question, why am I suggesting you put yourself at the mercy of Toys in the Attic? Because Toys transcends the congealing sludge of the Aerosmith discography on the strength of one song, “Sweet Emotion.” How this band produced that song is a mystery. “Sweet Emotion” is one of the supreme driving songs in Western culture. It even sounds good when you’re parked.

Give the rest of this disc a chance and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the passably rockin’ title track, as well as “No More No More” and “You See Me Crying,” which showcases Tyler’s bargain-basement voice but somehow wins you over with its amateur theatrics. (I don’t include “Walk This Way” because I never saw the point of that song until it was hip-hopped by my namesakes.)

If you’re planning a party, “Sweet Emotion” pairs well with another winner by a loser band, Foghat’s “Slow Ride.” Don’t forget to invite Run-DMSteve.