Friday, February 22, 2013

Ban this creepy video! "Fire," by Arthur Brown

"Poltergeist." The trailer for the nuke flick "The Day After." "Just Say No To Drugs" commercials. The Dominos Noid.

None of these things scared me as much as a kid growing up in the '80s as the video for Arthur Brown's "Fire," which they'd play on MTV far too often with no regard for time of day. The black-and-white vid is a "live" (read: lip synced) performance by Brown on "Top of the Pops" - they didn't really make videos back then, and for that I am grateful, because imagine the sick shit he would have dumped on poor innocent brains all over the world.

This is truly frightening. It makes Devo's "Peek-a-Boo" look like a Richard Marx clip. Even the old guy who yells "Science!" in Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science" would be horrified by Brown's acid-induced devil dance, complete with makeup that's Alice Cooper x5 and a crown of fire on his head.

Apparently, Pete Townshend produced a lot of this dude's early stuff, which is hailed as some kind of amazing music, although it just sounds like bullshit British psych to me. This explains a lot about the limp flower-power tuneage that Townshend was peddling at the time, stuff like the preposterously overrated "The Who Sell Out."

Seriously, never play this again on TV, never let it show up in any On Demand video lineups, take it off You Tube. Please. Before someone gets hurt.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kickin' em out: 1995

This was a tough one. Who do you kick out of a class that includes Led Zep, Joplin, Neil Young, Zappa, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Allman Brothers Band and Al Green?

This is an impenetrable block on VH1 Classic's "Rockfest." It's one-quarter of a juke box at the Charcoal Pit.

But when you get past the names, and think about the actual music, the decision becomes easy.

I don’t get the Allman Brothers Band. Never have, never will. They possess exactly zero songs that I would leave on if they came on the radio. 

Many have called them the most influential band of the early 1970s. I can’t agree more: This means the Allman Brothers are responsible for loads and loads of steaming sonic bullshit, 8-minute wankfests boasting solos that wander aimlessly, big mustaches, bigger beards, countless babies conceived in the back of huge gas-guzzlers mere seconds after their parents-to-be polished off another doobie and the rise of 7-11. I can’t explain the last one but it’s a fact.

East Stroudsburg's finest.
Look, I’m not a fan, so I don’t know all the albums. But if you’re a nut for the Allman Brothers, and you’re raging mad because of what I’m about to do, then you should be able to list their classic tunes one after the other and impress me into thinking I shouldn’t do what I’m about to do.

     -- "Melissa” holds a special place in my heart because it was a mainstay on the juke at Rudy’s, the finest bar in the Poconos, but outside of those incredibly friendly confines, that song is more mediocre than the Montreal Expos' Tim Wallach.
-         -- I swear to the rock gods, I never knew that knife-to-the-skull-annoying song that plays over all of the hippie crap and terrible retro 70s TV movies was called “Jessica.” I didn’t even know it had words, I thought it was just a 12-minute instrumental featuring that riff and piano run over and over and over again.

-- “Midnight Rider” is not a tough, gritty rock gem.
-- “Whipping Post” is not a bluesy tour-de-force.
-- “Ramblin’ Man” is not a timeless classic.
Allman Brothers with no Allmans? Major violation.
What makes these songs so amazing? What separates these guys from the cornball cover band at the corner bar? Why are there 15 people in the band at different times? Why does the current lineup, and the one that's been around for the last decade or so, have neither Allman Brother and is instead run by Dickey Betts? 

If you want to argue that the Allmans have a lot of decent songs, I’ll just agree with you to end the argument. If you want to say they’re the equivalent of a one-time NBA all-star, but not an upper-echelon great, superstar or perennial all-star, then fine.

Look, I'm sorry Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident. I respect their longevity, I guess. But they are not worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Certainly not with the 1995 class. 

21 members. 44 years. 18 albums. Hey Allman Bros. - Cleveland Does Not Rock bucket go BOOM.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Most underrated moments in Music Video History, Vol. 3: I love rock and roll, so eff off

A little birdie.
Most people know Joan Jett’s vintage 1981 single and video "I Love Rock and Roll" as one of the early heavy rotation clips in MTV history.

Most people also probably know Britney Spears delivered a version of the tune in 2002, and while the single is pretty lame, the video ain't too shabby

And geeks everywhere will remember Weird Al Yankovic's amazing parody in 1983, during his wheelhouse era.

But not too many people know that the tune is actually a cover of the song that was originally recorded and released by the band Arrows in 1975 - and, as you might have guessed, that version of the song is far lamer than Jett's cover (and a lot creepier, written and sung from a dude's perspective).

And we here at Cleveland Does Not Rock are betting that almost no one ever noticed that Joan flips the bird in this gritty clip watched by bazillions of little kids throughout the ’80s, entering it as Vol. 3 in our vault of Underrated Moments in Music Video History.

By the way, what the hell is up with this guy?
No wonder scientists in Peru recently discovered that the middle fingers of both males and females between the ages of 35 and 45 are .8 inches longer than those outside that range (I completely made that up but it might be true.

I happened upon this moment, which occurs around 1:23, while “researching” old ‘80s clips during a DVR-ed chunk of VH1 Classic (You’ll notice, however, that this video was taken from MTV2, which I think now houses a continuous loop of the show “I Am 16 and I Have Babies And You Love Watching This Show To Feel Better About Yourself”). Maybe I noticed it now, as an adult, because I'm aware of the fact that Jett, as of the recording of that video, had already cemented her status as a badass during her time in The Runaways.
Still swarthy after all these years.

Not only does this moment make me love this song 50 times more, it also makes me hate Faith Hill’s awful bastardization of Jett’s 1988 hit, “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” which is used as the theme for “Sunday Night Football,” featuring the equally awful bastardization of sports announcing known as Al Michaels.

Much fun: During the chorus of “I Hate Myself,” start singing some variation of the rotating “SNF” theme. 

And, now, we present the full-length video of the most incredible "I Love Rock and Roll:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Most underrated moments in Music Video History, Vol. 2: Goin' nuts for Hagar

UH! Does it hurt or are you enjoying this?
Nevermind that Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" video is a complete rip of Judas Priest's "Breaking The Law."

This is pure MTV gold, the kind of stuff that DVR-ing VH1 Classic was made for.  It's so sensationally bad that it's hard to tell whether this is unintentional comedy or intended unintentional comedy, like "Birdemic."

I could have spent all day picking through the amazing moments, faces and freaks sprinkled all over this clip.

But the prime slice of this pile of '80s cheese is the "UH" moment. It's the exclamation point on a whirlwind sequence in which Hagar - a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, mind you - throws his guitar in the air, runs up the wall, flips, catches the guitar, jumps off the judge's bench and lands his nuts on the back of the security guard's head.

Since you know the song, and you know that the "UH" part is coming, you know something awesome is gonna happen there. What makes it sublime is that you can never remember what it is, and when it happens, it's just flat-out rad - the timing, the landing and the dork's face when he gets reverse tea-bagged.

But there's so much more. Let's go to the highlights.

Sammy bitches out the alien cop: When Hagar leaves the racetrack and hits the road in his black Ferrari he's clearly pissed about something and in a rush. He's in Road Rage mode, weaving in and out of traffic because, well, he can't drive 55. So when this creepy-ass cop finally gets to him, it looks like Hagar actually pulls HIM over. Then he proceeds to get on his ass??!?!! No wonder he ended up in jail. Next time, pay the fine dude.

Curly Mullet Guy: Every one of the dudes in Hagar's band are pretty messed up looking. But, hey, it's the '80s, so they all get a pass. But Curly Mullet Guy has to be singled out, not only for his many psychotic faces, and not only for his sweet hairdo, but also for the fact that he looks like the one bad guy in "Roadhouse" who gets his throat ripped out by Dalton. Maybe it is the same guy, but I'm too lazy to look.

The Judge: He's smoking a cigar, hanging a doll, and chopping the head off his Stogie with a guillotine, which means what exactly? (besides that he's preparing the Stogie to be lit in a courtroom). I personally like how the guy lip syncs his lines and says the word "ass," even though it's bleeped out here. Apparently whoever posted this is kind of a prude.

Classic Mullet Guy: This guy has the best faces of all of Hagar's band members. The one here is just one of several, and I could have gone with any of them as well. This sickly freak has this clip teetering on scary, actually, so let's just move on.

Nerdy Lawyer Guy: Yet another crotch moment when Hagar jumps on the desk and the greasy geek is left to look up at Sammy's junk. All of this phallic stuff could have been a precursor to Hagar taking over-sexed David Lee Roth's place in Van Halen, although Sammy never quite measured up to Diamond Dave in the sleaze department.

Any of these could have landed "I Can't Drive 55" in CDNR's hall of unheralded video excellence. But congratulations to Nut Cop for getting the job done.