Dan Herman of Radio Crystal Blue explores and attempts to define
THE SOUL OF ROCK AND ROLL
“I know it when I’m feelin’ groovy,
It’s kind of funky like an old-time movie.
I can feel it and it’s really something,
It’s really something when my heart starts pumpin’, yeah.”
In an interview with SPIN announcing the proclamation of the title ‘soul of rock and roll’ PW said to the magazine’s senior editor, Mark Blackwell, that he wasn’t, but …”who really does? I’m not really casting a vote for myself, but I can’t think of anyone who really carries the torch. Maybe Keith Richards or someone like that, but that’s been written about forever. I sure I won’t sell on the cover of SPIN..”
He went on: “To me the soul of rock’n’roll is mistakes. Mistakes and making mistakes work for you. In general, music that’s flawless is usually uninspired. The people who go with thc flow and go with the mistakes and turn that into something special are the ones that show guts–that’s what we’ve always tried to do. The people who shy away from change and mistakes and play it safe have no business playing rock ‘n’roll. I never trust someone who thinks they know exactly what they want, and goes in the studio and gets it. That might be their art, but it’s usually shitty rock’n’roll”Further along in the interview he cites examples of who and what are and aren’t the soul:
Not: The Black Crowes (“..very pedestrian”)
Not: Elvis Presley
Close: Bob Dylan
Close: Gene Vincent
Unsure: Alex Chilton
Not: Drug abuse
Very close: Johnny Thunders
Good: Goo Goo Dolls“I don’t stand out like Robert Smith from the Cure would. I’m invisible. Can you see soul? We’re getting at something here. People follow us every night. I can always spot them. I get a lot of letters slipped to me that say things like, ‘I’ve always listened to your stuff and I’d like to meet you and everything but I really don’t want to.’ It’s what makes me keep doing this.” At the time of the interview, PW was on the precipice of leaving the ‘Mats for his own series of projects and whatever he would be doing otherwise.
All-Music Guide….their definition of Rock and Roll:
“In its purest form, Rock & Roll has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody…..From the British Invasion, folk-rock, psychedelia, and through hard rock, heavy metal, glam rock, and punk, most subgenres of rock & roll initially demonstrated an allegiance to the basic structure of rock & roll. Once these permutations emerged, traditional rock & roll faded away from the pop charts, yet there were always artists that kept the flame alive….Although the term “rock & roll” came to refer to a number of different music styles in the decades following its inception, the essential form of the music never changed.”
Now come with me back into the machine, go into the year 2057 and see if you can explain to your fellow human or alien just what rock and roll is. It may seem familiar with electronics, or impossibly relevant just as we might speak of war songs or the show tunes of the previous turn of the century, or (gasp!) precious operattas.
Think of those who aren’t the safe types of performers, as both Jagger and Westerberg had alluded to.
Maybe it’s a hanger-on of Dylan, or Thunders.
Maybe it’s Jack White.
Or indeed perhaps the Glimmer Twins.
Or your local struggling band or songwriters playing early-week residencies. You know who they are. And if you don’t, you will.
The New York Howl www.newyorkhowl.com
Also, in the spirit of the question, if you feel the soul is an idea, a concept, an action, or even a mistake, and not a person, please describe in detail.
My aim for this page is to gather at least 100 quotes from various people within the music industry. Once this is done, I’ll post them below.
I look forward to hearing from you.
cblue456 at comcast dot net