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Posts Tagged ‘Led Zeppelin’

steely-dan-albumIt will change my family’s life….that’s what several of the “contestants” stated after winning a ticket to Hollywood the last couple of nights on “American Idol.”  

I’m sure we’ve all had our share of musical aspirations or dreams.  Mine is to backed up Tim Reynolds and jam with Dave Mathews or Steely Dan and if all went well I’d make a lot of money!  However, in an era where Malcom Gladwell reports that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be any good I don’t see those artists showing up at my house this week.  Meanwhile musicians complain that today everybody plays.  You’re competing with amateurs employing GarageBand and posting material on MySpace, yet on the “idol” somebody’s going to win.  

How much money can a person truly make?  It’s an industry where most people have no idea what the number one album is?  “American Idol” is a television show.  First and foremost.  It’s bigger than any contestant.  I think it’s glorified karaoke.  Yet, I find it fascinating to watch because it perpetuates the myth that there’s a singular filter, a gate, which if you can pass through, solves all of your problems and you’re a star.

So thousands turn to the “Idol” and plead their case.  Typically it goes something like…I’m beautiful, I can sing like Beyonce, this is America, I get a chance for stardom, right?  I want my chance!  That’s what everybody is jockeying for on the “Idol.”  Please, use me, make me the next big whatever.  This is just the opposite of classic rock and the sound that still fills arenas.  Classic rock (Pink Floyd, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin) was about doing it your own way, giving the man the middle finger.  But now Simon Cowell gives us the middle finger and the businessman is the star.  You’ve got to hand it to Simon, at least he’s honest.

“Idol” is not reality.  It’s entertainment and fake like so many other things America TV specializes in.  Rather than show us the nitty-gritty of the music industry, they pull heartstrings, try to make you laugh, you had a good time, right?  The hoards of people who line up to play the producer’s game of a contestant on the “Idol” think they deliver the hope that people still care.  They don’t, because winners on the show become 4th tier celebrities that most people just don’t give a rip about.  These soon to be newly-minted “idols” enter a world where train-wrecks are posted all over the internet, almost instantly, and are then forgotten.

They should take a lesson from Harley-Davidson.  If you want to last, you’ve got to build slowly.  You’ve got to be selling something beyond your desire to be rich and famous.  You’ve got to get fans on your own merits.  And, you’ve got to be satisfied with who you are, because today, even if you’re on the cover of “Time”, you may still have to work 9-5.  Being famous is easy.  Making people care is much harder.

If you put being rich and famous first, you’ve got nothing that makes you attractive or makes you desirable.  And we need more.  A pretty face is not enough even if it’s in a bikini – Simon! 

I hope you didn’t ruin your laptop keyboard by spitting up your morning coffee.

Photo courtesy Steely Dan.

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pondeadvt2002_pg6One of the cool things about the internet is discovering a taste of world knowledge while sitting on the peripheral edge.  Often when doing research for blog posts it feels like a mini-journey to me.  For every step forward, I take two to the side or three back before compiling a broad range of information.

Part of my post-election withdrawal therapy has been background research on the only Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) member (Robert G. McClure) to be convicted of four murders in the State of Oregon.  McClure was found guilty of execution-style killings in the small Seventh-day Adventist community of Gaston, Oregon and sentenced to four consecutive life prison terms.  More about this in a future post, but one of the side paths this took me on was across the Pacific to the Australian Crime Commission.  They deemed ‘biker gangs’ a significant criminal threat to their nation.   As a result, the Australian Government is moving forward to ban the wearing of “colors” nationwide (similar to actions taken last month in CA. with the Mongols MC arrests) and they’re introducing laws to take legal action which allows them to confiscate ‘motorcycle club’ assets, including the club brand (“patches”), motorcycles and property.  It’s an interesting tactic for governments to seize trademarked name/brands and property, but I’ll save the far reaching laws with broad definitions and the suspension of habeas corpus rant for another day.

Humble Pie Concert

Humble Pie Concert

It was during my Australian surfing I ran across this little nugget buried in a video clip.  First off, and I’m dating myself here, the musical performance is one of the greats –  Humble Pie (Steve Marriott) – and the song is called “Big Train” or maybe its “Big Train Stops at Memphis.”  The beginning of the video has a member of the HAMC (“Mother”) who shouts to the audience… “One more song and they ain’t going home at all.” Somehow you believe him!

The Australian music festival at Ponde was famous in its own right, but certainly not on the same scale as the Altamont Speedway Festival which headlined the Rolling Stones.  This video was recorded off an Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) late night TV music show called “Rock Arena” back in 1983.  The show was cancelled in 1989.  Others in the video were keyboard player Goldy McJohn, a former member of Steppenwolf, the Bass player was Jim Leverton and the drummer (unseen) was Fallon Williams.  Another one of my “favs” is Led Zeppelin’s song “Whole Lotta Love” which is said to be a direct take off of Marriott’s version of the classic song “You Need Lovin’“. Give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean…

mannum_australia1The Ponde Music Festival ran for 23 years (1979 to 2002) in Mannum, 50 miles from Adelaide Australia, and was hosted by the HAMC.  I find it curious that over the last year there has been a dramatic increase in arrests and negative publicity coming out of Australia on issues with, in Aussie words, “bikie” gangs.  I’m intrigued how “club” attitudes have migrated from supporting a public musical festival to turf wars, firebombs, shootings and combative LE exchanges?  Internet searches reveal little about the perceptions of the festival in the past which started out as a gathering for bike enthusiasts, but expanded over the years into a full-blown top talent multi-day music festival.

 

Video courtesy YouTube, Newspaper photo courtesy of Advertiser Newspapers Pty. Ltd.

All Rights Reserved © 2008 Northwest Harley Blog

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