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Why Rock Couldn't Stay at the Commune

It’s very cool, very punk-rock, folk-rock, and all the other rockin’ signifiers of hip radicalism, to be going to a commune. Or to hang-out at one for a season. But to actually stay for good is not what rock-tuned set wants.How do we know that? Well, tell me about a rock song that celebrates . . . . Continue Reading »

Saving Rock and Roll

Rock and roll has a rebellious sound. I write that hesitantly, because there is really no such thing as rock and roll, in terms of having a permanent nature or ongoing essence. Speed, loudness, and distorted acoustical effects do not a musical genre make. Rock is a mishmash of various musical . . . . Continue Reading »

Progressive Rock Redeemed

On February 9, I had the pleasure of finally seeing one of my favorite bands for the first time—a progressive rock supergroup called Transatlantic. Because all of my friends are too respectable for such things, I made my journey to the concert alone. For a progressive rock supergroup, however, Transatlantic has an excellent pedigree: The band was founded in 1999 as a side project of four progressive rock musicians from America and Europe (hence the name Transatlantic): Neal Morse, then of Spock’s Beard; Mike Portnoy, then the drummer for Dream Theater; Roine Stolt, the lead guitarist of The Flower Kings; and Pete Trewevas, the bassist from Marillion. Continue Reading »

Carl’s Rock Songbook #63: ALMOST FAMOUS, Pt. 5

Having written one , two , three , four ALMOST FAMOUS-driven posts and now this one, I obviously do think it is an excellent film. Its one weakness is a certain complacency, underlined by its ending. I don’t have a problem with happy endings per se, but the one it provides really is too easy. . . . . Continue Reading »

Studies Show My Rock Songbook Is Right

The pop music of the last 50 years really has become progressively bereft of musical variety.  So says this Spanish analysis of gobs of pop songs . So Martha Bayles is right.  Geoffrey O’Brien’s nightmare last chapter of Sonata for Jukebox is right.   And me too, I . . . . Continue Reading »

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