This week our blog is reminiscent of the The Friday Night Fights on TV sponsored by the Gillette Razor Company from 1948-1960.
AND NOW WHAT YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR.
THIS IS THE MAIN EVENT OF THE EVENING.
LET’S MEET THE OPPONENTS.
IN THIS CORNER, WEARING LEATHER, BLACK AND WHITE MAKE-UP, AND A DARK RED TOUNGUE, FROM THE ROCK GROUP, “KISS,” GENE SIMMONS!
AND IN THE OPPOSITE CORNER, WEARING RUNNY BLACK MASCARA, LEATHER GLOVES, A CROSS, AND VERY LARGE OMINOUS SNAKE…THE ONE AND ONLY, ALICE COOPER!
The bell sounds and we’re underway!
A fiery Simmons comes out swinging.
Jab, jab. Jab. Furious rights and lefts. Simmons is relentless!
“Rock is dead. And that’s because new bands haven’t taken the time to create glamor, excitement and epic stuff,” Simmons said. “I mean, Foo Fighters is a terrific band, but that’s a 20-year-old band. So you can go back to 1958 until 1988. That’s 30 years. During that time, we had Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, on and on.
“In disco, you had Madonna, and then you had your hard rock, you had AC/DC, maybe us, a few others. Motown, all that great music. From 1988, until today, that’s more than 30 years. Tell me who the new Beatles is. You can’t. There are popular bands. All kinds of bands are very popular. That doesn’t mean iconic and legacy and for all time. It’s different.”
“I doubt it (if time will tell if some acts are going to be iconic in another 30 years). Because the singularity that was The Beatles is a band that wrote their own songs, arranged it themselves, produced it themselves, mostly played all their own instruments. No backing tracks. No digital enhancement. No vocal correctness. Yeah, not gonna happen again.
“You know, the modern artists rely so much on technology. You may not be able to recognize the artist if they record themselves singing in the shower. You’d be shocked. And none of the rappers play instruments. Don’t write songs. They write words. But chords, melodies, harmonies and stuff. It doesn’t mean that rap isn’t important. It’s very important. But it ain’t The Beatles.
“I think Billie Eilish is fantastic. She’s interesting because she and her brother actually write the material and are unique to themselves. Lady Gaga is fantastic in the female category. She writes her own material, she can sing like nobody’s business. But she actually is a musician, writes her own songs, plays piano, she can actually do that. The rest of the world reacts to a lot of the pop divas, although mostly they don’t write their own songs and can’t play an instrument. And by the way, that’s okay, too. It doesn’t matter what you like. But it ain’t The Beatles.”
Cooper was momentarily dazed and stunned by Simmons, but now is responding with his own attack!
“Gene Simmons – I would like him to do my taxes because he’s a businessman and that’s valid, but I guarantee you right now that in London somewhere, in garages, they’re learning Aerosmith and Guns ‘N’ Roses.
“There’s a bunch of 18-year-kids in there with guitars and drums and they’re learning hard rock. It’s the same with the United States: there’s all these young bands that want to resurge that whole area of hard rock.
(Rock is) “where it should be right now. We’re not at the Grammys; we’re not in the mainstream. Rock’n’roll is outside looking in right now, and that gives us that outlaw attitude.” (Rock will still exist) “some thirty or forty years from now. The one kind of music that started and never ended was hard rock. It went to punk, it went to disco, it went to hip-hop, it went to grunge, but the one thing that went through the middle of it was hard rock.”
Maybe it’s because I’m old school and nostalgic. But if I was a judge scoring this fight, I’d give the decision to Simmons.
Time now for a talented act of two brothers.
Johnny Winter was a leading American blues performer. As a child he played the clarinet, but switched to guitar. Good move.
When Winter broke into the national spotlight in 1968 he was a commanding figure onstage. He was tall with pale blond hair and light eyes, features from albinism.
In 1969 Winter played the famous Woodstock festival and released his debut album on Columbia records.
His younger brother was also an albino.
“People have always stared at me,” said Edgar Winter in a 1974 interview. “They still do, but now they have a better reason.”
Edgar Winter is legally blind, more than 85% due to his albinism. As a youngster he couldn’t play sports or sight-read music.
“I didn’t have many friends. You know the way kids naturally are if you’re fat, crippled or in any way defective. They tend to leave you out. So music became my identity and replaced the normal activities that otherwise would have filled my life.”
Winter’s blindness allowed him to develop an ear where he could listen just one time to almost any tune and then play it. He’s a talented keyboardist, saxophone player, drummer, and singer.
“Being albino always gave me a very real sense of individuality” he said in 1974. “Today, in music, a lot of people will do anything to themselves just to set them apart. I guess I’ve had a natural edge on them.”
In 1976 Johnny and Edgar released “Together,” a live album recorded at The Swing Auditorium, San Diego Sports Arena, in San Diego, CA, that included this exciting medley (listen for the Little Richard woooooos).
Edgar (L) and Johnny (R)
Johnny Winter died in July of 2014. He was 70.
That medley was phenomenal.
“Looked at my watch and much to my surprise, I was dancin’ with a woman who was twice my size.”
No, they don’t write them like they used to.