Coulrophobia is an intense fear of clowns. Although many people find clowns kinda creepy or a little scary, extreme cases of this phobia can cause nausea, panic, and anxiety. This is probably why clowns are such good fodder for rock and roll songs.
Like the most memorable rock and rollers, clowns have the power to evoke strong reactions.
Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley—for example—were dangerous, countercultural icons in their day, but are often reduced to cartoonish renderings of retro kitschy “cool” in modern pop culture.
The opposite is true of clowns according to Bad Clowns author, Benjamin…
If you came to power pop through the punk rock door, as I did, distinctions between the two genres can get a little blurry. I’m sure I heard power-pop first—mostly thanks to the radio—but I didn’t really encounter the term until well after discovering punk.
By that point, I was exploring bands like Ramones, the Clash, Generation X, the Replacements, Buzzcocks, Hüsker Dü, and the Damned. Closer to home, I was drawn to SoCal bands like X, the Dickies, Redd Kross, Social Distortion, Agent Orange, and Descendents.
All of those bands were undoubtedly punk rock, especially early on in their…
When it comes to drummer jokes, this one’s a classic:
What’s the last thing a drummer says in a band?
Why don’t we try one of my songs?
It’s a punchline sure to get laughs, but it doesn’t always ring true.
There are plenty of drummers who write songs, especially in punk and alternative rock bands. Travis Barker from Blink-182/Transplants comes to mind, Matt Cameron of Pearl Jam, Bill Stevenson from Descendents/All, and the late, great Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü—to name a few.
But not all songwriting drummers stay behind the kit. Some are multi-instrumentalists who inevitably find themselves…
There’s a stack of records in the living room that’s mostly mine. Globe of Frogs by Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians is currently spinning on the turntable. Before that it was New Day Rising by Husker Du, Under the Bushes, Under the Stars by Guided by Voices, and The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us by Beach Slang.
There’s a smaller stack of records in my teenage daughter’s bedroom that mostly belong to her. The portable turntable in there sometimes sees more action than the one in the living room these days. …
Spend some time exploring power pop fan pages on Facebook and three things become quickly apparent:
1. This is a passionate and opinionated community of music-lovers.
2. There are a lot of super obscure bands you’ve likely never heard.
3. Almost nobody can agree on the definition of “power pop.”
This third point, the lack of fundamental clarity about what defines the genre, underscores a lot of discussions these days; delivering endless joy and bottomless frustration to fans who will happily spend hours extolling and debating bands like Shoes, 20/20, the Producers, the Shivvers, the Nerves, Phil Seymour and other…
I interviewed Nelson Bragg earlier this year, upon the release of his single, “I Want Love.” His third and final solo album, Gratitude Blues, will be available from Steel Derrick Music on September 30.
Welcome back! And congrats on your new album, Gratitude Blues. First of all, that’s a great title. Where did it come from?
Hi Steve! Thanks very much!
So, I’ve been aware of the use of the word “blues” in non-sad, non-blues song contexts for a long time, Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues,” Lucinda Williams’ album Happy Girl Blues, and countless others. I love the sound of it…
“Hold My Life” by Jim Lindberg — Full essay excerpt from Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop (Rare Bird Books).
The first time I heard the Replacements song “Hold My Life” was during college in San Diego. I lived alone in a tiny studio apartment off Fifty-Sixth Street in off-campus housing with students who were either too cool or too old for the dorms, drunkenly partying until all hours of the night. There were rows of two-story apartment buildings on either side of the street on a sloping hill, usually shaped like a horseshoe around an…
Rock & roll and snapshot photography have had a symbiotic relationship since the mid-20th century when both mediums went mainstream.
Rock & roll was the bastard child of several genres from the late 1800s and early 1900s, including boogie-woogie, rhythm & blues, folk, jazz, country, and, of course, blues. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that the phrase—and the genre—began to dominate pop culture.
“Rock ’n roll is really swing with a modern name,” famed DJ, Alan Freed said. …
Like it or not, playing drums in a band means dealing with drummer jokes.
You might hear them from bandmates, roadies, the sound person at a club, shouted from the crowd, or find them scrawled on the dressing room wall.
Some are even funny. But that doesn’t mean you have to take them lying down.
There are several strategies for defending yourself against insults to your musical abilities, intelligence, and personal hygiene.
“I’m just as God made me, sir.” — This Is Spinal Tap
Shattered. That’s the best way to describe how I felt as news of Charlie Watts’ death spread across social media on Tuesday. The highly-respected and influential Rolling Stones drummer was 80 years old.
Tributes to his refined playing, unquestionable style, and cool demeanor came from across generations and genres including his longtime bandmates, as well as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Pete Townshend, Brian Wilson, Gina Schock, Questlove, Matt Cameron, Joan Jett, and countless others.