Top Three Hard Rock Musicians Who Look Like Dungeon Masters

These guys can rock, but they sure look like they’d be more comfortable on the other side of the screens, drinking Mountain Dew right out of the two liter bottle and rolling dice on a Saturday night.

#3: Geddy Lee.

He’s a little older now, but so are pretty much all the Dungeons and Dragons players. Kids these days are into the MMORPGs and mobile games, I think.

#2: Jonny Hawkins of Nothing More.

Of course, at the first sign of orcs, he’d tear off his shirt to make the rest of the gaming group feel bad about their sunken chests. And he’d be sure there you would encounter orcs early just so he could.

#1: Dave Mustaine.

I mean, come on.

He even sounds like a Dungeon Master.

36 Years Later, Brian J. Gets It

So the local Jack station (a radio format term as dated as Adult Contemporary or Album Oriented Rock by now) plays old American Top 40 radio programs on Sunday morning, so I get a chance to catch old songs that don’t get a lot of radio play now.

When Bertie Higgins’ “Key Largo” came on, I thought, not actually featured in the film Key Largo.

And then it struck me: He is singing about the movie Key Largo. I hadn’t known that when I heard the song previously.

I mean, when he sang about Bogie and Bacall, I thought about them in the context that I’d known them at the time I heard the song: From the film The Big Sleep and as a married couple. I didn’t see Key Largo until much later.

So all this time, I thought Bertie just wanted to sail to Key Largo, and that he was watching old movies like The Big Sleep with the woman in the song.

How daft I am.

Fun fact: I’ve actually seen Key Largo twice in recent years (meaning within the last, what, decade?). The first by myself and the second with my beautiful wife as I’ve tried to convince her share in my enjoyment of old movies. So we’ve watched two together, the other being His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.

WSIE Will Not Let Me Forget Al Jarreau

Dustbury has a post about the theme song from The Bob Newhart Show that appeared in a longer form on an album; playing off of another user’s comment, I gave a partial list of television theme songs that charted, including the obligatory John Sebastian, Mike Post, and Henry Mancini numbers.

Then, after I submitted the comments, the livestream of WSIE played “Moonlighting” by Al Jarreau. The theme from the show of the same name, which charted in 1988 and garnered two Grammy nominations.

Relax, WSIE. I could not forget Al Jarreau. He is from Milwaukee, after all, so we’re practically related.

Thesis: Refuted

You know, sometimes, when listening to a contemporary pop song on the radio, I will tell my boys that the latest Chainsmokers or Shawn Mendes ditty is a vapid collection of unconnected lyrics, drum machine beats, and canned musical chords. Unlike the songs that I grew up with, which were one harp or viola short of being a symphony, dammit.

Then this came on the radio yesterday:

Never mind.

Scandinavian Teens Circa 1965

As I mentioned, I picked up a Scandinavian gospel album from a band called the Teen Tones. The album itself is called, simply, From Scandinavia.

My Internet research doesn’t give it a specific year. Discogs recognizes the album but doesn’t give it a release year. The back of the record says the band formed in 1962 and has gotten popular because they could play in clubs and evangelize to the kids dancing the Frug. Or something.

But take a look at those “teens”:

Are those really teens? I suppose they could have Dominican birth certificates attesting to it. Or a couple of years have passed (remember, the Swedish Gospel Singers released their album Take a Little Time To Sing in 1966, so it’s fair to guess that this album came out right around that time. So it’s feasible that these “kids” were actually over 20 by the time the record came out.

But look at them. They look so much older than that. I figure they’ve got these things going for them to make them look older:

  • They’re dressed like adults, unlike twenty year olds from today.
  • They’re dressed like our grandparents looked (or your great grandparents if you’re under 20) in old photographs.
  • They’re Europeans, who tend to look older than Americans anyway.
  • Also, they’re not twenty year olds from today, who tend to look younger than their counterparts ha’centuries ago. This is not just dress (See the first bullet point above), but also in skin and general health. Better nutrition, I guess.

Does it matter? Not really. Did they take the world by storm? Apparently not. It’s a pleasant record for a Sunday morning, though. That’s about the state of all my records: They’re pleasant to listen to as background music.

Also, note that the album’s label, Word Records, was associated with A&M Records for a long time and remains a going concern with a lot of contemporary gospel acts. Also note that my research has lead me to a Web site called On A&M Records that is apparently not affiliated with the label but has an extensive history of the label, including year by year recaps from 1962 until today and bios on lots of its recording artists. So the rest of my Sunday is spoken for.

The Song Can’t Remember When

The song “What’s Up?” by 4 Non-Blondes starts:

Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
for a destination

I don’t want to make you feel old, old man, but that song itself is twenty-five years old.

The album was from 1992, but the single was released in 1993, so lie to yourself if you have to.

Me, I got the song. On a cassette single. Twenty-four years ago.

The Forgettable Poco

You know, the band Poco.

Okay, you don’t. But I do.

While listening to a Richard Marx song (“Satisfied”) in the car, I mentioned to my beautiful wife that I saw him twice on the tour for his album Repeat Offender: Once at Summerfest in Milwaukee, and once at the old Arena in St. Louis (I won tickets in a radio contest on Y98, and the journey to pick them up is a story in itself).

She was impressed that I’d been to the Old Barn before it was destroyed and the St. Louis Blues moved downtown. I mentioned Poco opened for him, and that I heard them do “Take It To The Limit”, so I thought that was their big song (it would be about a year until I learned that was originally an Eagles song–Was I young once and ignorant of both St. Louis topography and the hits of the Eagles?)

So I told her they did that one song, and the song eluded me. Poco does not get any airplay on the radio these days (but they’re apparently still a going concern). I knew Poco was around in the 1970s, so I wracked my brain trying to think of an Eagles-sounding California country rock song that was big and was Poco’s.

But I couldn’t think of it, so I researched.

And that one song I was probably thinking of was the Poco song that was a hit around that time (1989): “Call It Love”

You know, I would have probably known that song in 1989, but the years have stripped it from my memory. I mean, I can kind of remember it when I watch the video, but aside from that. But Poco was an old band from the 1970s staging a comeback in the 1980s, man. (Kind of like the Doobie Brothers with The Doctor“.)

Meanwhile, 30 years in the future, what gets played on the radio? Bands from the 1970s and the 1980s, but only a subset from across the years, so songs like this and many others hide out in the dark corners of our mind. And brightly on YouTube, when we think of them. And, I suppose, at the lesser stages of Summerfest and other fairs throughout the land, but my children do not yet have the patience to listen to the music when there are games, rides, or cotton candy to be begged for.

You Find Electric Six In The Darndest Places

So I’m watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the original film from 2010, and they play some Electric Six:

That’s “Danger! High Voltage” from the album Fire. Here’s the official video for the song, which is a bit racy. You should probably not watch it at work OR IF YOU ARE ACTUALLY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, SON.

I have to be mindful that my children have started to read this blog and strive to keep it family-friendlier than normal.

What’s next? Gwar or Steel Panther in a Disney film?

I have “Rip It” from the album on my iPod. I used to joke that it was the only Electric Six song without swearing in it, but we can all see now that I exaggerate for humorous effect.

Hat tip, sort of, to Kelley of the former Suburban Blight blog, who introduced me to the band via a Facebook post of this very song.

The Fad of Pop Stars Going Country

You know what I mean. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith cut a country album. Jewel cut a country album. The trend was so prevalent that Alan Jackson wrote a song (Gone Country).

But it’s not a recent thing. Dean Martin did it before it was cool, and when Dean Martin did it, it became cool.

A sample:

To be honest, not among my favorite Dean Martin discs.

My favorite, of course, is You Can’t Love ‘Em All:

Strangely, “favorite” does align with “the first record I got by” as it often does.

The Radio Shuffle Leaves Brian J. Without Hard Rock

Is it time for radio stations to alter their play lists already?

Apparently so, for the “rock” stations in Springfield have changed their formats to chase the local “Jack” station.

So 106 “The River” in Springfield, the local “Jack” station, or whatever they call the variety format that plays a couple dozen hits from the 80s, a couple dozen hits from the 90s, and six or ten songs from after the turn of the century, has shifted its playlist to include Led Zepplin and AC/DC.

So 104 “The Cave,” a classic hits (what we used to call Album Oriented Rock back in the day) determined it needed to compete with that format by playing M0AR POWER BALLADS.

The rock station that played new hard rock and metal, Q102, decided what it needed was alternative music from the 1990s. Friends, most of the rock music from the 1990s sucked. Sorry, but you know it’s true. Grunge corrupted everything it touched, and emogoth really loud is not rock.

US 97, which touts its long-standing rock heritage and pedigree dating all the way back to the Clinton administration, has added some newer songs but has also added more 90s rock and power ballads.

I mean, I heard Green Day’s “Basket Case” twice yesterday, on two different radio stations.

And by that I mean I heard the first two lines (“Do you have the time/to listen to me whine?”) before changing the radio station. Attention, millennial radio program directors: THIS IS NOT ROCK.

I used to be Green Day agnostic. But a couple more spins of this in the near term, and I’ll hate Green Day.

Which leaves poor Brian J. with nowhere to turn to hear new rock. What, YouTube? I’m an adult. I don’t have time to wander around YouTube. Spotify? Meh. Make a radio station on one of your favorite bands, and it will play you songs from four or five other bands. Which will be the same bands pretty much no matter what I pick.

I miss the good old radio days of 2017.

Parenting Goal

I don’t want my children to understand the music of Everclear.

My parents split up on October 25, 1981, when I was nine years old. My father pulled me away from a television movie (Twirl) to sit my brother and I down into what was up until that moment my parents’ bedroom and to tell us that my mother had thrown him out. So, yeah, I have known the joy of a welfare Christmas.

Both of my children are already older than that, so I’m already ahead.

That being said, I just picked up an oldies collection: Everclear’s Ten Years Gone: The Best of Everclear 1994-2004. I’m not sure that you can really call Everclear hard rock or metal, so I’m not sure how it affects the balance of my music purchasing.

Preemption: FAILED

So I received the physical CD of Rebecca Black’s CD RE/BL, delayed because she was in Italy or something.

So I announced to my beautiful wife that it arrived:

ME: I got the Rebecca Black CD.
SHE: Who’s that?
ME:: She’s a pop singer that Charles Hill is really high on. She was a viral sensation. She went to a song factory or something that gave her a simple song, made a video for it, and put it on YouTube, and a lot of people hated it. “Friday”.
SHE: I’ve heard of that.
ME: It’s one of those where you’re buying it right from the artist….
SHE: Hang on, I’m going to put this [receipt? Piece of mail? I forget, but it was not the CD in question.] in your office.

A couple minutes later:

ME: …As I was saying, since I bought the Rebecca Black CD directly from her, she sent a little postcard with it.
SHE: I saw that.

Said card was still on my desk. Of course she had seen it.

My now black belt wife did not threaten the card. This time.

Something I Never Imagined Myself Saying

Overheard the other night at Nogglestead:

This is the best disco flute album I’ve ever heard!

I am referring to Herbie Mann’s Super Mann.

I’ve got a couple of Herbie Mann’s more straightforward jazz, but this disc, which I picked up for $.99 this weekend, is a singularity of sorts. It has attained an infinity of 1978 coolness.

Here’s a taste–“Jisco Dazz”:

I defy you to find anything better, or anything that does not appear on the soundtrack to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that comes close.

Balance Has Returned To The Music Library

Well, perhaps it’s not the music library and more the recent purchases.

As I’ve mentioned, my music purchases tend to fall into two camps: Heavy metal and female jazz vocalists.

However, the I recently noted that I’d bought a run of metal:

  • Danger Danger Return of the Great Guildersleeves
  • Fozzy Judas
  • Danger Danger Danger Danger
  • Disturbed Indestructible
  • Hellyeah Unden!able
  • Herb Alpert Music Volume 1
  • Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey Music from the Motion Picture
  • All That Remains A War You Cannot Win
  • Ozzy Osbourne No More Tears
  • Sacha Boutros Live from Hawaii

Well, I recently bought a run of jazz and pop:

  • Anna Danes, Find Your Wings

    She, like Sacha Boutros, is based in San Diego, which means clearly San Diego is a hotbed of jazz divas.


  • Lauren Meccia, In Your Eyes

    I have joined the 21st century and have installed Spotify to get introduced to a few more musicians akin to those I already like, so I’ve used it to discover the aforementioned Anna Danes and this artist.

  • Anastacia, Heavy Rotation

    I already had Freak of Nature based on a friend’s Facebook post. (Another good source of new music: Facebook. Also, old music, like the aforementioned Danger Danger.)


  • Rebecca Black, RE/BL

    Hey, this salesman won’t take no for an answer.

I also bought the new Imagine Dragons CD, Evolve, but it really doesn’t fit into the two categories listed above.

So clearly I am due to go on a tear and buy a number of new metal CDs. Perhaps the new Rudyard disc.

Is That The Name of the Song or the Name of the Band?

I’ve often asked this when presented with the written title of a song and a band I’ve not heard of. Mostly, I’m joking.

But when I learned that Fozzy has a song (and album) called "All That Remains", I thought that was funny because there is actually a band called All That Remains (whose album I bought before I bought Fozzy’s Judas this autumn).

So I got to thinking: What other bands have songs that are actually the names of other bands?

Now, to gamify this, we would want to establish some rules:

  • The song cannot be about the band or act. So Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw” would not count.
  • The title of the song must be the complete name of the band and must not just include the band name (sort of) in it. So “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” would be out.
  • Scoring would have to be based on the number of words somehow; one word titles/band names are easy, so maybe a multiplier of some sort.

Here are a couple samples:

  • Montgomery Gentry, “Hell Yeah” (although Hellyeah presents it as one word–I’m not sure if that would be disqualified under the second rule how to score it–one word or two–if it’s allowed).
  • Prince, “Cream” (the band).
  • Prince, “Kiss” (the band in 1991–those old men back then look pretty young now).
  • Alice Cooper, “Poison” (band).
  • The Alternate Routes, “Nothing More“, (band).

Confession: I did an Internet search to get the last one, so I’ll leave it to those of you who want to play along to search for obvious choices like Breathe, Heart, and Jewel.

The Hard Rock CD That The Blogosphere Insisted I Get

Danger Danger’s The Return of the Great Gildersleeves:

Well, all right, maybe not, but the old timey blogs pointed the way.

First, on the Facebook, Blackfive posted a song by eighties band Danger Danger:

I liked the sound–man, do I miss the eighties–so I bought the debut CD.

When I was thinking about picking up something else, I looked for another Danger Danger album, and their 2000 release was called The Return of the Great Gildersleeves.

If you’re a Lileks reader, you know who the Great Gildersleeves was. He posts about the old radio show all the time. Including today.

So I had to have it.

I don’t regret it; it’s a pretty good album.

So thanks to all those guys who I’ve been reading for years (one of whom actually visited our home in Casinoport, if you can believe it, making me like a real blogger back in the day) for the pointer.

“How’s the hard rock/songbird balance going these days, Brian J.?” you might ask.

Well, it’s not fifty/fifty these days.

Here are the last ten albums I got:

  • Danger Danger Return of the Great Guildersleeves
  • Fozzy Judas
  • Danger Danger Danger Danger
  • Disturbed Indestructible
  • Hellyeah Unden!able
  • Herb Alpert Music Volume 1
  • Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey Music from the Motion Picture
  • All That Remains A War You Cannot Win
  • Ozzy Osbourne No More Tears
  • Sacha Boutros Live from Hawaii

I just haven’t heard anything compelling on WSIE and have been looking for stuff to put on my iPod at the gym.

But I’ve got The Return of the Great Gildersleeves. If the blogosphere as any recommendations for songbirds, I’m all ears.

The Bands Were Too Close Together In The Summerfest Schedule

As I mentioned, I bought a Spyro Gyra album on Friday after having heard a Spyro Gyra song on WSIE in the last couple of weeks.

I was surprised, actually, that it was a pleasant, smooth jazz song that I heard on the radio. The album is, too. Apparently, Spyro Gyra is a jazz fusion group, and that caught me by surprise.

You see, I thought Spyro Gyra did zydeco, the accordion-heavy Cajun music style.

Why, you ask? I sure did.

The best I can figure is that Spyro Gyra played Summerfest a lot in the early days and on the same stages as a band called Buckwheat Zydeco.

So I tainted Spyro Gyra by association.

Spyro Gyra:

Buckwheat Zydeco:


And one fits my record album tastes.

To be entirely honest, I was not that familiar with Zydeco. As a matter of fact, the only song I ever heard completely (to this day, even after finding a Buckwheat Zydeco video on YouTube and hearing a couple notes of the squeeze box in it, which was enough for me to stop it) was sung by Ernie on Sesame Street:

You know, there was a time when I was excited for the new season of Sesame Street because I was eager to see new material. But that was a long time ago. Not as long as Summerfest, though.

At any rate, I am pleased with my album pick up and will look for more Spyro Gyra in the future.

How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (XII)

If you see me walking or running on the track at the YMCA with one hand gripping an invisible stick and the other an invisible throttle, followed by salivation at the end, it can only be one thing on my iPod:

Queen, “One Vision”:

A funny story, that.

There was some confusion in at Nogglestead as the provenance of this song. My beautiful wife thought it was on the Highlander soundtrack. I knew it was on the Iron Eagle soundtrack because some almost thirty years ago, a friend of mine played the song to pump herself up for softball games. I thought perhaps Queen double-dipped and that it was on both soundtracks, but that is not the case. It is on the Iron Eagle soundtrack. But! It is on the Queen album A Kind of Magic which also features a number of songs from the Highlander soundtrack.

Another point of confusion: At the very end, Freddie Mercury says, “Gimmee fried chicken.” I have told Mrs. Noggle and the little Noggles that perhaps this was because in the movie Iron Eagle they called downed bogies “fried chicken.”

However, last night, I reviewed the source material:

But that is not the case. According to the Wikipedia entry for the song, Freddie was just goofing around.

Also, note: This is not the only Queen song on my gym playlist. But that is a post for another day if I remember it.

How To Tell What Song Just Came On Brian’s iPod At The Gym (XI)

If you see me running on the track at the gym, and if my right arm looks like it’s twirling a lever action shot gun instead of pumping, you should know immediately what song I’m listening to.

“You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses. In addition to being on one of the Use Your Illusion albums, it’s on the Terminator 2: Judgment Day soundtrack which explains why a young(er) Arnold Schwarzeneggar is in the video linked above.

Strangely enough, this is my favorite GnR song. I mean, “Welcome to the Jungle” is okay, but it’s a little self-conscious by now. And “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” isn’t an upbeat workout song.

A Song I Didn’t Need To Hear

As I might have mentioned, gentle reader, I spend most of my time with a bit of a double-effect narrator going on. One of the latest memes is including an image and some text with something about you, and an accompanying bit of text offering some Morgan Freeman narration over the top, expressing that this was not so. In my mind, even when I’m in the moment, I know that the moment is passing, and that I’m reaching an age where more moments have passed than are coming, especially in any particular given situation. Especially as my kids age; there will come a time when I’m holding one of my children, and I’ll put him down, and I will never pick him up again. I saw that in a listicle recently, and my boys are 11 and 9 now, and they’re getting harder to pick up. See also The Future Forgotten, Half-Empty Bottle of Mr. Bubble.

At any rate, on a recent lawn mowing excursion, I heard the new Brad Paisley song, “Last Time for Everything”:

You know, that about describes my daily interior monologue. Well, not quite, but I’m always conscious of it, often to the ruin of the present moment.

And the little chorus, which matches a protest of my one corner of my mind when it presents the entropic litany, reminds us to fully embrace every moment while we’re in it, but that doesn’t, in the song, redeem the dark enumeration of the verses. Much like reading a bunch of books on Eastern philosophy and Buddhist-themed mindfulness has yet to turn me into a peppy people person or silence that Morgan Freeman-style narration in my head.

But I’ll keep trying. Until the last time.