The Top 25 Liberty Songs

So I got my dead tree copy of the LP News in the mail yesterday and, lo and behold, it has an article on the front page: The Top 25 Liberty Songs. It’s a pretty cool list, and more enlightened than you might expect. Check it out. Not only is the Libertarian Party “The Party of Principle,” but it has good music taste too. That should be more than enough reason to vote for Harry Brown in the next election. (And yeah, I know there are two Rush songs on the list, but what do you expect—we’re libertatians, we have to like them because they like Ayn Rand.)

Continue reading The Top 25 Liberty Songs

White Stripes: Painting the World WHITE

Detroit’s White Stripes embark on world domination

By Phil Wise

It wasn’t so long ago that Detroit was the butt of all jokes. Everyone from Jay Leno and David Letterman to the writers of Kentucky Fried Movie were taking whacks at the Motor City. But it seems times have changed and Jack and Meg White of Motown’s own White Stripes are laughing now.

Not in recent memory has an indie band commanded so much attention as the White Stripes. With mentions in Entertainment Weekly, Time and twice in Rolling Stone, the White Stripes seem to be America’s sweethearts—or peppermint lollypops. Now the Stripes are taking their red and white fleet to the UK and finding the fickle British music press more than willing to sign on for a ride.

Last week’s NME had a one-page, full-color spread of Jack and Meg soaked in their Detroit sweat and signature red trousers. The headline screamed “White Noise, White Heat” as a double nod to Detroit’s only political/musical movement of worth, The White Panthers, and to the White Stripes’ Velvet Underground-influenced affinity for stripped-down jams. By reading the gushing write up you’d think Jack White was the second coming of Wayne Kramer, not the snotty little brother of John Spencer. But that was just a shot over the bow.

The coup de grace has this week’s NME features our heroes on the cover and declares them the “Sound of NOW!” How do they do it? I’m a fan of the Stripes and wish them all the best, but how have they seduced the media to the point of turning mild-mannered Arts & Entertainment editors into multi-national spinmasters?

The White Stripes have pulled off a major marketing coup with this media assault and the rewards could be great, but dancing with the British media can also be dangerous. If you thought the American media’s treatment of Milli Vanilla was bad, you should have seen what the NME and now defunct Melody Maker did to Johnny Marr when he left the Smiths. You’d have thought he killed Paul Weller!

So forge on, White Stripes, and find your fortune on the high seas. But beware the English congeniality, for even the great Spanish Armada met its brutal match at the hands of a British gentleman.

Deaf American

There’s a low grumble across America and it seems only Salon.com can hear it.

By Phil Wise

Since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1995, there has been a steady consolidation of media in this country that threatens to choke our already anemic music business. The decisions for A&R, radio programming and concert promotion are falling into fewer and fewer hands. There’s a reason you only hear the same 12 songs on any Top 40-radio station (what happens to the other 28 songs you might ask). Intriguing stories of corporate bullying, backroom payoffs and political manipulation used to be the stuff of good reporting and would make an editor-in-chief dizzy with thoughts of Peabodies and other self-congratulating industry awards. But it seems nobody’s interested…well, almost nobody.

It’s long been popular to blame the failures of deregulation on Republican policies. I mean, it is their philosophy to let the market place set the rules and concerns of safety and anti-trust be damned. But Bill Clinton, no friend to the GOP, signed the Telecommunications act into law. And Clinton left the liberal base of the Democratic party behind long ago, contrary to what Rush Limbaugh and other rightwing blowhards would have you think. So if this failing policy that so blatantly spits in the face of liberal market controls is such an easy target, then where is the supposed liberal media? Now’s their chance to make fools of those stalwarts of free enterprise and they’re dropping the ball.

Enter Salon.com. Salon has been running a series of articles covering the disturbing consolidation of media. From the FCC chairman, Michael Powell’s (Bush buddy and son of Collin) revealing slip of the tongue in front of congress, to the heavy-handed market manipulation by Clear Channel Media and a certain good time pop-punk band. Salon seems to be the only high profile media source that smells a story.

It’s not to say that other left-leaning media sites haven’t also reported on these troubling trends, but none have Salon’s profile. And you can forget any reports from corporate hacks like Peter Jennings or GOP apologists like Fox News’ Bill O-Reilly. The rightwinger’s conspiracy theory of liberal media manipulation seems to fall flat when you consider that the parent companies of NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, AOL/TIME WARNER and other “mainstream” media outlets stand to make loads of money from these consolidations.

So, as the summer heat takes its toll on your good mood you can rest assured knowing that Clear Channel and Sumner Redstone know what’s best for you. Just flip on your radio to “the morning zoo” and listen to the banal sounds of Britney, Mandy, Christina or Mariah and hope to win tickets to see Lance, AJ, Joey, Mickey or Minnie. They all have homes in Orlando to pay for and we all need to do our part.

Here’s to Your Health

As we (I) are often prone to dissecting the relationship between corporate AmeriKKKa and popular culture (by way of advertising, “marketing”, etc.) on this site, I figured I’d throw this out there today. It’s something I have thought about a great deal, but it all came to a head while “reading” a copy of Men’s Health (gag, I know) during lunch. Forget why I was looking at such a worthless piece of dreck for a minute though, and concentrate on my point: We have lost the ability to be critical in today’s society.

I think we all realize that much of what we “consume” in our consumer culture, at least where entertainment and media are concerned, is garbage. But how did it get to be this way? I often hear the old dudes proclaim that “It’s always been this way” but I refuse to believe this. It’s gotten worse, for sure, and the biggest reason is that people are afraid to call something crap when it obviously smells, even when it’s stuck to their own shoe.

I was recently guilty of repeating that grandmotherly phrase, “You get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” only to be repudiated by a fellow GloNo scribe: “But you get the most flies with shit.” And that’s it in a nutshell.

Take a look at Men’s Health (or any other magazine for that matter) and you find our culture reflected, the price tag still attached. Political Correctness dictates that they can’t really call a spade a spade; advertising revenue and the necessity to guard against ever saying anything that might offend anyone for any reason (for God forbid anyone take issue with something and make anyone’s job any more time consuming or difficult) make the rest of the self-censorship complete. And what are you left with? A bunch of drivel about nothing, with that cheeky (or “cute”, as one ridiculously corporate-brainwashed friend would say) tone that substitutes for voice.

What’s clearly missing from most media today is commentary. Analysis. Opinion, good or bad. Criticism. And it’s no wonder. We as individuals never want to have to defend anything we say or believe, because dammit, that’s hard work: thinking, forming complete sentences, arguing, writing, acting in a manner that inherently accepts responsibility for the outcome. All of these are frowned upon by society today. We’re taught from a very young age to look for the bright side, to view the glass half full, to be happy and content with whatever our situation in life might be. Seek comfort in like others. Work within the system. Do as you’re told. Advocate, but don’t agitate. Most importantly, respect others’ right to have an opinion—no matter how stupid or uninformed that is. “Hey, maybe Brittany Spears does have something to say!” After all, 50,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong, can they?

Well, the Elvis fans weren’t—but they could have been. The Brittany fans, their opinion and right to hold it respected (of course), are fucking morons. But that’s not the point. The point is that someone needs to say this, out loud and loudly. Speak up and defend the opinion: Sting is an irrelevant and pompous blowhard; George Bush is the dumbest man to ever walk through the Oval Office, let alone sit behind the desk there; Modern R&B sucks so bad, it tarnishes the very term “rhythm and blues” (of which it has neither); Robert DeNiro has forgotten how to act and is but a caricature of himself. And on and on and on.

These are the things that need to be said. These are the ideas that will form a better society, which will allow us to differentiate, choose, and grow. If you’re not comfortable with having your own voice, fine; sit there and shut up. But remember, those who criticize are to be encouraged and appreciated, not vilified.

“In criticism I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.” –Edgar Allen Poe

The Next Plane to Good Writing

If you haven’t checked out Last Plane to Jakarta yet, it’s time do so now. It features some of the best music writing I’ve read since I was first cc’d on a note by Johnny Loftus. There’s a particularly great explication of a song by Chuck Berry on there right now. I love it when people go off the deep end over something they love. To me, that’s what it’s all about.

At the end of the article, the author dismisses his revelation like this:

…this isn’t exactly news. It’s nothing you’d want to admit to not knowing if you didn’t already. But every so often some song from the distant pass puts the fire of God on you and you gotta preach. I thank you for indulging me.

Preach on brother, preach on. We’ll stay tuned and continue to indulge you.

Ringo Starr: It Don’t Come Easy

Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band

By Phil Wise

The Today show has a summer-long concert series in which artists perform outdoors at ungodly hours in the early morning. It seems like a nightmare to me, but the series has featured an eclectic mix of acts from ‘NSYNC to Tim McGraw. Not a particularly hip or cutting edge line-up, but this is morning TV.

Today’s featured act was none other than Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band. This year’s band features an equally perplexing mix of artists including Sheila E. Ringo’s been touring with a different line-up in his All Starr band for about a decade and the roster reads like a roll call of Ringo’s AA meeting: Joe Walsh, John Entwhistle, Jack Bruce, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Todd Rundgren, Nils Lofgren, Dave Edmunds and many more. Now, no doubt this is a stellar line up of seasoned (sometimes seasoned and sautéed) veterans. No doubt they have some war stories to tell that I’d love to be privy to. Hell, some of these guys are bona fide legends. But, how do they play together some 30–plus years after some of them have made an impact on the musical landscape?

The Today show appearance started off with an interview with Ringo by Katie Couric. Despite Ringo always being presented as the affable, cheeky Beatle, he usually comes across in interviews as a bit sour and arrogant. Today was no different. Ringo seemed put-off that he had to appear on TV before noon and even after 35 years of press conferences, junkets and interviews, he still gets miffed when answering the same old questions about the Beatles and when or if the surviving three will reunite. Get with it Ringo, without the Beatles you’re painting houses—Ask Pete Best.

But let’s forgive Ringo his lack of nuance with the media. After all he was never the mouthpiece for the Beatles. He was the drummer and content in that role. So, let’s just look at the band.

Ringo took the mic for a few songs, including a Mattel-like karoke version of Yellow Submarine, and then handed vocal duties over to former Supertramp front man Roger Hodgson. Ringo’s taken plenty of heat for his “vocal stylings” over the years and I’m not going to throw another log onto that fire. Let’s just say that age has not turned a bottle of sour grapes into wine. Hodgson, on the other hand, still has that clear muppet-like voice he had on 70s hits like “The Logical Song” and “Give a Little Bit.” I hate those songs and always have, but if you like them then you wouldn’t be disappointed in their rendition today. But the accompaniment on all of those songs left a bad taste in my mouth. I had immediate flashbacks to a bowling alley “play room” and the smell of diapers and disinfectant-and-cigarette-smoke-smelling shag carpet. The combination of songs I’ve hated since I was three years old and the sweltering Chicago heat sent me into an immediate toxic shock.

But all things must pass and as Katie and Matt led us into a commercial I thought about poor old Ringo and his All Starr band. These are guys who at some point in their careers were at the topper most of the popper most only to end up in a two-bit cover band fronted by a short, angry half-legend. Do they miss the madness of their earlier careers? Are they content in life? And was it better to have been at the top and fallen than to have never seen the view?

O Brave New World

Two points:

1. This is not one of the long, thoughtful pieces that appear below on this page. If you’re looking for that, well, simply go below

2. I am becoming somewhat disturbed that I even noticed this topic and even annoyed that I have essayed this band more than once on this site.

Here’s the thing: Has anyone else noticed that the cover of ‘Nsync’s Celebrity is an updated rip of St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an update that is seen through the cockeyed lens of “Entertainment Tonight,” “E.” People, Teen People, Homunculi People, etc.?

Ah, the debasement continues.

This is a Modern World

On the eve of Quadrophenia’s release, the Who’s most articulate message finds a new audience

Quadrophenia

Rhino Records is releasing the Who’s Quadrophenia on DVD in September and the film is enjoying a limited theater release to celebrate. After countless viewings of the film on an old VHS bootleg, I recently saw the film for the first time on the big screen last week and was again taken back to my own days of teenage angst and Anglophilia.

Originally released in 1979, Quadrophenia was slated to be the last word on England’s Mod scene of the mid-60s from the pretenders to the throne of Modfatherhood, the Who. Loosely based on the album of the same name, the film stands on its own and succeeds where other rock movies failed. It’s not an extended music video like the Who’s earlier venture Tommy. It’s not a vanity plate like Prince’s Purple Rain. It’s not a vehicle to promote the career of a singer-turned-bad-actress like any one of Madonna’s embarrassing films. And it’s not an art film like those produced by many of the Who’s brethren of the 60s, including the Rolling Stones (the simultaneously exhilarating and disappointingly tedious Sympathy for the Devil). In fact, the movie may have suffered for its affiliation with the Who. Its producers’ audience couldn’t possibly take it seriously as a movie because of the above-mentioned attempts.

Quadrophenia follows Mod Jimmy Cooper (Phil Daniels) through the trials of teendom where young adolescent males discover some of the hardest truths of life: working sucks, you don’t always get the girl (even when you DO!), and your heroes have day jobs.

Excellent performances by Daniels and exquisite Mod Girl Steph (Leslie Ash) bring to the screen the complex rules and disappointments of young love. The story unfolds as Jimmy struggles to find his own identity in a peer group rigid with conformity. His affiliation with the Mods is strengthened in a weekend trip to the resort town of Brighton where he falls in love; fights for his gang; and meets his hero, played with utmost restraint by Glono’s own favorite corporate hack Sting in his pre-Jaguar days (the scenes of him on a Vespa GS could just as easily act as a commercial for the ultimate Modmobile, but that’s for another day). Everything he believes about being a Mod is confirmed in that quick, violent weekend.

Those beliefs are just as quickly challenged upon Jimmy’s return home to London’s working class Flatbush district. Jimmy attempts to recapture his ideals in a desperate, pill-headed return to Brighton. The trip is introduced by a genius nod to the Beatles’ Hard Days Night train scene with Jimmy riding first class among the very suits and “third class tickets” he hates. Jimmy arrives only to have his dreams further dashed on the rocks of the Brighton shoreline.

Quadrophenia acts as the ultimate guy movie from the ultimate guy band, but not because of the violence, sex and ass kicking rock and roll. It speaks to most guys, American or British, through its portrayal of the confusion and uncertainty of teenage soul searching. In a time when most guys are struggling hard to project an image furthest from their true self, Quadrophenia asks “Can you see the real me?”

DANCE MUSIC STOPS THE TRAFFIC

Moby Brings His Record Collection on Tour with Area:One

Johnny Loftus

CHICAGO – Delays, traffic jams, and a general lull in performance was felt throughout Chicagoland Wednesday, as thousands of coffee shops, fast food restaurants, and service industry positions were severely understaffed. The ramifications of the epidemic were widespread, as the working public found its daily routine severely hampered by longer lines at Starbucks, hastily constructed Subway sandwiches, and shoddy, overworked customer service at Target. It was later discovered that in each case, harried supervisors had found themselves pressed into service as baristas, sandwich artists and stockboys, after over half their adolescent workforce failed to appear for work Wednesday. Reports of Road Rage were up, and general performance was sluggish.

Meanwhile, at the Tweeter Center in south suburban Chicago, Moby’s Area:One Festival plugged in for the day, and 20,000 kids made the cops nervous.

Moby makes clear his reasoning behind Area:One’s eclectic lineup at www.areafestival.com: “There is a lot of music in the world that I love that does not always get the appropriate exposure.” Moby’s influence is obvious. In essence, the festival attempts to bring to the masses the club culture in which Moby began, while embracing influences of Hip Hop and alternative rock that have contributed to the larger cultural acceptance of his recent music. As such, the lineup was like hearing Moby’s latest mix tape, while driving around in his Grand Turismo. In the Ford Focus tent (a bizarre mix of corporate and counter-culture last observed at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival), top tier DJs like Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, Timo Maas and The Orb shared the decks with Detroit Techno pioneers Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson (performing as the Innovators). Meanwhile, on the main stage, organic diva Nelly Furtado opened a day of music that would feature The Roots, soulternative rockers Incubus, the stanky funk of Outkast, and finally Moby himself, who would prove to be an unassuming host, still grappling with his newfound role as a rock star.

While it remains a cultural force in the UK and Europe, club culture has never enjoyed more than an underground following in the US. Barring the occasional news story about a busted rave or token warnings against Ecstacy use by the mainstream US media, true dance music has kept a pretty low profile domestically. That said, it’s one of the last places where a kid can be a kid – you know, rebel. Punk rock has been co-opted. Hippy culture is a joke, awash in tired cliches of patchouli and tie-dye. But in the subterranean, smoky world of dance culture, a kid can find something unknown by the middle managers, guidance counselors, and oblivious parents. It is a world ruled by the DJ, a solitary figure behind the wheels of steel, who bends and shapes his audience with the help of other peoples’ music and a million watts of power. Glitter, tent-like pants, glow sticks: these are the mohawks, safety pins, and spiked wristbands of club culture.

On Wednesday, electronica ruled, and the sponsors knew it. Despite the confluence of sounds and demographics available to them at Area:One, the corporate presence was preoccupied with elements of dance culture. Intel found a nice tie-in. “The Area:One Music Festival will be a unique showcase for the evolution of music and technology,” explained John Travis, director of Worldwide Consumer Promotions for Intel. “These artists live out the same innovation and excitement that the Intel Pentium 4 processor brings to home computer users and music enthusiasts.” Information kiosks (read: ads) were designed in a proto-technical manner that emulated the sharp angles and shiny florescence of electronic music. Intel’s Digital Music Zone looked like a 5th century Hun dwelling re-imagined by Industrial Light & Music. Ford Motor Co. is no stranger to electronica. It tapped Juan Atkins’ “No UFOs” as the soundtrack for its Ford Focus ad campaign, and was a major contributor to this year’s Detroit Electronic Music Festival. The convergence of corporate brand strategy and dancefloor culture in the Ford Focus tent was an amazing (and odd) sight, but one that Ford somehow seems to have succeeded with. At the same time, the presence of KMX energy drink at Area:One was pure, un-cut culture terrorism. While energy drinks have for years been associated with rave culture in Europe (late nights, you know), they have only recently broken through in the US, with their more potent mixtures being quite popular in the taverns. In an ingeniously tacky move, KMX employed a gang of nubile young women to serve the iridescent orange product to festival goers in the same skinny vials that are used in bars to serve fruity alcoholic shots. Throw in the obligatory presence of MTV, and the area between the Ford Focus tent and main stage was a carnival midway of corporate brands desperately trying to make a lasting impression with their target market. Area:One’s sponsors could never hope to fully understand club culture; but they know its tenets suggest the trends and styles that will be cool next summer.

Incubus’ style (think Jane’s Addiction meets RHCP meets Deftones) is more ranging than moaning OzzFest counterparts like Papa Roach, Stain’d, or Drowning Pool, but the fact that they have risen to fame on the coattails of the Nu Metal movement makes their Area:One appearance a bit suspect. It’s not Moby’s fault; even he can’t persuade venue owners that Timo Maas is a household name. And though he and Outkast are both major draws in the current pop climate, it’s understandable that the least annoying of the Aggro-Metal crooners was asked to appear at Area:One. For their part, a shirtless Brandon Boyd and friends put together a serviceable set of “Mountain Song” covers, featuring strong percussion by drummer Jose Pasillas. Boyd even got to play a little bongo drum, to make those groupies swoon. Following Incubus on the main stage was the southern-style antics of Outkast. Launching immediately into “Gasoline Dreams,” Stankonia‘s fiery leadoff track, Dre and Big Boi then led their 5-piece backing band into 1996’s “ATLiens,” and had the crowd on its feet. Not content to rely on the hackneyed precepts of live Hip Hop (“throw your hands in the air!”;”Let me hear you say ‘AAAAHHH!!!'”), Atlanta’s finest rap crew displayed the range of influence in their sound with ease. 70’s soul, P-Funk, and an almost Vaudevillian stage presence helped to illustrate why some Hip Hop is stuck in a rut of its own making (shout-out to Sean Combs!), while some continue to innovate and educate.

A DJ is only as good as his last breakbeat. Unlike a band with a traditional frontman, or even the obvious stage presence of MCs like Big Boi and Dre, a DJ can be a somewhat clandestine existence. While his actions are the center of attention, the music and beats are the star of the show. He is at once visible and invisible, using his skills as a turntablist to constantly win over the audience. While the main stage performers suffered through horrible sound (courtesy of the Tweeter Center’s moronic shed design), the long, snaking line to enter the Focus tent alluded to its thoughtful setup. Inside, the DJ booth was at the extreme opposite end from the entrance, surrounded by filament-thin video screens and towering speaker banks that sounded incredible. Once inside the tent, it was impossible not to be overtaken by the experience of hearing a premier DJ at the top of his game. Upon entering the tent for Paul Oakenfold’s set, he dropped a killer breakbeat that brought up a series of swirling orange lights. On cue, 2,000 kids’ glow sticks went into full spinning action, suggesting a euphoric time lapse photo in real time. Both Oakenfold and Carl Cox proved their marquee status with athletic sets showcasing their love of House, Techno, and everything in between. At one point during Oakenfold’s set, the monstrous video monitor behind his solitary form found a line of fans in the audience, bending at their wastes in unison with the music – dancing to while worshipping at the altar of the man behind the wheels of steel. If Oakenfold had leapt into the crowd like a singer in a Rock and Roll band, the pulsating hands and bouncing feet would have supported his weight above them. And in a nod to the Innovators (Derrick May, Jaun Atkins, Kevin Sauderson), Oakenfold wore a T-shirt bearing the logo of the Motor Lounge, a club residing in the ancestral home of Techno, Detroit, Michigan.

Moby is an unlikely hero. A small, balding, vegan instrumentalist, Moby was the private product of the underground dance community for most of the late 80s and 90s. While his soundtrack work brought him a bit of notoriety, no one – least of all the artist himself – could have imagined the success that a few corporate licensing agreements would bring him. After 1999’s Play became the most licensed record of all time, Moby’s take on downtempo etherea blew him up TRL style. A collaboration with Gwen Stefani here or there, and suddenly a quiet DJ from the East Village has enough money and clout to put together one of the most ambitous package tours of the past few years. So at the end of the day, when Moby finally took the stage in a lightshow worthy of the Alan Parsons Project, it was interesting to see him – a small, balding, vegan instrumentalist playing songs for 20,000 kids who thought he fell to earth a few months ago. And he said as much. Stopping often between numbers to conversed amiably with the audience, Moby turned a wondrous eye on his fame, expounding about the sense of power one feels, standing with a guitar on a huge stage. To illustrate his point, he cranked his Marshall stack and peeled off a weedly-weedling guitar solo worthy of everyone’s hair rock hero, Eddie Van Halen. In between chats, Moby was a poster child for Speed, leaping between samplers, keyboards, and guitars as his band laid down a frenetic, lightshow infused groove. With English vocalist Diane Charlemagne (remember Goldie’s “Inner City Life”?) performing live many of the Americana samples from Play, that record’s signature sound was expanded to help it play out in the expanse of the venue. Hits like “Bodyrock,” “Natural Blues” and “Honey” were obvious crowd pleasers, but the kids were also receptive to his older, more straightforwardly techno offerings. It would have been nice to hear his rendering of Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver,” but it was not to be. Instead, Moby turned up the distortion for “Southside,” bringing out Canadian pixie chanteuse Nelly Furtado as a stunt Gwen. After thanking his band, his fellow peformers, and the audience, Moby finished off Area:One with a Kraftwerk-ian display of distopian weirdness. Standing shirtless on his keyboard as the lightshow turned and twisted with his song’s monolithic beats, Moby yelped one last nervous “Thank you, Goodnight!” and ran off the stage. He probably dreamed of saying that from a big stage, too.

JTL

American Bandstand

During the past few weeks, in the aftermath of the announcement of the Dodge-Aerosmith partnership, I’ve been talking to a number of people, particularly those in advertising and PR, about the arrangement. The ages of the people ranged across an entire generation, from 23 to 50. The question I was interested in getting an answer to was not so much about whether the setup is actually beneficial to the two firms (let’s not kid ourselves about Chrysler being a “firm” and Aerosmith a “band”), but this:

What is the quintessential American band?

This is not the same as asking:

What is the best American band?

This has to be a widely known group. It has to be a group that is still performing in some essential lineup.

What is to the U.S. what the Who and the Stones are to the U.K.?

I threw out the Beach Boys as a possibility, although when I think of it, it is in the context of “Pet Sounds,” not in the context of what the group has become, as in a small-town church carnival-playing band doing abominations like “Kokomo.” That got negative reactions across the board. (Don’t tell Cameron Crowe.)

Another possibility was Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band. Which got somewhat better reception. . .although the 23-year-old, who actually said that she was an Aerosmith fan and thought the Dodge tie-up was a good idea (and she works at the ad agency for a DCX cross-town rival), commented that while people know Springsteen, the E-Streeters are not as well known: but then I asked who, beyond Tyler and Perry, are members of Aerosmith—a question she could not answer, yet she rolled out with 3 members of the E-Street Band, including that guy who is on “The Sopranos.” (I wonder if that’s how Little Steven will be remembered—which leads to a digressive question as to why all the young rappers are now known as “Lil'” this and that? Lil’ Kim makes a Barbie doll look like a Gumby with a wig: nothing lil’ about Kim.)

Anyway, that idea didn’t go over with much acceptance.

Quite frankly, people threw out names (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, for example) that didn’t quite cut it. And it seemed to come back to Aerosmith.

So I throw it out to all of you: What is the quintessential American rock band? (And no, Grand Funk Railroad is not it, as they sang “We’re an American band.” We’re looking for the.)

Rock and roll can change your life.