Tag Archives: cars

“Black Hills that I ain’t never seen”

As long-time readers of this site may recall, there was once a tagline used to describe the ethos of Glorious Noise: “Rock and roll can change your life.”

And now I must report with some sadness that it can change lives in a way that I’d prefer not to imagine.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Ray Davies becoming knighted by the Queen.

And a couple weeks before that I wrote about how Roger Daltrey was working with Rolls-Royce to create a bespoke version of the Wraith motorcar.

Now the two subjects have come together.

The Who version of the Rolls Wraith has come out. It features the artwork of Mike McInnery: the album cover of Tommy is painted on the hood and the birds that are also part of the cover art flit about on the fenders and C-pillars.

But that is but one of nine “Inspired by British Music” cars that has been developed.

Continue reading “Black Hills that I ain’t never seen”

Drive: John Lennon’s hearse up for sale

With the exceptions of Jan and Dean (well, Dean, anyway, as Jan moved on in 2004), The Cars, Gary Numan, and Sammy Hagar, I find the seeming fascination with and apparent love of automobiles and rock musicians to be somewhat incongruous. Sure, the Futurist Manifesto hailed the automobile as the symbol of something that is more dynamic that those things preserved from the past and would leave them covered in its dust—“We declare that the world’s wonder has been enriched by a fresh beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car with its trunk adorned by great exhaust pipes like snakes with an explosive breath … a roaring car that seems to be driving under shrapnel, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace”—but (1) Marinetti wrote that in 1909, years before Bill Haley saw the light of day in Highland Park, Michigan (which, curiously enough, is where the second Ford Motor factory was located) and (2) there is evidently a deep longing for many rock musicians, both practicing and arthritic, to be entombed in a museum near Lake Erie.

We recently saw that Roger Daltrey is working with Rolls-Royce. And we cited a Rolls that had been owned by John Lennon.

Now we learn of another Lennon automobile, a 1956 Austin Princess Type A135 that will be going on the auction block at the 46th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, to be held Jan. 14-22, 2017, which is essentially the auto auction of all auto auctions.

The vehicle was extensively used in the 1972 documentary Imagine.

It is a somewhat bizarre car in that unlike most ordinary Austin Princesses (note: Austin was a British car manufacturer; this is not a reference to some cotillion in the capital of Texas), this one was fitted out by coachbuilder Arthur Mulliner Ltd. of North Hampton (if you were to draw a line like this: \ from Birmingham to London, North Hampton falls in the middle). . .with the body of a hearse.

Mind you, this wasn’t some Lennonian prank or tweak; the vehicle was built as a hearse and operated as one by Ann Bonham & Son mortuary.

Continue reading Drive: John Lennon’s hearse up for sale

Can’t Explain: Roger Daltrey Designs Rolls-Royce for Charity

Roger Daltrey was a member of The Who, a band that he fundamentally established in 1964 with John Entwistle, Keith Moon and Pete Townshend.

Some people might argue that Roger Daltrey is a member of The Who, given that at the recent Desert Trip concert (a.k.a., Oldchella), a band named “The Who” performed.

Without going all Abbott & Costello (or a Hortonesque Dr. Seuss) about it, how can there be The Who when 50% of the band no longer exists: who’s left? Keith Moon died in 1978. John Entwistle died in 2002. (Daltrey had a bad case of meningitis last year and it almost seemed as though he’d be the answer to who’s next; fortunately he recovered and seems to be back on his game).

If we look at the band that is masquerading as The Who, know that Keith Moon was replaced by Kenny Jones, who was with the three original members starting in 1978. He was replaced in 1988 by Zack Starkey.

As for the bass position, that was taken up in 2002 by Pino Palladino.

So when does a specific “band” stop being that band in more than a marketing sense?

Isn’t the elimination of 50% of the musicians—especially musicians of the caliber of Moon and Entwistle, and with all due respect, does anyone actually think that Jones, Starkey and Palladeno are as good as those two were?—good enough to argue that it is something other than it once was?

After all, if you heard that a band was “decimated,” you’d probably think, “Geeze, there must not be much left.”

But that would mean that only 10% was eliminated, a far cry from the 50% of The Who (and it could be reckoned that with the replacement of Jones by Starkey, it would be a change of on the order of 65%).

Would Paul McCartney and Richard Starkey—I mean Ringo Starr—constitute “The Beatles”? Even at his most mendacious, it seems that McCartney doesn’t think so, either.

But now in their 52nd year of playing together, Daltrey and Townshend soldier on.

To be sure, they’ve done things other than play in the cover band known as “The Who.”

Ever since he appeared in Ken Russell’s 1975 film Tommy, Daltrey has been an actor, a performer on stage and screen (Who music isn’t just used as theme music for the various C.S.I.s; Daltrey has performed on the show as many characters, including playing, for reasons I can’t begin to understand, a middle-aged African-American woman).

Perhaps even more remarkable than that bit of acting is the fact that in 2008, late-middle aged American president George W. Bush awarded Daltrey and Townshend with the Kennedy Center Honors.

My interest in Daltrey was piqued by the recent announcement that he is collaborating with Rolls-Royce on the car manufacturer’s “Inspired by British Music” vehicles. It won’t be a “Roger Daltrey” edition, but “The Who” edition.

Continue reading Can’t Explain: Roger Daltrey Designs Rolls-Royce for Charity

Imported from. . .Canada

Motown MuseumWhen Chrysler busted out with the 2011 Super Bowl ad with Eminem, which gave rise to the whole “Imported from Detroit” theme, a theme that was green-lighted by Olivier Francois, a Parisian-born executive of Fiat, an Italian company (that owns Chrysler), people in Detroit at large got a good feeling. Yes, the people are tough and gritty, smooth and stylish. The car in question in the spot (a Chrysler 200) isn’t exactly the a car likely to make any publication’s Ten Best List, but as it is the only car that Chrysler produced in the Detroit Metro at the time (it put the Dodge Viper back into production in the city earlier this month, and it actually has built the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the D for the past several years), they had to go with what they had.

Why not the Chrysler 300, the sedan that was immediately popular with golfers and gangstas alike when it appeared as a model year 2005 vehicle?

Because that car is built in Canada.

Chrysler is now beating Detroit like Meg White the drums.  Unless it is an ad for Jeep, chances are there is something airing from the company that goes directly back to that “Born of Fire” Super Bowl ad.

It has just launched the 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown Edition.

The commercial for the car shows Motown founder and Detroit native Berry Gordy sitting in the backseat of the car. . .in front of the Motown Museum on West Grand Boulevard. If you’ve ever been to the Motown Museum or on West Grand Boulevard, you know that the word “grand” isn’t used in a particularly descriptive way.

And while Gordy established Motown in Detroit in 1960, he moved it to Los Angeles in 1972.

Thanks, Berry.

And while the 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown Edition moves Gordy through the streets of Detroit, it deposits him in New York City, in front of the Lunt Fontanne Theatre, where “Motown: The Musical” will be opening in March.

He may have forgotten that there is the Fisher Theater literally down the street from the Motown Museum. They stage Broadway shows there, too. It’s not Broadway. But it is Detroit.

The car is all chromed up. Perhaps the best part of it is that the limited-edition sedan’s audio system comes with 100 Motown tracks, but then those are accessible without having to put out an MSRP of $32,995.

“We are Motown and this is what we do,” Gordy says at the end of the spot for the car.

What? Move out of the D?

2013 Chrysler 300C | Who We Are | Motown: The Musical

You Know I’m A Dreamer: How The New Kia Commercial Makes Motley Crue Look Impotent

The other day at work, I took some time from my mundane duties to each lunch and get a bit of light Yahoo news. You have to be selective when it comes to your “non-business related” surfing time.

For example, I clicked on a news link once that brought me to a website that was locally related to the article I was reading. From that website, I noticed another article mentioning how a local resident was caught molesting a farm animal.

If you’re a normal, red-blooded American, you can probably guess where my mouse pointed. Of course, I wanted to read about the guy from Alabama that was messing with a pony.

Instinctively, I clicked the story hyperlink, only to be immediately met by my company’s automatic tattle-tale IT security warning window, advising me that my website of choice was not allowed as the word “bestiality” was not related to any job duties within the organization and that my attempt to access such a site would be duly noted.

Fear raced as I began to look for excuses to try and explain to the IT police and human resources why I tried to click on a link to a story about a dude caught with his pants down in the horse stable.

Would I be forever known as the guy that got fired for looking at bestiality porn? Would it become something of legend, replacing the truth until my termination story was due to my own encounter with a farm animal on company property? I should note that my employer is close to a community college with an active agricultural program, so the chance encounter with livestock and farm animals is entirely possible.

Nothing ever came from my bad choices in internet news sites, but I am a bit more selective when it comes to browsing the internet on my work computer.

I visit Yahoo because it seems like a nice homogenized place where people can gather across the country, read incredibly fluffy bits of journalism, and then comment about the inordinate amount of liberal staff members that Yahoo has, spreading their icky little socialist propaganda all over their website.

If that isn’t fucking ridiculous enough, the amount of time all this worthless shit takes to load on my work computer is. The Clash were right, so I mutter “workin’ for the clampdown” as I eat my chicken bacon ranch wrap from the cafeteria while the Yahoo homepage loads on my screen.

All of this so I can read about why we care about Donald Trump’s announcement of his GOP endorsement.

But it’s taking longer to load on this day as I notice that the hang up is due to some Flash advertisement that’s attempting to load before I can even see the story links.

Suddenly, an image of Tommy Lee, that pony-dick drummer from Motley Crue, slides across my screen, followed by the corpse that is Mick Mars, then Nikki “A paramedic saved my life” Sixx and finally Vince Neil, which had me worried that his image might prompt a security warning for attempting to access chicks with dicks website.

But no. All of this Motley Crue Flash activity was not promoting the new album by the Crue, nor was it to remind me that the band was going on tour again, probably performing the exact same setlist they played on their last one.

It was for Kia.

For a band that really hyped up their image as Harley-Davidson riding bad boys, it seemed strange that the band would choose to cash in with South Korea’s second largest automobile manufacturer.

The power to surprise, indeed.

It wasn’t until I saw the actual television ad that I got the full impact of the commercial.

The Cliffs Note version goes like this: Middle age white schmuck consumes enough anti-depressants and Vicodin to believe that he is still the same badass that he was in the 11th Grade when he spent all of his money earned at Burger King on an ’84 Ford EXP with 98,000 miles and a factory cassette deck.

Fast forward some twenty-five years later and this same sad bastard is using his rapid eye memory believing that a Kia Optima is somehow his “dream car for real life.”

I’m sorry, but where I come from one of our hometown heroes drove a ’69 Plymouth Superbird and any Asian car was referred to as a “rice burner.”

No, there would be no convincing my blue-collar brethren that anything with a Kia nameplate, and shame on Motley Crue for trying to suggest otherwise.

If you haven’t heard one of Nikki Sixx’s endless recounting, “Kickstart My Heart” is the story about that aforementioned paramedic who continued to apply shocks to Sixx’s chest after he long expired from a heroin overdose.

Now it seems that Sixx is due for another zap–or at least a head-exploding roundhouse kick to the head from Chuck Liddell–to remind him that these decisions of product placement are only as good the current model year.  By Super Bowl XLVII, the Crue will be less known for their history of rock’s premier bad boys and more for their love of fuel-efficient family sedans.

Had the middle-aged sleeper really strived for the life of the Crue’s storied decadence, he would have crashed that Kia into the Hanoi Rocks tour bus, stolen the pixie dust from Mr. Sandman and Hoovered up all that glittery blow off the ass of one of those scantily clad chicks in the NASCAR stands.

Because if any self-respecting Crue fan even considers signing a down payment check for any model of Kia, they need to be reminded of how they’re also signing off on their own do not resuscitate order.

Which is exactly what Motley Crue has done with this commercial and what I have done with my lunch break.

Ad: “A Dream Car. For Real Life.” — 2012 Kia Optima Big Game Full Commercial

The Vehicular Return of Another Bad Band

Ford S-MAX Titanium

In case you were wondering, as the reformed Spandau Ballet rolls through Ireland and the U.K. this month as part of its “Reformation Tour” (clever, eh: reformed, reformation—that’s the kind of stuff that makes the band what it is), it will be doing so in Ford S-MAX Titanium vehicles. As lead singer and evident car whore Tony Hadley puts it of the S-MAX Titanium 2.0TDCi Automatic that he’s been driving for the past few months (we’re guessing he didn’t pay retail), “I wanted a car that was stylish and comfortable for long journeys, and the S-MAX fits the bill perfectly.” Right.

Or maybe that should be “True.”

Spandau Ballet: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.

Fords in the House

Ford American Idol House PartyThe conventional wisdom around Motown these days is that of the domestic vehicle manufacturers, Ford Motor Company—commonly referred to by some denizens of Detroit as “Fords” and it is not clear whether that is supposed to be possessive case (as in “the company owned by the Ford family,” plural (as in “we build a lot of them”) or simply a bizarre case where someone who works in Dearborn suddenly manifests an accent that is more commonly heard in Minneapolis—is in the best shape.

At least unlike Chrysler it is not having its assets and liabilities assessed by a judge, and unlike General Motors, it isn’t teetering on the brink of some ignominious abyss. But while FoMoCo may be in “better shape,” that’s not the same as saying “good shape.” That is, while a Big Mac may be better for the conditions of your arteries and waist line than a Double Whopper with Cheese, that is not to say that it is good for you.

Continue reading Fords in the House

Driven to Distraction, Part II

Eco partnerPart I ran back in a more innocent age. Eight years ago. In 2001. Pre-9/11. Back when car companies, including Honda, were selling cars with bootless abandon. Since then, there has been a greater level of solemnity. And one of the Big Three is now in bankruptcy, and another would be there right now if the president didn’t know that the economy would be teetering with a greater amplitude than it already is if GM did fall into reorganization.

But some things never change. Back then the issue was Honda sponsoring the “Civic Tour.” But now we are proud to report than Honda is one of the twelve sponsors of Lollapalooza 2009 and one of ten for the Austin City Limits Festival. It isn’t the “automotive” sponsor. No, it is an “Eco partner.” That’s right: a green partner. Says Tom Peyton, senior manager of Honda national advertising: “Many Honda customers are passionate about music and they care deeply about the environment. As an Eco-partner at these great music festivals Honda can help make being ‘green’ entertaining and fun.”

Continue reading Driven to Distraction, Part II

New short film by GLONO founder

Watch Foreman, a nine-minute documentary by Glorious Noise co-founder and current New York Times stringer, Jeff Sabatini. Soundtrack by GLONO recording artists, Riviera.

Continue reading New short film by GLONO founder

Start the Commotion

Start the Commotion

Author’s Warning: The following is another contribution to the accumulating coverage of the nexus between automotive marketing and music. While this may seem dubious to some people, it is predicated on the fact that (1) automotive manufacturers are among the world’s leading marketers, which means that they are spending staggering amounts of money trying to convince consumers not only of their products’ relevance and importance and desirability, but (2) that they are evidently convinced that it is imperative to persuade a group of people who range in age from 16 to 49, people with disposable income, that they, the vehicle manufacturers, are clued in, and the means through which they are doing this is borrowing the music of the relative generations (from Dirty Vegas to Led Zeppelin). Their co-option—although often voluntary and driven purely by economic motives—of the musicians’s work dwarfs that of any other class of corporation when it comes to using music for what is essentially propaganda. Perhaps it is irrelevant to dwell on this. Perhaps we should just be blithe to the whole sociopolitical ramifications (it isn’t just Clear Channel that determines who you see and what you hear—not by a long shot) of this. If that is your position, then stop reading this now, if you didn’t already.

Mitsubishi Motors had a problem. It was simply that compared to other Japanese brands, they weren’t moving much sheet metal in the world’s most important market for cars and trucks, the American market. Some of this had to do with distribution. They didn’t have as many outlets as the other guys. Part of this had to do with product. Some of it (e.g., the Mirage) just didn’t make the grade as compared to the likes of the Civic and the Corolla. And another aspect of this had a lot to do with image. Whereas Honda has become closely identified as being the brand that tuners gravitate toward, and Toyota has the reputation for providing bulletproof (but comparatively bland) transportation, Mitsubishi was, essentially, as the name of their WWII airplanes had it, zero.

One of the consequences in being in this position was that they faced economic constraints with regard to what they could do. So they opted for cleverness to be a lever. In 1998, the company awarded its advertising account to Deutsch Inc.’s LA office. Which came up with a theme, “Wake Up and Drive.” The target was to be young, edgy, spirited group—not my characterization, but what I was told by the vehicle manufacturer’s vice president of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs. The brand positioning included the notion that the cars “make you look and feel alive.” So to wake up people, they turned to music, music that is ostensibly coming out of the speakers of the various vehicles as people are on their way to hip venues. The people in VW ads are comparative slugs to these. And the people driving in the rocks in the Nissan spots are just so, well, déclassé. Waking up includes seat dancing. Popping.

Whereas the DaimlerChrysler bank account is deep enough to sign Aerosmith, Mitsubishi didn’t have the requisite amounts to sign big names to their advertising campaign. So some audiophile at Deutsch went listening for options. One such option was a 1998 number from The Wise Guys, “Start the Commotion,” which was released in the U.K. and quickly departed the charts. It sounded right for the black and white, quick-cutting, trendy spots of attractive people driving the Eclipse. But what’s interesting to note is that the commercial in question (entitled “Fun”) was released in 2001, long after “Start the Commotion” had proved to be a non-starter. The aforementioned veep told me that thanks to the car commercial, “Start the Commotion” was driven to the Top 10 in the U.S. (And, yes, Mitsubishi sales have increased.)

There have been several spots in the series. “One Week” from the Barenaked Ladies for the Lancer. “20th Century Boy” from the sometimes-lamented voice of Marc Bolan and T. Rex for Montero Sport. “Lust for Life” by Iggy for the Galant. Not the A-team, but getting it done.

What is the most interesting—and possibly troubling—is the most recent spot, which features “Days Go By” by the British trio Dirty Vegas. The song has been nominated for a VH1 “Visionary Video Award” and “Best Dance Video” in the MTV Video Music Awards. Not bad. But read this, from the Dirty Vegas website:

“Earlier this year [2002] the song [“Days Go By”] was picked by car maker Mitsubishi to use as the soundbed in a US TV Ad campaign. The song received more attention than the car and soon “Days Go By” became the most added track at radio, the stunning video became a fixture on MTV, and Dirty Vegas became probably the hippest band in America.”

What the band’s self-adulatory praise leaves out is that it seems that the release of “Days Go By” was coordinated with the Mitsubishi ad. Evidently, the band knew what Mitsubishi had done for The Wise Guys, so they, too, decided it is better to be smart than good.

It was once necessary for bands to convince record companies, promoters, and radio stations that their music was worthwhile. Now, apparently, there is another category that may be more important: Car manufacturers. As is the name of “The Mitsubishi Mix, Vol. 1″ (Warner Special Products, Warner Music Group, an AOL Time Warner Company) puts it: Are You In?