Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SONGS #149-150: Sleepin' With The Television On, All For Leyna

Billy Joel, Glass Houses, 1980

My boy James posted this link to his Facebook page yesterday: it's Billy Joel having a tantrum about the stage lighting during his concerts in the former USSR at the turn of the 90s.  He's playing "Sometimes A Fantasy" from Glass Houses.

I now cannot move forward without offering my two cents about Mr. William Joel.

My first instrument was the piano.  There was an old one in the house that my parents rented when I was five, and I started plunking around on it.  One night I did so when my folks had people over for dinner, and one of them said that I had to have piano lessons.  So my folks found an old guy in the neighborhood, and I started plunking away.

Two things were quickly very clear-- I loved the piano, and I hated piano lessons.  In my defense- until I was twelve, when I finally met the wise and talented Dr. Richard Layton (hope all is well, Rick) my piano lessons consisted of tours of the kinds of living rooms that show up in hipster-indie films about the 1970s.  My teachers were weird, angry loners, some male, some female.  They hated me, and I hated them.  The decorations were the same: lots of tassels and throw pillows.  TONS of photographs of the many cats lurking on the premises.  Lots of crystal candy bowls and ashtrays.  Lamps of every color of the rainbow.  Linoleum floors.  A loud, whining air conditioning unit with little pieces of ribbon tied to it, floating in the breeze festively.  And in the center of the room, like a shrine, a piano, covered with bric-a-brac and shot glasses from Mount Rushmore and a piano competition trophy from 1966 and piles of yellowing sheet music.

I got the message-- people who played the piano were gigantic losers who were only interested in scales, songs called "Off To School" and "Sleepy Time" and yelling at children for not practicing their fingering.  They were 37 going on 90.  I was desperate to switch instruments to the guitar, the world in which people were cool.  Kiss played guitars, not pianos.  Kiss songs didn't sound right on the piano.  

Things improved a bit when my lessons started to be at the Severna Park Mall.  They were in the back of some sorry music store (Jordan Kitts, maybe?) but at least afterwards I got a slice of awesomely bad mall pizza and got to wander around the record store.  I almost got used to it until the day my teacher told me that he had the hottest new song for me to learn-- the #1 song in the country, PROVING how cool the piano was.  How psyched was I????  

It was "Music Box Dancer."  

Literally, right next door, there was a giant display of Ted Nugent making this face:

Welcome to loserville.  Population, moi.

So the piano and I developed a kind of hate/hate relationship, but there was no way my parents were going to let me switch to an electric guitar.  I was getting a little desperate.  I loved music too much to stop, but didn't like anything I was learning to play.  That explains, I guess, why, in 1980, I went nuts for Billy Joel.

The first record of his that I heard?  Glass Houses.  It is by far Joel's most upbeat record-- it even has electric guitars on it.  It also has some quality piano playing, and the kind I had been looking for-- mash-down-on-the-keys-ask-questions-later playing.  I finally had a keyboard record to play along to.  So I got all his stuff used and cheap, and worked my way through Billy Joel's surprisingly soft-rock catalog, learning every song with a showy piano part.  Finally, something to work with: There was Piano Man (Ballad Of Billy The Kid), Streetlight Serenade (Los Angelinos), Turnstiles (Angry Young Man), The Stranger (Scenes From An Italian Restaurant), 52nd Street (Stiletto), The Nylon Curtain (take your pick).  Things culminated with seeing Joel at the Cap Centre in 1983 on the Innocent Man tour.  We had awful seats, but I loooooooooved it.  To Joel's credit, it was a great show, almost three hours, with hit after hit.  The guy is a hook factory.  Joel ended the concert as he always did, by saying "Good night!  And don't take any shit from no-one!"  Believe me, sir, I do NOT intend to after that performance!  Count me in.

Misty water-colored memories...

And then... the rails came completely off the cart for me.  By 1988, I plain hated Billy Joel.  I mean, really hated him.  Storm Front remains one of my least favorite albums of all time, and not just because Randy and Kevin insisted on playing it all the way from Philly to Florida on Spring Break in 1989 (hi, guys!).  By then, I realized that Joel was two things: a man born to write musicals who wanted to write rock 'n' roll (probably the most deadly, toxic combination in the history of the world) and a self-loathing, mysogynist narcissist whose shockingly offensive and myopic lyrics are surpassed only by The Eagles (see Blog #17: One Of These Nights for more information).

My colleague Chuck Klosterman (colleague in the sense that he also writes about music-- some key differences are that he's paid to do it, a million times better at it than I am, and he has no idea that I exist) defends this aspect of Billy Joel; he has a great piece about the song "Where's The Orchestra?" in which he defends Joel as a brutally honest paranoiac who speaks to all of our most insecure inner voices.  I think Chuck just wants to figure out a way to like Joel still because there was a time when he dug the "Uptown Girl" video.  For me, it's a sign of my own growth as a person that I went from loving Billy Joel to hating him.  It means that I GREW UP.  I got smarter and wiser and more tolerant, and Joel did not.  His songs are the ramblings of a talented, effortlessly musical millionaire trapped in the mind and body of a pissed-off, chubby, horny lower middle-class sixteen year-old brain.  When Joel looks in the mirror, he sees Ricky, the nemesis from Better Off Dead:

As far as I can tell, Joel's life philosophy can be summed up by another classic 80s movie moment, when the kid hanging outside the Gas-n-Sip in Say Anything offers advice to heartbroken Jon Cusack; "Bitches, man!"  That is basically the sum toto of Joel's life view (except for perhaps "Don't tell me what to do" alternating with "Please tell me what to do so you'll love me more.")

One need look no further than 1978's 52nd Street.  By this time, Joel was a star, a grammy winner, a millionaire worldwide presence.  A man from whom hit records and unforgettable melodies flow like liquid gold.  So he writes an album about:

A) Coked-out women who think they're all that but who are NOT ALL THAT (Big Shot)
B) The fact that you can't trust anyone anymore, ESPECIALLY women  (Honesty)
C) That, in spite of the fact that he's pursued fame with the zeal of a reality show member since he was a teenager, it's HIS life, so leave him alone, you damn vultures!!  Look at me!  No, look away!  Who the hell do you think you are?  Wait!  Where are you going???? (My Life)
D) Whores in crappy nightclubs who will take care of you once those stuck up Big Shots run off (Zanzibar)
E) Coked-out women IN HIGH HEELS who think they're all that but who are NOT ALL THAT (Stiletto)
F) Othered, exoticized women who understand that sometimes a good man and musician just needs to be listened to, dammit.  AND they won't expect you to marry them.  Awesome! (Rosalinda's Eyes)
G) Joel as some kind of central casting West Side Story kid who's just gotta get out there and meet Angeline, his othered, exoticized lady. (Half A Mile Away)
H) One night stands to fill the gaping lonely emptiness that is the life of a pampered, spoiled brat (did you WATCH that opening clip???)  (Until The Night)
I) And to put a cherry on it, a title track that tries to validate Joel's decision to hold a FLUGLEHORN or something on the album cover.  Take a look:

Has anyone ever looked more uncomfortable in an alley on an album cover?  I would look that uncomfortable too holding an instrument I CANNOT PLAY in a bad neighborhood, but I wouldn't make it into an ALBUM COVER.

I give you all this background so I can talk about Glass Houses, the album brought back into my consciousness thanks to James' clip.  I could happily write about the whole album, but we're getting a little lengthy here, so I've chosen these mostly forgotten songs from the back half of the album that both introduced me to Joel and sum up everything Joel is about musically, spiritually, lyrically.  

And, of course, because I make no sense whatsoever, I've always loved them.

First off is "Sleepin' With The Television On," which is a great time capsule, because it begins with a station signing off for the night with the national anthem.  Kids-- TV used to go OFF THE AIR EVERY NIGHT!  They would run out of shows, play the anthem, and go to a test pattern or snow until the morning.  There was nothing on at 3am.  God, I miss the days when there wasn't enough TV to show something 24 hours a day.  Second, it's a great melody-- I hear this song, and it  pops back into my head over and over again for a week.  Joel is the king of the earworm.  Third, few folks know it, so I never have to hear it unless I want to, a KEY factor in listening to Billy Joel.  If I choose it, fine-- shame on me.  If a radio station chooses a Billy Joel song, I'm listening to the iPod so fast it's not even funny.

Embedded in the lyrics is all of Joel's twisted inability not to spurn the woman he's simultaneously hitting on:

I've been watching you waltz all night Diane
Nobody's found a way behind your defenses
They never notice the zap gun in your hand
Until you're pointing it and stunning their senses
All night long, all night long
You'll shoot 'em down because you're waiting for somebody good to come on
But you'll be sleeping with the television on

So Diane is "waltzing" around (I love the idea of Joel skulking around the edges of a cotillion like a drunk Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice) fending off unwanted men.  And how does she do it?  With a ray gun, Barbarella-style!  Who does she think she is saying no to trollish jerks like, well, Billy?  But she'll get her payback-- say no to every man, and you'll be home alone, like you deserve, with a pint of Chunky Monkey and your own regret to keep you company.

You say you're looking for someone solid here
You can't be bothered with those 'just for the night' boys
Tonight unless you take some kind of chances dear
Tomorrow morning you'll wake up with the white noise
All night long, all night long
You're only standing there 'cause somebody once did somebody wrong
But you'll be sleeping with the television on

Great advice from Billy here.  Yes, most men suck.  They just want you for the night.  But you know what?  If life gives you lemons, you should take those lemons home and sleep with them, because NOTHING BETTER IS COMING.  Our lives are meaningless, bump-in-the-dark encounters.  It's either mean, co-dependent sex or nothing.  Take your pick.

And then the perfect bridge:

Your eyes are saying talk to me, talk to me
But your attitude is "don't waste my time"
Your eyes are saying talk to me, talk to me
But you won't hear a word 'cause it just might be the same old line

That is how Billy Joel has always understood the world.  He thinks everyone wants something from him (talk to me, talk to me): his body, his money, his talent, his love, his opinions.  But then, to his shock, some people DON'T want any of those things (don't waste my time).  And rather than look in the mirror and say "Wow-- perhaps I'm not as charming as I think I am," he says "You know those people who want me even if they don't know they want me?  THEY'RE the problem!"  

Joel sums up the dilemma of being him in the last verse:

This isn't easy for me to say Diane
I know you don't need anybody's protection
I really wish I was less of a thinking man
And more a fool who's not afraid of rejection
All night long, all night long
I'll just be standing here 'cause I know I don't have the guts to come on
And I'll be sleeping with the television on

The problem is that Joel is too smart for all of this nonsense; he not a fool like other men just trying to get some, but a sensitive artist who understands women like Diane.  Basically, Diane's problem is thinking that feminism offers her anything.  She shouldn't try to be independent, or strong, or have her own opinions, or her own voice.  That's just the kind of stuff that turns women into Diane Court.  Instead, you need to put your trust in a man like Joel who has himself, you, and the world all figured out.  But you won't.  'Cause you're stupid.  How sad for you.

Think I'm reading too much into a throwaway tune?  Consider "All For Leyna."  PLEASE do yourself the favor of watching the video provided below first.


What was your favorite part?  When he rises out from behind the piano like a vampire?  Or when he yells "STOP!" at the camera?  

"All For Leyna" treads the same tired ground.  Over the course of the song, Leyna reels Joel in with a one night stand, and then proceeds to cause Joel to be electrocuted, drowned and battered by the surf, fail in school, lose his friends and family, and be reduced to malnutrition and insomnia.  At the end, he's watching TV (see how Joel weaves his tunes together?  Genius!) while his father screams at him to get a damn job.  And the WORST part?  He CHEATED on someone to get to Leyna!  There's some poor suffering gal waiting for him to come back.  But he won't, because of my favorite lines from the chorus: There's nothing else I can do / I don't want anyone new / There's nothing in it for you" because of his creepy obsession with Leyna.  What a catch!  It seems like "There's Nothing In It For You" might be a great title for a Billy Joel autobiography.

Crazy album, Glass Houses, from it's dangerous-but-not-dangerous album cover (Joel can pay for that window, and considering the way he's holding the rock, it's unlikely he's going to hit the target)  to the fact that two of the kiss-off songs on the album feature verses in FRENCH!!  I am not kidding.  NOTHING says "I'm a crazy rock n roller who just wants a fantasy but don't ask me why" like French.  Was he taking a Berlitz class or something?

When I was ten, these songs were great singalongs.  Now, they are journeys into darkness.  AND great singalongs!  If you're intrigued, check out the rest of the album.  It's fascinatingly terrifying.

If you're a Billy Joel fan, what can I say?  Sorry, and good for you. At least admit, though, that Joel is musical high fructose corn syrup; we used to think he was a harmless sweetener, and we still eat him more often than we should, but now we know that he'll ultimately be giving us cancer.  

Finally, the next time a wedding couple does their first dance to "Just The Way You Are,"* enjoy a wry smile on me.  It's as inapprorpiate and creepy as a father/daughter dance to "Almost Grown" by Chuck Berry.  

OK, Joel defenders: bring it!  

Link for Television (dodgy sound, sadly):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c-fEzHNXXk

Link for Leyna (much better):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fChN-6VDakA

* The message in "Just The Way You Are" is: "Don't change anything, because it will threaten me.  Even though I ignore you and don't think you can live up to my standards of love and devotion, you're stuck with me.  So don't you dare change your hair or your clothes or even your opinions.  I like you stupid and unreliable so I can always feel superior and victimized at the same time."   Now THAT'S a recipe for a great marriage!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SONG #148: How Deep Is Your Love?

Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, 1977

Got back to basic blog format for this one.  Turned on the iPod, hit shuffle, and just committed.  And what a tune!

I am a little too young to have emulated Saturday Night Fever, but I'm just old enough to have been influenced by it.  I was eight when it came out, and there was NO way I was seeing that film with my parents' consent.  They actually went to see it (got a babysitter and everything) and Dad came home completely traumatized.  I still remember vividly his movie "review" the next morning at breakfast:

Dad:  It was HORRIBLE.  Nothing happened.  At all!  It was a movie about a bunch of vulgar idiots.  

Me:  Like what?

Dad:  Here's the whole movie in thirty seconds:  "Hey, jerk!  Eat your f'n breakfast!"  "F you!" "F yourself!" "Waaaaaaahhhhhhh!"  The end. (It's important to note here that I'm not censoring.  Dad said "F."  He curses like a woodland creature.)

Mom:  Craig!  (For Mom, "F" was some seriously strong language.)

Dad: Well, that's what happened!

Mom:  But the main person, what's his name... the dancing one...

Dad / Me (simultaneously):  John Travolta.

Mom:  Yes.  WOW, can he dance!  Goodness!

Dad:  Yeah, but who cares?  It was awful, son.  You're not missing ANYTHING.  Awful.

When I finally saw the movie years later and got to the breakfast scene ("Ma-- he hit my hair!") I died laughing at my Dad's hilarious synopsis.

There's all this feelgood nostalgia about Saturday Night Fever, but have you seen it lately?  It is some dark, miserable business.  Classic late 70s.  The characters do some heinous things to one another, and the ending is hardly happily ever after.  It's more "What are you gonna do?"  It's hard to believe that it blew up the way it did.  It was the Forrest Gump of 1977 (huge film, huge soundtrack) without any of the uplift.  SNF shares more in common with A Clockwork Orange.  If Forrest Gump had assaulted Jenny "Of Mice and Men" style and ended the film in an adult home for the handicapped playing ping pong against himself, Forrest Gump would be similar to Saturday Night Fever.

One of these things is not like the other...

No wonder all the teenagers in my neighborhood who were obsessed with the movie seemed so sad.  THAT was their role model?  Hardly a "you can accomplish anything" message.  It was more "If you can coat yourself in an impervious, narcissistic shell and overcome your empathy for others, and you can dance, there's a good chance that you can take advantage of weaker prey."

Contrasting all that darkness and oil crisis and recession and hostages and Battle of the Network Stars malaise was, of course, the music from the film, which was EVERYWHERE for two years.  From my young perspective, the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was the soundtrack of planet Earth.  You went nowhere without hearing it.  Everyone knew it.  So, like a good American, I received for Christmas the Saturday Night Fever 8-track tape.  I am not making that up.  The ULTIMATE 70s time capsule relic.

For my younger readers-- the 8-track was easily the worst way to listen to music.  Wikipedia can explain better than I can.  The rest of us will wait for you:

I gravitated to the fast numbers (especially The Trammps' Disco Inferno-- to this day, I can't sit still to Disco Inferno), but I will always, always have a soft spot for this simpering, cloying love ballad, based on two really vivid moments of hearing it.

The first moment came in the car.  We were driving home from somewhere, and it was bitter cold outside, and the Volkswagen Bug didn't exactly have a killer heating system, so I was shivering on the vinyl seat in the back looking out the window when the moon came out and illuminated everything so perfectly: all of the scraggly  bare winter trees, the few clumps of unmelted snow, the water of the Severn river as we went over the bridge.  At that moment. "How Deep Is Your Love" came on the radio, and that image of winter moonlight and this song are indelibly linked for me.

The second was listening to my clock radio late at night in the summer of 1978.  After I was sent to bed, I could never fall asleep right away as a kid, and that summer I figured out that if I tunred on my clock radio at the lowest setting and lay down on the speaker itself, I could hear the radio without my parents hearing it.  So I fell asleep about thirty nights in a row to Q107 (the only station I could get).  In 1978, Q107 played the same 25 songs over and over all day and night, so there were many nights when my last conscious memory was the intro to "How Deep Is Your Love."  I would wake up around 4 am with grill marks on my face from the plastic pattern of the clock radio, and an urge to wear polyester.

As for the song itself, it's actually nice to hear the boys sing in a normal register instead of the chipmunky one that made them famous.  It also is one of the most floaty tracks ever recorded-- it goes by so quickly and effortlessly that it's easy to forget that you just heard it.  It has all of the 70s tonal giveaways-- Fender Rhodes piano, strings, jazzy passing chords-- but it feels a little more timeless than other music from the period.  The lyrics are just what you'd expect (I especially cringe at "You come to me on a summer breeze") but they're also innocuous enough to be forgotten for the most part.  Finally, the song has just enough of Tony's aggressive character ("It's ME you need to show how deep is your love") to be accurate while injecting some much-needed softness into the film.  People hear this song and think they remember something touching about the film's "love" stories.  They're wrong, but that's the power of the Bee Gees-- they make us think we miss a time we don't by hearing music we think we like but don't.  That is a pretty neat trick.  Hopefully Donald Trump is not taking notes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SONGS #143-147: Side One of 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

Midnight Oil, 1982

Hi again.  Where have I been?  What happened?  Let's just think of it as a creative hiatus and leave it at that.  After half a year off, absolutely out of nowhere, the iPod got my fingers moving again.  It's good to be back.  The album that did it was one I first heard in 1984, and which has stayed one of my 50 favorites for 27 years.  

You have probably heard of Midnight Oil, and you probably only remember this:

That's 6'5" Peter Garret, lead vocalist, Australian activist and politician, and big weird bald dude.  The band was all over MTV for two years at the end of the 80s, and seemed to be poised to join U2 as the great arena rock activist bands.  They then abruptly ran out of gas and disappeared.  You probably remember those hit singles with the same nostalgia as Dee-Lite's "Groove Is In The Heart."  Good songs, but no need ever to hear them again.

I need you to keep an open mind-- before Midnight Oil went global, they were the most interesting Australian rock band from 1978-1985.  They were AC/DC's angry, punkish, intellectual cousin.  Unlike the polished efforts that made them famous, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 is a weird, wonderful record.  And I never would have heard if it hadn't been for the incompetent folks at the Columbia Record and Tape Club.

I've talked about these clubs before; back in the day, the record clubs were a great way to get a huge infusion of music at once.  The deal was that you would receive between 8-12 records for a penny, and then have to buy 7-10 more at "regular club prices,"  which were a huge rooking.  In the end, though, you ended up with about 20 albums for the price of 10.  

Dick Clark explains it well for you right here:  http://youtu.be/_l3F0XrL4ME

I was a member a lot of times-- maybe ten? (It was always advantageous to quit as soon as you could and rejoin.  Staying in the club after fulfilling the agreement was economic suicide.)  I knew people who used fake names and never fulfilled the agreement, but I was way too chicken to try that.  When I moved into a group house in college, we got mail from the company for about ten fake people (John Cocktoasten* being my favorite), including some threatening collection agency letters.  "Mr. I.P. Freely, you owe the Columbia Record and Tape Club $27.74. We have passed this matter on to Cheech and Bruiser, and they are coming to break your thumbs.")

In 1984, I read an article about Midnight Oil and what a wild, rocking live show they purportedly had.  I couldn't find any of their records in my local music stores (almost impossible to imagine now) so I ordered their most recent record, Red Sails In The Sunset, from the record club.  It came (it always took forever-- about a month-- also almost impossible to imagine now) and when it did, it was the wrong Midnight Oil album.  They had sent me their first American album: this one.  (At the time, I didn't know they had already released three Aussie-only albums.  All three of those records are great as well, but not in the same class as this one.)

My first thought was to return the album and wait another month for the replacement, but I was 14, and it was a brand new album, right there, in my hands, and the turntable was feet away.  I didn't stand a chance.  I did a quick justification in my head of why I should keep it (it's always good to hear a band's first album, maybe it's a sign, etc etc) and threw on side one and settled down to try to do homework.

I was not met with the wild, ragged rock n roll I had been led to expect.  Instead, a synthesizer pulsed quarter notes while another synthesizer played kabuki-sounding notes over the top.  I waited for the band to kick in, but instead, one of the strangest voices in rock music started singing over the stop of this skeletal keyboard bed:

"There's a wind on the eastern side
Ghost gums dance in the moonlight night
Mopoke mourns the racketeers"

What? the? hell?  Did he actually just say "Mopoke?"  What's a Mopoke?  Where are the damn guitars?  Where's the out of control rock music?  I kept waiting for the buildup, and the track almost got going at three minutes, but then it went back to the moody synthesizers.  I was thoroughly disappointed, but I had to admit-- it was atmospheric, and I had never heard a first track like this one.  It took guts to open a record with four minutes of impenetrable art-pop.  That doesn't mean I liked it, and I seemed in danger of actually getting homework done.

The track faded into some feedback and guitar noodling, and then... BOOM.

"When I'm locked in my room
I just wanna scream
And I know what they mean
 One more day of eating and sleeping..."

It was like having someone reach out of the speakers and slap me in the face.  There was the band as advertised.  The drums sounded like anvils (and not Metallica St. Anger anvils, but good ones) and the guitars were squealing and all over the place.  This album was one of the first rock albums I heard that used guitar effects not to soften the guitars, but make them more angular and driving.  To this day, I think it's one of the most sonically interesting guitar albums I've ever heard.  They never sound the same from track to track, even within the same song.

And that voice and lyric-- everyone has moments when a song communicates his inner thoughts.  (For example, Rebecca Black's "Friday."  Just this morning I had to choose whether to kick it in the front seat or the back seat.)  Here was one of those moments for me.  I was in my room.  I was doing homework I didn't want to do.  I was generally angry, confused and oppositional, and felt like each day was another drag into the inevitable of birth, school, work, death.  I was locked in my room, wanted to scream, with one more day of eating and sleeping.  It took about 20 seconds for homework to be forgotten.  I was transfixed for the rest of side one.

Side one (or tracks 1-5 now, I guess) rewards the careful listener with unique, crafted and expertly played songs.  "Only The Strong," with three distinct sections in a four minute song, gives way to a brooding pulsing number "Short Memory" about politics with spectacular guitar and piano work and lyrics that are far more interesting than "It belongs to them-- let's give it back."  The next track, "Read About It," is the great lost anthem of the 80s.  It has one of the all-time killer guitar riffs and a fabulous key change at the end.  Also, check out the bass playing on the outro-- so good.  That bleeds into the almost-seven minute "Scream In Blue" that starts with three minutes of furious band instrumental and falls into a plaintive piano ballad.  It all works so well together even though it's eclectic and adventurous and in no way made for radio consumption.

Seriously?  It's one of the best Side Ones in rock music.  And one of the least well-known.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  To me, side one is basically one unified song-- I never hear any piece of one of these songs without stopping, going back to "Outside World," and playing the whole thing through.  And Side Two is no slouch-- it has "US Forces" and "The Power And The Passion," among other great tracks.

Midnight Oil went on to disappoint me.  As much as I love the band's first five albums,  I'm actually not a big fan of the hit records-- "Beds Are Burning" and "The Dead Heart" were too slick and obvious for me really to love.  And it's not that I need to like the unknown stuff and reject the popular material-- they just came off as sloganeering blowhards rather than artists when they made the jump to stardom.  I missed the complex band they had been before everyone was listening.  

So enjoy, and good to see you again.


Only The Strong (Live 1982): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyqWoq2STjw

*Fletch, for those of you playing at home.