Vinyl Vengeance

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Music by Alice Cooper, Bay City Rollers, David Bowie, Jayne County, Elton
John, Gary Glitter, Iggy & The Stooges, Kiss, Mott the Hoople, New York
Dolls and more. http://kaosradioaustin.org/node/38884
Saturday the 13th from 5-7pm central on kaosradioaustin.org

Glam Rock: Part I

A Lifestyle of Outrageous Music and Mayhem

       A sound burst out of speakers in the 1970ís that helped broaden our beliefs, free our sexuality, and allowed us to discover a bridge between youth and artistic expression.† Glam Rock was a musical explosion that developed into a cultural phenomenon and many of us wanted to look, live, and experience the lifestyle of a Rock Star.† It was time to explore all emotions and question common accepted perceptions, a time to show that we are proud individuals and we would not simply follow the rules of the popular collective consciousnesses.† A highly focused light of media attention illuminated profound diversification in new music and displayed a wild side of life that many youthful listeners were unaware of.† This musical excess and outrageousness was necessary to transcend a formulaic 1960ís sound by incorporating the roots of Psychedelic, Garage, Pop and Hard Rock.

       The 1950ís Greaser attitude was also a major impetus on the formation of Glam Rock. While much more flamboyant, the visceral gritty street level tough boy attitude shone through the fashionable look of leather pushed through a kaleidoscope.The music also borrowed the retro sounds of Rhythm and Blues, a little Doo-Wop, and even Skiffle.This creative exploration utilized new technologies, developed modern themes with visual appeal and electric live performances to become the future of popular music.Look deep into the heart of Glam and you will find that some bands were searching for the brass ring of fame while others wallowed in debauchery and bacchanalia.Shock and awe was the preferred reaction on an unsuspecting crowd.So enigmatic was Glam Rock that the music rears up forty years later in popular television shows, like the SyFy Channelís new program Alphas, and in commercials to sell rum and promote cruise lines.

Alice Cooper (1968 to today) An American Theatrical Rock outfit on the dark side of Glam with youth culture lyrics and full on makeup and wild costumes that they wore 24 hours a day just to freak the scene. Alice Cooper started with Hard Rock and then moved onto a heavily produced sound that added Broadway musical panache to the arrangements and performance. Band members came and went but eventually they became a radio-friendly Heavy Metal band with continued success. Alice Cooper started as a band; the singer became the name and made it a legend.

Bay City Rollers (1971to 1978) This Bubblegum Pop version of Scottish Glam had the right look with bare-chested performances full of pelvic thrust. Fun and silly, they gave the impression of being disposable but were massively popular and successful during their time. Bill Martin and Phil Coulter wrote many of the hits as well as successful songs for Slik, a Midge Ure-fronted band. Their music is so damn happy -not just for S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT.

David Bowie (1969 to today) David Bowie studied under Lindsay Kemp, an avant-garde dancer and performance artist, who exerted a huge influence on Bowie’s musical interpretations and the wide range of characters he developed and embodied over his massively diverse and successful career. Bowie combined new expressions of visual style and the work of brilliant musicians in an explosion of creativity. The waves of material still stand head and shoulders above the rest in quality and quantity and his songs have become bona fide classics of Rock history.

Mick Ronson (1970 to 1992) Known primarily for his guitar work with David Bowie during the Spiders from Mars period, Ronson was much more than a pretty face in makeup. He worked his magic for Ian Hunter, Roger Daltrey, John Mellencamp (arranging the song “Jack & Diane”), Slaughter & The Dogs, Payolas, Morrissey, and many others. His most famous solo song is “Only After Dark,” which The Human League covered soon after the original release.

Jayne County (1972 to today) The first male-to-female transsexual Rock singer and innovator should have ruled and become a superstar! While influencing such artists as David Bowie, Lou Reed and Patti Smith, County was that dirty and intoxicating back alley where things not spoken were performed with glee and wild abandon. Jayne County brought her unmentionables out into the light with wonderfully bawdy songs. Cycling through many bands, musicians and styles over the years, she helped create the foundation of what would become Glam and Punk Rock. Listen to “Fuck Off” or “Max’s Kansas City” for a history lesson by one who was there living it. An icon of the scene, Jayne County has appeared in many films including “The Blank Generation,” “The Punk Rock Movie” and “Wigstock, The Movie.”

Elton John (1970 to present) First working as a session pianist, Elton John quickly started writing songs with Bernie Taupin and had near immediate success with the release of their second single “Your Song.” There is neither the time, the space, nor the need to reiterate the long strange career that Elton has gone through as he is one of the most popular and well known of all the Glam Rock stars. Today his persona is toned down to vapid shell of his former self and he’s become little more than a bitchy queen with too much to say. Goodbye yellow brick road.

Gary Glitter (1971 to present) Gary Glitter’s long and illicit career began by playing around London and then shot to notoriety in 1972 with the classic “Rock and Roll (Parts 1 & 2).” With more than three dozen singles and two dozen albums of material released over the years, Gary Glitter has brought a full load of charisma to the show. Unfortunately he has used the glint in his eye to bad-touch under-the-legal-limit members of his audience. Many of his songs still get airplay on the radio and at sporting arenas while he is beloved by such great artists as Joan Jett, Mark E. Smith and Oasis.

Iggy & The Stooges (1967 to present) The Stooges pushed the envelope when it came to bad taste by performing brutally heavy live shows that could come to a bloody conclusion. While the music rides a rusty razor’s edge, The Stooges were able to put on electric live performance as the band slammed out raw, aggressive Rock and Roll, deep-throated dirges or beautiful tunes. His flamboyant personality and rampant drug use led the singer through atmospheric highs and crushing and debauched lows, though he never surrendered and always seemed to find new outlets for his talent. Though The Stooges were done by 1975, Iggy Pop trudged on and worked with a diverse group of artists such as David Bowie, Deborah Harry, Peaches, and Slash. There are the rest and then there is the man who helped bring about Glam Rock, Hard Rock, Punk Rock, and Noise Rock.

KISS (1973 to present) This iconic American institution is at the heart of Rock and Roll and influenced Glam Rock, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal. Selling more than 100 million pieces of music and God-and-Gene-only-know how many merchandising products worldwide, KISS is a behemoth not to be messed with. Just ask anyone on the wrong side of the band that has transformed into a corporate entity as big as any of the giants the music industry. Love ‘em or hate ’em, in their full regalia or unmasked, the KISS machine continues to record, release and tour everywhere their army is willing to experience the band that needs no introduction…here’s KISS.

Mott The Hoople (1969-1974) Not to muddy the waters, but this Rhythm and Blues styled Glam Rock band had their big hit “All The Young Dudes” with vocal assistance by David Bowie who is credited with writing the song, producing the album and playing saxes. So it’s as much Bowie’s tune as Mott The Hoople’s but who cares when it comes down to a soothing good song like this. The album of the same name has a nice cover of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane” and the song “Jerkin’ Crocus” which the Melvins covered brilliantly. Mott The Hoople, like many of the bands on this list, had many other songs in the UK top 100, but they are all but forgotten today. Ian Hunter went onto a solo career in 1975 and has released nineteen more albums with great musicians like Mick Ronson, Jaco Pastorius, John Cale, and Mick Jones. Also of note, the original band went on as Mott and produced two slabs of wax, “Drive On” 1975 and “Shouting And Pointing” 1976 that rock with that oh so wonderful Glam attitude. Give ‘em a listen.

New York Dolls (1971 to present) This Glam Rock band dressed in ladies clothes and smeared on makeup to reflect the visuals of their New York experience while amplifying their tongue-in-cheek Rhythm and Blues sound. The New York Dolls talent was exhibited in writing songs about the life and times of old nasty New York City long before it became a corporate shill and cleansed itself for visiting out-of-towners. Abandoned by the current music and visual scene in NYC, their love for that old time Rock and Roll led them down the path to history. Todd Rundgren helped shape their first record into a gem that required time to shine so bright. The Dolls’ image and stage show shoved a middle finger all the way up your arse and the expression was not lost on growing numbers of Glam Rock, Punk Rock, and New Wave converts. They have had about 21 members over the years and many incarnations of the band, but they still find the time and energy to give it to us one more time. Three cheers for the filthiest band in all of the land! Let’s hear it for the New York Dolls!

Next Month -

†Glam Rock: Part II, The Music and Mayhem continues!

Tune in to the DJ MOFO SHOW Saturday, August 13 at 5:00pm central for the Glam Rock Review on kaosradioaustin.org



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