Monday, June 15, 2009

A Rock N' Roll version of "Pay It Forward", or "Working My Way Back to..."????

If you know anything about me, you know that music, especially Rock N' Roll music, is my passion, joy, and pain. From a very lean age, great Rock N' Roll has inspired me to seek out what inspired it, as much as it has to create my own.

I discovered this a LONG time ago, when Guns N' Roses released Appetite For Destruction. For a young lad such as I was at the time, there wasn't ANYTHING that sounded quite like it (especially since I was used to....well, shit like Motley Crue and Kiss, etc, which are fine and good in their own right...but comparatively dim in my view). The music was raw, real, honest, deep, and made no apologies, whether it was about Sex, Drugs, Love, Paranoia, Struggling, Starving, or whathaveyou. But, in hindsite what I REALLY liked about Gn'R was that they name-checked their influences in a LOT of their interviews, and insodoing, they not only did a service to those bands that influenced them by exposing and paying tribute to them, but they were also doing just as much of a service to pint-sized, impressionable fans like myself.

The first band that Gn'R were responsible for turning me onto (besides, perhaps, Aerosmith) were Hanoi Rocks. And the influence was evident right away, not only visually (Axl Rose and Izzy Stadlin', in the early days, certainly resembled Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy), but musically as well. Guns, surely by no coincidence, lifted the title, "Welcome to the Jungle" from a lyric in the chorus if Hanoi Rocks's "Underwater World". That being said, Guns made sure that the first 4 Hanoi Rocks studio albums (and later their live All Those Wasted Years album) got released in the US via Geffen on their Uzi Suicide imprint. You have to admit, that's pretty fucking classy.

The Guns N' Roses/Hanoi Rocks connection didn't end there by any means. First of all, it was then via Hanoi Rocks that I got into the New York Dolls (and of course various spin-off/solo projects rose from their ashes)....for which not enough has been written and there's just too much to write...but case in point, I loved/related to the Dolls pretty quickly and the older I get, the more I love them and what their music represents...which is close to what Gn'R represented, but it was much more controversial to dress up and live that level of decadence in the 70's, which proved, in a nutshell, to be the Dolls' undoing....and the Dolls were and are a New York institution, and as far as Rock N' Roll goes, probably the best and most definitive, for my ears.

Furthermore, it was via Hanoi that I really started to appreciate Punk Rock....sure, I was into the Sex Pistols and the Clash to a minimal degree (at the time), but I didn't quite "get it" yet. Then I read an interview w/ Sami Yaffa in a Hanoi fanzine about how The Damned were his biggest influence, or something along those lines (I've since been able to thank Sami in person, hahahahaha). THIS I understood. They were fun, didn't take themselves too seriously (until much later), wrote great songs, and played them well. And via the Damned, I was able to appreciate what the other Punk Rock bands of that era (especially) had to offer. And that has certainly done a service to me and the music I've played.

Of paramount importance, though, is the fact that the GnR/Hanoi Rocks/Aerosmith/Dolls/English Punk lineage led me, once and for all, to the Rolling Stones....who, like AC/DC and the afrementioned Punk bands, I didn't understand fully until I had been drinking for a little while, hahahaha. I can't really say a goddamn thing about the importance of the Rolling fuckin' Stones that hasn't already been said 75 Billion times, was through those bands who took their style and spun it into their own who brought me to them......

Anyway, I could write a lot about all the directions this could go in, from Motown to Trip Hop to Death Metal (well...a little bit anyway), but who has the time?

My point is, that while listening to your idols is important, it's just as important to listen to your idols' idols...(and maybe a little Billy Idol, for that matter) then they become yours too. And furthermore, if you have an opportunity to tell people who are into what you to, you're doing a service not only to the bands in question, but to your listeners. My hope is that one day I find myself on a level at which I can make that matter to lots of people as much as my boyhood icons made it matter to me!

Thanks for reading!

Marty E.

No comments:

Post a Comment