Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Answering the Questions that Affect Us All: Obscure Midwest Rock Bands

Research Question: What’s up with late-70’s / early-80’s obscure rock bands from the Midwest?

Thesis: Obscure and moderately successful Mid-western rock bands from the late 70’s and 80’s rock for a variety of reasons.

Case 1: Head East, “Never Been Any Reason” (1978).
What it’s got going for it:

1. Lots of cowbell, including a cowbell solo.
2. A key-tar solo.
3. Two vocalists trading off with some killer dude-harmonizing in a proto-Bruce Dickinson sort of way.
4. Drug reference from a time when drugs were cool, and even the kids who didn’t do drugs (like yours truly) pretended they did.
5. A damned catchy guitar riff.
6. A badass fucking pancake on the record jacket.
7. I was living in the Midwest at the time and rocked out to them.

What it’s got going against it:

1. A second key-tar solo.
2. Some lyrical non-sequiturs that make it seem as if my seven year old came up with a verse or two.  Case in point: “You’ve been talking in circles / since I’ve been able to cry / there’s never been any reason / for never telling me why”.  Apparently there’s never been any reason to make sense, either.

Overall Score: 3.5 Kumatoes

Case 2: Michael Stanley Band, “He Can’t Love You”, (1980)

What it’s got going for it:

1. Butt-cuts, mullets and skinny ties.
2. A damned catchy guitar riff.
3. Percussive keyboards that accompany the guitar well.
4. Two saxophone solos buy a guy who could probably kick Kenny G’s ass.
5. Sexy 80’s nurses in the video.
6. A message that spoke to a pre-teen living in the Midwest who had a crush on a girl who liked someone else.

What it’s got going against it:

1. 80’s beard combined with a butt-cut.
2. Designer jeans and white platform shoes.
3. A basist who looks like a car-bomber.
4. No key-tar.
5. He “almost made Cleveland famous” for which he should be held accountable at the ICC.

Overall Score: 15 kegelcisors and a Garbage Plate

Conclusion: While analyzing every obscure to moderately successful rock band that emerged from the Midwest in the 1980’s is outside the scope of this brief paper, the above two examples may indicate that despite sometimes numerous and serious flaws in instrument choice, lyrical talent and grooming, these bands can still rock based upon individual appeal.

Areas for further study:

1. While over-application of a key-tar may have a detracting effect, the lack of a key-tar is perceived as universally negative among the sample.  How can an obscure Midwest late-70’s / early-80’s band employ a key-tar and achieve strictly positive results?

2. A comparison of food imagery vs. health care professional imagery in providing visual stimulation to enhance musical enjoyment.

3. Shooting Star as a candidate for the best obscure late-70’s / early-80’s rock band ever to emerge from the Midwest, and an accurate representative overall score.

Edit: Seems to be a theme running around about musical tastes. Check out Randal and one of Randal's regulars whose site I just decided to check out.


Beach Bum said...

Whoa! This was a little over my head, especially since my musical tastes are so limited. As it might be expected I lean more toward Southern Rock, old country, and 80's pop music, which that alone causes my 15 year-old son to run out of the house in terror whenever I play any of my CD's.

And again as might be expected I stopped understanding anything about the music scene about the time I got married so the whole 90's grudge thing is a freaking mystery to me.

At work and can't see the videos, will have to come back when I get to the house.

MRMacrum said...

Head East? Far out man. They fronted some shows for Nazereth when I was hauling them on the the "Have No Mercy" tour in the 1977 I think. I don't remember their music, but then I don't remember much more about that tour than lots of snow and hitting every arena in any town larger than 10,000 people. It was a real grind.

@ Beach Bum - Grudge Thing? Oh yeah, you missed it alright.

thatgirl said...

I can't believe you forgot the All Sports Band!


(though in all fairness, they didn't really go anywhere, but the promo copy has provided much amusement for us up at the radio station)...

Randal Graves said...

Now Mr. Stanley is forced by his Clear Channel puppetmasters to play the same handful of Zep, Floyd, Skynyrd & Foreigner tracks ad nauseum.

Anonymous said...
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Chef Cthulhu said...

BB - freeBIIIRRRD!!! It's all good, man.

Crum - Now how fucking funny is it that as I was writing this I wondered if you had ever hauled for them back in the day. You just made mine!!!

thatgirl - Actually, I was quite happy in forgetting them. Though I sometimes wonder if a theory of rock evolution would trace a line from the football player to Oderus Urungus.

Randal - I am bewildered at how the public allows Clear Channel, XM and Sirius to make freakin' money playing the same 2 dozen songs.

okjimm said...

I remember seeing Head East way .....back. I think the ticket was $4