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Cheap Trick and The Roots
You know what yesterday was? Well, it was Square Root Day, of course (kind of a cheap trick using the band name The Roots in the title...I figured I'd sucker in a few fans of that band).
I don't know about you, but I didn't celebrate Square Root Day. I think it's just another one of those ploys by Hallmark, to get us to buy extra cards. Sorry, Mr. Root, no card for you!
For those that are actually interested in the "holiday"...it occurs when the day and the month are square roots of the last two digits of the year (3/3...square root of 9). It won't happen again until 4/4/16. Mark it on your calendars!
Ya know what else yesterday was? It was Two-fer Tuesday, on KGB. Yes sir, it was. That means double-shots of your favorite rockers (gotta love those classic rock DJs, with their "Rock-tober" and "more rock, less talk" talk).
(on a side note: look for a piece that KGB jock Coe Lewis did for the Reader on Thursday).
I heard a double-shot of the Doors, with my favorite song Whiskey Bar.
But it was the songs of Cheap Trick around 6:00 p.m. that will be the topic of this blog.
This is a band I love, yet I'm not sure why. Okay, I know why. I was a kid when they came out. And the songs rocked.
Rick Nielsen would whip out these weird Hamer guitars, some with 5 necks. The drummer looked like my high school biology teacher (and some guys got him to play the drummer during the air band competitions).
I was a frequent guest on a local radio show a few years back, and I'd wear an old Cheap Trick shirt I had, since it was the favorite band of one of the DJs (I felt awkward when I ran into him at a Cheap Trick concert at 4th & B, right after he lost his job).
Anyway, KGB played one of the hits, Surrender. And it made me realize how bad a songwriter Nielsen was.
Most bands have a primary songwriter. Rush has the drummer, Neil Peart. The Doors had Morrison (but guitarist Kreiger wrote a few hits).
Anyway, let's break down the lyrics to the song I heard today -- Surrender.
Mother told me, yes she told me, I'd meet girls like you She also told me, "Stay away, you'll never know what you'll catch"
---- Okay, the phrasing on those first two lines is lame on so many levels. Let's continue...
Just the other day I heard a soldier falling off, some Indonesian junk that's going 'round
---- I may have gotten that verse wrong, but I think I get the point. Not sure why it couldn't have been worded better. Now, the chorus:
Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away
Father says, "Your mother's right, she's really up on things" "Before we married, Mommy served in the WACS in the Philippines" Now, I had heard the WACS recruited old maids for the war But mommy isn't one of those, I've known her all these years
---- Why are there two mentions of WACS? And, I'm not even sure what they are. And he's saying his mommy isn't one of those "old maids"....so, what's he saying? His mom is hot? She's a milf? What?
Another chorus and then:
Whatever happened to all this season's losers of the year? Every time I got to thinking, where'd they disappear? When I woke up, Mom and Dad are rolling on the couch Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out
---- The first two lines suck. The second two are cool. As a kid, I didn't know "rolling numbers" meant joints. And, it's always cool when bands name-check another band.
(don't even get me started on how awful the lyrics of "I Want You To Want Me" are)
The second song they played on KGB was She's Tight. Which could be one of the best rock songs ever. It has everything you'd want; the catchy guitar riff, that stops all of a sudden. It has a sexual premise with innuendo. It has the singer moaning, it has telephone sound effects. I think the song was written for a movie (Up the Creek, or some title like that).
I've met the guitarist a number of times. He's an amazing story teller. I asked him why they hardly ever play that tune in concert, and he didn't give me much of an answer. But not because he isn't talkative. He is. He told me a story about being so wacked out on drugs that either Hall or Oates, I forget which, brought back from some other country. The cops kept showing up because of all the noise at his house, and the last time they arrived, they asked if everything was okay. He said it was, and the cops just stared at him like he was crazy. It wasn't until after he shut the door, he saw he was wearing a dress shirt, but no pants. I was laughing hard, and it wasn't until I got home that I realized I should've asked...why were his pants off with Oates?
I've heard him talk about their #1 hit The Flame (a truely awful ballad if ever there was one), which basically rips off the guitar riff from Spirits song "Nature's Way." (Spirit may be the most underrated of the bands people lifted from, as one of their songs also was "borrowed" by Led Zeppelin and became Stairway to Heaven...in usual Zep fashion, they didn't pay, or credit, for this use).
Instead of waiting for next Tueday, maybe I'll throw the Budokan CD in my car, and create an entire "rock block" of Cheap Trick.
More like this:
- When DJs Ruled the Air - Jim McInnes and the Birth of KGB Homegrown — June 10, 2011
- Cheap Trick — April 7, 2010
- Worst Songs of All Time — Aug. 9, 2008
- A Fools Bucket List — April 2, 2008
- Jim McInnes: The Last DJ, Busted at Boomer’s, plus the Monroes Story — Feb. 24, 2008