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Gen Xers tweak geezers' sacred cows
Albuquerque Tribune ^ | 7/9/04 | J.M. Baról

Posted on 07/09/2004 1:17:06 PM PDT by qam1

Like any organized religion, rock 'n' roll has its own dogma.

Rolling Stone magazine is the gospel.

Any male singer with big lips is worth glorifying.

To be a true guitar player, one must learn the intro to "Stairway to Heaven."

Elvis Presley was, is and always will be king.

With those tenets come a slew of albums as holy as the Bible. "Born in the U.S.A.," "Tommy," "The Dark Side of the Moon" and - amen, hallelujah - "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

But it's time, says a restless group of music critics, to look those canons straight in their beady little platinum eyes and flick them off their pedestals.

In the new book, "Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics," that's exactly what they do: debunk - no, annihilate - the myth of rock ¹n' roll righteousness.

"Rock 'n' roll's the devil's music, right? So it's absurd to treat it like a religion and have this canon that it's made of saints that we can't criticize," the book's creator and co-editor Jim DeRogatis says in that jaded, edgy tone only a rock music critic can get away with.

Thirty-four music writers - mostly in their 20s and 30s and mostly under the Spin/Rolling Stone readers' radar - took on the challenge of debunking society-in-general's cherished albums.

"Call it a spirited assault on a pantheon that has been foisted upon us, or a defiant rejection of the hegemonic view of rock history espoused by the critics who preceded us," DeRogatis writes in the introduction.

One of the book's contributors is Leanne Potts, a former Tribune reporter who now writes about pop culture for Albuquerque's morning newspaper.

Her target of choice? Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut album "Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd."

What? How could one of the most memorable rock albums in history, one that includes "Gimme Three Steps," "Simple Man" and "Free Bird" - hello! "Free Bird"! - be on anyone's worst-album ever list?

For Potts, 38, her contempt for the 1973 album is less about its sound - although she writes that Ronnie Van Zant's lyrics "lack the sort of telling details that make a good song great" - and more about the Southern stigma that came with it.

"I didn't like the whole American-by-birth, Southern-by-grace-of-God ethos that had come to be associated with Southern rock bands like Skynyrd," writes Potts, who was born and raised in Alabama.

"I wanted none of Skynyrd's talk of down-home values. It sounded like Moral Majority code speak, and this teenaged member of Greenpeace and fan of musical minimalists such as the Ramones and Devo was having none of this Confederate-flag-waving, axe-wielding mob of rednecks in bell-bottoms."

And just like that, Potts buzz-saws through an institution no critic has had the gall to berate under his or her breath, let alone in a much-anticipated 300-page paperback - a book that received tyrannical criticism on the Internet weeks before its release.

Potts admits she was only 7 when the album came out and didn't start listening to it intently until she was 15 - a ploy to impress her Skynyrd die-hard boyfriend.

But she resents the notion that just because she didn't grow up with the baby boomers, she wouldn't know what Lynyrd Skynyrd or any other music of the time was all about.

"It sticks in my craw that rock is so skewed to the boomers," Potts says. "Like 'You don't know; you weren't there,' in this condescending tone, like we were born too late.

"Skynyrd's album is the one I thought of partly because of the southern connection. Because they were classic rock and because I lived in the South, they were gods. They were always there."

One of the writers - DeRogatis' wife, Carmel Carrillo - chose not to efface an album. She instead came up with a list of songs each of her ex-boyfriends cherished, therefore killing their idols.

It's important to note that just because the writers protest their least favorite album doesn't mean they dislike that band. DeRogatis, for example, who targets the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," says one of his all-time favorite albums is the Fab Four's "Revolver."

The majority of the book is criticism of albums from the '60s and '70s, a few '80s and '90s releases, and one from 2003.

So what's the gripe with classic rock?

"The business of canonizing things is a real particular baby boomer trait," DeRogatis says from his home office in Chicago. "It's the generation most reluctant to give up their youth and their place in history.

"Gen X never believed the hype."

DeRogatis, a 39-year-old pop music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, shopped the book's concept for a couple of years but soon realized publishers weren't interested in books of all-negative reviews.

"But one of my favorite books is my colleague Roger Ebert's collection of all his pans," says DeRogatis, who finally landed with Barricade Books. "When I read a negative review it makes me think about my own perspective. I'm looking for another idea. I'm looking to be challenged."

Delve into DeRogatis' history as a writer, and it's no wonder he took on such an edgy project. According to reports, in 1996 DeRogatis was fired as a senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine for writing a blazing critique of a Hootie and the Blowfish album. His review was replaced by a much happier one.

"I'll confess that in the midst of editing this collection, I had a brief crisis of conscience when I wondered if this book was too much of a childish exercise - the rock-critic equivalent of the bratty kid wiping his snot on the blackboard in feeble protestation of the injustices of third-grade life," he writes.

But in the end, "Kill Your Idols" happened, and DeRogatis "couldn't be prouder."

"It was a labor of love," he says. "It's an odd thing to say about a book about bands these writers hate."

So does even DeRogatis have his own sacred cows?

"I may have had a problem if someone in the book tried to take apart Kraftwerk or Black Sabbath or Velvet Underground," he admits.

For Potts, two of her all-time favorite albums are U2's "The Joshua Tree," and Nirvana's "Nevermind" - two albums that showed up in the book.

But she's OK with it.

"I love the spirit of argument," she says. "I don't understand people who get angry about music. Part of the benefit of music is we sit around and talk about it."

*** TARGETED IDOLS

The following albums are taken to pasture in "Kill Your Idols."

"Pet Sounds," the Beach Boys (1966)

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the Beatles (1967)

"Smile," the Beach Boys (1967)

"Sweetheart of the Rodeo," the Byrds (1968)

"Tommy," the Who (1969)

"Kick Out the Jams," the MC5 (1969)

"Trout Mask Replica," Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band (1969)

"Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs," Derek and the Dominos (1970)

"Ram," Paul and Linda McCartney (1971)

"Untitled ('IV')," Led Zeppelin (1971)

"Harvest," Neil Young (1972)

"Exile on Main St.," the Rolling Stones (1972)

"Desperado," the Eagles (1973)

"Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd," Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973)

"The Dark Side of the Moon," Pink Floyd (1973)

"GP/Grievous Angel," Gram Parsons (1973/1974; rereleased in 1990)

"Blood on the Tracks," Bob Dylan (1975)

"Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen (1975)

"Horses," Patti Smith (1975)

"Exodus," Bob Marley & the Wailers (1977)

"Rumours," Fleetwood Mac (1977)

"Never Mind the Bollocks . . . Here's the Sex Pistols," the Sex Pistols (1977)

"Double Fantasy," John Lennon/Yoko Ono (1980)

"Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables," Dead Kennedys (1980)

"Imperial Bedroom," Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1982)

"Born in the U.S.A.," Bruce Springsteen (1984)

"The Best of the Doors," the Doors (1985)

"The Joshua Tree," U2 (1987)

"It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back," Public Enemy (1988)

"Nevermind," Nirvana (1991)

"Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," Smashing Pumpkins (1995)

"OK Computer," Radiohead (1997)

"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," Wilco (2003)


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: babyboomers; disco; genx; glam; metal; music; punk
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1 posted on 07/09/2004 1:17:06 PM PDT by qam1
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; m18436572; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Gen-Reagan/Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

2 posted on 07/09/2004 1:19:27 PM PDT by qam1 (Tommy Thompson is a Fat-tubby, Fascist)
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; m18436572; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Gen-Reagan/Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

3 posted on 07/09/2004 1:20:02 PM PDT by qam1 (Tommy Thompson is a Fat-tubby, Fascist)
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To: qam1
DeRogatis, a 39-year-old pop music critic

Time to grow up and get a real job.

4 posted on 07/09/2004 1:20:54 PM PDT by Argus
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To: qam1

I'm gonna have to agree.

Whenever I hear Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd (and most Southern rock), I want to scream, and I always turn the station.

Those beat bands should never get airplay.


5 posted on 07/09/2004 1:23:20 PM PDT by Guillermo (It's the 99% of Mohammedans that make the other 1% look bad.)
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To: qam1

Thank God! Some one is finally debunking the myth of "classic" rock n roll.


6 posted on 07/09/2004 1:24:12 PM PDT by annyokie (Sure, take all the umbrage.)
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To: qam1
Such heresy against Skynyrd from an Alabaman is grounds for an Inquisition type punishment.
7 posted on 07/09/2004 1:24:53 PM PDT by Rebelbase (If Peace is Patriotic why are they ashamed to fly the Flag?)
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To: qam1

Actually, I'm listening to some Tull as we speak. The Songs from the Wood album.


8 posted on 07/09/2004 1:25:59 PM PDT by Beaker (Tag line? What tag line? I don't see a tag line.)
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To: annyokie

I like some, not others. I do like Skynyrd though. However, I am an 80s metal fan at heart. Flame away!


9 posted on 07/09/2004 1:26:47 PM PDT by RockinRight
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To: qam1

She likes the Ramones? Wonder if she knows Joey Ramone is a Republican?


10 posted on 07/09/2004 1:27:40 PM PDT by RockinRight
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To: RockinRight

No flames from me. I was a Metalhead in high school. And I do like Skynard.

I hate, and I mean hate the Grateful Dead. Flame on!


11 posted on 07/09/2004 1:28:32 PM PDT by annyokie (Sure, take all the umbrage.)
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To: qam1
"Blood on the Tracks," Bob Dylan (1975)

These nose pierced, grunged out heroin junkies wouldnt know real music if it bit them in the ass. Blood on the tracks?? That was one of the greatest albums ever! Dark Side of the Moon? Its still on the charts! Sheesh, these morons listen to hip hop and rap and want to judge music?

12 posted on 07/09/2004 1:28:41 PM PDT by cardinal4 (Its noteworthy that the two biggest shills for the left are Michael Moore and Al Franken..)
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To: Beaker

As for Tull, I think "Locomotive Breath" was one of the best heavy thumpers for parties I ever heard. I love that song!


13 posted on 07/09/2004 1:30:28 PM PDT by Enterprise
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To: annyokie
I hate, and I mean hate the Grateful Dead. Flame on!

I was a Dead Head for years! No flames, admittedly they were(are) an acquired taste..

14 posted on 07/09/2004 1:31:05 PM PDT by cardinal4 (Its noteworthy that the two biggest shills for the left are Michael Moore and Al Franken..)
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To: qam1
"I wanted none of Skynyrd's talk of down-home values. It sounded like Moral Majority code speak, and this teenaged member of Greenpeace and fan of musical minimalists such as the Ramones and Devo was having none of this Confederate-flag-waving, axe-wielding mob of rednecks in bell-bottoms."

So she has nothing to say about the music, just the implied politics behind it? I tend to lend more credence to the critic who can enjoy the Ramones and Skynyrd. Or Black Sabbath and Hank Williams Jr.

I would think the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd would wear her scorn as a badge of honor, the little twit.

15 posted on 07/09/2004 1:33:07 PM PDT by Mr. Bird (Ain't the beer cold!)
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To: Mr. Bird

Gotta love Sammy Hagar. Hard rockin conservative, right along with the great Ted Nugent. Now there's a good guitarist!


16 posted on 07/09/2004 1:34:18 PM PDT by RockinRight
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To: stainlessbanner; 4ConservativeJustices; billbears; azhenfud; aomagrat; GOPcapitalist
One of the book's contributors is Leanne Potts, a former Tribune reporter who now writes about pop culture for Albuquerque's morning newspaper.

Her target of choice? Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut album "Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd."

What? How could one of the most memorable rock albums in history, one that includes "Gimme Three Steps," "Simple Man" and "Free Bird" - hello! "Free Bird"! - be on anyone's worst-album ever list?

For Potts, 38, her contempt for the 1973 album is less about its sound - although she writes that Ronnie Van Zant's lyrics "lack the sort of telling details that make a good song great" - and more about the Southern stigma that came with it.

"I didn't like the whole American-by-birth, Southern-by-grace-of-God ethos that had come to be associated with Southern rock bands like Skynyrd," writes Potts, who was born and raised in Alabama.

"I wanted none of Skynyrd's talk of down-home values. It sounded like Moral Majority code speak, and this teenaged member of Greenpeace and fan of musical minimalists such as the Ramones and Devo was having none of this Confederate-flag-waving, axe-wielding mob of rednecks in bell-bottoms."

And just like that, Potts buzz-saws through an institution no critic has had the gall to berate under his or her breath, let alone in a much-anticipated 300-page paperback - a book that received tyrannical criticism on the Internet weeks before its release.

Potts admits she was only 7 when the album came out and didn't start listening to it intently until she was 15 - a ploy to impress her Skynyrd die-hard boyfriend.

But she resents the notion that just because she didn't grow up with the baby boomers, she wouldn't know what Lynyrd Skynyrd or any other music of the time was all about.

"It sticks in my craw that rock is so skewed to the boomers," Potts says. "Like 'You don't know; you weren't there,' in this condescending tone, like we were born too late.

"Skynyrd's album is the one I thought of partly because of the southern connection. Because they were classic rock and because I lived in the South, they were gods. They were always there."

I've been getting my 4-year-old daughter to say "Hay, mayun, play me sum Free Bird!" in the car.
My wife was mortified at first, now she just shakes her head.

17 posted on 07/09/2004 1:34:57 PM PDT by Constitution Day (What's the Kerry/Edwards strategy for winning the War on Terror? SUE THE TERRORISTS!)
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To: cardinal4

Sorry, but other than "Truckin'", I can't stand them. I think, from talking to my Deadhead nephews, it's all the drugs that make one able to tolerate 15-20 minute guitar solos.


18 posted on 07/09/2004 1:35:48 PM PDT by annyokie (Sure, take all the umbrage.)
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To: RockinRight

My husband and I were good naturedly arguing about who is the world's greatest guitarist and I stick by my guns (or ax) that it is Eric Clapton.


19 posted on 07/09/2004 1:36:59 PM PDT by annyokie (Sure, take all the umbrage.)
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To: annyokie
No flames here.

My sister begged & pleaded with me to go to see the Dead with her in Chapel Hill when she was a freshman at UNC.
I hated them before, and REALLY hated them after.

20 posted on 07/09/2004 1:37:25 PM PDT by Constitution Day (What's the Kerry/Edwards strategy for winning the War on Terror? SUE THE TERRORISTS!)
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