How I Received My Primer in Classic Rock
I kind of wanted to review Killer Mike’s new album for today, but just haven’t had the time to fully absorb it. I will say it is awesome and will get a full review out next week. Instead, due to our coverage of The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary over the next couple days and a chance run-in I had with an old friend last weekend, I thought I could take a little trip down memory lane, and get more personal than analytical for today’s post. So if you want more of a substantial analysis of a new album, check out Wes’s Beach House review or Todd’s Best Coast review from the past couple days. Enjoy the trip.
Classic Rock radio in Ft. Wayne Indiana, the place of my birth and upbringing, was not exactly the most diverse. It seems picked two or three songs from a lot of great classic artists and played them over and over…and over. For example, If you liked Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” or “Turn the Page” (good tracks, don’t get me wrong), you were in luck. But if you think “Night Moves” is Seger’s greatest song (and I do), you were out of luck. In the same vein, I’m almost certain the local classic rock station only played two songs by The Rolling Stones: “Start Me Up” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. I personally view “Satisfaction” as a very strong track, but it does suffer from listener fatigue with how much it’s played, and “Start Me Up” is maybe the weakest of The Stones bigger hits.
So I was done no favors when the internet and Napster blew up and pretty much any music was instantly accessible. I gravitated more toward artists like Pink Floyd and The Allman Brothers for further investigation because I really loved “Time” and “Money”, and “Midnight Rider” and “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” respectively. The Rolling Stones were just an afterthought to me because I didn’t like the songs they played on the radio. I literally never listened to them in high school, and it was like that with a lot of classic artists that just were fatigued in my mind from adolescent radio fatigue.
When I got to college at SLU, I started going to this bar every Sunday night called Laclede’s with some of my older friends. Now, every other night of the week, Monday through Saturday, Laclede’s was the trashiest, top-40 club music, underage-allowing bar in St. Louis (not to say this didn’t have some appeal to me from age 18-21). But on Sunday night there were usually no more than thirty people in Laclede’s, and a guy by the name of Pierce Crask played guitar on the stage normally reserved for the dj. For the next four years or so, I would go see Pierce at Laclede’s damn near every Sunday ($1.50 drinks didn’t hurt either)
So it was through Pierce that I started to become interested in The Rolling Stones again, as well as artists like The Grateful Dead and Paul Simon and The Doors. Because of my general disinterest in some of these artists due to the poor choices of radio stations overplaying certain songs, I’m not sure that I ever even heard songs like “Loving Cup”, “Shakedown Street”, or “Not Dark Yet”. Pierce really forced me to dig back into certain artists like The Rolling Stones, and for that I am thankful.
Now, I am able to see Pierce play occasionally, and ran into him after a wedding last Saturday playing at a bar called The Dubliner playing with his band, The Falling Martins. It was great to run into him, but now rather than requesting “Powderfinger” or “Sympathy for the Devil”, I mostly request Pierce Crask originals. His album, Black Label, which was released in 2008 is full of hidden gems, including a lone cover, “Not Dark Yet” by Bob Dylan. And you know what I always say about Dylan, he is a great songwriter whose songs often sound better covered by others.
While my knowledge of classic rock may not be as extensive as many others, I owe much of what I do know to St. Louis legend, Pierce Crask, who is also a wonderful musician in his own right. Check out Black Label if you get a chance. Pierce no longer plays at Laclede’s, whose name has since changed to Cheater’s (creepy, right?), and then to Pierre Laclede’s. So don’t check that out unless you want crappy bar food and an STD.