Rant & Rave

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

IT'S A WONDERFUL life writing about music for a living. If there's ever a movie made about my days doing this I'll insist Dana Carvey play the lead doing his Jimmy Stewart impersonation. The only, very rare thundercloud that ever hovers over my head is when a wide-eyed, mostly adoring fan questions my taste in music.

"Lord knows all of Tucson loves you dearly," they'll say, "but why do you write nasty words about the musicians I love? You've been bad with The Boss, Sting, Jonathan Richman, and lately, Kansas and John Tesh. Why, Michael, why?"

Simple. Music writers slam the people who actually have the talent to make music because (don't even think the word "jealousy" has anything to do with it) it makes us cooler than thou.

But I must confess that I like artists and music most critics would scorn or ridicule--if they stooped low enough to even give them a thought.

The very first album I ever bought was the Guess Who's American Woman. As a youngster I used to save up my pennies to buy 45s as often as I could. I had copies of Vanity Fare's "Hitchin' A Ride," Melanie's "Brand New Key" and "Candles In The Rain," Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue," Chuck Berry's "My Ding-a-Ling" and "One Tin Soldier" by whatever band was made famous by being included in a Billy Jack cinema masterpiece.

I used to prance in front of the mirror, pretending to be Marc Bolan, while listening to "Jeepster." I bought David Bowie's Young Americans LP because I liked the title track. I owned ZZ Top's Eliminator and the album by that group that did "Walking In L.A." I even owned a couple of Police albums (yes, and went on to slam the Stingster later in my twisted life).

I've seen Foghat, Robin Trower, Bob Seger, Blue Oyster Cult and Rod Stewart in concert. I'm the only person I know who likes the way Leonard Cohen sings and Neil Young's Trans album (favorite song: "Sample and Hold").

As a kid I owned the greatest hits collections of Tommy James and The Shondells and Donovan. I have to admit that I recently disguised myself as a law-abiding, right-thinking American and bought CD copies of both those albums.

As you read this issue of Big Noise and future installments, keep all this in mind. When I slam one of your faves, sit down and belt me with a letter to the editor. It just may let a little of the air out of my head.

In this Big Noise: Fred Mill's writes a love letter to Neil Young and admits even he doesn't like Trans, Yvonne Ervin reminisces about the cool days of winter and tells you how to find some of that elusive chill in summer and Timothy Gassen goes hot-roddin' through surf and drag music.
--Michael Metzger

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