22 January 2015

The Selfie Apocalypse

"Last night I spent four hours straight on Facebook." 
Twelve years ago if I would have spoken those words, not a soul I know would have known what I was talking about. Today, no one I know wouldn't know exactly what I was talking about. Many years ago, before I was born, a folk singer named Bob Dylan sang, "The times are a-changing."  Looking back, his observation seems obvious (didn't Dylan also say, "Don't Look Back"?) yet at the time it needed to be said for there were people who didn't understand this - or who at least didn't want to accept this. But the times did change. Clothing, music, values, traditions, technologies all changed and a new generation adapted and then adopted those changes as their own.  And then those times changed again, and again. And today the times are still a-changing. Can you imagine if you took Bob Dylan circa 1963 and teleported him to a New York City street corner via 2015?  He might think that the Zombie Revolution had come. He would be surrounded by folks standing around looking down at these little handheld boxes, occasionally
touching their finger to them, but rarely looking up from them. Would 1963 Bob think that these were some sort of corporate devises that the government - or perhaps the communists - had developed to control the minds of the masses? Would he be wrong in thinking that?

While I was on the facebook for those four hours last night, I mostly looked at and read updates from Facebook groups/pages dedicated to vintage vinyl and antique audio equipment. According to the internet experts (lol) vintage vinyl and antique audio are more popular than ever right now. In fact new record sales have not been this high since the dawning of the compact disk era in the early 1980s. As the internet experts (again lol) describe it, old people who yearn for the simpler times (the times that Dylan described as "a-changing") are gobbling up old records and old stereos so they can lounge about comfortably in their 'happy place' at home and listen to music the way it was intended to be listened to (when the musical artists of the 50s through 80s had created it). And the younger folks, the hipsters if you will, think this is cool too and are jumping on the bandwagon as well.  Maybe people yearn for a time when the world was more like it was in the 60s and 70s.  Life was different then and it sounded different.  People listened in a different way than they do today.  Folks had a different relationship to time and space.  They experienced the feels and sounds of life without the constant distraction of cell phones, internet, satelite/cable tv, video games.  They didn't have homogenized digital bites bombarding them like people today do.  You can hear that in the songwriting of those past times, songs that reflect a human and comfortingly familiar world in which music was created by musical instruments instead of computers and sound machines - an edit was recorded on beautifully evolved analog equipment that was designed to capture the lush, full sounds of that time - and which alllowed folks to listen to it as the songwriters intended it to be heard.



Those times are gone now - at least in America.  But when I wasn't looking at vintage vinyl and antique audio on Facebook (and when I wasn't trying to avoid the bombardment of memes that are meant to be poignant but that are actually just annoying) I was looking at a number of "off the grid" pages. These are pages that tout alternative energy, growing your own food making your own clothing and generally being at one with nature. The irony of surfing 'off the grid' living pages while spending four hours on the internet did not escape me.  The mere thought of actually living off the grid is both alluring but scary. Scary, because I imagine I would be a lot like the 1963 Bob Dylan, teleported to a New York street corner some 50 years later, surrounded by zombies. I would have no one to interact with, no one to communicate with. Everyone communicates via the little corporate-issued boxes nowadays. How could I relate to the rest of humanity if I didn't have one of those boxes myself?    











©2015 Rockism 101. All Rights Reserved

05 January 2015

One Album Wonders (of the 20th Century)

In the last half of the 20th Century, when a kid went off to college, it was customary for him (or her) to drag some kind of stereo system with them.  In the dorms there were music wars going on and the guy with the best sound system ruled the ether.  Along with a stereo, it was necessary to drag along a couple shoe boxes full of cassette tapes and a milk crate or two full of vinyl.  I entered Western Illinois University as a freshman in the autumn of 1986 with a collection of music that was larger than most kids on my dorm floor, but I had brought my "back-up" stereo with me.  It was a cheap, plastic combination dual cassette/radio/record player that cost less than $100.  My real system, which I had pilfered from my step-dad, would stay at my parents house until I got my first apartment my sophomore year.  In the mean time, mingling with a mix of college kids from the inner city and the suburbs of Chicago and St Louis was expanding my own small town taste in music and half way through my sophomore year I decided to take on a shift as a DJ at the campus radio station - it was the 3am show on Thursday mornings.  The good thing about that shift was that no one was listening and I could play absolutely anything I wanted.  Three weeks into my DJ career, I just started playing entire albums.  Around this time I began to develop an interest in what I called "One Album Wonders" - great albums that were created by bands that (sometimes inexplicably) never came close to reaching that level of artistry ever again.  I began compiling a list of these albums and collecting them over time, until many years later, after graduating college, heading off to the real world, finding work, meeting a girl, getting married, having kids, etc I felt I was an expert on One Album Wonders.  The following is a random smattering of reviews for some of the One Album Wonders I have collected:



 
 
 










 
 


 

 
 

 


 


 





 

24 December 2014

Lessons I learned from watching Mtv in the early 1980s:


First of all, everybody wants to rule the world...

                                                     ...and second of all, Love is a battlefield...
 















But hey, you don't have to live like a refugee!

















                 ...cuz every girl crazy about a sharp dressed man










   So if a problem comes a long - you just whip it!


                                                                      And if your friends don't dance well...
 
  
          


...at least you know that












©2006 Rockism 101. All Rights Reserved

16 October 2014

Who Was The First Rock and Roll Band Ever?


alan lomax photo: Alan Lomax: Blues Songbook g04675h3au91.jpgIn the summer of 1941 Alan Lomax went to the Mississippi Delta searching for a ghost. When he came upon an old man in worn-out clothes and a moth-bitten hat, he asked the man if he knew the whereabouts of the Blues man Robert Johnson. Johnson, a notorious womanizer, had been known to use his guitar and music to woo women. In fact it was said that he had made a deal with the devil so that he could play his guitar well enough to woo women. Lomax, a historian on a mission to put together an archive of unknown American blues and folk musicians, had spent years traveling the country making field recordings, traveling back roads, dirt roads, searching shot gun shacks. The old man informed Lomax that Johnson was dead, poisoned by a jealous husband, but that there was a 19 year old cotton picker that went by the name of Muddy Waters who sounded just like Robert Johnson. He could be found at Stovall's Plantation on up the road a spell.  Lomax thanked the man, loaded his stuff back in his automobile and headed for the cotton fields. It was there that he found Muddy and had him play into his recording machine. As Lomax played his song back to him, it struck Muddy. This was his future.

When World War II came, millions of young American men left their manufacturing jobs in the cities to go off and fight Hitler. This left gaping manpower shortages in urban factories in cities like St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago. Black men from the Mississippi delta, who had spent their entire lives shackled by the machinations of southern manual labor, traveled north to fill these jobs. Muddy Waters was among these men. He made his way to Chicago and found city work, but when the war ended, he found something else. As the white soldiers returned to sweet home Chicago they saw that their city was now populated with black folks. In the more ethnic neighborhoods, it wasn't so evident and the soldiers returning to those areas stayed. But thousands more decided to take advantage of their G.I. benefits and start fresh, new lives in the bright, clean suburbs – it was called “white flight”. In the urban decay that they left behind, Muddy Waters and dozens of black blues players from the south, lived worked, ate, drank and created an American monster. It was Rock and Roll.
 
maxwell street chicago photo: sweet home chicago sweethomechicago.jpgOn a overcast, chilly day in March of 1948 a musician, whose name has been lost to history, canceled his recording session with Leonard Chess. Chess ran a fledgling record label in Chicago called Arista. Chess had never heard Muddy Waters, but on the advice of his scout Sammy Goldberg, Leonard sent word to bring Muddy in to record some songs. Muddy was at work, on a delivery truck somewhere, anywhere, bouncing among the city streets but when word got to his cousin, his cousin found a car and began racing all across the city to find Muddy. Eventually the cousin's zig met Muddy's zag and Muddy got the news. Muddy put in a call to his boss, the white man who owned the deliver truck and he made up an excuse. Muddy told his boss that his cousin had been hit by a truck and was dead. With that Muddy raced off to Chess Studios where he recorded “Feel Like Going Home” and “I Can't Be Satisfied”, two songs he had also recorded for Alan Lomax over a half decade earlier back at the Mississippi Delta. There was one big difference though: electricity. Electric Muddy was Rock and Roll. Putting the Delta Blues to urbanized electric guitar, that was the conception of Rock and Roll. The electric guitar came in fast and furious like a hyper-natural sperm coming to fertilize the egg that was the Delta Blues. 

On the day after it was released, the original pressing of “I Can't Be Satisfied,” immediately sold out. Leonard Chess had to print up more copies and send them out. These also sold out. Soon the single reached the Billboard Top 20 and overnight Arista, a little ma and pa operation, was transformed. Arista would became Chess Records, the label that came to define the down-home electric blues of Chicago's south side. The label that documented the birth of a new sound, “The sound of the dives – a sound that evolved from the Delta Blues, that picked up the steely jump of the city as it moved north, the rattle of street corners and stoops, the slaughter yards, the loading docks, the assembly lines.”*

bo didley photo: Bo Didley BoDidley.jpgIt was the sound that would years later spawn the Rolling Stones, who named their band after Muddy Water's song "Rollin Stone", and whose most recognizable song, “I can't get no satisfaction” was a reworking of Muddy's “I can't be Satisfied.” The Rolling Stones would form a decade after “I Can't Be Satisfied” was recorded when Keith Richards accidentally bumped into Mick Jagger and noticed he had a stack of Chess Records under his arm. When Keith, awed by Mick's records, explained how much he dug the Chess Sound as well, one of the most prolific partnerships in Rock history was sparked. Many of the Stone's original recordings were remakes of the early Chess records, many of which were by Chess's house writer/bass player Willie Dixon. Years later when the Stones finally made it to America (1965) they booked time and recorded several songs at Chess Studio, including the song “2120 South Michigan Ave” the title of which was the address for the famed building in Chicago that housed Chess Records. While the Chess sound went on to spawn the Rolling Stones, it would also provide the mojo for nearly every Rock guitarist who created the Rock landscape of the 60s and 70s. Jimi Hendrix, who was just a small boy at the time that “I Can't Be Satisfied” came out often told folks that Muddy Waters was the first guitarist he was ever aware of. He “scared me to death,” Hendrix explained. The Chess sound also spawned the British Blues that was spearheaded by Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. It would inform nearly everything they and every other blues-based guitarist of the Classic Rock era. Even David Bowie, who named his first rock band The Mannish Boys, after the song by Muddy Waters, was influenced by the Chess Sound.
 
Not long after Muddy's fateful first recording with Leonard Chess on Chicago's south side, Muddy formed the first Rock and Roll band in history. The band came together on Maxwell Street and included 25 year old Jimmy Rogers – who would play rhythm guitar with Muddy through thick and thin over the next 20 plus years – and future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Little Walter, the impresario of the amplified harmonica. Little Walter would give Rock and Roll an eeiry, bedeviled tone that would nearly scare the death out of white America of the 50s and 60s. Little Walter was just 16 years old when Jimmy Rogers introduced him to Muddy. The band was rounded out with Otis Spann on upright piano. Lenard Chess began recording Muddy's band in 1950. Cuts like “Honey Bee,”  "Hoochie Coochie Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and “She Moves Me” became local hits, then regional hits, then national hits, eventually even finding their way overseas, to port cities like Liverpool and London. In America, especially throughout the Midwest, where these songs took flight across late night air waves, up to the north country, where young Robert Zimmerman of Hibbing Minnesota heard them, and down south to Saint Louis, where young Chuck Berry heard them, the Chess sound was beginning to speak to something inside the souls of the American teenagers who heard it.

rolling stones chess records photo: The Best of Chess Records 61dQTJzAQiL__SS500_.jpgBy 1955 these sounds had so inspired the teenage Chuck Berry that he traveled up to Chicago to meet with his idol Muddy Waters and see how he could get in on this thing. Muddy sent the ambitious young man to Leonard Chess and Chess recorded Berry's “Maybellene”. To make sure that “Maybellene” hit it big, Chess gave half the writing credit to Alan Freed, the Cleveland disc jockey who first popularized the term Rock and Roll. “Maybellene” immediately became the biggest selling record Chess had ever had up to that point. At that same moment, a Chicago kid named Ellis McDaniel changed his name to Bo Didley, after a song he had written called “Bo Didley” which he recorded for Chess. “Bo Didley” became a huge hit as well. With “Bo Didley” and “Maybellene” Rock and Roll had finally climbed out of Chicago's Southside and made its self know to popular American culture.
 
Today, nearly 60 years later, at 2120 South Michigan Avenue, the building where Rock and Roll was cradled, there is a museum for Chess Records. Compared to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland or the Museum in Seattle, it seems underrated. Chicago has never seemed to want to give itself too much credit for founding Rock and Roll. Cleveland's Alan Freed (who was on Chess's payroll) may have been the one to popularize the term “Rock and Roll” but Chess Records was where it was discovered, recorded and nurtured. Chess records continued to be run by Leonard Chess into the late 1960s until he sold the company to a communications corporation in 1969. Shortly afterward he had a heart attack and died. His son Marshall continued at the company, for a few years, but eventually Chess Records folded. The last song ever recorded for Chess Records was Chuck Berry's 1972 live recording of “My ding-a-ling” – a song about a black man's penis and perhaps the most fitting metaphor for Rock and Roll there ever was. Robert Johnson must have looked down from the heavens above and gave a little chuckle.
willie dixon photo: Willie Dixon WillieDixondesdeafuera.jpg


*From Rich Cohen's Machers and Rockers


©2006 Rockism 101. All Rights Reserved

28 August 2014

Johnny Unite Us?


three stooges photo: stooges stoogesux2-1.jpgOne of the strangest interpretations of a song lyric I've ever heard was that John Lennon's “Come Together” was all about Superbowl III.  The theory came from Harper, a middle-aged white guy who looked like an overwieght Larry from the Three Stooges.  Harper worked at a second-hand record store in my small hometown in Central Illinois.  In the late 80s, used record stores already were part of some fading parallel universe, kinda hazy, kinda musty, kinda filled with peculiar characters that didn't seem to quite fit in anywhere else.  So there I was one day, perusing my favorite local record store, when Harper laid his theory on me.

Harper was a bit of Rock conspiracy theorists -- he got into stuff like the Paul is Dead theory and the Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Rainbow theory.  His theories were always entertaining and often informative and he liked to keep his source material at his side whenever he was explaining one of his bizarre theories.  In fact he had a large stack of books and magazines at his side as he explained his theory that “Come Together” was about Superbowl III.

Timothy Leary photo: dr. timothy leary leary_1.jpgLike most Rock geeks, I had already known that “Come Together” had been written for Timothy Leary in his campaign to run against Ronald Reagan for the office of California Governor in the late 1960s.

“Yes, initially it was, but look here,” Harper said, handing over an article that explained Leary and Lennon had not been in communication with each other for awhile after Leary was sent to prison for possession of marijuana.  Lennon kept the song, continuing to work with it and it took a different direction.  “The lyrics were written during the spring of 1969, shortly after Joe Namath had won the Superbowl for the Jets.”

“Okay?” I said cautiously, not seeing the connection.

Harper was one of these “read between the lines” thinkers.  Everything that existed had some tangential connection to something bigger, you just had to look under the surface.  His mind was always racing to figure these connections out.

“Okay, look at the lyrics,” he said as though he was a lawyer making his opening statements.  “It starts out with 'Here come old flat top' which is a reference to Johnny Unitas, the quarterback that Nameth beat in Superbowl III.  Unitas was famous for his flat top hair cut.”

I nodded, like I was mulling this possibility over in my mind (a couple years later I would remember this conversation while watching an episode of The Simpsons in which Grandpa Simpson described Johnny Unitas's hair cut as a "hair cut you can set your watch to").
johnny unitas photo: Johnny Unitas 10.jpg  
Harper continued going over the lyrics, “He come groovin up slowly, he got juju eyeball, he one holy roller.  Ju ju eyeball was 60s slang for 'television' and Superbowl III was one of the biggest TV events ever at that time, it had more viewers than the moon landing that happened just a few months later.  Everyone wanted to watch it after Nameth made his famous guarantee that his team was going to win.” 

Then Harper pulled out an article, this one was from a Sports magazine that gave a summary of Superbowl III.  An estimated 50 million people had watched the game (an astronomical market share of 71). The cost of a 30 second commericial went for an outrageous (for that time) $55,000.

“What about holy roller?” I asked, encouraging him.

“Holy Roller is Johny Unitas's coach, Don Shula,” he declared.  “You were too young to remember this, but the media had a field day with Namath's antics, playing the young brash QB against the stiff-upper lip conservative Shula, who was well-known as being very religious.  It was reported that he attended mass every morning and that he had considered becoming a Catholic priest, but was directed by God to become a football coach instead.”

I nodded as Harper was just getting into his groove, and for arguments sake I decided to concede these points to him - but I still hadn't heard anything to convince me.  “Okay, okay, what else do you have?”

Harper went back to the lyrics, “He got hair down to his knee, this is obviously about Namath who was not only known for his long hair, but he also famously wore full-length fur coats on the sidelines, that came down to his knees. And the use of the word knees, has a double meaning concerning Nameth, because Namath's knee was a huge part of his whole story since he had suffered a serious knee injury in his senior year in college that caused him to drop down in the NFL draft.  Every conversation about how well Nameth was going to play always revolved around his bad knees.” 
joe namath photo: Joe Namath tumblr_mf51pqkOhn1qbuy6oo1_1280.jpg

Harper then stopped to look down at the lyric sheet he had in front of him. “Got to be a joker he just do what he please, obviously about Nameth,” Harper added, holding his hands out to his side, and shrugging to emphasize how obvious that line is. 

As Harper ran through the lyrics, he found some connection between each line in the song that related to Superbowl III. The lyric “He wear no shoeshine he got toe jam football” referred to how Namath stood out from other pro players by wearing low-cut white shoes rather than traditional black high-tops.  Harper pointed out that Namath’s shoe wear was deemed so outrageous that it led to the NFL instituting fines for players not wearing shoes that match those of their teammates.  As a response, the entire NFL eventually switched to Namath-styled white shoes.  This controversy led to Nameth getting tagged nickname Joe Willie Whiteshoes. 

Next Harper went on to explain that the lyric “Got feet down below his knees - Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease,” was about Nameth's bad knee again and how it had been the talk of all the armchair quarterbacks .  Also, the term 'armchair quarterback' was, according to Harper, a new term that became popularized for the first time during that Superbowl.  It would have been an especially interesting term for Lennon, who was well known for picking up on new and interesting idioms. 

mark david chapman photo:  johnmark.jpgI imagined Harper did a lot of drugs in the Sixties.  I imagine like Charles Manson and like the “Paul is Dead” believers and like Mark David Chapman, he thought Lennon and the Beatles were beaming out subliminal messages through their lyrics.  Still, every time I hear "Come Together" I think of Harper's theory and I even listen for clues to support it - even though I don't believe it.  Although, one and one and one is three... as in Superbowl III?

15 December 2011

The Day That Disco Died

Disco Rock

At the 21st Grammy Awards in 1979, Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack) was named Album of the Year.  The album's featured group, the Bee Gees, received the award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. By the end of 1979, the disco industry was estimated to be worth more than $4 billion, that meant that it was generating more money than the movie industry, television or professional sports. It was so big that The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences added Disco as its own category for the 22nd Grammy Awards. Nominated works for the award included "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind & Fire, "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson, "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? by Rod Stewart, and "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer.

An anti-disco sentiment had been building for sometime however.  By early '79 this sentiment was witnessed in the "disco sucks" and "death to disco" T-shirts and graffiti seen around the towns and cities of the USA.  Rock fans were particularly fed up with watching one "Rock" act after another fall to Disco's influence, from the Rolling Stones to Rod Stewart to David Bowie to Kiss

The anti-Disco movement hit critical mass on the night of July 12, 1979 (just weeks after Newsweek had declared that Disco had "taken over" the music industry) when a promotional event called Disco Demolition Night was held at Chicago's Comiskey Park.  It took place during the intermission of a  double header where a young local radio disc jockey named Steve Dahl set ablaze a bin full of disco records and thereby ignited complete mayhem. The Chicago Police were called in with riot gear as 50,000 rioters took over the field, the ball park and an entire city block, forcing the Chicago White Sox to forfeit the second game of the double header.  An excellent discription of the Disco Demolition at Comisky Park is given in Josh Wilker's book Cardboard Gods, where he writes:


That night, in Chicago, the sky had rained flat black discs and lit M-80s. By the late innings, the visiting Detroit Tigers outfielders were wearing batting helmets in the outfield. A vendor reported selling forty-nine cases of beer, more than double the number he’d sold on any single night in his many years on the job. Smoldering bongs were passed from hand to hand like change for a hot dog, giant glossy airplanes made of promotional posters featuring a sultry blonde model known only as Lorelei swooped and dove amid the hail of explosives and Frisbeed LPs and 45s, and inebriated throngs in the parking lot jumped up and down on cars and set fire to white-suited John Travolta dolls and searched for illegal entry into the slightly more focused mayhem inside the packed stadium. As game one of the scheduled doubleheader progressed, this search gained urgency, for between games a local 24-year-old disc jocky named Steve Dahl and the aforementioned Lorelei were going to detonate a mountain of disco records.
 
Almost immediately after this detonation, a stream and then a gushing wave of longhaired attendees flowed onto the playing field…The revolution, the pointless, hysterical revolution, had come. Some lit bonfires in the outfield. Some wheeled the batting cage around like it was a stalled car that needed a running start. Some performed hook slides and headfirst Pete Rose plunges into where the bases would have been if they hadn’t already been ripped from the ground and stuffed between giggling rib cages and the fabric of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith T-shirts. More than one person reported seeing couples fornicating…”


The Disco Demolition garnered national headlines that seemed to unleash a backlash against Disco.  Public support for disco music faded alarmingly fast.  At the time of the Disco Demolition (July 21, 1979) the top six records on the U.S. music charts were disco songs. By September 22, just two months later, there was not a single disco song in the U.S. Top 10 chart. Within months the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (that had just added Disco as it own category) reversed itself and eliminated the award category all together. Disco was officially pronounced dead and July 12, 1979 has forever since been known as "the day disco died".

30 April 2010

The Worst Mustaches In Rock History

The mustache plays an important role in Rock History. In fact the mustache was so integral to mid 1970s Guitar Rock that the genre was at times referred to as Mustache Rock (mostly just by hipsters though). When done right the mustache serves a purpose that goes far beyond simply keeping the upper lip warm. The mustache is able to make a statement. What kind of statement, you ask? How about this kind of statement:

...or this:
Or even this kind of statement (known as the French Tickler):

Or this (one ming AND one french tickler all in ONE band):


But inevitably there would be "those" who got it all wrong. Here are some of "those" and their sorted stories:

Exhibit A:

Prince played guitar leads that would have made any lead axeman in any 80s Hair Metal band proud. He also was very short, and short men naturally have a Napoleon complex and therefore must compensate by displaying their manhood in the form of facial hair. His first attempt was the ever-famous 'chocolate milk mustache' or just simply the 'chocolate milk'. This didn't last long, and by the early 80's, when Prince inherited the wardrobe from The 1976 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie, he also streamlined his mustache into an elegant, pencil-thin, Little Richardesque piece which began referring to itself as the "mustache formerly known as the Chocolate Milk".

Exhibit B:
This one really needs no explanation. The classic "porno stache" that was all the rage among every Debbie Does Dallas Porno-star-wannabe of the late 70s. Perhaps the only time in the history of Western Civilizaton that this stache could have been taken seriously was the late 70s/early 80s. But when sported along with the 'Brady Bunch fancy-boy perm' and 'jazz hands', you have a walking, breathing, living douchebag.

Exhibit C:
Q: What do you do when you are an internationally famous singer-songwriter at the peak of your skill living during the long-hair 70s, but rapidly going bald as the nation turns their lonely eyes toward you? A: You grow a mustache. Actually, first you try hiding the baldness by wearing hoodies, cowboy hats or ballcaps. Eventually, you get so desperate to see hair growing somewhere on your head that you embrace the mustache. Simon decides to go with the "fluffer". Not quite as blatant as the Porno stache, but equally ridiculous. But by the late mid 80's, Simon saw the error of his ways and axed the stache, got a hair transplant, then married Edie Brickell (religion, is a smile on a dog...).

Exhibit D:
Known as the she-ming or the FeMing, the female "Ming" is one of the hardest staches to pull off (particularly for non-Hispanic womyn). If anyone could pull it off, it would have been the punk pioneer Patti Smith. But after rubbing our noses into her hairy, unkempt armpits all throughout the 70's, some see the mustache as a bit too much...follicle overkill. As we all know, the reason woman rockers grow 'staches or beards or let their armpit hair go, is to give a visual ''tease" to male audience members, as if to say, "Look, this is basically what the hair of my vagina is gonna look like--are you turned on?" Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.

Exhibit E:


Known as the 'walrus' (sometimes also called the Wilfred Brimley) this stashe is uncommonly popular among recovering drug addicts whose best years are obviously a distant memory in the rear view mirror. This mustache says "I'm the kind of guy you would have liked smoking a doobie with and getting a little 'weird' with back in the day." It was first popularized after Dennis Hopper famously unveiled it in his portrayal of a free wheelin' hippie sidekick in his film masterpiece Easy Rider

For more writing by Ed Wagemann click here: Ed Wagemann

©2006 Rockism 101. All Rights Reserved