BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

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pcqgod
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BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby pcqgod » 16 Jan 2018, 16:09



“Rock and Roll Band” kicks off with a rhythm guitar riff featuring that signature, resonating Tom Scholz guitar sound, then there’s a dramatic lead guitar flourish, the drums kick in and propel the song into the first verse. The lyrics are a largely fictional rock Horatio Alger story:

We were just another band outta Boston
On the road to try to make ends meet
Playin’ in the bars and sleepin’ in our cars
And we practiced right on out in the street…

In reality, Boston was barely a true band in the traditional sense. Tom and lead singer Brad Delp got signed to a contract on the basis of demos recorded with a session drummer. When it came time to record their Epic debut, Scholz again holed himself in his home studio and recorded most of the album solo with minor participation by the guys from Mother’s Milk and Middle Earth pictured on the back cover. The original demo version of “Rock and Roll Band” is almost identical to the final “Boston” version, down to the dramatic drum fill after the first chorus, giving lie the concept of Boston as a creative democracy. With stage-shy Scholz in the Brian Wilson role, second guitarist Barry Goudreau actually tried to hijack the rest of the band and the Boston name, which led to the group’s extended sidelining until emerging in the MTV era with their power ballad “Amanda.”

“Rock and Roll Band” is resolutely optimistic about the rock-fame ride; contrast it to the more cynical “Top of the Pops” by the Kinks or “Have a Cigar” by Pink Floyd. The guitar riff in “Top of Pops” is a repeated “DA DA DA – Dun Dun,” superficially fun but quickly leading you back to square one, a apt reflection of the lyrics in which the rock rollercoaster ends and the Roberts and Grenvilles and whoever stick their fingers into the pie. In “Rock and Roll Band” the main “walking” riff feels like a staircase or escalator always leading upward to the penthouse of the cigar smoking man, exacerbated by the increasingly frantic vocal.

Playing for a week in Rhode Island
A man came on the stage on night
Smoked a big cigar, drove a Cadillac car
Said, “boys, I think this band’s outta sight!”
SIGN A RECORD COMPANY CONTRACT!
You know we’ve GOT great expectations
When I hear you on the car radio you’re gonna be a sensation!
Rock and Roll band EVERYBODY’S waiting
Getting crazy, anticipatin’
LOVE that MUSIC!
PLAY PLAY PLAY PLAY PLAY!

Then after a couple of false finishes, you get the BOOM BOOM BOOOOOOOOOOM power chords signaling the end. I know that many of you don’t care about musicianship and perfectionism in music and will posit that Boston illustrates why MIT graduates shouldn’t play rock. But in a sense, it isn’t even about musicianship for me. For me, that guitar sound coupled with Brad Delp’s vocal is just an amazing sound, akin to when I first heard the Byrds’ harmonies over chiming Rickebackers, or "Waltz of the Flowers." Instant aural pleasure, and that’s what we’re all here for, n’est-ce pas?
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Jan 2018, 16:16

As good as most of the other songs on that album.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby harvey k-tel » 16 Jan 2018, 16:24

I'm curious to see how this goes down, hot on the heels of VH-gate. I think it's a classic, but will totally understand if the British contingent comes down hard on it.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby pcqgod » 16 Jan 2018, 16:31

VH-gate, lol.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Samoan » 16 Jan 2018, 16:39

It's not that bad..































:P

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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Jan 2018, 16:43

Harvey K-Tel wrote:I'm curious to see how this goes down, hot on the heels of VH-gate. I think it's a classic, but will totally understand if the British contingent comes down hard on it.


Copehead will be along shortly to tell us it's shite because Boston meant nothing in the UK and his mates all thought it was cobblers, and besides rock didn't go in the direction of Boston because they weren't an influence on Metallica, see...
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Dor-Relip Hotels and Bathings » 16 Jan 2018, 17:02

Another nice bit of writing - I enjoyed reading it while listening.

But the song sucks seven shades of shit.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Sneelock » 16 Jan 2018, 17:03

good writing, yes. I still give it a solid gold "meh"
it's so damned BLAND. It's Gerber's baby-food for the ears. Also, there's something so damned white-bread and preppy about Boston that makes me want to drive to a "bad area" and use the ATM.

seriously, they make "We're an American Band" sound like Motorhead.
Last edited by Sneelock on 16 Jan 2018, 17:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby pcqgod » 16 Jan 2018, 17:03

fucken OCTO-ARM wrote:Another nice bit of writing - I enjoyed reading it while listening.

But the song sucks seven shades of shit.


:lol:
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Jan 2018, 17:14

I laughed at that too. Cheeky little bastard is our John.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Darkness_Fish » 16 Jan 2018, 17:14

Mr J Coan esq. speaks for me on this matter.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Jan 2018, 17:16

Not as good as SLADE, that's for sure, eh?
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Dor-Relip Hotels and Bathings » 16 Jan 2018, 18:50

Would you dispute that?
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Jan 2018, 19:01

They meant nothing in the UK!!
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby nathan » 16 Jan 2018, 19:11

Like most of that first Boston LP, I can't stand listening to any of it out of the context of the full record.

But I do love to listen to that LP front to back on a fairly regular basis. You need to be immersed in that slick universe and turn thy brain off. It's fun.

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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby TG » 16 Jan 2018, 22:05

I’ve heard that song countless times and not only did I not know what it was about; I didn’t even know they were saying “Rock & Roll Band” where they, you know, say it.
It’s really terrible.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby The Modernist » 16 Jan 2018, 23:03

Nice post.

Let's just say it's as good as Van Halen.

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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby toomanyhatz » 17 Jan 2018, 00:28

I tend to stick to side one when I listen, as that's where all the good stuff is. I appreciate the skill that went into this song, but the lyrical cliches bring it back down to earth pretty heavily.

I guess if you're going to sing about how wonderful and liberating rock and roll is, I need a little more information about what you're being liberated from in order to feel emotionally involved. :P
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby fange » 17 Jan 2018, 11:49

It's interesting that you chose this song to highlight from the album, pcq - not the most immediately memorable or strongest of the tunes for me. But if you're trying to highlight the difference between what Boston as a "band" actually were, compared to the tight-knit, hard-scrabble group portrayed in the lyrics of the song, well 'RaRB' is a fascinating juxtaposition of a tale.

I've always my issues with that Boston record - the way it almost sounds too perfect, if that makes sense - but i have always doffed my proverbial lid to Scholz's skills at making it. It is a fucking monster of a record; not one i love mind, but will always respect.
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Re: BCB 100 Songs: "Rock and Roll Band"

Postby NMB » 17 Jan 2018, 12:32

fange wrote:I've always my issues with that Boston record - the way it almost sounds too perfect, if that makes sense - but i have always doffed my proverbial lid to Scholz's skills at making it. It is a fucking monster of a record; not one i love mind, but will always respect.


It's a beautifully made and recorded albums of mediocre songs. And possibly none of them more mediocre than this one. But it does sound great.
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