Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two pressure cookers go insane (Alice Cooper)

I see recently that Ringo Starr (bless him) is touring the UK again with his All Starr Band.

Rick is third from left, next to Ritchie.
 This time around the band includes the amazing Rick Derringer who seems, like Mr Starkey, to be ageless. He's been around since the 60's (Hang On Snoopy), had some brilliant albums in the 70's and some key moments playing with the Winter brothers along the way.

One of my favourite albums is his All American Boy which includes, for me, his two greatest moments: Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo and Teenage Love Affair.

So much of rock and roll is about being a teenager. That seminal time in our lives when we only care about ouselves and we view the world with a chip on our shoulder. Most rock and rollers try hard to keep that spirit of teenagerhood alive in their music, well into their middle age and beyond (John Mellencamp's memorable phrase - hold onto 16 as long as you can is a constant aim of mine). I only need mention the oldest teenage gang on the planet - The Rolling Stones - to make my point convincing.

So many of my favourite songs are about that rebellious, angst ridden time; summed up by Pete Townshend's it's only teenage wasteland phrase.

Teenage Love Affair captures the essence of teenage lust, in this case lived vicariously. No way have boy-girl relationships been as easily consummated as Rick would have it. The song smacks of that teenage boy thing of bigging up sexual encounters. But who knows - guitars seem to have an aphrodisiacal effect on girls.

Another great teenage themed song is Alice Cooper's Teenage Lament '74.

Alice tells a familiar tale - trying to look cool in trendy (uncomfortable) clothes, trying to get a cool haircut and looking like a rooster instead, getting told to turn your music down (when that's one of your few ways to be independent) and wanting to get away from home but not really knowing what to do.

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