Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – R You Ready?

CamIt is the time of year when time is at a premium. With NXNE right around the corner and the full weight of the NXNE Film Festival on my shoulders I am going to take the easy way out for the next few weeks here at DBAWIS. Fortunately I am at the letters R, S, T in the next three weeks and there aren’t too many easier letters to find bands for. Quick lists for the next little while. As always please have a look or listen at what Bob magically drops in for each band. Full disclosure, I supply the words and Bob supplies the links and photos. I am surprised every Thursday at the images and videos he comes up with.

Ready to roll with the R’s?

The Records

And the rare 1978 Demo….

As I sit and type I look straight into my racks of 45’s and front and centre on the right rack is “Teenarama” by The Records. What an amazing band. They had a few radio hits in their native Britain but did nothing in North America. Their El Mocambo show sometime around 1980 was fantastic and somewhere deep in the recesses of my basement I still have the Records lapel badge that Will Birch gave me. Start with “Starry Eyes” head to “Teenarama” and cap it off with their fantastic cover of The Bay City Roller’s “Rock’n’Roll Love Letter”. Your best overall bet is there compilation album “Smashes, Crashes And Near Misses”.


Maybe the greatest rock’n’roll band to ever come out of Cleveland (for sure the greatest powerpop spawned by the Ohio city). For five years in the early seventies Eric Carmen and the boys ruled the airwaves and re-defined the sound of American pop. Taking the best of the British invasion and filtering through seventies technology the band had enough crunch for the boys and romance for the ladies.  “Go All The Way”, “Tonight”, “I Wanna Be With You” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” are about as good as pop gets.

The Replacements

As my film maker friend Gorman Bechard said on his “Color Me Obsessed” promo items “Kinda Brilliant. Kinda Dumb. Kinda The Replacements”.  One of the greatest, sloppiest, drunkest, self-defeating bands of all time. They were everything that rock’n’roll is meant to be; loud, sloppy, relevant, irrelevant and, at times, dangerous. They were also poets on the lines of Dylan and maybe that was due to their mutual Minnesota roots. I don’t even know where to start on their catalog. Try “Bastards Of Young”, “Alex Chilton”, “Here Comes A Regular” and “I’ll Be You”.  Also check out Gorman’s documentary “Color Me Obsessed”.

The Runaways

When The Runaways were teenage girls I was a teenage boy. They weren’t jailbait to me. I loved their swagger and attitude. We were the same age and brought up on the same music; Bowie, Iggy, Alice Cooper, T.Rex so of course they were going to play music that I liked.  Check out “Cherry Bomb”, “School Days” and “Queens Of Noise”. Also worth a peek is Floria Sigismondi’s flick “The Runaways” with good performances from Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart.

The Romantics

Sure The Romantics crossed over to the “frat party” crowd with “With I Like About You” but before that they were making fantastic indie pop records (with solid help from our friends Bob Segarini and Greg Shaw). Toronto was like a second home to the Detroit boys and their early bar shows were sweat-inducing rock’n’roll revivals. You can’t go wrong with “Tell It To Carrie”, “First In Line” and “Little White Lies”.

Rich Kids

Not just a blip on the post-Pistols radar the Rich Kids made a couple of fantastic singles. The group was comprised of Sex Pistol bassist Glen Matlock, pre-Ultravox singer Midge Ure and pre-Visage drummer Rusty Egan. It would have been very interesting to see where this band ended up if they stayed together. “Rich Kids”, “Ghosts Of Princes In Towers” and “Empty Words” were their finest moments. Still love their debut U.K. seven inch on red vinyl.

The Rutles

“A musical legend that will last a lunch time”. One of the great rock’n’roll parodies of all-time as Eric Idle, Neil Innes and crew told the story of the “prefab four”. A must watch for any music or comedy fan is 1978’s “All You Need Is Cash”. I have always been particularly fond of “Cheese And Onions”, “I Must Be In Love” and “Piggy In The Middle”.


From the ashes of One Free Fall rose Rusty. Rock’n’roll with an attitude but not quite the sneer of The Headstones. Great songs that blurred the lines between punk, British heavy shoe-gaze and straight ahead rock.  There always seemed to be more Montreal in them than Toronto but god damn they wrote good songs.  They are also responsible for bringing film maker Bruce LaBruce to the straight masses. Your starter kit should include “Misogyny”, “Wake Me” and “Groovy Dead”.

The Rheostatics

As purely Canadian as The Tragically Hip and The Guess Who combined. They wrote and travelled coast to coast across Canada with the vigor of Stompin’ Tom Connors. Dave Bidini and crew wrapped themselves around the maple leaf and brought their literate form of rock to every corner of this country. Read Dave’s books and enjoy “ Claire”, “Record Body Count” and “Horses”.

Roger Waters

Yeah the dude who sang most of Pink Floyd’s hits. Yes but his solo album “Radio K.A.O.S” and his single from the album before “(5:01 AM)The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking” are some classic Floyd-inspired music. Loved the Radio K.A.O.S. tour with Paul Carrack in the band and DJ Jim Ladd. This is still one of those albums that I must listen to from start to finish.


Cam’s column appears every Thursday

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DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

The Bovine

Rock Lobster

2 Responses to “Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – R You Ready?”

  1. Is this really Cam? I don’t think I have ever seen a list which so completely parallels my taste. Of course, I’ve not heard Rusty (yet) and The Damnation of Adam Blessing was the best band to come out of Cleveland, but that aside (and the fact that Cam turned me on to Alcoholic Faith Mission, a band that still knocks me for a loop), I find I now have newfound respect for the Carpenter man. Or maybe Newfoundland. In fact, my first thought was, wait, did I write this?

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