Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – Have Guitar Will Travel

CamThere’s a lot going on right now and these posts are going to be pretty short and sweet over the course of the next month. What’s up you ask? I am trying to finish the book “A Man Called Destruction – The Life & Music of Alex Chilton” in which our esteemed colleague Mr. Frank Gutch Jr. is quoted, the NXNE Film Festival kicks off at The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema next Friday night, NXNE Music, Art, Comedy and Interactive then run until June 22nd and, the world’s biggest sporting event, The World Cup, kicks off in Brazil next week. Though I fear we have little hope “C’mon England”.

This Friday night my Halifax pals Alert the Medic, along with Alan Snoddy, Chad Price and Junia will be in Toronto at The Rivoli for the official release party for their new CD “The Phantom Moves”. You can check out the new video here:

Speaking of Halifax the boys in Gloryhound are set to release their full length Garth Richardson produced, Bob Ezrin mixed album on June 24rd and you can have a look at the video for the first single “Loaded Gun” right here.

GuitarOk, speaking of the letter G, let’s get started with this week’s theme, guitars. I can’t play a note, took a few lessons, no hope. I do have a lovely 1992 Epiphone Les Paul sunburst and little Randall amp (make me an offer) but there are about 5 too many strings on it for my non-musical brain. I love the looks of some guitars and am left cold by others. Love the look of a Les Paul; hate the look of an SG. Always loved the look of a Flying V or Explorer but a Tele never seemed to look right unless it was on Keith Richards or maybe Bruce. Today on Facebook I saw the Goya that adorned the April Wine album “Electric Jewels” and I always thought it was wicked cool. Rickenbacker’s always looked cool (love the look of their basses) and there was always something badass about a big old school Gretsch. As a non-player it all comes down to style I guess. Tear Drop Vox anyone?

Here are some tunes to pick your way through.

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – The Beatles

Maybe all these years I’ve had a secret thing for George Harrison as many of the Beatle’s songs I note in this column are his. This one, of course, is from the “White” album and features Eric Clapton on lead guitar (although he is not credited on the album). Can’t say I was a big fan of the “White” album overall, but, there are many moments of magic, this song included.

“Guitar Town” – Steve Earle

This is the first Steve Earle song I ever heard and still in my top five. The original version had the line “Everybody told me you can’t get far on $37 and a Jap guitar” which was changed on some versions of the album to “$37 and a cheap guitar”. Of course I always liked the line “got a two pack habit and a motel tan”.

“Star Guitar” – The Chemical Brothers

Although there wasn’t a real guitar within ten blocks of the gig The Chemical Brothers put on one of the best rock’n’roll shows I’ve ever seen when I saw them at their height about a dozen years ago. I really don’t know what this has to do with guitars but the word is in the title and that’s good enough for me, and, our job is to educate and I doubt many of you have ever heard this tune.

“Guitar Pickin’ Man” – Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants

Much like the other members of the Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett has a couple of side projects on the go. Of course he is a card carrying member of “Me First and The Gimme Gimmes” (love their new album “Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!”) but he also has his country band The Dead Peasants and this little gem is from last year’s “All Hat and No Cattle”.

“Jail Guitar Doors” – The Clash

This never appeared on a proper Clash studio album (unless you include the bastardized U.S. version of their debut album) but can be found on various box sets and compilations. It originally was the flip side of the band’s fourth single “Clash City Rockers” and it manages to name-check Wayne Kramer (MC 5), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) and Keith Richards (Rolling Stones).

“My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama” – The Mothers Of Invention

Featuring one of the most under rated guitar players of all time Frank Zappa. Hard to believe this song is 45 years old. It was featured on the album “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” which I would stare at every time I went into a record store but never had the balls to buy. His son Dweezil covered, and named his solo album, after this song back in 1988 when I was working for Chrysalis Records. Good version but not as cool as his Pop’s.

“Girls Who Play Guitars” – Maximo Park

This is the lead off track from the Newcastle band’s Gil Norton produced “Our Earthly Pleasures” which was released in 2007 and was one of the most played songs on my iPod that year. Great production and song. Saw them play a good show at The Mod Club around that time and still have my reel-to-reel designed tee-shirt.

“Johnny Guitar” – The Runaways

The Lita Ford showcase from the girl’s second album “Queens of Noise”. At seven minutes it is nearly twice as long as every other song on the record and was written by Lita and manager Kim Fowley. If you had to pick a best Runaways studio album this would be the one.

“Electric Guitar” – Talking Heads

Although “Fear Of Music” was the album that took Talking Heads out of New York and delivered them to the world I absolutely slammed this album in a review I wrote for The New Music Magazine back in the late seventies and such inspired criticism could very well be the reason that Cameron Crowe is a household name.

“Air Guitar” – Towers of London

The only kind I know how to play. Back in 1980 my Mom, sister, step-brother and I went on a vacation to Hawaii. My step brother and I were old enough to drink and spent many a night in different sleazy bars. One place had an air guitar completion and I managed to make the finals, but lost as the song they gave me was “Rock and Roll” from Led Zeppelin which was far more suited to an air drumming competition. I ended up in second and my prize was an album by “Blue Angel” which featured a very young Cyndi Lauper. Towers of London are one of my type rock’n’roll bands: brash, loud, snotty and full of swagger.


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59.

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Cam likes to plant his butt on the roof of the Bovine and soak up a few rays.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and The Bovine. The Tiki Bar welcomes the mild to hot weather and The Bovine presents great bands downstairs at the legendary rock bar. Fill up next store at The Rock Lobster and then get your rocks off at The Bovine. 

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, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.


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