WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Boss Meets Buddy Holly



Peter V. the drummer for the Telepaths is a walking encyclopedia of music and music trivia. He's more than a decade younger than me, and still our musical tastes often converge. Peter turned me onto a band called The Hold Steady. I've been playing their disc ("Boys and Girls in America") almost non-stop for days now. The ghost of the Boss (I know he's not dead), circa Asbury Park is all over the disc.

I mean, this album (do we still call them albums?), is like the lost disc somewhere after "Greetings from Asbury Park," and "The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle," and before "Born to Run." There are Telecasters, and keyboards, and ringing major chords, and the lead singer, well, he's got the Boss's range and timbre. But, then again, this band brings something new to the mix too. Not sure what, I mean, these songs stick in your head, they will hook you, or at least they hooked me, a big fat juicy rock and roll worm - I've gone for it hook, line and sinker! The Hold Steady; they are a caffiene rush of rock and roll adrenaline.

This morning I went to their site and watched a few YouTubes, and the real funny part of this, and the clincher, these guys look like accountants and telemarking reps; hard-working guys who have found salvation in the rock and roll trenches. No Hollywood, no bandannas and scarfs, just bad suits and stringy ties, nerdy glasses, (The Boss meets Buddy Holly?), I mean, I guess their nerdiness could be their brand of "off brand," but man, they look too weirdly normal to be poseurs.

When does inspiration become a ripoff? When does a formula transcend it's elements? How does it all work? Well, I guess that's up to the ear of the beholder.

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