Sin City Presents Magazine November 2016 Volume 3 Issue 11 - Page 13

2. Lynard Skynard

I've had people tell me, for them, this band evokes images of Southern, gun loving, God fearing,

Wal-Mart shopping, Casual and not so casual racist rednecks. Look, I get it, but, not only is that a generalization, but, a common mistake in forming a musical opinion is to be unable to separate the band from their fans.

To put into a different context, take their song "Curtis Lowe" (You've prolly never heard that one. It’s a B-side. Check it out) It's a true story about singer, Ronnie Van Zandt's childhood musical mentor, an old African American blues man who would play for change and booze around the band's hometown. Skynard took a lot from the blues, yet never took them for granted. The musicianship in that band reflected between the two (and sometimes THREE) guitarists is amazing! Maybe it’s because I grew up in their home state of Florida (Contrary to popular belief, they were not from Alabama, but "Sweet Home Jacksonville" doesn't have the same flow to it) but I unapologetically insist that simple, down home southern rock is not a bad thing.

3. Guns n Roses

Ok, Axl Rose is a douche. That's been thoroughly documented, thank you. That doesn't change the music; in fact, it probably accentuated it; all fiery attitude and pure excessive glory. I love this band! Picking up where Aerosmith left off in the 70's the original GnR line up introduced elements of punk and invigorated a music scene that was meandering in the post Bon Jovi glamorous, glossy pop rock of the day. They reminded us that rock ain't pretty and it's not predictable. It's supposed to feel like the train could go off the rails at any minute. Just experience their concert from The Ritz, broadcast live on MTV. I remember the first time I saw it, I thought they sounded terrible. Guitars out of tune, screeching vocals, swearing...these guys were so unprofessional! It took me awhile to understand, THATS WHY ITS GREAT! It's rock-n-roll, man.

4. The Rolling Stones

I know, you're probably thinking, oh, but, the Stones are playing stadiums! Surely, you don't need to defend them? Well, I've had many debates on this subject. (And don’t call me Shirley) I've listened to friends dismiss them as old farts way past their prime, cashing in on a back catalogue of hits from their earlier days, which if we're being perfectly honest, is true. However, there was a time when these guys were the baddest boys on the block. It’s hard to put in perspective now, with the way they morphed into an irrelevant, corporate money making machine, but, once upon a time, their music contained an element that it's been missing for a long time; DANGER. Yeah, they're presently senior citizens and about as controversial as a piece of white bread, but, in their heyday during the 60's & 70's, this band MEANT something. Sex, drugs, revolution, they did it all, they did it better and most importantly, they did it before all other groups that went on to take depravity to new heights. What a song list to choose from. "Paint it Black" and "Sympathy for the Devil", two of the coolest tunes ever written! Not to mention, the output of one classic album after another from 68-74 is unparallel.

Their repertoire has been hashed out many bars all over the world but nobody can do it quite like them when they convey the sound of a smokey, sweaty honky -tonk to 70,000 people. When I mention the Stones are my favorite band, I always mention a couple disclaimers;

Only up until 1981's "Tattoo You," Anything after that is all downhill for me.

Also, I've never seen them live. Even if I had money to burn, I wouldn’t pay three hundred bucks for a ticket on general principle alone!

Honorable Mention- The Bee Gees.

You know the disco stuff and the backlash it created, fine, but, I love it and I don’t care who knows. Barry Gibb is one of the greatest pop songwriters ever. Have you heard their pre-disco tunes? "To Love Somebody" a passionate soul number written for Otis Redding, which he never got to record, having died in a plane crash at age 26) Fortunately, for us soul/rock fans, Janis Joplin DID record it, and UNFORTUNATELY for us, so did Michael Bolton.

Thanks for reading my rants!