Tag: Dion and the Belmonts

Brainiac On Banjo #062: Rock Is Here To Stay After All

Brainiac On Banjo #062: Rock Is Here To Stay After All

We can argue when rock ’n’ roll started. The term goes back at least 85 years, but the roots of rock go back to our ancestors pounding rocks together. Perhaps that’s the real origin of the term.

I grew up with rock playing in the apartment. That’s probably true for most people reading this, but I’m older than many of you. I’m older than shit, to be sure, and I’m not always thrilled with that. But my sister was almost seven years older than me, and she was seven when Jackie Brenston, Ike Turner, and Sam Phillips made “Rocket 88”, arguably the first rock record released commercially. I was one year old; so, I’m not able to say she was listening to rock way back then. But she was so into rock that I clearly remember her collection of singles and her choice of radio stations. There was no other form of music dominating within the confines of Sunnyside and Kimball apartment 3-A, in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.

It had a major impact on me. I grew up a rocker. I love rock in all its forms, some more than others, but damn near everything that we refer to as American roots music (rock, blues, country, bluegrass, folk, rap, and even a bit of pop) remains close to my heart.

When I turned 11 years old, my sister gave me my very first record album, Runaround Sue by Dion DiMucci. Shortly thereafter, I scrapped together the $3.14 I needed to purchase Dion’s first solo album, Alone With Dion. I bought it at the old Harmony Hall record store in a strip mall that was founded the year “Rocket 88” was released.

Dion, you see, was my first favorite rock artist. I grew up listening to Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran, and so many others (including Dion and the Belmonts), but Dion was my favorite. And you never forget your first. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #062: Rock Is Here To Stay After All”

Brainiac On Banjo #044: The Old Defecator Speaks!

Brainiac On Banjo #044: The Old Defecator Speaks!

Tuli Kupferberg, 1999, premiering Why Must I Be A Septuagenarian In Love

Each night I ask the Satellite of Love / Why must I be an alter-kocker in love?

Long ago, I realized America is not a melting pot. It’s more of a smorgasbord. That’s the way it should be: we go from ethnicity to ethnicity sucking up what we like out of each culture while sharing our own. Even a hardcore white supremacist will scream at you to go back to where you came from while driving a Kia, listening to Elvis Presley and eating chimichangas.

Nonetheless, our American language has been quite an effective melting pot. For example, most Jew-haters will go Gestapo on your ass while shouting dialogue infused with many common Yiddish words that seem, to these goose-steppers, to be as American as corned beef on rye. That would be cute, if not for the hobnails. Sadly, the extremely useful phrase “alter-kocker” has not been as well-deployed as glitch, chutzpah, and klutz. Alter-kocker means an old man, and it comes from the German phrase for “old defecator.” You’d think our great American swastika lovers would enjoy that. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #044: The Old Defecator Speaks!”