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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

For a fleeting nanosecond, he had the knack

There's a 'Lil Birdie that keeps dropping home-burned musical discs in my snail mailbox.

So far, two discs by The Hold Steady have appeared, "Stay Positive" and "Boys and Girls in America."

Funny thing, as I was marveling over the latter of the two somehow dropping out of thin air, I got to figuring that I'll never grow out of it. I'll never grow out of this never ending search for the next new band to get overly excited about.

Far as I can recall, the last thing that got me to jumpin' around the room and buying a new set of light gauge Silver Bullets was Nirvana. More accurately put, I was all agog over Kurt Cobain. Never was there a more honest songwriter.

When I was doing my level best to mimic the Hansen brothers of "Slap Shot" fame back in high school, I couldn't help but identifying with KISS and their stripped down sound. Lead, rhythm, bass, drums, and gnarly loud. Totally stripped down. No arsty fartsy bullspit. No Moogs. No mellotrons. And most importantly, no strings. Just straight ahead, pin-your-ears-back rock 'n' roll.

After initially conquering the world, even KISS succumbed to the glitzy production techniques of one Bob Ezrin, a producer extraordinaire. And with the passage of even more time, KISS did the previously unthinkable by releasing a disco-tinged song. Argh!

But in 1979, out of nowhere came this band called the Knack, who's first offering "Get the Knack" shot right to the top of the charts. And the first single from that LP, "My Sharona," topped the charts for six weeks. In addition, Get the Knack was the top-selling album of 1979.

While their sound has been dubbed "power pop," what they were was the latest outfit to reject the excessives of the recording studio, the wizardry, the strings and what have you by stripping it down to it's basics all over again. And you couldn't help but to be hooked by the choppy, start-stop-start-stop intro of My Sharona.

I played the grooves off of that album, neccessitating the purchase of a second copy, which I still have today. And to this day, after having packaged and carted off thousands upon thousands of CDs to events I have either DJed or simply provided the music for, Get the Knack was the only CD to have ever been stolen from me. It was immediately replaced.

Anyway, I was saddened to read this morning that Doug Fieger, 57, had passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer. Without Doug Feiger, there was no The Knack. In a nutshell, Doug Feiger was The Knack. And like KISS before them, The Knack reminded me that roll 'n' roll ought not include boys choirs, orchestras or the Bob Ezrins of the music world.

Just plug it in and play it flat out in 3 minutes or less. If it ain't loud, it ain't worth a fu>k. Sad to say, but I'll never grow out of it.




Stephen Albert said...

Great song for the MP3 player while exercising...great song period.

R.I.P. Doug Fieger.

FYI, in a true case of 6 degrees of separation, there is a connection between "Dr Death" Jack Kevorkian & Doug Fieger...namely that Fieger's brother, Geoffrey Fieger, has defended Dr Kevorkian several times.

D.B. Echo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.B. Echo said...

I don't know if your text appears with the same line breaks on all monitors and/or bowsers, but the words "When I was doing my level best to mimic the Hansen brothers" and "of 'Slap Shot' fame" appear on separate lines. My mental image generation was too fast to notice the spelling difference, and I was immediately wondering about some dark chapter in your life where you grew your hair long, dyed it blonde, and danced around singing "MMMM-Bop!"