Rock and Roll Reads

Great Scot! Back to the Rock and Roll Future

I was doing the garage sale circuit with my wife and son last weekend when I stopped to let them out to check out the first “sale” of the day while I looked for parking. Since there was no places available I gave up and while waiting in the van for them to finish, my 8 year old son wandered over and told me that I should check it out since they were selling books (ah he knows me so well!). Well I found a parking spot post haste and checked out what was on offer. Believe it or not, there was one rock and roll book available! “Pourin’ It All Out: An Insider’s View of the Rock Scene” by Jay Saporita is an enjoyable paperback describing the rock ‘n’ roll scene circa 1979-80. To give you an idea of the time, in the chapter on Punk he states “As we move into the eighties, punk appears to be dying out.” Yes it’s that old. I don’t even think that the guys in Green Day were born when this thing was published! Jay writes some great articles on Punk, the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder and the death of Sid Vicious. What fascinated me though was the chapters on radio and the concluding chapter “Loose Lips.” As for radio, he talks to Vin Selsa a DJ at WNEW-FM (at the time) on the state of FM radio and its future. Reading it is like reading a prediction from Nostradamus. In dismissing AM programming and trumpeting the free form format of FM radio as vastly superior, Jay notes “But severe warning signs have risen of late, indicating that the uniqueness of FM may soon be gone. It, too, may become homogenized and tightly structured, and worst of all, it may lose all its identity.” Creepy huh? And get this one. In the chapter “Loose Lips” John Scher, who was the president of Monarch Entertainment Bureau makes this prediction:
“When I think of rock ‘n’ roll in the eighties I think of video. Not just feature-length films….but more of a participation in the art of video. Video discs, kind of like a combination of a record and a miniature movie, should be available within five years. Instead of buying an album, the customer gets a disc which contains not only the group’s new songs but also a film of them performing the tunes. He goes home, inserts it into a home unit, and he’s got his very own private concert!” Sounds great doesn’t it? Now go turn on MTV or Much Music. Depressing isn’t it?
Anyways, besides being a window into the rock and roll past this is a great book with some great pictures so pick it up on your next trip to a garage sale or flea market, for better or for worse. Who knows what rock and roll treasure you might find?