- Run-D.M.C., "Christmas in Hollis"
- The Waitresses, "Christmas Wrapping"
- Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Christmas Time is Here"
- Big Star, "Jesus Christ"
- Donny Hathaway, "This Christmas"
- Eels, "Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas"
- The Pogues, "Fairytale of New York"
- Otis Redding, "Merry Christmas Baby"
- Joni Mitchell, "River"
- Harry Nilsson, "Remember (Christmas)"
- Elvis Presley, "Blue Christmas"
- John Prine, "Christmas in Prison"
- The Pretenders, "2000 Miles"
- The Tall Pines, "Christmas Morning Coming Down"
- Local H, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
- The Kinks, "Father Christmas"
- Jackson 5, "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"
- Wham!, "Last Christmas"
- Bob Dylan, "Here Comes Santa Claus"
- Tom Waits, "Christmas Card from a Hooker In Minneapolis"
- Sinéad O'Connor, "Silent Night"
- Ramones, "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)"
- Morphine, "Sexy Christmas Baby Mine"
- Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Deck the Halls"
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018
Thursday, July 5, 2018
No Lives Matter
- Black Flag, "Rise Above"
- Bikini Kill, "Double Dare Ya"
- Anthrax and Public Enemy, "Bring the Noise"
- Living Colour, "Cult of Personality"
- Sepultura, "Refuse/Resist"
- Suicidal Tendencies, "Send Me Your Money"
- Ministry, "Thieves"
- Time Zone, "World Destruction"
- Nine Inch Nails, "The Hand That Feeds"
- Saul Williams, "List of Demands (Reparations)"
- Discharge, "Protest and Survive"
- Bad Brains, "Banned in D.C."
- Faith No More, "War Pigs"
- Motörhead, "God Save the Queen"
- Body Count, "No Lives Matter"
- Revocation, "Pestilence Reigns"
- A Tribe Called Quest, "We the People..."
- Rage Against the Machine, "The Ghost of Tom Joad"
- Sinéad O'Connor, "Black Boys on Mopeds"
- David Bowie and Trent Reznor, "I'm Afraid of Americans"
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
A Pace That Kills
- Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins, "Run Devil Run"
- Van Halen, "Runnin' with the Devil"
- The Replacements, "Run It"
- Converge, "Runaway"
- The Modern Lovers, "Roadrunnner"
- Django Reinhardt, "Runnin' Wild"
- Elvis Presley, "Run On"
- Bruce Springsteen, "Born to Run"
- The Coasters, "Run Red Run"
- Daikaiju, "Laser Runner"
- Le Tigre, "Let's Run"
- Bo Diddley, "Road Runner"
- Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Run Through the Jungle"
- Sly & the Family Stone, "Runnin' Away"
- Tom Petty, "Runnin' Down a Dream"
- Link Wray & the Wraymen, "Run Chicken Run"
- The Velvet Underground, "Run Run Run"
- Kyuss, "Freedom Run"
- Curtis Mayfield, "Little Child Runnin' Wild"
- Pink Floyd, "Run Like Hell"
- The Pharcyde, "Runnin'"
- Iron Maiden, "Run to the Hills"
Friday, October 7, 2016
Bill hired me as an after school tutor, and I was desperate to leave a good first impression. I shaved and dressed business casual for my first meeting with Mr. Gerstel. Imagine being greeted at the door by a man with purple hair, dice earrings and one of the wildest rockabilly outfits I'd ever seen.
He was like a character from a great movie or record sleeve who'd dropped into life. His hospitality was unmatched (he'd have a glass of water for me every day, even when I forgot to ask for one), as was his focus and discipline as a parent (he stayed involved in Sawyer's lessons and progress in a way that was compassionate but never smothering). What a pleasure to see him bring that grace and skill to his performances with the Emily Duff Band at Rodeo Bar. He introduced me to some of the coolest people I know, Robin and Sawyer among them, and dazzled me with stories that I tell friends to this day. I think some of my friends don't believe such a cool rock dad existed. I almost can't believe it myself.
People often comment on Bill's style, which reminds me of a John Lydon quote--"People want Johnny Rotten in punk regalia, but what they've got to know is, it's all punk regalia if I'm wearing it." Bill could rock any piece of apparel just by being Bill. Much as we all enjoyed his attire, I don't know anyone who could pull it off with the warmth and class that Bill did. His outfits were colorful, primarily because he was the one in them.
The school year ended, and Bill was my reference for my next teaching job. He called me after I'd been hired to congratulate me, but added something more important. "The woman I spoke with had some concerns about you, because you didn't always look her in the eye," he told me. "I told her it was because you're a little shy and that you didn't mean any disrespect, and she understood. But not everybody's going to understand that, so just be aware of it in the future." That was Bill.
Thank you, Bill, my noble friend.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
- Bo Diddley, "Bo Diddley"
- U2, "Desire"
- Buddy Holly, "Not Fade Away"
- Led Zeppelin, "Custard Pie"
- Dr. John, "Iko Iko"
- The Rolling Stones, "Please Go Home"
- George Michael, "Faith"
- Elvis Presley, "(Marie's the Name of) His Latest Flame"
- The Magnetic Fields, "I'm Sorry I Love You"
- Bruce Springsteen, "She's the One"
- Johnny Otis, "Willie and the Hand Jive"
- The Clash, "Rudie Can't Fail"
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "American Girl"
- The Who, "Magic Bus"
- The Supremes, "When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes"
- Jefferson Airplane, "She Has Funny Cars"
- The Stooges, "1969"
- Guns N' Roses, "Mr. Brownstone"
- The Go-Go's, "How Much More"
- Them, "Mystic Eyes"
- Ace Frehley, "New York Groove"
- Primal Scream, "Movin' on Up"
Friday, January 22, 2016
Rodney was a janitor at the BB King Blues Club, whom I worked with in my short stint there. For my first few days there, I only knew him as the guy who listened to music on his headphones while he swept, working to the rhythm of whatever tune was quietly escaping into the outside world, and sometimes humming and mumbling along to it. One day, I made out the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B."
"Rodney, are you listening to Pet Sounds?" I asked.
He took off his headphones.
"Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is out of the greatest albums of all time," he said. "For the 40th anniversary, they remastered it in mono and in stereo. And they added a DVD."
We talked about music nearly every day after that. I found out he'd worked in venues all over New York City, including CBGB, and we mourned Hilly Kristal together. I'd always ask him about what he was listening to, and whether it was R&B or punk or classic rock or blues or jazz, he could tell you anything about it.
One day I walked in hurriedly and past Rodney, as always, on his headphones. "Hey Rodney."
Rodney took his headphones off. "I had a really bad day, so this morning I'm listening to Manowar, Warriors of the World, and now I feel like I'm bulletproof."
I stopped in my tracks. "Rodney, you listen to Manowar?"
"I love metal, anytime I have a bad day it makes me feel like Superman. I especially like stuff from Megaforce Records, like Manowar, Anthrax and Me-tal-lic-a. This kind of music makes me want to hit somebody. Figuratively! Just hit somebody figuratively."
"Me too." I smiled.
For Rodney Speed, 1962-2016.