R. Crumb on Tommy James and the Shondells, Dylan…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:02 pm May 24, 2011

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With nothing going on today, I thought I’d share the following…

I’ve always been a big fan of artist/cartoonist/philosopher R. Crumb, who you might know from such literary masterworks as Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural and the cover of Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills album. I subscribe to the R. Crumb newsletter (you can too at http://www.crumbproducts.com/), where in addition to some great offers on limited edition prints and other artwork there are links to R. Crumb news. The latest includes a link to Crumb on Others, Pt. 1, perspective from Crumb on famous people. I include herein two such perspectives:

On Tommy James and the Shondells:

Robert: “Yes! Last great proletarian rock n’ roll band. 1966 — My Baby Does the Hanky Panky, great record. That to me was the last year there was a bunch of good, proletarian rock and roll hits on the radio. After that it was taken over by the California psychedelic thing. I just didn’t find that as interesting. That was all very middle-class. Once the Beatles became famous, then the middle class began to embrace rock n’ roll and abandoned the kind of middle of the road sound of Bobby Rydell and Pat Boone and all that stuff. And when the middle-class embraced it, they cleaned it up, it wasn’t the same. But Tommy James was one of the last bands, and Sam The Sham, he was another one of the last ones: Wooly Bully and stuff like that.”

Alex: “Did you like (Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs’) ‘Little Red Riding Hood?'”

Robert: “Great, great masterpiece. [laughs] But after that, I started to lose interest in rock n’ roll. The golden age of rock n’ roll was in the ’50s and for me, particularly Rockabilly. I really liked that. A lot of the rockabilly stuff was really wild and kind of scared the bourgeois, scared them.”

Alex: “Like Jerry Lee Lewis?”

Robert: “Yeah, great! Great piano player. Little Richard too, excellent piano player but they’re showmen so you don’t get to hear enough piano. But going back to Tommy James, he made a psychedelic song called ‘Crimson and Clover.’ Remember that? I thought that was pretty good… ‘Crimson and clover, over and over…'”

On Bob Dylan (who is suffering his 70th birthday today):

Robert: “I hate his voice. I can’t stand to hear him sing. I thought some of the songs that he wrote in the mid-60s were kind of clever, with clever lyrics. But I just can’t stand to hear him or see him perform. And I think his heart is in the right place a lot of times, you know. Someone told me he was an aficionado of old 20s, old time music, and that he listens to the same kind of stuff I like. Someone told me that. But his own stuff, his own music never interested me that much. It used to irritate me in the mid-sixties when he was worshiped like a god. I thought that was really annoying. I thought his schtick with his whiney voice was really irritating.”

Read the rest, which includes comments on everyone from W.C. Fields to Obama, right here

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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