Saturday, December 29, 2012

Casey Kasem Lacks Perspective

Warning: Tangents. Deal.

Driving to work this morning, I listened to the Oldies Station, which until Christmas Day had been the Christmas station. It had been one of my favorite stations, no damnable DJ’s (so probably a nationwide station like Jack-FM, with local news to give it that ‘local flavor’ – in other words, it’s personality was kept in a hard drive, but it had not been bad. However, Jack-FM should be razed, the ground salted, any reminders of it consigned to the dustbin of the dustbin of history), until it decided that the 1980’s were now considered ‘Oldies’.*

They were doing a retrospective of the American Top 100 for the year 1978, hosted by Casey Kasem. The first words I heard from Shaggy were, to paraphrase, “What would it feel like to resign from being as astronaut just as the rocket is taking off? This young man found out, but he is doing alright for himself. Bob Welch went solo from Fleetwood Mac and here has the first of his two songs on the year’s Top 100.”

Let’s break this down a touch.

Okay, that is knowledge that I didn’t have. I have a soft spot for 70’s cheese (my dad’s Olds Delta 88 with the AM radio), and am familiar with Bob Welch from the song Sentimental Lady (video is deeply weird...)

which I quite like. A check of the Wikipedia shows that Bob Welch was an important member of Fleetwood Mac in the years between Peter Green and Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks, and has been given a fair amount of credit with keeping a Mac alive until the BuckingNicks soap opera blew into town.

However, this was 1978. A year after Rumours, a couple after Fleetwood Mac. It would appear that Welch’s album, French Kiss, did alright, but the Fleetwood Mac rocket had not merely launched at that point, it had sold umpteen million copies already and were well on their way to being one of my most hated bands (except for the song Tusk, basically.)

'Cuz marching band. Yes, I’m a geek. No judging.

‘Doing alright for himself’ compared to hourly rotation on every damn ’classic rock’** station in every redneck market in America?

Perspective, Mr. Kasem.

A few songs up in the countdown, Casey introduced the group as having stolen two cello players and a violinist from the London Symphony Orchestra. He was getting at Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), who I also rather like, the song was Turn To Stone but I would submit this. 

Using the logical thought processes of the likely late 20 something-year-old men that these three were, nightly cocaine-fueled 19 year old groupie orgies compared to command performances for the Queen, something they had already proved they could do and could resume at a later age after recovery from sexual exhaustion? Stolen? Seriously? Bring on the Plaster Casters.

Perspective, Mr. Kasem.

*The 1980’s, I was there, were responsible for much greatvitalmusic, in many and diverse genres. Top 40 was not one of them. If 1980’s Top 40 were to be ground to itty-bitties, put in a water bottle, and sprinkled on the white shag rug of history by some spectral vacuum cleaner salesman, the Cosmic Oreck would wrinkle in fear, and flee, its cord between its, umm, rollerball. Analogy fail. Fuck.
**I have shared my feelings re: classic rock and the morning zoos before – I think they need, so very much, to go away. Beyond that, though, hell, if they could just play something different every once in a while, there’s a lot of ‘classic rock’, more than just FM or the damnable, horrible, accused Eagles or Bachmann Turner Overdrive. Blue Oyster Cult is more than just cowbell. George Harrison made solo albums as well. C’mon, ya bastards.


  1. I have a soft spot for 70’s cheese

    Did somebody say 70s cheese?

    The 1980’s, I was there, were responsible for much great, vital, music, in many and diverse genres.

    What, no Nena?

    I also have to say that I am partial to Ledernacken- the crazy "left of the dial" radio station I used to listen to actually played that back in the day.

  2. I'll see your Tommy Seebach and raise you Moskau!

  3. Did you ever hear the Negativland U2 song featuring Kasem screaming "These guys are from England and who gives a shit?" Worth searching out...

    Also on the resulting album is a clip of Kasem complaining loudly and effing much about having to do a dedication for a dead dog "Snuggles" after a "goddam uptempo song!"

    Talk about losing perspective....

    1. I've heard the Snuggles rant - beauteous.

      Negativland - just found. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  4. Blue Oyster Cult is more than just cowbell.

    You don't say.

    If only they would fucking play "Astronomy" when they play in Milwaukee. At this point, I think they're just fucking with me....

    1. It's bloody infuriating. I haven't seen them live at all, but shit, I love to hear the Moorcock stuff once in a while - I loved the Elric saga, and Black Blade is stinkin brilliant.

  5. I saw them a couple of times at their peak, including the "Blue Fog" tour at Alpine Valley. And then saw them in Zivko's Has-been palace near Hartford; they were simply awful, and we left.

    So many years later in the 90s, I saw they were coming to Shank Hall (300 people!) and it was 15 bucks. Hell, I paid fifteen bucks to see them the first time at the Coliseum, so I took a chance.

    And they were stellar. I believe that most decent bands reach a point, where if they can stay together while fortunes are sliding, they discover that playing music is actually a pretty good job, and re-discover the love of the music that got them started in the first place. I call it the Cheap Trick INflection Point.

    Since, they have managed to climb back up the touring ladder a bit, and are of course hitting the has-been festival circuit, as well as some decent theaters. The motto on their t-shirts is now "On Tour Forever".