Just when you thought kiddie pop, hip hop and whatever that is that passes for country music these days was dominating the airwaves and streaming services, along came this:
A hit new rock band comprised of members that are barely old enough to vote, not old enough to drink and are a direct throwback to all of the great ’70s blues-based rock.
Right around the time I wrote my rock and roll-based Buick Grand National COAL , I remember reading an article in some irrelevant source that said rock was dead and cited various reasons that led to its death.
Seriously? Didn’t The Who say that in the ’70s?
And also since the 1970s have several ‘reputable’ automotive authors continually predicted the end of V8s and RWD. See the connection?
Like Aerosmith said, its the same old song and dance.
So, here we are, in 2019. Greta Van Fleet (and others) are selling out arenas and keeping rock very relevant. Rock bio-movies are killing it in the box office, with Elton John’s movie coming out this weekend here in the States. Mustangs, Challengers, and Camaros (well, maybe not Camaros) are still selling in strong numbers. Fake news?
When my Grand National rolled off the assembly line in Pontiac, MI in May, 1987, the media claimed rock was dead then too.
And then this happened.
And just for you ‘boomers that claim rock is dead and real Chargers only have 2 doors, well, you’re old and out of touch. So I’m going to dot my Grand National update with some great late-model rock and roll from new and recent and very relevant bands that are not 70s/80s/90s/00s legacy acts and have been approved by my teenaged daughters.
Back in the fall, my 1987 Buick Grand National was also presumed dead, after I revived it not once but twice; first after putting it back together after it was torn apart and abandoned at a shop and then again after an engine rebuild and blowing out a head gasket while doing fun hot rod car guy stuff.
Like many turbo cars, GNs are notorious for blowing out head gaskets. But, since these cars remain ridiculously popular more than 30 years after the last ones rolled off the lines, aftermarket support is very strong with both restoration and performance parts widely available with just a mouse click and a credit card. It’s starring role in F&F4 probably helped bolster the GN’s legend.
I normally like building my own engines but when I blew the GN up, my wife was at the end of a high-risk pregnancy, so time wasn’t even close to being an option, and quite frankly, the car was intimidating for me to work on and I wanted it back on the road. A computer controlled, turbocharged V6? My comfort zone is carbureted V8s. So I trusted it to a local shop where the owner really wanted to build the GN engine, which turned out to be a mistake.
I admit that I’m hard on my cars. They all get driven hard and driven often but they are also well loved and well maintained, by me. Test and tunes at the track, spirited driving on the back roads away from civilization and the occasional stop light grand prix, its all a thing. So the understanding was there that when the Buick’s 231 was rebuilt, that it was going to need to withstand some abuse. I was assured it was.
A simple smoke show burnout led to a blown head gasket.
I brought it back to the shop and they weren’t too interested in standing behind the repair. Rather than make a big deal about it, I decided to take the high road and simply repair it myself (if you want anything done right, do it yourself) and sever ties with the shop, since I knew them pretty well and didn’t want an uncomfortable situation. Besides, if their substandard workmanship caused the problem to begin with, how could I trust their repair? In the bigger picture of building and blowing up cars, a blown head gasket is not that big of a deal. If it was a broken numbers matching engine block, it may have been a different story.
I autopsy’d the engine after it blew up and determined that it was the head gaskets themselves that failed. The pressure from the turbo blew about a 2″ hole in the gasket. But it was because the shop used the wrong ones; they were standard 3.8L Buick V6 head gaskets and not the upgraded copper lined ones that are recommended for the turbo cars. On top of that, I found a couple of head bolts that were barely more than hand-tight and that’s a deadly sin in turbo cars.
I consulted with a shop that specializes in Turbo Buicks and he gave me the part number for the right Fel-Pro head gaskets and matching hardened head bolts and intake gaskets.
I sent the cylinder heads off to my trusted machine shop that Ive been using for years and had them inspected to see if they were damaged (they weren’t) and they did a 3 angle valve job and cleaned up the combustion chambers while they had them. Then I pulled the oil pan to look at the bearings to see if they suffered any damage from the antifreeze getting in the oil and they were OK, at least visually. So I drained the oil, refilled it, ran it for a few minutes after I reassembled the engine and drained it again. I listened carefully for any rod noises because hydrolock and a bent rod was a concern since I did drive it for about 5 miles on the blown gasket, allowing a lot of antifreeze to get into the crankcase. I didn’t hear any. I filled it with new oil and a new Wix filter and ran it again. It probably took 2 days for all of the oil that had coated the inside of the exhaust to burn off.
Now its back on the road. I broke it in pretty easily for about 1000 miles and now I put about 1500 miles on it since its latest revival. I’ve run it hard a few times, including against another Grand National; it’s really cool hearing two Turbo Regals running hard together-and it seems to be ok, although I notice a lot more valvetrain noise on cold starts. I’m going to change the oil again in about 500 more miles.
Now that its back on the road, I’m taking note at what all I need to complete its restoration. The seats are in pretty rough shape so I’m looking at getting them recovered next year.
I’m looking at adding a FAST controller package.
Right now I’m running 16″ Trans Am GTA wheels, which are cheaper imitations of 17″ GNX wheels that look so good on these cars but I’m considering returning it to the OE GN wheels because I also like the chrome against the black, plus the GTA wheels have to be run with wheel spacers, which I’m not comfortable with.
The weatherstripping is in pretty sorry shape, especially around the T-tops so I need to get on that.
And, after all this talk about loud rock music, the stereo took a dump and I’ve been running around with just a Bluetooth speaker. Someone put in a high dollar aftermarket stereo system with a receiver, amp, subwoofer, satellite receiver and an equalizer. None of it works. There’s no power going to the stereo. Therefore, I will be ripping it all out and replacing it with an upgraded OE GM stereo head unit with an AUX input through some good speakers, as the car was originally fitted with the Concert Sound option and will sound great without the aftermarket mess.
So I’ll wrap this update up with my unofficial Grand National anthem, classic Judas Priest from around the time the GN was the hottest car on the street. Be warned though, the video has not aged as well as the car but its still a great song. And what a testament to how great a band JP is as they continued to thrive and have a career after this awful video.
Keep on rockin’!
Love your COALs LT Dan, particularly the music connections. I also love the fact that you drive your GN and other vehicles like it was meant to be and don’t treat it like a trailer queen.
That’s annoying about the gasket – you should have dumped the blown one on the counter of the shop that did such a half-assed job. It’s truly disappointing to see businesses take the cheap/lazy/easy way out.
There’s been many a time I’ve been tempted to do that. Lazy/half-assing mechanics are a bane.
I swear my next DD is going to be a classic Beetle. At least I can fix everything on those and know it’s done right.
Thanks Bart. I live in a pretty tight-knit community and I really don’t want to make a deal of it, the owner of the shop is actually a neighbor. I think that if I escalated the issue it would just make things uncomfortable. While Im not a mechanic by trade, I do know my way around an engine and by fixing it myself, I cant blame anyone else when I blow it up again
“Right around the time I wrote my rock and roll-based Buick Grand National COAL , I remember reading an article in some irrelevant source that said rock was dead and cited various reasons that led to its death.
Seriously? Didn’t The Who say that in the ’70s?”
They did but also said Long Live Rock in the same song. It’s not rock that’s dead, it’s radio. There are so many ways to get music but in my growing up time it was either radio (which created a mass listening experience) or friends/siblings records that didn’t get radio play. There is a lot of great music out there but it doesn’t come to you —you have to go find it.
Radio sucks now. I listen exclusively to mp3s on my phone.
I listen to bands like this and Green Day who are still making rock:
I’d make an exception for college radio stations and small independents, depending on where you are. They will usually play something different and have shows with genre specific themes. 88.1 WMBR (MIT’s broadcast) archives their programs for two weeks and you can stream those. But as far as spinning the dial while you are driving, it’s pretty bleak no matter where you are. Nice choice, now I have something new to share with others. That’s how it works these days.
I’m very late to the party, but wanted to say thanks for the tip on Radio Moscow! If you haven’t heard them, look for Clutch, they have a similar sound, good hard rock. And for something “similar but different”, check out The Claypool Lennon Delirium.
This. I’ve been going to find it since I was a teen in the mid-00s, and it’s actually gotten way easier than it was then with the likes of YouTube. If there’s a resurgence in rock the internet will be its savior.
The problem with rock radio is the big rock stations all titled themselves as “classic rock” and pigeon holed themselves into playing music that only fit an arbitrary cutoff of what’s “classic” and not, and inexplicably seemed to only cull tracks from their playlist to the point where to a casual listener it would seem like basically five rock bands ever existed – Zeppelin, The Who, the Beetles, Boston and AC/DC, and they all only made about 3 songs each.
Meanwhile radio stations that did play modern rock music branded themselves as “alternative” (which I never knew what the hell the alternative was to exactly since I was an infant during the advent of grunge), which itself suffered since the sound that defined “alternative” was a very short lived trend in the 90s, and because they effectively declared “traditional(?)” rock/hard rock/heavy metal off limits, their alternative tracklists quickly started sounding a bit classic themselves, while modern rock transitioned to that indie sound, which is more different from grunge than grunge was from hair metal as far as I’m concerned.
That’s been said for awhile.
Enjoyable read as always. I agree about having to look for the good music in every style. It’s out there but radio lost me a long time ago.
I’ve found that going to YT and searching out music in the style you like leads to really interesting suggestions on the Up Next list, I’ve found some new favorite bands this way. Radio with it’s vapid ultra heavy rotation of 70s dinosaur rock has made me hate most bands from that era due to hearing their top three hits 10,000 times a year.
You mean you don’t wanna hear “More Than A Feeling” by Boston every hour for forty years?
My son is a big fan of The Warning, so I’ll give them a shout-out.
YT has actually made me like 70s dinosaur rock more, because it made me discover there are more bands and songs containing some of the best riffs ever that you’d never know existed due to lack of radio play. Before YouTube I didn’t know Judas Priest and the Scorpions had several albums during the 70s, arguably containing their best work. Radio however doesn’t seem to be willing to play anything but you got another thing coming and rock you like a hurricane
*side rant, why is Dinosaur used as an insult? Is it because I grew up in a post-Jurassic Park atmosphere that I find the idea of something being a dinosaur endearing rather than unappealing? I think Dinosaurs are cool, and Dinosaur rock, and Dinosaur cars. What are modern music and cars? Pomeranians?
There are tonnes of outstanding 70s rock songs you’ll never hear on classic rock stations. Classic rock stations are formula, and unfortunately it’s those same tired songs average rock listeners expect. Most people don’t have discerning taste in music, including rock fans.
This a perfect example. An anthemic rock song from 1979 by the Kinks, you will neverhear on classic rock stations.
You’re right, I’ve never heard that before. And I was listening to rock on the radio in 1979…
I never heard that track before either, I listened to it three times in a row today!
“it’s those same tired songs average rock listeners expect. Most people don’t have discerning taste in music, including rock fans.”
Expect or enjoy? I expect every song played on classic rock radio, which is why I don’t feel the need to listen – if I really wanted to hear More Than a Feeling et al. on a given day, I can stream it front to back, not come in in the middle or end of it when I tune in to the station – A song I don’t expect and might not have ever heard, or heard it for the first time all the way through and enjoy introduces me to something and turns me onto a song/album/band, which is exactly how radio is supposed to work.
More realistically classic rock stations have in fact outright disappeared due to playing what rock fans expect. 97.9 The Loop in was a legendary rock station in Chicago, and last year went under, replaced by Christian easy listening of all things, and how’d they go out in in their final weeks? Let the DJs take reign and play their favs? Take in listener requests? Nope. Playing the same old track list of 20 or so songs that some faceless corporation calculated (via very questionable data collection) drew listeners. Spineless oafs.
Since you’re familiar with the Chicago market.. I can’t believe that whatever replaced the Loop 97.9 is still on. Now I switch between 93.1 WXRT and 88.7 MeTV FM. NPR at night plays some interesting stuff too. 103.9 is okay as well. 97.1 is stuck in a rut like The Loop was. I also play 70s R&B and disco, and ain’t ashamed of it. Wetton/Downes “Icon 3” is my favorite album right now and I had to buy a CD from Russia to get it. Not exactly hip airplay stuff right now.
And there’s the problem with getting other people to do work. They never care as much as you do, so it’s often disappointing.
My 40hp VW engine rebuild turned out to have a LOT of valvetrain clatter. I suspect the cam bearing clearance is excessive but on early 40hp engines the cam runs right in the case, putting bearings in requires complete disassembly and specialist machining. So I’m leaving it, I’m not hard on it so it should last as long as I need it to.
Anyway, good on you that you have the skills to make it right. Always liked Grand Nationals 🙂
Run some 20W-50 dinosaur oil in there (air cooleds don’t like synthetic as much) and treat it gently. Replace your valve adjusters and pushrods, sometimes those are bad, too short or too long. Valve clearances need to be absolutely correct as well.
Well yes, but I can set the #1 cylinder valves to .006 at TDC, but when I turn to cylinder #3 TDC the one valve that’s open on cylinder #1 has .012 clearance so something is awry.
Could be your TDC mark is off or the cam is slightly out of phase. If you’re adjusting the # 1 valve with the cam slightly ramped up, you’d see more clearance on the closed valve when cylinder 3 is on TDC.
To check, you could try adjusting cylinder # 1 at 10 degrees BTDC, and then comparing the clearance with cylinder # 3 in the same position. If the measurements are the now same (or you see even more gap), I’d give cam timing a very careful look.
Have to agree on other people not caring as much about repairs, especially annoying when your paying them your hard earned dollars. I bought a Nissan Altima a few years back. I thought I would be lazy and take it in for oil, transmission and coolant flush. Mistake, as I had to replace the transmission seals and a water pump shortly there after.
My experience with a few 70’s vw vans was to always run 20/50w in the summer and adjust the valves every 3000 miles. I always got comments on how good the engine sounded and was able to squeeze a lot of miles (about 100 000 after I got them) before the engines needed work.
In a moment of weakness a month ago I picked up a 92 eurovan Westfalia. The price was too good ($1000) but by the time I have fixed the snags and some horse trading to my buddy who found it I will probably be $5-7k into it. I either have rose coloured glasses with regards to how my 70’s and 80’s vans drove or my Toyota and Nissan have spoiled me. After a couple of weeks the grain truck driving style is starting to grow on me. I do miss the simplicity of the early vans but 2 rocking heaters is a nice addition being that I live in Canada. And before anyone says there were no 92 Westfalia eurovan we did get them briefly in the great white north, known here as a eurovan cv or t4 California in Europe.
Such a great reading, congrats!!!
First time I listened to Greta Van Fleet I thought : These guys sound a bit like Led Zepellin and that is a good thing.
When I talk to kids about music now a days I always say: “I am from a time when Rock and Roll was bigger than Hip Hop”
And they just stare at me in disbelief.
Great article and excellent music choices. Rock and Roll will never DIE!
Greta Van Fleet is a bit too close to Zepplin for me to appreciate them, which isn’t helped by the fact that I don’t really like actual Zepplin all that much either(let me know when there are some Deep Purple or Black Sabbath soundalikes and I might sing a different tune). I would love for rock to be mainstream again, but I’m very pessimistic about it, it takes a lot of practice and talent to play an instrument as well as commitment and money to be in a band, and it’s so mindlessly easy to create disposable pop and EDM with a laptop it’s a good investment for record companies to back with less members and equipment.
Does that mean I think rock is dead? No. First of all I’m a millennial and almost exclusively listen to rock, and have fellow millennial friends who are into rock as well, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t listen to something because “eew that’s old”. I think the creative well is fairly dry though, and the back catalog of rock music is so extensive that it would practically take a lifetime to listen to it all, and with the numerous internet outlets it’s all right there. Gone are the days of import albums and scouring a used record store. Why eagerly await the next album from a new rock band when I can find a lesser known album from someone from the 70s 80s or 90s and be just as wowed by it?
Modern cars can have objective arguments for choosing them over something old, but music is music. If my ear desires distorted guitar it doesn’t care where or when it’s from
When I was a kid we would never listen to “old” music. Yet two of my kids went to a Journey/Def Leppard concert last year and often listen to ’80s music on YouTube.
It’s different today. Old music is easier than ever to find. Radio isn’t shaping people’s tastes like it used to and most of today’s mainstream music is just not very good. I think that all contributes to the more open attitude to the past.
Oh, and I also agree on Zeppelin. I know their importance but just not my thing.
Outstanding post LT. Dan. Greta Van Fleet reminds me of a cross between Zeppelin and the Tragically Hip. With the added novelty of a lead singer that looks like Peter Brady. 🙂
Johnny Bravo approves!
+1 on T-hip reference—check them out!!
LT Dan–thanks for the links. Enjoyed hearing FFDP–will be listening to them more.
Gary Clarke Jr. is a current favorite of mine.
Kudos on your car corral, you have great taste. I thought that I had a ‘cylinder count’ problem, but you keep way more on the road that I do!!
thanks Jake. Check out FFDP’s War Is The Answer and The Way of The Fist, great stuff. They are pretty much this generation’s Pantera
Good read, Dan! As a Zeppelin fan from the second I discovered them, I took to GVF pretty much immediately too. Those kids hopefully have a long and bright future ahead of them. I cant agree more on the ‘Rock is dead, and so are the V8/RWDs’ being a tired trope. No, neither is mainstream as they once were but Im good with that on both counts. Ive never been one to be another ‘normie’ in the background anyway.
The best rock/metal bands are the ones that rarely get ‘mainstream’ exposure anyway. Clutch is still absolutely KILLING it nearly 30 years later:
As you said, radio is dead. Long live Pandora, Tidal and other app based music formats. The best feature is how they guide you to other artists based on your selections. That’s how I discovered a pair of Swedish players in the fuzzy California desert style stoner rock genre:
As long as there are passionate, die-hard enthusiasts to support rock music and/or V8’s…they aint going anywhere except better and better!
I will admit a strong bias towards Canadian alternative and hard rock bands, as there are so many to choose from. 🙂 I think my favourite era for alternative rock from my country was the early 2000s when groups like Finger Eleven, Our Lady Peace, and Big Sugar produced some iconic music. With ‘Paralyzer’ wildly popular globally at one point. Especially in the US and Canada.
One Man Army…
I enjoyed that one. Thanks!
‘Turbo Lover’ always reminded me of ‘On the Rebound’ by Russ Ballard from 1980. One of those ‘forgotten’ hard rock classics.
“Besides, if their substandard workmanship caused the problem to begin with, how could I trust their repair?”
I had that same epiphany back in my twenties, when a machine shop half-assed a valve job and installed floating umbrella seals instead of the correct seals that pressed onto the valve guide.
My friends all told me to take it back to guilty shop and get them to fix it, but I was already out the parts and labor for a second head swap, and did not want (another) repeat performance if they should screw it up a second time.
I have to agree with everyone. Rock is still alive and well, you just got to find it. In my circle of friends, everyone listens to rock and metal, both new and old, so this idea that it’s dead amongst the younger crowd is false. Granted, there were some dark periods for the genre, “Butt-Rock” being the biggest contributing factor among them, but rock has stayed alive and well through thick and thin. I think the problem lies in the fact that radio is no longer the main source of musical entertainment anymore, and for the majority of people, the radio is still king to them in some cases.The advent of Spotify, Pandora, and other services have displaced it entirely. It wasn’t Video that killed the Radio star, it was the Internet, and for some, that’s a hard concept to grasp. It says a lot about the prolific popularity of these that people make aftermarket aux cords that can play music in an older car via the cassette deck, and the only CDs I still own are either comedy albums or Tool that I can’t easily access on a streaming service.
Side note, I’m curious as to what you think about all the music you posted. It took me a while to get used to Bad Wolves cover of Zombie, as I believed the Cranberries version was the only one that would work, but it has grown on me substantially. I also am a fan of Five Finger Death Punch, although I prefer the more somber and slower songs to the stuff they’re usually known for. I’m not big into harsh growling vocals myself, I just view it as all juvenile white noise for the most part, so to get me to listen to a song with those kinds of vocals takes a lot, especially if they’re no transitions to softer vocals to help balance it out.
I love all the songs I posted and have them in heavy rotation in my playlists. Ive been a big fan of Ghost since I first found them about 4 years ago when Meliora came out. They are heavy but also melodic, which seems to missing from so much of today’s metal, they remind me a lot of early Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult. Plus, Im a big horror movie fan and they bring with them a creepy and fun occult-based stage show ala Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie. FFDP is another favorite, they are pretty much the soundtrack for any troop that served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I love the original Zombie and it took a little while for me to warm up to the Bad Wolves version but now I love it as much as the original.
‘Highway Tune’ also reminds me a fair amount of ‘Crazy Horses’ by The Osmonds from 1972. Good tune for your ’71 RoadRunner.
I still like rock – and Grand Nationals, though my taste in music has changed a bit in the last ten years or so. I’ve never heard of any of these bands except GnR and Judas Priest, plus Kenny Wayne Shepherd as a solo artist. Way to make me feel old 😀 I’m of the “Meet the Beatles” through maybe late-eighties rock (Scorpions, UFO, Van Halen) generation; since then I’ve gone hot and cold on contemporary music, though our local independent radio station (shout-out for KPIG) plays a wonderful variety of timeless rock (NOT the same as “classic rock”) and more modern roots/Americana. I haven’t been listening today, but KPIG’s online playlist shows they’ve played Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, Taj Mahal, Rhiannon Giddens, Johnny Winter and Elton John recently.
I read recently that the new president of Indonesia is a Judas Priest fan. No word on how he feels about Buick GN’s.
I read that too, on Loudwire. Apparently he’s quite the metalhead. “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” would make a great national anthem.
Does anyone else remember Beaker Street?
Released in September 1990, and it remains one of my favourite hard rock driving songs.
you have great taste in music Daniel. Rush will always be my #1 go-to band (Im hoping to catch Geddy Lee on his book tour) with Triumph a close second for great Canadian bands
Dan, given your appreciation of Van Halen and Canadian rock, this great tune might still remain new to you. A very popular Canadian guitarist who sounded a helluva lot like David Lee Roth. This song was hugely popular north of the border in 1977.
BTW, have you seen junior’s grades? 🙂
…nowadays y’can’t be too sentimental; y’best bet’s a true (baby!) blue Continental! Next phase, new wave, dance craze; anyways it’s still rock ‘n’ roll to mayee.
I must confess to a fervent wish that rock was not only deceased but that I had front row seats to service so I could turn up and make sure it was true. This despite admitting that I know all the standards backwards from the peak era, which coincided with my growing up, and despite here admitting to enjoining in enthusiastic off-key renditions with friends if a bit lubricated and forgetful. Not my cuppa, and all that.
However, the Buick GNX – which does seem a natural fit with rock, somehow – certainly is a cuppa I’d drink hot and strong anytime. It’s perhaps the only stylistic success from the unfortunate Jagged Squared Off ’80’s era of US car design, but better, it just compelled as a silly-fast hoonmobile from the first I read of it, and I just wanted one in which to go about sideways. As you said about certain driving habits you have, it’s a thing.
As for rebuilds that fall short, that too’s a thing, of an undesireable type. My thought is that, not counting outright frauds or simple incompetence, most inadequate repairs like this are not really the result of intended sloppiness. They come about because the actual hourly cost of doing things absolutely right is prohibitive, perhaps three times the cost of doing it “normally”. That is, the shortcuts taken in many cases are taken because they’re known to work for most uses: not so much “it’ll do” but more “it works and the customer will not understand paying for the absolutely correct method.” Ofcourse, there are folk out there like yourself who no doubt would have willingly paid the higher price for it to be done properly first time (though it does seem the GNX was the victim of incompetence rather than money-saving).
Your posts have been most enjoyable, LT Dan, and this is another of them. Drive on fast with care, and keep those side windows clean for forward vision, now.
Rock isn’t dead…it just smells that way 🙂
New rock, aside from alternative, isn’t selling like it was back in the 70’s/80’s – but it does well in places like Boston, Detroit, Philly, and a few other markets.
But most of the “new rock” stations that aren’t alternative manage to survive by playing a ton of classic rock due to the trickle of bankable new acts. If it wasn’t for Greta (which is a Zep clone…then again Zep wasn’t exactly an original thing) the active rock station I work for in Eastern NC would be playing more Motley Crue or Korn than we are now.
Back to the cars…I had to quit using a shop here in Pittsburgh because they consistently misdiagnosed or flat out couldn’t find issues with my vehicles. I had to take my Cadillac to Cleveland to fix the AC properly!
Always enjoy your writings LtDan!
Tom aka “Tubby” on Rock 105
My musical tastes are pretty varied, but the rock of my generation never really did it for me. You know that guy trying to make his way somewhere against a massive throng of people? That would be me.
Let’s just say that I would have preferred “classic rock” to go up in a cloud of white smoke and that your Buick would have remained together and healthy. And yeah, there are few things as bad as someone screwing up your car because of stupid or sloppy work.
Thank you all.
I agree with the general sentiment that commercial radio is no longer the dominant music delivery format but it’s also not dead either. Here in Tidewater, VA we have a great rock station that plays all the current bands with the occasional classic rock song. Check em out http://www.fm99.com
Just wanted to add since Jerry Doucette was mentioned here, he’s still living in a small town in Canada. He gets by on royalties from that song, and guitar lessons. I for one am happy to see the skill being passed along.
Dan, awesome write-up as usual. You have great taste in music and cars. My taste in music is similar to that of cars, in that I don’t really like much modern stuff and like cars I can have a pretty eclectic tastes. However, my go to, especially when cruising in the old cars, is rock.
I am glad to hear you got the GN all fixed and that it was simply the wrong gasket that caused a failure. Much better than breaking parts. Looking forward to hearing more great stories.
To understand what “Rock is dead” means, we must establish proper definitions of “Rock” and “Dead” so those of us who have been making these statements for the past decade can be correctly understood…
“Rock” means contemporary, guitar-driven Rock music, of which Greta Van Fleet is a great example. You have many subgenres such as Hardcore, Metalcore, etc. that have never penetrated the mainstream but exist in the backwaters of Pop Culture with enthusiastic fan followings.
“Dead” simply means that contemporary Rock no longer creates cultural moments on the order of…well, name your decade, think of your friends and those CCs we were driving with stereos blasting…allow me to share just a FEW of these cultural moments:
Summer of Love
The Beatles (double duh!)
Guns ‘N Roses
Grunge (ESPECIALLY Nirvana)
Hootie & The Blowfish
Remember when “Hold My Hand” hit radio and video? Didn’t it seem, by the summer of ’95, that EVERYBODY knew Hootie and most everybody loved them?
That was MY experience, anyway.
NONE OF THIS HAPPENS ANYMORE IN CONTEMPORARY ROCK. THE LAST ROCK ALBUM TO ARGUABLY TURN EVERYBODY’S HEAD WAS GREEN DAY’S ‘AMERICAN IDIOT’ – 15 YEARS AGO.
Again, the key here is CONTEMPORARY Rock as a FORCE in Popular Culture.
CLASSIC Rock, in contrast, remains alive and well. Ask your kids. Many of them know The Beatles, Stones, Who, Doors, Def Leppard, Zeppelin, etc. But they can’t name a Linkin Park album newer than “Minutes to Midnight” (released 2007, the band has released four albums since then, according to Wikipedia. None were hits).
If you’re still not convinced, think of the trajectory of Jazz.
The Big Band era ended around 1946. Yet Jazz continued to make a mark in Pop Culture, just not to the extent that it had when Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey ruled the world.
In fact you can point to what might be seen as some of Jazz’s finest moments as Rock & Roll took over…”April In Paris,” “Take Five,” “The Girl From Ipanema,” “Feels So Good.”
But eventually Jazz moved to the backwaters of Pop Culture, where some people still seek it out and will continue to enjoy it.
That’s where Contemporary Rock continues to head, unabated.
People will still continue to make it and people will continue to listen to it and go to the shows. And no longer having to conform to the pressures of mass success, it just may give its fans its finest moments yet.
In that respect, Danny & the Juniors’ assessment from 1958 remains…it’ll never die.
But in the respect that contemporary culture is affected in any way by it…Rock is Dead. Sorry.
I’ll close with a link to what we in radio call an aircheck. I didn’t record this but I WAS listening to WKBW/Buffalo that night as Jack Armstrong introduced “Black Dog” for the first time and then attempted to describe the non-title title of Led Zeppelin’s brand new fourth album. It was Beatles Gold night too. I was 14.