Cave Olympics- Prog-Rock


Progressive rock– the arty, pompous and always a tad snobby weird cousin of rock music. Those who like him will affectionately refer to him as a bit eccentric and an acquired taste. Those who don’t like him will call him an overblown pompous ass wallowing in mindless self reflection that is all too full of codswallop*.

*pick your favorite word here to describe senseless drivel – I always liked this one

But I digress and getting back to the music-

Both are correct descriptions.

Bands like Rush, early Genesis, and Yes- I do not like and will use the bad definition to explain why.

Bands like Pink Floyd, Supertramp and solo Peter Gabriel I like and will refer to the good definition.

Many fans will be the opposite or simply hate all of these groups for being way too much over the artsy ledge.

I am cool with that

But the winter games are still going on at the Cave and we need some medal winners

 The Bronze:

Arcade Fire.Afterlife

Before I get all my 8 or 9 readers to band together and tell me this not prog….Here is the test.

Is it artsy? Check

Is it self-important drivel and over the top in a way that angers some music fans? Check

Would you have thrown this band in with all the other progressive bands if it came out thirty years ago?


And I love this song and it is my website-Just a regular guy in a regular virtual cave-so there and let’s go to silver.

The Silver:

Frank Zappa.Watermelon in Easter Hay.

Frank was a talented and thoughtful musician known for a too grotesque sense of humor. He would be a mega star today. It was nothing more outrageous than Eminem.

And the dude could play guitar.

If you got a chance to see him live then you got a chance to see something like the massive migrations of buffalo across the Great Plains before they were all gone. You got to witness something special that was normal for the time but fading fast. You got to be part of history.

I now feel like I am history! (that is good, right?)

The Gold:

Pink Floyd.Shine On You Crazy Diamond

I could write a book on what this song means to me. (maybe someday)

My favorite Pink Floyd song from my favorite Floyd record-Wish You Were Here.

This is the ultimate bromance ditty-One guy writing a song about a friend that has lost his mind but will never be considered lost. It is song of hope and a song about love and respect. Friendship is a deep and mysterious thing that this song is not afraid to expose to the light. Madness is another dark depth that few pieces of music will dare to set sail for. Just for those two reasons this song is beautiful and this version is unforgettable.

Next I will go for the “Classics” and Cheers from the Cave!

Songs that can’t be killed…Smoke on the Water.


This song has it all!

A simple repeated chord progression that anyone can play:

Too simple?   To twist a quote that Mozart used in Amadeus “What notes would you like to add?” This  Da, Da, Daa can be understood by anyone and explained to anyone. Rock music comes in so many different flavors that you sometimes need the source to show what it is all about-A lighthouse of a song to let you find your way home through all the complications of haze and confusion. Find me a rock guitarist who has not evoked the great spirit of rock n roll by playing this…it even works if you play it as a joke…you are connecting yourself to the life-force of rock music.

A true story:

It is based on a “stupid with a flare-gun” burning down the place where Deep Purple was set to record.

Name Dropping:

Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place in town…And the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio thingy that they borrowed or rented or stole.

Exotic Location:

Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

The four classical elements:

Fire, Water, Earth and Air

Smoke on the water- fire in the sky. It does three of them in the chorus! And the “stupid” with a flare gun burned the place to the ground. That would take care of earth but they were not done yet and brought in a hero of Funky Claude who saved the day by pulling kids to the ground.

The biblical story of “no room in the inn” – go find another place:

Most of the song is about the struggle to find a location to perpetuate the awesomeness of making rock music. This story has been retold through generations over and over and it probably started when mankind started painting cave walls.

That picture in a picture thing that goes forever:

You know those pictures of somebody looking in a mirror and in that mirror image-you have the mirror image of that dude looking in a mirror in a mirror and on and on to an infinity of the same dude looking in a mirror!!!!

Well this song has that…because it is a song about making a song and writing a song about a true event that is still unfolding and part of creating the song itself…it goes on and on into infinity –just like this song.

Maybe that is why you can’t kill it…Infinity just keeps going and going.

Da…Da…Daa…da, da, dada… Da…Da…Daa..dadada.

Not to mention iconic performances by Ritchie Blackmore on guitar and Ian Gillan on vocals…and didn’t rock stars who followed all try to make up names that sounded as rockstar-ish as this?

I still am not sick of this song and I have heard it at least 8 zillion times!

And I am going to YouTube me up a couple more versions right now!

ABC’s of Music Challenge

ABC (band) Live on Steel City Tour 2008
ABC (band) Live on Steel City Tour 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is written as part of an award graciously bestowed upon me by indytony @

ABC’ s of Music
I love to know what bands people like and don’t like. It is impossible to hide your personality if you are honest about it. So for the ABC’s I will give you one of each for each letter to help fill in my musical personality. First listed is the good one, I have to clarify because I could see someone having a complete opposite view.

A. Aerosmith the rock band /Aerosmith the pop band: One day these guys were “Back in the Saddle and Toys in the Attic” and all of a sudden they were “Love in an Elevator” and “Angel”. Hey! We all got to make a living and I know drug addiction is bad but damn you guys rocked when you were wasted! (sorry kids, drugs are evil but sometimes great art comes out of conflict and it may be a just a coincidence that they cleaned up and produced crappy music-the good thing is that they remained alive so they could still rock out to the good stuff in concert!)


B. Beatles/ Beach Boys: The Beatles are true icons and even if you don’t like them-you cannot argue about the influence on every single thing that followed them. The Beach Boys and endless youth and endless summer. Youth does not last forever and summer turns to winter, we all reach a point when a good day on the beach is finding a few coins and ring with the metal detector.
C. Clash/Chicago: Saturday in the park I think I don’t care what day and the righteous preaching of my favorite band.


D. Death Cab for Cutie/Dead or Alive: Death Cab for Cutie is a great band name and my favorite hipster group. D’s are tough because it’s hard to find a bad band with this letter…so I picked this one because the dudes botched plastic surgery photos have given me at least 5 nightmares.

E. Everclear/ Eddie MoneyEverclear makes it just because I love “Santa Monica” so much and Eddie Money makes it just because he looks so bad in that Geico commercial.

F. Foo Fighters/Foghat: Foghat may be the worst band name ever and yeah.. Fool for the City and Slowride…got it… anything else?…no didn’t think so. Foo fighters keep the fire burning.

G. Goo Goo Dolls/Genesis: The best thing to come out of Buffalo since hot wings against an over-artsy band with Peter Gabriel or an over-cheesy band with Phil Collins.

H. Heart/Huey Lewis and the News: Ann and Nancy Wilson know how to rock and Huey does not. I know this isn’t news to anyone.

I. Iggy pop/Iron Maiden: Iggy is all substance and no hype (or shirt!) IM is a name and artwork with little substance.

J. Jam/Jefferson Starship: “Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete, a baby wailing, stray dog howling” That is entertainment!…”We built this City on Rock and Roll” still causes countless migraines among serious music fans and has been ruled the source of at least one minor earthquake in the North Pacific.

K. Kinks/Knack: Ray Davies is a genius and “My Sharona” is “OO my little pretty one, my pretty one.”

L. Lumineers/Lifehouse: My new favorite band in the Lumineers and a band that I really tried to like but they would not take.

M.Mumford and Sons/Marilyn Manson: Mumford and Sons grow on you and like Johnny Depp says “they are sublime”. Marilyn Manson has two M’s.

N. New Order/Nazareth: New Order always the serious commentator that was telling the truth in the confused dance crazed 80’s…Nazareth is on my bad side because “girl you’re messing with a son of a bitch” has been stuck in my head for about 30 years…I can hear it now (I guess that is the upside of being music insane instead of regular insane-songs instead of voices play in your head!)
O. Oasis/One Direction: Wonderwall is reason enough for one. Boy Band is reason enough for the other.

P. Pretenders /Paul McCartneyI know that I am talking about Sir Paul and rock royalty but if you can imagine Wings and the solo stuff without all the work he did with his first band…I could see him being billed with Eddie Money and Al Stewart for a “three crooning whiners of rock tour” coming to a hockey rink near you. The Pretenders were not pretending to be friggin’ awesome with Chrissie Hynde, who deserves to be knighted as first lady of Ohio.

Q. Queen/ Quiet Riot: Queen is growing in statue ever since Freddie Mercury passed on to become a legend but even when he was around this band had the respect of all different kinds of music fans. Not easy to accomplish. Quiet Riot ripped off Slade to become a quick success. Even if Slade made some serious money off this deal, they stay on this list because there are not many “Q” bands.

R. Red hot chili peppers/ Rush: RHCP have evolved, stayed mostly intact and relevant. This is not the typical progression of any rock band.  I will send you to  for the Rush rant.

S. Strokes/Styx: Fresh energy against nostalgia

T. T.rex/Triumph: Did Marc Bolan invent glam rock? I don’t know but I love this band. I am sure there is a power pop trio from this great northern land that I like but it’s not these guys and it’s not Rush.

U.U2 /Uriah Heep: U2 is classy. Great live band and stewards of peace and freedom. And it is getting tough to find new reasons why I don’t like bands with silly names.

V.Vampire Weekend/ Van Halen with Sammy Hagar: V’s are tough so I know the SH thing is a bit of a stretch but man that hurt when Dave was flung out of the band. Vampire Weekend are intelligent and quirky- two things that seem to go together.

W. Weezer /White snake: Weezer is like a joke so good that it keeps going and going and somehow transforms into true quality somewhere along the way. WhiteSnake is a chick on a car in a video and probably other stuff but I can’t even remember the song…just the chick on a car.

X. X/Xtc: O.K if you made it this far, I can admit that I like both these bands. I could not find a band starting with X that I did not like.

Y.Yaz- Yazoo/ Yes: Yaz is a guilty pleasure from the early eighties and I always think it is cool when a band has to change its name to play in a different country. Yes is no pleasure at all, just another over self- important vintage art band.

Z. Frank Zappa/ Dweezil ZappaI love Frank and I love all those that are also fans of the comic cynic and original character. I have trouble with sons carrying on the legacy of famous parents and this is a “me” problem, not a Dweezil problem, who is by his own right a very talented and respected musician.  I hit the same wall with the Bob Marley children. Both these stars were so bright and influential -it is too much for us as fans to ask the kids to carry that weight.